All That Is Dark and Beautiful

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imageimageimageimageAutumn goes fast!! Sometimes it’s too full to keep track in words and posts, so here’s a quick cram session of all the things wonderful and a bit unbelievable that happened along with crunching leaves, bonfires, trick-or-treat, PTO Vice Presidency (shut up), soccer season, Apple Festival, a NINE YEAR Wedding Anniversary, a new legit job at A.L. Terry Jewelers, Back to the Future Pt 2 celebrations, reading amazing stories at Menacing Hedge…. you get the idea, things are booming!! In the midst of all that, there’s also this:

MORE!! At Booked.

Halloween means the annual Spookedtacular, and this year was a two hour NyQuil and beer fest of The Final Girls, The Abominable Dr. Phibes, urban legends, serial killers, and sincere love and vitriol splattered in all directions between Robb Olson, Livius Nedin, Jesse Lawrence and myself. Is a Christmas special coming, with the four of us? You bet! AND! At the beginning of 2016 while Robb and Liv take a Disney Cruise (or whatever it is they do when they can’t record) Craig Clevenger and I will be holding down the Booked. fort and co-hosting an episode ourselves. It should be hot. But more on that later! Click HERE to be taken to the Spookedtacular 2015,

Pantheon Magazine Winter Edition

A little sad, sweet piece of mine has been accepted at the lovely Pantheon Magazine. “Orphans” will appear in the “Hestia” edition. It’s a beautiful publication and I’m honored I’ll be found in its pages!

UPDATES for ‘Gutted: Beautiful Horror’ Table of Contents

If you don’t know what the anthology is about, click HERE to find out a little more about the depths of darkness and beauty coming from Crystal Lake publishing in 2016. It was incredible enough when I learned Neil Gaiman was on the roster, along with authors John F.D. Taff, Brian Kirk, and (one of my own) Richard Thomas – who needs a shout-out and huge thanks for tossing my name their way – THEN editors extraordinaire Doug Murano and D. Alexander Ward announced on Halloween that along with all of us, Clive Barker will be including a story. It’s a bit surreal at this point, and I can’t wait to hear who’s announced next!  My story, “Cellar’s Dog,” is gangly and bizarre and pretty in its own way, and I’ll be forever grateful the editors could see what I saw when that black dog walked into those headlight beams.

So there you have it. The leaves are barely gone and already the Autumn is so full of goodness, I’m not sure where to go from here! Up? Or maybe I’ll just swim awhile. Float. Hug my lovelies and enjoy the laughter and the warmth. I think this is the top.

Thank you all so much for reading!

Amanda

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HALLOWEEN IS HERE! Family Trick or Treat & Booked. Spookedtacular!

Happy Halloween! It may be rainy and damp, but the weak light and various colds have not dampened spirits this week. Below, see what happens when my son says “Star Wars” and then listen to what happens when Booked. says “What plan? It’s Halloween!” Thanks for a helluva week.

Also, ‘sexy’ Han Solo is just Han Solo – dig my lean….

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Click the Booked. pumpkin to be transported to the SPOOKEDTACULAR!!

Click the Booked. pumpkin to be transported to the SPOOKEDTACULAR!!

 

 

Happy Halloween Week! Radium Girls ebook FREE!! Trick-or-Treat!

I can’t hand out fun size Snickers or Pixie Stix through the interwebs, so for Halloween I’ll hand out the best thing I’ve got to give cyber-wise, which is the Radium Girls ebook! Please, take one, and pass the link along to your friends. Think of it as sharing a Twix but the Twix magically regenerates so you still get the whole thing…

Click the picture of Sid Haig (HOLDING A COPY OF RADIUM GIRLS!!) to be magically transported to your free copy:

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All the Halloweens So Far… (2008-2013)

2008

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2009

2009

2010

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2011

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2012

2012

2013

2013

What We Need Is More Phooootoooos….

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The Woman in Black

Happy November! (Halloween Flashback)

 

 

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!

I Love Zombies and Zombies Love Me (MEDIA!!!)

 An Interview with Bill Grundy’s corpse, via Craig Wallwork:

http://craigwallwork.blogspot.com/2011/10/zombie-interview-2-amanda-gowin.html

Episode #47 – Zombie Extravaganza Spectacular (With Livius waving his arms in the air)

http://www.bookedpodcast.com/2011/10/15/episode-47-zombie-extravaganza-spectacular-with-livius-waving-his-arms-in-the-air/

Happy October! Love, Sandy & Amanda

 

 

 

 

Sunday Mornin’ Comin’ Down (featuring pumpkins, coffee and Gaga)

this is the most freakishly busy and not-falling-apart i may have ever been. i mean, i’ve been lots busier than this in my life – more lists on my palms and crammed in my pockets, more things scribbled in pen and pencil in smaller then even smaller lettering turning little calendar squares into something resembling boxes overfull of springs, less sleep, more night-thinking, etc and on and on – but the difference is i’m ENJOYING this frantic autumn.

my body is always tired and i can’t turn my brain off at night – so i drag myself out of bed on ‘brain break’ nights to scribble lists, revise, send emails, read – and i keep forgetting what day it is and there are bags under my eyes. once again, the weird difference: this is pretty fun.

the fact that all the things i’m doing are completely voluntary (except laundry and matching my son’s constant amazement that the mere switch of a word –  i.e. 2 PLUS 3 is 5, but 2 BESIDE 3 is 23 – can change the meanings of things in spectacular ways) plays a part, i know, but i think something has shifted. i don’t feel frantic – yes, i know i’m manic. but the coil is not so tight and i’m perfectly capable of sitting still.

tomorrow and tuesday are adam’s first soccer games, wednesday and friday are Bug rehearsal – i’ve never coached soccer and haven’t been on a stage in over a decade, but it’s cool. i’ll wear tube socks the first half of the week and cut fake lines of coke the second half and be happy about it. friday morning while adam’s in dance class i’ll try and read but instead send myself reminder emails from my phone and check messages.

there are profound things here, profound clockwork adjustments that have been made – but it’s past noon now and the time i thought i would have to ruminate on it a little has been cut short…

i can dig it. it makes me cranky but i can dig it – in five minutes i’ll be ejecting kiddo’s gaga dvd for the day and rustling up clean clothes for the birthday party in a couple hours and i won’t remember to be cranky because i have lines to go over with eric and a story to revise and sci-fi scenes to finish (at 9pm each night i grease my phalanges and crack my wrists, take a deep breath and hope for the best) these nights after dark, and halloween costume possibilities saved in another tab and ghost lights and fake blood to put on the windows, and jerseys to wash and….

happy autumn. happy survived the apple festival. happy tired brain body – i would not stay this pace this course forever, but the lack of quaking on my insides foretells a longer life than i expected, i think.

 

 

 

In Other News

yeah, i’m going to vote. also, Happy Dia de Los Muertos!! and here are trick-or-treat pictures.

“The Judge’s House” by Bram Stoker

                              HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!!!!

(another of my top 5 – this story scares the holy shit out of me –  Bram Stoker can definately reduce the sleep quotient if he wants to)

When the time for his examination drew near Malcolm Malcolmson made up his mind to go somewhere to read by himself. He feared the attractions of the seaside, and also he feared completely rural isolation, for of old he knew its harms, and so he determined to find some unpretentious little town where there would be nothing to distract him. He refrained from asking suggestions from any of his friends, for he argued that each would recommend some place of which he had knowledge, and where he had already acquaintances. As Malcolmson wished to avoid friends he had no wish to encumber himself with the attention of friends’ friends, and so he determined to look out for a place for himself. He packed a portmanteau with some clothes and all the books he required, and then took ticket for the first name on the local time-table which he did not know.

When at the end of three hours’ journey he alighted at Benchurch, he felt satisfied that he had so far obliterated his tracks as to be sure of having a peaceful opportunity of pursuing his studies. He went straight to the one inn which the sleepy little place contained, and put up for the night. Benchurch was a market town, and once in three weeks was crowded to excess, but for the remainder of the twenty-one days it was as attractive as a desert. Malcolmson looked around the day after his arrival to try to find quarters more isolated than even so quiet an inn as “The Good Traveller” afforded. There was only one place which took his fancy, and it certainly satisfied his wildest ideas regarding quiet; in fact, quiet was not the proper word to apply to it – desolation was the only term conveying any suitable idea of its isolation. It was an old rambling, heavy-built house of the Jacobean style, with heavy gables and windows, unusually small, and set higher than was customary in such houses, and was surrounded with a high brick wall massively built. Indeed, on examination, it looked more like a fortified house than an ordinary dwelling. But all these things pleased Malcolmson. “Here,” he thought, “is the very spot I have been looking for, and if I can get opportunity of using it I shall be happy.” His joy was increased when he realised beyond doubt that it was not at present inhabited.

From the post-office he got the name of the agent, who was rarely surprised at the application to rent a part of the old house. Mr. Carnford, the local lawyer and agent, was a genial old gentleman, and frankly confessed his delight at anyone being willing to live in the house.

“To tell you the truth,” said he, “I should be only too happy, on behalf of the owners, to let anyone have the house rent free for a term of years if only to accustom the people here to see it inhabited. It has been so long empty that some kind of absurd prejudice has grown up about it, and this can be best put down by its occupation – if only,” he added with a sly glance at Malcolmson, “by a scholar like yourself, who wants its quiet for a time.”

Malcolmson thought it needless to ask the agent about the “absurd prejudice”; he knew he would get more information, if he should require it, on that subject from other quarters. He paid his three months’ rent, got a receipt, and the name of an old woman who would probably undertake to “do” for him, and came away with the keys in his pocket. He then went to the landlady of the inn, who was a cheerful and most kindly person, and asked her advice as to such stores and provisions as he would be likely to require. She threw up her hands in amazement when he told her where he was going to settle himself.

rest of story here: http://www.online-literature.com/stoker/820/

Halloweens Past

“They” by Rudyard Kipling

(one of my top 5 favorite short stories)

“They”

One view called me to another; one hill top to its fellow, half across the county, and since I could answer at no more trouble than the snapping forward of a lever, I let the county flow under my wheels. The orchid-studded flats of the East gave way to the thyme, ilex, and grey grass of the Downs; these again to the rich cornland and fig-trees of the lower coast, where you carry the beat of the tide on your left hand for fifteen level miles; and when at last I turned inland through a huddle of rounded hills and woods I had run myself clean out of my known marks. Beyond that precise hamlet which stands godmother to the capital of the United States, I found hidden villages where bees, the only things awake, boomed in eighty-foot lindens that overhung grey Norman churches; miraculous brooks diving under stone bridges built for heavier traffic than would ever vex them again; tithe-barns larger than their churches, and an old smithy that cried out aloud how it had once been a hall of the Knights of the Temple. Gipsies I found on a common where the gorse, bracken, and heath fought it out together up a mile of Roman road; and a little further on I disturbed a red fox rolling dog-fashion in the naked sunlight.

   As the wooded hills closed about me I stood up in the car to take the bearings of that great Down whose ringed head is a landmark for fifty miles across the low countries. I judged that the lie of the country would bring me across some westward running road that went to his feet, but I did not allow for the confusing veils of the woods. A quick turn plunged me first into a green cutting brimful of liquid sunshine, next into a gloomy tunnel where last year’s dead leaves whispered and scuffled about my tyres. The strong hazel stuff meeting overhead had not been cut for a couple of generations at least, nor had any axe helped the moss-cankered oak and beech to spring above them. Here the road changed frankly into a carpeted ride on whose brown velvet spent primrose-clumps showed like jade, and a few sickly, white-stalked blue-bells nodded together. As the slope favoured I shut off the power and slid over the whirled leaves, expecting every moment to meet a keeper; but I only heard a jay, far off, arguing against the silence under the twilight of the trees.

   Still the track descended. I was on the point of reversing and working my way back on the second speed ere I ended in some swamp, when I saw sunshine through the tangle ahead and lifted the brake.

   It was down again at once. As the light beat across my face my fore-wheels took the turf of a great still lawn from which sprang horsemen ten feet high with levelled lances, monstrous peacocks, and sleek round-headed maids of honour — blue, black, and glistening — all of clipped yew. Across the lawn — the marshalled woods besieged it on three sides — stood an ancient house of lichened and weather-worn stone, with mullioned windows and roofs of rose-red tile. It was flanked by semi-circular walls, also rose-red, that closed the lawn on the fourth side, and at their feet a box hedge grew man-high. There were doves on the roof about the slim brick chimneys, and I caught a glimpse of an octagonal dove-house behind the screening wall.

   Here, then, I stayed; a horseman’s green spear laid at my breast; held by the exceeding beauty of that jewel in that setting.

   “If I am not packed off for a trespasser, or if this knight does not ride a wallop at me,” thought I, “Shakespeare and Queen Elizabeth at least must come out of that half-open garden door and ask me to tea.”

   A child appeared at an upper window, and I thought the little thing waved a friendly hand. But it was to call a companion, for presently another bright head showed. Then I heard a laugh among the yew-peacocks, and turning to make sure (till then I had been watching the house only) I saw the silver of a fountain behind a hedge thrown up against the sun. The doves on the roof cooed to the cooing water; but between the two notes I caught the utterly happy chuckle of a child absorbed in some light mischief.

   The garden door — heavy oak sunk deep in the thickness of the wall — opened further: a woman in a big garden hat set her foot slowly on the time-hollowed stone step and as slowly walked across the turf. I was forming some apology when she lifted up her head and I saw that she was blind.

   “I heard you,” she said. “Isn’t that a motor car?”

   “I’m afraid I’ve made a mistake in my road. I should have turned off up above — I never dreamed –” I began.

   “But I’m very glad. Fancy a motor car coming into the garden! It will be such a treat –” She turned and made as though looking about her. “You — you haven’t seen any one, have you — perhaps?”

   “No one to speak to, but the children seemed interested at a distance.”

   “Which?”

   “I saw a couple up at the window just now, and I think I heard a little chap in the grounds.”

   “Oh, lucky you!” she cried, and her face brightened. “I hear them, of course, but that’s all. You’ve seen them and heard them?”

   “Yes,” I answered. “And if I know anything of children one of them’s having a beautiful time by the fountain yonder. Escaped, I should imagine.”

   “You’re fond of children?”

   I gave her one or two reasons why I did not altogether hate them.

   “Of course, of course,” she said. “Then you understand. Then you won’t think it foolish if I ask you to take your car through the gardens, once or twice — quite slowly. I’m sure they’d like to see it. They see so little, poor things. One tries to make their life pleasant, but –” she threw out her hands towards the woods. “We’re so out of the world here.”

   “That will be splendid,” I said. “But I can’t cut up your grass.”

   She faced to the right. “Wait a minute,” she said. “We’re at the South gate, aren’t we? Behind those peacocks there’s a flagged path. We call it the Peacock’s Walk. You can’t see it from here, they tell me, but if you squeeze along by the edge of the wood you can turn at the first peacock and get on to the flags.”

   It was sacrilege to wake that dreaming house-front with the clatter of machinery, but I swung the car to clear the turf, brushed along the edge of the wood and turned in on the broad stone path where the fountain-basin lay like one star-sapphire.

   “May I come too?” she cried. “No, please don’t help me. They’ll like it better if they see me.”

   She felt her way lightly to the front of the car, and with one foot on the step she called: “Children, oh, children! Look and see what’s going to happen!”

   The voice would have drawn lost souls from the Pit, for the yearning that underlay its sweetness, and I was not surprised to hear an answering shout behind the yews. It must have been the child by the fountain, but he fled at our approach, leaving a little toy boat in the water. I saw the glint of his blue blouse among the still horsemen.

   Very disposedly we paraded the length of the walk and at her request backed again. This time the child had got the better of his panic, but stood far off and doubting.

   “The little fellow’s watching us,” I said. “I wonder if he’d like a ride.”

   “They’re very shy still. Very shy. But, oh, lucky you to be able to see them! Let’s listen.”

   I stopped the machine at once, and the humid stillness, heavy with the scent of box, cloaked us deep. Shears I could hear where some gardener was clipping; a mumble of bees and broken voices that might have been the doves.

   “Oh, unkind!” she said weariedly.

   “Perhaps they’re only shy of the motor. The little maid at the window looks tremendously interested.”

   “Yes?” She raised her head. “It was wrong of me to say that. They are really fond of me. It’s the only thing that makes life worth living — when they’re fond of you, isn’t it? I daren’t think what the place would be without them. By the way, is it beautiful?”

   “I think it is the most beautiful place I have ever seen.”

   “So they all tell me. I can feel it, of course, but that isn’t quite the same thing.”

   “Then have you never?” I began, but stopped abashed.

   “Not since I can remember. It happened when I was only a few months old, they tell me. And yet I must remember something, else how could I dream about colours? I see light in my dreams, and colours, but I never see them. I only hear them just as I do when I’m awake.”

   “It’s difficult to see faces in dreams. Some people can, but most of us haven’t the gift,” I went on, looking up at the window where the child stood all but hidden.

   “I’ve heard that too,” she said. “And they tell me that one never sees a dead person’s face in a dream. Is that true?”

   “I believe it is — now I come to think of it.”

   “But how is it with yourself — yourself?” The blind eyes turned towards me.

   “I have never seen the faces of my dead in any dream,” I answered.

   “Then it must be as bad as being blind.”

   The sun had dipped behind the woods and the long shades were possessing the insolent horsemen one by one. I saw the light die from off the top of a glossy-leaved lance and all the brave hard green turn to soft black. The house, accepting another day at end, as it had accepted an hundred thousand gone, seemed to settle deeper into its rest among the shadows.

   “Have you ever wanted to?” she said after the silence.

   “Very much sometimes,” I replied. The child had left the window as the shadows closed upon it.

   “Ah! So’ve I, but I don’t suppose it’s allowed. . . . Where d’you live?”

   “Quite the other side of the county — sixty miles and more, and I must be going back. I’ve come without my big lamp.”

   “But it’s not dark yet. I can feel it.”

   “I’m afraid it will be by the time I get home. Could you lend me some one to set me on my road at first? I’ve utterly lost myself.”

   “I’ll send Madden with you to the cross-roads. We are so out of the world, I don’t wonder you were lost! I’ll guide you round to the front of the house; but you will go slowly, won’t you, till you’re out of the grounds? It isn’t foolish, do you think?”

   “I promise you I’ll go like this,” I said, and let the car start herself down the flagged path.

   We skirted the left wing of the house, whose elaborately cast lead guttering alone was worth a day’s journey; passed under a great rose-grown gate in the red wall, and so round to the high front of the house which in beauty and stateliness as much excelled the back as that all others I had seen.

   “Is it so very beautiful?” she said wistfully when she heard my raptures. “And you like the lead-figures too? There’s the old azalea garden behind. They say that this place must have been made for children. Will you help me out, please? I should like to come with you as far as the cross-roads, but I mustn’t leave them. Is that you, Madden? I want you to show this gentleman the way to the cross-roads. He has lost his way but — he has seen them.”

   A butler appeared noiselessly at the miracle of old oak that must be called the front door, and slipped aside to put on his hat. She stood looking at me with open blue eyes in which no sight lay, and I saw for the first time that she was beautiful.

   “Remember,” she said quietly, “if you are fond of them you will come again,” and disappeared within the house.

full story here:  http://gaslight.mtroyal.ca/they.htm

  

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