Thank You

A-Z of Horror: Complete Collection: Fear from beginning to end by [Wright, Iain Rob]I have just finished reading the excellent A-Z of Horror by Iain Rob Wright. It’s a brilliant collection of horror short stories that shocked, titillated, surprised and amused. Each story never failed to hit its mark and it’s been one of the most fun reading experiences I’ve enjoyed in a long time.

At the end of the book, in a short afterword, Mr Wright points out how important reviews are to authors. Book-selling algorithms are built on positive reviews and, the more positive reviews a book receives, the better chance it has of reaching more readers.

Consequently, this blog post is for two reasons.

Firstly, I want to say I’m just off to write a five star review for Mr Wright’s excellent book.

And, secondly, I want to say a public thank you to the writer who left this review for my own horror novel, Doll House:

I bought this book from the author at a book signing. I was there for other reasons but thought I’d hang around and see what was going on. The writer, Dr Ashley Lister (the Dr thing I discovered later) read a couple of passages. It sounded quite good so, and being as I had read ‘Raven and Skull’ Lister’s first horror novel, I went with the crowd and got myself a signed copy.

I must confess as with a lot of books I buy, it sat on my shelf for a while. Once I did pick it hooked me in. Not like a big slap in the face “That was the best opening paragraph I’ve ever read!” kind of thing, no. Lister’s style has away drawing you in. It flows over you and before you know it you are 4 chapters in and on the edge of your seat.

I’m not going to talk about the story. You can read the blurb on here and I see other reviews cover that. I want to talk about the feel. This book was great because it was a fun fright. A bit like reading Dean R Koontz, James Herbert or Stephen King, it makes you wince, it makes you want to hide, but overall you feel excited by being frightened. Lister has his own style, however, there is enough in the text to show how much he loves the genre.

I reached the end and smiled. ‘Doll House’ gave my horror itch a good old scratch and if you like your horror in that 70s/80s horror masters fashion, then read this. It comes from the pen of a fellow fan.

To paraphrase Mr Wright’s point – reviews can make or break an author.  If you’ve read a book and enjoyed it, please leave a review.

Doll House – blog tour (part #1)

Last week saw the first five days of the Doll House blog tour.  It’s been an exciting tour so far, with some considered and flattering comments from some very astute reviewers. I thought it might be easier for anyone interested if I put the links here:
And there’s an extract from the novel here:
Thank you to everyone who’s read, written, responded or retweeted.  I can’t wait for next week’s final two dates on the blog tour.
And, if you fancy treating yourself to a copy of Doll House, the link’s here: 

Doll House – The Trailer

by Ashley Lister
Last night (August 5th) saw the launch of Doll House.  The book itself will be available on Amazon soon, but last night offered a taster of what the book has to offer. 
It was a fantastic evening, with some of my closest friends, former students, and favourite writers and poets.  The evening was hosted by good friend (and living legend) Colin Davies, and I’m still recovering from the experience.
Aside from selling books, sharing a couple of excerpts and a brief Q&A, I also shared the following teaser video to give everyone an idea of what the book is like.  Please feel free to share this with anyone who you think might be entertained.

Launch Party- Doll House

It’s getting close to the launch date for Doll House.  On Sunday night (Sunday August 5th) there’ll be a launch party with the Pub Poets (£5 on the door) at their usual Bootleg venue on Topping Street, Blackpool. 

The guest poet for this event is the incredible Christopher Bowles. Christopher is a wonderful human being, a gifted poet, and a thoroughly decent bloke.  If you like quality poetry from good people, you’ll love what Christopher has to offer.  If you want a taste of Christopher’s quality poetry, please follow this link:
As usual there’ll be contributions from outstanding local poets, there’ll be the legendary Haiku Death Match, and the convivial atmosphere that everyone always expects and enjoys with a typical Pub Poets night. 
However, because this is the launch night for Doll House, my 51st full length title, there’ll also be more going on.  I’m going to be there selling and signing copies of Doll House, for anyone who wants to purchase their own copy of my current masterpiece.  I shall have bookmarks to give away, I’ll be reading a couple of short passages from Doll House and we’ll also be premiering a short video of the book that gives everyone an idea of its spooky contents. 
It’s always a great night with the Pub Poets. This one is going to be superlative and it would be great to see you there. 

Ghost Hunting

 By Ashley Lister
I have a novel coming out next month: Doll House.  It’s a horror story (similar to my previous novel, Raven and Skull) and because it deals with the uncanny, it got me thinking about the supernatural. 

My experience with the supernatural has been, thankfully, very limited. I tell colleagues and students that I don’t believe in ghost or spirits during daylight hours. However, when it’s dark, and if I’ve been watching a scary film or reading an unsettling novel, I’ll turn every light in the house on if I have to go to the bathroom.  Sometimes, if I really feel unnerved, I’ll beg my wife to accompany me to the quieter corners of Chez Lister.  I feel confident, if we’re ever faced with something menacing, unnatural or otherworldly, she’ll know what to do.  
So, when a student of mine asked if I wanted to take advantage of her ticket to a local ghost hunt, I was surprised to hear myself accept the invitation. The student wasn’t able to make the tour and she didn’t want the ticket to go to waste. I’d always wondered what went on at such events, so I accepted.
Naturally, I took my wife in case I genuinely encountered anything spooky. 
The ghost tour started late at night. I’m an old man nowadays and ten o’clock at night is more like bedtime than time to head out and start walking around an old cinema that is now being used (during daylight hours) as marketplace. Nevertheless, I was excited and armed with a torch and my trusty phone, I wrapped myself up wearing thermal underwear, a woolly hat, heavy denims and steel toecap work boots.
The organisers gave everyone involved a chance to work with EVP equipment, crystals and Ouija boards. I’m not a big fan of Ouija boards (I’ve yet to read a story or watch a film where one of those things provides a happy ending), so my wife and I declined the invitation to play with one of those. I also begged off the idea of participating in a séance because I’m not comfortable holding hands with strangers in the dark.
But I was happy wandering around the site, chatting with other ghost hunters and feeling goosebumps when they told me about their personal supernatural encounters.  In the silence of the deserted cinema/marketplace, I could hear the one-sided conversations going on in the séances. I could hear gasps of incredulity coming from those following the Ouija board’s planchette, and I spoke with people who claimed to have experienced inexplicable encounters.
One woman told me she had been talking to the ghost of a man who had been a regular patron at the cinema when it still was a cinema. “His hair was glossy with Brylcream,” she told me.  “And he said his name was Jim.” As a writer, I thought the narrative of her story was somewhat disappointing because Jim’s existence seemed to lack a point. Did he want revenge, or closure? Or was he simply lingering in the afterlife, communing with the living, so he could advocate the lasting powers of Brylcream?
We didn’t manage to stay for the whole night.
As I said before, I’m an old man with an old man’s need for sleep. Worse, I have an old man’s bladder and, although my wife will put up with a lot of things from me, she seemed reluctant to accompany me to the gent’s toilets in the supposedly haunted cinema.  However, one of the pictures I took from that evening did make me think the evening hadn’t been a waste of time.
Admittedly, a lot of my friends claim this is a dust mote, or some sort of camera flash. But, personally, I’m convinced this is the picture of a spirit. More importantly, I think this is a picture of Jim – that is, what he looks like without the ghostly façade of a human form. The reasons why I feel sure this is Jim is because, after I took the photograph, I had an irresistible urge to go and buy Brylcream. And this is more remarkable when you realise I’m bald.

Doll House is published by Caffeine Nights Publishing and will be available from June 28th2018.  Treat yourself to something far scarier than dust motes.