A guest blog from author Elizabeth Morgan.
I aim to unnerve you.
I’m not a horror writer, nor am I a thriller writer. I enjoy writing romances and will always lean toward the paranormal before any other genre. So, why have I written a book which is classed as an erotic thriller?
It all goes back to my author tag line, “Pick ‘n’ mix genre author: I’m not greedy. I just like variety.”
I enjoy trying new genres and the main reason for that – and forgive me if this sounds terrible – but it is because I want to see where my boundaries are. I don’t want to be restricted to one genre, or just a few. When I have a story idea that doesn’t fall under my usual genres I don’t want to sit there and go “sorry, can’t write you because you’re not my usual flavour.” I want to figure out my strengths and weakness as a writer. I want to at least try everything once.
That is why I decided to have ago at writing a thriller or more to the point an erotic thriller/horror. And I say thriller/horror because I personally feel that “Creak” is on the borderline. It may fit in one or the other, or both.
So far, six of my stories (four published, two work in progress) have been inspired after reading a submission call from certain e-publishers. I have to admit, I’m a little odd. I like to check out upcoming releases, and view peoples covers – I’m a big fan of cover art – and check out the submissions section. I can’t help it. It’s a habit I have kinda hung onto from the early stages when I originally was looking at all this because I wanted to become a published author. Old habits are hard to break, they really are.
Anyway, every now and again I will see a submission call that sparks my interest or conjures an idea. That was the case with my latest release, “Creak.” I sat and read the requirements for this Halloween anthology – which ended up falling through due to changes in the company – and just thought “I like horror. I’ve watched tons of movies. So, why not give it ago?”
So, deciding to write a thriller story was the easy part as it usually is. The next part was coming up with a good enough idea. I’m actually rather critical when it comes to horrors/thrillers, and the reason for that is because they don’t frighten me, and isn’t that the point of a horror/thriller? To frighten, or disturb, or at the very least unease you?
I would now like to apologize to every director of every horror/thriller I have watched and not been impressed with. Coming up with a story is hard no matter what, but horror/thriller is hard because it is the fear and discomfort that makes it what it is.
I didn’t want to write a story about a mad man running around with a knife, gutting people and all that. So that left me looking at all the aspects of these horrors that I didn’t like. Looking at the situations I wouldn’t want to be in.
I had to make myself uncomfortable in order to write this book. I had to place my characters in situations – and places – I wouldn’t want to be in. I had to give them a sense of false security and make the unimaginable happen to them.
I basically picked at my own fears.
Being in the middle of nowhere:
I don’t think a lot of people would like being stuck in the middle of nowhere, let’s face it, why would you? I don’t like that you basically become isolated and cut off from everyone. Anything could happen to you out there; get lost, get injured, get killed . . . and you may never get found.
I would like to believe that you can trust anyone in this world, but unfortunately it’s not true. There are a lot of cruel and deceitful people out there. So, how do you know who to trust? Can you trust the man at the gas station? Has the woman in the cafe given you the right directions?
How do you know these people mean you no harm? How do you know you are truly safe in this environment that you have stumbled into for a brief moment of time?
I have never stayed in a motel, and I mean no disrespect to the people who run these particular establishments. I understand the point and purpose of them and they are extremely useful, but the idea of complete strangers pulling up outside my room at whatever hour of the night, of them walking past my door . . . paper thin walls in which you can hear everything . . .
They give me the chills. Especially, the motels that are out in the middle of nowhere. Like I said, I get the purpose of them, but something about a solitaire building out in the open, in which anyone can come off the road and wander into . . . I wouldn’t feel secure in the slightest.
So, take those three factors in to account and I have the basics for my story. Once I had my characters in that motel in the middle of nowhere my imagination went wild with scary possibilities.
And isn’t that the point when writing these particular books, or making a movie? Don’t you need to get freaked out by what’s going on? If you’re not semi-freaked about it how will your readers be affected by it?
I wrote “Creak” hoping that I would be able to write a decent horror/thriller. Honestly, this book isn’t scary, but it is unnerving. I was uncomfortable writing certain scenes – which you will probably figure which ones if you decide to read this book – so my hope is that by freaking myself out this book will make you all very uncomfortable while you read it. Maybe give you chills for a couple of reasons. If I can achieve you discomfort than I will consider it a job well done. Ha.
I would like to leave you with an excerpt now, but before I do I want to say a big thank you to Sarah for letting me ramble on with myself yet again. J
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Friday, September 12th, 2014
We had lost the sun about two hours ago, the helpful lights of the other cars and the freeway about an hour after that.
We had all agreed to cut through the small town of Silver Creek in order to knock an hour off our journey—a decision I was beginning to regret.
My face had been practically glued to the window for the last half an hour as I tried to figure out where the night sky ended and the ground began. It was pitch black out there. Not the kind of night painted in a mixture of dark hues with the added color jumping out once in a while. This was total and complete darkness, the type that seemed to move with us. The half moon and clear blanket of stars above had become our only indication that we hadn’t just driven into a tunnel with no end.
The headlights of Kacey’s green camper van continued to guide us along the narrow road and further toward Silver Creek, which I still wasn’t sure if we had arrived in or not.
In the dim orange glow of the overhead light, I turned to look at Kacey. The blood had drained from his knuckles due to the grip he had on the steering wheel, and his plump lips were set in a firm line. He was pissed. I would even say livid. Which meant only one thing, we had gotten lost.
“Kay?” I said softly. “You might as well pull over.”
His eyes narrowed to slits. His focus stuck to the ongoing road. “No.”
“It’s pitch black. There are no lights anywhere. No sign of life. Pull over, and let’s all spend the night in the van. We can set off early tomorrow, when we can actually see, and figure out where the hell we are exactly.”
He may have been a mechanic, but puncturing a tire or crashing into a tree was the last thing any of us needed.
“There’s a Motel.”
I looked at the surrounding darkness with wide eyes. “I don’t see one.”
He turned the GPS we had attached to the dashboard toward me, and pointed at a small blue square. “It should be here somewhere.”
I stared at the small screen and then back out the front window. Who the hell would put a motel out here? Then again, I suppose if it’s a small trade town, and people did cut through like we’re doing….
“There’s the fucker.” Kacey declared and put his foot on the gas.
The van jolted as we went over a bump in the road, and a groan came from the back. “What the hell, Kay?” I turned to see Tyler rubbing the back of his head, and looking at us through hooded lids. “Are we there yet?”
I shook my head. “We’re lost.”
“We’re not lost.” Kacey stated sharply. “I came down the right route. It’s just fucking taking forever because I have to go at a tortoise pace because some stupid asshole didn’t think about putting up lights on this shitty back road.”
Tyler yawned. “So, we’re lost?”
Kacey growled. “We’ll stop here and set off in the morning.”
I looked back out at the road and watched the speck of light that had suddenly emerged from nowhere, growing bigger and bigger, and finally forming in to a readable size and shape.
The tall sign to the “Creek Motel” flickered in the on-going darkness. The faulty light to the isolated establishment appeared to be the only indication that actual people lived in the area. After an hour of nothing but darkness, the sight caused a pop of relief to tickle my stomach.
Kacey slowed and turned the van in to the small parking lot.
Apart from the two cars sitting along the front of the L-shaped building, the only other sign that the motel operated came from the dull light seeping through the curtains of a few rooms. The van filled with soft groans as Tyler woke up the others and Kacey maneuvered into a free space.
“Are you kidding me?” Disgust leaked in to Jayne’s sleep-filled voice.
Kacey scrubbed his hands down his face. “What did you expect, the Hilton?”
“I expected to be in a packed parking lot with tons of people, and lights and loud music.” She yawned. “Where are we?”
He cut the engine, and slid out of his seatbelt. “We’re stopping here for the night.”
“Where is here?”
“We’re in Silver Creek.”
“Yeah, which is just another name for we’re in the middle of fucking nowhere.”
Kacey twisted in his seat. “Look, it’s too dark. So we’re stopping here. We’ll set off in the morning and be at the festival in no time. Deal with it.”
Dry laughter scraped her throat. “You’re so grumpy. Jesus. It’s not my fault we had to set off at half past five. We should have set off tomorrow morning.”
Kacey popped his jaw, and slid a look at me. “I’ll go get us signed in, shall I?”
“I’ll come with you.” I pushed the door open, and climbed out of the van.
I pulled my jacket tightly around me as we made our way across the rough gravel ground toward the entrance. In the silence, I could hear each small gust of wind whipping around the solitary building.
I followed Kacey through the open doorway in to the dingy, snug reception, which had bare brick walls with old photographs lining them and a heavily worn and scratched wooden floor. Kacey hit the small brass bell sitting on the reception desk and we both stood looking at the closed office door.
“Do you think the manager has gone to sleep?” I glanced at him, watching as he squinted in some weak attempt to see through the misted glass of the door.
“Not much else to do round here, so it wouldn’t surprise me.” He hit the bell again. “There’s light flickering in there though, so he or she is probably watching a bit of porn.”
“Why do you have to assume its porn?”
He looked at me, and shrugged. “If I got stuck out here, sleeping and jacking off would be the best way to pass the time.”
“You have serious issues.” I shook my head and looked back at the office door as it opened. A scrawny middle aged woman with faded brown hair stopped in front of us, her grey beady eyes almost glacial.
She studied us both. “How can I help you?”
“Hey, yeah we would like three rooms if that’s possible?” Kacey asked.
The corners of her mouth curled, and a spark of delight lit her cold eyes. For some reason, the sight caused a shiver to run down my spine.
“It sure is. We charge only for the rooms, and they’re thirty dollars a night.” She glanced out into the dark lot. “You kids lost?”
“That depends, are we in Silver Creek?” Kacey asked as he pulled out his wallet.
“You sure are.”
“Then no, it’s just a little too dark for us to be driving.” Kacey placed ninety dollars on the counter. “There you go.”
“Thank you.” She took hold of the money before she turned and walked over to the wooden cabinet on the wall and collected three sets of keys. “I’m afraid we only have rooms with double beds, I trust that won’t be an issue?” she asked as she walked back over to us.
Kacey grinned. “Not at all.”
“Great.” She placed the keys on the counter and then tapped the open page of the guest book. “If you’d just sign your name?”
“If you have any questions or anything, you just pick up your phone and hit one and then hash and it will direct you straight to me —I’m Sarah, by the way —or my husband, Ernie.”
“Do you own this establishment?” I asked.
“Goin’ on four years now.”
“It’s lovely and we’re so lucky that you’re here, otherwise it would have been a crammed night in the van.”
Sarah’s smile grew impossibly wide, revealing a full mouth of crooked teeth. “Oh heck, we couldn’t have that now, could we?”
My own smile faltered as uncertainty twisted in my stomach. I couldn’t take my focus off the small woman standing before me. The longer I stared at her smile, the more I felt like a tiny fish standing in the presence of a hungry shark.
Kacey placed the pen on the book. “There we go.”
“Well, that’s everything.” She looked between us. “You all have a lovely night’s sleep.”
“We will, thank you.” Kacey grabbed the keys from the counter.
Sarah tilted her head and stared at me. “Good night.”
“Night.” I replied softly.
Kacey wrapped his arm around my waist and we left the reception. I glanced over my shoulder as we headed back to the camper van and unease washed over me at the sight of Sarah standing at the window, watching us. Her smile had vanished. Her gaze fixated on us. A stern expression clutched her face.
“She’s watching us.”
“She probably doesn’t trust us.” Kacey replied, giving my waist a gentle squeeze. “No doubt she’s thinking we will keep her other customers up all night.”
“She gives me the creeps.” I looked around the lot. “This whole place is giving me the creeps.”
“Are we good?” Tyler handed me my bags once we stopped by the van.
“Yeah, seventeen dollars each, so y’all can pay me back when we get home.” He threw a set of keys at Craig. “You two love birds get your own room, which leaves…huh, Tyler and Jayne, and you and me, baby.”
I looked up at him, knowing that I should tell him to go to hell, but staying with him would have made me feel better. Something didn’t feel right about the place.
Kacey chuckled. “Holy shit. You are actually freaking out, aren’t you?”
“Freaking about what?” A hint of concern licked Tyler’s tone.
“She thinks the manager is creepy.”
“She is.” I turned back to look at the window of the reception to find Sarah had gone.
Jayne plucked a set of keys from Kacey’s hand. “Well, no offence Ty, but you really don’t do it for me. So, Nikki and I will be sharing, and you two get to continue with your bro-mance in private.”
“Believe me, I’m not offended.” Tyler replied, with a slight twitch of his lips.
“Whatever.” I watched as Jayne headed over to the ongoing strip of windows and doors. “Are you coming, Nikki?”
I looked between Tyler, and Kacey. “We shouldn’t stay here.” I told them as I hefted my bag onto my shoulder, and followed Jayne.
~ * ~
(An Erotic Thriller)
By Elizabeth Morgan
“What happens in Silver Creek, stays in Silver Creek.”
After spending the summer as a recluse due to a bad break-up, Nicole Saunders agrees to go to The Heat Wave Festival with her best friends, Kacey and Tyler.
Along with three other friends they plan to take a shortcut through the small town of Silver Creek; the last thing any of them expected was to become lost and end up pulling in to a motel for the night.
The Creek Motel is isolated and the last place Nicole wants to be, especially after meeting the glacial owner, but her discomfort is soon forgot as she finally gives in to her feelings and asks Kacey and Tyler to spend the night with her.
A decision she quickly regrets when she discovers that their friend has mysteriously disappeared from her locked room in the middle of the night. Worried, Nicole presumes the worst, but quickly discovers that Jayne’s disappearance is more disturbing than any of them could have guessed.
BUY LINK: click here
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I’m giving away one copy of “Creak” to a lucky commenter. All you have to do to be in with a chance of winning is leave me a comment- with your email address – in reply to the following question:
Which horror movie would you hate to be in?
The competition ends on February 11th at midnight – 6pm est time – I will then pick a winner with the help of Random.org. and email their copy to them. Good luck! J