The Brand-New Spooky Writer’s Planner

Do you write horror, speculative fiction, dark fantasy, paranormal romance, or fairy tales?
Are you a spooky blogger, macabre nonfiction columnist, or haunt travel vlogger?
Are you ready to stop dreaming and be a writer?
Are you an author who wants to take your
career to the next level?

THE SPOOKY WRITER’S PLANNER INCLUDES:

  • 13 months of monthly and weekly spreads
  • Monthly goal and recap sheets
  • Weekly check-ins and note pages
  • Writing challenges, planners, and instructions
  • Submissions, published works, and contacts trackers
  • Marketing, newsletter, and blog planners
  • Check-off sheets for website maintenance, social media profiles, and expenses
  • Fun sheets to generate writing ideas, track your favorite TV series, or to be read and watched lists

CHECK OUT SOME SAMPLE PAGES:

   

HOW CAN YOU GET ONE?

DIGITAL: Get one immediately from Etsy! The quick-download version gives you a digital copy so you can print the pages you want, print multiples of those you think you’ll use the most, and leave those you won’t use. These pages are designed to be printed on 8.5 x 11-inch paper. You can put them in a three-ring binder, bind them with disks or a spiral, as you choose. You can even print different sheets on different colored papers. Create your own Frankenstein’s Monster of a planner!

PRINT: Order a paperback copy from Amazon! The Spooky Writer’s Planner is perfect-bound with a glossy cover, printed on high-quality 8.5 x 11-inch paper. Everything you need is included in one handy book you can grab and go! Have book, will travel!

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An invitation to join my newsletter

Hello, dear readers. I’ve been sending out a newsletter more or less monthly for over a year. Every issue features one of my morbid travel adventures, a personal letter from me, and usually a giveaway.

It’s easy to join! Just click on this link and Mailchimp will walk you through the process.

Just for signing up, you can download 4Elements, a sampler of my writing from personal essay to urban fantasy to dark science fiction to morbid travel essays. Of course, there’s a cemetery involved, too.

The December newsletter is about to go out, with a special contest for subscribers. You wouldn’t want to miss it.

Here’s that link again: https://mailchi.mp/aa9545b2ccf4/lorenrhoads

Thank you for coming along to explore my world!

 

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A Dictionary of Demons and Devils

When I was finishing up Angelus Rose in the spring, my friend EM Markoff suggested including a dictionary of devils so I could detail some of the mythology that inspired the backstories in the novel. I didn’t get it finished in time to add before the novel went to press, so I thought I’d post it here.

Asmodeus from de Plancy’s Dictionnaire Infernal

Asmodeus – Chief among the demons in the As Above, So Below books is Asmodeus, the demon Prince of Los Angeles, who serves as Lorelei’s boss.  Asmodeus runs the entertainment industry, from movies to gambling, with a series of restaurants, dance clubs, and bars as well.

Traditionally, Asmodeus came from Persian mythology, rather than from Jewish folktales. He was a demon of impurity, lust, and anger who is credited with inventing carousels, music, dancing, and drama. In the Book of Tobit, Asmodeus slew the seven bridegrooms of Sarah, until he was overcome by the angel Rafael and banished to upper Egypt. That story plays into the ending of Angelus Rose.

Barakiel – In Lost Angels, Barakiel poses as a card buddy who watches over the fallen priest Joseph. When Lorelei needs an exorcist to free her from the mortal girl’s soul that possesses her, she has to negotiate with Barakiel to seal the deal.  Formerly a seraph, Barakiel is a fallen angel traditionally invoked for successful gambling, particularly in card games. Like Azaziel, Barakiel was a Watcher sent down before the Flood, who took a mortal woman as wife and fathered a nephilim.

Beelzebub – Although he plays a small part in Lost Angels, Beelzebub appears more in Angelus Rose. He was the former Prince of LA, deposed by Asmodeus after the LA Riots in 1992. Traditionally, the Lord of Flies is a Prince of Hell who stood next to Satan. After the Fall, Beelzebub bargained with Christ to release all the unbaptized saints from Hell and was subsequently banished from Hell to the mortal world.

Behemoth – One of the demons who serve Asmodeus in Hell, Behemoth appears in our books as an obese man who tries to tempt Azaziel and is ready to support a coup against Asmodeus if Beelzebub chooses to lead one. Behemoth appears in the story of Job as a male chaos monster. He’s often pictured as an elephant.

Damia and Keisha – Brian created these two harpies to serve as Yasmina’s minions in Lost Angels. They look like street kids and encouraged Ashleigh’s drug habit. They were about to devour Ashleigh’s soul when Azaziel steals it in order to possess Lorelei with it. Azaziel tolerates them, but Lorelei doesn’t.

Floria – In the As Above, So Below books, Floria is a young succubus from the same litter as Lorelei. She wants very badly to advance to being a temptress. In the original short story, Floria encouraged Lorelei to chase after Azaziel, but that changed in the books, where she became more of a nemesis for Lorelei. I named her after Floria in the opera Tosca.

JequonWho In Hell: A Guide to the Whole Damned Bunch says Jequon tempted angels with the sight of mortal women and arranged hookups between angels and women for sex. A Dictionary of Angels: Including the Fallen Angels calls Jequon a ringleader of the fallen angels. Brian suggested that Jequon could run a talent agency in LA and I ran with that idea.

Jezebel – A Phoenician princess who married the Hebrew king Ahab in the 9th century BCE. She introduced eye makeup and the worship of Baal to the Hebrews. After a coup, she was thrown from a palace window, run over by a chariot in the street, and her corpse was eaten by wild dogs. In the As Above, So Below books, she is a former succubus cursed to serve as Yasmina’s handmaiden. She is one of my favorites of Brian’s characters in the books.

Lorelei – The heroine of the As Above, So Below novels is a younger succubus, only a handful of centuries old, who worked her way up from being an imp in service to Asmodeus. She shares her name with the German river goddess, but was actually named for an apartment building down the street from Brian’s home in Glendale, California, where we wrote much of the books.

One of Brian’s additions to her backstory is that Lorelei served Stalin in Russia and took credit for his victims. I added that she also made bargains with several rock’n’roll legends during the 70s in LA. One of those stories is called “Never Bargained for You,” which appears in my short story collection Unsafe Words.

Mastema – Mentioned in the Book of Jubilees and the Dead Sea Scrolls, Mastema is an angel of hostility who hardened the Pharoah’s heart against Moses and helped the Egyptian sorcerers, particularly when they turned their staves into snakes. One of Brian’s best additions to the As Above, So Below books was his research into Mastema, an accusing angel who works for God as tempter and executioner. According to A Dictionary of Angels, God permitted a tenth of the fallen angels to remain at large on Earth in the service of Mastema. Brian spun that into Mastema being a tempter in charge of wrangling newly fallen angels until they can be sorted into a particular demon’s army. The character, who dresses as a cross between a clown and a shady used car salesman, was a lot of fun to write.

NebirosWho In Hell names Nebiros as the demon in charge of North America, but we focused on his traditional role as the General of Hell’s Army on Earth. Brian pictured him as the demon of improvised weapons, who had been raising holy hell in the Mideast for decades. In our books, Nebiros carries a serpent as his rank of office. That dates back to the earliest draft of the story, when the character was named Astaroth. He evolved in the revisions when I realized we had Azaziel, Asmodeus, Ashleigh, Astarte, and Astaroth. I didn’t want the names to be confusing, so I changed his. Nebiros was a better choice anyway.

Tibor – a fiend I named after a jeweler in San Francisco. I really liked Mr. Tibor, who was a talkative gay man who’d fled Budapest for true love in San Francisco, so I hope he’d forgive me for borrowing his name. In the As Above, So Below books, fiends are the devils who stick the pitchforks into sinners in Hell (one of Brian’s touches). Tibor is one of Asmodeus’s foot soldiers.

Tomur – the fiend assigned to protect and spy on Lorelei in Angelus Rose. I chose his name to rhyme, in a way, with Tibor. I wanted to indicate that the two fiends were of a generation, the same way that Lorelei and Floria share similar names.

Yasmina – the temptress Yasmina was born human. She was one of the granddaughters of Cain, who lived at the time of the Flood. Her sister Anah was romanced, rescued, and ultimately wed by Azaziel. Yasmina never forgave the angel for not saving her whole family. As the floodwaters rose, Yasmina sold her soul to Asmodeus to become a snake-bodied temptress, bent on revenge against Azaziel. Her name is a play on one of the Victoria’s Secret models that Brian had a crush on.

You can learn more about our succubus/angel love story here: https://lorenrhoads.com/writing/as-above-so-below/

If you’d like to order the “boxed” set from me, I’ll throw in a little special gift. You can check them out at my bookstore. They’re also available individually on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Bookshop.org, or as ebooks on Smashwords.

 

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Teas to Drink with My Stories

I drink an inordinate amount of tea. Once I discovered Adagio teas, I loved the idea of blending teas to represent the characters in my stories. Adagio allows you to try a sample tin of each tea, which is what I’ve photographed here, or to buy a 3-ounce pouch or a 5-ounce tin.

In The Alondra Stories, Alondra DeCourval is a witch who often considers the astrological influences of the foods she eats as a way to gain or ground energy.

She blends her own teas as if she is compounding medicine. I decided she would be best represented by Ceylon tea, blended with black currant, blackberry, raspberry leaves, and rose petals. It’s sweet, full of perfume, and strong.

Her tea is for sale here: https://www.adagio.com/signature_blend/blend.html?blend=147040

On the Adagio site, Alondra’s tea is paired with her guardian Victor’s tea, which means you can buy the two of them together for a discount.

Victor Lockwood is a psychic doctor who has traveled the world helping to free the living from otherworldly creatures. He belongs to a lodge and works for the British Museum.

Victor’s tea is based on two kinds of Earl Grey, blended with vanilla and orange peel and accented with lavender and blue cornflowers. His tea is here: https://www.adagio.com/signature_blend/blend.html?blend=147041

Stella is Alondra’s closest friend. She appears in the stories “A Curiosity of Shadows,” which was collected in the Alondra’s Investigations chapbook, and in “Guardian of the Golden Gate,” which appeared in Strange California.

Stella works at Curios & Candles, a magic shop in San Francisco’s Lower Haight district. Her tea was inspired by chai: Ceylon black tea, with ginger, cardamom, cinnamon, and orange peel.

It isn’t overly spicy like some chais, but has a nice warmth to it. Stella would drink it with honey and oat milk, but I prefer it black. Here’s the link: https://www.adagio.com/signature_blend/blend.html?blend=147035

Stella’s tea is paired with Elizabeth’s.

Elizabeth Stewart is the owner of Prospero’s Books in North Hollywood. She appears in the story “The Fatal Book,” which was collected in Alondra’s Investigations.

Elizabeth was inspired by my friend, longtime-bookseller Martha Allard, so her tea was inspired by Martha’s favorite. It’s a green tea with ginger and the subtle flavor of lemons and mandarin oranges.

Here’s the link: https://www.adagio.com/signature_blend/blend.html?blend=147039

Marie Jackson is a voodoun priestess who rents her carriage house apartment in New Orleans to Alondra. Her tea comes straight from the pages of the story “Last-Born,” which was originally published in The Ghost-Breakers in 2005. It was republished in Alondra’s Investigations.

Marie’s tea is an herbal blend of chamomile flowers, rooibos, vanilla, lemon balm, with lemon grass, lavender, and marigold petals. It’s pretty to look at, smells good, and tastes great. Best of all, it’s blended to give you sweet dreams. Here’s the link: https://www.adagio.com/signature_blend/blend.html?blend=147038

Marie’s tea is paired with Simon’s, since they both appear in “Last-Born.”

Simon Lebranche first entered Alondra’s life in “Valentine,” when she was stalking him to steal his heart. That story was reprinted in my new collection, Unsafe Words.

Simon next appears in “Letter from New Orleans,” in which Alondra tells him about her ghostly experiences in St. Roch Cemetery.

Finally, he turns up in “Last-Born.”

Simon’s tea is Ceylon black tea with strawberries, blueberries, peach and apple pieces, and marigold petals. It’s one of my favorite teas. Here’s the link: https://www.adagio.com/signature_blend/blend.html?blend=147042

The teas are available individually, in ‘ships with a discount off the 3-ounce pouches, or in handsome reusable 5-ounce tins.

Enjoy!

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The Angel’s Lair

It started out as a birthday present. I decided I would write a story for Brian’s birthday. I didn’t get it finished on time (typical) so I sent it to him a scene at a time, one each day, until it was done. It was scary and exhilarating to send what were basically rough drafts, straight out of my head, to someone else. Knowing that Brian was on the other end of the screen, awaiting each new installment, was really inspiring. I couldn’t disappoint him by missing a day.

That was how “The Angel’s Lair” was born. It was intended to be a short story, tied up with a bow, presented as a gift.

Brian surprised me by jumping in with a continuation of the story. There was a chapter 2, then a chapter 3, then I was eager to jump in again with a chapter 4…and suddenly we were writing a book together.

We kept writing and writing and the book kept getting longer and longer… Eventually, I broke it apart into 2 books: Lost Angels and Angelus Rose, which came out earlier this year.

One of my goals for the year was to make a video of me reading “The Angel’s Lair.” Laura Blackwell at The Story Hour was kind enough to indulge me. The video is up now on the Story Hour Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/The-Story-Hour-102109784794285/videos/656488545031376

(Ignore the video image. That’s Mike Allen, who read a killer story about ghost spiders after I finished. It’s the right video — and you should listen to his story, too!)

If you’d like to read “The Angel’s Lair,” it’s available for free as an ebook on Bookfunnel: https://BookHip.com/ZNLMLL

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