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Postcards from the Blog Tour

I’m still reeling from We Wait’s Halloween blog tour. I honestly can’t express my gratitude to Eyrie Press and to all the incredibly supportive bloggers who took part.

Here are just some of their kind words:

We Wait was a revelation, an exquisitely crafted novel that proves that the gothic genre is still capable of surprises and unique takes’ – The Gingernuts of Horror

‘The novel is cleverly written, with an intriguing and compelling plot… As the tensions rose, the pace quickened and the walls started closing in’ – Locky Loves Books

‘Taylor’s writing… is enriched with beautiful imagery…  This book is full of twists and turns and will remain with you even after it’s closed’ – Books in the Belfry

‘Taylor’s prose is beautiful, vivid, and chilling… The novel reminded me very much of Du Maurier’s Rebecca’ – What Kate Read Next

‘I LOVED THIS BOOK!!!… a must read for thriller and gothic horror fans’ – Nurse Bookie

‘If you’re looking for an evocative ghost story about memories and secrets, you don’t want to miss We Wait’ – Read by Dusk

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Thank you, everyone, so, so much. By the end of it all, I was an emotional wreck – but in the very best possible way!!

 

New Short Story Course!

Earlier this year, the fabulous writer, Giselle Leeb, and I were  asked to create a short story course for Eyrie Press. We had a lot of fun, and the course, ‘From Inspiration to Publication’, is now live on Teachable!

Filled with practical exercises, useful techniques and advice, the course covers the essential elements of writing short stories, from getting started to submitting. If you’re interested in writing along with us, you can find an introductory video here…

‘We Wait’ Celebrates Halloween

The clocks are turning back, the dark is seeping in and a small, cold fist is knocking at your door…

As we enter October, the spookiest of months, ‘We Wait’ is slinking out from the shadows to celebrate.

Over on my Twitter account – @meganjstaylor – I’m having a lucky dip, with three intrepid Retweeters winning a copy of ‘We Wait’. I’ll be drawing names from a bowl of gruesome gunk on October 13th so that my ghosts will arrive well in time for Halloween.

And later in the month, I’m delighted that my brilliant publisher, Eyrie Press, are sending ‘We Wait’ off through the gloaming on a blog tour! More about that very soon…

And Another Thank You to the Fabulous Five Leaves Bookshop

… for including me in their series of Author Interviews, which have been happening throughout lockdown.

Although the interview (with the lovely Pippa Hennessy) is pre-recorded, it will be released on the Five Leaves YouTube channel at 7pm on July 28th, and I’ll be knocking about if you fancy a chat.

The interview will then be free to watch anytime afterwards, though if you’d like to, Five Leaves have suggested making a donation to Notts Refugee Forum.

Being brilliant, Five Leaves are also offering 10% off my books up to a month after the interview.

Thank you so much to the Ladies of Horror Fiction

…for including ‘We Wait’ in their recommended reads!

And special thanks to Alex for the very kind review

One of the blurbs on the back of the book has this to say about We Wait: “Hill House for the 21st century: haunting, dark, and very, very real.” It’s a statement that I can support!

Megan Taylor gives us a chilling and modern gothic horror story with We Wait. It is atmospheric, spooky, and the character development is wonderful. The story takes places in 2016 and 1986 with some overlapping characters in each time, and this time hop is a way to slowly unveil some of the history of the house and its former inhabitants as we advance along in the story.

There are some “real” and sadly relevant horrors in this book as well – I do not want to give TOO much away because that plot/sub-plot of the book was a total surprise to me! And I am here for it! But it just adds to the looming darkness of the book.

A fun, yet serious, and great read! Highly recommended for fans of Susan Hill or Shirley Jackson – and Megan Taylor does her own little twist on what makes those aforementioned authors so loved as well. 4 stars from me!

At the End of the Meal

Thank you so much to MIRLive for including me in last night’s excellent evening of readings. Unfortunately there was a problem with some of my audio so, as requested, I’m posting my (very, very) short story here…

At the End of the Meal

“So – Tim’s decided he’s gay!” Heather says.

She’s breathless; her cheeks are pink, her eyes flashing silver, but she winces when her dessert spoon scrapes across the bowl.

It’s the end of the meal. We’ve dispensed with her Thai chicken and the seasonal small-talk, with all the general gossip. We’ve downed almost two bottles of starchy Pinot already, and it’s that time of the evening – the time for flushed skin and glittering eyes. For revelations, truth and ice-cream.

It’s the moment when we connect, when we reconnect, at last. It always happens and though we never say it, I think we both understand that this is why we go on meeting the way we do, why we continue the ritual of a meal in Heather’s big, warm family kitchen when I’m back in town each Christmas. It’s why we still describe one another as best friends, though we rarely meet during the rest of the whole long year.

“Tim!” I say, although it takes me a moment to remember who he is.

He’s her son of course. Her son, how could I have forgotten? It’s the wine, I think, making me drift. I’m too easily distracted – too busy looking at Heather’s things, at the bowl of nuts, gathering dust, and at the strings of cards and tinsel. I notice how the cracks are beginning to spread around Heather’s eyes and how her lipstick has worn off.

And through the window, snow is falling exactly the way it does in films and dreams, a steady heartbreaking dance of night and light. I lift my fingers to my own lips to check that my similar rosy smile is still in place.

“How old is Tim now?” I ask.

“Sixteen!” she says, and raises her hands, her eyebrows.

“Sixteen,” I echo. “Christ.

And I know that she thinks I’m exclaiming over the way the years have rushed by, how it only seems like yesterday that I was a bridesmaid at her wedding, that she was matron of honour at mine… But what I’m actually thinking is sixteen.

It’s the age we were when we went on our school skiing trip to France. When she was the pretty one, the graceful one, the girl who flew down the slopes and skated perfect figure-of-eights on the sparkling rink. While I spent much of that week flat on my back against the ice.

More snow, I think, my gaze moving between the window and her talking, eating, lipstick-less mouth. Her teeth part, and I watch the ice-cream slipping in a small, pale cloud between them, but I’m the one who shivers.

I’m remembering how freezing it was in those chalets, so cold that even after Heather climbed into my bunk, we couldn’t get warm enough. We were never warm enough. Her hands on my back – I can feel them still – were as cool and smooth as metal…

“We thought it was just a phase,” she’s saying. “But then I caught them! Actually kissing! And under the mistletoe of all places!”

She laughs, perhaps a little too loudly, with her head thrown back, showing me the pallid curve of her throat, the point of her chin. And though her hair has a lot of grey in it, even some white, I think how it still falls in exactly the same heavy way. Like cloth, I think. Like winter water. She’s still the pretty one.

“They just looked so funny,” she says. “So strange. Two boys, holding one another like that, hardly more than children. And they looked so alike! It was as if Tim was kissing himself, his own reflection…”

I down my wine quickly and lean across, trying my best to keep hold of her tin-foil eyes.

“Have you ever…” I begin. “Would you ever…”

But I can’t do it. Whatever I was going to say, I can’t say it. It’s suddenly too hot in here, suffocating. I glance down at my bowl instead, at the peaks and spreading pools of untouched vanilla, and at my own spoon, turning over in my hand.

The silver jumps as it catches the light. For a second it’s blinding, and in that second, Heather reaches over and takes it from me –

And I feel the creak, and then the avalanche, as she lifts it to her mouth.

_______________________

Virtual MIRLive

Thrilled that the lovely folk at The Mechanics Institute Review have chosen my (very) short story, ‘At the End of the Meal’, for their first virtual MIRLive event, taking place this Friday, July 10th at 7.30pm.

Focusing on the theme of ‘Emergence’, the evening will be hosted by Kayleigh Cassidy and Alex Petropolous, and I’ll be reading alongside writers, Oisin Breen, Miki Lentin, Tom McColl, Adrian Higgins and Mary Brown.

If you’d like to come along, please visit https://www.facebook.com/mironlinebbk