Beer, Two New Indie Books You Should Read, and a Really, Really Big Sloth

I’m a bad little blogger and haven’t been around much. I have no excuse other than, well, life. It happens and sometimes gets in the way.

And sometimes, it’s good. I spent March traveling and may or may not have consumed six months worth of beer in three weeks. But it was pretty. Here’s a picture taken outside the Adam and Eve, reputed to be the oldest pub in Norwich, England.

The Adnams Southwold Bitter is lovely.

All the traveling gave me lots of time to read. What else do you do when trapped on an airplane? Amongst others, I read two recent indie releases. One was released shortly before I left, the other shortly before my return. Sometimes, the universe is kind. I love me some Gothic Horror and highly recommend both books.


Read on the flight to Norwich:

High Lonesome Sound is a new direction for author Jaye Wells (The Prospero’s War series), and one I hope she continues to explore.

“In the sleepy mountain town of Moon Hollow, Virginia, there is a church with a crooked steeple. No one will say for sure how it got that way, but it’s the reason the whole town gathers every Decoration Day to honor the dead.

This year, there are two fresh graves up on Cemetery Hill, a stranger’s come to town, and the mountain’s song is filled with dark warnings.

The good people of Moon Hollow are about to learn that some secrets are too painful to bear, and some spirits are too restless to stay buried.”—from the Amazon description

This is a story that will leave you shivering in the dead of summer.—Cherie Priest, author of The Family Plot

Find it here: AmazonB&N | Kobo | iBooks | GooglePlay  | Indiebound 


Read on the flight home:

From Scott A. Johnson (the Stanley Cooper Chronicles) comes Shy Grove: A Ghost Story. Texas Gothic, and right up my alley!

“When Gary’s crazy aunt Ester dies, he inherits her house in the forgotten town of Shy Grove. Along with his wife and son, he moves into the house to catalogue her belongings, as well as try to work on their relationships. But from the first night, strange things happen in the house. Whispers in empty rooms, shadows in corridors, and changes in Gary’s personality hint that there is something wrong.

And not just with the house…

Shy Grove: A Ghost Story is southern gothic horror that builds a sense of creeping dread.”—from the Amazon description

Scott A. Johnson doesn’t just see the world differently… He sees an entirely different world.— Gary Braunbeck, author of In Silent Graves

Borrow for free with Kindle Unlimited or purchase it at Amazon


Neither of the above are affiliate links and I get nothing (other than the enjoyment of reading and a severe case of envy because I really want to write a gothic ghost story myself) out of them. I just think you should read the books. However, in the self-interest category, the Kindle edition of my novel The Ceiling Man happens to currently be on sale for 99¢ in the US and Canada. And, as always, it’s free to borrow on Kindle Unlimited.

A supernatural creature arrives in the small, fictional town of Port Massasauga and sets his sights on Abby, a girl with psychic powers similar to his own, in Lillie’s gripping debut…Lillie sidesteps horror clichés and presents characters who don’t make eye-rolling decisions…horror fans should expect an entertaining novel that’s tough to put down.—Publishers Weekly/Booklife

Get it at Amazon


Seems like I’m forgetting something…oh, yeah! I promised you a giant sloth. Here you go. a photo of a Megatherium americanum taken at the Natural History Museum, London. I left that big boy behind, but I did come home with Darwin socks.

 

New Cozies from V.M. Burns!

Alter-ego Kay Charles has been blogging. She’s not only nicer, but much better at time management than I am!

Kay Charles

My friend and fellow Seton Hill University Writing Popular Fiction alumna V.M.Burns has two brand new cozy mysteries up for pre-order!

Having been lucky enough to read an early draft of The Plot is Murder and the first half of the first draft of Read Herring Hunt (can’t wait to find out who dunnit), I can tell you they have everything a cozy fan could want. A spunky heroine. A team of hilarious sleuthing seniors. A wonderful small town. A delightful bookstore. Scones. Poodles with yummy names. And best of all, not one but two mysteries—one set in present day North Harbor, Michigan and one set in a 1930’s British country manor.

Don’t trust me? Here’s what others are saying about V.M. Burns and The Plot Is Murder:
“You’ll love this delightful debut mystery with its charming and wacky cast of characters and a mystery within a mystery just…

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Why Do You Write That Stuff?

Scary Stuff, That Is.

hauntingofhillhouse
Cover, 1st edition. 1959.

I grew up in a haunted house on the corner of—I kid you not—Erie and Elm Streets. This was well before Freddy entered our collective consciousness (and our dreams.) We weren’t afraid of our ghosts. They were eerie but just there, part of the house and part the family, even if we didn’t know who they were. Years after my parents sold the house, my sister met the then current owners. They had a few questions for her. All of the things that went on during our time? Still happening. The new residents didn’t take it for granted. They were terrified. Although my sister tried to reassure them, “Oh, yeah. That’s normal in that house,” for some reason they found the confirmation the haunting wasn’t just in their imagination even more frightening. I’m not sure how much longer they stayed. Go figure.

When I was about ten years old, my cousin spent the night. We were allowed to camp downstairs in front of the only television set. (Yes. It was a long time ago.) The midnight movie was the 1963 version of The Haunting, based on Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House. It scared the crap out of both of us, and the worst part was that we never saw the monster or ghost or whatever it was. In my memory, we are two little girls huddled together on the living room floor, unable to look away. Even at that age, I knew that if they would just show us the Big Bad, the fear would lessen. I loved it. My cousin still refuses to watch or read horror and sleeps with a baseball bat under the bed. Sometimes I remind her of all the things that bat won’t protect her from. Someday, she’ll have it with her and hit me with it.

My parents were really strict about bedtimes (probably just to get a break from us.) Made for television movies were big while I was growing up, and Tuesday night was one network’s Scary Movie Night. It was also the night my mother was out at a class, and my father let me stay up to watch the movie with him. Mom got home just after eleven. I was always safely, if barely, upstairs in bed, and she was none the wiser. The night Crowhaven Farm aired, Dad and I were so engrossed in the final scene that we never heard her pull in the driveway—early. The backdoor opened, the credits rolled, and he looked at me and said, “Run.” The backdoor closed and I took off. I still don’t know if we got busted—Mom never said anything to me, and Dad and I never spoke of it—but the night Scary Movie met Fear of Mom left a mark on me.

My seventh grade English teacher kept her own paperback lending library on the classroom windowsill, a sneaky ploy to trick snotty adolescents into picking up books they might otherwise never read. On that windowsill I found The Haunting of Hill House and We Have Always Lived in the Castle. Before reading Shirley Jackson’s work, I had a crush on the creepy. Jackson—and Mrs. Peake—turned that crush into a full-blown love affair.

Then I heard an adult talking about how William Peter Blatty’s The Exorcist was awful and dangerous and should be banned. Of course I read it immediately, followed by Thomas Tryon’s The Other and Harvest Home, and Ira Levin’s Rosemary’s Baby and—

Really. Parents. Teachers. Haunted houses. Shirley Jackson. Wonderful books. Of course I write that stuff. What choice do I have?