Saturday, 28 June 2014

Introducing you to... J.S.Daly

It is our great pleasure to introduce you to J. S. Daly and his work to be included in Dark Heart Volume 2, 'Chestnut Tea'. 

'Chestnut Tea' is a really dark and spooky tale, with an eerie supernatural flavour. Here's a little teaser. 

"His comment met silence.  Every few years strange things happened in Flint Hill.  Kids found squirrel pelts with the bones missing, mass migrations of frogs carpeted the roadways, scores of dead fish floated in the lake, and once, about five years ago, a boy named Dutch had disappeared." 

Welcome, J.S.Daly, tell us a little about yourself.
I live in upstate New York near Lake Ontario, and grew up far from the city exploring the woods along the Erie Canal, camping out in abandoned structures, and scaling the walls of the old chapel at the back of the local cemetery.  I originally went to school to be a museum curator because I love the sense of mystery that goes along with historic sites and ancient relics, though I currently manage computer networks!  I have a passion for old time radio shows like The Inner Sanctum, and dark fiction written for younger audiences.

When did you start writing ‘seriously’?
One night, while working at Mystic Seaport, a historic shipyard and museum in Connecticut, the idea for an adventure about tall ships came to me.   I was in my late twenties when, on the deck of an aged whaling vessel, I outlined my first novel.  I haven’t let go of writing since.

What is the favorite thing you have ever written?  Tell us a little about it.
When I was in high school, I wrote a series of lengthy poems about a character called “The Caretaker,” a gravedigger who lived in a cemetery and had supernatural adventures, which I only shared with a few friends.  I had a lot of fun with it, and the response I got encouraged me to keep writing and let my imagination go.

Who is your inspiration?
I found myself drawn to haunted houses at a young age thanks to John Bellairs and got lost in the October Country with Ray Bradbury.  More recently, I have admired the frightening imagery of witches in Joseph Delaney’s work, the archaeological mystery of R.L. LaFevers, and the sheer urban darkness of F.E. Higgins.

What are your hopes and ambitions for the future?
I hope to inspire a generation of kids who like to explore the dark.  I want to open up horror to the pre-teen audience as much as it has been for young adults.  When parents ask whether that’s really appropriate, they are associating the word “horror” with violent movies rather than the spooky dark fantasy that is already a component of many middle-grade novels.  I’m hoping to change that reaction so that when someone hears the words “children’s horror,” it evokes images of camp-fire stories and Halloween.

What would be your advice to aspiring writers?
It is important to always help other writers.  By critiquing material that isn’t your own, you can get a feel for what works and what doesn’t and then apply it to your own voice.  Keep that idea notebook full because you never know when the parts of a story will fall into place.

Tell us a secret.
I keep a collection of bones in my cellar. No, really.  I do a lot of hiking and run into all sorts of deceased animals on the trail.  Their remains make excellent witch bottles, frames and sculptures.


J. Sean Daly is an emerging children’s horror writer who lives in Rochester, New York and writes about scary books for kids on his website:  Awake at Midnight.  He holds a Degree in Cultural Anthropology from Rutgers University, and was heavily influenced by the dark fantasy of John Bellairs and Phyllis Reynolds Naylor at a young age.  His current influences include Joseph Delaney and Rick Yancey.

Sean spends his free time exploring and photographing abandoned, decaying structures and adventuring with his family and a GPS.  He can often be found writing in old, worn notebooks at local cemeteries.  He finds additional inspiration for his writing in Old Time Radio shows and he maintains a collection of antique photographs that help to inspire his characters.

Some of his strongest early memories are of ghostly noises from the graveyard across the street from the home where he grew up and getting lost in a ruined house in Dansville, NY that was surrounded by wilderness.  It had been gutted by fire, though an iron spiral-staircase remained.  He ran away rather than climbing it, and to this day wonders what might have been at the top.

Sean’s intention is to legitimize a new niche of literature designed to not only frighten the wits out of children, but also to engage them in self-discovery and depict a framework for empowerment. 

You can join the discourse at:

Thursday, 19 June 2014

Introducing you to... Jennifer L. Mathison


It is our great pleasure to start our Dark Heart Volume 2 series of 'Introducing You To...' posts, by introducing you to the author Jennifer Mathison and her Dark Heart story, 'The Hunter.'

'The Hunter' is a goose-bump inducing fairy tale that explores the darker side of childhood obsession. When Josephine sets about the task of  collecting a fairy, things take a very darkly poetic turn. 


My name is Jennifer L. Mathison. I come from a small farming community in Saskatchewan, Canada. A place to which I’ve recently returned and which provides me with so much material for my work. These days I have begun to consider writing as my primary job although I do have another one that pays better… so far.

I’m also the author of “The Hunter”. It is the only young adult piece I have ever written, and am honored to have it featured in Dark Heart Volume 2.

When did you start writing ‘seriously’?

I’ve been writing my whole life. Since I was old enough to hold a pencil. But I began writing seriously in 2011 after I’d quit a stressful job I’d held for eight years, bringing me to the proverbial fork in the road … As I contemplated my life and  finally had the time and the space to think and to breathe and to just be…  I quite naturally fell back into writing. And I went after it with zest… It was like a dam had burst… all the stories I hadn’t had time to write previously just came pouring out.

What is the favourite thing you have ever written? Tell us a little about it.

A story called “Norah From Nowhere.” It’s a suspense thriller about a young woman who is running from her past and escapes to a house in the country, but little does she know what is waiting for her there.

 This story will always be my favourite because it’s the first one I wrote after I returned to fiction writing in 2011. It blew me away and showed me what I was capable of. Many stories were to follow, and it is now the title story of my book, “Norah From Nowhere and Other Stories” which will be available on Amazon either late this year or in the first half of 2015.

Tell us a little about your book.

“Norah From Nowhere and Other Stories” is a collection of suspense thrillers. It’s a blend of mystery, murder, ghosts, madness and romance that will take readers on a journey like no other.  But be warned –These stories will seep into your consciousness and haunt you long after they’ve been read. I’m very excited about the book’s release.

Who is your inspiration?

I admired Phyllis A. Whitney and Victoria Holt early on, but I can’t point to any one person as my inspiration. Every book I’ve ever loved has inspired me. But T.V shows like The Twilight Zone, Alfred Hitchcock movies, and other thriller/suspense classic movies have inspired me as well. I like subtlety. I like my stories to have a haunting kind of beauty… nothing gratuitous or in-your-face… the best thing you can give to the reader is the chance to use their own imaginations.

What are your hopes and ambitions for the future?

I hope to live a comfortable life in the country where I can write in the kind of peace only country life can offer. However, sometimes I think it would be great to live like Jessica Fletcher from the “Murder She Wrote”, series.  Minus tripping over dead bodies every place I go.

What would be your advice to aspiring writers?

There’s really only one piece of advice to give, and that is to sit down and write. I don’t think people who really want to be writers need anyone to tell them that. They do it because they must. I might suggest they write without any thoughts of getting published. Or worrying about what anyone will think of their work. Writing because you love it is the real reward, and anything that follows is icing on the cake.

Tell us a secret.

I’m magic. I have the ability to slip into another, more fascinating world any time I please… a place of my own creation where I can make anything happen, and become anyone I want to become…I can disappear at a moment’s notice and leave my all cares behind. And only I have the key to this world... No-one can follow me there. That’s what my writing has given to me.

Where can you find me? 

You can find me over on FACEBOOK 

Sunday, 8 June 2014

Line up Announcement for Dark Heart Volume 2

Here at Little Bird Publishing, we are incredibly excited to be able to release the first wave of information about Volume 2 of the Young Adult Dark Fairytales & Paranormal Romance anthology, Dark Heart.

Dark Heart Volume 2 will be released on the 13th of July 2014 and we can't wait to share some of these amazing stories by some incredibly talented people.

Due to the democratic submission process of the Dark Heart & Night Shade project, in which we do not ask for any 'author' information prior to selection, it means that the end result is a fabulous mixture of stories from established authors, (some of whom you will recognise) and complete publishing newbies - of all ages. It's this that makes the Dark Heart & Night Shade project so fresh and exciting.

So without further ado, we are very proud to announce the following authors and their short story works.

Jennifer Mathison, 'The Hunter'

J.S Daly, 'The Chestnut Tree'

Smara, 'Chrysalis' 

Tammy Basic, 'Reflections'

Rachel Anding 'The Queen of The Gilly Flowers'

Chris Kammerud, 'Jjincha 

Katie M John, 'Alicia'

KC Finn 'The Glassman's Promise'

Tista Ray 'The Last Weapon'

We are also delighted to announce the poets, Alison Clarke and Helen Ogden who's works will also be featuring in the anthology.

We will be confirming the final line up in the next few days (We're just waiting for some to get back from their travels.)