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


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


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.


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.

  • 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.)
  • 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.

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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