A deranged doctor with an appalling side-hobby, a macabre groundskeeper who delights in terrifying children, an unlikely vandal with vulgar talents, a lovestruck cop, a 60s Scream Queen, a death-portending ghost, and an egomanaical self-proclaimed psychic who wants to write a book about it. What happens when they all end up in a cozy cliff side lodge, and bodies start piling up? Find out for .99! THE CLIFFHOUSE HAUNTING is 80% off today and tomorrow only: http://tinyurl.com/zeyyekv
And here’s what’s happening in the town of Cliffside this week!
Today through Saturday, The Cliffhouse Haunting is on sale for only .99 at Amazon! To celebrate, here is this week’s copy of the The Cliffside Weekly Chronicle! Just click the pic below to obtain your .99 cent copy!
THE CLIFFSIDE WEEKLY CHRONICLE
Another Death at the Peppermint Stix Motel
Another body has been found in Cliffside. The unidentified male was discovered by Bernard Cox, owner of the Peppermint Stix Motel on Main Street. “I’ve seen a lot of disgusting things – I’ve been running this run-down piece of sh*t motel for years – but I ain’t never seen anything the likes of this!” Cox went on to describe the scene. “So this fellow – he was ripped apart. A leg here, an arm there. And there was water everywhere. And his intestines, or something like that, was pulled out of him and draped around like festoons on the fourth of July!”
The body was taken to the Cliffside Funeral Home where coroner Gene Holmes, M.D., was expected to autopsy it this morning. Police Chief Jackson Ballou refused to answer questions, saying it was too early in the investigation. “This savage murder is just the latest in a series of deaths that may or may not be related. We haven’t even ruled out a bear attack at this point.”
But Cliffside residents have theories of their own. According to young locals Belle Tabrum and Lacey Mylett, there’s “obviously a serial killer on the loose, you know?” When asked what made them so certain, they seemed at a loss and failed to respond. Tessa Cornhull, RN, also believes the murders are connected. “It’s practically common sense,” says Cornhull. “Each of the victims is torn apart, but that’s not even what kills them. They die by drowning. Water in the lungs. That sounds like an MO to me!” Neither the police nor the coroner would confirm Cornhull’s claims of water being present in the lungs of the deceased, saying only that “The investigations are ongoing,” though Cornhull retains her belief that murder is afoot.
But Walter Gardner, groundskeeper of the Cliffside Lodge, has a different theory. Says Gardner, “It’s the Blue Lady. She’s come back. And when the Blue Lady walks, death walks with her.” Maggie O’Connor, a maid at the lodge, concurs with Gardner, saying, “I saw her. In the mirror in a room on the third floor. It scared me to death and I almost quit my job until my boss talked me into staying.”
Unable to obtain any substantial findings, we contacted local doctor, Roger Siechert, who was physician to several of the deceased. When told of the locals’ speculations, Dr. Siechert gave a boisterous laugh, saying, “I don’t know about all that, but are you guys coming to Oktoberfest this year? I’m making my famous Weisswurst. I’m going to win the contest this year! You just watch and see!”
According to Pastor Harry Beaver of the Baptist church, that comes as no surprise. Says Beaver, “Dr. Siechert wins first place every gosh darned year. It’d be nice to see someone else take that ribbon for once.”
So Who is the Blue Lady?
Interest in Cliffside’s own local ghost, the Blue Lady, has increased since long-time Cliffhouse Groundsman, Walter Gardner, said that he thinks the latest murders in our town – specifically at the Peppermint Stix Motel – may be connected to the deaths. And he says his theory has nothing to do with the unverified rumor that the victims’ lungs are full of water.
The Blue Lady sightings date back to the late 1700s when a short-lived Spanish Settlement occupied the area, then reemerged in 1886 when the Cliffhouse Lodge was built. The Blue Lady is often connected to serial murders such as those committed by The Gaslight Killer in the 1880s and The Bodice Ripper of the Prohibition Era. Local lore has it that the Blue Lady, a vengeful spirit of unknown origin, is said to appear during times of violence and death, and that such sightings are a prelude to murder.
It is most commonly believed that the ghost makes her home in or near the water, hence the name of the small lake near the Cliffside Lodge, Blue Lady Lake.
Self-Proclaimed Psychic Signs at the Crystal Cavern
Psychic medium Constance Welling has written many books on the occult and will be at the Crystal Cavern Occult Book Shop this Saturday from 2pm to 4pm signing her latest book in the Crystal Method series, The Kiss of the Wild Crystal. She will also be a giving a talk on getting in touch with your inner spirit guide. Her own spirit guide, (referred to as Eliza,) has been with her since childhood, after a near-fatal accident. Welling says Eliza has given her insight and guided her hand while writing her many books, as well as “helping others with their spiritual needs.”
Welling is currently staying at the Cliffhouse Lodge and says it’s extremely haunted. The medium says she hopes that the owners, Adam and Teddy Baxter-Bellamy, will relent and allow her to hold a seance in the lodge to speak with notorious 1920s serial killer, the Bodice Ripper. She hopes to once and for all identify the Ripper so that, “his many victims can at last go into the light.”
Adam Baxter-Bellamy responded to this reporter’s question. “We want to reassure our guests – past, present, and future, that Cliffhouse is not haunted – except possibly by a friendly feline ghost – and that no ghost-hunting or seances will happen here.”
Ms. Welling vehemently disagrees, stating that most non-gifted persons are unaware of ghostly goings-on. According to Ms. Welling, she is the only member of her family to have inherited what she calls the “gift.” Says Welling, “I used to tell my older sister what her dates were going to be like, and I was always right.” Constance’s only sibling, Phyllis Stine of Snapdragon, California, refused to comment, saying only that she had to get off the phone as a pressing neighborhood matter required her immediate attention. “Just make sure she has the best of everything,” said Stine, “and she’ll make you a few bucks. She insists on dining and traveling in style.”
And Ms. Welling is not traveling alone. She’s brought a hired hand to “help her manage her schedule,” and to “keep the fans at bay.” When asked if he thought his employer was as psychically gifted as she claims, Welling’s personal assistant, Luke Donovan, abruptly excused himself.
Welling’s The Crystal Method Series, as well as her children’s book, My Crystal and Me, are published by Faerie Dust Press, a small publisher based in Bakerton, California, owned by Rodney Hicks. You can obtain copies of Ms. Welling’s ebooks through Amazon. For paperback copies, send self-addressed stamped 6X9” envelopes to Rodney at his mother’s residence at: 17 Peanut Berry Circle, Bakerton, CA. For signed copies of her books, Ms. Welling says, “You’ll just have to come to one of my signings.”
Sadly, Ms. Welling’s first book, Beautiful Cluster, has gone out of print.
Wine Tasting Weekend at The Cliffhouse Lodge
The Cliffhouse Lodge will host their bi-monthly wine tasting this Saturday evening from seven to nine pm. The event is free to guests of the lodge and open to the public for $10 a person. Chantrieri wines from California’s own Valentyn Vineyards will be served along with Cliffhouse’s own Blue Springs Sparkling Water and an assortment of o’dourves prepared at the in-house bistro, Le Chatte Rouge. The event takes place in Cliffhouse’s historic lobby and features Jordan Cartwright on the piano.
“Our evening wine tastings are very popular,” says co-owner Sara Baxter-Bellamy. “Cliffhouse is an amazing place, one of the first hotels ever built in the San Bernardino Mountains. The lobby is breathtaking and even has a natural brook running through it. Try it once, you’ll want to come again.”
Dinner will be served from 4 pm through 10 pm at La Chatte Rouge and manager Paul Butters says they will be featuring their own California cuisine, including Asiago and Kale pizza, Trout with Cranberry and Peppercorn Glaze, and Filet Mignon with Framboise du Congélateur.
Old West Days
Later this month, as part of Cliffside’s, Welcome to Summer festivities, The Cliffhouse Lodge will play host to Old West Days, a reenactment of the old west that’s been a popular event for over fifty years. “Back in the day, it was called ‘Cowboys and Indians Days,” explains local historian Stanford Swiller, “but we aren’t allowed to say that anymore. Nor are we allowed to depict battles but there will be a rodeo in the field by the Cliffside Stables near the lodge.”
On the Great Lawn, there will be native American dances and crafts, Cowboy crafts, including a class in whittling led by our own chief of police, Jackson Ballou, knot-tying classes, a reenactment of the Gunfight at the OK Corral and plenty of strolling, strumming, singing cowboys. The hotel will sponsor a barbecue in conjunction in La Chatte Rouge and welcome plenty of concession stands for food and libations. Other concessions will sell cowboy and native gear for young and old alike and each evening there will be square-dancing under the stars.
Admission to Old West Days is $15 per person. Cliffhouse Lodge will supply a free shuttle to ferry guests between the hotel and the stables.
Services for Eliot “Rainbow” Nash, 43, will be held at the Cliffside Funeral Home Thursday at 10 a.m. Mr. Nash is survived by his wife, Myrna, and children Greenwich, Daffodil, Hoody, and Solstice. Mr. Nash was a locally famous glassblower whose Pine Street shop, Tinkling Things, was destroyed in the freak explosion that took Mr. Nash’s life. The family asks that in lieu of flowers, mourners donate to Old Seamen’s Retirement Home in Red Cay.
Film Festival Honoring Maisy Hart
Next Friday night, the Cliffside Arts Theater will feature an evening of films starring our own Maisy Hart. Miss Hart, who is a permanent resident at the Cliffhouse Lodge, was a scream queen back in the 1960s, starring in such films as Creature of the Indigo Swamp, Scream of the Shrew Monster, Screaming Girls of Calaveras County and Screams of the Sorority Sisters.
Miss Hart will be there in person to answer questions and autograph DVDs. Admission is $12. The doors open at 5 pm.
Person of the Week
We all know yearly Person of the Week, Noble Mason, who regularly helps Cliffside residents deal with everything from plumbing problems to choosing the right paint, but how many know about Pat Matthews, his righthand man and brother-in-law? This week, Pat is our Person of the Week.
Pat has worked for Noble Mason since marrying Noble’s sister, Taffilynn, fifteen years ago and they, along with their twelve children, are prominent residents of our fair village. “Pat’s a good guy,” says Noble. “He follows my orders with a smile and takes good care of my baby sister and all my little nieces and nephews.”
Pat, who hails from Twin Falls, Idaho, says he loves Cliffside and is glad to be a part of our town. In addition to acting as handyman, he likes to spend lots of time with his wife and children. “Taffilynn has one in the oven, if you know what I mean, and we’re hoping eventually to have enough kids to make two baseball teams. That would be great. Just great!”
Pat works full time taking care of problems for the town’s residents while Taffilynn is a stay-at-home mom who fills her days taking care of their children. “She loves it,” says Pat. “She was born to be a mom. And I was born to be a dad. It’s great. Just great.”
Taffilynn declined to be interviewed but Truthanne and Shrudilee, their twin girls, said of their dad, “He’s great. When Mom’s not home, he lets us watch The Walking Dead!”
Loyd McRoid, aka Loyd the Roid, was arrested for illegally occupying a hotel room and cleaning out honor bar at the Doc Holliday Inn. McRoid, 53, evidently slipped into the unoccupied room and spent the night. Hotel worker Felicia Hornblower found him passed out naked on the bed, the entire contents of the honor bar strewn about him. Everything had been consumed. Two empty bottles of whiskey were also found in the room, one filled with urine. The bathroom was untouched.
Harvey Tanbottum, 37, was arrested after throwing a barstool through a window at Bloodhound’s Bar Wednesday night. Tanbottum claimed a blue-skinned woman had tried to sodomize him in the bathroom. When other patrons disregarded his claims, Tanbottum “Just lost it!” says an anonymous drinker. Bloodhound’s – locally known as Boozehound’s – is next door to the Peppermint Stix Motel, but police say Tanbottum, despite staying at the motel, was not involved in recent deaths there.
Carlotta Wellbourne, 52, was arrested for shoplifting at Cliffside Market Tuesday afternoon after she was seen stuffing lobster claws into her blouse. The society matron is famous for her charitable works, particularly for her annual Scotsman’s Balls in which attendees come dressed in kilts and other Scottish attire.
A New Day Has Dawned
After confronting the evil lurking in the east wing of Ravencrest Manor, butler Grant Phister realizes governess Belinda Moorland’s talents may be the key to undoing centuries of bloodshed and evil. Taking her under his wing, he begins teaching her the ways of her power – but is she strong enough to break the curse that has plagued the Manning family for centuries – the curse that keeps her handsome employer, Eric Manning, just beyond her reach?
A New Power Has Awakened
Meanwhile, strange things are happening at Ravencrest. A furious entity is breaking things in the parlor, the scarecrow has gone missing, and the creature in the vent is tormented by a ravenous new hunger. The very earth is alive – with an insatiable appetite for blood.
GRAVE EXPECTATIONS, the first installment in THE WITCHES OF RAVENCREST, book two of the RAVENCREST SAGA, will be available next week.
THE GHOSTS OF RAVENCREST, book one in the RAVENCREST SAGA, is available on AMAZON.
“The Ghosts of Ravencrest delivers on every level. Delicate, creepy, detailed, and beautifully crafted, this reinvention of the gothic ghost story into a sexy, sleek modern chiller is a marvel of suspense and atmosphere. A knockout of a horror yarn!”
—Jay Bonansinga, the New York Times bestselling author of The Walking Dead: Invasion, Lucid, and Self Storage.
“Ghostly secrets abound. Tortured spirits wander the hallways. Star-crossed lovers walk the paths of time. Servants connive, and the heroine faces an uncertain future …Run, do not walk, to get The Ghosts of Ravencrest. Tamara Thorne and Alistair Cross take the reader on a delicious journey of twisted family secrets, troubled dreams, and barely-concealed passions. Wrap yourself in the silken robe of this story and escape to Ravencrest.”
—Sylvia Shults, author of Hunting Demons: A True Story of the Dark Side of the Supernatural
Now through New Year’s, four classic Tamara Thorne novels are on sale for only $2.99 a piece on eBook.
Haunted is the tale of horror writer David Masters who buys Baudey House, the most haunted mansion in California. He and his equally skeptical daughter, Amber, are in for the ride of their lives when ghosts of mass murder victims from the 1800s and 1900s begin haunting them, and the succubus, Christabel, takes a very special interest in David. Click the pic to buy.
Moonfall is a murderous tale of witchcraft and mystery in a small apple-growing community famous for its Halloween celebrations and apple pies. But there is also St. Gertrude’s School for Girls, haunted and horrific, run by a mother superior with a Ph.D in discipline and keeping minors in bondage. Click the pic to buy.
Eternity is a thrilling whodunit that takes place in the northern California mountain town of Eternity. Newly transplanted sheriff, Zach Tully, finds himself in a snowy hell full of townsfolk as crazy as the residents of Shady Pines Sanitarium. There are two Elvises, Ambrose Bierce is the mayor, and the postmistress looks an awful lot like Amelia Earhart. And there’s a serial killer in town who claims to be Jack the Ripper… Click the pic to buy.
Candle Bay is the story of the vampiric Darling Family, who run the Candle Bay Inn nestled on the foggy California coast. The Darlings take what sustenance they need from sleeping guests and fine bottles of very red “wine.” Then trueborn vampire Julian Valentyn shows up with a bottle of addictive Elixir that allows the vamps to come out in the daylight … and plays havoc with their hungers. Click the pic to buy.
We really didn’t get to know the first victims of The Cliffhouse Haunting’s own serial killer, Hammerhead, so we’d thought we’d take a moment and talk with them about their experience in our novel. First, here they are in action:
Hammerhead heard voices and paused. One male, one female. It had been a long time since he had taken down two at once. The prospect delighted him, but he was nothing if not cautious; if it wasn’t safe, he would wait until another day.
He stepped into the dappled shade of a huge fir, pulled his water bottle from his knapsack and drank. The prey drew closer, and after capping the bottle, he patted the rip claw hammer that hung from a loop on his belt, hidden by his light jacket.
When the voices were no more than fifty feet away, he began walking toward them, timing it so that they would meet near a steep cliff with a panoramic view.
The couple appeared, early twenties, slender and smiling. Hammerhead moved to the side of the trail.
“Hello!” said the young man. “Here for the view?”
Hammerhead nodded, a smile painted on his face.
“It’s worth the hike,” the woman said. “It’s so clear today.”
“It is.” As they passed, he drew the hammer, whirled, and hit the man in the temple. The hiker crumpled where he stood. Before the girl could scream, he turned, and as graceful as a dancer, spun the weapon around and impaled her temple on the claws. She didn’t fall because he held her up by the hammer. He pulled a compact mirror from his pocket, flipped it open and held it up as he lowered her to the ground. Her eyelids drooped, so he held them open with two fingers until she died and her soul was captured in the mirror. He snapped the compact shut, retrieved another, and turned to the young man. Disappointment flooded him. He was dead, his soul already gone. At least he had one soul. It felt good; it had been too long.
Hammerhead dragged the bodies to the edge of the rocky cliff. Once there, he lifted one head and brought it down on a sharp rock where the hammer wound had been, then dropped the rock over the cliff. He repeated the action with the other on a different rock. Then he pushed the bodies over. The coyotes and hawks would eat well, and in the massive brush and trees below, it was unlikely the remains would be found. There were others down there, after all, who’d been there for years.
And now, on to their interview. Please note that due to their head wounds, they are unable to tell us their names and since it’s unlikely their bodies – what’s left of them – will ever be found, we’ve taken the liberty of calling them Victor and Vicky Victim.
T & A: How are you feeling today?
Victor: I have a headache.
Vicky: Me too.
T & A: We’re sorry to hear that. Is it your sinuses?
Victor: Partly, but, uh … I think it might have more to do with the great big fucking holes we have in the sides of heads.
Vicky: Now, Victor, you shouldn’t swear like that during an interview! It’s not polite.
Victor: I didn’t say anything when you bled all over the sofa.
Vicky: (rolls eyes) Tamara, Alistair, you’ll delete the f-word, right?
T & A: Of course we will. Now tell us, what were you doing that day in the mountains?
Victor: We were hiking to Deep Creek. We were going to swim naked.
Vicky: We even brought joints!
Victor: Shhh! Don’t fucking tell them that!
Vicky: What, it’s legal here. And stop swearing!
Victor: Sorry. It’s just that my head is killing me.
Vicky: Mine too. My hair is never going to look good again. I just can’t cover this hole!
T & A: Joint?
Vicky: You know, weed. (giggles)
Vicky: What, that bastard probably killed us for it.
T & A: Mr. and Mrs. Victim, we can assure you that you weren’t murdered for your cannabis.
Victor: Well, what the fuck DID he kill us for then? My wife’s smoking hot body? She wasn’t even naked but man, look at those leg bones! You should’ve seen them before the vultures!
T & A: He killed you for your souls. It’s kinda weird, we know, but it’s the truth.
Victor & Vicky in unison: Our souls?
T & A: Yes. He traps them in mirrors and keeps them in what he calls his Hall of Souls.
Victor and Vicky look at each other, then burst out laughing.
Vicky: What a nut job!
Victor: Crazy bastard! Who does that?
T & A: He calls himself Hammerhead and he kills people with a-
Vicky to Victor: Hammerhead! See! A hammer! I told you I saw a hammer!
T & A: It was probably the last thing you saw.
Victor: Well, I hope they caught the bastard.
Vicky nods vehemently.
T & A: We can’t tell you that. We don’t give spoilers.
T & A: You’re going to have to read the book.
Victor: The book? What book?
T & A: It’s called The Cliffhouse Haunting and it’s available now!
Vicky: We’re in a book!? Isn’t that wonderful,dear!
Victor: (grunts) Wait a minute. You mean to tell us that we died – in your book – and you have the nerve to try to sell it to us? What, were you born in a barn?
T & A: Yes.
Vicky: I think we should buy it, dear!
T & A: Halloween is coming up. It will make a great gift for the season.
Victor: We’re dead, you assholes. We don’t even have a credit card, let alone cash.
Vicky: Language, dear. (turns to T & A) Well, I think it’s wonderful. I’ve always wanted to be in a book.
Victor: But we died in the book!
Vicky: Semantics, dear. Where is this book available, Tamara and Alistair?
T & A: Amazon.
Vicky: Well, as soon as this interview is over, we’re going to buy it. I don’t care what my husband here has to say about it. (Turns to Victor) My mother will be so proud!
Victor: Whatever you say, honey. Do we get any royalties from this book?
T & A: (Look at the ground and avoid eye contact with the victims): Look, we’ll go to the place you died and throw some flowers at your carcasses. Will that do?
Vicky: White roses. We’d like white roses.
Victor: Fucking roses, good call. You do that, we won’t haunt you.
Vicky: Language. You really will clean this up?
T&A: Yes. Sure. Thanks for your time. (They run away. Fast.)
Thorne & Cross
(Danse Macabre, the 7th installment in The Ghosts of Ravencrest series, will be available next week)
House of Fear
Even as governess Belinda Moorland and her handsome employer, Eric Manning, grow closer, she is haunted by her own past – and Ravencrest’s. From the screams in the shadowed blackness of the indoor pool, to the horrifying face of a scarecrow in the garden, and the nightly, urgent messages from the dead, the darkness is all around her …
Ravencrest Has Plans of Its Own
But the real horror awaits inside the manor when a delightful day turns deadly with an unwelcome appearance by Belinda’s overbearing mother. Rhonda Moorland is convinced that Eric is holding her daughter at Ravencrest against her will and she intends to do something about it.
Witchcraft Gone Wrong
But nothing at Ravencrest is as it appears and when Cordelia Heller casts a spell meant to frighten Belinda, she gets more than she bargained for. Cordelia knows witchcraft – and she knows that something has gone terribly, terribly wrong.