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Allison Author Photo1Allison M. Dickson is a writer of dark contemporary fiction living in Dayton, Ohio. Though STRINGS is her debut novel, she has been writing for a number of years, with several short stories (including “Dust” and “Under the Scotch Broom”) available on Amazon. Two of her stories were featured The Endlands Volume 2 from Hobbes End Publishing. In 2014, Hobbes End will also be releasing her dystopian science fiction novel, THE LAST SUPPER, and she is independently producing her pulpy dieselpunk noir novel, COLT COLTRANE AND THE LOTUS KILLER to be released in November of 2013. When she isn’t writing, she’s one of the co-hosts of the weekly Creative Commoners podcast.  She might also be found gaming, watching movies, hiking the local nature preserve with her husband and two kids who also serve as willing guinea pigs for her many culinary experiments.

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Q: Congratulations on the release of your latest book, STRINGS. What was your inspiration for it?

A: The book originally began life as a short story I had out for awhile on Amazon called “The Good Girls,” where I told the story of a young and indebted prostitute assigned to visit a horrifying hermit as her final job. But when other readers told me the story read like the beginning to a much longer book, I decided to run with that and the book was born a short time later. I really wanted to tell a story that didn’t have a true hero. I wanted to explore elements of control and freedom, and whether or not those things were illusions. I was inspired a lot by the great crime fiction of Gillian Flynn and Dennis Lehane, but I wanted to add my own special horror twist to the equation.

Q: Tell us something interesting about your protagonist.

A: Well, the story has three protagonists who share equal billing. The first is Nina, the young hooker who is ultimately held prisoner in this house of horrors. She’s left to explore the frightening depths of her own soul. The Madam, who sent Nina to that house, is a pretty sick and twisted lady herself, but she’s very outmatched by her “brother,” and I put that word in quotations for a reason. Finally, there is Ramón, the Madam’s former driver who is also an indentured worker of this criminal organization. He takes matters into his own hands and tries to make a run for it. All three of them are locked together in this twisted web.

Q: How was your creative process like during the writing of this book and how long did it take you to complete it? Did you face any bumps along the way?

A: Writing this book was a bit like mainlining a very powerful drug that took me to some very creepy and very dark places. The project consumed much of my day and my thought processes, and I powered through that first draft (which was around 85,000 words) in a grueling period of about six weeks. The writing of the novel itself was effortless. I had very few issues with plotting it or figuring out how to end it, which are typically obstacles for me. The issues I had writing the book were more personal ones in that I basically burnt my mind out working so furiously on such a grim piece of work. It took a couple months to come out of my little mental cave.

Strings_Cover_125x193Q: How do you keep your narrative exciting throughout the creation of a novel?

A: For this novel, it was particularly easy, because each chapter was from the point-of-view of one of the three main characters. Writing a book where you’re essentially in the head of one person can get a little challenging after awhile, because sometimes you start feeling limited in what you can see and do. Being able to switch it up so regularly was, I think, one of the main factors that allowed me to stay on task from beginning to end. By the time I reached the end of a Madam chapter, I had to become someone completely different to be Ramón, same with Nina. It was only with Nina’s chapters that I felt a little bit of dread writing, because I think hers are the most raw and frightening of the book.

Q: Do you experience anxiety before sitting down to write? If yes, how do you handle it?

A: Only on certain scenes. Namely climactic ones. I sometimes find myself avoiding writing a certain part of a book for a couple days, even when I know exactly what I plan to have happen. I worry that I won’t be able to execute it properly, so I edge around it for as long as I can and then just hold my nose and dive in. It’s usually fun once I get going, but it’s the anticipation that can be such a killer.

Q: What is your writing schedule like and how do you balance it with your other work and family time?

A: I don’t have a job outside the home competing for my time, so I try to get most of my work done when my husband and kids are gone for the day. This allows me to be present for them when they are around, though there are times when a project is running at full peak—much like I was for the duration of writing STRINGS, when I was writing day and night—when my husband has to pick up the slack for me. I’m lucky that our kids are older now and more self-sufficient, so that makes it easier when those spells hit, but I ultimately prefer our more structured times. Authors spend a lot of time living up inside their own heads, and it can be tempting to stay up there for good. The family keeps me awake and grounded.

Q: How do you define success?

A: It has changed a LOT since I got into this business. It used to be that my success (aside from even finishing a book) was dependent on getting an agent and a major book deal by a big New York publishing house and seeing my books on the stands at Barnes & Noble. And while I wouldn’t turn my nose up at any of those things if it meant getting my books into a lot more hands, I feel very successful with the little career I’ve carved out for myself. I love my relationship with my small publisher, Hobbes End Publishing. I’ve realized that the resources it takes to get a book assembled and produced and released are available at all levels of the spectrum. The small press books you order from Amazon are just as good as the Random House ones someone else just ordered from Amazon. They go through the same level of scrutiny and editing and marketing and design. The small guys just have fewer authors to cater to and they might not be able to print a run of tens of thousands of books. But this also means far less overhead so you can often make a bigger share of the pie. I also love that I have so much creative control and more intimate contact with the whole production process of the book, that they take good care of their small roster of authors and that it feels much like a family. Working in the smaller leagues can also have its drawbacks (distribution being one of them), but I’ve learned there are drawbacks to having the “big” traditional publishing career too and that you should be careful what you wish for. I no longer pine for presence in big bookstores, because fewer and fewer people are shopping in them. Seeing a big book display with my name on it would be more a fulfillment of ego than anything. These days, I just feel successful getting my work into the hands of readers by any means possible, whether that’s through bookstores or strictly through online sales or independently publishing them myself or even giving them away. Go where most of the readers are. If you can tap into that, you’ve succeeded.

Q: What advice would you give to aspiring writers whose spouses or partners don’t support their dreams of becoming an author?

A: Find a new partner. Okay okay, it isn’t always that simple. Sometimes you can still have a great spouse, even if they don’t quite “get” this path you’ve chosen for yourself, where you spend a lot of time alone typing out words, making up stories and largely getting underpaid (or not paid at all) for it, especially when you’re starting out. To some people, this plan can seem selfish or childish, but you can’t let someone else live your life for you. Lead by example. Dedicate yourself to your craft completely and stay committed, while at the same time being present for your partner. When your hard work begins to show dividends through publication credits and royalties, your partner may just come around, but even if you don’t have those things to show for it, even if this is just a hobby, your dedication should demonstrate to your partner that writing is a priority of yours and should at least be respected. Also, setting a decent work schedule and establishing healthy boundaries is really helpful. While you shouldn’t be able to have free reign to check out of life and work on your books whenever you see fit (especially if you have kids or animals or co-habitate), your partner should honor the agreed upon hours you’ve set aside to work. If he or she can’t give you one or two hours a day to pursue or enjoy something that is important to you, then maybe there are some other issues in the relationship that should be addressed with the help of a counselor. Or, barring that, a frying pan to the head. Hey, I’m kidding. Mostly.

Q: George Orwell once wrote: “Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout of some painful illness. One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven on by some demon whom one can neither resist nor understand.” Do you agree?

A: This quote describes almost verbatim how I felt writing STRINGS. The story grabbed hold of me and refused to let go until it was finished. And it wrecked me for a good while. They aren’t all like that, at least not all the way through, but I do think if you’re interested in turning out quality work, you should agree with this statement at least somewhat, because when you feel possessed by the process and a little wrecked when it’s finished, it means you’re heavily invested in your work, it means you’re bleeding at least a little. And a lot of time that equates to one hell of a book that sticks with people when it’s done. I hope that’s happened with my work, though ultimately it’s in the eye of the beholder.

Q:  Anything else you’d like to tell my readers?

A: If you like STRINGS, there is a sequel in the works. Actually, a full series if the characters keep speaking to me. But the follow-up is being written as we speak.

 

 

 

 

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17605079The Catholic Church fights the Legions of Hell in Mysterious Albion, Book I in Leone’s Vatican Vampire Hunter series.

American college student Lucy Manning is visiting the London nightclub scene when she loses her best friend to a vampire. Traumatized by her friend’s death as well as by the fact that she herself was almost killed, Lucy flights back to the States.

But soon after, she is visited by two members of the Church — Father Gelasius and Sister Anne — who make her an offer she can’t resist.

Against her family’s wishes, Lucy heads back to London and joins a secret society of vampire hunters. Together with Father Gelasius, Sister Anne, and two other young members like herself, Lucy begins to fight the vampires who haunt the streets of night-time London — of course, not without going through a tough training first.

As more innocent victims disappear, it becomes obvious that the situation is getting worse…for an ancient, powerful vampire has risen from her slumber, and she’ll stop at nothing to shed rivers of blood upon the earth.

Mysterious Albion is an entertaining, thoroughly enjoyable read. I used to be a fan of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and this story, though different in many aspects, has a similar tone that will be relished by fans of the genre.

Lucy is a very real, sympathetic character, and Leone did an excellent job in bringing London and the English countryside to life.

I also especially enjoyed the traditional vampire lore where vampires are depicted as evil monsters and not sexy creatures — quite refreshing!

This is Catholic urban fantasy, so there’s also a lot of religious references. However, I didn’t find these detrimental to the plot.

Witty dialogue isn’t lacking and there’s a fair share of fun battle scenes.

Recommended!

More on the author’s website. Purchase on Amazon and B&N.

Originally published in Blogcritics Magazine.

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earp1While most people go to Disneyland while in Southern California, Jeani Rector went to the Fangoria Weekend of Horror there instead. She grew up watching the Bob Wilkins Creature Feature on television and lived in a house that had the walls covered with framed Universal Monsters posters. It is all in good fun and actually, most people who know Jeani personally are of the opinion that she is a very normal person. She just writes abnormal stories. Doesn’t everybody?

Jeani Rector is the founder and editor of The Horror Zine and has had her stories featured in magazines such as Aphelion, Midnight Street, Strange Weird and Wonderful, Dark River Press, Macabre Cadaver, Ax Wound, Horrormasters, Morbid Outlook, Horror in Words, Black Petals, 63Channels, Death Head Grin, Hackwriters, Bewildering Stories, Ultraverse, and others.

Q: Congratulations on the release of your latest anthology, SHADOW MASTERS: AN ANTHOLOGY FROM THE HORROR ZINE. When did you start writing and what got you into horror?

A: When I was a little girl, I spent nearly every Saturday night at my best friend’s house. We would try to stay up late and watch the Bob Wilkin’s Creature Feature here in Sacramento. (I say try because we always fell asleep on the floor in front of the TV). Wilkins always showed gothic vampire films and B-grade monster mashes.

That started my love of the genre…and then came Carrie by Stephen King. Need I say more?

Q: Did you have a mentor who encouraged you?

A: It’s always a teacher, isn’t it? My fifth-grade teacher told my mother: “Encourage her writing and discourage her artwork.” Ha! That says something about my drawing ability.

Q: Did you have any struggles or difficulties when you started writing?

A: Oh god, yes. Before computers, there was the typewriter and gobs of White Out. Then technology advanced, making writing better for everyone. Embrace technology! The “good old days” are really the “difficult old days.”

11736839-22769210-thumbnailQ: What was your inspiration for putting together SHADOW MASTERS?

A: My inspiration is to combine best-selling writers with the talented lesser-knowns. SHADOW MASTERS is the first time The Horror Zine has compiled original, never-before seen works from horror greats such as Bentley Little, Yvonne Navarro, Scott Nicholson, Melanie Tem, Elizabeth Massie, Earl Hamner, Simon Clark, Cheryl Kaye Tardif, Ronald Malfi, Lisa Morton, Jeff Bennington, JG Faherty and many others; this amazing collection of works also includes a Foreword from Joe R. Lansdale.

Q: Do you have any short story plotting secrets? Do you use index cards or special software?

A: I have written the “secrets” for short story writing that can be found in the June issue of The Horror Zine (under TIPS) available now at http://www.thehorrorzine.com.

Q: What do you tell your muse when she refuses to collaborate?

A: I say “I’ll be back” and file it in my “unfinished” folder. Then I work on something else. Or go out and enjoy the day. The point is, you cannot force your muse. She comes to you.

Q: Many writers experience a vague anxiety before they sit down to write. Can you relate to this?

A: Not really. Writing is like your job: you set aside a certain amount of time each day. If your muse is uncooperative, then you can always do edits on what you have previously written.

Q: How do you celebrate the completion of an anthology?

A: Splash it all over The Horror Zine, Facebook, and Shocklines!

Q: What do you love most about the writer’s life?

A: Well, you have to understand that I am also an editor. I think I like that best, because I get opportunities to work with the most talented (and nicest) people in the world.

Q:  Anything else you’d like to tell my readers?

A: The Horror Zine is always seeking fiction, poetry and art from morbidly creative people. Come visit us at http://www.thehorrorzine.com.

Purchase SHADOW MASTERS from Amazon (paperback) and on Kindle.

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AMAZON KINDLE

I’ve been writing for over forty-one years and have gone through a lot of frustrating or downright infuriating situations with publishers and editors. Since 1981 I’ve had nine publishers and, at least, all total – including rereleases – twenty-five or more editors.  I’ve suffered 4% royalties, dreadful covers, bad editing and shoddy proof-reading, confusing statements, late royalty payments (or nonexistent ones) and other near-criminal acts committed against me by publishers and editors I’d so naively put my trust in over the years. Now days I like to look back at those occasions, write about them; smile or even laugh over them, though they weren’t so funny when they were happening. This is one of those smiling times…because the conception, writing, publishing and, finally, self-publishing of my murder mystery Scraps of Paper has had such a long vexing journey but has finally ended, for me, happily.

On January 15, 2013 I self-published it, for the first time, as an eBook on Amazon Kindle Direct, after waiting ten long years as it languished beneath a terribly unfair hardcover contract with Avalon Books that had a sell-off limit of 3,500 hard copies. Ten years where they claimed it barely sold (no joke…their asking price was ridiculously high at $26.00) and that it didn’t sell one copy in the last two years of its contract–though the book was on sale everywhere on the Internet. I never received one royalty statement and had to beg in yearly emails to be told how many copies had sold that year. Of course, since the totals never got near the 3,500, they said, I would get no royalty statements. And I never did. Not one. Ever. Last month my book was finally mine again and I was free of that atrocious contract and now, after a revision and commissioning a new stunning cover from my cover artist Dawne Dominique, I’ve released it into the world without the publisher’s shackles to imprison it. Fly little bird, fly!

Originally I wrote it be the first of a series set in this quaint, quirky little town I tongue-in-cheek called Spookie. I mean, most of my books before were horror novels and I was basically considered a horror writer, so the town’s name was a tip-of-the-hat to my horror roots. It’d be my first venture into that genre, which I’d always loved. Sherlock Holmes. Murder She Wrote. Inspector Morse. Miss Marple. I wrote it and then, quickly after, a second in the series All Things Slip Away for Avalon Books. I got a small advance up front for each one.

It was 2002. I’d come out of a lengthy publishing dry spell. My seventh paperback novel, Zebra’s The Calling, a ghost story with an ancient Egyptian theme, had come out in 1994. Then they dumped a lot of us mid-list horror writers, me included, saying horror was dying; and for eight years I couldn’t sell another book. Well, living my life got in the way during some of that time. I’d lost my long-time good-paying graphic artist job in 1994 and had to find another one. The pay was a lot less. No good for my budget or my standard of living, which really fell. I went from one of five bad jobs to another over the next six years…each worse and lower paying than the one before.  Each more demanding. I needed to make money. No longer could I live with pie-in-the-sky literary dreams. I had to face reality. So I stopped writing for a while.

When I finally came up for breath and my head was back on straight again I decided to write something different…a mystery. I’d always loved mysteries.  I began writing Scraps of Paper. About a woman, an artist named Jenny, whose husband has been missing for two years, and who’s just learned he’s been dead all that time–a victim of a gone-wrong mugging. She begins a new life and moves to a small town full of fog, quirky townspeople and mysteries. And right away she’s drawn into one of her own when she buys, renovates, a fixer-upper house and uncovers hidden in it scraps of paper written by two young children who once lived there with their mother, and who supposedly drove away thirty years before and were never seen again. The town thought they simply went somewhere else; began a new life. But Jenny suspects they never left the house; suspects they’d been murdered. Then she finds three graves in the back.

Of course, with her history of a missing husband she develops the overpowering urge to find out what happened to them. The scraps of paper she continues to find makes the bond, the desire, stronger. She forms a friendship with an ex-homicide cop, Frank, and together they try to solve the mystery. Only thing is there’s someone still living in the town that just as desperately doesn’t want them to. Someone who’d kill to keep the murderer’s identity secret.

When done I was proud of it. Thought it was good. I sent it to Avalon Books in New York. They loved it and bought it. I signed the contract, though I didn’t like some of the things in it. But I was desperate. I hadn’t had a book published in so long and, as my mom always said, beggars can’t be choosers.  I sold them the second in the series, hoping it’d help sell the first. They got great reviews. But I came to regret signing both those contracts more as every year went by because I never received one penny more for either book for the next ten years. I know, it sounds impossible. But it happened to me. I’m sure it happened to a lot of their authors. Probably one of the reasons Avalon Books sold themselves lock-stock-and-barrel to Amazon Publishing in June of 2012 and, without their authors’ knowledge or permission, including mine, sold away their authors’ contracts from under them as well.  I guess you live and learn. I was just lucky Scraps of Paper’s contract had run out. I took the book back.

But, all that is in the past, and my rewritten Scraps of Paper-Revised Author’s Edition is now available, on sale for $3.99 (much better than $26.00), at Amazon Kindle here: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00B1W4A2K   And I hope people will have the chance to read it this time around and like it.

***

About Kathryn Meyer Griffith

Since childhood I’ve always been an artist and worked as a graphic designer in the corporate world and for newspapers for twenty-three years before I quit to write full time. I began writing novels at 21, over forty years ago now, and have had seventeen (ten romantic horror, two romantic SF horror, one romantic suspense, one romantic time travel, one historical romance and two murder mysteries) previous novels, two novellas and twelve short stories published from Zebra Books, Leisure Books, Avalon Books, The Wild Rose Press, Damnation Books/Eternal Press and Amazon Kindle Direct.

I’ve been married to Russell for almost thirty-five years; have a son, James, and two grandchildren, Joshua and Caitlyn, and I live in a small quaint town in Illinois called Columbia, which is right across the JB Bridge from St. Louis, Mo. We have three quirky cats, ghost cat Sasha, live cats Cleo and Sasha (Too), and the five of us live happily in an old house in the heart of town. Though I’ve been an artist, and a folk singer in my youth with my brother Jim, writing has always been my greatest passion, my butterfly stage, and I’ll probably write stories until the day I die…or until my memory goes.

All Kathryn Meyer Griffith’s Books available at Amazon.com here: http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=Kathryn+Meyer+Griffith

Novels and short stories from Kathryn Meyer Griffith:

Evil Stalks the Night (Leisure, 1984; Damnation Books, 2012)

The Heart of the Rose (Leisure, 1985; Eternal Press Author’s Revised Edition 2010)

Blood Forge (Leisure, 1989; Damnation Books Author’s Revised Edition, 2012)

Vampire Blood (Zebra, 1991; Damnation Books Author’s Revised Edition, 2011)

The Last Vampire (Zebra, 1992; Damnation Books Author’s Revised Edition 2010)

You Tube Book Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ZU77j_q4S8

Witches (Zebra, 1993; Damnation Books Author’s Revised Edition 2011)

The Nameless One (short story in 1993 Zebra Anthology Dark Seductions; Damnation Books Author’s Revised Edition, 2011)

The Calling (Zebra, 1994; Damnation Books Author’s Revised Edition, 2011)

All Things Slip Away (Avalon Books Murder Mystery, 2006…Amazon Kindle Direct ebook & paperback 2013)

Egyptian Heart (The Wild Rose Press, 2007; Author’s Revised Edition, Eternal Press 2011) My self-made

You Tube Book Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cogCNYKzPqc

Winter’s Journey (The Wild Rose Press, 2008; Author’s Revised Edition, Eternal Press 2011)

You Tube Book Trailer address: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FZYCs2DVhHg

The Ice Bridge (The Wild Rose Press, 2008; Author’s Revised Edition, Eternal Press 2011)

You Tube Book Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=28HZqu-my1g

Don’t Look Back, Agnes novella & bonus short story: In This House (2008; ghostly romantic short story out; Eternal Press 2012) You Tube Book Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e3q9rZryFMo

BEFORE THE END: A Time of Demons (Damnation Books 2010)

You Tube self-made Book trailer with original song http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j0-U9c2Lwfo

The Woman in Crimson (Eternal Press 2010)

You Tube Book Trailer Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qcRBvDI5G4Y

The Complete Guide to Writing Paranormal Fiction: Volume 1 (I did the Introduction)

4 Spooky Short Stories (Amazon Kindle 2012)

Telling Tales of Terror (I did the chapter on Putting the Occult into your Fiction)

Dinosaur Lake (from Amazon Kindle Direct 2012)

Human No Longer (Amazon Kindle 2013)

Scraps of Paper –Revised Author’s Edition (Avalon Books Murder Mystery, 2003; Amazon Kindle 2013)

 

My Websites:

http://www.myspace.com/kathrynmeyergriffith (to see all my book trailers with original music by my singer/songwriter brother JS Meyer)

http://www.bebo.com/kathrynmeyerG

http://www.facebook.com/#!/profile.php?id=1019954486

http://www.authorsden.com/kathrynmeyergriffith

http://www.goodreads.com/profile/kathrynmeyergriffith

http://www.jacketflap.com/K.griffith

http://www.shoutlife.com/kathrynmeyergriffith

http://romancewriterandreader.ning.com/profile/KathrynMeyerGriffith

http://www.romancebookjunction.ning.com/profile/kathrynmeyergriffith

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AMAZON KINDLE

Human No Longer. It’s my 17th published book – yeah! – and my fourth vampire novel. First, let me tell you where I got the idea for it. About five years ago, I was still trying to please the agent (who I no longer have) who’d sold four of my earlier paperback novels to Zebra in the 1990’s and, because she didn’t seem to like any of my new potential concepts, I asked her what she would like to see. Out of nowhere, she said, “You know your 1991 Zebra vampire novel, Vampire Blood? I liked that one a lot. The characters. Well, how about writing me a sort of sequel with basically the same cast, but with this premise: A woman, a mother, after being turned into a bloodthirsty vampire, must learn to adapt to the human world and still be a good mother. You know, how would she deal with everything when she had children she loved; didn’t want to hurt or leave them…but still had the need to feed on blood? Still had all the urges and desires of a vampire?

Yikes. I hated the idea but, to please her, I went ahead and begrudgingly wrote the book. I tentatively called it The Vampire’s Children or The Vampire Mother or something like that. I finished it. Not too happy with it. I had never liked writing what other people wanted me to write. Stubborn, I guess.

My agent, in the meantime, had begun her own online erotic (which I don’t much care to write) publishing company and when I’d gotten done with the novel she was too busy to even read the finished book. She handed it off to an apprentice intern. An intern? What? Who didn’t like it at all. Duh. So, disgusted, I tucked the file away on my computer and, fed up with the whole agent thing, returned to writing what I wanted to write. An end of days novel called A Time of Demons and a new vampire novel where the evil vampire wasn’t a mother. In 2010 I went with a new publisher, Kim Richards at Damnation Books/Eternal Press, and she contracted not only those two books but asked me if I’d like to rewrite, update and rerelease all 7 of my older out-of-print Leisure and Zebra paperbacks going back to 1984. Heck yes, I said! So for the next 2 years I was busy doing that. Some of those books were over twenty-five years old and very outdated. Their rewriting, editing and rereleasing took a lot of work and time.

Then, in late 2012, I decided to take a very old book of mine (Predator) which was contracted to Zebra Paperbacks in 1993 but, in the end, never actually released, and just for the heck of it, as my 16th novel, self-publish it to Amazon Kindle Direct. Just in ebook form. A kind of grand experiment. The first time I’ve ever tried self-publishing. See how it’d sell. Dinosaur Lake. A story about a hungry mutant dinosaur loose in the waters of Crater Lake that goes on a rampage. Hey, I wrote Dinosaur Lake before Jurassic Park, the book, ever came out! Really. I had my cover artist, Dawne Dominique make a cover for it…and it was stunning with a dinosaur roaring on the front. And I did everything else myself. Editing. Proofing. Formatting. With forty years and endless publishers behind me I felt I was capable. And it’d been selling so well I decided to self-publish another one…and I remembered the mother/vampire book. Hmmm. So I revamped (ha, ha, inside joke), polished, and self-published it, as well. I retitled it Human No Longer. Got my fabulous cover artist, Dawne Dominique, to make me a lovely haunting cover with a troubled-looking woman standing outside a spooky house, with two children behind her in its shadows, on the front and voila! All in all, I don’t think the book turned out half bad. In fact, with the changes I made I think it’s not bad at all. Now I just hope my readers will like it.

So that’s the story of Human No Longer. My 17th published novel.***

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About Kathryn Meyer Griffith

Since childhood I’ve always been an artist and worked as a graphic designer in the corporate world and for newspapers for twenty-three years before I quit to write full time. I began writing novels at 21, over forty years ago now, and have had seventeen (ten romantic horror, two romantic SF horror, one romantic suspense, one romantic time travel, one historical romance and two murder mysteries) previous novels, two novellas and twelve short stories published from Zebra Books, Leisure Books, Avalon Books, The Wild Rose Press, Damnation Books/Eternal Press and Amazon Kindle Direct.

I’ve been married to Russell for almost thirty-five years; have a son, James, and two grandchildren, Joshua and Caitlyn, and I live in a small quaint town in Illinois called Columbia, which is right across the JB Bridge from St. Louis, Mo. We have three quirky cats, ghost cat Sasha, live cats Cleo and Sasha (Too), and the five of us live happily in an old house in the heart of town. Though I’ve been an artist, and a folk singer in my youth with my brother Jim, writing has always been my greatest passion, my butterfly stage, and I’ll probably write stories until the day I die…or until my memory goes.

All Kathryn Meyer Griffith’s Books available at Amazon.com here: http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=Kathryn+Meyer+Griffith

Novels and short stories from Kathryn Meyer Griffith:

Evil Stalks the Night (Leisure, 1984; Damnation Books, 2012)

The Heart of the Rose (Leisure, 1985; Eternal Press Author’s Revised Edition 2010)

Blood Forge (Leisure, 1989; Damnation Books Author’s Revised Edition, 2012)

Vampire Blood (Zebra, 1991; Damnation Books Author’s Revised Edition, 2011)

The Last Vampire (Zebra, 1992; Damnation Books Author’s Revised Edition 2010)

You Tube Book Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ZU77j_q4S8

Witches (Zebra, 1993; Damnation Books Author’s Revised Edition 2011)

The Nameless One (short story in 1993 Zebra Anthology Dark Seductions; Damnation Books Author’s Revised Edition, 2011)

The Calling (Zebra, 1994; Damnation Books Author’s Revised Edition, 2011)

All Things Slip Away (Avalon Books Murder Mystery, 2006…Amazon Kindle Direct ebook & paperback 2013)

Egyptian Heart (The Wild Rose Press, 2007; Author’s Revised Edition, Eternal Press 2011) My self-made

You Tube Book Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cogCNYKzPqc

Winter’s Journey (The Wild Rose Press, 2008; Author’s Revised Edition, Eternal Press 2011)

You Tube Book Trailer address: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FZYCs2DVhHg

The Ice Bridge (The Wild Rose Press, 2008; Author’s Revised Edition, Eternal Press 2011)

You Tube Book Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=28HZqu-my1g

Don’t Look Back, Agnes novella & bonus short story: In This House (2008; ghostly romantic short story out; Eternal Press 2012) You Tube Book Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e3q9rZryFMo

BEFORE THE END: A Time of Demons (Damnation Books 2010)

You Tube self-made Book trailer with original song http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j0-U9c2Lwfo

The Woman in Crimson (Eternal Press 2010)

You Tube Book Trailer Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qcRBvDI5G4Y

The Complete Guide to Writing Paranormal Fiction: Volume 1 (I did the Introduction)

4 Spooky Short Stories (Amazon Kindle 2012)

Telling Tales of Terror (I did the chapter on Putting the Occult into your Fiction)

Dinosaur Lake (from Amazon Kindle Direct 2012)

Human No Longer (Amazon Kindle 2013)

Scraps of Paper –Revised Author’s Edition (Avalon Books Murder Mystery, 2003; Amazon Kindle ebook 2013)

My Websites:

http://www.myspace.com/kathrynmeyergriffith (to see all my book trailers with original music by my singer/songwriter brother JS Meyer)

http://www.bebo.com/kathrynmeyerG

http://www.facebook.com/#!/profile.php?id=1019954486

http://www.authorsden.com/kathrynmeyergriffith

http://www.goodreads.com/profile/kathrynmeyergriffith

http://www.jacketflap.com/K.griffith

http://www.shoutlife.com/kathrynmeyergriffith

http://romancewriterandreader.ning.com/profile/KathrynMeyerGriffith

http://www.romancebookjunction.ning.com/profile/kathrynmeyergriffith

***

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Open Door

By Christine Locke

Book Description:

ENTRANCING OPPORTUNITIES BECKON A YOUNG GIRL…

It’s 1987, and 16-year-old Carin White desperately needs her first job.  An elegant woman she’s never met appears at her door offering employment.  “Aunt” Helen asks Carin to work for her on the family’s rambling, enigmatic estate in the tiny resort town of Eureka Springs.

IN A WORLD WHERE NOTHING IS AS IT SEEMS…

Carin takes little notice of Rafe Allen, Helen’s other hired help.  But a brutal assault forces Carin to confront her own capacity for violence.  Carin learns her mother concealed her identity from her, and the mansion hides horrific secrets of its own.

AND ONLY LOVE CAN SAVE HER.

Carin exposes the truth about her presence on the estate.  Will she be strong enough to recognize love and redeem her family legacy?  Or will the temptations of power and control lure her to the same dark places where others lost themselves?

Amazon
Notes to Readers:

This novel is NOT about werewolves, vampires, or fallen angels.  It is a story about magic.  The gothic Mallace Mansion lives and breathes as a character, and only one woman controls its Legacy.  Is Carin the one? Read OPEN DOOR to find out.

This novel does NOT have a cliffhanger ending.  The author does not believe in them.  The story is complete in itself, and the ending points the way to a new storyline for IN TIME, the second novel in the Legacy Trilogy due out this Halloween.

OPEN DOOR is a full length novel at over 46,000 words.

About the Author:

Christine Locke was born in California and grew up in various locations around the United States as a Navy brat. She was the oldest of six children and today is mother and step-mother to seven. She attended Texas A&M University, receiving her Master of Arts degree in Comparative Literature in 1995.

Christine has worked as a writing instructor, a salesperson, and an award-winning retail manager and management trainer, among other things. Today, she co-ordinates makeovers for a local magazine. She and her husband, Mike, live with their children, two dogs, and two cats in Arkansas.

For years, Christine has been writing novels around her work and family life. Open Door is her first published novel. Several other manuscripts are almost ready to follow Open Door onto Amazon KDP, including the Open Door sequel, In Time.

Twitter: @wrtrdoll and @CarinsGriffin

christinelockebooks.blogspot.com
carinatmallacemansion.blogspot.com

http://www.goodreads.com/wrtrdoll

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About the book

There are witches in the world…some are good and some of them are downright evil. Amanda Givens is careful how she uses her powers. She doesn’t want the people of Canaan, Connecticut, to know they have a witch among them…even a good, white witch. For years, she’s lived quietly in a remote cabin in the woods with Amadeus, her feline familiar. When she’s wrongly blamed for a rash of ritualistic murders committed by a satanic cult, she knows she can’t hide any longer. She’s the one the cult’s after. More than that, she’s the only one who can stop them and prove her innocence. In doing this, she’s drawn back in time by the ghost of the malevolent witch, Rachel Coxe, who was drowned for practicing black magic in the 17th century. Now, as Amanda tries to rehabilitate Rachel’s reputation in an effort to save lives, as well as her own, she has to rely on a sister’s love and magical knowledge, and a powerful sect of witches called the Guardians, to help her get home safely.

Find on Amazon

My thoughts…

First of all, I’d like to say that I LOVE the cover and that’s the main reason I initially decided to read the book. How can you not be persuaded by a cover like that? Also, this being the Halloween season, I thought the topic appealing. That said, I did have my reservations. I don’t like books about witchcraft if things get too grim and graphic. Fortunately, the author didn’t disappoint me in this aspect. Witches is a light horror novel with an old traditional quality to it. It’s spooky at times, and certainly suspenseful, but not scary.

Apart from this, there are many other things I liked about this novel. Let me talk first about the main character, the good witch Amanda Givens. Except for the part about being a witch and having her shape-shifting familiar Amadeus, she’s your regular, next-door widow in her mid thirties. Pretty yes, but not beautiful or in any way extraordinary. She’s quiet, with a kind heart, and lives a solitary life in the woods. She also has a mature, thoughtful voice that I enjoyed a lot. So Amanda certainly is a sympathetic character that made me care for her and her predicament.

I also enjoyed the well-plotted storyline which includes all the elements paranormal fans enjoy: magic, shape-shifting, ghosts, and even there’s a little of time-travel thrown into the mix. Add to that a dash of love and you have a very entertaining story to sit by the fire this Halloween.

The prose flows well and, as I mentioned, the style is kind of traditional, taking me back to those horror novels I used to love reading in the 80’s. Some of the descriptions are beautiful, with vivid images. In addition, the author does a good job in bringing the ‘small New England town’ to life, making her fictional world real to the reader.

In sum, this is a novel about good vs. evil with a good share of twists and turns and exciting scenes, some spooky, others sad, yet others humorous. If you’re looking for a light horror about witches to read this Halloween, pick this one up!

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Image

GIVEAWAY!

Mark Tufo is giving away:

$50 Amazon Gift Card

8 copies of The Spirit Clearing (signed print or digital winner’s choice)

audio copy of Zombie Fallout

audio copy of Indian Hill

To enter, sign up HERE.

*****

Some of the elements that make a good ghost story can translate over into any genre, but first and foremost a good ghost story should be scary. It should make you pull your legs in tight to the rest of your body where you can cover them with the monster repelling blanket. It should make you put on extra lights in your house DURING the day. It should keep you up at night wondering if the noise you heard was within the normal scope of things or perhaps paranormal.

There should be characters you are truly vested in, who cares if a cardboard character is whisked away in the cemetery, you need to care, you need to be involved in their lives to make the story more than words on a page. It needs to make you forget that you are reading fiction and that you are now living it. These are things I try to instill in every book I have written, from Paranormal to Zombies to Science Fiction.

A couple of things I try very hard to steer away from is predictability and easy outs. If I get my characters in a tough jam there has to be some fairly believable explanation as to how they got out (if they ever do). I read a story once about young kids as wizards (not Harry) where every time they got in trouble they would instantly discover that they now possessed the exact power they needed to repel the evil. I always thought of that as the author taking the easy way out, kind of phoning it in at that point. So that’s my take on a good ghost story, Have characters you care about, BE SCARY, don’t be predictable, steer clear away from contriteness, and most importantly have fun writing. We write stories because we have a story to share not because we think it’s going to make us rich and famous, writing is hard enough don’t add any more stress to it! Thank you for allowing me to spend some on your blog!

The Spirit Clearing      
by Mark Tufo 

Genre: Horror/ Ghost 

ASIN: B0094JWLYG 

Number of pages: 264

Word Count: 85,713 

Cover Artist: shaedstudios.com 

Amazon    Barnes and Noble   Kobo   Smashwords 

About the book: 

After a horrific accident Mike wakes to find himself blind in one eye. He now sees things that others can’t and nobody will listen to him.

That is until he meets Jandilyn Hollow. Will she be able to pull him out of the depths of his despair?

Can love transcend even death?

About the Author: 

Mark Tufo was born in Boston Massachusetts. He attended UMASS Amherst where he obtained a BA and later joined the US Marine Corp. He was stationed in Parris Island SC, Twenty Nine Palms CA and Kaneohe Bay Hawaii. After his tour he went into the Human Resources field with a worldwide financial institution and has gone back to college at CTU to complete his masters.

He has written the Indian Hill trilogy with the first Indian Hill – Encounters being published for the Amazon Kindle in July 2009. He has since written the Zombie Fallout series and is working on a new zombie book.

He lives in Maine with his wife, three kids and two English bulldogs.

Visit him at www.marktufo.com  or http://zombiefallout.blogspot.com/ or http://www.facebook.com/pages/Mark-Tufo/133954330009843 for news on his next two installments of the Indian Hill trilogy and upcoming installments of the Zombie Fallout series.

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Book description: 

An ancient predator has been reborn in the caves beneath Crater Lake…and it’s hungry.

Ex-cop Henry Shore has been Chief Park Ranger at Crater Lake National Park for eight years and he likes his park and his life the way it’s been. Safe. Tranquil. Predictable. But he’s about to be tested in so many ways. First the earthquakes begin…people begin to go missing…then there’s some mysterious water creature that’s taken up residence in the caves below Crater Lake and it’s not only growing in size, it’s aggressive and cunning…and very hungry.

And it’s decided it likes human beings. To eat.

And it can come up onto land.

So Henry, with the help of his wife, Ann; a young paleontologist named Justin; and a band of brave men must not only protect his park and his people from the monster but somehow find where it lives and destroy it…before it can kill again.

Find on Amazon 

My thoughts…

Dinosaur Lake will appeal to fans of Jurassic Park and Jaws.

Author Kathryn Meyer Griffith creates a strong opening, deftly pulling the reader into the story and into the world of Henry Shore and Crater Lake National Park. The setting plays an important part in this tale and I was able to transport myself to the woods and striking, postcard-perfect scenery that eventually plays an ironic contrast to the inevitable horror. From the beginning, the conflict is clear and the stakes are high, and Griffith keeps the tension mounting as the creature becomes more and more daring and the bodies begin to pile up.

Though the idea isn’t unique (killer creature sets out to kill humans), Griffith makes her novel stand out among others in the genre by creating real, genuine characters readers root for. The author certainly pays special attention to characterization and I especially enjoyed the dynamics between the men and the way they come to know each other and bond during their search for the creature. This aspect reminded me of the movie Jaws and the way Chief Brody bonds with Hooper and Quint. Because of this, at times the story seems to get off track as each of the characters reveal their personalities and their own special demons.

Having now read two of Griffith’s novels (look for my review of WITCHES in a few days), I can say she has a distinct writing style: her prose is smooth; her images vivid, and she pays a lot of attention to the characters, often getting lost in the details–but, as far as I’m concerned, the same goes for Stephen King and Anne Rice, so…

Another thing I noticed about her style is that, even though there’s a high body count and the manner of deaths is gruesome, her horror is ‘soft’ and one that won’t offend the average reader. In other words, no slasher scenes and the murders are more often alluded upon than graphically described.

Dinosaur Lake has several subplots that don’t get in the way of the main story. I also like the way Griffith weaves in and portrays various themes such as man over beast, nature against man, the evilness of greed and the power of friendship.

Is it a page-turner? No. But it is a suspenseful novel with realistic, compelling characters. I enjoyed reading Dinosaur Lake and can honestly recommend it.

One last thing I’d like to add is that I’m glad I discovered Griffith because back in the nineties she was one of the horror authors writing for Leisure Books. I was a big fan of this publisher back then.  Many of her Leisure titles (among them, WITCHES) are now being republished by Damnation Books.

Find out more about this author on Author’s Den.

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Buy Link: http://damnationbooks.com/book.php?isbn=9781615723553

http://damnationbooks.com/people.php?author=79

All Kathryn Meyer Griffith’s Books available at Amazon.com here: http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=Kathryn+Meyer+Griffith

Now, first off, let me say, that by no means, am I or have I ever been a…witch. Nothing against Wicca but I’m just not one. I have no magical powers or cannot foresee the future. Nada.

I have seen a ghost, though. Right after my Great Aunt Mary passed away, the night before her burial, I saw her ghost in my parent’s hallway (I was sixteen and still at home) and, let me tell you, it scared the bejesus out of me. But she was just looking for my grandmother, whom she’d lived the last ten years of her life with, and I knew she meant me no harm. It was still a shock. She appeared in a ghostly halo of mist at the end of the hallway beckoning me…in German. I couldn’t spell German but I got the idea. She was lost, didn’t know she was dead and was looking for my grandmother, whom she’d loved so much in life. I ran, hid in my bed and pretended it’d never happened. Hey, but I know it did.

I have, though, always loved the eerie, the unexplained. The spooky. Horror.

Anyway, we’re talking about my book Witches-Revised Author’s Edition.

In 1991 I’d already been writing for about twenty years, on and off (though there was a long gap where I didn’t write because of a divorce, the finding of a full time job to support myself and my son, and a remarriage…life) when I contracted my fourth novel, my first of four to Zebra paperbacks, a romantic horror called Vampire Blood, about a family of vampires who ran a movie theater in a small town. I’d already had a fifth novel, The Last Vampire, completed and in with them when they asked me for another novel.

Got anything about witches, they asked. Witches are hot right now. Hmmm.

For many years I’d played around with an idea about a present day white witch who finds a diary of a long dead witch – either good or bad, I hadn’t decided – in her old house’s attic, or basement, or under a floorboard. The story would have been about the good witch reliving the other dead witch’s life through the diary. I’d always called that possible book Rachel’s Diary in my head.

So in 1991 or 1992 I began the witch book and it quickly metamorphosed into a story of a present day good witch, Amanda Givens,  who’s yanked into a perilous seventeenth century past by an evil witch, Rachel Coxe, to take her place…and die a horrible death as an accused witch. I had the idea then to actually send Amanda into the past to live (for a while) the other witch’s life. Of course, being a good witch, Amanda, changes the other witch’s unsavory reputation but still ends up in a prison waiting to die for Rachel’s earlier crimes. The story, simply put, would be how Amanda overcomes her trials and tribulations, finds her lost eternal love again in the past, and finds a way to return to the present alive. In the process, learning some important life lessons about accepting what life has dealt her and the value of sisters, friendships and the love of those around her. Or good versus evil and, in the end, good wins and is rewarded. I also threw in a few touches of humor in the form of three precocious witches’ familiars…a mind-reading and speaking cat called Amadeus, a mouse, Tituba, and a tiny bat, Gibbiewackett …all with feisty personalities and quirks of their own.

I was excited about the book as I was writing it and when it was done, pleased with it, but had no idea that over the years it’d become the jewel of my writing career and the book that my fans would love the best of all my books. I loved the cat face cover Zebra did for it (a rare occurrence as I’d learned the hard way that covers weren’t always what I’d envisioned and in the early days I had no choice but to accept whatever the publisher’s gave me…and some weren’t so hot, let me tell you!).

Witches came out in 1993 and did well. I noticed soon after as I went on to publish other books that I got the most response and admiration for it. Readers loved the three sisters, Amadeus and Amanda, Gibbiewackett and Tituba. In those days I was too busy working full time as a graphic artist, living my life and writing new books to notice. It went into a second printing in 2000 and after that, sadly, went out of print. But my fans never forgot it. I’d find comments on it and discussions on the Internet…even customer reviews raving about it years and years later. I tried talking Zebra into reissuing it but after Zebra and I parted ways there was no talking them into it.

Then in 2010 when Damnation Books contracted my 13th and 14th novels, the publisher, Kim Richards, asked about all (there was 7 at the time) my out-of-print Zebra and Leisure backlist novels and if I’d like to have them reissued as new paperbacks and, for the first time ever, in e-books. Sure, that’d be great! I told her. And, as they say, the rest is history. Between June 2010 and June 2012 all 7 of them (and now another 3 of my Wild Rose Press novels and two short stories from 2007) updated, rewritten and with stunning new covers will be out again. All in e-books for the first time.

Of course, that’s meant a heck of a lot of rewriting. A lot of work. Those early novels go back twenty-seven years and were first written in the days of snail mail and on an electric typewriter before the Internet, e-mails and Windows Track Changes (for editing). Oh, boy, did they need revising. As of today I can happily say they’re all rewritten now except the very first one, Evil Stalks the Night, 1984; yet even that one will be completed soon.

I’ve often been asked what I think of e-books and I have to say it feels strange, all these years later, to be so into them. I think it’s fantastic to be able to put thousands of books on one little lightweight hand-held contraption and sell them as inexpensively as we do. I started publishing e-books four years ago and have seen such great changes in even that short a time. I love the editing process now. With Track Changes it’s truly a collaborative effort between the editor and the writer and it’s taught me far more about the craft of writing than the old way of just sending off the manuscript, being asked to change certain things, but then never seeing any of those changes or the basic edits until the book was printed and in my hand. Now, no more pages added by an editor (That actually happened in Evil Stalks the Night. The editor, who I never met, added three pages of his own and I didn’t even know about it until I held the book in my hand. And the three pages didn’t make sense…ech!) that I never know about or see until the book comes out. Yeah.

With a chuckle I recall a writer’s convention I attended in 1990 – yes, that far back – and the main topic back then was…OMG the electronic books are coming! They’re going to make us authors obsolete! Print books are going to die a terrible lonely death…etc., etc. Lack and alas, what are we going to do? Ha, ha. It’s ironic that 21 years later I’m in love with e-books. They’re the future. And I think there’ll always be room for print books as well as electronic ones.

So Witches…(Damnation Books) was rereleased 2011. I’m thrilled. The cover is still of Amadeus, the cat, and Dawne Dominique did an amazing job on it. My editor, Alison O’Byrne, helped me make it a better book than eighteen years ago. Of all my novels, I’m most proud of it. It’s held up pretty well. I hope it finds many more readers and fans.

So that’s the story of Witches…the little book that wouldn’t die.

Thank you!   E-mail me at rdgriff@htc.net

*****

Kathryn Meyer Griffith has had fourteen novels and seven short stories published since 1984 with Zebra Books, Leisure Books, Avalon Books, The Wild Rose Press, and now Damnation Books and Eternal Press. Her novels have been in the genres of paranormal romance, horror, romantic horror, time travel, romance, suspense, and murder mysteries. Her books: Evil Stalks the Night (1984); The Heart of the Rose (1985); Blood Forge (1989); Vampire Blood (1991); The Last Vampire (1992); Witches (1993); The Nameless One (erotic horror short story 1993); The Calling (1994); Scraps of Paper (2003); All Things Slip Away (2006); Egyptian Heart (2007); Winter’s Journey (2008); The Ice Bridge (2008); Don’t Look Back, Agnes (ghostly short story 2008); In This House (ghostly short story 2008); BEFORE THE END: A Time of Demons (2010); The Woman in Crimson (2010); Always & Forever (erotic contemporary short story 2011).  All in paperback – and in e-books for the first time ever – from Damnation Books and Eternal Press. Look for them. Along with her new book, Dinosaur Lake and four SPOOKY SHORT STORIES from Amazon Kindle Direct.

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