Saturday, October 31, 2015

w00t! We Have Halloween Giveaway Winners!


It's been exciting, it's been spooky, you've all gone out and helped spread the word — but now it's time!

Rafflecopter has spoken and we have our 3 lucky winners. And they are:

[Drum Roll!]

Eileen R.

Melissa (.

Jennifer A.


And  a big Supernatural Underground thank you  to everyone who participated.


Eileen, Melissa, Jennifer: Terri Garey will be in touch so we can get your prizes to you, so don't forget to check your email for that.

Happy All Hallows Eve, everyone  — may it be spooky and may all your books go bump in the night!

Friday, October 30, 2015

Writing Serialized Novellas--The Shadow Knows

On November 3, 2015, the next installment of my Los Nefilim series, Without Light or Guide, will be published. I've been having a great deal of fun with this series, so I thought I'd talk a little bit about some of the influences behind the novellas.

When I was first approached about writing novellas, I immediately thought of the old pulp novels of the 1930s, which eventually morphed into radio serials. These were short adventures that could easily be digested in one or two sittings. They were heavy on adventure and light reading, which made them all the more fun.

Image via Wikipedia
Although it was before my time, my father turned me on to The Shadow by telling me about the radio serials he'd loved as a child. There were several different serials, but for some reason, my imagination latched onto The Shadow and wouldn't let go.

The character of Lamont Cranston sounded mysterious with a supernatural edge. Unlike detectives such as Sam Spade, the Shadow had psychic abilities that enabled him to "cloud men's minds" so they couldn't see him.

The Shadow was way cooler than Batman and more debonair than Bond. His mythology changed as his story moved from print to radio and finally to film. He began as World War I aviator Kent Allard, who faked his death and finds his true calling as a vigilante crime fighter. Eventually, he assumed the identity of Lamont Cranston, portraying himself as a "wealthy young man about town."

Cranston had a rogues' gallery that incorporated everyone from gangsters to super-villains. The radio shows were filled with sound effects and wonderful narration. The Shadow was even voiced by Orson Welles at one time.

My dad, who had this marvelous voice, would intone the Shadow's tagline, Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men?, whenever he caught us in a prank. The answer, of course, was: The Shadow Knows!

So when it was proposed that I try writing a novella, I wanted to do something along the lines of the old Shadow pulps. In the pulps each individual story was always part of a larger narrative.

That was the approach I took with Los Nefilim. Since there were a great deal of novels and novellas set in World War I and World War II, I thought I would set my series in 1931, merely a few years prior to the Spanish Civil War. I wanted to place my reader at the beginning of the conflict so I could ease them into the politics of early twentieth century Spain.

The hero of Los Nefilim is Diago Alvarez, and much like the Shadow, Diago has magical abilities. Diago and his lover, Miquel, are part of a secretive group known as Los Nefilim (Spanish for The Nephilim--say it like "The Mob" and you've got the right idea). This group of angelic Nefilim monitor daimonic activity for the angels.

The only thing is: Diago is not fully angelic. He is part daimon, part angel, and his very unique form of magic is sought by both sides in the conflict between angels and daimons. Like the Shadow, Diago moves through a world of espionage and partisan warfare with a rogues' gallery filled with angels, daimons, and mortals.

In the first novella of the series, In Midnight's Silence, the reader is introduced to Diago's world. We meet Diago, Miquel, and Diago's son, Rafael. We get a brief glimpse of the shadowy world of Los Nefilim.

In Without Light or Guide, Diago's story continues as he tries very hard to fit in with Los Nefilim, but his daimonic heritage follows him, and seeds distrust among the other Nefilim. Throughout Barcelona, the mortals he has known are dying gruesome deaths. A daimon is loose in the city, and Diago's only clue to her identity is a mysterious phrase written in smoke: She Hunts.

The year is 1931.

The city is Barcelona.

The fate of mankind has nothing to do with mankind.

On November 3, 2015, the hunt begins.

In Midnight's Silence: Los Nefilim Part 1 begins the series and is available now.
Without Light or Guide: Los Nefilim, Part 2 will be available November 3, 2015.
The Second Death: Los Nefilim, Part 3 will be coming your way March 2016.


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Friday, October 23, 2015

Hug A Nerd Today

As a well documented nerd I can attest that the very factual scientific data states that 99.5% (more-or-less-ish) of humans who carry the nerd gene will remain young-at-heart, and retain a more-than-average child-like sense of wonder. 

And this is a beautiful thing.

They will also, however, feel largely rejected by proper society and "normal" people everywhere.

When my oldest daughter was tiny she was fascinated with Peter Pan and would cry whenever I'd talk to her about growing up. 

"I won't do it, Mommy!" she insisted. "I'm going to never grow up, just like a Lost Boy."

What my little tom-girl didn't realize was: we can't stump the physical aging process. We can, however, hold tight to the magical sense that childhood brings and never allow that spark to be snuffed out. We can have every line of Star Wars memorized, argue about the new Superman movie like it could change world events. We can love cheesy costumes and horrible dialogue. We can even trick-or-treat (yes, this might be creepy if you're fifty, but it's a free country—creep away!).

The thing about nerds is, we are caught in the between place, where we only feel like we fit in our own tribe. In the "Great Out There" we are marveled at, sneered at, laughed at. Coworkers steal the DC figurines off our desk and get the totally wrong idea when we call them a Browncoat over coffee in the break room. This is how massive herd-events like, DragonCon and San Diego ComiCon were born. We needed to congregate and find like-minded weirdos. Religious people understand this. Country club members understand this. Humans everywhere understand this. We don't want to feel alone.

So, if you're not a nerd but you know someone who is, take a beat to listen to them ramble about Doctor Who, and how bow ties can be cool again. Don't be scared if they whittle wooden stakes at their desk—someday, when that inevitable vampire virus hits, they could save your life! 

Sharing is caring. And I'm sure any nerd you know wouldn't mind letting you talk for a second or two about what happened in some uniformed sporty-thing that you like. I mean, it would only be for literally two seconds, because any longer than that and he/she would likely get lost in their own head, trying to figure out how to escape the temple in Darksiders 2 they got stuck in last night.


Rachel A. Marks is the author of The Dark Cycle series, beginning with DARKNESS BRUTAL. You can read more about her weird hobbies and see some of her artwork on her webpage: You can also follow her on Twitter and Facebook.
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Tuesday, October 20, 2015

A Halloween Giveaway So Big, It's Spooky!

It's our favorite time of year here in the Supernatural Underground, and we couldn't let it pass without handing out a few treats!

For our Frightfully Delightful All Hallows Giveaway, three (3) lucky readers will receive a total of 13 books apiece! That's right, this year, "13" could be your lucky number! ;)

At the bottom of this post, you'll find a Rafflecopter entry for this wickedly good giveaway. You enter by leaving us a blog comment that answers one simple question regarding the evening of October 31st, and you can get extra entries by following us on Twitter, or visiting our Facebook page (up to 3 entries per person). That's it!

Here's a list of the books that three lucky winners will receive: 


PATH OF THE STRAY, ROAD TO THE SOUL and JOURNEY BY NIGHT (ebook bundle) by Kim Falconer



FEAST by Merrie Destefano

COLD IRON by Stina Leicht

MISERERE by Teresa Frohock

We'll even throw in some candy and some swag, because we LOVE handing out treats! So go ahead, get to entering... contest starts right now, and closes on October 31st!

And hey, spread the word. You don't want to invite tricks instead of treats, now do you? ;)

 a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, October 16, 2015

The Shadow's Allure

Image from World of Lucid Dreaming
Fear is a state of mind.

It creates a simple chain of events: (1) a stimuli, (2) a chemical release in the brain, (3) a body response including rapid heart-rate, shallow breathing, sinking stomach, sweaty palms. It's basic fight or flight instinct 101.

Research also shows that we come into the world knowing how to be afraid, because our brains have evolved to deal with nature, and nature is full of threats. Think large predators, poisonous plants, snakes, spiders, ticks, tar pits, rip tides, hungry neighbors, flash floods, supernatural forces . . .  .

While many of us no longer fear saber tooth tigers and tar pits, the fear of the supernatural never abates. That's because, far from "super"natural, it represent a part of us, deep and repressed, waiting in the darkness. What's it waiting for? Basically, a chance to seep up through the floorboards and grab us by the throat.

The Scream by Edvard Munch
Jung defines this kind of fear as an element of our shadow—a part of our unconscious that is hidden from us, but ours none the less.

The shadow can be terrifying to experience whether it is triggered by a real life bang on the door or immersion in fiction that "makes the heart beat faster." This is because our brains can't tell the difference between real and make believe.

But if fear, and the shadow beneath it, are so horrible, why are we drawn to experience it in art, film and literature? What's the big allure?

Simply answered, this fear awakens a part of our un-lived Self.

Jungian psychologists would say these experiences of the Shadow evoke powerful emotional reactions because they contain disowned material of our psyche, ie, part of our soul. Getting to know the shadow is an opportunity for wholeness, meaning we become more balanced, more whole, more complete.

This is the enchantment that draws us into the darkness.

Working with the shadow is immensely rewarding and liberating. By no longer having to hold down and repress your shadow aspects (which consumes a lot of energy), you free up your life force and vitality, become much more present-moment centred and are better able to live life consciously, authentically and purposefully. - Dr Mark Atkinson
It's not a carefree road, this meeting the shadow. It's also why all heroic journeys, including our own, require a trip to the underworld. Dante wasn't kidding when he tacked that shingle on the door to Hell. All abandon hope ye who enter here. This state appears to be prerequisite for Horror's success.

No matter how disturbing, the experience of a terrifying book, film or work of art, can set the stage for our own expansion. All it requires is for us to face our inner demons, integrate the shadow and come out the other end alive.

Easier said than done, I know!

What are some of your favorite scary stories? Do you remember the first one that nearly frightened you to death?

Mine was Jules Verne's Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea (I was five.) followed by a close second with The Wizard of Oz, mainly the monkeys. (OMG that's why primates still make me squirm!)

Let's share some fears here and let the Shadow live.


Kim Falconer is a Supernatural Underground author writing paranormal romance, urban fantasy, YA and epic science fantasy novels.

You can find out more about Kim at the 11th House Blog, and on FaceBook and Twitter.

She posts here at the Supernatural Underground on the 16th of every month and runs Save the Day Writer's Community on Facebook.

Her latest release is "Blood and Water" in Supernatural Underground: Vampires Gone Wild.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Whistling Past The Graveyard

Halloween is less than three weeks away, and everywhere I look there are Fright Fests and Zombie Walks, Halloween Spooktaculars, Haunted Corn Mazes, Haunted Houses, Scream-O-Geddons and ZooBoos, all evidence that a good scare is something a lot of people enjoy. As a writer of supernatural fiction, I get it, but it makes me wonder...what it is about that little shiver down our spine that we find so compelling?

Personally, I've never been into chain-saw wielding maniacs or cannibal clowns, but I love Halloween because it's the only holiday that allows me, as an adult, to tiptoe past the forgotten graveyard of my childhood, when I slept with a scarf around my neck because I believed that vampires were real. (I kept a little glow-in-the-dark cross handy, too, just in case the vampires wouldn't see it otherwise.) My friends and I would roam the neighborhood on Halloween night, wild and free, demanding candy and leaping out of the bushes to shout "Boo!" at the smaller kids, then go home and gorge on candy while scaring ourselves silly with a Ouija board. Because of all the fun and freedom I once had as a kid on All Hallow's Eve, I try my best to give the neighborhood kids the same experience and go all out: fog machines, black lights, spooky music and tombstones in the yard, tons of candy and lots of atmosphere. Some of those kids are afraid to walk though the foggy Halloween graveyard that leads to my door, but most of them do it, because they know that there are treats to be had if they're brave enough to face their fears.

That wonderful little shiver down the spine is why I go to all that trouble for just a few hours of fun, and it's also why I wrote a special collection of short stories called WHISTLING PAST THE GRAVEYARD. I had too many spooky stories rattling around inside my head about ghosts, witches, vampires and werewolves to leave them untold, and I've combined them all here, including a brand-new Nicki Styx novella (part of my ghostly Nicki Styx series, which you can read about on my website.) I did not include any stories about chain-saw wielding maniacs or cannibal clowns, but I've made up for it by lowering the price to only $2.99 in honor of Halloween!

So, while I can't give you any candy, I can give you a spooky little shiver down your spine as you make your way down the path through a virtual Halloween graveyard. ‘Tis the season to be scary… have a safe and happy Halloween!

Terri Garey is a Supernatural Underground author who writes award-winning and critically-acclaimed urban fantasy. Even though she's a big scaredy-cat who can't watch horror movies or visit haunted houses, she loves moonlit graveyards, moss-covered headstones and the idea that life goes on even after it's over. Visit her on the web at, or friend her on Facebook.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

A Writer's Worst Fear

In continuing with our new members theme's of what scares them, I'm going to jump on board and for my Year Of Living Authentically talk about something that scares the hell out of me: writer's block.

And we are not talking stuck in a plot hole or writing yourself into a corner with world canon.

 I'm talking about actually having nothing to say about anything.
Sam Jinks is awesome and creepy and awesome

Which I have been currently wading in knee deep for the past moth.

These are probably the first decent words that I've written in weeks. Everything else has been fluff with no real purpose. Wanderings, but not journeys.

Since I'm not on contract for anything (probably not helping the matter), I didn't realize I hadn't been writing. I only noticed when my hubby was like, "What have you been working on at night?" and the only answer I had for him was "Reorganizing my Pinterest boards and online shopping." But hey, my boards look gooooooood and I am totally ready for winter.

So I tried the normal stuff to get out of writer's block. I went to watch a movie, only to discover that everything I like to watch is totally not kid-friendly.

I tried just being outside to detox from my fluorescent-lit lifestyle, but allergies are terrible right now and I sort of like breathing through my nose and not itching all over.

And so I thought, Reading! I'll read more, only to find that nothing in my library even looked good and I have about 0 hours in the day to read and have recently discovered that audio books put me to sleep. So the normal routes to tempt my muse weren't/aren't an option right now.

So then I was like, Why don't I have anything to say? There is so much crap happening in the world right now. Why don't I have anything to say about it? (Yes, writers talk to themselves this much).

I had to go back and read a few of these posts to get the answer. Writers are hermits, but they need input so they can output. Writers are introverted souls, but they have to say YES sometimes. Writers have to experience things and I was just sitting at home, hiding from the heat and pollen.

So I'm saying YES again. I'm doing a book club tomorrow. I'm hosting parties for good causes. I'm volunteering to help my local chapter of NaNoWriMo with free lectures.

I am starting to Journey again and hopefully in the chaos of teaching and speaking engagement and the Ordeals that are the holidays, I will find something, I will see something. I will feel something that I have something to say about and have the courage to say it.

Wish me luck!

Amanda Arista

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Sense of Place: Alternate Worlds Versus Our World ...

Recently I was asked whether I thought it was easier to achieve a strong sense of place in an alternate world, like Westeros in George RR Martin's A Game Of Thrones, or Haarth in my own The Wall of Night series — as opposed to Fantasy stories based in what is recognisably our world, like Melissa Marr's Wicked Lovely or Patrica Brigg's Mercy Thompson novels.

Which created a fair amount of food for thought!

At one level, creating an alternate world may give you more freedom to create things the way you want, but I can also think of some contemporary urban fantasies where the use of real-world places are used to powerful ‘world building’ effect.

Neil Gaiman’s American Gods is one great example, and Charles De Lint’s Newport another  — and I also love Charlaine Harris's Louisiana backdrop to the Sookie Stackhouse novels (televised as True Blood.)

And  in terms of almost-but-not-quite-this-contemporary-world building, I personally don’t think you can go past Robin McKinley’s urban fantasy, Sunshine ...

In all these stories the sense of place is very strong, almost a character in its own right, and I feel that this sort of world building would have taken considerable imagination and craft.

So, too, of course, does creating an alternate world — and although 'creating your own world' may give you more freedom, you also have to give considerable thought to creating landscape, built environments, and associated cultures, to ground your readers in an authentic sense of place.

So perhaps, in that sense,  being able to use our world, where those aspects are taken as given, is a little easier.

The excitement, though, arises in the successful contrast of the fantastic and paranormal with our everyday experience — something we're all about on the Supernatural Underground!