ghostly family secrets

I'm watching Nora's Midnight Bayou. There's some fascinating footage of post Katrina Louisianna there. And I confess... I love the ghost story. I am actually watching it and wondering if it were my house... would I be able to live there? Ive been in houses that unsettled me and I've had some experiences where it felt like I wasn't wanted where I was. But to have them actively trying chase him away is interesting. I love the fact that the ghosts story has it's own arc. It's as much an important part of the story as the characters. This is some of th stuff that Nora does well. Fractured families, lots and lots of secrets and a paranormal twist. Anyone else watching and enjoying?

Gothics Anyone?

One of the first series that I read after leaving the teen section of the local bookstore was to go to the Gothic Romances. This was probably mid to late 70s and Gothics were very big then. The ones I read all had young women who were hired on to do a job for a man they'd never met. They arrive at a mysterious destination and suddenly, they find that they are in danger. Though they find themselves attractive to their demon-like employer, they can't help but wonder who is behind all the mysterious threats. These books usually had a cover of a girl running from a castle on a dark night with one light in a window of the castle. The romances were chaste (but then, so was I) and they were the type of book to be read by flashlight under the covers. I devoured these. I went through the entire Phenwick women series (all except for maybe 2) that were written by Kathryn Kimbrough (an alias for James Kimbrough). But when I look back at it, there were other books that I read before that fed into this love of Gothic. One of my favorite YA's was Witch of Blackbird Pond. I still have my ragged copy. When I think back to that time I believe that the public's love of the combination of simplistic and honest romance with Gothic themes changed greatly with the publication of Carrie by Stephen King. I'm not saying that he was responsible for the demise of it... it's never truly gone away. But with Carrie there become a harder, more realistic edge to all Gothic, paranormal (etc) fiction and that filtered down through all genres. I know he scared the daylights out of me as I read Salem's Lot while babysitting in a remote farmhouse.

But is Gothic dead? Did it ever die out completely? I don't think so. Those elements are the same that are evident in even Mr. King's books. He's just brought a piercingly sharp focus to the fears that those early Gothics tickled at...

I still haunt used bookstores looking for those used 70s Gothics. I probably always will. In the meantime, I'm infusing my own books with that brand of Gothic suspense.

Totally off Topic: Natasha Richardson

My condolences go out to the family of Ms. Richardson. A seemingly ordinary and everyday occurrence turned tragic with the accident that ultimately resulted in her death. And it started on the bunny slope. I'm not saying this to be funny. I started skiing at 6. I've had more than my fair share of accidents when it comes to skiing. The last one was enough to scare me off the slopes for quite a few years. I skied actively through my teens and was a bit of a rebel. We did all kinds of stupid and unimaginably dangerous moves with two boards strapped to our feet. And no helmet. They didn't wear helmets back then. The only safety gear we had were the straps that went around our ankles to make sure that our skis didn't take off when we fell down. They did eventually upgrade that to the tiny break system so that people didn't have skis swinging wildly around on straps and hitting people in the head. I've fallen on the bunny slope many times, as well as off T-bars, the ends of chairlifts and even gone off the slope a time or two... (once ending up against a tree without injury!) Would I let my kids ski today without helmets? Probably not. They've got too much of my daredevilness in them to think they wouldn't try the stuff I did. I can only hope that out of the tragedy of Ms. Richardson death that there becomes awareness of just how quickly things can change.


For years, I've heard my fellow writers talk about the value of keeping various drafts of a manuscript. While not convinced, I must have somehow absorbed this idea into my psyche. And this time it paid off greatly. I'm in the final stages of adding pages to my last WIP and needed to write a scene that seemed... well... very familiar. After some thought I realized that I'd already written that scene when I first start writing the book. Only then, it was a prologue. After much searching of old disks I found a copy of it. It didn't fit perfectly, but it did work well after I revised it. Yeah! to me! So, see... Cannabalism is not always a bad thing.

Win an 8GB IPod Touch and Read and a Great Read Too!

Hello there! My name is Bree, and I’m one half of the romance-writing, virtual-crime-fighting duo known as Moira Rogers. I’m here today because Bitten by Books was kind enough to agree to help us celebrate something really exciting that only comes once in an author’s lifetime: the release of the first book we ever wrote.
Awesome, right? We sure think so! Of course, the part that takes a little bit of explaining is the part where Crux is, in fact, our sixteenth ebook to be released. A lot has happened to us since fall of 2007, when we first sat down to try and tell the story of Mackenzie and Jackson, the heroine and hero who have to fight an evil supernatural conspiracy spanning generations to win their chance at a happy ending. We scampered off to hone our craft on short stories and novellas and learned from our experience. But we always came back to this story, because in the end we loved our tough determined heroine and her smooth talkin’ detective hero too much to leave alone.

Today, in honor of Crux’s release, we’ve teamed up with Bitten by Books for a chance to make someone else just as excited as we are. We have in our possession a NEW Apple iPod touch 8 GB (1st Generation) (Retail Value $229.00), perfect for listening to music AND reading books through the awesome application Stanza. The Apple iPod touch 8 GB also holds 1,750 songs or 10 hours of video. Go here to read all about it. We’re also going to give $50.00 and $25.00 Visa Gift Cards to two lucky runners up! All you need to do is read the rules below and enter this awesome contest. And if you happen to pick up a copy of Crux, we hope you’ll love Jackson and Mackenzie as much as we do!
Book Excerpt: “Jackson Holt makes a decent living as a private investigator in New Orleans, home of one of the largest underground supernatural populations in the United States. He and his partners have never met a case they couldn’t crack…until a local bar owner asks him to do a little digging on her newest hire.
New Orleans is the fourth destination in as many months for Mackenzie Brooks, a woman on the run from a deranged stalker. After all, any man who shows up on her doorstep claiming to be her destined lover has more than a few screws loose. But crazy doesn’t explain why he always finds her no matter how far she runs.
When her well-meaning boss puts a PI on her case, Mackenzie comes face to face with the incredible truth: magic is real, and whatever spell has kept her hidden and separate from the paranormal world is rapidly deteriorating.
With time running out, she has no choice but to trust Jackson as he struggles to uncover the truth of her past-and her destiny.”
Readers, here’s how to enter the Crux New Release Contest. You can do ONE or ALL of these things, and each one will give you additional entries at a chance to WIN one of THREE fabulous prizes.
The Prizes:Apple iPod touch 8 GB (1st Generation) (click the link to see the exact item)
$50.00 Visa Gift Card
$25.00 Visa Gift Card
Please note, the prize stated IS the prize you will receive, there will be absolutely no substitutions or changes the prize is non-transferable. If you don’t want the prize being offered, please don’t enter the contest. If you ever win an electronic copy of a book, please note that it is ILLEGAL to forward, give away or copy it in anyway once you receive it. Doing so violates copyright. If we find out that it has been done, you will no longer be eligible to win any of our contests.
1. The easiest way to enter is by purchasing copies of Crux. Yep, it is true, if you purchase a copy of Moira’s new release here: You will get FORTY entries to the contest for each copy you purchase. It is not mandatory to purchase a copy, there are plenty of other ways to enter and win. Just email me a copy of your purchase receipt to racoo.smith @ (no spaces). Sorry no faxes or snail mail copies.
2. Spread the word!! Post this event in it’s entirety including the image at the top of the page for the contest announcement on your blog or website. Right click to save the image to your computer. Come back and leave the links to where you posted it. Good for 20 entries PER place you post it.
3. Attend one or all of the events hosted at Bitten by Books in the upcoming weeks, comment and participate at those events for extra entries into this contest. Here is a link to the event schedule: Start with Diane Whiteside’s interview from today here: Just come back and tell us which ones you participated it and leave the link for the event.Good for 10 entries per event you attend.
4. Read the Bitten by Books reviews of Moira’s books here:
Then leave a meaningful comment IN THE REVIEW post that shows you read the review, not just a post that says “sounds good” or “nice review”, a couple of sentences would be great! Simply share your thoughts, ideas or opinions and show the author some love. Good for 5 entries per review.
5. Post all of the links to Moira’s reviews on Bitten by Books along with your thoughts on each one on YOUR blog/website. You MUST come back here and post the links to where you posted the links at. Good for 10 entries per place you post them.
6. SUBSCRIBE to the Bitten by Books newsletter here on the right hand side of the site. This is for new subscribers only. Be sure you VERIFY your subscription, an email is sent with the verification link. Unverified subscribers will not be entered and will be deleted from the mailing list. Good for 10 entries.
7. Post the link to the contest here today ( at another blog, website, Myspace, Ning Group, Facebook, Yahoo Group (any group where it is appropriate) and you will be given TEN additional entries for a chance to win for every link you post. BUT you MUST come back here to this interview and post those links in one response here in this thread. The more places you post the event, the more entries you get, so spread the word! NOTE: if you post multiple links here, your post will not show up right away. If you don’t see it, don’t keep posting it, we WILL approve your entry later on in the day. Good for 10 entries per place you post the link to this event.
8. Purchase copies of Moira’s awesome books USING THE LINKS BELOW today through Friday 3/20/09 and send us a copy of the receipt VIA email (sorry no faxes or snail mail) for your purchase to: racoo.smith @ (no spaces) for TWENTY additional entries. You get TWENTY entries for each one you purchase. Not valid on past purchases. Please use these links below to buy her most recent books.
RED ROCK PASS BOOKSCry Sanctuary (Red Rock Pass #1):
LAST CALL BOOKSKamikaze (Last Call: New York #1): (Last Call: New York #2): Last Call Christmas Party (Last Call: New York #2.5): Sunrise (Last Call: New York #3): Daiquiri (Last Call: New York #4): Sunset (After Hours #1):
MYSTIC VALLEY BOOKSMoonshine (Mystic Valley Shorts #1): Like it Haunted (Mystic Valley Shorts #2): 13th Step (Mystic Valley Shorts #3): Hope (Carnal Powers #1):
DOWN AND DIRTY BOOKSWild Card (Down & Dirty #1): the Bluff (Down & Dirty #2):
STAND ALONEUnder the Magnolia: Healing:
Or buy ANYTHING from Amazon today through Friday 3/20/09 by using the Amazon search box to your right hand side on our site. We will know if you used the box to search and buy, so please be sure to use it or your entries won’t count. Send me a copy of the receipt VIA email (sorry no faxes or snail mail) for your purchase to: racoo.smith @ (no spaces). Good for 20 entries per item purchased.
9. Add us as your friend on Myspace:
Add us as your friend on Facebook:
Follow us on Twitter: be SURE to tweet us after you follow so we can count your entry! @BittenbyBooks
Be sure to mention that you are friending us for this contest so we know to enter you! Good for 5 entries per place you friend us.
8. Be friends with Moira by joining her here:
Her Newsletter
Twitter (Bree):
Twitter (Donna):
Then send us a copy of the email you get once you are approved for her newsletter, forum welcome email that will have your username on it and the confirmation of friendship on Myspace to: racoo.smith @ (no spaces). For Twitter, send me a tweet to @BittenbyBooks with @moirarogersbree and @ donnajherren that says “Crux New Release iPod Touch Contest” (please don’t DM the tweet) Good for 10 entries each place you add.
10. Twitter and ask your friends to re-tweet the URL for this event be SURE to include us in your tweet @BittenbyBooks Good for 10 entries.
11. Add Moira’s blog, website and live journal to your blog roll or links page: and Good for 10 entries for each place you add it.
12. Add Bitten by Books to your blog roll or links page: if you leave our link up permanently you will always be entered into our contests automatically. Just be sure to stop by each contest we hold and leave the link to where it is so we can give you your entry! Good for 10 entries.
13. Email ALL of your friends and invite them to come by today! If your fiends come and post here and say you sent them, they get FOUR entries and you get SIX entries! They have to tell us who you are so we know who to give the entries to. You can invite as many people as you want and get all the extra entries!
14. Join the The Blood Bank the Bitten by Books Community! here: then come back here and tell us your user name. Be sure to post something about yourself on your blog there. Good for 10 entries
The contest ends on Friday 3/20/09 at 11:59 pm PST and the winners will be contacted the following week. You will receive your prize directly from the publisher. PLEASE LEAVE YOUR FIRST AND THE INITIAL OF YOUR LAST NAME as well as a valid email where we can contact you. REMEMBER the more things you do, the more entries, the greater the chances of winning.
1. If you aren’t interested in receiving the prizes, offered please do not enter the contest.
2. You have THREE days from the day the I contact you to claim your prize by sending your name/mailing address to me. Failure to contact me will forfeit your prize. BBB can at that time, choose either to re- award the prize to another entrant or not.
3. The prize stated IS the prize you will receive, there will be no substitutions, trades or changes. No exceptions. Please do not ask. If for some reason you do not wish to claim your prize, please let me know as soon as possible. We have the option to re-award it or not.
4. Contest is open to readers worldwide. International shipping will be the least expensive option available and insured if possible. US shipping will be via priority mail, with delivery confirmation and insurance. The prize contributor and Bitten by Books is in NO way responsible if your prize doesn’t show up or is damaged in transit. The item (s) will not be replacable. The prize is shipped directly from the author.
5. Bitten by Books is in NO way responsible for the prizes being offered in any of the contests. If for some reason a contributor does not honor their prize, there is nothing we can or will do about it. We are not worried that this will happen, but we want to be very clear that WE are not offering these prizes, the contributor is and it is their responsibility to fulfill their prize obligations.
6. These rules are subject to change or be modified without prior written notice.
7. Contest is void where prohibited.
8. By entering this contest you are agreeing to our terms of entry

Motivation: Hope

If you've been writing for some time then you've run across the term motivation. You can find any number of workshops available to writers looking for the magic pill that is going to make their books sell. The one thing that makes your story stand out from the rest. The thing that makes someone stay up all night finishing your book. It isn't just about good writing, though it does take some ability to put the scenes in your brain onto the page. But the best characters are the ones that seem ordinary and exceptional all at the same time. I just picked up Janet Chapman's latest book. Her stories are always an automatic buy for me... not just because her setting is usually Maine and her characters are rough and ready men and women with beauty and brains. But she imbibes her characters with something else. She gives them "HOPE". Hope is a magic word that transforms even the simplest desire into a motivation for a story. Without hope in your characters there isn't much sense in doing anything. In one of the Harry Potter movies (forgive me if I can't remember which one) Harry finds the mirror of Erised. When he gazes into the mirror he finds his utmost desire. The thing that he wants most of all. In the beginning he is drawn again and again to the mirror so that he can glimpse his parents, but when Dumbledore finds him he tells him that... "The happiest man alive would look into the mirror and find only himself." He adds that the mirror "shows us nothing more and nothing less than our deepest desires... But it gives us neither knowledge or truth." Without hope our characters would waste away in front of a mirror of our desires... just as Dumbledore said. Hope implies that there is to be an action. If you hope to win a million dollars, that hope is nothing if you don't buy a lottery ticket. If you hope to write a bestseller, it does no good if you don't sit your butt in the chair and write the book. If you character wants to find his hearts desire then he must risk losing his heart in order to gain that love. That knowledge. That truth. So, what is it that your character hopes for? And what are they willing to risk to get it?

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Writing from the Dark Side

Heh! I started out calling this blog post "Blogging from the Darkside" and then went to "Writing from the Darkside" ...