Monday, October 29, 2018

The Haunted Places I've Visited ~ Virtual #Ghost Tour #Halloween #Paranormal

This is the cover of my individual story
in the Love Under Fire Box Set - you can
get it exclusively in the set on 11/13!
My 6th novel, a spooky ghost mystery mixed with romance, releases in just two weeks!  You can read more about The Haunting of Hillwood Farm in this post; it's part of a fabulous Limited Edition Box Set available for just 99 cents on Pre-order!  This is my 4th novel involving ghosts, and as a fan of all things spooky, Halloween is one of my favorite times of the year.  I love checking out haunted locations, and many of the places I've visited have inspired story ideas.  So today's post is a virtual tour of some of the locations I've visited and written about.

I took this photo of the Old
Jail House - what's in the top
window?  Building was
closed and locked!

My novel Haunted Souls was inspired by a ghost tour that ended with a stop at Barnstable Village's Old Jail House - the oldest wooden jail in the entire country, built circa 1690.  You can find more on the structure's haunted history here.

A book signing for that book led to an invitation to tour other very old and reportedly haunted buildings in Barnstable Village, and this post details that amazing private tour!

A trip to NYC last winter brought me to The Dakota, an apartment building near Central Park with a creepy history and a Gothic design so mysterious the building was used in the movie Rosemary's Baby.  More on that here.

The Dakota has quite a history, and this is
where John Lennon was killed

While in Paris, I took a tour of the Catacombs.  If you don't know that story, it's incredibly fascinating (although dark).  History and pics of the tunnels of remains inside the Catacombs here.

One small shot of all the skeletons below the city of Paris...

Tied with the Catacombs for creepiest place was my (not exactly legal) self-tour of the abandoned Glenn Dale TB Sanatorium.  I've gotten more emails about this excursion than any other blog post!  

The abandoned Glenn Dale Tuberculosis
Isolation Hospital and Santatorium in Maryland

What's the spookiest place you've ever visited?  Please comment below!

And if you like ghost stories that are eerie without being gory, with some steamy romance to counteract the chills up your spine, check out my books!  'Tis the season for haunted reading!

Friday, October 26, 2018

The Haunting of Hillwood Farm ~ Cover Reveal! #Ghosts #Books #Paranormal

Here, it is, the cover of my 6th novel, The Haunting of Hillwood Farm!  What do you think?  I am so, so happy with how it came out.  This new romance +ghost mystery is going to release in less than 3 weeks, exclusively as part of the Love Under Fire ~ Romantic Suspense Thrillers Box Set.  The set contains 21 never-before-published stories, and you can get the entire limited edition collection for just 99 cents if you Pre-order now!  Plus, every sale helps support Pets for Vets.  

After tragedy strikes, Callie Sinclair is left with a gift she never wanted—the ability to communicate with ghosts.  But when a desperate widow begs for her help, she reluctantly agrees to investigate the strange occurrences at Hillwood Farm.  She quickly realizes she’s dealing with a dangerous presence beyond anything she’s ever experienced, and something else becomes equally clear—the only other living person in the house, Mrs. Turner’s handsome grandson, thinks she’s a scam artist.  While she’d prefer to just ignore him, her heart beats a little faster every time he’s nearby.

Luke Turner doesn’t believe in spirits.  He’s moved back to restore the family farm, but living on the property serves a dual purpose—he can watch out for his grandmother.  He’s not happy about the sudden appearance of a self-described psychic, or his inexplicable attraction to her.  His initial suspicions crumble as evidence points to an actual haunting, but he’s still determined not to fall for Callie—the past has taught him it’s best to avoid relationships.

As Callie is drawn deeper into the mystery, she becomes the target of a vengeful spirit, and Luke can no longer fight his feelings for her.  Unable to resist their desire, passion ignites…even as the paranormal activity escalates to a final deadly confrontation. 

You can grab your copy now to download automatically on 11/13, release day!  Just 99 cents gets you The Haunting of Hillwood Farm and 20 other Romantic Suspense Thrillers by USA Today and WSJ Bestselling Authors.  Plus, we're donating half of our net proceeds to Pets for Vets, a charity pairing shelter pets with veterans seeking companion animals. Buy Links ---->

An spooky excerpt from The Haunting of Hillwood Farm:

With a sharp pop, the light went out, plunging the room into darkness. Callie stilled, her heartbeat filling her ears. Something rustled behind her, and the hairs on her bare arms prickled. Probably a noise from outside, she told herself, blinking as her eyes adjusted to the trickle of faint light from the open window.

Another rustle, too close to pass off as wind in the trees. She was rooted in place, suddenly very sure she was not alone in the room. A soft moan floated through the blackness. Panic gripped her, fierce and primal, clawing at her lungs. Did she have a weapon? Would it even work against whatever was here?
She struggled for air, a rancid odor filling her nostrils as she slowly inhaled. Death. Decay. Shadows shifted to her left, and her gaze jerked toward the movement. Behind the solid mass of her reflection in the mirror, the gauzy outline of a face peered over her shoulder. Empty eye sockets stared out from gray, filmy features, the hollow black holes somehow filled with menace.
A sob gathered in her chest, clogging her throat. Please, God. Let me wake up from this nightmare. Something cold and wet brushed against her upper back, and she screamed.

I've included a link below to view all the stories in Love Under Fire.  And if you're looking for a ghost mystery (with plenty of steamy romance to counteract the chills up your spine), try one of my romance/ghost stories currently available:

GULL HARBOR (a #1 Kindle and Nook Bestseller, also available on Audible)

SILVER LAKE (a #1 Kindle Bestseller)

HAUNTED SOULS (A Top 3 Read of 2016, also available on Audible)

Check out all the stories you get in Love Under Fire too, right here.  Happy Haunted Reading!

Sunday, October 21, 2018

My Favorite #Ghost Movies! #Halloween #Haunting #Paranormal

I have a bit of an obsession with ghosts, as anyone who has read my books knows -- four of my novels feature a haunting as well as some steamy romance -- and my latest ghost story, The Haunting of Hillwood Farm, is now available on audio as well!  I've made lists before of my favorite ghost stories in terms of books, but I do enjoy the movies as well...whenever my sister comes to visit, we usually have a marathon watch of creepy films.  Anything paranormal will do, but the ones with a spooky and convincing ghostly presence get top billing.  Over the years, a few have really resonated with me, and helped inspire my novels.  Keep in mind, I'm no movie critic...I just found these films to have the solid backbone of a believable ghost story, with a decent mystery behind the haunting, as well as a lack of the plot holes I find in so many others.  The suspense kept me guessing, and certain scenes gave me serious chills.  I'll try to throw a little blurb out there for each one without revealing too many spoilers, in case you'd like to give one a try!

Such a spine-chilling scene
The Changeling - 1980 - George C. Scott stars as a widower who moves into a spooky old house in Seattle in the beginning of this film.  The ghost of a young boy inhabits the house, and the tragedy that befell him will eventually expose a cruel plot.  Now, the ghost wants justice, and Scott's character, plagued by scary surprises and terrifying noises, begins to investigate the mystery.  Admittedly, it's an oldie...and at the risk of dating myself, it was one of my favorites when I was in middle school.  In fact, my best friend had an upstairs bedroom that opened upon an attic that bore a spine-tingling resemblance to the one in the movie...late at night, we'd scare ourselves silly imagining that ball bouncing down the stairs.

A Stir of Echoes - 1999 - a film starring Kevin Bacon, loosely based on a novel by Richard Matheson (also the author of Hell House and I Am Legend, among others).  Bacon's character, Tom, has a son who seems to possess the ability to speak with the dead...and there is something in their house that wants to be heard.  After being hypnotized at a party, Tom begins to experience visions as well, of a violent altercation which is tied to a neighbor's disappearance.  Clearly the desperate spirit wants its body found, but there are others with a vested interest in making sure that doesn't happen.

Such a creepy poster!

What Lies Beneath - 2000 - starring Michelle Pfeiffer and Harrison Ford (two of my favorites!)  Claire (Pfeiffer) and Norman (Ford) are a married couple living in Vermont; Claire is suffering from a memory lapse due to an accident.  When strange occurrences begin plaguing Claire, she investigates a possible killing in the neighborhood.  There is a ghost trying to communicate with Claire, but it's not who she first believes it is...and the spirit is not the only one hiding dangerous secrets.  (Update: a reader recently left a review of my debut novel SILVER LAKE, saying if you liked What Lies Beneath, you'd like this book.  I was thrilled with the comparison!)

The Orphanage - 2007 - a Spanish film set in...yes, a closed orphanage...along the Spanish coast in 1975.  My sister and I watched this one with subtitles, but I believe a remake is in the works.  This movie is dark, but full of creepy atmosphere and amazing cinematography.  The basic plot involves a couple and their adopted son returning to the orphanage where the mother once lived.  The family's plan is to reopen the old building as a home for disabled children, but their son soon claims to have befriended a boy named Tomas.  Terrible things happened here, and the truth will come out before the spirits can rest. (Side note - I recently signed a permission slip for my son to watch this in his high school Spanish class!  I was so jealous and of course, he, being a fan of ghost stories like his mom, loved it.)

The Others - 2001 - Nicole Kidman plays Grace, a mother residing in a remote manor with her two young children after World War II.  Both children must avoid exposure to sunlight due to a rare condition, so as you can imagine, the shadowy, secluded house presents itself as the perfect Gothic setting for the mysterious events to unfold.  There's quite a bit of psychological suspense in this one too, so I don't want to say too much about the plot for fear of spoilers. 

In most of these movies, there is a very similar theme: a desperate spirit who cannot rest because of unfinished business.  The ghost seeks revenge or justice, or wants its story told or its remains found.  Barriers to communication make this difficult, but not impossible.  These are all ideas that inspired my ghostly novels, #1 Kindle Bestsellers SILVER LAKE and GULL HARBORHAUNTED SOULS was inspired by my visit to the haunted Old Jail House in Barnstable!  Update...The Haunting of Hillwood Farm is now available, in print, on Kindle, and on Audible!  An editorial reviewer compared the evil spirit in that one to Samira in The Ring, which to me is a huge compliment, and also made me realize that movie should be on this did I forget that one?

Of course, there are many other ghost movies I've enjoyed that rely more on terrifying imagery than an underlying mystery to ramp up the screams, or that veer more into what I would categorize as demons/possession tropes.  Still fun to watch, but my mind usually can't stop looking for an answer to the question, "Why is this happening?" (ie, motive - even ghosts should have one imho).  But even if the motive turns out to be shaky, or the plot leaves a few unfilled holes, I'll take a creepy thriller over gunfights and explosions any day!  So please share your favorite ghost movies below, especially any "lesser-known" ones, so I can add them to my list!  Thanks for stopping by :)

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Huge #Giveaway! $100 #Amazon Gift Card + #Kindle Fire! #Rafflecopter #giftcard #amreading

The authors of Love Under Fire have an exciting giveaway for you!  You can enter to win a $100 Amazon gift card plus a new Fire HD 8 Tablet Hands-Free with Alexa!  All that's needed to enter is a valid email address, see the Rafflecopter below!

A gift card and a Fire from the authors of LOVE UNDER FIRE!

Have you heard about Love Under Fire yet?  This is a LIMITED EDITION Box Set with 21 new, never-before-published Romantic Suspense and Mysteries from USA Today and WSJ Bestselling authors.  The set was organized to help raise money for Pets for Vets, a non-profit that helps pair shelter pets with veterans seeking companion animals.  I am so proud to be a part of this effort, and to have my latest romance + ghost mystery, The Haunting of Hillwood Farm, included in the set.  

The set is already a Bestseller on Amazon,
please grab your copy and help us meet our donation goal!
You can also gift copies to friends!

We are hoping to present Pets for Vets with a big donation, and to increase sales and exposure, we're offering a Pre-order price of just 99 cents!  Each and every sale helps, and you get 21 thrilling stories while supporting a great charity.  Win/win!

Speaking of winning, the Rafflecopter entry can be found below, as well as links to Love Under Fire.  Thanks for stopping by and please feel free to Share to help spread the word!  

LOVE UNDER FIRE releases on November 13th, and the set will download to your e-reader automatically if you pre-order now for just 99 pennies!

Danger, Romance, Mystery, and Thrills ~  Murder, Crime Rings, Spies and Stalkers...Wounded Warriors, FBI Agents, Cops and Cowboys...Ghosts and Witches...all in one collection!

Enter the Rafflecopter below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Happy Reading!

Monday, October 15, 2018

#Book Signing, Vendor Fair, + Bingo in #Falmouth! #CapeCod Events

I'll have a table set up at the October Bingo and Shopping Event this Wednesday, October 17, in Falmouth, from 5:00 - 9:00, and I'll be signing books, including my latest Romantic Suspense release Dangerous Currents!  Other crafters and vendors will have tables set up as well, and it's a perfect time to start thinking about holiday shopping while supporting local businesses and this month's charity.

Signed books make great gifts!

This is always a good time! The suggested donation is $20 for 20 games (proceeds from both game cards and vendor table fees go to ALS Cliff Walk and Relay For Life teams for the American Cancer Society, wear orange or purple for a bonus card!). Complimentary light appetizers and a cash bar and buffet too.

I have quite a few romance + ghost mysteries perfect for the Halloween season!

Doors open at 5:00, Bingo games begin at 6:30! Holiday Inn Cape Cod in Falmouth, 291 Jones Road.

A list of vendors:

PartyLite ~ Christina McMenamy
LuLaRoe by Brooke ~ Brooke Wood
Nanny's Knits ~ Tariesa A. Reine
LimeLife by Alcone ~ Kerry Houde
Tupperware ~ Michelle Brown
Thirty-One ~ Diane Leal
The Pampered Chef ~ Kelly Washburn
Paparazzi Accessories ~ Angela Webb
Beachcomber Shells ~ Susan Imbergamo
Dragonfly Dreams ~ Jodi Thompson
HempWorx ~ Gayle Kough
doTERRA ~ Jennifer Glydon
Color Street ~ Adrianna Wright
Touchstone Crystal Jewelry by Swarovski ~ Becky Malas
Grandma Diane's Raggedies ~ Diane Lincoln & Carole Lucas
Daphne's Eclectic Cottage ~ Daphne Bumpus
kg coastal creations ~ Katie Ginnetty
Pure Haven ~ Megan Roller
Plunder Designs ~ Sam Santos
Scentsy ~ Shannon Malloy
Norwex ~ Andrea Bibler & Colleen Fogarty
It Works! Global ~ Nicky Fountain
Stella & Dot ~ Nicci Finne
Scout & Cellar Wine ~ Brianne Motil
Zumba with Christy L Ray ~ Christy L Ray
Hey Sweet Cupcake ~ Jen Puntonio
Kathryn Knight Books ~ Kathryn Knight
Cape Cod Bear Factory ~ Nicole Bessette
Certified Professional Dog Trainer ~ Christi McKeen
Origami Owl ~ Ellie Russo
Lana Grace Boutique ~ Brandy McDonald
Created by Me ~ Natalie Bolio

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Why We Fear the Number 666 ~ #Horror #Halloween #Paranormal

October is my favorite month, as I'm a fan of spooky stuff, and most of my novels involve ghosts--including my upcoming title The Haunting of Hillwood Farm, which will be available exclusively in the Love Under Fire Romantic Suspense Box Set releasing 11/13!--and anything paranormal generally intrigues me.  I usually dedicate the Halloween season to supernatural topics, and a very creepy book I recently finished reading made me think of my old post on the number 666.  So I'm resurrecting it for 2018!

Why are these three digits so scary?  The most straight-forward answer is the Bible.  And before I go further, I should note first that I'm no historian, I'm a novelist.  I get to deal in fiction, using my imagination to create mysterious hauntings and spooky suspense.  But here's what my research uncovered:

In most manuscripts of the New Testament, six hundred sixty-six is referred to as "the number of the beast" in Chapter 13 (there's that number again!) of the Book of Revelation.  This final Book of the Bible is sometimes known as The Apocalypse--never a great thing to contemplate--and the author is identified as "John"...possibly the Apostle John but also possibly another prophet.  Evidence points to a date between 86 to 91 CE as the time of writing.  

In the Book of Revelation, two beasts appear, one from the sea, and one from the earth.  The first beast is given power, authority and a throne by the dragon (identified as Satan or the devil in other passages), and it blasphemes God.  This beast has the power to conquer God's people, and all inhabitants whose names have not been written in "the Lamb's book of life" will worship the beast.

The second beast emerges from the earth and is described as having horns and speaking like a dragon.  It exercises the authority of the first beast, and even causes fire to come down from the heavens.  This is the beast that forces all people to receive the "mark" on their right hands or foreheads, and this mark is "the name of the beast or the number of its name".  In the American Standard Version of the Bible, the passage Revelation 13:18 reads "Here is wisdom. He that hath understanding, let him count the number of the beast; for it is the number of a man: and his number is Six hundred and sixty and six."  So, a horned beast with the speech of a dragon, rising from underground and commanding fire.  It certainly conjures up the present-day images of the Devil or demons who inhabit a fiery Hell.  

Nero was the last Roman Emperor of
the Julio-Claudian dynasty

As with everything Biblical, many various interpretations of this statement exist. One popular one is that the number was a kind of code for the Roman Emperor Nero, who, according to some historical sources, tortured Christians by lighting them on fire.  He was apparently a violent and tyrannical leader known for executions, including that of his mother. He was also the first Roman Emperor to commit suicide, in 68 CE, after being declared a public enemy.  Many Christians believed Nero would return as the Antichrist. 

Not surprisingly, the number has been used as an ominous sign in many horror novels and movies...The Omen is probably the most well-known, as the creepy boy Damien had a birthmark of 666 on his scalp.

There is a name for the fear of the number 666: hexakosioihexekontahexaphobia.  Personally I'm not a fan of the number, but my sister thought it was fairly amusing when she moved to a new zip code ending in 666.  Then again, she and I both love ghost stories and scary movies (Here are a few of our favorites).  However, there have been some notable incidents of people going out of their way to avoid a connection with this number.  Nancy and Ronald Reagan changed the address of their new home in LA from 666 St. Cloud Road to 668.  A high school cross country runner, Codie Thacker, forfeited her chance to qualify for the state championships when she declined to run in the regionals with the bib number 666.  A US Representative had a legislative bill number changed from 666 to 702 to avoid "negative connotations".

If you enjoy a bit of spooky suspense and haunting mystery (mixed with romance), try one of my romance/ghost story combos: SILVER LAKE, GULL HARBOR (currently on a 99c sale!) and HAUNTED SOULS ~ #1 Bestsellers on Amazon and B&N!  While my genre is paranormal romantic suspense, not horror, you can expect a few shivers up your spine! 

The 99c e-book sale ends soon ~ Hurry!

Happy Reading :)  PS you can listen, too, if you prefer...the Amazon links in colors above also offer Audible versions of Gull Harbor and Haunted Souls.  And don't forget to pre-order The Haunting of Hillwood Farm exclusive to the Love Under Fire Box Set...just 99c for 21 Romantic Suspense stories if you order now!

A great deal - 21 Romantic Thrillers for 99c, and every sale helps a vet get a pet!

Saturday, October 6, 2018

GULL HARBOR at #1 on #Kindle and #Nook! Romance + Ghost Mystery #BookBub Sale #99c #Book Deal!

September of 2018 was crazy busy for me as I typed frantically to meet a deadline, and it was also a month of some disappointing and upsetting news for a few members of my family, which really had me stressed and depressed.  All in all, not a great month, but one of the highlights was my novel getting selected for a October BookBub feature.  BookBub is a very discerning site promoting deals on books they handpick from all the potential applicants, and because they choose their features so carefully, their selected titles usually do very well in terms of sales.  The last time my romance/ghost mystery, Gull Harbor, was chosen, it hit #1 Bestseller status on both Amazon and Barnes & Noble at the same time, in multiple categories on each site!  Plus, it drew the attention of an audiobook narrator, who contacted me about her interest in recording the book for audio.  We were able to work out a deal with my publisher, and I absolutely love the way it came out.  So much so, that we went on to contract with her to record another title of mine, Haunted Souls. (See Gull Harbor on Audible here).

A dangerous ghost and an ex-boyfriend await Claire in Cape Cod's GULL HARBOR...

I wasn't sure if I'd get similar results this time...but then again, October is a great month for spooky suspense!  So on Wednesday, when the feature came out, I held my breath...and once again, it made it to #1 on both sites!  The site of the orange banner in both Psychic Thrillers and Psychic Suspense definitely gave me a much-needed lift.  It didn't last forever, of course, but I grabbed some screen shots while it did!

GULL HARBOR was listed at #1 in Paranormal Contemporary Romance,
Paranormal Romance General, and Fantasy Romance on Nook

If you enjoy romance mixed with a ghost mystery, give Gull Harbor a try while it's still on sale for only 99 cents (down from the regular price of $4.99).  It's a great choice for the Halloween season ~ some steamy scenes to keep you warm with some haunting suspense to send a shiver up your spine.  This title was chosen as a Top Ten Pick at My Shelf Reviews, and the reviewer had this to say: "In Gull Harbor, the author skillfully weaves the ghost story and romance from separate strands that eventually become entangled.  Tension builds as Claire gets closer to learning the truth about two painful truths: about the ghost and about Max.  There's a perfect blending of clues, hints, and foreshadowing, but the story never veers into the obvious or the predictable.  Pace, plot, story, dialog, and characters combine into a thrilling and thoroughly entertaining page-turner." ~ My Shelf Reviews   

My biggest hope, of course, is that the readers who purchase my book enjoy it.  That's really what it's all about, and that's the sole reason I decided to pursue a writing career...there are few things I enjoy more than getting lost in a page-turning story.  Reading is my absolute favorite form of relaxation and entertainment, and my goal is to provide that for my fellow readers with the stories that come to life in my very active imagination.  Since I love both the roller coaster of emotions that come with romance as well as the chills and thrills of spooky suspense, I try to combine those two elements into hard-to-put-down reads.  

If you'd like to pick up a copy of Gull Harbor while it's still less than a buck, the links are below.  A huge thanks to the readers who sent the book to made my week!  Enjoy visiting the shores of Cape Cod for some steamy romance with a haunting mystery :)

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

A #99c Sale! Romance + Ghost Mystery ~ #1 Bestseller! Haunting #amreading

October is the perfect month for a hot romance with a haunting mystery!

Starting today, my second novel GULL HARBOR will be on sale for a short time! This combination of steamy romance and spooky suspense has topped the charts on Amazon and Barnes & Noble as a #1 Bestseller on several occasions, so grab your copy while it's less than a buck! 

The offer is available for Kindle , iTunes, and Nook formats, and this limited-time promotion is even running in the very discerning BookBub newsletter!  I've included the links below along with the book's description.  Treat yourself to some time on the sandy shores of Cape Cod, where both a dangerous ghost and an ex-boyfriend await psychic medium Claire Linden...

When Claire Linden’s job sends her to the sleepy town of Gull Harbor, she never expects to encounter her ex-boyfriend. As a medium, the prospect of tackling a haunted house is less daunting than seeing Max Baron again. Throughout their passionate college relationship, he promised to love her forever. Then, without explanation, he abandoned her on graduation day.

Max never intended to break Claire's heart—a cruel ultimatum forced him to disappear from her life. While he's shocked to find her in Gull Harbor, he isn't surprised by the bitter resentment she feels for him...or the fiery attraction that remains between them.

Claire is determined to rid her temporary home of its aggressive ghost, but Max soon realizes she's facing a danger beyond the paranormal. When Claire risks everything to help a desperate spirit, Max must race to save her—before another tragedy tears them apart forever.