Spooky Saturday – Haunts and Happenings

Well, it’s only been three months since my last blog post. Oops. I always say I’ll try and do better, and I really want to, but I also know life is REALLY busy, so I’ll do what I can do. I am excited to announce that I have two, short stories coming out in the new, spooky anthology Haints and Hollers: New Ghost Tales from Appalachia published by Mountain Gap Books. The anthology will be released on September 23rd, but you can preorder now on Amazon! There will be a launch party next Saturday, September 21st at The Corner Cup in Jonesborough.

 

Pieces and Parts Haints and Hollers

 

I’m so excited to be a part of this anthology full of authors from Appalachia. Some of them I know, some I do not. Their stories are so refreshing and spellbinding, and it’s an honor to be in such wonderful company. The anthology has all kinds of ghostly, spooky, and scary stories. I both love and hate being spooked. This is my favorite time of the year!

Here’s a sneak peek at one of my stories, “Pieces and Parts.”

 

           “Who are you?” Tucker asked, and even his voice sounded distorted to his own ears.

“A friend,” the man replied in a warmer tone.  “And, a purveyor of magic.”  He reached out with one hand and produced a large coin from beyond Tucker’s ear.

Tucker suddenly felt more at ease.  This was recognizable.  “That’s not magic.  It was hidden up your sleeve.”

“Perhaps it was,” the man replied.  He let the coin go quickly, but it did not fall to the ground.  No, it floated in the air.  Tucker gasped.  He felt the air around the coin, but there were no wires.  The coin began to rotate before him, and Tucker could not take his eyes off the spinning silver.

“What do you fear, Tucker?” the man asked.  “Death?”

Tucker shook his head.  “We’re all gonna die.”

“Then what do you fear?”

“Not living,” Tucker spoke in a small voice.

 

Pick up your copy of Haints and Hollers today! Also, for your reading pleasure, I’ve finished a new fanfiction set in the Stranger Things verse entitled Stranger Things: A Ghost Story. It totally has spoilers for season three, so be forewarned. It’s also perfect for this fallish, spooky time of year. (Here’s hoping we finally get some fall weather here in Tennessee and get rid of these 90 degree days.)

Below are some fun pics of authorly things I’ve been up to since my last blog.

 

 

Me posed in my steampunk, time travel attire for Voices of the Chester, an original play I wrote that was performed in June.

Me and my wonderful sister Jeanne repping Mountain Gap Books and selling our titles at the local Mr. K’s con in July. Also, Darth Vader highly recommends The Summer Between.

(Featured Image – Photo by Tertia van Rensburg on Unsplash)

#WIPpet Wednesday Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween! This is easily my favorite holiday. This year is a little different. We’re going to Nashville to see Mystery Science Theater 3000 Live! I am very excited. Here are our costumes. Points if you can name these characters and their iconically bad movie.

 

This week I’ve got 31 sentences from my short story Causing a Scene (tentative title) for 10/31/2018. I shared this story last weekend at Brews & Boos. I really love it and look forward to developing it further.

The end of last week’s snippet is included in maroon.

Sadie walked straight to her. “You playing hooky, little Alice?” The girl didn’t reply, which again, wasn’t odd. “Your whole family playing hooky?” No response. “Your mama out of town or something? She finds out you all laid low, she’ll bust your britches.” Silence. “Why are you in your nightgown? No one at home would dress you?”

Little Alice turned her body ever so slowly, her left hand rising and pointing back behind, back to the Keefhaver house. It was only a block down the street and you could just make out the top of the house sticking above the trees. She pointed straight up to the attic, her eyes never leaving Sadie’s. There was no emotion in those eyes. No shyness, no fear, no sleepiness, nothing. Sadie began to feel uneasy and her throat clenched tight. The part of her lunch she’d eaten felt like a stone in her gut and she wasn’t interested in the rest of her biscuit. She felt cold all over, just like she had when her father had met her here two years ago.

“Oh no,” Sadie whispered. She turned her head to see who else was in the schoolyard, who else was nearby. When she looked back, little Alice was gone. A part of Sadie had known she would be. Without hesitation, Sadie walked straight up to the nearest kid, Clara Brownlow.

“Did you see little Alice just now?”

Clara gave her a funny look. “No. None of the Keefhavers are here today. Must be sick, or dead or somethin’,” she laughed.

Sadie dropped her biscuit and headed for the school gate. “Where are you going?” Clara called after her.

“I have to go. Tell Ms. Smith I’m sick or something.”

“I’ll tell her you’re crazy!” Clara shouted.

That wasn’t the first or last time someone would call Sadie crazy.

They’d called her crazy since the mine accident, since the day her father died. They called her crazy for seeing him that morning in the schoolyard, when he was already dead underground, and they also called her crazy because she knew the truth. The mine collapse was no accident. Her father had caused it on purpose. He’d killed himself. Maybe that’s what he was trying to tell her that morning? Maybe that’s what he’d tried to tell her the night before when he’d come into her bedroom and stood at the foot of her bed? He’d been alive then, sure enough, but he still hadn’t felt right. 

 

*WIPpet Wednesday is a blog hop hosted by Emily Wrayburn wherein writers share excerpts of their latest WIP. All genres and levels of accomplishment are welcome. The only stipulation is that the excerpt must coincide with the date in some manner. For example, on 10/8/14 you might share 10 lines from page 8, 8 paragraphs from chapter 14, or perhaps 18 sentences by doing WIPpet math and adding the day to the month. We’re flexible like that.

#storytelling #scarystories #originalwork

(Photo credits, Photo by Aimee Vogelsang on Unsplash) 

 

#WIPpet Wednesday Spookier and Spookier

Brews and Boos is this Friday. Here’s a snippet from the third ghost story I’ll be sharing that evening, and it’s another original. I suppose it will have a title when it’s done. I really must finish it. If I didn’t have bronchitis and a fuzzy head, I’d say more. Hope you enjoy.

This week I’ve got 24 sentences from this short story for 10/24/2018.

Little Alice Keefhaver was not the first ghost Sadie had ever seen. Her father had met her at school the morning the mine collapsed, trying to tell her something, but there were no sounds coming from his lips, only silent words. Little Alice Keefhaver didn’t try to speak, just pointed toward the house where she slept with her mother, father, three sisters, and one brother, all dead. The bloody axe that had done the deed was still sitting by the backdoor.

It wasn’t so unusual for little Alice to be silent. She was the youngest of the Keefhaver clan and very shy. It was odd for her to be alone, though, and it was definitely odd that none of the Keefhavers were at school. Mrs. Keefhaver ran that family like a factory and her five children were always at school, always. It was the mid-day break and Sadie was out in the school yard. Some children went home to eat, others ate in the schoolyard. Sadie usually went to the library. But earlier that week the library had developed a distinctive odor. It was either a dead mouse or an intentionally placed egg by one of the Fleenor brothers. Mr. Hardy hadn’t figured out which yet, and the smell remained.

Sadie was walking through the yard, ham biscuit in one hand with a book in the other when she saw a flash of white from the corner of her eye. She lowered her book and looked across the yard, and there was little Alice standing on the other side of the fence. She appeared to be wearing her nightgown. Sadie walked straight to her. “You playing hooky, little Alice?” The girl didn’t reply, which again, wasn’t odd. “Your whole family playing hooky?” No response. “Your mama out of town or something? She finds out you all laid low, she’ll bust your britches.” Silence. “Why are you in your nightgown?”

*WIPpet Wednesday is a blog hop hosted by Emily Wrayburn wherein writers share excerpts of their latest WIP. All genres and levels of accomplishment are welcome. The only stipulation is that the excerpt must coincide with the date in some manner. For example, on 10/8/14 you might share 10 lines from page 8, 8 paragraphs from chapter 14, or perhaps 18 sentences by doing WIPpet math and adding the day to the month. We’re flexible like that.

#storytelling #scarystories #originalwork

(Photo credit Photo by Lucas Ludwig on Unsplash)

#WIPpet Wednesday A Little More Spooky

I’ve still got ghost stories on my mind, especially since I’ll be sharing original ghost stories at the end of the month at Brews and Boos. Here’s a cutting from Beep Beep, Honk Honk. I wrote this one way back in college in 2005. It’s always nice when I get to use stories that haven’t seen the light of day in sometime. Also, there’s nothing creepier than small children.

In this story, Geoffrey and Amy are moving into their new house. There’s an even larger house across the road. It’s the kind of house the two of them fantasize about living in some day, a large house where they can raise lots of kids. A young girl is sitting on a swing. They’ve already met the older lady who lives in the house, but this is the first time they’ve seen the young girl. Geoffrey decides he should do the neighborly thing and go over and introduce himself.

This week I’ve got 38 sentences from this short story. For my WIPpet math we have (10+10+18=38) for 10/10/18.

“Geoffrey stopped at the edge of the road.  A car was coming around the corner.  It was true, you couldn’t see a car coming around that corner till it was right on the two houses.  Fortunately, the driver wasn’t speeding.  Geoffrey nodded a hello to the driver as he passed.  Once the car was by, he crossed the road.  He approached the fence with a friendly smile and careful step.  The little girl didn’t run away.  She continued to swing.  “Hello there,” Geoffrey offered warmly.  “What’s your name?”  He stopped before he reached the fence.  He didn’t want to make her nervous.  The girl didn’t answer his question.  She stared at him with her big, blue eyes.  “My name’s Geoffrey. What’s your name?”  The girl didn’t respond.  “How about Shirley?  Marie?  Betty?  Jil – ”

“Beep-beep, honk-honk.”

The girl’s first response caught Geoffrey by surprise.  “What?”

“Beep-beep, honk-honk,” the girl repeated.

“That’s the noise a car makes.  Did you know that?”  Geoffrey took a step closer to the fence.  The girl gave him a small nod and a smile.  “Do you see a lot of cars on this road?”  Geoffrey pointed to the road behind him.

“Beep-beep, honk-honk.”

“Yeah, beep-beep, honk-honk.”  Geoffrey stepped up to the fence and rested his hand on one of the white stakes.  “Do you live here with your grandmother?”  The girl didn’t reply.  She looked over at the empty swing next to her.”

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*WIPpet Wednesday is a blog hop hosted by Emily Wrayburn wherein writers share excerpts of their latest WIP. All genres and levels of accomplishment are welcome. The only stipulation is that the excerpt must coincide with the date in some manner. For example, on 10/8/14 you might share 10 lines from page 8, 8 paragraphs from chapter 14, or perhaps 18 sentences by doing WIPpet math and adding the day to the month. We’re flexible like that.

#storytelling #scarystories #originalwork

(Photo credits, Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash, Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash)

 

#WIPpet Wednesday A Little Bit of Spooky

The Summer Between is out into the world now! I had an amazing launch and book signing on Monday at The Corner Cup. (I always appreciate a different sort of Monday.) I am super grateful to my friends, family, and community for all their support.

FYI, The Summer Between is Jackalope approved. Pick up a copy today!

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I made the front cover my hometown paper The Herald & Tribune. This week’s edition was very small town, my book launch, a local artist and his toaster art, and the hometown barber shop gets an update. A lovely little slice of Americana. I truly love where I live, and this is my equivalent of Rolling Stone. Read the article here.

Since I must leave The Summer Between behind in this week’s WIPpet Wednesday, I will turn my attention to October and storytelling and spooky stories. The International Storytelling Festival takes place in Jonesborough the first full weekend of October. Tents pop up all over town and stories are everywhere! It’s a busy time, but a magical time.

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This is my current view in my work parking lot.

I fancy myself an amateur storyteller, and I’ve been asked to tell spooky stories again this year at Brews and Boos on October 26.

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It’s scary stories outside after dark with beer! What’s not to like? I always try and tell original stories for this, one because of copyright issues and respect, and two because it gives me a chance to write spooky stuff. I also fancy myself an amateur horror writer. I like giving myself the heebie jeebies. One day I’ll write a really great horror story, until then I like to dabble in the genre.

Below is a snippet from one of the original stories I’ll be telling at this year’s Brews and Boos. I honestly haven’t looked at it since I wrote it way back in 2006. (There is so much editing in my future.) It’s entitled “Some Things Are Beyond Our Control.”

This week I’ve got 30 sentences from this short story. For my WIPpet math we have (10+3+18-1=30) for 10/3/18.

 

. . .Vincent couldn’t let it end at that.  No, there had to be one more punch, one more stab.  “Oh, no, no, no,” Vincent chastised as he hurried after her.  “You’re going to leave me with that?” 

Julia kept walking.  “Yep.”  She moved down the stairs, headed for the door. 

Vincent finally stopped her there.  His hand grabbed hold of the front door as she opened it.  “What’s his name?” 

It was Julia’s turn to sigh, but it wasn’t a sigh of feigned boredom or pretend superiority.  It was a sigh, an honest sigh.  “I don’t want to be with anyone, remember? But I find your jealousy incredibly flattering.” 

Vincent folded his arms and leaned against the door frame.  “I’m not jealous.” 

Julia smiled and looked at the ground.  It was a smile he’d seen only a few times before.  It wasn’t her cruel and coy smile.  This was her real smile, simple and shy.  It made Vincent stop and take notice.  It took all the brag and bluster out of him. 

“I’m spending time with my family this weekend, and there’s a lot of business I need to take care of.”  Julia raised her head and looked at him.  This was the truth. 

“And this is all going to carry on into next weekend, too?” Vincent asked.

“No.  I have to finish it now.  I’m going to die on Sunday.”  Vincent’s hold on the door faltered and Julia was able to push it open enough and slip out of the house.

#TheSummerBetween #storytelling #scarystories #originalwork

*WIPpet Wednesday is a blog hop hosted by Emily Wrayburn wherein writers share excerpts of their latest WIP. All genres and levels of accomplishment are welcome. The only stipulation is that the excerpt must coincide with the date in some manner. For example, on 10/8/14 you might share 10 lines from page 8, 8 paragraphs from chapter 14, or perhaps 18 sentences by doing WIPpet math and adding the day to the month. We’re flexible like that.

(Photo credits: Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash_

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