Thursday, July 24, 2014

"An Ancient Gift and Other Stories" by Jeanne Grunert

An Ancient Gift and Other Stories
by Jeanne Grunert

An Ancient Gift and Other Stories is Jeanne Grunert's debut work of fiction. You can read my review and enter the giveaway to win a copy of your own.

An Ancient Gift and Other Stories is a collection of three "light" horror stories. These tales of the paranormal are akin to old-fashioned campfire stories - stories that offer a sense of the uncanny without the gore.
"The Glove" offers the chilling tale of a woman recounting how her grandfather’s prejudices - and gift for sorcery - terrorized a neighborhood boy. Is her son at risk, too?
"Friday Night Visitor" features the old trope of a deal with the devil. But unlike fiddle contests of old, Rita, our heroine, must guess a riddle to unveil the identity of the visitor and save the guy she loves.
"An Ancient Gift", the title tale, offers glimpse at a reluctant psychic. Anna and her sister Amy are charged with clearing out her grandmother’s house for the real estate agents when they uncover an unusually wrapped package in her father’s childhood closet, a deck of antique tarot cards. Did their father have the ancient gift of divination, and does one of the sisters have it, too?

Excerpt from "An Ancient Gift"
Now Anna was gliding in her slow, careful way towards the stairs. She paused, one hand on the banister rail, and looked up into the gloom. The dim light from the dusty crystal chandelier created pools and whorls of darkness that seemed to breathe. When we were small and stayed overnight at Grandma’s, we were always too scared to climb the stairs to the second floor. Neither of us could say why, but the shadows were darker, the air, thicker up there, particularly in my father’s old bedroom. When we asked him about it, he just shrugged. Neither of my grandparents questioned why we insisted holding their hands we mounted the stairs, and why we preferred the guest bedroom rather than my father’s old room on the left.
“I feel a presence,” Anna said.
“Oh no, here it comes no,” I muttered.
“Amy, come up with me. It wants you, not me.”
“It?” I stepped aside to let her pass and lead the way. “Who wants me?”
Anna merely repeated, “It wants you. There’s a gift for you here.”
She walked up three steps, slowly, carefully, as if feeling that the treads were solid before stepping onto them. Her golden hair glittered under the dusky light.
“Come on Anna, knock it off,” I snapped, following her upstairs. “We’ve been through this place, top to bottom. Let’s lock up and go home, take a shower, and get ready for our dates. Brad and Pete await. Tomorrow’s the closing and those nice Greek people get the keys and we walk away with big, fat checks.” Not the most tactful thing to say, but it had taken us more than a year to sell our grandparent’s house. 
“Wait, Amy! There’s something we’ve forgotten—" All caution forgotten, Anna dashed up the stairs, her footsteps clattering against the oak floor.

Praise for the Book
"Give YOURSELF A GIFT! A compilation of three eerie short stories sure to provoke the imagination and make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up. Where an Edgar Allan Poe meets Flannery O'Connor, a highly recommended read!" ~ Regina, Amazon review (verified purchaser)
"A collection of three short horror stories. The stories feel like they were written in the spirit of a 'campfire' ghost story. They are quite entertaining. I highly recommend for horror fans looking for something light to read on a dark and stormy night." ~ Amazon review (verified purchaser)
"In the likes of Stephen King, Ms. Grunert has created unique worlds where ordinary objects and events become the source of mystery and fear. I liked that her stories contained no gore but were spine tingling spooky. The characters were well developed and made me wonder about them after their tales were told. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys ghost and supernatural stories." ~ Debra Holmes, Amazon review (verified purchaser)

My Review

By Lynda Dickson
An Ancient Gift and Other Stories is a short collection of three stories and is the author's first work of fiction.
In "The Glove", Kathy's fevered nightmares take her back to the summer at Grandpa's house when she was nine years old. What happened that summer? Her son Bryan is staying with Grandpa while she's sick. Why does Kathy sense he's in danger? What horror lies in wait in Grandpa's basement?
In "Friday Night Visitor", Rita and Bob are working at Winter's bar one Friday night when a strange man comes to visit Bob. What does he want in return for the favor he did for Bob a few years ago?
In "An Ancient Gift", Anna has the family gift of being a psychic, while her sister Amy is a skeptic. While preparing to sell Grandma's house, they come across an ancient gift their father left behind in his childhood room. Which daughter is it for, and who's the one with the real gift?
This short book contains quite a number of editing errors, too many for the length of the book. Nevertheless, the author manages to create suspense and a creepy atmosphere very quickly. The stories keep you wanting just a little bit more. I just wish this volume contained more stories so I could enjoy it a bit longer.

Insight from the Author
Welcome to my recently published collection of light horror or "campfire tales", An Ancient Gift and Other Stories. This collection features three very different short stories, each offering a glimpse into the lives of everyday people tinkering with the occult.
This little book isn’t your typical horror fare. Oh yes, there are evil things lurking in the basement shadows; a pair of possessed gardening gloves, for instance, brought to life by the hatred of an old man and the naiveté of his granddaughter. There’s a sassy waitress in love with an idiot named Bob who has to win his soul back from a very strange being visiting a bar on a Friday night. And there are sister wrestling with an ancient gift ... or an ancient curse, depending on how you look at it.
I hope you enjoy curling up by the campfire this summer with An Ancient Gift and Other Stories! Savor the tales ... read them aloud ... and keep the lights on ...

About the Author
Jeanne Grunert is an award-winning writer and marketing consultant. In 2007, she did what her family and friends thought impossible. She quit her marketing executive position in New York City and moved to a 17-acre farm in rural Virginia to begin freelancing full time. Today, she grows a life instead of merely making a living. She provides marketing and writing services through her company, Seven Oaks Consulting, and writes for a variety of print and digital publications. She is the author of Pricing Your Services: 21 Tips for More Profit, a business book, and An Ancient Gift and Other Stories, her first published work of fiction.

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