Inspiration in a Vivid Nightmare
Seven Ghostly Spins is a collection of paranormal stories written by you and Kelsey E. Gerard. What were some decisions that went into picking the stories for this collection?
Three of the stories; Carolina Blue, 205 ½ 25th Street and Alison, date back to the years I spent in Northern Utah. They were originally published in 2012-2014 as part of the Tales from Beyond anthologies, compiled by D. Hattingh. Ever since that project was completed, I began thinking of a collection of my own—to be based not only on true legends, but paranormal experiences as well.
At around the middle of 2017 the title for the new collection came to me; Seven Ghostly Spins, prompting me to remaster the original three and identify the other four.
In keeping with the “Haunted Ogden” theme, Kelsey E. Gerard submitted She Caught a Ride, fulfilling the based-on-true-legends requirement. That left me with the paranormal experience requirement, and for those I turned to my own memories and wrote By the Iron Gate and A Curse Lifted. Abiku is the novella among the short stories—the base idea for this thriller came from an ancient Yoruba belief and it includes supernatural and paranormal elements that I thought would make a proper central piece for this collection.
My favorite stories from the collection is ‘Alison’ and Gerard’s ‘She Caught a Ride’. What was your favorite story from this book?
Thank you! I am so pleased to hear you enjoyed these tales. I love each story equally though for different reasons. If I must pick a favorite, I would say Carolina Blue is my special, tragic friend.
Each story was intriguing and well developed. Where do you turn for inspiration for writing?
Two of the stories are rooted on personal experiences, while the others came to me through reading, and research. I found inspiration in a vivid nightmare and a real walk in the moonlight. In my godmother’s parting gift, and in assignments to explore Ogden’s haunted, colorful history. In the case of Abiku, all it took was an image—an illustration caught my eye and the short lines describing it spawned all the characters and circumstances in the novella.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
My next project is a philosophical fiction/comedy entitled Daughters of the Bride, slated for publication on Mother’s Day 2020.
To recover from the unexpected death of their father, the ‘weird sisters’ cling to one another and to their widowed mother; the ‘head witch.’ However, no traditional mourning rituals await them.
Blindsided by the love their mother claims to have found, mere months after the death of her husband of 50+ years, the three women flex their powers and embark on a distressing journey of reflection; to know themselves and the mother they thought they knew.
Amid the hilarity of the head witch’s disconcerting return to a youthful attitude, difficult questions must be asked. Genetic memories must be acknowledged and banished. Painful feelings must be expressed, and life-altering decisions will be made because, at the end of their journey, their new reality must be embraced by all.
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Based on harrowing legends and nightmares come true, this mind-bending collection of paranormal tales will creep under your skin and stay with you long after you have read it.
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Can Good Win Over Evil?
House of Pain is a uniquely creative story unlike any fantasy story I’ve come across. What was the inspiration for the idea behind this novel?
For the setting of this story, I imagined what could happen if we continue the self-destructive path we seem to be walking. Wars, hatred, greed, power-hungry politicians. I’ve always worried about the possibility of a nuclear war, but what if Mother Nature herself finally got fed up and decided to help wipe us out? The little, insignificant people are usually the ones who suffer most. I imagined those in power wouldn’t hesitate to call on demons for help if they thought they could maintain control over them. And, as with most arrogant people, they have no idea what they’re getting into.
Maggie is a human-demon hybrid who grew up in a whorehouse, but still manages to hold onto her humanity. What were the driving ideals behind her character?
Maggie represents all of us who struggle with our dark half to hold to good. It would have been easier for her to let go and embrace her evil side, but she held tight to her dream of one day having a family to love and who loved her. Of course, as in real life, she couldn’t fight this battle alone. Maggie understood the concept of love and goodness because center stage in her horrible childhood were three men, her handlers, who pushed her toward another path, one where she didn’t need to hurt others. Under almost impossible circumstances, they helped her develop a conscious, gave her choices. Though obviously exaggerated with Maggie, I used my own struggles trying to raise my daughter to show the difficulties we face as parents in today’s world. There are so many distractions fighting for our children’s attention, and much of it not good. It’s difficult to try to keep them on the right path?
The world in this story is a dark post-apocalyptic Earth and I enjoyed the unique backstory. Did you develop the backstory before writing or did it develop organically while writing?
The backstory came first. Watching the news, it worried me to think about a possible nuclear war and what it would do to our planet. I also noticed that we appeared to be having more and more natural disasters and I wondered if Mother Nature had finally had enough of our abuse and decided to fight back. But no matter what happened, I imagined some people would find a way to survive. But how? This is where the demons came into play and the people who thought they could control them. There will always be evil in the world, but I believe there will always be good too. The real question is can good win over evil? I believe it can. Maggie became my representation of this battle. Daniel, her love interest, and his young son were her reward for holding strong. They gave her hope for a new and better life, one I think we all strive for.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be published?
I’m working on a Science Fiction Romance called Claimed by Nicolai right now. It is an alien abduction story involving a young woman from Oregon. My novels tend to revolve around the woman in the story, how she must fight for her own path in life and not just depend on a man to provide what he thinks she needs. Love can develop from this struggle, but it needs to be a relationship where both parties are equal. Claimed by Nicolai will be published by Crimson Cloak Publishing sometime in the spring of 2019.
Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website | Amazon | Crimson Cloak Publishing
Maggie Shelbador is a half-breed succubus with a heart. Though raised inside one of the worst whorehouses in the world, all she wants is to find one man who will love her despite what she is. She dreams of one day being free of her nightmarish life but fears no man will ever truly trust her.
The year is 3515 and most of the world has been destroyed by a combination of natural disasters and man’s neglect. The whole human race faces extinction. To survive, the leaders of the day approach demons for help, not understanding the high price they will be forced to pay. Normally bound by the summoner’s magic, the demons know Maggie is the key to giving them free access to Earth.
Daniel is a widower with a young son. He is out hunting one day when his settlement is attacked and his son abducted. He tracks them to House of Pain, not realizing a trap is being set for him. Though tortured, Daniel refuses to break when they try to force him to prostitute himself—until a beautiful blonde woman is brought into the room, her power stripping away his self-control.
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Descendent Darkness: Legacy
Legacy, by A.J. Macready, is the second installment in the Descendent Darkness series and returns to visit the families of Clarke’s Summit; a seemingly innocent town ridden with the darkest of secrets. Families will be torn apart, truths will be exposed and the Gaston family will finally learn the dark history of their past. When evil comes a knockin’, no family will be prepared for the deadly consequences that occur. Lives will be shattered when the demon that haunts Mike Gaston’s nightmare is finally brought to light. Who is the mysterious woman that has possessed his nightmares?
Legacy– Powerful in name, powerful in nature. Within the first few pages of Legacy, the reader is instantly given a feel as to what type of horrors they may encounter- a creature that can be “stronger, faster, and have greater sensory perception than man” and most importantly- be able to out reason them. And Legacy did not disappoint. The supernatural creatures were vicious, twisted souls that will be sure to give the most avid horror fans the heebie-jeebies.
The clues may be lined up like dominoes but with evil knocking on the door, Ally, Holly, Mike and the rest of the town will be faced with a supernatural presence unlike no other. Questions will be answered and fates will be sealed as we embark on another supernatural roller coaster with the people of Clarke’s Summit. Favorite characters will return and Macready delivers a sequel that will not disappoint. If you enjoyed the first book in the series, then I can promise you- the second one is even better.
The story flits between various families within the town which allow the reader to experience an almost movie like feel when reading the novel. The fear, the passion and the horrors twisted into the plot, created a sense of urgency and at times I genuinely began to feel scared! Much like a horror movie, I found myself mentally yelling at the characters to stay back, or to run away. I applaud Macready’s use of language and skill that created an air of suspense throughout the entire novel. Macready also plays on fears that many of us have had- the quiet darkness of when you are alone outside, the noises you hear when you are tucked up in bed and the nightmares that have you questioning whether they are real or imagined.
Rather than focusing on the romantic relationships, Legacy will draw you to the importance of family ties and once again we are treated with the beautiful bond between siblings Mike and Holly Gaston. Loyal and understanding, this sibling duo will find themselves facing off with vampire style evils who wear faces of those that they least expect.
I would would recommend this to anyone who enjoys a thriller/horror style plot line with a big spoonful of supernatural surprises. I could honestly see this novel being turned into a movie and I look forward to reading the other books in the series!
Pages: 173 | ASIN: B017SDSXKU
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Taking Zombies Back to Their Voodoo Origin
Voodoo Child follows Army chopper pilot Maggie Child after she’s shot down over Iraq and her well-ordered life spirals into a paranormal nightmare. What was the inspiration for creating a zombie novel with such a strong female protagonist?
The positive feedback I’ve been getting about Maggie is really satisfying because it was kind of an outside the box decision. I thought moving away from the standard male action hero would give the books a unique perspective. The zombie genre tends to have main characters that are either Delta Force operators, or Joe Everyman heroes who blossom into post-apocalyptic commandos, so I wanted to go in a different direction. With Maggie Child I wanted to create a protagonist that was strong and capable, while still being emotionally vulnerable. That’s especially important given what she has to endure over the course of the book. Maggie is a trained soldier but her compassion and embracing her spiritual side will become her greatest strengths. I think she’s someone readers of both genders can get behind.
Maggie, Sarafina and Lavonia are the three main characters of this tale and they couldn’t be more different from each other. Which character do you feel you relate to and why?
Well each of the trio represents a distinct facet of human nature, with Maggie as the person of action, Sarafina as the spiritual and emotional conscience and Lavonia representing our basest instincts. I suppose Maggie is the one that I and probably most other people would relate to. We all hope that if a great duty were thrust upon us we’d rise to the challenge like her. I think it will be fun to watch her blossom from a good, strong person into a truly great one. BUT I freely admit that Lavonia is always a blast to write because she’s such a shameless, self-centered sociopath. She’s irresistible.
There are a lot of zombie novels out there. How do you feel Voodoo child stands out from the rest?
The biggest difference was taking zombies back to their supernatural, voodoo roots. The current wave (or tsunami) of zombie novels are inspired by George Romero’s Night of the Living Dead, which reinvented zombie mythology. Thanks to Romero’s influence literary and cinematic zombies have evolved into thoroughly modern monsters, usually the byproduct of a mutated virus, military experiment or some other consequence of our technological society. That’s ironic because zombies are actually rooted in traditional Caribbean Voodoo- a very agrarian culture that hasn’t changed much in centuries. Taking zombies back to their voodoo origin allows me to explore the rich tapestry of voodoo spirits and legends. Later novels in the series will dive more deeply into that realm. It also meant I could discard the current “Zombie Rulebook” while inventing my own mythology. I think readers will enjoy the ride. Another difference is focusing on a core group of female lead characters, both as heroes and as the main human villain. I think that casts a unique light on the genre. I enjoyed exploring the characters relationships, particularly with Maggie, who, coming from an army background is very guarded about her femininity and romantic relationships, whereas the Sarafina, the Voodoo priestess is completely guided by her heart and emotions. They make an unlikely duo that not only forms a deep friendship, but also bond as master and pupil. And finally there’s the slightly twisted humor that underscores the action, which I hope is a welcome addition. Maybe Voodoo Child is the zombie novel for people who are growing weary of zombie novels.
Voodoo Child is the first book in a series and it does an excellent job of setting the stage for the story to come. Can you tell us more about where the story and characters go after book one?
We’ll discover that the supernatural forces at work will embolden other Voodoo spirits to come forward and assert themselves, turning the island of Fantomas into a brave new world of gods and monsters. This includes Marinette- The Lady of the Screech Owl, a spirit from the traditional Voodoo pantheon that’s considered so horrible only an insane person would evoke her. Pages from the ancient Voodoo spell book have been scattered across the globe, placing great power in the wrong hands. Sarafina will try to use her portion of the ancient text for good, but she’ll struggle with the book’s power to corrupt even the purest of hearts. Maggie will be grappling emotionally with her new role as a more than human warrior. To achieve that she’ll have to embrace her spiritual side, which isn’t easy for someone who, until recently, was a professed atheist. Plus (without throwing in too many first book spoilers) Both Maggie and Lavonia will be struggling with some severe mommy issues. The US Navy is heading for Fantomas to quarantine the island and render aid to its citizens. That won’t end well at all. Plus Talos Corporation is still in the mix and another rouge nation (not mentioning any names) has its eye on Fantomas. And of course Lavonia wants her lost money back, even if that means unleashing a zombie army to do it. It’s going to be full of fun, surprises… and monsters.
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Army chopper pilot Maggie Child has a reputation for being fearless, professional and, above all, rational. But when she’s shot down over Iraq her well-ordered life spirals into a paranormal nightmare. Alone, wounded and surrounded by hostile forces, Maggie is rescued from certain death by a demon straight out of Dante’s Inferno. Then, barely alive, she’s abducted by a private military corporation conducting insidious medical experiments. Her escape from their covert hellhole lands her on a Caribbean island where an evil voodoo spirit and a psychotic female dictator are conspiring to unleash an apocalyptic zombie plague. Then she uncovers the most terrifying secret of all—her own destiny. It seems a Voodoo oracle has ordained her the only warrior capable of saving humanity from a supernatural Armageddon … whether she wants the job or not! But saving the world isn’t a one-woman job, so she teams up with a trio of unlikely heroes—a conspiracy obsessed marijuana smuggler, a Voodoo priestess with an appetite for reality television, and a burnt out ex-mercenary. Together, they’ll take on an army of the walking dead, with the fate of humanity resting in their eccentric hands. Voodoo Child, Book One: Zombie Uprising is the first novel in a new horror series packed with supernatural thrills, rousing adventure, dark humor, Voodoo lore and plenty of zombie stomping action. But a word of warning; don’t shoot these zombies in the head … because that just makes them mad!
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