Beneath the Lake – On Writing Horror… and Belinda


Our article, Extreme Collaborating, is up at Beneath the Lake: On Writing Horror. In it, we discuss our unique form of collaboration – how we get in the Cloud and literally write together, often in the same paragraph.  Go on over to Crystal Lake PublishingAwakening Cover_pink-1 and check it out. While you’re there, look around; you’ll see all kinds of good stuff!

Meanwhile, back at the old Thorney-Cross Ranch, we’ve put the final touches – and strokes – on Belinda’s second installment, Awakening, and you’ll be holding and caressing her with your warm, loving hands very soon! The first installment, The New Governess, is available now.

Beneath the Lake: On Writing Horror



Alistair Cross and I have been invited to participate in the celebration of Crystal Lake Publishing’s official launch of Beneath the Lake: On Writing Horror. For the next few days, Crystal Lake will be publishing articles on writing horror, by authors like Tim Waggoner, Patrick Rutigliano, and… us!

If you’ve been following us, you may have already read the blog that is going to be published, Extreme Collaboration, but there’s more to come from us and others, and if you love horror, and want to learn more about writing it, go check out the other articles at Crystal Lake’s website.


Tamara and Alistair on Tales to Terrify

My collaborator, Alistair Cross, and I were interviewed on Tales to Terrify with Sylvia Shults, discussing the strange events and anomalies we experienced during our stay an allegedly haunted cabin. We were asked to stay three nights – which soon turned into five – and give an account of our experiences afterward to help the owner conclude whether the place was getting a bad rap… or if is officially a hangout for haunts.

Here is our assessment at  Lights Out podcast on Tales to Terrifylightsout.



Tales to Terrify – Lights Out Podcast

In a couple weeks, Alistair Cross and I will be guests at Tales To Terrify – on the Lights Out podcast, hosted by Sylvia Shults – where we will be talking about our experiences at the allegedly haunted cabin in California. Tales To Terrify was named the Podcast of the Year by This is Horror. Once we have the link, we’ll post it here and on our websites at and


Thirteen Questions with Alistair Cross


Alistair Cross is a man of many talents. His prose is powerful, by turn horrifying, humorous, or humane, his poetry faultless, and his bon mots as sharp and funny as a sixer of knife-wielding clowns.  While you may not yet know his work offhand  — his first novel was published under a pseudonym — I have every confidence you will soon count him as one of the best new horror writers to hit the stands.

Alistair and I met well over a year ago, shortly after his novel was published.  I remember the first night he phoned; the chemistry was instantaneous. Within five minutes, we were both laughing maniacally, barely able to catch our breaths.  We found ourselves accidentally brainstorming and, eventually, despite a promise to myself never to collaborate again, I asked if he’d like to try it because I knew he intimately understood the logistics of such an undertaking.

And, oh, what fun we’re having now.  Look for our first novella later this year with a full length novel to  follow.  While neither of us intend to give up our individual projects, we have three or four other collaborations ready to go after that — and one of them just might trump nearly everything else.  Read on…


Q: What made you decide to write horror?

A: I don’t think I really chose to write horror. I love to write, and what comes out is just usually classified as horror.

Q: What qualities do you think a good horror writer should have?

A: Any writer of horror needs to at least have a good, solid love of the genre. Also, good horror writers need to have a slightly twisted sense of humor. Without humor, horror just isn’t as good.

Q: What is the difference between good horror and bad horror?

A: Good horror is written by people who understand that fear is one of the cardinal passageways into the core of humanity. Good horror is generally written by folks who grew up on horror; books, movies, etc. You can’t simply decide to write—in any genre—if you don’t first have an understanding of the topic and a strong mental backlog of reference.

Q: What is the scariest book you’ve ever read, and why?

A: The “Space Cowboy” in Stephen King’s Gerald’s Game scared me. The description of that character is just creepy. Rosemary’s Baby by Ira Levin also made me a little ill-at-ease. The scariest book though, was The Stranger Beside Me, by Ann Rule. This book is a non-fiction account of Ted Bundy. Real life is always more terrifying than fiction. Horror is, after all, extracted from the real world.

Q: What are your favorite monsters, and why?

A: Vampires, because at their core, they are the essence of slow death. They are not, to me, romantic or glamorous figures—even though contemporary fiction demands it. They are creatures who depend solely on other life forms to sustain; parasites of the cruelest, most horrifying kind. They are death, animated.

Q: How would you advise a budding horror author?

A: Know your horror. The 80s are over and readers don’t accept slashers-for-the-sake-of-gore anymore. Also, you need to be unafraid of being afraid. You need to be on a first-name basis with fear if you plan to effectively write about it.

Q: What do you think prompts people to read horror?

A: They want to be stimulated. They want to read something that can get under their skin and hang out there for a while.

Q: Do you think horror writers are born or made?

A: Born. Absolutely. Just like any profession, the good writers of any genre will have the personality and character traits that make them good at it. You can get somewhat good at doing something outside of your element, but I don’t believe you can ever excel without the edge of that natural-born understructure.

Q: What surprises you most about the horror authors you’ve met?

A: That they aren’t scary. At all. In fact, they are funnier and quirkier than most writers I’ve met.

Q: Who is the scariest famous horror figure, and why?

A: Jack the Ripper, because we have no idea who he was. Facelessness is one of the core instigators of terror. On top of this, he was savage, shrewd, and elusive. Jack had it all…

Q: Who is your favorite famous horror figure, and why?

A: Aside from Jack the Ripper, I’d say Elizabeth Bathory or Delphine LaLaurie… because these women were truly wicked in a time when we weren’t socially equipped to accept, let alone deal with, evil women.

Q: Is there anything you strictly prohibit in your writing?

A: I have a few rules, yes. One, I never hurt animals. It’s a cheap shot. Two, I never write sexual assault for the sake of titillation, and three, I will not walk reader’s through the abuse of a child.

Q: Recently, an idea you and I are working on has interested a major player, which means we are about to go on a research road-trip in California. What excites you most about this get together?

A: Rolling down the window and singing at the top of our lungs. I’m also very excited about the haunted cabin up in gold country your friend has arranged for us to stay in. That will rock. Finally it’s going to be seriously cool having the meeting with that big guy down in LA.

* * *

Alistair’s website will be live soon, and we’ll announce it here. Meanwhile, you can hook up with him at


This Eternity Review is Better than Sex!

Mike Aronovitz. author of Alice Walks,  has put his reviewer and professorial talents to the test with this review of Eternity, just published on Hellnotes.  Take a look!  I’ve gotta tell you, I’m in heaven!  Alice Walks, his first novel,  is officially one of my all-time favorite ghostly tales.  (His first guest blog is just a couple posts down.)

You can pre-order Eternity in paperback now.  It will be available everywhere in early September. (Or you can get an e-format today.)  You may also order signed and personalized copies by emailing your request to Dark Delicacies I’ll be signing there on September 14, 2013.


Guest Blog: Michael Aronovitz

I recently read Michael Aronovitz’s premier novel Alice Walks, and was absolutely blown away.  It is a classically told ghost story that hits all the right notes, never wavering in its ability to simultaneously scare and entertain.  A coming of age tale with dark fantasy notes reminiscent of Ray Bradbury and Dan Simmons, and a literate style worthy of Peter Straub, Alice Walks managed to surprise, delight and give me so many goosebumps that it shot immediately into my list of top ten ghost stories of all time. Because of this, I’ve invited Mike to tell you about his novel, his short story collections, and himself.


First, I must say that I am grateful to have been given the opportunity to guest blog on Tamara’s site.  I am somewhat of a newcomer to the field of commercial horror, and Ms. Thorne has become a mentor of sorts.  I thank anyone in advance who cares to read a few paragraphs about me.

I am a college professor and a high school English teacher, adjuncting at Widener University, Delaware County Community College, and Immaculata University.  I run the Upper School English Department for The Mathematics, Civics, and Sciences Charter School in Central Philadelphia.  I have a wife (also a teacher) and a sixteen year old son who is an awesome power hitter and left fielder for his school baseball team (and legion).

I started to love horror fiction with the early works of Stephen King.  Six years ago I approached Horror Scholar and Lovecraft Biographer S.T. Joshi with four stories I wrote in my thirties and had retooled.  He took me under his wing so to speak and convinced me to add 40,000 words. In response, I took an unpublished novel I had written in 1993 and revamped the best part of it, expanding that section into a suspenseful novella.  When complete, S.T. offered a contract through the small publisher Hippocampus for the collection I was going to call “Five Deadly Pleasures.”  Since it was to be a year until publication, S.T. inferred that the comparison to the Seven Deadly Sins was not complete at five.  I wrote two more stories, and completed what became my first major publication, Seven Deadly Pleasures, currently still available on Amazon new, used, and in electronic format.  It is also available new and elec. direct from the publisher at

Since Seven Deadly, I have been working hard trying to build a reputation and a repertoire, publishing a number of short stories in magazines and online, and putting together a body of work only recently coming to fruition.  About a month ago we launched my first novel titled Alice Walks at The World Horror Convention in New Orleans.  The publisher is the prestigious boutique Centipede Press, mostly known for reprints and collectables.  Jerad Walters has put Alice Walks out in a beautiful hardcover edition with artwork by Samuel Araya and a signature page.  These are a bit pricey at $60.00 each, but we have already sold many of the limited run of 300 pieces.  I would be flat out honored if you would check out the link and consider supporting me by picking up a copy!!

Friend me if you like on Facebook!  And again, Tamara, thank you for the air time.  At the risk of a bit of repetition, I have put my full bio below:


Michael Aronovitz’s debut collection  Seven Deadly Pleasures was published by Hippocampus Press in 2009, and his newest novel  Alice Walks is presently available through Centipede Press.  Aronovitz’s dark collection The Voices in Our Heads will be released by Horrified Press in February of 2014, and Hippocampus recently committed to Aronovitz’s novel  The Witch of the Wood, (release date in the latter part of 2014).  His short story “The Girl Between the Slats” will be appearing in S.T. Joshi’s forthcoming anthology Searchers After Horror, and Aronovitz’s short ghost story  “How Bria Died” was featured in Paula Guran’s The Year’s Best Dark Fantasy and Horror, 2011.  He has published short fiction in Weird Tales, The Weird Fiction Review, Bosley Gravel’s Cavalcade of Terror, Polluto, Kaleidotrope, Black Petals, The University of Tampa Press, Philly Fiction, Demon Minds, Metal Scratches, Death Head Grin, Schlock Webzine, Lost Souls, The Turks Head Review, Fiction on the Web, and many others.  Aronovitz’s critical reviews concerning Dexter, (Season 7), Ursula Dabrowsky’s independent film Family Demons, and Donna McRae’s independent film  Johnny Ghost have appeared on Chizine’s “Chiaroscuro” site and “Hellnotes” respectively.   Michael Aronovitz is a Professor of English and the English Department Chair for a Philadelphia charter school.  Aronovitz lives with his wife Kim and their son Max in Wynnewood, Pennsylvania.