Sunday, April 23, 2017

My Sick Kitty :( #cats #pets #cat emergency

Jinx (sitting) and Max (lying down)
Writing is my outlet, and it often helps me to deal with emotional situations.  So instead of the happy post I thought I'd be writing today, detailing our recent trip to Punta Cana, instead I'm sharing my anxiety over finding my cat extremely ill this morning, and then having to leave him at the Emergency Animal Hospital, in the hopes organizing my thoughts will help calm me down.

First off, I'm blaming myself, because the stress of being left with an unfamiliar pet sitter may have led to this, according to the vet.  But it's unrealistic to never take a family vacation, and we've certainly gone away before in the two years since we adopted a pair of brothers named Max and Jinx.  This isn't the first time we've had someone stay at the house, either, since we also have a high-maintenance (read: timid/fear-aggressive/high energy part-border collie) rescue dog.  But this time, I guess a combination of factors led to Max's illness, which has been diagnosed as FLUID, Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease.

We arrived home late Friday night, around midnight, and the cats seemed fine...although I didn't spend a lot of time with them since I was exhausted. The next morning all seemed basically okay, and the cats were excited to go out in the yard for the first time in a week, since the pet sitter did not want to let them outside while she was responsible (understandable...I wish the two cats were happy indoors all the time, but they are not, and we compromise by allowing them out for a few hours a day.  Somehow this actually works and they don't go far).

But when Max came in, he didn't want any food, which is very unusual. Both of them usually eat quite a bit.  As the night wore on, I noticed he still wasn't eating much, although with two cats, it's sometimes hard to tell who is doing what--especially in terms of litter box activity.  But Max did let out a few plaintive meows, when normally he's much less vocal than his brother.

In the morning, I couldn't find him, and my husband just assumed he was sleeping in one of our sons' rooms.  But at that point I had pet-mom's intuition, and I absolutely knew something wasn't right.  I raced around the house, looking in all the regular hiding spots, terrified I would find a worst-case scenario.  I finally found him someplace he never is, lying against a wall behind a table in the basement, and when I touched his abdomen, he mewled in pain.

Of course this would happen on a Sunday, when our beloved regular vet is not in, so I raced Max to the closest 24-hour Animal Hospital, which was still a half-hour away.  It was $500 to even get in the door, but my gut was telling me this was an emergency, and I was right.  I told the front desk I felt like he might have a bladder infection, since I remember one of our childhood cats having similar symptoms.  They said that absolutely is an emergency and whisked him away.  But it was even more serious than an infection--he had a complete blockage, which meant he was unable to urinate at all.  Left untreated, he would die.

The first line of treatment was to prepare him to be catheterized, so they sedated him and also administered medication for the pain.  I was able to see him after that, and he appeared very calm for a cat who is usually quite skittish.  But I think he knew he was getting help, and certainly the drugs already flowing into his legs were helping.  I gave him a kiss and said goodbye.

Max and Jinx - Jinx and I and the rest of the family
can't wait for him to get home

The vet will work to eliminate the blockage and drain his bladder tonight, while also checking blood work and urine for infections.  Best case scenario is that Max will be able to urinate on his own tomorrow, after the catheter is removed, and I can bring him home in the afternoon.  A diet change may help to keep this from happening again, but apparently he will always be susceptible.

I don't want to think about anything beyond best case right now, but worst-case involves kidney damage, which would be awful.  From the initial tests, his levels are off-the-charts (bad), but that could come down with time if there's no permanent damage.  I also can't think about the already enormous bill, because I love my pets and there's no question I have to do whatever I can to help him, even if it causes some hardship in other areas for a while.

So all I can do at the moment is wait to hear, and say some prayers, and ask for prayers or good thoughts from anyone stopping by.  I'll post updates at the bottom once I get any.  And now I'm off to scour the internet for more information and the best ways to keep this from happening again.  Thanks for any healing prayers you can send!  

Friday, April 14, 2017

Why #EasterSunday Moves Around ~ #Easter #EasterWeekend

I enjoy learning about the reasons behind traditions and beliefs...for example, I've done popular posts on Why 13 is Considered UnluckyThe Origin of Halloween, and Why People Fear Black Cats.  As you may notice, these topics have a common element--the paranormal--one of my favorite subjects, as well as the inspiration for my novels.  My two #1 Kindle Bestsellers, SILVER LAKE and GULL HARBOR, as well as my new release, HAUNTED SOULS, combine steamy romance with spooky hauntings.

My Young Adult novel, DIVINE FALL, is a little different.  When my children were younger, I taught Sunday School, and a passage from the Book of Genesis inspired a new supernatural idea.  Divine Fall is the story of the only surviving Nephilim--the offspring of heavenly angels and human women who roamed the earth before the Great Flood.  

As a Sunday School teacher, I was asked unusual questions, which I didn't always have the answer to.  Kids are unbelievably insightful sometimes.  Why, they wondered, was Christmas always December 25th, while Easter moved around?  Excellent question...and not a particularly easy one.

According to documents from the 3rd and 4th centuries, Christians relied on their Jewish neighbors to determine the week of the Unleavened Bread; the Sunday that fell within that week would be Easter.  Following the First Council of Nicaea in 325 AD, the date of Easter was separated from the Jewish calendar and its computations for Passover.

Since then, Easter Day is always the Sunday after the full moon that occurs on or after the Northern spring equinox, which is based on an ancient ecclesiastical computation, and does not correspond to the astronomical equinox.  The church defines the spring, or vernal, equinox as falling on March 21st.  Easter falls on the Sunday following the first full moon after the equinox.  This full moon will occur somewhere between March 21st and April 18th, inclusive.  Therefore, Easter cannot be earlier than March 22nd or later than April 25th.  In 2008, Easter was particularly early, falling on March 23rd.  That hadn't happened since 1913, and will not happen again until 2160.

Of course, there are handy tables available to find the date.  But those tables are derived from something called "The Golden Number" and "The Sunday Letter".  The Golden Number is computed by taking the year, dividing it by 19, and adding 1 to the remainder.  For example, 2014 divided by 19 gives 106, with a remainder of 0. Adding 1 to the remainder gives a golden number of 1.  Finding the Sunday Letter involves determining the first Sunday of the year, with the choices ranging from A through G.  For example, if the first Sunday in January falls on the 1st, that year is an "A" year.

There are more computations, explanations, and nuances surrounding leap years, but for the purposes of the kids in my class, my summation was enough to explain the phenomenon.  The short answer, really, is that Easter moves around from year to year in order to maintain the connection between the astronomical events (the phase of the moon and the season) which would have occurred during the Resurrection and the annual date on which we celebrate this holiday.

Whatever spring holiday or event you celebrate, I hope it's filled with family and happiness.  Take some time to enjoy nature's resurrection--the new life, strengthening sun, and longer days that characterize this season.  And if the Easter bunny visits (that's a whole 'nother post for next Easter maybe?), remind him to put some paranormal romance reads in your basket!

SILVER LAKE ~ A haunting, an old flame, 
and secrets from the past

GULL HARBOR ~ A dangerous ghost and an ex-boyfriend await psychic Claire Linden in Cape Cod's Gull Harbor

DIVINE FALL ~ Revenge, Romance, and 
a Rogue Fallen Angel (YA Paranormal Romance)

HAUNTED SOULS ~ A damaged soldier, a secret baby,
and a haunting mystery
Easter moves around from year to year in order to preserve its relationship to the astronomical phenomena (i.e., the season of the year and the phase of the moon) that would have occurred at the time of the resurrection (traditionally reckoned as having taken place in 30 A.D.).

Easter moves around from year to year in order to preserve its relationship to the astronomical phenomena (i.e., the season of the year and the phase of the moon) that would have occurred at the time of the resurrection (traditionally reckoned as having taken place in 30 A.D.).

Easter moves around from year to year in order to preserve its relationship to the astronomical phenomena (i.e., the season of the year and the phase of the moon) that would have occurred at the time of the resurrection (traditionally reckoned as having taken place in 30 A.D.).


Tuesday, April 11, 2017

#HAUNTED SOULS in Cape Cod Times #Books Page! #CapeCod #ghosts #romance

Although I see a great deal of national news online, since I'm on the computer so much, I do still really enjoy reading the paper--the actual physical paper that gets delivered--to get more information about what's going on in my corner of the world.  I'm so busy, though, that I probably do it backwards...instead of reading the paper with my coffee first thing in the morning, I usually sit down with it at night, usually with my glass of wine and one or both cats vying for attention.

Sometimes, the cats win, and I can't get to actually reading the paper because they're lying on it in my lap.  Or, exhaustion wins out, and nod off before I can get through the whole thing.  So I do get behind.  And I had not read Sunday's edition of The Cape Cod Times by Monday morning.

So I arrived at the gym where I work to teach a class, and one of the members says, "Good morning, famous person."  Having no idea what she was referring to, I just smiled and said "I wish!"  She then elaborated, telling me my most recent book had been featured in the Books section of the Sunday Cape Cod Times.  Exciting!  Once I got inside, I discovered a few of my ladies had brought in their copies for me as well, so I was able to read the write-up right away.

A number of books by local authors were featured in the article, entitled "Spring Crop: Still Too Cold for the Beach?  Read A Book About the Beach and More".  My latest release, Haunted Souls, a steamy romance/ghost mystery set on Cape Cod, was one of the books mentioned.  The cover was there in color, along with a nice summary and a mention of one of my other novels set on the Cape, Gull Harbor.

And in one more "small world" type of twist, the book underneath mine in the article was written by an author who also writes for my publisher, and I had featured her book on my blog a while back.  They are not only connected by the publisher, but also by a Cape Cod setting, a paranormal plot element, and even a local historical building as a setting: The Old (Haunted) Jail!

What a wonderful surprise for a Monday morning.  I snapped the above pictures of the print edition and have linked the online article below as well, for anyone looking for some Cape-themed reads!  And if you have a Kindle, Haunted Souls is on sale until Thursday night for 99c!  (Amazon link on the blue title directly above)  Thanks for stopping by and happy reading :)

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

#CapeCod Event - #Fitness, #Beauty, #Psychic Readings, + Shopping! #Mashpee

I'll be participating in a fun Ladies' Night Out coming up on Friday, in Mashpee on Cape Cod, and it's open to all!  I get to combine a bunch of my favorite things: fitness, makeovers, shopping, healthy delicious food, talking to psychic mediums, and socializing with wonderful women, all for a good cause!  I'll be mixing my two jobs (and passions): signing copies of my novels for readers, and also representing the fitness club where I work, which is hosting the event.  If you're in the area, come on by -- it's open to the public, and you can shop local vendors, get a makeover, take a class if you'd like, and sign up for a $20 reading with one of the two mediums booked for the event - they can explore your future with tarot cards or try to connect with your past by channeling spirits!  As someone who writes ghost stories, I've met with several psychics, and almost every time, I've received messages that were so accurate they gave me goosebumps.  I got to speak at length to several psychics when I was doing research for one of my books, Gull Harbor, as the main character is a psychic newly embracing her gift, and one of the mediums was actually distracted speaking to me, telling me spirits of loved ones had something to say. The things he passed along (at no charge) had me 100% convinced some people can connect this world with the next.

If you're interested in joining us for this event, it's at The Fitness Company for Women, 502 Main Street (Rt. 130) in Mashpee, on Friday, April 7th, from 5 pm - 9 pm.  Appointments with the psychics can be made starting at 5 pm.  Beauty appointments, such as makeovers, polish changes, and mini facials, will be first come, first serve.  Our popular "Fit Rev" group fitness clinic will be offered from 5 pm to 6 pm, and a barre class will be offered from 6 pm to 7 pm.  Local vendors will have tables set up for shopping, and I'll have all my novels available for sale and signing (personalized books make great gifts - Mother's Day is coming!).  Healthy food will be provided, and free child care is available.  

While we've done nights like this before, the goal for this one is to celebrate the lives of two members who passed away suddenly and unexpectedly last month, and hopefully raise money to donate to their families.  Vendors and psychics will be donating part of their proceeds, and we'll have other fun offerings like raffles for donated items to help raise money as well.

You can find the FB event page below as well as a list of some of the vendors.  Hope to see you there!

Fit N DLite Healthy Meal Prep
Limelight By Alcone Makeup and Skin Care
Cape Cod Nail Company
Wampanoag Shells
Achieve More Fitness Apparel
Partylite Candles
Author Kathryn Knight Book Signing
And more!

Entertainment provided by Shelby Donovan

Free Child Care will be provided.

We will be offering raffles, giveaways and lots of membership and salon promotions!

Monday, April 3, 2017

Final Days #99c Sale! #Romance + #Ghosts #Kindle

** Final days! **  

My publisher has put my latest release on sale, which means the ebook format is available for less than a latte...but the price will be changing back soon, so download your copy now if you want to take advantage of the deal!  

Four years ago, Emily Shea and Staff Sergeant Brett Leeds agreed to part with no strings attached. Sparks flew during their brief affair, but fate intervened, sending Brett overseas. When an unexpected pregnancy derailed Emily’s own plans, her attempts to locate Brett were soon overwhelmed by the challenges of single motherhood. Now, Brett has returned home, and Emily is forced to share her secret.

Despite feeling betrayed, Brett is determined to forge a relationship with their son, Tyler. As the former lovers battle both their inner demons and their mutual desire, another presence enters their lives—Tyler’s imaginary friend.

Soon, however, the chilling evidence points to a different conclusion: a ghost has formed a dangerous connection with their son. Emily’s attempts to help both a lost soul and a friend in need spiral toward a deadly confrontation, and Brett must race to save Emily before he loses her again—forever.

HAUNTED SOULS, a hot military romance mixed with a ghost mystery, is marked down from the usual price of $5.99 to only .99 cents!  An excellent deal for hours of entertainment, so grab your copy today and escape to Cape Cod for steamy romance plus spooky suspense.  A perfect weekend read! Links below:

Haunted Souls was voted one of the Top 3 Books of 2016 at Read Freely!

Thursday, March 30, 2017

A #Supernatural Binge - How was I not watching this?

Admittedly, I don't watch all that much TV, because I often just don't have the time (or patience) to get into a new show.  Reading is my #1 favorite pastime, and then I have to find time to write, then there are the other part-time jobs and of course family members and pets who want attention.  But I do have some favorite shows that I always make time for (or at least time to DVR episodes for later), and they usually involve the things I like best: some romance, hot heroes, some paranormal elements or magic, and plenty of conflict and tension.  I've blogged about several that fit the bill:  Outlander, Vikings, Game of Thrones, The Vampire Diaries, Reign, etc.  In addition, I'm a big fan of spooky movies.

So when a friend recently found out I didn't watch Supernatural, she couldn't believe it.  She had just recently begun watching it, and she suggested I do the same, but I resisted at first.  Too busy to try another show, I decided.  But she convinced me (and made me laugh) by telling me that it was like a "show designed specifically for me".  She went on to say that if a group of writers got together and said, "Okay, how can make the perfect show for this woman who loves hot guys, ghosts, Nephilim, demons, and other paranormal mysteries?", the result would be something like this show.  How could I resist that pitch?

Jensen Ackles as Dean Winchester

Well, she was right.  I love it.  I'm only on the first season, but Dean Winchester already has my heart.  (I also enjoyed the actor, Jensen Ackles, on Days of Our Lives, but Dean is a much better character than Eric, even if he was a Brady!)  Don't get me wrong, Sam's cute as well...but I'm definitely Team Dean.  Aside from just looks, I absolutely love the actor's facial expressions and the character's personality.

So far the early part of the show has been heavy on ghosts and spirits, which is absolutely my thing, and I'm enjoying the chemistry between the brothers as they begin to work together to find their father.  There's some strong motivation for what they're doing (which is important to me as a writer), since their mother and then Jessica were killed by an evil entity.  In addition, they want to find their father and battle any evil they encounter along the way (take up the family business of "hunting").

Two hot hunters!  Dean and Sam Winchester

I especially enjoyed the "Dead in the Water" episode, as the entire premise followed a theme I often use in my novels: a desperate spirit, unable to rest, seeking...something.  I won't say what here, to avoid spoilers.  But the ghost has motivation as well, as opposed to just haunting/killing for no reason beyond a creepy plot device.

In a few other funny coincidences, the hero of my current manuscript is named Dean.  And I also remembered another tie I have to the show when I began watching...when writing Divine Fall, my Young Adult paranormal romance, I had to come up with some rules about angels and Nephilim (half-angels, half-humans), and my "research" led me to a post about an episode of Supernatural. That post led me to seek more information on an ancient perfume used by Egyptians that supposedly could kill an angel, and eventually the substance, qeres, became part of my plot.  So I look forward to a future episode where Dean and Sam tackle some bad angels (I think it's S4), and to 11 more seasons of my new favorite show!

Friday, March 24, 2017

#99c #SALE! Hot #Romance + #Haunting Mystery #FridayReads #Kindledeals

Short and sweet post today ~ my publisher has put my latest release on sale, which means the ebook format is available for less than a latte!  HAUNTED SOULS, a hot military romance mixed with a ghost mystery, is marked down from the usual price of $5.99 to only .99 cents!  An excellent deal for hours of entertainment, so grab your copy today and escape to Cape Cod for steamy romance plus spooky suspense.  A perfect weekend read!  Links below:

Haunted Souls was voted one of the Top 3 Books of 2016 at Read Freely!

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Exploring #Falmouth Cape Cod #CapeCod #Travel

I've lived on beautiful Cape Cod for nearly 20 years now, and I'm still discovering the rich history, diverse geography, and breathtaking beauty of the 15 towns of the Cape, as well as the nearby islands.  I've done a few posts on My Favorite Spots on Cape Cod, Haunted History of Barnstable, Visiting Cuttyhunk Island, and A Whirlwind Tour of Cape Cod, and while a few Falmouth locations are mentioned (Coonamessett Farm, the Shining Sea Bike Trail, and the Woods Hole Aquarium), I've never done a post specifically on Falmouth, a neighboring town I'm in at least once a week, if not more.  And while it's easy to miss discovering the amazing sites in our own figurative backyards, due to...well, life...I got a chance to explore Falmouth's history with my son as I drove him around to take pictures for a high school geography project.  I've driven by many of these places for years without knowing much about them, and I'm excited about all I learned on our trip!  So I'm sharing some of the town's fascinating history below.

A tip of Washburn Island in the background - we had quite
an experience camping there one night - very rustic!
We stopped first at the Waquoit Bay Natural Estuarine Research Reserve, which is both a Massachusetts State park and a center for education and research.  From there, we took pictures across Waquoit Bay of Washburn Island, an important part of the Reserve only accessible by private boat.  Washburn Island is one of the few large undeveloped coastal areas on the Cape, although it does feature a few rustic campsites which nature lovers may reserve in advance.  During WWII, the island served as an Army camp, and remnants of the abandoned base can still be found.  In addition, Native American artifacts dating between 450-1000 years ago have been found on the island as well.  

An example of a Wampanoag wetu
at the Waquoit Bay Reserve

Bay View Cemetery along Rt. 28
Following one of the trails along the water leads over to the old Bay View Cemetery, which I, as a writer of ghost stories, obviously found fascinating.  Many of the graves dated back to the 1800s.

From there, we got back in the car and drove to downtown Falmouth to the historic Village Green off Main Street (Rt. 28). This area has served as the town center since 1756, and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  A few pictures from our walk around the Green are below; of particular note is the home of Katharine Lee Bates, the author of "America the Beautiful".

The home of Katharine Lee Bates, built in 1820.
Katharine was born in the house is 1859.

First Congregational Church, circa 1796;
contains a bell manufactured by Paul Revere.

Oldest home on the Falmouth Village Green - 1790
Dr. Francis Wick's house - Federal style

From Falmouth's historic district, it's a short drive down to Woods Hole, located in the southwest corner of the Cape.  There is a great deal to see here in terms of history and geography, including many famous marine science organizations, a Coast Guard station, and the Nobska light house, pictured below.  I've actually been up to the top, as we were at a Coast Guard dinner at the house years ago.

Nobska Lighthouse, 1828.  The house is used by the
commander of US Coast Guard Group Woods Hole,
now renamed CG Sector Southeastern New England.

While we couldn't visit every point of interest in Falmouth in the time we had, we did hit a few more...Highfield Hall and Gardens, Beebe Woods, cranberry bogs, Old Silver Beach - there's so much to see in the Cape's second-largest town.  And, as a post-script, my son received an A on the Falmouth project - 100% - and we both learned a lot along the way.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

History of #StPatrick #StPatricksDay #StPatricksWeekend

I love learning more about the meaning of our holidays and traditions--I've done posts on Celebrating New Year's DaySt. Nick and Santa Claus, the Origin of Halloween, and Finding Easter's Date.  This year, St. Patrick's Day is taking on a little more meaning, because I recently got my DNA results back from 23andMe (an awesome birthday gift from my hubby) and I discovered I have a lot more Irish blood in me than I thought!  I did know I had a Sullivan on my father's side of the family a few generations back, but the results say I'm 61% British and Irish.  I've always enjoyed taking part in the holiday fun--wearing green, drinking beer, and serving a traditional Irish meal. You'll notice I said "serving", not "cooking" is not one of my strengths; however, writing is.  So rather than offering a recipe, I'm dedicating this blog post to some facts about St. Patrick and his holiday.

As a teenager, Patrick was captured by Irish pirates and taken from his home country of Great Britain to Ireland as a slave.  A rough start, for sure, but although he escaped after six years and returned home, eventually he went back to Ireland as a cleric.  The exact dates of his life are uncertain, but it is generally agreed that Patrick was an active missionary in Ireland during the second half of the 5th century.  He was also an ordained Bishop and eventually became the primary patron saint of Ireland.  St. Patrick's Day became an official Christian Feast Day in the early 17th century, observed on March 17th, the date of Patrick's death.

The day not only commemorates St. Patrick and the arrival of Christianity in Ireland, it also celebrates Irish culture and heritage. There are parades and festivals to mark the occasion, as well as religious services.  Because the church lifts Lenten restrictions for the day, drinking alcohol has become a custom associated with St. Patrick's Day.

The shamrock as a symbol comes from legends involving St. Patrick using the three-leafed plant to describe the Holy Trinity--the concept of three persons in one God. Obviously, shamrocks are green, but the phrase "The Wearing of the Green" comes from an Irish ballad of the same name.  The song refers to the persecution of those who supported the 1798 rebellion against British rule. The lyrics state, "They are hanging men and women for the wearing of the green" - the color adopted by the revolutionary United Irishmen.

Some stories credit St. Patrick with driving all the snakes from Ireland; however, all scientific evidence suggests no snakes ever existed on the Emerald Isle to begin with.  Another legend related to a serpent involves St. Patrick killing a large serpent in a lake, thus turning the water red with blood and creating the name "Red Lake" or Lough Derg.  It is said that God showed St. Patrick a cave or pit on an island in the lake, revealing the spot as an entrance to Purgatory.  St. Patrick's Purgatory is now an ancient pilgrimage site which still draws pilgrims annually.

Upon his death, the struggle over possession of the saintly corpse gave rise to the Battle for the Body of St. Patrick (according to the Annals of the Four Masters - chronicles of medieval Irish history).  He is said to be buried along with St. Brigid and St. Columbia at Down Cathedral in Downpatrick, County Down, but this has never been proven.

I've never been lucky enough to visit Ireland, although I did get to London and Paris last year.  But it's absolutely on my list of places I desperately want to see--a trip there conjures up images of ancient castles, mystical stone circles, and lush, rolling countrysides.  In fact, it sounds like the perfect setting for a novel! One of my favorite Nora Roberts' trilogies (Irish Jewels) is set in Ireland: Jewels of the Sun, Tears of the Moon, and Heart of the Sea.  The romance is flavored with Irish folklore and intriguing myths.  While my novels are all set in the States, they also contain haunting if you like a little spooky suspense with steamy romance, give one of them a try...a good book goes well with a slice of soda bread and an Irish coffee :) Links are all along the top tabs or with the book covers along the right side column. Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Friday, March 10, 2017

#Giveaway! #Ghosts + #Romance HAUNTED SOULS #FridayReads

An ebook copy of HAUNTED SOULS is up for grabs over at The Romance Review site - you can enter to win from March 10 - 12, all you need to do is put in your email (which will be kept private), so hurry! (There are 7 other contests running too, so you can check out all the books and sets being offered!) 

If you enjoy romance, you can also participate in their 6th Anniversary Party, which is going on all month.  You have to register to play the games, but it's free and easy.  There are slews of prizes, from ebooks to paperbacks to swag, with a $50 Amazon gift card grand prize.  

Here's the link for the contest to enter to win Haunted Souls, and the link to the party fun.  Good luck if you enter/play!

A damaged soldier, a secret baby, and a haunting mystery collide in
Haunted Souls ~ Steamy Romance + Spooky Suspense

Thursday, March 2, 2017

#Psychic Fair in #Mashpee Cape Cod #CapeCod

I'll be signing books again this year at the annual Psychic and Health Fair sponsored by the Mashpee Boosters!  This is a great opportunity to connect with those who have passed on or explore your future for a discounted fee.  Private readings are offered with a variety of mediums, tarot readers, and psychics, plus local vendors will have tables set up for shopping - that's where you can find me and my paranormal romantic suspense novels!  Many of my books incorporate a ghost mystery or haunting, and are set on Cape Cod, so this event is a great fit for me.  In fact, the main character in Gull Harbor is a psychic herself...and when her job brings her to a sleepy little town on Cape Cod, she not only encounters a dangerous ghost, but also the man who promised to love her forever, then disappeared without a hint of an explanation five years prior.

Check out Gull Harbor ~ a #1 Amazon Bestseller!
A dangerous ghost and an ex-boyfriend await Claire
in Cape Cod's Gull Harbor...
Steamy Romance + Spooky Suspense = a page-turning read!

The 10th annual Psychic and Health Fair will be held on Saturday, March 4th from 10am to 4pm at KC Coombs Elementary, at 152 Old Barnstable Road (near the Commons) in Mashpee.  Come connect with the past and/or explore the future, shop locally, find a new read, and help our post-prom committee raise funds to keep kids safe on prom night.  Admission is $2.00, private readings are extra and you make an appointment(s) with the reader or psychic of your choice. Many people arrive early to book their appointments in order to get the slots they want, so arrive early if you have a specific reader you'd like to sit with!  Please find the list below - hope to see you there if you're in the Cape Cod area!

Featuring mediums, tarot readers, psychics and an assortment of vendors. (see list below)

Proceeds benefit Mashpee Boosters’ Post Prom Committee providing a safe, alcohol-free environment for students.

Readers at this year's event:

Patricia Mellman Medium, Astrologer, Tarot
Nancy Foley Astrology, Tarot
Tom Foley Tarot
Myrna Westgate Medium, Tarot
Doreen Tripp Angel Card Readings & messages
Sharon Ferraro Medium
Dotty Repoza Medium
Laurie Leehan Medium & Tarot
Judy Ramos Medium & Cards
Marlene Panish Medium
Mary Lee Medium
Joan Downes Tarot & Medium
Maureen Brown Medium

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

#Romance Reviews Party~ #Amazon #giftcard Prize! #TRRParty

I'm one of 350 authors helping to celebrate The Romance Reviews 6th Anniversary Party, and the fun begins March 1st and lasts through the month.  There are more than 300 books being given away, and the grand prize is a $50 Amazon gift card.  Plus, along the way, you'll discover fabulous authors and new reads as you participate in the games.

It's free to create an account, so head over and join the party here:  The Romance Reviews.  All genres of romance will be represented, including my mix of ghost mystery/romance ("paranormal romantic suspense"), with plenty of prizes along the way...good luck!

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

#Books + #Movies That Scared Me #Horror #Suspense

I read all genres, with horror and psychological thrillers being a few of my favorites, but not many fictional things actually succeed in scaring me, as far as books and movies go (although someone in my family walking into a room unexpectedly will almost always result in my screaming and jumping—but that’s an entirely different story having to do with how tightly I’m wound these days).  While many people avoid scary stuff like the plague, I love it…I think it has something to do with the thrill of a heart-pounding adrenaline rush accompanied by the comforting fact that on some level, I know I’m actually safe, sitting on the couch reading or watching.  So I read plenty of horror, paranormal, and suspense, and I love watching scary flicks (find a list of my favorite ghost movies here) although I prefer supernatural and psychological horror over the kind that feature gore or torture.  So for fellow adrenaline junkies, here’s a list of three movies and two books that did truly scare me.  Any spoilers will follow a “Spoiler Alert” sentence, so you can safely stop reading about something you want to try for yourself.  I’d hate to ruin any future scares!

Movie:  The Exorcist.  I can’t imagine it would be possible to spoil anyone regarding the plot of this movie (based on the book by William Peter Blatty), since it was released in 1973 and also, if you’re reading this, you probably like scary things and have certainly watched it.  Even though the film is a bit dated, it’s still one of the scariest things I’ve ever seen.  When I saw it as a child (on TV—not sure who approved that—some solid parenting there lol), I related more to the viewpoint of the child, Regan.  Could something like that happen to me?  And if it did, would I be subjected to those giant needles and painful tests?  Would a demon turn my head around and write on my skin from the inside out?  Those scenes struck a visceral chord with me.  As an adult, my fear stems more from the mother’s point of view—talk about a nightmare situation.  An evil entity taking over your child?  It’s not hard to imagine the horrifying helplessness a parent would experience, watching a demon not only possess but also injure his or her child. 

Probably the most chilling thing about The Exorcist is that the book was based on an actual incident which occurred in Maryland, not far from where I grew up.  And then there were the frightening real-life events surrounding the making of the movie which led people to wonder if portraying a demonic possession actually conjured up some evil forces – more on the “Curse of The Exorcist” in this post

Book:  Pet Sematary.  I read a lot of Stephen King, and this is the book King calls the most frightening he has ever written.  That should tell you something right there.  I can’t speak regarding the movie, as I haven’t seen it, but I clearly remember reading the book even though it was years and years ago, when I was a teenager.  And I remember so vividly for two reasons: (1) I stayed up until 3 a.m. reading to finish it, and it was a school night.  And (2) I spent the rest of the night (early morning, actually) scared out of mind, waiting for **!!spoiler alert, stop reading here if you haven’t read the book or seen the movie and have plans to now** …a shambling, undead, murderous toddler wielding a scalpel.  No wonder King found the manuscript so horrifying he almost didn’t finish it!  Very few books have affected me like that, and for the rest of the night, my lights stayed on and every creak in our old home had me watching the bedroom doorknob, waiting for it to slowly open.

Book:  Red Dragon.  The precursor to Silence of the Lambs, also by Thomas Harris.  This is likely to sound twisted, but this book was actually recommended to me by my father, who instilled a love of reading in me early and knew that like himself, I enjoyed a good adrenaline jolt as long as it was fictional.  I was probably about 14 or 15 when he asked if I’d read it, and he then told me it was the scariest book he’d ever read.  Obviously I had to run out and get it.  This is the book in which Harris introduces the now-iconic Dr. Hannibal Lector character.  But the more terrifying aspect of the book was the psychotic serial killer nicknamed “The Tooth Fairy” by the press.  More specifically, it was not only what he did to the families he murdered, but how he got inside their homes, and especially how he chose his victims.  **!!Spoiler alert ahead, I can’t remember when this is revealed in the book, but best to stop reading now if you don’t know**…As it turned out, the killer had a job developing film and movies, and he used this visual information to select families and learn layouts of the houses.  So, yeah, this scared me so much, I actually stopped having my pictures developed for a while, which was a major inconvenience.  When a fictional character makes you change your behavior, you know that book has made an impression!

Movie:  Jaws.  Based on the book by Peter Benchley, this movie released in 1975, so of course, the special effects aren’t really appreciated by younger generations.  Still, the fear of being grabbed and eaten alive by something unseen, under the water, is pretty much universal, so that alone is enough to seriously frighten most people.  And then there’s the way it was filmed, often from the shark’s point of view as it honed in on its victims, along with the terrifying score that accompanied the hunt.  Part of the horror is the randomness of the attacks—it can and does happen to kids and teens as well as adults in this movie—and it often happens right out in the bright sunshine, at a beautiful place usually associated with relaxation and family fun.  

This movie was filmed on Martha’s Vineyard, very close to where I live now, so if you’d like to see some of my photos of iconic movie spots, that post can be found here.  And I have to say, this movie is even scarier to me now, because Great White Sharks have become very commonplace off the Cape Cod shores since the seal population became protected and then exploded.  The last time I went Full Moon Paddling (a once-a-month nighttime kayak expedition I sometimes do), we were out in open water and something hit against the bottom of my kayak, setting me off balance for a moment with a hollow thump.  I’m sure, now, that it was just a sandbar, but at the time, in the almost complete darkness, my heart nearly exploded and I was certain I was about to be an evening snack.  So while I enjoy the nighttime paddles, I’m sticking to the lake and pond excursions for now.  Thanks, Jaws.

Movie:  The Blair Witch Project.  First of all, another horror film set near where I grew up—Burkittsville, Maryland, not far from where I spent a lot of time at our friends’ farm and where I set one of my own books.  So already, the proximity alone creeped me out.  But the even bigger part was that this movie was promoted as being ACTUAL “found footage”, all that remained after the three film students go missing--a brilliant marketing strategy that went "viral" and purposefully added confusion to the question of whether the movie was fact or fiction.  And it was very, very effective, at least in terms of scaring me.  First off, the three went into the remote woods of the Black Hills in search of the ghost of The Blair Witch, a woman accused of witchcraft and banished from the town.  During preliminary interviews, they had also heard horrific stories of a kidnapper who lived in the woods in the 1940s.  Soon the three are lost in these spooky woods, with no way to contact anyone for help, which is a fear most people can identify with.  When creepy things begin happening, all recorded on shaky, hand-held cameras which increase the tension, it’s like we’re watching these helpless people being stalked by some unseen, possibly supernatural entity, and it’s completely unnerving to say the least.  Similar to (and inspired by) early scenes in Jaws, this movie uses the viewers’ imaginations to fill in the predator’s image, and the “not knowing” gives our minds unlimited reign to conjure up something bone-chilling. 

When this movie came out, I was living in a house that backed to the woods, and after seeing it, if I had to go out at night to get my dog in, my heart would be racing, my ears straining for random snaps of twigs, my eyes searching the shadows for dark figures.  And I’ll never look at a pile of rocks or sticks again without a little ripple of unease.

So those are a few fictional stories that scared the daylights out of me!  I tend to aim more for spooky suspense in my own novels, but readers and reviewers have told me certain scenes gave them chills, which is exciting for an author who writes about hauntings to hear.  And since I am such a fan of ghost stories in particular, I’ve made previous lists of My Favorite Ghost Stories and My Favorite Ghost Movies, for more ideas to get your paranormal fix.  And if you have a book or movie that scared you, I want to hear about it!  Thanks for stopping by and happy reading/viewing.