Blood of my blood...
Alexis is about to take over as the high priestess of the Anuri Clan of witches. Given the knowledge at a young age, she has always known how her life would turn out. Which is why she is determined to have some fun before taking up her duty.
Her attempt at a fun night out doesn't go to plan, when she discovers a badly injured man at her house. He claims that vampires are forming an army, one that could wipe out the human race. Alexis is their only hope.
It is time for Alexis to accept her birthright, but is she strong enough to take on an army of vampires?
A dark fantasy novel. 18+ due to mature content
Dirty Deeds: An Urban Fantasy Collection
A really enjoyable book with some great characters. I loved the supernatural elements and in particular the story with Jane Yellowrock. Urban fantasy fans will love this collection. Highly recommeded.
A bewitching, fiendishly funny cautionary tale about the perils of gatecrashing fairy tale kingdoms—particularly ones with drunken unicorns, bored dragons, and sorcerers in tight, leather pants. Sasha Pierce hasn’t had a single dream since she was a child…
... until she accepts a substitute teaching position in the charmingly witchy village of Old Middleton. Her first dream in twenty-five years ought to be enchanting, but her wonder quickly turns to shock when she realizes that it’s not a dream at all, but an entirely different sort of magic. Catapulted into the fairy tale kingdom of Between through an ancient portal, Sasha’s astonishment is swiftly upgraded to panic when she accidentally performs a supposedly impossible feat and is declared the True Queen of Between … and betrothed to its infuriatingly handsome sorcerer-king.
Lorn, Shadow King of Between, is desperate to break free from Between’s clutches. Magically tethered to the ramshackle kingdom, he wages a daily battle to save his disreputable subjects from rampaging magical creatures, sinkholes, and catastrophes of the distressingly lethal variety. To avoid an early grave, he needs an escape plan, not a wife...until he learns that this magicless mortal holds the key to his freedom.
Unwilling to leave her world to accept the crown—or the husband—Sasha must race against the clock to disentangle herself from this fairy tale. But her empty throne leaves a dangerous rift between their worlds. As dark forces descend upon Old Middleton, the two must make a choice: work together or unleash fairytale chaos upon their realms.
Between is the spellbinding first novel in The Chronicles of Between fantasy series. Filled with feisty, fairytale-savvy heroines, swoon-worthy sorcerers, slow burn romance, morose minotaurs, and bawdy witches it’s a laugh-out-loud fairy tale romp.
L. L. Starling is an Australian fantasy writer who lives in Madison, Wisconsin—right in the midst of the deliciousness that is ‘America’s Dairyland.’ She loves small dogs, bucket-sized iced lattes, glitter and crowns of all sorts, Wonder Woman, Bowie, smiting all those who oppose her plans for world domination, and the music of the 80s (especially the power ballads, which she sings into her hairdryer on the ‘cool’ setting so that her hair blows around in a suitably epic fashion). 'Between' is her debut novel.
A well written, slightly wacky tale that I really enjoyed. Highly recommended.
Daemon Persuasion Series
S. K. Gregory
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publisher: SK Gregory
Date of Publication: 18/12/2020
Word Count: 46k approx
Cover Artist: SKGregory
Tagline: They survived the battle, can they win the war?
From USA Today Bestselling Author S.K. Gregory the Final Book of the Daemon Persuasion Series
The battle is over, but can they win the war?
The battle changed everything. Mackenzie finds herself with new responsibilities and a war heading her way. Her relationship with Taryn is tested as the bodies begin to fall.
An end to the war...
As they try to beat back the enemy, a prophecy might hold the key to end the war for good. It will take all of her power to keep the ones she loves safe. Time to kick some ass.
An urban fantasy novel
“Why won’t you ever listen!” Taryn screamed. He turned away from Mackenzie, his shoulders set with rage.
Before she knew what she was doing, Mackenzie picked up a heavy plant pot from a nearby table and brought it down on the back of Taryn’s head. His body crumpled to the floor.
Dropping the remains of the plant pot, she stood over him, waiting for him to get up and start screaming at her again. When she saw the blood pool out onto the carpet, that’s when she knew how serious it was.
“Taryn?” She dropped to the floor beside him, reaching out to check for a pulse. Nothing.
“No, this isn’t happening,” she whispered. She turned him over, stifling a scream when she saw his eyes open and staring back at her. “Taryn.”
She shook him, willing him to respond, but he didn’t. He couldn’t.
Oh God, I killed him.
This couldn’t be happening, she didn’t mean to get so mad, she just lost control for a moment.
Sobbing, she rested her head on his chest. Her whole life was over now. Taryn was gone, their life together, their home, their future. She would go to prison for sure and then...She sobbed harder.
She turned to find Annie standing at the top of the stairs. How did she get in?
“What’s happened? Is he okay?” Annie asked, taking a step toward her.
“No. He’s dead.”
Annie kneeled down beside her, placing a comforting hand on her back. “Oh my poor girl.”
“I need to call the police,” Mackenzie said, wiping her face.
“There’ll be time for that. You need to focus on what is important.”
“What are you talking about?”
“I need you to tell me who you are,” Annie said.
Mackenzie stared at her. “What?”
“You heard me. Tell me who you are.”
Mackenzie shook her head in confusion. “You know who I am, Annie. Are you okay?”
Maybe Annie had hit her head or something.
“I know your name, but I need to know who you are and why you are here.”
Mackenzie got to her feet, eager to put some space between herself and Annie. Annie’s hand shot out and gripped her wrist.
“Answer the question!” she barked.
“Get off me,” Mackenzie said. She pried Annie’s fingers off her wrist and hurried downstairs. She would call the police and maybe a doctor for Annie.
Before she could reach the phone, Annie caught up to her. “You can’t escape me. Answer the damn question.”
Mackenzie whirled to face her. “Enough. I don’t understand your damn question. You know me. My name is Mackenzie. I’m here because I bought a damn house.”
Annie’s face twisted into a snarl. “Not good enough.”
There was a flash and for a moment, the entire room changed. The furniture vanished and she was sitting in a chair with a strange man standing over her. She blinked and she was back in the room.
This isn’t real.
Annie advanced on her.
About the Author:
USA Today Bestselling Author S. K. Gregory writes urban fantasy, paranormal romance and horror novels. She currently resides in Northern Ireland where she works as an editor.
In her spare time, she helps indie authors by promoting them through her website and on social media.
$10 Amazon Giftcard
Title: Dark Phoenix
Author: Karina Espinosa
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Cover Designer: Covers by Juan
Publication Date: November 13th, 2020
Hosted by: Lady Amber’s PR
How far would I go for freedom?
Lucifer’s mark has a control on my life and the only way out is sacrificing a friend. When Michael gives himself up for my freedom, it comes with consequences.
The angels find out what Michael has done to save my life, and it is now my turn to save his. With a bargain struck, it’s a race against the clock to put an end to this once and for all.
It’s me against Lucifer. Will any of us make it out alive?
Phoenix Burn: https://books2read.com/u/b5ZnLG
Phoenix Rise: https://books2read.com/u/m2Zkzj
Dark Phoenix: https://books2read.com/u/mBoelM
Karina Espinosa is the Urban Fantasy Author of the Mackenzie Grey novels and The Last Valkyrie series. An avid reader throughout her life, the world of Urban Fantasy easily became an obsession that turned into a passion for writing strong leading characters with authentic story arcs. When she isn't writing badass heroines, you can find this self-proclaimed nomad in her South Florida home binge watching the latest series on Netflix or traveling far and wide for the latest inspiration for her books. Follow her on social media!
Reader Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/karinaespinosa/
Once upon a time in the Kingdom of Maxim…
“You turned me into a cliché!” screeched Queen Lucinda. Nobles grimaced and servants ducked their heads to avoid eye contact. “I requested a story to honor our dead king and recognize the kingdom as a realm to be celebrated and admired.”
“Yes, Your Majesty. I mean no-”
“Guards! Seize this man.”
The hair went up on the back of William Writer’s neck as two guards propelled him forward. Everyone knew the beautiful queen had given up magic on her wedding day. But with King Edward dead, his heartless widow might not feel bound to her promise.
“But Your Majesty, I wrote of the generosity and wisdom of his monarchy, the splendor and elegance of his court, the beauty and abundance of the land, and the kindness and diligence of its people.”
“And the vain, mean-spirited queen.” Her sultry voice failed to hide the bitterness behind her words. An oppressive silence fell over the court as she raised an eyebrow at the royal poet who knelt before the throne.
William cursed himself for his folly. He should have listened to his wife and softened his portrayal of the Queen Mother. The royal poet avoided looking into her cold, black eyes as he struggled to find a way out of his predicament. “Your Highness, you misunderstood. It was all in jest -”
“You portrayed me as the wicked witch of a fairy tale.” She jumped from her throne, fists clenched, red splotches spreading across her face and neck. With one agitated wave, the guards removed the poet from her court. “Let him sit in the dungeon and write for the rats.”
Lucinda breathed deeply to calm her seething temper and lowered herself back onto the velvet cushion. She smoothed her satin skirts and patted the stray ebony strands that had fallen from her perfectly coiffed hair. The poet’s desperate pleas echoed through the stone corridor as she turned her thoughts to more pressing matters.
Her stepson Richard, the newly crowned King, would be home any day from courting some pale, weak princess. Lucinda must get even with that imbecile author before his return.
The Queen snapped her fingers and a servant filled her goblet. Sipping on the sweet mead, she held the heavy, bronze cup between her palms and searched the golden liquid for an answer. Her cunning mind whirled with malicious inspiration. A malevolent smile slowly spread across her face.
“Ah, yes. It’s perfect.” She let out a delighted cackle then clapped her hands, calling for ink and paper. “I’ll beat that pathetic poet at his own game.”
The news of William’s imprisonment spread through the village of Chestnut. King Richard had left on matters of State, leaving his stepmother to rule as regent. The unlucky poet became the first casualty of her temporary reign.
The mumblings began softly but quickly grew louder.
“His poor wife is heavy with child.”
“He’ll pay the ultimate price for his arrogance now.”
Without her late husband to keep her under control, Lucinda could turn their world upside down. The townspeople said a silent prayer for the swift return of their king.
All was as it should be in the Kingdom of Maxim. The baker lit a fire for the bread; the tailor took inventory of his cloth; the cobbler cut a pattern for another pair of shoes. Farmers went to their fields and wives and children began their daily household chores. Life was good –until the residents discovered mysterious missives tacked on their cottage doors.
The miller’s daughter ran outside waving a parchment at her father. “Oh, Papa! It’s the royal seal! Could it be an invitation?”
The miller looked perplexed. “Why would the Queen send notices to each household? The town herald reads important proclamations.”
Villagers soon crowded the town square waving their papers with enthusiasm. Clara fingered the unopened parchment in her apron with apprehension. She noticed a strange, repetitious behavior as each of her neighbors read their letter.
“Something is amiss,” Clara said as pandemonium took over the village square. She quickly made the sign of the cross and ran for the safety of her home.
That same morning, the royal steward heard a scream from the kitchen below and hurried down the back stairs.
“What in the - ” he stopped dead in his tracks. The footman held a dead goose over a steaming caldron while the cook frantically tried to snatch it from his hand.
“Help me. Please, sir, he’s gone quite mad!” implored the squat woman as she balanced on her tiptoes and jumped towards the bird held high above her head. “He’s already thrown in the two geese dressed for tonight’s meal. This one’s not even plucked yet.”
The steward and cook held the servant down on the bench and wrestled the goose from him. The glazed look disappeared from footman’s eyes and he heaved a sigh of relief. At that moment, a huge crash came from upstairs. The three exchanged a wary glance before looking towards the ceiling.
King Richard paused at the top of the mountain taking in the lands of Maxim and smiled with satisfaction. The sun shone brightly on his dark shoulder-length hair, warming his skin as he breathed in the fragrant country air. The golden wheat fields, gently sloping hills of emerald green and sparkling streams set against the dense forest could easily be the happy-ever-after setting for an enchanted story. This is where his betrothed must first view her new home. Who could not fall in love with this kingdom – and hopefully its king?
“Hyaa!” Putting the spurs to his horse, he loped down the hill towards the village and wondered what mischief Lucinda had stirred up during his absence.
Taking a shortcut through the woods, Richard spotted a stray sheep. As his huge royal steed caught up to it, the wool unexpectedly fell off the sheep’s back revealing a more sinister figure.
“God’s teeth!” The king pulled his horse to a stop. A wolf in a sheep’s skin? A bad omen, indeed. With a new sense of urgency, the young monarch hurried towards the outskirts of Chestnut.
The main street was full of activity. As he drew closer, the king observed the Chapman family walk in circles while dragging their toes in the dirt. Nearby, the tailor sat in the middle of the square with his jerkin pulled over his face.
Richard’s stallion began to prance and snort. The king dismounted and approached a paddock where a blue horse grazed. Why would someone dye a horse?
He continued through the town center with a nervous equine at his heels and took in the peculiar scene. Tom the Blacksmith intermittently shaded his eyes with his hands, gazed off into the distance, and then took a huge leap.
A wolf in sheep’s clothing, a horse of a different color. Richard nodded to the blacksmith as he jumped past again. “Lucinda, what have you done this time?” he muttered under his breath.
The old midwife ran up to the handsome young king she had helped bring into this world. When she stopped to give a quick curtsy, a dozen or so villagers almost toppled over her.
“Oh, Your Majesty, we are so glad to see you. Yesterday, the Queen Mother imprisoned William Writer for his description of Maxim. This morning, everyone received a strange invitation and began to act possessed upon reading it.” The poor woman wrung her hands as if to wipe away the black magic.
The king laid a reassuring hand on her shoulder. “Why did you not get an invitation, Clara? What about these people with you? They seem clear of mind.”
“Your Majesty, I felt uneasy about opening mine so I waited. These good families behind me had no one in their household who could read so they have been spared, sire.”
Richard tapped a finger on his lips thoughtfully. Ignorance is bliss.
Clara again crossed herself as a man walked by winking and counting. “The whole village has gone mad. Bart the Gatekeeper stands in the cemetery with one foot on his wife’s grave and cannot move. Mort the Gardener continues to poke himself in the side with a thorn.”
“Do not fear, Clara. I will find the cause and set things right.” He was appalled at the calamity in his village. “I have a fair idea who is responsible.”
“Yes, Your Majesty, I am sure you do,” Clara agreed as she stepped out of the way of a woman who walked backwards and pulled a blanket along the ground. “Covering her tracks, she is,” nodding at the girl.
Richard headed for the castle determined to end the upheaval in his kingdom. Along the way, he pulled a timber in front of the Chapmans. One by one, the family members tripped over the log, picked themselves up and bowed low before their king.
“Get a blindfold for Tom so he can’t see where he leaps,” the king ordered as he snatched the woolen shirt covering the tailor’s eyes.
Next he picked up the girl dragging a blanket and carried her several feet to eliminate the footprints. When he set her back down, she curtsied low and looked up with a grateful smile.
King Richard fixed angry eyes on the tower where his stepmother surely watched the scene below. He wanted to strangle her. Lucinda had wreaked havoc in his realm in a few short days. Princess Isabella was coming in less than a month and there was much to do before her arrival. He did not have time for such tomfoolery.
His progress home was stalled repeatedly as he encountered one faithful subject after another needing release from Lucinda’s spell. Fortunately, only a clever mind was required to solve each predicament. Richard was thankful Lucinda’s malevolence was much stronger than her magic. Yet with all he had seen, the king was still not prepared for the chaos at the castle.
He passed over the drawbridge and through the gate to find his faithful knights still as stone, each holding his head with both hands. He spied some fruit in a nearby basket and tossed an apple at each soldier. One by one, the soldiers let go of their heads and caught the fruit. A round of ‘Thank you, Your Majesty’ and ‘Very grateful, Sire’ followed him across the bailey as he looked for a groom to unsaddle his mount.
The king heard grunting noises and peered inside the dark stable to find his grooms inside the stalls. One hung onto a horse’s neck, while another clung to the poor creature’s back legs. A third was trying to lift a small and unwilling pony onto his lap.
“You are a sight for sore eyes, Your Majesty,” the Captain of the Guard said, exhaustion apparent in his voice. “I returned early this morning from border patrol to this insanity. The cook warned us not to read anything with a royal seal so we have not been affected.”
Richard nodded. “I already witnessed the disaster in the village. Time to let Lucinda know I have returned. Meet me in the throne room and bring William Writer. I shall hear his side of the story.”
The captain hurried away reassured that His Majesty would squash the hysteria.
The young monarch bellowed orders to anyone not under his stepmother’s spell as he made his way towards the keep.
“Dump that pot of water so the servants cannot watch it.”
“Take the needles away from those nine girls by the sundial.”
“Get that man off the merchant’s scale and put the salt away.”
He found Lucinda in the Great Hall impatiently waiting for her supper.
“What is taking so long in the kitchen?” Her shriek caused the servant girl to flinch and nervously pull at her skirt.
“I believe you are the reason for the delay, dear stepmother.”
Lucinda’s head jerked up at the sound of his voice. Her tone changed at once. “Oh, my dear boy, come and give your mother a kiss.” Her words were as sickeningly sweet as her smile. “Perhaps you can motivate these lazy servants.”
“The entire kitchen staff is crowded around the hearth adding their own touches to the stew. You know what they say.” He paused, a smirk forming upon his lips. “Dinner may be indefinitely delayed. Meet me in the throne room. I need an explanation, Lucinda.”
“I do not appreciate your tone, Richard.”
“King Richard, if you recall. And this is not a request.”
Much later, the king sat on his throne once again, amazed at the audacity of this self-centered woman. His Captain of the Guard had fetched the petrified poet and both sides of the story retold. King Richard read the original tale then nodded to the author.
“Congratulations, William Writer. Your prose is lyrical, flowing and does indeed pay tribute to my father and my kingdom. Truth be told, the description of the Queen Mother is not flattering but accurate.” He gazed intently at his beautiful, vain stepmother. “I must admit I am curious, Lucinda. Why not just behead the man?”
The queen gave an indelicate snort. “I promised your father on his deathbed I would cause no bloodshed in his kingdom. I am always true to my word.”
She looked down her nose at the poet. “Since I could not kill him in the physical sense, I gave him a writer’s death and poisoned his story with clichés. When the princess arrived and saw the Kingdom of Maxim in such chaos, I expected her to turn tail and run home. This would leave me as regent while you attended to matters of State. I killed two birds with one stone, so to speak.”
“You are foiled on both counts. It may be weeks before I am able to locate all my subjects affected by your spell but I will return my kingdom to its previous condition. And Isabella is neither shallow nor fickle enough to break our betrothal.” King Richard snapped his fingers. “Enough of this nonsense! Let us attend to more important matters of state.”
A servant came forward with a silver platter, upon which lay a parchment with the royal seal and offered it to the Queen Mother.
She gingerly picked it up and broke the wax with one long nail. “I suppose this is an invitation to your wedding. I don’t understand why you -” Lucinda let out a strangled sob while both hands flew to her nose, the paper falling to the floor.
“Whatever is the matter, dear stepmother?”
“Cut off my nose to spite my face? How dare you turn my own spell against me?” Her eyes frantically scanned the room for any knives or blades.
“You wanted to be recognized throughout the realm. A witch without a nose will surely attain notoriety.” The king’s blue eyes twinkled, enjoying her discomfort. “However, there is a way…”
“I’ll do anything.” Her words were muffled beneath her palms as she tried to protect her aristocratic nose. “Anything you say.”
“You must cease your spitefulness.”
“I said -”
“You might as well put a stake through my heart.”
The king shrugged. “Enough drama, Lucinda. It’s your choice.”
The little kingdom of Maxim prospered from the legendary tales written by the court poet, William Writer. Visitors came from near and far to see a land of breathtaking beauty and meet the just King Richard and virtuous Queen Isabella.
Almost everyone in the kingdom lived happily ever after. Although Lucinda appeared pleasant and accommodating, Isabella sensed her sadness. Thinking her mother-in-law continued to grieve the loss of her beloved, she asked her husband how she might help. The king, with a wise smile, told her that the Queen Mother needed not just a sprinkling of kindness, but an outpouring of compassion. Thus the dutiful daughter-in-law spent years showering the older woman with goodness, blissfully unaware that each day she dampened any spark of happiness for Lucinda. When it rains, it pours.
Bestselling and award-winning author Aubrey Wynne resides in the Midwest with her husband, dogs, horses, mule, and barn cats. She is an elementary teacher by trade, champion of children and animals by conscience, and author by night. Obsessions include history, travel, trail riding and all things Christmas.
Ghost stories are famous the world over, every culture has their own. Here are a few you may have heard of:
Hello! First of all, I’m K.J. Sage, an urban fantasy writer who loves a touch of darkness.
I’ve always been a big fan of Halloween, ghosts, vampires, all those things that go bump in the night. I’m sure I’m not the only one who has been drawn to the dark side. Maybe because I’ve had some creepy experiences myself.
Today, I thought we could talk about one of those experiences. Hey, it is almost Halloween, after all!
Have you ever experienced sleep paralysis?
Apparently Sleep Paralysis is a bit of a phenomenon. Your body remains “asleep” but you partially wake up. Hallucinations are very common and for some unexplained reason, most people see very similar things. Specifically, a shadowy figure who watches you sleep while you are powerless to do anything to defend yourself.
At one point in time, people believed that a demonic figure was holding them down in their sleep. I can totally understand why.
I've experienced sleep paralysis a few times before. Once in particular, a tall figure in a long black cloak glided to the edge of my bed and stared down at me. The streetlight was behind him so I couldn't see into his hood at what face lay beneath. Worst of all, because it was sleep paralysis and I couldn't move, all I could do was shut my eyes and tell myself everything would be okay, that when I opened my eyes again, he would be gone. To this day, I can't help but wonder what exactly it was he was seeing in me...
There is speculation that medication can trigger it, but it’s not known for sure. This remains a big mystery to me.
As humans, we are always desperate to understand more. Perhaps sleep is the gateway to those answers we seek…
Recently, I wrote a short book about sleep paralysis, all the feelings it evokes; a shortness of breath, a heavy feeling on the chest, the inability to move. Except for Rick, the main character in my book, it might not be all in his head…
Enjoy this spooky story for 1.99 here: https://storyoriginapp.com/universalbooklinks/7525bbae-ec86-11ea-9662-4f81d7bbf816
Or read it for free by joining my newsletter here: https://storyoriginapp.com/giveaways/8bad042c-e56a-11ea-86d0-07d91dd66584
I have some other creepy stories planned, as well as a few lighter books. At the moment, all of my stories are urban fantasy and take place in the same world. It’s an exciting time for me to explore different parts of life through the stories that I write while having fun doing it.
Thank you so much for reading my guest post! It’s been a blast being here and I hope you sleep soundly tonight!
1) Tell us about the stories you write.
I write romance. Anything romance! As long as the story contains a happily-ever-after, I don't much care what time period or subgenre, I love a good romance story. My books are about strong heroines and sexy heroes. Sensual stories filled with emotion and some adventure. I like to keep things exciting and suspenseful.
Most of my stories are paranormal romance. I love the supernatural! Combining my love for romance and all things spooky make for wonderful story ideas. My newest release, The Ghost of Morley Manor, is paranormal ghost romance that is part of A Cursed All Hallows’ Eve: A Limited Edition Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy and Reverse Harem Halloween Themed Collection.
2) What do you plan on writing next?
I have a lot going on right now. I'm in the midst of finishing the next two paranormal romance books in the Cougar Shifter series that began with Loving Boone. I'm also working on a new sci-fi alien romance series part of which has been released with Stolen and Seduced. There's more ghosts and vampires in my future, too!
3) Do you believe in ghosts?
Absolutely! Too many strange, unexplainable things have happened in my life not to believe in them. I grew up in my grandmother's house which we believed to be haunted. The house is over 150 years old and my family lived there for 100 of those years. My great-grandmother passed away in the living room. When she was younger, she gave birth to a stillborn baby which my grandfather buried in the backyard (this was back in the early 1900s). My grandfather also passed away when I was about two years old.
For as long as I can remember, there were areas of the house that felt strange to me. As if someone was watching me. Sometimes voices were heard coming from downstairs. My grandmother often scolded my aunt, thinking she'd left the television on before going to bed at night. When my aunt went downstairs, the television was turned off. No one could explain where the voices came from.
My aunt also witnessed apparitions. She woke several nights to see the figure of a baby at the foot of her bed. We often wondered if it was the baby that passed away in the house. To this day, my aunt insists she was wide awake when she saw the infant. It wasn’t a dream. She'd blink and the baby would disappear.
Despite the many strange things that happened in the house, my grandmother always assured me when I was a kid that whatever ghosts haunted the place, they were most likely our deceased family members. It didn't make it at all scary knowing my family was behind the strange breezes that swept through the living room when the windows were closed. Or the sounds of footsteps when no one else was home. My family loved me, so I felt they were watching over us.
Now, I live in my own haunted house for about 15 years. I have new experiences here. Not as frequent as I would like! Yes, I actually wanted to buy a haunted house. I've heard footsteps when no one else was awake, sometimes coming from the attic at night. When my daughter was two years old, she told me she saw a man in the kitchen and my bedroom (of course, this was when no one else was home). My daughter also had an imaginary friend until she was about 5 years old. Another little girl named Anna. I often wondered if Anna was imaginary or maybe… something more.
4) What is your favorite thing about Halloween?
Everything! I love the atmosphere Halloween brings. Anything feels possible. Ghosts, vampires, werewolves, monsters of any kind. I've been an avid lover of the supernatural for all my life. I've read countless books and watched TV shows documenting the unexplained. Halloween brings everything out into the open. A celebration of all things spooky!
5) How do you spend your Halloween?
It could be Halloween in my house all year round! I have decorations of ghosts, witches, werewolves and vampires. I keep the decorations near my bookshelf with the books that I've written and published. Although my family enjoys watching spooky TV shows and movies all year long, we dig in for the month of Halloween. Ghost Hunters, Ghost Adventures, Paranormal Caught on Camera. And then there's the other shows like Supernatural (I love Dean!), Dark Shadows (the 1960's soap opera) and on YouTube there's OmarGoshTV, Moe Sargi, and Nuke's Top 5 which has a lot of spooky ghost and cryptid videos.
Typically, for the month of October, I spend it celebrating with my four children. We go on hayrides and haunted corn mazes. Our local Cub Scouts have a Halloween costume contest every year which my boys won a few times for creative and spooky. My kids also helped with a Zombie run that the Scouts put together last year. They dressed up and hid along the trail to jump out and scare the runners. We're hoping this event will take place every year (although we cancelled it due to Covid-19 this year). I also walk with my kids in the Halloween parade in our town representing Scouts as we toss buckets of candy to the kids. We always enjoy giving out candy! It's so much fun to see the kid's eyes light up. Of course, my kids are always excited about Halloween night when we go Trick or Treating. Most of the month, my family spends giving to others, and this is one night where they reap the rewards and come home with pumpkin buckets overflowing with goodies!
Tricia Schneider is a full-time dreamer who writes romance novels and short stories. She’s been an archaeologist, a spaceship captain and a vampire hunter. She’s sailed the Seven Seas with sexy pirates and danced the night away with Prince Charming. Before the supernatural took possession of her pen, she worked as Assistant Manager and bookseller at Waldenbooks. She firmly believes there is a book for everyone. After the store closed, she turned to writing full-time, publishing paranormal and historical romances. From werewolves and witches to pirates and Regency lords, she escapes into sensual stories where happily-ever-after is a guarantee.
Tricia lives in Pennsylvania with her four children and two rescued cats. When she’s not typing away on her laptop, she’s riding shotgun in a ’67 Impala while keeping her eyes open for a madman in a Big Blue Box.
This is a ghost story about my cat.
It’s also a love story. And a story about events that happen under your nose while you aren’t paying attention.
Life is everywhere.
Back when I lived in a little one-bedroom apartment in Richmond, I had my best buddy by my side. He was a big tuxedo cat named Zippy. We all called him Zippy the Wondercat, because he was, well, wonderful. He was big and fluffy and very, very sociable. If there were two or more people in a room, he was guaranteed to be sprawled on the floor right in the middle, where you couldn’t ignore him. Not that you’d want to—he was exceptionally handsome, with a belly that just called out to be petted. And he’d let you—he enjoyed a belly rub.
He was my first cat, my first pet that was all mine, mine only, after I got a divorce. He and I drove my raggedy-ass Ford Probe up from Key West (that was where I got the divorce and the cat) to our new place in Richmond, where I knew one person and one cat. I lived on the third floor, and one of the best things about this apartment was it had a fire escape/ slash/ balcony. Living in Florida for most of my life, there was rarely a second floor, and never a balcony. So to my eyes, this was the height of chicness and luxury. Zippy and I spent loads of time hanging out on the (in retrospect) rickety wrought iron landing with its excellent view of the parking lot and, in the distance, the traffic on Grace Street.
One afternoon, I was getting ready to head to work. I was a traffic reporter at the time, and my shift was 6am to 9am, and then 3pm to 7pm. (Split shifts are the devil, but that’s another story.) I was locking things up, and I noticed Zippy wasn’t in his usual spot on the couch. It didn’t take me long to find him. He’d fallen off the balcony.
This part of the story is sad and I’m going to skip over it. My poor sweet baby didn’t survive.
I obviously didn’t make it to work. My best friend Anne (my one person) came over with a big bottle (BIG bottle) of wine and we drank and I cried. When I heard a cat meowing, I ignored it. Other people have cats, right? Even though I’d never heard one in the hallway. But it kept crying, and it kept getting louder.
By the time the cat was howling and scratching on my front door, we were both frozen, wide-eyed. Anne tells me I was white as a sheet.
“I’d better get that,” I said.
I opened the door, and a big tuxedo cat raced past me, through the living room and on into the bedroom, still wailing.
Once my heart started beating again, I went after it.
Well, it wasn’t Zippy. This cat had a bright pink collar. Her name, it appeared, was Alice, and she lived upstairs. I picked her up (she was very friendly, if upset) and went up, and knocked on the door. Her owner was absolutely shocked.
“She has literally never left this apartment before,” she said. When I told her what happened, it was her turn to go pale. “That was your black cat? He came to visit Alice every day. They would both sit in the window—her inside, him outside. I think they were in love.”
We realized Zippy had lost his balance jumping from the windowsill back to the fire escape. How Alice knew that it was my apartment door she needed to bang on, we will never know. But she loved him enough to try and find him when she knew something had gone horribly wrong.
He had a girlfriend, and a whole life I knew nothing about.
I’ve had other cats since Zippy, and I’ve loved them all equally, because all cats are perfect. I try and honor his memory by being an excellent cat parent to each of them. But Zippy was special, I think, and it eased the pain of his loss just a little by knowing it wasn’t just me that mourned him, that day.
And if I ever hear a wandering spirit scratching at my door, you better believe I’ll let him in.
Kim Alexander grew up in the wilds of Long Island, NY and slowly drifted south until she reached Key West. After spending ten rum-soaked years as a DJ in the Keys, she moved to Washington DC, where she lives with her cat, an angry fish, and her extremely patient husband. She began writing when she ran out of authors to interview.
Kim was in her twenties when she finally read a book not prominently featuring spaceships and/or wizards. Turns out Jane Austen was pretty funny!
Her husband tells her she needs to write at least ten more books if she intends to retire in Thailand, so thank you for your patronage.
About the Author:
S. K. Gregory is an author, editor and blogger. She currently resides in Northern Ireland.
“Description begins in the writer’s imagination, but should finish in the reader’s.”