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!
Visit us at our websites at:
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!
Visit us at our websites at:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Lookie what came in the mail today. My kitty, who has a bit of a book fetish, is already rubbing against it and trying to sleep on it.
Jeff Lindsay, the creator DEXTER himself, will be our guest at Thorne & Cross: Haunted Nights LIVE! in July!
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.
Laurell K. Hamilton, author of the Anita Blake Vampire Hunter series – June 25th, 2015
Jeff Lindsay, author of the DEXTER series – July, 2015
Charlaine Harris, author of the Southern Vampire series and basis of the HBO series, TRUE BLOOD – August 6th, 2015
Christopher Moore, New York Times bestseller – August 20th, 2015
Michael Slade, author – November 19th, 2015
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.
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
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
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)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
All images retrieved from Google Search.
As the release of The Crimson Corset draws close, I find myself humbled by the amount of interest that readers have taken in this book. I’ve gotten a lot of questions about its release date, what formats it will be available in, and whether or not it is part of a series. I’m flattered by this interest, and will answer these questions the best that I can.
As for its release and format, I’ve already begun receiving feedback from the editors and am pleased to say that, so far, it’s been positive. Monday, I will start on the first round of edits and within the next couple of weeks, the other rounds will have returned and been completed. The book will be available in eBook format in July or August, and shortly after that, it will go to paper as well. I don’t have any exact dates for either yet, but when I do, I will post the information.
Regarding sequels, I hadn’t initially intended to write a series, but before The Crimson Corset was completed, it became clear to me that continuing this tale was, for a couple of reasons, probably the best route. First, there’s enough opportunity for continuation that it would be a shame to stop. This is a character-dense novel with each player possessing a fully-developed story of his or her own, and once I started exploring their pasts, I quickly realized there was no way I’d be satisfied not exploring their futures as well. The real story of The Crimson Corset begins as far back as the late 1600s – so there’s a lot of room for continuation and exploration here, and I’m excited by all the possibilities.
Also, although The Crimson Corset is a complete story within itself, I left it open because, to be honest, I think I knew I wasn’t quite done with it just yet; on some level, I knew I’d be returning to the spooky little tourist town of Crimson Cove, California, where The Crimson Corset takes place, and already, the next plot is germinating in my imagination.
But it isn’t something I’ll begin right away. Having put so much on hold to complete this book, I have fallen behind on other projects. Tamara Thorne and I have begun our next collaborative novel – which I’m super-duper-stoked about – and once that’s complete, I will likely begin another solo (not Crimson Cove-related) that’s been gnawing at me for a couple of years now. And then there’s Grandma’s Rack which continually surprises us with its new developments, and The Ghosts of Ravencrest, which is ongoing as far as either of us can see. But after this, I will return to Crimson Cove.
If you’re interested in learning more about our work, Maureen’s Books did a great interview of us recently where we talked about The Cliffhouse Haunting, The Ghosts of Ravencrest, our process, and our plans.
In closing, if you’re a fan of vampires, be sure to check out Haunted Nights LIVE! this week where we’ll be talking to New York Times bestselling author of the Anita Blake Vampire Hunter series, Laurell K. Hamilton about her latest release, Dead Ice. The show goes live at 6 pm Pacific, 7 Mountain, 8 Central, and 9 Eastern. Just go to Authors on the Air to listen in. You can also join the Facebook event.
To see our full guest list, visit my website.
Next Thursday, June 25th, we’ll be spending the hour with Laurell K Hamilton at Thorne & Cross: Haunted Nights LIVE! The show starts at 9 pm Eastern, 6 Pacific, 7 Mountain, and 8 Central. Join the Facebook event here. Listen to the show at Haunted Nights LIVE!
#1 New York Times bestselling author Laurell K. Hamilton is best known for her Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter series and the Merry Gentry series. The Anita Blake series centers on Anita Blake, a professional zombie raiser, vampire executioner and U.S. Marshal. Six million copies of Anita Blake novels are in print. The Merry Gentry series centers on Meredith Gentry, Princess of the Unseelie court of Faerie, a private detective facing repeated assassination attempts. Both fantasy series follow their protagonists as they gain in power and deal with the dangerous “realities” of worlds in which creatures of legend live.
Anita Blake has the highest kill count of any vampire executioner in the country. She’s a U.S. Marshal who can raise zombies with the best of them. But ever since she and master vampire Jean-Claude went public with their engagement, all she is to anyone and everyone is Jean-Claude’s fiancée.
It’s wreaking havoc with her reputation as a hard ass—to some extent. Luckily, in professional circles, she’s still the go-to expert for zombie issues. And right now, the FBI is having one hell of a zombie issue.
Someone is producing zombie porn. Anita has seen her share of freaky undead fetishes, so this shouldn’t bother her. But the women being victimized aren’t just mindless, rotting corpses. Their souls are trapped behind their eyes, signaling voodoo of the blackest kind.
It’s the sort of case that can leave a mark on a person. And Anita’s own soul may not survive unscathed…
To listen to interviews with other authors or see who we have coming up, visit the full guest list at alistaircross.com
After two weeks of reading, rewriting, and reading again, I’ve completed the first major edit of The Crimson Corset. The manuscript still has to go through the official editors, but after that (and a final read-through) The Crimson Corset will be a real book, ready for consumption. The expected eBook release is mid to late July and shortly thereafter, it will go to paper. It’s been a long ride and I have a few folks to whom I owe great thanks.
First on that list is my collaborator, Tamara Thorne, who put our joint efforts on hold to read this entire novel aloud so I could hear how it sounded. Then there are the editors, who have already begun reading it and sending great feedback. Finally, there’s our wonderful publicist, who is already setting me up with interviews and reviews for the Crimson Corset’s release. Thank you all.
Tomorrow, I’ll be returning to collaborating full-time. First on the agenda is finishing the 8th (and final) installment of The Ghosts of Ravencrest, the Gothic serialized novel that Tamara Thorne and I began almost one year ago. Though the next installment will wrap up the current story arc, Ravencrest (in true soap opera fashion) is ongoing, so there’s plenty more ghosts, governesses, handsome millionaires, and diabolically delicious housekeepers to come. We’re not sure when Belinda’s misadventures at the mansion will come to end – but it won’t be any time soon. Especially if Mrs. Heller has anything to say about it. She has plans, you see …
With the completion of Ravencrest’s 8th installment, Tamara and I will return to our next collaborative novel. When considering which project should come next, there are several possibilities. And as far as I’m concerned, that’s fantastic. It feels great to have so many ideas in the wings – to know that as one novel wraps up, several others are just waiting to begin. After discussing it this afternoon, I believe we’ve decided our next move, but I won’t say anything more about that for now, except that I’m stoked. This is one of those stories that’s been hovering in our minds for a long time – tapping our shoulders and whispering in our ears as we work on other things. I think it’s ready now. I’m eager to see what happens …
As I write this, I’m proud to say that the goals I set for 2015 are running right on time. The Cliffhouse Haunting was released in April. The Ghosts of Ravencrest’s first ‘volume’ is wrapping up, and my debut solo novel, The Crimson Corset, is going into production. On top of this, Tamara and I have not only maintained our hour-long, horror-themed, weekly internet/radio show Haunted Nights LIVE!, but we’ve procured interviews with such literary legends as Jay Bonansinga of The Walking Dead novels, Chelsea Quinn Yarbro of the Saint Germaine vampire series, New York Times bestellers, Christopher Rice and Christopher Moore, Laurell K. Hamilton of the Anita Blake Vampire Hunter series, and Charlaine Harris of the Sookie Stackhouse books and HBO’s True Blood. And there are plenty more. You can see the full guest list at my website.
The point is that I’m proud of us. Tamara and I have worked diligently, every day. We’ve put in the extra hours, the extra work, and a whole lot of extra effort. We’ve sat in front of our computers, our backs sore, our faces growing pale from lack of sunlight, pounding out page after page as, in many ways, the real world has passed us by. Not that we mind. But we’ve done it. Day after day. Rain or shine. With or without the cooperation of our moods. With or without the luxury of feeling inspired. With or without the “time” to do it. We’ve come a long way, but the road ahead is even longer … and that’s why, tomorrow morning, I know that we’ll start cracking away at the next project. And the next … I’ve never been so tired. Or fulfilled.
Tomorrow night on Thorne & Cross: Haunted Nights LIVE!, we’ll be talking to Julie Hutchings, author of RUNNING HOME, and RUNNING AWAY. The link goes live at 9 pm EST: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/authorsontheairradio2/2015/06/12/julie-hutchings-joins-thorne-cross-haunted-nights-live
At Haunted Nights LIVE!, we talk all things horror and paranormal 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. Our guests have included such ghoulish greats as Jay Bonansinga of THE WALKING DEAD series, New York Times Bestsellers Douglas Clegg and Christopher Rice, Saint Germaine vampire series author, Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, and Bram Stoker Award winning author, Elizabeth Massie, just to name a few.
And coming this summer, we have New York Times Bestsellers, Christopher Moore – author of LAMB and YOU SUCK, Laurell K. Hamilton of the Anita Blake Vampire Hunter series, and Charlaine Harris, author of the Southern Vampire series.
Our paranormal experts have included Sylvia Shults, (you’ve seen her on GHOST HUNTERS, 30 ODD MINUTES WITH JEFF BELANGER, and HAUNTED HISTORY OF THE PARANORMAL) Professor Paranormal himself, Loyd Auerbach (who has appeared on various shows including OPRAH) and upcoming supernatural historian, Troy Taylor.
To see the full guest list, go to: http://alistaircross.com/Guests and give us a like on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Thorne-Cross-Haunted-Nights-LIVE/360703350753608?ref=hl
Here it is. The cover art for my solo novel, THE CRIMSON CORSET. THE CRIMSON CORSET will be available to buy later this summer.
Welcome to Crimson Cove
Sheltered by ancient redwoods, nestled in mountains overlooking the California coast, the cozy village of Crimson Cove has it all: sophisticated retreats, fine dining, a beautiful lake, and a notorious nightclub, The Crimson Corset. It seems like a perfect place to relax and get close to nature. But not everything in Crimson Cove is natural.
When Cade Colter moves to town to live with his older brother, he expects it to be peaceful to the point of boredom. But he quickly learns that after the sun sets and the fog rolls in, the little tourist town takes on a whole new kind of life – and death.
Darkness at the Edge of Town
Renowned for its wild parties and history of debauchery, The Crimson Corset looms on the edge of town, inviting patrons to sate their most depraved desires and slake their darkest thirsts. Proprietor Gretchen VanTreese has waited centuries to annihilate the Old World vampires on the other side of town and create a new race – a race that she alone will rule. When she realizes Cade Colter has the key that will unlock her plan, she begins laying an elaborate trap that will put everyone around him in mortal danger.
The streets are running red with blood, and as violence and murder ravage the night, Cade must face the darkest forces inside himself, perhaps even abandon his own humanity, in order to protect what he loves.
(Danse Macabre, the 7th installment in The Ghosts of Ravencrest series, will be available next week)
House of Fear
Even as governess Belinda Moorland and her handsome employer, Eric Manning, grow closer, she is haunted by her own past – and Ravencrest’s. From the screams in the shadowed blackness of the indoor pool, to the horrifying face of a scarecrow in the garden, and the nightly, urgent messages from the dead, the darkness is all around her …
Ravencrest Has Plans of Its Own
But the real horror awaits inside the manor when a delightful day turns deadly with an unwelcome appearance by Belinda’s overbearing mother. Rhonda Moorland is convinced that Eric is holding her daughter at Ravencrest against her will and she intends to do something about it.
Witchcraft Gone Wrong
But nothing at Ravencrest is as it appears and when Cordelia Heller casts a spell meant to frighten Belinda, she gets more than she bargained for. Cordelia knows witchcraft – and she knows that something has gone terribly, terribly wrong.