Linda Godfrey & GodJohnson

 

Happy, happy Samhain/Halloween to everyone! Here’s to some wonderful candy and good times. I know I plan to have a great day chilling with some spooky movies and doing some other projects until I go to a party tonight. :) Thanks to all the authors who participated in my Spooktacular this year.

Today I’d love to welcome nonfiction and fiction author Linda Godfrey to my blog! Many years ago I read Linda’s nonfiction about the Michigan Dogman and other eerie phenomena, and I was instantly hooked! You simply must read her work! Please welcome her as she chats about her novel God Johnson and the intriguing way this story came about.

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“God Johnson.” It seemed like the most original title I’d ever come up with. The words had sailed into my head one morning in 2009 as I sat quietly meditating, and immediately struck me as the perfect title for a fantasy novel.

I still had to come up with God Johnson’s story, of course. It seemed apparent that he was some sort of lesser divinity, with the emphasis on “lesser,” which could mean he was short on followers. I asked myself what sort of image a shape-shifting god might assume if he wanted to ooze trustworthiness, and the noble face of Abraham Lincoln sprang to mind. What potential disciple could resist signing on with a lesser god that looked like our beloved former president?

Well, most normal people, probably. But perhaps one naïve young woman who wanted something God Johnson could give her—say, superstardom—and who also had an unconscious, disastrous thing for father figures might be willing to give this tall, craggy-eyebrowed demi-god a whirl. And there stood my protagonist, Liberty.

As for the title, it seemed so out there, so unusual, I was sure it was one of a kind. I did a quick Google search anyway and nothing popped up. I went on to write God Johnson; the Unforgiven Diary of the Disciple of a Lesser God. It debuted in 2012, to my excitement, as a self-published e-book in collaboration with my literary agency Dystel & Goderich. About two days later, I discovered there was a popular Minneapolis cover band called God Johnson! I contacted them, and luckily we both found the coincidence amusing. We became Facebook friends.

God Johnson Facebook 

The band and my book were not the only God Johnsons on the planet, however. Only a few months passed before a reader clued me into the existence of a 1949 Skippy Peanut Butter-sponsored radio show episode named—yep–God Johnson. The title role was played by Peter Lorre and the episode bore no similarity to my story. But it made me start to wonder whether I’d once heard that name somewhere, sometime, my brain dutifully tucking it away until the day it popped up in the guise of book-naming genius. I took a bit of comfort in the fact that the show ran before I was born.

God Johnson Podcast/Radio Show

Then just this past fall, I chanced upon a TV listing for a Syfy show that debuted in New Zealand in 2011. It’s called The Almighty Johnsons and involves a whole family of lesser gods named Johnson. Thankfully, none of its stars sport top hats or Lincolnesque beards.

The Almight Johnsons

I was bewildered, though. How had four, very different creative works all come up with this same, offbeat title? Is there was some primordial, inherent connection between the words god and Johnson? I guess that’s possible, although I discovered that unintentional title-sharing is not really unusual. To cite one striking example, there were two independently books titled Blink released in 2005. One was a work of fiction, the other non-fiction, and neither were related to a feature film released two years earlier that was also titled Blink. A second example popped up just the other day when I looked up a book called Knocking on Heaven’s Door and found about five of them with various subtitles, not to mention the 1973 Bob Dylan song by that name.

Newspaper comic creators are also prone to simultaneous channeling of each other’s inspirations. Many people, for instance, will remember the mischievous little boy in Hank Ketcham’s popular comic strip Dennis the Menace. But few Americans know that the comic’s debut in March, 1951 occurred within hours of the release of a British cartoon boy terror–also named Dennis the Menace! The British rascal featured black rather than blonde hair and looked decidedly older than the American tyke, but the coincidence in both name and concept is breathtaking.

Whether these title twins emanate from some mysterious, quantum entanglement of creative minds or simply spring from the writers’ individual observations of the same global Zeitgeist, I can’t say. It’s tempting to think of sci-fi tropes like the human “hive mind” when two authors unknowingly simul-title their great American novels “Snort,” but it may just be that there are only so many words in the English language, and some make snazzier titles than others.

For those writers who find out in time that their title is already on someone else’s book, it may be smart to create a new one or add a subtitle to help establish uniqueness –especially if the books in question are similar in genre and concept. Of course, there are many times that titles co-exist peaceably, especially since copyrights don’t cover book titles. But there still may be some risk.

Some titles, usually those of popular series, may be trademarked, and that opens a whole new can of magic beans. Trademark infringement and copyright laws are complex beasts requiring legal advice I’m not qualified to give, but may be good topics for any writer to check out.

All of this makes me wonder whether it’s even possible to come up with a truly unique title—without using nonsense words–that has never been and never will be used by anyone else. Since everyone in the world seems to be writing a book these days, that task grows ever more difficult, especially for the one-word titles that are fashionable right now.

My own advice to anyone seeking absolute title uniqueness would be to search the Internet sooner rather than later, and repeat the process more often than seems necessary. The book title that doesn’t show up today may be released tomorrow. (And it could be released three days after yours!)

So guess what? I just took my own advice and searched again for my title for the sequel to God Johnson. I immediately found an MP3 of a German album cut that bore the same brilliantly original name as my new book title!

The sound you hear right now is the mad buzzing of the hive mind, accompanied by the riffling of my thesaurus, as I search for the perfect new words.

Linda Godfrey’s most recent non-fiction book is American Monsters; a History of Monster Lore, Legends and Sightings in America, Tarcher/Penguin 2014. All of her books, including God Johnson, and her blog and werewolf FAQs may be found at lindagodfrey.com.

 

 

 

 

L. L. Bartlett & Spooked?

Please welcome L.L. Bartlett to my blog today as she talks about getting spooked!

 

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Three times the hero of my Jeff Resnick mystery series has been confronted with evidence of ghosts … but for some reason, he’s just not sure he believes in them. After all, he did suffer a serious head injury from a vicious mugging and now he’s different. Just a little bit psychic. Sometimes he knows about things that have happened in the past. Sometimes he know about things that are about to happen. But often, he’s blindsided by life in general.

Was it a ghost that scared the bejeepers out of him when he first arrived in Buffalo to recover from the mugging? Something clung to the walls of the guest room where he was to stay—a powerful force that took his breath away and filled him with such dread he was sure he’d pass out. (The book, Murder On The Mind, is free for all ebook formats, and is also available as a trade paperback.)

A set of footprints in the snow leads to a tree.

Or how about the time Jeff’s curiosity was piqued when he saw a sign advertising psychic readings. At first he was sure the medium was a fake, but then his funny feelings lead him to suspect that a murder has taken place in the dilapidated house where Madam Zahara held her readings. Just who died and how? And why was Jeff compelled to look for bodies buried in the medium’s yard? (The story is called When The Spirit Moves You.)

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Can a ghost be such a part of your life that you’re not even aware that the person has passed on? Can a ghost bake your favorite cookies, serve you coffee or tea, and hold long conversations with you, advising you like a loving parent might? It’s something Jeff’s not so sure about.

And as his creator, neither am I.

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The immensely popular Booktown Mystery series is what put Lorraine Bartlett’s pen name Lorna Barrett on the New York Times Bestseller list, but it’s her talent – whether writing as Lorna, or L.L. Bartlett, or Lorraine Bartlett — that keeps her there. This multi-published, Agatha-nominated author pens the exciting Jeff Resnick Mysteries as well as the acclaimed Victoria Square Mystery series, Tales of Telenia adventure-fantasy saga, and now the Lotus Bay Mysteries, and has many short stories and novellas to her name(s). Check out the descriptions and links to all her works, and sign up for her emailed newsletter here: http://www.LLBartlett.com

You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, and Goodreads.

Additional links to find her:

Murder on the Mind: http://www.llbartlett.com/index.php/murder-on-the-mind/

When the Spirit Moves You: http://www.llbartlett.com/index.php/jeff-resnick-short-stories/

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/L.L.Bartlett.author

Twitter: http://twitter.com/llbartlettbooks

Google +: https://plus.google.com/u/0/108688104967891779228/posts

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/jeffresnick/

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/977939.L_L_Bartlett

Kathy Kulig & Nightlord Lover

Please welcome Kathy Kulig to my blog today with a blurb for her new erotic vampire/menage romance, Nightlord Lover. Enjoy the blurb and excerpt!

 

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Buy Link Now at Ellora’s Cave: http://www.ellorascave.com/nightlord-lover.html

Warrior vampire Garrick Labar guards the secrets of the Guild. His comrade–vampire and sorcerer Ramon Travere–enforces the uneasy alliance between mortals and immortals. When Larissa Devine moves into town, both Garrick and Ramon are mesmerized and enraptured by her. They crave to claim her as their crimson swan and lover. But a new arrival is fair game and if they don’t claim her first, a band of renegades will.

Larissa finds a blistering-hot ménage with her protectors too intoxicating to resist. The immortals can’t deny their sexual attraction for her and sense her blood pulsing hot and furious when they’re close. Erotic desires thrust her into a world of danger and seduction. When the renegade vampires attempt to destroy a hundred years of peace, Larissa is caught in the crossfire. Eternal love and carnal nights can be her future if she survives.

Excerpt

“Anything missing?” Garrick asked.

Larissa shook her head then charged back downstairs. “Why would they just mess up the place without stealing anything?” Her throat tightened. “It’ll take me hours to straighten this up in time for opening tomorrow.” Tears filled her eyes.

“Kids,” he said. “The door probably wasn’t closed tightly and the wind blew it open. I’ll have Ramon take a look at it.”

“I should still call the police. The store was vandalized.”

“Don’t. I know the police chief. I’ll mention it to him tomorrow. If you call, you’ll only have a bunch of cars out here and the gossip will spread all through town. You don’t need that kind of publicity.” He started calling on his cell phone.

“Who are you calling?” she asked.

“Ramon and Jordan. I’m telling them to come over now to help straighten up. Between the four of us, we’ll get your place in order.”

“But it’s so late.” Her words cracked.

“They won’t mind.” He hugged her. “You’ll see. We all work together here.”

His embrace felt heavenly warm and safe, made her feel protected and a little turned on. Heat rushed to her face, embarrassed by her physical response to his touch. What was wrong with her? He was showing her kindness and she was getting horny? She pulled away, avoiding his gaze. “Thank you, Garrick. I’ll get started on the front display.”

Twenty minutes later Ramon and Jordan entered the store. “Ramon Travere,” he said by introduction, taking her hand and locking his gaze with hers with an obvious flirtatious up-and-down once-over. Ramon was striking and hot. A few years younger than she with long blond hair that fell past his shoulders. He wore leather pants and boots and a black T-shirt with a bright-yellow smiley face with the addition of devil’s horns and tail attached. Have a nice eternity was inscribed below.

If Garrick was the mysterious and muscular predator, Ramon was the sleek and wild rock star.

“Wow, you weren’t kidding, Garrick,” Jordan exclaimed. “What a mess. Any idea who did it?”

Garrick shot Jordan a glance and her eyes widened. “Doesn’t matter. We’ll get everything ready for you, Larissa. Thank you for hiring me. Garrick said you needed the help.”

Garrick’s expression revealed no clue as to who really arranged the employment. For a college student, Larissa expected Jordan to be younger but she had to be in her late twenties. Her blonde hair was fashioned in a perfect French braid. Her clothes were casual but obviously pricy designer wear and usually far out of a college student’s budget. There was no rich-girl-entitlement attitude, Larissa knew plenty of them in her college. Jordan appeared to be a pleasant, smart and polite young woman. “You’re welcome. I’m happy to have the help. I’ll start you with a few hours and when business picks up, we can add more. How does that sound?”

“Works for me,” Jordan said. “Tell me where you want me to start.”

While Larissa, Jordan and Garrick put the merchandise back in order, refolded and reorganized the displays, Ramon fixed the lock on the front door. The shock and fear of having her new store vandalized eased with the presence of the two men and even Jordan cast an aura of positive energy. Everything would work out well for her first day. The business would thrive.

“Finished,” Ramon announced. “You have a new Schlage deadbolt lock. If anyone tries getting in now, they’ll have to take down the door and frame with it. Want me to add strobe lights and security cameras, Larissa? I can rig some kind of metallic net to drop down and zap them.”

Larissa laughed. “No, the new locks are fine. Thanks. Send me the bill.”

He shook his head. “Garrick will take care of that.”

“That’s not necessary.”

Ramon walked up to her, took her hand in both of his and locked his gaze with hers. “I left my card on your cash register. If you ever need anything, just call.” His searing blue eyes had a mischievous glint and his lips twitched ever so slightly. Larissa felt her stomach tingle as if she were going down the big dip of a rollercoaster with her eyes closed and didn’t know if there was a bottom. Great, now she had the hots for two men? That had never happened to her before.

She tried counting back to when she last had a date. After four months she stopped counting. It was too depressing. No wonder she was responding to all the hot guys in New Hope. Maybe she should consider dating after her business got off the ground. After the holidays.

“Thank you, Ramon.” Her words came out in a breathy whisper. His name rolled off her tongue. He continued to hold her hand and a wave of dizziness passed through her. Closing her eyes, she hoped the sensation would pass. But then a flash of detailed images drifted through her mind.

She was in a large living room, a place she’d never seen before. Ramon stood naked before her in front of a blazing fireplace, the flickering light dancing over his body, reflecting over every cut and angle of his muscles. He was gorgeous and aroused, his cock hard and thick. His eyes glowed with an otherworldly blue glow. Holding out his hand to her, she stepped forward and noticed that she too was naked. The heat of the fireplace warmed her skin. She didn’t know why she wasn’t questioning the situation. She only knew it seemed right and couldn’t resist.

Lie with me. Ramon’s words entered her head but she didn’t see his mouth move.

Yes, she answered with her own thoughts as she took his hand. Gently, he lifted her in his arms and laid her on a thick fur on the floor. His body eased on top of her. Yes, this is so good.

Larissa. Garrick’s voice called her from a distance. The light from the fireplace highlighted his face. He was smiling despite the darkness in his eyes.

She held out a hand to him, asking him to join them. He nodded and the next moment he was naked and lying beside her too. Two men, amazing. “Garrick,” she whispered as his mouth came down on hers at the same time Ramon plunged his cock into her.

“Larissa!” Garrick shouted. She blinked and saw him standing beside the door to the storeroom.

Images of the old house, the fireplace and Ramon and Garrick making love to her vanished, yet her heart still raced. Her vagina continued to contract on empty space and her nipples bore stiff points through her sweater. She glanced at Ramon. Smiling mischievously, he stared at her through half-lidded eyes. “Are you okay, Larissa? You look dazed.” His mouth twitched in a wicked and mischievous grin.

“Yes,” she breathed. “I’m fine.”

“Everything looks in order in here,” Garrick said. “Please check on her tomorrow. Make sure nothing is missing. You can go, Ramon.”

Ramon straightened and nodded.

“Thanks for your help,” Larissa said. Her heart continued to pound and her body was still heated and aroused.

“My pleasure.” He turned to Garrick. “Night, Garrick.”

“I’ll be in touch,” he said. The moment they were alone, Garrick’s gaze swept over her in a spine-melting look that made her nervous and horny. “You still seem shaken. Don’t worry about the break-in.”

* *

Kathy Kulig is a New York Times & USA Today Bestselling author of erotic romance whose works include paranormal, contemporary, BDSM, and suspense. She has published over 20 novels, novellas and short stories. Besides her career in writing, she has worked as a cytotechnologist, research scientist, medical technologist, dive master and stringer for a newspaper. In her spare time, she can be found mountain biking, traveling, lounging on the beach with a good book or having dinner out with her husband. Kathy resides in eastern Pennsylvania.

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Kate Hill: The Human Side of Monsters

Please welcome multi-published author Kate Hill to my blog today. I’ve known Kate for a bazillion years…yeah we go way back. Welcome Kate!

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One of the reasons I love paranormal romance is the fantasy of exploring what a relationship might be like with someone completely different, with powers that no human could ever have.

A vampire who has lived for centuries.
A werewolf who can protect those he loves from any foe, whether man or beast.
An alien who can show you a world you never imagined.
A witch who can cast spells to help others.

There are countless types of paranormal heroes and heroines, all with fascinating otherworldly powers. The powers alone aren’t enough to make a character one to fall in love with, however. What endears them to us isn’t what makes them different from us, but what makes them similar enough to relate to. Their human qualities–anger, fear, pain, a sense of humor and the ability to love and hate–ultimately endear them to us, make them seem real and allow us to suspend or disbelief.

When an ancient vampire sinks into depression from loneliness, when a werewolf feels ostracized for being different, when an alien has to hide his identity and a witch conceal his powers because they might be persecuted, their issues become human issues. By finding similarities, it’s easier to accept the differences.

How do you feel about the human side of monsters? Do you find it easier to relate to a paranormal character when they share emotions similar to your own?
About Kate Hill

Always a fan of romance and the paranormal, Kate Hill started writing over twenty years ago for pleasure. Her first story, a short erotic vampire tale, was accepted for publication in 1996. Since then she has sold over one hundred short stories, novellas and novels. Kate also writes under the pen name Saloni Quinby.

When she’s not working on her books, Kate enjoys reading, working out and spending time with her family and pets.

She enjoys hearing from readers and she can be contacted at katehill@sprintmail.com. Visit her online here and Twitter.

Stop by her annual Halloween page here.

St. Augustine’s Silhouettes
by Kate Hill
Excerpt and purchase links
A killer runs loose in a small American town. When free-spirited Katherine allies herself with a man dubbed Satan by the townsfolk, has she found the man of her dreams or has she fallen into the hands of a murderer?

St. Augustine’s Silhouettes was previously published by Echelon Press. This is a revised and expanded version.

 

Scary Movies You’ve Missed But Shouldn’t

Every year I usually post my favorite spooky movies. Last year I posted this list of spooky movies you may not have seen but that I think are great. So this year I’m giving you the same list with a new one added at the end. Have some scary good viewing!

Horror

 

Happy soon-to-be Halloween. I think you’ve missed some good scary movies. Yes, you have. Really. For those of us who love a good movie, and who also love scary stuff, there’s a lack of the seriously spooky movie that doesn’t include a gaggle of screaming teenagers being chased by a psycho with a hack saw. I realize there are a lot of horror movie buffs who enjoy that type of movie. It it’s your cup of tea, that’s cool. What I like, though, is what I consider the honest scary stuff. The things that feel as if they could be real, or that maybe are real. Like what, you might say. Okay, there are some movies on this list that are pretty far from reality, but some of them aren’t, and that’s what I think makes them quite a bit scarier than the average B slasher flick. Some on this list are old movies that pack a significant punch, while some are more modern. Try these and see if you don’t get a good goose bump thrill this Halloween season.

Dog Soldiers

(Splendid acting, British soldier humor, action out the ying-yang.)

When A Stranger Calls

(Latest version-panned by critics but I think it is very atmospheric and suspenseful)

Unrest

(Creepy. Quite a few plot holes, but still well executed in many ways and different.)

The Haunted

(1963 version-one of my favorite spooky movies of all time. Seriously atmospheric and creepy. Acting is top notch. Julie Harris is amazing.)

Sweet, Sweet Charlotte

(Psychological chiller with amazing acting.)

Whatever Happened To Baby Jane

(Another psychological chiller.)

Gargoyles

(The gargoyles aren’t as campy as you’d expect, and the suspense leading up to the main event is pretty creepy.)

Don’t Be Afraid Of The Dark

(Old version not the newer one…although I like that one, too.)

Disturbia

(Humor, great acting, and some serious chills/thrills)

Session 9

(This sleeper has great acting. I call it psychological horror. Old abandoned asylums, ghosts maybe? This one has enough questions but isn’t so confusing that you’ll be totally in the dark. But don’t watch it in the dark.)

Housebound

(Funny horror movie with a quirky side. Made in New Zealand, with a Kiwi screenwriter and director and Kiwi actors. Highly recommended.)

Haunted: Edinburgh Terror

For a spooky chill, I’m repeating the story of an experience I had when I lived in the UK many years ago. So you’ve seen this story on my blog before. I consider it the most profound paranormal experience I’ve had so far, and there isn’t a Halloween I don’t think about it. Heck, I think of it several times a year. So here goes…

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Long before I became a paranormal investigator, a powerful experience in Edinburgh, Scotland inspired a dungeon scene in my novel, Bridge Through The Mist. This experience also colored some scenes written in my Asylum Trilogy as well.

My hubby and I loved living in England for three years from ’96 to ’99. It was dream come true, because since I was a little kid I always wanted to visit Britain. My ancestry is mainly from England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales, and you could say I was fascinated with Scotland from an early age.

Anyhooo…I digress. :) Terry and I adored Edinburgh and it became our favorite city in the U.K. One year we took a Hogmanay tour (New Year’s Eve in Scotland). Two hundred and fifty thousand people in a small area can really drain a person but it was an experience I wanted to have. The night before the Hogmanay celebrations, we decided to take a ghost tour. Quite a few tour companies visit Mary King’s Close and the South Bridge Tunnels in Edinburgh. Both areas were living quarters for people back in the 1600’s during and before the Bubonic Plague that ravaged the city. Some history says sick people were blocked up in the close and the tunnel areas to die, but in recent years I’ve heard otherwise. So I’m not sure what to believe.

When we reached the South Bridge Tunnels (we didn’t tour Mary King’s Close), the tour guide opened this door in the side of a building, and then took us down a winding staircase illuminated by candles. He’d flipped the electric light switch and it didn’t work. At least, that’s what happened…don’t know if it was set up purposely. I am not claustrophobic, nor am I scared of things underground. I didn’t feel particularly spooked, just curious about the history and ghost stories. Everything was peachy.

We reached a barrel vault room with a somewhat high ceiling and everything changed for me in the blink of an eye. The air felt too close. At first I figured thirty people in relative proximity to each other might be getting to me. I stayed close to my husband. The feeling got worse. Much, much worse. Even though it was very cold down there, all of the sudden I started to feel very warm and my hands started to sweat. Dread and apprehension overwhelmed me until I couldn’t wait to leave. The idea obsessed me. It ran around in my head like a mantra, “let me out, let me out, let me out.” I couldn’t believe how I felt and it disturbed me like nothing else I’d ever experienced. I’d never had a panic attack and this felt like what people described as a panic attack.

I don’t recall now how long we stood in that room, but by the time we left, I realized I hadn’t heard a word the tour guide said about the ghosts or history. If I thought I’d escape the feeling by leaving that room, I was partially right. As soon as we left it, the heavy dread subsided, but I still couldn’t wait to get the hell out of the South Bridge Tunnels. When we left the tour some time later, the relief was enormous. I told my husband about my experience and asked him if he’d felt anything. He hadn’t.

Ever the skeptic, I thought maybe I’d developed claustrophobia. When we visited the wartime tunnels at Dover Castle, which are also underground, I thought the same thing might happen. It didn’t. Nothing like it has happened to me since. Not long after the disturbing adventure in Edinburgh, I discovered quite a few people had the same experience in the very same room over the years.

Maybe I picked up but a small part of the trauma that occurred in that room many centuries ago. Who knows, but the paranormal investigator in me would like to go back some day and see if it happens again.

Allison Brennan and Fear In Small Bites

Please welcome NY Times best seller Allison Brennan to my blog today as she talks about fear in small bites! Welcome Allison!

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I’ve always loved short stories.

One of the first adult short stories I remember reading was And He Built a Crooked House by Robert Heinlein. I was probably 11 or 12, and I was fascinated by the concept of the tesseract collapsing into four dimensions. It was a bit freaky, but not wholly scary because they all survived. The same summer I read The Sound of Thunder by Ray Bradbury, about hunters in the future traveling back in time to kill a T-Rex dinosaur. The hunters are warned that they must stay on the path—one small change in the past can have cataclysmic changes in the future.

You might think because my earlier reading preferences that I would have written science fiction. While I have a desire to write a futuristic dystopian series that borders on SF, I still love my mysteries and suspense.

I also loved all the short stories I was “forced” to read in junior and high school. Flowers for Algernon? Loved. The Scarlet Letter? Wow. The Cask of Amontillado? Freaky! The Lottery? Terrifying!

A few years after glomming on SF shorts and reading for school, I read Stephen King’s THE STAND, his longest book at that point in his career. I fell in love with the master of horror, and read everything I could get my hands on … particularly his short stories.

For King, “short” can be anything from a few pages to a meaty novella. The Langoliers, for example—one of my favorites of his shorter works—is probably close to 70,000 words, a short novel. Others, like another fave of mine Mrs. Todd’s Shortcut might be 5,000 words, but just as delicious to devour.

Though I love King’s books, I have a particular affinity for his short stories. Not many authors write short stories anymore—at least not with regularity. There are still a few mystery magazines around (Ellery Queen, for example) and the digital age has resurrected novellas into cheaper, stand-alone stories. But the Golden Age of the short story passed before I even started writing.

For me, the short story is a bite-size tidbit that I can read in one sitting and be completely satisfied. If it’s a mystery, I want a puzzle to solve while watching my daughter’s soccer practice. If it’s science fiction, I want to think about the future and how what we do now might impact it. If it’s horror, I want to be scared. While this is true in full-length novels, it’s doubly important in a short story because the intensity level needs to start high and stay there for the duration.

Still, there are some genres that continue to thrive with truly short stories (under 15,000 words.) Mysteries, of course, as well as horror and science fiction. This is good for me, the reader. And challenging for me, the writer.

Writing short isn’t easy—at least not for me. While some writers find it hard to pen a 100,000 word novel, I find it hard to write a novel under 100,000 words!

The first short story I wrote was for an anthology edited by Lee Child, KILLER YEAR. It was supposed to be under 5,000 words. Mine clocked in at 6,200 – and that was edited down from over 8,000! When I had to write my first novella, my editor said 30,000 words … it ended up being just under 40,000.

But I forced myself to learn to write lean—and it’s helped with my books. Between full-length novels, I try to find the time – even if just a couple days – to write a short story. It sort of purges my palette, so I can go from one world to the next.

Her Lucky Day was just that kind of story. I wrote it for the Horror Writers Association anthology, BLOOD LITE II, and it was supposed to be “light” horror under 5,000 words. Guess what? Mine was 4,200! I actually came in under the maximum word count … a first for me.

I also have a novella coming out on October 27th! It had first been published in 2011, but hasn’t been available for the last two years. “Ghostly Justice” is part my Seven Deadly Sins series, book 2.5, and is my take on vampires. Trust me – there are no nice vampires in this story!

What about you? Do you enjoy short stories and novellas? What’s your favorite short story you read while in school? Recently?

 If you’re interested in reading more about my Seven Deadly Sins series, I posted an SDS short ghost story on my blog.

BIO: Allison Brennan is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of more than two dozen thrillers and numerous short stories. She lives in Northern California with her husband and five kids. Visit her website at http://allisonbrennan.com

 

 

 

 

Asylum Trilogy: Welcome To The Nightmare

Hey everyone. I’m on a bit of R & R, so there will be a slow down on this blog until October 15 when Allison Brennan visits. In the meantime, I couldn’t help reminding you that not only do I love reading paranormal books, I love writing them. Although I write in many genres of romance, I find it almost impossible not to incorporate the paranormal in most of my books in at least some small way. My work in progress, which is set in 1883 Indonesia, and which I have affectionately called That Novel About That Thang (because I don’t have a good title yet), will have a smidgen of paranormal or what could be interpreted as paranormal in the last half of the story.

I had to face it long ago, even when I was a small kid, that I love spooky stuff. It just is. No getting rid of that, nor do I ever want to abandon my love for all things paranormal. Right now I’m having some great sales on some of my paranormal novels! So I hope you’ll snap them up. All of these books are available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Smashwords. I’ve given you links for Amazon, because I know so many of you get your books there.

Asylum Trilogy (Shadows Wait, Shadows Rise, Shadows Fall)

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Forevermore (reincarnation romance/Scotland)

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Blackout (post apoc/paranormal/suspense romance)

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Have a great week and stay spooky!

Medium Kristy Robinette & The Seance

Please welcome medium Kristy Robinette to my blog today. Kristy’s book Forevermore, is a unique look into the paranormal and Edgar Allan Poe. As a big fan of Edgar Allan Poe, I was fascinated when I heard Kristy talking about him on the paranormal radio show Darkness Radio and knew I had to have her on my blog. Welcome Kristy!

Kristy Robinett has always had helpers in spirit, but when she was thirteen, she met the most fascinating spirit guide of all— Edgar Allan Poe. Forevermore – Guided in Spirit by Edgar Allan Poe tells the true story of how Edgar Allan Poe helps Kristy fulfill her destiny as a writer, a psychic medium and psychic detective.

Far from being a madman (as he’s often portrayed in the media), Poe is an insightful guide and a sleuth with a passion for justice. Working with law enforcement, Kristy and Poe uncover truths of the past—murders, suicides, missing persons—and shed light on the wrongs that have found their way into the present day.

Join Kristy as she shows how personal growth can come from the unlikeliest places and affirms the comforting fact that we are all given the chance to learn and evolve on the other side.

 

Forevermore (1)

The Seance

Kristy Robinette

 “Are you certain this is a wise idea?” Chuck asked, taking the crystal candle sticks and white candles out of the backpack and setting them on the rickety table. “I mean, I trust you and everything, but…,” he put his hands on his hips and looked over the unfinished auditorium from center stage.

“What is it?” I asked him, struggling with four chairs that I placed around the table.

Chuck sighed and with his hand brushed back his salt and pepper hair that was highlighted with orange tips. He would never dye his hair, except for highlights of fun colors. It was often the topic of discussion to those sitting next to us at a restaurant, or shopping and even going through border control to and from Canada. “I wish I could explain it, but something feels off tonight.”

If you could call someone a professional séance hostess, that would be me, and my husband of several years had participated in dozens of them with me and was rarely to ever freaked out by anything metaphysical or paranormal. We’d dined with demons, had run-ins with poltergeists, pushed down the stairs by non-entities, grabbed by ghosts of prisoners, hunted by shadow men and had hundreds, if not thousands, of other odd experiences. It was just my crazy life that turned into his crazy life with the ‘I do’ and the sealing kiss. I always protected myself, called on my guides, angels and archangels and higher energies to act as my body guards and only allowed higher vibrational energies in to communicate. Easy peasy, right? Right?

“Well, it’s too late to cancel. We officially sold out yesterday,” I shared. “And everyone is looking for their Halloween spook.” I put my arm through his and gave him a kiss on his cheek. “I’ve got it covered,” I promised. “We’ll see tonight if in fact there is someone or something here, but I do know that the legends of this place are just that, a legend.”

“That’s what I’m afraid of,” Chuck mumbled and continued to decorate the attic.

Not that it even needed any decorations. The unfinished attic of the masonic temple did have an eerie energy to it, which was the exact reason why we were using it. The event coordinators shared that other than a few movies scenes (vampire movie scenes, at that), it had never been used, skeleton of the balcony sat intact, waiting to be dressed, after near a hundred years.

The Detroit Masonic Temple was built in the early 1900’s by a wealthy gentleman named George D. Mason. The building, a massive structure boasts over 1,000 rooms, secret staircases, concealed passages, and hidden compartments within the floors. Urban legends say that Mr. Mason went bankrupt and after his wife left him, he jumped to his death from the roof of the temple. Research, however, notes that Mr. Mason in fact did not jump and lived until 1948 and was in his nineties when he passed away. Yet there are numerous claims of ghosts that wander the large building, many who’ve experienced cold spots, heard doors slamming and feel watched. But the most intriguing claims comes from those that work there, and feeds into the legend.

With a series of events during Halloween week, as we were packing up to leave, an employee pulled me aside to share a story.

“I was working the night shift. It was after a concert and I was checking doors when I saw the elevator going up to the attic, so I followed it in the other elevator, figuring it was kids hoping to get locked in for the night,” an employee shared. “I got off in the darkened hallway and saw a shadow race to my right, towards the outside patio doors and I chased after it, only to see whatever it was just go through the doors. The doors didn’t open,” he explained, his eyes wide. “I checked the door, and it was locked. It’s always locked. But I did something stupid and I unlocked the door anyway and walked outside, making sure to put a brick between the door and the frame so not to get locked off. And I saw the shadow that I had chased turn towards me and then jump. I swear to you. It was like Batman. I panicked and leaned over to see if maybe it was real, but there was no noise, no scream and no one. As I leaned forward, I felt a push and almost fell over myself. I don’t think I’ve ran that fast in my life,” the employee laughed.

“What do you think it was?” I asked.

The employee shook his head as if trying to shake the memory out. “I think someone did fall to their death – or rather was pushed to their death. Not Mr. Mason, but someone.”

Chuck couldn’t seem to shake the image the employee shared and when they opened the patio doors off the attic to show us, he stayed near the doorway and offered a loving warning for me to stay far away from the sides.

_________________

Even though the attic was massive, it was rickety, and the Fire Marshall limited the space to no more than fifty people with strict instructions that nobody was to go into the unfinished balcony or behind the side walls. We had sold out every single seat and previously placed an array of couches, love seats and chairs around the stage to make it look almost like a gothic nightclub. Large construction lights stood off side back stage to offer limited and spooky lighting. Chuck used his large LED flashlight to assist guests to their seats and I took a seat at the candle lit séance table awaiting the final guests to get settled.

We all have spirit guides, whether we know it or not, whether we want them or not. One of my spirit guides, ever since I was thirteen years old, was none other than the famous Edgar Allan Poe. Oh, I’ve never claimed Poe as mine and mine alone, I knew that he cheated on me with others, but there was a time and a place when he was there to assist me and a time and a place when he left it to my other guides to take the shift. As I called on my guides to help and I placed a protective bubble of white light around me, I heard Poe clear his throat as if trying to get my attention.

“Do you remember “The Cask of Amontillado”? Poe asked me telepathically.

“This is not time for a literature quiz,” I hissed at him.

“Have you ever wondered why the Masons refused my membership?”

I could see him smiling smugly.

“Maybe because they couldn’t stand your pompous personality.”

“I’m hurt, Kristy. Pained, even.”

“You’ll get over it, I’m sure,” I laughed, knowing that it took a lot to hurt Poe and a brash insult was not going to affect him in the least. “Is Chuck on to something?” I asked, feeling a cold shiver go up my back and twirling around to see nobody there. “Can you keep me safe?”

“The Cask of Amontillado is all about revenge and of secret murder. There may be laws in theory, but outside of that there really are none.”

I have to say that it had been frustrating to have a guide who loved to speak cryptic and to test me. Okay, you might just call that marriage, but my other guides were much more reasonable and sympathetic. Sometimes I liked it all just spelled out for me.

Chuck grabbed my attention my turning his flashlight on and off and then nodded for me to begin.

After explaining about different spirit communication techniques I called upon several participants to participate in a table tipping demonstration. There was no magic involved, simply energy from my guides and their loved ones, to help with communication by moving the table or knocking and rapping on the table. A group of three, a mom, dad and daughter, from the same family joined me and I began by putting a protection around us and giving the rules to the group and to our guides.

“If there’s anybody who would like to speak to us, please show yourself by knocking, rocking or rapping,” I called out, but before I could finish my sentence, the table began to rock back and forth and the audience gasped.

“It’s okay, I reassured them. This is what we want. It’s okay. It’s a man that I see is with us,” I said.

I’ve seen spirit since I was three years of age and they communicated with me in a way that I called spirit charades. They showed me signs and symbols that made sense to me and I could communicate to my clients. There was a young man standing next to Poe, as if he helped usher him in. Poe looked over at me and gestured to be cautious, with no other explanation.

“I didn’t kill myself,” the young man with sandy brown hair said. “Please tell my family that I didn’t kill myself. I was pushed.”

“You have a son on the Other Side who said that many believed he committed suicide, but he’s adamant that he was killed.”

The mom, who was sitting across from me, began to sob and broke the circle by taking her hands off the rocking table. “I knew it. I knew in my hearts that he wouldn’t have killed himself.”

Her husband and daughter nodded in agreement.

“He says that he was trying hard to get clean; to sober up. He says that police never investigated, but that it was connected to someone he knew. Someone connected to the police…”

“It is equally unredressed when the avenger fails to make himself felt as such to him who has done the wrong,” Poe whispered.

Just as I went to continue to relay messages, a loud boom was heard in the balcony. Everyone turned around and with a hundred eyes we saw a dark shadow race across the unfinished structure towards the stairway leading down. Several men jumped out of the seat to meet whoever it was at the end of the stairwell only to come back baffled when nobody was there.

I ended the session, asking them to talk to me afterwards, and switched participants, praying I wouldn’t regret continuing, but the remainder of the night was quiet, besides for some knocks, footsteps behind us on stage and a few more shadow figures that teased us. It was an evening that offered the ticket holders exactly what they hoped for – the spook factor.

After I closed the event with my gratitude, the three family members joined me afterwards with a hug and a thanks.

“We always suspected that Joe didn’t kill himself. He was working hard on making something for himself. He wanted to be a police offer and help kids the way he wished he’d been helped,” Joe’s dad shared. “They said that he jumped in front of a car, but there were witnesses that said someone else was there too. I always suspected that he was pushed!”

“The irony was that it was the police who wouldn’t even look at the theory that something was askew,” the daughter said, wiping away her tears. “He’s come to me several times after his death, always upset. Like he couldn’t even talk.”

I nodded. It made sense. Those who cross unexpectedly, often in a violent way, are often confused. In my head, I telepathically asked Poe if there was anything that we could do and he simply answered with a no.

“Was that Joe in the balcony?” his dad asked.

Again, I looked at Poe for the answer. “No, it was Joe’s killer. He died soon after Joe was killed. A car accident.”

The family drew in their breath and looked at one another with knowing. With arms wrapped around one another, they walked to the elevator and pushed the button to the lobby.

Chuck was cleaning up and pushing chairs and couches back against the walls.

“See, we survived unscathed,” I remarked.

“Is that a question or a statement?” Chuck smirked.

“Maybe both,” I grinned, taking his hand and walking slowly to the elevator. I took one last look at the attic, knowing that it would be the last time I ventured there. I was often more afraid of the living than the dead, but it was the in between that sometimes frightened me and there were others that were waiting. Maybe some simply needed help crossing over, or their story told, or maybe some sought revenge at any stake, against anyone.

“The true genius shudders at incompleteness–and usually prefers silence to saying something which is not everything it should be,” Poe solemnly added as Chuck loaded the trunk up with boxes filled with Halloween decorations.

“Hey, that’s not from The Cask of Amontillado!”

“I’m very proud. You do sometimes pay attention, Kristy!”

“It’s sad that those parents will never see real closure.”

Chuck thinking that I was talking to him walked to the passenger side and kissed me on the cheek while opening my car door. “No, maybe not closure, but maybe some comfort in simply knowing that their loved one is often with them and that the truth is out there.

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About Kristy

Kristy Robinett (Livonia, MI) is a psychic medium and author who began seeing spirits at the age of three. When she was eight, the spirit of her deceased grandfather helped her escape from a would-be kidnapper, and it was then that Robinett realized the Other Side wasn’t so far away. As an adult, she was often called upon by the local police department to examine cold cases in a new light and from a different angle. She gained a solid reputation for being extremely accurate at psychical profiling and giving new perspectives on unsolved crimes. It was then that she began working with a variety of law enforcement agencies, attorneys and private investigators around the United States, aiding in missing persons, arson, and cold cases. Her psychic detective work was recognized in a new series on the ID Network, Restless Souls.

Robinett teaches psychic development and paranormal investigating at local colleges, lectures across the country and is a regular media commentator and has been spotlighted on Coast to Coast, Darkness Radio, ABC News, Fox News and the Ricki Lake Show. She is the author of Forevermore: Guided in Spirit by Edgar Allan Poe; Messenger Between Worlds: True Stories from a Psychic Medium; Higher Intuitions Oracle; Ghosts of Southeast Michigan; and Michigan’s Haunted Legends and Lore. You can visit her online at Kristy Robinette, Follow her on Facebook or Find her on Twitter.
 

 

 

Susan Aylworth & Maggie Rising: Adventures of a Part-Time Psychic

Please welcome Susan Aylworth to my blog today! Welcome Susan.

Maggie Rising New final cover

Halloween is fast approaching, that time of year when every TV channel brings out its creepiest movies and programming. While waiting in a grocery store line recently, I heard two people behind me talking about the creepiest movie monsters ever.

One voted for Dracula, the one in the modern remake of Bram Stoker’s novel. The other mentioned an angel-demon character in a movie I hadn’t seen, adding, “There’s nothing creepier than that.”

I guess I wasn’t good at hiding my snigger. “Oh you think you can do better?” the first one said.

“Hannibal Lector,” I responded without pause. “The scariest monsters are always human.”

“You have a point,” the first shopper said. Both of them nodded and started talking about scary human monsters.

It’s that belief that humans are always the scariest that led to my creating the bad guy(s) in my paranormal murder mystery, MAGGIE RISING: Adventures of a Part-Time Psychic. Maggie is a 17-year-old high school senior who works part-time in her great aunt’s shop doing psychic readings.

“There’s nothing paranormal about it,” she assures the reader as she explains away her ability to see auras and read people’s thoughts. It doesn’t take long before readers, and eventually even Maggie, start to realize this “normal” teen isn’t quite as ordinary as she seems.

For instance, here’s the scene at the end of Chapter One:

I closed the door carefully, checking to see how sensitive my alert bell was. It chimed despite my best efforts. Good bell! The fact that I’d never yet been able to fool it encouraged me to think it would always let me know when someone came in. Mr. Haskins made a good point: a girl who often works alone can’t afford to be too careful.

I walked through to the back of the house, the low-ceilinged kitchen, bathroom and back porch with its laundry set-up. It’s also where the ladder goes up to the loft. That loft isn’t tall enough to stand up in and is almost certainly a building code violation. But since the house is more than a century old, nobody paid much attention when Betty bought the place last spring. She’s worked in an old, tumble-down shack on East Avenue for as long as I can remember. It was only when she chose to bring me in as a partner that she bought this larger place in a busier location and moved the business here.

My mom and dad don’t know this yet, but once I start college, I plan to move in here and take on more hours in the reading parlor. If I sleep in the loft, I can move out of their home but avoid paying rent and Betty can still keep the whole upstairs as a separate apartment for Merc. She needs his rent to make her payments.

Sorority Chick’s crisp new twenty went into Betty’s strongbox under the sink. I was just reaching the parlor when the alert bell rang again. I looked up to see a clean-cut college guy at the counter. Another man behind him was reaching to shut the door.

My first thought was Cool. Mr. Clean-Cut Guy brought a buddy. Two times twenty is better than… Then the other man began to turn.

The hair on the back of my neck stood up. There didn’t seem to be anything weird about him unless you counted his super-short hair that clearly showed his scalp or his whole left arm covered in blue, green and red tattoos from his shoulder to just above his wrist. Still this was a university town and neither the skinhead look nor the tattooed sleeve was that unusual. I couldn’t explain it, but that second guy was creepy. He just was. As he turned to meet my gaze, our eyes connected. All the hair on my body prickled, and an icy chill slithered down my spine.

Creepy? Oh yeah. And the man she comes to know as Creepy Rich isn’t the scariest monster Maggie encounters. This Halloween, when you’re thinking of ghosties, ghoulies, and non-human monsters, remember the terror a true monster can generate. And shudder with fright.

Susan Aylworth is the author of 13 published novels. Her lucky 13th, EASTWARD TO ZION, is available now. Her recent release, MAGGIE RISING: Adventures of a Part-Time Psychic, has just come out in paperback as well as e-book. Mother to seven, she is “gramma” to 23. She lives in northern California with Roger, her husband of 44 years, and the two spoiled cats they serve. She loves notes from readers. Write her at  www.susanaylworth.comsusan.aylworth.author@gmail.com, or @SusanAylworth. You can also follow her on Pinterest and Instagram.