THE CRIMSON CORSET is on SALE!


To celebrate October, Halloween, and last week’s show at Thorne & Cross: Haunted Nights LIVE! with vampire author extraordinaire, Laurell K. Hamilton, THE CRIMSON CORSET is on sale at Amazon for just $0.99 in ebook, now through October 6th.

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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

“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

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:

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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

Tim Waggoner joins Thorne & Cross: Haunted Nights LIVE!


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

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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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And The Show Goes On …


After two weeks of reading, rewriting, and reading again, I’ve completed the first major edit of The Crimson Corset. The manuscript still has to go through the official editors, but after that (and a final read-through) The Crimson Corset will be a real book, ready for consumption. The expected eBook release is mid to late July and shortly thereafter, it will go to paper. It’s been a long ride and I have a few folks to whom I owe great thanks.

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First on that list is my collaborator, Tamara Thorne, who put our joint efforts on hold to read this entire novel aloud so I could hear how it sounded. Then there are the editors, who have already begun reading it and sending great feedback. Finally, there’s our wonderful publicist, who is already setting me up with interviews and reviews for the Crimson Corset’s release. Thank you all.

Tomorrow, I’ll be returning to collaborating full-time. First on the agenda is finishing the 8th (and final) installment of The Ghosts of Ravencrestthe Gothic serialized novel that Tamara Thorne and I began almost one year ago. Though the next installment will wrap up the current story arc, Ravencrest (in true soap opera fashion) is ongoing, so there’s plenty more ghosts, governesses, handsome millionaires, and diabolically delicious housekeepers to come. We’re not sure when Belinda’s misadventures at the mansion will come to end – but it won’t be any time soon. Especially if Mrs. Heller has anything to say about it. She has plans, you see …

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With the completion of Ravencrest’s 8th installment, Tamara and I will return to our next collaborative novel. When considering which project should come next, there are several possibilities. And as far as I’m concerned, that’s fantastic. It feels great to have so many ideas in the wings – to know that as one novel wraps up, several others are just waiting to begin. After discussing it this afternoon, I believe we’ve decided our next move, but I won’t say anything more about that for now, except that I’m stoked. This is one of those stories that’s been hovering in our minds for a long time – tapping our shoulders and whispering in our ears as we work on other things. I think it’s ready now. I’m eager to see what happens …

As I write this, I’m proud to say that the goals I set for 2015 are running right on time. The Cliffhouse Haunting was released in April. The Ghosts of Ravencrest’s first ‘volume’ is wrapping up, and my debut solo novel, The Crimson Corset, is going into production. On top of this, Tamara and I have not only maintained our hour-long, horror-themed, weekly internet/radio show Haunted Nights LIVE!, but we’ve procured interviews with such literary legends as Jay Bonansinga of The Walking Dead novels, Chelsea Quinn Yarbro of the Saint Germaine vampire series, New York Times bestellers, Christopher Rice and Christopher Moore, Laurell K. Hamilton of the Anita Blake Vampire Hunter series, and Charlaine Harris of the Sookie Stackhouse books and HBO’s True Blood. And there are plenty more. You can see the full guest list at my website.

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The point is that I’m proud of us. Tamara and I have worked diligently, every day. We’ve put in the extra hours, the extra work, and a whole lot of extra effort. We’ve sat in front of our computers, our backs sore, our faces growing pale from lack of sunlight, pounding out page after page as, in many ways, the real world has passed us by. Not that we mind. But we’ve done it. Day after day. Rain or shine. With or without the cooperation of our moods. With or without the luxury of feeling inspired. With or without the “time” to do it. We’ve come a long way, but the road ahead is even longer … and that’s why, tomorrow morning, I know that we’ll start cracking away at the next project. And the next … I’ve never been so tired. Or fulfilled.

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The Ghosts of Ravencrest: Danse Macabre #7


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(Danse Macabre, the 7th installment in The Ghosts of Ravencrest series, will be available next week)

House of Fear

Even as governess Belinda Moorland and her handsome employer, Eric Manning, grow closer, she is haunted by her own past  – and Ravencrest’s. From the screams in the shadowed blackness of the indoor pool, to the horrifying face of a scarecrow in the garden, and the nightly, urgent  messages from the dead, the darkness is all around her …

Ravencrest Has Plans of Its Own

But the real horror awaits inside the manor when a delightful day turns deadly with an unwelcome appearance by Belinda’s overbearing mother. Rhonda Moorland is convinced that Eric is holding her daughter at Ravencrest against her will and she intends to do something about it.

Witchcraft Gone Wrong

But nothing at Ravencrest is as it appears and when Cordelia Heller casts a spell meant to frighten Belinda, she gets more than she bargained for. Cordelia knows witchcraft – and she knows that something has gone terribly, terribly wrong.

Writing with T & A: Psychic Vampires


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If you’ve been writing for a while, you’ve no doubt run into a psychic vampire or two. These passive-aggressive hangers-on will, if allowed, suck your life force away, all the while paying you compliments, asking for advice, and creating drama meant to suck you into their world and make you worry about their well-being.

The most famous psychic vampire in the horror genre – and most others – is Annie Wilkes, Stephen King’s nightmare of a number one fan. While she is extreme, you can take some tips from her that will help you recognize a vampire who wants you to be her very own Paul Sheldon.

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While most readers who ask a writer to personalize a book with “to your number one fan” are utterly innocent and would be horrified if they realized what alarm bells this phrase sets off, there are others who are anything but innocent. They are narcissistic and the goal of any narcissist is to be paid attention. Annie Wilkes is the perfect example. Annie wanted Paul Sheldon to write for her, to her specifications. It was all about her. He was there to amuse her, to serve her, and no one else — including Paul Sheldon – mattered.

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Take this down a few ruined ankles and glassfuls of urine and you’ll still have a milder version of this same dysfunctional personality. Once you accomplish anything notable, such as writing a book, they come out of the woodwork with unbelievable speed and frequency. They want your time, they want your attention, and they want you to apologize for having worked hard and found success.

Psychic vampires are passive-aggressives who suck the energy right out of you. Shoot, they can suck the energy out of a whole roomful of people. You’ve undoubtedly experienced it: you come away from a chat or function that should have been enjoyable absolutely exhausted. You feel like you’ve run a marathon, only worse because you probably have a headache, too. They are truly vampiric, but not in the good fictional way we enjoyed writing about in Tamara’s Candle Bay or Alistair’s The Crimson Corset. We’re talking about the nastiest kind – the real kind.

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(Tamara’s vampire novel, Candle Bay)

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(E-Poster for Alistair’s upcoming vampire novel, The Crimson Corset)

And the very worst of these psychic vampires are aspiring writers, ones who, for whatever reason, have not done as well as you. They seem to feel you owe them something and they are jealous, oh so jealous.  If they ask you to review their book and you decline, they think you’re a snob. If you don’t have time to answer their basic questions about writing, they think you’re a snob. And if you actually write back and suggest that they can find the answers they seek via many excellent websites, organizations, and critiquing groups available online, they are sure you’re a snob. Somehow, to their fragile egos, this is a personalized rejection; it never even occurs to them that you took time out of your workday to reply. They just end up pegging you, once again, as a snob, and will probably whine about it on Facebook. As much fun as we had with Constance Welling in The Cliffhouse Haunting, these kinds of writers are toxic in the real world.

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(Tamara and Alistair’s collaborative novel, The Cliffhouse Haunting)

At the beginning of her career, a well-known writer advised Tamara that when someone gives you something, your only obligation is to say thank you. This author was referring to fans sending gifts, but this also is applicable to a published writer – no matter how sketchily published – who takes you under his or her wing – or seems to – early on and answers a few questions. If they are of the vampiric persuasion, they will try to exact gratitude from you for the rest of their lives because damn it, they deserve it. They’ll also take full credit for your talent once you achieve success; that’s annoying but it’s nothing but the equivalent of a fly trying to land on you – it’s not worth your attention. They’ll never have your talent and they know it.

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Don’t get us wrong, there are some great mentors out there. If someone has truly helped you, they find pleasure in the very act of aiding and don’t expect you to sing their praises. These are the people who deserve to be in your acknowledgments or have a book dedicated to them. But never buckle under and do it for someone who demands thanks. That person is bottomless pit of need and you’ll never, ever hear the end of it. They will tell everyone, forever more, how much you owe them, how you would be nothing without them. This is the type of person who posts the same two or three fan letters on Facebook over and over for years.

If, in the course of your becoming a professional writer, someone offers you help, go ahead and accept it if you want it. And just say thank you. You owe them nothing more.

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How to spot a psychic vampire who isn’t as obvious as Annie Wilkes? Here are some things to watch out for:

Someone – a would-be writer, a collaborator, an interviewer – insisting that the only time they can meet with you is during a time you’ve reserved to (a) write or (b) be with your family or (c) are otherwise engaged. Decline, and a normal person will understand. A vampire, on the other hand, will simply become more insistent. Or sulky. Usually both. Here’s a tell to watch out for: If you inform a vampire that you take Sundays off – or Mondays or alternate Thursdays – they will tell you it’s the only day they can talk to you. It’s all about power and manipulation. They especially need to drag you away from family and friends to prove how important they are. They’re trying to own you: don’t let that happen.

Guilt trips. This is drama. It includes sulking, crying, and self-righteous indignation when you won’t do what they want, no matter if it’s giving up personal time, changing something in your writing (because they think everything you write is about them) or anything else. This kind of emotional behavior is nothing but manipulation of the most childish kind. There are only a couple of behaviors even more reprehensible and outrageous. What are they?

One is feigning illness, physical or mental. Sure, we all get sick, we all get tired. Most of us make a joke, get some rest, and move on. Not the vampire. Nope. The vampire who plays illness like a fiddle has a constant list of ailments, from headaches to explosive diarrhea to strange growths in places you don’t want to hear about — but trust us, you will hear about every last one.  No anal polyp is too embarrassing, no perimenopausal flash flood too personal. They throw it all out there. Because – yep – it’s all about them. They are shameless.  They will tell you they may be fatally ill, they’re always waiting for test results, and their meds are making them ill (this includes meds for mental problems – it’s no fun being normal, damn it!) They will offer to show you things you don’t want to see. Beware the sickly vampire.

And when all of that doesn’t work, they go straight to threatening suicide or bodily harm (to themselves, we hope). This is the ultimate manipulation, designed to coerce you into doing whatever it is they want. It’s bullshit. It’s an attempt to draw you into their drama. The only answer – if you give one at all  – is to tell her/him that if that’s what they choose to do, good luck with it. It’s not your problem. Those who want to commit suicide don’t talk about it because they don’t want to be stopped. Those who threaten it on a regular basis will only commit it by accident. (We’ll keep our politically incorrect commentary about that to ourselves.)

How do you operate among the psychic vampires, then?  It’s not easy to deal with them, true, but it is possible. First, learn to identify them. Your own instincts will inform you if you listen. Don’t let them flatter you, be cautious.  And read Gavin DeBecker’s excellent book, The Gift of Fear. It will teach you to listen to your instincts and not give every potential Annie Wilkes the benefit of the doubt.

When you have a vampire stalking you, how do you stop them?  You wear Teflon armor because the shit won’t stick.

We’ve both had numerous psychic vampires try to interfere in our lives and Teflon is the ultimate answer. The Vampire, being narcissistic, wants only one thing: to be center stage. They’re like toddlers – any attention, no matter how negative, is better than none. Don’t give them what they want. Delete their emails unread, return their snail mail unopened, change your phone number.  The worst of them will keep trying, perhaps for years, but hopefully they will get sick of being invisible and go find a fresh neck to suck on.

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The only good psychic vampire is a dead psychic vampire but since we can’t legally stake them, we must make them invisible. Attention is what they feed on. Attention is what they live for. Don’t give them either.  If they piss you off, write it out, but don’t mail it to them; instead call a real friend and vent until you’re both laughing, maybe even until you pee a little bit. You can also kill them horribly in your stories, but don’t make them even remotely identifiable because that would be giving them attention and that would make them happy. Give them no energy. Eventually you will find that they’re rarely on your mind, even if you’re on theirs.  Making them non-existent in your universe is your ultimate goal.

And watch your ass. Some of them are as batshit as Annie Wilkes.

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Q & A: The Cliffhouse Haunting


Our readers have been asking questions about our new novel, The Cliffhouse Haunting.  We’ve collected some up to answer here.

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Is the Cliffhouse Lodge based on a real hotel? Yes, in some ways. It was built by an architect associated with Gilbert Stanley Underwood, designer of Yosemite’s Ahwahnee Hotel, Grand Canyon Lodge, and the Timberline Lodge in Oregon among many others.  It also has roots in California’s Brookdale Lodge. The Brookdale’s natural stream in the dining room inspired the stream that runs through the lobby in the Cliffhouse Lodge.

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The story is set in the San Bernardino Mountains. Are they any real ghost stories attached to that area?

Yes, many, though we didn’t use any. Just Google “ghost stories San Bernardino Mountains, Lake Arrowhead, Big Bear” and you’ll find plenty.

Is the Blue Lady a ghost from real life?

There are many blue ladies in ghost fact and fiction. They appear all over the globe. Our Blue Lady is a little different in that she isn’t a human spirit but an elemental one. A naiad if you will, a water spirit, a force of nature. Some characters think of her as a regular ghost, or as Santa Muerte, a female saint of death not condoned by the Vatican. She is also connected by some to La Llorona (The Weeping Woman). La Llorona is famous for having drowned her children in order to seduce a man who she thinks wouldn’t want them.  She is a Latina banshee who walks and wails and seduces children to watery deaths.

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What ghost stories did you base your story on?

Many. The Blue Lady partially hails from a spooky night Tamara and her husband spent in a lodge overlooking Boothbay Harbor in Maine. A strip of forest no more than 20 feet wide hugged the parking area and when they stepped from the asphalt into the woods, intending to check out the water, they experienced a dizziness and something that can only be described as a clinging chill that ran up their arms and remained until they nearly all the way upstairs to their room. A pervasive smell of dark water clung to the cold.

You two spent time in a real-life haunted cabin. Did it have anything to do with Cliffhouse?

We spent five nights in a haunted cabin at the request of a frightened owner and conceived of the basic story of Cliffhouse there. We experienced sounds and other anomalies we couldn’t readily explain while staying in the lightless little cabin. We don’t know what caused all the incidents there, but it was frightening and exciting. It was so intense that we set aside our work in progress to write Cliffhouse while the experiences were fresh.

Did anything happen in the cabin that you put into the book?

We fictionalize everything, but the description of Sara’s floating sandwich is pretty close to one of the real incidents we experienced.

What about the ghost cat, Omar Siam?  

There are many hotels with stories of resident feline spirits that leap on beds or meow, and we thought it would be nice to have one at Cliffhouse. Omar Siam is named for Tamara’s own Siamese kitty, who lived a fat and pampered life.

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And the perfume of Aunt Theodosia’s ghost?

This came from an experience Alistair had when he was very young. He remembers waking up in the middle of the night and seeing an unfamiliar woman in his room. He spoke to her and she didn’t reply. She disappeared without acknowledging him, but he remembers that she left behind a soft, flowery scent. When we wrote Theodosia, we gave her the signature perfume – we chose White Shoulders – that she left behind.

Was “Walleye” Gardner inspired by anyone?

He is based on a strange man who walked around the small town that Alistair grew up in. Alistair remembers that the man had strange eyes that seemed to look in different directions. Alistair was intrigued by – and a little frightened of – the man, and he and his friends would often follow him, trying to see who he was and where he lived. When Walter Gardner came into existence in Cliffhouse, Tamara and Alistair based him on this mysterious man.

Is Constance Welling based on anyone?

No, but we did incorporate all the worst qualities of egotistical would-be writers into her persona. We’ve encountered many people like her; those who consider themselves above genre writing, those who try too hard to be “literary,” those who are baffled by – and hateful toward – the publishing industry and prefer to spend their time bemoaning the difficulties of the business rather than writing novels. Constance is also the embodiment of vanity – she is a woman who refuses to accept growing older, and no longer being the young, beautiful center of attention she imagines she once was. Constance Welling is entitled – and not justifiably so. She is the ego personified. We had a lot of fun her and thoroughly enjoyed doling out the justice she deserved. It was therapeutic – for both of us – for reasons we can not publicly disclose.

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How did Dr. Siechert come to be?

Dr. Siechert is one of those “people” who decided he didn’t want to be just a secondary character; he demanded to be heard. He quickly showed more and more eccentricities as his intake of Blue Springs Water increased. We both broke out in laughter the day he called the mortician’s wife a very bad name in front of everyone. He took off with the story after that, creating his own thread by dating Constance Welling. We still wonder what he was thinking.

Did you know that H.H. Holmes, America’s first serial killer, was really named Herman Mudgett?

Yes.

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Are a lot of your characters’ names based in reality?

Yes, in odd ways. For instance, Dr. Siechert’s name is lifted from one of the possible Jack the Ripper suspects. Also, there is a humorous link between the names Siechert and Cornhull, but we can’t say any more except that it has everything to do with the finger Siechert carries around. We also love puns. Try saying ‘Constance Welling’ and ‘Constance Leigh Welling’ out loud… Also, Sara Bellamy’s name is a hidden pun. Consider that she’s very intelligent and say her full name aloud.

Tell us about the old lady who likes to take baths. The bathroom was described just like the one in Kubrick’s The Shining. Is there a reason for that?

Yes. We wanted to do it since water horror is involved. Maisy Hart – said old lady – was originally a near throw-away character slated to be found dead in her tub. Her name, before she acquired a speaking role, was Mrs. Massey… You might also recognize the names of the young couple beleaguered by ghosts: George and Marianne Kirby. Change the spelling slightly and you’ve got another young couple who were ghosts who picked on a man named Cosmo Topper. There are lots more. Beverly Hill, for instance. She’s the most obvious. Generally we look for names and place names that won’t be noticed if they aren’t pointed out.

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Is Laurel Lutz a real actress?

No, but the name is a snark at a real singer/actress who constantly and inexplicably shows up in Alistair’s “likes” on Facebook. Revenge was necessary.

Shouldn’t the restaurant in Cliffhouse be called Le Chat Rouge?

No. We knew what we were doing when we added that extra “TE” to “Chat.”

Are the kids who befriend Walleye based on your own kids or nieces and nephews?

No. Think about the names. Carrie. Tommy.  Pre-high school Carrie and Tommy. Dirty Pillows. Proms. We were having fun. The last name of Collins can refer to the drink you want after dealing with them, or the family from Dark Shadows. Your choice.

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Sheriff Jackson Ballou has a sister named Kitty and a father named Lee. The names seem familiar but I can’t place them.

Like many other characters, Jackson Ballou was born fully named. Kitty Ballou and Lee Ballou came later – ever see a movie called Cat Ballou?  That’s probably why it sounds familiar. Kitty simply sounds like Cat, but Lee – Lee is special.  From the moment we knew Jackson needed a drunken dad, it was Lee Marvin, the king of drunken cowboys (in Cat Ballou and Paint Your Wagon among others.) While we rarely know what our main characters really look like – we like to be vague so the readers can envision them the way they want – minor characters often look like someone to us. And that’s true of Lee Ballou. In fact, we’re pretty sure his middle name is Marvin.

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Were there any characters you were surprised by?

Yes. Chad Armstrong. He began as a secondary character, grew into something much larger, and then in edits, he got cut back to a secondary status again. His sexual preferences went back and forth quite a bit, too, which made for amusing rewrites.

Was The Bodice Ripper a real serial killer in history?

No. We just love the name. It’s based on a book genre often referred to as “bodice ripper.”

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Is it true that Cliffhouse was originally 175,000 words? What happened the the rest of it?

Yes. We ended up having to cut over 50,000 words. One of our favorite character’s threads was removed, but we saved it, and intend to incorporate his already-written scenes into a very exciting, large apocalyptic novel  (working title is B.O. – Big One) which we’ll begin in 2016. Nothing is wasted.

Who wrote which scenes?

We both wrote them, equally. We work in the same document, side by side. We have a mutual email account and we write in the Cloud while simultaneously talking on Skype. When we say that we collaborate, we mean it. Our sensibilities and styles are so similar that we rarely even remember who thought of a scene, let alone who wrote what. Both our fingerprints are all over everything.

Have either of you ever stayed in a haunted hotel?

Of course! Long before we met, we were both into haunted hotels and each of us have managed to rent the most-haunted rooms in those hotels. While we have only experienced a few minor spooky incidents, we both love recalling the spooky halls and rooms, the expectations of scariness, and these get into our work.

Cliffhouse is set in California with Tamara’s other novels. Will you write more books in that area? Why does it appeal to you?

Yes. We are already writing more books that are set in California. Devilswood in The Ghosts of Ravencrest isn’t too far from Cliffside, and Crimson Cove, in Alistair’s upcoming solo, The Crimson Corset is also close by. We plan to continue creating our own fictional universe, and as you read our work, you’ll see references to our other towns and even occasional guest appearances by characters from other books. California appeals to us because it has everything – ocean, mountains, deserts, and it’s in the southwest, where we both live. We may venture out of state, but we’ll still be in the same fictional universe. We’ve adopted radio deejay Coastal Eddie from Tamara’s Candle Bay as a sort of narrator – the voice of unreason, so to speak. He’s making appearances in almost all of our novels.

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Alistair’s upcoming book is called The Crimson Corset. There is a Crimson Corset in Cliffhouse. Was this deliberate?

The idea for naming a nightclub The Crimson Corset goes way back. When we were writing Cliffhouse, we put a club there with that name, but Alistair’s novel, The Crimson Corset, was already underway. The original title of this novel was Crimson Cove, the name of the town the novel is set in, but as the plot thickened, The Crimson Corset became a more appropriate title. We figure that The Crimson Corset is a chain of nightclubs. More of them will likely be seen in other works.

How did you come up with that nasty immersion blender scene?

It was inspired by a hot pink immersion blender that Tamara’s close friend gave her for Christmas a couple years back. It was supposed to be red and the friend offered to exchange it, but the hot pink Cuisinart was just too perfect. “It’s like having a sex toy in the kitchen,” says Mr. Thorne.

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What about all the festivals? Do those really happen in the San Bernardino Mountains?

Pretty much, though if you want to see a huge Civil War reenactment in the area, you need to go to Calico Ghost Town around President’s Day. This is in the high desert by the mountains. (It’s also the inspiration for Tamara’s novel, Thunder Road.) Local mountain towns Big Bear and Lake Arrowhead are famous for their Oktoberfest celebrations.

Have you ever swum in a real indoor pool?

Yes, and it’s as scary as you think it is, even without ghosts.

Visit our websites at: tamarathorne.com & alistaircross.com

(Images retrieved form Google images)

Interviews, Books, and Horror. Oh my…


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It’s been a busy month! On the 2nd, we released our first collaborative novel, THE CLIFFHOUSE HAUNTING, then a few days later, DEAD GIRLS, the 6th installment of our serialized Gothic novel, THE GHOSTS OF RAVENCREST, came out. Both are available on Amazon, as well as the previous RAVENCREST installments, DARKER SHADOWS (#1-3), CHRISTMAS SPIRITS (#4), and NIGHT MOVES (#5).

Meanwhile, we’ve been doing a lot of promotional work for Cliffhouse’s release. Our latest interview about this novel is at Beauty in Ruins, which came out this morning, and earlier this week, we did a live radio interview at Conversations LIVE! with host, Cyrus Webb.

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In the interim, our own radio show, Haunted Nights LIVE! has been going strong. We started booking for summer of 2015 and have acquired such guests as Christopher Moore, Charlaine Harris, F. Paul Wilson, Jonathan Maberry, and Dianna Love, to name a few. Last week, we had Richard Christian Matheson, and tonight, at 9 pm EDT, we have the legendary Chelsea Quinn Yarbro. Be there if you dare. Keep an eye out next week for Kealan Patrick Burke, and our first guest in May is one of the best thriller writers around, Kevin O’Brien. Visit my website for the full guest list as well as previous podcasts which are available to listen to. You can also find us on iTunes.

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Alongside all of this, my solo novel, THE CRIMSON CORSET, is still in progress and is expected to be released later this summer. Also when the weather warms, keep an eye out for our next collaboration, GRANDMA’S RACK, which is in production now. And near the end of next month, the 7th installment in THE GHOSTS OF RAVENCREST series will be available as well.

Interview with Tamara Thorne & Alistair Cross


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In just a few hours, Tamara Thorne and I will be guests at Conversations LIVE! with Cyrus Webb. We’ll be talking about our new novel, THE CLIFFHOUSE HAUNTING. The show starts at 3:30 pm PT, 4:30 pm MT, 5:30 pm CT, 6:30 pm ET. Just click the link to listen!
http://www.blogtalkradio.com/conversationslive/2015/04/21/authors-tamara-thorne-and-alistair-cross-return-to-conversationslive

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(Tamara Thorne)

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(Alistair Cross)

Chelsea Quinn Yarbro joins Thorne & Cross: Haunted Nights LIVE!


This week on Haunted Nights LIVE!, we proudly present, Chelsea Quinn Yarbro!

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A professional writer for more than forty years, Yarbro has sold over eighty books, more than seventy works of short fiction, and more than three dozen essays, introductions, and reviews. She also composes serious music. Her first professional writing – in 1961-1962 – was as a playwright for a now long-defunct children’s theater company. By the mid-60s she had switched to writing stories and hasn’t stopped yet.

After leaving college in 1963 and until she became a full-time writer in 1970, she worked as a demographic cartographer, and still often drafts maps for her books, and occasionally for the books of other writers.

51y3oTwVxTL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_She has a large reference library with books on a wide range of subjects, everything from food and fashion to weapons and trade routes to religion and law. She is constantly adding to it as part of her on-going fascination with history and culture; she reads incessantly, searching for interesting people and places that might provide fodder for stories.

Chelsea Quinn Yarbro Photo 2015 Photo Credit Charles Lucke
In 1997 the Transylvanian Society of Dracula bestowed a literary knighthood on Yarbro, and in 2003 the World Horror Association presented her with a Grand Master award. In 2006 the International Horror Guild enrolled her among their Living Legends, the first woman to be so honored; the Horror Writers Association gave her a Life Achievement Award in 2009. In 2014 she won a Life Achievement Award from the World Fantasy Convention.

Arcane Wisdome

A skeptical occultist for forty years, she has studied everything from alchemy to zoomancy, and in the late 1970s worked occasionally as a professional tarot card reader and palmist at the Magic Cellar in San Francisco.

She has two domestic accomplishments: she is a good cook and an experienced seamstress. The rest is catch-as-catch-can.

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Divorced, she lives in the San Francisco Bay Area – with two cats: the irrepressible Butterscotch and Crumpet, the Gang of Two. When not busy writing, she enjoys the symphony or opera.

Listen in at 6pm Pacific, 7 Mountain, 8 Central, 9 Eastern. Just click here to listen.

THE CLIFFHOUSE HAUNTING


THE CLIFFHOUSE HAUNTING is available now: http://www.amazon.com/Cliffhouse-Haunting-Tamara-Thorne-ebook/dp/B00VL9LUC6/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1428264698&sr=8-1&keywords=cliffhouse

“Thorne & Cross keep the surprises coming as swiftly as a master magician… the characters quickly become people we know, but then wish perhaps we didn’t… the laughter of recognition rides like bubbles on the surface of a deep flowing darkness… there’s something cold in here.”
~ Mark Hein, critic and editor at theaterghost.com

“Thorne & Cross are clever. The plot they create reads effortlessly, and they make us laugh and cringe and widen our eyes, looking away from the text at times to say, “Oh, no you didn’t.” But they did.”
~ Michael Aronovitz, author of Alice Walks and Witch of the Wood

When the Blue Lady Walks…

Since 1887, Cliffhouse Lodge has been famous for its luxurious accommodations, fine dining… and its ghosts. Overlooking Blue Lady Lake, nestled among tall pines, Cliffhouse has just been renovated by its owners, Teddy and Adam Bellamy, and their daughter, Sara.

Cliffhouse has not always been a place of rest and respite, though. Over the years it has served many vices, from rum-running to prostitution – and although the cat houses have been replaced by a miniature golf course and carousel, Cliffhouse retains its dark history; darkest during the Roaring Twenties, when a serial killer called the Bodice Ripper terrorized the town, and a phantom, the Blue Lady, was said to walk when murder was imminent.

Death Walks With Her…

Now, there’s a new killer on the loose, and the Blue Lady sightings have returned. The Bellamys are losing maids, and guests are being tormented by disembodied whispers, wet phantom footprints, and the blood-chilling shrieks of mad laughter that echo through the halls of Cliffhouse in the dead of night.

The little mountain town of Cliffside is the perfect hunting ground for a serial killer… and the Blue Lady. Police Chief Jackson Ballou has bodies piling up, and between the murders and the mysteries, he can hardly pursue his romance with Polly Owen. And Sara Bellamy may lose her true love before they even have their first kiss.

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Richard Christian Matheson is on Haunted Nights LIVE Tonight!


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He is an acclaimed bestselling author. His fiction has appeared in 125 major anthologies. He’s a screenwriter and executive producer for television and film. He’s worked with Steven Spielberg, Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Bryan Singer, and legendary CREAM drummer, Ginger Baker.

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The man has done a lot things, so really, it was just a matter of time until he came to Thorne & Cross: Haunted Nights LIVE​! He is RC Matheson​, and TONIGHT, I get to meet him! And you can, too. Just click the link at 6pm Pacific, 7 Mountain, 8 Central, 9 Eastern, to listen: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/authorsontheairradio2/2015/04/17/richard-christian-matheson-joins-thorne-cross-haunted-nights-live

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RC will be giving away three personally signed books: a hardcover of his acclaimed new novella, “RITUAL OF ILLUSION”, a hardcover copy of his first novel “CREATED BY” and “BATTTLEGROUND,” a coffee table book collection about the Emmy-winning TNT production of Stephen King’s short story, which is signed by everyone involved with the production.

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Richard Christian Matheson joins Thorne & Cross: Haunted Nights LIVE!


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This Thursday, I get to meet one of the best writers of our time… Richard Christian Matheson.

Just click the link on Thursday at 6pm Pacific, 7 Mountain, 8 Central, 9 Eastern, to listen: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/authorsontheairradio2/2015/04/17/richard-christian-matheson-joins-thorne-cross-haunted-nights-live

Join the Facebook event here.

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

On the Other Side of the Mic


Tamara Thorne and I just did an interview at Authors on the Air with host, Pam Stack. We talked about THE GHOSTS OF RAVENCREST, THE CLIFFHOUSE HAUNTING, our writing process, and some of our upcoming guests on Haunted Nights LIVE! Click the pic below to listen to the show:

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Coming Very Soon…


“Thorne & Cross are clever. The plot they create reads effortlessly, and they make us laugh and cringe and widen our eyes, looking away from the text at times to say, “Oh, no you didn’t.” But they did.”

 Michael Aronovitz – author of Alice Walks, The voices in Our Heads, and The Witch of the Wood

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Elizabeth Massie joins Thorne & Cross: Haunted Nights LIVE!


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Elizabeth Massie is the author of 11 horror novels, 5 collections, and more than 100 short stories. She has won the Bram Stoker Award twice and the Scribe Award for her novelization of the third season of Showtime’s original television show, The Tudors.

Oh, and she’s going to be our guest this week on Thorne & Cross: Haunted Nights LIVE! I can’t wait!

Click the link on Thursday at 9 EST to listen:
http://www.blogtalkradio.com/authorsontheairradio2/2015/03/20/elizabeth-massie-joins-thorne-cross-haunted-nights-live

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COVER REVEAL FOR THE CLIFFHOUSE HAUNTING!!



At long last, our cover for The Cliffhouse Haunting is ready to be revealed. We love it, and would like to thank our cover design artist, Kealan Patrick Burke, for perfectly capturing the SPIRIT of our book!

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When the Blue Lady Walks…

Since 1887, Cliffhouse Lodge has been famous for its luxurious accommodations, fine dining… and its ghosts. Overlooking Blue Lady Lake, nestled among tall pines, Cliffhouse has just been renovated by its owners, Teddy and Adam Bellamy, and their daughter, Sara.

Cliffhouse has not always been a place of rest and respite, though. Over the years it has served many vices, from rum-running to prostitution – and although the cat houses have been replaced by a miniature golf course and carousel, Cliffhouse retains its dark history; darkest during the Roaring Twenties, when a serial killer called the Bodice Ripper terrorized the town, and a phantom, the Blue Lady, was said to walk when murder was imminent.

 

Death Walks With Her…

Now, there’s a new killer on the loose, and the Blue Lady sightings have returned. The Bellamys are losing maids, and guests are being tormented by disembodied whispers, wet phantom footprints, and the blood-chilling shrieks of mad laughter that echo through the halls of Cliffhouse in the dead of night.

The little mountain town of Cliffside is the perfect hunting ground for a serial killer… and the Blue Lady. Police Chief Jackson Ballou has bodies piling up, and between the murders and the mysteries, he can hardly pursue his romance with Polly Owen. And Sara Bellamy may lose her true love before they even have their first kiss.

The Cliffhouse Haunting will be available this March!

It works if you work it…


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When I joined forces with Tamara Thorne in 2012, people warned me that collaborations are difficult and often don’t work out. Tamara no doubt received the same warnings and worse – she was, after all, an already-established novelist with over a dozen books under her belt. Undoubtedly, there was some nail-biting going on behind the scenes… but we knew there was no need to worry.

Tamara and I had both collaborated previous to meeting each other, so this isn’t new territory for us. We both come from a place of professionalism; ours is a strict tantrum-free work zone with a rigidly enforced no-drama policy. It helps, of course, that neither of us engages in drama to begin with.

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We stuck together, ignored all advice, and extracted any meddlers with prompt micro-surgical precision. For two years, we’ve had our noses to the grindstone, working eight-plus hour days, six and sometimes seven days a week. All of that hard work is paying off now, though. In 2015, we will be releasing a total of five novels.

First will be The Cliffhouse Haunting, which will come in March. Grandma’s Rack, which is in the final edits, will come next. Then, I will release my debut solo novel sometime this summer. In fall, we will have written the next two installments of The Ghosts of Ravencrest, which wraps up this story arc and will then be made into a full-length novel. Finally, we will finish the next collaboration which we started planning in 2013 – it will be a hard fast stabby jaunt into the thriller arena – and before the year is out, it will be done.

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Shit happens, and things can change… we know. But the future will take care of itself, and as long as we keep at it, which we fully intend to do, I believe the next few years will be just as exhilarating and productive as the past two.

And regardless of what’s to come, I can’t help looking back at the past two years and saying, “Wow. We did it.” And writing isn’t the only thing we’ve been doing, either; we’ve also been hosting Thorne & Cross: Haunted Nights LIVE!, since November. Haunted Nights LIVE! is a horror-themed live internet radio show that airs every Thursday at 9:00 pm Eastern. Already, we’re booked through spring.

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And here’s the best part: We haven’t even had a fight. Not one. And I don’t see one coming any time soon.

So… it can be done, and done well. I realize our union may be unique, but it is absolutely possible to collaborate and benefit from it. If Tamara and I wrote nothing else together, I could say with confidence that working with her was productive and well worth it. I don’t think we’ll stop anytime soon, though. We already have plans for 2016…

The Cliffhouse Haunting is Coming…


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The Cliffhouse Haunting is coming in March! This is the story that started it all when, in 2012, Tamara Thorne and I decided to try writing something together. We began with a modest concept – and hoped for the best, both knowing it could go either way. We quickly realized our union was creative, complementary, and productive. The synergy blazed like fireworks as The Cliffhouse Haunting grew into the book that it is now… and beyond. Together, we’ve generated so many ideas that we haven’t stopped collaborating since, and we have enough material to write until we retire.

As a fan of Tamara’s since the mid-nineties, it’s been an honor working with her, and I consider this novel, The Cliffhouse Haunting, to be one of greatest achievements of my life. There will be other collaborations between us, but this one will always be the first one. And I couldn’t be happier with it. I have no doubts about this book, and I can’t wait to give it to the world. Right now, the final edits are underway and a truly amazing artist is creating our cover. Until then, here is a little about The Cliffhouse Haunting:

When the Blue Lady Walks…

Since 1887, Cliffhouse Lodge has been famous for its luxurious accommodations, fine dining… and its ghosts. Overlooking Blue Lady Lake, nestled among tall pines, Cliffhouse has just been renovated by its owners, Teddy and Adam Bellamy, and their daughter, Sara.

Cliffhouse has not always been a place of rest and respite, though. Over the years it has served many vices, from rum-running to prostitution – and although the cat houses have been replaced by a miniature golf course and carousel, Cliffhouse retains its dark history; darkest during the Roaring Twenties, when a serial killer called the Bodice Ripper terrorized the town, and a phantom, the Blue Lady, was said to walk when murder was imminent.

Death Walks With Her…

Now, there’s a new killer on the loose, and the Blue Lady sightings have returned. The Bellamys are losing maids, and guests are being tormented by disembodied whispers, wet phantom footprints, and the blood-chilling shrieks of mad laughter that echo through the halls of Cliffhouse in the dead of night.

The little mountain town of Cliffside is the perfect hunting ground for a serial killer… and the Blue Lady. Police Chief Jackson Ballou has bodies piling up, and between the murders and the mysteries, he can hardly pursue his romance with Polly Owen. And Sara Bellamy may lose her true love before they even have their first kiss.

THE CLIFFHOUSE HAUNTING


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(The image above is not the cover art for “The Cliffhouse Haunting.” The official cover for this novel is currently in production.)

The Cliffhouse Haunting

Coming in March, the collaborative debut novel of horror authors, Tamara Thorne and Alistair Cross!

The Cliffhouse Haunting

by Tamara Thorne and Alistair Cross

Coming in March from

Glass Apple Press

Horror Authors Tamara Thorne and Alistair Cross Explore the Unknown in New Supernatural Thriller

When the Blue Lady walks, death walks with her…

Cliffhouse Lodge has been the center of the little town of Cliffside in the San Bernardino Mountains of southern California since it was built in 1887. Overlooking Blue Lady Lake, Cliffhouse was built by the Bellamy family and has been newly renovated by owners Teddy and Adam Baxter-Bellamy and their daughter, Sara.

In the 1880s, Cliffhouse served as a restaurant, hotel, cathouse, theater and tavern, and during Prohibition became a hangout for rum runners. Later, its hot springs attracted the wealthy; even presidents have stayed there.

Today, the lodge is famous for its luxurious accommodations, spa, fine dining… and its ghosts.

Although the cathouse and rumrunners have been replaced by a miniature golf course and a carousel, Cliffhouse retains its long dark history; darkest during the Roaring Twenties, when a serial killer named the Bodice Ripper terrorized the town and a phantom, the Blue Lady, was said to walk when murder was imminent.

Now, darkness has returned. There’s a serial killer on the loose, and the Blue Lady is again walking the shores of the lake below Cliffhouse.

Police Chief Jackson Ballou has bodies piling up that can’t even be considered murder victims, yet he knows they are. The Bellamys are losing maids and guests who hear their names whispered in their ears and see wet phantom footprints padding across the rooms, but nothing is as terrifying as the shrieking laughter that echoes through the halls in the dead of night.

The town of Cliffside, and Cliffhouse, is dependent on tourism; every weekend there’s something going on, be it a Civil War reenactment, a wine tasting, or Oktoberfest.  It’s a perfect hunting ground for a serial killer… and the Blue Lady.

Between the murders, the ghosts, Blue Lady sightings, the histrionics of writer Constance Welling, and the antics of the hapless Dr. Siechert who loves making sausage, things are not going smoothly. Chief Ballou’s hands are so full that he can hardly pursue his romance with diner owner Polly Owen. And poor Sara Bellamy may lose her love, Luke Donovan, before they even have their first kiss.

Excerpt

He heard the Lady’s laughter, delightful and deadly…

“He turned to enter the staff lounge and wake up the napping night clerk when he caught a whiff of something dark and dank, of deep water hiding moldering roots and limbs of pine trees felled a century or more ago. The scent of rotting wood from boats and rafts sunken when Cliffhouse was new. The metallic bite of lost anchors and the dry smell of bones of men long dead. Gooseflesh prickled up his back. How many are lost out there?”

About the Authors

Authors 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, Grandma’s Rack, which is currently in production, as well as completed five installments of the successful Gothic serialized novel, The Ghosts of Ravencrest. In November of 2014, they began their own horror-themed radio internet show, Haunted Nights LIVE!, as part of the Authors on the Air Global Radio Network, LLC.

Tamara Thorne’s first novel was published to great acclaim 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. See more at: http://tamarathorne.com. You can also visit Tamara on Twitter, Facebook, or at her blog.

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 under the pseudonym Jared S. Anderson. 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 is currently working on a solo novel which he expects to be finished with this spring. See more at: http://alistaircross.com. You can also visit Alistair on Twitter, Facebook, or at his blog, Cross Talk.

CONFIRMED


Confirmed today:

RC Matheson is coming to Thorne & Cross: Haunted Nights LIVE! Matheson is the co-writer of the screenplays for Loose Cannons, Paradise, Three O’Clock High, and It Waits, among others. He adapted Soul Survivor by Dean Koontz into a mini-series, as well as Stephen King’s Big Driver, and wrote the film, Happy Face Killer.

He wrote for Amazing Stories, the miniseries Nightmares & Dreamscapes and has been an executive story editor, executive story consultant, producer and Executive Producer for network television series.

Oh yeah, and his dad is Richard Matheson, author of Hell House. 

In short, he’s kinda a big deal and I am stoked.

A solid date is on its way. Stay tuned…

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Update for January


As planned, we finished off Night Moves, the 5th installment of The Ghosts of Ravencrest. We wrapped up the final scene last night and during the next week or so, we’ll be doing final edits and deciding on cover art. The final product should be out by the end of January.

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We received confirmation this morning from New York Times bestseller, Kevin O’Brien, for an appearance on Thorne & Cross: Haunted Nights LIVE! A few weeks ago, I read his novel, Make Them Cry, and I dug it so much I hunted the poor guy down to tell him. I’ve since started reading another novel of his called Unspeakable. It, too, creeps me out in the yummiest of ways. I’m stoked to have him as a guest on Haunted Nights LIVE! and if you haven’t check him out yet, do it. Kevin will be our guest on May 7th.

And now, we return to the other projects: Grandma’s Rack, and my solo novel, which is currently known only as CC. Grandma’s Rack, which has been all but written since last year, is in the revising process and is expected to be out by the end of winter or early spring. As Tamara works her magic on that, CC, my solo vampire novel, is about 25,000 words deep and growing. I expect it to be completed by the end of April.

Between solo novels, collaborations, the radio show, and the ongoing serialization, 2015 is shaping up to be every bit as prolific and busy as 2014. But hey… that’s how we like it…

The Ghosts of Ravencrest: Christmas Spirits


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“The Ghosts of Ravencrest: Christmas Spirits 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 over 100 books, inlcuding the Scary Stories for Sleep-Overs series and film tie-in books for the Fox animated film Titan AE and the Universal animated series Land Before Time.

Christmas Spirits is available now on AMAZON.

The Debut of Thorne & Cross: Haunted Nights LIVE!


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

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

Stay tuned to Thorne & Cross: Haunted Nights LIVE! where we’ll be talking about all things horror with the biggest names in the business. From fiction writers and paranormal investigators to haunted spots and true ghost stories supplied by our listeners, Haunted Nights LIVE! features fact, fiction, and that indiscernible gray area in between. This show is part of the Authors on the Air Global Radio Network with more than 2 million listeners in 44 countries, and we’re excited to be part of it! Give us a like on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter.

Thorne & Cross: Haunted Nights LIVE!

Be there if you dare…

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The Ghosts of Ravencrest: Darker Shadows


Scary Ladies and Gentlefiends,

We give you The Ghosts of Ravencrest: Darker Shadows. Available now.

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In Darker Shadows, Belinda ventures into the east wing of Ravencrest in search of schoolbooks for her charges. But she finds much more than a few dusty texts. This branch of the manor is kept under lock and key, supposedly to keep the kids and employees from exploring the vast troves of family treasures stored there. Supposedly…

But there are horrors stored there as well. As Belinda explores the barely-lit hallways, she hears strange noises, and comes face to face with Sisters Faith, Hope, and Charity.  And someone else from the past… a little girl dressed in red. Is she there to help Belinda… or hurt her?

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Repackaged, revisited, and revamped, we’ve made some spooky changes to the first two installments of The Erotic Adventures of Belinda, and they are included here free of charge under their series title, The Ghosts of Ravencrest. If you’ve already read them, you’ll probably want to do so again – they’re the same but… eerier. We realized that this story was taking on a life of its own and wanted more than anything to be classic Gothic horror – a genre we both love dearly. Ravencrest will still have lots of erotica, but it now comes with 99% more screams – and more ghosts than you can shake a stick at.

Ravencrest has become a sweeping saga of the Manning family, spanning centuries, and they have closets full of skeletons… not to mention witches, ghosts, and diabolical creatures beyond your most harrowing nightmares. And that’s just the closets. You don’t even want to know what’s in the basement… or do you?

Stay tuned for some upcoming interviews about Ravencrest, the first being a one-on-one conversation with Belinda herself, at Marie Lavender’s Writing in the Modern Age. You’ll find out all sorts of things about Belinda: her aspirations, her darkest fantasies, and her feelings about her new home, Ravencrest. You’ll also get to hear from us, and we’ll give you an inside look at the creation of Ravencrest and the people who inhabit it.

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Welcome to Ravencrest…


Threshold

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.

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“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 Double Double Love and Trouble

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Sinister. Sexy. Soon…


It’s sinister. It’s sexy. It’s coming soon…

After just one night at Ravencrest Manor, the new governess, Belinda Moorland, begins to suspect her beautiful new home has a dark side. By day, the house and grounds are sublime, but the night is alive with dark shadows and phantom footsteps in empty corridors. Eyes – and hands – are upon her, and not all of them belong to the living.

The Ghosts of Ravencrest. Cross the threshold…

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We’re Spilling the Secrets of Horror…


Our new show, Thorne & Cross: Haunted Nights Live!, is all about horror. We’ll be interviewing your favorite authors, discussing books, movies, and your ghost stories, among other things. Our first guests include Douglas Clegg, Glen Hirshberg, and Michael Aronovitz! The show premiers November 6th on the Authors on the Air station at Blog Talk Radio. URL coming soon!

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Douglas Clegg is Coming to Haunted Nights Live


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Douglas Clegg is a very busy man. He is the New York Times bestselling author of psychological horror, historical, supernatural thriller, and dark fiction novels. He is the winner of many awards including the Bram Stoker Award, the Shocker Award, and the International Horror Guild Award. Recently, he even wrote a new introduction for the Signet Classic edition of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein

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And these are just a few of the reasons I’m excited to announce that he will be one of our first Guests on Thorne & Cross: Haunted Nights Live. 

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Haunted Nights is a horror-themed radio show, hosted by my collaborator, Tamara Thorne, and me. It’s part of Authors on the Air Global Radio Network which reaches upwards of two million listeners in 44 countries. On Haunted Nights Live, Tamara and I will be interviewing horror authors, other macabre personalities, and discussing all things horror. The show begins on Thursday nights in November. Until then, you can listen to us through the month of October when we’ll be co-hosting Authors on the Air with Pam Stack.

Keep an eye out for Dinner with the Cannibal SistersDoug’s latest tale of terror.

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These Books are Made for Writin’…


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As Tamara Thorne and I wrap the final edits on the collaborative horror novel we’ve been working on for the past few months, we’ve begun planning upcoming projects, collaborative and solo. Of course, we will be releasing new installments of The Ghosts of Ravencrest regularly and will spend the rest of 2014 completing Grandma’s Rack. Once Grandma’s put to bed, we’ll be as busy as ever with the next collaboration and our upcoming solo works.

2015 is already shaping up to be a busy year. On the days we aren’t scheduled to work on our collaborative projects, I’ll be returning to the project formerly known as The White Room. I say ‘formerly known’ because I’ve settled on a new, more suitable title. For now, it will only be known as C.C.

C.C. was completed in fall of 2010, but I have since all but scrapped the original novel as new concepts have presented themselves. Originally written in first person, this story has become too rich and complex to be told from a single point of view. In the writing I’ve done since, I’ve found my voice, and a facet of it is the fact that I prefer writing in third person. Third person allows me to more fully explore characters and I find it far more rewarding and energizing. As a writer particularly interested in characters, I find first person too one-dimensional; I want to see the world I’ve built through the eyes of the good guys, the bad guys, the reprobates, and the fools. I find that a lot of readers feel the same way.

So, once Grandma is fully Racked, Tamara and I will be dividing our time – but not our office space – between our collaborative and solo projects. Together, Skypewriting in the Cloud, we are more productive and have more fun than we do working alone. In January, when we begin our next collaboration, which we are referring to as M, we will also be working on our solo novels, C.C. and C.B. six days a week, as usual – seven as necessary.

Until then, we’re going back to work, but you can find us co-hosting Authors on the Air with Pam Stack on Wednesday nights through the month of October, and then hosting our brand new show, Thorne & Cross: Haunted Nights Live, on Thursdays at 9 p.m. Eastern, beginning November 6th. One of our first guests will be New York Times bestselling author, Douglas Clegg. We’re going to grill him – with some barbeque sauce and baked beans on the side – about his process, his experiences in the industry, and his latest work, Dinner with the Cannibal Sisters, which we think is one hell of a title. Already, we have a solid line-up of other guests and are looking forward to getting the show on the air.

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Thorne & Cross: Haunted Nights Live!


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A few months back, Tamara Thorne and I were interviewed by Pam Stack at Authors on the Air. We had a great time on the show and the three of us quickly double entendered ourselves into a fast friendship.  A few weeks ago, Pam asked us if we would be interested in hosting some horror-themed shows in October. This sounded like a lot of fun and we agreed, though we’ve kept it under our Halloween masks until today.

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Since, Pam has invited us to host our very own brand new radio show… so starting in November, we will be hosting Thorne & Cross: Haunted Nights Live. We will be interviewing horror authors and other macabre personalities, talking about horror in general, telling ghost stories – ours and yours – and are planning some very special T&A – style features for your amusement.

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Already, we have an impressive list of excellent horror authors on tap, ready to share their personal stories in the horror industry as well as the secrets of their writing processes. But don’t expect deep dark critiquing and heavy duty analysis. If you follow us on Facebook, you know we like to have fun. We’ll talk about books and movies, the publishing world and about our own writing processes, as well as our unique methods for breaking writer’s block and other catastrophes.

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A shiny new Facebook page for our show will appear soon, but you can friend us right now on our individual Facebook pages at Tamara Thorne and Alistair Cross. We welcome questions and suggestions.

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We have a vision. We want Haunted Nights Live to be the liveliest show about dead things in existence! It will be Halloween all year long at Thorne & Cross: Haunted Nights Live. Boo!

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The Ghosts of Ravencrest


Write what you love.  That is the cardinal rule Tamara Thorne and I live by. That being said, we are pleased to announce some exciting changes coming to our serialized novel, The Erotic Adventures of Belinda.

Although we began this serial as a strictly erotic tale with just a hint of ghostly goings-on, we’ve found we enjoy our specters and scandals far too much to stick to erotica alone. Therefore, we have decided to make ourselves happy by including more of what we love most – ghosts, mysteries, and chills. But no worries if you’re reading Belinda purely for the erotica – there will still be oodles of sexy thrills, we promise. However, with the release of our third installment, Darker Shadows, due out in the coming weeks, Darkness and Erotica will become equal partners in a sexy, spooky Danse Macabre.

First, we’ve changed the series title to something that speaks of the shadowed corridors, disembodied voices, and mysterious footsteps that haunt the halls of Ravencrest Manor:  The Ghosts of Ravencrest.

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We will also be adding some previously deleted scenes that concentrated more on the spectral than the sexual. The changes are minor, but because of these additions, we’ll be combining all three installments – The New Governess, Awakening, and the new release, Darker Shadows – into an omnibus edition for the single-installment price of 2.99. That way you’ll be getting all three for the price of one. Think of it as the unexpurgated version of Belinda’s tale.

We hope you’ll enjoy reading it as much as we enjoy writing it!

Take a Ride Down Thunder Road Today


My collaborator, Tamara Thorne, has just blogged about the release of her novel, Thunder Road, which hits bookstores all over the country today. She also discusses the interview she has coming up in a few hours on Cyrus Webb Presents at Conversations Live. 

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Tamara Thorne on Thunder Road:

Thunder Road, my novel of a small apocalypse, is releasing today in paperback online and in terrestrial bookstores everywhere.  I will be talking about it today, September 2, live on Cyrus Webb Presents at 3 p.m. Pacific (6 p.m. Eastern).  You can get a reminder from the show at the link.

Thunder Road began with a modern cowboy named Tom Abernathy. He emerged, fully formed, one day and ambled around in my head for quite some time before another character came to life in one of the most horrifying yet fascinating nightmares I’ve ever had. And then, I read about UFO reports in the California High Desert, out by my favorite historical amusement park, Calico Ghost Town.  (Even if you’ve never visited Calico, you may have seen bits of it in movies like Tremors 4.)

I had cowboys, amusement parks, serial killers, and UFOs – but I needed just one more thing.  I remembered that, years and years ago, there had been a cult of sorts surrounding a high desert structure called the Integratron, where people went to try to communicate with aliens.  While I kept some UFO cultists hanging around Old Madelyn Amusement park – Madland, my version of Calico, I decided my main cult would be a religious one.  That was because too many missionaries – you know who I mean – had been knocking on my door lately and I needed some sweet revenge.

Also, I really wanted to try my hand at an apocalypse novel and where there are cowboys, there are horses, so I suddenly had visions of the Four Horsemen prancing through my skull.  I was now officially in love with the the book.  

The mountains around Calico are famous. As the sun sets, they glow with eerie colors cast by all the minerals that were mined there besides silver. One of the most famous was borax, as in Boraxo Hand Soap. The chemical was hauled by a twenty-mule team on a hard road between mining towns and then into the city.  I had walked the road behind Calico and recalled seeing it on TV as a little kid.  What better name than Thunder Road, especially since I knew drag racing was going to be a problem in Madland.  So I named my new novel for Bruce Springsteen’s song. He, in turn, said he was inspired by the poster of the 1958 Robert Mitchum  movie of the same name. It was about running moonshine.  It all fit. 

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So, there, you have it. Cowboys, sheriffs, tattooed ladies, a sexy shepherdess, horses, rodeos, crazy prophets and crazier followers babbling about the coming apocalypse, aliens, one ghost story (how could I skip ghosts?), a beautiful UFO researcher, lots of quotes by Jacques Vallee, and not one, but two – count ‘em, two – serial killers!

In addition to being a very fun write, Thunder Road gave me some great returns. One was a friendship with Jacques Vallee (the French scientist in Close Encounters of the Third Kind is based on him); and another was a treasure trove of ghost stories.

While I believe the UFO sightings up in that area of the desert are atmosphere or military related, I came to find out – and witness – that the real Calico Ghost Town is absolutely overrun with ghostly anomalies that’ll knock your socks off (though you’ll get nothing but denials if you ask those currently running the park). But that’s a story for another novel…

An excerpt from Thunder Road:

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‘Justin had never been in here before, and he looked around, impressed with the rich, dark colors, the candlesticks and stacks of cards, the Tiffany lamp in the corner. He sat at the table and reached for the crystal ball.

“Don’t touch that.”

Justin hesitated, then withdrew his hand.

Carlo folded his arms and leaned against a rolltop desk. “What do you need to talk about?”

“Tonight. What we’re, I mean you’re, going to do to Alexandra Manderley.”

“Peel her,” the man said slowly. “What else is there to discuss?”

“You’re going to do it?”

“Yes.”

“And you’re going to teach me?” he added hopefully.

“You may watch. Whether you can learn or not is a question that remains unanswered.”

The doorbell rang, and Carlo stood. “Come back tonight at midnight. You may go now.”

Justin rose, in awe. The man was a king, a leader among men, with a voice so commanding that Alexandra Manderley would probably peel her own skin from her bones if he asked. “Midnight,” he repeated, following Carlo to the back door.’

* * *

Related links:

http://www.calicoghostwalk.com/BearDanceObservedg.html

http://www.tamarathorne.com

The End Is Upon Us


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If you had told me ten years ago, when I really got serious about this writing thing, that I would one day write a novel with Tamara Thorneone of my longtime horror heroes – I would have scoffed, chortled, guffawed and otherwise vehemently disbelieved you. But as I’ve always said, life has a curious way of providing you with what you actively seek, and today, that is exactly what happened. Tamara Thorne and I have just finished our novel. We have written the final words. The first draft is complete. Weighing in at a staggering 171,486 words, the story wrapped itself up at 7:15 pm today.

We started this book about four months ago while finishing up the first draft of another horror novel called Grandma’s Rack. We took this sudden sharp turn for a few reasons. First, Grandma’s Rack needed to sit a while so we could return to it with fresh eyes before finalizing it. We’d hit it hard and fast and both felt it needed some air. Then, another writing prospect emerged, one with a deadline, and one that would – as the fates would have it – fulfill the initial story line Tamara and I discussed when we first decided to write together.

Although, for professional reasons, I can’t say much about this book’s plot, I can say that it was inspired by our experiences during the five nights we spent at an allegedly haunted cabin in California’s gold country a while back (you can read a night-by-night account of that here). I can also say that this novel includes a character of mine who was developed in 2011, during the writing of Beautiful Monster, that I haven’t, until now, been able to find a home for. He fits nicely into this book.

As for the process, these have been the most demanding circumstances I’ve written under. For four months, we’ve worked eight to twelve hour days, six – and more recently – seven days a week, and the rigid time crunch hasn’t been the only factor contributing to the intensity. This plot is complex – more intricate than anything I’ve written. It’s character-dense with upward of a dozen major players, each with his or her own story, and each requiring enough stage time to tell it.

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I’ve had to learn how to weave multiple threads, fuse varying subplots, and play puppet master to a slew of characters with intertwining story lines. I’ve loved every minute of it, even though the whole thing has been painstakingly meticulous. Even the setting is complex – a small California resort town that we built one character, one tiny life-like detail, at a time. Admittedly, it’s the kind of place I’d love to live in – minus all the violence and depravity, of course – but this kind of world-building is mentally taxing and surprisingly exhausting. However, I am by no means complaining. This is the kind of novel I’ve always wanted to write.

This book has taught me more about writing than anything else ever has. Ever. And I’m learning from the best. Tamara, who is a veteran to this lifestyle, has surfed the waves smoothly and without visible distress. I, on the other hand, am cranky, fatigued, and at this point, brain dead. But we did it, and ridiculously, as we neared the end, I think we both felt a little twinge of sadness. Even though we intend to write together more in the future, this is the last time it will ever be the first time we wrote a book together. I will treasure this for the rest of my life.

Now that the book is written, we begin the process of cutting and revising. Given its tremendous length, this will be an interesting task, but we will nip, tuck, and tighten by any means necessary in order to sculpt this story into the finest, most powerful version of itself possible, and I know we will be fine.

Due to the particular publishing process of this book, I have no idea when it will be released, but as soon as finishing touches are complete, we will be sending it to the editor, and then we will be returning to, and finishing off Grandma’s Rack, which will be available by the end of this year. In the interim, we’re working on the third installment of Belinda, which will be undergoing some favorable changes that will be apparent with the new release.

In closing, I want to thank everyone around me for supporting this project and respecting my inability these past weeks to do anything but sit in front of my computer and write, write, write. I still have a lot to do, and it will be a while before I have a lot of free time, but I will have a little more of it after a few more weeks. I think, anyway…

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Tamara Thorne Live at Conversations Live


My collaborator, Tamara Thorne, will be interviewed at Conversations Live by Cyrus Webb, on Tuesday, September 2nd, at 6 p.m. Eastern time to talk about the release of her novel, Thunder Road, which hits bookstores everywhere in September.

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“Evoking Stephen King’s terrifying novel The Gunslinger and the epic adventure film Cowboys and Aliens, Tamara Thorne delivers a tantalizing blend of horror and Western SciFi–in an arid, dangerous world from which there is no escape. . .

The California desert town of Madelyn boasts all sorts of attractions for visitors. Join the audience at the El Dorado Ranch for a Wild West show. Take a ride through the haunted mine at Madland Amusement Park. Scan the horizon for UFOs. Find religion with the Prophet’s Apostles – and be prepared for the coming apocalypse.

Because the apocalypse has arrived in Madelyn. People are disappearing. Strange shapes and lights dart across the night sky. And a young man embraces a violent destiny – inspired by a serial killer whose reign of terror was buried years ago.

But each of these events is merely setting the stage for the final confrontation. A horror of catastrophic proportions is slouching toward Madelyn in the form of four horsemen – and they’re picking up speed. . .”

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Tamara Thorne

“Tamara Thorne has become one of those must-read horror writers. From her strong characters to her unique use of the supernatural, anything she writes entertains as much as it chills.” – Horror World

“Tamara Thorne is the new wave of horror – her novels are fascinating rides into the heart of terror and mayhem.”Douglas Clegg

Gross Encounters of the Absurd Kind


My collaborator, Tamara Thorne, and I have been sitting down together to write everyday for months. We’ve gotten a lot done, and we still have much to do. On top of the Belinda serial, we’re finishing up a horror novel  and have another novel  to edit and publish around the holidays. Needless to say, we don’t really have time to play around. And yet, that’s exactly what we do. Play is the reason we can Skypewrite together for 12 hours a day, every day. It keeps us sane and snickering.

We don’t wake up chomping at the writing bit every morning. In fact, most mornings we spend a little time waking up, gossiping, looking over media stuff, working on interviews, and, always, reviewing and tweaking our storyline. Then it’s time to get to work.

Sometimes, we still have trouble focusing first thing in the morning – and there are always a few brain freezes during that day. That’s when we often start writing freestyle; we just let the words go where they want until we find our way back to the true course of the story. These passages are, to us, hilarious, twisted, and – in some cases -sickeningly disturbing. What the hell is wrong with us? We don’t know and we don’t care. We do this both to jar our brains loose and to crack each other up. This is not the kind of material we can use in an actual book (with a few exceptions – we’ll let you guess what they are when you read the books, maybe even have a contest).

Because of the pleasure these passages have given us, we’ve decided to stop throwing them out. Why not share the joy? The sick, demented, twisted, repugnant joy.

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So we had an idea. What if we post these ridiculous meanderings on our blogs? Many contain portions of real scenes you find in the books, which we think makes this extra fun.

So we’re going to do it. We’re going to begin posting our outtakes and bloopers today. They work for TV shows specials, so why not here? We may even include some of the best evil autocorrects from our texts, as appropriate.

With that in mind, here are yesterday’s best outtakes:

Belinda lay in her bed, her body deliciously warm under the down comforter, as the morning sun shot thin rays through the crack in the her buttocks. And her drapes. Her drapes were fucking ugly. She stretched and yawned and decided she’d buy new drapes. But not until the sun finished shining out of her ass.”

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* * *

Omar, a sleek, plump Siamese cat, snuggled into his mistress’s lap, then flehmened, mouth hanging open, eyes half closed, when he realized his human had forgotten to change her tampon for at least a week. He couldn’t contend with a stinking bloody human and decided he’d get a new one just as soon as she finished petting his glorious head.”

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* * *

“The room was large, luxurious, and honestly breathtaking, and every time Belinda stepped inside, she felt a little as if she were floating. This might have been due to the design of the floor, which was cobalt blue tile, patterned with gold stars, giving her the impression that she was walking on the midnight sky. Or it could have been the fact that she’d shot herself up with a homemade combination of absinthe, super-glue, and weed-killer, using a needle she’d found under the sofa. That might have accounted for the floating feeling in her head. But probably not. It probably really was the design of the bathroom.”

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* * *

(Warning: If any of the above grossed you out, skip this one.  It’s our favorite…)

“Margaret Massey stepped into the tub. It brimmed with sweet-scented lilac bubbles and as she settled into the water and rested her head against the cool rounded porcelain lip of the huge mint-green tub. “Heaven,” she said as she pinched her nipple and stuck an entire bar of Ivory up her wrinkled twat. “If only I’d remembered the toilet plunger,” she lamented as she queefed 100% natural bubbles that rose to the surface and popped like Lawrence Welk’s champagne music. Then her 70-year-old anus, the victim of one too many rounds with the local Hell’s Angels, sharted, but just a little. It didn’t even smell and what you couldn’t see beneath the bubbles couldn’t hurt you. She knew that from long experience.”

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150,000 Words and Counting


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Today, we passed the 150,000 word mark on our current work-in-progress, a horror novel which was actually the first concept Tamara Thorne and I ever discussed writing together. It’s taken a few detours, but at its core, it’s the same story we created over a year ago now. We still have a few thousand words to write before the story is fully told, but it will be completed by this month’s end, and it will be a normal novel – in terms of length – by the time edits are completed.   

As we get ready to wrap it up, I’m both saddened by its nearing end, and excited for the upcoming works its completion will allow us to pursue. The fact that we can write so extensively together gives me great hope for one future concept in particular – one very long and very exciting future concept.

 But before we even start thinking about that, we have Grandma’s Rack to complete, Belinda to continue with, and a solo effort each to produce. Oh, and one other collaboration we’re both pretty stoked about, which will begin just as fast as we can get to it. But first things first.

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It’s been a good year of writing, and on that note – after much discussion and deliberation – Belinda will be undergoing some favorable changes, which will be evident as early as the next installment, due out in September. Since beginning this serialization, we made sure to leave ourselves a few possible options concerning the direction we wanted to take it, and we’ve now settled on a definite route and are pretty excited to start carving it out.

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Speaking of carving things out, Halloween is just around the corner – in the shadows, with a very sharp knife – and that calls for jack o’ lanterns, candy and really good scary stories. It’s too early for pumpkin carving and I never share my candy, but I can help you out with the scary story dilemma.

Bad Things, the classic Halloween tale by my collaborator Tamara Thorne, is on sale now on Kindle for $1.99. If you’re into brotherly love of the vilest kind, nature spirits with cruel intentions, the exhumation of scandalous family secrets, and bitchy women with penchants for dead poodles, click the BAD THINGS below and get your copy.

Till then, scream on.

~AC~

Bad Things

Let’s Look at Some Bad Things


Halloween is getting closer and that means it’s time to break out your favorite scary stories. One of mine is Bad Things by Tamara Thorne. Bad Things is about sibling rivalry of the direst kind, greenjacks that only special little boys can see, crazy aunts with penchants for perished poodles, and of course, Halloween.

Bad Things (Kindle) is on sale at Amazon for $1.99 today through August 24.  Get yours now and get in the mood for Halloween.


Click the Bad Things below to get your copy.

Bad Things

110,000 Words… and Counting…


Tamara Thorne and I are kicking literary ass these days. A few hours ago, we hit 110,000 words on our collaborative project (not Belinda, and not Grandma’s Rack, but the other book).

Had this novel been content to conclude itself at the average length of 80,000 to 120,000 words, it would be complete, but as it is, we anticipate another 20,000 before we write The End. There will, of course, be some cutting, but no matter how we look at it, this will be a good-sized book ~ and that makes me very proud of us.

This story line is the one that brought Tamara and I together in 2012, so it has special meaning for me. We got to know each other plotting this novel out over the phone, hundreds of miles apart. We ended up setting it aside to write Grandma’s Rack, then, due to publishing obligations, set Grandma’s Rack aside to return to – and finish – this one. The reason for this juggling act is mainly due to the fact that Grandma’s Rack was originally intended to be a short story. And it grew. A lot.

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Also, while all this was happening, we managed to get the first few installments of our serialized Gothic Erotica novel, The Erotic Adventures of Belinda, written and out into the hands of the readers at the time we promised them it would be available.  What all of this has meant is that we’ve had to spend 8 to 12 hours a day, 6 (and now 7) days a week, writing, editing, and doing various other writing-related necessities. It’s meant we’ve had little to no free time. It’s meant we’ve had to say no to a lot of our friends and family members. It’s meant we’ve had to pull the plugs on some processes that weren’t quite geared for our degree of production. It’s meant we’ve worked our asses off. But we did it, and we did it well.

As I write this, Tamara is waiting for me in the Cloud where, after a short break, we will continue writing out the final scenes of this novel. It will be completed shortly. And after that… it’s back to Grandma’s Rack, which will pretty much keep us just as busy. What a year it has been. And will continue to be…

All the World’s a Page


It’s been a long week.

While my collaborator, Tamara Thorne, was at Comic Con for a couple of days, I took the lead on Belinda’s third installment, which we are calling Darker Shadows. I only got about ten pages deep when Tamara, having had enough of Comic Con, came home. We’ve since polished up those ten pages, added more to it, and are excited about the upcoming installment ~ probably because, like the title implies, the shadows of Belinda’s adventures are getting darker, deeper, and a bit more foreboding (you didn’t really think we could keep the creepy-crawlies and ghosts out of our erotica, did you?) and we are pleased by the direction of the story and the readers’ response to it. So thank you to everyone who has purchased The New Governessas well as the latest installment, AwakeningThe third is underway and will be here soon.

Meanwhile, on other projects, Tamara and I are in the climax of our other story, and things are getting very intense. We’re having a good time, but due to the crunch of deadlines, we have very limited time off – although I did spend the day doing photos yesterday for upcoming Belinda art…. but we more than made up for that today, I think, by kicking out nearly 5,000 words.

On a side note, we did an interview at Susanne Bellamy’s All the World’s a Page, where we talked about Belinda, collaborating, and how we go about writing a serialized novel.

Otherwise, it’s writing, writing, writing for now, and we’re getting very excited about our progress.

Thank you again, readers, for the support and love.

Till next time…

Belinda: The Story Behind The Name


Naming characters is a surprisingly phenomenal thing, because, more often than not, they name themselves – as strange as that sounds. What I mean is that they tend to present themselves to their authors fully-formed; they know their own appearances, personalities, and often, they come pre-named. That being said, this wasn’t the way it worked with Belinda.

The name Belinda and I go way back, but first, I thought its historical meaning was interesting. As I researched it, the name struck me as fitting for this story line because in German, Italian, and American, Belinda means: From the Old German Betlindis, which is derived from the word for snake. Images of snakes draw my mind to the Garden of Eden scene in the bible, and Belinda’s story, at its roots, is one of a similar nature.

Still, as interesting as this was to learn, it wasn’t the reason I wanted to use the name Belinda. My reason, I’m afraid, was far simpler.

When I was a kid, I happened upon a book called The Ghost That Goofed by Edith W. Boutelle. This little book had everything I wanted in a story at the time: a ghost, a talking pet, and a grand Halloween party. The ghost’s name, of course, was Belinda. (I feel I need to note here that Boutelle’s ghost and our Belinda Moorland, of The Erotic Adventures of Belinda, have nothing in common except the name.) But this wonderful little book, I believe, set the course for me in terms of storytelling, and because of that, I’ve long wanted to pay some kind of tribute to it. Unfortunately, that has not turned out to be an easy task.

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I have tried to use the name Belinda in just about everything I’ve previously written, and for one reason or another, up until The Erotic Adventures of Belinda, it hasn’t worked out. Belinda is a strong name and not – in my mind – well suited for a minor character. As for main characters, like I said, they tend to name themselves, and none of them jumped up and said, I’m Belinda! I’m Belinda! Then, on the few occasions that I did find a suitable place for the name, I was told no.

No, because it stands out too much.

No, because it’s too long and unusual.

No, because it will remind readers of Belinda Carlisle.

While I had my doubts that the front woman of the Go-Go’s really dominated the consciousness of today’s audience – and I certainly didn’t think the name was too lengthy or foreign for readers to manage – I was new to the business and I took advice easily. Too easily. But I think these things happen for a reason.

When Tamara Thorne and I began to discuss writing an erotic serialization, I knew Belinda was our girl. But I also knew that Tamara had to agree to it. After all, if she had wanted to name our heroine Gonzarella, I would not have been pleased – and I owe Tamara the same respect. We both had to love this name. So I didn’t present it to her right away. I would wait till the time was just right, then – like the snake that the name Belinda is derived from – I would strike! But as fate would have it, I didn’t need to do that.

Tamara knew about The Ghost That Goofed. She knew how much I loved that story, and when it came time to name our girl, Tamara herself basically suggested ‘Belinda’ when she asked me, “What was the name of that ghost you loved as a kid?”

“Belinda,” I said.

She thought about it for about three seconds and said, “I think that would be perfect here.”

And with every cell in my body, I knew she was right, and I was suddenly very glad that I hadn’t used the name somewhere else.

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That was many many months ago, and since then, Belinda’s first installment, The New Governesshas been released. Her second installment, Awakening, is in the last stages of publication and will be available in a matter of days.

Belinda’s is a story of handsy spirits, envy and ecstasy, the elusive hit-and-miss nature of love, and magic of the right and wrong kinds, all set in a beautiful Gothic mansion on a breathtaking estate. On the surface, it’s a fun little romp down the haunted hallways of Ravencrest Manor – but at its core, it’s a story about a woman coming into full possession of her sexuality; a woman harnessing her own power, and this new installment, Awakening, is aptly titled. This is where it really begins for her.

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I’ve never had as much fun writing anything as I have this story. It’s a pleasure to sit down to every day…  and I happen to think her name, Belinda, is just right. I’m grateful to Tamara for agreeing with me on that.

And that’s the story behind the name…

 

 

 

Author Spotlight at Morgen Bailey’s Writing Blog


Tamara Thorne and I did an Author Spotlight guest post at Morgen Bailey’s Writing Blog, which has now gone live. We talked a little bit about our writing processes, our trip to the haunted cabin, Belinda, and the other projects we are currently working on. Go to Morgen Bailey’s and read about it.

Meanwhile, Awakening, the second installment in The Erotic Adventures of Belinda is days away from publication. When she has gone forth into the grand world of books, the buy links will be posted here.

Meanwhile, here is the teaser and cover…

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In Awakening, we find out more about Grant Phister, the wicked Mrs. Heller, and some of the other inhabitants of the house, both living and dead. There are more secrets than ever waiting within the walls of Ravencrest, but Belinda has one final requirement to meet before she can get down to work: She must pass her physical examination – and it will prove to be far more intimate than anything in her wildest dreams – or her darkest nightmares.  Will she get through her first day at Ravencrest intact?

The Doctors are In!

The young man moved to Belinda’s left side and suddenly masculine hands encompassed each of her breasts. She went crimson. Oh please, let this be over with! Please! She closed her eyes. Dr. Akin’s hand was large, his fingers very long. He was cupping and enfolding her entire breast. The intern’s wasn’t quite as big. Both men’s hands were dry and uncallused, smooth, gentle. Warm.

This new feeling upset her almost as much as being nude. Stop it! This is a doctor’s exam; it’s not supposed to feel good!

Awakening, the second installment of The Erotic Adventures of Belinda is coming soon!

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Beneath the Lake: On Writing Horror… and Belinda!


Our article, Extreme Collaborating, is up at Beneath the Lake: On Writing Horror. In it, we discuss our unique form of collaboration – how we get in the Cloud and literally write together, often in the same paragraph.  Go on over to Crystal Lake Publishing and check it out. While you’re there, look around; you’ll see all kinds of good stuff!

Meanwhile, back at the old Thorney-Cross Ranch, we’ve put the final touches – and strokes – on Belinda’s second installment, Awakening, and you’ll be holding and caressing her with your warm, loving hands very soon! The first installment, The New Governess, is available now!

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It’s Cherry Season!


The Awakening, the second installment of The Erotic Adventures of Belinda, is on its way…

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The Erotic Adventures of Belinda is a serialized Gothic Erotica novel by Tamara Thorne and Alistair Cross. The first installment, The New Governessis available everywhere.

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http://alistaircross.com

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http://tamarathorne.com

Beneath the Lake: On Writing Horror


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Tamara Thorne and I have been invited to participate in the celebration of Crystal Lake Publishing’s official launch of Beneath the Lake: On Writing Horror. For the next few days, Crystal Lake will be publishing articles on writing horror, by authors like Tim Waggoner, Patrick Rutigliano, and… us!

If you’ve been following our blogs, you may have already read the post that is going to be published, Extreme Collaboration, but there’s more to come from us and others, so if you love horror, and want to learn more about writing it, go check out the other articles at Crystal Lake’s website.

 

Hot Sexy Haunted


The New Governess, the first installment of The Erotic Adventures of Belinda is available at Amazon and Smashwords now. More links for places of purchase will be coming soon…

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“Shocking and fun!  The Erotic Adventures of Belinda by Tamara Thorne and Alistair Cross will leaving you shivering with excitement as the innocent Belinda breaks free of a minimum-wage hell hole only to move into a sprawling Gothic estate where her body becomes the focal point of a mysterious specter.  Out of the pan and into the fire?  Only time will tell.” ~ William Malmborg, author of Jimmy and Text Message.

BELINDA HAS ARRIVED!


The Adventures Have Begun…

The New Governess, the first installment of The Erotic Adventures of Belinda, is now available on Amazon and Smashwords.  (We will have Nook and other links soon.)

New adventures will appear every four to six weeks. Expect serious erotica, lots of ghosts, romance, and intrigue as we put our own spin on Gothic Erotica.


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THE NEW GOVERNESS

When Belinda Moorland steps across the threshold of Ravencrest Manor, she feels as if she’s entered a fantasy world.  The mansion is breathtaking, and her new employer, Eric Manning, is as mysterious as he is handsome.

But after just one night, she begins to suspect there is more to Ravencrest than she was told. Haunted by nightmares and seduced by erotic dreams, Belinda realizes her new home has a dark side.

By day, the house and grounds are sublime, but the night is alive with dark shadows and phantom footsteps in empty corridors. Eyes – and hands – are upon her, and not all of them belong to the living.

Reviews for Belinda:

“If you’ve finished all of Sylvia Day’s Crossfire novels and are craving more, look no further. In Belinda: The New Governess, Tamara Thorne and Alistair Cross have created a world that is rich, opulent, and smoldering with the promise of seduction. You’ll be able to feel the slide of the satin sheets, taste the fizz of champagne.” ~ Sylvia Shults, author of Double Double Love and Trouble

“The Erotic Adventures of Belinda” by Tamara Thorne and Alistair Cross is a fun, intricate read.  The erotica is well crafted and the ornate setting descriptions are breath-taking.  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

“Shocking and fun!  The Erotic Adventures of Belinda by Tamara Thorne and Alistair Cross will leaving you shivering with excitement as the innocent Belinda breaks free of a minimum-wage hell hole only to move into a sprawling Gothic estate where her body becomes the focal point of a mysterious specter.  Out of the pan and into the fire?  Only time will tell.” ~ William Malmborg, author of Jimmy and Text Message.