Posts Tagged ‘gothic romance’

On #sale for 0.99 Jan. 1st – Jan. 8th in #ebookhttp://tinyurl.com/jgasppc

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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 in the early 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 …

Welcome to Ravencrest …

Who is the man digging in the garden beyond Belinda’s bedroom window? Who – or what – is watching her from the vents? From ghostly screams and the clutching bony fingers of death in the indoor pool, to the trio of gliding nuns in the east wing who come at Belinda with black blazing eyes, to the beckoning little girl in the red dress who died more than two centuries ago, Belinda is thrust into a world of waking nightmares where there is no distinction between the living and the dead, and there are no limits to the horrors that await. Witchcraft is afoot at Ravencrest and as unspeakable terrors begin to unfold, Belinda realizes that her beautiful new home is a keeper of tragedy, a collector of souls. And it wants to add her to its collection …

“The Ghosts of Ravencrest delivers on every level. Delicate, creepy, detailed, and beautifully crafted, this reinvention of the gothic ghost story into a sexy, sleek modern chiller is a marvel of suspense and atmosphere. A knockout of a horror yarn!”

-Jay Bonansinga, the New York Times bestselling author of The Walking Dead: Invasion, Lucid, and Self Storage.

“Ghostly secrets abound. Tortured spirits wander the hallways. Star-crossed lovers walk the paths of time. Servants connive, and the heroine faces an uncertain future …Run, do not walk, to get The Ghosts of Ravencrest. Tamara Thorne and Alistair Cross take the reader on a delicious journey of twisted family secrets, troubled dreams, and barely-concealed passions. Wrap yourself in the silken robe of this story and escape to Ravencrest.”

— Sylvia Shults, author of Hunting Demons: A True Story of the Dark Side of the Supernatural

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WITCH DAYS, the 6th installment in THE WITCHES OF RAVENCREST serialized novel is on its way. If you haven’t been keeping up with ghoulish, ghastly, gothic goings-on at Ravencrest, here’s a little bit about the previous installments.

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Installment #1: GRAVE EXPECTATIONS

Available at: http://tinyurl.com/h2cux28

After confronting the evil lurking in the east wing of Ravencrest Manor, butler Grant Phister realizes governess Belinda Moorland’s talents may be the key to undoing centuries of bloodshed and evil. Taking her under his wing, he begins teaching her the ways of her power – but is she strong enough to break the curse that has plagued the Manning family for centuries – the curse that keeps her handsome employer, Eric Manning, just beyond her reach?

Meanwhile, strange things are happening at Ravencrest. A furious entity is breaking things in the parlor, the scarecrow has gone missing, and the creature in the vent is tormented by a ravenous new hunger. The very earth is alive – with an insatiable appetite for blood.

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Installment #2: DEAD OF THE NIGHT

Available at: http://tinyurl.com/gqxel5l

Though stately in its beauty, Ravencrest’s past is savage – and it’s more restless now than ever. A late-night walk by candlelight through the lavish manor’s long and haunted halls reveals deadly secrets that have waited centuries to be freed, and when one of the spectral residents points governess Belinda Moorland on a path of murder and destruction, she realizes she has yet to glimpse the depths of the gothic estate’s true darkness.

As tortured spirits roam the corridors in search of restitution, and unearthly creatures stalk the grounds for fresh blood, Belinda – with the help of butler Grant Phister – must put her recently-discovered talents to good use and begin a dangerous journey to lay the manor’s many ghosts to rest. That is, assuming her enemies – both living and dead – won’t put a stop to her plans first.

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Installment #3: THE DARK HEART

Available at: http://tinyurl.com/z3cyuhm

The dead have begun to rise at Ravencrest Manor and governess Belinda Moorland, along with friend and mentor, Grant Phister, must move quickly if they want to protect the living. When a defiled corpse is discovered on the beach, Grant realizes that the only way to restrain the evil saturating Ravencrest’s grounds is to contact a man who may have the answers – a man who happens to have been dead for centuries.

What they learn sheds some light … but also brings new shadows, and Grant and Belinda realize that the darkness at Ravencrest goes deeper and blacker than either of them knew. And at the center of that blackness is The Dark Heart … which may be at the very root of Ravencrest’s hauntings. But knowing this is just the beginning of a long and dangerous journey.

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Installment #4: THE ROMERUS CONJURY

Available at: http://tinyurl.com/hjtnuvz

The terror at Ravencrest Manor has spread its wings, reaching into the quaint town of Devilswood below, where the unsuspecting locals have become easy prey for the unearthly predators born within the manor’s haunted walls. Butler Grant Phister sets out on a dangerous journey to collect the rare, arcane items needed to cast an age-old spell that will stop the flesh-seeking creatures dead in their tracks. But time is of the essence, and when night falls, the undead will stake their claims, infecting the townspeople until death has full dominion.

Meanwhile, at the manor, governess Belinda Moorland is faced with horrors of her own. Stalked by the ghost of Rebecca Dane, decapitated more than two centuries ago, Belinda realizes there may be more to the dead woman’s motives than inciting nightmares and terror. When Belinda’s handsome employer, Eric Manning, confesses to several encounters with the ghost, it becomes clear that Rebecca Dane will stop at nothing to get what she wants. But does she want to help them? Or destroy them?

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Installment #5: BEDEVILED

Available at: http://tinyurl.com/jm3szmn

Tensions are high and tempers are hot as the Ravencrest household prepares for Witch Days, an annual celebration observing the founding of Devilswood. After the centuries-old spirit of Ravencrest’s former mistress, Rebecca Dane, finally reveals the reasons she’s been haunting current-day governess, Belinda Moorland, life – and death – at Ravencrest will never be the same.

And keep an eye for WITCH DAYS, the next installment. To hear about new Ravencrest installments (and other Thorne & Cross news) sign up for our monthly newsletter. 

If you’re new to Ravencrest, check out the first novel, THE GHOSTS OF RAVENCREST.

 

 

To celebrate the release of The Romerus Conjury, the 4th installment of The Witches of Ravencrestwe’ve put it’s predecessor, The Ghosts of Ravencrest, on sale for just .99. You can get both The Romerus Conjury and the full-length novel of The Ghosts of Ravencrestat Amazon.

In The Romerus Conjury, the hammer has come down at Ravencrest Manor. Evil has spread its wings, casting its black shadow on the town of Devilswood below, infecting the unknowing locals with a viscous corruption that will turn the entire community into a writhing, not-quite-living hell. At the manor itself, governess Belinda Moorland is stalked by former housemistress, Rebecca Dane … who was brutally murdered and decapitated over two centuries ago. And Belinda’s not the only one the phantom woman has set her dead, staring eyes on …

Here’s an excerpt from The Romerus Conjury, available now at Amazon:

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Kiss of the Dead

Eric Manning slept fitfully, locked in a nightmare.

He walked down one of Ravencrest’s endless corridors in search of something – or someone – and although he wasn’t sure what he was looking for, he knew it was imperative that he find it. Passing the closed doors looming along the hall, he noticed that the wall sconces flickered, many of them dying, as he passed them. He became aware of something in his hand. He didn’t know what it was and didn’t want to look, fearful of what he might find.

He turned down another corridor. This one went on as far as the eye could see. This is the right one. As he went deeper, he grew very hot and began sweating. The hall went on and on and soon, there were no doors – just an endless expanse that would lead him to … to what? He didn’t know, but he had to get there.

The thing in his hand became heavy and he felt the pull of it in his shoulder. Ignoring the pain, he walked on, his heart pounding harder, the feeling of being very alone and very lost closing in upon him.

“Eric …” The woman’s voice came from behind. He didn’t look back, he had to keep moving. His bare feet slapped the hard floor as he broke into a jog.

“Eric … Wait …”

No, he thought. Keep going. Keep going. Sweat ran in rivulets down the sides of his face, down his bare chest and abdomen.

“Eric …”

He ignored the voice. I have to get away. I have to get out! Turning a corner, he slammed into a brick wall. “No!” His scream echoed endlessly. “No, no, no!” He raised his fists to beat on the wall and that’s when he saw what he held in his hand.

It was a head. A woman’s head. Rebecca Dane’s mouth smiled up at him.

He tried to fling it away, but her hair had wrapped itself around his hand, through his fingers, over his wrist, tethering itself to him.

“Eric …”

He spun and saw the woman who called his name.

Rebecca Dane’s headless body approached, arms out, blood pumping like a fountain from her neck stump, staining her white dress. But the voice wasn’t coming from the body – it couldn’t be. It was coming from the head in his hand.

The body, bright and clear in the darkness, glided toward him, its feet an inch above the floor.

He was trapped. There was nowhere to go. He tried to scream, but his voice had gone missing. He felt her cold fingers on his bare arm. Her other hand unraveled the thick blond hair from around his wrist.

Eric watched, frozen in horror, as Rebecca Dane fitted her head back onto her body. The fountain of blood ceased to flow, and slowly, her face began to change. The cheeks turned pink. The bloodless lips went crimson. The dark glazed eyes blinked.

And suddenly, he was staring into the face of Belinda Moorland. Rebecca Dane was gone.

Belinda undid the ties at the neck of her dressing gown. The garment fell open and Eric stared at her bare breasts – petite, upturned, and tipped in rose-petal pink.  

“Eric.” She placed one hand at the back of his neck while the other played feathery designs down his bare arm. “Eric,” she whispered. “I want you.”

She pulled his face to hers, her lips touching his.

The kiss was gentle at first, chaste, and Eric relished the softness of her lips. Then came the warmth of her tongue. He’d wanted this for so long. He let his hands roam her body, memorizing her contours. Then the kiss deepened, becoming rough, passionate … savage.

Under Eric’s probing hands, her skin felt sleek, velvet-smooth, tight. Rigid with need, he pressed himself against her body. Her warm tongue tasted of sweet things – honey and ecstasy – as it explored his mouth, dancing, teasing his teeth with little stabs. He inhaled her breath, her scent, taking all of her into him, wanting more. And wanting to be inside her. He cupped her breast, squeezed it, and pressed his erection hard against her.

Slowly, the sensations began to change. Her tongue went leathery, dry, and its sweet taste turned bitter, redolent of blood and things long dead.

She moaned and the scent of death filled his mouth, his lungs. Under his touch, her skin went cold and rubbery.

He panicked, broke the kiss, and shoved her away.

Her head toppled from her body. Both dropped at his feet.

“No!” He looked down, stepping away from the cold, black pooling blood. The decapitated head was no longer Belinda’s; it belonged to Rebecca Dane. The eyes went wide with horror. Threads of wet gore hung from her neck. The blue lips pulled back into a scream – a shriek so high, so piercing, so filled with terror and madness, that it rang out like a siren.

Eric Manning jerked awake, sweat-soaked sheets twisted around his body, a scream lodged in the back of his throat. His breath came hard and rasping, and it took him several moments to realize he’d been dreaming. He turned on the light and rubbed his eyes.

The nightmare of Rebecca Dane hadn’t plagued him since he was sixteen, four years after the night he wandered into her art studio in the east wing and saw her ghost. He rose and went to his shower, taking it cold, trying to erase the nightmare. Why is it back now? And why was Belinda there?

GRAVE EXPECTATIONS, episode 1 of THE WITCHES OF RAVENCREST is now available!! Just click the book below to buy!

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A New Day Has Dawned
After confronting the evil lurking in the east wing of Ravencrest Manor, butler Grant Phister realizes governess Belinda Moorland’s talents may be the key to undoing centuries of bloodshed and evil. Taking her under his wing, he begins teaching her the ways of her power – but is she strong enough to break the curse that has plagued the Manning family for centuries – the curse that keeps her handsome employer, Eric Manning, just beyond her reach?

A New Power Has Awakened
Meanwhile, strange things are happening at Ravencrest. A furious entity is breaking things in the parlor, the scarecrow has gone missing, and the creature in the vent is tormented by a ravenous new hunger. The very earth is alive – with an insatiable appetite for blood.

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Praise for The Ghosts of Ravencrest, Book One in The Ravencrest Saga

“The Ghosts of Ravencrest delivers on every level. Delicate, creepy, detailed, and beautifully crafted, this reinvention of the gothic ghost story into a sexy, sleek modern chiller is a marvel of suspense and atmosphere. A knockout of a horror yarn!”

-Jay Bonansinga, the New York Times bestselling author of The Walking Dead: Invasion, Lucid, and Self Storage.

“Ghostly secrets abound. Tortured spirits wander the hallways. Star-crossed lovers walk the paths of time. Servants connive, and the heroine faces an uncertain future …Run, do not walk, to get The Ghosts of Ravencrest. Tamara Thorne and Alistair Cross take the reader on a delicious journey of twisted family secrets, troubled dreams, and barely-concealed passions. Wrap yourself in the silken robe of this story and escape to Ravencrest.”

-Sylvia Shults, author of Hunting Demons: A True Story of the Dark Side of the Supernatural

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“The Ghosts of Ravencrest: Christmas Spirits is riveting. The characters are wonderful, the subplots are perfect, and the setting is stunning and well-researched. This series is like a roller coaster that goes up and up – the Mannings are literary gold.”

-QL Pearce, bestselling author of over 100 books, inlcuding the Scary Stories for Sleep-Overs series and film tie-in books for the Fox animated film Titan AE and the Universal animated series Land Before Time.

Christmas Spirits is available now on AMAZON.

Both of us have always set our stories in contemporary times – as with Quantum Leap, we’ve kept everything within our own lifetimes. But with our Christmas installment of The Ghosts of Ravencrest, we are traveling all the way back to the winter of 1788 to visit the Frost Fair on the Thames.  And, oh, what a chunk of research we’ve bitten off.

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We began by researching 1788 Christmas traditions and discovered the Frost Fair. We absolutely had to write about that, so we dug and dug. And dug some more. Then we researched how the landed gentry celebrated Christmas and that required an even bigger shovel.

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Finally, we thought we were ready to write. We got about a sentence into the story  – and realized we didn’t know what little children called their parents in those days. We found out. Then we needed to know what married couples called each other – oh, what a can of worms that opened.

Our story is set in one of England’s coldest winters and we realized we needed to find out how people kept their hands warm at the fair. The answer is muffs. Men women, and children had gloves and muffs. We mention this only because every time we write anything about people slipping their hands into muffs, we crack up… And now, we’ll carry on.

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The questions stop us every other sentence. Besides muffs… What did gentry wear in the cold before there was Gore-Tex?  How did women pee in those dresses? Did they wear underwear? (NO! But they did put their hands in their muffs!)

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But to the point, the first time a character used a profanity, we found ourselves researching once more – and, because we’re writers, we want to tell you all about archaic English profanity today. Here are our favorite 13 words, used in sentences, as presented on the November 13 episode of Thorne & Cross: Haunted Nights LIVE!

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13 – Our 13th favorite Archaic English slang term is Gotch-Gutted, which means pot-bellied. Used in a sentence, it might sound something like this: “That Gotch-gutted son of a bitch stole my powdered wig!”

12 – Bacon-Fed, which means fat and greasy! A lot like gotch-gutted. “That pusillanimous powder-headed bacon-fed magistrate spilled goose grease all over my breeches and doesn’t give a fig.”

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11Public Ledger, which was a common term for a prostitute. “Pass me the public ledger, James, I need to make a deposit!”

10 Scald which meant venereal disease. “God’s Teeth, James, I do believe I’ve been scalded by the public ledger!”

9 – our 9th favorite slang term is related to scald.  It’s Sauce, another term for VD. “I got the sauce from James, who picked it up from the public ledger who soiled my fantastic powdered wig!”

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8 – Captain Grand, which refers to a haughty, blustering man. “He thinks he’s Captain Grand,” Master Sulu whispered to the Scotsman as James Tiberius Kirk strutted into the room.

7 –  Saddle the Wrong Horse. This term meant you had blamed the wrong person for something. “When my powdered wig was stolen, I saddled the wrong horse when I blamed the public ledger.”

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6 – Wamble; an unhappy tummy. As in “Watching the public ledger soil the beadle’s powdered wig made my stomach a bit wambly.”

5 Married to Brown Bess.  This referred to someone who was enlisted in the army. “I’d totally marry Brown Bess if they’d let me wear my powdered wig on the battlefield.”

4 – Squirrel Hunting, which meant looking to buy a working lady’s favors. “I left the pub to go squirrel hunting and could only afford one with a ragged gray tail.”

3 – is a term that means to make much ado about nothing. In those days, they called this making a Great Harvest of Little Corn. “When I found my powdered wig on the mannequin head where I left it, I realized I’d made great harvest of little corn and owed the public ledger an apology.

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2 – Flay the Fox;  to vomit. “I was so excited I flayed the fox into my powdered wig!”

1 – Our number 1 favorite term refers to someone who can’t keep a secret. “By God’s Toes, James, why did you tell my mother I once watched her bathe? I Cannot Trust Your Ass With a Fart!”

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Getting your research right is always important, no matter what century your story is set in. In The Ghosts of Ravencrest, in addition to contemporary times, we will be visiting various eras in Old England and covering America from the 1800s on. In coming Writing with T&A blogs, we’ll cover more about researching the past, including everything from clothing, taboos, manners to how to insert real historical figures (like Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart or Marie Antoinette) and events into your work.  We hope you’ll join us.

Be sure to check out tonight’s podcast at Thorne & Cross: Haunted Nights LIVE! where we interviewed horror author, Michael Aronovitz.

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It was a carnival on the ice. From skating and sledding, to bear-baiting and puppet plays; from horse and coach races to gaming, gambling and lustier pleasures, there was something for everyone. Children went on donkey rides and men could have business cards made by printers who dragged their presses out onto the ice among the shop-tents that lined the frozen river. It was so cold that tree trunks split and merchants kept warm by lighting fires in their tents. It was the Frost Fair of 1788 on the Thames River in London, and it is where you will meet several of the ghosts of Ravencrest… in the flesh.

With the release of the omnibus edition of The Ghosts of Ravencrest: Darker Shadows just before Halloween, we realized that All Hallows’ Eve isn’t the only time rife with ghosts. Christmas is absolutely lousy with spirits, the most famous being Dickens’ Ghosts of Christmases Past, Present, and Future.

It’s no wonder, really. Christmas arrives in the dead of winter, as the old year is about die. It’s a single bright spot in a frozen wasteland. Nature sleeps. Plants and trees have lost their leaves and we value evergreens as signs of life and hope that once again, the earth will be reborn. There’s no green grass, nor wheat in the field. The days are short, the nights, long. By morning, hearths grow dark and cold, as do souls.

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Christmas, in all its gaiety, with its songs and bright ornaments and feasts; with its candles and good cheer, is a light in the darkness. It tells us to have hope; it reminds us we are alive. But in the dead of winter, it does not totally assuage the fear that spring will not come, that plants will not resurrect.

In old England, Father Christmas came to visit and festivities went on for twelve days, culminating in January with Twelfth Night, where the Lord of Misrule reigned and sometimes servants traded places with gentry. The parties went on and on, lest winter invade and remind everyone that this is the true season of death. It had to be gotten through with as little loss as possible; it was too cold to dig graves so bodies were stacked, frozen, awaiting the spring thaw.  You did not want to die, so you celerated life with the force of Christmas and Twelfth Night.

No celebration could quite wipe away the fear of winter. The fear of death. People gathered around fireplaces to tell the stories of the ghosts walking the halls and moors, always aware that they might one day walk with them.

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In Ravencrest Manor, ghosts stories were whispered, often fearfully, because in 1788, the mansion was 300 years old and already held more than its share of lost souls. In the next special installment of The Ghosts of Ravencrest: A Ravencrest Christmas, you’ll come face to face with people you’ve already met as spirits, and you’ll discover clues to the mystery that is growing around Ravencrest’s new governess, Belinda Moorland.

A Ravencrest Christmas will be available in early December. Meanwhile, the third installment of our tale, The Ghosts of Ravencrest: Darker Shadows, is available at Amazon. This is an omnibus edition that also includes the first two installments, The New Governess and Awakening as well as the previously unreleased third installment, Darker Shadows, for the special low price of $2.99.

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