Book Jacket

 

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

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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tags

, comedy, divorce, ghosts, vampires

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Chapters

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CHAPTER TWENTY SEVEN

 

“I’m sorry.”  He sounded genuinely shocked by my reaction. “I didn’t mean…” his voice tailed off.

“That was just so patronising!” I exploded. “And two faced! It’s all very well for you to be nice to me now,  when you need my help, but what about the way you’ve treated me at school, sneering at me, forcing me to write reports, sending me disciplinary letters, telling me off, snubbing me…”

“Sneering at you? Snubbing you? When?” He sounded perplexed.

“The other day, remember? I came to offer you my support, and you ignored me and flounced off with the Fowl!”

 “The Fowl? Who on earth is…” 

“Never mind,” I said hastily. “But it was after the staff meeting, remember?”

“Oh. Yes, I do remember. Dora, it wasn’t anything to do with you.”

“Then what was it?”

“I would have thought it was obvious. I was listening to what you had to say, and then your friend appeared on the scene. Zelda, the dance teacher.  She put me in a very difficult situation. There we were in the staff room and she was calling Mr Wheel a ‘chocolate teapot’. And then she called Mr Pickering a ‘hopeless alkie’.”

“But Mr Pickering had left by then.”

“That doesn’t make it OK. Your friend was yelling her head off. I hardly have let her publicly slag off other staff for everyone to hear. She was being totally unprofessional. I shall

have to speak to her about it.”

“And you’ll enjoy that, won’t you? Dealing with the staff while the kids run riot? OK, I understand, Zelda was out of order, although I doubt if she realised other people could hear. But Zelda’s one of the best teachers in the school! I’ve seen her take three classes on her own all at once, seventy kids in the school hall, all doing their dance moves and not one of them daring to muck about! She’s creative, she’s energetic, and even if she is a little off the wall at times, the school needs her! Just as it needs people like Josh.

“Yes, I do appreciate…”

“What maddens me about you is you’re so correct. You always want to talk about paperwork and procedures and signing out books and professional behaviour. What about the real issues? All the people who had to teach under Mr Wheel’s mismanagement have had a miserable time. And it’ll be no good if you just come along and take over by criticising the staff and as for the way you walk around with that pompous briefcase of yours…”

“My briefcase? You object to my briefcase?”

“Yes!” I hissed.

There was a brief silence.

“Well,” he said mildly. “You do seem to have condemned me on a very brief acquaintance. Dora, there’s a lot I could say in my defence, but don’t you think it might be a good idea for us to save this for later, once we’re out of here? If you could just find your mobile…”

There was a sudden, loud gurgling noise close to my ear.

“Grief!” I said. “What was that?” 

    “My stomach,” he admitted. “Awful manners, I know. You didn’t bring any

food with you, did you? I’m sorry to mention this, but I haven’t eaten since yesterday morning.” 

    “Oh, hell.” Suddenly, I felt contrite. The poor man must be starving. Why hadn’t I thought of that?

           “I’ve got some glucose tablets,” I said, pulling them out of my rucksack, “Quick

energy fix.” I put the packet into his hand. 

             “Thanks.” I heard him tearing the packet open.

“And here’s my faithful old mobile,” I fished it out and pressed the button. The screen lit up with a pale blue light. “My son keeps telling me I should get a new one. He’s says this one’s an antique. A brick, he calls it. It doesn’t take photos and it doesn’t play music. But, as you see, the advantage of this brick is that it’s got a quite a big screen. But doesn’t exactly give a dazzling light, does it?”

“It’s better than nothing,” Aidan popped a glucose tablet into his mouth. “At least we won’t be stumbling around in complete darkness.”

“Won’t we? Look, it’s just gone out.”

“Press the button again.”

“OK.” I pressed it and saw the logo of a magnifying glass moving across the screen, indicating the search for a signal. I could tell from the length of time it was taking that, just as I’d thought, there was no signal down here.

“So I’ll have to keep pressing the button every few seconds to keep the light on,” I said, pressing the button again. “Just look at this place. What do you think it is?”

“Just an underground store-room of some kind, I suppose.”

“Are you sure? What about those long wooden boxes in the alcoves? They look like coffins. This could be a crypt or a catacomb of some kind.”

“Oh, I don’t think so! We’re in a cellar under one of the old warehouses aren’t we? And by the way, one of those boxes has got Ffyes written on it, which suggests this place belonged to a fruit importer. Right. Can you remember the way you came?”

“Yes. We go through that arch. After that, you can only walk upright for just a few feet, then the roof gets low. We’ll have to crawl through a kind of tunnel. It’s very narrow. Then there’s a bend to the right, and later another one to the left, and after going along the tunnel for about twenty or minutes we should find the entrance to another cellar. And then, it’s easy. Up some steps, and into an old shed at the back of the warehouses by the canal. I’d better go first.”

“I can’t let you do that.”

“Why not? Don’t you think I can manage?”

“I’m sure you can, but it sounds dangerous. Please, let me go first.”

“You’d better wear the climbing helmet,” I said. “The roof’s really low in places.” 

    “I wouldn’t dream of taking your climbing helmet. But I will take the mobile. Shall we go then?”

    “OK.”

 

“Stop a minute,” I said, as we reached the arch way. “Shine the light upwards.”

He held up the mobile. In the dim blue light, I saw the carvings again, the sneering gargoyle faces, the sculpted teeth and claws of the mythical creatures.

“I think this is really old,” I said. “Eighteenth century.”

“Hmm,” he peered at it, and then put out his hand. “It seems to be made of papier-mache.”

“It isn’t. It’s real. It’s stone!”

“No,” he knocked his fist against it. Papier-mache. You know what I think? I think this is from a fairground. In fact, this looks just like the entrance to the ghost train they used to have on the Heath in the summer when I was a kid. It seemed very scary then, especially with all the joke spiders and the strange noises.”

Joke spiders? I thought. The one I’d defeated had been no joke, especially when it mewed at me like a cat. And I knew I’d felt those arms round me, pulling back into the Gehenna Gate. But perhaps it was better to allow him his Scooby-Doo explanation, the one that belonged to the everyday, rational world that he inhabited. Perhaps, in the circumstances, it was better not to start talking about ancient labyrinths built by a mad nobleman who was into Satanism, or about the fact  that we could be in the very Maw where the demon Mochelmoth was due to rise, when the thirty eighth hour is struck. The thirty eighth hour? Grief! Just how long had we been down here?

“Let’s not argue about it,” I said. My chest suddenly felt tight. “Let’s just get out of here.”

 

We were making tortuous progress, and the tunnel eemed even worse than I remembered. The space seemed tighter, the walls slimier, the ground wetter, and the air more stale and offensive.

    “Are you all right back there?” he called.

    “Fine,” I said, crawling forward.

“I think we should keep talking.  Did you read my letter?”

“No, actually.”

“Why not?”

“I guessed what it was.”

“You guessed?”

“Yes. And I’m not interested.”

“Oh, that’s a pity, because…can you hear running water?”

I paused.

“Yes,” I said, after a moment. “It sounds like a pipe line. On the other side of the wall.”

“I think that…ah”!” I heard a crash.

“What was that?”

“My head getting up close and personal with the wall,” he said, in a rueful tone. “I

don’t want to worry you, but the thing is, I can’t seem to go any further. This is a dead end.”

“A dead end?” I swallowed.

“Yes. We’re going to have to go back.”

“But we can’t turn round here!”

“No. But we just need to move backwards. And I’ll keep feeling along the wall for a gap. Maybe the bend to the right that you remembered was actually to the left?”

“No, it wasn’t! I remembered it all perfectly.”

“OK. But we’ve obviously gone the wrong way. Sooner or later, we’ll find the way we should have come.”

But would we? A dead end. My stomach knotted up at the thought. Of course there were dead ends. It was a pure fluke that I missed them on my way in. We were in a maze, and I’d had no way of marking my way.  This was it then, we were lost and before long we’d be in a tunnel with no air, or it would start raining and the place would fill up with water and…

“Dora? Can you start moving back?”

“My pleasure,” I swallowed my panic. 

“Right. You move back about two feet, then call to me, and I’ll move back. We’ll go in turn. And don’t worry. There has to be a way out of here.”

    “OK, I’m moving,” I said.  I scrabbled backwards. “Now your turn.”

“Right. Ooops, sorry, was that you?”

“That was me,” I said. His foot had collided with my knee. “No damage down. Now it’s my turn to move.”

“Right. Hey, you know something?”

“What?”

“I’d been thinking that you and I ought to get to know each other better. I felt that

somehow we’d got off on the wrong foot. But I never imagined it happening quite like this.”

“Me, neither. Your move.”

“I’m coming.”

I edged back again, and reached out with my hands on either side, hoping that the tunnel might be getting wider.  It wasn’t. I felt filthy and disgusting and covered in grime and mud.

“Hey,” I said. “There’s a space here. Over to my left. If I can just squeeze through…oh, no!”

“What is it?”

“Shine the mobile over here. Oh, grief! I’m right! Just look! We’re back where we started!”

 

“This makes no sense at all,” he stood next to me, staring at the chamber with its alcoves and

oblong boxes that might or might not be ancient, rudimentary coffins. “We must have been crawling down that tunnel for at least twenty minutes before we reached the dead end. But now, after  moving back for a only a few minutes, we’re here.”  

“Yes, but we haven’t come through the archway, have we?” I said. “We’ve come through a low gap in the wall. I can only assume that the tunnel went round in a circle and that somehow, we missed the way I came in the first time.”

 “Right. Yes, of course, that must be it,” he said. “Although I still don’t understand how that can have happened. Maybe if we tried that door again…”

“It’s no good,” I said, “9X must have locked it from the outside.”

“But why did they do that?” he puzzled. “And why did they take so long to raise the

ransom money? And why didn’t they just come back and let me out when they had? Why

were you sent to get me the hard way, and why…?”

 “Oh for goodness sake!” The words burst out before I could stop myself. “Don’t you understand? 9X didn’t do this for charity. They didn’t even do it to raise money for themselves. I’m the only person who’s worked out that you’re missing! Everyone else thinks you’re at a Head Teachers’ Conference, 9X sent a fake fax in this morning, saying that you’d gone to one and that you wouldn’t be back until after half term. But you were never going to come back! That’s why they left you here without any food, and with drugged water to make you ill, and that’s why they tied you up in the dark and didn’t tell anyone. You were supposed to die down here!”

“Die? They wanted me to die?”

“Yes, eaten by a demon!”

“A demon?” 

“It was based on a computer game,” I added, hastily. “Don’t take it personally. Actually, they like you. That’s why you were chosen for the sacrifice.”

“Sacrifice?”

“Yes.”

“Those poor kids,” he murmured. “So little in their lives, just violent films and games, and parents who neglect them…is it any wonder that they…oh, sorry, I…dizzy…” To my alarm, he staggered, and then slumped on to the ground.

“Quick,” I knelt down beside him. “Deep breaths.  Here,” I reached into my rucksack, “Have some more water.”

The moment as I said this, I realised that the water bottle empty was empty. And he was completely out of it. He’d fainted, and I could only hope that it was just from exhaustion and hunger, and not a case of delayed concussion from having hit his head minutes before. Now what? I supposed I should try and lay him on his side, in the recovery position, except that I had only the vaguest idea of what the recovery position was. And his breathing sounded weird, almost as though he was…

The scente and agonie of the starving and dying manne…no! Surely not! 

“Aidan!” I shook him and then, having decided this was no time to pussy-foot around, I slapped his face. “Stop this! You can’t do this to me! I think it’s lovely that you still care about those vile kids but  they’ve dumped you in the Maw of Mochelmoth, and when the thirty eighth hour is struck…”

And then I heard it. A ferocious, inhuman roar, just above my head, that told me we were no longer alone. 

       

I may have given the impression that my life was completely normal until the day I found out that I’d been tricked into marrying the son of a rural witch and Gertie cursed me. That was certainly was the beginning of the strange misfortunes that afflicted my adult life, and everything that happened afterwards, Dave’s death, my marriage to Peregrine, the hauntings in Arcadia Square and my discovery of the occult underbelly of North London life, seemed to be connected to that moment. But it wasn’t the beginning of the strangeness. Right from when I was a very small child, I’d seen visitants from beyond the veil.

    When I was three, my parents were killed in a plane crash over Switzerland and I went to live with Auntie Pam and Uncle Horace. And on the anniversary of their death, I saw a man standing in the wall in our garden. He was the most beautiful man I’d ever seen, and he was dressed all in white, and he had eyes like a cat’s, not human at all. He raised one hand, and then, I heard what he was thinking. Your parents are safe with me.  And then he flew away. It was only a year later, when I started school, a small Church school where there were weekly scripture lessons, that I knew I’d seen an angel.

After that, I saw and heard other things, like the little imp that used to perch on top of our TV, and the old man who used to sigh on the landing. Auntie Pam said my visions were the result of reading too many comics and watching Dr Who, but I knew they couldn’t be explained away quite so easily. It wasn’t as though I liked being different .  I didn’t. I longed to be normal. And I was sure that I was normal. I had no powers. But I could see things; I attracted these paranormal entities. And there was nothing I could do about it.

And now, it seemed, I was about to be confronted with my first demon. Well, so be it. I was equal to the task! I reached into my rucksack, and pulled out the best defensive weapon I possessed. The weeds. 

I heard the metal door clanking open. There was a rush of foggy air from outside and then I saw it, standing above me. A huge, bulky figure appeared. It seemed to be almost seven feet tall. It had outstretched, big, banana hands, and one dazzling, bright eye in the centre of its forehead. I leapt to my feet, positioning myself in front of Aidan’s prone body. 

“You can’t have him!” I yelled, waving my weapon in the air. “Get away from him. He’s under my protection, Mochelmoth! Look what I’ve got! Henbane, this is henbane!”

There was a loud roar, but this time it wasn’t the sound of the souped-up engine of the truck that I’d mistaken for the raging of a hell-beast. This time, it was the sound of laughter. 

“Bloody hell, the little toe-rag was telling the truth!” said a voice, in a thick, Irish brogue. “Believe it or not, I don’t have any designs on your boyfriend. But I have come to get you out of there before something scarier than me turns up. Come on, let’s be having you.” 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapters

27

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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 long...you 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!

~AudreyB
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..."

Loving:
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
Norton

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!
Sue50

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 works...you 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 mother-in-laws.lol 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!
Red

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

Sue,
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.

Joy

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

Sue

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 ghost...in 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,
Barry
LITTLE KRISNA AND THE BIHAR BOYS

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. Unless...you 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. Unless...you 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
Gail
NEW BEGINNINGS

beegirl wrote 1342 days ago

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

TalulaJane wrote 1349 days ago

The ghost of an ex mother in law- yikes.. that is scary-lol!
Carrie
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
http://www.authonomy.com/ViewBook.aspx?bookid=11421

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.
Best
Scott
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.

BACKED

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.