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Showing posts from July, 2020

The Seven Gates to Hell (Collinsville, Illinois)

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Collinsville, Illinois. It’s a small town on the edge of nowhere that has a wicked secret.

Collinsville is a small, rural town in Southern Illinois. With a population of 24,000, the town has its share of travelers coming off the highway and into its quaint downtown area in search of rest or a meal. Driving down Main Street, it’s all American flags and ice cream cones, until you get to the outskirts of town.

Main Street runs directly into Lebanon Road. If you turn left onto Lebanon Road., an increasingly wooded landscape and dilapidated houses will escort you to Collinsville’s dark little secret: The Seven Gates to Hell.

The Seven Gates to Hell is a local urban legend that states that if you drive under these seven abandoned railroad trestles in order, at midnight, hell hounds will greet you and escort you into Hell itself. That’s all well and good, but here’s the thing… These trestles are not all right next to each other, and it is very easy to get lost in these twisted backroads.

Writing a Choose Your Own Adventure Book: Mapping It Out

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I have a book coming out October 2021 called Legend Tripping: A "Choose Your Own" Travel Guide. Basically, I wanted to write a standard travel guide based on a "paranormal road trip" I've been on. I thought it might be boring to write just your standard travel guide. I mean, everyone and their mother has done a paranormal travel guide (Although not quite with the same locations I'm exploring). So, I decided "travel guide, 'Choose Your Own Adventure' format!" Now, I'm finding that just mapping it out is harder than it looks.


I give major accolades to the original writers of the "Choose Your Own Adventure" books. These are hard to write. It's not the writing itself that's the hard part; It's staying organized. Staying organized is mandatory for this type of book, or you're going to get confused and give up on the whole thing.


Here's the way I stay organized; Instead of an outline, I map out the structure. I…

Hunted (Darcy Coates, 2018)

Is anyone afraid of getting lost in the woods?

I am.

How about if the stakes are raised? Like... Your friend is lost in those woods, possibly hurt, and you must go in to try to find them?

Definitely.

That's the premise of Darcy Coates's novel Hunted. Having no faith in the police, four friends go into the woods where one of their crew has disappeared on a solo hiking expedition. In doing so, the group discovers that someone, or something, is following them. This creature sees them. This creature has set traps. This creature is causing the group to become more lost the further into the woods they go.

What would you do?

This book conveys the type of story that niggles at our innate fears. The fear of the dark. The fear of the unknown. The fear of the "other". These fears are ingrained in us from birth as survival mechanisms. This is precisely what makes this story so compelling.

I have always had a fascination with how fear plays on our psyches and what roles those fea…

The Looking Glass

The first time I saw her, she was fluffing her hair. She stared right at me, smoothed the bright auburn strands, and touched up her coral lipstick while she waited for you. When she finished primping, she gave me the saddest look I’ve ever seen. I’m not even sure she realized she did it. Then the door opened, and she exchanged the lost look in her eyes for a fake smile. You’d never notice that smile wasn’t genuine.




The second time I saw her, she looked at me more closely than the first time. Could she sense me looking at her? I panicked as she fully turned her head in my direction. She looked at me from across the room and smiled. Turning to you, she asked you something I couldn’t decipher. I heard you say her name - Marcia. You nodded and told her to “go ahead.” That’s when she sauntered over to me in a way that only she can. Her smile was genuine this time. I felt special.



After this, I saw Marcia frequently, but she was always with you. I saw the way you treated her. Despicable. Th…

Looking for ARC Reviews

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I love to read. I'll read anything, especially if it's free. I suppose others are not as discerning.

Before we go any further (just in case you are unaware) - ARC = Advance Reader Copy: As an ARC reviewer, you get a free copy of the book before it's released in exchange for your honest review on outlets such as Amazon, Smashwords, Apple itunes, blogs, social media, etc.

I have been looking for ARC reviewers willing to read my newest book Revelations: A Horror Anthology. Now, I've never bothered with getting ARC reviews for my previous two books. I figured I didn't need these reviews. And although sales on these books are decent, I'm looking to improve.

So, I got ambitious. I started the "ARC challenge" last week with a goal of getting 150 ARC reviews on my book by September 1. I'm telling you, I've posted about this opportunity EVERYWHERE. I've posted so much that feel like one of those awful spammers (and if you've gotten multiple ema…

Legend Tripping: A "Choose Your Own" Travel Guide

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This is no ordinary vacation.




Get ready for the vacation from hell. In this twist on the choose-your-own-adventure novel, try to locate your missing friend as you explore mysterious locations from urban folklore. Attempt to unravel the mystery throughout each location before it’s too late for both you and your companions.





2021

Jynx (Simon Corn, 2020)

I’m traveling outside my comfort zone a little bit. Okay, a lot. Usually, I’m a serious mystery/horror/thriller reader and watcher. I haven’t had much love for comedy in any sense, even dark humor, because rarely is it done right.

So, I’ve left it alone. Until now.

Jynx, written by Simon Corn, is a delightfully dark comedic mystery. The story follows Jynx, a germophobic man who generally keeps to himself and harbors an eerie secret. Jynx’s secret? Death inhabits his body from time to time and forces Jynx to watch Others die. When Jynx meets Chelsea, Sea for short, Jynx’s small, quiet world gets turned upside down. He becomes involved in the biggest mystery/scandal the small town of Hazyview has probably ever seen, and Mister Death is a part of it.

I just want to start out by saying I adore this book. It’s not straight up horror or thriller or comedy. It’s a combination of all three genres. After the first page, I was hooked, and I’ll tell you why.

The character of Jynx is very speci…

How Vanity Publishers Rip You Off

You know the publishers I'm talking about. You've seen them. The ones that aggressively advertise on the internet. The ones that promise big returns for a small fee from you.

I have a client who published her first two books with a vanity publisher. She paid the publishing company up front in the form of a membership to their website and to have access to her "author dashboard". Then she paid quite a bit for copies of her books in print. Many, many copies. I'm talking thousands of copies she didn't know what to do with. The worst part about the entire thing is that she doesn't even own her books. The copyright belongs to the publisher.

My client got scammed. By the time she came to me, it was too late. There was nothing I could do with the books she already had published since she wasn't the copyright owner. The only thing I could do was advise her to talk the publisher into letting her out of her contract. Sure, she could have rewritten her book and…

Revelations Cover Art and Legend Tripping: A "Choose-Your-Own" Travel Guide

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I want to give a big shout out to Chris Manley for designing the cover art for Revelations: A Horror Anthology. It perfectly captures the atmosphere of the book and I absolutely love it! This book launches with major retailers on September 15, 2020.

I am also super excited about another book I'm working on, Legend Tripping: A "Choose-Your-Own" Travel Guide. This is what I call a "choose-your-own-hell" adventure book. If you're familiar with my blog, you'll recognize some of the locations I've covered here. This book launches October 2021.

I'll give you guys updates on both books as they become available.

Thanks for reading!


Revelations: A Horror Anthology Pre-Order

The Revelations: A Horror Anthologypre-order is now live! The pre-order is for the Kindle edition. The paperback version will be available for order on September 15. (And... I have to say this... Please don't judge the book by it's cover 😜, it's a temporary cover.)

I'm also looking for ARC reviewers if anyone's interested in writing a short, honest review on it. It would be greatly appreciated. If you are interested in the ARC thing, please email me at hartl_elizabeth@yahoo.com or contact me at Elizabeth Edits.

I can't say this enough...

Thank you for your readership. It really does mean everything. 💕💕💕