Sunday, October 2, 2011

Call Me Chicken... by Judi Fennell

Our theme for the month is Things That Go Bump In The Night, and I will admit that I am the world's biggest chicken. I loathe scary movies. I don't just hate them, but loathe them. Friends made me sit through The Fog in high school and the fact that I ended up holding this one guy's hand "to protect me" showed how terrified I was. My 11th grade boyfriend and his friend (who we were double-dating with) thought it'd be fun to take me on Cat Man's Lane (where local legend has it, a man with cat's paws, razored through the soft-top roof of a car and killed the lovers inside, then hanged himself from the Hanging Tree down around the bed--beyond the little white bridge where blood supposedly appeared occasionally) AFTER taking me to see An American Werewolf in London.

Surprisingly, that relationship lasted 8 months. Go figure.

Another time, I have my mom to thank for scaring the life out of me. Yeah, Mom. Another head-scratcher moment.

Mom, after coming to the movies with my best friend and I to see Psycho II (how do I get roped into these things??) waited in her car in the driveway at midnight for Betsie and I to pull up and walk toward my house. Sitting there in the dark, Mom was completely invisible--until she reached out her hand and grabbed my arm with a screechy, "Norrrrrrrrrmannnnnn!"

My legs actually gave out and I hit the ground. Scared me almost to death.

So how, last summer, did I end up at the Stanley Hotel, the scene of one of the scariest movies ever, The Shining? That movie still freaks me out, even though I've seen it numerous times. (Funny aside: I can read scary books and be okay; the movie??? notsomuch).

I was attending RomCon last July and we tied it in with a family vacation we'd always wanted to take to Colorado and Wyoming. The kids have all seen the movie, hubs liked it, and, heck, we were in the area, right?

Here's the outside:
Unfortunately, I couldn't get the shot from the movie: Some interior pictures we took:

The lobbyThe stairwell
The bar. Yeah, no Nickelson on the barstool anywhere to be found. A bit disappointing.
The front porch. Scenery was gorgeous.

Ones from the movie:

There were no elevators that looked like this that we saw. Thank goodness, actually.
no hallway like this. I'm thinking maybe the hotel should invest in this carpet. Just for appearances...

The infamous bar scene from the movie.,r:1,s:15&tx=68&ty=72

Notice any difference? Yep, they didn't use the interior shots of the hotel. Talk about disappointing when we figured that out. Oh, they definitely claim the hotel is haunted and that Steven King got the idea while staying there, but it was quite disappointing not to see the scenes we remembered. And forget about that maze. Though, maybe that's why we passed a pleasant day there and I could sleep at night...

so you can see why I write light-hearted romantic comedies. I'm just not one for being scared.

Next month my 5th book with Sourcebooks comes out, the second in the Bottled Magic series: Genie Knows Best. I'm running a contest on Goodreads through the end of October for a free contest, so feel free to register for that. Here's a little taste to whet your appetite:

Be careful what you wish for...

Samantha Blaine is about to make a fateful discovery. A tall, dark, handsome, ohmygosh kind of fateful discovery...

Kal is very pleased to meet his attractive new master--especially since he intends to seduce her into granting him freedom.

But when seriously dark magic spells trouble for both of them, Kal can't help himself from falling for the woman who holds his fate in her hands...

Warmly acclaimed by readers and critics alike, Judi Fennell brings to life a fabulous world of magic and mayhem where wishes come true in the most unexpected ways!


Orange smoke surrounded her, bursting from the lantern’s spout like from a boiling psychedelic tea kettle on hyper speed, and while Samantha’s troubles weren’t disappearing, the office was. And the desk and the chair and the safe and everything else around her.

Everything except the lantern.

The cloud grew thicker, and Samantha didn’t know what to do except grab that lantern and hold on tight.

Her body tingled as if grains of sand were bombarding her, and an odd sense of speed surrounded her as if the world were rushing by while the wind swirled such thick orange smoke all over her that she should be choking… but wasn’t.

While she was pondering that, the wind and the world died down, and the orange smoke dissipated as quickly as it had appeared—and this time Samantha did know what to think.

First, the half-naked guy in front of her wearing only an orange vest and baggy white pants was way underdressed for a funeral.

Second, she was no longer at a funeral, and third…

“Where am I?” Highly unoriginal, but clich├ęs were overused for a reason and she really didn’t have a clue where she was.

The guy settled his fists on his hips and his orange vest gaped open, showing off a six-pack that had nothing to do with beer.

“Izaaz,” he answered, his voice sliding across her nerve endings like a sip of smooth wine after a bite of fine chocolate—or maybe that was because his eyes were the color of said chocolate and, oh my, were they fine. Warm and bone-meltingly delicious.

“Is what?” Knees a tad wobbly, Samantha reached around for the desk chair she’d just been sitting in. Except that the chair wasn’t there. Neither was the desk. Or the office.

“Izaaz,” said a high-pitched voice by her ankles.

Samantha looked down. A bat-eared Chihuahua was smiling up at her.

So many things were wrong with that sentence that Samantha didn’t even bother trying to analyze it.

She looked back at the guy in the vest. Six-two with a set of shoulders that would make a linebacker proud, he looked like he’d walked right off a playing field. Or, in that outfit, a Hollywood movie set. Especially since he had the dark good looks of a leading man, a killer smile, eyes that made her think of hot desert nights, and thick, rich, mink-brown hair women would beg to run their fingers through.

And half naked, to boot.


So, what scares you?


  1. Judi, it's the music! That stuff would scare the bejesus out of the devil himself! Books don't have the da-da-da-da in them! Loved the article. There's a haunted hotel in Jefferson, Texas that I haven't gotten enough courage to visit...yet! Loved all the gorgeous pictures. I wouldn't know about the differences in the real and movie. That's one book and movie that, like Joey on Friends, I'd have to keep in the freezer!

  2. One of the biggest disappointments of my life was my visit to that hotel. I was crushed to see that it was nothing like the movie. Oh well. I loved your excerpt! fab!

  3. Yep, Carolyn, the music definitely gets you. I'd say that you need to see the movie at least once in your life; it's a classic. But keep the lights on and Hubs right next to you!

    incidental: I hear you on the disappointment. And of course we didn't find out that it wasn't the same as the movie until AFTER we paid our entrance fee for the tour. Ah well, at least I got a blog post out of it :)

  4. Crickets. I hate them. Yuck. Snakes? Fine. Spiders? Not thrilled, but okay. Crickets. I'm running away. Great pictures!

  5. Roaches eek me out. My first apartment had roaches and I could never get used to them. They crawl on everything.

    Love scary (not slasher) movies and books!

  6. Dolls. China dolls scare me. *shudders* I know... You don't have to say it.

  7. As a kid I was freaked out by... earthworms. They stink, you know, and wiggle, and they have a hand (well not a hand) in sinking entire civilizations. Can we pick another theme?

  8. Great post, Judi!
    A six-foot too half naked guy would scare me.
    Too many possibilities to choose from. ;}