Well blow me down! Avast ye maties!
Welcome aboard The Whimsical Herald! You are all invited to join me at the Captain’s table and our most distinguished and renowned author guest Francesca Quarto to share a cup of grog as we pick her brain about her latest popular release, Love’s Prey!
Fair Warning! It’s not a tale for the faint hearted! There is plenty of action, intrigue and steamy romance packed into Francesca Quarto’s new release!
HER EXOTIC BEAUTY IS A LURE TO EVERY MALE THAT CROSSES HER PATH, BUT WHEN THE ONE MAN SHE TRUSTS THE MOST BETRAYS HER, SHE MUST RUN FOR HER LIFE, MARKED AS A MURDERER.
“I need to show you how I feel. I have to let it out, or it will consume me as it has day after day since I first saw you!”
He sounded desperate and afraid. But there was something else, something sinister in the way his hands were moving. She shifted her direction, but now the backs of her legs bumped against a low desk. Tricia looked down in desperation and saw a pair of long scissors, instinctively slipping them into her hand. She held the newfound weapon behind her back. “You-you’re scaring me. You need to stay away from me, Reverend Reed. Whatever you are feeling toward me, isn’t right. It’s not something I ever wanted.” He took a step forward and she tried to reason with him, to make him realize what he was doing by saying, “Please, your wife is a good person and you don’t want to hurt her.”
His face contorted in anger and was covered in a sheen of perspiration. The bright overhead fluorescents highlighted dark smudges under his eyes, making him look more like a demon than a man of God. He edged closer. “It isn’t her I need to hurt, it’s you! I need to end your control over me, you little whore.”
Tricia Cooley’s dream is to escape her life in the Black Hills forever and follow her love of art into the Chicago galleries, but her exotic beauty draws the attention of any man seeing her on or off the Sioux Reservation. Her fantasy becomes a nightmare when the one man she trusts turns her into a killer and escaping means running for her very life.
While Tricia tears blindly through the night, the scent of death fills the air with sweet allure to a rogue band of shapeshifters. Her clan’s powerful shaman, Shadow Stalker, knows these Hunters are in pursuit, and that their leader, Dream Slayer, finds Tricia as irresistible as his lust for power.
Jackson Wolf, a Keeper of The People, is sent to protect her from the beasts that shadow her. His growing feelings challenge his discipline, just as they are forced to battle a pack of wild shifters.
Tricia must unleash the warrior within herself if she is to survive the diabolical scheme to kidnap and turn her into a sex slave for a demonic shaman.
1. Did the exquisitely detailed world building in ‘Love’s Prey’ evolve on its own or did it require a lot of research to create?
The setting for "Love's Prey" was one I was already familiar with from my travels throughout those areas. Though this does not include visiting the Black Hills (yet) I have been fortunate to have visited several American Indian Reservations throughout the Southwest region. I did research on the Sioux and that particular Reservation setting in the Dakotas and also used information on their tribal folk lore.
2. What/who inspired you to write your very first book?
My first book, "Wolf Master of Iron Mountain" is book 1 in my "Witch of Appalachia" series. It came about after I had already written poetry, essays, article and various newsletters over the years, some of which I actually saw published! I am an avid consummer of every kind of book, in every kind of genre, but my imagination sought a different outlet for discovery!
3. How would you describe Sioux native Tricia Cooley’s personality? Was her character inspired by anyone you’ve known?
Though Tricia Cooley is not based on any one woman I know or have known, her personal story is sadly indicative to many young women seeking to better themselves in historically, male-dominated cultures. This would be true in modern day Middle Eastern countries, African nations, what are refered to as "Third World" countries and here, in our own country where the 'glass ceiing" has only a few cracks!
For my character, Tricia Cooley, though young, her intellect inspires her dreams of bettering her life and her stregth of character help direct her actions. Her suffering actually ends up strengthening her resolve to live free of all control, physical or sexual.
4.There is a lot of danger as well as intrigue in “Love’s Prey’. Aside from Tricia which characters are your favorites?
I enjoyed hearing the voice of Thomas One Tree, the wise Keeper dressed in the guise of an old Indian they meet along the road. I also found the clan's Shaman, and Jackson's grandfather, a strong, non-judgemental advocate for Tricia. Naturally, making my hero a hunk was rather fun, but then, he was a great fantasy wasn't he?
5. What makes you laugh and cry?
I enjoy reading books with lots of edgy humor, like any mystery by the late, great Robert Parker.
I cry at movies all the time, especially if I've paid twelve bucks and the movie stinks like boiled cabbage! I do cry at sad movies as I tend to get totally wrapped up in whatever my head's into at the time.
6 .Can you tell us about some of your most popular works? Which ones would you recommend to a reader that is new to your novels?
My series the "Witch of Appalacia" would appeal to anyone in the family who enjoyed the magic themes in Harry Potter and Twilight I think. My stories are all independent mysteries and the reader can start anywhere in the series and not miss out on the story line. If readers enjoy mysteries and magic, I've got you covered!
7. The American Indian culture is a big part of ‘Love’s Prey’. What drew you to this theme?
After an extensive trip I took throughout the South-West, I became aware of the social and econimic challenges facing the American Indians. I witnessed what I called "grinding poverty" on many of the Reservations, even through my lens of a visitor, skirting the large, geographic areas. I wanted to see something more hopeful and Tricia would provide that.
8. What actress in your mind could do justice to the role of Tricia Cooley?
If I could choose, it would have to be a American Indian Actress and I can't name one..can you?
9. If you had to select one scene in this book to read aloud to an audience, which scene would it be ?
Though the sexual abuse Tricia suffers at the hands of the Hunters is germane to the developement the story, I would read the chapter where Jackson Wolf has to fight the three Hunters at the diner near the bus station. This sets up his sworn duty as a Protector, to keep Tricia from falling into the hands of the Hunter's Shaman, Dream Stalker, who lusts for her, body and soul.
Chocolate or Vanilla?
Always CHOCOLATE! Everything else is just something cold sitting in the dish!
Rock or Jazz or Classical?
All of them! On a quiet island, Yo Yo Mah!
Tea or coffee?
Coffee, dark roast with cream please!
Any that finds me alive and writing!
My favorite actor to play Tricia Cooley? I would love to see both the male and female protagonists played by American Indian actors to be authentic in characterization. (I'll have to research who would fill that bill and get back with you.)
Cats or Dogs?
Love both, but DOGS rock!
10. Please tell us about the future projects you have planned and what you are working on right now!
As we speak, I am working on Book 5 of the "Witch of Appalachia" series. I'll have the first draft finished by week's end and then let it percolate for a few days, before I begin the task my editor most loves...re-writes! I will let this consume me and my time until satisfied and then start thinking about, "Celtic Fires" Book 6 in the same series.
I really want to begin a new Paranormal Romance, but will use mystery along with romance which is mysterious enough if you ask me! I am thinking of a setting in the deep south as I keenly remember a trip to Mississippi, where the cemeteries were far more inviting than the cities.
Well me hearties, the time has come to bid a fond farewell to our fascinating Author Francesca Quarto. We have enjoyed visiting with her and look forward to new literary booty from her fertile creative mind!
Keep a weather eye open-Old Man Winter still has his icy fingers in us yet. Stay warm and dry until next we haul into port to bring you more literary treasure from the briny deep.
Your servant as always.
Mistress of Madness, The Whimsical Herald
Ahoy me hearties!
Oh how the March winds doth blow! We of The Whimsical Herald are grateful they are at our backs as we head downwind to meet with author Lauren Giddings, aka Nancy Gideon, to discuss her fabulous release of ‘Sweet Tempest’, a Regency romance. We anticipate plenty of action in this finely crafted tale of love, betrayal, secrets and intrigue.
A debt she is forced to repay for her family’s sake plunges Tempest into the desperate life of a robber. She has no idea that being taken down by a bullet would open the door to a different world, and an unexpected chance at love.
Shutting her eyes, she feigned sleep as she heard the approach of two sets of boot steps.
"I'll own she's a fair piece, but what are you going to do with her, Conn?"
The sound of a heavy sigh and a low, pleasant voice that played soft upon her memory. "Can't say I know, George." He gave a laugh. "The possibilities are intriguing though."
Tempest forced herself to breathe evenly as she felt a presence grow near. She choked down a gasp as fingertips lightly grazed her cheek. Feeling trapped and helpless, she lay still as a cornered hare, hoping the charade would fool them. Surely, they could hear the panicked race of her heart.
"You can't think to keep her here?"
Knowing his friend well, George Morley shouldn’t have been surprised by the arrogant reply. "And why not? I must say, I've never been so taken with a woman to my recall."
"Loretta's quite out of countenance over this lark, so be warned lest she take off your head."
Connor gave an indifferent shrug. "That doesn't signify. She's grown tiresome of late. Now this little miss, I'll wager she's no boring work."
George groaned at the speculative look on his friend's face. Connor's impulsive moods could prove hazardous. "More likely she'll slit your throat than thank you."
"It may be worth the risk," he mused, touching the pale cheek a second time.
A Fetching Robber, An Unscrupulous Rogue and A Daring Risk . . . to Die For
By Nancy Gideon w/a Lauren Giddings
A crafty scheme that doesn't exactly go as planned . . .
A Thief of hearts . . .
A female of Tempest Swift's brains and beauty should be fending off suitors, not hiding in the shadows boldly robbing coaches. But lean times leave her with a family to provide for . . . until shot from her horse while making her escape. Waking as the pampered prisoner of a sinfully handsome gentleman has her pulse pounding for all the wrong reasons. His suggestion she be his mistress is shocking enough, but he has more on his clever mind . . .
A Desperate noble . . .
Cut from a longed for inheritance due to hell-bent living, a foiled robbery provides Connor Amberson with an daring solution, passing off a ragamuffin thief as his long-lost cousin to win back his grandfather's favor. But producing the supposed sole survivor of a tragic accident stirs dangerous troubles, both from those hungry to inherit and within Connor's jaded heart, as his true reward becomes something he never expected . . . until about to lose it.
1.Welcome aboard The Whimsical Herald! What attracted you to begin writing historical romance and Regency Romance specifically?
I LOVE history - enough to take it for my minor in college. I get lost in textures of the past-the dialect, the daily rituals, the food and entertainment, the travel and clothes. I adore research - funny coming from someone who did most of their historical researching BEFORE the internet by taking handwritten notes in the reference section of the library. I've found a single historical fact evocative enough to inspire an entire book! History is cyclic, repeating itself, so there's always something to learn about the way we live now. In high school, I went through an unforgettable Georgette Heyer period with my best friend. We'd speak to each other in Regency slang! When Regency-set romances expanded beyond the traditional lines and finally opened the bedroom door to include S-E-X between those proper parties, I was one of the first onboard. I never set out to write a proper Regency, but rather a historical in Regency garb.
2.How much do you research before you begin writing? And what are some of the strangest historical trivia facts you’ve discovered in your research?
I research until I'm immersed in the time period, to the extent of pointing my fork at my two young sons at the table and telling them to "eat them there peas!" while writing my Texas historical series. It's the little details that bring history alive, so I always start with daily life books from the time period as well as the actual time line of events. Maps, floor plans, even patterns to show how period clothing goes together adds realism (and sometimes great plot points!) to any story. Bathroom, undergarment and intimacy research always yields the most interesting factoids and are too numerous and incredible to name. I'm really loving the new TV series "The Alienist" for it's fantastic attention to period accuracy.
3. Would you ever want to live in the Regency era?
With those narrow skirts? Heck no! I'd probably be the one cleaning the chamber pots, not the one going to the cotillions! A Regency Cinderella.
4.Have you traveled to any of the places you write about?
I've never been "across the pond" to Europe and I'd written a dozen or more Western historicals before ever crossing the Mississippi (beyond Iowa). Readers would ask how long I'd lived in Texas or the Dakotas and I'd have to tell them I'd never been to the places I wrote about. But the first time I saw the mountains in Arizona, it was true love - just the way I pictured it in my books! Many of my contemporary novels are set in places I've visited, including Ixtapa, Mexico and the Caribbean. I'd go to national conferences and conventions all over the country, skip out for a day and rent a car with writer pals to get "the lay of the land", seeing the sights, visiting bookstores to pick up local publications, tourism and history books, and sample the cuisine-getting the feel of location with all my senses. New Orleans and Lake Tahoe are two of my favorites so it's no wonder they host a number of my books.
5.How long have you been writing and what advice would you have given yourself as a start up author?
I've been writing since I could construe a sentence but I'd always write snatches of a story and never tie them together. It wasn't until I was a stay-at-home mom that I was challenged to start from page one and continue all the way through to page end. I sent in my first manuscript totally ignorant of the industry so it was no surprise that it came winging back. I wrote three more complete novels before I had the courage to send the best of the three in. Two sold! And I've been selling continually since then in genres from historical to series contemporary suspense, paranormal and even horror. Counting the reissues of older titles, I'm somewhere around 70+ different editions! My advice - Stick to what you start all the way through to the bitter end and then make it better. And then make it your best.
6.Which of the many compelling characters in ‘Sweet Tempest’ came to you first?
I had vague impressions of the hero and heroine, but from the very first page, I just adored the hero's best friend, George Morley, who provides a pivot point of reason for both characters. He's kind of the lynch pin that holds their relationship together with his common sense and affection for both of them.
7. Are you an avid reader? What genres do you enjoy?
I grew up toting library books home as a child and my love of a good novel has only increased with the years, but unfortunately, not so the time in which to read as much as I'd like. My favorite books all have an extra-ordinary element in them, like suspense or the paranormal. I love to be kept guessing and on the edge of my seat. My favorite go-to author is Dean Koontz because he teases both those things together into an irresistible read. But I'm always open to a good story, regardless of the genre-since I've also written in most of them.
8. Most regency writers focus on the nobility but Tempest’s background gives her an interesting edge. In your mind what challenges does she face besides her lowborn background?
Pride and survival. Those two things are always at odds with her. She needs to protect her family but she also has a high standard of what is right - perhaps because her parents insisted she work to better herself instead of accepting her lot in society. I like a scraper. The dangers of daily living gives her a tough realism that makes her equal to the task of taming the nobility.
9. What passage would you choose to read from ‘Sweet Tempest’ in an author reading? Tell us why you are drawn to it.
I cannot stand the sound of my voice reading aloud! But if I were whispering to myself, it would probably be an early scene when my hero, the roguish Connor Amberson, is discussing options with the lovely thief Tempest Swift, who he shot while she was robbing his coach, and now has recovering in his home as his "guest". It involves his suggestion that she become his mistress. He just can't understand why she might have any objections to the good fortune he offers. The spirited dialogue between them really sets the tone of the book.
10. What projects are you working on currently? Can you tell us anything about your next release?
I'm finishing the fourth and final book in my "House of Terriot" dark paranormal shapeshifter series, which is a spin-off from the long ongoing "By Moonlight" series written under my own name, Nancy Gideon. The series focuses on four of the 12 Terriot princes, half-brothers vying for control of the isolated warrior clan who are forced to reach beyond their own protected boundaries when an outside threat brings all the enemy clans together to save their kind. And, of course, each of these yummy princes is brought to heal by an unexpected heroine. The first three books, PRINCE OF HONOR, PRINCE OF POWER and PRINCE OF FOOLS are available in print and e-book. I plan to have PRINCE OF DREAMS ready to read by late summer. I also have another Lauren Giddings Regency, BARTERED BRIDE that I'll be whipping into shape for reissue with Tell-Tale Publishing. Then I'd love to start bringing back my Western historicals written under the name Dana Ransom. Busy, busy, busy!
click here for more about Nancy Gideon!
Enter to win!
It is with fondness that we bid farewell to our guest prolific writer Lauren Giddings aka Nancy Gideon. We look forward to spotlighting more of her enthralling tales in the near future and encourage readers to dive into ‘Sweet Tempest’, a fast-paced romantic adventure that will keep you reading past your bedtime!
As always, your faithful servant and Captain of The Whimsical Herald,
Patricia Mattern, Mistress of Madness
Well met Me Hearties! Welcome aboard the Whimsical Herald!
Though frosty winds doth blow we are headed into port to meet with popular YA author Ellen Fritz at the captain’s table. Her intriguing new release, ‘BOUND TO BIGFOOT’ is an original and engaging take on the Beauty and the Beast trope that is a part of the collective consciousness of readers everywhere.
A LOVE FORBIDDEN, YET DESPERATELY LONGED FOR
Losing her mother was a life changing event for 17-year-old Ali. But a chance sighting of a monster that was supposed to exist only in myth and lore would turn her reality upside down and place her on a trajectory toward danger, love, and a new ‘normal’ she could never have imagined...
“What issues are you talking about?” I stared at Mr. Jones and knew he had to see the anger in my eyes. It was burning its way right toward him.
“I can’t tell you the details, but there have been some, let’s say suspicions.”
He was trying to talk calmly and quietly. They lived out in those cabins, stayed away from most of the community except when they had to be involved for work, really kept to themselves. Just the kind of stuff that narrow-minded, intolerant people would think was suspicious. I had told Jake I was sure I loved him, but, at that moment, I really felt the commitment I was ready to make to him and his way of life. I loved him with my whole heart and couldn’t imagine being without him for even one day. My anger, the need to protect Jake from Mr. Jones’ stupid suspicions, and my need to defend the man I loved all flared at once.
“No!” I said with determination. “I won’t stop seeing Jake. There’s nothing you can do to keep me away from him.”
“Ali,” he said with his falsely calm voice. “There are things I can do. The judge will order you to stay away from Jake. I’ll get a protection order against him. If he comes anywhere near you, he can be arrested.”
“This is crazy, ” I practically whispered. “Why would you do that?”
“Because I believe it’s not safe for you to be around him and his family. If you see him again, I’ll go to the judge.”
What if Bigfoot are shifters? Living as humans most the time, as shifters they could change to Bigfoot when they wanted, needed, to hunt. That might explain why they’re so elusive.
Ali’s mother died just months before, she never knew her father, and she is placed with the Patton’s, a young but loving couple who were willing to take a nearly 18-year-old teenager into their home, and on their annual camping trip.
Curious and independent, Ali decides to explore and stumbles across a Bigfoot at Salt Fork State Park. The Bigfoot seems to stare right at her before a deer ran in front of him, causing the Bigfoot to chase and kill it.
But what had she really seen? Maybe it was a bear. Who would believe her anyway?
Then there was this big, incredibly good-looking guy at school the next day. He gazed at her and smiled—and for some reason made her remember how that Bigfoot had stared at her. This guy scared her too. He made her nervous with his sexy good looks and piercing eyes, and especially when he asked her out. No way was she ready for a guy like this. Should she stay away from him and be the shy, lonely girl she’d become since her mother’s death, or take a chance?
Jake’s family is worried. The human girl saw him. Will she tell and force them to leave? Jake needs to get close to her and find out what she saw so he can convince her she’s wrong. But can he deny the attraction he feels for her? While making sure his family is safe, can he also keep her safe, from himself?
1.’Bound to Bigfoot’ is based on an intriguing premise. How did you come up with the idea that Bigfoot might be a shifter?
I was watching a TV show about Bigfoot and they were saying that if they were real, we’d
have found bodies or an abandoned place where they lived or nested. For some reason,
it just came to me that they could be shape shifters and live as humans most of the time.
What if a human girl fell for a Bigfoot in human form? The rest of the story went from
2. What attracts you to write paranormal romance?
Mostly that I have always loved reading paranormal stories. I guess that comes
from my background as an English major and English teacher where I read all the
classic stories and mythologies. Besides, in the paranormal genre, anything can
3. When readers are introduced to Ali in the beginning of your novel she is struggling to find herway after the loss of her mother. How much did you draw on your background as an educator and counselor of young people to develop this character?
I draw on my experience with young people every time I write. The emotions and
thoughts I give Ali and other characters are very real, and I know young people
who have struggled through them after the loss of a parent.
4. There is danger, romance, and also humor in Ali and Jake’s story. Please share some of your favorite moments.
My favorite part is when Jake is dying, and Ali must go to him and give his Bigfoot the strength to heal and shift back to human. That is when she finally knows that she loves him and is meant to be with him forever. Other favorite moments are when Ali runs across Jake as Bigfoot in the forest. The first time, she runs away, but the second time, he “attacks” her and is told the truth about Bigfoot. Of course, I also love the ancillary characters of Robert and Danny. They were fun to write.
5. Devotion to family is a strong theme in ‘Bound to Bigfoot’. What qualities of Jake’s family
cause Ali to feel that she could belong in a Bigfoot Clan?
I think the most important qualities of Jake’s family are their support, understanding, and love for each other. That’s why I made them show such care for Jake’s Uncle Max. I emphasized that care through the situation with the “Loner”. A Bigfoot can’t survive alone.
6. How did you choose the location of your novel? Is it a region you are personally familiar with?
Oh, yes. Salt Fork State Park is a region right outside of Cambridge, Ohio, about forty miles from where I live. It’s beautiful, with hills and valleys covered with forest, a great lodge where Ali gets her job, and has always had stories of Bigfoot sightings.
They have the Ohio Bigfoot Convention every year, this year on May 5-6, and I’ll be there selling my book. Cliff Barackman, one of the stars of the TV show “Finding Bigfoot” will also be there. It’s a fun event, and I’m looking forward to it.
7. The love scenes between Jake and Ali are very sensual without being erotic. Were they
difficult to write?
Not really, but I had to keep reminding myself that, to Jake, their relationship was much more than attraction or desire. He knew they were meant to bond which is forever. Ali was thinking of them in human terms. Until she realized she was ready to commit for life, they couldn’t go any farther. That’s why I put in the part of him almost shifting while they were kissing. He was ready to bond.
8. What modern day actors can you imagine being cast for the film version of ‘Bound to
Wow! That’s a hard one! I looked some up and found Dean Geyer with his light eyes and strong face for Jake. Mainly Jake needs to be a big, hot guy who looks older than he is. There are so many who could play Ali, I couldn’t pick one. She needs to be beautiful without being glamorous.
9. Are you primarily a pantser or a plotter when you write? Do you write on a schedule or as
inspiration strikes you?
I tried to write on a schedule, but couldn’t do it. Sometimes the ideas just aren’t there every day. I also don’t outline very extensively. The general outline and how I want the story to go are in my head. One scene often leads to another. And, I’ll confess, I’ve often written while driving. Instead of listening to music or a book, I let my characters and situations develop in my head. Probably not a good thing while zipping along a freeway.
10. What’s the most important advice you have for aspiring authors from your own experience?
The most important advice is to start, even if the whole story isn’t clear, yet. I have a file of story ideas and beginnings on my computer. Some of them I’ve borrowed for other stories, some will live in that file forever. In fact, Bigfoot once started as a very different book. I took some of it for Bound to Bigfoot, but not much.
10. Tell us about upcoming projects? Do you have any more fairytale retellings in the future?
I always have more than one project going. One right now is a dystopia, and another is about time travel. A third is a chapter book for younger people that is not paranormal. I’m not sure which one I’ll finish next, but it will probably be the dystopia.
As we bid our guest Ellen Fritz a fond farewell, it is a sweet parting because we know we will see her again soon to discuss her many exciting projects. Until then it’s anchors aweigh for Captain and crew, and The Whimsical Herald is underway to a new and warmer destination!
In your service as always,
Mistress of Madness, on Tell-Tale Publishing’s The Whimsical Herald
The Children of resurrection gardens by stone wallace, "The Stephen King of Manitoba" (Western Review Magazine)
Well blow me down! All you literary landlubbers are invited to climb aboard our seaworthy ship for the most exciting Author Spotlight to date!
Tis THE WHIMSICAL HERALD, flags flying proudly in a high winter wind, returning under the glow of a full moon to feature World-Renowned Best-Selling Author Stone Wallace. He will come aboard and join us at the Captain's table to weave a gripping and suspenseful tale of wraith-like terrors from the past, rising once more to wreak vengeance.
A QUAINT AND QUIET COASTAL COMMUNITY REALIZES A FULL BLOWN NIGHTMARE AS THEIR CHILDREN TURN UP MURDERED.
WILL CHIEF OF POLICE BRADEN POWELL BE ABLE TO SOLVE THE MACABRE CRIMES BEFORE THE ENTIRE TOWN VANISHES?
“Pedophiles don’t need to harass or physically harm children,” Dr. Forrester explained. “Molesters, on the other hand, do possess the need to commit a crime against a child. You did mention that these girls were not physically abused or sexually violated?”
“No, not violated. Just murdered,” Powell said, betraying his professional demeanor with the tight delivery of his words. Dr. Forrester’s attention flickered across his face, alerting him that she’d noticed his reaction, but she tactfully pretended not to notice. Or at least not acknowledge. She went on.
“The reason I bring that up is a molester’s motives for his crimes are typically not sexual.”Powell edged forward in his chair. “So, for clarification, in your opinion, we’re discussing a molester, not a pedophile.” Dr. Forrester responded with a slight nodding of her head.
“All right. What more can you tell me about this type of deviant from a psychological standpoint?” Powell asked her.
“There are two categories of child molesters, the situational molester and the preferential molester. With what you’ve described, the person you’re seeking is the former, a situational molester. That type does not possess a genuine sexual preference for children. Rather, the motives are criminal in nature.”
“Including murder?” Powell questioned darkly.
1. You have been a bestselling author for 30 years, writing in many genres. Is horror your favorite?
Certainly one of my favorite genres. Actually, I believe my interest began when I was probably about six years of age. My dad and I were shopping and I saw this display of Aurora monster models. Instantly my attention was grabbed by the Creature from the Black Lagoon. My dad, bless him, bought it for me and I recall sitting with him at the kitchen table as we assembled it. He then began telling me about when he was a boy and watching the classics FRANKENSTEIN and DRACULA. I instantly became a Monster Kid and my parents, God love them, never discouraged my interest. In fact, they encouraged it. I grew up reading Famous Monsters magazine and all the other popular genre publications of the time. Back in the 60s one of our local TV stations began running the Saturday Chiller movies, which focused primarily on the 50’s sci-fi/horror American International Pictures library, to which I became addicted. On top of that one of our downtown movie theaters would often showcase Saturday matinees featuring those great early Hammer films, my two favorites being THE CURSE OF THE WEREWOLF and BRIDES OF DRACULA. Believe me, those Saturday horror showcases and Chiller movies got me through many long school weeks.
2. What character qualities do you share with Chief of Police Braden Powell?
That’s literally a painful question – for what will become an obvious reason. Hopefully I’m not as neurotic or (today) as stressed out as Braden Powell, but during a crazy period in my life when I was living in Las Vegas and simultaneously working on (I kid you not) four separate book projects I developed a severe case of psoriasis that played havoc with mostly the lower part of my body. Thirteen years later I still have the symptoms, though fortunately they have subsided considerably. I incorporated that miserable skin condition in the character of Braden which is the result of the various stresses he endures throughout the story. The only other thing that I can relate to with Powell is the extreme love I have for my wife. My son-in-law read the chapter where Powell reflects on the night he lost his wife and told me how much it affected him and made him appreciate his own marriage all the more. That was gratifying. I said that was a difficult but also easy section to write because it came from my own feelings. God forbid that I would ever have to experience that, though.
3. How would you cast the movie version of ‘The Children of Resurrection Gardens’?
Thought about that. Really only three acting choices come to mind. For Powell I think Mark Wahlberg would be fine. He’s an actor I very much admire. For Donna I keep thinking of Alicia Witt. She’s maybe a bit older than the character as written but she has a quality about her that I really like. For old Casper, the cemetery caretaker, only one choice: Robert Englund. I think he would be perfect. And appropriately creepy.
4. What scares YOU?
Well, on a supernatural level, precisely what is in the book, which is why after so many years away from horror writing I decided to write THE CHILDREN OF RESURRECTION GARDENS. There is something positively chilling about “ghost children.” I’ve listened to EVPs where the voice of supposed spirit children have been recorded, and they’re downright creepy. And also quite tragic. I would not want to wake in the dead of night and be confronted with the resurrected and lamenting corpse of a child fresh from the grave standing in the doorway. So if that scares me, hopefully it will have the same effect on the reader. However, as a bonafide Monster Kid, as a boy not a lot ever truly scared me – with one exception. It was an episode of the old ALFRED HITCHCOCK HOUR: The Ray Bradbury-scripted “The Life Work of Juan Diaz”. That episode, as touching as it was, terrified me, resulted in an unpleasant bedtime and stayed with me for days. Most people remember Bradbury as the quintessential science fiction writer, but early in his career he really created some masterpieces of horror, such as the gruesome “The Handler” and the classic “Mars is Heaven!”
5. How has your writing process evolved over the years?
Well, I hope I’ve improved. Wrote my first novel at 20, which had a compelling story but the composition was pretty crude, understandably. While the book wasn’t published I was lucky enough to receive a response from a publisher that was not the dreaded “standard form rejection letter,” who said that I “showed promise” and to keep them in mind for future submissions. That encouragement kept me going and my second book was accepted for publication by a New York house. Wrote three horror novels, then decided to attempt different genres, including histories, biographies and assisting on autobiographies. Then, of course, I wrote several quite successful Western novels, one of which (MONTANA DAWN) was cited by Booklist as “One of the Ten Best Westerns of the Decade”. Considering the book was only the second Western I ever wrote, that accolade was most flattering.
6. Were you drawn to horror as a youngster? Did you watch scary movies? What was your favorite?
Yep, as I said I was a true Monster Kid. Saw as many scary movies as I could – from the classic Universal features to the AIP and Hammer movies I basically grew up with. In short, the good, the bad and the ugly. My favorite? So many. I think the one that influenced me most so far as my writing is concerned was the original CARRIE. That film (and book) hit a nerve with me. So, of course, I’m indebted to Mr. Stephen King. I must say I’m not much of a fan of today’s horror movies. Most are repetitious and imagination has been replaced by gore and other graphic content that repulses rather than entertains. Not that I’m a prude, because if the script is compelling and the characters believable I don’t mind some gore, as long as it isn’t used exclusively to replace story content. Personally, though, I really enjoy those 80s films that incorporated humor along with horror, such as FRIGHT NIGHT, THE HOWLING, AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON, RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD. But I’m also a huge David Cronenberg fan. His remake of THE FLY, for instance, is a true classic. And, proudly, he is a Canadian. But my all-time favorite horror movie is a British film starring Peter Cushing and based on the true story of Dr. Robert Knox and grave-robbers Burke and Hare called THE FLESH AND THE FIENDS. It’s a chilling movie that sticks quite close to the historical facts. Incidentally, just re-watched PET SEMATARY last night. A fine Stephen King adaptation but also a film of some missed opportunities. Also, I find it is a movie whose impact comes more from the disturbing and depressing elements it conveys rather than the outright horrific. Fred Gwynne, however, was magnificent and deserved an Oscar nod.
7. Are there sources for your stories besides your own experience?
Mostly imagination, I’d say. The kernel for THE CHILDREN OF RESURRECTION GARDENS did come from a talk I was having one night with my stepdaughter’s boyfriend at the time. He mentioned how much he was frightened by the thought of these so-called black-eyed children who apparently can show up anywhere unannounced and are as creepy as hell – that is, if they exist. That along with spooky spectral children and those eerie EVPs started to churn my imagination. In other cases, I’ll just start typing on the computer and see where it might lead me. That was how my bestseller BLOOD MOON began. With a single opening sentence on my old portable typewriter, just to write something.
8. Have you ever vacationed or lived in a coastal town like Clear Vista?
There is a lakeside community in Manitoba called Gimli that I used as a model for Clear Vista. My wife and I visit Gimli often in the summer and my hope is to eventually move out there. A quaint and lovely small town with all of those quaint small-town values. I’ve lived in cities all my life but now as I’ve gotten older I yearn for a more rural lifestyle.
9. Which of the books you’ve written have the best shot at being popular 50 years from now?
Ideally, all of them. Actually, I’d need a time machine to answer that question. I think back thirty-odd years to when I first started writing novels. Things have changed so much since then, both in what people choose to read and the applications with which they can be read. God only knows what the future holds. I guess my main hope is with all the technology available today that people will still be reading books. The way the English language is getting so abbreviated on texting devices, I hope that in years to come people will be able to read.
10. You include elements of both psychological and actual violence in The Children of Resurrection Gardens. Was this by design?
Well, without giving away too much of the story, I didn’t want the ghouls (such as they are) to be George Romero-like flesh-eating zombies. Yes, there is violence but not brought on directly by the actions of those resurrected children. I wanted my supernatural beings to have a different motive for their returning from the grave. The psychological violence is committed more by the hauntings of guilt many of the main characters experience – or have experienced in the past.
11. One very strong-willed central character succumbs to insanity near the novel’s finish in a shocking manner. Did you plan this?
Yes. You see, I really don’t plan out my books in advance. I start with an idea and let it progress from there. That, to me, is the fun of writing, otherwise with too much pre-plotting it becomes work. Sometimes I think I know what’s ahead but circumstances throw me an unexpected curve. My characters generally guide me along; in essence, I almost become a spectator to their journey and adventures. In one of my early novels I introduced a character who I intended to be the hero of the story. About halfway through, however, he was killed off unexpectedly. Just the way the story progressed – and I felt that if it shocked me it might toss the reader a jolt, as well. The same thing happened with the first Western I wrote. The unexpected and downbeat ending so threw my editor that she almost was not going to publish the book. But in the instance of THE CHILDREN OF RESURRECTION GARDENS, the person you’re mentioning, I pretty well knew from the outset where I wanted to go with this character and it followed through to the end with no fork in the road. Circumstances demanded this particular and rather gruesome fate.
12. Certain elements suggest there could be a sequel to The Children of Resurrection Gardens. Are you planning one?
No. I think based on the conclusion, the story ends as it should. Besides, I’m not really fond of sequels. However, with another book . . . you never know.
13. You interviewed many celebrities over the years. Who were your favorites and were any influential in your writing?
I’ve been so lucky in that regard. Heck, I’m a kid from Winnipeg where the winters are cold and snowy and summers are hot and humid and I’ve been blessed to both interview and even befriend some really great people. Could never pick a favorite since each, without exception, has been so kind and gracious. (Please forgive the name-dropping to follow). I was fortunate to conduct Robert Stack’s final interview. Back in ’74 I was invited to sit with Lloyd Nolan in his Brentwood home and interview him. One interesting story is when I interviewed Anthony Quinn. I’d been told beforehand not to mention his son Christopher, who, as a toddler, had drowned in neighbor W.C. Fields’ pond. Mr. Quinn and I got along so well during our talk that he himself brought up the story, further adding that to that day he had never visited his son’s grave. At the end of our talk Mr. Quinn said that if I was ever in Rhode Island to visit him at his home on Poppasquash Road. Wish I had, he was a very nice man. But I also received invites from other celebrities like John Agar, Coleen Gray, director Herbert L. Strock, Margia Dean, Marc Lawrence, and Mickey Knox. So, yeah, it’s been pretty exciting and flattering to be so acknowledged by people I’d admired for so long. And to further answer your question: It was my good friend John Agar who inspired me to write my first Western novel DENIM RYDER. During our first of several conversations we talked about his Western roles in movies, and I mentioned this idea I’d been playing around with about a denim-clad female secret agent. He casually suggested, why not make her into a cowgirl. Bingo! Had never considered writing a Western before but it turned out quite well. I even wrote a character based on Agar that I hoped, should a film be made of the book, he would play. But sadly that never came to be. And John, who was suffering from ill health, passed away not long after.
14. What current projects are you working on? Do you have any signings planned in 2018?
Have just finished a noir crime novel that I’m excited about, REQUIEM FOR A GANGSTER. Besides classic horror, I’m also an enormous fan of early gangster movies, particularly those produced by Warner Bros. If Tell-Tale gives the okay on this book I hope we can talk again. Had some personal contact with those associated with the underworld of yesteryear, including a memorable lunch in Vegas with Mickey Cohen’s girlfriend, Liz Renay. I mean, here’s another abstract: A kid from the prairie provinces of Canada lunching with the gal pal of the gangster who was the mob boss of 40’s L.A. (who, by the way, apparently was nothing like the Capone-like portrayal of Sean Penn in GANGSTER SQUAD). Also working on completing another horror novel featuring a child with an uncanny “gift” used for a specific supernatural purpose. Then a book about another frightening concept: The legend of the demon of the northern wilds, the Wendigo. Should keep me busy for a while. Plus I should add that I write vintage movie pieces for that fine publication Nostalgia Digest and am assisting on a project with a fellow who spent five weeks interviewing James Cagney in the latter days of the actor’s life. The book will focus on conversations the two had about Cagney’s early, pre-Hollywood years. Unique info straight from Jimmy Cagney himself that has never been revealed before.
From the "Stephen King of Manitoba" (Western Review Magazine), comes another macabre tale. At the Midnight Hour beware of what lurks in the shadows.
Clear Vista, California is a picturesque town overlooking a tranquil bay on the Pacific. Quiet. Friendly. It’s a great place for children to grow up.
That is, if they grow up.
But an unusual number of children in Clear Vista don’t live long enough to grow up. A car accident. A hit-and-run. A tumble down the basement stairs. A suicide. So many tragedies fill the plots in the local cemetery, Resurrection Gardens. The worst is the disappearance of the eight-year-old Loewen twins, Heidi and Holly. When their bodies are found in the cemetery’s tool shed, the horrified townspeople are desperate to find the predator that has come into their midst.
Under mounting pressure, Police Chief Braden Powell searches for the culprit, but he soon finds himself investigating a string of additional deaths. Adults this time. All parents of lost children. They’re definitely not murders, but they’re definitely not natural, either. Is the town of Clear Vista just unlucky, or is something far more sinister moving over the horizon?
It is with great sadness we bid our distinguished guest, Author Stone Wallace, farewell and fair winds and following seas as he heaves ahead with more spellbinding tales of terror. We anxiously await his next harrowing tale from Tell-Tale Publishing!
As always I remain your Captain and faithful servant,
Patricia Mattern, Mistress of Madess on The Whimsical Herald
Ahoy me Hearties! All hand, hoy!
It is against a blustery North wind we sail to make port for one of our most exhilarating Author Spotlights to date: Literary Award winning author Robert Tucker, author of ‘THE REVOLUTIONIST’ will be our guest at the captain’s table! Robert Tucker will regale us with a historically based tale of tenacity, tragedy, love and betrayal in early America.
In the 1890’s two families escape from their oppressive homelands to the Industrial Revolution in America, tracked by a bounty hunter assassin. Expect high tension and heart pounding twists in this tale of immigrants on the run catapulted into a new century.
IN AN ATMOSPHERE OF ETHNIC HATRED THEY WERE MARKED AND HUNTED
“Guten morgan, Fraulein Rose, planning a little trip?”
He barred her way.
“Guten morgan. Excuse me please, I must buy my ticket.
“Why are you leaving Vienna?”
Her haughty imperious glare did not intimidate him.
“You are being impertinent. It is no business of yours. I am performing in an opera in Budapest.”
Two different families escape from the political tyranny of their respective homelands, the Josephsons from Sweden and Matias and Kurt Bauman, brothers from Germany and Austria Hungary, with the aid of a Viennese opera diva, Sophie Augusta Rose, and Jean Guenoc, a former Jesuit priest, family friend and protector and partisan of the French underground.
Their journey brings them to America in the throes of the industrial revolution during the 1890s and early 1900s. Ingrid and Olaf Josephson settle on a small wheat farm in North Central Minnesota to raise their children, Newt and Julie.
Among the Jewish entrepreneurs forced to leave Germany and Austria-Hungary, Matias and Kurt Bauman re-establish their transportation company in Chicago, Illinois.
In search of a secret list of insurgent social democrats, the bounty hunter assassin, Luther Baggot, tracks his victims to the American heartland. Following the murder of their mother and father, Newt, Julie, and their friends, Aaron and Beth Peet, hide from the killer in a Northern Minnesota logging camp. Believing the children have taken possession of the list, Luther tracks them down.
Fleeing to a central Minnesota town, the four young people come across a remote business location of Bauman Enterprises and meet Matias Bauman, who had been a friend and former political collaborator with Newt’s and Julie’s parents. He takes them all to Chicago where a different world opens up to them as they are thrust into the turmoil and violence of an urban society and economy careening into the new century.
1. What drew you to writing historical fiction?
As the grandson of immigrants who fled persecution in Germany and Austria-Hungary and came to America during the early 1900’s, the early history of our country and the rise of the middle-class have always held a fascination for me. The dramatic depiction of fictional characters placed in actual events sharply and realistically bring alive the harsh times and adversity of the multitude of people who sought freedom and a better way of life and demonstrate that only a little over one-hundred years have passed to bring us to where we are as a struggling society today.
The chronology and events of history have captured and held my interest for many reasons, among them being stories that entertain, educate, and inform. Learning about the lives of my immigrant grandparents coming to America from Czechoslovakia during the early 1900s and the lives of my parents during the 1920s, 30s, and 40s provided the initial motivation. Researching and writing historical fiction is a way to learn more about myself and my origins and the social, political, and economic influences related to my generation.
Whether writing historical fiction or non-fiction or fantasy, I’m drawn into the societies and cultures of a particular period that inspire the creation of characters who bring that era to life. Not only do I experience this dynamic in books, but in films, plays, dance, music, and other art forms.
Researching history takes me into the exploration of new territory perhaps outside of my own life experience through reading other sources, interviews, travel, and films. Although a number of fine books are written from personal experience by authors who lived through those times, much of the historical writing by contemporary authors is dependent on secondary sources. Forays into the past for story material is a rewarding part of the creative process.
2. What kind of research was involved in the preparation of The Revolutionist?
The bibliography at the end of the novel lists a number of secondary resources that provided in depth details about the period and social and political milieu of Germany, Austria-Hungary, Minnesota, and Chicago during the late 1800s and early 1900s. Among the most vivid and engaging research was the entertaining stories my grandparents and parents told me as a child about their lives.
In addition, I have either visited or lived in some of the locations described in the novel. For example, I was born and raised in the Middle-Western heartland of Illinois and assimilated rural and urban values and traditions of that region of the country. I lived near Chicago for my first sixteen years and in Minnesota. As a teenager and Explorer Boy Scout, I also traveled through Wisconsin and in Ontario, Canada on camping and canoe trips and gained a love and appreciation for lakes, rivers, forests, and fields.
In the spirit of research, my inspiration for writing The Revolutionist is relevant and might be of interest to readers.
My inspiration for the novel originated with the characters of Julie Josephson and her brother, Newt, and their friend, Aaron Peet, whose images were captured in a wood-framed photograph I saw of them while on a business trip in Ontario, Canada.
I chanced to stop in what had once been a small lumber mill town in a north-central region within the province. Coming off the narrow highway winding through dense fir and spruce forests, I noticed the sign of a museum converted from a late 1800s Victorian house and pulled into the small parking lot. From a high embankment, the house overlooked a rushing whitewater river that a century ago had been the channel for moving hundreds of thousands of fresh cut logs to downstream sawmills to be converted to boards.
When I entered the museum through a squeaky screen door, I said hello to a bearded old timer seated at a small wooden desk and graciously received a few pages of literature about the museum. My gaze roamed over the tools and artifacts of the timber trade and came to rest on the photograph, which I studied in detail, as described in the following excerpt below from the novel.
A framed photograph taken of them in the summer of 1898 hangs in the historical museum at St. Cloud, Minnesota. It shows Newt Josephson’s sister, Julie, his boyhood friend, Aaron Peet, and Newt standing among a posed group of loggers in front of the Frazier River Mill. The green tinged copper title plate at the bottom of the picture elicits a bemused smile --- Rivermen.
Because of the coveralls and wool shirts and work boots and caps they wore, an observer could not detect that Julie was a girl. They didn’t hire girls or women, not even to cook in the lumber camps. Logging was considered a man’s job. Julie pretending to be a boy presented more of a problem than keeping her hair cut short, her voice pitched low, walking square and never screaming when she was afraid or crying when she got hurt.
Newt supposed they had the honor of being included in the photograph, because they were the three youngest members of the crew. He was the oldest, sixteen. Aaron was fifteen. At the time, they had no better means to make a living and they were on the run from a man who wanted to kill them.
Recreating the lives of these main characters became the foundation of their story that expanded to myriad others in the context of historical events at the turn of the twentieth century.
3. Have you ever visited or lived in the countries you write about?
I have visited France, Germany, Austria, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Italy, Korea, Japan, Russia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Scotland, and Canada, as well as living and working on an island in the Caribbean.
4. What is the title of your first published literary work and who encouraged you to write it?
Set in the turbulent ‘60’s, BYRON is a young woman’s story of growing up in a southern mill town. This poignant dramatically intense novel is rich in colorful characters brought to life in lovingly narrated detail and cultural texture and resonates with current issues of gender, racial and religious intolerance.
There isn’t one individual or group who encouraged me, but impressions from traveling and working as a consultant in the South. Also an appreciation for Cajun life and culture.
5. Integrity is a powerful recurring theme in your novels. Which of the characters in The Revolutionist do you feel demonstrates this quality the best?
The protagonist, Julie Josephson, influenced by her parents, Olaf and Ingrid Josephson, her brother, Newt, Matias and Kurt Bauman, industrialists, Sophie Augusta Rose, an opera diva, Horst Holtzman, a political organizer and his son, Conrad, Jean Guenoc, a family friend and protector, Bernard Hutchins, an African American lawyer,
6. Which of the many ‘hats’ that you’ve worn during your professional career did you enjoy wearing the most?
Business and management consultant, which provided opportunities to meet and work with many different people in a wide range of industries to the extent I felt more like a social anthropologist than a consultant.
7. The reader is drawn into The Revolutionist from the first page because of the high tension and sense of immediacy of the situation. Did you plan this? Are you a ‘pantser’ or a ‘plotter’ when you write?
I’m a combination of both. The lives of characters tend to influence the direction of the plot rather than imposing the plot on them. I place the characters into situations, conflicts, and events and see and experience their world from their eyes.
Establishing dramatic conflict at the opening of the book was planned. I do that with all my books.
8. Do you think this compelling story could take place in the context of modern times? Why or why not?
I think this story is manifested in different societies and cultures every day. Throughout the world and locally all around us, people are struggling against tyranny and injustice to have good meaningful lives in ways that matter to them.
9. What did you know about this historical period before you began writing The Revolutionist?
What I studied in college history courses, especially about the relationship and counter influence of the arts, literature, music, and society.
10. Have any other writers of historical fiction influenced you?
E. L. Doctorow and Amor Towles
11. What novels are you planning for the future for readers to devour?
Tell-Tale Publishing and its affiliate, Wise Words Publishing will be bringing out a sequel to The Revolutionist entitled The Saga of Burton Blake. In addition, two more literary novels are under contract for publication, Sidewalk and A Seed of Grain. Two additional literary novels have been submitted, Eye of The Sparrow and The Discontent of Mary Wenger. I’m currently writing a companion novel to The Discontent of Mary Wenger entitled Paper Dolls.
On the urban fantasy side, four novels of the Black Spiral series are contracted for publication. The Funnies, an allegorical fantasy satire is also contracted for publication.
It is with deep regret we watch our distinguished literary guest Robert Tucker depart our fair vessel The Whimsical Herald, but we must make haste to the tropics in search of fair weather, booty to fill our coffers, and more amazing tales from Tell-Tale Publishing!
I bid you smooth sailing and remain your humble servant,
Patricia Mattern, Mistress of Madnes, The Whimsical Herald
Ahoy me hearties! Hale and well met!
As the wintry blast of the North wind sets our sails flying and shivers our timbers down to the bone, we make our way to Port to drop anchor and welcome popular Author Natalie Carlisle aboard!
Natalie is the author of the exciting and original novel ‘Dead Friends Walking’, and has added an entertaining sequel to the series titled ’Dead Friends Running’ .
ANOTHER ROAD TRIP…ANOTHER JOURNEY INTO A FRESH HELL
In the gripping sequel to Natalie Carlisle’s first novel in the series, Dee Forester and Melissa Frank rush off to Pennsylvania hoping to save their best friend who has received the same treatment for the zombie virus as a friend who ended up dead. They have no way of knowing that they are on a trajectory with a danger that could permanently end their young lives: another zombie attack.
“His back pack was discarded nearby. The woman—Margeaux—mirrored Zac’s stance at the passenger’s side. I spotted Missy hurrying around, holding her cell phone to her ear, talking. Her long blonde hair was half-fallen from her elastic band, the loose strands blowing in the humid breeze. The dog was near them, just sitting there, and suddenly I got really mad. In a nutshell, it was all that damn dog’s fault, and if Jason was dead, I knew with certainty I’d never like dogs again. I wouldn’t be afraid of them this time—I would hate them. Then I remembered Duke. Jason’s dog. And his younger brother and sister—the twins. Oh, no. Were they in the truck too? Before I knew it, I was running. I stumbled a little bit, but trudged downward. Missy hurried over to me, meeting me halfway. “Help is on the way.” She was out of breath.
“Is he…Is he…” I had trouble speaking.
“I don’t know,” she answered, glancing toward the truck. It dawned on me she might not have realized it was Jason. So I told her. “I know,” she nodded. “God, I hope he’s okay.”
Two friends rush off to Pennsylvania when they find out their friend who was treated for the virus ends up dead. They hope to find a way to save their best friend, who just received the same treatment in a hospital of NJ, but in their attempt they end up trying to survive another zombie attack.
1. Which of your characters, Dee Forester or Melissa Frink, do you relate to the most?
Definitely Dee. When creating her character, I used a lot of my own characteristics.
2. What inspired this series? Are you a Walking Dead aficionado?
I am not a Walking Dead fan actually. I only watched the show for a couple episodes the first season. I enjoyed the episodes I watched but I just never got into the craze. My best friend actually inspired this series. She is a big horror fan. She wanted me to write a horror story and when I asked what she wanted, we came up with Dead Friends.
3. Book one of the ‘Dead Friends’ series opens with a sense of urgency and tension that continues throughout the novel. How did you keep the tension going in the sequel,’ Dead Friends Running’.
Dee and Melissa care a lot about their friends and that makes keeping the tension and urgency going easy. In the first book they were trying to rescue Spencer and in the second book they are still trying to save him. That type of urgency to protect and rescue your friends never really leaves until your friends are safe.
4. Who first encouraged you to write an entire novel?
My grandmother. She was sick with cancer and was always a huge fan of my writing. When she started chemo I wanted to give her something to read, so I started writing and when she loved it, I just kept with it.
5. New Jersey and Pennsylvania are featured locales in this series. What is it about these states that caused you to pick them as settings for your story?
I lived in both states. I am familiar with them. I remember hiking certain trails and thinking of these scenes in the book, and didn’t want to use any other place.
6. Who do you read? What novels are among your favorites?
Currently I am reading Sharkwater Beach by Author Tim Meyer. I really enjoy his Sunfall series too that he co-wrote with Authors Chad Scanlon and Pete Draper. My favorite all time books are Twilight by Stephenie Meyer and Morganville Vampires by Rachel Caine.
7. Tell us a little about yourself? What’s something about you that not many people know?
I enjoy writing and drawing. I love old movies. I have a dog her name is Hanna Harper, she’s an almost four year old Belgian Malinois that I adopted from someone a year ago. I taught her all the tricks she knows, and I am proud of that. My favorite state to visit is Vermont. I love the view of the mountains. I was born in Pennsylvania near the mountains but grew up in New Jersey by the shore. I am not a fan of the beach. I hate the feel of sand. When I was younger I had a terrible fear of Lady Bugs. Not many people know that.
8. What has your experience been like as an author so far? Can you share some insights, bruises and highlights?
There have been a lot of ups and downs, for sure. Writing novels isn’t easy. I am not one for outlining so creating the story has its challenges down the road. I have learned a lot along the way, and still have so much to learn! The first novel I wrote that I submitted to the publishing company I learned was actually only half a novel. They sent it back to me and told me to finish the book. I had left too much hanging. I wrote 30,000 more words in the following month and then resubmitted. Tell-Tale Publishing offered me a contract after that. It was the first publishing company I ever submitted a manuscript to.
9.Your characters are well developed and lively. Do you feel that you have the reins when writing or do the characters themselves hijack the story?
I start off with the reins, but the characters definitely hijack the story about half way.
10.What other projects do you have in the works right now?
I have a couple projects open, but not sure where I am going with them yet. Obviously I would like to finish the third book in Dead Friends at some point, as well as the last in the trilogy of my Shapeshifting series.
11. What is one of your favorite quotes from, ’Dead Friends Running’ and why?
“I couldn’t help but silently note that coming here was a very, very dumb idea.”
I just think it sums up the entire second book, and makes Dee seem real.
12. What other genres are you interested in writing in?
I would like to try my hand at adult fiction.
As we all rise from the Captain’s table and bid farewell to our guest, Natalie Carlisle, we glance around warily. The skies are darkening and a storm is brewing, and all wise men fear the dead creatures that Natalie Carlisle so chillingly portrays in her intriguing zombie tales.
Till next we meet on The Whimsical Herald, avast ye and stay wary, me hearties! We thank our fair guest, Natalie Carlisle, for joining us and bid her fair winds as she continues to weave enthralling tales!
Patricia Mattern, Mistress of Madness, The Whimsical Herald
Ahoy there, Mateys! I’m Elizabeth Fortin, the harbor master, and I’m hereby standing in for your favorite Mistress of Madness, Captain P. Mattern, so that I can find some buried treasures about her new release, Vampire Orphanage. Wow, pretty creepy title, eh? So welcome aboard, and all hands stop swabbing the decks long enough to listen to her tell you about a dark and mysterious tale that’ll keep you up way past your bedtime. I said, listen up! Do you want to walk the plank?
1. However did you come up with such a great title? Vampire orphanage instantly fills my mind with all sorts of dark and scary images.
I was thinking about how frightening dangerous children are in horror, maybe more so than their adult counterparts because children should be innocent, and the image of vampire children popped into mind, along with the title which is pretty self explanatory.
2. You have many cool creatures in this novel-what is your favorite and why?
The hunchbacked seemingly human girl that is actually concealing fairy wings is my favorite of all of them. I did enjoy the little demonized zombie girl riding on the back of the decaying family pet in one scene, returning to torture her brother Gunner.
3. How do you set the mood when you’re writing an horrific scene?
I think describing the surroundings is important to place the reader in the scene to hear, feel, taste and smell what is happening and to raise the level of tension even before the monster or violent act comes into play. It has to give me a shiver when I am writing it. I have to scare myself!
4. You write mainly horror novels. What is it about the genre that attracts you?
I don’t know of any other genre that affects the reader in such a visceral way. Fear is an emotion felt deeply down. It makes our heart race, and gives us goose bumps and chills. It is raw and primitive and causes us to sit up and pay attention. Horror has an impact and is not easily forgotten. There is an element of horror in every genre I write in. I think it is relatable because life is scary.
5. World building is a huge reason readers are able to suspend their disbelief and enjoy a good paranormal horror tale. What did you think was most important for the world you built for Vampire Orphanage and its large cast of unique characters?
Great question! I thought it was important to make the circumstances seem as normal as possible to begin with. Many infertile couples decide to adopt, and ‘rescue’ orphans. Marley and Tom are a bit different since Marley is a dhamphir, and her desire to adopt vampire children gives the premise a paranormal twist. In my mind, even though they ended up with a baker’s dozen, it was important that all the adopted kids have their own unique personalities. The reader gets to know many of their back stories and better understand why being part of a family is so important to them.
6. The main villain is absolutely horrible, and I love to hate him. Who or what did you envision when creating this dirt-bag?
S. Sava Rakehell IS a dirt-bag, and in the back of my mind I was thinking about those individuals that engage in human trafficking, especially involving children. Is there anything more despicable than those who prey on the most innocent and helpless among us? The angels must weep. He is of that ilk, a really bad dude.
7. Many readers will be able to relate to the feelings and fears these children display. How did you come up with so many unique and interesting personalities?
Well I can tell you they came from all over. Sadie Belle is definitely a little Shirley Temple wannabe, the boys are typical boys and having raised two of my own gave me insight on how they think. All of the children have baggage from past horrors, and I have worked professionally as a Behavioral Specialist in the past so my background gave me a ‘feel’ for how their past circumstances shaped their personalities. Penny is an individual, the girl twins Grace and Chloe are just fun-we have lots of twins in our family tree so they appear in many of my novels.
8. We want to know more about the neighbors too! What a great setting for these kids to grow up in. What did you have in mind when incorporating the folks they interact with?
I originally intended for their neighbor Lark to be a normal, average little girl. And then Lark’s slightly creepy mother showed up in one scene and blew that concept all to hell. It became obvious very quickly that Lark had her own unusual heritage to deal with.
Nonnie, the neighbor across the road, appeared when I became aware of someone close to me being bullied and called a ‘hunchback’. This inspired Nonnie, who has a somewhat noticeable physical abnormality but still manages to hold her head high, make friends, and eventually comes to reveal the breathtaking beauty and skills set that she conceals from the rest of the world.
9. What do you feel the overarching theme of this book is?
I believe we are all seeking validation, in whatever form, be it through the love of a family, friendship, vocation, attention, success, etc. The characters of Vampire Orphanage are no different, and the struggles they go through as they form this unusual blended family just enrich their appreciation of each other and give them purpose for existing. The overall theme would have to do with the idea of ‘belonging’. We all need to feel that we belong.
10. Readers will fall in love with these orphans, and their new parents too. Do you see a sequel on the horizon?
YES! I didn’t know that when I began writing Vampire Orphanage, but it became clear to me halfway into the story that there would have to be a sequel to resolve some of the dangers faced by the Patterson family. Also it was impossible to reveal the back stories of all the orphans between the pages of the first book, not to mention the budding attractions among the teenaged characters. So the ending of the first book is not precisely ‘Happily Ever After’-more like “Happily For Now”.
I am thrilled to have been the Spotlight Author on the Whimsical Herald! Thank you so much Elizabeth Fortin and Tell-Tale Publishing!
From the author of The Forest of Bleeding Trees and other macabre fare, Patricia Mattern, comes yet another chilling tale that will have you up until way past your bedtime!
Marley and Tom are the perfect couple. To see them, you may not even notice that while Tom is human, Marley is a dhamphir, a half vampire. They're just a friendly couple who want a home in the country, filled with laughing, happy children.
Unfortunately they are unable to have any children of their own, so they decide to adopt. After all, there are so many children who need good homes.
They begin to adopt homeless, needy vampire orphans. What children could possibly be more in need of a loving home? In a short time they are delighted to wind up with a baker's dozen. But these rescued kids come with their own baggage: sires, enemies and dangerous secrets that threaten to tear their new family apart.
Will this blended group become a truly happy, loving, integrated family? Will they be able to survive their differences and the dangers lurking around every dark corner? Find out for yourself why Tom and Marley love their sometimes distrustful and always dangerous children, and why they will do anything to keep their family together.
Did I promise you treasures? Thanks so much to the Captain for sharing her horde of fun facts. That’s all the plunder you can carry for now. Oh, wait, you have more room in your knapsack? Then be sure to sign up for the rafflecopter giveaway and try to win a paperback edition of Vampire Orphanage! Now, land ho, you landlubbers.
Yo Ho Ho Me Hearties!
We have a steady wind from the North, and with the changing of the seasons we are shifting course and heading for high adventure. It’s time again to cast off for an exciting voyage…this time we will visit exotic lands with renowned author Richard Avery, known for his popular Pink Rottweiller Series, starring the inimitable and cunning spy-guy, Dick Avery.
Avast ye, as we pick his clever brain to learn more about his latest release, ‘Dick Plays in Drug Traffic’.
WHO CAN AMERICA CALL ON TO UPHOLD TRUTH, JUSTICE, AND THE AMERICAN WAY?
DICK AVERY, THE PINK ROTTWEILLER OF COURSE!
"He’s a badly wanted bad boy, a terrorist with a reward on his head and now a drug trafficker in the Golden Triangle…I need your help to capture him.”
“Thanks Denny-here’s what I want to get started: your local investigator for a few weeks, a loaded Smith 60 revolver, a one-time code pad from your safe and a meeting with the Senior DEA Agent here.”
“Oh is that all Dickey?” he shot back.
In Dick Plays in Drug Traffic, retired Special Agent Dick Avery is recalled by the Diplomatic Security Service to track down and kill or capture Kris Amar, the Death Master of Banaras. Either outcome will do and pay a two million dollar price tag on the fugitive's head.
Bad blood doesn't begin to describe the hatred between the two archenemies. Amar escaped justice and Dick while in this native India and now Dick has discovered his whereabouts in the heart of the Golden Triangle. Amar is up to his old tricks by smuggling opium to finance his jihadist brothers fighting the holy war in the Middle East in the name of Allah.
The manhunt is on and only one will survive when they next meet!
Please join Dick Avery as he travels the world for the State Department's Diplomatic Security Service and upholds truth, justice and the American Way!
Okay, we admit Dick's not the most politically correct agent alive, and he sometimes bumbles and reminds us of what happens when you cross a certain French Inspector with a British Legume to produce an American Dick, but you have to admit that he's as cute as a pink Rottweiler when he's on the scent of a good case! Who says you can't teach an ole dog new tricks?
1.How did you come to choose the Golden Triangle as the setting for ‘Dick Plays in Drug Traffic’? Have you lived in any of these regions?
It was an easy choice since I lived in Thailand for two years when assigned to the U.S. embassy in Bangkok in charge of security for the region. I've also returned to northern Thailand (the Triangle) several times in the past several years so I'm familiar with the locale and its long history of drug trafficking. I use some first-hand experiences in the story as well. The Golden Triangle serves as perfect base of operations for the antagonist to make obscene amounts of money to support his jihadist brothers fighting the holy war in the Middle East. Again, several of the snippets I included are true, either as my own experiences or verifiable events. The editor wisely redacted a section on Thai massage parlors since she didn't want the reader to be rubbed the wrong way. Anyway, that stuff was made out of whole cloth, maybe. I can't remember.
2.Protagonist Dick Avery exhibits a lot of keen insight into the psychological makeup of both allies and enemies. How much are you and Dick alike?
Good question, but not sure of an answer. All of my novels contain a certain amount of factual information, some based on my own experiences, some based on my imagination and nothing more. To me, it's all about creating plausibility for a good read. I'm not sure how to separate the wheat and the chaff on this one since they are often intertwined in the writing. However, my multiples seem to work well together without too much internal bitching.
3.In a television miniseries who can you see playing the part of Dick Avery?
I envision Dick Avery as an amalgam of characters, not sure about current actors, but certainly think about the Colombo actor from years ago. I guess I'm showing my age. Pardon my ego, but I do believe the Dick Avery Adventure Stories could be turned into a quirky, fun TV series. My publisher describes him as a cross between Inspector Clouseau and Mr. Bean. I think that's an apt description.
4.There is a lot of humor in this series-which scene in ‘Dick Plays In Drug Traffic’ made you laugh as you were writing it?
Okay, this is embarrassing since I laugh at all the silly stuff I write. I think in this story, the piece about the classified documents being sold as scrap paper to a local fishmonger was funny as well as being true! Only in the State Department are such things possible. There's a lot of grist for stories even though they may sound unbelievable.
5.What kind of research do you do for your novels?
Actually, not a great deal. Yes, I certainly do my due diligence diligently, but don't overdue it. These are simply works of fiction so I don't have to be held accountable for facts per se. It's all about crafting a plausible story and nothing more as I see it. Here's my shtick: I mix fact and fiction together as a tease so the reader's not quite sure what's real and what's not.
6. How has your illustrious professional career and background helped or hindered with your writing?
It's most definitely helped rather than hindered in writing the novels. My experience and imagination give me an almost endless platform for writing this stuff set in foreign locales. I get to weave in almost anything and let it take me to a conclusion and story that I hope the reader will enjoy.
7. Do you have an difficulty writing female characters?
Is this a loaded question, perhaps suggesting Dick Avery is a misogynist? God forbid in this politically correct world. He is, however, a throwback to an earlier time when men were men and women were glad of it! Okay, here's what's coming up in forthcoming novels: two books have strong female characters who partner with Dick to solve the cases. I'm not going to say they work under him because that would be sexist and untrue. Is it hero or heroine in this instance? Frankly, I think many readers are tired of the politically correct pap.
8.What future works can we look forward to, and in what genres?
I have five more Dick Avery novels to be released over time: Dick Fades the Albino set in Liberia, Dick Cases the Bank set in Romania, Dick Hounds the Afghans set in Afghanistan, Dick Slays the Dragons set in the U,S. and Dick Rousts the Russki set in Moscow and Africa as well as the Middle East. Also my short story titled Mr. Rumples was included in the horror anthology Secret Santa and Other Tales. Mine's a other tale. Somebody's son got top billing.
Alas, as the candles in the Captain’s chambers burn down low, we must bid a fond farewell to our seaworthy and fascinating Author, Guest Richard Avery. We look forward with great eagerness to having him join us on the high seas in the future for the next exciting installment of the adventures of Dick Avery: The Pink Rottweiler!
Always at your service, bringing up the finest in Literary treasure from the briny deep,
Patricia Mattern, Mistress of Madness, The Whimsical Herald
Ahoy me hearties!
Avast now! All hands hoay, seems like an age since we last met. The Whimsical Herald has been sailing the high seas to find the most thrilling of tales and this quest has kept your Mistress of Madness hopping as fast as a one-legged swabbie dancing a jig!
Know what a pirate’s favorite letter of the alphabet is? You might say ‘R’ (“Aaaarrgh”)-but it’s really ‘C’, for a pirate loves the sea above all else! ::chuckle it up, or walk the plank!::
Today we enter mysterious waters indeed to interview Young Adult author, Gabe Thompson, who has penned a most quirky, humorous, and captivating new novel ,’My BFF Is An Alien’.
IT'S A MYSTERIOUS ENCOUNTER THAT LEADS TO THE ADVENTURE OF A LIFETIME FOR SOCIAL MISFITS EMILIO AND ARTHUR:
MEET TONIGEN DWEEZIL EMYRIS FROM ’NORWAY’
“They stepped into the shed and stood staring at the dripping body of the alien. Condensing moisture beaded on the head and boots and had dripped to the floor to form small puddles.
Arthur walked behind the alien’s head, slipped a pair of sunglasses on him and himself.
Arthur stuffed an unlit cigar in his mouth and grinned.
“Take a picture,” he mumbled around the cigar.”
Arthur Rhodes knows he’s different. Severely OCD, he dreams of popularity and Ashley Green, a girl who won’t even look at him. His older brother, Keith, was in the Army. He’s currently at home taking out all his PTSD-induced rage on Arthur. Arthur’s mother is rarely home. She donates all her time to veterans’ organizations. His father, an anally-retentive Major in the Marine Corps, is currently head of security at Ames Research Center. Between his OCD and his family life, Arthur’s only friend is Emilio Luna who has Tourette Syndrome.
Emilio’s symptoms are twitching and inappropriate outbursts. Arthur barely notices his friend’s idiosyncrasies. As a pair, they’ve suffered torture, bullying and ostracizing through every level of school since Arthur’s family moved to the Silicon Valley.
When Arthur’s military father forces him to go camping, Emilio accompanies him. A space pod crashes in the deep woods on Mt. Shasta and the two sixteen-year-old boys discover Tonigen Dweezil Emyris, a cryonically preserved young Nysian from the Cygnus system. They take the alien home and defrost him, and that's when their entire lives begin to change.
1. As a world traveler and former member of the military, how much of your own experience did you draw upon for ‘My BFF Is An Alien’?
Major Rhodes, Arthur’s father, was modeled after my mother’s father, Colonel Post. My grandfather was a Marine Corps colonel and she used the experience of growing up in that life to develop the Major’s character. Now Arthur’s brother, Keith, came from some of the people I met in the military. They belong in the military. It takes over their personality and creates a different kind of human. My brother-in-law was an Army Ranger and then became a military contractor. He’s a lot like Keith.
2. Comment on the dynamic between your characters Arthur and Emilio.
Arthur and Emilio need each other. School is pretty harsh for a kid with OCD like Arthur and a kid with Tourette’s Syndrome. I did a lot of research about Emilio’s condition. There is a great documentary on Tourette’s called I Have Tourette’s, But Tourette’s Doesn’t Have Me. I watched a lot of material on the condition before I developed Emilio’s character. Tourette’s isn’t Emilio’s only challenge. His family, his sisters, and his family’s religion also are a challenge for him. Emilio’s family life is one of the reasons he’s Arthur’s friend as well. While Arthur’s condition is not a serious, he is also inflicted with a strange and overbearing brother and his father. In the beginning of the book, Arthur is the leader. As the book progresses, Emilio becomes stronger. They both grow from their experiences with Tone. The alien teaches them as much as they teach him.
3. What did you know about Tourette’s Syndrome before writing this novel? What inspired you to have it be part of who the central character Emilio is?
I wanted a boy with a disability that could create humor, but also highlight a serious condition. I did a lot of research on Tourette’s. There are at least three great documentaries, one concentrates on children and how they deal with it. The kids all say they hate the medication. It fixes their tics and outbursts but they feel awful. It’s a sad condition, but Emilio is a great character because he greets his challenges with a lot of inner strength.
4. There is a strong underdog component in, ’My BFF Is An Alien’. The reader finds themselves immediately drawn in to the story. Did you draw on any personal experiences for this dynamic?
I was never a healthy kid. I had bad kidneys and got sick a lot. Middle school was terrible. High School a nightmare until I got a car of my own. I always feel drawn to the underdog. I empathize with their struggles. I thought there must be a lot of kids out there like me who could read this book and feel an instant connection with Emilio and Arthur. They’re a pair you can cheer for.
5.The character of Roscoe creates an additional level of tension as well as relevance to the novel-did you have encounters with bullies in school?
I remember going to middle school wearing two pairs of underwear. I’ve been pantsed, a term meaning my pants were pulled down in public. Two pairs of underwear were necessary. Bullying is a huge problem in schools across the country right now. Anytime I can point out this problem, I will. I think bullying is one of the greatest problems afflicting schools right now. I teach middle school and I see it every day. As a teacher, it’s my job to make sure it doesn’t happen in my classes ever.
6.There is lots of humor and also High School humor in ‘My BFF Is An Alien’. Are you a funny guy?
I’m not a “funny” guy, but a lot of my favorite movies growing up were comedies. Believe it or not, comedy is hard to write. I think having Arthur and Emilio come to life for me, made writing humor easier. Laughing is great medicine. I had to have a kidney transplant in my twenties and being able to laugh at yourself and your condition, having people who laugh with you, makes living through tough times a lot easier.
7.Will there be a sequel to ,’My BFF Is an Alien’?
I haven’t thought about it. Do you think Emilio and Arthur as seniors with Tone returning could be a good story? I could take suggestions.
8.Which part of this novel is your personal favorite?
I will always love the camping scene. My poor mom had to endure things like that with her dad. I know her father, the Colonel, thought like Arthur’s dad that everything could be fixed if you just tried harder. Camping for someone with Arthur’s issues has to be a nightmare.
9.What scenes did you edit OUT of this book?
I’m a pretty serious plotter. I know what’s going into what I write before it’s written. My mom helps me with plotting and with ideas. Between us, we have a good map of our books before we write them, so honestly, none were removed.
10.What book are you reading now?
Andre Norton’s The Game of Stars and Comets and Barry Eisler’s Livia Lone. I’m always writing as well.
11.What actors would you pick to play your characters in ‘My BFF Is An Alien?”
Maybe Emjay Anthony or Finn Wolfhard for Emilio. I’d love a kid like Ty Simkins from Jurassic World as Arthur or Owen Vaccaro. Tone would be harder to cast. Maybe Levi Miller or Max Charles.
12.Please give us a glimpse of your current work in progress and tell us what your inspiration for it is!
I’m currently working on a Young Adult Science Fiction book about a girl whose parents are gone. She’s alone in a refugee camp on a luxury planet, her only friend an ex Patrol Ranger. She gets a job in a pet shop filled with extraterrestrial pets and discovers a plot to implant the pets with a parasitic life form that is really intelligent. I think of it as a cross between Guardians of the Galaxy and E.T. She rescues the pets from the shop’s secret laboratory and begins a run for her life across the galaxy in a stolen space yacht with her ranger friend and another teen, a boy who has underworld connections. Their goal is safety and the only safe haven they can think of is Star Haven, a mythical space station in the outer rim of the galaxies run by the underworld.
Alas and alack, It is time for us to part ways, me hearties! The Whimsical Herald would like to thank the amazing Gabe Thompson for coming aboard and sharing his fantastical tale of beings that live beyond the stars.
Comment at will, and have a chance at a random giveaway of our finest brew, PIRATE’S BOOTY coffee from the Tell-Tale Publishing Gourmet shop.
A great book like ‘My BFF Is An Alien’ by Gabe Thompson, and a delicious cup of Java…
Aye, THERE BE TREASURE!
Patricia Mattern, Mistress of Madness, The Whimsical Herald
Yo Ho Ho and Ahoy, Me Hearties!
There comes a time of year when the veil between worlds is lifted and mysteries are revealed, a time when life and death perform a macabre dance and superstition and celebration are in the breezes blowing in from sea!
That time is All Hallows' Eve, also known as Halloween.
Few landlubbers are privy to the Legends surrounding our legendary ship, The Whimsical Herald, but all those who follow the sea know that every Halloween at Midnight our seaworthy vessel transforms into a Ghost Ship, with a skeleton crew, In the light of the harvest moon they can be seen dancing with the sirens, to the sweetly sung tunes of mermaids. As the torches flicker with a greenish light the damned sea captains of old can be seen throwing dice with Satan himself to regain control of their souls.
Come party with us this auspicious night, or any other night when your spirit cries out for adventure and an intriguing tale well told!
our guest of honor: Marcus mattern
Mistress of Madness
Well, do you have any idea why a raven is like a writing desk?
Lewis Carroll, in 1897, proposed this answer, "Because it can produce a few notes, though they are very flat; and it is 'never' put with the wrong end in front!" (raven, spelled backward, is nevar aka never...or as we like to say here at TT...never more!)