Guest Post: Writing horror and supernatural stories by Robbie Cheadle #DarkVisions #HorrorAnthology #NewRelease

I’m happy to welcome guest blogger and author, Robbie Cheadle, today with a look at how she became interested in writing horror and supernatural tales. Already an accomplished children’s book author, Robbie is now venturing into other genres. Her stories, The Haunting of William, and The Willow Tree,  are featured in the new anthology, Dark Visions. Perfect reading at this time of year, this goose bump-inducing collection is high on my TBR. Please welcome Robbie with her first guest appearance on my blog!

banner ad for Dark Visions, a collection of supernatural stories

As a pre-teen I was fascinated by horror and supernatural books and stories. At the age of ten I read Salem’s Lot by Stephen King. It scared me to death, but I loved the thrill. I steadfastly read my way through all the horror and supernatural books I could get my hands on.

I started writing in 2015 by accident. I had been writing poems for many years and made up stories from time to time for my children, but I had never consciously sat down and tried to write a story. The Sir Chocolate series of books evolved with Michael through a process of joining our ideas together and creating rhyming verse stories to help him to learn to read and write and practice his spelling.

During 2017, I decided to write the story of my mom’s early years growing up in the town of Bungay, England during WWII. That was the first time I actively plotted a story line. A lot of historical research was required for the book to establish the setting and enable the reader to understand the historical facts of the time and follow the timeline of the war. I completed While the Bombs Fell in May 2018 and it has recently become available on Amazon.

This historical research for my mom’s book resulted in my discovering a lot about the folklore of her hometown, much of which is steeped in superstition and mythology. Bungay abounds with ghosts and other mythological creatures and these gave me a lot of fodder for my imagination. The idea of trying my hand at a darker story emerged. I have written four short stories in the supernatural and horror genre. I submitted two of these for Dan Alatorre’s Word Weaver competitions this year and I received an excellent critique in respect of both. I implemented Dan’s advice and resubmitted the two stories to him and was very thrilled when they were accepted for his new horror anthology, Dark Visions.

BLURB:
Book cover for Dark Visions, a horror anthology shows cloaked, hooded figure holding a glowing sphereFrom the creators of the #1 bestseller The Box Under The Bed horror anthology comes Dark Visions, 34 horror stories from 27 authors.

Tag along on a con man’s New Orleans vacation where he gets more than he bargained for from a mysterious voodoo shop. A collection of family photos reveals an eerie secret about a beloved grandmother’s true nature. A child’s horrifying memories haunt her into adulthood. A new camp counselor learns that the camp has secrets she might not live to reveal.

Edited and compiled by Amazon bestselling author Dan Alatorre, this anthology of horror brings together the minds and pens of more than two dozen amazing authors.

Dark Visions will take you into the realm of the eerie and macabre, with thrills and chills from:

bestselling author Dan Alatorre (The Navigators),
bestselling author Jenifer Ruff (Everett),
bestselling author Allison Maruska (The Fourth Descendant),
bestselling author J. A. Allen,
award-winning author MD Walker,
award-winning author Juliet Nubel,
award-winning author Dabney Farmer,
award-winning author Sharon E. Cathcart,
award-winning author Heather Kindt,
award-winning author Bonnie Lyons,
award-winning author Sharon Connell,
award-winning author Geoff LePard,
award-winning author Anne Marie Andrus,
award-winning author Christine Valentor,
award-winning author BA Helberg,
Ernesto San Giacomo,
award-winning author Alana Turner,
Nick Vossen,
award-winning author Robbie Cheadle,
Betty Valentine,
award-winning author Frank Parker,
award-winning author Bonnie Lyons,
award-winning author Lori Micken,
Chuck Jackson,
Ellen Best,
Victoria Clapton

Perfect for Halloween or any time, these stories will make you think twice before spending the night alone, planting a tree in your garden, or even visiting your mother.

Consider yourselves warned.

Purchase Dark Visions from Amazon

Connect with Robbie Cheadle at the following haunts:
Twitter | Facebook | Blog 

Mythical Monday: The Redcap by Mae Clair

bigstock-Spooky-Castle-8290225Malevolent spirits are always a hot button topic during the days leading up to Halloween.

The ghastly creature I’d like to introduce you to today will never be mistaken for anything less than monstrous. Though not exceptionally tall, the redcap is a murderous goblin that secrets himself in the crumbling ruins of old castles along the border between England and Scotland. This heinous creature derives its name from the red cap on his head, the color achieved by soaking the hat in human blood.

It is the goblin’s lot in life to constantly seek new victims for should their cap dry out, their life will end. Because they must constantly kill to remain alive, they often move from castle to watchtower or any pile of crumbling stone that may provide temporary residence and shelter them from witchfinders and exorcists.

From a distance, a redcap may be mistaken for a stocky old man with a gray beard, but there is nothing arthritic about their movements. These vile creatures are capable of remarkable speed even though they shod their feet with iron boots. Possessed of burning red eyes, lethally pointed teeth and eagle claws in place of hands, they are the spawn of nightmares. Some tales say they carry a pikestaff or scythe to aid in killing. Small in stature, they have incredible strength and can easily overpower a grown man.

After making a kill, the goblin will drink his victim’s blood then dip his cap in what remains, renewing its crimson hue. It is impossible to outrun or even out power a redcap, but like most creatures of faerie, they are not without weakness. Brandishing a crucifix will send them fleeing, and reciting any passage from the Bible aloud will make them disappear instantly.

One of the things that fascinate me most about folklore is how even those creatures that seem indestructible at first glance always have some type of fatal fragility. Thank goodness for Bible verses and crucifixes! I would not want to meet a redcap even on Halloween.

What about you? *queue spooky music*

Mythical Monday: The Boogeyman and Other Childhood Monsters, by Mae Clair

Childhood days are filled with fun, a time of delight and discovery. But children also have vivid imaginations for conjuring the denizens of make-believe. Like most otherworldly elements, the fantastical is inhabited with beings of light and dark.

Full moonMost of us remember the boogeyman under the bed, a malevolent creature born from the blood of midnight, dust and shadow. When darkness settled, the boogeyman left its realm, oozing to life through the floorboards beneath a child’s bed. We knew better than to dangle a hand or foot over the edge of the mattress. The temptation was a blatant invitation for the boogeyman to “get us.” Although it was never really clear what that amounted to, we knew it would be terrifying.

Trying to convince an adult of the boogeyman’s existence was pointless. Once a light switch was activated, or a parent peered under the bed to reassure us, the boogeyman retreated, seeping back through the floorboards before it could be spied. Clever and ghastly, it wasn’t the only menacing creature to haunt our bedroom.

Kindred of the boogeyman, the closet monster was every bit as sinister. Like the boogeyman it appeared at night, summoned when a closet door was left standing ajar. That crack, no matter how minuscule, summoned it with the lure of slipping into our world. Shut the closet and the monster would be trapped inside. For all its menacing presence, it was powerless to open the door on its own.

bigstock-Silhouette-of-branches-19396952With the closet monster contained and the boogeyman prowling beneath the bed, that left only the dark enchantment born from the night. Wind, moonlight and shadow had the power to turn everyday tree branches into writhing snakes and skeletal fingers. When those same grasping fingers tapped against night-blackened window panes, we knew the danger lurking outside actively sought a way indoors.

In the morning, the touch of sunlight banished all dark creatures to their shadow-draped warrens and we could almost believe the danger wouldn’t return. Almost. In the bright wash of daylight, darkness and the denizens that inhabited its realm held no power.

We rode bikes, raced across open fields, picked wild strawberries and climbed trees. When dusk fell, we danced with fireflies, told ghost stories and played hide-and-seek. Twilight was magical, nothing to fear. But night eventually settled, forcing us to crawl into bed, certain the boogeyman had returned.

Somehow, despite all the ghoulish creatures that wanted to “get us,” we emerged from childhood unscathed. In time, we reached an age where they no longer existed, and ceased to trouble our sleep.

Maybe it’s just me, but dangling my hand over the edge of the bed is something that still gives me pause. Even as logic tells me there is nothing down there, I get that shivery sensation that has me snatching my hand back to safety after a short time. Silly? Yes. But a writer’s imagination is every bit as vivid as a child’s. How about yours?

Bet honest. How comfortable are you dangling a hand or foot over the edge of the bed? What nighttime creatures frightened you in childhood?

Welcoming Guest Blogger Sara Jayne Townsend

I’m rolling out the red carpet for Sara Jayne Townsend who has dropped my blog today to to share a guest post.  This is a good one *rubs hands together eagerly* and I can’t wait to hear your opinions! So kick back, enjoy and check out what she has to say!

Minority Opinion?
by Sara Jayne Townsend

Sarah Townsend (45) smallLast month was Women in Horror month. For the second year running, I participated in this by running relevant posts on my blog.  Last year, I showcased women horror writers.  This year, I looked at fictional kick-ass role models of horror (specifically Buffy, Alice from ‘Resident Evil’, Ripley from ‘Alien’ and Sarah Connor from the ‘Terminator’ films).

I think this is an important cause, because we need to raise the profile of women in horror.  Women have been writing horror since Mary Shelley penned ‘Frankenstein’.  They read horror.  There are even well-respected women directing horror films.  So why, in the 21st century, is there still a pervading general opinion that women don’t ‘do’ horror?  As a woman horror writer I think about this question a lot.

I think part of the problem is the fact that the media will always encourage majority opinion.  This is most evident when the Xmas ads get rolled out.  If you buy your gifts based on the message the commercials are giving you, you’d assume that the women in your life want make-up kits and romance films, and the men in your life want computer games and science fiction films.    Not that I want to rant about this, but anyone who doesn’t know me well enough to know I’d rather have a zombie PS3 game for Xmas than a make-up kit shouldn’t be buying me a gift at all.

I have lived my life in the minority.  I’m left-handed, and the world is geared for right-handed people.  I live in a country where the two favourite pastimes are eating curry and watching football, and I don’t like either.  I am a woman who reads and writes horror.  I play video games, and D&D.  I don’t have, and have no desire to have, children, and I have little interest in clothes and shoes and hand bags.  I am not alone in any of this.  The majority of my female friends are horror and sci fi fans, and we talk with enthusiasm about the same TV shows.  We also rant collectively about the image of women in the media, and lack of decent female role models.

Things are changing, slowly (hence my recent blog posts about positive fictional female role models in the media), but there’s still a long way to go.  And if the media continues to cater to gender preconceptions, things will never change quickly enough.

But change is always slow, if constant.  There may always be fewer women writing horror than there are men, but that doesn’t make them any less relevant.   The majority opinion isn’t necessarily right – just more popular.  And there is something to be said for being part of the elite minority.  When your voice is smaller, you just have to shout louder.  Eventually people listen.

BIO:
Sara Jayne Townsend is a UK-based writer of crime and horror.  Her latest book, SOUL SCREAMS is a collection of short horror stories and is available in e-book and print format from Stumar Press (http://stumarpress.webs.com/soulscreams.htm).  Learn more about Sara and her writing by visiting her website (http://sarajaynetownsend.weebly.com) and her blog (http://sayssara.wordpress.com).
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