Monthly Archives: October 2011

Guest Author Jillian Chantal

I’m excited to be here today as a guest of these wonderful ladies and I thank Sayde Grace for inviting me. When she asked me to come on, she said something about talking about monsters but I decided to be a rebel and talk about my ghost experience on the RMS Queen Mary.

I have a series of three books set on this wonderful old ship and book one of The Gambler’s Inheritance Series, called The Gambler, comes out on April 22, 2012, from Desert Breeze Publishing.

I took a trip out to Los Angeles and spent two nights on the Queen Mary for research for this series while on the West Coast. The ship was purchased by the City of Long Beach, California in 1972 and turned into a hotel. It’s really a neat place to spend a couple of days. It’s supposed to be haunted and, I for one, believe it. We actually went on a couple of tours of the ship, including a ghost tour and I’ve got a picture here of the pool area. A little girl is rumored to haunt the area. Check out the orb I got near the ladder.

My cousin was with me on this trip and the first thing we noticed was that our room was really cold. Now, it was March and it was a little chilly outside in the mornings and evenings, but our room was much more than chilly. The first night, we turned up the heat and it got colder as the night went on. Finally, we called the front desk and when the maintenance engineer came in, he looked around and then said, “Oh yeah, this is THAT room.”

HUH? We both wanted to know what the heck he meant. Well, it seems this room has some glitch with the temperature system. They’ve tried everything to fix it but the thermostat keeps reversing itself. No matter what they do to fix it, it won’t stay fixed. Turns out, we had to turn on the a/c for heat and the heat for a/c. Crazy.

The second night, we went to bed around eleven. This was a room with two queen beds separated by a table as is usual in hotel rooms. My bed was near the bathroom and hers was near the porthole. Around three in the morning, I was asleep on my side and facing the bathroom. Directly in my ear, I heard a loud “psst, psst.” It was a hard consonant sound and it was clear and very audible. I immediately turned over, thinking my cousin needed something. NOPE. She was sound asleep with ear plugs in and facing away from me, facing the porthole.

I leapt up and dashed into the bathroom, turned on the light and shut the door. I paced around a second, then out loud, I said, “Leave me alone. I don’t have time for this. Go away.”

I went back to bed and had no more disturbances.

I didn’t tell my cousin about this until we were at the airport and she said she was glad because she would’ve freaked out and ran out of the room and off the ship. What do you think, would you freak out or tell the haint to leave you alone?  Leave me a comment about which you’d be, a chicken or a bossy britches telling the spirit to get lost and one random winner will win their choice of an e-book copy of one of my books, Solo Honeymoon, Surfer Bride or Redemption for the Devil.

You can find me on the web here: http://www.jillianchantal.com

Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/JillianChantal

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/#!/jillian.chantal

Jillianchantal@gmail.com

Thanks again, ladies, for letting me pop in and share an October day with your followers.

All Hallows Eve

Halloween. Samhain (say SOW – en) in  Gaelic. Among the pagans, this holiday is year’s end, the witches’ New Year. It’s the time when the veil between our world and the world of the dead is thinnest. Spirits walk among the living. It’s a time to honor one’s ancestors.  If there’s divination to be done, the timing is right at All Hallows.

It is the beginning of The Dark Time – in the northern hemisphere. It’s the time on the Wiccan calendar when the God resides in the Underworld, not to be seen again until Solstice.

Bonfires are lit and the cares (and bad habits) of the passing year are fed into the flames – these are the things we want to leave behind in the old year. The point is to identify anything holding you back and to give that to the flames (without scorching yourself or your clothing…the whole magic thing takes a real hit if you have to call 911).  Naturally, you can’t sacrifice the negatives without having something positive to fill the whole left behind. So, resolutions are made and bound into some kind of focus – a bracelet or a charm bottle – some token you take back with you into your daily life to remind you of the qualities you want to embody.

Then, after all of the solemn stuff is over, there’s costumes and trick or treating, eating too much and laughing with friends. The only difference is that at the dinner table that night, an extra place will be set and the plate filled. The ancestors and everyone you’ve loved who has gone to the next life are invited to join the meal. At the end of the evening, the plate and the food are put outside (far enough from the door so that you needn’t worry about what sort of wildlife might come to claim it).  This is where the custom of putting a bowl of milk and bread on the doorstep comes from – it’s now about keeping the spirits out of the house – but it originated as a way of bringing the spirits of your loved ones back *into* the home with the notion that your ancestors would have a vested interest in helping protect you and your home for the coming year.

This is my favorite holiday of the year. I love fall – the colors, the frosty weather and the occassionally crystal clear days where the sky is an unbelievable color of blue. It’s so much a favorite that 19 years ago, my husband and I were married on Halloween. Yes. We hung up spiders, ghosts, and bats for wedding decorations. The wedding party members all carved jack o’ lanterns at rehearsal dinner which then lined the drive up to the venue. On our honeymoon that evening, when we showed up in our wedding clothes, we had to answer the obvious question: Costumes?? Or for real??

The Irony of Halloween

Isn’t life ironic? My mom didn’t really like Halloween. So every year the night of trick-or-treating came upon us a little too quickly, and we scrambled for costumes. We rushed up to my Nana’s house and borrowed colorful scarves, bright makeup, and clunky jewelry. In other words, I was a gypsy for at least five years running. Okay. I liked the makeup.

Don’t get me wrong here. My mom is an awesome mom. She coached pee-wee softball, was always room-mom at school, and worked her butt off (along with my dad) raising three girls. But hey, the woman just didn’t like Halloween. I think my sisters were usually anything with a wig and/or ghosts.

I love Halloween. When my kids were tiny, they still wore costumes. Blues from Blues Clues. Buzz Lightyear. Wonder Woman. New costumes every year—I went all out.

My son hit the point this year that he just isn’t into it. He may go as a football player. Of course, he wears his football jersey every Friday to school, so it’s not like a real costume. I was holding out hope that my ten year old daughter would still want to dress up. And she does! Guest what as? YEP. You got it. A GYPSY!

Are you kidding me?!? I tried to talk her out of it. We looked at costumes on the internet. It finally came down to: a gypsy costume.

So, we headed up to my mom’s house, and the woman laughed her head off as she searched through drawers for colorful scarves and chunky jewelry. The Halloween spirits must be giggling right along with her.

Everyone have a safe and fun Halloween! Also, a quick note here that CLAIMED was released into the wild (aka bookstores) yesterday and I’m running a contest for one person to win the first ARC of HUNTED. Go here for the contest.

What was either your favorite or your least favorite Halloween costume?

My Kind of Halloween

I don’t have children. I have relatives who have children and I’ve done the trick or treating thing with them. Most of the time though, I stay home on Halloween with the lights off and wait for that magic moment.

I was in college the first time I saw it. My best friend and I rented a movie called The Rocky Horror Picture Show and were instantly hooked. We watched it every Halloween after that. We even attended parties where everyone performed the Time Warp. We had the audience participation down pat and shouted at every chance. We dressed up like characters from the movie. She was Columbia since she had shorter hair and had taken dancing when she was a kid. I was Magenta since I had the long hair and no problem with a lot of eyeliner.

That was well over ten years ago, but every Halloween I feel the antici……pation of the movie. I wait and start brushing up on the songs. I make sure to turn all the lights out so I can curl up on my sofa and lose myself in the world of Brad and Janet and Frankenfurter. I sing along at the top of my lungs and every time this scene comes up, I have to leap off the sofa and dance the Time Warp again.

Do you shiver…..with antici……pation? 😉

Whatever Floats Your Coffin

Surprisingly, I’m not the Halloween type. Sure, I’ve got the wild black hair, the dark mysterious eyes…and believe me, I’ve got the crazy maniacal laugh to complete the package.

But I’m not the person who dolls up the entryway to our home with fake webs, spookily carved pumpkins and goblins that reach for you when you pass by. I don’t host a Halloween party and I definitely don’t go hog-wild lining our driveway with hundreds of pumpkins.

I wish I was, because I think those haunted houses look great! I’m just…not the type.

Instead, I like to cuddle up on the couch with a cup of coffee and watch my favorite vampire movie. Right now it’s Underworld.

Haven’t found one to top it since its release. Before that, my go-to vamp flick was Interview with a Vampire.

(I mean, come on, I can’t  go wrong either way!)

I like to have a bowl of buttery popcorn, a fluffy blanket, and Husband at my side. We don’t get trick or treaters, but in case we ever do, I have a few King Size candy bars on hand. You better believe before the night is through, they’re gone—but not by kids in costumes!

Whether you’re the type who goes to the nines with the witchy (or kinky) costume, hosts a party and jumps out to scare guests, or the type who stands back and watches the craziness unfold, I hope you make this Halloween your best yet!

What type of Halloweener are you?

Almost Halloween!

Since this will be my last post before the month of October is up I figured I’d ask what everyone is going to be for Halloween. This year we have a new addition to the family and the hubby and I had talked about dressing up in a theme but um, yeah, that’s so not going to happen. It would take too much organization, especially since my husband has decided he will likely be wearing a t-shirt with a pumpkin or skull and crossbones on it. Though in all honesty he’ll probably just wear his kilt (again!).

But, if he sticks with the ridiculous t-shirt, since I bought my little guy a cute pumpkin outfit they might actually semi-match and I’ll be the odd one out. But that’s okay, I love the funky hat I got as part of my costume…which will be a witch, complete with black and purple striped tights to match my purple hat (which is currently perched on a plastic pumpkin as can be seen in the picture) and black dress. In addition I’ll be buying a broom at the dollar store and decorating it myself. I know a witch isn’t very original but it’s a classic, it’s easy and it’s super fun!

If you celebrate or partake in Halloween, what are you dressing up as?

Forget Horror, Ghosts, and Demons. Let’s Talk Chicken

Hello everyone! Yeah, you read the title right. Forget all those scary, bump in the night things. I wanna talk about chickens today. No, not the ones that cluck or crow. Well, I mean, some do but not the ones I have in mind. I’m talking about us humans who are “Fright-Night Challenged”. That’s right, the ones of us with good sense who would run the hell out of the room instead of checking who was in the closest or behind door number one.

On more than one occasion I have been picked on for being the kid who threw the other kids in front of her as she turned tail and ran. For as long as I can remember I have loved scary stories yet been terrified of them. When I began writing a few years ago I had the strongest urge to write paranormal stories, yet how was I going to write about creatures that terrified me? Three years later I still have no idea how I manage to hold off the heebie geebies long enough to write. And on top of that, I’ve made friends with people who adore horror stories, ghosts, and all things scary.

I am a member of my local Romance Writers of America group and a group of the ladies are heading to New Orleans next weekend. There has been talk(Cynthia!) of heading to a haunted tour. Now, every Wednesday I watch episode after episode of Ghosts Hunters and Paranormal Witness. This is as close to a haunted tour I will get. I might tell you, “Yeah, I’ll be there. NO, I’m not going to chicken out this time.” Yet, I will.

So while this month most people are proclaiming their love of all things terrifying I am proclaiming my love for all things fuzzy and cuddly. If you’re a chicken like me, stand up, yell it from the roof tops (not really, please don’t do this 🙂 ) and don’t be scared to say, “Go ahead with your bad self, open that door. I’ll be alive in the sequel while your dumbass is six feet under cause you just had to open that door!”

 

Have a great day everyone and remember, do what’s right because it’s right!

Sayde Grace

Ghost Hunting

 http://hotels.about.com/od/hauntedhotels/ig/Haunted-Hotel-Pictures/Mason-House-Inn.--3Y.htm
Ghosts in Mason House Inn

Got ghosts or things that go bump in the night? There’s a group to help you with that. In the greater Seattle-Tacoma area, it’s a group of ghost hunters called AGHOST. Peruse their site. Click on “Interactive” and watch a few of the video clips. Listen to the EVPs (electronic voice phenomena). See if you aren’t creeped out.

This group puts on a conference each year. You need not be a member to attend – pay the conference fee, show up, and learn how ghost hunters work. Take part in a series of informal ghost hunts (armed with cameras and minirecorders, a group wanders a building or site with a reputation for hauntings). You will come away believing Shakespeare’s Hamlet: There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy. Hamlet Act 1, scene 5

Do *you* have ghosts?

Image Source:  http://hotels.about.com/od/hauntedhotels/ig/Haunted-Hotel-Pictures/Mason-House-Inn.–3Y.htm

Let’s Talk Horror

At this time of the year, I love to end my days watching horror movies. I’ll curl up on the couch, grab a big old bowl of popcorn, and just enjoy the show.  Lot’s channels are currently helping me get my horror fix (Thanks so much, SyFy, for your 31 days of horror!).

There are certain types of horror films that I really enjoy.  Campy flicks are my 1st love.  Yes, that’s why I’m addicted to SyFy Saturday. I don’t feel afraid during these movies–the whole thing is just a fun ride for me. Films like LAKE PLACID and ANACONDAS (The Hunt for the Blood Orchid) get watched over and over at my house.  How can I turn away from them?

And when I’m in the mood for a scare, I tend to go for the psychological flicks.  To me, what you don’t see coming for you is far more frightening than what is actually jumping out on the screen. I like to feel the build-up of tension.  The fear. Mind games always get to me.

What I don’t like? Gore for the sake of gore. Gross-out horror (yeah, HUMAN CENTIPEDE, I’m talking to you). That’s just not my style.  Poop doesn’t do it for me.

What about you?  What’s your horror style?

Thanks for coming by to check out my post!! Have a great day!

Cynthia

Cynthia Eden
www.cynthiaeden.com
ANGEL OF DARKNESS–Available 11/29/11 from Kensington Brava
When an angel falls, all hell breaks loose…

Guests Blogger, Kensington Editor Megan Records

Hello everyone. I hope you all are having a wonderful Friday. Mine has been so busy that I almost forgot that we have an amazing guest blogger this weekend. I hope you all enjoy the weekend and our blogger, Megan Records!! Thanks so much to her for agreeing to guest blog with us this weekend!

How I Came to Love Paranormal Romance (otherwise known as Yes, I Have Been Wrong Once)

I didn’t read paranormal romance until I came to Kensington 5 years ago. I knew what it was, knew it was out there, but had no interest. I said, “I just don’t get it! Biting and dead guys just aren’t sexy.” Oh, how incredibly glad I am that I no longer believe this.

My very first romances were a pair of Avalon romances from the 70s that my aunt had given me. These are hardcover, sweet romances mostly found in libraries. I read those until I was 17, when I discovered that SOME ROMANCES HAVE SEX IN THEM. I actually found this out by accident while reading Brenda Joyce’s THE THIRD HEIRaESS. I fully admit that I hid that book under my mattress until it had to go back to the library. Then I was hooked.
But I read only contemporary and historical romance. I came across many books that are still on my keeper shelf today: Carly Phillips’ HOT ZONE series, Leanne Banks’ BELLAGIO series, Meg Cabot’s adult romances, anything Lisa Kleypas and Lori Foster had ever written…
Then I landed my job at Kensington. Kate Duffy, my boss at the time, handed me JACOB by Jacquelyn Frank and said. “Trust me, just read it.” I tore through that book, and the manuscripts for the rest of the Nightwalker books, in 4 days. Thus, the beginning of an addiction.

But why? Why, when I was so adamant that all those fangs and hair was rather gross?

Because everything I love about contemporary and historical romances is there, except magnified.

1. Heroes are uber masculine…
They’re not just Alpha male types, they’re actually Alphas. And yknow, superhuman bedroom mojo doesn’t hurt their cause at all.

2. But still vulnerable…
If they lose control of their powers, PEOPLE COULD DIE. That makes for a pretty tortured person.

3. Heroines are just like me…
But also look great in leather and have some special gene that means they never get cellulite.

4. Plots have everything from political intrigue to serial killers to hilarious fish-out-of-water moments.

What more are you looking for, exactly?

5. Sometimes I like to think these creatures/worlds actually exist. Like Santa.

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