Musings Welcome the Doubly Fabulous CL Raven!

I’m stoked to introduce you to two of my favorite girls ever. Like. Ever-ever. I met them on twitter. Seriously people, Get. On. Twitter. Their fun apporach to writing, zombies, all things awesome had me captivated ages ago and I still stalk their twitter feed and Facebook pages. If they didn’t live allllllll the way across the pond, I’d run over and tackle hug them. They’re fresh and real and zany….oh boy, there I go on a tangent. *clears throat* I’ll let you see for yourself. Here they are!!!

We’re very excited to be here on Julie’s blog. Her tweets always make us laugh, especially her disasters. So we thought we’d share some disasters of our own. And to tie in with our novel, in which fire plays a big part, our calamities involve fire.

We won’t list everything we’ve accidentally set on fire, because we could be here a while, but there a few memorable incidents. The first one involves our Dyson vacuum cleaner. It turns out, using it to suck up plaster dust and small chunks of cement are a big no-no. It was fine when we were using it, but the next time we came to use it, it became possessed by a fire demon or a dragon. Well, that’s what we think happened. Because it made a guttural sound then flames shot out the back. Sorry James Dyson, but your claims of no loss of suction were disproved. It was many years before we could face buying another Dyson.

There’s also one incident we’ve never lived down. The cooker. We love making shortbread biscuits and make them quite often. But there’s always one thing we forget to do – take out the grill when heating up the oven. On this one day, this lapse was to be our downfall. We’d put the oven on then realised we hadn’t cleaned the kitchen. By the time we finished this then started making the shortbread, the grill with roast potato fat had been cooking for quite a while.

We turned around to open the door and WHOOSH! Flames shot up through the hob. Did we panic and throw water over it? Luckily no. Did we ring the fire brigade? It didn’t cross our minds. We rang our uncle, who lives six doors down from us. It was a few years ago, so we can’t remember the exact wording of the phonecall, but it was something like this:

Us – “Um, our cooker’s on fire.”

J – “What do you mean your cooker’s on fire? How bad is it?”

Us – “Well there are flames coming up through the hob. We think it’s the grill.”

J – “Have you taken the grill out?”

Us – “No.”

J – “Bloody idiots! Take the grill outside! Before the whole house burns down.”

We took the grill out and the house was saved. In our kitchen at the time, the ceiling tiles were polystyrene so had the flames got bigger (they were about a foot or two high) the kitchen would’ve copped it. The cooker was a little charred, but it survived. Now, you’d think this would’ve taught us a lesson. It didn’t. The next time we baked shortbread, we left the grill in again. It caught fire again.

After this, the cooker was declared beyond saving and when our mum had a new kitchen, she bought a new cooker. Strangely, she opted for another electric one, rather than a gas one. Can’t think why…

Oh. And sometimes we still leave the grill in.

But our worst offence also accompanies one of our proudest achievements. Four years ago, the cylinder head gasket on our yellow Renault 4, Reapers, gave up the ghost. Our garage were reluctant to touch it. If something breaks in our house, we work on the theory ‘it’s broken anyway, what’s the worst we could do?’ So with a Haynes manual and a substandard took kit, we set about replacing the head gasket.

We did it. Then broke some bolts off in the water pump and had to take the whole thing apart again. We got a new gasket and replaced it quicker than we had the first time. The great moment arrived when it was time to start the engine. Our mum sprayed a good amount of carb cleaner into the carburettor and we turned the key.

But instead of bursting into life, Reapers burst into flames.

It wasn’t exactly a spectacular spectacle – the flames were only about 6 inches high. We did the first thing we could think of and ran for the house. Our mum shouted “where are you going? The extinguisher’s in the car.” Us – “we’re getting the camera.” Mum – “forget the camera! Get the extinguisher!”

We don’t know how many of you have seen the episode of Fawlty Towers where the kitchen’s on fire and Basil’s reading the instructions on the extinguisher. Well, that was us. In our rush, we misread ‘point at base of fire’ as ‘point base at fire’. So we pointed the bottom of the extinguisher at the flames and pulled the trigger. Whoosh! Blue powder everywhere! It was like a mushroom cloud. Coughing furiously, we realised our mistake and pointed the correct bit at the flames. Reapers was saved and we dashed into the back garden to breathe.

It turns out, we forgot to connect the fuel pipe to the carburettor. That and a combination of carb cleaner and a short in the starter motor wire, led to the great Renault fire of 2008.

So we don’t have any photos of Reapers on fire. But we do have pictures of him covered in blue powder. In case you’re wondering, yes, Reapers survived and we still use him to this day. His engine bay’s rustier than it used to be and his carb’s never been the same since, but he lives to fight another day.

So these are just a few things we’ve actually sent up in flames. There have also been many close calls. At least we know if the writing doesn’t pan out, we have a great career in arson ahead of us.

Soul Asylum by CL Raven

The blood wanted to prick a conscience that couldn’t bleed.

Poe could keep his telltale heart.

I couldn’t hear it beating.

Ravens Retreat harbours a sinister secret. Inside its blackened heart lurk the ghosts of patients and staff who died when the asylum was burned down in 1904. Over a hundred years later, the West wing survives and now the patients want revenge.

Their eternal repose is disturbed by a malevolent poltergeist and the ghost tours led by the asylum’s resident, Phineas Soul, which attract the attention of journalist Mason Strider. His attempts to expose Phineas as a fraud have catastrophic consequences when it is Ravens Retreat’s dark heart that’s exposed as it awakens to claim the lives of those who dare to enter its brutal past.

Some things should never be disturbed.

About the authors:

C L Raven are identical twins from Cardiff, Wales. Their work has featured in 8 Hours Anthology, published by Legend Press; August 2010 issue of Writing Magazine (winning ghost story); The Pages Anthologies; issues 50 and 52 of Dark Fire Fiction and issue 6 of Dark Moon Digest. When they’re not spending their days looking after their animal army, they’re exploring castles, ghost hunting in spooky locations and drinking more Red Bull than the recommended government guidelines. Along with Ryan Ashcroft, they make up the ghost hunting trio, Cardiff’s Answer to Supernatural and have their own show on YouTube – Calamityville Horror.

Find them online:

Raven’s Retreat Blog

Soul Asylum on Facebook

Raven’s Retreat YouTube Chanel

Other Books by CL Raven:


Gunning Down Romance


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