Brrr! It’s a cold one up here, in the Canadian North! Speaking of which, I have the privilege of reviewing the work of fellow Canadian author, Stephanie M. Matthews. Before I begin, I suggest that you read the first book of this series, The Gift, in order to better comprehend this one. There will be more purchase links listed at the end of this article.
A quick intro:
An Amazon Bestseller, “The Eve’s End” is the stunning sequel to the breakout thriller, “The Gift.” Re-immerse yourself in the vivid writing style, provoking storytelling, and addictive suspense that made you love the first novel! It’s been twenty-eight years since Fae Peeters came to a little Belgian village for Christmas. Twenty-eight years since she received the Gift and came face-to-face with Nefas. Fate would ensure that twenty-eight years would not become twenty-nine.
As with The Gift, this story is choc full of nuances, allegories, and explores the nature of free will. Indeed, how much of what the characters assume are their own choices are actually the work of a master puppeteer? How much of what appears to be the right choice, is pure poison?
There’s a divine incarnation of good versus evil via a number of the characters, and the humans are left to sort out who they’re going to follow. At times, even Fae Peeters is left questioning the reality and the soundness of her path. There’s plenty of action, but it’s those layers that piqued my interest.
I’d recommend The Gift and The Eve’s End for readers who enjoy supernatural thrillers, that fuel contemplation of the deeper meanings of life.
Five Stars for The Eve’s End!
Please note that I only post reviews on books I deem four or five stars. Life is short and if I don’t like a book, I simply won’t finish it.
Having been raised as an East Coast girl in Truro, Nova Scotia, Stephanie M. Matthews has spent time living in Newfoundland, Oklahoma, and Italy. She has currently settled in Ontario, Canada working for a non-profit organization and writing in her spare time.
Stephanie’s love of writing came at an early age, drafting her first “real story” in Grade 2. This love of writing has continued throughout her life, as a university professor once accused her of having made a history research paper too exciting. While this accusation inspired an opinionated debate between department professors- from which she gently excused herself, the moment solidified a decision to never take the excitement out of her writing- fiction or non.
From a young age, Stephanie was drawn to thriller stories, as they appealed to her adventurous side.
Still admitting to be too scared to read many supernatural thrillers herself, she knows exactly how to craft an exciting, thrilling supernatural story by drawing on everything that scares her!
When not writing or working, Stephanie enjoys fueling her passion for Ancient Rome and indulging her nerdiness in Middle-Earth. Stephanie also loves mountain biking and combatting her arch nemesis: her love of cookies. She can be found mourning the loss of the television show “Firefly”, pretending like she can play hockey, or planning her bucket list, for which she had to come to the harsh reality that time travel is not an option.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
Books 1 & 2 of my Fantasy Angels Series will be on sale for 0.99¢ until the end of the month!
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.
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!”
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.
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