Thursday, July 7, 2016

"Oubliette: A Forgotten Little Place" by Vanta M. Black

A Forgotten Little Place
by Vanta M. Black

Oubliette: A Forgotten Little Place by Vanta M. Black is currently on tour with Bewitching Book Tours. The tour stops here today for a guest post by the author, an excerpt, and a giveaway. Please be sure to visit the other tour stops as well.

Veronica knows the monsters aren’t "just in her head", but no one listens to the headstrong ten-year-old as they tie her to a hospital bed every night.
Years later, after being dumped by her business-partner/boyfriend, Veronica finds herself on the verge of bankruptcy. Then a late-night call promises the perfect solution - a job opportunity decorating a castle in France.
Will Veronica risk what little she has left to chase a fairytale?
When the shadowy things that once terrorized her come back, Veronica must decide how much she’ll sacrifice for them, for her sanity, and for her life.
This epic book consists of interwoven stories with paranormal twists. A horror-filled historical fiction adventure, it spans nearly two millennia.
You'll be transported to an ancient Pagan ritual, Roman-ruled Gaul, the bloody Inquisition of the Knights Templar, France as it's ravaged by the Black Death, the duplicitous Reformation, the Paris Catacombs, and the gory French Revolution, while you unravel Oubliette’s cryptic layers.

Book Video

Los Angeles – Early 1990s
Veronica didn’t understand why they looked for the monsters in her head, that’s obviously not where they were. Instead of listening, the doctors stuck pads with wires to her temples and increased the dosage of an IV that dripped into her veins.
They also told the nurses to tie her down with thick, leather belts every night.
The tethers didn’t matter though, because when the monsters came, she wouldn’t be able to move anyway. The only thing Veronica could ever do was scream.
The doctors called them “night terrors”. The pudgy lady who talked funny –– she told Veronica it was her accent –– said they were “spirits”. Mommy used the term “shadow people”. Veronica just called them “monsters”, and wished they’d stop scaring her when she slept.
They wanted her. Deep inside, on a primal level, Veronica knew the monsters –– or whatever they were –– craved her, and if given the chance, they would do something very, very bad to her.
The little girl tried to explain this to the doctors, the nurses, the accent-talking lady, and her mother, but none of the adults really listened. Instead they argued and shouted at each other, and huffed in and out of the room –– but the thing that frightened Veronica the most, is when the adults would simply shrug their shoulders, and admit that they really didn’t have any idea what the monsters were at all.
It was almost ten o’clock –– shift-change time. The night staff would come now. The nurse on duty was a plodding and lazy lady who would only check on Veronica at the beginning of the shift, and then abandon her in favor of the nurses’ station and a VHS tape of the day’s soap operas. Veronica didn’t like her. Sometimes it would take “Nurse Lazy” a full five minutes before she’d respond. She never came fast enough.
Veronica tried to tell the doctors that the nurse was too slow, but the complaints of a ten-year-old weren’t taken seriously against the word of the lazy nurse who smiled sweetly and said, “Poor dear and those dreadful night terrors. I always come running as fast as I can!”
Veronica cringed as the television automatically turned itself off. It always happened at ten o’clock; it was on a timer. She wasn’t sure why, but she felt it protected her and wished more than anything it could stay on. The noise, the pictures, The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, there was something inexplicable about the TV that kept the monsters away.
Veronica’s pleas to leave the television on all night were never honored by the adults. Nurse Lazy actually once told her, “Oh, we can’t leave the TV on, it’ll give you bad dreams.”
Ha! Little did she know the TV prevented the bad dreams.
The door opened and in walked Nurse Lazy. Her metal nameplate actually read “Lucy”. She handed Veronica a little paper cup with a green pill inside and waited with a thin, forced smile. The longer Veronica took to take her medicine, the longer Nurse Lazy would have to wait until she could watch her soaps.
Veronica slowly picked the pill out of the cup. “Aren’t they ’sposed to be yellow?”
Lucy flared her nostrils ever so slightly as she replied, “No, your new doctor prescribed the green ones. Hurry up and take it.”
Veronica studied the pill closely, holding it inches from her nose. She looked at it slightly cross-eyed. “I don’t think I like the green ones though. Yellows are better.”
Lucy’s trembling hand clutched a Dixie cup of water. “That’s for the doctors to decide. Now eat it up! Time for sleep.”
Veronica painstakingly laid the pill on her tongue and grunted for the nurse to hand her the water.
Lucy thrust it forward. “Here, drink!”
Veronica pouted, even though she knew the cute face wouldn’t work on ol’ Lazy.
“Thanks,” she muttered as the nurse buckled down Veronica’s arms and legs and pulled the covers up to her chest.
“Goodnight,” Lucy grumbled. She snatched the mermaid doll that sat by Veronica’s side, and tossed it on the nightstand before careening out the door.
Random acts of meanness like that weren’t uncommon for Lucy. Veronica sniffed as the silence left in the nurse’s wake permeated the room.
Then familiar, tinny tunes from a transistor radio wafted through the air. It hung from the janitor’s cleaning cart. He always blared it while mopping the halls. There was that song again. Some stupid radio station played it almost every night right around this time. Veronica stared at her doll on the nightstand, just out of reach, as the lyrics began:
Dream the dream that only you can dream
Sing the song that only you can sing
Dance with me, we’ll start slow
Clasp my hand, now lose control
Bite the monster only you can see
And dream the dream you only dream for me
Veronica tried to squish her head into the stiff pillow so her ears were covered, but it didn’t work. The heavy metal song’s pounding chorus kicked in.
Spirits in the maze
Burning brighter
Like a dream within the haze
Dancing fire
Deep inside malaise
Hungry spider
Force your screams to blaze
Spinning spiral
The song frightened her. It seemed to always precede a particularly bad episode. She really wished she had the yellow pills. She felt defenseless as sleep consumed her. The green pills would be no help if one of the bad ones came…the real Bad Ones, that is.
She twisted her head and glared into the large mirror on the wall across the room. People watched her from inside there. Veronica wasn’t sure if they were the doctors, the accent lady, or maybe even her mother, but every now and then someone would move, the light would catch just right, and she would see a figure behind the glass. Dimly, she watched them watch her. They studied her and talked about her and wrote notes about her on clipboards. Knowing they were there gave Veronica little comfort because they weren’t there to help; they were only there to watch.
Her sleepy eyes narrowed at the watchers and she whispered with dopey lips, “What, no popcorn? You gonna stare at me all night and you got no stinking popcorn? You’re all a bunch of stupid heads, ya’ know that? Stooopid heads...”
Sleep quietly took over while Veronica cursed the stupid heads behind the glass. She jerked her drooping neck with a quick snap to force herself awake, but the green pill was powerful. It pushed her into the darkness where the shadow people waited.
Veronica, here we are!
Veronica, time to steal your dreams.
Time to let us steal your dreams and break your bones and slip your soul right out of your slimy sack of skin…Veronica!
She fought to wake up. With all her might she tried to scream, but the green pill seized her motor functions and paralyzed her. She was like a petrified slab of meat laid out on a table –– unable to move, unable to cry out, unable to defend herself.
Do you know the evil that you dream, Veronica?
Do you know the song that only you can sing?
In the limbo between sleep and lucidity Veronica sensed their heinous presence with crystal-clarity. She was hyper-alert and instinctively knew these were the real Bad Ones. Without looking she saw one crouching in the far corner of the room. It glared at her intently and oozed animosity. It waited patiently, almost casually, for Veronica to succumb.
With a sudden surge of intense willpower she cried out — just a little — it was a tiny whimper that was barely audible. It wasn’t loud enough to scare the shadow people away though, and it definitely wasn’t loud enough for anyone living to hear.
Another Bad One pulled itself onto the foot of her bed. This one was small and hairy like an animal. Scrooching under the blanket, it crept slowly along the side of her bare leg. It felt for a nook to burrow — a soft place like her stomach or side so it could squirm and writhe itself into her flesh — where it could rip her apart from the inside out.
“Help,” Veronica whispered one last time before falling into the dark depths of sleep –– deep, down, spinning ‘round, until the darkness took a hold…
[Want more? Click below to read a longer excerpt.]

Praise for the Book
"Oubliette is a cleverly told tale and trek through history where the past and present collide. If you come out the other end of this book with all of your fingernails intact, you are a better woman than I." ~ Lisa Goich, Author, 14 Days: A Mother, A Daughter, A Two-Week Goodbye
"Strong characters. Real relationships. Deep terror. A journey through time where the fears are not only of monsters, but of shadows inside ourselves." ~ Justina Walford, horror film writer and producer, Wildworks Productions
"Great, now I'm afraid of bunnies." ~ Sheena Metal, Host, Haunted Playground, LA Talk Radio
"Oubliette is a mosaic of interwoven tales that are unexpected, fresh, and deliciously twisted. There are plenty of thrills and chills to be found here." ~ John Stuart Wildman, Director, The Ladies of the House

Guest Post by the Author
Oh The Places You Will Go!
Researching Oubliette: A Forgotten Little Place
When you write a book set in the Loire Valley of France, you have to go to France. When a scene of the book is set in the Paris Catacombs, you have to go to the Paris Catacombs. When one of your characters drinks copious amounts of absinth, you go try the stuff for yourself (In France, of course, as American absinth is absolute swill). And when you base a book on the alleged “most haunted castle in Ireland”, you visit Leap Castle in Ireland.
Vanta M. Black drinks absinth with friends in Paris
These are just a few of the places Vanta M. Black explored while researching Oubliette: A Forgotten Little Place.
Then of course, there’s Google. But that’s not very exciting to talk about.
Vanta M. Black explains, “Sure I did a ton of research online to start. But I wanted the experiences described in my book to be as authentic as possible. They always say, ‘write what you know’. That’s why I made the travels. I had to see Leap Castle for myself. I had to breathe in the Loire Valley. And I had to creep under the beautiful City of Lights to see the Paris Catacombs for myself.”
Leap Castle, Ireland
The research that goes into writing a genre novel, one that is both historical fiction and a thriller, is a process many writers and aspiring novelists struggle with. Vanta M. Black covered the topic during An Evening with Vanta M. Black hosted by Phil Giangrande from Seated at the Writer’s Table, and presented by Prophecy Girl Films.
During the event, Black said, “I believe that even a book with a paranormal theme like Oubliette has to be based in reality. I challenge any history buff to find something in my book that isn’t based on actual events and/or legends. I hate it when you read a book, get excited about a historical reference, then look it up and discover it’s bogus. I have to give my readers a better experience than that!”
To see a video recording from “A Conversation with Vanta M. Black”, visit her YouTube page.
The main characters in Oubliette also travels to the Loire Valley via Paris. Sisters, named Veronica and Nikki, are invited there to decorate an old chateau, which is where the oubliette is located.
Chateau de Chaumont, Loire Valley, France
Black says, “When I traveled to France I felt like I was my own main character, Veronica, experiencing it. I met a dear friend there, Kim, who jaunted around with me and showed me the magnificent sites. She spoke French, and was very much like Nikki in the book, only a lot nicer and not nearly as slutty.”
Black Chateau Publishing, the publisher of Vanta’s book, in the spirit of supporting creatives and those who like to write fan fiction, is presenting the Ohh LaLa Oubliette Fan Fiction Contest. Just by writing a minimum of 500 words of a fan fiction story based off one of the storylines in Oubliette, and/or one of the characters, someone could win a trip to France to explore just like Vanta and her fictional character, Veronica, did.
“I’m incredibly excited about this contest. We’re about to issue the official announcement, so this is like a sneak preview for your readers. I believe that art, whether it be the written word, a painting, a poem, a song, whatever, is a gift given to others. That is what true art is. That’s why giving my readers the chance to create an Oubliette sub-plot, and possibly go to France and have the trip of a lifetime, is so fulfilling. I’m one of the judges in the contest and I can’t wait to start reading the entries soon! ”
For more details about prizes and how to enter, visit Vanta M. Black’s website page dedicated to the Ohh La La Oubliette Fan Fiction Contest (closes 30 April 2017).

About the Author
Vanta M. Black, author of Oubliette: A Forgotten Little Place, enjoys uncovering the dark mysteries of our Universe.
In addition to writing, she enjoys traveling to provocative places and studying all things esoteric.
Black has degrees in English, communication and art. She resides in Southern California with her husband and two pug-mix dogs, and spends her time in support of causes that empower women and advance science and technology.

Enter the tour-wide giveaway for a chance to win one of two $50 Amazon gift cards.