*Tucks knife into boot and straightens skirt* Oh, dear lord. You have no idea what happened! Those rat bastards broke through the gate! Poor Casey. I hope she got home okay. Don’t worry. I wont let them inside the castle.
*tumult sounds. Mistress turns to next guest* I’m so sorry, Calisa dear, we’re going to have to move our little chat into the basement. *Opens basement door and shoos Calisa down steps.* Ahem, not the best place to conduct an interview…if I’d known this was going to happen I’d have rescheduled. Sit down here dear. No, not in the electric chair. Over there on the divan.
Hi Juli and Mistress! It’s great to be here sharing my scrimshaw doll story with your readers!
Night Mistress: And we’re glad to have you here today. But before we get down to work, let’s have some fun. With all that’s going on outside, we need a little distraction right now, don’t you think? So… All Hallow’s Eve or All Saint’s Day?
Calisa: I think All Hallow’s Eve. Something about eve being more mysterious than ‘day’.
Mistress: I agree, I just can’t drag out of my cryptic before 6PM. Do you have a favorite scary movie?
Calisa: Ugh, I don’t DO scary movies anymore, but back in the day I loved any of Stephen Kings movies and books. Pet Cemetery to pick just one.
Mistress: Ah, so the classics! Dr. Frankenstein, or Dracula?
Calisa: Definitely Drac. I love a man who has bite!
Mistress: Another Drac lover. Listen, I’m going to have to tell you what he’s really like some day…. Here’s a better choice: Candy corn or chocolate?
Calisa: Now that’s just rude, Mistress! To make a girl choose like that when chocolate is one of the choices isn’t fair!
Mistress: Oh, I’m sorry. On the other hand, it’s an easy choice isn’t it? Come now, what’s your poison?
Calisa: Chocolate, of course.
Mistress: What are you going to dress up as for Halloween this year?
Calisa: Well, I don’t know if I’ll dress up this year. Last year I didn’t. But the year before I was the great pumpkin! One year I was a She Devil. Maybe I’ll just be Gramma this year.
Mistress: *g* I’d love to see that costume! Do you have them on you? No, oh well. Then we’re just going to have to continue with the torture. If you could be in any classic horror novel, or story (such as Dracula, Frankenstein, Carmilla, Turn of the Screw, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, The Tell-Tale Heart? The Raven?), which would it be?
Calisa: Seeing as I only recognize two of those, I’ll go with Drac again. LOL
*Mistress pats Calisa’s hand* Don’t worry. I’ll lend you a few.
Mistress: You’re quite welcome. *thump*
*Mistress glances worriedly at ceiling* *aside* What the bloody hell is going on up there now?
*Minion shouts*: Nothing, Mistress. We got it!
*Shares look with Calisa* Ahem, would you like to share anything else, dear? Seems we have a little more time.
Calisa: while your visitors decide what they’ll be for Halloween and share with us, here’s the blurb and excerpt for my first book, Home, released from The Wild Rose Press.
What could a gypsy and a Vietnam veteran have in common?
BLURB: Silvertown’s outcast, Poppy Tippen, has loved football hero Sam “The Force” Callahan forever. But he never seemed to know she was alive. Now he’s home from the war and she suddenly finds herself comforting him from the demons of “that damn war.” Is his attention merely an escape from the haunting nightmares? Or does she hold the interest of the only man she’s ever truly loved?
Sam Callahan’s only solace from the war nightmares wrecking his life comes in the unlikely form of a gypsy girl with stigmas of her own. He’s known Poppy his entire life, but there’s something different about her now. Something special he desperately wants to hold on to. Can he convince her she’s the only thing he needs to put the past behind him?
Over the next week he actively avoided his mother as he raked and watered the lawn. He’d found out the gardener had left when his mother stopped paying him, not that Sam blamed the guy. So, he would try to do what he could to fix the old place up again. Somehow, like himself, he doubted the place he’d called home would ever fully recover the ravages of wartime. It gave him something useful to get through the days before he creeped out at night.
“Sammie, we need to talk.”
He dropped his head and counted briefly before facing his mother. “Good morning, Ma.”
“Have you talked to that woman?”
No nonsense, that was Ma. He dragged in a heavy breath to stifle a groan. “What woman would that be?”
“Don’t play games with me, Sam. You know full well I’m talking about that gypsy woman who owns the doll store. Did you tell her you want the doll back?” His mother threw hands to hips. He waited five ticks. Yep, there it was. Her left foot began flapping like a fish out of water to make known her full ire at him. He almost grinned.
As he stared at her tapping foot, Sam realized he’d actually missed that trait in his mother while he’d been gone. But she wasn’t interested in reflections of days past. “No. I’m not going to get the doll. It’s better off gone if it causes you so much distress. Just forget it and let it be, Ma.”
“Forget it? Haven’t you heard what I’ve been telling you? It will only cause more problems the longer that woman has it!” She was almost yelling and Sam cringed inwardly with a glance around. She ought to keep her voice down or—
Or, what? Did he expect the VC to pop out of the surrounding sticks that had once been shrubbery admired by the whole town? Yes. He did. Damn it all. Why was it so hard for him to let go of the war he was no longer a part of? He shuffled his loafer-clad feet and sighed heavily. “What’s so special about that doll that you won’t let it go?”
His mother looked away from him as though she had a secret and twisted her hands around her ever-present hankie. “It’s bad, evil.”
“Then, why on earth would you want it back? Good riddance, I’d say.”
“No!” She backed up a step and looked up at him, lips painted the same bright red, and he vaguely wondered if she’d worn it so long it had become permanent, a tattoo. A bright red tattoo. Blood red… “It was a gift from my cousin, Helen, when I visited her in California, before she died. I already told you that. But, it’s cursed! I can’t risk anyone else suffering because of that—that thing!”
Blood red… Sam shook the image off and looked over his mother’s head toward the street.
Of all the times to wander in, he didn’t need Poppy showing up right then, while his mother was on her insane rampage about a doll.
A doll that Poppy’s mother had bought fair and square, according to Ma. Now it was a cursed doll? She’d said something about that last time she mentioned the damn thing. He was suddenly afraid his mother was losing her mind. “Son of a bitch.”
“Watch your mouth, young man. I won’t have that kind of language used in this house. Your father—God rest his soul—didn’t use that filth, and I won’t have my only son speak it.” She sounded so normal, suddenly.
“Sorry, Ma. I need to go…somewhere, for a while.”
“Get the doll.” Her voice poured from that red mouth like a warning.
He leaned the rake he’d been using before the interruption against the wood shed and tossed a wave over his head to his mother as he strode for the driveway, and Poppy. Suddenly, it took all his will not to break out in a run and just keep going. Never to stop until he was far, far away from this new nightmare his mother had introduced to him. Blood red, blood. Red, blood, red, blood, red blood.
Sam didn’t stop when he reached Poppy, but grabbed her hand and swung her around with him—took her away before his mother realized who she was. He especially didn’t need her to see the doll shop owner’s daughter.
He picked up his already fast pace until he felt a jerk against his hand and slowed down. He didn’t want to talk. Not yet. Walk. Keep walking…fast.
“Whoa, soldier boy!” She yanked him to a stop. For a little thing, she was stronger than he’d have thought. “What’s with you? If I wanted to race I’d be a horse.”
Blood red. No talking. Walk. Her hand still in his, he gave a rough tug.
Calisa Rhose is an Okie, born and bred, through and through, and proud of it. While growing up when she wasn’t on the back of a horse, she could be found with pen and paper in hand. Her writing career began with poetry in her younger days. In time the poetry turned into stories of romance and dreams. She’s an active member of National Romance Writers of America (RWA) and the local chapter OKRWA. She is coordinator of National Reader’s Choice Awards, IDA and the new webmistress. When she isn’t reading for pleasure or crafting her own books, Calisa stays busy as an independent editor, as well as, a staff editor for Lyrical Press, Inc. All those are her activities when family doesn’t have her attention.
Calisa: Thanks for letting me come hang, Juli and Mistress. Happy Halloween!
Night Mistress: You’re most welcome, Calisa dear. Don’t worry about getting out. My minions can get you home safely. >:) We’ve got ways the villagers haven’t discovered yet! Enjoy your night.