Friday, October 31, 2008

Why I Write on the Spooky Side

I love All Hallows Eve. The spooky spectacle of costumed kiddies parading down the street dressed as ghoulies, goblins and ballerinas. The eerie sight of pumpkins ablaze with their faces on fire, flickering dastardly grins at all who dare appear before them to shout "Trick or Treat." Halloween is my favorite day of the year.

But that's not why I write paranormal fiction.

The first story I have record of writing has a monster as its protagonist. My first play is a one act about a woman who kills a man over and over in her dreams. I've written spec scripts of The X-Files and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. And the book I'm polishing, my first novel, is the story of a psychic with tragedy in her life whose gift has changed to the point that all she can see is how people die.

I think it started with the fairy stories my mother told me, tales she created of a wee one named Bluebell who lived in the Queen Anne's Lace that bordered our New Jersey yard. My interest grew in India, where my first reading material included comic books of Hindu myths. There were sleepover tales of Sleepy Hollow and the New Jersey Devil, the graveyard I played in behind the Quaker meeting house, the books of Greek and Norse myths and the volumes of fairy tales I adored. By junior high, my favorite Nancy Drew book was Nancy Drew Ghost Stories.

By high school, I started to collect nonfiction books, adding tomes on ESP and psychic phenomena to the Vampire Chronicles of Anne Rice. I loved the ghost-oriented episodes of MacGyver and Quantum Leap. Sci-Fi became my favorite channel.

The works of H.P Lovecraft and Stephen King joined L.M. Montgomery and Louisa May Alcott on my reading lists. After all, even Jo March, the scribe sister of Little Women, wrote tales of suspense, horror and intrigue. And while her writing got shut down as moral turpitude, the stories of her creator did not.

I have had friends who lived with ghosts, some who profess psychic gifts and others who had a subscription to Skeptics Magazine. I've met people from all walks of the paranormal spectrum. My own beliefs are personal, but I'm open to the possibilities.

But that's not why I write paranormal fiction. I write it because the real world, the world we live in every day, is scarier to me than any depths of the imagination. I've seen the darkness and it is us. (Don't worry, the light is us too).

I write it because the things that go bump in the night allow us to explore our most human side, whether that side be filled with love and compassion or darkness and hate. I write it because even though uniformly good triumphs over evil in this genre, there's always room for the grey. And because, somedays, it does feel like we've come to The Last Midnight a la Sondheim.

Which is not to say that my book is terribly high brow. In fact, you can get a sneak peek at the first scene here.

Thank you for joining us on this frightening journey. We hope you come back next week.

Have a haunting Halloween,

J.K. Mahal

Photo by Darwin Bell.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

The origins of a story

When I was little, we lived with my Irish grandmother. Being an only child with a vivid imagination, I relished sitting around the kitchen table with my great aunts and grandmother as they sipped their coffee, smoked cigarettes, and swapped stories.

I learned all about aunt Margaret’s hair from hell, the creep who stole grandma’s purse before she chased him down and won it back, and yes, there were more than a few ghost stories.

Ghost stories weren’t told in a dim light around the eerie glow of a fire at my grandmother’s house. They were a matter-of-fact. Ghosts exist, aye they do, and that part of my heritage stuck with me, instilling a fascination of the supernatural and the Old Ways that has lasted my whole life.

It started with a love of herbs and natural healing. In my early twenties, I devoured every gardening book on herbs that I could get my hand on. I grew them, cooked with them, ate them, used them in cosmetics and for ailments and even incorporated them in my wedding.

Then it was on to pagan religions. Wicca, witchcraft, Druidism—I loved learning about these ancient beliefs and customs, the pantheon of Gods and Goddesses throughout history and the powers they held.

Eventually, I became fascinated with spellcasting and that, along with those tales I heard so long ago, morphed into a love of story-telling and then, a novel.

UNCOVERING AMETHYST came to me at a time in my life when I just couldn’t bottle it up any more. I had learned enough about the concept, the details and the characters that would take over the book that it was time to just write the thing!

And so, the tale of Stacy Justice, reluctant witch and eager journalist, was born. For the purposes of the book, and to be true to my characters and the beliefs of so many pagans, I chose to make the magic “real”, if you can believe such a thing. Sure, the women in Stacy’s family have a few tricks up their sleeves, but the magic comes from the basis of true witchcraft—using nature and Her elements to bring about a positive change.

But Stacy also has a higher purpose of sorts. She’s come back to her hometown because her grandfather is ill, but her grandmother has more in store for her than she ever bargained for and she’s determined to reveal Stacy’s hidden talent.

To read the first chapter and learn more about the characters, visit

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Who am I and why the hells do I write Paranormal?

My name is Heather Tomasello. I write paranormal because of the old adage "write what you know." And I have either a very vivid imagination, or I am quite in tune to the world around me. I hear the things that go bump in the night, and they are just as real to me as the couch I'm currently sitting on.

It started when I was a small child. I knew so very clearly exactly what other people were feeling. If someone was sad, I cried. If they were angry, I punched a wall. I was a teenager before I heard the word empathic (and of all things, I heard it on Star Trek). It wasn't long into my adult life that I started to hear voices. My favorite is still the time I was working in an office on the phones and hearing "Well, hi there!" coming from behind me, and I was working in a corner. I'm starting to hear new voices as well. People I've known for a while, grandmothers, old friends, etc, that have passed. More on that later I suppose.

The first thing I ever wrote was a children's book about bugs going to bed. I still have it somewhere, not sure if I'll ever have it published. It was cute. The second thing I wrote was a screenplay about a woman who's living with the spirit of her dead husband, because neither of them were ready to let go. And it was a comedy. (Hey, anybody want to buy a screenplay?)

I'll probably always write paranormal.

Because that's what I know.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Enter Bethany aka Brynna Curry

Good Morning and Welcome to our blog!

Hi, I'm Bethany, also known by my pen Brynna Curry. I've never been asked why I write. To those who really know me, its just what I do. I've been writing stories or making them up for as long as I can remember. Why write paranormal? Like Nichole I've had close encounters with what I call others.

I'm not sure if they were spirits of those passed on, demons, angels or any other name you might give them. I have upon occasion questioned my own mental status, but hey, if some otherworldly being yells in my ear and says "Beth, Stop!" just before I pull out in front of another driver with no headlights on at nine o'clock in the evening. Who am I to complain, right?

I've held objects in antique stores and caught glimpes of their owners. Once my mother lost her mother's wedding band. She had looked for it three days, before she finally asked me to help. I never had to search for the ring, I laid my hand right on it. Then there are the dreams of my aunt and my grandmother. I've had whole conversations with them while sleeping, though it seems as if they are alive and its just another day. One always brings good news, and the other most often warns of major change, either by a death or accident. I guess I write paranormal because I feel so welcome in that realm. Ya'll just call me the resident oddball.

I married my high school sweetheart and I'm a mom of three teenagers, which makes finding five minutes to write a trial. Eight to five, I'm a secretary. I come from a broken homelife, which probably helped feed my need to write and escape in the world of books.

Vampires and Werewolves are favorite creatures to write for me. I usually have several works in progress going at once. Bite Me! is a sort of steamy vampire tale set in the city. Kayleigh Farell is an erotic paranormal romance novelist who finds herself being stalked by a real vampire. Kail McKenna, also a vampire, may be her only hope of remaining among the human race. She may be his freedom. Wolf's Bane is the story of Howl, a PI and werewolf, and Ana Brannon, a witch determined to free him of his curse. Thanks for taking this journey with us. It's sure to be a wild and spooky ride! Happy Halloween Everyone.


Monday, October 27, 2008

All About Nichole R. Bennett


I'm honored to get to start this blog off.  

As I'm sure you can tell, this blog is dedicated to paranormal authors.  Why write paranormal?  For me, the answer is simple.  I like ghosts.  I believe they exist.  I know they exist.  I've seen them.  I've talked to them.  Some of them have even talked back.

Some people may think that's a little nuts.  Some might want to get me fitted for a nice white jacket, or get me started on the latest anti-psychic medication.  That's why I don't usually discuss my experiences with the paranormal.  

Now that I live in a highly-spiritual area of the country, my paranormal experiences seem to happen more frequently.  Is it because of the beautiful Black Hills?  Or am I just more open now than I was in my late-teens and 20s?  Who knows.  Maybe both.

Why I write is harder to explain.  I've heard it said that a true writer can't not write.  I'm not sure I believe that.  Some days it would be a lot easier to play computer games or even fold the laundry than stare at a blank computer screen trying to come up with the next scene.  But I try anyway.  I enjoy it.  

I've written my entire life.  As a child, I published a small newspaper about the events in my neighborhood.  Each press run was one copy, done on leftover school paper with crayon-drawing images that I pretended were photos.  As I grew up, I went to college to be a journalist.  I joined the Air Force to be a public affairs specialist (any other DINFOS-trained-killers out there?) and to pay for the rest of my college eduction.  Now I spend my days writing fiction.  OK, some could say that's what I did in the military, too, but let's not go there.

I'm currently working on my first novel.  Ghost Mountain is about a 30-something mother who is compelled by her spirit guide to help solve a murder.  Cerri doesn't want to help.  She doesn't event want to believe in spirit guides.  But the circumstances are too compelling.  And the family traditions she's grown up — and tried to abandon — along with her over-riding sense of justice ensure Cerri sees this through to the end. 

Cerri and I are a lot alike.  We're both on a journey that, at times, seems out of our hands with "talents" we've tried to deny.  But we'll both keep plugging along and make it work to our advantage!