Monthly Archives: March 2011

DOWN ABOUT YOUR LIFE? CHECK OUT “THE MINX” ON READ SHORT FICTION!

Cassandra Dunn’s short story “The Minx” is up at Read Short Fiction, and if your winter blues aren’t fading fast enough, this piece might be just the right pick-me-up!

What I love about this piece is its pervasive sense of sadness. The speaker laments her own life, but is realistic about how her choices got her to that life–yet there’s a piece of her that wishes she were someone else. And really, who hasn’t done that at least once or twice? Well, the end might surprise you.

Check it out here: http://www.readshortfiction.com/2011/03/the-minx-by-cassandra-dunn/

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PARANORMAL, EH?/SKELETONS IN THE SWIMMIN’ HOLE CONTEST WINNER ANNOUNCED!

Paranormal, Eh? Contest Winner Jenette Casey with the goodies!

The video clue contest run by Paranormal, Eh?—in which players watched nine videos and then went to my website to read my short stories to find the answers—has a winner! Out of 75 entries, one winner was chosen at random. A package containing a copy of Skeletons in the Swimmin’ Hole: Tales from Haunted Disney World, a copy of the book’s trailer and a couple of other goodies is on its way to Jenette Casey, of East Rochester, NY. Congrats to the winner and THANK YOU to everyone who played!

MISS MY TWO-PART PARANORMAL, EH? INTERVIEW? NOW IN ARCHIVE!

My two-part interview with Terry Konig of Paranormal, Eh? Radio—and the very first episode of the show’s Rapid Fire Fan Questions—are now available! They aired March 15 and 16.

In Part One we talk Poe; in Part Two we talk Skeletons in the Swimmin’ Hole and haunted Disney. And who would I spend 24 hours with in a haunted house (besides Nathan)? Find out and hear the answers to some pretty cool fan questions. You can listen to them at the links below, or directly from this site. Have fun!

Links

Part 1

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/paranormaleh/2011/03/15/paranormal-eh-radio-ep-9-kristi-petersen-schoonover

Part 2

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/paranormaleh/2011/03/16/paranormal-eh-radio-ep-10-kristi-petersen-schoonover-1

Rapid Fire Fan Questions

http://paranormaleh.podomatic.com/entry/2011-03-16T17_56_20-07_00

Listen Right Here

Part 1 (Episode 9)

ParanormalEhEp9KPS3-15-11

Part 2 (Episode 10)

ParanormalEhEp10KPS3-16-11

Rapid Fire Fan Questions

ParanormalEhRapidQuestions3-17-11

AUTHOR CHAT APPEARANCE TOMORROW, MARCH 26

I will be a guest on Lynda D. Brown’s Author Chat on Blog Talk Radio Saturday, March 26, at 6pm EST/5pm CT. You can listen to it here:  http://www.blogtalkradio.com/lyndabrown/2011/03/19/author-chat-with-lynda-d-brown

About Lynda, from the Author Chat website: Lynda D. Brown is the Founder and CEO of Spoken Word Press. Spoken Word Press was founded in March 2010 and the company’s first publication, Invisible Enemies, was published in May 2010. Invisible Enemies is available in paperback, e-book and is also available to download to your  Iphone, Ipad, PC,Blackberry, and Android. Ms. Brown’s goal is to publish at least 6 titles for the Invisible Enemies Series, and to market digital content for fans of the supernatural series.

Tune in if you can! If not, I’ll provide a link to the archive after the show has aired right here on my site.

PINK NOISE AUTHOR GIVES SKELETONS A GREAT REVIEW!

Leonid Korogodski, author of the book Pink Noise: A Posthuman Tale which Cory Doctorow (Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom) calls “a story that sucks you in and spits you out again some 120 pages later”[1], has given Skeletons in the Swimmin’ Hole: Tales from Haunted Disney World a great review!

Want more information on Pink Noise? Visit the website here: http://www.pinknoise.net/ The book can also be purchased on Amazon.

Here is the link to Leonid’s complete review of Skeletons on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/review/R39926500WV6SD/ref=cm_cr_rdp_perm?ie=UTF8&ASIN=0615402801&nodeID=&tag=&linkCode=


[1] Read Cory Doctorow’s full review of Pink Noise here: http://bit.ly/hABpJ8

“SANDSTORIES” SELECTED IN NEWPORT LIFE MAGAZINE’S INAUGURAL WRITING CONTEST

The inspiration for the flash piece “Sandstories.” Poet Heather Sullivan and I were at either First or Second Beach (I can’t remember which now) in Newport, Rhode Island, July 15, 2006.

My flash fiction piece “Sandstories,” which is set on a beach in Newport, Rhode Island, was selected as a winner in the Newport Life Magazine (http://www.newportlifemagazine.com/) Inaugural Writing Contest. Winners were published in the March/April 2011 issue and most attended the Launch Party on Thursday, March 3, at Busker’s on Thames Street in Newport.

Writer and photographer Melissa Martin Ellis, Newport Life Magazine Managing Editor Annie Sherman, and me at the Launch Party, March 3, 2011.

The piece is a little over 500 words. You can read it on the Newport Life website here: http://www.newportlifemagazine.com/articles/2011/03/08/current_issue/doc4d6e660e60a45796452857.txt or subscribe here: https://secure.townnews.com/newportlifemagazine.com/subscriber_services/subscribe.php

Or, purchase the magazine at the following locations:

Rhode Island

Barrington

Shaw’s Supermarket

Bristol

Brooks Pharmacy

Cumberland Farms

CVS Pharmacy

Hi Lo Supermarket

East Greenwich

Cumberland Farms

CVS Pharmacy

Jamestown

Cumberland Farms

Little Compton

Wilbur’s General Store

Narragansett

Brooks Pharmacy

Cumberland Farms

Newport

7-11 Convenience

Breakers Mansion

Brooks Pharmacy

CVS Pharmacy

Newport Mansion Store

– at Bannister’s Wharf-

Marble House Mansion

Stop & Shop Supermarket

Vicker’s Liquors

Xtra Mart

North Kingstown

WalMart

Middletown

7-11 Convenience

Barnes and Noble

Brooks Pharmacy

Cumberland Farms

Newport Vineyards

Walgreens Pharmacy

Shaws Supermarket

Portsmouth

Brooks Pharmacy

Clements market

Cumberland Farms

CVS Pharmacy

Eagles Nest Antiques Center

Greenvale Vineyards

Xtra Mart

Providence

Brooks Pharmacy

Brown University Book Store

Cumberland Farms

CVS Pharmacy

East Side Market Place

East Side Prescription Center

Fatima Hospital

Miriam Hospital

Shaw’s Supermarket

Tiverton

Brooks Pharmacy

Cumberland Farms

CVS Pharmacy

Wakefield

Wakefield Prescriptions

Warren

Cumberland Farms

CVS Pharmacy

Warwick

Brooks Pharmacy

CVS Pharmacy

Shaw’s Supermarket

Xtra Mart

Westport

Cumberland Farms

State wide

Barnes and Noble

Brooks Pharmacy

Cumberland Farms

CVS Pharmacy

Hi Lo Supermarket

Shaw’s Supermarkets

Stop & Shop Supermarkets

Xtra Mart

Out of State

Connecticut

Brooks Pharmacy

CVS Pharmacy

Shaw’s Supermarkets

Stop & Shop Supermarkets

Massachusetts

Barnes and Noble

Brooks Pharmacy

CVS Pharmacy

SKELETONS IN THE SWIMMIN’ HOLE IN GODDARD COLLEGE LIBRARY

MFAW Summer 2009 Goddard graduates in front of the Eliot Pratt Library on campus. We're holding up our bound theses. Left to right, me, Amy Tranchida, Maria Chaudhuri, and Christian Thiede.

I hold an MFA in Creative Writing from Goddard College in Plainfield, Vermont, and alumni are encouraged to send copies of their books so they can be placed in the permanent collection at the Eliot Pratt Library on campus. I sent them a copy of Skeletons in the Swimmin’ Hole: Tales from Haunted Disney World.

I just received a nice e-mail thanking me and noting it would be placed in the library with a nameplate. I’m just proud my work will be part of the school and accessible to other students.

I know many of you who read my blog/newsletter are Goddard graduates, so when you have a book published, keep in mind that Goddard would welcome a copy.

 

PUT SOME MURDER IN YOUR MARCH

“Beware the Ides of March” has new meaning!

Judy Viertel’s “Man Murders Wife” is now up at Read Short Fiction—while it doesn’t have the hallmarks of a ghost story, it is a testament to the idea that subtle is better, and it will haunt me for many days to come. Don’t miss it! http://www.readshortfiction.com/2011/03/man-murders-wife-by-judy-viertel/

THAT’S the Spirit! Destination Truth’s “Live from Ireland: The Search for the Banshee Ghost” illustrated what real-time televised paranormal investigations can—and should—be

*CONTAINS SPOILERS*

I write ghost stories. I write a number of ghost stories. Yet every year what I hope will be the ultimate ghost story—the live televised paranormal investigation—falls flat. The evening deteriorates until its highlight is knocking back a shot of Jack every time a green-faced investigator says “Did you hear that?”

But during Destination Truth’s four-hour “Live from Ireland: The Search for the Banshee Ghost,” which aired on St. Patrick’s Day, I didn’t have to go that far. And I don’t think anyone else did, either: Twitter was noisy. Facebook was frenetic. People were riveted. Why?

The show tapped into some of the elements of good ghost stories. Here’s what DT did right—and what every one of these shows should study up on before its next live televised paranormal investigation.

Well-written creepy back story revealed like water torture. In ghost stories—as with real haunted places—in-depth, tragic histories are key. This info needs to be administered between the action, getting scarier each time (just when you think the history of the place can’t get any darker, here comes something scarier). The pre-recorded historical and prior investigation sections of DT weren’t only well-researched and -written, they romanced the ghost story’s “campfire element”: people telling tales. They were also staggered well, placed just after an investigation segment’s denouement (in ghost stories, history’s often presented after the falling action of scarier scenes). King’s The Shining is an excellent example of this technique.

Complex, distinct personalities and chemistry. Ghost stories are really about drama between people—how they’re victims of or conquer their personalities; how they fail or don’t fail each other. In fact, in most stories the ghost isn’t the point; the ghost’s a vehicle, and the actual scary moments act as triggers for the characters to clash within themselves or with each other. If the characters are cardboard and indistinct, this doesn’t work: no conflict, no drama. Fortunately, this DT investigation got that. Josh is driven and daring—but sometimes makes reckless decisions. Ryder’s uptight and bitches on a dime—but is sensitive underneath. Barry’s level-headed and rational—but is startled easily. Jael’s always nervous—but can’t say no. These four in a high-pressure situation was like watching fireworks. Who cared if a ghost showed up—the threat of one showing up was enough. Characters, not plot.

Properly ratcheted tension. Tension’s critical in ghost stories, and creating it’s an art in itself. There are several ways to do it, and DT took advantage of a few. Skillful revelation of back story and internal/external conflicts (mentioned above) heighten tension. A twist resulting in danger in the middle of the story—such as the discovery of the hair comb—is another. There’s also manipulation of characters—put the most vulnerable in the roughest spots. An excruciating play in DT was Josh’s selecting Jael to handle the tower alone—and everything that ensued. Whether or not the decision to send her was made on scene or prior to filming doesn’t matter: she was the obvious choice because of her personality. Even if she hadn’t experienced anything, she was so jumpy we felt it. And how about when Josh told her he’d spied moving shadows beneath her? He could’ve kept his mouth shut so as not to make her worse. But he didn’t—he goaded her, and our eyes grew wide along with hers. Had Josh selected someone fearless, the tension would’ve been greatly reduced.

Engagement of all five senses. Good ghost stories engage all five senses: sight, hearing, smell, taste, touch. DT’s unhurried establishing shots of dead trees, endless moss-covered corridors and burnt timbers served the same purpose as a well-crafted descriptive paragraph (think the opening of Poe’s “The Fall of the House of Usher”), creating tone and mood. The sound of Jael’s furiously throbbing heart during her tower ordeal rattled the floorboards if you happened to be listening in surround-sound (“The Tell-Tale Heart,” anyone?), and the distant wails and screams—whether from sheep, whales or something supernatural—were chilling. Even though television viewers couldn’t directly experience smell, taste, and touch, team members were generous with their remarks about, among them, a dead bird’s odor, the taste of fish breakfast vomit, and the temperature of the air to ensure that these senses—with some imagination—were included.

Humor. Gates is a genuinely funny guy (when examining a live scorpion to eat: “Um, do you have anything more…dead?”). In ghost stories, there is, at least, one strategically-placed humorous moment or line of dialogue. There has to be. It breaks the tension so the reader can catch his breath—and experience a contrasting emotion, necessary so the next tension-infused section is that much more intense. In DT, every funny line or moment was situational, brief—and in just the right place.

At the show’s sunset, they shared the evidence they’d found thus far—and while it certainly was stunning, I wouldn’t have cared if they’d gotten nothing. Four hours had passed like fourteen minutes. I’d been scared, shocked, entertained, amused, informed, and on the edge of my seat. It had been, finally, the ride I’d always wanted a live paranormal investigation to be: like Jacobs’ “The Monkey’s Paw” or Lurie’s “The Pool People.”

Destination Truth’s “Live from Ireland: The Search for the Banshee Ghost” has obliterated the frequently-piped excuse that “a live ghost hunt is boring.” If other shows take its cue, I think we can thankfully say that the days of sleep-inducing live paranormal investigations are a thing of the past—and I can put away my bottle of Jack.

MISSED EVPs, NO MORE HUSKY AND “FLASH” MOUNTAIN: HEAR IT ON THE MARCH 13TH EPISODE OF THE G&D SHOW HERE!

Great ghostly craziness on The Ghostman & Demon Hunter Show, as usual—why there’s no such thing as Husky size in Sears anymore, EVPs none of us noticed on our video until years later, and, God help us all, boobs on Splash Mountain. The above picture of Shaun Burris (The Ghostman) and Nathan Schoonover (The Demon Hunter) says it all! I had a great time discussing ghosts, haunted Disney, Poe and all sorts of stuff. If you’d like to hear the show, you can listen to it directly from this post here:

KrissionGandD03-13-11

OR, you can listen to it directly from The G&D Show site here:

http://ghostanddemonhunter.planetparanormal.com/?p=542

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