Saturday, December 31, 2016

History of New Year's ~ Happy New Year! 2017 #NewYearsEve

Happy New Year!  Although often bitterly cold here in the Northeast, I like January--it's my birthday month and my son's.  It can be a chance to relax and renew after the frenetic pace of the holidays.  Plus, there's the whole idea of a fresh start and making resolutions.  

Many of my most popular blog posts have discussed some of the history or mythology behind holiday traditions, for example, St. NickFinding Easter's date, and the Origin of Halloween. For the first week in January, I thought I'd list some facts about New Year's Day and the month of January itself.  (Also, my January birthday is on the 13th - see this post for reasons people fear that number).

New Year's Day is the first day of January according to both the Julian calendar (introduced by Julius Caesar in 46 BC) and the Gregorian calendar (named for Pope Gregory XIII, who introduced it in 1582). The difference in these two calendars is a .002% change in the length of the year.


The Roman god Janus,
looking both forward and back
The Julian calendar was based on the Roman Calendar, and the name of the month of January is generally attributed to the Roman god Janus, the god of beginnings and endings, who is depicted with two faces looking in opposite directions: into the past as well as the future.

Since the Gregorian calendar is now used, at least in practice, by most countries, New Year's Day is considered the world's most celebrated public holiday.

The ancient belief that the beginning of an event impacted the whole led people to offer good health and well wishes on this first day of a new year, as the long, dark days surrounding the Winter Solstice were being left behind.  A prosperous January first with plenty of food and drink would hopefully lead to the same for the entire month and year.

Of course, local traditions abound to mark this day, and a big one in the United States is the making of resolutions.  For many people, this involves a commitment to a healthier lifestyle--as a fitness instructor, I see my classes absolutely explode each January!  My own personal resolutions, since I'm also a writer, usually involve devoting more time each day to my craft.  This year, I'm about halfway through a new romantic suspense, and my goal is to finish by March.

If your resolutions include more reading (one of the best stress-reducers, by the way!) - check out my books.  Each one has a mix of steamy romance and spooky suspense--something for everyone.  My fourth novel, Haunted Souls, came out this past June, and was recently voted one of the Top 3 Books of 2016 at Read Freely.  And my debut novel, Silver Lake, is FREE on Kindle if you have Amazon Prime, as part of their new PrimeReading Program. 

 Best wishes, everyone, for a happy, healthy, and peaceful 2017. Happy New Year!




Wednesday, December 28, 2016

My Favorite #Books of 2016 #amreading #amwriting

I can't believe it's time for my annual write-up of favorite books!  I read some really fantastic ones this year, which I'm excited to share.  I enjoy reading almost every genre, so there are a few represented here, but of course I have my preferences.  Some of my picks don't necessarily fall neatly into a single genre, either, and I guess it's no surprise that these are my absolute favorites, given that I also write in a mixture of genres (steamy romance combined with haunting mysteries).  So I'll start with those two novels, which both have elements of three different genres.

Mixed Genre: Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction, Suspense


Who could resist this cover?
The Lost Girls by Heather Young - Parallel stories unfold in this beautiful blend of historical fiction, literary fiction, and suspense.  A little girl's disappearance from the family's summer lake house in 1935 is never solved.  But in her final year of life, one of the girl's older sisters records the story in a journal, which she leaves, along with the house, to her grandniece, Justine.  As Justine fights her own demons by seeking refuge in the remote house on a Minnesota lake, we slowly learn the details of that fateful summer.  This haunting novel captured my attention immediately and kept me turning the pages.  A poignant and captivating debut.


Black Rabbit Hall by Eve Chase.  This book, like The Lost Girls, melds two stories: the lives, and tragedies, of the four Alton children as they spend a summer in the late 1960s at their Cornwall estate, nicknamed Black Rabbit Hall, and the implications of these past events on an engaged couple 30 years later.  Black Rabbit Hall is itself a compelling character, Gothic and atmospheric, a place where time seems suspended.  The prose is beautiful, the writer's voice unique, and the comparisons to Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier and several of Kate Morton's books are well-deserved.

Historical Romance


Highland Surrender by Tracy Brogan.  A strong-willed beauty must marry the future chief of a clan she despises--for good reason.  But there's much more to this novel than just an enemies-to-lovers trope.  This is a great combination of Scottish history, political intrigue, murder mystery, family secrets, and hot romance.  Plenty of solid conflict, sexual tension, and lush descriptions...if you enjoyed the Outlander series, give this a try! 

Non-Fiction

It Starts with Food: Discover the Whole30 and Change Your Life in Unexpected Ways - Well-written and eye-opening, this book is filled with valuable information presented in an easy to understand and often humorous way, despite the seriousness of the topic.  How our bodies and hormones react to the processed food that has become so prevalent in our society is explained in layman's terms, and a guide is offered to help "reset" your metabolism to experience positive changes in health, energy levels, and eating habits (and for many people, weight loss is an inevitable side-effect from cutting out so many harmful foods).  If you haven't heard of Whole30, it's basically an eating plan that focuses on only natural and healthy foods, to be initially followed for one month.  My experience about halfway through the month I did it can be found here.  

Mystery/Suspense


Angels Burning by Tawni O'Dell.  I love every word Tawni O'Dell writes.  She's done it again, combining past secrets, a new mystery, family bonds, and compelling characters into a beautifully written page-turner set against the struggling, and often dying, mining towns of Pennsylvania.  In this book, the discovery of a teenage girl's body leads a small-town police chief on a daunting and intriguing quest for justice. 


Historical Fiction

The Wars of the Roses Series by Conn Iggulden: Stormbird, Trinity, Bloodline, and Ravenspur: Rise of the Tudors.  Since we were getting ready for a trip to London, I wanted to immerse myself in a book involving some English history.  Having remembered another favorite (fantasy) series of mine, A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin (see my 2015 post), was inspired by the Wars of the Roses, a did a Google search and found this series.  I was hooked immediately--this author brings each battle to life in a way that makes you feel like you are there.  But aside from that, we are given enough information to understand the characters' goals and motivations, along with the incidents that lead up to the various conflicts.  The settings are described in amazing detail and the pacing is very well done.  These books truly enhanced my experience in London, especially our visit to The London Tower.

If you're interested in any of my past lists, see:

Favorite books of 2012

Favorite books of 2013

Favorite books of 2014

Favorite books of 2015

I'm thrilled that my 2016 release, Haunted Souls, recently ended up on a list too...this military romance + ghost mystery set on Cape Cod came in second among the Top 10 Books of 2016 at Read Freely! 

Hope I've offered some helpful recommendations for readers here--and I'm always looking for great new reads, so feel free to share your favorites in the Comments section below.  Happy reading and Happy 2017! 

Saturday, December 24, 2016

History of St. Nick~ #Christmas #ChristmasEve Traditions

I love doing posts about the origins of our holidays and the reasons we celebrate in certain ways or fear certain dates. Some of my most popular posts have been on the Origin of HalloweenFinding Easter's DateThe Number 13, and Origins of Superstitions.

When my kids were younger, I taught Sunday School...in fact, a passage from the Book of Genesis about the Nephilim, the offspring of male angels and human women, inspired my Young Adult Paranormal Romance DIVINE FALL.  For years, I taught the class every week, and my favorite lessons touched on the historical and religious roots of our holidays.  The lesson on Saint Nicholas was obviously something I made sure we discussed every December.  While most people are familiar with the story of Jesus's birth in Bethlehem, many are unaware of how a 4th century Bishop influenced the legend of Santa Claus.

Saint Nicholas, or Nikolaos of Myra, was a bishop in an ancient town in Lycia--now Demre, in the Antalya Province of Turkey. One of his most well-known deeds involved giving unexpected gifts, one of which landed in a stocking.  In the story, Nicholas wanted to help three young girls, whose father had no money for their dowries.  At that point in history, such a fate would result in a life of prostitution. Not wanting to embarrass the poor father, Nicholas threw bags of gold coins through the windows.  In one version of the tale, the father laid in wait to discover who was doing this...and so instead of throwing the third bag through the window, Nicholas dropped it down the chimney, and it landed in a stocking hung to dry by the fire.


Sinterklaas rides
a white horse
The Dutch figure of Sinterklass is based upon Saint Nick, and he more resembles the white-bearded man in red we're all familiar with. In turn, our Santa Claus is derived from Sinterklass, and it's widely believed that he was introduced to North America around the time of the Revolutionary War, by inhabitants of New York City, which was once New Amsterdam, a Dutch colony.

Of course, many other sources have combined to shape both the modern-day image of Santa Claus and the various legends and traditions which have evolved (decorating trees, sleighs pulled by reindeer, winter feasts and festivals, etc.).  Those will be topics for another day and another blog!

I'm hoping my blog readers who celebrate Christmas have finished the gift-buying and food preparation that comes along with the holiday, and have some time to relax and enjoy the magic of the season.  And if you need a book to help you de-stress, check out one of my novels - each one is filled with romance, mystery, and suspense - something for everyone! Also perfect as a last-minute gift, since all you need to send someone a Kindle copy is an email address.  Each one is less that the price of a card, and DIVINE FALL is only 99 cents right now!  If you're an Amazon Prime member, you can get SILVER LAKE free for a limited time, thanks to its inclusion in their new Prime Reading program.  The tabs at the top of the page will take you to the blurb for each book, but I've also included Amazon links below. Happiest of holidays!

HAUNTED SOULS - my latest release! Steamy military romance mixed with spooky suspense - recently named one of the Top 3 Books of 2016 at Read Freely!

SILVER LAKE - A haunting, an old flame, and secrets from the past (a #1 Kindle Bestseller)

GULL HARBOR - A dangerous ghost and an ex-boyfriend await Claire in Cape Cod's Gull Harbor (a #1 Kindle Bestseller)

DIVINE FALL - Romance, Revenge, and a Rogue Fallen Angel (award-winning Young Adult - this one is suitable for ages 13+)

Thursday, December 22, 2016

#HAUNTED SOULS made Top 3 Best #Books 2016! #amreading #amwriting

Earlier in the year, Read Freely, a website that highlights small-press and indie books, invited people to nominate their favorite titles for their annual "The 50 Best Indie Books" contest.  Titles had to meet the requirement of being published either by a small press outside the "Big 5" or be self-published, with a release date in 2016.  When the nominations closed, I was thrilled to hear my romance/ghost story Haunted Souls was one of 100 books to make the Finals round.  Voting then opened up for about three weeks in order to whittle that list down to the Top 50.

An exciting addition this year was the introduction of a cash prize for the Top 3 winners--something most authors would be especially grateful for this time of year!  So with the incentive of the honor of making the list, plus a monetary award, competition was bound to be fierce!  And it was--apparently, over 10,000 votes were cast, according to the site.

I did my best to make sure my readers knew about the contest and had the link information.  Thankfully, I have a Street Team that helps me spread news about my books online, and a number of wonderful friends active on social media who wanted to share the contest information as well. Family members sent emails to those who've read my books. For the past 20 years, I have worked at an all-women's gym, teaching classes, and many of the members have been supporting my writing journey since I began my first manuscript.  In addition, the owner is kind enough to allow me to sell my paperbacks at the gym, and I've done a number of books signings there as well.  Many of the members and employees who read my novels were eager to help by signing up to vote.

I picked up new readers as well along the way, which is one of the great things about these contests--your title lands on the radar of people who haven't heard of your book before as word spreads.  In fact, I found a new fan who took the time to email me about how much she enjoyed my latest novel and compare my work to her favorite romance authors: Julia Kent, Marie Force, Kristan Higgins and Jill Shalvis.  Quite an honor! That made my day.

The contest closed December 16, and the results trickled in day by day, starting with 50-41, then 40-31, etc.  Each day I both wanted to see my cover in the results and didn't want to see it...because if I didn't see it, maybe I made the next highest group.  Last night, before I could even check (okay, before I hit refresh for the hundredth time to see if the final 10 results had been posted), I got a text full of excited emojis from one of my friends, announcing I'd won $200.  If that was true, I knew I'd come in within the Top 3, in second place.  I sprinted to the computer to check, and it was there!  My book had come in at 2nd place in a competition that began with 100 books--very exciting! 


Happy Dance!



Check out the link below to see the Top 10 of Read Freely's 50 Best Indie Books of 2016, and find some new reads for the holidays! Last but not at all least, a HUGE thank you to everyone who voted - we're all busy these days, especially with all the winter holidays, so I very much appreciate your taking the time to support me.  Thanks! xo





Sunday, December 18, 2016

Getting Published~ Featured in Cape Cod article! #amwriting #writingtips

I had a lot of events scheduled throughout the fall, several of which involved appearing with two fellow authors who write for my publisher.  In November, we spoke together as a panel at the monthly "A Book in the Hand" event in Dennis on Cape Cod.  Our presentation was designed to offer advice to aspiring writers on getting published, and we were also able to share our individual stories.  It was a well-attended event, and we fielded many questions from the audience.

Kevin Symmons, Kathryn Knight, and Katie O'Sullivan at
A Book in The Hand
A reporter from the Cape Cod Times was there as well, and she used some of our discussion for her article "So You Want to Get Published", which appeared in the Cape Books section on December 4, 2016.  I was both mentioned and quoted, which was very exciting.  

The link to the article is below for anyone who would like to read it!  As I tell my writing classes, the most important thing is to finish that book...nothing can happen until it's done!  Everyone has a different writing method (mine is slow, with edits made along the way...hence the not surprising major NaNoWriMo fail), but one thing holds true for everyone: the words will not magically appear by themselves.  So, Butt in Chair, Fingers on Key Board is some of the best advice out there.  For more info on the later stages, here is the article:

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Last Days to Vote Best #Indie #Books 2016! #amwriting

"These two are smokin' hot!" ~Romance 4 the Beach Reviews
Each year, Read Freely accepts nominations for the 50 Best Small Press and Indie Books of 2016, and from all the initial nominations, the list is whittled down to 100 titles in 11 categories.  From there, half will make the final 50.  I’m thrilled to announce Haunted Souls made the list in the Romance category!  This is a steamy military romance with a spooky mystery on the side, set on Cape Cod and published by The Wild Rose Press.  I’m hoping visitors to my blog will take a second to vote for my book along with their other choices—you get 2 votes per category—and help small and indie authors gain more visibility for their books!  Voting is easy, and while an email address is required to keep people from voting multiple times, it is very safe.  In fact, you don’t even get an email confirmation, just a page on the site that says “Thank you for voting”.

Best part?  Three voters will receive a $50 Amazon gift card!


This contest closes on December 16, so don't miss your chance to weigh in and also get entered for the gift cards.  I’d so appreciate a vote for Haunted Souls, and the link to the Romance category is here: Read Freely – Romance.  Thank you!


Tuesday, December 6, 2016

#Free Holiday #Recipe Book from the Authors of #TWRP

Every December, my publisher's marketing director takes on an additional challenge - putting together the annual holiday recipe book, a gift for our readers.  The authors vote on a theme, and then contribute recipes within the various categories.  This year's theme is comfort food, and we'd love to share our tried and tested favorites with you!  The electronic version is free, all you need is an account at our online store, which is easy to create if you don't have one yet.  Our categories are listed below, along with the link to get your free recipe book - I hope you enjoy the 2016 Holiday Garden Gourmet!



Categories:

Breakfast
Lunch
Dinner
Soups & Stews
Breads, Biscuits, & Muffins
Salads & Sides
Desserts
Cookies & Bars

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Pick the 50 Best #Books + Win a #Giftcard! #amwriting #amreading

"These two are smokin' hot!" - Romance 4 the Beach
Each year, Read Freely accepts nominations for the 50 Best Small Press and Indie Books of 2016, and from all the initial nominations, the list is whittled down to 100 titles in 11 categories.  I’m thrilled to announce Haunted Souls made the list in the Romance category!  This is a steamy military romance with a spooky mystery on the side, set on Cape Cod and published by The Wild Rose Press.  I’m hoping visitors to my blog will take a second to vote for my book along with their other choices—you get 2 votes per category—and help small and indie authors gain more visibility for their books!  Voting is easy, and while an email address is required to keep people from voting multiple times, it is very safe.  In fact, you don’t even get an email confirmation, just a page on the site that says “Thank you for voting”.

Best part?  Three voters will receive a $50 Amazon gift card!


I’d so appreciate votes for Haunted Souls, and the link to the Romance category is here: Read Freely – Romance.  Thank you!

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Signed #Books for Small Business Saturday! #ShopSmall

The holiday shopping season is upon us, and today is Small Business Saturday.  So I wanted to do a quick post to remind people that I will gladly send out signed and personalized books to give to readers as gifts!  It’s a thoughtful and unique gift that supports small business, and my books have something for everyone—steamy romance, spooky suspense, haunting mysteries, second chances, and the page-turning unraveling of secrets from the past.  Both SILVER LAKE and GULL HARBOR have been #1 Amazon Bestsellers on several occasions, and my Young Adult novel, DIVINE FALL (appropriate for teens), is an award-winning RomCon Reader-Rated pick.  My latest novel, HAUNTED SOULS, combines a military romance with a ghost story in a Cape Cod setting.




I ship for FREE, so if you are interested in purchasing a book, or books, as a gift, please contact me via the form on the tab above.  Payments are arranged via PayPal or Square.  Thanks for visiting!


Monday, November 21, 2016

Ghosts + Romance for #ThanksgivingWeek - #Free #Kindle Book w/ Prime!

A good book, a glass of wine, and a cozy blanket -
my idea of bliss!
Getting ready for the holidays can be exhausting, whether you’re hosting or traveling.  For a lot of people, Thanksgiving marks the beginning of a very hectic time of year.  Getting lost in a good book, even if just for a little while, is always my go-to prescription for relaxation.  Reading is a proven stress-reducer…it forces you to slow down and takes your mind off problems and pressures.  A book that really captures you will transport you for a little while, allowing you to experience emotions along with the characters.

If you’re an Amazon Prime member, there’s a new program you may not know about called Prime Reading.  It allows all Prime members to download selected books for FREE to your Kindle or Kindle App.  And I’m thrilled to say Amazon chose my debut novel, SILVER LAKE, as one of the offerings.  It’s been a #1 Kindle Bestseller on several occasions, and it’s got something for everyone…a mysterious disappearance, a spooky haunting, a reunion among former friends, and a second chance at first love.  Click on the link below to read the blurb and download your copy!  And if you enjoy the story, try some of my other romance/ghost mysteries…GULL HARBOR and HAUNTED SOULS





Happy Reading and Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 18, 2016

Treat Yourself! Cape Cod Events to Help De-Stress #CapeCod #fitness #skincare

I’m participating in two events this weekend designed to help women relax, de-stress, and pamper themselves a bit as we head into the often hectic holiday season.  If you’re on Cape Cod, come by and join the fun!

Cape Cod Skin Care is holding an Open House both Friday and Saturday afternoons this weekend, from 12:00 – 6:00 p.m.  I’ll be signing books there today, Friday, from noon until two, and I’ll leave a few signed books there for purchase as well.  Reading is a proven to reduce stress, so come by and grab some page-turning stories filled with steamy romance and spooky suspense!  And pick up a copy or two for gift-giving—readers love a book signed just for them.  And a signed book makes a good gift to bring for any Yankee Swap or White Elephant events. 

You can also enter the raffle for a special Environ Skin Care kit and take advantage of the sales and specials offered on skincare, make up, and services.  Refreshments will be offered as well.  Cape Cod Skin Care is located on Route 28 in Cotuit, near the intersection with Rt. 130. Address is 4650 Falmouth Road, Cotuit.

This evening, the gym where I work is also holding a Ladies Night Out, from 6:00 – 9:00 p.m.  We’re offering a free Barre Class from 6 – 7, so come try out this new craze in group fitness.  This is a class that is suitable for all levels!  We’ll also have food and wine, a number of raffles, and a chance to socialize.  Our salon has recently re-opened, and to celebrate, we’re offering free polish changes, make overs, and mini-facials.  Several membership promotions will be available for anyone looking to join or renew—exercise is a major stress reliever!  I’ll have books for sale as well, and we’ll have some networking opportunities for members and guests who would like to promote their businesses.  And for the kids, free pizza and movie night in our child care room!  The Fitness Company is located on Rt. 130, near Heritage Park.  Address is 502 Main Street in Mashpee. 



Both events are open to the public – hope to see you there!

Monday, November 14, 2016

"The hero is swoon-worthy" #YA #Angels #Paranormal #Romance #Review

DIVINE FALL, my Young Adult Paranormal Romance, was featured recently on the site YA Insiders, with a fabulous review entitled "Love it!" ~ things that make an author's week!  The entirety of the review is linked here, but a few of my favorite phrases are "perfect blend of fiction and romance", "the hero is swoon-worthy", and "will keep you on the edge of your seat, longing for more".  It was chosen as one of Book Bub's 14 Books to Get You in the Mood for Fall as well, so why not grab your copy today and curl up with a warm drink and cozy blanket for some forbidden love and supernatural secrets?  The best part is still to come...it's only 99 cents on Kindle and Nook...less than a buck!  Happy Reading!

  

Thursday, November 10, 2016

#Author Panel on Cape Cod ~ #CapeCod #amwriting #Barnstable

After a whirlwind of events in October, things have quieted down…a little.  I’m doing NaNoWriMo, also known as “National Novel Writing Month”, which requires devoting a lot of time to writing!  But I’m excited to be speaking this Monday, November 14th, as part of an author panel in Dennis.  I’ll be with two authors who also write for my publisher—Katie O’Sullivan and Kevin Symmons.  The three of us will discuss our “Writer’s Journey” and answer questions about our road to publication.

Katie (center), Kevin (right), and I (left) with a few
readers at another event we did together.


If you’re in the Cape Cod area, please join us on Monday night for this special format of the monthly “A Book in the Hand”, a celebration of the written word held at Jacob Sears Memorial Library, located at 23 Center St., East Dennis.  We’ll all have books to sign, in genres including paranormal romance, contemporary romance, romantic suspense, and young adult.  I’ll have plenty of copies of my latest release, a steamy military romance + ghost mystery entitled HAUNTED SOULS.  Hope to see you there!  


Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Like #Romance? Newsletter Sign-Up + Win a #Giftcard! #giveaway #amreading

Wine and a good book?  Bliss!


I absolutely love to read—it’s my favorite pastime, and a proven stress reducer.  Who doesn’t relish getting lost in an amazing story?  And romance always adds an emotional, heart-tugging component…a chance to experience all those butterflies…the first touches, or the second chances.  But there are so many books out there—how do you find your next read?



A group of authors who write for my publisher—an award-winning press focusing on all genres of romance—are putting together a newsletter to offer readers a look at new releases, sales, and highlights from top picks.  As a bonus to signing up for our quarterly newsletter, Wild Roses & Romance, we’re offering several gift certificate prizes to be raffled off to readers who sign up to receive our email publication!

To enter the raffle and receive updates on new releases and specials in all genres of romance, fill out the form below.  Happy Reading!




Wild Roses & Romance...
Stay in the know!

Friday, November 4, 2016

#NaNoWriMo2016 Inspiration ~ #amwriting #Nanowrimo

The man who moves a mountain begins by carrying away small stones
~ Confucius

Writing a novel is a dream for many, but the entire process can become overwhelming quickly.  Even if you KNOW you can finish a novel, because you've proved it before, sometimes the idea of starting over--moving that mountain--can dissuade even the most prolific authors. It's a big job.

After having three books published within three years, I found myself yearning for a break in 2014.  I figured it would be a good opportunity to spend more time in the real world, but then a story idea hit me, and the idea for my latest release, Haunted Souls, was born.  The initial inspiration came from a ghost tour I went on with my sister in Cape Cod's Barnstable Village, which started and ended at the Old Jail.

I'd never even heard of the Old Jail, and it's truly a historic gem.  It's the oldest wooden jail in the country, actually, and is thought to have been built in 1690, on orders from the Plymouth and Massachusetts Bay Colony Courts.  It's considered actively haunted, and you can read more about it--and the plotline it inspired--in my Old Jail post.

The story grew in my mind, and I managed a few chapters, but I couldn't seem to find much time to dedicate to writing that summer.  Plus, my imagination needed recharging, so in the meantime, I researched what I would need to know about Cape Cod history and my military hero's background to get the details right.

Then it was suddenly October, which is always a busy month for me, as I write about hauntings and other paranormal elements.  So I told myself I would give NaNoWriMo a try, and on Nov. 1st, I opened up that dusty Word document.

It worked!  I don't know if I "won", since I had a few chapters done beforehand, and I didn't finish the manuscript by Nov. 30th, but I did surpass 50,000 words in a month, well on my way to a completed first draft.  The finished product, Haunted Souls, released from my publisher this June.

I fit in as much promotion as I could during another busy Cape Cod summer, and then in was Back-to-School obligations and another Halloween season keeping me away from my keyboard. But I promised I'd get going again on Nov. 1, and here I am, back in NaNoWriMo mode.  So, fellow NaNoWriMo participants, I'm wishing us all good luck...keep moving that mountain, 1,667 words at a time!



Sunday, October 30, 2016

The Origin of #Halloween ~ #Paranormal Postings #Halloween2016




The month of October conjures up images of turning leaves, hayrides, pumpkins, scarecrows, black cats, and of course Halloween decorations.  I love learning about the origin of the holidays we celebrate, so I did a bit of (admittedly rudimentary) research to discover some of the reasons we dress up and try to scare each other on October 31st.

Originally known as All Hallows’ Eve, Halloween is linked to the Celtic festival of Samhain.  This last day of autumn was considered the time of year when the barrier between the paranormal and physical worlds grew thin. 

The Christian holiday of All Saints’ Day (All Hallows) also influenced Halloween.  It was said that the souls awaiting release on November 1st had one last night to extract revenge on their enemies before leaving the earth.  Cautious Christians would disguise themselves with masks to avoid recognition.

The custom of carving pumpkins originated from a Samhain practice of remembering souls with turnip lanterns.  Trick-or-treating can be traced back to “souling”, a medieval practice which involved the poor and hungry travelling door-to-door and offering to pray for the dead in return for food.


My favorite Halloween tradition is visiting haunted houses.  In the town next to ours, a large farm designs an incredibly creepy haunted house each year.  It’s out in the woods, almost pitch black inside, and people are hiding in corners to jump out at you.  There’s no guide, so sometimes a group takes a wrong turn, only to discover a ghoul standing behind them.  I scream the entire time, but it’s fun, because in the back of my head I know it’s not real.


The medium in GULL HARBOR, however, spends her summer in a truly haunted house.  Claire Linden arrives in Gull Harbor ready to take on an aggressive ghost—now that she’s embraced her psychic gift, she’s confident she’ll be able to rid her temporary home of the restless spirit that drove the owners to hire her.  However, she doesn’t expect to encounter Max Baron, the man who promised to love her forever, then abandoned her without an explanation five years ago.  As Claire unravels the truth behind the haunting, Max must share his secret in order to stay close enough to help protect the woman he still loves from a danger that extends beyond the paranormal…


If you like that story, try SILVER LAKE as well...another suspenseful ghost story/mystery with plenty of romance.  Will Rain and Jason get another chance at first love before a desperate spirit tears them apart again...forever?

My latest ghost mystery came out this year, with plenty of steamy romance to counteract any chilling scenes.  HAUNTED SOULS was inspired by a trip to the Old Jail, a historic building on Cape Cod which is considered actively haunted.  And the title has a double meaning, as Brett and Emily each have their own torturous choices and memories to overcome if they have a chance for a future together.

A picture I took of the Old Jail...seriously, what's up in
the top right window?  And in this pic, there's a red flash
in the lower window that isn't in any of my other shots.


Happy Halloween and Happy Haunted Reading!

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Cape Cod's #Haunted Jail ~ #Halloween Bloghop

Happy Halloween!  This is one of my favorite seasons—crisp air, crimson and gold leaves, hayrides and corn mazes, crackling fires, and a celebration of all things spooky.  Halloween, or All Hallow's Eve, links back to the Celtic festival of Samhain, a time when the barrier between the paranormal and physical worlds grows thin.  As a writer of ghost stories, it’s the perfect time for me to find new inspiration.  My latest release, HAUNTED SOULS, was inspired by a ghost tour I went on with my sister in Cape Cod’s Barnstable Village.  This “Haunted Tour” offered a guided walk to haunted places and historical sites, and it started and ended at the Old Jail.

I’d never even heard of the Old Jail, and it’s truly a historic gem.  It’s the oldest wooden jail house in the entire country, actually, and is thought to have been built in 1690, on orders from the Plymouth and MA Bay Colony Courts.  It was in use until the 1800s, and was moved around a bit, eventually attached to a barn.  It was rediscovered in 1968, detached from the barn, and moved next to the Coast Guard museum on 6A.
The structure itself is quite small, containing three cells which held large numbers of people sometimes.  According to our guide, conditions were rough and people had to take turns lying down to sleep when cells were crowded.  As you can imagine, many people died, and the site is considered actively haunted. 


The Old Jail in the evening...seriously, what's in the
top right window?  And a red flash in bottom left.


Goody Hallett, the lover of the infamous pirate Samuel Bellamy, was imprisoned there in 1716, and is said to be one of the ghosts in residence.  If you’re so inclined, you can even pay to spend the night at the Jail.  On our tour, we were shown photographs with shadowy figures taken by volunteers who work in the jail house.  A few of the volunteers shared their stories as well, and one claimed that a ghost had followed them home and engaged in some poltergeist-like activities.  Well, that got my attention right way, and my imagination started churning.  My sister had her little daughter with her, and I started to wonder what would happen if a young child with sensitive abilities took pity on a lost soul, and actually invited a ghost to come home with them.  The initial idea for my fourth novel was born.

Of course, my stories also have a romantic element, and this one has been dubbed my steamiest yet (from a recent review at Romance 4 the Beach: “Hot damn these two are smokin' hot!”)  So there are plenty of steamy scenes to counter the paranormal chills-up-your-spine ghost mystery.  A perfect read for the Halloween season! 


Two of my other novels, SILVER LAKE and GULL HARBOR, are also ghost stories mixed with romance, so as an additional giveaway, one commenter on my blog today will win a signed copy of the paperback of their choice ~ Silver Lake or Gull Harbor!  To enter to win, comment below and be sure to leave an email address or twitter handle so I can contact you if you win, and don’t forget to enter the grand prize Rafflecopter below for a chance to win one of several gift cards!  Thanks for visiting my stop on the Snarkology Halloween Hop and happy haunted reading! Don't forget to follow the hop here for more posts: Hop Landing Page



a Rafflecopter giveaway





Monday, October 24, 2016

The #Haunted Jail ~ #Haunting #Halloween Blog Hop #Rafflecopter #giveaways

Happy Halloween!  This is one of my favorite seasons—crisp air, crimson and gold leaves, hayrides and corn mazes, crackling fires, and a celebration of all things spooky.  Halloween, or All Hallow's Eve, links back to the Celtic festival of Samhain, a time when the barrier between the paranormal and physical worlds grows thin.  As a writer of ghost stories, it’s the perfect time for me to find new inspiration.  My latest release, HAUNTED SOULS, was inspired by a ghost tour I went on with my sister in Cape Cod’s Barnstable Village.  This “Haunted Tour” offered a guided walk to haunted places and historical sites, and it started and ended at the Old Jail.

I’d never even heard of the Old Jail, and it’s truly a historic gem.  It’s the oldest wooden jail house in the entire country, actually, and is thought to have been built in 1690, on orders from the Plymouth and MA Bay Colony Courts.  It was in use until the 1800s, and was moved around a bit, eventually attached to a barn.  It was rediscovered in 1968, detached from the barn, and moved next to the Coast Guard museum on 6A.
The structure itself is quite small, containing three cells which held large numbers of people sometimes.  According to our guide, conditions were rough and people had to take turns lying down to sleep when cells were crowded.  As you can imagine, many people died, and the site is considered actively haunted. 


I took this one evening as I was passing by.  Seriously,
what's in the top right window?  Also, there's a red flash
in the middle of the bottom left window.  There are
no lights or electricity in there.

Goody Hallett, the lover of the infamous pirate Samuel Bellamy, was imprisoned there in 1716, and is said to be one of the ghosts in residence.  If you’re so inclined, you can even pay to spend the night at the Jail.  On our tour, we were shown photographs with shadowy figures taken by volunteers who work in the jail house.  A few of the volunteers shared their stories as well, and one claimed that a ghost had followed them home and engaged in some poltergeist-like activities.  Well, that got my attention right way, and my imagination started churning.  My sister had her little daughter with her, and I started to wonder what would happen if a young child with sensitive abilities took pity on a lost soul, and actually invited a ghost to come home with them.  The initial idea for my fourth novel was born.

Of course, my stories also have a romantic element, and this one has been dubbed my steamiest yet (from a recent review at Romance 4 the Beach: “Hot damn these two are smokin' hot!”)  So there are plenty of steamy scenes to counter the paranormal chills-up-your-spine ghost mystery.  A perfect read for the Halloween season! 


Two of my other novels, SILVER LAKE and GULL HARBOR, are also ghost stories mixed with romance, so as an additional giveaway, one commenter on my blog today will win a signed copy of the paperback of their choice ~ Silver Lake or Gull Harbor!  To enter to win, comment below and be sure to leave an email address or twitter handle so I can contact you if you win, and don’t forget to enter the grand prize rafflecopter below for a chance to win the Grand Prize giftcard.  Thanks for visiting my stop on the Haunting Halloween tour and happy haunted reading! 





a Rafflecopter giveaway


FOLLOW THE HOP!

1.Casi McLean ~ A Haunting Halloween2.Anna Durand ~ Spunk & Hunks
3.Claire Gem4.Tena Stetler ~ Colorado Hauntings
5.Sorchia DuBois6.Tricia Schneider
7.J. Rose Allister8.Nell Castle
9.Jana Richards10.Linda Nightingale ~ Wordsmith
11.Kayden Claremont ~ Tartan Temptation12.Holland Rae
13.K.K. Weil14.Peggy Jaeger
15.Maureen Bonatch16.Jeannie Hall
17.Beth Caudill18.Mary Morgan
19.Karen Michelle Nutt20.Hywela Lyn ~ Romance That's 'Out Of This World'
21.Whitney Cannavina22.Devon McKay
23.Starr Gardinier24.Erin Bevan
25.Nancy S Reece26.Kathryn Knight ~The Haunted Jail Haunting Halloween
27.Judy Davis ~ A Writer's Revelations28.Katie O'Sullivan
29.Darlene Fredette30.Alicia Dean
31.Lisa DeVore