Saturday, October 29, 2011

23rd Day of Twisted: Guest Post by Benjamin Andrews

Hey all...So there's been a few bumps in the road with my Twisted feature here, but I guess that was to be expected.  And I'm back on track without further ado, here's Benjamin Andrews, author of Rift of Askrah.  Enjoy!

Meet the Author - Benjamin Andrews

First I'd like to thank Rachel for giving me the opportunity to do a guest post on this blog. As an introduction, I am Benjamin Andrews. I've loved books since I was young, and have always enjoyed getting lost in other worlds. I've written various books and stories throughout my youth, and after graduating from college in February of 2011, I set to fulfilling my next life goal. Becoming an author.

Out of various projects I've created over the years, I finally settled on the Rift of Askrah series to be my pilot project. It was tough to decide what I wanted to write first, but after a lot of introspection, I finally settled on this series, which was my second book idea ever. The first time I ever wrote anything associated with this series was at the age of 15. I had just finished the outline to my first series, when this one came to me. I opted to write down this new idea instead of forge on with my first book.

Life has a funny way of taking us down different paths though, and I didn't write for quite some time. After my college graduation though, I decided it was time again, and the Rift of Askrah series was chosen.

*About the Rift of Askrah series*

 Rift of Askrah is the story of Nihlen Draven, prince of the nation of Draven. His entire life has been spent preparing to take the throne in the future. Nihlen is a highly gifted person, and an ideal candidate to be king.

The world has enjoyed a long era of peace. Peace never lasts forever though, and danger is brewing in the shadows. The scale tips when Nihlen is kidnapped from his castle, during a ceremony he knows little about. The breaking of that ceremony leads to something awakening in Nihlen.

 What awakens is an ability, powers similar to magic. These abilities are just one of the many changes the world is experiencing. Nihlen's kidnapping is only the beginning of these events, and after escaping his confinement, with the help of two of his kidnappers, Nihlen discovers his nation has been invaded by the neighboring kingdom of Rinh. His life now lost to him, Nihlen is forced to flee his homeland. He embarks on a quest to save his kingdom, and is pulled into this changing age. The past of once great nation known as Askrah is resurfacing, and that history centers around Nihlen. Saving his kingdom is only the beginning of the trials he will have to face before all is said and done.

*Purchase Rift of Askrah Book 1: Fracture

 *About the Writing Process*

Writing books has been one of the most adventurous events of my life. I've imbued a part of my soul into it, and it has taken a life of its own. I've felt few things as rewarding as completing my first book. Seeing the totality of my work out there for others to read and enjoy feels incredible. As I crafted the environments, plots, and characters, I fell into another world. Inside my mind, I can see them at their moments of triumphs, and moments of defeat. I can feel the energy surging through the air, as if an electric current ran through the air.

When you read my books, I hope you feel the same thing.

 *My Message To Other Writers*

No matter how you do it, entering the publishing world can be a daunting task. Either facing a mountain of rejection letters, or swimming in obscurity as an independent author. It can be easy to get discouraged, but never give up on your dream! Keep at it, and always keep writing something new. If you work at it, and learn all you can, the rest will work itself out.

 *Find Me On The Web*

Connect with me on the web for up to date information about upcoming and current books, original poetry, blog posts, tweets, and all kinds of other information.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

19th Day of Twisted: Guest Post by Tallulah Grace

19th Day of Twisted already!  Today we have Tallulah Grace, author of Fate, Spellbound, and Destiny, with an exciting excerpt from Fate.  Enjoy!

I’ve always been infatuated with experiences and events relating to the paranormal. As a student of psychology, I also find sociopaths, psychopaths and people with even a hint of abnormal behavior intriguing. It’s no wonder that my first trilogy includes three novels that tell the stories of three best friends, all with individual paranormal abilities. Don’t think I left out the psychos; the first two books of the series, FATE and SPELLBOUND, have villainous characters that easily fit into any social setting. The third book, DESTINY, explores reincarnation and the possibility that love can last for more than one lifetime.

In FATE, Timeless Trilogy, BookOne, Kris Collins is stalked by a serial killer, but how did she ever land on his radar? In the spirit of Halloween, I’m sharing a glimpse into one of their first encounters. The most frightening aspect of this scenario is that it could happen to anyone.

     “I told you not to wear that cat suit. You look like sin on a stick.” Kris laughed as Roni struck a pose.
     “Can I help it if Charleston men can’t behave in polite company? I thought Southerners were raised better. Whose idea was this anyway?”
     “Yours.”  Cassie rolled her eyes as she tried to maneuver across the cobblestone sidewalk on stilettos. “I believe your exact words were, ‘Come on, girls, let’s kick up our heels.’ I could cheerfully kick these heels to kingdom come about now. What were we thinking?” Cassie gave up and stepped out of the torturous shoes,wincing as her feet touched the cold stones.
     “Atleast you can get out of yours.” Kris grabbed Cassie’s arm for balance. “I’m strapped into these things three different ways. Why does something that looks so good have to feel so bad?”
     “Because men design them; they don’t have to wear them.” Roni sidestepped a group of partygoers taking up most of the walkway. One man stopped to admire her choice of costume.
     “Hey little kitty cat, wanna come home with me?” He stumbled slightly, leering first at Roni, then at Cassie and Kris as they stepped to her side. “Your friends are welcome too; we’ll have us a party.”
     “In your dreams, Dumbo.” Roni mumbled as the girls switched to the opposite side of the street.
     “Hey.  Where you going?” The man called, then began to follow.
     “Why did we park so far away?” Kris asked as she dug into her purse for pepperspray.
     “No worries,” Roni sounded more confident than she felt. “He’s just a harmless drunk.” Looking back, she frowned at the man’s persistence. His progress had been stalled by several groups of trick-or-treaters, but he was now moving towards them with determination and no signs of inebriation.
Cassie glanced back as well and sighed. “What is it about Halloween that brings out the crazies?”
Kris, still digging into her purse, walked straight into a hard, stationary body.
     “Oh, I’m sorry.” She apologized as two strong arms helped to steady her. “I’m afraid I didn’t see you.” A pleasant musky aroma that was purely male surrounded her. She stepped back and he slowly dropped his hold.
     “No harm done.” He assured her with an engaging smile. “I was also distracted.” Hegestured to the pseudo drunk, now weaving his way through the line of parked cars that separated him from the sidewalk. “Is that gentleman bothering you?”
     “That, sir, is no gentleman.” Roni gave her best southern belle impression as she turned to answer the tall stranger.
     “In that case, would you ladies like an escort?” His smile briefly included Roniand Cassie before returning to Kris.
     “Thanks,” Kris replied, “but our car is just ahead. We’ll be fine.” She met his gaze before pulling the spray from her purse. “Besides, we’re prepared.” She shook the pink canister back and forth.
     “So I see.” The handsome stranger tilted his hat and stepped aside, allowing themto pass. “In that case, have a lovely evening ladies.”
     “Thanks, you too.” Kris and Cassie spoke in unison as they moved past him. Roni eyed him slowly as she followed. Waiting until he was out of earshot, she poked Kris on the arm. “I think he likes you.”
Kris laughed. “He was just being nice.” She glanced back and met the stranger’s stare. Turning quickly back around, she hastened her pace. “Let’s get home.”
     Cassie’s antique Victorian mansion stood only a few streets over from the party. The two minute drive home took almost twenty, thanks to slow moving traffic on streets filled with pedestrians. Goblins, witches, monsters and an array of other costume-clad kids and adults roamed the residential lanes leading to Battery Park.
     “Look, there’s Cassie thirty years from now.” Roni pointed at a child dressed as an old hag, dragging a bag nearly filled with candy.
     “Speak for yourself, cat woman. At least my costume leaves a little to the imagination.” Cassie teased.
     “Look over there,” Kris pointed at the entrance to one of Charleston’s many graveyards. “What do you think they’re supposed to be?”
     “Looks like a cross between Frankenstein and the mummy who ate Ohio.” Roni quipped.
     The women were so absorbed with the sights and sounds of Halloween, that they failed to notice the man standing in the shadows of the old oak tree towering over Cassie’s front lawn. Moving closer to the tree as they pulled into the driveway, he considered his prey.
     “Stupid woman,” he whispered aloud. “She didn’t even recognize me.”  

FATE, SPELLBOUND and DESTINYare available separately or as a compilation at Amazon. Visit for more details, or start the journey by taking a look inside FATE here,

Monday, October 24, 2011

18th Day of Twisted: Guest Post by Artemis Hunt

It's the 18th Day of Twisted, and unfortunately, Monday...the upside to this is that we have Artemis Hunt here, author of Snow White and the Alien (as well as many more titles), to brighten your morning!  Enjoy!

I'm exactly 2 months into indie publishing, and it has been a heck of a rollercoaster ride. I didn't know what to expect. I guess I was naive. I was a traditionally published author before this, and sales tend to be very huge at launch, where you get maximal display on the HOT NEW RELEASES shelves, and bookstores give you front table space. So you make most of your sales in the first few months of your launch. I remember during one Xmas, I sold 100 books in one bookstore alone and climbed to the No. 2 of their bestseller charts.

Then after a while, your books get relegated to other shelves, and sales taper off. So it's all about frontage for traditionally published print books.

I indie published because I heard so much about it from Joe Konrath and Amanda Hocking. So I decided to try it. My first book that I indie published was SNOW WHITE AND THE ALIEN. I was avidly watching sales every day and being a nervous wreck about it. Finally, I couldn't bear putting all my eggs in one book, so I released 2 more novels and several short stories from my traditionally published backlist. All this happened within 2 months. I diversified in many genres - YA fantasy, romantic comedy, horror, erotica - just to see what would take off.

My sales look like this:

Aug (1 week): 14
Sept: 44
Oct: 332 (as of time of writing, Oct 21st)

I soon discovered what took off quickly - erotica! I wrote several short stories under another pen name, and all within 6 hours each. I charged $2.99 for a 5500-word story, and they still sold! I diversified my platforms - I sold not only on Amazon and Smashwords, but All Romance Ebooks and Bookstrand. As a result, I made many sales on many sources.

My other books might take off later, or they mightn't take off at all. All I know is I didn't stop writing. I learned to do my own professional looking covers for several bucks each, using Dreamstime and Fotolia. As a result, I learned to keep production costs down. I never turned my back on traditional publishing either. I'm in the midst of submitting manuscripts to agents even now (since I parted ways with my old agent a long time ago). My longtime friend and beta-reader just got a $100K Big Six book deal on a book I helped her with, and so I truly believe we should diversify even on those channels - trad publishing and indie!

It can be done!

So all this is what I learned so far, and I wanted to share it with all of you. It's not all this or all that. Open your mind, and soon you'll find your niche.

Please visit my blog at for more stories :)

Artemis Hunt

Sunday, October 23, 2011

17th Day of Twisted: Guest Post by Dannika Dark

It's the 17th day of Twisted, and we have Dannika Dark, author of Sterling.  Story sounds awesome, and the cover looks great! 

When I was a little girl, I never dreamed of Prince Charming sweeping me off my feet. My head was always in the realm of fantasy, just not that kind of fantasy. I wanted to step through mirrors into alternate worlds, shapeshift, or discover I was a magical being with hidden powers I never thought possible. Fantasy has always been a huge part of my life because it is the heart and soul of imagination. It cannot be explained by numbers, analyzed beneath a microscope, nor does it have limitations.

Then I grew up in a world where everything has an explanation. Yet, there has always been a part of me that is completely fascinated with mythology. What really lurks in the dark shadows? Why do some things have no explanation?

When I started writing, I thought about the very definition we have placed on every fantasy creature from vampire to mage to ghosts. Some like to think the rules are set in stone. I like to think that if these creatures did exist, that they have removed themselves so completely from humans that everything we thought we knew was wrong. Perhaps they even contributed to some of the false beliefs that have floated around for centuries. It keeps them safe; it keeps them misunderstood. Before technology came along, people lived isolated lives. They feared outsiders and those that were different from them. Someone with power or unique abilities would create fear and jealousy. Therefore it became easy to tell those bedtime stories to children about vampires, the big bad wolf, witches, and trolls. That became the foundation for "Sterling", my first novel.

Zoë Merrick is a woman living an ordinary life when one evening she is brutally attacked and murdered. Except, she isn't really dead. She has been changed into something else, something not human. The really exciting part was discovering right along with her that she was a Mage. I didn't want to stray completely from the idea of what a Mage was - which is a sorcerer or warlock. By definition, it is a person with power. In "Sterling", a Mage is an energy source that uses power and manipulates it. I loved this door opening because it paved the way for each breed that I've written about and allowed such flexibility. A writer’s world is not made of concrete walls; it is expansive and ever changing. It is a never ending canvas. What I love about writing is that I get to unleash that world into written form and allow readers to cross over. I'm very excited to be able to share my books and hope that you love "Sterling" as much as I do.

Dannika Dark

Saturday, October 22, 2011

16th Day of Twisted: Guest Post by Ty Hutchinson

It's the 16th day of Twisted, which means I've got Ty Hutchinson, author of Chop Suey.  Happy reading!

I hate writing about writing.

I try to like it but I don’t. Some writers are very good at it. They’re interesting and informative. I’m not. That’s why I let them handle it. I also suck at writing about the industry too. There are a lot of authors out there who have their fingers on the pulse of this business. They can read an article and in minute spit out a blog post breaking it down, complete with opinions. I’m happy to let them own that. I’m also pretty bad at keeping the two big author arguments alive: traditional versus self-publishing and ninety-nine cents versus two ninety-nine. Boy, some authors are really good at sucking people into that debate.

I know it looks like I don’t contribute much to the conversation. You’re right, at least not in that way.

However, I am pretty good at killing people. I push them off buildings. I’ll slice their necks with a butcher knife. I can dismember them. I’ll beat them until they’re almost dead and then let the animals finish them off. I don’t know how I got so good at it. I never took classes. The gift of gutting doesn’t run in my family. Prodigy? Perhaps. In any case, I’ll stick with what I know. This is how I contribute. I hope I’m helpful to other writers in the same way they’re helpful to me.

Excuse me. I’ve got some killing to do.

Ty Hutchinson is a writer living in Northern California. When he’s not writing, he might be traveling, gaming, eating or sharpening his knife. You can buy his latest book, Chop Suey on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. It’s a wickedly funny, action thriller. Visit his blog at for more nonsense.

Friday, October 21, 2011

15th Day of Twisted: Scary Movies

It's the 15th Day of Twisted, and I have to admit that I must be asleep at the controls because I can't find today's featured author's post!  I made a calendar with people's names on each date that they volunteered to post on, and I have my author's first name written down, but I can't find her post anywhere in my email or anywhere else.  So, my fault and I apologize. 

So since I don't know how to contact this first name only mysterious author, I decided to talk about scary movies.  It is almost Halloween after all.  I saw an article on the other day about the 50 scariest movies of all time.  After flipping through the slide show, I had to admit I just didn't agree with them.  I mean, they had some stuff on there that I had just thought was funny, like the Exorcist.  Don't get me wrong, that is fun to watch, but I don't really find it scary.  Weird, yes.  Creepy, kinda.  Scary, no. 

Scary movies seem to go a few ways for me: terrifying, amusing, or let down.   Could also be a combination of these labels.  For example, I found Thirteen Ghosts terrifying.  I would not watch that again if you paid me.  I hated that guy with his head in the box.  I already said I found the Exorcist amusing.  I just watched Paranormal Activity and I found that to be a combination of all three labels.  It was creepy, not terrifying.  I laughed at the part where she got dragged out of her bed and down the hall.  And I hated how the movie ended, total let down. 

So what are your thoughts?  Scariest movie of all time?  Supposedly scary movie that you found to be more of a comedy or stupid?  Comment away!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

14th Day of Twisted: Guest Post by Tammie Clarke Gibbs

It's the 14th Day of Twisted and we have Tammie Clarke Gibbs, author of Island of Secrets.  Looks intriguing! 

If there’s one thing I’ve learned as an author it’s that an idea can come from anywhere.

The loose concept for ISLAND OF SECRETS, my debut novel, came from a family history. The small red book, compiled by a distant family member was written to give each of us insight into our ancestors. In addition, it contained a historical account (whether accurate or legend I couldn’t say) that inspired me to elaborate, and the result was the #1 Bestselling Gothic Romance and #5th Bestselling Time Travel 9/14/11 at Amazon US.

Imagine a family crest, a ship held up to land by a severed and bloody palm. Imagine a woman struggling with her own problems, pretending to be somebody else to help a friend out who discovers a note of warning dated hundreds of years before she was born and addressed to HER. Imagine an Island of Secrets.

I love an old manor with a grand staircase and hidden passageways. I love secrets that span centuries just waiting for fate to step in and reveal the answers and right the wrongs of the past that lingered. I love a love story that can withstand the test of time and grow stronger despite evil forces' interference.

I’ve always had a preoccupation with old books, family histories, old houses, unexplained phenomena and such. The books I enjoy reading the most are those that keep me guessing, those with a little mystery and page-turning suspense woven throughout. When it comes to real life historical accounts like old diaries and such I’m drawn like a moth to a candle. 

Spooky houses have always fascinated me and when I’m traveling, I watch closely for prospects for future books. You never know when you’ll come across a place, a story or an object that will spur your next novel. That’s why I’m always looking. As morbid as it sounds, I visit graveyards to research names appropriate to a time period and scour books that were actually written in the time period my characters will live so that I can get a feel for what they would say and do, first hand. You’d be amazed at how many people depend on histories written by contemporary authors, when the most reliable sources are those who lived during the period. 

I’m working on a new book actually based on a couple of lessor know legends that caught my attention and spurred my imagination. 

Whether you’re a writer or just enjoy the written word, we share one thing in common, the love a good story told well. For now, I’ll endeavor to uncover those little nuggets of information whether via an unusual house or forgotten volume in a dusty library that will prompt my creative juices to flow freely. Until, the next time our paths cross, I’ll leave you with a snippet and invite you to visit an ISLAND OF SECRETS...

Tammie Clarke Gibbs


Still clenching the scribbled note of warning, Lila Fitzpatrick stepped out of the carriage and into the crisp, cool, night.

The haunting silhouette of Winship Manor towered above like a savage animal, crouching in the darkness waiting for its prey.

Large, strange-looking statues were poised protectively on either side of the door. Above them, an eerie glow emanated from the flaming torches that lit part of the narrow pathway.

Lila shivered. She wished she’d thought to bring a sweater. She wished she was wearing some comfy sweats and not this straight, black skirt she could barely walk in.

She reached for the door then paused. Something about the coat of arms bolted under the heavy knocker unnerved her. It wasn’t a very friendly picture. A ship held up to land by a severed, bloody hand and the name Winship.

She stood staring for the longest time. She’d been invited, but felt reluctant to announce her arrival.

Lila looked down at the note then slipped it and the other purse inside her own. She was sure the note had something to do with her jitters, that and the fact that this place looked nothing like the brochure.

She was beginning to understand why the heiress and her new hubby fled. Winship Manor did not look like any posh resort she’d ever seen. It looked like a haunted castle.

The night was chilly. The howling whistle of the wind had followed the carriage the entire distance from the shore to Winship’s tangled gates of iron. Now, however, there was nothing. The trees were oddly still. The only sound, her heart thumping in her breast, echoed in her ears.

Lila lifted the knocker. It was cold against her fingers, and she dropped it sending a loud, quite annoying thud reverberating through the still evening air. She’d known better than to let Cassie talk her into such a hair-brained scheme.

Not only was she stuck on an island pretending to be someone she wasn’t she was getting warning notes from more than three hundred years ago too.

Tammie Clarke Gibbs is the author of ISLAND OF SECRETS, a Time Travel, Gothic Romance and several other non-fiction titles. She is awaiting the upcoming release of her second novel THE COUNTERFEIT, A Mid-Western Historical Romantic Suspense. You can purchase her books via Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Smashwords and at most online ebookstores.

Link to Amazon:

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

13th Day of Twisted: Guest Post by B.J. Whittington

Welcome to the 13th Day of Twisted!  Today we have B.J. Whittington, author of Dragon Soul.  Enjoy! 

As a child, my parents encouraged a strong imagination. I suppose most parents do. ‘Make Believe” becomes a major part of a child’s day.   From Tea Parties, to laser sword fights to building forts in snow banks or sandcastles on the beach or in the local sand lot. Vivid play-acting enriches the lives of children across the world. A sword can be the high-tech toy purchase from the local department store, or a branch shorn of leaves. It only takes the imagination of the child to propel them into a fantasy      world where all things are possible.

Of course, we cannot forget Halloween, where legions of children don costumes and parade through neighborhoods throughout the United States.  My favorite blocks were the ones that some of the houses set up something to scare the kids, a bubbling cauldron, a bowl filled with eyeballs floating in some unsightly goo or even the occasional mini-haunted house. We all knew it was Make Believe, but we immersed ourselves in the moment and screamed in fear or gasped with revulsion.

We loose all this, as we become adults. Oh, sure, on occasion we can play pirate with our kids or the kids next door, if you’re not a parent yet... Nevertheless, as we grasp the role of a grown-up, we discard the daily simulation of living in a dream world.

Except . . . In novels. The pages of a book become our portal to different worlds, different lives, new people and situations. I  confess, I am a Sci-Fi and Fantasy junky. I cannot go long without my fix. Any day I have not had the opportunity to delve between the pages of a good Fantasy or Sci-fi novel leaves me with a gentle itch that something is missing. Should circumstances warrant I have to go several days, well, I am downright twitchy.  I want a deep, immersing tale with multi-layered characters in a world that only exists in the author’s and my imagination.

Fantasy novels are my favorites, they plunge me into Make Believe every time I open the book. Halloween can be a daily event. I get to dress up in my imagination and play a role, and if the writing is good then it is a treat.

When I set out to write my book Dragon Soul I wanted to take the reader on the same type of journey that I crave. There used to be a commercial, about bath oil beads, it said “Calgon, take me away”.      That is what I wrote Dragon Soul to do: to take the reader away to a different world where they’re anxious when characters are afraid, and laugh aloud at some of their antics. Isn’t that the point?

Dragon Soul is a 130,000 word fantasy novel, the first in the series Dragons in the Mist. The second book will be out by Jan 2012.

Thol, a goat herder at Vedicville, never imagined he would start his day as a human and end up as a dragon. Who would?   Granted, he lived in a village of the Palmir People that mentored Dragon Hosts, but  there are usually indications that a person is Host to a Dragon Soul. The first indication for Thol, was when his hands began to elongate and turn into talons.   

At Thol's Scholla they taught that Dragon Souls are intelligent and giving. Not so, with his Dragon Soul--Rasdor--he is almost simple in his thoughts. Food, play and sleep are all that cross his mind,      avaricious to please only himself... Unless he is dwelling on his wrath at his perceived ill treatment when he first Transformed, then he is full of a destructive rage verging on madness.

Rasdor is prone to what Thol's dama called a temper tantrum. However, the temper tantrum thrown by a child is laughable in comparison to those thrown by a dragon. Thol finds Rasdor completely      unpredictable. He can see Rasdor's access to skills of his kind coming forth much faster than his      maturity level. Soon an all-powerful dragon would be loose on the countryside with the behavior of a spoiled child...

Vedicville serves as a place to mentor Dragon Souls and Hosts, humans who transform into dragons. When Rasdor emerges unexpectedly and fly's off in a panic, the villagers commence a journey to find him.

The search uncovers more than the lost dragon, the key to saving their entire civilization. If they realize it in time.

I invite you to delve into my world with me, hopefully you, too, will have a Take me away moment!

B.J. Whittington

Available at: 

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

12th Day of Twisted: Guest Post by CC James

On the 12th day of Twisted we have CC James, author of Banshee's Cry.  Have fun reading her post--Beware of the Banshee's Keen:

As a child my sister and I loved watching the old movie Darby O'Gill and the Little People. We giggled at Darby's silly antics while he attempted to outsmart King Brian, Lord of the Leprechauns, and giggled even more at James Bond, er, Sean Connery singing sappy love ballads.

And then the Banshee showed up—the spectral keening woman who if you were unfortunate enough to hear her wail—then you were going to die soon. And there really isn't any way to get around it.

I've been fascinated with Banshees ever since. There are legends about them—slightly dif
ferent—from various parts of the world.

In Irish mythology, a banshee (bean si or bean-sidhe) is a fairy who wails if someone is about to die as an omen of death or messenger from the Otherworld.

In Scottish legend, the Banshee most often appears as an ugly, frightening hag, but she can also appear as a stunningly beautiful woman.

The hag may also appear as a washer-woman, or bean-nighe or washer woman of the ford, and is seen washing the blood stained clothes or armor of those doomed to die.

Her mourning call is heard at night when someone is about to die and usually around woods and streams.

So when I began my series with monster and ghost hunting brothers, one of the obvious choices of spirits the boys had to go up against just had to be a Banchee. It was great fun, mixing the Irish and Scottish versions and making her my own variation. Then when one of the brothers hears her keen, figuring out how the other brother could get rid of her curse through contemporary methods became a fun challenge. Ipod anyone?

Banshee's Cry was a blast to write.


Monday, October 17, 2011

11th Day of Twisted: Guest Post by Suzanne Tyrpak

It's the 11th Day of Twisted and for your reading enjoyment I have Suzanne Tyrpak, author of Ghost Plane and Other Disturbing Tales.  Happy Monday!

Every Day Horror

Three months ago I had an accident at work resulting in three emergency operations and amputation of a toe. Since then I’ve been thinking a lot about horror. I’ve been thinking about how horror can occur at any time, not just at night when the lights are out, but when we least expect it: walking down a street, at the gym, the supermarket.

Take an every day situation, twist it, and it can become horrifying. Stephen King said the difference between him and other people is: most people board an airplane, open the overhead compartment and wonder if there’s room for their luggage, but he opens the same overhead compartment imagining it’s filled with rats.

In books and movies, I find every day horror more frightening than supernatural monsters. For me, the most horrifying situation imaginable is to discover that I’m the monster. The monsters in my psyche, and in other people’s psyches, really scare me. I’m interested in exploring the twisted recesses of our minds. While an event can certainly be frightening and horrible by its nature: a plane crash, violence, lack of freedom, being held against our will, torture—what makes that event truly horrifying is the response of our mind. And our minds can twist any situation into something awful.

I’m interested in every day occurrences that become monstrous. For example, the day I had my accident began as a normal workday. I’m a customer service representation for an airline. I check people in and work the gate. These days I don’t work much out on the ramp, where the job can be physically demanding and dangerous. We had finished boarding the aircraft, and we were pulling away the heavy stairs we use for loading passengers. As we pulled the stairs away from the plane one of the wheels ran over my foot. Over a thousand pounds crushed my toes. I fell onto the tarmac, writhing and screaming.

I find the situation horrifying, not only because of the pain and bodily damage suffered, but because of the unexpectedness. One moment everything was fine, I was looking forward to having breakfast, and the next moment my life changed. I had to face the unknown with no preparation. (By the way, the result of the accident is that, after three emergency operations, I lost a toe, had two broken and dislocated toes, and I’m still recovering from the crush injury and nerve damage. There’s a happy ending, because the accident gave me time to finish my next novel, and I’ve recovered enough to walk and drive again.)

Horror is intensified when it’s unexpected. In that way, it’s different from suspense. Suspense builds tension. Suspense can lead to horror, but I believe truly horrifying situations contain an element of surprise. It’s not just the monster, it’s the monster that jumps out at us when we least expect it. It’s not just the murderer it’s the person we trust suddenly revealed as a murderer.

Every day horror takes a normal situation and sets it on its head. Sure, it can be horrifying to enter an abandoned building late at night, but setting horror in an everyday situation can be even more disturbing. The contrast builds more tension, because we’re not expecting something awful to occur. That’s why the shower scene in Psycho is so frightening—it’s any everyday situation gone wrong.

I invite you to play with this idea. Next time you get into your car, you’re waiting at a bus stop, sitting in church, working out at the gym—imagine how the situation could be turned on its head. That’s what I explore in my short story collection Ghost Plane and Other Disturbing Tales. It doesn’t have to be a dark and rainy night for something horrific to occur. Horror can occur on a sunny Sunday morning.  

Ghost Plane and Other Disturbing Tales available FREE at: 

Sunday, October 16, 2011

10th Day of Twisted: Guest Post by Collin Kelley

Happy 10th day of Twisted!  Today's guest post is Mystery and Magical Realism by Collin Kelley...Enjoy!!

Remain In Light is a mystery/suspense novel, but it also contains touches of magical realism and its premise relies heavily on Carl Jung's theory of synchronicity, which posits that there are no random occurrences. The main characters, Martin Paige and Irène Laureux, are separated by a 40 year age gap and, initially, a continent, yet the dreams and experiences they share cannot be dismissed as coincidence. They both seem to have an extra-sensory perception of each other and events before they happen.

In 1968, Irène's husband was murdered during the Paris student and worker riots. Thirty years later, she is still on the hunt for the man who knows how and why Jean-Louis died – his secret lover, Frederick Dubois. Martin, an American expat writer, is helping Irène, but he's also still reeling from a love affair gone wrong with a student, David McLaren. Martin meets a young poet, Christian, and the two fall in love, but their happiness is shaken when Martin's friend, Diane Jacobs, arrives in Paris with news that David has gone missing.

As Irène and Martin search for clues, they go deeper into an underworld that is not the Paris of postcards and travel programs. The city is filled with corrupt cops, drug dealers, prostitutes, stolen identities and immigrants fleeing genocide living in the shadowy, slightly out of focus urban landscape. I wanted the Paris of Remain In Light to exist in a kind of alternate universe, where I could create buildings, streets and Metro stations that suited the characters and worked to advance the plot.

I've always had a hard time sticking to one genre. We don't live in the black and white, cut and dry worlds that often exist in genre mystery novels. I wanted to give readers a little jolt, leave them guessing and let them come to their own conclusions about the more paranormal events that take place in the story. If you're reading this and looking for a mystery with an unexpected twist, Remain In Light might be the book for you.

Remain In Light is available in eBook format at Amazon and Smashwords. A trade paperback edition will be published in January. For more visit

Saturday, October 15, 2011

9th Day of Twisted: Guest Post by Red Tash

It's the 9th Day of Twisted here today and we have Red Tash, author of This Brilliant Darkness... After you read this, make sure you run over and enter the contest going on at Red's blog!!

Thanks for having me on your blog, Rachel!  Especially today, when I'm rounding up the last-minute entries to my Trick or Treat Bash.  I released my first novel recently, and I've been hosting a Halloween-themed giveaway in celebration, ever since.  In fact, many of your guest bloggers have contributed to the Grand Prize: a loaded Kindle!  Yep, I'm giving away a new Kindle, and it's going to be loaded with novels and short stories perfect for the Halloween mood.  How's that for cool?  2nd and 3rd prizes are Amazon gift cards, and free copies of my book This Brilliant Darkness, as well.  Hope to see some of your readers around the Bash before it ends on the 16th!

So, I write scary stuff.  That's not all I write (in my other life I am a journalist), but since I released my book, that's where my focus has been.  Lately I have been asked several times how or why I started writing.  That's a long and boring story, probably, but here's a tiny part of it that I just remembered, while looking at a pretty fearsome photo.  One of the first serious fiction pieces I wrote was horror.  And I never thought of myself as a horror writer, back then.  Ironically, I dreamed of being as big as Stephen King, but I did *not* want to write horror!  LOL! 

So, back in high school (yes, we’re climbing into the Way Back Machine, hold onto your hats), there was a writing competition by the Literary Guild, or Literary Society, or Literary Club, or something like that.  I wasn’t a member, only because I was too damned busy running the yearbook and other diversions.

Anyway, they had a contest.  I submitted a story.  I have absolutely no recollection what that story was about, but it won.  They even gave me a decent cash prize.  I think it was $50 or something, which ain’t too shabby for a kid in rural Indiana in the early 90s.

The Literary Club was preparing some kind of publication, perhaps a journal…?  Anyway, they lost my story, so they asked me if I could rewrite it.  Yep, this was in the olden days, children, before we typed everything out and had saved copies.  They’d lost my only copy of this hand-written masterpiece, and they were deeply remorseful.

I replied honestly—I didn’t have the heart to rewrite it.  I just couldn’t.  I guess it was too demoralizing for the 17 y.o. emo-when-emo-wasn’t-cool version of Red.

So, I offered a compromise.  I would write them a *new* story for their journal.
And I did.  I wrote a horror story, instead.  Again, I don’t remember a thing about that first story, only that it wasn’t horror.  Don’t get me wrong, I can do light and fluffy!  It’s just not my favorite, and perhaps this story I’m telling you now reveals why I write the kind of fiction I do. 

There was a boy.  (Isn’t there always a boy?)  He was a complete jackass.  I understand he grew up to be a deadbeat “dad,” among other things, so I’m assuming he still is one.  Anyway, I digress.
I was waiting for that jackass to check in at the military recruiting office.  I don’t know if they were just going ahead and giving him a physical, or what, but he was in there a VERY long time.

I guess that long, frustrating wait really poisoned my mood (that, along with the jackass), so I wrote a story about a little boy who went completely crazy and slaughtered his family with a large kitchen knife.  I think I made that kid about 6 years old.

Never heard from the Literary Club again.

Kids, I think, are inherently dangerous.  They shout threats that they mean with all their hearts, and the silent thoughts they bear inside their minds are often deadly.  Especially the revenge plans.  I challenge you to meet any killer who ruthlessly slays others, who doesn’t have the heart of an abused child.  I mean that.

And, hey, even the nice ones are hiding all those TEETH.  Think about it.

HEY, speaking of winning contests, enter mine while you still have time.  It ends October 16th, winners announced on the 17th!

Links, for your convenience:

My blog:

Kindle Giveaway:
 This Brilliant Darkness:

 Follow me on twitter:

 Follow me:

Friday, October 14, 2011

8th Day of Twisted: Guest Post by V.A. Jeffrey

Welcome to the 8th day of Twisted!  Today we have V.A. Jeffrey, author of Dust and Bones.  Awesome title!  Enjoy!

October is the perfect month to talk about stories with dark themes - be they light gray themes with a little silver lining or stories as black as sin (evil laughter!)
Dust and Bones is interesting in that I started with a cool sounding title first.. Back when Guns and Roses were at the height of their popularity they had a great song off their Use Your Illusion I album called Dust N' Bones. Both of the Use Your Illusion albums came out the year I graduated. Actually, nearly everything they made was great, but that's off the subject!
I have always loved the song and the title and eventually I became so enamored with the title that I wanted to build a short story around it, but a story never came. I've always had this idea about a guy in the desert, but that was it. So the title and this inchoate idea rattled around in my brain for years while I got on to other things. Oddly enough, last year I was watching some YouTube channels I'm subscribed to and a few of them centered on corrupt ministers. Specifically, two of them. A poster had uploaded videos of some sermons by these two preachers that showed in no uncertain terms what they were really about; raw, naked greed and absolute contempt for those who didn't tithe, those who were not wealthy like them. One of them even had the nerve to brag about buying his wife a $15,000 dog!
It was ugly and blazingly offensive and these YT videos exposed these charlatans for all the world to see! I was so mad after seeing that I didn't know what to do for a long time. Unfortunately, you can no longer watch these videos because, unsurprisingly, YT forced the poster to take them down. I'm certain it was at the behest of these ministers or their "people". Whatever. I will never forget those videos nor will I forget the names of those bad ministers. A lot of other people saw these videos too, so no matter what legal means they use to threaten those who expose them, people know what they are: hucksters!
Then it came to me: That's the story! Greedy, wealthy men playing a game hosted by a mysterious man for even MORE money! That's the story! I believe in the Almighty and I believe that men (and women) who cloak themselves in the Holy Bible for profit will have a reckoning before God one day. That became the story for Dust and Bones. After I had figured out what I wanted the story to be, it came rather easily. I loved writing Dust and Bones and I hope readers enjoy it. Dust and Bones is free.

Smashwords Link:
Scribd link:
Dust and Bones is free at Smashwords and Scribd.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

7th Day of Twisted: Guest Post by Steve Vernon

For the 7th day of Twisted, we have Steve Vernon with us, author of The Lunenburg Werewolf and Devil Tree...Enjoy!

Cabbage Night, Colcannon and Creativity
"Did you ever eat Colcannon, made from lovely pickled cream?
With the greens and scallions mingled like a picture in a dream.
Did you ever make a hole on top to hold the melting flake
Of the creamy, flavored butter that your mother used to make?”
(traditional Irish folksong)

There is going to be an awful lot written about Halloween in the next couple of weeks – but I want to tell you folks about a night that rural Nova Scotia folk sometimes refer to as - Cabbage Night.
In years ago Cabbage Night was a time for running with the shadows and whooping and yelling and building great bonfires and whispering in the darkness.
And giggling.
Cabbage Night was a night for giggling.
Every year, on the night before Halloween, children on the French Shore of Nova Scotia would stage great raids upon local cabbage fields. Here they would uproot the nastiest and foulest cabbage they could find. They would search through the bracken and ruttle of turned over dirt – hunting for the most frost-bitten and rotten cabbage they could uncover.
I’m not saying it smelled sweet, you understand.
These cabbages would be flung at the doors and walls of local cottages and houses. They would land with heavy satisfying slaps and splatters against the brick and siding of local residents.
And woe to those who were careless enough to open their door to a knick-knacking pack of children – for they would find themselves the unhappy recipient of a deftly rolled rotting cabbage head that would bowl forward just long enough to reach the clean spot in the center of the kitchen floor where it would break down into a nasty fragrant decaying mulch.
Also useful were the long, gnarled stumps left over from where the farmers had cut away the good cabbages. These too could be used as wonderfully groaty projectiles but it was far better to use them as cudgels. Great cabbage stump battles would be waged on the shoreline as two or three or thirty hardy – or perhaps foolhardy – young warriors would wage battle with the cruciferae cudgels.
This is what I love to do with my writing.
I root through old fields and midden heaps and graveyards and landfills of history. I rummage about and find something good and groaty and then I pull it out. An old ghost story, a legend, or just the bare hint of a tale.
Sometimes I unearth entire carcasses, other times it is nothing more than the shadow of a bone.
Whatever it is, I work with it and try to give it life. I add meat and build it up – one piece at a time. We writers must often play Frankenstein and stitch up our cadavers from the bits and pieces we discover along the way. We stitch each chunk of rotting cabbage together with love and care and precision – until we have modeled ourselves a fine fat Cabbage King.
And then we give it life. We let fly our thunderbolts of creativity and give those old bones and rotten meat life – of a sort.
Each of my numerous ghost story collections (Haunted Harbours, Wicked Woods, Halifax Haunts, Maritime Monsters and The Lunenburg Werewolf) are nothing more than a mass of stories based upon the bits of fact, fiction and folklore that I have stitched together. I am a great recycler, taking old yarns and giving them brand new life. I soup them up and update them. I pimp them out.
In the end that is what we writers do. We take our dreams and our memories and we stitch them together with our imagination and a well-placed lightning bolt of creativity and we give our stories life!
(insert sound-bite of Colin Clive’s craziest cackle – He’s alive, I tell you, alive)
Let me leave you with a wee bit of a recipe.
It is considered customary to make yourself a pot of Colcannon on cabbage night. It is a simple and hearty dish made by mashing boiled cabbage with turnips and potatoes. Butter and salt as liberally as you like.
On Halloween a ring and a thimble were often added to the mixture. If your bowlful contained the ring it would signify and upcoming marriage in your future – if you were unlucky enough to find the thimble in your bowl of Colcannon it meant you’d be doomed to a single life.
Here’s the recipe.
I used 4-6 potatoes and one good-sized turnip. About 2-3 pounds. Peel them and chunk them and put them in a pot with enough cold water to cover them by at least an inch or so. Scatter a bit of salt over the spuds and neep. Boil until you can smoosh the potatoes with a blunt fork – maybe 15 or 20 minutes. Drain in a colander.
Chop a fair-sized cabbage while you’re waiting for the spuds to boil. Whistle if you must, but do not attempt to dance. It is bad luck to try and jig while you’re chopping cabbage – especially if you’re using a knife.
Put the pot back on the stove and set over medium-high heat. Melt a good wad of butter, about 5-6 tablespoons, into the pot and add the chopped cabbage. Stir it up some until it begins to wilt. While you’re waiting chop some onions. Try and look like you know what you’re doing – even if someone isn’t watching. Practice pays off. Stir in the chopped onions. This whole part of the process shouldn’t take too long. About two minutes for the cabbage and one minute for the onions. Keep stirring and whistling. It is a fine aerobic workout.
Pour in a cup of milk. Traditionalists will use cream, but cream gives me heartburn. Reduce the heat to medium. Don’t burn the milk. Dump the spuds and turnip into the mot and mash them up, getting the cabbage and onion all smooshed together. It ought to look like somebody had dropped a Martian into a bowl of curdled puss and hit frappe.
Salt and butter and pepper to your liking. Serve it with meat – bacon or sausages or pork goes great. Fish is fine too, but it’s awfully healthy for wasting on such a wonderful cholesterol-riddle mess as good Colcannon.
Some people will tell you that you can use kale or chard or even mustard or dandelion greens in place of the cabbage. Others will talk of using parsnips instead of turnip.
People say a lot of things, don’t they.
Whatever you make it out off, have something cold to drink it with. I favor a thick knife-and-fork ale – say a Guinness or something local from a micro-brewery. Stock up on your incense while you’re at it. Colcannon can be mighty fumish, afterwards.
Just remember that there is no real recipe for anything – beyond boil it, fry it, bake it or barbecue. Cooking, like any form of creativity has no real rules to it. The main thing is to have fun.
I like to make my own version of Colcannon with purple potatoes and red cabbage and fat turnips and a gi-normous red onion. The resulting purple mulch is both tasty and filling – and I call it Nightcrawler Stew – after the teleporting blue-furred X-Man. A bowl or two of this will keep you warm and giggling the whole winter long.
"Yes you did, so you did, so did he and so did I.
And the more I think about it sure the nearer I'm to cry.
Oh, wasn't it the happy days when troubles we had not,
And our mothers made Colcannon in the little skillet pot."
Yours in storytelling,

Steve Vernon

Steve Vernon is a writer/teller/collector of ghost stories and all things that go booga-booga. If you want to try one of his ghost story collections check out The Lunenburg Werewolf – available at or Chapters/Indigo outlets across Canada – as well as in many wonderful independent bookstores. For Kindle users you might want to take a peek at Steve Vernon’s novel DEVIL TREE or his story collection ROADSIDE GHOSTS.

Buy The Lunenburg Werewolf here:

Buy Devil Tree here:

or here: