Monday, October 28, 2013

Spooky Story: The Lemp Mansion

It's Halloween this week, so here's one of my favorite spooky story I posted a long time ago. Enjoy! Don't forget to come back here on Friday when I kickoff my cover reveal.

Want to know where one of the most haunted houses in the world is? The Lemp Mansion right here in St. Louis is listed in the Top 10. The once powerful Lemp family created a beer brewing empire, only to have their company crumble from Prohibition and a string of family tragedies.

Johann Adam Lemp (pictured right) came from Germany and started a grocery store and grew that business into a beer brewing company. It used to stand near where the Gateway Arch stands today.

The mansion is pretty gorgeous, and it sit on top of the famous Cherokee caves. From the basement of the mansion, William Lemp built a tunnel that led through caves to the brewery. Caves were often used as refrigeration centers, but later William built a grand theatre, concrete swimming pool, and a bowling alley down there.

Throughout the years, the Lemp family suffered a lot. Most notably, several of the Lemps committed suicide. Four members used a Smith & Wesson .38 to end their lives. In fact, the only Lemp to NOT live in the mansion lived a long life and died of natural causes. Interesting, huh?

With all this tragedy occurring within the walls of the Lemp Mansion, it’s understandable that subsequent owners and employees would experience paranormal activity. When the mansion was first made into an inn and restaurant, workers reported seeing apparitions, a feeling of someone watching them, objects being moved when they weren’t looking, and strange sounds. People would quit immediately, refusing to return to work.

There are three areas of the mansion that seem to be “hot spots.” They include the attic, the staircase, bedroom, and the basement – now called “The Gates of Hell” by locals.

Here’s a quick list of just SOME of the reported activity:

The attic is haunted by “Monkey Boy.” People have reported seeing his face in the windows, objects moving, and footsteps. (Notice the picture of the attic on the right - the middle of the floor in that narrow attic is very worn. You can almost imagine the poor child pacing back and forth up there). Rumor has it the ghost is of an illegitimate child with Down's Syndrome that was locked up in there.

The downstairs women’s restroom used to be William Jr’s study. There, women have reported a man peeking over the stalls, only to find the restroom empty.

In William Sr.’s room, people have reported hearing someone running up the stairs and kicking the door. It’s said that when Sr. shot himself, William Jr. came running up and kicked the bedroom door down to get to his father.

A tour guide heard horses neighing and galloping towards his window. It was just a parking lot, and there were no horses there. When the lot was expanded, they found evidence that the area just outside that window had been used to tether horses.

Childrens’ voices have been heard throughout the house. One guest heard a child say, “help me” over and over again. And another visitor heard, “Come play with me” several times.

The bar area has had several incidents as well. Workers have witnessed glasses lifting into the air and moving on their own, voices coming from nowhere, and the piano playing by itself.

As you can imagine the “Cherokee Cave” running underneath the mansion is also quite haunted. Sounds of weeping and strange sights have been reported. Long before the Lemps built their mansion, it’s said that a young American Indian couple hid in the cave and starved to death – and that story was verified when white explorers did find bones of two people in the cave (near Jefferson Ave. and Arsenal for you St. Louisans).

Cherokee Cave
There have been many ghost hunters and researchers visiting the mansion and trying to find evidence of it being haunted. Needless to say, they don’t have to work very hard to find it. The house has been investigated by tons of people, including the TAPS team from Ghost Hunters on SyFy.

Have a fantastic HALOWEEN!!!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Crunch Time

So much is going on, my head is going to explode.

I'm studying for a big Optometry exam that I will be taking at the end of November. Brain is fried. All that crappy math I thought I'd never have to do again has reared its ugly head!

Also, I'm working on putting the finishing touches on my debut novel, Dragonfly Warrior. Sheesh, I sure hope you bloggers aren't sick of me talking about this project. The road has been bumpy as hell, and now the fears and insecurities are kicking in.

Got my manuscript back from my editor. And she's my THIRD editor that's worked with me on this book. My goal is to get everything squared away by November so I can do any last minute stuff in December in anticipation for my January 6th publication date.

Oh, and NaNo is obviously in November too. I will do my best, but I just love spending time with my local writers here in St. Louis. Even though I probably won't win this year, it will still be good to stay involved with my fellow WriMos here in town.

So yeah, I'm a little overwhelmed.

Thanks to all that signed up for my big cover reveal! Sign up is below if you haven't already. A cool steampunk prize awaits the lucky blogger. I will be emailing the cover and blurb later this week to everybody.

And I've prepared an ARC (Advanced Reader Copy) of Dragonfly Warrior in PDF format. It's not the absolute final draft, of course, but I did want to get some feedback from readers. If you are interested in getting a preview of my awesome Asian-Steampunk novel, just let me know in the comments section.

I wrote the acknowledgments page last night, and it made me reflect on how wonderful all of you are. This blogging community has been my rock during all my ordeals, and many of you were there for me when my heart got broken TWICE. Can't thank you all enough!

Have a great week!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Butterman (Time) Travel, Inc. Book Your Time Trip Today!

I know, I normally post on Mondays, but today is a special exception. Today, I want to celebrate PK Hrezo's Butterman (Time) Travel, Inc.'s cover reveal!  Check it out:

Welcome to Butterman Travel, Incorporated
We are a full service agency designed to meet all your exclusive time travel needs. Family-owned and operated, we offer clients one hundred years of time travel experience. A place where you can rest assured, safety and reliability always come first.
Anxious to attend a special event from the past? Or for a glimpse of what the future holds?
You’ve come to the right place. We’re a fully accredited operation, offering an array of services; including, but not limited to: customized travel plans, professionally piloted operations, and personal trip guides. *Terms and conditions do apply
Conference us directly from our Website. Our frontline reservation specialist, Bianca Butterman, will handle all your inquiries in a professional and efficient manner, offering a tentative itinerary and free fare quote, so you can make the most of your time trip.

We look forward to serving you at Butterman Travel, Inc., where time is always in your hands. where and when would I book my time trip? I'm a big history buff, so I think I'd love to go back to Ancient Rome as a guest on Emperor Caligula's pleasure barges. I would not participate in any of the bacchanal activities going on, but I just want to know if all that craziness is true. Was Caligula really that nutty? This inquiring mind wants to know!

I've always been a time travel fan. The very first book report I ever did was H.G. Wells' The Time Machine. It's the book that made me fall in love with Victorian Steampunk. PK's own novel is set for publication on 11-12-13! How cool is that?


PK Hrezo is a native Floridian whose life could easily be a Jimmy Buffet song. She shares her home with her firefighter husband and their two children. When not creating characters and their worlds, PK can be found at her other job of rearranging passenger’s itineraries for a major international airline. The only hobbies she loves more than traveling, are reading, writing, and music, and when the four are combined she exists in total bliss.
She blogs regularly at PK HREZO: Fearless Fiction
Twitter: @pkhrezo

Monday, October 14, 2013

The Black Eyed Kids Won't Die

It's October, and it's beginning to feel like Fall around here. I've been doing a fun Spooky Stories series on here for several years now, and in 2011, I dedicated a series of posts on the Black Eyed Kids.

You can check them out, HERE, HERE, and HERE

The Black Eyed Kids is a new phenomenon, making the rounds on the internet message boards in the late 90s. But interestingly, stories continue to pour in from all over the world. I'm sure a bunch of them are hoaxes, but there are others by very credible people telling eerily similar stories.

Their encounters always include one or more children or teens with strange black eyes. Absolutely no sclera (the white of your eyes), iris, or pupil. Just large pools of black eyes like freakin' aliens. They knock on your door and ask to come in. They might ask to use your phone to call home.

These weird kids also seem to be dressed in outdated clothing. And they seem polite. I mean, who would be so cruel as to turn away from a child in need? But for some strange reason, the people who open their doors to these B.E.K.s all experience a feeling of dizziness and a deep, dark foreboding like they are about to die.

Every single story I've ever read ended the same way: they never let these demon-kids in. Thank Thor they all listened to their instincts and kept their doors shut. What's really weird is that the B.E.K.s NEVER force their way in. You must give them permission to enter, which kinda reminds me of the vampire mythology.

But earlier this year, there was one story where a person actually let these Black Eyed Kids in, and he lived to tell his story. And here it is:

I was sitting in my bedroom at home when I heard a knock on the door, it was not too late so I didn’t hesitate opening the door to whoever it was. when I opened it there was two children standing there, both were looking at the floor. “Yes,” I said. The taller one asked if they could come in as they were lost and the other boy needed the toilet. I live in an area where it is very easy to get lost, so I just assumed that they were telling the truth and was looking down because they were shy, even though the one talking, spoke very confidently. So I let them in. The one who needed the toilet just walked in and straight up the stairs, so I shouted up, "its on the right."

I told the other one that the phone was down the hall. “Thanks,” he said, and he started to walk down the hall. I followed him, and then I suddenly came over with a really awful feeling like something bad was going to happen. I became very nervous and a bit shaky. I still can't explain how that happened. The boy stopped at the phone and paused. “Everything OK?” I asked. He turned to me and looked up, and that’s when I saw his eyes. Trust me, I will never get that picture out of my head. I was so scared that I couldn’t even scream. As I turned to run down the hall the other kid was standing at the end.

I became very dizzy and struggled to stand up. He walked closer to me and said that they had been sent to collect me. I still couldn’t bear to look into his face. I pushed away from him and ran into my front room and slammed the door shut. I was in so much shock about what was happening,I couldn’t think straight. I finally got the courage to make a run for the back door, so I ran to it and unlocked it. I ran to the back of my garden and jumped over the fence not once looking back.

My friend lived close so I ran to his house. I told him the story and as I guessed he was a bit skeptic about what I had said. I convinced him to come back with me, when we got there we looked around the whole house but couldn’t find them. Ever since this happened I always have a dream that this kids with the black eyes stand over my bed with there hands stretching to me.

I hope to god that I never see these kids again.

What the hell does that mean, they came to collect him? That's messed up. So if you hear a knock at your door, check their eyes. If they are all black, as dark as the night, don't open your door. It just might be the last thing you do.

Monday, October 7, 2013

I Asketh You for a Favor

For years, I've been helping authors promote their work in all kinds of ways. I've been an editor, a beta reader, a cover revealer, and launch blogger. It's been great being a part of an author working to get the word out there.

And after a couple roadblocks along the way, I find myself now asking all of YOU for your help in promoting my upcoming novel, Dragonfly Warrior. It's the first book in my Mechanica Series - an Asian steampunk adventure series full of samurais, ninjas, pirates, adventure, a little romance, and a lot of action. Oh, and it's got lots and lots of steampunk.

As a fan of the genre, I get irritated when steampunk elements become a "prop" (like all the Chinese curse words in Firefly). Not with me. The steampunk elements are front and center, in fact - steampunk technology is integral to the story.

My plan is to publish Dragonfly Warrior for Kindle, Nook, and iBook on January 6, 2014. The paperback edition will come out a couple weeks later. So that means...


I hope you'll sign up to reveal my cover. The goal is to get my incredible cover out into the blogosphere between November 1-8th. Not only would I be eternally grateful for your help, there might be a little somethin'-somethin' for you as a thank you.

After I close the sign ups for the cover reveal, I will do a drawing for a cool steampunk bookmark. It's NOT your typical laminated-type of bookmark either. This thing is a piece of crafty art. I bought almost two years ago for a cover reveal that, um, didn't happen.

Anyhoo, feast your eyes on this:
At both ends of the bookmark...
Okay, so maybe I'm a little too far away.
 The bookmark is over a foot long, and it's bendable wire covered in beads. At both ends, it's decorated with larger decorative beads and a cool steampunk gear. Cool, right?

Below is the form to sign up for my cover reveal. I'll send you all you'll need a week before the reveal. Thanks so much for your support everybody.