A Sneak Peek at ELECTRICITY – #MFRWHooks

My new release, Electricity, is the latest installment in my Haunted Voices novels. This one was especially exciting to write, since I work where it is set: the location used to house a State Mental Asylum. There’s still one building that’s never been renovated, and it is a spooky place indeed.

 

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Here’s a sneak peek inside ELECTRICITY: A Haunted Voices novel:

Mercy crept down the steps, shivering as the chill of underground air crawled over her. Just as she reached the bottom step, something tickled her cheek and she swatted frantically before realizing it was just a fragment of spider web waving from the rafter. The sound of Daniel’s snort behind her made her bristle. She shot him a contemptuous glare.

The passageway was low ceilinged, forcing Daniel to stoop, and so narrow a man could almost span the width with outstretched arms. Rough fieldstone walls, joined by random patches of mortar, rose from a cracked concrete floor. The hall disappeared off at right angles to the steps in both directions. Conner strode boldly down one way, then the other, pulling the tattered, hanging cords to bring yellowed bulbs to life, one at a time. Some were dead, but those that still fired bathed the space in an eerie, amber light.

Mercy studied the bench lining the outside wall. Heavy planks formed a shelf about two feet above the ground. Every ten feet or so, a pair of round iron rings hung from the wall, mortared between the fieldstones.

“I’ve read about places like this,” Daniel mumbled. “This was their holding area.”

“What do you mean? Like in a prison?” Even to her own ears, Mercy’s voice sounded squeaky and unsteady.

Daniel tipped his head, pulling his fingers through his short, tawny beard. His gaze glanced off hers. “Guess you could call it that. Back then they didn’t ever know what they were getting into when a new patient came in.”

You can watch the book trailer HERE, and buy on amazon HERE.

And check out our other #MFRWAuthors #MFRW Hooks by clicking the image below!

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The Final Countdown

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In three short days, my next Haunted Voices novel will go live on Amazon. I can’t believe this all happened so fast. After a loooong dry spell in my writing life, The Great Muse finally smiled on me again.

Of course, it helped that I took a week’s vacation from my day job with the sole intention of finishing the book. Oh, how I loved life that week. I rose at my usual early hour, but instead of cramming words into the hour before I have to get ready for work, I stayed in my jammies until nearly noon. The words literally bled out of my fingertips–such a difference when there is no clock ticking in the background. I worked more hours that week than I ever do at my day job, and I loved every minute of it.

In one short week, I wrote over 50,000 words, then did two rounds of edits. I designed a cover, and a book trailer. If I didn’t have to work a day job, I could put out three or four books a year, no problem.

Of course, I’d also have nowhere to live, nothing to eat, no wine to drink . . . *sigh* I digress.

So, get ready, world for ELECTRICITY: A Haunted Voices Novel. The eBook goes live on June 8th, and it’s available now for pre-order on Amazon. The paperback will go live on June 16th. I have a special connection with this book because it’s set on the campus where I work, which used to be a State Mental Hospital. All of the other buildings have been renovated and repurposed except for one. It sits high atop a hill, massive and brooding, crumbling. I drive and walk past it every day.

It was the perfect place for a ghost story.

My hero and heroine are electricians working to rewire the building, and soon discover that some of the tortured souls who resided there never left.

The cover, I might add, is up for an award at AllAuthor. Please vote for it! How exciting it would be to discover on release day that the cover made it to the final round!

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So now, what’s next? I have several story ideas in various stages of development . . . decisions, decisions.

Love & Ghosts! Welcome Carrie Pulkinen

I love getting to know other authors who write romance with ghosts!

Today I’m honored to welcome one of my favorite authors, Carrie Pulkinen to Haunted Pathways. I can’t wait to ask her a few questions and get to know her better. So let’s get started!

Carrie

Q: Were you already a great writer? Have you always liked to write?

Carrie: I have always been good at writing, but I haven’t always liked to write. When I was in junior high, I made a 100 on my first all-essay test, and then the teacher signed me up to write a little column for the small-town newspaper. Words have always come easily to me, but I didn’t start to enjoy writing until I began writing fiction in 2009.

Claire: You know, I have a similar story. In the seventh grade, after I’d agonized over a creative writing assignment, my heart sank when Ms. Prather called me to the front of the room. I stood there in shock as she handed me back the paper with 100 written in red ink at the top.

Q: Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Carrie: I would call myself a plantster, I suppose. When I first started writing, I was a total pantser, but writing that way was stressful for me, because I was ALWAYS thinking about my work in progress, worrying I would forget where I wanted it to go next. Now, I jot my general ideas and major plot points down on notecards to keep everything in order in my mind. It’s just a loose outline, and I’ve been known to scrap the cards and write new ones when the story starts taking me in a new direction, but it works for me.

Claire: Me too! A detailed outline kills my muse, but if I totally pants it, the book never gets written.

Q: When did you realize you wanted to write novels?

Carrie: I was at a Twilight convention with some friends in 2009. We spent A LOT of time waiting in lines for things to start, so I kept them entertained by making up fanfiction stories on the spot. They asked me how I came up with the ideas, and I said that I do it all the time. When I’m bored, I tell myself stories to pass the time. I thought everyone did that. Apparently, they don’t. My friends convinced me I should try to write a book, so when I got home from the convention, that’s what I did. Six weeks later, I had a rough draft of my first novel!

Claire: Wow! Six weeks. I don’t think I’ve ever written a rough draft that fast.

Q: Is silence golden, or do you need music to write by? What kind?

Carrie: Silence is definitely golden. I need complete silence to write. Sometimes I put on headphones and play white noise to drown out the sounds of my dog snoring!

Claire: Ha! Too funny.

Q: Real settings or fictional towns?

Carrie: I have done both, but I prefer real settings. A lot of my books (Love & Ghosts included) are set in New Orleans, which is my favorite city in the world! I love describing actual places I’ve been to and bringing them to life for my readers. Sometimes people tell me that, after reading my books, they feel like they’ve been to New Orleans, even if they’ve never visited in real life.

Claire: I’ve never been to New Orleans either, but look forward to experiencing it through your books.

Thanks so much for chatting with me today, Carrie. Now, as a special treat, Carrie has agreed to share an excerpt from her latest release, Love & Ghosts.

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Excerpt

Her gaze traveled up and down his body, and when she met his eyes, he smiled.

Her pulse quickened. She could definitely burn for this guy.

He sauntered toward her with a cocky gait—completely in character—and his playful grin and full, kissable lips sent her stomach flipping.

“What’s the Queen of Hearts doing all alone at a party like this?”

Emily sat up straighter. “I could ask the same question of you, Dread Pirate Roberts. Where is your Buttercup?”

“I’m currently interviewing for the position. Would you like to apply?” His devilish grin widened; her heart pounded harder.

“And how many applicants would I be competing with? It must be a coveted position.”

He chuckled. “So far tonight, ma’am, you’re the only candidate.” He cleared his throat and whisked her glass from the table. “Your drink is empty, and that’s a shame. Let me get you another one.” He examined what was left of the contents. “Gin and tonic?”

“Yes, but…”

“I’ll be right back.”

He strode to the bar, and she got a view of his backside as he moved. Nice. Everything about the man was scrumptious. She inhaled a deep breath to calm the swarm of butterflies in her stomach. What on earth was she thinking agreeing to a dare like this? She didn’t go around kissing strangers.

“One gin and tonic for the beautiful queen.” He slipped into the chair next to her and set the drink on the table.

“Thank you.” She could do this. It was just a kiss, and he was just a man. An incredibly sexy pirate tonight.

He leaned an elbow on the table. “You know, you’re the first person who’s gotten my costume right.”

“Really? The Princess Bride is a classic. I can’t believe people don’t recognize you.”

“I know. It’s one of my favorites.”

“And you look so authentic. You’ve got the mustache and everything. Is it real?”

He smoothed the thin strip of hair above his lip. “Of course. But everyone thinks I’m—”

“Zorro?”

“Nailed it. By the way, my name is—”

“Westley.” She stirred her drink and swallowed before raising her gaze to his. “Your name is Westley tonight.”

“Oh, we’re being mysterious?”

She shrugged. It was better if she didn’t know his name. Trish was right: she didn’t need to attach herself to the first man she met. And this guy was way too magnetic.

He smiled. “I get it. It’s a masquerade. We can reveal our identities at the stroke of midnight.”

She tilted her head. If she was still talking to him at midnight, she’d be in trouble.

“Okay. Westley, it is. Can I call you Buttercup?”

Covering the tip of the straw with her finger, she brought the other end to her lips and released the contents into her mouth. “I’ll let you know.”

Buy Love & Ghosts Now!

She refuses to believe in ghosts.

He makes a living on their existence.

Love in the Big Easy shouldn’t be so hard…

Trying to add some excitement to her life, Emily Rollins accepts a dare to kiss a masked stranger at a charity ball. Fireworks ignite with that simple kiss, and she longs to learn more about the enchanting man. But Emily has lost so much of her heart already…

Succumbing to his charm will turn her world inside out.

Sean LeBlanc is a medium who runs the most popular haunted tour company in New Orleans. When Emily shows up on his ghost tour, with no idea he’s the mystery man from the ball, the long-buried emotions she unearthed in him are rekindled, and he’s convinced he can learn to love again.

The problem is Emily doesn’t believe in the supernatural.

Just as Sean begins to open her mind to the existence of spirits and the possibility of love, a mysterious wooden box with a sinister power arrives on Emily’s doorstep, threatening her sanity and her life.

If Sean can’t convince her ghosts are real, her disbelief will doom them both.

If you like a swoon-worthy hero and the magic of New Orleans, you’ll love this steamy, heart-melting romance.

Buy Love & Ghosts Here Now!

About Carrie:

Carrie Pulkinen is a paranormal romance author who has always been fascinated with things that go bump in the night. Of course, when you grow up next door to a cemetery, the dead (and the undead) are hard to ignore. Pair that with her passion for writing and her love of a good happily-ever-after, and becoming a paranormal romance author seems like the only logical career choice.

Before she decided to turn her love of the written word into a career, Carrie spent the first part of her professional life as a high school journalism and yearbook teacher. She loves good chocolate and bad puns, and in her free time, she likes to read, drink wine, and travel with her family.

Find out more about Carrie and her fantastic line of books at her website

or Amazon Author Page.

 

 

Uncovering Buried Secrets

I was thrilled to finally discover a kindred spirit in reader/writer Elizabeth Meyette, who writes stories set in haunted houses! I’m pleased to welcome her here today on Haunted Pathways to discuss her second Finger Lakes Series book, Buried Secrets. Take it away Elizabeth!

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When I finished writing my first mystery, The Cavanaugh House, I hadn’t planned on a sequel. But my heroine, Jesse Graham, is Irish and stubborn and had another story to tell. Thus began Buried Secrets, book two in The Finger Lakes Mysteries series.

From April 30-May 5 you can order Buried Secrets for only 99 cents on Amazon. It’s also available for free on Kindle Unlimited.

Buried Secrets blurb:

Life seemed so routine.

Until the ghost appeared.

When Jesse Graham almost runs over a “body” in the road one night, she is plunged into a labyrinth of secrets, lies and murder. All Jesse wants is a simple life teaching at St. Bart’s… and a chance at love with Joe Riley. She realizes that plan has been thwarted when puzzling occurrences at St. Bartholomew Academy for Girls get increasingly dangerous. The danger doesn’t just spring from the ghost who haunts the grounds of St. Bart’s, but from a sinister presence that is not ghostly at all. As she digs into the mystery, threats on her life and the life of her student escalate.

Which danger threatens her life the most? The ghost haunting her student or the secrets buried in the school?

Buried Secrets excerpt:

Labor Day, Monday, September 2, 1968

Jesse Graham squinted through the windshield wipers at the rain-swept road ahead of her. In her twenty-eight years, she had never liked being out in a thunderstorm, and this one was a doozy.

“NASA plans to put a man on the moon next year, but nobody can invent windshield wipers that work in a downpour,” she grumbled.

She hadn’t meant to work until after sunset, but she’d obsessed with putting up creative bulletin boards and adding final touches to the course guides to be ready for the first day of school tomorrow. Though she had taught in Rochester for five years, no doubt her obsession stemmed from the fact that she was the newest faculty member at St. Bartholomew Academy for Girls.

Adjusting to the late-summer darkness was hard enough, but add this thunderstorm and visibility was nil. At least upstate New York didn’t suffer through tornadoes or hurricanes. She gripped the wheel, concentrating on avoiding the deep ditch carved out along the shoulder.

A flash of lightning revealed a shape sprawled in the middle of the road ahead. She leaned forward, as if that would help her see if it was a deer someone hit and left to die. Another bolt of lightning illuminated the shape again, revealing blonde hair spread out on the wet pavement. In a moment of clarity—at least she could always count on that oddity in the midst of panic—she knew it was not a deer. Downshifting, she slammed on the brakes, her 1965 Volkswagen Beetle skidding sideways. She broke out in prickles of sweat as her car thudded against the form and halted.

“Oh my God! Oh my God! Oh my God!” she cried out.
She was pinned to her seat. Her legs shook, then her whole body. She fumbled for the door handle, unable to find it at first. Finally, she grasped it, threw open the door, and scrambled out onto the road. The sky strobed as a lightning bolt slammed into a nearby tree. Her nose stung with the acrid smell of sulfur. Her knees buckled, but she recovered, stumbling toward the immobile form. Slowing her pace, she neared the cloth-draped figure, afraid it might leap up and attack her. Afraid it might not move at all.

Trembling, she dropped to her knees beside the form. Bile rose in her throat at the sight of long, blonde hair streaming out from beneath the gray wool blanket that covered the shape. Pulling the blanket back, she gasped.

Have I just killed someone?

A blonde wig was perched atop a dummy fashioned from burlap stuffed with hay. What the…? Slowly, she realized what she was looking at. She breathed with relief. But her relief was short-lived.

Son of a bitch. This prank could have sent someone flipping end over end. Storms weren’t known to improve traction.

“Who the hell would pull a rotten trick like this?”

She looked around—was the perpetrator standing just off in the trees beside the road? Rain spattered against her hair. As she brushed the clinging ringlets from her eyes, she pulled up the hood of her nylon poncho. Heart pounding, she leaned back on her heels, inhaling deeply to still her trembling. Hot breath escaped through her flared nostrils. Grabbing the dummy, she wrapped the blanket around it and lugged it to the car.

Order your copy of Buried Secrets on Amazon now.

Elizabeth Meyette

 

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Audiobook Review: The Night Strangers by Chris Bohjalian

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I have to admit: I almost passed on this book due to the relatively low rating on Amazon. It has a overall review score of 3.2 out of 5 – not stellar. Most of the 1-3 star reviews criticized the ending of the book. So of course, I had to read it–listen to it, in audio, in my case–continuing to the end to see if I agreed with this opinion. As it turned out, I did not.

Lesson learned–do NOT judge a book by Amazon’s rating.

If anything might discourage a person from flying, the opening chapters of The Night Strangers would. Told from his own viewpoint, pilot Chip Linton describes how his 70-seat regional jet hits a flock of geese shortly after takeoff, taking out both engines and forcing him to attempt an emergency landing on Lake Champlain. Unfortunately, unlike the Miracle on the Hudson, one wing of Chip’s plane crashes into the wake from a passing ferry, shearing it from the fuselage. The plane flips and breaks up, killing 39 passengers as it plunges into the water.

My father was a pilot in the Air Force in WWII. I remember him telling us about a “bird strike” when he was flying in the early 1940s. The bird–a goose or a buzzard, he never was sure–crashed into and took out the “bombadier,” the low-slung, glass appendage hanging from the belly of his plane (damn if I can’t remember the name of the aircraft) where the man in charge of dropping the bombs sat. It was shattered by the bird strike, necessitating an emergency landing. Thankfully it was, at the time, uninhabited.

Chris Bohjalian’s tale struck close to home, touching on some of my earliest memories.

In the book, Chip Linton survives but suffers horrific PTSD. His wife, Emily, decides to relocate the family to northern New Hampshire to start over. They find a rambling old Victorian in the tiny town of Bethel which immediately captivates them. There is a door, however, in the basement—a massive, wooden structure bolted shut with 39 carriage bolts. No one seems to know what’s behind the door, or why it is so securely sealed.

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39 carriage bolts–the same number of souls whose lives ended on Chip’s doomed flight. Coincidence?

Not long after Chip and Emily move into the house with their twin daughters, Chip’s mental state deteriorates. He becomes obsessed with the door and what it might be keeping in—or out. He begins to have visions of three of his deceased passengers, one of whom is demanding that he murder his own daughters. Is Chip losing touch with reality? Or are these really the ghosts of the people who died on his plane?

The town of Bethel is creepy enough, with dozens of women who are obsessed with growing herbs. Everyone has a greenhouse—there’s even one on the Linton’s property. Their twin daughters become fascinated with the structure and, when they find it difficult to make friends in their new town, are taken under the wing of the local ladies who call themselves “herbalists.”

This book is a masterpiece. Jim Bohjalian has combined so many elements of the horror genre, it boggles the mind. A disaster story, a psychological thriller, a ghost story, with elements of cultism and witchcraft lacing through this intricate tale that produce a truly unique experience. Keeping the reader guessing until the very last pages, this novel is a Gothic delight set in modern times. The audiobook narrators provide an outstanding performance.

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This book has something for every lover of the supernatural, the paranormal, and the mysterious. My only wish is that I will someday be able to write such a chilling, complex horror novel as The Night Visitors.

*****

Claire Gem is an award winning author of contemporary, supernatural romantic suspense. Learn more at her Website.

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