Happy Halloween!

Welcome, Coffin Hoppers! 

Prizes! Ghost! Spooky! Another ghost! Gross! Dark Spirit!

Quick Win: Leave a comment with the phrase “Mother Nature is not just a metaphor” to win Stolen Climates!

Today is the crowning wonder of the year for horror aficionados. It is also the last day of the 2012 Coffin Hop. I’ve enjoyed the variety and inventiveness of your posts, and hope you had a good time at my party!

Until 11:59 PM PST tonight, you can still enter to win several prizes, including the Grand Prize!

Grand Prize Scream!

Stolen Climates inspired goodies!!

One lucky, lucky reader is going to get a pack of fiction by The Emissaries of Strange, authors of Speculative Fiction.

How do you enter? By leaving a comment. I’ll post the winners here on Sunday, November 4th.

Happy Hopping!

xoxo,

aniko

Going for the Gross Out

Welcome, Coffin Hoppers! Prizes! Ghost! Inspiration! Another ghost!

Quick Win: Leave a comment with the phrase “Mother Nature is not just a metaphor” to get an ebook of Stolen Climates.

Our visit to the field left us chilled, so we decided to warm up in the living room. The paprika colored walls reflect the warmth of the fire, and every now and then someone cuts through the room, dragging the cold outside air along behind them like a ghost. We’re on the couch, sipping scotch and pretending that it is only the temperature making us shiver.

When the party gets quiet, as even the rowdiest parties do, we can still hear the distant screams. The sound steals in through the chimney, moves through the flames, joins us on the couch. As the one who set the mood by telling a ghost story in the middle of a haunted field, I feel obligated to lighten things up a bit; like any writer, the only thing I can think to talk about is writing.

The most I can promise is that this particular story won’t involve ghosts. It might go for the gross-out, but that’s just the risk you take. I top off our drinks, set the bottle on the end table and move slightly closer to you.

hey how for halloween!

Not everything in Stolen Climates was inspired by other artistic creations. A bit of it was lifted from real life. From my life.

In the backyard, near the door, there is a flower bed. The first year we lived in the house, a plant that looked like a cross between a sego palm and a philodendron grew in that flower bed. We thought the drought of the following summer killed it; there were no more leaves, just a cactus stump no more than a few inches high. That fall, I crouched to pull weeds and fallen leaves out of the bed; my knees were pressed into the dirt, my gloved hands seeking. It is possible I was listening to music, and it is possible the wide sky was blue. All I remember clearly is the pain. A sudden, literally stabbing pain.

I peeled my glove from my left hand.

A thorn was shoved under my fingernail. It was a quarter inch long, and I could see the thick line of it under my nail. It stuck out of the tip of my finger, a fat wooden stake.

Apparently, the sego-philodendron grew a crown of thorns and, apparently, I had bad luck.

The thorn hurt, but it was too strange and too unbelievable not to share. I went inside, to where my husband sat in his office. I think I asked him if he wanted to see something cool.

I added that scene to Stolen Climates, although I amped up the supernatural causes for it. You can win a copy just by commenting, and every comment is another entry to win one of my Scream-y prizes. Don’t be shy!

 

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I adore and reply to comments!

School “Spirit”

( Welcome Coffin Hoppers!  Prizes! Ghost Story! Inspiration! Grim Reaper! )

Quick Win Steps: Leave a comment with the phrase “Mother Nature isn’t just a metaphor” and win an ebook of Stolen Climates!

It is nearing midnight. We are walking across the street to the field I told you about earlier, the one where you either hear an owl or a something else. I can’t say for certain the spot is haunted, but it is always cold.

We walk up the abandoned side street, past the cracked pavement falling prey to waist high weeds. We step around two boulders, and into the field. A path cuts through the center of the clearing; it is nothing more than cracked earth, trampled grass, and the souls of sunflowers left to wither when the Summer left. Wind whispers entreaties that draw us forward, right into the center of the field. I  stretch one hand out as if to grasp the difference in temperature, while you try to huddle within yourself against the cold.

“How long do we wait?” you ask.
“I don’t know,” I say. “Would you like to hear a ghost story?”

You either of shiver or nod, I can’t tell which, but I start the story anyway.

A Gate into Mary Washington College

Credit snakepliskins, via flickr.

I attended a small liberal arts college that happened to be built on a Civil War Battleground. One of the dorms was used as a hospital, and the road running along the base of the hill upon which the college perched was the repeated scene of bloodshed. What is now a bucolic Campus Walk was once peopled with soldiers but, on the night I’m going to tell you about, I was alone on the mile-long length of brick road.

At about the midpoint of  Campus Walk, there was a bridge. It crossed a stream, and then Campus Walk continued up the hill on the other side. Most of the time, the area was full of students, full of activity. That night it was cold and, at 3 AM, even the partiers had taken refuge. The campus was silent except for my echoing footsteps.

At first, I wasn’t sure what I was seeing. There was a figure in the distance. It appeared to be moving very quickly, but was not getting any closer and I couldn’t tell if it was moving away from or towards me. I stopped and watched, conscious of my isolation.

I could not see his face, and I still couldn’t tell which direction he was going. His legs moved with a strange stop-animation motion, like a really bad video revving forward and backward in a jerky loop. His long blue coat fluttered around his neither-this-way nor that-way legs, but he didn’t get closer to the other end of the bridge, nor did he recede into the distance. I looked behind me, at the long walk back the way I came. I looked forward, at the soldier – for by now that’s what I thought he was.

I started across the bridge, my heart pounding and my armpits slicking with nervous sweat despite the cold turning my breath into a hazy gray banner announcing my approach.

When I reached the midpoint, the soldier disappeared. I stopped again, just as freaked out by this as I had been by his appearance. I took a deep breath and made a run for it. I got to the philosophy building and I spun to look behind me.

There was no soldier.

In fact, no matter how many late nights I walked that campus alone, I never saw the soldier. To this day, I can still picture the oddity of his movement, the bewildering way in which he went nowhere while moving very fast.

Just as I wrap up my story, you say:

“Listen!”

In the distance, there is something screaming. The air is colder now, almost unbearable. The scream echoes, and is impossible to pinpoint.

We run.

Don’t forget: you can get a copy of my horror novel, Stolen Climates, and also get a chance to win some other fabulous prizes by leaving a comment! Remember: lurking’s for ghosts! Comments are for people!

 

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I adore and reply to comments!

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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I adore and reply to comments!

Autumn, awaking.

October.

The name conjures earlier nightfall, crisp air, and the advent of all things spooky. It is thirty-one days of horror movies, pumpkin lattes, and the possibility of weather cool enough to open windows. It is a time of afternoon coffee, fresh radishes crisp as apples and nearly as big, and the first bowls of lunchtime soup.

When I moved to Central Texas five years ago, I thought that there were really only two seasons: Summer and not-Summer. I was wrong. There are seasons, but they are subtle. The trees may not erupt with the Autumnal fire of cooler climes, but they do change. The live oak mellows from a dark green to a gentle golden-green and the lush emerald of the cedars deepens. Insects and flowers that the sun killed return, making October a month of understated rebirth. Dragonflies float on sunlight-reflecting wings, glittering bits of consciousness hovering above the changed trees. Fireflies drift amongst dying thickets even as multicolored zinnias blow in the cooler breezes. On cloudy mornings, Austin’s ambient light reflects from the muzzy atmosphere, and a surprising profusion of sunflowers glow bright as good omens.

My creativity, which had grown sluggish beneath the constant blue of Summer’s onslaught, is also flowering. My work on expanding and revising the first book in my sci-fi/horror series is going at a good clip, and connections between characters and themes ricochet through my dreams to appear on the pages. In addition to work on the novel, I’m also preparing a short story for inclusion in an anthology. The story is a strange little gem inspired by Ouida Sebestyen’s novel, Girl in the Box. Not including reviews and blog posts, I have written close to four-hundred pages of new material this year. To put that in perspective, the final draft of Stolen Climates weighs in at just over 240 pages. I have never been this productive. I welcome my awakening!

***

October is also the month of horror blog hops. This year, I am participating in the Coffin Hop. Mark your calendars, because I’ll be giving away fun prizes, copies of Stolen Climates, and writing a post a day!

Coffin Hop 2012!