7 Books to Read (to help keep your spirits up)

Let me be clear, I’m a hardcore introvert. But these days I’m madly in love with people. I’m in awe at the good that so many are showing right now, in the big and small ways. I might like being alone, but in this time of chaos, I’m so grateful to be human. I’m also extremely grateful to the storytellers. In odd, scary, or hard times, I’ve always turn to books. Here’s what I’m currently reading (or re-reading) during this time. Hopefully you’ll find something here that catches your fancy and brings you some joy as well.

The Martian (Andy Wier): This is a love letter to human resilience, intelligence, and the way that people come together. It’s also a love letter to any geek, or any curious person out there. Reading about Mark and his potatoes on Mars always puts things into perspective for me.

Twilight (Stephenie Meyer): I won’t apologize for how much I love this book. Sometimes you just need some tragic, romantic, over the top melodrama in your life. Also, I’m totally in love with the writing style. For me, flaws and all, this book is pure escapism.

Clockwork Angel (Cassandra Clare): This is a superb story about Tessa who must come to terms with her life being torn apart. The book feels like a love letter to all of us who are a little odd. What’s even better is that you don’t have to be familiar with Clare’s other works to read this. It’s the perfect introduction to the Shadowhunters world.

Abarat (Clive Barker): Where do I start with this book? The paintings by the author are phenomenal, and Candy’s story is powerful. This book has gone so many places with me (literally!), and has helped me expand myself in so many ways. Adventure, resilience, and conquering fears/overwhelming uncertainty make this book an all time favorite of mine.

Job (The Bible): No matter your beliefs, the book of Job is a powerful one. Job is a man who has it all (literally) and loses it then becomes painfully, chronically ill. In a time where so many of us are struggling with health and doing our best to stay healthy, Job’s struggles still resonate deeply today. The themes of friendship and good and evil are also at the forefront. The book might be much older than any of us, but there’s no denying its power. Whenever I’m ill or feeling afraid, this book always comforts me.

The Lord of the Rings (J. R. R. Tolkien): I’m slowly making my way through this tome (after all, the three books are intended to be read as one), but it’s an absolute delight. The struggles Frodo and company face make mine feel much smaller in comparison. I love the extensive travel and world building. I feel much less confined after reading a chapter. For me this book slows me down, forces me to relax and enjoy the details. I’ve come to find that once I start looking for details in a book, it’s much easier to find small delights outside of them.

In the Wake of the Plague (Norman F. Cantor): This might seem a bit too on the nose, reading about the Black Death when we’re going through an epidemic/plague ourselves, but I can’t say how helpful it’s been for me to read about how humanity has overcome world wide illnesses before. This is hard to read simply because it hurts to read about people suffering, but this book has a lot to teach us. Both about the Black Death, and about the spread of modern viruses. It’s given me an even stronger respect for those who are on the front lines pushing towards a cure and for the health of the world.

Hopefully you’ve found a book or two that piques your interest. Whatever sort of thing suits your fancy, I hope you’re able to put aside the world for a little while and enjoy it. As for me, I’ll continue to read through my many books and of course, write. I’d love to hear what things you’re reading during this time (or anything interesting that you might be up to during all of this). May you and your loved ones stay healthy and safe.

Book Review: The Collector (and news!)

Before I get to the review, I have some news: It’s been long overdue, but I’ve started a newsletter. On the second Tuesday of the month, The Ghostly Tome will come to your inbox offering you a plethora of various exclusives including process insights, current projects, and excerpts, among other things.

Alright, enough of that, let’s get to the review shall we?

“As one, every doll along the hallway slowly turned its head to stare at me.” ~ The Collector

Synopsis: It’s not easy for Josie to move to her grandmother’s house in the middle of nowhere and start all over in a new school. Especially when her grandmother isn’t all there anymore, insisting that Josie and her sister follow three weird rules (no dolls, no open windows at night, and no playing near the house in the woods). The nightmares aren’t helping either. But things are made easier when Josie meets Vanessa. Impossibly cool and kind, Josie finally has a friend. Life is starting to feel a little more normal. But when Vanessa invites Josie to her house in the woods, Josie comes to realize that there’s more to her nightmares, her grandmother’s warnings, and to Vanessa. Unfortunately, Josie is short on time, and the woods are deadly and deep.

Thoughts: I work in an elementary school and a highlight of the year is the Schoolastic Book Fair. I love shopping in the book fair. It’s a great way to see what students are reading and support the school. But I had passed over The Collector a few times, even though my dark and morbid heart was drawn to it. I went to purchase two other (spooky) books. One of the parent volunteers asked if I had checked out The Collector. That sealed my fate. I turned around, got it and it became the third book I bought that day.

A couple of days later I started reading this book on my lunch break and nearly cried. Not only is Josie’s voice authentic, the pain she experiences (from being the new girl, and from trying to cope with understanding her grandmother’s Alzheimer) was treated so well. As someone who has been in both situations, I felt seen. To have that in a children’s book portrayed in such a real way was wonderful.

The fear factor of this story, for such a short story and one aimed at kids, was extremely well done. As an adult I was glad that I didn’t have any dolls around. The way the horror is woven into the every day lives of Josie and her family was thrilling. I flew through this book not because it was short (although as a children’s horror book it is on the slim side to be sure), but because the pacing and rising stakes made this an addictive read.

Despite its intended audience and short length, The Collector is a brilliant story about family and trusting in ones self that any horror enthusiast can enjoy. It really is a treat. But if you do decide to read it…you might want to get rid of your dolls first.

New Year, New Projects

I’ve never been a fan of the “new year, new start” mindset. It’s a holdover from when I was a child. Back then I believed that if you wanted to change something you should just do it. I still feel that way, although I’ve become a fair bit more lenient in this mindset. Sometimes, you really do need a marker of sorts to help you out. And sometimes, you just need a break (and to recover from a flu like illness).

For me it was certainly the latter. January/February have never been my favorite months, but I think I might have broken free from that this year. I’ve made a delightful amount of headway on a sort of secret project. Secret because I’m slowly releasing details, and not so secret because…well, the image is pretty self-explanatory. I recommend clicking the link to get the full view of the picture as it has more hints about the upcoming collection.

A blurred image of a sheet of paper on top of a magazine with a oxidized angel statue. The sheet of paper reads "Ghost/Haunted House Collection 1. The Copper Mirror"

While the full image shows 4 stories and their titles/working titles, I’ve actually gotten 7 out of the 15 stories planned. I’m currently working on the outlining process for those. When I had the idea for this collection, I was at work on my lunch break. I went to the recycling bin and grabbed a handful of paper. So I’ve been writing the outlines for horror stories on the back of unused first grade work sheets. Thankfully said sheets are firmly held on my clipboard, safe from innocent eyes.

While I’m loving this project, I’ve come to realize that I don’t quite know what I’m doing. I’m tweaking, and stretching, and squeezing the concepts I’ve come to love in my horror. This collection is pushing me in ways I didn’t realize I could, or would, push myself. I’m quite delighted by it, and in the coming months, as I release more details, I hope you will be too.

While I’ve seen a number of haunted house movies, few have stuck with me. And while I’ve read plenty of ghost stories, very few have actually been haunted house stories. I’m sure you see my problem.

But a good writing challenge always leads to a good “inspiration hunt” as I like to call it. Despite adoring the haunted house concept, my personal library is lacking in those kinds of books. I seriously have no idea how that happened, but thankfully it was something was easily mended! I’ve helped myself to two Darcy Coates books (The Haunting of Ashburn House and The Haunting of Rookward House), as well as going back to the classics and re-reading Poe. With that said, I would love to hear what sort of haunted house books (or movies!) you’re interested in! There’s a near endless amount of books out there, so there’s no way that any one person could know about them all. I love to discover what people are into, what stories make them question if that was their cat or something else in the house, only to remember they don’t own a cat, or any pet. Inspiration comes from all places and I will never say no to trying a new story. Especially a ghostly one.

While this collection won’t be released until 2021, I’ll still slowly be sharing the details. I’m looking forward to creating these stories and as much as possible, want you to share in that with me.

In the mean time, share your favorite ghost stories, especially those that take place in a house. I can never have too many haunted house stories!

A Letter to the Readers About NaNoWriMo and Works in Progress

The first time I won NaNoWriMo I learned that I could finish something. The second time I won, I learned that writing is not something one can do in isolation, not successfully at least. The third time, this time, I learned that I don’t have to give up on myself.

A blue, black, and gold banner that reads "National Novel Writing Month Winner 2019"

It used to be a defense mechanism. To give up on myself before someone else could. Perhaps it comes from being bullied frequently as a child, or being praised for things that were completely ordinary because I’m Hard of Hearing. Or maybe it’s just fear. No matter the cause, it’s not healthy. I want to be honest about it and hope that we can learn to be honest with ourselves together. Whatever my reasons, holding myself back is something I’ve held on to for years. But thanks to the support of some wonderful writer friends on Instagram, my friends and family, and the concept of NaNoWriMo itself

This year, for reasons I can’t quite find the words for, I knew it would shatter me as a writer if I didn’t hit that 50,000 mark. It probably would have wounded me more deeply than that considering the fact that I’ve been working on this particular story for 17 years.

I have to admit, I was at a total loss for a while there, wondering how I’d hit 50k. I was still over 10k behind on November 29th. November 30th came, I hit the snooze button more times than I should and dragged myself off to the local library. I found it very motivational to take breaks, browse the books and to pre-order myself a celebratory pizza for dinner. I rather tripped over 50k. I was writing, and then I hit the word count. I finished up my sentence and called it a day. My brain (and poor hands!) were fried.

But I can’t say that I wrote a book. I only wrote one fourth of a book. The book in question is House of Moons: The Phoenix Mirror, the first in a dark fantasy young adult series. This will be a four book series with a plethora of other surprises. So, on I write! But I will be slipping in some short stories and novellas as I continue to write the House of Moon series. Regardless, I’m beyond holding myself back thanks to this year’s NaNoWriMo.

I hate that I have to wait before I can let you read HoM book 1. I love this story so much and I’m eager to see people find themselves and their friends in the story. But I also want to give you an escape from the everyday, and some hope too.

Alas and alack! I can only write and edit so fast. But if you want to keep up to date on HoM you can check out my Instagram or Facebook, both of which will have goodies for the upcoming series. As of now, I can’t give you a promised ball park release date. I can only promise that I’m writing as fast as my fingers can tolerate on this and other projects.

January will undoubtedly bring more book reviews and more writing on my part. In the mean time, enjoy the holidays, but don’t forget to take some quiet time for yourself.

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!

 

 

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).

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 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) 

MayBird_Cover
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)

GodintheShed_Cover

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)

Dracula_cover

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.

 

 

Welcome

Welcome to the online home of A. E. Moseley, author of speculative fiction of all kinds, including weird fiction.

If you stick around you’ll be privy to sneak peeks of upcoming stories and projects, cover reveals, and other goodies.  In the mean time, feel free to explore. Treat yourself in the Shop and perhaps find a new favorite story. Find out what’s next and perhaps pre-order a book in the Upcoming Works. Or perhaps you’d rather get all the gory details of each book (and perhaps even a sample or two) in the Library. And if you’re curious about the person behind the stories, stop by A. E. Moseley’s page.

No matter what you choose, welcome! Enjoy your stay.