Dean Koontz on Haunted Nights LIVE!

Today I received the as-yet-unpublished copy of Dean Koontz’s new novel, Ashley Bell, which will make for some very enjoyable homework for Mr. Koontz’s appearance on our show, Thorne & Cross: Haunted Nights LIVE!, which happens this Friday.

Here I am with the new book, looking as about as excited as is possible given the mass amounts of Botox injections which I indulge in regularly. Just kidding. But I am excited. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a damned good book to read. Catch a full hour of Dean Koontz at Thorne & Cross: Haunted Nights LIVE!


Ashley Bell will be released tomorrow, December 8th, 2015.

From #1 bestselling author Dean Koontz—the must-read thriller of the year, for readers of dark psychological suspense and modern classics of mystery and adventure.
The girl who said no to death.
Bibi Blair is a fierce, funny, dauntless young woman—whose doctor says she has one year to live.

She replies, “We’ll see.”

Her sudden recovery astonishes medical science.

An enigmatic woman convinces Bibi that she escaped death so that she can save someone else. Someone named Ashley Bell.

But save her from what, from whom? And who is Ashley Bell? Where is she?

Bibi’s obsession with finding Ashley sends her on the run from threats both mystical and worldly, including a rich and charismatic cult leader with terrifying ambitions.

Here is an eloquent, riveting, brilliantly paced story with an exhilarating heroine and a twisting, ingenious plot filled with staggering surprises. Ashley Bell is a new milestone in literary suspense from the long-acclaimed master.

Christopher Moore joins Thorne & Cross: Haunted Nights LIVE!


This Thursday at 9:30 pm EST, we are thrilled to introduce Christopher Moore as our guest at Thorne & Cross: Haunted Nights LIVE! We’ll spend the hour talking to Christopher about writing, his hobbies, and his upcoming book, Secondhand Souls, available on August 25th.


Christopher Moore is the author of fifteen novels, including the international bestsellers,Lamb, A Dirty Job and You Suck. His lastest novel, Secondhand Souls, will be released in August 2015.


Chris was born in Toledo, Ohio and grew up in Mansfield, Ohio. His father was a highway patrolman and his mother sold major appliances at a department store. He attended Ohio State University and Brooks Institute of Photography in Santa Barbara. He moved to California when he was 19 years old and lived on the Central Coast until 2003, when he moved to Hawaii.


Before publishing his first novel, Practical Demonkeeping in 1992, he worked as a roofer, a grocery clerk, a hotel night auditor, and insurance broker, a waiter, a photographer, and a rock and roll DJ. Chris has drawn on all of these work experiences to create the characters in his books. When he’s not writing, Chris enjoys ocean kayaking, scuba diving, photography, and painting with acrylics and oils. He lives in San Francisco.


About Haunted Nights LIVE! hosts Thorne & Cross

Tamara Thorne and Alistair Cross joined forces in 2012 with the idea to write a short story together. One thing led to another, and they have since completed The Cliffhouse Haunting, and 8 installments of the successful Gothic serialized novel, The Ghosts of Ravencrest. In November of 2014, their horror-themed radio internet show, Thorne & Cross: Haunted Nights LIVE!, debuted to great acclaim as part of the Authors on the Air Global Radio Network, LLC.

Tamara Thorne’s first novel was published in 1991. Since then she has written many more, including international bestsellers Haunted, Bad Things, Moonfall, and The Sorority. Her novel, Thunder Road, hit bookstores in September, 2014. Tamara’s interest in the occult, mythology, and folklore began at an early age, and her interest in the paranormal has been life-long. She’s been a speaker for many paranormal groups and been involved in many investigations. She has appeared on the television show, Ghost Adventures, as well as gone on a five-day investigation to an allegedly haunted cabin in Gold Country with co-author Alistair Cross – an adventure that inspired The Cliffhouse Haunting. She has also been featured in various newspapers on the topics of haunted areas and local lore, and has been a guest on Anything Ghost, and many other syndications. Tamara is also a journalist who writes features for several southern California newspapers.

Alistair Cross grew up on horror novels and scary movies, and by the age of eight, began writing his own stories. He is an avid poet who has been published in multiple collections, and his poetry has been featured on several syndications. His first work of fiction was published by Damnation Books in 2012. Alistair’s fascination with the supernatural, combined with an affinity for psychological suspense, has shaped his writing and continues to influence his work. He became involved in paranormal investigations with Tamara Thorne, and their adventure, Five Nights in a Haunted Cabin, was the feature for an episode of Tales to Terrify, on the Lights Out podcast with paranormal expert, Sylvia Shults. Together, he and Tamara have also published articles for several publications, including Crystal Lake Publishing’s Beneath the Lake: On Writing Horror. Along with his multiple collaborative projects with Tamara Thorne, Alistair’s new release, The Crimson Corset, was released to rave reviews in August of this year.

Tim Waggoner joins Thorne & Cross: Haunted Nights LIVE!


He’s written for Nightmare on Elm Street. He’s written for Supernatural. He’s written some of the scariest tales of our time … and Thursday, we’ll be talking to him about all things horrific – Tim Waggoner will be our guest onThorne & Cross: Haunted Nights LIVE! Stay tuned …




DEXTER creator, Jeff Lindsay, joins Thorne & Cross: Haunted Nights LIVE!

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Monday, July 20th at 9 pm EST will be a special Thorne & Cross: Haunted Nights LIVE! podcast with DEXTER’s creator, Jeff Lindsay.

Give Haunted Nights LIVE! a like on Facebook.

To listen to other guests here.


Jeff Lindsay is the New York Times bestselling author of the Dexter novels, which debuted in 2004 with Darkly Dreaming Dexter. They are the basis of the hit Showtime and CBS series, Dexter. He lives in South Florida with his family.


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!

Interview at Little Blog of Horrors: The Crimson Corset


Alistair Cross is best known for his collaborations with Tamara Thorne, but now that he’s about to release his first solo novel, The Crimson Corset, it’s time to chat with him one on one about writing, vampires, and his new book.ccblurb

The idea for this novel goes back a ways. Tell us about the history of the idea and how it has evolved since it was first conceived.

The storyline was conceived in 2005, and I began writing it that same year. It was my first earnest attempt at a full-length novel, and I had a lot to learn. At about 100 pages in, I got a virus on my computer and because I hadn’t backed any of it up, it was deleted. Discouraged, I gave up for a while, and spent the next few years immersed in books about writing, and in 2009, I re-started this novel under the title, The White Room.

I completed it in 2010 and I was proud of it, but there were some problems – the main issue being that I’d written it in first person, and in that format, this was an extremely hard story to tell. But for the next two years, it traveled the globe, amassing countless rejections from agents and publishers worldwide. In the interim, I’d gotten something else published, and decided it was time to take The White Room off the market and rethink it.

I continued writing other things, occasionally tinkering with The White Room in my spare time, but no matter what else I was working on, my mind kept returning to this book. I eventually concluded I needed to dive back into it full-force and give it one last, concerted effort. At the time, I was finishing up The Cliffhouse Haunting with my collaborator, Tamara Thorne, and as soon as that was completed, I started on The White Room. I quickly found that there wasn’t much to salvage, so I rewrote it from the ground up. All told, there are only three or four small scenes that, after some heavy editing, made the cut. It’s an entirely new novel now, complete with a new title, and I’m elated that it’s finally completed.

So, you conceived of The Crimson Corset a decade ago and have mentioned writing it in the first person before. Why did you use first person? And why did you switch to third?

I initially used first person because it hadn’t occurred to me to write it another way. I used to take too much advice and have since learned that my own instincts are valid. So, I switched to third and it’s the best decision I ever made. I realized that I not only could write in third person, but preferred it. I have nothing against first person and have used it more than once, but this story has way too much going on to be effectively told through only one character’s eyes.


What initially inspired this book?

Oddly, the inspiration for this novel came when a friend of mine talked me into checking out a nightclub that had recently opened. The place was huge, with three floors and countless rooms that each had different themes and music. At one point, my friend said he wanted to show me the “white room.” That wasn’t its official title, but that’s what he called it, and when we stepped inside, I knew why. There was white carpet, several white couches and loveseats, and gauzy white tapestries that hung from the walls. In the center of the floor, behind a filmy white curtain, were three female dancers and what little clothing they wore was stark-white. I was transfixed. There was something about those women – their dark makeup, the way they moved under the strobing lights, seeming to hypnotize the male patrons – that reminded me of vampires. I spent the rest of the evening alone at the bar, taking notes on various napkins as the ideas unfolded. I know … I’m not much fun at parties.

Where did you come up with the title?

The title has a double meaning. It refers to the club, The Crimson Corset, which is owned by Gretchen VanTreese. This is where a lot of the action in this book takes place. Also, it refers to a corset that Gretchen wears on special occasions. This particular piece has serious meaning for her … and a very interesting backstory.

There is a club called the Crimson Corset in The Cliffhouse Haunting, too. Is it a chain?

I got the idea to name a club “The Crimson Corset” about a year ago, but wasn’t sure where to put it. I liked it so much that I put it in The Cliffhouse Haunting. Then, I wanted to use it again, but give it a bigger part. It’s a business chain, yes, and Gretchen is undoubtedly the owner of them all. I intend to sprinkle a few more Crimson Corset clubs throughout other works as well.

You have a real talent for memorable and appropriate names. Tell us your favorites.

Thanks. Some of my favorite names from this novel are Sebastian Antonelli, Chynna, Scythe, Marcus Massimo, Jazminka, Dora Langley, and Sheila Leventis. Oh, and the tigers, Absinthe and Hyacinthe.

How do you choose your names? I notice that some are quite ordinary and others really stick. Is there a reason for this?

I save the memorable names for characters that I really want to stick in readers’ minds. These can be major characters or minor ones who need to be remembered. Less important characters usually get the more ordinary names. But sometimes “normal” names are important for defining a major character like Sheriff Ethan Hunter. I tried calling him “Squirelman McDoodlehump” but it just didn’t say “lawman.”


Tell us about Gretchen VanTreese.

Gretchen is proprietor of the Crimson Corset and heads the faction of vampires who believe humans should be servants rather than the dominant race. Her story begins in Rome in 1679, when she and her mother, Astrid, were turned. Astrid fought for peace and equality among vampires and humans, but Gretchen’s philosophy was a little different, and as Astrid’s power grew, Gretchen’s hatred of her mother’s ways deepened. Unwilling to be forced into a lifestyle that didn’t suit her, Gretchen took matters into her own hands and murdered her mother.

After that, Gretchen was outcast by the other vampires, and traveled the world for many years with her companion, Jazminka, until they, along with a small group of followers they’d acquired, came to America. In 1912, she bought a club which she named after a red corset she’d had specially made as a symbol of her new power. In Crimson Cove, California, she continued creating followers of her own, but Gretchen’s dreams are big and a handful of Loyals isn’t enough for her. She wants dominion over the whole city, the country … the world.

Gretchen VanTreese is easily the most heartless character I’ve ever written. Ruthless, self-obsessed, and ambitious beyond her means, she is the epitome of greed and overindulgence. This is woman who keeps handsome young men as pets, a staff of venom-addicted employees to do her daytime bidding, and a basement full of bound human delicacies. When it comes to blood, her favorite vintage is the very rare AB Negative blood type, and she seeks out this luxury with unrepentant and ruthless abandon. She’s beautiful, sexually deviant, calculating, and demanding. She sees no end to her power, no limits to her potential, and this makes her a lot of fun to write. I love to hate her … and all of her self-delusions.

Lilith, Gretchen’s pet spider, is a unique finishing touch to an already creepy character. Where did you get this idea?

Honestly, it was just one of those things that happened. As I was developing Gretchen, she “told” me that she kept a pet black widow that liked to crawl around under her clothes and nest in her hair. It’s hard to explain why some characters “want” things a certain way, and I try never to question these little pieces of information because somehow, they always turn out to be good ideas, but in this case, I did try to resist. It seemed a little too creepy for me and I couldn’t see what it had to do with Gretchen’s story, but I’m glad I kept it. The character is always right.

Gretchen’s corset. How did you think of that?

I can’t really say much about the corset without giving the whole thing away, but in the same way I knew Gretchen kept a pet spider, I knew she wore a very special red corset – though I didn’t know why at first. Then while I was researching the history of corsetry and, specifically, learning the anatomy of corsets, it became clear what made this one so significant. It was one of those moments that I adore. The idea hit me hard … it was twisted, wicked, morbid and macabre … and of course, I loved it.

Who was the most challenging character to write and why?

Jazminka, because of her wardrobe choices. This is a woman who dresses to kill. Literally. The chiffon swatches that flow from her sleeve-gloves are, in fact, garottes – weapons of strangulation. Her boots are lethal as well. With the stiletto heel of her elaborately-designed thigh-highs, she can kill a grown man and drain him in six seconds or less, without spilling a drop of blood. Then there is her hair and makeup which is always very dramatic and outrageous. This woman was just incredibly difficult to animate and properly illustrate. She also speaks with a thick Slavic accent and it wasn’t always easy to  portray that without being disruptive to the flow.

I love the vampire nightclub – that is something I’d expect vampires to create. But the health spa, Eudemonia, is thoroughly unexpected and unique. Tell us how you came up with that!

I wanted the good vampires to have a humane way of surviving that was a little more unique than drinking animal blood. To me, it doesn’t make sense that blood outside of the human species could sustain a vampire anyway, so I really didn’t want to do that. At the same time, the guys of Eudemonia are humane and can’t go around attacking innocent people, so the health resort allowed me to give them a better option.

Also, it gave them a job. Vampires always just seem to have a limitless supply of money that often goes unexplained. This has always bothered me because, although it’s fiction, I think it needs to feel as real as possible. When you write the fantastical, you’re asking people to stretch themselves quite a bit as it is, so creating intermittent life-like references along the way keeps readers relating to the story.


Is there a character in this book you’d like to write more about?

Yes. Winter. He has always spoken to me at a deeper level than most characters. I want to explore him further. Also, Nick Grayson, one of Ethan’s deputies. The moment he came on stage, I knew there was more to him than I could write about in this book, so I gave him a job offer in the fictional neighboring town of Prominence, where my next solo will take place. That way, he can get the stage time I’d like to give him.

Which character was the most fun to write?

Ethan Hunter’s neighbor, Mrs. Gelding. Gladiola to her friends. And everyone is a friend of Mrs. Gelding’s …

Are there any characters in this book that you really like but feel you shouldn’t?

Ambrose. He makes me giggle.

Do you base any of your characters on real people?

No. Inadvertently, if at all.

Is Cade’s cat, Sir Purrcival, based on your cat, Pawpurrazzi?

No. As one of the remaining creatures from the White Room days, Sir Purrcival precedes Pawpurrazzi by about eight years. I tell her that she’s the inspiration, though. It seems to help her self-esteem. Of course, now she expects every feline I write to be created in her image, but what can you do?

How do you feel about animal violence in horror?

I simply don’t do it. There are a few things I find to be … well, just too easy. Animal violence. Child abuse. The devil made me do it. Senseless blood-spatter. Torture porn. These things can incite powerful reader response – but it isn’t the kind of response I want. If a writer’s goal is to make his or her readers cry,  recoil, shudder, or become sick, that’s fine, but I think they should work for it a little more. And torturing something helpless, like a puppy or an innocent child, is a cheap shot. Also, I have moral issues with some of this stuff. I write horror, but I don’t write it without a reason, and violence against children and animals just doesn’t make sense to me, unless you’re dealing with Cujo or little Reagan from the Exorcist. Again, it’s just too easy.

The character of Coastal Eddie, a conspiracy-oriented DJ, originated in Candle Bay and has now shown up in collaborations and in your solo. There are also cross references to places like Cliffside and Candle Bay in your solo, and vice versa. What made you and Tamara decide to cross-pollinate your worlds and will this continue?

I read Candle Bay many moons ago, and fell in love with that character. I was honored and humbled when his original author allowed me to give him some stage time in The Crimson Corset. We decided to cross-pollinate our worlds on occasion because we enjoy it. Over the course of writing a novel, it isn’t uncommon to become attached to certain characters and places. It’s hard to let them go, and as an added plus, readers love to see their favorite characters from other books pay surprise visits. So yes, it will continue.


How did you choose the names Cadence and Brooks?

Cadence was the name I’d decided that I’d use if I ever had a son. It has since become a semi-popular name for girls – which baffles me – but I still like the name for a boy, and didn’t want to change it.

I first heard the name Brooks in 2006. It belonged to a young man I met at a pizza place. I loved it and knew I wanted to use it for Cade’s brother.

Why does Sheriff Hunter knit? (You know, instead of fish or shoot hoops?)

It relaxes him. Sheriff Hunter has a lot on his mind, and keeping his hands, eyes, and mind engaged allows him temporary escape. However, I think I speak for everyone in Crimson Cove when I say I wish he’d stop making such loud, ugly sweaters – and crediting them to his fictional Aunt Vanessa in Oregon.

Were there any surprise characters that showed up in the book that weren’t originally part of the outline?

Yes. The missing children. I can’t say anything more about them without giving spoilers, but they weren’t planned. Also, Katrina, Rose Keller, Mrs. Gelding, and Claire Henry were spur of the moment characters who ended up furthering the story and adding to the plot. This is something that’s happened in everything I’ve ever written, and more often than not, these surprise characters end up telling the story better than I can. In fact, in the earliest beginnings of this story, Gretchen herself was a surprise character. She went on to center the entire plot around herself, and I’m glad she did. I always follow surprise characters to see where they’re going.

What made you want to incorporate the tigers, Absinthe and Hyacinthe, into this book?

Chynna’s tigers were part of the original cast when this concept was conceived ten years ago. I was told I couldn’t put them in because they weren’t necessary, but I disagree. Their mistress, Chynna, is a tiger-trainer, and Absinthe and Hyacinthe deepen and further the plot, and define Chynna, so I refused to leave them out this time around.

Michael’s raven, Reaper, is a hoot. How did you come up with his “lines?”

I like paying homage to the things that influenced me and brought me here, so Reaper’s phrases are all lines from my favorite horror movies and books. I’m very fond of that bird and the relationship he has with Michael.

The town of Crimson Cove is set very near the Santa Cruz boardwalk where The Lost Boys took place. Is there a reason for that?

Pure coincidence, although I loved that movie growing up, and surely there is evidence of that in this book. Vampires on motorcycles and all that … good times.


What kind of research did you do for the setting, history, and character development in this book?

I like forests, mountains, and the sea, so I went to a lot of trouble to create the town of Crimson Cove and to put it somewhere beautiful. I decided on California and this required research on the history of that state, specifically, the area where Crimson Cove is placed.

For the vampire venom and its effects, I did extensive research on snakes and snake venom, as well as spiders, and various drugs such as heroin. I also did research on nightclubs, BDSM, ferns, California laws, the duties of coroners, guns, swords, motorcycles, Hummers, Aston Martins, Ford Fairlanes, and underwater acrobats.

Then there is the history. Each character in this novel has a fully-developed back story, and some of them go back four or five centuries, so to develop their pasts, I researched World War II and Operation Neptune, Vietnam, the Battle of Ticonderoga, The Hudson River in the 1790s, the Red Light District of the Barbary Coast in the 1870s and San Francisco in the early 1900s, the Seven Years War, Queen Christina of Sweden in the 1600s, whore houses during Prohibition, mercenaries, bounty hunters, the Gold Rush of 1849 … it’s a very long list.

Do you enjoy doing research?

I like having done research. Much of it is fascinating, of course, but not all of it. But it’s necessary – sometimes captivating, often tedious … but always worth it.

There is a definite stalking theme in this book. Gretchen is stalking Cade. Piper is stalking Brooks, then Cade, then Sebastian. Is this theme deliberate? If so, why?

Yes, it was deliberate. At its core, this is a story of obsession, of addiction. And addiction to another person is the most terrifying addiction of all. I have seen the effects of obsessive “love” up close and personal, and it scares the hell out of me. People become too enchanted; they become dependant on the way another person makes them feel, and rely on this person more and more to validate them until the other person becomes a kind of milking machine. Eventually, the stalked person puts an end to it, and that’s when it becomes something very dark and very scary. This is not love, it’s sickness, and unfortunately, it’s rampant. I wanted to explore this in The Crimson Corset because I wanted to show the signs – and the inevitable outcome – of this kind of toxicity. It’s something I feel needs more attention.

The “mermaids,” Violet and Scarlett, are a lot of fun. Where did you get the idea for them to swim in an aquarium for the viewing pleasure of the male patrons at the Crimson Corset?

Near Crimson Cove, there’s a very real little town with an famous, perhaps infamous, old nightclub/restaurant called the Brookdale Lodge. It’s currently closed, but it has loads of ghost stories attached to it (and is the real inspiration for the brook running through the lodge in The Cliffhouse Haunting). Some of the Brookdale Lodge’s history, slightly altered, has been added to the Crimson Corset’s. The Brookdale was a favorite place for gangsters running rum during the 1920s and 1930s, and its heyday continued several decades more as Hollywood celebrities like Sinatra and the Rat Pack adopted it as a place to party, along with the gangsters and regular folks. There was (and is) an area of the pool that is glassed in where prostitutes dressed as mermaids swam for the men at the bar and would be chosen as companions for the night, the same way people at restaurants can choose lobsters from a tank. Then, beginning in the late 60s, huge rock stars like The Doors often hid out and rehearsed on a little stage area just a few steps from the infamous mermaid bar when playing gigs in San Francisco.


Do you have any difficulty writing sex scenes, especially from a female point of view?

No. Squeamishness about sex eludes me. I genuinely find it odd and somewhat juvenile that a person would be embarrassed by it. Sex is a private thing, and personal, but I don’t consider it indecent or shameful in any capacity, so writing about it has never been a problem.

As for writing sex from a female perspective, I find it surprisingly natural. I’ve never believed there are any real major differences between men and women. I’ve seen as many successful business women as artistic men. It’s never occurred to me that men are strictly one way and women another – so I don’t view sexuality as being much different from one sex to the other. The parts are different, sure, but in the end, we are attracted by the same things – a person’s scent, their lips and eyes, the sheen of hair, their smile, their humor, their self-confidence … these are genderless desires until we attach our personal preferences to them. At the root of sex is a natural craving for closeness; it’s only a question of who we want to be intimate with that demands distinction.

How are your vampires different from other writers’?

There are so many variations on these monsters, and all of the vampires seem to think their own variety is the only one in existence. It occurred to me that perhaps my vampires were just one strain of many; that perhaps many kinds of vampires exist. As Michael tells Cade, “As humans, you have many different races, each with its own unique set of distinctions, but are you not still the same species?”

Of course, I put my own spin on the Crimson Cove vampires, but I didn’t want to get too unique. Vampires are fascinating as they are … I don’t think they need to sparkle or be the results of freak science experiments to interesting. I like the integrity of the vampire, and tried to keep that intact.

When did you know how this book was going to end?

From the beginning, I knew it could go one of three ways. The first way would make a sequel impossible. The second way would allow for a sequel, but would require a lot of rearranging, and the third would segue smoothly into a next book. The trouble was that I wasn’t sure I wanted to do a sequel, but by the time I neared the end, I’d made up my mind, and went with the third possibility. So, in truth, I didn’t know exactly how it would end until I was almost finished with it.

So, there will be a sequel?

Yes, but not before my next solo novel, which isn’t about Crimson Cove. That being said, you will see some of the vampires of Crimson Cove in the sequel to Tamara Thorne’s Candle Bay, which we’ve decided to collaborate on. The vampires of Candle Bay are going on a roadtrip, you see … and Michael, Winter, and maybe a couple of others will be joining them …

Have you read horror all your life? What other genres do you enjoy reading? Would you ever consider writing out of genre?

Yes, I’ve always read horror, my first exposure being the Bunnicula series by James Howe. While not horror exactly, it fed my imagination and I still see its influence. As for other genres, I truly enjoy them all with very rare exceptions. I enjoyed The Omen and Gone With the Wind equally. I found A Tale of Two Cities as compelling as the Sookie Stackhouse books. I’ve never looked at a certain genre and said I’d never read it. I enjoy reading for the sake of reading and my attitude about writing is the same. If a storyline required it, I would absolutely write in another genre. As it is, I have ideas for future works that certainly wouldn’t qualify as horror, but I do think some authors have a certain “vibe” that makes it impossible to stray too far. For example, when Stephen King or Robert McCammon writes something that isn’t horror, there’s a detectable, lingering feeling of eeriness that’s part of their style. In the same way, I think I’ll always be a little dark, a little macabre.


As a child, did you enjoy telling other kids – or yourself – ghost stories?

I did! There was – and still is – nothing I enjoy more than scaring people, and this goes as far back as I can remember. On a couple of occasions, I’d bring a friend to tears of terror with some ghastly tale or another, and as much as I’d like to say I felt bad about it, I never did. I considered it a great success. But tears were rare. Generally, my friends joined in the fun as we embarked on various imaginary journeys through the darkness together, and those moments stand out as some of my happiest times. There’s always been something about the feeling of being watched, or not being alone when you think you are … and of cold chills raising your skin in goosebumps, that makes me giddy. I grew up in a spooky little town in a house with a spooky little basement where I spent my most formative years, so the sensation of uneasy trepidation is home for me; it takes me back to boyhood. (I wasn’t forced to stay in the spooky basement ala Carrie in her closet; I simply liked going down there to scare myself.)

You’ve talked before about the morality of horror. Explain this.

It’s assumed that horror writers are dark, depraved individuals – the bringers of evil – and this is absurd. What other genre so naturally explores the philosophical side of life? You can’t bring theology into a Romance novel. There’s not much room for issues of faith in Westerns, and readers aren’t going to tolerate many celestial affairs in Erotica. But with horror, that door is wide open. Horror demands answers to the deeper questions; it requires the contemplation of life and death and the examination of good and evil. I know of no other fictional genre that puts morality as front and center as horror does, and it annoys me that it’s seen as being “bad” or “corrupt.”

When reading someone else’s work, what are your some of your personal pet peeves?

While formula is good, there’s such a thing as too much of it. When technical rules are followed too closely, it shows, and if given the choice between a perfectly-coiffed, rule-abiding novel, and a damned good book with a some serious heart and soul, I’ll take the latter every time.

What do you wish people wouldn’t ask you?

How much money I make. First of all, book sales fluctuate and there is no accurate answer, and second of all, it’s personal. It’s stunning that anyone would ask this, but it happens with enough regularity that I’ve now developed a stock response: “Oh, I do all right, but let’s talk about your sex life now. What are you into? You’re kinky, right?” because, to me, it’s the same thing. It’s private.

Tell us all about your radio show, Thorne & Cross: Haunted Nights LIVE! How do you get guests like Laurell K. Hamilton and Christopher Moore and Jeff Lindsay? Do you pay them? Blackmail them?

Haunted Nights LIVE! is a horror/paranormal/thriller-themed radio talk show which Tamara Thorne and I host. It’s an hour-long discussion with authors, paranormal experts, and creators of all things spooky. Haunted Nights LIVE! features fact, fiction, and the gray area in between. You can like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and listen to previous podcasts at our websites.

Our guests arrive one of three ways. First, we have an amazing producer who works hard to get us the best in the business. The second way is that we contact the author and ask them on, and the third is that the author contacts us or our producer. We don’t pay or blackmail anyone, and haven’t had any trouble getting anyone on. I credit this to the early guests – the big guys who took a big step and came on, which made it into the much bigger show that it is now.


What are your strategies for (and general thoughts on) marketing?

I have a publicist who works very hard at procuring interviews, book reviews, guest blog posts, and getting me into myriad social media circuits. On top of the work she does, I dedicate two hours each weekday and four hours on Saturdays to marketing on my own. I’m very disciplined about this because I firmly believe that writers must take full accountability for their careers. No one cares about your books as much as you do, and it’s astonishing how many writers kick back and think someone will do it for them. It’s up to you, as the writer. It’s a business, and part of business is marketing. You wouldn’t slap an OPEN sign on the window of your new barber shop, go home, and wait for the money to start rolling in. Awareness is everything, and building that awareness is no nine to five job. It’s ongoing. It’s also exhausting, and the temptation is to relax and let the book “sell itself” or hope your publisher is doing it for you. This is great in theory, but the payoff isn’t satisfying. I work too hard on my books not to give them proper exposure.

In your opinion, what makes a good writer?

To me, it’s a matter of heart. There are all kinds of rules (don’t use adverbs, blah, blah, blah) but at the end of the day, a good writer is one who puts his or her heart into the story and has the determination to make it a success. There are reasons for rules – and you must know the rules before you break them – but it takes a lot more than protocol to write a compelling story.

Any advice on image and branding?

I think it’s important to present yourself as a professional. While writing a good book is critical, nothing will cancel that out faster than behaving like an amatuer. I cringe every time I see an author arguing with a reader who left a poor review, or fighting with their friends on Facebook … or publicly bashing their agents or publishers. It’s embarrassing.

What are you working on now?

In collaboration, Tamara Thorne and I working on the final installment of our serialized Gothic, The Ghosts of Ravencrest. Though this is the final episode in this volume, a new story arc begins immediately – same place, same players. Ravencrest is like a soap opera – it just keeps going and we currently foresee no real end. Also, we have begun our next collaborative novel, a psychological thrill-fest that will be due out late this year or early next.

As for solos, I’ve begun a new novel which, although unrelated to The Crimson Corset, will feature Nick Grayson, who made an appearance in Corset. This book takes place in a neighboring (fictional) town, and is full of magick, mayhem, and all things macabre. Once this is completed, I’ll begin work on The Crimson Corset’s sequel.


Alistair Cross was born in the western United States and began penning his own stories by the age of eight. First published by Damnation Books in 2012, Alistair has since published several more novels. In 2012, he joined forces with international bestselling author, Tamara Thorne, and as Thorne & Cross, they write the successful Gothic series, The Ghosts of Ravencrest. Their newest novel, The Cliffhouse Haunting, is an Amazon Best Seller, and this summer also sees the release of Alistair’s solo novel, The Crimson Corset.

In 2014, Alistair and Tamara began the internet radio show, Thorne & Cross: Haunted Nights LIVE! Haunted Nights LIVE! premiered to great acclaim and has featured such guests as Chelsea Quinn Yarbro of the Saint-Germain vampire series, Charlaine Harris of the Southern Vampire Mysteries and basis of the HBO series True Blood, Jeff Lindsay, author of the Dexter novels that inspired the hit television series, Jay Bonansinga of the Walking Dead series, Laurell K. Hamilton of the Anita Blake Vampire Hunter novels, and New York Times best sellers Christopher Rice, Jonathan Maberry, and Christopher Moore.

Alistair is currently at work on several projects including a solo novel and a new Thorne & Cross collaboration. His influences include the works of Stephen King, Dean Koontz, John Saul, Ira Levin, and William Peter Blatty.

You can visit Alistair at his website at

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


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 and



Laurell K. Hamilton joins Thorne & Cross: Haunted Nights LIVE!

Laurell K. Hamilton 2013 photo credit Ma Petite Enterprises

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!

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#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


Julie Hutchings joins Thorne & Cross: Haunted Nights LIVE!


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:

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: and give us a like on Facebook at:

New York Times Bestseller Kevin O’Brien joins Thorne & Cross: Haunted Nights LIVE!


Tonight, on Thorne & Cross: Haunted Nights LIVE! we’ll be talking to New York Times Bestselling thriller author, Kevin O’Brien! The link goes live at 6pm Pacific, 7 Mountain, 8 Central, 9 Eastern. Just give it a click to listen:

Before his thrillers landed him on the New York Times Bestseller list, Kevin O’Brien was a railroad inspector.  The author of 16 internationally-published thrillers, he won the Spotted Owl Award for Best Pacific Northwest Mystery, and is a core member of Seattle 7 Writers. In a review of Kevin’s last thriller, TELL ME YOU’RE SORRY, Press & Guide said: “If Alfred Hitchcock were alive today and writing novels, his name would be Kevin O’Brien.” Kevin’s latest nail-biter, NO ONE NEEDS TO KNOW, will be released this summer

NO ONE NEEDS TO KNOW (to be released July, 2015):

In July, 1970, actress Elaina Styles was slain in a rented Seattle mansion along with her husband and their son’s nanny.  When the baby’s charred remains were found in a shallow grave close to a hippie commune, the police moved in—only to find all its members already dead in a grisly mass suicide.

Now, decades later, a film about the murders is shooting at the infamous mansion.  On-set caterer Laurie Trotter ignores gossip that the production is cursed.  But then people start dying…

As Laurie digs deep into what happened all those years ago, the truth emerges—more twisted than any whispered rumor—and a legacy of brutal violence reaches its terrifying climax.




A family is wiped out after a burglary gone wrong.  An executive accused of embezzling kills himself and his loved ones.  A house fire claims the lives of all its inhabitants.  Separate incidents with two common threads—a first wife who took her own life and a secret the victims took to their graves…

Stephanie Coburn had barely recovered from her sister’s mysterious suicide when her brother-in-law and his new wife are murdered, her face disfigured beyond recognition.  Stephanie never met the bride, has never even seen a clear photograph.  But she knew her sister, and she knows something is desperately wrong.

The police won’t listen.  Her only ally is another victim’s son.  Step by step, they uncover a trail of unrelenting vengeance and a killer whose forgiveness can only be earned in death.



FINAL BREATH (on sale, April, 2015; a re-release from 2010)

A first, the deaths seemed random.  A young Portland couple brutally murdered in a game gone awry…a Chicago woman who plummeted to her death from an office building…an aspiring screenwriter asphyxiated in his New York apartment.  But the macabre souvenirs television reporter Sydney Jordan receives hint at a connection that is both personal and terrifying.

When her husband, a Chicago policeman, gets in too deep with some corrupt cops, Sydney fled to Seattle with her teenage son.  But instead of getting a fresh start, Sydney is plagued by strange occurrences.  Someone is watching, someone who knows her intimately—someone who’s just waiting to play the next move in a twisted game.

She is his chosen one.  Every murder is a sign, and soon, Sydney will understand why each victim had to suffer—and why she’s the next in line.


The Heart Does Not Grow Back

Sometimes, you read a book, and it reaches into you and rearranges things. You don’t usually know exactly what’s changing, only that some quiet alteration has been made – and that somewhere down the line, you’ll likely react differently to a situation, solve a problem in a new way, or draw an unexpected conclusion about something. You may never even be aware of those subtle differences in yourself, but they’re real. Nothing is wasted; every experience shapes you – and a good book is one of the strongest arguments for that.

I have never actually met Fred Venturini... but I will this Thursday on Thorne & Cross: Haunted Nights LIVE!, and when I do, I want to thank him for writing a book that changed something in me. Mr. Venturini was recommended as a guest through a publicist that my co-host and co-author Tamara Thorne introduced me to. When we booked Mr. Venturini, we asked for a copy of his novel, The Heart Does Not Grow Back, which was promptly mailed to us and arrived a couple of weeks ago. I planned to start it this weekend, read a little of it each night before bed, and finish it up just in time for Thursday’s interview.

I did start the book this weekend – this morning, in fact – but I haven’t been able to put it down until now. The book is finished, and if it wasn’t, I would still be reading.

I really don’t know what to say about The Heart Does Not Grow Back except that it’s a brilliant story about compelling characters, beautifully told by a gifted author. I am thrilled to have Mr. Venturini on our show, and until then, I will be trying to put order to the many questions I have for him about his work and this incredible book.

I recommend The Heart Does Not Grow Back to anyone who likes a strong story that puts emphasis on friendship, loyalty, love, loss, fresh starts – and the power of change. Fred Venturini will appear on Thorne & Cross: Haunted Nights LIVE! this Thursday at 9:00 pm EST, 6:00 Pacific. You can click the book cover below to go to Amazon and purchase the book.



Dale Sampson is used to being a nonperson at his small-town Midwestern high school, picking up the scraps of his charismatic lothario of a best friend, Mack. He comforts himself with the certainty that his stellar academic record and brains will bring him the adulation that has evaded him in high school. But when an unthinkable catastrophe tears away the one girl he ever had a chance with, his life takes a bizarre turn as he discovers an inexplicable power: He can regenerate his organs and limbs.

When a chance encounter brings him face to face with a girl from his past, he decides that he must use his gift to save her from a violent husband and dismal future. His quest takes him to the glitz and greed of Hollywood, and into the crosshairs of shadowy forces bent on using and abusing his gift. Can Dale use his power to redeem himself and those he loves, or will the one thing that finally makes him special be his demise? The Heart Does Not Grow Back is a darkly comic, starkly original take on the superhero tale, introducing an exceptional new literary voice in Fred Venturini.

CONFIRMED: Christopher Rice


Although I have yet to achieve my goal of meeting Stevie Nicks, I will be interviewing New York Times bestseller Christopher Rice, who’s mother, the legendary Anne Rice, is mentioned in the Stevie Nicks song, New Orleans. Baby steps…


It’s a stretch, I admit, but hey… no matter how you look at it, it’s pretty cool.


But really, I have read many of Christopher Rice’s novels and have been captivated by them all. Recently, he did a book signing with my collaborator, Tamara Thorne, and the two of them hit it off, and voila! Yesterday he confirmed that he would, in fact, love to be our guest on Thorne & Cross: Haunted Nights LIVE! We don’t have a definite date yet, and are booked well into the spring, but as soon as soon as I do… I will post it everywhere that’s legal, and perhaps even a few places that aren’t (watch out, Wal-Mart bathroom stalls; I’m talkin’ to you.)

Until then, our podcasts with some of the biggest names in the business are available – and we have many upcoming shows with writers and paranormal experts of the same clout. You can listen to these podcasts on iTunes or by going to the Haunted Nights LIVE! page of my website where you can also see the full guest list.


So, give us a listen at Thorne & Cross: Haunted Nights LIVE! where we discuss everything horror; from fact, to fiction, to that indiscernible area in between.


A Testimonial from Hal Bodner

Last night’s show with Hal Bodner rocked. Listen to the interview here.

And this is what Mr. Bodner has to say about his experience at Thorne & Cross: Haunted Nights LIVE!:

“I’ve done a lot of interviews in my time and rarely have I had as much fun as I did with hosts Alistair Cross and Tamara Thorne. Though their stock in trade may be the cold spirits of ominous specters, I found them far more warm and welcoming than the average “haint.” I had such a good time that I am… <ahem>…. dying to do it again!”

~ Hal Bodner, author the West Hollywood Vampire series

To read more guest testimonial, visit my website.

But wait! There’s More!

Also confirmed today:

Kealan Patrick Burke is coming to Thorne & Cross: Haunted Nights LIVE! Burke is the Bram Stoker Award-winning author of Currency of Souls, Stage Whispers, and Master of the Moors, just to name a few.

He is also a fantastic book designer who has designed cover art for such authors as Richard Laymon, Bentley Little, Brian Keene, and Scott Nicholson.

His story Peekers is in development as a feature film from Lionsgate Entertainment, and we are STOKED to have him.

As soon as I know the date, it shall be posted…

Stay tuned….

The Debut of Thorne & Cross: Haunted Nights LIVE!

Haunted Nights LIVE! debuted last week with our first guest, Q.L. Pearce, the bestselling author of more than 150 books including film tie-ins for the Fox animated film Titan AE and the Universal animated series Land Before Time. Click here to go to the show.

Later this month, our guest will be New York Times bestseller, Doug Clegg and, in just a few days, Michael Aronovitz, author of Alice Walks and The Voices in Our Heads, will be joining us. For the full guest list (so far) visit my website at the Haunted Nights LIVE! page.

Stay tuned to Thorne & Cross: Haunted Nights LIVE! where we’ll be talking about 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 our listeners, Haunted Nights LIVE! features fact, fiction, and that indiscernible gray area in between. This show is part of the Authors on the Air Global Radio Network with more than 2 million listeners in 44 countries, and we’re excited to be part of it! Give us a like on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter.

Thorne & Cross: Haunted Nights LIVE!

Be there if you dare…