I want this to be a platform for EVERYONE within the horror community; authors, publishers, bloggers, reviewers, actors, directors, artists. I could go on, if you work in the genre then you are more than welcome to apply for the job.
The rules are quite simple…
You are invited to imagine yourselves as warden for an old graveyard, and choose eight books, preferably horror/dark genre, to take with you to cover your shift; here you can discuss why you chose the books.
As well as the books, wardens are allowed one song/album to listen to. Again, an explanation for this choice is required.
You must also discuss one luxury item you can bring, which must be inanimate and not allow communication.
If you’d like to take part in The Graveyard Shift then please submit an application to email@example.com
A new shift is about to begin and things are going to be a little different. There will be four authors working the shift, Marie O’Regan, George Mann, Laura Mauro and SJI Holliday.
To celebrate Absinthe Books, a new novella imprint via PS Publishing, all four will work this weeks #GraveyardShift. The first author we are going to meet is…
An introduction to Absinthe Books.
The idea of a new novella imprint was first mentioned by Pete and Nicky Crowther of PS Publishing while we were chatting in the bar at FantasyCon last year after a lovely dinner. They wanted to start a new novella imprint and they asked me to run it, with the only brief being to introduce new names to PS readers – although I can of course approach writers known to PS who I feel fit the remit. We came up with the name Absinthe Books during another post-dinner drinks conversation – this time at PS Towers, in January of this year. Various names were being suggested, Nicky came up with the idea of perhaps using a plant or herb, and it reminded me of a time James Herbert invited me to try absinthe. I’d never had it, but it smelled exactly like Pernod, which I did love, back in the day – and of course absinthe’s similar. Jim was one of my favourite writers, and it felt like a nice nod to name the imprint after that. Luckily Pete and Nicky agreed and Absinthe Books was born, with Ben Baldwin being commissioned to create the beautiful logo. At the moment, we’re doing three Absinthe Books titles a year – the first three being George Mann, Laura Mauro and SJI Holliday; the only limit being that the titles should have some speculative element, be that science fiction, horror or fantasy. The three novellas are very different in tone, but all great stories that I hope readers will love.
Bag of Bones by Stephen King.
This is the literary equivalent of comfort food, for me – I read it every time I need a lift. I love ghost stories, always have, and the story of author Mike Noonan and Sara Laughs is one of my favourites. Mike loses his wife to a random accident when she’s hit by a car in a pharmacy parking lot. Overnight his life changes, and he finds that – in his grief – he’s lost the ability to write. In desperation, he takes himself off to Sara Laughs, their beloved lakeside cabin, in the hope that he can write there – but he finds himself beset by the ghosts of his wife and the area’s history, fighting for survival. I love the way King writes: the characterisation, the tone… have done ever since I picked up Carrie at the age of thirteen; he can pull me into a story like no one else ever has.
Every Dead Thing by John Connolly
This was a hard choice as I’m a huge John Connolly fan and love the Charlie Parker novels, as well as John’s supernatural collections of short fiction, Nocturnes and Night Music. After some thought, I’ve gone for Every Dead Thing as it’s the first in the series and introduces us to the world of Charlie Parker. And what a world it is! Devastated by the brutal murder of his wife and daughter, Parker is consumed by the desire for revenge and finds himself on a path to self-destruction. When he’s asked by his ex-partner to investigate a murder as a private investigator, he discovers his purpose and is soon on the trail of The Travelling Man. I love these books; I love Parker, his companions Angel and Louis… and the supernatural thread that weaves through the stories like gold.
Birdman by Mo Hayder
Birdman is the first in the Jack Caffery series of crime novels from Mo Hayder; here, Caffery is on the trail of a serial killer targeting young women. As he follows the clues in an attempt to catch the killer before they strike again, he’s haunted by the memory of an event in his childhood and can’t escape the feeling there’s a link somewhere. Hayder’s writing is superb; she never flinches from the details of the cases in her books and as a result they’re not for the fainthearted. She’s definitely one of my favourite crime writers.
American Gods by Neil Gaiman
This is one of my favourite books by Neil Gaiman, I’m a big fan of his writing. American Gods tells the story of Shadow, who is released from prison when his wife is murdered. He meets the mysterious Mr. Wednesday and is offered a job, and from there he finds himself in the midst of a battle between the old gods and the new ones, in a fight for the soul of America. The recent TV series really did the novel justice, I thought, and a re-read is definitely long overdue.
Dark Matter by Michelle Paver
I’m a sucker for a great ghost story, and this one’s amazing. Set in the Norwegian fjords in the 1930s, Dark Matter slowly builds the tension until screaming point as we follow an expedition and what befalls them in the desolate winter landscape of Gruhuken bay. I read this one every Christmas, and it still spooks me, every time.
The Great and Secret Show by Clive Barker
I was tempted to pick the Books of Blood, as they were my introduction to Clive’s writing – and I still have my six-volume paperback set, now signed by Clive, so even more cherished. I think on balance, though, I’d choose this novel – as always Clive’s prose flows beautifully and is peopled by vividly-drawn characters. It’s a story of good vs evil set against the backdrop of everyday middle America in large part, and the juxtaposition of the ordinary and the marvellous is striking. This and Everville are the first two parts of the Art trilogy, and I’m looking forward to the day the third is released.
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
This – and the other Flynn novels – was recommended to me by Jenny Campbell, wife of Ramsey. ‘It’s full of dark, dysfunctional characters… You’ll love it!’ she said. And she wasn’t wrong. Told in two viewpoints, it’s the disintegration of a marriage and the awful things people do to each other. Nick comes home one day to find his wife missing, and soon winds up the main suspect in her disappearance. As secret after secret is revealed, we realise neither Nick nor his wife Amy have been honest with each other, leading to a devastating conclusion. Flynn’s very good at the unreliable narrator that forms a staple of such books, and for me Gone Girl is a masterclass.
Mistletoe by Alison Littlewood
This is possibly my favourite of Alison’s novels; and not surprisingly I’ve gone for another ghost story. In Mistletoe, we follow Leah as she completes the purchase of Maitland Farm – begun before the tragic death of her husband and son – and moves there to be alone. To escape the frivolity of Christmas that’s far from how she feels or what she wants while she’s grieving. Soon after she moves in, snow falls and she’s in a wintry landscape that serves to further cut her off. Her nearest neighbours are quite a trek across the fields, and she’s loath to bother them initially, but visions of Maitland Farm’s past begin to make themselves known, and soon she’s not sure what’s real and what isn’t as she tries to uncover the root of what’s happening and lay the ghosts – of Maitland Farm as well as those of her husband and son – to rest before she’s destroyed. A beautifully told, emotive ghost story, well worth a read.
Narrowing things down to one song or album is a nightmare; there are so many favourites and which one comes out top is dependent on my mood at the time. So I think I’ll plump for my all-time favourite band, Queen, and I’ll go for one song as there are so many good songs on every album that I’ll inevitably wish I’d chosen another one, whichever album I choose. It has to be ‘Bohemian Rhapsody.’ I remember when that came out there was nothing else like it, and it was Number One for week after week. I loved it then and I love it now; one of my all-time favourite songs.
That’s easy. Tea.
Twenty curses, old and new, from bestselling fantasy authors such as Neil Gaiman, Christina Henry, M.R. Carey and Charlie Jane Anders.
ALL THE BETTER TO READ YOU WITH
It’s a prick of blood, the bite of an apple, the evil eye, a wedding ring or a pair of red shoes. Curses come in all shapes and sizes, and they can happen to anyone, not just those of us with unpopular stepparents…
Here you’ll find unique twists on curses, from fairy tale classics to brand-new hexes of the modern world – expect new monsters and mythologies as well as twists on well-loved fables. Stories to shock and stories of warning, stories of monsters and stories of magic.
Marie O’Regan is an award-nominated author and editor, based in Derbyshire. She’s the author of three collections: Mirror Mere (2006, Rainfall Books); In Times of Want (2016, Hersham Horror Books), and The Last Ghost and Other Stories, (2019, Luna Press), as well as a novella, Bury Them Deep (2017, Hersham Horror Books), and her short fiction has been published in genre magazines and anthologies in the UK, US, Canada, Italy, and Germany, including Best British Horror 2014, Great British Horror: Dark Satanic Mills (2017), and The Mammoth Book of Halloween Stories (2108). She was shortlisted for the British Fantasy Award for Best Short Story in 2006, and Best Anthology in 2010 (Hellbound Hearts), 2012 (Mammoth Book of Ghost Stories by Women) and 2019 (Wonderland, also nominated for a Shirley Jackson award). Her genre journalism has appeared in magazines like The Dark Side, Rue Morgue and Fortean Times, and her interview book with prominent figures from the horror genre, Voices in the Dark, was released in 2011. An essay on ‘The Changeling’ was published in PS Publishing’s Cinema Macabre, edited by Mark Morris. She is co-editor of the bestselling Hellbound Hearts, Mammoth Book of Body Horror, A Carnivàle of Horror – Dark Tales from the Fairground, Exit Wounds, Wonderland, Cursed and Trickster’s Treats #3, plus the editor of bestselling The Mammoth Book of Ghost Stories by Women and Phantoms. She is Co-Chair of the UK Chapter of the Horror Writers’ Association, and is also the Managing Editor of Absinthe Books, an imprint of PS Publishing. Marie is represented by Jamie Cowen of The Ampersand Agency.
Absinthe Books: www.pspublishing.co.uk/AbsintheBooks
My website: www.marieoregan.net