Friday, July 29, 2011

#Friday Flash- The Hidden Door

Hey! It's that time again- time for #Friday Flash. This week's Vamplit Blog's prompt was "hidden places". Hope you'll enjoy my entry and stop by the Vamplit Blog to read all the other entries as well!

The Hidden Door

Sam winced as the door creaked. He paused and listened to see if he could hear footsteps of any kind. Nothing. He was just about to resume his pressure on the door when Jeff pushed past him, rudely shoving the door inward. The resulting squeal of the hinges seemed to explode in Sam’s eardrums.

“What the hell?” he said, as loudly as he dared. “We’re breaking and entering here, in case you’d forgotten. We need to be quiet.”

Jeff shrugged. “I told you no one was here. I watched the old couple leave an hour ago. They don’t come back till morning. And the stores on either side are closed up tight too. Nobody’s gonna hear us. Quit being a pansy ass.”

Sam bit his tongue to keep from responding to Jeff’s taunts. Man, he was sick of him. Soon as he had enough dough, he was skipping town. This little Podunk town was weird as hell and he didn’t want to be here. Jeff was a native and while he was a jerk and about as subtle as a bull in a china shop, so far he’d been good at finding places to rob and knew the comings and goings of half the town. So he’d put up with him a bit longer.

Looking around, Sam asked, “What the hell kind of store is this?”

“Antiques.” Jeff answered. “You know, old valuable shit.”

“You’re kidding me, right?” Sam asked, staring at a taxidermied monkey leg. He didn’t see anything valuable. Everything he saw was creepy.

“Nope. Not kidding.” Jeff replied, picking up a glass jar filled with a clear liquid. Sloshing around inside were what appeared to be several eyeballs.

Sam shook his head in disgust and sighed. “Alright, I’ll look over here and you start on the other side of the room. Fill your pack with small things, anything you think we can fence.”

An hour later Sam had grabbed a few things; a gold locket, a silver brush & mirror set and gold pocket watch. He was ready to blow this gig. He’d felt nervous from the time they broke in and it was getting worse. Plus he was hot and sweaty and felt dirty from pawing through the dusty offerings. This whole night was a waste. He was pissed at Jeff and pissed at himself. He should’ve known better. This was nothing but an old junk store. Just as he turned to tell Jeff he thought they should go, Jeff let out yelp and jumped back several feet.

“A rat! A freakin rat!” he shouted.

“Shut the hell up!” Sam said. “Do you want us to get busted?”

Jeff shook his head. “Sorry man, but that startled the hell out of me. This place is giving me the heebie-jeebies.”

“Yeah,” Sam said. “I know what you mean. Let’s bail.” He shouldered his pack and headed for the entrance.

“Hey wait!” Jeff called. “I found a door.”

“Yeah, so did I.” Sam replied.

“No. I found a hidden door.” Jeff said.

Sam pondered that for a minute. Why would you hide a door unless there was something to hide behind it? What the hell, they’d already wasted the night as it was, couldn’t hurt to take a quick look. He walked over to where Jeff was moving a big cupboard. As they slid the cupboard to the side, Sam saw what Jeff was talking about- a small door had been hidden behind it.

“What do ya think’s behind there?” Jeff asked.

“How the hell should I know?” Sam said. “One of us will have to check.”

“Hell no!” Jeff said. “I ain’t going in there.”

Sam sighed. He really didn’t want to either. Had to be something worthwhile in there, he thought. This night couldn’t get any worse. He pulled out his pocket flashlight and knelt down on all fours.

“Okay Jeff, open her up.”

Jeff fought with the latch on the door for a few minutes before it gave. He swung the door wide and Sam shone his light inside. A puff of dusty air escaped, making them both cough.

“Jesus H! It smells like something died in there.” Jeff coughed.

Sam agreed but braced himself and started up the stairs. As soon as he was past the door, he was able to stand up a little. He followed the steps up to a landing and glanced around. The flashlight illuminated very little, but from what he could see, the room was just a storage area filled with more junk. Shit! Shit! Shit! This night sucks, he thought. Just as he started back to the stairs the swinging beam of the flashlight caught something scurrying into the shadows. He stopped and swung the light again.

This time, it wasn’t so quick. Caught in the light was something that resembled a cross between a guinea pig and a squirrel. The moment that Sam spent staring at it is what cost him is life. In the very next instant the thing flew at him all teeth and claws and sour breath. It latched on to his throat and penetrated the jugular before he even had a chance to scream. The only sound was a soft gurgling and the thump of his body as it sagged to the floor. The flashlight bounced down the stairs.

Jeff heard the thump and saw the flashlight bounce down. “Sam?” he called. “C’mon Sam, this shit’s not funny.” He waited a few minutes before he picked up the flashlight and climbed a stair or two. He never even saw the creature coming. The flashlight rolled down the stairs again and came to rest next to their backpacks.

The next morning Mr. & Mrs. Goldenstein arrived at Eccentricities and opened shop. Mrs. Goldenstein found the opened door and the packs beside it.

“Oh dear, oh dear.” She muttered, before shutting and latching the little door.

Mr. Goldenstein saw what she was doing and shook his head.

“Looks like little Goldie had a big night.”

I'm sure I don't have to repeat this but stealing is bad and will not go unpunished. Just saying.

Happy Friday- may your weekend be filled with fun,

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

#Friday Flash- The Ghost Hunters

Yes, I do know it's not Friday. It's Wednesday. But I didn't get to play last Friday because my grandbaby had his first Doctor's appointment. And I had an MRI on my bum shoulder. But I still wanted to play along. So here is my offering- even if it's on the wrong day. This week's theme was haunted places.

The Ghost Hunters
Brian and Amy traipsed down the tree lined street; heavily laden shoulder packs making their shadows appear hunch-backed. Amy shivered as she looked towards their destination- a deserted house at the end of the road. The moonlight glinting off the house’s windows made them look like eyes peering from the gloom. She shook off the thought. She was scaring herself before they even got to the house. Some ghost hunter she was going to be.

“Where did you get all this stuff?” she asked, indicating her pack.

“I bought it.”

“You did what?”

“I bought it,” he replied. “I had to. If we’re going to be serious about this we’re going to need the right equipment. You don’t think those two old plumber guys skimped on the equipment do you? And look: now they have their own ghost hunting show. If it’s going to be a business, you’ve got to treat it like a business.”

Amy sighed loudly, muttered under her breath, and hitched up her pack. She still wasn’t convinced she wanted to be in this business.

“So where’d you hear about this house?”

“I told you. I saw a card about it on the bulletin board at a store on Maine Street. You know, the one that sells the weird shit.”

“You mean Eccentricities? They don’t sell weird shit. They sell antiques.”

“Okay. Old shit? Better?”

Amy rolled her eyes and stuck out her tongue at him, knowing he wouldn’t see the gesture in the dark.

“So what did it say? Ghost hunters wanted: haunted house?”

“No. It said ‘For rent: haunted house’.”

“Really? Who the hell would rent a haunted house?”

“People who shop at an old shit store.” He put a finger to his lips and and pointed to the house. They were almost there. “Get out the heat camera.”

“Like I know which one that is,” Amy muttered under her breath. She put her pack down in the yard and knelt down to dig through it. Finally she found the small hand held camera that picked up heat signatures. She scanned the yard, nothing. Brian urged her forward and they went up to the porch. A sound made Amy jump.
“Did you hear that?” she asked.

“Shhh. Jesus, Amy, are you trying to wake the dead?” Brian stared at her.

“Oh that’s funny Brian, har dee har har. I’m not playing around. I heard something.”

They both got quiet for a minute and looked around them. The sound came again. It was a low moaning. They froze.

“What now, Mr. Ghost Hunter?” Amy asked. “What does your book say we do now?”

“We need to get out some more equipment, get some baseline readings…” he broke off as they heard thumping from inside and more moaning.

“Are you sure we want to be here?” she asked. “Because I’m beginning to think I want to be anywhere but here.”

“No. It’s fine. It’s just the wind or something. Old houses settle.” Brian glanced around nervously. Suddenly, the thumping increased in tempo and volume and seemed just on the other side of the door. Amy stared at Brian wide eyed as she fought her body’s fight or flight response to what was obviously imminent danger.

Brian appeared equally petrified. Slowly the door began to swing inward on creaky hinges. With one last look at each other, they turned and fled back down the street, leaving their packs discarded on the porch.

A new sound could be heard coming from the doorway; a soft chuckling followed by a wheezy cough. Karl Barnard stepped out onto the porch and shook his head. It never failed. Some sucker was always ready to play ghost hunter. And Karl was always ready to play ghost- especially when it meant they’d flee without their gear. That left him something to take to Old Louie at the pawn shop for enough money to keep him in whiskey and smokes for awhile longer. Yessiree, this was the best con he’d run in years. He sifted through the packs and whistled through what was left of his teeth. This was high end stuff these folks had left, top of the line and brand new. He’d have some extra dough for maybe a decent meal or two as well as his usual haul.

“Huh?” he muttered to himself as he noticed a glowing set of lights inside the pack. He pulled out the piece of equipment and stared at it. It was some kind of indicator; it had a set of five lights on the tip and they were all glowing a bright red. He looked at the writing.

“E. M. F.” he read aloud. “What the hell…” he broke off mid sentence as a flashlight that had rolled to the end of the porch clicked on by itself. Karl froze. It was then he noticed the temperature had dipped considerably in the last few minutes. The hair on the back of his neck rose and he shivered. Good thing I don’t believe in ghosts, he thought to himself, or I might start believing my own propaganda.
He tried to shake off the feeling of unease, but it refused to abate. In fact, it was getting worse and Karl was sure something stood behind him. There’s nothing there, he thought. Nothing. I’m just letting the dark and that story I cooked up and spread about this house get to me. Turn around, he told himself firmly. Turn around.

Fighting against his own body’s response, he managed to turn. He found himself staring into a face more evil than any he’d ever encountered in his fifty six years of squandered life. It would be the last thing he saw. After several frantic erratic beats his heart gave up and stopped beating. Karl grabbed his chest and fell backward onto the porch steps, still gazing into the hate filled countenance of the house’s very real resident ghost.

Please leave a comment if you like it, or if you don't. All comments are welcome. And if you do like it- send some more readers my way, will ya? Thanks!


Thursday, July 21, 2011

Meet Carole Gill

I ment Carole Gill in the Masters of Horror Group. She posts a lot of interesting links and everyone was talking about her new book, The House on Blackstone Moor. When the opportunity came to get the book for free through Vamplit's summer reading program- I jumped at my chance! You can read my review of her book over at See Spot Read.

The Interview~

1.)How long have you been writing novels?

I would say I got really serious about my writing (and novels) four years ago. Although The House on Blackstone Moor is my first published novel it is actually the third novel I wrote. It takes that long to get your novel writing skills up to where they should be I think. The first two I wrote I’ll say, yup better not published! The third though was sci fi and actually I still like it so who knows?!

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

I do write full time now because my husband gave me my shot. He suggested a few years ago to do it full time and go for it. It was very hard financially but we survived and I am so grateful to him. I don’t know how I could possibly write as much as I do if I had to work.

3.)Is this your fist published novel?

Yes, it is!

4.)What made you decide to go the Small Press route?

Well truthfully I preferred not to self-publish. I was considering agents but then I came across Vamplit and am I glad I did. Vamplit is a small press, but I have learned so much from Gaynor Stenson who is Vamplit. She is a brilliant editor and is encouraging to me, she lets me be me and I love that. I’m very happy with Vamplit and not only looking forward to the sequel being published but the third novel as well which will follow it.

5.)In "The House on Blackstone Moor" the lead character, Rose, is raped on several occasions. Were these scenes hard to write? Why did you feel they were necessary to the story?

Well Rose is a victim of child abuse and it is that abuse that leads her to everything else that follows. She poses the question throughout, asking if that evil let in other evil. As the child abuse is not depicted I didn’t have to write about it.

The rape that was depicted is toward the end and no, I felt I was choosing my own way to present it and I was comfortable doing it. Also the rapist was a demonic creature so that further permitted me the comfort of a safety zone as in ‘there really aren’t demonic creatures that rape or don’t rape!’

6.)What scares you personally? Do you have any silly phobias?

Evil people frighten me, the real monsters that dwell among us. Maniacs like Ed Gein, Albert Fish, Manson, Bundy. They embody the real horror that exists.

The fact that Ted Bundy sat answering phones on a rape hotline also scares me. Monsters that don’t look like monsters frighten the life out of me.

Phobias: I guess creepy crawlies, sometimes great heights! That’s about it.

7.)What is your writing routine?

My writing day starts around 9 after dog walking. I write until about 1 pm, have lunch then pick up again until 4 sometimes. I read and do research around that. Generally I only watch a couple of hours of t.v.

My husband and I generally both conk out watching t.v. at night with our dogs! what a picture!

8.)Have you always been a fan of horror?

Yes, my parents were both sci fi fans, fanatics really! The earliest things I can remember seeing were sci fi movies. Somehow though horror appealed and I started to write really morose poetry. I was a goth 100 years before anyone else was!

I wrote my first sci fi story at 8, but then by 11, 12, I was well into my horror stories. I also was a big fan of horror films: Hammer a huge favourite!

9.)What other authors inspire you?

Well I would say the Brontes, Daphne DuMaurier, Ann Rice and Stephen King with a dash of Poe! Mix them all up and well, that’s what I love!

For a long work of fiction I love writing in the gothic horror/romance genre, however for short fiction I love to gore it up and write all things horror from zombies to demonic dolls to evil vampires. I would like to also add my fiction is character driven not plot driven. But that’s me!

10.) What advice would you give to newbie writers out there?

Write whatever you want to write, what you feel, what’s important to you.
Keep writing too. The more you write the better you will write. Send out work you’re proud of. There are no guarantees; writing toward publication is a learning experience, so learn from everything!

Rejection happens to everyone, Stephen King tossed ‘Carrie’ into the waste bin but his wife fished it out. J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter was rejected by 13 different publishers.

There are great writers who have had 100’s of rejections.

Just go for it it, I’d say!

In 2000 Carole was selected by North West Playwrights of England for further development. It was an invaluable experience but Carole found she prefers to write fiction.

She loves to scare herself and others with her horror fiction and is widely published in horror and sci-fi anthologies.

Currently, Masters of Horror Anthology, MOH Damned If You Don't, Sonar's Ladies and Gentlemen of Horror, Bonded By Blood3 Languish In Lament, Whitechapel Anthology, Rymfire's Undead Tales and Zombie Winter.

Although she loves writing sci-fi her true love is dark gothic horror.

Her gothic horror novel, The House on Blackstone Moor published in 2010 by Vamplit is her first novel.

The sequel, Unholy Testament will be published by Vamplit later this year.


Facebook Author Page

Blurb, The House on Blackstone Moor:

This is a tale of vampirism, madness, obsession and devil worship as Rose Baines, only survivor of her family's carnage, tells her story. Fragile, damaged by the tragedy, fate sends her to a desolate house on the haunted moors where demons dwell. The house and the moors have hideous secrets, yet there is love too; deep, abiding, eternal, but it comes with a price, her soul.


Friday, July 15, 2011

#FridayFlash- Moon Rocks

This week's #fridayflash theme was outer space. My story is called Moon Rocks.

Dudley was sitting in his bedroom, staring at his newly acquired treasure, when his step-brother Ryan walked in. He knew that it would be about 3.5 seconds before Ryan found some way to begin irritating him.

“What have you got there DUD?” Ryan asked.

“Nothing you’d be interested in Ryan.”

“That’s probably true but I want to see it anyway,” Ryan snatched it from Dudley’s fingers. Dudley sighed.

 “It’s just a flippin rock!” Ryan said. “You’re sitting there staring at a rock. Geez, you are dumber than you look.”

Dudley ignored the insult because it was so ridiculous. In fact, Dudley’s IQ was higher than Ryan’s and Ryan’s father Jeb’s IQs put together. “It’s not just a rock, Ryan. It’s a moon rock. You know, from the moon,” he added for good measure.

“Don’t be stupid. I mean stupider than usual.” Ryan said. “There’s no such thing as moon rocks. How many times does my Dad have to tell you that men did not really go to the moon?! It’s just a bunch of government hooey. Just like global warming. They make all these things up and stupid people like you believe them.” Ryan threw the rock at Dudley.

“Right, Ryan. I forgot I was living with someone who knows everything.”

“Don’t you go making fun of my Dad or I’ll tell him and you’ll be sorry.” Ryan said.

Jeb would make him sorry if he thought Dudley was making fun of him. He was a paranoid conspiracy theorist that Dudley still could not believe his mother had married. But then again, he’d seemed rather normal at first. Right about the time his mother had gotten ill, Jeb had gone off the deep end. Ryan had always been a shit.
That night Dudley woke up to whispers. He lay quietly, trying to figure out where they were coming from. They were close, very close. He turned his head and saw the moon rocks on his night table. They were sitting in a shaft of moonlight and he could have sworn that they were pulsating slightly. The whispers seemed to be coming from them. He reached out and touched one and a little tingle of electricity shot up his arm.

They couldn’t be real moon rocks. Real moon rocks were in museums or private collections not crazy little antiques stores like Eccentricities where he’d picked these ones up. He’d known at the time that they were fakes, but he liked them anyway. He’d always liked anything to do with outer space. It made people think he was weird and nerdy but he didn’t care. He was going to work for NASA someday. But looking at the rocks, glowing slightly and pulsating, he could almost believe they were real.
The next day Dudley encountered Jeb on the stairs. Jeb purposely blocked Dudley’s way.

 “Where you going in such a rush DUD?” Jeb asked.

“I’m going to my room to put my bag down and then I’m going to see my mom.”

 "I heard you got some crazy idea about moon rocks.” Jeb said. “You best get rid of them ideas boy. Don’t want you helping to spread the government propaganda, do we? I’d hate to have to beat some sense into you.”

Dudley was pretty sure Jeb would enjoy any excuse to beat some sense into him.

“No.” Dudley answered.

“No what?”

“No sir.”

Jeb stepped to the side and continued on down the stairs. Dudley went up and as he passed the door to the bathroom, Ryan came out snickering.  Dudley glared at him.

He visited with his Mom for a quite awhile. He told her about his moon rocks and promised to put them away and not mention them to Jeb, ever. His mother cried and apologized again for bringing Jeb into their lives. But sick as she was, there was no getting away. Dudley did his best to reassure her.

That night, he woke to the whispers again. The moon shone into his room and onto the table where the moon rocks sat. He got out of bed and padded to the window. He stared up at the moon for a long time.

“I see the moon and the moon sees me,” he whispered. He woke up in the morning without remembering going back to bed. He had the vague sense that he’d figured out something vital, but couldn’t remember what it might have been. The day was much like the last except for Ryan tripping him in the cafeteria at school. His tray went flying and everyone laughed. And when he got home, his rocks were gone.

He confronted Jeb.

“Where are my moon rocks?”

“I told you they ain't from the moon.” Jeb said, glaring at him.

“They are from the moon.”

“No they ain’t boy.” Jeb punctuated his statement with a slap to Dudley’s face. Dudley continued to insist on the validity of the rocks and Jeb continued to hit. By the time Dudley went to bed that night, he was sporting a black eye, though not his first.

This time the moon shone in, but there were no rocks to gather its power. Dudley lay in bed and stared at it. Finally he got up; he walked to Ryan’s bed and shook him awake.

“Hey get off me!” Ryan hollered.

“Remember how you said men didn’t walk on the moon?” Dudley asked.

“Yeah. What of it?”

“Well if you don’t believe in the moon landing, then the moon doesn’t believe in you.”

“You’re off your rocker, dude.” Ryan rolled over on his side. Dudley remained there softly chanting.

“I see the moon and the moon sees me.” When Ryan disappeared, he went to his mother’s room and repeated the chant over Jeb. He woke the next morning feeling relaxed, better than he had in years. In fact, he whistled all the way to his mother’s room.

Sometimes a little belief is all you need,

Wednesday, July 13, 2011


This has been an exciting week so far! It's a good thing I'm not one of those little yappy dogs who pees everywhere when they get excited or you'd all be wet. Family updates I will do over at What Passes for Sane, but writing updates are:

Angelic Knight Press announced our opening to submissions for an upcoming anthology Satan's Toybox: Demonic Dolls. We are looking for ten tales of dark and scary horror centering around dolls. Because creepy evil dolls and the children they play with are scary! The Satan's Toybox brand will become an ongoing theme for upcoming anthologies. I'm proud to be a part of this team and editor of these books. So get your writer juices flowing and send me a story! We will start taking submissions on August 1st and stop on August 31st. I will post the email address to send them too very soon. If you have questions, feel free to email me.

I'm going to start doing reviews & articles for Chupacabra Magazine. Because I don't have enough to do right now. And because I think it's a worthwhile project.

Claudia Lefeve has finished her novel! She's sent it to her beta readers and then this girl gets to edit it! Very excited. I reviewed Claudia's last novella and am pleased to get to work with her again!

And last but not least, I'm doing another guest post today. This one is over at Tyr Kieran's blog. It is another short story, but very different from Monday's story. I'd love it if you all went over there and read it. Check out Tyr's blog while there, there's plenty of excellent content!

See you back here for #FridayFlash!


Monday, July 11, 2011

Guest Posting

I am guest posting on the fabulous Jason McKinney's blog today. You can find it here

I gave him one of my favorite short stories to put up. It would be awesome if everyone could stop by over there to check it out. While you're there, check out Jason's blog and leave him some love too. He's not only a comedic horror writer, he's an all around great guy!


Friday, July 8, 2011

#FridayFlash- The Lighthouse

It's flash fiction time again! This week's theme was Lighthouses...

“I got you something.”

“Thank you. You shouldn’t have.” Alyce took the bag and untied the ribbon. She carefully lifted out the snow globe she found inside. It was a lighthouse.

“I know how much you like lighthouses.”

Alyce smiled and looked down. She wished she knew what to say, but everything was so hard these days. Before the breakdown she’d been cheerful and outgoing. Now she felt shy and vulnerable. That’s what a hospitalization did to you. All that therapy stripped you bare until your innermost self was left there on display, laid bare for all to see. She turned the globe upside down quickly and then back up. The lighthouse inside was now barely visible through a storm of snow.

“It’s beautiful.” She whispered. They spent a few more moments shuffling nervously and not looking at each other before Jonah finally stood.

“I have to go. Laura only said she’d stay with the kids for an hour. I wish…” here he trailed off.

Alyce swallowed painfully. “I’m sorry.” She whispered. “I just can’t come home yet. I’m not ready…”

“It’s fine.” Jonah leaned down to kiss her on the top of her head and she flinched at the contact. He turned and left.

Alyce wanted to cry. But these days it seemed that she was empty of tears. In fact, she felt empty of everything; tears, emotions, motivation. Most days it took all of her energy to get dressed. The doctors told her it was a side effect of her medicines but that an even keel was what they wanted. No more mood swings, no more high highs or sinking lows, just a solid plodding along. She didn’t feel herself and she couldn’t imagine going home. How would she deal with the children? How could she face the neighbors? No, for now she’d just remain here, alone.

After Alyce went to bed, she lay looking at the snow globe. She’d placed it on her nightstand and the sliver of moonlight that was seeping in through the curtains, illuminated it. It looked so peaceful and quiet. That’s what she’d always liked about lighthouses. They were remote. They were quiet. No neighbors dropping in unannounced expecting your house to be spotless, your children well behaved. No neighborhood kids running in and out eating your cookies and drinking your milk. No. None of that.

In the next instant, Alyce jumped. She grabbed the snow globe and peered at it closely. She’d seen movement. There was something moving inside of it. The next thing she knew, the lighthouse light blinked on. She set it quickly back down. Maybe it was supposed to work like that. Maybe it had a dark sensor or something like the streetlights that switch on by themselves at dusk. Yes, surely that was it. That made sense.

Jonah came again three days later. Alyce told him about the snow globe. She told him how the tiny light blinked on every night. She didn’t tell him that she was sure she’d glimpsed a tiny lighthouse keeper moving around inside the lighthouse. That sounded crazy. She’d keep that to herself.

 "I’m pretty sure that’s impossible, Alyce. The woman who sold it to me didn’t say anything about any sensors or the light coming on.” He glanced away.

Alyce knew that look. “I’m not crazy Jonah! It happened. It happened every night.”

“I didn’t say you were crazy, Alyce. Calm down.” Jonah tried to soothe her. But Alyce refused to be placated.

“You don’t have to say it Jonah. It’s in your eyes every time you look at me. It’s in the way you talk to me, so flipping patronizing. I’m not crazy and I know what I saw!”

“Okay. Calm down. I can go back to the store and see what they say. Alright?”

 Alyce nodded. “Yeah, I guess so. Where did you get it?”

“That old junk store on Maine, Eccentricities.”

“I love that place.” Alyce said. “They have so many neat things there.”

“Well, look,” Jonah said. “I’ll go back tomorrow and ask, okay?” He got ready to leave.

“Okay. Thanks Jonah.”

As she lay in bed that night, staring at the globe again, the light blinked on. This time she could see the tiny lighthouse keeper walking around inside the tower. He had dark brown hair and a bushy beard. He was dressed in old fashioned clothes; a thermal shirt and work pants with suspenders holding them up. He had on wellington boots. He walked to the window and looked out. Without her touching it, the tiny snowflakes began to swirl. It looked so peaceful, so serene and quiet.

The lighthouse keeper smiled as though he could see her and she knew instinctively that he would understand her. He would understand her need for silence and isolation. For surely, that’s what drew him to the lighthouse too? Suddenly her life was too much to bear. More than anything she just wanted to slip into the snow globe and join the lighthouse keeper.

Jonah used his key to enter the apartment. He didn’t like to use it, it felt like an intrusion. But he’d been knocking for the last twenty minutes to no avail. Since Alyce was still his wife, he figured he had the right. He checked quickly through the house. Alyce was nowhere to be found. She hadn’t left the place, to his knowledge, since they’d moved her in three weeks ago. Where the hell could she have gone?

He placed a quick and frantic call to her doctor who said he’d come right over. Jonah went through the apartment again. Nothing, nothing was out of place. Her purse and shoes were still by the door. He picked up the snow globe he’d given her. How odd. He hadn’t noticed that there were tiny people outside the lighthouse, but there were. There was man, obviously the lighthouse keeper, and a woman. He placed it back on the table as he went to answer the doorbell.

If you want something badly enough, you might just get it,

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Meet Mark Edward Hall

I met Mark Edward Hall on, yep, you guessed it- The Masters of Horror Facebook page. I really can't drop shameless plugs for that group often enough. It's a great group of writers, artists and editors who are truly dedicated to the genre of horror. They are a very supportive group as well. But enough about them...on to Mark~

1.)  How long have you been writing ?

Atually I've always been a writer. My first short story was published in 1995. Before that I wrote songs and poetry. My first novel was published in 2003.        

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

I write full time.

3.)  Is this your fist published work?

I have four published books, The Lost VillageThe Haunting of Sam Cabot, The Holocaust Opera and my new collection, Servants of Darkness, which I just found out is a best selller in Germany. Go figure. I have two new novels coming this year, a thriller entitled Apocalypse Island and an epic horror novel entitled Soul Thief.

4.)  What made you decide to go the Indie route?

Actually three of my books are published by  Damnation Books which is a small press that is getting bigger every day. Servants of Darkness is an indie book and my next two will also be indie simply because I can do as good a job promoting my work as my publisher can, and I get to keep a bigger piece of the pie. I've got nothing against my publisher, they're good people. My decision to go indie is pure economics. We live in a different publishing world than we did just two years ago. Everything has changed.

5.)  I, personally, love short stories. I love to read them and I love to write them. That said, there are certain complexities to writing a short story as opposed to a novel. What do you think is the hardest thing about writing a short story. What's your favorite thing about writing them?

I think the hardest thing about writing a short story is giving it the depth of character needed to bring people to life on the page. Unlike a novel you don't have much room to develope your characters and you'd better make the most of word choice and economy.
My favorite thing about writing short stories  is everything. I love the form, I love the economy, I love that you can tell a complete story in five thousand words or less

6.)  What scares you personally? Do you have any silly phobias?

All the standard stuff, cancer, heart attacks, car accidents, terrorist attacks. I actually don't sit around  worrying about all that but I'm keenly aware of what a dangerous world we live in. Probably why I write the stuff I write. 

7.) What is your writing routine?

I write from about eight in the morning until just after noon, and then I move on with all the other business of my day. Usually I come back in the late afternooon and write or edit for a few more hours.

8.) Have you always been a fan of horror?

Yes, always. I love the genre. But it has to be well written horror.

9.) What other authors inspire you?

Clive Barker, Stephen King, Robert McCammon, Dan Simmons, John Farris. The list could go on and on, but these are a few of my favorites.

10.) What advice would you give to newbie writers out there?

If you're serious about writing then write. If  you're doing it for the money then choose another career. You can make money with it but that's just a bonus. To be good you have to love doing it.

Mark Edward Hall is the author of four novels and more than fifty short stories. His first novel, The Lost Village, was recommended for a Bram Stoker award and nominated for a Tombstone award. His short stories have been widely published in magazines and anthologies. He lives in Richmond, Maine with his wife Sheila. 

His Website.
My website contains a link to my blog. I don't do a lot of blogging although I should do more. At the end of the day I find- I'd rather write fiction.

Find Mark on the web at:

Facebook Fan Page



Don't forget to check out my review of Mark's book, Servants of Darkness, over at See Spot Read


Friday, July 1, 2011

#FridayFlash- The Quilt

I'm playing along again with Friday Flash. After you read my tale, check out the other great Friday Flash fiction by other authors. You can find the links on Vamplit's Blog. They are the sponsors of this little shindig.This week's Friday Flash theme was cursed objects. Where else would you buy a cursed object but at a nifty little store called "Eccentricities"? If last week's moral was "be careful what you wish for", this week's moral is "be careful what you buy" because it might just come with an unpleasant history.

The Quilt

Emily cried the day he gave her the quilt.

“Oh Thomas! It’s so lovely! What a thoughtful wedding gift.”

“I knew you’d love it. It’s a wedding ring design, right?”

“Actually, it’s a double wedding ring design. This design was made popular during the depression in the 1930’s. They were made especially for the wedding couple.” She turned to him, her eyes shining.

 “I got it at that little store, Eccentricities.”

She wrinkled her nose. “I don’t like that store. There’s something off about it.”

“Do you want me to take it back?”

“Oh of course not! It’s beautiful and the stitching is fantastic! I love it. And I love you.”

When Thomas got home from work the next night he noticed that Emily had washed the quilt and put it on their bed.

“We’re going to use it?” he asked.

“Of course.” She answered. “It’s in great shape. And I’d hate to just display it. It was made to be used by a newly married couple. I want to honor its purpose.”

And that was when things changed. Emily was waking every morning in a foul mood, complaining of bad dreams and becoming increasingly withdrawn. She had two moods; tearful and sullen.

Emily knew she was being unfair to Thomas. Thomas was a great guy and she had no reason to doubt him. But every night she dreamt of him betraying her. No, it wasn’t him really. And she wasn’t her. She was another woman in the dream and the man came to her and told her he was marrying someone else. And in the dream she was heartbroken. But she was also angry. So angry that she wanted to hurt the man and the other woman. Wanted to kill them. Or herself.

Not sleeping well was exhausting her and the dreams stayed with her. She vacillated between anguish and fury. She was either crying and begging Thomas not to leave her or she was furious with him.

Thomas confronted her the next day.

“What the hell is going on Emily?”

“I don’t know what you mean.” She said.

 “Emily, we’ve been together for two years and you have never acted like this before. You’re always happy and outgoing. I don’t know who this woman is, but she’s not my Emily.”

Emily broke down in tears. She sobbed in Thomas’ arms. “I don’t know what’s wrong with me either. I just have these dreams and I’m so scared that you’ll leave me for someone else and I’m so mad at you. I don’t understand.”

“Emily” Thomas held her at arms length and looked into her eyes. “I will never leave you. Not ever. Not for anyone.” He wrapped his arms back around her and rubbed her back until her sobs quieted.

After that Emily tried hard to act more normal, even while the dreams and the feelings they brought persisted. But every day, while Thomas was gone, she wandered listlessly around their apartment. She didn’t answer the telephone and she never went anywhere. She just sat on the bed, thinking about the dreams.

A month later, Thomas came home from work early. He thought he’d surprise Emily with a trip to Chicago. She still wasn’t herself. It was more like she was trying to act like herself and not quite making it.

 When he opened the apartment door, he called out “I’m home and I have a surprise for you! Pack your bags…”

The words died on his lips as he passed the bathroom. He could see Emily on the floor, one hand outstretched, an empty pill bottle lying beside her. The next hours would remain a blur of frantic phone calls, the ambulance, the ER and the pain. Emily was gone. The pain was unbearable.


Six months later, Thomas walked through the door of Eccentricities. He held in his hands the quilt. He never wanted to look at it again, but he knew how much Emily had loved it. She’d want someone else to have it.

There was a little old colored lady at the counter.

“Whatcha got dere?” The woman asked.

  “It’s a quilt. I bought it here several months ago for my…bride.” He nearly choked on the word. Tears pricked behind his eyelids.

“Oh no.” The woman clucked her tongue as she eyed the quilt. “Dat one got bad juju.”

“What?” Thomas asked.

 “Dis quilt got da bad juju. You can’t give dis to her.”

Thomas shook his head. “My bride is dead. She committed suicide six months ago.”

“Den de curse got her.”

“You’re talking nonsense. I just want to return this quilt.”

“Dat quilt got da bad juju. It be cursed.” She pointed a finger at him. “Women be stitchin quilts. Sometimes dey stitchin happy. And de quilt be full of good juju. But sometimes de be stitchin cryin or cursin. And dose quilts got de bad juju. Somebody been stitchin dis one wit de bad juju.”

Thomas’ jaw dropped open. He broke down and told the little old woman what had happened with Emily. How she’d had bad dreams and become increasingly distant and different. He told her of the suicide.

“It’s as I say.” She replied. “Somebody stitchin with de bad juju. De quilt carries de feelings wit it. You’re wife be dreamin de life of de woman dat did the stitchin. Dat life take over her life. Sad way of tings.”

Thomas turned and ran blindly from the store, wanting only to get away from this woman and her talk of juju. If what she said was true (but how could it be?) then he was ultimately responsible for Emily’s death. She’d said she didn’t like the store. He should have returned the quilt. He should have pieced the incidents together and known it was the quilt but how could it…

Thomas never saw the car that hit him. Lost in confusion, he stumbled out into the street. The EMTs said he died on impact.

Hope you enjoyed the tale.