Dear Mr. Kendall –
I cannot fully express the thrill I felt when I received your letter offering me the position of Cemetery Warden. It would be my pleasure to accept such a posting. As a teenager, I spent many hours in the cemeteries near my home and would often dream of being a caretaker of any number of them. I am quite at home among these gardens of the dead.
As stated in my application, I am a Horror author. The isolation and quiet this location offers steps beyond the realm of ideal and into the sacred. I will take great pride in making the cemetery a place of respite and solace for those interned there, not to mention driving off any hooligans who may deem the place in need of blasphemous vandalism.
As per your request, I am including a detailed list of the items you stated I may bring along and why I have chosen them. I sincerely hope they meet your criteria as I wish to spend my time productively. I look forward to my employment as Cemetery Warden.
If you’d like to take part in The Graveyard Shift then please submit an application to firstname.lastname@example.org
A new shift is about to start and the warden is…
Laptop computer. Even if, God forbid, there’s no internet connection, I can still use the laptop to write with. I mean, apart from tending to the graves, having some peace and quiet in order to write is one of the main reasons for taking the job. I have so many writing projects I need to get to and just haven’t had the time.
Destroyer By KISS
This was possibly the hardest item to nail down. It was a toss-up between this, AC\DC’s Back in Black, or Metallica’s Black Album. John Denver’s Greatest Hits tried to sneak in there, but I voted him down quickly enough. KISS won mainly because I’ve been listening to this particular album since it first came out in 1976 and figure if I can listen to it that much for that long already, I can probably keep on listening to it and continue to enjoy it under these new circumstances.
Now, onto the truly important items, the books! I went for four non-fiction and four fiction. Hopefully I’ve chosen a nice variety of both.
Nag Hammadi Scriptures
I’m a life-long student of theology, having studied and explored all kinds of faiths over my 50+ years. I say, studied – not believed in – although over the years there have been many beliefs. Some remain. Others do not. My most recent interest came about probably ten years ago when I bought the Nag Hammadi Scriptures. Rediscovered in 1945, these are the earliest books of the Bible that were taken out in the 5th century. They were once considered part of sacred texts just as much as the better-known books of today’s modern Bible. The opportunities to read and study these documents since buying the book haven’t been the greatest. I’ve only gotten about a quarter of the way through and I’d really love to get deeper into my understanding of Gnosticism.
First Steps In Egyptian by Earnest A. Budge
Another book I’ve had on my shelves for ages and have never been able to devote the time and effort to as much as I’d like. I’ve long been fascinated by all things to do with Ancient Egypt. I hand-painted the walls of my dining room with Egyptian-themed murals; a 1920s camel saddle waits for a suitable mount, and other forms of art, one piece actually created and sold on a street in Cairo, decorate the walls. Archaeology is also one of my interests, so learning the written word of Ancient Egypt seems a natural extension of that love. As the majority of Egyptian text deals mainly with their religion, this would give me another chance to research and understand more theology.
In the Company of Crows and Ravens by John Marzluff and Tony Angell
Time to get this one off my Amazon Wish List and onto my bookcase (or into my suitcase, under the circumstances). Crows are everywhere and with any luck at all, there will be ravens nearby, too. It takes a long time to befriend these super-intelligent birds and I reckon I’m going to have a lot of that on hand. Currently I feed a small murder of crows from my kitchen porch. On the off chance one of my totem animals should need medical assistance, this book also gives tips on taking care of injured birds. The more I can learn about these ebony-winged beauties, the better.
Spanish For Dummies
I took Latin in high school for dark, gothic reasons. (All the best and coolest spells are written and cast in Latin, doncha know?) It’s proven next to useless over the past 30+ years. In retrospect, I think Spanish would probably have been a much better idea. Since I’m planning a move to Texas in the next couple of years and would like to visit Mexico, it might be prudent of me to expand on my vocabulary. Knowing where the bathrooms are or saying hello will only get you so far. Even if I probably won’t be able to speak it properly, reading it would come in handy.
Dracula by Bram Stoker
A classic I’ve already read at least ten times, but haven’t read in the past decade. It’s time to refresh my memory on this piece of life-inspiring literature. It’s a difficult read, being 19th-century literature and all, so it will take a while to get through despite how familiar I already am with the text. I love all those old Gothic tales and writers, but Dracula will always be my favorite. It would be a delightful comfort to have with me.
Magic for Unlucky Girls by A.A. Balaskovits
I was first introduced to the concept of twisted fairytales back in the 1980s by Tanith Lee’s book “Red As Blood: or Tales From the Sisters Grimmer” and absolutely loved it! I would go on to write a few of my own twisted tales because of that book. Therefore, Balaskovits’ work here is of great interest to me. Having not read a collection of twisted fairytales in a very long time, I’m eager to see what weirdness can be found on these pages. Maybe these stories, like those of Lee so many years ago, could inspire me to write more shorts – in between the lulls of novel writing and graveyard tending, of course.
The Doll Master and Other Tales of Terror by Joyce Carol Oates
More short stories! I’ve not read a lot of Oates and I’m thinking it’s high time that I did. No other reason than that for selecting this one for my stay in the cemetery warden’s cottage. I don’t want to be re-reading a lot of things. Now is the time to delve into places I’ve never been before. Dracula will be my one and only re-read.
This last one MAY be cheating a little bit, but …
The Complete Miss Marple by Agatha Christie
At 4032 pages it was deemed the thickest book in the world in 2009 and contains twelve novels along with twenty short stories. It’s a real book and I see nothing in the rules barring such a monstrous tome. In my youth, my passion for reading was satisfied by Carolyn Keene’s Nancy Drew series. I could always count on several new Nancy Drew books under the Christmas tree each year. Once I outgrew those, I went on to reading Elerry Queen Magazine and a few of Christie’s books. It was Stephen King who dragged me away from the Mystery genre and into the darkness of Horror. My first two Horror novels were also Murder-Mysteries so he wasn’t entirely successful. I’ve been toying with the idea of returning to these roots for some time and this would certainly help me get thinking in the right direction for that.
Raised and currently living in the Finger Lakes region of Upstate New York, but forever longing for the white sands of her ‘native’ New Mexico, Pamela loves mysteries and the macabre. Hours spent watching ‘Monster Movie Matinee’, ‘Twilight Zone’, ‘The Night Stalker’, ‘In Search Of… ‘ and a myriad of Hammer Films probably helped, too.
Pamela proudly claims the title of a 7x great grand-niece to Rebecca Towne Nurse of Salem Village, MA. Witches, both good and bad, play a predominant role in many of her novels.
When not exploring the dark side, Pamela enjoys online gaming, sunny days on the back deck, drawing & painting, day trips on the Harley with her husband, and trying her hand at Tex-Mex cooking.
You can find out more about Pamela via her official website www.pamelamorrisbook.com
You can find Pamela on Twitter @pamelamorris65
Pamela’s Goodreads Author Page can be found HERE
The Witch’s Backbone
It’s 1980 and the dog days of summer have settled over the small farming community of Meyer’s Knob. Five friends have spent their time at the local creek swimming and gathering crayfish, riding bikes, and mostly just trying to avoid boredom.
When tomboy Tara Fielding reports she’s spotted what she believes to be the witch of their local urban legend, and is now subject to that legend’s deadly curse, her friends rally ‘round and decide they’re going to prove there’s no such thing. After lying to their parents about where they’ll be, the friends head out to The Witch’s Backbone where, the legend claims, the witch waits for foolish travelers who dare pass that way at night.
What the group witnesses during this late summer field trip and what they find out after they return to civilization, does little to put anyone’s mind at ease, least of all Tara’s. Not only do they now believe this long-dead 19th century witch is real, but that she has friends who are still practicing the Black Arts, friends that will see to it that the legend’s curse is carried out.
Are there evil witches stalking the woods and sun-starved ravines between Meyer’s Knob and the neighboring town of Barnesville? Or have the kids just let boredom, the oppressive summer heat, and their own imaginations get the better of them?
Dark Road Hollow
A past filled with terror.
On Dark Hollow Road, Mary Alice Brown and her siblings know little more than poverty and abuse at the hands of their father. Getting rid of their tormentor seemed the answer to bringing joy back into their lives. But when that doesn’t work, Mary takes it upon herself to see that justice is served.
A present full of dread.
After an unusual visit from an elderly woman looking to borrow sugar, the theft of his coloring book, and complaints about other kids bothering him in the middle of the night, six-year-old Brandon Evenson, who lives within sight of the house on Dark Hollow Road, goes missing.
A future obsessed with revenge.
Desperate, Brandon’s parents seek answers from Lee Yagar, a local who’s warned people time and again of the dangers lurking at the old Brown place. But, Lee’s suggestion that Mary is involved in Brandon’s abduction makes little sense. Mary is presumed dead, as she’s not been seen in decades, but is she? And is the house truly as empty and abandoned as it appears to be?
A psychological horror driven by hate, fear, and every parent’s worst nightmare.
No Rest For The Wicked
Theirs was a hatred that lived beyond the grave. A powerless domestic who searches for escape. Naked and screaming, the ghost of Sadie Price wants nothing more than to strike terror into all who dare enter Greenbrier Plantation.
A murderous wife who seeks justice.
Lucy thought shooting her philandering husband and his mistress would bring her peace, but her subsequent suicide only creates a more hellish existence for her in the afterlife.
A sadistic doctor who refuses to relinquish control.
Dr. Addams stalks the house and grounds of Greenbrier Plantation using his dark powers to control his Earth-bound spirits and anyone living who dares get in his way.
Can peace ever come to these tortured souls or are they eternally damned to walk the earth as proof that there really is no rest for the wicked?