All posts by Jan

A short story from Greece

The plane landed on the Greek island of Kos with a resounding bump and a heavy lurch. ‘Co-pilot’, I thought, with a smile. My fellow passengers, true to form, ignored the instruction to remain seated until the plane had come to a halt, and made a group dive for the overhead lockers. I could never understand why they always did that, when faced with a wait to reclaim the hold baggage. But it mattered not, nothing did now; I had made my decision.

I had returned to seek out the one who would have made me on my last visit. Yiannis. But he had sensed in me a hesitation, and had left me mortal. Compassion in a vampire was, to me, hitherto unknown. I wondered if he would sense my return, my decision to seek out the Dark Kiss that would take me into the eternal night. I was ready now.

I yearned for the enveloping arms of darkness, the freedom from mortal worries and cares. My hesitation last time had been born of a reluctance to experience the grief and passing of another that I loved, for it would be beyond bearing. To ‘live’ without the warmth of family was truly abhorrent to me, but the grief had come anyway, and now I understood. I had known, but now came understanding; that they never truly left, just changed. As I would change.

Greece and its islands had been the birthplace of many of the ancient ones, including Yiannis, and in my return was a sense of coming home. I prayed he would know of my return and come to me.

The heat haze on the tarmac hit like a wall after the British cold autumn morning, and I relished it, for if the one I sought sensed my presence, it would be one of my last midday. I followed the impatient holidaymakers to passport control and handed my documents to the impassive customs officer. Did he know my purpose, I wondered? And if he did, would he care? I thought it unlikely. I boarded the coach that would take me to my hotel and, with luck, my chosen destiny.

I was lost in my thoughts and dreams of immortality when the coach halted in the car park of my hotel. The middle-aged driver handed me my suitcase and wished me a pleasant holiday. I smiled and nodded my thanks. There was nothing to say, really.

It was the hottest part of the day and, as usual, only the British were lying under the burning sun. I shielded my eyes against the glare as if, already, I was one of those that walked only by night. My sunglasses afforded some protection, but I knew then, that with the passing of the day, I would become one with the night, with the dark.

I knew it would avail me nothing to call him, for he would be sleeping, waiting for the night to fall, when he could leave his sanctuary and seek the nourishment that was the life-blood. I went to my room to rest.

As the sun capped the rugged mountain that went down to meet the sea, I was reminded of the words from Shelley’s poem, Love’s Philosophy: ‘As the sun clasps the earth and the moonbeams kiss the sea, what is all this sweet work worth, if thou kiss not me?’ And it was the Dark Kiss that I yearned for.

I knew that I would be able to find it from another that walked by night, but it was the tenderness and compassion of Yiannis that would take me into the night, into the dark. And it would be his compassion that would teach me the ways of the vampire.

As it is all over Greece, dusk did not give itself gracefully to the night, it came suddenly, like death. It was full dark and I went to my balcony and poured a glass of the local wine. ‘Yiannis, I have returned to you. I have come home. Will you come to me and make me as you are? Will you make me vampire? I am ready now.’

I returned to my room and lay on the bed, waiting, listening. It seemed that hours passed and I had begun to think that, after all, Yiannis had not heard me, had not sensed me – or worse, had rejected me. I felt the tears form behind my eyes, and a solitary one fall down my cheek.

‘Why are you crying? Did you not know that I would come to you?’

Yiannis. My maker had come for me.

When the death came, there was no pain, there was nothing except a never-ending darkness. And then a sudden warmth rushed through me as his blood filled my mouth, and then I opened my eyes into eternity, into the night, into the dark.


It was the Eve of All Hallows, Halloween to most people, but to the old woman it was Samhain, the Celtic Feast of the Dead and it marked the death of the old year and the birth of the new. She held the young girl child on her knee in front of the flickering flames of the Samhain fire, the only light in the dark of the moonless night. All around them spirits stirred, invited through the veil on that night.

The child looked up at the face lined with the wisdom of the ages. “Granny, tell me the story again.”

The old woman smiled and stroked the child’s hair as she planted a kiss on the top of her head.

“It is on this night that the veil between the worlds is thin and souls can cross from one realm to another. The souls of those we have loved and lost can return on this night to give us comfort and to share in our celebrations. Only on this night can we share our tables with those who have gone before us. And it was on this night that Morrigan and Dagda met and loved one another.

Morrigan was bathing in the river. She was so dark and beautiful that even her ravens were in awe of her. Her hair was shining with the colour of their wings and her eyes were dark as the night itself. She was singing softly to herself, a sad song about life and death and rebirth and Dagda stood quietly watching her, falling in love with her with every second. She was the Goddess of Death and he was the God of Life, and he took her in his arms and made her his own, so in love that he cared not that to love her was to signal his death because he knew that the true gift of Morrigan is rebirth. As the dawn came the old year died and he too went happily to his death, knowing that with the rising of the sun at Yule the God of Life would be reborn once more.”

“I love that story Granny. Morrigan is very beautiful, I think.”
“She is beautiful, my child. Beautiful and fearsome, young and old. She is the Goddess of Battle, the Washer at the Ford, the Raven Goddess, the Great Mother, the Phantom Queen. She will always come to your aid when you call her, often in the guise of a raven or crow. She will always hear the voices that cry out to her.”
“Why was she singing a sad song, Granny?”
“It was sad but at times it was joyful, just as life is sometimes sad and sometimes filled with joy.”
“It is Samhain tonight, Granny, and our ancestors can visit us. Perhaps Morrigan will come too.”
The old woman smiled and drew her cloak around the child. “Perhaps she will. We must wait and see.”

Clouds flitted across the night sky, hiding the sacred light of the moon. Suddenly, they cleared, revealing the moon in all her glory, illuminating the clearing where the old woman sat rocking the child, listening to the sounds of the night and the crackle of the fire. The child fell asleep against her sagging breasts and she sang softly to her, sometimes sad and sometimes joyful as the night revelled in her mysteries.

The dawn came quietly and the child awoke in her own bed, comforted by the knowledge that her Grandmother had crossed the veil to be with her on that Samhain night to tell her the story of Morrigan and Dagda once more, as she would on each Samhain night to come.
A raven tapped on her window pane, nodded her head briefly and flew away.

Evil – what’s it all about?

So. .. blogging. What’s it all about? Well from what I can see, it’s writing down what’s on my mind. That’s a scary thought in itself. It scares the hell out of my poor husband for a start. The phrase ‘I’ve been thinking’ creates a condition in him whereby he sits on his wallet. In fairness, over the years, that simple phrase has usually cost him more than a few quid. So … I’ve been thinking.

I’ve been thinking all night, but this time, I’ve been thinking about evil. What defines it? Is it present from birth, or is it acquired? Nature or nurture? Do life events influence it or is it right there in a person’s DNA? And how fine a line is it between madness and evil? Some people do not have a psychological disorder to explain away their behaviour. Are some of the people, who society may call mentally ill, just plain evil? And further, does evil continue to exist after physical death?
I don’t have any answers, if I did, I’d be writing this from a yacht in the Bahamas. Neither do psychologists, ancient or modern, hence the yacht in the Bahamas being the prize for the right answer.
Why debate the whole thing with myself in the middle of the night anyway, you may ask. Seven years as a hospital chaplain in a forensic psychiatric unit would be part of the answer. And the fact that as a writer, evil often features large in my books, whether it be physical or spiritual evil. So I guess it’s fair to wonder about its nature.
It’s a debate that will continue to rage among mental health care professionals for a long time to come because human beings are all unique. We are born unique, and our life experiences are unique, so how can there be a blueprint for evil? How the question is approached is why one becomes a psychiatrist and another, a priest. It’s the same question however it’s approached and it really doesn’t have an answer. But it’s a question that provides inspiration for writers the world over, provoking thought, fear and sleepless nights.

So … blogging …

My new book trailer!!

Huge thanks to Aneesh and his team for producing this trailer. They are:

  • Jeff Pruce as Mike Travis
  • Rok Gjoni as Charlie Paynter

Special thanks to:

  • Michael Hoang
  • Kaberi Chatterjee
  • Aniruddha Chatterjee

Directed by: Aneesh Chatterjee

Discover for yourself the latest mystery from Bodmin Moor.

Bodmin moor mystery

Buy the Crowsmoor Curse on Amazon NOW!!


NEW Crowsmoor Curse website

I am pleased to announce that I have added my new website

If you haven’t read The Crowsmoor Curse yet, then what are you waiting for? Head right over to and catch the latest action.

My follow up novel to The Crowsmoor Curse will be ready for publication later this year. Entitled Long Shadows, it continues the adventures of paranormal investigator Mike Travis. Expect more spooky happenings as Mike battles against evils of the past – you’ll be looking over your shoulder for weeks to come!

So what are you waiting for? Get over to now!


What I am about to tell you is the truth. It isn’t my story, but that of someone I met a month ago; he entrusted me with it and so here it is. This is how he told me his story…

 “So you want to know how this is possible, how this can happen. I can’t answer you because I do not know. All I know is that it does happen. It will happen tonight as it happens for the three nights of every full moon. Tonight I will become … something unholy. I will become Beast. I will become Wolf. And you will keep me company.”

“Why me?” I asked him.

“Why not?”

“Do you think I’m afraid?”

“No. I think you are different.”

“How different?”

“Because you understand. You accept that these things are ‘out there’. That is what you say is it not?” That such things as I are ‘out there’? In your dark moments, when you write your stories of horror, when your words fall onto virgin paper, taking away its innocence, deflowering the whiteness with tales that chill the soul, that is what you believe. It is what drives you. It is what you want from me, is it not? A story to tell. A story to sell. Well, here is my story. A true story. You will be my scribe. You will write it as I tell it and I have no doubt that you will be acknowledged as the author, and only you and I will know the truth.”

“The truth?”

“Don’t toy with me scribe. You know what I am. You know it to the core of your being. Must I say it? Or shall I simply show you? Ah, you go pale at the thought. Then I am right and you do know. Perhaps it is too high a price for a story.”

“I hate to disappoint you, but this has been done. And the sequel. And the movie.”

“Then you will do it again. Only this time Nosferatu has no place in it. This time, it is I, Wolf.”

“Publishers won’t go for it. There’s a possible law suit in there somewhere.”

“Ha! Then to quote the Duke of Wellington, ‘Publish and be damned!”

“Damnation wasn’t my intention,” I replied.

“I am tired of this. Either you write my story or damnation will seem like a pleasant alternative.”

“So now you threaten me. Or is it rather that in some way, I threaten you? Because I’m not afraid.”

“But you are afraid. I can sense it. I can smell it. And unless you are very stupid, and I doubt that, I will be disappointed. Will I be disappointed, Scribe?”

“No. Will I be food for your appetite?”

“Enough of this playing with words. My time is short. Soon I will lose my grip on sanity. Already I can feel the pull of the moon. Already I can feel the subtle changes that will soon rage through my body until ‘I’ am no longer. Until there is only Wolf.”

“Will there be nothing left of you at all? Will there be no spark of humanity left? How can you be sure? Perhaps wanting to tell your story means that somewhere inside this thing you become there is still the flickering of a human soul?”

“Perhaps. You can be the judge. Are you ready? Or shall we carry on this way until it is too late?”

“Can I ask questions, or shall I just listen?”

“As long as your questions are relevant and they do not provoke me.”

“I will try and remember that, though as we speak I can see something happening to your eyes, every now and then they glint of burnished amber.”

“It is the first sign. It begins and so must we. My name isPierre. I was born just outsideToulouseforty five years ago. I do not remember much of my childhood. Suffice it to say, it was unremarkable. It was as a teenager that things happened that would shape my life forever. And I apologise for the dreadful pun, it was unintended. There is nothing funny about what happened to me then, or since then.”

“I was a raw and innocent youth, desperately seeking my first encounter with love, or sex, whichever came first. I would like to believe it was love that drew me to her, but if I am honest, it was sex. She knew I was looking at her, I couldn’t help it. She was beautiful.

She knew I was an innocent and it seemed to amuse her to be the one to change that, and I … I simply wanted her. I didn’t know then that I would regret the price I was to pay. She took me to her apartment on the outskirts of the city and gave me wine. We stood on her balcony looking at the fullest moon that I had ever seen. I could see it reflected in her eyes. Amber orbs that permitted me nothing yet denied me nothing.

She loved me with an animal intensity that drove my will and my reason from me. Remember I had never before been with a woman, I had no reason to fear her then. Afterwards, when I was calmer and we lay still in each others embrace with the moonlight bathing her perfect body I realised with my returning sanity that it wasn’t over.

She looked at me with her amber eyes, and without warning she began to change. Her silky hair seemed coarse and heavy, and before my eyes began sprouting all over her body, her arms, her face.”

“Why didn’t you run?” Why stay?” I asked, breathless.

“Why don’t you run? Like you, I had to know. I needed to see. I watched as her fine aquiline nose pushed outwards above her jaw becoming the snout of a beast. I watched as her mouth revealed to me the slavering jaws of a wolf. I listened to her screams as her muscles contracted violently in spasm, changing her shape until she could no longer stand.”

“And still you stayed there? Were you insane?”

“Insane. Yes. I believe it was insanity. I was mad with fear as moments before I had been mad with lust. They seemed one and the same at the time. And I didn’t believe she would harm me.”

I was emboldened to ask him, “Was that the arrogance of youth or its ignorance?”

His face was stern and there was a fire in his eyes. “You tread a fine line, Scribe. Have some respect for me, or I may forget that I want you to live, to tell my story.”

I was chastened but had to continue my questions. “I’m sorry, but why did you think that she wouldn’t harm you? I know that I would have been out of there long before then.”

“Would you? We shall wait and see. She looked at me with her wolf eyes, unable to communicate in any other way. I felt a responsibility for her somehow, she wanted something from me.”

“Dinner, perhaps?”

“I am here telling you my story am I not? She had no intention of killing me, and she could have done so in an instant. No, she wanted compassion and understanding. And she wanted a companion. You see the passion of the wolf is enough; one doesn’t need to be savaged by them. I tried to tell her that I did understand but my words would not come out and in that moment I failed her. Will you fail me, Scribe? Many have done so.”

“I’m not the first then that you have told your story to?”

“Now who walks between arrogance and ignorance, hmm? Of course you are not the first. I have entrusted my story to better writers than you, but their fear outweighed their eloquence. So I have chosen one whose writing skills are mediocre but whose acceptance is unconditional.”

“Your hair is changing, growing longer and more coarse.”

“Yes, see how it grows on my hands and arms, and beneath these clothes it covers my body too. Now look, do you see my face changing?”

“Then the legend is true and the were-beast is fact. You are a were-wolf. You can no longer speak through your mouth but I see your need in your eyes. You were right, I can’t leave. I have to see, but please remember, if you can, that I am to be the instrument. I can’t tell your story if I’m chopped liver. Do you need to feed? Shall I come with you? Why are you looking at me that way? I don’t believe you mean to harm me, but why do your eyes burn like that?”

“I don’t know if you can still understand me, if there is still a part of you that remains human inside the body of the wolf, I want you to now that I do understand. Now, I understand.”

… I met Pierre exactly one month ago today. I have to go now his story is written, the moon is rising and I feel a burning deep inside and the night is calling me. The moon is calling me. I am hungry.

Read LYCAN on Amazon now!

The Crowsmoor Curse

Mike Travis

The mists come down quickly and the wind howls like tortured banshees over Bodmin Moor where unwary travellers are advised to keep to the main roads and keep their eyes averted from the rough granite outcrops and moorland bogs. This is the land of smugglers and ghosts and Otherworldly creatures like the Piskies and the Knockers, still said to inhabit the old mines. Hard to keep an open mind in the vicinity, Mike Travis knew he had to be objective.  As a paranormal investigator there could be nothing to cloud his judgement but even so, as he pulled his car over at the edge of Dozemary Pond, legends of the area came to life in his head.

He swallowed two codeine to help relieve the pain in his leg; reconstructed with titanium plates, rods and artificial joints after a helicopter crash in Afghanistan had ended his air force career. Over the years he had learned to blank out the pain but occasionally it got the better of him. The long drive into Cornwallhad exacerbated it and he knew he had to rest.

He looked over the grey water surrounded by reeds and marsh and understood why it had been the source of many legends, including that of Excalibur being hurled into its centre and caught by the hand of the Lady in the Lake. He shrugged off the images and took out the letter that had brought him there.

The handwriting was arthritic and crabbed, written in the Cornish vernacular, it had come from an old man. A frightened old man.

Charlie Paynter was the bell ringer in Crowsmoor, a scattered community of small cottages and a couple of farms presided over by St Michael’s Church and the old Manor. It couldn’t aspire to being a village, being little more than an isolated hamlet in the middle of the bleak moor. It wasn’t even on the map and had defeated his search engine. It was as if it didn’t exist, but maybe it wanted it that way.

He read the letter again, trying to get a feeling for the case. Mike relied on his instincts and they were on high alert. His alarm bells had been set off by one particular section of the letter.

Every morning at six and every evening at six. Six tolls of the bells. The bells have to be rung dead on six; otherwise . . .  Hell come back.

     The dead dont sleep quiet here in Crowsmoor, they never have. Not since he came, anyway. Must be four hundred years gone now. Folk round here close their eyes to it. Dont understand see. They think that when Ive gone they can maybe get someone else to ring the bells, or they wont bother being as they believe its naught but owd superstition and they’m being too modern to think on it. They hear them, everyday they hear them, but they dont understand. They dont understand what the bells keep away.

Mike thought he understood. Cornish folk may believe in their legends and folk lore but above all they were very pragmatic people and didn’t spook easily.

Charlie Paynter was spooked…

Read what happened when Mike arrived in Crowsmoor. Click on the links to the right…



Midnight Wine

Hi and welcome to my web page.

Amazon’s Kindle and other e book readers have opened up a whole new world, not only to readers but authors also by offering opportunities previously prevented by literary agents who only want to deal with known authors or celebrities, knowing that their sales are guaranteed regardless of quality.

Midnight Wine and later, The Crowsmoor Curse, received excellent reviews from unbiased sources but couldn’t get past the agents as an unknown and therefore the publishing houses too. Thanks to this opportunity from Dave at Raven Crest, Midnight Wine and The Crowsmoor Curse are ‘out there’.

Incidentally, so are the vampires!

The front door stood open despite the hammering rain. Lane entered quietly, listening and sensing for sounds of occupancy. By rights she should be able to detect two heartbeats but only one came back to her. There was grief and tragedy in the air, and something else. Someone lost and in despair.

 She had followed the girl from the nightclub after seeing her leave with the masked one. She was afraid for her and her fears had fulfilled their potential as she found her lying dead and cradled in a man’s arms. He was kneeling on the hall floor, her head on his thighs, blood was everywhere and he was crying. And praying. Though she knew the girl was beyond the help of even the divine, she had to stay and watch. She had to be sure there would be no rising. And if there was, she would have to deal with it.

 The man looked up at her, not comprehending. He was covered in the girl’s blood and her heart went out to him. If what she believed was about to happen actually did, then this was only the beginning. Lane locked into his thoughts and read him. The girl was his sister, Grace. And he … he was a priest, Father Beckett. She frowned. It would complicate things. He would be harder to convince about the reality of what had happened to Grace. In her experience priests were resistant to the concept of vampires.

 “I’m here to help you, Father.”

“Are you the police?”

“Something like that.”

 She was in fact a member of the Vampire High Council and it was her job to police the behaviour of the vampires in her area. The majority of who were content with the Sanctuary, a place where they could feed from donors without harming any other human. Those that flouted the High Council’s edicts regarding the taking of life were outlawed and it was Lane that hunted them down and killed them, a ‘Catcher and Despatcher’.

 She lay a gentle hand on the priest’s arm, reaching into his mind, calming and soothing him, preparing his mind for the knowledge that was to come. That his sister had been attacked by a vampire and left to die. That she too, was likely to rise from death, reanimated by what now coursed through her, the essence of the vampire. And that if she rose, Lane would have no choice but to take care of her.

 For hours she talked to him although he remembered nothing of it later. All

he would remember was what took place after the first infinitesimal movement of the sheet with which Lane had covered Grace up to her shoulders.

At first he wasn’t sure if he had seen it at all, he was tired and his eyes stung. He held his breath, trying to hold time in a frame that would remain unchanged, becoming unaware of anything outside the arena of Grace’s bed.   

The atmosphere changed subtly. The temperature dropped and the air seemed rarefied, his chest was tight and his lungs struggled for essential oxygen, making him feel dizzy and disorientated.

He felt Lane tense, on the alert after hours of waiting. Whatever it was that she waited for was about to happen.

There was a heavy silence and then Grace’s lips parted and her left arm began to move under the sheet. In what was a fraction of a second but in what seemed like an eternity to Beckett, Grace brought her arm from beneath the sheet and turned her face to look at Beckett.

And he knew.