Saturday, 31 October 2015

Share a Scare - Spooky tales - Halloween Blog Hop 2015 + Trick-or-Treat Blog Hop

Welcome to Share a Scare - the Halloween Blog Hop 2015. This hop is all about sharing scary stories, art and ideas (see below for details of other participants) and today I am going to share with you a scary story.

So I'm going to tell you about something that happened to me a few years ago. I have taken some dramatic licence, but the bare facts are true :). I've combined some characters in the story, so don't expect to recognise yourself ;). I have also changed the name of the hotel, all I will say is that it is a very nice one in the middle of the Kent countryside.

Expecting Company?
by Sophie Duncan

I yawned, put down my empty glass, and then smiled at Lucy, one of my IT colleagues who was helping me prop up the bar as the whole team gradually drifted to bed.

"Well, I have to say that was better than the average team building event," I offered as I slipped off my stool.

"Yeah, we can pat ourselves on the back as part of the organising committee," Lucy agreed, finishing her own drink.

I shrugged: I didn't feel I'd done a whole lot, just thrown in some ideas at the start of the planning process.

"And now we get the perk of staying in the main house," Lucy beamed, as if that was a wonderful thing.

I bit my lip, because this is the bit I'd been dreading all evening, because I'd looked up the history of the place and, well, I'd have rather been in the new build sections of the Manor House Hotel. The reason was some suggestions on various websites that the main manor, after which the place had been named, was haunted. I didn't know which number room, but, knowing my luck, I was going to get it.

I said goodnight to Lucy and, exhausted by a day of team building exercises and an evening of games, I plodded off to find out what my room number actually was. All that had been handled by hotel staff when we arrived, so it wasn't until I was given a key by the front desk that I discovered my room was number 8. I'd never been to the hotel before, so I had no idea what to expect, so, when I opened the door I have to say, my jaw dropped: the place was palatial.

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Hotel rooms I'd been used to for business trips were the kind where the bathroom is usually to one side as you walk in and then the bed and a desk and a TV fill the rest of the room. This place left me thinking if I spoke too loud it might echo. Beautiful period decorations ran round the walls and the windows were huge, their curtains, in dark blue, fall from ceiling to floor. As I crossed the large space between door and bed, passing a table as I went, I discovered the carpet wasn't your average hotel carpet either. And then there was the bed, oh my god, and it deserved the use of that exclamation, because it was huge, and I don't just mean width. It was king sized luxury raised on a platform, and the bed itself was also tall enough, so that when I walked up to it, the top of the mattress met my waist. Now, I'm not short, but that bed took a run up, a dive and a scrabble for me to get onto it - not the most dignified of ascents on the mattress mountain and I was glad there was no-one to see me!

Or at least, right then I was too busy with logistics to think there was anyone watching.

Of course, once I was up on the bed, there was the issue that I hadn't unpacked, performed my normal ablutions before sleep, or anything like that, so I was going to have to get off, but I lay back and enjoyed the luxury for a minute. I think it was the moment I paused that I first felt uncomfortable. Maybe I was predisposed to thinking something was wrong, after all, I have a very active imagination and it had been well primed about the hotel, but I was used to hotel rooms as I travelled a lot for business, and I don't usually scare myself with the lights on! Therefore, when the bridge of my nose began to itch and the hair on top of my head raised, I found myself glancing around the room. There was nothing to see, just the very nice decor, but I still kept looking over to the far wall, not sure why, but uneasy about looking anyway.

Nerves, or not, however, I needed to get some sleep if I was going to be fit for breakfast and the travel back to the office the next day. So, I made the descent off 'mount poshbed', which was much more elegant than the ascent, and, grabbing my bag, headed into the bathroom. The bathroom was equal in stature to the rest of the room with a huge shower in one corner that looked like I needed a manual to be able to turn it on, and a beautifully shaped sink. So, I washed, I changed into my night clothes and then I headed to bed.

Scrabble, scrabble, flop and I was back in bed and this time snuggling under the crisp sheet and blankets. My usual routine for hotels was then to flick out the light, pull the bedclothes up to my nose and disappear into the multitude of pillows that are available to a single person in a double bed. This time, however, I flicked off the light and, thanks to its blackout curtains, the whole room disappeared in darkness. It took all of ten seconds for my hackles to rise and then I flicked the light right back on again.

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I know, I know, I just panicked, and I can't explain why, but I just knew instantly that I did not want that room to be invisible to me. I actually sat up staring round the room for a good few minutes, not really knowing what I was looking for. Eventually, though, a yawn reminded me I was actually tired and so I compromised, I turned off the main light, leaving one of the bedside lamps alight. That meant there were some cooky shadows from the mouldings on the walls and ceiling, but I could still see everything. Finally, then, I lay back down and yanked the blankets up over my head.

When I get to sleep, nothing short of an earthquake will wake me, in fact I have slept through storms that brought down trees outside my window. However, I do take a really long time to get to sleep and, with my nerves prickling, I knew that night was going to be an even longer toss-turn session. I did slip into a dose a couple of times, I think, but what with the light and the need to glance around the room every few minutes, by 2am I was beginning to wonder if sleep was a total loss.

I don't know what happened then, the clock wasn't chiming ominously or anything, but my nerves went from, I'm-being-silly-but-there's-nothing-I-can-do-about-it to shit-shit-shit-I-really-don't-like-this, and I sat bolt upright staring around at all those damn shadows the side light was creating. There was nothing in front of my eyes, nor my ears, but that sense no human admits to having in the light of day, the one that kicks in the flight response before you even think about it, that one was telling me something was not right and my attention zeroed down on the right hand corner of the room, right next to the dark, velvet curtains.

Well, my focus might have been being drawn over there, but I didn't want to look. I did the only thing I could think to take my mind of the standoff between me and my flight response, I turned on the TV. Now, this, like the rest of the room, was no ordinary TV, it was a huge wide screen job that matched the size of everything else. It was a pity the programming in the early hours was not as impressive. I spent the next interminable hours in the company of a mixture of old, old drama and infomercials. And all the time, I kept glancing back into that corner. I didn't fall asleep until the sky lightened and I opened the curtains nearest to me.

I never did see anything, but I was very, very glad our work event only involved one overnight stay.


Do you have any spooky experiences you'd like to share - tell me about them below?


Today my sister and I are also participating in this hop over at Wittegen Press too, where there is a free spooky book from us for all our visitors to download. From tomorrow (1st Nov) it will be for sale, but if you want it FREE - go GET IT NOW :). Wittegen Press - Share a Scare - Free Fiction - Halloween Blog Hop 2015

Plus, there there are lots of other folks who are also sharing a scare, so check them out below.

Share a Scare participants:

Today we are also part of The Trick-or-Treat Blog Hop - where the idea is to give away books instead of candy to those who comment.
Trick or Treat Blog Hop
  The Trick-or-Treat Blog Hop

These are the book I have on offer - I can send either a Smashwords code (means you will be able to redownload the file if you ever lose it - ePub, Kindle, pdf, rtf, lrf, pdb, txt) or the book file directly (Kindle, ePub, PDF).

Please let me know what you would like when you comment as well as the book title you are requesting (click the book image to visit the full book listing).

In The Event of Death When Darkness Beckons Book of Darkness Cursed

Trick-or-Treat participants:

About the blogger: Sophie Duncan is an author of genre fiction from paranormal adventure to murder mystery. For information about Sophie's books, sign up for The Wittegen Press Newsletter:

We'll send you details of book releases, competitions and other news from our authors, BUT we WON'T spam you, or pass your details on to anyone else.
Wittegen Press

We will also give you 2 FREE ebooks just for signing up.

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Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Book Review: House of Whispers (Ellie Jordan,. Ghost Trapper #5) - Paranormal Adventure

I jumped up and down when this pre-order arrived on my kindle :)

House of Whispers (Ellie Jordan, Ghost Trapper, #5)House of Whispers by J.L. Bryan
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

J L Bryan is back on form with this story - I was a little concerned by the previous book that the situations would start becoming too large for the intimately scary plots, but not so, I am heartily reassured :).

I gobbled this book up in 3 days, which left me bereft once I had finished it, but I didn't want to put it down, except stuff like work got in the way!

Ellie and Stacey are investigating mysterious goings on at the Lathrop hotel, a big posh hotel with a notorious 4th floor. We're introduced to established ghosts, and anecdotes galore about the haunts in the hotel and, I have to say, I was not expecting the way the encounters panned out. There are a few obvious plot points about the ghosts, but J L Bryan uses them so well, making them almost like distractions so that when the mental sleight of hand occurs it's intriguing and kept me reading and reading.

This is one of the best books in the series, I loved it.

View all my reviews

I'm pimping out the Share a Scare Halloween Blog Hop. It will run on the 31st October as you would expect, but now is the time to sign up.

Have something a little bit scary to share? All bloggers, authors and artists welcome. Just click the link to see all the details:

And here's another wonderful blog hop all you authors might be interested in. The Trick-or-Treat blog hop is run by the lovely Patricia Lynne and the idea is to give away free books to trick-or-treaters visiting your blog.

About the blogger: Sophie Duncan is an author of genre fiction from paranormal adventure to murder mystery. For information about Sophie's books, sign up for The Wittegen Press Newsletter:

We'll send you details of book releases, competitions and other news from our authors, BUT we WON'T spam you, or pass your details on to anyone else.
Wittegen Press

We will also give you 2 FREE ebooks just for signing up.

* indicates required