Friday, October 26, 2012

Halloween Monsters and Urban Legends II

This second installment of Halloween Monsters and Urban Legends is brought to you by the letter W, and the number 100. As in 100 blogs for you to hop, here. But first, check out what I have for you and don't forget to comment with your own Monster or Urban Legend. It can be a little known one, or one of your own manufacture. There are prizes for the best three, as selected by the judges. The winners will be announced on November 2nd.


Much of what we know about werewolf mythology was actually added to the traditional tales after the 19th century, like its vulnerability to silver, its supernatural strength, size and speed, and even its famous nemesis: The Vampire. Lycanthropic tales are common to most European countries, from Greece to Slovakia. Since, across the world, the only cultures that seem to lack a lycanthrope are those where wolves didn't roam the lands, modern studious of the phenomenon rationalize the stories as the inevitable result of a world where deathly wolf attacks where a common occurrence. There are also those who argue the myth surged as a way to justify the horrific acts of serial killers like Peter Stumpp, a German farmer and alleged killer and cannibal, also known as the Werewolf of Berger, that was executed in 1589.

In any case, early tales of lycanthropy describe the affected as impossible to differentiate from regular wolves, when in that form, but for the fact that they had no tail and retained their human voice. As humans, there were a few signs that could out the creature like a unibrow, but were otherwise utterly regular folks. The curse was brought about as a consequence of committing despicable acts, like killing children or cannibalism, and could be lifted if no other act of violence against humans was committed for ten years. It was also said that if the corpse of a werewolf wasn't burn upon death, it would come back to live and feed on human blood, effectively turning into a vampire!


The friend of a friend who used to babysit as a teenager once told me a pretty freaky story that happened to her. Her clients were a wealthy couple that lived in a huge house in the outskirts of town, a very peaceful place but quite out of the way. Anyway, on this night the parents had some posh dinner in the town and they called the girl to take care of their two kids while they were out. Since the house was pretty large and adorned with many expensive heirlooms, the couple had strict rules about her wandering in the house.  She was supposed to stay in the family room, which was right next to the kitchen, had an awesome flatscreen TV, and everything she needed to pass off the hours quite comfortably.

The kids were very nice and, after a full day of activities and school, soon they were tired enough to go to bed. She then took residence on the room designated by the parents and proceeded to watch TV. After an hour or so, she started feeling really uncomfortable and there, in the corner, she discovered an ugly, bulky clown statue. It looked like a grotesque antique piece from the 20's, all grimy and covered in what looked like oil.

The hair on the back of her neck stood on end and she couldn't shake the feeling that the thing was looking at her. She tried to ignore it, just concentrating on her TV show, but to no avail. Finally she gave in. She hid in the kid's bathroom, telling herself she was insane for thinking the statue could hear her, but she did it nonetheless. When the call went through, the father answered on the other side of the line.

"Hey, it's Sarah. Look, I'm sorry to call you up like this but that clown statue you have in the family room is giving me the creeps. Would it be okay if I move it to another room or just stick a blanket over it?"

After a long pause, he replies, "Okay, Sarah. I need you to get the children, put them into your car, and take them to the nearest house. When you're there, call the police. We're on our way."

"Wait--why?" She asked all worried.

"We don't have a clown statue."

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Halloween Monsters, Urban Legends, and the Coffin Hop Kick Off!

It is that time of the year again, the magnificent time when writers and lovers of horror get together around the bonfire to rejoice in the telling of a good scary tale. To add one more layer to the festiveness, we at the Coffin Hop love to give stuff away. There are 100+ blogs conducting their own giveaways, so the more you hop, the better chances you have to win big time! There will be free embellished cellphone cases, t-shirts, books, ebooks, art, and many, many more things. Besides, you'll get to meet new like-minded fun people!

Now for my part, I decided to go back to basic Halloween monsters and urban legends. I'll be covering old school staples of the season like the Headless Horseman, Werewolves, Vampires, Zombies, and maybe even Witches, along with the most retold scary stories. I'll be posting on the 24th, 26th, 29th, and, of course, the 31st. For my giveaway, I'll be asking you to bring to the light the best unknown monsters and urban legends. You can choose a real little known gem, or go full out with your crazy imagination. Two of my fellow Coffin Hoppers will select the best three comments and on Friday November 2nd I'll announce the happy winners.

  • 1st place: A PDF copy of "Perpetual Night" by yours truly, a digital copy in the format of your preference of the "Coffin Hop Anthology Sampler",  and a paperback copy of "House of Reckoning" by John Saul.
  • 2nd place: A PDF copy of "Perpetual Night" and a paperback copy of "The Halloween Tree" by Ray Bradbury.
  • 3rd place: A PDF copy of "Perpetual Night" and a super cool set of Tim Burton playing cards.

'K, so drum roll please! Here we go!!


The Headless Horseman has captivated our imagination from the moment Washington Irving hit the "publish" button in 1819. But did you know he most probably based his legend on actual Northern European folklore? The iconic apparition can be found in at least German, Irish, and Scottish tales, though its oldest form may very well be in the Celtic legend of Dullahan. This headless fairy rides a black horse with his head under one arm and wielding a whip made from human corpse's spines.

Scary enough for ya? It gets better...

It is said that the Dullahan only stops riding when it is time for someone to die. The moment he stops, he calls out a name and that person perishes instantly. In a different version, he is the headless driver of a black carriage that can be scared away by casting a golden object on his path. This black carriage is said to be collecting souls as it rides along the Wild Hunt, a spectral group of huntsmen whose sight foretells great catastrophe upon the seer.

In movies (Wild Hunt, Headless Horseman): The Legend of Sleepy Hollow (1980), The Wild Hunt (2009), Sleepy Hollow (1999).

In books (Wild Hunt references): John Masefield's "The Hounds of Hell", "Perpetual Night" by yours truly.

Ever since 1996 the Historic Hudson Valley organization holds a Legend Celebration on Philipsburg Manor in the real town of Sleepy Hollow, NY, where Irving lived and his story took place. It features a rider portraying the Headless Horseman and is attended by thousands every year. I've been there and it's so much fun, you're missing out...


A 16 year-old girl is home alone after her parents have decided to celebrate their anniversary and trust her to the sole companionship of her loving golden retriever dog. This is a small town where crime is rare and they would be back in a few hours, so each went their merry way. The girl kissed goodbye to her parents and watched TV until 11pm, when she decided to go to sleep. Her beautiful dog followed her upstairs and, like every night, he got under her bed and licked her hand goodnight. 

A few hours later the sound of something dripping woke her up. It was late and the girl wondered why she hadn't heard her parents get home. With a certain uneasiness, she reached out to her dog under the bed and feeling the reassuring lick, she fell fast asleep.

Once more, a persisting dripping sound awoke her. Much too afraid to get out of bed, she looked for the comforting gesture of her pet licking her hand. Seconds later, she hid her head under the covers and fell asleep. 

Morning came and the silence in the house felt eerie. Not a sound from her parents that she could hear but the annoying dripping sound echoing through her room. This time, encouraged by the rising sun, she went on to track the source of the noise, though strangely, her loyal dog was nowhere to be found... She walked into her bathroom, where the horrific sight of her dog's mutilated corpse hanging from the curtain rod greeted her. The dripping sound came from blood droplets hitting the growing pool on the tile floor. Screaming in terror, she ran to the phone in the living room. There, laying on the soiled carpet, her parent's mangled bodies looked at her with empty eyes. Next to the phone was a bloody note that read: "Humans can lick, too."

Monday, October 22, 2012

Most Famous Haunted Houses

As a great introduction to wednesday's official kick off of the Coffin Hop 2012, I decided to set the mood with ghost stories of the real kind. Is there anything better than a real haunted house for Halloween? Well, here I put together a few of the most famous, but you have to promise to be back and check out my Coffin Hop giveaway! There are books to be given and plenty scary stories to be told. Don't miss it!! Now, back to our regularly scheduled program...

The world of the death is truly one that intrigues us. Through time, there is no other question that has bothered us more than what happens after we're gone. Generation after generation, fear of the unknown, curiosity, and grieve have tangled a convoluted web resulting in ghost sightings and haunted houses that plague us to this date. Of course no one can absolutely refute every sighting, every picture, every story, and that's how the afterworld has engrained itself on our brains with the most tantalizing stories.

It is in this spirit that I present here a list of ten of the most haunted houses in the US. Weather you believe their stories or not is entirely up to you. As for me, I always found Marquise du Deffand's posture to be an intelligent one. As she famously said, "Do I believe in ghosts? No, but I'm still afraid of them."

The Sorrel-Weed House

Located in Savannah, Georgia, the Sorrel-Weed House was formerly owned by G. Moxley Sorrel, a brigadier general for the Confederacy during the Civil War. After Sorrel left for Virginia, the house was bought by Henry D. Weed, hence the peculiar name the house bears today. The present owners of the house report hearing voices, clinking of glassware, music, and many others sounds associated to a party that can never be found when investigated. There are also reports of war sounds, like soldiers marching and guns being fired, but the most famous resident ghosts are those of two women who died in the property under very distressing circumstances. Mr. Sorrel was found having an affair with one of the slaves, Molly, upsetting Mrs. Sorrel so much that she jumped to her death from the second floor porch. Just two weeks later, Molly's body was found hanging from the neck in the carriage house. Suicide or murder? The jury is still out there, as are the tortured souls of both women.

The Moore House

In 1912, the quaint and booming town of Villisca, Iowa was shook to its core when the brutal murder of eight people occurred during the night without attracting the attention of any of the neighbors. On the morning of June 10, 1912, Mary Peckham realized his neighbors, the well-respected Moore Family, hadn't started their day as usual. Worried, Mrs. Peckham decided to go check on them. When no one answered the door, she tried peaking through the windows, but it was too dark. She then tried opening the door but found it to be closed from the inside. Finally, a few hours later Mrs. Peckham decided to call Mr. Moore's brother, who came in and opened the door with his own set of keys, finding everyone in the house dead. J.B. and Sarah Moore, along with their four kids and the two daughters of a friend who had been invited to spend the night there, had been slaughter beyond recognition with an axe. The murders were never solved and remain surrounded by mystery to this day. The sounds of children voices, objects moving without reason, and sightings of a dark, menacing shadow said to be that of the killer are a common occurrence in the residence.

The Landon House 

Originally constructed in 1754 on the banks of the Rappahannock River in Virginia, the Landon house was dismantled in 1840 and moved to its present location in Urbana, Maryland. Its rich history tells us of the many roles it has served through time. First used as an academy for girls, transformed into a military school short time afterward, and finally serving as a military hospital during the civil war, it is its present reputation that brings it to this list. There have been reports of all kinds of paranormal activity in the house, from heavy feelings to apparitions of dead Civil War soldiers. Care to stop by for tea?

The McRaven House

Located in Vicksburg, Mississipi, it was originally built in 1797 and changed hands a few times in ordinary circumstances. However, it is in 1849 under John H. Bobb's ownership that the McRaven House is at the center of a tragic situation that would determine its fate as a haunted location. The house served as a Civil War Hospital during the siege of Vicksburg and withstood severe damage by gun and cannon fire. Bobb was so angry that he attacked a sergeant with a brink, who ordered him arrested, taken to the back of the house, and shot. His ghost, as those of fallen soldiers are said to roam the house.

The Amitiville Horror House 

This one, we all know. The infamous house on 112 Ocean Ave. in Amitiville, NY is undoubtedly one of the most famous and controversial haunted houses in America. It all began when in 1974 Ronald DeFeo slaughtered his whole family, consisting of both parents and four siblings. After a year of abandonment, the Lutz's bought the house and lived in it for twenty-eight days. Windows opening and closing, telephones ringing in the middle of the night, black goo coming out of facets and walls, and the sightings of a pig with red eyes are among the many experiences reported by the Lutz's. The also infamous couple, Lorraine and Ed Warren were involved in the following investigation and supposedly got rid of the ghosts, reason why the current family lives there happily. Except for the hordes of morbid tourists showing at their doors, that is.

The Riddle House

West Palm Beach, Florida may not be the first location to come to mind when you think about ghosts, but it has a thing or two to scare the pants out of you. Take The Riddle House for example. Built as a gatekeeper's cottage for cemetery workers keeping an eye out for grave-robbers, the paranormal activity surrounding this house scared its former resident, Karl Riddle, out of the house. It all seems to be centered around the death of a previous worker who killed himself in the attic.

The Hanna House 

Built in 1858, this Indianapolis, Indiana mansion was utilized as a passage for the Underground Railroad. One eventful evening, a group of slaves fell asleep on the straw-covered basement never to wake up again. While the group slept, an oil lantern was accidentally turned over, setting the basement ablaze. After the fact, and in order to keep his involvement in the Underground Railroad a secret, Alexander Hanna buried the human remains in the basement. There have sightings of ghostly black males, the sounds of hushed up conversations in the basement, chandeliers swinging with no apparent reason, and sad laments that echo through the house.

Ashmore State

Is there anything creepier than an abandoned insane asylum? Ashmore State in Illinois is a 'living' prove that our fascination for the macabre can never be quenched. The fact that the decaying building isn't open to the public hasn't stopped paranormal investigators from documenting the hordes of ghosts reputedly residing there. From 1916 to 1956, the building housed indigents and people with mental disabilities. More that two hundred death were reported and from 1956 to 1976 it housed the "mentally impaired." The building remained in use until 1987 when it closed due to lack of funding. Many stories about residents that refuse to move out of the building circulate, but there have also been exposés where a group claims to have invented a ghost with a story to go and afterwards read claims of people seeing said ghost. Still, real or not, abandoned insane asylums have number one of my list of scariest places to ever be trapped...

LaLaurie House 

Known as the most haunted house of the French Quarter in New Orleans, the LaLaurie horror history is not one for the faint of heart. In 1832 Delphine LaLaurie, a woman of high prominence in European society, decided to buy a second house in New Orleans that she managed herself. Soon the family gained fame as one of great wealth and education, and it was considered an honor to be invited to one of the lavish parties the LaLaurie's gave. Though rumors ran rampant of the mistreatment of saves by Madame LaLaurie, it all came to a head on April 10, 1984 when firefighters attending a call on the residence uncovered a grisly family secret. Inside a secret room in the attic, many bodies in different state of mutilation but still alive were discovered. Nobody knows for sure just how many slaves died at the hands of the cruel Madame, but the bones of at least two more bodies, one of them a child, were found centuries later during a renovation, and a neighbor witnessed a fourteen-year-old girl jump to her death from the ceiling with Delphine, whip in hand, in hot pursue. Apparitions of black males with chains on their necks that become violent, cries and screams of pain breaking the silence of night, unseeing hands pushing people off balconies or stairs are all common occurrences.

Well, there you have. Hope you've come across a couple of stories that you didn't know before and that will keep you awake tonight. Happy Halloween y'all!!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Hostage of the Devil, A Review

I read this book quite a while ago but it left a strong mark on my innocent mind; so strong indeed that I remember passages of the stories within this book almost literally, as if I'd read them yesterday. And they are just as powerful today, though my mind is slightly less innocent.

Let me start by saying that this is not light reading. Malachi Martin was an Irish Catholic Priest, studious of Theology, and professor at the Vatican's Pontifical Biblical Institute, among many other things. He received two Guggenheim fellowships and was highly critical of the Church throughout his life, which made him a controversial figure supported by its most orthodox factions, and regarded with disdain by those in favor of a laxer Church.

If you want a clearer picture of just how high up the ladder he was, it is alleged that he was outside the door of the papal living quarters while Pope John XXIII opened the Third Secret of Fatima. Now, weather you are with him or you think he was nuts, I wouldn't just take lightly what such an informed men had to say about what happened during real exorcisms. And that in itself is scarier than any movie shown in theaters this Halloween.

Hostage of the Devil is a far cry from those stories we've grown so used to these days. There is little said about speaking in tongues, arching backs, cold rooms, or any special effects Hollywood has fed us up. He relates five cases of possession dating from the modern era in which he aided, but wasn't the priest in charge.

There is a lot of philosophy in this book regarding the question of what opens a soul to become possessed, but it is never preachy or difficult to read--remember, I was a teenager at the peak of my religious rebellion when I read it for the first time, and I wasn't bored or annoyed at all.--Martin then, proceeds to relate how the ordeal began for each of the five subjects, how it grew from a thought, to seeing things, to the actual feeling of someone else in your body. And, of course, how it got resolved, how long it took, and what was the price for everyone involved.

Martin makes it a point to show that an exorcism is a war fought in the minds and hearts of those involved, that there are no objects moving by themselves or bleeding walls, and just how high the stakes can be for the participants. A riveting book which intention is to inform rather than to scare, but that scares just the same because of its realism. I could see myself in each of the stories because the characters depicted are regular Joe's, and it left me wondering if I could be next.

This is a book for those interested in knowing what really happens behind closed doors; for those who wonder if the darkness outside their window can creep in; for those who want serious talk about serious evil without any props. If you think you can take it, what better time to do it than during Samhain, then.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The Next Big Thing

Jessica McHugh is witty, clever, and a total badass, but did you know she's a witch? She has marked me with her almighty tag to tell you all about my newest project, aka my next big thing. I have no control over this, I must pass on the magical mark onto three more amazing writers. And so, I've selected Nicole, Mina Lobo, and Mrs. Jones as my victims chosen ones. May the force be with us all.

What is the working title of your book? Deliverance.

Where did the idea for the book come from? On one of our drives from Montreal to Connecticut I happened to spot a big farm house very close to the highway. It was surrounded by nothing but trees everywhere I could see, and had a collection of four/five very old tombstones a few feet from its front door. I imagined what I would feel living in that house and the idea for the book started to brew.
What genre does your book fall under? Mystery/Suspense with a paranormal twist.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition? 
Megan: Selma Blair

Jason: James Mcavoy
Maggie: Emma Watson
Constance: Betty White (because of her dramatic range, there's no comedy here!)
Nathaniel: Thomas Sangster

What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?
The town of Deliverance was named after the hope for its people but residing there there's only death.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
I'm still considering my options.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
I'm still working on it. I have everything mapped out and most of the details resolved, but the manuscript itself is only on chapter 4, some 8000 words long.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
When the Wind Blows by John Saul.

What else about your book might pique the reader's interest?
There are three big layers to this story. First the story of the first settlers arriving to Plymouth and their tragic relationship with the Wampanoag people which brought on a curse over Dighton Rock and the surrounding area. (True story!) (Or at least a real legend.) 

Then, there's the present time story of a horror writer trying to get over the death of her only child. She moves to Deliverance, Ms. without knowing the area has been plagued by the disappearance of women for many years. Is there really a curse on the town's people that only Megan can break? Or is there a serial killer on the loose that has his eyes set on her?

Friday, October 12, 2012

A Halloween Trivia

October is so delightful! My favorite month of the year by far. First off there's my birthday, the 7th, and there's Halloween at the end; in between you have nice colder weather, beautiful sunsets (much more awesome than summer's), amazing colorful trees, and creepiness galore. What's not to love about it?!

So, of course I have to keep up with the halloween fever! I'll participate for the second year in a row on the Coffin Hop, where 100+ blogs unite to tell horrific stories, interview writers, give tons of free stuff, and just celebrate All Hallows Eve with the right attitude. Click on the picture if you want to host the party or if you simply want to visit as many blogs as you can and have a god time winning cool stuff. I will have a contest, but I'm still working on the details, so keep coming back to know more!

Now, in the spirit of the season and the love of everything horror, I've decided to share with you a few Halloween trivia facts. Hope you like it!
  1. Halloween by colors. There are many colors associated to Halloween. Of course there's the classic orange, long associated to the harvest, and black, representing death, the unknown, and plain evil. But then, you can also see purple in many of the seasonal decorations, a color considered to represent mysticism and the paranormal; red which represents blood, fire, and demons; green is associated to goblins, monsters, and zombies; and white reflects ghosts, mummies, and the moon. 
  2. Carving into history. Jack o'Lanterns are original from Ireland in the myth of Singy Jack who, after being rejected by heaven and hell upon his death, is forced to roam the darkness seeking a place to rest his soul. He then carved out a turnip and, filling it out with coal, used it to light his way. It was only after the first Irish immigrants arrived to America with their traditions, that turnips were replaced by pumpkins.
  3. Trick or Treat? We all know Halloween, the holiday, was originally a Celtic tradition, but Trick-or-Treating is in fact, of Irish origin! It was during the Great Irish Potato Famine that peasants would beg for food from the wealthy. When those higher in the chain refused to play along, the beggars would play practical jokes on them. So came the custom of giving candy, cookies, or fruit.
  4. Coming to America. The Halloween festivity arrived to America with European immigrants, who celebrated the harvest by lighting bonfires, sharing ghost stories, singing, dancing, and telling fortunes.
  5. Back to the beginning. Just in case you are the only one who doesn't know (I'm thorough if anything at all)... Ancient Celts believed that spirits came back from 'the other side' on All Hallows Eve, the only day they could roam the world of the living. In order to protect themselves and avoid being recognized as humans, people began to wear demonic masks and costumes.
  6. An apple a day keeps spinsters away! Bobbing for apples is an ancient costume said to be of Roman origin, though some sources claim Celts were doing it before. What is clear is that it was used as a divination method for two important reasons: 1. Romans associated the apple tree to Pomona, a fertility goddess, and 2. Celts associated pentagrams to mystic rituals and fertility itself, so apple bobbing was a way to know who would marry next. (Because of the seeds that form a pentagram inside of it. I know you knew... just in the spirit of 'No child left behind.')
  7. Cat conflict. Black cats are a staple of superstition and long associated to witchcraft, though not always with a negative bend. Ancient Egyptians revered all cats, blacks in particular. But Hebrews and Babylonians considered cats to be similar to serpents, coiled near the hearth, and thus granting them a negative connotation. They were thought to be good familiars to witches because they can hardly be seen at night, when witches were said to conduct all their mischievousness.
  8. How old, you say? Halloween has been celebrated for over 6000 years in one way or another, under many different names, and by many different cultures. You could say our present celebration is being 6000 years in the making...
  9. Approval rate. I'd say it is high. Halloween is the second most successful commercial holiday, preceded only by Christmas.
  10. Commercial can be good. In 1950 in Philadelphia, a Sunday school decided that all the money collected during their treat-or-treating would be send to UNICEF. They sent a grand total of $17, which may not seem like much, but served as inspiration for the organization. Trick-or-Treat for Unicef was created and you can sign up! Just follow the link, sign up, and they'll send you uniquely decorated boxes along with materials explaining the program.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Red Island. My Review

So, for my latest read I went a bit out of my usual genre and tried a procedural. I love a good psychological thriller where a clever but dark hero is after a super intelligent serial killer bent on driving said hero crazy and bring down the whole city with him, so I jumped at the chance to read Red Island by Lorne Oliver.

Red Island is the story of Sgt. Reid. He used to live in Vancouver, but after a grueling case that left him and his family scarred, they moved to Prince Edward Island. Otherwise known as The Gentle Island, this seems like a great place to concentrate on his family and leave the past behind. That is until the body of a young woman appears hanging from the feet, naked, and baring the terrible markings of torture. The island is not gentle anymore and the only hope for its people lies in the expertise of Reid against serial killers.

Red Island is a strong story where the great abilities of Oliver to paint a picture without dragging the description forever are put to work so well. The simple matter-of-fact narrative allows the reader to loose himself in the story, and though some of the scenes depicted are quite gruesome, it never feels out of place or even graphic. The language is also under control, without four-letter expletives thrown everywhere, but realistically applied.

The novel is divided in two stories, that of the detective and that of the killer, where one is narrated in present tense and the other in past, but both in first person. Particularly enjoyable are the sections related to the killer, his development as a killer, and the reason behind his horrible murder spree. A true study on the psychology of murderers and simply outstanding. Sadly, I found very difficult to empathize with the main character. Although he has a dark past haunting him and, maybe, going through somewhat of a middle age crisis, I found many of his actions hard to justify and, at times, annoying.

The procedural side of the story is also very aptly done, always leaving the reader wishing for more and actually paying attention to the details that true cops are interested in. No shortcuts or illogic actions are put there so the author can go from point A to point B. The book, however, has several editorial mistakes, mostly the kind resulting from merging two sentences or typos. Very rarely these mistakes get in the way of understanding or involve a grammatical mistake, so it shouldn't put you off if the blurb and genre appeals to you.

All in all a good, an interesting story worth reading.

Finally, I leave you with the blurb and a link to buy the book if you're interested.
Was it the nightmare that woke him or the late night phone ringing that brought on the dream? Sgt. Reid of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police brought his family to Prince Edward Island, "The Gentle Island", to get away from crime and homicides. He had to get away from the nightmares and concentrate on his family. PEI is a lovely place to live. The sound of the ocean crashing against sandy beaches, sand dunes covered in tufts of dancing grass...
...And then there was the young woman hanging from a tree. It wasn't a gentle island anymore.

Red Island ebook. Hope you enjoy it!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

From Conventions to Confessions

As October's Insecure Writer's Support Group meeting is upon us, the foremost thought in my mind are writing conventions--or, in my case, horror conventions.

Now, our paths are as varied as the experiences that have brought us to the point we are today. Some of you may have attended many conventions and conferences, some may have tried either one of them, or maybe, like me, neither.

Invariably, we all have heard of what a great resource this events are for building confidence, work on our craft, develop our selling aptitudes, and networking. However, I'm convinced that like any other experience in our life, the more you do it, the better you know how to take advantage of it. So, here is what I propose: I'll tell you my story, my reason for haven't attended one of these events yet, and I'd love to read of your experiences. Good, bad, or your own reason for still haven't tried. My goal is to make of this little entry a well of do's and don't's that will enrich all of us, helping first-timers and veterans alike to take full advantage of the unique opportunities that conventions bring.

In my case, I've been trying to pull resources from everywhere to get myself into one of the many conventions my publisher attends, but alas, the cost of feeding a family and paying a mortgage proved too much to allow space for another career in this family, other that my husband's.

I don't have any more copies of my book to sell on my own, and I simply can't pay hotel and food for the whole family, even if it's only for two days. Any of you mothers and fathers reading this will know that the most modest road trip with two young kids can add up quickly. "Then go by yourself!" you say...well, that's where my real problem comes in: Fear.

I'm afraid I'll look like an idiot who doesn't know what to do, where to go, what to say, or where to stand; completely out of place. Who will I talk to or what about? You see, I'm a shy and insecure person though most of my family and friends would consider me outgoing and easy to make friends. And I am. I'm all of those things. I'm shy and awkward with people I don't know and have a horribly hard time making small talk or saying hi for the first time, but if you come to me and start talking, I'll engage in an easy conversation and might even end up making a new friend. Still, I wished I had a writer buddy close enough for us to attend together. You know, like a comfy blankie.

I keep reminding myself that as the year began, I made myself a promise that this year I would challenge my fears and move out of my comfort zone. And even though chances are slim, I will still make my biggest most honest effort--and savings--to attend AnthoCon in Portsmouth, NH, the last 2012 convention for PostMortem Press. Wish me luck!