Symi Dream

Living on a Greek island

A Greek island blog from Symi in the Dodecanese islands of Greece. "James’s great talent lies in his careful observation of the absurd and the amusing, the dramas and the difficulties..." Anne Zouroudi.

Symi Dream - Living on a Greek island

Lonely House

Lonely House

We’re off into horror land with today’s plug for ‘Lonely House.’

This book started off as an idea for a film script. In fact, if you were to analyse it, you would see that it follows a classic four-act film structure. 1) Set up leading to twist, 2) Dealing with the twist leading to a story-changing revelation, 3) Dealing with the consequences leading to a crisis and climax, and 4) Resolving it all. As I like to put it: Act one, there is no problem. Act two, what is this problem? Act three, how do we deal with it? Act four, dealing with it. Or, if you will excuse me, your basic four-act film story or novel in this case, looks like this:

  • Chilling
  • Wtf?
  • No, seriously, mate, WTF!
  • Phew (or not)

It is also written mainly in the present tense to bring the reader right into the horror – and it does get a bit bloody in places. The story takes place in an unspecified location but, if you’re brave enough to make it to the end, the last scene is set in Dymchurch on the Kent coast.

Lonely House _ ebookl coverLonely House

“How much horror can one friendship endure?”

Drover and Pete are two hopeful drifters looking for a better life. Desperate for food, they break into an isolated house deep in a forest. There they accidentally shoot an old man just as the rest of his family arrive for a birthday gathering.

Under intense suspicion from the family, the boys attempt to cover up the accident. But they are not the only ones keeping a murderous secret. Mistrust and deception unearth a primaeval ritual as the lies give way to a terrifying truth.

With time running out and a deadly force closing in, Drover and Pete’s survival rests on the strength of their friendship, but they must face some horrific choices in order to stay alive.

“Loved this book from start to finish. A real page-turner with twists and turns all the way. How James comes up with these stories amazes me. Horror, mystery and a degree of sadness. Who will come out on top. Keep reading.” Joan West

“James tantalises you by just releasing enough information on each character to keep you wanting to know more about each of them. He has mastered that technique of forcing you to start the next chapter as you really care what happens to these people – some you want to stay with you, others you may want to kill. This excellent story has a very satisfactory outcome – depending on your moral compass.” Derek Stephen

Lonely House _ full cover

The Witching

The Witching

And so to The Witchling. This is my most recent publication, and it follows on from ‘The Saddling.’

I am thinking about a part three and part four and making this a series of novels set in my imaginary village on Romney Marsh. The Saddling has a set of subtle themes: Winter solstice, the water element, self-discovery and family history. The Witchling also has subtle themes: Summer solstice, the fire element, self-acceptance and, again, family history. Saddling is about a willing sacrifice, The Witchling is about the burning of a witch. You don’t have to have read Saddling to follow the story, but it helps if you have.

The WitchlingThe Witchling

“The sins of our ancestors have committed us to the flames.”

Saddling is cursed and dying. The village will be lost unless someone burns at the stake on solstice morning. Six months after the life-changing events of The Saddling, Tom Carey must solve the witchling mystery and risk his life to save his lover.

Mystery and action combine in a sweltering thriller set on the Romney Marshes. The main characters return, you will meet new ones, but is William Blacklocks really dead? That’s just one of the mysteries to be solved as the story hits the parched ground running and doesn’t let up until the fire-pile is lit. The question is, who will burn to save Saddling?

low-resolution muck up“I have been waiting eagerly for the release of this book, having so enjoyed The Saddling. I read it in one sitting, ignoring other stuff I should have done. And I’m so glad I did. I was in the village by chapter 2, straight into the story, willing the characters to do as they should. A great read, it might even be better than The Saddling? You’ll have to read it to find out, but I think you won’t be disappointed!” Amazon review.

The Saddling

The Saddling

I’m quite proud to introduce you to my bestseller, The Saddling.

This story was inspired by a moment from a dream. I was standing outside a house where a crow had landed on my roof. There were sheep on the village green, and the villagers were celebrating the fact that I had been chosen as the sacrifice whose death would save them all from destruction. There was that moment of utter helplessness, knowing I couldn’t do anything about it; the crow had made the decision and chosen me. I woke with a line in my head, “Their faith was stronger than his reason”, and a day later read a report about two teenagers being publicly executed (murdered) in Iran simply for being gay.

Perhaps a bit of Poe mixed with too much ouzo, but the dream soon developed into ‘The Saddling.’ I returned to my roots for this one, the Romney Marshes in Kent. The idyllic countryside and way of life of the Saddling village is the kind of life everyone wants, as long as you are prepared to be chosen, at random, to die for it.

Tomorrow, I have part two to tell you about, but for now, here’s the info. Remember, all books are free on Kindle Unlimited and available in print and in Kindle format.

saddling ebookThe Saddling

“Their faith was stronger than his reason.”

To inherit his aunt’s fortune, Tom Carey must unlock a one-hundred-year-old family mystery. The solution lies on the Romney Marshes where the village of Saddling lives by an ancient Lore. Unknown to Tom, the villagers set in motion a chain of calculated events that will ensure that the winter solstice will witness their last ever ‘Saddling’ festival.

Unaware that his life is in danger, Tom befriends two village youths. Through the mists of fear and confusion, their friendship forces Tom to confront his own sexuality.

Tom finds himself the unwitting hero in a struggle between superstition and sense, denial and love, with no escape from either.

Saddling five star times three“Meticulously imagined in the eerie mists of Romney Marsh. A wonderfully evocative landscape of mystery.” Ann Butler Rowlands (Author of ‘Heaven’)

“Comparable with the best of Stephen King.” Charles Allenden

“Very gripping, imaginative read.” Amazon review

“He has mastered that technique of forcing you to start the next chapter as you really care what happens to these people.” Derek Stephen

“A real page turner and kept me guessing right to the end.” David Hendry