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Some spooky stories for Hallowe’en…

Last week a collection of spooky stories called Shiver was released by UK publisher Accent Press, in time for Hallowe’en. I’ve been gripped to the stories all weekend. Some are creepy, some made me laugh out loud, some are eerily atmospheric, but all of them are a great read.

helena fairfax, hallowe'en, the pumpkin hackerMy story in the collection is called The Pumpkin Hacker, and is billed as a ‘frighteningly modern fairy tale retelling.’ Here’s the blurb:

Clive is in deep trouble when the special Hallowe’en game he promises to code for a scratchcard company proves beyond his skill. Desperate, he promises his daughter Rosalie will be able to solve the problem. Rosalie struggles all night but can’t make the program work, until a strange-looking cleaner offers to help – in exchange for one of the winning scratchcards…

Can you tell which fairy tale I’m retelling? How about if I give you three guesses…?

There’s a great mixture of tales in the collection. I particularly enjoyed French author Marie Laval’s Cemetery of the Two Princesses, which is set in Algeria. It’s a chilling tale, full of ancient magic and superstition, and just right for scaring the wits out of people over a camp fire.

Celebrating Hallowe’en with trick or treat-ing, pumpkins and fancy dress is an American tradition which has made its way across the Atlantic to Britain. What I really enjoyed about this collection of stories is the unique British take on this tradition that shows in a lot of the authors’ writing – going to the pub on Hallowe’en; buying lottery tickets at the corner shop; ghostly pirates in Cornwall; crime and murder in a small village.

If you fancy finding out more about this collection, it’s available as an e-book from Amazon US, Amazon UK and in e-Pub format from Accent Press.

Do you celebrate Hallowe’en where you live? What’s your favourite ghost story? If you have any questions or comments at all, I’d love to hear from you. And if you download and enjoy Shiver, please come back and let me know!

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10 thoughts on “Some spooky stories for Hallowe’en…

  1. Drusilla could be defined as my ghost, tulpa or guide along the way; but if so she’s an amazingly well-behaved one. As soon as the last of the quartet of stories which completed her tale was written, she seemed to withdraw ever so slightly and return to Avalon, Catalina, and to retirement, where it seems she intends to stay.

    It’s definitely been an odd “relationship” although I never quite called us “the odd couple…”

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    1. Hi James, how interesting that your “ghost” has retreated. Do you miss her now your stories are finished? It’s strange how we almost mourn characters when a book is finished, whether we’re writing that book or just reading someone else’s. It would be a great idea for a story to have a character come alive and be real, not leaving you alone after you’ve finished a book. Although it seems Drusilla has already done that in your case! Thanks for the great comment!

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  2. Thanks for mentioning the anthology Helena. I am enjoying reading the stories so much and working my way towards yours which sounds intriguing. Even when I lived in California we didn’t celebrate Hallowe’en much, though children came knocking and we provided for them, but it is big business over there. When I was a child we put on old sheets over our heads and turned the lights out, then shone torches up under them on our faces. We ducked for apples and that was it really. Not Ameicanised then.

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    1. Hi Jane, yes, I think big business is right! My local Co-op is full of Hallowe’en sweets and masks. We didn’t celebrate this at all when I was a child. It was the season for pulling your Guy along on a trolley, and collecting wood for Bonfire Night. How things have changed! Perhaps I’ll bring a disgruntled Guy Fawkes into my next Hallowe’en ghost story!

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      1. Oh yes I do recall the Penny for the Guy and going up to the local woods to watch a firework display in one of the spaces they cleared. Having potatoes cooked in the bonfire and sausages on sticks and sparklers. We were awed by it all. Light the blue touch paper and stand well clear! Standing around the fire to keep warm, breath of a hundred people wafting skyward with the embers…the smell on our clothes when we got home and our cold ears and feet. The excitement of seeing the Guy burn still with us as we went to bed, tired but happy. Kids miss so much now. I hate seeing the commercial side of it and in late summer…same with Christmas, the magic and the story has been lost in the worship of the cash register. Oh well…cannot change it sadly. Yep it would make a fab story I am sure. Good luck. :)

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      2. You describe it all really eloquently, Jane! I remember it all so well. My mum used to make Parkin, which is traditional in Yorkshire on Bonfire Night. I loved Guy Fawkes as a child, but nowadays I’m happy to stay inside where it’s warm and watch everyone else’s fireworks through the window!

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  3. Congratulations, Helena on being part of “Shiver.” It sounds like a great collection of scary stories. What a title, “The Pumpkin Hacker.”

    I love Halloween! Always did as a kid as well. Great fun!

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    1. Hi Susan,
      Thanks so much for coming by. My children loved Hallowe’en, too, and now as adults they love Hallowe’en fancy dress parties! We didn’t celebrate it here so much when I was a child, but now it’s taken off in a big way. Thanks so much for your comment!

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  4. Definitely one I must buy as I like weird and ghostly tales! Well done on being included, Helena. I wrote a couple of posts last year on different blogs about Scottish Hallowe’en – must put one on my own blog this year!

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    1. What a great idea, Rosemary. I’d love to hear about Scottish Hallowe’en. I imagine Scotland is rife with ghostly tales, especially in Edinburgh, which always strikes me with its bloody history when I visit. Plenty of stories to tingle the spine! Thanks for dropping in!

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