Monday, November 21, 2011

The Origin of Fear

Four college friends mount an expedition to Latham's Landing-an abandoned island estate infamous for mysterious deaths-to gather pictures and inspiration for a thesis on the origin of fear.

Welcome Tara Fox Hall!

After John Mecom's opening we continue the feast of chill with Melange Author Tara Fox Hall brings The Origin of Fear. Tara how did you get inspired for such a tale?

Most of my horror stories are from real nightmares I've had. I dreamt of Latham's Landing, an old house partly submerged in water on an island that was only accessible by boat. I still remember the sound of the boat's motor in the dream, and the sunlight reflecting on the row of windows as we approached the house, and all the rest. Unlike my other nightmares, I've returned more than once to Latham's Landing. Each time the nightmares are some of the worse I've had. 

Much of the story is from the dreams; the evil woman in the green dress, the doomed kids there for a college break, the sea house made of glass, and the long bridge. Others are my additions, like the girl with the flute, and the horseman, or excerpts from other nightmares, like the thing that creeps up on Nikki's chest and suffocates her. The tiger toy is real - an antique stuffed animal I bought long ago at a yard sale. I didn't know its glass eyes glowed in the dark until I turned off the light that night and there were two eyes glowing out of the pitch black at me. I let out a scream, turned on the light, and then discovered it was the tiger's eyes. . He is sitting looking at me as I write this. I trust my real cat on my lap, Jess, will alert me if he begins to move :) 

The excerpt speaks for itself Tara...take it away!

The Origin of Fear
Tara Fox Hall

            “You’ll have fun, I promise,” Nikki said, her eyes sparkling.
            “This isn’t a trip to an amusement park,” Daryl replied curtly, leaning back in his chair. “We aren’t a bunch of teenagers out for a thrill. When I say no alcohol, I mean it.”
            “Speak for yourself,” Sam said, laughing. “Sure, you’re going for some kind of research for your thesis, but the rest of us are going because we think it’s exciting.” He signaled the waitress. “Check, please.”
            “I’m not sure,” Marie said uneasily, rooting in her purse. “Breaking into a house sounds like a bad idea to me.”
            “If they’d let us go there legally, we wouldn’t need to break in,” Daryl said irritably.
            “Like you told us, there have been some deaths out there,” Sam said with a shrug of his shoulders. “It makes sense the owners don’t want to risk any trouble for a little cash.”
            Daryl scowled. “Even that damn old man who runs the docks refuses to cooperate. I offered him a hundred dollars. He turned me down cold.”
            “You shouldn’t blame him,” Marie said defensively. “He’s just doing his job.”
            Daryl grumbled something, then took the bill from the waitress.
            “We’re going to have a blast,” Nikki said excitedly, throwing her money down. “The best part is that it’ll be close to Halloween.”
            “We can’t do it that night,” Daryl warned. “They’ve got extra security on Halloween, because of past pranks. Police patrol in a boat on weekends regularly, or so the dock man informed me. It has to be a weeknight.”
            Nikki laughed. “Everyone wants to visit a haunted house on Halloween, especially a real one.”
            “Police have no sense of humor,” Sam muttered. “We can’t get caught, kids. If we do, we’re not going to get off with a warning.”
            “I told you, I can get a boat,” Marie interjected. “My brother’s got one he’ll loan me. It’s small, but it has a motor and can fit four. The bigger problem is the currents around Cairn Isle. We have to be careful—”
            “Cairn Isle?” Nikki laughed again. “Is that its real name?”
            “That’s what the locals call it, because of all the deaths,” Marie said defensively. “But that’s not its real name.”
            “What is its real name?” Nikki asked.
            “Latham’s Landing,” Daryl said with relish, letting the name roll over his tongue. “It’s going to be crucial to my paper on the origin of fear for my psychology of mind class. With luck, I’m hoping to turn it into a dissertation.”
            “How did you ever hear of it?” Sam asked. “I never have.”
            “It’s not something the locals advertise,” Daryl replied. “They’re closemouthed about it, these farmers, and they don’t like strangers. Even the historical society that owns the house doesn’t promote it. Their website had almost nothing—”
            “What did it have?” Sam asked, interested.
            “Just that a man named Hans Latham got rich in the ship business, and that he built this home when he retired.”
More!!! *sigh* So would you tell us more about you, and where we can find your books? 

Biography: Tara Fox Hall’s writing credits include nonfiction short stories, flash, short and novella-length horror stories, and contemporary and historical paranormal romance. Her first E-Book, Surrender to Me, published in September 2011. She divides her free time unequally between writing, chainsawing firewood, caring for stray animals, baking sweets, sewing cat and dog beds for donation to animal shelters, and target practice.  

**Stares at the last two words......blinks**  Oh...WOW!


Spellbound 2011:

Surrender To Me:

Return to Me:


Jenny Twist said...

This is a great story. I can also recommend Tara's other books. I¡ve read them all and I love the. She is a very talented writer. Keep 'em coming, Tara.

Tara Fox Hall said...

Thank you, Jenny - your accolades are much appreciated!

I also wanted to mention that I am running a contest today! Please leave your email with your comment at this site, and you will be entered to win an e-copy of Spellbound 2011. This contest runs through today.
An email and comment also enters you into a drawing at the end of November for a cat bed handmade by me. I make these for shelters, as you can see by my bio. If you don't have a cat yourself, it would make a lovely holiday present for someone on your Christmas list with a cat, or you could make some shelter cat's day in your own hometown. The bed is made of cotton flannel with a hearts pattern, and stuffed with polyfil, measuring 1 1/2' by 2 1/2'. Please also list "yes" or "no" by your email, indicating if its okay to add you to my mailing list or not. Good Luck!

John Steiner said...

Dreams are a well I turn to draw from whenever I can as a writer.

Tara Fox Hall said...

The scariest ones make the best tales :) If only we could get the inspiration without the heart stress!

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed The Origin of Fear and I look forward to reading other stoires by Tara.

Thakns for your work.

John Mecom

Anonymous said...

Tara is a gifted writer! I can see huge success in her future!

Tamara Richard

Tara Fox Hall said...

Thank you for the Kudos, John :) I enjoy your work very much, too! It's thrilling to not only do something you love , but also have people love that you're doing it!

Tara Fox Hall said...

Thank you for the well wishes, Tamara! :)

hotcha12 said...


Tara Fox Hall said...

Glad you like Origin of Fear. Happy Thanksgiving back to you, Hotcha12!

Na said...

I love horror stories and movies and seeing how much of yours are inspired from your dreams makes me want you to keep having nightmares. Lol! I think horror stories are scarier than movies because you visions that come to mind aren't easy to forget. If there's a good thing is that at least you're not facing the evil alone but with fellow friends and classmates as in your story :)


Tara Fox Hall said...

I'll take that in a good way, Na! :) I agree with your assessment - some of the nightmares, like Latham's Landing, are so vivid that they are more like real memories than memories of dreams. There are memories not only of being there, but the way I felt being there. It makes the nightmare more like reality. I've tried to pass as much as I can of that to the reader. :)
I wish I had more "friend" help in nightmares. Usually my partners end up getting picked off until I'm the only one left, like in a horror movie. Or perhaps the nightmare is just preying on my human weakness. While we all might want to have the glory of being the last human standing against the evil hoardes, no one really WANTS to be the last person alive. It makes me shudder just thinking about it!

Mila Ramos said...

So explain to me this target practice, because I am definitely scared!!!

Tara Fox Hall said...

No reason to be scared of guns :) If a person wants to be good with a gun-any gun-they have to practice, and the more the better. I am a better shot with a long gun than a short gun, but am decent with a pistol. I don't hunt, but I do enjoy shooting at targets - paper, that is :) If you are ever in New York, give me a heads up via email, and you can come up and try some shooting yourself with me. :)