Friday, June 28, 2013

Hellnotes Reviews Weird Tales of Terror

I've been thrilled at the warm reception my collection WEIRD TALES OF TERROR has been receiving in recent months. This month, there was a fabulous review in HELLNOTES.
As the review states, nearly all of the pieces are early work that I didn't know where to place.
Here's a taste of what William Gabrowski had to say:
For early work this is well-crafted, potent material. During the read, I kept telling myself: “This stuff is like Joyce Carol Oates as directed by David Cronenberg.” In case you missed it, that’s meant as a compliment.

To read the whole review, click this link: Hellnotes Review of WEIRD TALES OF TERROR

Weird Tales of Terror is available as a trade paperback or an ebook from Amazon

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Ghost Stories of New Orleans

Hotel Monteleone Copyright S.Giron 2013 Not to be copied.
I arrived in New Orleans on Wednesday, June 12 and stayed until June 17, 2013.
The reason was to attend the World Horror Convention and the Horror Writers Association Bram Stoker Awards Weekend.

The Hotel is on Royal Street, two short blocks away from the famous Bourbon Street.

This blog is about several ghostly incidents that actually occurred in the Monteleone Hotel.

New Orleans is a city with a different vibe to it. In the French Quarter, it's a whole other world. A tour of the Louis 1 graveyard gave me more historical insight into the historical patterns of the past.

The Monteleone Hotel itself almost always pops up in searches about haunted places to see in the US. There are dozens of stories on various websites, many revolving around the haunted "14th" floor.

In my opinion, all the floors are haunted.

Many of the convention goers had eerie stories to tell over the days: screams from the room with no one there, sudden wind noises, shaking beds, tilted floors, and more.

I won't bother you with hearsay. I can relate my own adventures. Many things happen to me over the weekend that could have been considered supernatural, however, I'm only going to share with you the stories of what happened to me that felt truly unexplained.

New Orleans Copyright S. Giron 2013. Not to be Copied.

New Orleans is a very old city, as we all know, so it's even more ripe for ghosts. I personally believe every where is haunted, if one believes in such things. However, the French Quarter certainly does have a ghastly sensation to it, a vibe that rings throughout the city, not just in one room or another.

New Orleans Copyright S. Giron 2013. Not to be copied.
There were many places boarded up. Some open later in the day for tourist business, others are just abandoned or whatever their story is.

Jackalope Copyright S. Giron. Not to be copied.

There are heads everywhere on Bourbon Street. This Jackalope was hanging above a bar as you can see. There are baskets and shelves of alligator heads everywhere. It's really rather gross. In fact, if I had gone into those stores even a few years ago, I wouldn't have been able to stay in there as I had an irrational fear of animal heads my whole life, especially animals with antlers. However, even though there were thousands of heads, this was the only Jackalope that I spotted on my walk.
New Orleans Copyright S. Giron 2013. Not to be copied.
There are altars at many graves and people coming through the graveyard. Celebrities and voodoo queens lure in the tourists. All the XXXs indicated wishes that tourists make. Now you aren't allowed to desecrate the graves, but you can still rub your fingers along the grave and make a wish and present an offering.

New Orleans Copyright S. Giron 2013. Not to be copied.
Nicolas Cage bought this cone of silence for his afterlife.

New Orleans Copyright S. Giron 2013. Not to be copied.

More offerings to a voodoo queen.

New Orleans Copyright S. Giron 2013. Not to be copied.
 This storage room on the rooftop level kind of creeped me out. I was going to peek inside further but the staff were bustling around preparing for a big function.

Ghost Butler Hallway on Rooftop Copyright S. Giron 2013. Not to be copied.
Here is a hallway where something unexplained happened to me. I took this picture on Saturday afternoon in the daylight. Something had felt odd to me which is why I had snapped this shot.

It was Monday morning, perhaps around five thirty or six o'clock. We had gone up to the roof top after a night of dancing because my friend hadn't made it up there during the convention and the view is amazing. I was surprised that the door to the outside area was open at all. After staring at the city and watching the sky lighten we decided perhaps it was time to go back to our rooms and get some sleep before travelling in the next few hours.

We had been watching for security, I, in fact, being a nervous Nellie, kept waiting for security to bust us at any minute for being unsupervised in the pool area or whatever. I'm always getting busted by security for something. But no one had disturbed us when we talked and laughed while sitting on the deck chairs, nor when we walked around the lip of the building, peering out through wrought iron at the city, and in the distance, the Mississippi.

By the time we went inside and waited for the elevators, we had determined that there was no one around on that floor.

While we waited, I saw standing behind my friend, a man in black and white. A man that flashed into my mind "butler" although my regular language doesn't include such words. In my world, I would have said, a staff member, bartender, security, whatever. But the word "butler" is what I want to call him.

The man startled me so I turned around further to see if we were in trouble for hanging out at dawn by the pool but the man was gone.

You can see in the picture, one side is wall. The butler was on the wall side and disappeared as I turned around. No time to fiddling with curtains to access the door to go out to the pool. No doorways where he stood. Just "poof," he was gone.

Copyright Sephera Giron
This is a banquet room on the roof top. It seemed creepy to me.

New Orleans Copyright S. Giron 2013. Not to be copied.
This is a hallway on the fourteenth floor. Of course, the fourteenth floor is really the thirteenth floor. Trying to trick yourself doesn't work.

Copyright Sephera Giron
This is supposed to be one of the most haunted rooms on the fourteenth floor. A newlywed couple was staying there and the man said the room was too messy to show us. No, I didn't knock on his door, he just happened to be walking down the hallway when a few of us were skulking around with cameras.

Copyright Sephera Giron

I discovered one of my friends was staying on the 14th floor so I asked if I could bring my K2 meter to his room. When we stood in the middle of the room, the K2 meter went nuts, under the chandelier. It went into the red repeatedly. We checked the baseline of the room and then tried again. The K2 meter spiked again. However, if the spike was because of the chandelier, it would have stayed spiked, however, this wasn't the case. Then we sat and talked for a while, and I kept an eye on the meter. It spiked now again, but not into the red as it did that first time. However, it was constantly active, buzzing up to three or four every minute or so.

What I found interesting was that the spot where the K2 spiked to red those couple of times, was the same spot in my own room where I was touched, which was between the two beds. More on that below. We checked the meter against phones, lights, etc. as good little ghost busters do but I'm satisfied that the spiking was unexplained in this particular instance.

New Orleans Copyright S. Giron 2013. Not to be copied.

Copyright 2013 S. Giron

I always take pictures of myself in mirrors because I'm curious to see if there's anything standing in the mirror with me.

Copyright 2013 S. Giron

This is room 737 where I roomed with Kim Richards and William Gilchrist from Damnation Books.

This room is haunted.

I had just had a shower and was standing in between the two beds. I had put my K2 meter on the bed and the digital voice recorder on the night stand. It was Saturday around 7:30. Earlier that day was when I had started working with the meter around the hotel. Up until that point, I hadn't been ghost hunting or paying attention to anything.

As I leaned over the bed to pick at my clothes, someone pushed me. It was on my left shoulder blade. A firm push. The K2 meter spiked and a cold chill passed through me, causing the hair on my arms to stand on end. I looked at the clock as I told the DVR what was happening.

The time was 7:37.

This happened a couple more times. Push, spike, chill.

The first time it happened, I thought maybe Kim or William had come back because they had forgotten something. Haha...nice try.

As if I wouldn't have heard the door open!

So this happened and it freaked me out. I went to the bathroom to look at my back. There was a red mark where the pushing had happened. I was so scared that I forgot to take a picture of it even though I took pictures of the room after.

I told the room that I was so excited to be in New Orleans, that I was born there, I was "one of them." I thanked them for sharing experiences with me and told them to talk amongst themselves while I was gone.

I left the DVR running while I went out dancing by myself on Bourbon Street for a couple of hours.

I've not yet had time to listen to see if anything happened while I was gone. I'm kind of afraid to listen. As well, I don't really remember how to work that recorder.

My Haunted Bed Copyright 2013 S. Giron

On Sunday afternoon, I think it was, I had another incident with my bed. I was standing at the end of the bed and was rummaging through my piles, when the bed started to shake. I thought maybe I was rocking it with my fiddling, so I stood back. That wasn't what was happening. I leaned over to fiddle more and the bed shook again. I told myself that perhaps there was a little earthquake, or maybe the hotel blows in the wind, or perhaps the bed was one of those old coin operated ones and had gone off though I saw nothing about coin operations.

Needless to say, I gathered up my stuff and got out quick. I found out other people had bed shaking experiences too and there had been no earthquakes at that particular time.

On Sunday around sixish, I was taking a shower. Yes, these things always happen to me around showers. Perhaps because I'm relaxed and therefore more open. I had left the bathroom door open since Kim and William were out at the Absinthe Bar. When I was stepping out of the shower, I heard a noise in my room.

It sound like three shouts, shrieks, sex noise moans?


I ran out, thinking that Kim and William had returned and were in the room although I surely would have heard them come in.

Nothing there.

Then I thought, "Ah-ha! My phone has that loud two chirp ringtone when I get a text, so someone has texted me!"

I checked my phone.


I finished getting dressed really fast and got out of there.

Clock in Monteleone Hotel Lobby  Copyright 2013  S. Giron
The clock in the lobby is apparently haunted. This little guy terrified me. There are creatures on both sides of the clock but this dude had something to him. In fact, it took me several tries to take his picture. warned.

Copyright 2013  S. Giron
This picture was taken during some of my wanderings. I don't know why it's the way it is. I don't know where it is. But it's a pretty funky picture even if it's likely just a camera error.

Please feel free to share your ghost stories and pictures from the convention in the comments section below!

Sunday, June 9, 2013

New Orleans: The World Horror Convention and the Bram Stoker Awards

In a few days, I'll be in New Orleans. So hard to imagine. I was born there and have never been back since I was an infant. 
It's been on my bucket list my whole life to go to New Orleans and I'm thrilled to have the chance.
I've not been able to attend a World Horror ever since it was in Toronto in 2006. It's been difficult to not attend as I was at all of them with the exception of one before that point. I even went to one in Nashville pregnant with Dorian.
At any rate, I'm excited to attend World Horror.
This is two conventions in one and it's actually the Horror Writers Association hosting the Bram Stoker Awards Weekend and they've embraced World Horror this year.
The Awards will be given out this weekend but I won't be at the banquet. I may go to the awards ceremony which is open to the public, it depends on what New Orleans looks like on a Saturday night.
4 - 6 Registration Desk
10 am Friday morning I'm going on the St. Louis Cemetery Tour for a couple of hours before the heat is too wretched.
3 - 4 Social Media Panel
5:30 - 6:30 I'm at the HWA table in the Dealer's Room
6:30 - 7 Haunted Mansion Writers panel  reading where I'll be reading a poem at 6 on Friday.
7 - 8 Mass Autographing. I have nothing to bring to sell to be autographed so make certain to get your copies of the Haunted Mansion Retreat #2 (and #1) from the Damnation Books Table. I'm also in DB's Writing Tales to Terrify. High Stakes might be for sale there too and I have a story in there.
I'll be taking in panels, the city, hanging in the bar, going to parties!
I'm so excited to go to New Orleans, to World Horror and to the Stokers I could just burst!
But I won't because they won't ship my body parts in a duffle bag across the border.
If you see me around, don't be shy, say hello!