Friday, September 30, 2011

Supernatural Friday: What Scares You?

What scares you? What is your Boogyman? Does something live beneath your bed or within your closet? Is some specter haunting your dreams, turning them into nightmares? We all have something that scares us, whether supernatural or from another world. Some scary movies we just can't watch. Some books freak us out more than anything else. What frightens you? Leave a comment, plus an email if you do nort have a Blogger profile showing your email, and I will pick a winner Monday morning, October 3rd, of a giveaway of the download of the short Lovecraftian horror story, "Dark Eyes," inlcuded in the print version of my collection of short horror stories, Spectre Nightmares and Visitations.

I'm sharing one of the stories from the book, teasing you with "What Happens in Chester, Vanishes." You'll need to purchase the book itself to read the rest of the stories included in it.

Book Blurb:
Many things scare us. But the most fearful things are those that infect our nightmares and visitations. Monsters from the closet or from another planet. Ghosts that haunt more than a house. Werewolves are not the only shapeshifters to beware of. Children can be taken from more than the human kind of monsters. Even normal things can be the start of a heart-pounding terror. Prepare to step beyond the door into Spectre Nightmares and Visitations.

Just tell yourself that they're only stories.

Enjoy the story:        

What Happens in Chester, Vanishes

Okay, that’s weird.

The people that had just been walking and driving their cars in Chester Village Green a few minutes ago had vanished. The beautiful Chester Library and the other buildings stood there silent and empty of life.

Of all the strange things that happened in my life, this one beat them all.

My cell phone! Of course.

I took it out and tried to make a call to my mother in Powathan. It didn't work. And I charged it up fully last night. Now it lay in my hand like a broken toy. Whatever infected Chester had done something to it, too. Upset, I stuck it back in her purse.

The silence felt so . . . unnerving. Nothing moved. Nothing made a sound. Not even a breeze. Nothing, except the noise my car made, loud in the unnatural stillness.

I felt pain from my arms and my hands. With a quick glance, I saw I was gripping the steering wheel so tight that the veins on the top of them popped up. Shoot, my skin gleamed ghost white. Another quick glance in the rearview mirror and I saw how pale my face was, too.

I decided to park the car. So many spaces to choose from, which one should I choose? A giggle rose up hysterically as I drew my car into one and turned the engine off. I couldn’t stop it.

“Oh, God, oh God, oh God,” I began to giggle, tears in my eyes.

The giggling passed, I let go of the steering wheel and just sat there staring out through the car window and unsure what to do next.

Do I get out? Was it safe to do so? Maybe I was asleep and this was all a nightmare.

No, I remembered waking up this morning and having a cup of coffee and some yogurt. I pinched myself just to be sure.


Guess this is not a dream, Marisa.

"What happened here?" I said, letting the sound of my own voice give me comfort. "Is everyone else gone in the rest of Chester? Does that include the rest of Richmond, or even Virginia itself? Is everyone on vacation, or something?"

Like someone would answer me.

It looked like I wouldn’t have to worry about being late for work at the library today. Most likely my supervisor didn’t make it to work today either. Apparently, no patrons neither.

Taking a deep breath, I got out of the car, leaving it unlock if I needed to get back in, and walked slowly up to the front glass doors. I found the doors opened easily and entered.

Okay, does that appear good or not? Why are you even entering the building, you idiot?

I swept my gaze around and found an empty circulation desk, a couple of books on it, one flipped open, along with another one lying under the scanner the library used to check books out. Another glance to my left caught other books lying on the floors or on tables, as if whoever had them had just dropped them, leaving them there like unwanted children. The silence bothered me. I began to imagine that the books were watching at me from their bookcases. Like they were saying, 'How dare you being the only human here?"

Nothing more for me here, I bolted out of the place and ignoring my car, ran down Center Street to Route 10. Same thing there, too. Chester had become a large-economy size version of one of those collectible heirloom villages sold in gift shops, only minus the people, animals and vehicles.

As I looked straight across the street at the Chester Fire Department, I saw that the bay doors stood wide open, bereft of the fire engines. All the buildings suddenly became ominous, like they waited to pounce on any unwary fools.

Fools like me.

I made for the nearby shopping center. It was foolish of me to even have checked it out. Nothing there like everywhere else, not even breeze-tossed scraps of papers flittering across the empty parking lot.

Deciding to be prudent, I headed back to where my car was parked. But like everything else in the madness it had vanished.

Maybe aliens came and took everyone away, like that episode in Twilight Zone.

Yeah, if it were that simple an explanation.

I trudged like a drunken sailor back up Center Street to Route 10.

I prayed. Whatever happened to Chester, please take me too. Being alone the rest of my life like this is something I don’t want to do.

I looked up at the cloud-filled sky above. "Look, I admit that I prayed last night before turning in that I'd like to be alone, with no one to bother me and all, but I was in a blue funk after a day of full of crazy patrons and a smart-mouthed supervisor." I began to cry. "I would love to hear Mrs. Tilt right now yelling at me in her usual nasty way. At least it would be another human being."

Wait. Was that a sound?

It came again. It came from Route 10. Like someone talking.

I ran on shaky legs and hoped that meant there another human besides me was in this god forsaken place. I dropped to my knees on the street when I found nothing but an empty street. I didn’t even notice the pain from my scraped knees. My mind had snapped at that moment.

I yelled, "Stop it, please stop it! If you're going to torture me, then just go ahead and kill me right now.”

I saw it then. Large and bright yellow, its siren screamed in protest as it barreled toward me. Instead of excitement, I found I didn’t care that this might mean I wasn’t alone anymore.

I jumped up and opened my arms, welcoming my death. Within a second it slammed into me. Pain lanced through me, as the bones in my body smashed, flesh tore and my brain splattered within my skull.


"I didn't see her until too late," cried the young firefighter. "Suddenly there she was, like a ghost appearing out of thin air. The woman stood there like a deer caught in our headlights. The worse part is I swear she held her arms open like a woman welcoming her lover back." Tears welled up in his blue eyes and streamed down his cheeks. He looked up from his kneeling position by the body at the chief who had been with him in the engine. They had been returning to the station. "I'll remember hitting her for the rest of my life."

Chief Thomas frowned as he realized the silence all around them. "Hey, where's everyone else?"

The other frowned, confused. "What?" He got to his feet and looked around. There was only him and Chief Thomas and the fire engine. No vehicles, no people gawking at the accident. Even the station was quiet like a tomb. The broken body of the woman had vanished, her smeared blood that had painted the cement gone. "Oh God, what's going on?"

Childish laughter filled the silence. Looking up, both men saw a gigantic child's face peering down at them. Another larger face of a woman appeared next to the child's.

"Dinner time, dear," said the woman’s face. "Then you can come back and play with your town. And please flush that nasty bloody body down the toilet, then wash your hands. Didn't Daddy tell you not to kill your playthings, or he won't get you any more toys from another dimension?"

Find it as an eBook at Genre Connections Unlike the print version, one story in not included in the eBook version. Find "Dark Eyes" HERE.
In trade paperback for only $7.50 at Genre Connections-Print and at AMAZON.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011


Would you have these gnomes on your lawn, especially as they're attacking and eating your flamingo ornament, too?

Monday, September 26, 2011

Love Ghost Stories?: Try Virginia's Haunted Historic Triangle

My new nonfiction ghost book release, Virginia's Haunted Historic Triangle: Williamsburg, Yorktown, Jamestown, and Other Haunted Locations, published by Schiffer Publishing, is perfect for that Halloween read.  It can be gotten at Schiffer Publishing, AMAZON,  Barnes and Noble (also can be found in their bookstores and ordered through them if not available there),  Walmart , Waterstones , Books A Million and at IndieBound.Org (check here for the nearest indie bookstore near you) . Plus many other online places and brick and motor bookstores, gift shops, and museum shops.

It's a trade paperback that has 192 pages with 121 color images. ISBN: 9780764337468

Take a step back into ghostly history as you tour Williamsburg, Yorktown, and Jamestown in the Historic Triangle. Visit Jamestown Island where Captain John Smith and the first English colonists settled. Stroll around Yorktown and follow the same footsteps of Thomas Jefferson and George Washington as they walked along Duke of Gloucester Street. Hear odd noises and see apparitions at the Peyton Randolph House, Cornwallis's Cave, Wells's Corner, Sherwood Forest, the Rosewell Plantation, and many, many other places. Be prepared to get to know the ghosts of this Historic Triangle and its surrounding areas. They're dying for you to read their stories.

Pamela K. Kinney

Be prepared to take a journey into Pamela K. Kinney's fantastic dreams of horror, science fiction and fantasy, plus the ghosts and legends of nonfiction ghost books, Haunted Richmond, Virginia, Haunted Virginia: Legends, Myths and True Tales, and Virginia's Haunted Historic Triangle: Williamsburg, Yorktown, Jamestown, and Other Haunted Locations.

From the chapter on "Creepy Crawford Road" (this does not include my experiences or the photos--buy the book to read whole chapter plus view the pictures)

"Searchers after horror haunt strange, far places."
H. P, Lovecraft

Crawford Road is in York County, though it also is in Newport News, too. Strangely enough, the spelling is different, depending on what area you live in.

There are assorted legends surrounding the bridge that crosses over Crawford Road. One of them talks that African Americans were hanged at the location. This particular legend goes on to say that an African American woman in a white dress has been seen standing on top of the bridge, right at the edge. Then, right before witnesses' eyes, she falls from it and vanishes just before making contact with the pavement. At other times, she halts in mid-air and begins to swing back and forth, as if hanging by a rope.

There are a couple of stories to explain some of these hauntings. One suggests that a young black bride fled her wedding and hanged herself from the bridge to escape an undesired fate of being married to a man she did not care for. Other suggested folklore mentions that she was hanged there because of her color. There is a story that a few black men were hanged from the bridge by the KKK for a Klan statement. I can tell you there is plenty of KKK graffiti scribbled on the bridge and on the road as you drive up to the bridge. Though I suspect that these are more the work of teenagers thinking it is funny, than as a KKK statement. African Americans' ghosts have been sighted. There have been reports of Civil War soldiers seen, too. Besides sightings, there are disembodied voices heard and strange knocking noises heard by some witnesses.

However, the strangest stories are those about people's vehicles that stop running as they approach the bridge. In many of these tales, those in the car have to get out and push past the "haunted" bridge. Not all cars need to be pushed, though. Some say that their car shifts into neutral and will roll some distance. Afterwards, the drivers get out and discover what looks like handprints all over the paint. Sometimes though, the motor refuses to start and the driver has to call a tow truck to come get them and their vehicle. Would you like to have a disabled car by the bridge at night, waiting until a tow truck finally comes? I wouldn't.

But these are not the only weird tales about this very area, or the bridge itself. A friend of mine had been told by a coworker that years ago a man had his car "carjacked" by a killer who forced him to take money from his cash flow teller somewhere in Newport News and then have him drive at gunpoint to the remote area of Crawford Road. Once they got there, the killer murdered the poor man and dumped his body at the bridge. Does his specter now haunt the bridge, too?

More bizarre stories center on a building off in the woods nearby. Before you come to the bridge, there's a fenced-off road that actually heads back into a clearing. An abandoned building with no doors stands in the clearing. Suddenly, red eyes may appear in one of the open doorways and watch you. When you draw closer to the building, the red eyes vanish. An eerie feeling of something watching has overtaken those who do enter the place. There are claims of some film that caught a shadow moving along the walls (always in the shape of a tall male creeping along). But I have never found any evidence of any such film, even on YouTube. There have also been reports of people feeling like they have had their feet stepped on, voices whispering, and something touching the middle of their backs. Both during the daytime and at night when my husband and I were there, I never attempted to find this building. I couldn't be sure that I wouldn't be trespassing.

Other scary tales tell of a strange black truck that appears and begins to give chase. It looks like it's about to catch up with the back of the vehicle it is pursuing when it disappears. Someone emailed me to tell me his scary experience with a truck that happened on March 14, 2010. He has asked to remain anonymous.

He had been driving with someone else along Crawford Road and said they never ran into any other vehicle. Just as they drove beneath the bridge it seemed that out of nowhere a truck appeared right behind them with his high beams on. The truck began to flash its head lights. Suddenly, the headlights went off. The truck had vanished. Though scared, they turned around and headed back where they had come from, but never found the truck.

Another creepy tale concerns a couple of young men who drove down the road one night. They had just gone beneath the bridge when it sounded like they had run over something on the cement. They pulled over to the side of the road and went back to check to see if they had indeed run over some poor animal or something else. They found nothing. So they climbed back into the car and proceeded away from the bridge. That's when things got freaky. The windows fogged up, and the next thing they saw were handprints making their way up the windows from the outside. When the handprints reached the top of the windshield, they heard a loud thud from the roof of the car, as if something was trying to get in through the roof. The thudding noise stopped and then they heard a smearing noise and the back window looked like someone had fallen off the top of the car and slid down the window. Another bump resounded on the top of the trunk and then they heard the sound again hit the road behind them. Scared, they turned off the motor, got out and checked to see what it could have been. Once again, of course, there was nothing. Could this be a residue reenactment of the murder victim that my friend learned about?

Was that enough of an experience for them to not drive down Crawford Road at night? No. They had been driving around a few years later, listening to a CD they had burnt, and turned onto Crawford Road. Everything was fine until they reached the bridge. When they slipped under it, a high-pitched squealing issued from the track they were listening to on the CD. The noise lasted for about ten seconds until they drove well away from the bridge. What freaked them out was the CD had been fine all—until they approached the bridge. Later on, they also discovered that the noise had been forever imprinted on that particular track.

More legends that concern the haunted area are that something appears out of nowhere in front of a moving car and drivers served to avoid it. They stop the vehicle and get out, but find nothing. Of course, a deer can quickly leap out of the wood and bolt across the road to disappear into the brush on the other side, or even an owl or a bat could fly across the road. That story might be easily explained away . . . except when you are there at night, the creepiness of the area makes you doubt the logical reasons.

There have been paranormal groups that have investigated this area. They have gotten EVPs and photographs, too. Have any ever figured out the truth? Not as far as I have seen.

Another person who commented on my blog had said that she had lived in Newport News for a couple of years before moving back to Southampton County. Her boyfriend and she had visited Crawford Road, aka Crybaby Bridge, a few times. In one photograph they had taken, they noticed later a smoky figure of what looked to be a woman in a long dress. They also once caught sight of headlights from some vehicle. The headlights dissipated.

Another witness had gone there one time with her husband to check out if the stories were true. She did get some orbs in her pictures. Nothing else though happened.

Patty Ceran went there during April 2008 with her husband, Dean. They drove under the bridge and kept going. After driving a few minutes and the road not coming out anywhere she told Dean to turn around so they could go back the way the other way. After crossing underneath the overpass again, she made him stop so she could take some pictures. In her first photo, she got a bright white light. She was in front of the bridge and standing beside the car and there was no one else on the road either way. She wondered where the light came from.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Join Me at Monster Fest in Chesapeake, Virginia This Upcoming Saturday

Catch me at Monster Fest 2011 on Saturday, October 1st 9AM to 5PM. The address is Chesapeake Central Library 298 Cedar Road Chesapeake, VA 23322 For directions call the library: (757) 410-7120.

Definitely, I'll be selling and signing my books (both as myself and under my pseudonym, Sapphire Phelan) at my table there, plus doing two panels, too.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Supernatural Friday: Ghosts

Fall is here and with autumn and October only a week away, that means Halloween will soon be here. With Halloween for many people comes the thought of ghosts. Though with reality shows like Ghost Hunters and paranormal groups popping up more and more everyday, phantoms are thought of the rest of the year too.

What are spirits? Where did the words come from?

In traditional belief, a ghost is the soul of a deceased person or animal that can appear, in visible form or other manifestations, to the living. Descriptions of the apparition of ghosts vary widely: The mode of manifestation in photos or seen by the living’s eyes can range from an invisible presence, shadow people, translucent or wispy shapes, and orbs, to realistic, life-like visions—solids. The deliberate attempt to contact the spirit of a deceased person is known as a séance. Paranormal investigators use equipment to find proof of paranormal activity and to make contact with phantoms.

The belief in manifestations of the spirits of the dead is widespread, dating back to animism or ancestor worship in pre-literate cultures. Certain religious practices—funeral rites, exorcisms, and some practices of spiritualism and ritual magic—are specifically designed to appease the spirits of the dead. Ghosts are generally described as solitary essences that haunt particular locations, objects, or people they were associated with in life, though stories of phantom armies, ghost trains, phantom ships, and even ghost animals have also been recounted.

The English word ghost continues Old English gást, from a hypothetical Common Germanic *gaistaz. It is common to West Germanic, but lacking in North and East Germanic.The pre-Germanic form was *ghoisdo-s, apparently from a root denoting "fury, anger" reflected in Old Norse geisa "to rage." The Germanic word is recorded as masculine only, but likely continues a neuter s-stem. The original meaning of the Germanic word would  have been an animating principle of the mind, in particular capable of excitation and fury. In Germanic paganism, "Germanic Mercury," and the later Odin, was at the same time the conductor of the dead and the "lord of fury" leading the Wild Hunt.

Besides denoting the human spirit or soul, both of the living and the deceased, the Old English word is used as a synonym of Latin spiritus, also meaning of "breath, blast" from the 9th century attestations. It also denoted any good or evil spirit, like angels and demons. The Anglo-Saxon gospel refers to the demonic possession of Matthew 12:43 as se unclæna gast. Also from the Old English period, the word might also meant the spirit of God: the "Holy Ghost."

The synonym spook is a Dutch loanword, akin to Low German spôk. It entered the English language via the United States in the 19th century. Alternative modern words included spectre (from Latin spectrum), the Scottish wraith (of obscure origin), phantom (via French ultimately from Greek phantasma, compare fantasy) and apparition. The term shade in classical mythology translates Greek σκιά, or Latin umbra- in reference to the notion of spirits in the Greek underworld. And "haint" is a synonym for ghost used in regional English of the southern United States, and the "haint tale" is a common feature of southern oral and literary tradition. As for  poltergeist, that is the term for a German word, literally a "noisy ghost," for a spirit said to manifest itself by invisibly moving and influencing objects. 

Wraith is a Scottish dialectal word for "ghost, spectre, and apparition." It came to be used in Scottish Romanticist literature, and acquired the more general or figurative sense of "portent, omen." In 18th- to 19th-century Scottish literature, it was also applied to aquatic spirits.

A revenant is a deceased person returning from the dead to haunt the living, either as a disembodied ghost or alternatively as an animated ("undead") corpse. Also related is the concept of a fetch, the visible ghost or spirit of a person yet alive.

Another widespread belief concerning ghosts is that they are composed of a misty, airy, or subtle material. Early beliefs were that ghosts were the person within the person (the person's spirit), most noticeable in ancient cultures as a person's breath, which upon exhaling in colder climates appears visibly as a white mist. This belief may have also fostered the metaphorical meaning of "breath" in certain languages, such as the Latin spiritus and the Greek pneuma, which by analogy became extended to mean the soul. In the Bible, God is depicted as animating Adam with a breath.

In many tales, ghosts were often thought to be deceased people looking for vengeance, or imprisoned on earth for bad things they did during life. The appearance of a ghost has often been regarded as an omen or portent of death. Seeing one's own ghostly double or "fetch" is a related omen of death.

White ladies were reported to appear in many rural areas, and supposed to have died tragically or suffered trauma in life. White Lady legends are found around the world. Common to many of them is the theme of losing or being betrayed by a husband or fiancé. They are often associated with an individual family line, as a harbinger of death. When one of these ghosts is seen it indicates that someone in the family is going to die, similar to a banshee.

The stories of ghost ships have existed since the 18th century. The most notable of these is the Flying Dutchman.
Ghosts can also be angels and demons. In some paranormal circles it is believe that demons are non-human, while other spirits who did terrible things (like murder) but human and passed on without benefit of being forgiven, are not.

Whatever we call them, apparitions are  among us, unseen and sometimes seen. Are they proof that there is existence beyond death, or something else? Who or what they may be, they do add to the flavor of autumn, and most of all, Halloween.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011


Today's Weird Wednesday photo is one I took at Henricus Historical Park. This goat did a peekaboo at me.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Join Me & Fellow Authors at Tailgate Party/Book Signing October 15th in Keswick, Virginia

Ahhhh, the smell of the earth with new fallen leaves, spiced pumpkin bread and warmed apple cider in the air, a crispness not found any other time of the year…

So it must be Fall Tailgate season, and what would a tailgate party be without a booksigning to go along with it? A group of lovely writers are plotting something a bit different. Come and enjoy the fall scenery, have a cuppa, enjoy antiquing at the BEST antique shop ever, and come talk books, publishing, and maybe buy a book, from one of a host of lovely Virginia writers!

It all happens October 15th, from 10 AM to 2 PM (hoping for a cool, crisp CLEAR day.) We are being hosted by A&W Collectables and Antiques located at 3714 Richmond Rd, Keswick, Virginia. It should be a lot of fun! All of the writers are just the warmest, most approachable group of fine folks you’d ever care to meet, so come on out and enjoy the day with us!

Featured Author Bios:

Anita Clenney grew up an avid reader, devouring Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys books before moving on to mysteries and romance. After working as a secretary, a Realtor, teacher’s assistant, booking agent for Aztec Fire Dancers, and a brief stint in a pickle factory (picture Lucy and Ethel--lasted half a day)…she realized she'd missed the fork in the road that led to her destiny.

Now she spends her days writing mysteries and paranormal romantic suspense about Secret Warriors, Ancient Evil and Destined Love. Anita’s last novel Awaken the Highland Warrior reached the #1 slot at Amazon for best Time Travel, #1 for Fantasy and Futuristic Romance, and #23 for ALL Romance and #12 for ALL Fantasy and Futuristic.

Anita lives in suburban Virginia, outside Washington DC, with her husband and two kids. You can learn more about her writing at

Nancy Naigle writes love stories from the crossroad...of small town and suspense.

Living on the cutting edge of technology in her day job in the banking industry for many years, Nancy spends each night creating make-believe small town worlds filled with hope, heart, and suspense. She hopes readers will accept her invitation to visit Adams Grove and will grow to care about the residents as much as she does.
SWEET TEA AND SECRETS was released earlier this year.

Aside from writing Nancy enjoys treasure-hunting in antique shoppes, and getting crafty no matter what the medium from painting and digitizing embroidery designs, to weaving pine needle baskets.

A Virginia native, she and her husband of 16 years moved inland to quiet Southampton County. They live on a working goat farm with their two labs and more kids (the four-legged kind) than they keep count of, where they are living out their own small town love story.
Nancy’s second book in the Adams Grove series, Out of Focus, will be out in November.

Nancy is the “International Thriller Writers Debut Author” for 2011/2012. For more details visit,

Leah St.James’s passion for the written word began with a love of reading. As a child, she spent most of her free time tucked away in a quiet corner with a mystery or suspense novel in hand, devouring the pages until her eyes burned with fatigue. Eventually that joy of reading turned to writing, first simple poetry, then newsletters and articles, and finally, as a mother of a growing family, to fiction.

Her love of a good romance goes way back too, and some element of a love story finds its way into most of her stories. Over the years, though, that focus has shifted from simple romance to an exploration of the deepest of human emotions—love and hate, bravery and cowardice, joy and despair—and how we, as human beings, relate to each other. Her greatest hope is to touch her readers' hearts, to give them something to ponder and question, and to express the redeeming power of love.

Married with two grown sons, Leah is a native of the beautiful Central Jersey Shore but now enjoys the peace and quiet of Virginia's Hampton Roads.
Visit Leah at

Pamela K. Kinney is a published author of horror, science fiction, fantasy, and poetry, along with nonfiction ghost books published by Schiffer Publishing. Her first two ghost books were nominated for the Library of Virginia Award. Her third one, Virginia’s Haunted Historic Triangle, was just released July 2011.

Under the pseudonym, Sapphire Phelan, she writes erotic and sweet paranormal/fantasy/science fiction romance. One of these, Being Familiar With a Witch, is a Prism Awards 2010 winner and a EPIC awards finalist 2010—and it’s an eBook, too! The sequel was released June 2011.
She admits she can always be found at her desk and on her computer, writing. And yes, the house, husband, and even the cats sometimes suffer for it!

Find out more about her at: and at for Sapphire Phelan.

Born and raised in the San Joaquin Valley of California,
Barbara Stremikis began kindergarten the year her sister left for college. With no nearby neighbors, she spent her time pursuing interests in writing, music, and the creative arts. She taught elementary school in the San Francisco Bay Area, Career Development with the Hawaii JOBS program, and Psych 101 in Indianapolis. Her academic accomplishments include a Master's Degree in Music and a Ph.D. in Psychology. She began a novel, about a San Franciso psychologist, while waiting for her committee to approve her dissertation. Barbara and her husband live in Virginia with their two rescue dogs, a Siberian husky and a black Lab mix. You can visit Barbara at:

Grace Greene writes fiction with romance, suspense, inspiration, and always with a strong heroine at its heart. Vivid settings and quirky secondary characters round out the stories and there’s a happily-ever-after-ending—most of the time.

Grace is also an artist and photographer. She is drawn to houses and landscapes that ooze character and is fascinated by history and human nature. When she’s writing, all of these interests show up on the page.

BEACH RENTAL is her debut release. Her next novel, KINCAID’S HOPE, is scheduled for release in January 2012. In KINCAID’S HOPE, Beth Kincaid finds that swearing off the Kincaid temper and creating the perfect life free from untidy emotionalism has its own dangers and can even get you killed.

A Virginia native, Grace lives in central Virginia. Stay current with Grace’s releases and appearances at

Sofie Couch, a native of Keswick, is raising a “para normal young adults” and writing in the same genre!

Her latest release, ANGELS UNAWARES, is the first in a three book young adult paranormal series. She was a Linda Howard Award of Excellence Finalist for her novel, CYBER BRIDE, written under her real name, Annette Couch-Jareb.
While her ventures have often taken her far and wide, she has always found herself drawn to return to her home in Keswick. There, in addition to homeschooling her “para normal young adults”, she tends to a flock of chickens, gardens, (with enthusiasm, if not great success,) and visits the muses with a Great Pyrenees mountain dog at her feet, who has a good heart and bad hips. She often takes weekend breaks from the fictive characters in her head to socialize with lovely, non-fictive people at her family’s, local antique shop, A&W Collectables and Antiques.

Sofie blogs away at and her latest book trailer can be found on under “Sofie Couch”. (That’s SoFie – with an “f”.)

Mary Montague Sikes, Author and Artist
From her first visit to the Caribbean, award-winning author Mary Montague Sikes has been enchanted with the islands. Her love of the tropics inspired her to set her first novel, Hearts Across Forever, in Jamaica. Her latest novel, Jungle Jeopardy, is a sequel to Secrets by the Sea and features adventures among the lost ruins of the Maya in Central America.

Because of Sikes’ fascination with exotic destinations, her publisher, Oak Tree Books, created “The Passenger to Paradise” series for her books. Sikes plans future novels set in the Bahamas, Costa Rica, Sint Maarten, and Guadeloupe. All will feature unusual and sometimes dangerous adventures she actually experienced on trips to these islands.

Her next book, A Rainbow for Christmas, is a young adult novel that tells the story of the wagon train journey of a young woman traveling with her young niece across the plains from St. Louis to Denver.

A Fredericksburg, Virginia native, Sikes is a graduate of the University of Mary Washington with a Bachelor’s degree in psychology. Following her love of art, she studied painting and sculpture at the College of William and Mary and earned a MFA in painting from Virginia Commonwealth University. Her art is now on view at Petersburg Regional Art Center in Petersburg, at Prince George Art and Frame in Williamsburg, at Tides Inn in Irvington, and at Glen Allen Cultural Art Center in Glen Allen.

A freelance writer and photographer as well as book author, Sikes presents programs for art, writing, and civic organizations. For the past 12 years, she has taught art at West Point Elementary School. For more information on Sikes, her books and art, please visit

Friday, September 16, 2011

Supernatural Friday: There Be Vampires in Virginia!

I write fiction, but I also write nonfiction ghost books. My third one is Virginia’s Haunted Historic Triangle: Williamsburg, Yorktown, Jamestown, and Other Haunted Locations. My books have more than ghosts or ghostly myths and legends, as Virginia is also rich in tales about werewolves, Sasquatch, UFOs, and much more. There are even vampire stories. For my first book, Haunted Richmond, Virginia, I discovered a vampire in Richmond. He even has a Facebook Page .

On October 2, 1925 the railroad dug the Church Hill railroad tunnel. After three o’clock in the afternoon, a worker, Campbell heard a brick fall, then another and another, then a terrible crackling noise sounded along the tunnel roof and he dashed for safety. The roof crashed down behind him. The combined sounds of earth, bricks, timber, and the screams of trapped men were loud and horrifying. Lights in the tunnel flickered and went out, and crew members and laborers rushed for the exits. Some made out of the western entrance, which was only a few hundred yards away, but the others scrambled for the eastern one, nearly a mile away. Engineer Mason became trapped in the cab. Fireman B. F. Mosby managed to crawl underneath ten flat cars and escaped the tunnel, only to die that night from burns he received from the steam of the locomotive. It is said it is undetermined how many actually perished in the tunnel. Today, one of the two sealed entrances is at the end of the former Richmond Cold Storage, now being rebuilt into apartments.

Besides the ghost stories connected to this horrible tragedy, is the legend of the Richmond Vampire that has the vampire as some strange creature that had dug its way out of the Church Hill train tunnel cave-in and was found over a victim, his mouth covered in blood. He had jagged teeth, plus decomposing skin hanging off his arms and legs. The creature took off and ran all then way to Hollywood Cemetery, followed by pursuers, where he hid in a crypt marked W.W. Poole. This is obviously an urban legend, with a basis in fact. The creature was in reality a fireman, Benjamin F. Mosby, burned almost beyond recognition. He had been rushed to Grace Hospital, dying 24 hours later. An interesting offshoot from this was the saying that going to Hollywood meant you were dying.

Not the only vampire connected with Virginia, when I wrote Haunted Virginia: Legends,Myths and True Tales I found Poole to be not the only vampire in Virginia. I discovered stories of bodies resurrected from their graves by grave robbers in Northern Virginia; one of them had two ridges around the wrist of each arm—speculation said vampire. Another story concerned Sir Thomas Lunsford had been accused of being a child eater back in England. Of course, when he came to the New Country, he lived a quiet life until his death in Port Royal. The last vampire I believed was real—as a serial killer. A European named Rupp moved to Big Stone Gap in the 1890s. It was determined he was killing and eating those who had disappeared by finding body parts in his cabin. He was never caught, but is said to haunt the area.

Whether real or made up, vampires stalk Virginia. Besides the cardinal as a state bird and dogwood as state flower and tree, maybe we need a state vampire? Don’t you think the Richmond Vampire would make a great candidate?

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Friday, September 09, 2011

Supernatural Friday: Ghostly Stories of Rosewell Plantation in Gloucester, Virginia

Writing my nonfiction ghost books enables me not only to visit many great historical museums and attractions, but to learn about their ghost stories. Below is an excerpt from the Rosewell Plantation chapter of my new release,Virginia's Haunted Historic Triangle: Williamsburg, Yorktown, Jamestown, and Other Haunted Locations . I am only telling other people's experiences or the ghostly legends for this excerpt. If you want to learn happened to me, you'll need to get book for yourself.

Take a step back into ghostly history as you tour Williamsburg, Yorktown, and Jamestown in the Historic Triangle. Visit Jamestown Island where Captain John Smith and the first English colonists settled. Stroll around Yorktown and follow the same footsteps of Thomas Jefferson and George Washington as they walked along Duke of Gloucester Street. Hear odd noises and see apparitions at the Peyton Randolph House, Cornwallis's Cave, Wells's Corner, Sherwood Forest, the Rosewell Plantation, and many, many other places. Be prepared to get to know the ghosts of this Historic Triangle and its surrounding areas. They're dying for you to read their stories.

Many of the supernatural accounts of Rosewell were not as romantic. Music (like from a harpsichord) is heard playing, guests are seen descending down invisible stairs, boys with lanterns stand where doorways once were, and a woman in a red cloak rushes into a rose garden. Also reported are drops in temperature by a good fifteen degrees or more and strange noises. Some of the phenomena are sounds that seem like slaves coming in from the fields. One young woman reported hearing strange noises on the back trails and came back to the plantation quickly. Later she tried to say that maybe it had been animals.  

Find the book at some of these places:  Schiffer Publishing , Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Books A Million, Walmart, and your local independent bookstore (to find one near you, go here: Indiebound ).

There are stories that tell of a young woman observed walking down the front steps every night, only to vanish. One of the eeriest tales is of a couple who found their exit blocked by a car with 1930s plates. They also saw a pale woman peering through the back window.

For one witness, Patty Ceran and her family, nothing out of the ordinary happened when they visited Rosewell, except for some noises coming from the basement when they peered into it. They never could explain the sounds.

Another encounter happened to a young woman and some of her friends at the ruins late one night. They didn’t trespass on the property, but stayed on the gravel road that led up to the gates. They left the place in a panic when they heard voices and what they thought sounded like horses trotting down the drive.

Someone else had taken her kids to the place to learn about history. Her eldest child walked back into the woods to go find where the old ice cellar had been. The girl hung around the back of the cellar when she heard the sound of horses and gravel "churning." Her mother, her siblings, and she were the only people there that day . . . at least, the only “living” visitors!

Back in the late 1970s, three teenagers drove in a truck to Rosewell one night to check the place out because of the ghost stories. They parked in front of the mansion, maybe about a hundred feet or so from the front steps. The night was pitch black, with no moon. As their eyes adjusted to the darkness, they noticed two red lights in front of them. They thought that maybe they were the taillights of a car parked in front of them, but that had to be impossible as they were alone there. Finally two of the three decided that it had to be a car and that obviously they weren’t alone. Someone else had parked there too, and they just missed it driving up.

Then the lights began to levitate. Astonished, they asked each other if what they were seeing actually was happening. They asked the third person, but he never answered them. They began to wonder if someone was fooling with them. After all, how could a light climb as high as a tree limb? They thought maybe it could be a boat on the York River since the river was in that general direction behind Rosewell Mansion. But the river was too far away from the mansion. Besides, the vegetation and forest would obscure the view. More lights appeared and they darted around the tree limbs in front of the mansion stairs. They enjoyed it, when all of sudden their friend, who hadn’t said a word, started the pickup truck and threw it into reverse. He drove through a cornfield, with the other two bouncing around in the bed of the truck.

To this day, the third friend claims he saw nothing, but the others know better. He saw something more than lights that they saw that night. What it was, he won’t say.

Another witness told of hearing someone going up and down the steps. Yet, she saw no one! Another person who lives in Gloucester mentioned visiting Rosewell one time at night. He and his friends like to go out there to do a bit of paranormal investigating. There were four of them at the time; two guys and two girls, all with their own flashlights. The guys went in the cellar first and then the girls walked in after them. All the flashlights dimmed, and one of the other guys freaked out, saying he saw a guy standing on each side of them. The witness admitted that it felt as if they were being escorted. He has never gone back after that time. He also mentioned that if you go over by the ice hole and look at the mansion, it looks like a man is sitting on one of the ledges.

There have been other paranormal investigators at Rosewell, mainly at night. I watched one group’s video, but to me, except for one orb, the rest looked like rain drops.

Those who work at the place do offer some explanations that debunk some of the ghost stories. Such as the evidence that rats were found living in the walls when the ruins were excavated. And of the one couple that claimed story an old car blocked the drive, a worker said someone living in the area had parked it there.