Sunday, October 21, 2012

13 Days of Halloween: Day 3, Rhonda Hopkins

Hello world!

Welcome to Day 3 of the 13 Days of Halloween, when the authors of the Tales of the Mist anthology go trick or treatin'! Our treat: 13 days of fun guest posts by each author of the just released TALES FROM THE MIST anthology. Ready to go? Yes? Here we go, then... :)

Before I start, I'd like to share that TALES FROM THE MIST is currently on sale at $4.99 through October 31stAfter this date, the regular price of $5.99 will apply. 

The book can be purchased from the following retailers:

Amazon US (in digital and print versions)
Amazon UK (in digital and print versions)
Barnes and Noble

TALES FROM THE MIST is already gathering some pretty neat endorsements, including the following one:

"One of those rare anthologies that gets it right from the first story to the last."
~ Joe McKinney, Bram Stoker Award-winning author of Flesh Eaters and Mutated

So on this note, I leave the floor to ... the amazing, award-winning Rhonda Hopkins! Gotta love that smile :)

Thanks for having me as your guest today, Natalie. I’ve enjoyed working with you on TALES FROM THE MIST. I’d like to share with your readers how my story, The Consuming, came to be.

A few years ago I stumbled across a literary journal – The First Line. TFL is published 4 times a year. What makes it unique is that the stories in each issue all start with the same first line. It’s very cool to see how authors interpret that first line and how varied the stories are. I often go to their website when I’m having trouble writing and use their first line as a prompt – just to get the muse jump-started; although, I’ve never submitted my work to them or even developed any of the stories except for that first time.

The first line I saw was: “There were five of them, which was two more than I’d been expecting.” As soon as I read that, the story just came to me. I wrote the original non-stop in about three hours and then spent another three trimming it down to meet word count requirements. This wasn’t too long after I started writing with the thought of publication, so of course it needed some work. Okay – a lot of work. ;-) I’ve since re-written it from the very beginning and added about 6,000 words.

Why ghosts? Well, I kind of live in a haunted house. My grandmother used to live here and I stayed with her most weekends growing up and even lived a short time with her while I was in college. We (my whole family and others) have witnessed many weird and eerie things over the years both in this house (which is now my home) and the other one that’s on the same property and has been in the family even longer.

While in college, I’d wake up in the middle of the night and there would be someone sitting on the edge of my bed. I couldn’t see him/her. But I could see the dent left on the mattress where they sat. I could feel the bed move when they got up or sat down. And I could see the depression disappear when they stood. As you can imagine, I was scared spit-less the first few times this happened. With great reluctance I told my family about it, just knowing they’d think I needed to be locked up somewhere. But my aunt assured me the same happened when she lived in that bedroom.

So I guess you can say I am definitely a believer in the supernatural. I even used at least one “real” experience to base an event in my story. I’ll leave it to you to try to determine which one(s).

I am so proud to be part of TALES FROM THE MIST and it has been my honor to work with so many talented authors.

Thanks again for letting me take over your blog for today, Natalie! 

About Rhonda:

Award-winning romantic suspense and horror author, Rhonda Hopkins, has learned firsthand that truth is stranger than fiction. Her two decades of experience as an investigator for her state and family courts give her characters a depth and realism that gives truth a run for its money. 

Find Rhonda at: 

Amazon Author Central Page


TALES FROM THE MIST will take you on a journey into the dark world of the paranormal. These twelve stories vary in their degree of horror, yet all reach across the boundaries of their genres into the chilling realms of the macabre. Witches, ghosts, shape-shifters and vampire rats are some of the creatures that reign within these pages.

About Rhonda's story, THE CONSUMING:

Serena knows her late uncle wasn’t crazy. So when she inherits his sprawling Carolina mansion and leaves the big city to restore both his home and his name, she uncovers a mystery that could cost much more than her sanity. As the house slowly reveals its dark secrets, and the extent of her peril becomes evident, she’ll settle for escaping with her life—if it isn’t already too late.

~ Natalie G. Owens ~
No Rules. No Formulas. Just a world of love, mystery and fantasy!


PJ Sharon said...

Very cool story, Rhonda. When my husband and I bought our 1840's farmhouse I made sure I went through and saged, thinking surely, there must be a ghost living here. But in the seven years we've been here, I've never felt anything strange in this house. As a matter of fact, it is so well settled that it is dead silent at night which took me a while to get used to. On the other hand, whenever I'm out walking the property, especially in the gardens, I feel I'm never really alone. Initially, I had this image of a woman with startling blue eyes and wondered where that thought came from. Come to find out that Katherine, the wife of a previous owner LOVED her gardens and spent most days out planting, trimming or pruning. When I asked an old neighbor what she looked like, he told me she was a very light skinned African-american woman with these amazing blue eyes. From then on, I just accepted that Katherine is with me in my gardening endeavors. She is welcomed company:-)

Rhonda Hopkins said...

Natalie - thanks so much for having me as a guest today. I'm enjoying the 13 Days of Halloween series. :-)

PJ - That's cool that you have Katherine with you in the garden. I'm sure she's glad you're keeping her garden beautiful. :-)

Stacey Joy Netzel said...

The Consuming is such an awesome story. If you expand it to a book, I'm putting in my pre-order right now! :)

I'm going to guess the ghost figures in the mirror are real experiences for you. Then I'm going to check the box that says "Email follow-up comments" so that by the end of the day you can confirm that.

Or just email me privately. LOL

Great post and Thanks for hosting us all Natalie!

Evelyn klebert said...

It sounds like a very compelling story Rhonda. I'm anxious to check it out. Best of Luck with Everything.

Evelyn Klebert

Greg Carrico said...

I loved The Consuming, Rhonda. I think it's cool that it comes from personal stories, too. I think it would make a great full length novel... or two ;-)

I always thought that the woods around my neighborhood in Summerville SC were haunted. I spent a lot of time among those pines as a teen, and always felt their were mischievous spirits messing with me.

I found out this year that the native Americans claimed the area was home to trixter fairies. I'll be releasing a short story inspired by that legend and my personal experiences in those woods very soon ;-)

Rhonda Hopkins said...

Stacey - Thank you for the kind words about my story. And I might share which was real a little later on. :-)

Evelyn - Thank you! I hope you enjoy it. :-)

Greg - Thanks! I just might expand it to a full length novel. How cool that you had fairies in the woods. Of course the "trixters" probably felt right at home with you. ;-)

Cate Dean said...

You live in a haunted house! *green with envy - kind of* What a fab post, Rhonda - now I have to go check out The First Line.

And thanks, Nat, for hosting all of us - you're the best. :)


Liv said...

Creepy story, Rhonda. I think that a ghost would only get one chance to sit on my bed, because then my heart would stop!
All the best with your release...

Mitzi said...

I love it when the seed of a story comes from real life. I also love haunted houses and now live in one, or so my new husband has told me. Morgan says there are loud knockings at times and I swear I've heard conversations in the middle of the night, but it could just be the frogs in the pond talking to each other.
BTW: I always tell people who think they live in a haunted house, to get a cat. That way, if in the middle of the night, they hear a noise they can say, "It's just the cat." It works for us.
I'm so glad to be in an anthology with you.

Patricia said...

Love your tale about the person sitting on the edge of your bed. How creepy yet so great for a story. I've purchased Tales and will start reading soon. Your photo is one of the best I've seen - you look happy. And the prompt is a superb way to start a story. I've never done that - great idea.

Natalie G. Owens said...

What a great set of comments! Totally enjoying this 13 Days of Halloween idea. :))). Thanks for visiting, guys x

Catie Rhodes said...

Like you, Rhonda, I grew up in a haunted house. So many weird things happened to me in that house. I don't talk about them on my blog because my mother reads my blog and she and my father still live in that house. She has to stay there alone a lot during deer season, and I don't want her to be sitting there thinking about what I've said.

As for The Consuming, I loved that story. I think it will make a great standalone or series book. I'm looking forward to seeing how you expand it.

Tamara Ward said...

Thanks, Rhonda! I enjoyed the post, the story from your time in the house, and The Consuming in the Tales from the Mist. It's one of my favorites!

Rabia said...

Oh, what a spooky story. *shivers*

Thanks for sharing, Rhonda. I enjoy seeing how ideas and experiences come together to form stories.

Rhonda Hopkins said...

Thanks, Cate! I enjoy The First Line. Hope you find it interesting.

Hi Liv! Thank you! Yeah, I thought my heart would stop that first time too. :-)

Hey Mitzi! Yeah that works unless my cat is lying next to me in bed. LOL Of course it doesn't help any when she's staring off into space and watching something I can't see.

Thanks for the kind words about my pic, Patricia. That was so sweet! I hope you enjoy TALES FROM THE MIST. :-)

Hi Catie! I can understand not wanting to worry your mom like that. And as scary as it is sometimes, it's kind of neat to have some supernatural tales to tell, isn't it? Thank you so much for the kind words about The Consuming. I'm really glad you liked it. :-)

Thank you, Tamara! I can't tell you how much it means to me to know people are enjoying my story. :-)

Glad you enjoyed my post, Rabia. Thank you for stopping by. :-)

Merry said...

I agree that I would be scared spitless if there were a real ghost in my room. I've often thought that I've seen people out of the corner of my eyes, but when I look there's no one there. This happened a good deal right after my mother died -- I was sure that she was there watching. Every now and then she still comes for a visit -- I feel her, but so far, we've not had a "face to face". :-)
I loved your story, Rhonda! Thanks so much for sharing!

Alicia Street said...

Fun interview, Rhonda! I loved your story, and I agree with Greg that it has some compelling seeds that would make a great full length novel. As to ghosts, Roy and I had a cute one in an old apartment we'd rented. It used to move things and then put them back or toss them on the floor.

Rhonda Hopkins said...

Hi Merry! Glad you enjoyed the story. Not long after my grandmother passed away, I was cooking red beans which I'd never done before. I couldn't figure out how to get the juice to thicken. My grandmother made the best beans. And,I distinctly heard her whisper in my ear to "add a little sugar." It never would have dawned on me to do so. I did and they were perfect. :-)

Having ghosts keeps things interesting, doesn't it Alicia? I'm glad you liked my story and you may just see it expanded one day. :-)

Kassandra Lamb said...

Okay, dropping everything and buying this now. Gotta read your story, Rhonda. That's so cool, and creepy, that you live in a haunted house. I take it all the ghosts are benevolent?

Rhonda Hopkins said...

Hi Kassandra! Well in this house they are. :-) The one next door I'm not too sure about. I hope you enjoy TALES FROM THE MIST. Thanks for stopping by.

Natalie G. Owens said...

Such lovely feedback, Rhonda. It was great having you here! x

Stacey Joy Netzel said...


What was real?

Donna Coe-Velleman said...

I've never had an experience like that, Rhonda. No wonder you were unnerved by it.I would have been too.