Tara Fox Hall's Blog, page 4

December 1, 2012

LAST BREATH

“There’s another one,” my husband muttered. “Two dead cats.”
It had already been a long night, and the last thing I needed was to pull poor roadkill off the wet street. But I told myself there wasn’t an option not to. “Turn around and go back. I’ll get out and pull them off.”
My husband turned back, and stopped. The orange cat was easy to see; his guts were strewn out by his body. I pulled him off first, then headed toward the grey cat I could barely see.
I remember thinking no wonder someone hit him, he blends right in. And then to my horror, I realized he was still alive.
Immediately I rushed to his side. He was struggling to breathe, choking on blood. Headlights were already coming over the hill. I took off my leather jacket, and then picked him up. He struggled hard, but I managed to get him off the road just as an impatient driver went around our car and raced off down the street.
I petted the cat, not sure what to do. He’d been hit in the head severely, and was almost sure to die from internal bleeding. But there was no way I was leaving him alone to die, or possibly crawl back into the road to be hit again. Gingerly picking him up, I got back in the car with him. He struggled, crying out and trying to get on his feet. I comforted him, as my husband drove towards our vet’s office while simultaneously trying to call my mom, who hopefully could locate the vet’s emergency number for us.
I held the cat, talking to him gently, telling him he was a good cat and it was okay to let go. The ride was interminable. Blood was all over my hands. No one answered at my mom’s. The cat continued to choke and fight for breath, to struggle, trying to stand up. He meowed a few times awfully, then would relax back, still gasping. Tears were running down my face as I petted him, and tried to hold his head up with my hand, to help him breathe.
We made it to mom’s. By then the cat’s movements were slowing. My parents came out, but after they saw the cat they agreed he was dying. My husband went inside to try again to contact a vet, just in case.
I continued to pet the cat, told him I was sorry there wasn’t more I could do, and that he was safe. I told him I was sorry that I didn’t have anything to help his pain, or make his passing easier.
The cat struggled weakly a few more times, then tried to huddle close. I hugged him, wincing at the smell of blood and poop. He meowed again, then his back arched, and he cried one more time. And then he took his last breath and relaxed back limply.
I knew him for thirty minutes, give or take, but I’ll think about him the rest of my life. Neither cat had a collar. Yet cat wasn’t a stray; he was well-cared for, someone’s pet, maybe a friend of the orange cat we also pulled off. Maybe he got hit investigating his fallen friend. Maybe he was a housecat, recently escaped. I don’t know, and I guess it doesn’t really matter. I do say this to whomever hit him and didn’t go back to pull him off the road: there is a special place in hell for you. I wish for you to end life as the cat would have; badly injured, your last minutes terrified feeling many cars barely miss you, choking on blood and fighting to breathe before one comes along to finish you. And may there be no one like me to come along to save you from that fate.
Two cars did stop to ask if they could help, restoring my flagging faith in humanity. And I close by sending out this plea to you all: when you see an injured animal lying on the road, and can remove it safely, please, please do that. 99% of the time it will be dead, like countless ones I’ve pulled to the side of the road. But that 1% that isn't is what you do it for. I couldn’t save the cat – he was doomed from the start. But he didn’t have to take his last breath alone or unloved. That does matter.
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Published on December 01, 2012 07:37 • 256 views • Tags: last-breath-by-tara-fox-hall

November 22, 2012

Shadow Man Tour is now open with a Rafflecopter giveaway

Enter to win now until 12-20-12!
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Plus join me for one more week of the Broken Promise Blog tour!
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Published on November 22, 2012 16:57 • 109 views • Tags: tara-fox-hall-book-tours

November 8, 2012

Hope to see you out on the web! - Tara :)

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Join me at The Romance Studio today for a short list of Contests: http://theromancestudio.blogspot.com/...
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Published on November 08, 2012 07:35 • 104 views

October 24, 2012

Author Tara Fox Hall Character Interview and $75.00 Amazon Gift Card Contest LIVE Here from 1PM EST-8PM EST!

Broken Promise

a Rafflecopter giveaway


I will check comments tomorrow morning until 12 noon EST as well!

http://www.bittenbybooks.com/58104/au...
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Published on October 24, 2012 10:07 • 94 views

October 10, 2012

I’ve been tagged by the sublime romance author Lyn Sofras to answer 10 questions about my next release, The Chalet, which is out now!
The Chalet by Tara Fox Hall
You can read about Lyn's ‘Next Big Thing’ on her blog, http://manicscribbler.blogspot.com/.

Let's get to it!

What is the working title of your book?
The Chalet
Where did the idea come from for the book? What inspired this story?
A dream I had that was part nightmare, and part longing inspired it. At first I thought I was back at Latham's Landing for another visit, then realized this mansion was in the deep woods. The huge oak doors were intimidating, and I kept being pulled forward through the house toward the bedroom by my mom, who was oddly an African American (I'm Caucasian). I knew something terrible waited there. Many of the scenes from the story are from the dream, like the ghosts dancing in celebration near the end.
What genre does your book fall under?
Gothic horror/suspense. You might say its truly a tale where horror and romance come together. :)
What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
When Madeline honors her mother's dying wish, and returns to The Chalet, she discovers the true secret of the old mansion; a seductive spirit whose undying love has waited decades to claim her for its own.
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
Beau to Beau Books is putting out this story. They are a new publisher for me that will be putting out shorter stories for a low price, both to thank fans who like my longer works and are waiting for series books, and also to entice new readers.
How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
Counting the lags of time I didn't work on it? (laughs)It took about three days or 24 hours, done over two months here and there, when I had time.
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
My mom said the character of Madeline reminded her of Stephen King's ghostly singer in Bag of Bones. While this is true (and likely where the dream character came from), Madeline the ghost is only a bit player in The Chalet, not the main one. There are similarities to my short novella Return to Me, but this has a lot more suspense and scares, and much more of a seductive quality.
What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
In creating the supernatural force that haunts the Chalet, I wanted something that was immortal, but also vulnerable; something that had some aspects of the vampire, but without all the traditional trappings of the vampire, like the blood-drinking. If people enjoy this short story enough, I'll write more about this particular "monster", and this time it will be a novel. So if you like the The Chalet, please let me know!

Buy Link: http://www.amazon.com/The-Chalet-eboo...


Next Wednesday, October 17th, other writers will tell you about their ‘Next Big Thing’, including:
T. Fox Dunham, Sandra Bunino, and others!
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Published on October 10, 2012 06:58 • 284 views • Tags: the-chalet, the-chalet-by-tara-fox-hall, the-next-big-thing

September 26, 2012

It always happens at night, when the lights are low, and the moon has risen. Most often its arrival is quiet, and you hardly know its there. But when the lights go on in the backyard, and the dogs began whining, you know that you are not alone. The night visitors are here.

Sometimes its winter, and the snow is deep, and the winds are cold. It doesn't stop them. They wait at the stairs, hoping for the errant pizza crust.

Sometimes its summer, and the grass is long, and the hot winds blow. The rains come, pounding down in a deluge. Still they come, seeking shelter, and the savory mouse stored away in the cat larder for later snacking.

Sometimes it’s the light. Acting as a hypnotic, it draws them in, and they are captivated. Unknowingly, they stay the night, too dazed and confused to realize that the sun has come up. In the morning their sluggish bodies are found clinging to the door screen, waiting again for the night to fall.

And, once in a very great while, they get so comfortable that they decide that they no longer want to be visitors. Coming for food or shelter or light is not enough. They decide to move in under your stairs, and make your home their home. And you think to yourself, why not? Company, especially quiet company, is always welcome.

Can you guess the animals that inspired this ode?

In order of above paragraphs: Possum, Raccoon, Moth, Toad!
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Published on September 26, 2012 12:08 • 116 views • Tags: night-visitors-by-tara-fox-hall

August 19, 2012

TUBING


I love tubing. Other than writing, it’s the only other thing I can do for hours and not get grumpy. It’s more than a pastime now, or even a hobby: its tradition.
It comes with special gear, of course. The inner tubes are the ones I used in my youth: larger, heavy duty, with a rope tied to the handle for high winds. On calm days, there is a special 5 lb. anchor, in case meditation is required and drifting can’t be closely monitored. There are the special swim shoes to protect against the sharp rocks of the lake bottom.
There is nothing more relaxing on a summer day, when the wind is close to nothing, and the temperature is in the high eighties. I love the calmness of the waves lapping gently on the shore, and the beat of the sun on my sunscreeened skin. There is close to no noise at all, save maybe a seagull, or a powerboat engine that strays in close.
Most days, that’s not the case. Wind is ever present on the lake, generating a steady current and usual waves. That’s where the anchor comes in. But enough wind, and the anchor isn’t enough. Manual force must be exerted to stay waterborne, usually in the form of two feet planed firmly on the rocky bottom.
But in hot weather, sometimes the best comes…a full force gale. Then the lake kicks up like a boiling pot, waves crashing on the shore, the wind blowing so hard that it’s hard to see. Windburn becomes a real issue. Then tubing is not relaxing, but exhilarating. To be there riding the waves, feeling them crash into you, the roar of the wind surrounding you is like a jolt of adrenaline. You have never been so alive, so free, so pure.
And after….bliss. Climbing out of the water, there is the shock of the breezy, all-encompassing air before the towel, and then the lazy, hazy feeling of relaxation. It’s better than valium; feeling cool, and that exceptional kind of tired where you know you did something good, and its time to rest, because you feel happy and satisfied.
Get a tube. Get out on water before winter comes with its snow and ice. There’s still time, if you hurry.
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Published on August 19, 2012 18:23 • 146 views • Tags: tara-fox-hall, tubing

July 29, 2012

It started innocently enough.
It was fourth of July, and the night was hot and dry, a huge orange moon hanging in the sky. A good night for fireworks, and laughter. My husband Eric and I headed off to Mom and Jim’s, ready to light up the night.
At the end of our street, there was a large frog.
“Go save him,” my husband urged, slamming on the breaks.
Dutiful wife I was, I hurried out, and made a grab for the frog, who leapt for the ditch and disappeared. Happily to have gotten off so easy, I went back to the car.
We got another hundred yards, and then the toads began appearing. First there were little ones near the side of the road. And then we came to a huge one right in the middle.
Again the car screeched to a halt, and I leapt from the car. But this time I grabbed the large toad and brought him back with me. I settled him in my lap, and he promptly peed all over me.
Disgruntled now, I told Eric no more stopping, or there would be no fireworks. So we got to my parents’ road, and there was another toad smack in the middle of the road. This time Eric grabbed him, tossing him to me. The other toad peeded on me again, by way of welcome.
Exiting the car, we let both toads go on the lawn, and I oohed and ahhed over the bright splashes of light, trying not to think about my wet pants.
An hour later, after cleaning up, we were back on the road, heading home. Halfway there, in thick fog, we again began to see toads in the road. With many stops and starts, Eric gathered another three toads up, and I gathered more cold pee on my pants. Adding to this was that one of the toads was a talker, who peeped at me almost constantly, exciting his two smaller brethren to straining to get free.
Arriving home, I exited the car, and with relief set the three toads near the ditch leading to the pond. The Great Toad Rescue was over. The Time of Showering was finally here.
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Published on July 29, 2012 17:12 • 238 views • Tags: tara-fox-hall, the-great-toad-rescue

July 14, 2012

THE SHORTCUT

Here in the dog days of summer, it’s hard not to think of water, or more specifically, swimming pools. Driving along any city street, and more than a few country ones, at least one pool can be easily sighted, happy children swimming with toys, shrieking. I’ve got to admit, it makes me feel old.
I never had a pool when I was young. I fantasized a lot about getting older and having an indoor, in ground pool when I was fabulously rich. And while I was thinking about how great that would be, I went off daily to the community pool with all the other kids on my block.
Those summer days were wonderful; get up and watch cartoons, eat breakfast, and then hurry to put on the swimsuit, and grab a towel. My mother would press a quarter into my hand, and remind me to keep an eye on my stepsister, and not talk to strangers. Nodding, we’d race out the door, frantic to catch up to the group of kids before they left without us.
The pool wasn’t down the block; it was about ten blocks away at least, in terms of distance. It would’ve been longer if we’d walked by the street. Instead, we took shortcuts.
The first was so we didn’t have to skirt the cemetery fence, or walk all the way down to the big gates a block out of our way. The caretaker didn’t like kids wandering around the headstones without a parent, anyway, and he was always quick to yell at us if he saw us. So we’d go to the place in the fence where the bars were bent, and squeeze through. My being ten years old, fitting through the narrow gap wasn’t a problem. After we’d all squeezed through, we’d follow the blacktop path down to the back of the cemetery.
The path ended in an equipment access for digging graves: a deserted lot with cracked pavement and a lot of weeds. Thinking back, it was a perfect spot for a serial killer to be waiting to abduct us. But back then, kids didn’t worry about those things, or about walking without a parent, so long as he or she wasn’t alone.
Once we crossed the lot, we’d cross another street, walk a block, and then we’d arrive at the park, the huge pool at the far end. It always reminded me of an arena; it sat up so high. We’d race through the park, arriving gasping at the front desk to plunk down our quarter admission. Then we girls would walk through the showers, while any boys along went through theirs on the opposite side.
It was like being in a dank basement someone had just sterilized. The pool was above us, keeping the air humid. The scent of chlorine permeated the air. Water dripped constantly from the walls and ceiling, making the floor slippery and peeling the paint. To say it was creepy was an understatement. We’d go as fast as possible through the corridors, then up the long staircase to the top of the pool.
There would be long games of Marco Polo, looking for money on the pool floor, or jumping in various ways. The only thing to interrupt was thunder—a cause for everyone to get out and wait hopefully for the storm to pass—or the noon whistle, telling us we had to leave for an hour while the lifeguards had lunch.
On the way home, we took the same shortcut, crossing the lot and slipping through the fence. As much fun as we had in the pool, I remember our shortcut there with special nostalgia. It was always an adventure.
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Published on July 14, 2012 10:16 • 132 views • Tags: the-shortcut-by-tara-fox-hall

July 6, 2012

DOUBT IN THE INSECT GRAVEYARD
By

Tara Fox Hall

It was near ten in the morning on a Friday. I was at work, sweating freely as I labored in the dusty confines of the windowless inventory room, the upper level of the machine shop that I’d humorously dubbed the Insect Graveyard. But my mind was not on the metal parts I was counting and recording, it was on the doubt that plagued my mind.
I was a casualty of the weighty times we now live in, doubts about my life path plaguing my thoughts. Was this really what I was supposed to be doing with my life? Was this really meaningful work? How much did it matter to the world that I was here, counting these parts on this fine autumn morning? Was this really the path God wanted me on?
“I need a sign, God,” I muttered to myself tiredly. “I need to believe I make a difference.”
Suddenly, from out of nowhere, a hummingbird moth flew up to me. He zoomed around swiftly, back and forth, his movements frantic. He was so fast I thought it was pointless even to try grabbing for him.
My eyes lighted on the many remains of insects that had died up here, victims of the fluorescent illumination they’d been drawn to. I’d only been able to rescue one other creature from that dim fate: a slow-moving preying mantis that I’d put my hat over, then carried outside. This lightning-fast moth wouldn’t be so easy. Still, I had to try.
I attempted to corner the moth, but he remained just out of reach, evading my swipes with my hat. I had nothing else with me except my heavy overshirt. If I threw that over him, he would almost certainly be injured when he crashed to the floor. Time was fast running out. Already he’d come close to a fatal singe several times.
I watched him for a few moments, letting him fly closer as I got my hat ready again in one hand. As he darted near, I reached out with spread fingers suddenly, batting him down into the hat. Quickly I pressed it to my chest, trapping his madly fluttering body.
Relieved, I strode fast down the stairs, then outside. Lifting the hat from my chest, the moth erupted, flying out and away towards the neighboring field. I watched him grow smaller and disappear. Then I walked back inside with a determined step, my purpose completely renewed, my heart lifted.
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Published on July 06, 2012 06:53 • 159 views • Tags: doubt-in-the-insect-graveyard, tara-fox-hall