• Memories of Washington – A Brief Reflection

    The inauguration of the President of the United States of America is always an event that the world watches with interest. But with the drama of the last few weeks still fresh in our minds, not to mention everything else that has happened over the last twelve months, this particular inauguration was one like no other, in every possible way.

    It is fair to say that this year’s event felt especially poignant – and one particular moment that really captured this for me was the brief silence held at Arlington National Cemetery earlier in the day, a place where thousands of America’s heroes have been laid to rest. A moment that was made all the more significant given that Biden’s son, Beau Biden, who served a year-long tour of Iraq in 2008 as a captain in the Delaware National Guard, was laid to rest there after his death from brain cancer in 2015. He was aged just 46.

    Perhaps the emotion of the moment was best summed up in the words of Amanda Gorman, the 22-year-old Harvard graduate who was chosen as the youngest inaugural poet in US history, as she read her poem The Hill We Climb:

    “When day comes we ask ourselves,
    Where can we find light
    In this never-ending shade”

    And so I find myself fondly reminiscing of my time in Washington back in July 1996. It’s funny how quickly twenty-five years have passed! Back then I was just shy of my 26th birthday, a British tourist on the other side of the pond. That, and a writer in the making, in search of inspiration in the land of the free. And I found inspiration too, from seeing the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights in the National Archives, to sheltering from the rain in the J.Edgar Hoover Building, to name but a few of the sights I managed to take in. The city was, in my eyes, a beautiful place (although the same could not be said of the camping!).

     “Move over Gillian Anderson” reads the note in my journal beneath a picture of a somewhat younger me

    If there is one thing that stands out when it comes to America, it is the sheer scale of everything; here’s the Abraham Lincoln memorial, with me for scale. Bear in mind, I’m pretty tall myself!

    But what really came back to me today was my own quiet journey to the Arlington National Cemetery. A powerful, peaceful and serene place in which so many tremendous sacrifices are remembered and honoured.

    Arlington is, of course, also the final resting place of John F. Kennedy, whose simple grave site, with its eternal flame, cannot fail to make a lasting impression.

    I remember well the feelings of sadness and melancholy that I noted in my journal as I look back over those memories – fond memories of a time spent in a truly wonderful country. A country I was meant to be returning to last year as a celebration of my fiftieth birthday.

    I guess this particular trip was just not meant to be, a sentiment that so many will share. But despite it all, when I look back and see the America that I remember, it gives me a renewed sense of hope that there will be light at the end of the tunnel.

    ‘Til next time,

  • What is Horror?

    Horror. When you say that word, most people wrinkle their nose and recoil like they’ve just smelt a decomposing corpse or been told that a limb requires amputation. Horror, in many circles, is seen as the black sheep of the family; the child that is kept locked away in the attic so no one can see them; the unforgivable sin that has been committed.

    Tell someone that you write horror and you largely get the same reaction, or at least that is my experience. I have had people say there must be something seriously wrong with me because of the things I write about.  I have had ex-boyfriends beg me not to tell their family and friends what I write because it makes me look weird. Well, I am weird and I’m proud of it.

    Horror is largely seen as a narrow, one-dimensional genre (like certain B movies that have been made) confined to the corner of a bookstore, or to the one week only screening at the cinema.

    You may be surprised to learn, dear reader, that horror, probably more than any other genre, has a fantastic history and a multitude of sub-genres.

    In literature, horror has been around for centuries and has a very specific definition and purpose. According to JA Cuddon, the horror story is ‘a piece of fiction in prose of variable length… which shocks or even frightens the reader, or perhaps induces a feeling of repulsion or loathing.’

    Elizabeth Barrette said that ‘the best horror intends to rattle our cages and shake us out of our complacency. It makes us think, forces us to confront ideas we might rather ignore, and challenges preconceptions of all kinds.’

    Do you agree with these modern definitions, dear reader? Or, like me, are you more curious to know what the early horror writers had to say about their genre?

    Ann Radcliffe (1764 to 1823), author of The Mysteries of Udolpho (1794), a book immortalised by young Cathy in Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey, distinguished between the two elements of horror fiction – ‘terror’ and ‘horror’. She defined terror as a feeling of dread that takes place before an event happens, whereas horror is a feeling of revulsion or disgust after an event has happened. For me, this is the perfect description.

    In essence, horror creates an eerie and frightening atmosphere. It is mostly supernatural, but it can also be non-supernatural. It is said that, in many cases, the central menace of horror fiction is a metaphor for the larger fears of a society. Do you agree with this or is horror, for you, just a pleasure of sorts?

    The genre itself has its roots in folklore and religious traditions, with stories being told through the generations. It would be interesting to hear the original tales as I suspect Chinese whispers have taken a benign subject and morphed it into the monsters we know and love today. Having said that, I firmly believe that folklore stems from reality. What was it that was seen lurking in the hallways of that abandoned castle? What creature could possibly make that eerie call across the moors, sending a chill down your spine?

    The preoccupation with death, the afterlife, evil and the demonic manifested itself into stories of witches, vampires, werewolves and ghosts. It is a known fact that in Victorian times, it was common for graves to be dug up and the body mutilated under the belief that the person was a vampire or a werewolf.

    Folklore and its brethren have been around long before stories were written down, with horror literature not making itself known until the 18th century.

    It was Gothic horror which occupied the hearts and minds of 18th century horror aficionados, with Horace Walpole’s The Castle of Otranto (1764) being cited as beginning this fascination. The novel was the first story to incorporate elements of the supernatural.  Unsurprisingly, much horror fiction of this era was written by women and marketed at a female audience, with a typical scenario being a resourceful female protagonist menaced in a gloomy castle. I say unsurprisingly because I find that more women like horror than men. Mention going to catch a horror movie to a guy and you are likely to get a straight out ‘hell no’; mention it to a woman and you get a more positive response. We’re made of stronger stuff, obviously!

    The 19th century saw the emergence of sub-genres in horror (although Gothic horror is now classed as a sub-genre) with classics such as Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (1818), the works of Edgar Allan Poe & Sheridan Le Fanu, Robert Louis Stevenson’s Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (1886), Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray (1890), and my favourite, Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1897). These novels are what we as modern readers recognise as horror literature.

    The 20th century saw a boom in horror publishing, including pulp fiction and specialist magazines dedicated to the genre. Influential authors included HP Lovecraft and MR James, creating further sub-genres of cosmic horror and ghost stories. The 1900s also saw the birth of the horror movie, with early cinema taking inspiration from many aspects of horror literature. Comic books (e.g. Tales from the Crypt) were also born in this century and were the only place where graphic violence and gore appeared until the film industry caught up in the latter part of the century.

    Contemporary horror fiction now contains a vast array of authors, from Stephen King, James Herbert and Clive Barker to Laurell K Hamilton, Stephanie Meyer and Charlaine Harris, bringing you a wide range of sub-genres to choose from. Whether you enjoy werewolf fiction & urban fantasy (Carrie Vaughn), erotic Gothic fiction (Anne Rice), historical horror, mashups (e.g. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies), historical fantasy and horror comics (e.g. Hellboy), or teen horror/paranormal romance, there is a novel out there for you.

    It is interesting to note that some writers of ‘horror’ fiction dislike the term, considering it too lurid. Instead, they choose to classify their work as Dark Fantasy or Gothic Fantasy (supernatural horror), or Psychological Thriller (non-supernatural horror).

    Horror is horror as far as I’m concerned and I feel that authors should be proud to write in this genre and should shout it out loud!!

    The multitude of sub-genres in horror is, I feel, more clearly shown on film. Some of these sub-genres break down even further, illustrating just how wide this genre really is. All in all, there are about seventeen sub-genres of horror in film and I’ll briefly take you through each one to give you a taste.

    Vampire (Dracula, Nosferatu, 30 Days of Night)

    The sexy and alluring vampires are mythological creatures that have existed in folklore for aeons, but it was Bram Stoker’s Dracula who spawned the vampires we know and love today. In general, vampires on film are undead creatures who are thirsty for blood and need to be invited in. Their other vulnerabilities – transference, garlic, holy water, staking, crosses, sunlight – can vary, depending on who has created them!

    Werewolf (An American Werewolf in London, The Howling, Dog Soldiers)

    The cute and cuddly werewolf has also occupied myth and folklore for hundreds of years. Werewolves come in two varieties – those that can turn at will or, more likely, those that are slaves to the full moon. Transference is simple and occurs via a bite or a scratch, but it is seen as tragic as those afflicted are said to bear a curse. For me, the key to a good werewolf film is the transformation scene and there is only one film that has nailed this – An American Werewolf in London. CGI has got nothing on that iconic scene.

    Zombie (White Zombie, Night of the Living Dead, 28 Days Later):

    The classics zombies, largely created by George A Romero, rise from the grave or are created by being bitten by one. These zombies are usually slow and stupid, travelling in herds, responding to loud noises and light i.e. fire, as well as the sight of a living breathing person. Their more modern counterparts, however, are created by viruses, contamination or brainwashing.

    Paranormal (Poltergeist, The Amityville Horror, The Exorcist)

    This is seen as the classic of all horror, drawing on people’s fears of the dark and the unknown. It is, arguably, the scariest of all the sub-genres and splits into sub-genres of its own:

    • Ghost and spirits
    • Haunted houses
    • Possession
    • Devil, demons and hell
    • Witches and the occult
    • Supernatural powers

    Slasher/Killer (Halloween, Friday 13th, Nightmare on Elm St)

    This is probably the most famous sub-genre in the movies, featuring a killer – natural or supernatural – who is, invariably, a psycho. This sub-genre mixes thriller, crime and psychological horror and features pursuits and gruesome murders, usually of teenagers!

    Psychological (The Shining, Psycho)

    This is the sub-genre that people feel is most real, as it involves a human being who has become unhinged or is stranded in an exceptional situation. It is often linked with the thriller genre, with the horror coming from the psychological tension. This too has its own sub-genres:

    • Madness & paranoia
    • Phobia & isolation
    • Home invasion & survival (a sub-genre in itself)

    Crime and Giallo (The Girl who Knew Too Much, Deep Red)

    This sub-genre is one I’d never heard of and is the closest to thriller as horror gets. It differentiates from classic thriller due to the gruesome nature of the murders. Giallo refers to the horror-crime movies made in Italy in the 1980s by filmmakers such as Mario Bava and Dario Argento.

    Redneck (The Hills Have Eyes, Wrong Turn, Wolf Creek)

    2000 Maniacs (1964) and Deliverance (1972) are said to have spawned this sub-genre, which plays on the myth that the backwoods and remote countryside areas are populated by inbred freaks and maniacs; usually families or clans. This type of movie often features cannibalism.

    Home Invasion and Survival (The Strangers, You’re Next, Inside):

    This sub-genre has recently broken away from the psychological sub-genre and come into its own. It is gaining popularity, with the assailants often being masked or not being shown at all. This methodology is said to reinforce the claustrophobic fear that these films induce.

    Classic and Mythological Monsters (Frankenstein, The Mummy, The Invisible Man)

    These are monsters inspired by myths and legends, by Big Foot and by the Bogeyman. These are fantastical monsters (dragons) and monsters from the 1930s i.e. the Mummy and the Creature from the Black Lagoon. Some of them are currently seeing a resurgence, with Universal Studios launching the Dark Universe, which is bringing back to life four of these classic films – Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, Frankenstein, The Invisible Man and, of course, The Mummy, which is the first to be released.

    Neo Monsters (Tremors, Pumpkinhead)

    These are newer and more diverse creations of the filmmakers’ minds. They are usually aggressive and thirst for human blood

    Small Creatures (Gremlins, Ghoulies, Critters)

    These come from the fantastical world as well as from myths and legends. They tend to carry some comedy element as the creatures are often quite cute, until they get mean!!

    Sci fi Monsters and Aliens (The Thing, Alien, The Fly)

    These films usually have a justification for the presence of the monster i.e. scientific experiment, evolved species, or nuclear leak.

    Giant Monsters (Godzilla, King Kong, Cloverfield)

    This sub-genre was inspired by King Kong and became very popular in Asia, especially Japan. The movies usually involve the destruction of a city. Well, what else can a giant monster destroy?

    Nature and Animal (Jaws, Piranha, The Birds, Cujo)

    These films are centred around famous predators (sharks, crocodiles), seemingly harmless creatures (Insects and birds), plants (Day of the Triffids) or even vegetables (Attack of the Killer Tomatoes).

    Splatter Exploitation and Gore (The Last House on the Left, Saw, Hostel)

    This sub-genre is linked to many of the sub-genres mentioned, but emphasises the horrible, the bloody and the gore. It is a sub-genre that I dip in and out of, as many of these films just go too far – which says a lot, coming from me. As with some of the others, this splits into its own sub-genres:

    • Splatter
    • Torture
    • Extreme
    • Cannibal

    Horror films also break down into styles, which tend to sit across some of the sub-genres mentioned above. I won’t go through these in detail and I have no doubt that you may think of others, but below is a list of the horror styles that I’ve come across:

    • Comedy Horror – Beetlejuice
    • Post-Apocalyptic and Sci Fi – Event Horizon
    • Teen Horror – I Know What You Did Last Summer
    • Horror Romance – Let the Right One In
    • Creepy Kid Horror – The Children
    • Gothic Horror – The Woman in Black
    • Body Horror – Cabin Fever
    • Lovecraft and King – RE-Animator, The Shining
    • Clown – It
    • Creepy Dolls and Toys – Chucky

    Amazed? You should be; I was. The breadth of the horror genre is huge! I’ll bet you’ll never put horror in the corner again!

    May fear protect you when the darkness comes.

    Til next time.


  • Come and join me for a very special Halloween event

    This year, I am absolutely over the (full) moon to announce that I am a finalist for the 2020 Golden Stake Literary Award, an annual award for the very best in vampire fiction. It is part of the International Vampire Film and Arts Festival (IVFAF), an event which takes place in Transylvania every Halloween, bringing together vampire media-makers from across the world.

    Also known as #vampfest, the IVFAF was established in 2016 with the aim of bringing together vampire creatives from the genres of film, literature, academia and performing arts, hosting a fusion of these art forms in the magnificent setting of Sighisoara’s medieval citadel in the heart of Transylvania (pictured above). The festival has been listed as one of the top 100 festivals in the world for four years running and been the catalyst for a number of creative collaborations.

    This year, due to the coronavirus pandemic, the event will be run as a virtual event, broadcasting live and (un)dead from midday (Transylvanian time) on Friday 30th October, to the breaking of the dawn at Hallowe’en.

    The online festival will include streaming of feature and short films nominated for the 2020 Golden Stake Awards, along with winners from the previous four years. Authors with nominated books (yours truly included), along with previous award winners, will conduct on-line readings. There will also be pre-recorded interviews and live Q&As with leading creatives in the vampire genre as part of the Vampire Creative Congress. The Vampire Academic Conference will hear and discuss the latest and best in-depth academic research on everything vampire via video conferencing. Finally, the 2020 Golden Stake Award Ceremony will be broadcast live – and you can be there too!

    As the organisers say, “As darkness falls and Hallowe’en approaches and the veil between life and undeath grows thin, we’ll host a debauched sanguinary soirée with a playlist of the best vampire-themed tunes and videos. Carriages are required an hour before dawn to get you back to your coffins on time…”

    If you were worried that Halloween was cancelled, here’s your chance to celebrate from the comfort of your home. You can get tickets completely free from Eventbrite here.

    To find out more about the International Vampire Film and Arts Festival, visit their official website or check out their Facebook profile

    ‘Til next time,


  • Marie Anne Cope’s Killer Files: Jason Voorhees

    Name: Jason Voorhees

    From: Crystal Lake

    Occupation: Mass murderer

    Weapon of choice: Machete

    Death Count: 161 (estimated)

    Modus Operandi: Stalking his prey and hacking them to death. His prey tend to be couples partaking in immoral acts that assail his moral upbringing. He also has a tendency to act as a psychological threat to certain characters, without actually killing them.

    Appearance: Jason’s appearance is rather non-descript, except for the hockey-goalie mask he stole from one of his victims, a move which has placed him into the serious psycho camp. His mask, though a definite for any self-respecting psycho not blessed with a scary visage, serves a functional purpose, hiding his facial deformity, which had always been a source of ridicule.

    Background to behaviour: His case for his behaviour stems largely from the fact that a group of teenagers tried to drown him in Camp Crystal Lake, when he was a child. Their reasoning? None really. He was mentally disabled and facially disfigured and they thought it would be fun to see if he could swim, as teenagers do… Not only that, but he also witnessed the murder of his own mother, who had taken it upon herself to avenge his near death, by killing the camp counsellors, who she believed were to blame. Subsequent to all this, Mr Voorhees had to grow up alone, in the woods, with no one to teach him right from wrong; with no one to look after him; and with no one to tell him that killing people isn’t the way to live his life. Basically, he had no carer and no role model.

    Weakness: The lake that almost took his life when he was a boy. He is rendered helpless if he becomes trapped beneath its surface.

    Marie Anne Cope says: “Now, Jason has a valid case for his actions. He was almost drowned by teenagers and his mother was murdered because she was seeking vengeance for what those teenagers did to him. My main bugbear with Jason is, why he errs towards couples having sex? In reality, any teenager should flip his switch, but it is copulating couples that are his target. This may be to do with his upbringing or it may be to do with his immature mind, due to his disability. We will never know, as Mr Voorhees declines to speak.

    Unlike Freddy, I find Jason a rather unbelievable character. He is human after all and yet, he cannot be killed. He has the resurrection abilities of an immortal being, which he is not and, as such, I find the continual re-incarnation farcical. If you want to make your character seemingly indestructible, create another world; a world where such beings exist. Don’t pick an almost murdered, disabled child and turn him into an indestructible hulk of a man, because it just doesn’t ring true and, hence, turns people off.”

    ‘Til next time,

  • What is an ARC Reader?

    I’m often asked by my readers, as well as many budding authors, the following question:

    “What is an ARC reader and what is the difference between an ARC reader and a beta reader?”

    In this article, I’ll take a closer look to help you understand what an ARC reader is and the crucial role they play in helping authors succeed.

    What is a beta reader?


    The role of a beta reader is to read a pre-edit of a final book while it is still a work in progress and provide helpful insight on how important elements of the story such as characters, setting, and plot might be improved. They will also look at areas such as continuity and fact-checking. Beta readers offer valuable insight as to how a book is likely to come across to an average reader, and the author may make changes to the story based on the feedback received.

    What is an ARC Reader?


    ARC stands for Advanced Review Copy. An ARC reader is a person who receives a pre-published copy of a book, usually after final editing. They enjoy access to the book before other readers get an opportunity to buy it
    ARC readers are also sometimes known as “early reviewers.” They are given a free copy of an upcoming book in exchange for leaving an honest book review on key sites such as Amazon or Goodreads) once the book is released.

    Becoming an ARC reader is a great way to make sure you get the very first chance to read books in the genres you love – plus you’ll be helping an author to succeed and therefore playing a part in their success!

    Would you like to become an ARC reader for Team MAC?


    If you are a serious reader and love horror and dark fiction, you can become part of Team MAC. With Tales From A Scarygirl Two: Darkly Sinister, my second collection of dark horror stories, coming out around Halloween and Eternal Bonds, the final book in the BONDS series set to appear in 2021, there’s plenty to be excited about. If you’d like to get involved, register your interest here and I’ll be happy to tell you more.

    ‘Til next time,

  • Marie Anne Cope’s Killer Files: Fred Kreuger

    Name: Frederick Charles ‘Freddy’ Kreuger

    From: Springwood, Ohio. 

    Occupation: Mass murderer.

    Weapon of choice: A bladed glove. 

    Claim to fame: Voted 14th greatest villain by Wizard Magazine.

    Modus Operandi: To appear, as a vengeful spirit, to teenagers in their dreams. He pursues them, terrifies them, tortures them and eventually kills them. This rather ingenious way of stalking his prey renders them deceased in real life too.

    Appearance: Noted for his startling facial disfigurement, due to burning, and his bold choice of colour, in his red and green striped jumper, which certainly makes him memorable. But it is his brown fedora – an ode to a former existence maybe – and, more importantly, his brown leather glove, the fingers trimmed with deadly metal blades, that he is most remembered for.

    Background to behaviour: He was a child killer, who was set on fire by the parents of his victims after he escaped prosecution on a technicality. Although he died of his injuries, the youthful minds of the teenagers of Springwood help to keep his spirit alive, by dreaming about him. Clearly, the kids miss having him around and so it’s only fair that he keeps the terror alive long after he is dead.

    Weakness: It would appear that by bringing him into the real world, he develops normal human vulnerabilities and, as such, can be killed. Or, can he?


    I like Freddy. Yes, he is a bad guy and yes, he got what he deserved, but, in a sense, his reason for coming back makes sense. He is seeking vengeance against his own death, by punishing the parents of Springwood. In creating Freddy as a vengeful spirit, it makes his constant reincarnation more believable, as he isn’t corporeal in the first place. He is a supernatural being and, as such, a believable supernatural world can be created; one in which people will trust and one which people will fear. For, the supernatural is the unknown and the unknown is difficult, if not impossible, to conquer.”

    ‘Til next time,

  • An A-Z of the Supernatural: D is for Death

    “Death is not the opposite of life, but a part of it.”

    ― Haruki Murakami

    We all live and we all have to die at some point. Death invokes so many intricately woven feelings, from fear, to wonder, to grief and anger, that it is probably no surprise that most people believe that death may not be entirely final and that the person’s soul or spirit lives on. 

    Ever since humans have existed, people have always been curious about what happens after we cease to physically exist, forming the foundation of many varied legends and beliefs about death, the afterlife and whether the essence of a person, their soul or spirit, can remain active and present. 

    Coupled with experiences that cannot be easily understood or explained logically and the result is a multitude of stories and images perpetuated throughout world religions, literature and art, featuring ghosts, supernatural beings and fantastical creatures that are believed to live on after death.  

    With the cycle of life and death or creation and destruction being a central part of human life, people have always looked for a way to explain, understand it or comfort themselves in the face of a scary idea. A popular way of dealing with the fear of an abstract concept is to create an image of it, often by personifying it. Cultures throughout the ages and around the world almost universally either have anthropomorphic versions of death, such as the Grim Reaper, or they have assigned gods to wield and control the power of death. For example, in Greek mythology there were several gods and demi-gods associated with death; Thanatos being the deity of death, although many people may be more familiar with Hades, the ruler of the Underworld, home of the dead.   

    In Bonds, it is an unintended death that starts the wheels in motion for everything that happens in the series – a death that you will only discover if you sign up for my mailing list and claim your free copy of the Bonds prequel, ‘The Curse of Souls’.

    ’Til next time.

  • An A-Z of the Supernatural: C is for Clairvoyance

    Clairvoyance is the ability to perceive matters beyond the range of ordinary perception. This may be information about an object, person, location, or physical event, knowledge of which the clairvoyant can only obtain through extrasensory perception. A fortune-teller, for example, practices clairvoyance when she gazes into a crystal ball to see her client’s future.

    Although the existence of clairvoyance has been documented throughout history, there is still much scepticism about it in scientific circles, who do not accept the existence of the paranormal.

    Precognition, retrocognition and remote viewing

    Clairvoyance is generally split into three types. Precognition is the ability to perceive or predict future events, retrocognition is the ability to see past events, and remote viewing is the perception of contemporary events happening outside of the range of normal perception.

    In Pagan religions, the gift of clairvoyance was often associated with Oracles.

    Early in Bonds, Becca experiences clairvoyant abilities when she has visions and dreams about Antony, seeing things she could not possibly know about his presence even before his sarcophagus is disturbed. 

    ‘Who is buried beneath that tree?’ Her voice was barely a whisper, hoarse and broken.

    ‘What makes you think that someone is buried there?’ A feeling of unease began to settle over Father Michael as he spoke to her.

    “I can feel him,’ she said and turned to stare at him.

    The 5 best-known clairvoyants in history

    Joan of Arc (1412 – 1431)

    Also known as the ‘maid of Orleans’, Joan of Arc was considered a heroine or a woman of courage in France due to her part in the Lancastrian phase of the Hundred Years’ War. She is a glorified and a beatified saint by the Roman Catholic.

    She is said to have seen herself being injured at Orleans and being captured by the English people. Her ability allowed her to save lives by instructing soldiers to change locations in order to avoid danger.

    Nostradamus (1503 – 1566)

    Michel de Nostradame was a French apothecary and a regarded and well known clairvoyant, seer, oracle and prophet. He was famous for his fortune-telling and published 1000 prophecies many of which have yet to be witnessed. He even predicted his own death on the 2nd of July 1566, telling his secretary that she wouldn’t be seeing him alive the night before.

    Marie Anne Adelaide Lenormand (1772 – 1843)

    Marie Anne Adelaide Lenormand was a famous French fortune-teller during the Napoleanic era. It is believed that she was taught by the gipsies how to read tarot cards; she acquired her first deck from them at the age of fourteen. She was popular among the rich, not only for her ability to predict future events and happenings, but also for her skill in revealing people’s characteristics and hidden personalities.

    Edgar Cayce (1877 – 1945)

    Edgar Cayce was an American and a professional psychic who was able to answer a lot of questions about future wars, reincarnation, Spiritual healing, Atlantis and the future events – famously whilst in a trance-like state.

    Baba Vanga (1911 – 1996)

    Bulgarian Baba Vanga’s full name was Vangelia Pandeva Dimitrova. Born premature, she had been expected to die at a young age. Her parents, therefore, decided not to give her a name unless she survived. The name Vangelia comes from the Greek word “Vangelis”, meaning “herald of the good news”. As a child, she was caught in a storm and was later found in an abandoned field with her eyes full of dust and sand. Her family was unable to afford an operation and she began to lose her eyesight and go blind. She believed that going blind was the awakening of her psychic abilities as she began seeing things that could not be seen by the naked eye. She established recognition as a mystic, clairvoyant and herbalist.

    Cats and clairvoyance

    There is an age-old belief that cats possess strong paranormal abilities, a sixth sense that is unexplainable by humans through science. This could be interpreted as a form of clairvoyance. 

    This unique ability is illustrated In Bonds, when Becca’s cat Spook senses that Becca has been changed by Antony.

    ‘What a beautiful cat,’ he said, ‘What’s his name?’

    ‘Spook,’ Becca said, glancing towards the French doors. ‘He’s been behaving oddly all day, ever since I woke up on the kitchen floor and found…’

    Other forms of clairvoyance

    Other forms of clairvoyance also exist. One of these is clairsentience. While clairvoyants see things, clairsentients – like myself – have the ability to feel the present, past or future physical and emotional states of others, without the use of the normal five senses (smell, vision, touch, hearing, and taste). This can be overwhelming, especially when picking up on darker energy.

    ’Til next time.

  • Book Giveaway Alert

    Well, I’ve come to the end of the videos from Tales From A Scarygirl Volume 1 and The Misfits – and we’re still in lockdown here in Wales! You can, of course, catch up with all my videos on Facebook and Youtube.

    Luckily, I have plenty more up my sleeve for you, and that’s without you having to wait for my latest books to appear.

    This week, I am launching a brand new Book Giveaway. That’s right – I have 5 signed copies of Broken Bonds, the second book in the BONDS series, ready and waiting to be claimed for FREE. All I ask is that you pay postage to the destination of your choice.

    How to win your copy

    To get your hands on a free copy of Broken Bonds, all you need to do is take a photograph of your printed copy of Bonds and share it by tagging my Facebook profile. You can post a selfie with it, capture it in its natural habitat or even get creative and show me the most ‘novel’ set you can come up with (do you like what I did there?).

    The competition is open until June 15th, so grab your copy of Bonds and get the camera fired up!

    ’Til next time.

  • An A-Z of the Supernatural: C is for Cats

    Cats have a unique place in the realms of the supernatural. Our feline friends have been revered and worshipped in cultures past. They have also been the subject of many superstitions. So why do cats have such a connection with the supernatural? Read on to learn more.

    Cats in ancient mythology

    Cats perhaps had their highest level of esteem in ancient Egypt, where they were worshipped. The goddess Bastet was often depicted in cat form and sometimes took on the war-like aspect of a lioness. In fact, cats were so important that killing a cat, according to the Greek historian Herodotus, was forbidden. He also reported that when a household cat died, the entire family mourned and shaved their eyebrows, marking the death much like that of a family member. It was not uncommon for cats to be embalmed and buried in sacred repositories in the sacred city of Bubastis.

    Artemis, the Greek equivalent of the Egyptian goddess Bastet shared her association with cats, and the Goddess Diana took on the form of a cat in Ovid’s Metamorphoses, when the deities fled to Egypt.

    During the Age of Discovery, ships’ cats were carried on sailing ships – mainly to control shipboard rodents, but also as good-luck charms.

    Cats as a spiritual being

    Cats have long been believed to be exalted souls, companions or guides for humans. Because they lack the ability to speak, they are considered all-knowing but mute, meaning they cannot influence decisions made by humans. 

    It has long been recognised that cats’ senses are far more acute and heightened than humans, and also other animals –  they have been seen to display strong paranormal abilities, a sixth sense that is unexplainable by humans through science. 

    There is also a widespread belief that cats can perceive energy fields and auras which most humans cannot access. They are said to have the ability not only to see the aura of those living, but also those who have passed over to the next realm.

    It is generally agreed that because of their incredibly wide spectrum of sight and hearing, cats are able to tune into sights and sounds in the realm of the paranormal that humans simply can’t reach.

    Cats and witchcraft

    In European cultures, cats have often been thought of as both a guardian of life and a symbol of death and are often associated with witchcraft. In Transylvania, Romania and Hungary, people believed a cat would be able to turn a dead body into a vampire. In European folklore, cats were considered to be witches’ familiars – supernatural entities that were believed to assist witches in their practice of magic. The myth that cats have nine lives (mainly due to their ability to land on their feet) only helped to strengthen such superstitions. In some countries, cats were killed in order to try to kill the evil spirits they were believed to embody. The age-old superstition of black cats representing bad luck is also tied into these ancient associations with evil spirits.

    Cats in BONDS

    In BONDS, true to mythology, Becca and her family have always been close to cats. In chapter one, we meet Becca’s huge grey cat Spook, who is aware of Antony’s presence before Becca herself is and begins to react to the transformations Becca has begun to experience since acquiring mysterious bite marks on her neck. The witch Anna, from whom Becca is descended, also had a cat which we meet briefly in the early chapters.

    Meet Texas and Jasmine

    Those who know me already will know that I have two cats of my own, Texas (tabby) and Jasmine (white), who have been with me throughout the BONDS Journey. I couldn’t possibly write this post without sharing some pictures for you to enjoy. 

    Bonds Special offer

    Looking for some new reading during these times? All of the BONDS books are now on a special promotion – save up to 20%

    ’Til next time.