• Who We Are

  • Schedule

    Mondays ~
    Tuesdays ~ Snarky
    Wednesdays ~ Dreamer
    Thursdays ~ Naughty
    Fridays ~ Dreary
    Saturdays ~
    Sundays ~

    Whenever ~ Smokey, Mighty, Eerie and Wicked

  • Snarky’s Tweets

  • Kinetic’s Tweets

  • Dreamer’s Tweets

  • Wicked’s Tweets

  • Eerie’s Tweets

  • Mighty’s Tweets

Ideaifying Pt 3: The Expandening

Last week we explored a few ideas around a word that we picked in Pt 1. That word is Evanesce. This week I’m going to take an idea and expand upon it, starting to coalesce (another fantastic word, btw) into a story idea.

Last week, two things stuck in my mind. Fade away, and Angels. I’d like to use these two words to come up with a story idea.

What is is about angels that fade away? My first thought is they just got killed. This has a double bonus of giving us some conflict right off the bat. Why did they get killed? What killed them? Can angels really be killed or just sent back to the heavens? So many questions flooding my mind from this and I do like where it’s going, but let’s stop and go back to the other phrase: Fade away.

Angels fading away doesn’t seem as violent, at least compared to what we were just thinking about, instead it has more of a “It’s a Wonderful Life” quality to it. Angels can fade away for a couple reasons, one being they are killed, or forced. Another is that they are no longer needed here and are fading away to head back to their home.

My next thought is…Okay, how do we know that angels fade away? Are they visible by all humans, or only some? If the latter, then why? Also, what are angels doing here on earth? Are they good or bad angels? I say let’s stick with good angels. And maybe they do normal angel things, like help people out, nudge people out of dangerous situations, and overall protect the population.

So what if we have a main character that can see angels? Let’s say that he is the only one that can see them. Why? Maybe he’s half angel, product of an angel and a human copulating. I don’t write romance, so I will leave that up to other writers on this blog to flesh that story out. I’m the Dreary Dwarf for a reason, so let’s take a sadder storyline.

I feel like my protagonist should have a bit of a biblical name in keeping with the angels theme, let’s call him Peter. Peter is sixteen years old and has been able to see angels wandering around the Earth his whole life. One day he wakes up and they are gone…no…no…they Evanesce. Peter is waiting on the subway one dreary morning when all the angels around him suddenly evanesce into mist. They all disappear.

This is when Peter realizes something has gone terribly wrong. Maybe someone gets hit by the subway train since an angel wasn’t there anymore to save him. (I am Dreary Dwarf btw, so yes. I can/will go there.)

So what do we have so far?

We have a protagonist, Peter. He’s 16 and he can see angels.

One morning while waiting for the subway, all the angels world-wide suddenly fade away.

Peter is the only one that notices this happening. Suddenly, bad things are happening all around the world and no one knows why. Death and accident rates skyrockets, as does crime, plunging the world into a gritty, grim-dark world.

Wait, pause! These ideas, while cool, could fill a book. We could explore Peter going on an epic journey to make his way to the land of angels to find out where they all went, and somehow bring them back. We could have this as simply backstory to a world plunged into death and depravity—a world without angels to protect us anymore. We would find out where they went, and, more importantly, why. Was it God that pulled them back, if so, why? More importantly, can Peter do anything about it? Perhaps the devil came in, or some other cosmic entity or event. Like I said, these ideas could fill a book, or more, depending on how grand you want your story.

I’m not really interested, at least with this exercise, to write a book. I was shooting for more of a short story (and content for the blog). Next week we will take these expanded ideas and solidify them into a core conflict that needs to be addressed in the confines of a short story. Spoiler: I’m leaning toward angels disappearing being part of the backstory to Peter’s life and this opens up a whole host of things that could be smaller conflicts in Peter’s life.

Going to Jail

Kelly’s hands went numb. Painful tingling spread down her arms.   “What does that mean?”

For the first time in the years they’d worked together, her lawyer avoided her gaze. “You got ten years.”

“T—Te—Ten…”

“Put your head between your legs.” But he didn’t give her time to reply; instead, he shoved her head between her knees.

Her breath came in sharp, painful gasps. The numbness had spread to her arms, which lay like spaghetti-noodles at her side.

When her breathing finally slowed, he released the back of her head.

She sat up, her view shifting from her ten dollar shoes to the merciless courtroom. “But I’m innocent.”

Brian turned to her, his ruthless lawyer mask gone. “I’m so sorry. But… we knew this could be a possibility. That’s why I suggested taking the plea deal.”

“Counselor?” A smile touched one corner of the judge’s mouth. “Does your client need another moment?”

“Yes, thank you.”

Brian turned back to her. “They’re going to take you in a minute.”

But Kelly wasn’t looking at him. All she could see was the twinkle in the judge’s eyes. This was not a man who thought he’d given a fair ruling. No, this was a man who’d been paid quite nicely to lock her away.

Anger clenched Kelly’s gut. She couldn’t let this happen. No, she wouldn’t let this happen.

Guards came, cuffing her hands in front of her. They led her towards the side door, but she moved slowly, never breaking eye contact with the judge. “Tell Johnny this isn’t over.”

His eyes narrowed. “Wait.”

The guards looked confused, but obeyed.

The judge came to stand a hand’s length in front of her. His sleek black hair looked wet. His nose was as red as a drunk’s, and she caught the unmistakable scent of whiskey.

He motioned the guards away, then leaned towards her and sneered. “I wonder if you’ll still think you’re too good for Johnny’s bed by the time you get out.”

She flashed him a smile. Her cold hand clenched his sickly-thin wrist. In a flash, the world spun and shifted.

“Back off!” The guards hauled her away.

No, not her, but the judge.

The body she now wore ached with age, smelled of body odor and liquor, and felt weak and uncomfortable. But as she watched the judge finally realizing what she’d done, his eyes widening and his mouth dragging open, a feeling of immense satisfaction filled her.

The door closed on his shouts.

Now, to find that son-of-a-bitch, Johnny, and make him pay.

****************************************************************************************************************************************

Sometimes the best thing a writer can do is pick a topic and write a quick short story about it.  I think it gives me a chance to stretch my creativity, without committing to anything.  The temptation to obsessively go back through this, improving it until it is perfect, rears its ugly head.  But, I’m not going to do that.

I’d love some other topics though.  Any suggestions?

Haunted By Literary Ghosts of Horror

Greetings and Salutations noble readers of the blog,

Tonight we are in the unconsecrated graveyard of the old Catholic Church. If you’ve accompanied me to this location before, you know you are in for a special treat. Tonight’s guest is not specifically known as a horror writer. His vast body of work includes, travel logs, poetry, historical observations, letters, novels and short stories. His best known work is Treasure Island. With no further ado, please give it up for, Robert Louis Stevenson.

“Welcome Robert, please make yourself comfortable.”

220px-Robert_Louis_Stevenson_Knox_Series

Our guest Robert Louis Stevenson

Robert Louis Stevenson's Grave on Mt. Vaea Samoa

Robert Louis Stevenson’s Grave on Mt. Vaea Samoa

 

“Thank you so much for having me. My impression was you wanted to talk about my more fanciful work.”

“That’s true, but I can’t begin without first telling you what an impact Treasure Island, Kidnapped, and The Black Arrow had on me as a boy. I’ve fancied myself a ‘Young Jim Hawkins’ on more than one occasion. Hiding in the apple barrel, or keeping a weather eye out for a seafaring man with one leg.”

“It’s kind of you to say sir.”

“To your point, we here are most interested in your tales as they relate to the unexplained. The Strange Case of Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde for example.”

“A most interesting tale of a good man, who in the name of science, commits atrocities.”

“The doctor over reaching is certainly a recurring theme in literature. Mary Shelly’s Dr. Frankenstein is possibly the most well-known.”

“Quite, Mary’s concept of man subjugating the Creator has always been one of my favorites. How I would have relished a summer on Lake Geneva with the likes of Percy and Mary Shelly, Lord Byron, Dr. Pollidori.”

“The good Doctor Jekyll creates an elixir that separates good from evil in a man. Is this a discourse on the dual nature of man?”

“Exactly, it illustrates how our good, tempers our bad, by showing what our natures are like when isolated.”

“Some will point to this story as an example of an individual suffering from mental illness. Dissociative Identity Disorder, Manic Depression, Schizophrenia, and Psychosis are the most closely related diagnosis. Did you know someone who suffered from any of these illnesses?”

“Of course, we all encounter people in our lives who suffer from disorders of the brain. The earliest physicians recognized that there are illnesses that they could label, but not treat.”

“Speaking of doctors.  Dr. Jekyll is not the only antagonist doctor you’ve written about. Of course I’m thinking of Dr. Toddy Macfarlane. The Body Snatcher is one of my favorite short stories. One I often read  when the I’m moved to scare someone.”

“I too, am quite fond of that tale.” His broad smile reaches past his eyes lighting up the night. “‘Did you think me dead? We are not so easily shut of our acquaintance.'”

“Very nice Robert, I don’t suppose you’ve memorized every line of every thing you’ve written.”

“Hardly sir, but at least one telling line from all the fiction to be sure. And much of the poetry. It seems in my current state my faculties have remained sharp. Oh, but if I could only write something from grave, the stories I could tell.”

“What keeps you from it?”

His countenance darkens at my question. “There are powers to be reckoned with. Formal Federations that must be abided. They do not take kindly to one who would disregard their authority.”

“We had a visitor who simply walked away from here into the world of the living. That must be against the rules.”

“Yes, quite, to remark that the regime was distressed by that act of indifference would be to understate the obvious.”

“I’m getting the wrap it sign Robert. Can you stay a while after my guests have gone?”

“I’ll stay until I get the hook as they say on the stage.”

“Wonderful, give me a moment.”

“Folks I suggest you make your way from the cemetery while the spirits are protecting us. Mr. Stevenson has agreed to hang around a while for those who are willing to risk it.”

Next week I expect Mischievous Raven will be back from his business meetings on the left coast. in the interim be safe.

As is our custom, I leave you with this quote.

“hark, now hear the sailors cry,
smell the sea, and feel the sky
let your soul & spirit fly, into the mystic…”
― Van Morrison

Writ On,

Eerie Dwarf, AKA Dave Benneman

P.S.

Mr. Stevenson kept us through the night until dawn broke telling tails of his life on Samoa and sailing the South Pacific. I say this as an explanation as to why this did not get posted last night. My apologies for any inconvenience.

E.D.

 

 

valentines day

Greetings and Salutations,

I was going to do something like, my top 20 love songs or some other weepy crap. But then it occurred to me, it is my job to bring some horror into your life. This is the first story I ever read by Edgar Allen Poe. It was fifth grade, so I must have been ten years old. It made quite an impression on me. And so, with no further ado I present;th

The Tell-Tale Heart

 

Edgar Allan Poe


TRUE! nervous, very, very dreadfully nervous I had been and am; but why WILL you say that I am mad? The disease had sharpened my senses, not destroyed, not dulled them. Above all was the sense of hearing acute. I heard all things in the heaven and in the earth. I heard many things in hell. How then am I mad? Hearken! and observe how healthily, how calmly, I can tell you the whole story.

It is impossible to say how first the idea entered my brain, but, once conceived, it haunted me day and night. Object there was none. Passion there was none. I loved the old man. He had never wronged me. He had never given me insult. For his gold I had no desire. I think it was his eye! Yes, it was this! One of his eyes resembled that of a vulture — a pale blue eye with a film over it. Whenever it fell upon me my blood ran cold, and so by degrees, very gradually, I made up my mind to take the life of the old man, and thus rid myself of the eye for ever.

Now this is the point. You fancy me mad. Madmen know nothing. But you should have seen me. You should have seen how wisely I proceeded — with what caution — with what foresight, with what dissimulation, I went to work! I was never kinder to the old man than during the whole week before I killed him. And every night about midnight I turned the latch of his door and opened it oh, so gently! And then, when I had made an opening sufficient for my head, I put in a dark lantern all closed, closed so that no light shone out, and then I thrust in my head. Oh, you would have laughed to see how cunningly I thrust it in! I moved it slowly, very, very slowly, so that I might not disturb the old man’s sleep. It took me an hour to place my whole head within the opening so far that I could see him as he lay upon his bed. Ha! would a madman have been so wise as this? And then when my head was well in the room I undid the lantern cautiously — oh, so cautiously — cautiously (for the hinges creaked), I undid it just so much that a single thin ray fell upon the vulture eye. And this I did for seven long nights, every night just at midnight, but I found the eye always closed, and so it was impossible to do the work, for it was not the old man who vexed me but his Evil Eye. And every morning, when the day broke, I went boldly into the chamber and spoke courageously to him, calling him by name in a hearty tone, and inquiring how he had passed the night. So you see he would have been a very profound old man, indeed , to suspect that every night, just at twelve, I looked in upon him while he slept.

Upon the eighth night I was more than usually cautious in opening the door. A watch’s minute hand moves more quickly than did mine. Never before that night had I felt the extent of my own powers, of my sagacity. I could scarcely contain my feelings of triumph. To think that there I was opening the door little by little, and he not even to dream of my secret deeds or thoughts. I fairly chuckled at the idea, and perhaps he heard me, for he moved on the bed suddenly as if startled. Now you may think that I drew back — but no. His room was as black as pitch with the thick darkness (for the shutters were close fastened through fear of robbers), and so I knew that he could not see the opening of the door, and I kept pushing it on steadily, steadily.

I had my head in, and was about to open the lantern, when my thumb slipped upon the tin fastening , and the old man sprang up in the bed, crying out, “Who’s there?”

I kept quite still and said nothing. For a whole hour I did not move a muscle, and in the meantime I did not hear him lie down. He was still sitting up in the bed, listening; just as I have done night after night hearkening to the death watches in the wall.

Presently, I heard a slight groan, and I knew it was the groan of mortal terror. It was not a groan of pain or of grief — oh, no! It was the low stifled sound that arises from the bottom of the soul when overcharged with awe. I knew the sound well. Many a night, just at midnight, when all the world slept, it has welled up from my own bosom, deepening, with its dreadful echo, the terrors that distracted me. I say I knew it well. I knew what the old man felt, and pitied him although I chuckled at heart. I knew that he had been lying awake ever since the first slight noise when he had turned in the bed. His fears had been ever since growing upon him. He had been trying to fancy them causeless, but could not. He had been saying to himself, “It is nothing but the wind in the chimney, it is only a mouse crossing the floor,” or, “It is merely a cricket which has made a single chirp.” Yes he has been trying to comfort himself with these suppositions ; but he had found all in vain. ALL IN VAIN, because Death in approaching him had stalked with his black shadow before him and enveloped the victim. And it was the mournful influence of the unperceived shadow that caused him to feel, although he neither saw nor heard, to feel the presence of my head within the room.

When I had waited a long time very patiently without hearing him lie down, I resolved to open a little — a very, very little crevice in the lantern. So I opened it — you cannot imagine how stealthily, stealthily — until at length a single dim ray like the thread of the spider shot out from the crevice and fell upon the vulture eye.

It was open, wide, wide open, and I grew furious as I gazed upon it. I saw it with perfect distinctness — all a dull blue with a hideous veil over it that chilled the very marrow in my bones, but I could see nothing else of the old man’s face or person, for I had directed the ray as if by instinct precisely upon the damned spot.

And now have I not told you that what you mistake for madness is but over-acuteness of the senses? now, I say, there came to my ears a low, dull, quick sound, such as a watch makes when enveloped in cotton. I knew that sound well too. It was the beating of the old man’s heart. It increased my fury as the beating of a drum stimulates the soldier into courage.

But even yet I refrained and kept still. I scarcely breathed. I held the lantern motionless. I tried how steadily I could maintain the ray upon the eye. Meantime the hellish tattoo of the heart increased. It grew quicker and quicker, and louder and louder, every instant. The old man’s terror must have been extreme! It grew louder, I say, louder every moment! — do you mark me well? I have told you that I am nervous: so I am. And now at the dead hour of the night, amid the dreadful silence of that old house, so strange a noise as this excited me to uncontrollable terror. Yet, for some minutes longer I refrained and stood still. But the beating grew louder, louder! I thought the heart must burst. And now a new anxiety seized me — the sound would be heard by a neighbour! The old man’s hour had come! With a loud yell, I threw open the lantern and leaped into the room. He shrieked once — once only. In an instant I dragged him to the floor, and pulled the heavy bed over him. I then smiled gaily, to find the deed so far done. But for many minutes the heart beat on with a muffled sound. This, however, did not vex me; it would not be heard through the wall. At length it ceased. The old man was dead. I removed the bed and examined the corpse. Yes, he was stone, stone dead. I placed my hand upon the heart and held it there many minutes. There was no pulsation. He was stone dead. His eye would trouble me no more.

If still you think me mad, you will think so no longer when I describe the wise precautions I took for the concealment of the body. The night waned, and I worked hastily, but in silence.

I took up three planks from the flooring of the chamber, and deposited all between the scantlings. I then replaced the boards so cleverly so cunningly, that no human eye — not even his — could have detected anything wrong. There was nothing to wash out — no stain of any kind — no blood-spot whatever. I had been too wary for that.

When I had made an end of these labours, it was four o’clock — still dark as midnight. As the bell sounded the hour, there came a knocking at the street door. I went down to open it with a light heart, — for what had I now to fear? There entered three men, who introduced themselves, with perfect suavity, as officers of the police. A shriek had been heard by a neighbour during the night; suspicion of foul play had been aroused; information had been lodged at the police office, and they (the officers) had been deputed to search the premises.

I smiled, — for what had I to fear? I bade the gentlemen welcome. The shriek, I said, was my own in a dream. The old man, I mentioned, was absent in the country. I took my visitors all over the house. I bade them search — search well. I led them, at length, to his chamber. I showed them his treasures, secure, undisturbed. In the enthusiasm of my confidence, I brought chairs into the room, and desired them here to rest from their fatigues, while I myself, in the wild audacity of my perfect triumph, placed my own seat upon the very spot beneath which reposed the corpse of the victim.

The officers were satisfied. My MANNER had convinced them. I was singularly at ease. They sat and while I answered cheerily, they chatted of familiar things. But, ere long, I felt myself getting pale and wished them gone. My head ached, and I fancied a ringing in my ears; but still they sat, and still chatted. The ringing became more distinct : I talked more freely to get rid of the feeling: but it continued and gained definitiveness — until, at length, I found that the noise was NOT within my ears.

No doubt I now grew VERY pale; but I talked more fluently, and with a heightened voice. Yet the sound increased — and what could I do? It was A LOW, DULL, QUICK SOUND — MUCH SUCH A SOUND AS A WATCH MAKES WHEN ENVELOPED IN COTTON. I gasped for breath, and yet the officers heard it not. I talked more quickly, more vehemently but the noise steadily increased. I arose and argued about trifles, in a high key and with violent gesticulations; but the noise steadily increased. Why WOULD they not be gone? I paced the floor to and fro with heavy strides, as if excited to fury by the observations of the men, but the noise steadily increased. O God! what COULD I do? I foamed — I raved — I swore! I swung the chair upon which I had been sitting, and grated it upon the boards, but the noise arose over all and continually increased. It grew louder — louder — louder! And still the men chatted pleasantly , and smiled. Was it possible they heard not? Almighty God! — no, no? They heard! — they suspected! — they KNEW! — they were making a mockery of my horror! — this I thought, and this I think. But anything was better than this agony! Anything was more tolerable than this derision! I could bear those hypocritical smiles no longer! I felt that I must scream or die! — and now — again — hark! louder! louder! louder! LOUDER! —

“Villains!” I shrieked, “dissemble no more! I admit the deed! — tear up the planks! — here, here! — it is the beating of his hideous heart!”

Write on,

Dave Benneman AKA Eerie Dwarf

Under the holiday anthology lights, it’s Debbie Christiana’s turn! THINGS THAT GO BUMP FOR THE HOLIDAYS #anthology #PNR #BOB @DebChristiana

We’re almost done spotlighting our holiday anthology contributors for THINGS THAT GO BUMP FOR THE HOLIDAYS,  which, I know you now have your copy of. (If not, stop everything you’re doing and go get it!)

Today’s guest is Debbie Christiana and she braved the slushy mud trails and the icy drips from our surrounding swamp trees to bring us a peek into Spooky Millane’s world, with MAKING SPIRITS BRIGHT.

3D Paranormal Anthology

Making Spirits Bright–A Spookie Millane Holiday Short Story

By Debbie Christiana

Their touch is invisible but I know they’re near.

I’m not psychic nor do I see dead people. My visitors are what I affectionately refer to as the nearly departed. Those souls who come to me in the hours before their death for help to finish something they have run out of time to accomplish.

How is part of their life essence able to leave and appear to me while they are still alive? I couldn’t say. I have no formal knowledge of the metaphysical and intend to keep it that way. Blessing or burden, it’s my fate in life and I don’t question why.

Along with any otherworldly guests I may have today, I’m excited to meet with Jocelyn Jordan, a psychic paranormal investigator and filmmaker. When I received her hand-written letter asking for an interview, I was intrigued. In this day of emails a posted letter is odd and she described in detail her visions of my unusual talent. As private as I am about my skill, it’s a lonely existence. I sometimes ache to talk to someone who might understand.

The clock chimes two forty-five. Fifteen minutes until she arrives. I’m a bit perplexed at what to do. I rarely entertain actual people.

The nice thing about the almost dead is their simplicity. They don’t care that I prefer to dress in gothic style, that Halloween is my favorite holiday or if my house is clean. The other side of the coin is they don’t make appointments, often appear at importune times and have issues with personal space.

My humble abode reflects the festive time of the year. A small Christmas tree is lit near the fireplace and the alluring aroma of frankincense and myrrh swirls around the room. My life size Jack Skellington, dressed as Santa Claus, and his love, Sally the ragdoll, are positioned under the mistletoe by the door. Their dog, Zero is at their side, his jack-o-lantern nose glowing bright

In the kitchen I turn the teapot on and place gingerbread cookies on a plate. I take out two of my favorite holiday mugs. One with a black and white picture of Morticia and Gomez Addams decorating their dead Christmas tree, the other with a headshot of Lurch dressed as Santa Claus. I keep Lurch for myself.

I’m ready.

Then I feel the familiar tingle down my spine.

I know you want more, especially since you’ve devoured THINGS THAT GO BUMP FOR THE HOLIDAYS, so here are some very tasty tidbits to add to your reading pile:

SOLSTICE–on sale for 99 cents until Dec. 31st, 2013!

ApprovedSolstice_sm

Time is running out for Armend Zogu. The 250-year-old family curse on his head will claim his life on his 30th birthday, the winter solstice.

Sofia Palmalosi might be just the Strega who can save him. A descendant of a long line of powerful Italian witches, her family’s magic was a gift from the Goddess Diana.

Together Sofia and Armend embark on a journey from New York, to Sicily and the ancient ruins of Diana’s temple, and back to New York, all the while fighting a battle of magic and wits with a psychopath who wants them both dead and the curse intact.

If the curse doesn’t kill Armend, breaking it just might.

Pick up your copy of SOLSTICE from AMAZON or BLACK OPAL BOOKS

TWIN FLAMES

TwinFlames_cover

She’d never met him before…or had she?

The last thing forty-year old Natalia Santagario expected was to be sitting on a Manhattan barstool ogling a man she’s never met, but swears she knows.

He didn’t know her at all…or did her?

The mysterious dark-haired woman at the end of the bar stops twenty-eight year old Marc Tremonti in his tracks. His head assures him she’s a stranger, but his heart tells him otherwise.

Together they embark on an adventure that will change their lives forever.

Their attraction instant and enigmatic, they undergo past life regression and discover that, not only have they spent hundreds of lives together as lovers, Natalia holds the secret to Marc’s puzzling birthmark.

But what should have been a joyful reunion is complicated by a kind, albeit confused, almost ex-wife, an unfortunate accident in a taxicab, and a bout of temporary amnesia that threatens to ruin everything. On top of all that, they must contend with a mischievious ghost from their past.

What else could possibly go wrong?

Buy your copy of TWIN FLAMES at AMAZON or at  BLACK OPAL BOOKS

Debbie Christiana loves to read and write about mysteries, unusual love stories and things that go bump in the night. She’s been fortunate to publish two novels, Twin Flames, a paranormal romance and the romantic suspense, Solstice, with Black Opal Books. Forever Flames, A Twin Flames Novella will be out in 2014. She also has published two dark fiction short stories in The Ten Tales anthology series. Debbie is a member of RWA, her local RWA chapter and the International Thrillers Writers, Inc. She lives in Connecticut with her husband and three children.

You can find her:

WEB: www.debbiechristiana.com

BLOG: www.debbiechristiana.com/blog

Twitter @DebChristiana

Facebook: Debbie Christiana, Author

It’s Melissa Groeling’s turn under the spotlight for THINGS THAT GO BUMP FOR THE HOLIDAYS… #holiday #anthology #PNR @stringbean10

We’re continuing our journey with the awesome sauce of Black Opal authors and their upcoming THINGS THAT GO BUMP FOR THE HOLIDAYS anthology coming December 14th!

And up next is the creative, mad genius, Melissa Groeling.  Not only did she contribute to the anthology, but she has a book coming out in TWO DAYS! Yes, indeed, her thriller LIGHTS OUT is hitting shelves on December 7th..

but before we let you in on what’s hiding in the dark, let’s get a taste of what’s in store for the holidays…

3D Paranormal Anthology

Jami! How are you? Hope you’ve recuperated from a weekend of munching, drinking, munching…and did I mention the munching? I’ve finally managed to pull myself out of my apple-pie coma to share with you the awesomeness that comes with sharing pages with some truly amazing authors from Black Opal Books! It’s a double whammy because not only do I get to partake in the Things That Go Bump for the Holidays anthology but I also get to take up some space right here on Jami Gray’s blog!

My short story in the anthology is called, The Ghost of Christmas Present. It centers on Colin who’s always been good at keeping secrets…until one comes back to haunt him…literally. Here’s a little bit to get the blood flowing:

He moved farther in, away from the comforting safety of daylight. The door slammed shut behind him, throwing him into complete blackness. Swearing under his breath, he backtracked, fumbling for the doorknob. When his fingers touched nothing but empty air, a funny skittering sensation went through his chest. He knew he wasn’t that far away from the entrance—

Something moved behind him. Startled, he turned to find a door opening. It swung outward, stopping about halfway so that it hid the threshold. But it threw a gratifying amount of soft, yellow light across the concrete floor.

Spooky, aren’t we? Colin thought sarcastically.

He waited for someone to appear, to welcome him in. When no one did, he went toward it but stopped, his eyes drawn to the giant puddle of shadows farther down the hallway.

“I assure you, there’s nobody here but us.”

Colin jumped at the voice that came from inside that softly-lit room. It was raspy but weirdly melodic like those sand dunes that sang in Death Valley. It was curious, urging him forward until he was abruptly warned, “State your business.”

He stopped. “Excuse me?”

“State your business.”

“I’d rather not from the hallway.”

“No one comes in here unless their minds are open to the possibility.”

He sneered. “I’m not here for a reading, ma’am. I’m here because my girlfriend comes to see you a few times a week. You may know her—”

“Julia.”

Colin blinked. “I have a gift idea for her and I wanted to ask you—”

“Why would you need my help to propose to her?”

He licked his lips. Lucky guesses, he told himself vehemently. That’s all they are.

“Who said anything about proposing?” he snapped.

There was a small pause. “Bring her by the day after Christmas. Around two. I will help you.”

He clenched his jaw. “Fine.”

“And be prepared. Your life is about to change.”

*Shivers* You have to pick up our collection of Paranormal shorts, you’ll never look at the holidays the same way.

If that little taste makes you crave more, never fear, you can pick up LIGHTS OUT, coming Dec. 7th.

Lights out

Even when the lights are out, he can still see you…

Paul Holten’s profession doesn’t leave much room for doubt or conscience but he’s reaching his breaking point. The nightmares are getting worse, the jobs are getting harder to finish and the volatile relationship with his boss, Aaron, is falling apart. Now faced with the possibility of an impending death sentence, Paul makes the fatal decision to run. Drawn into one hellish situation after another, he’s forced to confront his dark past—and wonder if perhaps dying isn’t the better option.

Melissa has even more creative tales for your enjoyment. You can pick up her YA thriller, TRAFFIC JAM now!

Traffic

When you’re caught in traffic, you’ve got nowhere to go…

Val Delton’s life is spiraling and there’s nothing she can do to stop it. Her dad lost his job, her mom works fourteen hour days to pay the bills and yet somehow there are high-end shopping bags and an iPod in her older sister’s room. Naturally, Val becomes suspicious but her sister’s lips are sealed. Then by accident, she uncovers a dark, dangerous secret hidden behind her sister’s bright smiles and cool indifference. Val has no idea how far and how deep the repercussions of her sister’s secret will reach but she’ll do whatever it takes to keep her family safe. Will she succeed before her sister’s secret destroys everyone she loves?  

AMAZON        GOODREADS        BARNES AND NOBLE         SMASHWORDS          DOYLESTOWN BOOKSHOP

Authorpic

Melissa Groeling graduated from Bloomsburg University with a degree in English. She lives, reads and writes in the Philadelphia region and wherever else life happens to send her. She is a hardcore New York Giants fan and loves chocolate. Traffic Jam is her first young adult novel.

Come find me at Facebook!

Twitter: @stringbean10

Blog: http://melissagroeling.blogspot.com

 

Time to meet Julia Joseph, awesome contributor to THINGS THAT GO BUMP FOR THE HOLIDAYS! @juliajoseph7 #BOB #holiday #anthology

So we’re still counting down until release day (12/14/13) for THINGS THAT GO BUMP FOR THE HOLIDAYS.

In our lovely collection of paranormal, holiday shorts (stories, not actual clothing), we have the fantastic JULIA JOSEPH, story teller for Young Adult Paranormal fiction.

I’m anxious to introduce her, so I’m turning the blog on over (besides, I think those holiday cookies just started a small flash burn in my kitchen!)

Ladies and gents…I give you Julia!

Hello all!

First, I have to say how thankful I am to Ms. Jami Gray for hosting me on her blog today.  My name is Julia Joseph, and I write Paranormal Young Adult fiction.  I’ll be sharing a place with Jami in Black Opal’s anthology, Things That Go Bump for the Holidays.

My short story piece, entitled Palomino Man, is a prequel to my debut novel The Broken which will be released 1/18/14.  Let me give you a quick introduction to both:

3D Paranormal AnthologyPalomino Man (12/14/13):

Demons don’t scare Miriam Kazin.  Aggravatingly cute men do.

Young but tough, Miriam is not afraid to be alone.  In fact, she prefers it.  Between her unorthodox job and raising her two younger sisters, her life is already all she can handle—until she stumbles across the path of a fellow demon fighter, Shadrach, while patrolling a remote area of New Mexico.

Suddenly, Shad is popping up everywhere—usually in Miriam’s way—and it’s all she can do to keep him from disrupting what little peace she’s got in life. When she finds avoiding him impossible, Miriam discovers the one thing that truly scares her—love.

Want a taste of Palomino Man? Here’s your chance:

I watched with fear as Misty picked her way carefully across the frosted meadow, crunching the dead blades of grass beneath her hooves, before I knelt stiffly beside the trickle of water that had once been a raging river.  My teeth chattered as I peeled off my stained coat and reached for the eco-soap in my pack.
Assignments in the backwoods of New Mexico suck. 
The thought came unbidden and sounded so unlike me that I shook my head and resisted the urge to laugh, but I couldn’t hold back the groan of pure pain that escaped my lips at the shocking cold of the stream.   The water reflected the harshness of the winter sun into my eyes with the fire of a million tiny stars.  I had to squint while trying to wash the blood from my hands and off the Gore-Tex of my camouflage jacket.  The meager suds I could manage in the freezing conditions failed miserably.
I gave up and called for Misty.  She’d wandered only a hundred or so yards away in her never ending search for a blade of green grass.  Her soft neigh floated to me from a nearby clump of trees, quickly followed by her form materializing hazily through the snowflakes swirling up from the disturbed earth.  Misty trotted over, looking wholly unsatisfied.  I leaned with pleasure into her hot, sweaty flank and stroked the long muscles of her neck.
I nearly missed her ears prick to attention when I bent down to refresh my washcloth for her turn at a bath.  Jerking back, my eyes scanned the horizon.  I couldn’t see anything, but someone had to be nearby.  Dropping down into a crouch, I tapped Misty’s knee, commanding her to sit and do a horse version of my position.  I whispered a quick blessing—one my father had taught me just a few short years before—and felt our presence fade a tiny bit.   We’d melt completely into the background if anyone tried looking directly at us.  Bless you, Daddy!  The words floated through my mind, bringing only a mild tinge of pain with them.  I shook my head.  I had to focus in order to slip into my Sight. Being able to feel what was coming might be the only way I’d survive the next few moments.
A man astride a giant palomino peeped out from between the broken branches of the trees where Misty had just been.  He held a saber in his right hand, and I tried not to notice the dead look in his eyes.  Alone and on my first remote mission, I couldn’t afford to let my nerves overrun logic.  Concentrate and breathe, Miriam Josephine.  The man could be a rancher out looking for a lost calf.  With a saber?  Yeah.  Right.
Taking only shallow breaths, I tried not to move.  My mother had taught me at a tender age that a woman alone in the wilderness was too great a target.  I could fight better than anyone I’d ever come across, but I’d learned well that fights avoided were much easier to win.
“Don’t bother holding your breath,” Palomino Man called out.  “I can see you.”

 If that’s not enough, Julia’s THE BROKEN is coming in January!

Broken

The Broken (1/18/14):

The time before the start of the invasion dwindled, as did the fear of my own death.  To calm my nerves, I checked my bow and supply of arrows.  I felt for Ouriel’s knife strapped at my back.  The weight of it steadied me.  I knew now, without any doubt, I could use both weapons to kill in order save the people I loved.

Born into a family of Guardians—extraordinarily gifted humans who fight demons to protect mortal souls—seventeen year old Rose Kazin shows no signs of being blessed with the supernatural talents her family has used for generations to fight.  When she and her father figure, an age old celestial Warrior, are horribly wounded in a demonic ambush, Rose awakens to find a younger Warrior, Ouriel, has volunteered to stand in as her protector.  She rails against his presence, but Ouriel seems interested in only one thing—teaching Rose how to protect herself from the demons she was never supposed to fight.

(Both works will be available at blackopalbooks.com, as well as Barnes & Noble and Amazon.)

Personal Life:

As I stated earlier, these are my debut publications, and I’m currently working on the second novel in my trilogy, The Beaten.  Before I embarked upon this total madness called writing, I was a teacher for many years.  Rather than subject you to endless ramblings, I’ll just supply you with my official bio:

Julia Joseph taught Theatre for nine years in Texas middle and high schools, where she wrote and produced three original plays for her students.  In 2011, Julia left teaching to devote all of her energy to her own children and to writing a novel.  She earned her B. A. in English Literature and Language with a focus in Drama from St. Mary’s University in San Antonio, Texas.

Julia spends most of her free time reading, writing, and chauffeuring her kids between activities.  She lives happily with her husband and two children wherever the Army happens to station them.

I totally don’t know who that above lady is, but her life sounds strangely similar to mine…J  And this, apparently, is what she looks like:

Julia

I’d be glad to answer any questions you have for me on my Facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Julia-Joseph/235817936473172?ref=hl

And I’m just starting to learn how to use twitter:

@juliajoseph7

 You can also visit my still under construction, basic website (where I will soon be expanding and starting a blog) at:

www.juliajoseph.net

Thanks everyone for your time and interest!  Hope you run out and pick up both books on their release dates!

Lots of love,

Julia

(Much whooping and hollerin’ commence!) Thank you, Julia for swinging on over. Stay tuned, peeps because Liv Rancourt will be dropping by later this week!

Experience in Writing

Do you think a writer needs to have lived a lot of life to be a good writer?  I’ve been fortunate enough to spend a great deal of time with writers who have lived a lot of life, and those who are just starting out in their lives.  I can immediately see how their life experiences have impacted their writing topics and styles, but I can’t say for sure that the creations of one is better than the other.

This concept also gives me a lot of hope.  With so many new experiences lately, I really want to believe that my experiences won’t just help me to become a more well-rounded person, but also a better writer.  I don’t want to feel that life gets in the way of my writing, as much as I want to feel that life helps to make me into a better writer.

If I’m always writing, I certainly can’t be living my life.  There definitely needs to be enough time to go out and have new experiences, meet new people, and build relationships.  Otherwise, I think I’d just be living through my characters, which could make for more interesting characters, but wouldn’t make me a very happy person.

Editing Requires Motivation

Lately, I’ve been having trouble focusing on just one thing.  I think, mainly, because I am avoiding my book.  You see, I just recently “finished” the first book in my new series, but as pointed out by some of my group members, there are a couple of big things I need to fix.  These things will require a great deal of patience, and a great deal of editing.

I know it needs to be done, but I’m struggling with doing it.  This is because during Nano I also started on the second book in my series, which is still at that glorious beginning stage when everything is just about writing and creating, not about editing.  I’ve also started working on a couple of short stories.  They were exercises in trying new and different writing styles, and I feel they are valuable projects, if nothing else, to expand my writing abilities.  All of this, however, gets me back to my main issue: I think I might be avoiding my first book.

My first book needs work, as most first drafts do.  I need to sit down with it for a few hours at a time and read it from beginning to end, working out any inconsistencies, timeline issues, character motivations, and even making certain that the relationships work.  This is the part of editing I really don’t enjoy.  I don’t mind combing through a book for grammatical issues, but it is adding these essential things, in just the right amounts, that tends to stress me out.

I know there are probably more organized, less time consuming, ways to go about editing a novel, but this seems to be the only way that works for me… if only I don’t avoid the mountain of work awaiting me.

Characters take on a life of their own

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Greetings and Salutations loyal readers of the blog,

I’m still hanging with the ghosts at the unconsecrated cemetery.  Mischievous Raven had to return to quell a Zombie uprising.  He’s taking the muses along for muscle because one raven, no matter how obnoxious, is no match for a bunch of disgruntled Zombies.  The Ghosts here, have been very hospitable if not the most uplifting group to hang with.  In truth melancholy is about the best I can hope for.  They have been entertaining though and their stories around the tombstones each night are a lot of fun.  If you define fun as having your spleen shrivel up and hide out of sheer fright.  When the sun rises they all go back to where ever they spend their days and I and my spleen get some rest.

If you’re a regular you know in the past week, we’ve talked about the characters that drive your story.  Red Dwarf mentioned the pattern for the Gang of Four and I went on about how to get to know your characters.  We’ve talked about a series bible so that your characters stay true to who they are as well as where they are.  Thanks Wicked.  Getting outside your comfort zone and writing something hard for you was Dreamer Dwarf.  She’s the one who brought this ugly little scar to light.  Of course we all want to write what makes us happy, because it’s easier.  Then Wicked brought up the dreaded Synopsis.  I don’t know if you noticed, but her moniker comes to her honestly, because a series bible and a synopsis are wicked hard to do well.

And now it’s Friday again.  Excuse me that’s the swamp line, I’ve got to take this.  Hey Molly what’s up?

I know I haven’t been submitting your book, but you know I’ve been busy and all.

Sure lunch would be great, where and when…  The Torture Room at The Four Demons.  Sounds rather ominous, I mean expensive… Okay then noon tomorrow.

Sorry about that, it would seem that I’ve been summoned by The Three Misfiteers to lunch tomorrow.  I don’t think this is a good omen for me, the last time they got inpatient with my progress on getting their story published they kidnapped my friend Mischievous Raven.  He’s still in therapy. I’m not sure if it’s because his doc is a leggy brunette, who looks good in tight jeans and boots or if he is still suffering from the trauma.

Taking a break from the writing routine today I’m going to talk about what I’ve been reading.  First of course I have to mention In The Tall Grass, a short story by the master, Stephen King and none other than Joe Hill.  You may remember Joe from my blog about A Heart Shaped Box, a novel the still chills my blood when I think back to the night I read it.  In the Tall Grass, surprised me (A constant reader as SK refers to his fans).  It takes a dark turn and just when I thought I had it figured out, well, I couldn’t have been more wrong.  I love the short fiction format.  After a day of work, nothing gives me more pleasure than starting a story when I crawl under the sheets and finishing it before my conscious brain clocks out for the day.  Then I can turn the light out and have pleasant dreams (or not so pleasant nightmares in this case) about getting lost In The Tall Grass.

Next I went on reread I Am Legend by Richard Matheson.  Mr. Matheson is a writer who, and I quote Stephen King here from an introduction from Nightmare At 20,000 Feet, “Asks no quarter and gives none.”  He is another master of short fiction.  I read this story when I was much younger and still remember how the end impacted me.  Reading it again as an adult was no different.  It is creepy.  I mean that in a good way.

Prior to these I stumbled onto Jonathan Maberry’s Pine Deep Trilogy, Ghost Road Blues, Dead Man’s Song, and Bad Moon Rising.  “What evil lurks in the hearts of man?”  Jonathan knows.  Jonathan’s telling, of the terrors that haunt the small rural town of Pine Deep kept me turning pages.  And the evil that lives beneath the surface is disquieting.  If you like Werewoves, Vampires, fathomless evil and courage.  This is a great series.  Jonathan will challenge your concepts of the afore-mentioned evil creatures, using folklore for his understanding rather than the modern-day Hollywood versions.  His current Zombie series is on my bookshelf, but I must complete my own zombie novel before I delve into it.  (I want my zombies to remain my zombies and not be influenced by Jonathan’s.

That’s all the time we have for this week.  If you like the content here at the 7evildwarves.wordpress.com click on the subscribe button or leave a comment. Your feedback is the only measure we have of knowing who’s out there.  Thanks again for stopping by.  As is the custom on Friday I shall leave you with a quotation.  This comes from the song Mr. Siegal by musician/poet Tom Waits.

“How do the Angels get to sleep  

When the Devil leaves the porch light on”

Write On,

Eerie

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