Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

By Alistair

So tonight, I met Chelsea Quinn Yarbro who, as anyone who knows her will tell you, is not only one of the most talented writers alive, but a charming, intelligent, and truly fascinating human being. Though Quinn and I have exchanged plenty of emails and had many phone conversations in the past couple of years, there’s something to be said about person-to-person contact – you never know what the real-world “chemistry” might be like. I’m glad to say that tonight was effortless; it felt like reconnecting with an old friend.

But for all those easy, natural moments, there were a few that had me thinking, “Wow. What cosmic design put me in a Mexican restaurant with Chelsea Quinn Yarbro?” I remember thinking that very thing as I sat across from her, listening as she recounted her adventures with legendary writers like Robert Bloch, Stephen King, Richard Matheson, and Tannith Lee. It was surreal, and even as the conversation moved to more personal things, private things, I couldn’t help wondering how it all happened.

The answer to that, of course, is my collaborator, Tamara Thorne, who’s known Quinn for many, many years. It was Tamara who introduced us, and it was Tamara who, for reasons that still bewilder me, decided in the first place that it was me – me, of all people – that she wanted to write a book with.

That changed my life – and meeting Quinn was a reminder of how lucky I am to know Tamara and how mysterious this world is … and what an extraordinary hand it’s dealt me. It’s a pleasure and an honor to know these women, and I don’t – not for one minute – take them for granted.

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Tonight on Thorne & Cross: Haunted Nights LIVE!:

Michael Mahin is a children’s author, aspiring screenwriter, and recovering preacher’s kid. His debut picture book Muddy: The Story of Blues Legend Muddy Waters (Atheneum) earned many honors, including being named an NPR Best Book of 2017 and a New York Times Best Illustrated Book of 2017.

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His first produced horror movie, REBORN, directed by Julian Richards (THE LAST HORROR MOVIE) completed filming in December and stars legendary scream-queen Barbara Crampton (RE-ANIMATOR), Michael Pare (EDDIE AND THE CRUISERS) Rae Dawn Chong (COMMANDO), Chaz Bono (AMERICAN HORROR STORY), and Kayleigh Gilbert. See more at https://www.rebornmovie2018.com/

Listen in at 8 pm EST: https://tinyurl.com/yauwr6oz

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See our guest list at: https://www.alistaircross.com/guests

For book deals, updates, specials, exclusives, and upcoming guests on Thorne & Cross: Haunted Nights LIVE!, join our newsletter: http://eepurl.com/ckaBrr

Choosing my ten favorite paranormal novels is like walking through a candy store and trying to choose only a few favorite pieces. I discovered the paranormal and horror genres at a young age, and instantly fell in love, submerging myself in everything from Stephen King movies (Carrie was my favorite when I was a kid) and any ghost stories I could get my hands on. By the time I was ten, I was pretty well-versed in the ways of the weird, and while I appreciate just about anything with a paranormal bent, there are a few classic books that really stand up. Below are the top ten paranormal novels that shaped who I am as reader as well as a writer.

 

1. Violin by Anne Rice

I put this novel at number one on just about every top-ten list, and here’s why: This story changed me; it reached inside of me and rearranged deep things. This is more than a ghost story – it’s a human story and it’s as dark and doleful as it is healing and hopeful. Violin follows a ghost named Stefan who travels to modern-day New Orleans in search of release from his own torment, and while reading this stunningly well-written emotional roller-coaster, I fell in love with Anne Rice. I cringed, I cried. I laughed, I loved. But most of all, I just kept reading and reading and reading. This book gave me no other choice.

 

2. Dracula by Bram Stoker

Long considered the daddy of all horror novels, Dracula has more than earned its place among my favorites. This novel, perhaps more than any other, is not only the reason I write what I write, but the reason I write at all. I tried reading this book when I was only eight years old, and though it was way over my head, those images of the Count climbing up the castle walls never left me. Nor did the very atmospheric carriage ride – the fog, the moors, the howling of the wolves – that Jonathan Harker took on his way to said castle. And when I returned to the book as an adult, I found it just as riveting, just as powerful.

3. The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

Beautifully-written and well-told, The Picture of Dorian Gray has a way of creeping into the dark corners of your mind and lying dormant there for years. Then, when you least expect it, this dark little tale of vanity and self-obsession rears its beautiful but tragic head to remind you of its existence within you. I only wish this book could have gone on much longer than it did.

 

4. It by Stephen King

When people think of Stephen King’s It, they immediately think of creepy clowns … and while there is plenty of that to be had in this book, I can’t help feeling that most people are missing the point. It is a story about childhood and coming of age. It’s about bonds and those rare lifelong relationships we all crave. And perhaps above all else, it is – of course – about fear. But it’s not interested in your garden-variety creepy-crawlies – this book is about all fear, every fear … and most of all, it’s about your fear – and that’s what made it the kind of book I simply couldn’t put down … and I really wanted to. At over 1,000 pages, that sucker is heavy!

 

5. The Sentinel by Jeffrey Konvitz

Welcome to the creepiest old brownstone in New York. When an emotionally troubled fashion model – she’s attempted suicide, a big no-no for Catholics – moves in, she is beset by nightmares and troubled by the elderly, blind Catholic priest who sits vigil in the window of the top floor. Her new neighbors are supremely weird, and when she asks the realtor about them, she’s shocked to be told that only she and the reclusive priest live there. As she and her boyfriend delve into the mystery, everything escalates – including encounters from the phantom neighbors. The Sentinel is one of the creepiest, most disturbing books I’ve ever read – there’s even a nod to it in my new novel, Sleep Savannah Sleep. The movie is dated yet still nearly as effective as the novel. Both will give you nightmares.

 

6. The House Next Door by Anne Rivers Siddons

A contemporary Southern gothic, The House Next Door revolves around neighbors to a brand new home designed so well that it seems to grow organically from the earth. Everyone who moves in suffers misfortune or death – the house itself is a psychic vampire and more. It’s especially intriguing because the main character, neighbor Col Kennedy is a little too snobbish to be likable, yet draws you in as she begins to truly understand the horror that sits next door. Anne Rivers Siddons is not a horror author, but a writer of southern fiction. However, her grasp of the inherent evil makes her as terrifying as King, Saul, or Straub. Try Fox’s Earth if you want to meet a psychopath that is at least as horrific as anything Stephen King has ever created.

 

7. Rosemary’s Baby by Ira Levin

Expectant mother Rosemary Woodhouse is thrilled about the upcoming birth of her child, but her neighbors are a little too interested in her pregnancy, insisting she use a certain doctor, take certain herbs, and drink foul-tasting concoctions. Who could argue with sweet little old lady, Minnie Castevet?  As Rosemary’s suspicions and rebelliousness grow, her husband, Guy, becomes darker and stranger. The novel is one of creeping terror that builds and builds until all you can do is be glad the novel is short – there is no way you can put this one down until you’ve finished the very last page.

 

8. The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty

It doesn’t matter if you’re a Catholic or an atheist, The Exorcist will frighten you … unless you’re also a sociopath. In the book (and movie), the real world is bright and shiny. Movie star mom Chris MacNeil and beloved daughter, Regan, take a house in Georgetown while Chris is making a movie. Then Regan finds a Ouija board and things begin happening. At first, they think they have rats, but they have so much more. Atheist Chris is forced to look to Catholic priest Damien Karras for help when science fails her daughter. The Exorcist is possibly the single most frightening novel written in modern American history.

 

9. Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier

While not exactly paranormal – at least not in the obvious in-your-face sense of the term – Rebecca remains one of my all-time favorites. It’s about the ghosts of the past, and one woman’s desperate quest to exist outside of the very tall shadow cast by Rebecca, the woman who came before her. Rebecca exudes the quiet, subtle kind of horror that raises the tiny hairs on the nape of your neck – just a little – and compels you to keep reading not only because of its smooth-as-warm-butter style, but because of what may or may not be waiting for you around the next corner and on the next page. And when it comes to payoff, Rebecca delivers. Boy, does she deliver …

 

10. The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson

“Whose hand was I holding?” is possibly the most frightening line in literary history. The Haunting of Hill House oozes and creeps and crawls with fear on every perfectly-written page. Hill House frightens without spilling a drop of blood. It’s psychological and supernatural terror at its best, partly because Eleanor Vance is an unreliable witness. Is she imagining things or isn’t she? Jackson’s finely drawn characters want to believe Eleanor is somehow responsible for the terror – it makes it more palatable to them – and that makes for interpersonal behavior that’s almost as frightening as the hand-holding, breathing doors, thunderous pounding sounds, and cold spots. Personally, I don’t think Eleanor is causing any of it beyond being there to help bring the house to life.

The Psychopath Next Door

Posted: June 13, 2018 in Uncategorized

By Thorne & Cross

 

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There are all sorts of horrific monsters to write about, from ghosts to vampires to zombies and werewolves, but we think the most frightening thing of all is a living, breathing, human psychopath. Most supernatural monsters are easy to spot – you can see them coming and take appropriate action. You know what you’re up against. But psychopaths are so good at what they do that you might sleep next to one for decades and never even know it. They are consummate actors. The head of the company you work for may be a psychopath who is able to crush the competition and take his firm to the top without remorse. The surgeon who removed your appendix may be as unfeeling and cold as a snake, but that often makes him a better surgeon.

But it’s important to remember that most psychopaths and sociopaths do not commit murder. However, they are often found doing something shady, one way or another. Whether it’s a car salesman who convinces a little old lady to buy a lemon, or the realtor who talks you into buying a house riddled with termites and a backed-up cesspool, these folks are crooked. And they don’t feel a drop of remorse – how can they? They don’t even know what remorse is.

That type is plentiful. But the psychopath we want to talk about is the most invisible of all. As with the less dangerous psychopaths, power and control is about the only thing that motivates and excites them. But sometimes, scamming you into buying property in a swamp isn’t enough excitement for them. They might need to destroy your life … or take it. They seem like nice people and that’s why they’re extremely dangerous. They are invisible.

When writing our latest thriller, Mother, we wanted our psychopath to be the kind most people wouldn’t see coming. Priscilla Martin is not a likely candidate when one thinks of psychopaths. However, that is often the case. Psychopaths come in all shapes and sizes, and we deliberately crafted Priscilla into an innocuous figure – on the surface, that is.

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Sure, Priscilla Martin has some control issues – she likes taking charge of all the neighborhood events and church activities, and is very persnickety about the way things are done – but she isn’t dangerous, is she? That remains to be seen by the readers, whom we invite to make up their own minds about what’s really going on at Mother’s house. But we sure had a good time creating this character and exploring all the various avenues she would travel in order to obtain what she wants most.

When developing a good psychopath, we recommend a few books that have really helped us out. The Sociopath Next Door by Martha Stout is an incredible read that will change the way you see the people around you. We also highly recommend The Gift of Fear by Gavin De Becker. This book will teach you why you must learn to trust your instincts, and how you can deal with problematic, unbalanced, and potentially dangerous people. Thanks to these books, we no longer ignore those very early warning signs that tell us something is “off” about a person, and we’ve learned effective ways of disassociating ourselves from the ones we weren’t able to avoid. And that has helped us write about these virtually invisible monsters among us.

That being said, there are few things we enjoy more than creating fictional characters who are a few bricks short of a load. Writing about psychopaths allows us to really delve into the darker part of the human psyche, to analyze it, and to put it to good use in our fiction. And nowhere is this more true than in Mother, where we really brought the crazy home, so to speak, by making our psycho into the most beloved icon of all: the maternal figure.

And in researching for Mother, we should add that, despite the sense of love and safety we generally associate with the word “mother,” we found no shortage of real-life motherhood-gone-wrong stories that had us gasping in shock and disbelief. Who could believe that a person’s worst nightmare could come in such an unlikely package? And that’s what we wanted to address in Mother. We wanted to ask the question: Where do you hide when the monsters all live at home?

For book deals, updates, specials, exclusives, and upcoming guests on Thorne & Cross: Haunted Nights LIVE!, join our newsletter: http://eepurl.com/ckaBrr

 

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Paul Tremblay is the author of A Head Full of Ghosts, Disappearance at Devil’s Rock, The Little Sleep, No Sleep Till Wonderland, and his latest novel, The Cabin at the End of the World. He is a member of the board of directors of the Shirley Jackson Awards, and his essays and short fiction have appeared in the Los Angeles Times and numerous “year’s best” anthologies. He has a master’s degree in mathematics and lives in Massachusetts with his wife and two children.

Listen in Thursday, June 7th at 8 p EST at: https://tinyurl.com/ya3gcapb

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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, perhaps even abandon his own humanity, in order to protect what he loves.
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Dan Howard was born Daniel Earl Javorsky in Berlin and immigrated to the US. He has been, among other things, a delivery boy, musician, product rep in the chemical entertainment industry, university music teacher, software salesman, copy editor, proofreader, and novelist. His novels include Down Solo and Trust Me, and a sequel to Down Solo called Down to No Good.

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For book deals, updates, specials, exclusives, and upcoming guests on Thorne & Cross: Haunted Nights LIVE!, join our newsletter: http://eepurl.com/ckaBrr