Thursday, March 31, 2011

A sneak peek into Cruelty To Innocents: The First Novel in the 911 Abduction Series

After two years and a ton of ups and downs, the release of our debut novel, Cruelty To Innocents, is just around the corner. We hope you enjoy this little snip-it into the storyline that propels this thriller and look forward to hearing your thoughts as well. Do YOU know where your children are?

CK Webb & DJ Weaver

Who’s abducting children from 911 emergency scenes?

What if you were in your car alone with your small, child and you came upon an emergency scene? Would you stop to help? What if, while you were trying to assist a victim of an accident or mugging, you left your young child alone in the car, thinking he or she would be safe? What if, instead of help, the call to 911 brought a terrifying, sinister result?

Someone’s abducting children from 911 emergency scenes in Aberdeen Maryland, while their parents call for help and lend aid to accident victims. Someone, who’s also listening in, is a monster and vicious child abductor. In the midst of the chaos and confusion of the scene, that monster slips in and steals the innocent children, leaving behind no trace for authorities.

Sloanne Kelly is unprepared for what awaits in her hometown as she travels back to Maryland. Her goddaughter is one of the victims and the clock is ticking. Together with her best friend and a local fireman, Shawn Tyler, Sloanne will face the most insidious of criminals and fight to recover the children before there is anymore, Cruelty to Innocents.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Primeval Paranormal

Webster’s Dictionary defines the word ‘paranormal’ as: (1) anything that is not scientifically explainable, (2) the supernatural. And supernatural loosely translated means, anything beyond the visible.

Through the ages, the paranormal has held the human race in a tight grip. We have carried these stories with us and passed them down from generation to generation. Many think that paranormal means ghost stories, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth. Paranormal covers everything from ghosts and demons to vampires, werewolves and even aliens. Paranormal stories have evolved from cave drawings and ancient hieroglyphics, to centuries old texts and writings, to the books and films of our day. But where did the paranormal genre originate from in the literary world? I hope to help provide you with some clues to answer that question.

Between 1300 & 1000 BC, in ancient Babylonia, a poetic story was written in the Akkadian language and placed on twelve tablets made of clay. The story itself comes from a poem from Mesopotamia known as The Epic of Gilgamesh. The story chronicles the life of the King of Uruk who lived somewhere between 2750 & 2500 BCE. In it, you will find history’s very first paranormal tale. Amazingly enough, some remains of those 12 tablets are still intact and can be found on display in the British Museum. With this small piece of knowledge I believe that it is safe to say, with a history that dates back thousands of years, that the paranormal genre has been around longer that any other.

It would be quite a few years before the next documented ‘ghost’ stories would rear their head in history. Some say that Homer’s Odyssey was next in line in the paranormal genre, as it dealt with some spirits; however I believe that Ovid, Petronius and Vergil penned classic ghost stories long before this. It is also widely known that, Gaius Caecilius Cilo or Pliny the Younger, wrote the very first paranormal story about a haunted house sometime before his death in 112 AD.

There were many beliefs from dozens of cultures throughout the world, all of which revolved around one central theme… the paranormal. These people wrote and handed down their ’ghost stories’, and though the stories of the paranormal have been around for thousands of years, the word ‘paranormal’ itself, was not coined until around 1915.

There are many famous authors who, though billed in different genres, have dipped their quills into the ink of the paranormal. Shakespeare, Poe, Stoker, Wells, Hitchcock, Elliot, King, Rice, Carpenter, Blatty and many others have left their indelible marks on the paranormal genre. Each author’s individual style helped to mold and shape the paranormal genre into what it is today.

Paranormal isn’t a genre that deals exclusively with ghosts and as such, many books that fall into the sci-fi, horror, thriller, romance & suspense genres, support a cast of characters that fall under the realm of the paranormal. Whether it was Homer or Virgil, Shakespeare or Poe, many authors made their contributions to the supernatural and left behind their legacy in the process. Even Bram Stoker’s Dracula, though labeled as horror, contained a lead character that was and is the epitome of paranormal.

Starting in the early 1900‘s, the paranormal genre shot to the forefront of the literary field with the release of a non-fiction book that would set the stage for an entire generation of writers and researchers. The Book of the Damned was written by Charles Fort and published in 1919. Within its pages was research for every type of paranormal phenomena that was known to us as a society. The book changed the way many viewed the paranormal and made huge precedents in the field of paranormal research. Not only was The Book of the Damned a catalyst in the paranormal genre but from the work of this one man, sprang an entire organization of men and women dedicated to researching and uncovering the truths of the paranormal. That group came to be known as ‘The Fortean Society’ and is still going strong today.

Interest in EVP’s or, electronic voice phenomena, were sparked in the late 1920’s when, Thomas Edison suggested that it might be possible to communicate with the dead. Many EVP’s were recorded throughout the following years but the real work would begin in the 1970’s with Konstantin Raudive. From this research on paranormal activity, many writers and film makers found an easy avenue on which to prey on the fears of others. One film in particular, White Noise, featured Michael Keaton and dealt with the ‘darker’ side of EVP‘s.

In 1936, Harry Price brought us the phrase ‘ghost hunter’ with his novel Confessions of a Ghost Hunter. In his wake, a more famous hunter would emerge. Hans Holzer is a world renowned writer and researcher of the paranormal who’s most famous investigation is no doubt, The Amityville Horror in 1977. Today, modern ghost hunters suit up with infrared cameras, digital voice recorders and all manner of equipment and make their way into famous haunts around the globe in search of answers to the centuries old question… ‘Do ghosts really exist’? Millions of viewers tune in every week to watch the crews of shows such as Ghost Hunters, Ghost Hunters International and Ghost Lab in their hunt for the truth and to hopefully get a glimpse into the paranormal world.

Magazines on the paranormal began to make their mark on the literary world in the 1940’s and covered a wide array of topics from UFO’s to ghosts and everything in between. In 1948 Fate Magazine, a monthly digest, was launched by Clark Publishing Company and by 1955, over 100,000 faithful readers subscribed to its pages. The Fortean Times, which was founded in 1973, was published in November of that same year and is still available today. It has flourished in the paranormal world and its’ spin offs include, reference & study materials, books and even CD’s. Paranormal Magazine was founded in 2005. Though it only lasted 26 weeks before being acquired by Jazz Fashion Publishing Limited, Paranormal Magazine is today, a thriving part of the literary community. Containing all the mainstays of the paranormal genre including, ghosts, poltergeists, UFO’s, aliens, psychic powers, vampires, werewolves, fairies, witchcraft, magic, unexplained phenomena, crypto zoology and forteana, Paranormal Magazine has something for everyone. Some contributor’s of the magazine include Richard Freeman, Brad Steiger, The Fortean Picture Library and even The Association for the Study of Anomalous Phenomena.

Other forms of paranormal made a huge impact on the genre and came in the form of the world’s obsession with aliens. One of the most famous believers in aliens was Zecharia Sitchin who is known for his ‘Ancient Astronaut Theory’ which basically states that all human life sprung from… you guessed it, Alien astronauts! Crazy? Maybe, but the beauty of it was that it opened the door for many other great writers and directors of the paranormal.

Anne Rice brought us her take on the genre with witches and her more famous vamps, while other writers and movie directors doused us with large helpings of paranormal in works such as Ridley Scott’s Alien & Aliens and John Carpenter’s The Thing. A whole slew of sub genres would rise up from the paranormal but none would see the following that the Paranormal Romance would receive. On books in this genre, many authors have signed their name. Lara Adrian, Rachel Caine, Karen Marie Moning, PC & Kristen Cast, Chris Evans, Laurell K Hamilton, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Ted Dekker and Richelle Mead are putting their personal spin on this classic genre.

Of all the books written in the paranormal genre, none would have the same worldwide impact as would a set of YA books published in 2005 by a virtual unknown. Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight series caused a huge upsurge in sales of the paranormal when she introduced her four book series that featured sparkling vampires and werewolves. The world has not been the same since. There isn’t a big store around or a major bookstore on the planet that doesn’t carry a book, poster or calendar with the ‘Twilight’ logo on it. Though many might argue with me, Stephanie Meyer pushed the paranormal into the limelight and there, it continues to thrive. The paranormal romance is, today, one of the top selling genres in the US and authors like Daphne du Maurier, Mary Shelley, Ann Radcliffe and Bram Stoker are to blame. Their unique twists on the genre itself opened the gates wide for the paranormal writers of today.

Whether its television shows like True Blood, Being Human & Ghost Hunters or books and magazines, the paranormal genre is showing no signs of relaxing its grips on the human psyche. Even the very magazine that you hold in your hand, though its title says ‘Suspense’, has its fair share of dealings with things that go bump in the night. In thousands of bookstores across the US and in many countries around the world, you can pick up a copy of Suspense Magazine or others like it, flip through the pages and find something that deals with the paranormal genre.

From the primeval beginnings of the written word comes a genre that fascinates, enthralls, enlightens and sometimes even sends shivers down the spine. If we are the luckiest of beings, every generation after ours will continue to tell the tales that we have carried throughout the decades. Perhaps, one day, all the answers will be found. But my hope is that in order to continue sharing the wonderful stories that we so dearly love, the paranormal will remain forever… unexplained.

CK Webb for Suspense Magazine

Monday, March 28, 2011

Vote on the Cruelty To Innocents book cover!!!

There is nothing more satisfying than seeing your book cover for the very first time. Pure Heaven!! But herein lies the problem...two fabulous book covers, one book. We need YOU, the fans and friends who have travelled down this long road with us, to help decide which cover fits. Take a good, long look at the two book covers and tell us what you think. We will only leave the covers up for a couple of days before we unveil the winner. Let your voice be heard. Tell us, in the comments section, which cover you like the best and why. We can't wait to hear what you think!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Tale of the Thriller

Webster’s Dictionary defines the word thriller as…One that thrills; especially a work of fiction designed to hold the interest by the use of a high degree of intrigue, adventure and/or suspense.

The thriller genre centers around a few very simple, yet necessary criteria that must be met in order to separate it from other genres. Basically, if you have suspense, tension and excitement as the main element of a book or film, chances are it is a thriller.
So, who was the very first man or women to pick up that quill and create a world that kept the reader on the edge of their seat while turning the pages? The thriller genre is another where facts, arguments and speculation play a huge part in deciphering its origins. Let’s see if we can narrow it down just a bit and give some credit where credit is do.
It is widely believed in the Western world that the earliest version of the thriller was penned by Homer. Odyssey, one of two Greek poems written by Homer in the latter part of the 8th century BC, contains all the needed elements of a thriller and a plot dripping with suspense, tension and excitement.
In Homer’s Odyssey, or ‘epic voyage’ as it translates in English, the hero Odysseus battles for 10 long years in the Trojan War only to spend another 10 years adrift at sea as he makes his way back home to his wife & son. What makes Odyssey a thriller is the magnitude of the foes Odysseus must face, battle & conquer on his journey and the constant barrage of nail biting scenes that unfold along the way.
Some scholars agree that Odyssey was never meant to be enjoyed as a great book but rather was written as a poetic song and therefore meant to be performed and sung rather that read.
Next stop we have, yet again, 1001 Arabian Nights. With the oldest Arabic pieces of this manuscript dating back as far as 9th century BC, 1001 Arabian Nights contains a tale that’s origins could easily slip into the thriller genre. However, the story of a chopped up body inside a mysterious chest and the hunt to find answers falls, more fittingly I think, into the mystery genre.
Other thriller tales can be found in a most unlikely place, with harrowing tales of suspense and intrigue. I could easily tell you of paranormal thrillers as well as revenge thrillers that can be found right inside the pages of The Holy Bible…yes, thrillers can be found in the bible, and lots of them!
The thriller genre dates back so far that it is unlikely its’ precise debut in the literary world will ever be known for certain. We can however, get some pretty clear beginnings for some of the sub-genres that sprung from thrillers, and pin down the books and films that have made the thriller genre one of the most followed in the world today.
The 1800’s saw fantastic thrillers emerge and a ton of great writers would leave their mark on the thriller genre and from their works dozens of sub genres would spring forth.
Sometime between 1844-1846 Alexandre Dumas published The Count of Monte Cristo, in it he highlighted the very thing that defines the genre today…the thrill. In a swashbuckling tale of jealousy, deceit and revenge, Dumas put together what most now consider the very first ‘Revenge Thriller’.
In 1897, Bram Stoker’s Dracula hit the scenes and with it came a generous sprinkling of some new twists to the thriller genre. Billed today by many as horror, Dracula gave us our first taste of gothic, supernatural thrills. This one novel would ultimately spawn sub-genres that even today set the pace for some of our most loved, modern day horror and thriller tales.
In 1915 Scottish author John Buchan wrote and published his thriller, The Thirty Nine Steps. Making huge waves in the thriller genre, The Thirty Nine Steps has been seen or heard on many different mediums from radio, theatre to film.
As the thriller genre continued to make impressive strides in the literary world so too did the sub genres that came from it. We were introduced to the modern action thriller which consisted of non-stop, fast paced, action packed thrill rides with an unlikely hero. First Blood is thought to be the catalyst upon which the action thriller genre would slingshot into the forefront of not only books but film as well.
Conspiracy thrillers emerged as sub genres and introduced us to the likes of Robert Lundlum, James Grady and David Baldacci.
Crime Thrillers became all the rage and authors such as Cormac McCarthy, Thomas Harris and of course James Patterson left and continue to leave their indelible mark on the thriller genre.
Two of my personal favorites, sub genres loaded with big talent, are mystery thrillers and psychological thrillers. Just mentioning names like Alfred Hitchcock, Steven King, Dennis Lehane and M. Night Shyamalan should be enough incentive to get lovers of the thrill looking to these sub genres for their next nail biter.
But if you think these few sub genres are all there are to choose from…think again. Disaster, Erotic, Legal, Medical, Religious, Supernatural and even Techno thrillers all contain one central connection…they are designed to hold your interest and keep you on the edge of your seat. They are all able to do this by writing fast paced, high octane suspense stories that keep readers coming back again and again.
From books and movies to television, thrillers have become one of the largest and most followed genres world wide. Thrillers also rank among the highest grossing in sales of all the genres out there.
2010 has been quite a year for thrillers and authors such as Stephen King, Justin Cronin, Gregg Olsen and Joe Hill are just a few who have given us a taste of their unique voices and exciting style.
Everyday new authors are emerging (raises hand) and attempting to make their mark on this ever growing and evolving literary staple.
Like daring trips we take to amusement parks in order to brave giant, twisting, turning, heart stopping roller coasters, thrillers draw us in and keep us coming back over and over. We simply cannot get enough of living on the edge. As long as authors are willing to step up their game and push the limits of the genre, thrillers will continue to do exactly what we clamor for…Thrill.
Though the beginnings of the thriller are a bit cloudy one fact remains undeniable, the tale of the thriller is one that is written in history and that will continue to expand and be with us, no doubt, for many years to come.

CK Webb for Suspense Magazine

Sunday, March 20, 2011

The Mystique of the Mystery

The origins of the mystery are a bit cloudy, but let’s see what we can uncover on the genre. Webster’s Dictionary defines the word ‘mystery’ as a piece of fiction usually dealing with the solution of a crime. Of course there are several other definitions of the word so let’s focus on the fiction aspect and where this genre got its start in the literary world.
The history of the mystery is a grey area and its origins are argued across the board by many. Some believe that the mystery dates back to the original text of the Bible, while others think that the first mystery came from Chaucer, others believe that A Thousand and One Arabian Nights is the originator. In western culture, it is widely accepted that the very first literary mystery written came by way of Edgar Allen Poe. But where did Poe get his inspiration for the story and what separated it from those that proceeded it?
The Murders in the Rue Morgue is believed to have been influenced by another short story written in 1819 by E.T.A. Hoffman. The difference in Poe’s story and all the others was, very simply, the introduction of the detective. That man or woman who set out to solve a crime and changed the way the world viewed literature also introduced us all to the ‘mystery’.
As such, mysteries have only been around for 179 years but their impact on the literary world has been immeasurable. During the short time the genre has been around it has seen its fair share of change and sub-genre spin offs.
Some of the most famous of all mysteries were written by Arthur Conan Doyle and gave the literary world its very first hero detective…Sherlock Holmes. Conan Doyle wrote four novels and around 56 short stories that featured the quirky detective in all his glory. Most ‘Holmes’ novels were in a narrative style and were told from the point of view of Dr. John Watson; Holmes’ trusted assistant and friend. It could very easily be argued that Watson was quite the detective in his own right, but never took much credit for any of it and was considered a biographer to the events that took place around him. Elementary!
Throughout the 1800’s and into the early 1900’s, the mystery genre would remain dominated by male authors, but a stirring change would soon take place. During the 1920’s and 1930’s, the world would embrace the period that would come to be known as ‘The Golden Age of Detective Fiction’. It was during these years that men would take a backseat and women would emerge as front runners in the mystery genre.
We were introduced to the ‘Queens of Crime’: Dame Agatha Christie, Dorothy L. Sayers, Ngaio Marsh and Margery Allingham. All of these women would, as we all know, make a massive impact on the mystery genre and leave behind legacies that are still brightly burning even today. As the mystery genre continued to define itself, the detective fiction genre was being standardized and guidelines established that would distinguish it from all other genres. The key element of detective fiction became… a detective unraveling a mystery. Along with this standard for detective fiction came other guidelines which would eventually spawn the sub genre ‘Whodunit’.
Dame Agatha Christie quickly emerged as one of the most popular writers of mystery and whodunit as she introduced her heroes, Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple, among others. Christie’s novels included Murder on the Orient Express (1934), Death on the Nile (1937) and And Then There Were None (1939). She is also credited with over 80 other novels and is to this very day, listed as the best selling mystery fiction author of all time with over 4 billion books sold.
In the late 1930’s and early 1940’s, the literary community would see a huge influx of popularity in ‘pulp magazines’. This rise in mystery magazine sales increased interest globally in the mystery, whodunit and detective fiction genres. The outpouring of new mystery fans would be quickly curbed with the introduction of the television set. Sales and interest in the magazines saw a massive decline and what had begun as numerous pulp magazines, was reduced to just two. Both of those magazines are still available today.
The staying power of Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine and Ellery Queens Mystery Magazine are often credited with keeping America interested in the mystery genre.
During all the years when the mystery genre was fashioning and separating itself from other genres, many novels would be translated onto film or stage. Bella Lugosi even played the key role in the black & white screen version of the first mystery, The Murders in the Rue Morgue which debuted in 1932.
In the late 1940’s the mystery genre would receive a new boost from a most unlikely source…a family board game.
In 1949 Waddington’s Toy Company in Leeds, United Kingdom introduced ‘Clue’, a board game where the players become the detectives and attempt to solve a crime. The game was later purchased by Parker Brothers Game Company and distributed worldwide. Now, an icon of the Hasbro Industry, the game of ‘Clue’ is a worldwide phenomenon with over 20 versions of the original game, TV shows, movies and even a line of books. All of this sprang from a simple, mystery money maker.
The mystery genre has come a very long way in a short amount of time and it appears, much to the delight of its readers, determined to go with us into the next century.
During the television detective era, viewers around the globe were turned on by an array of shows where the main character’s goal was to solve a crime. It was during these years that we met Barnaby Jones, Remington Steele and Jessica Fletcher in Murder She Wrote. Three of the most popular detective shows were Perry Mason, Magnum P.I. and Matlock, all of which featured a unique twist on the mystery/detective genre in television.
Today you need not look far to see the influences of the mystery genre all around us. There are countless movies & TV programs in which the central theme revolves around the genre. We even have entire television networks devoted to uncovering the truth to some of the oldest mysteries known to man. These networks also come complete with a whole slew of fans who tune in on a daily basis, searching for the answers.
You can scan the channels and find a host of shows that spotlight new and unusual twists on the old concepts that define the mystery. Psych, House, Medium, Castle, Dexter and Monk are just a few of the shows with a fresh new take and a quirky new interpretation on the modern day detective.
Since its beginning, the mystery genre has spun a ton of sub genres that include, whodunit, amateur detective, private detective, cozy, hard boiled (noir), police procedural, crime and caper. Of course, this list may vary from one writer to another.
In 2010, the mystery genre made its mark on the literary landscape when some of the best selling writers of our time hit the best seller lists. Stieg Larson, Dennis Lehane, John Grisham and David Baldacci are just a small handful of authors whose presences in the mystery genre are being greatly felt in this year.
As long as there are unanswered questions in the universe, mysteries looming or even murders that go unsolved, the mystery genre will be there to pull its readers and viewers along on nail-biting journeys. Perhaps one day we will get the answer to that ages-old question…Was it Colonel Mustard in the library with the candlestick?
From the files of literary history it is hard to gauge the exact year and origins of the mystery. Though there are countless clues and many a detective willing to search for the answer, the origins of the mystery genre remains, fittingly…a mystery!!

CK Webb for Suspense Magazine

Thursday, March 17, 2011

The History of Horror by CK Webb

Webster’s Dictionary defines horror as a painful and intense fear, dread or dismay. But, how has horror evolved through history in books and film?
It would be impossible to trace the origins of the very first horror story as myths, tales and fables have been around since the dawn of mankind. Cave drawings from pre- historic times contain images of real life and fable horrors that man faced.
Written documentation of horror by modern man came much later and its’ beginnings were marked by the great tales told by Dante in his Devine Comedy.
History itself saw the rise of ‘Dracula’ when in 1456; the prince of Wallachia was crowned and began his campaign of evil against his enemies and all enemies of the church. Dracula or Son of the Dragon, was the name given him by his father but the name he earned and one which was more appropriate was ‘Vlad the Impaler’. This name was given him due to the horrors he inflicted on his fellow man. The name Dracula would however, secure for him an elevated status in horror for centuries to come.
During this time, many artists and painters sprung forth with works of art that now, can only be described as ‘horror’.
Throughout the coming years and into the 1600’s play after play began to fill the theatrical stages of the world, each containing a very central theme…They were, by all accounts, horrors.
In the late 1600’s witchcraft came to the forefront of the human psyche with persecution and executions ensuing. None in history gained quite the stage as did the witch trials of Salem, Massachusetts. Even today, you can find reference to this dark time in American history in books and in film.
1765 sees the entrance of Gothic Horror to the scene with Horace Walpole’s The Castle of Otranto. Horror is again redefined and soon begins to take on a new shape and a new place in history.
In 1784 the Marquis de Sade wrote 120 Days of Sodom while incarcerated in the Bastille. Having spent most of his life persecuted for his intense love of the written word and the horror tales he spun, he was believed to be insane and as such, would never live to see his masterpiece published.
In 1800 America saw its very first translation of a vampire tale in Wake Not the Dead by Johann Ludwig Tieck. Sixteen years later horror would take its most significant turn when Lord Byron, Percy Shelley, Mary Shelley and Dr. Polidori declared they would each write their own version of a ghost story. Though it is rumored that the four were under the influence of laudanum, it does not take away from the impact that this group would have on horror. From this single group of writers, under the influence, sprang the vampire sub-genre as well as the science fiction genre.
In 1818 Mary Shelley’s contribution came in the form of Frankenstein. The first science fiction book with deep horror roots became all the rage. Frankenstein was followed closely by Dr. Polidori’s The Vampyre, the very first of its kind written in the English language.
In the 1820’s Victor Hugo made waves in the world of horror when he introduced Notre Dame de Paris, more famously known here in America as The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Hugo would continue to impact the world with his literary contributions many of which would be later made into long running theatrical plays.
Now came one of history’s greatest writers (my opinion of course) Edgar Allen Poe. Bursting onto the literary scene in 1833, Poe gave the world some of the greatest horror tales ever told and did so in the short 16 years until his life’s end in 1849. The remainder of the 1800’s would see a barrage of famous horror tales from Tales Told For Children, Sweeney Todd the Demon Barber, Wagner The Werewolf, The Ring and The Book to the classic tale Childe Rolande To The Dark Tower which would become the inspiration for another great horror writer in history.
From 1885-1896 the world would be introduced to Dr. Jekyll and Mister Hyde, the real serial killer, Jack The Ripper and would also visit The Island Of Dr. Moreau.
Arguably the most famous of all horror books was released by Irish novelist Abraham ‘Bram’ Stoker in 1897. The vampire craze which had been started years earlier took an aggressive turn that would hurl Bram Stoker’s Dracula as well as its central character, into the forefront of horror where it remains even today.
The 1900’s saw the introduction of horror to film with William N. Seligs short film version of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Frankenstein would see its first filming and legendary writer/director/producer Alfred Hitchcock would come raging onto the horror scene.
In 1923 Lon Chaney and Universal Studios would immortalize The Hunchback of Notre Dame on film and the world began to clammer for more. America wanted to be scared and for years to come, they would be.
Phantom of the Opera and Dracula would deliver the one, two punch and the literary world as well as the world of film began to light up with horror tales of every kind. Actors from Lugosi to Karloff to Lon Chaney Jr. fought for the lead roles in Hollywood’s film adaptations of the literary world’s greatest horror masterpieces.
Radio broadcasts of horror tales even found a place in the market and many children found themselves racked with fear as the tales spilled from the radio. As a child, I spent many a ride home in the car with my feet pulled tightly to my chest in hopes that the creature from the tale on the radio would not reach out from beneath the seat and carry me away.
The next years would see the likes of H.P. Lovecraft, Orson Welles and Ray Bradbury, all of whom would weave themselves and their writings into the very fabric that makes up the horror genre.
In 1953 Vincent Price and his chilling portrayals of evil would catapult to the head of the film industry and still we wanted more. Our prayers for new and more sinister horror would be answered with such works as The Lord of the Flies, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, The Haunting of Hill House and Psycho. Though the world had seen its fair share of horrors, The Black Plague, The Great depression, The World Wars, Hitler, The KKK and a generous sprinkling of serial killers; nothing could compare with the thrill of being scared. Horrors fit that bill.
Rod Serling and Alfred Hitchcock gave us fear and horror in 30 minute doses everyday on their T.V. series Twilight Zone and Alfred Hitchcock Presents.
In the 1970’s horror rallied itself as champion not only in the literary world but in film as well. William Peter Blatty’s The Exorcist in book and film would slingshot horror into the spotlight and become a catalyst for greats such as Stephen King, Stanley Kubrick, Wes Craven, Peter Benchley, Anne Rice, David Seltzer and John Carpenter to name a few.
We have seen vampires, mummy’s, werewolves, aliens and the like translated from book to film. Horror films today sometimes border on silly and scary has somehow gotten lost in translation. It has not stopped movie goers of all ages from flocking to theatres in hopes of being scared to death. Books have continued to deliver and every day new authors are putting their unique spin on the genre and leaving their mark for the next generation.
Whether tales of foreboding creatures or the uncertainty that lies in the reality of the everyday world, horror has become a very real part of the human condition. People want to experience intense and painful fear, dread or dismay…It makes us feel more alive.
Does your horror come from under the bed or lurk in the shadows of the darkness where no light can be found? Or does your horror come from the things left unsaid about that strange neighbor next door? Whatever your answer, one thing is certain, horror has traveled and evolved with us through the years. I have no doubt that horror will continue to wrap us in fear and prey on us for as long as there is fear itself. History is Horror.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Step By Step by Kelly Moran

I began my writing career at age eight with poetry and short stories. By the time adolescence hit, I knew romance was my true calling. After having kids, wanting to write kids books became a new desire. Though I focus on romance and children's books now, I have had other genres published.

When I first started seeking publication, I had no idea what I was doing. Eventually my first couple books were self-published. As most would think, I do not regret this decision. Though most frown upon self-publishing, I see it as a triumph to just get that far, get yourself out there. Self-publishing also taught me a lot in ways of marketing, promotion, and research. Especially in today's market, even the large publishing houses are requiring their authors to be more active in promotion. I feel I have the advantage now. Beginning this way also helped me get my feet wet. I learned the do's and don'ts of submissions and queries.

While in the writing process, the best advice I can offer is this: #1-- Join a writers group and get a critique partner. There are several writing groups for several genres. This will enable you to put out the best manuscript you can. Others can see the faults and errors better than you. #2-- Attend workshops and learn your craft. This also means reading books in the genre you write. Most new authors don't even realize clich├ęs and mistakes when they see them. Most authors also don't realize that they are telling, not showing. In other words, narrating. Your character needs to tell the story. Tips: Avoid adverbs, "LY-ending" words. Avoid words like "saw," "felt," "realized," "noticed," "he/she thought." Body language is key to making characters three-dimensional. I recommend the book: "What Every Body is Saying" by Joe Navarro. And pace your book accordingly. Do not info dump or back story dump. Keep the readers wanting more! #3-- Do your research! This doesn't just include researching the career your characters chose, but setting, climate, economy, etc.

This is also the best time to get involved in other areas of writing. Start a blog. They are free and it gives you a break writing there and expressing yourself. If you joined a writers group like I told you to, then volunteer to judge a writing contest. Search book review sites and volunteer to become a reviewer for them. This not only gives you free books, but you are reading the current market and making connections. All these things look great on a resume to agents and editors!

Now, for the submission/query process. Make sure your MS is polished. Never query unless your MS is done. Make sure it is formatted to the guidelines specified by each agent/editor, (they are all different). Make sure you are targeting the correct agent/editor with your work, that they are accepting queries, and that they accept your genre. Follow their guidelines on how to submit: paper, snail mail, email, attachments, pasting in body, etc. And make sure your query letter and synopsis are correct. I recommend the book: "Your Novel Proposal" by Camenson & Cook, or "The Guide to Literary Agents," by Sambuchino. There are specific guidelines for query letters. It should read like a business letter with a hint of personality-- How you heard about said agent/editor, word count/genre/title. Then a blurb on the book. Then your bio. Then a thank you.

Best of luck to you!
Kelly Moran
You can learn more about this author and her work by visiting her website at

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Don't Send That Query Letter (Not Yet Anyway)

Did you just finish your first query letter for that great American novel you've been writing for the last five years? Are you excited to send it off to your list of top ten agents or publishers? I can see you now, smiling with the results of the absolute most perfect and glorious query letter of all time. You've spent hours if not days condensing your opus into a couple hundred words. You've researched your sought after agents nearly to the point of stalking. You've read your letter 700 times... Today.
And now you're ready to press that send button on your finished email. You can't wait for the partial requests to start flowing into your inbox.
Well, I'm right there with you, crossing my fingers and hoping all of your hard work is about to come to fruition. I want nothing but unimaginable success for you. Really, I do. And because of that hope, I'm asking you not to press that send button. Yeah, you heard me right.
Let me step back for a moment. I want you to look at this wonderful query letter while I try to help you not do something you'll regret. What I'm going to say might sound a little blunt but just know it is all in love. Your query letter might not be as great as you think. Not yet anyway. You've been staring at query letter bark for so long, you might be missing the forest. Or, if I wasn't trying to be so writerly, you might need some fresh eyes.
I know this because of my own mistakes. I exhausted my top ten sought after agents in my first wave of letters. As the rejections trickled in, I was forced to re-examine my approach. And do you know what? After stepping away for a month or so while waiting for the undoubtedly inevitable offers, I was able to look at my letter in a whole new light.
And it turns out, my letter wasn't as good as I thought.
What am I trying to say exactly? Well, most important is to not give up. But that's what everyone says and right now it's not what you want to hear. I propose a different approach than sending your letter to your favorite agents. It's true, you'll never be rejected if you don't start sending, but it's also true you'll never be accepted either and I understand where you're coming from. I also understand you have to send out one before you can send out two. So here's my idea. Take that brilliant query letter and send it out because I know that's what you're dying to do. Heck, it's an exciting moment and I don't want to take that from you. But here's where my plan is different. I want you to choose four or five other agents, maybe agents a little lower on your list, and send away. If they offer to look at more of your work, you're doing pretty well. If they don't, you might need to tweak your letter a bit. Save your top agents for a little farther down the road.
I promise, in time, you'll know when your letter is ready for that A-list of agents. You'll have reworked it a little more and you'll simply feel it is ready.
So that's it; that's my advice. Maybe it's not even good advice but it's advice I wish I had heard back when I started the querying process. Though, I have to admit I might not have listened. Why would I? It was the absolute most perfect and glorious query letter of all time.
Well, in hindsight, maybe it wasn't.
Good luck and I wish you all the best.
Douglas Brown

Douglas R. Brown is the author of the upcoming novel
The Light of Epertase: Legends Reborn, which will be released Aug. 1, 2011 from Rhemalda Publishing. You can visit Douglas Brown's blog or website for more information on this up and coming author at &

Tuesday, March 1, 2011


After long and careful consideration, the WebbWeaver duo, CK Webb & DJ Weaver, have made some critical decisions regarding their future in the literary world. We have decided to part ways with our literary agent and agency and begin a new journey. This has been an amicable split and though we leave the business relationship, we remain good friends with Cari Foulk and all the authors from Tribe. We will continue to do everything in our power to support, not only Cari & Tribe Literary, but each author represented by them. My fondest wish is that our friends, family and fans will also support the incredibly talented writers who are represented by Tribe Literary Agency. They are certain to make waves in the literary world.
Now, for the really good stuff! Our first novel, CRUELTY TO INNOCENTS: THE 911 ABDUCTIONS (Yes, that’s the full title), is off to professional editing and will soon be available for purchase as an e-book on several sites, including Amazon & Amazon UK. We will be working on blurbs, cover art and book synopsis while we wait. We are working extremely hard, as are many other wonderful people, to ensure that our fans receive the very best thriller we can give them.
Before the book goes up for sale, we will be posting, at least, the prologue and first couple of chapters to allow readers to ‘wet their whistle’ so to speak and get a feel for what Cruelty To Innocents is all about. This is the first book in the three book 911 Abduction series.
We intend to market book one like mad women. We have not lost sight of our ultimate goal, which is to see the ‘Innocents’ series picked up by a traditional publishing house. In the meantime, we hope that sales from book one will make a good case for us in that regard. We will eventually seek agency representation for book two, COLLECTING INNOCENTS, but not until we feel it sparkles like a rare diamond!
We will need our friends, family and fans more than ever and are hopeful that you will support our work. It will take each and every one of you to get the word out and hopefully we will see the ‘Innocents’ series do amazing things…together! We are very nervous, extremely excited and incredibly anxious to share with you all, CRUELTY TO INNOCENTS: THE 911 ABDUCTIONS.

CK Webb & DJ Weaver