Archive for the ‘Arts and Entertainment’ Category

 
 
Read our guest post, “A Recipe for Gothic Horror:” http://www.editingpen.net/authors-thorne-cross-gothic-recipe-horror/ 
 
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The Witches of Ravencrest, book 2 in the Ravencrest Saga, goes LIVE on July 15th and is available now for pre-order.  

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Dark and Unnatural Powers
In a remote part of California just above the coastal town of Devilswood, Ravencrest Manor, imported stone-by-stone from England more than two centuries ago, looms tall and terrifying, gathering its dark and unnatural powers, and drawing those it wants as its own.

Murder Lurks in the Shadows
Governess Belinda Moorland has settled into life at Ravencrest and, as summer gives way to autumn, romance is in the air. She and multi-millionaire Eric Manning are falling in love … but powerful forces will stop at nothing to keep them apart. And as the annual Harvest Ball is set to begin, evil abounds at Ravencrest. Murder lurks in the shadows, evil spirits freely roam the halls, a phantom baby cries, signaling a death in the mansion, and in the notoriously haunted east wing, three blood-soaked nuns, Sisters Faith, Hope, and Charity, tend to the demented needs of a maid gone mad.

Vengeful Spirits
Ravencrest has come to life. In the gardens below, granite statues dance by moonlight, and a scarecrow goes on a killing rampage, collecting a gruesome assortment of body parts from unwilling donors … But Belinda’s greatest danger is the vengeful spirit of Rebecca Dane. Once the mistress of Ravencrest, Rebecca Dane has a centuries-old ax to grind with the powerful witch, Cordelia Heller – and Belinda becomes her weapon of choice.

The prequel, The Ghosts of Ravencrest is available as well.

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We’ve had a lot of conversations lately with our dear friend, Q.L. Pearce, and have found that she has some pretty profound and intelligent points about the arts and how they effect the social climate. She wrote down some of her thoughts on the topic and after reading over her insights, we asked if we could share them on our blog. She agreed. We hope the following resonates with you as much as it did with us.

The Arts Lead the Way 

by Q.L. Pearce

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There is a reason why dictators jail the writers and journalists, the artists and philosophers. It is because free and unfettered thought is dangerous to authoritarian rule. Through art, any form of art, we can touch each other’s souls. That is more powerful than chains and prison bars. It is more timeless than tyranny and oppression.

To be an artist is an honor and a responsibility. I’m not just talking about art in museums and the great books of the ages. Street art, a guy playing a guitar in the subway, a writer cooking up a potboiler, a grandmother sewing a quilt, a cartoonist poking fun at some issue, these things remind us of who we are and what we value. When we share our art we wake the artist in each other. We lift up our humanity.

If you look at the birth of any humanitarian movement or challenge to any injustice you’ll find a book. The Bible, Animal Farm, 1984, The Diary of Anne Frank, The Feminine Mystique, The Jungle, To Kill a Mockingbird, Fahrenheit 451 …of course I could go on and on. Here’s a cool list of books that shaped America from the Library of Congress. http://www.loc.gov/exhibits/books-that-shaped-america/1850-to-1900.html

We’re not all going to write a book that will get us on this list, but as writers we are the tip of the spear of change. That’s why I’ve always felt so strongly about writing for children.  Along with those who put books in the hands of kids (parents, librarians, teachers), we encourage new readers. And if reading scary stories gets a kid to like books then wonderful!  It’s like that old saying, “Give a man a fish and he’ll eat for a day. Teach a man to fish and he’ll eat for life.” It could easily be “Read a book to a child and you open up their mind. Teach a child to read and you open up their heart.” Scientific research has shown that avid readers are more compassionate.

So I’ll end my rant by saying that, okay, I’m focused on writing, but a day in a museum or at a rock concert or at the ballet or at Comic Con or watching Guardians of the Universe can be as inspiring and as necessary as a day at the library. Reading War and Peace is great but so is watching South Park. It all feeds our humanity and helps us to reach our potential. So art, all art, does lead the way.

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Q.L. is the author of the hit series Scary Stories for Sleep-Overs, Titan AE, The Land Before Time, and over 150 other books for Middle Grade and Young Adult readers. Her work has won the Carter G. Woodson gold medal, the Moonbeam Children’s Book Award, and many others. Her multi-award winning book, Red Bird Sings received praise from Publisher’s Weekly, the School Library Journal, and the Library Media Connection.

As of 2016, Q.L. Pearce has been hosting the Young Adult segments of the popular radio show, Thorne & Cross: Haunted Nights LIVE! with bestselling authors, Tamara Thorne and Alistair Cross.  

Spine Chillers: Hair Raising Tales – Book One, the first installment in a new series from Ms. Pearce, is a collection of spine-tingling ghost stories for Middle Grade and Young Adult readers. It’s available in ebook and paperback at Amazon.

You can visit Q.L. Pearce’s website at: www.qlpearce.com

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THE GHOSTS OF RAVENCREST: http://tinyurl.com/jgasppc
 

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WITCH DAYS, the 6th installment in THE WITCHES OF RAVENCREST serialized novel is on its way. If you haven’t been keeping up with ghoulish, ghastly, gothic goings-on at Ravencrest, here’s a little bit about the previous installments.

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Installment #1: GRAVE EXPECTATIONS

Available at: http://tinyurl.com/h2cux28

After confronting the evil lurking in the east wing of Ravencrest Manor, butler Grant Phister realizes governess Belinda Moorland’s talents may be the key to undoing centuries of bloodshed and evil. Taking her under his wing, he begins teaching her the ways of her power – but is she strong enough to break the curse that has plagued the Manning family for centuries – the curse that keeps her handsome employer, Eric Manning, just beyond her reach?

Meanwhile, strange things are happening at Ravencrest. A furious entity is breaking things in the parlor, the scarecrow has gone missing, and the creature in the vent is tormented by a ravenous new hunger. The very earth is alive – with an insatiable appetite for blood.

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Installment #2: DEAD OF THE NIGHT

Available at: http://tinyurl.com/gqxel5l

Though stately in its beauty, Ravencrest’s past is savage – and it’s more restless now than ever. A late-night walk by candlelight through the lavish manor’s long and haunted halls reveals deadly secrets that have waited centuries to be freed, and when one of the spectral residents points governess Belinda Moorland on a path of murder and destruction, she realizes she has yet to glimpse the depths of the gothic estate’s true darkness.

As tortured spirits roam the corridors in search of restitution, and unearthly creatures stalk the grounds for fresh blood, Belinda – with the help of butler Grant Phister – must put her recently-discovered talents to good use and begin a dangerous journey to lay the manor’s many ghosts to rest. That is, assuming her enemies – both living and dead – won’t put a stop to her plans first.

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Installment #3: THE DARK HEART

Available at: http://tinyurl.com/z3cyuhm

The dead have begun to rise at Ravencrest Manor and governess Belinda Moorland, along with friend and mentor, Grant Phister, must move quickly if they want to protect the living. When a defiled corpse is discovered on the beach, Grant realizes that the only way to restrain the evil saturating Ravencrest’s grounds is to contact a man who may have the answers – a man who happens to have been dead for centuries.

What they learn sheds some light … but also brings new shadows, and Grant and Belinda realize that the darkness at Ravencrest goes deeper and blacker than either of them knew. And at the center of that blackness is The Dark Heart … which may be at the very root of Ravencrest’s hauntings. But knowing this is just the beginning of a long and dangerous journey.

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Installment #4: THE ROMERUS CONJURY

Available at: http://tinyurl.com/hjtnuvz

The terror at Ravencrest Manor has spread its wings, reaching into the quaint town of Devilswood below, where the unsuspecting locals have become easy prey for the unearthly predators born within the manor’s haunted walls. Butler Grant Phister sets out on a dangerous journey to collect the rare, arcane items needed to cast an age-old spell that will stop the flesh-seeking creatures dead in their tracks. But time is of the essence, and when night falls, the undead will stake their claims, infecting the townspeople until death has full dominion.

Meanwhile, at the manor, governess Belinda Moorland is faced with horrors of her own. Stalked by the ghost of Rebecca Dane, decapitated more than two centuries ago, Belinda realizes there may be more to the dead woman’s motives than inciting nightmares and terror. When Belinda’s handsome employer, Eric Manning, confesses to several encounters with the ghost, it becomes clear that Rebecca Dane will stop at nothing to get what she wants. But does she want to help them? Or destroy them?

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Installment #5: BEDEVILED

Available at: http://tinyurl.com/jm3szmn

Tensions are high and tempers are hot as the Ravencrest household prepares for Witch Days, an annual celebration observing the founding of Devilswood. After the centuries-old spirit of Ravencrest’s former mistress, Rebecca Dane, finally reveals the reasons she’s been haunting current-day governess, Belinda Moorland, life – and death – at Ravencrest will never be the same.

And keep an eye for WITCH DAYS, the next installment. To hear about new Ravencrest installments (and other Thorne & Cross news) sign up for our monthly newsletter. 

If you’re new to Ravencrest, check out the first novel, THE GHOSTS OF RAVENCREST.

 

 

To celebrate Thanksgiving this year, we’re going to do things a little differently.

It’s been said that the lives of fictional characters begin before the author uncovers them – and that they go on once the book is completed. We try to keep that in mind by occasionally checking in on the casts of our previous books, and what better time to see how the folks are doing on Morning Glory Circle – where our thriller, MOTHER, is set – than Thanksgiving! In honor of MOTHER’s $0.99 sale in ebook now through November 28th, we thought it would be interesting to stroll through the neighborhood and find out what some of the residents are most grateful for this year.

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  1. Priscilla Martin, aka Mother, is grateful she has six years’ worth of frozen turkeys in her freezer. She won’t have to buy one this year. And everyone said they wouldn’t come in handy …
  1. Her daughter, Claire, is grateful she thought of claiming to be a vegetarian for the time being.
  1. Claire’s husband, Jason, is thankful that Prissy Martin has given them a place to stay. He’ll be sorry he ever met the woman before long …. but for now, he’s just happy to have a home … foolish, foolish man …
  1. The local priest, Father Andy, is grateful that he’s dining with the Vandercooths. They bought a fresh turkey. He’s always gotten a bad feeling from Prissy Martin … and food poisoning.
  1. Frederick Martin, Priscilla’s invalid husband, is glad she forgot to feed him. Very glad indeed. Fred’s feeding times are extremely unpleasant for him …
  1. Coastal Eddie Fortune is grateful that he doesn’t have to interview Priscilla Martin.
  1. The vampires of Crimson Cove and Candle Bay are also grateful that they don’t have to see Priscilla. Hell, they don’t even want to bite her. If there’s anything worse than Mother, it’s an eternal Mother …
  1. Priscilla’s neighbor, Phyllis Stine, is secretly thankful that her sister, Constance Welling, was killed in THE CLIFFHOUSE HAUNTING a while back. She never did like that attention-seeking little bitch.
  1. Little Noble Creed, who has only heard of Prissy Martin, is grateful for the pins he found in his mother’s sewing box. He’s sticking them in a voodoo doll named Mother.
  1. Timothy Martin, Priscilla’s firstborn, is grateful he’s dead and will not have to endure another holiday at Mother’s house.

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And the folks in MOTHER aren’t the only thankful ones. Here’s OUR list of things we’re grateful for!

  1. We are both grateful that we don’t have to spend the day with relatives who want to argue politics.
  1. We are grateful that our Thanksgiving dinners are very small affairs. As introverts, we believe in dining at home. Alone. Away from other people’s children.
  1. Tamara is grateful that her husband likes to cook. If she had to do it, she’d make a pot of chili because if it can’t be made in one pot or pan, it can’t be made.
  1. Alistair is grateful for enchiladas – which are so much better than dry-ass turkey and that disgusting jiggly cranberry “sauce” that looks like a blood clot having a bad day.  
  1. We are thankful to all the cute cat pictures on the internet for lowering our blood pressure.
  1. Tamara’s husband is grateful he only roasts a breast, not a whole bird. Because he tried boning a turkey once and found it rather unpleasant. And there was an embarrassing injury.
  1. We are grateful we don’t have to sit through boring-ass football games on Thanksgiving.
  1. We are grateful to Netflix for running plenty of cheesy horror movies to go with the holiday meal.
  1. We are both grateful for our kitties – the family we share our feasts with. They don’t get drunk, they don’t whine, and don’t care who won the election. Sometimes they throw up in the string bean casserole, but we weren’t going to eat that shit anyway.
  1.  We are grateful we don’t have to have Thanksgiving dinner at MOTHER’S house. Oh, are we grateful. We can’t say why in mixed company, but if you pick up a copy, you’ll understand soon enough.

And speaking of MOTHER, be sure to get your copy for $0.99 at Amazon today through the 28th.

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To celebrate the release of The Romerus Conjury, the 4th installment of The Witches of Ravencrestwe’ve put it’s predecessor, The Ghosts of Ravencrest, on sale for just .99. You can get both The Romerus Conjury and the full-length novel of The Ghosts of Ravencrestat Amazon.

In The Romerus Conjury, the hammer has come down at Ravencrest Manor. Evil has spread its wings, casting its black shadow on the town of Devilswood below, infecting the unknowing locals with a viscous corruption that will turn the entire community into a writhing, not-quite-living hell. At the manor itself, governess Belinda Moorland is stalked by former housemistress, Rebecca Dane … who was brutally murdered and decapitated over two centuries ago. And Belinda’s not the only one the phantom woman has set her dead, staring eyes on …

Here’s an excerpt from The Romerus Conjury, available now at Amazon:

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Kiss of the Dead

Eric Manning slept fitfully, locked in a nightmare.

He walked down one of Ravencrest’s endless corridors in search of something – or someone – and although he wasn’t sure what he was looking for, he knew it was imperative that he find it. Passing the closed doors looming along the hall, he noticed that the wall sconces flickered, many of them dying, as he passed them. He became aware of something in his hand. He didn’t know what it was and didn’t want to look, fearful of what he might find.

He turned down another corridor. This one went on as far as the eye could see. This is the right one. As he went deeper, he grew very hot and began sweating. The hall went on and on and soon, there were no doors – just an endless expanse that would lead him to … to what? He didn’t know, but he had to get there.

The thing in his hand became heavy and he felt the pull of it in his shoulder. Ignoring the pain, he walked on, his heart pounding harder, the feeling of being very alone and very lost closing in upon him.

“Eric …” The woman’s voice came from behind. He didn’t look back, he had to keep moving. His bare feet slapped the hard floor as he broke into a jog.

“Eric … Wait …”

No, he thought. Keep going. Keep going. Sweat ran in rivulets down the sides of his face, down his bare chest and abdomen.

“Eric …”

He ignored the voice. I have to get away. I have to get out! Turning a corner, he slammed into a brick wall. “No!” His scream echoed endlessly. “No, no, no!” He raised his fists to beat on the wall and that’s when he saw what he held in his hand.

It was a head. A woman’s head. Rebecca Dane’s mouth smiled up at him.

He tried to fling it away, but her hair had wrapped itself around his hand, through his fingers, over his wrist, tethering itself to him.

“Eric …”

He spun and saw the woman who called his name.

Rebecca Dane’s headless body approached, arms out, blood pumping like a fountain from her neck stump, staining her white dress. But the voice wasn’t coming from the body – it couldn’t be. It was coming from the head in his hand.

The body, bright and clear in the darkness, glided toward him, its feet an inch above the floor.

He was trapped. There was nowhere to go. He tried to scream, but his voice had gone missing. He felt her cold fingers on his bare arm. Her other hand unraveled the thick blond hair from around his wrist.

Eric watched, frozen in horror, as Rebecca Dane fitted her head back onto her body. The fountain of blood ceased to flow, and slowly, her face began to change. The cheeks turned pink. The bloodless lips went crimson. The dark glazed eyes blinked.

And suddenly, he was staring into the face of Belinda Moorland. Rebecca Dane was gone.

Belinda undid the ties at the neck of her dressing gown. The garment fell open and Eric stared at her bare breasts – petite, upturned, and tipped in rose-petal pink.  

“Eric.” She placed one hand at the back of his neck while the other played feathery designs down his bare arm. “Eric,” she whispered. “I want you.”

She pulled his face to hers, her lips touching his.

The kiss was gentle at first, chaste, and Eric relished the softness of her lips. Then came the warmth of her tongue. He’d wanted this for so long. He let his hands roam her body, memorizing her contours. Then the kiss deepened, becoming rough, passionate … savage.

Under Eric’s probing hands, her skin felt sleek, velvet-smooth, tight. Rigid with need, he pressed himself against her body. Her warm tongue tasted of sweet things – honey and ecstasy – as it explored his mouth, dancing, teasing his teeth with little stabs. He inhaled her breath, her scent, taking all of her into him, wanting more. And wanting to be inside her. He cupped her breast, squeezed it, and pressed his erection hard against her.

Slowly, the sensations began to change. Her tongue went leathery, dry, and its sweet taste turned bitter, redolent of blood and things long dead.

She moaned and the scent of death filled his mouth, his lungs. Under his touch, her skin went cold and rubbery.

He panicked, broke the kiss, and shoved her away.

Her head toppled from her body. Both dropped at his feet.

“No!” He looked down, stepping away from the cold, black pooling blood. The decapitated head was no longer Belinda’s; it belonged to Rebecca Dane. The eyes went wide with horror. Threads of wet gore hung from her neck. The blue lips pulled back into a scream – a shriek so high, so piercing, so filled with terror and madness, that it rang out like a siren.

Eric Manning jerked awake, sweat-soaked sheets twisted around his body, a scream lodged in the back of his throat. His breath came hard and rasping, and it took him several moments to realize he’d been dreaming. He turned on the light and rubbed his eyes.

The nightmare of Rebecca Dane hadn’t plagued him since he was sixteen, four years after the night he wandered into her art studio in the east wing and saw her ghost. He rose and went to his shower, taking it cold, trying to erase the nightmare. Why is it back now? And why was Belinda there?