Ghosts for Halloween… or at least Ghostly Clues by Kay Lalone

Just in time for Halloween, I managed to turn up a ghost. Kay Lalone brings her book, Ghostly Clues, with a story about her own ghostly experience. So let’s hear what she has to say.

What is a ghost? A ghost is the spirit of a dead person that can appear to the living. The apparitions of ghosts vary widely from an invisible presence to translucent or barely visible wispy shapes, to realistic lifelike visions. I believe I saw a ghost once or part of a ghost. I was a kid when my grandma passed away. One night I was asleep when I felt something moving on my bed. I opened my eyes and saw a white something shaped like a hand on my bed. Before I could scream or do anything, it was gone. To this day I’m not sure if it was a dream, my overactive imagination, or an actual ghost experience. I believe it was the latter, a sign from my grandma. That haunting experience inspired me to write Ghostly Clues. I have the ghost hand scene in Ghost Clues, so read the book to see how Sarah Kay handles that experience.

Ghosts can be frightening especially if the ghost wants to do us harm. In Ghostly Clues the ghost of grandma is there to help Sarah Kay, but at first she doesn’t know that. So how do you communicate or contact a ghost? The deliberate attempt to contact the spirit of a deceased person is through a séance. In Ghostly Clues, Sarah Kay and Mary Jane get into trouble when they attempt a séance. So doing a séance is not always a smart thing to do.

There are some people that just don’t believe in ghosts. Sarah Kay’s mother is that type of person. She doesn’t believe in ghosts and tells Sarah Kay not to believe. But when you have a grandma leaving you ghostly clues, you can’t help but follow them.

I think once you open your mind and experience a ghost you become a believer. Hopefully your experience with a ghost isn’t to frightening. Personally I believe ghosts are all around us, so look out for more ghostly tales from me.

Ghostly Clues

Blurb:

The sweet scent of lilacs permeates the air around Grandma’s gravesite. Only Sarah Kay can smell Grandma’s favorite flower, and they’re not even in bloom.

Sarah Kay and her best friend, Mary Jane, believe the lilacs are a sign from Grandma’s ghost. The girls follow one ghostly clue after another, uncovering a secret that Mom never wanted Sarah Kay to know.

Grandma makes sure Sarah Kay gets the message even from the grave. As the evidence piles up, Mom still refuses to accept the possibility Sarah Kay’s father is alive.

Sarah Kay finds Dad’s parents. A set of grandparents she didn’t realize existed. They make it clear her father is alive but days and miles separate the father and daughter reunion because Dad is a truck driver on a long haul.

Sarah Kay waits. The news reports a fatal car accident involving a semi and Sarah Kay fears the worse. She runs away which leads to Dad and the truth, Mom wanted Dad to remain dead.

Dad had faked his death so why not just stay dead. The ghostly clues of Grandma wouldn’t allow Dad to remain dead to Sarah Kay.

Excerpt:

The house was blanketed in a quiet slumber. I snuggled under the sleeping bag with Allison, trying not to think about ghosts, as I drifted to sleep.

Random pictures floated in my mind like ghostly images.

I tiptoed among tombstones and my heart ached as if I had lost something or someone. He had to be here, somewhere. The gravestones rose like stone walls. No names engraved on them. No dates. No R.I.P. Nothing. Just smooth, flat stones. Ghosts—grayish, smoky forms with black eyes—floated over the tombstones. I shivered, suddenly cold, freezing. My breath visible like a little ghost. I didn’t want to look at the ghost anymore so I looked down at my feet. A tombstone with Grandma’s name appeared out of nowhere. The earth moved. The dirt around the headstone broke away and gnarled fingers clawed their way into the air, searching, grasping. Shriveled fingers clutched my leg.

Something grabbed at my leg—the hand,I screamed and frantically wiggled out of my sleeping bag, bumping MJ as I tried to get away from the hand I thought I felt grab at my leg.

kaylsm

About the author:

I’m Kay LaLone. Ghostly Clues is my first middle grade novel published by MuseItUp. I live in Michigan with my husband and teenage son (two older sons and a daughter-in-law live near by) and two dogs and a cat. I love to get up every morning and write about ghosts, the paranormal, and anything that goes bump in the night. Or anything that interest my characters. Making my characters come to life for readers is important to a good story. I’m an avid reader of just about any type of book. I do reviews on the books I read and post them on my website and blog.

Links:

MuseItUp

http://museituppublishing.com/bookstore2/index.php?page=shop.product_details&flypage=flypage.tpl&product_id=527&category_id=144&option=com_virtuemart&Itemid=1

My website   www.kaylalone.weebly.com

My blog  www.kaylalone.blogspot.com

Facebook   https://www.facebook.com/ghostlyclues

Twitter   https://twitter.com/kaylalone

Barnes & Noble
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/ghostly-clues-kay-lalone/1114821562?ean=2940044359321

 

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Interview with George (a dog) and Mindy Mymudes (a peep).

Today I’m going to try something new on the blog: an author interview. I had a character interview in September, which I guess this is too, of sorts. Since I don’t want to make new things too easy, I’ve decided to interview a dog. George is a basset hound and an author.

Before now, my experiences conversing with animals has had mixed results. I’ve tried talking to dogs, and they always look at me like I’m saying the most interesting thing they’ve ever heard, but they’ve never answered. Cats have, on occasion, spoken to me, but it kind of creeps me out, so I don’t talk to them. Cattle can speak simple phrases: “I’m hungry,” “Where’s my calf,” “Where’s my mom,” and “Get away from my calf.” Bulls have two extra phrases: “You need to leave me alone, NOW!” and the other one I can’t mention here because I intend to keep this site PG-13. Even though cattle can speak, they lack the cognitive ability to understand. But I think, with Mindy’s help translating, this interview went well. You can let us know what you think in the comments section.

The release date for George Knows has not been set, but it will be available sometime in December from MuseItUp Publishing as well as Amazon, BN, Kobo, Sony eReader, and Smash Words.

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Tell us a little about yourself.

George: It should be evident. I’m a the most brilliant basset hound in the world. I was born as the familiar to Karly, my Girlpup, and in the process of training her to be the best witch she can be. Our Auntie Heather also helps. Sadly, Karly is only a Peep, so I have limited material to work with. It’s a good thing Peeps have us dogs to help them. They are so badly designed.

How long have you been writing?

I don’t actually write, my paws are perfect for digging, walking, and sometimes trotting or running. Peeps didn’t make computers for us. I do have a human that almost understands dog talk, so I share my stories with her. I get treats, she gets to sit at her computer and have something to do.

Tell us about your current project.

Right now, I’m trying to find out where some Peeps bones came from that I found in the woods. They’re really old, they smelltaste like moldrotbone. I think a Big Thing like a dragon, called a Hodag has something to do with them. I don’t like to smelltaste Peeps bones, Peeps are supposed to GIVE us bones. I prefer cow. I want the Bad Thing out of my woods.

How hard was it for you to find a publisher for your book?

Peeps didn’t seem to recognize my brilliance. The lady whose fingers I use started sending me out when it was really cold. It was just starting to warm up when I got the contract.

Mindy: George isn’t very good with dates. His tummy alarm can tell you when his Peeps are coming home and when it’s time to eat very accurately, but dates don’t seem real important to him. I started Querying in January, 2012, and was accepted by MuseItUp in May, 2013.

What’s next for you?

George: I’m working on Tillie’s Tale. It’s about the newest member of my Pack, a basset hound puppygirl and the ghost that’s following her.

Do you have a writing schedule? If so, what is it?

I like to tell my stories between meals. And between snacks. And between walks.

Do you listen to music while you write? If so, what do you like?

Sometimes the Lady With the Hands listens to weird music when she’s just clacking on the computer. I prefer songs like ‘Who Let the Dogs Out’, and my favorite: “Old Lonesome George the Basset http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B6dqm8nZ-Vg. I’m not lonesome, and I would’ve won lots of dog shows, but I’m busy teaching and being a familiar. Not enough time for that kind of foolishness. I do understand there are a lot of treats involved, though.

Where do you get your inspiration?

My life, duh. <Peeps!>

Mindy: All the scenes are based on real dogs I’ve lived with, but George seems to think it’s all about him.

It is. George Knows!

What have you done to promote your writing?

I’m peeing on every tree, shrub, and pole I can find. And having the Lady With the Hands help find logs for me to mark.

Mindy: I think you mean blogs, George.

George: That’s what I said.

Mindy: <sigh>

Tell us about any other published stories you’ve had.

George: The Lady With the Hands published stuff. Like a Zombie love story (Stupid, there are no zombies. I’d know, the smelltaste would be horrible. I like decaying stuff, but not rotten Peeps. I think she did stuff with pedigrees of rare weeds.

Mindy: Plants, George. You know about medicinal plants and I know you know what I studied.

George: You are supposed to figure out how to use them, not spend time in bad-smelltasting labs figuring out their gene ticks. You know I hate ticks.

Mindy: <sigh> Genetics. <Why do I bother>?

Where can people find you online?

I’m at Basset Bones,  http://bassetbones.wordpress.com

Have you ever liked a movie better than the book? If so, which one and why?

I don’t read, so I prefer to watch movies. For a while. As long as I get a belly rub with the deal. I like to laugh at Lassie.

Elvis or the Beatles?

Pelvis bones are okay to chew on, Beatles are crunchy, but only a bite. Why do I have to choose?

Mindy: He asked about Elvis. The singer. And The Beatles, a singing group.

Don’t be dumb. Why would I care about those things? He’s obviously asking about food. Important stuff.

What’s your favorite quote?

Dinner was made for eating, not for talking.

William Makepeace Thackeray

Star Wars or Star Trek?

Stars don’t have wars.

How do you take your coffee (or tea)?

I have to steal from the Lady With the Hands. She drinks Chai and when she’s not looking I can get some.

Mindy: <Ugh>

George: You could share! That’s what Pack does.

Thank you for taking time for an interview George (and Mindy). I hope you find success when your book comes out, and good luck with the rest of your “logs.”

Guest Post: James J. Crofoot author of The Journeys of a Different Necromancer

I’m a fan of short stories, but I feel the world of literature has changed a lot since the days when Faulkner could spin a griping tale, sometimes stretching over several decades, in just a couple thousand words. Now, more people want the seven to eleven or greater volume collections of Martin and Goodkind. So I’m pleased to feature James J. Crofoot, who has published not just a short story, but a collection of related short stories into a two-volume series. The first volume is available now.

IMG_0775James J Crofoot Has been telling stories since he learned to talk. It took some years before he could put them on paper and later, on screen.

Playing sailor for a time in the U.S. Navy, he saw the bottoms of a couple oceans through water so clear and blue you would swear you could reach out and touch the sea beds. In the skies at night he saw the milky way as a strip of white across the sky and realized how easy it would be to fall in love with the being at sea.

He’s climbed and stood on the top of a mountain or two, in the Rockies and Appalachians, and gazed in wonder at the sight stretching before him.

In my travelling he even managed to obtain a couple degrees, in business and electronics.

Through it all though, his first love has always been writing. Placing words upon paper and screen.  He has so many stories to tell, I really hope you’ll join me. If you like what you read, leave him a reply, and maybe join him on facebook.

The Journeys of a Different Necromancer 333x500The Journeys of a Different Necromancer started as a single short story. Then more just grew as the ideas took a life of their own. As a collection of short stories, it was pitched to the publisher of MuseItUp Publishing Company and the decision was made to collect them all into two book series. The first of which is now available. Check out this excerpt;

“I was with Xavier,” Thomas replied. With head bowed, he stared at his stew, sensing he would not be allowed to eat.

“Who?” His mother’s voice, her angry voice, the high-pitched voice.

Thomas looked up at his father to see a pipe halfway to a gaping mouth. “Xavier, you know, he lives in the tower. He wants to teach me to read and write, he wants me to be his apprentice.”

His mother sat down hard and stared at him.

“He’s got lots of books, scores of them. He showed me a book with lots of animals in it.”

His da sat back in his chair, silent. His mum folded her hands in her lap, also silent.

“Think of it,” Thomas continued excitedly. “Think of the things I could do if I could read. I could go and work for the prince in Targon, I could see the whole kingdom.”

“Go to bed, Thomas,” da said.

The boy gazed down at his untouched food. It smelled good and looked even better, but his father had spoken. Thomas got up and climbed the ladder to his loft. Deep into the night, even after his parents stopped their whispered arguing, he lay in bed thinking of the map Xavier had shown him of the kingdom. He would find a way. He would be…what word had Xavier used? Necromancer. He would be a necromancer and he would see the whole kingdom.

* * * *

In the morning, Thomas awoke to the smell of porridge. Having had no dinner the night before, he hurried down the ladder. There he found his da already eating. His mum ladled his share into a bowl and then got some for herself.

“We’ve decided you may learn to read and write. None of that dark stuff, though. You hear? No digging up of graves,” his da said. “We want more for your life, Thomas. Now then, what does this friend of yours want in return? We can’t afford to pay anything. I supposed he mentioned a price.”

Thomas looked at his mum as she sat down. She folded her hands in her lap and remained quiet.

“He said it would cost nothing. He just wants someone to teach. Xavier said he’s getting old and just wants someone to pass on some of ‘is…” Thomas paused trying to remember the word. “…knowledge.”

Da wiped his mouth with his sleeve. “Then we’ll give it a try. Only til ‘arvest, though. You’ll be needed in the fields then. Anything after that and we’ll see.”

A month and a half, Thomas thought excitedly. I have a month and a half!

“No good will come of this,” his mum remarked. “Mark my words, that man never did any good for anyone.”

Thomas finished his breakfast in a gulp, and got up to run from the house. He stopped just outside the door to pick up his favorite stick and heard, his da say, “I want better for him, Sonya. This life is no life for my son. He’s smarter than this.”

* * * *

A month passed and Thomas studied. He studied geography; the world turned out to be a lot bigger than he imagined. He learned arithmetic, how to count to a thousand. Then moved on to reading and writing, eight to nine hours a day, he went through the books and scrolls. On the second and third floors of the tower stood skeletons of various animals, there he learned science, anatomy and biology.

The forth floor, however, Xavier said he needed to learn a good deal more before being ready for that.

“The villagers are shunning me,” he said to Xavier one day after learning the word. “They whisper about me whenever I pass. Even my friends. Yesterday, I waved to them and started walking, to tell them what I was learning, and they turned their backs and ran away.

Xavier looked up from the book he held. “People, for the most part, are very small minded. They shun what they do not understand or things that are different.”

“Was that the way it was with you when you first started studying to be a necromancer?”

“People always thought me to be a little different. Look, Thomas, you will see more, you will do more, than they can imagine in their empty heads. You will learn to create life from death.”

Thomas thought about these words for some time. He wanted to do more than just plant and harvest. He wanted to travel this world, especially the sea to the west, to see more than just this tiny village to small for a name. He decided he liked being different. He was already learning more that they ever would. Did not that make him better?

You can find this young adult novella at

https://museituppublishing.com/bookstore/index.php/our-authors/52-our-authors/authors-c/352-james-crofoot

It is also available on Amazon and Barnes&Noble

Join me at:

Website – http://www.crofootwrites.com

Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/jamcrofoot626

Goodreads –  https://www.goodreads.com/JamesJCrofoot

My Thoughts on Alan Moore’s Advice About Publishing

You don’t have to spend much time on social media sites frequented by authors, most notably Twitter, before you discover a rift between traditional publishing and self-publishing. A few months ago, I wrote a post called, “Can Self-Publishing Authors Destroy Literature?” It came in response to a blog post I read where the author tried to claim just that. His argument had some serious loopholes, but what really upset me was his accusation that everyone using social media to promote their book has written a piece of garbage (I’m generalizing here). In my retort, I tried not to minimalize the role of self-publishing while still stating that my personal goal, as an author, was to have a publishing company accept my work. Basically, anyone can self-publish a book, but I needed someone else to say my work was good enough they would publish it to achieve my goal of becoming a published book author (I had already published several short stories and articles).

This was the right decision for me, and I’ll never question the route I took. But the other day I came across a video of Alan Moore, an author I hold in the highest regard, addressing unpublished authors. His advice is to self-publish, and he lists sound reasons. He states that being published doesn’t mean anything. To prove his point, he lists some authors who have sold millions of copies of their books, but who, according to Mr. Moore, aren’t talented writers. I could put together my own list of talentless bestselling authors–but I lack the confidence in my own work to make my opinions public.

Knowing what I do about Alan Moore, I would say he has an aversion to most things mainstream. It’s an aversion I don’t share. Although I mentioned my list of bestselling authors lacking in the talent department, one of my favorite authors is about as mainstream as you can get: Stephen King. And he’s certainly no stranger to voicing his opinion of pop-culture he thinks fails to pop. But something Stephen King frequently does, and this practice I have tried to mimic in my young career, is praise his editors for their hard work in making his writing better.

I’m sure this four-minute video of Alan Moore is incomplete, and maybe he goes on to stress the importance of editors. He does tell writers to go over their work and make it better, then go over it again and make it better (I’ve seen some self-published work I suspect is a first draft). I think part of the reason (possibly even the main reason) self-publishing is receiving such a bad reputation is the frequent lack of editors. I’ll read this post three times before I hit the publish button, and I’m certain I will still miss errors. You cannot undervalue the worth of another set of eyes on something you wrote. So this is my public service announcement: If you’re going to self-publish your work, please hire an editor. And I’m not talking about your mom or your favorite uncle, I don’t care if they are high-school grammar teachers. I mean a professional editor, trained in writing styles and grammar, and willing to give you constructive criticism. And then take that criticism. Remember, the editor’s always right.

Guest Post: Penny Ehrenkranz on Creating a Fantasy World

This week I have Penny Ehrenkranz, a fellow MuseItUp author as well as an editor with the publisher. We have another similarity, we’ve both published with Sam’s Dot Publishing. She shares a blurb about her collection of short fantasy and science fiction stories available with them later in the post. But first, I asked Penny to write something about fantasy literature for me (I like to be vague with my guest requests–I think it stimulates their creativity). She wrote an excellent essay about how to create a fantasy world. This is a must read for all aspiring fantasy writers, and I’m proud to say I followed all her rules in my forthcoming book, Unveiling the Wizards’ Shroud. (Hey, it’s my blog. I can shamelessly plug my book if I want.)

CREATING A FANTASY WORLD

By: Penny Lockwood Ehrenkranz

http://pennylockwoodehrenkranz.yolasite.com

Creating a fantasy world means building a world based upon reality, making sure your reader knows the rules of your world, and having your characters remain true to those rules throughout your story.

How do you go about creating a reality that readers will accept? Defining your locale can be a good place to start. It may be helpful for you to make a physical map of your world.  Include street names, inns, the palace, business establishments — anything that will involve your protagonist or your antagonist. If you want your action to take place in a rural location, lay out farms, travelers’ way stations, out-lying estates.  Include anything that will bring your story to life for your reader.

Magic is often the key in fantasy.  When you decide to bring it into your story, you must first decide how much and who has it.   After you decide who has the magic, you need to decide where it originates.  There are several common sources: the gods, nature, sacred places, plants and animals, artifacts, and innate talent.

You’ll want to structure your society around who has magic and who doesn’t.  If magic users aren’t in charge, they may be servants of those with economical power.  Is the magic in your story a gift treasured and respected by the general populace, or is it an evil feared?  The attitude of the people in your world toward magic will help you in structuring your society.

No matter which source of magic you choose, there are a number of variables to consider.  Be sure to write down who does what to whom and how it is done.  Then, the next time magic appears in your story, follow the same rules.  If you don’t, your reader will become confused.

Take the time to learn more about different weapons and what damage they can do.  Remember, there are long knives and short knives, broad swords and dueling swords, daggers and hunting knives.  Each type and style was designed for a specific purpose.

What your characters wear is just as important as their weapons.  Traditional fantasy characters always wear clothing typical of the Middle Ages.  Obtain a reference book on the Middle Ages for accurate descriptions of clothing types and styles for the period you have chosen for your tale.

Your world won’t be real to your readers until it’s real to you.

APAAF002smallBLURB:

A Past and A Future, a collection of sixteen fantasy and soft science fiction short stories, available from Sam’s Dot Publishing and Smashwords

Stories included in A Past and A Future are:

1. Flight of the Roc

What would you do if your master told you to collect a roc’s egg?  What would happen if the egg you collected hatched?

2. Blurred Vengeance

Temur’s father is murdered.  Will his journey to avenge his father’s death bring him what he wants, or will it destroy him?

3. Who Will Heal the Healer

Marzan teaches Niane to control the winds, but what about the winds of fate?  Will Niane be able to save her mentor when the underworld claims him?

4. Ashley of Ashland

Ashley, a young magician covets his brother’s fiance, but what are her feelings?  Can Ashley’s magic be enough to save him and his true love?

5. The Watcher

Zerelda is a watcher in a world of women.  When a prince comes to impregnate her ruler, will they find a forbidden love instead?

6. Enchantress

Merlin knows his fate, but he struggles to stand against it.  Will his powers be stronger than his apprentice’s, or will he find himself a victim of love?

7.Drakoni

She is from this world.  He is from another.  A dragon draws them together.  Will she look beyond his pointed ears and see the man of her dreams?

8. Heshe

Lyda runs, hiding her identity from her abusive stepfather.  Her rescuer has a secret of his own.  Will they both find happiness or will their pursuers stop them before they find their paradise?

9. The Baby Makers

How far would you go to have a baby if you can’t conceive on your own?  Would you accept a clone?  Would you fight for that’s child’s rights in a world unprepared for it?

10. 3-D Pictures

Avery’s boss thought he was crazy, but was he?  When he stared into the 3-D picture, he saw a land others couldn’t.  Will he enter the picture, or accept the doctor’s diagnosis?

11. Screen Saver

Clancy is used to strange people.  His boss represents them.  But when the bullets start flying, will the screen saver save him?

12. Isolation

The world has died, except for small pockets of isolated communities.   But what if you are tired of the isolation?  What if you wanted to find somewhere to be free?  Would you take the chance?

13. Love in a Different Hue

Chiri’s father is a scientist who invents artificial life.   What should she do when the robot her father created looks better to her than her husband?

14. Down So Low The Ground Looks Like Up

Sylvan is sensitive to others feelings.  It drives her crazy, so she drinks to dull the pain.  Will Dev, the police officer who finds her, rescue her from her demons?

15. Rebels With a Cause

Shahleena is bored with her existence.  Will volunteering to help juvenile offenders help her or help them?

16. Clockworks

John lives in Structured.  His ancestors came from Upheaval.  On a whim, he decides to visit.  What will happen to him when he cannot leave fast enough?

Author Photo resizedBIO:

Penny Lockwood Ehrenkranz has published more than 100 articles, 75 stories, a chapbook, and her stories have been included in two anthologies. She writes for both adults and children. Her fiction has appeared in numerous genre and children’s publications, and non‑fiction work has appeared in a variety of writing, parenting, and young adult print magazines and on line publications.  She edits for MuseItUp Publishing.  Visit her web site at http:// pennylockwoodehrenkranz.yolasite.com. Her writing blog is located at http://pennylockwoodehrenkranz.blogspot.com/.

She has three romances published by MuseItUp Publishing: Love Delivery, Lady in Waiting, and Mirror, Mirror. She has recently released Boo’s Bad Day with 4RV Publishing and has three other children’s books under contract with them: Ghost for Rent, Ghost for Lunch, and Many Colored Coats.  Her short story collection, A Past and A Future, is available through Sam’s Dot Publishing and Smashwords.