Welcome to my weekly feature where authors share about the hobbies, careers, or passions of their characters.
I’m pleased to introduce today’s guest, Robert Herold…
A Passion For Paranormal
We all feel a little unnerved when the power goes out, when we are plunged into darkness, when we are booked into a room on the 13th floor, or when 13 is missing from the elevator options, and most especially when people we know pass away. People have huddled around fires since ancient times to keep away their fears, both real and imagined. Today, when the power goes out, we cluster around that scented candle on the coffee table, or that flashlight app on one’s cell phone—until the battery wears out. Are we really so different from those in the past?
Imagine it is 1885, the beginning of the modern era. Science is making new strides in hitherto unexplored areas: chemistry, physics, psychology, even applying the scientific method to the hereafter – exposing frauds and maybe, just maybe, proving the existence of life after death. This was a passionate sideline for William James, a real figure from history. He was a famed Harvard professor, father of American psychology, and brother to the famous writer Henry James (author of The Turn of the Screw, among many others).
Professor William James helped found the American branch of the Society for Psychical Research, who applied the scientific method to investigations of the supernatural. Eventually the group in America became headed by a dogmatic skeptic and James had a falling out. Using this as a springboard, I imagined he then started his own investigative group, The Eidola Project (eidola being a Greek word for ghost). Some real investigations, including those that are downright spooky, are woven into the story, especially while he is building his team of paranormal researchers.
In addition to William James (age 42), the Eidola Project consists of Annabelle Douglas (age 28), one of the first graduates of The Harvard Annex (later known as Radcliff), Sarah Bradbury (age 18), an authentic medium, Edgar Gilpin (age 26), a brilliant African American physicist and graduate of Howard and Yale Universities, and Nigel Pickford (age 39), one of the youngest Confederate officers, who in the years following the Civil War is plagued by paranormal visions & has become a drunken derelict. Each contributes to the group, but each has his or her own peculiar baggage and set of weaknesses.
Professor James directs The Eidola Project from Harvard, sending them off on various missions, and occasionally joining them (akin to “Rupert Giles,” a character in the TV show Buffy the Vampire Slayer). The Eidola Project are intrepid explorers of the supernatural, but in doing so, they enter the darkness and become ensnared in a dangerous investigation of a haunted house, where they encounter all sorts of things that go bump—or worse!
It’s 1885 and a drunk and rage-filled Nigel Pickford breaks up a phony medium’s séance. A strange twist of fate soon finds him part of a team investigating the afterlife.
The Eidola Project is an intrepid group of explorers dedicated to bringing the light of science to that which has been feared, misunderstood, and often manipulated by charlatans. They are a psychology professor, his assistant, an African-American physicist, a sideshow medium, and now a derelict, each possessing unique strengths and weaknesses.
Called to the brooding Hutchinson Estate to investigate rumored hauntings, they encounter deadly supernatural forces and a young woman driven to the brink of madness.
Will any of them survive?
Sarah retrieved the lamp and twisted the peg. The outhouse door swung open on its own, and she gasped.
“Momma?” Sarah asked as she held out her lantern. No. A ruined version of Molly stood in the doorway.
Before her disappearance, people often commented on the sixteen-year-old’s beauty, but in the last twenty-eight days birds pecked out her pretty blue eyes, and maggots now swam in the sockets. Molly’s head hung to the left at an odd angle. Her skin looked mottled with patches of gray, blue, and black. A beetle crawled out of Molly’s half-opened mouth and darted back in.
Sarah’s heart leaped to her throat, and she jumped back. She lost her footing, fell onto the outhouse seat, and dropped the lantern to the floor. She bent to retrieve it; thankful the glass globe did not break. Sarah looked up and saw an empty doorway.
Impossible, she told herself. Must’ve dozed off, had a nightmare, and woke up when I dropped the lamp. Her heart still pounded in her chest, and Sarah took a deep breath to calm herself.
Holding the lamp before her once more, she crept out…
The supernatural always had the allure of forbidden fruit, ever since Robert Herold’s mother refused to allow him, as a boy, to watch creature features on late night TV. She caved in. (Well, not literally.)
As a child, fresh snow provided him the opportunity to walk out onto neighbors’ lawns halfway and then make paw prints with his fingers as far as he could stretch. He would retrace the paw and boot prints, then fetch the neighbor kids and point out that someone turned into a werewolf on their front lawn. (They were skeptical.)
He has pursued many interests over the years (among them being a history teacher and a musician), but the supernatural always called to him. You could say he was haunted. Finally, following the siren’s call, he wrote The Eidola Project, based on a germ of an idea he had as a teenager.
Ultimately, he hopes the book gives you the creeps, and he means that in the best way possible.
Please help me welcome Katherine Gilbert, with her new release, Protecting the Dead – Great title, right? I love the cover too, and it’s one of the choices in the Moonlight and Mystery Cover Contest. I’m sure Katherine would love your votes!
Good morning, Katherine. Please tell us a little about yourself, where are you from? Where do you live now? Family? Pets?
I’ve been born and raised in South Carolina (unofficial state motto: “Our politicians embarrass us”). My real family and best friend is my sister, Armida. Our goal is to become strange, cackling old ladies in the corner of a tearoom together.
Where did you get the idea for Protecting the Dead?
There was, until recently, a real apartment complex in Decatur, GA (where my novel is set) which my sister and I once visited on an apartment hunt. Unfortunately, everything there was just a little too creepy, including the apartment she was shown which didn’t quite feel empty. When she asked about the turnover of tenants, she was told, “Oh, our residents never leave.” This hit my gothic imagination with an audible buzzing sound and wouldn’t leave me alone, until it was written.
Was there anything unusual, any anecdote about this book, the characters, title, process, etc, you’d like to share?
Some of the places in the novel are based off of Atlanta urban legends, such as the club (now closed, I believe) which was said to be the home of vampires.
Are there any tricks, habits or superstitions you have when creating a story?
I can’t talk about a story, while I’m writing it. If I do, I’ll talk it out of myself and won’t ever sit down to write.
What book have you read that you wish you had written?
Every book I love I know I couldn’t have written, but I do admire the talents of so many other authors. I wish I could throw off a laugh-till-it-hurts line like Terry Pratchett. I wish I could create a fascinating, unexpected twist like Agatha Christie. I wish I could convey an astonishing sense of time and place like Barbara Hambly–and so many, many others.
Do you have another occupation, other than writer? If so, what is it and do you like it?
I teach English at a SC community college. As to whether I like it, it depends on the students. Some are lovely, funny, fascinating people who I fervently hope succeed in all their dreams. Some have never mentally shown up to school once, so I’ve really only met their bodies. When there are many more of the latter group, it’s not a wonderful semester.
What do you love that most people don’t like and wouldn’t understand why you do?
When I go to a new city, I love to visit Victorian cemeteries, especially ones with very ornate mausoleums or stone angels, etc. One of the great joys of my life was getting to visit Highgate Cemetery in London, especially the older parts you need to have a guide to be allowed into. It’s beautiful, quiet, wooded, and the statues–ohh, the statues.
What do you dislike that most people wouldn’t understand?
Spicy food! It seems to me that every commercial now is for some restaurant or fast food place which promises that your head will actively explode after tasting their burningly spicy food. I love flavor in food, especially subtle, delicate flavors and spices, but not having my taste buds actively burned out of my mouth.
Do you collect anything?
Quite a few things. Among them are magnets (from just about everywhere I visit) and weird little salt-and-pepper shakers. Among the stranger ones I have is a set of Hello Kitty vibrating shakers. That’s right–you pull the string, and they vibrate. The wonderful absurdity of it just makes me giggle.
What’s your favorite book of all time and why?
It’s so hard to choose! I can maybe cull it down to three: Terry Pratchett’s The Fifth Elephant (all of Discworld is wonderful, but add the gothic and I’m totally hooked), Connie Willis’ To Say Nothing of the Dog (The world-building! The romance! The references to 19th-century comic authors!), and Jean Ferris’ Much Ado About Grubstake (it’s just a wonderfully good-hearted, light-hearted YA novel set in a fictional old west town).
What do you want readers to come away with after they read Protecting the Dead?
I’d like them to take a few moments to smile and sigh and enjoy having lived in that world for awhile.
Would you rather have a bad review or no review?
It’s hard to choose, but I suppose it depends on the bad review. No book is to everyone’s taste, so I accept that there will be people I can’t please. I’d rather not have a review which seems to be purposely trying to cut out my soul, though. As for no reviews, that’s difficult, too, since I don’t know whether anyone is reading it–and others who might want to aren’t given any guidance on whether they’d like it. I guess my answer, then, is . . . I haven’t a clue?
What is your favorite quote?
My friend, Chris, always says, “When someone thinks they’re doing you wrong, they’re actually doing you a favor.” It’s a philosophy I try to remember, when people aren’t very nice.
What celebrity would you most like to be stranded on an island with?
Sorry, she’s not famous, but it’d have to be my sister. We’d never survive, but at least we’d be together.
What do you want your tombstone to say?
To quote from the movie, Auntie Mame: “Odd, but loving.”
Have you written any other books that are not published?
Yes, I have three completed urban fantasies and one completed contemporary romance. I’m also actively working on a fourth urban fantasy novel. All the fantasies take place in different parts of the same alternate universe, and they generally fall into two categories: the magical and the gothic. Protecting the Dead is also one of the gothic ones.
Are your characters based off real people or did they all come entirely from your imagination?
Generally speaking, real people aren’t as interesting for me to write about as the ones I make up. I don’t think anyone would thrill to tales of a department meeting.
What do your friends and family think of your writing?
My sister is my biggest supporter. I read her every chapter, as it’s written. My friends are sort of in shock that I’ve kept at it long and hard enough to be published, but they’re excited for me.
What character in your book are you least likely to get along with?
That would be the demon who wants to destroy Lydia.
Who is the most famous person you have ever met?
I walked about six feet behind David Carradine once. Weird Al Yankovic sweated on and sang to my sister at a concert (when she was sitting right beside me). They were fun moments, but, to quote Weird Al, I think they also qualify as pretty “Lame Claims to Fame.”
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Only that good and bad people come in all forms. The forms alone don’t tell you much about the person. The way that people interact with others does.
How much of the book is realistic?
It’s based on a real place, but overall it’s much more fantasy than urban.
How did your interest in writing originate?
I started writing fan fiction for a show I was obsessed with, La Femme Nikita. I wrote a LOT of it, and there were quite a few people who enjoyed it. After awhile, I started branching out into a couple of alternate universe pieces–and through that realized that I could actually create my own characters and plot. I also realized that I didn’t need to know everything about a story to write it. I just needed to get started, and the characters would show me where things were headed, as I went along.
Song–“Iris” by the Goo Goo Dolls (I’m not a gigantic fan of theirs otherwise, but I LOVE that one song). A close second and third would be Evanescence’s “Bring Me to Life” and Blue Oyster Cult’s “Veteran of the Psychic Wars.”
Place you’ve visited–Ireland, England, and Scotland, all of them beautiful with touches of the gothic throughout
Place you’d like to visit–Brookgreen Gardens, a figural sculpture garden in SC. I’ve been there dozens of times, but I always want to go back.
TV show from childhood—Lou Grant, or maybe Scooby Doo–I was an eclectic kid.
TV show from adulthood—La Femme Nikita, although there are plenty of others I like. I usually only come across a show on DVD long after it’s over nowadays.
Are there any urban legends or haunted houses in your area? Leave a comment and I’ll select a random commenter to receive a $5 gift card from Amazon.
After a childhood filled with demons and her devil-worshiping parents, Lydia longs for a quiet, normal life, a safe haven somewhere blissfully dull. Being the manager at the Roanoke Apartments seems to fit that bill. But Lydia soon learns that you can’t leave the past behind so easily. She finds herself faced with unclogging drains for werewolves, conducting nightly vampire counseling sessions, and caring for two talkative cats. Then there’s the distraction of Geoffrey, the hottest, and most angelic, boss anyone ever dreamed of. As if that isn’t enough, the demon who nearly killed her shows up to finish the job. So much for a peaceful, simple life…
She knew she was being rude, knew she certainly wasn’t being a good assistant to Geoffrey, but she couldn’t quite force herself to look up again. If she did, she was going to see things she couldn’t wholly deny. She couldn’t take that. Whatever its dangers, denial felt safe. There was only so much oddity her brain could withstand, before it just started to explode.
She found herself sitting on the couch a moment later, knew that all these men were watching her, knew that she was direly failing whatever test she was being given. But she just couldn’t help it. It was too much, was far too weird. If only life could be all picket fences and well-tended lawns and SUVs and…
Okay, so she really wasn’t dumb enough to think such details meant an utter lack of misery, but they just seemed so nice, compared to her life. She felt someone sit on the couch beside her, knew it was Geoffrey, even before he spoke.
“Give her a minute,” he whispered, tenderly stroking her blue hair.
That only made her sigh all the more. There were times she truly wished she could be a stereotypical vapid blonde.
That wish, of course, was part of the reason why she’d ended up with the hair color she was now stuck with, but she wasn’t up to such analysis.
One of the residents sighed softly. “I guess we are a bit much for a first day. Especially with our moon phase coming up and all.”
She wished she lived the sort of life which made it impossible to guess what they were talking about.
Geoffrey’s soft touch made her raise her head again, her eyes a little misty, as she gazed at the two werewolves’ worried yellow eyes. Their normal clothing only made the situation weirder. The one who had greeted them, Hugh, dressed much like her boss tended to. The second one was even wearing a business suit. She was trying not to scream.
Fortunately, Geoffrey surprised her out of the impulse, pulling her close, his arms tender, mouth by her ear. Into it, he whispered a series of soft, soothing sounds. Like at her lunch with Glory, none of them were quite recognizable, except for her name. “Lydia,” he would breathe, before those only half-hidden words began again. “Lydia.” It made her real name so darn tempting that she couldn’t quite remember why she’d ever chosen another, and it finally made her sanity begin to piece itself slowly back together.
She wasn’t certain how long they were like that, knew nothing except his touch, his comfort. Some final spate of words settled inside her as a sort of hope for the future, a thought — even if she had no conscious access to it — that comforted her even more. She felt his soft kiss there, before he finally leaned back. She didn’t really know what to think, after that.
Katherine Gilbert was born at house number 1313 and then transplanted to a crumbling antebellum ruin so gothic that The Munsters would have run from it. She has since gained several ridiculously-impractical degrees in English, Religious Studies, and Women’s Studies. She now teaches at a South Carolina community college, where all her students think, correctly, that she is very, very strange, indeed.
Please help me welcome… (Be sure to check out her adorable author pic!!)
Sorchia DuBois__Zoraida Grey and the Family Stones currently for sale and a preview of upcoming release Zoraida Grey and the Voodoo Queen
Book Cover Strategery
Don’t judge a book by its cover is a great metaphor for life and relationships, but when it comes to literal books we do literally judge them by their literal covers. In a few weeks, I’ll be sending my request for a cover to my publisher. While I don’t have total control over the result, I can make suggestions. Trouble is—I’m never sure what to ask for. So I’m asking for help.
We authors put a lot of time and effort into designing covers people will notice. We try to make the cover an illustrated promise of the content. Two things that have a huge impact on a cover are genre and audience.
Now my book happens to be:
The second in a series of three.
About witches. Not green ones, but modern-day, cat-loving, job-having, curly-fry eating, car-driving witches who just happen to have a particular skill set.
Set in present day time in locations including Arkansas, New Orleans, the Gulf of Mexico, the Yucatan jungle, and Scotland.
Infested with voodoo and modern day pirates along with seductive male witches, evil priestesses, Columbian emeralds, betrayal, hurricanes, and true love.
About the protagonist’s growth as a woman as much as about romance and mystery and magic.
My audience is primarily women over 21. I don’t think there is an upper limit because I’m mumblety years old myself but I still think of myself as a vibrant and youngish person. They are a free-thinking, independent group and they have the scars to prove it. They like challenges and mystery, and they like men—or is that redundant? They also like diversity, adventure, and spooky stuff. They want steamy romance as long as it isn’t gratuitous and they dearly love twists and turns. They are intelligent and will not put up with stereotypes. Each and every one of them has a quirky sense of humor. They do not adhere to cultural norms unless said norms make sense to them—they don’t follow the crowd.
So how do I appeal to these gals with a cover that begs them to read the book? What will pique their interest? This is where I need your help because I suspect the preceding paragraph is a description of YOU.
If you want to help, follow this link https://goo.gl/forms/g9tzwNtXosXeHaYi1 to fill out a short survey of your cover preferences. It will take you about a minute and a half to do this and your responses will help me immensely. If you are interested in seeing the results, I’ll post them on my blog at www.sorchiadubois.com on August 25. You can hop over there and follow the blog or you can follow me on Twitter or FB.
As a reward, here’s a tiny preview of Zoraida Grey and the Voodoo Queen, book 2 in my Zoraida Grey series. I hope to release this book Fall 2017.
The wooden screen door, swollen with the summer humidity, rasps as he pushes it open. “I never knew such a place existed where you could go naked and still be too warm. It is like walking about in a warm bath all day. ”
“So––feel better after your shower? A little less like an asshole, maybe?”
“I said I was sorry.” Shea balances his sandwich, two glasses, and the depleted bottle of Laphroaig in one hand. Even in the near dark, his gaudy Bermuda shorts give off a subtle glow.
“Who picks out your clothes anyway? Or do you find them in dumpsters?”
The whisky he hands me is cold but neat. He sinks into the lawn chair beside me. “I’ll have you know these shorts come highly recommended as standard American togs by no less than Constable MacCaig himself. I have three more just like them.”
Short, round, nearly bald, but with a detective’s discerning gray eyes, the image of Constable MacCaig makes me smile. Nothing in Black Bridge, Scotland, gets past Constable MacCaig––not even the witches in Castle Logan.
“Who knew Constable MacCaig was such a fashionista? At least we won’t have trouble finding you in the snow, come winter.” The faint light of the crescent moon shimmers faintly from indigo tattoos twining up his right arm and down his torso. I give myself another mental shake and concentrate on my whisky. “How did you and Constable MacCaig get so chummy?”
He does not reply immediately, but takes a drink. The muscles in his jaw knot. “We did not start out as chums.”
“And thereby hangs a tale, I guess.”
“Not a pleasant one. He accused me of spiriting his daughter away.”
After he pulled me out of the oubliette, Shea sent me to Constable and Mrs. MacCaig. A nurse, Mrs. MacCaig bandaged my wounds. Since I fled wearing only my underwear and bathrobe, she gave me clothes for the journey back to Arkansas––her daughter’s clothes. The coat, sweater, and jeans are tumbling in my dryer right now.
“MacCaig wouldn’t accuse you if he didn’t have reason.” My tone is harsher than I intend. I am an expert in the way male Logan witches manipulate, persuade, seduce. “That’s something I would expect from Michael, more than you.”
“Really?” His profile is black against the glow of the streetlights and the sky. “In this case, you would be mostly correct.”
A chill crawls down my back like a spider with eight cold feet. “What happened to her?”
He shakes his head, concentrating on the glass of whisky intently before he drains it. “I’m not certain.”
How deep into Michael’s plans is Shea––how much has he done and how much more does he plan to do to keep Michael’s trust? Whether he intends to prove his loyalty to Michael or to take Michael’s place as laird of the Logan witches, he’ll need help. He’ll need the Stone of Adamantine.
Johnny Lee Hooker slinks along the porch rail. His tail twitches and his ears cup toward the woods as the moon breaks free of the tree branches. A whippoorwill calls from the fringe of woodland, but this bubble of peace extends only so far. Outside, the world is uncertain and scary. On my very own porch, Shea Logan is proof of that.
Pick up the first book in the series, Zoraida Grey and the Family Stones.
Granny’s dying, but Zoraida can save her with a magic crystal of smoky quartz. Too bad the crystal is in Scotland––in a haunted castle––guarded by mind-reading, psychopathic sorcerers.
Getting inside Castle Logan is easy. Getting out––not so much. Before she can snatch the stone, Zoraida stumbles into a family feud, uncovers a wicked ancient curse, and finds herself ensorcelled by not one but two handsome Scottish witches. Up to their necks in family intrigue and smack-dab in the middle of a simmering clan war, Zoraida and her best friend Zhu discover Granny hasn’t told them everything.
Sorchia DuBois lives in the wilds of southern Missouri with seven cats, three fish, one dog, and one husband. She enjoys a splash of single malt Scotch from time to time and can often be found at Scottish festivals watching kilted men toss heavy objects.
Her stories blend legends, magic, mystery, romance, and adventure into enchanted Celtic knots. Halloween is her favorite time of year (she starts decorating in August and doesn’t take it down until February) and her characters tend to be mouthy, stubborn, and a bit foolhardy. Nothing makes her happier than long conversations in the evening, trips to interesting places, and writing until the wee hours of the morning. Well, chocolate cake makes her pretty happy, too.
A titled lord, concert pianist, and … vampire, Morgan D’Arcy has everything he wants…except what he most desires…the woman of his dreams—the search is on.
The greatest enemy of a vampire is boredom. Four centuries of existence have taught Lord Morgan Gabriel D’Arcy to fear nothing and no one. Humans and their weapons have little chance against his preternatural speed and arcane powers. Vampires are viral mutations of human DNA. Still, the Vampyre code requires secrecy, and he has learned to hide his nature from the world. The lure of mortality, of a life in the sun, puts Morgan again and again at the mercy of calculating human women though they fail to consider his charm and determination into the equation. However, even grooming a future bride from infancy proves to be fraught with heartbreak. And second chances are not always what they seem unless… you are Morgan. Immortality and beauty, aren’t they grand?
“…Morgan…is a tour de force of egotism, wit, sensuality, and talent…” ~Author Toni V. Sweeney
“Morgan D’Arcy is a class act and the most arresting vampire I’ve ever encountered in literature or films.” ~ Historical and Paranormal Romance Author Beth Trissel
Snow built castles on the windowsills. Wispy flakes swirled in the night air. I stood at the mullioned window with my back to the Chief Councilor of the ruling body of the Vampyre. The pure white silence of a snowy night echoed in the room. A fire crackled in the fireplace, but cold seeped through the stone walls.
At midnight, Lucien St. Albans had arrived with shocking news.
Royal Oak wasn’t on the beaten path. The castle perched on a hill above a small village on the Devon coast. From my bedroom window, I could see the ocean. Lucien had driven his new motorcar hard to tell me that there was no such thing as forever. He was pale and drawn, worried. I’d never seen the Chief Councilor rattled. Lucien St. Alban’s self control was legendary. The emotion in his black eyes was fear, and a shudder chased over me.
“I drove straight from an emergency meeting of Les Elus,” he announced without preamble. “We are all in jeopardy.”
In a small principality between France and Spain, an epidemic of anthrax ravaged the countryside. Not only human villagers died in Andorra. Two vampires had perished.
Grief for Daphne and guilt for her suicide had wearied my spirit. “Why send me? I’m not a scientist.”
“Dear God, Morgan, I wouldn’t send you into danger.” Behind me, Lucien’s reflection appeared in the window. He rested his hands on my shoulders. “One of our scientists plans to travel to Andorra immediately and investigate. He believes the bacteria secretes an endotoxin that is a reverse mutagen. When infected, the disease progresses at a phenomenal rate. The victim reverts to mortal, and the body disintegrates to ash.”
A thrill pierced my lethargy. Dead vampires presented an intriguing mystery. Members of our select society should not perish to a disease fatal to humans, or very few others of the Grim Reaper’s tricks. It was time for me to stop lurking in Death’s shadow. My grief for Daphne was useless to her corpse. She was quite simply and forever gone. Reverse mutagen. The mere idea sent a shiver of excitement over me. If the Vampyre Effect could be undone, then the possibility of returning to human existed.
Born in South Carolina, Linda has lived in England, Canada, Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, Atlanta and Houston. She’s seen a lot of this country from the windshield of a truck pulling a horse trailer, having bred, trained and showed Andalusian horses for many years.
Linda has won several writing awards, including the Georgia Romance Writers Magnolia Award. She is the mother of two wonderful sons, a retired legal assistant, member of the Houston Symphony League, and enjoys events with her car club. Among her favorite things are her two marvelous sons, a snazzy black convertible, and her parlor grand piano. She loves to dress up and host formal dinner parties.
I am very, very excited to introduce today’s guest and share her new release. Several months ago, I decided to put together a group of authors from various countries to collaborate on a novella series, with each story set in a different country. I love gothic mystery romances, so I decided that would be a fun genre for our series. I put out a few feelers, and Marie was one of the authors who came on board. Marie is the launch author for our series of stand-alone novellas. Her story, Ghost in the Rain, released today, and it is awesome!!! And, guess what? It’s on sale for only 99 cents!
Tell us a fun fact about you:
When I first met my husband, he told me he played in a band and was going to be a rock star. It was Halloween. 🙂
What did you like about writing as a group effort?
I really liked the way ideas bounced around – how one author’s suggestion would set me thinking and spark another notion. Besides which, writing is a very solitary profession and it’s a lovely change to be part of a project that still lets you follow your own story.
What was the most difficult part of writing as a group effort?
To be honest, I don’t think I found any of it very difficult! I suppose I was very aware that if my story didn’t work, I would be letting the whole group down. I couldn’t just slide the manuscript under the bed and forget about it. So I worried that it wasn’t right for the series. But then again, the nice thing about a group effort is that other authors are there to give their opinion, and I was very glad this group’s was favourable!
Thank you for joining me today, Marie. It has been a pleasure getting to know you and working with you on our series!
Marie is giving away a FREE copy of Ghost in the Rain to once lucky commenter…a name will be drawn on Sunday.
(Isn’t this cover gorgeous?)
A haunted Highland house, battered by storms and murder…
Notorious rocker Dan Stewart isn’t anything like Dr. Kate Yorke imagined. Arriving at his remote home in the Scottish Highlands to research some valuable letters – only to discover he’s forgotten their appointment – Kate soaks up the Gothic atmosphere of Invershiel House. But it’s the owner who truly fascinates her.
Reclusive and abrupt, Dan is haunted by the deaths of his fellow band members, especially his one time lover Islay Lamont, whose shade seems to flit around the grounds in the rain. But the ghost is not the only mystery Kate encounters. Light bulbs disappear around her – and only Dan knows she’s scared of the dark. Then she trips over a dead body which inexplicably vanishes.
It becomes a race against time to find the identity of the body and the killer. And to discover if she and Danny have any kind of future together. Or even at all…
I had to acknowledge that my peace was churned up by his unexpected presence here. It wasn’t even an unpleasant feeling; in fact it felt rather…exciting. But it was disturbing.
I took off my glasses and rubbed my eyes. I suspected Dan Stewart carried such disturbance wherever he went. If I thought about it, the whole house felt different now. As if its peace had gone too; as if it had sprung to life, eager, waiting.
Mocking my own silly fantasy, I stood abruptly and paced around the room, trying to recover my lost concentration. I suspected I was just tired and would work much faster and much better after a good night’s sleep.
I paused by the window to watch the storm. Although the thunder had stopped, the wind and rain were still blasting the trees and rattling the window. Close-up, I could feel the draught through my thick sweater. On impulse, I retrieved my phone from my bag and tried to capture the raging storm on its camera. But it looked too tame on the screen, not deep or dark enough, no real movement in those black clouds still scudding and swirling across the sky. I wished I could paint. For a moment, I even wished I could be part of it, to go outside in it again. There was nothing to stop me, except common sense.
I smiled to myself and lowered the phone, just as a movement in the garden below caught my eye. Someone was out in this. Someone not remotely dressed for it either. Through the darkness and the almost opaque mist of rain, I could make out only that it seemed to be a woman wearing only some kind of floating, white, wispy garment, more like the loungewear of wealthy women of past centuries than anything anyone would wear today for any purpose. The odd garment shimmered as the figure glided across the lawn, impossibly graceful.
On impulse, I raised my phone again and snapped.
Perhaps she moved too quickly. Nothing of her showed on the screen except an indistinct blur of light against blackness. Frowning, I looked again out of the window, but the woman had gone. Vanished.
Marie Treanor lives in Scotland, in a chaotic house by the sea, together with her eccentric husband, three much too smart children and a small dog who rules them all. Most days, she avoids both housekeeping and evil day jobs by writing stories of paranormal romance and fantasy.
Marie is the award winning author of over forty steamy paranormal romances – Indie, New York and E-published.
I’m pleased to welcome Juli D. Revezzo and her latest release, Sing a Mournful Melody…
Where did you get the idea for your novel?
The idea for “Sing a Mournful Melody” came from a daydream about a woman (Maribelle) hearing a ghostly voice from her Victrola. As I looked into the time period in which I wanted to set the story (1901) I found a phonograph developed by Alexander Graham Bell called a Graphophone. It’s a version of the record player that people don’t seem to know much about, so it drew my interest. The story of Maribelle’s beloved composer husband, and what becomes of him, blossomed from there.
What book have you read that you wish you would have written?
Oh, I wish I’d written “Rime of the Ancient Mariner”, or Virginia Woolf’s To the Lighthouse. Barring that it would be great to know Coleridge or Woolf, I think. 🙂
What’s the main thing that you could get rid of in your life that would give you more writing time?
I hate to say it, but social media. That’s the biggest time suck in life these days.
What’s your favorite book of all time and why?
My favorite book of all time? Elric of Melnibone by Michael Moorcock is probably my all-time favorite fantasy novel. As far as Classics, I have to go with LeFanu’s story from 1872,“Sir Dominick’s Bargain” and “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” by Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1798) as an influence on my inclusion of Supernatural elements in my work. They particularly had an influence on the genesis of my story “Sing a Mournful Melody”.
What do you want readers to come away with after they read “Sing a Mournful Melody”?
I hope they will enjoy the story. Perhaps it will send their spines. 😉 Maybe, they will even learn something they hadn’t known before.
Would you rather have a bad review or no review?
That’s a tough question. A think a bad review. For all that they sting, I’ve noticed they do boost the signal a bit. 🙂
What genre have you never written that you’d like to write?
From the first time I picked up a pen, I have pretty much always experimented across genres. However, I would like to try my hand at a historical novel. In fact, I’m working on a Gothic romance right now, so it’s a distinct possibility I may tick it off my bucket list eventually. 🙂
What is your favorite…
Movie: I’m a movie fan, so there are many. Room with a View, Excalibur, Enchanted April, Pan’s Labrynth, The Lord of the Rings Trilogy…I could go on, but I won’t bore you. 🙂
Music: I enjoy a wide range of music—Rock, blues, heavy metal, classical, some new age, even some alt-country. Johnny Cash rocks, Elvis is good too. 🙂
Place you’ve visited: South Carolina.
Place you’d like to visit: Italy or Ireland.
TV show from childhoodBeauty and the Beast and Isis.
TV show from adulthood: I loved Gilmore Girls. Currently I’m obsessed with Once Upon a Time and Sleepy Hollow.
Sports team:I must admit, I don’t pay attention to sports.
Which do you prefer:Board games/card games or television? I do like a good game of Monopoly but I must admit, I veg out in front of a movie on the DVD player more often than not, these days.
Thank you for joining me, Juli. Some very interesting information. I agree about the bad reviews. Uh, and you know I liked that you mentioned Elvis in your list of music 😉
Juli would like to ask readers a question now…
Who is your favorite Gothic heroine?
At the turn of the 20th century, tragedy has left Maribelle grief-stricken. After her beloved husband is murdered, his body disappears from his crypt. Worse, ghostly voices call from the widow’s Graphophone. Is she losing her mind, or does something wicked this way come?
Maribelle, Maribelle. The words rang from the Graphophone in the corner, its needle humming across the short cylinder.
A shudder crept over her skin. Maribelle frowned and berated herself. Of course she was alone. How could she have expected otherwise? And yet, the voice gave her pause.
She couldn’t remember any song that mentioned her name, couldn’t remember having left the Graphophone running. Certainly not in so short a time.
“By God,” she said approaching the Graphophone, intent on shutting it off, “how could you let that thing scare you?”
“Maribelle,” the disembodied voice of the Graphophone said, deep and different now, “I know what you would do. You wish to die.”
Maribelle gasped and halted in her tracks. “How could you?”
The voice continued, oblivious to her question, “I have another suggestion for you.”
She flicked the switch on the side of the Graphophone’s case. “Be quiet, won’t you? I can’t hear myself think.”
She turned toward the door.
“Maribelle,” the voice came again.
Maribelle screeched in shock and turned, heart fluttering like a nervous sparrow’s wings.
The Graphophone played on its own. Its polished nickel tone arm glowed with a gloomy blue light as its needle scraped across the brown wax cylinder.
“As I said, I have another suggestion for you, if you’d listen for moment.”
Maribelle reached toward the needle. “I will hear no more,” she said.
“No,” said the stranger’s voice. “Listen to me. The one you loved is gone forever. No one can reunite you.”
She sniffled. “I know that much, sir.”
“So all the authorities say. But what do doctors and police truly know of death?” said the voice. “They cannot help you. Perhaps I can.”
Juli D. Revezzo is a Florida girl with a love of speculative and romantic fiction and legend, and loves writing stories with all kinds of fantastical elements. She is the author of The Antique Magic series and the Paranormal Romance Harshad Wars series, New Adult romance Changeling’s Crown, and many short stories. She is also a member of the Independent Author Network and the Magic Appreciation Tour. To learn more about this and future releases, visit her at:http://julidrevezzo.com Follow her on