Kbatz Kraft: DIY Halloween Candle Clusters

Why spend heaps on battery operated candle sets when you can save your paper towel and toilet paper rolls to make your own DIY Halloween candle clusters? Recycle, craft, and help the planet!

Of course, the reason it took me so long to do this project was because I thought there was a technical aspect to the candles – running wires from each light to a bottom base or arduino breadboard with a smartphone remote or toggle switch. To the at home computer hobbyist such advanced lighting schemes are no problem, but regular ole me had no idea how you could glue drips around a tea light yet be able to use its on off switch. Fortunately, our own illustrious horror hostess Emerian Rich made the simplest observation that there must be a shelf inside the roll to hold the candle. Huzzah!

Armed with such wisdom, I traced circles onto a piece of cardboard, cutting them out and trimming each to fit a roll before taping and gluing them inside at the tea light depth. Next I bunched my two clusters together with ten tiered rolls cum candles each, varying the designs so they are symmetrically asymmetrical rather than matched or mirror images. By stacking or cutting rolls, I could make the tiers taller or smaller, taping and gluing the rolls as needed. Rather than spray painting everything Halloween black, I chose red paint for year round décor. I debated painting all my rolls and going around their rims with the glue drops a la wax motif before gathering them together. However, I suspect that would mean I was painting in unnecessary hidden spots or stuck with glue in places that didn’t fit.

On to my trusty glue gun, I added globs of glue drips around my rolls – long drips, short lumps, globby pieces in all the nooks and crannies. Obviously, this is part of the candle look, but once hardened, the glue also added stability to the bunch and the rolls became quite sturdy. This is a time consuming detail that took a day to dry before touch ups, and in addition to clear, I used red and silver glitter glue sticks, hoping they might add a sparkly touch. For more realistic attention to detail, I also did a glue ripple around the bottom of the bunch. After Round One, I could see spots that needed more waxy drip effects, so I did another layer of glue globs to conceal any problem spots. At first, these looked really bad, obviously cheap, and barely held together. It’s not as simple as it looks – oh Etsy, glue drips and toilet paper rolls make tea lights look like big candles, yeah Pinterest!

Indeed, with different textures, thin cardboard, glue, and tape, these clusters needed several coats of paint. The more I painted and glued, fortunately, the more they really started to look like candles. The tea lights themselves also needed several paint coats. Rather than buying red that had a red light, I chose the white tea lights for their realistic glow. Originally, I wanted to do these bunches in an aged off white or creamy color. After seeing how many coats it took of red, however, I’m super glad I didn’t choose a light paint where all the tea lights could illumine every T.P. imperfection. For my final coat, I added a drop of darker paint called ‘Berry’ – last used in my Spooky Spellbook DIY – to the red base. I painted both clusters in this slightly darker hue, not worrying about every little crevice, resulting in an antique, realistic look. Now instead of obvious recycled materials, that a la wax dimension is what you see first.

For something more substantial than a plastic tray or no base at all, I picked up two silver plated trays at Goodwill for $2 each. Both clusters actually fit on one larger tray – a classy centerpiece that fits in right through all the holidays. Overall, this project took about four days with the drying time between coats as the biggest hurdle. One should also make sure the tea lights still fit as you add your gobblely glue trim. Some became snug and need to be wedge in gently. After the ins and out to turn them off and on, a few have chipped, so expect touch ups if you are going to repeatedly poke and prod at the candle lights. The 8 ounce red acrylic paint was $4 and a pack of 24 tea lights was $8, both from Amazon. So for around $16, I have two stylish, unique candle clusters compared to at least $20 for one from Spirit or gasp $80 at Pier 1 – neither of which appear to be available online this season. Of course, with store bought battery candles, once one burns out or there is a remote timer problem, they often don’t work anymore. When one of these goes bad, I can just change the tea light!

Though not necessary a family friendly project, one can customize these faux candle clusters – creepy face designs, blood drips on white candles, go huge by using tubes or piping instead of towel rolls, or dozens of individual rolls can become an entire room of Harry Potter floating ceiling candles. We all certainly use enough T.P.!

Revisit more Kbatz Krafts including:

How to Make Stuffed Pumpkins

Spooky Spellbooks

Tea Stained Labels and Spooky Bottles

Creepy Cloches

It’s a Pumpkin Cat House

Pumpkin Ottomans, Oh Yes

HorrorAddicts.net Flashback – Holiday Horror

Our very first episode with holiday horror was Michele Roger’s Santa Claws, way back on episode #13. That episode has been locked in the vault ever since we switched to Libsyn… BUT! We have uncovered the show!

#13 Michele Roger, Santa Claws

There are several other holiday-related shows I am going to post here in case you need some HorrorAddicts.net Holiday fun.

#52 Jack Mangan, Holiday Horror Theme

“Jack Mangan’s Santa Thing is a great read/listen for horror Xmas tales.” ~ Dan Shaurette

#53 Cal Miller, Holiday Horror Theme

“Cal Miller’s Scary Santa is just the thing to make you rethink the big red guy.” ~ Emerian Rich

WWW Challenge Special – Holiday Horror Challenge

 “It never ceases to amaze me how great a job these women do with holiday horror!” ~Rhonda R. Carpenter

From the Vault REPLAY! Morbid Meals – Holiday Spirits

Originally posted on HorrorAddicts.net December 2014

When it comes to the holiday spirits, I’m not talking about the Ghost of Christmas Past, or that chain-rattling spectre of Jacob Marley. No, I speak of something even more frightening: Holiday Hooch!

As the song goes, “Baby, it’s cold outside.” One sure way to stay warm is with a little nightcap. It’s no surprise that many drinks this time of year are heated up. Hot buttered rum, egg nog, mulled wine, just to name a few. Hot apple cider and hot cocoa shouldn’t be missed either.

So in keeping with the intoxicating tradition, I am sharing three of my favorite drinks that will make the season, and your nose, bright. Just stay safe, my fellow Horror Addicts. We want to see you have a prosperous new year.

Krampusnog

EXAMINATION

This drink is one of my own devising. Instead of mundane eggnog, I leave this as a treat for Krampus. When he visits my very naughty children, this tends to please him and he has yet to torture my kiddos. Clearly they have been very naughty if Santa is not only forgoing the coal, but sending Krampus to punish them. I like to think this drink encourages his mercy. They are just children after all, and I believe that children are our future. Oh, sorry. Almost broke into song there. My apologies.

ANALYSIS

Makes

About one quart
Roughly 5 to 6 drinks

Ingredients

1/4 cup (2 oz) Sanguinaccio Dolce sauce (or melted dark chocolate)
2 cups (1 pint) half & half
1/3 cup sugar
3 large eggs
3 oz brandy or bourbon
3 oz black spiced rum or coffee liqueur

Garnish

dashes of nutmeg, cinnamon, and cocoa powder

Apparatus

  • double boiler, or a large pot with a large bowl that sits snug on top
  • medium saucepan
  • whisk
  • blender

Procedure

  1. First, either prepare a small batch of Sanguinaccio Dolce sauce, or melt some dark chocolate in a double boiler, and set aside.
  2. In a medium saucepan, heat up the half & half and sugar, over high heat. Stir until the sugar has completely dissolved. Remove from heat and allow to cool for about 5 minutes.
  3. In a blender, add the eggs and sanguinaccio dolce (or melted chocolate). Blend on low speed for about one minute.
  4. With blender still running, slowly add the warmed half & half and blend for about 30 more seconds.
  5. Add the alcohol and blend until the everything is frothy, about 2 minutes.
  6. Some people like warm nog. If so, serve immediately. If you and your guests prefer chilled nog, put your blender carafe into the fridge and chill for at least an hour. When ready to serve, put the blender carafe back on the motor and blend for about 30 seconds to combine everything together again and restore the froth.
  7. Pour into glasses and serve with dashes of nutmeg, cinnamon, and cocoa powder.

DISSECTION

This recipe makes just about one quart, a perfect amount for the average blender. If you want to make a party punch bowl version of this, then multiply by however many quarts your punch bowl can safely hold. Just remember that this is an egg-based drink. It is not a good idea to let this just sit around at room temperature.

I used to make this with Kahlúa, as the coffee and chocolate flavors go together so perfectly. Then I discovered Tia Maria, and ditched Kahlúa like a bad habit. I personally find it to be smoother and less sweet.

However, my beloved wife hates coffee. In an attempt to alter this exalted recipe, I have found that black spiced rum adds a deeper spice to the drink as well as a darker hue to the beverage that is in keeping with a drink fit for Krampus. Of course, for a twist on the horror angle, you could try REDRUM. If you try that, let me know how it tastes.

Finally, let’s address the demon in the room. Yes, sanguinaccio dolce is my traditional chocolate sauce for this drink, and yes, it contains pig’s blood. Of course you can melt chocolate or even use chocolate syrup, in a pinch. I do understand if drinking a small amount of pig’s blood turns you off… in a drink made with chicken eggs. And booze. I have had more compliments on this drink when made with sanguinaccio vs. mundane chocolate. In the end, I leave it up to you.

POST-MORTEM

This is delicious any time of year, but I inevitably get asked to make it during Yule and Christmas Eve parties. I hope it becomes a tradition at your home as well. For us it has been Dad tested, Krampus approved.


Bela Mimosa

EXAMINATION

This twist on the traditional mimosa is named after Bela Lugosi and features the juice of blood oranges. It has become a favorite for a toast on New Year’s Eve, as well as for brunch on New Year’s Day.

ANALYSIS

Ingredients

2 oz champagne
3 oz blood orange juice
dash of grenadine (optional)

Garnish

1 slice blood orange

Procedure

  1. In a champagne flute, pour blood orange juice and champagne. Add grenadine to provide extra color.
  2. Garnish with a slice of blood orange.

DISSECTION

It can be hard to find blood oranges year round, but they are in season during the winter. That makes a New Year’s toast with this drink the perfect time to enjoy it.

POST-MORTEM

“I never drink… wine,” said the Count. I’m sure he would have added, “vithout bubbles.” No? How about this… “Bela Mimosa’s dead. Undead, straight to my head.” Admit it. You’re singing that right now. My work here is done.


Twelfth Night Lambswool (Hot Wassail)

EXAMINATION

In the Christian tradition, the Feast of the Epiphany is held on January 6, celebrating the birth of Jesus and the visit by the three wise men. The night before Epiphany is known as Twelfth Night, as it is the twelfth night of Christmastide, following Christmas.

For those that might follow an older path and celebrate Yule instead, Twelfth Night follows as well as the end of the Yuletide celebrations. However as Yule begins on December 20th, this means Yuletide Twelfth Night is December 31st, the end of the year.

In both traditions, there is a toast to good health and good harvest, called a wassail (from the Old English wæs hæl, which means “be you healthy”) which was raised with a drink of the same name.

Hot wassail is a cousin of mulled wines and ciders, but is instead usually made with mead or ale. Lambswool is but one ancient version of the drink which keeps the apple pulp in the drink.

ANALYSIS

Ingredients

750ml (or two 12 oz bottles) honey mead
12 oz hard apple cider
12 oz ginger beer (or ginger ale)
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 cinnamon stick
1 tsp ground nutmeg
3 cloves
2 cups no-sugar-added applesauce

Apparatus

  • large saucepan
  • blender

Procedure

  1. In a large saucepan, combine the mead, cider, and ginger beer. Add the sugar, cinnamon stick, nutmeg, and cloves. Cook over medium-high heat to dissolve the sugar and meld the flavors together.
  2. Remove the cinnamon stick and cloves, then add the applesauce. Cook over medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Pour mixture into blender and puree together until the apples form a frothy head.
  4. Serve warm immediately.

DISSECTION

Yes, the traditional recipe requires coring and baking six apples (at 250°F for about an hour) then pureeing them. Normally I’m all about the traditional methods and freshest ingredients. However, we’re talking about making applesauce, which you can so easily purchase. For once, I say use the store-bought jar of applesauce. Just get the kind with no sugar added and no funny extra ingredients.

POST-MORTEM

I love a good mulled wine, but I think a hot lambswool wassail may be the best thing to kill the chill of Twelfth Night.

FRIGHTENING FLIX BY KBATZ: Bell, Book, and Candle

Bell Book and Candle is still Great, Witchy Fun

By Kristin Battestella

 

We may think all the young adult fantasy books, Potter-esque films, and shows like Charmed have cornered the magic market onscreen, but classics like 1958’s Bell Book and Candle have kept the kooky comedy and witchy situations innocent and fun all along.

Over Christmas, good natured New York witch Gillian Holroyd (Kim Novak) grows a little tired of her witchy ways and Aunt Queenie’s (Elsa Lanchester) magical games. When Gil falls in love with publisher and upstairs neighbor Shep Henderson (James Stewart), she uses her cat Pyewacket to cast a spell. Shep must fall in love with Gil and thus not marry her former rival and college classmate Merle Kittridge (Janice Rule, 3 Women). While all the love blossoms, Gil’s warlock brother Nicky (Jack Lemmon) assists writer Sidney Redlitch (Ernie Kovacs) in his new book ‘Magic in Manhattan’. Will Shep’s publication of the book expose the Holroyds’ witchy ways and ruin Gil’s romance with Shep?

Based upon the play by John Van Druten (Gaslight, Cabaret), director Richard Quine (Sunny Side of the Street) and screenwriter Daniel Taradash (From Here to Eternity) craft a charming look at the power and hijinks of magic and love. We often allude to love being like a bewitching spell in lyrics and poetry. Even though a spell is cast in Bell Book and Candle, we’re never quite sure where the magic ends and the true love begins. The fanciful and fun take on possible love from socially at odds groups-humans and witches-is lighthearted and still enjoyable today. We can make all the modern and hefty allusions we want about mixed romances or stereotypes about practitioners of witchcraft, but it’s nice to just take in a sweet movie with none of those pretenses. There are a few lighting effects, camera tricks, and the proverbial smoke and mirrors, but more than anything Bell Book and Candle allows its players the time and space to show the magical fun.

Yes, Jimmy Stewart (Harvey, It’s A Wonderful Life, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Rear Window, Anatomy of a Murder, need I go on?) is a little too old to be a leading man here against Kim Novak, but he’s still delightful as the straight man publisher caught in the magical mix of spells and romance. We believe a charming witch could get Shep all flustered, confused, and tongue-tied due to Stewart’s loveable slip-ups. His mix of enchantment and clueless nonsense when confronted with the world of witchcraft must have been great fun then-as it still is now to the modern viewer. Stewart’s old, and perhaps his performance is a bit Capra-esque old fashioned, but it’s a fun turn nonetheless. As wonderfully fooled as Shep is, Jack Lemmon’s Nicky is wickedly slick. His magic is all in good fun, too, but he can’t resist the spotlight. Nicky’s ill-attempted exposé writing collaborations mix the crazy ambition with the sardonic blend of wit and drama contemporary audiences expect from the late star of Grumpy Old Men and The Odd Couple. In a way, there is a touch of passing the torch between the graying Stewart and energetic Lemmon. Both men handled the romance, seriousness, and comedy of their roles before and after Bell Book and Candle with a style and class not often found in today’s young acting crowd.

Though not as famous as her male counterparts, its fun to see Kim Novak paired with Jimmy Stewart again after Alfred Hitchcock’s suspense filled Vertigo the same year. Novak’s good witch longing for love does take some getting used to after her deceptive dame in Vertigo, but her husky voice and dynamite eyes adhere to the femme and witchy vibe we expect. Her costumes are hip, with mostly spooky black or eye-catching reds- but what’s with the high, almost white hair? There’s not many close ups of Novak for some reason, but the ones we’re given are breathtaking. Fun effects and cat motifs add to Gil’s already enchanting ways, too. We believe her when she says she has the power to get things done, yet we feel for her wishes for normalcy. Likewise, Elsa Lanchester’s (The Private Life of Henry VIII, Bride of Frankenstein, Witness for the Prosecution) Aunt Queenie is great fun as the elder, kooky and mischievous sprite helping with some good natured interference and match making. Comedy maven Ernie Kovacs (Our Man in Havana, North to Alaska) is also a delight as author Sidney Redlitch – an ‘expert’ of modern witches among us who fails to see the warlocks right under his nose.

Part of Bell Book and Candle’s charm is its fun fifties color and style: the cigarettes, quirky music, Oscar nominated high-end fashion and nonchalant, cute effects. The high life of mid century New York is a delightful time capsule, and the pillow talk approach to witchcraft is in a way modern but no less sweet. However, part of this charm also irrevocably dates the portrayal. It’s 1958- the innocence of the post war years would soon be lost. Some of the whirlwind two-week romance is a little too innocent with no innuendo before the quick marriage talk, and even the colorful styles and titled fedoras would be on the fashion outs in a few years’ time. It’s as if the onscreen attitudes and styles are a final fifties hurrah before the turmoil and realizations of the sixties.

Now I’m sorry to say that I don’t know anything about current Wiccan and religious practices; but naturally modern pagans and witches looking for some seriousness and accuracy won’t find it in Bell Book and Candle. While not deliberately offensive, the clean cut fifties stylings goes for the traditional broomstick stereotypes. It’s great if you like films with some witchy fun, but there’s no realistic portrayal here. Classic film fans, however, can also enjoy the similar I Married A Witch (1942) starring Veronica Lake- both films are often attributed as the inspiration for the beloved television series Bewitched. Modern romantic fans tired of the same inane plots over and over will be charmed, too. Youthful audiences who still enjoy enchanting tales like Bewitched or Hocus Pocus can take in Bell Book and Candle at Halloween, Christmas, or any time of year.

Pat-a-pan, a Spooky Holiday Carol?

Pat-a-pan, a Spooky Holiday Carol?
by Emerian Rich

My favorite holiday song is a French Christmas Carol called “Pat-a-pan” written by Bernard de La Monnoye and first published in 1720. Written way before “The Little Drummer Boy” (circa 1941) it has the same sort of concept. A young boy playing a drum in celebration of the birth of Christ.

“Willie, bring your little drum, Robin bring your fife and come!
And be merry while you play, ture-lure-lu, pata-pata-pan,
Come be merry while you play for the joy of Christmas day.”

Often played as an instrumental due to the awesome drum and flute parts that can be highlighted without vocals, “Pat-a-pan” is most well known by the Mannheim Steamroller version here:

I fell in love with this song in high school choir where we learned the French lyrics which meant nothing to me. Its haunting melody and renaissancy sound always made me feel as if there were some underlying tale, like it spoke of a story without using words. Very few songs can evoke feelings in just the music – without lyrics.

You might be wondering what this has to do with horror. It’s hard to imagine such a benign song conjuring evil images, but one year when playing it around my husband I found out. The ultimate scrooge when it comes to Christmas music, my husband quirked a brow and said, “I kind of like this one. It’s spooky.”

I had to know more!

You see, his vision of “Pat-a-pan” plays out a bit differently than the “Willie, bring your drum” message that La Monnoye thought up. Instead of little Willie and Robin rallying the town into Christmas spirit by playing their drum and fife, his version features another little boy.spooky

Patapan is a little ghost or demon boy who runs around up in the attic. I’m not sure of the extent of evil he perpetrates (hubby wasn’t clear on the deets) but he was sure nothing good could come from it. The thought of the evil minion “pat-a-panning” around up in the attic makes my husband happy (as it would any self-respecting horror addict).

So, I play this shared favorite faithfully every year and grin at my husband’s dark imaginings. I’ll never share the actual lyrics with him and burst his happy twisted bubble—ever.

Now, listen to the instrumental version again and conjure the image of a pasty-skinned, shadow-eyed boy in an old school uniform, haunting your attic.

For those of you curious about the English lyrics, my favorite vocal version is by Mindy Gledhill below.

Have a spooky connection to a holiday carol? Tell us! We can’t wait to share it.

Free Fiction Tuesday?: The Parish by Crystal Connor

The Parish

by Crystal Connor

The fifth angel poured out his bowl on the throne of the beast, and his kingdom was plunged into darkness.

It was the middle of winter, the power was out, and it wasn’t coming back on. Father McAllister was troubled. He dipped his finger in the baptismal font and crossed himself. As he walked through the nave, he began to pray.

“My Lord God, through whom strength is made perfect in weakness, I pray to you, give me the strength I need.”

Though there was a town sheriff, the people of Mount Springwalk had always looked to Father McAllister for the law.

It wasn’t an angel that flung the earth into darkness. It was the sun. The geomagnetic storm was the largest ever. Most of the electronics on the planet had been wiped out.

Only the oldest of cars would start, but that was the least of the problems, as all the gas pumps were controlled electronically. No one could make any phone calls, and the Internet was fried.

The records stored at banks, which depend on both power and telecommunication to synch ATMs were forever inaccessible, the money within never again to be recovered. Commerce came to a screeching halt.

Though Christ had yet to return, this digital disaster was nothing short of a technological Armageddon. It was predicted that within a year, the vast majority of world’s population would freeze, starve, or die from disease. Father McAllister began to weep.

His tears were for humanity as a whole, but his heart was breaking for those in his parish. His back was in constant pain from being bent in supplication and his fingers were chapped from the speed with which the prayer beads moved through them.

On the third day of darkness, at the town meeting, the pharmacist was moved to tears when she explained how quickly her inventory would become dangerously low. Young Billy Johnston needed insulin, and dear Martha needed medical-grade oxygen. She breathed more easily in the winter but seasons change.

Father McAllister stopped at the ambry and removed the first of the three sacred oils: the oil of catechumens. He anointed himself with strength and courage.

“You have said, that for your children who have no might, you will increase strength. I am weak. Bless me with a measure of strength as may be sufficient for me.” pleaded the cleric.

Unfortunately, and luckily for Billy, his diabetes was type two. The doctor calmed the pharmacist’s fears by explaining that Billy should be OK now that his access to high- fructose corn syrup and chocolate was cut off, and Martha would be ok too, because no more cars, combines, tractors, or factories meant no more greenhouse gases. And whether you believed in the science or not, he challenged everyone (but mostly Fred), you couldn’t deny that the air already felt cleaner. With an involuntary deep breath, everyone silently agreed.

There were others at Mount Springwalk’s town meeting. The mayor from the neighboring town of West Fortbury and his wife were in attendance as well.

There was a problem. The teenaged and young adult population of Mount Springwalk was mostly girls, whereas in West Fortbury, they were boys. “If we wish to survive beyond the winter,” the mayor suggested with a flushed face, “we need to let nature take its course. After the laughter stopped, the direness of their situation settled in.

Their concerns were for more than just the children. They had no more water. The mayor explained that their high school science teacher warned that drinking reclaimed water from snow was dangerous but no one believed him until people got sick.

Mount Springwalk had a creek with enough semi-fresh mountain water to share.

The new housing development on the other side of Main Street had been completed last year, but due to the economy, 80% of those homes remained unoccupied. More importantly, all those homes were built with wood-burning fireplaces. With a yea or nay vote, it was decided that the entire populous of West Fortbury would be relocated. On the ninth day of darkness, Mount Springwalk, Father McAllister’s parish, would be the home for 2,100 residents.

The canned meat and fish would only last three months, while the charcoal for the grills would be gone in three days. Rita LaRowe, the owner of the general store, said that she had enough canned goods to ensure that every family, including the newest members from West Fortbury, would be able to have one can of vegetables or one can of fruit to go with one meal for the next 18 months.

One can of vegetables for an average family of four. The well from which Father McAllister’s tears flowed was self-replenishing.

The pastor once again thanked God that the woods surrounding them had game – deer and pheasant – and that the Emmit girls were so sinfully accurate with an arrow. The three of them liked to call themselves Amazonian goddesses. Father McAllister voiced his concerns about the paganism but was more than grateful for the meat.

Two years ago, the Anderson and Copper families tore down the fence that separated their properties, and together planted a large vegetable garden. The Amish, who descended upon Mount Springwalk with heavy quilts on the eve of the second frozen night, promised to show the community how to can food if they made it to the spring.

Though Father McAllister was hurt that the Amish, whose way of life was not devastated by the storm from the sun, refused to integrate his parish within their community, he was more than thankful for their blankets and the promise of knowledge.

The loyal servant of God once again thanked the Lord for the creek.

His congregation was able to use that water to flush the toilets and, after boiling it, to bathe and cook with.

The charcoal wasn’t really a problem either, as the stronger men in the community began to harvest the alpines around them and deliver bundles of wood to the residents as if they were the morning papers. If they could just get through the winter. Please, dear God, Father McAllister prayed, grant us another spring.

“When I am tempted by evil, deliver me by granting me the power to overcome it. When my daily work is too hard for me, give me the strength to be able to do it.”

He prayed as his lit the first candle flanking the ambo. Fighting the perils of winter was the biggest obstacle his parish faced.

Until last night.

If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? John the Disciple once asked.

The Godless people of Brunspark had shown no pity. They crossed the boarder of Mount Springwalk with guns and pitchforks and fire.

Though he had not known it then, God had answered his constant prayer for strength by sending him the men of West Fortbury.

From the moment the Fortburys, as they were referred to by his original parish, arrived in Mount Springwalk, they began to fortify the town.

After adding what they had brought from their store and private pantries to Rita’s inventory, they began boarding up the windows of the general store and pharmacy from both the inside and out. All the weapons from the gun store were moved to the sheriff’s house, and they began patrols of the woods and water.

Armed patrols.

The pastor was alarmed at how quickly even the youngest Fortbury could become rowdy and belligerent. Father McAllister now understood the reservations felt by the Amish and wondered if his quiet and polite parish seemed just as barbaric in the eyes of their leaders as the Fortburys seemed in his.

“If my burden oppresses me beyond my bearing, lighten my load, that my strength may be equal to it. You have helped many; I beg you to help me.” The second candle was lit.

The town of West Fortbury was a military town with generations upon generations of veterans and at least two alleged war criminals. Those who did not fight abroad brawled in the bar.

The looters of Brunspark were unprepared to face a force with prior military experience and were now being held as prisoners in the barn. The men hung naked from the rafters and had been swinging there all night. Father McAllister understood their anger, God knew he did, but he reminded the members of his parish of the freezing temperature and suggested that they be clothed.

Even though there was a sheriff, the community of Mount Springwalk looked to Father McAllister for the law.

The former mayor of West Fortbury explained that terrorists, both foreign and domestic, did not get to enjoy the protection of the Geneva Convention. The sheriff agreed.

Father McAllister stepped up onto the ambo, comforted that from this elevated state, he would be nourished by the word of Christ. His silent prayer intertwined with his tears.

It was then that God whispered into Father McAllister’s ear.

“Gentle shepherd be at peace.”

The breath of the parish leader froze in his chest. Just as Gideon, Moses, Noah, and the others God had called before him, he was doubtful that the voice he heard was divine.

“Hesitant warrior, I am the Lord your Go. It is I who upholds your right hand and says to you do not be afraid; I will help you.” Father McAllister’s right hand rose above his head. He fell, trembling, to his knees. His vision was blurred with tears of gratitude.

“The wrongdoers, the thieves, and the covetous, will not inherit this kingdom that I have reserved for you. The wicked peoples of West Fortbury have built a modern-day Sodom and Gomorrah.”

Father McAllister’s heart shattered for he knew the sins of Sodom were not sexual sins but sins of selfishness.

“Weep not,” said the Lord. “You are washed, sanctified, justified in the name of my son, your Lord Jesus Christ.”

Father McAllister could not carry a note in a bucket, but as he knelt weak with joy and overcome with comfort before his savior, the priest broke out into an old Negro hymn he had heard as a boy while walking past a black Christian church.

Until I die, I am gonna serve the Lord anyhow…

The rhythmic way in which the worshipers used their clapping hands and stomping feet as instruments sounded like the beating of African drums.

At eight years old, Father McAllister, just Joshua at the time, had never been inside a church. But that was the first time God had whispered into Father McAllister’s ear, and Joshua walked down the aisle of that church and was baptized: his first step in a lifelong journey of commitment and discipleship.

“I will deliver you from this domain of darkness,” God continued, “and transfer you to the kingdom of my beloved son. Let him who steals steal no longer; from the town of Brunspark, do not leave alive anything that breathes. Send them to stand before me so that they may be judged and sentenced.”

His tears were no more. His fervent prayers had been answered. He had been told what to do. Like the ancient Jewish leader marching toward the Promised Land Father McAllister knew that his parish would remain safe, as he would be more than able to defeat any enemy that dared challenge the army of the living God.

Armed with faith Father McAllister rose with Christ – and marched from the cathedral with the unbridled power of the word of God.

***

I got so much feed back from this story that I pulled it from the anthology (not really but figuratively) on the back burner with the goal of expanding this story. I got the opportunity a year later when another author (Lori Titus) and I joined forces to co-write a book. That didn’t happen, but what did was we created one universe and then wrote two stand alone books that takes place in that setting, in a town called Fates Keep, Mt. Empyreal. My version is called: In the foothills of Mt. Empyreal The End is Now  and the reviews can be read here:

http://www.amazon.com/In-The-Foothills-Mt-Empyreal/dp/1494964198/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top?ie=UTF8

Outré Gifting: What DO you Buy those Odd People in your Life?

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We here at HorrorAddicts.net plan to gather up at least a couple of gift lists detailing some lovely swag for the more unusual people in your life this season but I thought I’d first take a moment to write some general thoughts on how to even approach gifting for the more outré people you know before you head out for the upcoming sales. Try to be as thoughtful with what you don’t buy as what you do.
You can post this article to your FB timeline, the photo above to Instagram or Pinterest if you have some people in YOUR life who might just need a little direction or post in a group if you have  friends who may need rescuing from the “Normie’s” mad cycle of seasonal giving.

Some people really do find it difficult or frustrating to buy holiday gifts for the more alternative people in their lives. Whether they like to give handmade, specially purchased items or want to go the ‘gift cards, snacks and booze’ route, here is a handy Guide to help navigate the waters safely. This is one place where Google and Amazon are likely NOT going to be your friend because when I searched ‘Goth gifts’ (as Norms are likely to do), oh the CRINGE!

 

SOME BASICS
Q. Which Holiday do they celebrate anyway?
A. Doesn’t matter and you really don’t need to find out, honest. ‘Happy Holidays’ and a winter tree, snowflake or abstract squiggle on the card works for everyone even if they do not formally ‘celebrate’ a specific winter holiday. A home-printed, hand-cut or drawn black snowflake card if they are Goth should bring a wry smile. BUT…If they say they do not celebrate and do not gift, please respect that and resist the temptation to spill your holiday spirit over onto them. That’s a gift in itself.
Q. Are they vegan, vegetarian, lacto-ovo? Food allergy, Fair Trade, ethically grown, locavore? So confusing…
A. Doesn’t matter, if there are any food questions or issues, do NOT buy them food unless they ask for it and if they do, buy EXACTLY what they ask for or just get something else entirely. Ditto for anything made with animal product of any kind. Just avoid it. Perhaps they like booze or tea?
Q. Do they drink? (Booze, Tea, Coffee, special sodas with natural extracts and cane sugar only?)
A. Buy their favorite…we often hoard it and don’t treat ourselves as often as we’d like to. Having extra means we can enjoy it more frequently and we will think of you when we do! This goes for any consumable, if they buy it for themselves as a treat, they will probably like to receive some more. Do they hang out at a local coffee shop or tea room? Buy them a gift card!

GIFT CARDS & DONATIONS
A handmade card with a gift card, certificate or e-code in it is almost always appropriate, providing you get a gift certificate/card they can actually use.
For Gift Cards, if you can find out:
Their fave online shop(s) (often Indie with a bewildering array of Mysterious Items BUT… usually easy enough to buy E-gift certificates. If you don’t see the option, call or email the shop, they will often accommodate you.)
Their fave Etsy shop(s) (and if they take Etsy Gift Cards)
Where they shop most locally (it might be an independent grocery store, food co-op, natural foods shop, piercing and tattoo place, game shop, book store, bead and hobby shop, fabric store, art supply shop )
Where they like to eat locally. A gift card to a favorite eatery is always a nice indulgence or why not invite them out, ask them to choose the place and catch up on your friendship? That is more in the spirit of the season anyway.
What charities, shelters, help programs, Indiegogo, crowdfunding, art coop projects etc. do they currently support? Where do they volunteer or already donate? You can often easily donate in someone’s name to help a special cause or event that is near and dear.
Example: I’m currently hoping more people will help support Paradiso, and help bring a Lolita event to Kansas City in 2016 and in future years. A gift donation to this would be simply divine! I’ve posted about it on my social media along with supporting WWF so it’s pretty easy to take a look and see what your friends have supported and give a gift donation in their name.

 

WHAT NOT TO DO
 Aside from the biggie mentioned above about not ‘forcing’ people to participate in holiday activities, I will speak more personally here and give some scenarios I am confident I can advise on:
If we are ‘into something’ or collect something, please don’t presume to know what sort of thing within the genre we will like. It is often very specific and includes things you will not know about and usually excludes many things you would mistakenly buy, then we are stuck with the items because….gift.

Example 1: I have a friend who is into Anime, and specifically loves vintage anime…bigtime. 1) His collection is so big I’d likely duplicate if I did not ask him specifically what to buy, 2) If I bought him something from CLAMP (very popular but he does not like them) he would wince more than a little and have to keep it because it was a gift 3) often the series he buys are quite expensive, are a pre-order and we aren’t the level of friends that exchanges that expensive of gifts so I wouldn’t want to make him feel obligated…
Solution: It would be easy enough to find out from his girlfriend where he likes to order his anime from and give him a gift card. Chances are he has a back-list and there is always a pre-order coming up so a gift card of ANY amount will lighten the final bill. It’s personal enough that it shows you know what he likes and took the time to find out where he likes to get it but allows him to choose for himself.
Example 2: I love a certain artist’s work…but only some of it, I am very particular about the prints I like and wish to add…the rest is really nightmare fuel and I don’t want to collect any at all…
Example 3: Several of my friends follow and wear Lolita fashion. I do too and I often THINK I know what they might like as far as an accessory gift but just as often, they are VERY particular about everything they wear and if I got them a Lolita accessory, they would of course wear it to show me they appreciate my gift…but they may not like it at all!
Solution: Find out what kind of sweets or booze or tea they like or get them a Lolita magazine and let them do the choosing for their very individualistic fashion view. It’s also a big part of the fashion to put together the perfect ensemble with carefully chosen accessories. Solution: an Etsy gift card I can use at their shop or in any Etsy shop that honors them.
Also do not be tempted to ‘improve’ or ‘help’ us by giving ‘normie’ clothes to ‘wear when you aren’t wearing your Goth things’, or give us something like a hair salon or manicure gift certificate unless we ask for it! ‘Tis NOT the season for hints, subtle or not! Yes it’s judge-y, and yes we will judge you for judging us.

ABOUT THE HANDMADE
Many people appreciate handmade gifts very much, anything you will make. But many do NOT so…how do you REALLY know? They will ASK you for it if they really want it and TELL you they love handmade. Many people use the reasoning ‘I am making my gifts to give so that justifies my spending on my hobby all year to do so’…yeah, not so much a thoughtful thing to do when you think about it!
I am going to go out on a limb here and do a Public Service Announcement that may not be popular, hence another ‘alternative view’…
“Hey Aunt Sadie, we love it that you keep up with your knitting practice, we respect the fact that you have mad skills and make many items but unless we ASK you for a(nother) knitted (insert that thing you make), please STOP using your giiftees as your excuse to support your yarn habit.” PLEASE TAKE A HINT.
I like handmade from some people ONLY and I have let them know beyond a doubt by either buying some of their items or by my not-so-subtle wheedling…for the rest of the people who might randomly gift me something they make…I like Absinthe….and little cheeses…and indie cosmetics.
Also, if your friend or family member makes things, DO support their creativity by shopping with them if you have friends who do like receiving art, crafts or items made by someone they know or a family member. Yes, it’s almost conflicting advice here but giving handmade/handcrafts, local artist gifts are a subject that needs to be more thoroughly researched if you wish to navigate it correctly so just be prepared to do your homework. Or buy booze. There’s always booze…

Buying for your alternative poppets and Dear Ones need not be an arduous task if you can play detective with even a little sensitivity and when in doubt, please do ASK or go the safe route with a known good gift. And finally, remember that not everyone ‘alternative’ automatically likes Hot Topic… (though some of us still do!)

Addicts, do YOU have any horrible gift stories? I’d love to hear about them so we can all have a good laugh over them now that they are hopefully safely BEHIND us and look forward to better gifting and holiday plans THIS year! Comment your stories below.

Thirsty Humans, Hungry Ghosts!

~~~

A Lookbook of Spooky Cocktails and Nosh with the Dead

from The Japanese Gothic & Lolita Bible

080081

0932

094

0933093

 

 

Layered Drinks 

cocktailamster_density

250px-Angelkiss

Angel’s Kiss

Ingredients

¼ oz Crème de cacao (white)

¼ oz Sloe Gin

¼ oz Brandy

¼ oz Light cream

Directions

Pour carefully, in order given, into cordial glass so that each ingredient floats (layers) on the preceding without mixing.

Serve immediately.

recipe courtesy of Cocktail Wikia

~~~

tsri-the-vampires-eclipse-triple-layer-cocktail-shooter

The Vampire’s Eclipse

The Vampire Eclipse is a special treat created just for you by the count himself deep in the castle’s lair.  The Count worked feverishly to capture the essence and magic of the suns eclipse.  A dark river of grenadine rests on the bottom of the glass, while repelling the suns burst of orange energy, trapping a cherry between day and night.  The light rum entombs this moment forever.

The Vampire’s Eclipse
1/2 ounce grenadine
1/2 ounce orange juice
1 ounce light rum (Bacardi)
1 maraschino cherry

Gently pour grenadine in shot glass first.  Then slowly pour in the orange juice (pour down the side of the glass to avoid mixing your layers).  Slowly lower the cherry through the orange juice to rest on the grenadine.  Lastly, add rum pouring it down the side of your glass.

Original recipe developed by Chad of The Slow Roasted Italian 

 

 

 HUNGRY GHOSTS

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In Japanese Buddhism, two such creatures exist: the
gaki and the jikininki.

Gaki (餓鬼) are the spirits of jealous or greedy people
who, as punishment for their mortal vices, have been
cursed with an insatiable hunger for a particular
substance or object. Traditionally, this is something
repugnant or humiliating, such as human corpses or
feces, though in more recent legends, it may be virtually
anything, no matter how bizarre.

Jikininki (食人鬼 “people-eating ghosts”) are the spirits
of greedy, selfish or impious individuals who are cursed
after death to seek out and eat human corpses. They do
this at night, scavenging for newly dead bodies and food
offerings left for the dead. They sometimes also loot the
corpses they eat for valuables. Nevertheless, jikininki
lament their condition and hate their repugnant cravings
for dead human flesh.

HorrorAddicts.net Flashback – Holiday Horror

Our very first episode with holiday horror was Michele Roger’s Santa Claws, way back on episode #13. That episode has been locked in the vault ever since we switched to Libsyn… I will try to dig that out and re-post, but for now, there are several other holiday related shows I am going to post here in case you need some HorrorAddicts.net Holiday fun.

#52 Jack Mangan, Holiday Horror Theme

“Jack Mangan’s Santa Thing is a great read/listen for horror Xmas tales.” ~ Dan Shaurette

#53 Cal Miller, Holiday Horror Theme

“Cal Miller’s Scary Santa is just the thing to make you rethink the big red guy.” ~ Emerian Rich

WWW Challenge Special – Holiday Horror Challenge

 “It never ceases to amaze me how great a job these women do with holiday horror!” ~Rhonda R. Carpenter

Holiday Horror Viewing!

Holiday Horror Hits

By Kristin Battestella

Looking for something to do with yourself after surviving the horrors of unending holiday dinners, hyperactive family drama, and the fruitcake that will not die?  Take in these classic horror hits and worthy recent scarefests.

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Antichrist – Director Lars von Trier’s 2009 disturbing and controversial family horror drama opens with a bizarre and unique sex scene/baby death montage and gets weirder from there.  Only Willem Dafoe (Platoon) can make dead babies seem so casual- and I say that in a good way!  Although von Trier’s distorted cutting, angled filming, and scribbled chapter plates may be jarring to some, these visual cues akin perfectly to the unreliable feelings of distortion and downward spiral that such grievous loss can bring.  Cannes Best Actress winner Charlotte Gainesburg (I’m Not There) is a little annoying as well, but then again obviously understandable as a mother who was shebanging when she should have been looking after her child.  The altered perception of time, responsibility, and indifference bounces between the leads nicely as we progress towards plenty of violent sex, mental scares, and kinky creepy.  It’s all a little uppity considering the dirty subject matter, and certain audiences will definitely be alienated by the material-but the performances here win against the saucier distrubia. Put the kids to bed for this one.

Bride of Frankenstein – Despite its short length, over the top style, and bad science effects, this 1935 Universal sequel is a classic for a reason.  Boris Karloff (The Mummy) returns with Elsa Lanchester (Witness for the Prosecution) for director James Whale’s (The Invisible Man, Showboat) stylized tale in the spirit of Mary Shelley’s infamous creation.  The theatrics at hand add to the spooky atmosphere and morally ambiguous, hair raising drama and provide plenty of scary hijinks for both young and old.  Even the score is wonderful as well, being tragic when needed and even spiritual and bittersweet. Love, tragedy, death, angry mobs, misunderstood monsters- there’s something for everyone here!  Long time classic horror fans can always enjoy the great, campy classic quotes and old school iconography.  Educate the family while taking in all the subtext, layers, and quality storytelling here.

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Child’s Play If you want to scare the kids out of wanting THE toy of this holiday season, then this is the film! Though dated, some of the 1988 scares may indeed be too much for the super youngins.  However, nostalgic folks can chuckle with Chucky’s naughty wit courtesy of Brad Dourif (Lord of the Rings, Dune) and enjoy the more intelligent mystery and suspense aspects here.  While the sequels certainly have their ups and downs, Chris Sarandon (Fright Night, Dog Day Afternoon), and Catherine Hicks (7th Heaven) have some fine moments here.  Die hard marathoners can continue with Jenny Agutter (Logan’s Run) in Child’s Play 2 or go really crazy with Jennifer Tilly’s (Bound) send up in Bride of Chucky and Seed of Chucky.  Child’s Play 3 isn’t that bad, but Chucky run amok on a military base is a bit much, even for this zany franchise.

Trick ‘r Treat This 2007 pseudo horror anthology is kind of comical- a diminutive pumpkin boy Sam (short for Samhain) pursues naughty Halloween rule breakers? Some segments here are pretty bad, even stupid and just preposterous beyond belief.  Somehow, however, writer and director Michael Dougherty’s (X2, Superman Returns) quirky style and lighthearted irony keep these tales- among them twisted school principal Dylan Baker (Kings, Thirteen Days) and seemingly innocent and Red Riding Hood-esque Anna Paquin (True Blood, X-Men) – on the bemusing side.  The ridiculousness is actually quite refreshing; especially against other recent horror pictures that try to be sardonic and miss or those copycat sequels and remakes that just take themselves too dang seriously.

 

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 The Watcher in the Woods Although this 1980 Disney thriller might be a little too scary for the super young Santa set, older kids and the young at heart who grew up on this spooky charmer can delight all over again in young Lynn Holly Johnson (Ice Castles, For Your Eyes Only) and crotchety Bettie Davis (What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? Hush, Hush Sweet Charlotte) as they try to solve the haunting events and disappearances in the forest about their grand English manor.  Yes, it’s a little marred by Disney’s influence and maybe some of the events here are a fairly typical now. However, some scenes are still as scary now as they were to me back then.  When my mother wanted to frighten me indoors from the woods surrounding our own home or prevent me from staying up to watch an eclipse, she’d yell, “Do you want to end up like Karen in The Watcher in the Woods?!”

 

HorrorAddictsCon: Michele Roger Evil Holidays 6

For this final holiday horror treat, we have another visit from Marvelous Madame BienVenu in…

The Marvelous Madame BienVenu:  The Main Course

by Michele Roger

Catherine had been arguing with her mother telepathically.  “I can see what you’re planning and you know its not a good idea.”

Agatha raised an eye brow while staring back from across the table.  “And who is the crone here?”

Catherine sighed.  She turned her gaze momentarily to the handsome Henry and then quickly averted her eyes.  Agatha’s voice rang inside her head.  “He is very handsome isn’t he?  And smart.  And subject to suggestion when the spell hits him just right….”

“Stop it, Mother! He’s old enough to be your son!”

“And since when has that ever stopped me….besides, I have our dear Henry here at this table and not in my bed for a reason.  He will be far more useful in my plans for this evening with his clothes on rather than the alternative.  Watch him in action as I prompt him to drive the tip of the knife just a little deeper into the skin of our Mr. Croswell……”

Henry filled Linda’s glass with a generous amount of wine and smiled at her.  “Well of Dan doesn’t want to go on record to clear his good name regarding his warehouse dealings perhaps you have something to say?”  He pushed the recorder a little closer to her plate.

Linda played up her doe eyes and replied innocently.  “I only work for Mr. Croswell as his secretary.  I don’t handle any of his other business transactions or accounts.”

Agatha  passed him the platter of roasted beef with jalapeno and garlic glazed root vegetables.  Henry hungrily at several bites and Catherine watched as the spellbound aromatics began to take effect.  The spiciness inspired Henry’s tongue to be sharp while his questions delved into hotter topics.  “Are you sure that is true Linda?” Henry asked with the tape still rolling.  “I mean, everyone in town knows you are more than the average secretary.  Officer Franklin has written you two more citations for indecent exposure in your car and in the park than any citizen has been written in the entire history of this town.  Isn’t it more likely that you are really protecting not only your job but your lover?”

At this, Kim gasped but said nothing.  It was as if Henry had cast his own spell and unknowingly rendered her speechless.  Henry immediately felt bad.  “I’m sorry Kim.  I thought.  Well, I thought you knew.  The whole town thought you knew with you working late at the school so much lately.”

“The school open house is in two weeks” Kim was able to eek out quietly while she sat across the table in shock staring at her husband and his would be lover.  Catherine quickly placed some of the spell bound food on Kim’s plate and cut a piece, feeding it to her in an awkward display of over zealous hospitality.  Madame BienVenu ran her pearl necklace over the edge of her bottom lip ever so casually.  Kim seemed to draw strength from somewhere inside herself.  “You said you were working!” Kim spat and tears welled up in her eyes.  “You’re nothing but a…a…a….a dog! “  Outside, the howling of several wild dogs was heard.  Dan tried to argue but with the twisting of Agatha’s pearls, he spat more dog fur from his mouth in place of words.  Kim stood up as the tears ran down her cheeks, turning to Linda.  “And you’re nothing but  his bitch!”

To everyone’s surprise, Dan Croswell leapt on to the table; knocking over candle sticks and sending dishes crashing to the floor.  He crawled on all fours and lunged from Kim’s throat with his mouth that he sprouted large elongated teeth.  In reaction, Pastor Dave put himself in between the dog man and the small framed school teacher.  Catherine reacted without thinking and with a wave of her hand seemed to knock Dan down to the floor with effortless ease all the while shouting, “Bad dog!”

Linda began shouting at everyone and no one all at once.  She took a handful of the tiny cheese pastries that Agatha had served along with the meat and tried to give them to Dan in an attempt to calm his rage.  When she looked him in the eyes, she screamed all the louder.  Kim put her hands to her mouth in horror.  Henry gulped down his glass of wine and hurriedly poured himself a second and then a third as he stared in disbelief at the scene transpiring at his feet.  Pastor Dave put his arms around Kim and shielded her eyes, allowing her to look away into the safety of Dave’s strong shoulder.

In all of the chaos, Catherine stood angrily with her arms crossed over the two humans who were beginning to change shape on the floor.  Agatha too stood cool and calm while wearing a look of disdain.  Her strand of pearls twisted in her gnarled fingers and her lips moved ever so slightly without uttering a word.  Soon, the two scheming lovers were more dog in appearance than anything.

“Sit” Agatha commanded and everyone but Catherine did as they were told.  “Now, you will answer my questions directly and immediately.  Do you understand?” Agatha asked curtly.

Dan yelped a “yes”.

“Good”.

“Did you coerce several of the new residents in the assisted living facility out of their homes in less than honorable real estate deals?”

Dan nor Linda said anything.  The two just cowered, holding on to one another.

“Yes or no?!” yelled Agatha and her gnarled finger pointed straight at Linda who immediately sprouted a dog’s tail from under her dress.

Henry gulped a fourth glass of wine and with fumbling hands, checked and rechecked to make sure his recorder was still working.  Linda screamed out in pain and Dan yelled “Yes.”

“And the food your warehouse provided is contaminated?”

Dan whimpered.  Henry interrupted.  “That’s really not necessary.  I mean I already have proof of that and the crime lab team is already filing the paper work with the judge to get a warrant for Mr. Crowell’s arrest…”

Agatha turned on Henry.  Her old grey eyes were jet black.  “How dare you interrupt me when I am making justice in my own house!!  I care nothing for your laws!”  The old woman pointed a finger at him and opened her mouth.  Instead of words puffs of tiny grey feathers flew out from her lips as Catherine stomped her foot and pointed her finger back at her mother shouting a defiant “No!”

Catherine opened a bottle of what looked to be home made liquor from the cabinet to her right.  “Quick!” she told Henry, Pastor Dave and Kim.  “Drink this!” and she handed each of them a tiny glass.  They looked skeptical of the strange red liquid in the glass looking oddly more like blood than any wine.  Agatha cackled and stretched her arm out into the air.  Catherine flew backwards into the kitchen, through the swinging door and the bottle in her hand could be heard smashing into shards.

But Agatha hadn’t considered the one element that she had spoken so fondly of when it had come to her cooking.  Somehow, when the old woman had traded justice for revenge and good magic for that of the dark side of spells, she had forgotten herself.

The three remaining dinner guests quickly downed the shots and suddenly a warm glow filled inside of them.  Kim was no longer cold.  Pastor Dave stood again between Agatha and Kim and Henry had a clear head despite his too many glasses of wine.  Agatha tried to curse him again and her grey hair began to sprout feathers in place of silvery strands.  Picking herself up from the kitchen floor, Catherine re-entered the dining room with a small tin in her hands.

“Mother, you must and you know it.”  Catherine handed Agatha the tin but the old woman shouted and cursed Catherine in furry.  Feathers turned and swirled into a mini tornado at the end of the table.  Catherine begged and begged as the insane storm of metamorphosis continued.  “Just give them each one of these and the spells will be broken!  Mother please!  If you don’t ….” Suddenly, the chandelier in the room tangled into the spiraling vortex of black magic and old age and defiance and revenge.  Shards of crystal and electrical current flew out into every direction.  Henry and Catherine dove under the table for cover while Pastor Dave and Kim hit the floor and pulled his coat over the two of them.

Windows burst throughout the house.  Catherine would later discover every wine bottle in the cellar had exploded.  Pipes in the kitchen burst.  The electricity finally collapsed in the surge of energy that was balled up and destroying everything it could.  Every scrap of spell bound food was sucked into the vortex and as if it required more room than the house could provide, the Marvelous Madame BienVenu and her raging spirit spiraled at the window where she grew into a gale force wind like the storms that blew over the Great Lakes, sinking ships and twisting the waters.  Like all storms, she blew herself out.  All that remained was that of a tiny little, newly planted tree in the back yard where a grey little sparrow sat perched on a branch.

                While the others sighed in relief, Catherine burst into tears……

 

Six months later, an invitation for Thanksgiving dinner arrived at every household in town.  Henry had slowly helped Catherine to restore the old mansion to an elegant but conservative Victorian love nest.  It seemed that with the help of some clever feature stories, the deceased Madame BienVenu had become a local legend and hero once she was gone.  Catherine found comfort in that.  She often said to Henry that she thought acceptance and respect were all that her mother had ever wanted.

The local paper had also suggested that the missing Dan Croswell and his secretary Linda were suspected of running off together to Ohio.  Meanwhile, the new talk of the town was Pastor Dave and Miss Kim the school teacher.  They made vows to each other in the next town over in front of the entire school assembly as well as the church congregation.

As the town gathered into the gardens of the BienVenu mansion where tables were strategically placed for optimum seating, Catherine looked out her dining room window.  Henry joined her.  There, just like every afternoon since for the past six months, two dogs came out of the forest and took an afternoon nap under the small but quickly growing tree where a sparrow sang until night fell.  Henry pulled Catherine from the scene and kissed her.  “We have a lot to be thankful for this year” he said to her as he popped an appetizer from one of Catherine’s many platters.  Catherine looked up at him with slight alarm.

“How many of those have you had?” she asked.

“I don’t know, six or seven, why, what are they?” smiled Henry, not waiting for Catherine to answer as he leaned in and kissed her passionately.

Catherine giggled and pulled away.  “You’re eating Kim and Dave’s honeymoon present….pastries filled with aphrodisiacs and a fertility spell.”

Henry reached over to the platter and quickly shoved two in Catherine’s mouth.  “Wanna skip dinner?”

“But the whole town is here….”

Henry kissed Catherine again and she let the spell take over.  As she let Henry take her hand to lead her up to the bedroom, she asked.  “How did you know to eat so many off of THAT platter?”

Henry laughed.  “A little bird told me.”

 

Michele Roger is the author of “Dark Matter” and “The Conservatory”; both horror novels.  She also hosts her own podcast of short stories called “Something Wicked This Way Strums”.  When Michele isn’t writing, she is performing as a solo harpist as well as in the ensemble “Bellissima Musica”.  You can find both her writing and her music at www.micheleroger.com

Horror Addicts Holiday Gift Ideas

Horror Addicts musicians, authors, and others have special offers for you! Cash in now!

Horror Addicts Hostess Emerian Rich
Night’s Knights eBook for $.99

Night’s Knights is on sale from now until the end of 2010 for just $.99 for Android and iPhone users. Search apps on your phone for Night’s Knights or Emerian Rich.

Kirk Warrington & Podioracket
DarkAge FREE book contest

You could win a copy of DarkAge from Podioracket and Kirk Warrington!
Kirk Warrington’s release of DarkAge in Print comes with a BTR-PR contest. Listen to the 15 minute BTR-PR interview and email your answer before Dec 31st at midnight to contact@podioracket.com and you could win one of 3 signed copies of the DarkAge paperback. Check out Kirk on his site at http://www.kirkcast.com.

Emerian Rich & 16 other authors
in Just in Time FREE PDF offer

Books make terrific holiday gifts, but finding the perfect book is always a challenge. If only we could flip through the books on our schedule. If only if the bookstore could come to us. That’s the idea behind “Just in Time for the Holidays.” In this PDF we’ve included multi-chapter excerpts from some of the greatest books you’ll be able to find this holiday season. You will find books that will take you on an epic adventure across magical lands, step into the future, or journey to the past. See the world through the eyes of a teenager living on the streets of Cambridge. Journey into a land of dreams, and much more. “Just in Time for the Holiday” has something for everyone on your list.

Each excerpt is prefaced by information about the book and its author. At the end of every excerpt in this PDF you’ll find links to retailers where you can get your own copies of the books.We hope you enjoy these excerpts and wish you a happy holiday season.

Alex White from Episode #46
Gearheart Soundtrack $6.99

Looking for that perfect gift for the adventure fan?  Be sure and check out the soundtrack to Alex White’s podcast, Maiden Flight of the Avenger, on sale 12/11/10 on CDBaby, iTunes and many other fine mp3 outlets.

 Cal Miller from Episode #53
The ZOMBIE’S Survival Guide book 15% discount

The Zombie Apocalypse is coming and unfortunately the odds are highly in favor of you becoming one of the Undead.  Yes, a ZOMBIE. But don’t worry, there’s hope. There are ways for you to “live” a very rewarding “life” AFTER you turn. “The ZOMBIE’S Survival Guide, Thrive In The Zombie Apocalypse AFTER You Turn”, with over 40 illustrations, will show you how. Get yours today at: https://www.createspace.com/3485621 before it’s too late! If you enter the discount code 7EG3EXDW you’ll get a special Horror Addicts 15% discount off the $8.95 cover price! eBook available on Amazon.com and Smashwords.com for $2.99.
www.CalvinALMillerII.com

R. E. Chamblis from Episode #49
Dreaming of Deliverance book $9.99

Give the gift of captivating, romantic, thrilling fiction! The print version of the highly-rated podcast novel Dreaming of Deliverance, by R.E. Chambliss, is only $9.99. And if you’d like it signed, email your address to renee@rechambliss.com to receive a personalized book plate! Order your copy at Amazon.com. “Chambliss does an excellent job developing her characters, unfolding the plot, and keeping this story moving forward at a breakneck pace. Once I started, I just couldn’t stop. Chambliss is one of the many undiscovered gems! Give her work a try. You won’t regret it.” ~ Nathan Lowell, Creator of the Golden Age of the Solar Clipper

Veronique Chevalier from Episode#36
Polka Haunt Us CD – $5.00 off

Horrific music is NOT just for HELLoween anymore! Add “Polka Haunt Us: A Spook-tacular Compilation” to your playlist for the HORRORdaze! Give the CD to yourself, or to the top fiends’ on your “chopping” list! Regularly $13, mention HORROR ADDICTS for $5 off- only $8, including shipping! (All tracks also available on iTunes, but discount applies only to the CD) Learn more about “Polka Haunt Us here”: http://PolkaHaunt.Us Put HORROR ADDICTS in the subject line to get the secret discount promo link by emailing: PolkaHauntUs AT gmail DOT com

Arlene Radasky from Episode #8
FREE BOOK!

The Fox by Arlene Radasky is FREE FREE FREE! This book is not discounted, it is free! Over 25,000 downloads worldwide! Arlene Radasky is a contributor to HorrorAddicts.net. Here are some words about her novel, The Fox : “I finished The Fox last night. It was such a bittersweet moment because I didn’t want it to end. The last time I felt this connected to the characters and the story was when I read a book by Jonathan Carroll called The Bones of the Moon. I think it is quite a feat to have this ability write such a vivid story. My friend started reading it yesterday and she said she is hooked.” Get to know Arlene Radasky and how to download a FREE copy of The Fox at www.radasky.com 

Mach FoX from Episode #27
FREE Mp3 downloads!

Mach FoX – The Sky Is Falling released 12/07/2010 by afmusic and available as FREE mp3 download from websites or wav version at digital retailers. Enjoy darkly. http://www.machfox.com http://www.af-music.de Like a DeLorean time machine, Mach FoX’s sleek, sci-fi, horror, doom-pop exists simultaneously in the electropunk future and the retro-gothrock past. Twitchy computer beats, jittery synthesizers, and etheral, Cure-inspired guitars interweave in Mach FoX’s hall of mirrors,with Mach’s soaring, mournful vocals serving as a guide through the labyrinth. While plenty of current bands cop the flash and glitter of 80’s electronic tinged gothrock, Mach FoX is one of the few to capture a bit of its soul.

Rhonda Carpenter from Episode#37
The Mark of a Druid book $.99

The Mark of a Druid coupon from Smashwords for eBook .99 cents  KK77F Or go to Amazon http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002T44W8G it is .99 there too. http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/3787 Ebook Description: When twenty-six-year-old Eve McCormick awakes, the images from her nightmare are indelible. The dream feels so real she must force herself to get a grip. This experience is just the beginning for Eve, a Los Angeles clinical hypnotherapist and researcher investigating whether reincarnation is fact or fiction. A Celtic lifetime as a druidess and a strange shape shifter must join or die!

Ruckus Productions from Episode #23
“Trilogy of Blood” movie $10

SEE the BLOOD! FEEL the TERROR! HEAR the PSYCHOBILLY SICKNESS! TRILOGY OF BLOOD! 
When a trio of sexy city gals picks up a broken-down hillbilly in the backwoods of Virginia – the three kittens get A LOT more than they bargained for when they accept the drifter’s invitation to a down-home barbecue. What these lovely ladies don’t know just may hurt ‘em – when they find that the menu of this hayseed hoe-down isn’t the standard ‘burgers and dogs’…
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Gloria Oliver friend of Horror Addicts
FREE: Short Stories and Flash Fiction

Come to Gloria’s site to enjoy FREE Short Stories and Flash Fiction and to learn about her novel, In the Service of Samurai, An epic adventure set in a fictional Japan where magic, spirits, and demons are real. Toshi, a mapmaker’s apprentice, is unwillingly drawn into the realm of the supernatural when forcibly taken from his home by an undead samurai. With him lies the key for completing a nine year old mission which must be fulfilled before the clan’s souls can be laid to rest. Yet the path to this end won’t easy, for there are those who don’t want them to succeed—among them ninja assassins. Toshi will have to face many obstacles in the service of samurai.
www.gloriaoliver.com

13 Questions with Jack Mangan

Thanksgiving has come and gone and Christmas is on the way. So it should come as no surprise that the theme for HA episodes 52 and 53 would be Holiday. And the man with the honor of being the first featured author of the festive season is Jack Mangan.

Jack’s story for this episode is, “Santa Thing, featuring vocal performances by Justa J0e, Ryah Deines, Lejon Johnson, Jack Hosley, and myself (sic).”

“It’s an extremely dark redefinition of the classic Christmas mythos, replacing “Jolly Old St. Nicholas” with an army of volatile, monstrous creatures. The story centers around a rather disgruntled North Pole Elf who’s out in the field, trying to catch one of these things before it kills again.

And the inspiration for Santa Thing? “Alas, I don’t have a great anecdote here. It’s interesting that I wrote this story at all, because I have some serious Scrooge-icidal tendencies. How does Santa Claus hit every house on earth in one night? One theory could be that there’s a fleet of thousands of Santas, all working in coordination to cover all regions of the globe. I thought it might be fun to put a horror spin on that idea. I’m pretty pleased with the outcome and the reactions from its early readers – – and the performers all did amazing jobs. I hope you enjoy.”

For those of you who didn’t know, this is actually Mangan’s second time to be on Horror Addicts. “I’m honored and shocked to be asked for a second interview. Emz is always up to innovative and exciting new media things – – she and Kirk are great people. I greatly appreciate the opportunity to talk to you here.”

You probably recognize Jack as the author of Spherical Tomi. But in case you haven’t read his novel, “Spherical Tomi is a deep space/cyberpunk story about a highly-skilled combat programmer, caught up in a conflict between two scheming warlords, struggling to balance her revenge agenda with grief over her murdered samurai lover. She’s forced to make some tough decisions when a warlord’s assassination attempt involves the satellite where she’s been hiding. Most of the positive feedback I’ve seen has focused on the characters (especially Tomi) and the Spherical Combat Programming concept. It was heavily inspired by the writings of William Gibson, Bruce Sterling, Dan Simmons’ Hyperion books, and Eiji Yoshikawa’s Japanese Historical novels. A Spherical Tomi sequel is long overdue.”

Spherical Tomi isn’t Mangan’s only body of work, he “also had a solid number of novella and short-length stories come out in various markets over the past few years, including two (Fractura and Creature of God) alongside Emerian Rich in the Dragon Moon Press anthology, Podthology: The Pod Complex.”

Jack was also a columnist for Beyond Infinity Magazine, where he “wrote occasional book reviews from a Skeptic’s perspective, weird news articles”. He even started “a segment called Mythological Idol, which was sort of like a primitive precursor to Duel of the Fates, comparing notable figures from well-known world mythos. It was my first legitimate writing gig; I even received one or two miniscule paychecks.”

Now you may be wondering what Duel of the Fates, (as mentioned above). Here is what Mangan had to say: “I’ve run three Duel of the Fates tournament seasons, two for the Wingin’ It! Podcast, one for Deadpan. An individual duel compares two iconic speculative fiction characters head-to-head in five silly categories to select a winner. It’s highly irreverent and has been a lot of fun. The first two seasons are available at Podiobooks.com, and the third can be found in Deadpan episodes throughout the 140’s.”

You can read about Mangan at his blog: Distracted From Distraction By Distraction (jackmangan.blogspot.com). But be warned, it’s no longer updated. “Distracted From Distraction By Distraction is a line from T.S. Eliot’s epic Four Quartets, which [Jack] actually quoted once before in the lyrics to the Matt Mango song, Asteroid Speed Highway. [He thinks] the concept gets more and more poignant every day. [Jack] switched from the Blogspot site in 2006 because [he] wanted to use a WordPress site for the Jack Mangan’s Deadpan Podcast.”

The reason for creating the Deadpan Podcast, was as “a minor-minor name for himself as cast member and contributor to the Dragon Page Wingin’ It! and occasional Slice of Sci-Fi shows.” “I jumped at the chance when those guys invited me to create a podcast of my own for their new Farpoint Media network. I thought it’d be a chance to make a little money and have a fun creative outlet to promote my work. It’s been going without interruption since March 2006 now; Deadpan has made basically no money, but I’ve had a great time and made some fantastic friends and connections. A great community of wonderful people has gathered around this podcast, and it boggles my mind that we’ve even had a few successful Deadpan Meetups, with listeners traveling from all over to meet and record together in person.”

As mostly a Sci-Fi writer, I was curious if Jack would ever transition into the horror genre. Here’s what he had to say…“The genre and I are acquainted. I’ve published quite a few stories with horror elements, notably Creature of God (in marvelous audio drama format at Variant Frequencies and in the Podthology print book) and Sixteen Pieces at a Time (in print at SFReader and also in wonderful audio drama format at Wander Radio), and I wrote quite a few more during my formative author days. I have a deliciously wicked idea in my story queue right now, that will probably end up classifiable as horror when it’s written. Sorry to give the writerly cliche, but I try to just work with the story ideas that I find intriguing and not think much about genre. If the end result is horror, then so be it.”

And just a tidbit for all you Mangan fans out there. Jack’s favorite horror story growing up was “Stephen King’s It. [He] was freaked out by the sink drains in [his] house during the time [he] was reading [the] book.”

Jack has been, for the past few years, very family focused (that always has and always will come before anything creative). “For now, [his] goal is to recreate some balance in [his] life, so that [he] can see to all of [his] family’s needs AND push [his] music and fiction output to higher and higher levels. It’s a slow process, but ultimately, [he hopes] to someday release complete, tracked-out professional recordings of [his] songs, and more importantly(?), release high quality works of fiction that do [him] proud and that reach sizable, enthusiastic audiences.”

Be sure to be on the look out for Mangan’s future projects! “Look for my short story in the upcoming “2020 Visions” anthology, edited by Rick Novy and Christopher Fletcher of M-Brane SF, as well as some flash fiction and original music collaboration with Michelle M. Welch in her podcast anthology: Theme and Variations, Opus 2. Additionally, I hate it when self-important hacks talk about secret projects, but. . . . well, yeah. Otherwise, we’re always up to something fun and new over at Deadpan, so check in on current episodes to hear what community events are happening or what’s coming up.”

For more information on Jack Mangan check out these websites:

http://www.jackmangan.com/

http://twitter.com/jackmangan

http://jackmangan.blogspot.com/