13 Questions with Patricia Santos

13 questions

As the Season Finale looms right around the corner, we thought it would be best to feed your horror hungry minds with a name familiar to Horror Addicts…Patricia Santos Marcantonio. Thought this is her first time to be featured as an author, Patricia made her HA debut in 2012 as a Guest Blogger with her post about La Llorona. She has also had her novel The Weeping Woman reviewed by our very own David Watson and was even had The Weeping Woman featured as one of our Free Fiction giveaways!

pmPatricia stated that she was both, “honored and excited” to be featured on HA. Excitingly enough the “short” Patricia will be sharing with us for episode 96 is an excerpt of her novel The Weeping Woman. Not wanting to give away too much information, all I could get out of Patricia was a small description about the excerpt. “It’s what I call my Mexican exorcism scene. A healer is removing a curse from a young girl. Pretty creepy. You’ll never look at a snake the same way.”

The inspiration for Santos’ novel came from her own childhood. “The Mexican folk tale of La Llorona.  It’s the story of a beautiful and selfish woman who drowned her own children. She was turned into a horrible apparition and is doomed to walk the night looking for her children. My parents told me the story when I was a kid and it scared the hell out of me.  The character is fascinating because she is evil, but also heartbreaking. I’ve also written a play and short story about her.”

Not only has Patricia been working on horror novels but darker children’s books as well, such as her book Red Ridin’ in the Hood. “I took fairy tales from around the world and retold them with Latino characters and culture to create a new take on them.  With each fairy tale, I had to come up with a central theme as a starter. For Example, Hansel and Gretel to me is about the tenacity of children.  I’m very proud of that book which made it on the reading list of many school districts. One story from the collection also is in a textbook. I have also written a middle-grade book about two resourceful sisters who hunt ghosts. They are scared and delighted because they discover a ghost in their new school. I’m looking for a publisher for that one.”

And Santos doesn’t stop there, her skill range from journalism to school books to writing screenplays. “I was a longtime reporter, but quit three years ago just to write. I love it. Being a reporter for all those years did teach me how to meet 16231423deadlines, write quickly and do research–all useful to a fiction writer. I also write screenplays and have placed in the top percentages in many contests. I have written and produced four short films. One of those is homage to bad sci-fi horror movies called “Attack of the Killer Potatoes.””

Like most of you Horror Addicts out there, Patricia’s love of horror grew from many of the classics. “I have so many favorites—mostly the ones that have distinct characteristics. The monster in “Alien.”  Boris Karloff’s “Frankenstein.” Anything zombie. Hannibal Lecter. The ants in “Them.” Christopher Lee’s  Dracula. The hotel in “The Shining.” James Arness’ “The Thing.” And of course, “Dexter,” who I will miss. I also love anything by H.P. Lovecraft and “Tales from the Crypt.”

Patricia’s future goals are simple, “to continue to be a storyteller and sell books, of course.” And continue she does, “A mystery involving Jack the Ripper, a John Grisham-drama, and also a graphic novel collection of horror and suspense stories called Suena Street. Suena means dream.”

For more information on Patricia Santos Marcantonio, be sure to check out these websites:
http://patriciasantosmarcantonio.com/
http://www.amazon.com/Patricia-Santos-Marcantonio/e/B001IXO71G
http://theweepingwoman.com/

Free Fiction Friday: The Weeping Woman

16231423For this week’s Free Fiction Friday selection we have Patricia Santos Marcantonio’s, The Weeping Woman. We have two copies of this great paranormal mystery to give out. All you need to do is be one of the first two people to leave a comment on this blog post and the book is yours. Here is a reprint of my review if you need me to persuade you to get your free copy:

Every culture has their ghost stories and one Mexican legend is the tale of La Llorona, The Weeping Woman. There was once a beautiful woman named Maria who had two children but was never married. She fell in love with a man but he did not want her kids, so Maria drowned them in the river. God punished her by taking away her beauty and leaving her to wander the earth yelling “where is my children.” To this day, kids  scare each other by saying “if you don’t watch out La Llorona will get you.”

This is the legend behind Patricia Santos Marcantonio’s The Weeping Woman. In San Antonio, children are going missing and detective Blue Rodriguez believes someone is copying the story of La Lorona.  Blue is a cop with a tortured past and when she is close to a dead body she has the ability to see what they saw and feel what they felt before they died. The kidnappings are taking place in her old neighborhood and to make matters worse, there is also an arsonist torching the city. Blue gets paired up with FBI agent Daniel Ryan and together they investigate several false leads before they figure out who is kidnapping the children. The kidnapper has powers of her own and has a connection to Blue. Blue has to face down her demons and come to terms with her past in order to save the children from The Weeping Woman.

What really made this book good was the characters, they are all three-dimensional with good back stories. The main theme of The Weeping Woman is that everyone has secrets in their past and even though you may try to hide them, they effect everything you do. The way the author proves her point is by showing how all the characters are all tortured  by their past .

For example, the arsonist wants to burn buildings down but you start to feel sorry for him as you hear why he does it. Also there is a drug dealer and you see how bad he is, but as you get into his background, you understand him and feel for him. Also the reaction he had when he helps lead the detectives to the missing kids, proves he is not all bad. There was also a suspect in the beginning whose last moments are described and you can’t help to feel compassion for him even though he was a bad person. Patricia Santos Marcantonio must have done a lot of research for her characters because they all seemed very real to me. Blue’s abusive mother and the arsonist’s drug addicted sister were excellent characters and I loved how Blue’s mother reacts when Blue stands up to her.

There were several sub plots in the story and Patricia does a great job weaving them together. There is also a point about loosing faith and getting it back again that I liked.  The Weeping Woman is an excellent tale that masterfully combines horror and mystery. The characters are great and the story line is like a Criminal Minds episode geared towards a horror fan. If you like a mystery with a paranormal twist, check this one out.

If you want a free copy of The Weeping Woman, please leave a comment below.

The Weeping Woman

16231423Every culture has their ghost stories and one Mexican legend is the tale of La Llorona, The Weeping Woman. There was once a beautiful woman named Maria who had two children but was never married. She fell in love with a man but he did not want her kids, so Maria drowned them in the river. God punished her by taking away her beauty and leaving her to wander the earth yelling “where is my children.” To this day, kids  scare each other by saying “if you don’t watch out La Llorona will get you.”

This is the legend behind Patricia Santos Marcantonio’s The Weeping Woman. In San Antonio, children are going missing and detective Blue Rodriguez believes someone is copying the story of La Lorona.  Blue is a cop with a tortured past and when she is close to a dead body she has the ability to see what they saw and feel what they felt before they died. The kidnappings are taking place in her old neighborhood and to make matters worse, there is also an arsonist torching the city. Blue gets paired up with FBI agent Daniel Ryan and together they investigate several false leads before they figure out who is kidnapping the children. The kidnapper has powers of her own and has a connection to Blue. Blue has to face down her demons and come to terms with her past in order to save the children from The Weeping Woman.

What really made this book good was the characters, they are all three-dimensional with good back stories. The main theme of The Weeping Woman is that everyone has secrets in their past and even though you may try to hide them, they effect everything you do. The way the author proves her point is by showing how all the characters are all tortured  by their past .

For example, the arsonist wants to burn buildings down but you start to feel sorry for him as you hear why he does it. Also there is a drug dealer and you see how bad he is, but as you get into his background, you understand him and feel for him. Also the reaction he had when he helps lead the detectives to the missing kids, proves he is not all bad. There was also a suspect in the beginning whose last moments are described and you can’t help to feel compassion for him even though he was a bad person. Patricia Santos Marcantonio must have done a lot of research for her characters because they all seemed very real to me. Blue’s abusive mother and the arsonist’s drug addicted sister were excellent characters and I loved how Blues mother reacts when Blue stands up to her.

The only thing I didn’t like about the book was that there was a love story between two characters that I thought was out-of-place. I felt it slowed things down and there was already a good love story between Blue, her sister and their aunt. There were several sub plots in the story and Patricia does a great job weaving them together. There is also a point about loosing faith and getting it back again that I liked.  The Weeping Woman is an excellent tale that masterfully combines horror and mystery. The characters are great and the story line is like a Criminal Minds episode geared towards a horror fan. If you like a mystery with a paranormal twist, check this one out.

Guest Blog: Patricia Marcantonio – La Llorona

How La Llorona scared and inspired me

As a kid in Pueblo, Colorado, I lived down the street from a cemetery, which to any horror fan is like living near Disneyland.

The cemetery was old. A six- foot tall stone and crumbing fence surrounded the place which we ignored during the day. But nighttime was another matter. Facing our street was a black iron gate in the cemetery wall and lone light above that Llorona Graphicthrew off a yellow illumination not only attracting bugs but evil.  Just inside the gate was gravestone with the name Frankenburg or something like that. To us, however, it became Frankenstein’s resting place, or unresting place.  We used to dare each other to touch the stone and live to tell the story. I tried once. My fingers grazed the cool marble. I swore I heard Frankenstein moan, or maybe it was Frankenburg.

Before the days of zombie videos, my friends and cousins tried to outdo one another in scaring the socks off each other in the evenings before our parents called us in for the night. And as Latinos, we specifically terrified each other with sightings of La Llorona.

We all knew the story of La Llorona, which had been told to us by our parents. As a result, the variations are many but this is the one my sister and I heard. The story starts with a beautiful, selfish woman who loved to party and keep company with men. One day, she drowned her children so she could run off a man. God swept the babies to heaven, but his wrath fell upon the woman. Her once lovely face turned demonic from her wickedness. Her hair became white as mist and gnarled as angry snakes, and her eyes were blood red from incessant weeping for her lost children. She called in a hideous squeaky voice, “Where are my babies? Where are my babies. ” La Llorona means the weeping woman.

Though not exactly a cozy bedtime story, the tale was meant to keep youngsters away from strangers. But to us, the weeping woman was just another monster from which to hide or run from. In fact, she ranked right up there with vampires and Frankenstein. (The zombie craze had not yet hit back then.)

In front of the cemetery, the cousins would yell, “It’s the Llorona!” We would spin and swear we could see her, or at least imagine seeing her. Dragging twisted feet and wearing a dirty ragged white gown. We’d scream out of the very real fear—for it is that when you are nine–that she would indeed grab us with claw covered hands and take us to hell or drown us like she did her poor children.  We’d scatter, then return the spot under the cemetery light and wonder what other monster we could spot.

Those were the good times.

I owe a lot to La Llorona. She scared me then and was part of the inspiration for me becoming a writer. Hers was just a darned good story. It also made me want more horror tales.

I stayed up reading “Tales from the Crypt” and H.P. Lovecraft.  Sure, I loved to read fairy tales and all those other good kids books, but give me a good scare every time.

I never missed Friday night horror movies on TV. One night when my father worked a late shift,  my sister, my mom and me huddled together watching the original “Invasion of the Body Snatchers.” We trembled when an unformed alien body oozed out of one of those bizarre pods. We didn’t want to close our eyes in sleep and I was tempted to look under my bed to make sure there were no pods.

Ah, what memories.

As I grew up, my love of horror continued. Vampires were among my favorites. Not the cute Edward Cullen kind, but the bloodsuckers whose eyes were gorged with blood from their latest victims. To this day, I am a particular fan of Christopher Lee’s version in the British Rank Films. Now that is one vampire you don’t want to see outside your window.

My love of the horrific in books, graphic novels, television and movies continues. Why? It is true.  The more scared you are, the more you feel alive. But there is something else. Perhaps, it is because of a sad humanity behind the monsters and creatures. An unfairness when a man grows hair and fangs through no fault of his own, when you happen to move into a house built over a cemetery, when the devil has its eye on you, or you’re stuck in a spaceship with a malevolent alien. There is also bravery in how people face a Michael Myers, Jigsaw, anyone carrying a chainsaw, and a zombie licking its lips for your brain.

I do write children’s books, dramas, and romance. But horror is well, special, all because of La Llorona. She inspired me, and her tale is part of my culture and childhood. I have written about the weeping woman in a short story, play, and now a novel. She taught what it was like to be scared.

Sometimes, my husband and I walk our dogs at night. Up ahead under a street light, I still wonder if La Llorona lurks in the shadows, crying for her doomed babies, claws out, and ready to strike.

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Patricia Santos Marcantonio grew up with a family of storytellers. Her children’s book “Red Ridin‘ in the Hood” (Farrar, Straus and Giroux) earned an Anne Izard Storyteller’s Choice Award and American Library Association Starred Review, and was named a Best Collections to Share – Wilde Awards. Her screenplays have hit the top percentage in several contests, including MORE Women in Film, Screenwriting Expo 5, Women in Film Las Vegas and the Phoenix Film Festival contest. Her new horror novel, “The Weeping Woman” has been released by Sunbury Press, Inc.

You can find more at www.theweepingwoman.com and www.patriciamarcantonio.wordpress.com.