Friday, 20 December 2013

Inexpensive late gifts

Christmas is almost upon us and now is your chance to add a little something extra to the stocking, with one of my ghost selection. In the old days, Christmas not Halloween was the time for a good ghost story; two I particularly remember were "The mezzotint" by M. R. James and "Strange event in the life of Schalken the painter" by Sheridan Lefanu.  When I got my Kindle download from Amazon, these were my initial buys.

The M.R. James story is about a man who has been asked to draw an abbey, but as he draws the abbey over a week, he notices somebody moving around inside, although he was told there is nobody inside.

Schalken is a story about a man haunted by the man he killed, to enable him to marry the other man's fiance'.

Schalken is based on the paintings of Godfried Schalken

 Another of my favourite stories is "The Signal-man" by Charles Dickens, this haunting tale of how a man predicts his own death is worthy of many a scary night's read.

 I have been asked many times "Do you believe in ghosts?" Technically, the answer is no, as I think of them as spirits not ghosts, in which case the answer is yes. The next question is "Have I witnessed any?" Yes-when my friend Faye passed away in Dec 2009, it was a long time before I accepted her loss and that only came when I saw her spirit in a dream.
 Another question I get asked is "Do you write good ghost stories, because you believe in spirits?" A definite yes, to the question. I believe a writer needs to understand his subject to write well-hence I rarely write about zombies.

 When I started to write I made a reputation for ghost stories to chill my friends; my ghosts are not always scary, on many occasions they are souls trapped as is the case of the young girl in "The Ghost of St. Mary's,"   like many of the stories I write there is some fact to this sad tale, as I have seen the broken grave.

Another story with a fact based background is "The Rocking Lantern, " most of the story is imaginative thinking, but the storm I mention at the end and its outcome is well documented in the RNLI records for the area around Scarborough

  In my book "Sea Ghosts" there is the story of a Yorkshire pirate, whose ghost haunts the inn he ran for over 40 years. While my story is fiction, there is truth behind it as you'll find at the end of the haunting tale of John Andrew.

 Not all my ghosts are from the sea, in "Ghosts of jazz," it is the haunting sound of the music which draws the listener to an out of the way club. Sadly, the venue is no longer a jazz club, but I have been inside the former club.

For the romantic of heart we have "Ghosts don't dance," a story of a young lady's loss and her reluctance to accept her fate.
The other romantic ghost story is "The Love of the Sea," which is the story of a young girl's love for a seaman stranded far from home, after a fishing disaster

 In a few months we remember those who never returned from The Great War, and also those whose lives were changed forever during the horrors of World War 1. In remembrance of the grandfather I didn't have the chance to know-we moved when I was 8-and to them men and women of all wars, I wrote my story "From Elgar to Vaughan Williams,"

 Finally, how can I mention ghosts without my most popular story, which is now in 3 versions.
 "Old Church Ghosts" is the version with the spookier/adult ending. 
The most popular version can be bought with the family ending from this is the book for children's charities, so I won't see a dime for the sale but you'll help children.
 and the final version not only contains both of the above versions, but a version only seen on line for a week at Halloween 2011. 

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