Book Spotlight: Brother by Ania Ahlborn

This is my 6th post celebrating Women’s Horror Month. I’m an author, but I’m a reader first. Being a fan of the horror genre, I’m always looking for new authors to read. This month I hope to find many talented ones.

Tonight, I went on Amazon and searched ‘horror fiction set in West Virginia.’ I came across Ania Ahlborn who seems to have a nice book selection of horror reads. She caught my eye when I read her author bio and it said: “Ania Ahlborn has always been drawn to the darker, mysterious, and sometimes morbid sides of life.”  I’ll definitely be checking out Brother. If you want to try the book with me, click on Amazon.

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From the bestselling horror author of Within These Walls and The Bird Eater comes a brand-new novel of terror that follows a teenager determined to break from his family’s unconventional—and deeply disturbing—traditions.

Deep in the heart of Appalachia stands a crooked farmhouse miles from any road. The Morrows keep to themselves, and it’s served them well so far. When girls go missing off the side of the highway, the cops don’t knock on their door. Which is a good thing, seeing as to what’s buried in the Morrows’ backyard.

But nineteen-year-old Michael Morrow isn’t like the rest of his family. He doesn’t take pleasure in the screams that echo through the trees. Michael pines for normalcy, and he’s sure that someday he’ll see the world beyond West Virginia. When he meets Alice, a pretty girl working at a record shop in the small nearby town of Dahlia, he’s immediately smitten. For a moment, he nearly forgets about the monster he’s become. But his brother, Rebel, is all too eager to remind Michael of his place…

Sounds interesting, right!

If you read Brother, come back and tell me what you thought of the book. If you’re already a fan of Ania Ahlborn, what’s your favorite book of hers or what do you recommend?

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby

Interview With Amy Cross, Horror Author

For the 5th post celebrating Women’s Horror Month, please welcome my special guest Angel Gelique, author of Expulsion and the Hillary series. She’s interviewing a favorite author of mine–Amy Cross! If you read my book reviews on here or Goodreads, then you’ll see I’m also a huge fan of Angel Gelique’s dark writing style. Please enjoy 🙂

Celebrating Amy Cross, an Amazing Woman in Horror
by Angel Gelique

February.  What a great month!  The groundhog tells us whether we can expect more weeks of winter.  There’s the Super Bowl and Mardi Gras.  Who can forget Valentine’s Day–time for love and romance?  But for me, February is the best because it’s Women in Horror month.

Recently, I had the good fortune to discover a brilliant horror author, Amy Cross.  If you haven’t heard of Amy Cross or haven’t yet read any of her stories, I strongly advise you to rectify that grievous oversight immediately!  Seriously, if you’re a fan a horror, you’ll thank me once you give her books a try.  Author of an impressive number of books (almost a hundred–WOW!), Ms. Cross has certainly left her mark on the world.

I’m honored that such an incredibly talented author has granted me permission to conduct an interview.  What a treat it’s been learning more about one of my favorite writers!

INTERVIEW WITH AMY CROSS

1. When did you first realize that you wanted to be a writer? What led you to that realization?

When I was very young, my mother used to write stories for me. Just short things, a few pages long, but I suppose that made me realize from an early age that stories weren’t just things that other people wrote in books for me to read. I realized I could try writing them too. It took me a while to really get started, though.

2. Are there any books from your childhood that were instrumental in luring you down the writer’s path?

I really loved the Narnia books when I was younger, and the way C.S. Lewis told entertaining stories while building up those whole incredible imagined worlds. Also, I think I must have read The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster at least a hundred times by the time I was fifteen.

3. Which authors have most influenced your writing?

Emily Bronte, definitely. If you read Wuthering Heights, it has romance and adventure and melodrama, and it’s also very experimental. I always come back to Wuthering Heights as an example of a book that refuses to be just one thing or just one style.

4. If you could meet any author (living or dead), which one would you choose and why?

Either Emily Bronte, so I could learn more about the influences behind Wuthering Heights, or Carl Sagan so I could pepper him with questions until he told me to go away.

5. What do you find most challenging about writing horror books?

The hardest part, for me, is avoiding repetition. Sometimes I use certain words a little too often, so I have to banish them for a while, and the same is true of story elements and characters. Occasionally I have to write a list of things that absolutely cannot happen, or appear, in my books for a while. For example, at the moment, no-one is allowed to mutter or hiss, because I think I over-used those words. And houses can no longer have strange bumps in the night, because I had too many of those as well.

6. As a writer of horror, do you ever feel compelled to limit the amount of gore/violence present within your stories?

No. I think each story is different, and some need lots of violence while others benefit from having much less. Sometimes you need blood splattering against walls, and sometimes you need something more subtle. Emotional violence can be just as powerful as taking a hammer to the face.

7. If you were able to meet one of your characters, which one would you choose and why?

Patrick from the Dark Season books, mainly because I think I finished his story a little too soon and I’d like to spend more time with him.

8. Have you ever based a character upon someone you know?

Only Harry in The Dog.

9. Which one of your characters most closely possesses your personality traits and characteristics?

None of them. I don’t really write autobiographical elements in my books, so I can’t think of any characters who are anything like me. Which is a good thing, because I think I’d be a pretty boring character in a book!

10. What fuels that incredible imagination of yours?

I’m not sure it’s really very incredible, but I get most of my ideas while I’m taking the dog for a walk, or while I’m sitting on the train. Long train journeys and long dog walks, without anyone to talk to, can be pretty good for forcing your brain to come up with things, because then you have to kind of talk to your own thoughts and ideas. Reading that answer back, I hope it doesn’t make me sound crazy…

11. What has been your hardest topic/scene to write about?

There were times when I wanted Harry to have an easier time in The Dog, so parts of that book were very tough to write. There are also occasions when I want a character to have a happy ending, but the book demands something nastier, and I always have to go with what fits the book. So I’d have preferred The Printer From Hell, for example, to be less bleak at the end, but I couldn’t think of anything uplifting to put in there.

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12. Have you ever considered writing a screenplay and/or adapting any of your stories for the screen?

I have. I know nothing about screenwriting, so I should probably leave it to the professionals, but I’ve been thinking on and off about writing an adaptation of A House in London, mostly just for my own amusement. I just need to find the time.

13. How long, on average, does it take you to compete a short story? A novel?

I try to write 10,000 words each day, so a novel with 80,000 words would take eight days to get the first version done. Sometimes they’re pretty much finished at that point, but others need a lot more work. At the moment I have three sitting on my laptop in varying stages of completion, and the beginnings of several others. Short stories can be anything from a day to two or three.

14. What do you enjoy doing when you’re not writing?

At the moment, I spend most of my spare time walking the dog and trying to learn to cook. Apart from that, it’s good to meet friends from time to time, otherwise writing can tend to be a very quiet life.

15. What are your goals for the future?

In the immediate future, I need to get a few books knocked into shape so they can come out in February. One of them is a complete reboot of the Joanna Mason series I started a few years ago. In the first few books, she was a loudmouth US cop. Now she’s a much quieter, more introspective British private detective. I like the new version much more. Longer term, I don’t really have any plans. I’d like to see one of my books turned into a movie, but I don’t think I’d want to be heavily involved in that process.

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Nope, I’m not yet done praising Ms. Amy Cross….

For those of you who are considering giving this author a try, you’ll be delighted to know that she generously offers her stories for free.  On any given day, you find at least one of her books on Amazon, free of charge.  Of course, once you read them, you’ll be hooked and want to buy more!

😉  Check out her Amazon page to see what’s available today.

For more information on her books and latest releases, visit her website.

You may follow Amy Cross on Goodreads.

Many thanks to Amy Cross, not just for taking the time out of her busy schedule to answer my interview questions, but also for entertaining me with her awesome stories!

I Ain’t Afraid of No Ghost…Yeah Right!

This is the fourth post celebrating Women’s In Horror, but it’ll probably be short. You see, I’m frightened right now, my mind is racing, and it’s hard for me to concentrate.  I just want to get on Google and search similar experiences as mine.

Something’s amiss, and I’m sort of freaked…Do you believe in ghosts? I do. Well, tonight I laid down to take a nap. I had literally just turned off the lights and crawled into bed. Right after I pulled the cover over me, my body swayed toward the edge of the bed. I felt a dip, like someone had just sat down. I felt a presence right where my back was turned. Squeezing my eyes shut, I was too afraid to move. The dip sensation on my bed lasted for a minute or two, then my bed was normal again. I opened my eyes and glanced around in the darkness, seeing nothing.

What happened??? Is a ghost trying to get my attention? If so, is it getting bold and won’t stop until I notice it?

For the past two weeks, I’ve been jolting awake in a sweat at exactly 5:44 every morning, like someone has been watching me. I’m really getting scared–and not in a good way. I mean, it’s fun to scare myself but on my own terms, when I’m in control of the situation.

Has this ever happened to you? What do you guys think is going on? I can admit that I’ve been stressed over my recent health issues. Is a deceased love one watching over me?

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby

P.S. Off to Google now…

Bloody Mary, Bloody Mary…Wait I’m Too Scared To Say It Five Times!!!

It’s day three of Women’s Horror Month. When I think of horror, ghosts come to mind. The most popular ghost I know is Bloody Mary. Watching too many scary movies, I believe the urban legend is real. You’ll never see me looking into a mirror and chanting her name five times. No siree.

However, I can definitely write about Bloody Mary. I am a horror writer after all haha. For the past couple of years, I’ve been working on an urban legends novella, on and off. A serial killer terrorizes students on campus using urban legends for motivation.

If you follow my blog, then you know I hardly ever share any work in progress excerpts. Hopefully, by the end of this month, I’ll learn to be more intimate with my blog readers. I hope to show more vulnerability as a writer. So…today I’ll share a scene from my Urban Legends (working title) story.

Here goes:

Surrounded by lit candles, the group of six sat cross-legged in a circle. The floor was dusty, and the lights were off in the abandoned building. The group—three girls and three guys—had brought a full-size mirror with them. They had it leaned up against the wall.

They were in the next town over from Independence University. A group of high schoolers who wanted to seem cool by doing the tradition of trying to contact Bloody Mary on a full moon night.

Unbeknownst to them, someone was already waiting on them in a dark hallway near the room they were in. Dark shadows hid him well. Even if they were to walk past him, they probably wouldn’t notice him. He wore a long wavy wig and a baggy dress with combat boots. He had to look the part of Bloody Mary, even though there was nothing he could do about his male frame.

 His partner, knife in hand, stood in the other hallway. No matter what—these six were trapped, a fatal trap.

He trusted his partner, no questions asked. That person wanted him to become a famous author and would do anything to support him. There was nothing holding him back.

A simple Google search had helped him plan for tonight. The group had blogged about trying to summon Bloody Mary as part of their high school senior hazing. They thought they were daredevils. Yeah right. If they were true daredevils, then they wouldn’t be stalling all night.

His right thigh was starting to cramp. He’d been standing still for an hour straight. He could only imagine what his partner was going through. Probably had to pee due to a small bladder.

Since the building was abandoned, the floor was weak. Any movement would cause a loud creak. If the teeny boppers heard it, then they’d be on high alert. Adrenaline could help them fight back.

And, he couldn’t have that.

He was a fighter, but being realistic, he probably couldn’t take six people all at once.

“I’m definitely getting laid after this. A straight up orgy,” a goofball said.

Sweeny Todd heard a loud slap.

“Ouch. What was that for?” Goofball asked.

“Stop acting stupid,” a snobby girl said. Her and Savannah could probably be friends, if Savannah was still alive.

“Let’s start the summoning,” a natural leader commanded. If any one was getting laid, it’d more than likely be him.

A few minutes passed, and the group still chanted some nonsense. Still stalling, he chuckled to himself.

Then it came. Music to his ears. “Bloody Mary. Bloody Mary. Bloody Mary. Bloody Mary. Bloody Mary.”

Silence.

Sweeny Todd could imagine them huddled around the mirror, anticipating what would happen next. All wide-eyed like the scaredy cats they should be.

Counting to three, he snuck up on them, tip-toeing, so he wouldn’t get caught. All their backs were facing him. This would be easier than he thought.

He stood directly behind a jock, who wore a letter jacket. Probably a dumb football player who bullied his classmates who he deemed lesser than him. The douche bag should die on principle.

Sweeny Todd raised his butcher knife, then struck it through the back of Jock’s head. As the metal sliced through his bony skull, there was a loud crunch sound. He yanked the knife out. Jock slid down to the floor in slow motion like a horror director timed that scene perfectly.

“Looking for me?” Sweeny Todd imitated a young woman’s voice, all high and shrill. He might as well go all out.

A guy and girl glanced back and screamed. Loud noises would ruin his plans. He had to nip that in the bud quickly. He sliced the guy’s throat and watched him fall to the ground.

More screaming, but he was starting to enjoy the challenge. Besides, the abandoned building wasn’t near anything. It was isolated on a deserted farm. No one could hear the screams anyway.

He looked at the girl, who pleaded for her life. Like cowards, the other three ran towards the hallway where his partner was patiently waiting. He heard their screams, plus the thuds as their bodies hit the floor. He heard his partner still slicing and dicing. Sweeny Todd was proud—Bloody Mary was known for torturing her victims after all.

“Please don’t kill me.” He recognized the voice—the snobby bitch.

“But I’m Bloody Mary. What else am I supposed to do?”

“Please let me go. I won’t tell anyone.”

“All your friends are dead, of course, there’ll be an investigation whether you talk or not. At least if you don’t talk, there’s no chance for the cops to figure out it was me. No witnesses.”

The floor creaked as his partner strolled up to them. His partner grabbed the snob from behind.

“Surprise. Your summon was so on point that you brought out two Bloody Marys. You should be proud.”

A tear slid down the snobby bitch’s cheek. “Please…”

“Please. Pretty please with sugar on top. Please torture me, so I can be a legend, one of Bloody Mary’s victims.” He tilted his head. “Why yes, I can arrange that.”

He grinned as he struck the giant knife into her stomach. He stabbed and stabbed. His partner did the final blow of slicing her neck, then pushed the bloody dead body onto the floor.

Snob laid beside Jock like a twisted Romeo and Juliet story.

He high-fived his partner. They scanned the room and admired their work. His partner stood in silence as Sweeny Todd sat on the floor away from the bloody puddle. He opened up Google Docs, his cell phone illuminating the room. He typed furiously away, afraid he couldn’t remember every detail of this perfect night:

The horror in their eyes. The fear in snobby bitch’s voice. Some couldn’t even process what happened, dead before they saw the knife coming towards them. I killed three, and my partner killed three. I’ll have to get details from my partner, but I heard everything. The knife slicing through skin. The warm bodies that will turn cold before morning, falling to the floor.

He added more sensory details in his notes. This story would be awesome. A best seller. Readers would feel every murder. They’d feel like they were experiencing the pain with his characters.

He looked up at his partner to signal that he was finished.

His partner smiled a warm smile. “You’re crazy. You know that? You look so funny in your costume.”

“You’re crazy too,” he said, not annoyed. He was amused that his partner could tease at a time like this. His partner was probably more demented than him.   

Just the way he liked it.

They didn’t bother to clean up their mess. The only thing they did was wipe off both butcher knives, then they laid the knives beside the victims. They wanted the cops to find the crime scene. They wanted the cops to find the murder weapons. They wanted the town to panic.

That was the only way to create history.

They walked out of the abandoned building towards some bushes and weeds. They changed into normal clothes, then stuffed crimson soaked Bloody Mary outfits into their book bags. No one would think to search them as they walked back to Independence University.

*****

What did you think?

This is only a second draft. I still have a lot of work ahead of me for revisions. I’ve been editing three novellas at once–Six Plus One, my urban legends, and my crazy ballerina one. Surprisingly,  I haven’t gotten editing block 🙂

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby

Reader Interview With Mandy, Fan of Horror Fiction

Please welcome my special guest Mandy, fan of anything horror. I often see her curled up with a murder mystery or a book about some killer terrorizing people. We can spend hours talking about our favorite horror movies. For Women’s Horror Month, I knew I had to get inside that twisty brain of hers.

Please enjoy her short, yet insightful reader interview. Without understanding what our readers want, authors couldn’t make a living 🙂

1. If you were a character in a horror book, would you rather be the villain, the one being chased, or the hero?

Mandy: The villain. Playing the role of a “bad” person or someone truly hated would be fun because it’d be outside the norm of my regular life.

Great minds think alike. I’d want to be the villain too. They tend to have more personality than the Mary Sue/Gary Stu hero. Six Plus One was created from my coworker’s challenge of writing a story about a killer offing their coworkers. Setting. Check–creepy woods. Job. Check–filming webseries about aliens. Killer (s). Check–I would tell you, but then you wouldn’t buy the book when it’s released haha.

Mandy, maybe one day I’ll brainstorm a story idea with you. With your crazy ass, we could make horror magic.

2. If you were a character in a horror book, would you want the monster to be a human or a creature?

Mandy: A human. Makes the story more realistic, in turn making the story more frightening.

3. What do you find exciting about the horror genre?

Mandy: The excitement, the thrill, the adrenaline.

Absolutely! That’s why I love writing horror. The plot is fast paced, something is always happening even during those quiet, subtle moments. There’s nothing more exciting than scaring yourself. There’s nothing more thrilling than your adrenaline rushing through your body as you get chills down your spine reading a disgusting scene. You’re on edge, full of suspense, flight or fight senses in full effect.

4. If you could read the ultimate horror book, what would be the perfect scenario or plot for you?

Mandy: The perfect scenario would be anything that holds my attention, has suspense, and makes me stand on edge.

5. Would you rather:

Be in the woods or in a haunted house? Haunted house. I’m still waiting on that ghost adventure in Shepherdstown 🙂

Be alone or accompanied by a group? Group of people. More distractions for the monster while I’m finding clues on how to destroy it.

Fight the monster yourself or save the day by getting someone else involved? Myself! It’d be fun outsmarting the monster.

6. When you find a book to read, what appeals to you? Book cover, blurb, etc?

Mandy: The blurb. I like to see what plot or type of story I’m committing to because that dictates what heightened emotions I’ll experience throughout the hundred plus pages.

Thank you so much, Mandy! I had fun interviewing you.

Are you a horror reader looking to be interviewed for Women’s Horror Month? If so, email me at author.yawatta.hosby (AT) aol (DOT) com. Looking forward to hear from you.

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Oh yes, it’d definitely be fun playing the villain in a book haha.

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby 

 

 

Books Similar To My Own (According to Amazon) Spotlights

Yitadee! It’s February 1st, the first day of Women’s Horror Month. In celebration, all of my horror and suspense books are only 0.99 cents. Check out My Amazon Page and grab something if you’re feeling in a mood to scare yourself.

Last night, I searched women horror authors who had books similar to mine. Thanks Amazon for having that ‘Customer Also Bought’ feature.

I’m sharing the three books I found interesting. Click on the author names, read more about them, and spread the love:

WILLOW ROSE is the Queen of Scream. She writes mystery/suspense/horror, paranormal romance, and fantasy. According to Amazon, her book Umbrella Man is similar to my One By One.

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If you like Stranger Things – you will love this!

In your dream, no one can hear you scream

When the body of the teenage boy, Julian Long, is discovered in the Green Swamps of Florida, the citizens of Bushlake know the city will never be the same again. Julian was popular, loved by all, and the circumstances of his death are more than strange.

What secrets is the boy in the swamps hiding?

Stephanie Boulder has returned to the town after fifteen years to take care of her grandmother, who is terminally ill. She writes for the local paper, and as soon as she starts digging into the story of Julian Long, she discovers secrets deep within the town’s history. Secrets so cruel, so profoundly buried, uncovering them will put her life in grave danger.

What if dreams were not just dreams? Would you dare to sleep again?

Desperate for answers, Stephanie embarks on a journey that spans beyond her beliefs, heading towards a terrifying nightmare, trying to figure out who the Umbrella Man is.

Umbrella Man is a page-turning supernatural thriller from the Queen of Scream, Willow Rose. It is fast paced and packed with suspense. This is one book you don’t want to miss.

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S.M. BOYCE has a knack for discovering adventure and magic. According to Amazon, her book Ari (To Each His Ghost #1) is similar to my Twisted Obsession.

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A Ghostly Paranormal Horror Novel

The moment Ari Bowers stepped inside the abandoned farmhouse on the outskirts of White Haven, Pennsylvania, she wanted to hightail it out of there like the ghost-fearing girl she was. Instead, she let her crush, Marcus Wagner, lead her into the shadows.

Oops.

As she predicted, they ran out screaming. But something followed her home.

Since that night, Ari is haunted by something she can’t see. It watches her when she sleeps. It caresses her in the shower. It carves words into her skin and lives alongside her, never satisfied with her terror. It always wants more, and Ari begins to fear it will take her and her date back to the farmhouse… forever.

For Ari and Marcus, it’s not a matter of whether or not monsters are real; It’s a life-or-death race to figure out which one is out to drag their souls to hell.

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KIERSTEN MODGLIN is a psychological fanatic. She loves to write stories that explore the darkest parts of human nature and the inner workings of twisted minds. According to Amazon, her book The Truth About My Scratches is similar to my Plenty of Fish.

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Jaicey knows something terrible happened to her, but she isn’t sure what…

Jaicey Thomas doesn’t feel like an average seventeen-year-old girl. Quiet and awkward to a fault, her reserved nature is largely caused by the unanswered questions that surround her. Why have all of the mirrors in her house disappeared? Why won’t her family read newspapers? Why do her nightmares keep coming back? Why does she feel so afraid of everyone around her, and who can she trust?

When Brayden transfers to Jaicey’s school, he takes an immediate interest in her…

Jaicey makes it clear to Brayden that she’s not interested in a relationship, as just friends or otherwise, but he is determined to get to know her. Meanwhile, the mysteries surrounding Jaicey continue to grow and Brayden may be the only one who can help her find the truth…but will she be brave enough to let him in?

Alone and afraid, Jaicey searches for answers…

As she starts to uncover clues, she finds herself unlocking pieces of her memory, pieces that hold much more darkness than she bargained for. In a fight for her life once more, Jaicey must force herself to relive that terrible night all over again. The threat is still lurking…and he may be closer than she thinks.

With time running out and secrets deeper and darker than she could’ve ever imagined, will Jaicey finally be able to uncover the truth about her scratches?

***For all the readers out there, feel free to tell me what you thought of their or my books. Definitely come back and leave a comment!

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby