Welcome to my second post in the October Frights Blog Hop.
Today is an excerpt from FAVORS FOR THE DEAD. My main character Spookie Millane doesn't see dead people...
until they need her to do them a favor - which means finishing up
any business they ran out of time to get done.
The favors are normally benign until the night Carina Corona,
a witch, dead for almost two hundred & fifty years
visits her with a deadly request...
Without giving too much away, here's a scene from the night
Spookie and Carina meet.
Spookie also meets Mick that day. He can speak to and see the dead,
except for those who visit Spookie, and he's having dark visions about her future.
Mick inhaled, ready to darken the candles, when the high pitch noise of a dentist drill hit. It gnawed at the base of his neck and rang in his ears. His knees buckled and he grabbed his head.
“Mick!” Tula Mae ran to his side.
He twisted his crippled body toward Spookie. Blood seeped from her ears and nose. Tears of red spilled down her cheeks.
“Is he alright?” Spookie’s words came out slow and drawn out, her voice deep and thick. Ping-Pong ball size globs of blood rolled off her tongue, exploding into tiny pools as they hit the hardwood floor. Thin tributaries branched off from each puddle forming a ruddy stream that oozed right at him.
He concentrated on keeping his expression neutral. The vision wasn’t real. Spookie, on the other hand, was real as the pain rattling his teeth and spine.
“Something’s coming.” Mick steadied himself of the back of a wooden chair. “I think it’s here for you.
“Yes, and I’m sorry.” Spookie glanced at Tula Mae. “I didn’t expect this, not here.”
“I understand, dear. Some things are out of our control.” Tula Mae guided Mick back to the side of the room. “Here, let me help you, and let Spookie do her job.”
“No.” He jerked away from Tula Mae. “I know you can’t see it, but there's blood everywhere. It's a warning. I understand what it’s trying to tell me. I don’t think she’s safe here.”
Goose bumps rose on his sweat soaked skin as the temperature plummeted. A whistling wind swirled down the chimney. The candle’s flame hissed and vanished. Curtains blew and papers took flight. The crystal pendulums swayed, clinking together resembling church bells in the distance.
“Spookie, please listen to me. I’m trying to help you.” Mick pleaded, zigzagging toward her. “Justus, tell her.”
But it was too late.
Whatever presence chose to make its grand entrance had arrived.
Spookie gawked at Mick. His skin paled to a horrible ashen color. Beads of sweat covered his brow, yet his body trembled at the cold. His eyes reflected genuine dread as he begged her to listen to his ramblings of blood and the need for her to leave. Warmth stirred in her at his compassion and determination, as weird as it was, to help someone he’d just met, against something he couldn’t see.
“Mick, I’ll be fine. Please, don’t worry, I can explain."
“I’m looking for a Miss Spookie Millane.” A smoky voice interrupted.
“Yes, I’m Spookie.” A lucid outline of a feminine figure developed, glowing red with energy. Her head swiveled 360 degrees and took in the surroundings. The spirit hung suspended high near the ceiling, creating a daunting effect.
“Do you mind lowering to my level? I’m getting a crick in my neck.”
With a sudden but graceful swoop, the manifestation appeared inches from Spookie’s face. “Is this better?”
“Yes, yes. Thank you.” Spookie squinted against the brilliance of her radiance, not daring to ask her to back up.
“I’m Carina Corona.”
“The Berkshire Witch?”
“You’ve heard of me? I’m flattered.” Carina made herself comfortable atop the couch, her long legs dangling off the back.
“Most everyone in New England knows of the Berkshire Witch.” Spookie hesitated. “But you’ve been dead for almost two hundred and fifty years. What could you possibly need from me?"
Something shattered. Spookie jumped. Mick stood next to Tula Mae, his arms waving to get her attention. A glass of water lay broken at his feet. “Spookie. The corner,” Mick shouted. “The thing that was in the woods.”
A massive shape with ragged edges and a muddy color rose up behind Carina. It possessed no light, only a dark abyss. “What’s that doing here?” Spookie demanded. “Is it with you? Its been following me around.”
“Yes, he’s a harmless Roamer,” Carina said. “Their energy hasn’t formed into souls yet. They have to work for it. I sent it to evaluate you. I need exactly the right person.”
“Harmless? Every time it appears, I face plant the floor.”
“Spookie, you’re mistaken. It isn’t my Roamer doing that to you. It’s him.” Carina’s arm aimed toward the wall.
“Mick?” Spookie dismissed her. “Come on, I just met him. It’s impossible.”
“What’s impossible?” Mick’s color returned. He stood tall and resolute. “I know someone else is here, but I can’t see it. Are you sure you’re okay?”
“Yes,” Spookie nodded. “Carina, could you please ask it to leave?”
With a flick of her wrist, the Roamer collapsed into a wisp of smoke and evaporated.
“Thank you.” Spookie straightened her black skirt. “Now, what can I do for you?”
To enter to win a flameless Halloween candle and to be entered to win the $20 Amazon Gift Card Grand Prize, comment below. If a spirit came to you and asked you for a favor, would you try and help them?
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Hop on Carina's broomstick (she won't mind) and head over to the other awesome authors and check out their work and giveaways!! You won't be disappointed.
Veteran and new-to-the-hop
Horror and Paranormal Authors gather together
for a ghoulish party to celebrate
everything that goes bump in the night!
I'll have two small giveaways for those that comment on that certain post
and a Grand Prize of a $20 Amazon Gift Card
to all those who comment on any or all of my posts!
And...I'm offering two e-books in
an awesome multi-author Rafflecopter posted at the
end of the post.
This year instead of writing a flash fiction story I've decided to post a few excerpts from my current WIP, FAVORS FOR THE DEAD, featuring a new character Spookie Millane. (Since it was my current WIP last year, I thought it best to keep writing and not get anymore distracted). My antagonist, Elliott Rothwell, enjoys creepifying nursery rhymes & sending them to his victims about their demise.
Rock-A-Bye Baby is a bit disturbing for obvious reasons. Could it have been the ramblings of extremely sleep-reprieved parents of a newborn? Who knows? But Elliott's version to a lover he feels has betrayed him, is much, much darker...
Rock a bye baby, from the rafter top
When the wind blows, you’ll pray it stop
When the noose snaps, your body will fall
Down you’ll come, dark secrets and all
Forward and back, you sway and swing
Life hanging by a heavy braid of string
Rock a bye baby, do not you fear
Never mind, my beloved, I’m right here
Rock a bye baby, a struggle so violent
Then your body goes limp, still and silent
Eyes shut tight, last breath will cease
Into slumber but never to rest in peace.
You have to give Queen Mary I of England some due. According to historians, two nursery rhymes are written about her. Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary and Three Blind Mice.
'Contrary' can/did (It wasn't really clear in my research) describe a murderous psychopath. Queen Mary, a devout Catholic killed hundreds of Protestants between 1553-1558 in order to keep England under the Pope's rule.
The garden refers to the graveyard, silver bells and cockleshells were torture devices and the pretty maids all in a row...the people line up for the guillotine (nicknamed The Maiden).
Three Blind Mice refers to two Protestant Bishops and the ArchBishop of Canterbury, who plotted to overthrow Queen Mary. They got caught. She didn't carve any body part off, but she did have them burned at the stake. I see why she was called Blood Mary.
While the nursery rhyme Elliott sends to Spookie, Hickory Dickory Dock, doesn't seem to have a twisted story to it, I did have fun researching the rhymes and the many verses that aren't common knowledge. That's what gave me the idea to write this post. I knew about London Bridge Falling Down (from a trip to London three years ago) and Ring Around the Rosie, but all the others, I found very interesting.
Here's a sampling of Elliot's Hickory Dickory Dock to Spookie. It's a long rhyme in it's original form and Elliott uses every verse to his advantage. I don't want to give away the end, so here are the first four verses:
Hickory Dickory Dock
Spookie, be wise and watch the clock
When the clock chimes one
My patience will be done
Hickory Dickory Dock
Hickory Dickory Dock
Heed the warning of the clock
When it chimes two
I’m coming for you
Hickory Dickory Dock
Hickory Dickory Dock
Keep an eye on the clock
When it chimes three
Give back what belongs to me
Hickory Dickory Dock
Hickory Dickory Dock
Spookie, listen to the clock
When it chimes four
You’ll be dead on the floor
Hickory Dickory Dock
Do you have a favorite nursery rhyme? Or one that has always creeped you out? Do you know it's true meaning and does it have an ominous background? To enter to win my first giveaway, two enchanted soaps, and be entered for the Grand Prize of a $20 Amazon Gift Card, comment below. I'd love to hear from you.
Please check out the rest of the awesome authors participating in the hop....
And below that, enter the Rafflecopter...
Celebrate Banned Book Weed - Read a Banned Book.
Welcome to my annual rant on censorship. Banned Book week is celebrated the last full week of September each year. Founded in 1982 by First Amendment Activist, Judith Krug, it's goal is to highlight how important our freedom of speech and freedom of the press is to every American under the First Amendment. It's now sponsored by the American Library Association and the Center for Books in the Library of Congress.
Conservative and religious groups voice their strong opinions, but the number one group(s) who challenge books are parents and School Board members. Each year, PABBIS (Parents Against Bad Books in School) releases a list of books that don't meet with their approval. The reasons books are banned aren’t shocking: The top five are sex, profanity, racism, the occult and homosexuality, including books with trans-gender characters.
Are you thinking, "It's 2017, we don't ban books anymore." Well, you're wrong. While the government may not be forbidding certain books, many school districts are. In 2016 there were 323 complaints to school districts throughout the country. I know I'm broken record, but I strongly believe parents have the right to determine what they deem appropriate for their children to read, but not all children. The reason I say that is because if the challenge wins, the books are removed from the school library shelves or even worse, in some cases, off the public library shelves. Sorry, but the public library is a sacred institution to me, and everyone should be able to walk in, check out and read any book they'd like to. No permission needed from any parent, religious or conservative group!
The award for the most ironic banned book goes to Fahrenheit 451 (the degree at which books will burn and one of my favorites) - a book written about banning and burning books. It was challenged because in the book, The Bible is one of the books that banned/burned. But it gets better, because in reality, The Holy Bible has been challenged many times and was one of the top ten book challenged in 2016. Read article here.
To give you a sense of how many actual banned books there are, a Parthenon of banned books was built this summer on the site of Nazi book burnings in Germany. 100,000 books were used. 100,000!! You can read the full article here. It's not long and I recommend it.
How awesome is that??
Each year the groups and librarians that sponsor #BannedBooksWeek ask readers to read a banned book. You might be surprised the number of classics that are on the full list, not just the top ten of each year. Last year I read The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde. I'd seen the movie and read excerpts. Mr. Wilde came from a different era and the writing reflects that, but wow, it was a great read. I urge everyone to look over the list and pick a book that you've never read. You might be pleasantly surprised.
"Always be kinder than necessary." J.M Barry
I'm thrilled to be celebrating the release of SWEET SACRIFICE
(a novella in the Soul Mate Tree Series)
by my friend, awesome author and fellow lover of everything creepy and crawly,
Isn't that the coolest cover? What'a on the inside is just as awesome. Here's my review:
I'm a huge fan of L.D. Rose's Order of the Sentry Series. Her newest offering, a novella in the Soul Mate Tree series, Sweet Sacrifice, did not disappoint. While the characters are a different breed - no vamps this time around, but angels and demons - Ms. Rose stays the course in her strong writing, creative world building and very human characters who are likable, yet flawed & vulnerable, who make emotional decisions, like all of us.
The world where the angels dwell (and how they behave) is imaginative, strict and sometimes even cruel. These guys aren't floating around on clouds playing the harp, they have a job to do and they take the necessary steps to get their mission done.
I don't rehash the blurb in my reviews and I don't do spoilers. Having said that, Sweet Sacrifice is a page turning, action packed paranormal romance that you shouldn't miss.
The title is perfect as the ending is the sweetest sacrifice of all.
**I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.
Former Navy SEAL Sebastian “Bash” Lockard died in Afghanistan after leaping on a grenade to save his comrades. Little did he know his act of heroism would grant him a ticket into Heaven’s elite army as one of the few and powerful Archangels. Struggling with his new existence, Bash still retains his human memories, leaving behind a wife he loves with all of his heart. Although he’s forbidden to see her, he can’t resist her lure, or the mortal desires he harbors for her.
As a young widow and nurse, Irene Lockard still mourns her husband two years after his untimely death. His absence is everywhere, and when her best friend weds, she hits an emotional rock bottom. As if summoned from the skies above, Sebastian appears before her, and they share an unforgettable night. But when he once again vanishes, she wonders if she’s truly gone mad with grief.
The only way Sebastian can remain with Irene is if he makes the ultimate sacrifice. But will she overcome her fear of losing him again to another war?
Heaven is hell without her.
Bash’s gaze caught on a couple on the dance floor, the sight of her sinking into him like hooks and bringing him to a standstill.
With her dark curls springing over her shoulders, she spun across the hardwood, her pale gray dress flowing around her. Much like in his recent vision of her, she tipped her head back and laughed, beautiful, stunning, her smile as bright as the yellow calla lilies tucked in her hair. She swayed with a man in dress whites, a Marine, another fucking soldier she didn’t belong with. And as the rain of realization became a downpour of comprehension, he remembered the engagement, where Claude proposed to Lucille—at their wedding—right before Bash left for another tour of Afghanistan.
“Bash?” Gabriel stepped in front of him, blocking his view, pale eyes narrowed.
Bash’s hand slammed into Gabriel’s chest, pushing him away as he lurched forward. Gabriel reacted faster, though, snatching his arm and wrenching him back at least four feet. Bash lunged again and the Arc’s hand fisted in his white button-down shirt.
“Don’t,” Gabriel growled, all humor draining from his angular face and setting his expression in stone. “Do not.”
Bash’s heart punched at the angel’s fist, every fiber of his being burning with the urge to run to her, to wrap his arms around her and feel her body against his one more time. Envy, rage, longing, and sadness blasted through him in a toxic tornado of emotion ready to whip this place into oblivion.
He nearly ground his molars into pulp. “Let. Me. Go.”
“You are dead, Sebastian. You’re no longer part of this world. All you’ll do is bring her pain, bring yourself pain. Don’t do this.” Twin streams of air whistled from the Arc’s nostrils as he shook his head. “I should’ve never brought you here.”
Bring him pain? More pain than he’d already endured? No.
Grab your copy of SWEET SACRIFICE here:
Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B074KJTJT8/
Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B074KJTJT8/
Amazon CA: https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B074KJTJT8/
Amazon AU: https://www.amazon.com.au/d/B074KJTJT8/
Pinterest Board: https://www.pinterest.com/writerldrose/sweet-sacrifice/
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L.D. Rose is a neurotic physician by day, crazed writer by night, and all around wannabe superhero. She writes paranormal romance and urban fantasy, but she's been known to delve into horror, sci-fi, and medical suspense on occasion. L.D. Rose is a PAN member of the RWA, FF&P, NEC-RWA and CoLoNY. She currently lives in Rhode Island with her studly hubby, her hyperactive boxer, and her two devious cats.
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