A June Overview – Thorne & Cross: Haunted Nights LIVE!


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June was a star-studded month over at Thorne & Cross: Haunted Nights LIVE! Give these interviews a listen, and stay tuned for more exciting conversation with the authors we have coming in July!

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Christopher Rice, author of Snow Garden and The Vines joins Thorne & Cross: Haunted Nights LIVE! – June 4th, 2015

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Julie Hutchings, author of Running Home and Running Away joins Thorne & Cross: Haunted Nights LIVE! – June 11th, 2015

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Michaelbrent Collings, author of Crime Seen and Twisted joins Thorne & Cross: Haunted Nights LIVE! June 18th, 2015

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Laurell K. Hamilton, author of the Anita Blake Vampire Hunter series joins Thorne & Cross: Haunted Nights LIVE! – June 25th, 2015

Visit us at our websites at:

Tamarathorne.com

&

Alistaircross.com

Writing with T & A: Two Heads Are Better Than One


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We’re nearly finished with the first volume of The Ghosts of Ravencrest and are already planning the next. We love Ravencrest because it allows us to stay current or to hop into history. Every lord of Ravencrest and his family has a story that plays into the tale of its current master, Eric Manning. Finding out what those stories are, what made his ancestors tick – and how this history affects our modern-day governess, Belinda Moorland – has become a game of literary Hide-and-Seek for us.

We couldn’t write these stories without shifting points of view.

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Experiential differentiation is our thing. Imagine a red rose. To a young woman in love it reminds her of the bouquet she received last Valentine’s Day. It may bring a smile to a murderer’s lips because it reminds him of his last victim’s blood. If you’re writing an historical, an early Christian character may see the rose as a symbol of the wounds of Christ, or the blood of martyrs.

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To a man with allergies, the rose is a hated bringer of sneezing, watery eyes and stuffed sinuses. To a jilted woman, it inspires fury because it reminds her of the man who left her at the altar. Someone else might avoid the rose because they dread the painful thorns. For a widower, it reignites great sorrow over the loss of his beloved wife who used to tend their garden. It makes him weep, so he tears the roses out. Or shoots himself among them to join her. But to the professional gardener, a rose might symbolize prosperity because where there are roses, there’s work.

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And it doesn’t end with roses. To one little boy, a baseball bat might represent play and joy while inspiring dread and embarrassment in a less athletic child. To a grown man, it brings nostalgia, and to an abused housewife, abject terror. The rose may squirt water on an annoying mother-in-law, or a threatening bat might be foam rubber, turning tragedy to comedy.

In a mystery novel, knowing the differences in suspects’ feelings lends the detective more clues about the criminal. In a story of survival, individual knowledge about something most perceive as ordinary, may save a life.

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Considering that such innocuous objects as a rose or baseball bat can inspire so many emotions, we’re like kids in a candy store when it comes to exploring the loves and fears, the prejudices and motives, of our characters. We want to find out what the baseball bats and roses mean to each character. And this is why we prefer the third person point of view.

We enjoy taking on viewpoints that are new to us. One of the most difficult things to do is to come from a point of view you don’t yet understand and when you attempt this, you either fall on your face or grow. For Tamara, the Prophet Sinclair in Thunder Road was a true growth experience. She saw him as a sleazy evangelist using his good looks and persuasive voice to grab money and bed women. But Sinclair insisted on growing and did something so foreign to Tamara’s own nature that to this day, she’s blown away.

For Alistair, coming from the perspective of Gretchen VanTreese in his upcoming novel, The Crimson Corset, was a major stretch, too. He had to learn to view the world through the eyes of a woman who uses sex (much of it creepy), manipulation, and murder to attain her objectives.

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As confirmed character writers, we like rummaging around in different psyches, and as readers we prefer third person narratives for the same reason. That being said, a few of our favorite books have been written in the first person, leading us to believe that, when done well, this is a powerful and effective approach to storytelling… if that’s your preference.

It’s a matter of writing what you love, and we love multiple points of view. We’ve both written in the first person and found ourselves bored and switching to third.

In fact, when we began The Ghosts of Ravencrest, our initial intention was to stick to Belinda Moorland’s point of view, but immediately found ourselves itching to get into the heads of Mrs. Heller, Grant Phister, Eric Manning, and all the other characters we found so fascinating. If we’d maintained our original plan, we’d have grown tired of Ravencrest after one volume, but as it is, we have countless storylines to explore and we can’t wait to dig deeper into the myriad characters, both contemporary and historical, living and dead, who roam the halls of Ravencrest Manor.

Thorne & Cross: Haunted Nights LIVE!: Upcoming Guests


Just a teaser on the upcoming guests we have coming to Thorne & Cross: Haunted Nights LIVE!
To see the full guest list, go here: http://alistaircross.com/Guests and be sure to give our Facebook page a like.

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Laurell K. Hamilton, author of the Anita Blake Vampire Hunter series – June 25th, 2015

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Jeff Lindsay, author of the DEXTER series – July, 2015

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Charlaine Harris, author of the Southern Vampire series and basis of the HBO series, TRUE BLOOD – August 6th, 2015

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Christopher Moore, New York Times bestseller – August 20th, 2015

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Michael Slade, author – November 19th, 2015

At Thorne & Cross: Haunted Nights LIVE! horror authors Tamara Thorne and Alistair Cross talk all things horror with the biggest names in the business. From fiction writers and paranormal investigators to haunted spots and true ghost stories supplied by listeners, Haunted Nights LIVE! features fact, fiction, and that indiscernible gray area in between, so polish your fangs, sharpen your claws, and come take a bite out of the dark side at Thorne & Cross: Haunted Nights LIVE!

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CONFIRMED: Jeff Lindsay to join Thorne & Cross: Haunted Nights LIVE!


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Jeff Lindsay, the author of the bestselling DEXTER series, has been confirmed as a guest on Thorne & Cross: Haunted Nights LIVE! Following the debut of DARKLY DREAMING DEXTER, the wildly popular television series began, and in July, we’ll be talking to the man behind the magic and the murder.

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For more updates on great guests, follow us on Twitter at @thornecross, or give our Facebook page a like. To see our full guest list, visit the guest page on our websites at tamarathorne.com and alistaircross.com

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The 8th Installment of The Ghosts of Ravencrest is Underway


The 8th installment of The Ghosts of Ravencrest is coming …

“The Ghosts of Ravencrest 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 Scary Stories for Sleep-Overs

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DARKER SHADOWS (includes the first 3 installments)

CHRISTMAS SPIRITS (4th installment, and standalone historical novella)

NIGHT MOVES (5th installment)

DEAD GIRLS (6th installment)

DANSE MACABRE (7th installment)

Vampires on the Brain


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Chelsea Quinn Yarbro’s Count Saint-Germain. Charlaine Harris’ Southern Vampires Mysteries. Laurell K. Hamilton’s vampires in the Anita Blake series. Anne Rice’s Lestat, and of course Bram Stoker’s Dracula. These iconic vampires inspire us all.

After Chelsea Quinn Yarbro’s April 23rd visit to Thorne & Cross: Haunted Nights LIVE! we got to thinking about all the different types of vampires that are lurking out there. This week, on June 23rd, we will be talking to Laurell K. Hamilton about her vampires’ foibles and how they differ from Yarbro’s and Stoker’s, and when Charlaine Harris visits on August 6th, we’re looking forward to getting her take on vampiric habits, as well.

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Today’s vampires are the descendants of a long literary history and as writers in the horror genre, we wanted to brush-up on our vampiric knowledge. We were continually surprised, perplexed, and in some cases, annoyed by the ever-evolving vampire archetype. In our travels, we’ve come across some of the most fascinating vampires out there. There’s too much information to include here, so we’ve decided to see what some of the most popular modern vampires do and do not have in common.

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The first European vampires were simply fanged ghouls, bloody and corpse-y, with ruddy dark complexions. Sometimes they cast reflections and shadows, sometimes not. They were frightening but lacked sex appeal. In modern fiction, John Polidori’s The Vampyre (1819) paved the way for sex appeal. His vampire was fangless, sexually attractive and young.

In 1845, Malcolm Ryder introduced us to Varney the Vampire via the penny dreadfuls he published for two years. Varney’s look was hideous, white and bloodless, and he had fangs. Sex appeal? Only his hypnotic eyes qualified.

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Sheridan Le Fanu wrote Carmilla in 1871. Carmilla had an “unearthly pale beauty,” fangs, and could be seen in mirrors. She also cast a shadow. She was overtly sexual with a penchant for the ladies, seducing them with her bite. Carmilla truly established the sexual standard for the most sensuous vampires today and is certainly a major precursor to Anne Rice’s Lestat and the others of his kind.

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The best-known vampires these days include many properties of the classics, but they vary with each writer. Yarbro’s Saint-Germain only needs small amounts of blood to survive and his meals are often willingly provided by women who find him attractive. Like Dracula, he needs his native earth to survive, and Saint-Germain keeps a layer of dirt in his shoes that protects him from sunlight. Like his namesake, the historical Count Saint-Germain he is an alchemist, a scholar, and a gentleman.

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Charlaine Harris’ vampires in The Southern Vampire Mysteries (aka the Sookie Stackhouse novels or True Blood for the TV series) claim to have a medical condition that is akin to photophobia and photosensitivity of the skin.  Extremely powerful, with stronger-than-human senses, they look normal, though they are pale and cold. These vamps can glamour humans. Their fangs are retractable. As a side note, the retractable fang debuted in 1967 when Barnabas Collins appeared on Dark Shadows. It’s now a common trait seen in Forever Knight, The Vampire Diaries, Lost Boys and Abraham Lincoln,Vampire Hunter, to name but a few.

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Laurell K. Hamilton’s vampires have fangs, cast shadows, and have reflections. Although vampirism does not make her vampires unusually beautiful, many of the bloodlines in the novels happen to be very attractive ones. Hamilton’s vampires have skills such as heightened senses, immortality, and the ability to hypnotize. As opposed to the majority of most vampire fiction, Hamilton’s universe is unique in that her supernatural beings are common knowledge among the human community. This opens up interesting plot threads and allows topics such as equality to be addressed, giving the monster world an interesting likeness to real world problems.

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We would be remiss if we didn’t mention the popular vampires of Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight series. These vamps are magnificently beautiful, pale and cold. Their teeth are sharp and serrated but they don’t have fangs. The eyes darken and their bodies are nearly indestructable. They can tolerate sunlight but avoid it because it makes them, well, you know … we don’t even want to say it.

So, what about our vampires? Tamara Thorne did her own take on vampires in Candle Bay and Alistair Cross has just completed his new vampire novel, The Crimson Corset.

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The Candle Bay vampires enjoy scenting food and drink, but only consume these things under the influence of a drug that Trueborn Julian Valentyn has created. (Julian is not human, but one of the few remaining true vampires left on earth. Most died out when Atlantis was destroyed.) The human vampires of Candle Bay are slightly pale and cool. They tend to be attractive, but this isn’t a rule. They breathe (when they want) and have sexual cravings that aren’t about blood. The terrible teenaged twins, Juicy Lucy and Poison Ivy, are forever under the influences of their 16-year-old hormones. While the vampires are stronger than humans and have better senses, they are full of human foibles.

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Alistair’s vampires in The Crimson Corset are pale with marble-like skin, and are generally cool to the touch, depending on their most recent feeding. Similarly to snakes, these vampires secrete a venom that has different effects depending on the dose. In small amounts, the venom will heighten a human’s senses, and in large amounts it’s lethal, and will end the human life and bring about the transition into vampirism. In either case, any amount of venom creates a bond between the human and the vampire that turns the human into the vampire’s servant. The venom in this neck of the woods is highly addictive, making the human/vampire relationship much like the relationship between an addict and his or her dealer. These vampires tend to be attractive, though this is mainly because Gretchen VanTreese, master vampire of the bad guys, has a penchant for pretty things.

Our vampires are similar enough that we are able to have them be neighbors and interact in The Crimson Corset. For example, both the Candle Bay and Crimson Cove vampires are able to function, although sluggishly – in the day, so long as they avoid direct sunlight. Also, both our vampires have retractable fangs and require human blood to survive.  But although we have placed them in the same world, they do have some differences.

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We’ve decided to collaborate on Candle Bay’s sequel so that our vampires can do some serious hanging out. The sequel concerns a road trip to Eternity, California where lots of vampiric families are getting together for a reunion. We’ll tell you more about that later, but we promise that you’ll meet many flavors of vampires!

As you can see, there are many variations of vampirism, and watching the evolution is a delight. Personally, we enjoy the ever-changing vampire-scape as it keeps things interesting, fresh, and inspiring. With all of these variations to choose from, it’s no wonder the vampire never dies.

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All images retrieved from Google Search.

Visit our websites at tamarathorne.com and alistiaircross.com