Interviews, Books, and Horror. Oh my…


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

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

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

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

On the Other Side of the Mic


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

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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

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Update for January


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

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

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

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

Avoiding Unexpected Feline Fatherhood


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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.

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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.

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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

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  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…

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The End Is Upon Us


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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150,000 Words and Counting


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

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

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

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

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

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

Till then, scream on.

~AC~

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