Tag Archives: Dark Fantasy

Meet the Author… Ken Stark

I’ve yet to read Ken Stark’s books, but I know I will… one day. Their blurbs stir something primal that makes you want to read them, to find out if the protagonists are going to survive or not. I’m pretty sure not all of them will… Meet Ken Stark, author of two zombie novels, a novelette about unspeakable horrors, and his new horror novel Arcadia Falls.

Ken Stark

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Biography

Ken Stark lives in Vancouver, Canada, where he worked in the armoured car industry for far too long before finally committing full-time to his one true passion. Ken’s writing tends toward the dark, yet through it all he remains an optimist, seeing a ray of hope in even the most dire of circumstances.

And yes, he once gave his lunch to a rat, but in his defense, the scruffy little thing looked hungry.

If you could tell your younger writing-self anything, what would it be?

Ken_Stark_Stage3So many things! But the top two would have to be:

a) Get out and experience everything life has to offer, and

b) It’s perfectly alright to be disappointed, but don’t get discouraged. Good or bad, every experience a writer has adds more color to the palette, and every disappointment brings us one step closer to success.

But younger me probably wouldn’t have listened anyway. He was kind of a know-it-all.

What is the biggest surprise that you experienced after becoming a writer?

When the time came to dedicate myself completely to writing, I knew I would love it, but I was surprised at how much I loved it. I expected it to be like satisfying an itch I was never quite able to scratch, but it was more like breathing freely for the first time.

What does your typical writing day look like? How many hours a day do you write?

I actually have nothing like a typical writing day. I might write for 10 minutes or 10 hours, depending on my mood and whatever else I have going on. I punched a clock for so many years that I never want to think of writing as a job. It’s my passion, and passion doesn’t stick to a schedule.

Pen or typewriter or computer?

Ken_Stark_AlphaI would be completely lost without my computer. My brain seems to work at the exact same speed as my ham-fisted typing, so the words have a way of flowing in a very natural rhythm. And of course, a computer makes editing a breeze. It’s hard enough chopping out all of those fine words without having to rely on erasers and White-Out.

Do you write alone or in public?

I’m always alone when I write. I’m sure I could get along just fine in a crowded room, but only if no one was allowed to peek over my shoulder. Tuning out the distractions is one thing, someone reading an unpolished work is another thing else entirely.

What is your favorite genre? Why?

I’ll read just about anything, but when I write, I prefer a good scary tale. Fear is the most fundamental of emotions, after all. Say what you will about love and compassion and caring, it was fear that kept our primitive ancestors alive in a violent world and let us to survive as a species. Whether you shy away from scary things or face them head-on to get that rush of adrenaline, we are all hard-wired to feel fear, and if I can tap into that most primitive of emotions for even an instant, it’s as if I’m kicking up a few million years of genetic memory. That’s a pretty awesome superpower to have.

What is/are your book(s) about? Could you tell us a bit about your most recent book and why it is a must-read?

Ken_Stark_Arcadia FallsMy latest release is a break from the zombie apocalypse, setting the horror on a much smaller stage. Arcadia Falls is a town with a secret. People are going missing and no one seems to care, until one young man and his little band of misfits start to look into what evil thing might be preying on their town. I won’t tell you what they discover, but you know it ain’t Care Bears!

Does your book have a lesson? Moral?

It’s not so much a moral as an observation. As dark as my works are, the common threads running through them all are the simple act of hope and that ridiculously powerful force known as friendship. There’s never a time when all hope is lost, and a good friend in your corner can make all the difference in the world.

How did you come up with the idea for Arcadia Falls?

One day, I happened to ask my best friend’s teenaged daughter what kind of books she liked to read. Her response was, “Something scary, with a monster, and some kind of mystery.” From that barest of outlines came Arcadia Falls. It’s being marketed as YA because I kept the language cleaner than my usual, but that’s the only concession I made. And really, I did that more for the parents of younger readers rather the young readers themselves.

What has been the best compliment?

Ken_Stark_JittersI met a man named Chris Roy on the Deadman’s Tome podcast a while back. He is a writer, currently serving a life sentence in prison. He was interested in my books, so I sent him a few and he shared them around the cell block. Much to my amazement, several of those men took the time and effort to write a review by hand, photograph the piece of paper, and have Chris send me the pix. Understand that these are the kinds of guys who won’t hold back what they really think, and not only did they like the books, but they actually went through the trouble to tell me in those handwritten notes. That response simply blew my mind, and those reviews will always be very special to me.

Where can we find you online?

website,

Website

Twitter

Facebook

Amazon Author page

iTunes book page(s)

Ken’s books are also on sale at:

Barnes & Noble

Audible

Short Stories, Novel Launch, and Fantasy Promo

Yesterday, I attended the local writers’ club again for which I wrote a short story. I also wrote one last week which was a lot of fun as part of the assignment was to incorporate some innuendo. Check out the stories, called Surprise! and Scoring resp., under the Short Stories from 2018 menu heading.

Morgan_Deadly_DiscoveryToday is the launch day of Deadly Discovery, Alathia Morgan’s third book in the cozy mystery Nova Ladies series. Here’s the blurb:

Julie while recovering from her wounds in the line of duty, finds out that she isn’t who she had thought was. Her journey into the past, leads her on a path to meet her future, but there are some who don’t want the past to resurface. Determined to find out the truth about her family, Julie is in a race to sift through years of secrets before the past has a chance to silence her for good.

Morgan’s book is for sale for 99c on Amazon.

 

Another book that is on sale for only 99c (until the 25th of June):

Four O’Clock Alice

by Vanessa Ravel

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A little girl. An ancient enemy. A shared past.

Alice Davies wouldn’t hurt a fly, but death seems to follow her everywhere. And as the body count rises, people in Dolwicke start to whisper.

Little do they know, Alice is the least of their worries.

A diabolical entity lurks in the shadows, finding nourishment in the ravages of war and plague. The insidious being also hungers for Alice, who is safe so long as she obeys the mysterious four o’clock curfew imposed by her parents.

But she’s a curious girl.

Desperate to uncover the truth behind her predicament, Alice embarks on a frightening journey of self-discovery that will lead her to face an ancient enemy and to discover a world she not only belongs in, but where she reigns supreme.

If you like ancient myths and portal fantasies, you’ll love this surreal tale that will pull you down the rabbit hole for the adventure of a lifetime.

Four O’Clock Alice is for sale for 99c on Amazon.

 

The Darker Side of Fiction Takeover!

Guess what? Jo Curtis and Rachel Brightley are doing a takeover on my Facebook page (Jacky Dahlhaus – Author) on Monday evening, the 11th of June!

Come and join us for some fun and learn more about this awesome book signing which will be held on Saturday the 6th of October in Peterborough.

There’ll be fun and games, and I will be giving away a FREE all-day ticket to the event. It’s also an opportunity to ask me anything about my writing.

I hope to see you on Monday evening, 8:30pm at my Facebook Page! 😀

What To Read? Cursed: Ruadh’s Story

I have a little gem for your today. I’m particularly proud of this one as I’ve helped the author, Troy A. Hill, a little bit with it. It is published today!

Cursed

Ruadh’s Story

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You may remember the Dark Fantasy Spring Giveaway Event not long ago. I won this book in Troy’s competition after guessing the correct shifter form of Ruadh (and no, I didn’t see the bear in the moon on the image that he showed us 😀 ). That’s the first thing that attracted me to this book; the cover. The artist did an excellent job detailing the atmosphere described in the story (not that I knew that when I saw the cover for the first time, of course).

It’s a short read, with only one hundred pages. This doesn’t diminish the reading entertainment, though. Mr. Hill has a particular way of writing, one that suits the character of Ruadh very well. He gets you to experience exactly what Ruadh is going through as he shapeshifts and on his flight from evil but without getting overly descriptive. His words are straight to the point yet transporting you into the scene. You get drawn into this ancient world with shapeshifters, banshees, and godesses creating havoc. There even is a comic relief in there, although this may not have been intended 🙂 . There truly is not a dull moment in this story. It is a good set up for the main novel to come, and I hope to read the other books soon.

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All of Troy A. Hill’s books are available on Amazon and Cursed is on sale at the moment, so grab it while it’s hot!

Darker Side of Fiction Event

This year I am part of the Darker Side of Fiction Book Signing Hourglass Event at the Bull Hotel, Peterborough, UK, on Saturday 6 October 2018!

Tickets will go on sale this Friday… Friday the 13th…!

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Meet The Author… Vanessa Ravel

Vanessa Ravel is an author I met on the Dark Fantasy Books website. She is a far cry from the standard girl next door and I expect her book, Four o’Clock Alice, isn’t any different.

Vanessa Ravel

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You are an epidemiologist by trade. Do you still work as a scientist or are you now a full-time writer? Does your work feature in some way in your book?

I still do consulting and medical writing on a freelance basis, which allows me to devote time to my real passion of writing fiction. Funny enough, after all my schooling, epidemiology doesn’t at all figure into Four O’Clock Alice, but I do have some ideas stewing on the back burner where I might be able to use my public health background. 

Why do you write dark fantasy?

Horror is my favorite genre, but I’m not really a fan of gore or graphic violence. I like writing about ugly things in the most beautiful way possible, so I think dark fantasy allows for that outlet over horror. To me, writing delicate prose about vile things is more shocking than any gorefest because, strangely enough, there is beauty in vile things. There is beauty in everything. You just need to find the right words.

Four o’Clock Alice is your debut novel. Did you intentionally write a novel or does its creation have a different story?

I did set out to write Four O’Clock Alice, although the original idea doesn’t at all resemble the finished product! The impetus for writing was a series of personal tragedies which afforded me the perspective to ‘write what I know,’ not in a sense of ever having been in any of the characters’ situations per se, but nonetheless being newly able to empathize with those situations.

How old is Alice and what is the target audience for your novel?

Although the book starts with a ten-year-old Alice and follows her until she is 17, I would not say this is necessarily a book for that age range. I believe the target audience for my novel is adult, although the older ‘young adult’ market (say, 14+) would sympathize with Alice’s coming-of-age situation.

 

Four_OClock_AliceCan you give us a quirky detail about Alice that doesn’t feature explicitly in your book?

Her second toe is longer than all the others. But don’t tell anyone; she gets enough hassle for having the touch of death.

What can people expect when they read your book?

You’re in for a surreal trip down the rabbit hole! Four O’Clock Alice examines the human condition from a unique perspective, and the book takes a surprising twist. There are certainly aspects of horror as the antagonists run the gamut from Lovecraftian creatures to evil overlords to flesh and blood humans (in my opinion, the scariest type of monster).

You have a lot of dogs. Please tell us more about them. Do they feature in your book?

I currently have four small dogs: Anaïs the dachshund (11, she may be short, but you’re still beneath her); Zoë the mutt (9, says she’s Chihuahua-beagle-dachshund, but she won’t show us her papers), Dolce the Chihuahua (7, she’s only comfortable if she’s sitting on another dog’s head); and Penny the schnauzer (6, if there’s a worm on the ground, she’ll roll on it). While my dogs don’t personally appear in my book, their humanity—particularly that of my beloved Dudley who passed in 2014—is largely what inspired me to write about what makes us human.

Are you working on another book? If yes, what’s it about, and could you give us a little ‘preview’?

My upcoming release will be a short story collection called Demon Dance: 10 dark stories to rattle your psyche. This book will be a big divergence from Four o’Clock Alice in genre and in tone, and can be classified as more horror/speculative fiction than dark fantasy. The 10 standalone stories examine the boundaries between personal demons and the ones that come from Hell. Here’s a preview from The Wild Hunt:

The rumbling intensified. Thunder? No—hooves. Dozens of them. Moving fast. Shaking the room. Then an additional sound rode in on the heels of that stampede. Howls and yips punctuated by agitated pants echoed through the night. As the racket came to a crescendo of howls, whinnies, and neighs, the glass French doors to the terrace exploded, and Marcus dove behind the couch. The late December air blew a rare handful of snow flurries onto the brand new pine floors. A dark form eclipsed the streetlight pouring in through the broken French doors. Horses chuffed. A hideous stench mushroomed into the lounge, provoking Marcus’s gag reflex. He peeked over the couch at Vesta. “What is that?”

Thank you so much, Vanessa, for letting us know a bit more about Four o’Clock Alice and your dogs. Please give a cuddle to all four of them from me 🙂 I’m looking forward to reading your book one day.

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Four o’Clock Alice is available on Amazon.

Join Me Tonight for the Dark Fantasy Spring Giveaway Event!

Do you like FREE books? Do you like FREE DARK FANTASY books? Do you also like games and quizzes? Then you’re in luck, because tonight, Dark Fantasy Books is hosting a Spring Giveaway Event. You read that right, a Giveaway! Authors will give away their books! They will share some exclusive knowledge about their characters and their stories as well as entertain you with games and quizzes. I attended last Halloween and had a ball!

Why don’t you join us tonight at Dark Fantasy on Facebook from 12:30 to6:30 PM EDT? That’s 4:30-10:30 PM GMT or 9:30 AM – 3:30 PST.

Check out the books you could win:

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What To Watch? Grimm

Guess what? I haven’t watched any movies this weekend! Not. One. Movie. That’s a very rare occasion. Why? Because I have been working my butt off on my WIP. This didn’t mean we didn’t watch any TV at all. We did watch Grimm, and The Bing Bang Theory.  We only discovered the latter recently. But never mind TBBT, here is my take on Grimm.

Grimm

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The Cast

Grimm is the story of a homicide detective, Nick Burkhardt (played by David Giuntoli), who suddenly can see people change their image into fairytale creatures, called Wesen, when they lose their composure. They can be anything from werewolves to snakes to birds. Nick’s auntie Marie informs him, just before she dies, he’s a Grimm, a person with this special seeing abillity who must keep the balance between humans and the Wesen. Other people can’t see the Wesen unless they are a Wesen too or when the Wesen want humans to see their true self.

Nick is not alone in his new duty. In the first episode, he befriends Monroe (played by Silas Weir Mitchell) who is a Blutbad, a Wesen like a werewolf. He is the comic relief in the series but plays a major role. Nick has a work partner, Hank Griffin (played by Russell Hornsby) and a girlfriend, Juliette Silverton (played by Bitsie Tulloch). Hank and Juliette don’t know Nick is a Grimm (at least, not at the start). Nick’s Captain, Sean Renard (Sasha Roiz) also plays a major role. I have to mention sergeant Drew Wu (played by Reggie Lee) as he, too, is very funny. His humor is more subtle than that of Monroe, though.

The Plot

Every episode, Nick needs to solve a murder mystery. Very coincidentally, most murders have a Wesen involved (surprise, surprise!). All sorts of creatures pass the screen and it’s fun to see their faces change when the Wesen are upset or die (and they revert back to their human form).

The second storyline mainly depicts Nick’s relationship with the others; Monroe (who is unwilling to help at first as Grimms usually are out to kill Wesen), and Hank and Juliette (who have no idea why their partner is acting so strange lately). In season two, Juliette plays a bigger role than in season one as she gets involved in the mysteries against her will.

In the background, there’s always the ‘bigger picture’ story involving Nick’s boss Renard and his involvement with a Hexenbiest, or witch, called Adalind Shade (played by Claire Coffee). Things are happening on a more international level with them.

Likes

I like the fact that this series is about a more mature cast, not teenagers for a change. Nick is in a steady relationship with Juliette, yet the series manages to incorporate some love issues here and there.

It always amazes me how they come up with yet another type of Wesen. The creators must have a very good imagination or a damn good book on mythology.

The secrecy and love plots make you want to watch the next episode and when you’ve done that, you want to see the next one. There are some really good cliffhangers.

Dislikes

There’s always some dislikes, of course. The graphics are not the greatest. Yes, I like the facial changes of the Wesen, but they can look really fake. The fact that only the head changes (well, most of the time) also seems like a rather cheap option.

Sometimes the plot is a bit predictable, but only sometimes.

Overall

We have binge-watching nights of Grimm, going through three or four episodes per night, depending on how much time we have. We’re only in season 2 yet, and there are six seasons in total, so we still have a fair amount to feast on. Bring on the Wesen!

 

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Killing A Vampire – Ad Clip

I don’t think I’ve shown you my ad for Killing A Vampire yet. I’m pretty proud of it as I put it together by myself. Here it is.

I’m still working 24/7 on editing the book, but I assure you it will be out soon!

Meet The Author… – Yenpri Laypil

I met Yenpri online last year, during a take over organized by the lovely Pletcha PJ Webb. Yenpri was a fun guy, actively participating in the quizzes and games, and afterward, we chatted a bit. I found out he lives in South-Africa and I once visited his hometown. If only I had known him then, I would have certainly popped in for a cuppa 🙂 . Please welcome Yenpri.

Meet Yenpri Laypil

Yenpri_Lapil

Author, photographer, and dreamer. Thank you for taking the time to learn more about my writing, and a little something about me.

Ok, before we begin, I have a couple of confessions to make. The first is that I used to watch Star Wars every single holiday during high school and college (yep, every single episode!). The second is, the first time I played Pokemon, I stayed up until 3 am trying to level up my Charmander! (I’m a big fan of the Fire-type!). The third is that I love writing and entertaining my readers with fascinating and intriguing stories.

A little bit about how it all started. Our journey begins with the writing the Outcast of the Dark Knight series in the year 2000. I can share an incredible story with you about Outcast. I had just published the first edition of the book: it was in July 2014 and I was very happy and excited and you know how it is, you keep on Googling yourself just to see what comes up for your book. Then, one day I googled the book’s name and low and behold, a Youtube link pops up for BookmanBookwoman (Larry and Saralee Woods) and my book was on their list. I WAS GOING NUTS! My folks were going nuts! I couldn’t believe that my book was picked up by these incredible fold, reviewed and appeared on their TV show. It was incredible! Then, it just got better because another book called ‘The Silkworm’ written by Robert Galbraith (more affectionately known as the great JK Rowling) was also on the list. That was a great honor for me to be alongside one of the greatest authors of our time.

I knew I loved writing from a very early age and I had this story bubbling within and I just had to get it out there. Today, with the fourth book in the Outcast of the Dark Knight series out, I’m proud to say that the journey has just begun!

 

I also write within the mystery/thriller genres and that’s where ‘Rhino Was Rhino Is’ comes into the picture.

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And of course, we all need some romance in our lives, so don’t forget to get your fix with ‘An Interview with Mr. Fountain.’ I loved writing this and honestly couldn’t stop laughing at times.

For me, the greatest honor I can receive is my fans enjoying reading my books. That makes me happy and it makes it all worth it!

Best wishes,

Yenpri Laypil

 

You can find all Yenpri’s book on Amazon.

 

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Header Photo by Juja Han on Unsplash