Guest Author: Catherine Cavendish on ‘The Lake Crescent Haunting’

Please join me in welcoming author Catherine Cavendish, who is my guest on the blog today.

She has a haunting tale to share with us.

Take it away Cat!

The Lake Crescent Haunting

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In my novel, Saving Grace Devine, a young girl is drowned, but her spirit returns to haunt the lakeside where she met her untimely end. She seeks help from the living, to help her cross over to the afterlife.

From my research, it would appear that my fictional Grace is not alone. Many people have reported seeing ghosts of drowned girls who are all apparently earthbound – searching for something, or someone. In need of help from the living to help them join the world of spirit.

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Lake Crescent is an attractive resort in the Olympic National Park in the far northwest of Washington State. The account which follows concerns not an innocent young girl, but a mature woman of not especially tender disposition. Hallie Illingworth was a 36 year old hard drinking waitress in the local bar cum brothel, then called the Singer Tavern. She was attractive and married for the third time, but her current husband was a womanising, cruel and violent thug, who thought nothing of hitting his wife in full view of everyone in the bar. Not that Hallie didn’t retaliate. She was quite capable of throwing a few punches herself at anyone who upset her.

But however unsympathetic her personality might be, she didn’t deserve what happened to her. One cold December night, she disappeared. Her body wasn’t discovered until four years later by which time, a curious chemical process had occurred. The waters of Lake Crescent are so high in alkali that a process of saponification had taken place, converting the fats in her body to a kind of soap. The water was so cold that the body had been refrigerated in its icy depths.

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When a pair of fishermen spotted a recognisably female body bobbing up and down on the surface, they dragged her to the shore only to discover, to their horror, that her flesh just slipped off her bones like soap. We can only imagine their reaction!

She had to be identified by a distinctive upper dental plate which a dentist recognised. He had made it for her some years before.

Hallie had been savagely beaten and bound with rope, affixed with weights. There was little doubt as to the identity of her murderer. Her husband, Monty, had gone to live in Long Beach California with a woman with whom he’d been conducting an affair before Hallie died. He was tried, convicted and imprisoned. He served nine years and was paroled in 1951. In 1976, he died in California.

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Monty Illingworth on trial

 

Had justice been done? Well, it appears it certainly hadn’t been done enough for poor Hallie.

She is still said to haunt the lodge and surrounding areas, clattering up and down the stairs, banging doors in the dead of night. She is said to cause lights to flicker and music volume to go up and down apparently by itself. Some people have claimed to see her – pale, translucent and glowing faintly as she drifts along the shore, and over the water.

 

Here’s a flavour of Saving Grace Devine:

 

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Can the living help the dead…and at what cost? 

When Alex Fletcher finds a painting of a drowned girl, she’s unnerved. When the girl in the painting opens her eyes, she is terrified. And when the girl appears to her as an apparition and begs her for help, Alex can’t refuse.

But as she digs further into Grace’s past, she is embroiled in supernatural forces she cannot control, and a timeslip back to 1912 brings her face to face with the man who killed Grace, and the demonic spirit of his long-dead mother. With such nightmarish forces stacked against her, Alex’s options are few. Somehow she must save Grace, but to do so, she must pay an unimaginable price.

You can find Saving Grace Devine here: 

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

And other online retailers

Other books by Catherine Cavendish include:

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And are currently available – or soon will be – from:

Catherine Cavendish Amazon page

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Catherine Cavendish lives with a long-suffering husband and ‘trainee’ black cat in North Wales. Her home is in a building dating back to the mid-18th century, which is haunted by a friendly ghost, who announces her presence by footsteps, switching lights on and strange phenomena involving the washing machine and the TV. Cat has written a number of published horror novellas, short stories, and novels, frequently reflecting her twin loves of history and horror and often containing more than a dash of the dark and Gothic. When not slaving over a hot computer, she enjoys wandering around Neolithic stone circles and visiting old haunted houses.

You can connect with Cat here:

Catherine Cavendish

Facebook

Twitter

Goodreads

 

Thanks to Catherine Cavendish for dropping by and sharing her haunting tale! Be sure to check out her novels. And maybe sleep with the lights on…


The Lamplighters: “A trembling nationwide!” フレイザー・リー 断頭島 ギロチンアイランド

Today marks the publication of The Lamplighters in a Japanese translation from Takeshobo Publishing, Tokyo.

The alternate Japanese title is the rather subtle and elegant Decapitation Island, which I admit is kind of growing on me!

Here’s what the cover looks like:

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My Japanese reading skills are non-existent, so I ran Takeshobo’s book description through an online translator.

This is my favourite part:

“A horror horror that is rolling in an isolated island separated from the outside world, a trembling nationwide!”

The Lamplighters (or Decapitation Island!) is available now from Amazon.co.jp and all good horror horror stockists.

Yoi ichinichi o,
フレイザー・リー
x

 


#TheStayMovie wins Best Story Award at Things2Fear Film Fest USA!

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Not so long ago, in a little cottage in the Cotswolds, I worked with some amazing people on my latest short film, The Stay. Our mission statement was to keep it simple, to keep it ‘do-able’. And so, our tale was about a character, a location, and a spooky “what if?” scenario.

With the support of our producers and crowdfunders (and many other supporters who gave of their time, skills and enthusiasm to help bring the project to the screen) The Stay had its World Premiere at the 25th Anniversary World Horror Con, in Atlanta USA. And the movie has been playing at film festivals ever since, picking up the Best Atmosphere Award at last year’s Independent Horror Movie Awards, along with nominations for Best Music and Best Original Concept.

Now (drum roll please…) I’m delighted to announce that The Stay has won another award!

My thanks to Festival Director Dionne Jackson and all at the Things2Fear Film Fest for including The Stay in Official Selection, and for awarding the film the brilliant accolade of ‘Best Story’. And I’d like to congratulate all the selected filmmakers, awards nominees and winners on their work – you can see the full list of 2016 award winners, and learn more about the festival here.

Cheers!
Frazer 


The Lamplighters Goes J-Horror

Takeshobo The Lamplighters by Frazer Lee

Takeshobo Tokyo HQ Photo By Lombroso (Public Domain)

Major publisher Take Shobo will release a Japanese translation of my Bram Stoker Award® Nominated horror novel The Lamplighters in ebook and paperback.

I’m excited about the translation, and the potential for my work to reach new Japanese readers.

And I’d love to be a fly on the wall when the poor translators get to the part where [spoiler] uses a syringe to extract [spoiler]’s buttock fat, before injecting it into his [spoiler] so that he can [spoiler] [spoiler]’s eye socket… (Sigh)

I will post the release date and cover art when I have them!

Domo arigato,
Frazer x

 


In Memoriam: Robin Hardy, writer & director of ‘The Wicker Man’

Robin Hardy was a true original, and his 1973 film The Wicker Man is often and justifiably hailed as the finest British horror film ever made.

The Wicker Man by Robin Hardy & Antony Shaffer

The book is a cracking read, too!

The story of the film’s conception is perhaps as fascinating as The Wicker Man itself, with a studio unsure of what it had on its hands butchering Hardy’s masterpiece in the process of its clumsy and half-hearted initial release.

My own personal obsession with Hardy’s work began when I saw (the theatrical version of) The Wicker Man at a special screening at Glastonbury’s Library of Avalon. A discussion followed the screening of the film about its pagan themes, and I was well and truly hooked.

Those were the early days of VHS video and I managed to track down an alternate cut of the film on a yellowy, fifth-generation pirate copy from Australia. This was later cleaned up using the best possible source materials and released on DVD as The Director’s Cut of the film.

Years later, with the advent of home-HD and the Blu-Ray format, The Wicker Man – The Final Cut arrived, providing a fitting epitaph to Robin Hardy’s life and career as he finally got to release the version of the film that he deemed closest to his original vision.

In 2011 I was very lucky to meet Robin Hardy, for a brief “Hello!”, in person at FrightFest, London. Mr Hardy was there to present the premiere of his sequel The Wicker Tree, adapted from his novel Cowboys For Christ. He was a true gentleman and eccentric – very warm and wickedly funny. (Read my capsule review of the rather wobbly, but joyously bonkers, sequel The Wicker Tree here.)

One unsung hero in the whole Wicker saga is Anthony Shaffer’s brilliant script, which really is one of a kind. The basic storyline was based on Ritual, a novel by David Pinner, which has recently been republished. The novelisation of the film (also written by Shaffer & Hardy) is well worth tracking down (a new edition was published by Tor in 2000) – with some lovely embellishments to the screen story, not least its haunting and ambiguous ending, it provides yet another version of The Wicker Man for us all to enjoy.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, it is time to “keep my appointment with The Wicker Man.”

R.I.P. Robin Hardy, 1929-2016

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Quoted in The Wicker Man novel by Robin Hardy & Anthony Shaffer

 


An Audience With Guest Author Stuart R. West

13608075_10208533000220126_1487223109_nI’m delighted to welcome guest author Stuart R. West to the blog today.

With superb comic timing, Stuart published his wicked novel Demon With A Comb-Over via Samhain Publishing – just as they announced they were winding down their business. But the killer punchline is all Stuart’s as he has many other exciting books for you to read, with more on the way.

Read on to learn more!

Hi Stuart, thanks for dropping by at my blog today.

SRW: Thanks for having me, Frazer! Freezy, Frazey Leezy! You like your hip-hop name? No?

I’ll stick with Lazer Free, thanks! Now – your novel Demon With a Comb-Over is a wicked blend of horror and humour. What made you settle on this hybrid genre for your book?

SRW: Frazer, it didn’t start that way. Originally, it was gonna be a straight-up horror book. But I thought, “Hey, what if the setting, the weird characters, all of that, lean toward comedy?” Seemed kinda like a no-brainer to me. Of course, some readers have thought it’s not funny. Humor’s subjective. Bring to it what you will.

The horror in the book ranges from subtle atmospheric creeps to full on guts-out (quite literally) visceral mayhem. How did you achieve the balance with this when you were writing?

13649674_10208533003540209_707351052_nSRW: I hope I did achieve it. There’s subtlety, than there’s full-on horror. Personally, I like a mixture of both. But I couldn’t write a trip to Hell without getting all up in everyone’s faces. Actually, there’re two detailed trips to the netherworlds. Readers seem to be mixed: some like the grue, others are all about the comedy. Then there are the ’hatahs. Can’t please everyone.

Charlie is a living, breathing and completely engaging protagonist, I think because he’s flawed and therefore believable. How did you dream him up and were there any real-world influences when developing his character?

SRW: Charlie’s actually me. Duh, Frazer, duh. All the foibles, the mistakes he makes, the pseudo-crimes her performs against humanity? All me. I’m putting it all out there. Don’t judge me!

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I’m guessing that you are no stranger to the world of stand-up comedy. The book shows your deep knowledge of that world to great effect. Care to share any road stories? Any particularly horrific heckles?

SRW: Right you are, my friend! Actually, I only performed stand-up twice. The first time was in college. I made everything up on the go. Thing is I had a built-in audience of about 20 people—my entourage from school—following me. So they laughed. Alcohol helped. The second time? Alcohol didn’t help. I went to an open-mike night at a club, thinking I could wing it again. Didn’t work so well. Crickets didn’t even begin to explain the response. Glad I got out alive.

This is also a wild guess, but a very strong element of Comb-over is the relationship between Charlie and his daughter. Reading it, I felt sure you must not only be a parent, but father to a daughter? If so, was this helpful to you when exploring the horror of Serena being threatened in the way that she is (by a vengeance crazed demon!)?

13624559_10208533015700513_2145899622_nSRW: Very astute, Frazer. Yep, I’m a father. My daughter’s now 24, but I pretty much raised her on my own. Well, that’s not true exactly; my ex was cool enough to give me 50-50 rights. But, yeah, it’s based on truth. I hope my ex never reads this post (she won’t, right?), but a lot of it is based on her – true down to the reliance of therapy, the accusations, the constant aggravation. She even told me once, “I checked over our daughter; I cleared you of abuse.” WHAT? Damn.

Another part of the novel that I enjoyed immensely was the use of the chapter headings based around the ‘rules of comedy’. “Put your fantasies out there. It makes you more relatable,” was one that stood out in particular. Care to expand on that one in the context of your writing?

SRW: Fantasies? No, that’s up to everyone else. It does seem like a lotta stand-up comedians dwell on fantasies. I believe part of the secret of comedy is making yourself relatable, saying crap everyone wants to, but doesn’t have the guts to. But the chapter headings I kinda made up. Sorry. My research assistant, “Ms. Google,” helped me with the rest.13643771_10208533016740539_1147014760_n

Those chapter headings really help support the structure of the story and the thematic content of each part, and the whole. Did you work to an outline based around those headings? Or did you go with the flow and discover this later?

SRW: I’m sorry to say the headings kinda came as an after-thought. No way, Frazer, am I that smart. Just seemed right as I plowed along.

Following on from the ‘Rules of Stand-up’, what do you believe to be the core rules of writing Horror?

SRW: Make your characters human, relatable. Then toss ‘em into hellish visions. Without characters people can empathize with, a tale would be like a tossed-off nightmare, barely remembered.

13644257_10208533022500683_74075230_nAside from a liberal sprinkling of salt around your bed each night (readers – check out Stuart’s novel for more about this!) what’s next for Stuart R. West?

SRW: Glad you asked, Frazer! I have an upcoming darkly comical novel from Grinning Skull Press called Dread & Breakfast. I’m working on the third and final book in my darkly humorous (I’m detecting a theme here) serial killer thriller series, Killers Incorporated. There’s a sequel on the way to my comedic mystery series, Bad Day in a Banana Hammock, about a vapid male stripper who keeps turning up dead bodies. The prequel to Demon with a Comb-Over, The Book of Kobal (a very dark, immoral, irreverent tale), is hunting for a new home since the original publisher, Samhain, is pretty much dead to horror. Hey! I have a children’s picture book coming out (dunno when) from Guardian Angel Press. I’d like to write a Lovecraftian/Cronenbergian horror tale about a genetic dairy farmer but it’s kinda a hard sell. Finally, up next will be a nostalgic ’60s set, Midwestern ghost tale.

Sounds like a great, diverse line-up! Thanks again for dropping by Mr. West!

SRW: Thanks for putting up with me, Frazer.13624723_10208533022940694_547791730_n

Demon with a Comb-Over available at Amazon.

Stuart R. West Amazon Page.

Blog: Twisted Tales from Tornado Alley

Stuart R. West Facebook

Twitter: @StuartRWest

 


Check out my (tweed-free) interview at Stuart R. West’s blog

I took a quick break from writing to chat with author Stuart R. West about…well, writing. 

(And filmmaking, new projects, and not wearing a tweed jacket.)

Read it at Twisted Tales From Tornado Alley: http://stuartrwest.blogspot.co.uk/2016/07/frazer-lee-horror-novelist-and.html?m=0

My thanks to Stuart, and look out for his interview on this very blog next week!