Friday, February 10, 2017

Guest Post-Author Alistair Cross: THE ANGEL ALEJANDRO-Includes Excerpt!

The Angel Alejandro

A Man without a Past
After a near-fatal accident, Madison O'Riley is faced with an astonishing problem: What to do with the man who saved her life. Naive and heartstoppingly handsome, he calls himself Alejandro ... and he has no memory of his past. As they set out to recover his lost identity, Madison realizes he harbors deep - and otherworldly - secrets that will shatter her understanding of reality ... secrets that may put her in grave danger.
The Devil in the Details
And now, there’s another stranger in town. Gremory Jones has something for everyone, and for a small price, he’s willing to make a deal. By day, he walks the streets of Prominence in top hat and trench coat, tempting the citizens with nefarious wares from his shiny black briefcase. By night, he and his legion of insatiable acolytes corrupt the locals at Club Mephistopheles, a den of unholy delights housed in an abandoned church.

The Battle has Begun …
The townspeople are changing in outrageous and appalling ways and it's up to Madison - with the help of a psychic, a local priest, and the new chief of police - to help Alejandro unlock his forgotten powers before an unspeakable evil tears apart the fabric of existence ... and costs them their very souls ...



A mouth covered hers, blew, and Madison’s lungs expanded with borrowed breath. As if the man were blowing on dying coals, warmth glowed inside her, spreading and swelling through her solar plexus, expanding, reaching her limbs, bringing heat to her skin and clarity to her mind. She could breathe, she could see, and what she saw was the stranger’s face. 
Handsome. Full lips, strong cheekbones, eyes she couldn’t yet fathom. Close-cropped, golden hair backlit by a near-blinding halo of light. Yes, she knew him from somewhere - but where?
The warm buzz swam through her. Her fingers and toes tingled. She was losing consciousness again, but she didn’t care; the panic was gone. As the world pulsed in and out, the man leaned over and blinked black-lashed silver eyes at her. Not gray, but silver. Bright and shining, like disks of polished steel. The light behind him swelled and brightened just before the world relapsed into black and nothingness wrapped itself warm around her. 

Silence is Not Golden

The dialogue in a story is like the dressing on a salad: It may not be the crux of the thing, but for better or worse, it decides the overall flavor. Good dialogue can move an otherwise mediocre story along relatively well, while bad dialogue can drag a brilliant one down into the pits of utter suckdom in just a few bad lines.

Arguably one of the most important elements of a story, dialogue can also be one of the most difficult. For some, it’s intimidating and the obvious temptation is to avoid it altogether, giving the reader a lot of ongoing exposition. And no one likes too much exposition.

Exposition is what an author uses to convey back story, setting, theme, and description. In short, it’s an information dump - and while necessary to a point, the general rule of exposition is this: A little goes a long way. The trouble with too much presentation and not enough activity is that it disengages the reader. We’ve all read it: page after page of information that supposedly needs remembering. Often times, we skim over it to get to the “action” and find at the end of the story that we didn’t really miss anything. But as a writer, the temptation is real.

As much as I’d sometimes like to spend entire chapters setting the scene, waxing monotonous about my characters’ pasts, and describing the living room as eloquently as I can, I’ve learned to heed the power of strong dialogue. Here are some things I’ve learned that helped me sharpen my skills.

The first is to listen: Key into the dialogue between strangers on elevators, lovers in restaurants, and parents chastising their children. Eavesdrop shamelessly and you’ll soon learn that nine-year-old boys don’t speak the same way as women in their fifties do. City slickers and folks from small towns tend to have very different linguistic habits. People from different generations don’t use the same word choices. There are a million ways in which semantic patterns differ from person to person and listening to the people around you is a good place to start identifying and understanding those differences.

Another great way to build your dialogue muscle is to read actively. This means you’re not reading just for enjoyment, but to learn, as well. By analyzing the author’s process and understanding what she’s doing, why she’s doing it, and how she’s doing it, you’re well on your way to a free education in Creative Writing. Pay close attention to how the author not only chooses his words, but when he chooses to insert them. Note how one character responds to another and gauge your own emotional responses. Were you riveted? Saddened? Relieved? Terrified? Now ask yourself why. Go back and re-read the lines that hooked you and try to determine exactly what the author did to inspire that response.

Dialogue is the lubricant of the story - the grease that keeps the wheels turning. It can be used to convey personality, define relationships between characters, and even set the scene more vividly. It’s a way to show rather than tell. But most of all, it’s a powerful way to divulge necessary information … and if the dialogue is witty and fresh enough, no one will even notice that they’re reading back story.

There are endless ways to learn to write strong dialogue, but all of them come down to simply listening. So listen, experiment, listen some more, and just keep writing. But whatever you do, don’t be so intimidated that you resort to bombarding the reader with page after page of commentary when there’s opportunity for conversation between your characters. Don’t be seduced by the silence.

When it comes to powerful storytelling, silence is not golden.

About the Author

Alistair Cross' debut novel, The Crimson Corset, a vampiric tale of terror and seduction, was an immediate bestseller earning praise from veteran vampire-lit author, Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, and New York Times bestseller, Jay Bonansinga, author of The Walking Dead series. In 2012, Alistair joined forces with international bestseller, Tamara Thorne, and as Thorne & Cross, they write - among other things - the successful Gothic series, The Ravencrest Saga. Their debut collaboration, The Cliffhouse Haunting, reached the bestseller’s list in its first week of release. They are currently at work on their next solo novels and a new collaborative project.
In 2014, Alistair and Tamara began the radio show, Thorne & Cross: Haunted Nights LIVE!, which has featured such guests as Charlaine Harris of the Southern Vampire Mysteries and basis of the HBO series True Blood, Jeff Lindsay, author of the Dexter novels, Jay Bonansinga of The Walking Dead series, Laurell K. Hamilton of the Anita Blake novels, Peter Atkins, screenwriter of HELLRAISER 2, 3, and 4, worldwide bestseller V.C. Andrews, and New York Times best sellers Preston & Child, Christopher Rice, and Christopher Moore.
Visit Alistair at:

Books by Alistair Cross 

The Witches of Ravencrest with Tamara Thorne

What people are saying 

“The Crimson Corset” is a good read. There is a colorful cast of characters, a clever plot, and an intricate structure … there are surprises and jumps and starts, sex and death, beauty and gore, something for everyone … if you’re looking for set-up and payoff, this novel will not disappoint.”
Tamara Thorne, international bestselling author of HAUNTED and MOONFALL
“This drop-deadly tale of seduction and terror will leave you begging to be fanged … ”
Q.L. Pearce, bestselling author of SCARY STORIES FOR SLEEP-OVERS
“I couldn’t put this book down. It’s got more hooks than a day boat out of San Pedro Harbor!”
Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, author of the SAINT-GERMAIN CYCLE
“Alistair Cross’ new novel THE CRIMSON CORSET … is taut and elegantly written taking us into the realms where the erotic and the horrific meet. Reminiscent of the work of Sheridan Le Fanu (CARMILLA, UNCLE SILAS) in its hothouse, almost Victorian intensity, it tells a multi-leveled story of misalliance and mixed motives. The language is darkly lyrical, and the tale is compelling. Read it; you'll be glad you did.”
Jay Bonansinga, New York Times Bestselling author of THE WALKING DEAD: INVASION and LUCID
“Put Bram Stoker in a giant cocktail shaker, add a pinch of Laurell K. Hamilton, a shot of John Carpenter, and a healthy jigger of absinthe, and you’ll end up with Alistair Cross’s modern Gothic chiller, “The Crimson Corset” - a deliciously terrifying tale that will sink its teeth into you from page one.” 
Andrew Neiderman, author of The Devil's Advocate and the V.C. Andrews novels
“A great combination of strong characters that remind me of my V.C. Andrews characters, wonderful creepy twists, and a plot that will recall Mommie Dearest in an original take that shocks and delights at the same time. This is a full blown psychological thriller worth the investment of time and money.”
Kevin O’Brien, New York Times Bestselling Author
"While “binge-reading” the clever, shocking, deliciously creepy MOTHER by Tamara Thorne and Alistair Cross (amid gasps, laughing out loud and muttering “Oh, my God, no…”), it dawned on me that these two should be writing for AMERICAN HORROR STORY. The authors offer up a fun, juicy, gripping thriller that’s nearly impossible to put down. As I kept turning the pages, I was reminded of MISERY, ROSEMARY’S BABY, PEYTON PLACE, PSYCHO and several other classics. But this is an original—as is the main character, Priscilla “Prissy” Martin, the mother of them all. Her perfect, poised fa├žade masks an ugly, twisted, utterly evil woman—a character you’ll never forget. I think we found a spouse for Hannibal Lecter! And I think you’ll find MOTHER a fast-paced, delirious, heart-pounding thrill-ride."
A Reader's Review Blog
"I was open-mouthed as the plot unfolded. This deeply psychological novel contains truly appalling revelations, and is certainly not for the faint of heart. If you are looking for an unforgettable and heart-stopping read that explores the depths of human depravity then this is the book for you."
Sylvia Shults, author of Hunting Demons: A True Story of the Dark Side of the Supernatural
"Ghostly secrets abound. Tortured spirits wander the hallways. Star-crossed lovers walk the paths of time. Servants connive, and the heroine faces an uncertain future …Run, do not walk, to get The Ghosts of Ravencrest. Tamara Thorne and Alistair Cross take the reader on a delicious journey of twisted family secrets, troubled dreams, and barely-concealed passions. Wrap yourself in the silken robe of this story and escape to Ravencrest."
Mark Hein, critic and editor at
“Thorne & Cross keep the surprises coming as swiftly as a master magician ...The characters quickly become people we know, but then wish perhaps we didn't ... The laughter of recognition rides like bubbles on the surface of a deep-flowing darkness ...There's something cold in here.”

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