Celebrating Breathe. Breathe.’s One Year Anniversary: THANK YOU!

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My ONE YEAR ANNIVERSARY of the publication of my debut dark poetry and short story collection, Breathe. Breathe. from Unnerving, came around in October 2018!!! It was fun to celebrate and almost like I had just published it all over again! I honestly have no idea how so much time has passed so quickly, and though everyone else is probably sick of hearing me talk about it, I don’t think I ever will be – even when I publish my next book or collection! Breathe. Breathe. will always be special to me because it’s an extension of me and a big part of me. I’ve enjoyed celebrating every milestone!

Breathe Breathe

Gratefully, people have still been embracing it this year and letting me talk about my stories, my inspirations, and sharing their own thoughts on the book in continual reviews. In just October and November, in celebration of the anniversary, I wrote several articles I’d love to share here. Coincidentally, I had some wonderful new reviews come in as well. I’d love to share them with you below! It’s definitely not a full list from the year, but it’s my goal to soon have up my media page to include all the links.

Stay tuned too, as I have three interviews and a few more articles I’m finishing up that will appear this month (December) or January. Soon I’ll hopefully be able to share more news about publications and writing projects coming up!

Articles

On Ginger Nuts of Horror – Five Scary Books to Read for Halloween

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On InkHeist – Vahalla Lane: We’re All About Revenge Here

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On The Horror Tree – My Writing Inspiration: Charlotte Perkins Gilman

Breathe Vahalla Ln Guest Article (1)

And…..

Brian Fatah Steele’s Site – My Writing Process: Wait, There’s a Writing Process?

Interview

7 Q’s with Brian Fatah Steele

Reviews (Click on blog title for full review)

Kendall Reviews – “If the idea of reading a collection of poetry is what is preventing you from checking this out, give your head a shake. If it’s the lack of corpses and skulls on the cover, have a friend smack you silly. This is dark, dark stuff and it should be mandatory reading by everyone in the horror community.”

Red Lace Reviews – “There’s a lot of content in this title, and all of it was thought-provoking. I may not be a connoisseur of poetry, but I appreciated the heart-wrenching emotion poured into every addition, and the concluding short stories also interested me.”

Howling Library – “Altogether, Breathe. Breathe. is a fantastic collection of poems and stories, and—at risk of sounding cheesy—is a real breath of fresh air. Erin shows a natural talent for writing, and I am so appreciative of the way she bared her soul to the world in her work here.”

Down in a Book – “This collection beautifully showcases the beauty in the worlds we create (either physically or in our own heads) and also reminds us of the sickening cruelty inflicted onto others. A great collection for anyone who enjoys reading work on the darker/haunting side, and who may want to feel a little vengeance a little once in awhile!”

The RAC Magazine (Nov/Dec Issue) – “Erin’s words were deeply moving.”
(This Reader Author Connection Magazine is subscription only.

And…

just a few days ago, Emily from Book.Happy posted her favorite debuts she read in 2018 (all 4 and 5 star reviews) and included Breathe. Breathe. in her stack. I was honored by the company I was keeping and thankful for her support.

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If you’d like to order Breathe. Breathe. I’d be honored. Please let me know if you’d like to purchase a signed print copy by e-mailing me at hookofabook@hotmail.com.

Or you can order in e-book and print from Amazon, read on Kindle Unlimited, or order print from Barnes and Noble.

Thank you so very much for your continued encouragement and for celebrating with me. More soon!

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Happy Thanksgiving!

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As an adult, Thanksgiving sometimes has put me in a conundrum technically, with both British and American citizenship, as you can imagine why. I am proud of both! For me, I don’t have to be divisive, I’ve always been about the “coming together” of people. And what is thanksgiving if not the joining of others.

That said, I grew up celebrating Thanksgiving here in America as a tradition and time to join with my family for food and rest together and to reflect for all I’m thankful for! I like that we can cook and eat together, play games, watch Charlie Brown’s Thanksgiving and Mayflower Voyagers, and revel in one of my favorite subjects, the Colonial Era! I remember fondly the time my son and I made “Plymouth Rock cookies” or when all three of my kids and I made turkey “thankful for” books out of paper bags. Laugh all you want, but the memories flood back, especially when my son won’t make it home from college in Washington D.C. this year for the weekend. It’s the first time since before his birth we haven’t celebrated a holiday together. Due to spending time with family, it’s one of my favorite holidays. That and I love pumpkin pie!

I’m very grateful, as always, for all the support of Hook of a Book, and this year, as well, for my own writing and publishing journey. Thank you to all who’ve been a part.

And above all else, I am thankful for my family, friends, love, food, laughter, and books! I’m even thankful for warmth and running water, as so many don’t have these things.

What are you grateful for this year? What will you commit to in order to help others?

In Thanksgiving,

Erin

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Guest Review: My Daughter Reviews YA Mystery/Suspense The Lying Woods

It’s Wacky Wednesday, so it’s my 15 year old daughter Emma’s turn in guest reviewing a YA novel of mystery of suspense from Hyperion called The Lying Woods from author Ashley Elston! She read this in one night over the summer (an advanced review copy), but it just hit the market November 13, 2018! It’s one of the favorite books she read this year, so it would make a great book gift for any teen in your life. I think it looks pretty good myself and I will most likely give it a read too in the near future.

The Lying Woods

The Lying Woods, Review –
by Emma Al-Mehairi

The Lying Woods is a story of love, loss, abandonment, and the realization that life may not always be what it seems. Owen is a very relatable teenage character. The way he expresses his emotions throughout the book is very similar to many other teenagers I know so it felt authentic. Elston also did a fantastic job of showing what any runner like myself would understand – running helps relieve stress. The way Elston wrote the novel helps to show the backstory that we have to understand, but without making those parts drag on, and the suspense was a page turner. I highly recommend this book to all teenagers, or even adults, who enjoy realistic fiction with a bit of mystery. It’s one of the best books I read this year.

Hardcover, 336 pages
Published November 13th 2018 by Disney-Hyperion

Find it on GoodReads!

About The Lying Woods

The truth won’t stay buried in this suspenseful, riveting mystery. THE LYING WOODS combines heart-pounding, high-stakes mystery with palpable tension between each character to create a menacing, gripping read.

Owen Foster has never wanted for anything. Then his mother shows up at his elite New Orleans boarding school cradling a bombshell: his privileged life has been funded by stolen money. After using the family business, the single largest employer in his small Louisiana town, to embezzle millions, Owen’s father vanished without a trace, leaving his family to deal with the fallout.

Owen returns to Lake Cane to finish his senior year, where people he hardly remembers despise him for his father’s crimes. When Owen and his mother receive increasingly frightening threats from someone out for revenge, he knows he must get to the bottom of what really happened at Louisiana Frac—and the cryptic note his father sent him days before disappearing. Owen’s only refuge is the isolated pecan orchard he works at after school, owned by a man named Gus who has his own secrets. As Owen uncovers a terrible injustice that looms over the same woods he’s claimed as his own, he must face a shocking truth about his own past.

Ashley Elston Biography –

aelston_headshot_sm_finalAshley Elston is the author of several novels including: The Rules for Disappearing (a finalist in the Best Young Adult Novel category of the International Thriller Writers Thriller Awards) and This Is Our Story.

She has a liberal arts degree from Louisiana State University in Shreveport and worked for many years as a wedding photographer before turning her hand to writing.

Ashley lives in Shreveport with her husband and three sons. For more information about Ashley and her books, please visit http://www.ashleyelston.com.

Praise for The Lying Woods –

“Fans who have come to expect Elston’s mastery of situational tension, double narratives, and enthralling mystery will not be disappointed with this newest tale that alternates between past and present perspectives as it barrels toward a stunning reveal… Readers won’t even notice the steady pull to the edges of their seats.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“This is a mystery that introduces characters slowly, with a thoughtful alternating story line and backstory that allows the plot to maintain its pace. Owen’s frustration and actions, along with the people whose futures were destroyed by his father, are understandable and build to a satisfying conclusion.” —School Library Journal (starred review)

“Elston… channels E. Lockhart as she overlays an eerie, mysterious atmosphere on top of a riveting family drama spanning decades… Family secrets and forgiveness drive this gorgeously plotted mystery. —Booklist

“The intergenerational plot complicates the adults in the story, resisting typical YA stereotypes and giving Owen some adults worthy of the trust and affection he invests in them. Readers who enjoy a realistic mystery based on contemporary family dynamics and small-town class conflicts are the audience for this.” —BCCB

“A blisteringly quick read, thanks to its compelling story and nonstop surprises.”
Culturess

“Elston has masterfully plotted this story out and the way everything wraps up is incredibly satisfying. The Lying Woods is an exciting novel perfect for fans of contemporary mystery…. Sure to keep you on your toes.”
The Young Folks

Accolades

BNTeen: Our Most Anticipated Contemporary YA Novels of 2018: July to December (selection)
Hypable: Fall 2018 movies, TV, and book release dates that need to be on your calendar (selection)
BookRiot: 125+ Upcoming YA Books You’ll Want on Your October to December Radar, selection (2018)
BNTeen: 21 of November’s Best New Young Adult Books, selection (2018)
Hypable: Our most-anticipated November 2018 YA book releases, selection
Bookish: November Book Club Picks: One-Child Policy, Embezzlement, and an Unlikely Serial Killer, selection (2018)
BNTeen: November’s Best New YA Books, selection (2018)
BookRiot: 3 on a YA Theme: Books for Your November Holds List, selection (2018)

 

Thanks again to Emma for reviewing this one!

Emma Al-Mehairi, Guest Reviewer

emma lake memorial 1Emma is a freshman in high school and besides her full schedule of honors and advanced courses, she also runs cross country, sings in the symphonic choir, and enjoys theater and art (especially painting – and is a huge Bob Ross fan!).

She loves being anywhere by the water and has plans to go to college for marine biology, but also one day hopes to write books on the environment to inspire people to continue a love the ocean and what resides within.

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Read My Poem, “A Land of Autumns”

My poem “A Land of Autumns” was accepted by SpillWords Press for their site a month ago. I find it funny actually, as it’s an October poem they decided to publish on November 17…okay, I told myself…autumn in November will still be lovely out here in the country where I am. I’m just glad it’s published for all to read even if it mentions October. It will be fine.

But then, of course, we had only three days of Fall, all the leaves are off the trees, and it’s ice and snow everywhere. So, my friends, let my poem take you back in time….or cry…either. As my 11 year old said, “I refuse to celebrate anything but Octobers and Novembers and Fall until after Thanksgiving.” I’m with her, so far.

If you enjoy my poem, please let me know what you think. It boosts a writer’s motivation, you know. *wink*

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Here is the poem: http://spillwords.com/for-a-land-of-autumns/

Have a wonderful weekend!

Erin

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Reviewing Books for Young Readers – Guinevere: At the Dawn of Legend

Today, I have a review of a set of books read by my 11 year old daughter and guest reviewer Addison and myself. These books are great high fantasy or historical fiction for young readers, especially those who are reluctant to read, who like adventure!

Book Review:
Guinevere: At the Dawn of Legend (Book Two)
Guinevere: On the Eve of Legend (Book One)

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Over the years, having children who are excessive readers, I’ve been asked to review all sorts of books for all ages in a multitude of genres. I’ve long been a fan of the middle readers, because I am always an advocate for putting books in front of readers at this age that will keep them interested in reading as life evolves and opens to other things around them, especially in this digital age. Currently, I still have an 11 year old Addie, who though she reads at a high school level (that’s what happens when books are like food in your household), she prefers to still read middle readers for enjoyment and content. She was more than thrilled to accept this reading assignment with me.

In looking through Cheryl Carpinello’s titles, the newest release, Guinevere: At the Dawn of Legend is book two, and Guinevere: On the Eve of Legend, was book one and published last year. It’s a series on Guinevere, but it’s housed inside a Tales and Legends series. We decided to review both for a better view of the author, but I’d certainly say you can most likely read any of her titles out of order, but as always, you’d gain better perspective on the series as a whole if you read both of the Guinevere books together. I’m almost certain, that like mine, your child will want to read these back to back and it’s probably best that way.

Of course my daughter was first drawn in, when getting them in the mail, to the cover of Guinevere: On the Eve of Legend, because it had a horse and she loves horses, but the second cover on At the Dawn of Legend was beautiful too and I explained to her what it represented in history. With a female protagonist, of course they are fabulous books for young ladies, but they are also action-packed and suitable for boys as well, especially reluctant readers of either gender. Personally, I also think it’s important that young boys read books with strong young protagonists who are girls!

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As soon as she started Guinevere: On the Eve of Legend, she was hooked and couldn’t wait for reading time before bed each night. I was happy that she liked tales of Arthurian legend as much as her dad and I! So she was ready to start the Guinevere: At the Dawn of Legend almost immediately after. She enjoys fantasy, but they really have to hold her attention (or else she’s off reading mysteries in a cupcake shop) and these certainly did.

Guinevere is a capable, intelligent, and courageous young lady, all traits we wish our own daughters to be so she was a wonderful role model from reading. Cedwyn, the son of a knight, and her side kick, is wise, loyal, and curious. He becomes much more part of the story in At the Dawn of Legend, which is great again for both genders alike, as it give the young men a chivalrous young male to identify with and the young girls, a model for treatment from a male friend. Together, they show that men and women can do all things when combining their talents and personality traits!

From an historical avenue, and not just fantasy, I think it also accurately portrays the time period, giving a glimpse of history to readers as well. It’s not just high fantasy only. The author’s teaching background shines through in a myriad of ways so she hits all the right points of utilizing reading as an aspect of how to support children’s or pre-teen learning in these formative years. I can also see how her own passion for travels and history helps illuminate various time periods in history in her book. I would have ate up these books as a young lady myself.

Both books are marvelous for young readers that will have them sneaking the flashlight under their covers in bed at night or are a great set of books to read aloud to your children. Full of action, suspense, vivid descriptions, teachable lessons, and memorable characters, this is a set of books that will make a great gift to your child’s library.

Addison and I discussed much of what I wrote in this review together, but as her final thoughts, Addie said, “I love them. I think any young girl my age who likes adventure will be happy reading them. I didn’t want to put either of them down and would like to read more in the future.”

The ending was a cliff-hanger as well, so we anxiously await book three!

Guinevere: At the Dawn of Legend, Synopsis and Info –

GuinevereDawnofLegendPrint Length: 150 Pages

Genre: Middle Grade Fiction

Publisher: Bublish, Incorporated (May 2017)

ISBN: 978-1946229441

His one desire…To be a knight.

His future queen…At times reckless.

Best friends…Bound by Friendship and Loyalty.

When their adventure turns deadly & dangerous, Guinevere & Cedwyn find themselves embroiled in a life-or-death struggle.

Not only are they in danger, but so are the kids of Cadbury Castle.

Renegades–foiled in their attempt to kidnap the princess–steal the children of Cadbury Castle to sell as slaves. Guinevere and Cedwyn vow to rescue the children, but a miscalculation puts them all in more danger.

As the plan quickly unravels, Cedwyn chooses to turn his dream of becoming a knight into reality.

Will their courage be strong enough to survive, or will one make the ultimate sacrifice?

Excerpt –

With saddened and heavy hearts, they left the gruesome glen behind and rode for the castle.

Samuel followed Guinevere, having chosen to ride beside Aaron. His tears dried, but the anguish not buried with his family. The grief was clearly evident in his hunched body, the anger in his clenched fists on the pony’s reins. Cedwyn worried about the boy’s state of mind.

Guinevere now led the trio, concern for the safety of the castle and the people there were marked by the hard set of her chin. Worry etched lines in her wrinkled brow and deepened her hollowed eyes.

Cedwyn brought up the rear. His eyes noted every movement. Ears tuned to the echoes of the forest, head swiveling at each movement and sound. Fear had taken permanent hold over his body—a feeling he was certain should have been as foreign to him as it would have been to Arthur’s knights. Cold fear tightened its grip on his heart and throat. Those who would kill the gentle monks would stop at nothing. Now the little group rode in the dark, a time when all earthly creatures took on the pallor of ghosts, and hidden danger lurked all around them.

 Guinevere: At the Dawn of Legend is available to purchase on Amazon.com

Awards for Guinevere: At the Dawn of Legend

2018 Gold Global eBook Award—Juvenile Fiction
2018 Gold Global eBook Award—Children’s Literature
2018 Bronze Evvy Awards—Fairytale/Folklore/Mythology
2018 Bronze Evvy Awards—Juvenile Fiction
Short-Listed for 2019 Chanticleer Int’l Awards
2018 Honorable Mention Purple Dragonfly
100 Most Notable Indies for 2018
2018 Wishing Shelf Finalist
2017 BookLife Quarter Finalist
2017 Apple eBook Children’s Official Selection

Author Cheryl Carpinello, Biography – 

Author Full SphinxCheryl Carpinello is an author, retired high school English teacher, and Colorado native. Since retiring from teaching, she’s been able to devote her time to writing and traveling. Although she may be away from teaching, she is still a teacher at heart and especially enjoys meeting with kids and talking with them about reading and writing. Cheryl hopes through her books she can inspire young readers and reader’s young-at-heart to read more.

You can find Cheryl Online –

Website: http://www.cherylcarpinello.com

Writing Blog:    http://carpinelloswritingpages.blogspot.com/

Facebook:   https://www.facebook.com/cheryl.carpinello1

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ccarpine1/

Amazon Author Page:  http://www.amazon.com/Cheryl-Carpinello/e/B002GGGZY6

Twitter Home Page: https://twitter.com/ccarpinello

Linkedin Page:  www.linkedin.com/pub/cheryl-carpinello/25/671/a02

Google URL: https://plus.google.com/110918922081424857545/

Pinterest:  http://www.pinterest.com/ccarpine/

Addie, Guest Reviewer, Age 11 –

ACA8ADFB-6A63-4F40-AF22-FC01DFA029D4Addison has been reviewing books on Oh, for the Hook of a Book! for five years. She loves books of all kinds, writing, dancing, art, singing, animals, and her friends. She has a soft spot for furry monsters like the Yeti and enjoys books from around the world.

If you’d like to send her a book for review, feel free to ask via my regular review request e-mail.

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#HookforNaNo: Do You Need an Editing Coach for November’s Madness? #NaNoWriMo is Here!

Currently taking editing clients now! I usually have a two month wait but projects are complete and I’m open for November and December! If you are doing #NaNoWriMo18, hire me to be your month long coach. Daily check-ins, cheerleading, social media updates about you, plus weekly plot assistance, character development help, and more because two brains are better than one! All will culminate with me editing your piece thoroughly and talking with you about your publishing plans. Read about my editing here, then e-mail me for discussion soon and join the #HookforNaNo team: hookofabook@hotmail.com.

I look forward to hearing from you!

P.S. Even if you don’t want an editing coach for the month, I’d be happy to put you on my schedule now for when your manuscript is complete!

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Guest Article: Is There Anybody There? by Author Catherine Cavendish

Is There Anybody There?
by Catherine Cavendish, author of Damned by the Ancients

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In my novel, Damned by the Ancients, a little girl with a special gift is targeted by the evil and long-dead Dr. Emeryk Quintillus. She even becomes possessed by a dead woman. In real life there are numerous well documented cases of demonic possession and many involve the use of ouija boards or another spirit game called ‘Charlie Charlie’. More of that one later but, for now, let’s have a look at some of the alleged evidence levelled at the use of ouija boards.

Three or four years ago, there were a number of separate cases of students who apparently fell into a trance while playing with the board. They were believed – or believed themselves – to be possessed by malignant spirits. Fellow players saw them behaving oddly, speaking in strange voices and generally acting contrary to their normal natures. Needless to say, as is the way of things, the more the stories circulated, the wilder they became.

One such case dates from November 2014 and involved a group of 35 school students from Santa Cruz de la Sierra in Bolivia. They were playing with an ouija board when they began to suffer from a range of maladies, resulting in hospital treatment. The children exhibited mental distress, trance-like states, rapid pulse rates and profuse sweating. Central and South America seems to be a hotbed for ouija enthusiasts and reports of demonic possession and mass fainting abound – Mexico being a particular centre.

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In fact Mexico currently holds the record for the largest outbreak of ouija-attributed illness so far recorded. In 2006-2007, up to 600 children at a 4,500 girls’ only, strict, Catholic boarding school near Mexico City began to show alarming physical symptoms. Headaches and difficulty in walking without the help of a fellow student were just two of the problems reported. The symptoms would vanish and then recur.

Psychiatrist Nashviela Loa Zavala investigated and concluded the cause was mass hysteria (or in his words, mass psychogenic illness). She discovered that a student at the school had used an ouija board to try and influence the outcome of a basketball game. The student, called Maria, had been summarily expelled for using the game but, in her extreme anger, had allegedly cursed the school.  The psychiatrist learned that, shortly after this, two of her former friends and fellow ouija board enthusiasts began to exhibit the symptoms. It seems belief in the supernatural power of the board and the existence of demons and evil spirits, along with rumours that Maria’s mother was a witch, led to the mass hysteria Dr Zavala diagnosed.

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Now, what is the ‘Charlie Charlie’ game?

Here we can blame social media (can’t we always?). In 2015, this simple form of ouija, originating many years ago in Spain, along with Spanish speaking countries in Central and South America, spread quickly thanks to the power of Twitter and the odd Youtube video. All that is needed is to draw a simple grid as shown on the illustration. In the centre of the grid, place two pencils on top of each other. Now ask closed questions (i.e. those that require a simple ‘yes or no’ answer). You are summoning the supernatural entity called Charlie. First ask him, ‘Charlie, are you there?’ Watch the pencils. The top pencil is the one which will indicate whether a spirit is in attendance. If it begins to pivot, watch where it points and you have the answer to your question. Charlie is communicating with you. Or, of course a draught may have wafted through the room, someone may have breathed a little too heavily, a truck may have thundered past the window, setting up vibrations…

A hundred and one things could be responsible, but belief that a spirit really had joined them was enough to cause four Columbian students to wind up in hospital, ‘screaming and babbling’ as a result of playing ‘Charlie Charlie’. In the same month (May 2015) in Jamaica, Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, and St Lucia reports flooded in of school children playing the game and ending up falling unconscious, slipping into trances and experiencing confused mental states. The following month, in the Dominican Republic, it was alleged that several young children in a primary school had been ‘possessed by the devil’ while playing the game.

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Of course as with any belief in the supernatural, proving the link between Ouija boards or the ‘Charlie Charlie’ game and evil (or even benign) spirits is impossible to prove (or disprove actually!). Those who are convinced they are in contact with a demon will not be swayed. Those who remain skeptical will point to the laws of science. The two positions are polar opposites.

What do I believe? Whether there is truly anything in it or not, my own experience has made me extremely wary of playing with occult games. When I was eighteen years old, two friends and I had a pretty scary experience with a home-made Ouija board and a heavy-duty water glass that shot across the room and shattered against the wall. This was only after it had spelled out a stream of abuse and obscenities – the like of which none of the three of us would ever use in conversation.

Best to be safe. Leave spirit games to the movies and books.

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Not that this would have helped poor nine-year-old Heidi. Here’s what to expect in Damned by the Ancients…

INFINITY IN DEATH

Vienna, 1908

Gabriele Ziegler is a young art student who becomes infatuated with charismatic archeologist Dr. Emeryk Quintillus. Only too late does she realize his true designs on her. He is obsessed with resurrecting Cleopatra and has retained the famed artist Gustav Klimt to render Gabriele as the Queen of the Nile, using ashes from Cleopatra’s mummy mixed with the paint. The result is a lifelike portrait emitting an aura of unholy evil . . .

Vienna, 2018

The Mortimer family has moved into Quintillus’s former home, Villa Dürnstein. In its basement they find an original Klimt masterpiece—a portrait of Cleopatra art scholars never knew existed. But that’s not all that resides within the villa’s vault. Nine-year-old Heidi Mortimer tells her parents that a strange man lives there.

Quintillus’s desire to be with Cleopatra transcends death. His spirit will not rest until he has brought her back from the netherworld. Even if he has to sacrifice the soul of a child . . .

Damned by the Ancients is available from:

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

Apple

Google

Kobo

Kensington Publishing

Catherine Cavendish, Biography –

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Following a varied career in sales, advertising and career guidance, Catherine Cavendish is now the full-time author of a number of paranormal, ghostly and Gothic horror novels, novellas and short stories. Cat’s novels include the Nemesis of the Gods trilogy – Wrath of the Ancients, Waking the Ancients and Damned by the Ancients, plus The Devil’s Serenade, The Pendle Curse and Saving Grace Devine.

Her novellas include Linden Manor, Cold Revenge, Miss Abigail’s Room, The Demons of Cambian Street, Dark Avenging Angel, The Devil Inside Her, and The Second Wife

She lives with her long-suffering husband, and a black cat who has never forgotten that her species used to be worshipped in ancient Egypt. She sees no reason why that practice should not continue. Cat and her family divide their time between Liverpool and a 260-year-old haunted apartment in North Wales.

You can connect with Cat here:

 Catherine Cavendish

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Halloween Poetry Gifts for My Readers: Two Poems Featuring Mummies!

I love giving treats, so what better treat could I think to give everyone for Halloween than a couple of my original, unpublished poems! As a gift to readers, I’ve posted two of my MUMMY poems below. I’ve always had an obsession with mummies myself (mostly the Egyptian variety), and especially reading about mummies in horror! I’m a fanatic about historical research and excavations of mummies, but also fantastical fiction of curses and revenge.

Let me know what you think in the comments! I will offer a brief message about each poem under it. Just beware of opening any wrong doors as you enter to read…..

Cleve Museum of Art

Cleveland Museum of Art Egyptian Exhibit

 

Dancing with Mummies

Eva doesn’t want to put on her costume,
of witch, cat, or pink Power Ranger,
she wants to wrap up in the gauze of time,
in a mummy’s trappings,
and run through sand-drenched streets.

She wants to hop on the trolley near Wade,
and blend in, quietly assessing the onlookers,
who seek a haunted tour near Lakeview,
but she has plans to see dead of another sort.

She wants to jump off the rail as they do in the movies,
glide inside the Museum of Art as if in ballet shoes,
and move to the rhythm of passion and history.

Eva winds her way to the marble catacombs
of sarcophagus and statue,
lightly carrying herself on the chill breeze from
the hauntings of the ancients, risen before her.

She puts her arms out left and right, smiling,
as the mummies slowly step toward her in
the dark and empty room, taking her in
their arms

                          …and they dance.

Swaying, waltzing to the music of magic and fortune,
of sacrifice and power, their decaying faces alight again
with rebirth and hope, mobilizing her spirit.

Water of the Nile, green reeds of salvation,
scarabs rustling and blue funerary
carvings whirl by her entranced mind,
as if she’s time-slipped to Cairo.

She has no need for trick-or-treat, or bobbing for apples,
she’d rather laugh and drink and sing
with the priests and goddesses from thrones centuries ago,
eat olives and grapes instead of Smarties and Tootsie Rolls.

Eva closes her eyes and she twirls, her hair flying backwards,
spinning like a windmill, feeling her own energy, laughing
with the ghosts and monsters before her as they take turns
in a ballroom dance for her soul.

– Erin Sweet Al-Mehairi, ©10/29/18

I love going to the Cleveland Museum of Art near Wade Circle in Cleveland, where people meander in the beautiful park, and there are trolley tours, with many tourists visiting the famous Lakeview Cemetery. Their motto of the museum “for all people” is very true as they are able to offer the whole of the museum (except very special seasonal exhibits) for FREE. We have learned so much about history and art both there. In fact, it was just designated as the second best in the United States. One of my favorite rooms there is the Egyptian exhibit and it was the inspiration for this poem.

 

1_king_tut_carter

Howard Carter and his team, including Lord Carnavon, found King Tut’s tomb in 1922

 

King Tut’s Revenge

From the glass, from tomb,
                                           …he rises.

With layers of cloth loose-hanging,
dripping in gold, woken and ambivalent.
Hand over where his amulet protects,
he stumbles on ancient legs,
his bones dismantling.

Looking for Lord Carnavon’s ghost,
mouth falls wide with silent screams,
hands outstretched, reading walls
with no eyes, King Tut examines
his life defined.

His skeletal fingers scratch across
the surface of his golden casket,
where he once laid, identifiable
by artistic paint, regal in death.

But bound by revenge, seething
in pain for archaeologists’ desecration,
legs and arms and head chopped in two,
body parts scraped as is mud on a shoe.

Bat wings flutter as he lurches
in the tunnels, moving forward,
on broken limbs he seeks those alive
who disturb his peace, then flee like flies.

His jewels, his possessions, stolen
and sold, even his penis vanished
in dismemberment, with no clues.

His sinister mission is not for murderer,
whether accident, family, or rhino,
but for lost immortality,
                                           …for afterlife.

Banging into walls, bones shredding,
powder mixing with dust, groaning.
He raises his hands to the sky,
he’s lost his reincarnation hope
through Osiris.

He throws dirt from the cavernous
wall, and blows on it in mid-air,
creating a black soot to kill all.

He winds up the particles by hand,
curses in ancient Egyptian as a storm begins.
Creating a tornado of dark matter,
he shuffles with limp toward the entrance,
the living (undead) image of Aten.

– Erin Sweet Al-Mehairi, ©10/30/18

I have always been entranced by the story of the Pharaohs, especially with the boy king, King Tutankhamun, born Prince Tutankhamen, and the many various rumors and stories of his life and the drama surrounding his tomb. Though I believe in historical research and preservation, certainly the desecration, horrible handling, and theft should have been avoided. What must King Tut have thought? I think he had every reason to curse those greedy fools…and maybe still has revenge to get still to this day.

******

A word of gratitude to my son Nassem, who while in college in D.C., was up late into the night with me discussing these poems – he’s always been one of my best and most candid first readers – and photos that might go with them.

And if you’ve made it this far, thank you so much for reading my poetry.

HAPPY HALLOWEEN! mummy-smiley.png

Erin

P.S. Also, if you missed it, you can read my new short fiction story, “The Witch’s Cottage” over at the Ladies of Horror Flash Fiction Project for free.

P.S.S. If you want to support the artist, you can find more of my poetry in my dark poetry and short story collection, Breathe. Breathe., here on Amazon.

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#HookInterview: Cemetery Travel Writer and Horror Author Loren Rhoads #LOHF

As a special Halloween treat, I have had Loren Rhoads, author of 199 Cemeteries to See Before You Die and Bram Stoker nominated editor of the past magazine Morbid Curiosity, drop by to speak with us about her spooky and memorable cemetery travels as well as her other writing. I wish I would have asked her even more questions, but I hope after you read this, you’ll go learn more about Loren yourself too. Feel free to leave comments below for Loren or me if you like!

Enjoy!

Hi, Loren! Welcome to Oh, for the Hook of a Book! It’s a favorite time of year for those of us who love the spooky things in life—October! My daughters and I have baked some cupcakes for your arrival, chocolate icing with cookie gravestones on the top. Let’s sit out on the back porch and watch the leaves change while we sip hot apple cider and share a few of them.

Graveyard-Cupcakes-4

Though I wish I actually baked these, not this time. LOL! I pulled this photo from the net. We’ll use our imaginations!

Loren: Thank you, Erin! That sounds lovely.  I just love this time of year: my birthday is in October, the leaves change even in California, where autumn is really subtle, and one of my favorite colors is pumpkin orange. October just makes me happy.

Erin: I agree. And happy belated birthday! I’m glad I’ve made cupcakes then. 🙂 Now that we’ve had a few bites, I want to ask you a few questions.

Q: You love to travel to cemeteries and you’ve put out several books filled with essays and destinations for famous tombs and gravesites. Tell us about your books and how did this obsession start?

A:  More than 20 years ago I edited a book of cemetery essays called Death’s Garden: Relationships with Cemeteries. It came out of my fascination with the different ways people interact with cemeteries.

That book led to a monthly column about my travels to cemeteries around the world for Gothic.Net. I worked there for 4-1/2 years, long enough to put together a collection of my essays that I called Wish You Were Here: Adventures in Cemeteries. (The second edition came out in Summer of 2017.)

To promote the first edition of that book, I started a blog called CemeteryTravel.com. It focuses on a Cemetery of the Week each Wednesday, plus reviews of cemetery books I’ve read, and travel trips to encourage people to visit cemeteries.

Because of my blog, I was contacted by Black Dog & Leventhal to write 199 Cemeteries to See Before You Die. It’s a heavily illustrated full-color guide to cemeteries around the world that welcome visitors. That book came out in October 2017.

My whole cemetery obsession started the year my husband and I ended up in London by accident.  We visited Highgate Cemetery and I simply fell in love.

Egyptian_Avenue_Highgate_Cemetery

Highgate Cemetery, Entrance to Egyptian Ave, West / Wiki commons

Q: What is the most interesting grave you’ve visited and why?

A: A couple of years ago, I finally got to Poblenou Cemetery in Barcelona. There was one grave marker I wanted to see above all others: El Beso de Muerto. It’s a huge free-standing sculpture of a skeletal death bending over a beautiful young man to touch her teeth to his brow. It did not disappoint!  Just imagine choosing that as the image you wil confront each time you visit your loved one’s grave.

Loren Barcelona

Poblenou Cemetery, Barcelona / Photo credit Loren Rhoades

Q: The most frightening and why?

A: I don’t know if I’ve ever visited a frightening grave. Maybe the saddest graves I’ve ever visited were outside the concentration camp Terezin (called Theresienstadt by the Nazis). The gravestones had numbers instead of names, because the corpses couldn’t be identified. That graveyard made the Holocaust real to me in a way that reading about it never did.

Q: Which ones should a traveler put on their itinerary?

A: In the US, everyone should see Mount Auburn in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Hollywood Forever in Los Angeles, and Saint Louis #1 in New Orleans.  Beyond that, there are so many beautiful, fascinating places. Forest Hills in Madison was really pretty. Lake View in Seattle is spectacular. In fact, I can suggest 199 cemeteries everyone should see!

Erin Notes: Henry Wadsworth Longfellow is buried at Mount Auburn! This photo is from an old Publisher Weekly column from Alison Morris.

longfellow1

Q: What is the strangest thing you’ve encountered while wandering through graveyards?

A: I went to Kutna Hora in the Czech Republic for my birthday one year.  During the Middle Ages, the graveyard there was one of the biggest in Europe. Someone brought dirt back from the Holy Land to sprinkle around the graveyard, to consecrate it.  People came to believe that if they were buried in dirt that had been touched by holy dirt, they would be guaranteed to entrance to Heaven. People came to Kutna Hora to die, just so they could be buried there.  At a certain point, all the bones in the graveyard were exhumed and placed in the crypt of the mortuary chapel. A woodcarver came along and organized the bones into a chandelier, a couple of chalices, a coat of arms, and four enormous pyramids. Visiting that amazing, beautiful chapel was very thought-provoking.

Q: I mentioned to you that I visited Lake View Cemetery in Cleveland this summer, resting place of President Garfield, Rockefeller, and even Eliot Ness, to name a few. How was trip? What did you see or do there that caught your interest?

A: I visited Lake View the November my dad was at the Cleveland Clinic getting an artificial valve placed in his heart. I found the Images of America guide to the cemetery in the hospital gift shop, which inspired me to borrow my mom’s car one afternoon to explore. I got to see the inside of the Wade Chapel, which was designed by Louis Comfort Tiffany who designed those beautiful stained glass windows.  Tiffany didn’t want his delicate murals to be discolored by candle smoke, so he talked to his friend Thomas Edison about wiring the chapel for electricity. It was the first electrified building in Cleveland.

Erin Note: I love Wade Chapel! It’s beautiful and peaceful. I am a Tiffany fanatic and so, since there are many in Cleveland I try to seek them all out, and I had to see this one. Here’s one of my own photos of the window from this summer.

Tiffany Window Wade Chapel

Tiffany Window in Wade Chapel, Lakeview Cemetery, Cleveland Ohio / Photo credit Erin Al-Mehairi, July 2018

Q: What do you write about in your essays and stories about cemeteries? What do you think readers are most interested in?

A: I write about everything: history, fame and infamy, iconography and artwork, horticulture, wildlife, ghosts… Cemeteries are incredibly complex mirrors of the societies in which they exist. There’s something to appeal to everyone.

Q: How has the reception been for your 199 Cemeteries to See Before You Die and subsequent titles? Will you continue to write them?

A: 199 Cemeteries has done really well.  Last I heard, the book was close to selling out its first edition and earning out its advance. I’ve already turned in changes for a second edition, so I’m looking forward to seeing that soon.

Since that book out, I’ve been working on a book about my local pioneer cemeteries.  San Francisco, where I live, was founded in 1776 by the Spanish, but the area exploded in population during the Gold Rush. Those original cemeteries are old and fragile now, threatened by earthquakes, wildfires, and mudslides, so I feel like they need to be recorded before they vanish.

After that, I don’t know. No one’s done a definitive guide to the cemeteries of the California Gold Country. Maybe I’ll get to write 199 More Cemeteries to See Before You Die.

199 Cemeteries

Q: Are there special events or visits (or both) that you do over Halloween pertaining to your interest and writing of cemeteries stories?

A: I’ve done a bunch of cemetery lectures in the last couple of weeks: at Cypress Lawn Cemetery, the City College of San Francisco, and at a literary festival in San Francisco called the Litquake. October is always my busiest month. I only got to tour one cemetery this year!

Q: I bet it is the busiest time of year, but sounds amazing. Do you feel any importance writing about graveyards or is it all just for fun and travel?

A: A lot of people write about cemeteries, from historians to cemetery tour guides to genealogists, but I’ve been blessed to be able to combine my love of travel with my fascination for graveyards.

Q: What’s on your own bucket list for graveyards to travel to?

A: My bucket list grows at the bottom!  I’d like to see the Taj Mahal and the pyramids in Egypt and Happy Valley Cemetery in Hong Kong and Bonaventure in Savannah, Georgia, and the churchyard of the old leper colony on Molokai in Hawaii.  I’ll be traveling to visit cemeteries until I die.

Wish You Were Here cover

Q: Do you write other things or any fiction? What else have your written or are working on writing?

A: Thank you for asking this! I’ve written a series of stories about a young witch named Alondra DeCourval. She travels the world, fighting supernatural monsters. This year I’ve put out three ebook collections – Alondra’s Experiments, Alondra’s Investigations, and Alondra’s Adventures – each with three previously published stories. They’re available on Amazon.

Thorn Coyle, author of the Witches of Portland series, calls the Alondra stories “Sexy, spooky, fast-paced urban fantasy. There’s magic at the heart of each of these tales. Alondra herself is magic wrapped in a human guise.”

In addition, I’m just about to dive into a novel for Nanowrimo. It’s a sequel to my succubus/angel novel Lost Angels, which was published a couple of years ago. It’s time to tell the rest of Lorelei’s story.

Loren testimonial

Q: What are some of the best books in horror by women you’ve read over the last year?

A: I’ve been concentrating on getting books off my TBR shelf this year, which has meant reading a lot of nonfiction. That said, I have E. M. Markoff’s The Deadbringer ahead of me, which I’m really looking forward to. Blood Ink, Dana Fredsti’s second Lilith book, will be coming out next spring. I’ll read that as soon as it’s out.

Q: Any plans for Halloween?

A: My kid is outgrowing trick or treating, so this may be the last year we go.  I’m planning to enjoy it as long as I can.

Erin: It was probably my last child’s last true Trick-or Treat too this year, but she has so much fun she said she’s never stopping.

Thank you so much for joining me, Loren! I’m a huge fan of visiting graveyards and cemeteries, which came to me at a young age when I was doing a lot of genealogy research with my family! They are so peaceful at times and full of history. Thank you for sharing your experiences with us. I hope to read more of your work and see you back here again one day! We’ll share more cupcakes!

Loren: Thank you so much for having me come by, Erin.  I love to meet kindred spirits!

Erin: Me too!

Loren Rhoads Biography –

Loren

Loren Rhoads is the author of 199 Cemeteries to See Before You Die and Wish You Were Here: Adventures in Cemetery Travel.

She is also the author of a space opera trilogy, co-author of a love story between a succubus and an angel, and is working on a series of stories about a witch who travels the world to fight monsters. You can see a longer biography detailing all her work and activities here.

You can keep up with her overall at lorenrhoads.com.

Author Photo Credit: S.G. Browne

Thank you for reading!

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Hook Introduction: Macabre Author Stephanie Ayers

Hey all, just in time for Halloween for all my readers of the scary variety, here is some information on a new set of short stories, The 13: Tales of Macabre by Stephanie Ayers. I don’t know Stephanie, but I am always willing to help a lady of horror fiction out. Please note I’ve yet to read her work myself, so consider this an introduction to us both. Check out her stories, her bio, and if you read all the way below about various “five fast things” she likes in certain categories, you may even be surprised she likes horror. I’m much the same way, very well-rounded! Might I suggest you at least consider adding her collections to your GoodReads? If killer watermelons don’t grab you I don’t know what will!!

Best of luck, Stephanie!

The 13 Duo DeskThe 13: Tales of Macabre

Killer watermelons, murderous jewelry boxes, centenarian sea whisperers, creatures of myth/legend, and more…

This supernatural story collection will make you reconsider everything you thought you knew. At night you’ll hover under your covers while looking over your shoulder in the day. Down, down in the depths they fell; bodies in the dark of a liquid hell.

Can you survive all 12?

From the thrilling author of Til Death Do Us Part and The 13: Tales of Illusory comes a second volume of twelve supernatural tales of ghosts, vampires, and things that go bump in the night.

Ayers Creative Concepts is very excited to announce the publication of The 13: Tales of Macabre by Stephanie Ayers. Her words will jump from the page and haunt you once the lights go out. They will make you look over your shoulder during the day. This second volume in The 13 series released on Friday, October 26, 2018.

You can learn more about Stephanie Ayers and The 13 by following along with the book blog tour which began on the author’s website (Growing Up Stephanie) on October 2, 1018.

Purchase –

Smashwords https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/895641

Amazon https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07H7ND2J4/

Universal eBook link https://www.books2read.com/u/3R1lAD

Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/41940897-the-13

Barnes & Noble https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-13-stephanie-ayers/1129510194?ean=2940156116027

Steph

Stephanie Ayers, Biography –

A published author with a knack for twisted tales, Stephanie Ayers is a coffee guzzling, word whispering, world building creative ninja and unicorn living in Ohio disguised as a human. She mothers her children, loves her husband, attends church, and avoids all things housework and zombies. When she isn’t doing any of these things, she can be found stretching her creative wings designing book covers, promotional graphics, logos and more.

To learn more about this author visit Growing Up Stephanie or her Amazon Author Page (https://goo.gl/1jEeXN). 

Newsletter https://www.subscribepage.com/o6e0l9

Amazon https://www.amazon.com/Stephanie-Ayers/e/B00H1XOA50

Bookbub https://www.bookbub.com/authors/stephanie-ayers

Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/goodreadscomauthor_sam

Facebook Author Page https://www.facebook.com/theauthorSAM

Facebook Group https://www.facebook.com/groups/ayersstreetteam

Twitter https://twitter.com/theauthorSAM

Instagram https://instagram.com/iwrite_idesign

Website https://stephanieayersauthor.com

YouTube https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCCjXrvFvcGEKXcIWqi–CkQ

All Author http://stephanieayers.allauthor.com

Google + https://plus.google.com/u/0/109584376406882925640

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/stephanieayersauthor

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/theauthorSAM

A Few of My Favorite Things (Fast Five) –

Favorite Books: The Stand, Divergent, Through the Looking Glass, The Forgotten Garden, and Inkheart.

Favorite Songs: Anyway by Martina McBride, Chasing Cars by Soul Patrol, Dream On by Aerosmith, Cotton Eyed Joe by Rednex, Cake by the Ocean by DNCE

Favorite Movies: Hope Floats, Divine Secrets of the Yaya Sisterhood, The Messengers, The Wizard of Oz, Mary Poppins

Favorite Foods: pizza, pasta, ice cream, chips, second breakfasts

Favorite TV Shows: Chicago Fire, Chicago PD, Law & Order SVU, The Voice, This Is Us

#HookofaBookIntroductions

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