Since Halloween is right around the corner, what could be better than celebrating the 'spooky' holiday with ghost stories and/or books? Last week I mentioned that while checking my back list of books, I discovered I often write about apparitions or ghosts.
My mother claims I talked about ghosts in my childhood and often expressed my frustration that she couldn't see them like I could. Psychologists claim children and animals see them because they've never been conditioned or taught not to. In other words, kids and canines don't have a 'filter' to employ; they just see what's in front of them.
Further, paranormal researchers claim England has the most ghosts or ghost sightings, but that's not to say the grand old USA doesn't have their share of famous ghosts. Here's a few that should spark your interest (Google their names with the word 'ghost' and you can find plenty of information about them.)
* Beginning in the late 19th century, Benjamin Franklin’s ghost was seen near the library of the American Philosophical Society in Philadelphia.
* The author Mark Twain is believed to haunt the stairwell of his onetime Village apartment building.
* Aaron Burr, who served as vice president under Thomas Jefferson but is best known for killing Alexander Hamilton in a duel in 1804. Burr’s ghost is said to roam the streets of his old neighborhood (also the West Village). Burr’s spectral activity is focused particularly on one restaurant, One if By Land, Two if By Sea, which is located in a Barrow Street building that was once Burr’s carriage house.
How about you? Do you believe in otherworldly spirits? Leave a comment below and let me know about your ghostly encounters.
Today's Book Hook comes from one of my latest western romance novellas COMES AN OUTLAW. And…yes, you'll find a ghost between the pages.
About Comes An Outlaw
When a tragic accident claims her husband's life, Jesse Santos must find a way to keep the ranch, the only home her 12-year-old son has ever known. The ranch hands have abandoned her, a gang of cutthroat ranchers want her land and an ancient Yaqui Indian insists a spirit has taken up residence in the house.
After a fifteen-year absence, Coy Santos returns to his childhood home. He doesn't plan on staying, and he certainly doesn't intend to settle down with his brother's widow and her son…no matter how pretty she is.
He's an outlaw, after all, and made a decision to put an end to his gun-slinging days long ago. Will his conscience let him walk away from family, or will his heart overrule his head?
EXCERPT: Coy Santos returns home and comes face-to-face with his brother's widow.
The one-story house came into view. Still painted buttercup yellow and trimmed in white, with a wrap-around veranda the same color as the trim, at least that hadn't changed. The red barn still stood and to the right of the house, the riotous garden remained. Childhood memories flooded him. He could almost smell his mother's Blue Bells and Forget Me Nots, taste her home-grown beans, squash and the mouth-watering ears of corn, fresh off the stalk.
A dog barked from somewhere near the steps of the porch. As he drew closer he spotted the long-haired cur, part Australian Shepherd and a breed he couldn't identify. The dog trotted up the steps when he brought his horse to a halt, settled in beside a young boy, and then flashed an ominous row of white teeth his way. His gaze left the dog and wandered to the boy with a baby screech owl perched on his left shoulder. A brown slouch hat sat atop his head, the chin strap resting on his chest. His hair was long and jet black, his eyes gun-metal gray. A rope-belt held up his baggy wool trousers and the white cotton shirt set off his youthful, tanned face. A face that held a wary expression yet exuded a cocky air.
"State your business," a female voice called out.
Too busy taking in his surroundings, the dog and the boy, his tired brain overlooked the woman on the porch. Now that he'd taken a good look, he couldn't imagine how any man with blood running through his veins could fail to notice her. Tall and lean, weathered leather trousers clung to her long legs like second skin. A red flannel shirt hung long and loose on her body but failed to hide her womanly curves. Her hair was thick and straight, falling past her shoulders in a tangle of burnished copper. Watchful and intense, her large, round eyes glistened like liquid pools of blue ice.
When he brought a knee up to dismount, she cocked the rifle. "You don't hear so good. I asked you to state your business."
"My business? I was about to ask what you're doing here and follow it up with just who the hell are you?"
"Don't bother dismounting, and don't even think about going for that sidearm at your hip. Though the buzzards might like it; they haven't had their breakfast yet this morning."
"Right friendly, aren't ya?"
"To my friends, yes."
"Where's the folks that used to live here?"
She jerked her chin toward a cluster of cottonwoods in the distance. He remembered the trees and the black wrought-iron fence surrounding them, the family graveyard. His heart wrenched for a brief moment. He hadn't considered the possibility that his parents might be dead.
"Where's Cain? He off again on one of his infamous ghost hunts or is he hiding inside with his nose buried in a textbook?"
Something crossed her eyes for a second…surprise, sorrow? Maybe both. "You know Cain?"
"I should, he's my brother."
Definitely shock this time. "Your…your brother?"
"Now who can't hear so good?"
"I heard you. He, well, he didn't talk much about a brother."
"No, don't imagine he did." He put his hands out at his sides. "Look, it's mighty hot out here under the sun, and my horse needs water. And for the record, never point a rifle at a man unless you intend to use it."
"I still might."
"I loved all the components of this story. The Indian lore was probably my favorite though."
"The storyline is brilliant. This novella has many twists and turns. A page turner."
"Diablo has created a set of compelling characters. Jesse captures the essence of the time, when women had very few options, and even fewer good ones."
Hope you enjoy reading all the snippets today, and once again, thanks for dropping by,