Guest Post from C S Alleyne – Author of Belle Vue

Hi everyone. The kids are back in school and fall is just now visible in the distance (it can’t get here fast enough for my taste). To me that means cooler weather, pumpkin everything, and spooky books! I admit I’ve been reading more paranormal and horror than cozy mystery lately. I’m pleased to welcome paranormal mystery author C S Alleyne to the blog. Her novel Belle Vue comes out today and she will be sharing her inspiration for the book. I’ll be finishing it and posting my review soon so keep an eye out for that, and check the author links below for a chance to read an excerpt for yourself. (Just a note to my cozy readers – this novel is a far cry from cozy!)

Belle Vue by C S Alleyne

Inspiration – that feeling of enthusiasm and the source for new and creative ideas can strike an author in the oddest place. For me, it was my occasional journey past a block of luxury apartments which was converted from the original Leavesden Asylum for Idiots and Imbeciles – a name not to be reckoned with now. As I walked past the main building it stirred my interest and I searched for more information about its history. Finding other pictures of evocative old asylums either in ruins or also converted into residential accommodation, I soon had lots of story ideas and started jotting notes for what would become Belle Vue.

I did a lot of research into Victorian asylums which was a real eye-opener. At the turn of the nineteenth century, England and France combined had only a few hundred individuals in asylums, but by 1900 this number had risen to the hundreds of thousands. This epidemic of madness suddenly gripped Europe and the US too. Records of reasons for admission to an asylum make for fascinating reading – and not a little concern that had any one of us been around then we may just have found ourselves in a new – and unwelcome – address!

These entries have been a source of amusement on the net with such things as ‘novel reading’, ‘tobacco and masturbation’, ‘over study’ and ‘sudden loss of several cows’ listed as causes of mental illness requiring asylum incarceration.

Women in particular were at risk – Maureen Dabbagh‘s 2001 book reveals women were admitted for –

“…laziness, egotism, disappointed love, female disease, mental excitement, cold, snuff, greediness, imaginary female trouble, “gathering in the head,” exposure and quackery, jealousy, religion, asthma, masturbation, and bad habits. Spouses used lunacy laws to rid themselves of their partners and in abducting their children.”

And these were not places you would want to go – local magistrate Godfrey Higgins, who investigated York asylum in 1814 found ‘evidence of wrongdoing on a massive scale: maltreatment of the patients extending to rape and murder; forging of records to hide deaths among the inmates; an extraordinarily widespread use of chains and other forms of mechanical restraint; massive embezzlement of funds; and conditions of utter filth and neglect.’ On one visit he forced his way through a hidden door to expose a tiny room crammed with thirteen elderly ladies, practically naked and covered in their own excrement. Higgins ‘became very sick and could no longer remain in the room.  I vomited.’

So amongst all that, I shouldn’t have been surprised to find that a murder had taken place in the Leavesden Aslyum in 1899 albeit by an outsider and reading about it gave me another idea. Mary Ansell was found guilty of poisoning her sister Caroline who was an inmate in the asylum. She was hanged at St. Alban’s Jail (though in this case there was considerable public pressure for a reprieve as she too was believed to lack ‘mental capacity’). But Mary had taken out an insurance policy on her sister’s life…

As I was mulling over other possible plot lines, my ears pricked up (and sure I would not be alone in this lol!) at the mention of satanic orgies. I heard about the Hellfire Caves in West Wycombe where such practices had taken place and duly paid a visit. The caves, excavated between 1748 and 1752 for Sir Francis Dashwood, were used as a meeting place for his notorious Hellfire Club.

Members included various politically and socially important 18th century figures such as William Hogarth, John Wilkes, Thomas Potter and John Montagu, 4th Earl of Sandwich. Though not believed to have been a member, Benjamin Franklin was a close friend of Dashwood who visited the caves on more than one occasion.

img1  Underground Statue at the Hellfire Caves (Scott Wylie)

According to Horace Walpole, the members’ “practice was rigorously pagan: Bacchus and Venus were the deities to whom they almost publicly sacrificed; and the nymphs and the hogsheads that were laid in against the festivals of this new church, sufficiently informed the neighbourhood of the complexion of those hermits.” Dashwood’s garden at West Wycombe contained numerous statues and shrines to different gods; Daphne and Flora, Priapus and the previously mentioned Venus and Dionysus.

Many rumours of black magic, satanic rituals and orgies were in circulation during the life of the club. Club meetings often included mock rituals, pornographic materials, much drinking, wenching and banqueting. The early 1760s saw the downfall of Dashwood’s exclusive club but its tantalising premise caught my imagination and I decided to incorporate a secret society, orgies and all, into Belle Vue.

So that was my inspiration for the Mephisto Club…

Writers are often advised ‘write what you know’ but given Belle Vue is about murder, satanic orgies and mistreatment in Victorian lunatic asylums I am not putting my hand up to any of these and all down to diligent research of subjects that fascinate me lol!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Not all asylums were as bad as this – Belle Vue simply reflects the conditions of those that were…

About the Author

author

C S Alleyne grew up in Australia and originally trained as a hotel manager in the UK. After several postings in the Caribbean she changed tack and completed her MBA followed several years later by a PhD in Information Systems. She is a management consultant and also lectures in several universities. Belle Vue is her debut novel and in December last year, her novelette, POWEЯ, was published.

LINKS

Excerpt – Read the first 2 chapters here – http://csalleyne.com/excerpt-belle-vue/

Website – http://www.csalleyne.com

Blog – http://csalleyne.com/blog/

Goodreads –
https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/19806081.C_S_Alleyne

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/53318594-belle-vue

Twitter – https://twitter.com/csalleyne

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/csalleyne/

Amazon Author Page US: https://www.amazon.com/C.S.-Alleyne/e/B082P1H49C%3Fref=dbs_a_mng_rwt_scns_share

Amazon Author Page UK https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/1646693116/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_bibl_vppi_i1

Universal purchase link – BELLE VUE – http://getbook.at/BelleVue

Universal purchase link – POWEЯ – http://getbook.at/CSPower

Review – The Haunting of Gillespie House by Darcy Coates

25883916. sy475 Synopsis:

Elle can’t believe her luck; she’s spending a month house-sitting the beautiful Gillespie property. Hidden near the edge of the woods and an hour’s drive from the nearest town, its dark rooms and rich furniture entice her to explore its secrets. There’s even a graveyard hidden behind the house, filled with tombstones that bear an identical year of death.

If only the scratching in the walls would be quiet…

The house’s dark and deadly history quickly becomes tangled with Elle’s life. At the center of it is Jonathan Gillespie, the tyrannical cult leader and original owner of the house. As Elle soon learns — just because he’s dead, doesn’t mean he’s gone.

cc44b-divider

Genre: Horror / Paranormal
Rating: **** (4 of 5 stars)

This was my second Darcy Coates book in as many weeks. The Haunting of Gillespie House is a good creepy ghost story, and that is exactly what I was hoping for. The heroine of this story is much more likeable than the last one I read, and the way it was told in first person made it feel somewhat more intimate. There’s nothing too gory, and I won’t be having any nightmares after reading it, but I definitely wanted the lights on while I was reading! I would almost call this “cozy horror”, and I really enjoyed it.

There was a short story included in the book called Crawlspace, and I think it was scarier than the main novel. Make sure you don’t skip it if you read the book!

The Haunting of Gillespie House and many other Darcy Coates novels are available on Kindle Unlimited if you happen to be a subscriber.

Review – The Haunting of Blackwood House by Darcy Coates

28870482

Synopsis:

Could you survive a week in a haunted house?

Mara is the daughter of spiritualists. Her childhood was filled with seances, scam mediums and talk of ghostly presences.

When Mara finally left her family’s home, she vowed she would never allow superstition or false religion into her life again. Now she’s ready to start over with her fiance, Neil, in a world based on rationality and facts.

But her past isn’t ready to let her go just yet.

Mara and Neil purchase Blackwood House, a derelict property outside of town. They’re warned about strange occurrences in the crumbling building. Doors open by themselves, voices whisper in the night, bloody handprints appear on the walls, and cold spots linger in the basement, where the house’s original owner was murdered.

But Blackwood was dirt-cheap and came with a large plot of overgrown land. Mara loves her new home, and disregards the warnings.

Because ghosts aren’t real…

…are they? 

Continue reading

Through the Nethergate by Roberta Eaton Cheadle – Guest Post & Giveaway

Synopsis:

Margaret, a girl born with second sight, has the unique ability to bring ghosts trapped between Heaven and Hell back to life. When her parents die suddenly, she goes to live with her beloved grandfather, but the cellar of her grandfather’s ancient inn is haunted by an evil spirit of its own.

In the town of Bungay, a black dog wanders the streets, enslaving the ghosts of those who have died unnatural deaths. When Margaret arrives, these phantoms congregate at the inn, hoping she can free them from the clutches of Hugh Bigod, the 12th century ghost who has drawn them away from Heaven’s White Light in his canine guise.

With the help of her grandfather and the spirits she has befriended, Margaret sets out to defeat Hugh Bigod, only to discover he wants to use her for his own ends – to take over Hell itself.

Continue reading

The Dead Girls Club by Damien Angelica Walters

The Dead Girls Club Synopsis:

A supernatural thriller in the vein of A Head Full of Ghosts about two young girls, a scary story that becomes far too real, and the tragic–and terrifying–consequences that follow one of them into adulthood.

Red Lady, Red Lady, show us your face…

In 1991, Heather Cole and her friends were members of the Dead Girls Club. Obsessed with the macabre, the girls exchanged stories about serial killers and imaginary monsters, like the Red Lady, the spirit of a vengeful witch killed centuries before. Heather knew the stories were just that, until her best friend Becca began insisting the Red Lady was real–and she could prove it.

That belief got Becca killed.

It’s been nearly thirty years, but Heather has never told anyone what really happened that night–that Becca was right and the Red Lady was real. She’s done her best to put that fateful summer, Becca, and the Red Lady, behind her. Until a familiar necklace arrives in the mail, a necklace Heather hasn’t seen since the night Becca died.

The night Heather killed her.

Now, someone else knows what she did…and they’re determined to make Heather pay.

Continue reading

Guest Post from Author Dan O’Brien

 

obrien1

First of all, I want to thank you for hosting me today.

My name is Dan O’Brien and I’m probably best known for my Lauren Westlake books, especially the bestselling Bitten. I stopped by today to talk about the ongoing series, as well as a limited-time sale on the Lauren Westlake eBooks in preparation for the next release, Besieged.

Before I pitch you on the first five books for only 99c, I want to take a moment and answer a few questions so you can get to know me a little better, dear reader.

 

Does writing energize or exhaust you?

Writing has always been an important psychological outlet for me. I can’t imagine a life where I don’t write in some capacity. It certainly energizes me. And perhaps more importantly, it rescues me when I feel alone or if I’m having a poor mental health day. I think writing means different things to different people. For me, writing is a grounding principle in my life. If I need to work through something, I write about it. Sometimes that catharsis even becomes a part of a book.

 

How do you select the names of your characters?

It really depends on the genre. Unsurprisingly, many of my characters are based on aspects of people I have met during my life. Sometimes, I name them based on who they remind me of; other times, I keep trying names until I feel like the name reflects the character. For the Lauren Westlake series, the names came quite naturally. When I work on a science fiction or fantasy story, I will research traditional names from ancient societies or combine base terms with interesting prefixes and suffixes to create something unique.

 

If you didn’t write, what would you do for work?

I imagine I would have been a scientist in some capacity or taught math. I studied psychology in graduate school and even entertained getting my PhD and teaching at a university. However, I decided on a different path that took me away from that possibility. Teaching is such a brave profession. As well, I might have pursued a career in film. Once upon a time, I really wanted to be involved in the filmmaking process, but I didn’t go to film school. I could see myself on that path as well.

 

Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?

Always. Much like TV shows and movies hide things in plain sight for eagle-eyed viewers, I like to leave clues along the way that are much more than simple foreshadowing. Often, someone’s name will reference something that will happen later or is a part of a larger theme. I also like to leave references to some my favorite novels and films.

 

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

I always liked telling stories. When I was a child, I would create entire plays with people on Popsicle sticks and small stages built from scratch. I also used Legos and other toys to tell elaborate tales. The more I read, the more I wanted to be a storyteller. I published my first story in 2002 and never looked back.

 

How long does it take you to write a book?

That depends on the book itself. If I am in the middle of telling a larger story, I can sometimes finish a first draft in 6-8 weeks. I wrote a novel in 10 days once because I was so interested in the story that I didn’t want to do anything else. For the Lauren Westlake novellas, I finish a draft in a couple of weeks in order to get it to the editor.

 

What does being a successful author look like to you?

As many people as possible reading what I write. Being well known might be interesting, but I would prefer that readers enjoy what I write and want to read more.

 

Now that you know a little more about me, I’d like to talk about the Lauren Westlake series. This weekend, Bitten and its sequels will be only 99c as a promotion for the release of Besieged. Here are the synopses and links for those eBooks that are on sale.

 

 

obrien2.jpg

Bitten:  http://www.amazon.com/dp/B005METJLU

A predator stalks a cold northern Minnesotan town. There is talk of wolves walking on two legs and attacking people in the deep woods. Lauren Westlake, resourceful and determined F.B.I Agent, has found a connection between the strange murders in the north and a case file almost a hundred years old. Traveling to the cold north, she begins an investigation that spirals deep into the darkness of mythology and nightmares. Filled with creatures of the night and an ancient romance, the revelation of who hunts beneath the moon is more grisly than anyone could have imagined.

 

 

obrien3

Drained: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00RJI8DVO

A frightening new case. A mysterious journal. The beginning of the end. Lauren Westlake has left behind the horrors of northern Minnesota to investigate a strange package with a cryptic return address. Crossing the country to the city by the bay, Lauren discovers that Locke was only the beginning. Crossing paths with a stoic SFPD detective and a surprise from her past, she must figure out what hunts the foggy streets of San Francisco in this new novella. Is it vampires? Is it something more?

 

 

obrien4

Frighten: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07KJD12BS

Lauren’s time in San Francisco hasn’t gone as planned. After reconnecting with her brother Billy and discovering that vampires are at the heart of the murders in the foggy city, Lauren is faced with a terrible decision that will affect her career. Can she find a way to bring the killers to justice? Will she be able to find the Stranger in time to stop the nightmares in San Francisco?

 

 

obrien5

Burned: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07KJ9V3SJ

Lauren’s pursuit of the Stranger has led to Las Vegas. A series of supernatural murders leads the team to believe that warlocks are behind the deaths. The return of an old ally and a new threat complicates Lauren’s investigation. Can she stop what’s coming in time to avert the apocalypse?

 

 

obrien6

Awaken: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07LH7GFVP

Lauren’s world is turned upside down when she is introduced to the Order and Elder Andras. The Stranger’s plan to wake Awanyu begins to take form, threatening not only Las Vegas, but all of reality. Can Lauren put together the puzzle pieces in time to stop the Stranger and save Winona?

 

I hope that you will take advantage of the opportunity and catch up on the Lauren Westlake series. You can connect with me on Twitter and Facebook, as well as visit my website. Happy reading!

 

Twitter: https://twitter.com/AuthorDanOBrien

Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/authordanobrien

Website: https://authordanobrien.com/

The Skeleton Makes a Friend by Leigh Perry Blog Tour & Giveaway

Synopsis: Georgia Thackery is feeling pretty good about her summer job teaching at prestigious Overfeld College, and she’s renting a rustic cabin right by a lake for herself, her daughter, Madison, and her best friend, Sid the Skeleton. Together again, the trio are enjoying the quiet when a teenager named Jen shows up looking for her friend. Georgia doesn’t recognize the name, but she learns that the person Jen was looking for is actually Sid.

Sid reveals that he and Jen are part of a regular online gaming group that formed locally, and one of their members has gone missing. Sid admits that he might have bragged about his investigative prowess, enough so that Jen wants him to find their missing player. Given that Sid doesn’t have many friends offline—none, really, unless you count the Thackery family—Georgia agrees to help him search. They manage to discreetly enlist Jen, who lives in town, and follow the clues to… a dead buddy.

Now they’ve got a killer on their hands. Probing the life of Sid’s friend, they realize a lot is wrong both on campus and in the seemingly quaint town, and someone doesn’t want them looking deeper.

Continue reading

House of Ashes by Loretta Marion – Blog Tour & Guest Post

Synopsis:

A family patriarch’s dying proclamation, an enigmatic disappearance, and a century-old curse converge in the shadows of a majestic home on Cape Cod’s craggy coast.

Thirty-seven-year-old painter Cassandra Mitchell is fourth-generation to live in the majestic Battersea Bluffs, a brooding Queen Anne home originally built by her great-grandparents, Percy and Celeste Mitchell, and still standing despite tragedies that have swept the generations. Local lore has it that there was a curse placed on the family and the house is haunted, though opinions are divided on whether it’s by malicious or benevolent spirits. Cassie believes the latter―but now she stands to lose her beloved home to mounting debt and the machinations of her dream-weaving ex-husband.

Salvation seems to arrive when a nomadic young couple wanders onto the property with the promise of companionship and much-needed help―until they vanish without a trace, leaving behind no clue to their identities. Cassie is devastated, but determined to discover what’s happened to the young couple…even as digging into their disappearance starts to uncover family secrets of her own. Despite warnings from her childhood friend, now the local Chief of Police―as well as an FBI agent who pushes the boundaries of professionalism―Cassie can’t help following the trail of clues (and eerie signals from the old house itself) to unravel the mystery. But can she do so before her family’s dark curse destroys everything in its path?

Continue reading

Yesterday’s Tears by Sam Cheever – Blog Tour and Giveaway

Synopsis:

It might be a murder from decades ago, but it still has its claws in the present…and someone seems determined to drag Anna into it.

It’s way too soon to be returning to a haunted mansion, and Anna’s favorite cowboy ghost does his best to talk her out of it. But the opportunity to pick from the beautiful antiques left to her in a Crocker resident’s will is just too tempting for Anna and Pratt to pass up. So they’re going in…

They’re prepared to deal with a few cold spots. Maybe the occasional flickering light. But what Anna and the boys weren’t counting on was bumping up against the ghost of Josiah Bumgartner, a contemporary of Joss’ from the 1800s. And when Josiah claims the old woman who lived in the house hid his bones around the place, Anna agrees to help him find them. But something much darker is at work there. And, unfortunately for our happy little gang of antique hunters…Anna seems to have unwittingly stepped right into the middle of it.

Continue reading

Guest Post from Author Michael Christopher Carter

I’m very pleased to welcome paranormal author Michael Christopher Carter to The Book’s the Thing today. Read on for a glimpse inside this writer’s creative process…

cc44b-divider

I was delighted when Erika asked me to write a guest post for her and that got me thinking. What would I want to learn about me if I were a reader? (Which of course I am—I read my own books a million times as part of the editorial process as well as reading other authors’ books avidly.) What would I want to know?

Well, I suppose I’d ask where it all began?

I have wanted to be a writer for as long as I can remember. My teachers from as young as nursery age would say, ‘He has to be a writer one day…’ I didn’t take their advice for another thirty-plus years. Or rather, I didn’t write a book until I was forty. I had flirted with the notion, buying a word processor, but I had no clue where to start. It all comes so easily now I wish I’d started years ago. I console myself acknowledging my greater life experiences must have led to richer writing.

Now I’ve taken the plunge, is it what I expected?

Yes. It’s the best job in the world. It doesn’t even feel like work… I get paid to do what I would do anyway for free! And I can do it in my pyjamas if I want. Don’t worry, I’m writing this fully clothed and abluted.

What about the nuts and bolts of what I do?

It’s something I’m honing all the time, but it always starts with an idea. I have lots and I usually write them all down. Then sometimes there’s one I’m super-excited about and I know I’ll write that book.

Inspiration comes from anywhere. Sometimes (perhaps frequently), it’s from conversations with my wife. Whilst discussing the ins and outs of the Universe, I’ll stop and say, “That would make a good book,” before scurrying away to make notes. This is especially true of my novel, “An Extraordinary Haunting,” which includes true-life goings on for my wife and late mother-in-law.

Most of the time you can thank my dogs. The peace and calm of being in the wild outdoors with my best buddies is a great time to think. “The Beast of Benfro,” came to me whilst walking them in the very woods the story is set. I could picture the beast rampaging down the hillside to get to me, and my subsequent dash to the safety my car gave me quite an adrenaline rush. I didn’t write the book for a couple of years after the initial conception because that’s the other thing: I have so many ideas I can’t possibly complete them all. Like choosing a novel from your (if you’re anything like me) unfeasibly long ‘To-read’ list that contains far too many titles for an average human lifespan, one just nags to be read above the others; or for me, nags to be written.

I aimed, this year, to become more prolific, releasing at least four books. But I’ve only written one so far because I’ve been so busy moving home. I’ll do my best to catch up so there should be some exciting releases before the year is out.

I’m so lucky living in The Pembrokeshire Coast National Park. Whenever I need to take stock and get inside my own thoughts there are limitless beauty spots to choose from to gratify me with wonder. From dozens of castles and incredible secret beaches, to woods and rivers with waterfalls, West Wales is really a writers’ paradise.

Is there anything I don’t like about being an author?

Not so long ago, I might have said editing. Now, it’s one of my favourite things: That’s when the ideas take shape, and when other people read my words for the first time and I get to share that most intimate part of myself—my thoughts.

I used to get nervous I’d hear back that my book is rubbish, but I’m not so uneasy anymore. That’s not to say things don’t need changing. First-draughts always require a lot of work. It makes me laugh reading them. When I’m letting the ideas flow, the writing can be wrought with errors. I’m amazed at the evidence of my crazy thoughts, using the word ‘exactly’ lots of times on the same page, or starting ten sentences in a row with the word ‘it’! At least I get to iron these out before anybody sees (apart from my poor editor!)

I love my job. I feel so lucky. But what do I enjoy most of all?

The thing that makes me grin from ear to ear whenever it happens is satisfied fan mail. To know my words have touched someone to the point they have taken the trouble to write to tell me often moves me to tears (usually of joy, but not always—books mean a lot of different things to different people.)

I could go on forever, but I hope this brief and gushing glimpse into my world has been of interest, and that you go on to enjoy some of my novels.

Who knows? Maybe your letter will become one of my favourite things.

 

Michael Christopher Carter,

Author.

 

About the Author

Michael is the author of several novels including the number one bestseller “An Extraordinary Haunting,” and “The HUM,” with well over 1000 four and five-star ratings on Source, and brand new “Destructive Interference” which fans and journalists are saying is his best yet!

Prior to beginning his life as an author in 2013, Michael was a success in the world of direct sales where he ran a number of businesses including a conservatory design and build company, and coordinated a several-hundred-strong army of water filter salespeople!

The illness of a family member prompted Michael to investigate a spiritual path where from Catholic roots, he diversified to qualify as a Reiki Master in 1999 before moving with his family from Cambridge to the beautiful Pembrokeshire Coast National Park in South West Wales. It’s from this unique standpoint and incredible scenery that Michael is inspired to write today.

Make sure to visit his website for more info, and check out his latest release on Amazon!

 

Destructive Interference Kindle cover 2.8.17What if a seemingly harmless choice could take away everything you love the most? 

When Matthew Morrissey takes an innocent stroll to his local convenience store to buy batteries for his daughter’s Christmas present, he doesn’t know it will change his life forever. But, when he returns home, everything has changed… There are strangers in his home, his neighbours deny ever knowing him and he ends up attracting the attention of Bristol’s finest.

Matthew has a theory about what is happening to him and who is to blame. But first, he has to escape.

Can he solve the mystery and save his family, or has he lost them forever?

If you like a twist in your tale, this latest voyage into the paranormal world of Wales’s premier writer of supernatural fiction is the most remarkable yet!