Spinner of terrifying tales of ghosts and restless spirits, Catherine Cavendish has a new book of creeping dread for fans old and new. Today, I let her haunt my blog with a little something she calls, THE PEDLAR AND THE DEVIL….
I have set a large part of Waking the Ancients in Vienna, Austria where many ghosts and restless spirits walk among the verdant parks and lavish palaces. But Austrian ghosts do not confine themselves to their nation’s imperial capital. They can be found in towns, cities, villages and the depths of the countryside all over this beautiful land.
In the beautiful mountainous region of Tyrol, many legends and myths abound. One curious one involves a spectral game of bowls.
A pedlar became lost on the side of the mountain as darkness fell. Disorientated, he kept going until he came to the ancient ruined castle of Starkenberg. There, exhausted, he decided to take shelter for the night and laid down to sleep in the remains of a great hall. He slept for some hours, waking to hear the clock of a nearby village strike midnight. To his astonishment, as the last chime echoed across the rocks, twelve ghostly figures, clad in full armour, manifested in the room and proceeded to play a game of bowls – only they used skulls instead of balls.
As luck would have it, the pedlar was quite a bowls player himself. In fact he was the champion of his village. Also, being made of sterner stuff, he offered to play each of the spirits in turn. He was quite surprised when his challenge was accepted. One by one he defeated them all and quite expected to be met with anger as a result. Quite the reverse. To his astonishment, the spectral army congratulated him and gave whoops of joy. They told him that now he had beaten them, they could be released from purgatory. As soon as they said this, they vanished, leaving the pedlar alone. He looked all around, trying to discover where they had gone but to no avail. Then, ten more ghostly knights appeared, each through a different door which they locked carefully behind them. They brought the keys to the pedlar and gave them to him saying he must now determine which was the right key for each door.
All the keys and all the doors were identical – or appeared to be. The pedlar accepted the challenge and it took him quite a while but he successfully accomplished the task and the ten ghostly figures thanked him profusely, assuring him that his actions had also released them from purgatory, before they too vanished.
Things were all going a bit too well up to now and the pedlar was feeling delighted with himself. His confidence knew no bounds.
But then the devil himself appeared, in a foul temper. He castigated the pedlar for robbing him of twenty two souls and declared that his soul must be forfeit instead. The brave (or exceptionally foolhardy) pedlar argued and declared he would play the devil one game of bowls to decide whether his soul should be forever damned and belong to Lucifer, or whether he should be allowed to go free.
Once again, the pedlar triumphed and beat his evil counterpart soundly. As soon as the first cock crowed in the morning, the devil launched himself into the air with scorching sulfur breath that burned the grass where he had been. He took off, his massive wings beating the air, leaving the pedlar triumphant.
Needless to say, the pedlar told anyone who was prepared to listen about his extraordinary night on the mountain. No one believed him of course, until they too trekked up to the castle…and saw the burned and withered grass, exactly as the pedlar had described it.
Waking the Ancients
Legacy In Death
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 . . .
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:
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:
If you’re a book reviewer and have an account with Net Galley, you can now download and read my June novella, JURASSIC FLORIDA. Now’s the time to jump on board the giant lizard train and dive into this year’s madness. It’s the first in a trio of novellas called ONE SIZE EATS ALL. Anyone interested in the direct link on Net Galley to the book, please respond here or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Happy monster hunting!
About the book:
FLORIDA. IT’S WHERE YOU GO TO DIE.
Welcome to Polo Springs, a sleepy little town on Florida’s Gulf Coast. It’s a great place to live—if you don’t mind the hurricanes. Or the flooding. Or the unusual wildlife . . .
IGUANAS. THEY’RE EVERYWHERE.
Maybe it’s the weather. But the whole town is overrun with the little green bastards this year. They’re causing a lot of damage. They’re eating everything in sight. And they’re just the babies . . .
HUMANS. THEY’RE WHAT’S FOR DINNER.
The mayor wants to address the iguana problem. But when Hurricane Ramona slams the coast, the town has a bigger problem on their hands. Bigger iguanas. Bigger than a double-wide. Unleashed by the storm, this razor-toothed horde of prehistoric predators rises up from the depths—and descends on the town like retirees at an early bird special. Except humans are on the menu. And it’s all you can eat .
Fans of all things ghostly will love this limited run podcast by Panoply. HAUNTED is, believe it or not, an unbiased look into several cases of hauntings, with interviews by those who have had their world views of life and death shaken to its core. Host Danny Robins presents the facts and the interpretations of the experiencers and lets you decide if they actually saw a ghost or not.
These are short, easily digestible episode that are best listened to when you’re alone in a darkened room. Rumor has it that season 2 is just around the bend! Here’s the official synopsis for the show:
Do ghosts exist? If not, why do we see them? In each episode of the Haunted podcast Danny Robins looks at a real life ghost story in forensic detail trying to work out what really happened, with the help of experts, sceptics and the people who witnessed something they just can’t explain.
Danny visits a famous racetrack where drivers return from the dead; sees a suburban house haunted by a racist ex-tenant; talks to a widower who shares his bed with a phantom; and meets the parents who became convinced a ghost wanted to kill their baby daughter.
I absolutely loved HAUNTED and can’t wait for more. No matter whether you’re a believer or a skeptic, there’s something for everyone here. Listen at your own risk.
Just a little excited over here in the Shea shack. Flame Tree Press is now accepting pre-orders for the trade paperback and hardcover editions of my debut novel with them, CREATURE. And, we finally have a release date – September 6, 2018. As we get closer to the big day, I’m sure you’ll be able to pre-order the ebook as well.
Just in case you’re wondering just what the heck this book is about…
The monsters live inside of Kate Woodson. Chronic pain and a host of autoimmune diseases have robbed her of a normal, happy life. Her husband Andrew’s surprise of their dream Maine lake cottage for the summer is the gift of a lifetime. It’s beautiful, remote, idyllic, a place to heal.
But they are not alone.
Something is in the woods, screeching in the darkness, banging on the house, leaving animals for dead. Just like her body, Kate’s cottage becomes her prison. She and Andrew must fight to survive the creature that lurks in the dead of night.
Flame Tree is planning to burst onto the horror scene in a HUGE way. From everything I’d been told, we’re talking epic. Get ready from brand new tales from the likes of Ramsey Campbell, Jonathan Janz, John Everson, Tim Waggoner and so many more. If you’re a reviewer and you want to reserve your ARC, by all means reach out to them. If you’re a reader and want to make sure you get your hands on this sick puppy the day it comes out, pre-order today!
As a shameless podcast junkie, I’m always looking for well produced limited run series. I feel like I struck a vein of Texas tea with a couple of amazing podcasts from Wondery. INSIDE THE EXORCIST and INSIDE PSYCHO are deep dives into not just the making of both movies, but the real life stories that inspired them. At only 25 minutes an episode and 6 or 7 episodes, you can devour them like M&Ms. Hats off to host and narrator Mark Ramsey for creating two absolute gems that will inform as much as they will disturb you.
My favorite is INSIDE THE EXORCIST because the truth is almost as creepy as the fiction. Taking us from the real life exorcism that sparked the idea to highly strange troubles on the set, the creep factor is high and the rare background information priceless. I’ve heard that it took months to just do the research, and several more months to record and perfect each episode. The power of Christ compels you to listen!
My favorite episode of INSIDE PSYCHO is actually the one about “cannibal killer” Ed Gein. If you have a weak ticker, you may want to fast forward through parts. The insight into what Hitchcock had to go through to get the movie made is fascinating. Psycho broke a lot of boundaries and is still being copied today.
So treat your earholes and seek both podcasts out. They’re available on just about every platform where you can find podcasts. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to finish my bowl of pea soup before I take a nice, hot shower.
If you’re looking for one hell of a read that is grounded in a real life mystery, J.H. Moncrieff’s lates, RETURN TO DYATLOV PASS is a can’t miss. I was lucky enough to get a sneak peek so I could provide a blurb. It’s a creepy tale filled with enough facts to make you wonder as an icy finger trails down your spine. I highly suggest you also read up on the real Dyatlov Pass incident, then go watch the horror movie, The Devil’s Pass. Fully immerse yourself in one of the strangest mysteries of the 20th century.
About the book:
In 1959, nine Russian students set off on a skiing expedition in the Ural Mountains. Their mutilated bodies were discovered weeks later. Their bizarre and unexplained deaths are one of the most enduring true mysteries of our time.
Nearly sixty years later, podcast host Nat McPherson ventures into the same mountains with her team, determined to finally solve the mystery of the Dyatlov Pass incident. Her plans are thwarted on the first night, when two trackers from her group are brutally slaughtered.
The team’s guide, a superstitious man from a neighboring village, blames the killings on yetis, but no one believes him. As members of Nat’s team die one by one, she must figure out if there’s a murderer in their midst—or something even worse—before history repeats itself and her group becomes another casualty of the infamous Dead Mountain.
Available in ebook and trade paperback.