Wednesday, December 22, 2010
Paranormal Suspense Author – Pauline Holyoak
Paranormal Suspense Author – Pauline Holyoak - www.paulineholyoak.com
Memories of Christmas Past
The morning air is still and cold. Shimmering frost like tiny white diamonds, coat the hedgerows, on each side of the rugged country lane. It paves my way from our small bungalow to my Nana’s house on the other side of the village. A group of robins peck hopeful at the dried berries, which hang from the brittle branches of a wild roes bush. The arid smell of coal fire smoke lingers in the air. I pretend I’m holding a cigarette to my lips as I exhale puffs of imaginary smoke from my mouth. Then I cover my ears with my hands as I feel Jack Frost nipping. I had taken off the head scarf that my mum had so lovingly tied and insisted I wear, and promptly stuffed it in my pocket as soon as I was out of sight. I couldn’t risk any of my friends seeing me in an old fashioned, handmade headscarf. My runny nose felt like an ice cube stuck to my face. The bare skin between my long socks and winter coat was red and chapped. Over my arm I carried a large tartan shopping bag. I stepped out of the lane and turned down the street lined with rows of dull gray council houses, to where my Nana lived. I could hear the tinkling of bottles from the milk cart across the street, some stray dogs barking and a couple of lads yelling as they mounted their bikes. It looked like an ordinary morning on the streets of Aylesham village, but this day was different. It was the 24th of December 1962. There were no colored lights around the windows or external decorations. No cars on the streets or obvious signs of the season. But you could feel it in the air, the magical ‘essence’ of Christmas!
I had taken this route to my Nana’s house numerous times but today my shopping bag was full of tasty ingredients for mince pies, biscuits and tomorrows festive feast! And my mind was burbling over in anticipation of what was to come. Christmas had a simpler, authentic quality to it back then, uncluttered by commercialism and material expectations.
I remember walking into people’s homes and being greeted by the smell of pine, from their small sparsely decorated trees and there was always a modest collection of treasured ornaments on display. We’d go carol singing around the village on bitter cold nights for a few mere pennies. Weeks and weeks of preparation for that all important school concert, who would get the leading rolls of Mary and Joseph? One of the highlights of Christmas day was going to the working men’s club, to collect our presents. Off we’d go, with our Dad, tickets in hand, a head full of anticipation and a belly full of sticky treats. Father Christmas would be there handing out unwrapped gifts, it never occurred to us that he should have been back in the North Pole by then. Those gifts were made possible by a fund the miners paid into all year. Unknown to me then, these were the only real toys some of the children in the village got. My sister and I were lucky, our stocking were always stuffed and there were lots of presents under our tree. In a few hours the men would be making their way to the local pub for a quick pint or two, then off to church for evening mass. Some of them puffing and coughing along the way, their lungs filled with silicosis, from the coal dust in the mine. The turkeys that had been hanging in the butchers’ window were gone, waiting to be cleaned and dressed for tomorrow’s festive dinner.
I arrive at my Nana’s house. She scolds me for not wearing a headscarf, gives me a quick hug, wipes my nose with her cotton hankie, then pours me a cup of tea. Bing Crosby’s white Christmas is playing on the wireless. The coal fire is blazing in the hearth. Colored paper chains hang from the ceiling in the parlor. The smell of pine, cinnamon, cigars and plum pudding titillate my senses, as Nana and I set to our traditional task of Christmas Eve baking. Ohhh… the beautiful memories and simplicity of Christmases past.
Merryweathger Lodge – Ancient Revenge.. The first of a trilogy.. ”A supernatural thriller that keeps you on the edge.”
I grew in Southeast England, in a coal mining village my husband calls, “The place that time forgot.” It is nested between the notorious city of Canterbury and the medieval town of Dover. I came to Canada as a nanny, when I was 21. This vast and majestic country has served me well, but England will always be home. I live in Alberta (western Canada) with my sports crazy husband, adorable Sheltie dog and cantankerous ginger cat. We have two grown children. They are the gems in my treasure chest. I love this part of the world, except for the winters. It can be a chilly minus -30 for days on end. Burr…..
This is where I got the inspiration for my book…
Every summer, when I was a child, we would visit my aunt and uncle at their quaint little cottage on Salisbury Plain. It was called Scotland Lodge and was situated not far from the historical Stonehenge. My uncle worked as a farm hand for the local squire. My aunt tended the manor house. It was there as I roamed free, deep within the English countryside, that I experienced joy, enchantment and some very strange and frightening occurrences. It was like a fairytale kingdom with a sinister twist. The memories of my summers at Scotland Lodge have stayed with me as a sort of nagging unsolved mystery all my life. A few years ago I revisited my childhood wonderland (the old place still emanates a strange and eerie essence) and was lead by some mysterious force into concocting this story and writing this book. It is from my mystifying experiences at Scotland Lodge that this book has emerged.
When Emily Fletcher meets the gorgeous Jonathan McArthur she is infatuated and consumed with lust. Will he go with her to the dreaded wood-lot, to remove the bloody ancient curse, before it’s too late? In the first half of my story Emily is fourteen years old. In the second half she is forced to return to the cottage, at the age of twenty. My novel contains elements of horror, humor, fantasy, romance and sex. I have created a world into which my readers can escape and an atmosphere that will evoke their imagination, stir their emotions and engage their senses. This book was inspired by my own experiences in a remote little cottage near Stonehenge….Available at…www.whiskeycreekpress.com
”Let’s go somewhere privet.” She said, grabbing my arm. She guided me to the passage and plunked me down on the bottom step of the attic stairs. My back straightened. Panic rose within me as an icy shiver ran down my spine. It was as if I had been lead to an old cemetery, sat on a grave and left among the tomb stones.
“That was her room you know.” She said as she pointed up the stairs.
I turned my head ever so slowly and drew eyes up to the portal at the top of the stairs. I shivered and quickly looked way. “I know it was.”
In a low voice she whispered. “Do you suppose she’s still up there?” Then she grinned mischievously.
I looked into her strange glassy eyes. “She was, the last time I was here and I have a feeling she hasn’t left.”
Merryweather Lodge – A quaint little cottage, steeped in history, shrouded in secrets, its aura a paradoxical essence of heaven and hell. Go into this book if you dare and experience my protagonist’s strange and eerie journey there.
Available at www.whiskeycreekpress.com