Friday, October 25, 2019

Are you a fan of spooky stuff?

by Lorraine Bartlett / Lorna Barrett / L.L. Bartlett

Why is it that when I type the word pumpkin, I almost always type pumpKING? (When I type the name Steve or Steven, I often type SteveR.) Go figure!

Today, I'm talking about pumpkins and the the lead up to Halloween.

To be honest, I haven't been a fan of this holiday since I stopped trick-or-treating. It's just a little too macabre for me. Yeah, me who writes murder mysteries. (My neighbors decorate their entire yard with gravestones, skeletons, ghosts hanging from the trees, scary noises from a speaker, and a large blow-up hearse with horses.)

Apparently, Halloween is the second biggest "holiday" for decorating after Christmas. Since I started watching YouTube decorating videos, I have started collecting various items to celebrate the season (mostly at yard sales. Why buy new when you can keep the old stuff from ending up in a landfill when someone gets tired of it?). That said, my "decor" is mostly pumpkins, some faux leaves, and a yellow-and-orange leafy garland. I do have a sparkling hanging ghost and pumpkin, and a little sign that says "Boo" .... oh, and four little knitted white ghosts my sister-in-law sent us, but that's about as scary as it gets.

When it comes to scary, I'm really quite a chicken. I don't like horror movies, and blood and gore is a major turn off. But I can write some scary stuff, and I have written several spooky stories--and they're all from my Jeff Resnick series.


Jeff Resnick's curiosity is piqued when he sees a sign advertising psychic readings. At first he's sure the medium is a fake, but then his funny feelings lead him to suspect that a murder has taken place in the dilapidated house where Madam Zahara holds her readings. Just who died and how? And why is Jeff compelled to look for bodies buried in the medium’s yard? 

When I started writing it, I really had no idea where I was going to take the story, so hopefully the reader is as surprised by the tale as I was writing it. (I like when that happens. I write by the seat of my pants. If I knew what was going to happen, I'd get bored and probably wouldn't finish writing a story.)

Another spooky story is SPOOKED!

The trick-or-treaters have gone home and now it's time for the adults to celebrate All Hallows Eve. When Maggie suggests they consult an Ouija board, Jeff Resnick thinks it'll be anything but fun. And when they conjure up a ghost from Jeff's past, the game turns dangerous for the most vulnerable person in his life. (This short story directly follows Dark Waters.)

This story was written on the road. Literally. We were on our way to Florida for a writer's conference (I don't fly), and I knew I wanted to write about Halloween (because it was the week before that holiday), and Spooked is what came out. Mr. L drove, I wrote on my laptop. Success!

And then there my spooky Jeff Resnick novel, SHATTERED SPIRITS.

If it weren’t for bad luck, Jeff Resnick would have no luck at all!

While riding his new racing bike, Jeff is hit by an SUV, an accident which has a cascade effect on his life. He loses his job to a replacement, his girlfriend pressures him to move in, his bank accounts are hacked, and a restless spirit begs for his help—all in less than a week. But it’s soon apparent that his so-called random accident is anything but, and the murder of a close friend has a hobbled Jeff on the run. Can he discover who’s out to destroy his life—and threaten those he loves most?

So, if you're looking for a spooky read this week, try one of the above.

And if you're not into spooky, enjoy this faux floral arrangement! (The little sign says BOO.)

Happy Halloween!

How do you celebrate?

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