Monday, August 17, 2015

Guest Author - Eden Royce


I came across this gem while sifting through hashtags on Facebook and had to email the author because, honey, the book cover gave me life! 

Spooklights is Eden Royce's newest creation and is on my list for an upcoming review. Here is an excerpt from the book, author information and links to get your copy. 

Excerpt from Spook Lights: 
Hag Ride

By Eden Royce

The two women sat on the hardwood floor of the cabin with moonlight illuminating Big Mama’s mis en place for the ritual. Two piles of sea salt, a wad of Henry’s coarse hair tied with butcher’s twine and six blood smeared candles sat next to the refilled juice glasses. 

“This your last chance, Frieda. Think this through.”

The younger woman’s face remained resolute. “I’m done thinking.”

Big Mama nodded and lit the first candle. Murky shadows danced to its flickering. When the final candle began to glow, she spoke. “Get me a hidin’ man.”

Frieda smoothed her shirtdress and tiptoed out to the marsh, her Keds squishing in the soft, dank mud. The moon was a smile in the darkness as she looked for a stalk of seagrass leaning heavily to the ground. Finding one, she crouched to complete her task, her feet sinking deeper into the cool, black muck. She plucked a conical shell from the crisp grass and hurried back inside.

Big Mama placed the open end of the shell against her neck and hummed low in her throat. The hum filled the small room, vibrated across the floor to imbed itself in Frieda’s chest and infuse her limbs with its eerie, toneless rumble. 

She pulled the shell away from her throat and Frieda saw a small, pale crab, stirred by the vibration, peek out of the shell. Big Mama yanked it from its home and pulled a switchblade, slick with sweat, from the depths of her bosom. In one motion, she opened the knife and skewered the frightened crustacean to the floor before it could scuttle away. Henry’s clump of hair covered the crab’s death throes. She took a gulp of the caustic wine, spat it on the gruesome pile and touched a candle to it. It burned, not destroying the wooden floor, while Frieda’s voice joined the humming. 

Wind came, strong through the curtains and the hovering shadows coalesced into a swirling ash grey mass.

“She here. Be ready with the salt.”

The grey cloud moved around the calling space, stopping at each candle, before it slunk between the two women to examine its sacrifice. Satisfied, it slid over to Frieda and swayed like a cobra. She could feel its presence inside her mind, inside her chest and she gasped as it probed at her most tender heartaches. Crushing memories rushed to the surface of her psyche: Henry’s countless betrayals, looks of pity from the local women, laughter from the men. Frieda’s heart seized. She gasped for breath as scabs, new and old, tore from each emotional wound. It delved deeper in its search, picking curiously, while tears grew behind Frieda’s fluttering eyelids. Her chest heaved and quivered with impending sobs. 

“The salt. Throw the salt!” Big Mama yelled, breaking through the creature’s trance-inducing sway.

Frieda’s arm shook with the effort of tossing a small handful of salt over her left shoulder. While most of the salt found its way down the front of her dress, enough landed behind her to end the Hag’s internal quest. The smoky funnel whirled and spun with its newfound knowledge.

Brought to the surface again, her pain crystallized into diamond hard resolve, but it eased enough for her to gasp her request. “Make Henry stay with me.”

The whirlwind roiled with fervor, covering the wine-soaked crab carcass in its dervish. When it finally moved, only the switchblade remained. The coil of ash rose in the thick, muggy air and hovered above the women. One word came from the twisting center eye. 

“Agreed.” 

It extinguished each candle, then dissipated to leave the women surrounded by darkness and the scent of charred sulfur.


Be sure to get your copy of Spooklights, now available on:


Eden Royce Biography and Information

Think a small-town girl who grew up around rootworkers and hoodoo practitioners might have a new take on horror?


BIO
A former stockbroker, Eden Royce is descended from women who practiced root, a type of conjure magic in her native Charleston, South Carolina. She now lives in Kent, The Garden of England, and writes stories loosely based on her childhood. A lover of mystery and magic, Eden writes Gothic horror and dark fantasy tales that teeter on the edge of realism. Featured in her work are the language and traditions of the Gullah people, descendants of the first slaves brought to the Sea Islands off the coast of South Carolina and Georgia.



Eden’s stories have been called “a fist in a velvet glove” (Roma Gray, author of Gray Shadows Under a Harvest Moon), “atmospheric, unforgettable, and haunting” (Crystal Connor, author of The Spectrum Trilogy) and she has been praised for bringing “a refreshing perspective to the table that paranormal lovers are sure to enjoy.” (B.D. Bruns, author of The Gothic Shift). Eden is also one of the writers for The 7 Magpies project, a first of its kind: a short horror film anthology written and directed entirely by black women.


She is also the horror submissions editor for Mocha Memoirs Press where she conceived and edited The Grotesquerie, an anthology of twenty-one horror short stories written by women. She also writes a regular feature for Graveyard Shift Sisters, a site dedicated to purging the black female horror fan from the margins, where she interviews black female authors and reviews their latest work.

As a woman from the American South, Eden has been a storyteller all her life. She focuses on creating tales with strong female characters and stories that bring the experience of people of color to the fore. Learn more about Eden’s brand of horror at darkgeisha.wordpress.com and at edenroyce.com.

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