Writer Wednesday – Bob Freeman

1. Tell us who you are and a little bit about what you write.

My name’s Bob Freeman and I write occult detective fiction. It’s a genre I’ve been enamored with since childhood. The early seventies had sparked an occult revival of sorts. Real life witches were showing up on talk shows, movies like The Exorcist were dominating the box office, Marvel Comics was publishing Tomb of Dracula, Werewolf By Night, and The Son of Satan (to name a few), and on the small screen you had things like The Norliss Tapes and Kolchak: The Night Stalker. Coupled with my early reading of Dennis Wheatley’s Duc de Richleau novels, it’s little wonder that my adult predilections have led down a similar path.

2. What is something that your fans would be surprised to know about you?

That’s a rough one because I’m something of an open book. One thing that may have slipped under the radar is my love of musicals. My favorite is the rock opera Jesus Christ Superstar which, in and of itself, is probably a big shock to people who are quite familiar with my body of work and religious proclivities.

3. What made you become a writer?

I think most writers are shaped to become storytellers from an early age and I’m no different. I always loved a good ghost story, and growing up pretty isolated in rural Indiana, I spent a lot of time reading and letting my imagination run wild.

4. Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Pantser, all the way. If I know where a story is going, I lose interest right away. I enjoy the uncertainty and discovery that creating stories entails.

5. What is the biggest mistake that you’ve learned not to make while writing?

Not finishing what you’ve started. I’m an author who really needs to keep that fire lit. I am…easily distracted. Buckling down and seeing a project through to the end is the best advice I could pass along.

6. What is the last book you finished reading? What did you think?

I just finished Madame Pamita’s Magical Tarot which offers a great new take on interpretations for those with an interest in cartomancy.

7. Would you like to pimp a specific project?

My latest collection is First Born, the first book in my Liber Monstrorum series. The book collects several stories connected to that mythos and particularly concerns my occult detective, Dr. Landon Connors.

8. Is there a URL or social media account you’d like to share?

My website/blog is http://occultdetective.com. The best place to connect with me online is through my twitter account: http://twitter.com/occultdetective

 

…On Life and Writing…

Life is not fair, nor just, nor even-handed. Bad things happen to good people and vice versa, not because of karmic debt, but because life happens. It is unpredictable. It is sometimes cruel and unforgiving, but this is the canvas upon which we work, where our seed has been planted, where our sword is sharpened.

I know it can feel overwhelming sometimes, but it’s not. It’s just life. It breathes in. It breathes out.

For all the heartache, all the loss, there is still beauty to be found in the wreckage and words to be written in blood.

I talk a lot about the negative side of writing, the work part… you know, the struggle. I’d like to take a moment to comment on how freaking thankful I am to be blessed with the storytelling gene.

Writing is ecstatic intoxication. It is surreal and wonderful and fulfilling in every way imaginable (except financially, but that’s for another blog). Brutal? Unforgiving? Yes, it is all that too, and more, but truthfully, there’s an almost indescribable elation that comes from stringing words together, from building worlds and giving life to characters, from sitting before a blank page and then filling it with nothing but your imagination.

I just felt like I needed to say that.

For all the misery and heartbreak and soul sucking excrement you have to put up with, it’s all worth it.

Words are everything. Especially when they’re yours.

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Writer Wednesday – AshleyRose Sullivan

1. Tell us who you are and a little bit about what you write.
I grew up in Appalachia, going back and forth between Kentucky and North Carolina, and I didn’t have siblings and I moved around a lot so I spent a lot of time on my own. Consequently, I guess, I make up stories. It’s just where my brain goes.

2. What is something that your fans would be surprised to know about you?
Honestly, I can’t imagine. I’m fairly open book–except for the stuff I keep very private. Though I doubt anything I keep private would actually surprise anyone.
3. What made you become a writer?
I couldn’t really help it.
4. Are you a plotter or a pantser?
For long fiction–plotter, always. Short is a mix of the two.
5. What is the biggest mistake that you’ve learned not to make while writing?
Not letting a piece grow cold. I tend to get really excited when I’ve just finished a new piece and want to send it out immediately. Sometimes this has proved successful but most of the time rushing work out to publishers/journals isn’t a great idea. It’s something I’m still working on.
6. What is the last book you finished reading?  What did you think?
I just finished reading The Mistress of Paris by Catherine Hewitt and I was actually a little relieved when I turned the last page. I’d been so riveted by the enthralling story of 19th Century Paris’ most infamous courtesan that I’d lost several nights’ sleep over it.
7. Would you like to pimp a specific project?
Lona Chang! I’ve always loved mysteries and Lona was begging to get caught up in one so I’m excited for this story to exist in the world now, after several years of living with the character privately.
8. Is there a URL or social media account you’d like to share?
ashleyrosesullivan.com
…On Adapting One’s Self…
In 2016 I was diagnosed with a condition called Ehlers Danlos Syndrome. Shortly thereafter I began to have debilitating, agonizing pain in my hands. This went on for months while I lost the ability to type for more than ten minutes at a time and, therefore, my most natural method for writing and communicating. (I’ve preferred typing since middle school when my most important friendships and conversations were carried out in chatrooms.) I was bereft. I’d turned in Lona Chang shortly before the problems began and I worried I’d never write another novel.
Now, nearly two years since the problem began, I’ve worked diligently to remedy the cause of the pain (knotted muscles in my neck causing inflammation in the nerves that run to my hands) and in the interim I’ve gone back to my roots as an artist and I’ve begun the slow process of learning animation because it was less painful for me to work a pencil than to type… and really, in the end, I couldn’t not tell stories. I had so many stories building up inside me that I took up a notoriously difficult craft just to get them out.
I’d always been afraid of losing my ability to create but when truly faced with it, like I’d done so many times before when I moved around as a child, always starting over, I adapted. Like a plant which brushes up against an underground obstacle, I just grew in another direction. I think it’s important, for any creators or story tellers or artists out there, to try not to despair in the face of sudden adversity and to continuously search for other avenues to express their creativity. I didn’t truly begin to recover until I’d done that.

Writer Wednesday – Carl R Moore

WRITER WEDNESDAY

 

1. Tell us who you are and a little bit about what you write.

I grew up in rural Maine, and though I’ve been into horror and fantasy novels all my life, I spent my early years mostly writing song lyrics and poetry.

2. What is something that your fans would be surprised to know about you?

Some folks find my brand of horror to be on the extreme side, but I am as into symbols as I am thrills. I won a poetry scholarship to the Stonecoast writers conference my senior year of college for a surreal poem about a Frida Kahlo painting.

3. What made you become a writer?

I spent afternoons in a school library waiting from my father to get out of work. He was a high school teacher and there was about an hour after school that he’d stay late and I would just pluck books off the shelf and read. I remember picking out versions of The Odyssey, The Bible, The Arabian Nights, and stories from Arthurian and Greek mythology. I think it was the mythologies that really got me going.

4. Are you a plotter or a pantser?

More like a concepter—profiles the characters and the situation—like my latest—hunters versus werewolves—get them drawn and see where they take me.

5. What is the biggest mistake that you’ve learned not to make while writing?

I kept Hemingway’s bullshit detector on full strength.

6. What is the last book you finished reading? What did you think?

Aside from those I’m reviewing for my interview series, Author’s Own Words, I recently read The Saga of Grettir the Strong (Scudder translation). Amazing read, medieval prose that reads like a contemporary novel.

7. Would you like to pimp a specific project?

My novella, Slash of Crimson, which appears in my collection Slash of Crimson and Other Tales, published by Seventh Star Press is available on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Slash-Crimson-Other-Tales-Moore-ebook/dp/B0712293QP/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1518902924&sr=8-1&keywords=slash+of+crimson+and+other+tales

8. Is there a URL or social media account you’d like to share?

All the latest can be found at www.carlrmoore.com

 

Slash of Crimson

When someone asks me to describe Slash of Crimson, I always start with the characters, Drew Aldrin, the young heavy metal guitarist making his way in a small seaside city, along with Sondra Deeps, the mysterious red-haired beauty who saves him from drowning in the novel’s opening.

But I can’t talk more about the story without emphasizing the importance of its setting. It takes place in a stylized version of Portland, Maine, containing some of the city’s recognizable features, and other features that are less so. The conflicts of interest among the characters, the deranged preacher, the rough-around-the-edges hard rock musicians, can be seen reflected in their surroundings. The rotting wharves and narrow streets around the dockyards, for example, do exist in the real city, though there are fewer than described in the book. I wanted to describe a certain perceptual reality—the sense one gets of a labyrinth of commerce, ideas, and lifestyles, not all considered legitimate in our culture. I wanted to show how these characters blend in among the bars and dockyards of a North Atlantic working waterfront.

When it comes to world-building, we can make an interesting distinction between building fully, or near-fully, fantastical worlds such as Tolkien’s Middle Earth or Martin’s Westeros, and that of real worlds that mix-in fantasy elements, such as Neil Gaiman’s London in Neverwhere, or arguably William Gibson’s “Sprawl” in Neuromancer. Slash of Crimson, and all of my Crimes of Heaven and Hell stories, including the collection’s second novella Torn from the Devil’s Chest, fall into the latter category. I find the mix of the real and fantastic to be an interesting combination, and invite readers to experience it for themselves when reading my collection.

Writer Wednesday – Jacob & Jenny Floyd

Writer Wednesday

 

1. Tell us who you are and a little bit about what you write.

Jacob: My name is Jacob Floyd, I write paranormal nonfiction with my wife, Jenny. We are also ghost hunters who own and operate two history and haunts tours in the Louisville area—Jacob Floyd’s Shepherdsville History and Haunts Tour and Jacob Floyd’s NuLu History and Haunts Tour. I also run a blog called Jacob Floyd’s Ghosts and Monsters, which focuses on dark fiction and nonfiction paranormal topics; on it, I conduct interviews, post reviews of books, film, and television, and post other articles on related topics. I also write horror, as well.

Jenny: My name is Jenny Floyd. I am co-author of Kentucky’s Haunted Mansions. I am also a photographer that specializes in cemetery photography. I love antiques and Disney, and I am a ghost hunter.

 

2. What is something that your fans would be surprised to know about you?

Jacob: I don’t know. Maybe that, other than my wife, my best friend is my toy poodle named Snow White, and we call her BooBoo. People are also often surprised to find out that I’m a fan of pro wrestling.

Jenny: I am a descendant of Daniel Boone. Also, the northern route of the Wilderness Road once crossed through the property of the Brooks Plantation, which was a family home and the first chapter of Kentucky’s Haunted Mansions.

 

3. What made you become a writer?

Jacob: It’s just something I’ve always wanted to do. When I was a kid, I used to carry notebooks around and write down everything that came to my mind. As a teen, I wrote poetry and outlined a lot of stories I never finished. As I got older, I started writing full stories. After my wife and I started getting involved with ghost hunting, we both decided it would be cool to write books about the things we found out. She has a lot of ideas and knowledge regarding the paranormal.

Jenny: My dad used to give me antique books—the chapter books with the gilt edges—and I always thought, “I got stories to tell.” In first grade, I wrote a book called Ghost, and it was about a ghost that did different things. The most memorable thing was that he ate pizza. The book was a hit with my class. LOL

 

4. Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Jacob: Mostly plotter. For the ghost books, Jenny and I always sit down and lay out a table of contents before researching. For fiction, I always have to plot. I write out what’s going to happen chapter by chapter and then get to writing. But, it’s only a vague outline. The details often evolve organically around the plot. I used to be a pantser, but the storyline always suffered. It’s better for me to have an idea where I’m going.

Jenny: I’m definitely a plotter. My goal is to have a series of paranormal books.

 

5. What is the biggest mistake that you’ve learned not to make while writing?

Jacob: For nonfiction paranormal, writing something down without thoroughly researching it, even if it’s something as minute as a detail of the building or what street corner it’s on. You have to always make sure to get that right. For fiction, not plotting the story was the biggest mistake I always made.

Jenny: Not to get ahead of myself.

 

6. What is the last book you finished reading? What did you think?

Jacob: I just finished reading Knife’s Tell by Daniel Dark. I thought it was a very unique and engrossing book. I wrote a review for it on my blog, Jacob Floyd’s Ghosts and Monsters.

Jenny: Skull Full of Kisses by Michael West. I really enjoyed the stories.

 

7. Would you like to pimp a specific project?

Jacob: Well, I already mentioned my blog, and our tours. You can check out my Amazon author page for my books.

Jenny: We are working on our next paranormal books, so stay tuned to see what’s forthcoming from the Frightening Floyds.

 

8. Is there a URL or social media account you’d like to share?

Here is a link to our Facebook page, The Frightening Floyds: https://www.facebook.com/FrighteningFloyds/

Our cemetery photography: https://www.facebook.com/FloydsCemeteryPhotography/

Here is my author page: https://www.facebook.com/jacobfloydauthor/

A page to my blog: https://www.facebook.com/JacobFloydsGhostsandMonsters/

My blog site: https://wordpress.com/view/jacobfloydsghostsandmonsters.wordpress.com

The tour pages:

https://www.facebook.com/shepherdsvilletour/

https://www.facebook.com/eastmarkettour/

 

On Writing

We just think it’s important to keep writing and moving our work forward. We are trying to create our own brand on the paranormal side, which is very meaningful to use because it’s something we have created together. Jenny has a lot of ideas on the topic, and we bounce those ideas around and come up with great projects together. We have a few series planned for the paranormal writing. We built the tours together through a lot of interviews and research, and it’s been a great experience as they have helped us get the ball rolling for our books.

As for fiction, the same thing only reversed: I have a ton of ideas and my wife helps me make them better when we bounce ideas around; often times, she helps me fill in plots, or come up with great beginnings and story arcs. I have a lot planned for the fiction side of things, as well. We have a ton of ideas and don’t plan on stopping. We work together on everything and that’s why we love what we do.

We also work together on ideas for the blog, which helps us progress in both arenas—fiction and nonfiction paranormal—whether it’s who to interview, what to review, or what topic to tackle. Jenny has really gotten the hang of designing the ads, and that has given the blog the necessary visual to bring it attention. That’s how the Frightening Floyds work!

 

Writer Wednesday – Emmie Mears

1. Who are you? I’m Emmie Mears! In theory, anyway. For now.

2. What type of stuff do you write? I like to have my fingers dipped into just about every SFF pie. Lately I’ve been tending toward more broad speculative fiction, second world alt history and second world in general, but I’m looking forward to digging into some science fantasy and more straight sci fi as well as epic fantasy soon. (I have a hankering to write a first contact story, but we’ll see.)

3. What do you want to pimp right now? I have a rather grueling release schedule lately. A HALL OF KEYS AND NO DOORS just came out, which is a contemporary magical realism, and I’m certainly proud of that. LOOK TO THE SUN comes out 15 November and is available for preorder right now, and that is a book that feels almost too timely — I’ve pitched it as Les Miserables meets Shadow of the Wind. It’s a second world novel with a Gothic feel about generational tragedy, love, and fighting against fascism.

4. What’s your favorite book? This will likely come as no surprise if you read the preceding paragraph, but Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón. It is absolutely stunning, and the moment I finished it for the first time, I picked it up and read it again. A more recent read was Naomi Novik’s Uprooted, which was phenomenal (and, combined with a non-fiction thing I read recently, inspired my next project).

5. What other hats do you wear besides the writer hat? I’ve been very privileged to be able to write full time for the past year. I have a part time job as a banquet server as well. Besides writing, though, the full-time-ness of that job encompasses PR, marketing, accounting, finance, and enough emails to form an avalanche. I also manage a small contingent of ninja cats in my home.

6. Where can we find you? I am virtually omnipresent on the internet, it feels. You can find me on Twitter @EmmieMears, or you can find me on the Book of Face. I’m also on Instagram if you like cat spam and a parade of homemade food. If you like short stories and want to help support my writing, you can find me on Patreon, and for the eminent pragmatists among you, my general home on the interwebz is simply emmiemears.com.



Expect the Unexpected – 5 Tips for Writers

By the time this goes live, I will have finished my twelfth full length manuscript. That’s some novels, and with seven-soon-to-be-eight in the wild, I’ve arrived at a point where I get emails from people asking me to kick them in the butt. “Kicking internet folks in the butt” was not something I was entirely prepared for when I went into this career with the idea that maybe one day I could make a living doing the only thing I think I’m good at, but it’s something I’m being asked to do.

In the spirit of sharing hard-won wisdom and lessons, here are five things I didn’t expect from writing when I started:

5. Writing books doesn’t really get easier.

It hasn’t. In fact, books 10 and 11 were some of the toughest things I’ve done. Writing is a constant evolution of figuring out exactly how much you know and don’t know. It’s about trying something that has worked for you before (or that has worked for someone not-you) and finding out that lo, suddenly it worketh not. That can be…frustrating.

I’ve heard it said that writers don’t know how to write books. We have to learn each time how to write this book. In my experience of the past decade of finishing books, that is very, very true.

4. Writing is a lot easier when you can leave the business out of it.

I think in a lot of our minds when we start out, writing is like that internet meme.

Step 1–Have idea
Step 2–Be said idea’s miraculous conduit onto the page
Step 3–???????
Step 4–PROFIT

Yeah, nah.

It doesn’t work like that. Whether you traditionally publish or do it independently (I’ve done both), two words will dictate much of your success: bottom and line.

In trade publishing, that bottom line can be the difference between your book getting acquired and your book getting trunked. (Or, as I have personally experienced, an entire imprint getting trunked and every book it publishes going down with it.) In indie publishing, it can mean you’re spending more on your packaging, marketing, editing, etc. than you are making. That is not sustainable unless you are one of the mythical humans for whom money is not the difference between your pet iguana starving to death or not.

Having to factor in making art with the reality of making money is not an easy web of tightropes to walk. But it can be done.

3. On that note, if you don’t have it, money can be a massive systemic barrier.

As in all careers, having money to start with means that you have access to networking opportunities, career development, and the more esoteric bits, like automatically being taken a bit more seriously. Conferences and conventions, where heaps of connections are made, are decidedly not cheap. Tax write off, yes, but you still have to spend the money up front.

The same goes for indie publishing–you have to put money in on the front end there, for a great cover if absolutely nothing else.

That said? Slush works. Both of my agents, I’ve gotten through the slush pile. I’m a hybrid author, which means I’ve had trade deals and have indie published both. If you are seeking to go the commercial trade publishing route, you don’t need to know anybody (and no matter how much your friends love you, even if you have connections, they are never a guarantee).

2. There is never Only One.

Books are not like Highlander. Sure, we see the highly publicised unicorns like Twilight and Wool, that One Book that propelled its author to fame and fortune. But we have to remember those stories are unicorns. There is an immense amount of luck in the writing business that boils down to this: the right eyes hitting your work at the right time.

It can happen on the first book you write (I suppose, since it has to very few folks). But more likely there will be many books. The first that you publish, whether trade or indie. The first that earns you a five star review–or the first that earns you one star. There will be a book that someone will email you to tell you they desperately needed. A book you look back on and cringe. Because for most of us, this career is about building a mountain, not about being airlifted to the top of it or shot out of a cannon.

Which brings me to the last tidbit…

1. Your craft is the barre.

In ballet, the barre is the place you turn to re-orient yourself. To find balance and return to the basics that make the pro jumps possible. That is craft to the writer, but you have to build it. There is a general mythos around writing that suggests that the ability to do it well is this ephemeral thing called “talent.” But the truth is, it’s something we have to learn and hone. Everyone can get better at it. Sometimes when we start out, our barre is crooked and falls off when we lean on it too hard. We have to bust out the level and learn some physics and engineering and figure out how it best works for us, and even then we have to replace the screws that fall out and the bits of mirror where the silver wears away.

It takes effort and practice, and there is never a guarantee of being that unicorn. There is just the story, just the barre that holds us up and directs the flow of our movements.

But here’s the other bit–you can surprise yourself. If you’d asked me when I was 20 how many books I thought I could write, I don’t know what my answer would have been. At nearly 32, I’ve written twelve. Everyone’s mountain looks different.

And I’m just getting started.

Writer Wednesday – Linda Watkins

1. Who are you? (A name would be good here)
Linda Watkins

2. What type of stuff do you write? (besides shopping lists!)
Contemporary Gothic Fiction

3. What do you want to pimp right now?
My three novels are a series, so pimping one, pimps all! I would pimp primarily the first novel, MATEGUAS ISLAND, A NOVEL OF TERROR AND SUSPENSE

4. What’s your favorite book? (Okay, or two or three… I know how writers are as readers!)
All time favorite:
THE MAGUS by John Fowled (original version)

Other favs:
THE ART OF RACING IN THE RAIN by Garth Stein
THE LIGHTKEEPERS by Abby Geni
A WALK IN THE WOODS by Bill Bryson
THE STAND by Stephen King
SHADOWLAND by Peter Straub

5. What other hats do you wear besides the writer hat?
I am the caregiver, and loving mom, for two very geriatric dogs, both with multiple special needs.

6. Where can we find you?
I’m all over the place!
FB: https://www.facebook.com/LindaWatkins.Author/
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Linda-Watkins/
Twitter: @splatland
Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/+LindaWatkins123/posts
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7754966.Linda_Watkins
My blog: http://lindawatkins.biz/
My website: http://mateguasisland.com/

 


Let’s Talk About Gothic Horror/Mystery

Having been accused of writing contemporary Gothic fiction (MATEGUAS ISLAND, RETURN TO MATEGUAS ISLAND, and GHOSTS OF MATEGUAS), I thought I’d take a moment to discuss the genre and some common elements that make a novel Gothic.

However, before I begin, let me first state that this is by no means meant to be a scholarly treatise on the genre. No, I will leave that to those more schooled in literature than I. This is merely a blog post. It is meant to be slightly informative and, hopefully, fun.

Gothic fiction has been around since medieval times.  Sir Horace Walpole’sTHE CASTLE OF OTRANTO, published in 1764,  is often credited as being the first English gothic horror novel.

But what makes a novel gothic? There are numerous  subtleties that go into creating a novel of this genre and even more when you consider all of its sub-genres (horror, mystery, romance, etc.).  However, I’m just going to touch on some of the most common elements of gothic fiction here.

All right, let’s begin. First of all, we must consider the setting. Gothic fiction is usually played out in a place that is dark and gloomy, conjuring up an atmosphere of horror and dread. For example, inTHE FALL OF THE HOUSE OF USHER, Poe calls the estate ‘melancholy’ and a ‘mansion of gloom’. In Shirley Jackson’s classic novel, THE HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE, the house is described as ‘holding darkness within’.  In my novel, MATEGUAS ISLAND, when seeing the island for the first time, Bill remarks that while it is beautiful, it looks ‘cold’. And, then there’s The Overlook Hotel in Stephen King’s THE SHINING and the ruined castle where Jonathan Harkness first meets the Count in Bram Stoker’s classicDRACULA Need I say more?

All right, we have our setting, what next?  Most gothic novels involve the appearance of supernatural beings – ghosts, specters, vampires, zombies,  and other things that go ‘bump in the night’. In THE HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE, it is the house itself that is suspect, whereas in MATEGUAS ISLAND  it is a malevolent Native American spirit that plagues the Andersens in their new home. In Henry James’ classic, THE TURN OF THE SCREW, the governess sees the ghost of Peter Quint and in THE SHINING there are numerous ghosts, most notably those of former caretaker, Delbert Grady, and his murdered daughters.

Okay, we now have a dark and gloomy setting that is the home to some ghosts or specters. What do we need next to move the plot along?  How about some dark curses or prophesies? In Walpole’s THE CASTLE OF OTRANTO there is an ancient prophesy that  Manfred, the lord of the castle, seeks to avert by marrying his dead son’s betrothed. In  THE FALL OF THE HOUSE OF USHER, Roderick  believes his family to be cursed by incurable madness. And in REBECCA by Daphne du Maurier, the unnamed heroine must come to grips with a dark and terrible secret being kept by her husband.

So, now we have a dark and dismal setting haunted by ghosts and subject to a terrible curse or prophesy. But what about the human characters? Often we find the pivotal character in a gothic novel to be a woman in jeopardy. For example, in MATEGUAS ISLAND, it is Karen who finds herself strangely transported to a dark and dangerous trail leading deep into the woods. Wendy Torrance in THE SHINING, Lucy and Mina in DRACULA, and the governess in THETURN OF THE SCREW all find themselves facing mortal peril at the hands of supernatural beings. In THE HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE, it is Eleanor who tends to experience dark phenomena to which others in the house are oblivious. And, in REBECCA, the narrator finds herself living in the shadow and mystery of her husband’s former wife.

But is gothic fiction only peopled by damsels in distress? No! To counterbalance the ladies, the gothic genre often employs characters who can be seen as heroes or antiheroes. In the final chapters of THE SHINING, the clairvoyant cook, Hallorann, comes charging through a blizzard on a snowmobile to try to rescue Wendy and Danny. Dex Pierce inMATEGUAS ISLAND sees himself as Karen’s  knight errant and rushes to her side when she collapses in the backyard. In Emily Bronte’s WUTHERING HEIGHTS, Heathcliff enacts the role of both a Byronic and demonic hero. In DRACULA, it is Van Helsing who eventually saves the day.

Okay, now we have a beautiful woman transported to a dark and dismal setting haunted by ghosts and subject to a terrible curse or prophesy who may, or may not, be saved by a dashing or not-so-dashing hero.   So, what comes next?

Romance, of course! In gothic novels, romance can take many forms. It can be a powerful love, heart-stirring, and intense. Or, it could be an unrequited  or illicit love. Basically, anything goes! An example of a  powerful love can be found MATEGUAS ISLAND when Dex realizes he has fallen deeply in love with Karen and vows to do anything necessary to protect her.   In WUTHERING HEIGHTS, we have both powerful and unrequited love in Heathcliff’s desire for Cathy.  In Charlotte Bronte’s JANE EYRE, the heroine falls head over heels for the brooding and moody, Mr. Rochester.

So what have we put together with all these elements? We have a story of beautiful woman living in a dark and dismal place, haunted by ghosts, and subject to a terrible curse or prophesy who meets and, may fall in love with, a dashing or mysterious man who may, or may not, save her! And with that, my friends, we have laid the groundwork for a gothic novel!

Now, for some fun and amusement,  check out the first and last  lines from some classic, and, not-so-classic, novels in the genre.

REBECCA by Daphne du Maurier:  
First Line: “Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again.”
Last Line:   “And the ashes blew towards us with the salt wind from the sea.

DRACULA by Bram Stoker:
First Line: “3 May, Bistritz – Left Munich at 8:35 P.M., on 1st May, arriving at Vienna early next morning; should have arrived at 6:46, but train was an hour late.”
Last Line: “Later on he will understand how some men so loved her, that they did dare much for her sake.”

INTERVIEW WITH THE VAMPIRE by Anne Rice:
First Line:   “I see…” said the vampire thoughtfully, and slowly he walked across the room towards the window.”
Last Line: “And then, stuffing the notebook quickly in his pocket, he gathered the tapes into his brief case, along with the small recorder, and hurried down the long hallway and down the stairs to the street, …”

FRANKENSTEIN by Mary Shelley:
First Line: “You will rejoice to hear that no disaster has accompanied the commencement of an enterprise which you have regarded with such evil forebodings.”
Last Line:  “He was soon borne away by the waves and lost in darkness and distance.”

MATEGUAS ISLAND by Linda Watkins:
First Line:  “She rolled over to check the clock.”
Last Line: “Oh, so very afraid….”

WUTHERING HEIGHTS by Emily Bronte
First Line:  “1801. – I have just returned from a visit to my landlord – the solitary neighbour that I shall be troubled with.”
Last Line:  “I lingered round them, under that benign sky: watched the moths fluttering among the heath and harebells, listened to the soft wind breathing through the grass, and wondered how ….”

THE FALL OF THE HOUSE OF USHER by Edgar Allan Poe:
First Line:  “During the whole of a dull, dark, and soundless day in the autumn of the year, when the clouds hung oppressively low in the heavens, I had been passing alone, on horseback, through a singularly dreary tract of country; and at length found myself, as the shades of the evening drew on, within view of the melancholy House of Usher.”
Last Line:  “While I gazed, this fissure rapidly widened–there came a fierce breath of the whirlwind–the entire orb of the satellite burst at once upon my sight–my brain reeled as I saw the mighty walls rushing asunder–there was a long tumultuous shouting sound like the voice of a thousand waters–and the deep and dank tarn at my feet closed sullenly and silently over the fragments of the “House of Usher.”

RETURN TO MATEGUAS ISLANDby Linda Watkins :  
First Line: “She stood in the middle of the lawn, arms outstretched, her face turned toward the sea.”
Last Line:  “For what seemed an eternity, he stood that way, silent, his eyes wide open in wonder until the owl, in all its majesty, disappeared back into the fog.”

THE STRANGE CASE OF DR. JEKYLL  AND MR. HYDE by Robert Louis Stevenson:
First Line:  “Mr. Utterson the lawyer was a man of rugged countenance, that was never lighted by a smile; cold, scanty and embarrassed in discourse backward in sentiment; lean, long, dusty, dreary, and yet somehow lovable.”
Last Line:  “Here then, as I lay down the pen and proceed to seal up my confession, I bring the life of that unhappy Henry Jekyll to an end.”

THE THIRTEENTH TALE  by Diane Setterfield:
First Line: “It was November.”
Last Line:  “He opened a cool green eye, regarded me for a moment, then closed it again.”

GHOSTS OF MATEGUAS by Linda Watkins:
First Line: “The fog embraced the coast like a desperate lover, clinging, refusing to let go.”
Last Line:  “Oh Mateguas, grand pere de la mort, entend my priere….”

Writer Wednesday – D.R. Perry

1. Who are you?
Who are you, who, who, who, who? I really wanna know! Ahem. Okay, time to stop singing The Who. Hi, I’m D.R. Perry and I’m living la vida dorka.

2. What type of stuff do you write?
I write spec-fic and silliness. Also some poetry. So far, my books have been Paranormal with loads of humor. My series is called Providence Paranormal College and it’s about what happens when shifters, vampires, faeries, psychics and magic users all go to an Ivy League school in New England.

3. What do you want to pimp right now?
Hey, I do interviews, too! I just got done with Summer Splash and now it’s Autumn Authors over at my website (http://www.drperryauthor.com/news). I also do Friendly Neighborhood Fridays, where I talk to cover designers, web designers, editors, and the folk who help authors get their book into publishable shape.

4. What’s your favorite book?
My favorite book is like my favorite color and song. They change all the time! I would have gotten thrown off the bridge on Monty Python’s Quest for the Holy Grail. Red, no bluuuue! Grave Beginnings by R.R. Virdi, no A Fox’s Love by Brandon Varnell, no Dream Stalker by Amy Hopkins. I. Can’t. Decide! Aaaaaargh!

5. What other hats do you wear besides the writer hat?
Let’s see. There’s the mom hat (I have one kid with fur and four legs, another with hair and two), the gamer hat (I play WoW and pen and paper RPGs), and the audio hat (I used to be a karaoke DJ). I love my family, my fun, and my music. Couldn’t live without them!

6. Where can we find you?
I’m all over the place! Well, on the Internet, anyway. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Goodreads, Author Central and my website, complete with mailing list. Oh, and you can also find me at author events in Rhode Island. No, it’s not an island and not Long Island. We’re a tiny state in the US, but the food here rocks!
FB: https://www.facebook.com/drpperry/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/DRPerry22
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/d.r.perry/
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/drperryauthor/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8588997.D_R_Perry
Author Central: https://www.amazon.com/author/drperry
Website: http://www.drperryauthor.com/
Mailing List: https://app.mailerlite.com/webforms/landing/p9i8u6

 

 

The Importance of Being Covered

Always judge a book by its cover. At least, that’s what we should do as writers. The cover is the first thing anyone sees of our books, so it’s important that the cover reflects what’s inside. If a reader would love your sci-fi book about Kung-Fu aliens from planet Borax, you wouldn’t put a dude in Civil War era clothing on your cover, right? Is it possible to have something that jarringly inconsistent between cover and content as the above example? Yes, it is. I should know. I made that mistake myself.

I have a book about a sarcastic brainiac Nerd Queen tutoring a half-asleep
shapeshifting jock with a closeted geek streak. There are Star Wars references, puns running rampant along the pages, and goofy situational comedy. I have a gal who turns into an owl saying “hoo boy,” for crying out loud. But readers who like that kind of thing didn’t find my book because this was the cover:

 barely600dpicanvas55x85

That cover on my book was like a bowl of salsa on a package containing a chocolate cake. People saw it and expected steamy love scenes. I did a live event with that cover and got snickers. No, I don’t mean people threw candy bars at me. They laughed, but not for the reasons I intended. Even worse, they scurried away, desperate to avoid the stigma of buying what looked like a bodice-ripper in front of the PTA president at the local Farmer’s Market.

I knew it was all that pouty shirtless man’s fault, so I replaced him. Nothing against pouting, shirtlessness, or men, you understand (because I do like those things). It’s just that I realized they belonged to literature light-years away in the Steamy Galaxy from my book. So, I checked around for titles with content similar to mine and discovered I needed something like this instead:

barelycollegicnomineell

And lo, the author said “let there be shirts” and there were! And they were illustrated! This is exactly the cover I needed on my goofy, geeky, unsteamy book. And do you see that library? That lets the picture tell readers these two are students because people don’t always see “Paranormal College” on a thumbnail. It worked, too. See the little badge? Yeah, I went from barely (ha, pun!) any interest in this book to nominated for an award.

So, go ahead and judge a book by its cover. Also, remember that a picture is worth a thousand words. What would this article be without the pictures, after all? Point, set, and match, Mr. Pouty Shirtless. I’ll save his picture for some other…um, project. Yeah, I’m winking at you from behind my computer screen now. Thanks for reading!

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