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!