Please Welcome author Stephanie Matthews @s_m_matthews

Happy Friday! I hope the week was good to each of you, if not, well, just try to kick it to the curb and focus on the weekend. 🙂

Today I have the privilege of hosting supernatural-thriller writer, Stephanie Matthews. I’ve read her debut novel, The Gift, and I can tell you it’s a page turner. The sequel, The Eve’s End, is an Amazon Best-Seller!

So, I’ll stop gabbing and turn the floor over to Stephanie.

When I first began writing, I was about eight years old and wrote about unicorns in my backyard. Then I grew up into a young teenager and, fascinated by Middle-Earth, I played around with fan fiction. Once I hit university, I discovered Classical history and I wrote about Classical history (yes, even for fun!).

But when I sat down to write the book which would become my first published novel, “The Gift”, it was not about mythology, fantasy, or history. It was a supernatural thriller—with a dash of horror, about how a young woman was set up by her otherwise wonderful grandmother to forcefully face her (lack of) religious beliefs in a terrifying fight for her mind, body, and soul. How did that genre-jump happen?

One of the rules of writing is to write what you know. That’s why we read other authors and read research material. . . so that we can learn, know, then write. And, just as valuable to reading the product of other people’s knowledge is the value of our own personal experiences. What are the struggles that you have gone through, or are currently going through? What questions do you want answers to? These are the things that mean something personal to you, so, write about it! Try to discover those answers in your writing and your story will spark to life. You’re now writing more than just a good story; you’re writing with a purpose of personal discovery and this will translate to your reader. Before I had started to write “The Gift”, I had recently moved out of a Christian bubble and into “the real world” and was struggling with the world I thought I knew versus the world I was seeing. I had originally started writing “The Gift” simply as a counter-Hallmark Christmas story, a story of substance with all the Christmas magic but none of the Christmas cheese. Even though my personal struggle was very different from my main character’s, I found a commonality between our stories, and very quickly my story swelled into a supernatural thriller-horror, a genre I otherwise have nothing to do with.


The story I wanted to tell and the experiences I was writing through didn’t end with “The Gift” though. I’d left my main character on a cliff hanger, her future remained ominous, and I too had come to a turning point in discovering how I fit into the world around me; we both needed resolution. So, I returned to the world I’d created and began writing what would become a #1 Amazon Best Seller, “The Eve’s End”, a story of a gritty victory for some, of loss for others, and ultimately, about everyone searching for their place in this world.


So, what does a story that began as a moody Christmas alternative and doubled as a platform to discover personal peace look like? Well, let me tell you about parties for hosting, marshmallows for toasting, and caroling in the snow. Let me tell you about scary ghost stories and the tales of the glories of Christmases not so long ago. . .

Fae Peeters arrives by train on her Christmas break to a small Belgian village at the urging of her grandmother. Armed with her grandmother’s strangely written letter detailing the pre-arranged itinerary leading up to Christmas morning, Fae arrives at the picturesque European village and soon finds herself battling a rapid onset of dark thoughts and dreams clouding her mind. Many of the locals aren’t shy about showing how uncomfortable they are with her presence, so Fae readily accepts the
help of a stranger to guide her through the unnerving experiences and reception she’s been getting; though, even he may not be what he seems to be. As Christmas Eve arrives events are put in motion which cannot be stopped, and Fae finds out too late that the locals expect her to die on Christmas Eve, a victim to the darkness which comes once a year in a ghoulish display of powers. It will take extraordinary
forces to help Fae survive, but, she has to decide for herself if she actually wants to.

Speed ahead twenty-eight years and the experiences which Fae went through in that little Belgian village years ago have affected her ever since, relentlessly haunting her. Pressed into returning to the village, Fae complies, but only under the premise that she will have the chance to address the haunting force which has ruined her life. But with more innocent lives being swept into this Christmas Eve drama, Fae realizes that her reason for being back in the village is about than just her, for darkness affects us all.

Meet Stephanie Matthews

Stephanie M. Matthews is an Amazon #1 Best Seller thriller author known for her vivid style of writing. Living in Ontario, Stephanie fills her time being a Jill of All Trades (and master of none) playing hockey, mountain biking, and obstacle racing. She continues to learn and write about classical history, drawing on inspiration from the past, to fuel the stories of the present.

Connect with her and purchase her books:

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Please Welcome Author Lanie Mores @LanieMores

Today I have the privilege of hosting Science Fiction/Fantasy author, Lanie Mores. Lanie also penned the paranormal romance series, Father Of Contention.

Her book, Sea of Forgetfulness, won the Bronze Award in the Fantasy genre category, and Gold for Canada East Region, in the Reader Views Literary Awards!

Today she’s going to give some pointers on how to create monsters for darker tales.

Alright, I’ve prattled long enough, I’ll let Lanie take it from here.

Creating Monsters for Darker Tales

I’d like to thank Mark for inviting me to write a guest post for his blog. Today I’ll be sharing ideas on one of my favorite writing topics…creating monsters for darker tales.

Part of my job as a science fiction and fantasy author is to create blood-curdling, believable monsters to terrorize the characters in my darker tales. Like Dr. Frankenstein stitching together body parts in a lab, I have to piece together the right combination of details to create the perfect monster.

If you’re an author new to the horror, paranormal, thriller, science fiction, or fantasy genres, chances are you’ll be called upon to create creepy characters of your own. Whether it’s a warty witch casting ancient spells, the undead stalking its next meal, aliens abducting humans for research, or artificial intelligence robots taking over the world, your job is to evoke sheer terror in your readers, without regurgitating what’s already out there. So, how do you create monsters so believable that it has your readers checking beneath the bed before going to sleep at night?  

Dig into your darker side.

We all have one. It’s there, lurking beneath the veneer of rainbows and unicorns. For some of us, we don’t even have to dig too deep. Raised on sci-fi and horror films, my dark side is quite shallow. I’ve always been drawn to darker tales. Stephen King is my favourite author, after all…and no one does “dark” better than him. Over the years, repeated exposure to many masters of terror has turned me into a monster aficionado. So, I’ve put together a few tips to help you channel YOUR darker side when creating chilling characters for your stories.

  1. Read

Learn what works and what doesn’t work by reading stories that feature monsters. Which storybook characters terrify you the most? What causes your scalp to tighten and goosebumps to sprout on your arms? What physical characteristics repulse you? Slimy, hairy, or scaly skin? Razor sharp teeth, and claws? Analyze what makes these fictional beasts frightening and then incorporate the characteristics into your own antagonists. Gather ideas and then make them your ownScary TV Shows and Movies

2. Scary TV Shows and Movies

Have you ever watched a show that left you feeling creeped out long after it was over? For me, two movies stand out: Triangle and Sinister. The writers succeeded in creating a new brand of terror to sour your stomach…abstract monsters that are uniquely disturbing.

Whereas creating an original monster is ideal, borrowing from the classics is also a valid monster-building technique as long as you give it a new twist. I just watched the Train to Busan, a South Korean zombie film that took the well-known trope and gave it a new look, body mechanics, and venue that succeeds in horrifying its audience. Make good use of your Netflix subscription and binge watch monster flicks. There’s some great inspiration out there, let me tell you. Watch, learn, write.

3. Resource Books

There’s a plethora of resources to hone your writing skills, including books on how to create the perfect monster. One I use often is by Philip Athans, titled Writing Monsters. This comprehensive book tackles every type of scary monster you can think of, analyzes what makes them truly terrifying, and provides tips on making them as believable as possible. An important aspect it highlights is how to give your monster layers. Where do they come from? What drives them to be evil or destructive? What type of feelings do they evoke…fear, repulsion, pity? Is your monster being used as a metaphor for a grander theme? Answering these questions will give your monsters depth and authenticity.  

Photo by FX Quaro on Shutterstock

4. Your Greatest Fears

What scares you the most? Is it spiders, ghosts, closed spaces, or the dark? Now isolate that fear, build on it, and apply it to your antagonist. If you fear the dark, maybe your monster only comes out at night, like a vampire or werewolf. If you’re claustrophobic, your monster could torment its victims by locking them in a small dungeon, or by tying them up so they can’t move. If you fear drowning, perhaps your monster lives in a lake, dragging its victims below water.

The list of potential fears is long, but I’m sure you get the picture. When you channel your genuine fears, your monsters will become more realistic and petrifying.

5. Creepy Music

Get into the monster making mood by putting on a creepy playlist. Hit up Spotify or another music streaming app and pick through the many disturbing playlists people have compiled. I have my own playing in the background while writing my creepiest stories. You’ll be surprised how it inspires your mind to dig into your dark side. Just listen to the music from the movie Sinister, for example. You’ll be surprised by the dark thoughts it dredges up, and then once they surface, channel them into your monsters for added layers of terror.

You can read all about the monsters I’ve created in my science fiction and fantasy book series, Father of Contention. There is no shortage of beasts to make your hair stand on end. In the first book, Father of Contention, you’re exposed to the dramatic rantings of Lucifer himself. Once he discovers a young soul to possess, a new monster is formed. In the second book, Guardian of Angel, I add in mutants with supernatural abilities. As if that weren’t enough, they are also possessed. Book three, Sea of Forgetfulness, has all of the above plus brain-hungry zombies, bloodthirsty pirates, and the cherry on top…a dragon. Later this summer, I’ll be releasing the fourth book, Gatekeepers of Eden. What kind of monsters have I concocted for this tale? Well, you’ll just have to wait and see.

I hope these tips help you create your own creepy characters. When the time comes to stitch your beast together in the lab, don’t hold back. In my opinion, the creepier, the better!

Meet Lanie Mores

Lanie Mores is the award-winning author of the science fiction and fantasy book series, Father of Contention. An active member of the Canadian Authors Association, she also enjoys writing poetry, and magazine editorials featuring health and wellness. Her passions include fitness, baking, gaming, and binge-reading and watching anything to do with monsters. She lives in Ontario with her family and forever barking fur babies, Batman and Petri.

Connect with her and purchase your copy:

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Father of Contention Guardian of Angel Sea of Forgetfulness




Guest Post by Mae Clair.

Today I’m thrilled to host talented Author Mae Clair! I’ve personally read and enjoyed a number of her books and she comes highly rcommended! She’s here to discuss a new anthology created by seven authors, including herself. They all have something in common,  murder and mystery. You can find out more about purchasing your copy at the end of this blog.

Thank you for visiting! I’ll let Mae take it from here.

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Thanks for hosting me today, Mark. I’m delighted to be here sharing news of an anthology in which I have a short story.  Murder They Wrote brings together seven authors writing in various sub genres of whodunits and various time periods.

 

You can see the variety reflected in the blurb: 

Anthology Cover  Murder comes in 7 different genres. By 7 different authors.

Are you a fan of courtroom drama? In the anthology’s first story, Abraham Lincoln defends a friend’s son against a charge of murder.

For lovers of speculative fiction, Jason Fogg dissolves into mist to sneak through open windows and snoop for clues.

How about a cozy? Jazzi, Jerod, and Ansel discover a dead body while renovating a kitchen, dining room, and half bath.

Have a craving for a Regency? Lord Peregrine and his wife, Elizabeth, use their sharp minds and quick wit to solve a murder at a garden party.

Need a bit of literary fiction? A young, lonely widow must deal with the theft of a valuable butterfly collection.

And what about a little psychological horror? Twin sisters discover that their attic is haunted by not one, but two ghosts.

Last, but never least, the anthology concludes with a historical mystery. A young, newly married knight is accused of murdering his obnoxious host at a holiday gathering in his castle.


I am so pleased to be part of this anthology with such an excellent group of authors. My story, A Winter Reckoning, gave me a chance to play outside of my usual supernatural mystery genre. Naturally, the mystery is still there, but this tale lacks for a supernatural presence. No ghosts or creatures.

What you do get is a young knight who accepts a task that would normally fall to his father who has been detained at court. That leaves Richard Essex to escort his mother’s closest friend to a holiday party, in order to protect her from the party’s lecherous host. To complicate matters, the father-in-law who despises him is among the guests.

One of my favorite parts of writing this story was in creating the roster of suspects. It was fun to “stack the deck” with so many potential killers. The pleasure of a mystery rests in trying to piece together the clues and identify the killer before the lead character does. Richard has his hands full with so many suspects. It’s my hope you’ll be guessing, too—trying to discern who has the strongest motive when the host ends up dead. Did I mention Richard is blamed?

My story is just one of seven in which you can do plenty of sleuthing!

Murder They Wrote offers a variety of clever tales in which there are clues to be found, red herrings to avoid, and villains to unmask. And because each short story is a complete mystery, you can engage your detective skills a little at a time, or all at once as your mood dictates.

Thanks again for having me as your guest today, Mark!

Meet Mae Clair and find out more about how to get in touch and purchase her works!

PURCHASE LINK

Connect with Mae Clair at BOOKBUB and the following haunts:

Amazon| BookBub| Newsletter Sign-Up
Website | Blog| Twitter| Goodreads| All Social Media

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Guest Post on Author D.L. Finn’s Blog

Hello on this fine June day! It’s warmed up considerably here in the last week. I hope everyone had a great weekend and that all those father’s out there were spoilt.

Today, I’m over at D.L Finn’s amazing blog, she writes a variety of poetry, children’s books, and supernatural thrillers. I highly recommened a look around her blog while you’re there.

Thank you so much Denise!

Here is the link : D.L. Finn blog

New Release: This Last Chance by D.L. Finn

Today, I’m privileged to bring you the next supernatural thriller by author D.L. Finn, This Last Chance. I’ve read and enjoyed other books by this author and I’ve already got this one loaded on my Kindle!

Please have a look!

Thank you, Mark, for having me here today, and sharing the release of This Last Chance 🙂

This Last Chance internet cover

Excerpt from This Last Chance.

“My name is Nester. I’ve been around a long time, way before humans invented their first stone tool. My kind migrated from a distant planet that couldn’t sustain us anymore, in case you’ve been wondering where we came from. Although I doubt you winged ones—that’s what we call you angels—give evildwel history much thought. Your attention goes to the humans, including this young woman, Amber. You hardly leave her side. It’s an unsettling thought, but I can almost understand your devotion. I feel something from Amber that used to repel me, but now it draws me to her, much like you. Not sure what it is, though.

“I’m attempting to communicate with you, like winged ones do, by thoughts. I can’t take the chance of speaking out loud and being overheard by another evildwel. Anyway, it’s my hope you can hear me because my life is literally spinning out of control.”

Nester paused and studied the beautiful winged one. Zelina didn’t indicate she wanted him to stop, so he continued to push his thoughts to her.

“There was this planet before Earth where we ran out of food. We had no entities like winged ones to stop us, so the planet’s inhabitants destroyed each other. We feasted well on their fear and suffering, something we’ve done since time began. I’ve heard some voice the opinion that it was even before that, since we only know we are here, not how we came into existence. I’ve never pondered much on the philosophical part of our presence but considered what we did like culling the weak from the herd, until now.

“Humankind was still new when we arrived, but they supplied us with a feast, much like the banquets spread out for kings and queens. I don’t like to admit it to you, but I’ve dined on the hatred and misery with each blow inflicted through slavery, genocide, torture, burning witches, wars, serial killers, or a man simply abusing his wife or child. Human hatred and fear were delicious food for me.”

Nester paused again, making sure Zelina wouldn’t lash out at him for saying that. Her face was serene, gazing down at her human. It was as if he didn’t exist. His discomfort sharing himself was painful, like a festering open wound, but what other choice did he have?

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Blurb:

Six months after Amber’s sister is brutally murdered, she’s still looking for answers, and now someone is stalking her and no one believes her. Home alone with a powerful snowstorm approaching, Amber is determined to take control of the investigation by hiring a private detective, but her plans are disrupted when she finds herself snowed in with people she may not be able to trust. Meanwhile, Nester the evildwel, whose entire existence has been feeding on fear and pain, is seeking help from the angel who’s protecting Amber. Nester and Amber need answers. Can Amber figure out what’s going on with some subtle help from an angel? Will Nester find what he needs from his enemies? The worlds of good and evil clash, and the outcome will determine not only Amber’s and Nester’s fate but life as they know it.

AMAZON ORDER LINK 

Fun Finn Facts:

  1. We have two wood rat houses off the magical trail.
  2. Lake Tahoe is the first place I saw it snow.
  3. I’ve only been on a boat on Lake Tahoe once–to scatter cremains.

 

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Meet D.L. :

D. L. Finn is an independent California local who encourages everyone to embrace their inner child. She was born and raised in the foggy Bay Area, but in 1990 she relocated with her husband, kids, dogs, and cats to Nevada City, in the Sierra foothills. She immersed herself in reading all types of books but especially loved romance, horror, and fantasy. She always treasured creating her own reality on paper. Finally, surrounded by towering pines, oaks, and cedars, her creativity was nurtured until it bloomed. Her creations include adult fiction, poetry, a unique autobiography, and children’s books. She continues on her adventure with an open invitation to all readers to join her.

Evildwel/Angel Series: 

This Second Chance (Book 1)

The Button (Book 2)

This Last Chance (Book 3)

Companion Evildwel/Angel Stories: 

A Long Walk Home: A Christmas Novelette

“Red Eyes in the Darkness: A Short Story”

Connect with D.L. :

Twitter    Facebook   Instagram   Pinterest  D.L. Finn blog

 

Purchase Links: Amazon   Barnes & Noble