Halloween Flash Fiction with Creole Noir #FlashFiction


Details:

The tale begins with Mary, a gentle soul accused of witchcraft in Ravenswood. Tortured and burned at the stake, her screams cursed those who dared summon her as Bloody Mary. Mirrors became portals to her vengeful spirit, ensnaring those who uttered her name. Unbeknownst to the villagers, Mary's curse lived on through her daughter, Mary Mack (Mackenzie). The innocent-seeming rhyme of Miss Mary Mack carried the darkness of Bloody Mary's legacy. Passed down through generations, its true origin remained shrouded, a sinister warning of the consequences of summoning the spirits of the past.


The Cursed Blood Legacy

Halloween night descended upon Ravenswood with an eerie chill, casting shadows across the cobblestone streets. Among the villagers, whispers of Bloody Mary and Miss Mary Mack permeated the air, igniting a sense of dread in the hearts of all who heard.

In the heart of the village, a group of daring teenagers gathered in the abandoned ruins of the old churchyard. As they huddled together, their breath forming ghostly clouds in the cold night air. Jack-o'-lanterns flickered ominously, casting shadows on the crumbling walls.

"Are we really going to do this?" whispered Sarah.

"We have to," replied Jake, "we can't let those legends scare us. We need to see if they're real."

With nervous laughter and trembling hands, they formed a circle around a cracked mirror they had found among the ruins. Their faces were pale with fear as they gazed into the dim reflection, the glass fogged with an icy mist.

"Okay, here goes nothing," said Alex. "Bloody Mary, Bloody Mary, Bloody Mary."

As the final chant echoed through the abandoned churchyard, a chill swept through the air. The mirror began to shimmer with an otherworldly light, and the temperature plummeted, enveloping them in a freezing embrace.

Suddenly, the mirror shattered with a deafening crack, and a figure emerged from the pieces, its form twisted and contorted with rage. It was Bloody Mary, her vengeful spirit unleashed upon the unsuspecting teenagers.

With a blood-curdling scream, Bloody Mary lunged from the mirror, her bloody hands reaching out to grasp her victims. Terror-stricken, the teenagers scattered in all directions, their panicked cries echoing through the desolate churchyard.

As they ran, Sarah felt a chill run down her arm. She could hear the haunting melody of Miss Mary Mack drifting through the night, its hypnotic notes weaving a sinister spell over the unsuspecting townsfolk.

"We have to get out of here!" shouted Jake, his voice filled with panic.

But before they could escape, they found themselves surrounded by a swirling mist, trapping them in a nightmare realm where reality and nightmare became one.

Desperate to break free from the cursed legacy that gripped their village, the teenagers searched for a way to banish the spirits that haunted them. Armed with forbidden knowledge from the book of Dark Ryhmes, they confronted the dark entities that lurked in the shadows, their hearts pounding with fear.

With a final incantation, the curse of Bloody Mary and Miss Mary Mack was broken, their vengeful spirits banished from Ravenswood forever.
 
Or so they thought.

Little did they know, as the last words echoed into the night, a lingering shadow remained, a whisper of malevolence that seeped into the very fabric of the village. The teenagers, haunted by the horrors they had witnessed, found themselves forever changed. Nightmares plagued their sleep, and eerie whispers followed them wherever they went. Though the physical manifestations had vanished, the psychological scars remained, ensuring that they were lost to the darkness forever.


The Heart of Chenoa
The Black Dove Legacy 
Book One
Creole Noir 

Genre: Magical Realism, YA, Coming of Age
Date of Publication: June 2, 2023
ISBN:  979-8396415935
ASIN: B0C6VYSPF1
Number of pages: 275 pages
Word Count:  44,953
Cover Artist: Creole Noir 

Tagline: Everyone knew she was the belle of the ball, and it was hard to imagine anyone ever taking her crown away from her.

Book Description:

The Heart of Chenoa is a heartwarming tale about a young woman's courage to leave her abusive boyfriend and start a new life in a new town. Along the way, she finds a group of misfit friends who become like family to her, including the inseparable siblings Brooke and Jerald, and the popular but conflicted JC, who harbors a secret love for Jerald. As they navigate high school drama and personal trauma, they come together to seek revenge against a conniving classmate, and ultimately learn to embrace their unique gifts and find strength in their bond.

The story explores themes of love, friendship, betrayal, and redemption as the characters navigate their way through the ups and downs of life. Brooke's premonitions and Lucille's powers add a touch of magic to the story, while Jerald learns to control his trauma-induced alter ego. Ultimately, they discover that they have grown and evolved in unexpected ways and that their bond is stronger than anything life can throw at them.


Excerpt:

Amidst the sprawling fields of Chenoa, a small town nestled in the heart of the Texas, a tale of resilience and friendship unfolds. At its core lies the story of a young woman named Indigo, whose journey from darkness to light weaves a tapestry of courage, love, and the transformative power of friendship.

Indigo had known no other reality than the one she shared with her abusive boyfriend, Troy. The shackles of fear bound her tightly, choking the life out of her dreams. But one fateful night, fueled by a flicker of courage ignited deep within her heart, she made the decision to break free.

With nothing but a few belongings and a trembling resolve, Indigo set out on a journey to start anew in a town where nobody knew her name. Chenoa welcomed her with open arms, offering sanctuary from the storm that had raged within her for far too long.

As Indigo tentatively navigated the unfamiliar school of her new home, she stumbled upon a group of misfits whose warmth and acceptance enveloped her like a comforting embrace. Among them were Brooke and Jerald, inseparable siblings whose laughter echoed through the halls of Chenoa High School, and JC, whose inner turmoil simmered beneath his charming exterior.

Together, they formed an unlikely family, bound not by blood but by the unbreakable ties of friendship and shared experiences. Each member of their motley crew bore scars of their own, but together, they found solace in the company of kindred spirits.

As high school dramas unfolded and personal traumas resurfaced, Indigo and her newfound companions stood united against the tide of adversity. They rallied together to seek justice against a conniving classmate, their bonds growing stronger with each shared victory.

But beneath the surface of their idyllic friendship lay secrets waiting to be unearthed. JC harbored a love for Jerald that dared not speak its name, while Brooke's premonitions whispered of futures yet to unfold. And in the shadows, Jerald battled with the demons of his past, struggling to tame the beast within.

Yet through it all, they clung to each other, their hearts intertwined in a tapestry of love and loyalty. As they confronted their deepest fears and embraced their unique gifts, they discovered that strength lies not in solitude but in the unbreakable bonds of friendship.

In The Heart of Chenoa, amidst the Spanish moss trees and the whispering winds, Indigo and her friends learned that the greatest battles are fought not with fists but with hearts open wide. And as they embraced the magic woven into the fabric of their lives, they found redemption in the unlikeliest of places: within themselves, and within the hearts of those they held dear.


About the Author:

Creole Noir is an author who has a passion for writing stories that not only bring suspense, but also delve into deeper themes of social justice and class disparities. His debut novel Cry of the Black Dove follows London and her friends as they embark on a mission to get revenge after being wronged by those in power. Creole hopes his work will help readers think about these issues and the marginalization that often follows. Outside of writing, he enjoys hosting a podcast with Kinky Boots. Creole currently lives in Tyler, Texas where he obtained an Associates degree in General Studies from Tyler Junior College before engaging in healthcare labor such as caregiving and teaching life skills. He now writes full-time.

Keep in touch with Creole Noir's work by following him on Instagram or checking out his podcast. He loves hearing from readers about their favorite stories and characters. With Creole Noir’s vivid imagination and captivating voice, each of his novels will keep you hooked until the very end.

Keep in touch with Creole Noir via the web:






Tarot Tuesday- Bound Across Time by Annie R McEwen #ParanormalRomance


“The name is Smithbury-Tewkes. You may call me Jana. Or Reverend High Seer, whichever is easier. Sit down. We have work to do.” 

That’s how the owner of The Broom & Bottle, a magickal supplies shop that figures prominently in my novel Bound Across Time, introduces herself to the protagonist, CeCe. As with many of my characters, I’m not sure where Jana came from. My wildly creative mind, I’d like to say, but it may have been the ice cream I had before bedtime. 

What I do know is that Jana (a recurring character in my Bound series books) and I have a lot in common. Like Jana, I was attracted to divination through cards as a teenager. I used a regular playing card deck, then, but that’s only because I hadn’t discovered Tarot. Even without Tarot (and this is also true of Jana), I can—when my sails are full and I’ve got a fair wind—practice psychism without aids at all. 

I generally use the cards, though. People like them. It’s easier for them than enduring my stare for a minute and then hearing about the trouble their arteries or real estate is in. 

Annie R McEwen using Tarot at HamilFest, an 18th century event
Because I’m a career historian and a maker of period clothing, I’m often asked to provide readings and/or lectures about the history of Tarot at historical events. The most interesting example (to date) of that was at a Jane Austen Fest in 2022. Divination of any sort was a fringe pursuit in Regency Era England, and practicing it for money was a crime. The negative social perceptions and legal penalties were inseparable from British attitudes toward Gypsies. The Rom were left few and marginal occupations following their persecution by Henry VIII, but their traditional customs of scrying, card throwing, tasseomancy (tea leaf reading), and palmistry were so much in demand that, for centuries, they risked practicing them, anyway.

The fact that Rom divinators were sought out by the highest to the lowest in English society did not, unfortunately, relieve them of social stigma. Author Jane Austen shared the general prejudice. In Emma, she wrote a scene in which Harriet, Emma’s protégé, encounters a group of Gypsies: “half a dozen children, headed by a stout woman and a great boy, all clamorous and impertinent” (Volume 3, Chapter 3). So aggressive were the Rom, Austen wrote, that Harriet had to be rescued from their clutches; she arrives home distressed and disarrayed. 

Tarot, as we know it today, was unknown in the Regency, though the tarocchi (from which the name “Tarot” is derived), an Italian deck of playing cards, was used for fortunetelling as early as the late 1700s. The casting of fortunes with any cards to hand was common in salons and social gatherings, however much it was lamented by respectable persons. It would be many decades before any sort of divination—including and especially the Tarot—was shouted for by party planners. 

Even today, the awe many people feel about Tarot and the people who delve its mysteries is sometimes transmuted into fear or disdain. At the conclusion of Jana Smithbury-Tewkes Tarot reading for CeCe in Bound Across Time, this exchange takes place. 

Annie R McEwen at her Tarot table in a tea bar in Tampa, FL

“‘I said,’ Jana’s forefinger, the nail blue like her lipstick, hovered over the second card, ‘there you are.’

CeCe’s mouth drew tight. ‘I am not a Tarot card.’

‘Take it now. Take them both.’

CeCe still didn’t want to touch the cards. What she wanted was to leave the shop. But Jana’s glare pinned CeCe to her chair. She gingerly lifted the cards off the table, holding them by their top edges between her forefinger and thumb like they might detonate.”

With love and insight, I am
ANNIE



Bound Across Time
Book One
Annie R McEwen 

Genre: Paranormal Romance, Ghost Romance
Publisher: Harbor Lane Books
Date of Publication: May 7, 2024
ASIN: B0CV4RPDDX
Number of pages: 324

Tagline: In a castle on the shores of the Irish Sea, she’s met the love of her life. Clever, witty, strong, fiercely attractive.  What’s the catch? He’s a ghost.

Book Description:

Historian CeCe’s dream job in a Welsh castle goes sideways when she’s ordered to ditch the history and lead ghost walks. That’s the worst of her worries until she meets Patrick: strong, handsome, irresistible…and dead since 1761.

Desire and hope flare in Patrick’s heart when CeCe touches him while, for CeCe, Patrick is everything. But she’s in the bright world of the living while he’s trapped in the shadows. 

Loving a ghost is deadly business. Patrick and CeCe struggle to outrace fate as it hurtles them toward disaster. Can the ancient riddle of an Irish seer save them? The spells of Welsh witches? 

Or can powers CeCe didn’t even know she possessed bridge time and defeat death?

Book Trailer: https://shorturl.at/ajuE0


Excerpt from Bound Across Time, by Annie R McEwen

You’re an idjit, Patrick. Death was always too good for you.

He should have gone slower with her, no doubt about it. He was a lout, a brute, to startle her so thoroughly, and that was never his intent. He could have—no, he should have—whispered, or moaned, or shimmered from a distance. Instead, he was hasty.

Hasty? He was a burning brand of desire. Who could blame him after two hundred-fifty…how long had it been? He’d lost count of the years.

That was still no reason to be an imbecilic knave, popping up like codswalloping Punch on a puppet stage while wearing the same filthy linen he was tipped overboard in when the Earl didn’t have the decency to give him a proper burial. At least the sea water had washed away the blood.

His honor, his common sense—perhaps they’d washed away as well. Within reach of this woman, he could remember nothing he’d learned of subtle romance and courtly manners. All he could think of was making her his, now until the end of time.

What an embarrassment he was, to his sainted mother, to his upbringing, to the gentleman he was reared to be. An embarrassment to every Irish bard who ever sang songs or wrote poems about women who were doves, and lilies, and other things he couldn’t remember.

He did remember that they were fragile and easily startled. Easily driven away.
Next time, I will be slow. I will slowly and gently explain things to her. Unusual things. Highly unusual, uncanny, frightening, nigh incomprehensible things.

Sure, now, Patrick, me boyo, that’ll be a stroll along the banks of the Shannon.

By the right hand of God, but she was beautiful. Slumbering on the stone floor, her skin smooth ivory but gilded, as though the sun had kissed her once and then fallen in love, unable to leave. She’d lost her cap, and her hair—rich, deep brown and burnished with red, like brandy—tumbled around her neck and shoulders. Her sun-brushed skin, high and perfect cheekbones, the delicate slant of her eyes, the plump swell of her breasts above the top edge of her bodice, the curves of the body he could imagine pressed to his own aching and lonely one…

Beauty itself, she was, not only of body but of mind. In the weeks before she’d seen him, he’d watched her exercise that beautiful mind among the slower thinkers of the Castle, who doubtless envied her. She was stubborn, spirited, and quick-witted—he liked that.
He crouched over her crumpled form, not touching, only taking in her scent. Rose attar and mint—he liked that, too.

The only thing he didn’t care for was the name she went by, See-see. What sort of name was that? It was something you called a canary. He would never call her that, not when the French name with which she’d been christened was just like her.

Céleste, meaning heavenly.

She was waking now. He rose and backed away. Time for him to depart, as he must, and breathe a prayer. Not for himself, there was no point to that. If God had ever listened to him, he wouldn’t be where he was, and he deserved no better. His prayer would be for her, the angel who defied or escaped God’s curse to light his endless night.

Come back, Céleste Gowdie. Please come back.




About the Author:

Annie R McEwen is a career historian who’s lived in six countries, under every roof from a canvas tent to a Georgian Era manor house and driven herself to work in everything from a donkey cart to a vintage Peugeot. For her, it feels perfectly natural to create stories of desperate love and powerful secrets in faraway times and places.

Winner of the 2022 Page Turners Award, Genre (Romance) Category, Annie also garnered the First Place 2022 RTTA (Romance Through Ages Award from Romance Writers of America; Post-Victorian to WWI Category), the 2023 MAGGIE Award, and the 2023 Daphne du Maurier Award. Her Regency murder mystery “Death at Dunarven” appears in the 2024 Murder Most International Anthology. 

Annie’s books are published by Harbor Lane Books (US), Bloodhound Books (UK), and The Wild Rose Press. When she’s not in her 1920s bungalow in Florida, Annie lives, writes, and explores castles in Wales. 









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Pre-Order Haunted Hotels of Michigan by Roxanne Rhoads

Haunted Hotels of Michigan
Haunted America Series
Roxanne Rhoads

Release Date: August 12, 2024
Publisher: The History Press
Genre: Haunted History

From captivating tales of lingering lumber barons to lovelorn ladies and chilling stories of murder, Michigan's hotels hold secrets that will send shivers down the spine.

Ghostly apparitions and mysterious whispers have terrified guests for years at Petoskey's Terrace Inn and The House of Ludington in Escanaba, while eerie occurrences and disembodied voices wake guests in the night at Kalamazoo's Henderson Castle Inn. Once named America's Most Haunted City, Mackinac Island has enough ghosts to keep visitors sleepless for a lifetime.

Embark on a spine-chilling journey through the Mitten State with Haunted Flint author Roxanne Rhoads as she unveils the spooky history of Michigan's most haunted hotels and inns.

Your haunted travels begin here… if you dare to check in.   


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