• Friday 13th

    So, the infamous day that is Friday the thirteenth is upon us – but what makes this the most fearsome of days, where did the superstition begin and what role has this date played in popular culture? I decided to take a closer look. 

    A few Friday the 13th facts

    Everybody loves a little bit of trivia. Well, here are some fascinating funny and factual snippets about Friday the thirteenth that you may not have known:

    • Friday 13th happens at least once every year but can occur up to three times in the same year—for example, in 2015, the 13th fell on a Friday in February, March, and November. ]
    • 2020 has two Friday the 13ths, while the years 2021 and 2022 will have just one occurrence each.
    • A Friday the 13th occurs during any month that begins on a Sunday
    • The irrational fear of the number 13 has been given a scientific name: “triskaidekaphobia
    • The fear of Friday the 13th is called paraskevidekatriaphobia, from the Greek words Paraskeví (Παρασκευή, meaning “Friday”), and dekatreís (δεκατρείς, meaning “thirteen”).
    • According to the Stress Management Center and Phobia Institute in Asheville, North Carolina, an estimated 17 to 21 million people in the United States are affected by a fear of this day, making it the most feared day and date in history. 
    • the Second World War bombing of Buckingham Palace by German forces in September 1940 took place on Friday the 13th.
    • It is rumoured that an asteroid will come within 19,000 miles of the Earth on Friday, April 13, 2029. A coincidence?
    • US President Franklin D Roosevelt. He also refused to travel on Friday the 13th, while Winston Churchill apparently refused to sit in row 13 on a plane or at the theatre.
    • In Spanish-speaking countries, there is no Friday the 13th – instead, Tuesday the 13th (martes trece) is considered a day of bad luck.

    (Un)lucky number 13

    The superstition surrounding the number 13 is believed to have arisen in the Middle Ages, “originating from the story of Jesus’ last supper and crucifixion” in which there were 13 individuals present in the Upper Room on the 13th of Nisan Maundy Thursday, the night before his death on Good Friday.

    In Norse mythology, a dinner party of the gods was ruined by the 13th guest called Loki, who caused the world to be plunged into darkness.

    13 is also regarded as imperfect when compared with 12, which represents the number of months in a year.

    Introducing the Friday factor

    There is no record of Friday and the 13th being referred to as especially unlucky in conjunction prior to the 19th century.

    In English literature, there is no documented reference to Friday the 13th prior to the 19th century. In Henry Sutherland Edwards’ 1869 biography of Gioachino Rossini, who died on a Friday 13th, it is said that:

    “He [Rossini] was surrounded to the last by admiring friends; and if it be true that, like so many Italians, he regarded Fridays as an unlucky day and thirteen as an unlucky number, it is remarkable that on Friday 13th of November he passed away.”

    Friday the 13th in popular literature

    Thomas W. Lawson’s popular novel Friday, the Thirteenth, published in 1907, contributed to the wider dissemination of the superstition. In the novel, an unscrupulous broker takes advantage of the superstition to create a Wall Street panic on a Friday the 13th.

    Another suggested origin of the superstition is Friday, 13 October 1307, the date Philip IV of France arrested hundreds of the Knights Templar. According to ‘legend,’ many of the knights were later burnt at the stake in Paris.

    The order’s Grand Master, Jacques de Molay, purportedly faced the flames in front of Notre Dame Cathedral and is said to have cried out a curse on those who had so gravely wronged them: “God knows who is wrong and has sinned. Soon a calamity will occur to those who have condemned us to death.”

    The events initiated by the holy warriors’ arrest, according to tradition, ensured every subsequent Friday the 13th meant bad luck to one and all.

    It is now believed that this story was likely not formulated until the 20th century. It is mentioned in the 1955 Maurice Druon historical novel The Iron King (Le Roi de fer), John J. Robinson’s 1989 work Born in Blood: The Lost Secrets of Freemasonry, Dan Brown’s 2003 novel The Da Vinci Code and Steve Berry’s The Templar Legacy (2006).

    Friday the 13th on Screen

    The superstitious date certainly had an influence on the release of the original horror movie, Friday the 13th, in 1980. It is one of the most popular superstition films in history, with its success leading to further films, a television series, several books and popular merchandise. The film was originally inspired by the success of John Carpenter’s Halloween (1978).

    In the original Friday the 13th, Mrs Pamela Voorhees, played by Betsy Palmer, stalks and murders teenagers preparing Camp Crystal Lake for re‑opening. She is determined to ensure the camp does not reopen, after her son Jason drowned in the lake, due to the negligence of two staff members. The last counsellor, Alice Hardy, fends off Mrs Voorhees long enough to grab a machete and decapitate her

    Camp Crystal Lake – where the film takes place – was actually a real camp: Camp No-Be-Bo-Sco, a Boy Scouts camp in New Jersey. The film itself was based on the general notion of Friday the 13th being a day of bad luck and curses.

    The film grew into a franchise of 12 slasher films mainly focusing on Jason Voorhees. Jason is featured in all of the films, as either the killer or the motivation for the killings. Jason’s hockey mask has become one of the most recognizable images in horror and popular culture. It is widely regarded as one of the most influential franchises of the 1980s.

    The main cast of the original film was:

    • Adrienne King as Alice Hardy
    • Harry Crosby III as Bill Brown
    • Jeannine Taylor as Marcie Cunningham
    • Laurie Bartram as Brenda Jones
    • Kevin Bacon as Jack Burrell
    • Mark Nelson as Ned Rubenstein
    • Robbi Morgan as Annie Phillips
    • Peter Brouwer as Steve Christy

    Adaptations in literature

    Six of the 12 films have been adapted into novels—Friday the 13th 1 – 3, Jason Lives, Jason X, and Freddy vs. Jason—with Friday the 13th Part 3 being adapted twice. The first novel was Michael Avallone’s 1982 adaptation of Friday the 13th Part 3.

    In 1994, four young adult novels were released under the title of Friday the 13th. These stories focused on different people finding Jason’s mask and becoming possessed by his spirit, but the actual character did not appear in the novels. The novels were written by author Eric Morse and published in 1994. The books are titled Mother’s Day, Jason’s Curse, The Carnival, and Road Trip.

    In 2003 and 2005, Black Flame published novelizations of Freddy vs. Jason and Jason X. After the release of the Jason X novel, Black Flame began publishing two series of novels. One set was published under the Jason X title, while the second set used the Friday the 13th moniker. The Jason X series consisted of four sequels to the 2005 adaptation. 

    The first to be published was Jason X: The Experiment, which saw the government attempting to exploit Jason’s indestructibility to create an army of “super soldiers”. The second novel, Planet of the Beast, follows the efforts of Dr Bardox and his crew as they try to clone a comatose Jason and stay alive when Jason awakens. Death Moon revolves around Jason crash-landing at Moon Camp Americana, and the final novel, To the Third Power, is about the discovery of a Jason clone underneath a prison. 

    The Friday the 13th series of novels are not connected to the Jason X series and do not continue any story set forth by the films. Instead, each novel developed the character of Jason in its own way. 

    Friday the 13th in other media

    Friday the 13th has also been widely adapted into comic books, video games and merchandise. There have also been two books chronicling the making of the films, as well as a few documentaries on the same topic.

    Friday the 13th in other cultures

    Friday the 13th is not considered unlucky in all cultures. In Spanish speaking countries, for example, Tuesday the 13th (martes trece) is believed to be a day of bad luck.

    The Greeks, on the other hand, consider Tuesday (especially when it falls on the 13th) to be an unlucky day. This is because it is believed that Tuesday is dominated by the influence of Ares, the god of war (Mars in Roman mythology). The superstition is strengthened by the fact that the fall of Constantinople to the Fourth Crusade occurred on Tuesday, April 13, 1204, and the Fall of Constantinople to the Ottomans happened on Tuesday, 29 May 1453,  in Greek Tuesday is called Triti (Τρίτη), literally ‘the third’ (day of the week). Since bad luck is said to “come in threes”, this only adds to the superstition.


    ’Til next time.

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

    A curse is invoked when somebody is able to call upon supernatural or spiritual powers to make effective a pronouncement – usually with the intention of bringing misfortune, suffering or death to the person or persons named. The deliberate use of such curses has long been associated with the practice of magic, while the nature of curses has been studied in great depth in research into mythology and folklore.

    Curses in ancient Britain

    In both ancient Greece and Rome, there was a tradition of inscribing curses on lead or pottery. Around 200 of these curses have been found at the site of one Roman temple in Gloustershire. Another example unearthed in Bath includes the words “May he who carried off Vilbia from me become liquid as the water.” Another Roman curse found in Britain reads “Tacita is cursed by this and declared putrified like rotting blood.”


    Magic curse written on a lead sheet, dating from the 4th century BC. On display in the Kerameikos Archaeological Museum, Athens. Picture by Giovanni Dall’Orto.

    The unexplained power of curses

    Although sceptics argue that cursing is purely superstition, there is also a widespread belief that the act of concentrated malevolance that lies behind a curse may indeed harness a mysterious kind of power – especially if the victim of the curse believes in their power.

    Curses in Bonds

    Curses are at the heart of the Bonds series and the cause of almost all of the pain and destruction that takes place both in the present time and also in the past. It is a curse dealt by the Warlock Ebenezer Lightwoller that turned Antony Cardover into a terrible vampire, and a curse that forced Ebenezer to follow his own dark path, a curse that was levied upon him as the result of a tragic and horrific chain of events involving his only child. Only Becca has the power to break Antony’s curse – the question is, is she strong enough to see her mission through?

    Sign up to my mailing list today to receive the free BONDS prequel and discover the dark and twisted story of Ebenezer Lightwoller and his descent into darkness

  • An A-Z of the Supernatural: B is for Binding

    “By my Goddess and
    by my God
    I ask for your power to
    strengthen my spell
    By my Goddess and
    by my God
    I ask for your power
    to end this fight
    Help me to rid the land
    of this evil presence
    Through my actions,
    through our power
    We commit him to his tomb”

    The Spell O’Binding is one of the first spells that we encounter in BONDS, as Anna battles to bring to an end her son-in-law’s reign of terror. The spell is the second of a set of four ancient incantations in the possession of witches, intended for use together; Summoning, which calls upon the elements to give the witch aid and protection when fighting evil forces, the Spell O’Binding, which summons the power of nature to confine evil, and the Spell o’ Internment. This is followed by Completion and Thanks, offered in gratitude to ensure that the spell will hold as intended.

    It is this very spell that sees the monster that is Antony Cardover bound by vines as Anna summons the power of nature to suppress him, in her attempts to end the horrors that she has witnessed unfold before her.

    Spells or incantations such as those that feature in BONDS have been used since ancient times to trigger magical effects on people and objects.

    With the rise of the major monotheistic religions such as Islam, Judaism, and Christianity, the use of spells became associated with evil and immoral forces in attempts to stamp out their use, and with it, the art of witchcraft gradually too became associated with evil. It is no surprise then that witches, once respected as people gifted with a unique power to harness the forces of nature to help and to heal, eventually became the enemy and met a terrible fate – just as we see with Anna’s eventual demise.

    To discover more and step into a world of dark magic, start reading BONDS today.

  • An A-Z of the Supernatural: B is for Bats

    Bats have long been associated with the supernatural and as the only mammal that can fly, are considered to be liminal beings in many cultures. In European culture, bats are associated with darkness, death, witchcraft, and malevolence. Native Americans such as the Creek, Cherokee and Apache, see the bat as a trickster spirit, while In Tanzania, a winged bat-like creature known as Popobawa is believed to be a shapeshifting evil spirit that assaults and sodomizes its victims. 

    Above: A bat hibernating in a cave. Perhaps their penchant for lurking in dark, subterranean spaces has helped bats to keep to reinforce their association with the dark side.

    In Aztec mythology, bats symbolised the land of the dead, destruction, and decay. An East Nigerian tale tells that the bat developed its nocturnal habits after causing the death of his partner, the bush-rat, and now hides by day to avoid arrest. Ancient Egyptian superstition held that a bat hung over the doorway of a home would prevent the entry of demons who brought diseases.

    Why are bats a symbol of Hallowe’en?

    In Western culture, Bats have traditionally been connected with death and the underworld, making them an obvious symbol of Hallowe’en. Their association with Hallowe’en is also thought to derive from the fact that they are particularly active at this time of year as they mate, and begin to build up their fat reserves ahead of hibernation.

    Bats in literature

    The Weird Sisters in Shakespeare’s Macbeth used the fur of a bat in their brew. In Western culture, the bat is widely seen a symbol of the night and its foreboding nature, making it the primary animal associated with fictional characters of the night, a great example being Count Dracula. In Mark Gatiss’ latest adaptation for the BBC, bats are never far away from the dark lord. When a plague of bats turns up at the convent, Van Helsing declares, “How interesting!”, recognising this as a sign of Dracula’s proximity.

    In fact, in a moment of perfect coincidence, a bat actually flew into the studio during filming of the last shot.

  • An A-Z of the Supernatural: A is for Amethyst

    In the latest article in my A-Z of all things supernatural, I take a look at a crystal that has long been associated with special powers – Amethyst.

    Amethyst is a beautiful crystal that is noted for its distinctive purple colour. It takes its name from ` Greek word meaning “intoxicate”, a reference to the belief that the stone protected its owner from drunkenness. In keeping with this reputation, the ancient Greeks wore amethyst and carved drinking vessels from it in the belief that it would prevent intoxication. 

    The significance of Amethyst in other cultures

    The importance of Amethyst as an amulet extends far beyond the famous Greek belief. Tibetans consider amethyst sacred to the Buddha and make prayer beads from it, whilst both the Hebrews and Egyptians associated it with the divine.

    Amethyst’s decline in value

    Up until the 18th century, amethyst was considered one of the most valuable gemstones, placing it alongside stones such as diamond, sapphire, ruby, and emerald. It was only because of the discovery of extensive deposits that it lost this status.

    Amethyst as a healing crystal

    Recognition of Amethyst as a healing crystal remains strong even today, and it is often worn or carried in the belief that it will provide spiritual protection, inner strength. Amethyst geodes are also said to create positive energy and help to restore the energy balance in the home.

    Do you wear amethyst or keep it in your house? Share your experience in the comments below.

  • An A-Z of the Supernatural: A is for Angels

    Although angels are generally believed by Christians to be spiritual beings who are messengers from God, many people who are not religious believe in the presence of some kind of spiritual guardian.  In almost all cultures, angels tend to be seen as having human form with the distinctive addition of large, feathered wings. Interestingly, they occur in almost every ancient mythology. The question of whether they are cosmic beings who once visited us from outer space has even been explored in the series “Ancient Aliens”.

    Above: An angel in Ausburg Cemetery, Germany.

    The notion of humans having guardian angels or spirit guides extends far beyond religion and has remained persistent right up to modern times.

    Guardian angels and spirit animals

    In many indigenous, non-Christian cultures such as Native American and Indian tribes, animals appear to play a comparable role to the Christian notion of a guardian angel, offering protection to individuals, showing that the idea of a spirit guide in some form is universally accepted within humans. 

    Charms and guardian angels

    Above: An opal guardian angel, intended for the bearer to keep in their pocket or display as an ornament.

    Some charms (see also: Amulets) are said to invoke the protection of a guardian angel on the bearer. Such charms often feature a visual representation of the associated guardian.

    Have you ever had an experience with a guardian angel? Do you have a spirit guide? I’d love to hear about your experiences.

  • An A-Z of the Supernatural: A is for Amulet

    As an author of dark supernatural novels, I have a fascination for all things supernatural. There are many elements that run through the Bonds series of novels, from warlocks, witches and vampires to the objects, spells and curses that give them their power – or deprive them of it. In this series of articles, I am going to be taking a deeper look into the supernatural world – as well as sharing a few glimpses into my life as an author with a fascination for the mysterious side of life.

    In this article, the first in the series, I take a closer look at an object that comes up time and again throughout history – the amulet.

    What is an amulet?

    An amulet is an object that is believed to offer protection to the person in possession of it. These days, amulets are often referred to as good luck charms, although this is actually a misnomer in a certain sense, as they are intended to protect a person from trouble rather than to bring good fortune. The word “amulet” originates from the Latin word amuletum, which is defined as an object that has the power to avert evil. Amulets may be either natural objects or items made for the purpose.

    An amulet bearing the spells from Bonds

    Above: This necklace bearing the summoning spell from the Bonds series is an example of a purpose-made amulet.

    How do amulets work?

    Amulets whose power is said to be derived from magic are typically rooted in folk religion or paganism. Amulets are often ritually charged in order to store and radiate protective energy. Although the time for which their power lasts may vary, traditionally it is tied to the lunar cycle.

    Interestingly, religious or sacred objects, particularly those found in Christianity, technically have no power of their own. Instead, they derive their power by being blessed, typically in conjunction with the faithful disposition of the bearer. The crucifix is generally seen as an exception to this rule.

    Popular Amulets

    Natural amulets

    Amulets are prevalent in many cultures and religions, meaning that a variety of items have historically been considered to offer protection as an amulet. Popular natural objects, most notably gems, plant parts and animal parts. Well-known examples of these include topaz, which has historically been believed to protect the wearer from curses, and aconite (often known as Wolfs-Bane), a poisonous plant which has long been believed to offer protection against wolves, among others. An ear of wheat has also long been considered to bring protection to its bearer The rabbit’s foot is another common amulet that appears in various folklore around the world. In many cases, the power that natural amulets are believed to confer requires special conditions to be met in their acquisition or preparation.

    Artificial amulets

    In the Christian world, one of the most obvious amulets is the crucifix, which is traditionally believed to ward off evil. Holy water and blessed salt can also be considered amulets. The pentagram is another symbol that has been regarded as an amulet in the Western world since medieval times. Certain runes also feature across many regions.

    Nazar amlulets hanging from a tree

    Above: The familiar Nazar amulet, said to ward off the evil eye.

    In China and Japan, certain calligraphy styles are believed to ward off evil spirits, and many amulets derive from these symbols, while in Arabic culture, the distinctive Nazar is a common sight. A typical Nazar is made of handmade glass featuring concentric circles or teardrop shapes in dark blue, white, light blue and black, occasionally with a yellow/gold edge. The amulet is believed to protect against the evil eye. Statues, coins and other objects have also historically been used as amulets. 

    What’s the difference between an amulet, a charm and a talisman?

    Although there is a long-standing tradition of wearing pendants that are purported to bring luck to the wearer. In such cases, the pendant is technically a charm or a talisman, rather than an amulet. The main difference is that while an amulet protects the bearer from harm, talismans and charms are said to carry magical powers other than protection.

    Becca’s Amulet

    In Broken Bonds (Bonds book 2) Becca finds an amulet in one of her grandmother’s trunks. It used to be Ebenezer’s and he used it to spy on others – you can read about it in more detail in The Curse of Souls. It is a kind of diamond-shaped silver medallion with a lapis lazuli stone in the middle, which looks like an eye. 

    Author's illustration of an amulet discovered by Becca in Bonds


    Above: A quick sketch I made of Becca’s amulet in my notebooks for Broken Bonds.

    Do you wear or carry an amulet? I’d love to hear about what you use and what you use it for – feel free to share in the comments below and add a picture if you wish.

  • Up close and personal with a (former) vampire

    It’s not every day that a vampire offers to unsheath his twelve-incher before asking if it’s your first time. It’s quite a compliment, I have to say. I guess I should probably give you some context…

    The vampire in question is the actor come musician Micheal Malarkey, famed for his role as Enzo in The Vampire Diaries, and he is waiting, pen in hand, to autograph a vinyl copy of his brand new album “Graveracer” which I was lucky enough to get my hands on before its official release.

    The location is Manchester Deaf Institute, a dark and intimate venue that provides the perfect atmosphere for an evening with a rising star of such pedigree. The date is January 9th and he has just completed the first date of his 2020 “Graveracer” live European tour.

    For those who are not familiar with Michael Malarkey (where have you been?), he is a British-American actor and singer whose rise to fame has seen him appear in a number of short films such as Good Morning Rachel, Ghost in the Machine and the Impirioso. It was, however, his performance as Enzo in The Vampire Diaries that saw him shoot to fame as the popular heartthrob that he is today.

    For those who enjoy a screen full of Malarkey, the good news is that you can also catch him this year playing the very different role of Captain Michael Quinn in the brand new sci-fi series “Project Blue Book”.

    Alongside his career as an actor, however, he has also been making big moves in the music scene, with his very own brand of alternative rock. His first EP “Feed the Flames” was released in 2014, soon followed by his first studio album “Knots” in 2015. His follow up album “Mongrels” was a huge success. Malarkey’s current live tour coincides with the launch of his third studio album “Graveracer”.

    I could only describe Malarkey’s set as nothing short of outstanding. Music aside, the star also broke out from the gruff, moody approach that has become somewhat of a trademark, to reveal his delightfully dark sense of humour. At one point we were even treated to a Coyote Ugly-esque vision of the former vampire singing from the bar. What more could a woman want?

    Musically, my personal highlights of the night were Malarkey’s renditions of Scars, Comfortably Numb, Dog Dreams and, of course, his stunning acoustic performance of Feed the Flames.

    If you aren’t able to catch the tour, be sure to check out the new album as soon as possible – you will not be disappointed!


  • A Short Story for Hallowe’en

    A short story I penned especially for Hallowe’en…



  • The Story of My Butterfly Tattoo

    If you were following my ‘THOSE PHOTOS’ posts over on my author page, then you will already know this story, or the background to it at least. For those of you who missed them, or this one in particular, here is the story behind my second tattoo, plus a little bit extra!

    You can see the tattoo in ‘THOSE PHOTOS’, but also in all its colourful glory. It is a symbol that marks a turning point in my life – my rebirth.

    In June 2012, I was sitting on a clifftop in a park on Victoria Island in Canada, staring down at the waves crashing on the rocks below me. I had never been so depressed.

    My manager was bullying me mercilessly, to the point I couldn’t face going in, I couldn’t leave as I was financially tied to the job by a huge mortgage that felt like a noose ever tightening, and I was in an abusive relationship that I was too scared to leave.

    I could only see one way out as I stared into those waves, hypnotised, believing no one would care, that no one would miss me, that it was best all round.

    What stopped me? A tiny voice inside that would not let me give up, would not let those men destroy me and my life.

    Instead, I got up and bought a notebook and pen, sat underneath a tree and wrote a list of what I wanted to do. And, do you know what? Without thinking about it, I have done it; I have turned my life around – sold my house, quit my job, ended the relationship, gone self-employed, published my books, qualified as a yoga teacher.

    It is possible to change your life if you truly desire it; I know because I have done it.

    To symbolise my rebirth, I decided to have my second tattoo – my beautiful butterfly ❤

    I found the image I wanted on the internet and took it down to the tattoo parlour in Victoria. A huge bear of a man faced me as I handed over the image. He stared at it for a few moments and then shook his head, saying he wouldn’t do it. I was crestfallen and turned to leave, but his big meaty paw stopped me.

    ‘I know what you want,’ he said. ‘I’ll design one for you, just for you. Come back tomorrow.’

    When I returned the next day, he presented me with this gorgeous image, ever so proud of himself. I was both stunned and shocked – stunned by its beauty, but shocked by the size of his design (it would have spanned my whole back).

    ‘I love it,’ I said, ‘but there’s no way you’re doing it that size!’

    He was crestfallen, but he got over it. It turned out that as well as being a tattoo artist, he made intricate and decorative cakes for a living!

    Never judge a book, as they say 😉

    May fear protect you when the darkness comes.

    ’Til next time.