Tag Archives: ghosts

Golden-Haired, Most Fair, Prince Rod of Lachlan by Sherrie Hansen

If Prince Rod of Lachlan sounds like something straight from the pages of a fairy tale, you’re right.

Golden Rod painting

When Katelyn O’Neal, a reluctant “princess” from Minnesota, inherits a castle from a great uncle she met only once, she views the whole ordeal as a huge bother, except that selling the castle to a rich developer will pay for a very expensive, experimental cancer treatment for her 12 year old niece, Kacie.

Golden Rod Castle - Gold.jpg

Rod MacKenzie, the illegitimate but rightful heir to Lachlan, has used his own time and money to take care of the castle and its magnificent gardens for years – despite the fact that his grandfather wrote him out of his will. Rod would love to live happily ever after in the land of his ancestors even though he’s always known it was an impossibility.


Add Laird Valan MacKenzie and the lovely Lady Rosemary, a pair of 500 year old ghosts who are bound to the castle by age-old curses, and would do anything to escape the place, and you have GOLDEN ROD, a two-week romp through a lifetime of legends that turns everything upside down.

S - Brodick Castle

Lachlan – a centuries old castle on Loch Carron in Scotland. Kacie – a twelve year old girl whose dying wish is to see it. Laird Valan and Lady Rosemary – 500 year old ghosts who desperately want to escape it. Golden-Haired, Most Fair, Prince Rod MacKenzie – the rightful heir who loves Lachlan and its gardens even though he will never inherit.  Katelyn O’Neal – the legal heir who unwitting sold the castle to a low life scum at a high price.


GOLDEN ROD, a Wildflowers of Scotland novel by Sherrie Hansen – coming from Indigo Sea Press in June 2017.



Filed under history, photographs, Scotland, Sherrie Hansen, Travel

Taking real life and blending memories into a story… by S. M. Senden

Taking real life stories/incidences and blending them into a story…
People often ask ‘Where do you get your ideas?’ It is a question common enough to all writers. For me, there is always some nugget of truth in what I write. I have been dubbed as the protector, guardian and repository of the family memories ever since I was a child. Those pieces of information have made their ways into the many stories I have written. Here is an example of what I mean.

There is a scene in Clara’s Wish about the young man, Bergin Halverson, being invited into a big time poker game in Omaha and winning lots of cash. This may sound a little far fetched, but it was exactly what happened to my Grandfather in the early 1920’s.

When I was about twenty-three, one rare night my Grandfather, Father and I sat around the kitchen table drinking shots of whiskey and my Grandfather began to talk. I don’t remember how it happened, he was not much of a drinker, and I barley touched the stuff, and it was not the usual cocktail my parents enjoyed. However, the whiskey, the night, the company created a once in a lifetime event for us all. Usually a reticent man, it was wonderful to hear my Grandfather relate tales about his life before he got married in 1924 and settled down.

What I learned that night was that my Grandfather’s life, before marriage, was right out of an adventure book. In some ways his life experiences took up where Mark Twain left off. He was a ‘River Rat’ where the Missouri and Mississippi rivers came together in St. Charles, Missouri. He was one of ten children and grew up on the family farm. He told a story about snow coming in their room in winter, and sparrows, that he called chippies, that would be there in spring.

The best of his tales was about a poker game.

He was a young man in his early twenties, and liked a game of craps or poker with his St. Charles friends. One evening he met someone from a big poker game in St Louis. Grandfather was invited. They probably saw a young man that would be an easy mark, and they would fleece him of his hard earned cash and send him back across the river and never think about him again. But fate had a different hand to deal.

Grandfather was made welcome, and began to play cards. It was not that he was so a great poker player, but the cards are fickle, and have a mind of their own. Just ask any gambler about Lady Luck! They played late into the evening. My Grandfather kept winning. In fact, he won enough cash that night to go on a shopping spree the next few days. He bought some clothes and had three suits custom made; he bought a new car and a few other items. One of which were brass knuckles. He wanted to be prepared in case the guys at the game got a little touchy when he went back the next weekend.

Grandfather was smart enough to go back to the poker game, and though he was still pulling winning hands, he threw them away, and managed to lose three hundred dollars to the men in the room. He also agreed never to return to their game again.

This story about the poker game was too good not to include in Clara’s Wish. It fit with the direction of the story, and was a way to honor and preserve the recollections of my Grandfather’s experiences.

Though my Grandfather is no longer alive, I still have the brass knuckles, and the memories of that night when I learned so much about the reticent man who was my grandfather.

To read Clara’s Wish, go the Second Wind Publishing  and order your copy today! From the reviews that have been coming in, you will not be disappointed.

Clara’s Wish is a page-turner! I did not put it down till I was finished. January 31, 2013 By If I like it, I want to tell you. From Amazon

Clara’s Wish blends old-fashioned real Midwestern history with thoughtful and fascinating psychological profiles. Sweet-and-sourness-of-life dramas, truthful character assessments, soul-enlightening judgments, criminal motivators. All people portrayed in this book, from fine upstanding characters and horrible criminals, all get the lush language treatment from S M Senden. Reading her words, I became one with the character’s sensory experience. Very, very EVOCATIVE. Also, very spooky! I recommend!

Comments from C. Major about CLARA’S WISH ~
Your book is awesome, just finished it. I really liked it, started this morning and didn’t put down till just now when I finished it. Really keeps you wanting to read more. Thanks again!!!

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Old Dead “Friends”

I’ve spent a lot of my life fixating upon dead heroes, which means, as we turn into October, I’m entering my favorite other-worldly season.  (Maybe “hero” isn’t quite the word, but “famous historical personalities” is unwieldy.)  Richard III came into my life early, just pre-teen, via a discarded paperback, “The Daughter of Time” by Josephine Tey, fished from a wastebasket in the lounge of a 1950’s Barbados hotel.  For some reason, this mystery story about a man whose chosen motto was “Loyalty Binds Me” and whose reputation had been blackened, started an obsessive fire in my brain which is, even 50-some years later, burning hotter than ever.

Richard started life in 1452, which is a long time ago—560 years at Fotheringay Castle, now nothing more than a heap of earth by the River Nene where the original motte and bailey stood. As you can see from the picture, 500+ years doesn’t leave much behind! He was born on October 2, which makes him a Libra. If the Tudor spin doctors are to be believed, he was a seriously out of balance child of this supremely balanced heavenly sign. If the skeleton just recovered proves to be the King, it appears that he had a deformity at birth, a severe scoliosis, which would have caused his right shoulder to be carried high.  He only lived for thirty-two years, but he (or his distorted shadow) has left a large mark on World consciousness via Shakespeare’s blood-and-thunder melodrama.

I’ve been flailing around in the flesh more than twice as long as this particular dead hero, but have made not a jot of difference to the greater world.  Still, King Richard, his fair wife, Anne Neville, and others of the bloody Plantagenet cousinage have been talking, loving, cutting off heads and battling in my imagination since childhood. When the recent excavation in that Leicester car park came up with those bones–scoliosis, battle wounds, and all—it started the whole royal panoply, complete with banners and drums, parading through my mind.   More than that, some days it comes seeping out, a moving picture of antique glory superimposed over the ordinariness of daily life. I feel closer to these semi-imaginary long dead than I do to my neighbors. After all, these royal shadows have been with me from childhood. I’ve imagined them while standing on tropical beaches, Cornish cliffs, and all the way to this present slough of suburban senior citizenship.

Roan Rose, my new Second Wind novel, grew from a long time dedication to this old, old story, one which has been fictionalized a great many times already. Still, I “owed” Richard and Anne a book,  even despite the recent big name debut of something similar. In my novel, the fall of the House of York is seen through the unusual lens of “downstairs” eyes. The narrator, Rose, begins her association with Anne Neville while they are both children. Although Rose loves and is loved in return, she can never be more to Anne and her royal cousin (eventually, husband, Richard) than a “common woman,”  a servant. She alone of their triangle of affection will endure to tell of the end of an ancient dynasty and of the dusty survival of a peasant. The price she pays for her loyalty to master and mistress is high.

I can hardly bear to let her go. I’m sure a lot of other writers out there will understand this reluctance to end my “visits” to a much loved creation.

~~Juliet Waldron



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Casper-Friendly-Ghost-1I have to admit, I love a good ghost story. Regardless of how many nights I may lay awake terrified, I just can’t get enough of them. In fact, I’ve even been known to go in search of ghosts and spirits from time to time-I need my own stories to tell, after all. I have a few, but the one that impacted me the most involves a close friend and a Ouija board. Since my hubby has always refused to play Ouija with me, I decided to invite a friend over who would, on a night when hubby had to work.

We lit candles, took the appropriate “protection” measures and then settled in to start asking our questions. I should mention that at the time, we lived on the 5th floor of a pre-war building in Harlem-we don’t get these kinds of stories now that we live in a new building. But I digress…

It didn’t take long for a spirit to come through, and it became evident after a while that we were dealing with a child. Since we don’t communicate in the same way a confused spirit might, there was a great deal of confusion on both ends of the Ouija. But my impression was that the child had died in that apartment-or building, at least- and was looking for his family. The encounter nearly broke my heart and both my friend and I were bawling by the end of it, thanks to the repeated “mama mama mama” that the spirit kept spelling out. I’m getting a little choked up just thinking about it now.

Needless to say, while it may have been a “fun” thing to believe in ghosts up until that night, I’ve never doubted the existence of spirits since then.

What about you? Are you a believer? And do you have any good ghost stories for me?

Jerrica Knight-Catania is the author of A Gentleman Never Tells, soon to be published by Second Wind Publishing.


Filed under blogging, fun

All Fade Away

All Fade Away

She brought the cold in with her, wrapped around her like a cloak against the elements. She left a trail of fog in her wake as she approached the counter. Droplets of cold fell from her dress as she settled upon a stool, carefully arranging her skirt about her like a debutante of old. She glanced slowly from left to right, as if she were lost and looking for some familiar landmark.
“Can I help you, Miss?” the man behind the counter asked. “You look a little lost.”
She leveled a hollow gaze upon him. “I am not lost,” she said, her voice low, a harmony of perfect notes singing a melody of old.
The man frowned at her odd demeanor. “Can I get you anything?” he asked. “Something to eat? Something hot to drink, at least? A coffee?”
“I have no money,” she told him. “But perhaps I could tell you a story.”
“What kind of story?”
She smiled then; an eerie quirk of her lips that did not extend to her hollow eyes. She sat forward, bringing herself closer to the man. A burst of cold came with her.
“Would you like to hear a ghost story?”
“I don’t believe in ghosts.”
“That’s why they call it a story,” she said with an odd twist to her lips that mimicked a smile.
“Sure, why not. Seems appropriate tonight, don’t you think? All Hallows Eve.” He chuckled with false bravado. “Go ahead. Tell me a ghost story.”
She settled into the task with an eerie smile.
“Once, many years ago, there was a girl who was the pride of her family,” she began. As she spoke, her voice livened with enthusiasm for her subject. “She was a pretty, pretty girl and people from far and wide came to see her, to witness her beauty for themselves. Her parents, who were very poor, put her on display for profit. Her beauty was her only talent. When she opened her mouth, however, ugliness dropped out, so her parents cautioned her not to speak to anyone who came to see her. This only added to her allure. People who came to see her golden hair and perfect features were even more fascinated by her apparent inability to speak. ‘Imagine someone so beautiful,’ they said, ‘who cannot express gratitude for her praise.’”
As the story unfolded, the man behind the counter poured a cup of coffee and placed it before her. It turned to ice when she touched the cup. Neither of them noticed.
“Then one day, the inevitable happened,” she continued, excitement building in her voice. “She found her heart, her one true love. A man beyond compare with a gentle soul and impeccable manners. He could have anyone he wanted, but he chose her. They planned a life together. But, alas, it was not to be…”
The cold intensified around her, became almost a living thing, stirring the tendrils of gold that rested upon her shoulders.
“She was not on an equal level with him, you see, and his family would not allow her to join their ranks. He pled, they said no. He threatened to disobey them, they cut off his inheritance. He could not live below his usual standard, though he did try, for a time. Eventually, he went back to them, groveling, on his knees. He was not cut out to be a common man, you see. He agreed to do whatever his parents deemed proper to get back in their good standing. They told him to denounce her. When he told her what he’d done, she wept rivers of sorrow. ‘What will I do without you?’ she cried. “You will go on,’ he told her. ‘No, without you, it will all fade away.’
“Of course, he tried to convince her that this was not so, but he could not. For once, her beauty had failed her and she was inconsolable. Always, in the past, she’d used her beauty to get whatever she wanted, as her parents had taught her. She became very spoiled. She expected to get whatever she wanted. Always in the past, her beauty was enough to achieve her dreams. Never before had anyone dared to say no to her. So she was quite devastated when her beauty failed her and she couldn’t get him.
“She lost her mind. He tried to console her. She couldn’t be consoled. She wanted forever. He wouldn’t give her today. So she had to sit back and watch as he married another.”
She shuddered then, shaking off puffs of cool air into the restaurant behind her. The man behind the counter answered her shudder with one of his own. The air stilled about them, as if holding its breath in anticipation of her next words.
“But he continued to see her,” she went on, “behind his parents’ backs, behind his wife’s back. She tried to get him to leave his wife for her. He wouldn’t. She became despondent. He tried to love her. His love wasn’t enough. She became enraged. How dare he do this to her? He wouldn’t leave his wife, wouldn’t defy his parents. He wouldn’t choose her over them. She began to fade away. She wouldn’t eat. She couldn’t sleep. Her beauty deserted her.
“Her parents feared for her. There was talk of sending her away. She knew where they intended to send her. She couldn’t let that happen. She stole away in the night without a cent to her name. She went looking for him. She found him in a restaurant much like this…” She waved an arm around in a ballet-like motion, stirring up a cloud of cold. “…He was dining with a woman who was not his wife. She was also not a woman of class, but one of those. Still, it cut her deep to see him with this creature. Her heart shattered at his feet.
“In a rage, she picked up a knife from his table and plunged it into his heart, right there, in front of all those witnesses. They could only watch in horror. As did he. With his last remaining breaths, he asked, ‘Why, Amelia? Why did you do this?’ ‘You took my heart and broke it,’ she said, ‘now I take yours. Without our hearts beating as one, we are nothing. All fade away.’ He gave her a strange look. ‘I am dying…and you speak in riddles.’ She twisted the knife into his chest as she chanted, ‘All fade away, all fade away…’
“When he died at her hand, she left him with his mistress, whose screams tore through the night. But Amelia paid her no mind. She met her own death in the path of a truck, right out front, her words still filling the air. ‘All fade away.’”
The man behind the counter shook the solemnity from his shoulders. “That’s a great story,” he pronounced, a note of skepticism in his deep voice. “But I don’t see how it’s a ghost story.”
She slipped from her stool to stand before him, a smirk curling her lips. “I didn’t tell you the best part,” she said, leaning close for emphasis. “Every year, on the anniversary of her passing, she returns to the scene of her betrayal. To live again, for a moment or two…” She lifted a shoulder in a delicate shrug. “Perhaps to see a different end to her story…” Sadness emanated from her as a phantom scream rent the air behind them. “But not tonight,” she concluded as she backed away from the man at the counter, toward the entrance.
Her form began to shimmer, the definition of her perfect features becoming hazy. She continued to smirk as her form melted into the solid wood of the door, passing through it like a wisp of fog. The sound of her voice echoed into the night as her figure dissolved into nothing.
“All fade away…”

Happy Halloween from Margay Leah Justice, author of Nora’s Soul


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