Once Upon A Scream Author Spotlight: Alison McBain

Horroraddicts.net Publishing has recently published our 4th anthology called Once Upon A ScreamRemember the Fairy tales that you grew up reading? Well, they are back again with a horror twist. Once Upon A Scream includes 18 tales that are fantastic and frightful. One of the authors in this anthology is Alison McBain and recently talked to us about her writing:

What is your story in Once Upon A Scream called and what is it about?

OnceUponAScreamFront“The Godmother’s Bargain” was inspired by the fairy tale of Cinderella. In the story, Cinderella is no innocent but seeks out the devil to make her dreams come true.

What inspired the idea?

I’ve always enjoyed reading Grimm’s Fairy Tales, and part of what I’ve enjoyed was the darkness of the tales. Most people are aware of the sanitized, Disney version of fairy tales, but I actually like the bloodier background, where toes and heels get chopped off the evil stepdaughters and pigeons peck out their eyes after Cinderella marries the prince. Since the original is so horrific, I wondered how I could make it even more shocking – and the answer turned into this story.

When did you start writing?

The first story I wrote was when I was in my single digits. It was a horror story explaining about why there were monsters in the closet. My answer: an interdimensional portal, of course. And the fight to “take back the closet” involved lots of blood and guts. Ah, good times.

What are your favorite topics to write about?

I’m not sure I have favorite topics to write about – I prefer themes about transitions and change, about inverting the expected and taking a story in a new direction. Other than that, all subjects and genres are fair game.

What are some of your influences?27400522

I’d like to say pretty much everything influences me, but that doesn’t narrow it down too much, does it? So I’ll have to say one of the greatest influences on my writing was the very talented author, Tanith Lee. She was a pioneer in the genre, and the first woman to win the British Fantasy (August Derleth) Award for best novel. Her writing has always inspired me.

What do you find fascinating about the horror genre?

It’s so much fun! This is where you can let your inner serial killer roam free, haha. The sky’s the limit in science fiction, but there really are no limits in horror.

What are some of the works you have available?

I have over forty short stories and poems published, most free to read online. A full list of my published and forthcoming works is on my website.

What are you currently working on?

Other than writing several short stories, I’ve been working on a speculative fiction novel set in a far-future colony light years from Earth. The original settlers go to war with the newer arrivals, a war interrupted only when a third wave of settlers arrive. Influenced by the modern hotbed topics of race, immigration and class concerns, the book is an epic, generation-spanning tale about family and survival.

Where can we find you online?

I blog and post writing updates and book reviews on my website. I am also the reviews editor at the magazine, Bewildering Stories official.

Horror Addicts Guide to Life Author Spotlight: Ron Vitale

12429386Ron Vitale writes fantasy novels and he likes his characters to come to life with real emotion. For Horror Addicts Guide To Life  Ron wrote an article called What Is Horrifying To Me. In his article Ron gets into what his definition of horror is and what scares him. To read Ron’s article along with several other articles on living the horror lifestyle, pick up a copy of Horror Addicts Guide To Life. Recently Ron was nice enough to tell us what he likes about horror:

What do you like about the horror genre?

I like horror because it shows some of the deepest and darkest parts of the human psyche. There are many different types of horror, but my favorite are films and books that focus on the psychological aspects of a person’s mind. The anticipation and fear of the unexpected is more powerful in my opinion than splatter and gore. Not knowing if something is going to jump out behind the door you open is a primal impulse that has been part of our makeup since we started to walk on two legs. The fear of a predator, coming to get us, is ingrained in our minds. That is why I like horror.

What are some of your favorite horror movies, books or TV shows?8433824

I’m a big fan of the movie Alien. The atmospheric buildup of seeing the alien for the first time kept me on edge as a kid when I first saw the movie. And what isn’t there to like about the chest busting scene? I didn’t know it was coming and I couldn’t believe what I was seeing when it registered that I was seeing a damn alien coming out of a guy’s stomach. Another film that really freaked me out what Carrie. But when I think about more recent films, I really liked Let the Right One In. This Swedish vampire film had a lot going for it, but what impressed me the most is the ending scene at the pool. If you’d not seen it, check the film out. I don’t want to spoil the ending for you. For a low-budget foreign film, there’s some great things being done in this movie. Well worth checking out.

In what way do you live the horror lifestyle?

I’m a very private person and like to keep my thoughts to myself so you’ll not see me outwardly living a horror lifestyle. Instead it’s in my novels. I’ve written several fantasy books and, on the surface, they appear to be about cute topics: Cinderella and happily ever after. However, I really twisted the happily ever after tale around and focused on the darkness within. There’s possession, despair, fear and dark magic all strewn through my series. To me, the greatest horror is one not achieving the greatness that they have within them. Often my evil characters simply fall from grace and use their powers to harm others out of fear and jealousy. Their potential is lost and they’ve allowed themselves to succumb to their worst selves.

What are you currently working on?

I’m nearing completing to a fantasy book entitled Awakenings. It’s the first book in the Witch’s Coven series. I also have the draft to a science fiction novel that I wrote last year, but I haven’t had time to edit that one yet. There’s only so much time in the day!

Where can we find you online?

You can find me at www.ronvitale.com, but if you want to reach out to me, best way to do so is on Twitter. I’m @ronvitale. My novels are on Amazon, Kobo, Barnes & Noble, iBooks and just recently Lost: Cinderella’s Secret Witch Diaries was released on Audible. Working with a narrator to bring Cinderella and the other characters in my book to life was a fantastic experience.

HorrorAddicts.net 113, Mark Slade


Horror Addicts Episode# 113

Horror Hostess: Emerian Rich

Intro Music by: Valentine Wolfe

mark slade | anguisette | the witches

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Stolen_800px_KindleFairy tales don’t always have happy endings and sometimes there is a lot more to the story that we don’t know. In the book Cinderella’s Secret Diary (Book 1:Lost), Ron Vitale told what happened to Cinderella after she married the prince. Cinderella’s life didn’t turn out like she planned. In the end of the book Cinderella is living with her daughter Phoebe in America in the late 1700s. In Stolen:Cinderella’s Secret Diaries (Book 2) by Ron Vitale, its 10 years later and Cinderella is still in America and on the run.

The book begins with Cinderella, her daughter and their friend Rene’e on a prairie in America heading west in a wagon. Ten years ago Cinderella discovered she was a witch, Rene’e is also a witch and has been teaching Cinderella to use her powers. The trio of women want to keep their freedom and  live in America but dark forces are calling them back to England.

A witch hunter named Jeremiah has been hunting Cinderella for months. He plans to return her to England so she can use her powers to help England win the war against France. French Emperor Napoleon is under the control of the Faerie Queen Mab who wants to destroy Cinderella’s powers and rule all of Europe. Cinderella wants to stay out of the war but another force is also pulling her back to England. Cinderella never got over her former lover Henri and she goes to him in her dreams. Queen Mab and the witch hunter are using Cinderella’s dreams to track her and soon Cinderella finds herself trapped in a war that only she can stop.

Stolen is a book that works on many different levels and it can fit into several different genres. The story could be considered science fiction with its use of time travel, fantasy with the use of  magic, horror as the spirit of pestilence ravages the countryside and alternate history as the story gets into Native American history and European history. There is also is a lot of great battle scenes in the book.

Along with the theme of loving the wrong person and dealing with loneliness the book has great characters. The two main characters in Stolen are Cinderella and Queen Mab, they  both  love someone who doesn’t love them and are lonely.  The two women make mistakes that effect everyone around them and the book ends up being about them correcting their mistakes and growing from them.

I loved how Queen Mab is presented as being evil but as you get to know her you sympathize with her and you see her as a shade of grey. All of the characters in Stolen are shades of grey, the villains have  their good points and the protagonists have their bad points. They have their own agendas and everyone in the book reminds you of someone you would meet in real life.

My only complaint about the book is that there was almost too much going on. A little over half way through the book, the story gets into time travel and the characters visit so many different locations and times that I found myself getting a little confused.  That being said I still was excited to see what would happen next.

Stolen is a fast paced action packed thrill ride with fascinating characters and beautiful settings. I felt that Stolen was better than the first book in the series and I am very curious as to where Ron Vitale will go with the third book in the series. Stolen has something for fans of all genres and  you owe it to yourself to give it a chance.

Cinderella’s Secret Diary

Ever wonder what happened to Cinderella after she got married? Not all fairy tales have happy endings and things aren’t going well for Cinderella. Its the late 1700’s, Napoleon is raging a war on Europe and Cinderella is about to start a journey of self-discovery as she comes to terms with her failing marriage and inability to have a child.

This is the story behind Cinderella’s Secret Diary Book 1: Lost by Ron Vitale. The story begins with Cinderella writing in her diary asking her fairy godmother to help her with her problems. She then goes on to tell a story that her mother told her the night she died about the Faerie Lord. The Faerie Lord in the form of a silver fox was walking through the woods and finds a woman who was unhappily married. The Faerie Lord tells the woman that he loves her and has followed her for years; he then takes the woman away to the land of Fey, where the two are married and live happily ever after.

It has been a few years since the prince has married Cinderella and her life has not been a happy one. The prince neglects her and has been seen in the company of other women. Cinderella has yet to have a child which upsets the queen and she has no friends with the exception of a woman named Clarissa. Despite living in a palace Cinderella feels like a prisoner.

After writing several diary entries asking her fairy godmother for help. She finally receives an answer in her diary from her fairy godmother saying that she must free her mind and look within to solve her problems.  With the help of the queen, Cinderella comes up with a plan to visit France where she will meet with a witch to see why she can’t become pregnant.

In France Cinderella falls in love with another man and at this point in the story your thinking that this story is going to be just another romance novel, but then the story changes and becomes much more then that. The witch that was supposed to help Cinderella become pregnant is working with the queen to stop Napoleon from invading England. The witch also lets Cinderella know that she is more then just a princess and her fairy godmother is not working in her best interest. Cinderella is left to decide if she should follow her heart or do what she thinks is right.

If you buy Cinderella’s Secret Diary looking for a nice little fairy tale your going to be disappointed. This book is more of a dark fantasy aimed at a teenage  audience. I did enjoy this book but I had a couple of problems with it. There were a couple of continuity errors and there we’re a couple of things that I felt could have been explained better, but I don’t want to mention them here, because it would spoil the story. Another thing that bothered me was the fact that the whole book is from the first person point of view. The story is told entirely from a series of diary entries made by Cinderella (with some exceptions by the antagonist in the story). I don’t mind reading a whole book from one view point and the fact that it was all diary entries didn’t bother me. In fact there is a reason given why the whole story is told in diary entries.  I still would have liked it if we knew a little more about what the other characters and what they we’re thinking. I did find myself getting tired of reading about Cinderella’s feelings and hearing other character’s viewpoints would have made it better.

On the positive side I enjoyed how the author points out that Cinderella is trapped in a situation that she doesn’t like and can’t control then he goes on to show how the other characters are also trapped in situations they have no control over, such as the prince and queen. I also liked the exchanges between Cinderella and the rince. Despite both characters admitting to each other that they don’t love each other, they still show great affection for each other when Cinderella stays with the  prince when he gets injured and when the prince tries to rescue Cinderella from the villain in the story.   I found myself wanting the prince and Cinderella’s relationship to come to a different conclusion. I also loved the characters of the queen and the silver fox. Most of all I liked the point that the book makes that you shouldn’t wait for someone to come along to solve your problems with a magic wand, you have to depend on yourself to find what makes you happy. Though this book isn’t the kind of book that I usually like to read, I did enjoy it and can’t wait for Ron Vitale to write Book 2 of Cinderella’s story.