Monday, October 4, 2010

Guest Post and Excerpt: H.P. Mallory author of ~ Fire Burn & Cauldron Bubble (A Perfect read for the Halloween Season!)


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H.P. Mallory offers her thoughts on why she writes paranormal books and her feelings around Halloween.

What is it about the paranormal that intrigues so many people and is responsible for a pretty vast subsection of fiction?

For myself, I can say I’ve been fascinated by things that go bump in the night ever since I was a little girl. And, it’s probably not a big surprise that Halloween is one of my favorite holidays, tied with Christmas. I’ve always loved the folklore behind Halloween—how its origins began in paganism and how, over the years, it evolved to be the holiday we all know so well today. So, what is it about the nocturnal or the otherworldly that’s so arresting? I think it’s the thrill of the unknown. The attraction to the paranormal is in what you can’t see as opposed to what you can. For me, I’ve always been way more frightened by the threat of the monster in the darkness, than the monster itself. It’s the idea of what could be as opposed to what is.

As I think about Halloween, which is looming ever closer and closer, I think back to the various events that really shaped my notion of what Halloween means. Growing up, my mom used to put up Halloween decorations all over our house until it looked like it was drowning in orange and black. Every year my brothers and I would watch Garfield’s Halloween Adventure and Disney’s Legend Of Sleepy Hallow (the cartoon version). I actually still own the VHS copies of both which I’ve saved all this time to pass on to my son. For me, Halloween is a time to breathe in the crisp Autumn air; an excuse to throw a festive bash with friends and family, and a reason to eat as much candy as I want. And, truly, what could be better than staying up late on Halloween night, waiting for a glimpse of the Great Pumpkin?


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A little taste of the perfect-for-Halloween read ~  Fire Burn & Cauldron Bubble (Excerpt)

It’s not every day you see a ghost.

On this particular day, I’d been minding my own business, tidying up the shop for the night while listening to Girls Just Wanna Have Fun (guilty as charged). It was late—maybe nine p.m. A light bulb had burnt out in my tarot reading room a few days ago, and I still hadn’t changed it. I have a tendency to overlook the menial details of life. Now, a small red bulb fought against the otherwise pitch darkness of the room, lending it a certain macabre feel.

In search of a replacement bulb, I attempted to sort through my “if it doesn’t have a home, put it in here” box when I heard the front door open. Odd—I could’ve sworn I’d locked it.

“We’re closed,” I yelled.

I didn’t hear the sound of the door closing, so I put Cyndi Lauper on mute and strolled out to inquire. The streetlamps reflected through the shop windows, the glare so intense, I had to remind myself they were just lights and not some alien spacecraft come to whisk me away.

The room was empty.

Considering the possibility that someone might be hiding, I swallowed the dread climbing up my throat. Glancing around, I searched for something to protect myself with in case said breaker-and-enterer decided to attack. My eyes rested on a solitary broom standing in the corner of the Spartan room. The broom was maybe two steps from me. That might not sound like much, but my fear had me by the ankles and wouldn’t let go.

Jolie, get the damned broom. Thank God for that little internal voice of sensibility that always seems to visit at just the right time.

Freeing my feet from the fear tar, I grabbed the broom and neared my desk. It was a good place for someone to hide—well, really, the only place to hide. When it comes to furnishings, I’m a minimalist.

I jammed the broom under the desk and swept vociferously.

Nothing. The hairs on my neck stood to attention as a shiver of unease coursed through me. I couldn’t shake the feeling and after deciding no one was in the room, I persuaded myself it must’ve been kids. But kids or not, I would’ve heard the door close.

I didn’t discard the broom.

Like a breath from the arctic, a chill crept up the back of my neck.

I glanced up and there he was, floating a foot or so above me. Stunned, I took a step back, my heart beating like a frantic bird in a small cage.

“Holy crap.”

The ghost drifted toward me until he and I were eye level. My mind was such a muddle, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to run or bat at him with the broom. Fear cemented me in place, and I did neither, just stood gaping at him.

Thinking the Mexican standoff couldn’t last forever, I replayed every fact I’d ever learned about ghosts: they have unfinished business, they’re stuck on a different plane of existence, they’re here to tell us something, and most importantly, they’re just energy.

Energy couldn’t hurt me.

My heartbeat started regulating, and I returned my gaze to the ectoplasm before me. There was no emotion on his face, he just watched me as if waiting for me to come to my senses.

“Hello,” I said, thinking how stupid I sounded—treating him like every Tom, Dick or Harry who ventured through my door. Then I felt stupid that I felt stupid—what was wrong with greeting a ghost? Even the dead deserve standard propriety.

He wavered a bit, as if someone had turned a blow dryer on him, but didn’t say anything. He was young, maybe in his twenties. His double-breasted suit looked like it was right out of The Untouchables, from the 1930s if I had to guess.

His hair was on the blond side, sort of an ash blond. It was hard to tell because he was standing, er floating, in front of a wooden door that showed through him. Wooden door or not, his face was broad, and he had a crooked nose—maybe it’d been broken in a fight. I can say he was a good-looking ghost as ghosts go.

“Can you speak?” I asked, still in disbelief that I was attempting to converse with the dead. Well, I’d never thought I could, and I guess the day had come to prove me wrong. Still he said nothing, so I decided to continue my line of questioning. “Do you have a message from someone?”

He shook his head. “No.” His voice sounded like someone talking underwater.

Hmm. Well, I imagined he wasn’t here to get his future told—seeing as how he didn’t have a future. Maybe he was passing through? Going toward the light? Come to haunt my shop?

“Are you on your way somewhere?” I had so many questions for this spirit but didn’t know where to start, so all the stupid ones came out first.

“I was sent here,” he managed and in his ghostly way, I think he smiled. Yeah, not a bad looking ghost.

“Who sent you?” It seemed the logical thing to ask.

He said nothing and like that, vanished, leaving me to wonder if I’d had something bad to eat at lunch. Indigestion can be a bitch.

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Author Bio:  H.P. Mallory is an author of Urban Fantasy & Paranormal Romance. Instead of publishing the traditional way she has gone the self publishing route. She did live in England, and then Scotland, but once again resides in the US with her husband and new baby. For more info you can connect with her at her website, her blog, twitter, and facebook.   


  • To purchase Fire Burn & Cauldron Bubble via SmashWords and Amazon Kindle links for US/UK.
  • For her other novel ~ To Kill a Warlock via SmashWords and Amazon Kindle purchasing links for US/UK.

These books are amazingly inexpensive, at $2.99 each and available in a variety of formats making them a screaming deal. Smashwords also includes an option for a printable version for those who do not have an ereader or other electronic means to read the novels.

Give Away Reminder!

Most important is the reminder that we are offering a giveaway for two of H.P. Mallory’s books. The book excerpted above, Fire Burn & Cauldron Bubble, and To Kill a Warlock.

Hope you had a great weekend!


Shain Brown said...

Thanks so much, her reads look like so much fun. I cant wait to jump in her book.

Unknown said...

Shainer -
I thought so too. Very professional and fun.
Thanks for stopping by!

Andrea I said...

Thanks for the giveaway. These look good.

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