Thursday, August 29, 2013

Visiting the Ghost Town of Calico...

Somewhere around the age of twelve, my parents introduced me to my first ghost town. Then and there, I not only fell in love with Calico and her rustic personality, but all ghost towns regardless of location and the various histories surrounding them.

Calico Ghost Town by Enrico Stirl  Germaneon

High in the hills, just outside the very small town of Yermo, California, (which is not far from Barstow), sits the mining town of Calico, founded in the year 1881. The townsfolk completely abandoned the place in 1907 when the silver and borax mines no longer produced sufficient quantities to keep the town alive.  During Calico's  heydey, one could count at least five hundred different mines,  dine in three restaurants,  rent rooms in various boarding houses, read a weekly newspaper, visit bars, brothels, and a post office. The town had a deputy sheriff and a couple of constables, as well.  Over twelve hundred people populated the town at the height of its silver production.  And of course, like so many small towns in the wild, wild, west, the Boot Hill Cemetery housed its share of local bad guys.

In 1915, they built a cyanide plant at Calico, to recover the unprocessed silver from the Silver King Mine. Despite the existence of the plant, the town didn't recover. Yet, as fate would have it, Walter Knott, (founder of the famous Knott's Berry Farm) assisted in building the tanks used for the plant.  He must have seen something he liked, because in 1951 he bought the town and with the use of old photographs, began to restore it to its former glory. Visitors came in droves and many of those visitors experienced far more than the amazing restoration of the property.  You see, it's not uncommon for a tourist to report an encounter with one of the former, other-worldly residents...

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Of Haunted Castles and Book Covers....

I read it one more time for good measure, took a deep breath...and hit the submit key. That didn't stop the butterflies from swarming though. It happens each time I fill out the information sheet required for my cover art. And why? Because all the while I am writing my books, I envision the perfect couple in the perfect setting to grace the cover. To date, my covers haven't even come close to the one I imagined. 

Not unexpected, but  more often than not, somehow disappointing nonetheless.

Now, in regards to my newly contracted novel, "Spirit of the Knight",  I'm hoping a medieval castle graces the cover, if even off in the distance. After all, there were many such castles that influenced my fictional castle in the novel.  And in light of that fact, l decided to treat you to a couple of them today...

Eilean Donan Anne Burgess

Eilean Donan, built in the 13th century, sits on an island and is surrounded by three lochs.  The castle is both breath-taking and mysterious. It's also haunted. According to a plethora of witnesses, a 17th century Spanish soldier, killed during the Jacobite rebellion is often seen carrying the head he lost in battle... Apparently his favorite place to haunt is the gift shop, so if you're not of a mind to encounter a ghost, perhaps you should do your shopping elsewhere. Oh, and Lady Mary still hangs around the castle as well. She is usually found in one of the bedrooms of the castle.

Roslin Castle Taken by r:Supergolden

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Medieval Ghosts and the Haunting of Hermitage Castle...

For those who read "Spirit of the Revolution," fell in love with my Scottish knight,  Sir Cailen, (thank you) and wanted him to have a story of his own...

WISH GRANTED and Update!

"Spirit of the Knight" is now available in Ebook format, paperback and Audio! The audio book is narrated by the phenomenal Dawson McBride. His awesome Scottish Brogue quite literally gave me chills! for those who love audio, you won't want to miss it! 

Therefore, in celebration of this fact, and being in a medieval  frame of mind as you might guess, I thought we'd visit some haunted castles in Scotland  in the weeks ahead. (Blame the Scottish blood that flows through these veins, if you must. I have plenty of it...)

Hermitage Castle, by Martina L. Abel

One of the more frightening stories I've encountered concerns the Hermitage castle. This castle is said to have been built by Nicolas de Soulis somewhere around the year 1240.  His family retained ownership for almost a century. But then, according to legend, Sir William de Soulis, who possessed the castle during the reign of King Robert the Bruce, plotted to assassinate the famous king. This did not go over well as you can imagine. Shortly thereafter, they tossed him inside a wretched dungeon and eventually, he met his demise at the hand of the executioner.

Or did he?

Friday, August 9, 2013

Heroes of Faith Blog Tour with Marlene Bateman Sullivan...

Marlene Bateman Sullivan, best-selling author, is back for another visit and this time she's talking about her newest novel, Heroes of Faith!


Our fast-paced society loves adventure and it loves a hero—but what about Latter-day Saint heroes?  Are there any?  There are plenty!  Heroes of Faith, True Stories of Faith and Courage, is a collection of twenty-four riveting
stories about people who rose above difficulties and impossible odds to emerge triumphant.