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By nature, Buddy was a people-loving retriever-mix who had come to him by some unknown chain of dog owners. He had a long history of being in and out of the pound. Their first day at the beach together, Devon found out why. Buddy hated water. He even hated wet sand under his paws. It took a lot of convincing to get Buddy on the sand that first day. Then they’d no sooner settled on the blanket when Buddy let out a yelp and hightailed it back to the asphalt. His leash whipped behind. People jumped out of the frantic dog’s way. Devon didn’t catch him until they’d run the length of Sugar Cove. Over the next few years, Buddy finally agreed to walk on the dry sand, but he never became the beach buddy Devon had imagined. And Frisbees could sail overhead all day without a single blink. He was a failed retriever, but he wasn’t a failed friend.
Thanks for hosting me today, Joyce. To start off, let’s rewind to fall 2015. I was finishing up editorial rounds for my second young adult novel with my editor, Sean. After working on two projects with me—a historical and a contemporary—he left several comments in the document encouraging me to try something new. His first notation of Great line. You ever want to try your hand at horror, I think you’ll do well was laughable. His second one, Serious horror chops here, was more difficult to ignore. Then his response to my reply in the next cover letter—that original Gothic horror did have Christian overtones to it—made me curious and start to ask myself some questions.
Do I even read horror? Would I have any idea what to do? I can’t do slasher, what else is there?
So I did what any writer does when faced with the unknown: research and ponder. In my studies, I found the subgenres of horror as well as the roots of the genre itself—Gothic. Me writing Gothic? I rarely even wear black! But I found that beyond the Gothic subculture of vampires/paranormal, there is a vast literary history that pre-dates most romances, mysteries and what we now call horror novels, and it’s GOTHIC.
Also, while pondering my reading habits, I found that I had unknowingly been drawn to Gothic literature since childhood. All those Betty Ren Wright ghost stories I checked out from the elementary school library and the Christopher Pike teen horror novels I read in middle school were Gothic in nature. I latched onto Nathaniel Hawthorne in high school—also Gothic. And even my first published novel, Fortitude, could be labeled Southern Gothic. I may wear more earth tones than black, but my literature tastes are dark.
I realized that while horror by itself might be too much for me to attempt, I knew I could tackle Gothic. I wanted to read a few more things in the genre to help confirm my understanding as I began drafting my first manuscript, so I asked my critique group friends for recommendations. Joyce brought me a stack of Victoria Holt and Phyllis A. Whitney Gothic romance novels. Whitney’s The Winter People (see above) and Holt’s Curse of the Kings were two of the first I read. From there, I branched out and found mid-century favorites Dorothy Eden and Frances Parkinson Keyes. With those two authors, I discovered Gothic family sagas after I unknowingly began to write one. And I also acquired an obsession for collecting Gothic novels. Here’s a sampling of only six of the Gothic authors I’ve amassed.
So the result of my reading history and newer discoveries is The Possession Chronicles—an 8-book historical Southern Gothic family saga series with romance and horror elements. Perilous Confessions is the first book in the series and releases in digital and print formats on Tuesday, January 8, 2019 through Bienvenue Press. If you enjoy Gothic reads, I hope you’ll give it a try. To find out more about me and my books, please visit my Website.
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He set the flashlight down and took both of her hands to pull her closer to him. Jeana knew what was about to happen and couldn't believe none of the butterflies had come back to life in her stomach. She wasn't a bit nervous, because she'd been waiting for this to happen ever since the night they'd looked at the constellations together and she'd made her wish on the shooting star. It had taken awhile, but it was finally coming true.
Wade moved his hands to her waist, and she put hers on his shoulders. For a few seconds they just looked at each other, then he leaned toward her and she watched his lids slowly hide the green eyes she loved so much. When their lips touched, she closed her own eyes and tried to memorize every detail about the moment—how soft his lips felt pressed against hers, how fast his heart was beating, the way his arms trembled slightly as they held her close to him, even the clean, soapy smell of his skin and hair. It's not every day a girl gets her first kiss, and Jeana wanted to remember everything about it.