Archive for October, 2015

I hope you’ve enjoyed my Halloween countdown this year. I’ve featured horror writing tips, interviews, book recommendations, competitions and freebies (as well as some shameless self-promotion).

But wait… Listen… Somebody’s chapping at your door… Can’t you hear them?



…But don’t worry; you’ve still got reading time. And if you’re in the mood for it, you could do worse than enter the blood-curdled world of my Halloween horrors collection, Trickier and Treatier… But do you DARE?

Cover imageBuy now as a paperback or ebook.

From the bloodied pen of critically acclaimed horror author AJ Kirby comes this new and terrifying collection of 8 bloodcurdling horror shorts.

These are short, sharp, shocking stories from the darker side of the street. They are viceral tales of body horror. They are tales of bloodthirsty beasts on the prowl. They are stories of madness and mayhem, and of things that go bump in the night.

This book is a must-read for horror fans, and those who’ve already enjoyed Kirby’s works such as ‘Paint this town Red’, ‘Bully’, ‘Sharkways’, ‘Perfect World’ and ‘The Haunting of Annie Nicol’.

Just two days remaining until Halloween. Are your nerves suitably shredded yet?

HANGINGToday I’m featuring another novelette; Hangingstone (White House Press, 2015).

Buy now as an ebook or paperback, or read the serialised version which was published online by Leeds-based arts and creatives website The State of the Arts, here.

‘Hangingstone’ is a supernatural tale of madness, motherhood, and revenge.

Set on the wild Yorkshire moorland near Ilkley, it is the story of one mother’s desperate attempts to reconcile herself with the (ghostly) child who was taken from her many years ago.

Hangingstone Rocks are two monoliths of millstone grit which look out upon the seemingly idyllic town of Ilkley, a place which has stored up a wealth of terrible memories, particularly in its treatment of our less than fortunate mother, who returns to the rocks again and again in order to try and find a way back into the past, to the moment her child was taken away from her.

Bully coverIt wouldn’t be a Halloween horror countdown without reference to the book which started it all off for me, Bully.

Buy Bully as an ebook or paperback from here.

“A creepy spine-chiller”

“Akin to old school James Herbert”

They say you should never go back. But sometimes you don’t have a choice.
After Gary Bull’s miraculous survival from an explosion in Afghanistan, he is compelled to return to the small town where he grew up, a place that he thought he would never set his eyes upon again. Memories of a past long buried come back to him and he finds himself forced to face the horror of what he did when he was young. It started with the bullying…

Newton Mills appears normal enough on the surface, but scratch the surface and there is something far more sinister.

It has more than its fair share of graveyards and the skeletons are liable to walk right out of the closet.

Newton Mills is the scene of a despicable crime.

Industry Reviews

Andrew McQuade, Gorezone Magazine, Issue 60:

The work of ‘a talented writer’. There are ‘moments of genuine intensity in the horror scenes’.

Tyson Mauermann, Speculative Book Review, November 2010:

Bully is “a deep psychological thriller.” “The book constantly keeps you on your toes…”, “Bully is an interesting character with a shady past (…) When Bully returns back to his hometown in England he notices that things are not as they seem and that something is amiss. Kirby does an excellent job of describing the tiny hamlet and the various idiosyncrasies. The world building and characters are very well done.”

“Bully is fast paced and a quick read. It reminds me a little bit of Stephen King’s IT” and “In the end, it is a interesting psychological horror that may be just what you are looking for if you like the strange and unknown. It also does a fairly good job of subtly discussing post-tramatic stress in all of its many forms.”

Hannah Glick, Books Editor, Leeds Student Newspaper:

“Reading this book is like trying to get to sleep after drinking too many vodka red bulls…”

” …Where Kirby really shines is his naturalistic, boisterous dialogue. It is rare to read speech that is written as it should sound and it has worked to tremendous effect in this novel.”

” On picking up BULLY, I could tell I was in store for something sinister. But it was more than that; it was horrific, bitter, twisted and aggressive… If you like your stories dark and dramatic, it may well be your type of book.”


Amazon Reviews

Alison Littlewood, author of The Unquiet House and A Cold Season, said: “I really enjoyed reading Bully… It’s also a good chiller and keeps you turning the pages…”

Deano C from Manchester said: “A well written book that deserves to be up there with Ramsay Campbell and James Herbert.”

Foxexile said: ” I will certainly read more by this writer and I would say to anyone looking for a good read in the horror genre to pick up this book.

Heather R said: “This was a great read, and one that reaches far beyond the niche of traditional horror.”

Terry Gardiner of Gloucestershire said: “It is the only book I have deleted from my Kindle.”

John Johnson of Leeds said: “wonderful story”.

N. Button said: “I’d certainly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys dark fiction.”

LovingKindle said: “This novel gripped me from the start to finish – from the explosive opening in Afghanistan to the grisly climax in Newton Mills. Breathtaking stuff!”

Anna Stephens said: “Bully is a very accomplished second novel for A J Kirby. There are flashes of brilliance in this well-crafted horror tale and a sure forewarning of some more excellent fiction from this talented new writer.”

Jonathan Woolley said: “anyone who has lived in any Yorkshire town in the seventies and eighties will feel something for this book; the hopelessness of the job situation reflects the darkness of and aftermath of Thatchers regime.”

Holly Stacey of Essex said: “A a gripping read with an end that makes you want to sleep with the lights on.”

Lauren G (UK) said: “The tone of the novel is excellent.”

Joseph Stanley of London said: “This book stands head and shoulders above its genre. To label is as merely horror writing is to do it a grave disservice- this is a highly accomplished work of psychological fiction. Kirby’s writing draws you in from the first line – on many occasions I felt an idea or thought was planted in the readers mind only to be brutally played out later on in the narrative. The writing is impassioned, visceral, and shockingly powerful. The dialogue in particular stands out for how convincing it is, which only makes the impact of the novel harder as it reaches a conclusion. Be warned though – this book is a darker, grittier and more disturbing read than you might expect. Kirby’s writing leaves an imprint that remains long after the book has been closed…highly recommended.”

Vincent Rodriguez said: “Bully is a slow burning novel, which entertains, sickens, entrances and thoroughly entertains right up to the splendidly set up finale. I have to agree with other reviewers that this is so much more than a horror novel, and indeed it holds its own alongside the first class psychological thrillers of the Harris and King. Kirby has clearly studied the masters of this genre and as far as a second effort goes, this is right up in the first division. Through a meticulously woven narrative, he succeeds in making the reader feel uneasy, yet thoroughly enthralled as Gary Bull evolves from the perpetrator of childhood evils to the victim of the most harrowing psychological torture. In spite of his vileness in youth, Gary is a likeable character and you do find yourself rooting for him as he descends into terror. I know I should have felt that justice was being served, but sympathy for Gary was still hard to shake. This is the hallmark of a masterly creation, of which Kirby should be congratulated. The book is a real page-turner and can be read almost at one sitting. I would certainly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys dark fiction, and I for one, will be searching out Kirby’s other tales.”

SOR CoverIt’s competition time on the Halloween countdown today.  This is your chance to win a SIGNED, PAPERBACK COPY of my 2015 HORROR novel The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters

And all you have to do is answer the following question:

A.J. Kirby’s Bully is set in what fictional town? 

Please send your answers to: andy (at) andykirbythewriter.20m(dot) com, with SLEEP COMP marked in the subject line AND your name and address (as well as your answer) in the body of the email.


Roll up, roll up for the magical mystery tour of the museum of sleep, a place where your dreams can stand up and walk, just the same as your nightmares.

From the bloodied pen of the author AJ Kirby comes The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters, a novel of startling originality, wit, and imagination.

Charlie Prince and his father are looking for a little adventure at the weekend. They want to escape their real-world problems for a few hours. But they get a lot more than they bargained for when they visit the new museum in town. For here the exhibits are much more monstrous than the ones they face at home.

Soon Charlie discovers they are trapped inside the museum, and they are not alone. Monsters lurk in the dark corners, twitching to hunt them down. A trio of bears thunder after them in a frenzied pursuit. A mischievous not-quite-white rabbit promises to help them but ends up luring them into his lair.

And behind them all, the sinister puppet-master Howard Cunliffe lies in wait, eager to trap Charlie inside forever.

Channelling Lewis Carroll, Edgar Allan Poe and Stephen King, this subtly dark, surreal story will ensure you’ll sleep with the light on tonight.

bbToday on my Halloween countdown I’ll be revisiting another horror novella published through TWB Press. The Black Book was published in 2011 and you can purchase a copy from here.

Crotchety Oliver Capstick is a book reviewer who has the power to ruin writers, which he does with callous disregard for the consequences. He works from his home, an old out-of-the-way house, lives with his cat, Milton, and holds only a tenuous connection to one other human being, the Postman who delivers the tomes he’s charged to read and review. One such tome, a black book, which Oliver tosses directly into the trash, is about to force him to review his own life with the same callous disregard for the consequences.


– Anna Stephens on The Hub Pages reviews this “excellent, creepy and downright disturbing read”. Read the full review here.

– “…an absolutely cracking read written by a truly talented writer”, says DjG, Amazon reader.

– “First things first, AJ Kirby can write. This guy can tell a story. He’s got this sneaky ability to draw you in and before you know it you’re thirty pages in and it seems like you only started reading a few minutes ago.” Craig Jones, Amazon reader

– “I really liked this wee story”, cheers N. Jackson, Amazon reader

– “I highly recommend The Black Book. You won’t be able to put it down.” Marilyn Baron, Amazon reader

psychopompA couple of dark fiction shorts for you today on my Halloween countdown.

First my flash-fiction horror piece ‘Psychopompery’, which was published in 2011 by Sein und Werden magazine. You can read it here.

Second, my short ‘Skeleton in the Closet’, in Fever Dreams magazine. You can read it here.

And third, my story ‘Jellyfish’, Litro’s Ghosts issue. You can read it here.