Sunday, September 23, 2012

Guest Post and Review: Ungentle Sleep by B. Lloyd

Author: B. Lloyd
Title: Ungentle Sleep
Publication: August 8, 2012
Publisher: Captive Press
Source: Author

Synopsis from Goodreads

When Aubrey Marchant's engagement to Eleanor Maydew was announced to his friends, he received mixed blessings.
‘The Maydews are a bohemian lot – not many servants, even before the War.’
‘Keen on brown bread and vegetables – don't expect too much in the way of creature comforts.’
‘Brave chap, I am sure you'll find the country air bracing.’
‘And Eleanor comes of good stock, too. Never mind the burst water pipes.’
Aubrey managed to shrug off most of these under a jocular guise. One of his closest friends however, let slip something that would come back to him later.
‘I wouldn't mind the rest of it – only I believe it may be a House of Spirits. Hope you can sleep all right at nights.’
Aubrey laughed at the time. ”

A crowded house party – with more guests on the way. Despite instructions to the contrary, the older part of the house is opened up . . .and something is inadvertently let out, to wreak mild havoc and insanity on the Maydews and their guests. That nasty incident involving Eleanor, followed by unpleasantness over Penny’s dress, and what is it Aubrey can hear, on the outer edge of his dreams? 
Hysteria, missed cocktails, and something nasty in the attic.
Snrrip, snrrip. Snip, snap.

Even the rats run away.

A ghost tale, almost not quite long enough to qualify as a novelette, created in celebration of M.R.James’s 150th anniversary.

Review: The story starts with Arabella being taken to the Queen to become her seamstress in order to assist her brother Thomas in paying his debts but things take a turn when she comes down with a fever and starts sleepwalking. Distraught by the sudden change in Arabella's health, her other brother, Edward decides to bring her home to care for her but one night she just disappears and no one knows why.First, let's say that I would not have stayed in that house after hearing and seeing a ghost. Second, why did they stay in that house as everyone was on edge and completely freaked out by the noises?  This is a well thought out, short and eerie ghost story. The author does a good job of weaving in the past history into the present time, which is set in the 1930s and goes back and forth to the year 1569. So, if you are looking for a short ghost story for Halloween, try this one, you may like it. 

Latest up in the Haunted House Tour: A Hallowe’en Party .Set in another haunted place, admittedly a little early in gothic literature, but still a favourite in ghostly legend. Imagine if you will, a clear, moon-lit night :  

‘Oooh, me back’
‘Tell me about it,’
‘All right – it starts right at the base, works its way up, then – cric-crac!’
‘Uh, look, Ted, when I say, tell me about it – I actually mean, don’t tell me about it. All right ?’
‘’S something called a colloquialism,’
‘Oh yeh, heard about those. Like a bloke turning up at a party with his head on back to front.’
‘Um, I think that sounds more like an aberration, actually.’
‘Well, stuck out like a fish out of water, didn’t he ?’
‘Surrealism, that’s what you’re thinking of . . .’
‘You done yet ?’
‘Wait a bit.’ Grunt, grunt, grunt. Clomp, clomp goes the spade in the damp, clay soil.
‘’Ere, ’ere, look what I found – ’
‘Oh no,  put it away will you ?’
‘No, look, hang on, hang on – how does it go again ? Alas, poor Yorick !’
‘For goodness sake, put it down, Ted, will you ? Stop giving me nightmares.’
‘Gah.’ Soft plump as solid comes in contact with soft. Short pause. ‘You do remember though, that day ?’
‘Which one ? There have been so many.’
‘We’d been busy right on this side, near the castle wall – and He walked up to us, in all His tomfool finery, with that broken feather in His hat – surely you remember ?’
‘Oh aye, that day. Yes, I do now.’
‘And He picked – that up – and turned it round and round in his hands  . . .and He said . . ‘
‘Yeh, yeh, all right, spare us the dramatics. Stop standing like that, you’ll topple over.’
‘I will not. This is just how he did it, see – picked it up, and stood just like this – ’
‘Don’t do the laugh – I said, don’t do the laugh . . ‘
‘-mwah HAH! And he said, right where I’m standing now –’
‘Alas,poor Yorick, ’
‘-I knew him well . . .’
‘Actually, I think he was standing over there  . .’
‘What ? You’re kidding me ! It was right here !’
‘Wasn’t. It was just where that leaning tombstone is – that one  with the drunken looking griffin on the top.’
‘And you might as well stop standing like that. It’s not anything like him.’
‘It is, I’m telling you – he always stood like that !’
‘I think if you recall, he was well-covered in opulent velvets and silks, - it does help to lend an air of majesty. You meanwhile just look ridiculous.’
‘Plus the fact he was at least well-nourished. I mean, look at you – nowt but rags and bone, as they say.’
‘Speak for yourself’
‘All right – the pair of us.’

Scrabble, scrabble comes from under their feet, followed by a gentle tapping.
‘You see – while we’re standing here arguing, poor old Frank’s still trying to get out, now come along, get hold of his arm, I’ll take the other one . . . All right then, Frank, up you get, one two . . .  three! . . There, how are you, old son?’
‘Oooh, me back,’ begins Frank.
‘Oh no, don’t you start as well.This is meant to be a a party, remember ? Now, where are the bottles ?’
‘Took me a while to get to the cellar. A year is a long time, I nearly forgot the way. Here you are.’
‘Right, let’s be off.’
Click click, clack clack go the bony feet across the marble tombs, swish swish swish over the wet grass, then cric, crac,cric, crac on the gravel laid pathway leading out of the castle grounds into the countryside. Three skeletal shadows holding cobwebby bottles are ready to enjoy an evening’s entertainment.

So don’t worry if you hear unexpected tapping at the door; it’ll just be the boys from the graveyard, offering to share a drink or two. Amongst other things . . .

No points for guessing who the boys from the graveyard are chatting about – but can you remember the name of the place he lived in ? If not (and before you go looking it up!) here is an anagram to jog the old memory cells : Orcs steal eel in …
Happy puzzling !


  1. Thank you for a great review and for hosting me!
    Happy spooking!:)

  2. Sounds creepy! I may have to read it to get me in the Halloween spirit. I mean, I already am. I have all my decorations waiting lined up in the closet waiting to be put out! Also, love the name Arabella. A friend of mine named her daughter Arabella. It is a fresh take on the -Bella names.

  3. With creeps and chuckles (I hope) - it is a light-hearted kind of thing - just popped by to mention it is available for free download today and tomorrow (5th-6th Oct)via KDP Selection Amazon, along with Blind, another ghost novella by V.R.Christensen :

    Ungentle Sleep

    PLus there is a collection of the posts from Part One of the Tour (free download) from Dark Media City :

    Happy Haunting !


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