Today, I am happy to participate in a spotlight which includes an EXCERPT for the book Darling Girls! If you haven’t yet heard about this upcoming book by Authors Tamara Thorne and Alistair Cross, be sure to check out all the details below. This spotlight ALSO includes an INTERVIEW with both authors where we talk about their upcoming book as well as find out about ghost hunting, current reads, Thorne & Cross: Haunted Nights LIVE!, and more.
• ♦ • ♦ • ♦ •
Darling Girls by Tamara Thorne & Alistair Cross
(The Vampires of Candle Bay & Crimson Cove #1)
Publisher: Glass Apple Press
Publication Date: April 16, 2018
Genres: Fantasy, Paranormal, Horror
Fang Meets Fang
The vampires of Candle Bay and Crimson Cove come together
for the Biting Man Festival in Eternity, California, to celebrate
a centuries-old tradition that quickly turns murderous as they’re
faced with old enemies, uncontrolled bloodlust, and the
unpredictable antics of a self-proclaimed vampire slayer who is
hellbent on destroying them all.
↓ Purchase Link ↓
What People are saying:
-Michael Schutz, author of Edging
-Jay Bonansinga, the New York Times bestselling author of The Walking Dead: Invasion, Lucid, and Self Storage
-Andrew Neiderman, author of The Devil’s Advocate and the V.C. Andrews novels
-Kevin O’Brien, New York Times Bestselling Author
• ♦ • ♦ • ♦ •
About Thorne & Cross:
Together, Thorne & Cross also host the popular radio show, Thorne & Cross: Haunted Nights LIVE!, which has included such guests as Anne Rice of The Vampire Chronicles; Laurell K. Hamilton of the Anita Blake Vampire Hunter novels; world-wide bestseller, V.C. Andrews (Andrew Neiderman); Charlaine Harris of the Southern Vampire Mysteries and basis of the HBO series, True Blood; Jeff Lindsay, author of the Dexter novels that inspired the hit television series; #1 New York Times bestseller, Kim Harrison; Peter Atkins, screenwriter of Hellraiser: 2, 3, and 4; Mick Garris, film director of Hocus Pocus, Psycho IV: The Beginning, and Stephen King’s The Stand; and New York Times bestsellers Preston & Child, Christopher Rice, Jonathan Maberry, and Christopher Moore.
• ♦ • ♦ • ♦ •
Excerpt from Darling Girls:
The boy-whore’s body went limp, the blood ceased to flow, and Amanda withdrew her fangs. The young male hadn’t been very filling, though the faint hint of heroin in his blood was a kick. She looked at him, at the skateboard sticking out of his knapsack, at his skin-tight jeans, his loose blue tank top and sandals. His eyes were watery green, his hair a blond shock of surfer-boy bangs swooping across his forehead. He was handsome for a drug addict. She preferred cleaner blood most of the time, but now and then an addict’s blood was just what she craved. Like tonight.
She grinned. Stephen would never approve! That son of a bitch! She couldn’t get her mind off him, even with a belly full of fresh blood. His threats are getting old. But what could she do? If he didn’t marry her, she would have nothing. She had a backup plan, of course – she always had a backup plan – but she preferred not to use it. And it might be difficult to execute. The best thing that could happen was for Stephen Darling to stop being such an utter child and just marry her. Like he promised he would! Prick!
She kicked the corpse that lay crumpled at her feet, enjoying the dull sound of her toe connecting with dead meat. She kicked again, again, and again, aiming for the chest. When she heard the sigh of the last bit of air escape, she shoved the body over the pier where it splashed into the water.
She decided to head home. I’ll give Stephen a long deep kiss – and let him taste the dead surfer boy on my lips. She knew Stephen blamed himself for her behavior, and she enjoyed rubbing his nose in it. He’s such a bleeding heart. Such a … weakling.
Amanda left the dark pier at the north end of Candle Bay just as a van pulled up. She stood in the shadows as doors opened and raucous male voices, half-drunk, echoed among the patches of low fog. “Man, I hate this bubble-gum shit,” one voice slurred. “And we gotta do it again tomorrow,” another bemoaned.
It’s them. She moved closer to see the van. It was yellow, coated in a wrap showing guitars and drums and musical notes. In the middle of it all, in pink day-glow letters, were the words, “Plastic Taffy.”
Amanda reached into her push up bra and adjusted herself for maximum impact then stepped out of the shadows and strutted toward the band. They were tossing empty beer cans at a dead seagull.
“Hello, boys!” she called. “Miss me?”
They faced her, and one by one, grinned.
“Hey!” said Ramon, the lead singer. “It’s the kinky chick.” He nudged Mick, the drummer.
“You come back to give us some more of those sweet kisses of yours?” asked Davy.
Amanda smirked. “I know what you boys like.”
“You can give me one of your hickies any time, lady,” said Paul, sliding the van door open and gesturing to Amanda.
She climbed in, a smile on her lips. This would be bite number three for each of them – and that meant good times. Now, she just needed to get through the sex. Luckily, even with all four of them, it wouldn’t last long.
• ♦ • ♦ • ♦ •
Authors Tamara Thorne & Alistair Cross
Thank you Tamara and Alistair for taking your time from your busy life to chat with me. First, let’s talk about your upcoming book, Darling Girls.
Q. Your upcoming novel, Darling Girls, has characters from the novels Candle Bay & The Crimson Corset which are both solo projects. What was the inspiration behind bringing characters from those books together?
We’ve always cross-pollinated our worlds and our characters, and when Alistair was writing The Crimson Corset, he used a few of Tamara’s characters from Candle Bay for a battle scene that required more bodies. We realized then how much we loved seeing our vampires together, and started thinking about a story line that would include them equally. We decided the perfect location for our vampires to attend a festival would be Eternity, a tiny town in northern California, and the site of Tamara’s thriller/mystery novel, Eternity. We get to revisit the Sheriff Zach Tully as he deals with the influx undead partiers.
Q. The Biting Man Festival is what entices characters from two separate small coastal towns together in this novel, can you tell us what the attraction is to this festival?
Biting Man attracts vampires from all over the country. It’s a celebration of vampiric history, a holiday that is akin to our Christmas and Easter. There are small festivals all over the world every year, but the one held in Eternity is a centennial, and massive. Everyone wants to attend!
Q. Were there any challenges with bringing characters from two solo works together?
Only that Tamara’s vampires are slightly different from Alistair’s and sometimes we had to remind ourselves of those differences – and use them to make our vamps more compelling. But actually, it all came very naturally.
Q. What were the dynamics of “power” between the characters? How did that play a factor in their interactions?
We can’t answer that without giving away too much of the story.
Q. What did you edit out of this book?
There was a thread involving David Darling, a little brother of the Darling clan – but as the other characters grew and the story expanded, there simply wasn’t enough room to include him as much as we’d hoped. He’ll get his time in the moonlight later.
Q. If your novel was being made into a movie, any ideas on who you would want to play the lead roles?
While we have pretty clear pictures of our characters, we know that the readers will draw their own conclusions about them and because of that, we never never like to force familiar faces onto our creations. We may think that Zac Efron is the ideal candidate for the good-looking bad boy of our book, but not everyone will think Mr. Efron is right for the part – and then that ruins the readers’ picture of that character. When talk of movies arise, we believe in stepping back and letting the casting directors do their jobs; we don’t believe in robbing ourselves of their expertise. But we sure wouldn’t object to Alexander Skarsgård being cast as Julian Valentyn.
Now, how about a few questions for you both.
Q. Thorne & Cross: Haunted Nights LIVE! is a radio show that you co-host together. Want to tell us how that idea was born?
The idea for Thorne & Cross: Haunted Nights LIVE! wasn’t ours. We met the network’s producer on Facebook and guested on her show. Soon after, she told us the only thing she was missing was a horror-themed program. She asked if we would be interested. Tamara, who has experience in radio, was all for it. Alistair was a little more reluctant, but decided it was too great an opportunity to pass up. It has turned out to be one of the best things we’ve ever done for our writing careers.
Q. Which writers inspire you?
Tamara’s earliest inspiration came from Ray Bradbury, and his eerie, poetic writing continues to inspire her. Shirley Jackson’s Haunting of Hill House, Graham Masterton, Thomas Tyron, and MAD Magazine are all major influences.
Alistair is inspired by Stephen King, John Saul, and Daphne Du Maurier. An early influence was James Howe’s Bunnicula series, a book called The Ghost That Goofed by Edith Boutelle, and the works of Edgar Allan Poe.
Q. What is more important: characters or plot?
Characters are, in both our opinions, the single most important thing in a story. Without solid, interesting characters, even the best plot will fall flat.
Q. Describe yourself in 3 words.
(We decided to describe each other instead of ourselves. We sound better that way.)
Tamara: Creative, diplomatic, hilarious
Alistair: Audacious, intense, charming
Time for a little one on one!
Q. Rumor is that you actively conduct real-life investigations of anomalous phenomena (aka ghost hunter). Is that true? If so, want to share what got you interested in that activity or maybe an interesting tidbit from your ghost hunting experience?
I was born loving ghost stories and, since childhood, I have sought out lonely places to spend time, to soak up the atmosphere and let my mind wander. I love places that feel haunted. To me, a haunting is a sensation, a feeling, or emotion that is imprinted on a place and when I visit, I often come away with new ideas. In my twenties, I was also fortunate to experience more traditional hauntings – a poltergeist in one rented house and an uncharacteristically frightening residual in another. I’m grateful for those early experiences because they keep my skepticism from getting too cocky.
When ghost hunting became popular I soon fell in with several cops who did private investigations. I saw some strange things, including a couple that left me scratching my head. That makes me very happy because I love mysteries more than answers.
Sometimes my experiences loosely inspire aspects of my novels. My upcoming solo takes place in a fictional version of a real hotel in Arizona that was once a hospital. It’s known for its ghosts and I’ve spent many nights there gathering lots of history and ghost stories. Those definitely add color to the new book.
The scariest thing I’ve experienced was the residual that happened when we moved out of a rental we’d never been comfortable in. On moving day there were sounds of angry stomping throughout the house, doors slamming (the doors didn’t move), and my husband was grabbed by something unseen more than once. It had a terrible angry feel to it and we found out later that a man with a brain tumor that made him violent toward his family had lived there. One day the abused wife and kids moved out. So, evidently, our moving out set off that violent residual energy in the house. The full account of that one and the poltergeist house can be read here: https://tamarathorne.
Q. You have authored over twenty novels, which is just amazing, what was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
I learned that my subconscious is incredibly reliable when it comes to book length. For instance, if my intention is to write a 125,000 word novel, I don’t think about it, let alone worry about it. My subconscious always has my back. It’s also very good at creating small, meaningful threads within a story that I’m unaware of until I read it back.
Tamara Thorne’s first novel was published in 1991, and since then she has written many more, including international bestsellers Haunted, Bad Things, Moonfall, Eternity and The Sorority. A lifelong lover of ghost stories, she is currently working on several collaborations with Alistair Cross as well as an upcoming solo novel.
Q. On your post: “10 things I’ve learned about writing in the past 10 years” your number ten item is “Trust Your Characters.” Do your characters seem to hijack the story when you let them tell it or do you feel like you have the reigns of the story?
They totally hijack the story, every story – and that’s how I know I’m on the right track. I’ve come to trust the characters implicitly; they know themselves, the story, and the world they live in far better than I do. If I’m forcing them to do my bidding, it’s a sign that the story isn’t working.
Q. Throughout your posts you mention that you are an avid reader, can you share with us what you are reading now?
I am currently reading The Howling III by Gary Brandner. I just finished The Howling and The Howling II. I wish there even more in the series – and I’m not even into werewolves!
Alistair Cross grew up on horror novels and scary movies, and by the age of eight, began writing his own stories. First published in 2012, he has since co-authored The Cliffhouse Haunting and Mother with Tamara Thorne and is working on several other projects. His debut solo novel, The Crimson Corset, was an immediate bestseller.
And last but never least:
Q. Are there any nuggets of wisdom you can impart to aspiring writers?
Tamara: Take a notebook with you when you go to bed. You might want to draw dirty pictures in the middle of the night.
Alistair: Always write left to right and never take advice from writers.
Again, Thank you for taking your time to answer these questions, it was wonderful getting to know more!