Sunshine tickled his eyelids. He burrowed himself deeper in the sleeping bag that must have slid down to his chest.
The realization woke him up just as the nonevents of last night began to creep in. The cold, the urge to piss, the thirst for a hot cup of tea or coffee or just plain warm water. The tossing and turning. He’d probably have bruises on his knees from kicking the damn steering wheel.
He couldn’t wait to get out and about. Maybe the coffee shop, or a nearby library. Or a truck-stop diner. He’d settle down with his laptop. Maybe update his blog. The shop would be warm, the coffee hot and aromatic. If he smuggled his toiletries into the bathroom, he could brush his teeth and shave. And change his shirt into something less… fragrant.
He reached into the duffle behind him and pulled out his small toiletry bag. It would squeeze inside the computer case if he was careful. That, and his phone charger. He’d recharge and call the sheriff with his forwarding address.
If only the casinos hadn’t adopted that dumb facial recognition software, he’d be set. There was a casino in Pittsburgh. He could’ve earned enough money to… oh, that’s right. His hand gave a dull throb. He was itching to sign up for a poker game and earn some living, but the casino would have to wait until he could handle cards without wincing in pain.
Sam was about to get out when two guys marched into his field of view. He shrank back.
White snow. Blinding sun. Cutting wind. Pain.
They crossed the little three-space parking lot with its coveted little nook, the one Sam had been eyeing earlier. He was glad, now, he hadn’t shoehorned his way in.
Sunday morning, two guys. What were they up to? He noted their easy body language. Like a couple. Like two guys used to each other’s physical contact. The taller one said something and the shorter one laughed. They both had dark hair, but the shorter guy kept his shoulder-length and mod, with what might’ve been caramel highlights. His hips swished in an easy sway as he negotiated the ice patches in his way. Gay? Maybe.
The thought of a gay couple in Pittsburgh floored Sam. He’d never imagined the descendants of grizzled steel workers to be… gay. Then again, the snow was still white. There was no soot in the air.
Pittsburgh seemed cleaner than expected. People had been, to date, nicer than expected as well. The drivers took turns at intersections, and the coffee was Seattle quality.
For a brief second, the idea of settling down crossed his mind.
Absolutely no fucking way.
He was staying only long enough to get his papers, and to figure out how to work the card tables again.
The two guys disappeared into the building through a basement entrance. Its double door gaped like a maw to the underworld. Sam remained still.
They came out soon, both carrying a white bucket in each hand. Something was sticking out – long and green, covered on top with paper. Sam watched them close the door and walk back around the corner and up the street, and as they passed within ten feet of his car, he realized they were hauling huge buckets of roses.
He let them get out of sight before he crawled out of the low seat of his Porsche. Creaky and miserable, he stretched in the cold morning air. The pallid sun had moved since it woke him, and now half of his car was covered in the shadow of the warehouse. Sam hoisted the black computer bag out of his trunk, added the necessary toiletries, and stuffed a rolled-up T-shirt into the pocket of his leather bomber jacket.
First hygiene, then coffee, then brunch recommendations.
As he crested the hill to turn right onto Butler street, a kitty-corner door caught his attention. The mosaic of its entrance said “1896” in little tiles, surrounded by a design of ivy leaves on a cream background. He stopped to look closer. It had been recently restored, and with loving care at that. The sign above the door read Starflowers, and inside he saw an array of plants. The OPEN neon sign was turned off, but there was light on inside. He skirted the potted conifer with its red and silver heart decorations and pressed his nose to the glass.
The two guys he’d seen before were working at an island. The taller gesticulated wildly, waving a red rose in the air. His shorter partner seemed to have only sighed. He was cute, though. Sam wouldn’t have minded getting to know him better. Maybe they weren’t a couple after all. He stepped away, thinking this was all a very bad idea, when he noticed a small “Help Wanted” sign on the window.
Very bad idea.
He hurried off to the coffee shop down the street. He had… stuff… to do.
Polly Michaels is trying to forget that her mom has cancer. She keeps busy at school and plods through a normal social life. Until a freak electrical storm and a unicorn appear in the orchard next to her house.
Sy’kai wakes on an orchard floor to the smell of rotting cherries and wet earth. She doesn’t know where she is-or what she is-but she knows something is hunting her.
Polly recruits her friends to find the mysterious creature she saw from her window while Sy’kai, a confused shape-shifting endling from another dimension tries to piece her mind back together. Once the human girls find Sy’kai (whom they nickname Psyche) the mystery unravels and the danger facing all of them comes into focus.
A gritty struggle ranges throughout the girls’ rural hometown and in the wild terrain around it. All while two questions hang over their heads. Can an alien deliver a miracle for a human mother? Can a group of teens defeat an interdimensional demon?
Located on BC’s beautiful West Coast, I write from my suburban home outside Vancouver. I love writing about places and spaces with rich history and visually fascinating elements as a backdrop for the surreal and spectacular.
In addition to my undergraduate degree in writing and literature, my background also includes corporate communications and design. I am a current member of the Federation of BC Writers and SF Canada.
When not writing, I have a habit of breaking stuff and making stuff – in that order – under the guise of my Etsy alter-ego Sleepless Storyteller. I share my eclectic home and lifestyle with my metalworking husband, dancing daughter, and future rocket scientist son.
Many of us have been binging all our old favourite TV shows and movies over the past year. So, we’re not surprised to see nostalgia making its way into the novels of 2021. Today, author Christine Hart is sharing the scoop on all the pop culture influences that shaped her new book, The Electric Girl.
Christine, can you tell us a bit more about the role pop culture plays in this novel?
So many people have a love/hate relationship with pop culture, but the older I get, the more I realize that I should be writing what I want and drawing inspiration from what I truly like. Rather than trying to be a literary author, I’ve embraced genre fiction – and it feels like the right choice for me. And with The Electric Girl, setting a story in the 1980s was an irresistible opportunity to infuse my worldbuilding with the pop culture of the time.
Which movies and television shows influenced this story?
The most obvious first influence is The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle – both the book and movie, drawing on the idea of a unicorn becoming a girl. When I picture Psyche opening portals to another world, I can’t help but remember the inter-dimensional doors opened by Philip Pullman’s The Subtle Knife.
I also believe the nebula imagery and the concept of an alien that exists primarily in astral form comes from my days watching Star Trek: The Next Generation every day after school. I also watched a lot of Twin Peaks and I’ve always loved David Lynch’s ability to be delightfully bizarre just for the sake of it.
Most recently, getting addicted to Stranger Things, and combing through old toys and games that I saved for my children surprised me by having the power to evoke both memories and positive emotions.
Do you see The Electric Girl ever being made into a movie?
I have a very clear picture of the story in my mind, mostly because I used my hometown of Vernon, BC for the real-world side of things.
If The Electric Girl could become a movie, I’d like to see it done with as much historical authenticity as possible. I tried my absolute best to make my readers feel like they’ve been drawn into 1988. So that’s what I’d want from a movie as well.
But at the end of the day, I’m a pragmatist at heart. I used to indulge in daydreams about one of my novels getting an upgrade to film format. Now, 40-something me knows it’s not very likely, so I don’t think about it as much.
To keep the retro 80s fun going, Christine has put together a playlist including a handful of songs and bands mentioned in the story.
Welcome to Brenna. Where were you born/grew up at?
Born and raised in Northern Georgia, on the cusp of Alabama and Tennessee. I’ve lived in North Carolina briefly, but otherwise I’ve stayed close to my roots. Would I love to move to the snowy mountains of Colorado? Yes. But could I manage being that far away from my family? Eh, probably not.
What do you do to unwind and relax?
I read, and read, and read. Or I’ll fill the tub up and soak in a hot bath. If my kiddo is at her grandparents, I’ll stay in until the bath water gets cold and then fill it back up again. Something about the hot water calms my nerves, and it’s easy to immerse myself into my books.
How to find time to write as a parent?
Simple, write while she plays, eats, and sleeps. Haha. We take walks, and go outside. I read her bedtime stories at night, and watch Disney movies with her. She knows when Mommy is working she has to go and play with her millions of toys inside of her bedroom.
What inspired you to write this book?
I would say that reading a million books with tropes that I loved inspired me to write one of my own. Also, vampires have always and will always be my favorite creatures of the night. I cannot help it. It’s ingrained in my soul. I grew up on Twilight, The Vampire Diaries, The Vampire Academy, True Blood… I may or may not enjoy blood and biting tropes LOL.
What can we expect from you in the future?
I have the next two years pretty much outlined. So this year, I will be releasing the first FIVE books in The SoulBlood Series, one surprise novella that links to The SoulBlood Series, and one super secret anthology project. I’ll be releasing a demon romance standalone in 2022, and finishing off the SoulBlood Series (seven books total). We’ll see what happens after that. 🙂
What book do you think everyone should read?
I always, always recommend anything by Ruby Dixon. If you are new to her, please go pick up Ice Planet Barbarians. It’s the start to my ALL TIME favorite series! If you aren’t into sci-fi romance, you can try out her Fireblood Dragon series!
How long have you been writing?
I, like many others, have been writing since childhood. I think it all started when I was in middle school, and I became obsessed with the now-famous Twilight series by Stephenie Meyer. I wrote my first original story, about fated mates and high school romance, around that time. I started taking writing seriously in 2019, when I started writing on Wattpad for practice and found out that my writing was actually not that bad and something other people might enjoy.
Do you read yourself and if so what is your favorite genre?
Um, yes! Of course I read, how in the world would I get better at my craft otherwise? My go-to tropes are fated mates, captive romance, protective/possessive alpha males, anything with vampires, blood bonds, yadda yadda. I’m a hardcore romance reader and writer, through and through.
Do you have a favorite movie?
I don’t have a single favorite movie, but I have a favorite genre/sub-genre of movies. Any guesses? Haha, I love horror. Way over the top love, lowkey obsessive. If I don’t indulge in at least one horror flick a week, then something is wrong. My favorite sub-genre of horror is creature films, whether that be zombies (my all-time fav) or aliens, vampires, werewolves, etc.
As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?
As a person, my spirit animal is most certainly a raccoon. Funny story, I actually rescued and rehabilitated one as a teenager. They’re kind and very similar to a cat, though a little less domesticated. But as an author who writes about vampires, I’ll go with a bat as my spirit animal. Anything that sucks a little blood and only comes out during the night totally fits my aesthetic.
What kind of research do you do before you begin writing a book?
I do a ton of market research before writing. I’ll pick up a few top sellers and read them, analyze the tropes, and find out what makes readers gravitate towards that particular book. I’m an avid reader, so my market research is normally just my leisure reads. Before I begin plotting, I outline my characters like crazy. If they are professional NASA scientists, then you best believe my search history is all about what the heck a scientist at NASA does. Most of my plot is all about romance, suspense, and horror/tension. I don’t need to do much research on that, but places, environment, weather conditions… Yeah, authors do a ton of learning with each new project.
Do you see writing as a career?
Absolutely. Writing good books is a profession. I am constantly learning new things about the craft and the business side of this career, but it has never been ‘just a hobby’ for me. (Okay, maybe when I was a kid it was a hobby, but not anymore.)
Do you prefer to write in silence or with noise? Why?
I prefer to write listening to sounds. I have a playlist that I listen to on Spotify called ‘Lofi Beats for Ghosts’ and it has single-handedly gotten me through almost every draft I have ever written. When I go in to revise and do line edits, I normally turn on my WIP playlist. Current band obsessions are Haley Henderickx, Big Thief, Modest Mouse, Fleet Foxes, Grouper, and a ton of other indie rock/folk tunes.
Do you write one book at a time or do you have several going at a time?
I’ve found that I work best when focusing on one book at a time. I normally section out blocks of the month and devote those days/weeks to my WIP. Same goes with revising, if I’m editing one book, I find it difficult to be drafting another. I’m just weird like that.
If you could have been the author of any book ever written, which book would you choose?
I’ll most certainly get tons of shade for this, but if I could take Stephanie Meyer’s place and write Twilight the way it should have been written, i’d do it in a heartbeat. Or maybe Rachelle Mead… Her Vampire Academy series gave me life while I was in middle school. Props to her!
Tell us about a favorite character from a book.
So when I was in my late teens, I read a book called Stray by Rachel Vincent. It’s a steamy paranormal romance about werecat shifters, and the FMC Faythe Sanders gave me so much life. She’s strong, knows what she wants (kinda), and kicks ass. It’s so hard to pick a single favorite character from all of the amazing books I’ve read, but she is high on my list.
A day in the life of the author?
*Opens front door* Hello, and welcome to a day in my life. *Gestures wildly to the debris of toys that cover the living room, put there by one tornado of a toddler.*
In this home, we drink coffee non-stop. Here, have an espresso. *Shoves cup of triple shot into your hands* Let’s get on with the tour! Oh, don’t mind my messy bun and leggings, I always look like this.
Here is where you’ll find my computer, which currently has sixteen tabs open, most of which serve as a distraction from the writing I need to be doing. Never mind all that, hows your coffee? *Child screams in the background*
You get the gist.
Advice they would give new authors?
Just don’t stop, and do not get caught up in all of the marketing advice that can easily consume all of your time- time that would be better spent just writing the damn book. Write, and write more, and for the love of all things holy, please do not create your own cover. Yes, you need an editor. Yes, you need a marketing plan- but only once you have the book! Or multiples, if you want to try your hand at rapid releasing. Do NOT get caught up in all of the marketing tactics like I did. Yes, you need to know them. However, you don’t need to know them all in the first month. Slow down.
Describe yourself in 5 words or less!
Witchy, Moody, Anxious, and Nerdy.
Do you have any “side stories” about the characters?
Why yes, I’m glad you asked! Sometime at the end of the year, I have plans for a novella featuring my two main characters for book one. 😉 I’ll leave it up to the imagination on what exactly it’s about, but here’s a clue. “Happily Ever After can be rounded, by two.”
Can you tell us a little bit about the characters in (Name of book)?
Of course! Book one, Blood at Dusk, follows the life of a woman named Kora and a Vampire named Aldeon. Their paths cross, of course. (It wouldn’t be a love story without that, haha). Kora was a Senior at Nashville State Community College before the end of the world came. She was a vegan, bookworm, and partied with her sister on the weekends. Nowadays, she deals with a lot of anxiety and grief (as to be expected).
Aldeon is a vampire from the world know as Azure. He doesn’t remember how he, or his people, got to earth. His mind has cleared from the fog of bloodlust, but his species is still mad, tearing through the human and animal population on this new planet. He wants to help the, but when he meets his fated mate- a human, he has to choose. Save her, or stay true to his kind.
What did you enjoy most about writing this book?
My most favorite thing about writing this book was sharing my struggles with a select group of writing friends. They have grown into an amazing community who lends a helping hand to all those who need it. Without them listening to my endless rants, I don’t know what I would do. I especially wouldn’t have been able to get this book written without my amazing friend and critique partner, Winter. I owe this all to her.
How did you come up with the concept and characters for the book?
The concept for this series was a combination of reading a dragon series that I loved (the male main characters inspired my dhampirs’ protective/possessive/alpha nature) and a dream. Daydream might even be a better world. For a whole month, I would lie in bed and visualize the scenes, and then the next day I would write them. It really was a beautiful process.
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Psh, I already have. I wrote this book in a month, and then rewrote it completely a few months later, and then sent it through betas and rewrote pieces of it again, and then changed things one more time before my editor got ahold of it. It’s as good as I can make it at this point.
If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
Kora would most certainly be Emilia Clarke, and Aldeon would probably be… Hm, maybe Joseph Morgan with long black hair. *shrugs* Aldeon is a hard character to cast.
Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
Yes, for sure. My books are not meant for young readers, and there are very mature themes involved. Also, I hear a lot of smack about ‘weak’ heroines. Let me be clear, my characters may seem weak in the beginning (I mean they’ve survived an apocalypse, I feel like they deserve a little credit for that already) but each and every one of them turn their weaknesses into strengths by the end of the book. This is called a character arc and for me, it’s important.
What is your favorite part of this book and why?
Haha, all of the steamy scenes are my favorite. And anything with heightened emotion. The dream about Cece (my FMC’s dead sister) made me cry on my first reread, and then the scenes with Aldeon when he’s super sweet and loving towards Kora… ❤ Heart melts.
If you could spend time with a character from your book whom would it be? And what would you do during that day?
I would say Aldeon, because he’s a hottie, but I feel like that betrays my sisterhood with Kora. I’m weird and totally think of her as a BFF. So, I’d choose to spend my day with her. Maybe we would go and scavenge a book store, or talk about all of the beauty in life. I think she would appreciate that conversation.
Are your characters based off real people or did they all come entirely from your imagination?
They come from my imagination, though I feel like I may inject parts of my self into them at times. Like Kora enjoys books and is an animal lover. Those are totally quirks of mine. She’s also a little bit softer spoken, which is totally me. Aldeon is super protective, and overthinks sometimes. Also me.
Have you written any other books that are not published?
Yep! I’ve written 4(ish) that have never been published, and three novels that were published using my legal name. I’ve unpublished those books, and hope to one day rerelease them under this pen name. 🙂
If your book had a candle, what scent would it be?
Blood orange, or maybe strawberry lemonade. Or forest scented, mixed with a tinge of vanilla.
What is your writing Kryptonite?
Nitro Cold Brew from Starbucks. And I need to have a candle lit before I begin writing. Don’t ask me why, I just do.
What is your writing process? For instance, do you do an outline first? Do you do the chapters first? What are common traps for aspiring writers?
I do a basic outline. I like to know what ‘beats’ I need to hit, and I know how the story starts and ends. Those points never change while I draft, but before each chapter, I do a summary. Things change while I write, but I roll with it. I’m not sure what I would do without a simple outline.
How long on average does it take you to write a book?
It takes me a month on average to write my first draft. Most of my drafts tend to be around 45-50k. After that, I’ll decide how much needs to be rewritten and then focus on that for another month. At that point, the manuscript is normally clean enough that I can manage a couple of weeks of self edits before sending it to my editor. From the first line to hitting publish, it normally takes 2-3 months. (That is for a full length novel.)
Content Warning: This book does contain mature themes, such as but not limited to; sexual content, suicide and suicidal ideations, violence, and strong language. Not suitable for ages under 18+.
Brenna Harlow (if that’s even her real name) lives happily in her own fantasy land, drinking way too much coffee and reading an endless amount of smutty paranormal romance. She joined the land of the living only to share her love for the creatures of the night, and henceforth has claimed her throne at the Kingdom of Vampires and Fated Mates.
You can find Brenna in any coffee shop that provides free Wi-Fi, drinking her triple shot espresso and stabbing her keyboard to death.
Demon hunter Riley Collins has discovered a dark secret… and she’ll have to give up everything to bring it to light.
Riley Collins swore an oath to the Arbiters of Shadow to carry on her family’s legacy of hunting demons. After a hellhound attack in Omaha ends in disaster, the Arbiters assign her a new partner: Jacob Thorne, the arrogant son of one of the highest ranking members of the Council.
Their first assignment together leads them to a demonic ritual that gives Riley and Jacob more questions than the Arbiters are willing to answer. By defying Marcus Thorne and the rest of the Council in her search for the truth, Riley uncovers a conspiracy that runs deep within the demon hunting organization.
Caught between her desire to do the right thing and her duty to the Arbiters, Riley has to make an impossible choice. Will she resign herself to a dark truth within the organization she’s pledged her life to, or will she become an Oathbreaker and spend the rest of her life running from death?
Fans of Supernatural, Jim Butcher, and Ilona Andrews will love the dark twists and turns of MARKED FOR DEATH, book one of the ARBITERS OF SHADOW urban fantasy series by USA Today bestselling author Becca Blake.
Becca Blake writes dark and deadly fantasy stories. If you ask her about her hobbies, she’ll tell you she likes to spend her time seeking vengeance against her enemies, but in reality she spends most of her free time curled up on the couch watching Netflix with her cat. She currently lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with her husband and their two kids.
Can you, for those who don’t know you already, tell something about yourself and how you became an author?
I went to a tiny college in Hartford, Connecticut. In my sophomore year, I joined a fraternity. In my senior year, there was a fraternity brother of mine named Jason Morfoot who told me this story about a group of guys who wrote poetry and literature all the time, smoked a lot of pot, dropped a lot of acid, and drove around in a psychedelic-painted bus with the Grateful Dead.
Once I heard this story, I asked Jason to tell it to me over and over again, probably to his chagrin. I was so charmed by what the Beats did way back when that I said to myself, ‘Gee, maybe this writing thing is for me.’ Of course, it never turned out the way it turned out for them, but I never would have gone into writing had Jason not told me about the Beat Generation. At the time, it sounded like they lived a fairy-tale life. Perhaps they did.
Where were you born/grew up at?
I was born in Lahore, Pakistan in 1971. I immigrated to the United States when I was just a newborn. My family first moved to Buffalo, New York, and over the years, we found ourselves in New York City by the mid-1970s. Back then, New York City was in dire straits – high crime, intense poverty, drugs, etc. I still can’t believe how my mother got through it all, living in the toughest neighborhood in the city at the time, which was then known as Alphabet City, or what is currently known as the Lower East Side. God must have been with her the entire time. I am really amazed at how she persevered. She was incredible woman, even though our relationship was not.
What do you do to unwind and relax?
I like listening to the radio a lot. Usually, NPR, or Classic Rock and Roll.
What inspired you to write this book?
Interestingly enough, these stories were somehow stored on my computer for several years before I accidently found them in a hidden file on my hard drive. I discovered nearly ninety short stories that I forgotten I had ever written. It turns out that nearly seven or eight years ago, the poet, John Allen of Albany, New York, had asked me to submit stories for his website, The New Surrealist Institute, which is now defunct. This site had really been thriving, and a core group of authors had submitted avidly to it. It was also quite popular with many readers. When the website went offline, I had simply forgotten about the stories. When I found them, I just knew I had to compile them into a book.
I wouldn’t say that anything in particular inspired me to write these stories, though. The ideas came to me out of nowhere, which is why it took a lot of effort to construct them. Some of the political stories were inspired by the 2016 elections, for instance. There’s a science fiction story that is more a personal response to my past relationships with friends who have now grown up to do amazing things with their lives. A couple stories are tributes to old friends of mine who had passed on: a painter friend of mine who had committed suicide in the 1990s and also a Black-American bluegrass musician who had recently passed away a couple of years ago. But I can’t say exactly how I got the ideas for them, which is strange. They are very diverse and, I hope, fun to read.
What can we expect from you in the future?
Right now, I am working on a book about September 11, 2001, when the Word Trade Center in New York was hit by a terrorist attack. I haven’t been working on the project consistently as of late, though, but I hope to have it done in a couple of years. Sometimes, life gets in the way of writing every day, which is something I made sure to do. But I really do want the September 11th book to be my finest publication, so it is always on my mind, and when I am working on it, I am working really hard.
Who designed your book covers?
I have to do everything on the cheap, as I have self-published for a long time. I usually find ready-made covers on the web, purchase them, and use them for my book covers. I use a site called www.selfpubbookcovers.com. There’s a guy named Rob there who runs the show, and he has always been very responsive and helpful. He has hundreds of covers to choose from. Hiring designers for the job is just way too expensive for me. Ready-made covers from great designers are a great way to package my books.
Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
Never give up! Never give up! Never give up!
How long have you been writing?
I have been a professional writer for nearly 30 years without much success. While I have published 18 books, it seems that it is hard to attract the public to read them. I am definitely not able to make a living off of any of these books. Instead, I have a fixed income every month from a variety of sources, including Social Security Disability, that has sustained me for all of these years. While I am very happy to see all of my peers succeed and do very well in life, it has been equally as difficult to remain within the same income bracket for so long. But then again, if you are concerned about the money, writing is definitely not the right career path to choose, or so is my experience.
Lately, I have been taking it easier. I hope to continue writing for the rest of my years, but I do admit that I am a bit tired of always being broke and pinching pennies all the time. That is the hard part. But somehow, I have made it through, and my books are all out there, should anyone find them.
What kind of research do you do before you begin writing a book?
I invest a lot in the research process. After a general story idea comes to mind, I refine that idea into a plot outline. Once that is done, I target those parts of the plot that I know nothing of.
For instance, I wrote a book about football. While I had known about football from playing it in my youth, I needed to investigate how professional players practice, not generally, but specifically. So, with that example in mind, I had to go to the library, or surf the internet, to find books that detailed the drills that professional coaches used in their practices. I took this information and then put them on notecards. Then, I added this information to the plot outline and created a chapter-by-chapter outline with the research included in every respective chapter. That’s how it has worked for me thus far.
Also, I find it extremely important to include a bibliography at the back of the book, should I use research. That way, the writing is based not only on my imagination, but also cold, hard facts. One should always cite one’s sources anyway. Plus, I have found it really fun doing the research. It’s incredible how much I have learned about a variety of subjects over the years. When writing historical fiction especially, research is always key.
What do you think about the current publishing market?
Not much. But then again, I haven’t read much of what is out there.
Pen or type writer or computer?
I usually hand-write a manuscript, revise it on paper, and then I type it into the computer, constantly revising it. I then print out the manuscript and revise it again. But I usually do this chapter-by-chapter, not the entire manuscript at once. I find it easier to break it down into manageable parts.
I used to hand-write it and then use a typewriter, but luckily for everyone, the personal computer came along.
Advice they would give new authors?
Definitely do not put all of your eggs in the one basket of writing. If you are going to write or edit for a job, or work as a journalist for a decent salary, that’s fine. But please do not make the same mistake I had made by banking it all on writing fiction novels at an early age. Even though I have developed as a writer through hardship, I don’t think it was really all that worth it.
If I had to do it all over again, I would have chosen a career with a good salary, so that I could have afforded a good car, attracted a nice girlfriend, afforded a simple house, and did what most of my peers have done, or at least developed how most people are portrayed in the media of today. I wouldn’t have had such a cavalier ‘all or none’ attitude about a becoming a writer.
Betting it all on the one hand and winning at it is the stuff of dreams and fantasy and not reality. I am definitely not saying that it won’t happen, though, because a new author definitely could hit the big time with a book or a number of books. But if you find yourself broke and on the street in the freezing cold, as I have witnessed in every city I have lived in, you should really stop and reassess where you are heading. In my opinion, it is not possible to write under conditions of abject poverty for too long. Better to get a roof over your head before writing that next line.
The Odd and the Strange:
A Collection of Very Short Fiction
by Harvey Havel
Genre: Horror, Sci-Fi, Surrealist, Fabulist
A Collection of Very Short Fiction from a variety of genres, including but not limited to horror, science fiction, politics, and the surreal. These celebrated very short stories have been collected over a number of years and have been published in a variety of online e-zines and posted on various websites.
THE ODD AND THE STRANGE by Harvey Havel is a collection of urban tales that toe the line of reality.
The subtitle of Harvey Havel’s THE ODD AND THE STRANGE is A Collection of Very Short Fiction. A better one would be A Very Long Book of Normal-Sized Short Fiction. There are 89 stories in all, most 5-10 pages long (though a few stretch to nearly twenty), with unassuming titles like “Visitation,” “Girlfriend,” and “Daughter.” Though set in the real world, the stories tease reality with nameless characters–the candidate, the doctor, the Big Man–and fantastical occurrences, similar to the parables of Jorge Luis Borges (Argentine short-story writer, essayist, poet and translator, and a key figure in Spanish language literature).
Being a librarian, I was eager to read the story “The Librarian.” A young male librarian–unnamed, naturally–looks into a mirror in his office and sees not his reflection but a woman with “walnut hair luxuriously long and her skin as supple as a young girl’s.” He has seen her many times, and though the two cannot touch, they can talk. What do they talk about? The books he steals from the library and passes into the mirror for her to read. Eventually, his boss confronts the librarian over the missing books only to be told that the latter he gave them to his mirror-world girlfriend. To prove this claim, the librarian tries to summon the woman, and when she doesn’t appear, the librarian smashes the mirror. You can imagine the rest.
Some stories are less Borges and more Stephen Crane (author of The Red Badge of Courage): bleak, violent. Like “Lightning Love,” narrated by a wife whose husband changes into . . . something (the twist at the end is brilliant). Others are political fables, like “Santa Claus and Madam Secretary,” which makes Havel’s proclivities as clear as the image on a 98-inch TV. His style can be clunky–one woman’s breasts are described as “shaped like a queen’s”–and some endings are telegraphed. A few stories, like “Sex Toy,” are more like story fragments. Yet THE ODD AND THE STRANGE is quite an accomplishment: unusual, provocative, and honest.
Mixing the fabulism of Jorge Luis Borges with the bleakness of Stephen Crane, the tales contained in Harvey Havel’s THE ODD AND THE STRANGE draw the reader into a world they won’t soon forget.
~Anthony Aycock for IndieReader
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Harvey Havel is a short-story writer and novelist.
His first novel, Noble McCloud, A Novel, was published in November of 1999. His second novel, The Imam, A Novel, was published in 2000.
Over the years of being a professional writer, Havel published his third novel, Freedom of Association. He worked on several other books and published his eighth novel, Charlie Zero’s Last-Ditch Attempt, and his ninth, The Orphan of Mecca, Book One, which was released several years ago. A full trilogy of this work had been completed a few years after Mr. Big is about a Black-American football player who deals with injury and institutionalized racism. This book was published in 2017. It’s his fifteenth book.
The Wild Gypsy of Arbor Hill is his sixteenth book, and his seventeenth is a non-fiction political essay about America’s current political crisis, written in 2019. He has just now published his eighteenth book, The Odd and The Strange: A Collection of Very Short Fiction.
Havel is formerly a writing instructor at Bergen Community College in Paramus, New Jersey. He also taught writing and literature at the College of St. Rose in Albany as well as SUNY Albany.
The Black Company series, Garrett P.I. series/Glen Cook
Destroyermen series/Taylor Anderson
The Dresden Files/Jim Butcher
Drizzt series/R.A. Salvatore
What book do you think everyone should read? I’d like to say The Salvation of Innocence, but that’s kind of selfish. In truth, I can’t think of a book that has had, or has, more of an influence on people than the Bible. If this is a standard answer, then that would be because it’s the truth.
How long have you been writing? Books? Since late 2014. Dungeon and Dragon games? Since the mid-nineties.
Do the characters all come to you at the same time or do some of them come to you as you write? Most come to me as I write. Mostly because the storyline demanded it.
What kind of research do you do before you begin writing a book? I haven’t really done any research before I write. Since I write in the fantasy genre, there’s not a lot of fact checking I need to do before I start. However, I do research as I’m writing. For example, in The Salvation of Innocence, a sea voyage was required. Instead of glossing it over, I research the construction, parts of, and manning of ships from the 1700’s, particularly British ships of the line. I studied combat strategy and envisioned how to apply that past philosophy to fight off a dragon. I also researched land combat tactics from the medieval age as well as the different types of army units and their strengths. As for the Marines I have in my trilogy, I pretty much use modern-day U.S. Marines as my guide.
Do you see writing as a career? No. The people who are successful writers have several things in common… they have talent and they either have connections or provided a story that caught the public’s imagination. I call that catching “lightning in a bottle”. I don’t think my talent level is on par with successful writers, though I may be selling myself short.
What do you think about the current publishing market? Hard to crack. I consider myself lucky that Dove and Dragon Publishing decided to take me on. But that doesn’t mean my chances at success are guaranteed… just somewhat better. Demand dictates how well my novels are received… and there’s a lot of material out there to satisfy that demand.
Do you read yourself and if so what is your favorite genre? I do, though not as much as I used to. Too many other things to occupy my time. My favorite genre is fantasy, but I also enjoy science fiction, horror, sometimes crime, and books about WWII.
Do you prefer to write in silence or with noise? Why? If I understand the question, I write with noise. I love writing with new age music (like Enya) in the background. Most weekdays, however, I write with FOX Business in the background. When I was writing games for my D&D sessions, I listened to classical music on my CD player. Sometimes the music inspires, sometimes it calms, sometimes it picks me up, particularly if I need to figure just exactly where I want my storyline to go (or how, which is just as important).
Do you write one book at a time or do you have several going at a time? My books seem like they are several going at one time. I use many different storylines and characters to get from Point A to Point B. But the direct answer is one at a time.
If you could have been the author of any book ever written, which book would you choose? I think it would be the Lord of the Ring series. Those books pretty much set the standard for future fantasy books and D&D games and books.
Pen or typewriter or computer? Definitely computer. It spell checks as I write, allows me to cut and paste if and when I decide a particular storyline, paragraph, or sentence, allows me to save my work using several different formats, allows me to insert illustrations, checks basic grammar, etc, etc, etc. I know that some writers consider pen as the only pure form… but all that ever does for me is hurt my wrist, not to mention it’s slower which means my mind is always three ideas ahead.
Tell us about a favorite character from a book. I love ‘em all, but perhaps the one character I like writing about best is probably is Azriel. He’s a dwarf turned sylph who’s a bit outlandish. What I like about him is his lack of filter on both his thinking and his talking. He’s brash, short-tempered, and very opinionated. Yet he has a good heart and is willing to sacrifice himself for the greater good.
What made you want to become an author and do you feel it was the right decision? I’m retired, so I’m not earning a living with my writing, so there isn’t the financial pressure. But the decision to write was definitely the right decision. I enjoy it immensely.
A day in the life of the author? Up at about 0800-0830, depending upon when my dogs decide when it’s time. Prepare for the day, get the dogs out and make the coffee. At 0900 I turn on the FOX Business Network (Varney and Co.) and watch while getting caught up with emails and Facebook. At 1000, downstairs to my space… man cave… where I surround myself with dragons, spaceships, castles, D&D miniatures, airplanes, etc. Turn on the TV (back to FOX Business) and get started writing. I stop around 1230 for lunch and some afternoon TV. (I’m gotten to where I like to watch old-time westerns like Gunsmoke, Big Valley, Bonanza). Break for time on the treadmill, then back upstairs for a shower. Feed the dogs, watch evening TV while reading or, too my horror, get on Facebook. I call it a day around 0100. (These are just the days I stay home, which, I must admit, I really, really like.)
Advice they would give new authors? Don’t quit your day job. Being a successful writer (money wise), regardless of talent, isn’t a guarantee. It’s a fact of life. Take care of your fam
The Salvation of Innocence
The Bridge of Magic Trilogy Book 1
by Robert E. Balsley Jr.
A young woman embarks on a harrowing journey to save her world’s last vestige of magical healing in Robert E. Balsley Jr.’s epic new fantasy novel, The Salvation of Innocence.
Althaya, the goddess of healing, wishes to share her ability to help those in need, providing “empaths,” which give clerics the means to magically heal others-a means that some people fear and wish to destroy. In response, a dark magic known as the Purge is created to seek out and eradicate all empaths.
But one lone survivor remains, spirited away by Althaya and hidden in a magical stasis field. There, the last empath must remain alive until the time comes for rescue-but the Purge will not rest until the last empath is found and killed.
Three thousand years later, Kristen Rosilie Clearwater is only beginning to realize her destiny. Having been brought to the island of InnisRos as an orphan, she has long felt a “tug” toward something she can’t quite understand. But when she begins experiencing the dreams of a young child, Kristen knows that the two are somehow connected-and that the fate of the world, and the future of healing magic, rests on.
In this suspenseful sequel to The Salvation of Innocence, the war against evil rages on. This time good must fight on two fronts to stop a great evil-one strong enough to commit genocide-or their world will be changed forever.
After barely escaping death at the hands of the vampire Lukas, Emmy still faces an even greater threat. The Purge is approaching. Emmy and her comrades’ only chance is to get help from the sentient city of Elanesse and commit the first assault.
Far way, another conflict is brewing. Father Horatio Goram must face off against the power-hungry First Counselor Mordecai Lannian, whose demonic concubine pushes for war, but the odds are against him. Emmy’s fate rests on this struggle, and this determined priest will do anything to win.
In a realm where healing magic relies on a single emissary’s ability to commune with the gods, Emmy’s death would have wide repercussions. This sensational thriller reveals the destructive power evil will use to achieve its dastardly ends-and the depths to which good must go to stop it.
The Ak-Séregon Stone, stolen by the demon Nightshade, has been used to force open a corridor between Aster and the Svartalfheim, the home world of the Dark Elves. The Dark Elf army, led by Nightshade’s father, Aikanáro, marches on InnisRos. Only Father Goram and his allies, with Queen Lessien’s army, can close down the corridor and break the stranglehold the Dark Elves have on the island of the Elves of Light.
But the Dark Elf invasion of InnisRos is only one phase of Nightshade’s design. To ensure InnisRos’ human allies stay on their side of the world, she blackmails Lord Ternborg, leader of the Draugen Pesta, the Black Death, to invade the mainland from the east. Forced to collaborate with the mercenary cities of HeBron and Madeira, Lord Ternborg reluctantly leads three armies into the Forest of the Fey and the surrounding valley to capture the sorcerer stronghold of Havendale. Tangus, Kristen, Emmy and the humans now have their own war to fight on the mainland.
Meanwhile, deep below the surface, a new threat arises. The sylph are awake and moving from the depths with one goal in mind… destroy all life on Aster.
Today we welcome Desiree Villena for a guest post.
5 Books That Manipulate the English Language
The scattering of words and phrases in fictional languages is not an unusual concept in fiction. Fantasy worlds, such as Tolkien’s Middle Earth and George R.R. Martin’s The Known World, are so fully realized that they not only come with their own history, topography, and mythology, but their own languages too. And I’m not just talking about the odd memorised Game of Thrones quote; I’m talking 4000 word Dothraki lexicons and university courses in Elvish.
Languages are an exceptional way of capturing the soul of the culture that spawned them — which is why fantasy authors aren’t the only ones to have dabbled in lexical invention. The limited vocabulary and sinister staccato rhythm of ‘Newspeak’ was used in Orwell’s cult classic 1984 to show how the totalitarian state kept original thought at bay. Meanwhile, Roald Dahl used the ‘frothbuggling’ (silly) but ‘hopscotchy’ (cheerful) language he called ‘Gobblefunk’ to make his exuberant world even more playful.
But what about books that go a step further? Those written entirely in a constructed language or dialect? Though they can initially be a little daunting, these books take the immersive experience of reading to a whole new level. So if you’re up for the challenge, they’re not to be missed!
1. A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
Burgess’ dystopian novel is narrated by Alex — a nightmarish teen who thinks and talks in Nadstat. If you’ve never heard of Nadstat, don’t worry, you haven’t fallen behind the times; Burgess constructed it himself by amalgamating Romany, Cockney rhyming slang, and a Russian-English hybrid lingo. Along with white cricket codpieces and dark eye make-up, Nadstat is part of the performance of a violent youth subculture.
For readers, this street-slang acts like a screen, blurring our understanding of the brutal ‘ultraviolence’ they commit. If the words for blade, guts, and scream weren’t shrouded in Nadstat, we’d have to abandon the book within chapters to throw up or find a priest. Instead, a kind of rapport develops.
At first glance, Alex’s narrative may seem incomprehensible, but with a little bit of context, the meaning soon becomes clear. I bet you can figure this sentence out pretty easily (though the squeamish may not want to): “to tolchock some old veck in an alley and viddy him swim in his blood.” If you’re still having trouble, you can check out this dictionary. Before long you’ll be slipping Nadstat into conversation; though don’t let that lead to tolchocking old vecks in alleys!
2. The Wake by Paul Kingsnorth
Paul Kingsnorth doesn’t get on with historical novels written in contemporary language. To travel back in time, he argues, you need to speak the language of the era. You can debate the truth of this among yourselves; but whether or not you agree, The Wake is not to be missed.
It’s composed in what Kingsnorth calls a ‘ghost language’ — a language that aims to reflect a historical setting. In this case, England during the wake of the Norman conquest. As Alex points out in this post, the English language has changed a lot: to reproduce a version of Old English, Kingsnorth had to scrap any words that came over with the French and reintroduce words of Anglo-Saxon origin. The result can be a little disorienting:
“aefry ember of hope gan lic the embers of a fyr brocen in the daegs beginnan brocen by men other than us. hope falls harder when the end is cwic hope falls harder when in the daegs before the storm the stillness of the age was writen in the songs of men”
However, if you persevere (and maybe sound the words out loud), the language will soon come naturally, and you’ll be rewarded with a gripping story.
3. Riddley Walker by Russell Hoban
The language of Hoban’s dystopian novel, though it’s set in the distant future, is uncannily similar to that of Kingsnorth’s distant past. Riddley Walker imagines a world 2,000 years after nuclear war has obliterated civilisation as we know it. Living in a nuclear wasteland, humanity is more or less transported back to the Iron Age, where the language is as broken as the landscape.
Our narrator is 12-year-old Riddley Walker, who lives in Kent, ‘Inland’ (England). However, it’s not just the regional accent and Riddley’s awkward pre-teen slang that shapes the dialect in which the novel is written — it is also injected with Hoban’s invented post-apocalyptic vernacular. Here’s a little taster: “Every 1 knows about Bad Time and what come after. Bad Time 1st and bad times after. Not many come thru it a live.”
Though that sentence may look like a text message with one too many typos, as the story unfolds, you’ll realize just how important this language is to Hoban’s vision.
4. Trainspotting by Irvine Welsh
Unlike the other books on this list, Trainspotting isn’t written in a language constructed by the author. Welsh’s novel follows in a noble line of literature (including Wuthering Heights and several works by James Kelman) composed partially in Scots’ dialect — but Welsh takes things one step further.
If you’ve seen the cult movie starring pre-Obi Wan Ewan McGregor, then you might recognize the name Mark “Rent Boy” Renton. Alongside other drug-addled junkies living in Edinburgh’s inhospitable outskirts, Mark narrates Trainspotting in a thick Scottish dialect. The novel is written phonetically, so it can end up looking a little opaque:
“Ah sit frozen for a moment. But only a moment. Ah fall off the pan, ma knees splashing oantae the pishy flair. My jeans crumple tae the deck and greedily absorb the urine, but ah hardly notice. Ah roll up ma shirt sleeve and hesitate only briefly, glancing at ma scabby and occasionally weeping track marks, before plunging ma hands and forearms intae the brown water.”
But, if you start by reading it aloud, it’s much easier to understand; not to mention, you’ll instantly nail an Edinburgh accent.
5. The Policeman’s Beard is Half-Constructed
This collection of prose and poetry is written in a language that is essentially alien. In 1984, William Chamberlain and Thomas Etter created a computer program called raconteur (Racter for short) to answer the question: what kind of language would a machine, with no knowledge of the human experience, come up with?
I suppose getting a computer to do all the work is one way to deal with writer’s block. And honestly, the results could give Anne Carson a run for her money:
BILL. I love a child. MARCELA. Children are fortunately captivating. BILL. Yet my love is excellent. MARCELLA. My love is spooky yet we must have a child, a spooky child. BILL. Do you follow me? MARCELLA. Children come from love or desire. We must have love to possess children or a child. BILL. Do we have love? MARCELLA. We possess desire, angry desire. But this furious desire may murder a child. It may be killing babies someday. BILL. Anyway let’s have a child. MARCELLA. My expectation is children. BILL. They will whisper of our love. MARCELLA. And our perpetual, enrapturing, valuable fantasy.
Influenced by technology and the merging of cultures, language is constantly shifting. Maybe one day we’ll all be talking ‘Textspeak’, or regional dialects will die out completely, leaving some standardised form of language. The possibilities are endless. Which is why novels like these, that explore the evolution of language and the effect it has on a consciousness, are so uniquely fascinating. Granted, they aren’t for everyone — some people will simply conclude that these books are in serious need of a professional editor. But, if you have the patience to scramble through a rough few pages, then they’re not to be missed!
Trick or Treat! ‘Tis the month to celebrate all things paranormal, supernatural, suspenseful and mystical. If you’re like me, you’ll want to accept this very special invitation to join the festivities at N. N. Light’s Book Heaven’s 2nd annual Trick or Treat Book Bonanza. 46 authors share what they’d dress up as for Halloween as well as 53 books featured plus a chance to win one of the following:
Enter to win a $50 Amazon (US) or Barnes and Noble Gift Card
Enter to win a $50 Amazon (US) or Barnes and Noble Gift Card
Enter to win a $25 Amazon (US) or Barnes and Noble Gift Card
Enter to win a $15 Amazon (US) or Barnes and Noble Gift Card
Enter to win a $10 Amazon (US) or Barnes and Noble Gift Card
I’m thrilled to be a part of this event. My books, Nightly Bites II will be featured on 13th October and The Secret of Blossom Rise on 26th October. Wait until you read what my Halloween costume would be. You won’t want to miss it.
(Although this list is rather dry reading, imagine they are not just themes in a set of novels, but aspects of a reality that had an impact on the lives of real people)
Women’s issues and how they evolved in Victorian England
1)Women as the property of their husbands, having to obey, with little or no recourse against physical, psychological, or sexual abuse.
2)The slow evolution of these issues in Victorian England.
3)The worth of a woman in society having much to do with the worth of the man to whom she is wed.
4)The relative worth to society and employers of single middle-aged women with no family ties.
Poverty and social conscience
1)The relief system—the workhouses, out-relief, casual wards, and infirmaries.
2)Opinions based on social Darwinism that helped maintain a class system. The oppression and suppression of those of a lower station in a class system.
3)The various approaches of the innumerable beggars in the streets.
4)The use of child labor.
5)Scavengers of Victorian London, such as bone grubbers, toshers, pure finders, and mudlarks.
6)The struggle for survival in a time of societal change, great advances in technology, and a rapidly changing economy.
The industrial revolution and unemployment
1)The advantage employers had over workers with high-unemployment during the industrial revolution: low wages, abusive practices.
3) Piece work for manufacturers, such as finishing articles of clothing, making small items, adhering labels, or whatever small factory work a laborer might take home to be done in spare time or by children in the evenings. The term “piece work” comes from the fact that the worker is paid by the completed piece.
4)The dangers of the workplace in a society with few industrial and employment safety regulations: exposure to poisonous chemicals, powered equipment, and the stresses of highly repetitive labor over long work shifts with little variety.
1)The availability of drink (considered by many in that time another form of food).
2)Alcohol used to treat water to make it potable. Such water is given to children even at a very early age.
3)The use of alcohol to dampen feeling and the escape intoxication provides.
4)The bargaining alcoholics do with themselves as the disease creates ever more physical and social difficulties for the sufferer.
5)The availability of opium in various forms for children and adults.
The evolution of education for the children of the poor—the slow introduction of mandatory education.
Who engaged in prostitution and why the practice could seem attractive—see all categories above.
Alan M. Clark’s Jack the Ripper Victims Series is comprised of five novels, one for each of the canonical victims of the murderer. These stories are not only meant to appeal to those interested in the horror that was the Autumn of Terror, but also those interested in the struggles of women in the 19th century. They are well-researched, fictional dramatic stories meant to help readers walk in the shoes of the victims and give a sense of the world as each of the women may have experienced it. The timelines for the stories run mostly concurrently, so it doesn’t matter in what order the books in the series are read. They are simultaneously drama, mystery, thriller, historical fiction, and horror. They are novels concerning horror that happened.
A Brutal Chill in August
The First Victim of Jack the Ripper
by Alan M. Clark
Genre: Crime Horror
Print Length: 348 pages
Publisher: IFD Publishing
Publication Date: December 7, 2019
We all know about Jack the Ripper, the serial murderer who terrorized Whitechapel and confounded police in 1888, but how much do we really know about his victims?
Pursued by one demon into the clutches of another, the ordinary life of Mary Ann “Polly” Nichols is made extraordinary by horrible, inhuman circumstance. Jack the Ripper’s first victim comes to life in this sensitive and intimate fictionalized portrait, from humble beginnings, to building a family with an abusive husband, her escape into poverty and the workhouse, alcoholism, and finally abandoned on the streets of London where the Whitechapel Murderer found her.
With A Brutal Chill in August, Alan M. Clark gives readers an uncompromising and terrifying look at the nearly forgotten human story behind one of the most sensational crimes in history. This is horror that happened.
This novel is part of the Jack the Ripper Victims Series. Each novel in the series is a stand-alone story.
Annie Chapman led a hard, lower-class life in filthy 19th century London. Late in life, circumstances and her choices led her to earn her crust by solicitation. After a bruising brawl with another woman over money and a man, she lost her lodgings and found herself sleeping rough. That dangerous turn of events delivered her into the hands of London’s most notorious serial killer, Jack the Ripper.
Contrasting her last week alive with the experiences of her earlier life, the author helps readers understand how she might have made the decisions that put her in the wrong place at the wrong time
This novel is part of the Jack the Ripper Victims Series. Each novel in the series is a stand-alone story.
An imaginative reconstruction of the life of Elizabeth Stride, the third victim of Jack the Ripper. The beast of poverty and disease had stalked Elizabeth all her life, waiting for the right moment to take her down. To survive, she listened to the two extremes within herself–Bess, the innocent child of hope, and Liza, the cynical, hardbitten opportunist. While Bess paints rosy pictures of what lies ahead and Liza warns of dangers everywhere, the beast, in the guise of a man offering something better, circles ever closer.
In Victorian London, the greatest city of the richest country in the world, the industrial revolution has created a world of decadence and prosperity, but also one of unimaginable squalor and suffering. Filth, decay, danger, sorrow, and death are ever-present in the streets. Catherine Eddowes is found murdered gruesomely in the city’s East End. When the police make their report, the only indicators of her life are the possessions carried on her person, likely everything she owned in the world. In Of Thimble and Threat, Alan M. Clark tells the heartbreaking story of Catherine Eddowes, the fourth victim of Jack the Ripper, explaining the origin and acquisition of the items found with her at the time of her death, chronicling her life from childhood to adulthood, motherhood, her descent into alcoholism, and finally her death. Of Thimble and Threat is a story of the intense love between a mother and a child, a story of poverty and loss, fierce independence, and unconquerable will. It is the devastating portrayal of a self-perpetuated descent into Hell, a lucid view into the darkest parts of the human heart.
A novel that beats back our assumptions about the time of Jack the Ripper. Not the grim story of an unfortunate drunken prostitute killed before her time, but one of a young woman alive with all the emotional complexity of women today. Running from a man wanting her to pay for her crimes against his brother, Mary Jane Kelly must recover a valuable hidden necklace and sell it to gain the funds to leave London and start over elsewhere. Driven by powerful, if at times conflicting emotion, she runs the dystopian labyrinth of the East End, and tries to sneak past the deadly menace that bars her exit.
Although THE PROSTITUTE’S PRICE is a standalone tale, and part of the Jack the Ripper Victims Series, it is also a companion story to the novel, THE ASSASSIN’S COIN, by John Linwood Grant. The gain a broader experience of each novel, read both.
Author and illustrator, Alan M. Clark grew up in Tennessee in a house full of bones and old medical books. His awards include the World Fantasy Award and four Chesley Awards. He is the author of seventeen books, including twelve novels, a couple of novellas, four collections of fiction, some of them lavishly illustrated, and a nonfiction full-color book of his artwork. Mr Clark’s company, IFD Publishing, has released 42 titles of various editions, including traditional books, both paperback and hardcover, audiobooks, and ebooks by such authors as F. Paul Wilson, Elizabeth Engstrom, and Jeremy Robert Johnson. Alan M. Clark and his wife, Melody, live in Oregon. www.alanmclark.com Visit his blog: https://ifdpublishing.com/blog