“Believe nothing you hear, and only one half that you see.”
― Edgar Allan Poe
With Wicked Mist and A Novel Noel set to launch this fall, I've been mentally visiting a variety of mysterious places during the writing, to set the scene for the stories. Did you ever wonder how a setting or locale acquires its eerie reputation? I'm talking about places where stories and experiences open up the haunted imaginings of the mind. What is their lure?
Why do some of us seek out these intriguing locales, hoping to experience the unexpected, to research/learn more about a locale's provenance that may have triggered the mysterious happenings? I know several writers and readers who assuage their muse by searching out spots where paranormal or unexplained occurrences are the norm. Are you one of them?
Dusty attics, curiosity shops, dark basements, cemeteries, battlefields, museums, street tours...You know something could be very, very wrong based upon legend or lore--but you can't resist taking that next step, delving into the history (and mystery) behind things that go bump in the night. Flashlights and holy water in hand, you venture out...are you ready for what you might find?
Sometimes the setting doesn't necessarily have to be a notoriously, haunted location. One of our fav hotels is the Fairmont 'Castle' in Banff Springs. Nestled in the Canadian Rockies, it's one of the most majestic hotels I've ever stayed in (although being secluded in the mountains in a ginormous hotel does give one more than a hint of The Shining vibes).
There are supposedly a few of the rooms that are rumored to be haunted by the spirits of workers and guests who met their demise on the grounds...room 217/237 perhaps?? #Eek
The painting on the left was near the banquet room at the hotel. I was intrigued by this little lady, but, if you look closely, you will see she has the left hand of a child and a right hand of an adult woman...I didn't notice it 'til I returned home, gave me instant goosebumps! She inspired author Bibiana Krall and me to write some horrific flash fiction... #Boo
Before the world shut down in March, 2020, authors Emmy Bennett, Bibiana Krall, and I met up at the infamous Winchester Mystery House in San Jose, Cailfornia. #SpookyGoodFun
Built by eccentric heiress, Sarah Winchester, it is notorious for the endless addition of rooms she commissioned to try and appease the spirits of those killed by the guns manufactured at the firearms company her late husband owned. The house is 24,000 sq. ft., with 160 rooms, 2000 doors, and 10,000 windows! You could definitely sense the ghostly vibrations as you toured the rooms. Harry Houdini went there in 1924 to debunk the spirit rumors, but he didn't issue a final verdict...I wonder why?? 👀👻 The Mystery House recently reinstated their Walk with the Spirits evening tour, so if you're in the San Jose area, I'd recommend booking a visit!
At the Kessler Mansion in Savannah (a city bursting with haunted history) I had my first, in-person meet-up with Bibiana in January, 2020. Part of the mansion used to be a mortuary, and as you can imagine, she and I were on the hunt for ghosts! Way back then, the two chairs on the left were where we sat and started talking about co-writing a collection of scary tales. Were the spirits eavesdropping, planting the seeds for Hearth Fires? #IGuessYes
Pssst...Speaking of Savannah ghosts...author Cathleen Maza is releasing book 2 in her Haunted Savannah series, Savannah in Daylight this coming Friday, July 15th. Take my word, you'll feel like you've been transported to the haunted streets of this southern town, I highly recommend this #spooktacular series!
Is there a place you won't go? For me the answer is yes (at least for now). During our trip to Las Vegas last month, I was thinking of visiting The Haunted Museum while there, but a visit to their Twitter timeline scared me off. There were a couple of pictures tweeted of tour visitors who had markings on their arms, supposedly inflicted by the haints haunting the artifacts exhibited there... I'm sure there are #booriffic things to see, but this one was not for me... #NoTouchy
Where's our next shadowy adventure you ask? We're booking a sunset, ghost tour of the Mission and streets of San Juan Capistrano (definitely taking my ghost-be-gone spray)! Will we see the specters come out at night? This story is developing...
It's a Friday Night Fright story trailer premiere!
Bibiana and I are pleased as witchy brew to start showing the trailers for the stories in Wicked Mist. For the next five weeks on Friday night, we'll be debuting a new story trailer on YouTube! This past week my tale, Area 58 was featured. I love these trailers and the music, all designed and produced by the fabulous Ms. Krall! Who's ready to read some scary tales? 🎃
Thanks again for the fabulous book reviews for Blood on the Vines!
I wanted to share this latest ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ review from author John Dolan on Goodreads--doesn't get much better than this! #ThankYou
'Blood on the Vines’ is the seventh book in Veronica Cline Barton’s ‘My American Almost-Royal Cousin’ series. I have read all six of the previous novels, and I continue to enjoy the author’s combination of cozy mystery, family saga and sly humour. Each book is like reconnecting with old friends.
In ‘Blood’, we are back at Cherrywood Hall where a heavily-pregnant Lady Gemma is about to encounter a local fete worse than death when clairvoyance, poison pen letters and the odd corpse threaten to derail proceedings.
“Strange things go on behind closed doors. Are any of us as we seem?”
Packed with a strong supporting cast, plot twists, mysticism, blue (and red) blood, flower displays, wine and a decayed raven, ‘Blood’ is possibly my favourite book in the series so far.
If you enjoy a good escapist whodunnit romp, you’ll like this. Trust me, the tarot cards are never wrong.
History takes a deadly turn this week from the writers of Twitter...
Author Cynthia Raleigh, Buried Roots, A Perri Seamore Mystery, 5⭐
When traveling nurse, Perri Seamore returns home from her latest assignment, she decides to take a trip to Virginia with close friends, Nina and Tom. While he participates in a Civil War reenactment, Perri and Nina are excited to sightsee in Richmond and tour the historic exhibits surrounding the event where craft displays, food tastings, and vendors selling period and wartime relics show off their wares.
The event comes to a standstill when one of the vendors is found murdered. As the police analyze the scene, Perri and her friends are drawn into the investigation when a relic purchased from the event becomes an item of interest. As they research its provenance, they find possible connections to events that happened generations ago. Will they be able to sort through the documents in time to reveal the killer? Or will they become the next victims?
Author Raleigh weaves a page turning whodunnit involving a mysterious disappearance from the past that results in a present-day quest for revenge. I really enjoyed the characters, exciting twists and turns, and the authentic details and setting descriptions. An intriguing read for mystery fans, highly recommended!
Next up in the reading queue:
A writer's day made!
Nothing better than when a reader of your cozy series tweets a picture with a reference to your latest book!
One Lady Gemma Lancaster's. It even has the secret passage. behind the reeds. Maybe a poison postcard sender too. 😬
Author Colin Powell (@RetroBrit) was touring Sherborne Castle in the UK, built in 1594 by Sir Walter Raleigh. It reminded him of Cherrywood Hall and scenes from Blood on the Vines. I must say, it's kinda perfect, LOL. Is Figgy waving from the turret? Or might that be Aunt Pippa... 💖👑
Welcome to my world. Enjoy the rest of your week and weekend, friends!
Crowns and Kisses,
P.S. Since we're about midway through #ChristmasInJuly, I thought I'd highlight my after Christmas/pre-New Year blog post from 2021. I feature my Top 3 Books for 2021, just in case you're looking for books to add to your summer #TBR. These authors tell a really, fine tale--and each is filled with intriguing settings and locations too!
Gemma and Rikkhe approve💖👑