Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Ghost Stories: Cape Cod

The Village Green Inn, Falmouth (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

I'm continuing my The Ghosts of Aquinnah ghost story series today with a trip to some of the haunted houses of Cape Cod.

I've been to the Cape a few times when visiting Martha's Vineyard, but I never knew that so many of the old inns there are considered haunted. Had I known I may have tried to stay at one of the ghostly places. Maybe I will stay in one in the future and see if I can come in contact with any ghosts or ghouls myself. :D

The Village Green Inn, seen above, is located in Falmouth, which is very close to the harbor where we catch the ferry that takes us to the Vineyard. The Inn was built in 1894 and was the home of the Tripp family for many years. The patriarch of the family, Dr. Edwin Tripp, died in 1953 and rumor has it that he has been haunting the inn ever since.

Dr. Tripp, who walked with a stooped posture, was known for wearing flannel shirts in his later years. Numerous guests as well as the current owners of the Inn have reported sightings of an elderly man with a stooped posture shuffling through the rooms and hallways. The apparition is always wearing flannel shirts.

The room that was once Dr. Tripp's waiting room is now a guest room and the lights and radio have been known to turn on in this room by themselves. Dr. Tripp seems to be a friendly ghost and has never caused any other mischief, so maybe he just likes listening to music.

Barnstable Harbor (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

The Barnstable House, also known as the House of the Eleven Spirits, is located in the old town of Barnstable, which, like many towns in New England, predates the American Revolution. The town itself has enough ghost stories to fill a haunted walking tour run by the Cape and Islands Paranormal Research Society.

The Barnstable House was built in 1716 and has been the scene of many tragedies, including a man who hung himself in a tree in the yard and a little girl who drowned in the basement. In addition, one owner of the house was thought to practice black magic and conduct experiments in the occult.

Over the years, numerous guests have reported seeing a "waiter ghost" who is dressed in Colonial clothing and carries a towel over his arm. The little girl who drowned has also reportedly appeared and asked frightened guests to play with her. A former owner by the name of Captain John Grey is accused of loudly slamming doors. In addition, the house is known for fires that start on their own in the fireplace.

Sandwich, Massachusetts (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

The most famous haunted house on the Cape is probably The Dillingham House, which is located in the town of Sandwich. In 1813 Branch Dillingham, the grandson of the house's original owner, committed suicide. A few weeks later, his wife passed away, which left the couple's nine children as orphans. The house is now thought to be haunted by the Dillingham family.

Visitors to the Dillingham House have reportedly heard children running through the halls while no children are actually present in the house. In addition, guests have seen rocking chairs moving on their own and latches being lifted from doors by invisible hands. One guest reported seeing a man dressed in Victorian clothing in her room and another insisted that she woke up to the sight of a young child sitting on the edge of her bed. Both owners and guests have reported increased ghostly activities during the month of October, so perhaps the Dillingham ghosts are fans of Halloween.

Source: Wikimedia Commons

On that note, I want to wish everyone a very Happy Halloween! To all who have little ghouls and goblins, I hope they have a great time trick or treating. :)

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

National Cat Day

Today is National Cat Day, an annual celebration which was founded by Colleen Paige of the Animal Miracle Foundation in 2005. The day is intended to raise awareness of the huge number of cats in rescues and shelters and also simply to celebrate the joy cats bring to our lives. Paige's goal for this year's event is to help facilitate the adoption of 10,000 shelter cats across the country. It would be amazing if this goal is met!

Nate can't really see the point of this day because every day is cat day as far as he is concerned. But he will never quibble with a feline celebration and, since he came from a shelter himself, he's agreed to help me share information on cat rescue and adoption today, as long as he doesn't have to get up from the couch.

According to the National Cat Day website, an estimated four million cats enter shelters in the United States every year. Unfortunately, between one and two million of these cats will end up euthanized. Statistics show that cats are far more likely to be relinquished to shelters than dogs and, once there, fewer than three in ten will end up adopted into a new home.

Black cats have an even more difficult time finding homes because of the superstitions associated with them. The Foundation specifically chose Halloween week for Cat Day in order to help shed light on this stigma.

If you're interested in adding a cat to your family, visit and enter your city or zip code, then choose cat under "type." Sadly, I found more than 175,000 homeless cats when I searched my area.

In addition, the Cat Day site features an adoption portal to help match homeless cats with interested adopters and to link visitors with animal welfare and rescue organizations.

For more information on National Cat Day, including ways to help if you're not able to adopt, visit the Purina Petcentric site here. And check out the adorable video the people at Petcentric made to help spread the word about the day.

Happy National Cat Day to all the kitties and kitty lovers out there!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Ghost Movies with Christine Rains

I'm really excited to host the mega-talented Christine Rains here today as part of her blog tour for The 13th Floor Complete Collection. Christine is here to talk about one of my favorite topics - ghosts and ghost movies. 

Christine wrote her own ghost story as part of The 13th Floor series, and it's a great read like all the rest in the collection. So I was interested to hear about some of her own favorite ghost tales. Welcome and thanks for being here, Christine!

Top Ten Ghost Movies

A scratching in your wall, a whispering near your ear, or a screeching rotted corpse with hair that can kill you. Tis the season for a haunting. Or at least a good scary movie.

Ghosts feature in a lot of my favorite horror movies. Not all ghost films need to be frightening, but when I watch these flicks, I like the chills that come with them.

Warning: this list does NOT contain the film Ghost.

Here are my top ten ghost movies:
  1. The Shining. Classic Stephen King.
  2. Frighteners. This is the ghost movie I've seen the most. It rocks!
  3. The Changeling. Absolutely chilling.
  4. Poltergeist. Go to the light, Carol Anne!
  5. Ghostbusters. It never gets old. I once wanted a career as a ghostbuster.
  6. 1408. Another Stephen King story. Plus it stars John Cusack!
  7. The Ring. The creepiest girl in the world.
  8. The Amityville Horror. The first horror film I watched. It gave my brother nightmares for weeks.
  9. The Sixth Sense. Creepy with a twist.
  10. The Haunting. Nothing like the classics.

When I wrote THE GHOST, I didn't want Chiharo to be scary. She's the friendly ghost, but the story still contains the most terrifying creature in the series, and it does more than just go bump in the night. It not only wants your life, but it eats your soul too.

For another great ghost story, check out Julie Flanders' new book, THE GHOSTS OF AQUINNAH in December. It has those wonderful chills that I so adore.

What's your favorite ghost film?

Title: The 13th Floor Complete Collection
Author: Christine Rains
Genre: paranormal romance

Release date: October 13th, 2013

Six supernatural tenants
Living in a haunted apartment building
On a floor that doesn't exist.

Six novellas telling their tales.

A retired demon acquires a price on his head.
A werewolf is hunted by her pack.
A modern day dragonslayer misses his target.
A harpy challenges Zeus for the soul of the man she loves.
A vampire is obsessed with a young woman he can't find.
A banshee falls in love with someone who's death she has seen in a vision.
And a sweet ghost must battle a primal monster to save them all.

All the stories take place at the same time intertwining their lives together on the 13th Floor.

Includes “The Shadow,” a bonus short story.

Author Bio:
Christine Rains is a writer, blogger, and geek mom. She has four degrees which help nothing with motherhood, but make her a great Jeopardy player. When she's not writing or reading, she having adventures with her son or watching cheesy movies on Syfy Channel. She's a member of Untethered Realms and S.C.I.F.I. The 13th Floor series is her first self-published series. She has eight novellas and twenty-one short stories published.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Soul Cutter Cover Reveal, Favorite Quotes, and the Cephalopod Coffeehouse

Today is the big day - the Soul Cutter cover reveal challenge!

The wonderful Lexa Cain has come up with a really fun and clever way to reveal the cover for her upcoming novel Soul Cutter. Find the errors in the covers she has posted all over the blogosphere today and you can win a prize! See the list below for the participating blogs and good luck!

Lexa’s Cover Reveal Challenge

Can you find the error on this cover?
To win a prize, find the cover error in each of these 10 blogs:

For the correct cover, rules, and prize list, go to Lexa Cain’s blog.

Soul Cutter releases from MuseItUp Publishing on December 6, 2013.

Congratulations to Lexa!

Today is also the day for the monthly meeting of the Cephalopod Coffeehouse, hosted by Armchair Squid. This is a fun book club where we share our favorite book we read this month. Visit Armchair here to visit participating blogs and sign up yourself. 

I wasn't able to do much reading this month except for the time I spent on jury duty, where my Kindle was a lifesaver! So I'm sharing the two books I read during that time, both of which are from some super nice ladies here in the blogosphere, my friends Cathrina Constantine and Debbie Christiana. I can't choose between them so I'm just going to share both!

Wickedly They Come by Cathrina and Solstice by Debbie are both fast-paced reads which will definitely keep readers turning the pages. I wrote reviews for both of them so if you'd like to know what I thought of each one read my Wickedly They Come review here and my Solstice review here. I'm definitely looking forward to reading more from both Cathrina and Debbie, my two jury duty saviors. :D

I'm also back to my Friday Faves after taking the last few weeks off and this week I thought I'd share five favorite quotes. I've had favorite quotes on this blog since I first started writing it, but I always seem to come across more. So I'm sharing some favorites I've discovered and found inspiring, touching, or both. 

1. It always seems impossible until its done. ~ Nelson Mandela

2. If you ask me what I came into this life to do I will tell you: I came to live out loud. ~ Emile Zola

3.  I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.  ~ Maya Angelou

4. Those who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night. ~ Edgar Allen Poe

5. Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear - not absence of fear. ~ Mark Twain

As someone who is an admitted chicken, the last one really speaks to me. ;) 

I'm skipping the Celebrate the Small Things hop today as I think this post is long enough, but I hope everyone has had lots of things to celebrate this week

Have a great weekend! 

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Adopt A Shelter Dog Month

October is Adopt A Shelter Dog month and I couldn't let the month pass without giving a shout-out to my favorite former shelter dog in the world, Clancy, of course. Here he is making himself comfortable on the couch and watching football with Nate and me.

Yes, they are spoiled. :D

An estimated 8 to 10 million animals enter shelters in the United States every year so there are obviously tons of dogs waiting for homes at shelters all over the country. If you're interested in adding a dog to your family, consider adopting a shelter dog and giving one of these millions of homeless animals a safe and happy forever home.

You can find a dog in your area by visiting Petfinder, entering your city or zip code, and limiting your search to dogs. When I did this search, there were more than 190,000 homeless dogs listed near my area. I can't imagine how many would come up if I lived in a really big city.

If you'd like to help out but are unable to adopt, Petfinder has a great list here of simple ways to help spread the word and make a difference. The list includes things like adding a Petfinder widget to your site or posting on Twitter about the month. Here's an example of a tweet from the list: “October is Adopt-A-Shelter-Dog Month. Save a life: Adopt a dog! #savedogs

Pet Adoption

Here's hoping lots of shelter dogs find new homes during this special month.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Tara Tyler Pops In

I'm really happy to welcome Tara Tyler, author of Pop Travel, here as part of her fantastic blog tour. If you've followed Tara at all you know she's been popping up all over the place, so I'm thrilled that she decided to stop by here as well.

Tara's original plans for her stop here involved a local book festival and didn't work out the way we'd hoped, so she was kind enough to offer to interview me for her tour. So here is our interview and also all the scoop on the fantastic Pop Travel.

Since my friend, Julie lives in Ohio and has recent releases as well, I offered to interview her for our stop on the Pop Travel blog tour... Here goes.

Julie, you work in a small college library, can you tell us more about that?

It's an interesting time to be working in academia because everything seems to be in a constant state of flux as we all try to adapt to the ongoing changes in technology. I think as librarians we are just always working to find the best ways to help our students in this new reality. The college where I work is implementing more online courses to meet the needs of our students and that has provided us with both challenges and opportunities. Also, our traditional students are part of the “born digital” generation, which means they have never known a world that didn't include the internet and all that goes along with it. I have always enjoyed working with our students and still do, but for the first time I now really feel quite old!

Would you share a thrilling excerpt from Polar Night, your paranormal thriller? 
Thanks for asking! Here is a short excerpt:

Aleksei headed for the Snow Creek kitchen and opened his private refrigerator. He took out a bag of blood, and poured it into a crystal glass. He was so grateful for Alaskan blood banks. He could always make sure he was well stocked on food for the winter.

He felt himself relax as he sipped the blood and fed his hunger. He could have gone out to hunt, as there was an Inupiat tribe not far away, but he didn’t feel like working tonight. He had neither the energy nor the ambition. 

He returned to his study and to the comfort of his leather armchair. Staring at the wall, he went over the evening in his mind.

There was no longer any doubt that Maria was not making the grade. Not only was she too talkative, and too damn nosy, but she couldn’t even wear the clothes he had given her with any sense of elegance. She was simply not suitable. 

Besides that, he couldn't stop thinking of the Irish detective and his rude invasion of Aleksei's home. In the back of his mind, he knew the detective was on to him, and he'd figure out a reason to come back to Snow Creek eventually. He was thankful that at least all of this had come about early on in his cherished winter season. He would have to abandon his New Year's plans, but he had plenty of time to put his new plan in motion and enjoy the rest of the winter. 

He would have no trouble finding Maria's replacement, since he had all of her family’s contact information in his guest book. It would be a piece of cake. And this time, he was going to make her his permanent companion. He knew it was time. 

He finished his dinner of blood and put the glass on the table next to him. His groin tingled with anticipation. 

He would bring Katie here, and she would be his. He shook his head, almost imperceptibly. No, it wouldn’t be Katie at all.

It would be Katerina. 

Have you visited the places you write about? Or do you base your settings on research? Where is a destination you would like to go? 

I relied entirely on research for Polar Night because I have never been to Alaska. I hope I did justice to both the state and the city of Fairbanks! I felt much more comfortable writing about the setting for my next book, The Ghosts of Aquinnah, because it takes place on Martha's Vineyard and I have been going there since I was a child. So that one was easier for me, but I loved researching Alaska and trying to put myself into the setting. As far as a destination I would like to go, that would have to be Alaska! I've always wanted to go there but now even more so. I wish the teleportation of Pop Travel was real and I could use it to pop to Fairbanks and the towns of the Arctic. :)

What are you working on now? Are you developing Polar Night into a series? 

I would love to make Polar Night into a series. Right now I am working on a sequel but I admit I have a lot of work to do on it. I have been concentrating primarily on getting ready for the publication of The Ghosts of Aquinnah, which will be out in December of this year. But now that I've done as much as I can do with that before its release I am hoping to get back to my sequel and really make progress with it.

Thanks again, Julie for letting me interview you!

Now, here are some details for Pop Travel.

Cooper thought he could get through
life without having to pop...
Pop Travel by Tara Tyler
A tale of deception and teleportation.

When a distraught client enters J.L. Cooper's small town detective agency, ranting about a pop travel teleportation cover up, Cooper takes the case. He blames the pop travel craze for his wife's death and would love to expose a glitch in it.

But the glitch turns out to be disintegrating travelers. And now, his client is dead, his secretary is missing, and a hitman is stalking him. Plus there's all the webcams watching his every move. Cooper must find a way to expose the deadly flaw, while using pop travel to escape the maniacs covering it up, not to mention save a couple of tag-alongs he's not sure he can trust. No problem.

Available now on Amazon and Barnes & Noble
Goodreads  <==>  Trailer  <==> FB Author Page

After having a hand in everything from waitressing to teaching math to rocket engineering, Tara Tyler now writes and teaches in Ohio with her three active boys and Coach Husband. In addition to her novels, she has published short stories and poetry in Science Fiction, Fantasy, Thriller, and Humor. So many stories to tell!

Thank you, Tara for being here and for the interview! :)

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Magna's Plea by Cherie Reich

My friend and fellow Untethered Realms member Cherie Reich has a new YA Epic Fantasy short story out and it's free! That's right, FREE.

Here's a great excerpt from the story along with info on how to get your copy:

An excerpt of Magna’s Plea by Cherie Reich

12-13 Days of Luquiry
Year 1717 AUC

Tendrils of smoke swirled heavenward. The smoldering stench reached Princess Magna at the top of the palace’s northern tower. She wrinkled her nose at the unpleasant odor, yet it still smelled better than the filth plaguing the besieged seven-hilled city.

She’d vowed to protect Amora. Her heart shattered a little more each day at the devastation afflicting her kingdom.

The once grassy and flower-filled plain sprouted dust plumes from the trampling feet. As the sun neared the western horizon, a bloody hue washed over the battlefield. Tiny, metallic dins and men’s shouts rang out. Magical bursts flashed in the sky like Thean’s lightning, beautiful and deadly. A wooden catapult hurled a human-sized stone slab into the city’s wall. Magna jerked away from the opened window she stood before, as if the object had struck her instead. Rock crumbled from the impact, but the barrier held.

When the reddish orb sank lower, the fighting ceased. War’s chaos parted into two orderly sides, and soldiers crossed the field to gather their dead.

She brushed a shaky hand over her cheeks. Tears dampened her face, and she struggled to turn away from the battle before her. Almost two months had passed since the Apenthans had begun their attack Amora. How much longer could the Amorans—she—stay safe behind their impenetrable wall?

Book Description: A princess will rise and challenge Fate.

While her father, brothers, and people fight against the Kingdom of Apentha, tenacious eighteen-year-old Princess Magna can only watch the destruction of Amora, her besieged city and kingdom. Her mother, Queen Vyvian, has refused to allow her heir to join the fray.

But Magna won't take no for an answer. She seeks out an end of the war from Prince Cyrun of Apentha, their prisoner. If she can't persuade him toward peace, then Amora may fall.

This short story prequel includes a sneak peek of Reborn, Book One of The Fate Challenges, forthcoming May 2014.

YA Epic Fantasy
The Fate Challenges #0.5
A 5500-word Short Story

To download this short story for free: Amazon / Nook / iTunes / Kobo / Smashwords / Goodreads
Read online at Wattpad
Add to Goodreads

About the Author: A self-proclaimed bookworm, Cherie Reich is a speculative fiction writer, freelance editor, book blogger, and library assistant living in Virginia. Her short stories have appeared in magazines and anthologies, and her books include the horror series Nightmare, a space fantasy novella trilogy titled Gravity, and the fantasy series The Foxwick Chronicles. She is Vice President of Valley Writers and a member of the Virginia Writers Club and Untethered Realms.

Her debut YA Epic Fantasy novel Reborn, book one in The Fate Challenges, will be released on May 23, 2014.