Today’s post comes courtesy of Steven L. Shrewsbury as part of his blog tour promoting the release of his latest novel Killer of Giants.

About Killer of Giants: In an antediluvian world, Keltos warrior Rogan emerges as the lone survivor of a battle. Slaying a Nephilim giant from Shynar, Rogan takes back the mammoth his folk gifted the kings. 

Soon, warriors are sent to recapture the mammoth and bring it to the Lord of the world, Zazaeil, a demon in human flesh, and the Nephilim giant Marduk, in the fabled city of Irem. 

After learning that his sister is to be a sacrificial bride to Marduk, Rogan journeys to Irem in the company of Elisa, a warrior herself, whose mother is a wizardess. With a horde of warriors in pursuit, they encounter many evils, monsters, and challenges to their selves and souls. 

Will the song of Rogan’s blood make him strong enough to be the Killer of Giants?

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When I decide to write a novel, I won’t classify it apart as fine as frog’s hair. I don’t say, “Well, golly, gonna write me up a new Sword & Sorcery novel.” Nor do I say, “Well, this sucker is gonna be a high fantasy, but not too long, so it can’t be an epic fantasy, but, I better make it more diverse so folks don’t think it’s a heroic fantasy or…” 

Ugh. It’s a story. The terms folks use for such things can be a pain and I think I oft blur such distinctions. A reader once told me he didn’t like how horrific my books are and was turned off at such violence in a supposed fantasy book. Ok. Well, read more stuff, I told him. I hope he never finds George R. R. Martin. I’m just telling a story, not trying to compete with someone for a gross out thing, or surprise the reader with a huge reveal of weirdness. I’m just telling a tale, if any of those odd things happen in the book, it is a piece of the yarn. At no time did I consult a TSR manual nor play a video game to figure details out. The yarn all comes from reading and at times listening to music. S’true. Dark metal & bluegrass ballads inspired the creation of Gorias La Gaul and Rogan the Kelt. There’s a lot more Tony Iommi, Johnny Cash and Ralph Stanley in my characters & tales than Gary Gygax dreams.    

I once wrote an article about the differences between fantasy, and the classifications. I was kind of sorry I learned what the difference was, really. I don’t sit down to make it in any special category. If a story is really long and covers so much territory, have I veered into epic fantasy? Does that mean I have to write ten more books over a thousand pages one can use for doorstops? I don’t think I could live long enough to do that, anyway.  

Sit back, pick up a book, because I’m going to tell you a tale, spin you a yarn and not bore the crap out of you for a thousand pages. Someone once said they read a famous series and in a 700 page volume, um, nothing happened. How is that possible? I usually have bodies hitting the floor immediately, but one doesn’t have to slay a dragon or slaughter the army right away. It’s a story. Make it interesting and tell a tale where a reader is drawn in to it. 

Do I write sword & sorcery? Is KILLER OF GIANTS a S&S book? What’s the definition of that? 

The ol’ Wikipedia says “Sword and sorcery is a subgenre of fantasy characterized by sword-wielding heroes engaged in exciting and violent adventures. Elements of romance, magic, and the supernatural are also often present.”  

Well isn’t that special. Guilty of S&S by accident.  

Why should you, a fan of Sword & sorcery and forms of fantasy, want to read my new novel KILLER OF GIANTS? It has all of the above elements, though light on romance. However, it has something to offer. Rogan, the raw hero of the BASTARD series I co-wrote with Brian Keene is seen here at twenty four years old, a mercenary and last survivor of a battle between kings. Not so jaded as in his older years, Rogan goes forth to find his father and sister in fabled Irem. The book indeed has wizards, warriors (male and female) and a cool mammoth in it. There are Nephilim giants, demons in human flesh, Chimeras, Gorgons and has more balls than the World Series. Be seated and listen while I spin you a yarn about how Rogan fought, matured, and met the KILLER OF GIANTS.  

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About the author:  Award-winning author STEVEN L. SHREWSBURY lives and works in Central Illinois. He writes hardcore sword & sorcery, fantasy and horror novels. Twenty of his novels have been published, including KILLER OF GIANTS, BEYOND NIGHT, BORN OF SWORDS, WITHIN, OVERKILL, PHILISTINE, HELL BILLY, THRALL, BLOOD & STEEL, STRONGER THAN DEATH, HAWG, TORMENTOR and GODFORSAKEN. His horror/western series includes BAD MAGICK, LAST MAN SCREAMING, MOJO HAND and ALONG COME EVENING. He has collaborated with Brian Keene on the works KING OF THE BASTARDS, THRONE OF THE BASTARDS & CURSE OF THE BASTARDS and Peter Welmerink on the Viking saga BEDLAM UNLEASHED. A big fan of books, history, the occult, religion and sports, he tries to seek out brightness in the world, wherever it may hide. 

Author Links:  

Twitter: https://twitter.com/shrewsreh 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authorstevenshrewsbury 

Ready to buy? Here are some options –

Purchase links for Killer of Giants: 

eBook Links 

Kindle Version: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09SGV5141 

Nook Link: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/killer-of-giants-steven-l-shrewsbury/1141004710?ean=2940160798370 

Print Links:  

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Killer-Giants-Steven-L-Shrewsbury/dp/1736812556/ 

Barnes and Noble Link: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/killer-of-giants-steven-l-shrewsbury/1141044545?ean=9781736812556 

Want to find out more? You can follow the tour here –

Tour Schedule and Activities 

4/18 Jazzy Book Reviews https://jazzybookreviews.com/ Author Interview 

4/19 Horror Tree https://www.horrortree.com Guest Post 

4/20 Exquisite Corpse https://traciemcbridewriter.wordpress.com/ Guest Post 

4/20 BOOKS TO CURL UP WITH https://bookstocurlupwiith.blogspot.com Review 

4/21 The Write Start https://www.thewritestart.net Guest Post 

4/21 BookWitch https://bookwitchblog549755749.wordpress.com/ Review 

4/22 Sapphyria’s Books https://saphsbooks.blogspot.com/ Guest Post 

4/23 BookWitch https://bookwitchblog549755749.wordpress.com/ Interview 

4/24 Literary Underworld https://www.Literaryunderworld.com Guest Post 

4/25 Sheila’s Guests and Reviews http://sheiladeeth.blogspot.com/ Guest Post 

 


It’s Aurealis Awards shortlist time! I’m excited to report that Spawn: Weird Horror Tales about Pregnancy, Birth and Babies has been shortlisted for Best Anthology. From that anthology, two stories have also been shortlisted for Best Horror Short Story: Antoinette Rydyr’s “Mother Dandelion”, and my own contribution “Sins of the Mother“.

A huge amount of work goes into these awards, so my heartfelt thanks goes out to everyone – judges, volunteers, editors, publishers, fellow authors, artists, readers and fans, and anyone else I might have missed – who plays a part in making it all happen.


Today’s guest post comes courtesy of editor Rayne Hall, whose latest anthology Among the Headstones: Creepy Tales from the Graveyard is now available to order. Rayne took time out to interview one of her contributing authors, Tylluan Perry.

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ABOUT  TYLLUAN PENRY

Tylluan Penry is a pagan solitary witch who has devoted much of her life to teaching about the Craft. She was born and brought up in a family of witches (on her mother’s side) although all they ever did was hex, i.e. they cast curses, which made childhood a horror story in its own right! When she managed to leave this tradition (and her family, though it wasn’t easy) she moved on to develop her own solitary path which she called ‘Seeking the Green.’ Over the years she has developed this further and written about many topics including Ice Age spirituality, the Anglo-Saxons, Knot Magic and Magic on the Breath.

She is married, has a large family, including grandchildren, dogs, and lives in a rather ramshackle home with an overgrown garden, together with ghosts, spirits and the Gentle Folk. There is a huge cemetery opposite her home which ought to be scary but is actually very serene and peaceful. She has always loved writing, and wrote her first (very) short story when she was six, soon progressing to full length stories. She has now written and published almost 30 books, both fiction and non-fiction. Most can be found here: https://shop.thewolfenhowlepress.com/   This is the indie press she set up back in 2011.

Some of her fiction is on Kindle under the name T P Penry. Her story in the anthology, ‘Among the Headstones: Creepy Tales from the Graveyard’ is based firmly in Wales, with a smattering of golf balls, gravestones and the Highway Code. She has always believed that creepy stories need a good pinch of humour in order to work well (at least, in her experience).

Tylluan also has a YouTube Channel, with over two hundred videos about solitary witchcraft here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC48MN8sa7_lFsBX9v2ZAeAg/videos

She can be found on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/tylluan.penry/ and Twitter https://twitter.com/TylluanPenry, as well as on her website https://shop.thewolfenhowlepress.com/.

INTERVIEW WITH TYLLUAN PENRY

What scares you? 

I have a fear of spiders, especially big hairy ones, although that’s improved since I started talking to them. I’m quite sure they understand me but I shan’t be volunteering for the job of the Spider Whisperer any time soon.  I also find talking to anything paranormal that’s bothering us will also work. We don’t have to banish every ghost or spirit that comes our way. It’s possible to reason with them.

I’ve noticed that poltergeists are generally most feared, although they aren’t all that common, and although scary, they rarely cause physical harm.  There’s a wonderful account of a poltergeist in mid nineteenth century Wales, where the children of the house actually scared it away by making more noise than the spirit and it never returned. It’s said that poltergeists attach themselves to children and young people, but the Welsh story shows that they can be sent packing!

Have you ever seen a ghost? Tell us about the experience.

I’ve seen (and heard) quite a few ghosts. The first time, I was about eight. I’d gone upstairs and a man wearing plus fours was standing in the doorway of my brother’s bedroom. I screamed and ran back downstairs only for my mother to insist I hadn’t seen anything and was just making a fuss. A couple of years later I learned that a man dressed in plus fours used to sit in my brother’s bedroom watching him while he slept. My family knew this all along but kept insisting I was imagining it! 

Later, when we removed the old fireplace in that bedroom, we found a knife that had been stuffed up the chimney.  Horrible things happened after that, really dark, threatening stuff, so my mother told one of my aunts to take the knife into the nearby park and bury it in salt. This is a typical method of neutralising an item we believe might be cursed.  Being curious, I went with her to see what she did.

Instead, I had a lesson in how not to neutralise curse items. The problem was that my auntie was a bit absent minded and forgot both salt and trowel, so she just threw it over the wall into an overgrown garden that backed onto the park. ‘That’ll do,’ she announced before dancing back home.

Well, it banished that particular set of paranormal disturbances in our home (there were others), but the garden where she’d thrown the knife attracted some awful energies and someone eventually committed suicide there shortly afterwards. I still think it was connected with the knife.

How do you feel about cemeteries? Do find them creepy? 

No, not usually.  Most are very peaceful and there’s a great sense of love there.  I live opposite a very large cemetery in Mid Rhondda (South East Wales), and funerals here are often very traditional, where black horses with great black plumes of feathers pull a glass hearse, or the undertaker walks ahead of the motor hearse. It’s like stepping back in time.

One or two cemeteries have scared me however, and I do believe there is such a thing as the unquiet dead. When that happens, I have been known to literally run out of a graveyard. One of these was a Victorian tomb in Llandaff Cathedral which had the most awful stench, another was in a graveyard in West Wales. Why was I afraid? I don’t know, I just felt that something didn’t want me there.  A large part of ghost stories is made up of paranoia.

How would you like to be buried?

I’ve left instructions to my children to dispose of my body with as little fuss as possible. I believe in reincarnation, so I believe I’ve been here before and that I’ll come back again. That said, I’ve told them they have my blessing to do whatever brings them the most comfort.

Who are your favourite short story authors, and why?

Top of my list is M R James.  His stories range from mildly chilling to the truly dark and horrible, such as Lost Hearts.  They never really leave you once you’ve read them. Also I enjoy Charles Dickens, whose story The Signalman was way ahead of its time, ending on an ambiguous note, teasing the reader to interpret what happened. I like stories to pull me in and make me think. Horror and Gothic stories really encourage this. 

What’s your favourite Horror book? What do you like about it?

I enjoyed The Survivor by James Herbert, I didn’t see the ending coming, and the different ‘mini stories’ within it were scary too.  I always enjoyed his multi-viewpoint approach and he handled it so deftly, he was a joy to read. Also he always knew when to include some humour to lighten the mood.  Horror needs a light reflection sometimes.

As a writer, what do you like about the short story format?

Until ‘Merv the Swerve’ (my contribution to the anthology Among the Headstones: Creepy Tales from the Graveyard) I hadn’t written a short story for a very long time. I’ve been surprised how much action and information it’s possible to pack into a few pages. Very enjoyable, and a great discipline for tightening up my writing.

Describe your writing voice.

Irreverent, perverse and wistful.

What are you currently working on?

I am currently writing an Iron Age Gothic story set in Wales, with Werewolves, a Bear Shaman and the Forest Folk. These are all real myths and legends not just in Wales but all over Europe. I was very careful to keep the werewolves traditional, i.e. none of the Alpha-male Omega-female stuff you find in modern stories. Instead I based their behaviour on what people believed in early times.

It’s important for the main characters to grow and change in response to the paranormal which needs to creep up on the reader, because that’s what it tends to do in real life.  I think my background as a witch is useful too because I’m used to magic and understand something of how it can work. It’s not just about waving a wand and shouting ‘Abracadabra!’

ABOUT THE BOOK

AMONG THE HEADSTONES: CREEPY TALES FROM THE GRAVEYARD

This anthology, edited by Rayne Hall, presents twenty-seven of the finest – and creepiest – graveyard tales with stories by established writers, classic authors and fresh voices.

Here you’ll find Gothic ghost stories by Robert Ellis, Lee Murray, Greg Chapman, Morgan Pryce, Rayne Hall, Guy de Maupassant, Myk Pilgrim, Zachary Ashford, Amelia Edwards, Nina Wibowo, Krystal Garrett, Tylluan Penry, Ambrose Bierce, Cinderella Lo, Nikki Tait, Arthur Conan Doyle, Priscilla Bettis, Kyla Ward, Edgar Allan Poe, Paul D Dail, Cameron Trost, Pamela Turner, William Meikle and Lord Dunsany who thrill with their eerie, macabre and sometimes quirky visions.

You’ll visit graveyards in Britain, Indonesia, Russia, China, Italy, Bulgaria, Thailand, USA, Australia, South Africa and Japan, and you can marvel at the burial customs of other cultures.

Now let’s open the gate – can you hear it creak on its hinges? – and enter the realm of the dead. Listen to the wind rustling the yew, the grating of footsteps on gravel, the hoo-hoo-hoo of the collared dove. Run your fingers across the tombstones to feel their lichen-rough sandstone or smooth cool marble. Inhale the scents of decaying lilies and freshly dug earth.

But be careful. Someone may be watching your every movement… They may be right behind you.

Purchase Link: mybook.to/Headstones

If you pre-order the ebook from Amazon by 31 January 2022, you will secure the special offer price of US$99 cents. You can purchase the paperback now.