Tag Archives: ghosts

A long weekend

I took Friday as a vacation day, and Monday was my flex day. This was just what I needed, to be honest. It doesn’t mean I wasn’t productive, but I didn’t hit it full speed either.

Start with Friday. Old What’s Her Face had to work, so this was my writing day. I tried to hit it hard, because I didn’t expect a better opportunity. I wound up adding 4100 new words to Lanternfish.

I’ve been setting the stage for some of this for a few chapters now. I started to reveal the con job my crew is going to have to pull once they arrive in the war zone. I also have some seeds that haven’t sprouted yet and look forward to those chapters.

Then I sent Lanternfish into a hot welcome in the form of two Hollish warships. With their little fleet, only Lanternfish is capable of defending herself, unless there is an even older battle tactic that might still have some life in it.

I also finally introduced my ghost into the story. This is an old Japanese legend, and honestly, Japanese ghosts are scary as hell. This involves haunted items. I did a ton of research on them, then made my own up to fit the framework. The result was bloody and gruesome, and I’m well pleased with it.

A root monster earned a name (kind of), and they made a mistake involving a golden phallus. Have to keep some of the humor going here.

My wife was off Saturday and Sunday. We’re doing our best to stay home, and did small things around the house. I pruned my Asian pear a bit, and have more to go. I continued with thinning its fruit. I should have sprayed it for coddling moth, but haven’t done that yet.

We turned on Disney+ and watched the new Star Wars movie. We went to it in the theater, but now that it’s that simple we decided to watch it again.

I dabbled with other writing projects, adding a few words to my short story, and a few more to Lanternfish. I’m debating parking Lizzie and the Hat now, until one of those gets finished. This is always a possibility, and it feels like time.

I had one goal for today, and that was to send a chapter of Lanternfish to my critique group. My iPad seems to have a haunting of its own today. When I selected the chapter, it froze up and wouldn’t let me do anything. I closed the app, and that will sometimes break the strangle hold. Not this time. It decided to arbitrarily delete the last two chapters I’d written.

Rather than throwing the stupid thing against the wall. I put it down and made a pot of coffee. About once a year, Old What’s Her Face buys me a can of chickory as a treat, and I used it. This gave me time to think. Apple just had an update and that could be part of my problem. Doesn’t solve anything, but it came to me in the kitchen.

Pages gives me options upon selection of a part of my work, copy/cut/ delete. Maybe it cut the section and was still on the clipboard. I could simply paste it back… Big nope. It had been deleted.

As a last feeble effort I tried the undo button. It restored everything that I’d lost, and I was able to copy and paste it for my critique group. It’s a miracle that I didn’t reboot the whole thing, which would have cleared the undo button.

Today was a possible writing day, too. I continued, but after my adventure, didn’t accomplish much. If you add on the dabbling with the short story and today, my whole weekend probably landed at about 5000 words. Good progress any way you slice it.

Tomorrow is working from home, and Wednesday I get my turn in the office. I have enough work for one day, but really need to go in for more files and such.

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Ahhhh!

I spent yesterday clearing my plate of busy work associated with promoting Grinders. This worked out well, and other than a few tweets, I don’t have much to do on that front.

I also addressed the critiques for both stories, so that left me free to write. I opened the HMS Lanternfish manuscript and read my last chapter. After that it was off to the races.

I answered some questions about a ghostly encounter Mule and a couple of the other officers had. Since this is pseudo Asia, there are some awesome ghost stories to pirate from. I also set Mule up to have another one at a later time. I don’t know if it will happen in this book or in the next one, but this book seems more appropriate. It would be pretty easy to do either way.

A lot of research went into the world of Giapon. Not only ghost stories, but something cool called a turtle boat, too. James and friends are stuck with three ships now, which prevents his ability to leap magically ahead. He’s stuck sailing the old fashioned way. Obviously, I’ll free him to maneuver later on, but for now, this suits the story.

Perhaps the most fun part was putting Serang in charge of the turtle boat and all it’s inhabitants. These aren’t people who are glad to see her, but I like the way she handled herself. She also promoted herself, and General Serang is going to have some interesting adventures ahead of her.

I still need to iron out some details, then they’re going to be leaving Giapon. Other details can be worked out at sea. I had to stop because the general needs to assess her army and appoint officers. This is going to require me to do some research into names, and come up with a bunch of new characters. (As if Lanternfish needed more characters.)

I need to do a flashback to Serang’s past, but I can manage that at sea as they head north.

All this will be worth it when they get back to the actual war, and even the land war. I also need to come up with some fantasy ideas for arctic exploration, because that’s where they’re headed next. I’m trying to include some fantasy elements at every stop. I have the weird creatures on the floating island, the ghosts of Giapon, and I want to keep that coming.

I still need to work in a little surprise I have planned for James, the captain. This is going to be a fun plant that I can do many things with later.

I actually checked my numbers, because it felt pretty good. Today it came to 3800 new words. That’s a pretty great day by my standards. Yeah it probably needs some work, but it exists to be fixed now.

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Got some things accomplished

Not having WiFi sucks, but now that I have a hotspot available, I decided to get busy.

I skipped out on most of my social media lap this morning, opting instead to address my work in progress.

My writing days always start by reading the last section I wrote, and this really helps when I’ve been away from it for a few days. The Lanternfish crew arrived in Giapon and got into a bind with the political upheaval in that country.

I picked it up from there, and approached this problem with more of a diplomatic approach. At 1.5 books in, they’ve blasted their way out of plenty of issues, so I felt like something else was in order.

Of course, this poses even more problems when it comes to reaching the ultimate war in Prelonia. They now have a third ship, and only Lanternfish can jump ahead and speed up the travel time. At this point, what’s one more when you have to sail the old fashioned way.

However, this new ship is full of disgraced soldiers, criminals, and even soldiers from the opposing side of their own local conflict. This is not going to be an easy group to manage.

It also poses the problem of not having enough veteran sailors. James has spread the Lanternfish crew thin by trying to man the two ships he has already. There is a small hope that some of these new people will have some sailing skills, but getting them to embrace the mission could be a deal killer.

In his mind, he’s acting as a privateer. The job is to provide war materials to his queen. They still have most of their captured gold. Add in two new ships, and possibly some soldiers, and it may be a successful voyage. Even if the soldiers serve as nothing more than cannon fodder, it could buy some time for the Prelonian forces he’s supposed to be supporting.

Oh, and I also wove in a ghostly encounter. It wasn’t much, but it turned out pretty cool. Every stop in this series has provided some kind of fantasy element, so why not Giapon. I’m still thinking about revisiting it for a bit more fun. I ought to be able to milk it just a bit more.

I didn’t do a strict word count, so I’m estimating here. I know where my last critique submission ended. I know about where I stopped writing after that. It isn’t perfect math, but it comes to around 2500 words today.

That’s a pretty good day by my standards. It’s going to need another 500 to 1000 words before I’m ready to submit the next section to my group, but it’s more than I had yesterday. Then, of course, I need to comb through it and try to fix all the stupid mistakes before I ask them to do all that work.

My “shift” ended with a short tour through blog land. I didn’t get to all of them, and many of you got a like and a tweet. I’m working without WiFi here, so I hope you’ll forgive me. I ought to be back online once the regular work week resumes.

Back to the paycheck job tomorrow. If I do manage to get WiFi back, my first priority has to be publishing Grinders. I had it earmarked for this weekend, but it wasn’t meant to be. Don’t give up on me here. Grinders is a fun cyberpunk story, and I think many of you would enjoy it.

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Ugh! A day of distraction

Old What’s Her Face went to Nevada to visit her brother. This has become an annual thing for Super Bowl weekend. We aren’t that big of football fans anyway, and it’s no big deal.

I looked at it as an advantage, and intended to make the cannons roar and come up with more root monster antics. Lanternfish is my primary project right now, and it’s time to add some words.

After sleeping in for a few hours, I went to the writing cabin and built a fire in my office. Lisa usually has the place all warmed up for me, but she’s still making art for Grinders.

Once the bite of cold mellowed, I opened my iPad and went to work. I’m on the downside of one adventure, so this is kind of a recovery section. I usually fill those with planning and assessment of what they accomplished, maybe something about their next move.

These can be slower to write, because there are no cannonades or magical adventures. It’s all about traveling. This time, I elected to minimize most of it and simply get the crew to their next location.

Since their plan is to restock both Lanternfish and La Girona, there isn’t much to go over. It isn’t like they have massive goals for this stop.

It’s going to be a surprising turn of events for them in Giapon. (Pseudo Japan.) That also allowed me to shorten up the planning phase.

That’s when the knock came at the door.

“Lisa, can you…” Oh yeah. Nobody here but me.

I opened the door to find a tall, leggy blonde in a linen skirt suit. Her hair dangled down to her midsection. She looked over her glasses at me. “Looks like you could use some help.”

“Libraria. Where are the rest of the Sirens?”

“Oh, we’re all here.” She spread her hands and wiggled her fingers.

Conversia, the gorgeous black woman wore a gold scoop-neck top that… well she should have been at the Grammys with some two sided tape, moved in from the left. Her Afro hair danced in the breeze.

Little Wiki, the redhead, stepped to her right. Her hair still had a sequence of different reds buried in it, and was in an A-line that looked like it had been chewed into shape by gophers. She wore striped stockings that ended just before her frayed denim shorts and a sequence of friendship bracelets on both arms that rivaled the stockings for color. She made her odd wrinkle-nosed smile and wiggled her black fingernails. “Hi. Can we come in?”

“Kind of cold out here,” Conversia said.

I couldn’t help myself from looking. “Yeah, I see that. Come in.”

Conversia smirked and winked. They all came inside, then made their way to the office beside my fire.

Wiki flopped on the couch while Libraria checked my draft. Conversia turned her fanny toward the fireplace.

“This isn’t bad,” Libraria said. “You need to add some depth when you get to Giapon. Giapon is the name Portuguese sailors gave the country that would become Nippon or Japan of today. You’ll need setting, weather, people, architecture. Everything. What do you have planned next?”

“They aren’t going to scoop up supplies and just sail on. That would be a letdown for my readers. I figure the leader is going to take them in for his own amusement, but they’ll be almost prisoners until he gets bored with them.”

“Emperor, Shogun, Gosanke leaders???”

“Uh, huh. One of those.”

“Oh honey, you really need our help.” Conversia moved in, uncomfortably close.

“Well. Nearly the whole world is at war. There’s the one the Lanternfish crew is headed for, but there is one between Giapon and Di Guo Quishi that Serang is most familiar with.”

Wiki turned her iPad Mini around to show us. “There were fifty-one different Shogun. Some of them didn’t live too long, but it might be a great source of names.”

“Where are they going to make port?” Libraria asked.

“I’m way ahead of you. They’re going to the Eastern side of the islands away from the the local war. I wanted somewhere toward the north so they could dip in and out. I chose Mito.”

Libraria reached in her handbag, searched through something, then produced a book that was bigger than the bag itself. “This is the complete history of Mito from the ice age through today. You really should read the whole thing.”

“How did you fit that in there?”

“We’re kind of special.” She guided me to my chair, then sat on the arm beside me, placing the book in my lap.

Conversia sat on the ottoman, then leaned way to far forward. “I think we should go to Japan. Nothing like conversing with the locals to get a feel for things. Take in the smells and colors. You can read the book during the flight.”

Wiki turned her iPad around once more. “Look at these beautiful gardens. I’d like to see those. It says they have an ancient aqueduct that’s still in use today. Oh, all that has to go in your book.”

“No it doesn’t. I’m not writing a travelogue. This isn’t even supposed to be Earth. It’s just based somewhat on real places. If I want to place a volcano there, I have every right.”

“Did you know there are two different kinds of volcanoes?” Libraria asked.

“Yes. And stop that–”

Wiki turned her device around once more. “There is a shield volcano and–”

“Stop! Please. All I need to do is snitch a few things to make the world realistic. Then I can add in some fantasy elements, and move my story ahead.”

“What kind of fantasy elements?” Conversia asked.

“I don’t know. We haven’t really dealt with ghosts and such yet.”

“Excellent choice.” Libraria lifted the book from my lap then slid herself into its place. “Japan has some terrifying ghosts. There is one called Funayurei who are the ghosts of those who died at sea. They approach ships and ask for a ladle. If someone gives them one, they will scoop seawater aboard so fast the ship will sink.” She produced another book. “Then there are the River Boys. They look like turtles and are tricksters who can drown people. Oh, and Tsunami Ghosts are horrifying. I’m trying to keep things nautical for you, but we can look further if you like.”

“Those are wonderful,” Conversia said. “The Tsunami is recent enough we could probably interview people who’ve seen the ghosts to get an idea of what they’re really like.”

“Okay, you ladies need to slow down. I know your game is to crash me on the rocks of research so I never finish my trilogy. Still, it’s all pretty interesting.”

“That’s the spirit.” Libraria ran her French tipped nails through my hair. “You’ve got a lot of reading to do.”

“I know my way around a kitchen. I’ll make us some coffee.” Conversia’s heels clacked away.

Wiki turned her iPad around once more. “Do we want these airline tickets, or not?”

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Something Wicked presents A Cold Tomorrow

I host a lot of authors here. It’s something I enjoy, and it’s occasionally paid off when I need a place to promote one of my new stories. It’s even more enjoyable when it’s one of my friends. Mae Clair and I go way back, and we’re both members of Story Empire.

The Something Wicked tour involves all of the Story Empire crowd taking our show on the road and spreading the word about our personal work. I hope you’ll make Mae feel welcome and check out:

The Hopkinsville Goblins

Thanks for hosting me today, Craig! It’s fun to be here with your readers kicking off my fourth stop of Story Empire’s Something Wicked Blog Tour.

October is a fun time that brings plenty of shivers as we draw closer to Halloween, our mind naturally drawn to ghosts, ghouls, and goblins. But not all goblins are of the supernatural variety.

On a summer night in August of 1955, Billy Ray Taylor, a native of Pennsylvania was visiting his friend, Lucky Sutton of Kentucky. Lucky lived on a farm tucked between the towns of Kelly and Hopkinsville, a rural homestead that lacked electricity and running water. At some point during the evening, Billy hiked outside to get a drink of water from the well. In the process he glimpsed a shining object which descended from the sky and landed in a gully a quarter mile away.

white house with picket fence on a moonlit night in the countryside

When Billy returned to the homestead, he excitedly shared his tale, but the Sutton family laughed off the story. Not long afterward, the family dog broke into a crazy raucous before vanishing under the porch where it remained in hiding until the next day. Armed with rifles, Billy and Lucky headed outdoors to investigate. In the front yard, they encountered a bizarre creature with “large eyes, a long thin mouth, large ears, thin short legs, and hands ending in claws.” The being was unlike any they had ever seen before, short in stature, gremlin-like in appearance.

Both men unloaded their guns. They later insisted they couldn’t have missed their target at such close range, but the creature slipped away, vanishing into the surrounding woods. Billy and Lucky returned to the house, where they barricaded themselves inside.

In a short while, more creatures appeared. They gaped through the windows and grappled at the screens, trying to gain access to the house. The men unloaded ammo repeatedly. It took several hours before family members were able to escape and seek help from the sheriff’s department.

When they arrived at the Sutton farm, the sheriff and his men found no evidence of the goblin-like creatures but couldn’t deny there were holes blown through the walls and screens where bullets had penetrated. All officers reported the Suttons were sober and seemed genuinely terrified by something. They eventually left the farm around 2:15 in the morning.

Almost immediately, the goblin-like creatures descended again, peeking in windows and trying to gain entry. The strange events finally came to a halt shortly before dawn. At a loss for explanation, not knowing what else to do, the sheriff summoned the Air Force.

The story made headline news, prompting many to speculate the Suttons had fabricated a hoax. But they gained nothing from the publicity, and neighbors collaborated their reports of “lights in the sky.” All of the adults who witnessed the event−Billy and Lucky among them−gave the exact same account of events when questioned separately. There are even reports of a highway trooper citing “meteor-like objects” flying overhead around 11PM that night. Additionally, there is mention of “an odd luminous patch along a fence where one of the beings had been shot, and, in the woods beyond, a green light whose source could not be determined.”

Years later, each family member remained firm in their story, no evidence of a hoax ever discovered. Interestingly, the U.S. Air Force has denied any involvement, but it has led many to believe the events of August 21, 1955, were those of an authentic UFO encounter.

I’ve always been fascinated by stories of UFOs and extraterrestrial beings. You’ll meet more than one alien in my novel, A Cold Tomorrow, but they are far from the Hopkinsville Goblin variety. I invite you to journey to Point Pleasant, where documented accounts of UFOs, Men in Black, and strange visitors once made national headlines. Although A Cold Tomorrow, is book 2 of my Point Pleasant series, it can easily be enjoyed as a standalone novel.

Banner Ad for A Cold tomorrow by Mae Clair features road through a meadow near few trees and foggy in forest at night

Blurb:

Where secrets make their home…

Stopping to help a motorist in trouble, Katie Lynch stumbles upon a mystery as elusive as the Mothman legend that haunts her hometown of Point Pleasant, West Virginia. Could the coded message she finds herald an extraterrestrial visitor? According to locals, it wouldn’t be the first time. And what sense should she make of her young son’s sudden spate of bizarre drawings—and his claim of a late-night visitation? Determined to uncover the truth, Katie only breaks the surface when a new threat erupts. Suddenly her long-gone ex-boyfriend is back and it’s as if he’s under someone else’s control. Not only is he half-crazed, he’s intent on murder….

As a sergeant in the sheriff’s office of the famously uncanny Point Pleasant, Officer Ryan Flynn has learned to tolerate reports of puzzling paranormal events. But single mom Katie Lynch appears to be in very real danger—and somehow Ryan’s own brother, Caden, is caught up in the madness, too. What the skeptical lawman discovers astounds him—and sends him into action. For stopping whatever evil forces are at play may just keep Katie and Caden alive….

UNIVERSAL PURCHASE LINK

Connect with Mae Clair at BOOKBUB and the following haunts:

Amazon | BookBub | Newsletter Sign-Up
Website | Blog | Twitter | Goodreads | All Social Media

bio box for author Mae Clair

Craig here again. I’ve read the entire Point Pleasant series and can vouch highly for it. It would be perfect for your Halloween reading, but holds up well at other times of the year, too. Make our day and use those sharing buttons.

We’d love to hear from you in the comments, too. Do any of you live near Hopkinsville or Point Pleasant?

Side note: Today is my birthday. As my gift, please consider picking up any of the titles on the Something Wicked tour this week. (Doesn’t have to be mine.) I know you’ll enjoy them.

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Through the Nethergate, on #LisaBurtonRadio

Lisa Burton

Welcome to this week’s edition of Lisa Burton Radio. I’m your host, Lisa the robot girl, and today, my special guest is a cute black doggie with the awful name of Hugh Bigod. He’s here to talk to us about a problem he has. Probably something to do with that name. “Welcome to the show, Hugh.”

“A cute black doggie! How dare you refer to Hugh Bigod, the First Earl of Norfolk and the most evil man who ever lived in Norfolk as a cute black doggie? I am the most powerful ghost in Bungay, master to all the other ghosts. I choose to take the form of a huge black dog with red eyes as it strikes fear into the heart of my victims.”

“You’re telling me, you’re not actually a dog, but a ghostly apparition of a man named Hugh Bigod?”

“Yes, you imbecilic machine. After King Henry I of England died, I betrayed his successor, Stephen of Blois, usurper of the crown, and allowed him to be captured and imprisoned by dissidents. I then formed a huge gang of bandits who roamed the countryside, spreading terror, burning villages and torturing people and holding them to ransom.

“When I died, I turned my back on Heaven’s White Light and stayed in the Overworld, the shadowy dimension between human life on earth and either heaven’s White Light or the Underworld. I became a poltergeist and haunted Bungay Castle and anything affiliated to it, including a local inn which shares a wall in its basement with the castle. I soon realized that a large number of wretched people were affiliated to the inn either as employees, guests or visitors to the pub or dining hall, and it became one of my primary hunting grounds for servants. It wasn’t difficult for me to infiltrate their depressed and hate filled thoughts and encouraged them in the direction of suicide or murder. I appeared at the deathbeds of these people who were dying badly of unnatural causes and incited them into following me. I soon discovered that my powers of persuasion worked on anyone associated with Bungay and my scope for new souls grew.

“People who chose to follow me were forced to acknowledge me as their master and I quickly became the lord of the Overworld in Bungay.”

“That’s awful. Why would you want to do something like that?”

“Because, my dear metal headed girl, I want power. I need slaves to demonstrate my power and keep growing my area of control. If a dying person chooses to turn away from the White Light and follows me, they are immediately subjugated to me and must obey my commands. It is so easy to play on the feelings of anger and resentment of people who have been murdered and lure them into my web of deceit by promising them revenge on the perpetrators of their deaths.”

“Maybe I can understand that part, but don’t some of them just want to move on? To see if there’s something better on the other side?”

“Yes, of course they soon realize their mistake and regret their choice, but it is already too late. They are beholden to me. They all want to escape my clutches, but they have never gathered and tried to formulate a plan to escape. That was until that interfering wench, Margaret, showed up at the inn with her power to reincarnate ghosts. If they are remorseful when they interact with Margaret, the outward signs of their terrible deaths reverse and they become kinder, nicer, reincarnates with ghostly powers housed in their previous human forms.

Margaret’s power attracted ghosts from outside of the inn. They have gathered around her and are making plans to use her to escape their fates of eternal servitude to me. Those dark reincarnates that have remained loyal to me, keep an eye on Margaret and they have seen a number of the other incarnates speaking and plotting with her.”

“People don’t like being controlled, Hugh. Maybe it’s time for everyone to move on.”

“Oh, we’ll move on, alright, I have a plan to make use of Margaret’s powers myself. The reincarnated ghost, including myself, are able to inflict bodily harm on people in a way that even poltergeists cannot due their lack of substance and no physical form. I have realized that Margaret’s power enhances my evil and I can transform into a giant of a man with enormous physical strength. With her under my control, I can replenish my power any time I want to and don’t need to return to Bungay Castle, as the centre of my strength, to recharge.

“I am ready to move up in this world and my new plan is to take over Hell from that overrated fallen angel, Lucifer. He is nothing! Defeated by the power of God in Heaven and cast out like a lowly dog. I am ready now to overthrow that has-been and take over as the leader of Hell. That is my destiny. Once I have achieved that power, all the occupants of Hell and the Overworld will be compelled to do my bidding and I will be able to exert my powers to induce negativity among humans to an even greater personal advantage. I will be invincible.”

“That’s deplorable. I always try to wish my guests some kind of success, but I’m on Margaret’s side on this one.”

“You, well what do you know anyway? I am tired of waiting for the dominant evil forces to take proper action and elevate me to the lofty leadership status I deserve. Margaret has been gifted to me and I can use her anyway I like. I will prevail and all of the creatures, people and ghost of this world will tremble before me.

“I don’t have any more time to waste on the likes of you. You have shown yourself to be a sympathetic fool. I am leaving, but know that you will be hearing a lot more about me in the future.”

“Well, that ends that. If you want to learn more about Margaret and her trials, please pick up the book, “Through the Nethergate,” by Roberta Eaton Cheadle. I’ll post all the details on the website after I go off the air.

“Using those sharing buttons might actually help Margaret in her conflict with Hugh Bigod. I’m sure Roberta would appreciate it, and would do it for you when your character appears on the next Lisa Burton Radio.”

***

About Robbie Eaton Cheadle

I am an author who has recently branched into adult horror and supernatural writing and, in order to clearly differential my children’s books from my young adult and adult writing, these will be published under the name Roberta Eaton Cheadle. My first young adult supernatural novel, Through the Nethergate, has recently been published.

I have two short stories in the horror/supernatural genre included in Dark Visions, a collection of 34 short stories by 27 different authors and edited by award winning author, Dan Alatorre as well as three short stories published in Death Among Us, a collection of murder mystery short stories by 10 different authors and edited by Stephen Bentley. These short stories are published under Robbie Cheadle.

Follow Roberta Cheadle Eaton at:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/RobertaEaton17

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/robertawrites/?modal=admin_todo_tour

Blog: https://wordpress.com/view/robertawrites235681907.wordpress.com

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/19631306.Roberta_Eaton_Cheadle

Website: https://www.robbiecheadle.co.za/

Purchase Roberta Eaton Cheadle’s Books from:

https://tslbooks.uk/product/through-the-nethergate-roberta-eaton-cheadle/

http://www.lulu.com/shop/roberta-eaton-cheadle/through-the-nethergate/ebook/product-24208518.html

Blurb:

Margaret, a girl born with second sight, has the unique ability to bring ghosts trapped between Heaven and Hell back to life. When her parents die suddenly, she goes to live with her beloved grandfather, but the cellar of her grandfather’s ancient inn is haunted by an evil spirit of its own.

In the town of Bungay, a black dog wanders the streets, enslaving the ghosts of those who have died unnatural deaths. When Margaret arrives, these phantoms congregate at the inn, hoping she can free them from the clutches of Hugh Bigod, the 12th century ghost who has drawn them away from Heaven’s White Light in his canine guise.

With the help of her grandfather and the spirits she has befriended, Margaret sets out to defeat Hugh Bigod, only to discover he wants to use her for his own ends – to take over Hell itself.

 

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Amanda in New Mexico, on #LisaBurtonRadio

Lisa Burton

Welcome all you research junkies, and skeptical paranormal fans. You’ve landed on Lisa Burton Radio, the only show that brings you characters from the books you love. I’m your host, Lisa the robot girl, and my very special guest today is Amanda Jane Ross. She’s only twelve, so let’s make her feel welcome. “Hi, Amanda. Thanks for being on the show today.”

“Hi, Lisa!! I’m totally excited about being on your show. But I am a little nervous as I’ve never been on the radio before.”

“My bio says you hail from Calgary, Canada. That’s a pretty interesting place. What can you tell us about it?”

“Well, it is famous for The Calgary Stampede. I am in grade six and attend Guy Weadick Elementary. Did you know the school is named after a cowboy who started the Calgary Stampede?  I used to think it was a pretty boring place as nothing exciting ever happens in Calgary. But my friend, Leah, came to visit from England and she thought it was fun because we went to a big old ranch, rode horses in the foothills and joined a cattle drive. It was fun, until a mean cowboy locked us in an abandoned cabin. Leah says those things only happen when she’s with me. She thinks I attract trouble.”

“That’s always the way, isn’t it. The world is interesting, but home is boring. I understand that you’re calling in from a field trip right now. That has to be fun, right?”

“Right! It is so amazing here in Taos, New Mexico. Ten of us from class were chosen to go on this cultural trip because we are creative. For instance, I like to write stories, others are into drawing, painting or photography. It’s great because we get to stay at an old house that belonged to a woman, Mable Dodge Luhan, who invited artists and writers to stay here a long time ago. She’s dead now but they still use her place for class trips, artist retreats and things like that. It’s kind of creepy though because it’s old. My roommate, Cleo, keeps saying she sees ghosts everywhere we go. As if! I personally don’t believe in ghosts.”

“Don’t be so sure, Amanda. I’ve seen some things that might make you think otherwise.”

“Well, she, Cleo that is, said she saw a young girl in a flowing white dress standing by a donkey cart at the hacienda we visited. She even drew a picture of her. No one else saw her. Then she said the same girl pushed her into the stream at the Taos pueblo. Can you believe it? Caleb, a classmate, thinks she’s a bit crazy. But then later, when I went to check out the old graveyard, something pushed me over the stone wall and into the tombstones. I was all alone, there was no one else around. It was just really windy. So what was that all about??”

“I get you, it’s odd stuff, but not blood oozing down the walls scary. I’d be mad too if a mysterious wind kept messing up my hair.”

“Totes, Lisa. Not only that, I got into big trouble for being in there too. I mean, I love checking out old graveyards, it’s one of my favourite things to do. But I wouldn’t go in one if it wasn’t allowed. I hate being accused of stuff I didn’t do on purpose. It ruined my day big time!

“We‘ve seen some weird things here already, like the figure of Dona Sebastiana, the female saint of death at the Hacienda de los Martinez. Boy, was she scary looking. Why did the lights go out just when I was staring at her in the Santos Display Room? And what about that bizarre painting that changed appearance when they put the lights out at the church of Saint Francis of Assisi. Just too weird and unexplainable. That’s also where Caleb and I found skeletons in a derelict building and Cleo went missing only to be found in that very same building. She said something about the ghost of the girl making her go there, or some silly story. Honestly, I think she really is disturbed.

“We are off to visit a genuine haunted hotel in a place called Cimarron. Apparently, there are a number of ghosts who hang out there including the wife of the original owner and a cowboy who was shot while playing cards in the gambling room. I mean he still has a room there!! It’s locked and no one is allowed in that room. A pretty good story, don’t you think. Perhaps it’s good for business. I wonder if Cleo will see him or if her ghost girl will join us?”

“Okay that sounds cool, and kind of creepy at the same time. Maybe you can ask him what’s going on around you.”

“Well, personally I don’t believe he exists and would love to prove it. Anyway, it will be fun to go there. Other famous folks stayed at the hotel like Annie Oakley and Wyatt Earp. I’m a bit of a history geek and love that kind of connection to history. Maybe I’ll get some good ideas for stories.”

“Amanda, keep up with your writing, and try to enjoy the trip. Don’t get too caught up in all this mystery, and try to experience the things in front of you.”

“Thanks, Lisa, I plan to enjoy this trip in spite of Cleo and her ghost obsession. I must say I do worry about her though. I would like to get to the bottom of these weird events. We’ll be here for the Day of The Dead. Maybe then I can get some answers.

“This has been awesome fun, Lisa. You are so cool. I can’t believe I’m actually on a radio show!! Thanks so much for having me.”

“We wish you an exciting trip, and thanks for agreeing to this interview.

“You can learn more about Amanda and her adventures in the Amanda Travels series by Darlene Foster. I think starting with Amanda in New Mexico is a great idea. I’m a sucker for a ghost story.

“Don’t forget to use those sharing buttons on your way out today. I’m sure Amanda and Darlene would do it for you, when your character appears on the next Lisa Burton Radio.”

***

Amanda Ross is on a school trip to Taos, New Mexico with several of her fellow creative students. Join Amanda, Cleo and their funny friend, Caleb, as they visit an ancient and beautiful landscape where a traditional hacienda, an ancient pueblo, and a haunted and spooky hotel all hold secrets to a wild and violent past. Does Cleo really see ghosts? Can Amanda escape the eerie wind that follows her everywhere? Perhaps the Day of the Dead will reveal the mysteries of Taos in this latest adventure of Amanda’s travels.

Pick up your copy right here.

Darlene Foster dreamt of writing, travelling the world, and meeting interesting people. She also believed in making her dreams come true. It’s no surprise she’s now the award-winning author of Amanda Travels, a children’s adventure series about a spunky twelve-year-old who loves to travel to unique places.  Readers of all ages enjoy travelling with Amanda as she unravels one mystery after another. A world traveller herself, Darlene divides her time between the west coast of Canada and the Costa Blanca, in Spain with her husband and entertaining dog, Dot.

Catch up with Darlene at the following locations:

Website www.darlenefoster.ca

blog https://darlenefoster.wordpress.com/

facebook https://www.facebook.com/DarleneFosterWriter/

twitter https://twitter.com/supermegawoman

Amazon author page https://www.amazon.com/Darlene-Foster/

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Quest of the Broken Hearted, 99¢ all month long

Charles Yallowitz has released his follow up story to the Legends of Windemere series. Good news for us is the introductory price. I’ll let Charles tell you all about it.

A battered soul faces a city of monsters in
Quest of the Brokenhearted!

Cover Art by Sean Harrington

As Windemere moves forward, a broken spirit falls into the shadows.

Two years have passed since Luke Callindor was lost during the champions’ battle against Baron Kernaghan. Many mourn the loss, but none have been hurt more than the fiancée he left behind, Kira Grasdon. Plagued by grief and determined to prove he is alive, she has sacrificed her business, her reputation, and her hope. Surviving on the streets of Gaia, she has become an emotional husk of her former self. It is only by chance that Kira crosses paths with an old friend and learns of a path, which will either end her suffering or revive her shattered soul. As the rumors state, hundreds of adventurers have flocked to Lacarsis and none have returned.

Will Kira meet her death in the City of Evil or will she thrive among the monsters?

*****

Book Excerpt: The Farm

The blast of warm air hits and swirls around the area to make all those in metal armor feel like they are about to faint. As the wind billows out, it carries the fog away to reveal broken fences and an abandoned farmhouse. The porch is partially collapsed with a swing sitting in the mud, its chains still connected to the fallen roof. The front door is closed, but a large hole is in the middle as if something tried to punch its way inside. Rusty pots and tools are scattered about the ground, some of them having been plunged into the ground. Not far away is a large barn, which shows no sign of damage beyond peeling paint and cobwebs dangling from the eaves. A crooked weathervane sits above the hay loft, the bat-shaped object spinning wildly even though the wind has died. Wilted crops stand in the fields among those that have already rotted into mush. Piles of hay dot the landscape, each one having turned black and become surrounded by swarms of thumb-sized flies. When the last of the fog clears, the entire area is bathed in a sickly orange light that causes the adventurers’ skin to crawl.

An animal call erupts from a nearby pasture, the grass a light brown and showing signs of being repeatedly trampled. In response, the sounds of chickens drift from the farmhouse and they are soon joined by other familiar noises. The ear-wrenching symphony continues to grow as the adventurers spread out across the road and into the fields. Most are focused on the farmhouse door, so they are caught off-guard when the attack begins. Zombified pigs, horses, goats, and sheep burst out of the barn to charge the nearest warriors. With acidic foam flying from their mouths, the undead livestock crash into the armored figures and rip into whatever flesh they can reach. The goats and pigs cause the most damage, their teeth breaking through metal and bone while the horses do more harm with their hooves. Flapping wings from the farmhouse are a slight warning before a flock of chickens and ducks explode from the windows. Lacking teeth, they have a harder time killing their prey, who swing wildly and blindly cast spells that miss half of the time. Chaos is consuming the crowd when the first animal call erupts from the right and four knights are sent hurtling through the air. Flesh dangling from its horns and blood splattered across its rotting face, the zombified bull barrels into the adventurers. The grunting beast tramples everything in its path as it crashes into one of the fields and sends a broken cart rolling away. Turning around, the animal ignores the arrows that stick into its hindquarters and charges back into the crowd.

While the others try to retreat, Kira swings her sickle at the bull’s side and gets the weapon stuck between the exposed ribs. She holds on while she is dragged and uses the blunt end to swat chickens out of the air. As she passes a stallion, she swings her kusari-gama to get the chain wrapped around its hind legs. With the horse galloping away from the bull, Kira plants her feet and pulls hard on her weapon. Her strength combined with that of the zombified steed allows her to shatter the larger animal’s ribs. Spinning around, she whips the sickle into the side of the stallion’s head and uncoils the chain as it crashes to the ground. Without turning back, the adventurer dives to the side and narrowly avoids getting gored by the bull. The moment she hits the ground, she pounces to grab the jagged hole in its body and pulls herself close enough to punch inside with the blunt end of her weapon. Kira continues striking the rotting heart until the confused animal rears back and exposes its stomach for a pair of spearmen to impale it. They are unable to support its weight and are promptly crushed while the young woman flips up to slam her sickle into the base of its skull. Hanging onto the bucking bull, she violently twists the blade until the zombie finally falls over and rapid decays. The others are about to cheer when the call of another bull bursts from the pasture.

“They just keep coming,” Kira mutters as she watches more animals pour out of the buildings.

Grab your copy on Amazon for 99 cents throughout the month of July!

*****

Interested in more Windemere? Then don’t forget to check out Charles E. Yallowitz’s first series: Legends of Windemere

All Cover Art by Jason Pedersen

Or more interested vampires? Then check out War of Nytefall: Loyalty:

Cover Art by Alison Hunt

About the Author:

Charles Yallowitz was born and raised on Long Island, NY, but he has spent most of his life wandering his own imagination in a blissful haze. Occasionally, he would return from this world for the necessities such as food, showers, and Saturday morning cartoons. One day he returned from his imagination and decided he would share his stories with the world. After his wife decided that she was tired of hearing the same stories repeatedly, she convinced him that it would make more sense to follow his dream of being a fantasy author. So, locked within the house under orders to shut up and get to work, Charles brings you Legends of Windemere. He looks forward to sharing all of his stories with you, and his wife is happy he finally has someone else to play with.

Blog: www.legendsofwindemere.com
Twitter: @cyallowitz
Facebook: Charles Yallowitz
Website: www.charleseyallowitz.com

LET THE TOURNAMENT OF LACARSIS BEGIN!

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A ghost story, and a bad dog

My mornings are hectic. I have things to do before I head out the door. I bathe, comb my hair, etc. After getting dressed, I have to let the dogs outside, prepare their food, make the coffee, etc. Like most folks out there. In addition, I usually turn on the morning news while I putter about.

To tell this story, I have to give you some idea of the layout of my house. The kitchen is under the upstairs bedrooms. It’s divided off by a breakfast bar from the living space. The rest of the living area is under a vaulted ceiling, with a portion dedicated to a dining area, and the rest being living room. The master bedroom steps right into the space between the dining room table, and the breakfast bar attached to the kitchen. We have some tall stools that are permanently at the bar.

The area between the stools and the dining room table is about five feet wide. It’s just a walking area.

My habit is to take the dogs through this area, open the glass slider and let them out. Then I step into the living area and turn on the news before going about the rest of the stuff. The rest of the stuff is in the kitchen. This means I walk past the bar stools once more.

So I got the dog food measured out and placed. Made coffee, and stuck something by Jimmy Dean in the microwave. I also filled a baggie with some cereal cube things that I took for my lunch break. Then I walked back between the bar stools and the dining room table to let the dogs in. I returned to the kitchen to retrieve Jimmy Dean and eat. I also had to cut and feed my sourdough starter today.

What’s that? About four trips through that five foot area between the bar stools and the dining set?

There were two small bags of King Arthur flour, and my bin was empty. I added one bag to the Tupperware bin, but left the other one in the pantry. (More on this later.)

This whole time, I am looking out over the breakfast bar which abuts the kitchen sink. I used the sink multiple times. I can reach out and touch the bar stools from the sink area.

After the dogs finished eating, I picked up their bowls and headed for my easy chair. This is when I go over email and such, prior to my commute. This meant one more trip through that five foot area between the bar stools and the dining area.

All well and good, bulldogs in my lap, as per usual. Also as per usual, Frankie needed outside a second time. She’s done this since the day she arrived at our house. She needs to go after she eats for some reason.

I got up, tuned around, and headed for the sliding glass door.

One of the bar stools was away from the counter. Directly in front of my bedroom door, between its usual place and the dining set. It was also turned around backwards. I could not have walked past it without hitting it. I nearly couldn’t have come out of the bedroom without moving it. I would have had to walk past it five times without noticing.

My first thought was the dogs. They’re bulldogs, and bash and bluster their way through things… But we have a hard surface floor. It would have made noise. The dogs would have knocked the stool over before they managed to move it three feet and turn it around backwards.

So what happened? I have no idea.

***

In other news, let’s return to that second bag of flour in the pantry. Frankie has no idea what happened to it this afternoon. (Note the hard surface flooring.)

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Ghost Hunting

I’m still stuck in Portland, but I wanted to do something while I’m here. I found the Portland Walking Tour Company and booked a tour last night. I really wanted to go on the Shanghai Tunnels tour, but the schedule interfered with my seminars. I am here for a reason, after all. I wound up booking the late version of Beyond Bizarre, because it covered parts of the Shanghai Tunnels.

In case you don’t know, being Shanghaied means bashed over the head and sent to sea against your will as slave labor. My grandfather served as a Marine in China between the world wars, and this was still a serious risk over there. They were told to hang out in groups and stay in the safe areas when they went out. My grandpa is part of why I wanted to visit this site.

I started my evening at Old Town Pizza. Wound up with a personal pizza that was more like a small, but since it was the only real food I had all day I ate the whole thing. I also had a mushroom beer that was surprisingly good,

Mushroom BeerThis one is a nice brown ale, and it uses an extract for the flavor. Not maybe the best way to brew a beer, but it was good.

My tour started right around the corner. Monday night was sold out, but there were only three of us on the tour last night. The guide handed us all electromagnetic field indicators and showed us how they work. Then we were off, weaving through the street people who seem to sleep in every store opening and all along the sidewalk.

EMF meterSomething registered a few times, this was in one of the parking lots.

There was so much stuff I’m bound to miss something, but I’m going to touch on the highlights. The first thing we learned was that Portland had more men than women, and had a huge seamstress population. Seamstress was a code word for prostitute. There was human trafficking there too and we covered some of that.

It was nighttime, so I took limited photos. This is one of a cast iron building. Apparently, you could order all the pieces, a tall ship brought them in, and you assembled it on site just like Legos. They added brick and such for the walls once the frame went up. Cast iron isn’t the most reliable material in a city that gets this much rain, but it was state-of-the-art back then.

Cast iron building

Once you get onto it, you spot the frills and pillars all over the old part of town. This pub also has a ghost. There was a fire that broke out downstairs, and the fire department saved everyone. A dog went missing and a fireman went back inside for it. Yup, haunted by a fireman.

We toured a couple of haunted parking lots next. Lots of EMF readings but no ghosts. Historically, they are both considered tainted ground and no building or digging is allowed. Even the power lines run overhead in these locations. One is an Indian burial site and the other is a cholera mass grave. All they can be is a parking lot. Apparently that isn’t okay with the dead either, because things keep happening to the cars that park there. These are all electronic failures and not vandalism. 

The guide showed us a photo of something called a vortex that they took there one night. It’s a beam of light coming straight out of the ground. Only about half the crowd could see it, but the picture came from someone who was a non-believer. Yeah, it could have been photoshopped, but what kind of fun do you want to have on a ghost tour?

We also saw the site of a street shooting from the 1980s. Apparently this location has a lot of poltergeist activity, and they think it’s because the victims were all teenagers.

There are specific ghosts that are regularly seen downtown. The tour guide listens to the police scanner and they get reports, The police never find the person they were sent to check out. One example is an 1800s era ship’s captain. All they ever found of his ship was the wheel. His body was lashed to it, and we got to see the wheel from the outside. The restaurant was closed for the night and it was kept inside. People see this cos-play looking sailor in that vicinity disrupting traffic. Cops come…nobody there.

We got to see the old police building that was actually owned by the Ku Klux Klan. This was all about government graft and corruption, and the Shanghai tunnels were used to move liquor around. Whiskey barrels were placed in the basements of ethnic competitors. Then the Klan-controlled police would raid and find this whiskey, putting the ethnic fellow out of business. The police would bust up the barrel in the street, the whiskey flowed into a special drain that routed it back to the original owner who bottled and sold it. This all happened decades before the USA adopted prohibition, because Portland had its own laws.

We saw the street of death, where every building used to house a mortuary. The cemetery was on the opposite side of the river, and there was even a special ship for the dead to cross the river. It all sounds so wonderfully legendary. Why so many mortuaries? Lots of death going around.

This is the high water mark of a flood that occurred.

Flood markerWe were way above the river, and this plaque is about five and a half feet above street level. All of the basements in this part of town are connected by tunnels. It was Portland’s idea to minimize flood damage, they weren’t built for Shanghaing men to ship to sea. It’s all semantics, but Shanghaing never happened in Portland. This is because of a perfectly legal system called “crimping.” There were legal press gangs that bopped people over the head and sold them to ships who needed crews. They said in those days, if you were seen dragging an unconscious man downstairs, a policeman might pick up his ankles and help you – because it was all perfectly legal.

These Shanghai tunnels were used for legal crimping and storage of those men. That’s when the flood came. They didn’t want to let the crimped men go, so they locked them inside. Hundreds of men drowned and could not be cleaned up for months. They didn’t clean them up. They crimped more men, made them clean up the bodies, then sold those men to sea.

This left a bad taste in their mouths, and also helped one of the cholera outbreaks along. The next time they had a flood, they went downstairs and shot all the crimped prisoners rather than deal with the mess.

Seamstresses were trafficked too, but they fell victim to a little something extra in their opium. This is one of the cells where victims were held, but this one was used for seamstresses.

Jail cellThe women would be held here for three days and three nights without food, water, or light. Then they were offered a job as a seamstress. If the woman refused, the process was repeated one more time. If she still refused, they cut her hair, bound her chest, and sold her off like a man. By the time anyone knew what happened they were miles out to sea. It was considered bad luck to have a woman on board, so the women were thrown overboard to drown.

This is what the Shanghai Tunnels look like today. They’re all filled with rubble, which isn’t great engineering when you’re driving busses and trucks over them. One day they will have to figure out an alternative way of closing them.

Shanghai TunnelsIf you believe in ghosts, Portland almost certainly has them. A lot of pain and suffering went down here. If you don’t believe, it was a great tour of the dark underbelly of an early part of American history.

I didn’t see any ghosts, but I know where they all live – or don’t live, cause dead and all that.

I didn’t get to bed until midnight, and my presentation was the first one today. It went down really well, but I’m a little tired right now. Whatever I do tonight will probably be kind of light duty.

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