Publicity Tour: Sussex Horrors, Stories of Coastal Terrors and Other Seaside Haunts: Guest Post by author Mark Cassell

An exciting guest post by one of the authors of Sussex Horrors short story collection, Mark Cassell, in which he talks about how Sussex Horrors came to life, and the inspiration behind it! As most stories are set in Hastings, which is well known in history for the Battle of Hastings that happened in 1066, Mark also gives a short account of some of the legends connected to the location and historical occurrences. Enjoy! 🙂

“The Sussex Horrors anthology perhaps began back in 2013 when I signed up for an online writing course tutored by Rayne Hall. Without realising at the time, Rayne and I were practically neighbours in the southeast of England. My writing career began when Rayne put me in contact with an editor friend, April Grey, who later published the short story I submitted for the course.

Our fellow Sussex Horrors writer, Jonathan Broughton, I met through Rayne when we shared drinks at her home in St Leonards. Incidentally, Rayne’s black cat, Sulu, is adorable. Many times we met up in Hastings to write together along the seafront or in coffee shops and tea rooms, to absorb the local atmosphere for inspiration.

In 2016, we discussed putting together a horror anthology, and in all honesty it was entirely my fault it took so long to come to fruition. I was awaiting the return for the rights on three stories, after seeing them share pages with several of my literary heroes. Unfortunately, by the time our anthology was published, both Rayne and Jonathan moved away to Bulgaria and Cambridge, respectively.

Hastings, where a few of the Sussex Horrors stories are set, is famous for its roots in history: notably the 1066 Battle of Hastings. Research into big cat sightings and witchcraft for my 2017 novella, Hell Cat of the Holt, led me to learn that in the 19th century, two mummified cats were discovered in the chimney stack of the Stag Inn while under restoration.

These cats were apparently the familiars of a local 17th century witch, Hannah Clarke, who was friendlier than most witches of that time and seen to help prevent the Spanish Armada in reaching Hastings. She often used her powers for the town’s protection, and although she moved on, for whatever reasons, her familiars remained. Indeed, those cats continued as Hastings residents … until the Great Plague hit.

Rather than the rat, it was the cat assumed to be the plague carrier, and this pair having been owned by a witch, were the first to succumb to accusations. Such was superstition back then, for fear of a bad omen to befall Hastings by actually killing the cats, it was decided they were to be walled in at the pub. This led to their mummification.

Although not all stories in our Sussex Horrors anthology are set in Hastings, between us, we have unearthed some haunting tales, some horrific, others creepy, and some that remind us of our mortality.”

Mark Cassell lives on the south coast of England with his wife and a number of animals. He often dreams of dystopian futures, peculiar creatures, and flitting shadows. His jobs have included a baker, a laboratory technician, and a driving instructor, and 2018 sees him acting in the horror movie Monster directed by Matt Shaw.
As a familiar face on the UK convention scene, Mark sells his books as well as his photographic art, and doesn’t charge for selfies. The busy man that he is, he also hosts writing retreats for Writers’ HQ.
Primarily a horror author, his steampunk, dark fantasy, and sci-fi stories have featured in numerous reputable anthologies and zines. His best-selling debut novel The Shadow Fabric is closely followed by the popular short story collection Sinister Stitches and are both only &a fraction of an expanding mythos of demons, devices, and deceit. The novella Hell Cat of the Holt further explores the Shadow Fabric mythos with ghosts and black cat legends.
The dystopian cyberpunk collection Chaos Halo 1.0: Alpha Beta Gamma Kill is in association with Future Chronicles Photography where he works closely with their models and cosplayers. He’s often alongside these guys at conventions all around the UK, and one of their shoots inspired the creation of his new Lovecraftian steampunk horror universe that begins with the novelette In the Company of False Gods available on Amazon.

Mark Cassell Website

Rayne Hall writes fantasy, horror and non-fiction, and is the author of over sixty books. Her horror stories are more atmospheric than violent, and more creepy than gory.
Born and raised in Germany, Rayne has lived in China, Mongolia, Nepal, Britain and Bulgaria. For many years, she resided in St Leonards on the coast of East Sussex where she penned many creepy stories, including the tales in this anthology.
Rayne has worked as an investigative journalist, development aid worker, museum guide, apple picker, tarot reader, adult education teacher, bellydancer, magazine editor, publishing manager and more, and now writes full time.
You’ll find free creepy horror stories on her website, and writing tips and photos of her cute book-reading black cat on Twitter.

Rayne Hall Website

Jonathan Broughton writes fantasy, horror, paranormal and urban stories. Any story in any genre in fact, depending on the idea or the plot that pops into his head.
For many years he lived in Hastings on the south coast of England and all of the stories in this anthology were written when he was by the sea.
As well as the short stories he has also written three novels. A thriller set in Victorian London at the outbreak of the Crimean War, a modern-day crime investigation that takes place in Hastings and a fantasy, also set in the East Sussex area, In the Grip of Old Winter.
In the fantasy, eleven-year-old Peter travels back in time to ten-sixty-six just after the Battle of Hastings. Intrigue and confusion blossom as the local population adjusts to life under the guidelines laid down by their newly victorious conquerors. And in the woods and the hidden places, old magic reawakens. It is hard for Peter to know who he can trust in this strange time and the decisions he has to make then impact on events in the past and in the present.
Many of Jonathan’s short stories have been published in Rayne Hall’s Ten Tales books and April Grey’s Hells… series.
He has worked as a Poll Clerk and a Presiding Officer for various local and general elections, an examinations invigilator and as a puppeteer in theatre, films and television. He now lives in the University City of Cambridge, UK.

Jonathan Broughton Amazon Profile

Redski Redd an East Sussex based photographic artist specialising in beautiful, strange and spooky artwork.
Redski takes his inspiration from the charms that he finds online and in Hastings, Rye and Brighton antique and charity shops. In his photography studio, Redski turns everyday items, toys, and models, into stunning and unique photographic artwork.
He also creates original book cover artwork for horror novelist, Mark Cassell.

Red Town Photography Website

Thank you all for following this amazing publicity tour, organised by Confessions Publicity! You can find other works by these authors on their websites and social networks, get involved in book giveaways and promotion of their excellent work! Thank you to all the authors for giving me the opportunity to familiarise myself with their work, I enjoyed every second of it!

Enjoy the England winter, everything is covered in snow! Perfect time to cozy up under the blanket, in the company of your favorite book…Sussex Horrors perhaps? 😉


Publicity Tour: Sussex Horrors, Stories of Coastal Terror and Other Seaside Haunts by J.Broughton, M.Cassell and R.Hall

“Three Sussex authors … Twelve horror stories.

Take a terrifying journey to a coastline associated with candyfloss and amusement arcades, and see it stripped to the bone.
Whether it’s seagulls that prove to be more than a nuisance, the mysterious inhabitants of a forgotten village, or a fisherman whose Easter eggs are not for consumption, the horrors are always there … and much closer than we care to admit.”

When I saw the title of this titillating collection, I simply had to read it. Since I moved to England, to Norfolk, a year or so ago, I was always on the lookout for intriguing and (even better!) scary stories, legends and locations associated with them, but, either because of lack of time, or no people who would know or tell stories like these, I didn’t get far. Filled with history and amazing lore, England is one of the countries that has hidden gems scattered all over the place, in urban as well as in rural parts of the country. This collection of short stories satisfied my curiosity…expanded my views onto different realms…transferred me to the coastal enigma that confused me and amazed me at the same time! (I must admit, my impression of the coast here is based on Cromer so far, as I am yet to visit other places) I felt I was there, inside the stories. I was there, lurking in the shadows of a new and unfurnished flat, trying to make sense of the strange seagulls’ behaviour…I felt completely mad and helpless trying to resist the deafening noise of a thing that we use the most in our lives, a phone, thinking how is it possible to not be able to communicate, in our time?! I drowned in my own fear, as I was desperately trying to find a way out from the endless darkness…thinking, would I have ended there in the first place, if I hadn’t taken that wretched, but beautifully crafted wooden egg?! As I write this, my mind slowly wanders through the pages of a skillfully combined short story collection, Sussex Horrors, where the coastal terror is real, and other haunts are luring me into the dark void created by the amazing contemporary horror writers, Jonathan Broughton, Mark Cassell and Rayne Hall, all of them with such distinct writing styles and different voices..still, conveying an universal message: horror is real, and it is right around the corner, lurking, waiting…It is domestic, familiar and a big part of our everyday lives.

There are twelve stories in the collection, and they include:

Mark Cassell’s
– The Rebirth
– The Commission
– Demon Alcohol
– Away in a Mangler

Jonathan Broughton’s
– The Stealth of Spiders
– You Have One Message
– Furzby Holt
– The Pensioner Pirates of Marine Parade

Rayne Hall’s
– Seagulls
– Normal, Considering the Weather
– Scruples
– Double Rainbows

Universal link:

This exciting publicity tour is brought to you by the excellent Confessions Publicity!

Join me tomorrow, when I will surprise you with an awesome guest post, and some more insights about Sussex Horrors, and its authors! In the meantime, don’t forget to pick up a copy, and do share your comments about it! 🙂

Also, be sure to check out the authors, the book cover artist and the publishing house that made this publicity tour happen:


Jonathan Broughton

Mark Cassell

Rayne Hall


Redski Redd

Publishing house:

Confessions Publicity


Today, as a part of a publicity tour for An Angel Fallen horror novella written by a British author Andy Graham, the author himself wrote a few words just for you in his guest post here on Digging Graves blog! As Andy himself says: “Andy Graham is a British author currently living in the Czech Republic who will now stop talking about himself in the third person because it’s odd. I have two main collections of books: The Lords of Misrule is a series of dystopian political thrillers set in an alternate world based on life in 21st century EU/US. I also have an expanding collection of creepy reads that explore the darker side of life, death, and the undead. There are a few unfinished stories rattling around in my hard drive and some unstarted ones knocking around in my head. They range from disposable airport fiction and YA sci fi to grimdark epics, but they will have to wait their turn. (Unfortunately for my wife, who is waiting for me to write something “nice”,  preferably with sparkly vampires.) Outside of reading and writing, I’m a musician, qualified osteopath, seasoned insomniac, and father to two young kids who have too much energy to let me grow old gracefully.”

Charming us with the description of his life and his work, Andy also gives us hints, pointing out to the darker side of his own mind, where the stories such as An Angel Fallen come to life in all their grittiness and splendour! Without further ado, here is the guest post by Andy that you’ve all been waiting so patiently to read! Enjoy!


A Blog

Andy Graham

An Angel Fallen

July 2017


Our butt, gut, stomach, (pot-/beer-) belly, intestines, bowels, paunch, midriff, waistline, love handles, and entrails are an essential part of life, from a good meal to a good ****. They also form an integral part of fiction.




Hang on for a minute while I get all educational.


We all know that we have a nervous system. It allows us to think, feel, move, read, write, and so on. My take is that the nervous system is King or Queen, and everything else revolves around the brain in all its synaptic glory. (The other body systems are essential too; the brain just kicks the most butt when it comes to who we are.)


That’s old news.


But, did you know – Such a classic Friday Night Pub Bore opening line! – that we also have what is called the Enteric Nervous System (ENS)? It’s the branch of the Central Nervous System (CNS) that controls digestion and is sometimes referred to as the ‘second brain’.


The ENS is closely linked with the brain in our head, and an issue with one can affect the other. Apart from the general crappy feeling food poisoning and over-/under-/poor eating can cause, some disorders seem to have a component rooted in the gut, e.g. anxiety, mood disorders, Parkinson’s disease and dementia.


If our ENS is intimately linked with mood and health, it should come as no surprise that we have countless expressions that rely on ‘gut’ words.


(to) have a visceral reaction to something

(to) feel gutted

(to) go with your gut / trust your gut / go on gut instinct

(to) feel sick/nauseous

(to) be talking out of / be lost up your arse

(to) take the p**s / talk s**t

(to) want to p**s/s**t yourself

(to) have butterflies/a knot/fire in your stomach

(to) feel sick to your stomach

(to) be bilious

(to) grind/grit/gnash/clench your teeth

(to) be yellow-bellied/lily-livered/gutless

(to) be gobsmacked/slack-jawed/toothless


Of course, we have adjectives related to food: gaunt, emaciated, bloated, skeletal, whip-thin, and so on.


I’m deliberately ignoring other body expressions, e.g. spineless, weak-kneed and any number of descriptions involving the throat, arse and genitals because we’d be here all day.


If you want a real-life example of ‘intestinal fiction’, in my novella, An Angel Fallen, we get these:


Mike’s stomach convulsed.

It sounded like a pig being gutted alive

Ariel recoiled as if she had been gut-punched.

Bile flooded up Mike’s throat in a hard-knotted lump that threatened to choke him.

The hissing surrounding them was louder now. Mike could feel it sliding through his bladder, his bowels.


The opening of Sunflower (a short story of mine) is:

 The retching started somewhere south of her feet. There was nothing left to come up, but the dry-heaving wouldn’t stop. Nika doubled forwards. A trail of slime stretched from her mouth. It dropped into the frothy puddle in front of her. When her stomach finally unclenched, she sat back on her haunches.


In the same story Nika experiences ‘gut-wrenching terror’, (which she should, given what happens to her family).


Given the above examples, is it any wonder that ‘visceral’ words form such a vital part of our language? Maybe it’s due to the brain-gut connection I mentioned before, maybe it’s because of the conditioning of uncountable authors using such descriptions. But the simple matter is that our gastro-intestinal system and emotions are inextricably linked.


So, the next time you feel a flutter of something between your ribs and your pelvis, take comfort in the fact that an author somewhere will be struggling to capture that feeling and translate it into words.

Thank you all for reading and following our publicity tour of An Angel Fallen novella, thanks to Confessions Publicity for organizing everything, and thanks to Andy for his excellent “gut wrenching” guest post!

Follow Andy Graham online at (where you can claim a free book), twitter – @andygraham2001 and FB – andy graham author.



Publicity Tour: An Angel Fallen, by Andy Graham


Hi everyone! This week I have something special in store for you! My blog is a part of an exciting publicity tour organised by Confessions Publicity, and together, we are presenting you with an excellent new horror novella called An Angel Fallen, written by a British horror and dark fiction writer, Andy Graham!

In the next couple of days, prepare yourselves for a dark and a very unusual experience of being transferred into a world of utmost confusion and growing up fast, following two main characters in the novella in question, Mike and Raph; two young boys who spend their days harassing and torturing animals around their neighbourhood! Raph is a complete sociopath, and Mike is an “innocent” bystander in these moments of cruelty executed by his friend, which will turn out to be a not so innocent and safe role in his young life after all. Both coming from broken families, growing up with their parents’ bad choices, alcoholism and neglect, Mike and Raph have no other path to follow except the one of violence and inhumanity…until one dark night that changed everything!

Andy Graham brings us the story of impossibility, violence, faith, problems of growing up, and the way that our society shapes us in our young age, whether we want that or not. For me, this excellent novella creates an atmosphere of hopelessness, and ultimate darkness that hides in each and every one of us, but at the same time, offers a way out of it, a light at the end of the tunnel, if you will, bringing out the importance of family and its influence. Significantly named, Mike or Michael, and Raph or Raphael, represent a difficult relationship among childhood friends, that brings out the best and the worst in all of us. We have all been there; we have struggled with bullying, peer pressure, and violence when we were growing up, we have been manipulated into doing things that we didn’t want to do, for the sake of having friends and being accepted, and in the process, we have learned to see the right from wrong, that ultimately forged our future paths.

The darkness that lingers in this novella is constantly keeping you alert while reading it, giving you the chills along the way, and making you become a part of this violent universe, at the same time messing with your own sanity! An Angel Fallen by Andy Graham is one of those works that will keep you up at night, and it will make you question yourselves constantly! One of the most fun novellas I’ve read in a long time! I highly recommend that you give An Angel Fallen a go, I guarantee you that you will read it in one sitting, holding your breath at the same time 🙂

Watch out for tomorrow, when I will be hosting a guest blog by the author Andy Graham himself!

In the meantime, you can find out more about Andy and his work on his website (where you can claim a free book!), and on his social media: twitter – @andygraham2001 and FB – andy graham author.



Get Out and the story about human perception of modern society

I wanted to see Get Out from the moment it, well, got out, followed by all those not so interesting, angry and hateful comments and articles about how it’s anti-white and pro racism and such. Honestly, I get really disappointed when I see those kinds of things out there, especially before the movie comes out, and especially coming from horror fans. I am researching horror genre in an academic context, and I’m always excited about smth new in horror genre, but let’s be realistic for a moment here: do we as a society, and more importantly, as individuals, have to disect every work of art only to get our comments and opinions out there in the dark public sphere even though they are completely unfounded and plain old crass? Do we really crave that much for our 15 mins under the spotlight, no matter the consequences? Since when have we become social media puppets and stopped enjoying the genre that we all love and cherish so much (I do mean horror, yes)? 

I’ve noticed that this kind of treatment sometimes puts me off from watching a good movie, not because I get under the influence of these opinions out there but because those opinions and comments suck the last will to enjoy any kind of movie out of me. And I really love horror! 

Get Out follows an African American ( because we are not allowed to say black anymore, as it is not politically correct in this post racism era of ours where we should be above it all) guy named Chris Washington (a white connotation hidden over here, some might say) who goes to spend the weekend with his white girlfriend and her liberal white family. The atmosphere is quite unsettling from the moment they arrive to their destination, and Chris starts to notice some strange things happening in and around the house. There is a series of teasers regarding racial stereotypes, which makes the whole viewing experience even more unsettling, especially when we start experiencing Chris’ own confusion about the whole situation. Throughout the film, we as viewers have a choice: to see everything just 1) black and white, which most of the people embraced with such vigour and criticism, but no one seemed to notice that in between every black and white there is always that 2) gray area that tells a whole different story, a story about human nature, the monstrosity of it all, at which point it really doesn’t matter if your skin is black or white or any other shade of human, or if you’re a woman or a man. The director Jordan Peele tackled all his experiences, social issues, cultural differences and suburban fears in contemporary America perfectly and with just the right amount of comic relief (a practice commonly used in Grand Guignol, a 19th century French theatre of horror, where in one night of entertainment there would be an exchange of horror and comedy in order to confuse, scare and amaze the audiences), but, whether that was his intention or not, he also revealed the dark side of human nature in all its glory, a recurrent theme in many horror films that reminds us of the horrors of the real world that we live in, and the frailty of our own lives. 

Also, don’t forget that this is one of the rare horror films where we end up with a final boy in the end, and not the final girl 🙂 I bet Carol Clover, one of my favorite theoreticians of the genre, would have something to say about that!

So, I would suggest to stop overthinking everything and to enjoy the twists and turns that our favorite genre, horror, has in store for us in the future. Even Gavin Mcinnes over at Rebel Media agrees with me: Get Out is not racist 🙂

Oh My Horror! The Children are on the loose!

I’ve been watching kids of all ages, observing their behaviour, I mean, and I must admit that differences in personalities can be seen at a really young age! Some are one of those nice naive types, who wouldn’t hurt a fly, others are proper “I’m torturing animals and I’m proud of it” types, you can recognize them by the really cold and focused look in their eyes that they give you while walking down THEIR street, and then there are the oblivious ones, who are securely living inside their own bubble, that they share with likeminded individuals of their own age, conpletely focused only on one topic that they find interesting, like the three boys who excel in skate rides around the neighbourhood who I’ve just passed on the street. The second case reminded me of Eden Lake, a film that is so good in communicating an important message, and yet so disturbing that I’m not sure if I want to recommend it to you, if you haven’t seen it yet, that is. A small town mentality is something I’m very familiar with, I was born in a small town. That mentality in the film is so blatantly put out there, with a simplicity of reading a bed time story and the straightforwardness of a prostitute working the streets! Maybe that is the reason why it made such an impact on me, on an emotional level rather than anything else. There is a scene in the film, just a simple one, nothing fancy, but so powerful that it made me cringe after watching it, which in return resulted in yelling at the screen and covincing the main characters to leave this place if they know what’s best for them, because they will die a horrible and painful death! Which, of course, didn’t work, and our characters walked slowly into the trap of the oh so monstrous small town mentality. The couple was sitting in a local diner after they had an unpleasant encounter with some youngsters in the woods, and they were enquiring about their whereabouts and their identity, so that they can do the right thing and tell their parents what ugly little creatures their kids are! That didn’t work either for our couple, because finishing that conversation, was one of the waitresses, who was obviously a mother herself, and the only thing that she said to the two strangers in a small town tight community was: “Not mine”, meaning her perfect kid couldn’t do anything wrong, repeated several times with a tone of voice that gave me the proper chills and made me turn off the screen to compose myself a bit. That is, in my opinion, one of the best scenes in Eden Lake. That one really stuck with me, despite the more violent and graphic scenes I’ve been exposed to during the film. Why, you ask? Because it is the beginning of the end. It builds up an unsettling atmosphere up until the end, and a sense of ultimate despair. That scene gives the ending more power than it actually deserves, becuase it’s socially and culturally very important and very real.

A New Beginning (x2) 

It took me four and a half episodes of the X Files, a long walk to the store because I live really far from it, and a lot of different scenarios that my brain processed while getting a prescribed daily input of fresh air to start writing again. A lot has changed since my last post almost two years ago. I had another New Beginning in life, this time in England. It is not that different from Scotland, so the initial shock wasn’t that hard, and the weather is a bit better. But not that much, since April is filled with cold spring rain showers almost all the time! I’m in Norwich now, a beautiful city in the East of England. Lots of things to see and experience, beautiful architecture and interesting events. During my last year in Scotland, I realised that I am not going forward, so I decided to change that. I applied and got accepted to UEA, finally doing a PhD, which was the main reason why I left Croatia in the first place. And let me tell you, this PhD experience is completely different and more challenging than being an independent researcher! Despite that, it is really rewarding. I’ve been a PhD candidate for a few months now, and I’ve learned so much already! Of course, there’s always a down side to everything, and PhD is no different. If someone tells you that doing a PhD is hard work and an isolating experience, believe them, because it is. It’s the way you choose to handle that isolation that matters. Why are PhDs like that? Because the program is 100% research, with supervisor meetings and flexible seminars that you as a student attend when you can, depending on your time management and organising everything else around it. You meet people when you start, but it’s hard to meet up with them on a regular basis because of many different reasons. Some of them are working, some have families, some live outside the town. But I wouldn’t change my decision, because all that can be dealt with and socialising is a big part of the experience. While I was walking to the store, I had a strange feline encounter that woke me up from my daydreaming and possibly saved me from a painful collision with a parking pole. One of the local cats brushed so hard against my leg that I almost fell! He is a dashing tom cat, tiger stripes and all, very elegant, with a bad boy vibe, amazing big eyes and extraordinary muscular form (yes, I’m still talking about a cat 😉 ). I thanked him and showed my affection by patting him on the head while no cat was looking, cause he has to retain that bad boy king of the neighbourhood cat vibe! I continued my journey to the distant store, still daydreaming and planning, but aware of my surroundings. Thinking about new prospects and future endeavours during my PhD. That’s what I like, lots of opportunities present themselves while studying, which in turn gives you the experience and new skills to continue with your growth, as a professional and a person. Experiences do matter, and I’ve decided to share mine with you, about PhD, about my research, about everything that matters to me. So, stay tuned to this soon to be revamped blog about stranger things, horror, film, media and all other trendy stuff out there! 🙂 

P.S. I’m still watching the X Files, because…X Files! Am I right? 🙂 #awesomeTV

Untitled post about imagination and love

It is 6 am. She is having her last cigarette in the shadows of the dark living room that she calls her own. No inspiration coming her way and insomnia disturbing her mind, she is contemplating her life so far..and thinking about him. She hears his voice even though she does not know the way it sounds, she feels his hands on her face, strong and manly, just as she imagined them to be. “I’ve been waiting for you,” she said in a low, sleepy voice. She hears him whispering secrets to her ear, smiles at his jokes and shudders when he touches her lips with his. Excited because of his long awaited presence in the room, she turns another dusty page… 


Undercover Autistic: on disclosing autism in the (academic) workplace

Great post about the issues that emerge in one’s professional and private life when they are struggling with Autism. A lot of these thoughts and conclusions can also be applied to other so called disorders, like OCD, for example. Understanding is the key.

The Third Glance

Autistic – the word that I first heard applied to me my freshman year of college – it was weighted full of disdain, and I feared it. I feared it, knowing but little of the disorder I’d never really encountered, but had heard some very awful things about.

Autistic – the word that I learned more and more about, as I devoured everything I could read on the subject, which was just so utterly fascinating to me.

Autistic – the word that I learned explained the why of how I interacted with the world. The word that explained nearly everything that made me different from the people I was surrounded by.

Autistic – the word that gave me freedom from my fear and belief that I was just a completely broken person who would never succeed.

Autistic – the word that gave me power over myself and my environment.


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