A deranged doctor with an appalling side-hobby, a macabre groundskeeper who delights in terrifying children, an unlikely vandal with vulgar talents, a lovestruck cop, a 60s Scream Queen, a death-portending ghost, and an egomanaical self-proclaimed psychic who wants to write a book about it. What happens when they all end up in a cozy cliff side lodge, and bodies start piling up? Find out for .99! THE CLIFFHOUSE HAUNTING is 80% off today and tomorrow only:http://tinyurl.com/zeyyekv
And here’s what’s happening in the town of Cliffside this week!
Tamara will be signing all her books, including the latest release, Thunder Road, Saturday Nov. 1 at Mysterious Galaxy in San Diego. Come join us for a great Dia de los Muertos celebration, complete with goodies! Read more about the books and other authors here.
If you can’t come but would like autographed and/or personalized books, just contact the store. They’ll take speedy and easy care of you.
Bad Things, Tamara’s novel of Halloween horror, is on sale through the 31st for just $2.99 in all ebook platforms.
So, my favorite DJ, Mimi Chen, on my favorite classic rock station, 100.3, The Sound, gave me a Facebook thrill this morning when I found her post about loving Bad Things. Mimi isn’t a horror reader, but she liked it so much she reviewed it on Amazon.
Bad Things is a coming of age Halloween tale about Ricky Piper, his legless twin, Robin, and the greenjacks who cavort and taunt and try to steal the souls of those who can see them. As a boy, Ricky is terrified of everything – the dark, greenjacks, his brother, and especially, Halloween. As an adult, he returns to his childhood home with his own kids, having spent years convincing himself the greenjacks – and their leader, Big Jack, don’t exist… And you know how that always goes.
Inspired by my own childhood game – sitting outside at night watching leaves move in the breeze and pretending to see faces and figures dancing among them – greenjacks – Bad Things was a labor of love. Writing it brought back all those nights spent gleefully spooking myself then racing into the house to write ghost stories. But many other things played into Bad Things, too.
I’ve always loved the Green Man – the guy you see with leaves growing out of his mouth – grinning down from the ornamentation on old buildings – including churches, or staring at you from his hiding place amongst the foliage on English tapestries, and old paintings. The Green Man even has his own story in beloved Arthurian Legends. (Sir Gawain and the Green Knight). A pre-Christian figure, he has been embodied by such diverse figures as Pan, Bacchus, Dionysus, Robin Hood, Herne the Hunter, Shakespeare’s Puck, and Tolkien’s Ents.
He is the lord of the forest. There are lords (and ladies) associated with the other elements – fire, water, and air – as well. (In fact, my collaborator, Alistair Cross, and I have just turned in a new novel that deals with one of these other elementals.)
I love the green man so much that I incorporated him into The Sorority as the Forest Ghost, along with tales of greenjacks told by my recurring professor, Dan S. McCobb. (Say it out loud.)
There’s much more to Bad Things than green men, though. Santo Verde, Rick Piper’s hometown in SoCal, is based on a very real little city called Redlands. It’s an hour east of Los Angeles, a place full of citrus orchards, greenery, and Victorian mansions. Years ago, it was a favorite weekend retreat of Hollywood’s elite. The cemetery in Bad Things is a clear reflection of Redland’s own fabulous boneyard. Redlands/Santo Verde is also only a few miles from the apple-growing mountain town of Oak Glen which provided inspiration for my witchy Halloween tale, Moonfall, (FOr that matter, Thunder Road‘s Old Madelyn is based on Calico Ghost Town, two hours north, in the desert.)But I digress. The next thing you should know about Bad Things is that Todd Browning’s classic Freaks also helped inspire it. Years before I wrote it, I was fascinated by the legless boy, Johnny Eck, who walked on his hands. This grew into an interest in freaks in general; their history, their lives.
Johnny Eck is particularly inspiring. He lived a long life, was well-loved and a master of many trades. What I didn’t know when I researched for Bad Things – it wasn’t in the books I used – was that Johnny Eck had a “normal” brother, Robert, with whom he traveled and lived his entire life. Just like Ricky and Robin. Synchronicity rules.
The final thing about Bad Things is that, well, that’s a secret… Suffice to say, I don’t like practical jokers.
Bad Things is one of my favorite tales not only because Halloween is a subject dear to my heart, because it helped me understand why I am endlessly fascinated with human nature, especially its dark side. As for my love of ghost stories – there’s nothing to understand. I was just born that way. Yowza.
I’ll be at Mysterious Galaxy in San Diego for a special Dia de los Muertos signing party. All my books will be available, including Thunder Road. If you can make it, it’s at 2 pm. If you can’t, but would like an autographed or personalized book or two, just contact Mysterious Galaxy to place an order.
Our new show, Thorne & Cross: Haunted Nights Live!, is all about horror. We’ll be interviewing your favorite authors, discussing books, movies, and your ghost stories, among other things. Our first guests include Douglas Clegg, Glen Hirshberg, and Michael Aronovitz! The show premiers November 6th on the Authors on the Air station at Blog Talk Radio. URL coming soon!
By the way, my Halloween novel, Bad Things is currently on sale!
Write what you love. That is the cardinal rule Alistair Cross and I live by. That being said, we are pleased to announce some exciting changes coming to our serialized novel, The Erotic Adventures of Belinda.
Although we began this serial as a strictly erotic tale with just a hint of ghostly goings-on, we’ve found we enjoy our specters and scandals far too much to stick to erotica alone. Therefore, we have decided to make ourselves happy by including more of what we love most – ghosts, mysteries, and chills. But no worries if you’re reading Belinda purely for the erotica – there will still be oodles of sexy thrills, we promise. However, with the release of our third installment, Darker Shadows, due out in the coming weeks, Darkness and Erotica will become equal partners in a sexy, spooky Danse Macabre.
First, we’ve changed the series title to something that speaks of the shadowed corridors, disembodied voices, and mysterious footsteps that haunt the halls of Ravencrest Manor: The Ghosts of Ravencrest.
We will also be adding some previously deleted scenes that concentrated more on the spectral than the sexual. The changes are minor, but because of these additions, we’ll be combining all three installments – The New Governess, Awakening, and the new release, Darker Shadows – into an omnibus edition for the single-installment price of 2.99. That way you’ll be getting all three for the price of one. Think of it as the unexpurgated version of Belinda’s tale.
We hope you’ll enjoy reading it as much as we enjoy writing it!
Thunder Road began with a modern cowboy named Tom Abernathy. One day, he simply emerged, fully formed, and ambled patiently around in my head for quite some time before another character came to life via one of the most horrifying yet fascinating nightmares I’ve ever had. Not long after that, I read about UFO reports in the California High Desert, out by my favorite historical amusement park, Calico Ghost Town. (Even if you’ve never visited Calico, you may have seen bits of it in movies like Tremors 4.)
I had cowboys, amusement parks, serial killers, and UFOs – but I needed one more thing. I remembered that, years and years ago, there had been a cult of sorts surrounding a high desert structure called the Integratron, where people went to try to communicate with aliens. While I kept some UFO cultists hanging around Old Madelyn Amusement park – Madland, my version of Calico – I decided my main cult would be a religious one. That was because too many missionaries had been knocking on my door lately and I needed some sweet revenge.
Also, I really wanted to try my hand at an apocalypse novel and where there are cowboys, there are horses, so I suddenly had visions of the Four Horsemen prancing through my skull. I was now officially in love with the the book.
The mountains around Calico are famous. As the sun sets, they glow with eerie colors cast by all the minerals that were mined there besides silver. One of the most famous was borax, as in Boraxo Hand Soap. The chemical was hauled by a twenty-mule team on a hard road between mining towns (all the way out to Death Valley) and then into the city. I had walked the road behind Calico and recalled seeing it on TV as a little kid. What better name than Thunder Road, especially since I knew drag racing was going to be a problem in Madland. So I named my new novel for Bruce Springsteen’s song. He, in turn, had been inspired by the poster of the 1958 Robert Mitchum movie of the same name. It was about running moonshine. It all fit.
So, there, you have it. Cowboys, sheriffs, tattooed ladies, a sexy shepherdess, horses, rodeos, crazy prophets and crazier followers babbling about the coming apocalypse, aliens, one ghost story (how could I skip ghosts?), a beautiful UFO researcher, lots of quotes by Jacques Vallee, and not one, but two – count ‘em, two – serial killers!
In addition to being a very fun write, Thunder Road gave me some great returns. One was a friendship with Jacques Vallee (the French scientist in Close Encounters of the Third Kind is based on him); and another was a treasure trove of ghost stories.
While I believe the UFO sightings up in that area of the desert are primarily atmosphere or military related, I came to find out – and witness – that the real Calico Ghost Town is absolutely overrun with ghostly anomalies that’ll knock your socks off (though you’ll get nothing but denials if you ask those currently running the park). But that’s a story for another novel…
An excerpt from Thunder Road:
‘Justin had never been in here before, and he looked around, impressed with the rich, dark colors, the candlesticks and stacks of cards, the Tiffany lamp in the corner. He sat at the table and reached for the crystal ball.
“Don’t touch that.”
Justin hesitated, then withdrew his hand.
Carlo folded his arms and leaned against a rolltop desk. “What do you need to talk about?”
“Tonight. What we’re, I mean you’re, going to do to Alexandra Manderley.”
“Peel her,” the man said slowly. “What else is there to discuss?”
“You’re going to do it?”
“And you’re going to teach me?” he added hopefully.
“You may watch. Whether you can learn or not is a question that remains unanswered.”
The doorbell rang, and Carlo stood. “Come back tonight at midnight. You may go now.”
Justin rose, in awe. The man was a king, a leader among men, with a voice so commanding that Alexandra Manderley would probably peel her own skin from her bones if he asked. “Midnight,” he repeated, following Carlo to the back door.’
* * *
My collaborator, Alistair Cross, and I have been sitting down together to write everyday for months. We’ve gotten a lot done, and we still have much to do. On top of the Belinda serial, we’re finishing up a horror novel and have another novel to edit and publish around the holidays. Needless to say, we don’t really have time to play around. And yet, that’s exactly what we do. Play is the reason we can Skypewrite together for 12 hours a day, every day. It keeps us sane and snickering.
We don’t wake up chomping at the writing bit every morning. In fact, most mornings we spend a little time waking up, gossiping, looking over media stuff, working on interviews, and, always, reviewing and tweaking our storyline. Then it’s time to get to work.
Sometimes, we still have trouble focusing first thing in the morning – and there are always a few brain freezes during that day. That’s when we often start writing freestyle; we just let the words go where they want until we find our way back to the true course of the story. These passages are, to us, hilarious, twisted, and – in some cases -sickeningly disturbing. What the hell is wrong with us? We don’t know and we don’t care. We do this both to jar our brains loose and to crack each other up. This is not the kind of material we can use in an actual book (with a few exceptions – we’ll let you guess what they are when you read the books, maybe even have a contest).
Because of the pleasure these passages have given us, we’ve decided to stop throwing them out. Why not share the joy? The sick, demented, twisted, repugnant joy.
So we had an idea. What if we post these ridiculous meanderings on our blogs? Many contain portions of real scenes you find in the books, which we think makes this extra fun.
So we’re going to do it. We’re going to begin posting our outtakes and bloopers today. They work for TV shows specials, so why not here? We may even include some of the best evil auto-corrects from our texts, as appropriate.
With that in mind, here are yesterday’s best outtakes:
“Belinda lay in her bed, her body deliciously warm under the down comforter, as the morning sun shot thin rays through the crack in the her buttocks. And her drapes. Her drapes were fucking ugly. She stretched and yawned and decided she’d buy new drapes. But not until the sun finished shining out of her ass.”
“Omar, a sleek, plump Siamese cat, snuggled into his mistress’s lap, then flehmened, mouth hanging open, eyes half closed, when he realized his human had forgotten to change her tampon for at least a week. He couldn’t contend with a stinking bloody human and decided he’d get a new one just as soon as she finished petting his glorious head.”
“The room was large, luxurious, and honestly breathtaking, and every time Belinda stepped inside, she felt a little as if she were floating. This might have been due to the design of the floor, which was cobalt blue tile, patterned with gold stars, giving her the impression that she was walking on the midnight sky. Or it could have been the fact that she’d shot herself up with a homemade combination of absinthe, super-glue, and weed-killer, using a needle she’d found under the sofa. That might have accounted for the floating feeling in her head. But probably not. It probably really was the design of the bathroom.”
(Warning: If any of the above grossed you out, skip this one. It’s our favorite…)
“Margaret Massey stepped into the tub. It brimmed with sweet-scented lilac bubbles and as she settled into the water and rested her head against the cool rounded porcelain lip of the huge mint-green tub. “Heaven,” she said as she pinched her nipple and stuck an entire bar of Ivory up her wrinkled twat. “If only I’d remembered the toilet plunger,” she lamented as she queefed 100% natural bubbles that rose to the surface and popped like Lawrence Welk’s champagne music. Then her 70-year-old anus, the victim of one too many rounds with the local Hell’s Angels, sharted, but just a little. It didn’t even smell and what you couldn’t see beneath the bubbles couldn’t hurt you. She knew that from long experience.”
Bad Things is all about childhood fears, night terrors, day terrors, evil brothers who lick the butter and pee in the lemonade, crazy aunts, greenjacks, freak shows, and Halloween. Especially Halloween. It’s one of my favorite – and most personal – books.
Bad Things (Kindle) is on sale at Amazon for $1.99 today through August 24. Get yours now and get in the mood for Halloween.