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Thursday, September 20, 2012

Haunted House Virtual Tour with V.R.Christensen and B.Lloyd

Dig into the past... if you dare.

As promised, some lovely guests! Old houses hold secrets (as shown by Calverley Old Hall in Base Spirits... If you're reading this blog, you yearn for tales such as these... and so here is a stop on a virtual Haunted House tour... ladies? You have the stage.

This time, on the Haunted House Virtual Tour promoting our ghost novellas Blind and Ungentle Sleep (by V.R.Christensen and B.Lloyd respectively), it’s a bit of a cross-over: characters from one book visit the house from the other… if that doesn’t make sense yet, well, try reading the novellas and maybe it will…


‘There have been stories, well, like so many of these old places of course, but nothing you need take any notice of,’ said the house agent smoothly, as he escorted his latest clients around the house.

Newly-weds, he guessed, just back from the continent. She looked ... a trifle nervous, Dark shadows under the eyes, denoting sleepless night. The husband, protective. ‘My wife is in need of somewhere quiet, peaceful. We were in the area, caught sight of it and thought we would see around the place.’
‘What sort of stories, exactly?’ asked the lady.
‘Well, you would need to ask Mrs Beadsley, she was housekeeper to the last occupant and comes in to air the place and keep an eye on things generally. But stories they are and no more, I am sure.’
‘Not a happy house, then?’ pursued the lady.
The agent was a little taken aback by this, but quickly collected himself.
‘It has never remained empty for long – and with the female touch, and a little care, you will find it makes an excellent family home..’
‘Why did the last occupant leave?’
‘I believe he found occupation elsewhere which necessitated much travel and decided to relinquish it as a result. And now, can I show you the dining room? The drawing room? And then perhaps upstairs?’
 They viewed the dining room, followed by the drawing room, which was the house agents particular pet and one he particularly like to show to advantage: ‘A rare timepiece, I think you’ll agree – everything kept in the old style, some quite rare pieces, which are becoming increasingly difficult to find …’ To the agent’s satisfaction they reached the upper floor without further questions. Comments were more along the lines of ‘comfortable, spacious, well-lit’ – much more in his line of business.
‘And here is the master bedroom,’ he declared, sweeping the massive oak door back on its well-oiled hinges and extending an all-embracing arm to indicate the painted ceiling, the oriental carpet, the four-poster bed, the curtains, the armchair by the fireplace. A movement by the curtains caused him to purse his lips and he strode across the room in order to close the window.
‘Mrs Beadsley, airing the rooms as I said, no doubt forgot to close the window … ah, this appears to be a little sticky – well, that can soon be fixed …’
He turned to see the husband half supporting his wife who seemed barely conscious. The two men helped her to a chair.
‘Dear, dear, perhaps a little fresh air …’suggested the agent.
‘It’s nothing, it has passed already,’ said the woman, sitting up straight suddenly.
‘Who lived here originally?’ They asked the question together.
‘Well, it belonged to the Tremonton family in the 19th century, but the line died out with the last incumbent, and so it came through a series of hands to be on the market by 1900. Now, if you’re sure you’re quite recovered, perhaps we should …’

The agent felt uncomfortable as he watched the couple walk up the drive. Still, you can’t win them all, he mused briefly, before proceeding to lock up.

Once they were well clear of the grounds, the lady turned to her husband: ‘I knew there was something wrong the moment I stepped through the door – there was a man sitting in the armchair by the fireplace, staring straight ahead; I saw the agent pass straight past him, without a word – and you also did not see him. But what most disturbed me . . .’
‘Yes?’ asked her husband.
‘The eyes. Opaque, sightless. Staring. I think that is what made me faint. Then when I came round – there was no sign of him.’
‘Well, I think after your recent experiences at home, it would be advisable to look elsewhere for a house to live in, my dear, don’t you?  I don’t think Tremonton Manor would quite fit the bill, do you?’
‘I suppose not. Although . . . ‘
‘I do wonder what become of him. The last of the Tremontons …’


What did happen to Tremonton indeed? And what had been the wife’s previous experiences? If you are curious, read these to find out :

Blind, by V.R.Christensen


Ungentle Sleep by B.Lloyd

Links :

Blind : US
Blind : UK

Ungentle Sleep : US
Ungentle Sleep : UK

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Of Description and Stratford

I am still among the living!

Work has been getting more interesting lately-- for those of you who don't know what my 'day job' is, I actually *write* for money. Most folks know about closed captions for the deaf and hard of hearing (something else I used to write), but another film and television accessibility service for the blind and visually impaired is described video or audio description. That's me. Well not *just* me. I have a theatre background and tons of experience in voice over and narration, so I have recorded a few shows and films. I also live-described the Royal Wedding in 2011 as part of a two-person describer team for the CBC.

In a pouffy big CBC sweater after the ultimate royal all-nighter!

But most of the time... I write scripts.

I don't write in the normal script format, as they are rather technical: I include time codes and cues leading in and out of whatever narration I have added into the story. By way of simple explanation, I end up with something that sounds a bit like a radio play. I am meant to avoid stepping on existing dialogue or soundtrack as much as possible: I describe visuals as they unfold so that the blind can enjoy the same storytelling experience as the sighted audience. I paint pictures with words.

TV and film work is volatile. I know that from my acting days. It's feast or famine... and when it's time to feast, everything else has to go by the wayside. Work isn't as busy as I'd like it to be, but there's enough going on for me to have to set aside the WIP ('In The Bag') for a break... let things simmer on the back-burner while I earn my living.

The magical Stratford Shakespeare Festival Theatre

A fun addition to my work schedule this year is helping to launch a live theatre description service at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival in Ontario. I live an easy stroll along the Avon from the main stage, and this season I am describing a couple of performances of  '42nd Street' and 'Much Ado About Nothing'. This entails my sitting in the director's booth on headset and microphone and describing the show as it runs to the sight-impaired audience members on their personal headsets. It is a very cool little gig. Not many other jobs start with a trumpet fanfare... ! I am chuffed to little mint-balls to be involved with a theatre company I have loved and admired for over 30 years, and to be providing this service.

The iconic main stage

So this explains my lack of posts... but it does not excuse it. I am sorry. I really am a bad blogger sometimes. I *do* have a guest post coming up in the next week or so (I promise!) so I hope you'll check that out... and some of the past posts are worth a peek-- have a boo at the archives in the right hand column and see what grabs you.