How to get your book reviewed on BookTube

I’ve always considered myself a shitty saleswoman, so imagine my surprise when I did something right by just writing a personal letter to one of my favorite book tubers Peter Loves Books. After watching his videos and getting to know him as a cyber “friend”, I had an inkling he might enjoy Unmasked, my campy throw-back horror novel. He hasn’t finished it yet, but so far so good. In an age when it’s so easy to just write an email or a fly off a tweet, it’s nice to know a personal letter is still appreciated. I just may buy some new stationery and make it a regular habit. Thanks, Peter!

Fostering Creativity – Part 2

edwardgoreyparty
You don’t say…

Listen.

That’s a declarative, not an imperative sentence. At some point when I reached, ehem, maturity, I made a conscious decision to become a good listener. I’m not that much of a talker to begin with (well, maybe after a few glasses of wine…) and some people can certainly rattle on and on which can be extremely vexing as you try to ease them into a soft landing and make your escape, but I’ve found that being a good listener has had incredible benefits for me as a writer.

Everyone has a story.

In the current novel I’m writing, one of my main characters talks a lot. He talks a lot of bullshit in fact being something of a prevaricator, but he also reveals a lot: about the characters, about the overarching story, and in the midst of all the b.s. the clues to solving the mystery.  Agatha Christie often buried the solutions to her puzzles in the dialogue of her chattiest (and silliest) characters, and woe to the reader who skipped over those parts.  Continue reading “Fostering Creativity – Part 2”

Indie Horror Review #4

Anywhere But Here: A Short Horror Story

Sent  to me for an advanced review by a fellow horror author Jordon Greene on Goodreads, Anywhere But Here (more novella than short story) explores the intriguing (and certainly ripe for horror exploitation) concept of sleep paralysis. Having experienced this myself a few times, the author does a fine job in describing the graying of the room’s edges, the shadowy figures circling the bed, and (worse) the sufferer’s inability to move or speak, yet remain fully present to experience any agony that might ensue from whatever motivates these nocturnal visitations. Continue reading “Indie Horror Review #4”

On Easter Sunday

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by R. Saint Claire
In our Sunday coats we stay.
A sunny day! When colored
Eggs and sweets we crave:
A visit to the family grave.

Up the thorny path we're taken
To the hill where marble crypts
And busts of men (their ranks forsaken)
Rest in shades of obelisks.

An actor who revered the Bard’s
Now dust beneath a stately stone.
He held his art in high regard.
For all his lust, his name’s unknown.

Frozen ‘neath a sheet of glass,
A child’s grave, and on display:
A bear, a boat, a horn of brass.
All wait forlornly by an urn
Through light and dark for his return.

White tulips on a verdant mound
Strewn with weathered, withered wreaths,
Push their buds through rain-soaked ground
Past tokens of a former grief.
Each year their pretty promise ends
For Death’s vain hope to rise again.

Traci

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by R. Saint Claire

When Dudley Frank (Dud to everyone), a man thrice her age and the first friend she made when she moved to the city, offered Yvonne the keys to his summer home with a sympathetic pat on her hand, she accepted. They both agreed she needed a rest after what happened. Although she tried to keep it light when she told him over dinner that her broken engagement with Brent Harrington was a mutual decision (a bold-faced lie), she could tell by the way Dud’s eyes narrowed at the news that he was concerned, but also disappointed. He had come to regard them as a couple and was looking forward to helping Yvonne (parentless and without many friends) plan her wedding. As he signaled the waiter for the check, Dud reflected on how this remarkable creature sitting before him let slip through her manicured fingers the best catch in the city. He didn’t voice it, but the older man suspected he knew why. For all her stunning blond beauty, classic style, and good manners, there was something about the girl that was just off. Continue reading “Traci”

The Zen of Focus

…and hanging out with James Patterson

Okay, I’m not really hanging out with James Patterson, but after re-watching his Masterclass series, I feel like I am.  Of his seventy-plus bestsellers, I’ve only read one. It didn’t exactly make me rush to my library or bookstore to devour the rest of the series the way my introduction to Lawrence Sanders’ McNally books did (still my favorite series; not sure why) but I want to like them because, as previously stated, I really like James Patterson. I’ll even go so far as to admit (again) that I have a bit of a crush on him. His positive attitude and advice is really helping me stay on track as I write my second novel (the first) .  Or is it?

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My new novel, coming out this summer.

Whether it’s called writers block or resistance, or distraction, anything that takes away my focus is an impediment to me getting the job done, including watching Patterson’s videos when I should be writing. In our ADD world of simultaneous digital platform surfing, it seems like the ability to truly focus is reserved for the Zen masters.  With so many delicious distractions surrounding me, I’ve had to develop some simple strategies. Continue reading “The Zen of Focus”

Why I Write (horror)

I’ve never been good at tooting my own horn; in fact, I suck at it. But I have to share how pleased I am to see positive reviews for my horror novel Unmasked. The development of this book has had a long history. Inspired by my youth spent reading trashy horror novels and watching TV Movies of the Weeks which were frequently occult themed, I decided to write a screenplay using a summer camp setting. I put a twist on the usual teenage slasher set-up by casting middle-aged characters with a gay protagonist at the helm. And speaking of twists, my novel has quite a few, and the fact that they’ve worked (so far) on my readers brings me (a sick) joy. I play with a lot of classic horror tropes: a Gothic mansion, a mad scientist, a whodunit, a glamorous villain, and spatters of sex and gore. To me, successful horror is the thrill of the Cyclone at Coney Island. I know what’s coming, but I want to ride it again and again.

unmasked-ad

Continue reading “Why I Write (horror)”

Today’s Twisted Short Story

janus

JANUS 

by R. Saint Claire

I’m not what anyone would call a sensitive guy as the many girls who’ve slapped my face have told me (in so many words); But if I had known when I woke up this morning that by the end of the day I’d be fleeing for my life through a blizzard I’d have broken down and cried like I’m doing right now. At nineteen I’m too young to die. I have a life to live, many women to conquer, and I’d like to graduate and tell my Dad that I’m sorry my senior year in high school was such a shit-show. I know he’s still really pissed about that.

The flakes are huge, but I can still make out that farmhouse with the green siding up ahead. I hope the snow will cover up what I’m leaving behind me: deep footprints with a trail of blood between each one.

Continue reading “Today’s Twisted Short Story”

Ode to Spring

botticelliprimavera

ODE TO SPRING
by R. Saint Claire

Wings span across the sky in flight
Green, snaking slivers stretch and lift.
From murky mounds to peaks of light
The falcon’s golden iris shifts.

From sea to seedlings turning under
Deep earth wherein the giant lolls,
Waking buds from winter slumber
Burst to life on verdant knolls.

The naked maiden in the river,
From the mud the clearing tides;
Golden goddess, faithful giver,
Gathers up the blooms that rise.

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