Posts Tagged ‘dracula’

More 5* for Fantasy Trilogy, The Morrow Secrets

January 5th, 2015

5* for The Shadow of the Swarm, book 2 in The Morrow Secrets Trilogy

The Shadow of the Swarm CoverWith more twists and turns than the River Ganges, 4 Jan 2015

I read this with a degree of cynicism. Could Susan McNally really do it again? My scepticism was misplaced because YES, absolutely, this work represents a seamless transition from the first fantastic installment in this riveting tale !!!!


Aside from Susan’s wonderful imagination and the strange lands and characters she has somehow made accessible to the reader, she has also (in Tallitha) created a protagonist adept in viewing the malignancy of the ‘swarm’ with childlike innocence.

Tallitha personifies all that we strove to be as children; driven, caring, resolute and with lodestars to ensure that justice prevails. It is her capacity to take the reader back to their own childhood and idealistic principles which is in my opinion Susan’s greatest success.

Roll on the concluding chapter of this fantastic trilogy!


Caedryl, Lapis & Muprid5.0 out of 5 stars

The Shadow of the Swarm – Brilliant!

The Shadow of the Swarm begins just where The Morrow Secrets ends and Tallitha learns what her fate will be. There are more character introductions in this book, some nice some not so nice but all play an important part in the story. We discover many more Morrow Secrets and throughout this book things start slotting into place. I think Tallitha is a very brave girl and she is an amazing character.


Susan McNally has penned a fantastic read, I enjoyed it even more than the first book in the series.


There are still loose ends to tie up and I really want to know what happens next. I am looking forward to returning to this series when book three is released.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,
Posted in Uncategorized | Comments (0)

The Morrow Secrets at The London Book Fair

April 8th, 2014

The Morrow Secrets, books 1 & 2 are at The London Book Fair this week with Sweet Cherry Publishing… and so am I.

Creative Writing Workshops, Children’s Books, YA Fiction, Authors talking about their craft and many publishers.

The Cat, Slynose in PursuitThe Spider's TurretWinderling SpiresCave

Book Fairmarketing morrow secret with illustrationshound_200w

Caedryl, Lapis & Muprid

Tags: , , , , , ,
Posted in Dark Gothic Fantasy | Comments (0)

A Scary Gothic Treat for Halloween

October 6th, 2012

Things that go bump in the night, scary old shroves that spy on Tallitha and follow her through the rambling house, a clutch of weird sisters and dark family secrets to be unearthed: that’s the backdrop to The Morrow Secrets.

A head-strong girl, a strange awkward cousin and a mother who has a heart of stone… As the pages turn the secrets begin to be revealed, drawing Tallitha further into the dark old house, up the winding staircases and then down the corridors, untrodden for many years.

Marlin on the Twisting Stairs

Magical make-believe and all things paranormal, a haunting forest, grotesque creatures, deep dark caves in the land of Breedoor where the dismal castle of Hellstone Tors looms above the crashing waves…

I love Halloween, when the days are short and the crisp morning air takes your breath away. Leaves turn russet and yellow, shops sell creepy bats, witches hats and fangs and all my favourite movies appear on television and I can watch Dracula or Friday the 13th.

If I were to sum up what makes me tick and gets my heart racing it’s mystery stories, Gothic houses, weird architecture, gargoyles, velvets of all colours, strange characters in a spooky novel, dark twists and turns leading you further and further into the depths of a sinister tale.


Tags: , , , , , ,
Posted in Dark Gothic Fantasy, Fantasy Trilogy, Gothic Fiction, Halloween | Comments (0)

The Supernatural : Paranormal Influences on Writing a Young Adult Gothic Trilogy

September 5th, 2012

As a young girl, not only did I adore the Addams Family (, Bewitched

The Old Dark House of Secrets at Winderling Spires

( and the Munsters ( but as a teenager I got into the Hammer Dracula movies (  in a big way – going to see the double bills at my local cinema on a Sunday Night! Fright Night!

Did this obsession come first or was I predisposed to the cult of the macabre and the Gothic? I have already written about my great aunt who went into a trance and foretold my birth but my mother was also superstitious and this must have rubbed off on me. She would always cross a travelling woman’s hand with silver and take the clump of heather from her, having had her fortune told into the bargain. Looking back she was superstitious about many things… black cats, not walking under ladders and repeating a rhyme on the first day of every month… just for luck. I still carry around a tiny black cat that she gave to me. So I was brought up in a family where the women believed in things they couldn’t explain.

Then as a teenager I had some weird experiences of my own. Once I was levitated by my friends… it didn’t happen to anyone else, only me. I opened my eyes.. I felt weightless and my friends had lifted me about 4 feet in the air. In the summer holidays, when I was 14 or 15 we started to play with a home made Ouija board… it was completely addictive and the results grew more ominous day by day until the outcomes were terrifying. Somehow we began to summon long dead spirits, strange words appeared on the makeshift board and when I looked these up in the dictionary we found that they were black magic voodoo curses. I began to be scared of going into the dining room when my friends weren’t around. One day the Ouija board was moving so quickly, the skies darkened and clattered with thunder and then the lights flickered in the room and we ran from the house screaming. We stopped playing with the spirits after that, I do believe we had contacted something beyond our understanding…

About 4 years later I was alone at my boyfriend’s house and I heard someone making a terrible noise downstairs – it sounded like someone dropping a cutlery drawer onto the stone kitchen floor. His mother, a very down-to-earth farmer’s wife later told me that there were spirits abroad, they were unhappy that the family was leaving the farm after six or seven generations of living there….Then a week later she whispered that something had hurt her arm, grabbing her violently in the dark passageway.. but no one was there, she too was all alone in the dark house.

So perhaps that’s the reason I am constantly drawn to the mysterious, the Gothic and the macabre and books with brilliant sinister twists and turns… a haunted house and weird eccentric characters always adds to the plot line as far as I’m concerned! When writing I become completely lost and absorbed  in Winderling Spires, imagining the secret rooms in the enormous creepy house, the evil shroves and all the dark, mysterious places that Tallitha and her brother are desperate to explore…but of course more is revealed about the macabre Morrow family than Tallitha imagines and so begins her epic journey of mystery and spellbinding paranormal adventure.


Tags: , , , , , , ,
Posted in Creative Writing Process, Dark Gothic Fantasy, Fantasy Trilogy, Gothic Fiction, Gothic Influences, Magical Adventure, Supernatural, Susan McNally, Teen Fiction, The Morrow Secrets, Young Adult | Comments (0)