Saturday 31 October 2009

What Are You Afraid Of?

Happy Halloween!

To go with all the frights and chills today, I am pleased to present guest blogger Pat Bertram. She stops by as part of her ongoing blog tour for her new book Daughter Am I, and she offers a spooky discussion on that primal emotion...


Through stories, we learn how to deal with our fears, especially if we are the ones writing the story. If you novelize your fear of being eaten alive by monsters from outer space, then the terrestrial ones eating you alive don’t seem so monstrous. If you watch a movie about aliens taking over your body, then the terrestrial one that’s taking over your mind might not seem quite so alien. You don’t think you are being eaten alive or that your mind is being taken over? Well, you are and it is -- it’s called aging. Little by little, the you that you know is being supplanted by a creature you could never fathom being. Some people turn into querulous beings totally unrecognizable from the daring-dos of their youthful selves. Some turn into their mothers. Some . . . Well, I’ve scared myself enough.

According to author Lee Child, we don’t write what we know -- we write what we fear. Perhaps this is true. My books are filled with fears -- fear of being at the mercy of mindless governments and corrupt corporations, fear of deadly and unstoppable diseases, fear of the loss of self, fear that our memories lie. Since all of these fears can be lumped into one group -- fear of powerlessness -- I wonder if all fears came down to that same thing. Mine do, anyway.

I checked out Phobias A-Z, to see what sort of things people are afraid of, and now I’m in danger of becoming a phobiaphobe. Or a phobiaphile. Although I am sympathetic to anyone caught in the horror of a phobia, I do enjoy the names. Names such as levophobia, kainophobia, lachanophobia, mageirocophobia, melophobia, nomatophobia, nyctohylophobia, paraskavedekatriaphobia. Great names for dreadful conditions.

Aha! Here’s the one I was looking for: shamhainophobia -- fear of Halloween. I knew there had to be such a thing! There is a name for every other fear.

Okay, I’ll let you off the hook so you don’t turn into a Sesquipedalophobe (someone who fears long words). Here’s what the above-mentioned words mean:

  • Levophobia -- Fear of things to the left side of the body
  • Kainophobia -- Fear of anything new
  • Lachanophobia -- Fear of vegetables
  • Mageirocophobia -- Fear of cooking
  • Melophobia -- Fear of music
  • Nomatophobia -- Fear of names
  • Nyctohylophobia -- Fear of dark wooded areas
  • Paraskavedekatriaphobia -- Fear of Friday the 13th

The one fear I hope no one ever gets is patbertramophobia. So not good for me as a writer!

Pat Bertram is a native of Colorado and a lifelong resident. When the traditional publishers stopped publishing her favorite type of book — character and story driven novels that can’t easily be slotted into a genre — she decided to write her own. Daughter Am I is Bertram’s third novel to be published by Second Wind Publishing, LLC. Also available are More Deaths Than One and A Spark of Heavenly Fire.

Daughter Am I:

When twenty-five-year-old Mary Stuart learns she inherited a farm from her recently murdered grandparents-grandparents her father claimed had died before she was born-she becomes obsessed with finding out who they were and why someone wanted them dead. Along the way she accumulates a crew of feisty octogenarians-former gangsters and friends of her grandfather. She meets and falls in love Tim Olson, whose grandfather shared a deadly secret with her great-grandfather. Now Mary and Tim need to stay one step ahead of the killer who is desperate to dig up that secret.

Friday 30 October 2009

A Halloween Story

A Monster Therapy Session

“Now don’t feel awkward, we’re all here to share our problems. Just tell us how you feel.” I gave our newest member of group an encouraging, sympathetic look.
“I feel so persecuted, so violated. They won’t even let me have my eternal rest!” The Mummy buried his face in his bandaged hands.
“Tell me about it! I got nuts chasing me with guns and silver bullets! How can they afford silver bullets in this recession?” The Wolfman scowled.
Dracula flashed his fangs in return. “At least you do not have teenage girls hounding you. Oh, how I hate Twilight! I believe I preferred it when all I had to contend with were mobs and wooden stakes.”
I glanced over at the Headless Horseman. He was hunched over as usual, with an air of dejection. Poor man, it was so hard to participate in a discussion without a mouth, or a head. I might have to adjust his depression medication again.
“Have any of you been trying to socialize as I suggested? Let people get to know the real you, to see past the image?”
“I have.” Frank joined in the conversation. We had shortened his name some time ago; Frankenstein’s Monster was too much of a label. “I went to a Halloween party a few days ago; no one knew I wasn’t wearing a costume. I just blended in. It was so freeing and I had a great time. I just wish they would treat me that way all the time.”
I reached over and patted his shoulder. “They will, eventually. This is what the group therapy is for, to help you integrate into society.” I glanced at the clock.
“Well, it is time to end the session for today. Now remember, try and socialize, and no incidents.” I gave them a stern look. “That means no dismemberment, Wolfman, and no bloodsucking, Dracula. I don’t want a repeat of last Halloween.”
I ushered everyone to the door with a smile. “I’ll see you all the same time next week.”

Monday 26 October 2009

Book News

Just some updates today about my latest activities:

- I'm putting the finishing touches on my newest books, Shadows of Poetry and Passing Fancies.

Shadows of Poetry is my second volume of poetry, a book of dark verse. It has been uploaded to and I'm just awaiting the proof copy to check for errors and those sneaky typos. After it has been approved (hopefully that will happened within the next week or so) it officially goes on sale. Also, the download version (available at will be only $1 until January.

Wanted: Readers of the grim, the sorrowful, and unhappy endings.

Poetry written for the blackness in your soul.
Wrenching, dismal, bleak verse for those who want to walk on the dark side.
No sappy, cheerful love poems allowed.

Passing Fancies is a book of short fiction, mostly fantasy tales with a few bits of other fiction; the book will have three types of fiction, Micro Fiction, Flash Fiction, and Short Stories.
I'm writing the last few stories for the book and working on the editing and I should be finished by the end of the week. Then it is off to and glory. I will be posting a excerpt or two from this book here at my blog.

Note: For anyone not familiar with the terms, Micro Fiction are stories 100 words or less, Flash Fiction, stories around 1000 words and Short Stories are usually between 1000 and 7500 words.

-I have a special Halloween treat coming with guest blogger Pat Bertram stopping by as part of her blog tour. Anyone not familiar with her books should check them out. You can find More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire and her newest Daughter Am I at and Second Wind Publishing.

-Shameless Plug: Looking for a horror book in time for Halloween? Chronicles of the Undead is available at,, Barnes and Noble and (also on, a more budget friendly download version).

Chronicles of the Undead:

Family Secrets.
Three generations of one family share their intimacies with the world of the vampire.

Inside the personal journals of the Harrington family, a dark and dangerous odyssey unfolds.
Three members of this tormented family, Samuel, his son Edmund, and Edmund’s daughter Charlotte, struggle during the 18th and 19th century in London, England, as the lives of this family intersects with supernatural forces. Two intriguing vampires befriend, manipulate and play with all three souls, altering their lives forever.
Their fears, private confidences and weaknesses are revealed as one selfish act ends in horrific tragedy, with far-reaching consequences.

Who succumbs to the seduction and danger of the vampire? Who grapples to combat the evil influence that permeates their lives?

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