• horror book writers
    Horror,  Horror Writing,  Infographics

    Best Horror Tropes in Books and Movies (Infographic)

    Book Lover’s Day is almost here. Last year, I talked about my favorite fantasy tropes. This year, we’re doing horror. I prefer supernatural/paranormal stories. Give me a haunted location or a demon possession. It’s hard to find Hunter Shea’s books but I loved Forest of Shadows and Sinister Entity.  I’m currently reading Island of the Forbidden. The only copy I found online was a paperback for $50 so, I borrowed the ebook from the library. Then, we have ghostly short stories like The Dead Smile by F. Marion Crawford and The Tale of the German Student by Washington Irving. For those, I’d suggest checking out Book of the Supernatural edited…

  • Haunted Places to visit in France
    Haunted Location,  Horror

    Haunted Places: Mont Saint-Michel

    Yeas ago, I was doing a Pinterest search for building inspiration for my fantasy world. Mont Saint-Michel came into my feed and I just fell in love. It’s such a beautiful structure. It inspired Isla in The Lost Sciell.  A few months later, I learned it was a real place. That’s when I added it to my photography bucket list. I didn’t know until recently that the abbey was haunted.  Photo from Unsplash Mont Saint-Michel is located in France off the Normandy coast. It’s only connection the mainland is a road that gets submerged during high tide. I’m getting some Women in Black vibes. The first one not the second…

  • Author Bio Photography
    Book marketing,  Photogrpahy

    Guest Post: Author Photos: 6 Tips for Taking Flattering Bio Pics You’ll Actually Like

    Your bio picture holds a lot of power. It will become one of your most-prized assets in a book cover, website, or marketing materials. In this article, we’re sharing tips for taking flattering bio pics you’ll actually like, and that can best represent your writing style and genre. Bio pics should be realistic yet memorable. With some research, preparation, and proper equipment, you can have several professional-looking bio pics that can speak to your target audience and gain new readers. 1. Identify Your Message An author brand consists of a book cover, book description, author biography, and bio picture that showcase your personality, tone, and genre. Since this picture can…

  • fantasy story writing
    Fantasy World Building,  Macro Photography,  Nature Photography

    World-Building Inspiration: Macro Nature Photography

    She didn’t know how she got small enough to use a mushroom as a house. The answer sat on the edge of her memory but no matter how hard she concentrated, it wouldn’t move within reach. It has been years, maybe centuries. She watched the tall people grow up and grow old. She never changed. She screamed for their attention but her small voice never touched them. She climbed a tree but something stopped them from hearing her cries for help. But, that was years ago. It wasn’t supposed to matter anymore. Maybe the stories were true. Maybe the people underground did make you remember unpleasant things. She was close…

  • creating fantasy maps
    Fantasy Map Making

    Fantasy World building: Making an Abandoned Island Map

    You can only deny inspiration for so long  While updating The Unburned Island,  a voice whispered in my ear to add a map. In Making a Fantasy Town Map: Behind the Scenes, I wrote about making a  map for book 2, The Wailing Town. But, I had no intention of doing the same thing for book 1. As always, the voice would not be silenced. At this point, I honestly didn’t try to hard to shut it up. I’ve fought this battle before and I never win.  Looks like I’m making a map for Book 1. Recently, I discovered that Shutterstock has a lot of map vectors. I decided to do…

  • Hudson Highlands State Park Breakneck Ridge trail
    Hiking Adventures,  Landscape Photography

    Nature Photography: Chasing the View

    I am just going to open with this video. Sorry about the camera shake. I’d suggest watching it with the volume on. You’ll hear how tired I was before reaching this view. I knew this hike was going to be difficult but I hadn’t expected stretches of trails that could scarcely be called walkable paths. At one point, I lost the next trail marker. I followed a path that looked like a path but I couldn’t see the next marker. I found it a few minutes later, up the side of a mountain. It’s technically a trail but it’s difficult to spot from below. This is the kind of trail…

  • Hiking Adventures,  Landscape Photography

    The Ruins of Hudson Highlands

    She used to hunt for silence like you would burried treasure. Now, the forest was quiet. The ruins no longer spoke to her. She thought she’d miss the voices. She didn’t. She missed the stories.  ….   Even before COVID, I avoided heavily trafficked trails. I hike because I want to be away from people. And, it’s difficult to take good photos if a lot of people are in the way. Adobe Photoshop’s Content-Aware tool has gotten better at removing people from photos but I’d rather not rely on that. I made an exception this weekend because I wanted to the ruins in Hudson Highlands State Park. Should’vet gone during…

  • creating fantasy maps
    Fantasy Map Making,  The Wailing Town

    Making a Fantasy Town Map: Behind the Scenes

    Funny how inspiration will hit you. I had planned to go hiking on Saturday to take my new telephoto lens out for a test. On Friday, I packed my bag, charged my camera battery and portable charger, printed a trail map and double-checked my path. I should’ve checked the weather first. Cold Spring was looking at an 80% chance of thunderstorms all afternoon. Clearly, Saturday was not the day to go outside. Disappointed, I sat in front of my computer Saturday morning and started working on The Wailing Town. It’s book 2 of The Other Investigator series. The Unburned Island is Book 1. I’ve been writing this book in pieces…

  • Diverse Fantasy Book,  Fantasy Book

    Preorder The Seeking, a Horror Novel by Marlena Frank

            Author: Marlene Frank Title: The Seeking Genre: Fantasy/Horror Publisher: The Parliament House Press Release Date: October 27th, 2020   Each Seeking, the magic that protects the town of Carra must be renewed, which means the children of the Exalted Family must go into hiding. Whether it be through disguise or bribe, through trusted friends or perfect hiding places, every child of the Priest family must avoid capture for the full day. When things go wrong with the renewal, it’s up to seventeen-year-old Dahlia, the middle child of the Priest family, and her girlfriend, Bisa, to escape Carra and find the magical beings responsible for the protection. They must learn…

  • Hiking Adventures,  Landscape Photography

    Life Lessons While Hiking to Bull Hill/Mt. Taurus Overlook

    Don’t look at someone on top of the mountain and forget they had to climb to get there. Thoughts like that kept crossing my mind as I hiked up Mt. Taurus/Bull Hill near Cold Spring, NY. Living in NY for 11 years, the crowds and the closeness are starting to get to me. More often, I spend my weekends hiking the Hudson Valley. I haven’t done it in months because everything was closed. Since NY is opening, so are the trails. But COVID isn’t gone. I had to be careful. I left my apartment earlier than usual to avoid any crowds on public transportation. I chose a trail said to…