#Ouija for Christmas? No! No! No! ☆ myBlog

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You might be thinking that the coolest gift you can give this holiday season would be a Ouija board. And to that I say, “No! No! No!” There has long been a debate over whether or not the spate of disturbing occurrences associated with Ouija boards can also be attributed to other seer tools such as Tarot Cards, and the like.  To that postulation let me offer that I’ve never had the same level of menace after spreading my Tarot cards as I have with using Ouija. Frankly, I think Ouija boards are dangerous in that — in INexperienced hands — they offer a portal to malevolent entities that most Ouija board users are either not aware of, or don’t know how to close off.

When I was thirteen I attended a slumber party which was held at the home of a playmate whose parents took us to church the next morning – a Christian family. I note this as ironic because most Christian and Judeo religions consider the use of Ouija a  serious sin. What happened at that session hooked me on Ouija and ultimately I wore my Spiritualist mother and Catholic father down and for my sixteenth Christmas there was a Ouija board waiting for me under the Christmas tree.

Published in my book, ‘The Ghost Chaser’s Daughter’, here is what transpired:

"Summoning Ouija" available in 'The Ghost Chaser's Daughter'

“Summoning Ouija” available in ‘The Ghost Chaser’s Daughter’

Summoning Ouija 

I knew it was wrong – that I shouldn’t. But I did it anyway. I begged and begged for a Ouija board until, on my sixteenth birthday, my wish was granted. The Catholic Church considers using a Ouija board a venial sin, so it was unusual that I would have received something so occult from my parents, who were Catholics. I was delighted.

Summoning the “Oracle” was the perfect slumber party pastime – innocent fun, or so my friends and I thought. My girlfriends and I would wait until midnight, giggling and gossiping as we watched the clock move closer to the Witching Hour.

All of my slumber party friends were totally keen on sorcery and black magic. A set of fortune telling cards, the ability to read tea leaves, and my Ouija board were my plies to the In Crowd. And, it didn’t hurt that I had lived in New Orleans where sessions with Bourbon Street fortunetellers and Voodoo witches were the norm for a teenager.

It was October, the beginning of my junior year. Halloween was just two weeks away as this one particular slumber party took shape. As midnight approached we all trouped to the kitchen to load up on snacks; bowls of popcorn, grab-fulls of candy bars, and bottles of Coke, which would see us through our séance with Ouija. It would be our first session with my new board, hoping to awaken “The Power.”

From the kitchen, we scampered back to my room where I ceremoniously lit candles, placing them on the floor around the séance table. We turned off the overhead light and the candles began sputtering, spitting, and casting long shadows on the walls of my room. Then midnight struck – twelve chimes from the grandfather clock in our living room. The last chime echoed down the hall, bouncing off the darkened walls. Four of us took our places at the séance table where the Ouija and its planchette had been placed, waiting for us.

I looked into the faces of each of my friends and announced, “we should begin now.”

The candles cast shadows across the room leaving each girl’s face in half darkness and half illuminated by candlelight. My best friend, Marty, and I were guiding the planchette – her fingertips perched on one side of the lens, my own fingertips on the other. I’m sure our first question had to do with whether or not one boy, or another, liked us. We waited, trying not to giggle, hoping for the planchette to begin its journey.

It didn’t take long before the lens began its circular motion, signaling that dark forces had arrived from Beyond to join us. Marty and I looked up at each other, her eyes were wide, disbelieving. I furrowed my brow and shook my head, discouraging her to react. I did not want to upset the circular motion of the planchette. Lindsay had already discounted the power of the Ouija as a “phenomena of static electricity, or ideomotor action, or some other method of scientific influence”. I was sure that her brother, the science whiz kid of Federal Way, Washington had given her the words of this dry explanation. I didn’t want her, or any of my other friends to interrupt any force that I felt was trying to reach us. The seconds ticked by as the Oracle continued its journey around the board.

The planchette, its lens stopping on one letter at a time, would slide and then stop, slide and then stop. Lindsay wrote down a letter on a scrap of paper each time it stopped. She felt she was the only objective witness.

B – E – E – L – Z – E – B – U – L It was giving us nonsense. Was it a code, or the initials of several boys Marty would date? (She was dating Darryl at the time.) Her own initials were MAR for Martha Anne Robinson.

“It’s not working,” was Marty’s conclusion as she broke the code of silence and dropped her hands into her lap.

The others grew impatient. If Ouija wasn’t going to disclose to Marty her one true love, why should it work for them?

“Let me see that,” demanded Peggy. Lindsay’s scrap of paper with its series of letters passed from hand to hand as we each tried to determine the code of the Ouija’s message. We were musing about the combination of letters, intent on the scrap of paper that Peggy now held. We were completely absorbed in deciphering its message; all quiet, intently studying the meaning.

“What’s that?” yelped Mindy. She was staring intently at my closet doors, which were intended to slide back and forth on a center-clip track.

“Christ!”

“Are they swinging?”

Yes, indeed they were; actually swinging back and forth. The clip that kept the two sliders on track weren’t working, or something. The doors weren’t sliding open and shut; they were beginning to swing back and forth, hitting against the clothes hanging in my closet and then swinging into the open room as though the clip was not holding them at all. Lindsay stood up. Debbie began gulping and crying.

“Flip on the light!”

Bunched together like a football huddle we stumbled in the semi-darkness toward the light switch. Marty flipped her palm up, across the plate. Nothing happened. By this I mean the overhead light did not go on. At least we had the candlelight.

“I want out,” Debbie sobbed.

We heard the closet doors slide open. I am sure that, although it was 1967 and we were on the cheer squad, where such language was not tolerated, someone said, “Fuck us!” We started giggling, all except Debbie, who was in complete meltdown.

“It’s your dad, right?”

“My dad hates this stuff. He thinks it’s BS,” I whimpered. “Now everybody be perfectly still and shut up. I don’t want to wake up my parents.” Years of domestic tumult had allowed me to perfect the skill of compartmentalizing so that the sheer terror I felt could be set aside until later. Under no circumstances did I want things to get so out of control that my dad would have to be summoned from a sound sleep.

The closet doors stopped swaying. No one said a word. The doors hung quietly, on their track, perfectly still.

“I don’t think this is really happening,” I offered. The only problem with that analysis was that it was happening – and the collected conscience of six high school girls was recording it. No one spoke, hoping that I was right, that the power of the Ouija had not lashed out at us from the other side of eternity. Calm. It was stone quiet except for the sound of our breathing.

We heaved a sigh of relief. Peggy spoke first, “What the hell was that?”

We were still staring at the closet doors, now in a hug of collective horror. The closet doors held our attention because it sounded like they were sliding open. And yes, once again, there they were moving.

“Dear God.”

“Shut up.”

“Please, please, call your father,” someone pleaded.

“No way am I waking him up for this. It will be over before I would be able to convince him to get out of bed.”

“Try the light switch again.”

Nothing.

Then Peggy spoke. I mean that it was Peggy speaking, but it was not her voice. It the most unnatural sound I had, or have, heard since. Tuvin guttural chanting would be the closest description to what we heard. “You will be in love with him, long after he is dead.”

It did not help dissuade us that the message was irrelevant since the Vietnam War was in full swing in 1967. Debbie was hugging her knees as she sat in a tight bundle on the bottom bunk of my bed. Marty and I were looking at Peggy who was staring into some void, trance-like.

Lindsay was angry, “This is such bullshit.” She strode across the room. I thought she was preparing to storm out, or to wake up my parents herself.

Suddenly we were bathed in blinding light. She had flipped the light switch, which this time had worked. We were momentarily blinded but stumbled away from each other – and certainly kept our distance from the closet. Peggy flopped down on the bed, exhausted and sweating. Marty and Mindy were showing Peggy every concern as Debbie continued to sob, “I didn’t like that one bit!”

Lindsay grabbed her pillow and sleeping bag, “I’m sleeping in the living room!”

Silently I slid my Ouija board back into its box and dropped the planchette in after it. I carefully folded the tabs into place to keep the box lid shut.

“I can’t go home, I’d wake up my mother,” Debbie was sniffling, thinking only of her escape. “But, I’m not sleeping in this room.” She followed Lindsay into the living room.

My friends were a bit distant toward me over the next month or so. But, eventually things returned to normal. I went to confession, lied, but kind of skirted around telling the priest what had happened by confessing to using Tarot cards. I was sentenced to a stern papal lecture and the usual penance: saying several rosaries.

Football season started, followed by midterms, and then Christmas – the Christian holiday. As was usually the case I ultimately told my mother what had happened that night. She was truly fascinated, but I am convinced that, like me, she never told my dad.

The strange occurrences that plagued our house took an uptick after that night and my mother, convinced that it was the influence of the Ouija board, spoke about getting rid of it. But, ‘the how’ of it all stumped her. Burn it? If it had a soul, burning it sounded dangerous for all the backlash it might cause from the unexplained dark sources of our lives. Simply throw it in one of the garbage cans? About that time she and my dad took instruction and renewed their vows in an attempt to exorcise my mother’s torments.

Time passed and finally one day she announced to me, “The Ouija board is gone.”

Nearly forty-five years have passed since that night but my memories of the Oracle’s horrific powers have not.

* * *

Do you have experience with Ouija boards? Are you planning to buy a Ouija board as a Christmas gift for someone? Let us know – comment below and join the discussion!

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GUEST BLOG: Seer and Popular Author ~ Rick Waid ~

My Paranormal Journey: One Man's Obsession

My Paranormal Journey: One Man’s Obsession

This week I have the tremendous pleasure of interviewing Rick Waid, well-known in paranormal circles, and the author of the very popular new book, ‘My Paranormal Journey: One Man’s Obsession’.  Rick’s book is available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, as well as through his website (listed at the end of this blog).

Rick Waid is a seer, remote viewer, and past life reader. Rick realized his gifts during his late-30s; his mother was also a reader. As Rick began to connect with the Other Side through Electronic Voice Phenomena (also known as EVP), he began having visions and hearing his spirit guide. As his gifts developed, he learned how to remote view and was able to psychically see places he had never actually visited. As Rick’s gifts continued to evolve, he began seeing the past lives of other’s. He now connects with the Other Side frequently, and receives messages from loved ones Beyond The Veil.

A sought-after radio guest, Rick has been interviewed on numerous on-line radio programs. His candor and sincere approach, make him a popular choice among paranormal-radio hosts including Kurt Logsdon, Todd Bates, Diana Stack, and Evan Jensen of ‘Beyond the Edge of Reality/Australia‘.
I found Rick’s responses to my questions fascinating, and informative. They provide the perfect backdrop for getting to know the author of ‘My Paranormal Journey: One Man’s Obsession’:

1)  What message, or lesson, do you want the paranormal community to take away from reading your new book, ‘My Paranormal Journey: One Man’s Obsession’?
Answer:  You should never give up on something you believe in. No matter how many people you encounter who are against [it].  Always get permission of the owner to research any place.

2)  How has your life changed for the better – and also – what challenges do you now face, since entering (nearly full-time) into the paranormal realm?
Answer:  I have made so many new friends and have opened more paths toward my destiny. There are still so many people that do not believe in the paranormal. My biggest challenge will be convincing people that they are around us daily.

3)  Now that you are a successful author; which compels you more – your journey as an author, or your journey in the paranormal world? What similarities do your find in each?
Answer:  They both compel me, because I want to write [a] second book that continues from ‘My Paranormal Journey: One Man’s Obsession’; and I want to be very active in the paranormal world where I can help so many with my gifts.

4)  You describe in your book feelings of invalidation, and non-caring, as you began realizing that you were experiencing paranormal activity. Will you describe the break-through of overcoming the feelings that those closest to you may not have believed in your psychic abilities at first?
Answer:  Many people turned away from me and never wanted to talk to me again. I knew I could never give this up because of how many people I was helping with my insights into their situations. This is what [compelled] me to stick with it; because I saw it in their face and felt it in my heart.

5)  You did readings on GhostPlace.com as you began developing your psychic abilities; are you staying active in that on-line community?
Answer:  They were there for me when I started and I will be going back there for them.

6)  Please introduce us to your Guide; a description of how you perceive this entity, would be helpful.
Answer:  I have never met my guide. I ask for their guidance and I can feel I am receiving it. I believe my guide is the same as other people’s guides. I saw a man with a white beard in many of my reads and I saw him in a dream. This could be my guide but I have not had a one on one with him.

7)  What do you feel emotionally, and physically, in your psychic state?
Answer:  I feel at times like I am the person I am reading. I see through their eyes and I feel their sickness and pain and see things in their past present and future.

8)  Describe how you differentiate yourself between a medium, a psychic, a channeler?
Answer:  I am a seer and I see objects that are connected with passed loved ones. I am able to pick up injuries by scanning the body. I am able to hear spirits talk to me and offer information about the sitter. I am not like a normal psychic or medium. I offer direct connects to people which holds meaning to them. This is the difference between me and most because I remote view a lot.

9)  Do your visions or messages, come in interpretative symbolism, or are the messages you receive more than distinct?
Answer:  They come in both ways. When I see stuff I try to figure out why and offer the information. Usually the sitter knows exactly what I am offering them.

10)  “Come find me . . .” This would be an interesting case to describe to those who have not yet read your book. How did that case resolve itself?
This case is still on going. There are so many [examples of how] the police have gone [above] and beyond to find this young lady. They have put so many [resources into leads that come to dead-ends. They will not do any more [investigating] unless they [find someone who] was involved with the disappearance.

11)   It’s said that people with physical challenges/sickness live close-to-the-line of the other side – does that describe you?
Answer:  I am in great health and this does not fit me. I have talked to many people with serious illnesses, and I have seen them being watched by the other side. People are really there waiting.
12)  Reading people, how did you transition to that service?  Answer:  I was an EVP specialist and I was getting into trouble for recording [at locations] I was not supposed to . One day a man gave me a bible brochure and I started seeing small green bibles everywhere. That is when I felt the recordings were not what I was supposed to do anymore. So I [used] the recorder [to describe] what I perceived I would see on my next job site. I realized this was my new path because the [information I was receiving] was more accurate.
13. What elements of your upbringing and family life hindered –or facilitated — the development of your psychic gifts?
Answer:  There was none. My mom was a reader, as were my siblings. This fact was hidden from me for my protection until I was ready to accept it.

~*~  ~*~

Rick Waid ~ Seer and Author.

Rick Waid ~ Seer and Author.

I know that you will want to follow Rick Waid and his wildly popular, ‘My Paranormal Journey: One Man’s Obsession’; here’s how:

On Kindle

Amazon Paperback

Barnes & Noble

Rick Waid on Facebook

Rick Waid’s blog ‘My Paranormal Journey: One Man’s Obsession

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Chapter 6: “The Mambo Hut” #Ghosts #Free Read

Ghosts of White Raven Estate ~ Available where eBooks are Sold!

Ghosts of White Raven Estate ~ Available where eBooks are Sold!

USA/Kindle: Ghosts of White Raven Estate

UK/Kindle:  Ghosts of White Raven Estate

iBooks: Ghosts of White Raven Estate

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FOLLOW THIS BLOG! And my ghost stories at  . . .  The Ghost Chaser’s Daughter 

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Thank you for finding your way to the blog of ‘The Ghost Chaser’s Daughter’. As you may know I am running serialized blogs of my most-recently published eNovel, “Ghosts of White Raven Estate”. I have skipped over Chapter 5 because of the adult content. So! Enjoy ‘Jasmine and The Mambo Queen’, Chapter 6.

•*¨* ♠ ☆•*¨* ♠ ☆•*¨* ♠ ☆

Chapter 6

Jasmine Visits the Mambo Queen

The palmetto fronds scratched Jasmine’s skin as she snuck along the trail leading to Widow Paris’ shanty. Her legs itched unmercifully. Jasmine looked over her shoulder imagining that someone was following her, but only saw the outline of weathered oak trees adorned with Spanish moss that swayed back and forth, fanned by the night air. An eerie yellow, pock-faced, moon followed her–its menacing glow casting long shadows. Crickets chirped, and gators lumbered along the banks of the bayou that night – as they did every night. The musky smell of rot and roots hung in the air as Jasmine glanced around as frightened of her surroundings as she was intimidated by her situation. Jasmine had never been to the home of the Mambo queen at night.

Torch fire from flaming spears set in a circle in front of the shanty flashed heavenward. The outline of the shanty was partially blocked by pine boughs. Rats scurried and snakes slithered across the dried mud in front of her. Step by careful step Jasmine moved forward fending off palmetto fronds and tree branches. Wisps of wind cooled the back of Jasmine’s neck.

From somewhere the hoot of an owl announced her journey. She held her breath. It hooted again, calling out from the spooky depths of the pine woods. The warning traveled deep into the swamps and was mimicked by other owls. It was a different noise that caught Jasmine’s attention—the slap of a paddle out on the water. She stood perfectly still and turned her eyes to the gloomy waterline. She stopped breathing and listened. Silence all of a sudden, complete silence; no katydids chirping, no drone from the cicadas. The only sound Jasmine heard was the deafening roar in her ears. Her heart pounded, her throat constricted to the point where a scream would not have been possible. She wanted the sound to be a paddle hitting the water, but she involuntarily whispered, “Loup Garou.” Even better it be a swamp witch than the beast, Loup Garou. Jasmine’s eyes darted from right to left. Please! Please don’t hurt me!  Stone cold silence prevailed. Torturous nothing. She stood waiting to be torn apart by Loup Garou, trying desperately to push out of her mind the vision of the beast with its sharp fangs and its glowering yellow eyes. If attacked she hoped she would die in the first swipe of the creature’s talons. I’m going to die, she whimpered. Damn Zömbi for not bringing Josie back to me so we could get on our way back to Corbeau Blanc.

If the angry swamp monster was going to pounce, with drool hanging from sharp fangs she wanted her death to be instant. She imagined its yellow eyes burning into her skin as it fixed on her—and her fear. She waited, crouching, and listening. The seconds ticked by. Then she heard a second splash further up the banks and wondered; why am I still standing here unharmed? Jasmine then chuckled at her good fortune. Loup Garou had moved along. She wiped the tears from her eyes, “Lawdy, that was close!”

The katydids took up their song again. Now if only the hum of the cicadas would quiet down so she could reassure herself that indeed the creature was making its way back up the shore away from her. But the cicadas would only be silent if the heat lifted – and that wasn’t going to happen.

Jasmine was now within sight of her destination. As she tiptoed closer a board on Widow Paris’ porch creaked. The noise sent a second shock of fear through her body. She held her breath and peered toward the shanty. A man stood on the porch peering out at the darkness, ready to charge any intruder. She watched him crane to see beyond the bright cast of the torches into the shadows where she hid. “Zömbi,” she whispered. With relief she remembered back to the first time they had met. She was seventeen at the time, years ago. He was now at least twice her age.

* * *

That day at the open-air market was as clear in her mind as if it had happened yesterday:  “Miss Sophie? Is that you?” his rich baritone voice boomed out over the crowded stalls, calling for the attention of her mother. The year was 1840 and Sophie d’le Blanc had been showing her how to select ingredients for the Calais family’s meals.

Jasmine stood aside as he rushed toward them parting the masses of servants and slaves with his stride. Her momma handed her the bushels and packages she had been carrying and held out her arms welcoming the powerfully built man.

“Rasmussen! Oh, my goodness! Look at you dressed all fine and dandy! You’ve stepped up right nicely, haven’t you?”

“My name’s Zömbi now, Miss Sophie. I changed my name when,” and his brash laughter startled those around him who had been disinterested in the raucous exchange until then, “well, when I changed my face. Didn’t you know that?”

“Hmm, that was a bad stretch, wasn’t it – Zömbi?”

He nodded. “Yes’um. It surely was. I’m a carriage driver for a rich widow-lady now.”

“Really now? Are you?” Sophie looked up at Zömbi, shielding her eyes from the morning sun.

“Yes, I most certainly am.”

“How old are you, Zömbi?” Her mother took his hands and leaned in, looking deeply into his eyes.

“Oh, I’d say I’m more’n thirty–maybe,” he surveyed the crowded stalls. “It’s been sixteen years since Mr. Hawkins sold me, Miss Sophie.”

“Hmm. I guess it has been. The only measure of time I have is my sweet little Jasmine, here. Well, not really little no mo’, cause she’s growin’ up faster than a weed.”

Jasmine remembered the terror she felt over the impending introduction. She looked down at her calico dress and bare feet and jostled the packages her mother had handed her so that she could pat her hair. Zömbi appraised her and that look of appraisal stuck for going on fifteen years.

Their age difference making no difference to either one of them, Jasmine and Zömbi jumped the broom at a celebration in Congo Park not long after that introduction. The ceremony was kept a secret from the Calais household, “No reason to bring up Zömbi and all that nasty past, Jasmine,” her mother wagged her finger in warning. “That is, if you don’t want to be separated—or sold.”

Zömbi’s commanding voice brought Jasmine back to the present, “Who out there in those weeds? You want trouble, or you gonna make yo’self known?”

“Zömbi! It’s me!” Jasmine hurried on toward the shanty and stepped into the light of the torches. “Call our daughter out. What’s the matter with you?”

“Jazzy?”

“Don’t you start that cuddle talk. Josie and I gotta’ long ways to walk before dawn. You know the trouble I’ll have if Mr. Boulware discovers I’m not back!”

At that moment Widow Paris stepped onto the porch, backlit from the lanterns placed around her front room. “Jasmine? Is that you, honey?”

“Yes’um. I’m here for my daughter Miz Paris. We needs t’ be gettin back now.”

“Well, I’m pleased you’ve found your way to my doorstep, Jasmine,” Widow Paris extended her arm, sweeping it toward the door in a welcome. “Come in for a little spell, and join the congregation. So you won’t be late for your chores we’ll have Zömbi take you and Josie back to the Calais’ in the carriage. You can rest on the way.”

“Yes’um.” Jasmine stepped around the vèvè and up onto the porch assisted by Zömbi who pulled her close.  They walked through the doorway of Widow Paris’ home together.

* * *

“Shh,” Widow Paris cautioned Jasmine as she entered, “Iwa is with us. We are trying to reach Bondyé.”

Wide-eyed, Jasmine nodded and looked around at the others who had gathered after the celebration. They sat crossed-legged in a semi circle facing the altar.  Josie was sitting off to the side in the semi-darkness, her eyes closed. Some of the worshippers were staring straight ahead; others rocked back and forth humming. Jasmine picked a spot next to Zömbi.

She matched up one person to each of her fingers. There were not quite enough people to fill the fingers on both hands. Besides herself and Josie; Zömbi and Widow Paris; there was Sarah, Atabel, and Edgard. They seemed focused on Josie, but Jasmine couldn’t determine why.

“The séance has not begun,” Zömbi leaned over and whispered into her ear. “Shh,” he advised, although she had not said a word.

She nodded and settled in, picking out the trinkets and other objects on the altar as her eyes adjusted to the candlelight thrown by the white tapers. One shiny charm, placed among the beads and burning candles caught her eye—an amethyst in a silver setting.  She thought it looked familiar, but decided her suspicions not possible. Although it looked like the ring worn by Miss Victoria, she decided her impression must be the result of fatigue and a night of celebration.

A bullfrog belched a deep, repetitious rumble that Jasmine had not heard as she crept toward the shanty. She found the refrain soothing as she relaxed into the call while the mauby gourd was passed around. The stir she had created by stepping through the brush toward the shanty was settling down outside. As she took her swig the sweet root that tasted strongly of rum, burned her throat. She passed the gourd on to Edgard who looked down at her but continued to rock hypnotically. His gnarled fingers wrapped around the neck of the gourd. His thumb was missing—from a machete accident, she’d heard. He balanced the gourd in the cradle of his hand and drank hungrily. The congregation was silent up until the moment Zömbi picked up the agogô and began the entrancing rhythm of the campana. The bells would call Iwa to them. Over and over, the same five-beat pattern, as the congregation rocked back and forth.

Minutes ticked by as the white candles that circled the altar burned down. She heard a whispered prayed off to the side. Oh, all-powerful Iwa, we call on you. Keep hidden from us trials and misfortune. We offer what is now yours, your cigar, and your liquor. In return keep our church safe from any calamity that may wish to cross our path.

In unison the worshippers hummed their assent, and the prayers continued around the room as the single drum beat of the agogô continued.

* * *

It was two or three hours past midnight when Jasmine narrowed her eyes and peeked at her surroundings. Widow Paris’ boa constrictor had wrapped itself around the beam in the far corner of the front room, leaving the worshippers to their conjuring. She stifled a yawn and stared into the flames of the candles. Their wax had spilt over creating puddles on the white altar cloth.

Jasmine felt as though she were still entranced; her only reference to the real world was the repetition of the agogô beat outside the shanty. She was carried far away before she realized that Josie had begun to slap her thighs. Softly at first, rocking all the while, her head thrown back. Jasmine brought herself slowly back taking notice that while she was in her own trance, Zömbi had moved.  He was now sitting behind Josie.

“It might be Ogoun, we’ll see,” whispered Widow Paris. “Ogoun,” was what her congregation whispered in agreement.

The surroundings were unnervingly quiet when Jasmine finally woke up. The earliest beginnings of morning would come within an hour or two. She looked around at the worshippers. Five members of the church were sprawled out on the bare floor, sleeping in a tangle of limbs as gossamers of smoke hung in the air. Jasmine looked around for Widow Paris and saw that she was sleeping under mosquito netting in an alcove at the back of the shack. Thick pillar candles burned on either side of her bed. Her snake had moved along the beams and now wrapped itself around the corner beam above Widow Paris’ bed. It was the first time Jasmine had seen Mambo without her characteristic headwrap. She was beautiful.

“Zömbi,” Jasmine shook her husband awake. With his eyes still shut he reached for her hand and patted it, smiling.

“I’ll get Josie. Let’s get you back,” he reassured her.

As they trundled the fifteen-year old into Widow Paris’ carriage, Zömbi asked. “Were you there? Iwa appeared.”

Jasmine shook her head and climbed into the passenger compartment.

“What did he say?” She whispered.

“You’re going to be free—you and Josie. Mambo said that was his message.”

“That’s not possible, Zömbi. Unless she and I both die.”

* ~*~ *

I hope you’ve enjoyed THIS peek of ‘Voodoo Vision’. If you’d prefer not to wait to find out what happens next, full edition copies are available at: 

Ghosts of White Raven Estate  ~ on Kindle

Ghosts of White Raven Estate ~ on Nook

Ghosts of White Raven Estate ~ on Smashwords for iBooks

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GUEST BLOG: The Importance of Secondary Characters, by Jill Edmondson

I am thrilled to welcome phenomenal and prolific author, Jill Edmondson to my blog on the eve of her newest release, ‘Frisky Business’.

•*¨* ♥ ☆╰☆╮ Here’s Jill:

Jill Edmondson

Jill Edmondson

Getting into a good book is like going to your high school reunion.  You’ve maintained close friendships and frequent contact with many people, you have a chance to reconnect with someone you thought had fallen off the face of the Earth,  of course,  there are a couple people there whom you never liked in the first place, and there are a few you just never really paid attention to – they were probably in the chess club or some other nerdy thing 😉

Your books have these relationships as well.  There’s the hero, the antihero, and the other significant characters who appear in key scenes or in repeated passages.  It’s these “B List” folks, these seemingly peripheral people, who can really add strength to your story.

If nothing else, these supporting characters give you an opportunity to reveal more about your main characters by showing how they interact.  How does your bad guy treat the cashier at McDonald’s?  How does the cashier respond?  Does your heroine generously tip the mailman $20 at Christmas?  Would the tip be accepted graciously, or would the mailman scoff at the amount?  Would your protagonist chat with his seat mate on an airplane?  And would the fellow traveller spend the rest of the flight talking about grandchildren and showing photos?

You certainly don’t need to give pages and pages of description and backstory to the sales associate at Home Depot, but when you invest the time in giving these characters depth and personality by showing some of their quirks, then the reader is taken just a little further into the world you’ve created.

I really didn’t have a clue what I was doing when I published my first book (and perhaps I still don’t!)  But one of the surprises I got when I heard back from readers and reviewers was that they loved the character Victor.  I had no idea people would even really pay much attention to him!  But – for whatever reason – when I was working on the manuscript, I put some effort into making him uniquely nerdy.  He speaks too quickly and repeats himself.  He has no idea when he is being snubbed.  He’s innocent and awkward.  If someone told Victor to bring his date a box of truffles, he’s show up with a box of fungus instead of chocolates.  And somehow, that resonated, people kept asking for me to bring Victor back in another book.  And I will, but I don’t think I’ll include him in any romantic story arcs.

* * *

Jill Edmondson is the author of the Sasha Jackson Mysteries.  The fourth book in the series , ‘Frisky Business’ will be available December 1st on Amazon.

Available on Amazon on December 1st

Available on Amazon on December 1st

Note: Jill has announced that ‘Blood and Groom‘ will be #Free! on 23 and 24 November (Saturday and Sunday) !

Free on Amazon Kindle November 23 & 24

Free on Amazon Kindle November 23 & 24

For more info on Jill, check out:

Jill’s Website

Jill’s Blog www.jilledmondson.blogspot.com

Jill’s other titles on Amazon

Jill’s Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/sashajacksonmysteries

Follow Jill on Twitter @JillEdmondson

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myBLOG “Cradle to Grave” ~ Children Who See Grandparent Ghosts

"Isn't She Lovely" available in 'The Ghost Chaser's Daughter'

“Isn’t She Lovely” available in ‘The Ghost Chaser’s Daughter’

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Because the first apparition I ever saw was that of my grandfather I have naturally searched for stories like mine, in which a child’s first encounter with the paranormal world is sighting a grandparent.

I was six when the ghost of my grandfather began making visits. The incident is detailed in my set of short stories, ‘The Ghost Chaser’s Daughter’.  Grandpa Jimmy had died on the way home from work in the wee hours of Christmas morning.  In 1956 railroad crossings were not required to *¨* ♥ ☆╰☆╮

Because the first apparition I ever saw was that of my grandfather I have naturally searched for stories like mine, in which a child’s first encounter with the paranormal world is sighting a grandparent.

I was six when the ghost of my grandfather began making visits. The incident is detailed in my set of short stories, ‘The Ghost Chaser’s Daughter’.  Grandpa Jimmy had died on the way home from work in the wee hours of Christmas morning.  In 1956 railroad crossings were not required to have flashing lights, cross-bars that came down, or any other protective equipment that came between the speeding locomotives of southern Ohio and automobiles. Family gossip years later told of his jawbone being found 500 feet up the rails from the point of impact.

It’s not unusual for the victim of a sudden death to stay attached to earth; and my grandfather was no exception. I presume that as he drove through the snow toward the Belfast, Ohio farmhouse that he shared with my grandmother in the 1950s that his thoughts were on celebrating Christmas and being ‘around’ for many more years.

I soon came to realize that a lot of grandparents ‘come back’ to check on their grandchildren. One story that was told to me was that of a young mother whose father had died just days prior to the birth of a little granddaughter.  The family’s hope was that the patriarch would live until the newest member of the family could be presented to him.  But, it seemed, that was not to be – until the most unusual occurrence happened:

You see, the patriarch had the custom of smoking a certain very fragrant pipe tobacco. The first afternoon home from the hospital the young mother put her baby to bed and laid down for a nap in her room down the hall. A deep sleep came over the mother within minutes.  She awoke from her deep sleep to the fragrance of her father’s pipe tobacco permeating the house.  It disoriented her because the smell was so distinctly tied to her father, now four days dead.

Although the house was quiet, and the baby sleeping, the mother crept into the nursery, tracking the familiar fragrance.  There, leaning over the crib, was her father as clear as day. No ‘see through’ apparition – it was him!  He straightened when his daughter entered the nursery and murmured the words, “Isn’t she lovely?” before leaving this earth, never to be seen again.

I have heard other stories in which a beloved grandchild will herald the death of a grandparent in the dead of night and without the benefit of phone calls, telegrams, or anything other than the bonds of affection and understanding between one generation and another – most recently from my friend Nicki Chen (of NickiChenwrites).  Nicki’s husband, Eugene, foretold his own grandmother’s death and Nicki’s telling of the event is quite remarkable.

But why this link between the youngest generation of a family, and the oldest?  I looked to Nicole Leader for an explanation of this phenomenon. Ms. Leader has done extensive research on the topic of children who see ghosts.  She says, when children are born, [they, themselves] have just crossed over from the “other side” [and] are close to others from that realm.  Therefore [a child] can more easily see [those who cross over] . . . into this existence to visit that child, or protect them.

My own grandson, as a four-year old, began to independently ask about my mortality. He wanted to know where I would ‘be’; how the family would find each other again after I died. We’ve picked out a star, and that is where we will all meet, I told him; but his question confirmed my own belief – cradle to grave – grandchild to grandparent — if he wants to see me after I’m dead, he most probably will.

Are there stories in your own family in which a grandchild seems to have a connection to a grandparent who is on ‘the other side’? Or; the story of a grandchild correctly predicting the death of their grandparent? If so, join the discussion.

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Murderous Kings? Malevolent Kings? Mad Kings? Bavaria!

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Hello Readers!

This week I am blogging from the pages of ‘Lenora’s Culture Center and Foray Into History’

Yes! Lenora Rogers has invited me to Guest Blog on her popular ‘History Channel’. My topic, you ask? ‘Mad Kings!’

I think you will delight in what I have to divulge about the most popular of mad kings – ‘Mad’ King Ludwig II – of Bavaria.

Join me this week at Lenora’s!

Ironically Neuschwanstein Castle is the keystone to Bavaria's wealth (tourism)

Ironically Neuschwanstein Castle is the keystone to Bavaria’s wealth (tourism)

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How ‘White Raven Estate’ Became The Setting for my Newest Novel

Ghosts of White Raven Estate ~ Available where eBooks are Sold!

Ghosts of White Raven Estate ~ Available where eBooks are Sold!

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Ghosts of White Raven Estate  ~ on Kindle

Ghosts of White Raven Estate ~ on Nook

Ghosts of White Raven Estate ~ on Smashwords for iBooks

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House of the White Raven – La Maison du Corbeau Blanc – is the setting for my newest novel ‘Voodoo Vision: New Orleans House of Spirits’. 

Originally the New Orleans Garden District mansion where heroine Victoria Calais overcomes her rivals was christened, ‘the House of Calais’.

However, there is little intrigue or magic in naming the manor after the family and I mourned this fact as my novel moved toward its publication date.  Even in the hours just before I released ‘Voodoo Vision: New Orleans House of Spirits’ I was still pondering an alternative name for the estate that ancestral spirits would not leave.

In their reluctance for Victoria’s ancestors to depart  it helps that the Calais Cemetery and Mausoleum is situated directly across the boulevard from the Calais manor! At exactly the right moment (as the author) I could conjure any number of Calais ancestors to skim over the graveyard’s lush lawns and back into ‘La Maison du Corbeau Blanc’ – which they do each time that Father Vivenzio comes to call!

Throughout the novel I torment Victoria’s enemies with crows and ravens – hmm – for some reason my psyche thought this was just right; but how to ‘tie it all together’ for the reader?

The Calais family members – at this point in the telling — are white Europeans. But I woke up one morning as the last draft of the novel was approved, deciding emphatically that the Calais home should christened ‘The House of The White Raven’ – or in French, ‘La Maison du Corbeau Blanc’.  My own ancestors are French Canadian and I loved the autobiographical tie-in with my beloved characters.

In the novel, antagonist Father Vivenzio notes (derisively) that the ‘House of the White Raven’ was financed from the coffers of Victoria Calais’ ancestral grandfather in the late 1600s. To leave the mystery open to interpretation the priest does not specify the exact source of the wealth or how it was derived.

La Maison du Corbeau Blanc ~ The House of The White Raven

La Maison du Corbeau Blanc ~ The House of The White Raven

Deciding that I liked the ring of ‘La Maison du Corbeau Blanc’ I set about researching the significance of the White Raven [Corbeau Blanc] and was even more convinced that my intuition had guided me to an appropriate alternate name for the Calais family estate.

You see, Dear Reader, there are many myths about the raven – and happily many directions an author can go in while devising a prequel as to how the manor came to be named after the white raven.

Some of these myths are contained in Native culture, some in biblical scripture.

* The White Raven as Grandson – in the Tinglit tribe (Alaska) the White Raven is born, in human form, to the daughter of Old Man Grandfather. The relationship between Victoria and her ancestral father figures is made apparent as they come back from the grave to assist her in overcoming her adversaries. (But how would have a French-Canadian 1600s grandfather have come to an association with a Pacific Northwest tribe?)

* The Raven as Trickster and Transformer – If Victoria’s great-grandfather had transformed himself in some way – say from lowly ship crew to wealthy New Orleans liqueur proprietor – and because he is White – he could have used ‘The White Raven’ as a double-entendre.

Additionally, the raven has significance in Bible scripture:

* The Raven as the first animal to depart (and never return) to Noah’s Ark – because scripture does not define a role for the raven, as it does for the dove; Victoria’s great-grandfather (who never returns to his ancestral European home) could logically choose this animal to symbolize his flight from  . . .  France . . . or Sicily, or?

Maybe he was Sicilian and had a French wife; or the converse.  Maybe he encountered – or married – a Native American woman for whom the mythological raven held countenance. Will the process of creative writing make him a shipmate, or a frontiersman?

So, over the next year, as I pen the prequel to ‘Voodoo Vision: New Orleans House of Spirits’, I will have to devise a journey by which the patriarch of a French Canadian family comes to name his 1660s estate ‘La Maison du Corbeau Blanc’.

I see Sambuca, Sicily; Nantes, France; and Montreal, Canada in my literary journey.

I hope that you will be along for the trip!

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Chapter 1: “Someone Is Watching” ~ #Free Read Excerpt ‘Ghosts of White Raven Estate’

Ghosts of White Raven Estate ~ Available where eBooks are Sold!

Ghosts of White Raven Estate ~ Available where eBooks are Sold!

USA/Kindle: Ghosts of White Raven Estate

UK/Kindle:  Ghosts of White Raven Estate

iBooks: Ghosts of White Raven Estate

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Now that my 2013 novel, “Ghosts of White Raven Estate” is published, I’ve chosen to introduce, in this blog entry, the synopsis and Chapter 1.  In this chapter you will meet Victoria Calais and her grandmother, Madame Calais and come to realize the haunting presence that eerily hangs over their centuries old Garden District manor.

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Synopsis:

1853 New Orleans ~ As the frenzied drumbeats of Voodoo ceremonies vibrate throughout the city, Victoria Calais, beautiful ingénue and resident of New Orleans’ Garden District, is losing her vision.  A Yellow Fever epidemic has just swept the city, leaving her parents and sister dead.

As she goes blind Victoria is visited by a poltergeist that terrorizes the family priest, Father Vivenzio, a frequent (an opportunistic) visitor to the Calais’ estate, La Maison du Corbeau Blanc (The House of the White Falcon).

Unable to gain spiritual supremacy over the unworldly activity swirling through Corbeau Blanc, Father Vivenzio calls on Widow Paris, the Voodoo Queen of New Orleans.

The identity of Father Vivenzio’s supernatural nemesis is revealed at Mardi Gras during a wild carriage race through the streets of New Orleans!

Excerpt:  Chapter 1

1853 ~ Someone Is Watching

It all took place in the fashionable Garden District of New Orleans, where beautiful estates hide behind the screen of tree-lined boulevards. The year was 1853, during an era when family loyalties were guarded vigilantly, some even from beyond the grave.

* * *

Dusky afternoon sunlight streamed into the bedroom of young heiress, Victoria Calais, casting the room in a brooding hue that foreshadows an evening squall. Flying toward the Crescent City at that moment was the kind of storm that causes shutters to clatter, and the shadows of gnarled oaks to bob and weave across expansive lawns.

Victoria sat at her vanity, staring into her mirror but unable to make out her own reflection. Her fingertips, like the feelers of an ant, followed along the edges of each cosmetic item laid out on the embroidered runner decorating her vanity.

A gentle breeze rustled through Victoria’s bedroom, bringing with it the fragrance of rose petals, reminding her that she was not alone. Victoria stiffened and craned her neck squinting into a milky field of vision from heavy-lidded eyes.

“Hello? Who’s here?” She waited. Every instinct told her that someone was standing in the shadows of her room.

A tear rolled down her cheek. Dr. Faust’s diagnosis, delivered the previous day, had been devastating. Hysterical blindness was his prognosis. The diagnosis did not sit well with Victoria’s grandmother, Madame Calais, if her outburst was any indication.

Victoria remembered what life had been like during the weeks that Yellow Fever swept through New Orleans killing her parents, and sister, Evangeline and reached for her sister’s doll. She tugged at its skirt, causing it to fall over with a loud thunk, its porcelain head hitting the mahogany shelf.

“Meow!”

“Oh, Bon-Bon! Did I frighten you, my little pet?”

“Meow!”

Victoria turned toward the plaintive cry just as her cat bounded off the bed and pranced toward her across the richly woven carpet.

“Can you guide me back to my bed?”

Victoria followed the sound of the little bell on Bon-Bon’s collar as the cat scampered back across the room.

“Who understands what has gone on in this room better than you, my attentive little sentry.”

Victoria retraced her steps, her left arm wrapped around the doll.

“Are you there, Bon-Bon?”

A repetitious mew guided her back toward the bed, one carefully retraced step at a time.

Quite suddenly, Victoria stumbled forward, an unexpected lurch into the uncertainty that was her new world.

Bang! The doors of the wardrobe crashed shut.

“Hello! Answer me! Is someone there?”

Eerie silence hung in the air, as the room grew more chilled. Victoria scrambled to her knees looking around apprehensively as a voice called up from the bottom of the stairs. “Victoria! Are you up in your room still?”

“Yes, Grandmother!”

“What is going on? I heard something fall.”

“I tripped, Grandmother! It’s nothing! Bon-Bon was here to save me!”

“Oh, Mon Cher.” Madame Calais softened her voice. “Refresh yourself and come down, Victoria. You’ve been alone in your room all afternoon. We’ll have tea and discuss matters.”

* * *

After dinner that evening a sweeping storm ripped open the southern skies, causing rivulets to run down the side of the Calais home like the veins on the back of an old woman’s hands. In Victoria’s bedroom, shadows danced on the walls as pillar candles spit and flickered. A chill settled over the house, unusual for a New Orleans evening.

Victoria sat on the edge of her bed in semi-darkness. Candles sputtered, causing her to flinch as she sat through the evening deluge pounding at the shutters as she stared straight ahead, listening. She held tightly onto the doll that had belonged to her late sister moving her fingertips over the doll’s porcelain face with its dainty nose and rosebud lips.

“Evangeline is gone, and I am nearly blind. What is to become of us, Bon-Bon?”

The feline pawed at Victoria’s fingertips.

She swiped at her tears and squinted as a shadow passed under her bedroom door.

“Grandmother!” she called out. “Grand-mere?”

Silence loomed. There’s no one to talk to now that Evangeline is gone. Victoria peered across her room trying to blink away the veil preventing her from seeing what had been staring at her the whole time – an apparition wavering in the glow of the candles.

* ~*~ *

I hope you’ve enjoyed THIS peek of ‘Ghosts of White Raven Estate’. If you’d prefer not to wait to find out what happens next, full edition copies are available at: 

Ghosts of White Raven Estate  ~ on Kindle

Ghosts of White Raven Estate ~ on Nook

Ghosts of White Raven Estate ~ on Smashwords for iBooks

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Chapters 2 – 3 ~ #Free Read Excerpt #Ghosts of White Raven Estate

Ghosts of White Raven Estate ~ Available where eBooks are Sold!

Ghosts of White Raven Estate ~ Available where eBooks are Sold!

USA/Kindle: Ghosts of White Raven Estate

UK/Kindle:  Ghosts of White Raven Estate

iBooks: Ghosts of White Raven Estate

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FOLLOW THIS BLOG! And my ghost stories at  . . .  The Ghost Chaser’s Daughter 

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Now that my 2013 novel, “Ghosts of White Raven Estate” is published, I’ve chosen to introduce, in this blog entry, Chapters 2 and 3.  It gives the reader insight into the relationship between Victoria Calais and her sister, Evangeline; and the tension between them that reaches into Victoria’s life from beyond the grave.  

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Chapter 2

Where the Bones Are Buried

Victoria placed the marker ribbon at that day’s journal entry and closed the leather bound book. After rummaging to make room, she slid it into the top drawer of her writing desk and locked the drawer with the tiny key strung on the gold chain that she wore around her neck. Pushing back her chair, Victoria felt her way to the bedroom window and strained to see across Prytania Street toward the scene that just two months earlier she could easily make out—the Calais Cemetery and Mausoleum. The foot traffic along Prytania Street that day would have observed Father Vivenzio on his way from St. Ann’s Church to La Maison du Corbeau Blanc. The priest smirked, The House of the White Raven, or simply Corbeau Blanc—how pretentiously mysterious. He was practicing his lines aloud as he stepped gingerly: “Madame Calais, I want to ensure that your wishes for Victoria are met.” Thinking of a better approach, he started his speech anew. Father Vivenzio continued up the curved carriage drive. Lanterns affixed to the side posts of the wrought-iron gate adorned the entrance to the driveway. He avoided the cold stare of the alabaster lions. At that very instant a crow swooped down from behind the priest. Father Vivenzio heard the flutter of wings as the vagrant soared toward him. He winced, fearing that the bird would graze his ear. The terror of rabies clutched at him as the scavenger cawed loudly, landing on its intended perch—the lantern to the right of the carriage drive. “To Hell! To Hell!” The bird responded to the banishment by turning its head left, then right, and examining the priest with one eye, then the other. Its squawk sounded a call to arms, and four more crows swooped down. In horror, the priest rushed toward the porch. He scampered up the steps and pulled on the heavy cord, sounding the bell – that announced his arrival. The door creaked opened. There stood Jasmine, imposing, judgmental. Humph! Jasmine! The slave’s face was sullen, as she looked the priest up and down. She was the one woman in the Calais household who didn’t greet the priest with adoration. No sweeping gesture that he should enter. In fact, she usually left him to close the door on his own—unless Madame Calais was standing in the foyer upon his arrival. Then it was “Father Vivenzio! I’ll be tellin’ Madame that you’ve arrived!” All nicey-nice on those occasions!

* * * 

“Father Vivenzio! I’m in here! Do come in,” Madame Calais sang. “How is Victoria? Maybe she would care to join us?” the priest inquired of his generous benefactor. “I’m sure she would, Father. But first, I’m hoping I can confide in you. I’m concerned about Victoria and her loss of vision. The epidemic that nearly wiped out our family is undoubtedly the cause of Victoria’s vision loss. I have a lot to consider, and I may need your assistance planning a course for her future.”

* * *

Victoria crossed the parlor into the conservatory as Jasmine fell back where she stood silently in the shadows of the parlor. “Victoria, darling, sit down with me and Father Vivenzio and have some lemonade. I’ve barely seen you all day.” Father Vivenzio moved to the high-backed chair across from the two women. “If I may, Madame Calais. Shall I begin?” Madame Calais patted the sofa, and Victoria took the cue to sit down as the priest began speaking. “Victoria, your grandmother has made a very generous financial gift to the church. She and I agree that the funds that she has given at your mother’s behest would best be used to renovate the convent where you stayed when your family fell ill.” Victoria gasped. “Shall I continue?” Victoria nodded. Madame Calais held her breath as Victoria glared at the priest. Then she dropped her gaze to the cat. “Bon-Bon?” The cat was flexing her claws in the hem of the reverend’s cassock. “Bon-Bon!” Father Vivenzio looked down and snatched at his robe. “Bon-Bon! No clawing!” The priest stomped his foot at the cat. It raised its back and snarled before darting back to Victoria. He shrugged his shoulders at Madame Calais, grinning sheepishly. Suddenly, with the swiftness of a panther Bon-Bon bounded from Victoria’s lap and, in one wild leap, landed at the pontiff’s feet. The feline then made a mad scramble up the front of the priest’s robe, batting and snarling. The priest screamed, a girlish cry of distress. Madame Calais let out a shriek, matching the cat’s snarl to a pitch, causing Jasmine to rush in from the parlor. The matriarch jumped up. Her teacup clattered, breaking in half. Hot rooibos tea spread over the rug like a bloodstain. “Mon Dieu! Someone, grab the cat! Dear God, what’s got into her! Get her before she scratches Father Vivenzio’s face!” “I should take my leave. Really, I should,” promised Father. As Father Vivenzio left the estate and walked along the towering wrought-iron fence, his thoughts turned to the appointment waiting for him at the rectory. He chuckled as he quickened his pace. Approaching Prytania Street a pack of dogs began to bark and snarl at him from the grounds of the cemetery. Fear danced in tiny prickles up his spine as he imagined the fangs of angry dogs tearing at his garments, biting into his skin. His breathing quickened; he cautioned himself to not appear fearful. Don’t look over. Don’t look over. A lone howl, long and mournful, emanated from the shadows of the pine grove near the back of the graveyard. The exact source of the howling could not be determined.

* ~*~ *

Excerpt Chapter 3

Before the Epidemic

When Victoria awoke, Evangeline was standing at the bedroom window, looking out over the rose garden. Moonlight flooded the room, casting her sister in profile. Evangeline’s white nightgown was no more than a gossamer veil over her young body. Everyone in the Calais family was either tossing and turning or fully awake as it was too hot to sleep in the early autumn before the Yellow Fever epidemic hit. Every creature moved about under the bright glow of the harvest moon. Katydids sang. Beetles skittered through the warm earth; spiders dropped from stalk to leaf, anchoring their glistening webs; garden snakes slithered languorously through the dewy grass, and the spirits floated back and forth between La Maison du Corbeau Blanc and cemetery, catching up on family gossip. It was too hot for all of them. “Evangeline?” “You’re awake, Victoria?” “Yes. What’s out there?” “The night voices are murmuring. I can hear them.” “Whose voice are you hearing tonight, Evie?” Victoria asked, propping herself up on her pillow and winding her long hair up off her neck. “Grandpa’s. I saw him today.” “You did?” “Oui.” “What was he doing?” Victoria fanned her sheets as Evangeline continued to look out over the tea roses, flooded in light as though it were midday. “Sitting at his desk, doing his books.” She brushed her bangs away from her forehead and pricked her nightgown away from the curves of her body. “Was he happy?” “No, he looked sad. Victoria, he looked straight at me.” “Did he say anything?” “Yes. He said one thing.” Evangeline turned to face her sister. Victoria thought how much her sister looked like an angel at that moment. “He did, Evangeline?” She pulled her knees up to her chest, waiting. “What did he say this time, Evie?” “He said, ‘I’ll see you soon, mon cher.” “He’ll appear to you again?” “I don’t know, Victoria. I just got the sense it was actually a warning.” “Why do you say that, Evie?” Evangeline looked out the window and stared, for a moment, at the full moon that hung in the indigo sky before responding, “because as the vision faded, it was replaced by a death mask.”

* ~*~ *

I hope you’ve enjoyed THIS peek of ‘Ghosts of White Raven Estate’.

Ghosts of White Raven Estates ~ on Kindle

Ghosts of White Raven Estate ~ on Nook

Ghosts of White Raven Estate ~ on Smashwords for iBooks

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Chapter 4: #Voodoo Queen ~ #Free Read Excerpt ‘Ghosts of White Raven Estate’

Ghosts of White Raven Estate ~ Available where eBooks are Sold!

Ghosts of White Raven Estate ~ Available where eBooks are Sold!

USA/Kindle: Ghosts of White Raven Estate

UK/Kindle:  Ghosts of White Raven Estate

iBooks: Ghosts of White Raven Estate

╰☆╮☆♥*¨*• 💕💕 •*¨* ♥ ☆╰☆╮💕💕 •*¨* ♥ ☆╰☆╮

FOLLOW THIS BLOG! And my ghost stories at  . . .  The Ghost Chaser’s Daughter 

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Now that my 2013 novel, “Voodoo Vision: House of Spirits” is published, I’ve chosen to introduce in this blog entry the Voodoo Queen herself . . . Widow Paris.  Of the four main characters in this 2012 NaNoWriMo novel, Widow Paris is my ‘Fave’ for her glamour, and her ability to conspire and beguile at the same time.  I hope that you enjoy THIS peek of ‘Voodoo Vision’.  If you are just now joining the ‘excerpt peek’ Chapters 1, 2-3, are included in the line-up of my blog entries.

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Chapter 4

Father Vivenzio dashed up the steps to the rectory. Once inside he quietly closed the door facing Girod Street and looked across the polished floor to the door of his office. Although accustomed to the sight, he shuddered at what he saw. A Voodoo staff was propped just to the left of his door. The dark gnarls that seemed to clutch at the wooden cane resembled the knuckles of a hag. A shaft of light from the stained glass windows caught the amber eyes of the shrunken head decorating the crown of the walking stick. It seemed alive. Watching him. Judging him.

The priest hurried past flinging open the door to his sparsely furnished office. A bookcase, matching desk, and liquor cabinet were the only furnishings, save for one guest chair—occupied at the moment. The fabric of his robes rustled as he rushed across the marble-tiled floor.

An elegantly dressed, slender black woman turned in her chair to greet him, her bracelets jangling as she arranged the brightly colored fabric of her sarong. A brocade wrap protected her from the chill of the rectory office. She was physically and temperamentally more accustomed to the heat of the Caribbean.

“Widow Paris! I’m so pleased that you have waited for me. You’ve made yourself comfortable, I presume?”

“Giorgio, I wasn’t sure if maybe I had the time wrong.”

“Please allow me to apologize. I’m so sorry.”

She arched her finely shaped eyebrows and cocked her head. “Go on, I’m curious what you have to tell me.”

“I think you will find my news most interesting, and encouraging. I was just at the estate of one of St. Ann’s most promising benefactors.”

“Let me guess,” she interrupted. “The Calais’.”

“What the hell! Is there anything you don’t know?”

Widow Paris threw back her head, revealing gold-capped teeth and a broad pink tongue. Her laughter was throaty and decadent, “don’t despair my knowledge of your appointments, Father; unless it was your intention to betray our arrangement. Surely you realize there’s not much you can do that won’t be discussed throughout Tremè. My people help me, and I, in turn, help them.” Her bracelets set off another peal of jangles. She adjusted the head wrap that covered her coal-black hair. Still, tendrils crept out at her neckline like snakes slithering down her back.

I am surrounded by spies. The hair on the priest’s arms stood up in an involuntary shiver as he imagined how his swiping at the ribbon the Voodoo doll hung on must have looked. “Let me begin.”

“No. Let me.”

The priest was silenced.

“You don’t seem to appreciate what it means that Jasmine is a member of my church. Go into any household in the Garden District and you will find members of the Afro-Catholic Church—my church. You make a habit of dismissing people as you conjecture their station according to your world–the White world,” and with that Widow Paris concluded her assessment of the priest’s flaws.

“Well, now, if that doesn’t just explain Jasmine’s attitude toward me.”

“Partly, I suppose.”

'Voodoo Vision' Cast of Characters

‘Voodoo Vision’ Cast of Characters

“Then you know, from your well-placed sources, that Madame Calais has made a sizeable contribution to the church in gratitude for the services and attention her family received from St. Ann’s Church during this past epidemic.”

Widow Paris’ yellow-speckled eyes flashed and the image of a jaguar came to mind as Father Vivenzio felt the glare of the Voodoo priestess. He continued, “So tragic. I did what I could.”

He chose to overlook her snort and let her commandeer the exchange. “Let me guess, you have received from the Calais Trust a contribution of, what? Ten thousand dollars?”

He shook his head, defeated.

“What I don’t know is when you are going to make a contribution to my church based on the Calais generosity.”

“For Christ’s sake, is that what this is all about? Why, I was planning to share the Calais contribution with you this afternoon, Marie. Which is why I am so relieved that you waited for me.”

“How nice. I know that you are anxious to help me with the needs of my people in return for their attendance at mass.”

There was no way out of the split that he owed Widow Paris for their shared endeavors—and his involvement—on both sides of the religious aisle.

He drew out his bankbook and began to write out a check. After the ink dried he handed it to her.

“You’re a shrewd woman, Widow Paris. Very shrewd.”

She laughed in a throaty, suggestive manner. “This should buy someone’s much deserved freedom. Thank you.”

The priest grunted his acknowledgement.

“So, your long-term plans for the Calais’? Do tell,” she coaxed.

“Well, as you undoubtedly know, the Calais fortune is now held solely by the matriarch grandmother and her granddaughter.”

Widow Paris opened and closed her black lace fan as Father Vivenzio continued.

“The grandmother is ailing, and the granddaughter is losing her eyesight.”

She looked bored. “Yes? Yes? Get to the good part, Giorgio!” Widow Paris’ eyes glittered.

“In the end, an incredibly beautiful and wealthy ingénue will be left without a family. Except for the familial community of her church, of course.”

“Well, that is fascinating, now, isn’t it?” she taunted. “Whatever is to be done?” Father Vivenzio stared at the ceiling. “The parish does need a new convent. The current quarters here at St. Ann’s are crumbling. And Madame Calais’ granddaughter was not happy being quarantined there as her immediate family died, one by one, in the Yellow Fever epidemic. It was, of course, my doing that she took flight from the epidemic and was placed here at St. Ann’s. Her father was against it at first, but once the girl’s mother and sister died, he relented in order to save her. Then, he too died. Her grandmother presented the check to St. Ann’s two days ago, but, obviously, you know that. I advanced the idea that the donation, of which your own church will enjoy a portion, be used to renovate the convent.” He pushed back his chair.

Widow Paris sat silently as the priest struggled to his feet, his weight being a hindrance.

“A little red wine, to celebrate our windfall?” he asked.

The priestess nodded. “What’s better than celebrating a glorious afternoon with the blood of Christ?”

~*~*~

I hope you’ve enjoyed these first four chapters of ‘Voodoo Vision’. If you would like to add a copy to your eBook library, it is available at:

Voodoo Vision: New Orleans House of Spirits ~ on Kindle

Voodoo Vision: New Orleans House of Spirits ~ on Nook

Voodoo Vision: New Orleans House of Spirits ~ on Smashwords for iBooks

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