Midnight Roost Blog Tour Stop – Day 3
About the Tour
Meet two of the contributing authors at each tour stop. Today’s guests are multi-genre author Chris Barili and horror author Paul Kane. Learn about the inspiration for their anthology stories and learn a bit about each of them.
Monday – October 16 – Opening Day – Isabele Grey (Interview & Reading) & Joseph Carrabis (Reading) – Writing to be Read
Tuesday – October 17 – M J Mallon (Reading) & Christa Planko (Interview & Guest Post)– Undawnted
Wednesday – October 18 – Chris Barili (Guest Post) & Paul Kane (Guest Post) – Patty’s Worlds
Thursday – October 19 – Julie Jones (Reading) & Keith Hoskins (Guest Post) – Robbie’s Inspiration
Friday – October 20 – Michaele Jordan (Reading) & Mario Acevedo (Guest Post) – Writing to be Read
Saturday – October 21 – Patty Fletcher (Guest Post) & DL Mullen (Guest Post & Video) – Roberta Writes
Sunday – October 22 – Sonia Pipkin (Guest Post) & Roberta Eaton Cheadle (Reading) – Kryosmagica Publishing
Monday – October 23 – Closing Post – Denise Aparo (Reading) & other stories – Writing to be Read
The Inspiration for “Shaken”
It’s kind of hard to say what one thing inspired “Shaken,” since there several life events that came together to make the story what it is.
First of all, I wrote this story during a phase a few years back when all I wrote were ghost stories. In fact, “Shaken” was the second ghost story I wrote in a string of ten or twelve, most of which appeared in a self-published collection titled The Snow Globe and Other Ghost Stories, but that collection didn’t see but a couple of copies, so I pulled it from all the sites I’d put it on and started trying to sell each story individually.
But that’s off the subject. What inspired “Shaken”? I don’t know how many people remember stories that came out ten years ago or so about people using baby monitors and picking up other people’s babies miles away, sometimes hundreds of miles away. I had just heard one such story on the radio and got the idea to write a crime story about a couple trying to track down the parents they’d just heard over their monitor beating a baby.
Yeah, “Shaken” began its life as a crime story/mystery. I tried to make it a science fiction story, too, but as usual, trying to shoe-horn a story into a genre resulted in bad writing and an awkward story.
During one journaling session, I posed to question to myself “what if this is another ghost story?” I had just finished writing “The Snow Globe,” my first ghost story, and found myself liking the way that genre seemed to fit this story, as well.
So, I started writing the ghost story version of it, which meant fleshing things out, too. At the time, I was going through some rough times with my now ex-wife, and one of the issues was that she kept letting my four-year-old daughter sleep between us in bed. I won’t go into details, but that portion of my life made it into the story, as well. So now I had a ghost story about a couple who hear a baby crying on their monitor, but when they check, it’s not their baby. The woman hears it first, and the husband doesn’t believe her. He thinks it’s another excuse to put the kid back in bed with them. But when they both see the ghosts materialize in their son’s room, the path to repairing their relationship begins.
I guess the two main things that inspired “Shaken” were those news stories about long-distance baby monitor signals, and the trouble I was having with my marriage at the time.
I have no idea where the setting came from. We’ve all been in those old Victorian houses that just look like they’re infested with ghosts, but this one appeared to vividly to me that writing about it was easy. Even the backyard, where the story comes to an end, was as clear in my mind as the very different place that I grew up. It had been the same way when I wrote “The Snow Globe,” and has done so for almost every ghost story I write.
Meet Author Contributor Chris Barili
Chris Barili is a speculative fiction and romance author who was also my cohort in the M.F.A. in Creative Writing program at Western. He writes in a wide range of genres, including weird western (Hell’s Marshal series), and science fiction (Shadowblade) under his own name, and romance (Smothered) under the pen name B.T. Clearwater.
Chris was a presenter and panel member for both the 2020 WordCrafter Stay in Place Virtual Writing Conference, and the 2021 WordCrafter New Beginnings Virtual Writing Conference, and a contributor to Ask the Authors and Ask the Authors 2022 writing reference anthologies from WordCrafter Press.
Besides writing, Chris lifts weights, mountain bikes, practices martial arts and battles with Parkinson’s disease. Writing just may be his salvation.
Chris also was a contributor to the original Ask the Authors writing reference project, back in 2018. When asked about a future where writing left him rich and famous, Chris said he would write more. Regarding a future without writing:
“Shrivel up and die. Writing is part of me. Without it, a part of me dies. A crucial part of me. I cannot live without it. I can live without an arm or a leg. I can get by with this Parkinson’s thing. But without writing, I am sunk.”
The best piece of advice he was ever given: “Try genres outside of fantasy.”
Chris’ website: https://authorchrisbarili.com/
Chris is also a contributor to Ask The Authors and Ask the Authors 2022, and served as presenter and panelist for the 2020 Stay in Place Virtual Writing Conference and the 2021 New Beginnings Virtual Writing Conference, hosted by WordCrafter Press.
The Story Behind “The White Lady”
I’ve always loved a good ghost story! In fact some of the first genre stories I encountered were of this kind, in an anthology at school called Ghosts, Spooks and Spectres. Tales like “The Signal-Man” by Charles Dickens and “The Inexperienced Ghost” by H.G. Wells. I also remember growing up watching the yearly A Ghost Story for Christmas adaptations by Lawrence Gordon Clark, mostly based on M.R. James’ work. Who could forget the spectral children of Lost Hearts, or the spider-babies of The Ash Tree? These had such a profound impact on me that I still watch them all every festive period and now add the Mark Gatiss ones to bring it right up to date. They taught me that an effective ghost story is not only about atmosphere and character, it should also be downright terrifying!
Years later I had a stab at my own, doing reworkings and sequels to some of those classics – like “Signals”, “Heartless” and “The Grey Room”, all of which I’ve compiled in the collection Dark Reflections from Black Beacon Books, out in time for the spooky season this very year and introduced by Kim Newman. It’s probably why I’ve been asked to be a guest at a few events that revolve around the subject, like The Dublin Ghost Story Festival in 2016 alongside Adam Nevill and David Mitchell, and the UK Ghost Story Festival in February earlier this year, alongside Michelle Paver, Laura Purcell and Stephen Volk. Indeed, it was for a reading at this one that I first started to think about ‘The White Lady’.
I’d long been fascinated with that legend, which revolves around revenge – and takes many different forms in different countries. You’ll find out more about it all in the story itself… So I figured it was a good opportunity to write something new for the reading, rather than just go for one people had heard before like “Presence”. However, the more I wrote, the more I realised that it was just going to be too long for a half-hour slot. The festival was fast approaching, so I put the story aside and dug out an old one to read that was the right length – “Grandpa’s Chair” – but the tale kept calling to me… a little like The White Lady does herself.
I finished it off, then before I could start thinking about where to send it, or whether I’d just include it in a future collection, Kaye approached me and asked if I had a story for the anthology she was putting together. I knew her from a couple of previous projects, including giving the Keynote Speech at the Wordcrafter virtual event. I sent her “The White Lady”, she read it, and thankfully really liked it. Phew! Sometimes the timings just work for a piece of fiction, or maybe The White Lady just wanted her tale to be told… In any event, I hope you enjoy it and it sends chills down your spine in the same way those stories and shows did when I was growing up.
Extract from “The White Lady”
It had been a stroke of luck to find The White Lady.
The White Lady in a whiteout. A sudden blizzard that had appeared out of nowhere, forcing him off the road. Behind him, at his back in the rear-view mirror, practically chasing him. Visibility had dropped to nothing, conditions treacherous even after he slowed down, something he’d been reluctant to do. Which explained why he’d skidded and ended up veering sideways into that ditch. Why he’d had to eventually abandon the BMW, its tyres spinning uselessly like Wile E. Coyote’s legs off the side of a cliff. Everyone knew that those kinds of cars were hopeless in the snow, but then there wasn’t supposed to be any snow, was there?
Meet Author Contributor Paul Kane
Paul Kane is the award-winning (including the British Fantasy Society’s Legends of FantasyCon Award 2022), bestselling author and editor of over a hundred books – such as the Arrowhead trilogy (gathered together in the sellout Hooded Man omnibus, revolving around a post-apocalyptic version of Robin Hood), The Butterfly Man and Other Stories, Hellbound Hearts, Wonderland (a Shirley Jackson Award finalist) and Pain Cages (an Amazon #1 bestseller). His non-fiction books include The Hellraiser Films and Their Legacy and Voices in the Dark, and his genre journalism has appeared in the likes of SFX, Rue Morgue and DeathRay. He has been a Guest at Alt.Fiction five times, was a Guest at the first SFX Weekender, at Thought Bubble in 2011, Derbyshire Literary Festival and Off the Shelf in 2012, Monster Mash and Event Horizon in 2013, Edge-Lit in 2014 and 2018, HorrorCon, HorrorFest and Grimm Up North in 2015, The Dublin Ghost Story Festival and Sledge-Lit in 2016, IMATS Olympia and Celluloid Screams in 2017, Black Library Live and the UK Ghost Story Festival in 2019 and 2023, plus the WordCrafter virtual event 2021 – where he delivered the keynote speech – as well as being a panellist at FantasyCon and the World Fantasy Convention, and a fiction judge at the Sci-Fi London festival. A former British Fantasy Society Special Publications Editor, he has also served as co-chair for the UK chapter of The Horror Writers Association and co-chaired ChillerCon in May 2022. His work has been optioned and adapted for the big and small screen, including for US network primetime television, and his novelette “Men of the Cloth” has just been turned into a feature by Loose Canon/Hydra Films, starring Barbara Crampton (Re-Animator, You’re Next): Sacrifice, released by Epic Pictures/101 Films. His audio work includes the full cast drama adaptation of The Hellbound Heart for Bafflegab, starring Tom Meeten (The Ghoul), Neve McIntosh (Doctor Who) and Alice Lowe (Prevenge), and the Robin of Sherwood adventure The Red Lord for Spiteful Puppet/ITV narrated by Ian Ogilvy (Return of the Saint). He has also contributed to the Warhammer 40k universe for Games Workshop. Paul’s latest novels are Lunar (set to be turned into a feature film), the YA story The Rainbow Man (as PB Kane), the sequels to RED – Blood RED & Deep RED – the award-winning hit Sherlock Holmes & the Servants of Hell, Before (an Amazon Top 5 dark fantasy bestseller), Arcana and The Storm. In addition he writes thrillers for HQ/HarperCollins as PL Kane, the first of which, Her Last Secret and Her Husband’s Grave (a sellout on both Amazon and Waterstones.com), came out in 2020, with The Family Lie released the following year. Paul lives in Derbyshire, UK, with his wife Marie O’Regan. Find out more at his site www.shadow-writer.co.uk which has featured Guest Writers such as Stephen King, Neil Gaiman, Charlaine Harris, Robert Kirkman, Catriona Ward, Dean Koontz, Olivie Blake and Guillermo del Toro. Find him on X @PaulKaneShadow and Insta @paul.kane.376
About Midnight Roost
20 authors bring your nightmares to life in 23 stories of ghosts, paranormal phenomenon, and the horror from the dark crevasses of their minds. Stories of stalkers, both human and supernatural, possession and occult rituals, alien visitations of the strange kind, and ghostly tales that will give you goosebumps. These are the tales that will make you fear the dark. Read them at the Midnight Roost… if you dare.
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Thanks for stopping by and please visit me in Patty’s Worlds any time.