Friday, October 19, 2012

13 Days of Halloween: Day 1, Aiden James

Hello world!

Today the authors of TALES FROM THE MIST start trick or treatin'! Why? Because this is Day 1 of the 13 Days of Halloween - 13 days of guest posts by each author of the just released TALES FROM THE MIST anthology. 

TALES FROM THE MIST will take you on a journey into the dark world of the paranormal. These twelve stories vary in their degree of horror, yet all reach across the boundaries of their genres into the chilling realms of the macabre. Witches, ghosts, shape-shifters and vampire rats are some of the creatures that reign within these pages.

Here's the author blog schedule which will take us through the end of October:

19th (today) - Aiden James – interview
20th - Scott Nicholson (Wampus Cat)

21st - Rhonda Hopkins (The Consuming)

22nd - Marty Young (Addiction)

23rd - Cate Dean (The Messenger)

24th - Tamara Ward (Jade O’Reilly & the Graveyard Shift)

25th - Meredith Bond (In A Beginning)

26th - Gregory Carrico (King of Rats)
27th - Catie Rhodes (Haste)

28th - Mitzi Flyte (To E. A. Poe)

29th - *lizzie starr (Dead Lily Blooms)

30th – Natalie G. Owens (An Inconvenient Debt)
31st – Stacey Joy Netzel  (Beneath Still Waters)

This is a treat from us to you because we just love Halloween! For my part, it's been great fun writing my story and working with my fellow authors to make this book a truly smashing read. There's actually 12 of us. But on Day 1, I wanted to spotlight the person who wrote the amazing foreward for TALES OF THE MIST - the bestselling author of The Judas Chronicles, Aiden James. I'm really happy that Aiden has consented to an interview, so getting to know him better is the real treat of this first day of our homage to Halloween. If you're into horror, mysteries or dark fiction, you'll know this name. Aiden James has garnered much respect among his many fans, and for good reason. Cades Cove is a must read for fans of the genre! Also check out Aiden's awesome vampire series (Dying of the Dark Vampires), among others. Plus, he has an absolutely fascinating background as a paranormal investigator. Read on and you'll see!

Before I start, I'd like to share that TALES FROM THE MIST is currently on sale at $4.99 through October 31st. The reg. price of $5.99 will be applied on November 1st. 

TALES FROM THE MIST can be purchased from the following retailers:

Amazon US (in digital and print versions)
Amazon UK (in digital and print versions)
Barnes and Noble

TALES FROM THE MIST is already gathering some pretty neat endorsements, including the following one:

"One of those rare anthologies that gets it right from the first story to the last."
~ Joe McKinney, Bram Stoker Award-winning author of Flesh Eaters and Mutated

So on this note, I leave the floor to Aiden... 

How long have you been writing?

Well, unofficially, I’ve been creating stories since I was in college—many years ago. Officially? Almost fifteen and a half years.

Why horror? Do you see yourself writing anything else?

I love horror, and most of my books have horrific aspects. Much of what I create is based on my belief that the veil between us and the other side is extremely thin, and influences from both sides tend to bleed over into each other. Like many authors with a bent toward the supernatural, life’s experiences have had an influence on my imagination.

As for writing anything else, my true specialty is action/adventure, but with from a paranormal perspective.

What scares you most?

Angry ghosts. Not a lot of fun to deal with in real life. Of course, they can be great inspiration for my fiction (Cades Cove).

What is your preferred genre for reading? Name 5 favorite books in order of preference.

I love horror best, but a great action/adventure story will do, too. I’m fond of mystery stories, as well.

1)      Interview with a Vampire—Anne Rice
2)      Queen of the Damned—Anne Rice
3)      The Witching Hour—Anne Rice
4)      I am Legend—Richard Matheson
5)      The Shining—Stephen King

Favorite movie?

Somewhere in Time. Yeah, I know…a sappy romance with Jane Seymour and Christopher Reeve. But I’m a sucker for this particular time-travel romance tale that was originally penned by Richard Matheson.

Do you wear a costume on Halloween? Decorate the house?

Oh, yes…but only if I’m in town for Halloween. I like to dress as a wizard, since my hair is shoulder length and I make a good one. :) The house is already decorated, and every year my wife’s aunt holds a Halloween party for young kids. So, we have lots of fun things for them to do. We, the big kids and adults, will hit at least one ‘Haunted House’ each season. This year, we plan on visiting the Bell Witch Cave in nearby Adams, TN with my partner from Rattlesnake Charivari, Martin “Black” Pelto and his clan.

What’s a recurring theme in your books?

Redemption through crisis, whether that’s an overall plot or the individual redemption process that a character must work through.

Do you need music in the background to write? What’s your favorite tune?

I used to not need music to write, since I have an ongoing player in my head most of the time anyway. But, having music along for the ride while writing “The Ungrateful Dead” in late June until mid August allowed me to finish the book in half the time it normally takes (a little over two months, since I technically started it in June before leaving town for 3 weeks). So, I am currently using the same process to create the third Judas Chronicles installment, “Destiny of Coins”.

As far as a favorite song? I like far too many to give you an actual favorite. I’m digging an oldie tonight: “Walking on the Moon” by The Police, circa 1979 or 1980, I think.

What’s the worst job you ever had?

All of them, lol. Seriously, there’s not a creative person I know that wouldn’t love to make a living by creating their art. Until last summer, I spent thirty years working jobs that came with various degrees of tolerance and like. The worst was ten years ago when I briefly dabbled in the payroll business. Too much corporate America for me, and I literally felt my soul shrivel up. But, I moved on to something less distasteful until I finally earned enough cash to comfortably support my family.

The bottom line to me is that we as artists must be responsible to those we love first and foremost, while through perseverance, we keep the burning hope alive that someday we’ll be able to go full time in living the dream. J

Did/do you have a crit group or mentor to guide you along the way?

My wife, Fiona, has been my biggest influence, since she is the real writer in the family. But, I finally started getting pretty good at this about ten years ago and then landed a deal with a small publisher in 2004. That’s when J.R. Rain and I became friends, since we were both with this publisher back then. We both eventually moved on to better things. Incidentally, J.R. has also been a major influence on my work, and he once was my literary agent. He is the one that talked me into venturing into ebooks a couple of years ago.

For my books that I write now, I have an editor and a team of six to ten readers to check for consistency, typos, flow, and tell me whether I should publish the story or burn it.

What are you working on now?

Presently, as I mentioned earlier, I am working on “Destiny of Coins”. But, between now and this time next year I hope to complete work on five additional novels.

How do you juggle writing and life? Do you have a secret to time management that you want to share with readers?

I am learning to be more disciplined. I am finally treating this business like a real 8 hour-a-day job right now, which is why I will be going from two to three books per year to four to six.

Where do you see yourself, career-wise, in 5 years time?

Hopefully, I’m still writing full-time. :) By then, several of my series will have run their course and it will be time to branch out into other directions, genre wise. As of this moment, I have published eleven novels and a recent novella with J.R. Rain (Temple of the Jaguar). Five years from now, if I don’t disintegrate from the demanding pace I’m planning, I should have roughly forty novels completed and published. But the one thing I promise to my readers is that I will never skimp on quality. If the pace impacts quality, then the number of books will shrink a bit. J

If you had to land on a deserted island, what 3 items would you take with you?

Assuming there won’t be electricity on this island, I would want a crate filled with notepads and boxes of pencils, so I could keep writing. And, hopefully a solar powered ipod. :)

What was the happiest moment of your writing career so far?

Getting to the point in late May last year where I could finally tell my call center employer that I no longer needed their financial support as of July 1st, 2011. :) That was awesome!

Honestly, though, every milestone on this journey has been the happiest moment, until something bigger knocked it off. Everything from completing the first rough draft, to getting someone interested in looking at a sample of my work, to the first publishing deal, to selling ebooks on Kindle, then making a bestseller list, and also hearing from readers who love my work…every step has been magical and cherished. :)

Tell me a Halloween story that means something to you – a personal experience perhaps.

Hmmm…this might be tough. I have ghost stories—real ones. But they rarely happen in October. The biggest one that comes to mind is when my wife and I, along with our little team of ghosthunters, visited what once was a working plantation in Bethpage, Tennessee. The place had been renovated to be a house…but a house loaded with what are commonly referred to as ‘Shadow people’. Many of you may have seen specters like this, that are featureless but are also in the shape of everyday people.

A little boy who lived at this creepy house was on tour with us as we visited the various rooms, looking for evidence of the ghost that shoved the owner down the stairs in an attempt to seriously injure, or kill, her. Creepy doesn’t begin to describe the feeling of being watched and followed as we moved through the house. The little boy could readily see the ghosts, and when they would throw things—like crayons—at him and his younger sister, he would see the objects coming and duck. His sister, meanwhile, would get doinked on the head with crayons that flew at her from out of nowhere.

The boy would sometimes feel the spirits sit next to him as he played his video games—their icy presence would alert him that he wasn’t alone. He’d look over and see the shadow form move its head as if it was looking at him. Yikes!

Anyway, Fiona captured a photograph that night that has been featured since for many years by Troy Taylor of the American Ghost Society. While visiting this kid’s room, the boy told Fiona that one of the ghosts had just entered the room and had stepped up to him. He said the ghost was touching him…so Fiona took the picture. Keep in mind, none of the rest of us could see anything, and the whole damned house had already creeped us out. So, there was no way for us to tell that something had entered the room—hell, the EMF detectors had been going wild since we entered the front door…. All we had to go by was this kid’s word that one had invaded our space and had come up to him.

When the picture was developed the next day, we could clearly see the form of a shadow that was touching the kid’s arm—just like he said. Inside this shadow were bands of crisscrossing light. Troy Taylor—who has been featured on the Travel and History channels for his paranormal investigative work—to this day says the picture is among the strangest photographs he has ever seen. Anyway, I’ll stop there, as this tale could go on and on like an Everready Bunny.

Happy Halloween, everyone!

About Aiden: An author fascinated by Gothic history and the supernatural, Aiden James presently has written eleven novels with many more to follow--including two novels and a novella slated for release by the end of 2012. He resides in Tennessee with his lovely wife, Fiona, and their two sons, Christopher and Tyler. An avid researcher of all things paranormal, Aiden spends much of his time investigating haunted locales throughout the Deep South.


Thanks so very much, Natalie. :)


Excerpt from Cades Cove: The Curse of Allie Mae (The Cades Cove Series, Book One) --

David opened his eyes, awakened by the whisper that passed over his face. The room was completely dark, and not even the parking lot lamps’ glow penetrated the murkiness. He noticed the curtains’ unusual thickness when he turned up the heater before retiring, assuming it was the motel’s way of compensating its guests for the sparse insulation. At least one couldn’t be bothered by any car or truck lights coming in late, as most of the motel’s patrons seemed to be in the long-haul transportation business.
The television was blank and silent, and David couldn’t make out its outline. The heater’s comforting hum was also absent. It left the room in a hostile stillness. Suddenly, the sound of a deep sigh filled the air above the space between the two beds. Something floated there.
He raised himself, fully aware of his distinct disadvantage against whoever was here with him. Peering into the darkness where the sigh came from, he reached for the lamp switch next to his bed.
“Don’t do it!”
The feminine voice surreal, the accent and the fact it sounded both near and far was familiar.
“Allie Mae?”
The air around him was already chilled from the lack of heat, but it now grew even colder. The presence was drawing near to him. A brilliant blue eye appeared, aglow in the darkness less than a foot away. The eye was especially beautiful, and it squinted. Perhaps it scrutinized him, or more likely, its owner was seriously pissed.
“What do you want from me?” David tried to remain calm despite his terror, but found it impossible to control the unsteadiness in his voice.
The eye moved closer, and as it did he became aware of a soft gurgling sound. It reminded him of the tiny streams he used to find in the mountain valleys of Colorado. Cold drafts of air brushed against his face, and the eye came within a few inches of his own eyes, as if the head shrouded by darkness positioned itself to kiss him. The smell of raw meat filled his nostrils. He pushed himself back against the bed’s headboard.
“To take back what you’ve stolen,” the voice replied. It was softer and almost normal, erupting from the gurgling noise and sending an icy spray upon him. “And, kill the wicked seed once and for all!”
“I didn’t steal your bag of treasures, and I’ll happily give it back!” He clutched his bedspread tightly, and shrunk away from the eye, the smell, and the gurgling. “I’ll do whatever it takes to make things right!”
“It’s too late to give it back,” replied the garbled voice, sending forth another spray of chilled droplets onto his face. David cringed in response and closed his eyes. “It’s too late to give back my life, Billy Ray-y-y-y!”
A splash of icy liquid against his throat and T-shirt emphasized the fervency of this last statement. Ever fearful, he opened his eyes. Another eye as grotesque as the first eye was lovely had since joined it. Its mutilated cornea and iris glowed as a ruptured mass of fire and blood within the torn edges of the socket.
“I’m not Billy Ray! My name’s David!!” he shouted.
“Ya are what ya are and always will be, Billy Ray-y-y-y!” the voice hissed in anger. “Y’all and yer seed have killed and taken whatever ya’ve pleased! But, no more!! There ain’t no more hidin’ from yer sins!!!”
“No, you’ve got the wrong guy! I’ve never done anything to you
He threw up his hands to protect himself as she shrieked her condemnation over and over, the echo resounding loudly throughout the room before returning to where he lay huddled against the headboard. Iciness gripped the base of his bed and steadily moved up toward him, chilling the bones in his feet, legs, and thighs as it touched him. Out of the darkness the two eyes suddenly looked up at him from his waist, revealing the entity now caressed his body like a famished lover, moving from his feet to his genitals and on up to his face. He whimpered in horror as something cold, wet and slimy crept inside his shirt toward his throat.
Screaming in terror, he slapped at himself, falling out of the bed. He grabbed the nightstand, pulling the top drawer out while groping for the lamp’s pole. A pair of frigid arms embraced him from behind, and even icier hands pinched his nipples. Coldness beyond anything he’d ever known flowed through him from behind, freezing his lungs to where he couldn’t breathe. He began to pass out. Turning on the light switch was the last thing he remembered.
David awoke lying on the floor between the two beds. The nightstand lamp was on, and his head throbbed worse than any migraine he could remember. He groggily stood up and moved over to the clock, which still faced his bed. It read 3:38 a.m.
After replacing the nightstand’s drawer in its slot, and checking to make sure the heater still worked, he set the thermostat and blower on high and went into the bathroom. He intended to splash water in his face and take something for his pounding headache. But, when he looked in the mirror, he could only stare at his reflection.
His face and T-shirt were covered with blood.

To purchase your copy of Cades Cove, click on the link for your preferred ereader device below:

~ Natalie G. Owens ~ 

No Rules. No Formulas. 
Just a world of love, mystery and fantasy!