A new Catherine Cavendish book always shivers me timbers. She really knows how to hit my paranormal sweet spot. To celebrate the release of her latest and greatest, Saving Grace Devine, I invited Catherine to stop by and give my Hellions some world class goosebumps. So dim the light, settle into a comfy chair and read the tale of the White Lady of Stow Lake…
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 and young women, who are apparently bound to the shores of the lake where they died. They all appear to be searching for something, or someone -in dire need of help from the living to help them join the world of spirit.
And not all of them are benign.
One such wraith seems to constitute a deadly reason why I, for one, would think twice before venturing on a walk around Stow Lake in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park. Her appearances have been frequent and well documented.
Golden Gate Park is landscaped on similar lines to New York’s Central Park. It hosts a museum, Japanese Tea Gardens, the Conservatory of Flowers, Sprekels Park and, of course, Stow Lake. It also houses a number of ghosts – and even an allegedly moving statue. But more of that later. We’re concerned now with “a thin, tall figure in white.” So said Arthur Pigeon, as reported in the San Francisco Chronicle of January 6th 1908. Police had pulled him over for speeding and he told the newspaper that it had blocked his way as he drove out of the park, “…it seemed to shine. It had long, fair hair and was barefooted. I did not notice the face. I was too frightened and anxious to get away from the place.”
Of course, the temptation is to say the man was merely trying to avoid getting a speeding ticket. And if his had been the only report, then that could well have been the case. But it wasn’t. Over the hundred plus years since that Chronicle article, many other people have reported seeing precisely the same apparition.
So who is this mysterious ‘white lady’ of Stow Lake?
There are, as always, a number of theories. One of the more compelling is that in the late 1800s, a young woman was out, walking her baby in its pram around the lake. She became tired and sat down on a bench. Presently another lady came to join her and the two struck up a conversation. So engrossed was the young mother that she failed to notice the pram rolling away. Suddenly she realized it had gone. There was no sign of either the pram or the baby. Panic stricken, she searched high and low, asking everyone, “Have you seen my baby?” No one had. For the rest of that day, and into the night, she searched.
Finally, she realized the baby and the pram must have fallen into the lake. She jumped in and was never seen alive again.
Witnesses who report seeing her speak of a woman in a dirty white dress, sometimes soaking wet and, contrary to Arthur Pigeon’s assertion that she had fair hair, the other reports consistently state she has long, dark hair. Sometimes she is also seen on Strawberry Hill – adjacent to the lake. Her face wears an anxious expression and she has been known to approach people walking around the lake at night. She asks, “Have you seen my baby?”
As for the statue I mentioned earlier, this is called ‘Pioneer Woman and Children’. It has a reputation for moving around – and even changing shape. These phenomena always occur at night and seem directly linked to the white lady. Sometimes the statue’s face changes. Other times, it has no legs or head. Motorists have reported electrical problems. Different cars driving near the statue or lake at the same time have stalled simultaneously.
Finally, if you are brave – or foolhardy – enough, try going down to Stow Lake at night and say, “White lady, white lady, I have your baby” three times. It is said she will then manifest herself before you and ask you, “Have you seen my baby?” If you say, “yes”, she will haunt you ever after. But, if you say, “no”, she’ll kill you.
Now there’s no documented evidence of the white lady committing murder. But are you prepared to put her to the test?
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:
And other online retailers
Other books by Catherine Cavendish include:
And are currently available – or soon will be – from:
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:
Ah, October, or #Horrortober to me. 31 days of ghouls and ghosts, tricks or treats, pumpkin ale and comfort food. What’s not to like? I’m going to kick things off in grand style today, so be sure to read this here post from top to bottom. Lots o’ treats (aka giveaways for your trick or treat bags) for everyone.
This year, the Monster Men released our Halloween special a little early so you can gather great movies to watch and books to read. We also try a new pumpkin ale that you might want to stock in your fridge.
If you’re looking for more terrifying books, check out my 2015 Horrortober Reading List.There are some great reads on there by authors like Nick Cutter, Brian Moreland, Catherine Cavendish and more.
I had the honor and privilege of reading an advance copy of Russell James’s latest foray into the world of magic and dark terror, Dreamwalker. I absolutely loved it and think it’s his best to date. It’s finally out and ready to be devoured by hungry horror readers. Here, in the Magic Man’s own words, is how the fiction became stark fact…
This time around, my novel creeped me out.
When I wrote Dreamwalker, I wanted to set it in a location that emphasized the duality that the
main character, Pete Holm, lives in. I’d read about Atlantic City and how the promise of casinos hadn’t
created the promised city-wide rejuvenation. Atlantic Avenue divided the city, separating the glitter of the
high-rise hotels from the poverty of the rundown residential areas. The location seemed perfect.
I’d never been to Atlantic City, or Philadelphia, another location in the book. But MapQuest is
amazing, and I used grids of the streets to flesh out my fantasy versions. Pete takes a bus, so I Googled
the bus station locations and schedules just to make sure such places existed.
After the second draft of the story was completed, I had a free weekend in Maryland and decided
to visit these places I’d so casually created based on a few thin facts. I headed to Atlantic City, hoping I
could work in some real-life observations to the story.
I drove through the city and went into shock. Locations I’d created in my mind’s eye were here in
real life, almost doorframe for doorframe. The restaurant Pete works in, the rundown homes, the decaying
basketball court. It didn’t feel like I was exploring someplace new, it felt like I was returning to
In the late afternoon, I drove to Philadelphia, taking the same route my character takes when he
tries to find the identity of the girlfriend in his dreams. In the city, I followed my invented route to her
fictional hospice. There was no hospice, but there was a doctor’s office with an entrance that looked just
as I’d imagined the hospice’s did. It gave me chills.
Dreamwalker is about a college student who enters an alternate reality when he dreams. Did I
enter some alternate subconscious reality when I invented the locations for my book? I don’t know. If I
could, it would sure make writing the next novel is much easier.
Dreamwalker is the sixth novel that Russell James has published with Samhain Horror under legendary horror editor Don D’Auria!
Two realities. One hope.
What if you lived in two worlds, and could die in either? Pete Holm can. He is a dreamwalker, able to travel to the realm of dreams, including the devastated world of Twin Moon City, where an evil voodoo spirit holds living souls in terror with his army of the walking dead.
In the waking world, drug lord Jean St. Croix knows only the power of the dreamwalker can stop him, so St. Croix vows Pete must die.
Pete is the only hope to rescue the lost souls in Twin Moon City…unless St. Croix kills him first. Can anyone survive when two realities collide?
Barnes and Noble:
- Open reviewer giveaway: Anyone who reviews Dreamwalker on Amazon and one other site like GoodReads, etc. and sends Erin Al-Mehairi, publicist, their links to firstname.lastname@example.org will be entered to win a $20 Amazon gift card. This contest ends on Feb. 28, 2015.
- Rafflecoper giveaway for two copies of Russell’s previous books. Two winners will each win one of two books, Black Magic and Dark Inspiration. US only, no international shipping. Must use a valid email that you can be reached by. By entering the giveaway, you consent to allow Russell to have your email for very infrequent newsletter updates. Contest ends Feb. 28, 2015. Other contest questions can be referred to Erin Al-Mehairi, publicist, Hook of a Book Media at email@example.com.
Praise for Russell R. James
“James has a talent for combining action-packed vignettes into a powerful, fast-paced whole.”
—Library Journal on Black Magic
(Five Stars, A Night Owl Top Pick) “I loved the story so much that I’m eagerly waiting to read more from him. He carefully and very intricately wove his storyline to have elements of mystery and suspense throughout. I now have a new favorite book I’ll read over and over again.”
—Night Owl Reviews on Dark Inspiration
“The book had me at the edge of my seat. The writing is so vivid I even jumped a few times. If you’re a fan of the genre, love ghosts and are drawn to the supernatural, then do yourself a favor and pick up a copy of this book!”
—Long and Short Reviews on Dark Inspiration
Russell R. James, Biography
Russell James grew up on Long Island, New York and spent too much time watching Chiller, Kolchak: The Night Stalker, and The Twilight Zone, despite his parents’ warnings. Bookshelves full of Stephen King and Edgar Allan Poe didn’t make things better. He graduated from Cornell University and the University of Central Florida.
After a tour flying helicopters with the U.S. Army, he now spins twisted tales best read in daylight. He has written the paranormal thrillers Dark Inspiration, Sacrifice, Black Magic, Dark Vengeance, and Dreamwalker. He has two horror short story collections, Tales from Beyond and Deeper into Darkness. His next novel, Q Island, releases in 2015.
His wife reads what he writes, rolls her eyes, and says “There is something seriously wrong with you.”
Visit his website at www.russellrjames.com and read some free short stories.
He and his wife share their home in sunny Florida with two cats.
To find out more about Russell R. James, please visit his Website or follow him on Facebook! Join him on Twitter, @RRJames14. Also, feel free to drop him at a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
It’s been almost 2 years since Jessica Backman’s last foray into the world of the unknown, but she’s finally back. ISLAND OF THE FORBIDDEN has been officially released. Jessica is in her early twenties now and completely disenfranchised with the entire concept of ghost hunting. Knowing that she draws the dead to her, empowering those with less than noble intentions, she’s distanced herself from her family, friends and uber psychic, Eddie Home. Instead of running to the dead, she’s now running from them.
Eddie is now a shell of his former self. The power surge he had to employ to save Jessica and the family they were helping in SINISTER ENTITY has left him drained. He’s plagued by the cries of the dead, unable to help them.
Despite their weakness, Eddie and Jessica are both drawn to haunted Ormsby Island off the South Carolina coast. There’s an old mansion there and a secret so taboo, so terrifying, the world has done its best to wipe it from its collective memory. To save the living, they must face their deepest fears.
Early reviews have been great!
“When I’m ready to reconsider my views of the afterlife, of the nature and motivations of individuals, of the meanings of life and purpose, I look to Hunter Shea. He brings to the early 21st century the kind of thought-provoking literary horror that Ambrose Bierce gave to the 19th century.” Mallory Heart Reviews
“Island of the Forbidden” is the ultimate haunted house story. There are all of the elements for an explosive story in which everything goes wrong. And in “Island of the Forbidden,” everything goes wrong.” Examiner.com
“The story is a non-stop rush from the first chapter to the satisfying, terrifying end. This is 2015’s first must-read for the horror fan.” Russell James, author of Dark Vengeance and Dreamwalker
“Island of the Forbidden has it all, ghosts, an evil presence, psychics, creepy dead children, an old haunted house, the list goes on. I couldn’t put it down!” – Scarlet’s Web reviews
If ghost stories are you thing, I wrote this book just for you. This isn’t your momma’s ghost tale. Oh no.
You can order a copy of ISLAND OF THE FORBIDDEN (ebook or trade paperback) at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Samhain Publishing and wherever books are sold. If you get it, give me a shout and let me know what you think of it.
We’re also kicking off a HUGE blog tour, thanks to Hook of a Book Media. Click on the graphic below to see all the stops. Special thanks to Tim Busbey for his graphics expertise. I’ll be giving away lots o books along the way!
Well, looks like I survived another #Horrortober. I finished the month having watched 41 horror movies. I think I tied my 2012 record. I have to go check the old files to be sure. The sad thing is, I didn’t even get to about 10 movies I had set aside to watch. I’ll have to save them for December when I’ll need some counter-programming to the slew of sappy Christmas specials.
I also managed to finish the first draft of my next cryptid novel. Rewrite process starts tomorrow. I’ll reveal the beastie the book is about in the coming months.
Now, on to something that just elevated my day. As you all know, my weird western, HELL HOLE, came out this past July. Because it was out a month after THE MONTAUK MONSTER, it kinda got lost in the shuffle, though I’m making up for it with mini blog tour this month.
Matt over at HORROR NOVEL REVIEWS sent me an email and link to their review of HELL HOLE a couple of days ago. You literally couldn’t wipe the smile off my face. Here are some snippets from the review :
There’s a fine line that separates a very good writer and a truly great writer. Very good writers get it right sometimes, great writers rarely, if ever, let us down, releasing nothing but riveting piece after riveting piece. Stephen King is a great writer. Joe Lansdale is a great writer. Jack Ketchum, Jonathan Maberry, Clive Barker, those are great writers. Today, Hunter Shea – in this mind – completes the transition from very good writer to great writer. This man will not let you down, and he’ll just about always give you a taste of his personal trademarks, like the presence of monsters and key heroic ensembles. It’s what he does. It’s part of what makes him great.
The five (main characters) make for one of the greatest ensembles I’ve had the fortune of discovering in any novel, ever.
Shea is one of the absolute best in the business in 2014, and I’m going to go ahead and say it, Hell Hole is the best horror novel of the year.
To read the entire review, click here. While you’re there, poke around the site. It’s the best place for a horror lover to spend a day.
I’ve always been reluctant to mention reviews, knowing it’s part of the business, but also leery of tooting my own horn. This review is the stuff you dream of when you decide that you want to be a writer. To even be mentioned alongside my heroes – King, Barker, Ketchum and Lansdale – is more thrilling and humbling than you can imagine. It’s always a little scary, sharing a very personal labor of love with the world so it can be scrutinized. At the very least, I always hope my books give people a little escape from an insane world. And Hell Hole was a labor of love. I wrote it for my dad, who loved westerns and showed me the horror ropes. Hey may have passed before I had a chance to give it to him to read, but I know he’s enjoying it, and this review, at this very moment.
In other good news, my next Samhain novel, ISLAND OF THE FORBIDDEN, the sequel to 2013’s SINISTER ENTITY, is now listed on Samhain’s site and can be pre-ordered on December 7th (which is both Pearl Harbor Day and the day I got engaged to my wife back in 1990). In this one, I put Jessica Backman in a very, very bad place. Why am I so mean to her?
Sometimes, the dead are best left in peace.
Jessica Backman has been called to help a strange family living on a haunted island in Charleston Harbor. Ormsby Island was the site of a brutal massacre two decades ago, and now the mysterious Harper family needs someone to exorcise the ghosts that still call it home. The phantoms of over one hundred children cannot rest.
But something far more insidious is living on the island. When the living and the dead guard their true intentions, how can Jessica discover just what sort of evil lurks on Ormsby Island? And why is Jessica the only one who can plumb its dark depths?
ISLAND comes out the first week in January, along with a slew of other books by great authors like Jonathan Janz, Russell James and Glenn Rolfe. This isn’t an island you want to be stranded on, even if Maryanne and Ginger are there.
With the Halloween season creeping up on us like Jason with a new hockey mask, it’s time to start getting our scare on. I figured I’d kick things off with an excerpt from my terrifying ghost novel, Sinister Entity. Read on, but keep the light switch nearby and make sure to keep your foot tucked in the covers. Oh, and don’t fear going to the bathroom in the dead of night…too much.
Let me know what you think of the excerpt (or the book) and I’ll give away a free signed copy to a random person who posts a comment.
The small bathroom was just off the kitchen and was her father’s sanctuary. A magazine basket filled with well-thumbed copies of Sports Illustrated and Newsweek sat between the toilet and sink. She took a moment to lean against the sink and calm her nerves. Even if Jessica and Eddie somehow managed to make everything go away, she wasn’t sure she could ever spend another night in this house.
Being scared or anxious always made her have to pee, and she was surprised she had lasted this long without letting off the mounting pressure on her bladder. She unbuttoned her shorts and pulled them down with her panties.
“Oh my God that feels good.”
It felt as if she hadn’t gone to the bathroom in weeks and the stream came out in a never-ending rush.
There was a soft tap on the tile floor, and she gasped when air in the cramped room changed, becoming icy and thick. It was like trying to draw a breath through a cold, wet towel. Her heartbeat burst into high gear until she could hear the pounding of its overworked valves in her ears.
She bent down to pull up her shorts and shrieked when a pair of arctic hands clutched her wrists, pinning them to her sides.
She barely managed to cry out, “No!”
The rest of her words were cut off. She was being suffocated. Something blocked her nose and mouth and she struggled to draw a breath while the cold, invisible hands moved to her thighs, slowly creeping inward.
Fellow Monster Man Jack Campisi is back, schooling all you monster dudes and monsterettes on the art of horror. So, turn down the light, sip the mind altering beverage of your choice and read on…
Now that the calendar has turned to October and Halloween season is upon us, it’s time to really dive into horror, and I mean headfirst. There are only 31 days, so let’s not waste any of them. Naturally, there’ll be plenty of scary movies and shows on TV, but it’s also a great time to pick up a good book.
Being good friends with a horror author has some great perks. Not only do I have a blast co-hosting the Monster Men horror podcast, but I also get exposed to a whole world of fantastic horror literature that I may not have found on my own. Reading is such a wonderful way to enjoy the genre. When you find a good book, you get sucked into a new world and your mind becomes your movie screen. You are much more connected with the characters and let’s face it, books can go to so many more places than any movies.
It got me thinking about how important books have been in my journey as a horror fan. When I was a kid, the school library and the public library were treasure troves of monster books. So, before I was even old enough to watch Dracula or Frankenstein, I was devouring books about monsters, ghosts and urban legends like Bigfoot and the Loch Ness Monster. Here are a few books that helped fuel my imagination and molded me into the Monster Man I am today.
First we have Movie Monsters and Monsters from the Movies by Thomas Aylesworth. These books were in my elementary school library and I made a beeline for them every chance I could get. The photos of Dracula, Frankenstein’s monster, the Wolf Man and all those other wonderful creatures grabbed my imagination and never let go. One of the reasons those books got such a prominent place on the bookshelves was that Aylesworth’s wife happened to be the art teacher at our school. Pretty cool, huh?
Another book that I owned, and still have today, is Horror Movies: Tales of Terror in the Cinema (The Movie Treasury) by Alan G Frank. This book is amazing. Way before I saw most of the Universal Monster movies or the Hammer horror films, I had this book. It has chapters on vampires, werewolves, mummies and every other kind of fiend you can imagine. There are some terrifying photos, particularly of Christopher Lee, that had me leaving a light on when I went to bed. Then, as I got older, I had a great guidebook for movies to seek out. This book covers everything from Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed to Vampire Circus.
Of course, as time went by, I graduated to more traditional books like Salem’s Lot and Pet Sematary, but it really all started with monster books like these.
So this Halloween season, I urge to turn off the TV once in a while and curl up with a good, scary book. On the latest episode of Monster Men, Hunter and I suggest a whole pile of excellent horror novels. This includes terrific books by Tim Myer, Brian Moreland, Jonathan Janz, Jamie Evans and Frazer Lee. (And Hunter Shea, of course.) If you have not read these guys yet, you really ought to check them out. Not only will you be supporting some great people, but you’ll also be in for a hell of a read.
As long time readers of my blog and chain know, October – renamed Horrortober by yours truly – is my favorite month of the year. Over the past 11 months, I’ve been stockpiling horror books, movies, mags and places to go, so every day of Terrortober is nothing but horror, horror, horror.
So, what will I be reading? What should you be reading? Here is my complete list with links to purchase, or just plain peruse, each book. There’s a little bit of everything here by authors old and new. The one thing they have in common – they all kick some serious ass. Guaranteed to creep you out.
Bed bugs. They hide in mattresses. They wait till you’re asleep. They rise in the dead of night to feast on our blood. They can multiply by the hundreds in less than a week. They are one of the most loathsome, hellish species to ever grace God’s green earth. Thought to be eradicated decades ago, thanks to global travel they’re back. And with them comes a nightmare beyond imagining. Infected with a plague virus so deadly it makes Ebola look like a summer cold, one bite turns people into homicidal maniacs. Now they’re in Chicago and migrating to al points North, South, East and West. The rest of the world in a matter of time. The U.S Government and the CDC are helpless to stop it. Only one man knows what’s causing the epidemic. And the powers-that-be want him dead.
The year is 2009, and the world’s financial and publishing sectors are in chaos. In the midst of this disarray, a burned-out horror writer finds himself haunted by a variety of ghosts, both real and metaphorical. And as the ghosts increase their attacks, his struggle to make a living quickly becomes a fight to hold on to his family – and his very sanity.
In the spirit of such iconic horror classics as The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Deliverance, Kin begins at the end and studies the possible aftermath for the survivors of such traumas upon their return to the real world — the guilt, the grief, the thirst for revenge — and sets them on an unthinkable journey… back into the heart of darkness.
On Pine Street, the houses begin to shake. The earth begins to move. The streets crack open and yards split asunder…and rising from subterranean depths far below, a viscid black muck bubbles up and floods the neighborhood.
In it are a ravenous army of gigantic worms seeking human flesh. They wash into houses, they come up through the sewers, through plumbing, filling toilets and tubs, seeking human prey.
Cut off from the rest of the town, the people of Pine Street must wage a war of survival or they’ll never see morning. As bad as the worms are, there’s something worse—and far larger—waiting to emerge.
Charly, Sam, Jesse and the others must do battle with the Children in the labyrinthine subterranean world that the creatures call home. But the situation grows bleaker when many of the survivors are captured and borne deeper into the lightless caverns…where a new and even more horrific species awaits.
In a desperate attempt to save their land from tax foreclosure, Delphus Fraley and his daughter open a camp for at-risk kids, with the goal of building character through experience in the Appalachian Mountain outdoors.
But a strange infection contaminating the camp’s mess hall soon triggers a violent rampage. As the isolated camp turns into a bloodbath, camp counselor Jenny Usher first fights to save the children, and then finds she must fight to save herself.
Because this infection doesn’t just kill, it brings the dead back to life…
A nightmare made real.
On Christmas Eve, six-year-old Tom McCrae witnessed an unspeakable atrocity that left him orphaned, his childhood in tatters. Now in his mid-thirties, Tom still has terrifying nightmares of that night. When Tom is sent to the remote Scottish village of Douglass to negotiate a land grab for his employer it seems like a golden opportunity for him to start over. But Tom can’t help feeling he’s been to Douglass before, and the terrible dreams from his childhood have begun to spill over into his waking life. As murderous events unfold and Tom’s feverish nightmares escalate, he will discover the hideous truth behind the villagers’ strange pagan ritual of The Jack in the Green.