Thursday, December 13, 2012

Guest Post with Tara Fox Hall

A huge thank you to All the Fun Starts after Dark for having me here today!
I’m here today to promote Shadow Man, the second book in my paranormal action adventure Lash series…though I hope you won’t mind if I mention a couple others in my blogpost…
I am frequently asked where my ideas come from. Out of the shadows of my imagination is the answer.
Authors often tell about how dreams inspire them, and I’m no exception. Anyone following my blogging has probably heard in many interviews about how my nightmares inspire short stories. However, my dreams are only one source of my inspiration.
There’s a line in an old song about being able to feel the sun in the middle of the pouring rain. I’m the opposite; I tend to see shadows in the midst of a sunny day. I’d like to claim it as a talent, but it’s nothing I developed in any creative writing class. It’s also not pessimism raising its downtrodden head, as I tend to be optimistic as a rule. It’s simply a fact that I can be in the most peaceful, happy situation, and an idea suddenly will wind its way into my thoughts about the situation…and how easily it could turn into fear, mayhem, and horror. The scene also doesn’t have to be one that I experienced firsthand. My imaginary worlds are just as susceptible to a sudden onset of darkness and the relentless evil that swims in that inky blackness.
Take “Just a Survey” from my horror anthologyJust Shadows. That was inspired because I was taking a survey about something online, and one of my dogs began to bark. Unbidden, I got a mental flash of going to the door, and opening it to find a serial killer who had chosen me as a victim because of my answers to the online survey, which he had secretly hacked into. A horrific conclusion easily dispelled by the rabbit on the front lawn, but it made an excellent story.
Another example would be “Shades of Grey,” from my anthology with coauthor Jenny Twist, Bedtime Shadows. Initially written in response to a call for alternate history stories, the piece is the story of a Seer who alters history trying to minimize catastrophe…until his apprentice murders him, sending the world careening toward Armageddon. I had theorized first to have someone altering one historical event. Then I thought, why not all the major events that changed history? What is more terrifying than one person having the power to cause wars, famine, disease, and starvation? Why, having him think that he is fully capable to chart the world’s course without adversity…or having someone even more egotistical take his place.
Finally, consider Shadow Man, the second Lash novel. So much of that book’s events are taking a momentarily safe situation or setting, and turning it inside out. Take for example the weresnake Lash’s quest to subdue the vampire Eli and his followers. It’s a hard fought road that appeared to be close to suicidal, but Lash prevails. At that point in the tale, Lash is golden: he’s rich with the fee he was paid to put down the vampires; he’s found a new friend, Burl; he’s ingratiated himself to the most powerful vampire in the country; and he’s about to marry a woman who loves him. Then Lash’s world crashes and burns. A trusted friend tries to kill him, he’s badly injured and declared dead in the mix up, and the woman he’s set to marry breaks up with him and leaves the country. And more than one safe setting turns out to be not-so-safe, like the burnt out school where Eli and his vampires make their final stand. It is based on a real school that I happened to walk by one summer morning on my way back from a craft fair. The school was in a suburban neighborhood on a beautiful sunny day, but I took in the crumbling bricks, the broken windows, and that was it—I imagined that Eli and his vampires lurked inside, and that Lash would end them there in a bloody battle without mercy. I was scribbling notes all the way home at stoplights, and later that night, the rough draft of the scene was done.
Blurb from Shadow Man:
A renegade vampire begins amassing a flock of true believers, threatening America’s vampire hierarchy. Weresnake Lash partners with old enemy Danial and new allies Burl and Spiderboy to track down and annihilate them. Betrayed and left for dead, Lash reemerges the victor, edging ever upward in the Assassin’s Ranking, and catching the eye of the sultry nightclub singer Cassandra Nile. Drawn into drugs by Cassie, Lash begins to doubt himself, yearning to leave his life of violence, even as enemies close in from every side.
Excerpt from Shadow Man:
“What’s that smoke?” Spiderboy asked, changing back as he pulled on his clothes as fast as he could. “Something’s burning, and it’s huge!”
My gut clenched like a fist, and I hit the accelerator, swearing to myself.
I drove up to the small town outside Lafayette at dusk. It was smoking, and the grocery store and the diner were partly burned. There was no one in their homes, and no pets to be seen. The old man I’d spoken to years ago was gone, his house empty, the lights on. But something made me curious. By the breakfast plates set out in the kitchen, it was clear that he’d been fixing breakfast this very morning. So how had the vampires come for him in daylight?
We checked the other houses, our guns out and ready. Everyone was gone, though some, by the blood and mess left in the houses, had not gone willingly. By the time we were done, it was full dark.
When we went to the church, we found that it was burned too, to the ground. Standing in the still-smoldering ashes was a three-foot-tall pole, the top covered with a black bag. Spiderboy’s eyes were very wide as he stood, staring, but I just walked up to the pole, and gently took the bag off. As soon as I did, Spiderboy threw up behind me, making mewling sounds.
Stuck on the end of the pole was Jeanna’s head, her mouth lolling open to reveal a tongue that had been split by a knife so it was forked. Her fangs had been pulled out, and her eyes burnt to cinders. The word ‘traitor’ had been deeply burned into the flesh of her forehead.
I stood for a moment, considering the message. The forked tongue meant Eli knew I was spying on him, or that I’d been working with her. The brand of ‘traitor’ and the pulled fangs meant he knew it was Jacob behind this, that Jeanna hadn’t been working just with me. She’d been covered to ensure that the sun wouldn’t be able to erase what she’d suffered before I got a chance to see it.
I didn’t know who’d killed her or tortured her, but someone had come for the humans here in the day, to take them. And there was only one group I knew of that worked for Eli who could walk in daylight: the members of the werecreature church.
Tara’s Links:
Tara's Blog
Tara's Facebook Page
Amazon Webpage
For info on my recently published series books Lash: Shadow Man click here for print and Kindle versions:
And here for PDF:


  1. Thanks so much for having me at All the Fun Starts After Dark. It made my day...and Night! Happy Holidays...and may all your nights be filled with the darkest kind of fun! :)

  2. Great post Miss Tara! Love Love Love hearing how you come up with your ideas, ESPECIALLY where/how Lash came about and how the scenes came to your mind. I giggled a bit because I saw you in my mind jotting down everything as you are trying to get home before your muse goes away. I am so happy to have "met" you, and I thank you so much for allowing me to be a part of your life and giving me the chance to escape some of my reality for your wonderful writing!!!

    Everyone who has not read Lash or Shadow Man I beg of you to give it a try, even if you are not into vampires I truly believe you will love this series! I could NOT set it down and I am sitting her very impatiently waiting for the next book and I will be so sad when the series is over (hoping she turns it into a Potter size series, you know 8 or so books! hehehe) and if you ARE into Vampires I I ask you all to read Promise me and Broken Promise (Lash makes an appearance there too hehe shhh I did not tell you that though), so yeah PLEASE head on out to the kitchen, make yourself a nice hot cup of cocoa, find a cozy spot maybe by the fire or close to a window whichever you prefer, cuddle up with one of Miss Tara Fox Hall's books and I guarantee you will not be able to set it down.

    oh and yes you are welcome, because I know you will be thanking me later for telling you to read those books.. HAHAHA ;-)


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