Alabama – Strange America – 1

Ladies and gentlebeans, wicked weirdos and friends of the bizarre! We proudly present to you, our first episode of Tales of the Strange!!

Varla Ventura’s Tales of the Strange: Strange America—Episode 1—Alabama

We launch our show with a great look at the State of Alabama’s haunted history and a great UFO story.

Host: Varla Ventura

Co-Host:  Bo Luellen

Recommended further reading: Field Guide to Haunted Graveyards by Troy Taylor, Encylopedia of Haunted Places by Jeff Belanger, Beyond Bizarre by Varla Ventura

Wild Thoughts of the Fairy King: Ghost Chronicles, Tonight!

Join me and the lovely hosts of Ghost Chronicles, Ron Kolek and Anne Kerrigan, as we gather round the radio-machine to discuss all manner of creatures real and imagined. Tune in live tonight, Wednesday, March 22nd at 7 p.m. EST to talk about my new book, Fairies, Pookas and Changelings: A Complete Guide to the Wild and Wicked Enchanted Realm.

click HERE to listen

Stay strange and preorder below:

Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Indiebound 

 

Varla on Coast to Coast TONIGHT 10/29

I’ll be burning the midnight oil tonight with George Noory talking about Banshees, Werewolves, Vampires and Other Creatures of the Night, including ghosts, ghouls, and other bizarre entities! It’s always a great time with George. Join us!!

I will be on MIDNIGHT to 2am (that is 10pm to 12 am EST).  This is the SECOND half of the show, but tune in early because the first half of the show sounds freaktacular too!

 http://www.coasttocoastam.com/show/2013/10/29You can look on the Coast to Coast website to find what local station broadcasts, or listen live online.

banshees, werewolves, vampires

Halloween Fun with Wisconsin Public Radio–10/29!!

I will be doing an interview with the esteemed WPR today at 1:30 PST, 3:30 CST, 4:30 EST talking about Banshees, Werewolves, Vampires, and Other Creatures of the Night.

This is a great afternoon show, and I’m honored to discuss such trickery and freakery with the hosts!

You can listen live, HERE.

FYI: This is a show that takes callers stories and questions so please listen and join in.  halloween-candy_

Varla on Ghost Chronicles–Tonight, Wednesday the 24th!

Greetings!

Tonight I am honored to be on Ghost Chronicles with hosts Ron Kolek and Anne Kerrigan. Ron has been a supporter of my books since lo’ those many years ago when The Book of the Bizarre came out, and he regularly includes a tidbit of Beyond Bizarre on his shows, so not only will you hear me tonight talking about Among the Mermaids and all manner of other things, you can hear me there week after week!

Ron is the head of the New England Ghost Project, and his own book A Ghost a Day, which he co-authored with Maureen Wood, is one of my go-to campfire reads. It’s a really wonderful book–a ghost for everyday of the year. I like to meet people and look up their ghost based on their birthday!

You can tune in here, from 7pm-8pm EST (tonight, and every Wednesday)

http://toginet.com/shows/ghostchronicles

I hope you can join us as we traverse the forgotten, the foreboding, and the utterly freaktacular!

Preston Castle

 

Paranormal Odyssey

A super fun interview with Paranormal Odyssey Podcast, now available for download HERE. Here’s what the hosts had to say about it.

 

Author Varla Ventura takes the stage on the Paranormal Odyssey Podcast, and scares the shit out of us with tales of Werewolves, Irish monsters, and Banshees. Keep the lights on when you listen to this one! The Mighty Ants Lipanovic takes the center seat on this one!

http://paranormalodyssey.podomatic.com/entry/2013-03-20T05_01_23-07_00

 

malevolent Banshee

Ring in the New Year with Murderous Bells: A Very Happy Hour of Horrors

the bells that committed murderThe usual gaiety of chiming bells ringing in the New Year might sound a little more sinister once you get through this short little eBook, selected by me from a collection of fairy and folklore by Welsh “Grimm” William Wirt Sikes.

Don’t walk into that churchyard or a schoolhouse without a hard-hat! There are more than just the usual hazards of daily life in rural Wales that could bring you harm. There are murderous bells afoot!

Bells on B&N 

Bells on Sony

Bells on Amazon  

You can grab your little e-reading device and buy the book, it’s less than $3, and then mix up a nice Champagne Cocktail. You’ll want to have a few before serving them to guests–to be sure they are as delicious as they sound, so you might as well test run them tonight!

If you want a nice list of other champagne and sparkling wine cocktails, check out Martha Stewart’s List HERE for amazing ideas like Blood Orange Champagne Cocktail and Lemon Drop Champagne Punch.

Bells on B&N 

Bells on Sony

Bells on Amazon  

This is Martha’s recipe, and I like it just the way it is, although I prefer just one or two drops of the bitters.

Ingredients

  • 3 drops bitters
  • 1 sugar cube
  • 1 ounce Cognac
  • 4 ounces chilled Champagne

Directions

  1. Drop bitters onto sugar cube; let soak in. Place sugar cube in a Champagne flute. Add Cognac, and top with Champagne.

Happy New Year! May it be merry, bright, and safe. And be careful where you walk, for the bells of towers may be chiming your own demise.

Varla Ventura’s Gruesome and Ghoulish Gift Guide for the Holidays

Over the weekend I was haunting my local Haight Street shops and went into one of my favorites: Cheap Thrills. This store is like what Hot Topic wishes it could be. It’s packed full with everything from tiny rubber chickens to Day of the Dead skull dresses. The Baby Ventura (whom I should really start referring to as The Toddler Ventura) LOVES this store almost as much as I do.  The second I walked in the PJ Harvey and Nick Cave duet Henry Lee started playing over the speakers (one of my favorite songs!)  so as I browsed the mermaid tattoo patches and stripey socks, I was feeling pretty good. Imagine the “cheap thrill” I got when I looked over at the books and saw my very own The Book of the Bizarre stacked neatly on top! Like a total nerd, I still get excited over such things, and I exclaimed to the shopkeep, “Hey! I wrote this!” And no, she didn’t ask me to sign the copy but did smile nicely and seemed pretty tickled that I was so tickled. This got me thinking I needed to plug their awesome store, and while I’m at it, I decided to create Varla Ventura’s Gruesome and Ghoulish Gift Guide for the Holidays.

So here are 13 (or so) fun, freaky, and fabulous gifts for every man, woman, beast, and child on your list. (Not necessarily in that order.)

1. Day of the Dead Mirror

I’ll start off with one of the a real cheap and thrilling item from Cheap Thrills. Their online store, http://www.thrillomatic.com/ features such great categories as Bacon Stuff, Cupcake Stuff , Monkey Stuff, Devil Stuff, and Unicorn Stuff. This one is a perfect stocking stuffer, sweet little gift for a girlfriend, babysitter, co-worker, etc. It’s a Day of the Dead mirror, cute, compact and only $2.99!!

2. Aventurine Witch’s Apple

And speaking of magic mirrors, did you get my e-book collection, The Poison Apple and and Other Tales of Magic Mirrors and Wicked Queens? No? Well it’s pretty cheap ($2.99) too. If you are a fan of Snow White here is the perfect gift for every wicked or white witch on you list. A super-charged magical apple charm from one of the coolest purveyors of witchery, White Magick Alchemy. According to the witches at White Magick, Aventurine (the apple in the picture in the gallery is made of Aventurine but other options are available) “promotes relaxation, recovery, and regeneration. You should never buy a lottery ticket without aventurine in your left pocket!”

3.  Skull Decanter

Some of you may be familiar with my other favorite shop on Haight, Loved to Death, thanks to the show Oddiites. This is one of those stores you can basically randomly point in any direction and find the ideal gift for the likes of me, or any other pirate/goth/archeologist in your life (I’m talking bout you, Pirate Chris). But one of the recent stand outs is this gorgeous skull decanter set with glassware. It’s a little pricier at $150 but so divine!

4. Silver Tentacle Jewelry from The Bone Room

Get thee to the Bone Room and purchase me the skull jewelery. Or a gravestone locket. Or a Spider poison ring. Or order up a realistic replica skull for your bookshelf. Or….Just be sure and call the store for availability on the jewelry. It’s artisan fortified and not mass-produced.

5. Sea Monster Collage Kit

For the little adventurer in your life, this awesome collage kit can be purchased from Paxton Gate online or in their real-world kids store (Curiosities for Kids). I mean really, what kid doesn’t love sea monsters? You’ll also find freaky jewelry, terrariums, taxidermy, and orchids.

6. Books! of the Bizarre

Of course I’ve got to add my own books to this list. Both The Book of the Bizarre and it’s sister Beyond Bizarre are cute lil’ 5 x 7 packages with flaps, lots of fun and freaky art, and packed to the gills with bizarre stories, paranormal tales, and things you need to know for your next cocktail party. And for you e-book geeks out there, I have collections of Paranormal Parlor and Magical Creature books too, which are very affordable and fun. Available on Amazon, B&N, and where ever books are sold!

7. Skull Pot Scrubber

Make household chores a little less boring with this amazing purple skull pot scrubber from Plasticland.com. This store, by the way, has a bit of everything cool you could imagine. Dresses, shoes, (I like the Spineless X-Ray shoes) Mermaid Tattoo pillows, and so much more. It’s very affordable, fun, and offers a great flat rate shipping on all orders–so fill up your cart and check it out!

8.  The Overlook Hotel T-Shirt from 6dollarshirts.com

This website offers t-shirts from pop-culture to horror to humor and all for just six dollars! It’s actually $6.50 for a cute babydoll cut shirt for the gals in your life, but still an amazing deal. You can also get 10 shirts for 50! They’ve got a couple Edgar Allan Poe and Stephen King themed shirts that I’ve already ordered! But this Overlook Hotel t-shirt, featuring the freaky twins in the center of a maze, is a must have for any fan of the horror movie (or book. Of course nerds like me know it’s not a hedge maze but hedge animals in the book…)

9. Bat Cameo Book Mark

I’ve already purchased a gorgeous cameo and two rings from this amazing website, Starrlightjewelry and Design. She also has an Etsy shop that offers an array of incredible items at incredibly low prices! Seriously, $11 dollars for this gorgeous little bookmark, I can personally attest to the quality of this woman’s work! Plus, she donates money to bat conservation. And she is a cat lover. Oh and runs an animal sanctuary. Word to the wise, her etsy shop is currently closed for the holidays. But you can shop through her website (which is linked above for the bookmark.) Go Lady Starrlight!

10. Yo Ho Ho and a Bottle of Milk Pirate Onesie

Piratemod are the premier purveyors of pirate themed t-shirts, sweatshirts, doggie shirts, and baby/toddler items with amazing quality and a wide variety of super sweet Pirate themes.  Plus these people are the master minds behind the Northern California Pirate Festival. Check out their online shop and get something for your dog, your baby, and your husband/lover/girlfriend/wife. My other favorite–a black t-shirt with the wise words: The beatings will continue until morale improves.

11. Sacred Heart Print by artist Benjamin A. Vierling

One of the most magnificent artists of our time, Vierling uses old world Renaissance techniques to create a layered depth rare in painting today. His painting Sacred Heart features botanicals and creatures aligned with witchcraft and high magick. This high quality limited edition print  Sacred Heart, has been produced via 6-colour offset lithography and printed on archival coated stock, the 16” x 20” print is strictly limited to 250 copies, hand-signed and numbered by the Artist. It’s reasonably priced (under $75) and makes a unique and incredible gift for the witch, alchemist, lover of the macabre, or art fanatic in your life.  (Check out the image in the gallery to see the splendor.)Vierling offers his original paintings and a limited number of prints through his website here: http://www.bvierling.com/

12.  Dead Sexy Bath and Body

This perfume from Tokyo Milk is described as having hints of  White Orchid, Vanilla, Ebony & Exotic Woods. With a super cute skull and crossbones, the Lady of the House will be delighted with this gothically minded gift. Comes also in a hand cream!

13. Monster High Doll: FrankieThis enchanting alternative to Barbies (the Monster High crew look like they’d carve Barbie, Ken, and Skipper up and eat them for a midnight feast) my personal favorite is Frankie Stein, the daughter of Frankenstein of course.  Her favorite color is black and white stripes, and claims that her biggest pet peeve is that every morning when she comes upstairs her father shouts “It’s alive!”

I’m proud to tell you my nieces are obsessed with these dolls, so be warned. Once you buy one (Draculaura is cute too!) they will want them all.

Check out the gallery below to see pictures of all these fun gift items. And now, as the mommy zombie said to the toddler zombie, go forth and consume!

This Blog Has Been Infected! Zompocalypse 2012

The gorgeous beings at Paranormal Wastelands are hosting a Zompocalypse Halloween Hop! And there are TWO (that’s right TWO) ways to win. I’ll be giving away a copy of  The Book of the Bizarre and a grab bag of oozing zombie fun, including bug bracelets and stretchy zombie toys. Winner will be announced on November 2nd.

1. Follow my blog, then leave your comment below telling me your favorite character from horror, movies or books. If you’re inclined, like me on facebook and follow me on Twitter too. Between October 28th-31st.

Comment (leave your email address) anytime between October 28th and midnight on Halloween. I’ll announce the winner by the 3rd or so of November.

AND/OR

2. You can also  go and check out my guest post on Paranormal Wasteland  For Whom the Bell Tolls: The Bateson Revival Device and Other Freaky Stories of  Premature Burial, Funeral Customs, and The Walking Dead

There is a button to enter to win at the bottom of the post.

All entries must be in the US or Canada.

Good luck, and Happy Halloween Month!!!!!!!

Zompocaplyse! A Grab Bag of Giveaway Fun!

The gorgeous beings at Paranormal Wastelands are hosting a Zompocalypse blog hop! And there are TWO (that’s right TWO) ways to win.

Today October 25th: go and check out my guest post For Whom the Bell Tolls: The Bateson Revival Device and Other Freaky Stories of  Premature Burial, Funeral Customs, and The Walking Dead

At the bottom of the page you can enter to win my book + zombie swag.

On October 28th-31st there will be an additional giveaway/Zompocalypse Blog Hop where you can do the following and enter to win again! I’ll repost this in a few days…

Follow my blog, then leave your comment below telling me your favorite character from horror, movies or books. If you’re inclined, like me on facebook and follow me on Twitter too. Between October 28th-31st.

I’ll be giving away a copy of  The Book of the Bizarre and a grab bag of oozing zombie fun, including bug bracelets and stretchy zombie toys. Winner will be announced on November 2nd.

Comment (leave your email address) anytime between October 28th and midnight on Halloween. I’ll announce the winner by the 3rd or so of November.

All entries must be in the US or Canada.

Good luck, and Happy Halloween Month!!!!!!!