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Stories of Kansas and the Great Plains
Trespassing Time - Ghost Stories From the Prairie
by Barbara J. Baldwin, Jerri Garretson, Linda Madl & Sheri L. McGathy
Introduction by Troy Taylor, Founder of the American Ghost Society

Trespassing Time was selected as a finalist in the Foreword Magazine
Book of the Year Award in the Anthologies Catetory.

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Eerie     -     Uncanny     -     Creepy     -     Goth-a-licious

Sixteen frightening, heartwarming, amusing and spellbinding stories from America’s Heartland, spanning pioneer days to the present.

Reviews of Trespassing Time
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The Authors of Trespassing Time
Author Programs about Trespassing Time

Excerpts from Trespassing Time:

    ...is there really anything as eerie as the vast open fields and dark stands of woods that stretch across America’s Heartland? What awaits us in this strange and unfamiliar region and what tragic ghosts still walk in the lonely places where no one can hear you when you scream?
    The prairie of America can be a mysterious place and, to those who come from the more populated regions, a strangely unsettling one. Even to those of us who grew up on the prairie, it’s hard to know what sometimes lurks around the next corner of the road, or around the next bend in the path.
    - From the Introduction by Troy Taylor
      Founder of the American Ghost Society


    The moan rattled the windowpanes this time, the pitch rising again from a melodic hum to a whistle. Then it wavered into a painful scream-like quality. The wail stretched out longer than any human voice could possibly sustain.
    Martie began to whimper. She couldn’t help herself.
    Abrupt silence.
    Wind hit the walls of the house like a blast from a passing freight train. Cold invisible fingers raced under the door and swooped down the stovepipe, pulling at her skirts and dousing the table lamp. Only the flickering stove fire lit the room.
    - From “One Night at Whistling Woman Creek,“ by Linda Madl

    The weather was strange as fall crept in. More and more the nights brought fog crawling up from the river. Maria tried not to look at it, but in the end, she would be drawn to the window. She began to see wispy figures in the mist. They always rose from the grove of trees where the Starnes were buried. Their vaporous shapes streamed slowly toward the house.
    And then they would seep into the walls.
    - From “Lost in the Fog,” by Jerri Garretson

    “Mine…” the wind wailed as its breath blew the barn doors wide and knocked the lantern from the nail. Flames leapt high; the laughter turned to screams.
    Chloe gasped and turned away, only to find she still faced the TV. She spun about again, yet the TV continued to stand before her. Chloe’s knees went weak. As she watched, a new scene flashed across the screen. Six tiny coffins lay on a straw-strewn floor, the lids pried open, the nails still protruding from the bowed wooden planks.
    - From “Forgotten, But Not Gone,” by Sheri L. McGathy

    ...people were there, in the cemetery, but they weren’t real people. Where eyes should have been, only hollow sockets remained. Their thin, shapeless bodies swayed back and forth like river grass in a gentle current. Stems—translucent and gray—floated around them, waving like arms. Beckoning me.
    My heart pounded hard and my ears rang. I had no choice except to move towards them, letting them wrap me in their embrace. Long, reedy stems wound around me, tangling my legs and hugging my arms to my sides.
    We had dreams, too. Why? The words gurgled eerily as though spoken from a great distance, or underwater. I struggled, my lungs burning, gasping for breath and choking.
    - From “Dreams of the Dead,” by Barbara J. Baldwin
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Review by Bob Spear
Heartland Reviews
April - June 2005
Five Hearts
    It is always a pleasure to find a fine collection of short stories by an excellent group of authors. As a professional storyteller, I am always on the lookout for good ghost stories, and these are some of the best. The title story is similar to “Brigadoon,” except it is set on the old Santa Fe trail in Southern Kansas. My favorite story is about a man’s beloved border collie that is cremated when it dies of old age. Its ghost comes back to watch over his old owner, along with the ghosts of ten other dogs that were cremated at the same time.
    The authors write poignant, as well as scary, stories. Their skills are polished enough for the stories to have seemingly flowed from one pen. There is just enough of an element of terror mixed with “ah gee” moments to appeal to a wide body of readers.
    I rated this book five hearts.
Review by
Tanzey Cutter
Fresh Fiction
June 2005
This review on
Fresh Fiction
    This well-written collection of 16 short stories by four talented Kansas authors provides us with eerie tales of ghosts that range from the kind and benevolent to the creepy/crawly to the truly frightening and malevolent. Set in America’s Heartland, with apparitions ranging from a loving cat, a daring barnstormer, a handsome bachelor, a grieving mother, a beloved school teacher, a childhood friend, to residents of a lost city of old, the tales encompass time periods from the days of the early settlers to the present. Troy Taylor, Founder of the American Ghost Society, has written a compelling introduction for Trespassing Time, and he’s an expert in the field.
     I became so immersed in this superb collection of hauntings, I couldn’t put it down until I’d turned the final page. Then I yearned for more. Whether you believe in ghostly spirits inhabiting our surroundings or not, these spellbinding tales will make you think a little more about things that go bump in the night (and the day). An excellent reading experience!                
Tina Morgan
Fiction Factor
Five Stars
Read this review on Fiction Factor
    Trespassing Time is a collection of ghost stories written by: Barbara J. Baldwin, Jerri Garretson, Linda Madl and Sheri L.  McGathy. All of the stories are set in the Kansas prairie and they bring a refreshing and enchanting feel to a genre that I had come to consider a bit jaded. The book is a delightful read that kept me entertained from start to finish.
    "Christmas at the Gates of Hell" begins the collection by taking the readers to a real location in Kansas that has been source of many tales of ghostly activity over the years. Linda Madl brings the collection full circle by ending with her "Halloween at the Gates of Hell" set in the same Lutsville cemetery. 
    McGathy sparkles with "Forgotten, but Not Gone" and her "Maxie" touched my heart as two of my dogs have recently died. "What's a Ghost to Do?" made me smile with it's delightful twists.
    "Dance with Me" by Jerri Garreston is a chilling story of evil. As with her book, The Secret of Whispering Springs, Garretson proves once again that she is a skilled storyteller. "Griselda,"  "Lost in the Fog" and "Fireball Faye" offer an array of endings from dark to hopeful.
    Barbara Baldwin also shows a talent for variation with her "Dreams of the Dead" delving deeper and darker than her  "Whisper on the Wind." "The Rose" and "Deja Vu" are tales of unending love.
    The stories range from chilling to humorous, with the ghosts as evil, good and sometimes amusing. With the variety this book  provides, it is sure to entertain all readers.
    Trespassing Time is a five * * * * * star read.
Detra Fitch
Huntress Reviews
Five Stars
    ***** Here are sixteen ghost stories by four tantalizing authors. Barbara J. Baldwin, Jerri Garretson, Linda Madl, and Sheri L. McGathy team up to give readers thrills and chills all night long. There is even an introduction by Troy Taylor who is the founder of the American Ghost Society.
    As you begin reading each tale you cannot help but wonder how it will end. Take nothing for granted! Some ghosts are nice and mean the living no harm at all. Others are pure evil and seek only the demise of the living.
    The title clearly states that these haunting stories are from the prairie. However, there is no certain time line. Some are present date, others are from the past, and one is even set a couple of years in the future. No matter the time, all are set in prairies. I hope in the future to see ghost stories from the mountains, the beach, the woods, and other such places. BRAVA! Give me more! *****
Huntress Reviews - Horror
Huntress Reviews - Special
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Chere Gruver
Paranormal Romance Reviews
May 24, 2005
Excerpt
See website for complete review
    "Stories that will make you wonder!"
    ... The one thing all these stories have in common is they all take place on the prairie. Some of them are from the past and some of them are contemporary. We have a mix of scary stories, humorous stories and some of them are really sad. Out of the sixteen stories contained in this anthology, I decided to review one by each of the contributing authors.
    The first story in this anthology is one I really enjoyed ...  "Christmas at the Gates of Hell" by Linda Madl ... Two college students are traveling along a Kansas road to spend Christmas at the home of one of them. ... Ashley purchased a Tour Guide to Ghosts before leaving. One of the places mentioned in the book happens to be somewhere Ellie remembers playing as a child ... an old one room school house ... Ashley stops and the two of them go inside. When they begin hearing what sounds like voices, the two of them run to their vehicle. Of course, it won't start and the (jeep) window is stuck in the open position.
    Do they go back inside the school house to wait? What are the noises? Is the old school really haunted?
    The story I picked by author Jerri Garretson is "Griselda" ... this story involves a cat. Amy finally agreed to move in with Ryan ... Deciding to check out her new home, Amy ... sees a shadow watching her.  Now she's starting to get a little creeped out and begins to wonder if the reason the rent is so cheap is because the place is haunted. The next morning when Amy wakes up, she finds herself alone in the house. The place is locked up tight and she can't get out ... she can't even find her cell phone. When Ryan gets home, he tells her she's not allowed to leave anymore ... To top things off, they get into a fight and he locks her into the cellar with nothing but a bed and bedding for company!
    Exactly what is the shadow Amy keeps seeing? What is up with Ryan?
    The third story I decided to talk about is "Whisper on the Wind" by Barbara J. Baldwin ... Wayne is on his way to yet another foster home, this one in the country. He's always been in the city before and doesn't want to be here in the Kansas countryside. So he ends up coming into the home with a chip on his shoulder. After dinner, he runs into the barn to do his homework and can't believe the old plane he finds there! ... Eventually, he finds out the plane belonged to a barnstormer that crashed in the middle of the field on the property. The old man saved the pilot's life and kept the pieces of the plane. ... While sitting in the cockpit of the old plane, Wayne hears a noise. Someone is talking to him!
    Exactly who is talking to Wayne? Will they ever get the plane in the air again?
    And last, ... I decided to write about by Sheri L. McGathy's "The Graveyard Dance" ... (which takes) place in New Hope, Kansas,  where Will grew up. Now an old man, Will drives out to the old cemetery ... sits down under a tree and reminisces about ... a time in his youth with his best friend, Tommy... when the two of them saw something they probably shouldn't have ... a ghost coach!
    What did the ghost coach come to the cemetery for? Why did Will come here at his old age?
    Trespassing Time - Ghost Stories From the Prairie is a wonderful collection of ghost stories . . . These are the four stories from this anthology that really got me, that will stick with me for a long, long time. All of these stories did make me wonder. Are there really ghosts? What of all the unexplained phenomena that occur on a daily basis? And this is exactly what a good book is supposed to do. All these stories will draw you in and keep you reading to find out what happens. Once you start reading, you won't want to stop. Even though all these stories are fiction, it will make you wonder what if? I cannot recommend this book highly enough!
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Tamra Dickey
Roundtable Reviews
Read the Review on the website:

    Trespassing Time is a compilation of ghost stories that intrigue the mind and foster the imagination.  Barbara J. Baldwin, Jerri Garreton, Linda Madl, and Sheri L. McGathy have obviously gone to great lengths to bring spine tingling tales to the pages of this one-of-a-kind masterpiece.  Each of the sixteen stories in this book are filled with memorable characters and surprisingly spooky twists.  All of the stories take the reader back to the prairie, but aside from that common thread, each story is uniquely its own.  While reading this book, I found myself flying with a barnstormer from the 1920s, petting the ghost of a cat, and singing at the top of my lungs with children from a period long ago.       
    I was hooked from the moment I first opened this book.  The stories are the perfect length.  They are long enough to provide an insightful look into each character's mind while being short enough to read virtually anywhere.  In fact, I found myself reading them almost everywhere!  I read one while I waited in line to pick my kids up from school, one while I ate lunch at a local restaurant, and yet another while I was at the gym walking on the treadmill.  I couldn't put it down!
    I would recommend Trespassing Time to anyone, especially those who like good ghost stories.  My only piece of advice is, don't read it while you are home alone!  
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Christine Schneider
Kansas Children's Author and illustrator
See her website:
   Just wanted you to know that I finished Trespassing Time last week and loved every story in it. What a great collection! I especially liked "Dance With Me" and "Maxie." I hope that you have another coming out soon. The book was too short! :) 
             - Christine Schneider - Reader comment on April 27, 2005
Review by Roy Bird
Library Consultant
Kansas State Library
Kansas Libraries
July 2005

Each story is filled with the paranormal, and some have decided romantic slants as well. Haunted churches, dastardly artwork, desperate spirits, spooky cemeteries, a dead cat and other eerie characters and settings fill and chill this book. Order it now so that it will be ready and on the shelves for Halloween—only put this one in a prominent place in the ADULT collection.
Review by Lee Prosser
GhostVillage.com
August 2005
Read the entire
Review on the website:

Inexpensively priced and delightfully scary, this collection of ghost
stories ... will give you some unsettling moments with its look at the dark side and light side of ghosts. Some of the finest ghost story writing is available to the reader in this exceptional collection.

A first-rate introduction by Troy Taylor, founder of the American Ghost Society, is followed by many ghost stories, and concluded with an afterword by Jerri Garretson. With every story a winner, it is hard to select which ones to mention!

Here is a sampling from this most enjoyable and unusual book:
"Christmas at the Gates of Hell" by Linda Madl, "Deja Vu" by Barbara J. Baldwin, "The Graveyard Dance" by Sheri McGathy, "Lost in the Fog" by Jerri Garretson, among many other stories make this a hair-raising experience.

This is the type of book which is a satisfying reading encounter. The stories are sheer entertainment and full of strange happenings. The title to each story sets the tone for the story.

If you are looking for something scary and entertaining, this is the
ghost story collection for you. ... Highly recommended.
Review by June Pulliam
Necropsy
August 2, 2005
Read the entire review on the website
I keep being nicely surprised by the offerings of small presses, and Trespassing Time is one of those pleasant encounters. This collection of ghost stories by four Kansas authors is unusual for a number of reasons. First is its setting, the American Prairie, a part of the United States that is relatively ignored by popular culture (the Western genre being a notable exception). This geographical location is particularly ignored by the horror genre ... Trespassing Time, however, brings this area of the country to life through representing it as haunted.
 
Many of the stories have a particularly regional flavor. “Lost in the Fog” captures the loneliness and danger of the 19th century frontier when a young wife is taken further west by her husband, who purchases cheaply a homestead thought by locals to be haunted. Not believing in what he thinks is nothing but local superstition, the husband makes the mistake of leaving his pregnant bride alone for a night to make a necessary journey for supplies into the nearest town. The story that gives the collection its title, “Trespassing Time,” presents a sort of Brigadoon on the Prairie and asks something I have wondered about for quite a while: why is the United States more often haunted by ghosts of European- and African-Americans than it is by the ghosts of its original inhabitants? Here an elderly man wishes to glimpse once more an ancient Native civilization that is only open to our world one night each half century or so. And “Whisper on the Wind”  and “Dreams of the Dead” find ghostliness in how aviation and hydroelectric power transformed the landscape.
 
The collection is also unusual in the range of ghost stories, from revenants who mean no harm to humans, to spirits bent on getting back what was theirs, to vengeful shades.  Some, such as “Christmas at the Gates of Hell” and “Maxie,” present ghosts as presences that comfort the living but aren’t particularly frightening. While others such “Forgotten, But Not Gone” and “Halloween at the Gates of Hell” are more chilling tales of ghosts who are either angry because their final resting place has been violated or else urge humans to commit potentially self-destructive acts. The placement of stories within the collection is also effective as it begins with one of those tales of the ghost as a benign presence, introducing slightly more frightening revenants as the book progresses, which has the effect of putting the reader in the position to feel comfortable with the spirits bound within these pages, only to have that trust somewhat shaken towards the end. Thus the ghost is completely restored to its ambiguous position within the imagination as a simultaneously serendipitous and frightening signifier of that which was lost but not so easily forgotten.
 
Trespassing Time has the strengths of a good collection of fiction loosely organized around a theme in that the stories aren't all of one piece, but include a wide variety ... stories set in various times and places and all with very different horrific effects. In short, there's something here for everybody (at least, everybody who likes ghost stories) ... Horror fans and ghost story aficionados who aren’t searching for out and out gore will enjoy this collection, as will anyone interested in fiction about this particular region.
Review by:
Robin Farrell Edmunds
ForeWord Magazine
September 2005
Read the entire
Review on the website
A high school student passing through the cemetery on her way to class; a foster kid and a dilapidated old airplane; an engaged couple sifting through antiques in an attic; a pioneer woman’s night on the homestead without her husband. These varied situations are explored by a quartet of Kansas authors as they combine two subjects: the otherworldly and the nation’s heartland.

Comprising sixteen short stories (each author contributes four), the book covers a wide spectrum of ghostly occurrences from the terrifying “Forgotten, But Not Gone” and “One Night on Whistling Woman Creek,” to refreshingly lighter fare (“Déjà Vu” and “Fireball Faye”). The book’s title is from Madl’s story about a historian with expertise on the Santa Fe Trail who discovers a centuries-old secret involving the legendary Seven Cities of Gold and the explorer Coronado. The elements of the artificial barrier denoting time and the act of trespass also tie the stories together.

Fans of this genre should enjoy this varied collection. There’s a little something in it for everyone’s taste—for those who like their ghost stories scary, and those who don’t. (September)
Review by Elizabeth Delisi
Word Museum
Read the entire review on the website.
Everyone has fond memories of ghost stories ...

Well, get ready to shiver again. Trespassing Time: Ghost Stories From the Prairie is a ... set in the plains of the Midwest ... Barbara Baldwin, Jerri Garretson, Linda Madl and Sheri McGathy, four very talented authors, will have you looking over your shoulder, jumping at noises, and wondering how an abandoned schoolhouse on the prairie or a rented cottage in a tiny town can be the cause of so much terror.

The collection opens with “Christmas at the Gates of Hell” by Linda Madl which, despite its title, is a gentle, nostalgic tale of holidays on the plains. Two college girls find themselves stranded in a desolate school during a snowstorm, and like Ebenezer Scrooge, are able to witness the joy of Christmas past.

The fear is amped up a notch in Jerri Garretson’s story, “Griselda.” A woman begins to fear she married in haste when her new husband carries her across the threshold in a charming cottage in the middle of nowhere...and won’t let her leave. And who is the ghostly face she sees ... peeking around a doorway?

Barbara Baldwin’s ... “Deja Vu” is a plaintive tale of two small children in a coma after a bus accident...children who had always been best friends. Hand in hand, they wander through their small town alone, wondering why no one sees or hears them. Then, they hear voices calling them back...but what will happen when only one returns?

“Forgotten, But Not Gone,” by Sheri McGathy, is perhaps the most frightening tale in the collection. Chloe and her boyfriend Matt find an old charm bracelet when exploring an ancient cemetery next to their high school. Chloe feels an instant affinity for the bracelet, yet she can’t shake the feeling that the pale, bedraggled, mud-streaked woman she sees in her dreams and waking hours wants something from her...something Chloe doesn’t want to give.

If you’re looking for scary, well-written ghost stories set in an unusual, fresh location, look no further. Trespassing Time: Ghost Stories From the Prairie will have you sleeping with the light on for weeks. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!
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The authors of  Trespassing Time - Ghost Stories From the Prairie have been interviewed by Fallen Angel Reviews.  Click here and enjoy.
Ordering information for Trespassing Time - Ghost Stories From the Prairie, by Barbara J. Baldwin, Jerri Garretson, Linda Madl and Sheri L. McGathy.

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Ravenstone Press
Box 6382, Sun City Center FL 33571-6382. 
Softcover, 5.25" x 8", 240 pp., 2005.
Retail:  $7.99 plus shipping and local Florids sales tax for Florida orders.
ISBN 0-9659712-6-0
Click here for printable retail mail order form
Or call 813-633-5759, or send email to: orders@ravenstonepress.com

Retail orders available online through Amazon.com or Barnes and Noble online.
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Call 813-633-5759, or send email to: orders@ravenstonepress.com

Bookstores, Distributors and Wholesalers with which Ravenstone Press does not already have an established relationship, please contact us for terms.  Call 813-633-5759, or send email to: orders@ravenstonepress.com
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The Authors of Trespassing Time
Barbara J. Baldwin
Jerri Garretson
Linda Madl
Sheri L. McGathy
Troy Taylor
What do the authors say about Trespassing Time?
Author Programs about Trespassing Time


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April 20, 2011