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Oh! No! A Murder of Crows!!

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And my ghost stories at  . . .  The Ghost Chaser’s Daughter 

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“Oh! No! A Murder of Crows”

A flock, a flight, a ‘murder of crows’,

Which word to use?

I’m in the throes!

~ ~ ~ ~

I am both terrified and fascinated by crows, and even used a particular ‘murder of crows’ in my latest novel, “Ghosts of White Raven Estate”.

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

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

Yes! That’s what a flock of crows are called, you know . . . a “murder”. But why?

I recently looked up the etymology of “murder of crows” and learned the term is used primarily by writers and poets (not scientists and/or botanists).

According to zBeckabee who posts on FunTrivia, The term “murder” was used to describe a flock of crows as far back as the 15th century, as published by the Oxford English Dictionary. (Here’s a spine-chilling version from 1475: “A morther of crowys.”)

The OED suggests this is an allusion to “the crow’s traditional association with violent death” or “its harsh and raucous cry.” If you’ve ever heard dozens of agitated crows in full cry, it really does sound as if they’re yelling bloody murder.

This usage, which apparently died out after the 1400s, was revived in the 20th century. The first modern citation in the OED comes from 1939, but the usage was undoubtedly popularized by its appearance in An Exaltation of Larks (1968), a compendium of “nouns of multitude” by James Lipton.” ###

Of course Edgar Allen Poe (the poet in residence of my ancestral hometown (Baltimore) uses crows in metaphors, as tormentors, and certainly as messengers; Alfred Hitchcock (my Fave author) uses crows.  And who doesn’t delight in the writing of Joyce Carol Oates and particularly her “Mudgirl Saved by the King of Crows“.

And, let’s not overlook crows at the box office. Oh! Yikes!! Crows don’t seem to fare well on the big screen if 2013 “Wrath of the Crows” directed by Ivan Zuccon is any indication http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2070897/.

But enough about Ivan, more about . . . me!

Let’s take a read of how I used crows to torment-the-tormenter in my latest novel: From “Ghosts of White Raven Estate” this is our beloved anti-hero Father Vivenzio scrapping with the messengers of doom in my novel:

“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.

The priest clutched at his robes and reached into his pocket for his handkerchief. He mopped his brow, patting the beads of sweat from his forehead. The New Orleans heat had been unbearable when he left the rectory that morning. But now, without the protection of his three-cornered hat, the crows might be attracted to the top of his shiny, baldhead, he imagined.

He scurried along Washington Avenue from St. Charles Avenue to Prytania Street. “How could any family live across the street from a cemetery? Even if it is their own cemetery?” Two hundred years of history. What secrets are enfolded in the history of the Calais family? He admonished himself for his uncharitable thoughts and shrunk down into his collar as a raven cackled in the distance. He did not feel inclined to run from the pack of dogs or cower from the crows and ravens cawing their contempt. This damned heat!

“What the . . .?” Father Vivenzio uttered stopping in his tracks. His eyes caught something strange attached to the cemetery’s wrought-iron fence. Something hanging on the gate up ahead? He stared at the object as he approached, trying to figure out what was hanging on the black iron bars. The object grew more distinct as he advanced. The realization of what it was struck him like a bolt of lightning.

” [Dear Reader: It’s a voodoo doll that has been left for the Good Father to find.]

What does happen to Father Vivenzio is revealed at the end – last chapter – no spoilers here.

But, aren’t you marvelously merry that you did the click! click! on “A Murder of Crows”?

Leave your “Hello” in the comments ~ I love having visitors!

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The #Voodoo Queen’s Shanty ~ ~ ~ Come for A Visit, Stay for A Lifetime

Book Trailer Release!

 

On the edge of the swamps lives the Widow Paris, Voodoo Queen of New Orleans. A blue-eyed slave of White Raven Estate, Jasmine le Calais, must brave the swamp after the Hourfor to retrieve her daughter from the clutches of Widow Paris. The Caribbean drums have quieted for the night and mist hangs in the humid air.

As Jasmine, terrified, creeps closer to the Voodoo Queen’s shanty something rustles in the saw grass!

Is it an alligator — or the legendary yellow-eyed swamp monster, Loup Garou?

~ ~ ~ ~

(an excerpt from Chapter 7 – Jasmine Visits the Voodoo Queen)

From the depths of the swamp  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.

~ ~ ~ ~

#Ghosts of White Raven Estate.
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The ‘Why’ of Why Children See #Ghosts ~ a Blog quoting Shirley MacLaine

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And my ghost stories at  . . .  The Ghost Chaser’s Daughter 

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In my last several blog entries I have focused on children who see ghosts – particularly on the ghosts of Grandparents’. The relationship between infants who stare intently at ‘something’ while laying in cribs; toddlers who speak of imaginary friends; and even the eerie experiences of three-to-six year olds who speak in reference to relatives they have never met is fascinating to me because the first apparition I ever saw was that of my grandfather who died on Christmas Day, 1956; six months before his ghost floated through our home checking into bedrooms and peeking into nooks.

I am currently reading ‘Going Within’ by Shirley MacLaine and could not have chosen a book more tailored to my current journey into topics of metaphysics, quantum mechanics, and spiritualism. So I was struck with electrifying excitement when I read the following passage from Shirley MacLaine’s book which buoys the research of Nicole Leader regarding ghosts and children:

Shirley MacLaine. Going Within:  “Most children have a balance of their left and right brain hemispheres and are basically psychic until they begin to learn conditioned techniques of thinking, and to accept  limitations. The reason most children are psychic is because a child’s pineal gland, which according to Eastern esoteric teachings is the organ of telepathy, is highly developed from birth. This gland gradually shrinks from lack of stimulation or use as the child grows older and begins to use left-brain logic more than right brain intuition and feelings.

“The psychic child sees what is hidden from ordinary left-brain mortals in a dimension known as the fourth-dimension, beyond those dimensions we perceive in ‘reality’.

“The fourth-dimension is the realm of the super-conscience. It is the dimension that Einstein addressed as having no time or space. . . .” From here MacLaine goes on to topics dealing with the super-conscience.

~~~~~~

The first question I asked myself regarding this short excerpt on why children see into The Other dimensions is whether or not there is such a thing as the pineal gland. Click on these links to see what I discovered. Physiologically the pineal gland is the endocrine gland that secretes melatonin. But on a spiritual level it is referred by Rene Descartes as the ‘principal seat to the soul.’  More science-based websites than Wiki say this about the pineal gland.

The website ‘International Ghost Hunter’s Society’ takes an in-depth look at how the pineal gland figures into the ghost-sighting lives of youngsters in this blog by Dave Oester.

These links provide in-depth physiological, scientific and metaphysic explanations as to why (1) children see ‘imaginary’ friends; (2) children seem to ‘see’ what’s beyond our own scope; (3) children are more likely to see grandparents and ancestors; (4) and — I might add — why children become afraid of the dark!

Have you, or maybe your children reported seeing ‘imaginary friends’ that seem oh! So! real?  What are your family’s experiences with ghost sightings? Please leave A Reply message here, and we will continue discussing the topic of ‘Why Children See Ghosts’.

~~~~~~~~~~

Emily Hill writes under the flag, ‘The Ghost Chaser’s Daughter’ and has recently published ‘Ghosts of White Raven Estate’ which is available on #Kindle, and Smashwords’ iBooks.

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

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

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“In The Company of #Ghosts” My #Blog

Ghosts of White Raven Estate ~ Where eBooks are Sold!

Ghosts of White Raven Estate ~ 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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A question was asked on Facebook, “Which creature from the paranormal world do you prefer?”.  Well of course my answer was ‘Ghosts!’ But before you leave a comment extolling the virtues of your Fave creature, let me explained the versatility of ghosts over some of the other creatures lumbering around Supernatural Scenarios.

Ghosts are so elusive.  Sasquatch and Black-eyed kids are also elusive, but can they be conjured? All signs point to ‘No!’, so they lose out on this and other elements of my subjective comparison of Creatures.

Lonely? Ghosts make their presence known.  Plates rattle, pots and pans move about. Why, have you ever heard of a vampire jingling your car keys mid-air when the house is empty of everyone – but you?  No Creature will reassure you that you are not alone more suddenly than a ghost!

Ghosts vividly re-live The Past with you – they are, well – sentimental Creatures. Ever experience a Residual Haunting?  Zombies have long-forsaken The Past by the time they are lurching toward their next meal – just ask Dan O’Brien! Which brings me to my next point:

Zombies can handily eat you out of house and home after they have chomped off the hand that feeds them – your’s!! (And vampires will bleed you dry)  A ghost in the house will not increase your grocery bill. – or your heating bill, for that matter.

Ghosts are interactive in many cases – they will seek out your company, react to your thoughts, understand your needs – they are . . . well . . . sensitive. Look how devoted Sam was to Molly (Demi Moore and Patrick Swayze) in the 1990 devotional of a ghost who fully understood the needs of his woman.  Speaking of Sam and Molly:

Need a bed mate?  Choose ghosts!  Ghosts are much more trust-worthy than vampires in the bedroom department. My preference is the midnight incubus, but being versatile – ghosts also come in the succubus variety, according to author Gladys Quintal.

I’m not saying that ALL ghosts have sterling qualities and the makings of a BFF  Lover – there are exceptions!  Just ask Charlie Sheen who played a Wraith in the Winner-of a-Movie from 1986.  Actually, ghosts come in all kinds of ‘bad boy’ varieties!  I mean, if you want a goon to settle the score on an earthly foe, I’d choose Demons – who live in the same afterlife neighborhood as wraiths, but I believe are a touch more difficult to rid oneself of.

Red-eyed Beast from my collection, The Ghost Chaser's Daughter.

Red-eyed Beast from my collection, The Ghost Chaser’s Daughter.

So, to sum up, why did I choose Ghosts as my preference-creature on a Facebook poll?  Loyalty, Sensitivity, Presence, No-drain-on my economy, Imaginativeness at bedtime.

Now You! Which Creature-category from The Beyond strikes YOUR fancy?

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myBlog ‘The Page 69 Test’ Applied to #Ghosts of White Raven Estate

Ghosts of White Raven Estate ~ Where eBooks are Sold!

Ghosts of White Raven Estate ~ 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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Authors and bloggers this week are discussing ‘The Page 69 Test’ – described here by Beth Groundwater.   Basically the test is to read page 69 of any novel and determine if it is the book you want to be reading — much like — according to Beth, music lovers ‘test’ a CD, album, etc. by listening to Track 7.

So! Let’s try the test-du-jour on Ghosts of White Raven Estate .  Here’s page 69 of my latest novel:

Scene:

Widow Paris is proposing to Father Vivenzio that she become Victoria’s companion-of-sorts after the priest has abducted Victoria from (Corbeau Blanc translated to: ) White Raven Estate.  The Voodoo Queen’s ulterior motive, as we will find out, is to insinuate herself into the young woman’s estate:

Let’s listen in as Widow Paris (Marie) has just asked Father Vivenzio (Giorgio)  if Victoria’s beloved cat, Bon-Bon has been delivered to the cottage where the abducted heiress is being held:

Father Vivenzio:  “Yes, [Bon-Bon was delivered] yesterday afternoon. They’re inseparable, the angel and the she-devil.”

Widow Paris chuckled, “So, she’s now happy?”

“Victoria? Wonderfully happy,” he stated sarcastically.

“Well, maybe my plan will help make things more tenable for the mademoiselle.”

“I’m almost afraid to ask, Marie.”

“Don’t be. As I said, it involves money, and it involves opportunity.”

Father Vivenzio pushed his chair back from the desk.

“Comfortable, Giorgio? Ready?”

He nodded, as he picked lint off the sleeve of his robe.

“Giorgio, don’t feign disinterest. It doesn’t become you.” She watched the priest pick up his wine glass and wet his lips. “Now, listen. Mardi Gras is less than a week away. I think it would be beneficial for me to have the company of a beautiful, little white mademoiselle for an afternoon. She could join me on a shopping trip to D.P. Scanlan. Wouldn’t that set Chartres Street on fire?”

“Victoria? You want Victoria to join you on your flirts and – err – business ventures? That is what you want?”

“Of course. She’s such a beautiful little head turner, after all. Can’t you imagine how our gentlemen benefactors would be drawn to the prim virginity of such a lovely creature? I love the idea of the two of us sipping tea at Antoine’s after visiting some of the shops on Decatur Street.”

“Good luck. I could barely get her to cooperate in coming here. Correct that – she did not cooperate – barely or otherwise. Why would she want to cooperate with your devious plan?”

“Because we would propose it to her in the most glorious manner.”

“I’m not at all convinced of the upside to this plan, Marie.”

Widow Paris glared across the desk at the priest, “Alright, let me spell it out for you. She wants out! For God’s sake can you imagine being under house arrest at a convent? The horror of it all makes me shudder. The prim devotion, the prayers, the lack of fashion!”

“Alright! I get it!”

Marie noticed that while the priest refilled his own wine glass, none was offered to her.

“What do you think? A little outing?”

After a few moments time he responded. “Hmm, well maybe. Let me think about it.”

“Giorgio, what’s there to think about?”

“Marie, let me ask you this . . .if you spent time with Victoria would you be able to determine the power behind the poltergeist at Corbeau Blanc. If I’m to manage the estate—in Victoria’s behalf, of course—I need to find a way to control the, uhm, situation.”

[and this is were we turn the page. I hope you enjoyed this peek of Page 69 and that, for you, ‘Ghosts of White Raven Estate’ passes ‘The Page 69 Test’.

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#Ghosts of White Raven Estate . . . and . . . NEW #Book Trailers!

Ghosts! ~ Where eBooks are Sold!

Ghosts! ~ 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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This has been ‘book trailer’ week at A.V. Harrison Publishing and I’m excited to show You the results!

First of all though, let me announce a BIG Switch in the title and design for my NaNoWriMo novel 2012. Same synopsis, New Orleans poltergeists and apparitions tangle with Haitian Voodoo as Forces from ‘The Other Side’ wrestle over the riches at White Raven Estate in New Orleans’ Garden District.

New title! “Ghosts of White Raven Estate”. New Design! [Thank you Kathi Humphries Design and New Media].  Book trailers that I’ve produced and am thrilled to Premier here on my blog:

#1  –>  click! to view ‘A Classic Ghost Story’  book trailer:

#2  –> click! to view ‘NEW Book Trailer: Ghosts of White Raven Estate’

I’m keeping them both — but which one do YOU prefer?  Let me know!

Polldaddy will keep our tally!

Come back and see if YOUR choice is leading!

~*~  ~*~  ~*~  ~*~  ~*~  ~*~

On Amazon ~ Ghosts of White Raven Estate ~

a NaNoWriMo 2012 winner!

1853 New Orleans  ~
The frenzied drumbeats of Voodoo ceremonies vibrate over the city of New Orleans following the 1853 Yellow Fever epidemic.  Ghosts now roam the near-empty halls of White Raven Estate, where nearly all of the members of the wealthy Calais family have died.
Father Vivenzio, an opportunistic New Orleans priest, with VERY close ties to New Orleans’ Voodoo Community scurries back and forth from his parish to White Raven Estate where supernatural forces thwart his attempts at skimming the riches of the estate from the two surviving members of the Calais dynasty–ingenue Victoria Calais and her French-Canadian grandmother.
Frustrated by his inability to gain control over his supernatural nemesis, and hounded by crows, and wild dogs that roam the cemetery across the street from the Calais’ Garden District estate, the priest calls on Widow Paris – New Orleans’ Mambo Queen.
Destiny meets with Death in a carriage-race finish as Faith, Voodoo, and Supernatural Forces collide during Mardi Gras 1853.
☆ Actual Voodoo Spells revealed!
☆ Action and Mystery on every page!
☆ A Beautiful Mambo Queen!
☆ A Death-defying Carriage Race!
☆ Revenge – served New Orleans Hot!

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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’

FOLLOW THIS BLOG! And . . .  The Ghost Chaser’s Daughter 
╰☆╮☆♥*¨*• 💕💕 •*¨* ♥ ☆╰☆╮💕💕

FOLLOW THIS BLOG! And . . .  The Ghost Chaser’s Daughter 
╰☆╮☆♥*¨*• 💕💕 •*¨* ♥ ☆╰☆╮💕💕 •*¨* ♥ ☆╰☆╮

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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