Monday, November 20, 2017

Night Writer - Kathryn Hills

Romance author, ghost hunter, and lover of things that go bump in the night.
Kathryn Hills ~ Hauntingly Romantic

I am about to give you a treat. It's Thanksgiving and I'm so thankful to have been introduced to the Hauntingly Romantic Author, Kathryn Hills and her book Haunting Highland House. I think you will be too.

About Kathryn

The rich history and many mysteries of New England are the perfect backdrop for Kathryn’s books. Winding roads lined by old stone walls, forgotten cemeteries, grand homes with shadowy pasts... All sparks for her imagination. Whether it’s a quaint seaside town or the vibrant city of Boston, it’s easy for this “hauntingly romantic” author to envision the past mingling with the present.
Taking it further—to have her characters experience the past or present, opposite to “when” they belong—is the fun part. No surprise, some of Kathryn’s favorite stories involve time travel. And ghosts! Sprinkle in some magic, and you’re off on a great adventure.
When not writing, she’s exploring history and taking photographs of the beautiful landscape that surrounds her. Kathryn shares her colonial home with those she loves most—her wonderful husband, daughter, and three crazy dogs.

Haunting Highland House

She’s looking to escape her man troubles. Instead, she finds the man of her dreams.
There’s only one problem. He’s dead.

Living in a haunted house and uncovering a gateway in time were not in the job description when Samantha Merrill agreed to be the property manager of Highland House. Old photos of the reclusive master of the manor captivate her, yet she’s terrified when he appears out of nowhere. How can Robert Pennington be making love to her by the parlor fireplace when he died over a century ago? 
Robert Pennington is a powerful industrialist charged with caring for an ailing father, a meddling mother, and two wayward siblings. Weary of his burdens, he longs for change. Is he ready for a woman from the future? His disciplined world turns upside down when the mysterious Samantha Merrill crashes his sister’s birthday ball. He is wildly attracted to this intriguing beauty, but is it magic or mischief motivating her? When Sam vanishes before his eyes, he knows only one thing for certain.  He wants her back.

Dressed in the same clothes she remembered—tight pants and boots, a billowing white shirt—tonight the shirt was open exposing his chest. And what a chest. Thick muscles tapered down to well-defined abs. Dark hair trailed into a thin line, disappearing beneath his waistband. She swallowed hard, redirecting her stare to his profile. His hair was longer, more unruly, his jaw darkened by a beard. It had only been one day since she’d seen him, and yet he looked weary and worn now.
Summoning all her strength, she stepped into the light before him. Her heart pounded as if it would explode right out of her chest. “Why are you haunting me?” she demanded in her bravest ghost hunter voice.
“Haunting?” He gave a bitter laugh though he still did not look at her. “Is that what I am doing? I believed you to be the spirit, sent to torment me.” Vacant eyes traveled up her body and then widened. “Samantha!” He jumped to his feet and snared her wrist. “Dear God, where have you been?”
“Let me go,” she cried, twisting in his grasp.
“But Samantha, it’s me.” He pulled her close.
“Help!” She yelled, though no one would hear.
“I’ll not harm you, I swear.” His arms encircled her. “How could I hurt the woman I love?”
“No,” she cried fighting with renewed strength. “I don’t know you.”
“You do, Samantha, remember. Remember me,” he commanded. He captured her face, forcing her to look at him. His voice dropped to a pleading whisper. “It’s just the doorway working its evil. You know me. You must.”
Sam went still. She dared to meet his gaze. He was sinfully gorgeous, like some dark fallen angel. Golden firelight flickered across his features. It was madness. She was alone in a far off mansion with a stranger, and yet…
Sanity fought for a toehold. “I’m not who you think I am,” she rasped barely able to speak.
He caressed her cheek. “I know everything about you.”
“Don’t,” she warned, looking away. She squirmed against him until he released her with a tortured groan.
“Then all is lost. There is nothing more.” Wavering as if about to collapse, he sank to the couch. “You are only a dream then, another hallucination. Fool doctors with their laudanum.” He shook his head as if to clear it. “I’ve longed for you, night after night, alone in the darkness. Prayed you would come back to me.” His gaze roamed over her. “I remember everything. Your hair falling over me, the smell of your skin, your sweet lips parting. How can you not?”
Mesmerized, Sam was powerless against the dark magic he wove. Solid ground crumbled beneath her feet. Her body pulsed where they had touched. The very air around them seemed electrified.
With a low growl, he pulled her down into the space between his legs and wrapped his arms around her again. This time, she didn’t fight. “You knew me once, took me deep into your body. Let me love you. If only we could travel back in time.”

Book Trailer

What’s next from Kathryn?

Hellfire and Handbaskets – A Time Traveler’s Journey (Book 2), published by The Wild Rose Press, is set to release in early 2018.

Here’s a teaser...

Hellfire and Handbaskets

Halloween night is the wildest shift anyone can pull. It’s hell in the ER. Dr. Rick Hauser wouldn’t have it any other way. He’s an Army veteran, a hardened combat medic, who thinks he’s seen it all. Until she storms into his life.

What’s left of Hauser’s heart is still on the battlefield. Last thing he needs is to get tangled up with a mystery woman. But when Rick finds Amelia on the streets, he ignores the warning shots, firing off in his head, and takes her home. In less than twenty-four hours, she’s upended his self-protected world. Even his dog, Rocky, is in love.

Amelia Pennington is not just a pretty face. She’s a time-traveler. A medical student from 1895, forced to flee a madman. She’s been in trouble before, but this time everything she loves is at risk. Can a reluctant hero be the key she’s searching for?

Q & A:

Was there anything specific that drew you to this genre?
It was a dark and stormy night. Funny, I know. And oh so cliché, but for me those words always spark interest. A heroine (hero, or both), alone in a haunted mansion or scary castle. Unknown dangers. The weird, mysterious, and frightening. Strange things, lurking around dark corners. Shivers, and goosebumps, and I love it!
My affair with gothic romance started early. While others in elementary school were reading babysitting adventures, tales about animals, and biographies of famous people, my favorite books were spooky. Kids versions of Dracula and Frankenstein. My poor mother. Makes me wonder if she had to sit through teacher conferences, hearing about my odd taste in reading material. Although, she never said. Probably because she loved a good story as much as me.
In my teen years, I discovered mainstream romance. I became a big fan of the romance genre overall. Historicals, contemporaries, mysteries, and later paranormals as they grew in popularity. Far-off lands, grandiose adventures. Plus, the guarantee of a happily-ever-after made romances my go-to reads throughout college, and still to this day. Yet I’ve never forgotten my roots as a gothic reader.

What is your favorite Dark/Gothic novel?
I have so many, it’s hard to pick just one. They span centuries. But, as I mentioned, Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1897), Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (1818), Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey (1817) Washington Irving’s Legend of Sleepy Hollow (1820), Arthur Conan Doyle’s Hound of the Baskervilles (1902) Daphne de Maurier’s Jamaica Inn (1936), Ann Rice’s Interview With A Vampire (1976) and The Mummy or Ramses the Damned (1989), and Elizabeth Kostova’s The Historian (2005) make my list of all-time favorites.
I’ll share one more—a favorite because my mother introduced me to it—The Uninvited by Dorothy Macardle (1942). Here’s the teaser from my old book’s tattered jacket…
One exuberant April morning Roderick Fitzgerald and his sister Pamela were exploring the famous cliffs of North Devon in search of a house. An alluring gorse-lined smuggler’s lane led them to the derelict but beautiful Cliff End, untenanted for fifteen years. The owner spoke vaguely of “disturbances” the last tenant had experienced…
Yup, hooked! There’s also a 1944 movie version, starring Ray Milland and Ruth Hussey, if you enjoy black and white cinema.

What is your favorite Gothic motif/theme/element? Any particular reason why?
Hands down, the haunted mansion. I love exploring great homes with troubled pasts. Haunted settings, for me, are especially exciting when characters can’t escape the conflict unless they work together, face their worst fears, take on the ghosts, slay the monsters. Mysterious, secluded, abandoned, often diseased, or decaying destinations… Step it up hero and heroine if you want your happy ending!

Which resource/s helped you the most in researching for or writing your series?
I rely heavily on personal experiences, many of which are paranormal. Exploring haunted locations is a regular thing for me. Living in New England, there are ample opportunities. Once impressions are set in my mind—my muse kicked into overdrive after a spooky adventure—I set about researching the history. For example, Haunting Highland House was inspired by a Victorian mansion on Cape Cod–Highfield Hall in Falmouth, MA. It’s a real place. You can visit. The history surrounding the time-setting (the late 1800’s) is something I explored later, through countless books and in every form of research material I could find. Facts meld with my imagination and personal experiences to create a book world.

Do you have plans to continue writing in this genre? If so, is there anything you would be willing to share about it?
Absolutely! These types of stories, inspired by paranormal investigations and haunted history, are a huge part of what I’ve got coming up. Book 2 in my Time Traveler’s Journey series (Hellfire and Handbaskets) lures readers deeper into the frightening world of time-travel and the dark magic that created it. The setting is the city of Boston, a modern-day hospital, and a medical school in 1895. And, the “Lair of Lucifer” a.k.a. America’s first subway system. An ominous place, under construction beneath the teeming city streets.
These books also explore woman’s issues—aspirations, sexuality, and their inevitable clashes with the values of society. Central themes of Gothic romance, going back to stories like Dracula. I challenge the notion of a “woman’s place,” both in turbulent Victorian America and today. Whether she’s a modern woman traveling back in time, or a lady from the 1800’s stuck in our present day, it’s tough for my heroines. But their heroes get dragged along for the ride, so it’s all good. 😊

Any advice or insights for other Gothic writers?
Write what you love. And if possible, experience first-hand what you’re writing about. A wise man—renowned paranormal investigator John E.L. Tenney—told me something inspiring. Paraphrasing here, he said… “If you can visit a haunted house, explore the mysteries of the universe, experience the paranormal safely, then do it. Your life will be richer for it.” Obviously, don’t put yourself in harm’s way or break any laws, but get out there. Visit a place, hear the sounds, smell the air. Feel it.
I hope my writing is enriched by my personal experiences. I know my imagination skyrockets when I hunt ghosts or stumble through history’s mysteries. I also hope I’ve inspired you (the reader and/or writer) to explore that “dark and stormy night.” You never know what you’ll discover. Maybe the best, new story. One I’ll put on my “favorites list.”

Where you can find Kathryn. 
Like, Follow, do what you must to stay connected, you will not regret it.


Twitter:  @AuthorKathrynH

Thank you so much for sharing, Kathryn!

And Thank You, Night Writers, as always, Stay Beautifully Haunted!

♥ Shadow

Monday, November 13, 2017

3 Tips for Writing Creepy Sounds + A Haunting Playlist

Writing Gothic fiction has so much to do with setting the atmosphere. While using all of the senses are important to creating this, sounds are a powerful emotional vehicle.  Not only do they evoke emotion they also can symbolize a character's internal environment.

I'm always challenging myself to find different ways to describe sounds that will bring that sense of foreboding or create a dark atmosphere. While there are certain words that incite an immediate eerie sense, sometimes it can feel clique, overused and readers may be desensitized to them. And meh, is never the reaction I want when writing dreadful things. Now, I'm by no means suggesting to never use these, but if every door creaks and there is a crash after every lightning flash, it might be time to switch it up a bit.

So, here are 3 tips for writing creepy sounds.

1. Add a sound description that one doesn't normally associate with the thing making the sound. For example, the birds barked from the treeline to warn us of what lay beyond. Or, the fire cackled mocking my attempts to concoct the perfect brew. You get the gist. Providing a sound that isn't expected naturally puts one at unease, consciously or unconsciously.

2. Use onomatopeia, by writing the sound itself. An example would be writing tick, tock as the sound of a clock. It places the reader deep within a character's experience. It is also a nice way to zoom in tight on a sound, silencing everything else. This a cinematic approach but can be just as powerful in the written form.

3. Use metaphors and similes. For example, the storm growled where it crouched on the ridge ready to pounce, and the floorboards moaned like an old woman beneath his feet. Sometimes attaching a creepy image to a sound can enhance its spookiness.

How do you approach writing eerie sounds? Let me know in the comments.

My Haunting Playlist for Writing.

Not all writers write to music. I am one that does. Music and sounds are both powerful in conveying emotions and immediately put me in the place I need to be to write a specific scene.  So, I thought I'd share the link to Shadow's Haunting Playlist on Spotify, my playlist of haunting tunes for writing. Enjoy and let me know if you have other tunes to add. I love to discover new haunting music.

As always, stay beautifully haunted,

♥ Shadow.