Gross Encounters of the Absurd Kind

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.

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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.”

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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.”

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“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.”

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(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.”

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Just a Few More Hours…

It’s just a few more hours until Alistair Cross and I will be live on Authors on the Air. They do call-ins, so if you have any questions for either of us about anything else not too impertinent, call the show at (347) 884-8266. The show airs at 5 pm Pacific, 8 pm Eastern.  Here is a direct link to the show.  In the meantime, enjoy a sneak peek at Belinda’s private activities.

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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…

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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.

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

 

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.

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The Heat is Tyranosauric so Cool Down with Some Hot Horror!

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It’s hot out there. Stinking hot.  What little shade there is isn’t enough. You need relief!  Whether you choose to relax at the beach, stretch out by the pool,  or  just plant yourself under a fan,  it’s time to relax and read something chilling. Or think about sex.  Or even better — both!

Candle Bay is a little town full of vampires on the sweet central coast of California.  If you’re craving perfect weather with the tang of salt and blood in the air, the crash of waves, digging your toes in the sand as you walk along the beach exploring caves and tide pools in hopes of finding floaters, Candle Bay is just the book for you. It’s the place where you can enjoy the ocean breeze against your face and the fangs in your neck!

Eternity is a little town far up in the redwood forests of northern California.  A sweltering summer day is pleasantly cool here as you amble the pine-needled forest paths, enjoying  the sounds of nature and the screams of Jack the Ripper‘s victims. In fall and winter, the seasons in which this twisty tale is told,  the skiing is to die for. So are the tours of Little Stonehenge, where you can learn all about Icehouse Mountain’s weird history and, if you’re lucky, see lots of fresh body parts!  But to really cool off,  join Saucy Jack, Jim Morrison, Ambrose Bierce, not just one, but two Elvises, and Amelia Earhart as they work to befuddle Eternity’s new sheriff, Zach Tully.  By the way, Tully predates Eureka’s sheriff by a few years, but Sheriffs Lawson and Carter sure would like each other. (And Colin Ferguson, if you’re reading this and don’t mind being typecast, call my agent.)

If you prefer your weather cool but not icy, why not travel to Moonfall, in inland southern California.  It’s a mile-high apple growing community on top of a mountain overlooking Santo Verde, and it’s probably no more than 80 degrees there even as the towns below hit the 100 mark.  In Moonfall, you can get cold cider, apple pie, and an education at St. Gertrude’s School for Girls – St. Gruesome’s, as the locals call it – that will curl your short hairs.  The nasty nuns of St. Gertrude’s really enjoy punishing the girls in ways that would get them in deep trouble if they weren’t nuns. There are old murders, new murders, the nuns’ odd-tasting mincemeat pie, and lots and lots of ghosts in tiny Moonfall and it’s witches versus nuns at St. Gruesome’s, so move over Satan’s School for Girls — you’re old news!  It’s almost Halloween as the tale unfolds. The dog days of summer are blessedly gone and the crisp air carries the autumn scents of chimney smoke, pumpkin, and blood.

For a very brief time, all these reads can be had for $2.99 — as Alfred E. Newman and Trader Joe’s say — Cheap!

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Candle Bay: http://www.amazon.com/Candle-Bay-ebook/dp/B009EHR8UU/ref=pd_sim_b_3

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Moonfall: http://www.amazon.com/Moonfall-ebook/dp/B009TZRUKK/ref=pd_sim_kstore_1

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Eternity for Kindle: http://www.amazon.com/Eternity-ebook/dp/B00AA3WWW6/ref=pd_sim_kstore_3

Eternity for Sony Readers: https://ebookstore.sony.com/ebook/tamara-thorne/eternity/_/R-400000000000000884229

Toasting Harlan Ellison

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When I was a teenager, Harlan Ellison was my hero. I loved his stories and his prefaces to those stories. I delighted in his antics, and thought there was nothing better than going to listen to him speak at LA colleges.  Much later, after I was published, he invited me to his home after a book-signing at Dangerous Visions.  His house was every bit as amazing as he claimed, adorned with Nixon-era gargoyles and full of a lifetime of writing. And he was every bit as feisty and quick in private as in public.

I celebrated him in “Toasting Harlan Ellison,” written for the Cemetery Dance horror poetry collection, The Devil’s Wine, edited by Tom Piccrilli.  This is the first time it’s been seen anywhere else.

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Toasting Harlan Ellison

Come all ye young writers, bring ale and cup,

And I’ll tell you a tale that will make you

Proud of the profession that you have embraced:

The story of Harlan, a man with no

Fear and no hesitation;

He threatened producers with painful

Red bricks and dead gophers in boxes,

He scared them so badly, he shriveled their

Cocksureness and shocked them to bits

And Harlan, he said, “You ignorant

Men, you illiterate fools!

You should all drown in stinking

Harlequin  Romances and bunny-soft words,

You deserve nothing more than to be blinded by

Visions of danger and stories with pluck!

Your problem is that you don’t give a

Damn!” he finished and returned to his art,

And settling down, he let a great

Thought through his mind pass

And cried, “I’ll write what I want and you can all kiss my–”

But everyone knows that Harlan’s a

Hard man to fetter and cannot be mastered!

Here’s to you, Mr. Ellison, you’re my favorite

Bastard!

(c) Tamara Thorne 2003-2013

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Playing it Close to the Breasts

There’s a strange little something in the works on the side. It was begun as a way to warm up each day for vampire work, but it’s taken on a life of its own, going from flash fiction chuckles to snickery short. Now it’s approaching horrifically giggly novella-length, and it’s not done yet. It will appear in e-format well before Candle Bay is in print. And there’s a surprise attached, but for now, I shall say no more.