Sunday, 15 October 2017

October Frights Blog Hog Day 6 - Part 3


Frozen in Time (Excerpt)

Book 1 in the Alimanti series

Time waits for no man. It has its own schedule and doesn’t give you extra seconds or minutes. It doesn’t wait for you to say the things you want or do the things you need to. It doesn’t wait around for you to say goodbye or to tell someone how much you love them. Before you know it, it is too late, and you don’t get a chance for a do over. I know this all too well because last year, my mum lost her battle to cancer. She was my rock. She was the most beautiful and loving mother who I loved, and still love, unconditionally. But now I’m left with a gaping hole in my chest.
If I had hoped that my dad would be there to comfort me after I lost my mum, then I was sorely mistaken. He became withdrawn. He quit his job, or rather his employer let him go because he stopped going in. My dad stopped doing a lot of things, such as washing, dressing, eating, and even talking. What could I do? I was 14 years old. I wanted to be held, comforted, to be told that everything was going to be okay, and that we would get through this together, but that never happened.
One thing I was grateful for was my best friend, Lauren McLaren, and her family. They were there for me in ways I wished my dad was. But I never felt complete, and a lot of the time, I felt like a burden. I knew they had no qualms with me being there all of the time. I had pretty much moved in with them, and they had already begun including me in everything they did, but I felt resentment for what they had.
If I thought things were going to get better, I was wrong. There I was, a year older and sitting in the Accident and Emergency room of Edinburgh’s Royal Infirmary with doctors and nurses running around. People were crying, children squealing, and grownups were complaining, whilst I sat there frozen in time whilst doctors tried to revive my dad.
Yeah, you read that right. My dad was lying on a hospital gurney, dying. Dying. I couldn’t even bring myself to cry. No tears welled up as I sat there in the busy waiting room.
Fifteen years old and I knew that my dad had given up. He didn’t see me. The fun loving dad I knew and loved had died the same day my mum had. It was just me who had to carry this burden.




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October Frights Blog Hop Day 6 - Part 2


The Cottage (Excerpt)

Prequel to The Mystic Valley series

Lucas stood in the middle of the road, outside of the cottage, and pinched the bridge of his nose. For years he had imagined what it would be like to see Lydia again but all of them she had remembered him.
Being with her today had been hard. So many times he wanted to reach out and touch her. To feel her in his arms again and inhale her familiar scent. She had always smelled of freshly mowed grass mixed with a sea breeze. It was a smell that constantly lingered with him. All he ever needed to do was close his eyes and the aroma would engulf him.
Beside him Kim stood whistling as she looked around. She was desperate to talk to Lucas but she felt as though he needed few minutes.
Finally, Lucas dropped his hand and looked up at the sky.
“Does he know?” He sighed.
Kim paused from kicking the gravel she was kicking to try and feel Lucas’ mood.
“Yup.” She shrugged. Kim wasn’t one to lie and she knew Lucas didn’t want details.
Lucas nodded. “He’s probably watching right now.” He stated as he glanced at the trees.
“Probably.” Kim joined Lucas and looked at the trees. There was no probably about it. She knew that Cole was sitting watching. “Lucas…” She started to say but her words trailed off as Lucas took to the sky, transforming into a beautiful hawk.
Lucas flew straight home. He loved to fly. Out of all the animals he could transform into a hawk was his favourite. There was something about the feel of the wind beneath his wings. There were no words to describe it. He felt free. His mind was always full of Lydia and flying was a chance to clear his thoughts. Subconsciously he knew that he always took flight in a hope to see her. That one day she would walk into Mystic Valley.



Blurb:

Lydia is left reeling as she discovers that for the past eight years there has been a block on her memories.
Not only is she a shapeshifting witch but she is also a Gatekeeper to the Dark Realms.
Giving up the only life she knows Lydia travels back to her home town of Mystic Valley where things become heated when she meets her soulmate in her dreams.
Follow Lydia as she discovers who she really is as she tries to unlock all of her memories.


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October Frights Blog Hop Day 6 - Part 1


Erin the Fire Goddess: The Beginning (excerpt)

This is the first book in the Erin the Fire Goddess series

I walked through the school gates and headed home. I was about half way when I spotted them. Sat in the black Fiat Punto were Sean, Paul, and James, with Kelly in the driver's seat. A few steps away, I spotted Justin and Jessica, who seemed to be having a heated argument. Mainly one sided. Jessica's red hair seemed to blow fiercely around her, even though there was no wind.
I stopped and paused for a moment, unsure whether to continue walking or not. Jessica hadn't bothered me for a while now, but that still didn't stop me from feeling on edge every time I saw her, especially when she was so angry.
I looked to the field on my right. I could easily climb the fence, walk across the field, and go through the trees at the far end. It should bring me out two streets away from my home. I hadn't noticed that it had gone quiet and they were all watching me.
I looked over at their faces, and for some reason, they all looked nervous. Then my eyes fell on Jessica. She was furious.
"I warned you!" she seethed. I could see her slowly moving towards me. Her teeth were grinding together and her hands were clenching and unclenching in fists.
My heart started to beat faster, my palms becoming sweaty. It was hard to swallow around the huge lump that had appeared in my throat.
“Jess!” I saw Justin place his hands on her arms. “It's not time,” I think I heard him say, as I saw movement from the car and the others started to get out.
Jessica had noticed, too, making her start running towards me.
In that second, I knew I had to jump the fence. I dropped my rucksack and hurtled over the fence, throwing myself into a sprint across the field. But it was too late; she was too fast.
I felt like my head was being pulled off. I screamed as she dragged me to the ground and started kicking and punching me. I was sure one of my ribs broke. The pain was excruciatingly unbearable. I couldn't stop screaming.
Why was no one helping me? Why had no one got her off me? Why me? What had I done? Why? Why? Why?
I started to feel angry. The feeling of heat from my anger was building and building to the point where it took over the pain. I couldn't control it. I'd never felt so angry before. That's when I heard Jessica scream.
“She's burnt me!” Jessica yelped both in pain and confusion.
“There's a towel and a couple of bottles of water in the back of the car,” I heard Kelly say. “Paul? James? You go get them. Justin?” She paused for a moment. I was still curled up in a ball. I had no idea what was going on. Who burnt who? All I knew was my anger was starting to fade and the pain was taking over. Tears streamed down my face. I still couldn't look up when Kelly continued. “Get her out of here!” she snapped.
I expected to feel hands on me, dragging me up, but I felt nothing. It sounded like I was alone. All I could hear were my muffled cries of pain.
“Erin?” I heard the concerned voice of Sean whisper in my ear.
I didn't move or speak. I started to take deep breaths to try to overcome the pain.
“Can you hear me, Erin?” Kelly asked in a soothing voice.
Then I felt someone stroking my left cheek. I froze. Was my mind playing tricks on me? My breathing started to accelerate and the stroking stopped, but the hand didn't move off my cheek.
“Shhh, it's okay. We won't hurt you.” It was Sean again. It must have been his hands on my cheek. He went back to stroking my face as I heard footsteps approaching.
“We phoned Kate. She's going to meet us at the cottage,” I heard Paul and James chorus.
 “Erin?” Kelly spoke this time. She didn't wait for a reply. “I'm just going to put some water on you and wrap you in a towel,” she told me gently, as I curled up tighter in a frightened ball.
I couldn't feel water on me, just the sound of something hissing. I did start to feel cooler though, which was a plus, but the pain was still there and taking control of my body.
I didn't even want to look down to examine myself. If I was in this much pain, I could only imagine how bad I looked.
Suddenly, I felt someone put a towel around me and lift me up into their arms in one quick movement.
Before I could open my eyes or try to get away, everything went black.




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Saturday, 14 October 2017

October Frights Blog Hop Day 5


H. H. Holmes




One of America's well known serial killers was a man born Herman Webster Medgett but went by the name of Dr. Henry Howard Holmes, or more commonly known as H. H. Holmes.

Born in 1861 in Gilmanton, New Hampshire, H. H. Holmes  took over a Chicago pharmacy, after the owner mysteriously disappeared, and built it into an elaborate maze of death traps to which he lured numerous victims during the 1893 Columbian Expedition.

The upper floors contained his living quarters and many small rooms where he tortured and killed his victims. Some of these rooms had gas jets so that Holmes could asphyxiate his victims. There were also trapdoors and chutes so that he could move the bodies down to the basement where he could burn his victims’ remains in a kiln there or dispose of them in other ways.

During this time Holmes was involved in a lot of insurance scams and it was one of these scams that led to his undoing. He joined forces with Benjamin Pitezel to collect $10,000 from a life insurance company. The two traveled around for a time committing other frauds. Landing in jail in Texas, Holmes brought fellow inmate Marion Hedgepeth—who knew Holmes as H.M. Howard—in on the life insurance scheme with Pitezel. When Holmes failed to deliver Hedgepeth's share of the deal, Hedgepeth tipped off the authorities.
While they eventually identified Howard as Holmes, the authorities did not catch on to Holmes soon enough to stop his final murders. He killed Pitezel and then convinced Pitezel’s widow that her husband was still alive. Becoming concerned that the five Pitezel children might expose him, he went away with three of the children, eventually killing them
At first, Holmes was charged with insurance fraud. He later stood trial for the murder of Benjamin Pitezel. During his time in custody, Holmes gave numerous stories to police, once admitting to killing 27 people. Estimates range from 20 to 100 victims, with some going as high as 200 victims. If Holmes even did half of the crimes associated with him, he clearly surpassed later American serial killers such as Ted Bundy and John Wayne Gacy in his depravity.
After his conviction, Holmes appealed his case, but lost. He met his end on May 7, 1896, when he was hanged for the Pitezel murder in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. His life as one of America's first serial killers has been the subject of many books and documentaries, including The Devil in the White City (2003), written by Erik Larson.
Now, initially when I began my search I was looking for the world's first serial killer and H. H. Holmes kept coming up. After digging further I can now say that the first documented serial killers were two women, dating back to 331 BC. 
It is said that several Roman men died in what was thought to be the plague until a servant woman revealed that they had in fact been poisoned by two matrons. 
The women admitted to preparing the concoction and but said it was medicinal and they would prove it by drinking it. They died immediately.
Do you think they were guilty and they drank the 'medicine' to not get the death penalty? Or was it a genuine mistake and they believed what they were doing was helping?


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Friday, 13 October 2017

October Frights Blog Hop Day 4


Friday 13th

Superstition leads us to believe that Friday the 13th is an unlucky day. So many people refuse to do anything on this day, scared that something may happen to them.
We all know that the number 13 is consider to be unlucky but why is it when placed on a Friday it makes people so fearful?
The superstition surrounding this day may have arisen in the Middle Ages, "originating from the story of Jesus' last supper and crucifixion in which there were 13 individuals present in the Upper Room on the 13th of Nisan Maundy Thursday, the night before his death on Good Friday. While there is evidence of both Friday and the number 13 being considered unlucky, there is no record of the two items being referred to as especially unlucky in conjunction before the 19th century.
Also, events including the great flood during the time of Noah, Eve tempting Adam with the forbidden fruit and Jesus' death all apparently happened on Fridays.
Others believe it's linked to Norse mythology, which tells how Loke, the demigod of mischief turned up uninvited, joining 12 others and taking their number to 13.
In some Spanish speaking countries it is Tuesday 13th that is considered unlucky and in Italy it is Friday the 17th.
Those who fear the number 13 itself are said to suffer from triskaidekaphobia.
The fear of Friday 13th even has a name - friggatriskaidekaphobia, which combines a fear of Fridays with the perception that number 13 is seriously unlucky.

Here is a list of things that have happened on Friday 13th:

  1. On Friday the 13th, 1969, a black cat darted onto the field during a decisive late season matchup between the Cubs and the Mets, both jockeying to lead their division. As the story goes, the cat ignored the Mets and stared into the Cubs dugout for 10 seconds before disappearing. The Cubs crumbled after that game, losing 18 of their next 27 games and toppling from first place in the division. They didn't really shake that curse until last season—and then lost to the Mets in the playoffs.
  2. At 13:13 military time on Friday the 13th in 2010, a 13-year-old boy was allegedly struck by lightning in Suffolk, England. He survived with only a minor burn. And from that moment on, he had, hands down, the best party story of all time.
  3. In September of 1996, Tupac Shakur died on Friday the 13th, almost a week after he was shot four times in a drive-by. Of course, scores of conspiracy theorists maintain that he's not actually dead. 
  4. On Friday, October 13, 1972, a plane full of Uruguayan rugby players crashed into the snowy Chilean mountains. Only 27 of the original 45 passengers survived. The bad luck continued: without supplies, the survivors had to eat their dead teammates. A few weeks later, an avalanche killed eight more. And the 16 remaining survivors were not rescued until the end of December. Horrifying. 
  5. In 1923, the Hollywood sign was unveiled on July 13. Originally, it said "Hollywoodland," and it advertised a new housing development. So you could say the entire movie industry, symbolized by this sign and symbolizing vanity, commercialism, sell-outs, etc., etc., has its origins on Friday the 13th. Makes sense.
  6. Friday 13th August, 1976, was particularly unlucky for New York man Daz Baxter. Having elected to stay in bed to ward off bad luck, the floor of his apartment block collapsed and he fell six storeys to his death.
  7. A full moon on Friday February 13th, 1987, drove troubled Robert Bullard, 21, to attempt suicide by putting his head in a gas oven.
    Not only was his methodology flawed – suicide by natural gassing is virtually impossible since Britain moved from lethal coke gas to less dangerous natural gas – but a flicked light switch caused an explosion which injured his mother and a policeman and caused £35,000.
    Robert was unharmed.
  8. Friday 13 February 1998 was simply business as usual for Mancunian John Sheridan, dubbed Britain’s unluckiest man after once having his car stolen five times in one day, making 16 trips to casualty in two years, seeing eight TVs explode in six months and losing out on a £4000 lottery win when he put the ticket in the washing machine with his jeans.
  9. On Friday 13th October 13, 2006, 36 inches of snow fell on upstate New York. The ensuing chaos claimed three lives and incurred $130 million of damage.
I could be here all day listing all the different things that have happened on Friday the 13th. So many will put it down to that day being bad luck, but what would happen if we compared it to other days?
I personally do not believe in this superstition. My Nan often celebrates her birthday on Friday 13th and she is very lucky... she has me as a granddaughter :)



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Thursday, 12 October 2017

October Frights Blog Hop Day 3


Clowns


The word Clown comes from Low German, and originally described the peasant through uncomplimentary association with the soil that he tilled. ‘Clown’ meant ‘clod, clot, lump’, with more acerbic overtones of ‘clumsy, loutish, lumpish fellow’ and a female ‘hoyden or lusty bouncing girl’. A clown was someone with rude manners, undisciplined physicality, and an inability to control appetites or impulses.



Coulrophobia - is the extreme fear of clowns.









The most ancient "clowns" have been found in the Fifth dynasty of Egypt, around 2400 BC.








There is a Clown Motel in Nevada, which is next to a graveyard, that is currently for sale.


Would you stay there? And if you had the money, would you buy it?








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Wednesday, 11 October 2017

October Frights Blog Hop Day 2


Faeries


Fairies are a species of supernatural beings or nature spirits, one of the most beautiful and important of mythological concepts. Belief in fairies is ancient and widespread, and similar ideas concerning them are found in primitive as well as civilized societies. Fairies have been celebrated in folklore, stories, songs, and poems.
Fairies were often said to be invisible, usually of smaller stature than humans. It was believed they could be helpful to humans, but might be dangerous and evil if offended. They were often considered just mischievous and whimsical in a childlike manner, but were believed to have magical powers.
There are scores of characteristic fairies in the European tradition, but the main types include the trooping fairies, who are the aristocrats of the fairy world, living in palaces or dancing and feasting underground; the hobgoblin fairies of a rougher, workman type; nature spirits of rivers, gardens, and woods; and deformed monsters, like hags and giants.
Fairyland was usually underground or in some magical other dimension. Here time became mystically changedone night in fairyland might equal a lifetime in the human world. Some of the most romantic and poignant folktales concern mortals who fall in love with a fairy queen and are transported to the magical world of fairyland where all wishes come true, but through breaking some taboo or indulging in homesickness for earthly existence, the mortal is suddenly returned to his world, in which scores of years have passed.
There are many folklore stories of fairies assisting humans, mainly in a bucolic setting. Household fairies were said to assist in everyday tasks like washing dishes, laying the fire, sweeping the floor, making bread bake properly, and so on but asked to be treated respectfully and given a cup of milk for their trouble.
Other fairies played mischievous pranks of a poltergeist nature, pelting mortals with stones, preventing bread from rising, blowing out candles, knocking pans off shelves, sending gusts of smoke, or annoying horses and cattle. Often this was deemed a punishment for lack of respectful treatment. In rural areas, fairies were often referred to in flattering terms as "the good people" to avoid offending them.
According to superstition, the fairies would sometimes steal a human baby and put a changeling fairy child in its place, often ugly and bad-tempered. The changeling might be tricked into a sudden admission of its fairy origin, but there was also a folk superstition that it should be set on fire for this purpose. Undoubtedly some temperamental babies were fatally burned because of this belief, which persisted until some two centuries ago in isolated peasant districts.
"Fairy rings" are small dark green circles in the grass of meadows, fields, or lawns caused by a certain fungus. These rings were once said to be the dancing places of the fairies. In Ireland, mound burials were believed to be the haunts of fairies.




Good place to visit

There is a beautiful and magical place called Fairy Pools of Skye.
I have been here more than once and it was a great inspiration for part of my Erin the Fire Goddess series. On one of these visits I camped out overnight with my family. From where we were we had the perfect view of the entire Fairy Pools that twinkled in the darkness.



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