New Story: Trenchfoot Theatre

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I adjust my bonnet, take a breath, and emerge into the lamplight. I can see the public in the cheap seats, and they thunder their appreciation with hands and feet and fag smoke. I smell spilt beer and ladies’ perfume disguising sweat, and I fear I will be sick. My debut. Climbing up and out and over the smoky precipice, I want to turn tail and run for the wings, but I wouldn’t survive it. The master of ceremonies wields his gavel like a sabre.

“Ladies and gennlemun, boys and girls! MISTER – PADDY – SYKES!”

Read more on Patreon…

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Surviving The Season Whilst Spooky

This is me doing my annual Goth National Service. Here’s my list of dark little treats and recommendations to help you traverse the purgatory of December.

How To Survive The Most Wonderful Time of The Year When You Find This Time of The Year Pretty Unbearable Actually.

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Vincent Price decks his tree. Just ignore the feet sticking out at the bottom…

2016 has been nightmare upon nightmare, but it was last year that we lost the incomparable Christopher Lee. Mr Lee’s baritone M.R. James readings have become a Christmas tradition in my household, and thank all the sunken crowns of East Anglia, you can buy a DVD of the lot. Forget carols at Kings’. Don your mortar board and enter James’ study for an evening of room-temperature madeira and dread.

For reading matter, cosy won’t cut it. You want something cold. Lauren Owen’s The Quick is a fresh look at the vampire myth, and it stayed with me for its sense of the physicality of being undead as much as Owen’s clever wordplay when it came to the child blood-drinkers of Victorian London.

I was on a panel at London ComicCon with Alison Littlewood earlier this year, so I picked up one of her novels and now I have an incurable fear of cupboards. I’m saying no more. Read The Unquiet House.

In The Malleus Maleficarum, Kramer and Sprenger wrote that Christmas was a good time for witches to work their magic, as all the revelry made bad Christians easy to bring over to the Devil. In that spirit, please enjoy Jeanette Winterson’s The Daylight Gate.

Speaking of bewitching, other things to treat yourself to include cosmetics, which I’m strangely shy of talking about despite having written an entire book on the subject. I’ve always been a fairly atypical consumer of beauty products, so I hope you’ll understand when I say if you wish to smell like this…

censer2…then wear this:

comme_des_garcons_series_3-_incense_avignon_enlIncense Avignon by Comme des Garçons is bottled ritual. Morrissey used to have it sprayed into concert halls before he came onstage to foster a feeling of holiness and dread. I always think it smells like Rasputin might if someone forced him to have a bath. Holy smoke and hard drink.

And for your filthy sinful face…

Screen Shot 2016-12-05 at 19.21.43I’ve been a fan of Aromaleigh cosmetics for years and years, and they keep getting better. I never end up in the MAC shop, because Aromaleigh not only beat them on pigment, price, and quality, but their ranges are inspired by arse-kicking historical women, Dante’s Inferno, and deep space, which are really the only topics worth focusing on when browsing eyeshadows. The Hannibal-themed collection, This Is My Design, is particularly delightful for having a copper duochrome shade called Abattoir. “Ooh, you’re so glittery. What is that?” “ABATTOIR.”

I’m going to close this year’s guide on an unusually festive note with Mediaeval Baebes, because if there’s one thing December is good for, it’s putting a big blanket around your shoulders, drinking red wine and pretending to be a weatherbeaten medieval king. Mediaeval Baebes are especially good at taking traditional carols and imbuing them with that sense of midwinter darkness you just don’t get with Slade. Salva nos, stella maris…

There, now. Doesn’t that feel better?

And remember, at Christmas, Christopher Lee always wore Vincent Price’s special Christmas fez. Make spookiness a part of your festive traditions, for the sake of our dear departed Goth Granddads.

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If you’re anywhere near Surrey, come along to the beautiful Royal Holloway College on Monday the 14th at 5pm to help launch The Mighty Healer: Thomas Holloway’s Victorian Patent Medicine Empire in Crosslands bar.

I might even divulge the secret pill recipe…

And if you haven’t got your copy yet, Pen & Sword are giving away three copies over on Goodreads. It’s free to enter, and open to entrants anywhere in the world.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Mighty Healer by Verity Holloway

The Mighty Healer

by Verity Holloway

Giveaway ends November 24, 2016.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

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Good for what ails you

The day has come for The Mighty Healer: Thomas Holloway’s Victorian Patent Medicine Empire to roll out into the world. I hope you’re pleased with it, Cousin Thomas. Or at least not too annoyed with me for giving away your secret ointment recipe.

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And as it’s Halloween, what better way to launch a book than with patent medicine cupcakes?

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Outings: MCM London ComicCon & Holloway College

Hello. Long time no post.

I’ll be on a panel at MCM London ComicCon tomorrow – Saturday the 29th – talking about horror and dark fantasy with Jason Arnopp and Alison Littlewood. We’ll be on the Silver stage at 12pm. I’ll then be on the SolarStorm podcast talking about my upcoming novel Pseudotooth. After that, I’ll be knee deep in Star Wars merch, so say come and say hello while you can.
londonCOMICOnly a few more days until the general release of The Mighty Healer. All being well, there’ll be a launch evening at Holloway College itself on the 14th of November, where I’ll be signing books and lurking at the bar. More details as they’re finalised.

Whew.

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My road to publication

I’m over on The Literary Consultancy’s blog talking about my journey from scribbles to proofs. I used their manuscript services when I didn’t know where to turn with Pseudotooth, and I’d recommend them to anyone.

After eight years of writing Pseudotooth – yes, eight – I just didn’t know where to go with it…

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Cover reveal!

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The big reveal.

I’m very happy – and a bit overwhelmed – to be sharing the beautiful cover of my novel Pseudotooth, with original art by Christina Mrozik. I love all the little clues she’s left. Get your Jung dream dictionaries out…

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Kindling

I’ve put my head over the parapet of the 21st century. Beauty Secrets of The Martyrs is now available as an ebook as well as a paperback.

Beauty-Secrets-of-the-Martyrs-Web-3d-TabletShop on Amazon UKAmazon US and iBooks for what the Pope himself* has called “a really excellent slice of sacrilege and apocalypse”.

*Or a reader called Joshua. One of them. I’m bad with names.

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News, the large kind.

I’m the happiest girl in the world.

My novel Pseudotooth will be published by Unsung Stories in March 2017.

I can’t wait for you to meet Aisling and Feodor and David. They’ve lived in my head for so many years, and now they’re venturing out into the world, trailing lighter fluid and toffee wrappers.

In the meantime, a tiddy clue…

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Sally forth and pre-order The Mighty Healer

You can now pre-order The Mighty Healer direct from Pen & Sword. Order now and get £3 off, which you can then spend on patent medicine and/or gin.

The release date is October the 31st. Halloween! The question is, do I have the skill to carve Thomas Holloway’s face into a pumpkin…?

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