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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Halloween Blogfest: Cate Masters


Halloween magic!

I love reading about superstitions from olden times, don’t you? Most are spooky, but for many, the holiday was an opportunity to use the extra magic for something romantic – learning who your future mate would be!

One tradition held that if a young woman ate a sugary concoction made out of walnuts, hazelnuts and nutmeg before bed on Halloween night, she would dream about her future husband.

Here’s an old party trick: young women tossed apple-peels over their shoulders, hoping that the peels would fall on the floor in the shape of their future husbands' initials.

Or later, they stood in front of mirrors in darkened rooms, holding candles and looking over their shoulders for their husbands' faces.

Single girls scattered hempseed in a field on Halloween night so they would dream of their future husbands.

Putting fresh rosemary and a silver coin under your pillow on Halloween would allow a girl to see her future husband in a dream that night.

If a girl carried a lamp to a spring of water on this night, she’d see her future husband in the reflection.

Seems like a lot of guesswork to me! Wouldn’t it be easier to spend the time at a gathering getting to know the people who interested you?

In my paranormal romance, The Magic of Lavender, that’s what Joss Gibson does. It still takes a little help from the fae to open her eyes to her future love, Eric Hendricks!

The Magic of Lavender is available at Smashwords and Amazon

Jocelyn Gibson forgot about the realm of magic. But it never forgot her. Gram always told her: don’t ignore your magical gifts, it will insult the family. But Joss didn’t realize her gifts included channeling the energy of powerful ley lines. Or that her family included a goddess. Family connections come in handy when the Lord of the Underworld kidnaps local vet Eric Hendricks. He’s an amazing lover, but Joss didn’t know she loved him until too late. With a little help from the Goddess Iris, Joss defends the new life she’s forged, and helps save the town of Boiling Springs from destruction. Once Eric escapes Hell, can she stop loving him to keep him safe?

The Magic of Lavender is the first book in The Goddess Connection series, which says: Every woman should embrace her inner goddess. What’s your connection?


I’ll give away one ebook of The Magic of Lavender. Just leave a comment telling me what you love most about Halloween!

About the Author: Cate Masters loves romance with a dash of magic and mayhem! Multipublished in contemporary to historical, sweet to erotic, fantasy/dark fantasy to speculative, she sometimes mashes genres. When not spending time with her family, she can be found in her lair, concocting a magical brew of contemporary, historical, and fantasy/paranormal stories with her cat Chairman Maiow and dog Lily as company.

Connect with her here:





Cate loves to hear from readers! Email her at: cate.masters AT

Halloween Blogfest Michele de Winton


Win a copy of Michele de Winton’s latest releases A Talon at Her Throat and The Boss and Her Billionaire by commenting below. Would you dance with a ghost?

Last dance with the shadowman – A true ghost story.

When I saw him I was dancing. It was a house warming party. The type where people invite people and before you know it the house is heaving with strangers and talk and booze and chemicals. Maybe I was heaving too, but I don’t remember. All I remember is seeing him dancing under the tree by himself. If I let my arm float out his followed. If I spun, faux ballerina, his body twisted into a pirouette.

He seemed about the same age as me. Eighteen, maybe younger. Gosh that seems like such a long time ago. It was dark, so I couldn’t be sure, but his hair seemed long, blond and curling, just slightly, at the ends. His eyes were holes. Dark empty things where the light was sucked in instead of being reflected. Despite that I danced with him for about twenty minutes. (Okay maybe there was something more than water in my system) People came and went, but I just danced with my shadowman.

Next morning I asked if anyone else had seen him. The stares when I described his eyes said it all. I’d lost my mind or I’d seen something the mind doesn’t usually permit. I laughed it off until I was weeding the garden for beer bottles. Our neighbor: an odd women, old and young at the same time told me about a young man had died in a car crash while living at our house. My blood ran cold. “Did he have blond hair?”

“I don’t know. His mother did though. Poor thing.”

I hid under my blankets that night but the next I went out into the garden. “I’m sorry. You’re welcome here any time,” I said to the night.

There was no reply, but I felt like dancing.

About the Author: Michele de Winton loves sunshine, chardonnay, (preferably together), beaches, trees, great vegetarian food, steamy writing and happy endings. She’s been known to be an all round arty type and it's no wonder that her first romance The Boss and Her Billionaire had a little sparkle of the stage tucked into its pages. Being a writer was not was she was supposed to be when she ‘grew up' but then neither was being a dancer. Her poor parents. They thought that when she toddled off to law school they'd bred a responsible, useful adult and instead they got a performer and word junkie. Sometimes her performing past jumps into the dress up box and requires attention. But most of the time she’s content to stay in her PJs. All day.

You can find Michele de Winton at



She also blogs at The Naked Hero as The Luna goddess:

Halloween Blogfest: Kathryn Knight


My Obsession with Ghosts

When I was in second grade, my father brought home the usual weekly stack of chapter books the local librarian had recommended for me. Generally, the books revolved around horses, my main interest as an 8-year-old girl. But sometimes other subject matter found its way into the pile, and this time, there was a book entitled Jane-Emily by Patricia Clapp. The tag line read “A ghost story…and a love story”. My first paranormal romance—I was hooked. I read that book over and over again throughout my childhood. I’ve read it to my children. When I see a looking glass ball in someone’s yard, the young ghost of the fictional Emily is still the first thing that jumps into my thoughts.

Since that book, the blend of romance and ghosts has always been my favorite. For me, a mysterious and spooky paranormal element combined with a tension-filled romantic relationship is the perfect recipe for an exciting read.

It’s no surprise, then, that both of my paranormal romance novels involve spirits in desperate need of help. Still, I’ve never actually seen a ghost. Not for lack of trying, however. I’ve been on ghost tours and visited rumored haunted locations. Nevertheless, I firmly believe the spirits of loved ones survive the body’s passing, mostly because of something that happened to me last Christmas.

I had a particularly joyous Christmas in 2011, because I had just received my first publishing contract for Silver Lake. I was also in the midst of writing my second manuscript, Gull Harbor, which has a medium as a heroine. So when I heard there was a medium at a Christmas party I was attending, I was eager to speak with him.

As I asked him general questions pertaining to his talent, he looked distracted. Finally, he said, “There’s someone here to speak with you. Is that okay?”

With a nod and a gulp, I listened to what he had to say. It wasn’t exact sentences, but I immediately knew who it was—my mother, who died when I was 25. I had never met this man—in fact, I lived in a town 2 hours away. I didn’t pay him a dime. But he was hitting details of my life spot-on, including a recent trip I made with my kids to deliver Christmas presents to our local animal shelter (Mom and I shared a love of all animals).

There were so many things he said that sent shivers down my spine, but at one point he kept saying, “Wild Flowers? I’m getting wild flowers.” And then it clicked for me: my biggest dream had recently come true—I had sold my manuscript to The Wild Rose Press.

Seeing Silver Lake published after years of hard work is truly a dream come true. And I’m thankful that it seems on some level, my mother is looking down, sharing it with me. While I find that infinitely comforting, my writing will probably continue to feature a spookier kind of ghost: the kind that has to haunt the hero and heroine to get its message through. The kind that raises a few goose bumps on the reader’s arm. And hopefully, the kind that keeps the pages turning, well into the night.

Hopefully, Silver Lake delivers all that as Jason and Rain struggle to solve the mystery of their friend’s disappearance. Along the way, they fight against the attraction that still exists between them. Will they eventually give in to their feelings? To find out, enter the contest to win a free e-copy of Silver Lake by leaving a comment and email address—the winner will be announced Saturday, Nov. 3rd. Can’t wait until then? See the Buy Links below! Happy Halloween, and happy reading!

About the Author:
As a child, Kathryn Knight kept her parents on a constant quest to find enough reading material to last her through each week. An early fondness for books about horses later gave way to a lasting preference for both love stories and ghost stories; as a writer, the paranormal romance genre is a perfect fit. Silver Lake is Kathryn's first novel; her second novel, Gull Harbor, has also received a contract from The Wild Rose Press and will be released in 2013. She lives in New England with her husband, her sons, and a number of rescued animals. Please visit her at, on Facebook at Kathryn Knight books, or on Twitter at

Rain Anderson can't decide which is more unsettling—encountering the ghost of her missing friend, or reuniting with the man whose love she foolishly rejected. But one thing is certain: the past has come back to haunt her, quite literally.

Five years ago, Rain's tight-knit group of high school friends unraveled when one vanished during their senior year. Now, a parent's deathbed request has reunited the friends at Silver Lake, including Jason Lansing, the man Rain discarded. Rain and Jason discover the powerful attraction between them has survived, but though Jason is willing to forgive, he can't let himself forget. The possibility of falling for Rain again is too risky.

Slamming doors, crashing objects, flaring fires—clearly the ghost has a message to share. As Rain and Jason struggle to unravel the truth, they must face a desperate spirit in need of help…and a burning passion that refuses to die.

Halloween Blogfest: Christina Courtenay


I’ve always loved history, so when I was offered the opportunity to visit a six hundred year old house and actually stay there, you can imagine how thrilled I was! A small red-brick medieval manor house in the south of England, it was everything I had thought it would be. It had massive wooden beams on ceilings and walls, flag stone floors downstairs, oak floorboards upstairs, tiny leaded windows and a huge inglenook fireplace (so big you could stand inside it). It was truly magical.

Until they told me where I was to sleep.

‘We’ve put you in the haunted guest room, but don’t worry, the ghost won’t hurt you,’ I was told. ‘He’s more the mischievous kind, you know, likes to open and shut the front door, walk around in the attic and stuff like that.’

Don’t worry? Who were they kidding? I’ve no idea what I replied, but I’ve always been scared of ghosts so I dreaded the night to come. I tried to pretend that everything was fine, since my hosts clearly weren’t afraid of ghosts and were, in fact, amused by theirs. Amused? I couldn’t get my head round that, but it takes all sorts I guess.

The time came for me to go to bed and I decided to employ a childhood tactic – if I couldn’t see or hear the ghost, perhaps it wouldn’t notice me either? So I buried myself under the covers with only my nose sticking out and put cotton wool in my ears. Couldn’t see or hear a thing. But it didn’t stop my imagination of course (I am a writer after all!).

I don’t think I slept at all and I’ve never been so glad to see daylight! But it was to be the first of many visits and I always stayed in that room so I sort of got used to it after a while. Really though, I think the laugh was on me because the owners of the house eventually told me what the ghost looked like – tall, blond and handsome, and wearing chain mail! I think if I’d known that from the start, I would have stayed awake just to see him! Sadly, I never did.

Anyway, the experience wasn’t completely wasted as I decided to write a story based on this ghost. I figured that anyone whose soul had hung around for more than 600 years had to have a very good reason for it, so that’s how my latest novel The Silent Touch of Shadows came to be. Here’s a short blurb:

What will it take to put the past to rest?

Professional genealogist Melissa Grantham receives an invitation to visit her family’s ancestral home, Ashleigh Manor. From the moment she arrives, life-like dreams and visions haunt her. The spiritual connection to a medieval young woman and her forbidden lover have her questioning her sanity, but Melissa is determined to solve the mystery.

Jake Precy, owner of a nearby cottage, has disturbing dreams too, but it’s not until he meets Melissa that they begin to make sense. He hires her to research his family’s history, unaware their lives are already entwined. Is the mutual attraction real or the result of ghostly interference?

A haunting love story set partly in the present and partly in fifteenth century Kent.

I have a signed copy of this book to give away, just leave a comment telling me what you would have done – hide from the ghost or try and meet him!?

About the Author:
Christina Courtenay lives in Herefordshire in the UK and is married with two children. Although born in England she has a Swedish mother and was brought up in Sweden. In her teens, the family moved to Japan where she had the opportunity to travel extensively in the Far East.

Christina is vice chairman of the UK’s Romantic Novelists’ Association. She won their Elizabeth Goudge Trophy for a historical short story in 2001 and Katie Fforde Bursary for a promising new writer in 2006.

In 2011, Christina’s first novel Trade Winds (Sept 2010) was short listed for The Romantic Novelists’ Association’s Award for Best Historical Fiction. Her second novel, The Scarlet Kimono, won the Big Red Reads Best Historical Fiction Award, and in 2012, her third novel Highland Storms won the Best Historical Romantic Novel of the year award (RoNA).

Christina is a keen amateur genealogist and loves history and archaeology (the armchair variety).

Find Christina online at

Facebook: Christina Courtenay

Halloween Blogfest: Kathryn Meyer Griffith


My Real Ghost Story

Kathryn Meyer Griffith

I will give away 5 ebook copies by November 3 of my new scary SPOOKY SHORT STORIES The Banshee and the Witch to random commenters on this post.

Be sure to leave your email!

Now, first off, let me say that I have no magical powers; I’m not a medium or even a sensitive. Though, through the years, I have experienced some strange things. Let’s say I’m…intuitive. I imagine a lot of writers are; especially a horror writer. We write about the supernatural so it’s natural that sometimes we live it.

Like that Christmas night in 1971 when my brother, Christopher, was killed. I knew as the phone rang that someone had died. Someone very close to me. I remember feeling apprehensive all Christmas Day as I visited with my husband’s relatives and celebrated Christmas. Then when the phone call came late that night, for a terrible moment, I didn’t want to answer it…knowing something irrevocably bad had happened. It had. My brother’s friend, high on drugs supposedly, had killed my fifteen-year old brother by stabbing him. One of my six siblings, Chris was sort of the black sheep of the family, but he was loved. Missed.

Since then I’ve often seen Chris in my dreams. He seems lost. Not unhappy, but not realizing he’s dead. I don’t like those dreams at all.

So loss was a lesson I learned young.

And I have actually seen a ghost. Right after my Great Aunt Mary passed away, the night before her burial, I saw her ghost in my parent’s hallway (I was sixteen and still at home) and, let me tell you, it scared the bejesus out of me. But she was just looking for my grandmother, whom she’d lived the last ten years of her life with, and I knew she meant me no harm. It was still a shock. She appeared in a ghostly halo of mist at the end of the hallway beckoning me…her words in German. I couldn’t speak German but I got the idea. She was lost, didn’t know she was dead and was looking for my grandmother, whom she’d loved so much in life.

I ran, hid in my bed under the covers and pretended it’d never happened. Hey, but I know it did.

Maybe that’s one of the reasons I’ve always loved the eerie, the unexplained. The spooky. And perhaps why I write horror. Maybe.

Happy Halloween!

About the Author:
Since childhood I’ve always been an artist and worked as a graphic designer in the corporate world and for newspapers for twenty-three years before I quit to write full time. I began writing novels at 21, over forty years ago now, and have had sixteen (nine romantic horror, two romantic SF horror, one romantic suspense, one romantic time travel and two murder mysteries) previous novels and eight short stories published from Zebra Books, Leisure Books, Avalon Books, The Wild Rose Press, Damnation Books and Eternal Press.

I’ve been married to Russell for thirty-four years; have a son, James, and two grandchildren, Joshua and Caitlyn, and I live in a small quaint town in Illinois called Columbia, which is right across the JB Bridge from St. Louis, Mo. We have three quirky cats, ghost cat Sasha, live cats Cleo and Sasha (Too), and the five of us live happily in an old house in the heart of town. Though I’ve been an artist, and a folk singer in my youth with my brother Jim, writing has always been my greatest passion, my butterfly stage, and I’ll probably write stories until the day I die…or until my memory goes. (to see all my book trailers with original music by my singer/songwriter brother JS Meyer)!/profile.php?id=1019954486

Halloween Blogfest: Carolyn Brown

Ghosts on the Line

More than thirty years ago, Husband and I, along with three kids, two dogs and a few tropical fish moved into the house in Davis, Oklahoma. No one told me that ghosts lived in the house and they toyed with the phone lines on a daily basis.

Of course I had to call the electric company, the phone company and every other company in the whole great state of Oklahoma but it wasn't any big deal. The last time we'd moved I'd talked to a sweet little lady named Anna and she'd done everything in five minutes.

Apparently, the ghost had caused great havoc in the land of technology because after he allowed me get the phone service hooked he pitched Murphy's Law right into my lap.

“Thank you for calling this electric company,” an automated voice said. It didn’t have any sign of a Texas drawl or even of an Okie brogue. Matter of fact, it sounded like it might have come from Mars and we'd barely made it to the moon. Mars was still a twinkle in the scientists' eyes, or maybe in the phone ghost's eyes.

“If you are calling about your account press one. If you are calling concerning the nature of your latest bill, press two. If you are calling about new service, have your social security number, the date of your birth, whether you like dark chocolate or light best, what brand of toilet paper you use and your grandmother's neighbor's maiden name ready and press three.”

I pressed three and waited. I vacuumed the whole house, loaded the dishwasher, unpacked two more boxes and wrote another chapter in the romance book I was working on. Finally, I got a flat voice that I'm sure belonged to the ghost, “All of our representatives are busy right now. Please do not hang up. We appreciate your business.”

Hang up? I wasn’t about to hang up. I wiped out the ‘fridge and loaded it up with groceries, scrubbed both bathrooms and hung up a roll of toilet paper. All the while some kind of music from the moon where I'm sure ghosts are spawned was piped into my ear.

It got dark outside and I started to yawn.

Finally, a real person answered the phone. “This is Anna. What can I do for you?”

"Is the same Anna who took care of this kind of business twenty two years ago?” I asked.

“This is her granddaughter. Do you have your husband's social security number?” She asked.

"I've got everything but that but I know it so..." I rattled it off. "And I like milk chocolate and I use whatever toilet paper is on sale."

She giggled. "Grandma always said she was coming back to haunt the telephone lines. I don't need all that, just your husband's number."

Next item on the list was a toll free number to call about Internet services. I pushed all the buttons and the automated voice came on, “If you are calling about new service, press one. If you are calling about your bill, press two. If you are ...”

I pressed every button at least twice. Another voice said, “You are important to us. Please do not hang up.”

I didn’t give he/she/it time to go any further. I pressed all the buttons clockwise, then counter clockwise and started to hum the theme song from Twilight Zone.

In seconds a familiar voice came on the line, “Hello this is Anna. How may I help you?”

“I need Internet, a newspaper delivered in the mornings, pizza coupons, a card for the local grocery store, the name of a good cleaners, directions to the nearest Wal-Mart, a recipe for shoo-fly pie and to be put on the list for weekly discount coupons for area stores,” I said.

“I’ll take care of all of it. Has your husband changed his social security number in the last five minutes?”

“No, ma’am,” I said. "And tell your grandmother I'd rather that she took up abode in my kitchen than over the phone lines."

The next day the coffee pot was in the refrigerator.

Leave a comment to win a print copy of "Mistletoe Cowboy" (US/Canada only)!

New York Times and USA Today bestselling romance author and RIT® Finalist, Carolyn Brown, has published more than sixty books. Mistletoe Cowboy was released Oct. 2. Just A Cowboy and His Baby is scheduled for publication on Dec. 4.

She and her husband have three grown children, enough grandchildren to keep them young and two tom cats that rule the back yard.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Halloween Blogfest Jennifer Ann Coffeen


Curse of the French Blue diamond

Whenever fall arrives I find myself in the mood for pumpkin bread, spiced lattes, and the scariest ghost stories I can find. Don’t get me wrong, I am terrified of anything that goes bump in the night, but I still love reading about the supernatural. Ancient curses, haunted mansions, and spooky old legends are my favorite. A few years ago I became fascinated by the curse of the French Blue diamond. This rare and priceless stone is known to many as the Hope Diamond and resides in the Smithsonian Museum in Washington D.C. Before it became a beloved tourist attraction the French Blue left behind a bloody and terrifying trail.

The curse begins in 1642 when a Frenchman named Jean Baptiste Tavernier plucked the enormous blue diamond from the eye of an idol during his travels in India. After returning to France and selling the diamond to King Louie XIV, Tavernier continued his travels to Russia where he was reportedly ripped to pieces by wild dogs as punishment for removing the stone. The diamond was later re-cut and passed down to Louie XVI and his wife Marie Antoinette. Both were executed by the guillotine during the French Revolution and many believe it was the diamond’s curse that caused such a violent end. After the French Blue was stolen from France it remained lost until 1812, when it mysteriously appeared for sale in London. There are rumors it was purchased by King George IV, and several paintings portray him wearing a very large blue stone in a pendant.

The French Blue eventually resurfaced in America in the hands of Henry Philip Hope and was renamed the Hope Diamond. The curse soon struck again, as the once wealthy Hope family went completely bankrupt after taking possession of the diamond.

In 1910 Pierre Cartier sold the diamond to Evalyn Walsh McLean who proclaimed the cursed gem her good luck charm. According to legend the wealthy woman was obsessed with the blue diamond, refusing to take it off even for surgery. Sadly, it not the good luck she wished for. Evalyn’s family had their own share of tragedy when her first born died in a car crash, her daughter committed suicide, and her husband was confined to a mental institution. Many saw this as the long fingers of the diamond’s curse, but Evalyn stubbornly wore the diamond until she died. It was sold in 1941 to settle debts from her estate and purchased by Harry Winston. Winston wanted nothing to do with the diamond’s curse and later, some say for mysterious reasons, offered to donate the diamond to the Smithsonian Museum.

Leave a comment for a chance to win Priceless Deception.

About the Author:
Jennifer Ann Coffeen is a published author currently living in Chicago. Her novel Priceless Deception and novella Lover's Gamble are both available now from The Wild Rose Press. Her work has been featured regularly at the kates, a group of women solo performers who perform the last Saturday of every month at the Book Cellar in Lincoln Square. Jennifer is a founding member of the kates, and has also written and performed original work as part of Numbskull, the Human Blockhead; The Muffin Basket Cases; and Beastwomen Female Cabaret. She is a graduate of Columbia College, and has studied at Story Studio Chicago, where she also works as part of the Chicago Literary Alliance. Jennifer is currently working on a sequel to Priceless Deception. Visit her online at,, and @jencoffeen.

Halloween Blogfest Velda Brotherton


A Nighttime Visit: A Ghost Story

Fiction based on a true story

Velda Brotherton

Something menacing awoke me from a sound sleep. I opened my eyes to see a cloud of darkness slithering up four steps, cloaking the hallway and my bedroom.

"Daddy, is that you?" Whether I said it aloud or why I sensed my Dad's presence, I'll never know, but the reply was silence for an instant, then a firm, "Of course, who else would it be? It was time I came."

His anger sent clawed fingers that reached out for me. My own daddy wouldn't hurt me…or would he? The last time we'd spoken had been bitter. Why should it be any different now that he'd been gone for six months? Buried in the family plot, even though he'd run away with that bitch.

And on the telephone, when he called to wish me happy birthday he had the nerve to ask me if I wanted to talk to her.

"No, I'm not ready for that," I said, wanting to scream it, but holding all the outrage inside. You left my mother for that bitch. I never spoke to him again in this world.

It's not unusual for me to talk to dead people. Those who've passed on that I've loved visit me with regularity. We have a great time in my dreams, laughing, playing, talking. But nothing with evil intent has ever manifested, and certainly not outside that nether world. Until this night. How dare he show up like this?

"What do you want?" I could barely speak for the fear that paralyzed me. We all have a fear of some sort. Mine has always been that the people of my nightmares will follow me into reality. And here I was experiencing just the opposite.

Before he could reply, explain himself, I jerked awake, kicking myself into a tangle of bedclothes. Thank God, it was just a nightmare. A manifestation of the guilt I felt. I opened my eyes to find that huge black cloud floating up the stairs. It was real. His displeasure dug around inside my brain, turning my stomach, stiffening my spine. The air around me grew cold.

Oh, come on. How clichéd can you get?

Still, I shivered in the blast and tucked my head beneath the sheet.

A hand gripped my shoulder and I let out a scream that the entire family, asleep in their own rooms, must have heard. Yet no one came to my door. I tried that again, then realized that though my mouth was open wide, no sound came out.

"You knew when you married him I wasn't pleased," he said. The bed shifted like someone was sitting beside me.

"Oh God, oh, God, please." I hugged myself.

"I've never laid a hand on you," he whispered. "You know that. I've always loved you."

"I know, but you deserted us."

He ignored the accusation. "So why would you think I'd hurt you now?" His voice, so soft and familiar. He was right about one thing. He never raised a hand to me.

"Then why are you here? Maybe to say you're sorry?"

Silence replied for such a long time that I thought he'd left. Floated away into the night. When at last he spoke I jumped.

"Well, yes. But something more. We only get one visit before we have to go on. I've been watching, and I was right about him. He's not good to you. You're not happy. So I'm here to fix that for you."

"Fix it?"

"He's out there, in his truck. All you have to do is say yes, and it's done."

Despite the situation, I laughed. A man who womanized during 40 years of his marriage, then ran away with a 23-year-old woman, and he wanted to punish my husband for not being good to me? Good grief. It was funny in a dreadful sort of way. Still, why not? He was right. I wasn't happy.

"What? What will you do?"

"You don't need to know. All you need to know is I love you."

I took a deep breath. "Yes, do it. I love you too."

The bed shifted, the room warmed and I opened my eyes to morning sunlight streaming through the window. Tears lay on my cheeks. Just a dream after all, a cruel one.

The phone rang and I jerked like I'd been shot at. Then I picked it up and listened to the voice tell me what I already knew. My husband was dead.

Leave a comment to win a copy of Stone Heart's Woman.

About the Author::
Velda Brotherton writes of romance in the old west with an authenticity that makes her many historical characters ring true. A knowledge of the rich history of our country comes through in both her fiction and nonfiction books, as well as in her writing workshops and speaking engagements. She just as easily steps out of the past into contemporary settings to create novels about women with the ability to conquer life’s difficult challenges. Tough heroines, strong and gentle heroes, villains to die for, all live in the pages of her novels and books.

Find Velda online at

My website:


Facebook: http://www.facebook.authorveldabrotherton

Twitter is @veldabrotherton

Halloween Blogfest Christine DePetrillo


Pumpkin Pie and Books

Autumn is one of my favorite seasons. I’m a diehard Summer fan, but still enjoy what Autumn has to offer, more specifically, its food.

I make pumpkin pie almost weekly during the months of October and November. Here’s my recipe, which has pleased an abundance of pumpkin pie connoisseurs over the years:

Crumble-topped Pumpkin Pie


1 15-oz. can pumpkin

1 14-oz. can sweetened condensed milk (fat free works fine)

1 egg

1 ¼ tsp ground cinnamon

½ tsp each ground ginger, nutmeg, salt

2 tsp pure Vermont maple syrup (I make this myself. So much fun!)

1 pie crust (pre-made ones are fine if you don’t have time to whip up one from scratch)

¼ cup firmly packed dark brown sugar

2 Tbsp flour

2 Tbsp cold butter (margarine is fine)

¾ cup chopped walnuts


1. Preheat oven to 425⁰. With a wire whisk, beat pumpkin, condensed milk, egg, maple syrup, ¾ tsp. cinnamon, ½ tsp. ginger, nutmeg, and salt. Pour into crust.

2. Bake 15 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, combine sugar, flour, and remaining cinnamon; cut in butter until crumbly. Stir in walnuts. Remove crust from oven; reduce oven to 350⁰. Sprinkle topping mixture over pie.

4. Bake for another 40 minutes or until set. Cool. Serve warm or at room temperature. Refrigerate leftovers (if there are any!).

I also love pumpkin muffins, pumpkin pancakes, pumpkin waffles, pumpkin bread, pumpkin spiced tea, and pumpkin soup, all of which I try to make throughout the season. You might think I’d get sick of pumpkin by the time winter rolls around, but strangely, I don’t. You can never have too much pumpkin!

I hope you try my pie recipe and it causes many rounds of yummy noises to emanate from your family members and friends. I find pumpkin pie is best served with hot apple cider and a good book.

Here are two books you may enjoy:

Firefighter Patrick Barre is determined to hide away in the woods of Vermont. He's content to do his job, remodel his house, and enjoy the company of his arson-detection dog, Midas. Scars from the fire that destroyed his family keep him from letting anyone into his life.

Gini Claremont uses her camera to celebrate the beauty of life. Nature soothes her, while anger is dangerous for Gini--and anyone near her. If she doesn't guard her emotions, her surroundings could go up in flames. Living alone, keeping busy, and letting her family keep watch on her is best for

When an arsonist declares war on their town, Patrick and Gini reluctantly band together to sift through the ashes, each holding a secret close to the heart. As the arson escalates, so does their mutual attraction. Will teaming up put out the fires, or start a whole new one?

Graphic designer Johanna Ware knows family is the most important part of life. Her son, Kameron, is her world after losing her daughter and husband. She hides away on her Nebraska farm, wishing for adventure but settling for responsibility.

Corporate pilot Holden Lancaster is ready to fly for Donovan Electronics at a moment’s notice. When he isn’t in the air, he’s at his Texas home remodeling old cars to race and sell. He enjoys the speed of his life but not the solitude.

When Holden discovers shady dealings at Donovan Electronics, an attempt on his life leaves him with amnesia in a crashed plane in Johanna's field. With no memory of family or friends and a company who denies employing him, Holden is placed in Johanna’s care.

Will Johanna regret opening her world to this sexy stranger? Will Holden remember a life that makes it impossible for him to be with Johanna? Or is love enough to make them forget everything
but each other?

Both books can be found on Amazon along with all my other titles. Please visit my website as well here.

Comment on this post to be entered to win ONE free EBOOK copy of either of these books. Winner will be randomly chosen from the comments on 11/3/2012. Winner must supply a valid email address to receive the prize.

Happy Autumn!

Christine DePetrillo

Halloween Blogfest: Jillian Chantal


I'm thrilled to be here today at Long and Short Reviews to talk a little about my favorite holiday, Halloween. I've always been a fan of the fall. There's nothing like crisp leaves, homemade apple cider and that almost tangible smell of the creeping cold air. I love boots and sweaters. This can sometimes be a problem since I live in the northern part of Florida. Yeah, that's right. I'm north all right- north of Cuba, that is. Anyway, I do try to make the most of the few cool days we have here. I grew up in Virginia and since I have a great imagination, I can pretend it's cold anyway.

I adore going on haunted tours and living in a historical town, there are plenty of chances to do so. We have ghosts all over the place here, it seems. I've been to our local lighthouse many times and have always had some paranormal experience. The first time, I smelled really strong tobacco in the basement and then, under the staircase, I smelled liquor. There was no one drinking or smoking in the building. When I mentioned these things to the guide, she indicated that the light keeper who lived there in the 1800s was a pipe smoker and there was also an American Indian who stayed there for a while who drank a lot. I found this very intriguing.

One other visit, this one in July when it was like 100 degrees, we were upstairs in the keeper's area about halfway up the tower where the keeper would store the fuel for the lights. It was super hot because all the windows were closed and the air was thick and muggy. Suddenly, a breeze blew past my legs as if someone had brushed past me. In a couple of seconds, a man who said he was a psychic said that there was a little girl in the room playing and darting about between people's legs. I guess that was what I felt? All I know is that the air was noticeably cooler when that breeze went past.

I have a new release out with Desert Breeze Publishing called The Gambler's Brother. I'll give away a free e-book copy to one commenter who tells me what they like best about Halloween or a ghostly experience they've had.

About the Author:
Jillian Chantal is the writer of Romantic Adventures with an International Flair. She grew up reading the stories of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Agatha Christie, Victoria Holt, and Noel Streatfeild. She fell in love with the British Isles through these stories. Her imagination set sail on these adventures far from the Virginia and Florida homes where she lived during her childhood. The lure of Great Britain pulled at her soul. She read so many mysteries, she could solve an Agatha Christie book in 28 pages. She still loves to read mysteries and guess "who dun it."

Jillian’s stories usually have an element of glamour and foreign places. An avid traveler herself, she loves to insert her memories of favorite places in her writing.

Jillian is a lawyer working in the panhandle of Florida in a 1940s renovated house near the historical district of her city. She loves to write for relaxation from the stresses of the day job and loves to hear from readers that enjoy her stories. When she isn’t writing, she loves to scrapbook, read, visit with friends, and of course, travel for fun as well as for research for the next romantic adventure.

Visit her on the web at



Beaumont McSwain, a former RAF pilot wounded in combat is now the legal officer onboard the Queen Mary. He's haunted by a tragic mission gone awry and wants to return to America and to a life of peace and quiet. Zoe Langlois, a former member of the French Resistance, wants to get to America and find what's left of her family after the Nazi's reign of terror. She boards the Queen Mary under a false identity as a war bride. Along the way, several of the brides are killed and Zoe's odds of survival are decreasing by the day. She and Bo are attracted to each other, but his secret as well as hers threaten their potential for happiness.

Halloween Blogfest: Kallie Lane


The Story of Charley...
I’d like to thank Long and Short Reviews for inviting me to blog today…and share my real life ghost story. Trust me when I say I’m a sane individual, although what I’m about to tell you may seem hard to believe.

It’s been years since we bought our island retreat, and when people arrive who have been there before, they will ask in a whisper—by daylight, of course—“Is Charley here?” The answer is always yes. Our resident ghost never goes far. Well, except to the boat landing to wreck distributor caps or flatten tires on our guests’ vehicles. Yep, he wants them to stay for another few days…if he likes them. (The cottage has boat access only and cars are parked at the opposite end of the lake, several kilometers away.)

We’re very respectful of Charley, because while he’s a prankster, he can also be mean. Believe me, there’s nothing like buying a house haunted by a spirit who isn’t in the market for new owners. In fact, he made our lives miserable at first. Romance was out of the question, let alone sleep. I remember the night he held my husband down in our bed. All he said was —“Take care of this place!”—and he let him go, until the next time. And ours isn’t the only romance he put the boots to. One couple visiting us had the gaslights explode in their bedroom at a really inopportune moment. A very strange occurrence, considering the lights weren’t turned on and the globes were ice cold. Thankfully no one was hurt.

Another couple had their room invaded by thousands of ants. Ugh, I remember that night. It took us hours and hours with an industrial shop vac, the generator running, and cans of bug killer to get rid of them. This has only happened once, thank God, and I blame it entirely on Charley.

Did I mention the Big Chill weekend? Couples were swimming in the lake, and a designated few were on the dock that evening on lifeguard duty. It was the pics taken that blew us away. After the films were developed, there were shots of a man standing in our group on the dock. A person no one recognized or remembered seeing at our isolated cabin, out in the middle of nowhere. I believe the stranger was you-know-who, although there’s no proof of that.

Is Charley still with us? He certainly is. How do I know? His silhouette appears behind me when I’m washing the dishes—I see his reflection in the polished pine cabinets. He’s much taller than I, his shadow cast by the gaslight sconce behind me, and always when I’m alone. I’ve also seen his wet footprints suddenly appear on the dock. I feel the pier vibrate as if someone’s coming, but I’m by myself. And he loves to walk through me when I least expect it, usually when I’m vacuuming. It’s like passing through a deep freeze and coming out the other side. I can see my breath. Sometimes I’ll tease him, tell him I don’t believe he’s there anymore. Then I’ll hear something break, a lamp tip over, or he’ll slam me in the butt with the boathouse door, a door that’s bolted open so it can’t bang in the wind.

Friends and family have seen him floating down the hallway at night, or peering at them when they startle awake from a deep sleep.

Have we asked Charley to move along on his spiritual journey? We have, many times, but he doesn’t seem inclined to leave. However he has made peace with us, and we with him. He was a decorated war hero, and I believe our cabin in the woods is where he found solace while he was alive. I’m told he built it as a private hunting lodge, and he has roots here. Perhaps that’s why he is reluctant to go.

By the way, the cottage appears as Melena Salera’s inherited cabin in Dark Abandon. Charley, however, doesn’t materialize in the book as it is romantic suspense, and not a paranormal. Besides, I don’t think he’d enjoy the notoriety, and I don’t want to upset him.

Leave a comment for a chance to win a Digital version of both DARK ABANDON and DEADLY ABANDON Shadow Soldier Novels

Happy reading everyone!

About the Author:
Growing up with two brothers and raising two sons, Kallie Lane understands the rough edges of alpha males, and loves to write about them. She excels at hard hitting action and complex relationships as her Shadow Soldiers move from the battlefield in search of the right women and relatively normal lives. At least—what’s normal for them. Kallie keeps herself grounded by also working in the biotech industry. Living in Canada with her family and a robust collection of dogs and cats, you will usually find her with a book in her hand, that’s if she’s not at her computer writing one, or dream plotting her next romantic suspense novel.

Halloween Blogfest: Melissa Lynne Blue


True Ghost Stories…

Halloween… the time of year when EVERYONE wants to be scared and encounter the paranormal. Or at least they think they do…


In addition to writing I am a nurse and work a lot of nightshifts so needless to say I have experienced some pretty weird, unexplainable things from the tingling rush over my skin while in a room with a dying patient to a full bodied apparition…once. However my openness to the paranormal didn’t come about after going to work in the hospital, but when I was about thirteen years old.

I have never been a full on skeptic but I do need to see tangible proof before I will believe something. So when we moved into a beautiful pre-Victorian house—my honest to God dream house—the Autumn I began the 7th grade it is safe to say that I did not believe in ghosts. Built in the 1840’s the house was beautiful… Tall and white with an ornate widow’s watch at the roof’s peak and a stone wrap around porch. It was one of the most talked about houses in our small town and had served many purposes over the years from family home to an Underground Railroad station to a jewelry shop. The house was situated across the street from the county courthouse which had a bell that rang the hour and then once at the half hour. One might expect that a bell ringing across the street from your house ever thirty minutes would be annoying, but it didn’t take long to tune it out and after a while I scarcely heard it.

One night when I was thirteen I went to bed and fell asleep facing the wall. I woke in the middle of the night and laid there staring at my wall for some time unable to fall back to sleep. The courthouse bell rang one time and I rolled over to check the clock and see what time it actually was (one o’clock AM or a half hour). My eyes never met the clock! Standing in my open doorway was a man. At first there was nothing disconcerting about it. It felt like when my parents would come around at night and check on the kids before bed. I even said, “Dad?” aloud. It took only a moment for me to realize that the figure in my door was not my father. This figure was very tall with broad shoulders that took up the entire doorway (my own father is much more slight of build), and wore a brimmed hat and a long coat. There was light coming in from the hallway but no discernible features could be seen on the figure and he appeared to be a three dimensional shadow. I quickly rolled back over and buried my head under the pillow! Every night there after I slept with my head under the pillow and my door closed—admittedly I still do if my husband is not at home!

Years later my mom and I had a weird experience at a Montana ghost town and I told her of my experience years before in our old house. To my utter shock she knew exactly who/what I was talking about! Apparently she had seen the same ghost on many occasions moving through the upstairs checking on all the children in the middle of the night…

Being open about the weird and unexplained is something I’ve come to incorporate in my writing—particularly my Civil War, Langston Brothers series. I believe it makes for a more complex story even if a book is not classified as paranormal.

Thank you for visiting LASR today! I’d love to hear some of your ghost stories and please comment if you’d like to be entered to win a Kindle or Nook copy of my Civil War Time Travel Romance EDGE OF TIME.

Langston Brothers Series Book 1

Jilted by her fiancé, Marissa is done with men until fate steps in and she finds that Craig Langston may be more man than she can resist.

Marissa is a high energy independent career woman of the 21st century who finds herself on a collision course with destiny when she is thrown 144 years into the past. Confederate Officer Dr. Craig Langston is an enticing man that any woman would long to fall in love with, and now Marissa is torn between rampant desire, for the man ignites her very soul, and a longing to return home.

Can she find it within herself to embrace a new life in the arms of her Confederate officer or will more sinister forces intervene before she can discover what may be the greatest love of all time?

Langston Brothers Series Book 2

When murder suspect Cadence Jamison disguises herself as a boy and stows aboard the Heavenly Mistress Captain Curtis Langston may find his two past occasions for rescuing her more than he bargained for.

Bitter and Cynical after service in the Confederate Army, Curtis believes himself no more deserving of another’s love than capable of returning it. Content to drift through life free of emotional and therefore romantic complications the once carefree and mischievous rogue may be forever gone. But when Cadence appears in his life Curtis finds himself smiling again, smiling and dreaming and feeling more like himself than he has in five years. Drawn with almost unnatural force to the sweet and innocent goodness Cadence offers, Curtis blunders again and again to resist the pull of what a life with her could be.

Can Cadence show this wounded soul how to love again? Or is he doomed to be forever unforgiven, haunted by the ghosts of his past?
To learn more about me and my books visit:

I love hearing from readers!

About the Author:
Registered Nurse by night, Melissa battles the stresses of life and illness by enjoying uplifting tales of love and romance. A firm believer in true love united with an enduring fascination with history has prompted her pursuit of romance writing. She lives in beautiful Big Sky Country Montana with her husband and children.

Halloween Blogfest: Terry Spear

Where the Horses Run Wild, a True Ghostly Tale by Terry Spear

When I was young, I devoured every ghost story I could, but I’d never come across any real ones. They were strictly fantasy. After the story I tell here, I’ve had a couple of more experiences, but today, I wanted to share my first!

Have you ever encountered a ghost in your wanderings? I have...but the first one wasn't the usual human type spirit.

On a frigid night, I was sleeping with my Army ROTC cadets from West Texas A & M on the rocky ground in Palo Duro Canyon. But not really sleeping.

The lumpy, rocky ground, the cold, the sounds in the night, the breeze stirring over the cliffs, the thought that rattlesnakes, or tarantulas, or scorpions seeking heat would find their way into my sleeping bag—all kept me awake. I stared at the sky that stretched forever. The Texas sky does, you know. In other places, mountains and trees and buildings might break up the sky, but not out there. Not in the vast wilderness that was the Panhandle of Texas.

The stars sparkled across the dark sky like jewels twinkling in the night. And I was frustrated with myself for not being able to sleep, knowing we had to run up and down the hills in the morning to search for clues on an orienteering course.

Sometime during that night, I finally drifted off, but then heard the sound of horses running, stampeding in our direction. They snorted and whinnied and the sound was frightening.

I recalled deer running through our friends' tent when we camped off an island in our boat in a lake in California when I was a kid. They don't go around, I thought. The horses will run straight through us and trample us to death. I tried to wake my sister who was sleeping in a bag next to me. She grumbled at me to leave her alone, and I watched the others in the dark. No one heard the noise but me.

I lay back down, hoping that the horses would skirt around us. I realized the pounding of hooves didn't shake the ground like it should have. Maybe they were too far away. And then, they moved off in the distance, fading until they were gone. I lay awake for a long time, unable to get over how close we could have been to being trampled, fearing their return. That they'd switch back and come this way again.

Finally, I was able to sleep and before I knew it, we were sitting at a campfire, cold, achy, eating breakfast. I asked about the wild horses. Our cadre said there could be. Sure. But no one had heard anything last night.

Years later, I wanted to write about the wild horses for a magazine, only when I began to research them, I learned others had heard the ghost ponies in the dead of the night. I sat slack-jawed reading the accounts. Ghost ponies? For years, I had believed they were real. The sound of their running, snorts, whinnies were real. It happened.

But they were whispers of the past--of soldiers running Indian ponies off the cliffs in an attempt to keep the gathered tribes from fighting back. Without their horses, the tribes could no longer be mobile. They could no longer mount any campaigns.

The horses were terrified and were driven to their deaths. And now, they live in the canyon forever, a memory of past deeds, a remembrance of their past life.

Leave a comment to win a print copy of SAVAGE HUNGER.US/Canada Addresses Only.

About the Author

USA Today bestselling and an award-winning author of urban fantasy and medieval romantic suspense, Terry Spear also writes true stories for adult and young adult audiences. She’s a retired lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army Reserves and has an MBA from Monmouth University. She also creates award-winning teddy bears, Wilde and Woolly Bears, that are personalized that have found homes all over the world. When she’s not writing or making bears, she’s teaching online writing courses or gardening. Her family has roots in the Highlands of Scotland where her love of all things Scottish came into being. Originally from California, she’s lived in eight states and now resides in the heart of Texas. She is the author of the Heart of the Wolf series and the Heart of the Jaguar series, plus numerous other paranormal romance and historical romance novels.

For more information, please visit, or follow her on Twitter, @TerrySpear. She is also on Facebook at and blog:

Monday, October 29, 2012

Halloween Blogfest Anna Kittrell


Twin robots. My sister and I walked straddle-legged through the dark streets, moaning like ghosts over our tender thighs, rubbed raw by foil-covered cardboard boxes. It was our final pilgrimage through the neighborhood in homemade Halloween costumes. We’d be thirteen next year—too old for trick or treating.

Later, Kelly and I bandaged our blisters and glared at our parents as they picked the good chocolate from our overstuffed sacks. As if the week they’d spent manipulating aluminum foil into robot appendages gave them the right.

At bedtime, we trudged to our room and plunked our treat bags on the floor between the beds, remembering not to brush our teeth because it made the candy taste bad. We’d survived another Halloween in homemade costumes. Time to reflect and enjoy, one last time, the sticky JuJuFruit of our labor.

Kelly and I were friends before we were sisters. Her mother and my father started dating when we were six. One day at a picnic table in the park, my dad popped the question—to us. “Do you want to be sisters?” After emitting a simultaneous, earsplitting, “Yes!” we ran hand-in-hand to the merry-go-round calling one another “sissy.”

A short time later, in the appropriate month of October, our parents married. Kelly and I now shared the same last name as well as the same skin tone and hairstyle. Kids at school asked if we were twins—and if I’d flunked Kindergarten, since I was a grade behind. We didn’t look enough alike to pull off the old trading places routine, but never again would I watch It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, alone or wear an over-the-top handmade Halloween costume by myself.
On October 31, 1977, Kelly and I celebrated our first Halloween as sisters. As Dad cinched the bottom of Morticia Addams’ dress so tightly my ankles ground together, I scowled at Kelly—severe arched eyebrows, platinum hair standing on end, ridiculously long cigarette holder between her fingers. She was Phyllis Diller.

I wanted that cigarette holder.

Over the years, I’d won a ten dollar bill, a Mr. Potato Head, and the coveted Ballerina Barbie in local costume contests. By age seven, I was a seasoned veteran in the battle of Halloween dress up, and had the scars to prove it. Kelly was a just a beginner. I deserved that cigarette holder made of drinking straws and contact paper. It would be mine.

It didn’t happen.

But, as usual, our costumes brought in a huge haul, and the buzz of too much sugar quickly overrode my costume envy. That night, long after our parents went to sleep, Kelly and I giggled in the dark, treat bags between our beds. We chewed with grossed-out faces, swearing never to brush our teeth again on Halloween.

Sadly to say, I did not inherit the homemade costume knack enjoyed by my father. I don’t create unbelievable costumes, but do enjoy writing believable characters. One lucky commenter will have the chance to meet—free of charge—the characters in my brand new romantic suspense, Skinbound. The story features identical twins, Darcy and Scarlett, whose deep-seated issues make Phyllis Diller’s quellazaire look like a candy cigarette.

Thank you for stopping by, and good luck in the drawing. I’m looking forward to your comments. Have a safe and happy Halloween.

About the Author: Anna Kittrell has written stories for as long as she can remember. She still has most of her tattered creations—leftovers she was unable to sell on the playground for a dime—written in childish handwriting on notebook paper, bound with too many staples. Her love of storytelling has grown throughout the years, and she is thrilled her tales are now worth more than ten cents.

Growing up in small town Oklahoma, Anna spent many a summer day on the lakeshores she often writes about. Today, she works as a middle school secretary in her beloved hometown, where she resides with her high school sweetheart-turned-husband, Tim, and their two practically grown children, Evan and Brandilyn. She still loves visiting those muddy red lakeshores of her childhood, when she’s not too busy writing about them instead.

Twitter link:

Twitter user name: @KittrellAnna

Facebook link:

Facebook author page:


Skinbound is available at: and

Halloween Blogfest Sandra Jones


Real Life Ghost Stories

One of my favorite settings is Wales because it’s arguably one of the most haunted countries in the world. The Welsh are famous for their castles, witches, and superstitions, so naturally these things figure prominently in my latest historical/time-travel romance MOONLIGHT MADNESS.

One of the most famous ghost tales of Welsh lore is of the Skeleton Bride. Legend has it that in the valley of Gwynedd, a young girl was to be married. She foolishly hid in the trunk of an old tree to surprise her groom. But she got trapped there, and no one could find her. She eventually starved to death, and her husband went mad with grief for missing her. Several years later, lightning struck the tree, splitting it open and revealing her corpse. The bridegroom died from the shock of seeing his “lovely” bride again. Their ghosts are often seen in the valley as a bride and groom holding hands.

I’m giving away a print copy of my historical romance WISH FOR THE MOON, to one commenter in honor of the Halloween Blogfest and the October Kindle release of MOONLIGHT MADNESS.

MOONLIGHT MADNESS—available NOW for Kindle, coming January 18 for other formats.

While visiting Wales, Rance Kingsley, Viscount Waldenham, receives a warning that his daughter will soon be kidnapped by Spanish enemies. Before he can aid her, Rance tumbles into a mysterious portal to the future. His only hope is to find his soulmate, the key to returning. However his curse continues when all signs point to Tess Hartman, a straight-laced teacher, as his match. After a cheating boyfriend, the only male Tess wants in her life is Dante, a troubled teen she would like to adopt. To bond with the boy, Tess brings him on a class field trip to Britain. But the Shakespeare experience becomes too real when sexy, eccentric Rance seduces her. When Tess falls for Rance's kisses and travels with him across four centuries, she's convinced he's made a mistake. How could she love a man who deceived her, separating her from everything she cares about, a man with MOONLIGHT MADNESS?
About the author: Sandra Jones is the author of sensual historical romances for Avon Impulse and The Wild Rose Press. She’s worked as a bookseller and a librarian, where she indulged in her love of old books. When not researching or writing, she enjoys being with family, reading, and watching British TV. A self-proclaimed history geek, she currently lives in a 1905 Greek revival home in the Mississippi Delta. Sandra loves to hear from her readers: visit her website

Halloween Blogfest Sandi Hampton


The Ghost of the Brothel

In 1890 in Butte, Montana, the Dumas Brothel was erected and specifically designed to be a brothel. It was still in operation in 1982, making it America’s longest-running house of prostitution. The Dumas was three-storied with the basement containing smaller rooms or cribs. The main level was composed of larger rooms and parlors while the third story contained larger rooms and suites and even a balcony with a sky light. It was designed with tall windows facing the street. The girls would sit in the windows so customers could examine the “merchandise” before going inside.

In 1913, an addition was made to the rear of the house. It contained eight cribs, four of which opened to “Venus Alley” where hundreds of soiled doves plied their trade. The working girls stood in the doorways and enticed customers to come inside. Some of these cribs were equipped with call boxes for ordering drinks or food from nearby bars. In its heyday, the Dumas used 43 rooms and ran three shifts of girls. The miners in the area worked around the clock, so there were always plenty of customers. Tunnels were dug under the Dumas and connected to various areas of the town so that businessmen and city officials could indulge their pleasures in private.

On February 8, 1955, the house madam, Elenore Knott, decided to leave the Dumas and run away with her lover and start a new life. However, her lover was a married man. On that fateful day, Elenore packed her suitcase and waited for her love, but he never showed up. She retreated to her room, number 19, and took an overdose of sleeping pills and alcohol. During her time as the madam, Elenore accumulated a lot of wealth including a Cadillac convertible, gold and diamond jewelry and a Harley Davidson motorcycle. After her death, none of these things were ever found.

Since that time, the “working girls” of the Dumas and visitors (then and now) have reported seeing the ghost of Elenore Knott walking the halls of the brothel, suitcase in hand, waiting for a lover who would never come. Paranormal researchers have visited the Dumas and concluded that there are at least two spirits who inhabit the building.

My historical western romance, Miss Lily’s Boarding House, is set in a house of ill repute in Texas in the 1800s. However, no ghosts inhabited “Miss Lily’s,” only lonely cowboys and townspeople. When heroine Grace Wentworth inherited the “boarding house” (another name for a brothel or bordello), she traveled west to claim her inheritance never dreaming she would find love…and danger. Her aunt’s mysterious past is reminiscent of Elenore Knott’s tragic demise, and it’s easy to imagine the drama that unfolded behind those walls. Miss Lily’s Boarding House will be released November 12, 2012, by The Wild Rose Press, and I hope you’ll check it out.

Leave a comment and you might win a print copy of my latest release Gambling on Love.

About the Author: Sandi has been writing longer than she cares to remember. But her efforts finally paid off when her first historical western romance was published in 2008. Five more releases followed since then. Sandi’s debut novel with Champagne Books, Broken Promises, was released in July, 2012. Her short stories have appeared in New Love Stories Magazine, and several of her poems have been published in small press magazines and anthologies.

Despite the fact that Sandi is a Florida native and has never lived outside of Florida, she loves everything “western” and her passion for the “Old West” shows in her historical novels. She resides in Tampa with her husband Howard of 32 years. She has four grandchildren and two great grandsons.

Find Sandi online at

Halloween Blogfest: Mariah Lynne



Halloween! One special day when a frog can become a prince and I, a shy sixth grader donning a pink sparkly tulle gown and tiara, caught the eye of the cutest boy in my class. One year later, another man stole my heart! Our first adventure trick or treating alone, my friends and I wanted to visit the more affluent part of town. We were sure that the elegant homes with manicured yards gave away the best candy. One such home, decorated to the hilt, piqued our curiosity. The more spider webs, Halloween wreaths, and witches’ broomsticks we saw, the more excited we became! We quickly juggled around the candy in our bag to make more room before walking up to the front door and ringing the bell.

Spooky music suddenly greeted us through a speaker near the front door as if on cue. Plastic spiders shot down on us from the doorframe above. We stood there looking at each other wondering what would happen next. The large wooden door creaked opened slowly, very slowly. Once open all the way, we gasped! Standing in front of us was a very tall man. He was so tall we were eye to eye with his belt buckle. As our eyes proceeded upwards, we saw that he was Frankenstein. Dressed in a tuxedo and carrying a large oval silver tray, he bent down to welcome us in a low deep voice.

“Greetings, trick or treaters. You may each reach in the bowl and take as much as you can in one handful. Remember I’m watching, so no tricks.”

Well, who on earth would want to trick that guy! He leaned down a little more putting the tray where we could see its contents. My eyes popped! The tray was filled with hundreds of brand new pennies. All shiny, they glistened all the brighter in the subdued lighting of the entryway. I took a deep breath, opened my chubby hand as wide as I could and grabbed as many of those magical coins as would fit. My friends excitedly did the same. What a magical night! To this day, I can still remember Frankenstein as if I saw him yesterday! Imagine how much time and effort a man I didn’t know put into making my Halloween so extraordinary!

Fast forward thirty five years. I now live and work on a beautiful Florida Gulf Coast island. No chill in the air, no falling leaves but our islanders celebrate Halloween in a big way. At the time, I owned a video store on the island. About eighteen years ago, some standing water and pesky mosquitoes caused the county to cancel trick or treating! How could they do that? I understood that it was for everyone’s safety, but I saw a lot of disappointed little faces coming into my store after the news. With that magical memory of Frankenstein still in my heart, I along with some friends rolled up our sleeves and transformed my store into a Howling Halloween Haunting for kids of all ages on the island. We constructed a big black tent out of extra huge lawn bags in which one of my friends, an amateur magician, performed. Kids were greeted at the entrance by one of my adult customers dressed like the Wicked Witch of the West, green face and all. There were gooey spider webs and scary movie standees like Freddy Kruger. Dominoes, who occupied the building next door, delivered pizza throughout the party. The manager, another friend, made a special appearance as the Noid. I bought tons of candy and apples. We had games, photos and costume judging for six great hours of Halloween fun. The kids had a blast. They wore their costumes and parents came as well. I have since sold my business but occasionally run into those kids now all grown up. They always tell me how magical that Halloween was for them. Maybe in some small way, I was able to pass the spirit and love I felt on my memorable Halloween with Frankenstein forward!

Leave a comment for a chance to win a Love Gypsy T-shirt and magnet.

About the Author:
Mariah Lynne always had writing on her radar but it took her a while to get there. Growing up in New Jersey, she graduated from Syracuse University with a degree in English education. After teaching junior high for two years, she went to work for a small daily paper as a copy- reader in the newsroom. She and her husband decided to move to a Florida Gulf coast island while they were still young enough to enjoy the outdoor lifestyle. Jobs were scarce on their island so they each went into business. Mariah opened a video and home entertainment center. She was active in her national trade association serving as a regional chapter president for six years. During that time, she wrote weekly entertainment columns and reviews for two of the island’s newspapers. She also freelanced, ghostwriting autobiographies of successful Realtors for a national yearbook.

She loves where she lives and enjoys watching the dolphin and manatees frolic in the lagoon behind the island home she shares with her husband and ten year old shelter adoptee Max. THE LOVE GYPSY published by The Wild Rose Press, a time travel romance, is her first book.

Fine Mariah online at



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