Thursday 28 October 2010

Halloween giveaway – Amanda Norman Gothic mirrors and Vamplit titles!


Right guys, tomorrow (Friday) will be the start of my big Halloween Giveaway!

Three winners will not only get a pocket mirror OF THEIR CHOICE from the talented gothic photographer, Amanda Norman, but they will also get an Amanda Norman bottle-opener/keyring, AND get to choose a Vamplit e-book!!!!

So check out these links to see what you could win:

Your choice of Gothic Pocket Mirrors

Keyring/bottle opener

Vamplit titles!

So how do you enter? Starting at 10am (London time) just pop over to my Facebook page and tell me what your favourite movie to watch on Halloween is. Easy.

On Sunday night, at 6pm, I will be announcing the three lucky winners!

Happy Halloween everyone and good luck!

Saturday 23 October 2010

Advice needed…again!

So I said I was going to do NaNoWriMo this year. I’ve even been looking forward to it, doing the plans for my book and pre-writing blog post reviews, so I will be able to concentrate on it. Only now I am having second thoughts.

Here’s the thing: I had thought my new novel would be out by now, and that I would have got the initial promo off the ground. However, as normally happens with things, they always take longer than you think they’re going to, so it probably isn’t going to be out until closer to the end of the month.

The second thing is that I am finally having some luck placing short stories and I am really enjoying writing them. I’m worried that if I just stop I won’t be able to get back on track again.

Thirdly, the novel I have planned for NaNo, just isn’t the sort of thing I normally write, and while my heart says it is a great story that will sell, my head says that I shouldn’t be mucking around with different genres and that I should stick to what I know. A good friend of mine commented that a writer is like a ‘brand’ and that all of the successful ones have stuck to the same kind of formula.

My husband thinks I shouldn’t do NaNo. He thinks I should concentrate on one thing – being a horror writer and doing what I love – but I still find myself being tugged in the direction of NaNo.

So, what do you think? Am I just getting pre-Nano jitters or am I making a sensible decision by letting it go? I would love to hear your opinion!

Tuesday 19 October 2010

I’ve been accepted for Masters of Horror Anthology!


I’ve just found out that my short story, The Tortured Room, has been accepted for the new Masters of Horror anthology, Damned if you Don’t.

Here is a bit about the anthology:

Revolving around the evils we inflict upon ourselves, and how we might battle to overcome them. Let your imagination run riot through the horrors of various vices: drug use, gambling, smoking, drinking, scarification, overeating, anything you’re DAMNED IF YOU DON’T overcome.

If selected, your story will be in good company, as two true Masters of Horror have stories included:

“Aftertaste” by John Shirley (Demons, The Crow, etc.) drags the reader kicking and screaming through the literal Crackhouse of the Living Dead!

“Topsy” by F. Paul Wilson (The Keep, The Repairman Jack and Nightworld series) titillates and terrifies as it shows you what it’s like to be in the skin of a 1500-pound man.

(The editor’s own tale, “Showdown with Deacon Blues” reveals an AA meeting where alcohol itself shows up in human form, with its own axe to grind.)

There’s also a possibility of seeing an early classic “Quitters Inc.” by the Master himself, Stephen King!

MASTERS OF HORROR: Damned If You Don’t is a joint enterprise of Triskadeika Books and FOCUSGROUP LLC, to be published in paperback, e-book and (possibly) CD-Rom format.

All authors receive a one-time flat payment (by check or PayPal), equal split of royalties if and when profitability occurs, one contributor’s copy and an optional full-page advertisement for a work of their choice.

SEEKING: Horror stories of drug use*, alcoholism, gambling, scarification (“cutting”), eating disorders, pornography and/or internet addiction, compulsive spending/shopping or credit abuse, and any damaging vice, addiction or compulsive behavior I’ve left out. There may be more than one story per theme.


*--Various types of drugs will be considered, but marijuana will be a tough sell due to its non-addictive nature.

If any of you have an ARTWORK OR PHOTOGRAPH you feel would be great for the cover, please submit it!

RIGHTS: One-time Rights (Rights revert back to the author after publication.)

REPRINTS: Oh, what the hell, why not.

WORD COUNT: No necessarily firm word count, however we’re seeking stories longer than ‘Flash’ works and shorter than novellas. As a rule of thumb, if it’s over thirty pages, those pages ought to ROCK.

READING PERIOD: Now, until 31st of October – Halloween!

FORMAT: Regular manuscript format, double spaced; please use the Times New Roman font.

TO SUBMIT: Email submissions either in the body of an email or as a Word or RTF attachment to FOCUSGROUPLLC@AOL.COM. Put “MOH Submission” in the subject line. Please NOTE that RESPONSES WILL ONLY BE GIVEN ON ACCEPTANCE (Since we only want One-time rights anyway, feel free to keep sending your story wherever, whenever).

So there are a few more days to get something in!

Finally I would just like to thank Carole Gill for pointing me in the direction of MOH, and I am thrilled we will be in an anthology together!

I am being interviewed today…

I have an interview with Gracen Miller over at Moonlight, Lace, and Mayhem today.

The interview is based around Halloween and, of course, my writing. So please stop by and say hello.

My blogging has become a little infrequent lately due to the huge amount of time I am spending on getting the next novel out. I’m hoping to do the final push today and then I should be able to bring you all news of the release date for The Dark Road. Hurrah!

Tuesday 12 October 2010

Social networking…again!

I’ve been reading up about social marketing. Boy, do I have a lot to learn. I think I’ve got one thing sussed and then something else pops up. It’s like this whole wide world of making contact with people suddenly opens up and I have this whole ‘oh-my god, that’s how it’s supposed to be done’ moment.

So my latest ‘eyes-wide-open’ moment has come from my facebook page. Like twitter, I set it up a long time ago and then completely failed to use it! I then read about how to use it properly through BookBuzzr (who I found on twitter). They gave a pretty easy to read, basic idea about how to set up a facebook fan page (you can read it here!) and so I thought I would give it a go.  I was amazed when I had 55 ‘likes’ in the first twenty-four hours! I’ve made contact with a whole heap of people I never would have before, and so I am very grateful that I came across the site.

I’ve learnt a lot in the past year and I am sure I still have a whole world of information I still need to find out.

But in the meantime I will do my best with what I’ve got, and I will continue to read and research and learn. If you want to stop by my facebook page the link is I am currently giving away a free copy of Alone to say thanks for all the support I have had over there, so if you want to stop by and you fancy leaving me a comment then you will be in to win. I am announcing the winner via the facebook page tomorrow morning.

And if there is anyone out there who is looking for support or a friend for their facebook page, twitter, blog, etc, then don’t be afraid to ask for a follow!

Happy social networking everyone!

Monday 11 October 2010

The Torment (2010) – Review.

tormentdvd The story starts with a young couple, Alex and Kate, having a normal evening in at their flat. After a long explanation about the webcam, which Alex has set up in the house to record intruders, they fall asleep on the sofa together. Alex wakes up to find Kate sleep-talking, muttering, ‘don’t open it’. Cue the doorbell! Their close friend David turns up with the explanation that his girlfriend, Sarah, has been having an affair. Feeling sorry for him, they let David stay, but it quickly unfolds that the reason for David’s harrowing state is more than just upset that his girlfriend has left him. After Alex has gone to bed, David sees something out of the window – a weird zombie creature – and he then spends the rest of the night running around with a large bottle of salt in his hand, lining salt along the doorways.

The story quickly enfolds as Alex and Kate learn of their friends fears, and several nights of haunting ensues.

The Torment is a strange movie to watch, and ultimately one I couldn’t quite decide if I liked or not! At the time of watching it I found it to be slightly annoying and frustrating, yet when I woke up the next morning I still found myself thinking about it.

So what are the reasons for my mixed thoughts? Well, the movie starts with lots of promise. It is British (always good to support British films) and is another one of the ‘wobbly-docu-type’ filming style. There is a long talk up about the web-cam, and I had thought it was going to go down the same route as Paranormal Activity, but then it just seems to get forgotten about until close to the end, and even then it is very much played down. This is a shame, and they could have made so much more of it. Instead, the first half an hour of the movie is just plain weird. Much of it is David running around, acting strange (and Alex and Kate don’t even notice he is crashing about in the middle of the night) and it isn’t until he starts sleep walking that they realise something is wrong.

A lot of the movie is filmed in near-darkness, so it is hard to see what is actually happening, except for a lot of screaming and running around. Their hysteria is a little too infectious, and Kate allows herself to be barricaded into a room with a clearly unstable David, who is sporting a very large knife, despite her not actually having seen anything for herself. In fact, the whole way through the movie she doesn’t actually see anything, yet she does not do what any normal woman would do, which would be saying to her boyfriend, ‘uh-honey, I think your friend has some serious psychological issues,’ and kicking him the hell out of there. Instead she just kind of goes along with the madness.

There are also a lot of things that were hinted at and yet left untied. There is a whole plotline about a pregnant woman upstairs (and by the way, I really think pregnant women and babies should be left alone when it comes to horror) and that the house itself might be haunted, but then this again is just kind of forgotten about.

There are some good moments, when we are actually allowed to see the monsters, they are scary! But so much of it is in darkness, that it is really difficult to see what the hell is going on, except for them all screaming like girls because the lights have gone out!

So is David a lunatic, or are the monsters real? Well, it is that question that resides through out the film. But you never know, if you can manage to get through the first bit, you just may be surprised by the ending.

Could have been so much better, but still not a bad watch. Something Wicked, 6/10

Friday 8 October 2010

Introducing, Their Dark Masters…

TDMtitleVers3 As many of you know, I have recently had a short story accepted for the vampire anthology, Their Dark Masters. At the moment the editor is looking at a December release, so it will be out just in time for Christmas presents for all those vampire fans out there!

I am thrilled to give you all a preview of the front cover and also a snippet of my story.

It is entitled, The Tunnel.

To set the scene:

Workmen are in the final stages of breaking through the Channel Tunnel (the tunnel that goes beneath the ocean, joining the UK to France). They have come across a strange object buried in the soft chalk marl, something that has wrecked their huge boring machines and must have been buried under the ocean for thousands of years…

Seven of the eight men lined up in front of the vessel. They were shoulder to shoulder, crammed in so they could each get their hands on it. The seam was just wide enough for the men to get their blunt fingernails beneath it, and they paused like that waiting for Ryan’s signal.

“On my count,” he said. “One...two…THREE!”

They all heaved and the top shifted, just a millimetre, but it did move. At the same moment the lights flickered. The radios all suddenly hissed with static, filling the tunnel with the sound of a thousand bees.


They all jumped back and the lid fell back into place. As soon as it did, the lights brightened and the hiss of static fell silent.

The men laughed at themselves, nervous tension crackling the air. The huge tunnel suddenly felt very small; walls and roof closing in on them.

“Maybe John is right,” Robbie said. “Maybe it’s radioactive or something.”

“Don’t be ridiculous,” Graham laughed. “This thing must have been buried for thousands of years.”

They often had power surges down here. The lighting going out temporarily was a common occurrence.

“It was just a coincidence,” said Ryan. “Stop getting so spooked. Let’s go again, and I don’t want anybody soiling their panties this time.”

“Alright boss,” said Ted, sounding miffed. “You jumped as much as the rest of us.”

Ryan couldn’t argue.

They lined back up again, each of them assuming their previous positions, John still watching from a distance.

“One…Two... and …

They pulled harder this time. Suddenly the lid burst open as though it were pressurized, throwing the men away from it.

In the same moment the tunnel was plunged into darkness. Someone cried out loud, but it was disguised by the hiss of static suddenly surrounding them again.

“Everyone okay?” Ryan shouted.

A chorus of voices came back to him. All were nervous and strained, but none of them sounded as though they were in pain or danger.

The lights flickered back on and everything fell silent. The relief was palpable. Ryan blinked in the sudden light. Ted lifted his arm in front of his eyes and Graham squinted.

The stone container was split open, its top resting on the chalk marl behind. It was hollow, but empty. The hollow curve inside was just the right size to fit a large man.

They each picked themselves up.

“What the hell just happened?” Ted asked.

John yelled from the back of the tunnel, “I told you it would be filled with gas.”

“It looks like a damn coffin.” Graham’s face was pale

“Don’t say that,” Robbie snapped. He was young and susceptible to such fantasies.

“Graham…” Ryan warned. He knew Graham was right, but the last thing he needed was for the rest of them to be spooked any more than they already were. He didn’t need a crew of grown men reduced to a bunch of scared boy scouts.

“Well it does,” Graham muttered, turning away.

Ryan walked up to it and peered inside. He didn’t know what he was expecting to see. It was obvious the thing was empty. Then something on the inside of the lid caught his attention. There were grooves down the inside of the lid, grooves in rows of fives.

How could anything have damaged the stone? It was so hard even the mole hadn’t left a mark on it? Maybe the inside was made of softer stuff?

Even so, he didn’t like the sight of those marks. They looked too much like scratches made by fingernails…




Copyright © 2010 Marissa Farrar

All rights reserved. This is a work of fiction. All names, characters, locations, and incidents are products of the author’s imagination, or have been used fictionally. Any resemblance to actual persons living or dead, locales, or events is entirely coincidental. No portion of this work may be transmitted or reproduced in any form, or by any means, without permission in writing from the author.

The frightening part of my DVD shelf

Forgive me, dear readers, for not having blogged here in a while. Although some of the blame may be attributed to time constraints, there is yet another issue which I have been unable to rectify. I haven’t seen anything horrific in a very long while.
Back when I was a teenager, I used to watch horror movies frequently, and many times alone, which was either the best or worst way to do that, depending upon one’s point of view. These days, I would still be the only one partaking of these dark waters since my children are a bit young yet and my wife wants no part of anything scary. Yet, that's not all that holds me back. Perhaps another reason is the fact that many horror films appear to be worth the time by their trailers, only to hear later that the ending was terrible, far-fetched, contrived, whatever. In any event, although I have been meaning to choose something, anything, to watch and then hopefully blog about, I have yet to do so.
Therefore, I am going to drag you down through my DVD archives and see what might lurk there and why…

John Carpenter’s Halloween: This is a classic. I confess that I have yet to see Mr. Zombie’s remake. Feel free to convince me to sit down for this. If anyone could do it justice, I suppose it would be him. Many may say that the original looks low budget – and it is, certainly – but it is memorable in spite of the little money that the filmmakers had at their disposal and how far they got that money to go. If for nothing else, the first scene is worth your time. I believe the whole thing was done with only one edit. From the point of view of the killer’s eyes, the camera stalks the house from the outside, eventually enters the house, locates a murder weapon, commits a horrific crime, and then rushes outside again where the young Michael Myers is caught and revealed. Donald Pleasence is terrific as Doctor Loomis and Jamie Lee Curtis was good, although after so many horror films, sometimes it seemed like she was the same character in everything.

John Carpenter’s The Fog: I really like this film, but understand it has to do with my growing up with it rather than it being great. I don’t know how well it has aged. I did see the remake, but found it forgettable. I really love the suspense in the original. Once again, the budget wasn’t very big, and they squeezed what they could out of it. The film is about a small town that is visited by an old curse. The founding fathers used treachery and deceit to lure a leper colony to their town in order to steal their money. On the one hundred year anniversary they come back for it. If you haven’t seen it, but are familiar with Carpenter, than you should already know what you’ll get. It might be a bit campy to some after all of these years, but it was one of my favorites back in the day.

John Carpenter’s The Thing: I realize that this is starting to become a Carpenter love-fest, but I assure you this will be the last one. At least in horror. Escape from New York and Big Trouble in Little China round out my Carpenter favorites. The Thing once again brings that Carpenter suspense and direction that I love. I wish he would have backed off on doing the music himself. That was a nice talent that he had, but sometimes his music detracts rather than adds. In Antarctica, a group of scientists stumble upon the remains of an alien craft. Unbeknownst to them, the alien has come back with them to camp, and begins taking them one by one in a most horrific way. In my opinion, the Carpenter magic would soon run out, but this film is still very good with a great cast; many of whom one might least expect.

The Exorcist: Need I say more? This is the one film that stays with me. It is so powerful after all of these years and isn’t for the faint of heart. Inspired by true events, the film takes us on an adventure as young Regan McNeil is possessed by a demon that refuses to give her up, eventually matching up with an old adversary from the church. The effects haven’t been dated, nor has the direction or the acting.

Demon-possessed Regan: "I'm not Regan."
Father Karras: “Well, then let's introduce ourselves. I’m Damien Karras.”
Regan: “And I’m the devil. Now kindly undue these straps!”
Karras: “If you’re the devil, why don’t you make the straps disappear?”
Regan: “That’s much too vulgar a display of power, Karras.”

Dragonfly: Some may wonder why I have included this film amongst so many genuine horror films, and the reason that I did was the “creepy” factor. I love the ending of this film, and attempted to show it to my wife, but she could not sit through it because it was so creepy and suspenseful. Kevin Costner’s doctor wife and unborn child were killed accidentally while she was doing relief work in a foreign country. He was dealing with it fine until a series of signs begin to eat away at him that his beloved wife might yet be alive. If you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend it. Perhaps you’re not a Costner fan; I say give it a chance.

The Omen: This is another one of those that has been remade that I have yet to see, but the original, I think, stands the test of time. With a great cast and the great Richard Donner behind the camera, this top-notch story about the devil’s offspring packs a mean punch. Other than the final scene when Gregory Peck has his chance to kill the boy, the scene that sticks in my head is when the boy’s nanny stands on a balcony with her head in a noose at his birthday party and announces, “Look at me, Damien! It’s all for you!” And then jumps off.

The Silence of the Lambs: I remember not knowing what this film was when my sister-in-law recommended that we all go to the movies and see it. She was stunned when it was over, but I was ecstatic. Great writing, based on the Thomas Harris novel; A-list cast and director; it was no wonder that it essentially swept the Academy Awards that year.

Psycho: I can see my kids squirming already at the mention of a film that is in black & white. If you haven’t seen this classic Alfred Hitchcock masterpiece, then something’s wrong. You must stop reading this and watch this film immediately. Everyone has undoubtedly seen the famous shower scene, but there are so many fantastic moments here to be savored: Norman Bates; the scene on the stairs with the detective; the tension as Vera Miles is hunting around the Bates home, searching for her sister while we expect Norman’s return at any moment; the discovery in the basement; and finally the interrogation room where we see Norman staring at the fly, but hear his mother’s voice as she swears that she would never hurt one.

Alien: This one was the trailblazer. Prior to this what we had were the flying saucer films of the fifties and sixties, with only a glimpse or tease of the alien creatures. In this one, we get to see the alien up close and personal. Featuring an all-star cast of stars or future stars, the great Ridley Scott directed this unforgettable masterpiece of space explorers that unexpectedly discover the alien life form and then bring it back with them.

Bram Stoker’s Dracula: I don’t know whether this is one of the great Dracula versions or not; however, watching The Apocalypse Now director try his hand at horror is a treat. The film is very stylish, has some truly wonderful moments and is loaded with a great cast, including, Cary Elwes, Keanu Reeves, Sir Anthony Hopkins and the great Gary Oldman who is brilliant in nearly everything he does. Says Dracula, “Do you think you can destroy me with your idols? I who served the cross, I who commanded armies, hundreds of years before you were born?”

And finally, the one of only two movies to set so much in motion, Bela Lugosi’s, Dracula. “Listen to them,” he says at the sound of the crying wolves. “Children of the night. What music they make!” It may not be the most frightening thing that we have seen, but it has style, is very dramatic and is beautiful to watch as Lugosi weaves his hypnotizing performance, his signature role.

So there it is. This collection of films comprises my library of horror DVD’s. There are a few films that are missing here, such as Poltergeist. I’ve been holding out hope that there will be a better version in the future; something with two discs and a whole bunch of extras, perhaps. I almost purchased the original Friday the 13th and Hellraiser recently. It is the Halloween season, so there’s still time. In any event, the next time you hear from me on these pages, hopefully I will have something new to review, whether film of novel. We’ll see. But as I say over on my blog…

We’ll talk soon,


Saturday 2 October 2010

Movie Stuff…

Paranormal Activity 2 is due for release at the end of the month. I have to admit, I did enjoy the first one, but as I actually gave birth the morning after watching it, I probably wasn’t in the best frame of mind to appreciate it. Saying that, it’s a good thing it was number one I was watching,as opposed to number two, as by the look of the trailer there is some spooky baby stuff going on. 


What do you think? Does it look good, or is it going to be just more of the same?

Also, for those of you who don’t know that I am a huge fan of Guillermo del Toro’s work, I was very excited to find out that he is doing a twitter Q&A over at digital spy. It’s happening on Friday the 8th October and you just need to tweet over your questions for Guillermo to @dsatthemovies – and they’ll be posting all his answers under the hashtag #gdtdigitalspy.

If you want to know more just click here!

Have a great weekend everyone!

Friday 1 October 2010

Excerpt from The Dark Road

As part of #fridayflash on Twitter, here is an excerpt from my upcoming novel, The Dark Road.

To set the scene: The group of travellers are stuck in rural Cambodia, trying to cross a fast running river. It is night time, the woman is hurt, and something is after them…

Seth took hold of the rope, grateful to have something to hang onto. He could see Greg and Laura frozen nearly halfway across, Greg almost chest high in the water. All torch lights were on them, leaving Seth in almost near darkness. The water rushed and churned like black oil, swallowing him up to the waist. Something bumped against his calf, something cold with the texture of rotting flesh. It seemed to deliberately wrap itself around his legs, like gelatinous fingers grappling at him, trying to pull him down into the dark.

“For Christ’s-sake, Seth! Get a move on!”

The sound of Greg’s voice snatched him back to reality and he continued to push forward, desperately trying to forget what was hidden beneath the surface. He clung onto the rope with both hands, pulling himself through the water.

Within moments he had reached Greg and Laura. Greg’s arms were shaking with the effort of holding Laura above the water and Seth could see he was weakening. Holding Laura was easy, but doing it whilst fighting the fierce push of the river was draining.

“Damn it, Seth! I need some help here. Don’t just stand there staring at us.”

Still holding onto the rope-hammock with one hand, Seth reached out and wrapped his other arm around Greg’s waist. Immediately he felt Greg’s relief as the bigger man leaned some of his weight into Seth; both men now providing a more solid barrier against the ton of water that was trying to push them downstream.

“We need to move Seth,” Greg shouted above the roar of the river. He could feel Laura’s grip around his neck weakening and the fear in his heart told him that even if they did make it across, she might not make it through the night.

“I’m ready,” said Seth. “Let’s go.”

As Seth stepped forward something moved in the water in front of him. Something with a thick, snake-like body, and limbs tipped in pointed claws, pushed its way like a crocodile beneath the water. Its scales flashed on the surface for a fraction of a second, before it disappeared into the dark.

“Oh fuck!”

Something bumped against his waist and he screamed in surprise.

“What? What is it?” yelled Greg.

“There...” Seth’s voice broke. “There’s something in the water.”

“Don’t fucking start, Seth! We need to get out of here.”

The bank was only feet away, but Seth stood paralysed with fear, his eyes fixed on the water around him, watching for the thing he knew was beneath it. Around his body the rushing water suddenly became still and the dark fluid began to shimmer like oil on a wet road. Seth stood with one arm raised above the water, his lower body motionless, as though it had been frozen in a block of ice.

Then claws cut like knives across the back of his ankle, slicing his Achilles tendon, and Seth screamed. White-hot pain seared up his leg and sheer panic blinded him. Seth plunged forward, shoving past Greg, knocking him off balance.

Instantly Greg was engulfed, submerged under the fast flowing river. Water rushed into his lungs, thick and suffocating. The darkness was absolute and a muffled roar filled his ears. Caught in its grip, his body tumbled. He felt Laura’s arms slip from his neck and the water dragged her away from him. He grappled madly; desperate to find her, but the ferocity of the water had torn her from his grasp. Briefly his fingertips touched her skin, and then she was gone.

Greg burst through the surface. He could barely breathe; the taste of silt and dirt cloying his mouth. His throat burnt as he choked up the thick, dirty water. None of these things mattered – all he wanted was to find Laura.

He tried to turn in every direction, fighting against the current, desperately trying to spot her in the darkness, praying that she had somehow made it to the bank. In the depths of his heart he knew there was only one direction she could have gone in. He could hear the sound of Seth, still screaming in pain, pulling himself out of the water and onto the other bank. Greg prepared himself to let go of the rope and allow the water to take him to his wife.