Posts Tagged ‘horror’

We all have them. They are the times when we’ve been hurt and scarred by unfairness and, at worst, inhumanity and evil.

It’s these dark moments and our understanding of what, and who, caused them that helps us eventually understand the dark moments of others and, potentially, the perpetrators of our pain. We understand the pain of others because we’ve experienced it.

In my new novel Blood Visions I’ve taken this theme and built the story of Fortuna Cavalieri and her dark moments. Blood Visions is a horror/paranormal thriller that stares evil in the face an12193364_924946864253046_4061271237306570367_nd asks, ‘why?’

Fortuna Cavalieri is an unwilling receiver. After a car crash which nearly claims her life, Fortuna is cursed with a psychic link to evil which she numbs with the help of bottle of whiskey.

When serial killer Brandon Keys goes on his murderous rampage, Fortuna is drawn into the edges of his world like prey to a spider’s web. Every time Keys kills, Fortuna knows. She knows because her sixth sense is activated by evil; she knows because she can see him in what she calls her blood visions.

But Fortuna is not the only one with a psychic ability. Keys too has been blessed with the second sight since childhood – the ultimate gift for an efficient killer.

With Brandon Keys closing in on her, Fortuna must try and outwit a serial killer and find a way to stop their mind links. If she can find the courage, and the sobriety, she must stop the killings, but Fortuna is no hero. She’s just a drunk carrying a curse.

It’s only with the help of washed up ex cop Danny Manchester whom she meets randomly at a bar one night, that Fortuna stands any chance of staying alive…but somewhere between a new dawn and a blood red sunset, and an ex cop finding himself again, Fortuna finds the courage to turn the tables on Keys.

It’s a showdown with a high price. Who will survive to see the dawn?

Blood Visions is out on 12 November 2015 via Whiskey Creek Press. You can head over to Amazon for more information.

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A few months ago I told you that my first horror/supernatural novel was being published by Whiskey Creek Press, a division of Start Publishing in the US. So far, I’ve worked with an editor and cover artist and I’m now working with a publicist who requested five of the top quotes from the book.

Well…I couldn’t choose five so I gave her 15 and said, “you choose“. I’m sure she wasn’t impressed because I guess this is a job for the author. In any case, I’ve selected five from the 15 tonight and will publish the other 10 here over the next few nights.

  • Fortuna had been having strange dreams which she called her “blood visions” because they were bathed in blood red violence—suffering and torture, which always ended in a kill.
  • He opened the bedside drawer and took out the knife, running its metal blade along his arms, just enough to cut the hairs. He drew in his breath and held it, closing his eyes and remembering his last kill.
  • Life had a way of dealing one bad card after another, and when Danny Manchester walked out of the Police Force, he found his wife was taking his two kids and leaving with another detective.
  • All she could manage was a guttural groan of disbelief and then despair, into the dark space surrounding her.BloodVisionsback
  • He looked like failure had paid him a visit too, like someone had knocked him around when he was at his most vulnerable. The way a dog looks when it’s been kicked by its master.

I hope you like Blood Visions. I’m finding, more so nowadays, a real joy in creative fiction writing. It is flowing like never before, and I take great joy in creating a ‘killer’ plot. Blood Visions is published on 12 November 2015, and you can preorder on Amazon at: http://www.amazon.com/Blood-Visions-Maryann-Weston-ebook/dp/B015DCH3CW

Well, now that we have Christmas behind us, it’s full steam ahead with plans for 2015. I’m still in the middle of editing my horror manuscript Blood Visions, have released my short story collection Evil Imminent which is currently on a book tour, and I’m tossing around ideas for my next work.

Early ideas have been around a manuscript that might focus on the lives of four psychically gifted women who attend Thursday night art classes together. They are babes in the woods when it comes to acknowledging, or even using their gifts, until one woman gets stuck between worlds and the other three have to help her return. It gets complicated when the woman is put into a mental hospital because outwardly she looks like she is having a psychotic breakdown.

But back to the present. My horror/paranormal short story collection Evil Imminent is currently on a virtual book tour. As part of this tour, I was asked to delve a bit further into one of the characters Dutton Forrest from ‘Dark Star’ and provide a character interview for readers. Here it is, along with an excerpt from the book for your reading.

Can you tell us a little about yourself?

My name is Dutton Forrest and I’m a huge fan of Star Trek. I’m what’s known as a ‘Trekkie’ actually, but seriously – I mean we take it seriously – the Great Barrington chapter of the Star Trek Foundation that is. I live on a pig farm with my dad. My mom died when I was three. We don’t talk much, me and my dad, and he definitely doesn’t understand about Star Trek, or my night-time excursions to hunt down aliens. I’m not supposed to talk about that though. Let’s just say I’m into astronomy and I spend a lot of time outdoors. Between you and me, they’re real. The aliens that is…they’re out there. 

What is your role in the story?

I go out searching for the Dark Star. I know my mom is still alive. I’ve seen her, only they have her in that place. It’s like a dark cave and silvery beings come and go from it. It’s deep in the woods but I haven’t told anyone ’cause they wouldn’t believe me if I did. I’m going to rendezvous with the Dark Star soon, and I’ll be able to see my mom then.

What is your favorite hobby? 
Why searching for aliens of course. That, and watching reruns of Star Trek. Captain Kirk is my favourite. Then again, he’s everyone’s favourite isn’t he?

What is the challenge you’re trying to overcome during the story? 

If I can just find my mom, everything will be alright. I’ll fit in better at school and I’ll have more friends too. And I won’t have to be so alone all the time.

If you could make one wish, what would it be? 

To have my mom back.

 

Excerpt:

It glided over rocks and grassy mounds, jumping the small creek, pausing every now and then, as if to call him forward. He followed until the silver light stopped in a small clearing at the front of a cave. Dutton stopped too, hidden by the safety of the tall forest trees. He peered around him, trying to see what was happening. As the silver light paused he saw something drift out of the cave. The hairs on the back of his neck stood on edge. His heart missed a beat. It looked like a woman – with hair the colour of a cornfield.

He choked on his breath. The woman looked identical to the photographs at home. His mother. He squeezed his eyes shut. Was he dreaming? When he opened them again she was still there, walking toward the silvery light. As she reached the light it engulfed her; she became one with the light. The silvery beam spun in his direction, motioning to him. His knees began to shake with excitement. His heart pounded so loudly in his ears, he thought they would explode. The light floated toward him, closer and closer until he could feel it pulsating on his skin. He raised his head and gazed into it. He had hoped to see the kind, gentle face of his mother but, instead, dark eyes blinked from within the silvery cloak. He frowned. This wasn’t his mother. It leant closer to him and hissed, “Look to the skies in three days; look for the dark star and you will find all you seek.” He nodded frantically before he blacked out and slumped to the ground.

Where to get Evil Imminent:

Amazon US: Amazon US

Amazon UK: Amazon UK

Amazon Aust: Amazon Aust

Gumroad: https://gumroad.com/l/QkWF

I’m almost done with my National Novel Writing Month manuscript, Blood Visions. It’s about Fortuna Cavalieri. After a car crash which nearly claims her life, Fortuna is cursed with a psychic link to evil. When serial killer Brandon Keys goes on his murderous rampage, Fortuna is drawn into the edges of his world like prey to a spider’s web. Every time Keys kills, Fortuna knows. She knows because her sixth sense is activated by evil; she knows because she can see him in what she calls her blood visions. Fortuna is not the only one with a psychic ability. Keys too has been blessed with the second sight since childhood – the ultimate gift for an efficient killer. Here’s an extract of the manuscript which takes place between Fortuna and Keys.

Fortuna headed for her demons. Once again she moved within the red mist and was conscious at some level that this was another vision but different this time. Instead of being taken to his house she was in the midst of the most beautiful countryside she had ever seen. All around was vibrant green with an intensity only Spring can bring. Rolling hills ended in distant blue mountains and a crystal clear sky. The heat of the sun was gentle on the breeze.

She moved towards the nearby lake. At the water’s edge the killer sat on a park bench, as though he’d come out for a stroll that morning to a ready made vista. It was his vision Fortuna was in, not her own, and she approached cautiously.

When she was a few metres away, he spoke. “I’ve been waiting for you. I wanted you to see what I can create. In my mind’s eye it is always this…or the blood house; but you’re here today. That’s good.”

“What is this?” She dared not move any closer.

“Oh come on. Come round and face me. I don’t bring my knife to this place.”

She moved to the water’s edge, still keeping her distance.

“Why am I here?” she asked, trying not to be drawn into his games, but wanting to know the significance of the landscape despite herself.

He smiled, a half smile. With him there was no real happiness in any of his expressions – only cynicism and bitterness. “I know what you think of me. I know that you think that I’m a monster but you can see into the monster. What does that make you?”

She began to turn away. “Look if you’ve got me here to play games…I’ve had enough of that. I am nothing like you.”

“No? Let me tell you about this place…It is only good memory I have. Of a spring day when Walter and my ma took me to the river for a picnic. I remember the way the sunlight fell on her hair. Walter even showed me how to bait my fishing hook. I was four years old and he had left me alone…up til then. I remember my ma’s dress, flowing in the breeze. It was one good moment mixed in with a lifetime of bad moments…some recipe huh? Do you know that when I kill all the bad moments go? They take them off me. The bad moments go into them.”

“You are sick. You know that don’t you? And I am nothing like you. I know what you do to them. You torture them and kill them when they have no hope left.”

“Ah, but you are forgetting that I can see into your mind just as you can see into mine, and I see your darkest moments. Your dark moments are what makes you like me.”

Fortuna turned to him. She had nothing to hide and there was defiance in her when she answered him. “Don’t ever presume to know what is in my head…”

But he persisted in his arrogance. “Did you ever think about why your Uncle Pete stopped visiting?”

She looked away from him, and across the water. Overhead a crow cawed. Yes, she remembered her Uncle Pete, her ma’s brother. She remembered a particular night when he had stayed over, a memory so deep that it felt like a dream, difficult to recall, and blurred around the edges. She could see herself as a five year old, shocked and confused, wondering if what was happening was real. She hadn’t thought about this in a long time but the blood visions were forcing her to remember her childhood and she couldn’t shake the picture of her childhood self. What she remembered most was the way she felt, powerless and forced to go headlong into something she didn’t understand and knew was wrong.

Always the memory of her childhood had been easier to forget it. Up until this moment she hadn’t even realised she had been trying so hard to bury it. She sank to her knees, looking at him through anger and remorse. “You know about that memory?”

He nodded. “It is your black moment, the moment that defines you now. Just as my black moments…and this one beautiful moment define me. When it comes down to it, your blackest hour has controlled you all your life. Tell me Fortuna, when was the last time you had a man. Have you ever wondered why your ma can’t stand you, and why your beloved papa was so kind to you. You were decided a long time ago, just as I was and none of it is our fault.”

Fortuna got to her feet, moving a little closer to him. “Let me tell you something now. It is not what happened to us when we were children that makes us who we are. It is the choices we make every day. You choose to take away life to supposedly ease your pain. I choose to find a way to take back my power without hurting or killing anyone…”

“Ah, but that’s where you’re wrong. That’s not how it’s going to be. In time, you’ll see this.”

She began walking away from him, leaving him, the killer, sitting on a park bench overlooking his one beautiful memory. But he wasn’t giving up so easily.

“One day you will be stuck in those black memories forever. That time is coming soon. That’s how it’s going to be. And this,” he said, gesturing at the rolling green hills and lake, “doesn’t change anything. I’m coming for you and I’ll kill you. Like those other girls, you’ll take my black moments too. Your luck is about to run out and mine will be the last face you see before you die.”

As the title of this post suggests, I’ll be letting my fingers speed across QWERTY as I rush to get my word count in for the day. National Novel Writing Month (Nanowrimo): Day 15 (in Australia, that is).

I began my journey with blistering enthusiasm. I’d had my manuscript Blood Vision (or is it Visions) swirling in my head for about 18 months. “Plan my youngest son said. Do a plan for your next novel.” So I did. I managed to squeeze in time to really nut out my manuscript before Nanowrimo began. And I was supremely pleased. I would use the motivational worldwide writing community (mowowrico) to help me get things started and then, following the plan, it would all be apples.

Well…yes and no. As any novelist will tell you, writing a book is sheer hard work. Think of climbing a cliff face, metaphorically and that’s what it is like. Maintaining daily word counts can be difficult some days but not all days. On the good days the words flow, the characters say what they were always meant to say and, as the writer, you sit back and think, “Yes! There is no other place I’m meant to be than sitting here writing this novel. On other days, well snacks do help.

Here are the things that have helped me on my Nanowrimo journey so far:

* Snacks…hahaha

* Tips from other authors: Really good ones like base your characters on people you know (sorry guys, like I explained to may sisters the other day, I don’t model characters on other people, just take snippets here and there of personality traits or experiences gathered over a lifetime. Some characters I draw from, I might have only known for five minutes. So relax…)

* Finish your writing for the day at a scene you will look forwarding to writing the next day

* This one from JK Rowlings: You’ll go through a lot of paper before you become a good writer

* Stay off social media. Leave your best writing, thoughts, creative processes for Nanowrimo – oops I fail on that one

* Learn to like all your characters, even the villains

* No matter what, don’t give up. Keep writing.

I’m at 25,700 words now. I’m hoping for a marathon effort today; to find my way up that sheer cliff face, one handhold and foothold at a time. I have to. Blood Vision (s) is worth it.

You can find my author page on Amazon, and my short story, horror collection ‘Evil Imminent’ will be out in December 2014.

I have just finished another short story for my upcoming horror anthology called ‘Trinity of Terror’. It’s about ghost hunter, Sybilla, who is very good at what she does, and knows it. Without giving the story away, there’s a lesson to be learned when readers reach The End.

Mind you, there’s nothing wrong with being confident as long as you are not belligerent and naive with it. Then, as I have observed, something will inevitably take you down…a rung or two. Better to be savvy, confident and with just a hint of caution. In my story, Sybilla shows absolutely no caution and there is someone who is second guessing her…which is not that hard to do with arrogant and naive people because they have given up covering their tracks, and even keeping a look out for danger; and their instincts are blunt.

Risk takers have always fascinated me though. They live on the edge and, it seems to me, are not really ‘living’ unless there’s risk involved. At first the risks might be small but, after a while, they get bigger – just like the thrill that accompanies them. At some point, they will cross the line, almost becoming habitual, and then it’s just inevitable really that the risk becomes real.

I’m not sure what attracts me to the horror genre but I think it’s a fascination with the edge of life. I might not be a risk taker myself, but I am an intuitive and analytical observer. And I know that most things in life are rarely simple but overlayed with complexity and, often, dysfunction. Sometimes that dysfunction borders on the bizarre.

I also believe that this life and this reality is not all there is. There are energies, universal and karmic laws that, while not readily understood, can manifest in real ways. So bring together an active imagination, experience, observation and analysis, and a certain ‘psychic’ sense, and it’s not that hard to conjure the horrendous. Did I mention a certain cynicism too? I don’t think you can write horror with happy endings…well not for every character in the story. Someone must, inevitably learn and there is often suffering involved in learning.

Writing horror also allows for a fertile imagination. I can be inspired by grey clouds and a windy half-light, or a slightly bizarre encounter with an individual, or even observing a couple who are overly affectionate. What lies beneath, or ahead, given just the right twist.

My horror anthology ‘Evil Imminent’ will definitely be out before the end of the year – just in time to take away with you on Christmas holidays, perhaps to read late into the night or in broad daylight if you prefer.

 

Everyone loves a good giveaway, something for free that they would normally have to pay for and that is of value to them. Every day, indie authors world over are giving away their writing for nothing. They do it to get better known, to boost the sales of their next book or simply because they have something to say they want people to read. The free read is a huge marketing tool, but has it worn out its welcome with readers, even if it is for free?evil_imminent_1_copy

Head over to Smashwords or peruse the list of Amazon’s Top 100 Free List and you’ll see no end to the books indie authors are giving away. Amazon’s Kindle Select built its once mighty monopoly on the benefit of Kindle Select to offer 5 days during an enrollment period when you can offer your ebook for free. Stories of tens of thousands of downloads in the early days of indie publishing guaranteed an author got known this way.

Well, we still do it. We still offer content for free and if you read most successful indie authors, they will tell you it is an effective way of getting known and of boosting sales of your next book, particularly if you are writing a series.

As a new indie author I found it initially painful to give my writing away for free, especially when you see the dollars going out in editing, graphic design and formatting services. And as a professional writer in my day job, there’s also time – my time at night away from my family is precious. However, as I discovered ways of doing things far more cost effectively, like learning to format myself or publishing ebooks only, it began to bother me less and less. What I did look forward to were the encouraging stats that told me readers were actually looking at my work.

But is it a valid marketing tool still? I guess for me as an indie author just starting out…I’ll tell you in a few more books time. By that I mean that there are millions of indie authors all swimming in the same sea and struggling with the number one problem: discoverability. If giving away a free book encourages readers to try your product, find they like it, and trust the quality you are producing, then all power to the freebie.

While I’m on the subject, a month or so ago I published the first story of my new horror anthology ‘Evil Imminent’ on this blog as a freebie. It attracted a good readership, and encouraged me to continue with my anthology. If you like horror and are a fan of the short read that won’t take too much of your time; that brings you full circle in a story quickly and leaves you nodding your head in understanding, and you like suspense and a bit of a shock, then Evil Imminent is for you. I’m hoping to launch it at the end of May 2014. Stay tuned. There might also be one more free read from the anthology in the coming weeks!

If you would like to contact me, head to the Contact Me tab on this blog, or leave a comment below. You’re always welcome.