Wednesday, October 09, 2013

‘Between There’ features ghostly tales

PANAMA CITY — A young deputy trying to make a name for himself opens a cold case and is visited on Halloween by a restless spirit as he answers a call to Econfina Creek.

Homeless men witness a murder while hanging out under Hathaway Bridge.

Two supernatural creatures are involved in a paranormal investigation of Bay County’s Tram Road.

Those are descriptions of “Cold Case” by Ruth Corley, “The Dog Watch” by Mark Boss, and “Elusive Prey” by Anthony S. Buoni, three of 13 frightening tales in the new anthology, “Between There” Vol. 2.

Such ghostly stories will be on tap Tuesday evening at Chez Amavida in Panama City, which is hosting the launch party for “Between There” in conjunction with Writers Gallery, the monthly open mic gathering for local writers. Books will be for sale, and everyone will be invited to play haunted bingo for door prizes. Costumes are encouraged.

“The coffee shop has been home to the Writers’ Gallery meetings on the third Tuesday of each month, allowing local authors a stage for sharing their work,” Buoni said. “This month’s meeting will not only let writers read their material, but will showcase several authors featured in the anthology, reading and signing copies of the book.”

Buoni describes himself as “a haunted writer” living in Panama City Beach whose work has been featured in magazines, noir anthologies and his own local underground ’zine “the meow.” In addition to writing, he is a musician, father and ghost hunter.

“Between There” Vol. 2, , released by Pulpwood Press, features the work of regional and national writers exploring what happens when departed souls intrude upon everyday lives. Ranging from mystery and horror to philosophy and erotica, the book showcases short stories, flash fiction, campfire yarns and a screenplay that brings readers not quite to the realm of Death, but somewhere between here and there.

Many of the writers involved are from Bay County. Joining Buoni, Corley and Boss are N. Wayne Garrett, Conrad Young, Brittany Lamoureux, Kyle Clements, Angela Apperson and Joseph Davis. Others include Autumn Lishky from Oklahoma, Dee Jordan from Mobile, Ala., and Jacqueline Seewald, previously nominated for a Nebula Award for her short story, “Touched by Wonder.”

Mark Boss at left, Ruth Corley at right
 (Full disclosure: I’m part of a writing critique group that includes Boss and Corley (see photo at left for the whole group posing with author Tim Dorsey), and one of my short stories appeared in the first volume of “Between There.” I’m also a regular participant at Writers Gallery.)

Corley is a fiction writer in addition to her job as public information specialist with the Bay County Sheriff’s Office. The two interests led her down a surprising trail as she wrote “Cold Case.”

“I love to hear the stories of the ‘old days’ in law enforcement here in Bay County,” she said. “A friend told me how the top floor of the old Old Jail (before what we now refer to as the Old Jail/BCSO Office was built, which used to be next to the Court House) was considered haunted. … I thought I would use that bit of folklore in a story and set it back in 1990, when both buildings were used simultaneously. Oh, to make it even creepier, the county morgue was housed in the basement of the old Old Jail, which also gave the building a unique ambience.”

Boss, a freelance editor and author of thrillers, said his inspiration came from multiple sources.

“The title has a double meaning,” he said. “It refers to a dog they see, and it’s also the nautical term for the short watches on a ship that take place between 4 to 6 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m. I drew on the excellent work our local Association of St. Jude does in helping the homeless, and combined that with a scary location. The stuff about the dog and the murder, I made up.”

Corley said her characters often surprise her as she’s in the process of writing.

And that bodes well for a book about things that go bump in the night.

(Rest in) Peace. 

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BOOK LAUNCH
What: Release party for ghost story anthology ‘Between There’; books for sale; play haunted bingo for door prizes; costumes encouraged
When: 7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 15
Where: Chez Amavida, 2997 W. 10th St., Panama City

(This is my column for PanamaCity.com and The News Herald this week.)
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