Growing up, my favorite time of the year was autumn. The turning of the leaves (and pressing them between wax paper with an iron), the short, crisp afternoons (dark by four, but seated on sofa to watch reruns of Lost in Space), and the mysterious, building excitement of All Hallows proved to be vivid and life-forming elements. I have often written about a recurring dream in which I gaze toward the deep woods that brooded across the street from our little cottage in Windham, New Hampshire, and if enough leaves had fallen and the wind was blowing just right, I'd catch glimpses of the castle on the other side of those woods. Now in all truth, there is a castle in Windham, and I did see it from time to time, but not from our front yard -- usually, you had to be driving back down the twisting snake of Range Road. The Searles Castle, a famous landmark and former nunnery now turned high-end party destination, is one of the most-haunting motifs from the early years that made me the writer I am today.
I still love Halloween, so I was doubly stoked when my story "The Two Houses," about young and inquisitive brothers living in a haunted castle built directly over the site where another with a dubious past once stood, was accepted into Raven Electick's Jack-o'-Spec: Tales of Halloween and Fantasy. My story "Creature Double-Feature" had previously appeared in Cinema Spec: Tales of Hollywood and Fantasy, editor Karen A. Romanko's fabulous homage to Tinseltown, and earned several fairly glowing reviews, reason enough to be excited for inclusion in this newest RE anthology. But autumn, Halloween...there's just something so pleasantly surreal about that time of year here in New England. It's as wonderful to me now as it was then.
Lisa Morton, who also appeared in Cinema Spec, blurbed the following for this latest release:
"Reading Jack-o'-Spec is like stepping into a Halloween party that's been going on for 2,000 years. There's something delightfully pagan about these stories and poems, something that captures Halloween's dark, autumn atmosphere. Whether it's a mad scientist invoking Halloween ghosts on Mars, boys trapped in not one but two haunted houses, or a rich evocation of poetic seasonal spirits, Jack-o'-Spec has something for all Halloween lovers." -- Lisa Morton, Author, The Halloween Encyclopedia
Why, I do believe she referenced my tale in that glowing endorsement!
So pass the apple cider and candy corn -- and enjoy an early taste of Halloween courtesy of Jack-o'-Spec.