Tuesday, October 28, 2014

When Life Mimics the Movies

Congratulations to Colleen and Brooke, the winners in Trish's giveaway. Thank you to all who participated!

I’ve been a fan of scary movies all my life. Stasher movies or horror stories based on torture and violence aren’t my favorite; they have no residual effect on me. I can watch one and still sleep like a baby, not a nightmare to be found.  For me, the movies that have a lasting effect, and invade my sleep are storylines that are more intellectually spooky, or plots that mirror something that happened to me in real life. 

The new movie Ouija is a perfect example of a movie that’s likely to haunt me long after the credits roll. Back when I was a kid I had a seriously spooky encounter with an Ouija board. My brother had found an old Ouija board in my grandmother’s storage shed when we were visiting over Christmas, and we (my brother and sister and I) decided to give it a whirl. The board was missing the piece you were supposed to rest your fingers on, so we used a crystal that my grandmother had given my sister for Christmas. I don’t remember what questions we ask. What I do remember, vividly, is when the crystal started moving on its own. We didn’t even have our hands on it, and the board was flat on the table, and the crystal just started sliding from letter to letter. It spelled out HEL—before we freaked and fled upstairs.  

Flash forward to the movie the Mothman Prophecies—this movie gave me chills and nightmares for days, partly because it was based on a true story and partly because it tapped into my subconscious fear that there are malevolent supernatural entities in this world that exist to torment us. Again, my reaction to this movie was based on something that had happened a year or so earlier.  I used to work swing shift at this mini-mart. We were the last stop before tourists left town to climb the canyon to Stevens Pass.  During a shift in early December a young family came into the store—a man, a woman and their young daughter. The woman bought a pack of cigarettes and the price came to $6.66. Quite often when the price on their items came to $6.66 the customer would laugh and say they didn’t want the bad luck and they’d throw something else on the counter to bring the price up. 

The woman in this case tossed a pack of gum down. But the husband grabbed the gum and put it away, saying he didn’t believe in such silly superstition. He paid the $6.66 and they left the store. About an hour later a bunch of ambulances went screaming up the canyon. In the paper the next day there was an article about the family. Apparently the husband had lost control of their car on a patch of ice and the car spun into the opposite lane where it was stuck by oncoming traffic. The wife and daughter were killed instantly, but the husband escaped without a scratch. It was such an eerie, creepy thing to happen. There he’d been an hour earlier making fun of his wife’s superstition and then in the blink of an eye he’d lost his entire family. It felt like the accident had been some malicious prank designed to teach him a lesson. 

Wishing you all a very spooky and fun-filled Halloween!    ~ Trish McCallan

DARYNDA: I kind of like all scary monsters and all scary movies. LOL. I love zombies and vampires and werewolves and slasher movies. Pretty much anything works for me. I really was scared of Nightmare on Elm Street. And for a lighter flavor…loved Hocus Pocus. 

Here’s a little teaser from A LOVELY DROP

The female detective watched my every move with purpose. Studying. Assessing. While Murphy watched my every move with something other than the most noble of intentions. There was both hunger and disgust when he leaned in to me, which did not speak well of his marriage. I wasn’t psychic or anything, just a wicked-good observer. I had trust issues. 

“Well?” he questioned with a raised brow. “You gonna show us your dog and pony?” 

“Back off,” a male voice said from behind me. 

We all turned as the man with issues and a duster walked in followed by the older gentleman he’d been conversing with on the lawn, the one who looked like he ate nails for breakfast. 

“We’ll take it from here,” he said. 

Murphy shrugged, clearly not giving a fuck. “As you wish, Special Agent Strand.” He backed away and swept his arm in a gallant gesture of surrender. Then he smirked again, waiting for the show to begin. 

Good luck with that. 

The duster, or Special Agent Strand of probably some obscure branch of Homeland Security nobody’d ever heard of, ignored him and turned toward me, stepping so close I had to crane my neck to look up at him. His sculpted mouth, the most revealing of all tells, remained impassive, making him unreadable. He took his time absorbing my features while his gave nothing away. After a long and quite unnerving stare-down, he began. 

“September, 2010. Two murders in the girls’ dormitory at Purdue. No suspects.”  

My attention snapped into place so fast, it cracked audibly in my ears. 

“August, 2011,” he continued. “Elderly man run down in Chicago with his grandson. No suspects.”

My gaze didn’t stray a hairsbreadth from the cerulean depths of his. The world around us faded away.

“November, 2011. Seven-year-old girl vanishes from an elementary school in Wheaton. No suspects.” 

I didn’t blink. 

“February, 2012. Woman found beaten and barely alive, dumped outside of a Des Moines emergency room. No suspects.” 

I didn’t breathe.

“March, 2013. Teller killed in bank robbery in Grand Rapids. December, 2013. Arsonist sets fire to half of Milwaukee. March, 2014. Con man steals the life’s savings of every single resident at the Sunny Hills Retirement Home in Indianapolis.” He stepped closer, staring down at me until we were practically nose-to-nose. “Those and a dozen others. All with no suspects.” 

I stood in shock that someone had put it together so thoroughly. My mind raced for an answer of how. What did I do wrong? 

“Shall I continue?” he asked, his voice as smooth as bourbon. 

I swallowed audibly but stood my ground. 

He offered me a quick nod of acknowledgement, as though accepting my silence as his cue to continue. “All of those crimes had no suspects. Zero. Yet all were solved through a series of tips from either anonymously-delivered phone calls or letters that contained names, addresses, and even drawings of the person or persons the informant IDed as the perps. All letters dropped at the corresponding police stations by a woman who kept her face hidden from cameras. Not a single clear shot of her in the bunch.” 

His face softened as his gaze slid to a lock of hair that had stubbornly refused to stay put behind my ear. “But in one, the woman was delivering a letter during a storm and one lock of curly red hair fell out from under her cap.” 

My lids drifted shut in disbelief. One lock of my ridiculous hair gave me away. Then again, how much could they get off of one lock of hair? I lifted my lashes and stood in silence, afraid to say anything that might incriminate me. 

“No comment?” 

After a long moment in which my fight or flight response warred with the logistics of the situation—How far could I get, really?—I forced myself to calm and think about this rationally. I didn’t do anything illegal. What could they charge me with? Aiding and abetting an investigation? 

Collaboration. Of course. There were sicko serial killers who collaborated all the time. Terrorists were notorious for having an entire cell of like-minded individuals. 

I lifted my chin with a new determination. “I asked for a lawyer three days ago.” 

“I asked for a pony when I was seven. Clearly, we’ve both been disappointed. What do you need to make this work?” 


When an old flame brings a stray golden retriever into Kaylea’s clinic she’s stunned by the dog’s resemblance to Max, her childhood companion. But when the golden recognizes her and knows all the tricks she’d taught Max, a chilling question arises—if this dog really is the beloved family pet she’d buried beneath Spirit Woods’ canopy seventeen years earlier, what else might be making its way home from the grave?

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A woman who claims she can drop back in time to solve crimes meets a special agent who believes her. Now, the one thing she’s been able to manipulate her whole life is the one thing she needs more of, as she races against time with a special agent hell-bent on saving the world.  Facebook    Twitter    Website    Backlist
Trish is giving away two Spirit Woods T-shirts in honor of the release of the 12 SHADES OF MIDNIGHT anthology. SPIRIT WOODS kicks off Trish’s new paranormal romantic suspense series. Just comment for a chance to win.  

So what about the rest of you? What kind of movies scare the bejesus out of you? Or have you ever had a creepy, real life event that’s stuck around and haunted you?

Don’t forget enter the 12 Shades week-long RAFFLECOPTER drawing. Lots of ways to enter. Lots to give away.  

* 12 SHADES OF MIDNIGHT  * 12 authors *
* 12 unforgettable, never-before-released stories *
The stroke of midnight ushers in many things. From hijinks and mischief to danger and evil, romance is the magic that binds these paranormal novellas together. Join 12 bestselling and award winning authors as they explore the different shades of midnight in exclusive, never-before-released stories.
For more information on 12 Shades of Midnight

Darynda Jones - A LOVELY DROP
Dakota Cassidy - WITCHED AT BIRTH
Claire Cavanaugh - MIDNIGHT RENEGADE
Rachel Grant - MIDNIGHT SUN
Trish McCallan— SPIRIT WOODS
Robyn Peterman -SWITCHING HOUR
Ann Voss Peterson - THE SCHOOL

Giveaway ends 11:59pm EST October 28th. Please supply your email in the post. You may use spaces or full text for security. (ex. jsmith at gmail dot com) If you do not wish to supply your email, or have trouble posting, please email maureen@justromanticsuspense.com with a subject title of JRS GIVEAWAY to be entered in the current giveaway.


  1. The Exorcist scares the begeebee out of me. I am still trying to watch the whole movie but I can only few a maximum of 5 minutes. I'm a very intense individual.


    1. Yeah the Exorcist scared the begeebee out of me too. Anything that deals with demon possession gets me all twitchy.

  2. I am a wimp when it comes to scary movies. I don't like the gross ones, but I am a sucker for the psychologically scary movies that ratchet up the tension while you try to figure out what's going on.

    I loved the teasers for your Twelve Shades of Midnight novellas! I know what I'll be doing today! I'm so excited! Have fun here on your blog and enjoy release day!

    1. I'm the same way the bloodier the movie, the less scary it is to me. It's the psychological ones

      I'm the same way. :) The bloodier the movie is, the scary it is to me, Now the psychological thrillers that stretch the tension until it's about to snap, are the kind of movies I remember long after I walk out of the theater or away from the television. Thanks for stopping by Claire.

  3. I leave the horror flicks to my sisters... not a fan of the gory stuff... I can deal with a bit of a scare and suspense.

    1. Oh now I like a good creepy scare, but the gore stuff I can do with out. :) Thanks for swinging by and good luck in the drawling!

  4. This is going to be hard to believe...but I've never seen Mothman or Nightmare of Elm Street. I laugh through "slasher" movies, but ghost stories will frighten me like nothing else. Goosebumps, tears, and jittery tingles....

    1. Oh yeah, I find ghost stories creepy too. If those kind of stories affect you, Mothman Prophesies probably would too.

  5. Don't really watch scary movies; no

    bn100candg at hotmail dot com

    1. Well they certainly aren't everyone's cup of tea. :) Good luck in the drawing!

  6. The only movie that really scared me was the 1979 version of WHEN A STRANGER CALLS. I slept with the lights on for a week. I do not like scary movies.


    1. I haven't seen that one yet. It's moving to the top of my list. :)

  7. I love A Nightmare on Elm Street. THe Halloween movies with Michael Myers scare me but I love watching them!

    brookeb811 at gmail dot com

  8. You have a stronger stomach than I have. lol- could never stand to watch the Nightmare on Elm Street movies all the way through. I think I spent most of the ninety minutes with my hands over my eyes. :)

  9. I like scary movies, but not slasher movies. I hate violence for the sake of violence. There has to be a really good reason for the violence to exist in my mind, otherwise it's just gratuitous and that's not good. One of the first scary movies I ever saw was Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Oh. My. Gosh! It was the sound that did me in. Just ewwww. My eyes were closed and my ears were covered throughout most of it. I will never forgive the guy who took me to that movie. :)

  10. I am not a scary movie person thanks to my one and only older brother who loved to scary his two younger sisters. I still cringe because of the movie "The Hand" who crawled around and choked folks to death. But as a kid, I loved "Dark Shadows" a serial that was on t.v. in the 60s. I do love some of Vincent Price movies that aren't too scary.


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