Archive for October, 2013

Contest: Tell me your your scariest paranormal experience.

Thursday, October 31st, 2013

A very Happy Halloween and Samhain to all my friends who celebrate. On Saturday I have the honor of attending an open Samhain ritual. I’m very excited.

Today I’m enjoying more favorite spooky movies. What’s up? The Shining, The Woman In Black, and The Haunting. Who knows, I might sneak in others before the day is over.

I thought I’d celebrate Halloween with a contest. Today I’m giving away one ebook copy of Asylum I: Shadows Wait to a commenter. Tell me your scariest paranormal experience and if it changed anything about your beliefs. I’ll pick one winner on November 1.

So share your experience and have a wonderful Halloween!

 

 

Marie D. Jones & The Paranormal & Exploring The Grid

Wednesday, October 30th, 2013

Today I’m honored to have Marie D. Jones as a guest on my blog. I also had the opportunity to interview Marie a few years back when I did the Author Unplugged show on Blog Talk Radio. Where do I start telling you about this multi-talented lady?

Marie is the author of “PSIence: How New Discoveries in Quantum Physics and New Science May Explain the Existence of Paranormal Phenomena,” “Destiny vs. Choice: The Scientific and Spiritual Evidence Behind Fate and Free Will,” “11:11 – The Time Prompt Phenomenon,” “The Déjà vu Enigma” and several other books. Her latest releases are “This Book Is From the Future: A Journey Through Portals, Relativity, Wormholes and Other Adventures in Time Travel” and “The Grid: Exploring the Hidden Infrastructure of Reality.” She has been on hundreds of radio shows and appeared on the History Channel’s “Nostradamus Effect” and “Ancient Aliens” television series. She is also a co-host on the popular Dreamland Radio show.

Marie is a staff writer for Intrepid Magazine and a regular contributor to New Dawn Magazine, Paranoia Magazine, and FATE Magazine. She has written and lectured widely about cutting edge science, the paranormal, Ufology, consciousness, Noetics, and metaphysics. Her essays and articles have appeared in dozens of books, anthologies and magazines, and she is the screenwriter of “19 Hz,” a paranormal thriller in development with Bruce Lucas Films. You can find her website at www.mariedjones.com.

Without delay get that cup of coffee and settle in while Marie tells us about Walking The Grid.

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“If the doors of perception were cleansed, everything would appear as it is – infinite.”  William Blake

All my life I’ve been asking the same question. What is reality?

Countless sages, scientists, philosophers and spiritual leaders have asked that question, so I am not alone by any means. Yet even with all the scientific and technological advancements we’ve made over the last 100 years, we still know little, if anything at all, about the true nature of reality.

But perhaps there have been clues available to this great mystery all along, right in front of us, hidden in plain sight. Clues that suggest an actual structure, or infrastructure, that is mirrored in the laws of science, spoken of in the holiest of religious texts, and evident in the construct of our own bodies, brains and minds. A structure that we exist within, and are a part of, and can even move about its many levels to perceive realities far beyond that of our mundane 3D existence. A structure that, once experienced, opens us up to amazing new potentialities, abilities and experiences we never imagined possible. A structure that science, spirituality and metaphysics alike recognizes, from the world of quantum physics and the Zero Point Field, to the various levels of consciousness and altered states of mind, to the layered worlds of shamans and medicine healers, the concept of The Grid is found everywhere and goes by many names and variations.

A little over six years ago, I was contacted via email by a guy named Larry Flaxman who had read my book “PSIence” about quantum physics and the paranormal. We emailed back and forth a bit, and thus a legendary friendship and partnership was born. Larry and I came together from across the country over a shared interest and passion for finding answers to the biggest questions of human existence. Who are we? How did we get here? Do we have a purpose? Are there other worlds than this one? We combined forces and began working together as partners in a venture called ParaExplorers, a play on words describing a “pair of explorers” journeying into the unknown territories of worlds seen and unseen.

We also wrote a bunch of books together that chronicled our interests in all things science, paranormal, anomalous and just plain strange, including the nature of numbers, how the human mind helps create and perceive reality, time travel, the code of creation found in the trinity, and a host of topics that have secured us as the modern day “Scully and Mulder” from the X-Files. Yet we felt that all the years we were working and writing were leading to something more cumulative, something more “grand” in scope, and we realized we needed to write a book about the one theory we most felt could bring together science, religion and metaphysics, and the paranormal, in a sort of “unified theory of everything.”

In our books “11:11- The Time Prompt Phenomenon,” “The Resonance Key: Exploring the Links Between Vibration, Consciousness and the Zero Point Grid,” “The Déjà vu Enigma:  A Journey Through the Anomalies of Mind, Memory and Time,” and “The Trinity Secret: The Power of Three and the Code of Creation,” we began introducing a theory they called “The Grid” that envisioned the infrastructure of reality as a grid-like edifice, with doors and windows that allow for traveling between levels of reality. We even presented the visual scenario of a skyscraper with multiple floors and elevators and stairways leading from floor to floor. These various “connectors” represent the mechanisms by which we may be experiencing The Grid and may, with practice, even strengthen our ability to walk the Grid and experience parallel universes, alternate dimensions and worlds beyond the confines of space and time as we know it.

This concept was so popular with readers, radio show hosts and listeners and attendees at conferences and events, that we felt compelled to expand upon it and create a more detailed and developed scenario of what reality actually may be, and how there are unseen levels that we normally have little or no access to…unless we find the door…the window…the stairwell. The elevators that connect the levels of what we call, The Grid.

All the years we spent researching The Grid, what it is, how it is accessed, and how we can learn to use The Grid to expand our awareness and empower our lives, we ourselves were having numerous “paranormal” experiences that proved to us how valid the concept was. Both of our fathers passed away within a few months of each other, and we both had a strange “knowing” that the other’s parent had died. Larry also lost his mom the same year and had many unusual experiences where he felt he was being contacted by his parents, despite his usual scientific and skeptical nature. I, too, have had way too many experiences and synchronicities in my life to deny the existence of a web of connectivity that we are all immersed in.

The Grid is a concept that, to us,  presents an intriguing and exciting possibility – that reality actually does have a form, a structure, a blueprint… with layer upon layer of interlocking and intersecting realities that allow glimpses and passages to other levels. Yet the Grid is also the entirety of this infrastructure, the whole entirety of creation, itself. Including us. We exist within The Grid, but are also The Grid itself.

Writing this book (our sixth non-fiction book together) has been a blast for us, because we got to combine our immense passion for the subject matter into a project that we feel is ongoing, because so many other researchers, writers and thinkers are out there working on similar theories. Our hope is that a book can begin a dialog, and we know that any book really is only in a sense one small part of a much bigger conversation.

Larry and I also realized, though, that one introductory book could only do and say so much, so we signed with a fiction publisher to write a novel that features the science and theories presented in the Grid non-fiction book. “Gridwalkers” will be released next fall and we are excited to be able to talk more about what we feel passionate about with readers who know that even in the telling of a story, there can emerge great truths. That is the beauty of fiction; that it allows us to go far beyond the scope of fact and law and limitation, and use our imaginations to wonder “what if?” Fiction can be more honest and actually more filled with fact than non-fiction, because it lacks the boundaries that non-fiction presents. Without fiction, science fiction in particular, many of today’s amazing achievements in science would have never happened, because they began as a spark of the imagination in the mind of someone who saw the limits, but was able to “think beyond them.” That is what we hope we have done, are doing, and will continue to do.

In order to really know who we are, why we are here and where we are going after this life is over, it helps to have some “basic” grasp of what reality is. And while nobody can prove anything yet, and laws of nature and science are always being challenged, even overturned, we hope our journey is one that many will relate to…and grow from.

We hope to make Gridwalkers out of everyone!

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Thank you Marie for being a guest on my blog today! Please stop by her website where you’ll find all the info. on how to purchase any of her books. I guarantee they are a fascinating read!

In The Spirit of Halloween: Treacherous Wishes

Saturday, October 26th, 2013

In the spirit of Halloween, I have another excerpt for you. In my romantic suspense Taggert Security Team books (Dangerous Intentions and Treacherous Wishes), there’s a bit of the paranormal here and there.  If you like your novels a mix of erotic, suspense, danger and the paranormal, you might love Treacherous Wishes. Dangerous Intentions is the first story, but both books can be read as stand alone. Enjoy this snippet!

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Just when you think the danger has passed…

Just when you’ve stopped looking over your shoulder…

Evil finds a way…

Tammy Carter lost her psychic abilities in the aftermath of tragedy. Now, years later, her power resurrects when evil returns to her town. Everything in her comfort zone is disintegrating, except for one thing—the searing attraction she feels for one man. The one man who might stand between her…and death.

Bodyguard Kyle Hawthorne doesn’t believe in the supernatural or in Tammy’s psychic gift, but when her life is threatened he’ll do anything to protect her. Professionalism requires a platonic relationship with his coworker at Taggert Security Team, yet the sizzling connection he feels for Tammy demands exploration every time he’s near her.

Tammy harbors lightning-hot fantasies about Kyle. Suddenly their sensual desires and emotional connections are too powerful to ignore, and as they seek to sate the long-denied sexual hunger, they spark a chain reaction of events that may bring them together, or allow the evil to consume them.

* *

Heavy, raspy breathing echoed in Tammy Carter’s ears. Fear slammed into her gut, wrenching her so hard that nausea boiled in her stomach.

She closed her eyes and tightened her grip on the telephone as the breathing on the other end continued. A flash of red filled her mind’s eye and she shuddered. She sank into the chair behind her desk. For years she’d feared the day the evil might return. She dreaded the inevitable when she would sense the malevolence that came once or twice in a lifetime. Now it came through the phone…reaching…reaching…

Oh, God. Not now.

Shades of blue and black mingled with the red behind her eyes, and she hoped the person on the other end of the line hadn’t already committed some horrible crime against an innocent person. Then scarlet came as a hot wave over her body…the fever of illness. Azure pierced like the cold, sharp sting of an icicle stabbing her arms. Black left a deep, hollow well in her stomach.

No. No! She didn’t want to see what the breather had done. Didn’t want to know. She opened her eyes, denying the ability that gave her this horrible insight. As the breathing on the end of the line continued, she jerked her connection away from the person on the other side. Fear mutated into fury.

Tammy clenched the telephone receiver until it felt as if the plastic might break. She gave the breather five more seconds to speak, then she cursed and slammed down the receiver. As she shook from reaction, her body suffused with a cold sweat. Perspiration formed on her forehead and upper lip, and she reached for a tissue box. Dabbing a tissue over her cheeks, she took deep breaths and the fear eased minute by minute.

Nice thing about these episodes. Quick to come, quick to go.

Calm settled over Tammy. Whatever animal had called had disconnected from her, and she didn’t want to worry about the creep anymore.

Must forget. Must let it go.

A sparkling tune about love flowed from the small radio tucked beneath the high counter of her desk. Yeah, right. She snapped off the radio.

What a fine way to end a day’s work. First, several folders had disappeared and it had taken half the day for her to deduce where the temp had filed them last week. The young, inexperienced woman had wreaked havoc in the office with her incompetence.

Tammy would have been happy if only one thing had gone wrong with the day. But a client had made a sexual harassment complaint against one of Taggert Security Team’s bodyguards that afternoon. Tammy had missed lunch, and two bodyguards on assignment had come down with the flu.

She never should have taken vacation for an entire week. Mrs. Taggert and several of the bodyguards had almost kissed her feet when she’d walked in the door that Monday morning. Sure, it was gratifying to be missed, but not when she found twice the work piled on her desk once she returned.

Hungry, tired, and downright hacked described her attitude to an inch. Mrs. Taggert might pay Tammy well as her personal administrative assistant, but today’s events had strained Tammy’s steel nerves to the limit.

The phone rang again.

The breather had called three times in ten minutes, and that last connection had about broken her. She hesitated.

She should say Taggert Security Team. She should take a deep breath and stay calm.

Screw it!

She picked up the phone on the third ring. “Listen you jerk, this is a business. Stop calling us!”

Silence on the other end shocked her. Finally the person spoke. “Tammy?”

She recognized the deep voice and a blush flooded her face. “Hawthorne? Damn it, I’m sorry.”

“Hey, babe, are you all right?”

His silky, husky voice sent a wild fluttering into her stomach. Tammy swallowed hard. Kyle Hawthorne might be the most handsome man she’d ever met, but that didn’t mean she needed to dissolve into gelatin at the sound of his voice. The jibes, barbs and teasing they’d traded for the last year meant nothing. Employees at Taggert Security leaned toward the wild side; their dangerous jobs made them less willing to follow convention. Hawthorne was no exception. He played the role of flirtatious, handsome charmer all the way. More than once friends of Tammy’s  speculated about his love life. But she tried not to imagine Hawthorne holding a woman in his arms. It gave her a headache.

“Tammy?” he said again, concern deepening his already low voice.

“Sorry. I…uh…I just thought you were someone else.”

He chuckled. “What’s the matter? Art forget to pick you up for a date?”

Leave it to Kyle to remember the one time Art Childress had forgotten a date with her. “He’s working tonight. We had to cancel.”

“Again?”

“What do you mean again? We’ve gotten together three times in two months. I’d say that’s a record.”

“If you were my woman, I’d make sure we got together several times a week.”

With impeccable timing, her heartbeat accelerated, and her mouth went dry. Babe? His woman? It sounded primitive. Some might say chauvinistic. Yet she knew this man too well to believe he meant any irreverence toward her. He believed in equality of the sexes. Tammy reminded herself that he didn’t mean anything and flirting came second nature to him. His woman indeed!

“Better watch out, Hawthorne. I could break your neck for saying something that suggestive and sexist.”

“Chauvinistic?”

“Don’t play dumb with me. Your woman? Hell, why not go all the way and call me wench?” His laugh soothed her skittish nerves. She sighed and rubbed the tight muscles in the back of her neck. “What are you doing calling the office at this hour?”

“What are you doing at the office at seven o’clock at night?”

Tammy fiddled with the small, brown plastic stegosaurus on her desk. “Answer my question first.”

“Burke still working on the Alexander case?”

The stegosaurus tipped over, and she let it lie on its side. She stared at its underbelly. “No. He went home an hour ago.  He thinks he’s coming down with the flu as well.”

“Great. At this rate Mrs. Taggert will have to quarantine the office.”

She groaned. “I don’t even want to think about it.”

“Okay, so why are you still at work and who did you think was calling?”

“Today was hellish and I got behind. And I thought you were the breather. He’s called three times in the last ten minutes. When the phone rang, I lost it.”

“Obscene phone calls? That’s a first at the agency. It must be your velvet voice.”

“Right, Hawthorne. My voice is about as sexy as an elephant sneezing.”

He laughed. “Did this creep say anything?”

“No. He wasn’t original enough. Just a lot of heavy panting.”

“Are you about ready to leave?”

“Just put away the last file. I need a cup of caffeine for the road.”

“Stay put. I’m almost there.”

“What?” She accidentally knocked the pencil cup over and writing instruments rolled across her desk.

“I’m calling on my cell. When I get there I can walk you to your car.”

“You don’t have to do that.” She hated the shaky, nervous quality in her voice. Tammy righted the pencil cup and started dropping pens and pencils into the brilliant red holder.

“I don’t have to. I want to. See you in a few minutes.”

Stunned, she kept the phone to her ear for a moment before she realized he’d hung up.  She slipped the receiver back into the cradle.

Staring at the pencil cup, she wondered if the breather had rattled her more than she wanted to admit. Tammy hadn’t experienced a wave of revulsion like the one she’d experienced with the breather in…well…a good long time. Hell, it had been such hard work to keep her ability under wraps. So hard.  For years she’d tucked away her psychic abilities, then six months ago she’d resurrected them for a case involving another bodyguard at the agency.  Then she’d stuffed them back in the little niche she reserved for things she didn’t want to think about. Why had her abilities reappeared now?

Memories ate at her, rearing their repulsive heads so that she recalled fifteen years ago with clarity.

Tammy closed her eyes and saw her older sister’s smile, her long, red hair so much like Tammy’s own. Then she saw her sister’s blue eyes staring at the sky as Barb floated in the family swimming pool, her life throttled out of her by a madman.

Shivering, Tammy pushed away the memory. She hadn’t thought about those horrific events for a long time.

The phone rang, and she jolted. It was probably Hawthorne saying he’d changed his mind about coming by the office. Good. She didn’t need the distraction.

“Taggert Security. May I help you?”

“I see you.”

The rough, guttural tone sounded like crunching gravel. Pure apprehension roiled inside her. Before Tammy could say a word or hang up, the voice came again.

“You can’t hide from me. You’re in my book of wishes.”

She felt it again.

Pure, unadulterated evil.

Tammy opened her mouth but nothing would come out. The red wave started at the corner of her vision and she closed her eyes. Red. The color of violence and pain and sometimes the hot, overwhelming tide of love and sex.

No. Please not again. I can’t do this again.

A hushed laugh echoed into her ear. “What’s the matter, Sweet Magnolia? Cat got your tongue? Well that’s no matter. I’ll have your tongue before long.”

She inhaled a sharp breath, revulsion sending a metallic taste to her mouth. She slammed down the receiver. Fear rocketed through her like a missile. Tammy rubbed her arms as goose bumps spread over her skin. Swiftly she turned on the answering machine. If the bastard called again she wouldn’t have to tolerate his vile comments. Her only salvation came in banishing these visions once and for all.

Coffee.

Coffee cured everything. When Tammy stood she held on to the desk while she regained equilibrium. The aftereffects of these strong visions mimicked illness, and all she needed now was for Hawthorne to arrive and find her collapsed on the floor.

She headed for the lounge at the back of the large office space. Her footfalls made a soft swish over the carpet, and the minute sound made her feel vulnerable. Once inside the lounge, she grabbed her mug and poured a cup of mocha java. She tried a sip. A little bitter from too many hours on the hot pad. No matter. She loved mocha java no matter what its condition. Tammy switched off the machine and distracted herself by cleaning the coffee pot and the counter.

Sighing, she thought about Hawthorne’s insistence that he stop by the office and walk her to her car. Earlier she wouldn’t have hesitated to enter the parking garage alone. After that slimy call, her knees had weakened. No, she’d feel more secure now that Hawthorne would arrive any minute.

Immediately she pushed aside a feeling of helplessness. She had never come close to being a weak, defenseless female in all her twenty-nine years.

Her fingers trembled as she put down her mug and rubbed her arms again. The turtleneck sweater dress couldn’t protect against the cold fright that skulked into the room and wrapped itself around her like a many- tentacled beast from a nightmare. Ice sank into her bones, digging deep like a dagger.

“Oh, God,” Tammy whispered.

For the umpteenth time a shudder ran through her. No. She had to think of something else. Something pleasant.

Kyle Hawthorne.

She didn’t even know whether to call him by his first name or his last anymore. For months she’d called him simply Hawthorne. She called all the bodyguards by their last names. But sometimes he became Kyle. Had become Kyle since that night six months ago when he’d suffered a bullet wound.

He might be a man of mystery, but Tammy had no intention of trying to decipher him. In the year he’d worked at the bodyguard agency, she’d seen his quick wit, his professionalism, and his cool, cocky side. He flirted and joked, but tonight she’d heard a difference in his voice. Or had she? Maybe the stress of the day had fried her brain.

For a second she got a vision of that famous commercial from the seventies.

“This is your brain. This is your brain on drugs,” she said out loud, then a made a sizzling noise. Tammy laughed weakly. “Yep. That’s me.”

But he’d called her babe. He’d never called her anything other than her first or last name before.

Although Edith Taggert, owner of the agency, didn’t have a stated policy on sexual harassment, Tammy had no compunction about trading witty repartee with the bodyguards. Flirting meant absolutely nothing. She knew that from long experience.

She wasn’t getting involved in a romantic relationship again for a good long time, if ever. Her track record proved she couldn’t trust her feelings in that arena. Tammy was engaged once, right out of college. Her lawyer boyfriend had discovered a beautiful brunette in the law firm suited him better.  Second only to that painful discovery had been her other attempts at relationships.

Too many times men had flirted and romanced her until she lost control and believed herself in love.  Each time she discovered the men not only didn’t love her, they wanted to use her. She’d given her affections to men who had no intentions of returning her love.

The phone rang again, but Tammy let the machine get it. From this distance she couldn’t hear the person leaving a message, and that was mighty fine with her. Let the bastard babble to a machine. Maybe he’d get off on talking to himself and leave her alone.

Less than two minutes later the phone rang again. Once more she ignored it.

Tammy thought of something that sent her heart into a rapid jig.

Was the front door to the office locked?

Putting her mug on the counter, she trotted out to the front area. When she reached her desk she saw the door unlocked. Damn! This might be a secure building, but Tammy never left it unlocked when alone in the office.

Before she reached the door a blast of scorching, vivid red blinded her and she stumbled back, falling to the floor and landing on her butt. Tammy gasped, startled by the force.

Whoever or whatever had called her had come into the building and was close. Too close.

Tammy struggled to unscramble her senses as another wave of scarlet splattered across her vision. Power flooded her system and she stood, legs wobbly and step uncertain. Fear surged through her veins like electricity, and she knew she must reach the door and lock it before the fiend with the blood red aura could arrive first.

Now. Go. Hurry.

The crimson retreated, draining away like the lifeblood of the dying. She closed her eyes and the burning sensation left her body. Relief made her almost as dizzy as the vision, and Tammy took another step. Must lock the door. The person may come back.

She stepped forward and had just touched the knob when the door came open.

Tammy jumped back, a startled yelp leaving her throat. Her heart slammed in her chest as her heel snagged on the carpet and she started to fall backwards. Before she could make another sound, the big man in the doorway leapt forward and caught her in his arms. He hauled her against his chest.

“Tammy?” Concern drew Hawthorne’s dark brows downward and his lips thinned into a frown.

“You,” she said, sighing in total relief.

No red. No colors at all. She never saw colors when she was around Hawthorne.

“Were you expecting someone else?”

“No,” she said weakly. “I was going to lock the door when you came busting in and scared the bejeebers out of me.”

“You’re trembling.” He tucked her a little closer and the heat of his body warmed her.

“I think the air conditioning was up a bit high. I…I got cold.”

Although stunned, Tammy couldn’t ignore the fact she pressed against his tall, rock hard body. The soft, denim shirt couldn’t hide the evidence of broad shoulders under her fingers.

She’d tried over the time she’d known him to disregard another disturbing realty; Kyle Hawthorne sent her libido into overdrive.

No, he’d never be model handsome, but perhaps that was what made him interesting. Most women found Hawthorne’s dangerous air mixed with a sharp sense of humor almost mouth-watering. His face had a mixed-up perfection that belonged in the movies. Dark and deep, his brown eyes could switch from amused to frosty in a heartbeat. His almost too long nose matched well with his uncompromising jaw. Cocoa brown hair was cut close enough to his head to be neat, but not quite military length. Tammy had a notion if he let it grow much longer the waves would go wild. Despite his looks, his face could turn hard and unforgiving. No one could ever call him boyish.

“Are you sure you’re okay?” he asked, his eyes narrowing.

His touch, his nearness had wiped away the terror of moments ago. “I feel good.”

As she gazed up into Hawthorne’s eyes and cursed the gods that gave some men long sexy lashes, she saw something change within him.

A sudden, shocking warmth ignited in his eyes and flickered into full flame. “You feel great.”

Her mouth dropped in surprise.  Was he flirting with her again?

Hawthorne’s mouth turned up in his trademark quirky smile. Between tender and hard, his mouth looked undeniably masculine. Suddenly Tammy was downright breathless.  His warm, spicy scent had teased and tantalized her many times before, but now she felt every inch of him, every nuance. Something had changed and it sent waves of heat straight to her toes. Lean without being skinny, big boned and perfectly muscled, Hawthorne looked capable of kicking anyone’s ass. His jeans slicked along narrow hips, tight butt, and long, powerful legs. Tammy licked her lips and swallowed hard as another fluttery sensation darted into her stomach.

I’m at Kate Hill’s Haunted Library! Meet me there!

Thursday, October 24th, 2013

Hey everyone! Today I’m at author Kate Hill’s Haunted Library! Stop by and say howdy and you could win a prize! My direct page on the site is here.

Be sure to look all around the library, though and check out the cool Haunted Library trailer. 🙂

 

Step Into The Darkness: Asylum III: Shadows Fall

Tuesday, October 22nd, 2013

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Not long after paranormal investigators started traveling to haunted asylums to check out the ghosts, I began writing a trilogy that deals with the darkness that resides in one such place. Today I’ve got a tidbit for you from the third book, Shadows Fall, which is set in contemporary times. (The first book was set in 1908 and the second in 1918.) The hero, a U.S. Marine who has left the service, doesn’t believe in the paranormal. In fact, he’s downright hostile about it. Until he encounters something that makes his disbelief wobble.

Asylum III: Shadows Fall

(Contemporary Paranormal Romance)

Present Day, Simple, Colorado

Evil is spreading beyond previous boundaries, beyond the horrors of the past. Only one man and one woman can stop it.

Melissa Allan realizes something is wrong one windy, violent day. People are getting their just deserts. Karma is piling on the punishment, even for small offenses or misunderstandings hardly worth a blink. Melissa, owner of the only new age store in Simple, realizes that the air is disturbed, and that the former asylum on the mountain has something to do with strange happenings around town. Sensitive to the paranormal, she helps those in Simple who feel the need for advice beyond the conventional. Forces in town who want things to stay the same are against her, and she knows it.

Ex-marine Roarke O’Bannion hasn’t seen a freak out like this since he was in war. A search for his missing mother brings him to Tranquil View Condominiums for answers. He’s not interested in the paranormal and thinks people who believe in it just need more medication. He thinks Melissa fed his mother’s belief in ghosts, and he plans on giving her a piece of his mind. Instead he finds a woman who challenges everything he’s believed in, and makes him burn with desire.

When Melissa is in danger, he discovers he’ll do anything to save her, and together they’ll battle the unseen until midnight comes or the evil seething inside Tranquil View consumes them all.

* *

Pete’s gaze danced around the room, checking every corner. “There’s something down here that shouldn’t be.”

“Vermin? They were supposed to take care of that months ago.”

“Hell no. This is a lot worse than rats or bugs.”

Roarke shook his head, tired of dealing with this obtuse character. He stepped by Pete and past the boxes in the center of the room. He glanced around and saw boxes upon boxes, some crates, and others cardboard. It was all junk that worked well to create a creepy atmosphere, but should go to charity or find its way into the garbage. His gaze snagged on something–a purse stuffed under the corner of an old table. The purse looked familiar, but he didn’t know why. Black leather. One of those fold over type without a strap. What did women call them? He leaned down, picked it up, and perused it. He wondered if one of the haunted house patrons had lost it down here, but it had dust on it, so that didn’t seem likely. He opened it. Empty.

When he turned to place the purse on a shelf, he noticed the boxes seemed closer, as if they would close in on him any minute. That tightness, the enclosed and trapped sensation rose higher. Maybe Pete felt it, too. What was it about this damned corner that sucked him in, made him want to come closer? It made no sense. Two small windows at the top of the east wall needed to be washed. Covered with grime worked for a haunted house.

Darkness swam around him as the lights Pete had fixed dimmed. Words floated in Roarke’s mind.

Oppression.

Death.

Fear.

Murder.

Hate. Hate. Hate.

Roarke turned. The electrician stood at the edge of the boxes, wide-eyed. “Feel it now, do you?”

“What?” Roarke said through dry lips and tight throat.

The man drew in a sharp breath. “This place ain’t right. I’m leaving here, and I’m not coming back. I might even quit my job.”

“Why the hell would you do that?”

Pete shook his head. “You never heard about this place because you didn’t grow up in Simple. I did.”

“Tranquil View? That it was an insane asylum?”

“Yeah.”

“So what?”

Pete shifted on his steel tipped shoes and reached down to close and lift a big tool box. “Place is infected. Infected.”

“Haunted?”

“Evil, man. You see, it doesn’t operate on things you can see and hear and touch. Least not in the physical world. Best you get out of here, too.” With that, the man turned and left.

Let him. Maybe the guy was close to retirement and about ready to lose his mind. Hell, even old Marines could lose their minds. Roarke suspected he might have left his somewhere upstairs. He stood immobile, challenged by this place and the feelings inside of it. Pete ran from it; Roarke never ran from anything. At least he hadn’t until he came to Tranquil View and this damn town. That he might even consider running pissed him the hell off.

Ghosts. Evil. Bullshit all of it.

A nagging thing itched in his mind. It poked and prodded and demanded he pay attention. Something didn’t work in here. It was foreign and yet it lived and breathed in here. It was alive. As Roarke remained still, he heard breathing all around him, and the lights dimmed another degree. The corners went darker. Like cotton, the room stuffed his mind and ears. Like molasses, the air felt thicker. It was stuffy, and soupy to breathe. The darkness encroached and swallowed and ate the walls. It made tracks toward him one inch at a time, finding a morsel to nibble upon. Like a lion stalking prey it mesmerized and dominated. From complete rationality to utter chaotic madness, Roarke saw and felt the room devouring him. Encircling. Hoping he wouldn’t move. He was a dumb animal. A lower form of life. He couldn’t escape.

Inside his mind he panicked. His body refused to move.

 

 

Paranormal & Humor: Marshall’s Law

Sunday, October 20th, 2013

Books are written during moods. What do I mean? Most authors will tell you that as the days and weeks go by they create through a gambit of moods. Everyday life will make a difference how your creativity flows and what your book sounds like.

When I wrote Marshall’s Law I must have been on a funny roll. At the base it is a romantic suspense with a hint of ridiculous paranormal. I’m not saying Marshall’s Law is a barrel of laughs. Certainly not romantic comedy as most would consider romantic comedy. One talent I definitely don’t have is creating humor on demand. It’s all accidental with me. So why there is more “funny” in this book is beyond me. There’s a hint of sarcastic and sassy in the hero and heroine and the chemistry they have together. Perhaps that made for the mix that gave the book a slight hint of snark.

Another thing most author’s encounter is the favorite scene. Yep. There are scenes you’ll write for a book that scream, “I love this! I’m proud of this.” Meet the snark, the humor, and the high sexual tension in this scene from Marshall’s Law. Warning, this is a saucy scene.

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If Dana Cummings was inclined to list the best ways to meet men, having one arrest her for burglary-during a tornado, no less-wouldn’t be in the top ten. Dating isn’t high on her agenda, period. She’s sworn to never again fall for know-it-all men with fiery gazes and devastating smiles.

Besides, she’s only in Wyoming to help her eccentric aunt find out if horny ghosts really do haunt the family bed. And hopefully bust a hellacious case of writer’s block. Extracurricular activity with a gruff, hunky lawman is off limits, even if he does fire her libido.

Witnessing too much of life’s seedy side led Brennan Marshall to live by three simple rules: work hard, play hard, and never fall for a sweet-faced female with a witty tongue and snappy comebacks. Especially the ones with a dollop of vulnerability-like Dana. But their razor-sharp sexual tension cuts right through his defenses and leads them on a dangerous journey.

One that will test the limits of their beliefs-and could cost their lives

* *

“What did Lucille tell you about these strange occurrences plaguing her?” he asked, leaning his arms on the desk.

“She called my mother a few weeks back. Mom said Aunt Lucille had this trembling voice, like she was scared. That’s not normal for Aunt Lucille. She bends under pressure but never gives in. She’s one tough lady. Anyway, Aunt Lucille said that she’d heard noises in the attic and in the basement. Especially the basement.”

“What kind of noises?”

Dana wished she hadn’t opened her mouth and mentioned the basement. “Uh…well…” She glanced up and saw he waited, twiddling his thumbs like he had all day. “You’re not going to believe this but—”

“Trust me, I’ve heard just about everything at least once.”

“Not this you haven’t.”

He tossed her a smile. “Humor me.”

“Okay. You asked for it. You know that big…uh…heart-shaped bed downstairs?”

“Yeah.”

“Well, she started hearing people having…” She squirmed in her chair and made a face.

“Go ahead. People what?”

“People having sex. She heard people having sex on the bed. But when she went downstairs there was no one there.”

Marshall never twitched. Yet Dana saw the suspicious twinkle in his eyes before he managed to smother it. Instead, he did something much more disturbing.

Rising from his chair, he came around the side of the desk and paced the broad area behind her chair. She craned around to watch him.

“What kind of sounds exactly?” he asked.

Her chair made an obnoxious protest as she turned it so she could observe his purposeful stride. Eight big steps one way, eight big steps back. Eight big steps one way, eight big steps back.

“I’m going to get hypnotized watching you do that. Would you mind taking a seat?”

He increased his pace. “I think better this way.” He came to an abrupt halt, leaned against the wall, cocked one booted foot across his ankle and hooked his thumbs in his belt loops.

She gulped. Good thing he wore that flannel shirt. If he’d stood there in that tight T-shirt—

“What kinds of sounds?” he asked, jerking her back to the real world.

She couldn’t say it. Come on, Dana. You aren’t a blushing teen talking to a boy in high school. Spit it out.

When she didn’t answer fast enough, he walked toward her and rested his hands on the arms of her chair. She leaned back, inhaling a quick, startled breath.

“What are you trying to hide from me? Maybe you know something about the sounds?” The query came filled with subtle, sensual nuances that caused his voice to vibrate in his chest and made her tingle in places that shouldn’t be tingling.

In defense she crossed her arms. “Of course I’m not hiding anything.” When he glared, she took the plunge and elaborated. “You have heard people having sex before, haven’t you, Marshall? Gasps. Sighs.” She shrugged. “Grunts. Moans. She said it’s like people having sex, and they never get to…you know.”

A thunderstorm seemed to build in his eyes, but not the kind that promised rage. The type that guaranteed sinful, daring pleasures. She’d never seen a man look at her this way. Predatory and intense all at once, ready to eat her alive. No mistaking that look.

His lips parted and she stared at his mouth.

“No, I don’t know,” he said. “Why don’t you tell me?”

A tiny, rebellious corner of her almost refused to speak. What could he do to her anyway? Spank her?

A hot blush swept into her face. Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy. Marshall’s devouring gaze cruised over her face. His attention landed on her lips.

Crazy arousal spiraled through her, and she leaned forward until they almost touched noses. Dana couldn’t remember the last time she’d felt so out of control and so turned on all at once. Hell, she’d never felt this way before. “These…these horny ghosts or whoever they are never get to finish—”

“Coming?”

Her entire body felt like it might go up in flames. Oh man! Why couldn’t he have said something like climaxing? Did he have to use a word that described the nitty gritty?

 

Scariest Books I’ve Ever Read

Friday, October 18th, 2013

Continuing the theme of Halloween thrills, I’m sharing with you some of my favorite scary novels/stories. I recommend them to everyone. They aren’t in any particular order.

The Taking by Dean Koontz

Darkfall by Dean Koontz

Night Watch by Dean Koontz

Intensity by Dean Koontz

Night Chills by Dean Koontz

Phantoms by Dean Koontz

We’ve Always Lived in The Castle by Shirley Jackson

The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson

The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty

Anything ever written by Edgar Allan Poe

It by Stephen King

The Shining by Stephen King

I’m sure I’m not remembering all my favorite scary stories. Share with me a few of yours!

 

 

Blackout. Get Ready To Be Scared.

Wednesday, October 16th, 2013

Okay. So I’m easily amused. At least during the Halloween season I spend quite a bit of time enjoying it. As I’ve mentioned before I enjoy my scary movies almost every day. I’m dyin’ because Netflix hasn’t gotten World War Z to me yet. I’ll just have to wait. In the spirit of spooking you, I’m giving you a scene from Blackout that I hope intrigues you. Blackout is a weird story. I totally admit it. It features a combination of things in a romance novel you don’t often see. Enjoy!

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The house at the end of the street has always been haunted. When a solar flare challenges the world to remain civilized, one man and one woman will face an evil lying in wait for all who dare enter…

Cassie Kovac has spent the last ten years rebuilding her life after witnessing her abusive husband commit suicide and surviving a tsunami. She’s vacationing in the high mountain town of Bowmount, Colorado when a solar flare takes out the grid. Fear tears apart the little community, and the only thing standing between her and certain disaster is a man with a cloudy past.

Ex-marine Neal “Griff” Griffin’s life is shadowed in darkness. He won’t talk about his mysterious past. His childhood was marred by the unspeakable, his life spent erasing things too horrible to dare remember. Until he sees Cassie, and primal male instincts to protect come to life. When the world goes to hell, he realizes he’d do anything to protect her.

When Cassie and Griff face the haunted house, they don’t expect the building to come alive with a personality all its own. Fighting against the unknown threatens to rip apart the fabric of their minds, and make their survival and new love one step closer to impossible.

* *

The lights cut out in the house and Griff stopped in surprise. Okay. Perhaps the new owners didn’t want anyone to know they were here. Didn’t matter. He needed a tow, and the only way he’d get it was to make a call.

He made his way onto the porch, flashlight in his right hand and weapon tucked into the back waistband of his jeans. Last thing he expected was to need the weapon, but after the weird feelings he’d experienced at this house before, he didn’t want to take chances. He’d hated leaving Cassie in the car, but he wanted her safe. Of the two places, he was damned sure the car would prove safest. Before he could knock on the door, it opened on its own. Hinges didn’t creek, and the welcome was wide as the door swung all the way open and touched the wall with a delicate thud. Wind. The weather must have moved the door—it couldn’t have been latched well.

He shone the flashlight inside. “Hello? Anyone in here? Our car broke down in front of your house. We need to use a phone. Our cells aren’t working.”

Silence.

His flashlight poured through the doorway, and he thought he’d see old furniture. Lamps. Maybe pictures on the wall. Or perhaps the place lay empty. The flashlight beam hit a wall of darkness it couldn’t penetrate.

“What the–”

A twig snapped behind him, and he jerked around, reaching into his back waistband for his weapon.

“Jesus!” He gasped as his flashlight showed him the culprit. “I told you to stay in the car.”

Cassie blinked in the flashlight’s glare. “I’m not a marine. I don’t take orders well.”

“I could have shot you.”

She arrived beside him on the porch as he turned back to the doorway. “Something told me not to let you go into the house alone.”

He drew in a deep breath and left irritation behind.

“The door was open?” she asked.

“Looks like it.”

“I saw someone in there before. The lights were on.”

“I know.” He turned the flashlight onto the door again. Darkness swallowed up the light.

“That isn’t…” Her voice hitched. He heard fear in the sound, in her inability to complete the sentence.

Snow blew into his face, wind pushing the flakes faster and faster. Curiosity mixed with fear settling in his stomach like a lead ball.

“Stay behind me,” he said, knowing she wouldn’t leave him and return to the car, even if he begged.

Cassie did as he asked, and he walked into the blackness. The perception of solid darkness retreated as he crossed the threshold. With one step and then two, he conquered the night. The flashlight cut through, showing him solid objects. A couch, two easy chairs, and a roll top desk sat in the living room. A big dark rug under the couch and the chairs looked as if rats had chewed on the ends. Old bookshelves held a few hardbacks and a small stack of magazines and newspapers. A must and dust smell hit his nose. The hardwood floor creaked underfoot. An old sliding glass door led out to the backyard. To the right was also a long hallway with three open doors. Beyond that lay a dead end. He saw an attic door, more a small square, in the ceiling at the end of the hall. He turned his light back to the living area and noticed the kitchen off the living room which looked like it hadn’t been updated since the nineteen seventies.

“Doesn’t look like there’s anyone here,” Cassie’s voice came out of the darkness.

“You saw someone here.”

“I did.”

She sounded confused, and he couldn’t blame her. “Could be someone needs help. Let’s keep going.”

She followed as he made his way through the small kitchen to an equally small dining room. The long wood table had a place setting on it, the flashlight revealing a filled glass of water.

“There is someone here, Griff.”

“Maybe.” They passed through the dining room to yet another living room. It was empty. He went to the single door against the wall. It was locked. “This must be the garage.”

“Hello?” Cassie asked as they stood in the entrance to the hallway. “Is anyone home?”

Silence.

“I haven’t seen one phone in here anywhere.” he said in frustration. “Did you?”

“No. Maybe they’re just using a cell. A lot of people do that now.”

He walked ahead and before he reached the end of the hallway, a huge crack sounded under his feet and he went straight down into darkness. He didn’t have time to cry out or curse as he fell into a dark hole and landed on his back in hard packed earth.

 

Paranormal? Why Do You Write That Stuff? Writing & Being Who You Are

Monday, October 14th, 2013

A conversation on my Facebook page about spooky movies inspired me to write this blog. I watched The Exorcist Saturday, which I always do during the month of October, along with every other spooky movie I own or can rent from Netflix. Halloween is my favorite holiday and October my favorite month. Inevitably when you talk about spooky movies there will be people who don’t like them because it freaks them out, and those who not only don’t like them but that don’t understand why you do. Not liking spooky movies is perfectly within a person’s rights, so I certainly don’t begrudge anyone not liking them. It’s when other people think I’m impaired because I do like them that I take issue with that.

You see, I don’t hold back on what interests me. I don’t deny what I like. If you’re a writer, or even if you aren’t, I don’t think you should hide what you enjoy in life either.

Occasionally when people realize I write spooky stuff as well as watch it on television and on the big screen, I sometimes get the same reaction. When they discover I write romance, along with natural disasters, serial killers, danger, adventure, cops, military and all the other stuff that gets mixed into many of my novels they get this look. You know that look, right?

It’s the expression that says, YOU???? YOU? They never would have thought that big of an imagination runs around in my head, because they also think you have to look a certain way and talk a certain way to be a writer…especially a romance writer. I look like a teacher, or so I’ve been told.

Once, in a land and time very far away, I was the writer I thought I should be, not the writer I really was. Deciding to write romance was even difficult at first, even though that’s what I wanted to do. Because God knows that romance is icky, right? People will blush and stammer when they hear you write romance. If it is erotic romance, which some people perceive as even more heinous than serial killers in a novel, there is an extra look.  I finally realized that the more I was willing to stand up straight, look people in the eye and tell them, “Yeah, I write romance. Historical, paranormal, contemporary, erotic, fantasy, you name it,” that they would back off on the judgmental attitude most of the time. Once you respect what you write, own what you write and acknowledge to yourself that it is grand…that’s when the respect from others starts to appear. Believe in what you write, don’t hide it, be proud of it. If it is truly you, there is no reason to be ashamed of it. Ever.

In my creativity coaching work I’ve encountered writers who are severely blocked. Why? The top two reasons? One, they perceive they have a lack of time, their inability to carve out me time that makes writing a top priority. Sometimes second to that they aren’t being who they are when the write. Being who you are requires writing those things that blow your skirt up. Not denying what charges your battery and makes you hungry to write. And I mean anything that makes you crave writing. If that means writing werewolves, angels, demons, any type of shape-shifter out there, any type of magical being, whatever…go for it.

But what if those things don’t ring your bell and tickle your tastes? I suggest you don’t write them. If it means you want to write inspirational romance, Amish romance, romantic suspense, historical settings that aren’t Regency, England….whatever it is… Do. It. Yeah, yeah, I hear that the market place demands you write what publishers are going to buy. But there is no guarantee that after you craft that finely honed, well-plotted, perfectly edited piece and send it to a publisher that they are going to want it.

What is the point, in the end, of writing stuff that you don’t care to write?

Think on that.

Interview: Shannon Sylvia, Paranormal Investigator, Cake Designer and Graphic Artist

Friday, October 11th, 2013

Please welcome Shannon Sylvia to my blog today. In this interview Shannon gives us the straight scoop on what it was like to be on Ghost Hunters International, her creative life as a graphic arts designer and cake designer.

Shannon hails from the Boston, MA area. She appeared on SyFy’s Ghost Hunters International as one of the six original investigators and has also appeared on A&E’s Paranormal State. She is currently an author, professional lecturer, ghost hunter all over the United States, graphic design agency owner and she owns and operates a cake shop named Shancakes. Her new book Paranormal Unwrapped is available in bookstores across the country. She co-authored the book with famed Occultist Katie Boyd. Click on the links here to order the book at Barnes and Noble and Amazon.

Shannon, you have a wide variety of interests. Cake making, graphic design and paranormal investigation. Do you find one is taking more of your time than the other?

Indeed! Shancakes, my retail cake shop is a full time job for me for the last two years. Oddly, when there are cakes in the oven I am in my office working on websites, logos and brochure designs. That too is a full time job for me and has allowed me to succeed 13 years being self- employed. I have not had time for much paranormal investigation; instead I’m doing a lot of behind the scenes with referrals and research. My cake business needs me seven days a week on my A-game.

You have many creative talents and interests outside of the paranormal realm. What is your opinion of the idea that creative personalities might be more in touch with inherent paranormal abilities?

I am definitely right-brained. From a young age I was into art, drawing and crafts and as an adult I ended up in Fine Arts courses in college, graduating with a B.S. in Communications/Media and a minor in Fine Art. It has definitely helped me with my businesses but I never thought about it being applied to the paranormal since I keep things factual and use equipment and data, etc. but there’s no doubt in my mind that creative people may be more empathetic and ‘open’ to experiences. I’ve seen it.

When did you first start having paranormal experiences?

For as long as I can remember, my house was very haunted growing up. My mother says things happened as early as three years old for me.

As someone who experienced paranormal activity in your own living space, what compelled you to start investigating? Or did the paranormal investigation start after you began investigating?

I never investigated the home I grew up in because I had no idea where to start, I left when I was 21 and books on how to ghost hunt weren’t widely available.  I went to my first haunted cemetery in 2001, photographed some amazing things and ran a tape recorder all night. I joined my first team in 2005 after they investigated the old school house I live in now. I went through the training and was actively involved in every investigation I could get my hands on. I was addicted! I was finally doing something I loved and it wasn’t all the rage back then so it was fun, drama-free and interesting.

Give us the straight scoop. Controversy about paranormal investigation shows runs rampant. When you were on GHI (Ghost Hunters International), did you find intrusion from the cameras a thorn in the side while you were trying to conduct a serious investigation?

Not at all, I knew what I was there to do and it was my job to investigate and forget they’re in your face. The only annoyance I had was the constant battery pack changes for our microphones and tape changes for the cameras so there was a lot of stop and go. Sometimes things were really getting good and we would hear, “Cut!” We all felt pressure if there wasn’t any obvious activity with our equipment because we really hoped every time that something incredible would happen on a case. Sometimes it did, sometimes it didn’t, just like any other case.

What was the best thing about being on GHI? The worst?

The best thing was the amazing locations I got to see and investigate, it was a dream come true. To be chosen from thousands to be part of the team, for once in my life I felt really lucky. It was exhaustive and not financially rewarding by any means but to know I was doing such an amazing thing for a great television show was mind-blowing. It changed my life.

The worst thing was the travel. We had one day off a week and most of the time I was so tired I didn’t want to get out of bed and explore the country we were in. A lot of times we were in such remote areas we were without Internet, access to a restaurant or in a comfortable bed. When you don’t have control over things like that like we do every day it reminds you of how much we take for granted. Homesickness was rampant. A four-week trip away from home, family and your creature comforts takes a toll on you.

What compelled you to write a book on paranormal investigation when there are so many books out there on the subject?

Katie Boyd called me one day and asked me if I’d co-write a book with her. I was elated. I have always enjoyed writing. I contemplated taking up English as a major in school but I’m not the type to become a teacher so I stuck with art. I really enjoyed writing with her. She’s a pro at writing books so she patiently guided me on how to set the chapters up and what I’d be responsible for writing along with her. The books already out there are different, most don’t give you the nitty-gritty and ins-and-outs of ghost hunting. We covered some of the negative aspects of being part of a team, faking evidence and drama that comes with being in such a competitive field. We have had a great response and received a five star review from a very well known blogger in the U.S.

How many paranormal investigations have you participated in?

Too many to count. In my first year on my first team I clocked 24 and after that I stopped counting. I am not one to brag about the hundreds of investigations I did, no one cares. I have a lifetime of reading books from every known author, experience growing up in several haunted homes and I perform lectures across the United States on various subjects. That means more to me than anything.

Which paranormal investigation rated as the scariest for you personally?

If I had to pick one, it would be Luccedio Abbey in Italy. Pulling up to the property gave me the strangest goose bumps I’ve ever experienced and I didn’t even like going to the ladies room alone. I felt ‘watched’ constantly and I could repeatedly feel hands on my arms. I could sense a massive presence standing next to me during filming and Barry Fitzgerald actually spoke out and said he could see it standing next to me. I almost died. So many things happened that night, I’ll never forget it. The stress of the long day of filming and being exposed to these events over and over broke me. I didn’t flee but I certainly had tears streaming down my cheeks.

What one thing would you like everyone to understand about paranormal investigations?

Trying to communicate with the dead is a very old tradition and very real. It’s not to be taken lightly, to be abused and certainly not ridiculed. We will all be dead someday and perhaps somebody will be trying to record us on tape or photographing us so we all need to treat the situation as if it was someone we loved or even us in that position. I see so much disrespect.

One of your great-grandfathers was an escape artist, tarot reader and psychic medium. Do you feel you’re psychic? Is anyone else in your family psychic?

I have had my share of psychic experiences in my life and a friend of mine is constantly pushing me to develop abilities but I will never ‘come out’ of the psychic closet. I’ll have fun with what happens, share my thoughts with people, continue to read my husband’s mind and freak him out here and there. My mother is the same way. She’ll never come out and tell anyone but I think she knows things. I have been told my grandfather watches over me, is very aware of my investigating and is proud that someone in the family loves it as much as he did.

What one piece of advice would you give any paranormal investigator, especially if they’re starting off brand spanking new with investigation?

Read my book, Paranormal Unwrapped!

* *

A huge thank you to Shannon for participating in the interview and being on my blog. Please check out her book!