Updates

Hello again dear reader, it’s been quite a while and I owe you some updates.

First things first, the absence: I have a wonderful job that inspires my writing. But due to the work load and yearly adjustment period, I had to drop most things to focus on work and readjusting to it. I also took this time to plan writerly things, including the blog/website. At any rate, I missed this month’s post. Next month, I’ll be starting up again, back on schedule (first Monday of the month).

Now on to the stuff I most want to talk about. I’m a writer through and through, but I’m also a reader. I’m passionate about dark fiction, both reading and writing it. Therefore, I’ve decided to add book reviews to the mix. Every other month (starting next month), I’ll do a book review. The months I don’t do book reviews will be the usual. Post talking about the writing life, my inspirations, and upcoming projects. I’m really looking forward to this, and hope y’all will enjoy it as much as I will.

One final thing: I had opened up a giveaway in July, but despite leaving it open longer than planned to allow more entries, there still weren’t enough entries to merit a giveaway. I love giveaways, so we’ll try again in the future.

Well there you go. Now we’re all on the same page, and hopefully that answered any questions y’all might have had. See you in October!

 

 

Ghostly Giveaway

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I’ve always been fond of the idea of giving something away to party go-ers as they come to celebrate your birthday. With my birthday occurring this month (this week in fact), I thought it would be fun to celebrate by giving away a book.

Earlier this month, I mentioned The Phantom Coach (edited by Michael Sims), a collection of brilliant Victorian Era ghost stories. Now, you have a chance to own it. If you win, you’ll get a brand new, hardback edition of the book, delivered right to your door!

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Giveaway Details:

When: July 16th, 9 am EST – August 16th, midnight EST 2018.

How to Enter: Make a post on this blog entry or Tweet me @aemoseley using the hashtag #1ghostlygiveaway. Tell me your favorite horror, ghost, or supernatural story and why. For two entries tell me your favorite character from my Secrets of the Lion series and why. Your whys can be as long or as short as you like. If you tell me your favorite story and your favorite character from the series, you’ll get three (3) entries!

How to Win: On August 17th, 2018 I will use a random number generator to select the winner. I’ll then make a blog post announcing the winner and announce the winner on Twitter as well. If you’re the winner, you’ll have 72 hours (aka 3 days) to respond so that I can send you your prize. If the winner doesn’t respond during that time, I’ll take their names out of the pool and draw again.

Conditions and Disclaimers:

+ This giveaway isn’t affiliated with Twitter, WordPress, Michael Sims, or Book Depository in any way.

+ No purchase necessary to enter.

+ A maximum of three (3) entries per person.

+ You must be 18 or older to enter.

+ You must be able to receive books from Book Depository. To see a list of what countries Book Depository serves, please click here.

+ You must comfortable giving me your mailing address so that I can mail you the book. I will not use the mailing address for any other purpose.

Summer Ghost Stories

Darkness is weird. It’s simultaneously comforting and terrifying. Comforting, because the blinding lights and thunderous sounds of the day are softened. Terrifying because do you want to stumble through the dark and step on that Lego you should have picked up earlier?

Exactly.

I tend to get these sorts of thoughts during the summer. While some people feel most alive in the summer sun, I feel most alive when darkness takes over. In the summer, the darkness is my friend. It’s filled with noisy crickets, pensive owls, and whimsical fireflies. But to make summer nights perfect, I need a good ghost story.

I’m always on the hunt for a good ghost collection, and I’m always willing to share them. My current favorite is The Phantom Coach, edited by Michael Sims. The title comes from the short story of the same name. Overall, this collection is brilliant. Many of the stories are in first person, and all are unsettling. They stand the test of time making them perfect to read aloud around the bonfire.

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If you’d like something a bit more modern, try out Tamsin by Peter S. Beagle. It’s a stand alone novel about a young woman reflecting on the time she moved to England and into a very haunted house. While not horror, it has unsettling moments making it a brilliant read. Again a first person story, so it’s great to read aloud. Just keep the tissues handy for the ending.

Of course you can go full on modern with the Asylum series by Madeline Roux. It’s genuine horror in third person. Ghosts come back with a vengeance in this one, and it’s beautifully done. If you decide to check out the Asylum series, note that due to accurate portrayals of what happened in mental institutions and violence, this series can be quite triggering.

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I could go on, leaving ruined shelves in my wake as I give you more recommendations, but I’ll leave it at that.  After all, there’s only so much one can do in a summer night.

Speaking of scary stories, if you’re into horror you should check out Nightmare News. I’m a contributor to the site, and it’s a joy writing articles for them. Nightmare News covers everything from books, to music, to movies. If it’s horror, it’s probably on the site. If you want to take a look at my articles specifically, you can check them out here. But I recommend taking a look around at other articles too. Nightmare News is filled with hidden gems.

While there will no doubt be an overlap in topics (I am a dark fiction author after all), what you see here is exclusive to this site. What’s on Nightmare News will be exclusive to that site. This will keep things fresh for both sites and hopefully allow y’all to get the most variety.

 

On Birds and Writer Blocks

The weather where I am is nice. When I’m not nearly drowning in all the rain that is. Yesterday was a lovely day though. Sunny, humid, but with a wind at just the right moments. It was a good day.

Namely because I got to hold a bird. Now I live in a house with many windows, in the middle of the woods. Birds tend to see their reflection in the windows, think it’s a bird invading their territory then charge, slamming into the window and sometimes stunning themselves. In this case a female goldfinch landed on her back, too stunned to right herself. I went outside and righted her, a towel and container for her to rest in at the ready.

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Female juvenile goldfinch; allaboutbirds.org

Usually if a bird is stunned, I set them right, make sure nothing bothers them, but leave them alone to let them recover.

This time around nature changed my plans. I picked her up, and tried to place her in the blanket so she could rest, but she would not let go of my fingers. I never realized that birds could hold on to something that tightly with such small and spindly legs. I sat with the bird for ten or so minutes, studying her. Letting her poop on my hand, look around, and recuperate. I didn’t think it was possible to bond with an animal in such a short time. But by the time the little one flew off I had a sense of peace that’s stuck with me ever since.

In a way, I felt the bird’s accident was a nice parallel to how I feel when I’m hit with writer’s block. I’m startled, not quite sure if my head is on right. I can see where I want to go, but can’t actually get there. My usual bout of writer’s block is not a lack of ideas, but too many ideas mushed together with the uncomfortable need to write something I don’t have an idea for.

Writer’s block is probably the most dangerous part of being a writer. It can be terrifying. The want and need to create is deeply ingrained. And then to feel as if we can’t access that part of ourselves? Sometimes writer blocks (or other creative blocks) can last for years. But it’s not the end. I’ve seen people stop writing for years, then start it up again, stronger and better at it than ever.

Writing is a solitary thing, but it doesn’t have to be a lonely one. Isolation can only help one so much. Self care, friends who take part in creative activities, and taking time to explore (however you feel you explore best), can lead to getting back on your feet.

And of course, sometimes, you just gotta let the crap out before you take off. Rant, rave, throw a hissy fit at a wall, whatever it takes. But get the bad stuff out, then start slowly moving forward.

It’s something I’ve noticed when I’ve helped a bird after they’ve run into a window. Once they’re ready to fly they leave a parting gift (thanks, but ew), and fly off. Just a little ways. But within a couple of minutes of their first flight, they’re flying like nothing happened. It happens every time. It’s a good philosophy.

Being stuck is always a struggle. It can last for a brief time, or for years. My most recent bout was for a couple of months, although I went through a block for a period of years. I’ve seen it happen with my other writer friends too.

I guess all of us need to be a little bit of a goldfinch. Get the crap out and fly off to the next adventure.

Short Hiatus

I know things get spooky when it gets quiet (you never know when the monsters are going to pounce), but I swear I’m quite alive and not a ghost or some sort of monstrous beast.

I won’t get terribly detailed, but in short transferring to my dream job (one that allows me plenty of time to write and peruse my creative passions), has eaten up my time. And so has my six month old puppy. She likes to eat a lot of things including me.

Posts will resume in June on the normal schedule (first Monday).

The Hellsing Effect

Nazis, vampires, religious struggles, and near endless blood. This is the story that I fell in love with as a young teenager. The Hellsing manga (by Kohta Hirano) is a dark and bizarre tale of two Christian organizations (one Catholic and the other the Protestant organization, Hellsing) discovering that Nazis are not a thing of the past. In fact, the Nazis are behind the rising death count and the creation of numerous artificial vampires. Hellsing is a delightful blend of historical fiction and futuristic themes, while tackling philosophical topics.

When I first discovered Hellsing I was too young to be reading it, so I snuck in readings at the bookstore. Knowing that the next volume might be on the shelves filled me with excitement.  These readings became formative for me. Over the top? Absolutely. But the villains are true villains, unapologetic for their crimes and in love with their own depravity while our heroes are faced with near impossible odds and show steady growth. Not to mention, the psychology that is found throughout the series is brilliant. I devoured it.

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Hellsing taught me in both pictures and words that extreme violence can be tempered with in-depth explorations of the human psyche. It was the first example I had where everyone was clearly a hero in their own story, yet not actually a hero; a concept that’s talked about frequently but hard to pull off with grace. Perhaps the most important concept that Hellsing explores is one that has wormed its way into my subconscious: embracing one’s darkness doesn’t mean that one has to give up their humanity; perhaps one can only be truly human after exploring it. And explore it I did.

I’ve been a morbid soul since I was young. Reading Hellsing allowed me to give myself permission to explore my own darkness and the stories within. While my first short story is a light, heartwarming romance (according to reviewers), there was a tinge of darkness in it. This darkness was greatly expanded upon in my short story, “Of Secrets Letters and Lions.” In the sequel, Of Secrets and Sound, I felt like I was truly delving into that darkness I so love. Whatever comes next will follow that path.

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When I first discovered Hellsing I wasn’t interested in writing. Looking back I can see how the series has impacted me as a storyteller. Hellsing showed me that the most intriguing stories can be found in dark places. Because it’s over the top, people often miss the subtle nuances of the story. I’ll probably never write something as gory as Hellsing, but I hope my stories can be flavored with hidden themes and subtly similar to what I found in the series. After all, good horror is suspenseful because there’s more at stake then just losing an arm. But perhaps the most important thing I learned from Hellsing is that no matter how dark, people will gravitate towards a well told story and life-like characters.

A Quiet Start

If Scrooge and the Grinch are icons of Christmas displeasure then I would be an icon of New Years Eve displeasure. Then again, this year, health issues might have something to do with that. Obviously, I have to do things a little differently.

The upcoming year will be a quiet one for me.  I swore to myself after releasing Of Secrets and Sound that I would take a break from the Victorian era. Ah, but some things I can’t let go of. Not long after the novella release I got an idea for a short story set in the same time period. So I’ll be writing that story and submitting it to an anthology. While I’m working on anthology submissions (as always fingers crossed, there’s never any guarantee), I’ll be outlining numerous stories. Many of these are fantasy, but all of them hold a dark edge to them. Some of them have a Victorian slant. I’ll also be doing more in depth research for the final installment of the Secrets of the Lion series. Of course it is one of the things I’ll be outlining this coming year. As I said, it will be a quiet year for me writing wise, but it will set me up for some really lovely stories in the future. If you consider dark and deadly things lovely that is.

I suppose I should give some credit to the past year before I end this post. I learned a lot in many areas (and I think that writers are always trying to grow so they can keep writing) and I unleashed the second installment in the Secrets of the Lion series, Of Secrets and Sound. If you need to read the prequel, you can do so for free from your preferred e-book distributor (Barnes & Noble, iBooks, Kobo, Smashwords). It is on Amazon but Amazon has yet to price match the story. Obviously as soon as that happens, I’ll be sure to let y’all know.

No matter if you’re a Scrooge of the New Year like me, or overjoyed with the possibilities before you, I hope that you have many adventures (if you’re into that kind of thing) and find numerous books you love this year.

P.S. If you need a pick-me-up, an excuse to procrastinate, are a dog lover, or just want to pass the time, you might want to explore my Instagram. It’s quickly becoming filled with my new partner in crime, Emma the Labradoodle.

 

 

 

 

Of Secrets and Sound Release

Five years ago I started the Secrets of the Lion series. Now, “Of Secrets, Letters, and Lions” finally has its sequel. Of Secrets and Sound was both a challenge and a joy to write. It’s been a long time coming. I’m delighted to finally unleash it on the world. Especially on one of my favorite days, Friday the 13th. You can find the novella nearly everywhere: Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks, Kobo, and Smashwords

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Of Secrets and Sound picks up where “Of Secrets, Letters, and Lions” left off, following the Hunt family as they search for answers to the mysterious plague slowly taking over London. While there are plenty of familiar faces, there are new ones too, namely Edward Rollin. Told through both Edward’s letters and through third person scenes with Abby and her family, Of Secrets and Sound raises the stakes and unearths more clues about the mastermind behind it all.

If you’re delightfully nosy like Abby, you can prowl through my Instagram feed throughout the day for updates on the book release party I’m hosting tonight. If that’s not your cup of tea, treat yourself to the dark historical fiction that is the Secrets of the Lion series.

Of Dire Dreams (an October Reading List)

October is one of my favorite months. In the south, the weather is finally starting to feel like fall. The leaves are turning their warmest colors. There’s no place you can walk without that satisfying crunch of leaves underfoot. My morbid soul comes to life as I watch the plastic and inflatable un-dead rise from lawns. And there’s little better than the smell of burning leaves, an open invitation to snuggle into your favorite hoodie and gather around the bonfire to read ghost stories.

Yeah, October is one of my favorite months. While I’ve never been a big celebrator of Halloween, I do love the holiday. A few years back I started a bookish tradition of reading only horror and ghostly books during October. A little bit of honoring the holiday, a little bit of having an excuse to read horror (not that one needs an excuse). I’m not sure if I’ll be able to finish every book on this list as I’m releasing Of Secrets and Sound this month (Friday the 13th). Even so, I’m optimistic. Here is this year’s reading list:

May Bird and the Ever After (Jodi Lynn Anderson) 

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Goodreads ~ Amazon ~ Barnes & Noble ~ Kobo

This isn’t actually horror but it is one of the best ghost stories I’ve ever read. May’s accidental journey into the afterlife with her cat is whimsical and disturbing in equal measures. The friendships, world building, and characters make this an excellent read for all ages.

A God in the Shed (J-F. Dubeau)

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Goodreads ~ Amazon ~ Barnes & Noble ~ Kobo

The small town of Saint-Ferdinand has been plagued by a serial killer. Thanks to the efforts of Inspector Stephen Crowley, the killer is now behind bars. But a dark entity shows itself to young Venus McKenzie, revealing the twisted past of the town and murders. This book promises to be everything I look for in horror with a touch of weird fiction.

Dracula (Bram Stoker)

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Goodreads ~ Amazon ~ Barnes & Noble ~ Kobo

I have a fondness for classics. I think there’s something lovely about a Victorian era gothic. Of course, Dracula is one of the most famous. Vampires have always been my preferred paranormal creature, and this is the book that brought them into the spotlight. We all know the story,  a young man goes to help Dracula arrange things for his move to England.  Strange and unsettling things happen, and our hero starts to think his host isn’t quite human. Romance, drama, and horror. I’ll spare you the vampire pun, but I’m quite looking forward to reading this one.

 

An Appealing Darkness

We come into this world knowing very little. But all of us quickly find out what we like. You see, the trick to writing is not ‘write what you know’, it’s ‘write what you like’. It took me years to figure that out, but thankfully I did.

It was the darker tales that appealed to me. I liked the pressing urgency of The Demonologist, the brooding darkness of The Plucker and Coraline, and the detailed world building in A Madness of Angels. Over the years of being a passionate reader, I discovered I was madly in love with dark speculative fiction, whatever form that took. If you’re here, no doubt you know that’s exactly what I write.

Rife with history, supernatural elements, and mystery, Of Secrets and Sound is the latest installment of my Victorian era series, Secrets of the Lion. It’s the long awaited sequel to Of Secrets, Letters, and Lions. Appropriately it will be released into the wild Friday, October 13th.