Welcome to a world of cruelty, hexes and treachery, where malicious magic rules and you are but a single necromancer’s spell away from eternal terror.
From malevolent medieval magicians to Wild West witches, this spellbinding volume by a master of the macabre is packed with frightening fables guaranteed to send a supernatural chill down your spine.
Amongst the haunting historical horror stories, you’ll meet:
- A half-crazed girl locked up in a high security mental hospital by those accusing her of causing a devastating earthquake.
- An impoverished French noblewoman who’ll stop at nothing to marry her daughter to a wealthy prince – even if it means dabbling with a dangerous love potion.
- The hated public executioner Pandora whose fabled box has already killed 55 men – without leaving a trace of violence on their bodies.
- Wily witch Merta who uses all her wits and trickery to turn the tables on the corrupt Mayor who wants her burnt alive at the stake.
- A faery mage without conscience or pity with the perfect plan to make Mankind turn on itself – and all it takes is one innocent baby.
- A drought-stricken frontier town that seeks magical help from the local Indian tribe to make it rain, but learns it comes at a terrible cost.
- The doubt-ridden King, plagued by nightmares of his death, who consults an enchantress to learn the most of hidden of secrets: just when the Grim Reaper will claim him.
- A Mid Western widow who is convinced her homesteading husband is still alive, held hostage by a sorceress.
If you’re thrilled by exciting dark fantasy tales, with cunning twists, edge-of -the seat tension and unexpected shivers, you’ll love Game of Crones. Pick it up today. If you dare…
– When and where do you prefer to write?
I’m lucky enough to have my own home office so I’m able to spread out my notes, plot cards, discarded print outs and other detritus. It’s a total tip but I know where everything is “filed”. Every six months I have to do a clear up and it takes the best part of a day. I sometimes get approached by writing magazines to take part in their “where I write” features and have to politely decline. I couldn’t let their readers see what a mess I work in!
When I’m working on a project I write solidly in the mornings – in three 45-minute bursts, broken up by short screen/ drink breaks. I have a power nap early afternoon, and try to squeeze in a second writing session from 4pm for a couple of hours. The late afternoon spurt can be the most productive – the sleep really seems to help replenish my imagination.
– Do you have a certain ritual?
I write to music. I stick on my earphones, call up Spotify on my laptop, and block out the outside world. The music I listen to varies depending upon the mood I’m trying to create. If I’m writing anything atmospheric or spooky, I’ll listen to rock violinist Lindsey Stirling or pianist Ludovico Einaudi. If, however, I’m writing something humorous I’ll listen to Madness.
I love Spotify because it allows me to either listen to a particular artist’s entire playlist, or more unusually, pick a favourite song and listen to all the different cover versions.
– Is there a drink of some food that keeps you company while you write?
Coffee – gallons of the stuff. And too many biscuits and doughnuts for my own good. Writing is very draining mentally and I find the sugar keeps my energy levels topped up. But it comes at a cost – at the end of a writing project I need to go on a mini diet!
– What is your favourite book?
That’s a tougher question than it seems. I have loads of favourite books and authors. But if you were dumping me on a desert island with only one thing to read, it would have to be A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. Christmas, plum pudding, scary ghosts, a telling glimpse into Victorian history and hardships, the wonderful setting of old London and a hateful main character who finds redemption. What’s not to like?
– Do you consider writing a different genre in the future?
I’d love to bring out a series of comedic steampunk novels. It would combine two of my great loves – off-the-wall gadget-filled science-fiction and quirky humour packed with film references and very bad puns.
– Do you sometimes base your characters on people you know?
Oh yes. All the time. I sometimes feel I should read out a caution to everyone I meet. “I must warn you that anything you say or do may be used in my next book.” I especially love people with unusual mannerisms. I recently meet a priest who kept nervously touching his face and I thought it would be a wonderful device to use in the opening story in Game of Crones to show how, no matter what he did to hide it, baddie Mayor Gustalf was insecure and open to manipulation.
– Do you take a notebook everywhere in order to write down ideas that pop up?
No, but I should. Instead I end up scribbling frantically on anything that comes to hand – napkins, the backs of envelopes, receipts, in the margins of bills, the back of my hand! Of course, it’s a law of the universe that inspiration strikes in the most awkward places at the most inappropriate times. I try to be organised and transfer the ideas to a Word file later, but don’t always succeed. Sometimes I’m too cryptic and weeks later I can’t remember what King must die means.
– Which genre do you not like at all?
I am quite narrowly focused in my what I like – fantasy, sci-fi, comedy and crime. Beyond that not much appeals. I’m sure I miss out on a huge number of great reads by having a closed mind.
– If you had the chance to co-write a book. Whom would it be with?
I think a collaboration with Anne Rice would be a blast. I am completely enthralled by vampire fiction and she is the queen of the genre. Unfortunately Angela Carter, whose macabre poetic tales were mesmerising, is no longer with us – but readers have said they see elements of her influences in my work so I’d have loved to have co-authored a Gothic horror novel with her.
– If you should travel to a foreign country to do research, which one would you chose and why?
I was actually lucky to be able to do this just a few months ago when I visited Transylvania to soak up the spooky ambiance and visit some of its creepiest buildings and hear its vampires legends first hand – I managed to absorb loads of juicy terror tit-bits which I hope to be able to incorporate into the sequel to Crimson Siege.
Thank you, Jay Raven and Rachel’s Random Resources.
About the author
Jay Raven is the author of Gothic chillers and historical horror reminding readers that the past is a dangerous place to venture, full of monsters and murderous men. He blames his fascination with vampires, witches and werewolves on the Hammer Horror films he watched as a teenager, but living in a creepy old house on the edge of a 500-acre wood may have something to do with it.
If you would like to be informed of new releases, enjoy free short stories and access exclusive giveways and competitions, please subscribe to Jay’s monthly newsletter on his website at www.jayraven.co.uk
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