Blog tour finishes with a flourish

Well, day 5 has finally rolled round, marking an end of the Game of Crones mini blog tour and I’m happy – and a little relieved – to report that the great reviews for my witchcraft themed collection of short stories have  continued to the finish line. Here’s a sample of what the book bloggers thought:

 

Trails of Tales:Jay Raven can certainly pack a punch. Yes sir! All the stories in Game of Crones, and I mean all are qualified to boast of endings that are anything but predictable. 

“Of course, as is the case with most anthologies, you might like some stories better that others but each of them will shock or surprise you. Jay Raven’s prowess as a writer is clearly evident in the manner he suddenly changes the direction and pace of a story, leading to an end that is completely capable of leaving you stunned.”

Terror Tree: “The stories are all set in a different time and place and due to the author’s fine detail gives you the feeling that you are there.  One thing I could not get over was how much was crammed into each story. There was comedy, intrigue, suspense, vengeance and so much more, that kept me hooked. Jay Raven is a new author to me and he has just gained another fan.”

KT Robson: Despite the dark nature of the book, it makes for a quick read, each story being gripping from the first page, drawing you in and giving you that ‘just one more..’ feeling as you begin the next one. I really hope this isn’t the last short story collection that Jay Raven publishes! I devoured this one and was quite sad when I reached the end and realised there were no more stories for me to read!”

The ayjaypagefarer book blog: “Raven has a real touch for the dark and macabre. In this work, he offers some short tales of witchcraft and devilry that seem strangely familiar to us – like a gut feeling that you may have seen the film you are watching before, even though you haven’t. As an introduction to Raven’s writing, and to malevolent magic stories in general, it certainly works; those familiar stories are told with a freshness and world-building that, together, show us old tropes in a new light – and which keep the reader turning the page.”

The Midnight Review: “Game of Crones is a series of short stories written by Jay. I love a good anthology but I have never read one where the stories are all written by the same author.

“So what are you in for? well, according to the cover, tales of witchcraft and wickedness. Do you get it? Oh yes! The thing I love about short stories is the intensity of them. The author has to get to the point straight away so they usually pack a punch and the story that kicks off this collection is 2-3 minutes long. It really sets the tone for what is coming.

“My favourite story of the lot was Changeling. The reason being it relies on your imagination to work out what the outcome is. I don’t want to go into details and spoil it. Let’s just say it sent shivers down my spine.”

 

It’s been a fabulous tour and I’m really grateful to all the wonderful reviewers who took part. Many thanks.

Day 4 of the blog tour and 4 cracking reviews!

Today’s crop of book blogger write-ups for Game of Crones have had me dancing with delight. They’ve showered the book with compliments.

 

Black Books Blog declared:“All of the stories are brilliantly written with lots of atmosphere and twisty endings which I never saw coming, even though I know from past experience how Jay writes.

Overall, this is  brilliant collection of stories, which you can dip in and out of when you have a spare ten minutes.” 

 

The Divine Write wrote: This is a great collection of short stories, which you know by now I love.  Firstly the title, I love a good pun and this one is clever.

“There are eight tales in total and although they all have a common thread, they are all very different in tone.I enjoyed them all but my favourite was Suggestion of Evil, which I thought was very captivating. In this story Pandora, has all but wiped out crime from every town she visits, simply by the method she uses to execute prisoners.  What is her secret?”

 

While ReviewsFeed said: “After briefly starting this before bed one night, I read 90% of this book in one sitting the following day. That’s how quick and enjoyable it is! 

“Each story is nice and short, easy to read and distinctly different from each other. We meet a variety of characters, but the one thing they all have in common is a woman able to wield supernatural powers over us mere mortals with terrifying consequences.

“As I started each new tale, I couldn’t wait to see how events unfolded! I couldn’t anticipate how each story was going to end. A few of the stories are almost fable-like, with a lesson in the morality of seeking out such power…or meddling with the wrong person!”

 

And Odd Socks and Lollipops revealed: “I am a big fan of dark fantasy, and I loved reading Crimson Siege by Jay Raven so I had high hopes for Game of Crones and I am happy to say I was not disappointed! These tales were every bit as dark as I had hoped. I couldn’t out Game of Crones down and ended up reading all of the stories in a single day.”

 

I can’t tell you guys how thrilled I am. Many, many thanks for taking the trouble to read the collection and share your kind thoughts with your readers.

 

Half way through the blog tour and still plenty of steam

Day 3 of the Game of Crones mini blog tour and I’m delighted to report that the compliments keep coming.

Five glowing reviews. Yeah!

Donnasbookblog commented: “I love the author’s ability to bring his stories to life and he creates some fantastic characters. I love being able to pick up the book between different tasks – and enjoy that he crams in such a lot in a short space and they are so well developed too!

“It is five stars from me for this one. It’s definitely one that I will highly recommending. Can’t wait to see what he releases next!”

Bookshine and Readbows wrote: “I particularly enjoyed the shivers I got from ‘Clutching at Straws’ and ‘Suggestion of Evil’ which cleverly channel the reader’s own imagination against them to highlight and magnify the horror presented.

“Fans of short, dark, frisson-inducing tales of haggard crones and sly sirens will enjoy this varied collection of wicked witchery and twisted folk stories.”

Jessica Belmont added her kind thoughts with: “I love short story compilations like this, particularly in the horror genre. Game of Crones is definitely a 5 star read for me.

“Jay Raven’s ability to world build, character build, pull the reader in and keep them invested such a short stories is a true testament to his writing abilities. I loved the twists and turns, the thrills and the fact that each story was unique.”

While Red’s Midnight Reviews added: “I was a little bit dubious as to whether or not I would enjoy this collection of short tales as I find short stories sometimes don’t have the same effect but Jay Raven proves with Game of Crones that you don’t need a full length novel to pack a punch.

“Each story has a different subject and weaves its own twists and turn and the end of each story is guaranteed to leave the reader speechless. I honestly could not get enough!!

“Jay Raven is a unique storyteller with an amazing talent that draws you into his fun, macabre stories.”

And Just Books ended with: “The stories are all dark and have a twist, but are all completely different. Unusually, for short stories, the author pulled me into each one with his writing style and the brilliant characters.

“A great book for dipping into with a cuppa… or for reading in one sitting, as I did!”

WOW! I can’t thank you guys enough. I’m blushing from ear to ear!

More marvellous plaudits

I’m thrilled to say that Day 2 of the Game of Crones blog tour has produced a crop of great feedback.

Radzy Writes and Reviews commented: “Every short story in this collection has that out of the box twist, and never once reaches a weird, unrealistic place. I found the stories satisfying and uplifting when I didn’t realise.

Fans of great endings will be very happy with this book, as will fans of fantasy, medieval, steampunk, and the like. It ticks all the boxes for me, and I’ll be checking out more of Raven’s work ASAP.”

Jazzy Book Reviews wrote: “I think my favorite story out of them all was the one involving the scarecrow. That one was pretty horrifying, but that might be because I have a thing with scarecrows. They’re ridiculously creepy.

All of the stories were entertaining and amusing, though. I enjoyed that most, if not all, had a revenge aspect to them. Never cross a witch, that’s for sure.

If you’re a fan of short stories, horror, witches, or all of the above, then you’ll want to grab a copy of Game of Crones. I’d recommend it. 4 stars!”

And Mai’s Musings reported: “Game of Crones is filled with vivid imagery, with the author painting such a clear image of the landscape surrounding each story that you could actually feel that you were there. Achieving this at the same time as creating characters that you really cared about in each story in so few words is a true talent, and one that I wished I possessed.

“Game of Crones is a book that I would definitely recommend both to people who wouldn’t normally read short stories, and also to those who normally avoid the creepier books. This book is a great introduction to both, and is a great showcase of the author’s writing skills.”

 

Wow – many sincere thanks to the reviewers who took the time to give their thoughts on the collection. I really appreciate it. More reviews tomorrow…

Blog tour off to a smashing start

Day one of the Game of Crones blog tour is proving a hit with the book bloggers and I couldn’t be more thrilled with their comments.

 

Jessica’s Reading Room wrote: “If you enjoy your ‘fairy tales’ with a macabre twist to them then Game of Crones is for you.

Each story is unique in its own way and has various twists at the end that you might not see coming!

My two personal favorites were Suggestion of Evil and Prince Charming. They were two very different stories and I especially liked the ending of Prince Charming.” story is unique in its own way and has varying twists at the end that you may not see coming!  My two personal favorites were Suggestion of Evil and Prince Charming. They were two very different stories and I especially loved the ending of Prince Charming.

And Bookwormforkids, blogspot.com wrote: “Short, dark and sweet, these tales take on all sorts of witchcraft and sorcery in a way which sometimes leaves chills, food for thought or simply a thrill. 

The tales are nicely written, each one drawing into its very own setting and characters. It was impossible to guess where each one would lead, thanks to the twists and turns.

I recommend this to fans of witchcraft, sinister twists, and spells which stay with you long after you close those pages.”

 

Thanks for such a fabulous verdict.

If you enjoy your ‘fairy tales’ with a macabre twist to them then Game of Crones is for you!

A cackle of witches!

Really thrilled to announce that my dark fantasy witchcraft-themed short story collection GAME OF CRONES is out now. Eight scary fairy tales tales to chill and surprise. Plenty of twists and surprises, all dished up with a dash of mayhem and malice.

Check it out by clicking HERE for Amazon.co.uk and HERE for Amazon.com.

An exclusive peek behind the scenes of a stunning new series.

On the launch day for A Cup of Blood, the start of his latest dark fantasy trilogy, author Troy A. Hill lifts the lid on his thrilling tale of Celtic myths, shape-shifters and a heroine who just happens to be a vampire!

 

 

Arthur is dead…

Well, any Brit could tell you that. Heck. Even I, a Yank from Middle America, who got most of his British history from Monty Python reruns, could tell you that.

Yet, that simple statement is both the cornerstone of my new Dark Fantasy trilogy, and the beginnings of my long and sordid (well, only two years long) love affair with a place and it’s people. Wales.

When I had the idea for my stories, I thought: England, Camelot, Knights in Shiny Armour.

Boy, was I wrong. So wrong, I could hear the needle screech across the record… or the gasp of the bard as he stopped strumming the harp. I even thought Arthur was English. (Remember that record screech? Play it again. He’s Welsh. Or, rather, the myths of him are Welsh in origin.)

Let’s be clear off the bat: No, my stories are not about Arthur.

My original idea was What if a vampire went to visit Arthur…? Of course, I’m also a fan of Mark Twain. Why would I mix the two? Twain and Arthur, with my love of all things undead and blood-sucky?

But, the more I learned about Arthur, the less I wanted to write yet another story about the mysterious protector of Britain. His story has been told and retold, and then there were the retellings of the retellings of the retellings.

Enter Mabon. Or, rather, Lady Charlotte Guest, notably blamed for coining the name Mabinogion. Anyone intimate with British history has probably been exposed to the various tales of Mabon and the subsequent heroic tales of Geraint, Pwyll, Math, Bran, and, yes, Arthur.

What I did find in my quest for knowledge beyond the romances surrounding Arthur, was the Mabinogion. In particular, I found King Arthur and The Goddess of the Land by Caitlín Matthews. This was my siren song. The work that led me to dive into the myths of Arthur, and learn what his role had been, and how it had grown out of the Cymric ideals of protecting the homeland. Just like Mabon, Math, and Bran before him, Matthews shows how Arthur was an embodiment in the Mabinogi of the masculine role of protector of Britain.

That, of course, led me to learn of Modron, The Celtic Goddess of Britain. Mother of Mabon. Embodied by the mythical Lady of the Lake. The Lady. Later adopted by Christianized Britain as the Holy Lady, Mother of the Saviour.

I now had my theme for the story. Arthur is dead.

My story would detail the goddess and her choice of a successor to Arthur. One who will protect Britain in her greatest challenge. But who would The Lady choose as her new champion?

That is the situation I explore in the prequel novellas, Penllyn, Penteulu, and Cursed. These have been collected into one volume The Penllyn Chronicles. In that series, Arthur has been dead for more than a century. The goddess discovers an unseen enemy has been working against her champions. When the enemy reveals itself, the goddess is forced into a game for the sovereign power she alone grants to Britain’s champions.

The stories of The Penllyn Chronicles don’t focus on the final champion the goddess chooses, but instead, show the men and women of Cymru that will support the new protector in the battles to come.

In the early dark ages, Mercia is ascendant, Powys is in turmoil, and Gwynedd is targeted by the sons of Ida. In central Powys, one cantref sits as an island of sanity amidst the strife. Lord Penllyn and his heirs do not realize they stand at what will be the centre of the storm that will unfold in my newest trilogy: The Cup of Blood series.

One name stands out in these stories. Lady Gwen. Gwenhwyfar. The chosen disciple of The Holy Lady. The last keeper of the old Celtic ways. Her husband long dead, she acts as The Lady’s messenger. Calling those the goddess needs to serve.

Both the Penllyn Chronicles, and the Cup of Blood series will show the underlying character of the people of Cymru, of Britain, when their lives, their families, and all they hold dear are threatened. Bleddyn ap Macsen, his adopted brother Neirin ap Emlyn, along with Ruadh, from the highland Picts, as well as a cast of Britons of stout character, form the core of the forces the goddess calls in her game against darkness.

A young lord Bleddyn must marry, and the choice he faces for the next Lady Penllyn is bleak. Until the firebrand daughter of the Lord of Rhos enters his life.

Bleddyn’s brother Neirin watched Saxon raiders slaughter his first family. Lord Penllyn arrived too late for them, but took the tyke into his own family. Neirin learned weapons from an early age, his only desire: to protect his new family. But, when old rivalries flare, Neirin’s worst nightmares come back. He and Penllyn are forever changed.

Ruadh, the highlander, shares a curse with his father and brothers. But, he doesn’t share his brother’s ambitions. When his father, the Clan Chief, is murdered by one of his shapeshifting brothers, Ruadh knows his life is already marked. He must flee their treacherous claws, but where can he flee to find safety?

These are the people the Goddess calls to protect Cymru in what will be the darkest hour. But the champion? Can the goddess choose a mortal to protect Britain against the forces of death and destruction?

Maria has been dead for six centuries. She and her undead brothers live because they drink the blood of others. Maria shares the love of dance with Aemilianus. The dance of the blades. The dance of steel. The dance of swords.

The same dance that a young Neirin learned from Emilius. Aemilianus.

Who better to fight against the dark and destructive powers of Modron’s enemy, than death?

Arthur is dead. But Maria is undead. 

A Cup of Blood:

– click HERE to buy on Amazon.com

– click HERE to buy on Amazon.co.uk

 

Crimson Siege blog tour – Day 7 and more good news.

Hi everyone

It’s been a really exciting week and I’m delighted to report that the 21-stop blog tour for Crimson Siege has ended with a big bang.  Three cracking reviews to finish with.  And, added to the three corkers the day before, they’ve made me grin from ear to ear.

Kim at Nemesis Book Blog wrote: “This was fast paced, edge of seat, gripping, and sometimes disturbing, but in my opinion it’s not a good horror if you haven’t got something sick, twisted and disturbing lurking around.

“This is set in the time of werewolves and vampires in Transylvania. But definitely not in the traditional sense. Wonderfully written and didn’t hang around, you were quickly transported to the next scene and character.”

To read the full review, click HERE.

Dash Fan Book reviews said: “Crimson Siege hooked me in from the start, it’s fast paced and action packed. It’s a well written taut Gothic style horror. The plot was tense and engaging with flawed intriguing characters. “

To read the full review, click HERE.

And, at Reds Midnight Readers, Tasha wrote: “There were so many different characters in this story that each added something to the tale and complemented it very well, whether you loved them or not!

“With so many twists and turns, Crimson Siege was addictive reading and I did not want to put it down, I would recommend this to anyone who liked a good horror story!”

To read the full review, click HERE.

 

JOIN THE EXCITEMENT

MORE THAN 20 REVIEWERS HAVE RECOMMENDED Crimson Siege AS A MUST-READ, EDGE-OF-THE- SEAT HORROR THRILLER. FIND OUT WHY FOR YOURSELF.

GRAB IT NOW:

AT AMAZON. CO.UK  BUY HERE.

AT AMAZON. COM  BUY HERE.

Crimson Siege day 6 – and a triple treat!

Hi Everyone

That’s right. Three’s a dream. Tuesday proved to be a fabulous day in the Crimson Siege blogger road trip, attracting a trio of stunning reviews, and boosting the number of reviews on Goodreads to 22! (14 of these are 5-star beauties).

The first of the hat trick was from Kirsty at Over the Rainbow Book Blog who wrote: The tension in the second half of the book really holds you and encourages you to read faster to find out how the whole thing is going to play out. The action is great, it is bloody and gory but not unnecessarily so for this type of book. The story is mostly wrapped up but Jay has left plenty of avenues open for the further books, which I am really looking forward to.”

To read the full review, click HERE.

Next Rainne at Just Books wrote: “The characters were well-developed, and each had a unique and flawed personality. Crimson Siege is a well-written, action-packed Gothic tale with plenty of surprising twists and turns to keep you guessing. An entertaining and riveting read which, though it has its fair share of betrayal, brutality and blood, I didn’t find especially scary.

To read the full review, click HERE.

And last, but not – as they say – least, Andy at Pagefarer Book Blog said: “The writing is taut and well-paced, the world-building convincing due to its loose roots in history and playing on some of the vampire themes we know so well. There are a couple of truly horrific moments and I must warn that the book contains some adult themes, as befitting the genre (including swearing, sexual content and violence), but these are not overly dwelt upon nor included solely for shock value.”

To read the full review, click HERE.