Tuesday 20 September 2016

"Oh, the Games People Play..." - Glenn Rolfe

Chasing Ghosts is - for me at least - Glenn Rolfe's most explicit and full-on horror yet, with the darkest ingredients and his storyteller's ability to grab all the senses at once. I'm delighted to welcome him as my guest today. The sinister stage is all yours, Glenn...

When I set out to write my latest piece, Chasing Ghosts (Sinister Grin Press), I just wanted to put a punk rock band out in the woods, playing a show at a cabin, and letting my horror mind bring the pain. That original idea started out titled, The Last Show. After reading through the story for me, Erin, my editor, said, “why don’t you call it Chasing Ghosts?” I loved the title, but worried that readers might come in searching for that paranormal angle. In the end, the new title was too good to pass up. 

Where did it come from?  

At the beginning of the story, three pre-teen boys set out to play a game they call, “Chasing Ghosts.”  The idea is that they go out to the old creepy house in the woods and pretty much dare each other to go in, or get as close as you can without chickening out. Bad things tend to happen when kids mess around with creepy old houses…

Just think back to when you were 8, 10, or 12… What kind of crazy games did you play? For me and my dumb friends, it was “The Russians are Coming.”  We’d wait until dusk and hang out by the road. We had some ditches, some trees, and bushes to hide behind. Whenever a car’s headlights burst on the scene, we’d scramble and hide. If you didn’t get down before it went by, you were captured (and presumed dead!). We played it all year-round (hiding behind snow piles in the winter). I watched a lot of 20/20 with my mom, and had lots of irrational fears involving soviet spies and kidnappers. This was more than a game to me, especially when it got pitch black out and the vehicles that passed put their brake lights on.  Those two demon eyes stopped my heart every time. Of course, they were usually just turning into the trailer park, but my mind went a mile a minute with real life horrors each time. I never ran into any trouble playing this game until, at 14, I decided throwing apples at “The Russians” would up the ante. It sure did. That stopped the moment someone got out and chased my ass into my friend’s house where we locked the door and hid like a bunch of babies until they went away.

Anyways, I brought a small piece of my childhood and a whole bag of Richard Laymon-flavored tricks into Chasing Ghosts. I hope you’ll take a chance on the story and share your thoughts!



Glenn Rolfe is an author, singer, songwriter and all around fun loving guy from the haunted woods of New England. He has studied Creative Writing at Southern New Hampshire University, and continues his education in the world of horror by devouring the novels of Stephen King, Jack Ketchum, Hunter Shea, Brian Moreland and many others. He and his wife, Meghan, have three children, Ruby, Ramona, and Axl. He is grateful to be loved despite his weirdness.
He is the author the novellas, Abram's Bridge, Boom Town, Things We Fear, and the forthcoming, Chasing Ghosts; the short fiction collection, Slush; and the novels, The Haunted Halls and Blood and Rain.
His first novella collection, Where Nightmares Begin, was released in March 2016.
Praise for Glenn Rolfe
Things We Fear is a compulsively readable tale of obsession and dark suspense, with one of the creepiest villains I’ve encountered in recent years.” — Tim Waggoner, author of The Way of All Flesh
“Glenn Rolfe’s new thriller is addictive. A quick, compelling read. Rolfe creates tension with a minimal amount of words. His characters are so well-drawn they come alive (before they die).” — Duncan Ralston, author of Salvage

 “Fast paced and tense, with one of the most interesting monsters I’ve read about in recent times.” — Patrick Lacey, author of A Debt to Be Paid

“Glenn Rolfe is quickly establishing a name for himself as one of a number of excellent new writers to ensure the horror genre is kept alive and well.” — Catherine Cavendish, author of Dark Avenging Angel
“There is a definite old school feel about this novella (Things We Fear). It isn’t an over the top gore fest. Instead, what we have is a tense, psychological thriller that builds steadily towards a fitting climax.” -Adrian Shotbolt, at Ginger Nuts of Horror
Purchase Links

Also available in paperback!

Tuesday 13 September 2016

The Night Parade - Ronald Malfi

First the birds disappeared.
Then the insects took over.
  Then the madness began . . .

They call it Wanderer's Folly--a disease of delusions, of daydreams and nightmares. A plague threatening to wipe out the human race.

After two years of creeping decay, David Arlen woke up one morning thinking that the worst was over. By midnight, he's bleeding and terrified, his wife is dead, and he's on the run in a stolen car with his eight-year-old daughter, who may be the key to a cure.
Ellie is a special girl. Deep. Insightful. And she knows David is lying to her. Lying about her mother. Lying about what they're running from. And lying about what he sees when he takes his eyes off the road . . .
 My review
What is it about Ronald Malfi that makes him such a consistently excellent writer? His characters are certainly strong, real and fully formed. His ability to inject new twists and freshness into familiar themes is masterful. Also each time you open a Ronald Malfi, you know you are in for a scary, creepy and intriguing ride. His last novel, Little Girls, explored a familiar theme – a classic ghost story – but kept the reader guessing right to the end and beyond. With The Night Parade, we have a devastating plague that is spreading, decimating whole communities. No one knows how it is contracted – or why some people are immune. David Arlen has lost his wife and is not prepared to lose his daughter too. He has taken off, on the road, desperate to get her to safety. But Ellie is different to other young girls. Not only does she appear to be immune to the illness, she has special gifts that she is only just beginning to discover and can’t fully control. Will they save her and her father? Or is it all too little too late? Who can they trust as they make their perilous journey from state to state? Only each other.

And will they make it before the disease claims another victim, or before the government catch up with them?

Wanderer’s Folly – the nickname given to this disease – rings true, to a frightening extent. The emotional rollercoaster David Arlen and his daughter are on involve the reader at every turn. This is a novel to savour and devour at the same time. Even if you are not a horror fan, but love suspense, you will enjoy this.

 Ronald Malfi, Biography
Ronald Malfi is an award-winning author of many novels and novellas in the horror, mystery, and thriller categories from various publishers, including The Night Parade, this summer’s 2016 release from Kensington.
In 2009, his crime drama, Shamrock Alley, won a Silver IPPY Award. In 2011, his ghost story/mystery novel, Floating Staircase, was a finalist for the Horror Writers Association Bram Stoker Award for best novel, a Gold IPPY Award for best horror novel, and the Vincent Preis International Horror Award. His novel Cradle Lake garnered him the Benjamin Franklin Independent Book Award (silver) in 2014. December Park, his epic childhood story, won the Beverly Hills International Book Award for suspense in 2015.
Most recognized for his haunting, literary style and memorable characters, Malfi’s dark fiction has gained acceptance among readers of all genres.
He was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1977, and eventually relocated to the Chesapeake Bay area, where he currently resides with his wife and two children.
Visit with Ronald Malfi on Facebook, Twitter (@RonaldMalfi), or at http://www.ronmalfi.com.

Praise for Ronald Malfi
“I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The setting, the words, the ending. Color me impressed.” –Melissa Reads on The Night Parade

“The Night Parade has a creepy vibe and some genuinely terrifying moments. I even teared up a time or two. It's everything I look for in a great read.” – Frank Errington on The Night Parade

“One cannot help but think of writers like Peter Straub and Stephen King.”

“Malfi is a skillful storyteller.”—New York Journal of Books
“A complex and chilling tale….terrifying.”—Robert McCammon
“Malfi’s lyrical prose creates an atmosphere of eerie claustrophobia…haunting.”—Publishers Weekly
“A thrilling, edge-of-your-seat ride that should not be missed.”
Suspense Magazine
Purchase Links

Tuesday 6 September 2016

Plas Teg - Home to 15 Ghosts and More...

Image: Rondell Melling/Pixabay
Between the Welsh towns of Mold and Wrexham, you will find a grand Jacobean country house called Plas Teg. It imposes its grandeur, and announces its stature, as one of the most important historic houses in Wales – and, if reports are to be believed, it’s home to around 15 ghosts.

Plas Teg was built in 1610 by Sir John Trevor – a Welsh politician - as a family home and served as that until the death of Sir Trevor’s wife, Lady Margaret, at the beginning of the English Civil War. The remaining members of the family moved to one of their many other properties and rented out Plas Teg for the duration of the war.

The Trevors eventually returned and generations of the family continued to live there until 1930 when it was sold to the War Office and provided housing for soldiers during the Second World War. Sadly, the house declined over the ensuing years – so much so, that it was put up for demolition in the 1950s. The prospect of losing this fine mansion caused a public outcry and, fortunately, a descendant of the Trevors – Patrick Trevor-Roper – saved the day. He rescued the property, with help from the Historic Buildings Council, and partially restored it. Once again the house was habitable and was occupied by tenants until it was sold in 1977. Sadly, the new owners only lived on the ground floor, meaning the rest of the house once again fell into decay. Better times lay ahead for this fine building though. 

 Cornelia Bayley bought it in 1986 and sank a great deal of her own money, plus financial aid from CADW (the historic environment arm of the Welsh Government).  Ten months and £400,000 later, Cornelia Bayley opened her home to the public, who are welcome to visit to this day. Thirty years after she started this mammoth venture, she is still hard at work, restoring, repairing and living in the home she loves so much.

For ghosthunters, there is a wealth of material and a number of characters to choose from. Plas Teg is well aware of its reputation and hosts regular ghostly events. With such a rich and varied history, it comes as little surprise that there should be so many spirits around the place. Not only has it been used as a family home, but also as a court, where people were tried, convicted and even hanged, under the infamous 'Hanging' Judge - Jeffries.

Image: ArtTower/Pixabay

 Of the many ghosts of Plas Teg, one of the most notable is that of Sir John Trevor’s daughter – Dorothy. Her story is all too familiar. She fell in love with a local farmer’s son called Iorwerth. Naturally this was deemed a most unsuitable match by her wealthy father. The lovers were forbidden to see each other, but Dorothy was determined. The couple planned to elope. She buried her jewellery near the well and when the appointed night arrived, Dorothy slipped out of the house and ran to the hiding place to retrieve her treasure. There was no moon that night and she lost her footing. Tragically, she fell down the well to her death. For many years, people have reported sightings of a mysterious woman in white on the main road (the A541) at the spot where she might well have been running to meet her lover.

 It took two months for her body to be found and when it was, her jewellery box and all its precious contents were missing. Poor Iorwerth was distraught. He had good reason to fear her father’s wrath and thirst for vengeance, and was scared he would be accused - not only of stealing her jewels, but - of murdering her in order to obtain them. Rather than wait for, what he saw as, the inevitable, he took matters into his own hands and hanged himself. Now he too haunts the grounds, searching endlessly for his beloved Dorothy.

At the turn of the nineteenth/twentieth centuries, a gardener was frightened half out of his wits by unseen hands grabbing him and trying to pull him down the well. From somewhere he summoned up the strength to tear himself free. He looked down into the dark water, but saw nothing.

In the mid-eighteenth century, a later Sir John Trevor (the fifth of that name) discovered his wife was having an affair. Consumed by jealousy (and probably no small quantity of wine) he allegedly killed her, but, riddled with guilt, he drove his carriage at manic speed through the ground of Plas Teg and hit a tree. He sustained terrible injuries and died a slow and tortuous death.

Image: Samuele SchirĂ²/Pixabay

 More fatal jealousy occurred in 1815 when the 16 year old Elizabeth Trevor-Roper was hotly pursued by two male suitors. Alas, she loved just one of them and when she admitted as much, the spurned lover murdered her chosen one and chased Elizabeth back to the house. The poor girl feared for her life and a struggle ensued, with tragic consequences. Elizabeth either fell – or was pushed – down the well and died. There have been many reports of a ghost of a man and a woman running down one of the corridors. The man has a bloody wound to his shoulder while she, in white, clutches jewels. An echo of her ancestor perhaps?

If you do decide to visit and are disappointed by not seeing any physical manifestations, don’t despair, you may hear or feel them instead. All over the house, it seems the spirits are a playful bunch who like to touch, stroke, prod or push. They also have the ability to affect the atmosphere in a room to such a degree that people experience sudden feelings of despair, happiness, anger or extreme sadness. A woman wailing, sounds of giggling, whispering, knocking, tapping and footsteps are also frequent.

You certainly get your money’s worth at Plas Teg! I can attest to the unique atmosphere of this house and my one visit so far is unlikely to be my last.

You can find out more about Plas Teg on their website

UPDATE (Dec 2023)

Sadly, Plas Teg is no longer open to the public