Archive for the ‘Halloween’ Category

To celebrate October, Halloween, and last week’s show at Thorne & Cross: Haunted Nights LIVE! with vampire author extraordinaire, Laurell K. Hamilton, THE CRIMSON CORSET is on sale at Amazon for just $0.99 in ebook, now through October 6th.

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“Alistair Cross’ new novel THE CRIMSON CORSET … is taut and elegantly written taking us into the realms where the erotic and the horrific meet. Reminiscent of the work of Sheridan Le Fanu (CARMILLA, UNCLE SILAS) in its hothouse, almost Victorian intensity, it tells a multi-leveled story of misalliance and mixed motives. The language is darkly lyrical, and the tale is compelling. Read it; you’ll be glad you did.” – Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, author of the Saint-Germain Cycle

“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

Halloween is my favorite season and I wanted to write a book about the holiday as well as childhood terrors, about the panic that children feel when the lights go out and they know that something is there, lurking in the dark, watching, waiting to steal them away. That book became Bad Things and it began with a poem.BadThingsMan_1000

Big Jack

Winter cold, winter dreary

Winter leaves

No sap, no fool

Winter bones

No need to panic

Big Jack sleeps, the little ones too.

March buds, April flowers

May blood

So green, so new

Spring veins pump

And children panic

Big Jack wakes, the little ones too.

Summer heat, summer passion

Summer nights

So hot, so hungry

Dark desires

The children cower

Big Jack stands, the little ones too.

Autumn red, autumn brittle

Autumn cravings

So harsh, so clear

Child, run

Before he gets you

Big Jack walks, the little ones too.

                        © Tamara Thorne

As a child, there was nothing I liked better than going outside at twilight, especially in the fall, when the crisping leaves whispered and cackled about the arrival of Bad ThingsHalloween, making the night sounds even spookier. Oh, how I loved to scare myself! The good kind of scare, involving misty ghosts, eerie birdsong and, most of all, the greenjacks. The greenjacks were the best. They still are.

I became aware of green men when I was very small; my parents took me into Los Angeles to visit the museums at least once a month. I loved the natural history museum where the dinosaur bones towered and roared, where and the dioramas of cavemen and mammals in that great dark hall threatened to move if I so much as glanced away.

I loved peering into the mummy’s case, waiting for his papery whisper, wondering if he was aware of my shameless stare – and imagining what he might do if he could find the magic to reach out and grab me. At that point I would giggle and flee the room.  

In the space museum, there were rockets. I loved them, too, because my brain was locked and loaded with Ray Bradbury’s stories about Mars and outer space. Mars, I thought, really was heaven.ween

But most of all – next to the mummy and dinosaurs – I loved part of the history museum where huge old English tapestries festooned the walls. That’s where I first spotted green men hiding from hunters and ladies and dogs, peering around trees and through the leaves, watching… and waiting. They often had puckish goat legs, and always leered, full of wicked humor. I could – and did – spend hours sitting on a bench studying my latest find, telling myself endless stories about these green tricksters.

At home after dusk, I would go out in our vast backyard and sit cross-legged on the grass and stare at the ivied wall behind the swing set until the faces would come. They moved in the breeze, the shadow-faces, green eyes glinting, green lips moving. I could pretend the soughing wind and the mockingbirds’ cries were their calling voices, and that the chittering leaves were their whispers as they plotted and planned what they’d do if they caught me.Ruth Sanderson green man

The fear was delicious and I’d fight it, trying to stay put, to remain outside in the dark, but inevitably I’d run inside, frightened in the best way possible. Soon, the thrill would subside and I’d go back out to play the greenjack game again.  

Back then, I called them green monsters or green men and I made up stories to tell my friends when we camped out in the backyard on sleepover nights. Inevitably, we’d land in the safety of my bedroom long before midnight, where we’d hold a seance and try to talk to lingering ghosts or call up Bloody Mary.

But the green men were always my favorites. A little research led me to watch for them on the corners of old buildings, so I loved it when we’d go into the city because I could watch for them there too, and make up stories about how, at midnight, they would come to life and climb down to cavort in the meager trees and bushes by the buildings.

When I decided to write Bad Things, the green men became greenjacks.  “Jack” is a name  commonly used in conjunction with green men in England.  “Jack in the Green” was my inspiration.  May Day, May Poles, fertility rights are all tied up with this version of the green man.

greenknight1Around the world, there are many variations on the green man, but mine are American with English and Scottish roots. (In The Sorority, the Green Knight (from the Arthurian tale, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight) makes several appearances and he’s pure Britannia.)

There are plenty of other modern green men. Tolkien’s Ents are probably the best known but the forest sprite, Tom Bombadil, from Tolkien’s The Hobbit, captured my interest even more. Groot, of Marvel Comics fame, is popular in these days of superhero worship.Bad ThingsTom-bombadil

The Green Man is also known to change with the seasons, becoming a holly king by winter and oaken royalty cloaked in a riot of fall colors in autumn. As the ruler of spring, he is festooned with tender young flowers, and in summer he is seen with bright blooms, corn, and wheat.

I wanted to create my own green man to match southern California since green men are always local deities. My Big Jack would be darkly green and lush, even at Halloween, alive and growing and terrible, and his minions, the greenjacks, would be nature spirits that only a cursed few (like our hero, Ricky Piper) can see. Normal people see only catch glimpses of whirlwinds and dust-devils, if they spot anything at all.

Bad Things TomOldManWillow

In my lore, the greenjacks, like many “little people” of legend, and Big Jack, their master, are tied to changeling myths, but mine are also tied to All Hallow’s Eve. Poor Ricky is afraid to say anything because his parents already think he’s overly sensitive and imaginative – but he is tormented by these capering, terrifying entities as they search for a proper sacrifice as Halloween approaches. Ricky can’t even enjoy the holiday because of his fears. He is a boy terrified of the dark and what it holds. As an adult, he must confront those fears once more in order to protect his own son.

As Halloween nears, take a moment to sit outdoors and enjoy the leaves on the trees and shrubs and see if you can find any greenjacks. And if you see them, be especially careful on Halloween night  – don’t let Big Jack, a monster made of branches and leaves that pulse with green blood, catch you!

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Halloween!

Tomorrow is the last day that you can get Tamara Thorne’s classic Halloween tale of terror Bad Things on sale for the special low price of $2.99 on all e-reader formats. Bad Things chronicles  the Piper clan, who emigrated from Scotland and founded the town of Santo Verde, California. The Gothic Victorian estate built there has housed the family for generations, and has also become home to an ancient evil forever linked to the Piper name. . . an evil that comes out on Halloween.

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We’re sad to see that sale go, but on a brighter note, today is the first that our omnibus edition of The Ghosts of Ravencrest: Darker Shadows is available. This spookier new version includes the revamped first two installments of the serial novel formerly known as The Erotic Adventures of Belinda, in addition to the all-new third installment, Darker Shadows. Come give Ravencrest a visit today. You’re likely to bump into something nice and creepy. Especially if you wander into the east wing…

ARavencrest

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(An angel at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery)

If you live in Southern California, you might see this article by Tamara Thorne in the newspapers. After exploring a load of allegedly haunted places in and around the Los Angeles basin, she chose her 13 favorite haunts.

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(Suicide Bridge)

All are publicly accessible and include the Queen Mary, the Georgian Hotel in Santa Monica, Suicide Bridge in Pasadena, and Calico Ghost Town in the high desert.

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(A schoolhouse from Calico Ghost Town, which was the inspiration for Tamara’s novel, Thunder Road.)

Her personal favorites include the Old Zoo in Griffith Park – it’s haunted by tourists and animals from long ago – and a little taco joint called Taco Lita in Arcadia, where she saw a friendly apparition.

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(Taco Lita, where Tamara saw an apparition… and had great food!)

The other sites include Wilmington’s Drum Barracks, full of phantom sounds and fragrances, two lighthouses on the Palos Verdes Peninsula, Claremont’s Old Schoolhouse, Olvera Street, Rose Hills Memorial Park in Whittier, the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, and the Hollywood Forever Cemetery.

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(A haunted Palos Verde lighthouse)

To learn more about these haunted places, check out the newspaper article here.

Tamara Thorne’s tale of Halloween terror, Bad Things, is based on a childhood game she played as twilight stole the day away. She loved to sit on the swing in her backyard and watch as shadowed breezes swirled through bushes and flower beds. She imagined little creatures she called greenjacks cavorting and playing among the leaves and flowers, and pretended they watched her, too, giggling and whispering.  They weren’t evil, exactly, nor were they to be trusted.

Later, Tamara became entranced by the tales of green men and loved to go the museum and study English tapestries, always looking, often finding, the mysterious Green Man lurking among the trees. For Bad Things, she drew on folklore about this lusty earth elemental, from the Green Knight in Arthurian legend, to Greek satyrs, Robin Hood, and all other forms. She tooks those and made up her own green man, Big Jack. His minions are the greenjacks, and if you’re lucky – or unlucky – you just might see them, especially around Halloween. If you do, be very careful, because they know, and they will want you for their own.

Bad Things is the story of one such encounter.  It’s on sale now in all e-readers.

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BIG JACK

Winter cold, winter dreary

Winter leaves

No sap, no fool

Winter bones

No need to panic

Big Jack sleeps, the little ones too.

~

March buds, April flowers

May blood

So green, so new

Springs veins pump

And children panic

Big Jack wakes, the little ones too.

~

Summer heat, summer passion

Summer nights

So hot, so hungry

Dark desires

The children cower

Big Jack stands, the littles too.

~

Autumn red, autumn brittle

Autumn cravings

So harsh, so clear

Child, run

Before he gets you

Big Jack walks, the little ones, too.

~

Bad Things

~

Bad Things by Tamara Thorne

The Piper clan emigrated from Scotland and founded the town of Santo Verde, California. The Gothic Victorian estate built there has housed the family for generations, and has also become home to an ancient evil forever linked to the Piper name. . .

As a boy, Rick Piper discovered he had “the sight.” It was supposed to be a family myth, but Rick could see the greenjacks–the tiny mischievous demons who taunted him throughout his childhood–and who stole the soul of his twin brother Robin one Halloween night.

Now a widower with two children of his own, Rick has returned home to build a new life. He wants to believe the greenjacks don’t exist, that they were a figment of his own childish fears and the vicious torment he suffered at the hands of his brother. But he can still see and hear them, and they haven’t forgotten that Rick escaped them so long ago. And this time, they don’t just want Rick. This time they want his children. . .

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Cue the music… Release the bats… Grab a horror writer… It’s showtime!

Thorne & Cross: Haunted Nights LIVE! will debut on Authors on the Air Global Radio Network on Thursday, November 6th, at 9:00 p.m. Eastern. With two million listeners in 44 countries, we are proud and excited to be a part of this network, and now, you can give us a like on Facebook at our own Haunted Nights LIVE! page.

At Haunted Nights LIVE! we will be talking about all things horror with the biggest names in the business. From fiction writers and paranormal investigators to haunted spots and true ghost stories supplied by our listeners, Haunted Nights LIVE! will feature fact, fiction, and that indiscernible gray area in between.

Our guest list so far includes New York Times Bestselling author Douglas Clegg, International Horror Guild Award winner Glen Hirshberg, children’s author extraordinaire Q.L. Pearce, bestselling Bite Club author Hal Bodner, and paranormal writer and researcher, Sylvia Shults – and that’s just the tip of the blood-covered machete.

So polish your fangs, sharpen your claws, and come take a bite out of the dark side. Thorne & Cross: Haunted Nights LIVE! is coming your way. Listen for the sounds of phantom footfalls…

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