Announcing my newest release, “Dreams of Desire,” a Faustian bargain urban fantasy

•May 29, 2018 • Comments Off on Announcing my newest release, “Dreams of Desire,” a Faustian bargain urban fantasy

Evil is always listening…

Frustrated writer Zach Moore vows he “would trade his soul” if he could write the way he always wanted to.

In an attempt to overcome his crippling writer’s block, Zach and his wife Nikki move from New York City to the Hudson Valley, land of the legendary Sleepy Hollow, where he meets Kendra Evans, a beautiful and mysterious young Satan-worshiper.

Kendra offers Zach the creativity he longs for. But will getting what he wants most cost him everything … and everyone … he already has?

Filled with vivid imagery and adult themes, Dreams of Desire is intended for mature readers only.

Available now in ebook and print from Amazon.com

New YA supernatural fantasy from Carla Thorne: Meet the Warrior Saints!

•April 17, 2020 • Comments Off on New YA supernatural fantasy from Carla Thorne: Meet the Warrior Saints!

From Carla Thorne comes a thrilling new Young Adult fantasy / supernatural mystery ~ the Warrior Saints of Stonehaven Academy!

Click here to buy & download Books #1 and #2 today! Book #3 available for pre-order!

Book #1 ~ Creator

In the supernatural battle of good vs. evil, whose side are you on?

Mary Hunter isn’t like everyone else, and she’s known it for years.

From brutal fights in the supernatural realm with a demon-like presence to battling obstacles in the halls of Stonehaven Academy, Mary knows she’s different.

She just doesn’t understand why.

A student at Stonehaven since kindergarten, Mary enters her freshman year as a good student and a promising member of the Saints soccer team.

Then, things start to get weird.

As her supernatural battles increase, she is drawn into friendships with others who seem to be as confused about their bizarre abilities and encounters as she is.

Now that Mary, Deacon, Scout, and Ivy have found each other, what is their purpose and why? Who gifted these newly-named Warriors with new abilities? How do they manage their powers and maneuver the confusing maze of school, family, romance—and the occasional demonic force?

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Book #2 ~ Destroyer

In the growing supernatural battle between the Creator and the Destroyer, what does it cost to do the right thing?

Mary, Deacon, Scout, and Ivy have identified their abilities and understand their work for the Creator. But with every new burst of strength and skill they discover, the Destroyer grows more determined to terminate their efforts.

Surrounded by potential enemies who are capable of vicious acts, the Warriors must learn to trust each other and their supernatural help. When violence comes to the halls of Stonehaven Academy, the Warriors react, but who is really on their side?

As evil is revealed and sneaks into every area of their lives, how do the Warriors know what to do or who to trust—especially when the sacrifice is too great? And can they stay the course and endure the aftermath when not everyone survives the fight?

~~~~~

Book #3 ~ Victor

In one final battle, can the Warriors defeat their sworn enemy and complete their ultimate assignment?

Destruction, heartache, and catastrophic loss have followed the Warriors back to the broken hallways of Stonehaven Academy. Challenges await around every turn, as unexpected assignments become difficult for the fractured group.

When they develop relationships with new people, how do they decide who’s an ally and who’s another enemy?

With the ultimate showdown on the horizon, can Mary, Deacon, Scout, and Ivy pull together to uncover the true threat and defeat it once and for all?

~~~~~

Connect with Carla Thorne:

Website   Facebook   Twitter   Instagram

“Science Fiction – An Evolving Genre” – a guest post from author Tom Olbert

•April 30, 2015 • Comments Off on “Science Fiction – An Evolving Genre” – a guest post from author Tom Olbert

 

Please welcome a guest to Vala Kaye’s “Other World” today, sci-fi author Tom Olbert! ~ Vala

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Speaking as a writer who primarily works in science fiction, I am painfully aware that the genre holds extremely limited appeal for the public. The genre has dropped out of popularity. Most of the general public doesn’t take SF seriously. Kid stuff, they assume.

Maybe it started out that way, but the genre is evolving. The science fiction that has won current popularity in books and their big screen adaptations is the sub-genre we call post-apocalyptic science fiction (PASF). Stories that offer tortured young heroes and heroines struggling to find their purpose in dark, dystopian future worlds run by cold, duplicitous adults. And, if aimed and written properly, science fiction can be an excellent canvass for expressing such social themes and depicting characters who thrive in them, because it has no set limits or boundaries.

The writer creates the world that is needed to illustrate the point and to channel the development of the protagonist. The challenge is in making that world seem relevant to an audience that tends to be skeptical of the genre. To be taken seriously, SF has to escape the stigma of glitz and gadgetry and offer stories that are actually character-centered. The setting must frame and present the character, not just use the character to present itself.

One particularly dark and stinging PASF franchise is the CW’s “100” T.V. series, set in a post-war irradiated wilderness grown over the ruins of Washington D.C. Based on the Alloy books by Kass Morgan. A century after a nuclear war, the last survivors of humanity (or, so they think) live under harsh Draconian rule on an orbiting space colony beset by rapidly dwindling resources. They send a hundred of their incarcerated juvenile delinquents down to the surface to find out if it’s habitable. Turns out it is, but already inhabited, by two other groups of survivors. Warlike, savage tribes who live in the forests, and a technologically advanced but isolated society that’s lived inside a mountain bunker for the past 97 years.

Character development is strong and intense, weaving through dark themes of society-building, tribalism, leadership dynamic, and such timeless moral themes as justice, capital punishment, and war. It’s a raw, gritty look at human nature in its purest form, and it spares us nothing. Its strength is definitely in its lead characters. Most notably Clarke, the teenaged daughter of the space colony’s chief medical officer (a mother who betrayed Clarke’s father to execution at the hands of the regime, justifying it for the greater good.)

Thrust into circumstances beyond her control, Clarke reveals natural leadership ability and swiftly rises to power in her group. She soon has to face wrenching moral decisions that seem to echo the dark days of World War II. When the outwardly civilized, seemingly cordial mountain people start performing horrific Mengele-like experiments on the outsiders, draining their bone marrow in hopes of gaining their immunity to the radiation, Clarke must form an uneasy alliance with the savages to save her people. Clarke learns of an impending missile attack from the mountain through a spy she has on the inside, but decides not to warn her people about it, knowing it would tip off the enemy, robbing her side of the critical advantage. She must live with the guilt of her decision as dozens of her friends die a horrible fiery death while she gets herself to safety. A plot-point obviously alluding to Winston Churchill’s alleged similar decision at Coventry. When Clarke’s ally makes her own deal with the enemy, selling Clarke out to save her own people, Clarke must throw away the rule book to save her friends. She takes hostages and personally executes a prisoner just to make a point. When the enemy leader still won’t release her people, she makes the deliberate decision to commit genocide. Her hand pauses dramatically over the switch only a moment before she presses it, releasing deadly radiation into a bunker full of people, including innocent children and conscientious objectors who tried to help her people. The resulting nightmare scene of pleasant, family oriented cafeteria dining dissolving into excruciating death, bodies blistering from the radiation, women and children dying, conjures shades of Dresden, Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

“I tried to be one of the good guys,” Clarke later tells her mother. “Maybe, there are no good guys, Clarke,” mom replies. It’s not that everyone is out for number one, you understand. They’re all just doing their best to save their own people. Which is, of course worse. The story is a dark mirror of the world in which we live, but the characters have more life than that. We care about them, and they bring the dark lessons to life for us because their pain and conflict and love and hate for each other are potent.

In my SF novella “Black Goddess,” I combined theoretical quantum physics with the dark yearnings of a morally conflicted Gulf War vet who has lost his faith and becomes obsessed with finding the core of darkness at the beginning of time. The story deals with the real-life agony of torture and what it does to the soul, and asks the timeless questions of whether primal evil truly exists, if life is anything but blind chance, and if there is a God. At its core is a simple yearning for love.

Quote:
“Beneath her black head scarf, her dark eyes stabbed through him with a flaming hatred. Then…nothing. Like a black abyss where a soul had been a micro-second before. A strange kind of peace. More than that, a oneness.

That look in her eyes. In his dad’s. It was the same as he’d seen in Lark’s memory…in the eyes of that kid in Uganda who’d held a knife to her throat. But, he hadn’t harmed her. Something had stopped him. When their eyes had met…something in her had pulled him back from the abyss.”

To read more on Black Goddess please click a vendor’s name
Mocha Memoirs PressAmazon

Tom Olbert lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts; cradle of the American Revolution, and home of University egg heads and kooky liberals. He loves it there. His work has most recently appeared in Musa Publishing. Previously in Mocha Memoirs Press, Eternal Press, and such anthologies as Ruthless, Fading Light: An Anthology of the Monstrous, Something Wicked Vol II, In the Bloodstream, and Torched.

When he’s not working or writing sci-fi or horror, Tom volunteers for causes he cares about. He comes from a most interesting family; his mother, Norma Olbert is currently self-publishing a biography of the life of Tom’s dad Stan Olbert, a retired MIT physicist and veteran of the Polish underground during WWII. Tom’s sister Elizabeth Olbert is an artist, art teacher, and avid lover of horses.

Learn more about Tom Olbert on his blog Other Dimensions.

Review and interview: “Wishing You Were Here” by Catherine Chant

•November 3, 2014 • 4 Comments

I just finished reading a wonderfully fun YA/NA time travel story, Wishing You Were Here, by author Catherine Chant.

Callie Reinard, a 21st century Boston teen, has just graduated from high school and is looking forward to college and an exciting career in radio. So how is it that she finds herself thrown back in time to 1957 and to London’s Heathrow Airport, trying to stop the tragic death of ’50’s Rock’n’Roll heartthrob, Joey Tempo?

After Callie succeeds in keeping Joey off that doomed plane, she thinks her job is done and that she’ll be returned to her own time. But things aren’t that easy and Fate, it seems, has other plans for Callie and the cute and talented Joey. Oh…and did I forget to mention that Joey’s already engaged to a small-town beauty queen who’s none too happy when Callie sticks around?

I really enjoyed Callie agonizing over whether she should stay in 1957 with Joey, knowing that he’s seriously unavailable. Or should she try to return to the present. And how exactly is she supposed to do that, anyway?

I recently talked to the author herself, Catherine Chant, and she was kind enough to give me some insight into Callie, Joey…and ’50’s Rock’n’Roll.

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Catherine ChantWelcome, Cathy, and thanks for checking in with us today!

I’m so excited to be here! Thank you for having me.

So, please share with readers…why a time travel story?

Easy answer: it’s what popped into my head first. 🙂

Longer answer: A song I liked prompted me to look into the history of a popular 1950’s musician, and when I learned that he died at age 20, I found myself asking, “What if he hadn’t died so young?”  My imagination took over from there. Time travel seemed the logical way to bring someone dead back to life.

Later on I realized there was more to it. I love the idea of the “do over,” the chance to fix past mistakes, or right a wrong, and it’s a theme that ran through several of my works-in-progress before I started WISHING YOU WERE HERE. Time travel is the perfect mechanism for the ultimate “do over.”

You’re certainly far too young to have any personal memories of the 1950’s. What was it about that decade and its music that made you choose them as the setting for this story?

Ever since I was little, I’ve always loved the 50s and 60s. My parents had lots of music from that era that influenced me, and there were always old movies on TV when I was growing up–Elvis movies, Annette and Frankie movies, Sandra Dee and Bobby Darin. I loved them all.

Then of course, Happy Days and Laverne & Shirley came on the scene when I was in junior high. The shows naturally made my parents nostalgic for their high school days (they strongly identified with the characters and situations on the show) and they were excited to share their memories with us kids. My curiosity took over. I’d look through my parents’ yearbooks and memorabilia. trying to get a sense of what it was really like to live back then.

In addition, both my sets of grandparents still lived in the houses where my parents grew up, so it was easy to picture myself back in time when I visited. I loved looking at old photos, especially when I’d recognize things like the same garage or a piece of furniture we were sitting on. Seeing familiar items in these photos brought the past and present together for me.

I’ve never lost that fascination. I love looking at photography books where the artist shows a city square 50-100 years ago and then the same spot/same angle in the present day so you can compare them.

Tell us, if you would, a bit more about Callie and Joey…are they based on any real people from the ’50’s? Or are they a mixture of people you’ve known personally?

Joey Tempo was initially inspired by the late, great Eddie Cochran, but he’s really a combination of a lot of 50’s/60’s performers who left us far too soon.

Callie Reinard evolved over the course of writing the book into her own unique person. The fascination with old music was probably inspired by my own interests at the time, but her ambition and determination for a career in radio grew from scenes unfolding in the book.

What are you working on now, or what’s your next project? And do you have other books available that readers can check out right now?

I’m working on Book 2 in the Soul Mates series, NOTHING STAYS THE SAME. This time around Callie’s younger sister Leah travels back in time to 1973 to find herself the star of Hollywood’s latest pop music sitcom. I’m also working on a new young adult suspense novel.

Other books that are available now include:

LOST WITHOUT YOU–a sequel novella that comes between Book 1 and Book 2 in the Soul Mates series. It picks up where events left off back in 1957 the end of Book 1, and follows one of the major secondary characters as she finds her happily-ever-after.

Two Vampire Diaries novellas–PURSUED BY EVIL and EVIL AFTER MIDNIGHT. I thought after the whole Damon-Elena thing came to be at the end of Season 4, Stefan deserved his own happy ending, so I gave him a new love interest. Unfortunately, she doesn’t come without a price.

Details can be found here on my Amazon Author page

Thanks again, for stopping by, Cathy. I assume you enjoy hearing from readers anytime? If so, I’ll include links below where readers can connect with you via your site and on social media, and sign up for your newsletter.

Thanks for inviting me! And, oh yes, I love to hear from readers!!!!

You can find me online at my website (where you can sign up for my newsletter – newsletter subscribers hear everything first and are eligible for freebies, sneak peeks and other fun things!) Of course, I’m also on Facebook and on Twitter.

My thoughts on “The Raven”

•September 22, 2013 • Comments Off on My thoughts on “The Raven”

The RavenLast night, I watched The Raven on DVD.

It’s no secret that I like the work of actor John Cusack, who wore the character of Edgar Allen Poe as if it were a second skin. I’ve enjoyed a number of Cusack’s films, everything from rom-coms Must Love Dogs, Say Anything and Serendipity, to thrillers like Identity and 1408, to the odd and quirkier movies, such as Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil and Martian Child.

The Raven was a mystery-thriller-love story, filled with blood and gore. But, based on the works of Poe, really, how could it have been anything else? As I watched, though, I connected with this story on a level that I think is only possible when one writer observes incidents that occurred (or could have occurred) in the life of another.

Now, do I rank myself as an author with the status of Poe? Hardly. But his work was considered part of the ‘pulp fiction’ of his day, much like horror, sci-fi, romances and mysteries are today.

The Raven portrays Poe’s understanding that he was forever subject to the vagaries of newspaper editors, critics, and his readers, who consumed his stories with a rapid and morbid interest one minute while considering him capable of serial murder the next. Poe also knew that his own dark thoughts had never translated into dark actions, but he still felt responsible when what he’d written prompted an evil mind to carry out the plots of his murders on real victims.

I can identify with this. I haven’t plotted many murders in my stories, nor do I have any plans to…at the moment. But one thing that all writers need to be cognizant of is that the printed word, on paper or on a computer screen, has the power to touch others.

Are we, as writers, responsible for the actions of our readers? No, of course not. But when we see how the 50 Shades trilogy has sparked a mini-baby-boom, don’t we have to wonder?

Or, to paraphrase Poe (the character) in The Raven, “If I’d known my work would have such an effect on my readers, I would have paid more attention to eroticism.”

 
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