Posts Tagged ‘writing’

We had a ball, as always, with our dear friend, Jay Bonansinga, over at Thorne & Cross: Haunted Nights LIVE! last night. We talked writing, Victorian horror, Rin-Tin-Tin, and of course, The Walking Dead. If you missed it, listen anytime over at SoundCloud.

(Oh, and, just for shits and giggles, here’s John Cleese, giving a recap of THE WALKING DEAD)

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Jay Bonansinga’s work has been translated into 11 different languages, and his 2004 non-fiction debut THE SINKING OF THE EASTLAND was a Chicago Reader “Critics Choice Book” as well as the recipient of a Superior Achievement Award from the Illinois State Historical Society. His debut novel THE BLACK MARIAH was a finalist for a Bram Stoker award, and his numerous short tales and articles have been published in such magazines as THE WRITER, AMAZING STORIES, GRUE, FLESH & BLOOD, OUTRE and CEMETERY DANCE, as well as a number of anthologies.

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Jay also proudly wears the hat of indie filmmaker: his music videos have been seen on The Nashville Network and Public Television, and his short film CITY OF MEN was awarded the prestigious silver plaque at the Chicago International Film Festival. In 2008, his feature-film debut, STASH (based on his short story of the same title collected in CANDY IN THE DUMPSTER), won the Gold Remi at the Houston International Film Festival and Best Comedy at the Iowa City and Queens International film festivals.

Join the Thorne & Cross newsletter for updates, book deals, specials, exclusives, and upcoming guests on Thorne & Cross: Haunted Nights LIVE! by visiting Tamara and Alistair at their websites: alistaircross.com and tamarathorne.com

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Thorne & Cross: Haunted Nights LIVE! is a copyrighted, trademarked podcast owned solely by the Authors on the Air Global Radio, LLC.

 

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We had a blast talking murder, mayhem, corpses, and crime with Forensics expert and author D.P. Lyle. Lots of good information for writers, readers, and anyone interested in real-life horror! Listen in anytime at: ttps://tinyurl.com/ycn2c9nq

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DP Lyle, MD is the Amazon #1 Bestselling; Macavity and Benjamin Franklin Silver Award winning; and Edgar (2), Shamus, Agatha, Anthony, Scribe, USA Today Best Book Award (2), and Foreward INDIES Book of the Year nominated author of many non-fiction books as well as numerous works of fiction, including the SAMANTHA CODY, DUB WALKER, and JAKE LONGLY thriller series and the ROYAL PAINS media tie-in novels. His essay on Jules Verne’s THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND appears in THRILLERS: 100 MUST READS and his short story “Even Steven” in ITW’s anthology THRILLER 3: LOVE IS MURDER. He served as Editor for the Southern California Writers Association’s short story anthology, IT’S ALL IN THE STORY as well as contributing the story “Splash.” His short story “Bottom Line” appears in th Sherlock Holmes inspired anthology FOR THE SAKE OF THE GAME.

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He has worked with many novelists and with the writers of popular television shows such as Law & Order, CSI: Miami, Diagnosis Murder, Monk, Judging Amy, Peacemakers, Cold Case, House, Medium, Women’s Murder Club, 1-800-Missing, The Glades, and Pretty Little Liars.

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He was born and raised in Huntsville, Alabama where his childhood interests revolved around football, baseball, and building rockets in his backyard. The latter pursuit was common in Huntsville during the 1950’s and 60’s due to the nearby NASA/Marshall Space Flight Center.

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After leaving Huntsville, he attended college, medical school, and served an internship at the University of Alabama; followed by a residency in Internal Medicine at the University of Texas at Houston; then a Fellowship in Cardiology at The Texas Heart Institute, also in Houston. For the past 40 years, he has practiced Cardiology in Orange County, California.

Join the Thorne & Cross newsletter for updates, book deals, specials, exclusives, and upcoming guests on Thorne & Cross: Haunted Nights LIVE! or visit Tamara and Alistair at their websites.

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Thorne & Cross: Haunted Nights LIVE! is a copyrighted, trademarked podcast owned solely by the Authors on the Air Global Radio.

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RICHARD CHRISTIAN MATHESON is an acclaimed bestselling author and screenwriter/executive producer for television and film. He has worked with Steven Spielberg, Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Bryan Singer and many others on Emmy winning miniseries, feature films and hit series. His critically-hailed, dark psychological fiction has appeared in 125 major anthologies including many YEARS’ BEST volumes. 60 stories are collected in “SCARS AND OTHER DISTINGUISHING MARKS”  and the #1 Bestseller “DYSTOPIA”.  Matheson’s terror novel “CREATED BY” is a scathing glimpse of network television and his mystery novella “THE RITUAL OF ILLUSION”   is a sinister love letter to the movies. He is president of MATHESON ENTERTAINMENT.

Listen in this Thursday at 8 pm EST at: https://tinyurl.com/y9o7mh8c 

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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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?

We’ve gotten so busy writing books that we’ve decided to combine our Facebook presence in order to let you know about our upcoming books – and give you insights into our older ones, our thoughts on writing, and our radio show, Thorne & Cross: Haunted Nights LIVE! We’ll also share a little humor – heavy on cats, no doubt. Our personal pages will remain but we’ll spend most of our time there!

Our new page! Give us a like at
https://www.facebook.com/thorneandcross/?fref=ts

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Today, at 7 – 8 pm EST, Tamara Thorne​ and I will be chatting about our upcoming book, MOTHER, on Facebook at The Edge of Madness Release Party.
Just go to this page, join the event, and come hang out with us from 7 – 8 pm EST, where we’ll be discussing writing, books, and anything you’d like to know!

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Welcome to Ménage au Talk. We’ve invited Walking Dead author Jay Bonansinga to join us in a three-way discussion about writing, horror, and what inspires us.  First up, we talk about why we write and some of the things that influenced us in our earliest years – things that fascinated, frightened, and gave us the nightmares that brought us to where we are today. Whether you’re a reader, a writer, a Walking Dead fan, or all three, we hope you’ll enjoy our continuing chat.  

What made you want to be a writer?

jay_bonansinga_lrg Jay Bonansinga:

Rod Serling and Cruella De Vil, basically.  I remember vividly being six years old and in the front seat of my grandpa’s ’56 Chevy, and I’m sandwiched between my grandma and grandpa, and innocently watching the original Disney film 101 Dalmations.  And then… and then… this limousine that’s like a block and a half long pulls on screen, and out steps this Freudian nightmare mother from hell with long, black talon-like fingernails, a white fright wig hairstyle, and a fur stole made of puppy skins!!!!!  I jumped into the back seat and covered my eyes, and somehow, even then, in my little childlike way, I kept saying to myself, “Never again.”  But I think I was really saying, “Never again will I put myself in this position.  I want to be the one who scares people.”  And when I first laid eyes on Rod Serling, I wanted to look like him, dress like him, BE him.  I wanted to dress in a black sharkskin jacket with thin lapels and smoke and have Kennedy-esque hair swept back, and introduce scary stories.

oB0EQQAu Tamara Thorne:

I remember that long black limo, too. Truly a scary moment. What I loved though, was sprawling on the living room floor to watch Twilight Zone, Outer Limits, and One Step Beyond. Beyond was my favorite because the stories were supposed to be true. I loved those shows. Then, around first grade, I discovered Ray Bradbury. I was drawn into his words – his prose is poetry – and compelled to write my own, to practice creating spooky places like the ravine in Greentown, Illinois. His stories, The Lake and The Man Upstairs fascinated and repelled and compelled me. And gave me nightmares. A story titled The Thing in the Cellar by David H. Kellar, was what made me keep the lights burning. In its way that single story was as much an inspiration to write as Bradbury and Serling. My other influence was The Ghost and Mr. Chicken. I remember seeing it in the theater and being scared and laughing simultaneously. I spent my very early years singing The Beatles’ Paperback Writer. I don’t ever remember wanting to be anything else.

us Alistair Cross:

There were two main contributors for me. I too, was first introduced to horror through Disney when I went to see Snow White and the Seven Dwarves at the drive-in around six years old. The dwarves and Snow White herself made no real impression on me, but when the evil queen was on screen, I was rooted in place. I vividly remember the moment she drinks the potion and begins her transformation into the hag. I was riveted, watching in fascinated horror as the aging process took something beautiful and made it terrifying in a matter of seconds. That it happened against the backdrop of a storming sky and a shrill blast of frightening music only made it worse. That scene has never left me and even now, I see the echoes of it in my work. But I don’t remember thinking I wanted to write scary stories then. The first I-want-to-be-a-writer moment I had was a couple of years later, when I was eight. It was around Halloween and my teacher gave us an assignment I was very excited about: to write a scary story, which she would read aloud in front of the class. I wrote about a serial killer who also happened to be a ghost (two of my favorite subjects) and I was very proud of it. But when the time came for my story to be read, my pride turned to humiliation. My teacher stumbled over the words, squinted at the page, did a lot of eye-rolling and heavy sighing, then announced that my story was “stupid” and made no sense before tossing it aside half-read and moving on to the next. Chuckling and snickering rippled through the classroom. I was humiliated and hurt, but I was also angry – and I’ve been writing ever since.

oB0EQQAu Tamara Thorne:

So those are the things that made us all want to become writers. Next question: We were all drawn to dark fantasy by these early influences. But was there something that was simply TOO scary for you as a child? Something traumatizing?

For me it was Hush, Hush Sweet Charlotte. I wasn’t even in school yet when I saw – and loved – Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? so I remember settling in my seat in the theater thinking this movie would be fun. And it was, right up until that cleaver came down on Bruce Dern’s wrist. I slammed my hands over my eyes, traumatized in a way no ghost could ever manage. And my father yanked them off, whispering that I was being a coward. I tried to stare at my knees. He pushed my chin up. I spent the next 90 minutes or so with my eyelids clamped shut. And the next five years sleeping with my head under the covers and having nightmares about severed hands. I could have used a therapist, but instead, I found relief through writing about it, turning to stories about girls being torn apart by bears while camping and killers climbing in windows. I’d never written anything bloody before Charlotte.

Pre-Charlotte, when I was four or five, I happily watched The Hands of Orlac on my grandmother’s TV, all alone in the dark. Crawling hands were supernatural – hence, more fun than scary. People chopping hands off – that was another matter. I’ve always loved and been titillated and scared in a fun way by supernatural horror. What scared me then, as now, is what real-life people can do to each other.

us Alistair Cross:

War and war movies. Real-life stuff. That’s what truly scared me. My dad was a fan of M*A*S*H and I was so terrified by the idea of war that even hearing the show’s opening music from the television sent me into the other room where I’d spend long moments trying not to think of war. I don’t know why. I have no memory of anything happening that traumatized me this way, but that was the only terror that was too much for me.

oB0EQQAu Tamara Thorne:

I’ve always had recurring dreams of crawling through battlefields full of torn-apart bodies, but oddly, they’ve never scared me even though the dismemberment in Charlotte did me in. Isn’t it odd how we’re all affected slightly differently by these things?

us Alistair Cross:

It is odd. I’ve also had war-dreams, especially when I was young, and they always terrified me.

jay_bonansinga_lrg Jay Bonansinga:  

You are so right, Alistair – for children of the seventies, Vietnam was the pinnacle of scary (and somehow also tedious and mundane).  But when I think about it… Good Lord, what didn’t scare me?  When I was a kid, everything scared me.  I was like Woody Allen as a kid in Annie Hall.  The expanding universe scared me.  Anything vast and inscrutable horrified me.  Deep space.  The stuff they used to teach us in Catholic Sunday school — hell is the heat of a lighted match multiplied by a million.  The ocean freaked me out.  Dark basements.  Air travel.  Ski lifts.  The police.  Police stations.  The Ice Capades.  Clowns.  Mimes.  Summer camp.  Suspension bridges.  Dead bodies.  I could go on.  Being a lapsed Catholic, though, I think the biggest influence that scared me as a kid was the original William Peter Blatty/Bill Friedkin EXORCIST.  For my money, it is still the grand champion of scare films.  I remember a few years ago my teenage sons challenged me to show them an old school horror film that was truly scary (and has aged well).  After a few embarrassing screenings, I showed them THE EXORCIST.  They were riveted and petrified.  And these are videogame-saturated kids.  I think for Catholics, the whole demonology corner of the the store remains terrifying.  Go figure.

us Alistair Cross:

We always hear about how difficult it is to shake loose those Catholic moorings. And on that note, when our Ménage au Talk with Jay Bonansinga continues, we’ll start out by talking about religion, horror … and zombies.

(to be continued)

Jay Bonansinga is the New York Times bestselling author of The Walking Dead series as well as Lucid, and his latest release, Self-Storage. He is also an indie filmmaker and his music videos have been seen on The Nashville Network and Public Television. He holds a master’s degree in film from Columbia College Chicago.

Tamara Thorne is the internationally bestselling author of Haunted, Moonfall, Eternity, Candle Bay, and many others. Tamara’s interest in writing is lifelong, as is her fascination with the paranormal, occult, mythology and folklore.

Alistair Cross is the author of the bestselling novel, The Crimson Corset, as well as several others with his collaborator, Tamara Thorne. Alistair has been writing since the age of eight and was first published in 2012. His next solo novel will appear later this year.

Together, Thorne & Cross  have written The Cliffhouse Haunting, The Ghosts of Ravencrest, and the upcoming psychological thriller, Mother. They are also working on the second Ravencrest Saga novel, The Witches of Ravencrest. The first part of this serial novel, Grave Expectations, is now available on Amazon. They also host the horror/thriller-themed radio show, Thorne & Cross: Haunted Nights LIVE!, which has featured such guests as Laurell K. Hamilton, V.C. Andrews, and Charlaine Harris.