Saturday, October 3, 2015

Fun, Foibles, and Frolicking Phantoms

A chill is in the air.  A nip at the nose.  The wind moans across the moors.  The moon has eclipsed, and I hear a howl in the distance.

Yep, it's October.  You know what that means, don't you?  Halloween is on the horizon.  In honor of everything gusty, ghoulish, and ghostly, let's spend this month exploring some of my favorite books of the paranormal.

No, I'm not talking of the vampire and werewolf variety.  More like spooks and specters.  We all know by now that I'm a bit of a chicken when it comes to the creep factor and horror is definitely not my thing.  Therefore, the novels I'll be sharing are of a tamer variety, something with a bit of mystery and only a touch of the chills.

Our first outing of the month fits that description perfectly - and offers a heaping helping of humor to boot.  Years ago, I came across Kathleen Bacus' Calamity Jayne series and almost fell out of my boots laughing.  The humor throughout the series is constant, self-deprecating, and extremely irreverent.  Even though I always prefer to read a series in order, the third novel fits our paranormal pursuits best.  Since I bought them so long ago, the publisher has changed, which means the covers have changed (I liked the old ones better) and the titles have changed (I liked the old ones better here too).  However, the stories are still rootin'-tootin' good fun and that's what matters most.

The third book in the series CALAMITY JAYNE AND THE HAUNTED HOMECOMING (once called Ghouls Just Want to Have Fun) takes our intrepid cub reporter Tressa Jayne Turner from a story on homecoming king and queen to that mansion on the hill that has nearly made every brave resident in Grandville, Iowa wet themselves - Haunted Holloway Hall.

As the rumor goes, Miss Loralie Amelia Holloway was left jilted at the altar after her father paid off the proposed groom and made him disappear, leaving virginal spinster Loralie to spend her years wandering the family estate in her faded wedding gown clutching a bouquet of blood-red roses.  In death, she still purports to wander the grounds almost two hundred years later as the Lady in White, scattering rose petals and humming the wedding march while pining for that no-good, long-lost lover.

So why would any self-respecting (ha), hard-nosed (double ha) reporter go traipsing around the old three-story Victorian mere weeks before the veil between this world and the afterlife is at its thinnest?  To get the story, that's why - the biggest story this side of the county fair.  Or maybe Tressa will settle for a simple autograph of the greatest horror writer to ever come out of a small town.

But roadblocks stand between her and Ms. Elizabeth Courtney Howard - namely one Shelby Lynne Sawyer, the six-foot queen candidate to her four-foot king candidate, commonly referred to as Sasquatch and Tom Thumb.  After all, Shelby was the one who brought the story of the author's homecoming to Tressa in the first place, and she'll take it right over to the competition if Tressa tries to cut her from the interview of a lifetime.

Yet even though Lizzie is supposed to be staying at Holloway Hall with her assistant and driver, no one has seen hide-nor-hair of the reclusive writer as she works to finish her final masterpiece.  And all of Tressa's efforts give her zilch - except a little piddle in her panties from repeated brushes with Loralie.  But Tressa's not one to give up easily, not even when smoking hot Rick Townsend tries to distract her with clenches and kisses on the porch.

Hmm....maybe he'd have better luck with a chocolate cake.

Check out this load of fun, foibles, and frolicking phantoms this month.  Available on AmazonBarnes and Noble, and wherever else eBooks are sold.

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