Suspending the Pen


I’ve been in the writing dungeon so long that the sunlight streaming from the windows has begun to burn my eyes and an evening trip to Wal-Mart – or some other dreadful place – is starting to feel like an outing, a night on the town, rather than the necessary evil it actually is.

With reviewers waiting for proof copies, editors expecting the next round, and readers anticipating the finished product, the work has been non-stop. For weeks, Tamara and I have stumbled from our beds, gone straight to our computers, and pecked the keys without pause until sunset. We’ve even been doing some moonlighting, too. Tonight, after hours, Tamara kept at it, finalizing the details of the uncorrected proof copies. After eating – and taking a much-needed shower – I got back to it as well, sorting out upcoming interviews, guest posts, and various writing-related events – all the little things that need to happen when a book is edging release.

But we’re in the final stages of edits: the touch-ups. This is when we tighten the narrative, cut the fat, and sprinkle a little glitter over the prose. Tomorrow our dark psychological thriller, Mother, will be ready for reviewers. Then, after another round of revisions and a final read-through, it will go to publication.

Mother has been one of the most intense and multi-layered stories we’ve ever told … but I also believe it’s our best. The hard work is really paying off, and I’m proud of the balancing act we’ve managed to maintain. Though first conceived in 2013, we weren’t able to begin Mother in earnest until last year, and considering the many projects we’ve undertaken throughout the writing of this book, I’d say we’ve done our jobs with balletic grace – and in record time, too.

But the energy depletion is extraordinary. We’re both ready to drop, and I’m getting that snippy-little-Chihuahua tone in my voice that says I’m overdue for a breather.

So, I’m taking a mini-vacation this weekend – I’m suspending the pen.

Thursday night after the radio show, I’m getting in the car and going … somewhere else.

Maybe Wyoming – I’m not sure yet.

Somewhere quiet.

Yeah, probably Wyoming.

I’ll rent a hotel room and just be for a few days. I’ll take long, hot baths, eat things I’ll regret, and do plenty of joy-reading. Then Sunday – or maybe Monday – I’ll come home.

Tuesday, I’ll dig back in with both hands, and make sure that Mother is as polished as a diamond, ready to be introduced to the world in April – as planned.

 

The Truth About Dreams


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

11014843_741116165994136_6990734116762148896_n

Welcome to Crimson Cove

Sheltered by ancient redwoods, overlooking the California coast, the cozy village of Crimson Cove has it all: sophisticated retreats, fine dining, and a notorious nightclub, The Crimson Corset. It seems like a perfect place to relax and get close to nature. But not everything in Crimson Cove is natural.

When Cade Colter moves to town, he expects it to be peaceful to the point of boredom. But he quickly learns that after the sun sets and the fog rolls in, the little tourist town takes on a whole new kind of life – and death.

Darkness at the Edge of Town

Renowned for its wild parties and history of debauchery, The Crimson Corset looms on the edge of town, inviting patrons to sate their most depraved desires and slake their darkest thirsts. Proprietor Gretchen VanTreese has waited centuries to annihilate the Old World vampires on the other side of town and create a new race – a race that she alone will rule. When she realizes Cade Colter has the key that will unlock her plan, she begins laying an elaborate trap that will put everyone around him in mortal danger.

Blood Wars

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

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


heads2

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

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

heads1

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

heads6

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

heads5

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

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

heads4

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

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

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

heads

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

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

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

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.

0000cccover

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 …

000ARavencrest

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.

zacsite (2) (314x582)

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.

0000Apromo

Writing with T & A: Psychic Vampires


vampire1

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.

vampires

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.

vampires6

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.

41B-xSAQrTL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_

(Tamara’s vampire novel, Candle Bay)

ccpromo

(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.

0000cf1

(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.

vampire2

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.

vampire4

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.

vampire5

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.

vampire7

Two a.m.


March 12, 2015

It’s been a decade since I began concentrating my energy and aiming my efforts at a specific destination – and only in the past year or two have things started to make some sense. The journey from there to here has been a long hard practice in blind faith, and while the distance ahead is just as daunting, it’s hard not to look back from time to time and say, ‘Wow. What a ride.’

People have come; people have gone. Some of them knew me; some saw only their own ideals. But the few who really understood me and where I was trying to go – those who remain at my side today… they have my unending loyalty and love. They are my tribe, and I think that’s what it’s all about: Finding your tribe.

I have found my tribe. For the first time in my life, I feel like I’m in the right place at the right time. I’m doing something that utilizes every detail of who I am. Through writing, I’ve become fulfilled – which is, I believe, as close to any kind of lasting happiness as one can possibly get.

It hasn’t come easy, but on an innate level, I always believed that if I plowed onward, despite adversity and doubt, that by one means or another, I’d acquire the things I’d need to get where I was going. I’m happy to report that, so far, this has proven true for me. Also, I believe in leaps of faith, and understand faith to be a verb and not an idle state of mind. I’m grateful for that understanding because it hasn’t allowed me to be taken in by illusions of fate, privilege, or chance; I knew I’d have to work hard for this, and I that there’s a lot more work ahead of me. But I’m grateful for where I am now. Truly. And there’s much to be grateful for.

As I write this, my co-author, Tamara Thorne, and I are on the brink of releasing our debut novel, The Cliffhouse Haunting. While we’ve had five installments of The Ghosts of Ravencrest published – with the sixth on its way –  Cliffhouse is special because it’s the first story line Tamara and I ever discussed together – it is the reason we’re still collaborating on so many projects, including Grandma’s Rack, which is in the final stages of production. Also, I am 60,000 words into my first solo novel, which has been a long time coming, and on top of all this, Tamara and I are happily hosting our own horror-themed internet radio show, Thorne & Cross: Haunted Nights LIVE!, where, once a week, I get to meet some of the biggest names in the business. It’s all so surreal and I never would have predicted any of it. I don’t take these things for granted, and even if it ended now, I’d say that, yeah… persistence pays off. And then some.

~ A

0000cf

The Cliffhouse Haunting is Coming…


00Bluelady

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.

Walking Fine Lines… and Writing Them, Too


frustrated-writer-2

Even as a kid, I loved writing and spent hours composing poems, song lyrics, and scribbling out short stories. As I grew older, my interest in the craft continued to build, but none of these formats gave me the room I needed. For me, writing novels was the next logical step. Between 1997 and 2005, I made countless starts on would-be cliffhangers, murder mysteries, and nail-biting tales of terror. But, as it turns out, writing a book is a lot more grueling and complicated than the masters make it out to be, and none of these early unfinished efforts survived outside of my notebooks.

Then in 2005, after one of those rare life-changing revelations everyone talks about, I finally decided I was going to do this writing thing… and I wasn’t taking no for an answer. It helped that, for the first time, I had a solid story line that was good enough to be told, and perhaps, more importantly, I was finally old enough to tell it. And so I began…

When you start a book and don’t finish it, it hangs around your head until you get it right – for years, if it has to. I did finish the novel I began in 2005, but I didn’t finish the story. For the next few years, the manuscript was in circulation, promptly being rejected left and right. While the Thanks-But-No-Thanks’ continued piling up, I kept writing – and when you keep writing, an interesting thing happens: you get better at it. I eventually got published – but it was the next novel, a different one – not the one I’d spent so much time on. By then, I knew my writing had improved and I pulled the first manuscript out of circulation. After re-reading it, I could clearly see why it wasn’t selling. I decided it needed a serious facelift before I submitted it anywhere else. Discouraged, I set it aside and started the next book.

In 2012, I met Tamara (Thorne, co-author). We hit it off, had the same sensibilities about writing, and immediately began making plans. In collaboration, we’ve since completed two novels, one ongoing serialized Gothic tale, and have become the hosts of our own horror-themed internet radio show, Thorne & Cross: Haunted Nights LIVE!  As 2014 came to a close, I finally had a few things under my belt, and I knew it was time to return to that solo novel.

I’ve had to dig my heels in a little – at times I’ve surely been nothing short of an asshole – but as of January 1st, every previous version of my solo novel has been torn down, totaled, and trashed, and I am 25,000 words into the new one.

I love collaborating with Tamara, and although I never envisioned collaborating with anyone, I’m grateful beyond my capacity to express it that she, an already established bestseller, took enough interest in me to make me a part of her journey. I couldn’t have foreseen such a thing five years ago; I was unconscious to any such possibility, but my gratitude is timeless, and as long as she’s inclined, I will continue writing with her. But I must also build a body of solo work.

hosts

I’m learning that hosting a radio show and bouncing between collaborating and writing solo requires a good deal of balance – it’s a lot to take on. There are days I’m overwhelmed. Some mornings, I wake up wondering where to begin, and wishing I could take the day off.  But then I get up, get on it, and soon I’m into the rhythm of things – and even on the bad days, I don’t take it for granted. This is what I wanted. For years, I have been obsessed by writing, not as a hobby, but as a profession. For the past decade, I’ve spent every waking hour trying to find a way to make it happen, and now that I feel like I’ve finally gotten my career off the ground, I’m going back to the beginning – back to the first story I really wanted to tell.

My solo novel’s original title was The White Room, but – for many reasons – I’m no longer calling it that. It has a stronger voice and it deserves a stronger title. I’ve given it one, but until I’m closer to completion, I simply call it “CC.” “CC” is a vampire novel, but its themes are not romantic. Under its fangs – if I do it right – it’s a tale of redemption, addiction, and the power of family ties. At 25,000 words, I’m only about one-third into it, but already, I am more deeply in love with it than I’ve ever been before. It has dimensions I wasn’t able to explore until now. It tells a deeper, more powerful story this time. It’s found its missing spine.

In the ten years since its conception, this book has been revised, revamped, re-written, kicked, mauled, set aside, and left for dead. It’s had a pretty rough life, but it’s on track at last, and I’ll do everything in my power to prevent it from being knocked off the rails again. I intend to complete it this spring.

Regarding Thorne & Cross, it’s great to be preparing for the release of The Ghosts of Ravencrest’s fifth installment, Night Moves, which has been sent to the editor and heads to production next week. We’re also looking forward to the completion of our witchy tale of terror – and first collaborative concept – Grandma’s Rack, which, right this very minute, is being polished and refined for public consumption. Our other completed novel, which we have to be tight-lipped about for now, is in some stage or another of the publication process, and as soon as the vacancy sign lights up – which we anticipate happening in March or April – we have the next collaboration waiting in the wings. It’s a stormy little thriller that we’re both itching to get to, and I have a feeling this one is going to make some major waves…

000ARavencrest

A Good Day to Write


I wrote 2,741 words on the solo novel today, bringing it to a grand total of 23,764 words since the first of the year.

The setting has been established, the conflict has been appointed, the players are in position and waiting to strike (or be struck), the questions have been asked and are demanding their answers, and the creepy weirdness is playing its cold dead fingertips along the edges of the plot, waiting for just the right moment to drive its fist right into the dark nefarious heart of it all….

It was a good day for writing.

~A

hor31300

Douglas Clegg is Coming to Haunted Nights Live


10153013_569687486463441_2543053656920261635_n

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

DSCN7983

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. 

unnamed (6)

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.

10168181_571623346269855_5854237524331480069_n

Time, Time, Time…


vintage-clock-digital-art_098519

September 24th, 2014

“Time, time, time… see what’s become of me…”

Hazy Shade of Winter by Paul Simon

Time is moving too fast and I don’t like it anymore.

It isn’t about vanity or youth. I’m not afraid of getting old, losing my looks, or not knowing the names of celebrities on covers of magazines that I don’t read. To be honest, I never enjoyed being young, anyway. It’s over-rated, and even at the time, I knew it. I couldn’t wait to get older and so far, I’ve enjoyed it. The lines around my eyes – the inability to tolerate anyone under 30 years old – the utter confusion I experience while trying to operate one of those hip cellular phone contraptions – I’ve considered these things very fair trades for the freedom, self-confidence, and personal empowerment of age. Maybe I’ll feel differently in another twenty years – I don’t know – but I like where I am now: young enough to have a future and old enough to have a past.

But the passage of time itself… it’s eerie, isn’t it? The way it creeps and crawls, slithering as it steals hours, days, weeks… years; it’s a thief of the deadliest, quietest kind. It makes you look back and take inventory, to be sure. And today seems to be a good day for looking back a little.

I can say with full conviction that I have no regrets, and in that, I know, I am lucky. I’m not sorry about my choices, but I do sometimes wonder what the hell I was thinking. It’s never the actions I took that bother me; it’s the actions I didn’t take – the time that I wasted. I feel lucky that I’m 37 years old rather than 57 or 67, and that is a great comfort to me on the days I get down on myself for all the time I spent being afraid and doing what I was told.

But still, just a minute ago, it was 1994. That means the next 20 years will likely come – and go – just as fast. And yeah… that kind of bothers me. I only hope I know myself a little more this time around, and that instead of going whichever way the general flow takes me, I have the smarts and spine to continue carving out my own path. After nearly 10 years of concentrated effort and near-ruthless intent, I’m finally on to a few good things in life; things I have to protect, defend, preserve, and foster. I know circumstances change and that anything can happen. I can’t control everything in the universe, but I can – and will – make sure that anyone who puts an unwelcomed, obstructing hand into my affairs pulls back a bloody stump.

Maybe this makes me an asshole. I don’t think so, but maybe. Really, I just don’t feel I have time to waste. That’s the one thing I do miss about being young: the sense that time is unlimited. But time even takes that from us, though in this case, I think it’s a good thing. It’s forced me to move. It’s made me aware. I know now that I don’t have all the time in the world, and I consider that a profound – though sometimes painful – grace.

I know I don’t have time for a lot of things. I don’t have time to wait for inspiration. I don’t have time to complain about what I should have done. I don’t have time for television. I don’t have time to argue about things I can’t control with people who don’t agree. I don’t have time to pursue unfulfilling relationships, and I don’t have time to wait until there’s enough time to do whatever it is that needs to be done. I have to make time… and that is my best – if not only – defense against that sneaky little thief called Time.

~A~

These Books are Made for Writin’…


tumblr_static_writing_opening

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.

unnamed (6)

Over at Fiona McVie’s….


Yesterday, my interview at Fiona McVie’s Author Interviews went live. Among many other things, I discussed what books influenced me, the greatest challenges of writing a novel, and what I might have done had this writing gig not worked out for me. Give it a look-see at Fiona McVie’s Author Interviews. Thank you, Fiona, for a great time.

Tamara Thorne and I are nearing the end of our first round of edits on the horror novel, and as soon as we’re done, we’ll be getting back to The Ghosts of Ravencrest, which will be out this October. Till then, here is the latest Ravencrest poster.

YShh

Avoiding Unexpected Feline Fatherhood


DSCN6095

It came to me a year ago, and looking back on it now, I suppose it showed up at the appropriate time. It was just a few weeks before Halloween – and a few weeks after Tamara Thorne and I began digging into the witchcraft elements of our novel Grandma’s Rack that the creature of darkness – like a punishment from the terrible gods we were researching – made itself known to me.

At first, the beast merely called to me from some bushes outside. I’d hear it from my window, crying, bemoaning the increasing cold – no doubt attempting to guilt me into the shamefaced and spineless quivering mass of man-pudding that I am now. Valiantly – and mistakenly – I thought if I ignored it, perhaps the thing would tire of me and go away. But this was not to be.

For soon, it then began following me. The creature moved silently and – appearing as if from nowhere – it was quick on my heels, stalking me each day as I power-walked from the car to the front door, my eyes fixed forward – for I knew that once eye contact was established, I would surely be unable to resist the powers of its dark and inescapable charms. And for several days, this method worked. I was winning! But then one night, I let down my guard.

As I said, it was October – that month which bounces back and forth like an indecisive lover between nights that are too warm and nights that are too cold. On this night, October had chosen the warmth for its companion, and I – with a foolish and displaced sense of security – cracked a screen-less window to let some cool air in. The cool air, however, was not the only thing that crept inside that fateful night.

DSCN6174 (2)

Within moments, the creature was in my window, pinning me in place with its wide, golden gaze. Our eyes locked. For several seconds, we were statue-still, then, very slowly, and with great trepidation, I approached.

With no warning, the creature lunged from the window sill, and then suddenly, somehow, it was in my arms, meowing at me as if to say, “You stupid, stupid man! Don’t you know you are my human?” and rubbing its silky black head into the crook of my neck. When she raised a paw to touch my cheek, the night-cooled padding of her little cat-hands warmed my heart forever, and I knew then that I had fallen prey to an all-too-common problem.

Whereas many men in my position might choose to simply say they “got a new cat,” and quickly change subjects in hopes of avoiding the disapproving glances and/or emasculating commentary of their fellows, I’ve decided to break the long-suffering silence and call this situation by its more honest – and less cutesy – name: I am the victim of Unexpected Feline Fatherhood.

kitty1

What is Unexpected Feline Fatherhood, you ask? Unexpected Feline Fatherhood, or UFF, is defined as the infliction of affection and/or forcible joint inhabitation of any feline personage upon any adult male member of human origin. UFF is real, and there is no shame in it. In fact, statistics show that every 2.7 seconds in America alone, a man in falls victim to UFF. And if it happened to me, it can happen to anyone.

Anyway, I was suddenly an Unexpected Feline Father – whether I liked it or not. I accepted the fate that had befallen me with relative ease, naming my new pet Pawpurrazzi for her incessant, stalker-like ways, and though she rarely comes when called, I assume she doesn’t mind the name.

She was no more than four months old when she violated me and my personal space, and though I was originally reluctant, it is the nature of UFF that I slowly began feeling affection for my feline captor. In fact, we have since bonded over much; a spaying, two very stressful episodes in which she ran away, the swallowing – and passing – of some near-fatal Christmas tree decoration, a few worming debacles, several trips to the vet for shots, and the writing and editing of one and a half novels, as well as the ongoing writing, editing, and publication of several installments of a serialized novel. Perched on my shoulder for several hours each day, she is as much my writing companion as Tamara Thorne is, and to any oblivious onlooker, we would appear at ease with each other, companionable, even. But make no mistake: I am a victim. A victim of Unexpected Feline Fatherhood.

In the year since being victimized, I’ve learned a few things about the nature of Unexpected Feline Fatherhood which I will now list in hopes that it might be of some assistance to unsuspecting future UFF victims everywhere.

Don’t Let Unexpected Feline Fatherhood Sneak Up On You….

By Alistair Cross

DSCN6121

  1. Stay Alert. Whenever you’re walking to the car, getting the mail, or moving the garbage cans, keep your wits about you and observe your surroundings. Take a moment to glance around you. Do you see any evidence of feline intrusion such as flickering tails from concealed areas or little kitty prints on your windshield? Is there any meowing coming from a nearby bush? Your first defense against Unexpected Feline Fatherhood is awareness of it. 
  1. Determine Whether or Not You Are Actually Being Stalked. If you do see a kitty, try crossing to the other side of the street or sidewalk. Does the kitty cross, too? Speed up or slow down. Does the kitty do the same? Never assume that just because a kitty seems unaware of you that he or she isn’t following you. Always trust your feelings. 
  1. Use Positive Self-Talk. If you suspect you are being selected as an Unexpected Feline Father, the last thing you need to do is lose your cool. Tell yourself: It’s okay. I do not need a cat. I do not need a cat. Or: He must belong to someone. It is not my problem. Or: I’m sure he can take care of himself – cats are very resourceful. Things like this often help. 
  1. Never Look a Potential Feline Captor in the Eye. Direct eye contact communicates interest and acknowledgment yes, but more importantly, it makes you, the human, vulnerable to the cuteness of the feline face, a condition that will cloud your judgment. 
  1. Finally, If You Do Fall Prey to UFF, Wear Your Title With Pride. Worst case scenario, you can’t resist the kitty and you end up taking the poor thing in. So what! Not just anyone is Unexpected Feline Father material, and you should be proud. If your friends are giving you a hard time, it’s only because they’re jealous. Be a proud Feline Father, Unexpected or Otherwise! After all, it’s not as if you have any say in the matter anyway, now is it…

kitty

My Top Ten Favorite Quotes by Joan Rivers – R I P Joan Rivers


joan-rivers-1-435

I just heard the news of Joan Rivers’ death. I am saddened and I wish comfort and peace to her loved ones. She was a very funny woman who spoke her mind and that’s something I always admired. Here are a few of my favorite Joan Rivers quotes:

1. “The first time I see a jogger smiling, I’ll consider it.”

2. “I’ve had so much plastic surgery, when I die they will donate my body to Tupperware.”

3. “I succeeded by saying what everyone else is thinking.”

4. “People say that money is not the key to happiness, but I always figured if you have enough money, you can have a key made.”

5. “Don’t tell your kids you had an easy birth or they won’t respect you. For years I used to wake up my daughter and say, ‘Melissa you ripped me to shreds. Now go back to sleep.”

6. “I’m Jewish. I don’t work out. If God had wanted us to bend over, He would have put diamonds on the floor.”

7. “I have no methods; all I do is accept people as they are.”

8. “Boy George is all England needs – another queen who can’t dress.”

9. “I was smart enough to go through any door that opened.”

10. “I’ve learned from my dealings with Johnny Carson that no matter what kind of friendship you think you have with people you’re working with, when the chips are down, it’s all about business.”

May she rest in peace and may her funeral be everything she dreamed it would be.

#RIPJoanRivers

Rivers1

The End Is Upon Us


 cf11

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.

cf12

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…

cf

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.

laughing

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.”

sun

* * *

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.”

sun1

* * *

“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.”

needles_dirty2

* * *

(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.”

shining

150,000 Words and Counting


giant

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.

grslugline

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.

ALustyFinal

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

Oh, BABY!


The latest, greatest Belinda meme from an adorable reader. Thank you, Shirley K.

a4bqd

The Erotic Adventures of Belinda are available now.

Click the titles below for the first two installments.

The New Governess

Awakening

On Pinterest


Hello all,

I’m getting the hang of Pinterest – I think – and trying to use it more. If you’re into that sorta thing, click on the big P…  and no, that’s not the first time I’ve ever uttered those words…

P

Yours,

~A~

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.

grslugline

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…

Dusty Pages


shh

What is the most blatant lie I’ve ever told?

What eye color do I think is sexiest?

Do I admire my own writing?

These are just a few of the questions Sonnet O’Dell asked me in my interview for her Meet a Writer Monday guest spot at Dusty Pages. Give her a visit to find the answers to these – and many more – questions. While you’re there, look around and you’ll find all kinds of other interesting things…

 

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.

story

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.

TheNewGovernessLargeFINAL

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.

awakeningfinal

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…

Awakening

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!

awakeningfinal

It’s Cherry Season!


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

cherryseason

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.

applegothic

http://alistaircross.com

&

http://tamarathorne.com

On Writing: Extreme Collaborating


collab2

A radio interviewer asked Tamara Thorne and me how we write together and that was one of the most eye-opening questions we’ve ever had.  She was amazed when we told her our method and said she’d never heard of anyone writing like that before.  Evidently, many writers split things up with one brainstorming and the other writing. Neither of us can even imagine having any fun doing our job this way.  To not be allowed to brainstorm would be horrible!  And to not write would be just as bad!  We can each imagine this working in non-fiction, but in fiction, if you don’t love both sides – creating and writing – where does that leave you? How can you imagine ideas for your plot and characters without being able to set them down as well, and vice versa? Can a good writer write without his or her imagination taking off and soaring to the heavens?  It sounds absolutely horrible to us.

Our collaborations are a 50/50 effort. We plot together, we develop characters together, and we even transcribe together by getting on Skype, opening the Cloud, and working side by side. Sometimes Tamara takes the lead, sometimes Alistair does – but nothing is written without both of us present. We each have our own individual strengths and weaknesses, and we each are aware of the other’s. Luckily for us – as we learned early on – our weaknesses and strengths balance out; where one of us has difficulty, the other is at ease.

One very important part of our process that we stress very much when asked about it, is the personal side of our relationship. Writing is a job, a business, and although we are business partners, we are also friends. We may share the same vision, the same sensibilities, and even similar writing styles, but all of this is pointless without three very important elements: respect, honesty, and loyalty.

Respect comes first. We are aware of each other’s time. We meet every day, six days a week, and work anywhere from 8 to 10 hours. But if something comes up or one of us is running late, we are okay with that.

As for honesty… honesty is something you have to be comfortable with if you intend to write with another person. If one of us hates what the other is writing – though it hasn’t really happened – we’d say so… but kindly. If one of us isn’t feeling the same vibe as the other and thinks the story needs to go a different direction, we discuss it openly.

No drama. We are similar in that we both avoid drama – and the people who spew it – so one of us getting drawn into the chaos of the other one’s personal life issues is never a problem for us. This zero tolerance for drama, in fact, is probably the glue that holds this whole thing together. (Sure, we each tell the other what’s going on in our lives – we’re friends and that’s what friends do – but we don’t dwell. We go to work.)

So kindness, honesty, and a no drama policy is what makes up the respect facet of this deal. Then there is loyalty.

Loyalty comes into play because we are given a lot of advice by outside forces, and sometimes, the advice is not good. We’ve made a firm pact that no decisions will be made without the consent of the other one. No one is allowed to call one of us and discuss changes behind the other’s back. We are business partners, and we operate as such, no exceptions.

With loyalty comes trust, which could easily be the fourth part of the sum. We trust each other with the characters, the storyline, and on a personal level as well, but this trust is built on the foundation of the respect, honesty, and loyalty to which we adhere.

And now that the personal elements of our collaboration have been covered, we come to the creative part of the process.

collab

Each day we spend an hour or two in the morning warming up. We chat, we do our PR and marketing work, whether it’s writing a blog, posting to Facebook, or answering interview questions. We spend a little time studying some aspect of our business most mornings as well, whether that’s going through a lot of covers or promotional posters and talking about what we like and dislike, discussing articles we’ve just read on traditional vs indie publishing, or anything else writing-oriented.  We tell some jokes. We laugh a lot.

And then we get down to writing.  If we’re having trouble getting going, we get silly, each sneaking in outrageous dialogue or descriptions for the other to laugh at. That’s actually one of the best tricks we’ve found for getting a scene moving. We’ll add on to the silliness, each of us, and suddenly the scene comes to life and, when we’re done, we remove the goofy stuff.

We each enjoy following certain characters and take the lead on our favorites, but we are also careful to switch off so that we each know every character well.  To us, familiarity with our characters – all of them – is vital to the story.

While, individually, we both do a lot of world-building in order to get to know our characters and their locale, together, we probably spend twice as much time doing this.  When you are collaborating, the littlest details become important and are (usually) best figured out beforehand because both of us must know whether a character has dimples or drives a beat-up old Chevy or hates seafood.  Otherwise, incongruities can get past us, unnoticed.

The characters’ voices, however, evolve during writing and whoever creates the voice sets the tone the other follows for that character. For example, a character in one of our upcoming novels has a unique way of swearing that Alistair made up.  We both love voicing her and work together to get the most insane profanities out of her as we write, always following Alistair’s original style.

While we occasionally write two scenes in tandem – this usually happens when we are writing one scene together and one of us is inspired by something the other writes – we still consider ourselves to be writing together; after all, via Skype, we have instant access to one another.  After that, we go over both scenes together and make sure everything is in synch and do a light edit.  Mostly, though, we quite literally write together. One of us may write most of a scene with the other trailing along fixing things, or simply taking in the tale as it evolves. Sometimes we take turns in the same scene. Tamara often takes over descriptions of locale because she really enjoys it. Alistair enjoys writing certain situations and takes those. We think the main reason one or the other of us takes the lead, though, is character. We each have our favorites.

We write in similar voices and have similar sensibilities, senses of humor, likes and dislikes, and this, of course, is part of our chemistry. But if you have a collaborator you constantly disagree with, our question is why?  If you have nothing in common, how can you enjoy your work – or one another?

We received some great feedback the other day. After reading The New Governess, the first installment of our Gothic Erotica serialized novel, The Erotic Adventures of Belinda, a reader said to us: “Which one of you wrote this? I can’t tell.” To which we happily answered, “We both wrote it.” And we did.  Just like we wrote this blog. Together, in the Cloud.

For more, visit us at: http://alistaircross.com & http://tamarathorne.com

Websites, Branding, and Publicity


This is a great and informative episode of Authors on the Air with Pam Stack. I highly recommend this podcast. Great and valuable information for all writers. Give it a listen and share it with your friends!

“Authors on the Air host Pam Stack welcomes a panel of industry professionals who are ready to answer your questions and give you help on getting the word out about you and your books.  Joining this panel are Michael Lowndes, Digital Marketeer, from PML Media, branding and web designers for authors around the world; Jennifer Modette Perry, of Lone Wolf Communications, publicist to the book and entertainment industries; and Amy Shoultz, social media and blogging expert.”

Listen to the podcast here: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/authorsontheair/2014/06/20/author-web-sites-branding-publicity-and-social-media-get-your-book-seen#ixzz35I0VQyGQ

Workin’ It


Advertising sign on wooden post

It’s been a while since I was able to sit down and write anything conversational on my blog, so now that I have an hour or so of free time, I thought I’d drop by and say hello. With the publication of something new, you kind of go into what I call “Machine Mode,” which is that place where nothing but the book exists. You don’t think about anything except the marketing – the interviews, the guest appearances, and all other avenues of PR you can participate in – whatever you can do to get your story out in front of people, and of all the aspects of the writing life, this is, for me, the most difficult. Probably because, in this case, we aren’t done with Belinda. As great as it is to have that first installment out to readers, this is a serial novel, so the show must go on… leaving us in a somewhat constant state of being pressed for time. It doesn’t help that Tamara and I are working under a looming deadline on another project as well.

I don’t hate it though. The only other option is to decline interviews and guest appearances altogether. While I do know some authors who do this, it isn’t an option for me.  Not working for your book is as nonsensical to me as ignoring an infection and hoping for the best. I believe in Belinda and I think she’s worth the hard work. In the coming weeks – and months – Tamara and I have a slew of events and appearances that I’m actually pretty excited about. We’re getting some really good gigs and we’re meeting some pretty cool folks.

In the meantime, the second installment of Belinda’s hot and horrifying adventures is well underway. In fact, we’re down to the final scenes – and they’re getting wilder by the page. I’ve never had as much fun writing anything as I am Belinda’s story.

unnamed (6)

As for the other project we’re working on, it’s coming along at a freight train’s pace. It is, almost literally, writing itself. We intend to have this one done by the end of summer, and then, for those who are patiently waiting, Grandma’s Rack will go through the final rewrites. No, we haven’t forgotten about Grandma. We couldn’t if we tried to – God love that sweet old lady with her very special talents. We will return to her in Fall, no doubt bewitched anew by her otherworldly ways…

grslugline

Until then, it’s writing, writing, interviewing, writing, interviewing, petting the cat, writing, writing, interviewing, moving the cat off the keyboard, writing, interviewing, writing, writing, removing the cat from the bookcase, writing, writing, and more writing…

marketing2

 

Gothic Erotica by Thorne & Cross


What is Gothic Erotica? It’s what wakes you up in the middle of the night as randy as you are terrified. It’s those things that go bump – and grind – in the night. It’s the sound of footsteps at the foot of your bed that, instead of fading away, draw nearer and, well, get what they want.

BackGothic

When we began The Erotic Adventure of Belinda, we had a clear vision of what we wanted to accomplish. We wanted to frighten our readers while simultaneously seducing them. We wanted to build a world as eerie as it was arousing… we wanted to stir a new set of emotions.

TheNewGovernessLargeFINAL

The first installment, titled The New Governess is now available on all formats. If you like your terror titillating, your fright fulfilling, and the kinds of stories that curl your hair with horror and your toes with desire, Belinda is your girl. And she’s available now at Amazon, Smashwords, Kobo, and Barnes and Noble.

backghost1

Let the adventures begin…

applegothic

Visit us at: http://tamarathorne.com and http://alistaircross.com

 

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.


TheNewGovernessLargeFINAL

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.

Conversations Live


After a brief but necessary hiatus from interviews, Tamara Thorne and I are back at it, full-force. We’re schedule for a live interview at Conversations Live on Monday, May 26th at 8:00 pm Eastern time. The show will be streaming at: www.blogtalkradio.com/conversationslive 

Conversations Live has featured such guests as Kim Fields (The Facts of Life) John Schneider (The Dukes of Hazzard) Isaiah Washington (Grey’s Anatomy) and Scott MacIntyre and Taylor Hicks from American Idol.

Our interview will be archived as a podcast for future listening.

 

It’s All About the Shoes…


The Erotic Adventures of Belinda

Coming soon from Tamara Thorne and Alistair Cross

shoes1

 “If you’ve finished all of Sylvia Day’s Bared to You 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 

Belinda’s First Blurb


Michael Aronovitz, author of the terrifying ghost story Alice Walks and the subversively delightful The Voices in Our Heads has honored us with comments about “The New Governess,” the first installment of The Erotic Adventures of Belinda.  We’re thrilled.

Here’s what he has to say about it:

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 and The Voices in Our Heads

The New Governess, the first installment of The Erotic Adventures of Belinda by Tamara Thorne and Alistair Cross, is due out this spring from Avalerion Books.

The adventures are about to begin…

First Installment

 

 

Let the Adventures Begin



The Erotic Adventures of Belinda is a true gothic thriller, filled with steamy romance, ghosts, and some of the hottest erotica you’ve ever read.

First Installment

The New Governess

This morning we completed our final round of revisions and sent the first installment of The Erotic Adventures of Belinda to the publisher.  This  first installment is titled The New Governess. It has lots of ground to cover, so it’s twice as long as the future installments. We plan to release new adventures every four to six weeks.

The New Governess takes Belinda out of the life she knows and places her in a dazzling – and allegedly haunted – manor house called Ravencrest. Her beautiful new home comes with an assortment of unusual staff members, including a handsome English butler who seems surrounded by secrets, an icy power-mad head housekeeper with a chip on her shoulder and a whip in her hand, and – most attractive of all to Belinda – her mysterious new employer, Mr. Eric Manning.

After just one night in Ravencrest Manor, Belinda realizes that the staff, as strange they are, have nothing on the other residents of the house – the ones who only come out at night… the ones who enter and dictate her dreams, twisting them into dark, carnal visions of her deepest desires… and her greatest fears.

The adventures of Belinda are about to begin…

Available in June everywhere ebooks are sold.

Belinda – The First Installment


First Installment

It’s been a productive couple of weeks for my collaborator, Tamara Thorne, and me, and probably the most exciting accomplishment of all is the completion of the first installment of Belinda. Yes… it is completed… and thanks to an especially haunting scene we polished off last night, it is hot.

Installment #1 , which is titled The New Governess, will be a bit longer than the rest – weighing in at about 30 pages. Being the first installment of many to come, there was a lot to cover… and uncover, as it were. But we got Belinda to Ravencrest Manor, introduced a handful of her potential friends and foes, and brought her face to face with a few beautiful and needful things, both of this world and of another.

Belinda has begun her journey… and there’s no stopping now. We’re as eager as anyone else to see what flirty fiascoes and delectable disasters she falls into…

The first installment of Belinda will be out this summer. Listen for the heavy breathing…

Visit us at: http://alistaircross.com & http://tamarathorne.com

Want a Bite?


Belinda.

Serialized erotica coming this summer from Thorne & Cross

skin1

Mr. Manning on Casual Friday


This weeks sexy reminder that Belinda will be here this summer…

B Casual Friday (2)

The Erotic Adventures of

Belinda

Belinda is an erotic serialized novel chronicling the sensual adventures of a beautiful and naïve young woman named Belinda Moorland. When she is hired as governess to the children of the handsome but mysterious millionaire, Eric Manning, she quickly learns that the kids are going to be the least of her worries.

The installments will follow her from the first tentative visit to spooky old Ravencrest Manor, to meeting the strangely lascivious staff – and several sex-starved spirits – who gradually initiate her into an erotic lifestyle she never knew existed.

Belinda’s experiences at Ravencrest will prepare her for the ultimate challenge: to earn the love – and lust – of the enigmatic Mr. Manning.

The first adventures are coming this summer. Listen for the heavy breathing…

Writing… and Riding the ‘One Day’ Wave


You know those books you’re going to write ‘one day’ but never seem to get around to? Well, for me, ‘one day’ has arrived, and let me tell you, Bub – it’s nuts. I rode the ‘one day’ wave for as long as I respectably could, but eventually, you have to get off – and for the past six months, I’ve been getting off like nobody’s business. I’m knee-deep in edits, world-building, cover art design, interviews, character development, and revising, re-hashing, and revisiting.

Tamara Thorne – my collaborator – and I have respectfully asked the publicist for a two to three-week hiatus from interviews. Not that we’ll get much relief. We have two written interviews to do and two or three radio and podcast shows scheduled for May and the rest of April. (In case you missed it, here is the podcast from last weeks live interview at Authors on the Air.)

Later today, Tamara and I will get together to finalize details for The Book We Can’t Say Much About Right Now. Meanwhile, the first draft of Grandma’s Rack is complete and sitting for a six to eight week period before we go back to it – with fresh eyes – for revisions. Belinda is coming along nicely and has become a wonderful escape from the chaos of the less pleasant things.

Belinda’s cover art – which Tamara and I asked for control over – is progressing, as well. After two photo sessions, we’ve  procured a generous handful of keepers – thanks to our wonderful models – which are being used as posters till it’s time to decide on covers. We have many more sessions over the next  months, and despite the madness of it all, I’m looking forward to it.  It’s been suggested that by adding cover art into the already heaping mix, perhaps I’ve bitten off more than I can chew. To that, I say, good. I hope so. Because that’s what gets shit done.

If you haven’t yet seen the latest Belinda poster, here it is… it’s my favorite so far.

First Installment

And a page has been added to my website at alistaircross.com  to showcase all the book covers and posters.

The deadlines are crushing. The days are short. The words are so abounding that – at times – I can’t stand emailing, blogging, IMing, or sending out a freaking Tweet. But the view of the future is vast and exciting, and – most importantly – we are on schedule.

Belinda’s first installment will be out this summer. Grandma’s Rack will come out later this year. The Book We Can’t Say Much About Right Now is running on time and will do whatever it has to do. It won’t always be like this…

Will it?

 

Shhh… Don’t Let Her Catch You Looking…


Here’s a peek at Belinda in one her private moments.

First Installment

Coming this Summer

http://.alistaircross.com

http://tamarathorne.com

~

Podcast for Authors on the Air


Tamara Thorne and I just finished a wonderful live interview with Pam Stack at Authors on the Air. We discussed writing, our processes, and our upcoming projects.

If you missed it, here’s a link to the podcast.

tncapple1

Just a Few More Hours Now…


In just a few more hours now – 5:00 pm Pacific, 8:00 pm Eastern time – my collaborator, horror legend Tamara Thorne, and I will be live at Authors on the Air. They do call ins, so if you have a question for either of us about our work, our writing processes, or anything else, call the show at:  (347) 884-8266.

Here is the direct link to the show. We look forward to hearing from you.

In the meantime, enjoy the latest poster from the upcoming Belinda series…

10248857_10152824908843569_1072774739_n

Authors on the Air


Tamara Thorne and I will be live on Authors on the Air tomorrow night, April 17, at 5pm Pacific, 8pm Eastern.  Come join us for an hour of fun and information about our projects. You can even call in with questions!

Here is the direct link to the show. 

10153488_10152824800293569_549385695_n

Going Down…?


This weeks hot reminder that Belinda is on her way…

10248857_10152824908843569_1072774739_n

Belinda

An erotic series by Tamara Thorne and Alistair Cross

Coming this summer from Avalerion Books

 

Grandma, Belinda, Haunted Cabins, and Author Interviews…


zacacspider

Before getting into anything else, I want to share a great joint interview I did with my collaborator – horror legend Tamara Thorne – at Gingernuts of Horror. We covered everything from horror, erotica,  ghost hunting, and photography to our solo works, our process, our plans, and a bit about a future novel we haven’t discussed until now. Thank you to everyone at Gingernuts, for the fun and unique questions. Tamara and I had a good time with this one.

Also, next Thursday, April 17th, at 8:00 pm EST Tamara and I have a LIVE interview at Authors on the Air with Pam Stack that we’re very excited about. I’m not especially keen on live interviews as I find any kind of public speaking worrisome, but Authors on the Air is a considerable force that you don’t say no to! The show is about an hour-long and we’re looking very forward to it. I am usually only nervous about these things beforehand. Once the show starts, I’m sure I’ll be fine, so tune in and give us a listen. It’s sure to be a good time. As soon as I have a link to the show, I will post it in all the post-able places.

 10169145_10152813443958569_836570210_n

(A promotional poster for Belinda)

In the meantime, the writing is going as strong as it possibly can. Tamara and I have been spending anywhere from six to nine hours a day, five and six days a week, developing setting, establishing characters,  composing plot, and polishing finished content. Our hands are full and we’re doing a bang-up job of juggling tasks, but we’re also having the time of our lives and are getting more excited every day to get our creations into readers’ hands.

Grandma’s Rack is in the final stages and once the last few scenes are completed – which will be done within the week – we intend to let the manuscript sit for six to eight weeks till we can return to it with a clear perspective before doing a final rewrite. Then it still has to go to the editor, back to us for any needed modifications, then finally, to the publisher. As soon as we have it ourselves, the release date will be revealed.

grslugline (2)

(Cover for Grandma’s Rack)

Belinda is plowing along and full-speed. As per our publisher, Tamara and I have creative control over the cover art for the various installments and promotional material, so for the first time, I’m putting my years of photography experience to good use. The first photo session was last weekend, and there’s another one this weekend which will include one of the male models we’ve chosen. Also, I eventually want to revisit Billy the Serpent, as he was easily one of the most natural and photogenic creatures I’ve ever had the honor of capturing with my lens… so watch for further images of him as well as his beautiful human counterparts. A great big Thank You! to Avalerion books for allowing us the artistic freedom to pursue our vision of the Belinda series.  eroticacover

 (A promotional photo for Belinda)

And speaking of Avalerion, I just received my copy of A Mortal Glamour by living legend Chelsea Quinn Yarbro.  Chelsea Quinn Yarbro is a veteran horror author and very good friend who has several books being released through Avalerion. Between her, Gryffyn Phoenix, and Tamara Thorne, I am very good company and can’t express the gratitude I feel to be grouped with these great, great pros. Anyway, I have a lot of reading to do this summer and intend to get started on it within the next few weeks, beginning with A Mortal Glamour which I’ve already taken the confident measure of adding to my list of  all-time Favorite Books.

245mortal

(A Mortal Glamour by Chelsea Quinn Yarbo. And yes… that’s a blurb from Stephen King at the top!)

Lastly, we created a logo for the Cross & Thorne collaborations. We call it The Glass Apple and we love it dearly. You will be seeing this – and possibly, variations of this – on our upcoming projects.

tncapple1

(The Glass Apple)

All best,

~Alistair Cross

www.alistaircross.com

 

Scandalous Interview!


eroticacover

Gingernuts of Horror has just published a wonderful and scandalously fact-filled interview with Tamara Thorne  and me. You’ll find out how we met, how we work, news about our horror novel,Grandma’s Rack,  and our erotic serial novel, Belinda. You’ll see news of Tamara’s  Candle Bay sequel, and my solo novel, The White Room.

We also give the skinny on how we met, what scares us, what influences us, our favorite brands of breakfast cereal, our preferences in shoelaces, and what makes us fight like cats and… cats.

And at least some of the above is true, we swear it.

The Laces Come Undone…


Tamara and I are hard at work on the first installments of our erotic serial novel, Belinda. Our lusty heroine is already thigh-deep in a sea of sensual exploits… and we expect her to go even deeper very soon.

The laces come undone this summer…

10169145_10152813443958569_836570210_n

For more about Belinda and other works, visit us at: http://www.alistaircross.com & http://www.tamarathorne.com

Belinda Is Coming…


The first photography session for the upcoming serial erotica, Belinda, went swimmingly. Here is a promotional picture from the sitting…

eroticacover

There are many more to come…

Look for the first installment of Belinda this summer!

Visit us at:

http://www.alistaircross.com

&

http://www.tamarathorne.com

Belinda. She’s Coming…


Belinda is a paranormally-inclined serialized erotic tale which chronicles the story of a beautiful young woman who acquires a job as governess to the children of a mysterious and unattainable millionaire named Eric Manning. This series follows Belinda from her first tentative visit to the spooky old manor, to meeting the strangely lascivious staff, and finally, to her initiation into an erotic lifestyle she never knew existed. Her experiences will prepare her for the ultimate challenge: to acquire the lust and love of the handsome and entirely oblivious Mr. Manning.

The first installment of Belinda is due out this summer. Listen for the heavy breathing…

Sleek.

Seductive.

Ripe.

She’s coming…

shownotes (Belinda)

The Other Side (prose)


other

~

You see something you want… something that seems always to exist on The Other Side from wherever you stand now. So you push, you pull, you learn to make your way through the crowd, giving them smiles… smiles and smiles and smiles… in spite of the quietly clucking tongues, the sorry sideways smirks, and the daggers cast on behalf of the particularly unpretty ascent to… well, anywhere.

~

You shine for the believers and avert your gaze from the naysayers. You make peace with the critics, strip bare the saboteurs, and disarm the prophets of doom with more of those smiles, more of that feigned happiness ~ as unholy war is waged upon your direst doubts and deepest fears. And all the while, you’re trying to get better and better at what you do. Better, better, better. Good enough to one day finally make it to the ever-elusive Other Side. And the hours go on and on like a chain of echoes down the jagged walls of a fathomless canyon.

~

The smiles are as thin as the armor now. The whipcrack-quick glints of the eye faded to dead stars before they had the chance to fall. The weaponry sits in a rust-covered heap. Your heroes are dying.

~

These are the days they’ll tell you you got lucky ~ that Fate, in its brute favoritism chose you as a representative for diligent daydreaming while they, the Forsaken and the Forgotten, were left behind to keep the cross warm. Fuck them. They don’t know you. They’ll first fall silent and they’ll hate you for their own cowardice. Then they’ll actively seek to dissuade you, to divert you, to dis-entitle you. They’ll tell you now, as they always have, that there is no Other Side.

~

You’ll shut your eyes  and cover your ears… but you’ll keep walking because for each of them comes a believer ~ someone who recognizes the truth of who you are ~ someone who has walked the same thin line ~ someone who, when the sounds of empty lust and ill-will have been muted by proof, will turn to you… and welcome you to the Other Side.

~

© Alistair Cross

For more: www.alistaircross.com

Thorne & Cross Go Live!


thornedup

(Tamara Thorne)

Hello all,

The date and time for our upcoming interview is official. Tamara Thorne and I will be live at Authors on the Air with Pam Stack on Thursday, April 17th, 2014 at 8:00 pm EST. We’ll be discussing our upcoming projects Grandma’s Rack and Belinda as well as anything else that happens to come up.

shownotes AC

(Alistair Cross)

Grandma’s Rack is in the last stages of creation and – after we do an extensive edit of our own – the manuscript will head over to the editor. After that, it will go to the publisher who will provide the final finishing touches and get it on its way. We have no idea how long these processes will take so an exact date for release is still unknown.

grslugline (2)

(Grandma’s Rack – coming in 2014 by Avalerion Books)

Belinda, our paranormally-inclined serialized erotica, is coming along nicely as well. Belinda’s story will be released in a series of installments beginning later this summer, also by Avalerion, and will showcase a few of our favorite personal topics – provocative characters, spooky vibes, and unrelenting sexual exploits.

shownotes (Belinda)

(A promotional poster for Belinda – coming this summer from Avalerion Books)

It’s an eventful year and we’re looking forward to the release of these projects. As soon as we have release dates, we will post them here on our blogs – along with any interview links and other promotional events – as well as on our websites, which you can visit if you want to learn more about us.

Tamara Thorne: http://www.tamarathorne.com

Alistair Cross: http://www.alistaircross.com

All best,

~AC

zacacspider