But why stop at my interview? Emit interviews a lot of authors to put them in the spotlight for a moment. Check them out too on The Emit Blackwell Show website!
But why stop at my interview? Emit interviews a lot of authors to put them in the spotlight for a moment. Check them out too on The Emit Blackwell Show website!
My Blog Tour for Book 1 of the Suckers Trilogy: Living Like A Vampire starts tomorrow, 29 October, organized by the lovely Kelly, from Love Books Group Tours, I can’t wait. Can you?
Living Like A Vampire
Kate is trying very hard to stay alive in a world thrown into chaos. Charlie is trying very hard in the background to get Kate to notice him. When Caleb comes to the scene, things change, but is it for the better?
Kate had just begun her new job as a high school science teacher and was looking forward to living a suburban dream life. All her hopes and dreams turn into smoke as a virus turns people into vampires who roam the world in packs, killing everybody they can get their hands on. Together with her friends, she hides at a campground. They think they are safe there.
They are wrong. Very wrong.
When Kate has to flee again, she gets separated from her friends, accidentally bumps into a handsome sucker called Caleb who then mysteriously disappears, and now has to pretend to be a sucker to stay alive. Having met Caleb, surviving is no longer the only thing on Kate’s mind.
Will Kate stay alive and human while pursuing this mysterious stranger?
Check out the websites of these voracious book readers and find out what they think of Living Like A Vampire!
October is the month of Halloween, so I’m hoping to be featuring writers of spooky stories this month. I recently I’ve had the pleasure of following Terri Reid on Twitter. Her books sparked an interest with me as I always had a love for the paranormal, and I’m sure Terri has a few good stories about it to tell. Check out her own story and the multitude of books that she has written which will send shivers down your spine.
Terri Reid has been telling ghosts stories since she was a toddler. Her mother tells of a time when two-year old Terri would sit in her highchair, look past her mother into the dark back porch and say, “Look. Man.” When her mother would turn in horror, Terri would laugh delightedly.
She lives in the same area of the United States as her Mary O’Reilly character, Northwest Illinois. She lives on five acres of rolling land in a 100 year-old farmhouse, with her husband, children, dogs, cats and several dozen chickens (well, the chickens live in the barn.)
Her background is in marketing and public relations, but she has always enjoyed telling stories. For a while, she worked as a freelance journalist for the local paper and wrote the Halloween feature for many years, collecting as many local ghost stories as she could. She gave her collection of local ghost stories to the local historical society to use as a fundraiser, they are now in their third printing.
I come from a large Irish family – I have two sisters and five brothers – and we all loved to gather together and tell stories. Whether it was an amusing situation we’d encountered that day or a scary, paranormal experience that had happened the night before, we loved besting each other with our tales. I also have a mother who always loved to read, and she would read to us at night. I think that was probably the seed that grew into my love of books.
I love watching the story unfold in front of me during the writing process. First, the surprise when your plot changes in front of you and suddenly, organically, the story becomes something different from what you’d originally imagined. The characters take control and lead you to where they want to go. And then when you find yourself laughing out loud at something a character just said or sobbing uncontrollably when a character you love dies – it pulls on all of your heart strings. It’s probably the best therapy ever invented.
I love this question! I think I would choose an owl. Sometimes an owl is considered a creature of the night, it can be portrayed as something mysterious or spooky. But, in many cases, it’s a friendly and beloved creature, like Owl in Winnie the Pooh. JK Rowling characterized owls as loyal and dependable. We have some owls in the forest beyond our home. At night, I can hear them calling to one another, a lonely sound that floats across the sky. Who? They ask. Who? Who? Who? Perhaps that’s the curiosity of the author spelled out by their spirit animal, especially when the author writes mysteries.
I read once that Jim Butcher had all his Dresden Files book outlined on a spreadsheet, so he knew exactly what was going to happen when. That really depressed me. Until, I read Stephen King’s book “On Writing” and discovered that Stephen King is a seat-of-his-pants writer. Whew! So am I. I do jot down notes about the main ideas I want to try and cover in the chapters I’m planning on writing that day, but that’s as far as it goes. If I wrote an outline, I’d end up throwing it away by the fifth chapter. My characters never go where I want them to go.
I just published a book, along with my friend, Ophelia Julien, about true ghost stories. Normally, I write paranormal mysteries, but I have found that people with real ghost stories are attracted to books about ghosts and they are always willing to share a story or two. Ophelia and I have both been blessed(?) to have paranormal experiences of our own. So, we combined our own experiences and some stories shared with us and wrote “Ghosts, Graves, and Groves.” It’s the perfect book for a dark, autumn night.
Generally, my books are about either paranormal mysteries, which can include ghosts, witches or the fae. Or they are fantasy stories. I love digging into the unknown. I love the idea that there’s much more out there than we understand. You will also find in my books, the underlying theme that family and friends are vital to our existence. And that faith, hope and love can conquer anything.
Right now, I’m juggling far too many projects. Every year, at Halloween, I put out a short story called “Tales Around the Jack O’Lantern.” This will be the fifth year. It’s a collection of fictional ghost stories that the O’Reilly family (the family of Mary O’Reilly the protagonist in the Mary O’Reilly Paranormal Mystery Series) share with each other on Halloween night. Most of the members of the family are police officers, so they offer an interesting take on the supernatural. All of the stories (which are family friendly) will leave you with a little chill up your spine.
The second book in the Finders Mansion Series is nearly complete. This takes up after the novella “Maybelle’s Secret.” It’s really the further adventures of Mary O’Reilly after the final book, Book 20, in her series.
As soon as I finish that, I’m going to be writing the second book in the Willoughby Witches series. This time, I’m going to be featuring Hazel, who has such a fun personality. I’m really looking forward to finding the right partner for Hazel and seeing if he can keep up with her.
Here’s a teaser of the next Finders Mansion Series:
Stanley raised his hand and Bradley acknowledged it. “Stanley.”
“I’m thinking we need to get more disguises,” he said.
“Disguises?” Bradley asked.
“Darn tootin,” Stanley replied. “Iffen I keep going to folks’ homes with a cashier’s check and saying I’m from a lottery no one ever heerd about, people are gonna get mighty suspicious.”
Alex Boettcher, Stephenson County District Attorney, nodded. “That’s true,” he agreed. “But I don’t know if disguises are really what we need.”
“I brought some with me,” Stanley continued. “So’s you can see.”
He moved his chair back, reached under the table to a shopping bag next to his chair and pulled out an item. Then he bent forward, placed the item on his head and sat up.
“Stanley,” Mary exclaimed, muffling her laughter. “That’s a mask, that’s not a disguise.”
“Same difference,” Stanley said behind the large rubber mask.
“And you look like our president,” Alex added. “I don’t think it’s going to work.”
“Two things,” Stanley said, his voice slightly muffled by the rubber. “First, it was on sale, so I kept expenses low. Second, if anyone was going to be handing out money, it would be him. He’s got plenty.”
“But you don’t sound like him,” Bradley tried to reason.
Stanley pulled the mask off, his face wet with perspiration. “I can get a recording,” he improvised.
“You don’t think someone in a mask of our president giving away thousands of dollars isn’t going to cause a little commotion?” Mary asked.
Stanley sighed. “Well, I ain’t thought of it that way,” he said. “But we gotta do something, if we want to keep this on the down low.”
Write the best story you can – because you only get one chance to make a first impression. Think about it, if you rush this story, but assure yourself that next time you’ll take more time, get an editor, pay for a nicer cover – who is going to give you a second chance? There are too many other books out there to pull your readers away from your work. If they feel that your first book felt incomplete, sloppy, amateurish – what is going to entice them to try you again?
Make sure you offer the very best you have and then, go on to the next book.
I wrote a scene in a book where Mary (a woman who can see and talk to ghosts) is driving home from meeting a little girl ghost who had been abused and killed. The man who killed her had pretended to be a pastor, but he really was a sex-trafficker. Mary has a guardian angel who works with her, his name is Mike. When the little girl saw Mike, she was terrified. To her, Mike represented God and God let the pastor hurt her. So, Mike is in the car with Mary and he asks her something like, “Why did God let her die, Mary? Why didn’t He let an angel come down and save her? He could have done that, why didn’t He?”
Mary turns to him and explains that during her near-death experience (that actually gave her the ability to see and communicate with ghosts) she made one of the hardest decisions that she had ever had to make. She was given the choice to continue to the light or go back and be with her family. She said, “I wanted to go to the light, Mike. But I knew my family needed me, so I came back. God didn’t let her die, Mike. God took her home.”
After the book had been published I received am email from a reader. She explained that she was only a little way into the book, but when she’d read this passage, she knew she had to write to me. She and her brother had been very close. She worked with her brother, he had been her boss. One morning, she came into work and found her brother at his desk. He’d been working late and had a heart attack. He was dead. She said that she couldn’t understand why God had taken her brother. He was a good man, he did wonderful things in the community. Then she read my passage and was filled with peace. God didn’t take her brother, He just brought him home. She told me that she knew that God had used me to send a message directly to her. I will always cherish that email.
I am so grateful to my readers. I could not do what I love to do without their support and their willingness to take a chance on an indie author. I love that social media has created a vehicle where I get to know my readers, where I can share their successes and their sadness. I feel like my readership is part of my family. And, I am truly blessed with the best readers on the planet. I’ve had other authors comment to me that they’ve never seen readers so loyal and so willing to share my posts and information about my books. I don’t know what I did to deserve them, but I am so grateful they are all part of this great adventure I’m on.
Thank you, Terri, for sharing a bit about your writing with us. It’s intriguing to hear that you have had paranormal experiences. I’ve always been open to them, but so far none have come forward. The only thing I can say is that the house I now live in, a house where teachers used to live, fills me with a happiness that I haven’t found elsewhere. I am home.
If you want to follow Terri Reid, you can do so via the following social media:
Terri has way too many books for me to put them all in this post. I’ve put a few links of her books in here, but why don’t you guys head over to Terri’s Amazon page and check them all out there!
Don’t forget: all my books in the Suckers Trilogy are each now 99c/99p only!
Visit Dark Fantasy Books (on Facebook) tomorrow to have some fun with us 🙂
This is an online Facebook Halloween Party invitation. Go to Facebook, look for Dark Fantasy Books and you should be able to find the party on the 31st of October!
Great fun, giveaways, and prizes! Hope to see you there 🙂
It’s almost Halloween and you may have been invited to a Halloween party. Not sure what to bring the host as a gift? Why not a creepy one?
Twisted50 is a compilation of 50 contemporary horror stories.
‘A great mix of truly twisted stories to suit all horror tastes, from the psychological frighteners to the stomach-churning gore fests. Each tale brings a modern spin on horror, each author leaves their own unique imprint in your mind. It’s hard to pick a favorite as there are so many great ones to choose from.’
Or, if you’re invited to your sister’s party, why not give Twisted’s Evil Little Sister?
‘This second anthology from Twisted50 again showcases more wonderful writing from different writers. The range of stories – style, subject matter, and tone – is excellent; there are ‘tales of the unexpected’ moments; moments which pack an emotional punch; horror presented as something personal; there are stomach-churning moments and moments of dread. And so it goes on… In a busy world, these stories provide a quick ‘reading fix’. You’ll find, with the range of stories, there is something exhilarating, dreadful, unexpected and absorbing to tickle your horror fancy.’
Both books are available here.
On Friday night, October 15th, 2004, Sue, Charlie and I, three new teachers at Bullsbrook high school, sat in The Celtic Frog, the local bar. We occupied the corner booth that we had made our own since we had arrived in town two months ago. The bar was the only place that appeared to continue as usual since the start of the sucker pandemic a week ago. The bar owners, a couple called Abby and René, still served drinks and the usual patrons hung off the bar or sat in their usual seats.
There were, however, a large number of new customers. They were refugees escaping the city. The first ones arrived six days ago, but their number had steadily grown. In the beginning we didn’t think anything of it, just an unusual time of the year to get vacationers. As the news reports became increasingly scary, more and more arrived and today the biggest wave hit. Their conversations were hushed and anxious. We could hear snippets of horror stories about people being chased, herded, and slaughtered like cattle. We, too, sat huddled in our corner booth, whispering, discussing what to do next.
All of a sudden, we heard a commotion. I had heard a man talk loudly minutes before, but now people shrieked and cried. The three of us raised our heads to find out what was happening and I could see a cluster of people had gathered around one of the newcomers.
“They’re watching a camcorder,” Sue said.
I pushed her to move as I wanted to know what was on the camcorder that would make people cry like that. “Come on,” I said, “get going. I want to see it too.”
She stood up, followed on her heels by me. Charlie got up as well and followed us to the wailing people.
“What’s up?” I asked.
“Oh my god,” said Abby. She wiped tears from her face with one hand as she grabbed my shoulder with the other. “You’ll have to see it to believe it.”
She pushed me to the front of the crowd. An old man, I guessed in his sixties with a rather saggy build and a haunted look on his face, was holding a camcorder with its viewing screen out. More people tried to see the recording, but the ones who had already seen it were reluctant to move. They apparently needed to see the footage for a second time to convince themselves that what they had seen wasn’t a figment of their imagination. The old man backed up the recording and restarted it. What I saw scared the hell out of me.
It started off with a younger couple in a happy pose at a restaurant. The camera was then handed, I presumed by a waitress, to the man of the couple. He continued filming the woman. It must have been her birthday or some other celebration as the man gave her a present and, after a big hug to the man, she began unwrapping it. I couldn’t hear what was being said.
From that one scene of happiness, it turned into one of chaos and slaughter. Suckers stormed into the restaurant, their fangs clearly visible, grabbing customers and waiters alike. The lucky lady who had been unwrapping the present screamed when one of the suckers grabbed her arm and tried to pull her away. She struggled. The camera movement became erratic, as if it was being used to hit the attacker of the woman. I saw the arm of the sucker move in the direction of what I think was the camera man’s neck. The camera then followed the movements of the man’s hand as he fought to get the arm off himself. You could see the sucker laugh, he actually laughed, before pulling the woman he was still holding in front of him. Her eyes were glazed over, she was in shock. The sucker then sank his teeth into her neck, watching the man as he did it. The camera movements became more erratic as the sucker dropped the woman and turned his efforts to the man holding the camera. We couldn’t see what happened next as in the struggle the camera was launched and landed on one of the other tables, in a plate full of pasta. Over the top of spaghetti, I saw the people in the restaurant become the dish of the day.
“Where did you say you found the camera?” someone in the crowd asked.
“Two days ago in Needham, halfway down the road to Portland,” said the old man loudly. “I was looking for food and found it lying there, in the pasta. Nobody but dead bodies there anymore, the suckers had already left.”
“Why didn’t you stay there? How’d you get past the suckers?” someone else asked.
“With a big, fast car,” he replied. “I was lucky to have missed the sucker attack, working in my cellar and my hearing being bad, but my wife didn’t survive.” There were tears in his eyes now. “I’ve come to warn you. I’ve lost my reason to live, but you still have a chance to save yours. I want people to know what’s coming for them. Y’all have to get outta here! They’re coming!” His voice was thick with emotion, his eyes wild, as he frantically looked around at the gathered crowd.
I glanced over my shoulder at Sue, then at Charlie standing beside me. They seemed as shocked as I was. More questions were called out to the old man, but I wasn’t interested in them. I’d heard enough. We returned to our corner booth, too traumatized by the images to speak for a while.
School had been suspended until further notice earlier that day and we didn’t have to worry about teaching. Most people had taken their children out of Bullsbrook during the past week anyway. So far the threat had seemed far away and we all thought it would be dealt with before it spread. These people and these images told a different story. It wasn’t going to be safe here for much longer.
“We have to get away,” I said. “We have a better chance of survival if we get away from the crowd.”
“Are you sure? Wouldn’t it be better if we stayed here?” Sue’s dreadlocks bounced as she spoke. She shifted in her seat.
I scanned the bar’s customers. “You saw the tape.”
So many new faces. So much fear.
“I think,” Sue said, her southern accent thicker than usual, “that we have a better chance if we stand with the people from the town. More manpower.”
My eyes went back to Sue. I let her words sink in and pursed my lips.
“I don’t agree. What do you think Charlie?”
Sue and I both turned to look at Charlie. Being a dwarf didn’t diminish his presence and, being ten years our senior, I gave his vote more weight. The low lighting cast dark shadows on his face, accentuating his dark mood.
“I agree with Kate. Even if all the people in town worked together, we could never stand up to the numbers that the suckers must have gathered by now. Let the army take that fight. We need to get out of here and hide until this is dealt with by the authorities.”
I followed Charlie’s stare and waited for Sue to respond. Finally, she nodded, dreadlocks bouncing again.
“Yeah, he’s right. Better to hide than to fight.”
“Okay, so where do we go?” Charlie asked.
I put my lips on my thumb as I’d bitten too much skin off next to my nail while I was listening to Charlie. It was bleeding. I shut my eyes to deal with the pain and the image of my parents and sisters flashed by. I still didn’t know their fate. Last night I’d hardly slept, being tormented by nightmares of possibilities, and the resulting tiredness didn’t make me think any clearer. There was nothing I could do for them at the moment, so I tried to concentrate on deciding where to go. Even though Charlie, Sue and I had lived in Bullsbrook for over two months, we still didn’t know the town or the surrounding area well.
“Hey, maybe we can go to the campground!” Sue burst out. Charlie and I raised our eyebrows at her.
How in heaven’s name does she know a campground? She’s not what you call ‘the camping type.’
“I’d asked around about where to find an affordable place for my parents to stay. They want to come and visit me over the Christmas break,” she explained. “My neighbors told me about it. They said it’s along the river north of town. It has cabins for rent at reasonable prices and a small cabin could easily sleep the three of us.”
My face lit up. “That’s a great idea. They might have a camp store too, with long-lasting food supplies.”
My thoughts drifted to movies with underground fallout bunkers. God only knew how long this sucker pandemic was going to last. When my attention came back to the conversation, I realized both Sue and Charlie didn’t comment on my practicality. They were too excited about the campsite.
“Yeah. Best of all it’s off the main roads,” Charlie said, staring into his own private universe while rubbing the stubble on his chin. Then his eyes snapped back to us. “We better go there as soon as possible. We probably aren’t the only ones who came up with the idea.”
“Are we going right now or tomorrow morning?” Sue asked. She shifted in her seat again.
I hadn’t thought that far ahead yet. A surge of fear gripped me. It was as if a giant hand squeezed my insides, pushing adrenaline into the far corners of my body. This was really happening and it wasn’t a figment of my imagination. The idea of leaving Bullsbrook, my beautiful new hometown, made the whole dreadful situation so much more real. However, Sue’s question was pressing and a decision had to be made.
“I’d sleep better if we left tonight,” I said.
Charlie slammed his hands flat on the table, making Sue and I jump.
“Okay,” he said. “Let’s go home, pack our stuff and meet at Kate’s. She’s the only one with a car.” He stared us down until we both agreed. “And only pack the essentials!” he added as he leaned toward Sue. I turned my head to see Sue’s reaction.
“What?” she asked innocently, shifting her eyes from Charlie to me, seeking back-up against his insinuation.
“Don’t get carried away, Sue,” I said. “My car may have five doors, but that doesn’t mean there’s a lot of space in the trunk.”
Sue opened her mouth in protest but couldn’t find a good excuse. Charlie chuckled.
The two of them hurried to finish their beers while I left mine untouched since I was going to be the driver. We paid our bill and went on our way.
This week I’ve learned a lot.
I’ve learned that running a promo needs more preparation time if you want to do it properly.
I’ve learned that it is not a good idea to run a book promotion while you’re preparing a (Halloween) party.
I’ve learned that you shouldn’t start making a Halloween dress two days before the party.
I’ve learned that velvet is not a good choice for sewing a medieval dress, particularly if you haven’t got a lot of sewing experience.
I’ve learned that you can’t sing while you’ve got a pin in your mouth. Well, you can, but you won’t have a pin in your mouth for long 🙂 .
I’ve learned that Grammarly is worth running your text through before putting it online!
Have a Wonderful Writing Weekend!
PS: My book is still available for FREE! Get it while you can!
For those of you who are interested in romance, suspense, vampires, action, drama, and/or a bit of horror; you can now sign up for a FREE copy of my re-vamped novel when it’s ready. I’m already half-way re-writing it, so I’m hoping to have it ready in October (before Halloween!). You can find the form on my home page.
It’s mainly a romance, but with a lot of suspense for those thrill seekers amongst you! As it’s about a virus turning people into vampires (well, sort of) there’s the paranormal/supernatural theme running through it (fangs piercing necks; check!), there’s the bit of horror (vampires do kill for a living, pun intended 🙂 ), guns are involved in multiple scenes (so lots of action), and as there are four love interest (technically speaking) there is enough drama to make a movie out of it (I think so at least 😀 ). Humour is a tricky one, not everybody’s humour is the same. But I’ve made people chuckle, so I’m confident to say there is some humour in it too :).
Anyway, it’s FREE, so why not sign up! I promise it won’t disappoint you 🙂 .