Romance with a Dash of Horror

Asylum_200x300Thanks for having me on the blog today! My name is Dana Wright and I write romance with a twist of horror. Asylum is my first novella under my real name and is the beginning of the Ghost Echoes series featuring Rachel, a ghost hunter and Matt, a skeptic who becomes one of the converted.

My writing process is somewhere between plotter and panster. I use a foam core board and colorful sticky notes to get the idea down. Then I scribble on a legal pad until the basic framework is set. Then…I write.

The thing I love about the sticky note system is it stares at me the entire time and if I need to change something I can. It does happen. The picture you are seeing is a chart of another recently completed project.

LRP - Post its

Music is another consideration. You have to set the tone. My office is a bit of a book pile and I like to escape into sound while I conjure up new and spooky worlds. Here are a few of my favorite tunes:

LRP - Desk

http://writerunboxed.com/2014/09/07/why-every-first-novel-should-be-a-ghost-story/

Pictures help. Pinterest can really set a tone to write to. For nearly every project I start, I first go to Pinterest and see some of the inspiration for my work and start a board.

http://www.pinterest.com/dana19018/asylum/

Are you a writer? What kind of spooky stories make you shiver in the night? I would love to hear from you.

Blurb:

The voices of the past are alive behind the iron gates of Bremore Asylum. Can Rachel and Matt deduce its secrets before it’s too late?

When Rachel agrees to take the job investigating the disappearance of a fellow ghost hunter at Bremore Asylum, she is totally unprepared for the sexy and stubborn psychic debunker Matt Rutledge to be a part of the package. Can these two opposing forces find the answers behind the asylum’s crumbling walls before they become the newest victims to the asylum’s grim history?

Find Dana Wright on Amazon

Excerpt:

Rachel narrowed her eyes. What little hold she held on her frayed temper snapped. Self-doubt flared, but she stamped it out as quickly as it came.

“What’s that supposed to mean?” She stepped forward, hands clenched into fists, her foot brushing against the luggage. Her hoodie slid off the suitcase and flopped unceremoniously into the dirt.

“We haven’t even started on the project and you’re trying to displace me already?”

Rutledge stepped back, surprise clear on his lightly parted lips. Lips she apparently still wanted to kiss, damn his eyes. God, what was wrong with her?

“My friend almost died because of a mistake I made. But you’re already aware of that, aren’t you, Mr. High and Mighty? Listen to me and listen good. I’m here because my grandmother needs me. I’m a damn fine ghost hunter, which you would already know if you bothered to see beyond what happened to Jeannie.” She poked her finger into his chest and had the satisfaction of seeing him wince.

Matt stepped back and held up his hands, a ruddy flush creeping up his cheeks. “Okay. I was out of line. Truce?” He bent down and carefully picked up her hoodie, handing it to her gingerly.

“Thank you, Mr. Rutledge.” Rachel snatched the hoodie from his hands and tied it around her waist with a firm yank. She didn’t want to chance it falling in the dirt again and it was going to be a long weekend. At the rate they were going, it was going to be a full-on ice storm between them.

A flash of humor crossed his face. “Do you think maybe you could call me Matt?”

“That depends.”

“On what?” Matt cocked his eyebrow with surprise.

“On whether you can stop dissecting me like one of your frauds.”

Find Dana Wright on Amazon

Dana Wright Author PicAbout the author:

Dana Wright has always had a fascination with things that go bump in the night. She is often found playing at local bookstores, trying not to maim herself with crochet hooks or knitting needles, watching monster movies with her husband and furry kids or blogging about books. More commonly, she is chained to her computers, writing like a woman possessed. She is currently working on several children’s stories, young adult fiction, romantic suspense, short stories and is trying her hand at poetry. She is a contributing author to Ghost Sniffer’s CYOA, Siren’s Call E-zine in their “Women in Horror” issue in February 2013 and “Revenge” in October 2013, a contributing author to Potatoes!, Fossil Lake, Of Dragons and Magic: Tales of the Lost Worlds, Undead in Pictures, Potnia, Shadows and Light, Dark Corners, Wonderstruck, Shifters: A Charity Anthology, Dead Harvest, Monster Diaries (upcoming), Holiday Horrors and the Roms, Bombs and Zoms Anthology from Evil Girlfriend Media. She is the author of Asylum due out in October 2014.   Dana has also reviewed music for Muzikreviews.com specializing in New Age and alternative music and has been a contributing writer to Eternal Haunted Summer, Nightmare Illustrated, Massacre Magazine, Metaphor Magazine, The Were Traveler October 2013 edition: The Little Magazine of Magnificent Monsters, the December 2013 issue The Day the Zombies Ruled the Earth. She currently reviews music at New Age Music Reviews and Write a Music Review.

Follow Dana’s reviews:

Twitter: @danawrite

Author site: http://danawrightauthor.wix.com/danawright

Facebook fan page: https://www.facebook.com/danawrightauthor

Why Listening is Important

TouchOfAGhost_200x300Guest post by L.M. Brown, author of Touch of a Ghost

First of all, thank you for having me here today.  I’m L.M. Brown, a writer of MM and MMM romance novels, often with a paranormal twist. I believe that there is nothing hotter and sweeter than two men in love with each other… unless it is three!

For my writing tip of the day I am going to share with you the reason why I learned the hard way that reading out loud is sometimes a necessity when it comes to writing.

Now, I am the first to admit that I am not the biggest fan of audio books.  I have listened to many in the past, particularly abridged versions of the classics, but these days I prefer the written word.  I find when I am listening to audio books I am far too easily distracted by what  is happening around me and I have to keep going back to play things again because I completely missed what was being said.  I suspect this comes from the habit I have of tuning out noise to read, write, or even just concentrate at a very noisy day job – I am tuning out the audio books instead!  Unfortunately, it means that I find it very difficult to listen to them at all.

You are probably wondering what this has to do with my new release.

Well, for those who have followed my writing since the very start, you will recognise that Touch of a Ghost is a re-release of my very first published story.  The eagle-eyed amongst you will also note that there is a slight name change of one of the main characters.  Andy, which although never actually specified in the original story is short for Andrew, has now become Drew, also short for the same name.

The reason why is the audio book which, although no longer available, came out the year following the initial ebook release.

At the time Touch of a Ghost was initially written, edited and polished, I wasn’t reading the stories out loud.  This is largely because of certain young ears that shouldn’t be listening to such stories hanging around me at the time. Then the audio book was sent to me for proofing.

Yikes!

Andy and Benji, whilst both being names I like, just didn’t sound right together.  For some reason, when I look at the names in a lot of my stories, there are many which end in the “ee” sound.  Jamie, Cody, Cory, the list just goes on and on.  Thankfully I don’t think any of the others have been put together as a couple, but after hearing how Andy and Benji sounded when spoken together it started to irritate me.

So, when the rights to this story were returned to myself and I began to look for a new home for the story, the first thing I did was alter Andy’s name to Drew.

I hope this doesn’t cause too much confusion for readers.  Chances are most people won’t notice, or will realise that the story is the same purely from the blurb, but I guess there might be a few who are unsure.  I note it clearly on my website/blog that the story is a re-release and have a note to say why the name has changed, so hopefully no one is caught out.

But, this experience did teach me an important lesson.  Even if you don’t think it is necessary, sometimes things can be picked up when you hear your story read out.

So, there you have it, my tip for all writers is to take the time to read aloud your manuscript before you send it anywhere.  It may also help to highlight errors like where a character might have accidentally had a sex change (*cough* Driving-Me-Crazy *cough*).

Yes, I have had two audio books out in the past and while there wasn’t any error, as such, in Touch of a Ghost in the other one there was an instance where “he” became “she” and it was way too late to change it.

I hope my tip is a useful lesson for those of you who don’t read out loud.

Oh and feel free to share any of your own written/audio experiences – especially the goofs. I would love to know it isn’t just me doing daft stuff like this!

Blurb

Drew Jessop wants a life without ghosts. He doesn’t want to see, hear, or talk to them. Ignoring them should be relatively simple.

But Drew soon finds that Benji Richards, an eternally gorgeous ghost from the fifties, is not so easy to ignore.

Halloween night is approaching and both Drew and Benji know what it could mean for them. From sunset to sunrise, it is the one night of the year when a mortal can feel the touch of a ghost.

Buy: Touch of a Ghost

Excerpt

Drew leaned forward and put his empty bottle on the table. The match had finished and the commentators were recapping the highlights, so Drew reached for the remote control.

“Well, thank you for having us.” Flora stood up and stretched, as though her joints were still giving her grief as they had apparently done in life.

Drew turned off the television and picked up the crisp packet together with the nearly empty bowl. He tossed the last few crisps into his mouth as he stood up and walked into the kitchen. He left the beer bottles on the table as he contemplated whether to have another. Remembering he had an early start in the morning, he decided against drinking too much. He had a feeling Flora might have an opinion on alcohol intake too. However, when he turned back toward the living area, Flora had vanished.

Benji, on the other hand, still lingered. He remained on the sofa, his arm stretched along the back and his chin resting on it as he stared at Drew directly.

“You’re very rude, you know?” Benji commented idly. “Not saying a single word to us all evening like that. You could at least have said hello.”

Drew ignored him as he turned off the lights.

“I know you can see us. Your eyes give you away.”

Drew suspected Benji might be guessing, but if he said a single word in response that guess would be confirmed. He had to keep quiet. That way he could still maintain a normal life.

“Not going to admit it, huh?” Benji said. “Well, I’ll stop by again tomorrow. Maybe you’ll be more talkative then. If you are, I might just tell you how I know you’re gay, if you ask nicely.” With that comment, Benji flashed Drew one final killer smile and vanished from the room.

Drew reacted to Benji the same way he would any other handsome man. His mind may tell him Benji was off limits, but his body thought otherwise. Drew wondered whether he could keep up the pretense of not seeing and hearing the ghosts who were as real to him as the rest of the human race. If this evening was anything to go by, it might not be as easy as he thought.

Buy: Touch of a Ghost

Where to find L.M. Brown

Website & Blog – http://lmbrownauthor.wordpress.com/

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/L.M.Brown.author

Twitter – @LMBrownAuthor

Review: The Sherbrooke Bride (Bride Series, Book 1) by Catherine Coulter

sherbrooke brideHero: Douglas Sherbrooke, Earl of Northcliffe, needs an heir and a bride. He secures the beautiful Melissande’s hand in marriage. Before they can wed he’s called away to attend delicate matters and sends his cousin to marry for him by proxy. Bad idea! When he returns he finds his cousin stole his bride and married him to the wrong sister.

Heroine: Alexandra Chambers, youngest daughter of the Duke of Beresford, is not beautiful like her sister Melissande. But she has loved Douglas since she was fifteen. When Douglas’s cousin proposes the scheme she is eager to do it. because she knows she will make Douglas a better wife than her high-strung sister. Now she must convince him of it too.

Review: Douglas is furious at the turn of events and takes it out on Alexandra and his cousin Tony. He’s one of those brawny alpha males who does many a pigheaded thing until he gives in and confesses his heart. You either love him or loathe him. Tony was a great side character who for some unknown reason liked an empty-headed vain woman with mush for brains. Melli was very annoying. What’s weird and disturbing is that Tony is training her like a dog to be a better person. Ick. I like Alex as a heroine and the writing was engrossing despite the story’s flaws. On a personal note, the Virgin Bride ghost was an unnecessary supernatural element that detracted more than aided the writing.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

Buy: The Sherbrooke Bride (Bride Series)

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Review: Revenge of the Barbary Ghost by Donna Lea Simpson

lady anne revenge of the barbary ghost
This story continues immediately after the events of Lady Anne and the Howl in the Dark.

Lady Anne Addison: Our plucky heroine isn’t sure she wants to wed and escapes to the coast to avoid answering the Marquess of Darkefell’s proposal. She can’t stop thinking about the man but she is determined to be distracted. The local mystery of the Barbary Ghost in Cornwall is just the ticket. She can’t imagine it’s a real ghost, but seeing it in person makes her think twice, still she’s certain she can figure out how the ghost stunt is achieved.

Marquess of Darkefell: Our strikingly handsome hero won’t take a non-answer from Anne about his proposal so he chases her to Cornwall after obtaining her whereabouts from her family. To press his suit, Darkefell joins her in sleuthing, which also helps an old employee worried about his son being involved in the smuggling. The biggest mystery at Cliff House for him though is not the Barbary Ghost and the smugglers; the biggest mystery to solve is how to win Lady Anne’s hand in marriage.

Review: You should definitely read Lady Anne and the Howl in the Dark before reading this one, as it helps illuminate their relationship. The romance between Anne and Tony is one that will play out serially like the Francesca Cahill Deadly Mysteries. Each novel gives you more forward movement, but also leaves you begging for more! Anne is certain if she were to marry the only man she’d want is Tony, but is undecided about the institution of marriage fearing if she does marry Tony, the power it will give him over her life. She is not yet willing to give up what control she has (which is more than most young ladies as she has her inheritance). The style of writing is sweet, clever, full of twists and turns, and passionate! I love both Anne and Tony and can’t wait to see them get their happy ever after as a crime solving duo!

Recommended If You Like: Francesca Cahill Deadly Mysteries, Lady Julie Grey Mysteries, Jaine Austen Mysteries, Mrs. Murphy Mysteries, and mysteries that are light, clever, have a dash of romance and are full of fun!

This series continues with Curse of the Gypsy, which makes it sound like Tony has a twin brother to stir up trouble! Oh la la!

Buy: Revenge of the Barbary Ghost: A Lady Anne Mystery

Review: Demonically Tempted (Frostbite, Book 2) by Stacey Kennedy

DemonicallyTemptedReviewed by Susan S.

A riveting story that’s freaky-creepy good! I haven’t rooted this much for star-crossed lovers since reading Romeo and Juliet’s sonnets. Let’s hope that Kipp and Tess circumnavigate tragedy and defy all odds…soon!

Summary: Frostbite Series, Book Two Tess Jennings (heroine) is working with Memphis police detectives on a decade old cold case. Because of her “special” gifts, she’s an invaluable member of the police department. Tess can see and communicate with ghosts. Discarnates popping in on her may be a constant annoyance occurrence, but at least it’s an expected one. Now a malevolent demon? That, that’s completely unexpected!

Yes. There’s a great deal on her plate. Her ghost lover (Kipp) is missing, she needs to banish a demon, and let’s not forget- locate a girl who’s been dead for 10 years. Can Tess do all of the above? But can she do it without being…demonically possessed?

Review: I’m going to begin at the end. Those of us, who’ve read Supernaturally Kissed, are going to have a jaw-dropping reaction to book two’s ending. Talk about leading me down that garden path. Clever! Very clever. I can’t wait to see how the author plans to tie up that loose end, or if she ever will. We can only hope!

Demonically Tempted may be darker than book one, but no less wonderful. Stacey Kennedy gives me that soap opera feeling. I liked what happened this time, but oh my gosh! What’s going to happen next?

Recommendations: This novel will attract readers who loved the supernatural TV drama Medium and the show Paranormal State. It’ll call to those who walk the darker streets of paranormal romances. And if you ever saw the movie Constantine and loved it-then you really must read this novel. It includes suspense, mystery, and it’s sure to give you plenty of fear-inducing piloerections.

Disclaimer: I received this novel free of charge in exchange for my honest review.

Others in the Series:

Supernaturally Kissed (Frostbite, Book One)

What’s Next?

Mystically Bound- Book Three (Fall 2012)

Book trailer http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XXL2rueMVpg

Review-O-Meter Rating: ★★★★★

Buy: Demonically Tempted (Frostbite)

Self published, Copyright 2012, Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Romance, eBook, 167 Pages, ASIN# B007TB5ZF8, ISBN# 978-1-4763-4187-3.

Review: Somewhere the Bells Ring by Beth Trissel

Somewhere the Bells RingReviewed by Sandra Scholes

There are better reasons for being sent to a home away from bad influences, but for Bailey Randolph, Maple Hill is anything but what she thought it would be like. Being caught with drugs is as good a reason for her parents to send her away, but when she gets there, she wonders if it’s the pot talking when a ghost appears in front of her wanting answers to something she knows nothing about.

Bailey thinks she will be on her own until she discovers Eric Burke, one of the guys she had a crush on in school has come over too. Eric has been in the Vietnam war, and got wounded in action, so he has come back for a respite and to get his thoughts back to normal.

Eric has plenty of trauma to tell her about on his time in the war, he has not got over the horrors of what he saw or the men he served with dying before his eyes. He is a man with far too many contrasting feelings, and it tugs at her heartstrings to see a man she once loved broken. He gets to know her and about the ghost haunting the place, but he can’t get over the fact he thinks she is crazy for believing in ghosts, after all she is the one who has dabbled with drugs in her youth!

I liked how Bailey found her true self while in the house, but it was only when she was met by someone else that she accomplished this. Who could blame her, she had been left by those she loved in a place she could have been alone in, but fate plays an interesting role in someone’s life in this story. Finally she could find out what the problem was with the man she originally fell in love with, and help him come to terms with the horror he felt fighting an enemy he did not even know. They both help each other out in the novel, and even though it takes a lot of explaining, it is a good read.

Rating: ★★★½☆

Buy: Somewhere The Bells Ring (Christmas)

Review: Dreamscape by Rose Anderson

by Carla F., guest reviewer

“He was part of my dream, of course – but then I was part of his dream too.” – Through the Looking-Glass by Lewis Carroll

Summary: Jason Bowen was murdered over a hundred years ago by his wife and her lover. Ever since then he has haunted the house he lived and died in. Lanie O’Keefe buys the deserted house and moves in with plans to renovate it to its former Victorian beauty.

Jason is drawn immediately to Lanie’s looks and her mind. Unknown to her, he follows her through the day and lays with her in the bed at night. He starts having feelings and physical sensations that he hasn’t experienced since he died. Then he realizes that he can travel through Lanie’s dreams and surprisingly those dreams are about the day’s prior to his own murder.

Review: The whole book is like a dream itself. The reader flows almost seamlessly from dreams to happenings in the present day. You become part of the dream. Only occasionally did the shifting from the present to dream/past become confusing.

Jason is the kind of ghost that you would want to be haunting your bed. He is handsome, kind, considerate and focused on Lanie. She is beautiful, smart, and totally unfazed by the realization that her house is haunted. In one scene Jason decides to test Lanie’s reaction to a possible ghost by slowly opening a squeaky kitchen cabinet. She watches without a sound or any hint of fear. Then she calmly makes her tea, sits down to make her to-do list for the house renovation, and only occasionally look up to see if the cabinet moves again.

The main mystery of the book for me was not how Jason died, but how Lanie and he are going to get their HEA. The ending was a pleasant surprise for me.

Overall: This is a very clever story with a dream hero who will make you believe in ghosts and in the power of the mind.

Rating: ★★★★½

Buy: Dreamscape (Siren Publishing Classic), Dreamscape (UK)

Review: The Return of Black Douglas by Elaine Coffman

by Aggie S., guest reviewer

Time travel romance is not the same thing as sci-fi romance or sci-fi time travel. In The Return of Black Douglas, there is no bouncing back and forth between different times, but there is a ghost. Twin sisters Isobella and Elizabeth Douglas, go to Scotland to trace their ancestors and learn about their past relatives as a trade off for a honeymoon that never took place, because Isobel’s fiance took off with his dance teacher instead.

This story starts in present time as the girls are starting their day exploring tombs of Douglas ancestors. They find the effigy of The Good Sir James of Douglas and Isobel is so overcome with emotion that she cries. That night Isobel dreams about a medieval dark haired man who wanted to make love to her. The next day the sisters plan on visiting Beloyn Castle and the portrait of the Black Douglas, who died in the fourteenth century. They are in awe of the painting and Isobel touches the bottom of his boot then everything goes black.

The ghost of the Black Douglas has whisked them from the present day, to the sixteenth century to the Isle of Mull, Scotland. They have absolutely no idea where they are and he is not giving them any straight answers. Do ghosts ever give straight answers? ;)

As for the hero, Chieftain Alysandir Mackinnon, he and the rest of the Mackinnon clan are on their way back from delivering their sister to a nunnery, because she does not wish to wed a Maclean when they are ambushed by the Macleans. During the battle the Douglas girls are noticed by the men. Fighting stops and the Macleans look as if they are leaving but then four men on horseback go after the girls. They run but Isobel falls into a crag and the Macleans sweep up Elizabeth and ride off with her. Two of the Mackinnons give chase to save her from them and Alysandir Mackinnon goes after Isobel.

The story continues on with Isobel at Marrach Castle while Elizabeth is with the Macleans at Duart Castle. The ghost of the Black Douglas appears occasionally to answer (but not really answer) Isobel’s questions and he gives no indication as to when or if they will return to their own time, only saying that the answers will be appearing when the time is right. The girls fear being called witches at first and then find some acceptance as to their being there. They are some interesting things that happen throughout the story but you must read it to find out what happens.

I think The Return of Black Douglas is a great book to cuddle up on the couch. The use of current English, Gaelic and old English makes this book an interesting read and gives an idea how they spoke in Medieval times while the translations to current times help understanding.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Buy: The Return of Black Douglas

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