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Friday, December 23, 2011

Creepfest e-book Winners!


Hi folks! I know Creepfest is officially 12 days, but Christmas is a-coming and I have a lot to do and people to see. I don't want to take time away from company to blog. Even I have limits.

So... I had a lovely assistant do a blind draw of the names entered in the Creepfest e-book draw. I decided to have 3 prizes instead of one. Just 'cause.

The grand prize of a package of awesome e-books goes to *drumroll*

James Garcia Jr.!

My two runner-up winners of a copy of Base Spirits are *another exciting drumroll*

Jason Darrick

and...

*drum flourish*

Ash Krafton!

*cymbal clash and wild canned applause*


My lovely and somewhat bemused assistant can now go back to their morning coffee. I will get in contact, guys-- congratulations! Please bear with me as I coordinate how to get all the books out to you. It may be a juggle contacting the other authors over the Christmas break. But you'll have lots of good stuff to read in the New Year!

Thanks to everyone who entered the contest, and a HUGE thank you to all the wonderful guests who wrote such splendid posts over the past week and a half. I wish one and all the very best of the season-- whatever you choose to call it, or whether or not you choose to celebrate any specific rites and traditions. May you enjoy good company, laughter, a feast or three-- and may 2012 bring you all excellent health, good fortune and love.

I may be done, but Creepfest is not! Click on Poe's picture to carry on creeping!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Horror for Good: Mark Scioneaux on Creepfest

One last chance to enter the draw for a pack of Creepfest e-book goodies! http://ruth-barrett-spiritedwords.blogspot.com/2011/12/welcome-to-12-days-of-creepfest.html

My final guest on the 12 Days of Creepfest blog hop is the talented and kind-spirited Mark Scioneaux.


1) "My true love gave to me..." -- Your most amazing/weird/stupid gift ever-- given or received.

One of the best gifts I have ever received came a few Christmases ago when my wife gave me our first Keurig machine. I am an avid coffee drinker and I used the hell out of it. As far a weird gifts go, the two that stick out in my mind were both from my aunt. One Christmas, she gave me a sweater that looked like a rainbow had thrown up all over it. Needless to say that was returned quickly. The other gift was a long time ago when "Santa" brought me my first Playstation. I received a gift from here that looked suspiciously like a Playstation game. But when I opened it, it was a Duran Duran CD. My sister received a Coach purse from her. WTF?!?

2) Ghosts of Christmas Past/Present/Future -- Highlights (or disasters) of past holidays, and/or aspirations for the ideal future Christmas.


I am blessed to say I never had a bad Christmas at my house growing up. Each morning the tree was surrounded with gifts and my sister and I would open so many that we would get bored after a while. We were spoiled to say the least and its something I look forward to doing to my children one day. From this fortunate upbringing sprung this desire for me to help others who maybe didn't have it as good as I did.

For my ideal future Christmas, it would be watching my children open their gifts surrounded by their parents and grandparents. Then I could sit back and smile, knowing that my entire life had led up to this one perfect moment.

3) The best book you ever got for Christmas.

A few books stick out in my mind. Jurassic Park and Jaws were two of my favorites that I can read over and over again and never tire of. One Christmas I received the entire collection of Edgar Allen Poe. His poem, "The Raven," is one of my favorite pieces of literature of all time. I also received a book of Greek mythology and read it until it fell apart. I love Greek mythology and I find it fascinating.

4) Tell us about your upcoming charity anthology!


Horror for Good was created one day as a simple idea to put an anthology together for charity. It turned into something far greater than anyone could have ever expected. Proceeds from the book sales will go toward amfAR, an international charity for fight against AIDS. It features Stoker winners, international best sellers, and authors new to the horror writing scene. It will be out sometime in the Spring of 2012, and the editors are Robert S. Wilson, R.J. Cavender, and myself. It will be published by Cutting Block Press.


I want to help make a change in the world, and I am asking for the help of the writing world to do it.

One person cannot make a dent, but when he/she is teamed up with many, anything is possible!

Amazing idea, Mark! Check it out here: https://www.facebook.com/horrorforgood


"The Glass Coffin"
Tyler Webster is a ruined man. With age creeping up on him and his marriage failing, he seeks solace in the arms of another, leaving his wife and sick daughter behind. When he returns however, the unthinkable has happened. The dead have come to life and are hunting the living. Tyler soon finds himself helpless, and worse, powerless to do anything about it as the macabre situation unfolds. He is trapped inside his glass coffin while the world around him turns to madness.

If you are a fan of classic, Romero-style zombie action, then this is a must read. A true zombie lover's delight scripted by Mark Christopher Scioneaux, the author of the zombie thriller, Hollow Point, and founder of Horror for Good.



http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B006GC6QM2/ref=s9_simh_gw_p351_d1_g351_i1?pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_s=center-2&pf_rd_r=1TXRC9PYNJQ37TBQPEMJ&pf_rd_t=101&pf_rd_p=470938631&pf_rd_i=507846

And in true charitable style, Mark submitted links to his fellow editor's book!


Shining in Crimson by Robert S. Wilson
Set in a dystopian, religiously-demented American Empire, the city of Las Vegas is no longer a city of sin. Now called Necropolis, it is a city that eats sin. The vampires of Necropolis wait patiently for the Empire's weekly drop off of guilty Penitents; sinners and criminals full of fresh blood.

Hank Evans is one of those Penitents and he would gladly let the vampires take every drop of his blood if it weren’t for one detail: Toby. Toby is Hank’s only son. Now, Hank must do whatever it takes to escape the city of the dead and save his son from an Empire as bloodthirsty as the vampires it uses to keep its people in line.

"A big-scale vampire thriller that changes the rules."--Scott Nicholson, Liquid Fear, The Red Church, and They Hunger.

http://www.amazon.com/Shining-Crimson-Empire-Blood-ebook/dp/B005LD2TKK/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1323836967&sr=1-1

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Solstice Treat with Kim Koning on Creepfest

Welcome (and Bright Blessings, if today is your Solstice... and Chanukah Sameach for other Jewish friends!) There's still time to enter the draw for a Creepfest gift pack of e-books: http://ruth-barrett-spiritedwords.blogspot.com/2011/12/welcome-to-12-days-of-creepfest.html



Pull up a cosy chair and get ready for Kim Koning- she went above and beyond with her poetical take on the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future!

Twas the night before Christmas and as I lay down in bed I sent out a Christmas prayer.
"Christmas Spirits, both ancient and present I plead with you this dark night lit only by the moon.
My Christmas wish tonight is not for gifts of gold and silver wrapped trinkets or sweet morsels to fill my mouth.
My Christmas wish tonight is not for earthly peace nor endless sunshine and cloudless skies.
No, my Christmas wish is a touch, a kiss, a warm embrace, the whisper of my name on breath long disappeared.
My Christmas wish is for the living and the spirits to meet once more, even for a few hours.
My Christmas wish is to tell those that left me how I loved them and how I missed their presence in my life.
My Christmas wish is to hear the sweet tinkling bells of their laughter and to feel the warmth of their smiles.
My Christmas wish is to tell them that though their spirits now walk this realm and the next, their love remains alive in my heart.
Christmas Spirits, both ancient and present I plead with you this dark night lit only by the moon."

As the moon disappeared behind veiled clouds of deep grey, I fell asleep with trickling rain dripping down my cheek.
It was not long and I heard a sound and felt a warm caress dry the rain's tears from my cheek.
A voice bent down to my ear and whispered my name and I heard tinkling laughter coming from all corners of the room.
I slowly opened my eyes and looked to see what marvel had appeared in my room under the clouded sky.
There in a bed, covered up to the chin by a heavy blanket of death-white, lay a girl with a dried tear on her cheek.
Her hair was smooth and dark against the white of the pillow and her lips were bruised as if some kiss had longed to punish them.
I heard the tinkling laughter then and looked to my side and behind me.
There were ethereal specters there all around the bed of this lost girl.
The moon had disappeared but pale light shone through their shadowy forms.

I looked back at the girl wondering where I had seen her before.
One of these specters looked at me then for the first time and smiled a smile that embraced my soul in warmth and light.
The specter's lips did not move but a low melodious sound came from him like a cello chasing the sound of light in a moonless night:
"We heard your Christmas plea little one. You did not ask for earthly peace nor endless sunshine and cloudless skies.
You did not ask for gold and silver wrapped trinkets or sweet morsels to fill your mouth.
Your Christmas wish was for the living and the spirits to meet once more.
So here we come, at your call and as you wished...all the spirits who loved you once and missed you long."
But dear one the living must sacrifice life itself to walk with the spirits...Your sacrifice has been a tender gift for us this Christmas Past."

Then he stretched out his hand and he touched mine.
I trembled in fear at his words and wished to take back my Christmas plea.
I had not wished to sacrifice life, what of all those I love this Christmas Present.
His hand went right through air and though I could feel his strong grasp, there was no hand to cling to in return.
I looked down again at the lost girl lying asleep in eternity and knew that my heart would ache to feel the tears of rain or light of the moon again.
No more endless sunshine nor cloudless skies for me. No earthly peace nor gifts of gold and silver.
No touch, no kiss, nor embrace, sweet laughter, nor whispers of my name.

These specters were only veils of what had been warm breath and soft laughter, shed tears and sweet memories.
The lost girl lay in bed as the clouded sky gave way to the all seeing eye of the morning.
All around I could hear carolers singing and in the house far away I could hear mother and father calling out "Merry Christmas."
The lost girl did not stir. Christmas Eve had come and passed taking her with it.
I watched the two people I had once known as mom and dad come running in with gifts of gold and silver wrapped trinkets spilling forth from their embrace.
I saw the woman collapse to the floor before he could catch her and the sounds that poured forth from both pulled a veil over the sun, their misery was so great.

I knew then, looking at the ugly grief of the couple where I recognised that lost girl.
She had been this same specter once before when it breathed, laughed, hoped and loved.
I took one last glance at the lost girl and the grieving couple and I bent down and whispered my forgotten name in the woman's ear.
She shivered at the sound of my whisper and glanced wildly around searching for that missing girl
I touched the man's arm but he shook my touch off as if a cruel thing had pierced him.

The specter who had spoken so melodiously before beckoned me once more.
The other ethereal forms had drifted off as the moon had been swallowed by the morning.
He looked at me once again and his face showed pain so great and so forlorn:
"Come child, you are no more. Now you walk the realm with those who have gone before."

Now I walk this realm and the next longing for a warm touch, a sweet kiss and shared laughter.
I visit all the homes of my loved ones each Christmas, silently coming in with the moonlight and leaving with the sun.
I am moonlight and stardust, wind and water but ancient spirit I remain.

Heed the wishes you make on Christmas night for twas a wish such as this that took my breath...
Heed the living and love the present for the realm of spirits leaves much to be attained...

Heed the Christmas wish that regrets the past, forgetting your gift of Now but love life lest you sacrifice it.

Christmas Spirits, both ancient and present keep your silence, the living seek you out...

_____________________
Thanks for having me on your "Spirited Words" Ruth. I truly enjoyed the Christmas prompts.
Happy Creepfest everyone.

Open the gateway of darkness at: http://kimkoning.com/wp/
I can be found Wrestling the Muse : http://kimkoning.wordpress.com/
I can also be found on twitter @AuthorKimKoning
Like my facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/Kim.M.Koning?sk=app_106171216118819
My first short story is available in this anthology along with 33 other great authors including The Neil Gaiman:
http://randomstatic.net/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=51
(I am also giving away an ebook copy of this anthology on my blog "Wrestling the Muse" for Creepfest in a Creepmas Contest.)

I see ghosts and tell tales of their visits.
I write by the light of the moon and under the gaze of the stars.
Draw up a chair, light a candle, close the windows and let me weave you stories of darkness and gateways of light.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Today on Creepfest- Saffina Desforges!

Ho ho ho! Creepfest continues apace with the sassy and awesome Saffina Desforges! I was a guest on her blog over the weekend for her own version of the 12 Days of Christmas, so here's Saffina's whimsical take on the theme of her most awful/memorable Christmas gift: (and don't forget to toss your virtual hat in the ring for a Creepfest gift pack of free e-books- click here for the rules! http://ruth-barrett-spiritedwords.blogspot.com/2011/12/welcome-to-12-days-of-creepfest.html) And check below for some links for free offerings from Saffina (no contest, no rules-- just grab and read! Thanks, Saffi!)



Christmas pressie #FAIL: A Christmas Eve horror show!

By Saffina Desforges

This is a dark fantasy/horror blog right? Of course it is, we all know how Ruth Barrett works! ;-)

When Ruth asked me to write a blog post for her ‘Creepfest blog tour’ I was both delighted and ponderous. She gave us a choice of themes so I racked my brain and chewed my lip for some time, hoping to come up with an appropriate story.

In the end, I chose the theme "My true love gave to me..." -- Your most amazing/weird/stupid gift ever-- given or received.

But here’s the twist; this story isn’t about me, it’s about my parents. More specifically, my Dad.

We all know that Dads aren’t great gift buyers and they are also the worst people in the world to buy for. After years of conversations that went something like this: “What would you like for Christmas, Dad?” “Er, oh, I dunno, anything, nothing, just get me a voucher.” I found a way to make life easy for myself. Pa now gets the latest football shirt of our beloved Manchester United every Christmas. The logo and the design changes and every couple of years, the size gets one bigger, but he knows what he’s getting and he loves it. Easy.

So to the other side of Dads’ downfalls during the festive period – they are rubbish at buying presents!

For as long as I can remember, my mum went out and picked her own present and my dad paid the bill. If he was feeling particularly adventurous and brave, he might get her a bottle of a perfume she had mentioned to go with it as a surprise, but not very often. So you can imagine our surprise, when a few years ago, he announced that he wanted to get my mum a watch and (wait for it) pick it himself.

My sisters and I were astounded but pleased and very excited to see her open it, knowing how thrilled she would be after 40 plus years of getting her own gift.

And so came the traditional gathering at my parents on Christmas Eve 2009. We do it every year: the kids put names in a hat and draw them out, then everyone gives that person their presents to open in order (minus the kids of course, who have to wait until the next day).
So, there we all are, everyone in on the secret except my ma, who usually writes this process off every year, knowing that us three girls will get her something nice, but that’s where it ends.

Now, you might be thinking, okay, cute story, but what’s this got to do with the theme? Let me set the scene:

My eldest niece pulls my mum’s name out of the hat and we all give her our gifts. There’s lots of oohing and ahhing and kisses all round, then my Dad produces a neatly wrapped gift box. My mum looks perplexed, already having bought herself a scarf and some other bits that she wanted, courtesy of Dad’s credit card. We all look on with growing anticipation and excitement.

Now, before I tell you what happened, just let me ram home what a huge thing this was for my Dad. He actually parked the car in town, wandered round countless jewellers and even wrapped the present himself. He even managed to write a message on the tag. Unheard of.

So, mum unwraps the paper, we’re all nudging each other, cameras at the ready. A pregnant pause descends on the room.

What happened next was X-rated. **insert the most horrendous look of deflation and disappointment EVER witnessed here**

Enter stage left the token tumbleweed blowing across the room as the wind whistles across a desolate plain, the picked over cattle-head dug in the sand at an angle, vultures circling above.

My mum didn’t have to say a word. She didn’t even take the watch out of the box. EPIC FAIL.

We all glanced at each other, nobody spoke a word. Desperate silence, a few coughs and clearing of throats.

I’ve seen many a horror movie in my time but nothing was as awful as that moment.

Needless to say, she didn’t like the watch. Later, when we’d tried to cajole her into trying it on and assuring her that he’d meant well, she took us to one side and made us swear that we would never allow my father to choose a present for her again.

We reneged on that promise last year when he bought her a huge diamond ring for their Diamond wedding. She loved it, but I will never forget the look on her face that night. Ever.

The moral of the story is; men, don’t EVER buy your significant other a present without checking with a girl first, EVER. ;-) It doesn’t matter how much you think she’ll love it, check!

Fortunately, we survived our Christmas horror fest and my parent’s marriage survived. We mention it sometimes, but the widening of my Dad’s eyes and the quick shake of the head soon makes us change the subject. Women eh? ;-)

Happy holidays!

If you fancy grabbing yourself something sinister to read for FREE over the festive period, then have one on us.

The American Edition of our UK Best-seller, ‘Sugar & Spice’ is now FREE on Amazon.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Sugar-Spice-American-controversial-ebook/dp/B004W0IJCU

http://www.amazon.com/Sugar-Spice-American-controversial-ebook/dp/B004W0IJCU

For info on our other books or to follow us on twitter and facebook, go here:

http://www.saffinadesforges.com/

Our blogs:

http://sapphicscribe.wordpress.com/
http://saffinadesforges.wordpress.com/
http://markwilliamsinternational.com/

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Stant Litore on Creepfest!

Creeping away... and please remember to enter for a chance to win a bunch of great e-books! The rules are simple: http://ruth-barrett-spiritedwords.blogspot.com/2011/12/welcome-to-12-days-of-creepfest.html The prize includes the first of the groundbreaking Zombie Bible series by today's guest Stant Litore. His zombie books are terrifying, toothsome reads... but there is a heart and soul and eloquence that I find unique in the genre. Here's Stant with his heartfelt take on "My true love gave to me..."



I’m going to say a word about the most beautiful gift I have ever received for Christmas. It came with love, it came with a delicious kiss, and it also came with enough courage and trust that it shook my heart. The moment is so personal and has such a halo in my memory that it feels quite awkward inviting other people to hear about it, especially as I’m likely to paint that halo in such grayscale that I deprive it of any of the beauty others might see. Still, I have to try.

The Christmas after our first date and our first kiss, the woman I later married gave me a book. A holy book, actually, sacred in my faith. Now she and I are of entirely different faiths. In fact, we are about as different as it is possible to be and still speak the same language. I’ll tell you what I mean. I grew up butchering livestock and frying bacon in as much grease as possible; she is a vegetarian who makes falafel on the weekends. I grew up with wetlands outside our back door and my father always had a shotgun handy; my wife is as city as they come, and didn’t use to know what a possum was. I rise early; she sleeps late. I could go on. But man, we are in love and have been for a number of years. And to come to the point, we are of entirely different cultural traditions and different faiths. We look at the world differently.

That made dating a bit rocky at first. I think we were each a little fearful that the other might try to convert us. Or fearful that all our dark fears and dread about the other’s view of the world, all of our stereotypes, might at any moment be terribly confirmed. And that brings me to Christmas.

This was in Colorado, and the windows were so iced over they might crack if you tapped them. We stole away from the world to find some time just the two of us together, with a poinsettia to serve as a Christmas tree, and she offered me as a gift a holy text. I will never forget the look in her eyes, or the words she wrote inside the cover. Today that book is beaten up pretty badly, and I kid you not I have held the spine together with green duct tape, but it is the most meaningful gift I was ever given. Because her eyes said to me: I am not willing to be afraid of how different you are. I love you.

This story has a happy ending. We wrote our own wedding ceremony weaving together our traditions in a grand duet, and even had two officiants who read the ceremony together in their own duet. I set aside my fear of her ways, too.

There’s a lot of fear in our world right now. There always has been. And I’m not going to hand you platitudes; my writing isn't about that, and I’m not about that. Some differences really are insoluble. And just settling for saying that every way of life is equal cheapens all ways of life and too often becomes a way of avoiding the topic and dismissing a conversation you don’t want to have. But I will say this, and it might be an important time of year to say it. Often you learn more about your spirituality, your convictions, and what matters to you from people with other ways than you ever do from the community you already know. And life is only really exciting and sexy when there’s some friction. Just remember that you’re out to dance with your fellow human beings, not clobber or be clobbered. This isn’t survival of the fittest; it’s which pairs stay until the last dance.





Stant Litore writes about the restless dead. His Zombie Bible series retells old biblical tales as narratives of humanity’s long struggle with hunger and the hungry undead. His first book is an Amazon horror bestseller and you can find it here:

ZOMBIE BIBLE: DEATH HAS COME UP INTO OUR WINDOWS
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B005SNK13K
Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/zombie-bible-stant-litore/1107395760?ean=2940013826816

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Scott Nicholson on Creepfest!

Hi folks- and welcome back to the 12 Days of Creepfest! Don't forget that you can enter to win a virtual stack of e-books, including a copy of a children's e-book If I Were your Monster from today's fabulous guest, Scott Nicholson! Perfect for the kiddies on your gift list. To enter the e-book draw, follow the simple rules here: http://ruth-barrett-spiritedwords.blogspot.com/2011/12/welcome-to-12-days-of-creepfest.html

Here's the shiny new cover for Scott's latest book Creative Spirit. Great image- I love it. Read on as Scott shares his thoughts on the true spirit of the season...

Scott's Latest Offering

Ghost of Perfect Christmas
By Scott Nicholson

My Ghost of Christmas Future would be the one where I finally convince my relatives that I really, truly already have all that I need—in fact, more than I need. At which point, I will suggest they simply not buy me anything and pay off debt instead, or else donate the gift to charity. Every year I make the case for it, and I don’t care if it’s “bad” for the economy. I don’t mean to come off as a Grinch, but I see so many people enslaving themselves for three months just to pay off that holiday binge.

Now, I am a fan of handmade gifts, or simple presents that can be used to create, such as art supplies or musical instruments. And I understand the “transaction of value” that helps us all give and take and survive. I just don’t think another $20 plastic imported trinket from Wal-Mart is going to improve my life or help the world become a more peaceful, sustainable place. To me, the ideals of Christmas are actually wrapped up in simplicity and minimalism, and a contentment with the many blessings we have all around us—love, friendship, and a beautiful planet.

Thanks for joining my branch of the tour, Scott. Find out more about today's guest and get all the links you'll ever need to do so just below!

Scott Nicholson’s CREATIVE SPIRIT is available at:
Amazon US http://www.amazon.com/Creative-Spirit-ebook/dp/B006HKLNAI
Amazon UK http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B003ZSHPJS
Kobo http://www.kobobooks.com/ebook/Creative-Spirit/book-7stJgU_TmkexuV2diufWVA/page1.html
Smashwords http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/26021
BN.com http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/creative-spirit-scott-nicholson/1101704574
or Goodreads http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/11153196-creative-spirit.

Look for Liquid Fear and Chronic Fear from Amazon’s Thomas & Mercer imprint. Scott is Kindle bestselling author of 12 novels, including THE RED CHURCH, DISINTEGRATION, LIQUID FEAR, and SPEED DATING WITH THE DEAD.
Connect with Scott on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/authorscottnicholson
Goodreads http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/97045.Scott_Nicholson
LibraryThing https://www.facebook.com/authorscottnicholson
Twitter https://twitter.com/#!/eScottNicholson
blogspot http://hauntedcomputer.blogspot.com/
Website http://www.hauntedcomputer.com/
or Amazon page http://www.amazon.com/Scott-Nicholson/e/B001HCX30O

Friday, December 16, 2011

Red Tash on Creepfest!

A special Friday treat as the 12 Days of Creepfest creeps on... don't forget you can enter to WIN a bunch of great e-books! Check here for the details and rules: http://ruth-barrett-spiritedwords.blogspot.com/2011/12/welcome-to-12-days-of-creepfest.html



Emotions run especially high during the holidays, and I asked the wonderful Red Tash to share a 'my true love gave to me' tale. The results are very moving. Thanks for sharing with us.


My true love gave to me...

The lovely and elegant Ruth Barrett has graciously invited coarse, gruesome me to submit a guest blog about an amazing Christmas gift for her readers to enjoy. I keep thinking about it. My stories are so long, and guest posts are generally lauded for brevity.

What to do?

I keep thinking of this story, but it’s not the type of thing I usually share. It’s not funny, and it’s so personal—but as they say in one of my fave Christmas flicks, “At Christmas, you tell the truth,” so why not? (First one to name that movie wins a copy of This Brilliant Darkness, by the way.)

A few years ago, I was newly divorced and deeply ensconced in a rebound relationship. She was an exciting, intelligent, mischievous woman, and I fell for her.

But we fought. She was very troubled. I was not just walking on eggshells constantly--I was walking on eggshells on top of broken glass, floating on a sea of razor blades. Every day was another drama.

Finally, something horrible happened. It didn't happen to me, and it didn't happen to her, but it happened to us. A mutual friend was brutally attacked on the eve of the holidays. It was a traumatic experience for the victim, obviously, but I watched as my then-girlfriend lost herself in our friend’s suffering. She was an angry woman, and she began to channel the anger that the victim didn’t seem to be able to process.

I could read the writing on the wall, but I didn’t know how to stop it. I hummed Christmas tunes and hoped for the best, and turned my attention to my kids.

Finally, on Christmas Eve Eve, it all blew up. More than once in my life, I have stood up to adult temper tantrums. I have out-shouted the shouters, and I have defended myself physically from attackers. This particular Christmas, though, I was a different person. While they screamed and broke things, I quietly gave up. I never raised my voice, I never got angry, I just said to my girl "You better take your friend and go." I was grateful my children were not at home.

I will never forget the look on face of the woman, as she turned and assassinated me with her eyes. I felt the adrenaline spike through my veins like instant snakebite, but I said no more.

I sat for hours next to the Christmas tree that night, surfing the internet, having some retail therapy. I kept waiting for the tears to start. I'd been through break-ups before, and it had been so awful, so wrenching, that I swore to myself I would never do that again.

It was two a.m. before I picked up the phone and called my best friend. I told him what happened. I felt like this was what I was supposed to do. Just, you know—tell someone. He was reassuring, and kind.

Even though it was early, he didn’t seem disturbed that I'd woken him in the middle of the night. He just listened. He wasn't surprised. I could hear in his voice the desire to both congratulate me and commiserate with my suffering. He'd been through his own romantic foibles that season, and he’d listened to me through all my confusion, from my divorce to my stormy rebound romance.

“Why can’t people just be content to live a boring, drama-free life?” I asked him.

We talked about how great it would be to just be able to share a life with a partner who enjoyed spending time together. Someone who didn’t have to fight all the time. Someone who wanted the same things that we wanted.

I think I knew that night that he was that person for me, although it would be months before I was willing to risk the gift of his precious friendship and confess.

I did not fall in love with my best friend that night, but I did receive his love—his true, honest friendship, which is the most important kind of love, as far as I’m concerned. It forms the basis for everything else we strive for in our relationships, in my opinion.

No, that night--Christmas Eve Eve, I fell in love with my life. A life that no one else controlled, that no one else had the final say over. I knew that night, no matter where I lived, no matter how much or how little money I had, it was far better to be alone and be at peace with my choices than to be accompanied in sorrow.

It may not be a scary, kooky, or funny story, but Ruth asked for amazing, and honestly, I think that was the most amazing Christmas I’ve ever had. Sitting alone in a quiet, peaceful house, my dog at my feet and the voice of a friend on the other end of the phone, I drifted to sleep, in heavenly peace.



Red Tash is the author of dark fantasy/paranormal thriller This Brilliant Darkness, an Amazon Top Twenty Dark Fantasy, as well as a free contemporary short entitled The Wizard Takes a Holiday. Visit http://redtash.com/ for buy links, reviews, and other cool stuff, including updates on her forthcoming YA fantasy, Troll or Derby, about a roller skating fairy who takes on a troll drug lord in a quest to free her sister from his clutches.
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B005LSNB2A/ref%3das_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=myxangaweblog-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B005LSNB2A

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Stacey Turner on Creepfest!

Welcome to the ongoing 12 Days of Creepfest! Today's guest is author and editor (and birthday gal!) Stacey Turner. Don't forget- you can ENTER TO WIN a bunch of great e-books-- including Satan's Toybox: Demonic Dolls! The simple rules are here: http://ruth-barrett-spiritedwords.blogspot.com/2011/12/welcome-to-12-days-of-creepfest.html



Here's a Q&A with Stacey (the two of us are spookily alike in many ways!):


1. How long have you been writing?

I’m going to go with ever since I learned to form the letters of my name. My mother taught me to read when I was four and since then I’ve been making things up in my head and writing them down. Most of those stories have never seen the light of day, however. I have written letters, grocery lists, emails, blogs, ad copy, news articles and fiction. I’ve only been taking myself seriously for the past two years.

2. What's the first thing you had published?

I guess articles on the web. But fiction-wise, my story in Satan’s Toybox: Demonic Dolls was my first published work.

3. Do you write full time or do you have a day job?

I have a day job, but it’s the best day job a writer can have- I’m the Editor-in-Chief at Angelic Knight Press. Helping someone else improve their work is supremely satisfying. It does cut into my own writing time, though.

4. What is your writing routine?

I don’t really have a set routine. Since I work from home, I make my own hours and it depends on what else is going on during the day. But I try to work on my fiction before I open anything else on my computer. I don’t have a set number of words I try to write. I work as long as the words are flowing easily. If I start to stumble, I stop and come back the next day. Sometimes the next bit needs to germinate for a day or so.

5. Have you always been a fan of the Horror genre?

I have been ever since I can remember. My parents were both big horror fans and my mother would let me stay up and watch ‘Twilight Zone’ and ‘Nightmare Gallery’ with her. Although, I do have to blame her for my fear of birds- ‘The Birds’ has given me a lifelong phobia.

6. What scares you? Any silly phobias?

Besides birds? Well, there’s the rational fear of losing someone I love, etc. But I also fear clowns, scarecrows, creepy dolls and snakes. I’ve also recently developed an aversion to garden gnomes.

7. What other writers do you admire?

Stephen King is the big one. I know everyone says that, but my parents had all his books and so I started reading them too. He’s more than just a horror writer; he’s a very literary writer and the things he does with character—amazing. But also Koontz, Straub, Dan Simmons and Daniel Hecht (a little known, but brilliant author). Outside the horror genre, I love Elizabeth Berg, Alice Hoffman, Steinbeck, Austen, Shakespeare, the list goes on.

8. What is your favorite thing about the indie movement?

I love the spirit of community. It’s much less a competition then a concentrated effort towards success. Everyone tries to help everyone else succeed. As a small publisher we work with other small publishers, we promote them, they promote us, we share marketing ideas and authors. It’s also a much more intimate relationship with the authors we work with. I know each one of them personally and I know their writing styles and I can work with that.

9. Best writing advice you've ever been given?

The best advice is ‘butt-in-chair’. Just get yourself to your workspace and do it. Every day.

10. What advice would you give any newbies out there?

Don’t stop learning. Never think you know it all, because no one knows it all. You have to constantly work at improving your craft. I do. I don’t mean you have to go back to school and get a creative writing degree or anything like that. There are a million magazines, books and online resources out there. Just take advantage of them. Learn something new about writing every day. Oh, and read. You must read voraciously, in order to write well.



Stacey Turner can be found all over the Web--
Blogs of different stripes: http://www.staceyturner-authorspot.blogspot.com/ or http://seespotread-spot.blogspot.com/ (a review blog).
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=644270716
Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/Spot_Speaks
At work! http://www.angelicknightpress.com/

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Creepfest with Patti Larsen

Hi everyone! Welcome to Day 2 of the 12 Days of Creepfest! Remember- to win some fab e-books (including Run by today's guest Patti Larsen), enter by following the rules HERE: http://ruth-barrett-spiritedwords.blogspot.com/2011/12/welcome-to-12-days-of-creepfest.html

I gave my guests a few topics to select from, and the lovely Patti Larsen (my fellow Canuck!) chose to regale us with 'My True Love Gave To Me…' --a weird, wonderful or TERRIBLE gift. Over to Patti...

This is a sad and tragic story filled with absolute horror. And while it’s not a Christmas story, it’s worthy of its terrible title…

All I wanted for my 25th birthday was a party. A gathering of my dearest friends, with wine (or beer) and yummy delicious food, happiness and presents and lots of music. It was, after all, my champagne birthday and I wanted to greet it with a bang.

And so, blissfully ignorant of the madness to come, I informed my darling husband in July about my wishes for said party and left it with him.

Said birthday was two months away in September. Yet, I had faith in him, in the fact he loved me and wanted only what was best for me. So, trusting in his ability to arrange my night of joy, I spent the next eight weeks eagerly anticipating the fun.

Oh what fun it would be! The event grew grander and more outrageous with the thinking and plotting until I was sure it would be the very best birthday ever.

The anniversary of the day I came into this world dawned fortuitous. The sun was shining, I was having a good hair day… perfect. I went to work in a haze of anticipation and came home in a frenzy of wondering what my sweet, loving, amazing husband arranged for me.

Imagine my surprise when I walked through the door to an empty house. Slight disappointment won for a moment. Until said sweet, loving and amazing husband told me to turn around and get back in the car.

We were going to my mother’s.

Joy be found! The party was, naturally, at her house to distract me, a feint by the most incredible man in the entire world, where everyone was no doubt lying in wait to surprise me. When we pulled up to the house, I giggled in glee. They’d even hidden all the cars so I would have no idea they were there.

I swept through the front door, ready for the bellowed, “SURPRISE!” from all my friends and loved ones.

Mom and Dad looked up from the books they read and said, “Hi, honey. Happy Birthday.”

What’s this? They were taking the whole secret party thing a little too far. Only then did my husband, he of the clever nature and supreme planning, turn me toward the dining room. My heart leapt! I lunged in, arms wide… to no one.

Something sat on the polished surface. Something… hideous.

“Happy Birthday,” my husband said.

It took my eyes a moment to adjust, to recognize. To accept.

There would be no party. Nay, not for me, not that day. Instead, there they sat, my present. A pair of steel toed, insulated rubber boots. And inside, nestled in each, lay crumpled a single wool sock.

The HORROR!



Looking for more horror? Check out my YA series, The Hunted, starting with book one, RUN.

Kidnapped

Alone, Reid gasps in one deep breath, another. It hurts his ribs, his lungs. He manages to roll over on his right side and regrets it. His shoulder screams in protest. Still, he is finally able to wriggle his numb hands loose from what holds him and claws at the cloth around his eyes.

Darkness. But not complete. The moon is up. Trees loom over him, the smell of spruce and fresh air so sharp it almost hurts. He jerks at the plastic ties around his ankles while. his vision swims through a veil of pain-laden tears. He manages somehow to force his screaming hands to work the ties loose and he is free.

Sixteen-year-old Reid thinks life is back to normal. His sister Lucy pulls herself together and cuts him free from a year of foster care. She promises to take care of him, that her new boss and her new life are what they both needed to start again. Until Reid is taken in the middle of the night, dumped in a wild stretch of forest far from home with no idea why he is there. Lost and afraid, he learns to run from the hunters who prowl the darkness, their only pleasure chasing down kids like him. And killing them.

About the Author: Patti Larsen is a middle grade, young adult and adult author with a passion for the paranormal. Her YA thriller series, The Hunted, is available now. Books one and two of The Hayle Coven series, Family Magic and Witch hunt are also out now, with the sequels, Demon Child and The Wild, due in December of this year. She is a full time writer and a part time teacher of her Get Your Book Done program. Patti lives on the East Coast of Canada with her very patient husband and four massive cats.

You can find her:

On her website http://pattilarsen.com/
On Facebook https://www.facebook.com/pattilarsenauthor
Her writing blog http://www.pattilarsen.blogspot.com/
Her book blog http://www.pattilarsenbooks.blogspot.com/
On Twitter https://twitter.com/#!/PattiLarsen
On Amazon.com and Goodreads

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Welcome to 12 Days of Creepfest!

Let the madness ensue! The 12 Days of Creepfest is a Christmas blog tour with a creepy twist. Check out this page for the half-crazed participants and drop by their blogs for fun and prizes: http://creepfestblogtours.blogspot.com/p/blog-tour-home.html



Over the next 12 days, I will be blog hopping and hosting some very special guests. There will be fun! Chills! Surprises! And... prizes! There will be many an e-book up for grabs from me and my esteemed guests (including Scott Nicholson, Stant Litore, Saffina Desforges and Red Tash among others... ) A draw will be held after the tour concludes so you can have some new great reads to go on the shiny new e-reader you'll get for Christmas...

Here's how it works-- to get an entry to the draw, do one or more of the following:

1) Tweet the blog post of the day link with the hashtag #Creepfest and include @LadyCalverley.

2) Become a follower on Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/LadyCalverley

3) 'Like' my Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Spirited-Words-Book-Co/101014656667433

4) Leave a comment here on the blog! Let me know what of the above you've done, and gain another virtual ballot for leaving a comment.

Remember- drop by every day for a new guest post and a new chance to win!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Have Yourself a Scary Little Christmas



The Silly Season is fast upon us... and I will be getting silly as all get-out by joining in with the 12 Days of Creepfest blog tour from December 13th to the 24th!

The link to all the spooky fun is: http://creepfestblogtours.blogspot.com/

Drop in and come by often: I'll be hosting some very special guests and doing giveaways for free e-books. The tour of blogs promises some new discoveries for lovers of dark fiction. Grab an egg nog and dive in!

For authors out there, I think there's still time to jump into the fray. Click on the blog link for details.

And now for some shameless self-promotion... for those of you with a brand new shiny e-book reader on your Christmas lists, why not treat yourself to an epic ghost story for the holidays? Base Spirits is a mere $2.99 and available here:
Amazon Kindle: http://www.amazon.com/Base-Spirits-ebook/dp/B005L38G8E/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1315163319&sr=1-1
Smashwords for every format under the sun: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/84640
Read a free sample and check out the excellent reader reviews... and also this one by Easily Mused-- http://easilymused.com/2011/10/book-review-base-spirits/

If you like your books in a more traditional format, paperbacks are available through these fine indie bookshops in Stratford, Ontario. If you can't make it in person, the shopkeepers will cheerfully send your book to you worldwide... and if you make a request, I can personally autograph them before they are shipped. Contact Fanfare Books (fanfare@cyg.net) or Callan Books (jcallan@orc.ca)

See you on the tour!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Flaming Cheese

I was asked to write a blog post on 'The Baptism of Fire' experience of indie writers for 'Adopt An Indie' month. http://adoptanindie.com/

In my own case, I wouldn't say it's been so much a baptism of fire as a strangely niggling slow burn.

I'll give you a real-life situation as a metaphor-- writers do that sort of thing:

I once worked as a server in a Greek restaurant. One of the appetizers on offer was Saganaki. In case you haven't had the experience, it is a slab of hot 'n' nasty cheese on a sizzling platter. The server is meant to rush up to the table, dump a shot glass of vodka or ouzo over it and immediately light it on fire, yelling 'Opa!' to the delight of the table of diners. Flames shoot up in a eyebrow-threatening column and die to a lurid blue sizzle as the platter is then squirted with a lemon wedge and set down ("Careful- it's hot." No shit!). Then the gelatinous salty guck is spread on bread and consumed-- one suspects-- with gusto.



The place I worked at was run by cheapskates. The bartender had been instructed to dole out the barest minimum of booze to the hapless servers (only the few old warhorses who'd worked there forever got the full shot). Not only was this a rip-off to the customer who has presumably been charged for a whole shot, but it is really a hit or miss situation for the poor person trying to jump through hoops for a decent tip to make up for the humiliation and potential hair-loss.

On a busy Saturday night, after one of the old waiters had just wowed the table next to mine with a nuclear mushroom cloud of a Saganaki (thus the politically incorrect reference by the staff to the hated appetizer as 'Nagasaki') -predictably, the children at my table clamored for the same. I was grudgingly given the merest drizzle of ouzo in a greasy shot-glass and ran to my customers with the platter sizzling. All eyes were upon me-- the kids beaming with gleeful anticipation-- as I theatrically dribbled the ouzo over the cheese, deftly flicked my lighter over it as the table joined me in shouting a hearty 'Opa!'

The flame barely fizzled and immediately went out. I set the platter down amid the downcast children and scuttled away.

Do you see where this is heading? For me, the act of 'Going Indie' was nothing like the 'baptism of fire' that it can be. If you let it get to you, the idea of putting your work out without a net could be daunting to some folks. I personally did not find it intimidating-- I found it liberating. No more carefully-worded submission letters and researching agents and publishing houses. No more endless rounds of belly-crawling submissions, waiting, rejections... wash, rinse, repeat ad nauseum. And for what? So that someone else chooses an editor and cover art and holds me hostage for 18 months before the book is released? All so I can hope to God that they know what they are doing so that I earn back my advance-- if I even get one. That route wasn't for me.

I see the way things are heading in the publishing industry. The e-book is taking off. E-readers will be THE big holiday gift this year. As a result, bricks and mortar publishers are even less likely to risk taking on an unknown author. But? The potential for an independent writer is grand: we can get our books out with little-to-no overhead, without a long wait, without trying to play to the taste of gatekeepers who decide for the world what should be read or not. So long as we've written a good book, had it professionally edited, taken care with the formatting and put a nifty cover on it... well, we authors can put out something to be proud of, and then let the readers decide if it's worthy or not.

Easy!

Well, that side of it was 'easy'. I relished the build-up, the fine-tuning with my editor, cover designer and formatter, and found the uploading of files a simple process. I got onto Twitter and built up followers and follow-ees, I created a Facebook page, I started a blog. I've guest-blogged, hosted, been interviewed in magazines, on the radio and on-line, I've involved myself with cross-promotions and giveaways and chat boards. I found a local printing house so that I could economically release small batches of Base Spirits in paperback. Sales of the actual physical book went well at the launch, and a local businessman ordered 40 copies to give away at his office Christmas party. I have had nothing but breathlessly enthusiastic feedback about how much people love the book-- how it kept them up nights. A page-turner. A thrill-ride. Wow.

Great!

Now how the heck do I turn that into on-line e-book sales?? On the surface, I have been getting myself out there-- but I've sat there watching other Indies arrive at the table and shoot straight up the Amazon charts in a ball of flame... as I hold my sizzling platter and wonder what happened.

But? I choose to see a slow burn as the more realistic outcome. With such enthusiastic reaction to my novel, the smolder will catch and flare up ere long. To other writers I say you have nothing to lose and everything to gain. But be patient and persevere. To the readers, I say thanks-- and aren't you living in exciting times? There has never been such a banquet of new books to discover-- and without having to pay $15 to $25 on a new author, you can read more, and experience so much more wonder. And readers? Your reviews and word of mouth are the best marketing. If you discover a book you love, pass it on!

Watch this space!

Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/LadyCalverley
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Base-Spirits-ebook/dp/B005L38G8E/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1315163319&sr=1-1
Smashwords: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/84640
Paperbacks can be ordered from my local indie Stratford bookshops, and can be personally autographed before shipping upon request:
Fanfare Book: fanfare@cyg.net
Callan Books: jcallan@orc.ca

Friday, November 4, 2011

Of Birthdays, Paperbacks and Reviews


Spooky Launch Food
Thank you to my wonderful guest authors! Throughout October, the blog played host to some chilling and poignant true ghost stories. Please have a look in the archives if you missed them- worth a read!!

Today is my birthday. This year has been the best of times and the worst of times-- literally. This birthday almost didn't happen due to a serious flu that nearly took me out in January... but since then my health is back, and I've released my first novel. It's been a hell of a ride. I can only wonder what this coming year will bring. I started today looking out over the river while my coffee brewed: a murder of crows were conversing among themselves in frost-tipped trees below my window. I choose to see this as a good omen. Black is my colour.

I held a book launch for the paperback version of Base Spirits last month, and it was a resounding success despite damp and chilly weather. People came from far and near to help celebrate. Many books were sold. A party was had.

The book is available in e-format, but if you'd like a paperback 'real' book, please contact either of these two splendid Stratford indie booksellers: Callan Books-- jcallan@orc.ca or Fanfare Books-- fanfare@cyg.net The booksellers know me, so if you request a personal inscription, they will call me in before the book is shipped to you!

I've also had some great reviews on Amazon... and this excellent one from Easily Mused. A good birthday gift for me! http://easilymused.com/2011/10/book-review-base-spirits/

The world premiere!



Sunday, October 30, 2011

An Elegant Ghost Tale from Author Stant Litore


The Dead in Venice: Guest Ghost Story Post by Stant Litore
This is indeed a true story, and I have never forgotten it, though I also never thought I'd write about it.
I was raised in a house inhabited by the unquiet and unrestful dead. Footfalls on the stairs in the empty hours, and a revenant that would shake the bed at 3:53 am each morning without fail. The house had been built in 1903 and it was in every way unsound: black mold thick as cobwebs in the attic, rotting wood porch, and all the memories of some family that had lived there before and no longer did. My father kept a shotgun by the front door, and we had the county’s largest, loudest dogs outside to watch over both house and livestock.
But that was just the character of the house; it wasn’t chilling, it just was. Waking up at 3:53 you could get used to, and you or your brother, whoever woke first, could always chuck a pillow at the offending spirit. One time I sat up and rubbed my eyes and, because I was a little older then, I told the spirit quite soberly that I was sorry but I couldn’t help it.
It got a little quieter after that.
None of that was scary – certainly not fearful like being stalked by a cougar in the woods, which happened to me once. That was fearful – you knew there was a good chance you might be eaten, and you couldn’t see a thing through the ferns.
But this was our house, and these were its dead, and none of them particularly malignant, just full of sorrow and loneliness and insomnia. Other people’s dead are scarier.
It was the cold, windy December of 2002 and I was in Venice traveling with other students. What you have to understand about Venice is that for all its gondolas and its moonlit night-time beauty, it has more dead than most places in the world and many of them died in nasty and unmentionable ways, and a good many of them linger there now without name or memory. The people they might wish to communicate with are gone, and the things they might want to communicate about are gone, and they’re all that’s left.
I don’t know why this night was as scary as it was, but I’ll tell it the best I know how. We had just come back from visiting the Jewish Quarter with its somber monument of apology (in four languages) to the innocent sent away to die in WWII. Why we went there by night in December I have no idea. We were coming back and waiting for a vaporetto by the canal, there in the back of Venice, the part you don’t see in movies. The houses were ancient and drowning and water-logged and looked as miserable as people sitting naked in a swamp. There were broken windows and rooms that maybe hadn’t been lit in years. It would have been just mournful, but seeing what we’d already seen that night, those lonely windows just seemed to whisper: Terrible things happened here, terrible things, we saw them, but we won’t tell you about them, we’ll just sit here and look at you.
One of the girls in our group shrieked. We all looked up, but she and I were the only ones that saw it. The others said afterward they saw nothing or maybe just a sort of white blur. One of the other students said they actually thought they saw a doll in a white dress.
I know Allison had nightmares about it for weeks. I can’t say that I did, but it sat with me and has ever since, and I think of it sometimes and when I do I go get a sweater or an afghan and pull it around my shoulders like an old woman with a shawl.
What I saw that night I will write here with reluctance. It wasn’t like the dead in my father’s crumbling old house. It wasn’t like the dead I’ve seen or think I’ve seen since. I saw a young girl who couldn’t have been more than fourteen, dressed in white and slamming her palms on the glass and screaming without sound. I will never forget her eyes. I won’t forget the way she was there – extremely, visibly there. And then the way she wasn’t. And the way she was back again a moment later, not because she’d moved or been pulled away but because one moment she existed at that window, and the next she didn’t, and the moment after that she was there again screaming as though there had been no interruption or pause. Like flicking a light switch on and off. And I will never forget the looming shadow behind her, and the way my heart pounded in my chest at the sight of it.
If I ever feel the kind of terror I saw in that girl’s eyes, I don’t think I’ll survive it. I think it would leave me a mindless, shaking animal without thought or speech. And afterward, I might not even remember how to scream.
By the time the late-night vaporetto chugged up to our drenched station with a noise of bubbles and old motors, the light switch had flicked off for a while and the girl hadn’t come back. Allison was crying softly and one of the other girls was holding her and trying to calm her down. I was just watched the window, and I kept my eyes on it until the waterboat took us around a bend in that little back-of-Venice canal.
That’s the only real ghost story I have to tell, because most ghosts are just lonely and restless, not unlike some people are even before they die. But that one wasn’t just lonely and restless, and I hope before God that whatever man or thing hurt her in whatever century she lived in felt the remorse of it for the rest of his existence. 
---
Stant Litore writes about the restless dead, and the first volume in his series The Zombie Bible is now available at Amazon (http://www.amazon.com/dp/B005SNK13K) and Smashwords (https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/94033). It’s called Death Has Come Up into Our Windows and tells the story of a prophet imprisoned in a well in a dying city; each day, his gaolers toss one of the ravenous dead in after him. You should read it; the book will leave a mark on you. Stant lives in Colorado with his wife and two daughters, and stays out of certain parts of the mountains during the dark of the moon.

Friday, October 28, 2011

True Horror Tale from Author M.R. Mathias


OK folks, my offering here isn't a supernatural thing, but its freaky, and most importantly: It Is True!
 
  Summer, early 80's-- Fossil Creek, Texas, just outside the Summerfields Housing Edition.
 
  My buddy and I were fishing in a creek that pooled into a pond-sized swell. The place was barren then: open fields full of mesquite trees and scrub brush, with just a gravel road through it all. We were hoofing it. Neither of us were old enough to drive, but we were getting close. We were notorious for getting caught fishing in private ponds. This place wasn't private, though. It was raw undeveloped North Texas land, with a creek running through it. 
 
 The gravel road bridged the creek poorly. It was like they laid down a corregated tube about three feet around and just poured concrete haphazzardly over it until it was level with the gravel on each side. The water built up on one side of the road and spewed out of the tube on the other. A friend of ours once jumped in and was sucked through and blown out the other side. He came out all cut up. He almost bled to death, and ended up getting over seventy-five stitches. It was a great place to catch catfish though, and that was exactly what me and Paul were doing. We caught a bunch right where the tube usually sucked under the road. It wasn't blowing out the other side this day, though-- there was something plugging the flow down to a trickle. Paul was studying the faucet-like run of water coming out the pipe and grew excited when he said he saw the water run pink for moment... then I caught another catfish on the other side and he helped me get it in.
 
  We cleaned our catch at home and were suprised by how full the fish's bellies were. We were going to have a fish fry on Saturday, but luckily that Friday evening the news told us a grim tale that answered the question of why there were so many fat fish that day. A woman was found, bound in wire-- or with wire marks, I don't remember-- but the water pressure finaly built up enough that her half-eaten (by the catfish) body was finaly forced out the other side. Developers found her. I'm glad they did before we ate those fish! Yukkkk! It's weird knowing that while we were up on the road having a blast, she was crammed in that tube dead and alone.
 
  That's my creepy tale...  Happy Halloween.   
Michael Robb Mathias is a bestselling fantasy and horror author:   www.mrmathias.com 

(That poor woman! Gah.)





Wednesday, October 26, 2011

A Gentle Ghost from Fantasy Author Yvonne Hertzberger


VISITATION

My mother-in-law loved Christmas. It was a special family time for her and for us. So when she knew she was dying of cancer she gave us a gift. She stayed alive in hospital, even enjoyed the choir that sang carols in the halls. Not quite conscious but you could tell she heard them. She loved music, had been a wonderful singer and played piano.

But New Years Day was Mom’s birthday, so she gave herself a gift as well and slipped away peacefully at 2:30 a.m. - her 59th.

At 5:30 a.m. my spouse, father-in-law and I sat in our living room reminiscing about Mom; her laugh, what a sweet, gentle, creative woman she was, always the consummate hostess, always gracious and accepting of difference. She was also a deeply spiritual woman.

A lull occurred in the flow of conversation and we kept silent for a few moments, each in our own thoughts, sad, but also relieved that Mom’s suffering had ended.

I looked up over my left shoulder to see Mom, head and shoulders only, looking as well as I had ever known her, dressed in a filmy green fabric in the shade of green she loved. She smiled at me, gave her characteristic giggle that had endeared her to me and spun in a graceful pirouette that would have made a ballerina jealous. Then she gave me another smile and faded from view.

I was the only one who experienced this. The others had no idea what had just happened. But we had a special bond and her visitation was a great comfort to me. She let me know that all was well with her and I need not worry about her any more. I took it as her gift to me for being the only one in the family who would listen when she wanted to give up fighting, the only one who would hear that she was dying That gift gave me certitude that there is, indeed, an afterlife.










Monday, October 24, 2011

Guest Halloween Ghost Post! Author Ashley Paternostro


In the summer of 2010, my husband and I were on an antique buying binge, finishing our home with our eclectic style of industrial repurposed goods.  
My ghost story begins like this...
Tucked in the corner of an antique store in Sandwich Illinois was a beautiful early 1930‘s soft metal icebox. Its tin outer shell had the perfect patina-- a scuffed, aged silver, the most amazing heavy latches and thick worn hinges. It was priced for a bargain-- we had to have it! My husband and I shoved it in the back of our car with dreams of rewiring it into an up-cycled wine cellar.  
When we brought it home, I immediately hired an artist to paint 'WINE CELLAR' on the front. I scrubbed the wire shelves and touched up the places the silver finish had worn thin. I called for estimates on rewiring, and with each day I grew attached to the end vision.  I loved it, and I could picture it in our house. It was perfect.
A few days later, while I was home folding laundry, I heard a tinkling-- like glass being clinked softly--in the kitchen. I was home alone and knew it was impossible, but still I followed the sound. As I rounded the corner into the kitchen, the sound stopped and the room was 'just so': nothing had been touched.  I had gone back to the grind of laundry, when I heard the noise again... only now it was louder. I hurried downstairs, worried that one of my dogs was doing something he shouldn’t be.
In the kitchen, we had wine glasses hung upside down from shelves, seven feet off the ground. It was against the back wall where the bar would be eventually-- where the revamped ice box wine fridge would be. To this day, what I saw still confounds me. 
All of the glassware was gone from the rack-- scattered about the room, unbroken. Some glasses were right side up in chairs, others were across the room on the hardwood floor; some were under the table, and another in a napkin bin.  
It was impossible that they would fallen from that height and not broken into a million pieces upon impact. If by some fate they had fallen on their own, it was improbable that they would have landed as they did-- standing right side up across the room.  


I knew. I felt it-- and how I don’t know-- but I knew... it was somehow connected to the ice box, which was from the prohibition era. I didn’t have to think about it: the knowing of that washed over as I stood there looking at my glasses, and the rack-- which was still hung perfectly. In that instant, my love for the ice box had been replaced with a wary feeling of being unsettled. My husband didn’t believe me, though he saw the glasses. I refused to touch them. He didn’t want to get rid of the ice box, but respected my wishes when I said: “That is not coming into my house”.
I listed the ice box for sale, offering it for a little more than we paid. A woman came to get it: she was so excited-- she shared my same vision. We lifted it into her car and wished her well. A short while later, she called to inform me that she had been driving home on the highway with it when all four tires of her SUV blew out.  
I can’t say for certain what happened that day, but I can say something happened. I’ve always believed in ghosts and the paranormal... but maybe I didn’t believe hard enough. I can say: I do now.  

Visit Ashley's blog at http://ashmp.wordpress.com/


Saturday, October 22, 2011

Guest Ghost Post! Author Julie Ann Dawson


Now you have to understand that my mother’s side of the family has a history of paranormal encounters.  There is the story about my Aunt Ella Mae seeing the Grim Reaper just before Uncle Sam died.  There is the story about a phantom dog that used to patrol the yard at my grandmother’s house. There is the story about the lights that use to dance over my crib when I was a baby.  But I can’t really validate the truth behind any of those, so we’ll leave them for another time.
 
But I can tell you about the haunted house we lived in on Atlantic Street in Bridgeton, NJ.  I was around six at the time when we moved into a two story Victorian.  Almost immediately, my mother started to notice something was off about the place.  Windows and doors would swing open and close on their own.  Items would move from one place to the other.  At first, none of us believed her.  I don’t know if my dad ever did.  But then I started to notice the weird stuff going on, too.  The lights would go on and off.  The TV would come on by itself.  Your general creepiness.
 
After a couple of months of this, whatever it was started to get angry I suppose because we just all sort of shrugged and went on with our lives.  That is when we started to notice the cold air coming from beneath the door that led to the attic.  Now we rented the house, and the landlord padlocked the attic because he said he was using it for storage.  And when my parents asked about it he would just say it was probably a draft and he would take care of it. But this wasn’t a draft.  This was a discernable difference in temperature between the area immediately in front of the door and the rest of the house.
 
But my parents didn’t press the matter.  And I guess that made something angry.
 
One night we were all downstairs watching TV while my mom went upstairs to take a bath.  After a few minutes, we heard her yelling at us to “Stop that whistling!” as if someone was upstairs messing with her.  Then my mom screamed, and my dad rushed upstairs.
 
My mom had jumped out of the tub, and had scratches down her arm as if something with three claws raked her.  I remember seeing these scratches clear as day; something like a cat would do only the claw marks were further apart. 
 
Suffice it to say, we moved out shortly thereafter.  The landlord didn’t even fuss with my parents about breaking the lease, from what I understand.  When I was a teenager, we moved into a different house on the same street and I would have to walk pass that house going to school.  It seemed like there was a new family moving in every few months.  I always wondered if it was because of whatever was in the attic. 


 
Bio: 
Julie Ann Dawson is an author, editor, publisher, RPG designer, and advocate for writers who may occasionally require the services of someone with access to Force Lightning (and in case it was not obvious, a bit of a geek).  Her work has appeared in a variety of print and digital media, including such diverse publications as the New Jersey Review of Literature, Lucidity, Black Bough, Poetry Magazine, Gareth Blackmore’s Unusual Tales, Demonground, The Philadelphia Inquirer, and others.  In 2002 she started her own publishing company, Bards and Sages. The company has gone from having two titles to over one hundred titles between their print and digital products. He most recent novel is the paranormal thriller A Game of Blood.