Archive for the ‘fiction’ Category

The Crimson Corset is available now.

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Welcome to Crimson Cove

Sheltered by ancient redwoods overlooking the California coast, the cozy village of Crimson Cove has it all: sophisticated retreats, fine dining, and a notorious nightclub, The Crimson Corset. It seems like a perfect place to relax and get close to nature. But not everything in Crimson Cove is natural.

When Cade Colter moves to town, he expects it to be peaceful to the point of boredom. But he quickly learns that after the sun sets and the fog rolls in, the little tourist town takes on a whole new kind of life – and death.

Darkness at the Edge of Town

Renowned for its wild parties and history of debauchery, The Crimson Corset looms on the edge of town, inviting patrons to sate their most depraved desires and slake their darkest thirsts. Proprietor Gretchen VanTreese has waited centuries to annihilate the Old World vampires on the other side of town and create a new race – a race that she alone will rule. When she realizes Cade Colter has the key that will unlock her plan, she begins laying an elaborate trap that will put everyone around him in mortal danger.

Blood Wars

The streets are running red with blood, and as violence and murder ravage the night, Cade must face the darkest forces inside himself, and perhaps even abandon his own humanity, in order to protect what he loves.

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“Put Bram Stoker in a giant cocktail shaker, add a pinch of Laurell K. Hamilton, a shot of John Carpenter, and a healthy jigger of absinthe, and you’ll end up with Alistair Cross’s modern Gothic chiller, “The Crimson Corset” – a deliciously terrifying tale that will sink its teeth into you from page one.”
– Jay Bonansinga, New York Times Bestselling author of THE WALKING DEAD: INVASION and LUCID

“This drop-deadly tale of seduction and terror will leave you begging to be fanged … ”
– Tamara Thorne, international bestselling author of HAUNTED and MOONFALL

“I couldn’t put this book down. It’s got more hooks than a day boat out of San Pedro Harbor!”
– QL Pearce, bestselling author of SCARY STORIES FOR SLEEP-OVERS

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If you’ve been writing for a while, you’ve no doubt run into a psychic vampire or two. These passive-aggressive hangers-on will, if allowed, suck your life force away, all the while paying you compliments, asking for advice, and creating drama meant to suck you into their world and make you worry about their well-being.

The most famous psychic vampire in the horror genre – and most others – is Annie Wilkes, Stephen King’s nightmare of a number one fan. While she is extreme, you can take some tips from her that will help you recognize a vampire who wants you to be her very own Paul Sheldon.

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While most readers who ask a writer to personalize a book with “to your number one fan” are utterly innocent and would be horrified if they realized what alarm bells this phrase sets off, there are others who are anything but innocent. They are narcissistic and the goal of any narcissist is to be paid attention. Annie Wilkes is the perfect example. Annie wanted Paul Sheldon to write for her, to her specifications. It was all about her. He was there to amuse her, to serve her, and no one else — including Paul Sheldon – mattered.

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Take this down a few ruined ankles and glassfuls of urine and you’ll still have a milder version of this same dysfunctional personality. Once you accomplish anything notable, such as writing a book, they come out of the woodwork with unbelievable speed and frequency. They want your time, they want your attention, and they want you to apologize for having worked hard and found success.

Psychic vampires are passive-aggressives who suck the energy right out of you. Shoot, they can suck the energy out of a whole roomful of people. You’ve undoubtedly experienced it: you come away from a chat or function that should have been enjoyable absolutely exhausted. You feel like you’ve run a marathon, only worse because you probably have a headache, too. They are truly vampiric, but not in the good fictional way we enjoyed writing about in Tamara’s Candle Bay or Alistair’s The Crimson Corset. We’re talking about the nastiest kind – the real kind.

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(Tamara’s vampire novel, Candle Bay)

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(Alistair’s upcoming vampire novel, The Crimson Corset)

And the very worst of these psychic vampires are aspiring writers, ones who, for whatever reason, have not done as well as you. They seem to feel you owe them something and they are jealous, oh so jealous.  If they ask you to review their book and you decline, they think you’re a snob. If you don’t have time to answer their basic questions about writing, they think you’re a snob. And if you actually write back and suggest that they can find the answers they seek via many excellent websites, organizations, and critiquing groups available online, they are sure you’re a snob. Somehow, to their fragile egos, this is a personalized rejection; it never even occurs to them that you took time out of your workday to reply. They just end up pegging you, once again, as a snob, and will probably whine about it on Facebook. As much fun as we had with Constance Welling in The Cliffhouse Haunting, these kinds of writers are toxic in the real world.

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(Tamara and Alistair’s collaborative novel, The Cliffhouse Haunting)

At the beginning of her career, a well-known writer advised Tamara that when someone gives you something, your only obligation is to say thank you. This author was referring to fans sending gifts, but this also is applicable to a published writer – no matter how sketchily published – who takes you under his or her wing – or seems to – early on and answers a few questions. If they are of the vampiric persuasion, they will try to exact gratitude from you for the rest of their lives because damn it, they deserve it. They’ll also take full credit for your talent once you achieve success; that’s annoying but it’s nothing but the equivalent of a fly trying to land on you – it’s not worth your attention. They’ll never have your talent and they know it.

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Don’t get us wrong, there are some great mentors out there. If someone has truly helped you, they find pleasure in the very act of aiding and don’t expect you to sing their praises. These are the people who deserve to be in your acknowledgments or have a book dedicated to them. But never buckle under and do it for someone who demands thanks. That person is bottomless pit of need and you’ll never, ever hear the end of it. They will tell everyone, forever more, how much you owe them, how you would be nothing without them. This is the type of person who posts the same two or three fan letters on Facebook over and over for years.

If, in the course of your becoming a professional writer, someone offers you help, go ahead and accept it if you want it. And just say thank you. You owe them nothing more.

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How to spot a psychic vampire who isn’t as obvious as Annie Wilkes? Here are some things to watch out for:

Someone – a would-be writer, a collaborator, an interviewer – insisting that the only time they can meet with you is during a time you’ve reserved to (a) write or (b) be with your family or (c) are otherwise engaged. Decline, and a normal person will understand. A vampire, on the other hand, will simply become more insistent. Or sulky. Usually both. Here’s a tell to watch out for: If you inform a vampire that you take Sundays off – or Mondays or alternate Thursdays – they will tell you it’s the only day they can talk to you. It’s all about power and manipulation. They especially need to drag you away from family and friends to prove how important they are. They’re trying to own you: don’t let that happen.

Guilt trips. This is drama. It includes sulking, crying, and self-righteous indignation when you won’t do what they want, no matter if it’s giving up personal time, changing something in your writing (because they think everything you write is about them) or anything else. This kind of emotional behavior is nothing but manipulation of the most childish kind. There are only a couple of behaviors even more reprehensible and outrageous. What are they?

One is feigning illness, physical or mental. Sure, we all get sick, we all get tired. Most of us make a joke, get some rest, and move on. Not the vampire. Nope. The vampire who plays illness like a fiddle has a constant list of ailments, from headaches to explosive diarrhea to strange growths in places you don’t want to hear about — but trust us, you will hear about every last one.  No anal polyp is too embarrassing, no perimenopausal flash flood too personal. They throw it all out there. Because – yep – it’s all about them. They are shameless.  They will tell you they may be fatally ill, they’re always waiting for test results, and their meds are making them ill (this includes meds for mental problems – it’s no fun being normal, damn it!) They will offer to show you things you don’t want to see. Beware the sickly vampire.

And when all of that doesn’t work, they go straight to threatening suicide or bodily harm (to themselves, we hope). This is the ultimate manipulation, designed to coerce you into doing whatever it is they want. It’s bullshit. It’s an attempt to draw you into their drama. The only answer – if you give one at all  – is to tell her/him that if that’s what they choose to do, good luck with it. It’s not your problem. Those who want to commit suicide don’t talk about it because they don’t want to be stopped. Those who threaten it on a regular basis will only commit it by accident. (We’ll keep our politically incorrect commentary about that to ourselves.)

How do you operate among the psychic vampires, then?  It’s not easy to deal with them, true, but it is possible. First, learn to identify them. Your own instincts will inform you if you listen. Don’t let them flatter you, be cautious.  And read Gavin DeBecker’s excellent book, The Gift of Fear. It will teach you to listen to your instincts and not give every potential Annie Wilkes the benefit of the doubt.

When you have a vampire stalking you, how do you stop them?  You wear Teflon armor because the shit won’t stick.

We’ve both had numerous psychic vampires try to interfere in our lives and Teflon is the ultimate answer. The Vampire, being narcissistic, wants only one thing: to be center stage. They’re like toddlers – any attention, no matter how negative, is better than none. Don’t give them what they want. Delete their emails unread, return their snail mail unopened, change your phone number.  The worst of them will keep trying, perhaps for years, but hopefully they will get sick of being invisible and go find a fresh neck to suck on.

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The only good psychic vampire is a dead psychic vampire but since we can’t legally stake them, we must make them invisible. Attention is what they feed on. Attention is what they live for. Don’t give them either.  If they piss you off, write it out, but don’t mail it to them; instead call a real friend and vent until you’re both laughing, maybe even until you pee a little bit. You can also kill them horribly in your stories, but don’t make them even remotely identifiable because that would be giving them attention and that would make them happy. Give them no energy. Eventually you will find that they’re rarely on your mind, even if you’re on theirs.  Making them non-existent in your universe is your ultimate goal.

And watch your ass. Some of them are as batshit as Annie Wilkes.

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In summer of 2012, just a few months after we met and began talking on the phone and through email, we had an idea that we thought would make a great book. It was a ghost story, set in a large lodge in the San Bernardino mountains in California. It involved a cop, a New Age writer, a serial killer, and of course, a ghost.

Shortly after, we got another book idea which we promptly began. But the haunted hotel story beckoned, and we eventually put the other novel on a temporary hold in order to finish our first story. In late May of 2014, we rolled up our sleeves and started digging into it. It took the expected series of twists and turns, quickly becoming everything we’d wanted it to be – and more.

In the interim, we began writing the serial novel, The Ghosts of Ravencrest, and between the release of five installments of that series, we were hard at work on our original novel, which we’ve titled The Cliffhouse Haunting.

As much as we’ve loved writing The Ghosts of Ravencrest, we’ve been especially looking forward to the release of a full-length novel. And today is an extra special day because The Cliffhouse Haunting has officially been released! And it’s available now at Amazon!

We’d like to thank all the folks who helped us along the way. Elderlemon Design, for a great cover. Michael Aronovitz, for his awesome review of Cliffhouse, which can be read at Hellnotes. Our spouses, to whom this novel is dedicated, and the various readers who took the time to read it before its release. Click the pic below to buy your copy of The Cliffhouse Haunting.

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Our guest this week at Thorne & Cross: Haunted Nights LIVE! is one of the most inventive and finely-tuned horror writers of our time and both of us are major fans. In fact, his novel, Ash Wednesday, is in Tamara’s Top Ten favorite haunting novels of all time!

With a career that includes more than twenty novels, over 100 short stories in various magazines and anthologies, as well as film and television adaptations of his work, we couldn’t be more thrilled to introduce the one and only Chet Williamson.

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Among Chet’s more recent novels are Defenders of the Faith and Hunters. His other published novels include Second Chance, The Story of Noichi the Blind, Ash Wednesday, Soulstorm, Lowland Rider, Reign, and McKain’s Dilemma, and for his most recent project, he wrote the dialogue and story for the computer game, Season of Mystery: The Cherry Blossom Murders. It can be downloaded at http://www.bigfish.com. Revenant, his first play, was recently produced, and he has just finished a stage adaptation of The Story of Noichi the Blind.

chet2His short stories have been featured in such magazines as Esquire, Playboy, The New Yorker, and The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, and many more. His books have been translated and published in many languages and countries, including France, Germany, Russia, Italy, and Japan, as well as British editions of several of his novels.

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Join us this Thursday at 9:00 pm Eastern, 6:00 Pacific as we discuss all things horror with Chet Williamson. Just click the pic below. The link will go live at the scheduled time, and if you miss it, no worries. Within a few minutes of the show’s close, the same link becomes a podcast that you can listen to at any time.

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How did they celebrate Christmas in England in 1788? They didn’t have Christmas trees yet – well, except for the Mannings of Ravencrest. Father Christmas wore green, and they were in the midst of a Little Ice Age, so the Thames occasionally froze solid near London Bridge. What did Londoners do? They held Frost Fairs. That’s where our tale starts, out on the ice, but soon we travel to Ravencrest Manor (before it was imported stone by stone to America in the 1800s) where we meet a rather arcanely-inclined physician and his raven, Odin, several ghosts, and a baby-eating witch. That’s based on fact, too. She’s a relative of the Lancashire witches and next week we’re going to blog about them. So come join us at Ravencrest for holiday cheer, ghosts, magick, and gore. We’ve got it all!

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Horror for the Holidays

The Manning children, Thad and Cynthia, have asked their father for a Christmas story from Ravencrest’s past. Eric Manning is reluctant to spill the manor’s horrific secrets to his kids, but as Dickens proved with A Christmas Carol, Yuletide is a time for ghosts, and perhaps the Manning children are ready for the truth about their home. Or some of it, at least…

You’ve Met Them in Death; Now Meet Them in Life

London, 1788. When tragedy strikes at the Frost Fair, Edward and Alice Manning return with their children to Ravencrest Manor, where their son can be tended to by their own family doctor, Bran Lanval. But curses and spells have been cast and witchcraft is afoot. When Edward’s younger brother, Thomas, rides to join them for lavish Christmas parties, not everything is merry and bright on the heath. As the year draws to a close, the ghosts of Ravencrest silently watch, waiting for Death to arrive at the dance.

The Ghosts of Ravencrest: Christmas Spirits, is available now at Amazon.

The Ghosts of Ravencrest: Christmas Spirits is riveting. The characters are wonderful, the subplots are perfect, and the setting is stunning and well-researched. This series is like a roller coaster that goes up and up – the Mannings are literary gold.”
-QL Pearce, bestselling author of Scary Stories for Sleep-Overs

Christmas Spirits can be read as a stand-alone novella, but it is also the fourth installment of the gothic serial thriller, The Ghosts of Ravencrest. You can get the first three installments of the series in one specially-priced omnibus: The Ghosts of Ravencrest: Darker Shadows.

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Noel Hynd has more than five million books in print. Most of his books have been in the action-espionage-suspense genre (Flowers From Berlin, Truman’s Spy, Murder in Miami, Hostage in Havana) but others (Ghosts, The Prodigy, A Room For The Dead and Cemetery of Angels) are highly acclaimed ghost stories.

He is also a former contributor to Sports Illustrated and several other national magazines. His 1988 non-fiction book, The Giants of The Polo Grounds, was an Editor’s Choice of The New York TIMES Review of Books in 1988.

Mr. Hynd was born in New York City, is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, and lives in southern California between Los Angeles and San Diego with his wife Patricia.

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Along with his wife, Patricia White, Mr. Hynd is also the co-founder of Red Cat Tales, LLC, an independent publishing imprint in Los Angeles. Red Cat Tales publishes genre fiction (including much of Mr. Hynd’s backlist) and graphic novels in translation. The RCT list can be found at www.RedCat.Tales.com.

Join us tomorrow night at Thorne & Cross: Haunted Nights LIVE! at 9:00 pm Eastern, 6:00 pm Pacific, where we’ll be talking to Noel Hynd about writing, reading, and things that go bump in the night! This link will go live then! http://www.blogtalkradio.com/authorsontheairbookstoo/2014/12/05/noel-hynd-joins-thorne-cross-haunted-nights-live

Tonight’s the night!

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Tonight on Thorne & Cross: Haunted Nights LIVE!, we’re interviewing New York Times best-selling horror meister and all around great guy, Douglas Clegg.  You’re not going to want to miss this episode. Much book talk and various rude noises will ensue. Just click this link at 9:00 p.m. Eastern, 6:00 Pacific to listen in:

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/authorsontheairbookstoo/2014/11/21/nyt-bestseller-douglas-clegg-joins-thorne-cross-haunted-nights-live

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Douglas Clegg is the New York Times bestselling, award-winning author of more than 30 books, including The Priest of Blood, Neverland, and The Children’s Hour. His work has been published by Simon & Schuster, Bantam Doubleday Dell, Kensington, Dorchester, Cemetery Dance Publications, Subterranean Press, as well as Alkemara Press in digital form.

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In 1999, he launched the world’s first publisher-sponsored e-serial novel, Naomi, which later went on to hardcover and paperback publication, and which Publisher’s Weekly called “arguably, the first major work of fiction in cyberspace,” and his short novel Purity was the first book of its kind on cell phones in the U.S. in the year 2001.  He lives with his husband of 25 years near the coast of New England in a house called Villa Diodati which also contains a cat, dog, rabbit and more than 40 fish.

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