A Gothic Recipe for Horror


The Thorne and Cross thriller, The Witches of Ravencrest, is the latest to come to audiobook and to celebrate, we’re sharing our recipe for Gothic horror. But first … a little about the book …

Narrated by film and voice actor, Nathan Foss, The Witches of Ravencrest is book 2 of The Ravencrest Saga, preceded by The Ghosts of Ravencrest (also now available at Audible.com) and followed by book 3, Exorcism – which is on its way to audiobook as I write this.

But wait … there’s more …

As of today, Shadowland, book 4 in The Ravencrest Saga, is complete – as in, we literally finished it today! – and it, too, will be available in all formats, including audiobook, very soon.

On a more personal note, The Ravencrest Saga is the first thing Tamara and I began writing together. It was this series that proved to us that not only were we compatible collaborators, but that we complimented each other as writers. We love this series and foresee no end to it – probably because it has everything in it that we love … which leads us to our Gothic Recipe for Horror …

Thorne & Cross’ Gothic Recipe for Horror

3 cups mystery
2 cups ghosts
1 cup romance
½ cup miscellaneous monstrosities
All the witches you want
A whiff of zombies
3 bleeding nuns
A half a cup of looming shadows
2 candelabra, with candles 
A pinch of hysteria
A dollop of sex
A few drops of blood

Sprinkle with a few demented harlequins, stir in an abundance of twisted family history, then mix all of it together in an old spooky mansion on a hill. Add an unsuspecting governess and a mysterious, handsome millionaire, and you’re on your way to creating a good solid gothic. That’s how we did it, anyway.

Gothic novels are all about atmosphere, and to achieve a perfect dish, you can’t just mix these things willy-nilly and expect them to come out gourmet-quality. A good chef – or writer – must use a deft hand to achieve the perfect flavor. First, you need strong characters, proper pacing, and a damned good story – then you stir in the eerie gothic atmosphere.

If you don’t mix your ingredients properly – or if you get creative and don’t carefully consider your extra additions, your cake – or book – may fall flat. Too much – or too little – of anything can ruin what you’re trying to create.

For example, if you add shadows to a sunny day, you must place them in the proper spot to achieve the eerie flavor you desire. Shadows under a tree in summer probably won’t work – unless the tree is situated correctly – perhaps in a lonely cemetery. What accents should you add? A freshly dug grave nearby? A mysterious mist hovering just inside the glass door of a nearby family mausoleum? Wilted flowers on a grave? Or are they fresh but sprinkled with blood? Or, did the flowers mysteriously appear when you turned your back? All these variations provide mystery. Who – or what – brought the flowers? Why is there mist hovering in a mausoleum on a warm sunny day? Is someone lurking? A human? A ghost? And what are their intentions? Your answers will affect just how atmospheric your story is.

Consider the definition of Gothic from dictionary.com: 
7. noting or pertaining to a style of literature characterized by a gloomy setting, grotesque, mysterious, or violent events, and an atmosphere of degeneration and decay.

This very definition screams for an old and spooky residence. For us, it’s a sprawling manor house built centuries ago in England. Already steeped in dark history, Ravencrest Manor was imported stone by stone to the California coast in the early 1800s. It arrived with its sordid past intact, and since then, it has accrued many more mysteries, ghosts, and family secrets.

While Ravencrest Manor is beautifully kept up, it’s still full of long halls and longer shadows – and if you dare enter the door that locks away the forbidden east wing, things intensify. Why the wing was locked up in the first place is a major mystery. Within, flickering lights, dizzying corridors, and some nasty – and nice – spirits all add to the gothic ambience. We’ve already seen a trio of horrible, bloody nuns, the ghost of a little girl, and a headless woman lurking there, just to name a few. The honeycombed rooms contain more horrors than even we know about yet; we feel the presence of spirits and more frightening things as we write and this adds a sense of foreboding for us. And because we feel it, we think our readers will as well.

And those are the most important ingredients in our recipe for ambience and atmosphere in The Ravencrest Saga. Our goal from the beginning was to pay homage to the gothics we teethed on – gothics like Dark Shadows and Rebecca – and in our series’ second full-length novel, The Witches of Ravencrest, we had a particularly good time with atmosphere because not only did we explore more of the mansion itself, but we took some of the story into the town of Devilswood, an old coastal village that serves as the backdrop to the saga.

But whether writing in the gothic genre or not, we’re firm believers that atmosphere is one of the most critical elements to a story. Atmosphere is a reflection of the characters, the locale, and a major influence on the plot itself, so – we believe – there should be no shortage of it.

More about The Witches of Ravencrest

Dark and Unnatural Powers


In a remote part of California just above the coastal town of Devilswood, Ravencrest Manor, imported stone-by-stone from England more than two centuries ago, looms tall and terrifying, gathering its dark and unnatural powers, and drawing those it wants as its own.


Murder Lurks in the Shadows


Governess Belinda Moorland has settled into life at Ravencrest, and, as summer gives way to autumn, romance is in the air. She and multi-millionaire Eric Manning are falling in love…but powerful forces will stop at nothing to keep them apart. And as the annual Harvest Ball is set to begin, evil abounds at Ravencrest. Murder lurks in the shadows, evil spirits freely roam the halls, a phantom baby cries, signaling a death in the mansion, and in the notoriously haunted east wing, three blood-soaked nuns, Sisters Faith, Hope, and Charity, tend to the demented needs of a maid gone mad.

Vengeful Spirits


Ravencrest has come to life. In the gardens below, granite statues dance by moonlight, and a scarecrow goes on a killing rampage, collecting a gruesome assortment of body parts from unwilling donors…. But Belinda’s greatest danger is the vengeful spirit of Rebecca Dane. Once the mistress of Ravencrest, Rebecca Dane has a centuries-old ax to grind with the powerful witch, Cordelia Heller – and Belinda becomes her weapon of choice.

The complete series … so far …


Witches, Ghosts, and Murder, Oh My!


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

THE WITCHES OF RAVENCREST: GRAVE EXPECTATIONS, Available Next Week!


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

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

GRAVE EXPECTATIONS, the first installment in THE WITCHES OF RAVENCREST, book two of the RAVENCREST SAGA, will be available next week.

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THE GHOSTS OF RAVENCREST, book one in the RAVENCREST SAGA, is available on AMAZON.

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

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

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

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

Holiday Sale


Now through New Year’s, four classic Tamara Thorne novels are on sale for only $2.99 a piece on eBook.

Haunted is the tale of horror writer David Masters who buys Baudey House, the most haunted  mansion in California. He and his equally skeptical daughter, Amber, are in for the ride of their lives when ghosts of mass murder victims from the 1800s and 1900s begin haunting them, and the succubus, Christabel, takes a very special interest in David. Click the pic to buy.

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Moonfall is a murderous tale of witchcraft and mystery in a small apple-growing community famous for its Halloween celebrations and apple pies. But there is also St. Gertrude’s School for Girls, haunted and horrific, run by a mother superior with a Ph.D in discipline and keeping minors in bondage. Click the pic to buy.

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Eternity is a thrilling whodunit that takes place in the northern California mountain town of Eternity. Newly transplanted sheriff, Zach Tully, finds himself in a snowy hell full of townsfolk as crazy as the residents of Shady Pines Sanitarium. There are two Elvises, Ambrose Bierce is the mayor, and the postmistress looks an awful lot like Amelia Earhart. And there’s a serial killer in town who claims to be Jack the Ripper… Click the pic to buy.

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Candle Bay is the story of the vampiric Darling Family, who run the Candle Bay Inn nestled on the foggy California coast. The Darlings take what sustenance they need from sleeping guests and fine bottles of very red “wine.” Then trueborn vampire Julian Valentyn shows up with a bottle of addictive Elixir that allows the vamps to come out in the daylight … and plays havoc with their hungers. Click the pic to buy.

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GRANDMA’S RACK Revealed!!


 

There’s a new coven in town…

War of the Witches

The plague witches have declared war, and ten-year-old Joey is in more trouble than he can even imagine. As the town of Milkwort becomes a battleground of magic and mayhem, the only thing he seems to have on his side is the sweet, soft-spoken woman who cares for him – his grandmother. And Grandma has a secret…

Grandma’s Secret Weapons

When a gruesome murder is committed, the residents of Milkwort suddenly don’t seem to be themselves. Little Joey is going to have to grow up fast if he wants to survive. Can he and Grandma uncover the heinous secrets and unravel the twisted mysteries that lie just beneath the surface of this seemingly quiet, small town?

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Thorne & Cross

Grandma’s Rack, the first collaborative novel from Tamara Thorne and Alistair Cross arrives this spring.