Tag Archives: guest blog

Guest Post: Catherine Cavendish – Damned by the Ancients

With only a week until Halloween, what better way to unwind than with some poltergeist activity? It’s my pleasure to welcome guest author Catherine Cavendish back to the blog today, who has such a tale to tell. And this prolific author has a new book out – Damned by the Ancients. Over to you for another haunting blog post, Cat…

The Poltergeist of Penny Lane

pic 1In my novel, Damned by the Ancients, the beautiful city of Vienna plays host to one of the deadliest of manifestations. Dr Emeryk Quintillus is pure evil personified, obsessed with his quest and prepared to go to any lengths to get what he wants. He haunts his former home, the Villa Dürnstein, and incites the anger of the ancient gods he has hitherto striven to cultivate.

In real life, any property – domesticate, commercial, rich or poor can become the target of manifestations; some evil, others mischievous.

And then there are the others. The ones that become active, wax and then wane.

Such a phenomenon is reputed to be found at Number 44 Penny Lane, Liverpool. Before I go into detail, yes, this is thePenny Lane of Beatles fame. The lyrics mention a number of businesses that could be found there at the time but, perhaps understandably, did not mention the alleged goings on at number 44 which began to be witnessed during the First World War.

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But it may not have started there. During the 1890s, a number of witnesses reported seeing a white light surrounded by a blue aura, hovering over nearby Greenbank Road. This then moved to Penny Lane, glowing with an eerie luminescence. At the time, the vision was dismissed as a meteorological phenomenon. Yet, later that week horses, pulling an open landau, could not drag it up Penny Lane for a full half hour. Its wheels seemed to lock until suddenly they were released. Legends began to be created. Everything, it seemed, that went wrong locally could be blamed on The Witch of Penny Lane – even when the beer turned sour (in summer, with no refrigeration).

Fast forward then to the First World War and paranormal activity seems to have centred on Number 44. At this time, the building was a residential house but was unoccupied. Even so, a number of people reported hearing strange, loud noises, unexplained heavy footsteps and an unexplained voice all coming from the house. By 1930, the neighbours had to move out as the noises distressed them so much.

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Like so much of the city of Liverpool, Penny Lane suffered a heavy toll of bombing during World War Two. By 1945, the house had been converted into a shop, was damaged severely and did not reopen. But yet again, neighbours were complaining of the terrible, unearthly noises issuing forth from it.

1971 saw the shop renovated and reopened as a print shop – Xerolith. But the owners received complaint after complaint that their premises, quiet and perfectly normal by day, became a very different place at night. Police were summoned on a number of occasions but could find no cause for the disruption.

The owners, Ken Shackman and John Hampton, mounted their own investigation and discovered a long history of hauntings, including a reported sighting by a neighbour who remembered when, as a child, she had seen a young woman with blonde hair suddenly materialise in front of her. The apparition then proceeded to comb her hair before disappearing. This was not, apparently, the only time this young woman was seen. Her appearance, combing her hair at a window in Number 44, had previously been reported by a Mrs Hales in 1955. At the time, there was no such person living above the shop. Other local shoppers at around that time had reported seeing a similar figure, who vanished before their eyes.

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Shackman and Hampton were determined to solve the riddle of their haunted shop and, equipped with a tape recorder, mounted an all-night vigil. Things started off quietly enough until suddenly banging and shuffling started up and the walls shook. All of these sounds were recorded on tape.

The ghosts have grown quiet over recent years and the shop is now a Lettings Agency. But, as history tells us, simply because they are slumbering now doesn’t mean they won’t reawaken…

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Unfortunately for the Mortimer family, that is exactly what is about to happen. Here’s what to expect from Damned by the Ancients:

INFINITY IN DEATH

Vienna, 1908

Gabriele Ziegler is a young art student who becomes infatuated with charismatic archaeologist Dr. Emeryk Quintillus. Only too late does she realize his true designs on her. He is obsessed with resurrecting Cleopatra and has retained the famed artist Gustav Klimt to render Gabriele as the Queen of the Nile, using ashes from Cleopatra’s mummy mixed with the paint. The result is a lifelike portrait emitting an aura of unholy evil . . .

Vienna, 2018

The Mortimer family has moved into Quintillus’s former home, Villa Dürnstein. In its basement they find an original Klimt masterpiece—a portrait of Cleopatra art scholars never knew existed. But that’s not all that resides within the villa’s vault. Nine-year-old Heidi Mortimer tells her parents that a strange man lives there.

Quintillus’s desire to be with Cleopatra transcends death. His spirit will not rest until he has brought her back from the netherworld. Even if he has to sacrifice the soul of a child
. . .

Damned by the Ancients is available from:

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

Apple

Google

Kobo

Kensington Publishing

About the author:

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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. Cat’s novels include the Nemesis of the Gods trilogy– Wrath of the Ancients, Waking the Ancients and Damned by the Ancients, plusThe Devil’s Serenade,The Pendle Curseand Saving Grace Devine.

Her novellas include Linden Manor, Cold Revenge, Miss Abigail’s Room, The Demons of Cambian Street, Dark Avenging Angel, The Devil Inside Her, andThe Second Wife

She lives with her long-suffering husband, and a black cat who has never forgotten that her species used to be worshipped 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

 

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Guest author Catherine Cavendish: ‘If You Go Down to the (Screaming) Woods Today…’

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…You had better be prepared to experience more than you bargained for. Especially if the woods in question are in the vicinity of the Kent village of Pluckley. Properly known as Dering Woods, this forest is more commonly known as the Screaming Woods – and for very good reason.

The area itself is situated just south of England’s (arguably) most haunted village – Pluckley – where it seems almost every building and piece of land has its own ghost story to tell. Pinnock Bridge has its Gypsy or Watercress Woman who is supposed to have set herself on fire from a combination of the pipe she was smoking and the gin she was drinking at the same time. She wafts around as a misty figure.

The Elvey Farm has a haunted dairy where an 18thcentury farmer – Edward Brett – fatally shot himself. He is still heard, muttering ‘I will do it.’

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A black silhouette of a miller haunts the site of an old windmill, while a red lady walks her small white dog around the churchyard and a white lady wanders around inside the same church. The locals at the time of her death must have really feared her. She was buried inside not one, but sevencoffins AND an oak sarcophagus. She’s still pacing around there though!

An unfortunate love affair led to the suicide (by poisoning) of the Lady of Rose Court, and a poor man who fell into a clay pit still screams in agony. A schoolmaster who hanged himself is still apparently trapped at the site of his demise.

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Now, after experiencing all that, you could well be forgiven for deciding to retire to the local hostelry (the Black Horse Inn). Surely here you could kick back and relax over a pint of foaming ale or a glass of comforting wine? Not a bit of it! After the phantom coach and horses have thundered by outside, expect things to start flying around you as the resident poltergeist gets to work.

But I digress. Back to the woods.

In the 18thcentury, a highwayman called Robert du Bois was tracked down and run through with a sword while he hid in a tree in these very woods. Another version states that he was dragged to the woods before being lynched. Either way, his are the screams which give the woods their name – along with a couple of other unfortunates, such as the army colonel who hanged himself and still can be seen dangling from his tree, and the ghostly soldier who wanders the woodland paths. Others who have simply lost their way – and never found it again – add their desperate voices to the cacophony from beyond the grave.

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Sceptics might say it’s just foxes. Everyone knows foxes can make a terrible racket. As if hell itself had opened and let the screams of the damned escape.

But those of us who know about such things, don’t need any such explanations.

Do we?

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There are plenty of sinister goings-on – and a terrifying some demon – in my novella, The Devil Inside Her. This is what to expect:

When nightmares become dreams, someone must die

Haunted by the death of her husband and only child, Elinor Gentry’s recurring nightmares have left her exhausted. She’s crippled by debt, and only the remnants of her former life surround her, things she can’t bear to sell, and wouldn’t make much profit from if she did. Then, for no apparent reason, the nightmares transform into pleasant dreams. Dreams that lead her to take back control of her life.

A string of horrific and unexplained suicides–and an unnerving discovery about Elinor herself—lead her best friend to seek help from the one person who has seen all this before, and things begin to spiral out of control. Hazel Messinger knows that Elinor’s newly found wellbeing is not what it seems, and Hazel’s not about to let the demon inside remain there permanently.

You can buy The Devil Inside Her here;

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

About the author

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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. Cat’s novels include the Nemesis of the Gods trilogy– Wrath of the Ancients, Waking the Ancients and Damned by the Ancients, plusThe Devil’s Serenade,The Pendle Curseand Saving Grace Devine.

Her novellas, Cold Revenge, Miss Abigail’s Room, The Demons of Cambian Street, The Devil Inside Her, andThe Second Wifehave now been released in new editions by Crossroad Press.

She lives with her long-suffering husband, and a black cat who has never forgotten that her species used to be worshipped 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

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Thanks to Catherine Cavendish for another wonderful guest blog post!
Be sure to read her books, and connect with her on social media.


Guest Author Catherine Cavendish on ‘Waking the Ancients’

Welcoming back Guest Author Catherine Cavendish to the blog today, with a fascinating post on her new book Waking the Ancients. Take it away Cat!

Set – God of Chaos, Friend of the Dead

My new novel – Waking the Ancients – centres on a sinister archeologist called Dr. Emeryk Quintillus and his deadly obsession with the last Egyptian Pharaoh – Cleopatra. His quest to possess her immortal spirit leads to his involvement with a major ancient Egyptian deity – the god Set.

Dangerous, unpredictable – but a good friend to have in a crisis, Set was one of the most ancient of the Egyptian gods – and exceptionally well connected.

Brother of Osiris, Horus the Elder, Isis and Nephthys, he was the god of storms, chaos, earthquakes, and all manner of natural disasters, but he was also a friend of the dead, helping them to ascend his ladder to transport them to heaven and he protected desert oases. He was unhinged in many ways and prone to extreme violence, right from the time he lay in his mother’s womb. Instead of waiting to be born naturally, legend has it that he ripped himself from his mother’s body.

Married incestuously to his sister, Nephthys, he was the antithesis of everything she represented. He was the earth, she was the air. He represented the desert and, as such, was infertile. She, on the other hand, had designs on her much more handsome brother Osiris who was married to Isis (evidently, they liked to keep everything in the family – a trait they shared with the Cleopatra’s Ptolemaic dynasty, among others). One day Nephthys disguised herself as Isis and seduced Osiris who, it is said, did not realise he had been tricked. A child, the god Anubis, was conceived out of this union and that is when the trouble really began.

When he found out about her infidelity, Set was enraged but decided to wreak his vengeance on his sibling rather than his faithless wife. He already had form in attacking his brothers. In a power struggle for control of Egypt which lasted eighty years, Set plucked out one of Horus’s eyes. Horus responded by ripping off one of Set’s testicles. Now that’s what I call a dysfunctional family!

Set was determined to kill Osiris and enlisted the help of his followers into tricking his brother. Set laid on a great feast in honour of Osiris and presented him with an elaborate chest which he said he would give to whichever guest fitted into it. One after the other tried, but failed. Then Osiris had a go and, of course, it fitted perfectly. Before he could escape, Set’s followers nailed it shut and tossed it into the Nile.

A distraught Isis found it, brought it home but was unable to prevent Set from taking it from her. He opened the chest and dismembered the body which was intact – except for his penis which had been eaten by a fish in the river. Set then scattered his body parts all over Egypt. Isis and Nephthys began searching for the pieces of Osiris’s body and reassembled them. Even without his penis, Isis managed to somehow magically conceive a son – another Horus.

There was another side to Set. On a positive note, he was the protector of the sun god Ra, who made his nightly journey in a barque across the heavens to rise again in the morning. But even in his role of protector, Set could not resist his evil side. He threatened Ra with storms if he did not treat him in the manner to which he felt was his due. Ra tired of his threats and expelled him from his barque. Other gods would assume his role.

In Wrath of the Ancients – Set’s role is pivotal. The obsessed Emeryk Quintillus enlists his help, but a terrible price must always be paid…

Waking the Ancients

Legacy In Death

Egypt, 1908

University student Lizzie Charters accompanies her mentor, Dr. Emeryk Quintillus, on the archeological dig to uncover Cleopatra’s tomb. Her presence is required for a ceremony conducted by the renowned professor to resurrect Cleopatra’s spirit—inside Lizzie’s body. Quintillus’s success is short-lived, as the Queen of the Nile dies soon after inhabiting her host, leaving Lizzie’s soul adrift . . .

Vienna, 2018

Paula Bancroft’s husband just leased Villa Dürnstein, an estate once owned by Dr. Quintillus. Within the mansion are several paintings and numerous volumes dedicated to Cleopatra. But the archeologist’s interest in the Egyptian empress deviated from scholarly into supernatural, infusing the very foundations of his home with his dark fanaticism. And as inexplicable manifestations rattle Paula’s senses, threatening her very sanity, she uncovers the link between the villa, Quintillus, and a woman named Lizzie Charters.

And a ritual of dark magic that will consume her soul . . .

You can find Waking the Ancients here:

Kensington Press

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

Apple

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. 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 and Saving Grace Devine. She lives with her long-suffering husband, and a black cat who has never forgotten that her species used to be worshipped 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


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/

 

 

 


What Scares You? A look…

Don't look! Don't look! Too late... Tamara Ustinov looks scary in Blood on Satan's ClawThe photo on the left is of Tamara Ustinov. It’s a still from the classic British horror film ‘Blood on Satan’s Claw’. The scene from which the still is taken represents what truly scares me.

To find out why a ‘look’ can be so damned scary, check out my post at the Horrifically Horrifying Horror Blog. Just don’t blame me if you have nightmares…

What scares you? Confessions are welcome in the Comments box below…