Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Do You Believe In Ghosts?

Do you Believe in Ghosts?

Countless articles have been written about the sightings of ghosts ... or should we say, the invisible antics of spirits?

There's a hotel in the Midwest that's had it's own share of ghost antics and pranks -- the Palmer House in Sauk Centre, MN. The hotel is locally notorious for sightings, in fact, a 3-ring binder of several hundred personal accounts from guests and employees sits in the lobby for all to read. Several psychics and tv show hosts have documented paranormal activity in the Palmer House.

I'm on the fence about my belief in ghostly apparitions. I won't rule it out, however. 

Back to the Palmer House and some incidents that have been documented.

*  Room 11 and room 13 turn suddenly drafty. Adjusting the thermostat does not solve the problem

* A male apparation dressed in 1920s pinstripe suit with a derby hat has been seen seated on a chair near the window in Room 11.

* A pregnant woman tucks people in during the night in that same room.

* A young boy bounces a ball down the hallway on the second floor of the hotel. (It's documented a young boy died of a fever in the Palmer House in the 1920s).

* Employees state when they set up the silverware in the dining room for the next day's guests, they often come back several hours later to find the silver in total disarray.

* One employee insists the little boy's ball suddenly appeared in the middle of bed she had just changed. 

* Ghost dogs suddenly appear in the wine cellar and watch the employees work, even bark when they go in to retrieve supplies.

* Slamming doors are common and rugs have been shoved up against the doors making it almost impossible to open them.

I find it all very fascinating. The number of reported ghostly incidents at the Palmer House are hard to discard.

I love to write about ghosts. In my historical novel Sojourn With A Stranger, there's a ghost by the name of Lucinda. The poor soul was murdered, and only after her death, were the pieces of the puzzle revealed to her. Now she's out for revenge, and her soul won't rest until her murderer is exposed.  

About Sojourn With A Stranger 

A ghost haunts the halls of Stafford House. When Raine Brinsley arrives and accepts a position as a house servant, the ghost is determined to let Raine know who murdered her. Derek and Lyman Stafford race against time to produce the first male heir and secure the title to Stafford House. The brothers will do anything to win…including murder.

A dark, Gothic novel with romance, mystery, suspense and thrills.

For more information on Sojourn With A Stranger or to read the wonderful reviews, hop on over to Amazon here: http://amzn.to/I0tYJK 

How about you? Do you have any ghost stories you'd like to share? We'd love to hear them in the comment section below.

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

What Do You Know About WOLFHOUNDS?

Number one, they're IRISH (like me) . . .

The Irish Wolfhound is a giant-sized dog, one of the tallest breeds in the world, reaching the size of a small pony. The head is long and the skull is not too broad. The muzzle is long and somewhat pointed. The small ears are carried back against the head when the dog is relaxed and partway pricked when the dog is excited. The neck is long, strong and well arched. The chest is wide and deep. The long tail hangs down and is slightly curved. The legs are long and strong. The feet are round, with well-arched toes. The wiry, shaggy coat is rough to the touch on the head, body and legs and longer over the eyes and under the jaw. Coat colors include gray, brindle, red, black, pure white or fawn, with gray being the most common.

Height: 28 - 35 inches (71 - 90 cm)
Weight: 90 - 150 pounds (40 - 69 kg)
Life Expectancy - 6 to 8 years

The Irish Wolfhound can reach up to 7 feet tall when standing on his hind legs *which means you don't want to mess with a Wolfhound*

Irish Wolfhounds are sweet-tempered, patient, kind, thoughtful and very intelligent. Their excellent nature can be trusted with children. Willing and eager to please, they are unconditionally loyal to their owner and family. They tend to greet everyone as a friend, so do not count on them being a watchdog, but may be a deterrent simply due to their size. This giant breed can be clumsy and are slow to mature in both body and mind, taking about two years before they are full grown. However, they grow rapidly and high-quality food is essential.

The Irish Wolfhound's name originates from is use as a wolf hunter, and not from its appearance. This is a very old breed with Roman records dating as far back as 391 AD. They were used in wars, and for guarding herds and property and for hunting Irish elk, deer, boar and wolves. They were held in such high esteem that battles were fought over them. Irish Wolfhounds were often given as royal presents. Boar and wolf became extinct in Ireland and as a result the Irish Wolfhound declined in population. A British army officer by the name of Captain George Graham bred them in the second half of the 19th century. The breed was restored by the introduction of Great Dane and Deerhound blood. The Irish Wolfhound Club was founded in 1885 and it was recognized by the AKC in 1897. In 1902 a hound was first presented to the Irish Guards as a mascot. It was recognized by the Kennel Club as a sporting breed in 1925. The Irish Wolfhound Society was founded in 1981.

Did you know there's a canine hero in LAND OF FALLING STARS? And he's our heroine's (Sophia's) Irish Wolfhound. His name is Ricochet and on more than one occasion he comes to Sophia and Gavin's rescue. Several readers have fallen love with Ricochet. If you read Land of Falling Stars, I hope you adore him too.

"LAND OF FALLING STARS is a love story that will make you laugh, cheer and cry not only does it highlight the story between two people she also brings back the haunting tale of a war that tore a country apart. Definitely a must read!!" Five Stars – RomFan Reviews

"Diablo writes in a surreal and reader-friendly tone, an eye for detail that transports the readers back in time with its descriptions, and laced with witty conversations that are amusing and entertaining. Strong, dynamic, and passionate characters develop well in a steady pace, despite second-guessing their own decisions." Book and Trailer Reviews

"Why?! Why did it have to end? It was soooo good! What a romantic story. Hell, I'm in love with Gavin too. No man has ever been more devoted to a woman. God! This book left me with such a good feeling. I loved it." Black Crowe, Amazon reader

Scorchingly hot. Stand-alone novel with no cliffhangers.

Monday, April 3, 2017

New Mexico 1884 Shootout! One Lawman Against 80 Cowboys!

Reserve, New Mexico

The Wild West was fraught with little known battles many have never heard of. One such gunfight went on for hours and took place in a small town called Reserve, New Mexico in 1884. 

A description of the battle is below where the lone gun man, Elfego Baca, is considered a regional hero, even today.

"I will show the Texans there is at least one Mexican in the county who is not afraid of an American Cowboy" - 1884

The Frisco shootout was an Old West gunfight that began on December 1, 1884, involving lawman Elfego Baca. The shootout happened in Reserve, New Mexico, and stemmed from Baca's arrest of a cowboy who had been shooting into the air and into buildings at random while intoxicated.

Shortly after the arrest was made, Baca was confronted by a large number of the cowboy's friends. Baca took refuge in the house of local resident Geronimo Armijo. An intense shootout ensued, during which the cowboys increased in number to around eighty men. Legend has it that the cowboys fired more than 4,000 rounds into the house, but there is little way of confirming just how many rounds were fired exactly. Baca was not wounded by any of the rounds fired, but did return fire killing four of the cowboys, and wounding eight others. The standoff ended when the cowboys were unable to acquire more ammunition. With their ammunition supply depleted, they simply withdrew. The fight had lasted thirty-six hours.

The cowboy that had been originally arrested by Baca served his time in jail for disturbing the peace and drunkenness, and was released. The cowboys pursued Baca through legal means, attempting to have him imprisoned for the killing of their four comrades. In May 1885, Baca was indicted for the killing of one of the men. However, when the door of Geronimo Armijo's house was introduced as evidence, having over four hundred bullet holes in it, Baca was acquitted. He went on to become a licensed attorney and a Deputy US Marshal.

Footnote: This singular battle has long served as a symbol for the power of the lone individual, standing up against overwhelming odds for what he or she happens to believe is right. 

Chasing the Dead, a western romance novel set in New Mexico in 1884, can be found in the anthology Come Love A Cowboy, II.

Also includes two novellas
Comes An Outlaw
Catherine's Cowboy

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Gothic #Romance - Sojourn With A Stranger - #Ghost Excerpt

 About Sojourn With A Stranger

A ghost haunts the halls of Stafford House. When Raine Brinsley arrives and accepts a position as a house servant, the ghost is determined to let Raine know who murdered her. Derek and Lyman Stafford race against time to produce the first male heir and secure the title to Stafford House. The brothers will do anything to win…including murder.
A dark, Gothic novel with romance, mystery, suspense and thrills

Raves for this historical Gothic novel
"An absolutely wonderful book. I was captivated and submerged from the beginning to the end. This is not your typical love story but nonetheless spellbinding. Diablo is a master when it comes to historical romance and has proven once again that she is a delightful storyteller." Blackrose Reviews

"Diablo did a brilliant job with this historical romance novel. It had great romantic conflict, a bit of mystery and suspense and subtle paranormal undertones. She had me on an emotional roller coaster and by the end I was surprised to find myself liking Derek a lot." Book of Secrets Reviews

"Sojourn With A Stranger has a slightly gothic air with ghosts and witches of the tea-leaf reading, herbal-potion brewing kind. I loved how the paranormal aspects of the book were in keeping with the historical time period. The presence of bibles and laying-on-of-hands healing, the witchy midwife in the woods, the poltergeists of those wronged give the book that Gothic touch I so loved." D. Dunbar

Setup and Excerpt:
The ghost - Lucinda, once mistress of the manor - follows Raine to the family graveyard. 
Remembering her intent to find the burial ground, she switched subjects with the house servant. "Where is Lucinda buried?"
"In the family plot, left of the gardens."
"The area is enclosed by a wrought iron fence?"
Crete nodded. "Do you want me to accompany you?"
"Oh, no," she said with a wave of her hand. "I will find it."
"You'll be trudging through snow."
"And chilled when I return. Perhaps a bath would be nice―"
"Of course, child," she said. "We'll haul the tub to your room while you’re gone."
Raine rose and touched the woman's cheek. "Thank you for your kindness."

She donned a pair of boots, her cloak, and moments later trudged past the snow-capped gardens. The black fence loomed before her. She opened the gate and scanned several dozen granite markers rising from the ground. Taking one row at a time, she plodded through the snow and stopped to look at the names on the tombstones.

In the second row, she found three small headstones. Half-spent candles protruded from the snow, their bright flames in stark contrast to the dreary burial ground. How odd. Someone must have been there before her and placed candles by the nameless markers.
To her left, she spied a new marker. Lucinda's. She picked up a candle, stood in front of the woman's headstone and closed her eyes. Perhaps if she concentrated hard enough, she could call her forth.

The wind took flight and her heart fluttered like a captured sparrow's. She clasped her hands together and whispered a prayer. A keen whistle―or a woman's mournful wail—echoed around her. She had known cold in her lifetime; frost and snow were nothing new to the natives of Maine, but she had never felt the bone-numbing iciness gripping her now.

It dawned on her. The arctic blast did not come from the snow, but from Lucinda’s spirit. The ghost stood beside her, touching her shoulder. The firm pressure urged her toward the row of graves she passed moments ago. To test her disbelief, she pivoted to the left and the pressure intensified. Lucinda’s spirit wanted her to go right.

Her feet stopped of their own volition before a mammoth headstone. Etched in stone, the likeness of a stern-faced man gazed back. She lifted her head and scanned the writing on the marker: Lyman Stafford, born 1759, left the earth 1820. Husband of Lottie, father of Julian, Rose and Isabelle. Beneath it: Forever in Our Hearts.

An icy chill swept the land when the distant sun disappeared, and flurries of snow lashed about her ankles. She fought down the terror. Recalling her grandfather's words about spirits, she took a deep breath and called forth his strength.

She read aloud, aware of the hand pressing into the small of her back now. "Lyman Stafford, born 1759, Derek's grandfather, Julian's father." The heaviness of Lucinda's hand on her back-- for it could only be the ghost, Lucinda―vanished. The sun emerged again and the flurries stopped their frenetic motion. The woman had accomplished her mission, but what did her mission consist of? A subliminal message rattled Raine's befuddled mind, vague and murky.

She studied the man's headstone with the awareness a connection existed between him and Lucinda's tragic life―or tragic death―but the man had died before Derek's wife was born. Raine shivered, tightened the cloak about her shoulders and fled from the graveyard.

Monday, February 13, 2017

A Martyr In The Name of Love - The Story Behind Valentine's Day

Happy Valentine's Day Romance Lovers!

Here's a little trivia about Valentine's Day. Did you know ....Each year on February 14th, many people exchange cards, candy, gifts or flowers with their special “valentine.” The day of romance we call Valentine’s Day is named for a Christian martyr and dates back to the 5th century, but has origins in the Roman holiday Lupercalia.

A Martyr In the Name of Love?
The origin of this holiday for the expression of love really isn't romantic at all—at least not in the traditional sense. Father Frank O'Gara of Whitefriars Street Church in Dublin, Ireland, tells the real story of the man behind the holiday—St. Valentine.

"He was a Roman Priest at a time when there was an emperor called Claudias who persecuted the church at that particular time," Father O'Gara explains. " He also had an edict that prohibited the marriage of young people. This was based on the hypothesis that unmarried soldiers fought better than married soldiers because married soldiers might be afraid of what might happen to them or their wives or families if they died."

"The idea of encouraging them to marry within the Christian church was what Valentine was about. And he secretly married them because of the edict."

Valentine was eventually caught, imprisoned and tortured for performing marriage ceremonies against command of Emperor Claudius the second. There are legends surrounding Valentine's actions while in prison.

In the year 269 AD, Valentine was sentenced to a three part execution of a beating, stoning, and finally decapitation all because of his stand for Christian marriage. The story goes that the last words he wrote were in a note to Asterius' daughter. He inspired today's romantic missives by signing it, "from your Valentine."

* * *
So while we celebrate Valentine's Day with candy, hearts and flowers, there's a story behind this lovers' day that has been all but lost...except in the annals of history. However you celebrate today, I'm wishing you the best Valentine's Day ever!

Check out some Keta's latest releases

Welcome #Author Veronica Lynch And Her *New Release* FOR KEEPS

Please help me Welcome awesome author Veronica Lynch to Keta's Keep. She's here today to share her new release FOR KEEPS with us! Special giveaway instructions below to win a zippered purse!

** For Keeps is on sale at The Wild Rose Press bookstore through tomorrow, 2/14/17 at 40% off.**

Title:  For Keeps
Author:  Veronica Lynch

Meghan Muldoon is at a cross-roads in her life: struggling to balance the demands of a high stress vocation as an advocate for victims of violence with her feelings for Keenan Rossi, a man who wants to make their relationship permanent. 

On Valentine's Day, a series of routine crises force Meg to question staying in a profession which fulfills her both professionally and spiritually—or devoting the rest of her life to the one person who completes her.

Which one is For Keeps?

    “Crime Victim Services. How may I help you?”
    The caller's voice was low, husky, and exquisitely male. “Do you know the difference between a barracuda and a victim advocate?”
    Her heart skipped a beat. “Lip gloss.”
    “Well damn,” Kee muttered. “You already heard it.”
    “An oldie but a goodie, pal.”
    “Aren't we all. How you doin' on this gorgeous February day?”
    Even though she heard the tease in his voice now, she was still smarting from last night's spat. “Not too bad. How's by you?”
    “Lemme tell you, cara. If I was any better, I'd scare myself.”

Buy links for For Keeps:
The Wild Rose Press

Where to find Veronica:
Amazon Author Page 

Wild Women Authors Blog
Aprons With Attitudes Blog

Special tidbits about Veronica:
    I am addicted to iced coffee, true crime shows, ESPN's Mike and Mike and my four grandchildren who always make me laugh.
    All my books contain at least one scene which is based on a true event. This includes the excerpt in For Keeps.
    In October, 2016, For Keeps took 5th place in the International Digital Awards, [a published author contest sponsored by Oklahoma Romance Writers], short contemporary romance category. We are thrilled with this honor as re-reading this story brought back many memories, some of them fond. Heh heh.

Thanks so much for stopping by, Veronica.
Don't forget to visit Amazon and grab your copy of For Keeps!

*Veronica is giving away a small zippered purse with a Valentines theme to one visitor. Leave a comment below to be eligible to win the purse!