Saturday, 22 October 2011

13 Days of Halloween - Guest Post with Lee Ann Sontheimer Murphy

I was born scant days before Halloween with a name one short syllable shy of my grandmother’s dead daughter’s name as another kinswoman departed this life. I like to think Aunt Lottie and I high fived on the way in and out or at least said hello. My parents took me home to an old brick Victorian house where generations of doctors lived and practiced. In that house, the paranormal was the normal because odd things happened often. I also inherited a few psychic gifts from my grandmothers, a great-grandmother, and one great-grandfather who happened to be the seventh son of a seventh son. Some of my true strange experiences have appeared in Fate magazine. So it’s no wonder that I’ve always been attracted to things both supernatural and paranormal with curious wonder.

Although it may sound like something out of one of my novels, all of the above is true. With my birthday so close to All Hallows Eve, many of my early birthday cakes were decorated for the holiday with orange and black frosting, black cats, and even witches. Autumn is my favorite season and as an adult I always burn a traditional fire on October 31. Good little Catholic girl that I am as well I go to church the next morning for All Saints too. I know – shades of Anne Rice or something especially with my vampire romance series, the Love Covenant series from Evernight Publishing.

Maybe it’s no wonder that I write about vampires. In the Love Covenant series (Love Tattoo, Love Scars, Love Shadows and coming soon, book four of six, Love Shadows) readers love my Irish born two hundred year old vampire and his Texas gal. Even in much of my other fiction a few paranormal elements often creep into the pages. This year, I have a story in the Jack-o-spec collection from Raven Electrick Press and a stand alone short, Forty Eight Hours A Year coming October 29 from Silver Publishing. Much of my published short fiction deals with the odd and the supernatural elements.

Since this is the month for Halloween, I’ll share a spooky and strange personal experience, one of many. I lived deep in the rural Ozarks when I first got married and in the hollow down below our home an old derelict farmhouse remained. My imagination always gets fired up by old home places so I talked my husband into trekking through the woods, literally over hills and through the brambles to see it. I brought along my camera, shot a lot of pictures and we went in but not far because it looked dangerous. The staircase that led to the upper floor was rotted away. I shot the pictures with my Canon camera using 35 mm film. When I got the pictures back I looked at them and then looked again. I saw people in the upstairs windows.  In the side window, a woman of about thirty leans to peer out through the glass. In one of the front windows, I could see an old woman with a big apron tied about her waist pointing one finger in the direction I stood taking the pictures. There was another picture of an old man, very distinct.
I showed them to my husband and he saw them too. I still have the pictures and everyone I’ve ever shown them to shivers. The people look very real but no one human could have been upstairs because there was no way left to reach it. Since then, I’ve shot a few other pictures of old houses that have images in the windows too but none are as clear as these.

That’s my strange but true story to share this Halloween season. Feel free to check out my short stories that may offer up a chill or two. If you’re into vampires, try my Love Covenant series. Readers can find my books, all eBooks, some also in paperback, and the anthologies on I have an author page there, Lee Ann Sontheimer Murphy.  

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