The She-Hulk

Thursday, 11 August 2016

It's been a while since I've shared a poem on here. Since I'm going to be participating in September's Word War 3MT event (heat eight) at Affleck's in Manchester, I figured it was time to remember my poetry roots.  

This is a poem I haven't yet had a chance to try out on an audience.   I dedicate it to the woman I love. 

The She-Hulk
by Ashley Lister

"Don't make me angry," she said.
"You wouldn't like me when I'm angry," she said.
"I'm like the Incredible Hulk."

"You're like the Hulk?" I repeated. "Because you're bursting out of your clothes?"

She said, "No."

"You're like the Hulk?" I tried again. "Because you're green in places."

She said, "No."

"You're like the Hulk?" I tried, "Because you're so much bigger than normal size."

She said nothing.

"You're like the Hulk?" I asked, "Because you're inarticulate? Monosyllabic?"

She didn't say anything.
She just hit me.
Really bloody hard.

Just like the Incredible Hulk would have done.


Raven Reviews

Friday, 5 August 2016

As I mentioned at the start of this week, Raven and Skull has been long-listed for the Guardian’s Not the Booker prize.  Obviously I’m thrilled, and obviously it would be wonderful to be shortlisted.  But I’ve been blown away by the kind words that people are sharing about the book.

Below is a short sample of them:

“A well-crafted, enticing and enthralling tale that immediately brings the reader into a world of horror and suspense in a classic style of imagery, intrigue and mystery. It poses questions as you are drawn further into the lives of the tormented characters. There are many descriptive lines that I love including 'Tony could hear every syllable struggling to make its way through layers of yellowing phlegm and tar-blackened bronchioles as Moira gasped his name in her gravel-strewn death rattle.' Pure genius. Read it”

“A really fun horror novel where the employees of Raven and Skull are sharing horror stories. I’ve worked in an office and I know how scary those places can be! The author of this book seems to know that too because it’s absolutely brilliant stuff. The pacing is strong. The characters are realistic. The whole story manages to combine horror and humour into a thoroughly enjoyable title that I couldn’t put down.”

“A fabulous series of short stories masterfully woven together to form one tale. Each character is an employee of Raven and Skull who meet at the end of a dreadful week in a pub. The macabre source for each story, the strange place they work. I couldn't put it down and read it in one sleepless night...5*”

“A wonderful book of short stories that link with the common theme of all being told be employees of Raven and Skull. It's like one of those anthology horror films from the 60s where each tells their own story of terror. Brilliant stuff. The writing style is punchy and keeps you reading with well paced scene and character building. The twisted ideas are woven with dark humour to produce something that, I for one, thoroughly enjoyed.”

Thank you to everyone for your kind words.  

And, if you’ve read Raven and Skull, and fancy offering your support for my nomination, the link is here.  And, if you’ve not yet read Raven and Skull, why not treat yourself to a copy today? 


Not the Booker Prize

Wednesday, 3 August 2016

Yesterday I discovered that Raven and Skull has made it to the longlist for the Guardian’s ‘Not the Booker prize.’

To say I’m thrilled is an understatement and I’d like to thank the people who nominated me.

And now, I’d like to beg for votes for anyone who’s read Raven and Skull and enjoyed it. 

Obviously there’s a lot of competition on the longlist.  I recognize some of the names professionally and I recognize some of them personally.  It’s a wonderful honour to be included on a list that features so many esteemed names.  I mention this in case you’re reading through the longlist and thinking of casting your vote for one of the other 100+ authors who are mentioned there.

However, if Raven and Skull is one of those titles you want to vote for (voters are asked to vote for two titles) then I’d be thrilled to know the book meant that much to you. The link is here:


Website Revisited

Saturday, 30 July 2016

So, after the hubbub of the book launch died down, I figured it was time for me to do some work on my website.  A writer’s website is a curious beast.  You create it.  It sits on the internet forever. And it slowly becomes outdated.  Not so outdated that it’s absolutely wrong. But sufficiently outdated so that it causes confusion.

Raven & Skull book launch
My website kept mentioning a radio show I used to host.  Back in 2014.  The website also promoted the first book of a trilogy I’d written (but made no mention of the two titles that followed).  And it made no mention of the short stories I’d written or the novel I’ve collaborated on, or the horror title I’ve been flogging this past month: Raven and Skull.

So, knowing it was out of date, I gave myself a couple of days to work on it.

I hate working on websites.    

I remember someone on FaceBook took exception to me using the word ‘hate’ in a status update and said, “Hate is a very strong word, don’t you think?” 

My response was, “Condescending and patronizing are even stronger words, don't you think?”

They took the initiative on that one and unfriended me.

And I don’t think HATE is too strong a word for how I feel about working on websites.  Rather than creating a piece of fiction, or developing a narrative, website content needs to be focused on presentation.  It’s not just about providing relevant information and single-click links.  It’s also about writing the material so that it’s SEO compatible and looks pretty.  It also means refamiliarising myself with ftp programs, the complexities of html, and the nuisance of finding my passwords for various domains.

Nevertheless, I think the finished product looks pretty neat.  It has links to poetry I’ve written and recorded, as well as clickable links to books and stories.  If you're interest, you can check out the website by visiting here.  If you think it looks OK, please tell your friends and share the link.  


The Book Launch - Raven and Skull

Saturday, 23 July 2016

 July 10th saw the official launch of Raven and Skull. It's my first horror novel and, as I've said before, it's one of those stories I've been wanting to write for years.

The whole evening was presented by the Pub Poets, a group of open mic performers entertainers who know how to write and perform poetry. It's one thing to write a novel. It's quite another to have its release endorsed by a collective of poets.

Adding to the prestige, the launch was hosted by the incredible performance poet, Trevor Meaney.  Trevor is a respected, talented and accomplished poet with a huge following.  The night would not have been such a success without him at the helm.  For those of you not familiar with Trevor, this is a short piece of him in his usual, incredible form.

On top of that, the insanely talented Colin Davies delivered a very well-received performance piece on the subject of profunctuation.   It's not safe work, but it was hilarious, perfectly presented and so funny that several members of the audience hurt themselves laughing. This is not for the easily offended but, for everyone else, it's worth checking out.


There isn't the space here to thank all the talented poets who turned up for the evening.  I've not even begun to say thank you to my supportive family and wonderful friends who made the whole episode so memorable.  And, because I'm sure they're already aware of my appreciation and gratitude, I'll finish this post with a link to Raven and Skull, and a short clip of one of the poems I read on the evening. Just like Colin's poem has the NSFW warning, this one too should be treated with similar caution.


Book Launch - Raven and Skull

Monday, 11 July 2016

Last night saw the official launch of Raven and Skull. It's my first horror novel and it's one of those stories I've been wanting to write for years. I'll tell you more about the novel on a future blog post. For now, for anyone who's ever written and published a book, I have to urge you to have a launch party.

It was wonderful to be in a room and enjoy the support of so many friends. I'm lucky enough to be part of a community of writers and I think they know how much of a struggle writing can sometimes be. I think they're also honest enough to tell co-writers when they're doing something right and when they're doing something wrong. Last night the vibe was wonderful and positive and I suspect that indicates that this book is something that meets with general approval.

So I spent an evening signing books, reading passages from the novel, and then listening to my amazing family and friends as they shared some truly awe-inspiring poetry.

What's the book about? Check out the lurb and the reviews on Amazon:


Raven and Skull

Saturday, 18 June 2016

In case you're one of the few people I haven't told over the last week or so, I have a horror novel due out soon. Raven and Skull is a step away from the usual genre where I write, and the content is delightfully spooky.

Why have I written a horror novel? 
Well, being honest, I've always wanted to write something scary. I think this story fits that bill.

What's the book like?
I've taken my inspiration from the old Hammer House of Horror movies. When I was growing up they were the pinnacle of scariness and I've tried to write something that is contemporary but that shows those influences.

What's it about?
It's a horror story. It's based around the offices of a company called Raven and Skull. And there are lots of supernatural goings-on. I don't want to give too much away but these are the opening lines from the novel:

‘Tell us about a time you nearly died, Tony.’
Heather’s suggestion was greeted by a barrage of laughter.
There were half a dozen of them sitting around the table – the last souls left in an otherwise empty bar. Drained beer bottles and lipstick-smudged glasses stood between them like abstract monuments to the memories of good times gone. The darkness outside the bar window was fading to the apocalyptic grey of another dawn.
Tony glanced at his five colleagues and flashed an automatic grin. He hadn’t yet drunk enough beer to be light-headed, but he could feel the mood around the table was shifting. The evening had started as an early weekend escape from the offices of Raven and Skull; a two fingered salute to the workplace in the time-honoured tradition of every godforsaken Friday. After a grim week working nine-to-five – a grimmer week than any of them were used to suffering – Geoff’s idea that they should get pissed and have a laugh together had seemed like a stroke of pure genius. But now, whilst the maudlin veil of melancholy felt like it was finally lifting, Tony thought it was revealing something strange, unpleasant and potentially dangerous.


Raven and Skull is published by Caffeine Nights and will be released on July 7th. It's available from all good retail outlets, or can be purchased online by using the following links:




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