Interview with Author D. Elizabeth Ayers

1) Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get into writing?

Well, I was a lonely kid, and like most lonely kids growing up in the 70s and 80s, I read a lot and watched a disgusting amount of television and movies. So, my mind was always focused on how stories unfold. I also had geeky, well-educated parents who knew things about storytelling and myth. They would point out things like foreshadowing and symbolism in stories that made me incredibly curious to find out more. Strangely, I started off my creative life in the theatre and did a lot of acting from the age of twelve to the age of about thirty. Even though I might not ever act again, the theatre gave me a great background in character development and scene building.

2) What inspired you to write your book?

I was in England in 2003 and one of the places I visited was Bath. In the circus, (I’ve attached a link to a Wikipedia image for your reference), there is a beautiful grassy area and a very small copse of trees. Apparently, the architect who designed it believed Bath was the center of druid activity and designed the King’s Circus with the measurements of Stonehenge in mind. After visiting the Jane Austen House in the morning, I had a little picnic snack under those trees and I communed with the trees and, I think, druids. I conceptualized a ghost story that involved a body snatching element. This initial idea took a little time to marinate, and I wrote some ideas out that never came to be. Ultimately, it became This Pale Mortal Shell.

3) What theme or message do you hope readers will take away from your book?

There are two takeaways I hope will come across. The first being, don’t take anything for granted. It can be snatched away from you at any moment, and even if you get a second chance, you might still lose it. Live in the moment and make the most of what you’ve got! The second is, I hope readers understand my view on right action, especially when you’re using magic. I’m afraid to say too much here without spoiling it for future readers, but I’ll always advise people to be careful with the power they yield!

4) What drew you into this particular genre?

 One thing was that when I was a kid, there was not a lot in the way of kids’ books and there was absolutely no YA, so I had read everything there was to read by the time I was ten, and I graduated to adult fiction. I think my mom was just glad that I was reading voraciously, so she didn’t monitor the material much. I started reading a lot of ghost stories and Edgar Allen Poe. Then I graduated to Stephen King when I was about eleven. I guess you could say I was kind of a dark kid. There were also things happening in my personal life that drew me to the paranormal and magic. In addition, I was the kind of kid who often paired off my plush toys and dolls because I didn’t want anyone to be alone, so I guess I was a romantic kid as well. I started reading paranormal romance a lot after I had the idea for This Pale Mortal Shell just to get a sense of what was out there, and I absolutely fell in love with the genre. Up until then, I had only experimented with historical fiction/romance.

5) If you could sit down with any character in your book, what would you ask them and why?

I’m actually really having a hard time answering that one because there will be major spoilers! So, I don’t know if you have a protocol for dealing with that. The character that was probably the hardest to write is represented in three different characters in the story. The Young Rocker, the Goddess, and the Omnipresent Voice in Tristan’s limbo are all representatives of what I like to call the Universal Consciousness and boy do I have some questions for that one! One would be “Do people really get what’s coming to them, good or bad?” “Does everything really happen for a reason?” is another question. I like to believe that the answer to both of those questions is yes, but I’m often uncertain when really crappy things happen to undeserving people and vice versa. I won’t get all political as a writer yet, but I think you all can imagine what I mean.

6) What social media site has been the most helpful in developing your readership?

To be honest, I’m still feeling my way around the social media world. I’m what some people might call a digital immigrant, which is a person who uses technology but wasn’t born into it. I have been playing around with the biggies, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, but I’m also working on my profiles on Goodreads and Amazon. At the moment, I’m getting a lot more feedback/connections on Twitter, and I like it a lot. I do sometimes hate being limited to 280 characters, though!

7) What advice would you give to aspiring or just starting authors out there?

First and foremost, you must do two things pretty much every day, even you only spend an hour a day doing them: Read and write! And persevere! Not many writers are amazing right out of the gate. I think Mark Twain was one of the few, so be ready to kill your darlings and take the hard feedback when you get it. But also, stick to your guns if you really believe you are right and it’s not just your ego talking. You should also believe that you can get better every day and tell the story that people want to read if you keep working at it.

8) What does the future hold in store for you? Any new books/projects on the horizon?

I’m so glad you asked! I have the first in a series coming out this fall. The series is called The Selkie Chronicles, and the first of the series is called Only Skin Deep.

Here’s a little teaser for that series:

The selkie. Those hot-blooded, sea-dwelling creatures on which the phrase “love ‘em and leave ‘em” was coined. Unfortunately, in the twenty-first century, they’re not so focused on the seduction of unwitting but oh-so-willing humans even though it sure is fun once in a while. These days, they spend more time building up their own societies and domains and living within the constraints of their politics. Very few people even remember they exist, and a select few humans have been chosen for mutually beneficial partnerships to protect the selkie race from discovery. Occasionally, these relationships have tragic outcomes, but every once upon a time, the right human and the right selkie can set each other free.

And the blurb for the first of the series:

Sloane’s finally met her tall, dark, and handsome. The only problem is, sometimes he’s chubby, spotty, and smells of herring. But hey, nobody’s perfect, right?

Sloane is a disowned heiress turned waitress living in a small seaside town in west Scotland. Llyr is a selkie prince living in a kingdom thousands of feet under the sea and hundreds of miles away. It seems unlikely that the two could even meet let alone fall in love. But when she inadvertently calls him, he is able to take human form and journey to the surface.

Sloane and Llyr must battle disapproving fathers, wicked stepmothers and other deadly enemies to make their relationship work. Along the way they discover secret treasure, unravel the truth about the past, and overcome the sins of a father and a mother. Against all odds, they find a way to bridge the gap between humans and selkies, and together they break the ancient curse which threatens to keep them apart.

Links:

https://www.facebook.com/d.elizabeth.ayers/?modal=admin_todo_tour

https://www.instagram.com/delizabethayers/https://twitter.com/DElizabethAyer1

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/19119504.D_Elizabeth_Ayers

And I also have a YouTube channel though it’s pretty thin at the moment. I like to have soundtracks for my novels which are in the playlists I have there. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC60_6pemqWIY3unPyAGgaTQ?view_as=subscriber

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Clarissa’s Warning by Isobel Blackthorn

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. 

A woman’s good fortunes turn dire when her dreams of owning and restoring old ruins leads to a dangerous situation in author Isobel Blackthorn’s “Clarissa’s Warning”. Here is the synopsis.

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The Synopsis

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A lottery jackpot changes Claire Bennett’s life.

She buys an ancient stone ruin on the island of her dreams. Her mystic aunt Clarissa warns her of danger, but Claire pays no heed.

Soon after moving to the idyllic island, Claire is confronted by a mystery. As the sinister story of her home slowly uncovers, Claire enters a world of inexplicable events and ordeals. Someone or something doesn’t want her there.

But is it really a curse, or is there something else behind the events?

The Review

This was the kind of classic slow burn horror story that defines the horror/thriller genre. What starts out as a mission to fulfill a dream turns into a nightmare when Claire must struggle with the distrust of the locals, tales of an ancient curse and mysterious happenings that defy logic. The story flourished under the hopeful eyes of protagonist Claire. Peeling back the layers of this well rounded character, readers will love seeing the complex relationships with her parents, her close knit bond with her aunt Clarissa, the strength of taking a leap of faith and going after her dreams, and the struggle to merge her logical, scientific mind with the supernatural/curse nature of her new home.

The setting really brought this story home however. The Canary Islands take the center stage in this tale, an inspiration from the author’s own travels and mission to bring ancient structures on these islands back to their former glory. Themes of conserving our past, pursuing our passions and bringing the truth to light all shine through in this truly incredible horror thriller. 

The Verdict

Overall I loved this tale. The novel soars as a classic story of love, passion and a promise to protect the places that hold our civilization’s history within it. With a heavy focus on character development with light doses of horror and thriller elements, this is a story readers will thoroughly enjoy. Be sure to preorder your copy of Isobel Blackthorn’s “Clarissa’s Warning” today.

Rating: 8/10

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About the Author

Isobel Blackthorn is a prolific Australian novelist of dark psychological thrillers, mysteries and contemporary fiction. On the dark side are Twerk, The Cabin Sessions and The Legacy of Old Gran Parks. On the lighter side are AsylumThe Drago Tree and A Perfect Square, and the short story collection All Because of You. Soon to be published are three more novels: A Matter of LatitudeClarissa’s Warning and The Unlikely Occultist: A biographical novel of Alice A. Bailey.

Isobel’s writing has appeared in journals and websites around the world, including Paranoia Magazine, Mused Literary Review, Backhand Stories, Fictive Dream and On Line Opinion.

Isobel’s interests are many and varied. A humanitarian and campaigner for social justice, in 1999 Isobel founded the internationally acclaimed Ghana Link, uniting two high schools, one a relatively privileged state school located in the heart of England, the other a materially impoverished school in a remote part of the Upper Volta region of Ghana, West Africa.

Isobel has a background in Western Esotericism and she’s a qualified Astrologer. She holds a PhD from the University of Western Sydney, for her research on the works of Theosophist Alice A. Bailey, the ‘Mother of the New Age.’ After working as a teacher, market trader, and PA to a literary agent, she arrived at writing in her forties, and her stories are as diverse and intriguing as her life has been.

Isobel performs her literary works at events in a range of settings, gives workshops in creative writing, and writes book reviews. Her reviews have appeared in Shiny New Books, Sisters in Crime, Australian Women Writers, Trip Fiction and Newtown Review of Books. She talks regularly about books and writing on radio, in Australia, and on occasion in the UK and USA and Canary Islands.

British by birth, Isobel entered this world in Farnborough, Kent, as Yvonne Margaret Grimble. She has since been Yvonne Rodgers, before changing her name completely in 1996 to Isobel Schofield. After a number of years as Isobel Wightman, she is now very happily and permanently Isobel Blackthorn. Isobel has lived in England, Australia, Spain and the Canary Islands. She now lives on Australia’s southern coast with her cat, Psyche.  You can find out more about her other achievements here.

Sleep Savannah Sleep by Alistair Cross Review

The Dead Don’t Always Rest in Peace

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

One man’s journey to rebuild his family after a tragic loss turns into a nightmarish journey to discover who was behind a small town’s grizzly murder in author Alistair Cross’s “Sleep Savannah Sleep”. Here is the synopsis.

The Synopsis

The Dead Don’t Always Rest in Peace 

Jason Crandall, recently widowed, is left to raise his young daughter and rebellious teenage son on his own – and the old Victorian in Shadow Springs seems like the perfect place for them to start over. But the cracks in Jason’s new world begin to show when he meets Savannah Sturgess, a beautiful socialite who has half the men in town dancing on tangled strings. 

When she goes missing, secrets begin to surface, and Jason becomes ensnared in a dangerous web that leads to murder – and he becomes a likely suspect. But who has the answers that will prove his innocence? The jealous husband who’s hell-bent on destroying him? The local sheriff with an incriminating secret? The blind old woman in the house next door who seems to watch him from the windows? Or perhaps the answers lie in the haunting visions and dreams that have recently begun to consume him. 

Or maybe, Savannah herself is trying to tell him that things aren’t always as they seem – and that sometimes, the dead don’t rest in peace. 

“SLEEP SAVANNAH SLEEP hooks you with a small-town atmosphere that quickly turns ghostly cold. Beware a plethora of twists and turns …” – Michael Aronovitz, author of Alice Walks and Phantom Effect 

The Review

This was an incredible story. Author Alistair cross continues to shine as one of the horror/thriller genres best writers. Feeling like a successor to greats like Dean Koontz and Stephen King, the author captures the mystery and intrigue of a murder-mystery while bringing in an emotional story of a father trying to hold his family together in one piece after losing his wife. 

The story itself is intriguing, as it keeps you guessing all the way to the book’s end who could be behind this senseless violence. It’s a story of family, loss (both physical loss and the loss of a spiritual or mental variety), and the impact the past has on the present. The setting is incredibly vivid, bringing to mind the small town horror stories fans have grown to love from authors like Koontz. It was a roller coaster of emotions as you felt for protagonist Jason. Why was he chosen to be thrust into this investigation, and will he be able to protect his family from the true killer? That’s the quest the author takes readers on.

The Verdict

Overall this is a must read thriller. Filled with action, suspense and fantastic characters that draw the reader in, the novel is incredibly powerful and a prime example of how modern day horror thrillers need to be. If you haven’t yet be sure to grab your copy of Sleep Savannah Sleep by Alistair Cross today.

Rating: 10/10

About the Author

Alistair Cross’ debut novel, The Crimson Corset, a vampiric tale of terror and seduction, was an immediate bestseller earning praise from veteran vampire-lit author, Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, and New York Times bestseller, Jay Bonansinga, author of The Walking Dead series.In 2012, Alistair joined forces with international bestseller, Tamara Thorne, and as Thorne & Cross, they write – among other things – the successful Gothic series, The Ravencrest Saga. Their debut collaboration, The Cliffhouse Haunting, was a bestseller. They are currently at work on their next solo novels and a new collaborative project.

In 2014, Alistair and Tamara began the radio show, Thorne & Cross: Haunted Nights LIVE!, which has featured such guests as Anne Rice of The Vampire Chronicles, Charlaine Harris of the Southern Vampire Mysteries and basis of the HBO series True Blood, Jeff Lindsay, author of the Dexter novels, Jay Bonansinga of The Walking Dead series, Laurell K. Hamilton of the Anita Blake novels, Peter Atkins, screenwriter of HELLRAISER 2, 3, and 4, worldwide bestseller V.C. Andrews, and New York Times best sellers Preston & Child, Christopher Rice, and Christopher Moore.

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The Angel Alejandro by Alistair Cross Review

Sin and mankind’s misconceptions about the world at large play major themes in the supernatural thriller The Angel Alejandro by Alistair Cross.
Exploring the world of tempations and the battle everyone faces within themselves when they give into their darkest desires, this incredible story
showcases the ruthlessness that can reside in the best of us, and the strength it takes to push temptation aside to do what is right. Here is
the synopsis:

The Angel Alejandro

A Man without a Past

After a near-fatal accident, Madison O’Riley is faced with an astonishing problem: What to do with the man who saved her life. Naive and heart-stoppingly handsome, he calls himself Alejandro … and he has no memory of his past. As they set out to recover his lost identity, Madison realizes he harbors deep – and otherworldly – secrets that will shatter her understanding of reality … secrets that may put her in grave danger.

The Devil in the Details

And now, there’s another stranger in town. Gremory Jones has something for everyone, and for a small price, he’s willing to make a deal. By day, he walks the streets of Prominence in top hat and trench coat, tempting the citizens with nefarious wares from his shiny black briefcase. By night, he and his legion of insatiable acolytes corrupt the locals at Club Mephistopheles, a den of unholy delights housed in an abandoned church.

The Battle has Begun …

The townspeople are changing in outrageous and appalling ways and it’s up to Madison – with the help of a psychic, a local priest, and the new chief of police – to help Alejandro unlock his forgotten powers before an unspeakable evil tears apart the fabric of existence … and costs them their very souls …

 

The first thing that grabbed me about this story was how similar the premise is to one of my favorite Stephen King stories, Needful Things. A
charming salesman brings chaos and destruction to a small town, and must be battled by the forces of good within that very town. However this story
is unique in that the overpowering threat of Gremory Jones and his followers is evenly matched by a powerful force for good working to help
those few souls who see the cracks forming amongst the townspeople. The mysteries of the town’s descent, the arrival of Gremory Jones and the
identity of Alejandro come colliding in the final moments of the book in a vicious and bloody battle between good and evil, and the small town of
Prominence threatens to be destroyed forever by its own greed and sin.

The story and characters were very well drawn out throughout this story. Combining the best elements of authors like Stephen King and Dean Koontz,
Alistair Cross showcases a unique talent for bringing to life the complex differences between people and showcase how supernatural or extraordinary
events are handled by ordinary people. The characters are very relateable and the story itself flows smoothly, setting up the arch slowly and then
zig-zagging at lightning speed as the action begins and the town begins to tear itself apart. The grammar was spot on and the imagery throughout
the story is vivid, painting a picture that can easily be played across the recesses of the mind like a movie on a projector screen.

Overall this was a wonderful read. It had twists, shocking deaths and a fantastic ending that leaves the story for some characters open and brings
a dramatic conclusion for others. This story highlights the incredible storytelling abilities of Alistair Cross, and he proves that he is one of
the growing voices in the supernatural thriller genre. Be sure to pick up your copies of The Angel Alejandro by Alistair Cross today!

Rating: 10/10

The Angel Alejandro: http://amzn.to/2fAGFUE