Destiny's Dark Light · Halloween Town · Modeling · Ohio

Halloween Photo Shoot 2019

It’s beginning to seem like every Halloween Steph Gentry, Megan Lacy Sullivan, and I do a spooky photo shoot. It was originally unintentional; now, I’m beginning to think it’s intentional. We all just LOVE this time of year so hard … and we all love being creepy.

This year, we returned to the Madison Seminary in Madison, Ohio. The seminary was recently featured on A&E’s Ghost Hunters TV show, because apparently something like 200 people have died there. Last year when we did our photo shoot, Steph and I heard footsteps coming down an empty hallway, and an antique wheelchair snuck up behind me (and scared the shit out of Steph).

Anyway, once Steph saw the costume I was wearing for my Destiny’s Dark Light book launch parties, there was zero question we were going back to Madison.

Photos by Steph Gentry; hair by Megan Lacy Sullivan of Nevermore Salon and Studios.

In celebration of Halloween 2019, I offer you Sara as an evil witch specter creature who, like, eats children for breakfast. (That’s as specific as we got with our theme.) HAVE A SPOOKY DAY!

books · Halloween Town · Ohio

I’m feeling very haunted

Boo!! Scared ya! HAHAHAHA!!

It’s creeping ever closer to my favorite time of year. Halloween time. It’s almost time for ghouls and goblins, so as a pre-October treat, HAUNTED is out today! Read all about this fantastic anthology, featuring my short story, “I Spy.”

About the book:

Not all ghost stories are simple sightings and things going bump in the night. Not all ghosts are left behind because of simple unfinished business. No, sometimes that unfinished business is messy, complicated, and even deadly.

These are not your typical ghost stories—they are desire, love, and most importantly, revenge—all rolled into one. Revenge for a love stolen away, a love that never was, a retribution for a horrific act, or even an act of war.

Containing original stories and poetry by A.K. Alexander, Sara Dobie Bauer, Clint Collins, Harley Easton, Rhonda Parrish, Wendy Sparrow, Elesha Teskey, and ReLynn Vaughn.


I’ll give you a little teaser of my short story.

“I Spy” is about a happy young couple who wanna fix up an old seminary and make it a home for troubled kids. Well, there’s plenty of trouble when the vengeful ghost of a dead nun gets involved.

(Interestingly, “I Spy” is based on an actual place near my house called Madison Seminary that I’ve toured several times. Learn more about this haunted attraction HERE.)

Now, the tease …

“I Spy” (excerpt)
By Sara Dobie Bauer

“Look, I know we’re not supposed to talk about this, but …” I chew my fingernail. “The ghost stories.”

Tyler freezes, and I wish I could see his face. He can’t hide anything from me if I can see his face. “Tell me you haven’t been on Google. You promised.”

“I know, I … I haven’t been on Google, Tyler.”

He shimmies backwards out of the hole in the wall, and I snort.

“You have a million cobwebs in your hair, love. You look like a piece of that old furniture in the basement.”

He uses the back of his hand to push too-long locks from his forehead. “Bean, there’s no such thing as ghosts.”

“Right. Logically.” I bury my hands in my pockets. I don’t remember what it’s like to feel warm. “Look, logically, I know, ghosts aren’t real. It’s just, I’ve had some strange things happen, like my things goin’ missing, and sometimes I feel like I’m being watched.”

“Shit, can you actually feel when I’m checking out your ass?”

I clear my throat and glare.

He hops up to his feet, and I reach to dust off his hair, which takes me back to the first time we met when I helped clean vomit from his head.

Unlike Tyler, I come from a well-to-do family. For his job, Dad moved us from Ireland to Cleveland, Ohio, when I was sixteen, so maybe I did a bit of acting out, which ended with me having to do community service. Thanks to my underage drinking, the judge sent me to volunteer at a homeless shelter, which I thought would be just bloody awful.

Instead, I walked in to see this six-foot guy in hand-me-down clothes with the most beautiful face I’d ever seen, holding a bucket while some kid puked through withdrawal symptoms. The kid missed and ended up puking all over Tyler. I considered it my judge-appointed civic duty to assist the hot guy. That was seven years ago.

Now, I’m a business major at Cleveland State University, Tyler is an entrepreneur, and we often talk about adult things like marriage and kids—eventually.

He rubs his nose against mine. “Ghosts aren’t real.”

“But bad things happened here, right?”

He tilts his chin down. “Bad things happen everywhere.”

The scars on his body are proof of that—but that’s not what we’re discussing.

“People died here, though. Right? Like, in bad ways.”

He scratches his head, and I sneeze on released dust.

“Bless you,” he mutters.

“Tell me.”

He glances back at the hole in the wall, eyes puffy because he hasn’t been sleeping enough. “Let me just finish this. Why don’t you go downstairs, make some of your gross tea.” He only drinks coffee. “And we’ll talk. Just give me twenty.”

I hug my sweater-clad arms and nod. He kisses my forehead and crawls back into the hole in the wall, leaving me near him but alone in the long hallway on the fourth floor with tiles that look like eyes of a storm. Some of the tiles are rotted away, but the ones that remain are red and white and I swear they stare at me.


Wanna know what happens next? Duh, of course you do!

I hope you enjoy this haunting collection and that it gets you ready for the SPOOKIEST time of year!

Halloween Town · Modeling

Visiting the haunted Madison Seminary

People say Madison Seminary is the most haunted place in Northeast Ohio, and its owners agree. A female Civil War spy named Elizabeth Stiles died here. It served as a mental hospital with a locked wing in the attic that held the more violent and mentally ill patients. Visitors report seeing shadows and hearing footsteps.

When photographer Steph Gentry invited me to model at Madison? Of course, I said yes, so we had some spooky fun one chilly October afternoon. (All photos by Gentry Photography. Hair color/style and makeup by Megan Lacy Does Hair.)

(Did we hear footsteps in the empty hallway right after this picture was taken? Yep.)

PS: You can take tours at Madison Seminary. For more info, check out their website: https://www.madisonseminary.com/.

Bite Somebody · Forever Dead · Halloween Town · Sara Dobie Bauer

Vampire love stories are yours today in Ravenous

You may have noticed I love vampires. Well, I love vampires in love even more. Today, Pen and Kink Publishing releases its newest anthology, just in time for Halloween. Ravenous “explores saucy, sexy, and sweet tales of forbidden vampire/vampire hunter love, vampire threesomes in space, kink as only a vampire could enjoy it, and so much more.”

My noir horror-romance story, “Forever Dead,” fits into the forbidden vampire/vampire hunter love category: When ancient vampire Dario almost murders Detective Zach Mede for the fun of it, he is stopped by a sexual connection that threatens to ruin both their reputations. Despite keeping their forbidden tryst secret from the world, a vengeful female vampire finds out and makes Zach a target. Will Dario be in time to save the young mortal he has come to love, and at what price?

Here’s a teaser of “Forever Dead” to whet your spooky appetite:
(Warning: sort of explicit dude on dude content to follow.)


I first saw Zach Mede when he worked SWAT. His team tumbled into this blood club in Miami. Word was vampires were killing humans in the club bathrooms, a serious no-no in the so-called modern world where vamps and walking blood bags were supposed to live in unity. Instead of going along peacefully, a gang of male vampires, myself included, fought back at the injustice of the bust.

As fate would have it, I got matched up in hand to hand with Zach. I was so impressed with his strength and speed, I let the kid beat the shit out of me. He didn’t move like other humans. He moved too fast, and I suspected he’d been trained by one of my own. Oh, yeah, and he smelled good, looked good. Something about that black hair; those angry, dark eyes; and the immensity of his shoulders—I just let him whack away at me until I decided to play dead. I snuck out before they could cuff me and then tailed him home.

I politely let myself into his apartment.

He wasn’t even out of his shoes when I threw my first punch. I lifted him about ten feet off the ground and dropped his dead weight on the kitchen table. I pinned him down and let him know, “I was just playing earlier. Now, I’m gonna kill you.”

He didn’t even yell when I tore at his throat. He barely struggled. Guess he figured when your time’s up, your time’s up. But then his hands were in my hair. He made a pleased “ung” noise. Before I knew what the hell I was doing, my mouth covered his parted lips. I shoved my tongue against his teeth, setting up imaginary flags that said “Mine, mine, mine.”

I distinctly remember the sound of clothes tearing as I sought bare skin. That first time was and always will be a ménage of images, sounds, and smells: Zach’s tan chest, the sound of his voice, and the blood that pooled down the side of his neck.


Wanna read some more? (Oh, God, yes.) Check out the full Ravenous anthology, featuring stories from Wendy Nikel, V. Hummingbird, Tiffany Michelle Brown, and several others. Celebrate Halloween early with some sexy vampire lore.

Also check out my guest post on the Pen and Kink Publishing website. Click HERE to read about the “Forever Dead” atmosphere, soundtrack, and even fantasy movie cast.

Oh, and in case you didn’t hear … Speaking of vampires, my paranormal rom-com Bite Somebody won Best Paranormal Romance Novel in the 2017 Imadjinn Awards. We’re pretty dang pleased around here, let me tell you. I even put my trophy on the fireplace mantle, because I think that’s where trophies are supposed to go? Many thanks to my publisher, World Weaver Press, along with the people who made it all happen: Sarena Ulibarri and Trysh Thompson. Love you ladies! Now, go read “Forever Dead.”

Amazing “Forever Dead” art by Turner B. Davis.
Charleston · Halloween Town · Sara Dobie Bauer

Beware: Love spell gone wrong!

It’s Halloween time, which is the time of year I love the most. ‘Tis the season for witches and werewolves, vampires and ghosts. Every October, I drink too much Pumpkin Spice coffee. I watch horror movies I’ve seen a million times. I decorate my house to look like a crypt. My neighbors probably think I attended Hogwarts, so it seems apropos that today would mark the release of two very witchy tales.

From World Weaver Press, SonofaWitch! presents six stories of spells gone wrong. In my comedic short, “The Trouble with Love Spells,” witch Violet has been crushing on her local Coffee Boy for over a year when she decides to work some magic and make him notice her. Things don’t quite go to plan …


Read a teaser for “The Trouble with Love Spells:”

A year earlier, Violet had never expected to order a tall redeye and meet the man of her dreams, but one look into those big, grey eyes, and she was finished. Maxwell was hipster hot, and he walked like he knew it, in his tight trousers, vests, and multi-colored button downs. He kept clean-shaven, without the traditional hipster stubble, but his hair was long on top, short on the sides, and it often flopped down over his eyes.

“Have we decided if his hair is black or brown yet?”

Zoe sipped her chai tea. “I vote brown. I saw him in the sun once, and it was kind of reddish on the ends.”

Violet gawked at her friend’s good fortune. “You saw him in the sun?”

Zoe lifted dark brows. “Yeah, it’s official: he’s not a vampire.”

“Okay, there’s no one in line, and I need a refill. How do I look?” She ran her palms down the sides of her blonde pixie cut and pressed her lips together.

“Gorgeous. Now, go get that hot piece of ass.”

Violet focused on walking with a little hip shimmy as she made her way up to the counter, where Maxwell leaned on a bar stool and read a faded book by Elmore Leonard. “Hey,” she said. She attempted nonchalance but felt awkward with her hands hanging at her sides. She crossed them under her chest instead and gave her breasts a boost.

He looked up momentarily. “Hey.”

“Could I get a refill? French roast.”

He put the book down and reached across the counter for her cup but not before a blue spark flew from her finger and into the back of his hand. “Ow!”

“Sorry!” It was only the eighth time she’d done that—the wussy witch’s subconscious equivalent of a hand caress. “Must be static electricity.”

He gingerly picked up her mug and filled it. “I’m worried if you have anymore coffee, you’re going to start bouncing around the room.”

She laughed, surprised at her own volume, and tucked her hands behind her back. “Uh, I can hold my caffeine.”

“I know.” He slid the mug across the counter, smiled just a little, and picked up his book.

Violet practically danced across the floor. “I zapped him again, but he talked to me at least,” she whispered to Zoe.

“Well, I would hope so. It’d be weird if he just stood there in silence.” She turned a page just as Violet noticed her chai tea refilling on its own.

Violet put her hand over Zoe’s mug. “Hey. No magic in public.”

“Says the girl who occasionally shoots blue sparks at the guy she likes.”


Already, SonofaWitch! has been called “a must-read for anyone who loves modern fantasy” and “heartily recommended for all fans of funny romance.” If you liked the Bite Somebody series, this is an anthology for you! Buy your copy today!

Also out today is Elphame Realms Issue #2, featuring my story, “Forget Me Do.” A bit on the serious side, this one features a witch who believes she can heal a broken heart … but what if that heart doesn’t want to be healed? The eBook is currently on sale for .99 but won’t be for long! If you need MORE witches in your life this holiday season (and who doesn’t?), buy your copy of Elphame Realms HERE.

Happy spell casting! Remember to cuddle your black cat, burn your sage, and curse not lest ye be cursed. Blessed be.

“The Trouble with Love Spells” aesthetic.
Halloween Town · Modeling · Ohio · Sara Dobie Bauer

The Halloween Photo Shoot (Don’t be scared …)

I have some friends who are just as freaky as me, so when I suggested I wanted to do a gothic baby doll shoot in my church basement, they were like, “Well, obviously.” So we did. In honor of Halloween, I give you this little gift (which has successfully made my pastor afraid to go downstairs alone). Hair and makeup by Cheryl Mong; photography by Dennis Mong.

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And the blooper reel … Possibly thanks to that huge bottle of rum and coke.

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Shout out to my gorgeous husband …

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HAPPY HALLOWEEN, EVERYONE!

Film · Halloween Town · Television

This Rocky Horror remake really pisses me off

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No. Just no. I watched the teaser for Fox’s Rocky Horror Picture Show remake, to air in October, and just … no. Look, I’m happy that maybe this remake will introduce a whole new generation of viewers to the glory that is Dr. Frank N. Furter, but …

No, I’m lying.

Tim Curry is and forever will be Dr. Frank N. Furter. I mean no disrespect to Laverne Cox, who I’m sure will do a good job, but from what the teaser showed me, she’s just doing a Tim Curry impersonation. AND why is a woman playing this part? I know, some chicks are going to be all up in my grill over this, but “Sweet Transvestite” doesn’t have the same ring when it’s a woman singing about dressing up like a woman!

GAH! I can’t ….

Even …

Type ….

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I’ve observed Hollywood is going through this phase where they’re just making the same movie over and over again, but you can’t remake a cult classic. Cult classics become classics by accident. When they were first making the low budget B-film that is Rocky Horror Picture Show, nobody knew it was going to become the salvation of teenage freaks everywhere. They didn’t know it would become the perpetual, immortal midnight show. They didn’t know suicidal goth kids like me would consider the film to be Practically Perfect in Every Way.

The beauty of the original Rocky Horror Picture Show is that it isn’t beautiful. It’s a hysterical mess of cheap costuming, campy music, and the glorious thing that is Tim Curry in tights. Without Tim Curry, the movie would have sucked. He MADE that movie. Now, they’re making it without him (although I think he has a cameo), and they’re expecting it to be as magical as it was in 1975?

Rocky Horror Picture Show saved my life.
When I used to dye my hair black and write “you’re ugly” on mirrors …
When I used to hide beneath clothes three sizes too big …
When I used to smoke cigarettes and cut myself with my own fingernails …
Rocky Horror Picture Show was there, telling me, “Don’t dream it, be it.”

So maybe the remake will save some other troubled kids … but not if it sucks! If they actually give the movie a respectable budget, feature famous people, and just try to imitate the original, the remake is going to flop and troubled kids will miss the point. The biggest flaw, truly, is casting a female as Dr. Frank N. Furter, because part of embracing the freak in me was seeing a man in drag and realizing my freakiness was okay. Not only okay but pretty damn cool.

Film · Halloween Town

Would you survive a horror film?

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Back in the day, my friends used to tell me I would survive a horror movie, despite my wild appreciation for alcohol—probably because I was a virgin and had an obsessive love for scary movies.

Well, I’m not a virgin anymore, and I’ve developed a habit of wearing insensibly high heels. I also have wobbly breasts, so let’s face it: I might be first to go nowadays.

Man Crates is a new gifting company who delivers cool gifts for men in custom crates. (You’ll even need a crowbar to open it.) They recently asked me: “If you were in a horror movie, what would you want or need in a crate to survive through to the end credits?”

Although not all my items will fit in a crate … it’d have to be a big crate … I did come up with my Horror Movie Survival Kit, just in time for Halloween. I’m not paranoid; I’m just planning ahead, okay?

Guns and a crap-ton of ammo

This is where NRA members will have the step up. I mean, how else are you going to kill Leatherface if not for, like, fifty bullets to his head? Even Michael Myers, well, a bullet would at least slow him down. And if Zombieland taught us anything, bring extra ammo and don’t forget the double tap.

Car

Screw running and screaming through the woods. Get in your car. Drive away. And make sure you have a phone with you and an in-car phone charger so you can warn your friends who’re still having sex upstairs. Maybe this is why my husband always wants to have a full tank of gas—just in case we become victims of Scream, Part Infinitum.

New-Carrie-vs-Old-CarrieWhiskey and cigarettes

Everyone talks about needing water to survive a zombie apocalypse. How come no one talks about booze? If some undead Thriller-style Michael Jackson is chasing me, I’m going to want a drink afterward—several, most likely. A cigarette will calm the nerves, and if I have to, I’ll burn someone with it. Which reminds me: bring a lighter.

Change of clothes

If you happen to run out of ammo and all you have is a chainsaw, that’s going to cause quite a mess. You’ll want a costume change. I’m telling you, there’s nothing worse than blood and brain matter on your favorite 80s prom dress.

Garlic and holy water

Garlic is good for your cardiovascular system … and for warding off Dracula. Holy water apparently has all sorts of uses if Exorcist is any indication. Nothing is more distracting for an undead vampire than to have his or her skin melting off, let me tell you. Drink the holy water if you’re thirsty. Never know; it might miraculously cure that whiskey hang-over.

James Bond

Although Daniel Craig probably won’t travel well in a crate, I think he’d be really helpful in a horror movie, what with all his ninja moves, gun knowledge, and general affinity for escaping any and all enemy attacks. So what if he’s a fictional character? So are horror movie characters—until they’re not.

Man Crates, who prides itself on cool gifts for men, has their own Zombie Annihilation Crate that includes things like a flashlight, duct tape, and first aid kit. I might want to add it to my list, you know, just in case. It closely resembles the trunk of Dean and Sam’s car in Supernatural. Happy haunting!

Arizona · Halloween Town · Ohio

WE’RE MOVING TO OHIO

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I won’t call it a mental illness, but if I was to name how I’ve felt for the past year, I guess you could call it “Desert Fever.” As of today, Jake and I have lived in Arizona for a little over five years. Amazing friends have been made; amazing things have happened (including our wedding). I owe my fantastic career to Phoenix. I would almost call her My Muse. Still, something has been missing …

In October, it’s still 90 degrees outside. Trees don’t change color. The sky isn’t the color of a dirty puddle, and the air doesn’t smell live clove. It is distinctly un-horror-movie-like at Halloween time in Phoenix.

In December, the sun refuses to go away. There are blue skies everyday. Christmas feels fake and forced, because everyone knows, Christmas is supposed to be cold and white. You’re supposed to want hot chocolate, not iced coffee.

In April, it doesn’t rain. The grass doesn’t grow green, and flowers don’t bloom. Instead, everything prepares to die, because summer is coming, and summer carries with it the oppressive sensation of being burnt alive.

My Desert Fever involved more than weather, though; it has been about family. My blood relatives are, for the most part, on the east coast, as are all of my oldest friends. Sadly, two of our biggest family occasions since I’ve lived out here have been funerals, so basically, I’ve been paying Southwest to let me cry a lot.

Jake was the one who first suggested we move east. (He was probably sick of me watching all my horror movies, obsessively, because they always take place in the Midwest around Halloween, and I longed, longed to be someplace that looked like the places in my scary movies.) Deep inside me, there has been a longing for small town life again. Lack of rush hour traffic. Backyards not brimmed by concrete walls. Not having to travel 50 minutes to meet a friend for lunch.

This is not to say I dislike Phoenix. I’ve fallen in love with her over the years. I love her downtown, her Day of the Dead, her restaurants, and the smell of creosote after a monsoon. I’ve enjoyed getting to use the word “haboob” and eating authentic Mexican food surrounded by artful graffiti in the shape of skulls (my favorite).

Then, while on a “vision quest” road trip three weeks ago, Jake got the job offer of his dreams at a farm outside of Chardon, Ohio, near Cleveland. He called me while I was on my way to my college reunion in Athens, over the moon. Just like that, it was official: we were heading back to my home state.

We’re moving in two weeks. Have I had moments of terrific panic? Yes. Been a bit weepy lately? Of course. But not because I’m leaving Phoenix; it’s because, again, just like when we left Charleston, I’m leaving friends. I know it doesn’t do to stretch things out. It’s okay that we’re leaving in two weeks, but it is odd when you have a beer with someone you care about and realize this will be the last beer … possibly for a very long time.

I will miss things about living here. I will miss, most of all, my friends. I will miss being an active volunteer for Gina’s Team (even though I hope to continue my prison book clubs elsewhere). I will miss the food, the photo shoot fun, and the well-hidden dive bars.

But for the first time since I left Ohio ages ago, I will have a proper Halloween this year, complete with falling leaves and clove-scented rainstorms. I will have snow and the possibility of a white Christmas. I will have April showers and a green backyard filled with trees. Speaking of, maybe I’ll leap into an autumn leaf pile. Maybe I’ll try to teach my dogs how to make snow angels and buy them little sweaters. And my parents and auntie will be a two-hour drive away, as will friends I’ve kept since first grade.

There will be going away parties the weekend of the 14th: one Friday and one Saturday. I am available for impromptu happy hours and hugs. I will not leave this city without letting people know I love them and value them and will never forget them. But it’s time to go home. Home.

Film · Halloween Town

Evolution of horror films: The Babadook and mad mommies

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If you know me at all, you know I love scary movies. I find them therapeutic, as in, “Well, at least I’m not THAT person, being chased by the psycho with the butcher knife!” Really puts life in perspective.

In the past week, I’ve watched three horror films: The Babadook, Oculus, and The Others. Two of these movies I watched alone, which meant I couldn’t go pee without first checking behind the shower curtain because YOU JUST NEVER KNOW.

Babadook is about a monster that pops out of a children’s book. Oculus is about a damn evil mirror. The Others is about … I can’t tell you, because it’ll ruin everything. That said, all three of these ghoulish, scream-worthy films had one thing in common: mad mommies. Crazy ladies. Bonkers beauties.

Got me thinking about the horror movies of my glorious youth. Remember them? Movies like Halloween and Nightmare on Elm Street and Scream. Going further back, Dracula and Frankenstein. These movies were about identifiable monsters: creatures (human and otherwise) that came for you in the night. These horror flicks gave you a villain and told you which way to run.

Flash to 2015, and although the monsters (and ghosts) are real, the main concern — the real fear — is mothers killing their own kids. Mothers gone mad. The monster is no longer something we run from but something within the people we love and trust the most.

Is the change because, in the glory days of horror, back when Stoker and Shelley were writing their masterpieces, we didn’t want to think that the monsters were, in fact, ourselves? In the cases of both Dracula and Frankenstein, the creatures were certainly metaphors of what humans could do to each other, but they were only that: metaphors.

Now, we see horrible things on the news — people killing each other, mothers drowning their children, mothers going mad — and we realize … The monsters are real.

There has been an outpouring of these crazy mommy movies in the past year. I don’t mean to discount gorgeous films like The Shining and Amityville Horror, in which daddy goes dark, but those 80s pics didn’t feel quite as upsetting. They weren’t as upsetting because, in the 80s, we still didn’t want to think about a mother killing her kids. Now, it happens. We watch the news; we watch the court cases. We shiver.

No longer are we running from guys in masks. If horror movies are any indication, it’s reality that truly scares us — what we are capable of — and human nature is a lot scarier than a guy with claws.