October Frights: The Bells of St Brigit’s

The bells of St. Brigit’s are calling tonight,

The moonlight is sparkling over the sea,

The stars are shedding their magical light,

And my lover’s dead soul is calling to me.

 

The roses are breathing their passion filled scent,

The soft waves are hissing onto the sand,

The bells chimes are ringing an empty lament,

I feel the blessed touch of my lover’s cold hand.

 

Down the stone staircase and out to the sand,

Across the storm wreckage to the now quiet sea,

My lover steps slowly away from the land,

A final farewell and he’s now lost to me.

Starting off my contribution to October Frights Blog Hop with The Bells of St Brigit’s.  Check out what else is happening elsewhere!    http://www.inlinkz.com/new/view.php?id=797504

First and Third Saturday

The first and third Saturday are set in stone

And nothing may disturb them.

It is inviolable that she goes, through wind and weather

No let or hindrance permitted

 

First the train ride, then the bus,

Then the long walk up the wooded hill.

Dragging the flowers and the cleaning kit

Into the murmuring cemetery.

 

It is a ritual, disposing of the old flowers from the grave

The browned leaves and petals on the heap,

The washing of the neat urn on the grave

The snipping of the stems

 

The flowers renewed, she wipes the headstone,

Trims the edges, picks up the gravel

Waters the tiny alpines in the cracks

Brushes off the dead leaves.

 

Nothing stops the pilgrimage.

And once the grave is neatened, then she sits and reads

Perhaps in the shelter near the church

Perhaps on the stone seat near the tree

 

The first and third Saturday are hers, defended

And who could argue against tending to a grave.

Who’s grave?  She doesn’t know but cares

Because they gave the gift

Of the first and third Saturday, unassailable.

October is Awesome!

In the last few months, I’ve managed to connect to some really awesome indie authors.  They are doing some great stuff, and I’ve been encouraged and inspired.  I’ve taken the chance to sign up to some great online and blog events.

Of course, October is a great month for those who write about ‘things that go bump in the night’ in all their flavours.  This means that there are a gazillion blog posts, articles, giveaways, book reviews and articles sloshing around the web.  I’ll be taking the opportunity to share some of these.  It also means that I have committed to far too many things – but that is par for the course!

I will be posting most days.  Not only will I be linking to other authors during October, but I’ve committed to posting quite a few bits from me.  So, if you like a supernatural flavour, keep an eye out!  Today I’m sharing the link to Timothy Bateson’s blog, and the post which kicks off his amazing ’31 Days of Halloween’.  In case you don’t notice, I’m on 24th, but, to be honest, I’m really looking forward to reading all the great stuff that’s scheduled.

Also coming up is October Frights which is an intensive five days of all things Horror and Paranormal.  I will be posting and sharing a lot so brace yourself for loads of links and some original fiction from me.

In other news, I’m still working on the newsletter.  I have the content, but I’m getting bewildered by the legals.  The first edition will go out as soon as I can manage.  The link to subscribe is here, if you are interested.  And for anyone who missed it, here is the latest instalment from the White Hart.  Happy reading!

Tap Tap Tap

It started when the house along the street blew up.  We were told it was safe and I suppose it was.  The houses either side of the gap were fine and there was no trace of gas or anything.  But that night the tapping started.

First it was on the windows, a light, tap tap tap, like a branch against the panes in a light breeze.  Except there were no branches near my window.  Just the tap tap tap after dark.  It started to unnerve me.  There was never any trace when I pulled back the curtains to look and nothing seemed out of place when I looked at the windows from the street in daylight.

Gradually I got used to it and talked about perhaps it was mice or birds in the attic.  I even added it to the ghost stories that were exchanged at work – I live in York, after all, and there are always ghost stories.  However, as the nights grew longer and the days got cooler, the tapping changed.

It was the day after my birthday, 22nd of September, when I sat bolt upright in bed.  The tap tap tap was now coming from the living room.  I remember how frozen I felt, pinned to my bed as the gentle tap tap tap seemed to patter against the wooden floor.  I crept to the door of my bedroom and listened.  There were no human footsteps, no rustle of clothes and no sigh or grunt of someone moving.  I opened the door just a crack, peering out into the hall.  No light shone from under the living room door.  As I gathered my courage to confront the noise, the tap tap tap faded away and I realised it was dawn.

That was three days ago.  I forgot about the tapping as I went away for work.  I lost myself in the hectic pace of the conference and the after conference drinks, happy to forget about strange noises, but now I was back.  There was no sign of any disturbance in the house.  Nothing had moved.  I had a quick shower and got into bed with Netflix playing loudly as I wriggled down into the bed.

But it didn’t drown the tapping.  I can hear it now, tap tap tap in the living room.  I am lying here, terrified, as the tap tap tap gets nearer and nearer.  The tapping is in the hall now and getting closer to my door.   I pick up my phone from the bedside cabinet and scroll through my contacts, looking for the number that had been forced on me.  Now I was desperate.  I found the name – Rev D King, Exorcist.  My fingers trembled as I dialled the number, burrowed under the covers.  Dawn is two hours away and the tapping is getting closer.

 Image from free-images.com

Getting Busy

I’m not quite getting the hang of the whole ‘author’ thing.  I like writing, and I like to think I’m good at it, but the whole marketing thing is a whole new world.

It’s an exciting new world, though, and I’m enjoying some of the adventure.  I had never heard of ‘Blog Tours’ or ‘Facebook Takeovers’ or ‘Guest Posts’.  Now I’m finding out about these wonderful things and, what is even better, enjoying dipping in to other people’s writing.

I’ve signed up to be part of blog tours.  This means I’ll will be doing reviews, hosting guest posts and generally interacting with some amazing authors.  Watch this space for what is happening.  I have also had a story accepted into the ‘Glass and Ashes’ anthology and the blog tours and publicity for that are going to be awesome!  I’m feeling overwhelmed, but in a good way.

In other news – the first newsletter will absolutely definitely be out next Friday 5 October, and I absolutely definitely will have worked out how to do it by then.  Not only will I do everything to make sure I comply with all regulations, but I will also include any updates on what I am doing, a household hint from Mrs Tuesday’s extensive collection and a short piece of original fiction.  You can subscribe to the newsletter here, if you are interested.  And I will absolutely, definitely have the next instalment of the White Hart up this Friday.

Thank you for stopping by.

Quiet Library

 

“We have to do something.” Elsie whispered.  The faded ghost peeped around the corner.  “She’s in a world of her own.”

“You can’t interfere with someone’s love life.” Mr Kennington said.  In life he had been a head librarian and he still had the habit of authority.

“She didn’t realise that he couldn’t see us for years.” Elsie said.  “She’s not going to notice that he’s besotted by her.” Elsie sighed.  “It’s so romantic.”

“She may not like him.” Mr Kennington pointed out.

The third of the library’s ghosts drifted over.  “It’s up to him,” Tony said.  “Unless she’s got a boyfriend somewhere else.”  He looked nervously at Elsie and then looked away quickly.

“That’s not the only reason she would refuse.” Mr Kennington said.  “After all, the young man is not likely to be a good provider.”

“We only know what Rhia told us.” Elsie said.  She looked wistfully between Rhia, sorting out the classic fiction, and Liam, who seemed engrossed in his computer.  “Tony, go and have a look at what he’s looking at, there’s a love.”

Tony looked at Mr Kennington, who nodded.  The ghost of the teenager, the only one who had any understanding of computers, disappeared through the wall and slid into place behind Liam.

Elsie and Mr Kennington carefully composed themselves as Rhia picked up a faded book and walked passed them to the back rooms.  Mr Kennington sniffed as soon as Rhia was out of sight of Liam and wagged a faded finger.  “Your cleaner did not attend again this morning.  It is completely unacceptable.  You need to speak to her.  In fact, it was Mr Liam who did that vacuum thing and dusted this morning.”

Rhia managed a smile.  “Hello, Mr Kennington.” She sighed.  “Liam can’t afford to pay the cleaner any more.  He said he’ll take over that job.”

“It is inappropriate for the owner of the library to dust.” Mr Kennington said.  “The first owner, his esteemed ancestor, would never had done such a thing.”

“We need new subscribers.” Rhia said.  “People aren’t coming here.  Liam doesn’t know what to do.  He says people don’t like old books anymore.”

“Hi,” Tony said awkwardly as he slid out of the wall behind Rhia.  She jumped and turned around.

“Tony, I wish you wouldn’t do that.” Rhia said.  “Anyway, I need to get on.  I’m going to see if I can do something about this spine before it goes.”

 

The ghosts watched her as he walked briskly into the back room before Elsie and Mr Kennington turned to Tony.  Tony had only been dead three years and had managed to keep up with a lot of the technology.  He shook his head.

“I think Rhia’s right.  He’s looking at stuff like auctions and articles on the best way to sell old books.  He looks pretty down as well.”

“See,” Mr Kennington nodded.  “He’s not a good provider.  Rhia is mostly sensible and would not chose a husband who couldn’t provide for her and a future family.”

“It’s not really like that these days.” Tony avoided Mr Kennington’s eyes.  “Anyway, it looks bad.  Perhaps he can ask her for a date once he has sold the library.”

“What?” Mr Kennington snapped, before taking a deep breath.  “He can’t sell the library.”

“It’s not going to happen.” Elsie said with fake confidence.  “I mean, we live here – if you know what I mean.”

“We’ll probably be still here, but I think they’ll turn this into a bar or some flats.”

“Flats?” Mr Kennington said.  He didn’t always remember modern terminology.

“Apartments, small sets of rooms where people live.” Tony said helpfully.

“But then how will my Albert ever find me?” Elsie asked, her pale eyes wide.

“He isn’t coming back.” Mr Kennington said with as much patience as he could manage.  “You have been dead over 100 years.  If Albert was going to come back, he would have already got here.”

“I waited for him.” Elsie said.  “I promised him.  I said I would wait and always be in the library whenever I could so no matter what happened while he was away, he could find me.”

“I have overseen this library for nearly two centuries.” Mr Kennington pulled himself to his full height, such as it was, and drifted slightly upwards.  He shook his head sadly.  “It is all my fault.  I have spent far too much time coaching Tony and now that Mr Pierce and Miss Ellis have found peace, well, we are spread thinly.” Mr Kenning shook his head.  “Not that I blame either of you,” he said quickly.  “It’s been a pleasure to see you come on, young Tony, and I certainly don’t want any more deaths in the library.”  His translucent finger tapped at his pale chin.  “We shall have to have an advertising campaign in all the appropriate newspapers.  Perhaps even a picture!”

Tony shrugged.  “People don’t bother much with papers these days.” He said.  “Besides, adverts cost money.  If Liam can’t afford a cleaner then he can’t afford hundreds of pounds and a marketing manager.”

“He shall have to sell a book.” Mr Kennington said. “It’s a dreadful thing for a library to do, and it should be resisted until there is truly no other way.  Fortunately, I have been holding something in reserve.”  He drifted towards the classics section.  “It was before your time, Elsie, but Charles Dickens visited Leeds.”  Mr Kennington sniffed.  “He was not complimentary about our good city, but he did sign some copies of that Oliver Twist book.” Mr Kennington’s mouth twisted.  He was not a fan of serialised fiction.  “I know he signed quite a few, because a rascal came in and tried to force Mr Horace to purchase them.”  Mr Kennington shook his head.  “There was a dreadful scene and several of the dozen books he brought in fell down the crack at the back of the bookcase.  No-one noticed as the rogue got quite vocal and had to be escorted out.  Mr Horace threw his books at him afterwards.  I couldn’t get out to see what was happening, of course, but the constabulary were called and there was quite a scuffle, Mr Dickens being popular.”

The ghosts drifted over to the classics section.  Sure enough, behind the collected works of George Bernard Shaw, was a crack where the thin pine of the original shelves had split.  Elsie slid in to check.

“They’re dusty, of course, but they seem okay and you can still see their autographs.  But we can’t tell Liam.  He can’t see us.”

Mr Kennington looked over to where Liam was slouched at his desk, his head in his hands and a blank look on his face.  “We tell Rhia and hope that she can persuade Mr Liam to invest the small sum raised by the books into an advert in the Yorkshire Post.  And then,” he said, shaking his head, “We need to work out how to get them respectably married – once Mr Liam can provide properly of course.”  He frowned.  “Do you think that they will raise enough funds with those novels?”  He shook his head.  “I shall start working on contingency plans, just in case.”  He cast his eye over the two ghosts.  “The library must go on!

Meet for Lunch

I know the step I have to take,

I know the choice I have to make.

I smile and try to take a bite,

My mouth is dry, my throat is tight.

I take a sip of lukewarm tea,

Look up and see you watching me.

I hoped that we would share a meal

Before I tell you how I feel.

Aware of hurt and furtive looks

I blurt out, ‘your new sandwich sucks.’

Review: Dangerous Liaisons by Barbara Tyree

This is not an awesome book.  It is a frustrating book.  There is an awesome book in there, or possibly two awesome books, but this edition doesn’t quite hit the mark.

The story of FBI Agent Sierra Lancaster and her interactions with the people around her is potentially gripping with plenty of twists and turns.  There are old flames, FBI agents, partners, sort-of-estranged relatives, shoot-outs, deals, busts and a whole swathe of difficult and challenging interactions.  I am a sucker for complex interactions and intricate layers of relationships and this is almost awesome.  I found myself muttering as I read because it isn’t quite there, and it could be.  I would almost be enjoying a sudden revelation, but the foreshadowing hadn’t quite hit the mark.  I would be almost caught up in a character’s development, but it wasn’t quite consistent.  I would be almost hooked on the story but some of the details didn’t strike true.  I finished this book wanting to kick something because I read a nearly good book.

I wouldn’t feel comfortable recommending this book.  If a second edition comes out, however, I recommend grabbing it with both hands.  I sort of hope that Ms Tyree makes two separate stories out of it, because there are at least two separately awesome books in there.  I shall definitely be watching out for further work from her, as there are some great stories in there and I want to read the awesome ones.

Iron Crown

The legendary Iron Crown was now just rusted metal.  He pushed aside the rubbish on the floor and picked it up.  It was still surprisingly heavy.  He turned it over in his hands and even though it was so decayed he could feel the power in it.  It was heavy with more than the physical iron.  Centuries of being the loadstar for every ambitious heart had left their mark.   Had it been worth it?  Had all the scheming and plotting been worth the pain?  Had the brief season of rule been worth rending the world apart.

He glanced through the gaps in the ruined castle walls.  The sun was getting lower.  He had to leave before night fell and the Dark Ones walked.

Haunted

Many walk past his statue.  School children sketch it and history teachers wave wildly as they walk its bounds.  His name is in legend.  But for those who have the sight, his ghost huddles at the foot of the bronze, sobbing inconsolably, his hands shielding his head, as he remembers the blood shed in his wake.