To the Nines

Welcome Coffin Hoppers! Prizes. Ghost Story. Inspiration.

In the garage the donut games have begun: the string is strung, and the donuts hang from it, light, sweet Krispy Kreme gems. The competitors have donned garbage bags to protect their costumes. The bags rattle and float, turning them all into ghosts. The Grim Reaper presides over the festivities, final arbiter as to who has eaten her strung donut fastest without using her hands. He’s an ironic Reaper, with a tag that says: 

Reaper's Humor

He’s not at all like the real thing, I say.

Not so very long ago, I had a cat named Beanie. Beanie was a spiteful, angry creature. Beanie was a meanie. She was was prone to scratching people who tried to pet her. She carved the Roman numeral nine into the soft flesh of a friend’s hand. IX: the number of her bitter lives. Beanie was my pet, but I can’t say I loved her – or that she loved anything. In her final month, though, she became kind. She purred, and allowed herself to be petted.

In late September, she weighed almost nothing and no longer could be convinced to eat. As I did every night, I wrapped her in blankets and settled her into a nook with a heating pad before I went to sleep. Sometime later, I heard her struggle out onto the hard tile floor; she was having trouble walking, and I rolled over to turn on the light.

And stopped.

The Grim Reaper stood in the corner, between my white dresser and the closet door.

He didn’t have a scythe, and I couldn’t see enough to tell if he wore the traditional cowl. I couldn’t see enough because he was an absence of light, a darkness so complete I’ve never seen anything like it, not even in Hurricane Isabel’s aftermath when all of the power was out. It was a darkness beyond anything you can imagine, and I was afraid that if I moved to help Beanie, he would take me instead.

Beanie’s struggles got worse. A lot of things about horror are trite, it turns out. Her breathing and bodily functions rattled: a death rattle.

I turned on the light and dropped down out of my bed to cradle Beanie; the entire time, she stared at the space between my dresser and the closet.

When she breathed her last, she was staring at the Grim Reaper.

We both jump a little at the sudden shouts and clapping. The donut game is finished, and all the participants are laughing, their faces covered in donut icing and joy. The ironic Reaper puts a plastic medal over the winner’s head, and he raises her arm: mock triumph.

Remember: you can win an ebook copy of my novel Stolen Climates by leaving a comment with the phrase “Mother Nature isn’t just a metaphor.

 

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Spooky Inspiration

( Welcome, Coffin Hoppers! Prizes. Ghost story. )

I’m not surprised the sexy gypsy won the costume contest, but you were robbed. Your costume is more authentic, especially the way your innards dangle over your belt. How are you getting your eyes so glassy?

Okay, not much of a talker, are you?

The keg’s just been replaced. Now it’s Devil’s Backbone, named for a road near Austin that’s claimed its share of travelers. Guys who probably look about as bad as you do, now that I think of it!

It’s funny stuff like this, the little coincidences or glimpses that inspire the horror I write. Stolen Climates is the Muse-child of a few major artistic inspirations. Since you’re so quiet, and the line for beer is long, I’ll fill the space by telling you about one.

front porch of Hill HouseI love The Haunting of Hill House, by Shirley Jackson. I enjoy the supernatural aspects of the story, but what really captures my imagination is the main character’s stubborn insistence on fabricating a better, more interesting version of herself. She lies to everyone, building a story of a life that doesn’t exist. Just as I pluck details from the chimera of reality to weave my tales, so too did Jackson’s character. Her stone lions and ‘cup of stars’ make cameos in Stolen Climates. My character, Prentice Feyerbach, is the male, iPhone-toting version of Jackson’s character. That’s why I include a copy of The Haunting of Hill House in the ‘I Won the Grand Prize!’ Scream; they are companion pieces, meant to match up like two stone lions on a high-rise balcony.

Where did that guy with the bad-ass fatal car crash costume go? You didn’t see him? He was right here a moment ago…

Don’t forget you can get a free ebook edition of Stolen Climates just by leaving me a comment that includes the phrase, “Mother Nature isn’t just a metaphor.”

May you find your blue cup full of stars,

-aniko

 

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Dreams, Hauntings

( Welcome, Coffin Hoppers! Read about prizes here: The Scream System!)

The Coffin Hop party here at the happy horror writer’s is in full swing. A group of people are bobbing for apples, and the costume contest is about to start. Let me put another log in the chiminea, and then I’ll tell you a story. A scary story. No Halloween party is complete without one, right?

ghost

My sister and I have a long, shared history of supernatural experiences. The most recent one happened earlier this year. We had a girl’s night out, just the two of us. When we came back to my place it was later than we intended, and still we stayed up talking. When we finally went to sleep it was after two AM. She took my little Yorkie into her room, and I put my phone on the charger in the kitchen, washed my face, and tumbled into bed.

I fell into a dark dream. In it, I woke up in my bed. Outside the house, there was what sounded like an eighteen-wheeler idling, followed by the terrible clattering, slamming noise. Someone was trying to get into the house! My sister ran into my room. I could see her silhouette in the door way, back lit by the lava lamp in the living room.

“Someone’s trying to get in,” she said.

I woke up then, for real. Loud clattering noises came from the front of the house. My sister appeared in the doorway.

“Someone’s breaking through the window in my room,” she said.

Together we walked across the house to the guest room where my sister was sleeping. We flicked on the overhead light and gasped. My cell phone – which I left on the charger in the kitchen – was scattered across the room! Battery, backing, rest of the phone – all in separate pieces. Worse though, was the window.

The metal blinds were twisted and tangled. It looked like something huge had fought its way through the blinds, bending and twisting every slat in the struggle. It was mangled, but the window behind it was locked, closed, intact.

My sister told me that what what woke her, even before the blinds went all poltergeist, was my little Yorkie.

“He was crying,” she said. “I’ve never  heard anything sound so terrified in my life.

Well, that costume party is starting! Oh, come on! A little ghost story didn’t scare you, did it?

Remember, even if you don’t have a costume, you can still win. Click here to find out how! Don’t forget to leave a comment with the phrase ‘Mother Nature isn’t just a metaphor‘ to win an ebook edition of Stolen Climates!

 

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Welcome, Coffin Hoppers!

 

welcome to the happy horror writer's Coffin Hop stop!

Help yourself  – the keg’s full of ice cold Oktoberfest cheer. There’s candy corn, multicolored popcorn balls, assorted cheeses, and crisp apples. Feel free to explore the yard and relax near the chiminea. If you feel adventurous, take a short walk across the way to the empty field where there’s a cold spot that is always chilly, even in the brutal Texas summer. If you stand there long enough, you will hear either the owl or the other thing. If you hear the owl, you are in good company. If you hear something else –  run!

No Halloween party is complete without door prizes, and the Coffin Hop is a week long party! To participate, all you have to do is be a registered member of the Coffin Hop. To win, all you need is a little luck or the help of spirits conjured over candlelight and cauldron.

Prizes ( Ranked by Scream )

The Haunted House Group Scream:

Leave a comment with the phrase “Mother Nature isn’t just a metaphor,” and I will give you Stolen Climates, my horror ebook.

The Bloodcurdling Scream:

Ten commenters will get a signed Stolen Climates postcard.

The Strangled Scream:

Five commenters will win a signed Stolen Climates poster.

The  Pleasant Surprise Scream:

One commenter will win a  delectably twisted set of dark fiction ebooks by #TESSpecFic  authors, including:

The Imaginings, by Paul D. Dail

Valknut: The Binding, by Marie Loughin

Corridors of the Dead, by Jonathan D. Allen

100 Unfortunate Days, by Penelope Crowe

Stolen Climates, by Aniko Carmean

The ‘I Won The Grand Prize!’ Scream:

One person will receive a Stolen Climates themed goody pack! This includes:

Gauss Hotel’s Award Winning Waffle Mix (just add sytra!)
Helena’s Cosmos Seeds
Margot’s Hand – It’s Not Just for Breakfast Anymore!
A (previously enjoyed!) paperback of The Haunting of Hill House
A signed Stolen Climates poster

Come back and comment often! Multiple comments mean multiple chances to win. And you know you want a prize to go with that fine beer buzz and the thrill of walking out into the haunted field!

xoxo,

-aniko, the happy horror writer

Mother Nature isn't just a metaphor!

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