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Tales of the Darksome Thorn: The Dead Forsworn
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Thursday, June 22, 2017

Nifty Newly, featuring Juanita Aydlette

Juanita is a fellow author from Louisiana. Her first novel, It's in the Blood, is a paranormal fantasy/romance released by Class Act Books in 2016. She loves dogs, and is excited to be working on the sequel to her first book. Please welcome Juanita Aydlette to Nifty Newly!

What's the title of the book you're working on?

I am working on part-2 of It's in the Blood, entitled Blood Ties.

How many books have you written? Published/unpublished? What genre? 

I have actually written three novels—published one. I love romance, fantasy, suspense, thrillers, paranormal and whatever. The other two books are a paranormal, and a suspense. After working with my editor from Class Act on my first book, I'm going to re-work them before submitting them. I wrote them a long time ago and put them on the shelf.

What inspires you, as a writer? 

I lived in my own fantasy world as a child, and now I'm bringing that world to life.

How do you come up with names? 

Wow! They sort of pop up most of the time. I do try to pick names from a certain era or culture that I'm writing about.

How do you come up with ideas? 

A good question. I read a lot, trying to come up with something that I think would be different. Some of the ideas, however, might offend my church, so I try to be careful about what I write. I like to take past events, sometimes, and extend on the actual facts, you know—take them in a different direction from the original story. Not always does it work...

Why is originality important in fiction? Or is it important? 

I think originality is important, because it brings out the real creative mind of the author—really tests your skills.

What would you consider a good example of originality in your fiction? 

Most fiction I feel is combined with true facts, and there will be a pinch of my life story in all of my future fantasy books, whether it's a wish or and actual fact. Since I've traveled a bit and experienced how people of different cultures live, I feel I can possibly bring something different to my stories.

Thank you so much for your time, Juanita. Happy writing! 

Thank you for having me. It's been great talking to you.

To support Juanita, check out this excerpt from her first book, followed by links to purchase her work and explore her websites. 


Never stare at a green-eyed, shirtless hunk. Gabrielle Madsen is drawn in by such a pair of eyes that captures her soul and leaves her a prisoner of an addictive kind of love--not that she's complaining. But her educational trip turns out to be more than just a fun-filled summer escapade.

She’s faced with a life-changing decision that could affect the world around her. Her discovery of this ancient, legend-come-to-life proves to be deadly, but her heart can’t break away. She and Josh Van Ness fall in love and must battle the forces that want to keep them apart.

Excerpt from It's in the Blood:

“This is the Kikuyu tribe,” Josh explained. “They live isolated from the outside world and they’ve hunted successfully in this area. They have practically no contact with the world beyond this jungle.”
“How did you find them?”
“They found me,” he said. I wasn’t quite ready for an explanation, so I decided to save all my questions until after the adventure.
“We made it just in time,” Chris shouted. She took my hand from Josh and led me over to a group of women who were carrying bowls made of mud. They smiled as they reached for my hands.
“Don’t be afraid, they only want to paint us.”
I looked around for the guys and they had a head start—already being slathered in red and green. They had removed their shirts and were wrapping themselves with garments made of hides. Josh had a tattoo of a tiger over his heart. I tried not to stare at it when I gave him my dad’s shirt. Chris handed me a straw skirt, and the ladies proceeded to cover us with mashed berries. It turned our faces and arms a pretty shade of purple.
“How will we get this off?” Chris didn’t answer. She simply laughed and removed her blouse—exposing her breasts.
“Oh, no! I’ll do the paint thing but that’s as far as I’m going.”
“Suit yourself.” She shrugged. “Maybe next time.”
“Maybe not.” We were nearly unrecognizable when they finished our makeover and so were Josh and Mike.
After our severe camouflaging, the natives formed a circle around a pile of smoldering branches. Drum beats echoed, splitting the air. The women began a sensual dance, swaying their heads back and forth with their hands placed on their sides. They lowered themselves into a squatting position, singing and moving their midsections in synchronized rhythm. Though it was all foreign language to me, their song was soothing to my ears. Their nimble bodies made contact with their partners while never breaking the rhythm of the drum beats. The men cradled the women as they succumbed hypnotically to their harmonious chants.
Without warning, Josh joined the circle and danced with them. His movements were perfectly in sync with theirs. His skin glimmered with perspiration, and his pierced navel ring circled with an embarrassing invitation. I glanced away. He then ran over and grabbed my hand, pulling me back to the circle of entranced dancers.
“No!” I shouted above the drum beats. Mike and Chris were right behind me, prancing and following Josh.
“Come on Gabby, have fun. We come here all the time,” she said. “Josh sometimes spends the night here.”
Josh was then holding me close—my stomach smashed into his—a little closer than I had planned to be. With his face just inches from mine, he held his mouth open, inhaling deeply and sucking the breath right out of me.
“Do you?”
“Do I what?” he asked. He bit down on his bottom lip.
“Spend the night here sometimes.”
“I have, a few times—when I needed to get away from things.”
“You’re not afraid at all, are you?”

Find out more about Juanita at:
Twitter: @Juanita Aydlette

Buy Links: 

Publisher’s website:

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Nifty Newly, featuring Rick McQuiston

Rick is a lifelong horror fanatic who also enjoys music and movies. He's been writing seriously for over 20 years, and plans to continue churning out horror fiction as long as he's able. He loves anything horror-related. Please welcome to Nifty Newly, Rick McQuistion

What's the title of the book you're working on? 

Tentatively: novel -- Things that Bite, anthology -- Through the Cemetery Gates

How many books have you written? Published/unpublished? What genre? 

Ten horror anthologies (self-published) and five horror novels (two self-published- three published by Class Act Books).

What inspires you, as a writer? 

Man's oldest emotion: fear, and how each individual character deals with it.

How do you come up with names? 

I have a running list that I keep. When I think of a character I try to affix the name that best suits him/her.

How do you come up with ideas? 

I like to take everyday situations and twist them into something completely different. However, I do feel it's important to adhere to a sense of realism, thus selling the supernatural aspects that much more easily.

Why is originality important in fiction? Or is it important?

Originality in fiction is very important, particularly in horror. Any genre, however, needs at least some sense of originality, otherwise a reader can guess what direction the story is going in.

What would you consider a good example of originality in your fiction?

"A Slave to my Passion," "Writer," "A Brief Eternity," and "A Tense Situation."

Thank you so much for your time, Rick! You can learn more about Rick McQuiston at: 

Publisher’s website:
Author's website:

And you can experience more of Rick's fiction with this excerpt from his new monster story, Eat the World. Purchase links follow. 


In picturesque Mackinac a growing army of rats are beginning to seep into the community of tourists. They seemingly appear out of nowhere, and it is up to ordinary people to gather their courage and battle the hordes.

But there is something more frightening beneath the surface, something that was born from the accumulated depths of Earth's creatures, something that can threaten the entire world.

Excerpt from Eat the World:

The rodent scurried through the narrow channel. It barely managed to squeeze its lengthy bulk into the tight aperture, but by inhaling a deep breath of warm, salty air, it was able to reduce its girth enough to allow it somewhat comfortable passage. A cursory glance to either side after it cleared the opening revealed nothing predatory or dangerous.

The rodent then scrambled into the brush.

In its wake was a vicious, gray-green substance that loosely resembled hydraulic motor oil left in the sun too long. It was thick in consistency, yet still transparent enough to allow the dozens of tiny organisms swirling within it to be seen. It bristled with unnatural life.

The small grass snake slithered through the brush. Its brown, speckled hide gave it perfect camouflage in the wild. It melted into its surroundings, becoming for all intents and purposes, invisible to both predator and prey. It was its natural defense mechanism as well as aiding it with tracking down prey.

The snake's belly convulsed with hunger. It hadn't eaten in days and was in danger of starving. It scanned the woods for any sign of movement, anything at all that it could inflict a bite on and swallow whole.

There was no movement whatsoever. Not even a stray beetle or ant scuttled by. The snake was completely alone in the vast wilderness of the island. It laid perfectly still, both to conserve energy and to avoid detection. It sensed that something was watching it from a darkened crevice nearby. Something bigger than it was and undoubtedly just as hungry.

The snake didn't move a muscle. It hoped that whatever was hidden in the crevice wouldn't notice it. The strange substance on the ground bristled beneath its body, but it had more pressing matters to be concerned about. Flicking its tongue, the snake tasted the air. Far below, the cold waters of Lake Huron washed up against I-67. Being the only state highway in the US without motorized vehicles, the pristine ribbon of asphalt circled the entire island.

The movement caught the snake's attention. It swung its conical head in the direction of the sound: the dark crevice. Whatever was watching it had moved. Several quick tongue darts picked up a scent, causing the snake to recoil back into itself. It could defend itself if need be, but if its adversary was larger it would quickly opt for retreat. Self-preservation was perhaps the only instinct that overrode all others, including hunger and the need to mate. When faced with a threat, survival was paramount.

The snake hissed in a feeble effort to ward off its potential adversary. It reared up then to display its size. It did not know if it was larger, or smaller than the other creature, but it was one of the few weapons it possessed.

The rodent poked its pink snout out of the crevice. It sniffed a few times, and satisfied that suitable prey was within striking distance, settled back on its haunches as it prepared to attack.

With a blinding ferocity beyond any member of its species, the huge, bloated rat launched itself out of the crevice and sucked down the too-slow grass snake in one violent swallow.

The reptile never had a chance.

With its hunger temporarily sated, the rat lumbered away into the brush. It left copious amounts of the strange substance behind, leaving a sickly trail leading into the woods.

The substance squirmed with minuscule life.

Buy Links:  

Publisher’s website:

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Nifty Newly, featuring Tony-Paul de Vissage

Tony-Paul de Vissage is a Southerner of French Huguenot heritage, whose first movie memory is of being a six-year-old viewing the old Universal horror flick, Dracula’s Daughter, on television. He was subsequently scared sleepless—and that may explain a lifelong interest in vampires.

He is now paying back his very permissive parents by writing about vampires. Before the screaming starts, let's welcome Tony-Paul de Vissage to Nifty Newly. 

What's the title of the book you're currently working on?

I’m currently struggling with a little paranormal tome entitled A Single Shade of Red. It’s a sequel to The Last Vampire Standing, which was published by Class Act books in 2012. It’s taking quite a while because the main character Vlad Chemare is being difficult.

How many books have you written? Published/unpublished? What genre?

I’ve written a total of 25 novels, including the aforementioned Single Shade.
Sixteen were paranormal/vampires novels; three were M/M romances; two were historical horror; and three were short story collections, now out of print.

What inspires you, as a writer?

Being a writer of supernatural stories, I’m inspired by nearly any novel, movie, TV episode, legend, myth, or anecdote in the same vein (no pun intended).☺

How do you come up with names?

I have several books on names, and if I can’t find one to suit, I do a search on names from the particular country where my novel is set. I try not to use ones which are difficult to pronounce or which might be pronounced incorrectly by the reader, however.

How do you come up with ideas?

I’m afraid I have a quirky imagination and it has a habit of twisting the endings of stories I’ve heard onto new and bizarre paths.

Why is originality important in fiction? Or is it important?

Well, we certainly don’t want the same thing being churned out day after day, do we?  Occasionally, we need something to wake us up and stir our imaginations, not simply SO-SO…same old, same old…cookie-cutter assembly-line narrations.

What would you consider a good example of originality in your fiction?

My series the Second Species. I thought I was being exceptionally original by creating a group of beings who weren’t really vampires but sufferers of the genetic disease X-P in which a person’s DNA can’t repair the damage done by ultraviolet light. I thought I was being very clever.  Time will tell if I was.

Thank you so much for joining us, Tony-Paul! We've attached a selection from Shadow Lord, as well as links to Tony-Paul Vissage's website and where you can purchase a copy of Shadow Lord. Have fun exploring, and be sure to bring a friend! 

Blurb for Shadow Lord (Book 1 of the Second Species series):

While Humans multiply into Earth’s dominant life-form, the Tree of Man sprouts another prolific branch—the aventurieri, winged, nocturnal hunters with a dietary need for blood. As legends evolve about them, Mankind's half-brothers live their twilight lives in the Carpathians’ shadowed heights, where they develop their own civilization, laws, and religion—and a prophecy of a savior paradoxically betraying his people.

When Janos Strigoi is murdered by Mircea Ravagiu, his son’s demand for revenge expels him into the outside world of 18th century Europe. Marek Strigoi’s existence, as well as that of his species, will be forever changed as he seeks his father’s killer.

When both the hunter and the hunted are vampires, not even Hell can stand in the way.


Though the sun had been down for many hours, Elsabeta Suvoi was still abed. Her lover liked her that way, wanting his woman where she was convenient whenever his lust seized him. Elsabeta was slavishly in love with Mircea Ravagiu. He was violent and insatiable, as cruel in bed as out of it, but she worshipped him. It had been so from the moment they met, after her father’s reluctant invitation to a banchet at his castel. Elsabeta had taken one look at the black-eyed warrior, saw the lustful gleam in his eyes, and left with him that night against her parents’ wishes. She’d sullied the Suvoi name to become his iubita...and she didn’t care.

He never spoke aloud that he loved her, though often he praised her body for the satisfaction it gave him. He said straightaway she should never expect marriage or offspring, but Elsabeta was a female of her time from a family of women considered mere chattels to their males, so she accepted his domination without argument. Running away with Mircea was her one independent act.

At first horrified by the bloody orgies and attacks upon the deomi, the humans living on the edges of his estate, she now ignored his rapaciousness and his brutal games, letting his prowess in bed distract her. When her lover and his soldati returned from their hunts, she locked herself in her bedchamber, its thick walls drowning out the screams from below. It was the cries of the children that cut most into her soul. At those times, she thanked the Oracle Ravagiu swore he’d never get her with child, for it came into her mind should it happen, it might be her own infant shrieking out its life in the castel banquet chamber.

To Elsabeta, Mircea Ravagiu was like one of the dreadful Ancient Ones who devoured its own offspring. She truly believed he wouldn’t hesitate to rip out his own child’s throat and drink its blood should the thought come to him. Yet, with that perversity Nature renders some, she loved the man and never thought to leave him.

She was jerked from her semi-slumber by the chamber door being kicked open, sat up to stare at the figure in the doorway...Mircea, upper body bare, wings hovering around him. They were still quivering, evidence he’d flown rapidly and had just landed. From where she sat, she could hear his harsh panting. He held something in his arms.

“Get dressed.” No words of greeting or love. Just an order.

“Why? What’s the matter?” A loud crashing came through the doorway, voices crying out. “What’s that noise?”

“My men are disposing of the vanjosi.” He answered as calmly as if merely announcing the moon had risen. “Strigoi’s freak’s on his way here and we have to go.”

“You should’ve expected this.” She dared remind him of what he’d done, though it jeopardized her own life. “Did you think you could slaughter his family and he wouldn’t retaliate?”

She’d been horrified when he returned from his brother’s castel announcing they’d been executed by the Prince’s Taietor, didn’t believe it when he said he planned to kill the Shadow Lord and his family. She hadn’t thought he’d succeed and waited to be told he was dead, resigned to living the rest of her days as an outcast for the choice she’d made. And then, Mircea returned, bloodily triumphant...and Janos Strigoi and his wife were dead and their children carried away to be tortured before their blood nourished their father’s enemy.

“I never thought that book-bound scholastic’d have balls enough to take a sword in his hands.” He stalked into the room. The sounds from below got louder, women screaming, men shouting, voices abruptly cut off to be replaced by others just as terrified. “Get up or you’ll join my servants.”

Sliding from the bed, she hastened to obey but as she reached for her chemise and overskirt, he said, “We’re flying. Make certain your wings are unhampered.”

The bundle he held began to move. It squirmed, kicking itself free of the swathing
blanket. A plump little leg, an arm...a baby, a little girl-child, tiny and out of place in Mircea’s deadly embrace.

“Dear one.” Elsabeta stopped with the garment in her hands. A sick dread twisted inside
her. “Wh-who’s that?”

“My daughter.” His answer was as short as if he’d bitten the word. “Now.”

Daughter? How can he have a child? Hadn’t he told her he wished no brats, that the only thing he wanted from them was their sweet, immortality-laden blood?

Shrugging her wings out of their concealing pouches, she peered at the infant. The child
whimpered, turning her head and holding out her hands. She was blond and blue-eyed, not quite a year old. This is Janos Strigoi’s child. Elsabeta’s heart felt as if it had been wrung dry.

“What are you going to do with her?” Even as she asked the question, she knew she had to prevent it. If she had to risk her own life and finally brave Mircea’s wrath, she couldn’t let him harm this child.

“It’ll be fitting, don’t you think?” His laugh was harsh. “Raising the Shadow Lord’s brat as
my own? Teaching her how to be a Ravagiu and some day, letting the survivors know?”

“No! Please…” A woman’s scream floated up to them, dying away in a bloody wail.

“Are you ready?” He thrust the child into her arms.

Elsabeta cuddled it against her naked breast, holding the little body tightly. I must do whatever it takes to protect this baby. If it kills me.

He held out his hand.

“Where are we going?” She placed her own in it. He led her toward the window.

“I’m fortunate my brother saw fit to have holdings in other countries and I’ve traveled to them.” One fist struck the shutters, sending them flying. He climbed upon the sill. “We’re going to Budapest. Hold tight to the brat. If you drop her, I’ll kill you.”

He flung himself through the window into the air. Naked as she was, Elsabeta was pulled along, clutching the child. Releasing her hand, Mircea circled and rose swiftly, his body completing a graceful curve as he aimed himself over the trees, Elsabeta trailing after him.

Below them, the killings continued for another hour.

Find out more about Tony-Paul at:

Twitter:  @tpvissage

Publisher’s website:
Amazon author’s page:

Buy Link for Shadow Lord: