Posts Tagged ‘Chelsea Quinn Yarbro’

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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This week on Haunted Nights LIVE!, we proudly present, Chelsea Quinn Yarbro!

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A professional writer for more than forty years, Yarbro has sold over eighty books, more than seventy works of short fiction, and more than three dozen essays, introductions, and reviews. She also composes serious music. Her first professional writing – in 1961-1962 – was as a playwright for a now long-defunct children’s theater company. By the mid-60s she had switched to writing stories and hasn’t stopped yet.

After leaving college in 1963 and until she became a full-time writer in 1970, she worked as a demographic cartographer, and still often drafts maps for her books, and occasionally for the books of other writers.

51y3oTwVxTL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_She has a large reference library with books on a wide range of subjects, everything from food and fashion to weapons and trade routes to religion and law. She is constantly adding to it as part of her on-going fascination with history and culture; she reads incessantly, searching for interesting people and places that might provide fodder for stories.

Chelsea Quinn Yarbro Photo 2015 Photo Credit Charles Lucke
In 1997 the Transylvanian Society of Dracula bestowed a literary knighthood on Yarbro, and in 2003 the World Horror Association presented her with a Grand Master award. In 2006 the International Horror Guild enrolled her among their Living Legends, the first woman to be so honored; the Horror Writers Association gave her a Life Achievement Award in 2009. In 2014 she won a Life Achievement Award from the World Fantasy Convention.

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A skeptical occultist for forty years, she has studied everything from alchemy to zoomancy, and in the late 1970s worked occasionally as a professional tarot card reader and palmist at the Magic Cellar in San Francisco.

She has two domestic accomplishments: she is a good cook and an experienced seamstress. The rest is catch-as-catch-can.

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Divorced, she lives in the San Francisco Bay Area – with two cats: the irrepressible Butterscotch and Crumpet, the Gang of Two. When not busy writing, she enjoys the symphony or opera.

Listen in at 6pm Pacific, 7 Mountain, 8 Central, 9 Eastern. Just click here to listen.

odyssey

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

We have two resolutions for 2015: write even more than we did in 2014 and… have fun doing it.

In 2014, we decided to try collaborating and began writing a short story together. Grandma’s Rack soon grew into a novella, and still begged for more, so we let it have its way and become a full-fledged novel.  When we were most of the way through it, we realized we had to put it on hold so that we could write another horror novel in order to meet a deadline.

So we set Grandma in her rocker on the porch to relax and take the summer breeze while we wrote a brand new horror novel full of eerie legends and lore, ghosts, and quirky characters who quickly took over and had their way with the novel – and with us. In four months, we had 170,000 words and in six months, we’d cut and polished it to 125,000. We are very happy with this tale but our lips must remain sealed for the moment.

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GOTHIC GHOSTS AND GOVERNESSES

Even as we worked on our mystery novel, we began writing our serial novel, The Ghosts of Ravencrest. Originally, we called it The Erotic Adventures of Belinda, with a plan to make it erotica with a few ghosts and horror in the background, but by the time we published the second installment, we knew that as fun as sex was, it wasn’t enough. Neither of us cared for making sex the centerpiece of every episode because it limited what we could do with our ever-growing characters and plot threads.

With the third installment, Darker Shadows, we followed our horror-filled hearts and loaded the tale with gothic horror worthy of Dark Shadows – the show that inspired the title of this episode.  The newly-retitled The Ghosts of Ravencrest lets us indulge in all the things we love, from ghosts and mysteries (and sex) to the archetypal brooding heroes and gothic governess in old mansions – and even some Dark Shadows-inspired time travel.

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ROLL OVER, DICKENS!

In our holiday installment,  The Ghosts of Ravencrest: Christmas Spirits, Eric Manning tells his children the story of their ancestors in the winter of 1788. We filled it with history, and wove our story of ghosts and witchcraft into the 18th century’s Frost Fairs of London and old English Christmas traditions. Christmas Spirits is a novella that can be read as a stand-alone, but if you read it as part of the series, you will have more clues concerning the mysterious ghosts Belinda encountered in Darker Shadows and in the upcoming Night Moves.

Night Moves will be available on Amazon within the next few weeks.

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BACK ON THE FANG-GANG

Meanwhile, Alistair has returned to a solo project he affectionately calls C.C. This is a novel he began a very long time ago, which was then called The White Room. The story has evolved, and thus, so has the title.

C.C. is a tale that takes place in a little mountain town near northern California where two factions of vampires live under an uneasy truce – one side believes in the equality of all living things, while the other adheres to a much less peaceful philosophy concerning the roles of vampires and humans.

After the death of his mother, Cade Colter moves into town from California’s garlic capital, Gilroy. Cade seems like a perfectly normal twenty-two-year-old as he settles into his new home with his older brother, Brooks, but unbeknownst to either of them, Cade possesses a rare quality that will place him at the center of a centuries-old battle between good and evil, love and hate, peace and war – a quality so valuable to the vampiric race that peace treaties will shatter, blood will flow, and the price of survival might be too high to pay.

C.C. is expected to be available in early summer, and while Alistair is working on that, Tamara is putting her efforts into Grandma’s Rack.

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BACK TO THE RACK

When we began writing Grandma’s Rack together, we had yet to discover what we call Skypewriting. Skypewriting means writing together in the Cloud while speaking over Skype. It’s our preferred method of collaborating and allows us to work on the same document at the same time. Sometimes we work on separate scenes or even in different documents, but no matter what we’re doing, we spend our work days in our virtual office where we can consult one another at any time. Doing this makes our writing cohesive and tight. When we reread, we rarely know who wrote what originally and we can think of nothing healthier for a book or a partnership.

Most of Grandma was written in the “traditional” way; each writer taking a separate chapter and following certain characters.  Because Tamara was also working on her solo sequel to Candle Bay at the time, Alistair wrote much of Grandma’s first draft. Now, while Alistair works on C.C., Tamara is finishing Grandma and doing the massive rewrite. (Later on, Tamara will finish Candle Bay’s sequel, just as Alistair is finishing his C.C. now.)

THE WAR OF THE WITCHES

Grandma’s Rack is the story of Heloise Foster, her grandson Joey, his toothy Aunt Sybil, the town of Milkwort and a coven of witches who want something of Grandma’s. Murder and mayhem, orgies and spells ensue in a witchy apocalypse as Grandma stands against the coven, protecting not only her family, but the town of Milkwort itself.

We expect Grandma’s Rack to be available by late March.

SOMETHING DIFFERENT THIS WAY COMES

Sometime in spring, after a few more installments of Ravencrest and Alistair’s completion of C.C., we will begin our next planned novel. Let’s just call it “M” for now. It’s a little different from anything we’ve written so far. While we can’t imagine dropping all supernatural elements in any story, M is more psychological thriller and boasts a smaller cast than usual. Think Misery Meets Mommy Dearest!  M is fully plotted (at least as fully as you can plot before the characters take over and run with it) and ready to go the minute we’ve put Grandma and C.C. to bed.

We expect M to be available in late 2015

By fall, the first volume of The Ghosts of Ravencrest  will be complete and it will likely be available as a novel, too. At that point, serial installments of Volume Two will begin appearing. It’s gothic – full of ghosts and intrigue – and we’re excited to reveal more about other staff members and their gruesome, often magical, proclivities.

BUT WAIT! THERE’S MORE!

By fall of 2015, we plan to begin both another traditionally ghost-infested novel as well as a very big surprise.  These novels are, for the moment, being referred to as “The Ghost One” and “The Big One” – or MF and BO for short. Both are in the early stages of plotting though BO is even now requiring lots of unusual research. We’re loving it, but keeping our main focus on our current projects. Once those are behind us, serious brainstorming will begin on MF and BO.

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DON’T TOUCH THAT DIAL!

Finally, we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention the exciting guests we have coming up on our radio show, Thorne & Cross: Haunted Nights LIVE!. It returns to the airwaves on Thursday, January 8th, with one of the best in the business, horror author Chet Williamson. And he’s not the only guest we’re stoked about. We’ll also be featuring writers such as Bram Stoker Award-winner Elizabeth Massie, Jay Bonansinga, author of the New York Times bestselling series, The Walking Dead, Living Legend Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, and world-renowned parapsychologist, Loyd Auerbach. The new year will also see the return of New York Times bestseller, Douglas Clegg! We can’t wait!