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THE CRIMSON CORSET: Interview and Excerpt with the Amazing Alistair Cross

TODAY’S BREW: Target brand Chocolate Cupcake AND IT REALLY TASTES LIKE ONE!

By Julie

Alistair Cross is a great friend and an amaaaazing writer. His poetry and his horror work is so sensual and evocative, it’s unparalleled. So when I demanded the opportunity to preview his first solo novel, THE CRIMSON CORSET on Deadly Ever After. I seriously cannot wait. HERE, LET ME SHOW YOU ONE OF MY FAVORITE POEMS OF HIS AND YOU’LL SEE WHY. https://alistaircross.wordpress.com/2014/04/10/battle-kiss/

And THIS is about THE CRIMSON CORSET

NOW BUY THE CRIMSON CORSET: http://www.amazon.com/Crimson-Corset-Vampires-Cove-Book-ebook/dp/B0139K6N7Q/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1438549888&sr=1-1&keywords=the+crimson+corset+by+alistair+cross

NOW I ASK ALL THE QUESTIONS.

  • You’ve come up with some really unique and beautifully disturbing ideas for THE CRIMSON CORSET that remind me of your poetry, which as you know, I’m in love with. Tell us about the crimson corset itself.

Thanks for loving the poetry! The poetry loves you, too!

Regarding the actual crimson corset … it refers to two things. First and foremost, it is a literal corset – a very special garment worn by my undead antagonist, Gretchen VanTreese, when she’s feeling uninspired. There are specific reasons this article of clothing is so special to her – macabre, gruesome reasons that I can’t expound upon without giving spoilers. I can say that some very special care went into the construction of the garment and because of those unnamed specifics, the corset represents to Gretchen a passage into power, and freedom from her past – it is a symbol of what she could become.

Then there’s Gretchen’s nightclub, The Crimson Corset, named for that very special red bodice of hers. Purchased in 1912 when Gretchen and her band of Loyals settled in Crimson Cove, the Swiss-Chalet-style former lodge is notorious for its wild parties and long history of debauchery and excess. Built over underground tunnels of the rum-running days of Prohibition, there’s a lot more to this club than any of the locals know. This club was a ton of fun to write and it became a character in its own right as a lot of the action and danger takes place there.

As for the book … The Crimson Corset is the first in a series titled The Vampires of Crimson Cove. It begins when a seemingly ordinary young man named Cade Colter who moves to the little California village of Crimson Cove where he discovers he’s not so ordinary after all. Unbeknownst to him, Cade has a genetic rarity that makes him very extraordinary, indeed … and very valuable Gretchen VanTreese.

As Cade becomes the object of Gretchen’s obsession, the peaceful faction of vampires on the other side of town must call off the ancient and uneasy truce between their Loyals and Gretchen’s in order to protect Cade Colter. But Gretchen has already begun laying an elaborate trap that will put Cade, and everyone around him, in mortal danger.

  • Tell us about Jazminka and her very unique weapon choices.

Jazminka is Gretchen’s second-in-command, and she’s one of my favorite characters in this book. Born in Yugoslavia in the 1700s, Jazminka has had plenty of time to perfect her skills. She can drain a grown man of blood in six seconds or less without spilling a single drop, and she uses weapons of only the most fashionable kind to do it. From her steel-tipped stiletto heels, to the flowing chiffon of her glove-sleeves that serve as garottes, Jazminka is a woman who dresses to kill. Literally.

  • We share a love of making vampires that stand out amongst the others in the genre, but you like your classic vampire to stay that way. What makes your vampires yours?

I actually never envisioned myself writing a vampire novel and I haven’t read much vampire fiction in recent years, so it’s hard for me to say what makes my vampires different – because I don’t know what to compare them to. I do know that I have a respect for the traditional vampire genre, and didn’t want to stray too terribly far from that, so I hope that if my vampires are particularly unique for something, it’s because they aren’t so unique that they lose the integrity of the legend.

  • You’re a self-proclaimed character writer. Tell me about it.

Before I sit down to write, I do two things. First, I spent several weeks submerged in research and story development – and then I consider two to three possible endings for the story. After that, I just write. It’s difficult to explain how your characters can execute the story according to their own wills, but that is exactly what happens. Some writers understand this and some don’t. I think it’s just one of many inexplicable creative processes. How can anyone explain creativity of any kind? Where does it come from? It’s a slippery slope, my friend.

  • You’ve got mermaids and vampires in one book! Talk!

Ha ha! Well, the mermaids are vampires. Now, before you start thinking I have actual mermaids with sharp fangs swimming around and biting scuba divers, let me explain. Near Crimson Cove is a very real little town with an old, abandoned lodge called The Brookdale Lodge, which lent some inspiration to the club in The Crimson Corset. At the Brookdale, there was a glassed-in area of the pool where prostitutes dressed as mermaids swam for the men at the bar, and in much the same way people at restaurants can choose their lobster from a tank, these gentlemen would choose a “mermaid” for the evening. This concept fascinated me, and I created the vampires, Violet and Scarlett, to be the Crimson Corset’s finned – and fanged – ladies of the night. They are not, however, real mermaids.

  • What do you see yourself writing next?

Oh, I already know what I’m writing next and have already begun it. Or, them, to be accurate (there are several projects currently in progress.)

I’m in the beginnings of the next solo novel which, although not related to The Crimson Corset, will feature some familiar faces. While writing, I’m often introduced to what I call “surprise characters.” These are characters that weren’t part of the original plan. Usually, these unplanned characters further the story and end up being great additions … other times, they go nowhere and either need to be cut out entirely, or moved to a different story.

In The Crimson Corset, there is one character in particular, Deputy Nick Grayson, who really seemed to have a strong story behind him – more than I could explore in The Crimson Corset. I didn’t want to leave him behind so as I wrapped up The Crimson Corset, I gave him a job offer in a neighboring fictional town, where I will be able to tell his story. While this new book has no vampires – it focuses on angels and demons – it will be a lot of good, gruesome fun and I’m very excited about it.

Also, my collaborator, Tamara Thorne, and I are finishing up volume one of the serialized Ravencrest saga, The Ghosts of Ravencrest. Immediately after that, the next volume begins, as well as another novel –  a hard-hitting, fast-paced, balls-to-the-wall psychological thriller that we’ve been talking about for a while. So yeah. It’ll be a busy year.

  • What’s the coolest thing you’ve ever done? Don’t hold back now.

Honestly? Getting my name on a book next to Tamara Thorne’s! Seriously. If you don’t believe me, check out The Cliffhouse Haunting. There I am … right next to her. It’s awesome. And it was an incredibly fun book to write, too! I’ve been a fan of Tamara’s since the 90s, so to be able to meet my hero and write books with her is – without a doubt – the coolest thing that has ever happened to me.

the crimson corset cover

EXCERPT

In his dreams, he saw Alison. At first, she was smiling, sitting on a towel on Bonny Doon beach, her blond hair moving gently in a light breeze. She and Ethan were the only two there and at first, it didn’t seem strange to him that there was no sun. He looked up into the black sky, saw the sprinkle of silver stars and the crescent of the moon. “Come on,” he said to his sister. “It’s dark.”

Alison smiled at him but there was something sinister about it.

He stepped closer to her. “We need to go.”

Her mouth didn’t move, but he heard the words clearly: “Not yet.”

He looked around for anything they’d brought that needed to be taken back with them. But there was nothing, just sand … and the water. It gleamed like onyx and lapped at the shore, suddenly much closer than it had been moments before. “The tide’s coming in,” he said, but Alison wasn’t listening. She just sat, staring into the distance, that strange smile on her face.

A new sound came – rain? – but he didn’t feel any of it. He looked up again. The sky was blacker and the stars were missing. He searched for the moon and couldn’t find it.

Alison turned her head and faced him. “A storm’s coming.” Her once-pretty features were gone now, replaced by blue-white skin, hollow eyes, and thin lips. Her face had gone cadaver-thin and her body, clad in a bright orange bikini, had begun to show signs of decay.

The dark sea water turned the color of blood and was close enough now that it lapped at the tips of her toes, as if tasting her. As the water – the blood! – receded, it took Alison’s flesh with it, leaving behind only the bones of her feet.

She threw her head back and laughed, it might have pleased him if only it hadn’t sounded so mad. She scooted closer to the ocean of blood, tossing her head back and giggling as if the water – as it spirited away her flesh – was merely tickling her.

“No!” He ran toward her. His legs pumped and his lungs burned, but he couldn’t get any closer. It was as if he were running in place. He watched, terror-stricken, as a massive wave rose and crashed down on his sister. “Alison!”

She disappeared under the red water and moments later, the tide returned to the sea, leaving behind the smell of burning flesh – and what was left of Alison.

His heart pounded and his stomach heaved at the sight.

She was little more than bones now, with intermittent strips of charred, melted flesh hanging from her frame. To Ethan’s horror, his sister rose and began ambling toward him. Her jawbone worked feverishly before she found her terrible croaking voice. “You did this to me! You!” She raised her arms, her finger bones curling in as she reached for his throat.

He tried to turn, but couldn’t. Glued in place, he felt the cold wet bones of her hand close around his neck.

“You did this to me!”

Ethan shot up in bed, his heart pounding high in his chest. He screamed, kicked the quilts off, kicking, kicking, grasping at his throat. His eyes flicked open and he was somewhere else: His bedroom. The smell of burnt flesh receded, making way for the stink of his own sweat, which drenched his T-shirt and bed sheets. He gasped for breath for several long moments. It was just a dream. Just a dream. Rain still tapped at the windowpane, reminding him of the click of finger bones. He shuddered, cold, and pulled the blankets closer.

Reaching into the nightstand drawer, he retrieved a half-drunk pint of whiskey and took a long pull. This wasn’t the first dream he’d had about Alison – and it wasn’t the worst. He told himself he could handle it. Just let the whiskey do its work and go back to bed. It was just a dream. But he knew it wasn’t just a dream. It was much, much more than that.

 

alistair cross

Alistair Cross was born in the western United States and began penning his own stories by the age of eight. First published by Damnation Books in 2012, Alistair has since published several more novels. In 2012, he joined forces with international bestselling author, Tamara Thorne, and as Thorne & Cross, they write the successful Gothic series, The Ghosts of Ravencrest. Their newest novel, The Cliffhouse Haunting, is an Amazon Best Seller, and this summer also sees the release of Alistair’s solo novel, The Crimson Corset.

In 2014, Alistair and Tamara began the internet radio show, Thorne & Cross: Haunted Nights LIVE! Haunted Nights LIVE! premiered to great acclaim and has featured such guests as Chelsea Quinn Yarbro of the Saint-Germain vampire series, Charlaine Harris of the Southern Vampire Mysteries and basis of the HBO series True Blood, Jeff Lindsay, author of the Dexter novels that inspired the hit television series, Jay Bonansinga of the Walking Dead series, Laurell K. Hamilton of the Anita Blake Vampire Hunter novels, and New York Times best sellers Christopher Rice, Jonathan Maberry, and Christopher Moore.

Alistair is currently at work on several projects including a solo novel and a new Thorne & Cross collaboration. His influences include the works of Stephen King, Dean Koontz, John Saul, Ira Levin, and William Peter Blatty.

website: alistaircross.com

blog: alistaircross.wordpress.com

twitter: @crossalistair

Facebook: facebook.com/alistaircoss

Goodreads: goodreads.com/author/show/6517308.Alistair_Cross

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JULIE ANNOUNCES ALL THE THINGS!

TODAY’S BREW: The Vanilla of France

By Julie

Holy mother of all Hell and creatures of many shapes and sizes, I HAVE THINGS TO SAY. So many of them, I cannot fit them all here but I will goddamn try.

First. FIRST. There’s this amazing podcast, Haunted Nights Live? Yeah, Christopher Rice was on last week. You know, CHRISTOPHER RICE. Go ahead, go listen:  http://t.co/vn8mGyiVeW. Then in a couple of weeks? Laurell K. Hamilton will be on. OH YOU KNOW, LAURELL K. HAMILTON. And right in between them, this Thursday, June 11th? OH IT WILL BE ME ON HAUNTED NIGHTS LIVE, BETWEEN THOSE FOLKS. You know, just Chris Ricey and ol’ LKH. Holy Christ.

Annnnyway, it’s on Thursday, June 11th at 9pm EST. Like Thorne & Cross: Haunted Nights Live so you can get the heads up when I talkeroo: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Thorne-Cross-Haunted-Nights-LIVE/360703350753608 and/or also at Authors on the Air here: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorsOnTheAir.

PRETTY PLEASE LISTEN TO ME! I’m giving away a couple of signed copies of RUNNING HOME, and I have things to yap about and you know me….I have OPINIONS.

Also, I’ll probably talk about OH NOTHING, JUST THAT FINALLY, FINALLY THE HARPY HAS FOUND A HOME AND IT COULD NOT POSSIBLY BE A BETTER HOME I COULD NOT BE MORE EXCITED.

REUTS Publications has given the bitter, brutal, anti-Batman, Charity Blake a go. You guys. This is really emotional for me. Charity is close to my heart because she’s close to nobody’s heart. But you want her on the page. You guys are going to love/fear/want to hang out with/run fast from her.

For the full press release, and to read a little more about what to expect, here’s my new publishing home!  http://blog.reuts.com/julie_hutchings_signs_the_harpy/

But if you want some quickies, which Charity isn’t afraid to give, she’s a little of this:

charity burlesque

Maybe not that sweet though, she’s got a lot of this:

steampunk charityboozin

But with more booze and raw meat? Oh, there’s also some of this:

EvanRobbieBut also a place kind of like this:

harpies danteBut more fun than THAT, for crying out loud. Like this:

red hellAnd with folks like these:

harpy hell

harpy skull

But to lighten the mood, there’s one of these:

canary

You guys will be into it, I promise! Go add that girl on Goodreads! https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25665403-the-harpy?from_search=true&search_version=service_impr Support that you don’t always want the good girl to win.

Anyhow, thank you guys for being here when I want to blab at you and please listen on Thursday! YOU OWE ME. You totally don’t, but listen anyway.

Haunting Poetry From Alistair Cross

TODAY’S BREW: An almost sexual amount of Hazelnut.

By Julie

You met my friend Alistair Cross, aka Jared S. Anderson for Flash Fiction Friday with an excerpt from his work in progress, The White Room. (You can read it here, and I highly suggest you do or else. http://wp.me/p2x7oj-yW). I’m not done with him yet. I love his poetry, and so we bring you some of Alistair’s more eerie work in the spirit of the month and stuff. I’ll start with my favorite.

The Wooden Box

She wasn’t really beautiful

But she exuded such a grace

That it was easy to overlook

The imperfections of her face

She wasn’t unusually well-spoken

But she said such beautiful things

That you’d get caught up in her words

And give no attention to their meanings

She wasn’t remarkably brilliant

But she had such inscrutable insight

That it was easy to believe

She was ingenious and ultra-bright

She was never immoderately animated

But she looked so alive in red

That if she weren’t in that wooden box

I would have never known that she was dead

* * *

My Lovers Face

I never get tired

Of watching her face

It’s prettier now

Than it was in the first place

With my hands I explore

Every valley and peak

Of that beautiful face

Each night before sleep

And as for my deed

It had to be done

If ever I was

To be her only one

At first she was kind

But now she’s so cold

For, I love her to death…

She will never get old

And maybe it’s strange

Or so some would say

But at least they will never

Take her away

So, every night

To the icebox I traipse

Because that’s where I keep

My lovers face

*   *   *

Dark Hotel

At the top of the winding road

That was only evident through moonlight

Stood the hotels silhouette…

Tall and black against the night

I’m not sure where we were coming from

I’m not sure where we were going

But as we near the looming structure

I feel a nearly-eerie knowing

On a level deeper than instinct

And deeper than intellect

I know that I’ve been here before

Though I can’t fully recollect…

I don’t recall the lobby

Any stairs or any halls

But our room had scarlet carpet

And famous paintings on the walls

The hotel was bathed in silence

Yet I was somehow made aware

That you and I were not

The only creatures dwelling there

I approach an open window

Where red curtains billow inward

And I gaze on blackened trees

And hear the haunted songs of night birds

And you touch me on the shoulder

And whisper something in my ear…

Perhaps, a command I can’t remember

Or a rumor I wasn’t meant to hear

But those shapeless words sedate me

Like poison in warm milk

And as the clock strikes some late hour

We slip in sheets of wintered silk

…And the dream is a forewarning

Or so, at least, it seems

As I wake at breakneck speed

Just to wonder what it means

* * *

I, Madman

Sometimes I still dream of her

In a deep and empty splendor

A fool for love and money, yes

But I will still defend her

She is not my friend

And she will never be my love

But her lullaby soothes me gratefully

And shades me as it does…

Every river meets the sea

And waterfalls just slide

Into pools of dormant thought

And claim that they survived

But she was not a river…

Somewhat unlike me

And not at all a waterfall

This one was the sea…

I am still skating around

A truth I’ll never know

I have ravished all these rooms

And caught not one glimpse of her shadow

But sometimes at night

Outside my bedroom door

I hear her whisper through the light

That the moon casts on the floor

And in these chambers, like a grave

Days on end I weep

For a woman that is cold and gray

And buried six feet deep

* * *

Contact Alistair:

Twitter: @crossalistair

Blog: http://alistaircross.wordpress.com/

Facebook Fan Page: https://www.facebook.com/crossalistair

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/jsascribes

 

Flash Fiction Friday: THE WHITE ROOM excerpt from Alistair Cross

TODAY’S BREW: Red velvet Dark Roast. I need something dark and decadent for today’s post.

By Julie

Jared Anderson, aka Alistair Cross, gets immediate attention from me whenever he writes something new.  His work is haunting, sexy, brooding and eerie. His poetry I read over and over for its jarring images and richness of language. The man himself is hilarious, or I wouldn’t like him. It’s possible I have a crush on him now.  SHUT UP, YOU DO. (Sorry, knee jerk)

I have a bunch of his work to pick from for Flash Fiction Friday, and I want to put it all up, so this will sort of be Allistair Weekend. It’s happening. Today, you don’t get any poetry. NO, YOU COME BACK TOMORROW FOR THAT. Today, an excerpt from his work in progress. I want to die at how much you guys will love this.

Download 314502_102607213178371_100002872777585_9875_6911060_n.jpg (108.1 KB)

That’s the guy.

First, WATCH THE BEAUTIFUL MONSTER TRAILER: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QNt8ZQFUC2o

Download Monsterblue.jpg (197.1 KB)

This is not him. This is his book. Come on guys, you knew that.

NOW PREPARE FOR HEAVY BREATHING……..

EXCERPT FROM THE WHITE ROOM

work in progress

* * *

“I’m not going to hurt you,” he said. His voice was steady and gentle, almost soothing.

Marnie gaped at the air like a fish suffocating on oxygen. She felt the painful thrum of her heart beat in every nerve ending of her body. Fear held her in place as he walked slowly toward her. Her mind raced, but whatever sense the situation might have made, it eluded her.

He stood directly in front of her now, staring down at her. His eyes were intense and busy, as if he were trying to take in as much of her as he could. His respiration was heavy but controlled, and his breath, as it pulsed down on her, smelled sweet and somehow sickening.

The man knelt, as if he were going to propose marriage to her. He took the fabric of her apron and lifted it, slow and gentle, above her knees.

“What do you want?” Marnie’s voice sounded foreign to her own ears.

“Shh,” said the stranger.

He pried her legs apart from each other in a fluid, non-threatening way, as if there were nothing unusual about the act. Bringing his face closer to the center of her, he inhaled, and appeared to be relishing the scent of her.

Marnie stared down at the man, trying to make sense of what he was doing to her.  She was terrified and somehow excited, uncertain whether this was a nightmare or a fantasy.

He grabbed a handful of each of her plump hips and pulled her to edge of the chair. A mouse-like squeak slipped from her lips.

“Please, don’t hurt me,” she whispered.

He probed his head between her knees again, using it to pry them apart until his face was at her core. He inhaled her again, then pinched at the fabric on either side of the seam in her slacks and ripped the fabric away from itself.

Marnie squeaked again, tensed, and felt utterly helpless as he began to tear at the material with his hands and teeth. Terrified, Marnie put her hand on his head as if to push him away, but the man’s neck seemed to have more strength in it than both her arms.

He clawed and chewed at the material, a low growling noise, like an angry dog, issuing from somewhere very deep in his lungs.

Marnie felt pieces of her pants slip away from her flesh and in less than thirty seconds, her lower half was bare except for the few shredded remnants of what had been her slacks and panties.

The man had bared her flesh like an expert, somehow managing not to hurt her. She instinctively brought her knees together to conceal her privates, but the man pushed them apart again, burrowing his face into the thickness of her meaty, plentiful thighs until she could feel his breath on her most intimate place. He placed a hand on each of her hips, holding her in place. It was a powerful, solid grip, and she wondered if she could have escaped it if she tried to.

Her breath came in shuddering gasps. She whispered the word no more than once, but somehow, she knew it went unheard.

She felt something sharp, like the edge of a paring knife gently tracing the skin in the hollow where thigh and pelvis met. The pressure increased, then she felt a slight pricking. She panicked a moment, realizing the man had bitten her.

She screamed and tried to scramble away, but the man’s arms became iron bars that locked her in place. Then, just as her anxiety peaked and she thought she might have to bring the computer monitor down on his head, she felt a pleasant, tingling warmth where just a moment ago there had been pain. Within seconds, her fear drained away like slow rivulets of rain down a window. A kind of warm, soothing electricity moved like a velvet serpent through her veins, replacing her terror with an unequivocal sense that everything was okay, that nothing would ever be wrong again. Marnie let her head loll back in her chair and widened her thighs to allow the man more room to work with. “Who are you?” she said in a breathy whisper as her mind began to lift and wander away from her.

She thought she heard a voice, but she couldn’t make out any words. Her nerve endings began to tingle with a rapturous buzz, and a silky feeling wrapped itself all around her. She felt light, as if she were no more than a mote of pollen on barely perceptible breeze. She wondered if this was what it must be like to die, then realized without any dissent or trepidation, that this was exactly what dying felt like.

I KNOW, RIGHT?!  Do yourself a favor, pick up BEAUTIFUL MONSTER while you wait for THE WHITE ROOM.

Beautiful Monster is available at:

Damnation Books: http://www.damnationbooks.com/book.php?isbn=9781615727742

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/beautiful-monster-mimi-a-williams/1112783047?ean=9781615727759

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Beautiful-Monster-Mimi-A-Williams/dp/1615727752/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1354247199&sr=8-5&keywords=Beautiful+Monster

Contact Alistair:

Twitter: @crossalistair

Blog: http://alistaircross.wordpress.com/

Facebook Fan Page: https://www.facebook.com/crossalistair

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/jsascribes

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