The moon speaks to me of you (a love poem)

Apologies for the lack of recent posts. I have been writing and have also been quite active on lately. For those of you who are on Medium, please feel free to connect with me there via the link below. Medium has proved to be quite an interactive forum in which to share my work and has motivated me to keep writing and sharing my poems and stories. The poem below is one of my more popular pieces of writing on Medium, so I thought I'd share it with you here on my website. 

Thanks for reading.

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Photo by Manuel Torres Garcia via

Shall we dance into the night
you & I
our words but a whisper?

What is it
that makes this soft sadness
so indeterminable
so impenetrable
sunk so deep
into this endless night?

The broken light that comes & goes
between the darkness
either side of dawn
speaking of your memory
ushering in each day
one, as if a step away from you
the next, a step towards you.

I see your eyes
the moon dancing in their gaze
with each tremble of our sudden doom
& each song of ours sang & played
in this old house beside the water
the soundtrack to our time
fills each & every solemn room.

& the time still ticks off itself
your presence no less clearer
no further from me
no closer than before
it wasn’t meant to be like this
nor will it ever be the same again, once more.

To say goodbye now
would be on breath undrawn
from the body laid supine
just waiting
to kiss the stars in your eyes
your breath, to feel, so warm
& hear your heart. . . far away
from this malaise
each tumbling thought
into the past
no resipiscent ripples cast.

It’s as if you’ve gone abroad
along with me far
from return
& when I see you on a grey day
just bursting with your sunshine
I want to call out
but you have blown on the breeze away
from the house we built & the time we had
across the night’s cold water
into the mystical moon.

If you enjoyed this poem, you will probably like my poetry collection Corpus Delicti: Selected Poetry. Download your copy via the link below.

So you wanna be an indie horror writing superstar?

This article outlines the pros and cons of being an indie horror author on

Hey, fellow writers! If you’ve got a penchant for writing spine-tingling stories and you’re ready to dive into the world of indie horror publishing on, this article is for you. 

After ten years of part-time indie publishing with the ‘zon, I’ve learnt a few things along the way. I’m still not at the stage where I’m able to support my family with the profits from my writing, but I’m seeing results (and $) and I hope to go full-time before the end of 2024. 

Before switching to independent (‘indie’) publishing, I’d had limited success going down the traditional publishing route. The freedom to control the packaging, marketing, and publishing schedule was the biggest drawcard for me to switch to self-publishing. 

When I started making monthly profits from my efforts, without the massive royalty cuts the traditional publishers took from me in the past, my decision was validated and I’ve never looked back.

If you’re new to the world of indie publishing and you want to write and publish horror, you’re in for a journey that is full of surprises, both good and ghoulishly challenging. 

Let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons, plus some killer tips to make your mark.

The pros: 

Freedom! As an indie author, you’re the master of your own haunted realm. You make your own decisions without a publisher looming over your shoulder and casting shadows on your vision.

Control your destiny. Traditional publishing will drag you through a labyrinth of delays and bureaucratic nonsense. As an indie author/publisher, you can unleash your horrors on the world as soon as they’re ready to publish. You can set your books up for ‘pre-orders’ on Amazon, allowing you to start earning royalties before the book has even been published. 

Boost your online presence. As soon as you publish with the ‘zon, you’re an ‘international’ author! Amazon is a massive beast with the greatest worldwide reach for published books. Your spine-chilling stories can creep into the darkest corners of readers’ hearts worldwide as soon as you hit the ‘publish’ button in your KDP dashboard.

Get paid! Amazon offers competitive royalty rates, meaning your terrifying tales can become a lucrative endeavour if you play your cards right. By making full use of the suite of tools that Amazon’s KDP program has to offer, you’ll be banking royalties soon enough. Of course, having a great quality book with an amazing cover, excellent book description and blurbs, and all the best keywords and categories certainly helps as well.

Build a fan base. Amazon lets readers follow you via your author page and leave reviews on your book pages. Reviews provide other readers with valuable insights and help you connect with a dedicated fan base. Amazon also allows you to put contact details in your bio and book content to direct readers and subscribers to your website.

The cons: 

The marketplace is saturated. Help! It’s crowded in here. Amazon is like a crypt bursting at the seams with books and writers all vying for the top spot and those best-seller dollars. The horror genre is saturated with established authors and up-and-coming writers who churn out books by the truckload. Standing out from the crowd can be a frustrating, but not insurmountable, challenge sometimes.

Marketing is essential. Being ‘independent’ means you need to do your own marketing. The competition is fierce, and you’ll need a blood-curdling marketing plan to rise above the noise. This should include a budget for advertising (via Amazon Ads and/or social media advertising), quality cover design, editing, formatting, and whatever else you need to spend money on to increase the visibility and sales conversion of your product (i.e. your book) on  

You have to be competitive. Not all indie authors feel the need to invest in professional editing or cover design. This can lead to low-quality books that drag down the genre’s reputation and decrease your chances of success. Write and format high-quality books with the best covers and you increase your chances of rising to the top of your genre’s bestseller lists. Even if you don’t, at least you’ll have published a book you can be proud of that will be positioned to succeed instead of sinking to the bottom of the heap. Check out the competition and which authors and books consistently hit your genre’s bestseller lists. Their success can serve as a model for your own to get you started.

It can be frustrating and exhausting. You have to be tenacious, resilient, and patient to sell a lot of books on Treating your writing and publishing as a business venture is really the only way to the top. Like any business, if you plan it properly and invest time and money into your venture, there’s a chance you will succeed. Expect a lot of hard work and frustration as you build your indie publishing empire. Stick with it and ‘play the game’ to gain the rewards and remember that the majority of successful indie authors have used the same approach to achieve their goals.

In the fickle world of book publishing (on Amazon), readers’ tastes change as regularly as Amazon tweaks their algorithms. It’s a constantly shifting set of obstacles and challenges that you have to navigate to stay afloat. If you don’t have tenacity and perseverance as part of your character traits, you’ll probably be one of the unfortunates who sink to the bottom of the heap unless you’re extremely lucky.

Hot indie author power tips

Outlined above are just a few of the pros and cons of being an indie horror author and selling books on I’ll delve deeper into this topic in future articles, but meanwhile, here are some tips for authors who want some actionable advice on how to make a splash on Amazon:

  • Don’t rush your masterpiece. Take time writing, revising, and polishing until your story is the best that it can be.

  • If you’re not a designer, invest in professional cover designs. Your book cover is one of the main ‘reader magnets’ that will drive your sales. Make it as eye-catching and genre-specific as the top best-selling books in your genre. 

  • Model your books and cover designs on the top books in your genre. Most genres (and sub-genres) on Amazon have specific types of styles, including fonts and font colours, themes, tropes, colour palettes, book lengths, formatting and so on. Check out what’s working best in your genre and ‘model’ your own accordingly. Think of your genre’s best-sellers as templates or guides to help you design and promote your books to your ideal readers, but remember not to blatantly copy or plagiarise other authors’ books.

  • Create an author platform, such as a website or a carefully curated social media presence that is aligned with your genre. This will allow you to engage with readers and build your unique voice. Consider selling your books directly via your website to future-proof your earnings. I’ve yet to do this, but all the recent advice I’ve read about this topic has me on the path to setting this up sometime soon.

  • Connect with other horror authors through writing communities and forums. Share your screams and dreams and learn from those who have risen to the top of the heap. Having this network is also useful for promotions such as newsletter sharing, website promotions, and collaborations. 

  • Dive deep into horror-specific marketing strategies. Collaborate with fellow authors, run promotions via genre-specific sites and forums, and experiment with genre reader-targeted ads.

  • Encourage readers to leave honest reviews and respond graciously to feedback. Reviews are the lifeblood of indie authors as they encourage new readers to take a chance on your books.

  • Use relevant genre-specific keywords in your book description and metadata to enhance discoverability.

  • Be adaptable. Many contemporary indie horror stars have found recent success mining the renewed interest in ‘extreme’ horror and/or ‘splatterpunk’. If you don’t know what these sub-genres are, head on over to the ‘zon and find out what all the hoopla is about.

  • Find your ‘voice’. Your books are representations of what your readers will come to expect with each new release you publish. Consider writing a series, as these seem to fare well on and encourage readers to purchase the next book when it is released. Most of the current top earners in the horror genre are books within series (including short story collections). 

  • Consider releasing short stories or novellas to lure readers into your dark universe before tackling a full-length novel. Many indie authors bundle short fiction into a collection or series to boost sales. You can also use a short story or novella as a ‘reader magnet’ on your website, etc., to build your email subscriber list.

Hopefully, this article has given you an idea of what to expect when publishing horror books on Writing and publishing horror as an independent author is a journey that requires patience and strength. It will provide many challenges and rewards, but you CAN make your mark on the genre by mastering your craft, investing in quality, and marketing your work consistently and intelligently.

Good luck, and see you on the dark side.

To read more of my articles, check out my profile:

Unleashing the Darkness (again): New cover design for Blood Related

I'm thrilled to announce that Blood Related, my debut novel, now has a striking new cover design that perfectly captures the haunting essence of this dark psychological thriller.

Are you ready for a bone-chilling plunge into the depths of a psychopath’s twisted mind? Brace yourself for an unrelenting psychological thriller that will leave you gasping for breath. 

Step into the shoes of tough-as-nails Detective Ray Truman as he embarks on an intense battle with his own demons while tracking down a family of prolific serial killers. Set in the grim underbelly of the Portvale industrial district, Truman finds himself facing a series of headless corpses, their bodies grotesquely mutilated and arranged with sinister purpose.

Truman, who knows the identity of the killer, becomes increasingly frustrated as the evidence needed for a conviction eludes him. 

Faced with the imminent threat of the killer expanding his reign of terror, Truman takes matters into his own hands, venturing outside the law to bring this psychopath to justice.

Little does he know that this decision will plunge him into a violent abyss, turning the hunter into the hunted.

Available now exclusively on Amazon in kindle (unlimited) and print

Blood Related delivers a relentless rollercoaster ride of suspense and psychological terror, evoking the chilling atmosphere reminiscent of Thomas Harris's Silence of the Lambs and James Ellroy's Killer on the Road

Critics and readers alike have been captivated by Blood Related:

"Dark and deeply disturbing." – Jonathan Nasaw, author of The Girls he Adored and The Boys from Santa Cruz

"Blood Related is a terrifying psychological thriller. William Cook is an author to watch." – Mark Edward Hall, author of The Lost Village and The Holocaust Opera

"William Cook tells a gruesome story with a sense of authenticity that makes you question with considerable unease if it really is fiction, after all." – Graham Masterton, author of the Katie McGuire series and The House that Jack Built

Please note: Blood Related contains adult language, graphic violence, and implied sexual violence, making it a visceral and intense reading experience. This is a novel that will push the boundaries of your comfort zone and challenge your perceptions of the human psyche.

If you dare to explore the darkest corners of the human mind, if you seek a thrill that will linger long after you turn the final page, then Blood Related is an absolute must-read. 

Don't miss this opportunity to delve into the depths of a serial killer's twisted psyche. Pick up a copy of Blood Related today and embark on a haunting journey that will chill you to the core.

Interview with best-selling thriller author, Dan Padavona

Dan Padavona: The Business of Writing (Interview)


Welcome to Thriller author Dan Padavona!


You are going to love this interview with Dan! I’ve been following his career since he first broke onto the indie scene back in 2014, with the publication of his dark Vampire Horror novel: Storberry. Over the course of 3 years he continued to make waves as an Indie Horror author, publishing a succession of well-received Horror novels and novellas.


In 2017/2018, Dan took the plunge and re-emerged as a prolific writer of dark Serial-Killer Thrillers with the introduction of his Scarlett Bell series – followed soon after with the Darkwater Cove, Logan and Scarlett, and Wolf Lake series. 


With the popularity and success of his thriller books, Dan was able to commit full-time to writing as a career in 2021, retiring from his previous career as a Meteorologist.


With over 40 novels and novellas to his name, and no sign of him slowing down any time soon, I talk to Dan about his writing process and how he measures success as an indie author.


Without further ado, here is the man himself: Dan Padavona!


When you made the crossover from writing horror to dark psychological thrillers, how much of the way you write (writing process) did you need to change to launch yourself as a thriller author?


I see my genre choice in terms of a Venn diagram. In one circle, I make a list of genres I love to read and write. The other circles includes genres people read voraciously. The overlap is the sweet spot. For me, these were serial killer thrillers and dark mysteries.


After switching from horror to thriller and mysteries, I implemented story beats into my planning process, rather than writing from the seat of my pants and creating the plot on the fly. My process is to devote a short paragraph to each chapter before I start the first draft.


Story beats keep me writing—I never take a day off because I can’t figure out where to go with the plot. Beats also make it easier for me to track clues and important twists that make up the mystery portions of my thrillers.


When you come up with a story idea, do you think of it from a visual or cinematic perspective before you put your ideas on paper? Have you had any experience with screenplay writing and would you ever consider turning your novels into screen adaptations?


For better or worse, I grew up watching television and movies. I naturally think cinematic perspective.


Though I wrote screenplays during college, I’ve never considered doing so for one of my books. I have feelers out for adapting my books to the screen.


What is your process for writing a long-running episodic series? Do you write an origin story with a future series in mind or is it more of an organic process because of the way you build such a strong setting/world in the first book?


Good question. I suppose it varies from book to book, but I always have a series in mind when I write a story. A series allows me to better flesh out character arcs and develop long-running subplots. It also attracts more readers, as my target demographic prefers series over stand-alones. 


A series is also easier to profitably market because I can use the first book a loss leader. Provided I write a compelling story and keep my readers entertained, people go on to read several books in the series. This pulls my advertising out of the red and into the black.


How important do you think ‘world building’ is in terms of writing a series and how do you approach this aspect of your writing?


It’s less important for thrillers and mysteries than it is for fantasy, obviously. But world building is an important part of my workflow because I enjoy living vicariously through my characters and in their environment.


Take the Finger Lakes, for instance. This is the setting to several of my novels. Because I love to visit this region and will one day retire there, I’m proficient in building fictional settings near the lakes. This gives me a stronger sense of my surroundings and allows my storytelling to flow freely.


Do you intentionally incorporate elements of your own character (and those around you) into the characters of your novels? Detective Thomas Shepherd of your Wolf Lake Thriller series has Asperger’s syndrome, did this aspect of his character come from personal experience or is it merely a narrative device used to increase the depth of character and complexity in the series?


Whether intentional or not, relationships and past experiences shape our fictional counterparts. Some of my friends and family members inspire fictional characters, and key moments in my life, positive and negative, influence plot-lines. We write what we know.


I know several parents of children with autism and Asperger’s. When creating Thomas Shepherd’s character, I wanted added depth, and Asperger’s seemed to fit the traits I imagined him displaying. The Asperger’s angle took on a life of its own. To this day, I receive thank you emails from parents of autistic children for presenting Thomas in such a positive light. I never intended to build awareness of Asperger’s and autism, but I’m happy my books help others.


Considering the previous question, how important do you feel it is it to add realistic character traits and complexity to your characters and what effect does it have on the overall strength of the narrative?


Realistic traits are important because I want my characters to be memorable. I broke an unwritten rule in the Wolf Lake series by adding a few more characters than writers recommend. Give readers too many people to keep track of, and they’ll get confused and lose interest. By infusing my heroes and villains with strong, defined traits, readers are able to remember who they are.


When I wrote Her Last Breath, the first book in the Wolf Lake series, I found Thomas kept performing amazing acts of kindness normally not seen in traditional dark mysteries and thrillers. The acts made sense. Thomas spent his life overcoming Asperger’s and forcing himself to open up and display emotion. He sees the world through sympathetic eyes. Thomas rubs off on the other characters, and the various characters merge to become a family of sorts.


Click cover to grab your copy now!

What kind of marketing did you do to re-establish your author brand as a thriller author, and what do you think is the most successful marketing for self-published authors? Is there any one thing that has helped you sell more books – i.e. could you outline your path to establishing your brand and your most successful sales method/s?


From the beginning, I realized I wouldn’t survive as a thriller author without successful marketing. This is a highly-competitive genre, and I was starting from scratch. Rather than stroke my ego and assume my storytelling would win me readers, I utilized AMS and Facebook advertising to grow my following.


I accepted that I would lose money for a few months (or longer) before sales caught up to ad spend. But I saw those losing months as investments in my future.


My bread-and-butter is advertising the first book in a long series. As I stated earlier, this is my loss leader. The profit comes from people reading the rest of the series. I doubt it’s possible to profitably achieve scale while advertising stand-alone novels in competitive genres like thrillers and mysteries.


How do you go about soliciting reviews for your work, or is it a more organic process for you in that the reviews come on their own accord? Do you have any advice for indie/self-published authors as to the best way to gain reviews?


I utilize beta readers to catch typos my editor missed and to seed my reviews with honest opinions. These first reviews were very important early on, as they established social proof that my books were worth reading. Since then, my readership has grown to the point where I receive far more organic reviews than I dreamed possible. Beta readers still play an important role, but I get all the reviews I require from readers.


You have many of your books available in audio format – do you think audio books are worth investing in for self-published authors? I.e. is it a revenue stream that pays dividends in your opinion? What’s your selection process for finding a narrator that your readers will want to listen to?


This is a controversial topic. I know successful authors who swear by audio-books and see them as the future. I’ve been disappointed with audio-book sales so far. Despite hiring professional producers to record books which are highly-ranked, audio-book revenue remains a small, insignificant portion of my total earnings.


That said, even if you aren’t experiencing strong audio sales, the inclusion of audio-books looks more professional. When readers visit my buy page on Amazon, they see the e-book, the paperback, and the audio-book. I’m hopeful the future will be brighter than the present.


You often refer to Dean Koontz as being an inspiration and a favorite writer of yours. What aspects of his writing inform your own and how important do you think it is (especially for independent authors) for writers to have good quality role models within their own genre/s?


Besides penning amazing prose, Dean Koontz writes tense and frightening thrillers while placing importance on family. Not every scene needs to be full-on darkness. In a Koontz book, I get a healthy dose of happiness to go with the scare factor. It feels more realistic and hopeful, and that makes me care more about the characters he places in jeopardy.


Koontz also ends his stories on optimistic notes. It’s hard not to finish one of his books without feeling positive about the future. I don’t know another dark thriller author who manages this as well.


Can you offer any advice to fellow writers if you could go back in time and “do it all over?” What’s your top tip for other indie authors?


If you want this to be a career, start with the Venn diagram. There’s no point to writing stories in a genre without enough buyers. That doesn’t mean you have to sell out. What it means is finding a happy medium between what you love and what sells.


Of course, if all you care about is the art, write in any genre you love or create your own. That’s wonderful, and I support your efforts. Just don’t complain about lack of sales. Do it for the love of writing and forget about making a living from your stories.


Finally, thanks for sharing your thoughts on writing and independent publishing. Where is the best place for readers to find your books?


I encourage everyone to visit my Dan Padavona: Thriller and Mystery Author website, where I keep readers up to date on my writings. I also include an advice section for authors.


Readers can also find my books on my Amazon page.


Thanks Dan.


I recommend and encourage every one of my readers to share this interview and check Dan’s books out. You won’t be disappointed.



Top 20 Scary Horror Movies

William Cook’s Top Twenty Scary Horror Movies


These are my Top Twenty scary horror movies. These films all have the ability to give the audience a frightful experience by inducing a sense of fear and horror. ‘Jump scares’, psychological triggers, and scenes of terror are all used to great effect in these films.


Some of my choices may be slightly controversial but please remember, this is my list – these are the films that resonated with me and caused me to feel scared on some level. Believe me when I say that it takes a lot to scare me, and these films did just that. 


Please let me know in the comments what your favorite ‘scary films are.


Note: this list is no particular order.


1.       Silent Hill (2006)


Silent Hill is one of those Horror movies people seem to either love or hate. I love it – there are some really dark psychological triggers in this film that played on my subconscious to the point where I had bad dreams. Believe me when I say it takes a lot to scare me, let alone give me bad dreams. If you haven’t seen this movie, you’re in for a treat. Also, worth another viewing if you saw it ages ago.


2.       Hellraiser (1987)


This film is the stuff nightmares are made of. As an avid reader of Barker’s early horror stories this film did not disappoint and caused a few ‘WTF?’ moments.


3.       Maniac (1980)


William Lustig’s ultra-creepy horror is horrific and disturbing in ways that make watching the film seem like you’re in the nightmares of a psychotic. And you are – Joe Spinell’s acting is brilliant as the deranged killer.


4.       Halloween (1978) and Halloween II (1981)


Have gone for both of these films in the franchise as they never fail to frighten. Watch these on your own at Halloween and I guarantee you’ll be checking the locks on the windows and the doors before bed!


5.       The Evil Dead (1981)


When this was released I remember being the first in our town to rent it from the Video store. This was unlike any other horror I’d ever seen at the time and holds a special place in my nightmares. If you haven’t seen this version (i.e. the original), you need to watch it ASAP.


6.       The Abandoned (2006)


This under-rated film is incredibly creepy and is filled with atmospheric scenes that will leave you with your heart in your throat. Highly recommended.  


7.       Sinister (2012)


This film is disturbing in all the right ways – creepy, intense, and down-right scary in places. The frights will linger after the credits finish.


8.       The Babadook (2014)


A psychological horror that is unique in its ability to tap into subconscious human fears and leave the audience reeling from the experience. Brilliant but draining in its heaviness.


9.       The Shining (1980)


Stephen King hated this version of his book, but I loved it. Kubrick’s ability to insidiously effect the audience’s perspective is played out with a ratcheted string of nightmarish scenes and some brilliant acting from the cast.


10.       The Grudge (2004)


This one crept up on me and got me good. My introduction to Japanese horror led me down some very dark paths.


11.       The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)


When I first saw this film, it blew my little mind to the point where I felt nauseous. It wasn’t the gore that made me feel like that, it was the fear that was induced as a result of the terrifying world I found myself in. A very scary film about that most terrifying of all creatures – humans!


12.       Pet Sematary (1989)


This movie is a slow-burn but once it gets going, it hooks deep into your subconscious fears and doesn’t let up until the finish. Every time I watch it my Achilles tendon aches!


13.       The Serpent and the Rainbow (1988)


A suffocating horror film about Voodoo that is incredibly tense and frightening. One of my all-time favorite horror movies.


14.      Hereditary (2018)


A foreboding and well-crafted film that follows a grieving family tormented by a demonic entity after the death of their secretive grandmother. This movie is like a fever-dream that becomes more horrifying with each viewing. If you haven't seen this and love psychological horror that'll twist your mind and should inside-out, watch it! 

15.       28 Days later (2002)


This movie is a disturbing vision of the apocalypse and more relevant now than ever before. The cinematography and soundtrack crank up the scares, as this high-paced horror delivers an unrelenting exercise in sheer terror.


16.       The Ritual (2017)


A slow burn with the creep factor. This movie uses standard horror tropes in a way that give the audience more than enough scary moments to savour.


17.       Pandorum (2009)


I chose this movie instead of Alien because I felt it surpassed it with tension and scary scenes. This choice will no doubt be controversial but as far as Sci-Fi-Horror goes, I feel it outperforms Alien. Highly under-rated and well worth a watch if you haven’t seen it.


18.       The Amityville Horror (1979)


This is a classic. In my opinion, it is still is a good film for its age and will definitely play on your mind and fears.


19.       The Omen (1976)


One of my favorite horror films. This film operates on many different levels but is essentially a very scary movie for its age. The cemetery (at night) scene is brilliant. Highly recommended.  


20.       The Ring (2002)


A fantastic film that will give you the chills. Great acting and some very creepy scenes that are capable of inducing nightmares.


So - agree or disagree? What are your top scary movie picks of all time? Please add in comments below and thanks for reading.


The moon speaks to me of you (a love poem)

Apologies for the lack of recent posts. I have been writing and have also been quite active on lately. For those of you who are o...