Friday, October 28, 2022

The Origins of #Halloween ~ Happy #Halloween2022 ! #paranormal #ghosts #Halloweenreads

 

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, and as an author of ghost stories, Halloween is one of my favorites.  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 (well, staged haunted houses for entertainment...I do visit actual haunted houses as much as possible at any time during the year.  And an abandoned sanatorium for TB patients...see that post here!) 

If you like spooky reads, I hope you'll check out some of my ghost mystery romantic suspense novels at the following links:  The Haunting of Hillwood Farm, Ghost Moon, Gull Harbor, and Silver Lake.  Happy Halloween and Happy Haunted Reading!

Thursday, October 27, 2022

Celebrating #NationalBlackCatAppreciationDay & Researching Superstitions! Love my #blackcats #Rescue #cats

 

Max and Jinx <3
It’s black cat appreciation day!  I absolutely love black cats…I have had many in the past, and I have 2 brothers right now.  Most people ask if this is due to my fascination with the paranormal, as most of my novels involve spooky ghost mysteries.  And that’s probably part of it—but a few other things weigh in.  For one thing, I think black cats are beautiful.  But I also am a strong supporter of pet rescue and adoption, and black cats are over-represented at shelters, which could be in part because many people are consciously or even subconsciously affected by the superstition surrounding black cats.  So, today’s post is dedicated to how this idea that black cats are unlucky came about.

The ancient Egyptians believed cats had magical powers, and regarded them as sacred.  In fact, they worshiped a feline goddess known as Bastet.  On the other hand, Druids feared cats.  All cats are nocturnal and appear dark as they creep through the night, sure-footed and stealthy even with no light to see by.  This gave all cats a mystical aura, but the color black has often been associated with sinister forces.



Black cats, along with bats and spiders, have long been considered by some to be bad omens.  Some cultures believed witches could turn into cats in order to avoid capture.  Black cats were also thought to be familiars—low ranking demons tasked with serving and protecting a witch.

Even with a limited understanding of diseases, societies throughout history were also able to see the connection between cats and outbreaks of plague.  Cats control rodent populations, and rats are carriers of many diseases deadly to humans.  This added to the idea that cats had powers beyond human comprehension.

Thus, an association with witchcraft and the occult, superstition, fear, and awe combined to make black cats a symbol of Halloween, the night when the barrier between the paranormal and physical worlds grows thin.

So, there you have it…a few reasons black cats are considered unlucky by some.  Personally, I cross paths with my Max and Jinx dozens of times each day, and so far I’m no worse for the wear.  So celebrate your beautiful black cats!  And, if you enjoy a little spooky suspense like me, check out some of my ghost mystery/romance novels…The Haunting of Hillwood Farm, Haunted Souls, Ghost Moon, Silver Lake, and Gull Harbor...perfect for the Halloween season!



Monday, October 24, 2022

The #Haunting of Hillwood Farm made a Best #Paranormal #Romance with a Ghostly Twist! #Halloween #Books #amreading

 

Need some spooky suspense mixed with romance for your Halloween reading list?  I am so excited to share that The Haunting of Hillwood Farm made author Kelly Moran's list of The Five Best Paranormal Romances with a Ghostly Twist on Shepherd Books, which you can view here.  To see my name on a list with Nora Roberts, Heather Graham, Sharon Sala, Carla Neggers, and of course Kelly Moran is quite an honor.  

It's the perfect season for some ghost stories, so check out Kelly's list and cozy up with a new read! And if you need more ghost mysteries spiked with some steamy romance, check out my titles The Haunting of Hillwood FarmGhost MoonGull Harbor, and Silver Lake.  Happy Halloween and Happy Haunted Reading!






Thursday, October 20, 2022

Silver Lake made the Kilgore Herald's #Books Set in #Connecticut ! #ghosts #paranormal #romance #amreading #Halloween #wrpbks

 


A #1 Amazon Bestseller!
Brandy's ghost has a message to share...





My debut novel, Silver Lake, made the news in Texas!  The Kilgore Herald did a story on writers' connections to states and listed 50 books set in Connecticut...Silver Lake is about halfway down the page at #26.  To see my name on a list with authors such as Nora Roberts, Lauren Oliver, Wally Lamb, Ira Levin, J.D. Robb, Mark Twain, Lisa Scottoline, Madeleine L'Engle, and so many other very well known authors is such a thrill!  On the list are best-selling titles like The Witch of Blackbird Pond (loved this when I read it in my preteens!), The Stepford Wives, A Wrinkle in Time...you can check out the entire list by clicking here!  

I don't actually live in Connecticut...the majority of my titles are set on Cape Cod in Massachusetts.  But my husband went to college there and I had some logistical things I needed for the story that made Connecticut work perfectly.  The town is fictional (Westgate), as is this particular Silver Lake, but there are many similar lakes in the state.  Candlewood Lake, a man-made lake with the remnants of a village and farming equipment resting beneath its surface, is real and is featured in my book, which combines romantic suspense with a chilling ghost story.

I did visit Candlewood Lake, and some nearby kettle ponds, which is what Silver Lake is, in 2010, when I was writing the manuscript.  I wanted to get a good sense of the surroundings where I was setting my scenes.

Candlewood Lake

My visit to Candlewood Lake


It's the perfect season to cozy up with a ghost mystery, and Silver Lake's blurb is below.  And if you want more books filled with steamy romance, dangerous secrets, and haunting mysteries, check out my Amazon Author Page!  Happy Haunted Reading 👻


Rain Anderson can't decide which is more unsettling--encountering the ghost of her missing friend, or reuniting with the man whose love she foolishly rejected. But one thing is certain: the past has come back to haunt her, quite literally.

Five years ago, Rain's tight-knit group of high school friends unraveled when one vanished during their senior year. Now, a parent's deathbed request has reunited the friends at Silver Lake, including Jason Lansing, the man Rain discarded.

Rain and Jason discover the powerful attraction between them has survived, but though Jason is willing to forgive, he can't let himself forget. The possibility of falling for Rain again is too risky.

Slamming doors, crashing objects, flaring fires--clearly the ghost has a message to share. As Rain and Jason struggle to unravel the truth, they must face a desperate spirit in need of help--and a burning passion that refuses to die.









Saturday, October 31, 2020

The Origins of #Halloween ~ Happy #Halloween2020! #Paranormal #HalloweenReads

 

This year, Halloween looks very different in a lot of ways.  But I still love the spooky season, and the month of October continues to conjure 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 (well, staged haunted houses for entertainment...I do visit actual haunted houses as much as possible at any time during the year).  This year, there weren't many options, but I'm still enjoying the scary movies!  And I've got some candy ready to go in the event we get trick-or-treaters.

If you like spooky reads, I hope you'll check out some of my ghost mystery romantic suspense novels!  They can all be found along the top tab, or by clicking the covers to the left.  Happy Halloween and Happy Haunted Reading!

Sunday, October 18, 2020

Visit the Hair-Raising #Halloween Book Fair! Thrillers #Paranormal #Horror #Books for Oct. #amreading #KU

 'Tis the season for spooky reads!  Need some new titles sure to send a shiver down your spine?  Visit the Hair-Raising Thrillers, Suspense, and Horror Book Fair and choose from 42 titles - all FREE for members of Kindle Unlimited - that will get you ready for the Halloween Season!


HAIR-RAISING THRILLERS, SUSPENSE, + HORROR FOR OCTOBER BOOK FAIR




Monday, October 5, 2020

Exploring Old Jail Preserve! #Book Setting #CapeCod #Ghosts #Paranormal #Mystery #amreading

 

During the initial Covid stay-at-home order, my husband and I started doing a lot of outdoor activities…many new hikes and trails.  We searched for locations on Cape Cod that we had not explored yet, such as trails found throughout Brewster.

Nine months later, the routine has stuck, and this weekend we did a hike in Barnstable Village.  While the trails were new, the location had significance…the Old Jail Lane Preserve plays a significant part in one of my novels, Haunted Souls.



This piece of conservation land is huge, and we traversed several trails and enjoyed the peaceful scenery.
  While I shouldn’t go into how this area plays a part in the novel (spoilers!), I can talk about how I came to learn about the actual Old Jail that the property refers to.


The Old Jail in Barnstable Village
The Old Jail in Barnstable Village
The initial knowledge of the Old Jail came from a ghost tour I went on with my sister in Cape Cod’s Barnstable Village.  It’s probably somewhat obvious that I am a fan of ghosts and other spooky subjects, and my sister is the same way.  Every time we get together, we have scary movie marathons since no one else will watch them with us.  So when she came for a visit that summer, we decided to check out a “Haunted Tour” put on by the Cape and Islands Paranormal Research Society.  It 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.

 

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 Haunted Souls was born.


Also on Audible!

If you enjoy spooky suspense mixed with steamy romance, I hope you’ll check out some of my books…and enjoy the photos of the Old Jail Lane Preserve!