Posts Tagged ‘fiction writing tips’



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!