Hello All:) I am very excited, and pleased to participate as a host stop of Awakening and Other Stories by the fabulous author Emma Meade!
Below are the deets on this great read, an excerpt and other goodies…plus I share a review!
Author of Nights Sighs, Under the Desert Moon & The Awakening and Other Stories.
Emma Meade writes paranormal fiction. She lives in rainy Ireland and loves all things supernatural. Stephen King’s The Stand is one of her most loved books. Books, DVDS & TV show boxsets take up lots of space in her home and she collects all the Point Horror books she can get her hands on. She is not ashamed to admit that Dirty Dancing and Twilight make her top ten movie list but wishes to point out that The Last of the Mohicans, Reality Bites, Dead Poets Society, Stand by Me and The Goonies are in there too.
Writing supernatural stories & watching marathon re-runs of Buffy are some of her favourite ways of escaping reality.
Note From The Author:
Paddy was my grandad’s name. I was close to both him and my nana, Maureen, more so my nana. After she passed away, I have vivid memories of sitting in the living room and kitchen of their house while my grandfather used a walker to get about. I spent as much of my childhood and teen years at my grandparents’ house as I did at my own home and count myself lucky to have gotten to spend as much time with them as I did. My time spent at their house in Cork at 24 , Congress Road is dear to me. Most of the conversation in “The Knocking” comes from my own memories. There really was a glass chest in the sitting room filled with all sorts of items I considered treasures as a child. The clock on the mantelpiece ticked loudly, and there was a key hidden underneath it.
The paranormal aspect came about from listening to a friend from college tell an eerie story. She recalled that every morning in the days leading up to her own grandfather’s death in a nursing home, her family would find their front door wide open. It happened every single day right up to the day of his death. This sparked the idea of Death knocking on the front door, calling to collect the old.
I wrote “The Knocking” before my grandad died, and it’s a story close to my heart. A local newspaper, The Evening Echo published it a few years ago.
Paddy’s bedtime was very early in the evening. Wrapped up in his cold bed by 8.00pm every night of the week, he would just lie there, completely awake, pleading with his mind to shut down. It wouldn’t allow him the relief of sleep, not in that makeshift bedroom downstairs. It used to have the dining table in it. How was that meant to be a restful place for slumber?
But that was how the last couple of years had gone. His wife of fifty years had died, in hospital, and she had been adamant she wanted to go in her own bed. It hadn’t happened. And neither he, his sons, nor his grandchildren ever talked about that. Ever.
His legs had given in only a short time ago, not from any real physical deficiency, just his own lack of desire to bother with cooking, walking, cleaning the house, or himself for that matter. Now that he could no longer climb the stairs to his bedroom, it lay silent and dormant. Shut up like a museum.
He had given up. He knew that’s what they all thought, and they were right. He just didn’t care anymore and was in a constant state of waiting.
At least in his own bedroom, he had still felt alive, like a person, an old, grieving, lonely man, but living nonetheless. Sleep there had brought closure, a blocking out of the world and his melancholy thoughts. He also had dreamt, delighting in seeing his family and friends of long ago. He would be joining them soon. That much he was sure of. After all, there had been a lot of knocking lately.
The Awakening & Other Stories by Emma Meade was a collection of tasty morsels for my paranormal loving soul.
Yes, that sounded EXTREMELY cheesy. But its the truth. I love stories that have a slight eeriness to it, things go bump in the night, old houses that sigh with loneliness and history, characters that are just not quite right, one foot in this world and the one in the other…Whatever the other is I should say. This was a very satisfying treasure trove. I am doing an overall review of the entire collection, but then I will pull out three of my favorites, and those I will break down slightly more.
I speak a lot about description in my reviews, and the flow of the story, there are two reasons for that. One as a writer myself, I admire that ability, and I am attempting to learn how the author accomplished this. Then as a reader, it helps me fall more into the story; become fully consumed in the world the author is painting. It does not have to be large, expansive descriptions, it is more of the little things that makes the characters real and/or the situations more haunting. These small details helps me to identify either with the character or the story.
Emma Meade does that in this collection, her use of the English language as a tool, to paint scenarios that helps me to relate, is astounding. Small things that brought a slight chill to my spine, or had my soul sag a little for the characters saddness…examples such as in Ghost story when the two characters Jessica and Michelle venture into the old abandoned house and Ms. Meade describes the kitchen scene where she says” For some reason, the empty spaces where the cooker,fridge and washing machine should be gave her chills”….
I related to that, because I have seen that type of scenario in my real life,and it also sent a shiver, or I’m not sure, just an uneasiness through me as well. So seeing it here in this story, a feeling I have experienced, but could not set to words, help me to relate. It added another level to my reading of the stories, because moments likes these were sprinkled throughout.
Three that really grabbed me(I enjoyed the entire collection…I am only listing three that stood out to me personally)
#The Boy On The Beach: This story is about Katie who after losing her grandmother , makes a desperate attempt to contact her after her grandmother died. She actually accomplishes her goal, and finally gains an answer to a question that had been haunting her for years. But alone with the answer comes a warning, which if it occurs will change her reality forever. I really cannot say in-depth what happens, it will ruin the story, but I will say, that Ms.Meade was able to create a beautiful, fantasy and at the same time cause that fantasy to have a sinister overtone. This one left me slightly creeped out at what should have been beautiful.
#2 The Old Vampire: This story told of Hailey who was always a dreamer, basically residing in the reality of her books, even in her adult and senior years. Dreaming and dreaming of what she felt would be a perfect life, and letting all the other truly marvelous miracles of life pass her by. THIS one hit on a personal note, because I am one who enjoys stories; and I am a chronic dreamer of dreams …which as a writer, I believe is simply the author’s toolbox. But this story was a warning, to not allow time and small moments to pass by, waiting on that perfect detail, person or dream to come. Life is living every moment now, and writing your story daily. Yes, I got all of that from this story. I was also touched by the character’s sadness, loneliness and then confusion and fear, when she was not careful and got what she asked for.
#1 End Of The Line: This story intrigued me from the beginning when only having seen an excerpt. The story of Cassie, a young woman who battled Chronic depression for most of her life; having numerous times, tried to commit suicide and failing. Cassie in this story is also back to the pattern of attempting to end it all and becoming frightened and stopping at the end. Until one night, while lying on the train tracks(her selected the method of ending it all) she meets a special train, with special people and stories, which causes Cassie to look at her true desires, and make the choice to either leave this life, or dig in and make the most of the gift she has been given…
This story touched me, because Cassie is like so many,; she does seems to have a good life, job, home, family that loves her, but still there is an aching sadness, a chronic discontent, which is more insidious than any disease. I believe Ms. Meade paints a believable character, which is also frightening, due to how common Cassie situation occurs.
This is a collection that will send shivers down your spine..so real life..with just a hint of Other.
I loved it and its a must read!