Category Archives: Goosebumps

Antique Irons

Maintaining clothing was labor intensive for women. Often a whole day was dedicated to laundry. The water may have been carried to a tub to be used for washing  and rinsing. Permanent press was unheard of. Heavy irons were heated by the fireplace and later on a wood-burning stove. These belonged to my mother’s family.  I use them for bookends.

 

Irons

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A Ghost Story & My Carved Pumpkin

PumpkinPostJClick the icon above to visit Long and Short Reviews where my ghost story is featured. Check out my Screamin’ Demon pumpkin that is the centerpiece of my Halloween decorations that will greet trick-or-treaters Thursday. Four little neighbors ages five and under ably assisted Sunday in preparing and carving the pumpkin. We scraped out and cooked the guts of the pumpkin. The seeds were boiled and baked into tasty treats that were definitely not a hit with the little ones. We cooked the pumpkin pulp and mashed it into a puree that was baked into loaves of pumpkin bread that went home with the seeds to share with the parents. The two sets of siblings (Diane & William and Tamika & Alisha) were hilariously precious mixing their own batters using non-breakable tools. A half-dozen dish towels and a roll of paper towels bit the dust in the process.

I took the easy way out with our caramel apples and used prepared caramel sheets that can be wrapped around the apples and baked for a few minutes until melted. Worked well but imagine the mess a couple of two-year-olds can make consuming caramel apples. All-in-all it was loads of fun. I had the camera ready, but – to be honest – didn’t have time to capture memories to share. The parents will have to make do with delicious pumpkin bread (see the recipe below), not-so-great seeds, and the remains of caramel apples.

Pumpkin Bread

3     C sugar
1     C vegetable oil
4     eggs, beaten
2     C cooked pumpkin pulp, mashed
3 ½ C flour
1     C chopped pecans (on other nuts)
2     tsp salt
2     tsp soda
1 ½ tsp nutmeg
1 ½ tsp cinnamon
½    tsp ground cloves
2/3    C water

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Butter & flour 2 9”x 5” loaf pans. Beat together sugar, oil, and beaten eggs. Add pumpkin and stir. Combine dry ingredients and mix into sugar/oil/egg mixture a little bit at a time.  Add water. Pour into pans. Bake at 350° for 30 – 40 minutes until cake tester comes out dry. Cool 10 minutes and remove from pans. Enjoy!!

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Celia Breslin and Bumped by the Banshee

Goosebumps contributor Celia Breslin is an author of urban fantasy and  paranormal romance for Champagne Books. Celia relates: “I grew up listening to my Irish grandmother’s stories about the Fae, including her encounter with a Banshee in her cellar when she was a teenager. Of her many stories, this is my favorite.”

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“Bumped by the Banshee” by Celia Breslin    (Based on actual events as recounted by her grandmother)

I lived in a large two-story house with my parents, sister and grandmother. It was a cold, winter evening, nothing special or out of the ordinary. The family dined together, then my sister and I cleaned up while our parents and grandmother drank tea. We joined them at the dining table to do our homework, but my grandmother said she was tired and went upstairs to bed. My parents followed shortly after that, but my father paused on the landing.

“Maeve, it’s going to be a cold night. Fetch us some coal, please.”

I abandoned my homework, grabbed the empty coal bucket from the kitchen, and went down into the cellar.  I filled my bucket and returned to the stairs. I had one foot on the first step when the temperature in the cellar, already cold, dropped dramatically. Chills ran down my back. Behind me, someone moaned.

But how could that be? I was alone…

Terror rooted me to the spot. The keening grew louder. I dropped my bucket and covered my ears. A cold wind bumped against my back. I stumbled forward as the shrieking wind rushed over me and up the stairs.

But how could that be? The cellar had no windows…

Above me, the cellar door slammed shut. The sound broke me from my stupor. I screamed and ran from the cellar, through the kitchen and dining room, up the stairs to my room. My parents and sister found me under my bed, shaking like a puppy lost in a snowstorm.

“What is it? What’s wrong?” They asked me, while pulling me from my hiding place.

“I heard the Banshee wail.”

We stared at each other in silence, all of us reaching the same conclusion moments later. We hurried to my grandmother’s room.

She was dead.

Copyright 2013, Celia Breslin. No part of this family story may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical without permission from the author. Rita Bay has my permission. 🙂

 

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Haven is an urban fantasy romance from Champagne Books (July, 2013). If you like vampire stories, you’ll love Haven. Check out the Haven blurb:

Haven_San Francisco nightclub owner Carina Tranquilli works hard, plays hard, and never allows the death of her parents and her twelve-year memory gap to get her down. But her life takes a left turn when a witch attacks her on her twenty-fifth birthday.

Three hauntingly familiar vampires emerge to reveal she possesses a latent power. To protect her from their enemies, they admit to wiping her memories clean and abandoning her as a child, but now they need her help. As she struggles to evade her new protectors and even newer enemies, she meets Alexander, an enigmatic, undead musician. Insta-lust flares, leaving her wanting more.

With evil’s minions hounding her every move, and everything she thought she knew turned on its head, Carina must harness her burgeoning power, unravel her vampire family’s web of deceit, and fight to have a love life…without getting killed in the process.

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Haven Buy Links: Champagne / Amazon

Visit Celia’s WEBPAGE or follow her on FACEBOOK / TWITTER.

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Another Vintage Halloween Postcard

Halloween3

Tomorrow, Author Alan Keen & Haunted

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Welcome Goosebumps Author Lynn Rae

Goosebumps Author is Lynn Rae writes contemporary romance. She’s published with Musa and Sweet Cravings Publishers. Her paranormal story was a workplace incident.

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Let’s Not Play Hangman

The following is a true story.

I used to work as a museum director in a medium sized town in Ohio. My work took place in a historic house with an addition we used for exhibits. The place was under constant renovation and the sound of saws and hammers and a fine coating of sawdust and sanded plaster were everywhere, so whenever someone invited me to go out and visit another site, I was happy to leave the building for a few hours.

On this day, I was lucky enough to get a behind-the scenes tour of a nearby castle. Yep, that’s right, a stone castle with a tower and tapestries right in the middle of the Midwest. The director was leading us around and since we were all in the public history field, we spent much of the tour bemoaning how difficult it is to care for old properties with limited funds. We were in an upstairs corridor not included in the public tour and the director stopped at a heavy wooden door.

“We don’t go in here much, it’s full of stuff,” he explained as he laid his hand on the knob. Every museum has such rooms; a catch-all for the bulky items that don’t fit with the period of the house. I wanted to see it to compare to the ones I had back at my museum; if it was really messy, I wouldn’t have to feel too bad about my disaster zones. Then again, if it was wonderfully organized on gleaming metal shelves, I would shrink with shame.

He opened the door and we entered the long, high ceilinged room illuminated by numerous windows. There was a lot of furniture, a lot of boxes filled with mysterious items, but before I could really take a look, my throat closed off. Completely tight and painfully obstructed. I tried to swallow and coughed harshly. Once I started to cough, I couldn’t stop and it wasn’t the sort of cough that would clear out an obstruction. It was a weak hacking that didn’t alleviate my distress. I finally waved my hand and stepped back out of the room into the hallway so my choking and gagging sounds wouldn’t disturb anyone else on the tour. Within seconds, the constriction was gone and I was breathing easier.

Soon enough, everyone emerged from the room because once you’ve seen one sprung horsehair sofa, you’ve seen them all. I assured everyone I was fine even though I was very confused at why I’d had such a reaction.

“Are you allergic to dust?” The house director asked and I told him no. I’d worked in museums for years and you don’t hold those sorts of jobs if you have any sensitivity to grime. I explained it was like someone sudden grabbed my throat and I’d never experienced such a sensation before. He went pale and closed the door to the room with a firm click.

“I probably shouldn’t say this, but years ago, someone hung himself in that room.”

Here’s the funny thing; as soon as he told me that I felt completely fine. Everyone else on the tour gaped and expressed horror, but I was happy there was a paranormal explanation. I love working in museums, so if I’d sudden developed an allergy to dust, I’d have had to find a new line of work. Ghosts I can deal with.

Copyright 2013 © by Lynn Rae      Used with permission.

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return-510Return is Lynn Rae’s  Contemporary  release by Musa Publishing September (2013).  Check out the blurb:

James Winchester is content with his predictable small town life. He lives alone, helps out at his family farm, and doesn’t miss an ice cream social. His life is so neat and ordered he could use one of his accounting spreadsheets to chart his upcoming years.

Evelyn Prentiss’s world is in chaos. She’s returned to her home town twenty years after leaving and the transition isn’t as smooth as she’d anticipated. Her home needs renovated, her parents are once again too hands-on, and she only has the summer months to settle in before she starts her new teaching job.

In an effort to be a good neighbor, James finds himself stopping by Evelyn’s house more and more to help with her endless to-do list. When a mystery from their past resurfaces and opens old wounds, the two find comfort in each other. And so much more.

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Buy Links for Return : AMAZON / B&N / SMASHWORDS / BOOKSTRAND

VISIT Lynn at her WEBPAGE or follow her on FACEBOOK.

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More Bruiser in Costume

Bruiser Pumpkin 2

“This is embarrassing.”

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Author Allison Knight Shares a Ghostly Tale

Allison Knight is an award-winning author of historical, medieval, contemporary, and gothic romance. She is published with Champagne Book Group, Wings e-Press, and Red Rose Publishing. Her ghost story teases the imagination and makes the reader wonder if the paranormal guests live with us.

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When we decide to retire away from the snowy north and move to the warm south, we found a beautiful home, acreage, a kitchen to die for, the perfect house. The neighbors came to introduce themselves even before we moved in. However, in our discussion with them we learned the original builder, (not the people we bought the house from,) built the home for his wife. We were told she planned the entire house, down to every detail. She even selected the property, because she and our new neighbors were not only friends but could ride their horses together on the acreage.

It was only later when we found out that just before the house was completed, she was out riding one day. Her horse must have stepped in a hole, because he fell on her. She was alive. They rushed her to the local hospital, but the damage was bad. She was going to be in wheel chair for the rest of her life. Because her house wasn’t quite finished they made some changes, widening doorways, etc., but her husband discovered he couldn’t care for her in the house. He sold the place and moved to Florida, where, I understood from the neighbors, she passed away a short time later.

After we got settled, we installed a security system. We were out in the country and the neighbors weren’t that close. Two of our children had moved south and were about forty five minutes away from us, so we thought it was a perfect arrangement. They were close enough to handle any problems if there were any problems with the house.

We retired planning to travel, made our plans, and took off. After all, there were places to go and things to see.

We had been away for about three days when our son called to tell us the police called him. Our security system had gone off. The neighbors hadn’t seen anything and when our son got to the house, everything was fine. A fluke everyone decided. We came home and it was as our son said. Nothing was disturbed.

On our next trip we were gone two days, but the same thing happened. We called the security people. They checked the system. Everything was okay. We took off again, but once more, two days out, our son called again. It is happened again the police said they would have to charge for unnecessary trips. Obviously something weird was going on.

I had always wanted to see Alaska and we already had our reservations. But how could we leave? Because of the problems with the security system, my daughter, her husband, and two children volunteered to come to the house and stay.  They arrived and we left.

When we came home, we discovered the alarm had not gone off once, however, while the kids were in the house, kitchen cabinet doors opened, while the four of them were at the table eating supper the doors to the rooms slammed shut although there were no windows open. On the third night, my daughter and her husband were awakened in the middle of the night when someone jumped on the bed in which they slept. However, both of their daughters were asleep in the guest room.

The next morning they turned off the alarm and went to their own home. They had been in our house for four days and we weren’t coming home for another six. Afraid to ruin our trip, they didn’t call us.

However when we got home, my husband and I wondered if they were exaggerating, but two adults and two children? After we talked to our neighbors, the only explanation that made sense was the woman who designed the house, I’ll call her Nellie, never got to enjoy the place so she wasn’t about to leave. She obviously knew I loved the house but she didn’t appreciate our kids. Or maybe it was because we were gone again.

We had no more trips planned for a time, yet one day we were both in our office working when the smoke detector in the entrance hall went off. Neither of us smoke, I had nothing on the stove, and after my husband checked all the wiring and found nothing wrong, we decided Nellie wanted company.

We had the security system disconnected and planned to live with a ghost. Shortly after that, our daughter and her family moved further south to the Gulf area. We visited, fell in love with the area, put the house up for sale and moved once more. And no, we didn’t tell the new buyers about Nellie. I can’t help but wonder if Nellie liked them, but I’m not going to ask.

Copyright © 2013 by Allison Knight. Used with permission.

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Betrayed Bride is a Contemporary Romance from Champagne Books. According to the author, “This is what happens when an author gets stuck in the hospital for a time.  I tried to use my impressions and figure out a story to go with them.”

BetrayedBride-ebookBLURB: In the hospital they keep calling her Sam and telling her she’s married to Alex Porter but she doesn’t know this Alex. Then she discovers she’s lost more than a year of her life and Alex can’t, or won’t, tell her what happened. He refuses to let her see or talk to her father and there is also something very important about Samantha, she can’t remember.

Alex Porter can’t explain how Sam was either pushed or jumped from a moving car traveling away from him, or why Sam’s memory disappeared but he’s sure her father played a role. All he can do is offer support as she recovers and wait for her to come to him as she had before the accident, hoping against hope, Sam’s father has not ruined his marriage and driven away the woman he is starting to love.

Buy Links for Betrayed Bride: CHAMPAGNE  /  AMAZON

Visit Allison at her WEBPAGE or follow her on TWITTER

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Bruiser’s Back in his Pumpkin Costume

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“I’d do anything for a treat.”

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Author Chris Fenge Tells Her Tale of the Paranormal

Guest author Chris Fenge who writes Young Adult and Fantasy is published with BURST from Champagne Book Group. Chris has a truly unique bio on her beautifully done website—well worth a visit. Her story is a two-fer. Her husband wrote his version (address below).

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ImageWhat follows is a true story, and because it’s true it lacks Hollywood-style sensationalism. Indeed, the events were commonplace enough: two phone calls, a feeling, a coincidence of timing. Nothing more than that perhaps – a mere coincidence?

But I was there. I know the people involved. I remember the look on his face. And even to this day, years later, I feel a tingling terror that the world may not be as I believe it; that there are possibilities beyond the ordinary we both glimpsed that day.

This is what happened: the phone rang.

It was the nursing home…  again. My husband’s mother was ill…  again. Would we go over?

Me: “We should go. She’s 94 years old. They say it’s serious.”

Him: “They’re just covering themselves; they have to say that to relatives just in case. But she’s a tough old bird; she’ll rally. She always does.” He looked at his watch. “Our boy gets home soon. Let’s all go together when he arrives. It’ll cheer Mum up to see her grandson. She’s always had a soft spot for him.”

My husband wandered off humming a Bee Gees tune, tunelessly, in that random fashion he has when all is well with the world and nothing much bothers him. I turned back to the mess I’d created on the dining room table, a chaos of pens, elastic bands and general junk. The bureau had become impossible and I was on one of my rare cleaning sprees, getting some satisfaction from creating pockets of order. I picked up yet another black biro. Where do they all come from? They must be breeding in that bureau. Attempting to scribble with it on a scrap of paper, I was vaguely aware of my husband’s footsteps creaking their way upstairs, with the repetitive chorus of Staying Alive dwindling out of earshot. The scrap of paper ripped, and I tossed the dead pen in the bin to join its fellows before picking up another.

A door overhead slammed. There were running footsteps, and then a tremendous pounding down the stairs. My husband appeared in the room, his face stricken and drained, his eyes pure panic. He couldn’t seem to breathe and was clutching his chest. “We have to go,” he gasped. And then he pinned me with those panicked eyes and yelled: “NOW!  She’s afraid. She wants me with her. We have to go…  NOW!

He rushed out leaving me dazed. This wasn’t like him at all. Something very odd was happening, so odd I knew instinctively not to argue, not even to speak. I dropped the dead pen and dashed after him, grabbing my coat as I reached the front door.

He was already at the car when it happened: the phone rang.

It stopped us in our tracks and he turned to look at me. And with that eye-contact, complete comprehension passed between us, for we both knew it was the nursing home again and that our Mum had just died. And we also knew, with gut-wrenching certainty, that in those dying moments of life she had reached out, somehow, to connect with her son.

That’s all that happened. Not much, really, when you think about it: two phone calls, a feeling, a coincidence of timing. It can’t be anything else. I can’t allow it to be anything else or my whole world collapses, and in march the ghosts and ghouls and other such rubbish that properly belong in story books.

But even today, years later, I feel a tingling terror that the world may not be as I believe it.

(Copyright © 2013 Chris Fenge.  Used with Permission)

P.S. My husband has his own take on what happened, which he believes was an example of “Family ESP.” And he adds: “It wasn’t the only instance on that day.”

If you want to read his version, click on:  dimensionsbeyond.typepad.com/ for ‘Matters of Life and Death: 5.’

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‘THE SALAMANDER STONE”
Note: ‘The Salamander Stone’ features a demon (see Extract below). And, since I can’t create characters unless I’ve actually met them (or aspects of them), it follows that I’ve met this demon. The sceptic in me believes it was a dream. Let’s hope so. If this demon exists in reality somewhere, I want out!

The Salamander Stone - coverBLURB: Amber uncovers a conspiracy so earth-shattering it threatens the human race. She goes on the run and everyone is after her—some for her power; some to make her their saviour; others out of twisted love or simple lust. But her necklace, the Salamander Stone, attracts more than earthly evil. A demon is after her too, and what it wants is unspeakable.

EXCERPT: In this excerpt, Amber’s enemy, Meshak, enters the demon’s lair and allows it to sucker onto his soul:

That weird cry came again, much closer now, cutting through the thick air – a high thin wail thrown far into the darkness and returning as a series of diminishing mocking echoes. Like a baby, thought Meshak, though no baby ever cried like that; no human ever cried like that.

He stood up shakily on the sandy path, straining to see, trying to make sense of this alien world. Below him, on the trail he’d just crawled, another thing was crawling. He sensed it as a furry black shadow shifting and sliding, sucking its way towards him. It cried again as it slithered closer.

Meshak knelt in the sand on the pathway, and the thing, the black shadow, stopped crying and snuffled up close, filling the air with its rotting reek. It slithered behind him and he waited. After a moment he felt a soft suction as it burrowed under his clothes and battened greasily onto his back, inching its way up his body until it reached his left shoulder. Its voice hissed, insistent, as it whispered in his ear, filling his mind and blocking out all other thought.

Meshak stood up, his body giving little shivers of excitement like greeting an old friend. A long slow smile split his face in half; an evil gleam glinted in his eye. He moved down the path and back into his own world.

And the shadow on his shoulder went with him.

Buy Link: THE SALAMANDER STONE

Visit Chris Fenge: WEBPAGE

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Another Vintage Halloween Postcard

Halloween King

Tomorrow, Author Diana Green at An Author’s Desk

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