Tag Archives: ghosts

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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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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Ghostly murder on Lisa Burton Radio

Coming at you with one, point twenty-one jigawatts of power, all across the known galaxy and into the spiritual realms, this is Lisa Burton Radio, the only show out there that interviews the characters from the books you love. I’m your host, Lisa the robot girl, and with me today is Finn McLachlan. He and his friend Cain have been observing some pretty unusual situations lately. “Welcome to the show, Finn.”

“Thanks, Lisa. When they said robot girl, I pictured a female C3PO or R2D2, which you’re so much not. Totally a good thing.”

“Thanks, Finn. My bio says you’re in high school and you have a girlfriend named Lindsey. What can you tell us about her?”

“Somebody crossed their wires, sweetheart. Lindsey is one massively cool girl, but she’s into Cain, my best friend, who’s currently trapped in the web of the reigning mean girl, Erin. I know, high school drama, right? He needs to grow a set and dump her, but the dude’s worried about hurting her feelings. Told him empty shells like her don’t have feelings. Lindsey’s the first girl I’ve met who might be worthy of him.”

“Wow, now that’s a best friend. So what kind of unusual situations have been going on?”

“I think my boy, Cain, is in trouble. Strange things are afoot at the Shannon home – namely in Cain’s bedroom and the attic – the door to the attic is in his room. Doors opening and closing on their own, writing in condensation on a mirror, his cat hissing and growling at things no one can see. And get this – the temperature was 90+ degrees outside, but he could see his breath in an attic with no air conditioning. But only in a certain corner of the room. Kind of creepy, right? I thought maybe Cain was just imagining things – I mean, the guy’s really into horror movies and books, so I thought he’d just had some nightmares you know? Guess I should have known he wasn’t that creative.

“So he got this idea to set up an old camcorder to record what went on in his room while he was sleeping, when a lot of the weird stuff has been happening – maybe get some proof. When he woke up the next morning, the camera was lying on the floor across the room, like someone – or something – had thrown it.”

“Okay, we discuss some weird situations on this show, but that’s pretty far out there.”

“Well, sweetheart, it’s about to get even weirder. We played back that video and saw the attic door open on its own, then the mattress dipped on his bed, like a person had sat on it. After a few seconds, his hair moved away from his face, like someone was running their fingers through it. Really freaky stuff. Next thing you know, clothes start flying off his bed, the camera gets knocked sideways, and the screen goes white, then to static. I worked with the recording, frame by frame, and that’s when we caught our first glimpse of Sarah, the ghost, vengeful banshee, or whatever you want to call her, who’s decided to make herself at home in Cain’s humble abode. After we talked with her – yeah, we actually spoke with a ghost – we kinda got the impression she wasn’t of the Casper variety, if you know what I mean.

“So, it turns out Lindsey’s Aunt Mona owns a metaphysical store down on King Street and she might possess a tad more than the normal five senses and could offer some help. And right now, she’s the only lifeline we’ve got.”

“Well — Maybe Aunt Mona can help exorcise Sarah somehow. Stranger things have happened.”

“Something’s got to happen soon, because we’ve already got a dead body –did I forget to mention that? Considering the guy’s head was nearly separated from his body, I’d say it wasn’t from natural causes.”

“Is there any connection to Sarah?”

“He’s one of three guys Sarah said was responsible for killing her. Cain and I warned the other two, but they think we’re making up all this ghostly vengeance stuff. Sarah seems stronger after murdering the first guy, and I bet she’s got something special planned for the other two. The girl’s got breathtaking anger management issues.”

“This is way off the beaten path. I think you guys should tell the authorities, and find some outside experienced help.”

“Seems like that would have been a logical step, right? Until Sarah threatened Cain’s family – and I consider his mom and sister just as much my family as his. Then there’s the weird way Cain’s been acting…but it’s probably nothing.”

“You can tell us Finn. It’s that kind of show. What’s on your mind?”

“Well…..Cain’s more of a ‘behind the scenes’ kind of guy and stays away from the spotlight, but lately it seems like….maybe he’s not completely Cain. Say there’s a chance, before Sarah got stronger, she needed a little help with her killings to-do list. It could make someone wonder. Someone who doesn’t know him like I do.”

“Oh my God! Have you told him? What are you going to do?”

“I’m thinking something along the lines of ghostly possession intervention. If that’s not a thing, it should be.”

“I think you should tell him, but you need to make sure it’s really him you’re talking to. I don’t know if that means daylight, hallowed ground, or just away from the house, but he needs to know.”

“He may not believe me, but it’s time to lay all the cards on the table. We need to know everything we’re up against and then make a game plan. I’ll give Sarah the fight of her miserable, undead life before I let her hurt Cain or anyone else I care about.”

“Oh I’m so sorry. Too bad you can’t just call in Hellboy or someone to take care of it all. I really feel for you guys, and wish you the best of luck. We’re about out of time. Do you have any final comments for our listeners today?”

“Totally off topic, but how do you feel about younger men? Is the whole dating a human thing frowned upon as a general rule or is that more of just a guideline? I’m single, you know. I’ll give you a call if I live through this.”

“I’m flattered, Cain, but I’m totally into my career right now. I’m sure there are some nice girls in you’re hometown who would appreciate a local hero.

“If you want to find out what happens to Finn, Cain, and Lindsey, pick up the book, Sarah, by Teri Polen. I’ll include all the important deets on the website. Help me keep the lights on around here by using those sharing buttons, I’m sure Finn and Teri would appreciate it, and would do it for you when your character appears on the show.

“If you’d like one of your characters to appear on Lisa Burton Radio, drop me a line. I’m always looking for guests. For Lisa Burton Radio, I’m Lisa Burton.”

***

Book Blurb:

 

Seventeen-year-old horror fan Cain Shannon thought helping a ghost find her killers would be the supernatural adventure of a lifetime. Now, he just hopes to survive long enough to protect his family and friends from her.

A bet between friends goes horribly wrong, resulting in Sarah’s death. When she returns to seek justice against those responsible, Cain agrees to help her. But when he discovers Sarah has been hijacking his body, he realizes she wants retribution instead of justice.

Terrified of what could have happened when he wasn’t in control, Cain commands Sarah to leave his house – but exorcising her isn’t that easy. She retaliates against her murderers in bloody, horrific ways, each death making her stronger, then sets her sights on Cain. With the help of friends, Cain fights to save himself and his loved ones and searches for a way to stop Sarah before she kills again.

 

Purchase Links: Amazon Barnes & Noble Black Rose Writing

Teri Polen reads and watches horror, sci-fi, and fantasy. The Walking Dead, Harry Potter, and anything Marvel-related are likely to cause fangirl delirium. She lives in Bowling Green, KY with her husband, sons, and black cat. Sarah, a YA horror/thriller, is her first novel. Visit her online at www.teripolen.com

Contact Links:

Website

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Twitter

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Unseen Motives, by Joan Hall

Hey, gang, this is Joan’s first visit to Entertaining Stories. She’s one of the members of Story Empire and we’re all out on tour this week. Please make her feel welcome by clicking on those sharing buttons and checking out her wares. If you leave a comment, you might even win one of the prizes.

La Niña (And Another Real-Life Event)

Hello everyone! The Story Empire Roadshow is rolling on. I want to thank Craig for hosting me on this fourth stop. Today I’m going to talk a bit about the weather phenomenon, La Niña.

You may wonder how or why La Niña relates to a piece of fiction. But in my novel Unseen Motives, the La Niña episode of mid-2010 to early 2011 influenced weather worldwide. In Texas, and other surrounding states, the year 2011 was one of the hottest and driest on record.

Summer began early and stayed late. Rainfall stopped in early spring and by late July grass was like dry powder. Officials issued outdoor burning bans (people couldn’t even use charcoal grills) and numerous wildfires broke out all over the state.

Lakes, rivers, and ponds dropped to record low water levels—many dried up completely. And those once deep waters revealed clues to some long time mysteries. Eight years after the space shuttle Columbia exploded over Texas, someone found a significant part in Lake Nacogdoches.

Closer to home, people found unusual and unexpected things in their stock ponds. Upon reading one such story, the idea came to me to have a character find a long-buried secret in a small pond. (I won’t tell you what this character found, but suffice to say it contained a significant clue to a long unsolved mystery.)

Although five years passed between that severe drought and the publication of Unseen Motives, I decided to set the story during the drought of 2011.

There are other aspects in the book based on real-life events. One of which is something that happened to me when I was seventeen—the time I saw a ghost.

Well, maybe it wasn’t a ghost, but I don’t know of any other explanation. When you see a man walk out of the shadows, step onto his porch, bend down to pet his dog, and walk inside his house it has to be real. The dog even acknowledged his presence.

A couple of hours later, I learned this man was taken by ambulance from his home (I saw the ambulance leave, but couldn’t see who they placed inside. The man had died. My mother also saw him, so I know I wasn’t dreaming. So what did I see?

I decided to have a character who suffers from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder see a man whom some people believed was dead. Because this character had experienced hallucinations, she keeps silent, but does record the event in her journal. She was afraid if she told, no one would believe her. The last thing she wanted was for someone to place her back in a mental hospital.

Unseen Motives is a work of fiction. But as a writer, I took the liberty of incorporating these two real life events into the story. Intrigued yet?

Things aren’t always as they seem…

Stephanie Harris is no stranger to mystery and suspense. The author of several best-selling thrillers returns to her hometown of Driscoll Lake twenty years after her father’s suicide when her great-aunt Helen dies.

She hopes to settle Helen’s affairs as quickly as possible and leave behind the place where she suffered so much heartache. Soon after her arrival, Stephanie stumbles upon information that leads her to believe that all is not as it seems.

When she digs deeper into secrets long buried, she begins to receive warning notes and mysterious phone calls. The threats soon escalate into deliberate attempts to harm her. Stephanie soon finds herself caught in a web of deceit and danger.
Who doesn’t want her to stay? And why? What are they afraid she’ll learn?

Undaunted, Stephanie searches for clues about the scandal surrounding her father’s death. But discovering the truth places her in the path of a cold-blooded killer.

Get your copy right here.

Joan Hall

Author of Suspense, Mystery, and Mainstream Fiction

Connect with me on:
Website
Goodreads
Twitter
Facebook
Pinterest

 

On tomorrow’s tour stop, I’ll feature a deleted scene of the book. And at the end of the tour, I’m giving away a $10.00 Amazon gift card. Leave a comment to be entered in the random drawing. I’d love to know if you’ve seen anything that can’t be easily explained.

Joan Hall

 

 

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The Astronomer’s Crypt, on Lisa Burton Radio

Don't touch that dial, you've found Lisa Burton Radio. Coming at you with 1.21 jigawatts of power, this is the only show that interviews the characters from the books you love. I'm your host, Lisa the robot girl, and with me today is Mike Teter. Mike is an astronomer with the Carson Peak Observatory in New Mexico. “Welcome to the show, Mike.”

“Hi Lisa, it's great to be here. Thanks for having me on the show.”

“My bio says you've recently returned to the observatory after a two year hiatus. What happened, grass wasn't greener?”

“Actually, leaving the observatory was the hardest thing I'd ever done. You see, a terrible blizzard blew in my last night there and the two of us working that night decided to leave the site. Ron Wallerstein drove ahead of me. He was going a little too fast when he reached a bridge spanning a gorge that had iced up… Sorry, this is difficult, I don't talk about it much… He went off the road and died instantly. I tried to get help, but couldn't get cell phone service. He died clutching the data he'd taken that night. I took a week off, but I've never been able to get the image out of my mind. I just couldn't bear going back.”

“So you had a breakdown?”

“Erm, I hadn't really thought about it like that, but I guess so. I needed to get my feet back under me, so to speak. I opened a little computer repair business. Anyway, Jerome Torres, the site manager called me a couple of weeks ago and persuaded me to come back. He had a staffing shortfall and said he needed me back.”

“I just searched newspaper articles from your time period and found a report that Roscoe Perkins was involved in a big fight at the Sacred Portals Casino and was dismissed from the observatory the next day.”

“Yeah, I didn't want to say his name because of confidentiality, but yeah, that's why they asked me back.”

“How did you decide to return to the site of your breakdown?”

“Oh boy, that was tough, but my wife, Bethany, is expecting our first child. She's an astronomer at New Mexico State University and wants to take some extra leave. We really needed a better income than the computer business provided.”

“She's an astronomer too? Any chance to spend a working evening together up there? It could be kind of romantic.”

“You've gotta be kidding me!”

“Really? That's harsh.”

“Look, I know I sound like a terrible husband, but it's at altitude and it's a primitive site. There aren't any creature comforts and I want the best for my wife.”

“I hate to be rude, but it sounds like you're making excuses, Mike. There've been rumors that you saw something up there right before Ron Wallerstein died. I've read stories that the site is haunted by the ghost of the observatory's first director, Robert Burroughs.”

“Lisa, I don't know what you've heard, but I can tell you it wasn't the ghost of Professor Burroughs. I've heard those stories, too. I don't even know if what I saw was real. I'd like to think I was just sleep deprived, but what I saw was the stuff of nightmares. I was just minding my own business, getting the telescope shut down for the day when I saw this thing that looked almost like those velociraptors from Jurassic Park, except it had a flat face, like an owl, and it was covered in grizzly feathers. Man, it gives me the chills just thinking about it. It ran at me and then… it just vanished. I was still shaking when I got in my car. It was right after that Wallerstein ran off the road.”

“Creepy! And you want to go up there and spend your nights peeping at the stars and not watching your back? I hope they're paying you well.”

“Well, like I say, I was probably just sleep–“

“Hold that thought, we have a caller. Hello, caller, welcome to Lisa Burton Radio with Lisa and Mike. What's on your mind?”

“My name is, … Ronald Parsons. I'm a … friend of Mr. Perkins and I'm here to tell you the observatory management made a big mistake. I was … I mean Roscoe was the best technician that observatory ever saw.”

“Look, I have nothing against Roscoe. From everything I heard, he was good at his job. He just made a mistake, that's all.”

“Mistake, hell. The only person who made a mistake was Jerome Torres, the observatory manager. So what if Roscoe threw a few dollars at the roulette wheel or cards. So what if he unwound with a drink or two.”

“Wait a minute. Your voice is familiar. Roscoe, is that you?”

“All right, you got me. This is Roscoe. Man, you jerks will be sorry when I'm in the Bahamas soaking up rays with a woman on each arm, while you're still up there freezing your butts off at that observatory.”

“Roscoe, this is Lisa. If you've lost your job, how are you going to get to the Bahamas?”

“Er, um, let's just say Roscoe has a new gig and we'll leave it at that. Bye bye for now, suckers!”

“Sorry about that, Lisa. Where were we again?”

“I don't remember either, but it sounds like Roscoe has an axe to grind. What can you tell us about that?”

“All I can tell you is that Sacred Portals is an Apache casino and Jerome, my boss, is also Apache. From what I hear, the tribe took Roscoe's car and put a lien on his house because of all the money he lost at the casino. Oh God, I hope he hasn't fallen in with pot hunters.”

“Pot hunters?”

“People who look for Native American artifacts and sell them on the black market. Carson Peak has a handful of sacred caves. The tribe believes they're the portals humans used to enter this world. There are stories of monsters hidden behind some of those portals.”

“Like the one you thought you saw?”

“Now that you mention it…”

“I sure hope he doesn't take something that opens one of those portals.”

“You're right about that. The portals are all just old stories and superstition, but Roscoe's in bad enough trouble with the tribe. If he goes into those caves, he could be in jail for a very long time.”

“Thank you for being with us today, Mike. You be careful up there… all alone… in the dark.”

“Thanks, Lisa. You know, I never had any problems working in remote locations until that one night. It just took me a couple of years to realize that Wallerstein's death wasn't my fault and that… creature… was just a figment of my imagination. Let me tell you, none of it holds a candle to the amazing stuff I see at the telescope. I've taken images of colliding galaxies, exploding stars, and there's even a nebula out there that looks just like a phoenix. On that note, it's time for me to catch up on some sleep so I can rise from the ashes and get back to work.”

“Mike's story unfolds in the pages of The Astronomer's Crypt, available right now. I'll put all the deets on the website.

“Make sure to hit those sharing buttons before you run to Amazon to check out the book. Mike will appreciate it, and I'm sure David Lee Summers, his author, would appreciate it too.”

 

***

The Astronmer's Crypt:

If you scare easily, don’t read this book.

If you dare to read it, you’ve been warned.

Two years ago on a stormy night, in the dead of winter, Mike Teter experienced something that would change his life forever. Mike was a telescope operator at the world renowned Carson Peak Observatory in New Mexico. We won’t tell you what he saw that night on the mountain nor what happened afterward on a dark stretch of highway, because it would haunt you just as it has haunted Mike. But what we will tell you is that Mike is back at Carson Peak. And what he witnessed that night two years ago is about to become a reality…

 

 

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Bio:

David Lee Summers is the author of ten novels along with numerous short stories and poems. His writing spans a wide range of the imaginative from science fiction to fantasy to horror. David’s Old Star/New Earth science fiction series and his Scarlet Order Vampire series are both published by Lachesis Publishing. He's also the author of the Clockwork Legion Steampunk series from Sky Warrior Publishing.

His short stories and poems have appeared in such magazines as Realms of Fantasy and Cemetery Dance. He’s been twice nominated for the Science Fiction Poetry Association’s Rhysling Award. In addition to writing, David edited the quarterly science fiction and fantasy magazine Tales of the Talisman for ten years and has edited four science fiction anthologies: A Kepler’s Dozen, Space Pirates, Space Horrors and Maximum Velocity: The Best of the Full-Throttle Space Tales.

When not working with the written word, David operates telescopes at Kitt Peak National Observatory.

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