Grim Grinning Ghosts by Kelly Meding

Hello, Leaguers! Kelly Meding's debut urban fantasy, THREE DAYS TO DEAD, will be released in Fall 2009, from Bantam Spectra. Today at the League, she's exploring the question on everyone's mind: Where do ghosts go to party?

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I'm very excited to do my first guest blog here at the League. They're a great bunch of peeps, and Halloween is the perfect time of year for those of us who write in the paranormal genre.

My day job is in a corporate retail store, and every two months or so they send us a new music compilation to play. This month's had five Halloween-themed songs mixed in with standard "popular" music, and one of the songs is "Grim Grinning Ghosts" by Barenaked Ladies.



Barenaked Ladies Lyrics
Grim Grinning Ghosts Lyrics

The theme behind it always sounded familiar (and frankly, it took me until Googling for this post to realize it was from a Disney theme park ride), but the basic chorus ("Grim grinning ghosts come out to socialize") keeps getting stuck in my head. Very stuck. Like songs from the Broadway show "Rent" usually get stuck, and it's sort of annoying.

Apart from "grim grinning," I keep pondering the part of where these ghosts might actually socialize. Sure, if you keep with the theme of the Disney ride, it's a Haunted Mansion. Or a graveyard. But that's sort of cliché. If you're looking for a ghost, you're either going to look in a haunted house or a graveyard. Duh.

But where might a lonely ghost go to socialize? A bar? A ballroom dance hall? A rugby game? A hospital emergency room? And with whom is s/he socializing? Other ghosts? Living people? Vampires? Demons? Angels? All of the above?

Ghosts are often portrayed as either vengeful spirits (the film The Ring, for example), or bumbling apparitions that really can't affect anything without help from the living and are stuck (Jeaniene Frost's Night Huntress series). There are fewer examples where ghosts are leading characters (Casper), or have more of an ability to affect things (Ghost) around them. One of my personal works-in-progress deals with ghosts, which means I'm thinking about this more and more as I sketch out the world in which it takes place.

So here's where I ask for recommendations. What are some of your favorite books that feature ghosts? Either as lead characters, or as important secondary characters? Where are the gems I've missed among all of the fangs, fur and fey stories?

In addition to a $10 Barnes & Noble gift card, and in keeping with the Halloween theme, Im including a copy of the horror anthology "Dark Delicacies," edited by Del Howison and Jeff Gelb, with stories by Clive Barker, Nancy Holder, Ray Bradbury, and more. Leave a comment to win. We'll announce the winner on Friday, so be sure to check back often to see if you've won.

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