Friday, October 31, 2014

A Spooky Halloween Tale: Stacey Graham shares Annabelle

Cowboy Marvin is out trick or treating. 

As a special Halloween treat he asked a friend to stop by and share 
a spooky tale.

Stacey Graham 

is here to tell you about   

Annabelle at the Warren's Occult Museum


Passing an antique store in 1970, Donna’s mother couldn’t resist buying the large rag doll with round button eyes as a birthday gift for her college-aged daughter. Donna loved the doll, displaying it prominently in her bedroom of the apartment she shared with fellow nursing student, Angie. Days later, the women noticed something peculiar about the doll. After making her bed each morning, Donna would place the doll – legs straight out and arms to the sides – on her bed, when she returned in the evening, the legs and arms would be positioned differently. Limbs would cross or the doll’s arms would be folded in its lap.

A week or so passed, and each day the doll would change its position from how it was left in the morning. Donna tested the doll by purposefully placing the limbs in crossed positions to see if they’d be in a similar state when she returned.  Not only did she find the arms and legs uncrossed, the doll would be found hunched over or knocked to one side.

Eventually, the girls found the doll making a break for it in the front room; returning home one night, Donna and Angie discovered the doll sitting in a chair near the front door – kneeling. Other times, they would find it sitting on the sofa, and probably hogging the remote control.

The doll started to leave notes around the apartment. Written in pencil on parchment paper, of which they had neither in the house, they found messages pleading for help, “HELP US” and “HELP LOU” were scrawled in childlike handwriting across the yellowed paper.

Thinking the doll and its antics were the trick being played on them by someone able to access their apartment, Donna and Angie began to mark positions on the doors and windows to track anyone coming into the room. Never finding evidence of a person entering the apartment, they began to get scared.

One night, the women found blood on the back of the doll’s soft cloth hand – and three drops of blood on its chest. They decided to contact a medium to see if she could find an explanation for the odd occurrences surrounding the doll. The psychic told them a young girl had died on the property when it was simply fields to run in and no buildings had swallowed her playground in concrete. The girl’s name was Annabelle Higgins and was seven-years-old. Annabelle had decided she’d liked the rag doll and felt the students were able to relate to her, the psychic continued, so she had possessed the doll to be near them. The women called the doll Annabelle from that moment on and treated the expressionless toy as if it were a child. They felt it was no longer a plaything – it was a child in need of love.

Lou, a friend of Angie and Donna’s, had never felt comfortable around the doll. While he couldn’t place why he’d rather be in a separate room from Annabelle, it turned out he should have listened to his instincts. Napping on the couch in their front room, Lou dreamed of the doll. Feeling himself wake up he looked around the room and then saw Annabelle at his feet. The doll began to climb up his legs, moving over his chest until it reached his neck. In his dream, he saw the soft arms touch either side of his throat and the horror of himself being strangled by the rag doll. Waking in terror, he knew the doll had to go.

Later, while preparing for a trip the next day, Lou was alone in the apartment with Angie. Hearing noises coming from Donna’s bedroom, Lou suspected they’d finally catch whatever had been playing with the doll and discover who was behind the tricks on his friends. Quietly opening the door to the room, Lou saw nothing was out of place, except that instead of being in her normal place on top of the bed, Annabelle was lying crumpled in a corner. As he walked further into the room and closer to the doll, he felt a dark presence behind him. Spinning around to face the attacker, Lou fell to the ground as Angie ran in to find her friend bleeding. Peeling away the material of his shirt, they found seven claw-like marks on his chest, the scratches burning like fire into his flesh. Remarkably, the wounds healed completely within a day or two but they knew they needed help to deal with whatever had possessed the doll.

Donna contacted the Episcopal Church who suggested they contact Ed and Lorraine Warren, the founders of the New England Society for Psychic Research. Ed, a demonologist, and Lorraine, a trance medium, were intrigued by the case and ready to help. After discussing Annabelle’s history with Donna and Angie, the Warrens determined that the doll was demonically possessed and not a simple haunting. They felt whatever had taken control of the doll had done so by emotional manipulation of the girls by telling them, via the medium, that it was the spirit of a child locked inside, thus giving the demon a way to enter the apartment. Feeling that Donna and Angie were in danger, the Warrens requested to take the doll away from the house for their own safety. 

On way home, the Warrens had a tussle with their back seat driver. The car stalled or swerved on curves, making the journey dangerous. Finally, Ed Warren removed a vial of holy water from his bag, sprinkling it liberally over the possessed doll in the back seat. The rest of the drive home was uneventful. At their home, Annabelle sat in a chair next to Ed’s desk though would often move to different rooms in the house, and even levitating when it first arrived.

A special case was built for the doll and it moved to the Warren’s Occult Museum where she has remained quiet ever since. Or has she? The doll may be to blame for the death of a visitor to the museum. Hearing the story of Lou’s experiences with Annabelle, a young man taunted the doll by asking it to scratch him and banging on its case. Escorted from the museum with a warning to respect what he doesn’t understand, the visitor and his girlfriend left on his motorcycle for home. Not long after leaving the Occult Museum, the young man was the victim of an accident as his motorcycle ran off the road and hit a tree, killing him instantly.


Want more?

Check out Stacey's other books.

Available at

 Available at
 Llewellyn | Amazon paperback or Kindle | Barnes & Noble |Books-a-Million | Powell's

 Visit Haunted Stuff's website   

Reviews: Jenn's Bookshelves

About Stacey:

I'm a multi-tasking mother of five whose early jobs included faking a British accent for tourists at a historical mansion, and speaking with Italian men over the phone for far too long while working at a travel agency in Portland, Oregon.

I have degrees in history and archaeology/anthropology from Oregon State University and may or may not have seen Bigfoot at an off-campus deli. It was Oregon, it's hard to tell. I enjoy writing terrible zombie poetry and baking delicious granola that my husband refuses to eat. I currently live on the tippy top of a mountain outside of Washington, D.C. where helicopters hover overhead when the President gets his groove on to visit Homeland Security's secret bunker.

Follow Stacey Graham online
Thanks for sharing Stacey!

Friday, October 24, 2014

Fire Writer Friday: Paty Jager

Cowboy Marvin loves listening to the Written Fireside stories and is having great fun learning a little more about 

Graciously, those author who participate in the round robin stories have agreed to stop by, on certain Fridays, and visit with my curious goat.

Stopping by this Friday is

Paty Jager     

Howdy Ms. Jager, so nice of you to stop by.  

Now down to business, are you a night owl or early bird? 

Neither. I like to sleep till 7 am but only stay up until 10 pm.

Interesting, I like to get up with the sun and nibble on blackberry leaves. 

You should try that sometime, yummy.  

Moving on, who would you be, Batman or Robin?

Robin, I’m most comfortable letting someone else lead and me do the clean up.

I didn't know Robin did western. I guess a goat can learn something new everyday. 

Personally, I'm partial to Super Goat Man.   

Would you take a taxi or a limo if they were the same price?

Limo. Always go for the better deal. ;)

Have you ever considered the subway? 

All the cool goats are riding it.  

Tell me, what was the last song you listened to? 

Song of the South by Alabama

Good song.  I enjoy songs about goats. 
Have you heard this one? 

What about your taste in movies, do you like scary, comedy, romance or adventure?

Definitely not scary! The abominable snowman on Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer scared me as a kid. I like romantic comedies and action adventure but no shoot-em up movies.

I love romance.

I get a warm feeling watching couples walk off into the sunset.

What season do you like best, Spring, Summer, Winter or Fall? 

That’s a hard one…I like spring because it brings the wild flowers and warmth after a cold winter. 

I like summer because it is warm, crops grow, and the days are longer. 

You can’t beat the crisp air of fall and the colorful leaves. 

And winter has its own charm with the sparkly snow, cozy days by the fireplace, and the expectation of Spring.

I have to say I'm partial to spring myself... so many green, tender munchies.    

Would you tell me a place you've never been to, but would love to visit?

I would like to go to Hawaii. Just to see a tropical beach and still be on U.S. soil.

I love to visit to Hawaii too. 

I hear the surfing is amazing.

Tell me, would you swim in the ocean or a pool?

Pool definitely a pool. If I can’t see the bottom I freak out. 

I learned to swim in a crystal clear river that was fresh snow melt. But I could see the bottom!

I agree, pools can be fun! 

How would you go camping - sleeping bag under the stars, tent, trailer, fancy RV, or a hotel with room service?

I like the sleeping bag in a tent. But now that, I’m aging, I’d like a cot so I don’t have to get up off the ground. ;)

Tents are tons of fun.


One last question.  A goat walks through your door right now wearing a cowboy hat.  What does he say and why is he there?

“This is Munchie’s ghost. 

Why haven’t you had another goat on your place since I died?”

We're like potato chips Ms. Jager. 

One goat is never enough, have two. 

Paty was a Fire Writer for 
Of The Storm and Be Mine, Marshal

She was also on a First Fight Friday with Cowboy Marvin.

Paty is a multi-published author.

Her latest release is 

Spirit of the Mountain Book One

Evil spirits, star-crossed lovers, and duty…which will prevail? 

Wren, the daughter of a Nimiipuu chief, loves the mountain and her people—the Lake Nimmipuu. When a warrior from the enemy Blackleg tribe asks for her hand in marriage to bring peace between the tribes, she knows it is how she must fulfill her vision quest. But she is torn between duty and her breaking heart. 

Himiin, as spirit of the mountain, watches over all the creatures on his mountain, including the Nimiipuu. When Wren shows no fear of him as a white wolf, he listens to her secret fears and loses his heart to the mortal maiden. Respecting her people’s beliefs, he must watch her leave the mountain with the Blackleg warrior. 

When an evil spirit threatens Wren’s life, Himiin rushes to save her. But to leave the mountain means he’ll turn to smoke…

Spirit of the Mountain Book One
is available on 
ISBN 9781940064833

Follow Paty Jager online

Thanks for stopping by Paty!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Cover Reveal: We've Always Got New York by Jill Knapp

Fellow Harper Impulse author

Jill Knapp 

           is here for a...

Cover Reveal 


We've Always Got New York 
A What Happens To Men...? Novel

Releasing November 20th, 2014


We've Always Got New York 

picks up after Amalia Hastings returns to Manhattan from her trip to Brazil to find that life has in fact gone on without her. 

Fresh off the plane, she is left feeling anxious and unresolved, left alone to pick up the pieces, and deal with the repercussions of choosing her own path over Michael. 

Amalia finds herself without an apartment, without a job, and starting to wonder if she's even without a best friend!


Fancy a peek?

We've Always Got New York

Chapter 1- Amalia

I could tell by the look on her face that she was expecting something from me. She was expecting something to be different. For me to be, in some way, changed.

I’m Amalia Hastings, and on August 20th at 9:17 pm, I was home.

Home. The word seemed funny to me because I didn’t have a home to go back to. I moved out of my apartment right before leaving for Brazil and after my friend-with-benefits, Michael, showed up at my apartment, asking me to stay. I hadn’t thought it through properly; I just knew I didn’t want to live in that apartment anymore. Before my trip to Brazil I packed up what little stuff I owned and put it in storage for when I returned, assuming I would deal with it then. Well, “then” has become “now”. So for tonight I was staying with my best friend Cassandra. Who was currently waving at me.

I knew what she wanted. She wanted stories. Juicy ones that involved hot hookups on the sand. She wanted to see pictures. Pictures of the places I went, the food I ate, and the hot guys I met. She wanted me to run up to her in a sun dress, hair braided and skin tanned, and explain, no, to pontificate, to her how life-changing my trip was. She wanted me to playfully link her arm around mine and gush about how amazing it all was. How I was changed forever. That I had a new appreciation for life, food, and music. She wanted me to tell her that I would never be the same.

But this isn’t the movies and I’m not Julia Roberts.

The florescent lights above me flickered, making the airport look dark and ominous. I looked down at my hand as I pulled my rolling suitcase across the sticky, tiled floor. Not even my hand had acquired a tan. Three months in the Brazilian sun and my skin remained as pale as ever.

Cassandra was looking right at me with wide, unblinking eyes. I walked a little slower.

For some reason I couldn’t pinpoint, coming off the plane felt like a surreal experience to me. Although I was relieved to have landed, and I wouldn’t have wanted to stay in Brazil any longer, I still wasn’t utterly happy with being back. I wondered if it merely had to do with the fact that I had no apartment to go back to and was feeling pretty untethered from not having a proper home.

There’s an old saying. I’m not really sure where it’s from or who said it first. Kind of the proverb equivalent of The House of the Rising Sun. It proffers, “Wherever you go, there you are”, and up until about one month ago I had no idea what it meant. But now it means everything. It rings in my ears like a scolding mother, repeating itself over and over again until I submit.

I finally stood face to face with Cassandra, who was grinning like a fool at this point. She was dressed down for the night, wearing a purple racer-back tank top that showed off her summer glow, jeans, and gold flip-flops. Her blonde hair was pulled into a loose, messy bun and her make-up was minimal, apart from the extra-shiny, coral lip-gloss she was wearing. She reeked of summer.

“Hey,” I offered, looking down at my sneakers. I wished I had more energy for her, but after ten hours on a plane it was all I could muster up.

Cassandra cocked her head to the side and smiled. Her hair swung back and forth and she popped her hip out like a model in training. She looked as fierce as ever, even dressed-down in comfortable summer clothes.

“That’s all I get? Get over here!” she said, pulling me in for a hug.

I hugged her back for a moment and then pulled away, overcome with exhaustion and jet-lag. I smiled at Cassandra. She smelled like a salty coconut and I realized she had probably come straight from Fire Island, a beach not too far from Long Island and just outside of the city. That explained the dressed-down attire, but not the lip-gloss. Unless, of course, we were going straight back there from JFK airport.

I looked back at the gate. Most people I knew hated airports, but I liked them. They offered a chance to escape. Get on a plane and in six hours from now you could be across the country. You could be in a different town, in a different house, with a different group of people. I think we all took that for granted.

I could go back to Brazil right now. Or I could go somewhere else. I’ve never been to Cincinnati; I wonder what it’s like there. Or maybe Savannah. I could definitely live in Savannah! I took a step backwards, away from Cassie. Back toward the inside of the airport. She just smiled.

“Very funny, Amalia!” she said through perfectly white teeth. “Don’t sneak away from me now. I’m so glad you’re back, I really missed you.”

Cassie threw her arm over me and smushed our faces together. She whipped out her iPhone and flipped the camera application around so the front lens could be used and snapped a picture of the two of us. Before I knew it, she uploaded the picture to Facebook with the caption “So excited, Amalia is officially home!”

Without glancing back, she walked a few feet in front of me and remained glued to her phone. The back of her Havaianas smacking onto her heels echoed throughout the now nearly empty hallway. I let out a long sigh that Cassandra didn’t hear and pulled my suitcase toward the exit. Yep, it was official. I was home.
Copyright © Jill Knapp


Check out Jill's first
What Happen's to Men...? Book

What Happens to Men When They Move to Manhattan?

Are you on Team Michael? Or are you on Team Hayden?

Jill's bio:

I’m currently a blogger for The Huffington Post, and a former college professor. What Happens to Men When They Move to Manhattan? is my debut novel, and the first in a series of books I am writing about being young, single, and living in New York City. I am a native New Yorker, but currently reside in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Follow Jill Knapp online

Thanks for sharing Jill!

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