Monthly Archives: March 2012

Playing in Poe’s Cemetery

Taken in the cemetery where Edgar Allan Poe is buried, March 3, 2012, during an intermission in the Poe Celebration. I decided I’d call this my “Woman in Black” photo. Enjoy!

52 Weeks of Spam: Winners, Week of February 27

Winners, Week of February 27:

Cash Advance Fast – » Adverse Credit Remortgages Explored

[Scary-looking link here]

[…] Payday Loans OnlineGetting Payday cash advance You can easily Consult withWRITERS: AFFORDABLE CRITIQUE AND WORKSHOP FEBRUARY 4!

What I loved about this one is they seem to be spamming my own event on other people’s blogs. Thanks for the press, I’ll be sure to give you all my personal information so I can get a Pay Day loan.

Everybody hates Spam—it fills up your Inbox (unless you’ve got G-mail, which does a great job of putting it in an appropriately-labeled folder), clogs your blog (WordPress does a great job filtering, too), and can threaten your computer’s security.

I have to say though, I love my Spam. It cracks me up—it’s poorly spelled, illiterate, and often leaves me wondering who would be dumb enough to click on the link for whatever product/service/lottery winning from mysterious relative in a country you’ve never heard of. So I decided in 2012 I’d go through my Spam each week and pick my favorites to share with the world. I remove the sender and any links that might be damaging (plus, who wants to give them press?).

See you next week! If you get any great Spam, you can post it here, just strip any links and the sender’s e-mail. And be sure to say something in the post to let me know you’re real. Otherwise I might think you’re…well, Spam.

I’ll be at the 39th Heritage Craft Fair in Framingham, MA March 24!

I’ll be at the New England Horror Writers Table at the 39th Heritage Craft Fair at the Joseph P. Keefe Technical School at 750 Winter Street in Framingham, MA on Saturday, March 24. I’ll have copies of Skeletons in the Swimmin’ Hole—Tales from Haunted Disney World, In Poe’s Shadow, Love Notes, and Wake the Witch on hand. The event runs from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. If you’re up that way, come on by and say hello!

For complete details, visit the fair’s website at http://www.heritagefair.org/

GhoStory Guru: The Woman in Black—A Ghost Play, adapted by Stephen Mallatratt from the book by Susan Hill

With the recent release of the new film, The Woman in Black has been much talked about. The original Hill is certainly a classic, as it deserves to be. But it’s also a play, and if you love ghost stories and haven’t read it, this piece is certainly worth reading—and owning.

I spent many years in community theatre both as an actress and stagehand, so for me, reading plays isn’t difficult. Reading plays and feeling true emotion while doing it, however, sometimes can be—stage directions in the script can provide a disruption in the flow of the work. Although the descriptive passages spoken by the actors in The Woman in Black certainly do their part in sending chills up the spine, in this case, it’s the stage directions that make this thing scary.

Consider, for example: “Kipps moves inside. A light illuminates the door, and as we look, we see it slowly open. The light is outside the door, but not inside. Kipps approaches in fear and caution, then shines his torch inside. The only light comes from this torch, and we see by it that the rocking chair is in motion—rocking backwards and forwards apparently of its own volition—and it is this that we have heard, echoing on the floor boards. As he shines the torch on it, it rocks less and less until it stops.”[1]

Or this: “Kipps switches on the lights as: The Woman in Black leaves the stage—momentarily glimpsed.”[2]

In addition: as we all know, the sense of sound is very important in a ghost story. What’s nice about reading this play is the sounds you’re supposed to hear are sparingly rendered: “They trot on, the silence broken by nothing but the sound of the pony, and occasional, harsh, weird cries from birds.”[3]; “There is the sound effect of Kipps running, the thud of his footsteps, the panting of his breath.”[4]

The Woman in Black—A Ghost Play succeeds as a straight read because the simply-described desired movements of the actors create an easy image in the reader’s mind—images that will, more than likely, haunt the reader for quite awhile.

The Woman in Black—A Ghost Play (in fact, the edition I own) is available at Amazon here: http://amzn.com/0573040192


[1] Stephen Mallatratt, adapted from the book by Susan Hill, The Woman in Black—A Ghost Play, (New York: Samuel French—London, 1998), 40.

[2] Ibid., 41.

[3] Ibid., 25.

[4] Ibid., 27.

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