Posts Tagged ‘Darker Shadows’



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.



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.



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.



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.



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.)


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.


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.


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.



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!

You know what our favorite thing about Christmas is? TV of course!! And ghost stories.

Ghosts and Christmas go together like weenies and beans. Soap and towels. Cat pee and Grandma. Brain-death and DirectTV. Puberty and shame. Prom and a bucket of blood.


Christmas is tied to ghosts almost as strongly as Halloween, thanks only in part to Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. Christmas arrives as the year dies. Morning arrives late, night falls early, life is at its lowest ebb… as are our attention spans and tolerance for long-winded, meandering stories about the human heart’s capacity for love, forgiveness, and kindness. And for this utter lack of patience, we blame Charles Dickens. Thanks, Chuck!

But imagine it’s just a century or two ago, and you’re sitting by the hearth on a cold winter’s night, the only illumination coming from the the fire, the lanterns,  candles and the monks sitting in the corner doing their fancy parchment work. In those days, you couldn’t get away from those pesky light-bearing monks and their gold ink. In fact, that’s why, to this day, a group of the little bald-headed fellows is referred to as an “infestation of monks.”

And if you were insane, of course, you had candlelight from your Christmas tree. Fire insurance must have been outrageously expensive back then. Instead of checking to see if you qualify for safe driver bonuses, they would have checked to see how many houses you’ve burned down in the past five years. It’s pretty ridiculous that OSHA didn’t step in, really, but who are we to judge?


Anyway, we take light for granted. In 1788 London, where our Ravencrest holiday tale is set, there was no electricity for light and heat. There was only candle and lantern light besides the hearth and, of course, the glow of your own healthy skin, which was obtained because there was no Burger King and you had no choice but to eat your fresh fruits and vegetables, of which there were none, since it was winter; the gas lamp was around the corner, but it would be decades before many houses had this luxury. And microwaves. And hot rollers. These things came much later.

Imagine the dark, whether in a city, the countryside, or within the syphilis-soaked confines of the local opium den-turned-cathouse. There were orders for every house facing the street to put out at least one lantern from 6 pm to 11 pm to illuminate the way for passersby – you were fined a shilling if you didn’t comply. That was almost the same cost as a reasonably-priced hooker with the majority of her teeth! And inside the house, there was never enough light to illuminate the dark corners where ghosts hide.


And there were ghosts everywhere. Seriously. In fact, every time you sneezed, it meant there was a ghost nearby, hence the expression, Bless You. In those days there were no television psychics to help our loved ones into the light, so it wasn’t uncommon to find misguided phantoms tangled in your hair, wandering aimlessly through your outhouses, inadvertently devouring your child’s soul, or even getting stuck betwixt your teeth after breast-stroking through your porridge. And this is why Goldilocks had to go for a walk that fateful day. Ghosts hate really hot porridge.

And speaking of hot porridge, we have compiled a list of our favorite Christmas ghosts on television because we feel very strongly that ghosts on television are taken for granted these days.


Imagine the 1700s, when all you got were 12 basic channels and every single one of them was just another live broadcast chronicling the various stages of construction of Marie Antoinette’s latest obnoxious hairstyle. And if you didn’t want to see her hair in that particular phase of styling, you had to physically bitch and ring a bell in your maidservant’s general direction to get her to change the channel. Seriously. Times were hard. But now, since television is less of a hassle to watch and has gone on to invade every single possible fucking aspect of our lives, up to and including the most sacred of holidays, here is our list. Do take take note that we’ve only included what we, as horror writers, enjoy. You will find very little in the way of warm fuzziness here. Yeah, baby. Let’s get on with this. We’ll mark our favorites with a star. Like this* And we will bold it, too. Like this. Except it will be italicized. Like this.


SUPERNATURAL (Netflix Streaming)

*A Very Supernatural Christmas (Season 3, Episode 8)

(This episode is contains pure horror satisfaction – and a lot of blood)


THE X-FILES  (Netflix Streaming)

*How the Ghosts Stole Christmas, Season 6 Episode 6

(A modern classic.)

Family Guy

FAMILY GUY (Netflix Streaming)

A Very Special Family Guy Freakin’ Christmas

*Road to the North Pole

Jesus, Mary & Joseph

Christmas Guy



Amends: Season 3, Episode 10 Amends (15 Dec. 1998)


SOUTH PARK (Available Free on-line)
*Mr. Hankey, the Christmas Poo

It’s Christmas in Canada

Starvin Marvin in Space

Red Sleigh Down

Woodland Critter Christmas Season

Mr. Hankey’s Christmas Classics

Merry Christmas Charlie Manson

A Very Crappy Christmas Season


BOB’S BURGERS (Netflix Streaming)

God Rest Ye Merry Gentle-Mannequins

Christmas in the Car

Bob’s Burgers: Father of the Bob


AMERICAN DAD (Netflix Streaming)

The Best Christmas Story Never Told

The Most Adequate Christmas Ever

Rapture’s Delight

For Whom the Sleigh Bell Tolls

American Dad!: Season’s Beatings

*Minstrel Krampus

The Polarizing Express (2010)


Eureka (Netflix Streaming)

*O Little Town

*Do You See What I See?


Warehouse 13 (Netflix Streaming)

*Seasons of Belief

*The Yattering and Jack



Let Your Hair Down

Twelve Days of Krampus

The Grimm Who Stole Christmas



Seasons of Belief

The Yattering and Jack


THE COSBY SHOW (pure horror!)

Getting to Know You

Clair’s Place


Darkness Never Dies…

Ravencrest Manor has always been part of the family. The ancestral home of the Mannings, Ravencrest’s walls have been witness to generations of unimaginable scandal, horror, and depravity. Imported stone by stone from England to northern California over a thirty-year period in the 1800s, the manor now houses widower Eric Manning, his children, and his staff. Ravencrest stands alone, holding its memories and ghosts close to its dark heart, casting long, black shadows across its grand lawns, through the surrounding forests, and over the picturesque town of Devilswood below.

Dare to Cross the Threshold…

Ravencrest Manor is the most beautiful thing new governess, Belinda Moorland, has ever seen, but as she learns more about its tangled past of romance and terror, she realizes that beauty has a dark side. Ravencrest is built on secrets, and its inhabitants seem to be keeping plenty of their own – from the handsome English butler, Grant Phister, to the power-mad administrator, Mrs. Heller, to Eric Manning himself, who watches her with dark, fathomless eyes. But Belinda soon realizes that the living who dwell in Ravencrest have nothing on the other inhabitants – the ones who walk the darkened halls by night… the ones who enter her dreams… the ones who are watching… and waiting…

Home is Where the Horror is…

Welcome to Ravencrest, magnificent by day, terrifying by night.
Welcome to Ravencrest, home of sordid secrets and ghastly scandals from the past.
Welcome to Ravencrest, where there is no line between the living and the dead.

The Ghosts of Ravencrest: Darker Shadows is available now at Amazon.


To learn more, visit us at our websites at: and

You can also follow us on Twitter at: @thornecross