#NewBook: Menagerie by Joan Hall @JoanHallWrites #shortstories #supernatural

Hi everyone! Today, it gives me great pleasure to host fellow author, blogger, friend, and Story Empire contributor, Joan Hall. Joan has a new book out, and I’m excited to have her over to visit so she can tell you all about it! ๐Ÿ™‚

Book cover for Menagerie by Joan HallThanks for hosting me today, Harmony. Itโ€™s always a pleasure to visit. Iโ€™m excited to tell you and your readers about my newest release, Menagerie. Itโ€™s a mixed-genre compilation of thirteen short stories. Today, Iโ€™ll tell the story behind Ghost Bridge. As you might guess, this one is ghost fiction.

Some of my earliest memories are when my mom would relate true stories that had happened to her or her family. I loved sitting around on a stormy night (or anytime) listening to her. Mom grew up in north Texas. At one time, her family lived near the small town of Leonard on the banks of whatโ€™s known as Bois Dโ€™Arc Creek.

Mom told of a mysterious sound of a horse pulling a carriage that could be heard at the bridge near the family home. It happened the same time every night. The story goes that many years earlier, a country doctor was killed at the bridge when his horse spooked and threw him from the carriage. Both Mom and her parents heard the sound many times.

Ghost Bridge was based on this story. Noah Stoddard is a doctor in the late 1800s who was summoned to help a young woman, Sarah Bennet, who is in labor. Unfortunately, Noah meets his demise at the bridge. A century later, Kate Moreland and her German Shepherd, Dakota, move to the old Bennett farm. Shortly after arriving, Kate begins hearing the sound of a horse and carriage each evening.

The story takes place in 1978โ€”a time before Internet, cell phones, and instant communication. Kate is a potter who has her own studio on the farm. She meets Mitch Rafferty, who owns the local farm supply store.

Although this is a work of fiction, I drew from real-life events. My brother, who has a master of fine arts and taught for many years, also made pottery. In the late seventies, he gave up teaching for a while, returned to our small town to live, and worked in a local farm and ranch supply store.

During that time, we often had gatherings of friends at our family homeplace, complete with bonfires, cookouts, and yes, a few ghost stories. Music has always been important to me, and I mention several songs that were popular during that time. We also owned two German Shepherds.

Life was simpler then. Writing Ghost Story enabled me to relive some happy moments from those days.

Promotional graphic for Menagerie, by Joan Hall, showing a silhoutted horse and wagon next to a thumbnail of the book cover


Kate took a sip of wine, slowly rocking the chair. Dakota lay beside her, his head resting between his front paws. Heโ€™d had a full day of exploring the fields near the house. Several minutes passed when a sound came from the direction of Sycamore Creek.

Clip, clop. Clip, clop. Clip, clop.

The creaking of wooden wheels along the gravel road followed. Kate stopped rocking to listen.

Strange. This wasnโ€™t Amish country where people used horses and buggies for transportation. She looked in the direction of the creek. No lights. No voices. She thought anyone out at this time of the evening would have some type of light.

Dakota raised his head. His ears flickered, but he soon lay back down. Kate waited for whoever it was to come closer. A couple of minutes passed. Nothing. The sound stopped at the bridge.



Kingโ€™s. The Tower of London. Glass. What do these have in common?

Each is a famous menagerie.

While this Menagerie doesnโ€™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 thereโ€™s a little something for everyone who enjoys reading about simpler times and small-town life.


Purchase Link: https://books2read.com/jh-menagerie

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50 Comments on “#NewBook: Menagerie by Joan Hall @JoanHallWrites #shortstories #supernatural

  1. Thanks for hosting Joan and her latest book, Harmony. I had lots of favorite stories in there and am happy to recommend the book. Thanks for hosting and congrats to Joan!

  2. HI Harmony, this is a great post about Joan’s new collection. Ghost Bridge sounds like an interesting story and the background is so personal and intriguing.

    • Thanks, Jacquie. The ideas behind these stories came from various sources. I love a quote by Orsen Scott Card. “Stories are all around us…” They truly are if we pay attention.

  3. I love how you incorporate stories you heard growing up into your work, Joan. I’m with you about reliving simplier times when writing too! It all adds another depth to the stories.

    Thanks for hosting, Harmony!

    • For this story to work, it couldn’t have been set during present day. Even so, I can’t imagine using any other time than the one I chose. I’ve often said living in te late 70s was glorious.

  4. Shivered all the way through Ghost Bridge, Joan. LOVED it! Am definitely enjoying Menagerie, and am nearing the last tale. Great job!

    Thanks for hosting Joan today, Harmony. Super post, Ladies! And Joan, continued best wishes for huge success with this one! ๐Ÿ˜Šโค๏ธ

    • I’m so glad you’re enjoying the stories. Ghost Bridge was fun to write – not only because of the story Mom told, but remembering those glorious days of the late 70s. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Thanks for your support, Marcia.

    • I agree about the animals, Jacqui. They add depth to a story. When a character has a pet or tends to animals, it tells much about their personality. Glad you enjoyed the excerpt.

    • My pleasure, Joan! Itโ€™s lovely to have you over to visit. Wishing you every success. Iโ€™m about halfway through and am enjoying Menagerie ๐Ÿ’•๐Ÿ™‚

  5. The excerpt was terrific! I love ghost stories the most. ๐Ÿ™‚ Congratulations, Joan! I’m wishing you all the best on this wonderful book!

  6. Thanks for hosting Joan today, Harmony! When I was a child, ghost stories kept me hiding under the cover! ๐Ÿ™‚ I would hope to think I’ve grown out of that phase. Ghost Bridge sounds really good! Congrats to Joan!

  7. Thatโ€™s a great basis for a story. Iโ€™ve been working on a bridge ghost, too. It will be very different. Enjoying all these personal tales on the tour.

  8. This sounds another one to go on my ever-growing TBR list!
    Thanks for bringing it to our attention.

  9. I thoroughly enjoyed Joan’s collection of short stories in Menagerie, and I loved hearing how the tale of Ghost Bridge came about.
    That’s also a really cool graphic for Ghost Bridge!
    Wishing Joan all the best with her release. Many thanks for hosting, Harmony!

    • I was over the moon excited to find that graphic. I’d searched for something appropriate and was about to give up when I came across that one. Thanks for stopping by, Mae.

    • I love the story behind the story and the graphic! Thanks, Mae ๐Ÿ’•๐Ÿ™‚