The Witches of Ravencrest
Book #2 in The Ravencrest Saga
Published: July 15, 2017
Dark and Unnatural Powers
In a remote part of California just above the coastal town of Devilswood, Ravencrest Manor, imported stone-by-stone from England more than two centuries ago, looms tall and terrifying, gathering its dark and unnatural powers, and drawing those it wants as its own.
Murder Lurks in the Shadows
Governess Belinda Moorland has settled into life at Ravencrest and, as summer gives way to autumn, romance is in the air. She and multi-millionaire Eric Manning are falling in love … but powerful forces will stop at nothing to keep them apart. And as the annual Harvest Ball is set to begin, evil abounds at Ravencrest. Murder lurks in the shadows, evil spirits freely roam the halls, a phantom baby cries, signaling a death in the mansion, and in the notoriously haunted east wing, three blood-soaked nuns, Sisters Faith, Hope, and Charity, tend to the demented needs of a maid gone mad.
Ravencrest has come to life. In the gardens below, granite statues dance by moonlight, and a scarecrow goes on a killing rampage, collecting a gruesome assortment of body parts from unwilling donors … But Belinda’s greatest danger is the vengeful spirit of Rebecca Dane. Once the mistress of Ravencrest, Rebecca Dane has a centuries-old ax to grind with the powerful witch, Cordelia Heller - and Belinda becomes her weapon of choice.
Amazon: The Witches of Ravencrest
As summer waned, the days passed quietly at Ravencrest Manor. Gardeners trimmed and pruned, planting great masses of marigolds, monkshood, and Chinese lanterns, like divine offerings, at the feet of the Greek statues dotting the landscape. At Ravencrest, the gods, too, celebrated autumn’s fiery approach.
The indoor pool was locked away, but sometimes faint screams sounded from within - screams that not only spoke of the ancient terrors that haunted the beautiful gold-and-cobalt rooms, but of the loss, the great sadness, of past inhabitants. It was a melancholy so deeply ingrained into the pool’s very depths that if you listened closely, you might hear weeping - weeping that could break your heart … and fracture your soul.
Dozens upon dozens of orange and yellow pumpkins lay sunning themselves among their dying vines and the stands of calico corn had ripened, as had masses of decorative gourds that ran down the hillside behind the Farm. They were being dried now to serve as October decor for the house - and for the coming Harvest Ball.
Gray strands of fog, gauzy chiffon scarves, curled around the manor, hugging the great stone walls like an old friend. But the fog at Ravencrest was no one’s friend. Thick patches of it crept across the great lawns to hover in the gardens like looming ghosts, overseeing the ancient statues and shrouding the property as if keeping the manor - and all of its mysteries - hidden from view.
In daylight hours - during the spring and summer months especially - the gardens were a utopia - so lush and thriving and full of beauty that you might expect to see Adam step from the foliage, persimmon in hand, or Eve bathing in the roses, her skin and hair redolent of their sweet perfume.
But at night, when the shadows rose to their full height and darkness came to lay claim over the manor and its vast grounds, that same beauty turned poisonous and those gardens became a dark carnival of unseen dangers, a bottomless sea of unspeakable grotesqueries. It was at night, always at night, that the serpent came to Eden.
Character Take Over:
In our newest novel in the Ravencrest Saga, The Witches of Ravencrest, our characters often refused to do as we asked. Although most of them had already been established in the first novel, The Ghosts of Ravencrest, and we thought we could predict their behavior, they turned out to be just as full of surprises as our new characters - and this delighted us.
First, let us tell you that Ravencrest is a labor of love, our ode to all things Gothic, from Rebecca to Dark Shadows. There are hot and cold running ghosts traveling the halls of Ravencrest Manor - a 16th century home imported stone by stone from England to California at the turn of the 19th century. There are curses, crazed harlequins, an evil scarecrow, and even a passel of zombies running loose in addition to all the restless spirits.
Governess Belinda Moorland has been thrust into life - and death - at Ravencrest. In The Ghosts of Ravencrest, she started out as a naive and innocent young woman who insisted on evolving more quickly than we intended. Every time we tried to slow down her growth she refused. In fact she became downright belligerent in her refusal to be used, frightened, or tortured by other characters without fighting back. We ended up letting her have her way, and in Witches, she truly begins coming into her own - and it turns out that she’s a force to be reckoned with.
We couldn’t be happier.
Another character who’s been evolving is multi-millionaire Eric Manning. He was something of a cipher to us at first - rich, handsome, attractive to Belinda - the usual rich guy - but now that we’ve watched him lose his temper, admit to a familiarity with the spirit world, and show his true feelings for Belinda, we’ve learned that he, too, has a mind of his own.
We always knew that butler Grant Phister is so much more than seems. He took Belinda under his wing as we asked, and in that way, he’s remained fairly close to how we originally envisioned him. But his snarky sense of humor and need for speed surprised and tickled us. His husband, Riley Doring, a handsome tanned Aussie who oversees Ravencrest’s grounds, has now informed us that he may not be typically human. Or perhaps he just has the world’s fastest metabolism. We know he’s teasing us and will reveal more about himself as we go along.
And then there’s Mrs. Heller, the self-proclaimed “house administrator” who thinks she’s in charge of Ravencrest and has her sights set on Eric Manning. Cordelia Heller has a long and dark history with the Mannings, just as we imagined, but now we’re seeing more aspects of her personality than vindictive spellcasting and plotting. Her relationship with Belinda is evolving and we are as intrigued by that as we hope our readers are. Mrs. Heller is not exactly what we first thought she was - she is far more intriguing now that she’s shown us what she can do when she’s not disciplining maids and stable boys in her beloved dungeon of kink. Like the rest of us, she’s worried about gray hair, wrinkles, and arthritis, and her plan to prevent them is nefarious, indeed.
Another character, a cross-dressing detective whom we assumed was a one-time player in The Ghosts of Ravencrest, has returned in Witches. We were as pleased as Grant Phister was when Detective Sasha Flankenball showed up at the Witch Days Festival in Devilswood and became involved again. He’s not only a great cop, he has best legs in the Devilswood Police Department.
There’s so much more, from a New-Agey gaggle of whiny would-be witches to the wrath of the vengeful spirit, Rebecca Dane, who turned out to be a lot more than we - and Belinda - bargained for. We love it when our characters refuse to do what we expect of them.
As annoying as disobedient characters might sound, they’re a sign that our work is going well - that it has a life of its own. They mean that our characters are not authors’ puppets but living, breathing, independent people who just happen to inhabit the world we’re creating. Because they live in that world, they know better than we do how to behave in the situations we put them in.
We bow to them. Always.
Praise for The Ravencrest Saga
"The Ghosts of Ravencrest delivers on every level. Delicate, creepy, detailed, and beautifully crafted, this reinvention of the gothic ghost story into a sexy, sleek modern chiller is a marvel of suspense and atmosphere. A knockout of a horror yarn!" - Jay Bonansinga, the New York Times bestselling author of The Walking Dead: Invasion, Lucid, and Self Storage.
"Ghostly secrets abound. Tortured spirits wander the hallways. Star-crossed lovers walk the paths of time. Servants connive, and the heroine faces an uncertain future …Run, do not walk, to get The Ghosts of Ravencrest. Tamara Thorne and Alistair Cross take the reader on a delicious journey of twisted family secrets, troubled dreams, and barely-concealed passions. Wrap yourself in the silken robe of this story and escape to Ravencrest." - Sylvia Shults, author of Hunting Demons: A True Story of the Dark Side of the Supernatural
Together, Thorne & Cross host the popular radio show, Thorne & Cross: Haunted Nights LIVE!, which has included such guests as Jay Bonansinga of The Walking Dead, Laurell K. Hamilton of the Anita Blake Vampire Hunter novels; world-wide bestseller, V.C. Andrews (Andrew Neiderman); Charlaine Harris of the Southern Vampire Mysteries and basis of the HBO series, True Blood; Jeff Lindsay, author of the Dexter novels that inspired the hit television series; #1 New York Times bestseller, Kim Harrison; Peter Atkins, screenwriter of Hellraiser: 2, 3, and 4; Mick Garris, film director of Hocus Pocus, Psycho IV: The Beginning, and Stephen King’s The Stand; and New York Times bestsellers Preston & Child, Christopher Rice, Jonathan Maberry, and Christopher Moore.
You can visit Tamara Thorne’s website at www.tamarathorne.com
You can visit Alistair Cross’ website at www.alistaircross.com
Books by Thorne & Cross
The Cliffhouse Haunting
The Ghosts of Ravencrest
The Ghosts of Ravencrest
The Witches of Ravencrest
Darling Girls (Release Date November, 2017)
Five Nights in a Haunted Cabin (Non-Fiction)
Books by Tamara Thorne
Books by Alistair Cross
The Angel Alejandro
The Crimson Corset
The Book of Strange Persuasions
Sleep, Savannah, Sleep (Release Date 9/25/17)
The Book of Strange Persuasions
Sleep, Savannah, Sleep (Release Date 9/25/17)
About The Authors:
In collaboration, Thorne & Cross have written The Cliffhouse Haunting, The Ghosts of Ravencrest, and Mother, as well as the ongoing Ravencrest Saga, a serialization with new installments appearing every four to six weeks. They are currently at work on their next solo novels and a new collaborative project, and whether writing individually or as a team, neither has any intention of slowing down anytime soon.
In 2014, Alistair and Tamara began the internet radio show, Thorne & Cross: Haunted Nights LIVE!, which premiered to great acclaim and has featured such guests as Chelsea Quinn Yarbro of the Saint-Germain vampire series, Charlaine Harris of the Southern Vampire Mysteries and basis of the HBO series True Blood, Jeff Lindsay, author of the Dexter novels that inspired the hit television series, Jay Bonansinga of The Walking Dead series, Laurell K. Hamilton of the Anita Blake Vampire Hunter novels, Peter Atkins, author and screenwriter of HELLRAISER 2, 3, and 4, worldwide bestseller V.C. Andrews, and New York Times best sellers Preston and Child, Christopher Rice, Jonathan Maberry, and Christopher Moore.
Thorne & Cross
Facebook - Thorne & Cross: Haunted Nights LIVE!: https://www.facebook.com/Thorne-Cross-Haunted-Nights-LIVE-360703350753608/
Tamara Thorne’s first novel was published in 1991. Since then she has written many more, including international bestsellers Haunted, Bad Things, Moonfall, and The Sorority. Tamara’s interest in writing is lifelong, as is her fascination with the paranormal, occult, mythology and folklore. She’s been an avid ghost story collector and writer all her life. Tamara’s novels range from straight-out ghost stories to tales of witchcraft, conspiracies, UFOs, elemental forces, and vampires. No matter what topic she chooses, chances are you’ll find a ghost or two lurking in the background. Today, she and her frequent collaborator, Alistair Cross, share their worlds and continue to write about ghosts and other mysterious forces. Whether collaborating or writing solo, there is no shortage of humor, sex, blood, and spookiness.
Google Plus: https://plus.google.com/u/0/100216245073375890510
Alistair Cross was born in the western United States and began penning his own stories by the age of eight. First published in 2012, Alistair has since written several more books. His debut solo novel, The Crimson Corset, a vampiric tale of terror and seduction, was an immediate bestseller which earned praise from veteran vampire-lit author, Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, and New York Times bestseller, Jay Bonansinga, author of The Walking Dead series. In 2012, Alistair joined forces with international bestselling author, Tamara Thorne, and as Thorne & Cross, they write, among other things, the successful Gothic series, The Ravencrest Saga. Their debut collaboration, The Cliffhouse Haunting, reached the bestseller’s list in its first week of release.