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




Review of Open, Shut, by Nonnie Jules

Happy Friday! It’s the last weekday of Spring Break (changed from March by the government), due to COVID. As we deal with a third wave, staying home and writing has become more of a priority than ever.

Today I’m reviewing, Open, Shut, A Short Story, by Nonnie Jules. She is the President and Founder of Rave Reviews Book Club.

What Amazon says:

Darcy Lynn has a few problems: her sister, Lola, killed by a drunk driver, leaves her with an eerie message right before her death; her parents are atheists; her father drinks a little too much, and her brother, Bud, is just annoying. But, her most pressing issue is that things are mysteriously opening and closing around her and she hasn’t a clue as to why…or how.

My Turn:

This story is told from the POV of Darcy Lynn after her sister, Lola, was killed. Too young to remember the horrific details of her sister’s death, years later, Darcy seeks answers from Lola’s diary. What she finds is staggering. Her parents, sworn not to divulge a terrible secret to her younger siblings, by Lola herself, had never revealed the whole truth.

But has Lola really left? Soon after her sister’s death, Darcy Lynn experiences strange phenomena that cannot be explained by science, or her atheist parents. Darcy Lynn begins to question her own beliefs and comes to understand that the visible may not be all there is. Open, Shut is an invitation to consider this possibility.  

Nonnie does a great job in the creation of realistic and ordinary characters, who encounter the extraordinary. There is plenty of growth in all of them, a key ingredient for a great story.

The central message was that good things can come from tragedy. The story flows evenly and logically to towards that end. As a man of faith, I really enjoyed this book. I highly recommend it to anyone who has experienced great loss and for those who struggle with the ‘big picture.’ I’m giving this one, FOUR STARS!

Meet Nonnie Jules and connect with her:

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New Release: The Rise Of Gadreel, by Vashti Quiroz-Vega #RRBC

Happy Saturday! Please grab your cup of coffee, tea, hot cocoa, or other beverage of your choice. Have a seat in your most comfy chair and put your feet up. Relaxed? Great!

Today I’m introducing a new release by talented multi-genre author, Vashti Quiroz-Vega. I’ll let her take it from here.

Hi, everyone! Thank you for stopping by. I am beyond thrilled to be a guest on Mark’s blog!

Today I’d like to share a snippet from my new release The Rise of Gadreel in Gadreel’s POV.

Excerpt:

On the way to the next village, the tinkling of a bell caught me by surprise. I stopped in my tracks at the strange sound and honed my hearing.

“What’s happening?” Dracúl asked. “Why—”

“Shhh. Listen.” I pointed in the direction of the sound with one hand while pressing the index finger of my other hand against my lips.

The bell jingled within earshot. Golem and Dracúl acknowledged hearing it, and soon after, Sabina did too. I beckoned them to follow, keeping my finger pressed to my lips. We tiptoed toward the sound and came upon a cemetery bordered by woods on three sides.

“This is an odd place for a cemetery, isn’t it?” I whispered. By the looks of them, they agreed. I read nearby headstones, and the bell tinkled again. I straightened my spine, my muscles tensing.

“Oh God! I recognize what this is.” Sabina’s chest rose and fell with rapid breaths as she spoke. “We must find the bell that’s ringing . . . quickly!”

Sabina ran, searching each grave she came across. “A tiny bell with a rope attached to it is tied to a stick placed by the tombstone. That rope extends to inside the casket, so that someone buried alive could ring it.”

“You mean . . . someone is buried alive in this graveyard and is now pulling on that rope?” Golem asked, running beside her.

“Yes.”

Books 1 & 2 of my Fantasy Angels Series will be on sale for 0.99¢ until the end of the month!

Meet Vashti:

Vashti Quiroz-Vega is a writer of Fantasy, Horror, and Thriller. Since she was a kid she’s always had a passion for writing and telling stories. It has always been easier for her to express her thoughts on paper.

She enjoys reading almost as much as she loves to write. Some of her favorite authors are Stephen King, Sarah J. Maas, Anne Rice, J.R.R. Tolkien, J.K. Rowling, Marc Cameron, and George R. R. Martin.

She enjoys making people feel an array of emotions with her writing. She likes her audience to laugh one moment, cry the next and clench their jaws after that.

When she isn’t building extraordinary worlds and fleshing out fascinating characters, she enjoys spending time with her husband JC and her Pomeranian Scribbles who is also her writing buddy.

Connect with Vashti and purchase your copy:

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/VashtiQV

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/vashtiqvega/


Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Vashti-Quiroz-Vega/e/B00GTXG5W4/ref=dp_byline_cont_pop_ebooks_1


Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/vashtiwrites


BookBub:  https://www.bookbub.com/profile/vashti-quiroz-vega

New Release: Dead of Winter: Journey 1, Forlorn Peak & Review by Mark Bierman.

Today I have the privilege of introducing a new release written by talented, multi-genre, author, Teagan Riordain Geneviene. I have also included my review of this exciting read.

Dead of Winter: Journey 1, Forlorn Peak is the first of a collection of serialized novelettes categorized as Journeys, because the characters travel across the complex world Teagan has built, experiencing new cultures and meeting new people. These journeys will publish approximately monthly.  Length will range from 30 to 60 pages, or so.

What Amazon says:

Dead of Winter takes place in a fantasy world that resembles some countries in the past of our own world. In this monthly series we travel through many lands, each with a distinct culture. The adventure begins in the Flowing Lands at Forlorn Peak.The Brethren are fanatics who gradually took over the Flowing Lands. They say all beliefs but theirs are heresy. Women are little more than property. Emlyn is only twelve, but to the Brethren she is an abomination. Why? She can see ghosts and other things. That’s a secret she can admit only to her teacher, Osabide.The stronger Emlyn’s ability gets, the harder it is for her to hide it. Now she has also gotten a supernatural warning that she knows is not about the weather, “Winter is coming!”

Before you crack a page, the main protagonist, Emlyn Eriu has something to say to you, personally. Enter at your own risk; remember, you’ve been warned!

“Winter’s coming! I’ve heard it so! It was whispered to me, by someone whom I don’t know!

“Listen to me! My name is Emlyn Eriu, and I am not crazy! I see things that most cannot. I’m only twelve . . . but I see things most, by their end of days, have never! Listen to me! Don’t tell another soul what I just told you, for my life will be in jeopardy! I cry this warning to you alone, though its true meaning is not yet clear, I sense that danger is near! If you’re stout of heart, come follow me in this and my next journey, perhaps then, we shall see!”

My Thoughts:

Young Emlyn Eriu lives in a sexist and repressed world. The heavy-handed and chauvinistic Brethren of Un’Naf, rule her village, Llyn Coombe. Everyone except for her teacher, Osabide, think that she’s rattlebrained. The truth is, the young girl is “gifted” beyond any layperson’s comprehension.

This novella is the first of a series and wets the appetite for more. Brutal dictators, a thin veil between the realm of the living and the dead, and a mysterious, apocalyptical threat, that must be unraveled, beckons an ethereal finger in invitation to follow the young protagonist to her next journey. My spine tingles at the thought, but I’ll pluck up my nerve, say a prayer, and forge ahead into the next book, upon its release.

Five Stars!!

Meet Teagan:

Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene lives in a “high desert” town in the Southwest of the USA.

Teagan had always devoured fantasy novels of every type. Then one day there was no new book readily at hand for reading — so she decided to write one. And she hasn’t stopped writing since.

Her work is colored by her experiences from living in the southern states and the desert southwest. Teagan most often writes in the fantasy genre, but she also writes cozy mysteries. Whether it’s a 1920s mystery, a steampunk adventure, or urban fantasy, her stories have a strong element of whimsy.

Founder of the Three Things method of storytelling, her blog “Teagan’s Books” contains serial stories written according to “things” from viewers. http://www.teagansbooks.com

Major influences include Agatha Christie, Terry Brooks, David Eddings, Robert Jordan, and Charlaine Harris

Connect with Teagan and purchase your copy:

Amazon Author Page

Amazonkindle

Amazonpaperback

Twitter

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Review of This Last Chance, by D.L. Finn

Have you had the chance to curl up with a good book this Holiday Season? Something to distract you from this topsy-turvy era of COVIDocalypse? Do you enjoy supernatural battles between good and evil? Are your nails trimmed to the point that you cannot bite them any shorter? Yes? Great!

Please scroll down to see if, This Last Chance, by D.L. Finn, pairs nicely with a warm fire and that glass of Cabernet Sauvignon.

By the way, D.L. is also a fantastic poet.

What Amazon says:

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.

My Turn:

Unseen forces battle for the future of earth, while unsuspecting humans go about their daily lives. This novel is a unique spin on the classic tale of good versus evil.  

Amber Dodges is a news reporter on the hunt for the killer of her twin sister, Iris. She unknowingly attracts the attention of the evildwels, the angels, and the killer.

Finn has created a strong female protagonist in Amber, who lives, quite literally, by the motto, “Never say die!”

A view of the supernatural and terrestrial worlds, are constantly interchanged throughout this story, providing a chilling premonition that something terrible is about to happen. You may need a few more sips of that Cabernet to ease the nerves.

As the story unfolds, Amber is threatened and grows leery of all, as she tries to determine who is a ‘friend or foe’. This fact is left for the reader to puzzle over, until the climax is reached.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who desires a peek beyond the veil of the spiritual/mortal realms.  Anyone who relishes a decent thriller, without the gore of a typical slasher story, will be appreciate the strong plot and high stakes drama. I’m giving this one a Four-Star rating!

Meet D.L. Finn:

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 relocated with her husband, kids, dogs, and cats to the Sierra foothills in Nevada City, CA. 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, being surrounded by towering pines, oaks, and cedars, her creativity was nurtured until it bloomed. Her creations vary from children’s books, young adult fantasy, and adult paranormal romance to an autobiography with poetry. She continues on her adventures with an open invitation for her readers to join her.

Connect with D.L. and purchcase your copy:

Twitter:  @dlfinnauthor

Facebook

Instagram

Blog

RWISA Profile

D.L. is a member of Rave Reviews Book Club.

Amazon.com