Book Jacket


rank 3013
word count 98259
date submitted 09.05.2008
date updated 26.01.2012
genres: Fiction, Romance, Fantasy, Comedy
classification: universal

The Practical Woman's Guide to Living with the Undead

Sue Gedge

Divorce Lit. with vampires: a novel for those wiling to venture into the dark territory beyond the Aga!


Brave enough to venture into the dark, spooky territory beyond the Aga? Then meet Dora Harker, an ordinary divorced single mother as she battles with demons and vampires.
Dismayed to discover the ghost of her second mother- in- law in the house, Dora is grateful when Ralphie, a charming elderly man she met in a strangely Gothic pub, offers to perform an exorcism. But having been invited in, Ralphie is reluctant to leave and Dora’s perturbation increases when he reveals he is a vampire, Lord Ralph Dunglass de Marney, undead since 1944.
Dora thought she had the job from hell as a supply teacher in a North London comprehensive school, but she soon finds herself facing even greater horrors than class 9X on a Monday morning. Why is there a green, slimy lake in the middle of the living room? What really happened to her second husband Dave, when he set off on his fatal journey with his band, Chappaquiddick? Did Peregrine, her third husband really dabble in demonology? And what about the Apocalypse that Ralphie insists is imminent?
Dora certainly has a few issues to resolve, but maybe her charming, if inconvenient undead guest can help her after all!

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“She cursed your life?” Zelda lit her fourth roll-up and inhaled deeply. “But she was wrong. You did marry again.” 

“Yes,” I agreed. “But she said that I’d never marry again and be happy. And I wasn’t. Happy, I mean. My third marriage to Peregrine, ended in an acrimonious divorce and my second husband…” I blinked furiously. Even after all these years, a lump started gathering in my throat when I tried to say it out loud. 

“What?” she looked at me quizzically.

“He died.” 

“Oh, shit, Dora!” Zelda’s eyes widened. “I didn’t know.”

“Neither did I.” said Ralphie. “You merely told me that your second marriage came to an end. Allow me to offer my belated commiserations.”

“Thank you,” I bit my lip.

“And that’s him, isn’t it, in that photograph, over there?” Ralphie pointed across the room with his death’s head walking stick.

“Yes,” I said. “How did you guess?”

“Oh, it wasn’t difficult. There’s a silver frame. It’s in pride of place in the centre of the book shelf. There’s a single red rose in a cut glass, stem vase beside it. And the young man in that picture, dressed in the fashion of twenty years ago and with such long, sun-kissed blond hair, is an Adonis.”

I could feel the tears pricking at the back of my eyes as Ralphie spoke. I’d kept that photograph in a drawer for years, unable even to look at it at first, and then, hidden away from Peregrine. It was only a year ago that I’d taken it out, and put it on display, wanting to Seb to have a reminder of his father.

That’s your second husband?” Zelda peered at it from across the room. “But,

Dora, I thought that was just a fan photo. He looks just like Dave Dellow!”

“That’s because he was Dave Dellow,” I said.  

“Dora, that’s amazing! I loved Chappaquiddick and Josh is a real fan! Why didn’t you tell me?” 

“Forgive me,” Ralphie said. “I seem to be a little out of touch here. Was the late Mr Dellow famous in some way?”

“He was the rhythm guitarist in a band called Chappaquiddick,” Zelda explained excitedly. “They were great,” Zelda told him. “Highly brilliant and original. Their first album was out, John Peel was backing them, and they were just about to make the big time, when…”

“Stop!” I grabbed the photograph off the bookshelf and held it close to my chest. “That’s enough!”

Zelda looked guilt-stricken. “Oh, Dora, I’m sorry.  I didn’t mean to upset you.”

“It’s OK,” I said. “I’m just tired. I’m sorry. I don’t want talk about any of this right now. I’d like to get to bed.”



I was bone-achingly tired, but I couldn’t sleep. It had been too disturbing, revisiting so much of my painful past. And I just knew that tomorrow, when I got into school, .  Zelda would waiting for me, wide-eyed and curious, ready to bombard me with questions about the band. She’d be like all the other Chappaquiddick fans that managed to track me down, demanding to know if I’d got any memorabilia, if I knew where the ‘lost’ tapes were, if I still in touch with Dingo and Mad McArthur and Loon, and whether there’d ever be a reunion. And they’d want to talk about Dave,

about his music and his contribution to post-punk rock, and about what a tragedy his death had been for the band, and that was the thing I hated to hear the most. The band might very well have lost one of the most brilliant guitarists of his generation, but I’d lost something else. I’d lost the posthumous father of my son, and the only man I’d ever really loved.

With a sigh, I switched on my bedside lamp, and picked up a book from the pile by the bed, a British Film Institute monograph on German Expressionist Cinema. Perhaps a hearty whack of pretentious prose would send me to sleep. I began to read:

The Structuralist exegesis of Dr Mabuse is informed with a perpendicularity of intention that belies the interface of the pre-war fabric and the Weimar legacy.  In the ‘Cabinet of Dr Caligari’, we see the Expressionist ethic without being conscious of the influence of Formalism…..”

So far, so soporific, but I was wide awake. Too many troubling thoughts were buzzing through my brain like wasps caught in a jar. Was that Talisman of Raphael that Ralphie had painted on the front door really going to protect me from Gertie? How was I going to explain Ralphie’s presence in the house to Caspian when he returned? And what about 9X? Suppose something had happened to one of them, and it was my fault for leaving them with that man Tel?  Surely they couldn’t have come to any harm, surely by now, having roistered around the games arcades of North London, climbed over the security fences into the zoo, frightened a few OAPs and floated down the canal on home made rafts, they must be safely tucked up in their beds. I turned over a page of my book:  

‘Fritz Lang’s Metropolis offers a synaesthetic format which we may regard the over-arching template of diseased democracy without succumbing to the intellectual trap outlined by Marx---not to mention Engels……

This was making me feel worse, as I realised just how many of my brain cells

must have died off since I took my degree. I couldn’t understand a word. I dropped the monograph on to the floor, swung my legs out of bed, and stepped into my black velvet slippers. Then I went downstairs to make myself a large mug of camomile tea.      


I stood in the kitchen, sipping my tea slowly and staring at the cork notice board on the wall next to the fridge. All the  usual memos and notes were there, trade cards from plumbers and electricians, holiday postcards from friends, my latest pay slip, a list of important telephone numbers,  a Post-It note reminding me  to book a dental appointment,  the term dates for Caspian’s school,  a recipe for aubergine and pimento dip, a  cutting from  Time Out  about a new child-friendly restaurant, a drawing that Seb had done when he was eight, but there also, pinned up in the middle, was a faded piece of vellum with the words, Order more plasma inscribed on it in ancient brown ink. Oh dear. What on earth was I going to do about Ralphie? 

I’d always thought of myself as a practical woman. I kept my fridge scrupulously clean, wiping it with an anti-bacterial cloth on a daily basis. I never wasted food. I always whizzed left-overs through the blender to make stocks, soups and sauces. I folded linen neatly and I kept drawers and cupboards tidy. When both Seb and Caspian were born, I’d put in a bulk order of embroidered name tapes, enough to last them until they were eighteen. I grew plants from avocado stones and pips. I was never late paying bills.  I kept files of recipes, household tips, and leaflets covering everything from stain removal to serious litigation. But now I was at a loss. I had absolutely no idea how to deal with the undead.

The phone rang and I jumped, spilling hot camomile tea down the front of my Victorian-style nightie. Ouch! I dabbed at my chest with a tea towel. Who the hell was calling me at this hour?   I lifted the receiver, and took a deep breath, ready to give a drunken pervert at the other end of the line an ear blasting.

          “Hello?” I snarled.

          “Dora!” It was Peregrine. “What do you think you’re playing at?”

    “I don’t understand.”

“Did you send all these aged plebs here? I’ve got a bunch of crazy old women in floral print dresses and cheap trainers, drinking Pina Coladas and singing The Green, Green Grass of Home out on the patio. They’ve been at it all night!”

“I don’t know why you think this has anything to do with me.”

“Don’t you? Mother says they’re friends of Agatha Dellow. In fact, one of them even looks like Agatha Dellow!”

“Perhaps it is Agatha Dellow,” I said.

“What are you talking about?  Agatha Dellow is dead!”      

“I know, but she wouldn’t let a little thing like that stand in the way of good knees-up.” I was feeling light headed and reckless now. So not only had Cynthia taken Nanny Barrel Hips back to Lanzarote, as Ralphie had suggested, they’d managed to pick up all the other plane disaster victims on the way, and now they were driving Peregrine frantic. The thought of his anguish was cheering me up enormously.

“Have you gone completely mad, Dora?” Peregrine asked.


“Then why are you telling me Mrs Dellow’s on the patio? How can she be? She’s dead! She’s pushing up the daisies, along with her sainted, I.Q- challenged son!”

I took in a sharp intake of breath, so sharp that I felt a stabbing pain slicing

right through my solar plexus.

“Don’t you ever,” I could feel my lips quivering as I spoke, “Don’t you ever talk about Dave in that way. He was worth ten of you! He was talented and beautiful and simple and kind, and just because you were always jealous of his memory…”

“You bitch, Dora!” There was a sharp click, following by the dialling tone. 

            Oh hell.  Now I’d done it. Peregrine was bound to want to get back at me for that.


Cynthia was dancing on a beach balancing a pineapple on her head. There were brightly coloured birds flitting through luminous green leaves, and then I saw that they weren’t birds at all, but bats. Multi-coloured bats, a new species, with wings as iridescent as butterflies. The sky was dark and a river flowed past me, and there on the river was a boat, with a kind of tent on it, lit up by flickering candles.

There was a man in the boat. He was dark-haired and oddly familiar, and he was wearing a white shirt slashed open to the waist. He was sprawling seductively against a bank of gold cushions and he looked like the sexiest thing imaginable. He beckoned to me.

“Dora,” he said. “You’re beautiful, make love to me.”

I was in the boat with the man, and he was kissing me passionately. His hand moved down my back, caressing me, and I felt so aroused that I...

Grief! I sat up groggily. My head felt as though it had been stuffed with barbed wire and my eyes were smarting. Well, at least I’d managed to snatch a few hours sleep after my nasty phone call from Peregrine, but did I have to dream about making love with Aidan Lang, and in such corny technicolour? What on earth was happening to me? Before I could even consider this troubling question, there was a knock at my bedroom door.

      “Who’s that?” I clutched my duvet to my chest.

         “It is only me, my dear lady.” The door creaked open an inch. “I have taken the liberty of preparing you a breakfast tray. May I come in?”

“Um...yes.” I hoped I didn’t sound too ungracious, but this was all too much.

As Ralphie entered the room, I saw that he was wearing an exquisite lemon silk dressing gown embroidered with peacocks and temple minarets. He was carrying a vast, silver tray, definitely not something he’d found in my kitchen. 

     “Shall I place it here?” he indicated the bedside table with a nod of his head.

“Yes, thank you,” I said, “That’s really kind.”

“I hope you won’t mind,” he set the tray down, “but I have borrowed your spare key. I found it on the shelf in the hall. Now, you probably think that I can re-enter your house in the form of mist coming under the door or through the keyhole, or that I can come through the window transformed into a bat. Alas, I’m afraid that kind of thing is merely the invention of some highly imaginative, but entirely inaccurate, film directors. So I will need a key. Is that all right?”

I looked at the breakfast tray. Ralphie had gone to so much trouble that I didn’t feel I could tell him that it was very far from all right, at least not just now. There was some tea in a bone china cup, a silver toast rack containing three tiny triangles of lightly tanned bread, two boiled eggs in a double egg cup,  a gold-rimmed saucer containing some delicate curls of butter, some fresh fruit, and a lead crystal glass filled to the brim with a thick red liquid.

     “Um, what’s that?” I pointed to it tentatively.

            “Home squeezed cranberry juice,” Ralphie told me. “With just a dash of angostura bitters! So good for the kidneys.”

“How nice,” I said, trying not to make my relief too obvious.

      “It’s the least I can do,” he murmured.  “The eggs are free range. Georgia has them delivered by a man who keeps his own poultry in Cricklewood. Now, let us welcome the day!” He walked over to the window and took hold of the curtain cord.

“Ralphie--don’t!” I yelled. “It’s day-light out there!”

“Ah-hah!” he turned towards me with a smile. “Let me guess! You think I am risking my person? No, no, let me assure you that even if I let in the full blaze of June, nothing serious would ensue. I would not burst into flames, or crumble into dust, making a mess of your pristine, understated, taupe carpet.  The dangers of sunlight to my kind have been much exaggerated. The worst outcome would be a rather extreme suntan, and a gradual loss of tissue, which at my age, I agree, is not desirable. But I would need to go out in strong sunshine for at least twenty years before there would be any real damage. Some of the younger members of our kind are quite happy to walk around in the daylight hours. I do prefer the night, so much more glamorous. And today, as you will soon see, it’s another foggy day in dear old London town.”

He pulled open the curtains, revealing a dense murk. The orange street lights were still lit, and the effect of their glimmer in the fog was really very atmospheric. If a hansom cab had rattled past, transporting Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson to the scene of a heinous crime, it wouldn’t have seemed out of place. 

“Curious, don’t you think?” Ralphie mused. “All this mist and far from mellow fruitlessness? It seems as though this entire area of North London has been bathed in dry ice for days. And yet I understand the sun has been shining in Kensington.”

I took a sip of the cranberry juice and was surprised by just how restorative it was. All the same, I wasn’t feeling good.

“I’m afraid something cataclysmic is in the offing,” Ralphie continued. “The

fog and the appearance of spirits indicate a crisis.  The dimensions are shifting. The process can be compared to the movement of the earth’s tectonic plates. Think of it as paranormal seismology. We are sitting on the paranormal equivalent of the San Andreas fault.”

“I see.” I broke the shell of one of the eggs with my spoon.

“Do take care when you leave for your place of work,” Ralphie warned me.

“There could be some very strange entities walking abroad. Well, I will leave you to finish your breakfast in peace. Good day, my dear lady.”

He went silently from the room. I dipped a corner of toast into the egg. Goodness, it was delicious. I really couldn’t think about shifting dimensions right now. I had other things to worry about. Maybe I was about to get sacked from my job at Havelock Ellis High School. Although, now that I came to think about it, maybe that would be a relief. I could get plenty of work in other schools, and at least I wouldn’t have to have any dealings with that annoying man Aidan Lang. 












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Katefin wrote 379 days ago

I like the character of Ralphie, quaint, and eccentric. Also the way you root the supernatural events in a convincingly described real world is really effective and well handled. I can identify with the narrator and her world, and then the ghostly apparitions, though startling also have a good comic element. My mind was spinning with plot possibilities with three ex mother-in laws! Imagine if they had all died? Or died proressively over the book. It reminded me a bit at this point of Blythe Spirit, maybe because of the camp Ralphie. Just finished Chaper 1, will be back to read more

desbill1 wrote 456 days ago

I have just started reading this story, and quickly found myself transported to The Lord Halifax! Only on chapter one, at the moment, but so far, so good!

desbill1 wrote 456 days ago

I have just started reading this story, and quickly found myself transported to The Lord Halifax! Only on chapter one, at the moment, but so far, so good!

desbill1 wrote 456 days ago

I have just started reading this story, and quickly found myself transported to The Lord Halifax! Only on chapter one, at the moment, but so far, so good!

desbill1 wrote 456 days ago

I have just started reading this story, and quickly found myself transported to The Lord Halifax! Only on chapter one, at the moment, but so far, so good!

LizX wrote 894 days ago

The opening line is a killer... in the best possible sense. The delivery is perfect. So casual, but with that unexpected ending. I thought she was going to ask for the phone number of the local plumber! It certainly drew me in, but for more comments you'll have to wait.... I'm too busy reading!

Fynagl Duplicitus wrote 909 days ago

Flash Mob Friday Review

Hi Sue,

This was a humorous piece. Your dialogue is spot on and you do a very good job of revealing the details of Dora's life, her family and past marriages without plonking us in chunky texts of backstory. I like Ralphie's character and there does seem to be a bit more to him than we initially see (I love the campy bit where he flutters his hand in the air).

One thing I noticed especially in the opening chapter is that you sometimes tend to let your sentences run rather love the commas :) For example see the paragraph "Now I was in the habit of calling in...with a bottle in the crook of its forearm."
You sometimes also use a comma before 'and' when it isn't really needed.

There's nothing wrong with starting a sentence with 'and' but you do rely on it a bit much. Either drop some of them or work them into the preceding phrase where possible.
"And why do you ask me?"
"And then Ralphie had seen me."
"And for no reason that I could explain..."
"And Caspian has been known to..."
"And which one of these three ladies..."
"And you certainly don't want to see her dead..."
"And when he said Nanny had popped in..."
"And life is full of surprises..."
"And how long is it since Nanny Barrel Hips..."
"And after the day I've had..."

I love the names and nicknames of the mothers-in-law :)

Although I enjoyed the first chapter and in particular the dialogue, I started to feel a bit restless as I waited for some action to develop out of Dora's conversation with Ralphie. Don't get me wrong, the writing is very good and I laughed at the banter but a part of me kept waiting for Ralphie to say "Let's go sort this out right now..." That feeling has me wondering if maybe starting the chapter at "Are you quite sure your house has been invaded by a presence?" would be an option? The description about how Dora first got to The Halifax is lovely but the chapter could just as easily do without it...just a suggestion - in one ear and out of the other as you see fit.

The second chapter was absolutely hilarious. Be careful with the "And"s again.
"Shut up! Shut up, you silly old bag!" My quote for the day.

All in all a rib-tickling read with plenty of laughs, witty conversation and an MC at her wit's end.

Keep going!

AudreyB wrote 909 days ago

Hi, there – this is your review from AudreyB. I am often accompanied on my reviews by my English teacher alter-ego, The Grammar Hag. If I say anything you don’t like, it was probably her idea.

As I begin your story, I see a woman asking an older man for help with an exorcism. The death’s head cane tells me she has good reason to believe he might know something about spirits, and his wardrobe suggests that he may not be quite as modern as we are. I also know that he’s of an indeterminate age.

Love the description of the pub and how she found it. The reader can almost believe that the pub isn’t really there….

The urn and the reference to Dante’s inferno continue the theme of death.

I didn’t known then how she’d acquired Ralphie. Oops.

I love how we learn of your MC’s marriages through her explanation of the current ghost. I am assuming we need to know all this.

“Demons are adept at taking the form of the recently deceased.” OK, now I’m really wondering about Ralphie.

I suspect you have some “carriage returns” in your manuscript. Turn on options so you can spot them more easily.

Gertie Shuttlehanger! I will remember that. If her name appears again in this manuscript I will definitely know who it is.

Is the kissing of fingertips and the fluttering of a hand always a sign of sexual preference? I read this a few times, trying to understand your point.

Ralphie’s warning to avoid speaking ill of the dead also comes across as foreshadowing.

Love the end to your first chapter. I definitely find myself intrigued and want to turn the page. Great description of Granny Barrel Hips!

“…unaware of the gravy and now it seemed she was equally unaware of the grave.” Funny.

I love how Cynthia isn’t the least bit concerned that Granny Barrel Hips is a ghost.

OK, I want to study this astral traveling deal. Sounds perfect.

You do a nice job of injecting humor. I often found myself chuckling at your lines.

Well, I got to mid-way through chapter 3, and find this to be an enjoyable story. It’s way outside of my usual genres, but it’s well written and entertaining. I like the way you combine humor with death.

I hope you’ll see this rise rapidly!

Forgiveness Fits

Sharon.v.o. wrote 909 days ago

Flash Mob Friday Review

Sue, I have to tell you that I enjoyed this very much. I read the first three chapters and chuckled out loud in several places. I loved the imagery of “her hair being meringued on her head” and “shambolic, bohemian squalor”. Its awesome.

The only error I found was in chapter two when she goes into the shower and finds her other mother in law. You have “the fug began to disperse.” I presume you mean fog.

I have added this to my WL. At the end of the month, when I have a space, I plan on shelving it.

Your writing style reminded me a lot of Katie MacAlister. She blends supernatural with humor very well, as do you. As to there being a market for it…Katie does quite well. No reason why you wouldn’t.

I plan on reading more. If you are inclined to e-mail some pages to me, message me, and I will give you my e-mail address.

Great book, well written, giggle inducing fun.

andrewmcewan wrote 909 days ago

FMFR. What a great first chapter. It's funny without any obvious jokes. Everything, the humour, the characterisation, the plot leaks out like it should, almost unseen and without contrivance. And then there's Ralph. A proper vampire methinks, one promising no end of fun and shenanigans. I have to make the tea now but will sample a few more chapters over the weekend (hangovers permitting). For now I would just add that your book cover isn't doing you any favours. In fact if you ask Daisy nicely she might be able help with that...

Jack Cerro wrote 909 days ago

More flash mob fun.

Excellent opening line and character descriptions drew me in here.

I enjoyed the mini flashback explaining how the mc met Ralphie. That was tastefully done and led us smoothly back into the scene. It also allowed you to describe the setting of the scene in a flashback where it seemed more appropriate than if you cut away from the initial conversation for a description of a bar that the mc already is familiar with.
The conversation set the scene perfectly for the encounter at the end of the chapter.

You probably here this a lot but this novel shouldn't be sitting at 2,000.

DaisyFitz wrote 909 days ago

Flash Mob Friday Review:

I actually like the sound of this book from the LP/SP.

I like Ralphie's alliteration.
"I see." He nodded. "[It's]..."
"I didn't know then how she acquired Ralphie."
- I struggled with this line. I sort of know what you mean but it's so hard to read, I read it three times, got bored and moved on. Which I think loses the little hook you're aiming for.

Gertie Shuttlehanger is an awesome name. Totally unreal, but fabulous. Love it.

Layout/Formatting - I know Autho does some odd things when you upload, but it seems you have paragraph breaks where there shouldn't be any - so where there should be single line-spacing, it's gone double, makes it hard to read. e.g. Ralphie's dialogue starting "Dear, dear..."

The description of her two sons - the crisp packets and friends fags.
The fact she has three MILs
I don't know anything about her.
Writing style. Suits me.
"confirming my suspicions..." - loved that line.
Astral planing.

Less keen on:
The long description of finding the Lord Halifax. Realise it adds to the mystery of the place and him, but maybe separate into two separate chunks - broken up by dialogue or something. But this is me - I'm not keen on big descriptions. I skip half of it and miss key info.
"I was feeling nervous as I walked home..." -

OK, I'm backing this for a bit. It needs tidying but I like it. I like Dora. I like the characters, I like the concept. I'm not sure where you'd sell it in a bookshop - but I like it.

Norton Stone wrote 909 days ago

Flash Mob Friday.
From a quick read of chapter one I sense you had a lot of fun writing this. I found the set up interesting and the premise engaging. I feel you handle the comedy differently at the beginning of the chapter, but very quickly you establish this is going to be a farce with the character names, Gertie Shuttlehanger, Nanny Barrel Hips, and the 'sucked out of a plane' incident. I felt you could have kept a slightly tighter rein on the farce keeping the story just a tad more believable, but that is entirely a matter of my comic taste and in absolute fairness your pitch and title relates quite clearly where you are headed. I think I found the start very believable which is why Gertie came as a bit of a shock. You have created a very strong character in Ralphi, though occasionally I felt his dialogue didn't quite live up to the image I had in my mind. There is a little bit of Quentin Crisp in there and if you have not heard of Crisp he could be worth looking up to get a sense of what I mean. I saw two 'actually's' which you could lose IMO. Little rhythm and flow issues like 'between his cupped hands'. Do you need' cupped'?. At the beginning you mentioned the deaths head walking stick and then later referred to it again as the deaths head walking stick. The second time it sounds forced, walking stick would do IMO. 'I said', 'I admitted', 'he nodded', a matter of taste but possibly not needed.
I am taking the time to-Nit Pick because I like it. It is different and the first chapter has some excellent elements that could make this a real stand out. I do feel Ralphi is a larger than life so his language should be also. I don't know whether this is a work in progress or something you have moved on from, but I think it is worth persevering with, it has great potential. A thrice married Mother of three as MC also has a lot going for her.

Great work

CBBlanchard wrote 1016 days ago

Funny, witty, well-written- this deserves to do very well.

Sue50 wrote 1073 days ago

Your work was recommended by CC Brown author of Dark Side. What I read was entirely funny! Like your style. Happy to put you on my shelf. Good Luck!

ccb1 wrote 1073 days ago

Backed The Practical Woman’s’ Guide to Living with the Undead. Laugh out loud funny in places! Every woman's nightmare...haunted by her mother-in-law. Hope you will check out our book about the undead, Dark Side.
CC Brown

Su Dan wrote 1074 days ago

this chilling and funny, a combination that use a strong style, and the first person narrative is very effective...on my watchlist...with 6 stars******
read SEASONS...

Red2u wrote 1076 days ago

I really really enjoyed the read! Twenty-eight and already three My only qualm and very minor is the last sentence in Chapter 1. There really isn't any reference to what kind of day Dora has at school . Will place on my Wl and plan to go back and read more .Best of luck with the book!

M. A. McRae. wrote 1086 days ago

Well written, polished and witty. Well done. Marj.

Ariom Dahl wrote 1086 days ago

I thoroughly enjoyed this when I first read it and am even more enjoying rereading it. Very clever and funny.

Tom B wrote 1101 days ago

Ha ha ha

One thing that spoils the reading experience is extra paragraph breaks. It's sort of off putting.

Oh and my MIL's name is Gertrude, but she likes to be called Trudy, she hates her real name.

billysunday wrote 1178 days ago

Very funny stuff!!! An original breath of fresh air. Love the mother-in-law stuff. With three of them, the jokes keep on rolling. 5 stars and appreciate your tongue and cheek approach to horror.

billysunday wrote 1179 days ago

Sounds like it could be funny and scary at the same time. Backed and ready to read. If a chance, please try 33 or Halo of the Damned. Dina

B. Hurtado wrote 1180 days ago

Read the book — I’ll bet you’re dredging up memories some people would rather not have. Nevertheless, isn’t that what a good book, movie or play is supposed to do?
The (9X) delightful children (knowing a few teachers, all I can say is “the horror — the horror” J. Then again, Joss Whedon always said “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” was really about the terrors of High School). I’m not going to go for anything (I hope) a good Editor would find and then correct.
At the end of the first paragraph of chapter 13, I just want to say ‘So long, and thanks for all the fish’.
OK, hopefully that’s just me.
Consistency in books is just as important as it is in movies. You’ve already shown Dora isn’t dense. Therefore, a phrase like ‘lupusnocturni, whatever that was’ is totally out of character, as she would have looked it up already, and it would have been known. Being familiar with film majors, they would do this kind of thing. It is obvious that you yourself have done this (henbane, and previous, as well as later things — like the parts of spiders and the name as well) so you should have certain characters do the same — unless you‘ve decided ‘they have no brain’.
Anyway, with 30 chapters, I should keep this short.
B. Hurtado (To Meet With Darkness)

Oh, by the way, free range chickens — always makes me laugh anytime they’re mentioned J. As most people don’t realize they eat bugs (insects and spiders) and ‘pick’ at anything else they can find — dead things, poop (dried of course, when it becomes ‘free game’) , and other things as well.

Kaimaparamban wrote 1235 days ago

Your novel is a good blend of horror and usual life. You brilliantly performed a skill how to blend these two things proportionally. Your proportion is success that is why it is increasing quality of your creation.


Kaimaparamban wrote 1235 days ago

Hi Sue,

As the pitch impressed me very much, I decided to go for further reading. Your book is in my w/l

Joy J Kaimaparamban
The Wildfire

C.H.Valentino wrote 1244 days ago

Started reading the first chapter and fell in love! The beginning is well written and colorful. Looking forward to reading the rest, but for the time being, you are backed!

Malcolm Judge wrote 1268 days ago

Drawn in by the title and enjoyed your style straight from the start. Backed, will read more.

Eunice Attwood wrote 1270 days ago

This is brilliant. The pitch had me hooked along with line and sinker. I can see this rising through the ranks rapidly, and if it doesn't, it jolly well should. Backed with much pleasure. Eunice - The Temple Dancer.

Ceeds wrote 1271 days ago

Really funny! Loved it. Promise to read more. Good luck with this, really promising start. Well written. Ceeds - JOE's NAN

JD Revene wrote 1300 days ago


The pitch is so good I almost backed this without reading. But now I've read the first chapter and the writing's just as good as the pitch promised.

Backed with pleasure

Barry Wenlock wrote 1313 days ago

Hi Sue, Very good work, indeed.
A great description of Ralphie, using both his voice and his attire to build a picture of 'a refugee from the past'. Then, Dora's need to interrupt him -- he's off on a ramble about his youth.
'I think I have a the house -- matter of fact dialogue, yet a pretty stunning revelation (liked it)
As an ex-supply teacher, I accepted her need for a glass of wine after a hard day, hence her regular visits to the Lord Halifax.
Her conversation with Ralphie regarding her three mother-in-laws is brilliant -- Nanny barrel-hips...sucked out of a plane -- loved it.
Ralphies emphatic warning not to speak ill of the dead, added a touch of tension.
Dora's return home to discover the ghost, is a great lead into the next chapter.
Very entertaining and well written.
Backed with pleasure,

Sue G. wrote 1325 days ago

Thank you so much for your comments, Teresa! How brilliant to find someone who's read the whole book! (The copy of the fax wasn't in Caspian's room, btw---it fell out of an exercise book owned by one of 9X in the kitchen!)

The rescue scene really gave me grief when I was trying to write it, and I think I will have to work on it some more!

Teresa Baker wrote 1326 days ago

I finished your book in one day (reading at work--bad girl!), and I loved it! At first I was miffed that you were keeping the sons out of the story, but when Caspian came onstage, he did so with a vengeance! I only have two criticisms--how did the fax get into Caspian's room? Did I miss something? Was he in on the plot, and his loving mother can't see it (he is going to that school where they are teaching him who-knows-what!)? And I just felt cheated by the anti-climatic rescue scene. I sooo wanted our heroine to beat some demon about the head and shoulders with her hensbane. But I guess she already did that with the fish.... Well, I wanted her to do something other than have a character we'd never met or even heard of before come bursting in the door like some kind of comic-book hero. expanded that a little, and she felt a burst of electricity between them as he carried from that stygian pit of doom, and then she'd have TWO possible men in her life....? I still would have at least liked to have met the rescuer before he rescued them. Perhaps at a parent-teacher conference...? Anyway, all that to say, I loved this book, and it is the first one on my bookshelf. Thank you for creating such wonderful characters and such an entertaining plot!

Teresa Baker wrote 1326 days ago

I finished your book in one day (reading at work--bad girl!), and I loved it! At first I was miffed that you were keeping the sons out of the story, but when Caspian came onstage, he did so with a vengeance! I only have two criticisms--how did the fax get into Caspian's room? Did I miss something? Was he in on the plot, and his loving mother can't see it (he is going to that school where they are teaching him who-knows-what!)? And I just felt cheated by the anti-climatic rescue scene. I sooo wanted our heroine to beat some demon about the head and shoulders with her hensbane. But I guess she already did that with the fish.... Well, I wanted her to do something other than have a character we'd never met or even heard of before come bursting in the door like some kind of comic-book hero. expanded that a little, and she felt a burst of electricity between them as he carried from that stygian pit of doom, and then she'd have TWO possible men in her life....? I still would have at least liked to have met the rescuer before he rescued them. Perhaps at a parent-teacher conference...? Anyway, all that to say, I loved this book, and it is the first one on my bookshelf. Thank you for creating such wonderful characters and such an entertaining plot!

Sandra Davidson wrote 1329 days ago

Hi Sue,
I'm new to authonomy and your book is the first one on my bookshelf. You have a very delightful writing style. I love your plot and am looking forward to reading more of your work. My book is COLD MOON RISING. I'd love to get a comment from you.

Gail_M wrote 1340 days ago

This is hilarious and obviously destined for the book shelves! You may need a little edit before it hits the editor's desk, but only for the occasional typo and missing word, otherwise I simply can't fault it. Backed with pleasure

Best wishes

beegirl wrote 1342 days ago

This is a charmingly funny story. You have such a dry dark wit perfect for your book!
Well done.

TalulaJane wrote 1349 days ago

The ghost of an ex mother in law- yikes.. that is scary-lol!
The Darkwood Tales: Demouri's Defeat

PS- thank you for supporting my book! have fun on your way up, girl!

Linda Lou wrote 1353 days ago

hullo Sue. What an interesting scenario, not just one but two mother-in-laws at one time. One dead and the other alive, well maybe. Great story. Already shelved and backed.
Please take a look at my book if you have not and thanks for that.
Linda Lou Long
Southern dis-Comfort

CarolinaAl wrote 1357 days ago

Captivating. A journey filled with surprises. Fascinating characters. Wondeful imagery. Sparkling dialogue. Spot on humor. Backed.

Esrevinu wrote 1358 days ago

Sue, you have a winner on your hands--the imagery and the writing is superb. The rhythm is excellent and the writing compelling. Your descriptions are intelligent to say the least. I was as captivated by your wonderful book. I wish you the very best.
The Esrevinu Chronicles/Secrets of the Elephant Rocks

Rosemary Peel wrote 1358 days ago

There is nothing that I can find to criticise in this very entertaining and readable book. I normally steer well clear of vampitres and the like but something about your pitch told me I aught to take a look. I'm very glad I did. I can't offer advice or feedback to help your writing - as far as I can see, the work is extremely polished and professionally written. Backed because of the skill of the storyteller and the high potential of the book.

Andrew Burans wrote 1363 days ago

You have created a delicious and unique premise for a book. I like your use of the first person narrative voice as it allows you to explore, and you do it well, Dora's feelings, thoughts and fears. Your use of crisp, realistic dialogue and short paragraphs keeps the pace of your story flowing nicely. Your character development of Dora and Ralph is excellent and your descriptive writing sprinkled with the right touches of humour makes your work a pleasure to read. Backed.

Andrew Burans
The Reluctant Warrior: The Beginning

andrew skaife wrote 1366 days ago

Although I am not a big fan of first person narrative you have it covered.

You have imaginative use of environment and descriptive abilities to suit.

I have to say that I was not over enamoured at the thought of reading about another vampire but your writing style makes the subject immaterial.

I like the use of socially well known names and social models that are out of place (a young emo) which make your work memorable.


noirangel wrote 1366 days ago

Sue, this is a delight. I love the humor and I love the characters so far. I have put it on my shelf and backed it. I was immediately drawn into the world by your description and of course fell in love with Ralphie immediately. I can't wait to read more of it. Very happy to Back.

Plagarma wrote 1369 days ago

I thought the start was slightly wrong. I would have liked Dora to have been called that rather than late in the second chapter. After all she was on talking terms with Ralphie at the pub, so he wasn't a stranger. Ralphie immediately believed she was asking him if he could perform the exorcism, when she wasn't. He was intelligent enough to know that, so I would have expected him to say - 'Such a person doesn't spring to mind immediately - perhaps I may be of assistance?'. Then she could go on to explain her dilemma. Overall I've found it to be a good read and flowed very well. Happy to back.

Joanna Carter wrote 1370 days ago

Brilliant premise, engaging characters and you write with a clear, assured voice. Backed with pleasure.
Joanna Carter
Fossil Farm

Wilma1 wrote 1402 days ago

Totally off the wall Three mother-in laws she must have one thats haunting her. Raphie is a brilliant charachter fits into the role brilliantly. You have a good sense of place and your imagery is excellent. I likes the line bony liver spotted hand I may well pinch t for book 2. Best of luck with this i'm sure it will do well in its genre.
Sue Mackender
Knowing Liam Riley

KW wrote 1405 days ago

This is highly entertaining. A green, slimy lake in the living room. Hmm, probably the left overs of absinthe consumed by a ghost or two. The band's name is great. A definite shout-out to a dead Kennedy or the group Dead Kennedys? Yeah, ghosts can be "an unfortunate incursion into your domestic privacy." Especially, if it's the ghost of your ex-mother-in-law: Nanny Barrel Hips. I love the names you use for this. Caspian? Really? What a hoot! I love this and will be back to read more when I can pull myself away from watching the World Cup.