Saturday, October 23, 2010

Guest Author: Sidney Fox - Haunted Lily, Halloween Decorating, and Q&A

Please welcome Sidney Fox, author of the book Haunted Lily: The Nightmare Ball.  Sidney has kindly agreed to stop by IPBR today to tell us about her Halloween decorating adventures.

To Scare or not to Scare!

The sun had just set and the beautiful supernatural melodies of Midnight Syndicate streamed loudly from speakers hidden in the bushes, setting the mood for a perfect haunt. My husband and I had spent the afternoon setting up our prized assortment of ghosts, gravestones, and a very Tim Buton-esque coffin. Dozens of carved pumpkins were aglow, peering out from the eerie haze generated by three fog machines. Large red spotlights lit up the giant oak in the front yard spying out skeletons playing on the branches and looking down mischievously upon the graveyard set up in our yard.

It was our first Halloween living in Florida and we soon noticed that only one other family in the neighborhood, our neighbors directly across the street, had put out one pumpkin…one pumpkin. There were no children dressed in ghoulish guises running rampant through the streets with their parents in tow. It was a literal ghost town.

Back in the San Fernando Valley, a suburb of Los Angeles where we had lived previously, Halloween was a very celebrated occasion. Everyone decorated to the hilt, doing everything in their power to outdo each other. The year the movie Titanic was released, the people in my apartment complex decided to do a little live-action art. Lit with a dim blue spotlight to mimic moonlight, our pool was transformed into the chilly Atlantic, containing two full-size lifeboats filled with shivering passengers wearing life vests that read – RMS TITANIC. Also floating in the water were several frozen faced passengers, those not lucky enough to make it off the doomed ocean liner alive, staring up glassy-eyed amongst large chunks of ice made from Styrofoam.

Granted, most of my neighbors in Hollywood were in the entertainment industry, make-up artists, set designers, truly creative souls who lived for the spectacle of Halloween. I was no different. Every year I had a huge party which became known as The Nightmare Ball, which is the name of the party Lily, the heroine in my debut novel “Haunted Lily – the Nightmare Ball” gives every year. And when I met my future husband Douglas, an actor and artist with extraordinary talents, the party only grew bigger and more elaborate.

That is - until we moved to Florida. I walked across the street to my new neighbors and their pumpkin, and was informed that a pagan holiday such as Halloween was frowned upon by the locals in this small town. To say this town was not the friendliest of places would be an underestimation. These people would rather run you down with their gold carts than say hello. It was true, only a handful of kids came by our house that night. Their eyes huge with exhilaration that someone actually dared to decorate. As a kid growing up in New York my neighborhood actually had a Halloween parade for all the children that ended at a house in the back of our subdivision where a costume contest was held. We had delicious food and played games like bobbing for apples and the Monster Mash. It was fun and safe. Today things are different.

In this new environment my husband and I found ourselves the outcasts.

The next day I was accosted in the supermarket by an old woman who called me a “Witch”. Perhaps I should have been offended, but all I could do was laugh. I thought that was a compliment. I felt like Kevin Bacon in Footloose, the new kid in town where no one is allowed to dance. Well, I was going to dance, no matter what…like a witch around her cauldron…I was going to dance…just you try stopping me!

We continued to decorate, bigger and better every year. We made a corn maze one year with a towering thirty-foot scarecrow. Another year we made a glow in the dark fun house. We became known as the “Halloween People”. Apparently, the word had spread about out our elaborate Halloween display because over the next few years the amount of trick-or-treaters and curiosity seekers had vastly grown. The town was growing and young families were moving in at a record pace. We went from a few dozen kids to a few hundred. Now we need three huge tubs of candy. The police have to come to handle crowd control, and happily almost the whole neighborhood decorates…the silly pagans!

One year a little girl dressed as Snow White told me that our house was the “coolest house in the neighborhood”. I told her to promise me that someday she would decorate her house to be the coolest house in the neighborhood. Snow White promised.
This year, as we were putting our Halloween decorations up, my husband noticed a small group of neighbors standing across the street watching him make a giant pumpkin face on our garage. He came in for a drink and told me about the gathering crowd. I could tell he felt like they were judging him for his pagan decorations. I told him to blow it off and just finish. He went back outside, the crowd was still there watching and waiting. When he finished, he stepped back to examine his work. It was then he heard – applause. He turned to see the group of neighbors giving him their approval. He smiled and waved. One lady called out – “We just wanted to see what amazing thing you were going to come up with this year!”

There is always a time on Halloween night when I just walk through the neighborhood with my son and we marvel at the costumed revelers and frightfully fabulous decorations. I like to think my husband and I had a little something to do with the celebration. And now people have found out that I had written Haunted Lily and bring their books to be signed, which I am so honored to do.  

I hope my little tale inspires you to carve a pumpkin, start your fog machine, turn up your Midnight Syndicate…and you too can be the coolest house in the neighborhood.

    Hauntingly Yours,
    Sidney Fox

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Q & A with Sidney

IPBR:  Wow, you really do go all out for Halloween!  How long does it take to complete all your decorations and do you do something different every year?

Sidney: We usually take inventory of all our props, then discuss the theme we are going for. We then draw up plans, buy any new items, and put all of our decorations up in one day. My husband can come up with the most incredible creatures and build them in record time. We always try to do something new each Halloween...bigger and better!

IPBR:  The cover art for Haunted Lily is intriguing and bizarre, but really cool.  What is the story behind it?

Sidney: I was looking for something really different when I came across a picture of a doll called, "Skull and Corset Bones" by gothic artist, Kerry Kate. I just fell in love with it. The doll was hauntingly beautiful like the heroine in my book, Lily, both are one of a kind. Kerry Kate was nice enough to let me use the doll for the cover art. My husband did the graphic design work which won the Covey Award last year.

IPBR:  What would you like readers to come away with after reading Haunted Lily?

Sidney: Everyone deals with loss, it is one of the hardest things we all have to go through. You can let it devour you and bring you down, or you can fight your way through it, and know that there is hope and life after loss. The main characters, Darby and Lily, find love through their subsequent tragedies. The book is truly a love story filled with real characters that go through real emotions as they take a frightening and fantastic journey through the spirit world. It's also a lot of fun!

IPBR:  Is there a particular scene or a line from your book that is a favorite of yours?

Sidney: Haunted Lily is a collection of many ghost stories. I love every one of my ghosts...I love the living characters as well, but the ghosts are my favorites. And the reader is taken through their lives and shown, through Lily, how they died and what keeps them on earth. 

IPBR:  Do you have any upcoming releases or other books in the works?

Sidney: My second book, Enchanted Shadows, is going to be released early next year. And I am finishing the follow-up to Haunted Lily, The Dark Circus, as we speak. Please visit my website SPOOKPALACE.COM for more information. 

I hope your readers get a chance to come into my creepy little world.  Happy Halloween!

Lightening Round!

IPBR: Vampires or Werewolves? 
Sidney: Blood-sucking Vampires! Love 'em!

IBPR: Ebooks or Print books?  

Sidney: long as you read.

IBPR: Plotter or Pantser? 

Sidney: I am both. I get an idea and write it down, but as I write the story and characters they take over.

IBPR: Comedy or Drama?

Sidney: Dramedy

IBPR: Chocolate or Vanilla? 
Sidney: Mmmm, chocolate.

IPBR: Cats or Dogs? 
Sidney: Woof!

Thanks so much for stopping by Sidney! :)

* * * * *

Haunted Lily: The Nightmare Ball
By Sidney Fox

Reality is shattered for British filmmaker, Darby McGregor, when his beautiful fiancée is tragically killed on their wedding day. After a dark time of mourning, Darby is tormented by a horrifying phantom bride in the eighteenth-century church he recently renovated. Is this the spirit of his beloved fiancée or something more sinister? Darby's sanity is in question, when fate steps in.
Her name is Lily, an enchanted young woman, who vibrantly shines through the darkness like a beacon of light for lost souls. Lily has been surrounded by the dearly departed since she was born, and has the gift/curse to penetrate the shadowy veil separating the living and the dead. Feeling an immediate connection, Lily agrees to be the subject of Darby's new documentary. However, Darby and his unsuspecting crew are not prepared for this chilling journey through the "spirit world".
As they spend time together, their bond grows. And when Darby learns of Lily's tragic upbringing and dealings with dangerous apparitions; he wants nothing more than to protect her. But it turns out he is the one in need of protection, when Lily's horrifying childhood nemesis returns from the afterworld to claim her. Ghosts, thrills, and chills drive the action in Haunted Lily, a tale sure to scare.

 Get the Book!  Amazon

Be sure to visit Sidney Fox at to learn all about Haunted Lily: The Nightmare Ball and other spooky and ghostly things. 

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So how about you?  Do you decorate for Halloween?  Do you go all out like Sidney, just put out a few pumpkins, or something in between?


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