Archive for the ‘Howl-o-ween’ Category

BBT Howl-O-Ween 2011 – closing post

Welcome back :) Today is a special day because we have another guest author! Yes, that’s right. :-) I hope you’ll enjoy this post just as much as you enjoyed the previous ones – so please welcome

Kris Sedersten

Hello everyone! It is so nice to be here today. I am the author of the Mojo series; a paranormal mystery thriller/ horror saga. The second installment, Lost Mojo, is now available on www.buybooksontheweb.com and will soon follow on Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble.com.

About Lost Mojo:

For six small-town teenagers, the haunting begins with a ghost hunting project and the sudden disappearance of two of their own. Their research into urban legends in their hometown leads them to a deserted farmhouse—haunted by its dark secrets, the discovery of unmarked graves, and paranormal activity that portends something diabolically evil.

For the Clay County Sheriff, Tony Morgan, and the mysterious Ranier brothers, the haunting began decades earlier when a violent murder and a similar missing persons case first tainted the idyllic countryside. They soon discover the evil still lives…hidden…waiting to strike again. This time the six teenagers are the target.

Their fates entwine in a Halloween clash of good versus evil as the dark energy returns, bringing demonic forces to life through a bloody, ritualistic sacrifice.


I have not yet received any book reviews for Lost Mojo although a few are pending. Watch http://www.blacklagoonreviews during Halloween week for the first of what I hope will be many reviews. Lost Mojo is the prequel to the book Mojo and tells the story of Scottie Brown’s first experiences with the paranormal. Here is what others have said about Mojo:

“Overall, I would recommend Mojo to everyone who likes to read books that give you the creeps, keeps you on the edge of your seat and out of breath the whole time. But be warned, you might want to sleep with your lights on afterward.” (For complete review, go to http://www.readingonthedarksideblogspot.com)

“Readers who love a great ghost story will love every ghost and ghoul in Mojo—an action packed tale of the spiritual world that will make your hair stand on end. The media today is full of movies and books that regale stories of the paranormal and many are difficult to believe, but Sedersten combines reality with the afterlife in a way that’s totally believable. That’s what makes it so scary… (For complete review, go to http://wwwezinearticles.com–article written by Lauren S. Smith. Smith is editor for the Virtual Book Review Network—reviews books by well known bestselling authors and books by soon to be recognized names.)

“Spooky, suspenseful, and highly entertaining, Mojo, by Kris Sedersten was a fast paced ghost story that kept me reading until late into the night and left me wanting more. Tautly written and highly developed this novel had me enthralled from the first word to the last…Definitely a new author I will be keeping an eye on.” (For complete review, go to http://www.blacklagoonreviews.com)

About me:

I am a Nursing Home Administrator and RN Consultant in my hometown of Harvard NE. I love small town living and enjoy being outside as much as possible. My children are grown and I enjoy spending time with them and my eight amazing grandchildren. My hobbies include creative writing, producing a paranormal radio program, Exploring Unexplained Phenomena in Lincoln, NE. with host, Scott Colborn, and paranormal investigating.

Earlier this year I founded Synergy Paranormal Investigations, Harvard NE. We are a very active team and spend most weekends out in historical sites, businesses, or family homes where we have been called on to investigate claims of paranormal activity. We take our investigations seriously but we have a lot of fun in the process! We had the opportunity to help lead ghost hunting classes in Kearney, NE. this summer in conjunction with Midwest Paranormal Investigators at the Trails and Rails Museum as part of an ongoing fundraiser for the Buffalo County Historical Society. It was an amazing learning experience for us.

I am currently working on the third installment of the Mojo Series and a Non Fiction book that documents my paranormal experiences from SPI case files and personal experiences. See my website www.krissedersten.com, leave a comment or share a ghost story or two. I love to hear from readers who have an opinion about my work. Hope to see you there!

BBT Howl-O-Ween 2011 – last day

 
Welcome to the last day of my Halloween event! I’m gutted that Howl-O-Ween is coming to an end but I hope you all enjoyed the guest posts throughout the week! Don’t forget to enter the two giveaways I listed on my sidebar :) So, for the last time – please give a warm welcome to our last guest, Jeffrey Mariotte.
Embrace the Darkness

By Jeffrey J. Mariotte

It’s a still-sunny October early evening here at the ranch in southeastern Arizona, temperature in the high 70s. I’ve just been outside lighting the coals to barbecue some hamburgers—a summer activity in some places, but summer lingers here. The charcoal I’m using is called El Diablo Brand—the Devil—and there’s a picture on the bag of a smiling devil’s head. I’m looking at that, and I’m thinking about you…

You’re hurrying toward a dark street corner, your heels clicking on the sidewalk, when you hear another click, around the corner, that might be a switchblade knife opening…

You’re sitting on your bed, quivering, pillow scrunched in your lap, knowing with absolute certainty that if you dare to swing your legs over the side, the thing hiding in the darkness beneath the bed will grab you and pull you under…


You’re passing through a doorway in a dank old mansion, brushing aside thick cobwebs with your arm (but not all of it, some trails behind, drawing a damp line across your cheek, with the familiarity of a lover’s caress). Inside the room, you reach a place where the temperature seems to drop sixty degrees all at once. You start to shiver, and not just because you can feel someone’s gaze fixed on you in the empty room…

You’re huddled with three others in an empty suburban house in an empty suburban neighborhood. Outside, the living dead test the doors, the windows, because they can sense human flesh inside. And one of the people you’re locked in with starts to moan, and she’s been looking awfully pale…

Of course, you wouldn’t want to be in any of these situations, in real life.

But you don’t mind reading about them.

If you’re like some of us, you love reading about them, and watching movies and TV shows about them.

And others of us are glad you do, because we love writing about them. I’m one of those.

I’ve written a lot of books. Forty-six novels. Somewhere north of 130 comic books and graphic novels. I’ve written or contributed to six or seven nonfiction books, and I’ve written probably a couple of dozen short stories. These are the published works I’m counting, not the ones sitting in a drawer (or, more likely, a folder on the trusty MacBook).

Of those published works, not all of them are horror. But the vast majority of them are, or at least have horrific elements. Some of the books focusing on crime and mystery are scary not because of their supernatural aspects, but because they’re about the terrible things that human beings do to each other—and if you delve very deeply into that topic, you’ll see that those things are often far more terrifying than anything a zombie or a vampire or a ghost can do.

I’ve never been sure why I write the scary stuff. I can make some guesses, though. In the introduction to a collection of my short horror fiction called Nine Frights, I wrote this:

The way I see it, we have two options in life. We can ignore the terrors that surround us, although that ignoring can turn to internalizing—so that if that adaptive ignorance ever fails, if the terrors are forced into our faces, they’ll take us down that much faster.

Or we can look into the abyss. We can consider the terrors of life in other ways—through fiction, for instance—and maybe come out of it better able to cope with the real-life ones when we meet them down the road.

We still adapt. We accept. But not without occasionally reminding ourselves of some of the things that can go wrong. Not without remembering that we just don’t know what’s behind that next door.

Maybe that approaches an answer. Then again, maybe not. For the last 30+ years I’ve worked as a writer, a bookseller, and a publisher. I’m a co-owner of a bookstore called Mysterious Galaxy (San Diego and Redondo Beach, CA, or http://mystgalaxy.com) that specializes in mystery and suspense, science fiction and fantasy, and horror and urban fantasy. Yes, the scary stuff. I’ve been the editor-in-chief of IDW Publishing, a company often credited for bringing horror back into comic book prominence with such titles as 30 Days of Night. Heck, I’ve written four 30 Days of Night novels, three of them with Steve Niles, the original writer on the comics, and the fourth one solo. A few weeks ago I was a guest of honor at a horror convention called KillerCon. I count among my best friends and acquaintances many of the people who write horror fiction.

I’m somewhat immersed in the stuff, you could say.

And yet, I don’t really know why I write it. Or why any of us reads it. I can make guesses—see above. But that’s all they are.

All I know is that at Halloween, more people than ever are glued to horror movies, flipping the pages of horror books, eating jack-o-lantern cookies, and handing out candy to ghosts and vampires (and this year, no doubt, record numbers of zombies).

Those things will eat your brains—but on this one day, they’ll settle for a Snickers bar.

It’s not surprising that at this time of year, we’re more accepting of the supernatural. The ancient Celts who celebrated Samhain believed that on that day, the veil between the dead and the living blurred and ghosts could return to Earth. Christianity co-opted the holiday and commercialism further sanitized it; but its origins are all about magic and spirits and things we modern folk find spooky and strange.

For some of us, it’s the high point of the year.

If you’re curious about my work, let me suggest a few options. For teen readers (and the many adults who love teen fiction), my newest release is Dark Vengeance, Volume 1, which contains the full-length novels Summer and Fall. Volume 2, out in May 2012, contains the follow-up novels Winter and Spring. It’s the 4-part story of Kerry Profitt, who finds herself caught up in a centuries-old war between witches.

The Slab is a horror novel for adults, originally published in a heavily illustrated trade paperback edition, but now also available (sans illustrations, and much cheaper) in various e-book formats. The most recent review compares it to one of “those books that had a roller-coaster fun heart, with a

huge cast of characters, that kept you turning each page under the covers long after your parents told you to go to sleep.”

Nine Frights is the short horror fiction collection mentioned above. Currently, it’s available only as an e-book, in various formats. Some of the stories in it have been published previously, and some are original to this collection. The most recent review of it says “…each and every one of the stories in Nine Frights, as upsetting and as dark as most of them are, leave the reader with a positive perception of human nature, a glimmer of hope, or at least an understanding of why choices were made.” All of my work is listed at my website, http://jeffmariotte.com. And you can find me on Facebook, too.

But regardless of whether you read one of my books, or somebody else’s, I hope you enjoy something spooky. Just leave a light on. And lock the door.

You never know what’s waiting out there in the dark…

Jeff, thank you for joining us today! :-) 

BBT Howl-O-Ween 2011 – Day 7

 
Welcome to the seventh day of Howl-O-Ween! I hope everyone had an amazing week and you’re enjoying the weekend!  I have another guest author for today so please welcome 
Cindy Simon
Cindy is a nationally certified counselor, Reiki Master and community educator. Her first novel, Wanting June (a thriller) was published by Black Rose Writing on March 31rd in 2011. She lives in Maine and she is currently working on her second novel, a medical mystery.

I began journaling and writing rather dark poetry as a teenager in order to relieve angst and vent my woes and worries. In my twenties I wrote stories, one involved a job I had had at a long term mental hospital (material for my second novel)!

I am fascinated by what drives people to make decisions. Why do some seek revenge? Others are able to forgive? Some people use their power to give generously while others seem to have no issue with taking all that they want! How does addiction grab hold of some and other’s can overcome?

I began writing the ideas for my first novel “Wanting June” in my thirties (about 15 years ago). It was a cathartic experience! The story began with Penny and Brian’s romance, beginning with the grocery store scene. However, at that time in my life I was desperate to make sense of my mother’s sudden and tragic death—she died when I was 16 years old. I was still struggling to accept life without a mother.

In my novel, Penny’s mother, June is a haunting presence. Penny has so many questions, beginning with, is she dead or alive? Penny craves the truth about what happened to her mother, June. But there is a price to pay, she learns. First, she must agree to a weird and crazy marriage proposal. Next she is kidnapped and drugged. She escapes and then is kidnapped again!

Kenneth, Penny’s father knows a great deal about what happened to June. So why doesn’t he tell anyone? June’s various lovers want revenge and Penny, along with her father Kenneth, become targets.

I explore addiction ~ to power, substances and within relationships ~ questions born out of my experiences, perhaps seeking answers to my own questions through my character’s dilemmas? When is it safe to trust? Is it better to know the truth ~ or to accept that I may never understand another person’s motivation or choices? Are there valid reasons to keep secrets?

Penny goes on a quest to find her mother, so did I with the writing of this book, only I didn’t really have a plan. I did become a published author! And, I did discover my mother has not disappeared, she is my muse!

Find about more on the author’s website, www.cindysimon.net
You may purchase “Wanting June” on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and many local New England bookstores.

Cindy, thank you for joining us today!

BBT Howl-O-Ween 2011 – Day 6 – Giveaway!

Welcome to the sixth day of Howl-O-Ween – I hope you enjoyed the guest posts so far! We have another brilliant guest post and another giveaway for today, sooooooo without further ado, let’s welcome Paul Dail :-)

Paul Dail is the author of The Imaginings, a supernatural/horror novel, as well as several other novel and short story projects. Writing has always been his passion, and while he will quickly tell you that the people he has met in the many places that he has traveled have been the best schooling he could get, Paul received his formal education in English with a Creative Writing emphasis at the University of Montana, Missoula.  He has had a non-fiction submission published in The Sun magazine’s Reader’s Write section entitled, “Slowing Down.” Currently Paul lives in Southern Utah, amid the red rock, sagebrush and pinion junipers, with his wife and two daughters.  He teaches Language Arts and Creative Writing at Tuacahn High School for the Performing Arts.

Why do I like to write horror stories?

by Paul D. Dail

One question people often ask me as a horror writer is why I write the things I do? And perhaps more importantly, I can tell they are wondering if they should be worried if they ran into me in a dark alley all alone? Without anything to protect themselves. Far away from anyone who might help them.

Or at least, far enough. (insert sinister laugh)

Seriously, though, most of my friends and family would say that I’m a pretty mellow, gentle, and kind individual (I’m finding this to be the truth about many horror writers). So why in the world does my brain create these stories?

I’d like to say my affinity for the dark side came from watching the old “B” horror movies as a kid, then reading Stephen King and the likes through high school and well into college, but truth be told, maybe there’s something deeper, something I was born with.


Let me tell you about my childhood imaginary friend.

While most kids have imaginary animals, or other invisible friends, my imaginary friend when I was three to four years old, living in a farmhouse in the middle of nowhere in upstate New York was “The Little Man Outside with a Flashlight.” Creepy, right? Now while I don’t imagine that I’ll ever create anything as screwed up as Eraserhead, this is the type of imaginary friend I would imagine David Lynch had as a child.

And although I don’t remember, apparently one very dark night at our farmhouse in the middle of nowhere, I scared the bejeezus out of the babysitter when I started talking about my imaginary friend. So maybe telling scary stories has been there all along.

I know this is “chicken or egg” sort of stuff, but these days as an adult, I’m the type who knows the horror movies are fake but still gets a little scared. And a little more likely to lock the doors. I’m also mildly superstitious. And when the seemingly bi-annual predictions for Doomsday come and go, even though I feel mostly confident I will live to see the Day After Tomorrow (see what I did there?), I’m the type who is never quite comfortable until these expiration dates are passed.

I had a pretty minimalist religious upbringing, but I believe that even just a limited exposure to the Bible instills a fear that it all has to end sometime. And growing up on the tail-end of the Cold War, I vividly remember the fear that seemed so prevalent in this country of death from a nuclear holocaust. And I will always remember the bomb drills we did in elementary school. Cowering under a desk waiting for the bombs to fall. That’ll scar a person for sure.

So I’m guessing that as a result of some part of all the above, I write the types of stories that I do. And when I don’t, when I take a break that starts to last too long, as oft they do, my nightmares will run me ragged, keep me awake and make me fear going to sleep. Or even make me afraid to be awake.

I will never forget several years ago when I woke up in the middle of the night, but was afraid to move because I convinced myself that my whole life was fabricated by someone/something otherworldly. Completely awake at this point, I lay there paralyzed in fear and confusion, believing that nothing about my life was actually real, even to the point that I knew that I couldn’t wake up my wife to comfort me because she didn’t really exist either; she was implanted into my life by “Them,” and her act of trying to comfort me, convince me that I had just been dreaming, was exactly what an imposter masquerading as my wife would do.

This went on for at least fifteen minutes before I finally forced myself to sleep, knowing that there was nothing I could do about it, hoping that I actually did exist and this was just some exhausted delusion. But it had such an impact on me that I was nervous about going to sleep the next night.

And it happened again. At almost the exact same time of night. The second night was a little less stressful, and I don’t recall it lasting as long (of course, maybe I was just more tired and able to more easily force myself back to sleep). But when I got into bed the third night, I was even more scared, if for no other reason than the possibility that I was going insane and that this was going to be a regular occurrence.

Fortunately, it didn’t happen the third night, but I have to admit that there’s still an undeniable little part of me that wonders if I didn’t get a glimpse of the truth of my actual existence that night.

So you see, in answer to the question of why I write the things I do, I would have to say that it isn’t really a choice.

(This piece is taken from a longer post of the same title at my blog that continues on to discuss why I am passionate about craft of writing in general… not just horror stories. If you liked this, I would hope you would go there.
Another post at my site you may enjoy is “A Day in the Mind of a Horror Writer… or… Why My Brain is Different from Yours.”) 

To read the full version, click here: http://pauldail.com/2011/06/17/why-do-i-like-to-write-horror-stories/ 
To read “A Day in the Mind of a Horror Writer…or…Why My Brain is Different from Yours.” click here: http://pauldail.com/2011/09/01/a-day-in-the-mind-of-a-horror-writer-or-why-my-brain-is-different-from-yours/

~ Giveaway ~ 
Paul is giving away an e-book copy of his book, The Imaginings  to one lucky winner.
For your chance to win this book, just leave a comment below with your email address.
Contest open internationally and ends on November 5.
Good luck to everyone! :-)

BBT Howl-O-Ween 2011 – Day 5 – Giveaway!

Hello and welcome back! It’s the fifth day of Howl-O-Ween and I’m pleased to tell you that we have another fabulous guest tonight! Please give a warm welcome to contemporary and mystery romance writer Belinda G. Buchanan, who was kind enough to provide us an excerpt of her newest book, The Monster of Silver Creek.
The Monster of Silver Creek – summary

Silver Creek is known for its miles of pristine shoreline. Tourists flock every summer to partake in the water activities and fun in the sun. But a sinister killer is on the loose. A killer who feeds off of young women’s fear…and leaves a most unusual calling card. Police Chief Nathan Sommers is on the hunt, but every road leads to a dead end. Nathan is battling his own personal demons as he tries to cope with the death of his wife. Two years have passed since, but he feels her dying was a direct result of his actions and he is consumed by guilt. His personal life just became more complicated when he meets Katie, the pretty new owner of the bakery. Nathan slowly builds a relationship with her, but still struggles with Jenny’s death. As he draws nearer to the killer, everything in his life suddenly comes undone. He is forced to deal with his feelings for Katie and his love for his dead wife.

Book Excerpt:

“It was after nine when Nathan finally arrived home that evening. He laid his gun on the table beside him and sat down wearily in the brown leather recliner. He let his head rest against the back of it and closed his eyes for a moment. Missy Rosenberg’s face still lingered in his mind.

When he was a homicide detective, he had always felt that his job was to bring justice for the dead and closure to the ones they left behind. But over the last few weeks, he slowly had begun to realize that it wasn’t going to make a difference. The women would still be dead and their families would still be grieving for them.

He slowly sat forward and leaned over to untie his work boots. As he did, his wedding picture caught his eye, just like it had every night for the past two years. He kicked off his boots and picked up the silver frame.

He let his fingers trace over Jenny’s face, all the while wishing he could feel her skin. There were times that he could almost capture it. It was always there, but just out of his reach.

A heavy sigh fell from his lips as he set the frame down and stared at the case files in his lap. One by one he opened them and placed the folders on the coffee table in front of him.

His fingers picked up the first victim’s file. Carol Fuqua worked as a bank teller right across the street from the station. She was well known and well liked. Her death had sent shockwaves of terror across this close-knit community.

He sorted through the photos taken at the crime scene. Her hands had been bound behind her so tightly, that the tape had left deep cuts in her wrists. He flipped the photos over and began going over the report. Her father had placed a frantic call to the police when she hadn’t come home the night before. The next afternoon Carol’s car had been found on a rural road near Graves Landing. The keys were in the ignition, but it had been wiped clean of fingerprints. Two days later a fisherman found her body in some tall brush by the water’s edge.

Nathan had interviewed everyone he could think of that knew Carol. They were all just as shocked as he was, but they didn’t know anything. Her father thought she had a prepaid cell phone. However, a search of her car didn’t turn one up.

He closed the folder and picked up the next one. The only things Nathan could find that the victims had in common was that they were all pretty young women whose bodies had been found around the lake. But the similarities stopped after that. Carol was a local, while the others were from neighboring counties. Their hair types weren’t even the same.

The killer had left no fingerprints, no hairs, no fibers, and no clues of any kind behind. And the murder weapon was perplexing. It caused two small wounds over the heart, sometimes rupturing the aorta, but always puncturing it. The openings were relatively small in diameter and spaced three inches apart.

He looked at a photo of the stone found inside the third victim’s mouth. Dr. Jensen confirmed that it had been placed there post-mortem. This was the same conclusion on all the women. The rocks were small, round and smooth to the touch. Unfortunately, there wasn’t really anything unique about them. They could be found anywhere along the shoreline.

It was well after midnight before Nathan went to bed. His mind was still processing the cases, refusing to let him sleep. There were so many unanswered questions. Was the killer a local or just passing through? Did he like to stand around and watch the police? Had he been watching them this morning? He wished he had at least one piece of concrete evidence. Just something that would point him in the right direction.

He turned over on his side and closed his eyes trying to will himself to sleep. His hand instinctively felt for Jenny. She of course, wasn’t there, nor would she ever be there again. Her loss washed over him for the thousandth time. ”

I hope this is enough to pique your interest to check out my book. Thank you Vicky for allowing me the opportunity to be a guest here on Books, Biscuits & Tea.

Author bio:

I have been happily married to my husband for over 21 years now. I have two great sons, two persnickety cats, and 1 unconditionally loving dog who thinks he’s a person.

The Monster Of Silver Creek is my second novel published. I am currently working on my next book, Seasons Of Darkness, which is a follow up to After All Is Said And Done.

~ Giveaway ~
Belinda is giving away 2 e-book copies of her book, The Monster of Silver Creek
(either through Kindle or Smashwords)
Rules: – contest is open to anyone
-fill in the Rafflecopter below to enter
- contest ends on November 4 and the two lucky winners will be contacted by email
Good luck to everyone!


BBT Howl-O-Ween 2011 – Day 3

Hello and welcome back! It’s the third day of Howl-O-Ween and I’m happy to tell you that we have another guest author for today. Since Halloween is coming up, my aim was to introduce you to some mystery/horror writers you wouldn’t meet under normal circumstances. Our next guest is going to talk about her murder mystery/thriller/ suspense novel, Snow Escape and why she started writing in the first place. Please welcome


Roberta Goodman

Before I write about my experience, I want to thank Vicky for inviting me to participate on her wonderful blog.

I’ve always loved to write, but for years I could never find the time to devote to it. When I turned 36 and both of my children were in school, I decided to embark on a writing career. They say writers write what they know, so I chose to weave different stories I had heard about my unique family into a full-length novel. It took ten months to finish and soon after I started querying agents.

The idea for Snow Escape came to me while I was still querying for my first manuscript. The winter of 2009/2010 my area of the country endured three massive snowstorms, two of which occurred within a week of each other. A week after the back-to-back storms, I was sitting at my computer working. Another storm was coming through, but this one was predicted to move north and not drop any measurable amount of snow. I remember looking out my window at the falling snow and thinking “Thank God this storm is headed to New York. Let them get dumped on, because I’m sick of snow.”

That was my light bulb moment. What if you had a woman, a teacher, living in Brooklyn, NY, and she’s trapped in her apartment building, because it just keeps snowing? What if this woman has used an online dating site to meet men and one of these men decides to use the weather event to terrorize her? He contacts her and they talk via Instant Messenger. He lets it slip that he’s been stalking her for weeks and lives in her apartment building. I knew I wanted to write the story in a way that readers would wonder if horrible things really were happening to my main character Allegra, or was she just imagining it.


It took a total of five months to write and when it was finished I started the process of querying again. Like my first manuscript, I was unsuccessful in securing representation, so I ended up setting Snow Escape aside. It would end up sitting in my computer for a year, while a health crisis hit my family.

At the beginning of 2011, my husband was diagnosed with Testicular cancer. It was a devastating time, but I had to stay strong and find a way to cope with the stress of his having to go through surgery and chemotherapy. I turned to writing and began a manuscript about our struggle, because I felt it was important to get the word out about this disease. He endured four aggressive cycles of chemo for a total of twenty doses. Back in May, he was told he was cancer free. My family is fortunate that he came through it and healed so well.

After I was finished my third manuscript, I began the querying process yet again. This time I was told the story is too personal, therefore it’s not marketable. I made the decision to set aside this story for the time being. Truthfully, I didn’t know what direction my potential writing career was going to take. I had done some freelance work, but I knew in my heart that writing novels is what I needed to be doing.

This past July, for some unexplainable reason, something compelled me to start revising Snow Escape. I did and within a week, through fate, I had the number of a local small e-Publisher. I called her and told her about my project. She requested a query. I sent her one and a synopsis and she emailed me back within a half hour. She wanted the synopsis again and the first three chapters. I was to be reviewed by a panel of five and if the majority liked it, I would be signed to an e-Book contract. A little over a week later, I got an email telling me that my murder mystery/thriller/ suspense, Snow Escape, was going to be published. It was released on October 1st.

I’m in the process of revising my first manuscript and when I’m finished I’ll be revising my third one. I hope to get both published in the future. I’m living proof that if you just work really hard and persevere long enough your work will eventually get acknowledged. Thank you again Vicky for letting me share my experience of writing and getting Snow Escape published.

Synopsis:
Set against the backdrop of a historic snowstorm, Snow Escape is the story of one woman’s innocent foray into the world of online dating turned deadly.
Allegra Maxwell is a 30-year old, single school teacher looking for love. Having chosen to use the Internet to meet the opposite sex, she encounters an articulate, prospective beau on the night the biggest blizzard in history is blanketing the Big Apple. Their pleasant conversation soon turns sinister when she discovers that “Charles” has been stalking her for weeks and claims he lives in her building. With threats of destroying her little by little are made, Allegra must stay one step ahead of the mind games. Turning to neighbors for help, tragic consequences ensue.
When her sanity is questioned, because the online evidence her stalker exists disappears, Allegra must prove he does exist and she isn’t losing her mind. When a power outage thrusts her into darkness, will she be able to overcome the helplessness she feels? Placed in a situation that’s spiraling totally out of her control, while trapped in her apartment building with no escape, will she survive until the authorities can reach her?

Snow cake is available in Kindle format on the following websites:

For further information, visit Roberta’s blog at http://ro-alwaysinspired.blogspot.com/


***********

Ro, thanks for joining us today!  I really enjoyed your post and I can’t wait to read Snow Escape! :-)

BBT Howl-O-Ween 2011 – Day 2

Hello, Bookish folks! ;-) It’s the second day of Howl-O-Ween and I’m back with yet another fabulous guest! If you enjoyed Sheila’s post yesterday then I’m sure you’ll like Ali’s post just as much. So *drumroll* please welcome our second guest:

Ali George
Ali George is a journalist based in Edinburgh who has spent this year writing the first drafts of a different book every month and blogging about it at 12 books in 12 months.com. In October she is writing a book of short horror stories, and she has written this one especially for Howl-O-Ween 2011. If you would like to find out more you can follow her on Twitter @12books12months or ‘like’ her Facebook page.

I live in a talking house.

I don’t mean that in the sense that it’s really old, like, ‘if only these walls could talk they’d tell amazing stories of social history’ – I mean that our house can literally talk. And now that I’ve noticed, I can’t get it to shut up.

When I first found out, it was a pretty normal night.

I mean, there was a tingling on the back of my neck that I couldn’t shake off, and the temperature seemed to have dropped for no reason, but I didn’t really think about it, y’know?

Sure, I could feel a strange, prickling sensation at the top of my cheek, at the top of my forehead where the hairline starts, then by the side of my ear.

And OK, I put a hand to my face and my fingers come away dark and wet with browny red fluid.

For a moment I was confused, then I realised I must have dozed off, sitting there on the end of my bed waiting for the dye to develop. I was changing my boring, mousy hair into something more dramatic and stylish.

Glancing at the clock on the side table I could see it was only half past; I couldn’t have been asleep for more than five minutes.

I caught my reflection in the mirror and saw rivulets of thick red liquid coursing slowly down the sides of my face. It was insanely itchy, and looked like I was the victim of some kind of head trauma.

A trickle headed right for the corner of my eye must have changed direction in the moment I jerked awake, because as I gazed at myself it rolled down my cheek like a long, bloody tear.

“I’m sure the stuff I used last time was nowhere near this drippy,” I said out loud, even though there was nobody there.

I remember thinking it was a shame Pete didn’t live with us anymore. I’d probably have wound up in one of his horror shorts with my head all gooey like that… But my big brother hasn’t made one of his films in ages – which I think is a travesty, although nobody else seems to have even noticed. They’re too busy worrying how he’s going to cope when the baby comes.


Frankly I think he could use the distraction from all that stress, it’ll be full on enough when Mini Pete gets here… But his wife doesn’t like those kind of films, and of course Melissa knows best. Or at least Melissa thinks Melissa knows best, and nobody in our house is brave enough to pull her up on it.

Without really meaning to I engaged myself in the latest of many mental battles with my sister in law that will never take place, invested enough to mouth my retorts and gesticulate to emphasise how ridiculous her imagined answers were.

I also had music in the background, some album I got so I could impress The Boy with how knowledgeable I am about music – more specifically, the kind of music he likes. I actually think it’s pretty good, but I’ll never get the chance to tell him that because he’s decided to go after Sarah Carson.

Any leftover mental awareness was taken up with using cotton pads to dab away the never-ending trickle of dye – it must’ve been because the instructions told me to wet my hair first, I should have dried it more thoroughly after.

Anyway you get the picture, I had a lot on my mind, so was it any wonder I didn’t realise the house was talking till it was too late?

The first I heard it properly was when I stepped into the shower to rinse the mixture off my scalp, although I found out later it had been banging on for hours.

“Nicola,” it said in this reedy voice (it sounded a little bit camp, actually), “Nicola, can you hear me?”

Now, even though it didn’t sound like either of my parents, my first thought was not that the house must have been talking to me. So I yelled something like I would be out in a minute and why were they back so early? But I got no reply, so I thought they must have gone off to another room to wait for the bathroom to be free. What can I say; I’m not the nervous type.

Or at least I wasn’t.

My suspicions were first aroused when I’d been under the water twenty minutes and the water was still running bright, scarlet red. Anyone who’s done their own hair before will know the colour leaks a bit for a couple of washes after, especially with red dyes, but this was beyond the norm.

I tried shampooing but all it did was sting like hell, at which point I thought with rising panic that I might be having some kind of allergic reaction.

I jumped out of the shower and went through to my room to get a look at it – the mirror in the bathroom was all steamed up.

What I saw when I got there would have made a lesser person faint, but as I said I’d been raised as a constant extra in my brother’s homemade zombie movies so I was stronger of stomach than that. I mean, it was so gross it looked like a special effect, which meant I was able to distance myself from it.

“You’ve been ignoring me, Nicola,” the reedy voice said, and this time I was positive it didn’t belong to either of my parents.

“What?” I said, distractedly flipping the flap of scalp that had come loose. I could see my skull showing through it. I thought it’d be gleaming white, like on a Jolly Roger or something, but it looked sort of grey through the mess of red gunk that might’ve been blood or it might’ve been hair dye.

“You’re doing it again,” the voice said petulantly, and I felt a cold hand clamp tight around my ankle. “You never listen.”

“Who is that?” I looked down but there was nothing there, “Pete, are you filming? I thought you and Mel were supposed to be on holiday?”

“It’s not Pete,” the voice said, “why would you think I was Pete? You’re obsessed with him, it’s unhealthy.”

“Well who is it then?” I should have been crying in pain around then but to tell the truth I was more just irritated. Whoever this was clearly couldn’t see me, or they’d realise I needed a hospital, not a demonstration of their voice throwing capabilities.

“I’ve been watching you for so long,” the voice said, somewhat creepily in my opinion. “Ever since you were a little girl, in fact. Do you remember when you moved here, Nicola?”

“Not really.”

“You were very small.”

“Hm.”

The grip around my ankle tightened.

“Do you remember when you used to play Narnia?” the voice asked.

“Yeah, kind of.” I assume by this point I’d lost so much blood that talking to a disembodied voice felt like a pretty normal thing to do. “I used to go and sit in the old wardrobe in the spare room and pretend I was Lucy.”

“That’s right. You used to say that you wanted to go to another world and have adventures because this one was boring and nobody would play with you.”

“Yeah, thanks for bringing that up,” I huffed as my hair dripped on to the carpet, “what a happy childhood memory. Very comforting.”

“You promised that if you could get a glimpse of that other world, you’d do anything.”

“Yes well, children make silly promises. Any chance you could call me an ambulance?”

“You did get a glimpse, Nicola.”

“What?”

“I gave you a glimpse, and now I’m collecting your promise.”

“I may be somewhat light headed,” I said primly, “but I’m pretty sure I’d remember if I’d been to a magical world at any point.”

“Your sixth birthday,” the voice replied, “at the party you went to play hide and seek in the garden. You climbed over the fence, even though that was cheating, and you saw a flash of something in the woods at the back of the field.”

“How do you know that?”

“You followed it, and you saw-“

“I imagined it,” I said softly, remembering. “That wasn’t real. Couldn’t have been.”

“It was real. And now you have to pay up.”

I sat on the end of the bed where I had fallen asleep earlier on. I rubbed my temples, and my vision blurred.

“So what is it you want?”

“Well isn’t it obvious, Nicola?” the voice purred. “I want you, of course.”

“Oh right, silly me.”

“Every fifty years I claim a child,” it sounded put out, “yet the new owners never bother to look into local history to find out why they’re getting a new home in a prime location so cheap. I’ve been doing it for centuries.”

“That’s nice,” I said. Then I fainted.

* * * *

When I woke up some time later, I wasn’t me any more.

I could see my parents searching, their faces pale and drawn, then later Pete and Mel came, and the police; but they couldn’t see me.

I thought maybe they could, sometimes. One of them would stop suddenly, stand very still, and look in my direction, frowning, like they were trying very hard to see what they knew was there.

But then they always shook their heads and walked away.

It’s been forty years now, and all of them are gone – I don’t know where they went, in the end, but they couldn’t stay here.

There’s a new family now. They have a little boy, with black curly hair and serious grey eyes. The way the house looks at him makes my spine ache. Or it would if I could find my spine.

I’ve tried to warn them what’s going to happen, but there’s nothing I can do – I have no voice anymore.

It won’t be long before the house takes him too.

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Thank you for joining us Ali and for taking the time to write this story just for Howl-O-Ween! :-)