Phantasmic Friday ~ Week Three


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Welcome back to Phantasmic Friday! Here in Salem, Massachusetts, “Haunted Happenings”–our month-long celebration of Halloween–is in full swing. I doubt Salem’s founder, Roger Conant (pictured above, in front of the Salem Witch Museum) would approve, but those of us who love Halloween and/or the paranormal have a lot of fun! In that spirit, let’s journey back to my college years for today’s true story.

As an undergraduate, I studied one semester in London. I dove into life in that venerable city and bonded right away with my two roommates. We and our fellow students lived in a Victorian hotel in South Kensington, which also provided classrooms and a baptism-by-fire acquaintance with English plumbing.

The bathroom adjoining our room was a boon, but it was also the lair of the “toilet monster.” Out of the blue, said toilet emitted thunderous, tortured gurgles that begged our attention day and night. During the day, the toilet monster was harmless; at worst, a disturber of the peace. At night, it creeped out the roommate who slept closest to it and often wrenched me from my dreams. Or perhaps there was another culprit.

Once awake, I sat up in bed and squinted into the darkness. Someone unseen watched us. The presence was male, and I sensed he’d lived in an earlier time, closer to when the hotel was built. Sometimes he stood in our room, most often at the foot of my bed or near the bathroom; other times, he lurked just outside the door. His location was as clear to me as if I’d seen it.

Halfway through the semester, another student—who had no idea what I’d experienced and whose room was directly across the hall from ours— shared his own encounter. He woke in the middle of the night to find a 19th-century soldier standing at the foot of his bed, staring at him.

I was certain our neighbor saw what I’d repeatedly sensed. Intrigued, I researched the street where we lived. A few doors down, in 1926, one of England’s first paranormal investigators established the National Library of Psychical Research, where mediums were scientifically tested during numerous séances. Closer still was the home of a 19th-century lieutenant colonel who died under suspicious circumstances.

Did activities in the ghost hunter’s lab become a beacon for stray souls? Was the soldier one of them? Perhaps it was he who wandered the halls—and our rooms—as we slept.

In my YA paranormal fantasy, The Cauldron Stirred, the protagonist’s father is a paranormal investigator (in this century, though!). His family joins in the hunt for Irish ghosts in the ruins of a medieval castle and on the shores of Lough Leane. The story’s climax occurs on Halloween to boot!  🙂 If that sounds like something “up your alley,” check it out!

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Medieval Monday ~ First Encounter in THE HIGHLANDER’S VIKING BRIDE


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Welcome back to Medieval Monday and Week Eleven of our “First Encounter” theme!

If you’re following the moment when my hero and heroine meet in Soul of the Wolf, you can find the eleventh snippet on Cathy MacRae’s blog:

But for now, let’s check out the eleventh snippet from The Highlander’s Viking Bride by Cathy and DD MacRae:

She averted her gaze in an effort to wrestle her body and emotions under control. Inhaling deeply, she raised her eyes again only to find the same sensations slamming into her anew. She needed a distraction.

See what happens next on Bambi Lynn’s blog on Monday, October 23!  Here’s the link: 

A little more about The Highlander’s Viking Bride:

Calder MacGerry, laird of an impoverished clan, has resolved to end the bitter feud between the MacGerrys and Sinclairs. He jumps at Laird Sinclair’s offer of marriage to his only daughter, Katja, to seal the agreement between their clans—only to get more than he bargained for.

Katja’s chance to escape her father’s harsh treatment appears to be too good to be true. But becoming Lady of a clan that despises her because she’s a Sinclair, doesn’t make her life any easier. When the attacks turn deadly, she fights her way out, making a dangerous passage to the Shetland Isles for refuge with her Viking family.

Calder and Katja’s marriage, built on mistrust, rushes quickly into disaster. As Calder seeks to repair the damage, Katja discovers not another enemy, but a husband who pledges a new beginning.

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Phantasmic Friday ~ Week Two


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It’s Friday the 13th!  We’re nearly halfway through October, and Salem, Massachusetts is abuzz with all things Halloween.  Needless to say, I’m in my element and excited for another Phantasmic Friday.  So get cozy and read on for more adventures from my “paranormal past.”  🙂

As a little girl, I believed anything was possible. Truth be told, I still believe it. Perhaps the magic of that conviction links three uncommon events which happened in a common place: the living room of my childhood home.

On the first occasion, I was ten, and my older brother and his friend, Carl, invited me to play hide-and-seek. Carl was the first “seeker,” and once he started counting, I scampered to the living room and crouched behind a chair.

I’m invisible, I thought. I’m part of this chair.

I repeated those phrases in my mind again and again, then held my breath as Carl entered the room. He searched the entire area, but when he reached my hiding place, he merely glanced behind the chair, then dashed off to another room.

When at last the hunt was over, we plopped onto the living room couch. He turned to me with knitted brow.

“Where in heck were you?”

“The living room,” I said.

His face transformed into a mask of shock. “I checked the whole room. There’s no way you were in here.”

The fact he hadn’t seen me was strange, but my reply was even stranger. “How do you know? Maybe the molecules of my body changed to make me invisible. Maybe there are doorways we don’t know about. That wall right there could’ve opened up to let me pass through.”

He cocked an eyebrow. “What are you? A ghost?”

Well, yes…in a way. If ghosts are earthbound spirits with unfinished business, I suppose we all qualify; we’re just attached to physical bodies at the moment.

A few weeks later, the second event occurred. My little brother and I were sitting on his bedroom floor rolling a ball back and forth. At one point, he went for gold, and the ball whisked past me and out the open door to the living room. I jumped to my feet and hurried to retrieve it, but it was nowhere in sight.

My brother was close on my heels. “Where is it?”

I shrugged. “I don’t know, but it has to be somewhere.”

We began a search that left no corner unchecked, no cushion unturned. Then we investigated the surrounding rooms, only to come up empty-handed.

Was it an example of what parapsychologists call “apportation”? Or the possible result of a portal? Your guess is as good as mine, but we never did find that ball. It was just gone.

Fourteen years later, I was home from college, and because my parents were away, my little brother and I had the run of the house. Naturally, he threw a party, which involved loud music and a lot of beer. I holed up in my room for the duration, and around 1:00 a.m., the house emptied. My brother turned off the living room stereo and cleaned up. Then we went to bed.

I was just dozing off when a blast of heavy metal music jolted me awake. Without a thought for my glasses, I bounded out of bed, down the hall, and into the living room.

I glared at the blurry figure illuminated by the blaring stereo. “What do you think you’re doing?”

Unmoving, my brother stared at me.

“Answer me!” I shouted. “What are you doing?”

“Nothing.” He turned down the music.

With a huff, I made a dismissive gesture. “Whatever. Just shut that off. I’m going back to bed.”

Silence clipped the music as I turned toward the hall. Then I took a step forward…

“Jude, who are you talking to?”

I whirled around. My brother stood way over in the dining room, but he should’ve been five paces to my right.

He flicked on the light switch and joined me in the living room. “I thought you were asleep. Why did you turn on the music?”

“It wasn’t me. I thought you did it.”

He shook his head and lifted a hand to his stomach. “I was throwing up in Mom and Dad’s bathroom.”

On the opposite side of the house.

I frowned, wishing I’d worn my glasses. The figure in front of the stereo had looked fuzzy, but it had my brother’s height, build, and thick, shoulder-length hair. It also sported his boxer shorts.

My brother saw it too, though from a distance that made the figure appear even blurrier than how I’d seen it. So what happened?

Bilocation, a phenomenon supported by quantum physics which I’ve experienced in a variety of ways since.  History is peppered with stories of doppelgangers, including doubles of Elizabeth I, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, and Percy Bysse Shelley, to name only a few. It’s a strange, beautiful world we live in, and I wouldn’t have it any other way!

If you enjoyed reading the true account above, check out My Books.  Whether I’m writing fact or fiction, the supernatural always finds a home in my work. Happy Friday the 13th!

Medieval Monday ~ “First Encounter” in THE ANGEL AND THE PRINCE


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Welcome back to Medieval Monday and Week Ten of our “First Encounter” theme!

If you’re following the moment when my hero and heroine meet in Soul of the Wolf, you can find the tenth snippet on Laurel O’Donnell’s blog:

But let’s focus on Laurel’s tenth snippet from The Angel and the Prince:

“Yes. You will,” Ryen said. She frowned, feeling cheated. It had been so easy to subdue the legendary Prince of Darkness. He was no prince, she thought. He was just a man like all the others.

She saw him force his teeth to be still and raise his head to glare at her, his eyes ablaze with ebon fire. “I…will…kill you for this,” he gritted through clenched teeth.

Follow along next week at Sherry Ewing’s website –
Don’t forget to leave a comment for your chance to win a signed copy The Angel and the Prince and other e-books from the authors of Medieval Monday.

A little more about The Angel and the Prince:

In this exciting medieval romance, the French lady knight known as the Angel of Death wages a battle of wills and desires against her dreaded enemy — the English warrior known as the Prince of Darkness.

Ryen De Bouriez is a French warrior, dedicated to protecting her country against the hated English. In place of glittering ball gowns, she wears shining armor. Instead of practicing the gentler arts, she wields a sword. Those who whisper her name in fear and awe call her the Angel of Death.

Bryce Princeton is the Prince of Darkness, an English knight sent by his king to find and destroy their most hated adversary — the Angel of Death. Little does he know that his enemy is no man at all, but a beautiful woman who will challenge his heart and honor at every turn.

Forced to choose between love and honor, the Angel and the Prince wage a battle of wills that challenges everything they have ever believed in.

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Phantasmic Friday ~ Week One


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October has arrived!  It’s my favorite month for so many reasons:  the glory of autumn, the magic of Halloween, my wedding anniversary, etc.  I could go on and on but instead, I’m instituting “Phantasmic Friday” for the entire month.  Over the next four Fridays, I’ll share brushes with the supernatural I’ve been fortunate to experience.  One occurred when I was six years old.

On the night in question, I woke with a start. I lay nestled against a white, life-size teddy bear, so my vision was limited to a patch of faux fur illuminated by the nightlight’s glow. I couldn’t see a change in my world, but I could sense it.

Something was off.

The next instant, I heard confirmation. Slow footsteps clunked down the hall toward my bedroom, crossed the threshold, approached my bed, and halted beside it.

My ears pricked up. Every hair stood on end. Somehow, I knew the presence was an adult male; I also knew it wasn’t my father. I lay still as a board, feigning sleep, hoping the man would go away. Yet he remained poised at the left side of my bed.

Swallowed by a deafening silence—and partly, by my stifling, stuffed bear—I began to sweat. I waited for another movement, another sound, anything to help me gauge my visitor’s intent.

Nearly ten minutes of stress, heat, and uncertainty reigned before action’s inevitable coup. It was my bed and my room. I would confront the man and stake my claim. Will and courage surged within me, and I flung myself up and around to face…

Nothing. Diddly-squat.

I scanned the room, analyzing storybooks, dolls, and the familiar landscape of furniture. I frowned, for the atmosphere was still thick with something other than Florida’s trademark humidity.  Beyond the open door stretched the dim hallway.

“Is anyone there?” I called.

Dead silence. (Pun intended.)

At length, the air thinned. I shrugged and snuggled back under the covers and into the bear. I took a deep breath and expelled it with a smile.

Tired and craving sleep, my eyes closed. Then they shot open. Distinct, measured footfalls tracked out the door and disappeared down the hall.

Now, years later, I understand the event better. In the field of paranormal investigation, there are two types of haunting: intelligent and residual. With an intelligent haunting, the entity is aware of your presence and may try to communicate. A residual haunting is more like a recording—of energy and event—which replays itself again and again, and the entity involved is unaware it has company.

My first ghostly encounter seems to fall under the second category. The unexpected footsteps sounded like hard-soled shoes tramping on wood. Our house, built in the 1940s, did have wooden floors, but they were carpeted at the time of the event. The previous owners of the house were an elderly couple who preferred separate bedrooms, and guess which one used mine: the man. (I knew none of this at the time, though.)

He and I shared the same space in different times and should’ve been oblivious to one another. But could it be, when conditions are just right, two such individuals can perceive one another’s presence?

If linear time is an illusion, as many believe it to be, this type of awareness might occur more often than we suspect. Who knows? I might even have sensed a man who would occupy my bedroom in the future. In any case, I know what I felt and heard, and from that point on, my interest in the supernatural was as fervent as it was fixed.

If you’re as drawn to the paranormal as I (and/or it’s drawn to you!) you might enjoy The Cauldron Stirred, the first book in my Guardians of Erin series. I’m currently writing Book Two, The Stone Awakened. Happy October, everyone!


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Medieval Monday ~ “First Encounter” in HIGHLAND REDEMPTION


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Welcome back to Medieval Monday and Week Nine of our “First Encounter” theme!

If you’re following the moment when my hero and heroine meet in Soul of the Wolf, you’ll find the ninth snippet on Ceci Giltenan’s blog:

Here, I’m featuring Ceci’s ninth snippet from Highland Redemption, Book One of her Duncurra Legacy series.  Let’s dive right in!

He shook his head, forcing a smile. “Nay, lass, I’m just trying to figure out how to get out of the corner ye’ve boxed me into. Ye didn’t learn to play chess like this by pretending the pieces were dolls. Did yer da continue yer lessons?”

“Nay. Well, I suppose in a way he did. He wanted me to learn how to read and write and do sums. So, he had our priest teach me.” A warm smile spread across her face. “Father James was wonderful. He taught me so much more than just those basic skills, including chess. He died when I was ten and it was nearly as painful as when mama died.” She sighed. “But he was elderly and in his last year he’d become very frail. He said he was ready for the angels to lead him into paradise.”

Follow along next week on Sherry Ewing’s website: Remember to leave a comment for a chance to win an e-copy of Highland Redemption and other e-books from the authors of Medieval Monday.

A little more about Highland Redemption:

Tomas’s life changed forever when at the age of seven he was adopted by Laird and Lady Maclan ending the abuse he’d suffered at Ambrose Ruthven’s hand. He’d never looked back and never intended to

But fate had other plans…

Now, nineteen years later, he runs headlong into his past. The Ruthvens are in trouble and Tomas is in a position to help them. But can he set aside his hatred for Laird Ruthven for the good of the clan into which he was born?

Fate always adds a twist…

Laird Ruthven’s daughter is not what Tomas expected. Vida Ruthven is sweet, smart, and utterly irresistible.

Now, Tomas must choose between being the savior or taking the ultimate revenge.

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I’m a guest on Sorchia’s Universe!


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Today, author Sorchia DuBois is hosting me on her magnificent blog, Sorchia’s Universe.  “Novel Magic” is the focus, and I’m talking about the inspiration for my latest novel, The Cauldron Stirred, and my love affair with Ireland.  There’s also an excerpt (featured nowhere else) which hints at the magic and mystery to be found within the pages of this first Guardians of Erin book and the three to come.

Join us if you have a moment.  Here’s the link:

See you there!

Medieval Monday ~ “First Encounter” in HER CHRISTMAS KNIGHT


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Welcome back to Medieval Monday!  It’s Week Eight of our “First Encounter” theme.

If you’re following the moment when my hero and heroine meet in Soul of the Wolf, you can find the eighth snippet on Nicole Locke’s blog:  Like Nicole’s story, Soul of the Wolf embraces the magic of the Yuletide.

Now, let’s check out the eighth snippet from Her Christmas Knight:

Other features of this warrior were different, too. His blond hair did not wave around his shoulders, but was cut short, its curls tamed to just behind his ears. His skin was not pale from the clouds and mist of a small town, but was sun-baked. Underneath the torchlight his face was all hard, lean planes and too fierce for softness. There were lines, too, around his eyes—not from laughter, but from determination. His lips, which curved sensuously and were made for smiling, were instead turned down deeply.

None of this seeming harshness hid the sheer beauty of his features. No, this man’s perfection was marred by a nose that crooked a little to the left.

See what happens next on Sherry Ewing’s blog on Monday, October 2!  Here’s the link:

A little more about Her Christmas Knight:

A knight to protect her—this Yuletide

By order of the English king, Alice of Swaffham searches London nobility for the traitor dealing information to the Scots. Little does she know that the mysterious spy she seeks is the man she once loved and thought she’d lost forever…

If Hugh of Shoebury felt unworthy of Alice before, as the Half-Thistle spy he can never claim her heart. Now he must fight to keep not only his dark secrets—and Alice—safe from a vengeful king…but also his burning longing for her at bay!

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Medieval Monday ~ “First Encounter” in THE LADY OF THE FOREST


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Welcome back to Medieval Monday and Week Seven of our “First Encounter” theme!

If you’re following the moment when my hero and heroine meet in Soul of the Wolf, you can find the seventh snippet on Barbara Bettis’s blog:

But let’s focus on Barbara’s seventh snippet from The Lady of the Forest, part of her Knights of Destiny series:

He almost snorted. As if he ever beat any of his people. But he wagered a bit of a scare wouldn’t go wrong about now. She’d be safer in the long run. “You’ll find yourself in worse trouble if your lord learns what you’ve done.”

Rather than cower, she smiled. “I rather think I’d be in worse trouble if I did set you free.”

Her voice flowed over him like a liquid blanket. Thick, warm, soft. This was no girl. This was a woman.

Follow along next week at Sherry Ewing’s blog: Don’t forget to comment for a chance to win an e-copy of The Lady of the Forest and other e-books from Medieval Monday’s authors.

A little more about The Lady of the Forest:

He must pursue his enemy; she must protect her people. Can their love survive the duties that drive them apart?

When her elderly husband dies, Lady Katherine fakes her own death and disappears into the forest with others escaping the brutish new lord. Determined to protect her people, she knocks the wrong man senseless. But Lord Henry isn’t an enemy, he’s the brother of her childhood friend. Although his tender confidence tempts her, she’s bound by duty.

Henry of Chauvere has found the one lady he wants for his own, never mind she’s tied him hand and foot. When he learns the king has ordered her to wed Stonehill’s ruthless new master, he insists Kate seek haven with his sister. But she won’t desert her friends. Henry vows to solve her problem, provided he catches a traitor before the threat from Kate’s past catches her.

When a daring rescue compels Henry and Kate to join forces, their attraction grows into love. If only duty didn’t drive them apart.

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