First off, the author of this book can write anything. He's goooood! Since this is an epistolary novel, the reader experiences all kinds of writing (stage play, screenplay, screenplay treatment, newspaper article, interview). The stage play written by the character Charlene is a tight little ten minute one-act that is great. Loved it. The treatment of "Blood Songs" is brilliant. I was impressed. But, for me, the middle of this novel got repetitive and tedious. I learned I probably won't read another epistolary novel. And I'm starting to question how much I love horror. I am not into blood and guts. The character I found myself caring about the most was Mark Tanner. The things that happened to him are sad, but are also what make for a good horror story. If I hadn't read a couple of non-fiction books about spirits before this, the idea that a demon could be conjured would have been nothing but a fairy tale in my mind. Now, I wonder. And the fact that the lights in my house have been acting up since reading this book isn't exactly freaking me out, but it's making me think I should just do some light reading for now. Yes. I think that is a very good idea.
This book was very difficult to read at first because it is like a textbook in many ways. But it still held my interest and when it reached areas of history I was more familiar with, it got easier for me. Fascinating, even. Briefly, here is how the author summarizes his book: "spirit contact, for centuries, was widely taken at face value as communication with discarnate intelligences inhabiting a nonmaterial reality. With the advent of Victorian materialism, however, this view of the phenomenon began to be questioned and alternative ideas put forward. Although some apparent spirit manifestations were shown to be fraudulent, fraud clearly could not account for them all and, increasingly, psychological explanations began to be advanced. Initially these were confined to ideas like unconscious fabrication, self-deception, or pathological hallucination, but proved unsatisfactory in accounting for certain aspects of the phenomena..."
I thought this book would delve into how the spirit world affected world history. And it touched on that, but only a little it seemed to me. It was really more a history of mankind's view of spirits and how, at different times in history, mankind interacted with spirits according to belief at the time. On a personal level, I now know I'm not weird for my interest in spirits and ghosts. That interest is as old as mankind. And with all the experimentation by people a lot more patient than I am, I believe there is evidence that spirits do exist. Those who wish to ignore that evidence and write everything off as "fraud," well, they've just reached their Boggle Threshold.
I know a couple of people with Alzheimer's, one my age. That is why a friend gave this book to me. It took me a while to read it. Maybe I didn't want to face the reality of what my friends are going through. This book developed the problem -- oh geez -- I don't want to say beautifully, but it was kind of amazing. How do you put into words what someone else with this disease is going through when you aren't going through it yourself? I don't know, but the author managed to do that credibly. I will say, by the end I wanted the book to end. Alzheimer's is horrible and this book illustrates that.
I enjoyed this book. I'm sure it is one I will read again. I give the content 5 stars, but the typos and bad formatting distracted me. This book needs an editor. I'm not an investigator, so I didn't read it for that reason. I've just always loved ghosts and the paranormal. I've taken classes, but never seriously tried to develop psychic or mediumship abilities. I did try to develop the ability to have an out-of-body experience. I learned there is a word for someone like me. I "Legend Trip." I like to go to haunted places and see if something happens. I've stayed at the Silver Queen in Virginia City, the Copper Queen in Bisbee, AZ, the Farnsworth Inn in Gettysburg, the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park. I've been on plenty of ghost walks. I went on the guided ghost hunt at the Stanley Hotel and did get an EVP in Lucy's Room in the Concert Hall. I told Lucy that my mother's name was Lucy. That my mother loved Estes. I said, "I'm going to take your picture, okay?" Very clearly you can hear a female voice say, "'kay." Kitty Janusz talks about the Stanley Hotel, but not much about the Concert Hall. She mentions a death happening at the Stanley, while our ghost hunt guide said no one has ever died at the Stanley. The souls that return just love the hotel.
I liked the parallels I had with the author. She grew up in Whittier in a house built and purchased by her parents in 1954. I grew up in Downey in a house built in 1951 and purchased by my parents in 1952. Our house was not haunted like hers though. The author still lives in Whittier. My sisters and I still own the house in Downey.
She talked about bending a spoon. I did that in a class I took with Dianne Morrissey. It was an amazing experience. I still have the spoon.
She talked about the Whaley house in San Diego. I've been there three times. I have a picture from inside the house that might be of some spirits, but I'm not sure. I do know that one time I went, a young man with Downs Syndrome was crying, terrified to go into the house. In fact, he was refusing to. It was a bright sunny day and there were a lot of people around, but he was very frightened.
I learned things from this book and liked some of the author's wisdom. For instance, "Live your life kindly and with curiosity." I never knew where the word medium came from. On page 74 of the book the author says, "...a medium needs to raise his or her vibrational level. The spirits on the other side try to match the medium's vibrational level, meeting in the middle, or at medium level." On page 29 she says "Words are spells, that's why they call it spelling." Wow.
I especially like reading about the Queen Mary since I'm going to stay there as part of Amy Bruni and Adam Berry's Strange Escapes weekend in March.
Like I said, I give the content of this book 5 stars. The author is sincere and kind and knowledgeable. If you are interested in ghost hunting, it is worth your time.
A few months ago I joined a Paranormal and Wine Book Club. It is uplifting for me to meet with people who enjoy reading about and discussing the paranormal. The latest book we read is "Spirits of New Orleans" by Kala Ambrose. I've never been to New Orleans and, honestly, I never had the urge to go -- until I read this book. In many ways it was more of a travel guide than a book on spirits; although don't get me wrong, there are ghost stories in the book. The author knows the city and knows its history. She is a good writer as well. If you are going to New Orleans, read this book. You can even tweet the author (I did) and she'll get back to you. Her love of New Orleans shows and she enjoys sharing her knowledge with others.
After listening to Anna-Marie Abell's presentation on marketing, I decided to give KDP's sponsored products advertising another try. But! I needed to come up with a better logline. I found this great article that helped. Maybe it will help some of you authors out there as well. http://noamkroll.com/an-easy-guide-to-writing-the-perfect-logine-why-its-as-important-as-your-screenplay/
I can't believe it's been nearly a year since I blogged. I could make excuses. My husband was sick for many months and that took my time and energy, but I could have written. Today at the HDCWC (High Desert Branch of the California Writers Club) meeting we had a fabulous speaker: Anna-Marie Abell. She spoke on marketing and I want to get going. But, alas, I have to go to a party. Anyway, thought I'd give her a plug. She is the author of Holy Crap! The World is Ending.
Pirating abounds! Recently I discovered websites offering two of my ebooks for a free download. And someone took my "The Secret of Lucianne Dove" quiz off of Goodreads and put it on their metaphysics-knowledge website. Weird. That doesn't bug me so much, but the pirating of my books disturbs me. One site even had a huge review of Chapel Playhouse that included so much detail I know the person actually read the book. They didn't put the review on Amazon which would have been nice for me, but only on their site. Well, if they can pirate my book, I can put their review (at least the last paragraph of it) on my blog.
"Chapel Playhouse is an excellent mixture between a paranormal mystery and a sort of new-age gothic horror book, as it mixes supernatural elements with elements of the gothic horror genre. It offers characters with strong, complex personalities and a plotline with twists and turns that will keep you reading till the very end. The story isn’t very straightforward, it’s complex and multilayered and the mysteries are solved only one at a time, the final clues lingering till the very end of the novel. This book reads very much like a TV series in the style of Supernatural, except that it’s a lot more complicated and would take more than one hour to solve. It also adds the concept of everyone being able to see ghosts, at least up to some level, which I find both frightening and intriguing. This novel was, at least to me, more frightening than the previous one in the series and I loved it all the more for that. If you’re a fan of ghosts, the paranormal or just solving mysteries, then Chapel Playhouse definitely is your kind of thing."
Nice review. Not nice pirating my book to give away for free.
So much has been happening and I haven't shared since October! Well, it's about time. My book, "Simone's Ghosts," took top honors in the 2017 Hollywood Book Festival contest. I love this little young-adult book and I'm so happy that the judges loved it as well. There is a banquet in August, so I'll share pics of that in a couple of weeks.
Where else could you have received an afternoon of entertainment with Travis Rhett Wilson as Edgar Allan Poe performing "The Tell-Tale Heart," "Annabel Lee," and "The Raven?" And also see psychic medium Susan Grau share her unique abilities? Spirit showed up and she read two people in the audience. Charlie Ray was the perfect MC and he sang his original Halloween song. Mike Raff showed his book trailer for his new novel, "Skeleton Man," and I showed my video for "Simone's Ghosts." We had nine authors on hand everyone sold books. It was a fabulous event all around.
Here goes . . .
I write novels. I've written screenplays, short stories, newsletters, business communications and articles. I'm not great at thank you notes. My sister is, but she doesn't know it. I'm not much for blogging. Don't have something to say worth reading everyday. But this is a blog and we'll see what turns up.