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When the Night Bells Ring by Jo Kaplan

Mads and Waynoka make a pit stop in the ghost town of Virgil, Nevada, while escaping the climate disaster in California to locate food and water. Falling down a shaft during their exploration of an old mine, the two women come across a room with a makeshift bed, a diary, and no way out. The year was 1869 when Lavinia and her family journeyed west from Boston to Virgil to reunite with her brother-in-law. In the diary found by the women in the mine, she documented her journey and life. Lavinia talks about curses and unusual creatures that come from the mine and feed on the settlers and townspeople. How did the diary end up all the way done here? Will it lead them to a way out? Are the creatures real?

We have two separate stories that are equally strong. Trapped in the mine, the two girls are in the midst of the unknown darkness. Additionally, we possess the diary entries, a story that greatly unsettled me, about a secluded family in a remote village, rumours, and superstitions, and a primordial malevolence that was unleashed from the depths of the mountain where the miners excavated too deeply. The creatures that roam this part of the story are unique and perfectly adapted to their surroundings.

The barren desert landscape complemented the horror element to create a unique atmosphere. I could clearly imagine the difficulties of living in such a harsh environment and working a strenuous job of mining for silver.

Many thanks to @JoannaPary @CamCatBooks & @HenryRoiPR for a spot on the tour.


About the Author

Jo Kaplan is the award-winning author of It Will Just Be Us and When the Night Bells Ring. Her short stories have appeared in Fireside Quarterly, Black Static, Nightmare Magazine, Vastarien, +HORROR LIBRARY+, Nightscript, and Bram Stoker award winning anthologies. She has also published work as Joanna Parypinski.

In addition to writing, she teaches English and creative writing at Glendale Community College and plays the cello in the Symphony of the Verdugos. Currently, she is the co-chair of the Horror Writers Association’s Los Angeles chapter.

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