Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Authors Electric at Hallowe'en

'Maniac'
          Not quite Hallowe'en yet, but it's close, so a good excuse for an Electrical round-up of suitable reading for the witching time of year. (Our old header of a lightening flash would have been more suitable, but just imagine, if you will, the piercing flash of light and the deafening, rolling crash of thunder... Cries of 'It lives! It lives!' are optional.

          First up is Maniac by Debbie Bennett. A collection of short stories for adults: 'haunted fairgrounds, escaped murderers...fantasy, mythology and urban SF/horror...' 'A sound from upstairs makes the snapshot drop from her fingers. This is why she hates men - for the power that they have over women. Why else would she be standing in her own hall, too terrified to move?' 
          Debbie is also the author of the gritty and disturbing Hamelin's Child.

'The Secret Commonwealth'
          Catherine Czerkawska's Secret Commonwealth tells of the 17th Century Scots minister Robert Kirk who, in 1691 wrote an account of fairy belief, which he called 'The Secret Commonwealth.' When he died, many of his parishioners believed that he was not really dead, but had been stolen by the fairies - who, at that period, were not twinkly Tinkerbelles, but powerful, often sinister, and dangerous supernatural beings. 'I never touched my baby son./ I never held him in my arms, never touched his cheek/ Never pillowed his head against my hand...'
           Catherine's powerful romance Bird of Passage also features, among other threads, a ghost story.

'Midnight Blue'
          Pauline Fisk's beautiful and Smartie prize-winning Midnight Blue tells of magic and other worlds - very fitting for Hallowe'en, when the barriers between our world and others grow thin and fade away...   "As they rose, the sun rose with them as if they were racing for the top of the sky. Its warmth welcomed them, turning the dark skin of the fiery balloon a beautiful midnight blue. They flew straight up. Above them, the sweet, clear music of the lonely pipe, the only sound left in the whole world, drew them on until they prepared to hit the very roof-top of the sky itself. Then the smooth sky puckered into cloth-of-blue and drew aside for them, like curtains parting. The music called again, and they passed straight through."

Ghost Train
          Chris Longmuir may be best known as a crime-writer, (see her book, Nightwatcher) but she has written two collections of short, scary stories: Ghost Train, and Obsession. Here you will find ghosts and haunted dreams, and people with very sinister things on their minds. 'She stepped out of the pool of light into the darkness, the putrid smell increased, and she felt the hands. They reached out from the walls, grasping the sleeves of her dress, pulling her hair, scraping her legs with fingernails and nipping her ankles...' (Obsession.)

          Susan Price has published three collections of short ghost stories as e-books, as well as the Carnegie winning The Ghost Drum, with its sequels, Ghost Song and Ghost Dance. She has said that her intention in writing them was to produce fantasies 'as beautiful as they were terrifying.' Set in an icy, dark northern land, they feature shamans, shape-shifters, ghosts and other worlds. Price never flinches from the harshness and cruelty of this world and they are, as promised, both terrifying and beautiful.
          'I tell, (says the cat,) of a far-distant, northern Czardom where half the year is summer and light, and half the year is winter dark. 
         'I tell of the strangeness of summer and winter and the Earth's turning. Summer so short, and yet its days so long: one bright day pours endlessly into another and the sun shines at midnight.
Ghost Song

      'But winter so long, and its days shorten and shorten until noon is dark, and above the snow-covered land the freezing black sky presses down, heavy with the thousands of sharp, glittering stars and the white, white moon.

         ' The story I tell begins, (says the cat,) in these cold wastes where the moonlight rises from the snow and half-melts the darkness to a silver mist. It begins with the lonely hunter Malyuta journeying over the snow to look at his traps...' (Ghost Song.)
          Susan Price's ghost story collections are: Overheard In A Graveyard, Nightcomers and Hauntings.

'Wolfsong'
          A fittingly spooky book to end with is Enid Richemont's Wolfsong: 'I shall never forget my first glimpse of Chanteloup - its square tower, its copper-green roof, its biscuity walls warmed by the dying sun and its window eyes lidded with white wooden shutters...' There are no wolves left in present day Brittany... And yet Ellie hears them singing at night, and past and present merge... A dark romance, for both young and old(er) adults.
          Enid is also the author of To Summon a Spirit.

          Authors Electric wish all their readers a suitably spooky Hallowe'en! 

 
 
 
         

5 comments:

Chris Longmuir said...

WOW! What a fantastic post, and thanks for the mention of Ghost Train and Obsession. But you've whetted my appetite with the other books and I'm off to explore Amazon right now.

CallyPhillips said...

All great work I'm sure.

But for me the The scariest stories don’t have vampires or zombies they have skeletons coming out of the closet. And sometimes these can only be told as fiction. Read The Price of Fame amzn.to/QIvhR0 or if you only do FREE read
mcstorytellers.com/2/post/2012/
But mostly, get talking about the reality of child abuse.

Catherine Czerkawska said...

What a lovely post - thank-you! -and some here I haven't read. More to add to the list!

madwippitt said...

Halllooooo ... amnd me! Don't forget Haunting Hounds, coming to a Kindle near you on 31st October! You can read about it on my post for this month on the 10th!!

Enid Richemont said...

Susan - thanks for mentioning WOLFSONG. I have a private little (true)ghost story to share about this book. After it was published, I was contacted by a care home in Paris - they were looking after a very old lady, and thought she might have some connection with me. That really gave me the shivers... John Logan liked this book, which I find very flattering.

TO SUMMON A SPIRIT was set in my own north London suburb, and launched in the Children's Bookshop,Muswell Hill.