Wednesday, 21 October 2020

 WRITER'S BLOCK!

Welcome to the first of many in our Writer's Block series! 


Ann Massey is interviewing her fellow Beul Aithris Publishing writers and artists giving you a chance to get to know them and their work. 


First up is our favourite Chicago paranormal author, RICK HALE who has just released Bullets, Booze and Babes, The Haunted History of Chicago and Illinois.






ANN MASSEY: You've been around the block in the field of the paranormal, tell us a bit about yourself and how you got into the eerie side of life!

RICK HALE: I first became interested in the paranormal in 1982 when I was 8. I witnessed and interacted with an apparition in my grandparent's house in Franklin Park, Illinois a town just outside of Chicago.  I've been hooked ever since. My first investigation was a private home in September 1991, I was 17. 

AM: Long before you put pen to paper for your own books, you were involved in paranormal investigating in Chicago, as an investigator, guide and paranormal media. Which did you prefer and why?

RH: To be honest I love them all. I've focused more on writing the last four years after being diagnosed with cancer and losing my left leg. But I'm much stronger now and I'm looking forward to contributing more to the field.

AM: What made you decide to write books on the weird and wonderful world of the paranormal and why do people love reading about it so much?

RH: Writing is something that always came very naturally to me. I guess I have an aptitude for it. I got my start as a writer with Paranormal Underground Magazine. After that everything just fell into place.

AM: As a paranormal investigator what would be your most terrifying and most strange experiences seeking the supernatural in Chicago?

RH: I can't say I've ever experienced anything truly terrifying. It's like Hans Holzer said, "Ghosts are just people in trouble" and I really do believe that. If anything, my first investigation was maybe a bit more than I was expecting. To this day, I still believe I dealt with a legitimate poltergeist and a thoughtform created by the focus who was a 16 year old girl.

AM: Your book Bullets, Booze and Babes, The Haunted History of Chicago and Illinois focuses on a dark and chequered history that have led to hauntings. What is it about Chicago that brings us some of the most infamous tales including Bloody Mary, John Wayne Gacy and Dillinger?

RH: Chicago has a turbulent history going all the way back to it's very beginnings. Not to mention all the violence caused by organized crime. Hell, we can even boast the country's first serial killer, HH Holmes. This mixed with the great fire, the Eastland Disaster and the inequality of the late 19th and early 20th centuries created a perfect storm for hauntings.

AM: You've also widened the net to include other parts of Illinois - what haunted gem stands out for you?

RH: Definitely Bachelor's Grove Cemetery in South suburban Midlothian. Bachelor's Grove never ceases to impress with its myriad of hauntings. It would be easy to dismiss it as urban legend, but I assure you, Bachelor's Grove Cemetery is extraordinarily haunted.

AM: What are personally your top three locations in your book and why?

RH: You want me to pick 3? Frankly, that's damn near impossible. Read the book and see them all.

AM: In your own words "Welcome to Illinois, come for the hospitality, stay for the weirdness - What advice would you give to someone who wishes to explore the locations in your book when better times allow?

RH: Always be respectful of both the dead and the living. We Chicagoans take a great deal of pride in our ghosts and will be less then thrilled if these haunted places are used like a personal playground.

Bullets, Booze and Babes, The Haunted History of Chicago and Illinois with artwork by Mark Hetherington is available on the Beul Aithris website NOW! 



Monday, 12 October 2020

Stella by Petula Mitchell

 

Image by marian anbu juwan from Pixabay

 
Petula Mitchell shares how music inspires her writing and a short story:

 
So this is quite exciting. A while back this beautiful song by the Satellite Station popped up purely by chance and as music junkie I listen to as much as I can that comes my way. This is haunting and melodic with a fabulous vocal by Travis Rue.Please check out their page. Anyway, I felt inspired to write a short story after hearing this. It aches with love, loss and longing. So I requested the opportunity to post the song with my story. So here they are as companion pieces and my grateful thanks to the Satellite Station for permitting me to do this with their fabulous song, in the video below:
 
 
STELLA
 
Stella had been alone for such a long time. She was now ninety and had been widowed for fifty years. Now in her autumn years , as her daughter liked to call them, Stella resided in a home. It wasn't quite a care home as she was mobile and capable. Sharp as a tack, her daughter liked to call it, but just recently Stella did wonder if she was losing her grip on reality. 
 
She had brought with her to this reasonably spacious apartment some of the furniture from the old family home. Her dressing table with its large mirror stood in the bedroom. It had been a gift from her late husband when they had their first home and didn't really have a lot of money to buy nice things. He said a lady should always have a nice dressing table. Somewhere to put her personal things do her hair and make up. Something to call her own. It had probably cost him a pretty penny at the time and she had always cherished it. Even more so when he had passed away at the age of 40 leaving her with a ten year old daughter and a broken heart that never quite mended. Now, on sleepless nights, when she looked in the mirror she could see him. He never quite acknowledged her but somehow she could sense that he knew she was there. A half glance, a smile or a tilt of the head when she said his name were subtle signals to her that he knew she was close by.
 
Stella put this all down to an old lady having vivid dreams or maybe the start of her rational functions slipping away. She hadn't mentioned it to anybody. She wanted to keep her last bit of independence for as long as possible. The flat had alarm cords in every room and a cheery warden either knocked on the door or rang her three times a day to ask if she needed anything. Help, shopping, tea and chat were all offered and sometimes gratefully received. More and more though Stella just sat in front of the dressing table watching and waiting.
 
Bill had been the love of her life. He wasn't classically handsome. His nose was a little long and he had hair that refused to behave no matter how much brylcreem he used on it. When they had married in 1955 the short back and sides was falling out of favour with the young men of the day and Bill sported an unruly quiff in an effort to look fashionable in their wedding photos. She always kept one on the dressing table. It was quite stiff and formal. A frozen tableau of them smiling as he held her by the arm. It didn't indicate in any way how they felt about each other. Two young innocents setting out together, to learn about life and love. On that wedding night neither of them had known exactly what to expect. They certainly hadn't expected to wake the next day connected at the soul. Fifteen years later he was gone. 
 
She spent the first few years of widowhood concentrating on her daughter. She had money, he had left her provided for, but the day came where her girl headed off to university and Stella was quite alone. That was when strange things started to happen. She would wake in the night for no reason, the room cold, the lights flashing when she switched them on. There was the feeling that she wasn't alone but fleeting glimpses of something in the corner of her eye never materialised into anything more. Sometimes she called his name almost hoping that whatever it was would turn out to be his shade.
Her life moved on however and she got a job, even met another man. He was nice enough but she never had the same connection with him and steadfastly refused to marry him. They had a long relationship until he too passed away. She often thought he must have died a disappointed man as right up to the end he harboured the hope of marriage. But how could she when Bill was just a whisker away?
 
Now it seemed to her he was even closer and so she sat by the mirror and waited. She had his old letters in the drawer beside her and hadn't read them for years. He always started them the same way.
 
'My own darling Stella, my love, my guiding star....'
 
As she took one out and unfolded it, the paper yellowed at the edges with age, she heard his voice. 
 
“Stella.”
 
It was a whisper but made her look up with a start. There he was, in the dressing table mirror with his hand against the glass. He was looking straight at her.
 
“Bill?” she exclaimed, convinced that either madness or dementia were now going to be her constant companions.
 
“You look well, and still so pretty.”
 
“I'm ninety Bill. I'm old and wrinkly.”
 
“Not to me my love.”
 
“How come you can speak to me now? Is my time up? Are we going to be together?”
 
“It's coming close my love. It's time to move on. I have waited such a long time for you and I know your heart has always been mine. I tried to let you know before that I was watching over you but I think I just annoyed you.”
 
“No, I thought it must be you. It was strange but I wasn't afraid. When it, you, stopped I was sad. But I had to move on and make a living. Make a life.”
 
“I know you did Stella and you did it well. Why did you not remarry?”
 
“I have a husband.”
 
She put her hand against his on the glass and the surface rippled like water. She could feel him, and with the gentlest push her hand and then her lower arm passed through the once solid barrier. He raised her hand to his lips to kiss it. Stella felt herself rising from the stool she was sitting on and pushed the hairbrushes and trinket boxes to one side as she climbed onto the dressing table. She stepped through the now permeable barrier and into his waiting arms, yet somehow she was still watching. The woman in the mirror was young and still had dark hair. Bill swept her up in an embrace and kissed her just as he had done in life. Stella gasped as she watched. She could feel his hands, his warmth, his breath, but she had not left the chair. Then it happened. A searing pain in her head and she slumped forward.
 
The banging on the door was frantic now. 
 
“Mum, mum! Are you ok?”
 
The warden hadn't been able to raise an answer so had left it for an hour in case Stella was having a nap. It wasn't unusual. She didn't sleep well at night. But when a second attempt to raise her failed she rang Stella's daughter . Now as the daughter knocked the door, the warden fumbled for her pass key. Finally they were in and could see through the open bedroom door the frail figure of the old lady slumped across her dressing table. The strangest thing though was that she had a mysterious smile on her face and was still clutching one of the letters from her late husband. Through her tears the daughter took the letter and read the opening lines.
 
“My own darling Stella, my love, my guiding star. I can't wait until we are together again.....”
 
“You won't have to wait any more dad.” she thought, and folded the letter up neatly before putting it back in the drawer.
 
 

Monday, 17 August 2020

The Next Releases and Covers

The covers for the next two books are complete, and looking good, all working having been done by Mark Hetherington. 


The next book will be published next month, a collection of short supernatural tales by Petula Mitchell. This is her first book and she is a very effective writer in scaring even the hard worn spooky fiction fan. 




The next book after that will be Rick Hale's second title for BA, and is an engrossing tour of Chicago and Illinois crime, ghosts, hauntings and other weirdery. It is this year's Hallowe'en title. 




Tuesday, 30 June 2020

Ov and Changes

Last week saw the publication of the second BA novel and first Young Adult title, Ov: A Fantasy by Kevin Patrick McCann. This is a great piece of storytelling and there were points in editing where leaving a session to wrap up for the day was difficult as I wanted to find out what happened next!The cover art again was provided by resident artist Mark Hetherington, who again produced the goods. What with all the uncertainty of the world and summer holidays coming up, Ov is a good title for ages 13 plus, both for it's escapism and tale of getting through some incredibly difficult circumstances that at times seem impossible. They say fiction and storytelling can heal and teach valuable life lessons. Well, this book has it. Kevin is a writer of fantastic insight and a gift to younger readers. You can see more about Ov on the BA website here and purchase direct from Amazon here. It is available in all Amazon market places, as is Kevin's previous book, suitable for younger readers, Secret Diary of a Shapeshifter - click here. Like all BA titles in Kindle, both these are put at reduced prices to provide good reading at quality prices to help folk still in lockdown not get too bored.


The pandemic has seen the hiatus of the BA Bookshop. Things are starting to open up, but the Bookshop will not be reopening in it's current format. Instead, the ability to purchase print titles directly is going to be moved across to this website and be part of the Book Directory. Readers will be able to go onto the page of each book and find the option to purchase there, along with the blurb and other information. Now, this is simple enough to describe. Actually doing it is going to be another kettle of fish, with a bit of technical jiggery pokery! So the website may look a bit, well, wonky, while this is going on as widgets are tested out and checked for appearance and functionality. Please bear with things, and PLEASE DO NOT click purchase this title if you happen to see the Buy Now option on a title if you happen to see it. Once things are ready and the new system in place, a grand announcement with jazz hands will be made. All titles are available meanwhile on Amazon and some bookshops. 

The next title to be released is Petula Mitchell's collection of short ghost tales At The Cross Roads. Work is underway on it at present and it is both scary and bittersweet. It will make a good contribution to sleepless nights!  Following that it's Hallowe'en and Rick Hale's second BA title. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, 19 May 2020

Return of the Wild!




We are without a doubt living in strange times, and I hope this blog finds you well despite it all. Things are still rolling here at Beul Aithris and it's back to work after a short break to recuperate some overstretched brain cells.

First of, to answer a question that has cropped up (and pertains to the lovely badger!), and that is can you still buy Malcolm J Ingham's From Badgers to Nighthawks? The answer to that is yes, you can. While the Beul Aithris Publishing online shop remains closed thanks to the household being an at risk one from Covid 19 and trips to the Post Office not being possible as a result, Mal's fantastic memoir is still available via Amazon, Waterstones and other retail. It is also currently available at the princely sum of £1.99 on Kindle at present as part of the drive to provide quality, instantly available reading material at reasonable prices while we are all mostly stuck in doors (which is most definitely the case in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, where the message is STAY AT HOME). It does appear that print book deliveries are also starting to move again with Amazon too. It's also hard to believe that a year has been and gone since this book was published. Mal has another book in the works at present with Beul Aithris, so watch this space. From Badgers to Nighthawks can be ordered from Amazon (link here) - a perfect way to escape being stuck indoors if you are self isolating.

Like several parents, we are currently working on home learning here. There are a few things Beul Aithris may be able to help in this. One is Elaine May Smith and Alison Stell's Wee Bunny Book for younger readers, that teaches the importance of caring for pets properly and may help encourage new readers to read independently. The Wee Bunny Book is also available on Amazon (link here) and Waterstones. At the time of writing, it says Amazon is temporarily out of stock, but that should soon resolve.

Older readers also home learning may enjoy Kevin McCann's Diary of a Shapeshifter, available for only 99p on Kindle (link here). It's a book that makes the brain tick over and will help stymie any boredom or liven up an English lesson in the dining room. Kevin, a former teacher, also posted some ideas to help with home learning on his blog (link here). I can attest to them reigniting interest from bored kid. Incidentally, the next book to be published by Beul Aithris will be Kevin's fantastic YA fantasy adventure, Ov, due on 24 June. Work is underway on it at present.


And finally, Beul Aithris is open to submissions again. Though the main output has been in the paranormal and folklore, as can be seen from above, all genres are considered (apart from Grapic Novels, which are a whole different ball game!). Please see the submissions page for more details and be sure to read the guidelines (link here)

Friday, 27 March 2020

Gods, Ghosts and Goblins: Folklore and Beyond by Eric L Fitch

Despite the lockdown, people still want to read. In fact probably more want to read judging from the uptake in free eBooks over the last couple of weeks! So on that note, the next release is out tomorrow on it's original schedule.

Blurb -


"The British Isles are awash with all sorts of legends and strange history, which have woven their way into the indigenous cultures and popular culture. This collection brings together these writings, ranging in subject matter from the links between the Celtic god Nodens, a Roman temple, and J. R. R. Tolkien; Woden’s influence in England; various horned gods; the Montem mound and associated salt ritual; St Ursula; various witches; Norse gods; the Chalvey Stabmonk; folklore surrounding ravens, ghosts and goblins; King Arthur; exorcism; M. R. James; H. G. Wells and other authors; and a significant update on his earlier work on Herne the Hunter.

Eric L. Fitch displays a phenomenal knowledge of folklore, legends, and custom. This is a collection that no folklore or antiquarian aficionado can do without."

And cover art, by Mark Hetherington, who also provided an interior illustration:

Copyright © Mark Hetherington



The print book is priced at £6.99 and eBook currently at £1.99 in line with the policy of providing low priced eBooks during the Covid 19 lockdowns. Both are available on Amazon, and will be available on the Beul Aithris Publishing bookshop once it reopens after the current crisis. The book is due out tomorrow, though there may be delays what with everything that's going on!

Please be aware that there are delays in deliveries with Amazon in terms of printed books across the board just now (Neil Gaiman fans also have to wait!) as they are prioritising delivery of essentials such as food and general supplies, so if you wish to get a copy of this, or indeed any other BA titles, eBook is the best format. Sixteen of our eighteen books are in this format.

Friday, 20 March 2020

Reading Through The Lockdown! Kindle Price Cuts, Sale and Freebies

As the Covid 19 crisis continues to wreak havoc on life as we know it, here at BA, things continue to be plotted to see how we can help out.

Lots of folks are seeing their regular past times from going to the pub, cafe, cinema and theatre to live music having to stop as measures are taken to contain things. And now we have school closures to add to the mix of folk stuck at home for the foreseeable.

One thing we can still do, and that the joys of technology has made super accessible with eBooks, is reading. eBooks are pretty much how most libraries are only able to function at present in terms of providing reading material.

So on that front, a regular program of sale prices and the odd freebie is now happening with BA titles on Kindle. Some eBooks have had their over all price reduced, which will soon be showing up on Amazon.

Hopefully this will help folk in some way from going stir crazy. And for those with kids at home needing to carry on learning, the eBook of Kevin McCann's excellent poetry will be a snip at 99p for English with a twist! For younger kids, the audiobook of Elaine May Smith and Alison Stell's Wee Bunny Book can be found here on SoundCloud https://m.soundcloud.com/elainemaysmith/the-wee-bunny-book-elaine

Available on Kindle Price Countdown at 99p from 22 to the 29th of March at Amazon.co.uk are, in no particular order:

The Unseen World: Afterlife Research by Ryan O'Neill
The Haunted Scotland Cookbook by Alister Reid
The Curse of Peg O'Nell or The Demon of The Well by Daniel Nicholas Cobban
Scottish Witch Memorials by Gregor Stewart
The Otherside by Ian Ainsley
My Life as a Scottish Paranormal Investigator by David Barrett

Price reductions

The Secret Diary of a Shapeshifter by Kevin McCann
Under the Dying Tree by Michael S Collins
This Isle is Full of Monsters: Shakespeare's Audiences and the Supernatural by Jon Kaneko-James
Uncanny Clydeside by M J Steel Collins
From Badgers to Nighthawks by Malcolm J Ingham
Dark Emerald Tales by Ann Massey O'Regan

Freebies!

Uncanny Clydeside by M J Steel Collins until the end of the week
Ghosts of Scotland by Gregor Stewart from 22 March til 26 March.
Behold! True Tales of Terror...and Some Other Spooky Stuff by Rick E Hale from 22 March til 26 March
 from 22 March til 26 March

After that, Kindle Price Countdown will be rolled to the American markets from 99c. And these will be a regular basis alternating each market.


Monday, 16 March 2020

Coronavirus/Covid 19

Beul Aithris will still be running as normal during the Novel Coronavirus/Covid 19, unless there are any severe changes to the situation.

As a publisher, you can't help but be aware there are lots of folk stuck in quarantine and figure there must be something you can do to help. As a small press with limited resources, it will really be a small thing, but if it provides even a small bit of escapism, it will be worth it!

All Beul Aithris titles are available to order on Amazon, who are in a position to deliver print books a lot more quickly than the BA Bookshop for urgently needed reading materials. For those with Kindles, the majority of titles are available in ebook as part of Kindle Unlimited.

At present, there are plans to provide some free reading material, it just needs to be organised!

Details of all titles can be found in the book directory at  https://www.beul-aithris-publishing.com/p/blog-page.html

Keep well and keep washing hands for 20 seconds with soap! Two rounds of singing Happy Birthday is meant to time it well. 

Uncanny Clydeside by M J Steel Collins will be available free on Amazon.co.uk via Kindle for 5 days from 17 March 2020!


Tuesday, 18 February 2020

Three Years In And Several Happy Readers



It is exactly three years since Beul Aithris Publishing officially opened for business, and what a three years it has been. A grand total of 17 books have been published in that time, and it has certainly been a learning curve.

Tuesday, 7 January 2020

I Got 20:20 Vision!

Another new year is upon us, which means a good point for reflection. Last year was something of a breakthrough year for Beul Aithris Publishing, with a few firsts.