Author, Books, Writing

Guest Post: Menagerie by @JoanHallWrites #shortstories #blogtour

Good morning bloggers!

I have a wonderful treat for you today. A dear friend and writer is on a blog tour, promoting and celebrating the release of her new book, Menagerie. The post she is sharing with us today is a fantastic one! I’m so glad she chose my site to share it on because if you know me, you know I enjoy a good ghost story…

You can follow along Joan’s tour by visiting her site. Please help me in welcoming her today, and don’t forget to check her out on Amazon!

Enjoy! ❤️

The Dare

Hi, Marlena. Thanks so much for sharing your space today. It’s a pleasure to be here to tell you and your readers about my latest release, Menagerie, a mixed-genre compilation of thirteen short stories. Each tour stop features a different title and I tell how the story came about. Today’s story is The Dare, a ghost fiction piece.

This piece is one of two in the collection that were based on family stories my mother told me. I had an ancestor in the early 1900s who was engaged to be married. He’d traveled on horseback one evening to see his fiancé and had to pass a cemetery.

On his way home, he encountered a woman dressed in white. She didn’t speak and she was able to keep up with the horse—no matter how fast the horse galloped. Three weeks later, my ancestor died unexpectedly.

The story always intrigued me, and since then I’ve learned of similar sightings in different parts of the country. I’ve also written about it in one of my Mystery Monday posts.

The Dare began as a short flash fiction story that I posted on my blog several years ago. I expanded it to include in this collection. I hope readers will enjoy the surprise ending.


A gust of frigid air nipped at her cheeks and toes when Joe Hendrix opened the door. The elderly man, a prominent member of the gossip brigade, was a lifetime resident of Carroll’s Crossing.

Megan took another swallow from the mug and waited for the coffee’s warmth to spread through her body. “Morning, Joe. What brings you here? Figured you’d be at Belle’s this time of day.”

“This couldn’t wait. I’ve got a story for you. Wanted to make sure you heard it before some out-of-town reporter or the TV station got wind of it. I guarantee it’ll be your next headline.”

Megan smiled, then arched an eyebrow. Joe had been known to exaggerate. “What kind of news?”

“Is your boss around?”

George walked out of his office. “I’m here, Joe. What’s going on?”

The older man glanced around the room as if to ensure no one else might be present and listening. He lowered his voice. “I saw Lucy Rhodes yesterday evening.”

“Is that so?” George folded his arm across his chest.

Unfamiliar with the name, Megan asked, “Who’s Lucy?”

Joe looked at her like she’d grown two heads. “Only the most famous ghost in Carroll’s Crossing.”

Megan stifled a laugh. “A ghost? And you just happened to see her?”

“Yes, I saw her! Can’t believe you’ve lived here all this time and have never heard about Lucy.” He shook his head. “You youngsters don’t appreciate our town’s history. Anyway, it was close to dark. I was walking down Cemetery Road and—”

“Wait a minute. Why were you walking on that road close to dark?” George asked.

Joe’s face grew red, and he furrowed his brow. “Because Doc Fisher told me I needed to exercise. That’s why!”

“Okay, calm down and tell us what happened.”

Joe pulled a chair up to Megan’s desk. “As I was saying, I was walking along the road. All of a sudden like, I felt this chill. I swear the temperature dropped twenty degrees.”

“A cold front moved through last night,” Megan offered.

“Weren’t no cold front! The wind wasn’t even blowing. When I got to the gate, she was standing beside that big old oak near the center of the graveyard wearing a long white dress.”


King’s. The Tower of London. Glass. What do these have in common?

Each is a famous menagerie.

While this Menagerie doesn’t focus on exotic animals, it does contain a collection of stories that explore various trials people face and how their reactions shape their worlds.

Survivors of a haunted bridge. Women who wait while their husbands fight a war. Former partners reuniting to solve a cold-case murder.

These are just three of the thirteen stories in this compendium, encompassing past and present, natural and supernatural, legend and reality. The genres and timelines are varied, but there’s a little something for everyone who enjoys reading about simpler times and small-town life.

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37 thoughts on “Guest Post: Menagerie by @JoanHallWrites #shortstories #blogtour”

  1. The Dare was one of my favorite stories in Menagerie. I loved the spooky urban legend feel to it. So wonderful to see it featured here today.

    Thanks for hosting, Mar, and all the best to Joan with her wonderful release!

    Liked by 2 people

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