Saturday, June 21, 2014

Taking A Small Break!!

Hello friends, I am currently in the middle of moving to a new apartment so that's why I haven't been active much this week.

Will be transferring my internet, electricity and such next week, then unpacking all over again at the new place so I won't be posting much.

I will be back around mid-July and hope to catch up with you all then.

Coming in July I have two interviews lined up, one with Jane Godman and another with Alyne De Winter.  Also tons of movie reviews and new segments of my novella.

I hate not being able to write here, this blog is truly a labor of love.  Sigh.

But on the bright side, I will back back in a few weeks!!

Friday, June 20, 2014

House of Hollow Wind (Mini Blog-Series Part 5)

 A little while later, still sleepy from my restless night before, I’d reclined to the bed with one of Vanessa’s mystery novels when I heard a soft rap on the door. 

“Yes, who is it?”  I called tentively and yawned, despite the early afternoon hour.

“It’s me,” came a gruff male voice as he opened the door and stuck his head inside. “Libby sent me up with your luggage.”

Now that I had a closer view, I realized how handsome the young man was.  He looked to be in his mid-twenties and sported the kind of rugged good looks you could expect in a plow hand.  His tight, red long-sleeved shirt accentuated some hefty biceps and I caught my gaze lingering upon his contour a bit longer than necessary.  He had curly blonde hair, and a natural half smile that looked sort of like a smirk, depending on the general tilt of his head.  He was certainly a looker.  I could understand why Vanessa had found him attractive.

“Oh I see,”  I touched my hair in a subconscious effort to quail the static electricity, realizing with embarrassment that I’d just been staring and he was still waiting for me to answer.  “Please bring it in, you must be Greg.”

“That’s my name,” was his retort, not bothering to give me so much as a glance.  “I guess you could call me the handy man.  I’m usually about if you need anything else.”  He looked around the room for a moment. “Not that I expect you do, looks as if you are well settled in.”

His rudeness could not be mistaken and I felt my cheeks redden in anger.  What an unfriendly introduction!  My mouth fell open as I watched him make his way to the door. 

“Just a second, please,” my attempt not to sound angry faltered, I felt this man at least owned me the consideration of a proper introduction, considering he might have information about Vanessa.  I desperately wanted to know if she was okay.  I could understand her reluctance to contact my grandparents if she was angry, but according to Libby, she and Greg had been close friends.

“I’m kind of in a hurry, got a lot of work to get done today.  Is there something else I can do for you—“

“Aubrey,” I said pointedly.  “My name is Aubrey.  And I understand you and Vanessa were close friends.  From what I gather, no one has heard from her in weeks.  I was just wondering if maybe you’d heard from her.”

“If no one else has heard from her, what makes you think I would, Aubrey?”  His eyes flicked angrily as he grabbed the doorknob pointedly.  Obviously the question had hit a raw nerve, or else he was still heart broken and angry at Vanessa’s rejection.

“I just thought maybe she told you where she was going before she left,” I said.  “It’s not like her to just totally disappear, especially if she knew I was coming here. I know she was probably excited to see me.”

“I see,” he sneered at me, his eyes ablaze.  “So you feel she’s snubbed you by running off with that scoundrel Keith before giving you a proper goodbye.  Well, if it’s any consolation to you, I’m sure that’s not what happened.”

I was taken aback.  I’m not sure what affected me the most, his blatant anger towards Vanessa or his insulting attitude towards my concern.  Whatever falling out he’d had with Vanessa, I was sure had turned him this bitter.  I could never fathom her spending time with someone so stand-offish and angry, not the light-hearted happy-go-lucky girl who’d written me countless letters full of bubbly observations. 

“What do you mean?” I narrowed my eyes, demanding an explanation.  “If it’s not true that she ran off with this Keith character, then where do you think she is because she’s sure not anywhere around here!”  I threw my hands up in frustration.

Greg turned toward me, closing the few steps between us.  He was close enough that I could feel his breath on my face. 

“I don’t know where she is any more than anyone else does.  Despite the rumors I’m sure you’ve got bouncing around in your pretty head, there was nothing between Vanessa and I but a friendship.  I looked out for her when I could,” he looked pained, his face reddened.  “I don’t know what to tell you, other than there’s something real fishy going on around here.  If I were you I wouldn’t bother with playing the part of Nancy Drew.   If you want my advice you need to leave here.  And now, tonight!”

With those words he threw the door open and shut it loudly behind him.  I stood there for a few moments, too shaken to move.   This was the second time someone had warned me away in less than twenty-four hours.  I shivered as I leaned against the door.  I could not leave yet, the meager savings I had would not allow me to live anywhere else.  Besides, Vanessa was like a sister to me.  I owed it to her to make sure she was okay.  I had no other choice but to stay.

Part 6 coming soon!

<<<House of Hollow Wind Part 4                        House of Hollow Wind Part 6>>>

Monday, June 16, 2014

House of Hollow Wind (Mini Blog Series Part 4)

 A moment later Aunt Helen walked into the kitchen.  As if on cue, Libby turned back to the dishes, scrubbing them with vigor and dismissing our conversation altogether.  I couldn’t blame her.  I supposed it wouldn’t do her good to let Aunt Helen hear her gossiping about the household, if even to me.  Yet, I felt I had as much right as anyone to know what had gone on  with Vanessa before she left and what had chased her away.  I had the innate feeling that Vanessa hadn’t left to begin a shiny new life on her own, but had done so because she was running from the oppression of this house.

Aunt Helen had not yet noticed my presence at the table.  She came bearing Grandpa’s bed tray.  I watched as she delicately arranged his coffee and a plate of eggs and biscuits, grandpa had never been much on sausage.  I smiled, thinking to myself that some things never change.  Except Helen.  In the years since I’d be away, her gray had spread from a sprinkling around her temples to a full head of salt and pepper.  She still swept it into a bun atop her head, so tight it stretched away the wrinkles of her forehead.  Time had not been kind to her injury either, she limped worse than I’d ever seen, scraping the cane along with every step.  It was a wonder she could even make it up a set of stairs in such a condition.  I couldn’t help but mention so.

“Oh Aunt Helen,” I spoke meekly from my perch at the table.  “I wouldn’t mind at all to carry that up for you, it must be an awful task what with that cane and your bed leg.”

She turned to me, obvious surprise registering in her face.  “Well look at you, child!  Why, if I hadn’t known it was you…you don’t even look like that little girl that left here nine years ago!”  Then, as if minding her proper manners, “I’d come pinch those cheeks like I used to if my hands weren’t so full, but my how nice it is to have you back, my dear.  This old house has missed you so.” She smiled warmly.

I rose to take the tray, but she backed away.

“I’ll have none of that, dear,” she said, jutting her bottom lip out stubbornly as she always did when making a point. “I’ve been doing this since dad took sick, and besides I’m quite used to the stairs by now.  I’ll make it just fine on my own like I always do.  You finish your breakfast now,”  she looked me up and down then. “You’re as frail as ever, looks as if you could use a second helping!
She paused at the foot of the stairs and looked back into the kitchen, as if trying to mind her manners and pay me a proper homecoming.  “Of course, I hope we get a chance to sit a spell together soon, we have a lot to catch up on!”  And with that she went limping up the stairs, cane in one hand and a bed tray perched upon the open palm of the other.

I turned back to Libby, shaking my head, “She’s always been so stubborn, refusing help even after the accident.”

Libby turned to me, shaking her head with a look of sympathy, “I suppose it’s the only bit of independence she has left, what with her limitations.” 

I quickly cleared the table for Libby and carried the dirty dishes to the sink.  I would have offered to wash them, except she shooed me away, saying something about how she liked to earn her pay.  I wondered for a moment just how my grandparents were able to pay hired help, but noted that they’d always been thrifty and probably had quite a bit of savings in their old age.  I silently scolded myself, knowing it was none of my business either way.  

Before returning to my room, I paused to look out screen door once more.  The young man was gone.  Where ever he went, it appeared Shadow had followed him.  Neither one were anywhere in sight.  I was terribly curious as to the identity of the young man, but decided I’d ask Libby later.  My lack of sleep the night before was beginning to wear on me.  I wished only to take a nap.  As I turned for the stairs, I noticed my luggage still sitting in the foyer by the front door and was struggling to arrange it in both arms when Libby interrupted me, demanding I put it down at once.  She said she’d have someone bring it up, and for all my protesting she refused to let me carry the heavy bags upstairs.

“Much too frail and small, a young girl like you trying to carry all those bags,” she shook her head at me as mother would reprimand a child for it’s trespasses.  “You carry on along, girl.  I’ll have your bags brought up in a little bit, don’t you worry your pretty head about that!”

As I climbed the stairs, I vaguely wondered how she knew I was still downstairs in the foyer.  Had she been watching me, waiting for me to return to my room?  Was there a reason she wanted me to leave my luggage, perhaps she wanted to look through it?   I shook the thoughts away, silently scolding myself for being so suspicious.  So far Libby’s had been the friendliest welcome I’d received in that grand old ramshackle house.  And for all I knew, last night could have been a dream, except the bruise on my backside was very real.

Stay tuned for part 5!  New segments added every Monday and Thursday!

<<House of Hollow Wind Part 3                                   House of Hollow Wind Part 5>>>

Sunday, June 15, 2014

The Silver Scream: 'Witchcraft' Movie Review

There's something nostalgic about the old black and white movies that seem to have become all but obscure.  Maybe it's just me but when I watch them (just the same as when I read the vintage books) I feel as if I'm taking a step back in time.  You get a good sense of what life was like in, say, the 60', customs, language, cars, and so on.  And when I compare these films with the colorful movies of today, with their wonderful graphics and polished props, I can't help but to feel an even stronger fondness for the old movies. Since my foray with Dark Shadows original TV show, I seem to have grown fond of these 'lost films.'  

Anyway, today I found a couple of hours to browse through some of the great (though lost now to most of the modern world) gothic romance movies of the 60's and 70's.  I was a bit aggravated that a few (of course the ones that sounded especially good) were in other languages with no subtitle.  Sigh.  But, I did manage to find a pretty good movie titled Witchcraft.   

My Summary:

The movie revolves around a three-hundred-year feud between two families, the Lanier's and the Whitlocks.  Three hundred years prior, the Lanier's buried a witch alive and took over the old Whitlock castle.  Now, centuries later, the Lanier's have made preparations to doze over the old Whitlock  cemetary for new land development.  Morgan Whitlock and his niece, Amy, beg the developers to stop dozing out the headstones of the cemetary, as they are desecrating the graves of their ancestors.  Yet the pleas come to no avail and the tomb of the long-dead witch, Vanessa, is over-turned and she escapes into the night to seek revenge.  One by one, strange accidents begin to happen to the Whitlocks.  Rumor has it the Whitlocks still practice witchcraft.  Old grandmother Lanier knows of the legend.  She has seen the witch at work and must race against time to battle an ancient evil before it destroys them, one by one.

Movie Synopsis:

When her grave is disturbed by modern-day land developers, a 300-year-old witch is accidentally resurrected and terrorizes an English village.

Director: Don Sharp

Writer: Harry Spalding

Stars: Lon Chaney Jr., Jack Hedley, Jill Dixon

Personally, I really enjoyed this movie.  It hit the theaters in 1964 and was well-received.  I've seen quite a few horrific old black and white movies, but this was not one!  

Great actors, great story-line, wonderful amount of suspense and not too much gore.  Also had a dash of romance.


   5 Stars

You can watch the full-length movie on youtube right HERE!

Friday, June 13, 2014

Reading Radar: 5 New Releases!

Here is a list of gothic romance new releases, listed fresh from the 'new release' section at Amazon.  I've weeded out what I felt were only the best books most reminiscent of the vintage gothic storyline.  I've added these to my wishlist, perhaps you will too!

Family of Strangers: A Gothic Novel of Victorian Scotland

by Janis Susan May

Orphaned and widowed within weeks, Linnet MacLellan journeys to Scotland to seek the protection of her late husband Duncan’s kin. Instead of the happy home and loving family she hopes to find, she meets hostility and disbelief. From the moment that the telegram to Jura House announcing her arrival goes astray and she is almost run down by an unknown rider Linnet is drawn deeper and deeper into problems.

To compound her emotional distress Linnet finds that her late husband’s brother Dougal is his exact twin, while the two aged aunts who raised both boys detest her and want her gone. Simon Fordyce, their closest neighbor, inhabits the Castle, the palatial house the MacLellans regard as their rightful home. The MacLellans regard Fordyce as an interloper and intend to reclaim the Castle, no matter what the law says. To make things even more hostile, Fordyce is intent on putting a mill into the valley in direct contravention to the traditional farming industry Dougal wishes to revive.

Tension reaches a fever pitch as both men determinedly court Linnet, then matters take a much darker turn when someone starts making attempts against Linnet’s life.

Lady Wild: A Wicked Games Novella

by Maire Claremont

Victorian England is about to go wild…

Lady Ophelia longs to be daring and bold, but her mother’s illness has stolen her creative fire. Condemned to an isolated country cottage after the death of her idealistic father, she and her mother are forsaken by family and all of society. Disappointed by those she once trusted, Lady Ophelia lovingly nurses her mother knowing that her own dreams of being an artist will never be realized. That is until she meets a devilish aristocrat who reawakens her desire to be wild.

Viscount Stark has never known love. Reputed to be a rebel and a rake by all, at heart he is anything but. When he meets Lady Ophelia, he is struck by her haunting presence. Will he continue to play his wicked games and risk ruining the last of Lady Ophelia’s wounded heart? Or will he dare to be the gentleman he always wanted to be and find a love he never thought possible?

Mateguas Island: A Novel of Terror and Suspense

by Linda Watkins

On a remote island off the coast of Maine, a troubled family is trying to pick up the pieces of their shattered lives and start over. But unbeknownst to them, the property they have inherited is steeped in ancient magic – magic that could seek to destroy and devour them.

An arcane locked box, a strange and foreboding trail into the woods, a seductive young woman, and tales of a malevolent Indian spirit, are just some of the perils Karen Andersen must face in order to find a way to save her family.

A spine-tingling tale filled with passion, lies, and betrayal, Ms. Watkins debut novel, will have you sleeping with the lights on!

Barrett's Hill 

by Anne Stuart

40th anniversary edition with bonus content!

Seduction and murder.

Adam Traywick may be capable of both.

In this celebrated gothic romance, will Miranda be the next victim of Barrett’s Hill.

When her father’s will sends strong-willed, irreverent Miranda to the New England estate of nearby Barrett’s Hill to live under the guardianship of her elder cousin—the sour Reverend Smathers—and his scheming family, trouble quickly brews.

Two decades earlier a murder took place on Barrett’s Hill, and the suspects are few. Miranda’s spirited investigation raises the fear of public scandal among her hypocritical relatives—the Reverend’s alcoholic wife and viciously manipulative daughter—especially since the suspects are the Reverend, his toadying assistant Fathimore, Miranda’s own father, and the darkly irresistible Adam Traywick.

Adam turns his masterful charms on Miranda, and she falls in love. Yet as it becomes clear she’s provoked the killer’s survival instincts, with herself his target, she can’t help wondering if Adam is seducing her or planning her murder.

Lady in the Mist 

by Winter Frost

Upon her arrival in Shoal Harbor, Maine, Lily Jackson hears eerie moans that the locals claim are the ghostly cries of the unfortunate Breckenridge women. Running from loss and setback in Cincinnati, Lily needs the job as semi-psychiatric caregiver for Andrew Breckenridge, but the storm she has to weather from the oldest Breckenridge brother is severe. Clinton Breckenridge is a brooding man used to getting his own way, and he’s not convinced Lily is the right person to help his troubled younger brother.

Even as Lily starts picking up the pieces of Andrew’s tortured psyche and finding out his dark secrets, another mystery looms before her. Andrew’s lover has gone missing in recent months and no one knows what has happened to her, or if her voice has joined those of the other Breckenridge women. Before she knows it, Lily finds herself in danger—thrust directly into the eye of the raging storm.

All these books are available at (I almost always buy mine on Kindle).

Hope you enjoyed this installment of 'Reading Radar.'  Happy reading, friends!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

House of Hollow Wind (Mini Blog-Series Part 3)

Part 3

The next day I awoke to the bright morning sun setting my small room alight.  Grumbling to myself about country mornings and how quickly the sun falls across the mountains out in the middle of nowhere, I managed to drag myself out of bed.  After a quick shower, I dressed in a pair of black leggings with a slouchy sweater.  I applied some lip gloss and gave my hair a good brushing before heading down to breakfast.  My back ached as I made my way down the steps, old fashioned and steep as they were.  The dull pain sobered me to the events of late last night.  Even amidst the reverie of sleep deprivation and a case of nerves, I knew I did not imagine nor hallucinate the ghastly haunting I’d experienced the night before.

I had always been a girl of logic, strong in mind.  I was not given to fanciful stories and fantasies.  Thus, I knew without the shadow of a doubt that the ghostly image was contrived to purposely frightened me.  I also was not apt to believe in ghosts and haunting apparitions, so the only other explanation was that someone at Hollow Wind House meant to scare me away.  Only, I had no idea who would do such a thing, nor why.  I’d come to help Grandpa, I posed no threat to anyone by any means...or did I?

“Why, you must be the Miss Aubrey,” a friendly voice interrupted my thoughts as I made my way into the kitchen.  “Heard a lot of things about you, I have!”

I looked up, surprised by the greeting.  A plump lady with a mop of black curls stood over a skillet full of scrambled eggs and sausage links.  She looked to be in her late forties or early fifities.  She was a stranger to me but her smile was contagious.  Grandma had never employed help, so I was taken by the notion that she must be a nurse or a visiting relative.  Yet, no one had informed me of either possibility.

“Oh dear, forgive me,”  she seemed to have noticed my questioning stare.  “My name is Libby, I’m  the house cook.”  She smiled again.  “Well, if you could call it that!  That is, I cook and do some light cleaning during the week.  Put an ad in the newspaper a few months ago and your sweet Grandma contacted me.  Been cleaning and cooking all my life, I have.”

“I had no idea Grandma had hired help,”  I smiled and held out my hand.  “And yes, I’m Aubrey.  It’s so very nice to meet you!”

“Pleasure to finally meet you too,” she drawled as she flipped the eggs and began a biscuit batter with an expert hand.  Her country accent led me to believe she was probably a local. 

“Have you lived here all your life?” I inquired.

“Oh yes,” she blew a stray curl away from her eyes and looked my way.  “Born and raised, got a family of my own.  Two daughters and a grandbaby, ‘course, she’s spoiled as can be.”  Libby beamed, obviously proud of her only grandchild.  “Inherited my curls, she did.  Neither of my daughters did, but my Adda Lee sure did!”

“What a pretty name,” I said, looking out the screen door window, distracted.  

Shadow sat at her usual perch on the porch, and in the near distance I noticed a young man.  I couldn’t really discern his features as he ducked in and out from under Grandpa’s old ’87 Chevy.  That was another pitfall of my grandparents, they refused to buy anything new until the old was absolutely unusable anymore, cars and clothes were not excluded.  I used to hate when Grandma insisted on mending my torn clothes, rather than replacing them.  I knew we didn’t have a lot of extra money to go around, but I was sure the other school kids noticed my raggedy jeans and sweaters, although no one ever outright said anything.

“I stay here five days a week, I do.”  Libby continued, not noticing my preoccupation with the young man outside.  “Your grandparents gave me the guest room at the very end of the hall, so homely, feels almost like my own place,” she gushed thankfully.

So, she lived here as well.  I mentally added her name to the list of possibilities of those who could have ‘haunted’ me last night.  Although, as I looked at this short, pleasant woman,  I doubted she’d have enough gall to ever do anything so mean spirited.  My belly was grumbling, and I soon grew tired of trying to catch a glimpse of the young man’s face. I took my usual seat at the table, noting the empty chair to my left that Vanessa had occupied during all my childhood dinners.  I suddenly had a fierce longing for the girl.  I hadn’t seen her in years, but I knew she probably hadn’t changed much.  She’d always been the more beautiful of us two in her shining strawberry blonde hair and flawless skin as opposed to my dirty brown curls and freckled cheeks.  But I’d loved her as I would have my own sister. 

I had never felt any jealousy or sibling rivalry as some of my college friends seemed to experience with their sisters.  If anything, I was drawn to the light spirit of Vanessa, how she could brighten a room merely by entering it.  I found it almost impossible to believe she’d become angry enough at Grandpa to leave, especially if he was ailing.  Yet I was also aware what strict limitations my grandparents had expected us to live by.  We’d sparsely had any friends or been allowed any outings.  Dating had been absolutely forbidden.  I reasoned Vanessa had found these rules oppressive and terribly limiting during her teenage years.  Perhaps she’d finally hit her breaking point when Grandpa insisted on finding her a suitor of his own and refusing her the right to make her own choices.  After all, she was nearly twenty!

“Why, you’re a million miles away, dear,” Libby had set a steaming pot of coffee on the table.  She handed me a teacup and saucer before placing a series of creams and sugar by the pot.  “You got something on your mind?  You can tell old Libby, sometimes it’s best to get things out in the open.”  She flashed me a smile as she set a heaping plate in front of me.

“Oh I’m sorry,”  I frowned.  “I was just thinking about my cousin, Vanessa.  I just wish she were here, it’s a bit lonely for me, and I haven’t seen her in such a long time.” 

“Yes, it sure is quiet around here without that one,” Libby looked at me, a hint of sadness in her eyes.  “But I can’t blame her for leaving one bit.  What with the troubles she was having with her grandfather and all her troubles with love.”  She shook her head and tsked.  “Guess she finally made her decision, she did!”

I looked at Libby, taken aback.  Whatever was she referring to about decisions and love?  Of course, Grandma had said Vanessa ran off with her new boyfriend, Keith, but what troubles had ensued?  Had something terrible happened?  Was there more to this story than I’d been told?  I put down my fork, no longer hungry.

“Whatever do you mean about love troubles, Libby?”  I asked the evasive woman who’d turned back to piling the dishes in the sink.

“Why miss,”  she walked close to me, bending her head down and lowering her voice to  a whisper.  

“Before she left, Vanessa had gotten in over her head, I tell you!”  Her eyes widened as if for emphasis.  “She’d been seeing Greg, the handyman, on and off for months when Keith stepped into the picture.  Met him downtown somewhere, she said.  Why, it was a bonafide love triangle, the talk of the town!”

I gasped and mixed a spoon of cream into my coffee, a mindless preoccupation.  I found it hard to believe Vanessa would involve herself in such a scandal, but then I hadn’t seen her in years.  People change over time, I knew that much, even I had changed a bit myself.  Straightening my hair, learning the tricks of applying make-up, transforming myself.  Who was I to believe that Vanessa could not change, also? 

“So what happened next,” I asked Libby, trying to pretend not to care either way.  I didn’t want the woman to think I enjoyed indulging in petty gossip, although from the looks of it, she appeared to.

“Oh, it was an awful night, dear,” her eyes grew big again, her frown deepened.  “Your Grandpa had been feeling ill for some time, weeks before I arrived.  I’d only been here a week or so.  Was in my room when the argument broke out, there was screaming, someone threw a vase and broke it all over the upstairs hallway.  Doors slammed and all was silent.  I cleaned the mess in the hall but asked no questions, and no one offered up any explanation, either.”  She shook her head as if in awe at this.  “Next thing I knew that evening, Miss Vanessa and Keith had gone!”  

Stay tuned for part 4.  New segments added every Monday and Thursday!

<<House of Hollow Wind Part 2                                          House of Hollow Wind Part 4>>>

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Round-Up Wednesday: The Week's Smallest Reads and Other Things

 Hello fellow bookworms!

This is my very first 'round-up' Wednesday post.  Hope you enjoy seeing all the little misc. things I've done this week.

First we'll begin with some  creepy-great shorts I found (and read) from amazon.  They are a mix of paranormal, a few have some gothic elements (particularly The Doll), but the best thing is they are FREE as kindle go grab them!

The Doll

by J.C. Martin

The Island of the Dolls is a strange and eerie tourist destination in Mexico, where hundreds of decomposing dolls hang from trees like grisly Christmas ornaments. On a trip to the island, Joyce Parker's daughter falls in love with a beautiful but sinister doll. Soon after, she starts developing strange mannerisms that concerns Joyce. Her research into the doll's past reveals a dark history, and the curse of a lonely child spirit

Seriously LOVED this one.  You really gotta read it!.

Ghost Swim

by Sarah Brooke

Dark and still, the pool waits for Rachel Blanchard. She's about to dive in for an evening swim, but the waters may not be as empty as they appear. Deep within, something is waiting. And it doesn't want to her to leave. Ever.

This one was short and sweet...but worth the download.  Brooke also has some great-looking gothic-romance novels that are on my to-be-read list if you want to check her out on amazon!

The Pit Stop

by Carmen DeSousa

The Pit Stop (This Stop Could be Life or Death) is a nine-thousand-word short story by bestselling romantic-suspense author Carmen DeSousa. It's a quick one-hour read, but never fear, you can jump back into the life of Detective Mark Waters in The Depot (When Life and Death Cross Tracks).

When what seems like a normal pit stop turns to more than just gas and food, a lost couple finds themselves searching for the truth of a twenty-year-old mystery that may cost them their life.

This was a pretty well-written little novella with lots of paranormal aspects.  The main character was a male so it does deviate quite a bit from Gothic Romance.  It's still captivating and worth the read if you like creepy/scary stories.

Also this week while I was browsing, I came across a really great website that offers up lists and challenge list for different things and genres (movies, books, etc).  It's called List Challenges and has quite a few gothic-romance and paranormal-romance related lists, you just got to do the searches.  

Oh, and I don't want to forget to talk about Goodreads.  Seriously, I think I'm becoming obsessed, but I suppose there's much worse things to be addicted to than books, eh?  Anyway, in the Gothic Literature group we are reading Lady Audley's Secret for the month of June book discussion.  I got my version free for the Kindle (can we say another addiction?), so you can go grab yours and join us if you'd like!  I'm having way too much fun with that website, it's almost sinful!

I have also added quite a few new titles to my Gothic Romance e-book list on Open Library.  In my list now is 615 gothic romance e-books free for download!  Free!  Some of these books cost an arm and a leg on Amazon and Ebay so go take advantage!  I have a program where I can download mine straight to my tablet and read away just like on a Kindle...or the Kindle app.  Yes, that simple.  I think I'll do a future blog post on how easy this is to do.  Don't ever think because they are ebooks that you are limited to reading pdf's on your computer!  You're not!

I hope you are enjoying the first few installments of House of Hollow Wind.  I'm a poet usually, so don't judge too harshly.  Though I do think it's developing pretty decently.  You can't complain, it's free as well!

Ah, but that concludes my good news for you.  More great posts scheduled for the rest of the week.

Now go grab yourselves some free reads and enjoy!!

Monday, June 9, 2014

House of Hollow Wind (Mini Blog-Series Part 2)

Part 2

I’m not sure how long I’d been asleep when suddenly a strange noise awakened me.  There was a tapping outside my bedroom door, not unlike footsteps or a slow shuffling of feet.  I arose with  a start, noticing someone had turned the table lamp off while I was sleeping.  Perhaps Grandmother had come back some time in the night to check on me?  Or had it been the person who now stood outside my door?  I climbed out of bed, a bit disoriented from darkness and my new surroundings.  I momentarily watched as a full moon slipped eerily behind the gray clouds of twilight outside the window.  The house shook and moaned as if in protest of the winter wind.

I shivered as I made my way to the door, rather from the cold or from fear I wasn't sure.  The wind outside whistled against the window and a chill ran down my spine.  I pressed my ear to the door, “Hello, is anyone there?”

I paused a moment, unsure of what to do, when suddenly there came the sound of a slow moan, almost as if someone were suffering.  Had grandma fallen on her way back to her room?  Or perhaps it was Grandpa I was hearing, calling for help?  I hadn’t seen aunt Helen upon arrival, and reasoned she’d probably been asleep for hours already.  The moan came again, louder this time, closer.  My curiosity was peaked, and apparently someone needed my help.

The knob was cold to the touch.  I twisted the lock and stepped apprehensively into the dim-lit hallway.   At first nothing seemed awry, but as my eyes adjusted to the shadows I noticed something moving several yards ahead of me.  The white shadowy figure seemed to be slightly limping.

“Hello, is that you, Aunt Helen?”  I called out in alarm. 

No answer.  But of course it could not be Helen, it was much too tall and there was no accompanying cane.  I took a few long strides in the direction of the thing in hopes of discerning at least some facial features.  The figure bobbed up in down and the darkness, as if levitating across the old, hardwood floor.  The boards were creaking beneath my feet, and the shadows from the corners of the hallways seemed to be reaching out towards me, warning me with the dark of their open mouths. 

Just as I’d caught up with the figure, it turned towards me, a skeletal thing.  I gasped in horror at it’s hollowed eyes, the green gasp of it’s open jaw .  Long, skeletal fingers smelling of earth and something I could not recognize reach toward my face, catching the collar of my shirt, sinking it’s nails into my skin of my throat.

“Leave,” it spit into my face.  “You are not wanted here.  Only death awaits you here.”

As quickly as the white, grotesque being had grabbed me, it pushed me away.  My backside hit the hard floor with a sickening thud.  I watched with a bone chilling fear as the shadowy thing turned the corner of the hallway and disappeared into the deepening darkness.  For a moment I was too stunned to move, too terrified for proper reasoning.  What had I just seen?  The ghost of an ancestor?  A spectral hallucination in my tired state?  And what danger could there possibly be at the old farmhouse of my grandparents, the only place in the world for which I’d ever felt truly safe?

I took a few steps down the hall, peeking deligently around the corner to see if the apparition still hid in the cornered shadows of the hallway.  Only, it had already gone.   I took stock of the rooms in which the thing could have just as easily disappeared into.  There was Grandma and Grandpa’s room to the right, for which only Grandpa slept in, due to his illness.  I could only assume Grandmother was residing in the room to the left of Grandpa’s.  And if memory served me well, Aunt Helen’s room was the far end on the left side.  That left only one unoccupied guest room and the only other rooms occupied a bathroom a small utility closet. 

Whatever and whoever it was, I reasoned it could have disappeared into any of the rooms.  I knew it would not serve me well to go meandering into the closed doors this late at night.  I risked waking everyone, and that would bring more questions for which I had no answers.  Besides, I could not very well justify that I’d seen a skeletal ghost that had all but warned me to leave on my first night here. 

More tired than ever, I slowly made my way back to my own room.  I made sure the door was securely locked before returning to bed.  Sleep, when it came, was a restless thing that tossed me between the heavy blankets, carrying on it’s wings dreams of ghostly threats and the smell of danger.

Stay Tuned for Part 3.  New segments added every Monday and Thursday!!  

<<House of Hollow Wind Part 1                                            House of Hollow Wind Part 3>>

The Silver Scream: Lifetime TV Releasing remakes of the Dollanganger Series!

I am a huge, fanatical fan of V.C. Andrews (I actually own EVERY.SINGLE.BOOK and have read them all except for the most recent series).  I also own the original Flowers in the Attic movie.  So, needless to say, I was ecstatic (beyond measure) when I saw the very first trailer for the new remake movie of Flowers in the Attic!

You can see that wonderful trailer for yourself right here.

Unless you're not much of a TV go-er, Lifetime debuted the remake movie of V.C. Andrews best-selling novel Flowers In the Attic.  The movie was released in mid-January of 2014 and broadcast on the Lifetime Television channel in the region of the United States.

I was uber-excited to watch the movie and wasn't disappointed.  I feel the script for the new version of the movie did much better in conveying what really happened in the book, and in a much more realistic sense.

I was particularly impressed by the role of the Grandmother (played by Ellen Burstyn).  She truly captured the essence of evil indifference toward her own daughter and grandchildren.

The ending of the movie was haunting, watching the children escape together (minus Corey, who was tragically poisoned to death).

Watch the 90 Second trailer here.

Flowers in the Attic book description:

Book One of the Dollanganger Family series.

At the top of the stairs there are four secrets hidden. Blond, beautiful, innocent, and struggling to stay alive…

They were a perfect family, golden and carefree—until a heartbreaking tragedy shattered their happiness. Now, for the sake of an inheritance that will ensure their future, the children must be hidden away out of sight, as if they never existed. Kept on the top floor of their grandmother’s vast mansion, their loving mother assures them it will be just for a little while. But as brutal days swell into agonizing months and years, Cathy, Chris, and twins Cory and Carrie realize their survival is at the mercy of their cruel and superstitious grandmother…and this cramped and helpless world may be the only one they ever know.

Book One of the Dollanganger series, followed by Petals in the Wind, If There be Thorns, Seeds of Yesterday, and Garden of Shadows.

You can read more fully about the Flowers in the Attic movie at their respective pages at IMBD and Lifetime.  

Lifetime TV announced, soon-after, the book-to-movie feature of Petals on the Wind, which broadcast on May 26th on Lifetime Television in the United States region.

I honestly enjoyed Petals on the Wind more-so than I did the first movie.  It seemed the actors had really fallen into their roles at this point.

I was blown away by the story-line of Cathy's (Kiernan Shipka) romance with Julian (Will Kemp) as well as the theatrics of Corrinne (Heather Graham).

Watch the trailer here.

Petals on the Wind Book Description:

For Carrie, Chris and Cathy the attic was a dark horror that would not leave their minds.

Of course mother had to pretend they didn't exist and grandmother was convinced they had the devil in them.

But that wasn't their fault. Was it?

Cathy knew what to do. She knew it was time to show her mother and grandmother that the pain and terror of the attic could not be forgotten...Show them. Show them -- once and for all.

You can read more about the Petals on The Wind movie at their respective pages at  IMBD and Lifetime.

As of May 2014, Lifetime Television has verified on their official website:  

Lifetime is currently in development on three additional V.C. Andrews’ books, including "If There Be Thorns" and "Seeds of Yesterday," both from the Dollananger series, and the standalone novel "My Sweet Audrina."

My Sweet Audrina is one of my all-time favorite V.C. Andrews books (alongside Ruby) so I'm really excited about this one!

The whole movie thing has actually gotten me really inspired so I might just begin rereading the VCA books and posting reviews!

Thursday, June 5, 2014

House of Hollow Wind (Mini Blog-Series Part 1)

House of Hollow Wind
A Gothic Novella Written by Stacy Lynn Mar

I was half-dozing when, at last, the taxi driver brought the vehicle to a swift, bumpy stop.  I’d been dreaming of graduation, and the smiling face of my mother.  She couldn’t stop telling me how proud she was as she hugged me over and over again.   

“Ma’am, 875 Hollow Wind Road.”

My eyes snapped open and I tried to push the dream out of my thoughts.  Besides, graduation was already over and my mother was never coming back.  I rubbed my eyes and attempted to stretch my legs.  I had been riding in the back of the cab for over four hours, stopping only once to eat and use the bathroom at a greasy mom and pop restaurant. 

A light snow was beginning to fall and the old farmhouse was barely visible through a thick cloak of fog that had suddenly fallen across the atmosphere.  I pressed my face to the window for a better glance at the rustic old house where I’d spent the better part of my childhood.  Time had not been kind to her exterior, or else my grandparents had neglected to make repairs over the years.  The paint of the once sunny-yellow structure was peeling as if trying to heal from a long sunburn.  One of the gutters had crumbled to the ground, which could explain some of the paint damage.  Several window panels hung loose in the upstairs, left to their own devices as they danced wildly in the winter wind.

I hadn’t been to visit my relatives in over seven years and the dilapidated condition of the farmhouse took me aback.  My grandmother had mentioned in her letters that grandpa had been sick for some time.  I reasoned with myself that making menial repairs to the house was probably the least of their concerns with grandpa so deathly ill.  What with Aunt Helen still disabled and grandmother wasn’t getting any younger, it was no wonder she’d written me all but begging me to come stay for the winter.    With no other family to speak of and nowhere else to go, I had readily accepted the offer to stay until a good job position opened in the city. I’d just graduated from nursing school and grandmother had urged me to at least spend the winter months at the farmhouse on account of grandpa’s lengthy illness.  Grandpa had financed my education and all my years of boarding school, so I felt I owed him at least that much.

My own parents had left this world on a rainy day ten years prior.  They had both died upon impact in the same accident that permanently disabled my aunt Helen.  Being only twelve years old, no one had ever told me the gory details of my parents’ death, only that my parents and Helen had been returning home after attending a local concert and having drinks with some friends at a nearby diner.  Helen had no recollection of the accident and it was speculated that she might have fallen asleep at the wheel.  I had been sent to boarding school shortly after the funeral of my mother and father, a bleak day in November I’d struggled to forget over the years.  The town had made a spectacle of the event with news reporters and pictures of my tearful twelve year old face, clutching the dress coat of my grandpa.  Back then I’d been too young to understand, but as I’d matured over the years I couldn’t help but feel that the loss of my parents had been exploited, my own pain marketed for the sale of a few small-town newspapers.

“Excuse me ma’am, I can take your bags to the door if you’d like.  I hate to rush you but I have a long drive ahead of me.”

I shook my head as if that would allow me to dismiss the most unpleasant memory of my whole life.  I quickly grabbed my suitcases, paid the driver, and shut the door behind me.  The outside lights suddenly came alive, throwing parts of the driveway and porch into shadow while others were lit against the fog in a smoke-like haze.  I momentarily thought someone was coming to the door to greet me, perhaps grandma or Aunt Helen.  After a couple more footsteps, I foolishly realized the lights must be censored and the very house, itself, looked to be sleeping. 

The climb up the drive was a steep one, especially with two heavy bags in tow.  The wind had picked up and stung my eyes as snowflakes tangled themselves in my lashes.  I was nearing the porch when I noticed a sudden movement in my peripheral vision.  Something black had inched it’s way from the nearby woods, as if careful of my presence, and was slowly slithering towards me.  The wind began to blow wildly, dislodging fresh snow from the tops of sycamores and pines, whipping clumps of snow through the air and around me.  The whole world was one big, white shadow and for a moment I was so disoriented I was unsure which direction led toward the door. 

The dark shadow leaped towards my legs and I let out a yelp.  I was about to forget about the luggage and make a lunge for the door when finally I saw it slowly creep open.  For a moment I’d been speechless.  Could that graying, frail woman really be my grandmother?  I hadn’t much time to ponder.

“Well come on in here, child,”  grandmother called.  “It’s coming a blizzard out here, you’ll catch your death from cold!.”  And then, as if to put my fears at ease, “Don’t you let Shadow spook you, she blends right in with the dark, but she’s about as harmless as a teddy bear.”

I watched as she ushered Shadow, a beautiful black lab, into the house and then came to the steps to take my bags.  Several minutes after a long series of hugs and hellos, I found myself warming in the cozy kitchen as grandmother tinkered with a tea pot that looked to be about as old as she was.  A feeling of nostalgia and longing momentarily took over me as I looked about.  Nothing in the kitchen had changed from the childhood kitchen of my memory.  Even the dusty, red lace curtains were the same.  A collection of eloquently-decorated tin cans still lined the shelves the length of the wall above the counters, providing a unique blend of advertising ephemera ranging from Tollhouse cookies to Foldgers coffee.  And grandmothers’ antique curio cabinet was still stuffed with invaluable gas lamps dating back to the 1810’s.  At one point I’d known the minute detail of each one, yet now they looked like a delicately placed display of glass on iron.

“It’s so good to see you, my dear Aubrey.”  Grandmother smiled, though it never reached her tired eyes.  “Wayne has just been so sickly this past year.  Started with his stomach and now he’s having spells where his legs are weak.  They just go numb, he says.  I’m afraid he’s all but confined to the bed at this point.  And the doctors…why, they have no idea what is wrong.  Cancer, they think.  But you know Wayne, won’t consent to a hospital stay if his life depended on it!”

“I’m so sorry, grandmother.”  I knew nothing else to say, it’d been so long since I’d seen grandpa and I was too tired to offer much comfort.

“And Helen, you know, she can barely walk,”  she raised her eyebrows as if for emphasis.  “I can barely depend on her to do more than help prepare his food and feed him.  You know, she’s waited on him hand and foot since he fell ill.  A godsend, that girl has been.  Though it’s been hard on her with Vanessa running off the way she has.”

At this news I sobered a bit to the drowsiness that had been falling across my consciousness since before I’d arrived.  In recent letters and phone calls, grandmother had neglected to inform me of this news of Vanessa.

“But what do you mean, she’s ran away?”  I asked, fidgeting with my tea cup, already dreading the drafty feel of this house without the light spirits of my cousin to cheer me up.  I recalled my childhood, how even on my dreariest days, Vanessa could manage to make me smile.  She’d been my best friend and my only confidant in the weeks after my parents’ passing and I’d been looking forward to spending the winter catching up with her.  We would light bon fires with the local kids, cuddle up with our novels and hot chocolate in front of the fireplace and switch stories about our current lives.  Now, it seemed, those hopes were dashed.

“Well, there’s not much to it,” Grandmother said with tears peaking from the corner of each eye.  “She and Keith, her boyfriend, had a falling out with Wayne a couple of weeks ago.  She came home late from curfew, as usual, and a quarrel ensued.”  She paused a moment, wringing her hands as if trying to pull the right words from the invisible well of her palms before spreading them before her on the table.  “The next morning she was gone.  Left a note and said she’d call us soon.  We haven’t heard a thing since!”

Grandmother went on to explain that the local police refused an investigation, stating that as an adult the age of nineteen, Vanessa had every right to disappear if that is what she wanted to do.  Of course, aunt Helen had been beside herself with worry, even placing expensive ads in the local paper as well as those in neighboring towns.  So far, no one had heard anything from Vanessa and Keith.

“Why, if it weren’t for her preoccupation with Wayne, I think Helen would have lost her mind by now!”  Grandmother gushed, throwing her hands open as if to drive her point home.

I could understand the plight of Helen, as Vanessa was her only daughter, born out of wedlock to a man who abandoned them both once he heard of Helen’s pregnancy.  Of course, Vanessa never longed for a father figure or the love of a family.  Grandpa Wayne had stepped up to the plate in the regal, headstrong way he usually did things and declared that he’d partake in the legal responsibilities of Vanessa.  As I sat there nodding over Grandma’s too-black coffee, I reasoned that perhaps Vanessa could no longer take the oppressive rules and expectations of this rigid household.  Perhaps she’d desperately struck out on her own, knowing her only option was to run away in the night, unseen.

We both drank in silence for a few more moments, my eyes growing heavier and heavier against the florescent light that hung on a naked bulb above the dining table.

“Oh dear,” grandmother said, raising from the table and patting my shoulder.  “Here I am just rambling along, and you must be exhausted.  I’ve got your old room made for you, the one you shared with Vanessa…but of course.”  She stopped abruptly and looked to me with tears in her eyes.  “Let’s just get you some rest."

The room was a relic of my girlhood, I thought to myself as I looked around.  Still draped in dark maroons and golds, fully furnished in rustic-wood finishing, with the double beds adorned in Grandma’s vintage patchwork quilts.  I instantly felt at home as I pulled down the covers and turned on the antique lamp that occupied the small dress stand between the two beds.  Grandma bid me goodnight and, exhausted from the series of events of the day, I laid down for a moment to rest before running my bath in the adjoining bathroom.  

Part 2 Coming Soon!

**NOTE:  this is my first, ever, attempt at a longer piece of work.  This blog is a labor of love and has grown as dear to me as all the wonderful authors and readers I've met via the internet.  I wanted to make this first gothic novella free to you, the readers and contributors to this blog.  Please don't hesitate to comment or email me concerning edits or any other helpful advice.**

                                                                                House of Hollow Wind Part 2>>