Rona, #AmWriting, and Secret Santa

So I was officially released from quarantine last Friday – woo hoo! Thanks to all of you for the positive thoughts and well wishes. Hubby is getting tested again today, so keep your fingers crossed for a negative result. He’s still showing no symptoms.

One good thing about quarantine? I mean besides cleaning out the closet. All kinds of time for writing – which I did last week. Things are moving along for the Subject A36 sequel. Muses, inspiration, and characters working together for the common good – finally.

For one of my book clubs, our December meeting typically involves sharing lots of food and receiving gifts from our Secret Santas. Obviously that’s not happening this year – the food part anyway. We still drew for Secret Santa through Elfster.com, and I found a basket of goodies on my porch yesterday. Han and Chewie will be perfect additions to my nerd cabinet! I’ll find out who my Santa is at the Zoom meeting tomorrow evening.

While we’re on the subject of Star Wars, the season finale of The Mandalorian absolutely blew my mind. No spoilers here – but holy crap! Soooo good.

This is my last post until next week. Wishing all of you a peaceful, safe, and healthy Merry Christmas!

#BookReview – Subject A36 – Teri Polen #scifi #dystopian

Happy Friday! Jessica Bakkers posted a wonderful review of Subject A36 on her blog that absolutely made my month! While you’re visiting her, check out her new debut novel, Guns of Perdition. It’s a delightfully sinister mix of western, dark fantasy, and horror. Grace is at the top of my list for favorite heroines.

Jessica Bakkers

Subject A36 (The Colony Series Book 1) by [Teri Polen]I’m not usually a big reader of young adult fiction, but I’d read extracts of ‘Subject A36’, and could tell in the first few pages it was going to be a book I’d enjoy. And I was right.

‘Subject A36’ by author Teri Polen, is an extremely well-written story, set in a dystopian future/alternate timeline. Slightly reminiscent of the bleak unjust future in the Hunger Games series, Polen pits the Insurgents – a morally good group of people trying to survive – against the Colony, the overlords of this region, with superior tech, and a penchant for the finer things. Unfortunately, those finer things involve the very genes of the less fortunate being literally stripped from their living bodies. This so the Colony populace can have access to talents and traits they find desirable (such as blue eyes, intelligence, blonde hair). It’s a shudderingly gruesome concept that instantly…

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Christmas and Rona

Not much to report this week. Last week was spent catching up on tons of things after our long weekend away – laundry, errands, Christmas shopping, etc. No matter how much I try to get done ahead of time, it always seems like I’m rushing during the holiday season. One evening I was able to slow down and listen to A Charlie Brown Christmas soundtrack for the first time this year. It’s my absolute favorite, and no Christmas is complete without it.

Did I add to the word count last week? No, I didn’t. I made a few notes in my phone, but at this point, I’ve lost what little momentum I had before Thanksgiving and need to review the past few chapters, new notes, and dive back into it. But over the next week I should have plenty of time to write. Why?

Because I tested positive for COVID. Mild symptoms started last Monday (no fever, just sore throat and a little achy) and I assumed it was the same cold I usually get around this time of year. By Wednesday, I felt fine and assumed it was over. When I woke Thursday morning, I knew I needed to get tested (but still no fever). Hubby is negative – how, I have no idea – but I’ve got another week to quarantine, and he’s back to working from home. I’m very fortunate my symptoms have been mild so far, and I’ve been taking it easy. The worst thing is I lost my sense of smell, and I’ll miss the aroma of the pumpkin bread I’m making later today!

Stay healthy and wash those hands!

Thanksgiving, #AmWriting, and #AmWatching

Not much to report here, other than we’re still recovering from eating too much. Hope your Thanksgiving was as wonderful as ours. We were fortunate to be able to spend it with family and were thrilled to have our sons with us. I like to try new recipes – sometimes they’re a keeper, other times we’re struggling to choke it down. Without a test run, my youngest son and I made a Bourbon Chocolate-Walnut Pie and it was absolutely a keeper. The only thing we’d change is to add more bourbon next time around. We might have cheated a little by buying a pie crust, but I wasn’t ready to tackle one from scratch.

Did I write during the holiday? That would be a no. But I did get some plot ideas while walking and listening to music, so I don’t feel completely unproductive. I have plans today to dive back into the WIP.

Is anyone watching the new season of The Crown? I’ve enjoyed every season, but this might be my favorite yet since I remember the wedding of Prince Charles and Princess Diana. If you haven’t watched this series and you’re looking for something new to binge, I highly recommend it.

Thanks From #BadMoonRising!

I’m always a little sad when BMR is over because it’s so much fun (and books!), but then August rolls around again and prep work begins. As of Saturday afternoon, BMR had nearly 5K views – that’s a 25% increase from last year, and it’s because of everyone who shared the posts on their social media – your efforts are deeply appreciated. I want to thank everyone who stopped by to comment and support the thirty-one authors who participated – hugs to all! Next year will be the seventh year – hard to believe.

Wishing high word counts and active muses to all of you doing NaNo! I’m not participating this year, but I’m going into the third week of an online writer’s retreat, and my goal is to come out of it with a completed first draft. Wish me luck!

#BadMoonRising Matching Costumes by D.G. Driver #childrensbooks #Halloween #picturebook

Today we have another book for the younger crowd, and it’s a new release with an adorable cover! This author has published works in the YA and children’s genres, but also has a MG fantasy and a women’s fiction she’s shopping around with agents. When it comes to sleeping in a coffin or spending the night in a haunted house? She’s done both. Welcome D.G. Driver!

Would you rather sleep in a coffin for one night or spend the night in a haunted house?

Back when I was 21, I was in this terrible play called Countess Dracula, and I played a crazy vampire. My first appearance was rising out of a coffin, so I had to get in it before the audience came in (no curtain at this theater) and lie in there for a good forty-five minutes. It was not fun. I have also spent the night in a haunted hotel doing a ghost hunt, which was scary but also fun. So….. I’m going to pick the haunted house and hope for the best.

If you were in a horror movie, would you rather have a loaded gun or a car that wouldn’t break down?

Definitely the car. Ghosts and zombies don’t die when they get shot, and murderers and monsters always get back up. I vote for escaping.

Would you rather put your hand in a box and feel something slimy or furry?

Gritting my teeth and timidly speaking: Furry?

What was the hardest part of writing your author bio?

Deciding what to leave out. I’ve had a few things published now, but I don’t like bios to be long. For the bio at the back of Matching Costumes, my first picture book, it felt strange to mention all my YA books. Not the same audience. So, I focused more on the themes of my writing rather than the titles.

Which comes first for you – plot or characters?

The first thing that comes to me in the premise or situation that the character will be facing. With that in mind I come up with a basic plot. Then I decide who the characters are and adjust the plot to fit these people. Matching Costumes has less than 60 words to it and was based on this premise: a child wants to make costumes for her dog and herself, but the dog won’t keep the costume on. The point was to create a pattern and then give a solution that breaks the pattern. I didn’t even name the girl or the dog.

What are you working on now?

In a total change of pace, I just finished writing my first women’s fiction novel and am shopping it around to agents. I’m also seeking representation for a middle grade fantasy novel called Dragon Surf that I’ve co-written with Jeni Bautista Richard. I’m in the process of recording and editing a musical story called Songwriter Night with a wonderful composer named Caleb Dinger that is going to be sold as a full cast audiobook.

Finding a costume to match a pet dog for Halloween isn’t easy. You have to be creative. Some ideas are funny, spooky, or pretty. Getting the dog to keep a costume on is the tricky part. Matching Costumes is a great picture book for infants-PreK

Matching Costumes is written by D. G. Driver and illustrated by Cason Rome. It is published by Huskies Pub, an imprint of MacLaren Cochrane Publishing. It is available at MCP Store and at Amazon https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1643721607

Author Bio

D.G. Driver is an optimist at heart, and that’s why she likes to write about young people making an impact on the world. You’ll find among her books a teen environmental activist, a young girl teaching people about autism acceptance and to stop bullying people with special needs, a princess who wants to be more than a prize for a prince, a boy who wins a girl’s heart by being genuine and chivalrous, and a girl who bravely searches for a friend lost along the shore of a dark lake. She is an award-winning author of books for teens and tweens, but you’ll find some romance and horror stories published in anthologies, too. When Driver isn’t writing, she’s a teacher at an inclusive early child development program in Nashville, TN. She might also take a break from writing once in a while to strut the stage in a local theater production. You’re guaranteed to find her belting out Broadway show tunes anytime she’s driving. Learn more about her books at www.dgdriver.com

http://www.dgdriver.com

http://www.facebook.com/donnagdriver

http://www.instagram/d_g_driver

https://www.bookbub.com/profile/d-g-driver

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7867013.D_G_Driver

Twitter @DGDriverAuthor

#BadMoonRising Borne of the Deep (Salem Hawley #2) by Michael Patrick Hicks #horror #seaadventures #TuesdayBookBlog

Today’s author is no stranger to Bad Moon Rising. He’s here with his newest release, part two of the Salem Hawley series. It’s currently a Kindle Countdown Deal priced at $0.99 for the next four days – take advantage of it now! He’s another author who has been kept awake by a King novel – but not for the reason you’d think. Welcome Michael Patrick Hicks!

Would you rather sleep in a coffin for one night or spend the night in a haunted house?

Oh man, this one’s actually a toughie! I’m a side-sleeper and I move around a lot in my sleep, which makes me think a coffin might not be ideal for rest. And would the top be open or closed, because that then raises issues of potential claustrophobia… I’m just gonna go with haunted house because even if it scares me to death, at least I’ll have room to move around!

Has a movie or book scared you so much you couldn’t sleep?  Which one?

Hmm… No, I don’t think so. I do remember reading IT as a teenager in broad daylight and having the crap scared out of me! And it did keep me up at night, not because I was too scared to sleep, but because I was so engrossed in the story and couldn’t put the book down.

Name three items you’d take to spend the night in a haunted house.

My Kindle, loaded up with plenty of horror stories, obviously. Some whiskey! And I’m thinking I’d want some salty snacks, so probably a bag of chips or pretzel thins.

If you had to give up snacks or drinks during writing sessions, which would be more difficult?

You’d think maybe given the answer to my previous question, this one would be tough, but no. I don’t tend to eat and write, so I’m very easily giving up snacks here! I do get thirsty when I’m writing, though, and water is a necessity, so I’m not giving that up!

What was the hardest scene to write in your featured book?

Well, without giving away too much in the way of spoilers, there is a scene involving fish-people and impregnation that was a bit difficult to write, but it seems to have had its intended effect on readers. I’m happy to say I’ve turned a few people off of ever eating eggs again! 

What are you working on now?

I just finished up a short story that I’ll be submitting for consideration to an anthology I’m excited for just as a reader, but that I would absolutely love to be included in, too. I’m also slowly working through my first round of revisions on the third Salem Hawley book, and am working on a new horror book that I can’t say too much about just yet, but it involves a group being haunted in the woods. Stay tuned!

Emancipated during the American Revolution, Salem Hawley is a free man–until he finds himself indebted to a doctor for treatment for injuries incurred during the New York Doctors’ Riot. Recruited to recover the stolen grimoire, Al Azif, Salem embarks on a journey north, to Arkham, Massachusetts.

Plagued by rain and the incursion of strange, otherworldly creatures, the seaside town of Arkham has become a dark and dangerous place. Unable to trust the locals, Hawley is forced to rely on only his wits to track down the thief. He must also contend with Louise LeMarché, an outcast and suspected witch who is searching for the missing tome, as well.

Time is against Hawley. Something ancient and evil is rising from the depths of the Atlantic, and if Al Azif is not recovered quickly, it could spell doom to Arkham… and all of humanity.

Borne of the Deep, the second book in the Salem Hawley series, is a novella of Lovecraftian cosmic horror and continues the story that began in The Resurrectionists.

“With The Resurrectionists, Michael Patrick Hicks introduced us to Salem Hawley in a fresh take on cosmic horror. With Borne of the Deep, Salem has taken the crown as my favorite new horror hero. Compelling characters, a unique setting, mythology building, shocking horror–this series is the real deal for readers who want to be thrilled and terrified.” – Cullen Bunn, author of Harrow CountyBone ParishThe Sixth Gun

“Hicks has done it again, giving us a historical and horrific tale. Complete with deep Lovecraftiana, diverse storytelling, with a great protagonist in Salem Hawley, Borne of the Deep takes us back to the origin of all evil: Arkham, Massachusetts on the shores of the Miskatonic River. Michael Patrick Hicks has become one of the most exciting voices in horror. Hopefully, he’ll keep the stories of Salem Hawley coming.” – John Hornor Jacobs, author of A Lush and Seething Hell: Two Tales of Cosmic Horror

“Michael Patrick Hicks delivers a stunning follow up to The Resurrectionists with Borne of the Deep, a well-deserved update on Lovecraftian lore. Gruesome, repulsive, page-turning goodness! I loved it!” – Steve Stred, author of Ritual

Purchase link: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B081TPKFW4

Author Bio

Michael Patrick Hicks is the author of several horror books, including The Resurrectionists, Broken Shells: A Subterranean Horror Novella, and Mass Hysteria. He co-hosts Staring Into The Abyss, a podcast focused on all things horror. His debut novel, Convergence, was an Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Finalist in science fiction. He is a member of the Horror Writers Association.

Michael lives in Michigan with his wife and two children. In between compulsively buying books and adding titles that he does not have time for to his Netflix queue, he is hard at work on his next story.

To stay up to date on his latest releases, join his newsletter at https://landing.mailerlite.com/webforms/landing/q4f2k7

Social Media

Website: http://www.michaelpatrickhicks.com
Twitter: @MikeH5856
Podcast: http://staringintotheabyss.libsyn.com/

#BadMoonRising If Darkness Takes Us by Brenda Marie Smith #postapocalyptic #thriller

You may remember this author from last year’s Bad Moon when she introduced this book. It’s being featured again this year – but she has a blurb for part two, If the Light Should Come, which will be released June 29, 2021! Find out what she listens to while writing to set the tone for her apocalyptic novel – perfectly understandable. Welcome Brenda Marie Smith!

Would you rather sleep in a coffin for one night or spend the night in a haunted house?

It depends on where the coffin is and whether or not it can be left open. No way I’m sleeping in a closed coffin until I’m dead, at which point I won’t actually be sleeping. But I could do an open coffin as long as it’s in a relatively safe place. If both these conditions can’t be met, then I’ll grab some ghost-busting weapons and take my chances in a haunted house.

Could I please have some extra pillows in that coffin, and maybe a silver spike in case a vampire shows up?

Has a movie or book scared you so much you couldn’t sleep?  Which one?

The Book Thief was scary and incredibly sad, but the final line slammed it straight through my heart, keeping me awake for hours. Also, I scared myself to tears with my first novel, Something Radiates, when writing a terrifying scene home alone during a thunderstorm.

Then, I was very creeped out and sleepless when we found ourselves in a pandemic apocalypse only a few months after my own apocalypse was published. What am I, a jinx? Should I give up writing for the sake of the world? To top that off, in the sequel, If the Light Should Come, characters are trying to fix a broken solar power inverter. I sent that book to the publisher on a Monday, then on Wednesday, my own solar inverter turned up broken. Wow, I thought sure I’d have to quit writing after that, until I found out that my inverter had been broken for months. So maybe I’m not a conjurer of doom and gloom so much as I’m telepathic with it.

For movies, far and away the scariest ever was Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds. Not only did I lose sleep when it was new and I saw it as a tweener (shows you how old I am, lol), but I still cringe fifty-something years later when I see birds massing on high wires or fence-tops, especially if the sky is gray and winds are whipping. Dastardly man, Hitchcock, making children and old ladies fear sweet little birds. Also, brilliant.

If you were in a horror movie, would you rather have a loaded gun or a car that wouldn’t break down?

Can I have a great-running car with machine guns mounted on it?

Actually, I think it makes a difference what or who I’m fleeing from or fighting against. Guns won’t do much good against ghosts or other supernatural entities, but a car might not help in a shoot-out with evil guys who have long-range rifles. Such a dilemma! Being a chicken, I’ll have to go with the car, especially since I don’t know how to shoot.

Do you write to music?

I did with my paranormal romantic thriller because I was conjuring up memories to help fuel the writing and the pathos. I wanted so bad to publish the book along with CD’s of music to listen to while reading. Nirvana Unplugged for the scary scenes, Cat Stephens for the sad ones, Van Morrison for the romance, Moody Blues for chase scenes.

But I haven’t listened to music while writing my apocalypses, mainly because I didn’t think of any music with the right mood. Instead, I half-listen to the news and political podcasts. The news is scary enough these days to set the perfect tone for an apocalypse.

What was the hardest scene to write in your featured book?

In my apocalyptic thriller, If Darkness Takes Us, I wrote a scene killing off a young, innocent character. The scene shook me up so bad that I couldn’t write for a week. I had to do a lot of soul-searching: What kind of horrible human being am I to write something like that? I freaked myself out.

I also have trouble with the narrative between scenes. I always overwrite it, then spend a ton of time trimming it down. Trying to decide what’s important for the reader to know is what stumps me every time.

What are you working on now?

I’ve sent my sequel If the Light Should Come to the publisher for its development edit. It’s a coming-of-age in an apocalypse story. If Darkness is told from grandma Bea’s point of view, while If the Light is told by her eighteen-year-old grandson Keno. I’ll get the development edit back in early October and will have one month to return it. Then I’ll have three more edits over the next several months, each with shorter return times, until the book comes out in June 2021. I didn’t know if a teen boy would be able to carry an apocalyptic novel, but Keno turned out to be a surprisingly interesting guy, full of deep and conflicting emotions and great love. Very excited about this book.

If I have time between these edits and the bookkeeping I have to do for money, I’ll work on the third book in the series. I don’t have a title yet, but I have a unique narrator and an opening page, plus lots of hoops to make the characters jump through. When I first started writing novels, I was reluctant to cause trouble for my beloved characters, but now I just go for it. What that says about me as a human being, I don’t know.

I also have another book I’ve been developing for a while of another genre altogether: Guru of the Ozarks. Not sure when I’ll get it written, but I hope it’s not too long.

IF DARKNESS TAKES US, Out Now

2018 SOUTHERN FRIED KARMA NOVEL CONTEST WINNER
In suburban Austin, Texas, Bea Crenshaw secretly prepared for apocalypse, but when a solar pulse destroys modern life, she’s left alone with four grandkids whose parents don’t return home. She must teach these kids to survive without power, cars, phones, running water, or doctors in a world fraught with increasing danger.

Bea’s has secret stockpiles of food, seed, and supplies, and her neighbors are starving. If she shares with neighbors, there might not be enough for her grandkids. But neighbors get suspicious, and if she doesn’t share, the neighbors could take the stockpiles away.

If Darkness Takes Us is realistic post-apocalyptic fiction with a focus on a family in peril, led by a no-nonsense grandmother who is at once funny, controlling, and heroic in her struggle to hold her family together with civility and heart.

IF THE LIGHT SHOULD COME, Out June 29, 2021

Ten months ago, a solar electromagnetic pulse fried the U.S. grid and took out the cars, phones, and running water. Eighteen-year-old Keno Simms is still reeling after his pregnant sister died from a tragic accident in a world with no medical care. His beloved grandmother has had a stroke, and most adults in his family, including his mom, are missing, presumed dead. Keno rallies his younger cousins and neighbors to scrounge for water and to farm their Austin, Texas subdivision, all while fending off starving intruders. His one solace is his love for Alma, who shares similar sorrows, but then he gets her pregnant and must face the real possibility of losing her, too.

Despite his growing anxiety, Keno must lead the broken adults in his life to contend with crop-killing heat, gully-washing storms, and desperate invaders. If he can’t protect Alma and their unborn child, it will be the end of Keno’s world.

IF THE LIGHT SHOULD COME is post-apocalyptic science fiction, a coming-of-age story told in the voice of a heroic teen who’s forced into manhood too soon.

Buy links

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Darkness-Takes-Brenda-Marie-Smith/dp/1970137835/

BookPeople (Support a great indie bookstore that ships books everywhere): https://www.bookpeople.com/book/9781970137835

Author Bio

Brenda Marie Smith studied fiction in the UCLA Writers Program. Born and raised in Oklahoma City, she was part of the back-to-the-land movement, living off the grid in the Arkansas Ozark Mountains, and then joining the Farm—an off-grid, vegan hippie community, based in Tennessee—where her sons were delivered by midwives.

Brenda has lived in Austin, Texas since 1980, where she managed student housing co-ops near the University of Texas, manufactured tofu salads, produced concerts, and was a peace and justice activist. If Darkness Takes Us is her second novel. Her first, Something Radiates, is a paranormal romantic thriller.

Brenda and her husband own and reside in a grid-connected, solar-powered home in South Austin. They have five grown sons, two grandkids, and a self-assured kitty cat.

Social Media Links

Email: author@brendamariesmith.com

Website: https://brendamariesmith.com/

Blog: https://brendamariesmith.tumblr.com/

Twitter: @bsmithnovelist

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7328277.Brenda_Marie_Smith

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BrendaMarieSmithAuthor

Guest Post on Author Mindy McGinnis’s Blog (goes up 9/8/2020): www.mindymcginnis.com/blog/brenda-marie-smith

YouTube coming soon: Search Brenda Marie Smith

#BadMoonRising Never Change (Demon’s Blood) by Shari Sakurai #horror #LGBT #shortstory

What’s Halloween without a few vampires? I’ve been a vampire fan since I watched the original Fright Night – how bad could they be if they looked like Chris Sarandon? Today’s author is no stranger to Bad Moon Rising, and she’s featuring a vampire short story set in her Demon’s Blood series universe. I’ve also seen the movie that freaked her out – and her freakout is justified. Welcome Shari Sakurai!

Has a movie or book scared you so much you couldn’t sleep?  Which one?

Yes! Me and my sister went to see The Babadook at the cinema a few years ago. It is one of the creepiest films I have ever seen but the bit that really gets me is when she is at the police station and when she looks up the Babadook is hanging up with all the coats. I don’t know why but that bit really freaks me out! We had gone to see it in the evening so when we came out of the cinema we had to walk home in the dark! Every shadow became the Babadook on that walk!

Would you rather use a Ouija board or participate in a séance?

I would like to participate in a séance as I have never done that before where as I have used a Ouija Board – we got nothing and to this day I do not know if I am disappointed or relieved!

Would you rather put your hand in a box and feel something slimy or furry?

Furry as the chances are it would be a rat or something which wouldn’t bother me!

If you had to give up snacks or drinks during writing sessions, which would be more difficult?

Drinks definitely. I always get really thirsty whilst writing and that would distract me much more than not having anything to eat!

Describe your writing space.

It’s a mess! As I’m currently working from home it has now been invaded by work stuff too! I don’t have room for a desk so I use the dining room table. There’s bits of paper, print copy proofs and notepads everywhere!

What are you working on now?

I’m currently finishing off the draft of book 3 in my Perfect World series. I’m also working on another novel in my Demon’s Blood universe and when that’s done I would love to finally get back to my fantasy novel that’s been sitting in drafts for ten years!

Thane’s arms curved around his back and he felt the younger vampire trembling as he rested his head on Taku’s shoulder. So easily broken, Taku often forgot what it had been like in the beginning. For him things had been different, he reminded himself. He had already known what it felt like to take a life.

With Nagasaki in the grip of a bitter winter, two vampires struggle to hunt in the challenging conditions. When an opportunity to feed from a dying man presents itself, Taku insists that they take advantage of it. Yet his newly turned lover is left feeling devastated by their actions. Seeing Thane so distraught is more than Taku can bear and so he makes a decision to shield Thane as much as he can from the darker side to their existence. However his desire to protect Thane might one day cost him everything.

Purchase Link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07KV1HH5R

Author Bio

Shari Sakurai is a British author of paranormal, horror, science fiction and fantasy novels that almost always feature a LGBT protagonist and/or antagonist. She has always loved to write and it is her escape from the sometimes stressful modern life!

Aside from writing, Shari enjoys reading, watching movies, listening to (loud!) music, going to rock concerts and learning more about other societies and cultures. Japanese culture is of particular interest to her and she often incorporates Japanese themes and influences into her work.

Shari loves a challenge and has taken part and won the National Novel Writing Month challenge eleven times!

Social Media Links:

Websites: http://www.sharisakurai.com / http://www.perfectworldseries.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sharisakurai

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ShariSakurai

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/shari_sakurai

#BadMoonRising Aceldama by John Hazen #horror #historicalthriller #TuesdayBookBlog

Today I’d like to introduce you to another author making his debut with Bad Moon Rising! His featured book is a fascinating blend of historical fiction with a two millenia old curse tossed into the mix. As an adult, he attempted a rewatch of the movie that kept him up at night as a child – read on to find out what happened. Welcome John Hazen!

Would you rather sleep in a coffin for one night or spend the night in a haunted house?

If it’s an open coffin, I’d take that. They look rather comfy. But if it’s a closed one, I couldn’t take the claustrophobia and I’d opt for the haunted house. The house I grew up in wasn’t haunted (as far as I know anyway) but it was built in the 1850s so there was a fair amount of creaking and drafts. I wouldn’t imagine a haunted house would be too much different, except for the haunting, of course.

Has a movie or book scared you so much you couldn’t sleep?  Which one?

The first movie I remember doing this was The Blob, the 1958 version with Steve McQueen. I couldn’t have been more than ten years old at the time. I would watch it for a little while but then get so frightened I’d have to run out of the room. Then I’d come back for a few more minutes and then run out again. It must have been very annoying to my brother and sister. I then remember having trouble sleeping and waking up with nightmares. I was flipping through channels not long ago and came upon The Blob. I could only watch for a short amount of time because it was so bad, but it sure enthralled me when I was a kid.

If you were in a horror movie, would you rather have a loaded gun or a car that wouldn’t break down?

I’m most definitely in the ‘he who turns and runs away lives to fight another day’ camp, so I’d definitely want a car that doesn’t break down. In addition, I’ve seen too many horror and sci-fi flics where bullets are useless. The assailant comes out of nowhere and the person is caught off-guard. He or she is either not able to get a shot off or shoots wildly. Either that or the attacker is immune to bullets. So, give me that reliable car. Oh, I’d like a full tank of gas, too.

What was the hardest scene to write in your featured book?

I think it was the scene in which Anna, the wife who is trying to save her husband, Tim, from being lost forever. Tim is on life support and is fading away but the doctors cannot figure out why. She is at her wit’s end and thinks she is going mad because she becomes convinced he is afflicted by a curse. She figures the only way to get answers is to enter into Tim’s dream world to talk with him directly. If she doesn’t act, she fears not only that he will die but that his soul will be forever lost to the netherworld she is about to enter. It was a hard scene to construct because I wanted to present this as a dream sequence that had characters in it from across the centuries but at the same time I wanted to make her real, believable and sympathetic.

Which comes first for you – plot or characters?

My books always start with an overall idea but that’s about it. In the case of Aceldama, the idea was of a two millennia old curse that is in a pitched battle with the intense love that a wife has for her husband. With this idea planted in my mind, I just start writing. Both the plot and the characters develop and evolve at the same time. One of my favorite things in writing is when I introduce a character for a specific reason in the plot but then the character grows into a major character as I write the book. It’s like they tell me they have more to say. Sister Catherine is a prime example in Aceldama. She was a wealthy French aristocrat in the late 18th Century who renounced her wealth to become a nun dedicated to helping the poor and downtrodden in Paris. I wrote about her originally solely as a person who had come under the influence of the same curse that Tim was now battling. However, she was such a fascinating character that she speaks across the centuries to help solve the mystery.

What are you working on now?

I’ve got a new book, Beyond Revelation, coming out on December 30 and I’m gearing up to promote this book (my least favorite part of this business). This is the third in my Vega Investigative Thriller series. In this book, NYC Reporter Francine Vega must battle a secretive, unscrupulous cult to avert a national calamity. I’m also working on writing a new book (my favorite part of this business), The Correction, set to come out next June. This novel is about members of a family who have the ability to allow people to go back and correct one mistake they made at some point in their lives. An ill-advised comment that a man makes that results in him speaking to his father for decades or a decision to head out to a party on an icy day that results in a horrendous accident, these are the types of mistakes people are allowed to go back in time and correct. What could go wrong?

A coin. A curse. A murder. The apocalypse.

Modern medicine can find neither cause nor cure for an affliction that is slowly sapping life away from Tim Harrington. As clues fall into place, Tim’s wife, Anna, begins to believe that an ancient curse is killing her husband. Anna’s quest to uncover the truth and save his life pits her against formidable foes:  logic, history and even the Catholic Church.  As Anna follows her instincts and her heart to find the answers in time, she risks unwittingly unleashing an awesome, terrible power from which the world will never recover.

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About the Author

John Hazen came to writing novels relatively late in life, but once he started he hasn’t looked back. Inspired by Lynn, his wife of forty years, he pursued the dream of becoming an established author and has written six suspense thrillers:  Dear Dad (2012), Fava (2014), Journey of an American Son (2015), Aceldama (2016), Zyklon (2018) and Beyond Revelation (2020). John and Lynn live in Florida. They love to travel, and the experiences of those travels, and things he learned from degrees from Rutgers, The New School and NYU buttressed by a lifelong passion for learning and a love of history, find their way into his writing. John’s reading tastes are eclectic, ranging from histories to classic novels to an occasional piece of modern trash. His absolute “must reads” are Stephen King’s The Shining, Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird, J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series and Doris Kearns Goodwin’s No Ordinary Time.

You can follow John at:

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Twitter @john_hazen