Wickedly Spirited by Deborah Blake

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Kindle price $1.99, release date September 19, 2017, available for pre-order!

This book is marketed as a romance, but honestly it reads as more of a YA magical adventure, though I do realize Wickedly Spirited is part of a series, so I’m absolutely certain (after having read this story) the other pieces of the world Deborah Blake has built for her readers are more romantically involved. As a matter of fact, the next bit of story will be released in November 2017 (Titled Dangerously Divine). But, as is, this story can standalone and I would easily recommend it to my fifteen year old daughter.

The story revolves around sixteen year old Baba-Yaga (witch) in-training, Jazz, after having been adopted by her mentor. Behind her mentor’s back, Jazz tasks herself with restoring immortality to The Riders, companions of the Baba-Yagas. With the help of her mentor’s dragon-cat, Koshka, Jazz ventures into the Otherworld to gather ingredients to help her out.

There isn’t much to add because this is a very short read, one which I really enjoyed because sometimes I’m really too busy to get too involved in what I’m reading, regardless of how enjoyable it might be. Those of you who are busy during the day and have jobs and lives beyond the internet probably understand what I mean. The premise of the story is nice, the characters are all great, if not surreal (reminiscent of late nineties dramedies), and knowing there’s more coming in just a few months–rather than years, as with other book sequels–is a treat.

I can give my recommendation for this book without having to mull it over because it’s an easy YES. A person can read this story while they fold their laundry. Kindle gave it a bit over an hour and a half, so great to read while you’re in a waiting room or having morning coffee. I really am glad I stumbled upon this.

I am going to make sure to get a copy of Dangerously Divine as soon as it’s released because I really would like to know what happens to Jazz next. Without going into too much detail, Wickedly Spirited sort of leaves you wondering.

PRE-ORDER WICKEDLY SPIRITED FROM AMAZON HERE!

TO PRE-ORDER DANGEROUSLY DIVINE (BROKEN RIDERS NOVEL, A) FRO

M AMAZON, CLICK HERE!

DANGEROUSLY DIVINE

Available for pre-order. Release date November 28, 2017

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How It Began

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Yes, I am always this attractive…

I was nine years old when I decided I wanted to be a writer. I didn’t really know what the job entailed, but I had wonderful examples available to me whenever I chose to have them.

My mom took me to the library often. We lived in Winchester, Indiana at the time and I remember those library trips well. Winchester had a great library, too, but it wasn’t cold like small town libraries often are. I was always happy to shed my coat to wander between shelves and decide on my reading material for the next two weeks. Somewhere, there would be a coffee smell wafting around, though I never discovered the source. Happily, I discovered a sincere love for books and the people who created them.

Particularly, I learned to enjoy Anne Rice. I was young, but I was always ahead in my Reading classes. I could comprehend far ahead of my level and that was in part due to boredom in my earliest years. The film adaptation of Anne Rice’s Interview With A Vampire came out that year and I got a VHS copy. I don’t remember who bought it for me or when I first watched it, but I do remember being completely enamored with the world of the undead, possibly because Brad Pitt was in the movie. And, in a move I now detest, I read the book after I watched the movie, rather than the other way around. I discovered thick and thorough description and how words can be beautiful if you string them together in certain ways.

From there, I learned of other vampires and monsters. Vivian Vande Velde became another favorite author quite quickly. The young adult section at the Winchester public library never knew what hit it. I was wide open and those characters were more than just intriguing. I couldn’t figure out why I, like so many other people out there, was so drawn to them. By the time I was eleven, I knew all of the folklore associated with the creatures of the night.

Of course, it was not just vampires. I also read werewolf stories. I read classic literature, beginning with some of Shakespeare’s very best tragedies. Before I knew it, the reading material at school bored me to no end and I had surpassed the expectations of my teachers. I still enjoyed reading the required novels in classes, but it wasn’t the same as reading the books I chose myself at the library. I began to wonder if there was ever going to be more to learn or if I was just going to flounder around in search of new books, new concepts.

Along with the reading material I spent hours with, I kept journals and notebooks full of words strung together that probably only made sense to myself. I looked at sentence structure only when doing homework. But, in the safety of my bedroom, the words I scrawled on notebook paper were written only to please me. They had meaning and were often thrown together in haste because I learned that writing when angry or upset was the best medicine for anything.

And, I was angry and upset an awful lot. There was little going on in my life that I didn’t take issue with. I wanted to ask why a lot. Every day. I questioned everything because I was stubborn–where most kids my age just accepted their lot for unchangeable, I wanted to know why.

Why do I have to live in a place with a shit economy? Why couldn’t I go see my dad when I wanted to? Why was everybody voting against Bill Clinton when he obviously knew what he was doing? Why are adults so grumpy all the time? Why can’t I live somewhere closer to town so that the library and stores to shop in would be just a skip away? And, most importantly, why doesn’t anyone ever listen to me? Do I even exist?

At some point at this period in my life I even wrote an entire short story about why I hated living in a house surrounded by corn fields.

Everything always came back to vampires, though. There was a young adult book by Annette Curtis Klaus called The Silver Kiss in which the hero doesn’t exactly get the girl.  Most vampire books I had read up to that point had involved a vampire hero who always turned the girl of his dreams so she could be his mate forever. Or the head vampire was killed so that he could be human again and be with her. Or, maybe they just ran away together. But, not The Silver Kiss’s hero.

In the book, the main character’s mother is dying of cancer. The girl is at a very impressionable age, going through very real situations. The vampire in the story doesn’t whisk her away to a better life or make her forget her problems. Instead, his immortality forces her to face her mother’s impending death. She is shown what a life cycle really is. Everything that is born must die one day. It is the natural way of things. And, of course, the vampire’s day comes too. He doesn’t turn her into a vampire. He doesn’t tell her flowery, beautiful things about being undead. He is killed. He dies. And, the main character, Zoe, is forced to go on with her life without her mother and without Simon, the vampire she once knew.

Something about reading a story about a creature who obviously couldn’t exist and being able to pull a small, but immensely strong, sliver of truth out of it really hit me. Life isn’t pretty. Life is not about the hero impressing a girl or saving her from her own boredom. Life is messy and dirty and gut-wrenching. Truth is most certainly stranger than fiction, as they say. The feeling I got when I read about Louis and Lestat living as the undead or about Simon dying even though he’d been given immortality is one that I still, to this very day, cannot describe in a way which would be sufficient to another person. No matter which words I chose, it would not be enough to portray the twisting in my guts and stalling of my heart. Life is short and pain is inevitable, so I write as a buffer between the two.

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Welcoming 2016 With Stories and Changing Tastes

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Every year I keep a log of books, short stories, and articles of note that I’ve read. In 2015, I logged an awful lot of books. Some were new releases, but more often than not, not. By this log, though, I figured that I read more how-to books, gardening books, and history books than anything else. I don’t know why it happened this way, but maybe because I’ve been sort of fighting a dark depression and anxiety with hobbies–gardening, sewing, and just about anything I can do which would keep my hands busy. I’m the kind of person who needs to be doing something, even if it’s something small, such as mending a buttonhole or planting a seed. And, once I’m focused, that’s it. I’m addicted to something new and you’ll soon find me in bookshops and online seeking out books regarding my new hobby, whatever it may be. I can’t just be a novice at anything. I will constantly strive to master it.

But, in 2010, for example, I logged mostly romance and horror novels. In 2011 and 2012, same. In 2013, by some strange tap of the reading fairy’s wand, I changed directions and returned to my science fiction and fantasy roots. You see, the firsts books I really loved–and I mean REALLY loved–were sci-fi novels, comics, fantasy tomes, and short stories in magazines involving elves, ghosts, goblins, werewolves, aliens, and vampires. I started reading time travel novels again. I started picking up newer novels by authors I’d forgotten I loved so much in high school. And, I began to change the way I think about things again. I think that’s just something that happens ever so often in life. Your life changes direction, so your reading lists change direction, too.

By 2014, I’d changed completely. I haven’t completely let go of reading romance, but I want to read everything about everything. Sometimes there just isn’t enough space on a year’s worth of bookshelf for all of the books a person would wish to read. I think that might be what happens to me. I am too ambitious. But, there are just so many books!

But, back to 2015.

Last year, my children grew. My fortunes changed (sort of) with the coming of a move which will take me from living in a small 3 bedroom house with a small yard to a small 4 bedroom house with a yard that reaches beyond what the eye can see (my husband’s family’s farm). In anticipation of this move, my family and I have discussed a lot of changes. We’re letting go of cable because it won’t be available. We’re going to have an internet connection to watch Netflix and Hulu and do internety things. But, we’ve also decided that we’re going to raise some chickens and continue growing beautiful herbs and Cherokee purple tomatoes (which are to die for, by the way, and can be found at Burpee’s online). On the farm, my father-in-law and brother-in-laws (and their wives and families) raise chickens, horses, cows, pigs, and sometimes goats. And, I think my niece has some rabbits somewhere. So, with all of this in mind, I’ve been reading about soil, about how to raise animals (because I’m absolutely terrified of horses and have no clue how to manage livestock, much less live with them), and about how to live a simpler life.

Now, hold on, people. Before you start thinking ahead, NO. No, we are not homesteaders. Absolutely, just no. I have mad amounts of respect for homesteaders, but that’s not what we’re doing  at all. We’re just simplifying things and moving forward with raising our family in an area where I won’t have to worry about being so close to other people. Well, except for my husband’s family. Two of his brothers, their wives, their collective six children, and my mother-in-law and father-in-law all live on the same stretch of property, but it’s big enough that none of us have to look at each other if we don’t want to. Or unless I need to be saved from the horses (ha ha).

The beautiful part of how life changes your reading habits, though, is that when I move to my little farm shack in the middle of nowhere, I’ll have new places to read. Also, I have a niece and a sister-in-law who both love to read, too, so maybe we can exchange good books ever so often. Who knows–we might even start our own book club right on the edge of the mountain. I’m sure the new experiences I have there will absolutely reflect in the 2016 reading log. I have plans to pick up a Farmer’s Almanac and a Gardener’s Almanac next time I’m in the Dollar General store in town. And, beyond that, there’s a discount store in Beckley (about 35 minutes from me) where I can pick up as many books about flowers and plants as I want because they’re really cheap. I’d love a book about flowers so I can learn about which ones are the easiest to grow and which ones need what because I do have plans for a white rose bush and roses are not things I know a lot about, although I’ve always loved white roses (among other white flowers, I also love the white moonflowers/Datura).

bookThere are a few crime fiction novels I plan to read this year, though, and they’re already sitting on my nightstand. AND, I do have some drama, history, and romance novels sitting in my shelf, waiting on me to give them some attention. First, though, I have a book filled with the love letters between Lucrezia Borgia and Pietro Bembo. The book is called “The Prettiest Love Letters In the World” because they truly are. I’ve already taken a peek at them.

scandalsAnd, of course, it’s January 3rd, which means I’ve already read a book this year. It’s was called “Treasury of Royal Scandals” and it was published some years back, but still such a great read. Books aren’t like food–they don’t ruin after a while. They stay great. I’ve learned that there is also a book out there called “A Treasury of Great American Scandals,” which I’d like to add to my collection, too. The author, Michael Farquhar, has many books out I’d like to snatch. Seriously, where has this guy been all my life as a reader? “Treasury of Royal Scandals” was brilliant. It was a great way to start the year, in my opinion.

I’m curious to know how everyone else feels on the subject of changing tastes in books. Is it just me? Do the rest of you change tastes every now and then? I can’t imagine I’m the only person on the face of the planet who sometimes switches from medieval kings and queens to cyborgs and werewolves.

 

Twenty Things To Do Between Writing Projects

 

booksYay! You finished writing your novel/short story/article/comic/other stuff! I used to love this period of time because of the sense of accomplishment I gave myself after typing “The End” as I grinned like a…well, whatever grins. As most writers can tell you, it’s a wonderful, wonderful day when a project you’ve been working on forever finally comes to a full stop and you’ve told the entire story, start to finish. You’ve conquered the beast!

Now what?

Well, just walk away. That’s the best advice anyone has ever given me and I’m all too happy to pass it along. Walk away from the manuscript and leave it alone. Do other things. Live your life and gain some new experiences before you do anything else. Most writers (though, I can’t speak for everyone) have a family and/or friends who love them and would appreciate knowing they’re still alive somewhere. Now’s the time to reconnect with those people. Or not. Just do stuff.

I’ve made a good list of things you can do between writing projects. I hope it helps someone.

  1. Relax and do nothing for a few days. Writing can drain a person and you need to recharge your batteries.
  2. Do something nice with your significant other. Go to the movies, have a nice dinner or just watch a documentary together on Netflix and eat grilled cheese sandwiches on the couch. Either way, pencil them in and spend some time with them. They’ll appreciate it and you will too. You need this.
  3. Get online, update your blog layout and give it a facelift. Write a fun post or two. Write emails to your friends, return emails from your friends. Clean up your email accounts—delete old emails, rearrange emails you’re keeping. Go through your social media accounts and get them all up to date, too. Get EVERYTHING online up to date. It won’t take as long as you think.
  4. Go shopping and buy pens, notebooks, printer supplies, editing supplies, post-it notes. Go home. Put these items in a box or drawer and just leave them there. Smile that you saved seventy-five cents on your notebook paper.
  5. Buy or borrow five novels or novellas. Make coffee. Start reading the first one. Keep going and read the entire thing in one sitting. Nap. Repeat.
  6. Write reviews for books you’ve read. Post them wherever you usually post reviews.
  7. Go to a museum. If you’re lucky enough to have a museum around town, take an afternoon and go.
  8. Bake a cake, muffins, or cookies. Arrange them on a pretty plate. Take them to your elderly neighbor.
  9. Find a good Youtube channel and learn something new. Sewing, baking, carpentry, anything. Learn how to make brownies in your microwave if you want to start small. Or, you could learn how to build shelves with real hammers and real nails and real wood from a real hardware store—the sky is the limit.
  10. Buy a packet of seeds and start growing something indoors all by yourself or buy a plant at the local nursery and bring it home to care for it. Digging in dirt can be refreshing to creative people. Do yard work even.
  11. Go to your book stash. Whether you store your book all in shelves or in a series of odd places around your house (or just in boxes somewhere), go find your stash. Put an empty box or bag at your feet and dig through your books. Really, really dig through them. Anything in there you know you won’t read again? Yeah, we all have a few of those. You can donate them to local libraries for other people to enjoy. Or, box them up and send them off to a friend who would like to have them.
  12. Contribute or attend a local theater presentation. Is the local theater troupe performing Romeo and Juliet? Buy some tickets to support the locals and have yourself a great time.
  13. Start a collection of something (besides books…we’ve already established that you collect those). Paperclips, glass bottles, antique dishes…whatever you like.
  14. Get a haircut. No, seriously. A lot of writers I’m friends with have told me they sometimes neglect haircuts/salon appointments. Take care of this while you’re between writing projects, even if it’s just a quick trip to Supercuts.
  15. Play music and listen to something you wouldn’t ordinarily listen to. REALLY listen. Listen for the lyrics, decide how the songs make you feel.
  16. Volunteer at a nursing home. Often, our elderly are lonesome and many of them have no one to talk to through the day. Just talking to them is sometimes the greatest gift anyone can give. If you’re lucky, you’re going to be old one day. Remember that.
  17. Read more books you haven’t read yet.
  18. Call your mother. She misses you and while you’re in book mode, she doesn’t hear from you enough. I know this because I’m a mother and I’m also a daughter—I know how it goes.
  19. Reorganize your workspace. Prepare like your life depends on it.
  20. Go snack shopping. Buy coffee, vodka, and cookies. Or, ya know, whatever you like. Now, you may begin writing your next project. I’m sure you have a million ideas by now.

BRUSHING UP-10 Facts about The Demon King you may not know.

 

Artwork by Danny Kelly

Artwork by Danny Kelly

In celebrating that THE DEMON KING’s long awaited sequel has been picked up by KnightWatch Press, I thought some of us could use a quick brushing up about our much loved and much hated king of the underworld…So, here you go. Ten whole factoids. Demon Cover

1. I was highly influenced by Jonathan Rheys Meyers portrayal of Henry VIII in The Tudors when I wrote The Demon King.  henry

2. The first fact on this list will become quite evident in the sequel.

Am I hinting? Maybe. But, it may not hint at what you think.

Am I hinting? Maybe. But, it may not hint at what you think.

3. I wrote many, many scenes of the first book as a way to work out my own nightmares and fears.

4. The king’s birds will play a bigger role in the second book.

5. The Demon King was originally written with the intention of the story being an erotica novel. But, it took on a life of its own.

6. There will be new characters in the second book.

7. The second book still has no title. I’m working on that. I’m not good with titles. I could write ten books before I could come up with a decent title. I usually have help titling stories.

8. One of my favorite characters from the first book, Thrack, was modeled to look like Michael Clark Duncan (RIP, MCD).

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9. A character from my Immortal books will make an appearance in The Demon King’s sequel. In the Immortal books, Lilleth was my bad guy. In The Demon King’s sequel, she’s just the girl next door. Though she’s the same person, she is perceived as quite evil in the mortal realm, but once you put her in the Underworld, where she’s known Draken his entire life, she’s nothing out of the ordinary. Well, maybe a little out of the ordinary. As a matter of fact, the king will be giving her quite the honorable title. I won’t tell you what that title is, though. Spoilers!

10. The second Demon King book will be longer than the first. Yup.  You asked, I’m delivering. You’re welcome.

HAUNTED VALENTINE GIVEAWAY!

bones coversWant to win a copy of my brand new novel, BONES OF WILLOW LAKE? It releases this very Valentine weekend. How exciting! Read the rules below:

RULES:

Leave a comment on this post telling about your most memorable Valentine’s Day or just the one that sticks out the most. Tell me what you like or do not like about this holiday. Write whatever comes to mind pertaining to Valentine’s Day. Lets keep this PG (we don’t need those kinds of details lol). The winner will be chosen and announced on the morning of Monday, February 17th, so please also give me an email address to contact you should you be the lucky winner. It’s that easy!

You can read an excerpt and blurb for the book, BONES OF WILLOW LAKE, here.

OTHER RHIANNON MILLS NEWS:

Not much info as of yet, but be looking for updates on an anthology called HER DARK VOICE. Filled with stories from many different female horror authors (including CYNDI AND THE DEMON ASMODEUS, which I wrote), this one’s going to be a must read!

Bones Of Willow Lake to be released on Valentine’s Day!

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Back cover, front cover. Both originally artwork by Mark Hogg. Link to his fanpage can be found at the bottom of this post.

Well, the day I’ve been waiting for since forever (no really…FOREVER! LOL) is finally upon us. My most recent novel, BONES OF WILLOW LAKE, has a release date! And, of course, the novel will be released on the very same day my awesome novella, THE DEMON KING, was released. FEBRUARY 14th! That’s Valentine’s Day, in case you didn’t know. Also, it’s my son’s 7th birthday, so Valentine’s Day is special to me for many reasons. Not just book releases, although I do believe I should probably just go ahead and reserve that day every year to release a new book because it looks like it’s just my day.

I promise I won’t just sit here and prattle on and on about how absolutely enamored with myself and my release date I am, though. I promise! Instead, how about I give you a blurb and an excerpt? Will that appease the masses? I sure hope so. We’ll start with the little blurb intended to be printed on the back cover.

BLURB:

Celia Burne bought a house in LaGrange, Georgia, thinking she’s found a place for herself and her dog, Barnibus, to find rest and solitude–a break from the heartbreak of her mother’s death and the resulting incarceration of her younger sister. What she finds in the beginning of her new life, however, isn’t what she bargained for.  Celia discovers two of the house’s former residents still live there decades after their deaths.  

 Although artist Paul Gray only wants Celia’s friendship, and perhaps a little bit more, Celia begins to feel that finding Gray’s body would allow him to pass over into the light.  In order to find the body, however, Celia has to solve a 1947 triple murder mystery, and the angry spirit of Ruth Wilkins doesn’t want this to happen.  With help from an elderly neighbor and her cartoonist grandson, Celia wrestles with the mystery until she’s thrown into a tailspin and is forced to decide whether she is willing to let Gray go or if she would rather keep him for herself.  All the while, the story begs the question of who is helping whom? 

EXCERPT:

The fire is warm and I like to sit in front of it, but the sound of boxes shuffling around is still distracting me.  “Gray!” I shout again. “What on earth are you doing up there?” Frustrated, I push the covers back off my legs and get up to wander to the attic.  I stomp up the stairs, as though my noise is going to aggravate him enough to stop making his noise, and stop at the small opening to the attic at the top of the stairs.

To the left, there is a small broom closet where I keep my ladder.  I pull it out and open it up.  As I climb the few steps to the top, I push the attic opening back and poke my head inside.  It’s dark, but I can see a blue glow from the window.  “Gray?” I whisper as I push myself into the attic.

He doesn’t answer, but I knew that he wouldn’t—he can’t.  “What are you doing up here?”

I walk to the window.  Gray is sitting in the windowsill as still as a picture.  In his hands, he holds a lady’s hatpin.  It is a blue flower, but plain and ordinary.

“Ruth’s.” I say.  It isn’t a question.  There is no one else it could have belonged to.

Gray nods and shrugs before peering back out the window. He is lonely, I think to myself, feeling a bit discarded.  Doesn’t my company mean anything to him—the way his does for me?

I want to shake him.  Ruth is dead.  Henry is dead. They’re obviously not here, but he is.  What’s the connection?

I sigh and rest my hand on his shoulder for whatever comfort I can offer him.  I don’t know what happened to my sweet Gray, but whatever it was, it scarred him for his entire afterlife.

I am going mad, I tell myself.

Gray turns from the window and looks up at me.  There is hopefulness in his eyes and he rests his head against my chest. He raises a finger and sits up.  He begins to trace a word in the dust that’s settled on the glass. I give this one hundred percent of my attention.  His fingertip begins to curve around on the glass until he’s formed a perfect C.  He traces the letters very slowly, as though it’s been a very long time for him—and I’m sure that it probably has been.  Eventually, he’s written my name in the dust.  When he’s finished, he looks up at me and goes back to tracing.

Next, he traces the word alone and looks to me for approval.  I nod.  “I am lonely.” I say.

He folds me into his arms and pulls me close.  He is cool, but not cold.  I allow him to do this because I feel no fear whatsoever in what the dead can do—it’s the living that scare me the most.  Gray rests his cloth-stitched face against my cheek and I feel the weight of each horrible, likely painful stitch and wonder why the bits of dark blue material would be stitched over his entire face like that, but it’s not likely that he’ll tell me anytime soon and I’m too polite to ask. I smile at the awkward ridiculousness of the situation—I have no one alive on this earth save for Velma, but it seems I’ve made a really great best friend in this dead man.

I look up and realize that Gray’s hair is showing today. Typically, he keeps it back somehow and I can’t tell if he even has any.  Gray, it seems, is/was a ginger. I reach up and roll my index finger around in an unbelievably soft lock of reddish-blond hair.  It’s short, but neat, and combed out of his blue-gray eyes.  His face tightens rom under the cloth and I realize that he’s probably smiling at me.

“I like your hair.”  I tell him with a playful grin.

Slowly, he reaches around to teasingly pull at my long, dark ponytail.  Then, he holds his finger over where his mouth should be to tell me to be quiet. Or to shut up.  I’m not sure which one he means, but it makes me laugh and I am enjoying his company.

I wonder if, wherever they are, Ruth and Henry Wilkins can see what Gray and I are doing tonight in the attic—playfully enjoying the night. Then, another thought creeps into my head and I have to ask Gray another question. I’m positive that my questions are an annoyance, but I want to know anyhow.  “Did you know Velma Beatty?”

He nods, but doesn’t look at me.  Instead, he’s staring out the window again. I don’t push the questions further.  Something I’ve said has made him sad.  I wonder if maybe he might have been a lover of Velma’s so many years ago.  I shake the idea from my head—she had a husband and he died in the seventies.  Sometimes, he was all she ever talked about.

Gray releases me and I take that as my cue to leave him to himself.  I back away, but as I reach the little crawl hole over my ladder, I see that the ladder is gone. It isn’t down there at all, so the possibility that my larger than life dog has knocked it over is out of the question and there isn’t anyone else in the house—or at least I thought there wasn’t up until now.

“Gray?” I breathe.  He turns to face me and shifts his weight in the windowsill.  “Gray, my ladder is gone.  I can’t get down.”

It takes only a few seconds before he materializes at my side.  He looks down the hole and then at me.  He is just as puzzled as I am.  He groans as he lifts me in his arms.  He’s cradling me like a baby and, with his index finger and middle finger, closes my eyelids.  He holds his fingers there for a moment and when he removes them, I open my lids and see that we are standing at the top of the stairs and he is no longer holding me. It’s as though time was temporarily erased.

I have no idea what to say, but manage a quick thanks and a nod.  Gray disappears in a low flash of blue light and I look up to see the opening to the attic shut behind him.  He’s up there again, all by himself, and I have no idea where my ladder is.

I go to the broom closet and open the door.  Cold water flows out of the closet as though it’s been submerged.  Some of it falls down the stairs like an indoor waterfall.  My feet are freezing cold now and I see my ladder folded carefully inside the closet. I’m shaking as I step forward and inspect it.  The top rung has a spot of dried blood on it and a discarded sewing needle with twine laced through it.

Of all the houses in LaGrange, I had to pick the one with dead folks, I think to myself. I pull my flannel pajama pants down and pick them up as I  wander to the upstairs bathroom and push them into the hamper. I go to my bedroom and pick a clean pair of sweats from a drawer and put them on before going downstairs to the kitchen and reluctantly pull the mop out of the corner and grab my bucket.  I take the mop and bucket back upstairs to clean up all the water, but when I reach the stairs, the water is gone.

I swallow hard and walk up the stairs to the closet to see that the ladder is back underneath the opening to the attic.  There is no spot of blood or needle on the top rung.  There is no water damage to my closet.

It’s as though the entire thing was a figment of my over worked imagination.

EXTRA STUFF: 

As promised, here is the link to Mark Hogg’s fan page on Facebook, Mr.  Markzilla Artist! Go give him a like and check out all of his artwork!

STAY TUNED FOR: Okay, so we’re going to have a contest called the HAUNTED VALENTINE GIVEAWAY. Yes, we’re giving away a free copy of BONES OF WILLOW LAKE! Stay tuned to this blog because this is where the contest will be posted FIRST.