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28 Oct 2013

The Scariest Thing Tag

I've seen this around a few beauty channels but it's a tag that I think would fit into any type of youtube channel or blog, especially with Halloween just around the corner.  So without further ado...


(Try and imagine lightning striking and creepy music in the background since I don't actually vlog and can't make this effective.)

1. Your scariest real-life experience

I've actually had a couple that really terrified me.  One was when I was in primary school.  Between 8 or 11 and my class went swimming.  Some bloody idiot decided it would be hilarious to push me off a mat and then put said mat over my head, keeping me underwater.  I remember absolutely panicking as I tried to find the edge of the mat and pull myself back up.  I desperately had to breathe and I was freaking out more and more as I couldn't find the edge.  Finally I did but I really wasn't the biggest fan of swimming afterwards.

The second scariest experience I had was in Bradford.  I was with a former friend, her boyfriend and his friend and we were getting heckled by these lads.  The girl's boyfriend decided to be an idiot and shout back at them with insults which prompted them to start chasing us all the way through Bradford.  Luckily we managed to hide in a pub and they ran past.  I don't know what the hell they would have done if they had caught us but I wasn't very impressed with my ex-friend's boyfriend.  I thought it was stupid and really made the situation worse.

2. Your scariest paranormal experience

I'd say that ghost hunt at Thackray Medical Museum was quite spooky at times. I was quite shocked when we were all in a circle and something was tapping loudly on the glass.  There was enough light for us to be able to see if someone was moving to do that but we were all still and nowhere near the glass.  There were no places to hide, it was a very open room, and something was definitely tapping against glass.  Now that was a bit weird.  I wasn't too keen on the breathing on my neck either.

3. Have you ever known anyone convicted of a violent crime.


4. Are you afraid of the dark? Why or why not?

If I'm alone in the house I couldn't have all the lights on.  I have to keep the hallway light on when I go to bed.  I don't like being in pitch dark by myself.  If there are others in the house I'm absolutely fine.  I've always been a bit wary of the dark and my imagination always gets carried away quite frequently. 

5. Does your home town have any scary legends?

Leeds does have it's share of ghosties and legends.  Here's a post I did on one of Leeds' haunted locations: The Leeds City Varieties

6. What's your favourite urban legend?

A lot of people have said Bloody Mary and I'm going to have to go with that.  The origin of the legend varies which as a horror writer is really good for coming up with WiP ideas but I've always been terrified at the thought of Bloody Mary so it's quite an effective story.  I use to have nightmares of her when I was younger after hearing about the legend for the first time.  I've never tried and never will.  I am so superstitious about it. 

I tag all of you for this post so if you fancy doing it, leave a link.  I'd love to see what everyone else comes up with! :)

23 Oct 2013

What's Up Wednesday

What's Up Wednesday is a weekly feature created by Jaime Morrow and Erin L. Funk. Perfect for readers and writers who want to share what they've been up to on a weekly basis and right now the place to share your goals and track your progress for Ready. Set. Write!

1) What I'm Reading

I haven't picked up Sleepy Hollow for a few days so I still have that to finish.  I'm getting that finished ASAP now that Allegiant has appeared on my kindle. =D

2) What I'm Writing

I'm having a look through where I left off last time with Beast Inside.  With a week off coming up I'm going to keep going on those edits and use Nano as an editing deadline. I also wanted to start editing the first draft on Inside the Broom Closet as well.  I'm in a big editing mood right now.

3) What Else I've Been Up To

We've been Halloween crazy this past week at work so we've all been getting in the spooky mood at school.  We're celebrating tomorrow with costumes and a school disco so I've been hunting for costume ideas.

4) What Inspires Me Right Now

To get back in the mood I've been listening the playlists for Beast Inside and Inside the Broom Closet.  I'm also craving some old school Are You Afraid of the Dark? and Goosebumps.  I think it's because I'm quite into short stories at the moment after writing that competition entry.  I might use one of the Camp NaNo months next year to get a few short stories written.

22 Oct 2013

Spook Review: Carrie by Stephen King

Each month the YA Buccaneers select a group of books to recommend for you.  It's up to you how many of them you read in that month but all they ask for is a review of whichever book or books you read. 

The story of misfit high-school girl, Carrie White, who gradually discovers that she has telekinetic powers. Repressed by a domineering, ultra-religious mother and tormented by her peers at school, her efforts to fit in lead to a dramatic confrontation during the senior prom.

Carrie was my first step into Stephen King when I was in high school.  I already knew about the King of Horror but I'd never actually sat down and read one of his novels.  That all changed and I came out of the bookstore with Carrie in my arms.  

As my first King novel I really enjoyed it.  It was set out quite interesting with King breaking away from the main events to show us fictional documents about this mysterious telekinetic power and the infamous prom night.  I thought that was quite effective.  It made the Black Prom feel like it could have happened and also gives the reader the unnerving knowledge that Carrie won't be the last.  I think the real horror lies in the bullying.  Working in a primary school I've seen bullying and I could point out the children who are on their way to becoming bullies.  It's all around in every school and sometimes the victims will react to it when they've reached breaking point.  Carrie White is the representation for all abused and bullied children.  

I was more sad than terrified when reading.  I wouldn't say this was a book to chill you to the bones.  You follow this shy, young girl who is sheltered and physically abused by a bible-bashing mother and then has to go to school to suffer it all over again.  Until prom night she never says anything back, lashes out, or even turns to an adult for help.  She suffers in silence until finally she can't take it anymore and she snaps, unable to control her power and unable to stop and think about what she's causing.  Rather than feeling angry or terrified you're in full sympathy for King's tragic MC.  I think King did well to get into the head of a teenage girl and portray the cruel side of high school. My heart absolutely went out to Carrie.

I think this would be a good start for people who are interested in reading a Stephen King novel but not particularly into horror.  It isn't blood, gore, and creepy horror at all so I think this could appeal to a wide audience.

16 Oct 2013

What's Up Wednesday

What's Up Wednesday is a weekly feature created by Jaime Morrow and Erin L. Funk. Perfect for readers and writers who want to share what they've been up to on a weekly basis and right now the place to share your goals and track your progress for Ready. Set. Write!

1) What I'm Reading

I finished Asylum by Madeleine Roux which I gave 5 starts.  I have a book review to come later in the week so all I'll say now is this book was a fantastic read.  Murder mystery and supernatural all in one complete with haunting photographs from real asylums to add to the atmosphere.  I liked the characters, the pace, the spookiness.  It was brilliant.  Now I'm on to a book I've been wanting to read for ages: The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irvin.  Irvin can get a bit snarky at times.  I like it.

I also got round to reading Who-ology, one of my amazing birthday presents last month.  I sat down and devoured it in a whole day.  I loved reading all the facts and trivia from classic Who to new Who.  Definitely a must buy for Doctor Who fans.  I think the only downside to it is it was published before Matt Smith announced he was leaving.  So it doesn't mention anything about Peter Capaldi or the 12th (if this is actually the 12th) Doctor. 

2) What I'm Writing

I took part in another flash fiction challenge by the YA Buccaneers which you can read here if you're interested.  After trying out last month's I definitely wanted another go at writing a 200 word story.  I absolutely loved it.  While I'm sometimes not the wordiest writer out there I still think I can get to the point a bit better and these flash fiction challenges really do help.

3) What Else I've Been Up To

Not much to be honest.  I've been catching up on all my TV programmes mainly.  The new seasons have all started so weekend mornings are spent snuggled up in a onesie and the newest episode showing. 

4) What Inspires Me Right Now

I have to give a huge shout out to Jaime Morrow who kindly took the time to read the first ten pages of Beast Inside.  This is the first time anyone other than me has read it so I was an absolute nervous wreck.  I was worried I'd get it back and find it was awful.  But Jaime was lovely.  She pointed out things that could be changed that I hadn't noticed before and gave feedback on what worked for her.  So helpful and it made me feel much better about my writing and this story.  It also made me think if it really is time to get over my fears and let an outside party read it.  So after this round of editing I'll get myself prepared for finding betas.  Thank you so much, Jaime! It was very inspiring. :)

15 Oct 2013

Walk the Plank! Halloween Special

I absolutely enjoyed last month's Walk the Plank challenge and when I saw the YA Buccaneers had made this month's flash fiction Halloween-themed I couldn't resist.  Seriously, I'm such an excited kid right now.  Halloween is right around the corner, next month is Bonfire Night, and the month after that it's Christmas.  Celebration heaven!

Walk the Plank is a flash fiction challenge organised by the YA Buccaneers.  Each month a theme is set and your goal is to write flash fiction on that theme.

This month's theme is Ghost Stories.  The rules are:
  • The story must be based on the theme.
  • The story has to be 200 words or less.  This is excluding the title.
For an extra challenge:
  • For an extra challenge begin your story with the words: "It was a cold, Halloween night." 
  • And end your story with the words: "I screamed" 
  • Use exactly 200 words.
The Worst Halloween
It was a cold, Halloween night.  Almost midnight and this was by far the worst Halloween I had ever experienced.  

First, I had taken my little sister around three whole blocks for trick or treating, practically dragging her back home kicking and screaming when it got to eight o’clock.  Then my friend had stood me up.  She was supposed to be driving us to a house party outside of town but here I was, stood on the side of the road, shivering.

Now I stumbled down the dimly lit street.  The world was fuzzy and there were bright flashing lights all around.  I was off home when I got a sharp pain in my side and passed out. When I woke my purse was gone. 

I wandered over to the crowd where the flashing lights were.  I called out to them.  Great.  Totally ignored.  I was in agony here and nobody seemed to give a shit.  


I realised the flashing lights was from an ambulance.  

I noticed the still body.  A young girl with the same costume as mine.  Same hair as well.  Same blue eyes…


I looked down at my side.  I saw the blood.

I screamed.

14 Oct 2013

Spooks-ational Settings: The Leeds City Varieties

The Leeds City Varieties
Photo Credit
A very old music hall in the heart of Leeds city centre, built way back in 1865. It's had it's fair share of names, starting as the Thornton's New Music Hall and Fashionable Lounge.  It's also been known as the White Swan City Varieties, Stansfield's Varieties, and the City Palace of Varieties, all before becoming the Leeds City Varieties Leeds locals know and love today.  It's recently had a huge refurbishment, closing back in 2009 and re-opening in 2011.  But that hasn't stopped the ghosties that are said to lurk in this famously spooky theatre.

The most disturbing sighting is that of a hanged man at the balcony, the reason behind his death and identity unknown.  The creepiest experience is the sound of a piano playing late at night.  Perhaps this is linked to the sightings of a man in a bowler hat and old fashioned clothes who is caught standing near a piano on the stage.  Who knows?

Like some theatre actors have a superstition about mentioning the play Macbeth if they are in the production, Leeds City Varieties has its own superstition linked to the ghost of a red headed lady.  Legend says if this apparition is spotted standing near the stage the play that is currently being performed at the time will be a success.  If she's seen outside of the performance area the production will be poorly received.

Tell me about a known haunted location near you!

9 Oct 2013

What's Up Wednesday

What's Up Wednesday is a weekly feature created by Jaime Morrow and Erin L. Funk. Perfect for readers and writers who want to share what they've been up to on a weekly basis and right now the place to share your goals and track your progress for Ready. Set. Write!

1) What I'm Reading

I finished Storm Front by Jim Butcher.  Overall I really enjoyed it.  I've never known a character to
take so much crap and bad luck but Harry Dresden finally got there in the end.  So I was quite attached to the character.  I gave the book four stars and I'm also planning on pinching Pete's Dresden Files collection to read more in the future.

Now I'm reading Asylum by Madeleine Roux.  I snatched this up as soon as I read it was in the same style (presentation wise) as Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children.  Filled with photographs from real asylums the book so far is keeping the tension and mystery gradually paced which, for me, is making me stay up late just to read a tiny bit more before I have to finally give in to tiredness.  I have a good feeling with this book.  I like the characters, I'm liking the way the plot is paced and the mystery of it all.  The way I feel nervous about what's about to happen next instead of being full on gore and horror.

2) What I'm Writing

I actually tried working a bit on Consequences this weekend but I really have come to a grinding halt with it.  The plot has moved way too fast and I don't think the horror is effective enough.  So I'll leave it for now and concentrate on the projects I know where I am with.  That break worked when I started Beast Inside all those years ago, left it due to similar problems and came back into it with a better idea of things.

3) What Else I've Been Up To

I finally made time for some baking.  Since the Great British Bake Off started I've been getting idea on top of idea on top of idea with new things to try out.  I had a go at making flapjacks for the first time with a coconut and cherry flavour to them.  I'm wondering what to try out next...

Also started a new Zumba class at a local dance studio.  I've been actually thinking of getting back into dancing.  There's a Charleston workshop going on next week that you can drop in for and I hope to get myself booked in for the next ballroom/latin course next term.  I think I prefer dancing as exercise over the gym.  I'm really not a gym person.

4) What Inspires Me Right Now

A rather random thing inspired me the other day that got my brain all plotting and planning.  And since it's October I'll give you three guesses what the genre was as well.  ;)