Author Spotlight – Toi Thomas

Introducing Toi Thomas

I’ve been at this for about 10 years. I’ve entertained paranormal fans with my Eternal Curse series, an angels, demons, and others tale with a Christian world view. I stretch minds and imaginations with my short story collection, Legend of the Boy…, featuring works of science fiction, paranormal, fantasy, romance, and suspense. Glorie Townson, my pen name, brings along a bit of romance and comedy in the first book of my Sayings Series, It’s Like the Full Moon. I’ve even delved into the world of educational children’s books to enlighten and entertain little minds. Something for the whole family, here.

Why don’t you begin by sharing a little about yourself.

A self-proclaimed techie and foodie, I was born in Texas, but consider Virginia, USA to be home. I enjoy reading, cooking, painting, geek culture, collecting vinyl records, and spending time with my family. Currently working as a special education teacher’s assistant while blogging and writing full-time, I find comfort and peace of mind in chocolate, green tea, and naps. My husband and I have been married for twelve years and share our home with a tortoise named Betty and a Redbone Coonhound named Margie, who’s sure to inspire future publications.

Could you tell us a bit about your latest book?

I’m currently working on two different sequels, but the one that’s pulling me the most is for my Eternal Curse Series. When I first wrote Eternal Curse: Giovanni’s Angel it was a pivotal moment in my life. I had no idea I was writing a book. I just thought I was piecing together remnants of a reoccurring dream so it would finally go away.
As I developed the story, I realized that I didn’t want it to end. I’d grown attached to the gray man, who later became Giovanni. Giovanni was a sad and secluded character, and it was my job to fill his world with purpose, wonder, and even a few companions. What I created, still to this day, blows my mind. I don’t think it’s the greatest story ever conceived, but the fact that it came from me, humbles me.
Giovanni’s story makes me laugh and cry and wonder; what if? By the time I finished the first draft, I realized it was a book and had finally decided to share it with a small few for feedback while starting a blog to help me plan out the developmental details. It was amazing to see Giovanni’s tale of literal and emotional transformation evolve and develop into the story it is now.

Who is your intended readership?

Most of my work is written for adults, but is suitable for teens. I write adult fiction, mostly in the speculative genres, which is why I took on the pen name, Glorie Townson, when I decided to delve into romantic comedy.  Recently, I allowed my day job to influence my writing by developing four educational children’s books. For those, I saw no need to take on another pen name; it’s simply an extension, another part of my writing spectrum.  Most of my promotion is split between catering to adult readers of speculative fiction or readers of contemporary or romantic fiction. The children’s books tend to be bonuses discovered by satisfied moms or dads.

When did you realize you wanted to be a writer?

When I look back in retrospect, it’s clear that I’ve always been a writer. I’ve found old notebooks filled with stories, drawings, bad poetry, character ideas, and more. For me, though, writing was never something I considered as a career. I’ve also loved technology since I was a kid and got my degree in computers, even interning for a short time with N.A.S.A Langley. When I begin to crave a creative outlet beyond my amateurish paintings and baking from scratch, I began to develop a love of reading and writing that I’d let slip away from me.
When a reoccurring dream began to haunt my days with figments of a story that made no sense, I began to write it down until I had something to base a whole book on. Once I completed that story, I knew writing was the one thing missing from my life. I’ve never stopped since. I may not always pursue publication, but I will always write.

Do you have a favorite author, or writing inspiration?

This question requires two answers, sort of. When I look back at the many stories I read in my youth, before school work tainted my love of reading, there were so many authors who made me feel like I could do anything. There was one, however, who brought out my creativity. What would now be considered fanfiction, as a kid, I paid homage to J.M.Barrie with by writing my own tales of Neverland with me as one of the many lost boys. That story, at the time, made we want to create new worlds and characters.
As an adult, I’m influence by everything around me; of course, that includes what I read. I try not to take what I’m reading too seriously, unless it’s nonfiction. I’ve rekindled my love of reading simply for pleasure and try not to let my writer’s mind get in the way. At the moment, I’d say my favorite authors are Stacey Rourke, Marissa Mayer, Deborah Harkness, Alex J. Cavanaugh, and Tricia Drammeh.

What advice would you give beginning writers?

For a young or aspiring writer, I’d say it’s important to know why you are writing.  I think the why is one of the most overlooked, yet powerful, struggles a writer faces. Are you writing for pleasure? Are you writing for therapy or understanding? Are you writing for publication, just to put something out there? Are you writing for money? Are you writing for fame? The why will determine the course of action you take in your writing life. It will decide if or how much research and effort will go into the development of your work. It will decide if or how much time and or money will be spent on promotion, and so much more.

Do you have any amusing writing stories or anecdotes to share?

I once wrote a short story about a gray cat who stalked me and my sister around the little town in Texas, where we lived at the time. Everyone thought it was a good and creepy story I wrote for the Halloween season, but in reality, it was a true story. Yes, there were some exaggerations, but it really happened.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing? Any hobbies?

I’m a geekgirl. I collect comic books and action figures (guess that makes me a bit of a collector too). I also collect vinyl records. I love the cinema and taking pictures of my family and my dog, Margie. I like to bake and cook, from scratch when I can, but it’s not required. I’ve been struggling to find the right balance between my faith and all my other interests, and since I’m still seeking, I feel like I’m on the right path (I don’t feel lost and I haven’t given up).

What’s your next project? Any upcoming book secrets you care to reveal?

I have a ridiculously long list of WIPs at the moment. Because of this, I’m taking a year off from attending major live events and am scaling back on my blogging. Aside from the sequels in the works for the Eternal Curse Series and my Saying Series, I have a new fantasy I hope to release soon. It’s set in a world were magic is tied to the land and should be used, but is being suppressed. A garden hidden in a library and an unknowing young mage are about to change this world forever.

Eternal Curse: Giovanni’s Angel


“You have plenty of time to change your mind. You have not yet seen the monster I can be.”
Giovanni has been waiting his whole life to meet someone like Mira, someone from the outside world who might be able to help him. He wonders if there really is help for him as he continues to hold tightly onto dark secrets and even darker memories. Giovanni wants to be hopeful and he wants to accept Mira’s help, but first he has to look himself in the mirror and face what he truly is- and that is a reality no one is quite ready to accept.
Searching for new purpose and meaning in her life, Mira meets Giovanni online and an exciting and, in some ways, scary friendship is developed. Mira decides one day to meet Giovanni in person, at his secluded country home, in order to aid him on his journey of self-discovery. What these two are able to discover will not only test their strength and will, but it will stretch the limits of their minds and catapult them into a world where earth, Heaven, and Hell collide.
Giovanni’s Angel is the story of a man who may just be the answer to a spiritual war swiftly heading his way- but for now, he just wants to be a man.

Buy Now: Paperback, E-Book

Author Pages:

Amazon

Where to find Toi Thomas:

Website & Blog (The ToiBox of Words), Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook

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My Top 10 Haunted Locations

No Halloween event is complete without a trip to the local Haunted House. For this reason I’ve scoured the internet trying to find some of the most iconic, and most haunted locations around the world.

Even though the number of places I found was huge, I selected my top 10, and present it (in no real order) for your reading pleasure.

#1 – The Catacombs of Paris (France)

The Paris Catacombs are built in the remains tunnels that connect the old stone mines. The tunnels head south from the Barrière d’Enfer and they were converted into a series of ossuaries to help alleviate the overcrowding of the Parisian cemeteries.

Work began in 1774, and by 1786 remains were being transferred to the catacombs on an almost nightly basis. After a while, it became almost forgotten, before being rediscovered and becoming a venue for private events and concerts.

In 1874 the catacombs opened to the public, and now see over a million visitors a year. With all those visitors and guides walking around, surrounded by the dead, is it any wonder that there are reports of encounters with ghosts?

#2 – Auschwitz-Birkenau Concentration Camp (Poland)

There are few names that inspire as much horror and trepidation as those of the concentration and extermination camps built during the Nazi rise to power. Auschwitz-Birkenau was a complex of camps established to initially extend the prisoner holding capability of local prisons in Poland, and received it’s first prisoners in June 1940.

The main camp, Auschwitz I, held anywhere from 15,000 to 20,000 prisoners at any one time, and was built on the grounds of a Polish barracks.

Construction on the second camp, Birkenau (aka. Auschwitz II), was started in 1941 on the site of the Brzezinka village. The villagers were all evicted to make way for the camp, and it was here that the greatest part of the extermination machine was enacted, with the majority of deaths occurring within it’s walls.

When the Soviet troops approached the walls in January 1945, most of the prisoner population was west on a death march. Even those who visit the camps today can’t imagine the horrors that must have occurred on these grounds, with estimates of the dead from 630,000 to 900,000. With so many prisoners going unregistered, it’s almost impossible to guess at how many souls still wander the grounds.

#3 – Berry Pomeroy Castle, Devon (England)

Berry Pomeroy is a Tudor-period mansion that was built within the walls of an older castle in Totness, England. It was built in the 15th century, on land owned by the Pomeroy family since the 11th century, before passing into the hands of the Seymore family in 1547.

There are two very famous ghosts that haunt these halls… However, there are often overlaps between the stories, and the truth behind them is often blurred by time and retelling.

The White Lady is said to be the spirit of Lady Margaret Pomeroy, who apparently starved to death while imprisoned by her jealous sister.

The Blue Lady apparently also walks the hall and grounds, luring people into following her to her tower. Those who follow her are said to plummet to their deaths from the tower.

#4 – Underground  Vaults, Edinburgh (Scotland)

Edinburgh Castle sits atop the remains of a volcanic plug, overlooking the city from it’s highest point. The current structures are built on a site that has been occupied by one form of settlement since the 2nd century.

Over the years it has grown from a small settlement to the imposing fortress we see today. It served as a formidable stronghold throughout it’s 1100 year history, including at least 26 sieges, the Wars of Scottish Independence and the Jacobite Revolution.

While few of the current structures pre-date the 16th century, there are underground vaults that were rediscovered during the 1980’s. These vaults had lain abandoned for almost 200 years beneath the South Bridge, and had once been used as cellars, workshops, and even residences for the businesses that operated on the bridge. Unfortunately flooding started almost as soon as construction began on these vaults, and now the South Bridge is said to be among the many sites where hauntings have occurred. Some visitors even report being attacked, or nausea and vomiting when passing over the vaults.

#5 – Coliseum, Rome (Italy)

The Coliseum (aka Colloseum) is one of the most impressive landmarks to dominate the skyline of Rome. It dominates an area 620 feet by 510 feet,  and rises almost 160 feet over the crowds that come to visit it every year.

Construction was started by Emperor Vespasian sometime around AD 70, and it was officially opened in AD 80 by his son Titus. The event was celebrated with 100 days of games, gladiatorial contests and wild animal fights. And that was just the start of the history that bathes the amphitheater in the blood of those who fought for the entertainment of 50,000-80,000 spectators at any one time.

The complex boasts a number of cells, tunnels where slaves, prisoners and animals would be housed between fights. And fights and other entertainments continued to be held here right through to the middle of the 6th century, until it fell into.

With so much blood being shed within it’s walls, over such an extended period of time, is it any wonder that some visitors report seeing ghosts, or feelings of disquiet while making their way through the grounds?

#6 – Whitechappel/Spittalfields, London (England)

The streets of Whitechapel and Spittalfields are part of the famous London East End, and among those that became associated with the classic Dickensian London.

During the 1800s they were an overcrowded warren of poverty-stricken streets, alleyways that saw a large population increase from immigrants in the 1880s and onward. Even today, the East End is considered one of the most ethnically diverse areas in the London area.

Having already been made famous in the stories of Charles Dickens, it became infamous in 1888 for a string of murders that have baffled even modern investigators. Five murders occurred over the space of four months before the killing stopped, and all within a few blocks of each other.

Why were these deaths so significant? Because the killer struck without warning, with apparent surgical precision, and was given a name that struck terror into people’s hearts… After the fifth, and most brutal killing, he never struck again, was never caught, and his real identity has become the subject of hundreds of theories.

Just who was Jack the Ripper? And why did he stop killing? Maybe we’ll never know.

#7 – Gettysburg, Pennsylvania (USA)

In 1863, a tiny town in Pennsylvania played host to what has been described as the deadliest battle of the American Civil War. Over the course of three days, with the Union soldiers low on ammunition, and losing the fight against the Confederates, over 8,000 men died on the fields of this town.

However, the men weren’t the only ones to die during the fighting, 3,000 horses, and one woman were also killed, and it is said that the ghost of Jenny Wade haunts the apothecary at the center of town. But she’s not alone in haunting the town and fields. Visitors report seeing ghosts all over the battlefield, and some have even told tales of seeing parts of the battle replayed around them.

With such a huge loss of life, and the emotions that are stirred by the events of the battle, is it any wonder this is considered one of the most haunted places (acre-for-acre) in the USA.

#8 – Dominican Hill, Baguio City (Philippines)

Built the early 1900s, the Diplomat Hotel is one of several locations in the Philippines where refuges fled from the Japanese forces during World War II. That is until the location was bombed, causing severe damage to the building.

Over the years, the property has passed through several hands, starting life as a vacation house, seminary, and eventually a hotel.  A number of people are said to have died on the site, despite having come in the hopes of being cured of whatever terminal conditions they had.

The last known death was in 1987 when the owner of the property died of a heart attack. Ever since then the property has been off limits to the public.

Over the years, stories have circulated that the property was the site of a number of beheadings of priests and nuns, and that headless ghosts have been seen roaming the grounds. Considering the current dilapidated state of the property, it’s not hard to see why people experience periods of dead silence, when not a single sound can be heard.

#9 – Ancient Ram Inn, Gloucestershire (England)

This former pub is currently listed as one of the most haunted hotels in England. Built back in 1145, and said to have been owned by St Mary’s Church, this property is now under private ownership, having passed through a number of hands since it’s construction.

Over the years it has been investigated by a number of paranormal research groups, and featured on many shows centered around investigating hauntings and paranormal activities.

If local stories are to be believed, the inn is built on the intersection of two ley lines, and over an ancient burial ground from 5,000 years ago. It has apparently also been host to child sacrifice and devil worship. People who have stayed at the hotel have reported everything from a young ghostly girl (called Rosie), and objects being moved by unseen presences, to being physically pushed by forces they couldn’t identify.

Whatever is really going on here has been enough to terrify some guests into jumping out of windows to escape their experiences.

#10 – Highgate Cemetery, North London (England)

This is quite possibly one of the most famous cemetery in England, because of the size of the site, and the list of famous people who are buried here. It’s not just the people who have been buried here, but the architecture, and grave markers of the 170,000 people buried in 53,000 graves.

I’ve personally walked through sections of this cemetery in search of the graves of Karl Marx, Douglas Adams, and George Eliot. What struck me most is just how much architecture plays a part in the atmosphere of the site. Huge terraces at the top of the hill rest upon the catacombs beneath, Gothic architecture dominates large portions of the site, and there is even an area where Ancient Egypt seems to have taken root.

What I can’t easily describe is just how different this place feels and looks between daytime and night. But I was leaving the site just as the sun went down, and it’s easy for the mind and emotions to become ensnared by the creepy feeling that you’re not alone.

Discussion Topic:

Do you have a Top 10 of haunted places you’d like to share?

Have you had a personal ghost experience?

Comment below, and let everyone know they’re not alone in their experiences.

 

Book Spotlight – “Mating Two Dragons” by Ariel Marie

Book Blurb

Dragons must bond with their fated mates or risk the Dragon Curse…

The talons of the Dragon Curse are upon three dragon shifters who have scoured the Earth’s surface in search of their fated mates. Each dragon longs to find the other two-thirds of their heart. Only in a triad will a dragon shifter feel complete.

Serni, Raven, and Colton are desperate to find their mates because they know without a mate, their dragons will succumb to the Dragon Curse. It becomes a race against time for them to find each other.

Fate steps in at the Mating Ball, an event where shifters can come to seek out their mates. After centuries of failed searches, it looks like the dragons may have a chance after all. But will they find each other and complete their triad before the Dragon Curse claims them?

WARNING: This book contains material for mature readers (18+ and older) only. This book contains steamy MFF, bisexual ménage paranormal romance.

 

Buy Your Copy Now! E-Book

From the Author

Ariel Marie is an author who loves the paranormal, action and hot steamy romance. She combines all three in each and every one of her stories. For as long as she can remember, she has loved vampires, shifters and every creature you can think of. This even rolls over into her favorite movies! She love a good action packed thriller! Throw a touch of the supernatural world in it and she’s hooked!

She grew up in Cleveland, Ohio where she currently resides with her husband and three beautiful children.

Where To Find Ariel Marie

Twitter, Facebook, E-mail, Instagram, Website, Newsletter

Book Spotlight – “Elements of a Broken Mind” by Heidi Angell

Book Blurb

Psychics have no place in police work, but that doesn’t stop Clear Angel from being a detective’s secret weapon in the search for a serial killer who is kidnapping and holding women hostage in their town. When Clear goes missing, will Grant be able to find her before it’s too late?

Buy Your Copy Now! E-Book

From the Author

Heidi Angell is a bibliophile, lexicomaniac and wordsmith. She is the author of The Hunters Saga, The Clear Angel Chronicles, The Hell School Series and Survivalist Bible series releasing Fall 2017. She also created Royal Prince Vince, Creative Exercises to Inspire, and A Penslinger’s Ponderings. In September, 2017 she joined the executive team at Our Write Side as Executive Publishing Director. When she is not reading and writing, she can be found spending quality time with her family.

Where To Find Heidi Angell

Twitter, Facebook, E-mail, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram, Blog, Website, Newsletter

Book Spotlight – “Hell Bent Arc 1” by Kayla Matt

Book Blurb

Travis Malone and Dr. Spencer Abbot never expected their lives to devolve into a sheer nightmare until they encountered Jesse Lynn Belle.

Visions- A quest that began with a hunt for an anniversary gift turns into a struggle to stay alive.

Retribution- Five months after the Visions Incident, Travis and Spencer learn that they still aren’t safe.

Destruction- Another four months pass. And Travis is taken from his home and loved ones and thrust into his own personal hell.

This collection brings the first three books of the Hell Bent series together into one volume, a full chronicle of the struggle between the Malones, Abbots, and Jesse herself.

Buy Your Copy Now! E-Book

From the Author

K. Matt is a graduate of Philadelphia’s University of the Arts, and uses her Illustration degree in relation to her books. In addition to her workaholic nature, she is also a fan of comics, anime, animation in general, horror…a number of things, really. When she’s not writing and illustrating her own books, she can usually be found writing short stories or drawing other people’s characters. In much of her writing, she seems to enjoy making certain characters of hers hate her, thus making her quite thankful for that little thing we call the Fourth Wall.

Where To Find Kayla Matt

Twitter, Facebook, E-mail, Blog

Book Spotlight – “Zombies From Space…and Vampires” by Angela B. Chrysler

Book Blurb

Alien invasion? Zombies? Vampires!? I don’t think so!

Aria was an average 19-year-old with average problems. Average was quite realistic until zombies landed their UFO in her backyard. If Aria wants to survive, she’ll need some help, and who better than a pirate captain, a steampunk inventor, a bazooka wielding slayer, and a deranged Englishman who insists he is Doctor Who?

Stuck in a war between vampires and zombie-walking Weeches, Aria and her eccentric crew take a stand for mankind as they fight for their right to survive. Hey, if you have to slaughter zombies and vampires, why not enjoy it?

Buy Your Copy Now! E-Book, Paperback

From the Author

Angela B. Chrysler is a writer, logician, philosopher, and die-hard nerd who studies theology, historical linguistics, music composition, and medieval European history in New York with a dry sense of humor and an unusual sense of sarcasm. She lives in a garden with her family and cats.

Where To Find Angela B. Chrysler

E-mail, Website, Newsletter

Book Spotlight – “Envy (Protectors of the Elemental Magic Book 4)” by Marnie Cate

Book Blurb

My mother sold her soul to the Goddess of Winter, and mine along with it.

Camille was one of four girls who were given the gift of elemental magic. When her arrogance and greed led her to bad choices, she paid for it with her life… and her daughter, Blanche’s.

Blanche Kingston Drygen would never be admired for her sweetness. Lusted after for her beauty, and desired for her wealth, the townsfolk of Starten thought of her as a cold-hearted business woman. They did not know the secrets the most predominant family in town hid. The Drygens owned everything and almost everyone, except their own fates.

If you are hoping for a sweet, cozy tale, I’m afraid the Silvers have the market on fairytales. While they reveled in the gifts bestowed upon them by the Goddess Danu, the Drygen family fell victim to the cruel Winter Goddess, Snowystra.

Blanche’s story is one of lost love and tortured lives. Sit back as she tells you the reality of her gift, and how the Drygens were cursed to never love.

Buy Your Copy Now! E-Book

From the Author

Marnie Cate is a writer of coming of age and urban fantasy novels. Born in an Irish mining town in Montana, she always had a flair for the dramatic and a vivid imagination, and spent her childhood lost in the elaborate worlds she created with the help of her dolls.

One day Marnie Cate was struck by a powerful image in her mind. This seed created the world of Starten and the complicated world of goddesses and their touch on the mortal world.

Inspired by the actress Dame Judi Dench, she pursued her dream of sharing the stories that were brewing in her mind. With the urging of friends and family, she wrote in every spare moment she had.
After countless weekends spent at the local coffee shop typing away and people watching, Marnie finished her first novel, Remember: Protectors of the Elemental Magic. With the world of elemental magic and the humans they lived in released, the stories have just begun.

When not writing, Marnie enjoys reading, coffee and spending time with her family. She lives in Arizona.

Where To Find Marnie Cate

Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Blog, Website