Brothers and Sisters

We’re taking a day off our blog to take command of 90 Days Novel’s. You may remember from our Se7en blog that they’re brothers who have set themselves an amazing challenge to write, edit and release their debut novel in 90 days. And for some reason, they’ve decided to take a break from their excellent blog to allow us on as their first ever guests. Seriously, we wouldn’t give us to the keys to a blog 😀 But they trust us not to sink them and we’ll do our best. Though accidents happen 😀 So come over and see us in our new surroundings. *Looking around* it’s rather nice here – friendly, professional, well-maintained. We look more intelligent just sitting here. Think we might stay a while.

http://www.90daysnovel.com/2012/04/guest-post-by-two-been-there-done-that.html

Going Ape

Saturday’s ghost hunting expedition was a bit different. For a start, we were looking for the ghost of a murderous ape. Yes, you read that right. Before you ask, no it wasn’t a day trip to  a spectral wildlife park where mischievous monkey ghosts would steal our windscreen wipers and vandalise our car. We visited Carew Castle, which is reputedly haunted by Sir Roland Rees and his pet ape, Satan. We had another guest with us, the lovely Lizzie Rose, who was on top Lara Croft mode, scaling the castle walls and barriers like a pro to sit on top of the castle’s sickeningly high walls. Unfortunately, our deep rooted fear of heights stopped us climbing up after her 😦

In true Calamityville Horror, we got lost. Several times. The first few times was when we went to pick Lizzie up from Swansea uni. We’d never been there before and ended up taking the wrong road and heading in the opposite direction. Ryan’s Sat Nav on his phone saved us, much to our annoyance. We’ll never hear the end of this now. But every time he mentions his phone’s superiority, we’ll remind him his Sat Nav crashes when there’s no phone service. That’ll stop his gums flapping. Then on route to Carew, we took the wrong road at a roundabout, heading left instead of straight ahead. But we’re glad we did, because we ended up going through Laughne, Pendine and Amroth, where we stopped to harass a pirate statue. Turns out, Lizzie is an expert navigator and not only saw us through Swansea safely, but through West Wales too. She’s definitely coming again.

Carew Castle has many ghosts. A Celtic Warrior, Princess Nest and the aforementioned man and ape. Nest was kidnapped twice in her life and had 21 children by 6 fathers, so it’s probable she single handedly populated West Wales. We stood at the bottom on the toilet shaft where her husband and children escaped into the sewers while she was kidnapped by her cousin, Owain. It took her husband, Gerald, 6 years to get her back and another few years to kill Owain. He obviously wasn’t much of an action hero. Bruce Willis never takes that long.

Back to the ape. Some people reported seeing the ghost ape running along the top of the castle walls, like a hairy free runner. We hoped to be able to buy a monkey mask in the gift shop, wait for Ryan to go off doing his artistic shots then leap out, making crazed monkey noises and tackle him while he falls screaming into the dirt. Sadly the gift shop didn’t sell monkey masks. 😦 Sir Roland Rees travelled often and one time returned with a Barbury Ape, Satan. He wasn’t a nice man. In fact, he was a total jerk and would host dinner parties just so he could ridicule and laugh at his guests. Bit like the 1600’s version of Big Brother. The ape would mimic him and also laugh at the guests. Roland’s son was having a relationship with a Flemish tradesman’s daughter and Roland wasn’t happy about this. The tradesman called at the castle to confront Roland and Roland, who was drunk, unchained Satan and set him on the man. The man escaped but put a curse on Sir Roland, saying the ape would kill him. A servant found the injured man and took him back to the servants’ quarters to look after him until the storm passed. Later that night, the staff heard screams. They went to investigate and found Sir Roland dead, with his throat torn out and Satan dead beside him, with not a mark on him. Portraits lay in the middle of the floor, burning. Some reports say the ape was actually the one on fire. According to a nice caretaker we spoke to, there are written records of Sir Roland and his ape. So when there’s a storm, some people claim to have heard the ape’s maniacal laughter echoing through the castle ruins. 

Sleep with one eye open

You’re probably sick of reading about the disasters that follow us around so we’re giving you a break from our screw ups for today. We have another guest! *checking the biscuits aren’t mouldy and shooing the cats off the settee* We’re thrilled to have the lovely L K Jay back on our blog! Her latest novel, The Policeman who was Afraid of the Dark was released on Monday and we encourage everyone to download it. Well, we say encourage. Those who don’t do, won’t be saved when the zombies come 😀

Are You Afraid of the Dark?

By L K Jay

I’m not.  When you are an intrepid ghost hunter, you can’t afford to be.

I had the pleasure of meeting the magnificent duo, C L Raven and their friend Ryan a few weeks ago and as I thought, we all got on like a house on fire.  We met at the Hell Fire Caves in West Wycombe, it was a beautifully sunny day and we delved into the spooky caves and had a lot of fun.  The history was interesting, the research was invaluable and the company was excellent.  I even had a picture taken of me with a silicon pig’s head Lord of the Flies style.  At least I think it was silicon.  And William Golding knew a thing or two about darkness.

You see, darkness is the theme of my new novel,’ The Policeman Who Was Afraid of the Dark’.  My character, Detective Constable Saul Watson, has to experience darkness in many ways in order prove his innocence of a murder he did not commit.  He has to remember the dark memories of his past; of being locked in a lorry container, he has to experience being on the other side of the law when he is on the run and he sees just how dark human nature can be when he finds out what is really behind the murder he wakes up to.

But are you afraid of the dark?  Depends on what you call dark.  In taekwondo, the martial art I practice, our licence books say that when you are a black belt you become ‘impervious to darkness.’  Well I try to live up to that, we do like to laugh at the dramatic phrases of our martial arts masters  and I’ve never been punched in the face for real, so I would probably cry like a girl if I did.  It was funny though, when I went on the ghost walk in the underground tunnels of Edinburgh and they turned off the lights, everyone gathered around me.  Whether it was because they felt my martial arts super powers, knew I was a teacher and felt safe or because I had the biggest torch, I don’t know but it was jolly funny when the lights went up and everyone then shuffled away and looked really awkward in a very British way.

I remember something that somebody once said to me on my very first ghost walk.  ‘We have much more to worry about from the living than we do from the dead.’  And I could not agree more.  It is human beings that cause the darkness, we are responsible for our own shortcomings and most of the bad things that happen in this world are down to us, not the devil, not religion, not X-Factor, but us.  We make the decisions to bully or be corrupt, we make the decisions to blow up buildings with innocent people inside and we make the decisions to treat others cruelly.  So the way I see it, darkness is a state of mind.  You can switch on the light, use a good torch and just be nice.  If we all did that, then the world would be a better place.

L K Jay is the author of the novel ‘The Ghost Hunters Club’ and the newly released crime novel ‘The Policeman Who Was Afraid of the Dark’. 

 

You can find her on her blog:  lkjaywriter.blogspot.com

Or follow her on Twitter: @FenlandGirll

 

Calamityville Horror

Our amateur ghost hunting show, C.A.T.S Tales of Terror is being revamped after only 3 episodes. It’s had a name change and is now called C.A.T.S Calamityville Horror, after a creative dispute. In other words, the third member of our team, Ryan, suddenly realised we were doing a show and now wants to be part of it, instead of just accepting his role as the C.A.T.S clown. But don’t worry, he still trips over and gives us great out-takes. We think the new name reflects the disastrous things that happen on the show. We’ve also bought fancy new editing software so hopefully the show will be much improved. Well, the filming will be better quality, even if the stars aren’t 😀 Not even Ryan’s fancy HD iPhone can make us look good. We just appear in HD. No-one wants to see that.

Yesterday we returned to Newton House in Dinefwr to do the hidden house tour and get answers for what happened last week. We were accompanied by Hayley, who was our guest for this episode. We wandered the house beforehand and returned to the basement where we got the reaction from the K2. We got another reaction from it, in the same place. As usual, we were thrilled. You wouldn’t think a bleeping, flashing machine could make us so excited. Simple things… We got another reaction outside the Tea Room, which used to be the Billiard’s room. People have reported smelling pipe smoke in that room, which we managed to miss out on our last visit. Not sure how that happened. It’s probably Ryan’s fault. Cat put the K2 to Ryan’s body and it flashed and lit up. She put it to his head and it went really quiet. Obviously no brain activity.

We told our guide, Kevin we were interested in the ghost stories and he asked if we were the ones there last week. Our reputation obviously preceded us 😀 As long as we left good impressions. People do tend to remember us. Like horror movie monsters. Once you’ve seen us, the fear lingers and haunts your nightmares. We got taken to the offices and the creepy corridor, which featured in Most Haunted. In the room where one man was carried out on that show, the K2 was silent. We got to go on to the roof and were very tempted to push Ryan off to see how well his iPhone’s Steadicam worked under extreme pressure but there were too many witnesses and he wouldn’t have gone quietly. He’s a struggler.

On the tour, we passed the Tea Room and the K2 remained silent. Kevin told us when he was coming down the basement stairs, he once saw a man dressed in Edwardian clothes. We then told him this was where the K2 went off. After the tour, we took Kevin down to the basement and again the K2 performed for us. We’ve asked two members of staff – Kevin & Scott, who we spoke to last week and they both said there’s nothing behind the door. Kevin then opened another door, which led to an original Victorian urinal. Tourists aren’t shown this part. We had behind the scenes access! We were more excited than was normal at seeing a urinal. Wonder if the Victorians adhered to the same weird urinal rules modern men do. We returned to the tourist office to show other staff members the footage and Scott took us back in to see a 400 yr old skeleton of a cat which was discovered under the floorboards. It’s still there. Yes, he moved the floorboard for us. That is customer services. Apparently people used to bury things in floorboards to keep away evil spirits. Children’s shoes were discovered under there. An ancient belief was if you killed someone and buried them in the foundations, the building would stand. So when we have our castle, we might have to try this…

View the footage here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DtzQaomk8QY

Se7en

Yes you’re probably sick of the sight of us right now but bear with us. Easter’s the time for over indulgence of everything that’s bad for you. Though we don’t come in shiny wrappers and if you try to smash us open, you will need to see a dentist.

We’ve been set a challenge by the totally awesome Sean and Dan Campbell, the mad duo behind 90 Days Novel. http://90daysnovel.com They’re aiming to write, edit and release an entire novel in 90 days. We thought we were mad for completing NaNoWriMo in 17 days. It’s always nice to find someone crazier than you. Comforting. So when the men in white coats come, we can point them in Sean and Dan’s direction while we run for the hills, straitjacket arms flapping. Anyhoo, this is their challenge –

go to page 7 or 77 of your manuscript. Go to the 7th line down then copy and paste the next 7 lines into your blog. Then tag 7 other people and ask them to do the same. Beg them. Bribe them. Hell, yank their arm up behind their back and tickle them until they surrender. We’ll be jumping straight to the last option. We enjoy torturing people. We rock like that.

We’ve chosen what will be our debut novel, Soul Asylum. It’s set in a haunted asylum in Denbigh and most of you are now well aware that asylum is our Tantalus and we were politely ‘escorted’ off the grounds when we trespassed. We were really tempted to cheat and do the seven best lines we could find but for once we’ve stuck to the rules. This is our extract from page 7.

I took them to the social room. The fire danced mesmerisingly. Footsteps echoed around the room yet everyone was standing still. I recounted the spooky tales they longed to hear. I didn’t tell them this place was sometimes happy, with the staff trying their best to care for their growing number of patients and always introducing new ways to improve their quality of life. That wasn’t what these people wanted. They craved the terrifying stories that would rival Bedlam in their cruelty, depravity and misery.

Sometimes I wondered whether society locked up the wrong people.

Suddenly the room was crowded with expressionless people. An old man sat in the corner playing chess with someone who didn’t exist. 

And there you go. Now for our seven victims. We’ll also be picking some unpublished writers to force them to put their work out to the masses. Mwahahahahahahahaha! Ryan Burt. Anya Breton. L K Jay. Gena Mantz. Elaine Allen. Lisa Dee. Suzie Tullet.

Death by Chocolate

As it’s Easter Monday it’s the perfect day to welcome back Julie Lindsey! Although we hope your chocolate eggs weren’t spiced with something…memorable 😉 After gorging on chocolate, Julie’s latest book, Death by Chocolate is the perfect antidote and is the in the first in her Killer Confections series.

I’m baaaaaaack……>!!!!

Okay so this time I’m on the Death by Chocolate blog tour, which means no romance talk! The lady in this novel killed her husband and she’s not feeling super awful about it. LOL. In Death by Chocolate, an idea I got in church grew legs and took off. Dead serious.

I was watching these church ladies ladle chicken soup into Styrofoam containers. Everyone thanked them and hugged them and smiled. I sipped my soup and wondered what those ladies were like at home. What about when they took off their simple suits and took the pins from their hair? Did they light up a smoke and toss back a brandy? If they did, how would anyone ever know? What if one of them was a drug dealer? How cool would that be? (I mean of course totally not because drugs are back. Crack is whack. Just say no and things kids.) BUT those sweet little church ladies could really cause a lot of damage and get away with it. No one would suspect them and they know everyone.

Voila!

Ruby Russell was born.

Ruby’s an emotional mess. Kind of bumbling. A nervous ninny. So, bless her heart everything she does goes – w.r.o.n.g. But what’s a best friend if she won’t help you cover a few murders? Am I right? So,  there you go. Death by Chocolate was written and now it’s here : ) and I am a little bouncy.

I thought I’d share an excerpt or the trailer before I go away and plot something else completely insane.  I’ll let the ladies decide what they want to include, but I hope if you pick up Death by Chocolate, you will put it down smiling.

 

Death by Chocolate

Ruby Russell has reached her limit. When she discovers her hipster husband has a dirty little secret, she whips him up a Viagra-infused-chocolate mousse punishment, but in the morning, her husband’s a stiff. Armed with a lifetime of crime show reruns and Arsenic and Old Lace on DVD, Ruby and her best friend Charlotte try to lay low until after Ruby’s son’s wedding, but a nosy therapist, meddling minister and local news reporter are making it very difficult to get away with murder.

About Julie:

I am a mother of three, wife to a sane person and Ring Master at the Lindsey Circus. Most days you’ll find me online, amped up on caffeine & wielding a book.

You can find my blogging about the writer life at Musings from the Slush Pile

Tweeting my crazy at @JulieALindsey

Reading to soothe my obsession on GoodReads

And other books by me on Amazon

Watch Julie’s book trailer here http://youtu.be/2JMOKfEQD8c

And if you missed her last visit, click on this link here to find out why she was called a pervert by a rather mean editor. https://clraven.wordpress.com/2012/02/23/welcome-julie-a-lindsey/

As always, we love Julie’s blog posts and can’t wait to read this book. We might get some ideas from it ourselves… be warned guys.

C.A.T.S. Tales of Error

We’ve decided that with our mock ghost hunting show, C.A.T.S. Tales of Terror (C.A.T.S. standing for Cardiff’s Answer to Supernatural, even though one third of the group isn’t from Cardiff) we’d release an episode every fortnight. Weekly would involve too much work – we’d never be able to visit a place every week then get all the editing down as well as working on our writing, so fortnightly gives us breathing space.

So we need to visit more places. First we couldn’t decide where we wanted to go. Well, we know where we want to go, but Ryan has developed an allergic reaction every time North Wales is mentioned, so Beaumaris Gaol is out for the time being. We also want to visit Bodmin Jail, the Jamaica Inn and Poldark Mines in Cornwall, but we’re going to book a long weekend there for those places. So we wanted somewhere closer. After trawling the Internet and our book of haunted places, we decided on St. Mary’s Church in Avenbury, Herefordshire. It’s old, spooky and has great tales of haunting. We printed off the directions, did our research and were all set for a visit. Then we discovered it’s private property and we can only look at it from the footpath. We scrapped it.

Returning to the Internet, we discovered some abandoned forts on the Pembrokeshire coast which look cool. No mentions of hauntings, but that doesn’t mean we can’t explore them. Who says we have to only go to places other people claim are haunted? But the one relies on the tide being out so if we’re going to Tenby, we’d need to get there early to spend the whole day there so we can return to Caldy Island where we often went as kids.

Lynx then found a place on a BBC website called Aberglasney. It came up repeatedly amongst the people who were listing scary places they’ve visited. It’s reputedly haunted by 6 maids who were found dead in their beds after a suspected carbon monoxide poisoning when the house was being renovated. The night before they died, some people reported seeing floating candles along the corridor outside the Blue Room, where they died – corpse candles. There’s a superstition that if you see a corpse candle, which is usually a blue flame, it will lead you to your grave.

Aberglasney

So yesterday, we set off for Aberglasney, which is just past Llandeilo in Carmarthenshire. We got to drive through Ammanford, where our nan’s side of the family is from. Amazingly, we didn’t get lost. Despite the fact we were once again relying on AA route planner. We’ve forgiven it for its massive betrayal in North Wales and it’s working really hard to earn our trust again. Aberglasney gardens are beautiful. There are several different ones and they truly are stunning. There was just one problem – the gardens aren’t haunted. The house is, but only the ground floor is open. Upstairs, the haunted part, is not accessible. In fact, it’s not even there.

So there were no ghosts for our ghost hunting show. This doesn’t happen to Most Haunted.

We decided to return to the car and consult our map. Ryan couldn’t get service to look on Google so like Sam and Dean do in Supernatural, we rang our superhero at base camp, our Bobby – our mum. She was manning the animal army whilst doing some decorating, but she still got onto the Internet for us to find us a place close by. Newton House in Dinefwr Park. It was a few minutes down the road and we’d just driven past the sign for the turning. We circled the roundabout and headed back, not knowing what to expect. We hadn’t circled this place on our map because the symbols say it’s a garden. They neglect to mention it has a castle, a haunted manor house and a slaughterhouse.

All the information we had to go on, was that there was a murder, a suicide and people often felt like they were being strangled. Mum didn’t know where in Dinefwr Park Newton House was or even if it was even open. Then we saw it. And fell in love. It’s a beautiful gothic mansion set in acres of land with woodland and Fallow deer. We’ve never seen deer in real life. Then we saw a classic car – a 1930’s Buick. So we went to photograph that first. At the information centre, we were sorely tempted to go on the Hidden House tour, which takes you to the attic and the roof, where you’re not allowed to go, but we weren’t sure if they’d allow us to film and our episode was already on a life support machine. We asked the lady if the place was haunted. She went silent.

Newton House

We headed for Newton House and showed our receipt to the guide, who was called Scott James. We started talking to him about Aberglasney and hunting for ghosts. He was lovely, friendly and helpful and agreed to let us film him while he told us all about the ghostly experiences that have happened there. We just have to get permission from The National Trust to use the footage. We really hope we can because it will be a welcome change to have in C.A.T.S. Tales of Terror, a coherent professional who actually knows what they’re talking about. Plus he comes across great on camera – natural and knowledgeable. Not like us clowns. He also told us they hold tours there on Halloween. We are going!

We were wandering around the basement, minding our own business when these girls – they must’ve been about 6-8ish, spotted us. Lynx had wandered off and they stopped by Cat. One said “Oh. My. Gosh.” Then they fled. Every time they saw us, they ran. Um, we’re not the ones going round strangling tourists. We walked along the corridor and passed a staircase. The K2 went nuts. It had been silent all day. It was silent all throughout Hell Fire Caves (we were beginning to think it was broken) but there it was, bleeping and flashing with the needle all the way in the red zone. There was nothing there. It was just a corner at the foot of the stairs. We put it to the floor and walls, to see if there were any electrical cables hidden in the walls. It went quiet. We moved it away and it went crazy again.

By this point, we’d attracted a bit of attention. Our secret of being ‘ghost hunters’ was exposed by our manic machine.

The K2 acting like a Lights Alive

Two women stopped to talk to us and they told us they’d felt something upstairs in the restaurant. The restaurant used to be the Billiards Room and is one of the rooms the guide, Scott, told us that strange smoke has been seen in. They were as intrigued as we were with our K2. We can’t explain it. The only thing we can think of, is there was a door by the stairs that was locked. We’re going to back and ask the guides what’s behind that door. If it’s something electrical, like the system for the audio, that would explain the K2’s reaction. Also it’ll give us a chance to see if the K2 does it again.

The K2 continued bleeping as we went up the stairs then it fell silent and didn’t utter another sound for the rest of our time in the house. We somehow managed to miss the old Billiards Room and the garden and according to the map, several other buildings too, so we definitely have to go back. We want to go on the Hidden House tour.  We’re hoping we’ll see the same guide, so he can tell us more about the house and hopefully, what’s behind that door.

We’re hoping it’s the Boogeyman.

Watch the episode here – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cMn1Z4dWiB4

Easter brainday

Aloha juicy brains! It’s been so long since I was on here last, I was worried my Necromancers had changed the password to keep me out. It’s because I write much better blogs than them and they’re worried their followers will prefer me. They’re right to be worried.

Anyhoo, Easter is coming up. For years I had to listen to my Necromancers whine about the fact there were no vegan Easter eggs. Well now there are and it’s my turn to whine. What the hell am I supposed to eat? Chocolate is bad for my digestive system. They now cater for vegans, is it so hard for them to cater for zombies too? We’re a minority group as well. They could load brains with Smarties, chocolate buttons, sweets, cram them into mugs etc. But somehow I can’t see my Easter treat being wrapped in coloured foil and put in a box with a cartoon character on it. It’s a shame. Pinky and The Brain would be a great gimmick. I feel so snubbed. Like I’m a second class citizen.  People really don’t respect the dead.

If you think about it, Easter is the time for celebrating zombieism. Jesus rose from the dead, just like I did. Are people eating chocolate brains in MY honour? No! Jesus has his own book, the Bible. I have my own book – Scott the Zombie. Just because it’s not published yet doesn’t mean I’m not important. Ok, I can’t turn bread into fishes or water into wine but I can play baseball with my own leg. Can Jesus do that? Big fat NO! And he was created by a beam of light impregnating Mary (which sounds an awful lot like the Care Bears were behind this, if you ask me) I was bitten by a zombie then struck by lightning. WE’RE THE SAME! Except he was 32, had long brown hair, a beard and a penchant for sandals whereas I’m 21, super hot and have a penchant for ripped jeans and an array of zombie slogan t-shirts. Why don’t I have public holidays and hymns sung about me? At least I have my own Facebook page and Twitter account. I appeal to the younger generation. Like Jesus, I also have enemies queuing up to kill me. And there are films about my kind, just like there’s religious films. And there’ll be a war started in my name. When Scott the Zombie Superstar musical is made, THEN you’ll believe me! Is Andrew Lloyd Webber on Twitter? We need to get the brain rolling on this.

My Necromancers have cake moulds in the shape of a bunny and a sheep. I plan to ram a brain into them so I can have a bunny shaped brain to munch on while I celebrate Zombie Sunday. Or Easter to the non trendy traditionalists. I’ll put a little brain into an egg mould, wrap it in foil, shove it in a I Love Scott the Zombie mug that my Necromancers will design and make (they will if they don’t want their brains eaten) and deliver it to the Prime Minister. Then he can start the proceedings for Zombie Sunday next year. It will happen my juicy little snack friends! Or heads will roll…then I can eat their brains!

Scott x