From the desk of Lee Ann Sontheimer Murphy
October means a shift toward cooler, crisper days and bright blue skies above glorious autumn colors. It’s wood smoke drifting on the wind and raking leaves, baking snickerdoodle cookies and making a pot of chili. October is harvest festival time. Scarecrows and pumpkins appear on porches along with witches, skeletons, bats, and so much more. It’s my birthday month and favorite season of all.
I was born more than a little fey, with the gift my Celtic ancestors like to call The Sight just a few days before Halloween. As I entered life, one of my elderly kinswomen departed it within the same moment. I was given a name one syllable short of the name my grandmother christened her only daughter, dead at birth and my mother wasn’t aware until I was nine. My parents took me home to take up residence in an old Victorian house where paranormal was frequently the norm.
I embrace October and although I read with a voracious appetite year round, this month is my time for finding new chilling tales and also to re-read old favorites. I enjoy reading most of Stephen King’s many novels but one of my favorites, one I consider the scariest, is Bag of Bones.
I love the rural Maine setting, the writer protagonist, and the way the story is woven. Although it doesn’t exactly follow the novel, I also enjoy the made for television version.
Anne Rice is another favorite author. Although I enjoy many of her novels including Ramses The Damned, my favorites of all are the first two books of The Mayfair Witches series, The Witching Hour and Lasher. The first is one of my favorite all time reads, the kind of complex, complicated, often terrifying novels I can get lost in and remain intrigued with for days.
I could list so many more but I’d have to include Ghost Story by Peter Straub, The Hungry Moon by British horror master Ramsey Campbell, My Soul To Keep by Tannarive Due, the classic Something Wicked This Way Comes from the pen and mind of Ray Bradbury, Summer of Night from Dan Simmons, Witch from Barbara Michaels, and just about anything from Scottish author William Meikle.
Paranormal and supernatural elements often creep into some of my work as well. If you’re into what I consider my finest, most chill delivering short story, check out my tale, Forty Eight Hours A Year in Jack O’Spec: Tales of Halloween and Fantasy edited by Karen Romanko. My romance novel, In Love’s Own Time is more sweet than spooky but my heroine falls in love with a ghost. My Irish vampire Will Brennan is the centerpiece of my 2011 release, Love Tattoo and spawned the Love Covenant series from Evernight Publishing. If you like vampires, stay tuned for Comanche Forever, coming out November 3 from Rebel Ink Press with a vampire fan forward from noted reviewer and writer Bennet Pomerantz.
My traditional turnip Jack o Lantern - dating back much farther than the all-American pumpkin version!
In the meantime, I plan to get cozy with a good read this October. Rain’s in the forecast for today in my area and I’ll be curled up reading, seeking both a good story and a good scare!