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Killer Nashville Magazine

02/20/2024

 

Whispers of the Night: A Thriller's Rhyme

By Dita Dow

In shadows deep, where secrets hide, A thrilling tale, dark worlds collide.
The author’s pen, a wicked quill,
Crafts spine-chillers that haunt and thrill.

In moonlit nights and whispered fears, The page is filled with chilling tears.
Each word a portal to the unknown,
Where mysteries and horrors have grown.

Ghosts and ghouls, in ink they rise, Underneath the starry skies.
A realm of twists, where darkness reigns, Intriguing plots, unraveling chains.

Through haunted houses and forbidden lore, The author weaves the tales we adore.
From suspenseful plots to spectral fright, They summon phantoms in the night.

So wander through these eerie lines,
Where spine-tingling suspense defines. The author’s craft, a spectral dance,
In this realm of eerie circumstance.

On this site, where shadows play, Your fears and curiosities obey. A thrill awaits with every scroll,
In stories that will capture your soul.

Featured in Killer Nashville Magazine

04/12/2024

 

Ghosts Prefer the Night Shift: Deep Thoughts from the Mystery Writer’s Desk

By Dita Dow

Sitting behind my screen, pondering the mysteries of life, writing, or perhaps both, I artfully dodge my editor’s increasingly insistent calls. The deadline for my manuscript is approaching, but I can't stop thinking about the strange things that bring us, the creators of darkness, together. 

Why do we cling to our beloved tropes like a security blanket in a haunted house? Is there an unwritten manual dictating the tools our detectives carry, or do ghosts adhere to union rules, clocking in for their nocturnal hauntings?

The classic scene is all too familiar: the dark and stormy night that sets the stage for our tale of terror, a tradition so deeply ingrained that it’s practically a ritual. But why stop there? Our arsenal of clichés is as vast as it is amusing. 

Take, for instance, the lone flashlight, a detective’s faithful sidekick, always there to flicker at the crucial moment or die a dramatic death, because apparently, stocking up on Duracells was too much to ask for. It's a wonder why, in an age of technological marvels, we don't equip our sleuths with night-vision goggles or drones. Instead, they fumble with a flashlight, its beam barely piercing the darkness. 

Imagine the comedic potential if, freed from the burden of holding a flashlight, they could wield a sandwich instead—fueling up for the long night of ghost hunting ahead.

And let’s not forget the settings of our spooky encounters.

 

Cemeteries become paranormal hubs at midnight, like trendy nightclubs for ghosts. The day-lit hauntings are conspicuously absent, as though a ghost spotted during a sunny picnic would be less terrifying and more of a social faux pas. The fact that spirits follow a nocturnal haunting schedule makes one wonder: Is there some sort of contract that dictates their working hours?

Then there’s the curious case of the haunted house market, a niche overlooked by even the most ambitious real estate agents. These properties, with their hidden rooms and bloodcurdling histories, somehow always find the unsuspecting family, eager for a fresh start in a home that offers more than just curb appeal. 

One can only imagine the property listings: “Quaint fixer-upper with spacious living areas, original moldings, and the occasional unexplained cold spot. Features include impromptu doors slamming shut, the odd scream in the dead of night, and a charmingly eerie ambiance—ideal for thrill-seekers, history buffs, and those with a penchant for the supernatural!” 

Our detectives and ghost hunters, too, seem to play by a set of unwritten rules. Splitting up in the face of danger, they venture alone into the shadowy abyss of haunted mansions and desolate asylums, as though strength in numbers were a myth. 

The decision-making process in these scenarios often defies logic, perhaps lending a sense of charm to the otherwise tense atmosphere. 

Our protagonists often go their separate ways in the plot's thick, not because solo sleuthing has a better track record, but perhaps because they believe in the old adage, “divide and conquer.” Or, maybe it’s just that in the silence of going it alone, the only debate is with their own racing thoughts, not with a partner’s differing opinion on whether the ghostly whispers are coming from the attic or the basement.

As my mind wanders, a sudden epiphany comes over me: the importance of the local librarian, the guardian of mysterious knowledge and musty manuscripts that undoubtedly contain the solution to the perplexing mystery. In this digital age, these characters show us the importance of a good old library card. It can be the key to solving a paranormal puzzle.

I realize that our love for these tropes stems from a deeper place. They are the comfort food of our storytelling diet, familiar and satisfying in their predictability. Yet, as I sit here, chuckling at the absurdity and charm of our chosen clichés, I’m reminded that the true magic lies in our ability to play within these boundaries while still surprising our readers.

So, to my fellow weavers of mystery and suspense, let us raise our flashlights (or perhaps sandwich in hand) to the tropes that bind us, to the settings that inspire us, and to the characters that keep us coming back for more. May we continue to explore the shadows with a sense of humor and a willingness to bend the rules.

With a knowing smile and a glance at my ringing phone, I embrace the clichés, for within them lies the heart of our craft. And to the ghosts abiding by their union rules, the detectives with their impractical gadgets, and the houses with secrets in every nook and cranny, I offer my gratitude for the endless inspiration they provide.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I must return to my manuscript—deadline or not, the mysteries won’t solve themselves, and my editor’s patience, much like a ghost’s visibility at noon, is decidedly thin.

Quote from Dita Dow regarding Short Stories
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