Cold Iron

It’s almost midnight.  Sky and sea are faded to indigo, as though there is nothing beyond.  A moon just past full wallows in the sky.  The church is the highest point on the coast.  It’s spire is a beacon on the landscape, visible from sea or land from miles distant.  A violet blush illuminates its windows from within, hinting at something taking place inside.  At this time of night on a Saturday, the coast isn’t quiet.  Revellers weave along the sea front, making their way home from a night out.  Cars pull up in the car park, their owners greeting one another before pumping away along the coast road.  Soon they will all be gone, leaving this domain to the gulls and the crows once more, but first, I have an appointment with some ghosts.

Cold IronTonight is the launch of Cold Iron, an anthology of 21st Century ghost stories, in which my story The Last Bus Home appears. The launch is part of the Iron in the Soul festival, a series of literary events taking place across the town of Cullercoats.  Cullercoats has a history as a cultural centre.  Founded in 1539 to support fishing, coal and salt mining, it is little more than a small village, perched above a crescent shaped beach surrounded by caves.   But from 1870 to 1920, it was an artists’ colony and Winslow Homer lived here for two years, painting the fishwives as they worked on the beach.

The launch takes place at St George’s Church, a large, French Gothic church built in1884 by the Duke of Northumberland in memory of his father.  Inside, the church soars on sandstone arches, with high windows.  There is a sense of height and narrowness, the curves drawing your eye up to the ceiling.  Most of the church is in darkness, but there is a purple cast to the apse and three sanctuary lamps burn red before the altar.  As we enter, the organ soars.  It is considered one of the best church organs in the country and fills the space with deep, rich notes.

I’ve always been interested in ghosts.  I like their magic and their mystery, though I don’t know whether I believe they are the spirits of departed souls.  My story is set on a bus, the last bus home of the title.  There is something lonely and eerie about an empty bus, travelling through the darkness, particularly on a rainy night.  The drone of the engine, the gentle movement, transporting you to another place.  There is something about a bus that encourages reverie.  A bus is full of anonymous people thrown together by their need to get somewhere.  You don’t know what their story is or who – or what – they are.

The readings introduce us to a variety of ghosts, all in modern settings.  In between, we drink hot chocolate and listen to the moan of the organ music.  When we emerge into the night, the revellers have gone and the coast is quiet.  The sound of the organ still vibrates, along with the gentle roar of the sea.  We have listened to their stories and now we leave the night to its ghosts.

Cold Iron is available to buy now from Amazon here or through the publisher here.

67 thoughts on “Cold Iron

  1. What a perfect setting! Congratulations! I didn’t know you wrote a ghost story – may have to check it out. Just reading this post made me think of ghosts and what could await those that were leaving. You are multi-talented, Andrea! Cheers!

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  2. Congratulations! That’s wonderful. I’ve never bought anything on Amazon – ignoramus that I am – there are now two books by fellow bloggers bidding me to get up and learn how…

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  3. Congratulations, Andrea, and best of luck on your book. Ghosts have always been fascinating to me, too, growing up with a psychic grandmother who gave us those insights to other dimensions. Hope it’s a huge success. 🙂

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  4. This looks wonderful. I always enjoy a good ghost story. Just ordered my copy from the publisher as I didn’t see it on Amazon US. Looking forward to reading it. Congrats on the release!

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  5. Ooh, many congratulations, Andrea. I, too, have always had a fascination about ghosts, as long as I can remember. I don’t really even know how it arose (no pun intended!), probably just gradually as I accumulated experiences during childhood. I will pick up a copy of this as soon as I can. I’m so excited to read your story; I love how you’ve perfectly encapsulated ^^^^ the solitude and loneliness of night-time, rain, and public transit where there’s a strange kind of anonymity (and, unfortunately these days, hostility from some people). Again, this sounds so awesome, and I like their cover artwork, too. [That’s saying a lot, ’cause I tend to be picky about that.] Keep on writing and living and learning!

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    • Thanks for your support Leigh, yes I was always fascinated by ghosts although my view of them has changed over the years. And as for buses, they’ve long been one of my inspirational places – both for the pondering you can do on them as well as ideas for stories and characters!

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  6. Awesome. I’m so excited for you. Your sensory writing always moves me. I look forward to reading it (I also like ghost stories). Congratulations, Andrea. ❤

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  7. My copy is on its way! 🙂 I love the idea of a collection of modern ghost stories — the range of possibilities of what they could be will be interesting, and I’m very excited to read yours.

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  8. Andrea, congratulations! How exciting is this. It is always so wonderful to see a fellow writer be published. I, like you, am a fan of ghost stories or those of the mystical, magical, eerie or somewhat macabre. I wish you much success.
    I don’t suppose you’d want to add a wee bit of teaser copy on your blog, would you? 🙂
    Jeanne

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  9. Congratulations, Andrea and wow, what an amazing and unusual setting for a book launch! 😃 I was hooked by the title and the photograph, spooky, eery and mysterious lighting. It must have been a fantastic experience and can just imagine the accompanying organ music. Despite the warm summer day, I’m already shivering…😀

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  10. It looks and sounds like a wonderful, eerie, exhilarating night – congratulations! I’ve always loved ghosts and ghost stories too. I hope the night inspired more stories and spirits to come out of hiding.

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  11. Your description here almost reads like a ghost story . . . couldn’t strange things happen in that church, on that special night? I’m not a big fan of scary stories but I do love your writing so I may take a deep breath and read. Congratulations on having the story published in a book–I hope it’s just the first of many!

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  12. Congratulations Andrea on the short story in this anthology! It sounds like a spooky collection that could keep me up at night. But I do wish you and the others involved in the project all the best! ♥

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  13. How delightful! Thank you for sharing, Andrea. And yes, absolutely — congratulations on having one of your stories in this collection! (I’ve always enjoyed a good ghost story, too, and late-night empty transit vehicles or stations really do have an eeriness to them (as do empty or almost-empty old houses!). 🙂

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