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Tag: Dashe Roberts

Spooky Stories – a guest post by Dashe Roberts

Halloween is almost here! Today we’re excited to share this guest post from Dashe Roberts – author of the hair-raising Sticky Pines series – on where spooky stories come from, where she finds inspiration, and some tips for writing your own.

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It’s that time of year again, when the leaves turn blood-red and tumble from the treetops with a ghoulish glee, when the days grow darker and the nights grow longer, and when everything starts to feel just a little bit SPOOKY.

Halloween is my favourite time of year. If you’ve read the books in my Sticky Pines series –where things get very WEIRD and a little bit spine-tingly – you might not be surprised to hear this! I, like many readers, have always enjoyed stories with hair-raising action, strange creatures, and seriously scary bumps in the night. In fact, many of my favourite pulse-quickening stories helped to inspire the eerie world of Sticky Pines.

Since the days of the ancients we humans have found it great fun to scare ourselves on purpose, something that is evident in the many scary tales passed down through the generations. In the 1st century A.D. the Roman senator Pliny wrote that he had witnessed the spectre of an old man with a long beard at his house in Athens, loudly rattling his chains. And in England, sightings of Ann Boleyn’s ghost have been reported ever since King Henry VIII’s wife was executed in 1536 following accusations of witchcraft and treason.

Ghost stories have proven wildly popular all over the world, from the djinn demons in One Thousand and One Nights – the Western compilation of Middle Eastern folk tales that made Aladdin famous – to the headless horseman of Washington Irving’s 19th-century story Sleepy Hollow in American literature. Growing up in America, I loved spooky stories: a particular favourite was Alvin Schwartz’s trio of books beginning with Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, which explore the kind of frightening folklore that people have been telling around campfires for centuries. From songs about wriggly worms squirming in corpses, tales of severed limbs, ghoulish scarecrows and creepy haunted houses, to urban legends about men with hooks for hands, these chilling books have all it takes to scare you senseless!

If you like your books more on the strange side than the ghastly side, Neil Gaiman’s modern classic Coraline might do the trick. The title character finds herself crawling through a hidden tunnel in her new house, where she discovers a parallel world eerily similar to our own, but where everything is a little bit… off. I love the uncanny imagery in this book, especially the “other mother” character with buttons for eyes! Stranger still is A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle, a science fiction wonder that begins on a windy, lightning-filled night, and takes its protagonists on an adventure across the galaxy. There, they encounter terrifying star-eating monsters, civilisations filled with dead-eyed obedient slaves, and a disembodied villain bent on controlling everything in its path…

Some other fabulously ghoulish reads to snag this Halloween season include The Orphans of St Halibuts by Sophie Wills, a wickedly funny book about a trio of orphans who must use their wiles to get by after the untimely death of their headmistress, and The Midnight Hour by Benjamin Read and Laura Trindles, about a girl whose parents disappear one night and the magical monsters she encounters in their absence.

Even more fun than READING a scary story, though, is WRITING your own! The first thing to do is to create a suitably spooky setting. Where will your story take place? If it’s in a house, what kind of house is it? A sparsely furnished one where footsteps echo in the halls, or a cluttered, creaky old building with hidden doors and a forgotten cellar? Don’t forget to think of the five main senses… how does your setting smell? What does it look and sound like? Does it feel stiflingly hot or chillingly cold? Can you taste the decay in the air? Write down five seriously creepy details about your setting as you brainstorm what horrifying events will befall the characters you are about to create.

Once you’ve got your setting sorted and brainstormed a few ideas about what might be lurking therein, it’s time to get to work and let the imagination run wild! Start with “It was a dark and stormy night” and go from there. If you have more than one child nearby, ask them to take turns writing for two minutes each, then swap stories by passing their paper to the right. After ten minutes of writing, you’ll have some seriously scary, strange and uncanny stories to share by torchlight – IF YOU DARE…

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Thank you for those spine-tingling tips, Dashe!

You can read an extract from the latest book in the Sticky Pines series, below:

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Listen to Dashe Roberts’ Sticky Pines playlists!

Last week we published The Thing at Black Hole Lake – the second book in the spooky, fun, and fast-paced Sticky Pines series, by Dashe Roberts. And today we’re sharing two playlists, or ‘fantasty soundtracks’, curated by the author to complement the books!

The first book in the series…

When twelve-year-old, UFO-obsessed, Lucy Sladan sneaks out in the middle of a thunderstorm to investigate the unexplained disappearances in her hometown of Sticky Pines, she finds more than she bargained for: a huge hairy creature, a thirteen-year-old stranger named Milo Fisher and a deep-rooted secret…

Listen to The Bigwoof Conspiracy playlist:

And the second book in the series…

Milo, loyal to his double-crossing, business-mogul father, has taken a trip to Black Hole Lake, leaving Lucy to continue her search into alien life and the Truth that she knows is out there. Milo’s discovery of a sinister, dark creature in the Lake will put them both in terrible danger and also – if they survive their adventure – make them friends again.

Listen to The Thing at Black Hole Lake playlist:

You can pick up a copy of The Bigwoof Conspiracy here and The Thing at Black Hole Lake here. And if you’d like to stay up-to-date with all of our book news, you can sign up to our books newsletter on this page, and you’ll never miss a thing.

New books out in September!

It’s our September publication day! We’ve got a fantastic collection of new children’s books coming your way today – with brand new board books, picture books, illustrated non-fiction, activity books, and middle-grade fiction in shops, there’s something for everyone.

Here’s a closer look at the new Nosy Crow books you can find in bookshops, and online, this month.

Where’s Mrs T-Rex?, by Ingela P Arrhenius

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Jeremy Worried About the Wind, written by Pamela Butchart and illustrated Kate Hindley

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What Are Little Girls Made of?, written by Jeanne Willis and illustrated Isabelle Follath

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We’re Going on a Pumpkin Hunt!, written by Goldie Hawk and illustrated Angie Rozelaar

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Wanda’s Words Got Stuck, written by Lucy Rowland and illustrated by Paula Bowles

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Tiger, Tiger, Burning Bright: An Animal Poem for Every Day of the Year, with poems selected by Fiona Waters and illustrated by Britta Teckentrup

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British Museum: Press Out and Decorate: Fantastic Creatures, by Kate McLelland

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National Trust: Mother and Daughter Dress-Up Dolls: Fashion From Long Ago, written by Gracie Swan and illustrated by Felicity French

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YouthQuake: 50 Children and Young People Who Shook the World, written by Tom Adams and illustrated by Sarah Walsh

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Sticky Pines: The Thing At Black Hole Lake, by Dashe Roberts

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My Life as a Cat, by Carlie Sorosiak

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A Forever Home for Pip, written by Linda Chapman and illustrated by Sophy Williams

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Congratulations to all of our incredible authors and illustrators with books out today! If you’d like to keep up-to-date with all of our book news and future releases, you can sign up to our newsletter at the bottom of this page.

Take a look inside Sticky Pines: The Thing at Black Hole Lake

Next month we’re very excited to be publishing Sticky Pines: The Thing at Black Hole Lake – the second book in the laugh-out-loud, hair-raising sci-fi series by Dashe Roberts. Filled with mystery, adventure and spooky goings-on, this is the perfect series for young siblings of Stranger Things and the X-Files fans.

And today you can read the first two chapters!

Milo, loyal to his double-crossing, business-mogul father, has taken a trip to Black Hole Lake, leaving Lucy to continue her search into alien life and the Truth that she knows is out there. Milo’s discovery of a sinister, dark creature in the Lake will put them both in terrible danger and also – if they survive their adventure – make them friends again.

If you haven’t read the first book in this hair-raising series, you can read the first chapter of The Bigwoof Conspiracy here:

Buy the book.

Sticky Pines: The Thing at Black Hole Lake will be published this September 3rd – you can pre-order a copy from Waterstones here, Hive here, and Amazon here. If you’d like to stay up-to-date with all of our book news, you can sign up to our books newsletter here, or with the form below.