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Thursday, May 3, 2018

Tips for being a really great and scary ghost, by Constance Laughter + giveaway

Tips for being a really great and scary ghost, by Constance Laughter

First, you really must consider a detached limb. Try to arrange for that before you die—preferably right before you die if it's your head or something, but earlier is totally fine too if you're going for a hand or toe. You must make sure you have this item—your detached thing—when you croak. If you don't, you've lost out on some serious scarability because it won't "cross over" with you. That would be a shame.

A detached limb is great because with it you can: a) wear it backwards and scare people, b) throw it at people from a tree or something, c) leave it in a spot to "mark your territory" if you want to come back to that place later, and d) exchange your detached limb with a friend.

Second, you need to perfect your grimace. You know, the kind with teeth that cause old ladies to break wind and old men to drop their toupees? Instant ghost points and you barely had to do anything. I can't stress enough how important a really great grimace is.

Third—and this is the part that will really seal the deal—you need a theme song. I don't mean like Hulk Hogan's "Real American" theme song, but like something you can sing and totally freak people out with. Living people HATE it when ghosts sing. Which isn't fair if you ask me. Living people can sing. Why can't we? Anyway, a theme song. I chose to sing about a monster—a public service announcement if you ask me, not that Isabel Wixon saw it that way. Anyway, think of something to sing, the shriller your voice the better, and have at 'er.

And that's it, three simple steps that will have you causing heart attacks and creating more ghosts left and right. Once you've scared your first living person to death, go ahead and pat yourself on the back. You deserve it.



The Boatman 
by Kat Hawthorne
April 30, 2018 
Genre: Middle-Grade Horror, Fantasy
Publisher: Common Deer Press
ISBN: 978-1-988761-20-6 paperback
ISBN: 978-1-988761-21-3 ebook
ASIN: B07BFFQS1D
Number of pages: 126
Word Count: 25,000
Cover Artist and Illustrator Dora Mitchell
Eleven-year-old Isabel Wixon retreats into a fantasy world to cope with her grief

Isabel Wixon is weird. Not only does she see dead things, but her list of friends consists of a talkative ventriloquist’s dummy and the gentlemanly spider that lives in her hair. Real friends? Too hard. Inventing friends is much easier. Inventing the Boatman—a terrible monster that lures kids into a strange sleeping sickness and never lets them go—probably wasn’t one of her better ideas though.

Excerpt:
Izzy froze as the spirit of a young girl appeared before her. This morning, as she did on occasion, the girl had taken off her head. The ghost’s body hefted the head a few times, obviously fixing to lob it at Izzy. She stiffened. Izzy had never been hit by a detached head before, but she doubted it would be much fun.

“The Boatman is looking for you,” the ghost-girl said so quietly Izzy couldn’t be sure if what she’d heard was the ghost’s voice or the leaves on the trees above laughing as the rain tickled them. “You should be very careful not to—GAH!!”

Just then, and for no reason Izzy could see, the body fumbled and dropped the head. It crashed to the ground and began rolling away. “You cumbersome hunk of junk!” the head squealed as it bumped into a tree and came to an indelicate halt.

Blindly, the body bent over and began feeling around on the forest floor. Looking for something round, it located a large rock. It spent a few moments trying to lift it, but as everyone knows, ghosts cannot lift things. The head sighed. “Hello! I’m over here you brain dead oaf!” it hollered from its place near the tree. Finally, the body stumbled toward it.

After poking a finger in the head’s eye and shoving another up its nose, ghost-girl’s body heaved the head up by its stringy hair and placed it back onto its neck hole, spinning it around a few times as though it were screwing in a light bulb. When finally the head was fixed into place, though slightly crooked, the now-whole ghost-girl stretched as if she were stiff. “Silly, clumsy thing,” she said. “I swear, one day my body will lose me! How will I ever get a head then?” The ghost put a hand on her belly and chuffed at her own joke.

But not Izzy, she was too afraid to laugh. Instead, she swallowed. Usually when the headless ghost-girl appeared, Izzy ran away. But not today. There was something she’d been meaning to ask, and she knew that the only way to get the answer was to be brave and ask it. Besides, after the whole dropped head debacle and the thing about cracking jokes, the ghost seemed too distracted to be menacing. So Izzy stood as tall as she could and hoped the ghost would not notice her rattling knees. “Um,” she stammered, “who is the Boatman?”

The ghost crossed her arms over her chest. Her lips looked like a pair of bloated worms, particularly when they were pooched out, as they were right then. She tilted her head to the side, or at least she tilted it more to the side than it already was. “Did you just speak to me? Are you not frightened?”

“Yes—I mean no.” Izzy nodded and then shook her head. She peeled a slithering wet clump of hair off of her forehead. She looked back at the ghost, who still waited for an answer. “Oh...Um...I mean, yes I spoke, and no I’m not afraid.” It was half true at least.

The ghost-girl slumped, which made her seem far less frightening. “Really? Am I losing my touch? That would be the pits. I’ve been trying so hard.”

“Oh!” Izzy scrunched her eyebrows together. She didn’t want to hurt the ghost’s feelings. She simply hadn’t considered how the ghost must be feeling. After all, scaring people was the ghostly way. Everyone knew that.

Izzy scratched her pointy elbow then continued. “Well then, I admit that you’ve done a wonderful job scaring me these past few weeks. I mean, the head thing and the song—very creepy. Truly top notch material. However, I don’t know who this Boatman fellow is. I’m not sure if I ought to be afraid of him or not. Perhaps you could explain? That might help.”

The ghost rubbed her chin as if considering. “Well, if you think it will help.”

Izzy nodded. “I do.”

Theatrically, the ghost hovered a few inches off the ground and faded in and out as the trees swayed and small shafts of morning light blinked right through her. Her voice was low-pitched when she began to speak, very unlike the shrill soprano she took on while singing. “The Boatman is a hideous monster who lives in the world of dreams.” With this, the ghost waved her arm as if indicating that they were in the world of dreams currently. “He sails his rickety boat around on the lake of your thoughts. He is the one responsible for every nightmare you’ve ever had; he’s the one who controls your fear and...”

The ghost sighed and visibly deflated, seeming displeased by the quality of her storytelling. Izzy had to admit, the ghost’s tone had lost some pizazz as she went on. “Too over-the-top?” the ghost asked.

Izzy shrugged one shoulder. “Perhaps a teensy bit.”

About the Author:
Goodreads
Kat Hawthorne is a nerd times three. Besides writing, she enjoys creating visual art and playing her cello. She is mother to three small boys, who are unwittingly the inspiration for her need to write.





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4 comments:

  1. This sounds funny, and I love the cover!

    ReplyDelete
  2. the book sounds funny-thanks for the giveaway

    tiramisu392 (at) yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete
  3. I love the excerpt. Should be a fun read.

    ReplyDelete