Category Archives: guest blog

Guest Author: Catherine Cavendish on The Real Mummy’s Curse

Delighted to welcome guest author Catherine Cavendish (Wrath of the Ancients) back to the blog today. Read on for her illuminating post, and ‘beware the beat…of the cloth-wrapped feet!’

The Real Mummy’s Curse
Or how I learned to stop worrying and embraced the possibilities

Remember the film The Curse of the Mummy’s Tomb? That classic piece of Hammer Horror kitsch from 1964 where British archeologists disturbed the mummy’s resting place and angered the slumbering Prince Ra. Needless to say, the mummy was not about to allow his tomb to be violated and soon sought revenge, lumbering about, killing without mercy, and swathed in suspiciously clean bandages considering he had been dead and embalmed for the past few thousand years.

Fiction, right? Of course it is, but behind every myth or legend there is so often a grain of truth. Leaving aside the most famous of them all – the alleged curse of Tutankhamen’s tomb – there are in fact some lesser known real examples of deceased pharaohs and high ranking officials determined that all that is buried with them shall stay with them.

During the 18th dynasty (c. 1542-1292 BCE) a highly influential scribe and public official, who later went onto have his own mortuary temple at Thebes (now Luxor), Amenhotep, son of Hapu, left a pretty graphic curse. He warned any tomb violator that they would:

“Lose their earthly positions and honours, be incinerated in a furnace in execration rites, capsize and drown at sea, have no successors, receive no tomb or funerary offerings of their own, and their bodies would decay because they will starve without sustenance and their bones will perish”.

Pretty strong stuff and if you think that’s bad, just read what Sarenput I, a senior provincial governor during the 12th Dynasty (c1991-1778 BCE), had in store for anyone who dared to interfere with any offerings left to his statue:

“…his arm shall be cut off like that of this bull, his neck shall be twisted off like that of a bird, his office shall not exist, the position of his son shall not exist, his house shall not exist in Nubia, his tomb shall not exist in the necropolis, his god shall not accept his white bread, his flesh shall belong to the fire, his children shall belong to the fire, his corpse shall not be to the ground, I shall be against him as a crocodile on the water, as a serpent on earth, and as an enemy in the necropolis.”

Did the curses prevent desecration or theft? In these two cases, the jury is out. The exact location of Amenhotep’s tomb is unknown – although bits of his sarcophagus have been found which suggests that he did not get to spend eternity if peaceful slumber. It does not appear Sarenput I fared much better. His tomb is at Qubbet el-Hawa and has suffered considerable damage. Quite what happened to the perpetrators of any violation is unrecorded.

So far, I have mentioned merely the written curse but the Egyptians were nothing if not creative. They laid booby traps that, even to this day could cause injury or even death to the unwary. One of the most famous contemporary Egyptologists is Dr. Zahi Hawass. He had a potentially fatal experience in 2001 when entering the Bahariya Oasis tomb. They located the sarcophagus but then found the ancient Egyptian engineers had covered the floors and walls in eight inches of haematite powder which, if inhaled in any quantity, can cause a slow and painful death. Hawass and his team beat a hasty retreat, only returning when they were suitable covered in Hazmat suits and respirators.

Other favourite booby trap devices are reminiscent of Indiana Jones, with massive stones ready to release when a sealed tomb is breeched. Traps were laid, corridors were blocked with massive stone slabs, deep holes were cut – put one foot wrong and it would be the last step you ever took.

So, whether you believe in the supernatural power of the mummy’s curse or not, there is no denying that these ingenious engineers of the distant past worked long and hard to try and ensure that no good would ever come to anyone who dared violate the place of the dead. For some, the power of the mummy’s curse is a firmly held belief. As for me? I keep an open mind. You see and hear strange things when you visit a tomb in the Valley of the Kings alone…

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Destiny In Death

Egypt, 1908

Eminent archaeologist Dr. Emeryk Quintillus has unearthed the burial chamber of Cleopatra. But this tomb raider’s obsession with the Queen of the Nile has nothing to do with preserving history. Stealing sacred and priceless relics, he murders his expedition crew, and flees—escaping the quake that swallows the site beneath the desert sands . . .

Vienna, 1913

Young widow Adeline Ogilvy has accepted employment at the mansion of Dr. Quintillus, transcribing the late professor’s memoirs. Within the pages of his journals, she discovers the ravings of a madman convinced he possessed the ability to reincarnate Cleopatra. Within the walls of his home, she is assailed by unexplained phenomena: strange sounds, shadowy figures, and apparitions of hieroglyphics.

Something pursued Dr. Quintillus from Egypt. Something dark, something hungry. Something tied to the fate and future of Adeline Ogilvy . . .

Wrath Of The Ancients

Available from:

Amazon

Nook

iApple

Google

Kobo

About the Author:


Following a varied career in sales, advertising and career guidance, Catherine Cavendish is now the full-time author of a number of paranormal, ghostly and Gothic horror novels, novellas and short stories. She was the joint winner of the Samhain Gothic Horror Anthology Competition, with Linden Manor. Cat’s novels include the Nemesis of the Gods trilogy – Wrath of the Ancients, Waking the Ancients and Damned by the Ancients, plus The Devil’s Serenade, The Pendle Curse, Saving Grace Devine and many more. She lives with her long-suffering husband, and a black cat who has never forgotten that her species used to be worshiped in ancient Egypt. She sees no reason why that practice should not continue. Cat and her family divide their time between Liverpool and a 260-year-old haunted apartment in North Wales.

You can connect with Cat here:

Catherine Cavendish

Facebook

Twitter

Goodreads

(with thanks to Bryan Hill and ancient-origins.net. Read more about Tomb Curses of Ancient Egypt: : Ancient-origins.net)

 

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Stuck for something SCARY to watch this Halloween?

FrazerLeeHappyHalloween

Check out my article on ‘The Scariest Horror Movies you’ve probably never seen‘ over at Higgypop.com.

I can guarantee a few nightmares…

🎃 HAPPY HALLOWEEN! 🎃


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…


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

 


King for a Year, Fan for a Lifetime #Kingforayear

I’m excited to be part of the King for a Year project, which will see 52 writers discuss 52 Stephen King books throughout 2015.

Read more about the project and the people involved at Mark West’s blog.

And be sure to catch up with the excellent entries so far at the official King For A Year site.

So which Stephen King book will I be celebrating? Well, let’s just say I’d hate to keep you fully in the dark… 😉


Guest Author: Matt Molgaard with ‘Say No To Drugs’

Today I’m handing over the Frazerblog to author (& Horror Novel Reviews host) Matt Molgaard, who is putting the ‘E’ in ebooks with ‘Say No To Drugs’ – out now.

Read on for some pharmaceutical advice!

Take it away Matt…

Matt Molgaard - putting the 'E' in e-books.

Matt Molgaard – putting the ‘E’ in e-books.

3 Terrifying Side Effects of Mixing Drugs and Horror

If I’m going to chase this dream as a hungry zombie would chase a prime piece of living flesh, I’m going to do so with an eye removed from skull, looking closely at the embarrassing image of myself. I’m going to be honest. From the now to the then, I don’t plan on dodging questions, pretending to be something I’m not or allowing public opinion to sway my own impression of myself.

Matt Molgaard is, was and always will be Matt Molgaard.

Why in the hell is any of that relevant?

Because the things I write about will reflect aspects of my own life, away from the keyboard and the internet. The Matt Molgaard you don’t necessarily see. Say No to Drugs is stuffed with references to actual events I’ve experienced. Full of inspiration birthed in miserably uncomfortable moments of my own youth. The point is, while I’m not proud of where I’ve been and what I’ve done, at just 33 years old I have been there, and I have done that.

That’s why I hope you take the following notes seriously. I’ve got three excellent reasons to steer you from the idea of blending drugs and horror. They could save your life.

Paranoia Will Drive a Man to Do Strange Things

Here’s what you don’t do, if you hope to uphold a fair reputation with local police: Take pharmaceuticals after consuming three or more beers. There’s a strange sense of paranoia that swarms the mind in this situation. Everyone is your enemy. Your best friend could very well be bending your wife over the coffee table while you’re away at work developing blisters on both hands, and – you’re not positive since you can’t get a great look, but you’re pretty sure – your chode. Your mother may have been the conniving devil that stole the $300 you were certain you had prior to your trip to the local bar on Saturday, but went “mysteriously” missing on Sunday morning. The paranoia will swallow you whole, I swear it!

Drinking, Driving and Role Playing is Terrible

Who hasn’t gotten a little sloshed and thought, I’d love to relive that ‘pedestrian point’ scene in Toxic Avenger! I mean, really? Come on, we’re all a little sick… right? What—ever! The point is, it is a terrible idea to hit your local cinema and catch the new chiller on the big screen right before you head to the nearby bar, right before you’ve got to drive your drunken, fantastical ass home. You just never know what turn may be a bit sharper than you’d anticipated, what late night bike rider may be just a bit too far outside the bike lane.

Drinking, driving and watching awesome horror movies doesn’t work well. Great movies inspire us. Great alcohol provides us with enough courage to defy all established rules and role playing has never led to anything positive… outside of the bedroom.

Smoking Weed Leads to Driving Slow, Which Leads to an Ultra-Violent Ass Whipping in Public

This one can potentially be the most painful to experience, and I’ll be damned if it isn’t real. Smoking weed, if you don’t know, slows response time. Our reactions lag. Our decision making falters. Sure, we get it all together, eventually. But imagine the insanity that can unfold during that eventually time stretch.

Close your eyes.

You’re sitting in a car, stopped at a red light. Time is dragging, and despite the reasonable weather you’ve got a bead of sweat trickling over your right brow. You aren’t doing jack shit physically, but you can hear your heart beat. It’s pounding. It’s pounding inside your head, the sound pressure bullying your ear drums and you’re pretty fucking sure the whole world can hear that son of a bitch doing the jackhammer. And then you realize (keep those eyes closed!) it’s not your heart that you’re hearing beating frantically, it’s a man. He’s standing outside your car window with no shirt on, and he’s pounding your window with zero regard for your property or personal well-being.

And then the driver’s side window shatters. Seconds pass and you’re being hauled out of your Prius. A few more ticks pass on the clock you can’t see and the impact of two fists on your face have your brain running in circles. This lunatic beats you until your orbital bones have shattered. Your jaw hangs at an unnatural angle and your lolling tongue verifies the belief that not only are you utterly conscious, but you’ve got no control over that grill any damn way. Talk about broken? That thing is annihilated.

And why did it all happen? Because you thought it might be fun to spark up a J, but you wanted to obey the law and then some. You wanted to drive 21 miles an hour under the speed limit, and the guy behind you, who just so happened to have an appointment, well, he wasn’t the patient type.

Here’s the deal kids, drugs and horror are bad. No two ways about it. But the rebel in me screams for the youth of today to be bad. To be downright rotten. TP your neighbor’s house. Light that bag of dog shit on fire before you ring the bell. Stick a banana in that asshole’s tailpipe. And most importantly, learn the ins and outs of the rebellious craft by first reading your guide to drugs and horror, appropriately titled, Say No to Drugs.

http://www.amazon.com/Say-No-Drugs-Matt-Molgaard-ebook/dp/B00LF43ZWK


Guest Author S.E. Sever introduces ‘Mash Stories’

beforemecoverHanding over the Frazerblog today to my good friend, author S.E. Sever, who has started an inspired (and inspiring) short story contest at her new website Mash Stories.

Read S.E.’s post below for more about this exciting new venture!

About Mash Stories

Are you one those people who have to align a tilted frame on the wall? Have you ever found yourself folding a piece of paper to stick it under a wobbly table?

If so, you’d know the instinct – and the pleasure – of correcting things that are desperate to be corrected. And Mash Stories is born exactly from this instinct.

I remember the day I looked into the short story competitions market for the first time. I found a website which listed competitions: The Grinder. At the time, there were over 2,300 competitions listed on The Grinder, and 28,638 submissions had already been made. I felt like a kid who had been taken to an astonishing playground with the queue of an airport security check.

In the time that has elapsed since then – roughly five months – the number of submissions on The Grinder website has nearly doubled – 42,668 as of 9th April 2014.

The number of competitions left me not knowing where to start from, and the number of submissions made me anxious about the vast amount of competitors out there. I wasn’t ready to race against writers who had already won awards, while I simply had no publishing experience.

I had assumed short story competitions would allow me to get my voice heard, gather a circle of readers, and earn small amounts now and then to support my writing. But to start with, I was asked to pay to submit my work. And when a magazine accepted to publish a story of mine, they offered me less than their submission fee for the ‘exclusive’ rights to my work. I thought there was a typo there, but apparently there wasn’t.

That was when I decided to fold a piece of paper to stick it under the wobbly market of story competitions. I knew I couldn’t write to more than 7,000 competitions listed in the endless waters of the Internet and tell them my point, but I could set up a competition which would stand straight no matter how tilted the others were.

That’s how Mash Stories was born. I dreamt of a competition that evaluated my story, instead of its formatting; that paid me reasonably, rather than charging me fees; that gave me free feedback and helped me to promote my work, rather than demanding exclusive rights to limit it.

At Mash Stories, we keep the rules to a minimum and award the winning story a professional rate. We turn all shortlisted stories into a podcast, and provide free feedback for the rejected ones so that they can improve.

I hope our efforts will help the talented writers out there to get their voices heard. And I hope you will help us to set up a model competition, which will create a change in many writers’ lives.

Please support us by donating to us or by giving us a hand with editorial matters.

Thank you for your interest and support.

S.E. SEVER

About S.E. Sever:

S.E. Sever  is currently working on several projects in fantasy fiction and science fiction.
She has had several short stories published in fiction magazines across the US and the UK.
S.E.’s poetry book, Before Me, is published by Thought Catalog Books, New York.

Mash Stories website: http://mashstories.com/

Official S.E. Sever website: http://sesever.com/