AHOW Blog Tour #10 – K.N. Johnson

Today we have the tenth author interview for ‘A Haunting of Words’ – K.N. Johnson. Her story “The Blue Amberol Turns Again” is a time-bending, musical tale which would make an excellent Twilight Zone episode. Another good read from this seasoned horror writer.

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Title:
The Blue Amberol Turns Again

Blurb:
Two families, two eras, one house, and one haunted music cylinder. Does it foretell the future or just replay the past?

What inspired you to write this story?
I love to roam antique shops. In a particularly cool shop in Louisville, KY, I discovered loads of phonographs, including an old Amberola and a box of dusty cylinders. And that’s when I remembered my trip to the Thomas Edison house where I learned Edison recorded music on wax cylinders before records were invented. The scratchy melody coming from these things is eerie – like a voice scratching its way out from the past.

How long have you been writing?
As a child, I’d create family newspapers, children’s books in scribble pads. My sisters still remember me forcing them to act in my plays. In middle school, my best friend and I wrote a paranormal YA book for fun. I was the high school newspaper editor, but also churned out handwritten pages of a soap opera for a few close friends. When my twins were toddlers, I wrote a screenplay with my husband. Miramax passed on it and I haven’t tried romantic comedy again. I worked as a reporter and email marketer for years before finally giving time to my pile of short story ideas.

What genre do you associate most within your writing?
In general, I write horror. But it’s not the slasher gore most people consider horror. It’s more cerebral, strange, unsettling. I’ve been drawn to Folk Horror recently. I think the combination of woodlands and religious elements reminds me of my childhood.

What are you working on now?
I had a Netflix marathon of reality forensic shows about young kids who committed murder. Really disturbing stuff about the Slenderman murder and other cases. This inspired a story about a psychopathic teen who manipulates another into helping her commit murder. They get away with it and head their separate ways. But paranoia sets in. Each begins to wonder if the other will rat them out and if one more murder is necessary to keep their secret from ever coming to light.

What else do you have published?
My dark science fiction story “Regolith” will appear in the upcoming anthology Terra Nullius later this year. My dark story “Frigid” won Mythraeum’s Pygmalion contest and is available to read on their website: http://mythraeum.com/story-pygmalion-contest-winner-frigid

What advice would you offer to new writers?
Read writers you love and try to figure out why you love their stories. Then, make time to write. Write absolute rubbish just to get your story down. You can’t be a writer if you don’t write, write, write.

List links where people can find your writing:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/knjohnsonauthor/
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/author/K.N.-Johnson/e/B01KUNOBP6

You can purchase A Haunting of Words (available in paperback and eBook) through the Scout Media online store at www.scoutmediabooksmusic.com/a-haunting-of-words and get an exclusive companion soundtrack CD, or through Barnes & Nobles, Target, Books-a-Million, and Amazon.

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WIP – The Californian

Below is the initial draft of the intro to a short I am working on called The Californian.

Cecil kicked the door to room 630 shut behind her and slammed the hotel keys on the table next to it. Muffled voices down the corridor laughed and said something like “Welcome to The Californian!” in a mocking tone.

Jerks. And what hotel still uses old-school metal keys?

She rolled her luggage to the bed and laid on her back with a sigh. Her reflection from the mirror on the ceiling looked back at her with annoyed exhaustion.

Real classy, Californian. So glad that Steele Airways put me up in this dump.

Cecil was on her way to Puerto Vallarta to meet with the rest of her Winslow girls. She wasn’t as flush as they were, so she had to take the red-eye flight with a layover in LAX. A suspicious package forced an evacuation of the airport between planes, and all flights canceled until tomorrow, but free accommodations to all inconvenienced. Cecil was pretty sure she’d prefer sleeping in the terminal.

What was it Don at the Front Desk said? ‘You can check out any time you like?’ I wonder if it is too early now…

A soft thud from the bathroom banished all thoughts from her head. She was on her feet almost immediately, listening intently. A nearly inaudible hiss of something sliding along the bathroom floor caused goose bumps to sprout on her arms and the hairs on the back of her neck to prickle.

AHOW Blog Tour #9 – F.A. Fisher

Today we have the ninth author interview for ‘A Haunting of Words’ – F.A. Fisher. His story “Fighting Sleep” is actually the one I am in the middle of reading right now. Also told from a child’s perspective, it deals with the child’s special powers and his unbelieving parents…

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Title:
Fighting Sleep

Blurb:
The new crib smells wrong to Ross. His parents won’t listen to him because he’s only four, but how can he protect his new sister from it all by himself? The truth is, he’s afraid the crib is haunted.
He’s right.

What inspired you to write this story?
I overheard a small girl when she walked into a room, looked at the crib, and said, “That crib looks evil.” I thought the idea of an evil crib sounded pretty cool, so I wrote the story.

How long have you been writing?
Off and on for thirty years. Last year I decided to get serious about it and published my first two novels.

What genre do you associate most within your writing?
Science Fiction and Fantasy

What are you working on now?
The third novel in my Cloaks series.

What else do you have published?
My first novel is Cloaks. The sequel is Pandir Decloaked.

What advice would you offer to new writers?
Keep writing. Don’t stop (repeatedly!) like I did.

List links where people can find your writing:
My website is:    http://fafisher.com

Cloaks is on Amazon at:    https://www.amazon.com/Cloaks-F-Fisher-ebook/dp/B01FYCUL02/

Pandir Decloaked is also on Amazon at:    https://www.amazon.com/Pandir-Decloaked-Cloaks-Book-2-ebook/dp/B01N9GKDPV

And it should go without saying that my story “Fighting Sleep” is in the anthology, A Haunting of Words.

You can purchase A Haunting of Words (available in paperback and eBook) through the Scout Media online store at www.scoutmediabooksmusic.com/a-haunting-of-words and get an exclusive companion soundtrack CD, or through Barnes & Nobles, Target, Books-a-Million, and Amazon.

AHOW Blog Tour #8 – Laurie Gardiner

Today we have the eighth author interview for ‘A Haunting of Words’ – Laurie Gardiner. Her story “Thief” is one of my favorites in the book. Told from a child’s perspective, it bounces from sweet to sad to downright infuriating. As with all of Laurie’s works, the writing is intense.

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Title:
Thief

Blurb:
Luna Fiore promised to be with her twin sister, Cira, when she dies. Instead, Luna’s own death sends her on a journey through memories where she must explore her mother’s darkest secrets. Can Luna find the truth and make her way back to her twin before the thief in Cira’s head releases her?

What inspired you to write this story?
The song of the same name by the band Our Lady Peace. It’s always been one of my favourite songs by OLP simply because of the emotion it conveys. When I was brainstorming story ideas for A Haunting of Words, I watched the video for “Thief” and inspiration hit.

How long have you been writing?
Almost as long as I can remember.

What genre do you associate most within your writing?
I write mainly contemporary drama and women’s fiction. Writing a paranormal story pushed me slightly out of my comfort zone, which, I think, turned out to be a good thing!

What are you working on now?
 I’m working on a series of flash fiction stories centered around the theme of elder abuse.

What else do you have published?
So far, my publications include: debut novel, Tranquility, published in 2015 by Escargot Books; short story “Retribution” in Scout Media’s 2016 “of Words” anthology; “Thief” in Scout Media’s latest anthology, A Haunting of Words.

What advice would you offer to new writers?
Never stop learning.

List links where people can find your writing:
http://www.scoutmediabooksmusic.com/of-words-series/https://www.amazon.com/Laurie-Gardiner/e/B00RZPBBTC

You can purchase A Haunting of Words (available in paperback and eBook) through the Scout Media online store at www.scoutmediabooksmusic.com/a-haunting-of-words and get an exclusive companion soundtrack CD, or through Barnes & Nobles, Target, Books-a-Million, and Amazon.

AHOW Blog Tour #7 – R.J. Castiglione

Today we have the seventh author interview for ‘A Haunting of Words’ – R.J. Castiglione. His story “The Jonathan of Bracken Manor” is another superbly haunting tale which can only be found within this anthology.

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Title:
The Jonathan of Bracken Manor

Blurb:
“The Jonathan of Bracken Manor” follows a young ghost as he haunts his family’s mansion over the course of a century.

What inspired you to write this story?
When I first read about the “Of Words” series, I thought it an interesting anthology concept.  The opportunity to be selected is what ultimately inspired me to create a story.  However, “The Jonathan of Bracken Manor” was conceived when my husband and I went to a boutique hotel in Newport, RI for dinner.  The hotel itself was beautiful, although the ambiance, to me, screamed paranormal.  I began to imagine the hotel haunted and created a few ghosts in my head.  The one ghost that muddied through my creative process was Jonathan, a young boy who plays tricks on hotel guests.  The rest of the story came together from there.

How long have you been writing?
Although I have been writing my entire adult life, my first self-publication released in March 2017.

What genre do you associate most within your writing?
I am currently focused on writing Literary RPG (“LitRPG” for short).  This story style allows me to combine my love for writing and my enjoyment of open-world RPG video games into one.

What are you working on now?
I am working on three stories at the moment.  Fjorgyn: The Deep Below is my largest LitRPG endeavor.  It is the second book in the series.  I am also outlining and will release Lacrimosa Online, another LitRPG stand-alone novel that takes place in a macabre landscape.  Lastly, and unrelated to my favored niche, I am writing a paranormal, M/M romance called When Mountains Weep.  This story is a harrowing adventure about a domestic abuse survivor as he flees to his family home in Maui.

What else do you have published?
The only book I have published at this time is Fjorgyn: A Rebel Rises, available exclusively on Amazon and Kindle Unlimited.

What advice would you offer to new writers?
Writing is not just about putting pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard).  Creating the first draft of your story is only one step in a complicated process.  First, tell a story that you would like to read.  Second, shelve it for a while.  Third, self-edit it to hell and back again.  Fourth, spring for proper editing and cover design.  If you’re self-publishing, don’t skip this step.  If you’re traditionally published, don’t pay for this.  You’re only hurting yourself if you release something without editing.  Fifth, get some beta readers to really help polish your work.  Sixth, self-publish it and spend as much time marketing your book as you did when producing it, if not more.
These steps above make the world of difference.  They’re what distinguish writers from authors.

List links where people can find your writing:
Links to all of my present and future works can be found on https://rjcastiglione.com

You can purchase A Haunting of Words (available in paperback and eBook) through the Scout Media online store at www.scoutmediabooksmusic.com/a-haunting-of-words and get an exclusive companion soundtrack CD, or through Barnes & Nobles, Target, Books-a-Million, and Amazon.

Blind

The intro to Blind, new fiction coming soon!

 

“If you’re leaving, close the door!”

She paused in the doorway, facing the summer sun. Her hair undulated in the breeze like the rolling waves of an ebony sea.

“Look at yourself, Will. I can’t sit by and watch you self-destruct.”

Penny turned as if to say more. Her lips twisted and shook. Her eyes welled with tears that spilled down her cheeks. She set our shell on the mantle.

Tan eyes shone with raw, painful disappointment that bore into my soul and ripped it to shreds. I struggled to sit, but I was too late. Without another word, she turned and sprinted to the taxi waiting outside. Upon her exit, the color in my world faded, the warmth in the room chilled. The only woman I’ve ever loved left me, and it was my own doing.

How could I have been so blind?

I took another swig from the store-brand whiskey bottle and emptied its mind-numbing contents down my throat. Disgusted, I hurled the bottle across the room where it struck a mirror, shattering both. Fitting that so many things shattered that day, myself included.

Breath hitched in my chest, and the lump in my throat wasn’t from the booze. I realized the low moan I heard was emanating from me.

I collapsed on the floor and willed the room to be still. Eyelids shouldn’t be as heavy as mine had become.

The last thing I saw before I passed out was that the damned door was still open.

AHOW Blog Tour #6 – Amy Hunter

Today we have the sixth author interview for ‘A Haunting of Words’ – Amy Hunter. Her story “Salted Ground” displays her amazing talent at wordsmithing, and deep, emotional themes. She is also quite a talented artist at making book covers and postcard images – she did all of the interior artwork within A Haunting of Words, including all of the images in these interviews.

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Title and synopsis/blurb of your AHOW story:
Salted Ground
Marley was convinced she had found happiness with Adam when he helped her escape an abusive relationship. When tragedy strikes, will she find hope or torment?

What inspired you to write this story?
One of the many things I struggle with is not knowing when to let go… of anything. Marley became sort of a hero to me. In the first paragraph, she salted the ground and moved on, and in the rest of the story, she deals with the consequences.

How long have you been writing?
I’ve been writing since my early teen years. Earlier than that, if you count the childhood plays my friends and I would perform for my mom (all of which received standing ovations). I moved on to high school journalism, which I thought I would make into a career, but here I am at thirty-three, diggin’ the hell out of fiction.

What genres do you most associate with in your writing?
Suspense, Creative Nonfiction

What are you working on right now?
Monster’s Edge. When Coralie manipulates Shane into committing a crime, he double-crosses her and leaves her with a parting gift she’ll never forget.

What else do you have available/published:
So far, aside from ‘A Haunting of Words,’ I also have a story called “Core” in ‘A Journey of Words.’
[JMA] – you can order A Journey of Words here]

What advice do you give to new writers?
A piece of advice saved my life once and continues to do so every day. I feel like it applies here. So: remove the cotton from your ears and put it in your mouth. Listen and learn from those who came before you. Don’t assume you know everything. And hire an editor. Okay, so the editor thing came later, but do it. You’ll be glad you did.

List links where people can find your work:
https://www.facebook.com/AmyUnleashed/
https://www.amyhunterauthor.com
https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15700724.Amy_Hunter

You can purchase A Haunting of Words (available in paperback and eBook) through the Scout Media online store at:www.scoutmediabooksmusic.com/a-haunting-of-words and get an exclusive com