Monday, February 4, 2019

Night Writer - London Clarke


I couldn't be more thrilled to introduce you to author of chills, London Clarke. We're bringing back Gothic Suspense, and I hope you've brought a torch because it is going to get dark in here. 🔦

Author London Clarke

About London


Obsessed with vampires and haunted houses from a young age, London grew up reading gothic tales featuring romantic and tragic heroes like Wuthering Heights and Dracula. She considers herself a recovering runaway and confesses that she once moved to England in search of a man who was the perfect amalgamation of Dracula, Hamlet, Heathcliff, and Mr. Rochester. London graduated from George Mason University with a B.A. in Music and M.F.A in Creative Writing and has had an eclectic array of jobs including receptionist, legal secretary, literary assistant, high school English teacher, and freelance editor.

London lives in a Washington, DC suburb with her husband and two greyhounds. She’s happiest when she’s writing novels, reading books, or re-watching her favorite programs like The Vampire Diaries or Being Human.

About London's Books


Get it Here


WILDFELL

Anne Fleming is running away.

An ill-fated relationship with her graduate school professor drives Anne to dispose of all her possessions, assume a new identity, and board a London-bound plane. But a chance meeting on that flight leads her to Wildfell, a gothic mansion with a cast of strange characters and a long history of disappearances and deaths.

While living at Wildfell, Anne is plagued by voices, ghostly mists, and a mute girl with a sketchbook full of murders. She only remains because of her strong attraction to a fellow inhabitant—gorgeous actor Bain Tierney. But when Wildfell tenants begin disappearing one by one, Anne must decide if she trusts Bain. Is anyone in the house who they claim to be? Or are there are other forces at work inside Wildfell? And will they ever let her leave?


Get it Here


THE MEADOWS

A decades-old murder. A blood-thirsty cult. And a house full of spirits.

When songwriter Scarlett DeHaven leaves Nashville and her old life behind, it’s supposed to be a new beginning, a fresh start in the Shenandoah Valley, where her memories aren’t riddled with drug addiction and rehab. There’s the possibility for healing, tranquility, and love. But after purchasing an abandoned house with a checkered past in the hopes of transforming it into a luxury bed and breakfast, strange things start to happen. Disturbing voices and noises interrupt her new life. Strangers appear, bearing cryptic warnings. A tunnel is discovered underneath the house—one historically used for a local cult’s rituals. After a late-night encounter with an entity that leaves her injured, Scarlett realizes she is being targeted by violent spirits.

Driven to the edge of despair, Scarlett vows to fight back—but she has no idea what she’s really battling. And her nightmare is just beginning…

The Meadows is a gripping supernatural thriller in which the monsters may be
vampires, demons, or flesh and blood. It is a nightmare that will make you
believe it could easily happen to you.

My Q&A with London


Was there anything specific that drew you to this genre?
I’ve been drawn to scary books and stories since I was in the second grade. I think it started with my grandfather asking me to write a ghost story. After that, I read any scary books I could get my hands on. When I was in the fourth grade, ABC started playing re-runs of the 1960s soap opera Dark Shadows, and I became obsessed with Collingwood and Barnabas Collins, and then my whole vampire obsession began. And it has never ended. 
What is your favorite Paranormal/Dark/Gothic novel?

Actually, by today’s standards, this probably wouldn’t be considered paranormal, but it’s definitely gothic. Wuthering Heights is really my favorite novel ever. A close second would be Dracula, and then I love all modern/contemporary gothic stuff.

What is your favorite Gothic motif/theme/element? Any particular reason why?

Yes. The house. I love the house on the hill or by the ocean, and the weather’s always stormy and the house itself is creepy and perhaps has supernatural occurrences going on. Maybe it’s actually haunted or maybe it just has the appearance of being so—either way works for me. I adore vampires, of course, and then the idea of the “madwoman in the attic” made so popular by Jane Eyre. Insanity in any form always works well with this genre. These motifs are spooky, mysterious, romantic, and they may or may not have a resolution or a reason for them, but they make for page-turning stories. I love the atmospheric element of the gothic—it’s an escape.
Which resource/s helped you the most in researching for or writing your paranormal/dark/gothic novel/series?

Wildfell was set in London, so I relied on some of my British friends to give me details about places and procedural things. I lived in London for a little while, so I had some idea of areas and layout, but I needed specific streets and answers to “what would happen if…” I also did a lot of Google searches for tube maps and bus schedules.

For The Meadows, I did more research about paranormal groups and their investigations. I watched a lot of Paranormal Witness and A Haunting episodes. I also had to do a bit of research on rural Virginia, but I don’t live to far from the supposed spot of The Meadows, so that wasn’t very hard. Reading popular and bestselling mystery and thriller authors actually helps me a lot with reinforcing my story arc and dialogue.

What’s next for you? Is there anything you can tell us about it?

Yes. Next up is Whickering Place, the second book in the Legacy of Darkness series. It’s the follow-on novel to The Meadows, although it’s set in Asheville, North Carolina. It casts mostly different characters from The Meadows, but demonologist Hunter Massabrook will reappear in the second one as well. It should be out by April. After that, I have a standalone, Dunraven, which will be set in Wales. That one will come out toward the end of the year.

And finally, is there anything else you would like to share with others who write or are looking to write Paranormal/Dark/Gothic Romance? Any tips? Any groups they should be checking out? Any places they should be visiting, etc.

I’m really glad that gothic/scary books are making a comeback. I feel like there has been a huge dearth of such books in the past, and I hope there will be many more people writing them in the future. I suggest Paranormal Romance Guild as a group to join. They’re awesome people, very helpful, and they offer lots of resources to writers in this genre. And I recommend reading the oldies but goodies. Victoria Holt’s gothic romances are just the best. And of course, V.C. Andrews original books. They’re great examples of originality and world-building.

If you can visit England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales, do. There is no end to the gothic inspiration in those settings.
Where can we stalk you on the web?

Yes! I love web-stalkers. You'll quickly find out ALL my obsessions.

Website: LondonClarke.com

Facebook: London Clarke

Twitter: @londonclarke2

Pinterest: @londonclarkeauthor


Thank you so much for sharing, London!

Stay beautifully haunted, Night Writers,

🖤 Shadow.

Monday, January 21, 2019

Lessons on Epistolary Writing

Photo by Joanna Kosinska on Unsplash

Hey, Night Writers. I've been wanting to write an epistolary style novel for a while now. This is a style of writing where the story is written out as a series of documents or in various forms of communication. Finally, the right story has come along for me to apply this and I thought I'd share some of the key lessons I've learned.



1. Choose Forms of Communication. Once you know what story you want to tell, start to consider the different forms of communication that will best convey it. Think about the time period your story is set in. You don't need to limit yourself to letters and diaries. There are newspapers, telegrams, invitations, emails, texts, shipping logs and manifests, police and doctor reports, and the list goes on. If it is set in the future, imagine of all the ways we could communicate then. The possibilities are endless. However, each entry has to have a purpose and move the story forward. Too many types and the reader may become confused unless clearly connected.

2. Create a Timeline. Once you decide what types of documents you want to add, you needed a timeline for them to be compiled in. Letters, for example, need time to be received, read, and responded to. Having a timeline will help with pacing and tension, as well, showing you what details need to be revealed and when.
Tip: If you are including any true historical events/dates, start there and work your way back and/or forward along the timeline.

3. Write Distinct Character Voices. Consider who the narrator is. Is one person writing? Two people communicating back and forth? Or a compilation of many forms of documents. In each case, the character's voice should be distinctive. Even if there is only one narrator, their voice should be appropriate for the form of document you are writing and for their intended audience. What one writes in their diary is very different from what they might write in a letter to their mother or text to their lover.

4. Tell not Show.  This form of writing gives a feeling of realism because it is conversational. And we don't normally speak like a novel, we eliminate things like body language and mood setting when we are telling another or writing down an event. The challenge here is to not give details that a character wouldn't naturally give. To do so pulls back the curtain and reveals the author, breaking the illusion of reality.

5. Read. Here are a few examples of epistolary style novels. You can find many more at 100 Must-Read Epistolary Novels. The best lesson is to read as much as you can.
  • Classic - Dracula by Bram Stoker
  • Contemporary - Carrie by Stephen King
  • Futuristic - Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Have you written an epistolary style story? Do you have any other tips for writing in this style? Have you read epistolary style novel? What did you like or not like about them? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

Stay beautifully haunted, Night Writers,
🖤 Shadow.

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Monday, January 7, 2019

Wicked Writer Workouts



Today is about getting physical. Now, I'm far from what you would consider athletic, coordinated or even inclined to venture outdoors. However, if I didn't plan some kind of physical activity in my daily schedule I would petrify like an ancient bloodless vampire by being sedentary for too long. Let's face it, writers spend A LOT of time with their butt in a chair and the only thing getting a workout are their fingers.

While I'm not liable to run out and join a Monster Cycle spin class (though it sounds incredibly cool, it would probably kill me) I do need to move. My requirements for said movements are that it is fun, easy, and not too time consuming, because, I've got books to write. I'm sure you do too.



So here are some wicked good ways to get moving, no fancy equipment required.

1. Lazy Ghoul Workouts. There are a lot of quick and easy workouts for lazy ghouls like me. Here are a few great links and videos to check out.

  • Darebee.com They have a lot of fun, quick workouts with fun names and PICTURES. Pictures are key because some of us don't speak Exercise. Hell, if the instructions only TOLD me to do 12 burpees, I would've probably grabbed a soda and hoped for the best. (Yes, I know. You can put me in yoga pants, but you can not take me to the gym.)
  • ChristinaCarlyle.com Christina has several different Lazy Girl workouts focusing on different parts of the body. She also has pictures, videos, the works. 
  • Love, Sweat, Fitness has a great Lazy Girl workout video and is probably the one I do the most. 

2. Yoga. Both Yoga and Meditation are important to me as a writer and I highly recommend adding them to your routine. Yoga to stretch out those kinked slumped shoulders and Meditation to help you figure out what the hell is wrong with your second act. Here are some poses to get you started.
Resource: GetHealthyU.com

3. Dance. Make like a witch and dance under the full moon, sans nudity, of course. Actually, I'm a huge fan of living room dancing, nude or otherwise. (Mostly otherwise, because I have kids and that would be . . . um . . . awkward.) My suggestion is put on your favorite dance music and just go with it. Better yet, pull out those glow-in-the-dark sticks left over from Halloween and that neon makeup (ask your teenage daughter), turn off the lights and you'll have a rave going on in your own living room. My kids love this one, we have a blast. Family time, check. Workout, check.

4. Walk.  This one you will have to leave the house for (unless you have fancy equipment), but I promise it will be well worth it. Some ideas to make it easier are, put on an audiobook, speak to your muse, join a virtual race (I use and love Yes.Fit), drag friends or family along, get a dog. Oh wait, I said easier, didn't I?



And finally, don't forget to Reward yourself. Positive reinforcement will help keep you motivated. Set a goal and once you've reached it, reward yourself. Buy yourself some bath bombs (and actually take a bath with them), eat chocolate, buy yourself cool ghoulish workout clothes, eat more chocolate, drink wine that comes from a bottle, then eat more chocolate. Okay, maybe that's too much chocolate, but you get the point. Love yourself and don't forget to move your body. If I can save one writer from becoming an ancient petrified vampire, my job here is done.

Bonus: Here is my Wicked Workout Playlist on Spotify to get you started. Add to it, use what you like, discard the rest. And have fun!

Stay beautifully haunted, Night Writers,
♥ Shadow.

Note: I'm not affiliated with any of the companies or links I've provided in this post.


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Monday, November 12, 2018

Night Writer - Deborah Schaumberg


I'm so excited to introduce to you to Night Writer, Deborah Schaumberg and the awesomely dark world of her book, The Tombs. I fell in love with this book at first sight, but it is sooo much more than a pretty cover.  So, strike a candle and follow me to the dark side.





About Deborah Schaumberg


Originally from Brooklyn, Deborah Schaumberg grew up renovating old houses with her family where she and her father would walk the rooms making up ghost stories. She studied architecture in New Orleans, loving the crumbling plantations, creepy cemeteries, and tales of voodoo magic. It was on a trek in Nepal that she imagined a girl with the ability to see energy, and the seed of THE TOMBS was planted. HarperTeen published THE TOMBS, her debut young adult novel, in February 2018. She lives with her family and dog in Maryland, just outside DC. She collects old bottles and her favorite holiday is Halloween. Visit her online at www.deborahschaumbnerg.com.




About Deborah's Book

THE TOMBS.

New York, 1882. A dark, forbidding city, and no place for a girl with unexplainable powers.

Sixteen-year-old Avery Kohl pines for the life she had before her mother was taken. She fears the mysterious men in crow masks who locked her mother in the Tombs asylum for being able to see what others couldn’t. Avery denies the signs in herself, focusing instead on her shifts at the ironworks factory and keeping her inventor father out of trouble. Other than secondhand tales of adventure from her best friend, Khan, an ex-slave, and caring for her falcon, Seraphine, Avery spends her days struggling to survive.

Like her mother’s, Avery’s powers refuse to be contained. When she causes a bizarre explosion at the factory, she has no choice but to run from her lies, straight into the darkest corners of the city. Avery must embrace her abilities and learn to wield their power—or join her mother in the cavernous horrors of the Tombs. And the Tombs has secrets of its own: strange experiments are being performed on ‘patients’…and no one knows why.

Deborah Schaumberg’s gripping debut melds history and fantasy, taking readers on a breathless trip across a teeming turn-of-the-century New York, and asks the question: Where can you hide in a city that wants you buried?

My Q&A with Deborah Schaumberg


Was there anything that drew you to this genre?

So many things! Dark gas-lit streets, creepy mad doctors, a gruesome asylum…
I love throwing my characters into dark and disturbing settings and seeing how they find their way out. 1882 New York has tons of atmospheric imagery to draw upon.


What do you enjoy about writing for Young Adults?

I love writing for young adults. Between the ages of thirteen and eighteen we go through the most confusing and tumultuous time of our lives. We are trying to figure out who we are and what is important to us. I love dealing with characters that are going through all that. Also, teen readers get so into their books, I love their passion.

What is your favorite Paranormal/Dark/Gothic novel?

There are so many, but I just read Kerri Maniscalco’s STALKING JACK THE RIPPER, and really loved it. My favorite classic gothic novel is WUTHERING HEIGHTS by Emily Brontë.


What is your favorite Gothic Motif/Theme/Element?

Once again it’s hard to pick just one, but I would say madness and places of madness, (asylums), are the darkest and creepiest elements. Especially during the Victorian times when mental illness was feared and misunderstood. I also use the crow as a gothic motif in THE TOMBS. They represent mystery and death.

Which resource/s helped you the most in researching and/or writing your novel?

I read many books and studied websites about life in turn of the century New York, but my favorite bit of research was learning about falcons from a real falconer in Pennsylvania, Mike Dupuy. He introduced me to his birds and taught me what it’s like to raise them. A peregrine falcon plays an important role in THE TOMBS.

What's next for you? Is there anything you can tell us about it?

I am writing a book about the strange and unique experiences of a young girl growing up during World War Two. And she is a real person. That’s all I can say for now.

Do you have any advice or insights for other Dark and Gothic Writers?

There is so much information on-line but I think museums are an awesome way to gather information in a more sensory way. Two that I recommend are The Mütter Museum in Philadelphia, and The Museum of Edgar Allan Poe, in Richmond, Virginia.

Let us know where we can stalk you?

Website: DeborahSchaumberg.com

Instagram: debschaumberg

Twitter: @debschaumberg

Facebook: WriterDSchaumberg

Goodreads: TheTombs

Thank you, Shadow Leitner, for hosting me on your blog!

You are so welcome, Deborah! Thank you for sharing so much with us.


As always, stay beautifully haunted, Night Writers,
♥ Shadow.

Monday, September 10, 2018

Night Writer - Leigh Goff



Come sit for a spell while I visit with Author Leigh Goff and talk to her about Witches, her books and writing Dark Fiction for Young Adults and the Adults who love to read them, and did I mention Witches. Did I mention how much I LOVE Witches? 

Alrighty then, let's begin.






About Leigh Goff

I live in Annapolis, Maryland, and I've always loved to write. Fun fact--I recently learned that I am the eighth great-granddaughter of an accused Chesapeake witch, and I didn’t stumble upon that interesting bit of info until after I wrote Bewitching Hannah. So I can say I’ve got witch in my blood! I'm also a University of Maryland grad and a member of SCBWI.




About her Books



















Bewitching Hannah, 2017 from Mirror World Publishing.

Sixteen-year-old Hannah Fitzgerald has always known she is descended from a royal legacy of dark magic. Although a stranger to her coven in Annapolis, she is no stranger to grief and denial. However, when an ancient prophecy reveals the rise of a young, powerful witch and the impending death of another, she realizes she can no longer afford to suppress the magic that has taken away so much. She seeks out the frighteningly scarred, yet mysterious W who is destined to change her life, but even he cannot prepare her for the danger that lies ahead.
Engaged in a deadly game and not knowing whom her true rival is, Hannah isn't certain she will survive, and if she loses, she may lose everything, including the ones she loves.

  









Disenchanted, 2015 from Mirror World Publishing.
A forbidden love. A dark curse. An impossible choice... Descended from a powerful Wethersfield witch, sixteen-year-old Sophie is struggling to hide her awkwardly emerging magic, but that's the least of her worries. When a dangerous thief tries to steal her mysterious heirloom necklace, she is rescued by the one person she's forbidden to fall for, a descendant of the man who condemned her ancestor to hang. He carries a dark secret that could destroy them both unless Sophie learns how to tap into the mysterious power of her diamond bloodcharm. She will have to uncover dark secrets from both of their families' wicked pasts and risk everything, including her soul to save them from a witch's true love curse, but it will take much more than that.


My Q&A with Leigh Goff


Was there anything specific that drew you to this genre?
I chose YA because I love to read it and it’s fun to write. I get to revisit the world from a sixteen-year-old’s point of view, which is a time of taking risks, feeling things intensely, and anticipating what’s to come. In YA the main character’s experiences are new and exciting. She’s discovering who she is and what she wants in life. It’s awesome!!

What do you enjoy about writing books for kids and teens?

My books appeal to kids and teens, but I don’t eliminate adults and thank goodness since half of YA readers are over eighteen (including me!). I find that YA stories, in general, are stories that have the same lessons and adventures with the same complexity as adult novels. However, in YA there is more emotional intensity and a coming of age perspective.

What is your favorite Paranormal/Dark/Gothic novel?
A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness is a favorite that has been made into a TV series starring Matthew Goode (no release date yet!!) and The Rules of Magic, the prequel to Practical Magic, by Alice Hoffman. I have an affinity for witches. What can I say?

What is your favorite Gothic motif/theme/element? Any particular reason why?
Strange and mysterious settings are a favorite. I like to take my readers to places where otherworldly events happen such as Castle Dracula in Bram Stoker’s Dracula. One of my favorite settings to write in Bewitching Hannah was the old Calvert family chapel where Hannah’s love interest resides. Here’s how I described it.
Candlelight danced in a side window of the two-story, semi-hexagonal, brick chapel that looked like it had been abandoned a century before. My eyes flashed wide and without thinking, I threw my other leg over and pushed off. My body crashed to the hardened earth, rattling my bones. Ignoring the unpleasant jolt, I bounced up and raced toward the light.
I staggered to a standstill and cupped a hand to my mouth. “W?” I whispered into the breeze. My heart thumped fast as my imagination reached its peak.
I tiptoed along the cracked brick path where moss chewed away at the gray mortar. I inched closer to the narrow double doors, my curiosity dying to be indulged.
I reached for the handle, expecting it to be locked. With a click, it released. The scent of candle smoke and incense wafted past me as I peered into the glowing sanctuary with cautious eyes.
The imposing entrance segued into the main part of the old family chapel. Shadows flickered across the white wall as candlelight streamed down from an ornate iron chandelier cradling clear-colored hurricanes. Angelic sculptures hung between the arched windows and beneath the cloud-painted ceiling that Michelangelo himself would have envied, four wooden pews graced each side of the aisle.
I tiptoed farther in and spotted another black-lined white envelope on the altar. I was definitely in the right place.

Which resource/s helped you the most in researching for or writing your series?
I use a lot of exotic plants and flowers in my witch characters’ gardens, spells, and potions so I often refer to an online plant guide to understand the real effects they might have in a fictional recipe.  I also like to use a Victorian flower language guide, which explains the meanings of various flowers and flower combinations. Here’s an example of Sophie from Disenchanted recalling the meaning of a specific flower combination.
I stuffed the flashlight back in my pocket and plucked tiny flowers from the lemon verbena and valerian and a red velvety petal from a dwarf rose. I rubbed them together in my palms and brought my hands to my nose, unable to resist inhaling the sweet citrus scent. The smell summoned memories of summers long gone, but I struggled to recall what the combination meant. Was it protection and luck or purification? No. I shook my head and took another sniff. Hmm. Amantibus something. Ugh, I thought. The meaning hit me like a falling tree. I gasped. The combo was “lovers uniting.” The flowers were the main ingredients in Aunt Janie’s Forbidden Passion Potion. I wiped my damp hands against my shorts. That was not what I needed, standing alone in the garden. Bleh. 
What’s next for you? Is there anything you can tell us about it?
I’m working on my third YA novel. It’s tentatively titled Diamonds & Pearls and it takes place in a fictional Maryland coastal town. The main character doesn’t know it yet, but she’s not who or what she thinks she is and it has everything to do with a secret her mom and the sea goddesses in town are keeping.


And finally, is there anything else you would like to share with others who write or are looking to write YA Paranormal or Dark/Gothic fiction? Any tips? Any groups they should be checking out? Any places they should be visiting, etc.
Join a writing group such as RWA or SCBWI. These groups are a great resource for promoting your books and helping you network with other writers in your area. Also, find a great proofreader/editor, and make time to write. When you’re ready to query, I highly recommend visiting www.QueryTracker.net to research and narrow down the best agents for your manuscript.
Where can we find you?


I’ll be at the Cascades Library in Sterling, Virginia for their annual Eat Local/Read Local event on Saturday, September 29th from 10am-1pm. If you’re in the area, please visit me!  If you can’t make it, you can find me at the following links.

Thank you so much, Leigh, for sharing your brand of magic with us!
As always, stay beautifully haunted, Night Writers!
♥ Shadow.