Archive for the Last Writes with… Category

From the ashes — Last Writes

Posted in Last Writes with... on July 14, 2020 by Occult Detective

On All Hallow’s Eve, 2016, I launched a feature on this blog called Last Writes. The idea was simple enough: invite interesting people to imagine themselves facing their final rest. The caveat being that before Death claims them they are granted a few earthly pleasures, the memories of which travelling with them into the great unknown.


The idea was not to find out what someone’s favorite meal or book or what have you is, but what they last wanted to experience. The two are seldom the same.

Last Writes ran for 9 episodes in 2016, 15 in 2017, and 3 in 2018. 27 in all. The series was well received. I was able to question authors, occultists, gamers, reviewers, publishers, and psychonauts in my quest to reveal a side to these fascinating people that we rarely get a glimpse of.

As we find ourselves immersed in a global pandemic, civil unrest, and political upheaval, I thought it high time we revisited these all important questions. In the coming weeks, I will be relaunching of Last Writes, but first, let’s have another look at those who came before.

10.31.2016  Bob Freeman

11.07.2016  William Meikle

11.14.2016  Alethea Kontis

11.21.2016  Joshua Reynolds

11.28.2016  Greg Mitchell

12.05.2016  Mary SanGiovanni

12.12.2016  Michael M. Hughes

12.19.2016  Kelli Owen

12.26.2016  Maurice Broaddus

01.02.2017  Brian Keene

01.09.2017  Gamerstable

01.16.2017  Tim Prasil

01.23.2017  John Linwood Grant

01.30.2017  Shanna Germain

02.06.2017  Cullen Bunn

02.13.2017  Charles R. Rutledge

02.20.2017  Tracy DeVore

02.27.2017  Stephen Shrewsbury

03.06.2017  Jim McLeod

03.20.2017  Michael West

03.27.2017  Amanda DeWees

04.03.2017  Sèphera Girón

04.10.2017  Julian Vayne

08.23.2017  Stephen Zimmer

01.31.2018  Fiona Horn

03.05.2018  Madame Pamita

03.19.2018  BethSheba Ashe


The Occult Detective’s #LastWrites with BethSheba Ashe

Posted in Last Writes with..., Magick on March 19, 2018 by Occult Detective


sasheI was lucky enough to have cultivated an online friendship with Steven Ashe, a prolific author of the occult and a consummate musician. I found Steven’s scholarship brilliant and he was, point of fact, a talented and charming fellow whom I feel blessed to have had the pleasure to know, even if we were separated by an ocean and some change.

Sadly, he crossed over far too young, but thankfully he left behind a wealth of books on all manner of esoterica. He is greatly missed.

bsasheThrough Steven, I was introduced to his wife’s scholarship.

BethSheba Ashe is every bit her late husband’s equal. I have found her musings on facebook and twitter to be erudite and insightful, and I have marveled over some of her research in dissertations. She has a great instinct for spiritual and magical matters with an ability to connect dots and unknot some rather intricate meanderings in the occult sphere.

I reached out to BethSheba some time ago, inviting her to take part in my little Last Writes experiment. Blissfully, she has joined us now…

Not familiar with Last Writes? The premise is simple. My guests face their final rest, but before Death claims them they are granted a few earthly pleasures, the memories of which will travel with them into the great unknown.

What would be your last meal? I don’t really care, but I’d like to share it with friends and perhaps share a joint with them too.

 What would be the last book you’d like to read and last movie you’d like to watch? …something inspiring, but again – its not something that I really care about. Same with the last movie, although I’m looking forward to seeing Sherlock Holmes meet Doctor Who.

What is the last song you’d like to hear? … bird song.

Who is the first person you’d like to meet on the other side? …the same person I always meet when I’m on the other side. It would be very weird if they weren’t there. I enjoy the continuity of seeing them when I die.

The Occult Detective’s #LastWrites with Madame Pamita

Posted in Last Writes with..., Magick with tags , , on March 5, 2018 by Occult Detective

madamepamitaI bought my first Tarot Deck, Pixie’s Rider-Waite, 38 years ago this summer. I still consider myself a student of the art and science of the cards and I’m always on the lookout for a new and fresh take on interpreting them.

That’s why I found Madame Pamita’s Magical Tarot: Using the Cards to Make Your Dreams Come True such a delight.

The author writes passionately and you get a true sense of her enthusiasm  and warmth. She has a style that’s all her own, with a clear, confident voice.

She takes the reader on a terrific journey, with the cards as milestones, or better still, doorways into strange new lands of possibilities. The author’s positive spin is refreshing and I’m thrilled to add her knowledge and inspiration into my arsenal.

Madame Pamita has a real gift and plenty of otherworldly charm. I cannot recommend this book highly enough, whether you’re a grizzled old veteran like me or new to the realm of card reading.


pamitaI was lucky enough to get Madam Pamita to sit down with us and take part in our little requiem-esque departure, taking a glimpse into her pre-inhumation, if you will.

The premise is simple. My guests face their final rest, but before Death claims them they are granted a few earthly pleasures, the memories of which will travel with them into the great unknown.

What would be your last meal? Take me to a Michelin 3 star restaurant in France, please! I’d like really fabulous wine with my meal, and yes, we would like a bread basket and yes, I will be having a dessert. Make that two desserts!

What would be the last book you’d like to read? I want to read something funny so I can go out laughing. Perhaps “The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists!” by Gideon Defoe – nothing like a story of hapless, arrogant and naive pirates battling the evil Queen Victoria to set me in the mood to take off on my own adventure into the unknown.

What is the last movie you’d like to watch? “This is Spinal Tap” – it has everything a movie should have – hapless, arrogant and naive musicians battling the evil music industry plus amps that go to 11.

What is the last song you’d like to hear? This is the hardest question of all because music is my thing! I’d like to see a live band for my last song because live music is the total experience for me. Oooh.. choices now… Is time travel allowed? If so, let me see the Kinks in 1968, David Bowie as Ziggy Stardust or the New York Dolls in 1973. Or, if time travel isn’t allowed, let me play music with one of my own bands just one last time. Music is everything!

Who is the first person you’d like to meet on the other side? It’s corny and not very exciting or clever, but I would love to see my mom again. I’d love to get a big warm hug from her. She was the best hugger ever!


Madame Pamita’s Magical Tarot is available wherever books are sold. Mine came by way of Red Wheel/Weiser. That’s a fine place to start. If you’re new to the path, or have been on the journey as long as I have, you’ll find tremendous value in this work. I truly believe it should grace the shelves of any and all tarot enthusiasts.

The Occult Detective’s #LastWrites with Fiona Horne

Posted in Last Writes with..., Magick on January 31, 2018 by Occult Detective

naked witchIn her most recent memoir, The Naked Witch (Rockpool Publishing), Fiona Horne paints a rather dark picture of her formative years, the horrible abuse she suffered as a child and the ensuing chaos of a rock and roll life that led to a descent into dependency in an all-too common narrative.

That she came out of all that with such a positive and empowering outlook is commendable, uplifting, and the strength of her life’s narrative.

Fiona Horne is a survivor and has reinvented herself more than once without relinquishing her core values.

In The Naked Witch, the author bares her soul, producing an unflinching chronicle of her life through hardships, triumphs, heartaches, and a quest to make a place for herself in this world. It’s an amazing journey and her strength of character shines throughout this intimate portrait.

If The Naked Witch stumbles it is in that it fails to be either a Rock & Roll memoir or a portrait of her life as a witch. It tries to do both, but comes up short.

That being said, I found it fascinating, and though I’ve always admired Ms. Horne as an author and musician, I came away with a newfound respect for her.


I had a chance to reach out to her and pitch a Last Writes interview and so, without further ado, let’s see how the celebrated Fiona Horne would spend her last day before shuffling off this mortal coil.


The premise is simple. My guests face their final rest, but before Death claims them they are granted a few earthly pleasures, the memories of which will travel with them into the great unknown.

What would be your last meal?

A bucket of organic arugula with aged organic balsamic vinegar, organic olive oil and Himalayan pink rock salt … and sliced, perfectly ripe, organic avocados tossed through it.

What would be the last book you’d like to read?

My second autobiography documenting the second half of my life … starting with the two catastrophic hurricanes I survived just as my first autobiography was published.  I would finish the final edit of it just as lay my head down to rest for the last time.  Hopefully the last words I write/read would share some useful insight about what it’s like to die gratefully and peacefully.

What is the last movie you’d like to watch?

The entire series of Blue Planet

What is the last song you’d like to hear?

‘Soon’ by My Bloody Valentine – ever since first hearing it back in the early 90’s I’ve considered this my favorite song.  There’s an otherworldly … or maybe more accurately, ‘between the worlds’ quality to it that, to me, sounds transcendent.  When I listen and dance to it, I feel transported.  It would be the perfect song to die to.

Who is the first person you’d like to meet on the other side?

I’d like to meet someone other than a human… maybe an alien, an angel…. or any other fascinating, celestial being.

Thank you, Fiona, for taking time away from your book tour to visit with us.

Her latest book, The Naked Witch, is available for purchase online and in brick & mortar retail outlets worldwide. I recommend you give it a look…

The Occult Detective’s #LastWrites with…Stephen Zimmer

Posted in Last Writes with... with tags , , on August 23, 2017 by Occult Detective

Welcome to a Special Edition of The Occult Detective’s Last Writes.

StephenZImmer_AuthorPhotoToday’s guest-of-honor is none other than Stephen Zimmer, an award-winning author and filmmaker based out of Lexington Kentucky. His works include the Rayden Valkyrie novels (Sword and Sorcery), the Rising Dawn Saga (Cross Genre), the Fires in Eden Series (Epic Fantasy), the Hellscapes short story collections (Horror), the Chronicles of Ave short story collections (Fantasy), and the Harvey and Solomon Tales (Steampunk).

Stephen’s visual work includes the feature film Shadows Light, shorts films such as The Sirens and Swordbearer, and the forthcoming Rayden Valkyrie: Saga of a Lionheart TV Pilot.

Stephen is a proud Kentucky Colonel who also enjoys the realms of music, martial arts, good bourbons, and spending time with family.



Before we get down to the business at hand, I thought I might share with you my thoughts on Stephen’s Rayden Valkyrie series.


Heart of a Lion is a fast-paced sword & sorcery tale starring Rayden Valkyrie, a strong-willed warrior with a sense of justice and fair play. The author really shines when he delves into her character, highlighting her strict code of honor.

Written in a very visual style, but leaving plenty of room to breathe, Heart of a Lion reminded me of a cross between Lin Carter’s prose and Sam Raimi’s sensibilities.

It certainly had a throw-back feel, like the novelization of a Saturday Matinee cliffhanger serial with Ray Harryhausen effects.

The second book in the series, Thunder Horizon, was a stronger outing. Rayden is still ThunderHorizonCover_1200X800the same ass-kicking warrior woman you fell in love with in Heart of a Lion. You can really tell the author is inside her head. He gets her.

The big difference here are the supporting characters. While handled with skill in the debut novel, in Thunder Horizon, this cast really comes alive.

There are some real spine-tingling moments throughout, and the author deftly navigates between these larger-than-life fantasy tropes and rich, textured human elements.

He makes you feel for every character and that’s an incredible accomplishment.

With another book in the Dark Sun Dawn Saga still to come and a tv pilot in post-production, we have thankfully not seen the last of Rayden Valkyrie.

Speaking of “last”… it’s my pleasure now to draw your attention to Stephen’s responses to our morbid curiosities — It’s time for…


The premise is simple. My guests face their final rest, but before Death claims them they are granted a few earthly pleasures, the memories of which will travel with them into the great unknown.


Last meal you’d eat: Would have to be a pizza, true New York-style, with at least a pepperoni topping.  Most likely double pepperoni and banana peppers, mushrooms, and olives.  But New York-style pizza is a life-long favorite of mine.  Thankfully here in Lexington we have a pizza place (Brooklyn Pizza) that does it very, very well.  I’d go with that as my choice!

Last book you’d read: Lord of the Rings trilogy compendium.  These books have had a life-long impact on me from the first time my mother read them to me at age 7.  I always see new things in the story every time I read it, and at this point I’ve read these books many times over.  They would be an appropriate final read before making the big transition.

Last movie you’d watch: I’m going to sound very single-minded, but I have to say the Lord of the Rings trilogy again.  I was so impressed with how well Peter Jackson captured the look and feel of the books.   There are major differences between the books and the movie, but the core spirit remains intact onscreen and that is what is most important to me!

Last song you’d listen to: This is a very difficult choice as I am a huge music fan.  But I’d want to end things on a positive note, so I’d have to go with a Kiss song, as I’ve been a Kiss fan since the days I was exposed to Lord of the Rings novels!  While “Rock and Roll All Nite” is not my favorite Kiss song, it does sum up the magic of Kiss and as a last song would be fitting indeed!  It’s a pure expression of living life with zest and would be a great way to cross over!

First person you’d like to meet on the other side: I cannot choose one of my folks over the other, so this is co-awarded to my father and mother.  No question they are first on my list as far as who I want to see in better realms beyond.  I miss them every single day.



I’d like to thank Stephen for allowing Occult Detective to be one of his whistlestops on his whirlwind Rayden Valkyrie Blog Tour Celebration.


To follow along on the tour, click HERE for everywhere Stephen’s been and where he’s headed next. You can also follow Stephen via his social media presence:

Twitter:  @SGZimmer
Instagram: @stephenzimmer7

If you dig heroic fantasy and strong female protagonists, then I urge you to order Heart Like a Lion and Thunder Horizon. They will more than scratch that itch, believe me.

My occult detective collection, First Born: Tales of the Liber Monstrorum, and both novels in the Cairnwood Manor series — Shadows Over Somerset and Keepers of the Dead — are available via Amazon and other online retail outlets in both ebook and trade paperback.

The Occult Detective’s #LastWrites Season Finale featuring Julian Vayne

Posted in Last Writes with... on April 10, 2017 by Occult Detective


Welcome to the twenty-third installment and season finale of LAST WRITES.

The premise is simple. My guests face their final rest, but before Death claims them they are granted a few earthly pleasures, the memories of which will travel with them into the great unknown.

Julian_VayneOur final guest of the season is Julian Vayne, an occultist and the author of a number of books, essays, journals and articles in both the academic and esoteric press. He is a freelance consultant, often working in museum and heritage settings, and lives in Devon. His name is most closely associated with the approach to occultism known as chaos magick. Julian is also an initiated Wiccan, member of the Kaula Nath lineage and Master Mason.


Well the last meal, like everything else in this list, would be influenced by the nature of my death (assuming I know it’s about to happen – of course I could die at the end of this interview!). Had I suffered from the heat a sorbet of cucumber and crunchy salad would be great. Were I to expire from the cold I guess I’d want a hearty bean and beef stew or similar before my final moment of awareness. In general if I had to select something as an all purpose pre-mortem meal it would probably be a great British curry.


A last read before my last rites? We’ll perhaps something inspirational like the Tao Te Ching or an text or two such as the Heart Sutra or Poetic Edda. Something nice and long would of course allow me to cheat death for a while such as À la recherche du temps perdu. I might choose one of my own books which are, in many places, quite autobiographical which might give me a chance to focus a few last reflections on my life before it’s lights out. I suspect if death turns up at the end of this interview and I have to make a selection toot sweet I’d go for a browse through my favourite (and handily potentially endless) book, the tarot. (Probably the Coleman-Smith aka Rider-Waite or Crowley-Harris ‘Thoth’ decks.)


The last movie I suppose could be the wonderful cinematography of something like Baraka or even 2001 if I was feeling in the mood for a retro death. I might go for something like the gruesome but also deeply spiritual Holy Mountain by Alexandro Jodorowsky or my favourite cult-pagan-cult movie The Wickerman. I might choose a deeply human story such as the wonderful Inuit produced movie Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner (which is also handily several hours long) or go for a few laughs on my way out with some classic comedy – Carry on Screaming anyone?


Last song, oh Gods, the humanity! Too many! Assuming we mean a song with lyrics (to exclude favourite tunes without words such as much of the classical or weirdy electronic music I love). I probably have to select a track by my late musical idol David Bowie, something like Heroes or even perhaps Rebel Rebel But maybe I’d go back to another old time musical hero and take my final bow to the strains of When the Music’s Over or The End by The Doors.


The person I’d most like to find waiting for me in the hearafter, another really tough question! We’ll there are loads of folks from history I’d like to hang out with such as the Greek philosopher Heraclitus of Ephesus (who I’d also love to quiz about what went down at the Eleusinian Mysteries), through to folks like psychologist and acid priest Timothy Leary or voudou initiate and cutting edge film-maker Maya Deren. It would be nice to see my Dad who passed away a few years back and of course any close members of my family who had gone into the world of ancestors before me. In this moment (I’m working in a museum with a great collection of pre-ice-age homind remains) I think I’d like to meet a European shaman from before the iron-age.

For more information on Julian, visit The Blog of Baphomet, or follow him on facebook.

Julian’s next book, Getting Higher: The Manual of Psychedelic Ceremony, published by Psychedelic Press, will be available the 26th of April. I’ll have the pleasure of reviewing the book for all of you. Watch the Occult Detective  for details…

As for Last Writes, tune in next week as I recap our debut season and look ahead toward possible seasons to come.

The Occult Detective’s #LastWrites with Sèphera Girón

Posted in Last Writes with... on April 3, 2017 by Occult Detective


Welcome to the twenty-second and penultimate installment of LAST WRITES.

The premise is simple. My guests face their final rest, but before Death claims them they are granted a few earthly pleasures, the memories of which will travel with them into the great unknown.

sephToday’s guest is Sèphera Girón. With over twenty traditionally published books under various names, Sèphera’s main love is horror and most of her work embraces themes of occult, metaphysical, erotica, and suspense.

As an freelance editor for over ten years, Sèphera has helped hundreds of authors put their best words forward. She feels lucky that she not only can write for a living but she can help others write for a living as well.

In recent years, Sèphera has enjoyed paranormal investigations from as near as Casa Loma in Toronto to the Lizzie Borden House in Fall River and a haunted mansion in California. Her most recent trip took her to the Stanley Hotel in Colorado, the place that inspired The Overlook in The Shining by Stephen King. Some of her adventures inspired a few of her own books and stories.

Sèphera lives in Toronto.


Medium rare Filet Mignon, a loaded twice baked potato, green peas with butter with red wine,  hot fudge sundae with real whipped cream


The Shining, I’ve not read it in years and it affected me a lot, so I’d give it one final read before I leave this mortal coil. Maybe I can pick up tips on how to haunt people.


Tommy, might as well go out rocking and rolling!


Ooooooo, that’s so tough! Maybe something from Quadrophenia like Can You See the Real Me? or Dr. Jimmy


One of my grandmothers

To learn more about Sèphera visit her Amazon Author Page or follow her on twitter and facebook.


The Occult Detective’s #LastWrites with… Amanda DeWees

Posted in Last Writes with... on March 27, 2017 by Occult Detective


Welcome to the twenty-first installment of LAST WRITES.

The premise is simple. My guests face their final rest, but before Death claims them they are granted a few earthly pleasures, the memories of which will travel with them into the great unknown.

adeweesToday’s guest is Amanda DeWees. Amanda wrote her doctoral dissertation on 19th-century British vampire literature—the perfect training, although she didn’t know it at the time, for writing Victorian gothic romance novels.Am ong these are With This Curse, which won the 2015 Daphne du Maurier Award in historical suspense/mystery. With her latest release, the novella As Vital as Blood, she returns to her vampiric roots.

Visit her website,, to learn more about Amanda and her books.


Every birthday for as long as I can remember I’ve requested my mom’s special “Amazon” homemade spaghetti sauce and meatballs from a family recipe. (One of my uncles claims that the recipe was given to us long ago by a woman whose nickname was The Amazon, but at this point the recipe has been in the family for so long that I think we can claim it.) It’s a meal that is both festive and comforting to me, and it captures the feeling of a warm familial embrace. I would choose that for my last meal.


Oh, this is a tough decision. Really, really tough. But Robin McKinley’s Beauty, her 1978 novelization of the “Beauty and the Beast” fairy tale, holds a very special place in my heart. It was a tremendous influence on me as a writer and remains one of my favorite comfort reads. I learned so much about characterization, world building, and creating a compelling love story from this book. I would definitely want to revisit it one last time, in part because the heroine is so lovable she feels like a real-life friend, and I would want to say goodbye to her.


I usually gravitate toward movies with more story to them, but there’s something about Sally Potter’s 1992 adaptation of Virginia Woolf’s novel Orlando, starring Tilda Swinton, that keeps me coming back to it. It’s a visual feast with an almost hypnotic quality, and it ends with Bronski Beat’s Jimmy Somerville as a gold-lamé-clad angel singing in the sky. What better way to usher in the afterlife?


I’ve been listening to Kate Bush a lot lately, so I’m very tempted to choose “Moments of Pleasure,” in which she remembers friends she has lost. It’s a beautiful and uplifting testament to the power of memory to keep our loved ones alive in thought after they’ve died, and that would be a comforting sentiment to have in mind during my last moments. But for a song judged purely on how much happiness it brings me, I might instead have to go with the Flying Pickets’ 1984 cover of Yaz’s “Only You,” surely one of the most beautiful a capella pop performances ever. All those cascading notes surrounding a sweetly yearning lyric are just too lovely not to listen to one last time…and I would totally sing along.


This may sound like the witterings of an overly romantic girl who has watched Somewhere in Time too many times—all of which may well be true—but it’s been at the back of my mind for many years. A friend used to tell me about a relative of hers, a brilliant young man who died tragically and too soon, and she always talked about how much he and I would have had in common had he lived. For some reason the fancy captured me that he and I might have been meant for each other. I’ve never forgotten this man I never met, and it would be lovely to be greeted by him on the other side.

Or Christopher Reeve. Because between Superman and Somewhere in Time, his would be a welcoming face indeed.

The Occult Detective’s #LastWrites with… Michael West

Posted in Last Writes with... on March 20, 2017 by Occult Detective


Welcome to the twentieth installment of LAST WRITES.

The premise is simple. My guests face their final rest, but before Death claims them they are granted a few earthly pleasures, the memories of which will travel with them into the great unknown.

mwestToday’s guest is Michael West, author of Cinema of Shadows, Spook House, The Wide Game, Skull Full of Kisses, and the critically-acclaimed Legacy of the Gods series.

A graduate of Indiana University, West earned a degree in Telecommunications and Film Theory, and since that time, he has written a multitude of short stories, articles, and reviews for various on-line and print publications.

He lives and works in the Indianapolis area with his wife, their two children, their turtle, Gamera, and their dog, King Seesar.



Seafood enchiladas. My two favorite types of food are seafood and Mexican food, so combining them would be the way to go.


Stephen King’s The Stand. This and ‘Salem’s Lot are my two favorite books of all time. I re-read them every few years, and it always seems like I find something new with each reading. I would go with The Stand because it’s a longer work, and it might give me a bit more time to live. LOL


ALIENS. I have been a fan of the Xenomorph for nearly my entire life, and this is my all-time favorite film. Flawlessly combines Action, Horror, and Sci-fi. Character, plotting, and effects… A perfect film.


Either Hotel California by The Eagles or Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen. These are two of the greatest songs ever written, and I really couldn’t go wrong with either choice.


This is a tough one. There are so many people who have left this world that I would love to meet, everyone from George Washington to Prince, but I think I would like to sit down and have a drink with Edgar Allan Poe. I think, as a Horror writer, that would be a great way to start eternity.

For more information on Michael, visit his official homepage, Amazon Author Page, or follow on twitter and facebook.

The Occult Detective’s #LastWrites with… Jim McLeod

Posted in Last Writes with... on March 6, 2017 by Occult Detective



Welcome to the nineteenth installment of LAST WRITES.

The premise is simple. My guests face their final rest, but before Death claims them they are granted a few earthly pleasures, the memories of which will travel with them into the great unknown.

jimToday’s guest is none other than Jim Mcleod, who, along with being the first person born on Christmas Day in 1971 in the whole of the UK, a championship winning rugby captain, and a Scottish and British kickboxing champion, just so happens to be the founder and driving force behind the UK’s largest independent website dedicated to the world of horror — Ginger Nuts of Horror.



At the risk of sounding like a cliched kilt wearing Scotsman, it would have to Haggis neeps and tatties, and more precisely the haggis that my Nan used to make. I have fond memories of my helping my Nan make the haggis and the smell associated with grinding up sheep hearts and lungs and mixing them with her special blends of herbs and spice and oatmeal is one that brings make deep and happy memories.

Many people think that all haggis tastes the same, but haggis like a good whisky has a unique taste and you a can instantly tell if the haggis is a good one made with love over a cheap mass produced one.

Haggis for me just embodies the Scottish spirit, rough and ready, full of flavour and packing a hefty punch. Like us it’s a social thing, it’s meant for sharing with friends, and family. When you eat haggis, it gives you connection to your fellow countrymen who came before you. It can be a real spiritual experience.


At first, I thought this question would be a hard one to answer, but as soon as I thought about it, I realised that it could only ever be Ray Bradbury’s “The Halloween Tree.”

Bradbury is a master storyteller; his lyrical prose is one of the most evocative voices ever committed to paper, and “The Halloween Tree” for me is the most evocative. I love Halloween, and this book is the perfect example of the spirit of Halloween, but more importantly it is one of the best books about friendship and doing the right thing.

The bond between the boys and their love of Pip, always brings a tear to my eye. The scene where Moundshroud tells them about the deal they will have to do to save Pip is one of the most heartwarming, yet chilling scenes ever written.

And even though Pip doesn’t really feature in the book, he is such a wonderful character, so much so that i tried to bring up my children to be like him. I must have read this book at least hundred times, I have read to, and listened to my kids read it to me numerous times and seeing the light of joy in their eyes as they read it just makes me so happy. So much so I bought half a dozen copies of it to donate to Ella’s school book drive this year.


This is a real hard one to answer, part of me wants to be all intellectual and go for for a film that has a lot of meaning, but to be honest the one film that I would want to see one last time would have to be the original Disney Jungle Book. I just love it, to me it is the perfect mix of a great story, great characters and a brilliant songs. It’s the sort of film that cannot help but lift my spirits.


I grew up in Britain at the tail end of the punk movement and missed out on it by a few years. The two tone and Ska revival was my first musical movement. It was a weird time in Britain, the BNP was in full swing and the country was a dark place both socially and politically. However growing up in St Andrews meant that you were to a certain degree sheltered from the worse of it.

Politics and social relevance was something just just didn’t appear on a thirteen year old’s brain. Until the music of groups like The Special, The Selector and Madness started worming their way into your brain. These groups made you think, made you look at your sheltered life in a totally different way. I certainly wouldn’t be the person I am today without the influence of these groups on my young mind. For the last song it would have to The Specials’ Ghost Town, a haunting and brutal look at the state of my country in this dark time. Even now almost 40 years since it first hit the airwaves it still has the power to chill me to the bone.


That’s and easy one to answer, it would have to be my Dad. And the first thing I would say to him be “I know you loved me, and I love you to”. Like many people I had father who ran his own business, he was a man who worked to provide for his family, a man who worked himself into an early grave. I had a strange relationship with him, because I never really saw much of him I never fully connected with him, and it is only now as a father myself that I fully appreciate just how much he loved us and how much he did for us. He may not have always been there, but he always cared. He was good man, I just wish I had more time to appreciate just how good a man he was.

For more on Jim, follow him on facebook and twitter, and be sure to visit the Ginger Nuts of Horror website.

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