by James Garcia Jr.
At the end of this article is a chance to win e-book copies of the fantasy/horror novels mentioned below.
If you are a reader, whether you worry about the closing of the “brick and mortar” stores, champion the proliferation of the e-book or stand somewhere in between, I think we could all agree that these are some exciting times to live in. This is especially true for fiction. Finding great stories to be transported away by or brilliant new authors to discover should be easier now than ever before.
As a recently published author myself, this has become an amazing time to see my dream of being a writer fulfilled, and something that just would not have happened two decades before when I first began to dream it. With the explosion of the internet over this period, we writers suddenly had an avenue or outlet available, enabling us to share our words and stories. Soon, small publishing houses began to spring up in higher numbers than before. It also became easier to self publish as well, as it then became easier to find writing, editing and formatting tools easily and readily available to anyone. Recently, the big publishing houses have had to deal with what has become known as the Independents. Every year it has become more difficult for them as they face stiffer competition from those “Indies”.
This is an oversimplification on my part; however, I did not come to teach the history of the subject, but to simply shed some light on what’s happened. I am also aware that these advances enabled poor writers or badly written material to be presented as if high quality, and thus muddying the waters of the marketplace. In spite of this, over the past couple of years I have read many extremely well-written novels by some brilliant authors. I would like to share a few with you.
Author Carole Gill and The House on Blackstone Moor
They say my father was mad, so corrupted by evil and tainted by sin that he did what he did. I came home to find them all dead; their throats savagely cut. My sisters only five and eight were gone as well as my brother who was twelve. My mother, too, lay butchered in her marriage bed. The bed her children were born in. I discovered him first, in the sitting room, floating on a sea of crimson, the bloody razor still clutched in his hand. How pitiful I must have looked, bent down trying to wake him. Calling to him over and over: “Papa please, please wake up!”
He could not waken of course. No more was he to open his eyes, not in this world, had I not been struck mad I would have realized. Yet madness is sometimes a mercy when shadows come to take the horror away. Please do not pull away in terror, please. I have much to confess. Just be patient, for I promise I will tell you everything. The only thing I ask in return is for you not to judge me until you hear my entire story…
So begins a tale of vampirism, madness, obsession and devil worship as Rose Baines, only survivor of her family’s carnage, tells her story. Fragile and badly damaged by the tragedy, she obtains a position as governess at a desolate house on the haunted moors where demons dwell. The house and the moors have hideous secrets and yet there is love, too; deep, abiding and eternal…but it comes with a price, the loss of her soul. This is not paranormal romance with racy bits. This is gothic horror at its darkest.
Gill was inspired to write her novel after reading that gothic romance was passé. “If it is, then perhaps that has to change,” said Gill. “Our world is a pretty dark and frightening place. What satisfied readers and publishers in the past, I don’t think necessarily would now. With regard to this and any future novels I write, I guess you could say I am seeking to take the gothic romantic genre where it’s never been before.”
Learn more about Carol on her Facebook page.
Author Philip Tucker and Crude Sunlight
Thomas has come to Buffalo, New York in order to clean out his brother’s apartment. Henry went missing, and everyone has long-since given up hope of his returning. There are strange photographs left that reveal an odd thrill-seeking activity that Henry and others were engaging in: trespassing old abandoned buildings. Videotapes taken during these excursions reveal not only the odd activity, but something else. Something horrible.
Thomas soon meets the other principles: Julia and Eric; and one way or another, they have all been touched in a very negative way by whatever it was that happened during a visit to the old abandoned State Mental Hospital. Thomas discovers that Henry never came out alive, although, during his own visit below the hospital, something of Henry indeed remains. And it’s coming for Julia.
The original four trespassers: Julia, Henry, Eric, Jimmy, as well as Buck, Michelle and even Thomas himself are all flawed and scarred characters that seemingly will gladly give up their worthless and meaningless lives as not worth living once they have been properly poked and prodded by the devouring darkness.
“I write because there’s nothing like the white-hot fires of creation,” said Tucker, who goes on to describe the phenomenon that he and I share. “When I’m writing (and) I hit my stride, I lose track of self and forget that I am staring at a computer screen. Instead, I watch my novel unfold like a film in my mind’s eye, feeling what my characters feel, following them as they tear through the plot as if by their own volition. For brief moments I actually hunt demons alongside them or follow my characters into abandoned basements in search of ghosts. There’s simply nothing like it.”
Learn more about Philip Tucker on his Facebook page.
Author Lorelei Bell and Vampire Ascending
Sabrina Strong is a Touch Clairvoyant who knows a secret. She knows her mother was turned into a vampire when Sabrina was ten. Now that she is grown up, a powerful magnate in the Chicago business world hires her to reveal the identity of who relentlessly murders vampires in his ultra-modern stronghold of a hotel.
Sabrina is not thrilled about the aspect of working for vampires in Chicago, but she needs the money, and she wants to find the gorgeous and mysterious vampire who has been turning up in her dreams. Is he the one who bit her when she was ten, marked her for his own, and turned her mother so long ago?
Little does Sabrina know that her whole life is about to change when her best friend becomes a victim, too, and Sabrina is the only one who can find her. Her friend’s fate intensifies the desperate need to find the murderer and, consequently, brings her into contact with a rogue vampire.
Sabrina is quickly immersed in romantic trysts and dangerous situations involving scheming vampires, shift changers, and werewolves.
Bell was considered odd by her peers because of her interests in the macabre. She grew up wondering why it was that vampires had to be villains. She found herself rooting for Dracula to be the dark romantic hero. “When I took up the pen and strove to put down my version of a vampire novel, there was no such genre as ‘urban fantasy’ or ‘paranormal romance’ where vampires were hunks and women sought their attentions,” said Bell. “Eventually, Anne Rice came to the rescue and brought a different thought altogether. The vampire suddenly became something more than the cardboard cut-out of a vampire in a cape, snarling and wanting only blood.”
Learn more about Lorelei on her blog.
Author Marissa Farrar and Alone
Caught in a violent and abusive relationship, Serenity thinks there is no escape. Upon meeting a stranger, Sebastian, she is shown the possibility of a different future. Only Sebastian has a dark secret; he is a vampire.
As Serenity’s life takes a terrifying turn, she finds herself drawn into a world she never knew existed; one of murder, love, and immortality. She is forced to confront her own weaknesses to save both her own life and that of the vampire she has come to love. But in the end all that matters is: can she find the strength to be Alone?
Farrar began writing fiction just as soon as she was old enough to do so. “My mother still has stories I wrote at five and video footage of me at about nine, rambling on about a novel I was writing and how I planned on getting it published,” said Farrar.
“After I finished school and realized I’d spent my entire Zoology Degree trying to find time to write, I made the decision to pursue a career as an author.” The young writer was twenty-two when she made that choice. It took her seven years before getting that first publishing credit, but hasn’t looked back. “As soon as I got that first sale, things finally started happening for me,” said Farrar. “I now have three novels published, two short story collections and I’ve been published in numerous anthologies. I’m not rich by any means, but in many ways I am living my dream. I earn my living by doing what I love.”
Learn more about Marissa on her blog.
Author Erin Cole and Grave Echoes
The nightmare is real… Kate Waters suffers from narcoleptic hallucinations, which recently involve her unreachable sister, Jev, and a mysterious key. When Kate receives the terrible news concerning Jev’s fatal car accident and acquires the strange key from her visions, she unlocks her sister’s world of perilous secrets involving witchcraft, poltergeist, and a heartless killer determined to get back what is his. The danger lies in whom to trust. Terrifying paranormal encounters, a trailing wolf, and an attempted murder of one of Jev’s friends, forces Kate to turn to the one she fears most, the priestess of Jev’s coven, Thea. She challenges Kate’s beliefs and provides her vital clues about her sister’s murder, but will Kate overcome her fears before anyone else dies? To do so, she will have to trust in a world where the possibilities are unbelievable and the consequences are deadly.
Cole grew up in the Pacific Northwest and has a B.S. in Psychology. Her writing has won or been nominated for various awards, including 10th Place in the Genre Short Story Category of the Writer’s Digest 80th Annual Writing Competition. “I’m currently working on my second novel, Wicked Tempest, and a werewolf novella,” said Cole. “I live in Portland, Oregon with my husband, son, twin daughters, and a number of pets that could now classify us as ‘weird.’”
I hope that these author friends of mine and their novels have convinced you to take a long look at all of the books that are now out there. I have read and positively reviewed each of these novels either on my blog or at some of the social networks. These great works offer you only a glimpse of the truly fantastic work there is, many of which could be yours at the click of a mouse. Many, if not all, can also be had in paperback as well. For writers and readers alike, it is a great new world.
“I once took a job at one of the big six publishing houses in NYC,” said Tucker. “Suffice it to say that while I met a lot of wonderful people, I also learned that the traditional publishing route no longer made sense. You make too little, give too much, wait too long, and are expected to do your own marketing. I decided instead to self-publish my work, and have been thrilled as to how well things have gone. Total control, incredibly high royalties and a self-determined rate of publication, amongst other features, have made self-publishing a truly liberating and empowering experience.”
Learn more about Erin on her blog.
“The thing that changed my life was the world’s sudden embrace of eBooks,” said Farrar. “The e-Book revolution means relatively unknown authors can now compete alongside the big boys. Readers get to try out new, talented authors whose work perhaps isn’t commercial enough to be picked up by one of New York’s big six, but still tell a damn-fine tale, and authors get the chance at making a living from what they love.”
To enter to win e-book copies of fantasy/horror novels mentioned in this article, simply email KRL at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “ebooks”, or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen January 28, 2012.