Tag Archives: novels

Oh! No! A Murder of Crows!!

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

FOLLOW THIS BLOG!

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

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

“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!

Advertisements

1 Comment

Filed under Baltimore, Books by Emily Hill, emily hill, ghost adventures, ghost hunter, ghost stories, Ghost World Tutorials, ghosts, Ghosts' Experienced, Halloween, New Orleans, paranormal, supernatural, Unexplained Phenomenon

“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

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

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

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

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?

4 Comments

Filed under Books by Emily Hill, emily hill, ghost adventures, ghost hunter, ghost stories, Ghost World Tutorials, ghosts

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

Leave a comment

Filed under Guest Blogs

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 

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

 

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.

•*¨* ♠ ☆•*¨* ♠ ☆•*¨* ♠ ☆

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

3 Comments

Filed under Books by Emily Hill, emily hill, ghost adventures, ghost hunter, ghost stories, ghosts