Since 2007 book reviews, events, publishing announcements, opinions, wild ideas and more!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Barry Baskerville Returns


Dr. Richard Kellogg, professor emeritus of psychology at Alfred State, is the author of a new book titled Barry Baskerville Returns. This children’s story, intended for an audience of young readers between the ages of 7 and 10, is beautifully illustrated in color by noted Hawaiian artist Gary Kato.

The book is about a precocious youngster named Barry Baskerville who lives in Watsonville. Barry aspires to become a famous detective like his role model Sherlock Holmes. As expected, Barry irritates his friends and teachers by wearing a deerstalker hat, peering at everything through a magnifying glass, and flaunting his astounding powers of observation and deduction. During a family vacation at the beach, Barry impresses his parents by investigating the case of the missing car keys. The Baskervilles conclude that it really is nice to have a detective in the family.

Barry Baskerville Returns shows school-age children the importance of making accurate observations and then making logical deductions from their observations. The lessons taught in the story are designed to enhance problem-solving abilities. The book is published by Airship 27 of Fort Collins, Colo., and is available in both print and Kindle formats.

Dr. Kellogg is the author of four previous books dealing with Sherlock Holmes; the most recent is titled Barry Baskerville Solves a Case (Airship 27, 2013). He has received grants from the SUNY Research Foundation to develop instructional materials on the problem-solving strategies of “The Great Detective.” A frequent contributor to The Baker Street Journal and The Serpentine Muse, Kellogg enjoys introducing young readers to Baker Street and the magical world of Sherlock Holmes and his loyal companion, Dr. John Watson.

Alfred State's Project-based learning is a cornerstone of Alfred State culture. When students work on real-world problems, they learn how to think, not what to think. As a result, Alfred State has a 99 percent employment and transfer rate.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

NOTHING OFF ABOUT 'ODD'

When I heard that there were plans to make a movie of Dean Koontz' unique character 'Odd Thomas', I admit to being a wee bit leery. After all, Hollywood seems to have a record of taking books loved by their readers and then making them into movies that everyone hates. 
 
Odd Thomas (2013) PosterSo as I sat down to watch the DVD of Odd Thomas, I was a little anxious.  It was reassuring to see the title role played by a likeable actor familiar to those who have seen the new Star Trek franchise films.  It was calming to see the director, Stephen Sommers, was the one responsible for The Mummy and The Mummy Returns. Sommers was also responsible for the screenplay based on the book.
 
In a California desert town, a short-order cook with clairvoyant abilities encounters a mysterious man with a link to dark, threatening forces.
  
                 
 
The unique story of a young fry cook with a unique talent caught the viewer right away.  The charming, witty and philosophical young man with his basic goodness and sense of duty is appealing. Then, the strangeness begins...
 
There were shivers, shakes, action sequences, surprises and a strangely believable reality to the entire story that kept you captivated.  The cast were all solid actors who brought great skill to their parts and solid support for the story crafted by Koontz. Anton Yelchin, Addison Timlin, Leonar Varela, William Defeoe. and others, all added greatly to the success of the film.
 
I was surprised how true to the book the movie was.  Not just slavish word-for-word matching but, more importantly, true to understanding who Odd Thomas is and what he can mean in the strange world he populates.  An awareness that his philosophical insights can apply in a very real world far away from his fictional desert community.
 
I think this may be the best translation of a bestselling and popular book into a movie format I have ever seen. I look forward, with hope, to other of the Koontz corpus being translated into film with equal skill and understanding.
 
 
Trailer here.
 
Marilyn A. Hudson, Paranormal Librarian
 

Friday, January 3, 2014

"Dead of Winter" Writing Contest Seeks Short Chillers

Submit your best short horror work (of roughly 2,000 words or less) and a panel of judges will weigh your darkened soul against the feather of Maat and see who comes out on top. Prize will be awarded and will be announced at a later date.
c2013, Strange State, C.Hudson

The deadline is January 31st and winners will be announced shortly thereafter. For now, writers, dip your quills into the dark ichor of winter fear and begin scratching out the most chilling passages you can fathom.
 
 
http://strangestate.blogspot.com/p/write-in-dead-of-winter.html

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

New Fantasy Work Released

Author Eric Nierstedt announces the publication of  his new work, The Lightrider Journals.  The novel  is published through iUniverse (Nov. 2012; ISBN  9781475956122). Learn more and order via www.thelightriderjournals.com.
 
Description: Joseph Hashimoto is happy with his ordinary life. A man who believes in fairness and just action, Joe’s greatest love is his family. But as he moves about his days, he is completely unaware that his actions are carefully observed. With one momentous decision, Joe’s ordinary life is about to transform into an extraordinary existence.

While attempting to save a little girl from danger, Joe is killed in a violent explosion. But instead of dying, his soul is brought before the elemental Architects of the Universe, who tell him he has been chosen for a sacred duty. Reborn as Lightrider, the earthly representative of Light, Joe is given leadership over the Elemental Knights, a group of half-man, half-animal beings. Charged with maintaining balance between good and evil, Joe must police both sides and destroy anyone who threatens to ruin it. As Joe struggles with his conflicting emotions and longing for home, he must face his greatest threat- the ancient Chaos Demons.

 About the author: Eric Nierstedt, a reader since birth and a writer since high school graduated from Kean University with a bachelors’ degree in English. In 2011, his work was selected for the Unlimited Potential Theatre’s NJ Wordsmith Competition. He writes professionally for the Westfield Leader newspaper, the online magazine Suite101, and the official Lightrider blog (http://lightriderjournals.wordpress.com/), where he analyzes writing as a craft and in popular media. He is a lifelong resident of Garwood, NJ, and is currently working on the sequel to Lightrider, Equites.

A perfect selection for collections of fantasy, teen readers, and anyone looking for an enjoyable read.  The mythic  aspects of the story line are sure to please readers who look for a more epic nature in their fantasy reads.
 
You can catch him on Dec. 5th, at the Cranford NJ Public Library for a book signing.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Lisa Rogers Writes About Ghosts

Lisa Rogers is an Oklahoma author who writes fiction and nonfiction for adults and YA.   "When she’s not strapped to her computer at their rural Oklahoma home, she can generally be found poking around a dilapidated old building or visiting some historical place, perhaps searching for her next “out of body” character.."

You see. she is an author who writes about ghosts.  " I write for YA and Adults--but always about ghosts. I created ghost talk to help feed my unquenchable fascination with the paranormal. While the topics will mainly deal with ghosts there will also be post on writing, the road to publication, and of course things just for fun!"

On Haunted Ground, a nonfiction adult book can be found here
Angelina's Secret, a YA fiction can be found here


http://talkingaboutghost.blogspot.com/

Friday, November 1, 2013

THE CRIMSON MASK IS BACK!

 A SON’S REVENGE
 
The Crimson Mask is back…and Airship 27 Productions has him!  The Crimson Mask, the first title in an on-going series, features four brand new adventures by some of today’s finest pulp writers.
 
Veteran Police Sergeant Clarke is gunned down by hoodlums, shot in the back of the head.  As he lay dying, a rush of blood to his face formed a macabre mask, a crimson mask!  When his son, Doctor Robert “Bob” Clarke, saw that strange stigmata he interpret it as a sign, inspiring him to become his father’s avenger, the Crimson Mask!
 
Once again Airship 27 Productions digs into the dusty vaults of long forgotten, second tier pulp heroes to revitalize another great character in brand new, exciting adventures.  Writers J. Walt Layne, Terrence McCauley, C. William Russette and Gary Lovisi took on the challenge of creating new, bizarre mysteries for the pharmacist turned crime-fighter and, in doing so, have put together a terrific collection of fast paced pulp action echoing the thrills of the original classics.
 
“All of which is why Airship 27 Productions exist,” reaffirms Managing Editor Ron Fortier.  “Specifically for great, fun characters like this one. Characters relegated to forgotten back files of the classic pulp hero ranks.  Well, not anymore.  The Crimson Mask always had the potential to be something better; now our writers and artists are making that happen.”
 
Aided by retired Police Commissioner Warrick, his former college roommate David Small, and lovely nurse, Sandra Gray, the Crimson Mask must hunt down the villainous distributors of tainted heroin, stop an invisible thief, learn who ignited the latest city gang war and solve a killer targeting his father’s allies. 
 
Talented artist, Andy Fish, provides twelve stark black and white interior illustrations plus a truly wonderful, colorful and iconic pulp cover painting. Art Director, Rob Davis, handles book design to offer a truly stunning, quality package that will delight even the most jaded pulp fan.
 
Hold on to your fedoras, jump onto the running board and get ready for blazing thrills galore pulp fans as the Crimson Mask is back!
AIRSHIP 27 PRODUCTIONS – Pulp Fiction for a New Generation!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

SCARY TALES AND TWILIGHT TOUR: NO TRICKS - EVENT TO BENEFIT HISTORIC MANSION

Scary Tales & Twilight Tour
@ the Overholser Mansion!!! Thursday, October 24th & Friday, October 25th, 2013.
Two sessions each night:  7:00pm and 8:30 p.m.

In the old Edwardian house in Heritage Hills (Oklahoma City) known as the Overholser Mansion, tales of spirits, shadows and things that go bump in the night will be shared.  The Overholser’s were known to host many evenings of games, the arts and delightful conversations, over the years many ghostly events have been reported and so it is appropriate the mansion celebrates this fall season with the art of storytelling.

The tales, collected and recounted by local storyteller and author Marilyn A. Hudson will be about the house, the city and all the delightful things that bring shivers.

The Ghost Teller, aka storyteller Marilyn A. Hudson, will return to tell tales of shivery fun on two nights this October. Two sessins will be held on Thursday evening, Oct. 24 and Friday evening, Oct. 25.

Scary Tales & Twilight Tour
@ the Overholser Mansion!!! Thursday, October 24th & Friday, October 25th, 2013. Two sessions each night:  7:00pm and 8:30 p.m.


This event is by RSVP only, which will begin October 2nd.

Admission: $10.00 - adults, $5.00 - children under 12 years.

Event may not be suitable for younger children.

Call  405/ 525-5325 to make your reservation.  Space is limited.

What some listeners have said...

"You tell amazing stories unlike anyone I have ever heard. Every time I hear you tell a story I get goosebumps." 

"You might think her writing can't be beat -- until you hear her talk!"-- Jim Marion Etter, Oklahoma author

"Marilyn a. Hudson is an amazing storyteller for audiences of all ages.  Her animated, sparkling personality lends itself toward spellbinding her listeners.  Her non-verbal communication skills seem to lift the listeners above the mundane ...

Friday, October 11, 2013

Book Offers a Little History of Oklahoma Halloweens

Halloween: Oklahoma Treats-n-Tricks, 1900-1980

A short and fun memory filled journey through some of the Halloweens of Oklahoma... Author Marilyn A. Hudson explores the historical transformation of Halloween from its origins in pagan harvest festivals through years of controversy to the popular status it enjoys today. 

Citing intriguing first-hand accounts and obscure news reports, Hudson illustrates the erratic yet enduring allure of this complicated holiday. Also, explore an urban legend of the Cry Baby Bridge and learn who some of the figures who are keeping the "spirit" of Halloween alive and well. 

Hudson holds degrees in history and Information that serve her well in plumbing the deep forgotten recesses of the past to craft tales rich with detail. She is the author of When Death Rode the Rails, Tales of Hell's Half Acre, The Bones of Summer and co-author of the novel, The Mound. She also writes a blog combining mystery and history, "Mystorical".

Available on Amazon and in Kindle format.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Jim Anthony: the Super Detective - Returns in Volume Four



THE ACTION CONTINUES WITH THE SUPER-DETECTIVE


He’s half Comanche, half Irish and ALL AMERICAN!! The fourth volume of Jim Anthony: the Super Detective returns in brand new adventures from Airship 27 Productions.


Managing Editor Ron Fortier expressed his enthusiasm for this latest release. “Bringing back old classic pulp heroes is the reason we created Airship 27 Productions in the first place,” he reiterated. “Thanks to our efforts, new readers are discovering the real fun of such characters as we purposely bring them to the forefront and put the spotlight on them. At Airship 27 Productions they become 'A' list heroes.”

Traveling the globe, Anthony battles all manner of twisted villainy in four new tales and his challenges are herculean. Writers Erwin K. Roberts, Joel Jenkins, Frank Byrns and Mark Justice have whipped up a quartet of high adventure stories that are the hallmark of the Super Detective. From Mexico, where he encounters a Nazi spy ring to the streets of Manhattan where he hunts down a brutal serial killer, Jim Anthony proves once again why he is one of the most exciting and original heroes ever created in the golden age of American pulps.

“Aside from the western pulps,” Fortier points out, “Jim Anthony was the only modern pulp adventurer with a Native American heritage; something several of our writers enjoyed exploring in their stories.”


This volume, the fourth in an on-going series, features interior illustrations by Michael Neno and a dazzling cover by Eric Meador, with book designs by Rob Davis. Airship 27 Productions is thrilled to continue the exploits of the one and only, Jim Anthony – Super Detective.


AIRSHIP 27 PRODUCTIONS – Pulps For a New Generation!

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Today's Werewolf Has No Bite

Curling up to watch some seasonal mayhem, Howling IV: The Original Nightmare, played out in the darkened room.  Curious as to how other had viewed this particular film I learned it was generally seen as a poorly directed, acted and plotted tale of the werewolf legend.  Not enough onscreen wolfy-ness apparently.

There are many excellent novel interpretations of the legend and even a few good movies. That got me to thinking why are there are so few stellar were movies?

The werewolf (or even were animal legend) can be communicated, in my opinion so far,  in one of two ways:


  1. The unknown outsider whose motives, abilities, and hungers we cannot begin to fathom. A threat that is mindless, soul-less and such an 'other' we feel superior because we know we are not such animals. We are civilized victims of the terrible monster  bloody of tooth and claw who acts by ancient instincts we have long ago outgrown. As such, we are in danger each time we exit a building to enter their domain. The conflict comes from this encounter.
  2. The other is the creature who seems an extension or reflection of our own deeply hidden selves.  We understand this creature a little too well because he/she/it is able to act on the hungers and desires we keep hidden deep within. This creature fulfills those secret thoughts and acts on those forbidden fantasies. This is the source of the tension and suspense, this realization that  maybe there is less difference and distance between the beast and the man in the mirror.
The problem with a movie such as Howling IV was not its lack of werewolves but of the fear and tension generated as a result of whichever interpretation was being used.

At its essence the classic werewolf legend is the story of the outsider who follows his own code and satisfies his own hungers and needs without regard for his victim. I use male pronouns here because I believe the imagery of the werewolf was saying something about their societies. These 'werewolf'  actions reflected all the actions seen in war and  struggles for domination.  The 'werewolf' was metaphor and symbol of the worst beast of all released without ties, without community, without restraints, and without conscience.

The worst beast was the human...a werewolf story that does not show that tension, that fear, that hunger and that disdain of being in conflict with the hidden, secret self will be believable or suspenseful.

Friday, October 4, 2013

New 'Zine Features Article about 'The Mound'

Authors Cullan Hudson and Marilyn A. Hudson are excited to note the inclusion of a piece about their paranormal suspense thriller, The Mound. " The inaugural issue of Dark Recesses E-Zine is a one-page
write up (a bit of self promotion, really) about The Mound and a hint at where we pick up the story next. www.darkrecessesezine.com"


Monday, September 30, 2013

Alert

Someone has recently opened an email address using the name paranormalib supposedly from me. I know because I was sent the alert from Goggle. Be advised no such address exists related to this page.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Shadow Legion - New Roads to Hell

SUPER HEROES WILL RISE

Airship 27 Productions is excited to debut the first of a new line of pulp-superhero books with
Shadow Legon – New Roads to Hell, written and created by Thomas Deja.

“Thomas proposed this idea to me last year,” explained Airship 27 Managing Editor Ron Fortier, “and I thought it contained fascinating perspectives on the whole idea of supernatural beings.

“Every sci-fi, pulp fan knows comic book superheroes evolved from pulp magazine heroes,” Fortier added. “The idea of turning the tables and doing prose stories of superheroes isn’t anything new, and there have been several publishers who have explored that hybrid world recently. We didn’t want to copy what others had done; which is why Shadow Legon appealed to me in the first place. In creating the city of Nocturne and its unique characters, Thomas has put a decidedly fresh spin on this genre, and we think our readers are really going to enjoy these adventures.”

There has always been something strange about Nocturne, Florida; the City That Lives by Night. It is an entertainment nexus luring tourists from around the world to its night clubs, music, and other, more adult entertainment venues. But there is a darker side that these carefree revelers never see; one of dark doings, violence and eldritch evil.

Now a new, sinister force threatens Nocturne, and only a handful of unique, gifted beings can protect the city’s innocent. They are Nightbreaker--a radio star turned vigilante; he exist in a strange limbo world; the beautiful Dreamcatcher who bends all magic to her will; the mysterious Ferryman, a living conduit to the world beyond, and their leader, Black Talon, the embodiment of the unfettered fury of the African Veldt...stalking a jungle of concrete and glass!

Together they are The Shadow Legion, a secret alliance of mystery men and women who battle the fantastic threats that can tear apart the metropolis they call home!

Their saga begins here in New Roads To Hell, a gripping novel that reveals the secret origins of Nightbreaker and Ferryman, and features the menace of Rose Red, a crimson haired devil with a talent for murder! The book features interior illustrations by Chris Kemple and a cover by Pulp Factory Award (PFA) winning artist, Mike Fyles, with designs by Rob Davis, another PFA art winner.

AIRSHIP 27 PRODUCTIONS – New Pulp Fiction

Monday, August 26, 2013

DARK SKIES

2013 (a Scott Stewart film)
Sometimes the key to being terrified is who is watching a movie with you.  With me as I watched this film, Dark Skies,  about a family under the stress of unknown and unbelievable unnatural forces, was a woman who had experienced as a child 'missing time' and a possible encounter with aliens.  Certain scenes in the film highlighted her unconscious reactions and that added a bit to the movie night.

Watching my friend, her hands subconsciously pressing into each other in a nervous, anxious manner, as the young boy in the movie rides his bike and senses 'something' high above him in the sky, past the towering trees that seem to lean down towards him.

The way she moved, as if unable to  get comfortable, as family members were discovered outside of the locked and alarm secure house.  Their haunted gaze as they stared beyond the dark skies above them were mirrored on her face. It was clear the film was a little too accurate in conveying certain atmospheric elements. 

The film was gripping and reflected a layered approach of a family in turmoil from within and from without. Kerri Russell is superb and Jake Brennan is a good foil as the leaders of a family on the verge of economic collapse being threatened by something worse than a bank recall.  

The unseen threat from powerful forces is a metaphor for all contemporary life but also is the classic storyline of the alien abduction myths.  The film was well acted, skillfully directed and had a good dose of restraint. This kept it from being a caricature movie about "UFOs" and moved it into the realm of the horror genre. The building stress, the spiral from the normal world, and growing sense of your own lack of power are at times tangible.


Thursday, August 15, 2013

Frankenstein ala Koontz

Finally...I have finished the series of five books about the monster Frankenstein by Dean Koontz. This sage of  the war against humanity by the mad, or just bad?, doctor may seem old hat. A well worn path but not in this author's deft hands and mind. Yet, there is the mad doctor, his creation(s) and a struggle between good and bad.  Leading the defense in the ongoing war against humanity is Deucalion, the doctors first creation.  Scarred in both body and soul he transcended both to become more human than his creator...

Koontz totally reenvisions the mythic story, adding believable scientific elements and horrifyingly possible , even inevitable, social elements.   There is true horror here. There are characters so unique they stay in the mind long after the book has been closed.

The books (in order) are Prodigal Son, City of Night, Dead and Alive, Lost Souls and The Dead Town.

Get them all, lock the doors, take the phone off the hook and settle in for a marathon book reading weekend. Oh, and don't forget to close the shades and lock the doors.  Just in case.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

An Interview with Author Dennis McDonald

PARANORMAL LIBRARIAN caught up with Oklahoma author Dennis McDonald on a rainy day in spring as winter reluctantly kept a toe-hold on the region.  Our meeting occurred in a warm medieval style tavern tucked away on a quiet and forgotten street.  It was a sensory banquet that brought visions of ancient knights, wizards, and heroic quests. The dark beams were satuarated with the aroma of strong ale, chunks of Irish peat moss on the fire added a smoky intimacy, and across the room there was a small group  with lute, bodhran, and a fiddle playing a muted but lively jig.  The horror/fantasy author of 13 Nightmares, Ebon Moon, and Undead Flesh was sitting at a cozy corner table, a mug on the table, and a broad smile on his face as his fingers kept time to the music.  I was warmly greeted and we settled down to learn more about this up and coming voice in the world of horror and fantasy.



When you are not writing or being you, what is your work or activity?

I work for Diagnostic Labs of Oklahoma and pick up lab specimens from hospitals and doctor offices. I do a lot of driving every weekday.

When did you become an author? How did it develop, and what was your inspiration?

I published my first book 13 Nightmares about four years ago, but in reality, I’ve always been a writer since the age of 13. It just took me forty years to actually finish something I started. I wrote and published my own role playing game system back in the early nineties titled Adventure Maximum. I sold all the books and have since retired from gaming after thirty years involvement in the hobby. My love of writing continued however. I found a site called FanStory on the internet where writers could post their stories and get them read and critiqued. I wanted to be a fantasy writer and posted chapters of my novel up on the site. I received a few positive reviews, but that was about it. This site also sponsored contests for short horror stories. I entered a few of my horror tales and won against a hundred other writers. One Halloween story contest I won four hundred dollars. I decided to switch from writing fantasy to horror. In 2009 I decided to put out a collection of horror stories called 13 Nightmares. Since I was a total unknown writer and knew very little of the publishing world, I decided to self-publish like I did with my game system to see if readers would embrace me as an author. I’ve since self-published my werewolf novel Ebon Moon and just released my zombie novel Undead Flesh. 

What are some interesting events from your career as a writer? Any bloopers? 

I can’t think of any real bloopers. I’m sure they are there, I just can’t recall any. I can tell you that I started writing Undead Flesh a couple of years ago for Nanowrimo. The basic premise of the novel was zombies rising from the grave after a massive earthquake in Oklahoma. It was while writing about the earthquake one morning, that a real quake rattled through the state. I had lived here all my life and never experienced a quake until that morning. Now we have them all the time. Hopefully, we don’t have the big one like in my novel.

What do you think your impact has been among members of your audience? Your community? 

I hear about my books every day either by people in the town, the internet, or through my work. As a self-published author you reach out to readers first, instead of publishers and distributors. You build a dedicated readership among the people in your community and spread from there. I continue to do just that. 

What would you have liked to do with your work if there was more time, money, wider support, funding, staff, etc.

I would love to see my stories on the big screen. I scripted a small film from my short story The Last Trick or Treater and it shot by a woman filmmaker in Tulsa. I went to the premiere at the Circle Cinema and it was so cool to see my story and dialogue on the big movie screen.

Where do you see yourself in the coming years? Will [insert author name here] remain or transform within the book world or move on to something else?

I’m a writer to the end. I don’t even think of myself as an author. I’m a writer first. My goal now is to take on the traditional publishing world. I’ve proven to myself that I can write and sell books. I’m ready to move to the next step.

As a writer, what and who are your influences? Where do you get your ideas?

I saw a saying on the internet that a writer is someone who has a thousand tabs open in their mind at once. This is me. While writing this, I’m thinking of a short story where someone has a computer with the power to reach back in time to interview the greatest authors of all time and post their ramblings on the internet. I’m imagining the story in my head as I’m thinking about what I’m writing right now. As a teenager I read voraciously back in the sixties and seventies. My favorite authors were Asimov, Clark, Heinlein, Tolkien, Bradbury, and Robert E. Howard. 

Readers often like to find authors similar in tone, subject, or style to another. Who would most enjoy your work: readers of Stoker, Lovecraft, Shelley, King, Koonze, etc? 

Probably King. I’ve had a lot of fans of Stephen King say they enjoyed my work. 

When you write, do you require a special place, quiet, mood music, a favorite chair or sweater, etc.?

I live in a hundred year old home and my writing room is an upstairs bedroom. The walls are covered with pictures and posters of dragons, Bruce Lee, Count Gregore, and art work. My chair is a broken office chair in front of my Dell. I write in silence most of the time. 

Who is Dennis MacDonald? How similar are the two personas of author and  Dennis? In the real world, do you like sports or other pursuits? On any given day where would someone find you and what would you be doing?

I’m usually just sitting at home most of the time. I’m basically a recluse when I’m not at work. I like to watch Netflix and play a few games on my Xbox. If you want to lose your social circle, be a writer. It’s a lonely craft. On the other hand, I’m a convention junkie and love sci-fi horror cons, writing conferences, book signings, etc. These are the times I get out amongst people and away from long hours on the computer. 

What is the next big thing on your personal and professional agenda? 

Since I finished my trilogy of terror, I’m shifting gears into my fantasy novel. The first 100,000+ word manuscript is done in rough form. The project is too big for me to self publish, so I’m sending it to traditional publishers. I still write short stories when I need a break, and have a couple of horror novels on the back burner.

The evening was creeping up to peer in the windows at us and the after work crowd began to shuffle in bringing the scent of more cold rain.  As I left Dennis McDonald friends were hailing him and a discussion of a recent convention began to fill the void left by the departing musicians.  It looked like a perfect night to read his newest work....if I dared. 

Monday, April 1, 2013

The Old Dark House Motif

In horror and thriller movies the motif of the old dark house is a road well traveled and often abused.  It is a
motif requiring a deft hand to keep it from descending into camp or cliche and in the right hands it rises to more lofty realms of art.

A silent film from 1925, The Monster, directed by Roland West,  marks what is considered the first movie to utilize this motif. It also introduced the 'mad scientist' riff, and it is a surprising and delightful piece of cinematic work.    Although just as melodramtic as one might expect, it also pioneers a light touch in character and situation that presages more firm characterizations in  later films.  A version can be found on cable with music added the addition is distracting and seems disconnected from the mood of the scenes or the genre itself.  The silent version is better and allows the imagination to provide the necessary gothic tones.

There is a witty nature to the bumbling and easily frightened would be detective, a true understanding of mood and building tension in the more frightening scenes, and a firm romantic touch in its conclusion.  This is a model that influenced many later films but it is enjoyable to revisit the original and see its fresh energy, the awakward stumbling toward establishing a genre, and the ability of actors, director and writers to craft a story first to guide the entire film.  It is clear the actors had a firm idea of who they were in the film and built more authentic reactions as a result.  In the silent films large and grand stage movement period, this provides some interesting nuances to the film and no doubt influenced later film makers crafting early horror films.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

The Devil is in the Details

This new work from Troy Taylor THE DEVIL AND ALL HIS WORKS, subtitled "a history of Satan, Sin, Murder, Mayhem and Magic" is a detailed look at the roots of our idea of evil, the ways it has been expressed and worse, the manner in which some people have actively sought to encounter it in all its hellish glory.

Descending into this book, there is the feel of heat in the air and the smell of brimstone and sulphur overlaid all too normal  human faces and places. 

Scary, informative, and very insightful.  

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Howling At the Moon: Werewolf Bibliographies

Ebon Moon by Dennis Mcdonald,
OK Paracon '12













A werewolf bibliography here.    A werewolf bibliography by students here.    One of the most detailed and annotated collections on the topic is Brian Frost's book, An Essential Guide to Werewolf Literature.   See also this entry on another old class work.


Danse Macabre: A Classic

No library should be without this book and no academic should attempt to teach horror without it.  Danse Macabre explores, as only Stephen King can, the bloodline of 20th century horror through film, television and literature. It is a foundational work crucial to understanding not only the literary or visual genre but to the mind out which they spring.  Other, highly academic works, exist but they lack the viseral and conversational style of King.  Fear, like humor, often is most successful linking with the stresses of its context. King illustrates this by noting the most frightening scene in the Amityville Horror.  It is not, he stresses, the flies, the goo, or the eyes glowing outside the window that gave the person in the theater seats the most discomfort it was instead when the lead character finds his money gone.  The cash only reception payment suddenly, mysteriously, stressfully goes missing...and the film coming out in the middle of the 1970's recession tapped strait into the vein of true horror as  it explored the growing stress, anger, and fear of the ensuing search.  We love the gothic and atmospheric horror since it is distanced from us....the greatest of fears, the deepest horrors stem from the 'it's just  little too real for comfort' bedrock of shared human experience. 

Here is a link to a .pdf version (including useful bibliographies).

Friday, January 18, 2013

The Mythic Core

I have to admit, I like M. Night Shyamalan's body of work.  This writer, producer, and director has brought many popular films and some  viewed as less than popular:  The Sixth Sense (1999), Unbreakable (2000), Signs (2002), The Village (2004), Lady in the Water (2006), The Happening (2008) and The Last Airbender (2010).  This summer, After Earth, is set to appear (2013).

He is often misunderstood by a culture seeking the gross-out, the obscene, and the heavy-handed in their suspense and horror-thrillers.  These are the cinematic and story versions of a stomp dance.  Shyamalan's works, by comparison, have the grace, mythic bones, and naunced touch a classic ballet.

What drew me into Unbreakable and the Lady in the Water were the underlying mythic structures.  He tapped into archetypes, legends, and the hero's journey to craft those movies.  Instead of lowering his vision to the common - the bloody, visceral, crude and heavy-handed approach to thrilling tales - he tapped into the river running through human experience.  The problem is that society has been fed the inferior so long it cannot appreciate the fresh air and multi-layered complexity of Shyamalan's work.  Shyamalan's work is the higher education course in a high school drop-out world.   His work is not without shortcomings, but his works have developed and evolved, and hopefully will continue to do so without caving into the commerical forces that would kill that vital difference in the name of boxoffice success.

Great art is seldom fiscally successful - at first.  It takes an audience understanding of the complexities, nuances, and deeper elements to finally and fully appreciate their importance.  Hopefully, we are on our way to that place where we can not only recognize the vital mythic core in his films but come to appreciate them.  

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

THE WHEEL TURNS...

I first met The Wheel of Time series when someone recommended it to me in the mid 1990's.  Not a regular, or enthusiastic, fantasy fan, I had commented how I had never found such a book I really liked. I had read The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe, some Andre Norton and similar titles.  I had tried, and failed, to read The Hobbit six times!  My friend said, "You have to try these...."

I opened The Eye of the World (book one) and was immediately hooked... Here was not just fantasy, but excellent storytelling, action packed adventure, a mythic journey, and a world made believable by an author who understood the basic underpinning of myth, culture, military science, and history. The skillful Robert Jordan utilized all of these in crafting the world occupied by Rand, Mat, Perrin, and all the rest.  I read them each Christmas as a special gift to myself. Geek that I am, I even read them backwards and noted the masterful links of plot and foreshadowing unnoticed in forward chronological reading.

Two decades and thirteen books later...I eagerly opened the fourteenth (and final book), A Memory of Light,  with the same anticipation as the second one I had read.

In moments, I was drawn once more into that world...where people had strange powers, where a great battle of good vs evil was ongoing and a final confrontation imminent. 

A series of the depth and scope reflected in The Wheel of Time is an incredible achievement, especially in light of the fact the author died in 2007 and someone had to step in to complete the work.  Brandon Sanderson did that well, following detailed notes left by author Robert Jordan.   Some may complain, some may be dissatisfied and quibble about slight deviations in character or action due to the transition.  All I can say is as I closed the book, 900 plus pages of it, I took a deep breath and wanted to start the series all over - again. 

I have to go now...I have to see what books I need to complete the series....

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

PARANORMAL ACTION WITH A TWIST OF ROMANCE

 I discovered this author just recently writing for the Harlequin/Mira brand. Heather Graham is a bestselling author who has been around long enough to have established a good following of devoted fans.

"The Unspoken" is part of a series with slightly (or heavily accented) paranormal aspects.  Part of the "Krew of Hunters" series the books  ( several titles ) feature members of a special team of FBI who have special psychic skills and are utilized in cases requiring their extraordinary skills.  They use psi skills but also work using normal police procedures - so the audience of both should enjoy these with a little flexibility. See titles at  http://www.eheathergraham.com/heatherbibliography1.html

The books are similar to the special ops FBI team created by Kay Hooper and her 
"Bishop series:" but they are still a good (translate an enjoyable) read.  I will no doubt read others in this series as opportunity affords.  They are not grippers or great literature but they are enjoyable, especially if you like some romance with your paranormal fiction. 


ZOMBIES, YOU BETCHA

Parody horror...a surprising genre but one filled with more social commentary than frightful terrors. Unless, that is, you think too long on the social commentary's underlying truths.  I ran across this book by accident...word of by mouth by a fellow customer in the book store encouraged me to give it a try.


Horror parody is a new genre and not everyone's cup of tea. If you are culturally literate, horror motif aware, and slightly warped this is the book for you!

The Zombies of Lake Woebegotten is based on the idea that every town has secrets, the book proceeds to then rip down the walls to reveal in comic and bizarre the nature of those secrets.   It is filled with sex, deviance, hate, drunkenness  murder and that is BEFORE the zombies show up!

It is a one book motivation to double check your secrets and what might happen when .... not if... that awful zombie apocalypse strikes.  You can never be too careful.



From Night Shade books...if this sounds interesting you may want to also read The Twilight of Lake Woebegotten.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Definitely Odd


One of my favorite authors is Dean Koontz. To settle down with one of his works is to enjoy hours of pure fun and satisfying reading.  As an author he has developed a skill at plumbing the spiritual side of human nature.  This is an often unrecognized aspect of human activity, motivation, and strength.  It is easy to present such in scathing tones of incredulous disdain. It is easy to go for the negative and lowest bar on the ladder of writing. Shelves are crammed with literary prat-falls, cheap thrills and fast food approach to plot. Koontz' broader palette is as welcome as rain to a parched field. It is also more challenging to have an author entice the reader to climb above the foul miasma of the road to hell we often call life and go higher to see the flicker lights of hope, the noble self, or the light of goodness.


No, Koontz does not write 'goody' works.  His horror is  real enough to make you gasp because it reflects the abyss being plumbed by daily human activity. We dare not look over the side, as Nietzsche so aptly warned, when we look into the monster of the abyss...surprise, it is looking back at us and assessing how we can help it escape or provide a small snack. Perhaps to do both.

Koontz keeps bushing us to the edge of the abyss, daring us to look in and stare down the evil lurking there and keep it in place.  For a little longer, anyway.  If we can...

If you have not read Odd Apocolypse do so now!  Then, get ready to read his next work, Odd Interlude, due out in early January.  

If you dare.


Forget Sparkly Blood Suckers


The Passage by Justin Cronin (http://enterthepassage.com/) is a grand story. In the tradition of such hallmark works such as King's The Stand it presents a believable apocalyptic world.  Part of a broader story arch spanning at least two volumes, it captivates from the first page.  It awesome 800 pages of text are lapped up like milk by a stray cat who had given up all hope of a square meal.  

Taking on a mythic quality, the story weaves a spell at one haunting and satisfying. Through the tale is a vein of mystery and the unknown.  As the security of a technological world collapses in the wake of the disaster, these take on deep meaning and significance.  

The creatures are vampiric in nature but so much more in creation and development. Monsters are so often painted with broad strokes and caricature, Cronin uses fine detail to offer creatures horrific but with nuances and layers providing creatures of deeply disturbing threat.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

STEVEN E. WEDEL




Popular author Steven E. Wedel shares some exciting news. "In October, Graveside Tales released a new edition of my novella Murdered by Human Wolves," said Wedel. "It was inspired by true events that happened in 1917 Konawa, Okla. Plus, Graveside will be re-releasing all the books of my Werewolf Saga, including the new book. They'll be broken into novellas and released quarterly."


In addition, Bloomsbury just released (in mid-November) the trade paperback edition of his After Obsession, a YA paranormal romance he has co-authored with best-selling author Carrie Jones.



For more on this exciting and popular author, and exciting upcoming news from Publisher's Weekly, checkout his website.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

'GEARTEETH' SATISFIES NEED FOR STEAM AND HORROR



GEARTEETH, a steampunk novel (the first in a trilogy) set in the early 1900's in the skies over California. The novel is told from the point of view of Elijah Kelly, a brakeman on a flying train, who becomes infected with a virus that will turn him into a murderous werewolf if he doesn't discover the cure in time. 

"In 1890 a disease that turned sane men into ravenous werewolves erupted in the United States and soon spread to the rest of the world. On the brink of humanity’s extinction, Nikola Tesla and a secret order of scientists known as the Tellurians revealed a bold plan: the uninfected would abandon the Earth’s surface by rising up in floating salvation cities, iron and steel metropolises that carried tens of thousands of refugees above the savage apocalypse. The remnants of mankind huddled fearfully in the clouds, waiting for the werewolves to devour each other. Yet twenty years later only one salvation city remains aloft, while the beasts still rule the world below. Time has taken its toll on the miraculous machinery of the city, and soon the last of the survivors will plummet to their doom. But when Elijah Kelly, a brakeman aboard the largest of the city’s Thunder Trains, is infected by the werewolf virus he discovers a secret world of lies and horrific experiments that hide the disturbing truth about the Tellurians. When the beast in his blood surges forth Elijah must choose between the lives of those he loves and the city that is humanity’s last hope of survival.”
This is a book to read with the lights on and when you can set aside time to do nothing but finish it!   Gripping, imaginative, and action packed with tense emotion and nail biting fear.  Nimbly guiding the reader into an alternative world of Steam Punk realities, the author explores in action packed narrative the lurking universal fear of an ultimate pandemic and the apocalyptic certainty the end of humanity will come with both a bang and a whimper. Its protagonist straddles the tension of all human endeavor as he is torn between the two forces battling for supremacy within him: the human and the beast.   All of that is sub-text though to a solid action packed story which will keep you reading and wanting more. Make note of this author for  future reading pleasure.

GEARTEETH.  Read it and then read it again...I did.


GEARTEETH by Timothy J. Black / Red Rose Publishing (August 2012) / 607 pages / PDF (also LIT/MOBI/PRC/EPUB)

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

MURDERED IN THEIR BEDS A GRIPPING WORK

When the horrific and the unsolved are joined the result is sometimes too much to ignore.   Author Troy Taylor spent decades in gathering bits and pieces of information into one solid and satisfying presentation of the facts of this 1912 Villisca, Iowa ax murders.  Doggedly he hunted down other instances mirroring the details of that Iowa crime searching for answers.

The result of that work is a remarkable book  linking  murders spreading over at least three states and several years. Along the way a picture of the murderer is constructed with as keen an understanding of criminality as an  FBI profile.  
Placing all within the historical reality of the early decades of the 20th century a new understanding of the Iowa crime finally emerges.   Filled with historic images and graphic descriptions of the crimes it will be greatly sought by all true crime sleuths.

In presenting this high level of investigation and research, Taylor has contributed greatly to bringing these crimes to light. The reasoning is logical, the thinking as he answers some lingering issues solidly holds together.  It is entirely possible that learning the details found here may eventually lead to the discovery of a vital clue which might, just might, solve a century old series of crimes.

If that happens - tip the hat to author Troy Taylor and MURDERED IN THEIR BEDS.




Tuesday, July 31, 2012

GHOSTLAHOMA, AUG 18, 2012

Enid, Oklahoma will be the site of the paranormal themed conference called, "Ghostlahoma."  The event will feature regional paranormal authors, artists, speakers, and lots of fun.  Late night events may include a spooky tour.  Get your tickets now so they can insure adequate seats,etc.  Ken Gerhard, Chris Harrington, Troy Taylor and others.

Tonya Hacker and Tammy Wilson, programmers state:

Because this is Ghostlahoma, we want to showcase Oklahoma as much as possible.  We love our great state and we want to share with you experiences that are not far removed from you.  We do not aim to dazzle you with “as seen on TV” hype, though most of our speakers have been featured on TV at one time or another.  We do, however, aim to dazzle you with intelligent, witty, and well researched evidence and tales of the paranormal and to provide you with an interesting, fun day of ghostly goodness.

You will see photos, hear “voices from the grave,” and get the goods on several haunts as well as learn about how evidence is analyzed.  You’ll hear fascinating history and accounts of bizarre things.  Then you will have the opportunity to ask the speakers questions during a question and answer panel at the end of the day.

Please take the time to peruse our photo/art display and be sure to stick around and enjoy the 
“Haunt Rods” that will be lining the streets and the Twilight Criterium Race in downtown Enid after the conference.

(Please note this schedule is subject to change)

Saturday, July 21, 2012

PETER TOWNSEND RELEASES 'GHOSTLY IMAGES'


British author Peter Townsend has released Ghostly Images, a gripping mystery set in Victorian England.


Whitby, North Yorkshire – 1894

Two apprentice photographers, David Taylor and John Evans, find themselves unemployed and desperate for work when their employer dies.

They fall into the clutches of Hood, a notorious charlatan, who is eager to exploit them as “spirit photographers” with the aid of the infamous Tate Camera now owned by David. This notorious camera is said to have the ability not only to photograph spirits, but it can predict how and when the person photographed will die.

Reluctantly, David and John become immersed into the dubious, murky trade of spirit photography. Although David stubbornly refuses to believe in the supernatural, he becomes unnerved when ghostly images start to appear on the untouched photographs of young women who soon fall victim of a man people are calling “The Whitby Ripper.” 

Lucy Shaw, an ambitious reporter from The Whitby Herald, wants to expose both Hood and spirit photography as a fraud. She is a modern career woman eager to cover more exciting news than the flower shows her editor assigns. Her search for the truth attracts the attention of David, and possibly that of a murderer.

David is charming, handsome, a real lady-killer in every way. A relative newcomer to Whitby, he is reluctant to talk about his past or his direct link to the recent murder victims.


Is there any truth to the rumours about the Tate Camera? Can it predict the near future? Can it expose a killer?


Meanwhile…the Whitby Ripper waits for his next victim.

About the Author
Peter Townsend was born in Sheffield and has a variety of interests including history, music and art. One of his current fascinations is the history of Victorian England. He now lives by the northeast coast of England and regularly walks on the local beach or on the cliff top path towards Whitby where Ghostly Images, is set.

Ghostly Images is available in print and several ebook formats including Kindle and NOOK and can be found at many other online retailers. Visit the Ghostly Images page at LL- Publications: 
www.ll-publications.com/ghostlyimages.html 

LL- Publications (www.ll-publications.com) is an independent publisher based in Scotland specializing in genre and literary titles in both print and ebook formats since 2008.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Contact:  Jolie du PrĂ© – joliedupre@ll-publications.com
Published by LL-Publications
$14.99 (US) / £9.99 (UK/EU) / $3.99, £2.99 (ebook)
ISBN:  9781905091768 (print) / 9781905091775 (ebook)
© Peter Townsend
279 pages
http://www.ll-publications.com/ghostlyimages.html

Saturday, July 7, 2012

LINCOLN CHILD '"THE THIRD GATE" GRIPPING

Lincoln Child is a best selling author of several books and well-known half the Preston-Child writing team and the popular Pendergast and Gideon Crew novels. In The Third Gate, Child 's character Professor Jeremy Logan is an enigmalogist, an expert in the inexplicable of both scientific and paranormal types. In a rancid corner of the deep Nile as it heads south into the heart of the continent, he joins an expedition, financed by a super wealthy and powerful man, to locate the tomb of the first mysterious Pharaoh of united Egypt. Tension soon begins to mount as accounts of anomalies and strange events are reported. Is the curse of the first king coming true already?

Although, I admit, I have been underwhelmed by some of the solo efforts of this writers in the past. A big fan of the Pendergast novels, I am 'coming around' to the Crew titles. The solo works, for me, sometimes edged into the two-dimensional character and stereotypical emotion range, I must say this book kept me interested, involved and linked to its main character, plot, and story line with enjoyment. The figure of Professor Jeremy Logan is a more real and likable as a person. He is also one whose responses are authentic and flow naturally in the context of the plot action. The female characters are less plastic as well. They reflect greater sympathy and understanding of the motivations, emotions, and responses in their presence on the page.

There are enough strange situations, paranormal science, and alternative science to balance the rollicking adventure and hard core science to make it enjoyable by many readers. If you are need of a break from the summer heat, want to just go somewhere really different, or want an adventure to get you turning the page - The Third Gate is the choice!

Friday, July 6, 2012

TIME FOR CAMP....


Steve Burt's writing career took a sharp turn in 1991 thanks to a snowstorm that stranded him at an airport. Already well known for his nonfiction books, Steve needed a book to pass the time, so he picked up a horror collection at the airport bookstore. As a teen he had always loved mysteries and dark fiction. He devoured the book and began reading everything he could find in the rediscovered genres. Three years later he began writing weird tales and mysteries. His first 8 stories earned honorable mentions in Year's Best Fantasy & Horror.


An Adventure that's Out of this World. And In It. Free Camp, which somehow became known as FreeK Camp, is for special kids. But just how special most people will never know. Two vans are on their way to the camp in rural Maine, the teen passengers just starting to get acquainted. One van makes it. The other mysteriously disappears. Now each group of kids must bond together to discover and use their paranormal and psychic powers. The lives of one group literally depend on it.


Part mystery thriller, part detective story, part sci-fi, FreeK Camp is all hold-your-breath-I-didn't-see-that-coming adventure. Named 2010 and 2011 Beach Book of the Year. For adults, teens, tweens. The second book in the series, FreeK Show: Where Nothing Is as It Appears, appeared on May 15, 2012.

Freek Camp is available on Amazon.

IT IS TIME TO FREEK




A year later and the teens are more mature, learning more of themselves and their strange skills. Summer dawns and some of the campers are back with a new, far more dangerous threat which will tax their still evolving abilities and their friendships to the extreme. Will they survive this test by fire? Read the FreeK Show and discover why Burt is an award winning writer. A great addition to any reading list.





Dr. Burt is a Bram Stoker Award-winning author of the Stories to Chill the Heart series of short story collections (Odd Lot, Even Odder, Oddest Yet, Wicked Odd). All books are for pre-teen, teen, and adult audiences. Contact: Steve Burt / 29 Arnold Place / Norwich, CT 06360 / 860.405.5183 / passtev@aol.com

Thursday, June 28, 2012

IT IS SO ODD...

Waiting eagerly for the new Koontz novel, Odd Apocalypse to arrive. Hurry delivery person and be swift thy feet!  The first new one in some four years. I will have to re-read some of the others as I wait.

Just reading about it makes my heart pound with excitement:


The stallion reared over me, silently slashing the air with the hooves of its forelegs, a creature of such immense power that I stumbled backward even though I knew that it was as immaterial as a dream. . . .
 
The woman astride the ghostly mount reaches out desperately, the latest spirit to enlist the aid of Odd Thomas, the unassuming young fry cook whose gift—or curse—it is to see the shades of the restless dead, and to help them when he can. This mission of mercy will lead Odd through realms of darkness he has never before encountered, as he probes the long-held secrets of a sinister estate and those who inhabit it.
 

Sunday, June 3, 2012

A PALE HORSE...IS COMING


More American Hauntings & Horrors
By Troy Taylor & Rene Kruse (2012)
Authors of "And Hell Followed With It"

American history has seen no shortage of death, calamity and disaster and perhaps for this reason, our past is teeming with ghosts. In this sequel to their earlier book – And Hell Followed With It – authors Troy Taylor and Rene Kruse return to the blood-soaked annals of American disasters for another chilling look at the terrible tales and lingering spirits of Earth, Air, Fire, Water and Blood. They have collected new stories of floods, storms, mine accidents, infernos, blizzards, train wrecks, hurricanes and more – and have added a new chapter on history’s bloodiest massacres and the ghosts they all left behind!

This new collection of stories is even more horrifying than the first volume, often uncovering tales that were never told, simply because they were too terrifying to consider – from devastating railroad disasters to deadly fires, unbelievable death tolls, unimaginable storms and massacres carried out by zealots and madmen that are almost too terrible to comprehend. More frightening than the previous volume, this is one of the most disturbing books you’ll ever read! $20.00
OR GET A PALE HORSE WAS DEATH and AND HELL FOLLOWED WITH IT FOR THE DISCOUNT PRICE OF ONLY $34.00
Follow the link to https://www.prairieghosts.com/hellbook.html to read more about the book and to order your copy today!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

DARK SIDE by C.C. Brown

Dark Side by C.C. Brown is a blend of fun, fantasy, thrills, and strong women.

"The sacred relic of the undead . . . the Vampire Bible has fallen into the hands of a paranormal-artifact dealer. An eBay bid and an annual vacation lead Koleen O'Brien and her five friends to San Antonio to deliver the book to a wealthy Texan. They are clueless to the fact that a pack of blood-thirsty vampires are stalking them to reclaim the Bible...."

The author "C.C.Brown" is an amalgamation of the names of these Ozark writers: Schyriet Cameron, Carolyn Craig and Kathy Brown. Check out their webpage here.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

PL INTERVIEW WITH MARILYN A. HUDSON


I caught up with author Marilyn A. Hudson on the campus of the University of Oklahoma in the Great Reading Room in the main library. It seemed a natural setting with the polished old wood and the gothic architecture for the author  of the chilling short story collection, The Bones of Summer and co-author of the horror novel, The Mound.  The spirit of learning and the sum total of human knowledge seemed to hover around like a phantom seeking to possess some willing soul.  A soft warm glow spilled in through old windows forming warm puddles of diffused light on the glossy floor.
  
Tell us how you got started as a writer.
My first foray into writing was scripting an episode of ‘Star Trek’ when I was twelve. No one ever read it but I had a lot of fun writing that and realized I really enjoyed the process.   It was later, though, in college when I realized I preferred to write papers that I began to think maybe, just maybe, I might become a writer one day.  I had several hundred articles published in small, regional or specialized publications, letters to editors, and company newsletters trying on styles and honing my craft.
What authors or films have most influenced you as a writer?
I read the classics – Bronte, Austin, Euripides, Poe, Wilkie, James, and even an author from the mid-fifties, Emily Loring, who had a gift for description – but had a fondness for suspense and mysteries of a more recent era.  I have had the joy of reading widely and well because I always love a good story or a well-written book. Therefore, I have enjoyed many Victoria Holt, Barbara Michaels, Dean Koontz, Stephen King, and Kay Hooper works.  
In ten years, what themes do you look forward to exploring or what new things do you expect to try in your work? 
I look forward to getting these - other stories - out of me. They are nestled close, incubating, biding their time but I know their time is coming.   
Will they be the same genre or will you be branching out?
Yes and no, because I think they will be more a synthesis of all that I am as a writer, or what I hope to be, as one.  I think that is the goal of anyone who truly writes, who creates, out of compulsion and deep need.  Genres are stepping-stones to get us to the place where we truly carve out our own territory in the landscape of words and the imagination.  In that place, we explore broader vistas and more meaningful themes with the tools and skills built over time.
Tell us about your fans and readers.
They are wonderful!  My readers are generally people who enjoy the genre work of the mysterious or those who are attracted to history.  These can be diverse audiences!  I enjoy meeting them at book signings and festivals.  
As an author, what have been your greatest challenges?
There is an old Jim Croce song, “Time in a Bottle”, and in that is a line which has always stuck with me. It is about it being hard to do the things you really want to do once you discover just what that is and that is descriptive of most people.  The challenge is to balance everything, all the demands life makes of you, and still have the energy, focus, and imagination left to create something of worth.  The focused, driven, single minded author can be a painful sack of self-centered, disconnected, and unhappy human being.  Keeping the balance and the inspiration can be tricky.
If money and time were not an issue, what would you like to do as a person or as an author?
Write all the time! I would travel and discover new things and actually walk in places where I wanted my characters to walk.  I have always had a strong imagination but to see, smell, and hear surroundings can add so much to how you construct a scene and develop a character. 
Sometimes people have ideas or have heard tales of writers who are very picky about how and when they write. When you write do you have any specific rituals or traditions? 
I have be able to focus and to know that for this block of time I can devote myself to crafting words into story or to respond with freedom to the inspirational wave which might sweep over me.  I try to keep paper and pen with me so that when that scene leaps into my head full blown I can capture it.  Or, if I wake in the middle of the night from a dream I can do the same.   I often play mood music – soft, nature sounds, or light classical or pop – to be white noise and to influence the tone of the writing. If a certain type of music reflects a character, then I may play it to get under the skin a bit more.
Readers always want to know – where do writers get their ideas? What generates your creative thoughts in a novel?
A writer is a squirrel who has stored up experiences, people, sounds, emotions, and desires instead of nuts.  Everything we have seen, tasted, heard, or dreamed ultimately becomes part of what we write. It may be subconscious but it is there. A writer can do one piece of intensive research and then use that information or the ideas generated by them for years and in often strange ways.
In the immediate there are more appearances but what's next? What’s next for you as a writer? Any new titles  coming soon or different topics in the near future?
I am finishing some steam punk, gaslight mysteries, which are a fun departure.  I am also working on a novel about a serial killer and his victim. My co-author and I also have sequels roughed out for The Mound. I even have one about an ancient warrior woman – which should be fun!

--Ann Brown, for Paranormal Librarian