Tag Archives: ghost story

The Ghosts of Alice: Spectacular Spooktober Sale!

Later this week I’m starting a (thinks fast) Spectacular Spooktober Sale (!!) on The Ghosts of Alice series.

The Ghosts of Alice: Spooktober sale

Running up to Halloween, each of the three titles will have a week on sale on Kindle at the discounted price of 99p/99c.

If you haven’t discovered The Ghosts of Alice yet, it’s a series of standalone books that feature Alice Deaton, a young woman with a mysterious connection to the dead. In the first book, the bestselling The Boy in the Burgundy Hood, Alice lands her dream job to open a medieval house to the public – only to find when the ghosts start appearing not all is as rosy as it seems…

Here’s the dates when each title will be on sale:

  • 11-17 Oct: The Boy in the Burgundy Hood
  • 18-24 Oct: The Girl in the Ivory Dress
  • 25-31 Oct: Alice and the Devil

Have a totally spooky month!

Here’s links to buy on Amazon:

Black Beacon – Cover Reveal!

Ta-dah! As promised, here’s the new cover of my forthcoming Christmas ghost story, Black Beacon – a spooky tale of love and betrayal, set in the 1970s on the South Downs of East Sussex.

Black Beacon Christmas Ghost Story cover

What do you think?

Hope to have it out early November!

“Ghost Stories” reading event – Saturday 13 May

Really looking forward to this event organised by the fantastic people at Ghost Walks Surrey and Explorers Events Ltd!

If you’re nearby, why not come along and join us? A spooky ghost tour of the town will be followed by me doing a reading and Q&A. Plus there’ll be an opportunity to buy signed copies of my books.

See below for more details, reposted from Ghost Walks Surrey Facebook page:

A new and exclusive event in collaboration with local author Steve Griffin.

Steve is the author of the bestselling ghost stories of the Ghosts of Alice series, beginning with ‘The Boy in the Burgundy Hood’.

Following a one hour Ghost Walk visiting the most haunted hotspots in the town, we will meet Steve in The Narnia Room within the Old House on West Street where he will read to you some excerpts from his novels. You will have chance to ask him questions and to buy signed copies of his books.

Tickets are VERY limited. This really is an exclusive event.

Saturday 13th May 2023
Meet 7.15pm for a 7.30pm start outside Dorking Halls on Reigate Road RH4 1SG.

Tickets cost £15.

The event will last for approx 2 hours and will finish at the Narnia Room.

https://www.ticketsource.co.uk/explorers-events-ltd

What I’m writing now…

The few months since I published my latest Ghosts of Alice novel, Alice and the Devil have flown by. I’ve been very happy with the reviews (averaging 4.5 stars on Amazon!) – and wanted to let you know the things I’m excited to be working on next.

What I'm writing now

A Christmas Ghost Story

I’ve loved reading Shani Struther’s Christmas ghost stories (link below), so on the runup to Christmas I started on my own festive ghost story. It’s set on the South Downs of England and it’s a departure for me in several ways:

(1) it’s a completely standalone novel, not part of any series;

(2) it’s set in the 1970s – the heyday of the Christmas single! – and

(3) it focuses on a married couple, Theo and Nat, whose haunted, complex pasts are about to come crashing into their seasonal plans.

I did have what I thought was the perfect title for it, but unfortunately it’s been used elsewhere recently and would cause a bit of a clash – so X👻?🤔X will be out later this year. Most likely in the autumn, to tie in with the build up to Christmas.

The next Ghosts of Alice story

Whilst I’m editing this book, I’m also excited to be working on the plot of the next Alice novel. For those of you who’ve read my books, you’ll know I like to mix things up a bit and play around with expectations. So, whilst there’ll be all the essential spooky ingredients, this is going to be quite a different tale, in a very different setting. Although, for those of you who have read my young adult series, The Secret of the Tirthas, some things might be familiar…😉

The Man in the Woods

I’m also revisiting one or two pieces of older writing, short stories and novellas that I really liked but for one reason or another never completed. One of these is The Man in the Woods… who is that lonesome figure our narrator comes across whilst cycling out in the forest? What’s he doing, camping out there in all weather? It’s a creepy, psychological suspense novella with a big twist. It’s definitely one of my most sinister stories. I hope it gets to see the light of day!

Time. That’s all I need. More time…

Author redundancy alert!

I was playing around with the new AI language tool, ChatGPT, recently. I wondered how it would do if I asked it to generate an author bio for a ghost story writer. That’s all the detail I gave it and at once it produced this, which I’ve tailored with my name and books only. You can see why UK universities are currently scrambling to work out how to assess students, when it produces reasonable essays on pretty much anything ranging from the causes of WW1 to Brexit.

And, whilst a bit wonky, it sounds relatively human. I asked it to write me a poem about wrens and it was reasonable – not brilliant, probably not even good, but not doggerel either. I checked it wasn’t plagiarised on Google and of course, it wasn’t.

So, how long before it’s writing a 60,000 long ghost story full of creepy twists and turns? Not long, I suspect. Especially with a good human (at least for now) editor. This thing is learning fast, helped by useful free fodder such as myself, helping it with the nuances of language. And that really is the key – I suspect it’s rapidly learning things that take novelists years, if not decades, to discover and refine.

My hope is that human creativity will always pip AI. We know the world, we experience pain and beauty unmediated by all except our senses. And we use that to innovate. I like to believe Nick Cave’s response when a fan sent him ChatGPT mimicry of his lyrics.

But I’m no technologist. It’s possible that in a few decades, whilst ChatGPT will never know who we are, it might well be able to replicate books that we’re unable to distinguish from those written by real people. The first article I read about ChatGPT was by a seasoned journalist who was seriously discomforted by its attempt to produce something similar to her writing. 

Have you tried ChatGPT yet? What are your thoughts?

In the meantime, remember that horror helps build your resilience, always useful when we’re faced with a future straight out the Terminator – so why not grab my latest ghost story, Alice and the Devil, now?

Alice and the Devil

Click below to view on Amazon:

Alice & the Devil – a reading: Ben finds Alice

Time for another reading. Here’s a short extract from my new ghost story, Alice and the Devil – the perfect read for Christmas!

Alice is working in her boss’s house in the Peak District. There’s a storm outside on the moors. Suddenly, a young boy appears, drenched through, at her door. She soon finds out that he’s on a strange mission. A VERY strange mission…

While you’re here, I wonder if I could ask a small favour? I designed the cover of Alice and the Devil myself and it’s through to the second round of the All Author December Cover of the Month competition! Could you spare a moment to vote for it by clicking here? (Note – there are only a certain number of readers who can vote without registering – so don’t worry if it won’t let you!)

You can check out Alice and the Devil by clicking the icon below:

The Mysterious Rocks that inspired Alice & the Devil

Alice and the Devil - Jackson's Rocks

Alice and the Devil, my third ghost story in The Ghosts of Alice series, is set in the Peak District in the English midlands. Alice is working remotely in her boss’s cottage on the moors, hoping the peacefulness and distance will help her recover from the trauma of Peacehaven. But then a boy arrives and pleads for her help, claiming his grandfather is being terrorised by the Devil. Everything is going to take a big turn for the worse…

As a writer, I’m always rooting about for inspiration. For the last few years I’ve been holidaying in the Peaks with my family. I knew it was just a matter of time before the bleak moors took their place in one of my ghost stories. But it was the discovery of the ancient and mysterious Rowtor Rocks that finally sealed the setting for Alice and the Devil.

Alice and the Devil - Clay's cave inspiration
Alice and the Devil - Jackson's Rocks inspiration

Metamorphosed into Jackson’s Rocks in the book, I drew on the story of Thomas Eyre, a Reverend who was fascinated by local tales of witchcraft and pagans doing rituals on the rocks. Eyre had a band of workers carve features – seats, symbols, entrances – into the ancient slabs of limestone.

In Alice and the Devil, the Rev. Horace Clay has similar features carved on to Jackson’s Rocks, including a small amphitheatre. And he takes his occult practice one big step further into darkness – with devastating implications for Alice two centuries later…

Alice and the Devil - Clay's cave escape passage!
Rowtor Rocks

Rowtor Rocks is a special place. I urge you to visit if you ever find yourself in the Peaks.

Click here for more about Alice and the Devil on Amazon.

Alice and the Devil – Out Now!

Alice and the Devil out now!

I’m excited to tell you my latest book, Alice and the Devil, is out now! The perfect spooky ghost story for this Halloween…

Here’s what it’s about:

‘Yes, I can see ghosts,’ she said.
‘That’s why she told me to come here. Because you can help us. You can help grandad and me. You can help us defeat him.’
‘Him?’
‘Yes, him. The Devil.’

A boy crosses the moors in a storm to plead for Alice’s help, claiming to be sent by a ghost.

Is the boy’s grandfather really being terrorised by the Devil himself? Alice can’t quite believe it – but then she’s experienced things she’d never imagined could come true. But even with her paranormal experiences, little does she expect the horror she is about to face at the lonely rectory overlooking the moors…

Alice and the Devil is the third standalone novel in The Ghosts of Alice series, about a young woman with a mysterious connection to the dead.

Available in paperback and Kindle editions on Amazon now!

What readers say about The Ghosts of Alice:

‘Loved the main character and plenty of twists and turns mean you are kept guessing right up until the end’

‘If you love ghost stories, read this one!’

‘Twists and turns that weren’t predictable and with a believable background setting. Would be good as a Christmas Eve ghost story gift’

‘Too scared to sleep … extremely good book, I read it in one day!’

‘Turn the screw it does, right up to its terrifyingly dark finale’

‘Creepy and satisfying…. real psychological depth as well, as Alice’s troubled personal history dovetails into the storyline’

‘The best ghost story l have ever read’

Click below to view on Amazon:

Alice and the Devil – Cover Reveal!

Here’s the cover of my forthcoming book, Alice & the Devil!

Alice & the Devil - cover

The story is set in the Peak District and starts amid a raging thunderstorm. A boy stumbles across the bleak moors, intent on reaching the Right House. It’s a place he’s been told he’ll find help against visitations from the most terrifying of all supernatural beings – the Devil himself.

And who’s staying in the Right House? You guessed it. Alice Deaton, the woman with a unique ability to understand the dead.

Alice and the Devil is the third standalone book in The Ghosts of Alice series. Out this Halloween, if not sooner…

Check out the other titles below:

The Best Ghost Mystery Stories

So you don’t want to sleep tonight, do you?

My final list of books that I’ve prepared for Shepherd.com is the best ghost mystery stories.

best ghost mystery books

Why I love horror stories

We try and pretend the world is not mysterious, in the vague hope of exerting some control over our lives. But that’s a doomed endeavour. Everything will always slip away from our grasp, plummeting into a chasm that we can only fill with two human responses: awe or terror. Sometimes – perhaps most often – both.

This is why I’ve always preferred the gothic and sublime to the classical and ordered. Both are necessary, but the gothic like the church spire always points to the infinite, to the profound mystery that envelops us. That’s why I’ve liked horror movies and books ever since I was a kid. You’re forever clutching at a cushion, guessing – or rather fearing – what lies ahead, just around that corner…

And that’s why I started writing ghost stories, books that major in suspense and make you realise, as Stephen King’s narrator says in Bag of Bones, that “reality is thin, you know, thin as lake ice after a thaw, and we fill our lives with noise and light and motion to hide that thinness from ourselves.”

My favourite ghost mystery stories

So if you’re hankering after a shot of terror (often with a smidgeon of awe thrown in), check out my best ghost mystery stories here. And if you think I’ve missed a treat, let me know your favourite ghost story in the comments below. (You can also check out my other book lists for Shepherd, the best books with portals for children and young adults, and the best books with nature poems to make you think and feel.)

And while you’re here, why not take a look at my own ghost mystery stories, The Boy in the Burgundy Hood and The Girl in the Ivory Dress – the two standalone novels in The Ghosts of Alice series, about a young women who has a very strange connection to the dead: