Tamara Thorne’s ETERNITY is now Available in Audiobook


Eternity by Tamara Thorne is available in audiobook at Audible.com!

Eternity features Sheriff Zach Tully, who is now getting his very own series, so this is a great place to start.

Welcome To Eternity … A Little Bit Of Hell On Earth

Eternity, California, is the sort of charming spot tourists flock to every summer and leave every fall when the heavy snows render it an isolated ghost town. Tourists and New Agers all talk about the strange energy coming from Eternity’s greatest attraction: a mountain called Icehouse. But the locals talk about something else.

The seemingly quiet town has been haunted by strange deaths, grisly murders, unspeakable mutilations, all the work of a serial killer who some say is the same serial killer for over a century. Now as the first snow starts to fall, terror grips Eternity as an undying evil begins its hunt once again…

To Write a Thrilling Thriller


In honor a Mother’s Day – here’s a little about the Thorne & Cross thriller, Mother ... and writing thrillers in general …

Thrillers are a little different from mystery and a little different from horror. Though all these genres tend to blend and merge to varying degrees, writing them – and reading them – is a slightly difference experience.

Generally speaking, the mystery novel’s goal is to solve a crime while thrillers seek to prevent it, but never having been big on following rules and regulations, my collaborator Tamara Thorne and I fiendishly merged these standards together for our thriller, Mother. We eagerly thrust our protagonists, expectant couple Claire and Jason Holbrook, into the hotbed of an already deadly situation; by the time they arrive at the scene, many unsolved crimes have already commenced. Unbeknownst to them, of course, the greatest offense has yet to be committed, and it’s up to them (with the help of some eccentric neighbors and a couple of reluctant priests) to prevent it from happening.

As well as mystery and suspense, Mother also incorporates strong elements of horror and black comedy – but at its core, this is definitely a thriller. That being said, there are a few things we’ve learned along the way that we believe not only apply to the thriller genre, but all genres.

The most important thing, we believe, is to keep the readers reading. No one wants to trudge through page after page of information to get to the good stuff, nor should they have to, so the first thing we focus our attention on is the opening scene.

The opening scene is a tough one because it should have enough action to excite and enough information to intrigue while still retaining its mystery; it should make promises of more to come. This requires walking a thin line, indeed. In Mother, we began at the end of the original “crime” – which becomes the driving force that propels our protagonists.

The protagonists are very important … and therefore, often the most difficult to write. While side characters can often get away with being one-dimensional, the main characters need a few more layers. It’s important that they be likable, but not boring. They should have weaknesses and strengths, triumphs and failures, and plenty of psychological complexity. And though they might do what they believe is right, they must make mistakes. If every character made the right choice at every turn, there would be a major shortage of damn good stories out there.

Andrew Neiderman, AKA V.C. Andrews, on the Thorne & Cross thriller, MOTHER

And having a damn good story is everything in this business. There are only so many themes in literature which have been recycled over the centuries, and it’s important to know what yours is. Are you writing a story about death and rebirth? A quest for higher understanding? An attempt to restore order and normalcy? A crusade to make the world a better place, or – as it is in Mother – a slaying of the dragon to reassert independence? Whatever your theme, know it and know it well, and make sure your characters go through hell to deliver it to the reader.

No one likes a story about people who coast through life, and this is why it’s important to put your characters through hell. Bestow upon them unimaginable grief and unspeakable horrors, and just when you feel like any further affliction will surely shatter your beloved character into a thousand pieces, double up on the damage. We want to see them struggle. We want to see them writhe and scramble and strive. Of course, we want to see them triumph, too … but not until the end … and sometimes not even then. But above all, we want to see them change – and grow.

Creating characters that change and grow as a result of their trials and tribulations is imperative. Think of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. The penny-pinching Ebenezer Scrooge goes through a night of torture that brings him face-to-face with the demons of his past, the misery of his present, and the horror of his future. By morning, he’s a changed man … and we love it.

We love it because it teaches us something about being human … and teaching the readers is perhaps the trickiest thing of all; fiction readers generally want to be entertained, not taught. Yet, if a writer is smooth enough to educate without hindering the flow of the plot, the story resonates with readers on a deeper, more meaningful level. But good authors do not take advantage of their readers and use their attention as an opportunity to sermonize or push opinions. In Mother, our “lesson” was simple: The real monsters are not necessarily strangers – often, they’re the people you trust and love, the people you look at every day. Our goal was to get this point across through the story, not by wagging our finger at the reader and lecturing.

There are a million ways to tell a story and an endless list of do’s and dont’s, but no matter how you go about it, one thing is certain: Readers want to be thrilled. Whether by means of terror and dread or by the promise of justice, they want to be ensnared by a story that compels them to keep turning pages. And writing a thriller that really thrills is the best way to make that happen.

False Starts … or Oh, How I Hate the Beginning


Every writer has their problem area, some part of the plot that just gives them fits. It’s usually what’s infamously known as the “sagging middle,” but for me, it’s the beginning. Always. Not the entire first act, just the opening scenes – especially that first one. 

I’ve accepted that when I’m beginning a new book, a few false starts is just part of my process. It takes me a minute to find my balance – to get the plot moving while revealing enough about the characters to get emotional buy-in from the reader. And this starts with treating your characters like real people. As a writer, I think it’s important to remember that your characters have lived their entire lives up to the point at which you begin their story. In other words, you can’t introduce them in a way that feels like they just now came into existence; the reader should feel like they’re hopping on a train that’s been going full-speed long before they opened the book. And this applies to stand-alones as well as when you’re writing a series, as I am now.  

A few weeks ago, The Black Wasp went to the editors and I didn’t want to wait to get started on the next one. It picks up immediately where the last one leaves off, so I wanted to keep things moving while I was still in the zone. Simple enough, you’d think, but even so, I’m two false starts into it already and am just now finding my footing. For me, starting the next book always feels like some aggravating dream where I’m trying to find my room in a hotel with no room numbers on the doors. I head down the long, nondescript hallway and start trying my key until I find the lock it fits.

I’m finally at the right door now. I know because the characters are fully alive and the story is moving (not to mention that warm buzz of bone-deep deliciousness I believe every writer feels when they know they’ve just struck gold.) 

So “TMR,” book 4 of The Vampires of Crimson Cove series, is officially in full-swing now. Because The Black Wasp hasn’t even been released yet, I obviously can’t say much about TMR  … except that I’m very excited about it. I’ve been trying to move this series into a certain direction for a while now – one that will open things up and allow new possibilities that will keep things fresh and exciting – and it’s with this book that I’m finally setting my feet onto that fertile ground. This is the place I’ve been trying to get to and I can’t wait to find out where it goes from here. 

That said, book 3, The Black Wasp, is in the final stages of revision, which means an official release date is imminent. I shall keep you apprised …

How Gretchen Got Her (Gruesome) Groove Back


Gretchen VanTreese is back – and more furious than ever.

If you’ve read The Silver Dagger (book 2 in the Vampires of Crimson Cove series) you know she went through some, er, hard times and lost a little of her mojo for a while there, but in The Black Wasp, she’s back to her old undead self again … and then some. As you can see in the image below (artwork by Stefan Ellis) she’s even rebuilding her little army of beautiful human blood (and sex) slaves.

But the inevitable wreckage of Gretchen’s rage is just one of many disasters that go down in The Black Wasp. Here there be murder, dark magick, mysterious women in black, and of course, flesh-eating, soul-corroding poisonous black wasps … but I can’t say any more about that for now. You’ll have to wait until the book drops, which happens in mid-June. The exact date is still pending but as soon as I have it, I’ll be spreading the word!

Gretchen VanTreese with her two new pets, “Foxy” and “Pretty Boy.”
Artwork by Stefan Ellis

Witches, Ghosts, and Murder, Oh My!


Many of you die-hard horror fans out there will be familiar with Moonfall, Tamara Thorne’s Halloween-themed classic about witches, gargoyles, magick, and evil nuns – and now, for the first time ever, it’s available in audiobook at Audible.com, narrated by the inimitable Jamison Walker.

Moonfall is the first Tamara Thorne novel I ever read. This was back in the 90s when I was a teen who dreamed of one day being a writer myself – and Moonfall was one of the books that prompted me to put pen to paper. I was utterly taken by the atmosphere and so thoroughly immersed in the world she’d created that I wanted to one day have that same power. Tamara Thorne – anger book Moonfall in particular – is one of the main reasons I’m an author today.  I never would have dreamed that so many years later, I’d be writing books with her. 

Life … she’s a strange beast indeed. And speaking of strange beasts, here’s a little about Moonfall:

Moonfall, the picturesque town nestled in the mountains of southern California, is a quaint hamlet of antique stores, cider mills, and pie shops, and Apple Heaven, run by the dedicated nuns of St. Gertrude’s Home for Girls, is the most popular destination of all. As autumn fills the air, the townspeople prepare for the Halloween Haunt, Moonfall’s most popular tourist attraction. Even a series of unsolved deaths over the years hasn’t dimmed Moonfall’s enthusiasm for the holiday.

Now, orphan Sara Hawthorne returns to teach in the hallowed halls of St. Gertrude’s where, twelve years before, her best friend died a horrible death. In Sara’s old room, distant voices echo in the dark and the tormented cries of children shatter the moon-kissed night.

But that’s just the beginning. For Sara Hawthorne is about to uncover St. Gertrude’s hellish secret…a secret she may well carry with her to the grave.

“Tamara Thorne has become one of those must-read horror writers.” –Horror World

Behind the Book: Sleep Savannah Sleep


One night, days after finishing my novel Dream Reaper, I was in bed, staring at the ceiling, wondering what to write next. I considered going back to the Crimson Cove series but I felt like there was a different story in me trying to get out. The trouble was, I didn’t know anything about it yet – I literally had no other ideas – so I started asking questions. 

I’ve always believed it’s the writer’s obligation to push their main character as hard as they can – that just when the protagonist might crack under the pressures of their dilemma, it’s time to give them one more problem – so the question I asked myself that night as I sought my next idea was this: What’s the worst thing I could possibly do to my main character in this book? 

It took some thinking, but a short time later, I finally had it: the absolute worst crisis possible (which I can’t say anything about without spoiling the book.) Suffice it to say that even now, I can’t imagine anything more awful than what Jason, my main character, goes through in this book. Anyway, once I had that, I worked backwards from there, something I’ve never done before. 

I started outlining this book that night and I was so excited about it that I never went to bed – but by the time the sun came up, Savannah was plotted out in its entirety, from the opening scene to the last. While this isn’t how I usually do things, I will say that it makes for much quicker novel writing: Sleep Savannah Sleep was written in twenty-five days. The first draft, that is. Edits and revisions still took a few months – but I’ve never written a first draft that fast. It was both exhilarating and exhausting, and though I don’t plan to do again any time soon, I loved it.

Sleep Savannah Sleep was a slightly different animal for me. I knew almost right away that this was a murder mystery so my process was a little different this time around. Usually, I know about where I want to end up and I just start writing toward that, allowing the plot to go where it sees fit (within reason, of course). In a murder mystery though, you need to have a concrete end at the beginning. You need to know your ending well and work strictly toward it, all the while leaving subtle clues that become apparent to the reader only after they’ve finished the book. This requires lots of heavy plotting and lots of precision, and for those reasons, I’m especially proud of Savannah.

As any writer will attest, each book is special in its own way, and to me, the thing that really sets this one apart from my others is not only its style but what it did for me, personally: It proved to me that I could expand. And for a writer who’s always looking for the next fresh angle, that’s important.


P.S. – Sleep Savannah Sleep (narrated by Isaiah Fowler) is available now in audiobook at Audible.com. You can also get it in paperback and ebook at Amazon.

Finishing Books and Listening to Your Characters


Coming this summer

On March 5th, I finished The Black Wasp, book 3 in the Vampires of Crimson Cove series, and I’m astounded by the direction these books have taken. This is in so small part due to the Black Wasp herself – a character who showed up in the middle of the previous book, The Silver Dagger.

I can still remember the moment she made her first appearance. I was in the midst of writing a scene that had nothing to do with strange, ancient women in old-fashioned mourning clothes, but there she was, all white-faced and creepy-eyed, waiting to be written. I put her off at first because I knew she’d do exactly what she did – which was forever alter the DNA of this series – but eventually, I could ignore her no longer. And I’m glad I didn’t.

Unlike the other supernatural creatures in Crimson Cove, she’s not a vampire – not in the usual sense, anyway – but something much darker, much deadlier. While she does feed on humans, it isn’t blood their that satiates her, but their fear and pain. In that respect, I suppose she’s a kind of “psychic vampire,” though I never refer to her as that in the book. She’s a different species altogether, her own kind of monster – a monster that’s opened new doors of possibility for the story arc and added deeper layers of intrigue (and terror) to my fictional world. Figuring her out has been one of the creative highlights of my writing life, and I still have a lot to learn about her.

I love it when characters feel this alive because early in my writing career, I was advised – by someone who didn’t know what the hell they were talking about – to never let the the characters guide the plot. Not knowing any better (and to my own detriment) I followed that advice, and my writing – when it came at all – suffered badly for it.

I nearly gave the up entirely more than once, but eventually, I heard someone say that writers should listen to their characters, and decided to give that a try … and that’s when my fictional world flourished and my plots gained real ambition.

It undoubtedly sounds crazy to non-writers (and probably to some writers as well, depending on their own processes) to say that the characters know what’s best, that it’s the author’s job is to transcribe more than actually invent the story, but – in my case, at least – it’s the absolute truth. Had I ignored the promptings of the Black Wasp character, the Crimson Cove series wouldn’t be taking the turns it is – and I love where it’s going.

The same thing happened in the first book, The Crimson Corset, with Gretchen VanTreese. It’s pretty hard to believe now that my central antagonist was originally intended to die in her first and only scene, but she was. Somehow, though, by that mysterious process of creation, things changed along the way, taking on an entirely new and unexpected shape. Without Gretchen, this series would be something entirely different. Assuming it existed at all, it certainly wouldn’t be the story I currently know and love.

And this is why I use every opportunity to tell new writers to a) trust their characters, and b) be very selective about what advice they follow. Every writer has their own process which needs to be discovered organically, and the only way to do that is to write. And write and write and write.

So keep writing …

And always, always listen to your characters.

P.S. The Black Wasp is currently with the editors and should be out sometime in early-to-mid summer.

Today is the First Day of a New Book


Today is the day I began a new book. With The Black Wasp (book 3 of the Vampires of Crimson Cove series) in the editor’s hands, and not a lot going on besides some book marketing and the disposal of an old sofa, I figured I might as well do some writing. Since I’m dying to find out what happens next, I’ve decided to dive right into book 4 of the Crimson Cove series which, for now, I am referring to only as TMR.

TMR picks up where The Black Wasp leaves off, and given that it hasn’t even been released yet, I can’t say a whole lot more about it except that things have really changed for my protagonist, Cade Colter. The Black Wasp not only introduced new characters, but new motives as well – and those motives are what will drive TMR and leave poor Cade with some pretty big fish to fry. And by “pretty big” I actually mean huge.

To simplify it, he’s in way over his head, and when The Black Wasp comes out (this summer!) you’ll see why. Even as I was writing today, I realized just how much Cade is underestimating his situation and how little he actually understands. I’m currently feeling very bad for him, but I can’t help it – I’m a sucker for the drama. There’s nothing more fun than a character who’s bitten off way more than they can chew (insert evil laugh here.)

The Black Wasp is coming soon

With so many endings on the horizon, I’m feeling especially excited about the new project (not only was The Black Wasp recently finished, but Tamara and I are creeping up on the climax of our next Thorne & Cross standalone, Spite House, as well as wrapping up the final scenes in Shadowlands, book 4 of The Ravencrest Saga), and no doubt adding to my excitement is the fact that this, the beginning, is my favorite part of the book. It might sound strange to say I prefer the beginnings and (and even the middles) to the endings, but I do – and not just in the books I’m writing, the ones I’m reading, too. Endings just kind of depress me, I guess, but the good news is, you can always start the next one – so, that’s what I did.

I wish I could tell you more about it, but for now, I need to keep its secrets close. When The Black Wasp comes out in the next month or two, maybe I’ll be able to say more …

Until then, happy reading, writing, or whatever it is that makes you shine, and just because, apropos of nothing, here’s me with my familiar, Pawpurrazzi, who oversees all my writing.

Pawpurrazzi and me, sometime last year

NEW RELEASE Available for Pre-Order


The Angel Alejandro is available for pre-order. Buy it today and have it directly sent to your Kindle on January 25th: http://tinyurl.com/z9mc5un
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A Man without a Past
 
After a near-fatal accident, Madison O’Riley is faced with an astonishing problem: What to do with the man who saved her life. Naive and heart-stoppingly handsome, he calls himself Alejandro … and he has no memory of his past. As they set out to recover his lost identity, Madison realizes he harbors deep – and otherworldly – secrets that will shatter her understanding of reality … secrets that may put her in grave danger.
 
The Devil in the Details
 
And now, there’s another stranger in town. Gremory Jones has something for everyone, and for a small price, he’s willing to make a deal. By day, he walks the streets of Prominence in top hat and trench coat, tempting the citizens with nefarious wares from his shiny black briefcase. By night, he and his legion of insatiable acolytes corrupt the locals at Club Mephistopheles, a den of unholy delights housed in an abandoned church.
 
The Battle has Begun …
 
The townspeople are changing in outrageous and appalling ways and it’s up to Madison – with the help of a psychic, a local priest, and the new chief of police – to help Alejandro unlock his forgotten powers before an unspeakable evil tears apart the fabric of existence … and costs them their very souls …
 
#angels
#demons
#amreading
#pnr
#horror

Dirty Ghosts, Dirt Cheap


THE GHOSTS OF RAVENCREST is available at: http://tinyurl.com/hzvae3e
 
“The Ghosts of Ravencrest delivers on every level. Delicate, creepy, detailed, and beautifully crafted, this reinvention of the gothic ghost story into a sexy, sleek modern chiller is a marvel of suspense and atmosphere. A knockout of a horror yarn!”
 
-Jay Bonansinga, the New York Times bestselling author of The Walking Dead: Invasion, Lucid, and Self Storage.
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.99 Cents For Jim Morrison, Elvis, and Jack the Ripper?


Tamara Thorne’s ETERNITY goes on sale for .99 on Monday, August 1st! Get a copy at: http://tinyurl.com/hgo8xzw Read a review of ETERNITY at HELLNOTES: http://tinyurl.com/jktk5xm
 
Currently, she and I are writing a collaboration that takes place in Eternity, which is a sequel to CANDLE BAY and features Michael, Winter, Chynna, and Arnie from my novel,THE CRIMSON CORSET. It will be out later this year. Until then, catch up with the folks in Eternity for .99
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ETERNITY by Tamara
 
When Zach Tully leaves Los Angeles to take over as sheriff of Eternity, a tiny mountain town in northern California, he’s expecting to find peace and quiet in his own private Mayberry. But he’s in for a surprise. Curmudgeonly Mayor Abbott is a ringer for long-missing writer Ambrose Bierce. There are two Elvises in town, a shirtless Jim Morrison, and a woman who has more than a passing resemblance to Amelia Earhart. And that’s only the beginning.
 
Eternity is the sort of charming spot tourists flock to every summer and leave every fall when the heavy snows render it an isolated ghost town. Tourists and New Agers all talk about the strange energy coming from Eternity’s greatest attraction: a mountain called Icehouse, replete with legends of Bigfoot, UFOs, Ascended Masters, and more. But the locals talk about something else.
 
The seemingly quiet town is plagued by strange deaths, grisly murders, and unspeakable mutilations, all the work of a serial killer the locals insist is Jack the Ripper. And they want Zach Tully to stop him.
 
Now, as the tourists leave and the first snow starts to fall, terror grips Eternity as an undying evil begins its hunt once again…

VAMPIRES for .99!


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Some years ago a young woman named Amanda Pearce came to a sleepy little California town on the central coast where she began work as concierge at the Candle Bay Hotel & Spa. She liked Natasha and Stephen Darling – the siblings who owned the inn, and was especially attracted to Stephen, a tall, broody drink of … water.  A good girl, Amanda didn’t even allow herself to fantasize about him because she knew you shouldn’t have affairs in the workplace. And Stephen, though attracted to her, kept his fangs to himself.

She met Natasha and Stephen’s uncle, Orion Darling and thought him eccentric because of his identification with The Godfather – even his office was an exact replica of the one in the movie – but that was fine with her. And then, along came a stranger, an old family friend – or so he claimed – named Julian Valentyn. There was something about him that frightened her, but Amanda was too happy in her new position to question things.

But after a run-in or three with Stephen’s lascivious, eternally sixteen-year-old twin sisters, Lucy and Ivy, and then finding a bloodless body in a laundry cart that never seemed to stay in one place, she began to think the hotel wasn’t quite what she’d bargained for.  

The bodies began piling up, but Amanda, her love for Stephen growing, persevered through every trial, through the strange dreams about Julian Valentyne, and despite threats and dangers at every turn. And at the end of the story she and Stephen had their first kiss.

But the question was never answered: Did he turn her or didn’t he?

At last, that – and many other questions – will be answered.

The sequel to Candle Bay had been planned for years, but simmered on a backburner until after Alistair wrote his vampire novel, The Crimson Corset, and asked if he might give the Darling clan cameo roles in the book. Tamara happily agreed and it went so well that she and Alistair decided to tackle the Candle Bay sequel as a collaboration, bringing together both Tamara’s Darlings (and Julian Valentyn, of course) and Alistair’s vamps – particularly peace-loving Michael and his lieutenants, Winter – the big lusty fellow with a deadly sense of humor – and Chynna – a beautiful warrior with a soft spot for her white tigers, Absinthe and Hyacinthe.

In the sequel, there is a vampiric festival coming up – a very special one that only occurs every century or so – in Eternity, California, a tiny town in the shadows of Icehouse Mountain, where Sheriff Zach Tully once battled a time-travelling Jack the Ripper. It’s a town where people like Ambrose Bierce, Elvis, and Amelia Earhart are rumored to live thanks to a supernaturally-charged prehistoric monument known as ‘Little Stonehenge.’  

Eternity is also on the bucket list for vampires as it was once the home-away-from-home for vamps misplaced after Atlantis met its watery death thousands of years ago. Icehouse Mountain is rumored to be the site of a very special vampiric holiday where the vamps gather to celebrate their long ago champion and king, the Trueborn, Kelieu. Think of it as Christmas with fangs.

Natasha Darling of Candle Bay and Michael Ward of Crimson Cove are travelling together to the festival in Eternity, and they have an intense past together. But these days, Michael is celibate while Natasha remains hot as hellfire, igniting their reunion with plenty of sparks and steam. And when Juicy Lucy and Poison Ivy carpool with Winter and Chynna, well, Chynna finds herself in charge of keeping everyone’s hands – and fangs – to themselves. As for Stephen, Julian, and Amanda, that eternal triangle is coming to a head. Will wedding bells chime? Will fangs fly? Will blood spill? Will the serial killer have a stake in the action? Will Sheriff Tully decide he’s had enough?

In the sequel, we again meet all these vampires and humans – as well as some fresh faces – as they head up to Eternity, some for marriage, some for fun, some to kill vampires, some to seduce them. Even the rarely-seen-but-oft-heard deejay, Coastal Eddie Fortune, is going. He’d really rather not – he’s no fool – but what can you do when you’re in love … with the mother of a serial killer?

We are hard at work on the sequel, approaching mid-point, and expect to see it in print before 2016 ends. Until then, you can read Candle Bay for just .99 now through Sunday, to refresh your memory and get ready for the sequel! Eternity and The Crimson Corset are also available if you really want to do your homework.

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The Angel Alejandro


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THE ANGEL ALEJANDRO – coming later this year.
 
After a near-fatal accident, Madison O’Riley is faced with an extraordinary problem: What to do with the man who saved her life. He calls himself Alejandro … and he has no memory of who he is or where he came from. As they set out to recover his past, Madison realizes there’s something different about him – something that goes beyond his child-like innocence and unearthly good looks.
 
And now there’s another stranger in town. By day, Gremory Jones, in top hat and trenchcoat, tempts the citizens of Prominence with mysterious wares from his shiny black briefcase. By night, he manages Club Mephistopheles, housed in an old Catholic church he’s renovated into a den of darkness and desire.
 
The townspeople are changing in outrageous and appalling ways and it’s up to Madison – with the help of a psychic, a local priest, and the new chief of police – to uncover Alejandro’s lost identity before an unspeakable evil tears apart the fabric of reality … and costs them their very souls …

MOTHER is on Sale at AMAZON!


MOTHER is on sale for .99! : http://tinyurl.com/hzghpsa

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A Girl’s Worst Nightmare is Her Mother …
Priscilla Martin. She’s the diva of Morning Glory Circle and a driving force in the quaint California town of Snapdragon. Overseer of garage sales and neighborhood Christmas decorations, she is widely admired. But few people know the real woman behind the perfectly coiffed hair and Opium perfume.

Family is Forever. And Ever and Ever …
No one escapes Prissy’s watchful eye. No one that is, except her son, who committed suicide many years ago, and her daughter, Claire, who left home more than a decade past and hasn’t spoken to her since. But now, Priscilla’s daughter and son-in-law have fallen on hard times. Expecting their first child, the couple is forced to move back … And Prissy is there to welcome them home with open arms … and to reclaim her broken family.

The Past Isn’t Always as Bad as You Remember.
Sometimes it’s Worse …
Claire has terrible memories of her mother, but now it seems Priscilla has mended her ways. When a cache of vile family secrets is uncovered, Claire struggles to determine fact from fiction, and her husband, Jason, begins to wonder who the monster really is. Lives are in danger – and Claire and Jason must face a horrifying truth … a truth that may destroy them … and will forever change their definition of “Mother.”

THE CLIFFHOUSE HAUNTING is on sale!


A deranged doctor with an appalling side-hobby, a macabre groundskeeper who delights in terrifying children, an unlikely vandal with vulgar talents, a lovestruck cop, a 60s Scream Queen, a death-portending ghost, and an egomanaical self-proclaimed psychic who wants to write a book about it. What happens when they all end up in a cozy cliff side lodge, and bodies start piling up? Find out for .99! THE CLIFFHOUSE HAUNTING is 80% off today and tomorrow only: http://tinyurl.com/zeyyekv

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And here’s what’s happening in the town of Cliffside this week!

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THE CLIFFHOUSE HAUNTING is on sale NOW for .99!


Today through Saturday, The Cliffhouse Haunting is on sale for only .99 at Amazon! To celebrate, here is this week’s copy of the The Cliffside Weekly Chronicle! Just click the pic below to obtain your .99 cent copy!

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THE CLIFFSIDE WEEKLY CHRONICLE

Another Death at the Peppermint Stix Motel

Another body has been found in Cliffside. The unidentified male was discovered by Bernard Cox, owner of the Peppermint Stix Motel on Main Street. “I’ve seen a lot of disgusting things – I’ve been running this run-down piece of sh*t motel for years – but I ain’t never seen anything the likes of this!” Cox went on to describe the scene. “So this fellow – he was ripped apart. A leg here, an arm there. And there was water everywhere. And his intestines, or something like that, was pulled out of him and draped around like festoons on the fourth of July!”

The body was taken to the Cliffside Funeral Home where coroner Gene Holmes, M.D., was expected to autopsy it this morning. Police Chief Jackson Ballou refused to answer questions, saying it was too early in the investigation. “This savage murder is just the latest in a series of deaths that may or may not be related. We haven’t even ruled out a bear attack at this point.”

But Cliffside residents have theories of their own. According to young locals Belle Tabrum and Lacey Mylett, there’s “obviously a serial killer on the loose, you know?” When asked what made them so certain, they seemed at a loss and failed to respond. Tessa Cornhull, RN, also believes the murders are connected. “It’s practically common sense,” says Cornhull. “Each of the victims is torn apart, but that’s not even what kills them. They die by drowning. Water in the lungs. That sounds like an MO to me!” Neither the police nor the coroner would confirm Cornhull’s claims of water being present in the lungs of the deceased, saying only that “The investigations are ongoing,” though Cornhull retains her belief that murder is afoot.

But Walter Gardner, groundskeeper of the Cliffside Lodge, has a different theory. Says Gardner, “It’s the Blue Lady. She’s come back. And when the Blue Lady walks, death walks with her.” Maggie O’Connor, a maid at the lodge, concurs with Gardner, saying, “I saw her. In the mirror in a room on the third floor. It scared me to death and I almost quit my job until my boss talked me into staying.”

Unable to obtain any substantial findings, we contacted local doctor, Roger Siechert, who was physician to several of the deceased. When told of the locals’ speculations, Dr. Siechert gave a boisterous laugh, saying, “I don’t know about all that, but are you guys coming to Oktoberfest this year? I’m making my famous Weisswurst. I’m going to win the contest this year! You just watch and see!”

According to Pastor Harry Beaver of the Baptist church, that comes as no surprise. Says Beaver, “Dr. Siechert wins first place every gosh darned year. It’d be nice to see someone else take that ribbon for once.”

So Who is the Blue Lady?

Interest in Cliffside’s own local ghost, the Blue Lady, has increased since long-time Cliffhouse Groundsman, Walter Gardner, said that he thinks the latest murders in our town – specifically at the Peppermint Stix Motel – may be connected to the deaths. And he says his theory has nothing to do with the unverified rumor that the victims’ lungs are full of water.

The Blue Lady sightings date back to the late 1700s when a short-lived Spanish Settlement occupied the area, then reemerged in 1886 when the Cliffhouse Lodge was built. The Blue Lady is often connected to serial murders such as those committed by The Gaslight Killer in the 1880s and The Bodice Ripper of the Prohibition Era. Local lore has it that the Blue Lady, a vengeful spirit of unknown origin, is said to appear during times of violence and death, and that such sightings are a prelude to murder.

It is most commonly believed that the ghost makes her home in or near the water, hence the name of the small lake near the Cliffside Lodge, Blue Lady Lake.

Self-Proclaimed Psychic Signs at the Crystal Cavern

Psychic medium Constance Welling has written many books on the occult and will be at the Crystal Cavern Occult Book Shop this Saturday from 2pm to 4pm signing her latest book in the Crystal Method series, The Kiss of the Wild Crystal. She will also be a giving a talk on getting in touch with your inner spirit guide. Her own spirit guide, (referred to as Eliza,) has been with her since childhood, after a near-fatal accident. Welling says Eliza has given her insight and guided her hand while writing her many books, as well as “helping others with their spiritual needs.”

Welling is currently staying at the Cliffhouse Lodge and says it’s extremely haunted. The medium says she hopes that the owners, Adam and Teddy Baxter-Bellamy, will relent and allow her to hold a seance in the lodge to speak with notorious 1920s serial killer, the Bodice Ripper. She hopes to once and for all identify the Ripper so that, “his many victims can at last go into the light.”

Adam Baxter-Bellamy responded to this reporter’s question. “We want to reassure our guests – past, present, and future, that Cliffhouse is not haunted – except possibly by a friendly feline ghost – and that no ghost-hunting or seances will happen here.”

Ms. Welling vehemently disagrees, stating that most non-gifted persons are unaware of ghostly goings-on. According to Ms. Welling, she is the only member of her family to have inherited what she calls the “gift.” Says Welling, “I used to tell my older sister what her dates were going to be like, and I was always right.” Constance’s only sibling, Phyllis Stine of Snapdragon, California, refused to comment, saying only that she had to get off the phone as a pressing neighborhood matter required her immediate attention. “Just make sure she has the best of everything,” said Stine, “and she’ll make you a few bucks. She insists on dining and traveling in style.”

And Ms. Welling is not traveling alone. She’s brought a hired hand to “help her manage her schedule,” and to “keep the fans at bay.” When asked if he thought his employer was as psychically gifted as she claims, Welling’s personal assistant, Luke Donovan, abruptly excused himself.

Welling’s The Crystal Method Series, as well as her children’s book, My Crystal and Me, are published by Faerie Dust Press, a small publisher based in Bakerton, California, owned by Rodney Hicks. You can obtain copies of Ms. Welling’s ebooks through Amazon. For paperback copies, send self-addressed stamped 6X9” envelopes to Rodney at his mother’s residence at: 17 Peanut Berry Circle, Bakerton, CA. For signed copies of her books, Ms. Welling says, “You’ll just have to come to one of my signings.”

Sadly, Ms. Welling’s first book, Beautiful Cluster, has gone out of print.

Wine Tasting Weekend at The Cliffhouse Lodge

The Cliffhouse Lodge will host their bi-monthly wine tasting this Saturday evening from seven to nine pm. The event is free to guests of the lodge and open to the public for $10 a person. Chantrieri wines from California’s own Valentyn Vineyards will be served along with Cliffhouse’s own Blue Springs Sparkling Water and an assortment of o’dourves prepared at the in-house bistro, Le Chatte Rouge. The event takes place in Cliffhouse’s historic lobby and features Jordan Cartwright on the piano.

“Our evening wine tastings are very popular,” says co-owner Sara Baxter-Bellamy. “Cliffhouse is an amazing place, one of the first hotels ever built in the San Bernardino Mountains. The lobby is breathtaking and even has a natural brook running through it. Try it once, you’ll want to come again.”

Dinner will be served from 4 pm through 10 pm at La Chatte Rouge and manager Paul Butters says they will be featuring their own California cuisine, including Asiago and Kale pizza, Trout with Cranberry and Peppercorn Glaze, and Filet Mignon with Framboise du Congélateur.

Old West Days

Later this month, as part of Cliffside’s, Welcome to Summer festivities, The Cliffhouse Lodge will play host to Old West Days, a reenactment of the old west that’s been a popular event for over fifty years. “Back in the day, it was called ‘Cowboys and Indians Days,” explains local historian Stanford Swiller, “but we aren’t allowed to say that anymore. Nor are we allowed to depict battles but there will be a rodeo in the field by the Cliffside Stables near the lodge.”

On the Great Lawn, there will be native American dances and crafts, Cowboy crafts, including a class in whittling led by our own chief of police, Jackson Ballou, knot-tying classes, a reenactment of the Gunfight at the OK Corral and plenty of strolling, strumming, singing cowboys. The hotel will sponsor a barbecue in conjunction in La Chatte Rouge and welcome plenty of concession stands for food and libations. Other concessions will sell cowboy and native gear for young and old alike and each evening there will be square-dancing under the stars.

Admission to Old West Days is $15 per person. Cliffhouse Lodge will supply a free shuttle to ferry guests between the hotel and the stables.

Obituary

Services for Eliot “Rainbow” Nash, 43, will be held at the Cliffside Funeral Home Thursday at 10 a.m. Mr. Nash is survived by his wife, Myrna, and children Greenwich, Daffodil, Hoody, and Solstice. Mr. Nash was a locally famous glassblower whose Pine Street shop, Tinkling Things, was destroyed in the freak explosion that took Mr. Nash’s life. The family asks that in lieu of flowers, mourners donate to Old Seamen’s Retirement Home in Red Cay.

Film Festival Honoring Maisy Hart

Next Friday night, the Cliffside Arts Theater will feature an evening of films starring our own Maisy Hart. Miss Hart, who is a permanent resident at the Cliffhouse Lodge, was a scream queen back in the 1960s, starring in such films as Creature of the Indigo Swamp, Scream of the Shrew Monster, Screaming Girls of Calaveras County and Screams of the Sorority Sisters.

Miss Hart will be there in person to answer questions and autograph DVDs. Admission is $12. The doors open at 5 pm.

Person of the Week

We all know yearly Person of the Week, Noble Mason, who regularly helps Cliffside residents deal with everything from plumbing problems to choosing the right paint, but how many know about Pat Matthews, his righthand man and brother-in-law? This week, Pat is our Person of the Week.

Pat has worked for Noble Mason since marrying Noble’s sister, Taffilynn, fifteen years ago and they, along with their twelve children, are prominent residents of our fair village. “Pat’s a good guy,” says Noble. “He follows my orders with a smile and takes good care of my baby sister and all my little nieces and nephews.”

Pat, who hails from Twin Falls, Idaho, says he loves Cliffside and is glad to be a part of our town. In addition to acting as handyman, he likes to spend lots of time with his wife and children. “Taffilynn has one in the oven, if you know what I mean, and we’re hoping eventually to have enough kids to make two baseball teams. That would be great. Just great!”

Pat works full time taking care of problems for the town’s residents while Taffilynn is a stay-at-home mom who fills her days taking care of their children. “She loves it,” says Pat. “She was born to be a mom. And I was born to be a dad. It’s great. Just great.”

Taffilynn declined to be interviewed but Truthanne and Shrudilee, their twin girls, said of their dad, “He’s great. When Mom’s not home, he lets us watch The Walking Dead!

Police Blotter

Loyd McRoid, aka Loyd the Roid, was arrested for illegally occupying a hotel room and cleaning out honor bar at the Doc Holliday Inn. McRoid, 53, evidently slipped into the unoccupied room and spent the night. Hotel worker Felicia Hornblower found him passed out naked on the bed, the entire contents of the honor bar strewn about him. Everything had been consumed. Two empty bottles of whiskey were also found in the room, one filled with urine. The bathroom was untouched.

Harvey Tanbottum, 37, was arrested after throwing a barstool through a window at Bloodhound’s Bar Wednesday night. Tanbottum claimed a blue-skinned woman had tried to sodomize him in the bathroom. When other patrons disregarded his claims, Tanbottum “Just lost it!” says an anonymous drinker. Bloodhound’s – locally known as Boozehound’s – is next door to the Peppermint Stix Motel, but police say Tanbottum, despite staying at the motel, was not involved in recent deaths there.

Carlotta Wellbourne, 52, was arrested for shoplifting at Cliffside Market Tuesday afternoon after she was seen stuffing lobster claws into her blouse. The society matron is famous for her charitable works, particularly for her annual Scotsman’s Balls in which attendees come dressed in kilts and other Scottish attire.

 

THE CRIMSON CORSET is on SALE!


The sale starts tomorrow: http://tinyurl.com/jrmrvjz

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Welcome to Crimson Cove

Sheltered by ancient redwoods overlooking the California coast, the cozy village of Crimson Cove has it all: sophisticated retreats, fine dining, 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, 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.

Blood Wars

The streets are running red with blood, and as violence and murder ravage the night, Cade must face the darkest forces inside himself, and perhaps even abandon his own humanity, in order to protect what he loves.

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MOTHER: Available Tomorrow


Tomorrow’s the big day. MOTHER will be available to buy! Links to follow.
MOTHER
“Mother is a thriller in the truest sense of the word. What begins with a walk through a nice neighborhood in a nice town quickly becomes a chilling and unnerving descent into madness that is harder and harder to escape. Because I wear a fitness tracker I have scientific proof that the finale is a wild ride. Although I was curled up on the couch reading, Mother caused my heart rate to go up ten points! I’ll never look at a neighborhood block party the same way.”
-Q.L. Pearce, bestselling author of Scary Stories for Sleep-Overs
“Mother is about as disturbing as one can get. Thorne and Cross are seriously twisted individuals that know how to horrify and entertain at the same time.
-Fang-Freakin-Tastic Reviews
“A delightfully sinister walk up the shadowed staircase to the room Mother arranged especially for you. So, what’s in the cupboard? What’s she hiding in the basement? Inside the garage? Under the floorboards? With Mother, Thorne and Cross reanimate the “familiar,” leading you down a path of familial treachery that gets midnight-dark all too quickly.”
– Michael Aronovitz – author of Phantom Effect

At Last


The 4th (or is it the 5th?) and FINAL read-through of MOTHER is finished. All that’s left is a quick detail check. MOTHER will go to publication next week and Tamara and I will return to The Witches of Ravencrest, our solos, and begin research and development on the Candle Bay sequel.

I will never read MOTHER again. I never read my work after it goes to publication because, by then, I’m sick of the sight of it. Usually, I’m pleased to never lay eyes on it again, but this time, I admit to a certain sadness. I will miss MOTHER … and all the folks of Morning Glory Circle.

This book, I believe, is the best work Tamara and I have done … so far. I am pleased. And that’s rare.

MOTHER

Nasty Neighbors


Have a neighbor you just can’t stand?

In honor of the upcoming release of our thriller, Mother, which takes place in a gossip-laden cul-de-sac called Morning Glory Circle, we want to hear your Nasty Neighbor stories! Whether it’s someone who listens to polka music too loud, or someone you’re sure has corpses piling up in their crawlspace, if your neighbors are behaving badly, your Nasty Neighbor story needs to be told! And, for an extra helping of gabby good times, we’ll read your story on our radio show, Thorne & Cross: Haunted Nights LIVE!

By emailing us your story, you guarantee all names and locations are anonymous and agree to possible publication. The top three winners will win an ebook copy of MOTHER upon its release it April. Stories must be under 200 words. Email your Nasty Neighbor story to hauntednightslive@gmail.com

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In The Land of Moms and Monsters


We wrote an article over at Risingshadow about what inspired our upcoming thriller, Mother, titled In the Land of Moms and Monsters.

Mother is a psychological thriller in the vein of Psycho and Misery, with a pinch of Peyton Place and a dash of Gaslight. Expectant couple Claire and Jason Holbrook have fallen on hard times, forcing them to move in with Claire’s estranged mother. Claire vowed to have no contact with the overbearing woman ever again, but Mother is thrilled at the prospect of a grandchild.

At Mother’s, Claire and Jason begin experiencing things that make them determined to leave immediately … but when a cruel twist of fate makes that impossible, Claire becomes obsessed with her mother’s motives. Fantasy and fact blur together as her compulsion consumes her, and Jason wonders who the villain really is.

When a cache of macabre family secrets is uncovered, Claire and Jason find the answers they’re looking for – answers that will change them forever … assuming anyone can get out of Mother’s house alive.

Mother will be available in ebook and paperback in April.

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FACEBOOK EVENT Today at 7 – 8 pm EST


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

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MOTHER is Coming Soon


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A Girl’s Worst Nightmare is Her Mother …

Priscilla Martin. She’s the diva of Morning Glory Circle and a driving force in the quaint California town of Snapdragon. Overseer of garage sales and neighborhood Christmas decorations, she is widely admired. But few people know the real woman behind the perfectly coiffed hair and Opium perfume.

Family is Forever. And Ever and Ever …

No one escapes Prissy’s watchful eye. No one that is, except her son, who committed suicide many years ago, and her daughter, Claire, who left home more than a decade past and hasn’t spoken to her since. But now, Priscilla’s daughter and son-in-law have fallen on hard times. Expecting their first child, the couple is forced to move back … And Prissy is there to welcome them home with open arms … and to reclaim her broken family.

The Past Isn’t Always as Bad as You Remember.

Sometimes it’s Worse …

Claire has terrible memories of her mother, but now it seems Priscilla has mended her ways. When a cache of vile family secrets is uncovered, Claire struggles to determine fact from fiction, and her husband, Jason, begins to wonder who the monster really is. Lives are in danger – and Claire and Jason must face a horrifying truth … a truth that may destroy them … and will forever change their definition of “Mother.”

GRAVE EXPECTATIONS is Available!


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

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

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

***

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

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

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

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

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

THE CRIMSON CORSET is Now Available in Paper


At long last, THE CRIMSON CORSET is available in paperback. You can also get it on Kindle.

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“Put Bram Stoker in a giant cocktail shaker, add a pinch of Laurell K. Hamilton, a shot of John Carpenter, and a healthy jigger of absinthe, and you’ll end up with Alistair Cross’s modern Gothic chiller, “The Crimson Corset” – a deliciously terrifying tale that will sink its teeth into you from page one.”
– Jay Bonansinga, New York Times Bestselling author of THE WALKING DEAD: INVASION and LUCID

“This drop-deadly tale of seduction and terror will leave you begging to be fanged … ”
– Tamara Thorne, international bestselling author of HAUNTED and MOONFALL

“I couldn’t put this book down. It’s got more hooks than a day boat out of San Pedro Harbor!”
– QL Pearce, bestselling author of SCARY STORIES FOR SLEEP-OVERS

“Alistair Cross’ new novel THE CRIMSON CORSET … is taut and elegantly written taking us into the realms where the erotic and the horrific meet. Reminiscent of the work of Sheridan Le Fanu (CARMILLA, UNCLE SILAS) in its hothouse, almost Victorian intensity, it tells a multi-leveled story of misalliance and mixed motives. The language is darkly lyrical, and the tale is compelling. Read it; you’ll be glad you did.”

Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, author of the SAINT-GERMAIN CYCLE and the CHESTERTON HOLT MYSTERIES

“THE CRIMSON CORSET is a good read. There is a colorful cast of characters, a clever plot, and an intricate structure … there are surprises and jumps and starts, sex and death, beauty and gore, something for everyone … if you are looking for set-up and pay-off, this novel will not disappoint.”

-HELLNOTES

“This was an awesome read. Mainly because it kept me entertained and excited for the entire book. THE CRIMSON CORSET isn’t every other vampire book.”

-FANG-FREAKIN-TASTIC REVIEWS

“Falling somewhere between paranormal romance and vintage horror, THE CRIMSON CORSET is a tale of small towns, family ties, and vampires. Alistair Cross puts just enough of a spin on vampire mythology to distinguish his tale from the competition, and tells it with a slow-burning, subtle sort of flair that really pays off in the end …THE CRIMSON CORSET is one of those rare novels that manages to succeed across the board.”

-BEAUTY IN RUINS

“Do yourself a HUGE favour – if you only read ONE horror/vampire themed book this year then be sure to make it THE CRIMSON CORSET by Alistair Cross. Horror lovers will adore its unashamed gore and graveyard humour and it has plenty of romance to satisfy paranormal romance fans who fancy a darker, Gothic inspired read … a tale that not only has a lot of bite but also plays with the readers’ emotions, in one scary, bloody and lust-filled ride!”

-A READER’S REVIEW BLOG

THE CRIMSON CORSET: Foreword


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As THE CRIMSON CORSET nears availability as a paperback, I’d like to share the foreword, written by my friend, my collaborator, my favorite author, Tamara Thorne, whose books I’ve adored since my teen years when I never could have imagined I would ever meet her, let alone one day write books with her.

I can think of no better way to be introduced into the world of writing than by horror-lit royalty like Tamara Thorne. She has published so many books that I love, and have loved, for so many years, and to hear her praise my work is, in itself, a dream come true.

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THE CRIMSON CORSET
FOREWORD
by Tamara Thorne

“Alistair Cross is a hell of a good writer, and I’m not just saying that because he’s the collaborator of my dreams. It’s because I’ve read the novel you now hold in your hands half a dozen times – from first draft through final edit – and with each read, it just kept getting better, addicting me more and more to its gripping – and at times, eye-popping – plot.

The characters are lucid and sublimely alive as they take Alistair’s story and run with it, delivering strong doses of excitement, terror, humor, and sexuality. His dialogue shines; I can hear his characters so clearly it’s as if I’m eavesdropping … and it’s a juicy conversation.

The Colter Brothers, Cade and Brooks, are hunky, hilarious, and a pleasure to get to know. They could be your next door neighbors (if you’re lucky!) but as they face their demons, they teach us so much about growth, about confronting adversity, and about the nature of the human spirit that it would be impossible to write them off as mere entertainers. Watching these brothers develop, watching how they argue, joke, and then work together is not only delightful, it’s inspiring. Theirs is a bromance worthy of Sam and Dean Winchester’s and this adds a fascinating layer to an already riveting piece of fiction.

And then there’s the sheriff, Ethan Hunter. While so many of his kind are stereotypical, Ethan has strengths, weaknesses, amusing quirks – and some very interesting hobbies – that deliver him from the trenches of mediocrity and place him under a spotlight of his own. Ethan is more than a means of moving the plot forward and relaying information – he’s a man with a story. And it’s the kind of story that will keep you up at night.

At Eudemonia, a pricey and beautiful health spa, lives the messianic Michael, leader of the peaceful faction of vampires. Michael is in equal parts magnetic and mysterious – a thoroughly fascinating figure even without Reaper, the movie-quoting raven on his shoulder. Through Michael’s eyes, we see a world that is never sullied, never without hope – a world in which we’d all love to spend some time. Perhaps less blinded by idealism is Winter, his second-in-command, and slightly medieval buddy. This guy is the kind of fearless grinning sidekick any leader would be glad to have, and together, Michael and Winter are a compelling force capable of making any villain flinch.

Which brings us to the bad guys – the vampires of the Crimson Corset, a notorious nightclub at the other end of town. Its inhabitants are complete well-rounded characters with intrigues of their own. There’s my personal favorite, the psychotic and beautiful little leader, Gretchen VanTreese, who’s never met a man she didn’t want to dominate. We are also treated to her lieutenant, Jazminka of the thigh-high boots, questionable sexuality, and thick Slavic accent she hasn’t lost in 200 years. Then there’s Aidan and Ambrose, the beautiful twin boys that Gretchen keeps as pets – but these guys have nothing on her favorite plaything of all, her bodyguard Scythe, whose anatomy is so impressive she calls it Vlad the Impaler.

As an added treat, there are several cameos by vampires from my own novel, Candle Bay. When Alistair asked if they could stop by The Crimson Corset, I was surprised and pleased. And he wrote them like a boss. He understood my guys completely and put exactly the right words in their mouths. I was so impressed I asked him to collaborate on my sequel to Candle Bay. He agreed, and we intend to release it sometime in 2016, so you’ll get another dose of the Crimson Cove vamps as they join the fanged ones of Candle Bay on a very special road trip.

As for Mr. Cross, the writer: He always delivers. Failure is not an option. Writing with him – or watching him write a solo in our virtual office – is a study in inspiration. He meets every deadline and makes sure we reach our individual and collaborative goals. He takes his job seriously, makes no excuses, and has the grit and determination to make things happen. And his prose is absolutely beautiful. What a combination!

This is a man who is going places, I guarantee it. He’ll write many more solos and I’ll read and love them all. I also look forward to our future collaborations. I don’t take Alistair for granted, and I never will. Neither should you. It’s my pleasure to introduce this outstanding new author and his remarkable debut novel – so unsheathe your claws, sharpen your fangs and step on in to The Crimson Corset. I’m confident that you’ll enjoy your stay – and look forward to his future works – every bit as much as I do.”

                           –  Tamara Thorne, July 15, 2015

The Crimson Corset is on its way … in paper!


In just a few days, THE CRIMSON CORSET will be available in paperback. For now, you can buy it in ebook format at Amazon.

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“Alistair Cross’ new novel THE CRIMSON CORSET … is taut and elegantly written taking us into the realms where the erotic and the horrific meet. Reminiscent of the work of Sheridan Le Fanu (CARMILLA, UNCLE SILAS) in its hothouse, almost Victorian intensity, it tells a multi-leveled story of misalliance and mixed motives. The language is darkly lyrical, and the tale is compelling. Read it; you’ll be glad you did.”

Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, author of the SAINT-GERMAIN CYCLE and the CHESTERTON HOLT MYSTERIES

“THE CRIMSON CORSET is a good read. There is a colorful cast of characters, a clever plot, and an intricate structure … there are surprises and jumps and starts, sex and death, beauty and gore, something for everyone … if you are looking for set-up and pay-off, this novel will not disappoint.”

-HELLNOTES

“This was an awesome read. Mainly because it kept me entertained and excited for the entire book. THE CRIMSON CORSET isn’t every other vampire book.”

-FANG-FREAKIN-TASTIC REVIEWS

“Falling somewhere between paranormal romance and vintage horror, THE CRIMSON CORSET is a tale of small towns, family ties, and vampires. Alistair Cross puts just enough of a spin on vampire mythology to distinguish his tale from the competition, and tells it with a slow-burning, subtle sort of flair that really pays off in the end …THE CRIMSON CORSET is one of those rare novels that manages to succeed across the board.”

-BEAUTY IN RUINS

“Put Bram Stoker in a giant cocktail shaker, add a pinch of Laurell K. Hamilton, a shot of John Carpenter, and a healthy jigger of absinthe, and you’ll end up with Alistair Cross’s modern Gothic chiller, “The Crimson Corset” – a deliciously terrifying tale that will sink its teeth into you from page one.”

– Jay Bonansinga, New York Times Bestselling author of THE WALKING DEAD: INVASION and LUCID

“This drop-deadly tale of seduction and terror will leave you begging to be fanged … ”

– Tamara Thorne, international bestselling author of HAUNTED and MOONFALL

“I couldn’t put this book down. It’s got more hooks than a day boat out of San Pedro Harbor!”

– QL Pearce, bestselling author of SCARY STORIES FOR SLEEP-OVERS

“Do yourself a HUGE favour – if you only read ONE horror/vampire themed book this year then be sure to make it THE CRIMSON CORSET by Alistair Cross. Horror lovers will adore its unashamed gore and graveyard humour and it has plenty of romance to satisfy paranormal romance fans who fancy a darker, Gothic inspired read … a tale that not only has a lot of bite but also plays with the readers’ emotions, in one scary, bloody and lust-filled ride!”

-A READER’S REVIEW BLOG

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!

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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.

Dashes of Dark Fiction


Today, I completed the first act of my current work-in-progress,”TAA,” which places me close to the halfway point, give or take a few thousand words. This deeply in, I can state with relative certainty that this is not a horror novel. Not exactly, anyway.

Because “TAA” is all about temptation, greed, and the battle between the saintly and the sinister, strong elements of horror are a given. But there are also components of romance and urban fantasy … with paranormal highlights and dashes of dark fiction.

It isn’t that I tried to keep it from being a horror story – it’s that this book simply doesn’t require the degree of darkness my other works have. The irony of this is that the theme of “TAA” is loftier than any I’ve previously undertaken.

That said, this story retains the familiar atmosphere of my solo and collaborative Thorne & Cross novels, with references to our other fictional locales, a cameo from Ethan Hunter of my last release,THE CRIMSON CORSET and, of course, sporadic guest appearances by Tamara’s conspiracy-driven radio deejay, Coastal Eddie, down in CANDLE BAY, who always seems to know a little more than he lets on.

In short, this novel is of the same twisted DNA that spawned THE CLIFFHOUSE HAUNTING and THE GHOSTS OF RAVENCREST. As a matter of fact, one of “TAA’s” main players is Nick Grayson, a deputy from Crimson Cove who has taken a new job as chief of police in the neighboring town of Prominence, where “TAA” takes place. And he’s just in time for some mind-bending phenomena, a few soul-shattering revelations, and some very, very nasty weather.

Barring any unavoidable, unforeseen catastrophes, “TAA” will be out next year – but not before the next Thorne & Cross collaboration, due out in a matter of months now – which dives into the blackest, iciest depths of psychological thrills and stay-at-home horror.

But that’s another blog post.

 

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REVIEW: The Ghosts of Ravencrest


Here’s a review from The Ghosts of Ravencrest, available now!

**REVIEW** ~ The Ghosts of Ravenscrest (The Ravencrest Saga Book 1), by Tamara Thorne and Alistair Cross

Modern Gothic

#Erotica #Horror #Paranormal

Adult/18+ Read

This is another lust filled and downright scary read from the pens of these two very talented authors! Prepare to be titillated and spooked as Ravencrest’s new governess finds that she is at the centre of a battle between good and evil which has been going on for centuries. Tina 🙂

Ravenscrest

Book Blurb

Darkness Never Dies …
Ravencrest Manor has always been part of the family. The ancestral home of the Mannings, Ravencrest’s walls have been witness to generations of unimaginable scandal, horror, and depravity. Imported stone by stone from England to northern California in the early 1800s, the manor now houses widower Eric Manning, his children, and his staff. Ravencrest stands alone, holding its memories and ghosts close to its dark heart, casting long, black shadows across its grand lawns, through the surrounding forests, and over the picturesque town of Devilswood, below.

Dare to Cross the Threshold …
Ravencrest Manor is the most beautiful thing new governess, Belinda Moorland, has ever seen, but as she learns more about its tangled past of romance and terror, she realizes that beauty has a dark side. Ravencrest is built on secrets, and its inhabitants seem to be keeping plenty of their own – from the handsome English butler, Grant Phister, to the power-mad administrator, Mrs. Heller, to Eric Manning himself, who watches her with dark, fathomless eyes. But Belinda soon realizes that the living who dwell in Ravencrest have nothing on the other inhabitants – the ones who walk the darkened halls by night … the ones who enter her dreams … the ones who are watching … and waiting …

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

My Review 5 Stars!

Modern Gothic Erotica par excellence!

In The Ghosts of Ravenscrest, the first book in The Ravenscrest saga, Tamara Thorne and Alistair Cross have once agian excelled themselves with a super modern take on the gothic novel. The read combines toe-curling scenes of erotica with a ghostly goings on in a plot with an increasing sense of terror and mayhem, sprinkled with some irreverent humour. At the centre of the tale is the unsuspecting ingenue Belinda, the new governess at the mysterious Ravenscrest Manor, who risks losing her innocence and her sanity as she unwittingly attracts the interest of the manor’s occupants, the living and the dead, with what threatens to be devastating consequences……

Ravenscrest is no ordinary residence: the very fabric of the building was transported piece by piece from England, along with  the many secrets and memories from its bloody history, that still resonate today. The ghosts and spirits of the past not only reach out to Belinda in erotic dreams and terrifying nightmares but also as she goes about her duties working for the handsome and enigmatic widower Eric Manning. It seems that Belinda is a VERY special young woman, a fact that has enraged the evil adversary in the form of the uber controlling bitch that is Miss Heller, the manor’s administator and dominatrix!

I was totally absorbed by the depth and breadth of the plot and the characerisations of the manor’s current and former occupants – Miss Heller and Grant Phister, in particular. One minute I was titillated by the erotic scenes experienced by Belinda and others (cue medical play and BDSM) and the next I was on the edge of my seat reading about witchcraft, hauntings and  horror, before being  entertained by scenes of romance and humour. The charatcter of Belinda grows in strength as the novel progresses and her importance in the interplay between good and evil becomes clearer  as the secrets of the manor and its occupants begin to reveal themselves.

The novel, book 1 in The Ravenscrest saga, builds up to a terrifying crescendo and reaches a conclusion which satifies one of the issues at play, working well as a standalone. However, there are still many unresolved questions to answer about Belinda and the occupants of the manor, which I am looking forward to reading about in future instalments.

To sum up: a superb modern gothic which will delight readers of the genre. Indeed, the novels that these two authors are writing individually and together about the dark side of sunny California are truly inpired and I encourage you to find out more!

Reviewed by Tina Williams

Please note, a copy of this book was given to me for the purpose of a fair and honest review.

If you would like to read my review of Alistair Cross’ The Crimson Corset, (the Vampires of Crimson Cove), which I read earlier this year, click on the title.

Connect with the Authors

http://www.tamarathorne.com/

http://alistaircross.com/

Purchase Links

Amazon US  Amazon UK

Free Book Giveaway


Over at Books that Hook, they’re doing a 3-book giveaway of THE CRIMSON CORSET, the first installment of sexy terror and undead intrigue in THE VAMPIRES OF CRIMSON COVE series. If you like a little venom with your vamps, go to Books that Hook for your chance to win a free copy.

Still not convinced? Here’s what New York Times bestselling author of THE WALKING DEAD, Jay Bonansiga, has to say about it:

“Put Bram Stoker in a giant cocktail shaker, add a pinch of Laurell K. Hamilton, a shot of John Carpenter, and a healthy jigger of absinthe, and you’ll end up with Alistair Cross’s modern Gothic chiller, “The Crimson Corset” – a deliciously terrifying tale that will sink its teeth into you from page one.”

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It’s Alive! Alive! And on Amazon!


The Ghosts of Ravencrest is a traditional gothic, complete with a young governess, handsome millionaire, a houseful of mysterious staff members… and hot and cold running ghosts. There are mysteries and family curses and a historical novella within each volume of The Ravencrest Saga. Just because it’s traditional, like Rebecca, Turn of the Screw, or Dark Shadows, doesn’t mean you should expect the expected. This is a modern gothic, with the kind of extra helpings of terror, sex, and surprises you’ve come to expect from a Thorne & Cross novel!

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

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

In The Ghosts of Ravencrest, you’ll travel in time back to the London Frost Fair of 1788 to meet millionaire Eric Manning’s ancestors and explore some of the mysteries and spectres plaguing the house in contemporary times. You’ll celebrate Christmas with the Mannings too, and meet the mysterious Bran Lanval, a Knight of the Order of the Mandrake, as he works to stop a plague of witchcraft meant to destroy the Manning family for all time.

In modern times, there are witches afoot and spirits galore. As governess Belinda Moorland unearths the mysteries of her new home, she realizes the house – and all of its inhabitants – is mired in terror, scandal, and deadly secrets. From the hellacious house administrator, Mrs. Heller, to the long-dead nuns, Sisters Faith, Hope, and Charity, who rule the ghost-soaked east wing – to the screaming, cold presence in the indoor pool, and the unnatural creature who watches her from the vents, everyone – and every thing – seems to have an interest in Belinda.

From her first night at the manor when she’s seduced by a handsome phantom who sends her on a deadly quest, Belinda knows she must unravel the secrets of her own identity before she, herself, becomes yet another ghost of Ravencrest.

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

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

At last, the complete first volume of The Ravencrest Saga: The Ghosts of Ravencrest, is available to purchase on Amazon.com.  Other formats (including paper) will follow in the not-too-distant future.

Watch for the first installment of Volume 2 of The Ravencrest Saga, coming in October, just in time for Halloween.

Just click the pic to buy!

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It’s Coming …


The Ghosts of Ravencrest

Volume 1 of The Ravencrest Saga

Darkness Never Dies …

Ravencrest Manor has always been part of the family. The ancestral home of the Mannings, Ravencrest’s walls have been witness to generations of unimaginable scandal, horror, and depravity. Imported stone by stone from England to northern California in the early 1800s, the manor now houses widower Eric Manning, his children, and his staff. Ravencrest stands alone, holding its memories and ghosts close to its dark heart, casting long, black shadows across its grand lawns, through the surrounding forests, and over the picturesque town of Devilswood, below.

Dare to Cross the Threshold …

Ravencrest Manor is the most beautiful thing new governess, Belinda Moorland, has ever seen, but as she learns more about its tangled past of romance and terror, she realizes that beauty has a dark side. Ravencrest is built on secrets, and its inhabitants seem to be keeping plenty of their own – from the handsome English butler, Grant Phister, to the power-mad administrator, Mrs. Heller, to Eric Manning himself, who watches her with dark, fathomless eyes. But Belinda soon realizes that the living who dwell in Ravencrest have nothing on the other inhabitants – the ones who walk the darkened halls by night … the ones who enter her dreams … the ones who are watching … and waiting …

Welcome to Ravencrest …

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

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Raves for Ravencrest…

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

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

  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

“In The Ghosts of Ravencrest, Tamara Thorne and Alistair Cross have created a world that is dark, opulent, and smoldering with the promise of scares and seduction. You’ll be able to feel the slide of the satin sheets, taste the fizz of champagne, and hear the footsteps on the stairs.”

 -Sylvia Shults, paranormal expert and author of Fractured Spirits and Hunting Demons

“In this classic-style gothic, young Belinda Moorland takes a job as governess for the children of Eric Manning, whose family mansion, Ravencrest, was reassembled stone by stone after crossing over from England. Now stalked by a bevy of quirky, shady characters … the sinister estate and its naughty nightside hijinks take center stage in this expert tale of multi-generational evil – and love. The Ghosts of Ravencrest will chill you and make you hot and bothered at the same time. There’s nothing like a stay in a California town created by Thorne and Cross!”

 -W.D. Gagliani, author of Wolf’s Blind (the Nick Lupo Series)

The Ghosts of Ravencrest is a scary, intricate read. The horror is well crafted and the ornate setting descriptions are breathtaking. Most importantly, from page one, readers fall in love with Belinda. We care about what happens to her, and we hope exactly what that is remains deliciously extensive!”

  -Michael Aronovitz, author of Alice Walks

“Scary and scandalous! The Ghosts of Ravencrest will leaving you shivering with excitement and terror …”

 -William Malmborg, author of Jimmy and Text Message

Excerpt:

“Ravencrest Manor at midnight. Within the great house, Cordelia Heller was awake, casting spells, amused that Phister and the governess thought she didn’t know what they were up to. And in the carriage house, Grant and Belinda prepared for their rescue attempt, exchanging information, checking flashlight batteries, and repeating simple protection spells to one another.

Outside, the sky was black velvet embroidered with cold silver stars awaiting the moonrise. Greek statues stood silent sentinel over the grounds, and if their eyes moved, no one noticed.

The persimmon tree’s leaves flirted and danced with a dark breeze as something moved deep within the earth. New buds formed and green fruit turned red in the dark. A night bird landed on a branch then fell to the ground, dead.  

The scent of night-blooming jasmine wafted, consuming the wisteria’s sweet perfume, strangling it.

Silence. The world held its breath …”

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About the Authors

Tamara Thorne’s first novel was published in 1991, and since then she has written many more, including international bestsellers Haunted, Bad Things, Moonfall, Eternity and The Sorority. A lifelong lover of ghost stories, she is currently working on several collaborations with Alistair Cross as well as an upcoming solo novel. Learn more about her at: http://tamarathorne.com

Alistair Cross grew up on horror novels and scary movies, and by the age of eight, began writing his own stories. First published in 2012, he has since co-authored The Cliffhouse Haunting with Tamara Thorne and is working on several other projects. His debut solo novel, The Crimson Corset, an Amazon bestseller, is available now. Find out more about him at: http://alistaircross.com

In collaboration, Thorne and Cross are currently writing several novels, including the next volume in the continuing series, The Ravencrest Saga. Their first novel, The Cliffhouse Haunting, was an immediate bestseller. Together, they also host the horror-themed radio show Thorne & Cross: Haunted Nights LIVE! which has featured such guests as Laurell K. Hamilton, Christopher Moore, Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, Charlaine Harris, and Christopher Rice. Thorne and Cross are hard at work on several upcoming collaborations, including a sequel to Tamara’s Candle Bay, which will feature plenty of vampy action as the Darlings and Julian Valentyne are joined on a road trip to Eternity with Michael and Winter from Alistair’s The Crimson Corset. It’s going to be a harrowing ride!

Pssst … Wanna See Something Spooky … ?


Have we got an early Halloween present for you! In just a few weeks, the complete and unexpurgated The Ghosts of Ravencrest will be released. Originally published only as a serial novel in ebook format, The Ghosts of Ravencrest will soon be a full-length novel available as an ebook and, shortly after that, in trade paperback.

And guess what? We’ve begun Volume Two of The Ravencrest Saga and the first installment will be available in October. Look for the return of those evil nuns, along with further explorations of the haunted pool, the east wing, the White Violet, the Bride of Ravencrest, Old Peckerhead, and of course, the continuing badness of Cordelia Heller. What won’t she do next?

We also have some special surprises cooked up, but our lips are sealed except to say that in Volume Two, we’ll again be returning to the past, this time to the Mannings’ early years in America as they rebuilt Ravencrest and encountered the bloodthirsty witch who laid a powerful, dark curse upon the manor’s inhabitants and their children.

But for now, (drumroll please) we’d like to reveal The Ghosts of Ravencrest’s cover. To say we love it would be an understatement. We worship it. We want to have its children. (And we will! And if they don’t behave, we’ll throw them in the east wing.)

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Darkness Never Dies…

Ravencrest Manor has always been part of the family. The ancestral home of the Mannings, Ravencrest’s walls have been witness to generations of unimaginable scandal, horror, and depravity. Imported stone by stone from England to northern California in the early 1800s, the manor now houses widower Eric Manning, his children, and his staff. Ravencrest stands alone, holding its memories and ghosts close to its dark heart, casting long, black shadows across its grand lawns, through the surrounding forests, and over the picturesque town of Devilswood below.

Dare to Cross the Threshold…

Ravencrest Manor is the most beautiful thing new governess, Belinda Moorland, has ever seen, but as she learns more about its tangled past of romance and terror, she realizes that beauty has a dark side. Ravencrest is built on secrets, and its inhabitants seem to be keeping plenty of their own – from the handsome English butler, Grant Phister, to the power-mad administrator, Mrs. Heller, to Eric Manning himself, who watches her with dark, fathomless eyes. But Belinda soon realizes that the living who dwell within Ravencrest have nothing on the other inhabitants – the ones who walk the darkened halls by night… the ones who enter her dreams… the ones who are watching… and waiting…

Home is Where the Horror is…

Welcome to Ravencrest, magnificent by day, terrifying by night.

Welcome to Ravencrest, home of sordid secrets and ghastly scandals from the past.

Welcome to Ravencrest, where there is no line between the living and the dead.

Raves for Ravencrest

“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

“In The Ghosts of Ravencrest, Tamara Thorne and Alistair Cross have created a world that is dark, opulent, and smoldering with the promise of scares and seduction. You’ll be able to feel the slide of the satin sheets, taste the fizz of champagne, and hear the footsteps on the stairs.”

-Sylvia Shults, paranormal expert and author of Fractured Spirits


“The Ghosts of Ravencrest by Tamara Thorne and Alistair Cross is a scary, intricate read. The horror is well crafted and the ornate setting descriptions are breathtaking. Most importantly, from page one, readers fall in love with Belinda. We care about what happens to her, and we hope exactly what that is remains deliciously extensive!”

-Michael Aronovitz, author of Alice Walks

“Scary and scandalous! The Ghosts of Ravencrest by Tamara Thorne and Alistair Cross will leaving you shivering with excitement and terror …”

-William Malmborg, author of Jimmy and Text Message

An Interview with Dead People


We really didn’t get to know the first victims of The Cliffhouse Haunting’s own serial killer, Hammerhead, so we’d thought we’d take a moment and talk with them about their experience in our novel. First, here they are in action:

Cliffhouse

Hammerhead heard voices and paused. One male, one female.  It had been a long time since he had taken down two at once. The prospect delighted him, but he was nothing if not cautious; if it wasn’t safe, he would wait until another day.

He stepped into the dappled shade of a huge fir, pulled his water bottle from his knapsack and drank. The prey drew closer, and after capping the bottle, he patted the rip claw hammer that hung from a loop on his belt, hidden by his light jacket.

When the voices were no more than fifty feet away, he began walking toward them, timing it so that they would meet near a steep cliff with a panoramic view.

The couple appeared, early twenties, slender and smiling.  Hammerhead moved to the side of the trail.

“Hello!” said the young man. “Here for the view?”

Hammerhead nodded, a smile painted on his face.

“It’s worth the hike,” the woman said. “It’s so clear today.”

“It is.” As they passed, he drew the hammer, whirled, and hit the man in the temple. The hiker crumpled where he stood. Before the girl could scream, he turned, and as graceful as a dancer, spun the weapon around and impaled her temple on the claws. She didn’t fall because he held her up by the hammer. He pulled a compact mirror from his pocket, flipped it open and held it up as he lowered her to the ground.  Her eyelids drooped, so he held them open with two fingers until she died and her soul was captured in the mirror. He snapped the compact shut, retrieved another, and turned to the young man. Disappointment flooded him. He was dead, his soul already gone. At least he had one soul.  It felt good; it had been too long.

Hammerhead dragged the bodies to the edge of the rocky cliff. Once there, he lifted one head and brought it down on a sharp rock where the hammer wound had been, then dropped the rock over the cliff. He repeated the action with the other on a different rock. Then he pushed the bodies over. The coyotes and hawks would eat well, and in the massive brush and trees below, it was unlikely the remains would be found. There were others down there, after all, who’d been there for years.

And now, on to their interview. Please note that due to their head wounds, they are unable to tell us their names and since it’s unlikely their bodies – what’s left of them – will ever be found, we’ve taken the liberty of calling them Victor and Vicky Victim.

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T & A: How are you feeling today?

Victor: I have a headache.

Vicky: Me too.

T & A: We’re sorry to hear that. Is it your sinuses?

Victor: Partly, but, uh … I think it might have more to do with the great big fucking holes we have in the sides of heads.

Vicky: Now, Victor, you shouldn’t swear like that during an interview! It’s not polite.

Victor: I didn’t say anything when you bled all over the sofa.

Vicky: (rolls eyes) Tamara, Alistair, you’ll delete the f-word, right?

T & A: Of course we will. Now tell us, what were you doing that day in the mountains?

Victor: We were hiking to Deep Creek. We were going to swim naked.

Vicky: We even brought joints!

Victor: Shhh! Don’t fucking tell them that!

Vicky: What, it’s legal here. And stop swearing!

Victor: Sorry. It’s just that my head is killing me.

Vicky: Mine too. My hair is never going to look good again. I just can’t cover this hole!

T & A: Joint?

Vicky: You know, weed. (giggles)

Victor: Shhh!

Vicky: What, that bastard probably killed us for it.

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T & A: Mr. and Mrs. Victim, we can assure you that you weren’t murdered for your cannabis.

Victor: Well, what the fuck DID he kill us for then? My wife’s smoking hot body? She wasn’t even naked but man, look at those leg bones! You should’ve seen them before the vultures!

Vicky: Language.

T & A: He killed you for your souls. It’s kinda weird, we know, but it’s the truth.

Victor & Vicky in unison: Our souls?

T & A: Yes. He traps them in mirrors and keeps them in what he calls his Hall of Souls.

Victor and Vicky look at each other, then burst out laughing.

Vicky: What a nut job!

Victor: Crazy bastard! Who does that?

T & A: He calls himself Hammerhead and he kills people with a-

Vicky to Victor: Hammerhead! See! A hammer! I told you I saw a hammer!

T & A: It was probably the last thing you saw.

Victor: Well, I hope they caught the bastard.

Vicky nods vehemently.

T & A: We can’t tell you that. We don’t give spoilers.

Vicky: Spoilers?

T & A: You’re going to have to read the book.

Victor: The book? What book?

T & A: It’s called The Cliffhouse Haunting and it’s available now!

Vicky: We’re in a book!? Isn’t that wonderful,dear!

Victor: (grunts) Wait a minute. You mean to tell us that we died – in your book – and you have the nerve to try to sell it to us? What, were you born in a barn?

T & A: Yes.

Vicky: I think we should buy it, dear!

(Victor scowls)

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T & A: Halloween is coming up. It will make a great gift for the season.

Victor: We’re dead, you assholes. We don’t even have a credit card, let alone cash.

Vicky: Language, dear. (turns to T & A) Well, I think it’s wonderful. I’ve always wanted to be in a book.

Victor: But we died in the book!

Vicky: Semantics, dear. Where is this book available, Tamara and Alistair?

T & A: Amazon.

Vicky: Well, as soon as this interview is over, we’re going to buy it. I don’t care what my husband here has to say about it. (Turns to Victor) My mother will be so proud!

Victor: Whatever you say, honey. Do we get any royalties from this book?

T & A: (Look at the ground and avoid eye contact with the victims): Look, we’ll go to the place you died and throw some flowers at your carcasses. Will that do?

Vicky: White roses. We’d like white roses.

Victor: Fucking roses, good call. You do that, we won’t haunt you.

Vicky: Language. You really will clean this up?

T&A: Yes. Sure. Thanks for your time. (They run away. Fast.)

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Thorne & Cross

THE CRIMSON CORSET


The Crimson Corset is available now.

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Welcome to Crimson Cove

Sheltered by ancient redwoods overlooking the California coast, the cozy village of Crimson Cove has it all: sophisticated retreats, fine dining, 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, 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.

Blood Wars

The streets are running red with blood, and as violence and murder ravage the night, Cade must face the darkest forces inside himself, and perhaps even abandon his own humanity, in order to protect what he loves.

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“Put Bram Stoker in a giant cocktail shaker, add a pinch of Laurell K. Hamilton, a shot of John Carpenter, and a healthy jigger of absinthe, and you’ll end up with Alistair Cross’s modern Gothic chiller, “The Crimson Corset” – a deliciously terrifying tale that will sink its teeth into you from page one.”
– Jay Bonansinga, New York Times Bestselling author of THE WALKING DEAD: INVASION and LUCID

“This drop-deadly tale of seduction and terror will leave you begging to be fanged … ”
– Tamara Thorne, international bestselling author of HAUNTED and MOONFALL

“I couldn’t put this book down. It’s got more hooks than a day boat out of San Pedro Harbor!”
– QL Pearce, bestselling author of SCARY STORIES FOR SLEEP-OVERS

Christopher Moore joins Thorne & Cross: Haunted Nights LIVE!


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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Charlaine Harris joins Thorne & Cross: Haunted Nights LIVE!


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This Thursday, join us at Thorne & Cross: Haunted Nights LIVE! at 9 pm EST, where we’ll be chatting with New York Times bestseller, Charlaine Harris, author of the Sookie Stackhouse vampire novels and basis of the HBO hit series TRUE BLOOD.

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And speaking of vampires … if you haven’t picked up your copy of The Crimson Corset, it’s available now at Amazon!

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Charlaine Harris is a New York Times bestselling author who has been writing for over thirty years. She was born and raised in the Mississippi River Delta area. Though her early works consisted largely of poems about ghosts and teenage angst, she began writing plays when she attended Rhodes College in Memphis, Tennessee. She switched to novels a few years later, and achieved publication in 1981 with Sweet and Deadly.

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After publishing two stand-alone mysteries, Harris launched the lighthearted Aurora Teagarden books with Real Murders, a Best Novel 1990 nomination for the Agatha Awards. Harris wrote eight books in her series about a Georgia librarian. In 1996, she released the first in the much darker Shakespeare mysteries, featuring the amateur sleuth Lily Bard, a karate student who makes her living cleaning houses. Shakespeare’s Counselor, the fifth—and final—Lily Bard novel, was printed in fall 2001.

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By then, Harris was feeling the call of new territory. Starting with the premise of a young woman with a disability who wants to try inter-species dating, she created The Sookie Stackhouse urban fantasy series before there was a genre called “urban fantasy.” Telepathic barmaid Sookie Stackhouse works in a bar in the fictional northern Louisiana town of Bon Temps. The first book in the series, Dead Until Dark, won the Anthony Award for Best Paperback Mystery in 2001. Each subsequent book follows Sookie through adventures involving vampires, werewolves, and other supernatural creatures. The series, which ended in 2013, has been released in over thirty languages.

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Sookie Stackhouse has proven to be so popular that Alan Ball, creator of the HBO television series Six Feet Under, announced he would undertake the production of a new HBO series based upon the  books  He wrote and directed the pilot episode for that series, True Blood, which premiered in September of 2008.

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In October 2005, the first of Harris’s new mystery series about a young woman named Harper Connelly debuted with the release of Grave Sight. Harper has the ability to determine the cause of death of any body. After four novels, this series is on hiatus.

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Now Harris is working on a trilogy of graphic novels with Christopher Golden and artist Don Kramer, “Cemetery Girl.” On her own she is writing a new series set in the small town of Midnight, Texas.

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Harris has also co-edited a series of very popular anthologies with her friend Toni L.P. Kelner, aka Leigh Perry. The anthologies feature stories with an element of the supernatural, and the submissions come from a rare mixture of mystery and urban fantasy writers.

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Professionally, Harris is a member of the Mystery Writers of America, the American Crime Writers League, Sisters in Crime, and the International Crime Writers Association. She is a past member of the boards of Sisters in Crime and MWA, and she has served as president of the MWA. She is also a member of Science Fiction Writers of America, Horror Writers Association, and Romance Writers of America, just to make sure she’s covered.

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Personally, Harris has been married for many years. She mother of three wonderful children and the grandmother of two. She lives in central Texas, and when she is not writing her own books, she reads omnivorously. Her house is full of rescue dogs.

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In Good Company


Check out THE CRIMSON CORSET, hanging out with Louis, Laurell, and Lestat at no. 27 on Amazon!

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Be sure to read my latest interviews at excerpts, too:

Deady Ever After

BeachBound Books

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Haunted Nights LIVE!

And here are some guest post I did:

SEX AND VAMPIRES at Beauty in Ruins

THE ADVANTAGES AND DISADVANTAGES OF WRITING HORROR at Reading Shy with Aly

Click the pic below for your copy of THE CRIMSON CORSET

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And here’s what Jay Bonansinga, New York Times Bestselling author of THE WALKING DEAD has to say about THE CRIMSON CORSET:

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THE CRIMSON CORSET is AVAILABLE NOW!


Just click the pic for your copy!

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Welcome to Crimson Cove

Sheltered by ancient redwoods overlooking the California coast, the cozy village of Crimson Cove has it all: sophisticated retreats, fine dining, 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, 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.

Blood Wars

The streets are running red with blood, and as violence and murder ravage the night, Cade must face the darkest forces inside himself, and perhaps even abandon his own humanity, in order to protect what he loves.

Praise for The Crimson Corset:

“Put Bram Stoker in a giant cocktail shaker, add a pinch of Laurell K. Hamilton, a shot of John Carpenter, and a healthy jigger of absinthe, and you’ll end up with Alistair Cross’s modern Gothic chiller, “The Crimson Corset” – a deliciously terrifying tale that will sink its teeth into you from page one.”
– Jay Bonansinga, New York Times Bestselling author of THE WALKING DEAD: INVASION and LUCID

“This drop-deadly tale of seduction and terror will leave you begging to be fanged … ”
– Tamara Thorne, international bestselling author of HAUNTED and MOONFALL

“I couldn’t put this book down. It’s got more hooks than a day boat out of San Pedro Harbor!”
– QL Pearce, bestselling author of SCARY STORIES FOR SLEEP-OVERS

Spellbound is here …


SPELLBOUND, the 8th installment of THE GHOSTS OF RAVENCREST is available now – which wraps up volume one of the RAVENCREST SAGA.

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Dark Secrets
From her very first night in the grand old mansion, Belinda has been haunted – plagued by vivid nightmares and erotic visitations from Ravencrest’s long-ago inhabitants. After learning more about the mansion’s history and coming face to face with its escalating terrors, she becomes increasingly convinced that her purpose at Ravencrest goes deeper than her duties as governess. As the horror mounts and the mysteries unravel, she begins a mission to uncover the truth about the ghosts of Ravencrest … and what they want from her.

The Ghosts of Ravencrest
In Spellbound, the climactic final episode of Volume One of The Ravencrest Saga, Belinda not only becomes more intimate with her handsome employer, Eric Manning, but she must survive the most terrifying moments of her life as she, along with her friend the mysterious butler, Grant Phister, delve into the centuries-old murder of Prudence Manning. From an encounter with something long dead in the indoor pool, to the Harlequin, the witch, and Faith, Hope, and Charity, the bloody trio of spectral nuns, Belinda is up against tremendous odds as she and Grant struggle to solve the mystery of a little girl’s imprisonment in the old east wing.

Alistair Cross on Thorne & Cross: Haunted Nights LIVE!


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Tomorrow Night on Thorne & Cross: Haunted Nights LIVE, Thorne will be interviewing Cross! And there will be some special goings-on to celebrate the release of The Crimson Corset. We’ll also be talking about The Ghosts of Ravencrest and The Cliffhouse Haunting!
Just click the link at 9 pm EST to listen: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/authorsontheairradio2/2015/07/24/alistair-cross-on-thorne-cross-haunted-nights-live

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THE CRIMSON CORSET is Coming …


Soon. Very soon ….

Read a two-part interview at Writer’s at Play: Part I & Part II

And listen to a live radio interview at Dellani’s Tea Time.

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Welcome to Crimson Cove

Sheltered by ancient redwoods, overlooking the California coast, the cozy village of Crimson Cove has it all: sophisticated retreats, fine dining, 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, 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.

Blood Wars

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.

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.

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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.

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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!

The Truth About Dreams


The edits for The Crimson Corset are completed and this keeps us on schedule for the July 31st release as originally planned. Things change, so I’m always reluctant to give concrete dates, but give or take a few days, this book will be available by the end of the month.

It’s always a mixed bag, finishing a book, and this one – being my first solo novel – is especially so. This project has been a long time coming, so I’m elated it’s finished… but I’m a little bummed that it’s over, too. I’d probably be much more depressed if it was over over, but I plan to begin a sequel next year, and I think that’s kept me from experiencing that empty sense of loss I have in the past when a book is finally done.

I feel like a should be a little nervous too, but I’m not. I think the past several years of publishing as a co-author have padded me against a lot of the fear. Gone are the days of nail-biting self-consciousness and anxiety over how my work will be received – and good riddance, I say. I know not everyone will love this book, I accept that. But I’m also confident in it enough to know it’s a good book, and I’m very proud of it.

As I mentioned, this project has been a long time coming – ten years in fact. That isn’t to say this book took a decade to write – but it has been that long since I decided I wanted to be a professional writer… and this was the first plot I intended to pen. I gave up on it many times and re-started it just as many. In the meantime, of course, I wrote and published other works, but this one, The Crimson Corset, is the one that haunted me – the one I kept going back to and kept trying to get right.

Ten years. A decade. A lot of amazing things have happened since I made the decision to write. I’ve met the great authors of my generation and gotten to know many of them quite well. I’ve written with one of my long-time literary heroes, Tamara Thorne, and together we’ve forged our own brand – Thorne & Cross – and intend to write many, many books together. Over all, it’s worked out for me far better than I’d imagined. But these things don’t just happen. It really is a lot of work.

Even in the early days, when I didn’t have a clue what I was doing, I took writing very seriously. Back when I didn’t even know what to write, I sat down and wrote. I did this almost every day. I’ve learned that inspiration is a flake; it can’t be depended on. I’ve learned that marketing is everything and rejection means nothing. And I have been rejected – over and over and over. But most of all, I’ve learned that dreams come true.

This is the first time I will ever see my first solo novel published. That is my dream come true.

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Welcome to Crimson Cove

Sheltered by ancient redwoods, overlooking the California coast, the cozy village of Crimson Cove has it all: sophisticated retreats, fine dining, 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, 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.

Blood Wars

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.

The Ghosts of Ravencrest: Spellbound


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Darkness Never Dies…

Ravencrest Manor has always been part of the family. The ancestral home of the Mannings, Ravencrest’s walls have been witness to generations of unimaginable scandal, horror, and depravity. Imported stone by stone from England to northern California over a thirty-year period in the 1800s, the manor now houses widower Eric Manning, his children, and his staff. Ravencrest stands alone, holding its memories and ghosts close to its dark heart, casting long, black shadows across its grand lawns, through the surrounding forests, and over the picturesque town of Devilswood below.

Dare to Cross the Threshold…

Ravencrest Manor is the most beautiful thing new governess, Belinda Moorland, has ever seen, but as she learns more about its tangled past of romance and terror, she realizes that beauty has a dark side. Ravencrest is built on secrets, and its inhabitants seem to be keeping plenty of their own – from the handsome English butler, Grant Phister, to the power-mad administrator, Mrs. Heller, to Eric Manning himself, who watches her with dark, fathomless eyes. But Belinda soon realizes that the living who dwell in Ravencrest have nothing on the other inhabitants – the ones who walk the darkened halls by night… the ones who enter her dreams… the ones who are watching… and waiting…

Home is Where the Horror is…

Welcome to Ravencrest, magnificent by day, terrifying by night.
Welcome to Ravencrest, home of sordid secrets and ghastly scandals from the past.
Welcome to Ravencrest, where there is no line between the living and the dead.

“In The Ghosts of Ravencrest, Tamara Thorne and Alistair Cross have created a world that is dark, opulent, and smoldering with the promise of scares and seduction. You’ll be able to feel the slide of the satin sheets, taste the fizz of champagne, and hear the footsteps on the stairs.”
-Sylvia Shults, paranormal expert and author of Double Double Love and Trouble

Get the other installments:

Darker Shadows (installments 1 – 3)

Christmas Spirits (Novella-length 4th installment – historical)

Night Moves (5th installment)

Dead Girls (6th installment)

Danse Macabre (7th installment)

Spellbound (Coming soon)

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Excerpt: The Crimson Corset


Following yesterday’s interview at Tamara Thorne’s Little Blog of Horrors, here is an excerpt from my upcoming novel, The Crimson Corset, which will be available in just a few weeks.

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Untidy, Ryan Closter had called it. The young deputy had a knack for understatement and when Ethan arrived at the scene, he was prepared to be put off – but this was downright ghastly. This wasn’t the way Ethan liked to start his mornings.

Blood was everywhere, a dried riot of red rust all over the floor, across the bed, and even on the ceiling. It was as if someone had put a bomb in a can of paint. And the smell was unbearable. Flies swarmed like a black cloud above the body.

Closter spoke at Ethan’s side. “A neighbor heard some noises last night. She informed the landlord this morning, and after knocking and getting no response, this is what he walked into.”

At the center of the bed lay the woman, face-down, in her own dried pool of fluids.

“Her name’s Rose Keller,” Closter said.

Ethan shook his head. “Day manager of the Black Garter.”

“You know her?”

“Our paths crossed recently.” Ethan wouldn’t have been surprised to hear the woman had overdosed on something, but would never have guessed she’d go like this.

“I’ve never seen anything like it.” Closter looked a little green, and his partner, Nick Grayson, gave Ethan an uncertain glance.

“Why don’t you go get some fresh air, Closter?” Ethan said. “We’ll be fine till the others show up.”

The deputy swallowed and nodded, his face clammy. The last thing they needed was for someone to throw up on the crime scene – not that it’d be the first time it had happened.

As Closter stepped out, Ethan heard the buzz of bystanders just outside the door. “Jesus,” someone said. “I’ve never seen so much blood …”

“I heard they can’t find her head,” said another.

The voices faded as the door closed. How eagerly people swarm to violence and death. Like ants to a piece of rotten fruit. It unsettled Ethan.

The room was hot, intensifying the reek of blood, of innards – of death. Dozens of flies crawled lazily over the body and more were landing. Ethan’s own stomach roiled a little. He hadn’t been sick at a scene since his earliest days on the force and he didn’t intend to buckle now, but it wasn’t easy. He’d never seen anything this theatrical; it looked like the police photographs from the Jack the Ripper crimes. But in horrible living color. He moved closer and stared down at the woman on the bed. Two stumps of spine, glistening white, jutted out of the mess that was the rest of her. It was as if someone had unzipped her skin, reached inside, and yanked her backbone out. And they’d managed to snap it in half in the process.

“Whoever did this was sending a message.” Deputy Grayson was crouched beside the bed, his gaze roving over the late Ms. Keller. A former quarterback in his early-forties with broad shoulders and the earliest beginnings of a beer gut, Nick Grayson was one of Ethan’s best.

Ethan nodded. “I’ll agree with you on that.”

Grayson’s gaze never left the victim. “A killer doesn’t cause a scene like this unless he wants to make a statement.”

The question was, who was the killer, and what was he trying to say? “No sign of any weapons?”

Grayson shook his head and Ethan noticed some graying at the temples of his deputy’s black curly hair. This was the kind of job that would do that. “Nope. Nothing.”

Ethan had figured as much. There was something about this scene that didn’t work.

The woman was tangled in white sheets reminding him, morbidly, of an old barber’s pole. Red and white, red and white, blood and bandages, blood and bandages. He walked around the bed, seeing it from all angles. Every crime scene told a story, you just had to know how to read it. And this one, Ethan was certain, was one hell of a tale.

The more he saw, the more certain he became of two things. One, Rose’s killer was not human, and two, it was not an animal. Not in the usual sense, anyway. He bent and moved the victim’s hair back, careful not to disturb anything. He saw the bite marks on her neck that confirmed his suspicions. He’d have them checked against dental records and if he was lucky – which was highly unlikely – maybe they’d catch the perp fast.

There were also several places along her shoulders and arms where the skin was torn. Someone went to town on her. The thick sickening feeling in the pit of his stomach went colder.

“I’ve been trying to figure that out, too,” said Grayson, watching him. “They’re bites.”

Ethan’s knees popped as he stood and moved to the window. He pinched back the blood-spattered white curtains and stared down. Outside, the Ivory Heights apartment complex was already surrounded by a swarm of onlookers, and it was only going to get worse. Rose Keller’s one-bedroom, second-story apartment would soon be a frenzy of technicians, detectives, plainclothes, more uniforms, a photographer, and probably even a man with a video camera. There was no dignity in death, he thought as he looked at the shredded body on the bed. Especially not when you die like that.

Ethan decided it was time to pay Michael Ward another visit.

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Interview at Little Blog of Horrors: The Crimson Corset


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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.

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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.”

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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 alistaircross.com