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Reborn by Stephanie Ellis Review

Author Anthony Avina's Blog

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

Blood rituals, magick, and monsters take center stage as the rebirth of Cernunnos and the exploration of realms beyond our own lead to a dangerous journey in author Stephanie Ellis’s “Reborn”.

The Synopsis

Return to the Weald, the world Stephanie Ellis introduced us to in The Five Turns of the Wheel.

Reborn is the story of Cernunnos, the Father of all, who has risen. Born of blood offerings, he travels to the Layerings—one of those places, like Umbra, which sit just beyond the human veil.

Reborn is the story of Tommy, Betty and Fiddler, the infamous troupe whose bloody rituals were halted by Megan, Tommy’s Daughter. Rendered weak by Megan’s refusal to allow them to hunt in the human world of the Weald, they seek their rebirth and forgiveness…

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Paused by Stephanie Ellis

Scribble's Worth Book Reviews

Paused takes an idea that has been ruminated on and crafted in many ways and extrapolates it in an entirely different vein. The premise of man’s ‘eventual’ extinction and the determining factor has long been the stuff of nightmares. It is no surprise this event is a prevalent trope in the sci-fi and horror genres. The human race’s demise as the result of an alien invasion, technology, disease, environmental disaster, or the zombie apocalypse has become more prevalent within the last couple of years. Humans walking the tightrope of pandemic survival is what made this novella scarier. Over a few weeks, the plot follows a small group of scientists in the UK as they attempt to determine the cause of a new pandemic that effectively renders humans inanimate. They cope with the growing knowledge that they, too, may eventually succumb.

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This compact plot is…

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Of Folk and Poetry

The past few months have seen a real focus on both folk horror and poetry in writing and publication terms.

In the world of folk horror, I have been able to share Reborn, the upcoming sequel to The Five Turns of the Wheel with people. It’s currently available on Netgalley for review and is also up for pre-order here. It’s already picking up some great reviews:

‘This is a world of monsters. Stephanie Ellis takes us back into the Weald, refining and deepening a world she created. The world building is sensational, the imagery is magical, the characters alive with nuance …’ – Coy Hall, author of The Grimoire of the Four Imposters

I recently did my first online workshop (Darkness In the Fields), on how to turn the landscape into character in folk horror, which went reasonably well despite some technical difficulties at the start and a few nerves! If you missed this, then Alex Davis has another folk horror day lined up for March 2023, Darkness in the Fields 2, amongst many other workshop and online event opportunities.

This Sunday, I took part in Buzz Book Expo as part of the Brigids Gate Team and read an excerpt from another upcoming novel, The Woodcutter, which is due out in Jan. 2023.

I gave a sneak preview of the cover in progress which I share here together with the synopsis:

A tragic accident, shrouded in mystery, leads to a family reunion in the hidden village of Little Hatchet. This community has existed within the smothering shadow of GodBeGone Wood, the forest home of the mythical Woodcutter and Grandma, for centuries. 

The last time Alec Eades saw his father, he was only five-years-old. He has no memory of his time in the village but as the days progress he rediscovers his bond with GodBeGone Wood and the future his father had agreed to, all those years ago, the reason his mother left and took him with her.

This reunion occurs against the backdrop of incomer Oliver Hayward’s scheme to raise money for the village by re-enacting part of the Woodcutter legend – a scheme hiding Hayward’s own murderous intentions. Old wounds are re-opened and ties of blood and friendship are tested to the extreme – when the Woodcutter is summoned and Grandma returns.

In addition to the folk horror, my poetry collaboration with Shane Douglas Keene, Lilith Rising, has finally gone up for pre-order here. This work started during lockdown and was batted back and forth across the pond over a period of some months, often with long breaks between but what appeared is something we are both extremely proud of! This is a true tale of revenge.

What else is happening? Things! I’ve a gothic horror novella out on submission and am currently 40000+ words into a new novel, Women of the Witch Eye. This is a dark historical mystery novel set in 1649 Lancashire, with a focus on murder and witchcraft and the social and political upheaval of the time. There is also a new poetry project developing …

Metallurgy – Of Love and Death and Metal and a Playlist

As I wait for my books to be re-released via Brigids Gate Press (soon!), I have continued to work on my dark found poetry project, Metallurgy. This time, my source material has been the lyrics of many favourite metal tracks, interspersed with a few songs some might not think of as metal but which to me share many of the attributes of this genre.

Many thanks to Wayne Fenlon for supplying the base image for the front cover plus another image which included Baphomet. I adapted the latter into the back cover and did a lot of merging and cloning to hopefully give a seamless transition between the two. I do enjoy working on covers as I’m learning new skills all the time.

There are 100 poems – derived from 200 songs – in this collection and some are even shape poems. Getting the latter formatted correctly for an ebook takes some doing, I will tell you. The easiest way is actually to use text boxes and group them together, but some tweaking was still involved. For once creating the print copy for upload was a lot easier than the kindle.

Metallurgy also contains a bonus poem from the wonderful Cindy O’Quinn. A Bram Stoker nominated writer, she has contributed her own found poem, Invitation to a Concert – A Heavy Metal Introduction, sourced from Time of the Season by the Zombies and Overdose by AC/DC. This poem is the intro to my ‘concert’. Whilst my collection focusses on the heavier side of metal, I have deliberately left the more classic rock out as Cindy has been playing in that particular playground on and off.

At the back of the book, I have compiled two indexes. One which lists the bands and their associated tracks, another which lists the poems and their associated bands. I have made this clickable for the ebook.

All poems are completely original. I do not subscribe to any form of plagiarism and I certainly don’t want big record companies chasing me! However, as is the way with found work, it is the norm to acknowledge the original source of inspiration, and I have done so for each poem. This is an homage after all!

I hope to be able to share pre-order links in the not too distant future. The project is almost ready. In the meantime, here is the playlist for the book. One or two tracks weren’t available on Spotify and one track has a different artist, though it is an associated band (Gorgoroth’s Sign of an Open Eye was only available on Spotify under God Seed that I could see).

And here’s one of the tracks I couldn’t find on Spotify:

I hope you enjoy listening to the music and that it might entice you to buy the book when it finally comes out!

Steph \m/

In the Meantime … here’s Quotesques!

While I wait for my books to come down from amazon and be republished by their new home (I’m waiting on reversion forms to be signed by Silver Shamrock), I have created a new notebook range. Like Zodiecats, these are lined and 200 pages long and matte finish, but I’ve chosen a theme which mirrorss my home in dark fiction. Images were taken from those without use restrictions and adapted – apart from the angel in my Mary Shelley cover. This was my own photograph of The Knife Angel, a scultpure I saw when I was out and about and which travels the UK to support knife crime initiatives.

Why do I do these? Two reasons, one to try and earn a bit more money, two to develop design skills. It is also quite therapeutic!

Here are the first five wraps for Quotesques! Link to purchase is below each image.Ultimately, I hope to have a range of a dozen or so to choose from.

The Tempest – http://mybook.to/QuotesquesHellisEmpty

Macbeth – http://mybook.to/QuotesquesWicked

Frankenstein – http://mybook.to/QuotesquesShelley

The Raven – http://mybook.to/QuotesquesPoe

Dracula – http://mybook.to/QuotesquesDracula

New Release: Foundlings – and some kind words!

At last, Foundlings has fledged! A joint collection – written by Cindy O’Quinn and myself, we have created our own original poems from the words of dark poet masters Linda D. Addison and Alessandro Manzetti. Currently available as an ebook, a print copy will be available in the near future. Proof copies for checking are being delivered as I type.

If you want to know what people think, here’s feedback from some of the poets and writers we most admire in this industry and who have been kind enough to share their thoughts with us:

Praise for Foundlings

Foundlings is a beautiful, red glimpse into hell. Cindy O’Quinn and Stephanie Ellis play with the words of two lyrical masters, carving, shuffling, and stitching together, gruesome, tiny tapestries. When held up the light, these poems reflect the chthonic origins but also new-born nightmares, proving that darkness has a thousand faces. Each poem is exquisitely grim: the underworld is monstrous, but so, so pretty.”

Geneve Flynn, Bram Stoker and Shirley Jackson Award®-winning author and editor

“Cindy O’Quinn and Stephanie Ellis sparking off the fine work of Linda D. Addison and Alessandro Manzetti, this is a superb, compelling collection of darkly glittering gems and flowers of the night. Likely award winner.”

– Thomas Tessier, Horror Guild International Award Winner

Foundlings is a must-have collection of hauntingly beautiful poems that will tickle the imagination like the wings of dying moths. Hats-off to authors Cindy O’Quinn and Stephanie Ellis for giving us this unique book.”

 – Owl Goingback, Bram Stoker Award®-winning author of Crota and Coyote Rage

“This collection of found poems by Ellis and O’Quinn which is both familiar and fresh, re-envisions the work of Alessandro Manzetti and Linda D. Addison in dark and delightful ways. A stunning collaboration of two of horror’s best-loved poets paying tribute to two of its masters, Foundlings is sublime.”

– Lee Murray, USA Today Bestselling Author and Bram Stoker Award® winner

“With Foundlings, Cindy O’Quinn and Stephanie Ellis have mingled the essence of their soul into the dark glory of Linda D. Addison’s & Alessandro Manzetti’s words, resequencing those words into a screaming orgasm of meaning, while uncovering new worlds. Foundlings places a hand around your waist and a hand around your throat in a masterful waltz between the new & the familiar, the grotesque & the glorious. It is an unforgettable tribute to two of horror’s greatest living poets, from two of its best writers.”

– Jamal Hodge, award-winning director and a Rhysling nominated poet. His screenplay, ‘Mourning Meal’ won five awards and was based on Linda D. Addison’s poem of the same name.

“Written and inspired by prominent members of the Horror Writers Association, Foundlings is a haunting and enthralling poetic journey. Renowned authors and poets Cindy O’Quinn and Stephanie Ellis have “found” evocative words and phrases in the work of Bram Stoker Award-winning writers Linda D. Addison and Alessandro Manzetti, and used them to create new dark poetry. They have then distilled each other’s poems further, creating haikus like shards of glass – sharp, beautiful, broken. Not only is this collection a deep dive into dark visions and hinted-at horrors, it is also a scintillating exercise in deconstructing powerful pre-existing work until all that remains are bare bones and pure emotion. Foundlings will delight horror fans and logophiles alike.”

Anna Taborska, author of Bloody Britain and For Those Who Dream Monsters

“These vignettes of blood and darkness etched in gorgeous, evocative prose will keep you breathlessly turning the pages for more.”

– Christina Sng, two-time Bram Stoker Award®-winning poet

“Poetry begets poetry begets poetry. Foundlings by Cindy O’Quinn and Stephanie Ellis pays homage to the source material, then enraptures us with a delve into their own unique arrangement. Bold and dark yet beautiful. At once sinister yet yielding to impossible hope. If you enjoy your poetry smart, riveting and infinitely well-seasoned with both despair and beauty, then grab a copy of this one. It doesn’t disappoint.”

– Justin Holley, author of Seven Cleopatra Hill

“In Foundlings, O’Quinn and Ellis sprout a garden of macabre flora from the rich creations of Addison and Manzetti. This collection of verses and haikus invites you to dance with your demons and angels through nightscapes rich with dark blooms seeded by the exquisite machinations of true aesthetes.”

– Jezzy Wolfe, author of Monstrum Poetica

Foundlings by Cindy O’Quinn & Stephanie Ellis is a beautiful demonstration of creative community strength. A collection of found poetry, the work is a remix of work from both Alessandro Manzetti and Linda D. Addison, but these poems stand on their own as original verse. As one candle can light many others without being diminished, this poetry shares a common spark but the flame it shares is wholly its own. These poets have found fertile ground and from it created a brand new thing worthy of praise.”

-Angela Yuriko Smith,Bram Stoker® finalist, poet, author and publisher

New Novella Coming Soon!

Finally I can share details of my new novella, Paused. Published via Silver Shamrock Publishing, it is out on January 11th 2022 and is available for pre-order here. With a wonderful cover by Kealan Patrick Burke and some editing mastery from Kenneth W. Cain, I hope everyone enjoys it.

I’ve been a lifelong fan of disaster movies – I grew up in an age when films such as Airport, The Towering Inferno and The Poseidon Adventure seemed to be on repeat on Sunday afternoons and which in a strange way have become my comfort viewing. These days, The Day After Tomorrow and its kind have replaced those earlier offerings but the genre still draws me, I think it’s probably why I like zombies as well – the end of the world is nigh! I wanted to write something that was an homage to this love of doom as well as explore the idea of ‘locked-in’ syndrome which I’d been reading about in the newspapers. What must it be like to be in that position, to be aware of the world but unable to communicate. I could think of nothing worse – well, actually I could – what if this happened when you were going about your daily routine and not safely tucked up in a hospital bed. The sheer vulnerability and terror of that would be horrendous. And so Paused was born:

Dr Alex Griffiths heads a research department in a university hospital. As more and more succumb to this strange affliction—including his own family—it becomes a race against time for his team to find an answer before they too are affected.

People are stopping, bodies halting regardless of situation or location. They are still alive but completely unresponsive, vulnerable statues utterly at the mercy of their environment. Unable to run from fire, some burn. Unable to return to shore, some drown. Unable to move from the path of a truck, some are crushed. Nor are you safe at home—unable to move, you starve.

Humanity has been put on pause. Will it ever restart?

Foundlings by Cindy O’Quinn and Stephanie Ellis

A conversation not long ago with the wonderful poet and writer, Cindy O’Quinn triggered this collaboration. I have always loved creating found poetry and Cindy suggested we work on something and perhaps create found poems from the works of our favourite dark poets. Spookily, her choice of Linda D. Addington and mine of Alessandro Manzetti, led to the perfect source material and the results have been gathered into this book.Both inspirations are aware of this book and we couldn’t be more delighted or honoured that they have agreed to write a foreword for us.

We have also been receiving some amazing feedback from a number of award-winning poets and writers which we’ll be sharing with folk in the not too distant future.Foundlings is slated for publication February 2022 all being well!

This has been a fantastic project to work on. It was one of those which just seemed to ‘happen’ and so perhaps, was meant to be. Our words were culled from the books below – all must reads for dark poets everywhere!

Black Angel Press – Gothic Ghost Story Anthology Call!

One of the guilty pleasures of Christmas, is that moment when you pull a favourite book from the shelf and reread it for the umpteenth time. Those wintry tales of ghosts and hauntings have become part of a much-loved tradition in this country.

Black Angel Press want to add to this genre by providing a collection of new tales from female writers; this includes those who identify as women and both new and experienced writers alike.

We are looking for quiet gothic darkness and whilst stories can be set in the traditional Victorian environment, we are also very much open to any who take the gothic tropes and place them in the present – or even the future.

The anthology will consist of 20 stories and be a mixture of invitation and submission.

Payment terms: £5 per story and an electronic copy of the book.

Submission Requirements: stories should be 3-5k but we will allow a little flexibility if the story demands it. Manuscripts should be in Shunn format and either .doc or .docx – do NOT send in the body of the email. The first page should include contact details. Your covering email need only be brief, addressed to myself and Alyson (Faye) and should also include a short bio. If you are at the start of your publishing journey and are worried about lack of credits, don’t be. Use the bio to share the books and authors you love and a little about you.

Send to: blackangelpress66@gmail.com

Submissions open: 1 Dec 2021 and close end April 2022.

Any questions? Drop us a line!

UK Ghost Story Festival

At last, after what feels like months, I’m packing things up ready for the UK Ghost Story Festival in Derby, which starts tomorrow. Our first job when we get there is to get our table in the Quad ready. And that is where you’ll find me and my husband for most of Friday and Saturday! We’ll be selling a variety of books – my own and Alyson Faye’s indivually authored books as well as those from Black Angel Press. I’ve included a price list here so you can see that it’s possible to pick up a bargain when you compare the prices with amazon! A word of warning – we are only taking cash or cheque (there are ATMs very near the building) simply because the charges involved in using a card reader or paypal.me make it not viable. Please don’t let that put you off – come and support us and grab some wonderful books, which we will sign for you if you want. We will also be offering a rather nice book bundle as a raffle prize. (Note – we will consider paypal if you have the app on your phone.)

On the Saturday morning, I’ll be taking part in the first panel at 10:00am Strange as Folk: The Resurgence of Folk Horror alongside Simon Clark and Tracy Fahey with Alex Davis as chair. We’ll be discussing the elements of folk horror as well as trends past, present and future. Folk horror is very much my happy place.

I’ll also be around listening in on the panel on which Aly is taking part at 11:00am: Writing Great Short Ghost Stories featuring Aly, Simon Fairbanks, Lauro Mauro and Simon Fairbanks.

On Sunday, 10:30-11:30am both Aly and me will be found over the road in The Museum of Making (the above events are both in the Quad but the festival shifts on Sunday). We’ll be talking about Black Angel and Women In Horror – where we’ve come from, where we’re going with this press and a special announcement. This is very much a networking event so if you’re a woman in horror whether someone who’s just starting out or someone who’s been around for a while and getting frustrated with progress, come along and listen. Connect with us and together we can add our voices to those others who try to raise up horror from the female (in all its inclusive aspects) perspective.

Getting sorted

This was me working out what we’d got to sell – minus Alyson Faye’s books, they will appear in Derby (she lives up the other end of the country to me!). It does look rather pretty when they’re all together!

The book bundle we are offering in a raffle are in the basket on the right and include: A Dying Planet (Flame Tree Press), Midnight in the Pentagram anthology, The Thread of the Infinite (Snow Books anthology) – I have stories in all of these and also copies of my books: Bottled, The Five Turns of the Wheel and Asylum of Shadows. There may be a few more books thrown in as well – I’m fairly certain Aly is offering a copy of Night of the Rider and Lost Girl.

And I’ll also be bringing some of my Zodiecat notebooks (see below)!

Price Guide:

If you click on the images, they take you to the amazon page so you can read a bit about the book.

£6

Saver! Buy As the Wheel Turns and Five Turns of the Wheel for £14

£3

£3
£6
£9

Folk Horror

£6

Saver! Buy Daughters of Darkness I and II for £11!

£5
£6
£7

Gothic Horror

£6

£5

Zodiecat Notebooks!

There’s one for each sign of the zodiac. 200 lined pages.

£5 each.

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