Join Us on 10/30 For Part One of Our SLEEPING BEAUTIES Chat!

If you’ve been following the blog or our #FrighteningFall hashtag on Twitter, you know the Midnight Society is reading Stephen and Owen King’s Sleeping Beauties for our fall book club.

Since the book is broken into two main parts, we’ve decided to have two book chats about it! So, we’ll be discussing Part 1 of Sleeping Beauties on October 30th at 9pm EST, using the hashtags #MidnightBookClub and #FrighteningFall.

Come discuss the book with us–we want to know what you think! You have over a week left to get halfway through. We’ll be coming back in November and discussing Part 2.

Horror Movies…My Obsession to Watch Them All

I have a slight obsession with horror movies. Whenever I end up at a store, it is impossible for me to pass the movie section. Those big bins filled with cheap movies? Yeah…I lose hours of my life.

Always on the look out for horror movies I haven’t seen, for scary tales I haven’t heard of, it has become a problem. The horror movie drawer is full…and yet, I buy.

October is the perfect time for this.

Horror movies get their own Halloween-y section! And so many of them are $5.

SyFy channel is on its 31 Days of Halloween…playing creepy movies all the time, some old, some new, and some original SyFy productions.

Now, I have learned through the years that picking up a $5 movie on a whim or watching a SyFy original can be risky.

I have been disappointed. I have gotten to the end and cringed. If I’m lucky, it had an intriguing image or idea. Though I have a few movies, I should just toss out.

Most are okay. Nothing incredibly special, but fun.

Every once in a while, I find one that I really enjoy, a movie I hadn’t heard of, that sent my brain into happy-horror land. So the risk is worth it!

Tuning into TV horror is also a risk, but…

This month has been SUPER!

I have seen movies I have somehow missed:

Silent House…DUDE…just dude.

Trick ‘r Treat…THAT WAS A FUN TRIP!

Jennifer’s Body…I didn’t think I’d like it, BUT I DID

Jeepers Creepers…AH!

Texas Chainsaw Massacre…TWISTED.

Hollow Man…not my favorite…but interesting premise.

Drag Me to Hell…Whoa.

Odd Thomas…OMG HAS ANYONE ELSE SEEN THIS?

Joy Ride…A crazy ride.

The Exorcism of Emily Rose…NICE!

Saw…Ouchie.

And a shout out to all the original movies SyFy has given us this month. I never have high expectations for these, but some have been so fun! I am loving the…

House of the Witch

Truth or Dare

Neverknock

The Sandman

This weekend, something called…Stickman…

I am DVRing so many things. Thank creepiness that the month isn’t over yet. Anyone else out there watching these horrible/wonderful movies?

I have never been in such a happy horror movie place.

CAN IT BE OCTOBER FOREVER?!?!?!

Broken Chords, Bayliss, and Ballads

Hello, darlings!

 

It’s been far too longed since I’ve graced this graveyard. I had an unfortunate turn of events that knocked me off kilter for a while, but I’m back. And what better way to return to the crypt than to bring a touch of fresh meat with me? Though she’s no stranger to the dark side, I’m still absolutely thrilled to have her grace our little corner of the woods. Welcome, Jessica!

^^That’s Jessica Bayliss ^^

Let’s get things going, shall we?

 

What inspired you to write Broken Chords?

BROKEN CHORDS was born because I had to pee in the middle of the night while camping on Martha’s Vineyard with my husband. Hahaha! I get my best ideas at the weirdest times. If you’ve ever gone camping, you know the bathrooms are never conveniently located. The fastest route from our site was through the property’s playground. So, there I am, wee hours of the night (no pun intended—okay, pun intended), and it’s all cold and misty; and I think: If those swings start moving right now, I’m so out of here.

Lucky for me (and my bladder), that didn’t happen, but once I was safely back in my tent, I knew I’d write a story about a haunted playground someday. The other major inspiration is a bluegrass festival we like to attend. The layout, the campgrounds, the crepes and gyros, the pirate truck, even the creek behind the clearing in the woods—it’s all inspired by that festival.

Another huge inspiration was traditional acoustic music. Once I decided on that the book would take place at a music festival, certain songs just called out to be included. I mention three bands in particular in BROKEN CHORDS: Crooked Still, Nickel Creek, and The Greencards. They’re probably best described as New Grass or Progressive Bluegrass, and OMG, all three are awesome!

The two songs that were my biggest inspiration are Wind and Rain, and Undone in Sorrow. Wind and Rain is actually based on ballad that is literally hundreds of years old (here’s a great article about it). It’s had different names: The Twa Sisters, Rollin’ a-Rollin’, Binnorie, and it’s just SO creepy. Basically, it’s about two sisters, and the older one pushes the younger one into a river. Not surprising, the sister drowns, which is twisted by itself. But, then a fiddler comes out of the woods, and he takes the drowned sister’s bones and makes a fiddle out of them. One line goes like this:

And he made fiddle pegs of her long finger bones.

Oh, the wind and rain.

I mean, SHIVER. Right? That song is the anthem of some of my creepiest entities in BROKEN CHORDS (actually, the very ghost children who haunt my playground). Probably the most chilling version is THIS ONE, by Gillian Welch, David Rawlings & David Steele. (But if you want to hear the one Crooked Still did, which also features a fiddle—I mean, apropos—you can hear that HERE.)

The other song that features in this book is Undone in Sorrow, which was originally written by a woman named Ole Bell Reed. That one is still under copyright, so I couldn’t use the words in BROKEN CHORDS, but when you read the book and Lenny and Jeb talk about playing their song, that’s the one. Crooked Still’s version is just so haunting and sad. There’s a cello in their band, and the cello solo is one of my favorite musical moments of all time. Then the fiddle comes in and it literally sounds like the embodiment of a tortured heart.

 

What about a favorite line?

Gah! I’m terrible at that, but here’s a favorite (brief) excerpt. And I haven’t shared this with anyone, so it’s an exclusive. This takes place when Lenny first becomes aware of one of the consequences of her astral projection. This entire scene is maybe one of my favorites of all time. I rarely give myself feels from my own stuff, but this scene definitely does. In it, Lenny & Jeb are playing their song, Undone in Sorrow, and she suddenly feels a (maybe magical) connection between them.

Every twitch of his lips became a kiss. Every motion of his hands, a caress. He touched me with his sound, tickled me with his breath – breath that was my breath too.

 

But you guys came here for the scares, so here’s an exclusive peek at the entrance of BROKEN CHORD’S main entity, the demon:

What do you like most about this book?

What I love most is how all these little parts—the music, the festival, the astral projection, my creepy kids on a scary playground—all came together. This book ended up having so many layers and there are themes that are so prominent, and it just makes me happy. I can’t say any more than that, though, because I don’t want to give anything away. BROKEN CHORDS is definitely a scary, creepy ride, but readers will be getting something that has depth and true emotion too.

Thanks SO much, Jenna and all The Midnight Society writers, for having me and featuring my new release. I am in love with this book, and getting to talk about it with you has been so much fun.

 

No, thank you! You can check out Jessica’s book here.

 

Congratulations on the release, Jessica!!!

SLEEPING BEAUTIES – Writing Inspiration from Stephen and Owen King

Stephen King was a gateway to horror for me. I grew up loving monster movies and doing school reports on Edgar Allen Poe and the Salem witch trials. Then, at ten years old, my uncle took me to see The Shining. I pestered my mom until she let me read her movie tie-in paperback, and I was captivated.

I’d never read anything like Stephen King before. I fell completely into the worlds he built. The scenery surrounded me; his characters felt like people I knew. In the whirl of supernatural beings and evil forces, Stephen King’s stories felt more real than anything else I’d read.

So when I heard that Stephen King and his son, Owen King, were coming to Florida to discuss their new novel, Sleeping Beauties, I made a plan.  I set alarms.  I sat poised over the “send” key, waiting for the moment the ticket window opened.

Sleeping Beauties attendees stretched nearly around the entire Selby Library well before the doors opened.  Constant Readers (Stephen King’s affectionate name for his fans) chatted about The Dark Tower and IT movies, and a slew of their favorite novels.  Some wrote in notebooks.  Many of them read, and Gwendy’s Button Box was common. But mostly, they looked awestruck as we took seats inside.  With only 400 tickets, the event felt intimate, and the Kings sat just a short distance away.

A familiar clown crept around the audience before the show.

Stephen and Owen King immediately engaged the crowd when they stepped onstage.  The atrium of Selby Library is bright and open, and hung with sharp mobiles that Stephen King speculated could do some nasty work, were they to fall.  Of course, he said, they probably wouldn’t fall.  But just imagine if they did, how we wouldn’t have time to get away.  Then he giggled.

The Kings each read passages that alternated between horror and dark hilarity.  They laughed through interviewing each other about the book, and as Owen tested his father with The Stephen King Quiz Book.

Their devotion to writing, to story telling, was clear.  They talked intently about their collaborative writing process. Owen’s idea of a world where women went to sleep and never woke up started as a TV show, then expanded into a novel. They traded 25-30 pages at a time in the beginning, then 45-50 pages as the story flowed. They left holes for each other to fill and rewrote each other’s sections. They pushed themselves to write outside their comfort zones, and finally found what they called their Third Voice.  Their hope was for their parts to be indistinguishable in Sleeping Beauties.

I was excited to see Stephen and Owen King speak, but I didn’t expect to be so moved by their deep connection.  It was the last night of their book tour.  They said they’d spoken to 20,000 people while on tour, and it felt good to get home, referencing Stephen and Tabitha King’s house on nearby Casey Key.  Owen teased his father about turning 70, but he spoke poignantly about being 40 and usually only seeing his parents a couple of times each year.  Their collaboration gave Owen a year of working closely with his father, and he said that was his favorite part.

They took questions at the end, and Stephen King spoke to the writers in the audience. He said they knew there were writers out there who saw them onstage and doubted themselves, and they wanted them to know something.

“We are all amateurs when we write,” he said. “No one knows exactly what to do.”  The only thing was to keep writing, no matter what.

The Midnight Society are curled up in their graves and hidey holes, eagerly reading Sleeping Beauties for #MidnightBookClub.  Stay tuned to #FrighteningFall; they’ll be scratching their way to the surface soon.

CHASING THE KING IN YELLOW Arrives Friday the 13th!

What better day of the year to release a new book than on Friday, October 13th? I can’t think of one, which is why my new novella Chasing the King in Yellow will be dropping this Friday on Amazon and Drive Thru Fiction!

Chasing the King in Yellow is in many ways a sequel to the first book in the Parted Veil series, Courting the King in Yellow. After that first book, that story of Frank and Sam continued in the background, as Lovecraft’s Curse and Lovecraft’s Pupil featured new characters. This book gives readers a window into what’s been happening with Frank and Sam, and helps set the stage for the next novel in the Parted Veil series.

Here’s the back cover blurb:

Evil Doesn’t Die—It Adapts

Three years ago, Samantha Cane and Frank Carter’s lives were destroyed as their city became the staging ground for a cult dedicated to the King in Yellow. When the cult enacted a plan to throw the city into chaos, Frank and Sam stopped them with the help of a group called the Parted Veil. But the victory came at a high cost, and it was short-lived. The followers of the King in Yellow are persistent, and their operation in Springfield was just one of many.

Now members of the Parted Veil themselves, Sam and Frank continue to follow the cult’s activities and thwart them whenever they can. A rash of disappearances has led them to a small town in Tennessee, where an old mining operation may be the cult’s latest workshop of horrors.

Each step they take toward discovering the scope of the cult’s plan costs them another piece of themselves. And some questions are better left unanswered.

Chasing the King in Yellow will be released on Friday, October 13th. You’ll be able to grab it digitally on both Amazon and Drive Thru Fiction, and print copies will also be available over at Drive Thru. If you want to catch up on the series, you can grab all three Parted Veil books on Amazon for under $10!

Parted Veil Trilogy by Brian LeTendre

Get Courting the King in Yellow for $0.99!

Get Lovecraft’s Curse for $2.99!

Get Lovecraft’s pupil for $3.99!

Let the Fun Begin…Sleeping Beauties

I have dipped my toe into the new book Sleeping Beauties by Stephen and Owen King.

 

Cover of the 2017 book Sleeping Beauties by Stephen and Owen King

If you didn’t know, some of our Midnighters are reading the newest Stephen King release for our celebration of #FrighteningFall. Go read the initial post here.

Stephen King…It’s easier to list the books I haven’t read than have. I have shelves in my bookcase dedicated to his work. I belong to the Stephen King library and get all his new books shipped to my house. I mean…why wouldn’t you? He is one of the people I would love to meet, though I’m sure I would freak out and forget how to speak.

I love his stories and his characters. So I opened this book with hope…hope of weird, of creepy, of watching characters struggle and crack before rising up. I guess I’ll find out!

So, it doesn’t seem like much, but I am on page 54 out of the 700 page monster. Yes, 700. I just started chapter 3. What can I say…I need more reading time.

But I’m far enough in to have initial thoughts about Sleeping Beauties. I have met Jeanette, Clint, Lila, Tiffany, Frank, Terry, Magda, Essie…and let’s not forget Evie. So many characters, there’s a list of who’s who at the front of the book, just in case you need help keeping everyone straight. *cough*ME*cough* All different. Each having their own special viewpoint to the story. Each having their own struggles and goals. All real people.

The main driving voices so far have been Clint and Lila. I already like them.

Then there’s Evie…now she’s interesting. I love when her POV shows up. I can’t wait to see what this girl is up to. SOMETHING WEIRD.

The big problem/question/conflict has reared its head…bared its fangs. I am intrigued. Like I said. I NEED MORE READING TIME.

I’m at the very beginning. I can see the darkness ahead, where the path disappears into the unknown. I can sense the creepy to come. I am teetering at the edge, soon I will wade in until the muck is up around my knees and I am pulled down into the depths of questions and choices and emotion. What a great place to be.

Reading Sleeping Beauties with us? YEA YEA YEA! Share your thoughts and comments on Twitter with #MidnightBookClub and #FrighteningFall. I will be tweeting as I read. No spoilers! Just teasers.

Join us this #FrighteningFall for all sorts of fun.

Stay tuned to the hashtag for announcements! Live-tweets of the Halloween movies will be scheduled, the perfect movies for this time of year.

Read a book with us. Watch a movie with us.

It’s October. Eat, drink, and be scary.

An Interview Without a Vampire

As our newest member of The Midnight Society could not be located for an interview on this, the day of her birth, I took the liberty of conducting it without her.

Victoria Nations' awesome face

Victoria Nations’ awesome face

The Davis Girl (TDG): Are you ready to be interviewed, Victoria Nations?

Victoria Nations (VN): Yes! This is very exciting! Such an honor to be interviewed by THE The Davis Girl! Rumors of your interviewing prowess are not exaggerated!

TDG: Very true. Hello Midnight Society Readers. I am joined today via imagicaffeine by Victoria Nations. Victoria, welcome. 

VN: Thank you The Davis Girl!

TDG: I understand today is your birthday.

VN: Yes! That is correct!

TDG: Are you really a biologist?

VN: Yes, I am. I also eat oranges and live in a swamp or something and I’ve recently discovered a cure for–

TDG: Do you get to wear a coat?

VN: Excuse me?

TDG: Do you get to wear one of those long white coats with all the pockets?

VN: I mean–

TDG: What snacks do you have in them? Gummy worms? Dire patch grub? Chocolate biscuits?

VN: I don’t usually have food in m–

TDG: Ha! Half a pop-tart! I wondered where that wen–

VN: Did you have a question for me?

TDG: Yes. What’s with the leaves and cobwebs thing?

VN: Well, I really like cobwebs and I guess I like leaving things. Just learn more about me here https://leavesandcobwebs.com/ and follow me on twitter @Leaves_Cobwebs .

TDG: Well, now I’m hungry.

VN: Here, take this year supply of pop-tarts that change flavor depending on your particular tastes. And here’s a bajillion dollars. Just because. And a unicorn name Frederick.

TDG: Delightful. Don’t mind if I do. We’re done here.

Dear Victoria Nations,

You put the creep in creeptastic and I am so glad you’ve allowed us slither our way into your life. You’ve been a champion of TMS since before I can remember and that thaws my heart. So, here, from my brains to your plate, is The Thing That Reminds Me of You.

Love,

The Davis Girl

Welcome to our newest member! And…

 

This calls for cake.

 

I have arranged for a fuzzy friend to visit you later.

 

Have the creepiest day ever. Everyone is screaming about your special day.

Best horror wishes,

Kathy

Happy Birthday, Victoria!

In honor of this wonderful day, I bring you a couple of gifts to share with the whole family:

A nice game of D&D

And a story you can all read around the campfire!

Have a great birthday!

Brian

 

VICTORIA!

We became fast friends in the Camp NaNo cabin over our love of all things goth…

Now that you’re a Midnighter, we totally need to have a dance-off!

Here’s hoping your birthday is filled with witchy tunes, stripey socks and ALL THE COOL, DARK THINGS!

Love & stardust…

~Mary~

Vicki!!!

Happy birthday lovely lady. You are so kind and wonderful, creative and hilarious, thoughtful and brilliant. I’m so thankful you were born and even happier to call you friend!

We can’t wait to sacrifice you…I mean, celebrate you. Don’t forget to come to the Midnight Society mansion tonight and don’t tell anyone where you’re going…

Happy birthday! You know I love my spirits so here’s one for you!


The Roast and Toast – A Bourbon and Coffee Cocktail

Found here.

Ingredients

· 2 oz cold coffee

· 1.5 oz Bourbon

· .25 oz orange juice

· 1.25 oz Amaro

· 0.5 oz Brulee Liqueur

· 1 Marshmallow (Boozy Peppermint Mocha preferred)

Instructions

1. Brew a pot of dark roast coffee and allow to cool.

2. Add bourbon, coffee, orange juice, amaro and brulee to a shaker.

3. Add ice to the shaker.

4. Shake and strain into a large rocks glass.

5. Skewer the marshmallow on a bamboo spear or a cocktail pick.

6. When ready to serve, light the marshmallow on fire with a culinary torch.

7. Before drinking, blow the fire out, and take a bite of the marshmallow along with a sip of your cocktail.

8. Cheers!


Hopefully we can also snack on these Cobweb Nacho Bites I found on Pinterest. Cheers!

Love Jolene

 

Happy birthday Victoria!!!!

So glad you’ve joined us–Pennywise is too!

xoxo,

Amy

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The Midnight Book Club Takes on SLEEPING BEAUTIES for #FrighteningFall

Put your reading glasses on, kids. This week, Stephen and Owen King’s new epic Sleeping Beauties was releases, and The Midnight Society is making it our book club selection for our Frightening Fall event.

For the months of October and November, we’ll be reading and discussing Sleeping Beauties as part of our Midnight Book Club. We’ll be holding two chat events–one in October and one in November (dates/times TBA)–and we’ll be using the hashtag #MidnightBookClub. We’ll also be talking about the book throughout the next two months using the hashtags #FrighteningFall and #SleepingBeauties.

We want you to read, discuss and enjoy Sleeping Beauties with us, so grab yourself a copy and dive in. And stay tuned for more ghoulish fun, as Frightening Fall is just getting started!

Decorating for Halloween

A few weeks ago I posted a few Pinterest boards dedicated to decorating for our favorite holiday. Today, I thought I’d share some of my own decorations. I am having a blast slowly adding skeletons and fun trinkets to the nooks and crannies of my house.

 

This is the first thing you see when you walk in my front door. During the summer, sea shells and blue candles adorn the small table. I found the small skulls at Target–one of my go to places.

 

I love the look of book spines, so of course I stacked two copies of Dracula and topped them off with a skull. And ohhhhh! The goodies you can find in strange places. This cute little tin is from Cracker Barrel!

 

 

This guy is my favorite! He is supposed to hang on the outside door, but I can’t help posing him around the house, so inside he will stay. Again, I found the skeleton at Target. Poor puppy doesn’t know what to make of him though..

 

I’ve purchased a bunch of raven decorations for my classroom. I teach a unit on Edgar Allan Poe in October, so I have a blast decorating my room too. I’ll post pics of this soon. As always, we’d love to see your decorations, so share in the comments or on Facebook!

xoxo,

A

Ghostly Protection & Superstitions

Superstitions are like candy to me. They are sometimes strange, often odd and really get my story writing gears turning.

I was perusing one of my superstition books the other day looking for story ideas (yes, I peruse) and came upon the entry for ghosts.

It talked about the usual – how ghosts manifest themselves as apparitions; how spirits return to earth for a variety of reasons, including vengeance, warning others of danger and other unfinished business.

But it also talked about an old Scottish tradition of wearing a cross of Rowan wood fastened with red thread concealed in one’s coat.

Photo from https://artesandcraft.com

IT BEGAN WITH WITCHCRAFT

Apparently rowan trees are believed to protect one from the “interference” of witchcraft. They have been planted in graveyards because they prevent the slumber of the dead from being preserved. So why would one need to wear a rowan wood cross to ward off ghosts?

The Druids supposedly believed rowan wood to have protective qualities and they often nailed rowan branches over doorways to stop evil spirits from entering. The branches were often gathered on May 3rd (Holy Rood Day or Rowantree Day) and left there until the following May 3rd when they were replaced.

So powerful was the rowan tree thought to be for these protective powers that it has been said that to touch a witch with a rowan stick would immediately allow the witch to be dragged to hell by the Devil himself.

PROTECTION FROM EVIL

Whether ghosts, witches or other kindred evils, it is believed that so long as the rowan cross lasted, no ghost or witch would have the power to interfere with the wearer.

DO YOU BELIEVE?

So, what do you think about this superstition? Have you heard of it before? Do you think rowan crosses can protect one from ghosts, witches or other purported evils? Share your thoughts below!

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