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!)