It’s four days until Lucid Dreaming is released, and in hindsight you can bet your favourite pair of slippers that I wish I’d organised the release for today instead of Melbourne Cup Day. Because I don’t have even a single horse in the book.
Unless you count all the NIGHTMARES!
Get it? GET IT?
It would have been an especially good tie-in, because — as is pretty clear from the blurb — one of the primary focuses of the book is the freaky things that lurk in our dreaming minds. Especially the things that are born from real monsters.
Anyway, to celebrate Halloween and because I’m a stand-up kind of person, if you leave a comment on this post with your favourite spooky monster you’ll receive a chance to win an ebook of Lucid Dreaming in the format of your choice. The competition will run for three days, or until I decide to draw it (because I’m fickle like that!).
If you’re too impatient (which I totally respect) or don’t have a favourite spooky monster, then here are the various ebook pre-order links. There will be a paperback, but I expect it to be delayed by about a week — I’m waiting for my winged monkeys to deliver my proof so I can
fondle it check it before authorising the final.
Also, in case you missed it, I’ve been interviewed over at Aussie Owned and Read. Check it out!
* In the Southern Hemisphere, at least. ^
^ Wibbly wobbly … timey wimey … stuff.
Who would have thought your dreams could kill you?
Melaina makes the best of her peculiar heritage: half human and half Oneiroi, or dream spirit, she can manipulate others’ dreams. At least working out the back of a new age store as a ‘dream therapist’ pays the bills. Barely.
But when Melaina treats a client for possession by a nightmare creature, she unleashes the murderous wrath of the creature’s master. He could be anywhere, inside anyone: a complete stranger or her dearest friend. Melaina must figure out who this hidden adversary is and what he’s planning – before the nightmares come for her.
Today I’m taking part in the Aussie Owned and Read Haunting Halloween Hop. (Yes, it’s 31 October here already, Northern Hemisphere. Nyah nyah!) The basic idea is that you post about something that scares you. I’m kinda sorta double-dipping on this one, because last week I blogged at AOR about the opening scene in Isla’s Inheritance, and the scary seance that inspired it.
(Yes, I used to do seances for fun. I don’t anymore. I’d like to write a book about Emma, the girl who runs the seance for Isla and Dominic, and what mischief might befall her as a result. It’s on my to do list.)
ANYWAY, moving on. There are a couple of answers to the “what scares me” question. I’m actually choosing to write the slightly less scary one, because the more scary one (something happening to my child) is so paralysing that I can’t even. The slightly less scary one is still pretty scary, though, and it’s been a fear I’ve had since my high school social science classes, when they taught us about nuclear weapons and the silent killer that is radiation poisoning.
I hate the idea of the invisible, creeping thing — the nuclear poison, toxic gas or virus on a droplet in the air. Something so tiny that you can’t see it to run away; something that can kill you. Or turn you into a zombie. Years ago, I saw a movie in the cinema (Outbreak, maybe?) that had a scene where someone with a deadly virus didn’t know it yet. They went to the movies and sneezed, and then the camera tracked the little droplet of air over the crowd and infected others.
I nearly hid under my seat.
As I bet you can imagine, the current ebola outbreak has made me very nervous. Even though I know intellectually that ebola is not very contagious — rating below the common cold, measles and HIV for infectivity — there’s not a chance you could get me in a room with someone who had it, even if I was in one of those full-body bubble suit things.
Maybe one day I’ll write a book to exorcise these fears, get them on the page. Probably not, because I want to be able to sleep at night…!
To visit the other blogs in the hop (or to register your own post), click here. Or leave a comment. What’s the thing that scares you?
This week’s Top Ten Tuesday theme is my top books (or movies) to get you in the mood for Halloween. If you say so… *evil grin* My selection is mostly ghost stories, but there are other greeblies thrown in there for good measure. They’re listed in no particular order other than the one I thought of them in. And there are six rather than ten, because that’s how I roll. (Pretend it’s 100th of the beast, rounded down, if that helps get you in the mood to be spookified!)
(Note: While my own book, Isla’s Inheritance, opens with a Halloween party, I have valiantly resisted adding it to my list. I’m not that shameless. Not quite.)
Servants of the Storm by Delilah S. Dawson
A year ago Hurricane Josephine swept through Savannah, Georgia, leaving behind nothing but death and destruction — and taking the life of Dovey’s best friend, Carly. Since that night, Dovey has been in a medicated haze, numb to everything around her.
But recently she’s started to believe she’s seeing things that can’t be real … including Carly at their favorite cafe. Determined to learn the truth, Dovey stops taking her pills. And the world that opens up to her is unlike anything she could have imagined.
As Dovey slips deeper into the shadowy corners of Savannah — where the dark and horrifying secrets lurk — she learns that the storm that destroyed her city and stole her friend was much more than a force of nature. And now the sinister beings truly responsible are out to finish what they started.
Dovey’s running out of time and torn between two paths. Will she trust her childhood friend Baker, who can’t see the threatening darkness but promises to never give up on Dovey and Carly? Or will she plot with the sexy stranger, Isaac, who offers all the answers — for a price? Soon Dovey realizes that the danger closing in has little to do with Carly … and everything to do with Dovey herself.
Blackbirds by Chuck Wendig
Miriam Black knows when you will die.
She’s foreseen hundreds of car crashes, heart attacks, strokes, and suicides.
But when Miriam hitches a ride with Louis Darling and shakes his hand, she sees that in thirty days Louis will be murdered while he calls her name. Louis will die because he met her, and she will be the next victim.
No matter what she does she can’t save Louis. But if she wants to stay alive, she’ll have to try.
Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake
Cas Lowood has inherited an unusual vocation: He kills the dead.
So did his father before him, until he was gruesomely murdered by a ghost he sought to kill. Now, armed with his father’s mysterious and deadly athame, Cas travels the country with his kitchen-witch mother and their spirit-sniffing cat. They follow legends and local lore, destroy the murderous dead, and keep pesky things like the future and friends at bay.
Searching for a ghost the locals call Anna Dressed in Blood, Cas expects the usual: track, hunt, kill. What he finds instead is a girl entangled in curses and rage, a ghost like he’s never faced before. She still wears the dress she wore on the day of her brutal murder in 1958: once white, now stained red and dripping with blood. Since her death, Anna has killed any and every person who has dared to step into the deserted Victorian she used to call home.
Yet she spares Cas’s life.
The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
“There are only two reasons a non-seer would see a spirit on St. Mark’s Eve,” Neeve said. “Either you’re his true love . . . or you killed him.”
It is freezing in the churchyard, even before the dead arrive.
Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue herself never sees them—not until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks directly to her.
His name is Gansey, and Blue soon discovers that he is a rich student at Aglionby, the local private school. Blue has a policy of staying away from Aglionby boys. Known as Raven Boys, they can only mean trouble.
But Blue is drawn to Gansey, in a way she can’t entirely explain. He has it all—family money, good looks, devoted friends—but he’s looking for much more than that. He is on a quest that has encompassed three other Raven Boys: Adam, the scholarship student who resents all the privilege around him; Ronan, the fierce soul who ranges from anger to despair; and Noah, the taciturn watcher of the four, who notices many things but says very little.
For as long as she can remember, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love to die. She never thought this would be a problem. But now, as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore.
From Maggie Stiefvater, the bestselling and acclaimed author of the Shiver trilogy and The Scorpio Races, comes a spellbinding new series where the inevitability of death and the nature of love lead us to a place we’ve never been before.
The Memory Game by Sharon Sant
‘If there is a hell, I think maybe this is it.’
Weeks after fifteen-year-old David is killed by a speeding driver, he’s still hanging around and he doesn’t know why. The only person who can see and hear him is the girl he spent his schooldays bullying.
Bethany is the most hated girl at school. She hides away, alone with her secrets until, one day, the ghost of a boy killed in a hit-and-run starts to haunt her.
Together, they find that the end is only the beginning…
Dracula by Bram Stoker
Count Dracula sleeps in a lordly tomb in the vaults beneath his desolate castle, scarlet-fresh blood on his mocking, sensuous lips. He has been dead for centuries, and yet he may never die…
Here begins the story of an evil ages old and forever new. It is the story of those who feed a diabolic and insatiable craving into the veins of their victims, into the men and women from whose body they draw their only sustenance. This is Bram Stoker’s chilling classic, a novel of exquisite power and hypnotic fascination.
Pleasant dreams and happy reading!
In the spirit of Halloween, and ghost stories, today at Aussie Owned and Read I shared the inspiration for the seance scene at the start of “Isla’s Inheritance”.
Once upon a time, when I was in my late teens, my party trick was seances. I know that sounds kind of weird, but it’s true. We used to improvise an ouija board, use a (clean) scotch glass as the focus, and then have at it. And for some reason, whenever I was touching the glass, it would glide around the board like an ice skater on a rink — even if I wasn’t really paying much attention.
I’m pretty sure my friends thought I was pushing the glass around, although they never accused me of it. And although I wasn’t doing anything deliberately, I sometimes wondered if there was something subconscious going on, because I often “heard” the word reply in my mind as the glass started spelling it out.
During one particularly freaky incident, one of the guys taking part had brought along what he claimed was a…
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As you may be aware, over at Aussie Owned and Read (AOR) we’re hosting a bloghop called A Nightmare in Aus. Despite the name it’s open internationally, and you can win a bucketload of prices, both at AOR and at many of the participating blogs. There are books, Amazon vouchers, books, writing critiques, and more books!
Also at AOR you’ll find a short story — well, more of a snapshot in the unlife of a vampire — that I wrote. Go. Read it. Say nice things. :p
And here is another of my stories, which is less vignette-y and more … well, read it and see.
The Self-Fulfilling Prophesy
Word spread faster than dawn light in the little village of Dewdale.
“The ewe had a two-headed lamb! And the old oak by the river was struck by lightening and burned to the ground last night. It’s an omen.”
“Nothing good’ll come of it.”
“What’s it an omen of?”
“Ask old Mer. He’ll know.”
“Yes. Talk to Mer.”
Before the sun was halfway up the sky, most of the village had gathered before the porch of old Mer’s run-down hut. Mothers clutched babes tight to their breasts, and several of the men held scythes and pitchforks in white-fingered grips. Old Mer, perched on his carved chair, scratched his bristled chin with dirty fingernails and squinted at the group. He hunched forward so that his failing sight could see the farthest of his supplicants. He didn’t let his satisfaction show on his face, which was grim.
“It’s a dark omen,” he murmured. The group strained to listen. “An omen,” he paused, “of death.”
The crowd gasped, the sound sibilant. There was a murmur, but old Mer stilled it with a glance.
“What can we do?” one member of the crowd asked, made bold by the fact that he knew this was what the old man wanted to hear.
“The Gods are angry. There must be a sacrifice, or there will be bloody death before the moon is full.”
The mothers held their babies tighter; the men scowled. Old Mer leaned back and stretched his spindly legs out to catch the sun. “Someone appropriate will pass through the village before then.” He knew this to be true; the traders came back from the capital at this time of year, and Dewdale wasn’t far from the trade road.
The crowd was satisfied with this, and dispersed rapidly enough to home and field.
A child was posted near the road to keep watch.
The man and woman didn’t suspect a thing. Coming into the village to seek shelter from an oncoming storm, they found the people of Dewdale were eager to accommodate them. The couple were grateful, for the woman would soon bear a child and found it hard to walk far; walking in the rain would be worse.
“Shall it be the man or the woman?”
“No, the woman. She and the child will be a double sacrifice. The Gods will be happy then.”
“The man will cause trouble.”
“You’re right. Maybe it should be both.”
Warm broth was brought from the kitchen of the village midwife. The rich meaty taste disguised the herbs she had added. Both husband and wife were sound asleep within moments of finishing their meal, the man’s head hitting the table with a thud, the woman’s slipped more gently to rest on her arms.
They didn’t wake when the villagers carried them to the green and tied them like rag dolls, to the hastily erected pyres.
They did wake, briefly, when the flames began to eat their bodies.
“Three of the goats were found, necks broken, near the creek.”
“It’s an omen!”
“What’s it an omen of?”
“Old Mer will know.”
Old Mer did know. Again the child was sent to the road to watch. Traders were plentiful at this time of year.
The woman who was welcomed that night was dressed in rags, and the village was grateful that it was a hag rather than a respectable couple who would go to the Gods this night, to prevent the bloodshed. The midwife watched eagerly as the woman sniffed at the broth, took a sip – and frowned as she placed the cup back down on the table.
“Sorry, lass. I can’t drink this.”
“Because I’m allergic to some of the spices in it.” She squinted at the midwife. “But then, I’ve never met a soul who didn’t have a reaction to carronroot.”
The midwife, fearing for herself under the hard stare, cried out. The villagers who’d been waiting for her to call them came charging through the door. They hardly blinked when they saw the hag still conscious, grabbing her by the arms as she struggled to be free.
The screaming would be irritating, but better than the bloodshed old Mer predicted.
The hag’s cries rang out across the village as she was carried to the pyre. Old Mer frowned. He gestured with the burning torch, signalling another villager forward to help.
“Come forward, angry spirits of the murdered,” the hag shrieked. “Come forward, and have your revenge on the one who condemned you to death!”
The third man covered the hag’s mouth with his hand and glared at her. She tried to bite him and, although she had lost her teeth decades before, the slick feeling of her gums on his palm made him pull back his hand with a grimace.
“They will come,” she hissed, her voice penetrating. “The ghosts are angry. There must be a sacrifice, or there will be bloody death before the night is out.”
The villager frowned. The words were familiar. “What manner of sacrifice?”
“The ghosts demand a life. The life of the man who condemned them. They say, should the sacrifice be made, there will be no more omens of death.”
The men who held the hag from the ground carefully put her on her feet and turned to Mer.
The rest of the crowd also turned.
The old man tried to fend them off with the torch, but there were more of them than he could stop.
As the old man burned, the villagers thought they could se a crowd of ghostly figures standing close to the fire, smiling. Or maybe it was just smoke.
When they turned to the old woman for confirmation, she was gone.
It’s competition time! Share your favourite scary story (or write an original one) on your blog post and then register via the link list to be in the running to win a candy bag full of prizes! For more details go HERE!
I also reviewed “Silver Tides” by Susan Fodor, which — among other things — has a simply gorgeous cover. See? The review is HERE if want to know more.