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Claire Gem: Writing Romance in Haunted Places
Thursday, August 1st, 2019

“Why do you write ghost stories?”

It’s a question I’m often asked, especially since my novels cross genres—contemporary romance, paranormal romance, and supernatural romantic suspense.

The answer is simple:

I believe in ghosts. Have I ever seen a ghost? Yes, and no.

I’ve sensed spirits, more than once, in more than one old, abandoned building. When the hairs on the back of my neck and on my arms rise, and there’s no chilly air to explain it, I know I’m in the presence of something supernatural. I’ve caught fleeting glimpses out of the corner of my eye of . . . something. A figure, a shadow, a presence that, when I turn to try and focus on it, evaporates like vapor. More than once I’ve not been alone when this happens, and my companions have had the same experience.

So yes, I do believe in ghosts, or spirits, or whatever your preferred term is. I think there are at least two kinds of hauntings: residual and intelligent. Residual hauntings are shadows of people who lived in a time past (or perhaps in the future). These apparitions are like black-and-white frames from an old movie. They are visible, or can be sensed, but keep playing over and over in an endless loop of whatever they were doing or experiencing when they were alive. You cannot communicate with residual hauntings. Over time, they gradually fade away and eventually disappear.

Intelligent hauntings, however, I believe are spirits who are trapped between this life and the next. They are stuck here, in our conscious realm, for whatever reason: a child or other person dies but does not know they are dead; a person died with some unfinished business here in this realm; they are confused, and don’t know how to “cross over.” Some of these intelligent hauntings can be communicated with, under the right circumstances. Some, angry because they’re trapped in between, can be dangerous (like poltergeists).

“How, since you work in scientific research by day, can you believe in anything paranormal?”

That’s an easy answer as well. There actually is a scientific theory, in quantum physics, of parallel universes. We may well be existing in our own conscious realm alongside those who have passed, who lived long ago, or have yet to be born. In my mind, the quantum theory explains it. Just because we don’t fully understand how it all works doesn’t mean it isn’t the way things are.

“Are your love stories between ghosts? Or between real human beings?”

No, my love stories are between very real, very human, very flawed individuals who all have issues of their own, whether inside or out, they need to resolve. They meet in some location where spirits are trapped. Sometimes they have a hard time believing in the paranormal, but one way or the other, the spirits make believers out of them. And in their quest to free the trapped spirits, they also happen to fall in love.

“Why romance plus the ghost story? Why not just write about hauntings?”

Another easy answer: because I believe in true love, and I believe in a happily-ever-after. I know most people would like to think it can be reality (thus the popularity of the romance genre), but not everyone is lucky enough to find their special soulmate. I married mine over forty years ago and have never looked back.

Also, because these are the kinds of stories I like to read: heart-melting romance laced with the thrills and chill of the supernatural. I couldn’t ever find enough to read, so I started writing my own.

In my newest release, ELECTRICITY, my heroine, Mercedes Donohue, is an electrician who fled her home in Atlanta with her teenage son after a particularly bad divorce. She’s returned to Massachusetts, where she was born and lived up until her teens, when her adoptive parents moved to Atlanta.

My hero, Daniel Gallagher, is also an electrician who works on the same team as Mercy. He has avoided any serious relationships since his fiancé was killed in a car wreck twelve years ago, after stubbornly refusing to take his advice, driving off in a terrible storm. He’s not getting involved with another stubborn, independent woman ever again.

When Mercy joins the team, though, she short-circuits his plans. The electricity between them is simply too strong.

Their first big job together is an old mental asylum, which has its share of secret tunnels and lingering, tortured spirits. Neither Mercy nor Daniel believe in ghosts, so there’s no problem, right?

The spirits of Gravely Hall figure out a way to make them believers.

Book Trailer: https://youtu.be/K6m8T51ziFU
Buy Link: https://amzn.to/2MdeRIY

New Release!
ELECTRICITY: A Haunted Voices Novel

She’s an electrician starting over with her son. New job. New town. New life.

He’s a coworker who’s interested in more than her ability to run conduit.

The building they’re rewiring was once an insane asylum…but it appears some of the patients never left.

Mercedes Donohue pulled up roots in Atlanta when her marriage imploded. She’s come back to New England, to the place where she was born. Mercy’s focus is to stabilize her teenage son’s life—he took the breakup pretty hard—and to establish her place, gain the respect of Progressive Electrical’s team.

She never expected so many sparks to fly so soon, both on the job and after hours.

Daniel Gallagher has been alone since his fiancé’s death. He’ll never feel that way about any woman again, and certainly won’t try with another independent, strong-willed one. Then Mercy short-circuits his plans.

Although the asylum closed its doors over thirty-five years ago, it seems some of the patients never left . . .

If you like a heart-melting romance laced with healthy dose of supernatural thrills and chills, you’ll love Electricity.

Link to Trailer: https://youtu.be/K6m8T51ziFU
Amazon Buy Link: https://amzn.to/2IJr0BD

Excerpt:

Mercy had gotten to the very last wire when the lightning struck.

At least that’s what it felt like. A burst of blue light momentarily blinded her, and a deafening crack pierced her brain. The force of the jolt blew her backwards and set her ears ringing.

The next few seconds slowed surreally. Dizzy and confused, Mercy, ladder and all, careened away from the wall in silent, slow motion. As if in a dream. No pain, no fear.

Then she landed, flat on her back on the floor, the impact rattling her jaw. Pain shot through her then as the ladder bounced off her chest once, and then settled heavy on top, pinning her to the dust-laden tile.

“DAMN it!” Mercy’s oath blew out with the last of the air in her lungs.

“What the holy hell?” Conner was standing over her in seconds, yanking the ladder off with one hand. The other two men raced over, and Daniel dropped to one knee to hold Mercy down by one shoulder.

“Don’t try to move till you’re sure nothing’s broken,” he muttered.

“I thought you said we were off at the main, Bro! Holy hell!” Jacob was wild-eyed, shoving Conner with one of his gloved hands. “You tryin’ to get us all killed?”

Mercy felt as though a horse had just trotted over her ribcage, squashing one breast under each hoof. The back of her head throbbed even though her safety helmet had protected her from a possible concussion. Her breath was coming in short, shallow bursts. “Let me up, Daniel. I’m okay,” she barked through clenched teeth, wrenching her shoulder from under his grip and sitting up.

She could not, however, feel her left hand. She stared down at the blackened fingers of her glove. Were there still operable digits under the leather? Or just charred stumps?

As though he’d read her mind, Daniel locked a strong hand around her wrist. His eyes flashed to hers once before he said, “I’m going to see what’s going on under here.” Slowly, he pressed on each finger of the glove. “Hurt?” he asked.

Mercy shook her head. “No. They’re numb. Or gone. I can’t feel them at all.”

Daniel sucked in a breath and said, “Not unusual to be numb for a while.” His eyes slid toward hers again, and she hoped he couldn’t see her fear. His gaze was steady, intense. “I’m gonna cut the glove off. Stop me if it hurts, okay?”

Mercy watched, holding her breath as Daniel wielded a pair of snips from his belt and began clipping away at the wristband of her glove. He worked methodically, gently, cradling her hand on his knee the whole time. Once he’d opened the entire back of the glove, he turned her hand over and did the same on the palm side.

He took a deep breath as he slid the cutting tool back into his belt, then raised his eyes to hers. “You ready?”

Mercy swallowed and nodded. Daniel grabbed the edges of the leather and gently worked the covering free.

She let out a whoosh of relief when she looked down on five fingers, only slightly reddened, complete with intact fingernails. They were still numb but began to tingle as she flexed her knuckles.

“Good gloves you got there,” Daniel mumbled. He flashed her a narrow gaze. “Forgot to use your tester first, huh?”

Mercy snatched her hand away, fury flaring in her chest. “I used the damned tester on the main feed, and on the first three fuses, like I always do. How the hell was I supposed to know there was more than one source to the freaking panel?”

***

About Claire Gem
Contemporary, Romantic, Soul-Freeing

Claire is an award winning-author of supernatural suspense, contemporary romance, and women’s fiction. She also writes Author Resource guide books and presents seminars on writing craft and marketing. Her supernatural suspense, Hearts Unloched, won the 2016 New York Book Festival, and was a finalist in the 2017 RONE Awards.

Claire loves exploring the paranormal and holds a certificate in Parapsychology from Duke University’s Rhine Research Center. She earned her MFA in creative writing from Lesley University.

A New York native, Claire now lives in Massachusetts with her husband of 40 years. When she’s not writing, she works for Tufts University in the field of scientific research. She is available for seminars and media interviews and loves to travel for book promotional events.

Media Links
Email: gem.writer@yahoo.com
Website: http://www.clairegem.com
Blogs: http://www.clairegem.wordpress.com
http://www.hauntedpathways.wordpress.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/clairegem.author
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/gemwriter
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8284235.Claire_Gem
Amazon Author Page: http://amzn.to/2nabvbm
Youtube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCO-vB7WDZhEQ8U4YpC937ng

Jessica James: Lacewood — Every house has a story to tell…
Thursday, June 20th, 2019

A haunted house with a story to tell…

Do you believe in ghosts?

Since I live in a 200-year-old house, I’d have to say I do. In fact, I think these “sprits of the past” are the ones who helped me bring my new novel Lacewood to life.

They didn’t haunt me by moving things or slamming doors, yet somehow I know they’re here. They have to be. People lived in this place. Had babies here. And died here.

Wondering about the lives they lived was the initial spark that got me started on this novel—along with one other strange occurrence. I began noticing sycamore trees while driving to work. Suddenly, they were everywhere…stretching their ivory white limbs up to the sky in the distant fields. Most people would ignore this sudden fascination, but being an author, I knew it was the prodding of my writing angel (that’s what I call her)—and I don’t ignore the writing angel.

After doing some research, I discovered that sycamores have quite a history—all the way from the Bible to the American Civil War. I also stumbled across a reference that referred to sycamore trees as lacewood.

Lacewood sounded beautiful…like the title of a novel. This was wonderful news, because I usually struggle with a book’s title long after it is completed. The bad news was…that’s all I had.

Staring at a blank computer screen brought to mind the image of a house beyond a gate that was deserted for some reason. I decided the house must have secrets—but I had no idea what they were. From the beginning, I envisioned a portrait on the wall with a second portrait missing. Unfortunately my writing angel didn’t tell me who the portraits were of or why one was missing…

Back to the house I live in. I searched for years for “just the right house,” and finally bought the one I still live in (even though it only had an outhouse at the time). After doing some research, I discovered it was owned by a Revolutionary War captain, whose family was among the original founders of the town of Gettysburg and surrounding county.

Many years later, while visiting a local cemetery, I noticed the last name of the former owner listed as a middle name of one of my ancestors. I soon found out that my grandmother’s kin married this man’s kin, so that this wonderful house that took me so long to find, belonged to someone in my own past.

Random chance? Or grand design?

If you read Lacewood, you’ll get a glimpse of how the spirits of the past seem be the ones directing us all along…

To learn more about Lacewood, watch the 1-minute video trailer here. The Launch Week price of $3.99 ends on June 23.

Lacewood

A love story that spans centuries…

Two people trying to escape their pasts find a connection through an old house—and fulfill a destiny through the secrets it shares. Part love story, part ghost story, Lacewood is a timeless novel about trusting in fate, letting of the past, and believing in things that can’t be seen.

MOVING TO A SMALL TOWN in Virginia is a big change for New York socialite Katie McCain. But when she stumbles across an abandoned 200-year-old mansion, she’s enthralled by the enduring beauty of the neglected estate—and captivated by the haunting portrait of a woman in mourning.

Purchasing the property on a whim, Katie attempts to fit in with the colorful characters in the town of New Hope, while trying to unravel the mystery of the “widow of Lacewood.” As she pieces together the previous owner’s heartrending story, Katie uncovers secrets the house has held for centuries, and discovers the key to coming to terms with her own sense of loss.

The past and present converge when hometown hero Will Durham returns and begins his own healing process by helping the “city girl” restore the place that holds so many memories. As the mystic web of destiny is woven, a love story that might have been lost forever is exposed, and a destiny that has been waiting in the shadows for centuries is fulfilled.

A powerful and poignant tale that vividly conveys the heartache of war, the tragedy of loss, and the fulfillment of destiny…even when souls are separated by centuries. Lacewood takes readers on a journey that connects the past with the present—and the present with eternity.

Excerpt:

Turning in a circle, Katie studied the room again. Faded wallpaper curled and peeled above the dusty wainscoting, but the walls themselves appeared sturdy. On the far side of the entryway, and dominating the wall, stood a mammoth fireplace with an ornately carved hearth. Her attention was immediately drawn to a painting of a woman in nineteenth century dress that hung prominently over the mantel.

“Who is she?”

The sheriff turned to the dusty, sun-bleached portrait in the heavy carved guilt frame. “One of the previous owners, they say.” He shrugged. “The family history kind of got lost with the house. Everyone around here calls her the Widow of Lacewood.”

Katie stood spellbound. The woman was clothed completely in black, but the magnificence of the gown gave the impression of sophistication and class. Her chin was slightly elevated as if to project strength, yet there was more than a hint of sorrow and pain in her eyes.

“She looks so sad.” Katie spoke without removing her gaze. “And so young. How could she be a widow?”

The sheriff had already started to walk away, but he turned back and glanced at the painting. “Not sure, but they say she never remarried.”

Katie’s heart suddenly struggled to beat. The anguish in the woman’s eyes kept her riveted. She could see the pain. Feel a heart ripped apart. Something was missing that could never be replaced. Katie had felt such loss before. In a way that’s why she was here.

BUY LINKS:

Amazonhttps://www.amazon.com/dp/B07PW8BQJ4
Apple: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/lacewood/id1443163718?ls=1&mt=11
Universal Linkhttps://books2read.com/u/mYoj2P
Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/lacewood-2

Jessica James Bio

Jessica James believes in honor, duty, and true love—and that’s what she writes about in her award-winning novels that span the ages from the Revolutionary War to modern day.

She is a three-time winner of the John Esten Cooke Award for Fiction, and has won more than a dozen other literary awards. Her novels have been used in schools and are available in hundreds of libraries including Harvard and the U.S. Naval Academy.

SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS:

AUTHOR WEBSITE: https://www.jessicajamesbooks.com

BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/jessica-james

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/southernromance/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/586216.Jessica_James

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/R

Keta Diablo: 5 Haunted Cities to Put on Your Bucket List (Contest — 2 Winners!)
Friday, October 12th, 2018

UPDATE: The winners are…Katherine Smits and Mary Preston!
*~*~*

First, thank you so much, Delilah, for hosting me on your blog. Much appreciated.

Since it’s Halloween month, I want to talk to you about ghosts and the five haunted cities you should put on your Bucket List (“Things To Do Before I Leave This Earth”).

Not long ago, I was browsing through my back list of books and came to a surprising realization—many of my books have ghosts between the pages. The translucent spirit is usually a secondary character (at least, so far – lol). I had to ask myself two questions: 1) Why do I gravitate toward writing about dead people… er, I mean those who have crossed over and, 2) Does it have anything to do with seeing them as a child? Yes, you read that right—I started seeing ghosts about the time I turned three years old.

My wonderful Mom, now 91 years young, will vouch for me. She remembers those days with excellent recall. Every night, I insisted there were little people sitting on the coving near the ceiling of our very old home. I remember being frustrated that she couldn’t see them like I could.

I still don’t know if that’s why I write about them but it’s an interesting theory, isn’t it?

Anyway, back to the haunted cities. If there’s any way you can get to these ghost-sighting places, you should really check them out. You won’t be disappointed.

1) Savannah, Georgia

It’s believed that Savannah was built on American Indian burial grounds, which goes hand-in-hand with hauntings. It was also the site of Revolutionary and Civil War battles and yellow fever outbreaks. Best-selling novel Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil boosted the city’s spookier side, putting such locales such as Bonaventure Cemetery on the national radar.

Or go the DIY route and take your pick of haunted restaurants, like The Pirate’s House or The Olde Pink House. If you’re brave enough, spend the night at a haunted hotel: Room 204 at the 1790 Inn & Restaurant is reportedly visited by a ghost named Anne. She can be heard crying after turning off the lights. The Marshall House was once used as a hospital during the Civil War and yellow fever outbreaks, and tales abound, from ghost children who bite to soldiers carrying severed limbs. Other majorly haunted sites include Moon River Brewing Company, which was the city’s first hotel in 1821, and featured in an episode of Ghost Adventures.

2) Washington, D.C.

The White House, The National Theatre and Hay-Adams Hotel are among the city’s haunted hot spots. Get the lowdown on its seedy past with Washington DC Ghost Tours, Scary DC or Washington Walks. However, The U.S. Capitol Building, which was built in the mid-1800s, is filled with specters, from construction workers to politicians (John Quincy Adams actually died there). In fact, there’s even a “demon cat” that appears right before national tragedies.

Historical hauntings also happen at The Octagon House. Dolley Madison, wife of president James Madison, lived there for a spell, and loved throwing parties; she’s sometimes seen in her party frock. Less happy occurrences in the mansion’s past include rumored murders and unexplained deaths. If you take a self-guided tour of the now museum, don’t be alarmed to feel cold spots on the staircase or hear knocking inside the walls.

3) Chicago

The Great Chicago Fire of 1871 lasted two days and killed at least 300 people. However, even worse was the 1903 fire at the much-touted fireproof Iroquois Theater, which killed more than 600 people at an afternoon performance. In fact, the alley behind it has been nicknamed “Death Alley,” after those who jumped to their death to escape the fire. It’s also where recovered bodies were temporarily placed. The Oriental Theater now resides on the spot, and people have seen ghosts in period dress, heard screams and smelled smoke.

Try your luck by booking a room at the Congress Plaza Hotel, said to be overflowing with ghosts. Room 441 is believed to be among the most haunted, with a woman that shakes the bed, shadowy figures and projectile objects. Even scarier, there’s a sealed shut room with no doorknob on the 12th floor. You probably wouldn’t want to spend the night there anyway. Weird Chicago Tours and Chicago Hauntings cover more haunted spots around the city.

4) San Francisco, CA

The lawless gold rush period and the 1906 earthquake, which triggered a fire that killed at least 3,000 people, likely contributed to San Francisco’s haunted present. However, Alcatraz Island is also notoriously haunted. Tales of death, murder and insanity surround the prison that once held mobster Al Capone. You can visit at night for the chance to experience cold spots, whispering in empty cells and sounds of slamming doors. Learn about other haunted sites, from the USS Hornet to Chinatown, with San Francisco Ghost Hunt Walking Tour, Haunted Haight Walking Tour or SF Chinatown Ghost Tours.

Although about an hour from the city, it’s worth detouring to visit the Winchester Mystery House, whose history is just as fascinating as its hauntings. Long story short, a medium advised Mrs. Winchester to never stop building a house in order to prevent ghosts from haunting her. Mrs. Winchester took this to heart, and after 38 years of endless construction, the result was 160 rooms with baffling architecture, from doors that open into walls to staircases that don’t lead anywhere. Ironically, despite her efforts, Winchester is most certainly haunted; take a candlelight tour in October and watch out for lights turning on or Mrs. Winchester herself calling your name.

5) Portland, Oregon

At one point, Portland was considered one of the most dangerous port cities in the world thanks to prostitution, gangs, opium dens and gambling rings. One of the most persistent stories from this era is about the Shanghai Tunnels, which are underground tunnels that connected hotel and bar basements to the docks. Originally intended to transport goods from the waterfront, they’re rumored to be where hired hands in the 19th century would kidnap, or “shanghai” men to work as slaves on ships bound for Asia. Victims would be dropped into the tunnel via trapdoors found in bars and imprisoned in cells until their ship set sail. Some ghost tours such as Beyond Bizarre Ghost Tour, Haunted Pub Tour, Hawthorne Ghost Tour and Shanghai Tunnels/Portland Underground Tours start at Hobo’s Restaurant, where there’s a basement entrance to the tunnels. Besides hearing screaming and crying, people report seeing Nina, a prostitute who met an untimely end at the bottom of an elevator shaft of what’s now Old Town Pizza.

Happy Ghost Hunting!

* * *

I’d like to share an excerpt from my most recent book Comes A Specter, Book 2, Ghostland Series. Several reviewers said the ghost scared the bejeebers out of them (although they loved the book).

Setup: Sutter (known as the shaman Yellow Smoke) confronts the ghost, Ten Wounds.

Excerpt:

A haze of gray mist swirled around the spirit’s form, his human form. If the situation weren’t so serious, Sutter could have shouted with joy. He took in the ghost’s visage. A quiver hung from his shoulder, stocked with sharp, pointed arrows—a sign he’d transformed into the fierce warrior who once walked the earth. Steeped in blood (no doubt from his recent kills), his clothing hung in tatters around his massive frame—a vest made of animal hides, a breechcloth and fringed leggings. Sutter’s gaze traveled to his painted, pock-marked face. Yellow and white stripes marked his forehead and chin, and black circles blended into his dark eyes. For a brief second, Sutter’s insides quivered and ropes of tension knotted every cord and fiber of his body.

Bleary, unearthly eyes speared Sutter when the wraith raised a hand of claw-like fingers and pointed at his enemy’s chest. The wind, much like the sound of a thousand women wailing, keened into the deafening silence. Fire exploded from the ghost’s eyes—flames the fires of Hell couldn’t compete with.

Sutter shouted over the infernal noise and flames. “You are not welcome here! Hear my words, you are dead!”

Like a misty cloud of energy, Ten Wounds lurched forward, a staccato rhythm of hisses and howls spewing from his foam-drooling mouth. Sutter had never imagined such a demonic apparition.

Read More On Amazon

* * *

Contest! Contest!

To qualify to win a luxurious, specialty bar of soap (from Keta’s favorite vendors) sign up for my Newsletter HERE and leave your email address in the comment section below. Two winners will be selected and the soaps mailed out several days after this post.

Thanks so much for visiting Delilah’s blog and reading about Comes A Specter, Book 2, in my Ghostland Series (Comes an Outlaw, Book 1) available HERE.

Augustina Van Hoven: An Innocent Man
Thursday, September 27th, 2018

There are some days when I wonder why I want to be a writer.  I work a full time job, and I have a family to take care of.  Writing has to happen in the evenings and on weekends. There are a lot of days that I don’t get to relax and watch television or work in my garden because I have a book deadline.  Writing is also a business that requires accounting and marketing, things that are not creative but absolutely necessary.  I ask myself, why am I doing this?  Why am I literally working two jobs and not having any down time.  Then it happens, a spark of an idea comes from someplace completely unexpected, and I’m like a kid at Christmas with a bright, shiny new story.  That is why I write.

Sometimes, the idea is like an explosion, and the whole story just appears in my head.  Other times, it’s like trying to light a fire the old fashioned way with flint and steel.  It doesn’t matter how it starts, once it begins I can’t rest until I find out how the story ends, and I’m lost in whatever world I’ve created.  This is the spark that makes all the rest of it worthwhile. The bottom line is writing a new story makes me happy.

My latest story came to me while I was waiting at the doctor’s office.  This office played real music in the waiting room, and while I browsed through a magazine, Billy Joel’s “An Innocent Man” started to play.  The song kept playing in my head for the rest of the day.  I really wanted to write a Halloween novella this year, and the song was the seed that grew the story.  It’s a story about loss, fear, betrayal, finding the truth, and healing a broken heart. An Innocent Man is now available for preorder and will release on October 12th.

Happy Reading.

An Innocent Man

After being jilted at the altar, journalist Becky Hollister moves to a new city to try to put her life back together and ease the heartache.  She’s surprised to find her new home is already occupied by a man who died 20 years ago.  Will solving his murder help her to learn to love again?

Sheriff’s deputy, Mark Collins, is intrigued by the feisty reporter and her determination to unlock the truth behind a crime that happened when he was a kid.  But every time he tries to get closer to her, she runs away like a wounded animal.  If he can help her solve the cold case, can he also help heal her broken heart?

Amazon

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07HFLVG75?ref_=pe_3052080_276849420

Barnes & Noble

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/an-innocent-man-augustina-van-hoven/1129581080;jsessionid=0156137E02B8F33F7110A33A3B73DF45.prodny_store02-atgap13?ean=2940156064380

iTunes

https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id1436558657

Kobo

https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/an-innocent-man-5

Augustina Van Hoven
Proving Love is Strange

The Rose Series
Love through Time Series
A New Frontier Series

Website: www.augustinavanhoven.com
FaceBook:  https://www.facebook.com/pages/Augustina-Van-Hoven-Author/336028986575129
Twitter:  @augustinavhoven
Pinterest: Augustina Van Hoven, Author

About the Author

Augustina Van Hoven was born in The Netherlands and currently resides in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, two dogs and three cats. She is an avid reader of romance, science fiction and fantasy. When she’s not writing she likes to work in her garden or in the winter months crochet and knit on her knitting machines.

Sin’s Gift, Coming October 2nd!
Saturday, September 15th, 2018

Love a good spooky tale? This one’s coming October 2nd (never mind what Kindle says). And it’s the first of two, maybe more—if you like them. It’ll be completely up to you if I write more. So, let me know…

Sin’s Gift

When police officer Sinead O’Rourke returns to duty months after being shot in an incident that claimed her partner, she knows it’s not going to be easy. Despite being cleared of any negligence, her fellow officers still wonder whether she’s responsible for his death. One more problem is that everyone knows she claims to have seen his ghost. After months of rehabilitation and lying like hell about the fact she’s not seeing spooks anymore, Sin’s determined to get back into the saddle.

Jake doesn’t want to partner with Sin. Been there, done that—couldn’t keep his hands off her the first time around. She’s too much of a distraction, and her penchant for rushing into trouble scares the heck out of him. Despite wishing she’d quit her job, he’s still deeply attracted. When an armed robbery goes down and something happens that rattles Sin to the core, he’s right there—ready to cover her back and her sweet body.

Pre-order your copy now!

There’s no place like home.

The police substation didn’t sit at the end of the rainbow or anywhere near Kansas, but for some reason that stupid phrase ran like a mantra through Sinead O’Rourke’s head as she drew a deep breath and pushed through the double-doors leading into the station house. Once inside, she kept her gaze focused straight ahead, ignoring the way conversations died away as one by one the officers on duty noticed who’d entered their midst.

So, she’d been gone a while. No doubt San Antonio’s finest whispered she looked a little different than they remembered. A few even knew she’d gone nuts for a while. But their red-headed stepchild was back.

Fuck them, anyway.

Sin headed straight to the Lieutenant’s office and knocked on his door.

“Come in.”

Relieved to escape the thick atmosphere of the open floor, she knew she’d only traded one bleeding wound for another when the patrol shift lieutenant, Clayton Kalisek, glanced up and stiffened at the sight of her. “Glad to see you made it, O’Rourke.”

“Yeah, I finally got tired of sitting on my ass,” she said with more attitude than she felt. “Only so many Dr.Phil’s a body can stand.”

“Sit down for a second while we have a talk.”

She shut the door behind her and warily took the chair in front of his desk. Just as she remembered, his set expression didn’t give away a thing he was thinking. “What’s on your mind, Lieutenant? The doctors gave me a clean bill of health.”

His narrowed gaze landed on the scar on her cheek then locked with hers again. “If you’re not ready for this, just say so.”

Some things never changed. Lieutenant Kalisek still knew just where to stick his dull knife. “I’m fine,” she said, her tone curt since she wasn’t about to bother hiding her irritation.

“Sure, you are.” But he didn’t sound convinced. He leaned back in his chair and continued to stare. “I’m putting you with Chappa, again. I know you two have a history…”

Chappa. Shit. They had plenty of history, all right. Most of it bad. “Fine,” she bit out. “Have you broken the good news to him?”

Clay’s face tightened with a pained expression. “Told him yesterday.”

“Wish you’d waited until I was in the room,” she said, a mirthless grin sliding along her lips. “Bet he was loud.”

The lieutenant’s ice blue eyes narrowed. “He’s not going to cut you any slack.”

Her chin came up. “Don’t need any.”

His nod was curt. “Very well. Get out on the street.”

That was it? Feeling a little deflated, like she’d worried about nothing, she hesitated. “You’re not going to say anything about the psych eval?”

“Doc said you’re ready—that the meds and the time off did the trick.” His expression tightened. “Should I ask you if you’re still talking to ghosts?”

A lump burned the back of her throat as she caught sight of Danny standing just behind the Lieutenant’s shoulder. “No ghosts,” she lied, ignoring the grin splitting her late partner’s face.

She shot up off the chair and turned to open the door.

“Like I said, O’Rourke. Chappa’s not gonna cut you any slack.”

She nodded over her shoulder, not daring to look back.

Claire Gem: Antebellum Dreams
Wednesday, April 4th, 2018

It was 1995 or so, and I had made my home on the west coast of Florida with my husband and three kids. We’d been living there for about ten years, and the cost of living along with the cost of raising three kids was pinching a bit . . . plus, property values were up. Some very good friends of ours had recently sold their Florida farm for fat cash and moved up into Alabama, near Birmingham. They bragged about the low cost of living, property, et al. We drove up to visit and toyed with the idea of relocating there as well.

Yes, property was cheap. We went around with a real estate agent who showed us vacant land for hundreds of dollars an acre instead of thousands. He also said he had a very nice, antebellum home that was in some need of repair . . . it had been empty a long time. It was within our price range. We visited the home.

Wow. The tour of that day, apparently, branded my memory. I’d never been inside a plantation-style home, and this was laid out like a mini-Tara. Much smaller, but complete with soaring ceiling heights, a curved stairway, and upper and lower front porch galleries. It was, yes, in need of some TLC. Some updating. Maybe more than a little.

As I walked through that house I had the feeling I was being watched. Like we weren’t alone. The hair at the base of my neck prickled and gooseflesh puckered my skin, even though it was a very hot, summer day. I kept getting the unsettling feeling that there was something—or someone—just beyond my line of vision. But when I turned, there was no one there.

We didn’t move to Alabama. Jobs were hard to come by, and no matter how cheap the land was, anything we could afford—including the antebellum home—was in the middle of nowhere. We remained in Florida for nearly another decade.

Fast forward to 2017. I had long ago forgotten the tour of the antebellum home in Alabama. We had eventually moved—three times, from Florida to Texas to North Carolina, and ultimately landed in Massachusetts. But from somewhere in the depths of my memory, the Alabama memory resurfaced one night in a dream. Complete with the ghost of a Confederate soldier pounding on the front door.

Civil Hearts was born.

Civil Hearts

He’s a sexy Southern gentleman—with epilepsy. She’s a widow scarred from her late husband’s brain cancer. Her new home, an abandoned antebellum mansion, is haunted by a Confederate soldier—and she’s a Yankee.

A widow with no family, web designer Liv Larson yearns for big change. After all, she can work from anywhere, right? Why not throw a dart at the map? She heads out of the big city for the rural South and falls in love as soon as she arrives—with the Belle Bride, an abandoned antebellum mansion.

Heath Barrow loves his country life, managing his antiques store in sleepy Camellia. But he’s lonely, and his condition—epilepsy—makes life uncertain. It’s already cost him a marriage. A new medication and the new girl in town have his heart hopeful again.

Sparks fly between Heath and Liv. But his first seizure sends Liv into a tailspin. Its mimics those her husband suffered before he died . . .

To make matters worse, Liv discovers she’s not living alone. Her challenge? Dealing with a Confederate soldier, one who clearly resents his Yankee roommate—even though he’s been dead for over a hundred and fifty years.

Buy Link: https://amzn.to/2GPU5er
Book Trailer: https://youtu.be/skHJRlU5fOQ

About the Author

  

 Strong Women, Starting Over

~Redefining Romance~

Claire is a multi-published, award winning author of five titles in the genres of contemporary romance, supernatural suspense, and women’s fiction. She also writes Author Resource guide books, and presents seminars on writing craft and marketing.

Her supernatural suspense, Hearts Unloched, won the 2016 New York Book Festival, and was a finalist in the 2017 RONE Awards. Also in 2017, her women’s fiction, The Phoenix Syndrome, was a finalist in the National Reader’s Choice Awards, and her contemporary romance, A Taming Season, was a Literary Award of Merit finalist in the HOLT Medallion Awards. Her latest release, Spirits of the Heart, was a finalist in the 2017 “I Heart Indie Awards.”

Creating cross-genre fiction she calls “supernatural suspense,” Claire loves exploring the paranormal and the unexplained, and holds a certificate in Parapsychology from the Rhine Research Center of Duke University.

A New York native, Claire has lived in five of the United States and held a variety of jobs, from waitress to bridal designer to research technician—but loves being an author best. She and her happily-ever-after hero, her husband of 39 years, now live in central Massachusetts.

Website: http://www.clairegem.com

Claire Gem: When Imagination Becomes Reality
Sunday, March 11th, 2018

Or vice versa. In the writing of my latest release, Spirits of the Heart, I had a very creepy event occur that literally stalled the completion of the book for over eighteen months.

In June of 2015, I was in the middle of crafting my new supernatural suspense, set on the grounds of an abandoned mental asylum in the town where I grew up. My sister, Terri, who is a professional photographer as well as my cover designer, spent the day with me driving around the old campus of the Middletown Psych Center. The asylum, which officially closed the doors of its last building in 1996, had stood vacant for almost twenty years. While some of the buildings were repurposed, others were left to crumble under the cruelty of time and vagrants. One building in particular, Talcott Hall, called to me.

Terri took photos for the cover and book trailer while I spun tales in my head about what would happen next in my novel. Although it was surrounded by eight-foot tall chain link fence, we spent most of our time there. It had served as the “maximum security” unit—the one reserved for the most disturbed, the most violent of patients. The vibes around this monstrous brick edifice were almost palpable. It was as though the walls themselves had absorbed some of the pain, fear, loneliness, and desperation of the patients it housed, and could be felt even from behind the chain link barrier.

My research into the history of mental health facilities revealed the horrors patients endured throughout the 1800s, and well into the next century. Admitting diagnoses ranged from melancholia, or depression, to epilepsy, and even diabetes. Because the medical community did not understand the causes for the seizures caused by the two latter conditions, they labeled them as mental illness, and people were locked away. Families often abandoned their kin there, sometimes not even taking responsibility for their burial after they died. It is rumored that wealthy men who tired of their wives admitted them for melancholia, then had the marriage annulled and went off to find another wife.

“Treatments” could more accurately defined as medieval torture. Unruly patients were often bound like mummies, wrapped tightly in cold, wet sheets until they became more tractable. Many asylums housed rows of porcelain bathtubs in their basements, where patients were soaked in hot water for long hours until it drew the fight out of them. Not to mention the drugs, experimental surgical treatments (like lobotomies), or electric shock treatments.

It is no wonder that old asylums are considered by paranormal investigators to be the most haunted of places. If ever there were ever good reasons for a spirit to be confused, trapped, and unable to move on, these poor souls had them.

In Spirits of the Heart, Talcott Hall is where the spirits of many tormented souls, including a little girl and her father, remain trapped.

Spirits of the Heart

Addiction counselor Laura Horton returns from college to move in with an old friend and start her career. But her homecoming is jarring. Her friend moves out, leaving Laura alone with the gorgeous but intimidating ex-boyfriend—in a house that snugs up to an ancient graveyard.

Officer Miller Stanford is a man with a shattered past. His alcoholic dad destroyed their family, a weakness Miller is terrified will consume him too. The last thing he needs is a sexy, blonde addiction counselor watching his every move. When he begins to see specters in the dark, he starts questioning his own stability.

But Laura sees her too—a pathetic child-spirit searching for her father. When Laura starts digging into old asylum records, the eerie events escalate . . . Can Miller and Laura uncover the secrets of Talcott Hall without jeopardizing their love—and lives—in the process?

Buy Links:
Createspace | Amazon | Book Trailer

After spending that day with Terri collecting photos and vibes from Talcott Hall to complete the writing of Spirits of the Heart, my muse was on fire. I was nearly halfway through writing the novel when . . .

Two weeks later, the building burned to the ground in a mysterious fire that was labeled arson, with no suspects ever apprehended.

For over a year, my “muse” went on strike. It seemed no matter what I did, I couldn’t write another word on my book. I had known how the story ended (or thought I had), and had already outlined almost have of the novel. But I was so heartbroken that the building, my inspiration, was gone, I just couldn’t write about it.

Until I figured out a way to weave the fire into the story. I contacted one of the firemen, Nick Elia, and gained permission to use some of his fantastic pictures of the blaze in my trailer. At one of the book signings in Middletown, I met Nick in person, and he related the strange occurrences that happened the night of that fire.

He was off duty, but heard the first alarm pulled on his radio—to a location clear across town from the Psych center. His colleagues reported that when they got to that location and found no fire, they were summoned to another alarm downtown. Again, no fire. This happened three times before they finally saw the smoke billowing from over the Middletown Psych Center. By the time the trucks arrived, the entire building was engulfed. Being a photography buff, Nick came to the scene to shoot the fantastic pictures I used in my book trailer. These, along with the photos taken by Terri two weeks earlier, are the last photographs in existence of Talcott Hall.

Claire Gem

About the Author

Strong Women, Starting Over
~Redefining Romance~

Claire is a multi-published, award winning author of five titles in the genres of contemporary romance, supernatural suspense, and women’s fiction. She also writes Author Resource guide books and presents seminars on writing craft and marketing.

Her supernatural suspense, Hearts Unloched, won the 2016 New York Book Festival, and was a finalist in the 2017 RONE Awards. Also in 2017, her women’s fiction, The Phoenix Syndrome, was a finalist in the National Reader’s Choice Awards, and her contemporary romance, A Taming Season, was a Literary Award of Merit finalist in the HOLT Medallion Awards. Her latest release, Spirits of the Heart, was a finalist in the 2017 “I Heart Indie Awards.”

Creating cross-genre fiction she calls “supernatural suspense,” Claire loves exploring the paranormal and the unexplained, and holds a certificate in Parapsychology from the Rhine Research Center of Duke University.

A New York native, Claire has lived in five of the United States and held a variety of jobs, from waitress to bridal designer to research technician—but loves being an author best. She and her happily-ever-after hero, her husband of 39 years, now live in central Massachusetts.

Claire is available for seminars & media interviews & loves to travel for book promotional events.

Media Links:
Website: http://www.clairegem.com
Blogs: http://www.clairegem.wordpress.com
http://www.hauntedpathways.wordpress.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/clairegem.author
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/gemwriter
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8284235.Claire_Gem
Amazon Author Page: http://amzn.to/2nabvbm
Youtube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCO-vB7WDZhEQ8U4YpC937ng