Tag Archives: occult

The Girl from the Blood Coven by Brian Moreland is a FREE Prequel that Will Put You Under a Spell!

Girl from the Blood Coven - Scott's versionThe Girl from the Blood Coven, by Brian Moreland, is a short story that released today (July 2, 2013) for FREE as a prequel to Brian’s upcoming novella The Witching House, which will release August 6, 2013.  If you’ve not read Brian’s work before, now is the perfect chance to try him out at no cost, which isn’t really a risk as he’s one of the best horror and supernatural writers on the planet. If you’ve read him, what are you waiting for? You know this is good!

It’s short because it’s a prequel, but it packs a punch and send the reader spiraling out of control to get their hands on The Witching House, which is really quite morbid within itself as since it isn’t available yet it just leaves you hanging there, without resolve and wanting more!! You’re caught holding your breath, between life or death….ok, maybe not that bad, but I was caught up in the story and ready to figure out the mystery!

Brian is the kind of writer that grabs you from the start. His writing is always crisp, his imagery perfection, his suspense on target, and his characters interesting. Going again in the direction of a serial killer plot in the short story, Brian wraps us up into a supernatural crime mystery. His serial killer may be either someone or something, I don’t know yet, but what I know is that it’s horrible. And I’m scared and creeped out.

By the time I am done reading about the Blevin’s Coven murder, where 25 people are horribly killed with one surviving witch that leads the detectives to the house in the middle of the Texas woods, I am ready to solve the murder and am fully invested in the story line. The short story won’t take you more than an hour to read, then you’ll probably re-read it again as you’ll crave more of Brian’s story as you wait to get your hands on The Witching House.

Brian ‘s mixture of crime, drama, suspense, horror, the supernatural, the occult, and some sort of history (this time fictional) always makes his stories jump off the page as if they should be on the big screen. The Girl from the Blood Coven is your ticket into a world of dark imaginings and it’s only just the beginning.

The Girl from the Blood Coven, Short Story, Synopsis~
Samhain Publishing, Horror

Girl from the Blood Coven - Scott's versionThe Girl from the Blood Coven is a short story prelude to The Witching House. It’s the year 1972. Sheriff Travis Keagan is enjoying a beer at the local roadhouse, when a blood-soaked girl enters the bar. Terrified and trembling, Abigail Blackwood claims her entire family was massacred at the hippy commune in the woods.

Sheriff Keagan knows that Abigail’s “family” is a coven of witches that inhabit the Blevins house. They’ve been rumored to be practicing blood sacrifices and black magic. When the sheriff and his deputies investigate the alleged murders, they discover what happened at the Blevins house is more horrific than they ever imagined.

GET IT FREE NOW!~

Download The Girl from the Blood Coven at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or Samhain Horror.

THEN~

Pre-order The Witching House at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Samhain Horror.

Author Brian Moreland, Biography~

368_Facebook_authorAuthor Bio: Brian Moreland writes novels and short stories of horror and supernatural suspense. His first two novels, Dead of Winter and Shadows in the Mist, are now available. His upcoming novella, The Witching House, will release August 2013, and novel The Devil’s Woods will release December 2013. He loves hiking, kayaking, watching sports, dancing, and eating cookies. Brian lives in Dallas, Texas where he is diligently writing his next horror novel. You can communicate with him online at http://www.brianmoreland.com/

 Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/HorrorAuthorBrianMoreland

Twitter: @BrianMoreland

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1150022.Brian_Moreland

Brian’s Horror Fiction blog: http://www.brianmoreland.blogspot.com

Coaching for Writers blog:  http://www.coachingforwriters.blogspot.com

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Filed under Book Reviews

Accomplished Screenwriter, Director, and Author Frazer Lee Discusses His Newest Novella, Writing, and His Pesky Eating Habits

Today I have an interview with the amazing screenwriter, director, and author Frazer Lee. Straight from England, he and I had an amazing time talking about books and writing…and we laugh….alot! It’s one of a couple of my favorite interviews so far. Whether you’re a reader, writer, or film buff, I recommend making time on your agenda to read this one and leave us some comments.

Frazer’s The Lucifer Glass, the first novella in a series, just published yesterday from Samhain Horror (June 4, 2013) and you can get it for a couple bucks. Here’s the cover. You can read more about it and click links at the end of the interview. You’ll also get to view the cover for his upcoming Fall title, The Jack in the Green! Enjoy!

LuciferGlass-The72lg

Hi Frazer! So happy to have you by Oh, for the Hook of a Book today and look forward to a rousing interview of epic proportions (no pressure or anything –  ha!) I jest, but really…glad to have you hear to discuss your newest novella series (The Lucifer Glass), upcoming novels, and whatever other questions come up!

Frazer: Thank you Erin. It’s a rousing pleasure of epic proportions to be here, and feel free to apply the pressure!

Erin: Get ready then….Let’s plop back with a cocktail of choice (find any good ones from that cocktail contest you had for readers?) and discuss…

Frazer: Sounds good to me. I’ll mix a couple of Frazizors, a brutal cocktail of my own devising – though neither of us may live to tell the tale. The last one i made melted the glass…

Q:  You’re an author, director, screenwriter, and I believe give college lectures as well! When you aren’t scaring students into major creative breakthroughs for the screen, how do you divide your time to accomplish it all?

A: I’m guilty on all counts – Jack of all trades, master of none, ha! It is difficult to cram it all in, but somehow I stretch the days (and sometimes nights as well) to hit my deadlines. A lot of my novel-writing happens on train journeys and in hotel rooms, and when I’m working on screenplay commissions concurrently I often split the day – so I do half a day on the novel and the rest on the screenplay. The craziest time of year for me is when all the grade marking comes in from the Universities, I have to put my own creative work aside for a few weeks during that period as the coursework submissions are in the hundreds. Then, as is the case right now, I get straight back into it.

Q:  When did you first decide you wanted to become “a writer?” What inspired you and guided you on your creative course?

A: I started telling stories when I was a kid, in school I helped other kids with their reading as I was just blazing through as many books as I could read. When I had homework assignments to write stories I really enjoyed them, and just became hooked.

Q:  What type of creative outlet did you first begin with and why?

A: The story writing and my love of movies converged when I started writing and performing little radio plays – sequels to the movies I was a fan of at the time – and recording them (with music and sound FX) on my little mono tape recorder (I’m a child of the 1970s and was seven years old when Star Wars was released). Luckily none of the tapes survived! But in retrospect I do think that was a very early, very naive attempt at screenwriting.

Lamplighters72LGQ:  Your debut novel, The Lamplighters, came out last year (published by Samhain Horror) and you immediately felt writing success by being bestowed as a Bram Stoker Award Finalist for Superior Achievement in a First Novel. How did you decide to take the plunge into publishing a novel? What inspired you to do so?

A: The Lamplighters was one of these ideas that just wouldn’t let go of me. It was wriggling around in my brainpan just insisting to come out. At first I thought of writing it as a screenplay, but I just knew somehow that it had to be a novel. I’d had some short stories published, which boosted my confidence, and author friends of mine encouraged me to read ‘On Writing’ by Stephen King. I did so, and found it to be hugely inspiring, I highly recommend it to anyone starting out. I wrote chunks of the novel at The British Library in London, and did a lot of my research there. Getting into that routine helped discipline me to treat novel-writing as a job of work.

Erin Comments: That’s great advice as well for others looking for inspiration.

Q:  Has the positive reviews and acknowledgment caused you to say you’ve done enough, or has it propelled you into further writing challenges?

A: Well, I never really stop working, so by the time that praise and the award nomination came in I was already well underway on other things. Anything positive like that really helps of course, you need as much energy as you can get to keep going. But the bad reviews keep you on your toes too, there’s always so much more to learn. All I can hope for is to learn more from, and keep growing with, each project. If it ever stops feeling like a challenge, then I’ll stop too.

Q:  Your newest publishing adventure, again with Samhain Horror, is The Lucifer Glass (Daniel Gates Novella #1). It’s the first part of a novella series. With all the serials emerging, as well as short stories and novellas, how did you decide to create a series of novellas, and why?

A: The character, Daniel Gates, drove me in that direction, toward writing a series. I found that when I’d completed a series of drafts of The Lucifer Glass, Daniel Gates was still present in my mind, vividly so. And I realised there were story elements I’d edited out of earlier drafts that might later pave the way for future installments featuring the character. So readers can expect two or three more Daniel Gates novellas at least, and I really hope they enjoy them as much as I am enjoying writing them.

 Erin Comments: Since I’ve been promoting it as a three-part series, I think you’re stuck. *wink*

Q:  What is the basis for The Lucifer Glass? What inspired it? What’s it about? Why might readers enjoy it?

A: The Lucifer Glass is inspired, in part, by the ‘derring-do’ adventures I read as a teenager by the amazing author Dennis Wheatley. That cigar-smoke scented world of gentleman’s clubs, ancient artifacts and occult rituals – I was a sucker for all that, and still am. I think any writer must have obsessions, and the novella draws on many of my own. If you like what’s loosely termed ‘weird fiction’, with a robust dash of the occult, then this might be the one for you.

Erin Comments: I like what you said about obsessions (or interests), as that is what makes writers unique.

Q:  Did you have to do much research for The Lucifer Glass novella series? If so, what and how extensive was it? If not, make something up to fill the space. Kidding….

A: Well, I had to fill that damned glass with plenty of single malt whisky as part of my ‘extensive research’ (hic!) And when I’d sobered up… Just kidding!? (Erin Comments: Ha!)

I’ve been reading about the occult since…well, since I could see basically, so a lot of it was stored up just bursting to be used somehow. It’s fun working little references and in-jokes into the text, I so enjoy that aspect of writing this particular series. For the next novella I’ve been reading up on my demonology and a few other dark and nasty surprises that lie in wait for Daniel Gates.

 Erin Comments: Sounds awesome, really! The realm of the occult is frightening, but such a vast space to draw from for writers who are intrigued with the topic.

Q:  How does your mind come up with such creative ideas? Do you think of them anywhere and everywhere or does it take quiet, peaceful moments alone concentrating on an idea?

A: Thanks for calling them creative – not all ideas pass muster, I can tell you that. They come to me as images, sometimes fragments, and sometimes entire scenes. Often when I’m travelling, or walking/running in the woods – or taking a shower! I really have to focus and hold onto the ideas so I don’t forget them before I can write them down. Sometimes I leave myself voicemail, and I once text-messaged a passage from The Lamplighters to myself. Oh, the pre-Smartphone era! 🙂

Erin Comments: Funny thing about the shower…..I always do my best thinking there too! And what did we do without smartphones? Write on napkins, I guess.

Q: Are you a writer that writes quickly and without outline or are you methodical, planning it out and staying to your notes?

A: For novels I rough out an outline, but if the characters take me off in another direction I just go with them for the ride and see where it takes me. My screenplay work always follows the methodical 1-pager, treatment, beat sheet/scene breakdown approach as that’s usually contractually required by the producers anyhow. Best of both worlds.

Q:  How do you describe your writing style in regards to books? If it varies by book, go ahead and describe each and why?

A: I don’t know if I even have a style! If I did, then what I would hope for is for it to be visual, sensory, and above all else – unsettling. But that is really not for me to say. I just write ’em how I see ’em.

Q:  How does your writing style for books differ from your writing style as a screenwriter? Also, how are the various styles different in general and how can authors use the skills of screenwriting to create better books?

A: Technically, the styles of screenwriting and novel writing are vastly different, and the word counts are insanely different too. But the voice is always mine, so in one project I might be dragging you screaming into the darkness and dumping you there alone, to claw your own way out. In another project I might be gently coaxing you, leading you gently by the hand into a dark place. That tone of voice varies project-to-project, whether for page or screen. Both forms are immersive in their own way, but I think both can benefit from hard editing – “kill your darlings” as The King once said.

Q:  When you lecture on screenwriting, without giving a course I’ll need to charge for on my site, what are a couple main things you urge them to remember? Might be good advice for aspiring or current authors looking to improve their novels?

A: Some of my post-graduate students are working on debut novels for their final project. A couple of them in the past told me that the advice I gave them in class regarding screenwriting, namely ‘show don’t tell’ and ‘less can be more’, along with the overall main character focus, was invaluable to their novel rewrites. And a couple more decided to adapt their own novels into screenplays during the course. I think the discipline of writing and rewriting (whether for the screen or books) can only come with hard work and a willingness to try things out, even if you ultimately change them back afterward.

Reading material aloud is a great way of cutting the crap – there are always sections that come across as “too much”, or are simply too convoluted and difficult to read aloud. I believe experimentation is also key to writing what you love, and then you’ll maybe love what you write. But hey, what do I know? Just write!

panic_button_novelQ:  What are some of your director or screenwriting accomplishments you’d like to share? I’ve heard you have a great book novelization on your hit movie Panic Button?

A: I had a lot of fun working on Panic Button. The producers had read a spec script of mine and invited me in to talk about their story idea. I turned that idea into a screenplay for them, several drafts, and they went and raised the finance, got a director, cast and crew on board real quick. While the movie was in post-production they floated the idea of me writing the novelization for them, but the deadline was insane. Never one to turn down a challenge, I went for it and had an absolute blast revisiting the material. Both the movie and the book have had some great reviews so I’m real pleased about that. I’ve been a rabid fan of movie novelisations since I was a kid, so it’s an ambition fulfilled for me to have my name on one. I would definitely do more.

Erin Comments: That’s so interesting. I didn’t think many books started as movies first. I’m interested in reading one. I should have asked you what some other good ones are…

Q:  Some of your favorite all-time films?  What are some of the best films ever made, in your opinion?

A: Ah, we could be here for weeks if I went into all of them. I have to enthuse about Robert Wise’s The Haunting, because it teaches us how to do so much with so very little. Clive Barker’s Hellraiser stopped my in my teenaged tracks because I thought I knew all I needed to know about horror at that point – but how wrong I was. I stayed in the theatre and watched it a second time – it was a real game-changer for me, that film.

I also obsess about Argento, Carpenter, Cronenberg, Del Toro, Bava, Von Trier, so many greats – like I said, we could be here for weeks! I used to dream of buying an old crumbling cinema so I could curate endless film festivals. But I’m lucky to have attended a lot of film festivals through my work, and to have seen so many classics old and new on the big screen.

Erin Comments: I would so help you run that restored cinema and maybe attach a bookstore to the side of it….ah, dreams…

Panic-Button

Q:  Do you feel that horror related movies and books are becoming more main stream and more widely accepted (I suppose I am speaking from a US perspective)? Why?

A: I think the YA market has perhaps helped open the genre up to younger readers and viewers, but there are always people for whom horror is just too much, and they say they “can’t even look at it”. But if a car crash happens, we’re all taking a peek. If the rolling news has some atrocity with “images we might find disturbing” we all watch through our fingers. The genre is so vast, so wide, with everything from dark psychological pieces, through brutal pain and gore, to romantic fantasies about gym-bodied werewolves – there really is something for everyone right now. Perhaps even for those people who say they “can’t look” at horror.

And hey, show anyone a picture of a guy in a cape with pointy teeth and they’ll know he’s Count Dracula, right? When I was studying, I wrote a paper on the popularity of the Freddy Kruger character and I remember how shocked a lot of my fellows were when I projected images of Freddy lunchboxes and pillowcases during my presentation! That trait of being fascinated by a villain runs deep in so many of us.

Erin Comments: So true, so many facets of horror. The word gets a bad rap sometimes. It’s like my mom said about  sprouts…don’t knock it till you try it. You might find you like something you never thought you would….

JackInTheGreen72lgQ:  You have another full-length novel coming up at the beginning of October as well, called The Jack in the Green, which encompasses a village with green rolling hills (I am picturing) and their strange pagan ritual. How did you come up with the idea for this novel? It sound like it’s based on a legend.

A: You pictured it just right! The Jack in the Green is partly inspired by old rites and ritual and my travels to pagan sites in England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland, along with some dodgy political moves here in the UK where the government tried to sell off some of our ancient forests to big business. Those two worlds, paganism and commerce, clashing together in my fictional forest village setting of ‘Douglass’ made me excited about the possibilities for some good old-fashioned rural horror. Bottom line though, I am just a little bit too obsessed by trees and forests and needed to put that somewhere.

Erin Comments: I am SO EXCITED about this book!!! I want it to be a movie too.

Q:  Why do so many nightmares we have as children transform into stories in our adulthood? Are they planted there as seeds for aspiring authors? Or are dreams phenomenons without explanation?

A: Great question. I think dreams, nightmares maybe help prepare us for the real traumas in our lives. And as we grow and experience those traumas, our dreams and nightmares help us to siphon them off, to process them. They become parables, cautionary tales – or else a way of expressing the idea that, “Hey, it could always be worse. Much, much worse. There was once this dark old house where…” And that’s where us authors cynically come in and try to make a quick buck out of them!

Q: How do you make time for all your writing in your life? What advice do you have for other authors?

A: There are times when other things, like a social life, have to be neglected while you write. I would advise, if you want to write then just get to it and keep at it. Write, and read, as much as possible. And then switch the bloody internet off and write and read even more. Concern yourself less with what the other guy is doing and focus on your own shit. Have a sense of genre, yes, but write characters and their stories first and foremost, paint pictures, build sensory worlds. Let it come out of you how it comes out. Then be prepared to alter some, or all, of it. And if you don’t drink coffee, I’m sorry but you are probably not going to make it.

 Erin Comments: I couldn’t survive without coffee…

Q: What has been your biggest challenge? Why? And in contrast, your biggest success?

A: Completing the first draft of The Lamplighters was gruelling. There was a lot of personal stuff going on in my life, a lot of death and madness and pain that took my eye off the target. My biggest success was to have The Lamplighters to channel all that stuff into. It just took me a little while to figure that out.

Q: What else are you doing to keep busy? Any summertime plans?

A: Well I have a couple of books and screenplay projects on the go, along with post-production on my new short film The Stay. Oh, and moving house!

Q:  Share with us something not many people know about you….strange habit? Hobbies?  Just don’t freak us out too much.

A: Some people are surprised to hear that I’m a vegetarian (well, pescetarian actually – I started eating fish again about 4 years ago). “A vegetarian horror author?” they ask, incredulous. “Sure,” I say, “you mean you’ve never heard of Count Duckula, the vegetarian vampire duck?”

Count_duckula_titles

Erin Comments: My children were cracking up when I told them this one! LOL 😉 Very funny. In our house we only eat things with feathers or fins. We’d prefer to be herbivores.

Q:  If you’ve done any reading this year, some of the best books you’ve read recently…or if not, some of your all-time favorites for us please.

A: I have to say Redheads by my new Samhain Horror labelmate Jonathan S. Moore is a fantastic debut novel. But be warned, if you’re a redhead it’ll have you eating your fingers down to the bone… As far as all-time favourites go, look no further than Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. It has everything you could possibly need from a book and I am yet to find its equal. Probably never will.

Q:  Where can people connect with you at?

A: When I’m not writing and I switch the modem back on, my website/blog is at http://www.frazerlee.com and I’m on Twitter http://twitter.com/frazer_lee and Facebook http://www.facebook.com/AuthorFrazerLeecome say Hell-o!

Erin:  Frazer, I am honored and happy that you’ve joined us today and really enjoyed our discussion. Look forward to talking to you again soon and best of luck with your writing! Thank you!

Frazer: Erin, it has been an absolute pleasure and I’d like to thank you from the bottom of my cold, dark heart. Now, about that Frazizor cocktail…

Erin: Another? You’ve made me at least five and I’m barely able to see straight……

Author Frazer Lee, Biography~
 
Frazer-LeeFrazer Lee’s debut novel, The Lamplighters, was a Bram Stoker Award Finalist. His novella, The Lucifer Glass, published June 4, 2013 and his next full-length novel, The Jack in the Green, publishes in October 2013, both from Samhain Horror. His short stories have appeared in anthologies including the acclaimed Read By Dawn series.  Also a screenwriter and filmmaker, Frazer’s screen credits include the award-winning short horror movies On Edge, Red Lines, Simone and the horror/thriller feature film (and movie novelization ) Panic Button.  Frazer resides with his family in leafy Buckinghamshire, England. When he’s not getting lost in a forest he is working on new fiction and film projects.
 
The Lucifer Glass, Synopsis~
‘The Lucifer Glass’ is the first in the ‘Daniel Gates’ occult series by Frazer Lee
 
LuciferGlass-The72lgIt may cost you your soul.
 
Daniel Gates is a fixer. Whatever his client wants, he can get – for a price. But the price of his latest assignment is a high one indeed. He is to travel to Scotland to exchange a rare demonic text, a grimoire, for a consignment of even rarer whiskey. Reading the grimoire, Gates learns of the legend of Lucifer’s Glass and the unholy trinity of green-eyed demons who protect it. As he does battle with the demons, Daniel realizes too late that there is much more to his assignment than meets the eye. He is locked in a struggle to save his very soul from damnation.
 
 
 
 
 
Buy from Samhain Horror (at 30% off for limited time which makes it less than $2):  http://store.samhainpublishing.com/lucifer-glass-p-7277.html
 
 

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Filed under Q and A with Authors

A Chat with Laura K. Cowan, Author of The Little Seer, on Supernatural Spiritual Fiction

Hi Laura! Welcome to Oh, for the Hook of a Book! We are so pleased to have the pleasure of speaking with you about your break-out novel, The Little Seer.

Thank you so much! It’s really my privilege.

Let’s get started….

img_0072_2_2Q:  What is The Little Seer, your speculative supernatural novel, about?

A:   The Little Seer is about a young girl who discovers, through prophetic nightmares of the destruction of her church, that God is not who everyone told her he is, and neither is she. It is a waking dream–a novel of symbolic dreamscapes, teleportation, and angels and demons fighting over a girl’s destiny–but it’s also a story about discovering the importance of your life, and learning how to love through great pain.

Q:   How did you come to write The Little Seer?

A:   I have always had vivid dreams, but when I was about eight years old, I had a dream that I was in a classroom, and there was a conversation going on in front of me. Sometime later, I was in my classroom, and that exact conversation began to play out. It happened more than once, even into high school, and it rocked my ideas about what was possible in the world. I grew up with a resulting feeling that the way I experienced the world didn’t fit with other people’s experience, and I dealt with quite a bit of rejection and bullying, which left me terrified that God was secretly angry with me too.

But when I was a teenager I was literally flattened to the floor with a vision at the Toronto Blessing Revival in Canada, in which God revealed to me that the rejection and unforgiveness I had been carrying around my whole life was like a boulder on my back. He revealed Himself to me as extravagantly loving, and as I forgave one person at a time who had wronged me, the weight began to lift. I had to be carried out of the building, it was such a profound experience for me, and I was never the same again.

I also went through a church split on top of my wedding that split my new family down the middle and cost me most of my mentors. As autobiographical as it sounds, The Little Seer is not what happened to me at all, but I wanted to write a book that acknowledges the pain that people go through from spiritual abuse, and explore how someone could learn that they were loved after experiencing rejection.

seer-final-front-v2Q:   The publishing of The Little Seer is unique, yet following in line with a new type of publishing I’ve been seeing…launching part by part, each with a different name. Can you tell us about that, why you chose it, and finally how you think it has worked?

A:   Well for this project that was an easy decision, because the novel naturally divides into three parts, each with its own story arc, but each fitting into the larger story. I knew that as an indie author my only real chance to get my work out there would be to give people a way to experience it at very low risk, so I made the first novella, Exodus, free for five days after launch, and before I knew it, thousands of people were reading my story, and it was climbing the bestseller lists for free titles on Amazon.

Q:  What accolades has The Little Seer already accomplished that you are excited about?

A:   Most awards and even reviews are closed to me as an indie author, though I can see that changing in just a few years with the way publishing is evolving. So my focus is on what readers think, and how many people are finding and reading The Little Seer.

Because of my launch promotion, The Little Seer shot to #2 on the Amazon Kindle Bestseller list for free Christian Suspense titles, and #5 in Occult/Supernatural. And despite its controversial content, readers began to give the book mostly 4- and 5-star reviews, saying it was riveting from beginning to end, and that if you don’t know you are loved, read this book. I can’t think of any better accolades than that. Even a blogger reviewing the book on this blog tour told me the book touched her on a very personal level. I’m so grateful right now, just that people are giving me a chance.

Q: Where do you hope the novel goes from here?

A:   Because it’s an indie title and I’m just starting my career, word of mouth is really going to have to drive this thing. I hope people enjoy the story in its own right, but it does have the potential to mean something to someone who needs to know the value of their life, so if the story speaks to people, I’m hoping they will join The Aria Project, which is something I set up on laurakcowan.com to give people ideas on how they can help me spread the word.

Q:  What do you hope readers take away with them from you book after they complete reading it?

A:   Life is more than meets the eye, and so are you.

Q:  What kinds of readers do you feel will enjoy your book?

A:   Spiritual seekers of any kind will love this book, but I think it also appeals to the child in all of us that loved adventure stories and imaginative tales of things that sparkled in the darkness and spoke of destiny.

Q: How do the words supernatural and speculative fit into religion? I’m guessing some would think those words don’t….

A:  Yes, it’s very controversial. The Bible is a supernatural book, filled with teleportation and miracles, symbolic visions of the apocalypse and talking animals, but there’s something about Western culture that has stripped Christianity, and some other religions as well, of their awareness of the mystical nature of life and faith.

Speculative novels just ask the question “What if?” What if the world doesn’t work quite the way we think it does? And in that way, speculative supernatural novels are more religious than some modern expressions of religion. It’s a blind spot of Western culture, in my opinion, possibly caused by the need to filter everything through rational and empirical processes in order to accept it as part of life. Too bad life doesn’t fit in our boxes, and neither does religion.

Q:  Is this book only for the religious? Those of Christian faith? Why or why not?

A:   I hope not. I think this book has a lot more to say about relationship and love than anything else. I kept hesitating to publish the book, because I wanted to make sure I had rooted out as much preachiness as I could, and just left enthusiasm for loving people back to wholeness. I’m sure it’s not perfect, but the early reviews are really encouraging me that I succeeded on some level in getting the real message of compassion across, and that transcends religions.

Q:  What kinds of novels do you like? What writers inspire you?

A:   Oh wow, what a topic to get me started on! I love anything that sparkles with life, really, especially that twinkle you only catch out of the corner of your eye when the angel doesn’t think you’re looking at him.

Nature writing such as Ralph Waldo Emerson or the poetry of Juan Ramon Jimenez blows me away, because of its passion for the universe and the harmony of all things, and I grew up adoring spiritual fantasy writer Madeleine L’Engle as well as intellectual mystery writers like Agatha Christie or writers with a witty edge like Mark Twain. Hemingway is a huge favorite because of his vivid descriptions that are so face-slappingly efficient.

But of course supernatural novels are my first love, especially literary ones like Thornton Wilder’s. I read Frank Peretti’s This Present Darkness as a kid and knew I would always be looking for more books with angels and demons, and with the veil to the spiritual pulled back to give the reader a peek beyond the everyday.

cropped-seer-final-v-2013-frontQ: Have you written any other novels? What are you working on for the future?

A:   I’m excited about my second novel Music of Sacred Lakes, which is about a young man in crisis whose redemption comes through the haunting of a girl he accidentally kills and through the voice of Lake Michigan speaking to him about his connection to the land that birthed him. It’s a weird and wonderful story about reconnecting with your life and the source of your joy, and I can’t wait to offer it to the world.

I’m also working on a speculative short story collection called The Thin Places: Supernatural Tales of the Unseen, which takes 30 different “What if?” questions about how the physical and spiritual worlds interact and spins them in all different directions. It’s me letting my hair down and really having fun with some fascinating stories–everything from portals to time juxtapositions to fairy tales.

Q: What is your writing process like? How do you find the time to fit it in?

A:   Oh, goodness. I’m a mother of a preschooler, a wife, a (very) part-time journalist, and I’m launching this career as a novelist. My experience as an editor helps me keep everything organized, so for instance I have a notebook recording checklists of edits for each project I’m working on. If I can break things down like that into a series of tasks, I can do anything I need to even in the midst of a busy life. But my writing process really amounts to doing my best to relax and give myself space to dream. As Madeleine L’Engle used to say (maybe I’m paraphrasing?), you had it all in the beginning. You have only forgotten how to walk on water.

Q:  What has been your biggest challenge on your book journey?

A:   Balance. I don’t know if any mom ever gets it right, if there is any such thing anymore, but for me, a person who has struggled with workaholism and perfectionisms and all the -isms you can think of that tie a person up in anxiety, the key is believing that there will be enough time and energy for me to take care of myself and everyone else, and still do the work. It’s a struggle, every day.

Q: What is the thing you’ve been celebrating about the most?

A:   I have the great privilege of seeing my work reach people before I made any money at it because of the free book launch promotion, and it was that night that 3,000 people downloaded my book that I realized I already had what I wanted, and the money didn’t matter so much. Not everyone has the opportunity to sort out their motives so clearly and prove to themselves that their heart is in the work itself. That’s really a gift.

Q: Are you self-published or have a publisher? Explain the process to that, either way.

A:   Technically Amazon is my publisher, but I’m the modern indie author for the moment, using tools to put out books largely on my own. I had the cover designed for The Little Seer, but everything else is me, from beginning to end. But these days that’s not so hard. It helps that I have editorial experience and writer friends who can give me great feedback on my books, but the technology for getting a book into the world has never been more accessible. I may not always be an indie author, but right now I’m playing it by ear. It has never been a better way to start.

Q: You seem to be taking the marketing tactic of building a community, much like Ted Dekker (one of my favorite authors). Are you modeling this concept? Why or why not, or if similar, why unique?

A:   All I really want to do with my books beyond entertain people is to connect with them, and encourage them to engage with their spirituality. I think that happens powerfully in a community. I don’t care if it centers on me or my work or just the ideas that draw people together. It’s the community that counts.

Q: Where can readers contact and/or interact with you?

A:   I post all news to my website laurakcowan.com, and people can always email me directly at laurakcowan [at] gmail.com. I love to hear people’s stories, so please feel free to say hello.

Thanks, Laura! I wish you much more successful momentum on your book and your thoughts. I hope to talk to you again further in the future!

I hope so, too. Thank you for having me!

The Little Seer, Synopsis~

seer-final-front-v2A young girl wakes from a dream that a tornado destroyed her church and her pastor ordered crows to peck out her eyes, only to discover deep cuts on her arms where she was attacked. Soon her dreams begin unfolding in her waking reality, her church and family begin to fall apart, and the only anchor of her sanity is a strange man who keeps appearing in her ever stranger dreams. What is happening to Aria? How is it that her dreams can tell the future? And why is her identity key in a spiritual battle raging over her church and town that could decide not only her fate and that of her friends, but that of the whole country or even the world? A story for the dreamers and the truth tellers, The Little Seer never averts its gaze from the tragedies and possibilities of modern American Christian spirituality, and provides a vision for the hope of another great spiritual awakening that could be just around the corner–if we have eyes to see.

Success and Reviews~

The Little Seer shot to #4 on the Kindle Bestsellers List for free Christian Suspense titles within 24 hours of publication during its launch promotion, and hit #2 in Christian Suspense for free Kindle titles and #5 for Occult/Supernatural within the first week.

People are calling The Little Seer “riveting from the beginning to the end,” and saying, “If you feel that you are not loved, read this book.”

And from a book reviewer on The Little Seer blog tour:

The Little Seer by Laura Cowan is a high-intensity, no holds barred, we-are-coming-to-get-you thriller that will open your eyes to more than you can ever imagine. It will make you think twice about what you think you see, and it will not easily let you go….The love and compassion that flows from the pages of this book will revitalize even the coldest and hardest of hearts…. This story touched me deeply on a very personal level…. It broke my heart that someone gathered bits and pieces of such a haunting, hurtful, and yet valuable part of my life and then artfully weaved them into such a thought-provoking journey that I felt so ashamedly naked but also overwhelmingly loved.”

Formats Available

The Little Seer paperback

The Little Seer Kindle e-book

The Little Seer Kindle e-book novella trilogy: Exodus, Desert, & Midnight

GIVEAWAY on LAURA’S WEBSITE!

Follow this link to the book giveaway on Laura’s site, and read the instructions at the bottom of the blog post to enter for your chance to win a signed copy of The Little Seer for yourself or a friend! Thanks, Laura!

The Little Seer book giveaway

Laura K. Cowan, Biography~

laura-k-cowan-headshotLaura K. Cowan writes richly imaginative supernatural novels exploring an enduring love of spirituality, nature and dreams. Join her as she delves into the issues raised in her books, such as the relationship between music and the land we come from, the nature of the spiritual world, and the power of a human life lived truly.

Laura wrote her first story, about a mouse’s theft of an automated grocery cart, at the age of eight, about the same age she saw her first glimpses of the future: simple clips of classroom life that played themselves out verbatim in experiences that rocked her ideas about time, prophecy, and the possibilities of the world. She was a sensitive child, knowing early on her mystical experiences of the world didn’t match those of the people around her, and she became increasingly isolated, trying to earn approval through achievements and perfectionism. Bullies plagued her from childhood, when a journal entry she had written about wanting people to love her for who she was was held up in front of the entire seventh grade and ridiculed. She stopped being able to write.

Laura was paralyzed with fear that God was secretly angry with her, too. But she met God in a vision at the Toronto Blessing Revival in the 90s in her early teens, in which he revealed himself to be extravagantly loving, dramatically shifting her experience of spirituality and beginning her healing, as well as further revealing the world of angels and demons to her. Even this experience didn’t quite reach the depth of her pain, and Laura still suffered another decade with an anxiety disorder and increasingly severe migraines.

She was married at age 20 to her childhood sweetheart in the midst of a church split that divided her new family and cost her most of her mentors. Laura had seen the split coming, through prophetic symbolic dreams, but even she could not have foreseen that, through a process of drawing her out of her situation and to himself, God was preparing her to go back and help others. Laura found her healing in stages. After a long process of learning to evaluate alternative remedies for her migraines and learning an enormous amount about healing, spirituality and mysticism that was missing from modern Western culture, she was healed of migraines through the hands-on prayer of new church friends. Then, through another series of encounters, she learned to set boundaries and deal with the bullies in her life, and she had finally found her bravery. She came back to her first love, writing, and discovered that a great deal of her pain had come when she cut herself off from the people who hurt her early in life. Asking God what he could do to heal this early decision to be self-sufficient, Laura heard the words, “I will raise this one myself.” And so he had.

A lifelong dreamer and modern Christian mystic, Laura draws from subconscious depths to bring the things we believe are impossible, spiritually and physically, into the world in a literal way, to bring her experiences of the supernatural into the natural and help others come to see their infinite worth and the exquisite possibilities that exist in a world in which the supernatural is part of the natural order of things. Her mission is healing, truth, and love for a world gone mad for lack of them. Laura’s stories quite simply open the door to let heaven through, often in unexpected ways, to bless people to come into the fullness of their own lives.

Laura has worked for years as an accomplished writer and editor in genres such as green tech, green parenting, and automotive media, and has been called one of the best copy editors in the business by multiple colleagues, including late mentor David E. Davis, Jr., whom TIME Magazine called “the Dean of Automotive Journalism.” She is the founder of popular green parenting blog 29 Diapers, author of Ecofrugal Baby: How To Save 70% Off Baby’s First Year, and Road Test Editor for Inhabitat, the web’s largest green design blog. Laura’s work has appeared in Automobile Quarterly as well as on numerous parenting sites including BabyCenter, EcoMom, and Inhabitots. She has nearly 1,000 articles and blog posts to her credit, but is now happy to be able to pursue her dream of writing fiction full-time. She lives in Michigan with her husband and her 3-year-old daughter, who is already dictating her first stories to her to be published on construction paper. You can find her on Twitter at http://www.Twitter.com/LauraKCowan and LinkedIn, or connect with her at laurakcowan[at]gmail.com or on her website LauraKCowan.com.

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