Leah Price- Contact Reporter
Monday, October 19th, 2015
Did you know that Halloween is one of our nation's favorite holidays — second or third, according to my (very unscientific) analysis of several online polls. As stated on thetoptens.com, which ranks Halloween second, "Who doesn't like free candy?" I'll rephrase as, "Who doesn't like scary stories?" Here's a sampling from our local authors.
For many, the idea of frightening stories conjures up the name Stephen King. Williamsburg biographer George Beahm first wrote about King in his 1989 "Stephen King Companion" and followed it up with several more titles over the next decade. This year he has returned to the king of horror with his third iteration of the companion text. If you own the original, you'll want to check out the update. More than 200 pages have been added, bringing this version to almost 600 pages.
Aptly titled "The Stephen King Companion: Four Decades of Fear from the Master of Horror," the new book breaks King's life down into eight parts, starting with King's roots in Maine and ending with "A Chronology of Stephen King's Life: Personal and Professional, 1947-2015." In between are more than 120 chapters that detail King's rise from his earliest literary attempts to his current world-wide success, and offer multiple ways to get to know King, such as top websites for King fans. And if you want images, you got 'em. Throughout the book, black-and-white photos, graphics and sketchings illustrate King's dominance over the world of horror fiction. The book, published by St. Martin's Griffin, is available in hardcover, paperback and e-book in prices ranging from about $26 to $13, respectively. Go to georgebeahm.com to learn more.
While local authors might not have reached King's legendary status, their stories might get your pulse racing as well. Whether you're looking for light-hearted comedy, or a true scream-fest, you might find a new favorite.
"Under A Blood Moon" by Rachel Graves, of Williamsburg. Urban Fantasy. When Mallory Mors, death witch and detective with Baton Rouge's Supernatural Investigative Unit, is called to the city's first zombie attack, the case quickly escalates to kidnappings and murders. Aided by her boyfriend, a 600-year-old vampire, and the supernatural citizens of her city, Mallory fights to end the blood-drenched crime spree. "Under a Blood Moon" is available from the publisher and major online retailers in trade paperback for $16.99 and in e-book for $5.99. After vacationing Williamsburg for many years, Rachel Graves became a resident in 2012.
Allie Marie of Chesapeake will release "Teardrops of the innocent: The White Diamond Story" on Oct. 27. The light paranormal with romantic elements is set in Olde Towne Portsmouth, where heroine Stephanie Kincaid encounters the ghost of a young Colonial child and an evil spirit determined to keep family secrets concealed. With new love Gage Dunbar at her side, Stephanie weathers a violent hurricane while discovering how easily long-hidden secrets can be uncovered. Marie, a native of Portsmouth, found a career in writing fiction after retiring from law enforcement. For more, go to alliemariebooks.wordpress.com.
From Kristine Overbrook, paranormal romantic suspense "Redeeming the Night" (Crimson Romance). Ashley, a succubus, risks the wrath of The Sisterhood when she teams up with private investigator Eric Adams, a newly turned werewolf, to free kidnapped girls from the clutches of a serial killer. Can love hold them together when her very nature may rip them apart? Overbrook grew up in Norfolk and lives in Virginia Beach with husband and children. "Redeeming the Night," her most recent release, is available at major online retailers in e-book and paperback in prices ranging from about $5 to $15.
"Blood Moon" by Leah St. James is a paranormal suspense short story included in "Mysteries of the Macabre | A Halloween Anthology" (Edward Allen Publishing). Book reviewer Ronnie fears the Harvest Moon Slasher, who terrorized a strip of oceanfront in Virginia Beach 50 years earlier, has returned. St. James is the pen name of Leah Price, Daily Press book columnist. The anthology is available in paperback and e-book from major online retailers in prices ranging from $4 to $13.
If you're not content to read about ghosts and are ready to go hunting in your neighborhood, there's no shortage of books to guide you to the perfect spot.
Newport News author Tamy Kay Thompson recently released "Curiosities of Hampton Roads: Ghostly Colonists, Hidden Crypts, the Black Swan of Westover and More" (The History Press). From John Smith to Blackbeard, from Surry to Gloucester, Thompson touches on the familiar (and not-so-familiar) tales of the supernatural that have kept local residents wondering for years. The volume is about 125 pages but reads like more and is illustrated. It is available in e-book and print from major online retailers for about $6 to $22.
Jamie Pearce, who describes herself as "a proud descendant of the Randolphs and former Williamsburg resident," is a real-life ghost hunter and has written about her experiences in several books. Among them: "Historic Haunts of the South" and its two follow-up books (II and III), which feature sites in our area, including many in Williamsburg's historic district, Berkley Plantation, Red Hill, Tuckahoe Plantation and Bacon's Castle. Pearce wrote in an email, "Many of the locations I have investigated myself or have at least had a personal experience while visiting them" The books are available in print at major online retailers and www.historic-haunts.net
Chesterfield author Pamela K. Kinney has released a number of books about Virginia haunts, including "Virginia's Haunted Historic Triangle: Williamsburg, Yorktown, Jamestown, and Other Haunted Locations" (Schiffer Publishing). In her latest, "Paranormal Petersburg, Virginia, and the Tri-Cities Area," she explores that area's legends, including sightings of still-battling Civil War soldiers, tales of runaway slaves sipping tea at a local parlor, and the "Goatman" who stalks young lovers. The paperback is available at online retailers for about $15. Kinney is a frequent writer guest at Williamsburg's Marscon.
A listing of local "ghost" writers wouldn't be complete without a nod to L.B. Taylor, Jr. who, before his death in March 2014, penned 25 books on ghosts in Virginia. If you haven't yet read them, hunt them down at your local library. Or go to Amazon.com and search "L.B. Taylor in books" and you'll find them still available. The Williamsburg author didn't constrain himself to writing ghost stories. According to his obituary that ran in the Daily Press, he wrote 50 nonfiction books and more than 300 magazine articles. A scan of his Amazon author page reveals three pages of titles in additional subjects from to terrorism to electronic surveillance.
Price can be reached by phone at 757-247-4745.
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Price writes about local authors and local reader events. If you have news to share, contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.