Lets do this!

Hello my Freaky Darlings,

2016 is done and dusted (thank fuck) and 2017 (just need to remember to get the date right from now on) has begun.

We survived a really rough year and now we need to survive and thrive in the new one.

I think it’s going to be an interesting year and, like last year, it will also have its ups and downs. It’s just going to be a case of putting one step in front of the other or, in my case, one word after the next.

In order to get me focused on getting through this year and to help me write the sequel to The Race as well as working on the first book in The Cursed Witch series I’ve decided I need a theme song.

 

I think given the nature of the story for The Race and its subsequent books and the year I’ve got ahead of me and what we’ve already survived, I think it’s a pretty apt choice. Don’t you?

So … if you had a theme song for this year or last year what would it be?

And don’t forget Shadows is still free until the end of January! Just click on the universal buy link and then on whichever store you’d like to download it from. Amazon, unfortunately, still hasn’t come to the party on this one. But you can get it free from Barnes and Noble, iBooks, and Kobo, and pretty much everywhere else.

I hope 2017 brings you all that you wish for yourself!

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Goodbye 2016

Hello my Freaky Darlings,

In just a couple days 2016 will be over. It’s been an interesting year on a global scale. Brexit, Trump, The Grimm Reaper taking the rich and famous, friends and family. It’s been a stressful year to say the least. And I have to say, I’m glad it’s over. Lets just hope that 2017 is less of a killer.

There have also been some good things in 2016 and they’re what I’m going to try and focus on and take with me and grow in 2017.

I managed to publish two new books! I’m fucking proud of myself for that. I also got all the rights back for my other books and managed to republish them and go completely indie in a matter of days. Another accomplishment that I’m fucking proud of.

I may not be a bestselling author – yet, but I’m working on it. That’s where my focus is going to be in the new year. I’m focusing on building my audience and writing new stories. The rest will take care of itself.

I’m not going to make any hard and fast New Years resolutions. None of that new year, new me crap. I’m still going to be the dark, twisted, and sarcastic bitch I’ve always been. The coffee and wine are still going to flow in 2017.

With the close of 2016 I’d like to ask you to take a moment to think of the books you’ve read and enjoyed this year. Think of the writers who’ve worked to craft those words that have taken you on unexpected journeys. The words that have made you cry, or laugh, or scared you shitless.

If you appreciate those words that were so cleverly strung together leave a little review, doesn’t have to be a long one, on Goodreads or Amazon or wherever you got it. Tell your friends about the book. Tell them about the author. Spread the words.
And in 2017 try expanding your reading horizons. Try an author you’ve never read before. Give the little guy a shot. Don’t just stick within your usual safe zone. You never know, you might stumble onto your new favourite author and then tell your friends about them.

And just to make sure the new year starts off with a bang, I’ll be making Shadows FREE until the end of January. Most ebook stores have already caught up with the change in price but it may take Amazon a few days to catch up. Just click on the Universal buy link and choose your favourite store. Go download it and tell your friends about it.

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I hope 2017 brings you all joy, prosperity, and good books. See you all in the new year.

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Guest Post: Alistair Cross

Hello my Freaky Darlings,

Today, Alistair Cross has hi-jacked my blog.

Here’s a little info on the fiend who dared trespass here.

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Alistair Cross’ debut novel, The Crimson Corset, a vampiric tale of terror and seduction, was an immediate bestseller earning praise from veteran vampire-lit author, Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, and New York Times bestseller, Jay Bonansinga, author of The Walking Dead series. In 2012, Alistair joined forces with international bestseller, Tamara Thorne, and as Thorne & Cross, they write – among other things – the successful Gothic series, The Ravencrest Saga. Their debut collaboration, The Cliffhouse Haunting, reached the bestseller’s list in its first week of release. They are currently at work on their next solo novels and a new collaborative project.

In 2014, Alistair and Tamara began the radio show, Thorne & Cross: Haunted Nights LIVE!, which has featured such guests as Charlaine Harris of the Southern Vampire Mysteries and basis of the HBO series True Blood, Jeff Lindsay, author of the Dexter novels, Jay Bonansinga of The Walking Dead series, Laurell K. Hamilton of the Anita Blake novels, Peter Atkins, screenwriter of HELLRAISER 2, 3, and 4, worldwide bestseller V.C. Andrews, and New York Times best sellers Preston & Child, Christopher Rice, and Christopher Moore.

Top Ten Writing Lessons I’ve Learned in Ten Years

Though I’ve been writing all my life, it wasn’t until ten years ago that I got serious about it. And I didn’t want to be a hobby-writer, either. I wanted to be a real-life, full-time professional who spends his time writing, editing, marketing, and well … doing it all – because that’s what writers do these days.

The road was long and winding, but in 2012, I finally got published. Since then, I’ve written several novels with bestselling author, Tamara Thorne, and am now completing my second solo novel, The Angel Alejandro, which will be out early in 2017, as well as several other collaborations and solo projects.

And Tamara and I didn’t stop there. We also began the radio show, Thorne & Cross: Haunted Nights LIVE!, where we interview authors, paranormal investigators, forensics experts, and anyone else who likes frolicking in the darkness with us. I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know some amazing people, and in the decade since I plunged myself into the strange world of creative enterprise, I’ve learned some things about writers, readers, the craft, and the business.

Some of these lessons were learned first hand and some of them through the wisdom of others, but all of them have proved profoundly valuable to me. The list that follows comes from my experience in the writing world, and I hope some of it may be useful to other writers … and interesting for readers.

1. Reading is the single most important thing to do if you want to improve your craft. Read everything … and read it with an active eye, taking in plot devices, pacing, theme, voice, dialogue, and character development. Reading trains the unconscious mind to find its own writing rhythm and gives you an “ear” for storytelling. So read. Not a little, but a lot. As Stephen King famously says, “If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write.”

2. There’s no such thing as ‘just a writer’ anymore. Gone are the days (if they ever existed) when publishers spent copious amounts of time and money getting the word out about your new book. You’re not just an author anymore. You’re also a marketer, a public relations specialist, a social media virtuoso, and a business manager, among other things. Make peace with that, keeping in mind that no one will work as hard for you as you will. They never have and they never will. So be accountable for your career.

3. The cream rises to the top. In an age of do-it-yourself digital delirium, everyone’s an author. It’s easy to look at the bottomless pit of other writers and wonder how the hell anyone is going to find your work. But look closer and you’ll see how many of those authors fall off the map, disenchanted when their dreams of instant fame and fortune are promptly torn to pieces. Not to mention the profusion of books out there that simply aren’t any good. Readers are smart people and they know the difference between a good story and a poor one. They don’t come back to authors who write bad books. Keep writing damned good books and, like the proverbial cream, you’ll rise to the top.

4. Have heroes. Learn from the best. Once you’ve established what kind of writer you want to be, keep a close eye on those authors who inspire you. Study their work, learn from them. Stalk them on Twitter. But don’t get too stalkery. No one likes a creepster.

5. Set goals. Whether it’s a page amount, a word amount, or a paragraph amount, set daily goals. Don’t settle for the “when I get around to it” approach to writing. No one ever “gets around to it.”

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6. Know the difference between a hobby and a job. If you want writing to be your job, you have to treat it like a job or no one else will. That means you set hours. The phone is off. The door is shut. You’re not readily accessible. If you don’t spend your time wisely, other people will happily spend it for you, so unless writing is a mere pastime for you, don’t let other people spend your time.

7.   Go big or go home. Don’t think you can only write for small markets, or that a high-powered literary agent won’t be interested, or that a big-name author is going to look down his or her nose at you. Know your worth and aim for the stars.

8. Walk through every door that opens. And if you keep at it, people will open doors for you. But getting through the door is the easy part. It’s up to you to earn your place in the room.

9. Never read your reviews. For better or worse, reviews are necessary, but they’re designed with other readers in mind – not the author. If you’re looking for a critique, get it from your agent, your editor, your publisher, another author, or an objective friend … anywhere but from the reviews section of the book retailer. Reading reviews – whether they be glowing or insulting – isn’t really doing you any favors.

10. Trust your characters. Some writers will say that you must keep your characters on a short leash and remain in full command of them at all times lest they sully your painstakingly-plotted story with their whimsical meanderings. But here’s the thing: Those seemingly frivolous departures from your plans are where the characters come to life. And when the characters come to life, that’s when the magic happens. I say let your characters go where they want, let them say what they want … let them tell you their story. Let yourself be as delighted and surprised by them as your readers will be.

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You can stalk Alistair at the following places:

★ Author’s website: http://www.alistaircross.com/

★ Author’s social media links:

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Alistair-Cross/e/B00N446AZS/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6517308.Alistair_Cross

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/crossalistair

Twitter: https://twitter.com/CrossAlistair

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/alistaircross/

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13 Questions with William Gorman

Hello my Freaky Darlings,

Today we have William Gorman in the interrogation seat.

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William Gorman grew up listening to ghost stories and dark fantastical yarns from his grandfather—a magician and former ‘mentalist’ during the last great, fading days of vaudeville. He’s had short fiction published in Nightmares, Thin Ice, Severed Tales, The Midnight Shambler, Nightside, and The Rockford Review. His first book, a collection of local myths and legends titled GHOST WHISPERS, came out in 2005 and spawned the highly popular Haunted Rockford tours and cemetery walks now operating in his Illinois hometown. His first novel, BLACKWATER VAL, was published in April of 2016.

He now lives in the Ohio Valley with his Lady of the Manor, Suzanne, and their German shepherd Gabby, and is currently hard at work on his next novel and a new collection of macabre tales.

  1. What drives you to write? 

I think it’s one of those things that either chooses you or it doesn’t. You don’t choose it. Writing isn’t glamorous. There’s no money or fame in it, except for a select lucky few. It’s a frustrating, antisocial thing . . . so why do it? I guess it’s just a need to tell a particular story that’s building up inside, a compulsion to get it out, so it can carry on afterward. I have to channel these creative energies of mine and give them an outlet in some way. For me, it’s all about leaving something behind that will be remembered. Telling a good story.

  1. What attracted you to writing horror? 

The imagery of it: vengeful ghosts and crumbling graveyards, unspeakable deeds. The ‘danger’ potential. In dark fiction there’s always something lurking just out of the light, something dangerous and oft times supernatural. I love that kind of stuff. Always have. I love creating worlds like that. It’s a way to reject the mundane reality around me and replace it with my own, I suppose.

  1. Who are your favourite horror writers?

My mom gave me collections by Poe and August Derleth when I was really young, so they’re right up there. Robert Howard wrote some great horror stories, as did Algernon Blackwood. Ray Bradbury and Michael McDowell always raised some goosebumps. And Robert Bloch. Then, discovering Stephen King in my teenage years opened up all kinds of different doors for me.

  1. What horror novels do you think every horror fan should read?

King’s early works, of course. Especially his so-called S books—’Salem’s Lot, The Shining, The Stand. I would say Herbert West and Charles Dexter Ward by Lovecraft, and The Elementals by Michael McDowell. Every summer I make a point to reread T.E.D. Klein’s The Ceremonies; it’s such an atmospheric, dread-filled experience. Boy’s Life and Swan Song by Robert McCammon are amazing, as is Clive Barker’s Weaveworld . . . it continues to be the perfect blend of fantasy and stark staring horror, in my opinion. And naturally Hill House by Shirley Jackson.

  1. Ebooks or paperback?

Paperback all the way. Ever since I was a kid, carrying paperbacks around with me everywhere.

  1. What would make you pick up a novel by a new author?

The cover, foremost. If it has a killer cover that catches my eye, that’s a big plus—fortunately I had a great Ben Baldwin cover for my debut novel, Blackwater Val. An interesting title can do it also, something unique that grabs me. And subject matter that I’m really into. But the cover and title are the main things that hook me and reel me in, make me want to find out more. In the genres I enjoy, though, with some kind of supernatural element hopefully.

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  1. Who is your favourite fictional character?

That’s a tough one. There are so many. I’d have to pick Sherlock Holmes, I guess. Such a complex, almost tragic character. A labyrinthine man. Not at all a gay character, as so many people mistakenly believe, but a brilliant sleuth whose mind happens to be so intellectually ‘above’ the idea of love or sexual lust that he never even considers actually ‘lowering’ himself to its levels. Fascinating character—married to his work, above all else.

  1. Do you plot your stories or does it just unfold before your eyes?

I like to start out with a rough outline, just a general idea of where it’s all going. Then I let it wander wherever it wants. Occasionally the story has to be drawn back on course, if things stray too far off the outline’s path, but mostly it does what it wants to.

  1. Do your characters take on a life of their own and do things you didn’t plan?

All the time. Absolutely. When you give them free rein, the characters will often surprise you. Take you in directions you never thought of. Great things can happen then, when both the writer and the reader are equally surprised.

  1. Do you listen to music when you write or do you need silence?

Most of the time I prefer silence, but sometimes I’ll listen to different things to help set a certain mood. Various movie soundtracks are good, depending on the atmosphere I’m looking for.

  1. Do you do a lot of research for your stories?

My first book, Ghost Whispers, was a collection of local hauntings and spooky legends from my home town in Illinois. With that one, yes, there was a lot of research. Tramping through overgrown cemeteries, trying to find a particular headstone or epitaph. Sitting for hours if not days on end, tediously running down various leads and events in the Genealogy and History rooms of libraries. But with my novel it was minimal research, fun stuff like witchcraft, and fallen angels, snippets of foreign languages and customs. Most of the research was regarding the so-called Black Hawk War, the American Indian massacre of 1832.

  1. Facebook or Twitter?

Facebook. I’m not on Twitter yet. But then, I come from the old Myspace school of outdated social networks. It usually takes me a while to catch up with whatever’s trending.

13.  What really pisses you off about writing?

Losing so much time to the networking and self-promoting, time that could be spent actually writing. It’s the world we live in today, I understand that, but still. Also, this constant struggle to obtain reviews. You give out 30 or 40 free copies of your work to people, hard copy versions and electronic book versions, and you hear almost nothing back from them? I’m not talking about the paying public now, readers who purchase your book and are free to either review it or not review it as they so choose . . . hell, I’m guilty of that myself. But these are 30 or 40 individuals who expressly agree to read the books given to them gratis and to leave reviews on Amazon. Then you get maybe 3 or 4 reviews that trickle in over the next ten months, because the others can’t take two minutes and write the review they agreed to. I mean, what’s up with that? Seriously, let me go down to the bakery on the corner and stand around all day and eat 30 or 40 of their donuts, and afterward maybe I’ll pay up for 3 or 4 of them. Or instead I might just promise to stop a few strangers on my way home and maybe tell them about those delicious donuts at the corner bakery. Then I might not even do that. I know that’s not the best analogy, but you get the idea. Unbelievable! And now I’m hungry for donuts.

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And the winners are

Hello my Freaky Darlings,

The Race giveaway, to celebrate passing 500 likes on my Facebook Author page, has come to an end. I’m sorry!

But we do have our 5 random winners…

Rochelle Steyn

Valerie Roberson

Bridget Lotz

Anina Stenvert

Ray Garton

I’ll be in touch with your prize!

Thank you so much for taking part and liking my author page.

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Remember to hit that subscribe button to keep up with all the news, reviews, and interviews. And feel free to leave a comment or three. It’s always nice to hear from you guys.

The Race: #Giveaway

Hello my Freaky Darlings,

To celebrate the fact that my Facebook author page has passed 500 likes I’m giving away 5 copies of The Race.

All you have to do is enter the giveaway by clicking on the link below and, if you haven’t already, give my author page a like.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Once you’ve entered please hit the “I’ve visited” button on the bottom right hand corner of the entry box. Unless you hit that it doesn’t accept your entry.

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The Race by Joan De La Haye

The Race gets another awesome review!

Tony's Thoughts

The Race by Joan De La Haye

When I first saw this cover I didn’t like it. I’ve never been a fan of scantily clad female warriors (stop laughing) in fiction. In this case it made sense in some ways. This story was very much Running Man meets Xena with more than a little new world order conspiracy theory thrown in.

Like most of the author’s work there was a definite South African feel to this book. The slight differences from the usual British or American viewpoints has captured my attention yet again. This was a short fast-paced story that was effortless to read. There were no complications to get in the way of the pacing that I thought was vital to the feel of The Race.

I enjoyed this book. It was a great way to escape the daily grind and at the end I was left wondering ‘what if?’, and for me that has always…

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