Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Friday, January 27, 2012

Supernatural Friday: The Sorcerous FinFolk

You heard of mermaids and mermen. You heard of selkies. Have you ever heard of the sorcerous finmen? Few people have. But yet, they are beings of the sea as are mermaids, mermen and selkies. In fact, in stories told, it is said the Finwike began life as a mermaid.
Their myth comes from the Orkney Islands. The story goes that they are mistrusted by mortals and have magic. That they have unparallel boating skills, as well power over storm and sea. These beings are also noted shapeshifters.
Unlike the selkies (as in some tales), there were times they could come ashore. The Finfolk were truly amphibious. The Finfolk led a nomadic lifestyle, but spent long Orkney winters in the luxury of Finfolkaheem, a majestic city of unknown location, spposed to be at the bottom of the sea. The tales of storytellers tell that this fantastic undersea kingdom has  massive crystal halls and ornate gardens of multi-coloured seaweed. Lit by the phosphorescent glow of the sea, Finfolkaheem was decorated with swathes of draped curtains whose colours shifted like the ever-changing shades of the "Merry Dancers" - the Aurora Borealis. Towers of glistening white coral spiralled upwards, encrusted with pearls and precious gemstones. The kingdom was so rich that giant pearls were littered everywhere, often ground up by the merfolk to provide the powder that was scattered over the mermaids' tails to give them their sparkling sheen. In the waters surrounding Finfolkaheem, the Finfolk raised sea-cattle and magical sea-horses. Like the true gentry of their underwater world, they herded whales - from which they extracted milk - and, mounted on their aquatic steeds, would often hunt the animals of the sea using otters in place of dogs.
During summertime, the Finfolk returned to Orkney. It is there that they took up residence on their magical island home, Hildaland - one of Orkney's magical vanishing islands. it has been said that Hildaland was later taken from the Finfolk and renamed Eynhallow.
Two distinct pf these kind of fairyfolk are within the ranks of the Finfolk - the Finman and the Finwife. Though tales of the Finmen  make up most of the bulk of the folklore and are fairly standard in their descriptions of the gloomy creatures.
Like fairies of the land on the Orkney Islands, they also steral away mortals. Once caught, they spirit away their captives and transport them to their hidden island homes. It in these places that the unfortunate mortals are forced to remain for the rest of their days, usually as wife or husband of one of the Finfolk.

While the Finman actively shunns contact with mortals - unless needs to for his purpose - the Finwife was more involved with her human neighbours. As a child of the Finfolk, the Finwife begins life as a mermaid -  beautiful with long, glistening fish tail. If the young mermaid marries a Finman - a fate that awaited her if she did not acquire a mortal huband - she became uglier an d uglier, eventually becoming a haggard Finwife.
Tradition dictates that these Finwives went to shore and used her magic to earn precious silver for her husband. Once settled on land, she told her neighbours she was of Caithness origin - in other words not Orcadian. She pretended to earn a living by spinning and knitting. Also the Finwife was renowned for her skill in curing diseases in men and cattle, so it did not take long for her to become an invaluable member of the community. After that happened,  she began to practice her "infernal arts.",Meanwhile, she sent the silver coins she earned back to her avaricious husband beneath the waves. If the supply of "white metal" came sparingly or was delayed at any time, the unfortunate Finwife could expect a visit from her Finman husband. She did not want this, for when he came he would beat her so bad that the witch became confined to bed for days. A curious parallel to witch tales from other cultures is that the Finwife was said to keep a black cat, but there the similarity ends, as the Finwife's cat had the ability to transform into a fish so it could carry messages between its mistress and her relatives in Finfolkaheem.


All Orkney Finmen carried the appearance of a well-made man, tall, dark, thin and sinewy, but with a stern, gloomy face. His rowing skills were unparalleled, making it easy for him to cross from Orkney to Norway, or Iceland, in seven "warts", or strokes, of the oar.
They were often seen rowing in a small boat, without  a sail. The Finmen didn't need one, for they used their powerful magic to propel their boats. This magic also allowed the Finman to turn his vessel invisible, or even surround it with a fleet of phantom boats.
Very territorial, the Finfolk took great exception to humans trespassing, or fishing, in their waters. Whenever a mortal fisherman dared enter their domain, the Finmen seized the man's line and kept hold of it until the line broke. Without a hook and sinker, the fisherman couldn't earn a living until new tackle was acquired. Other times, the Finmen waited until the fisherman had returned home and had put his boat to anchor. They slip off the anchor stone, and the vessel drifted free to the perils of tide and current.
In the dead of night, marauding Finmen wreaked extreme vengeance on fishermen, too. They either smashed the oars of the fisherman's boat or made a hole in the vessel's bottom.  These would cost the impertinent fisherman his life at a later date. What the firshermen did was cut a cross into the line sinker and marked with chalk or tar on the hull of the boat, ensuring that no Finman would come within half a mile. Another way to shake a pursuing Finman would be by throwing a silver coin in his general direction. Because of their passion for silver, the pursuer gave up the chase so he could retrieve the precious coin. This silver obsession meant that the Finmen were often seen to enter the service of a human, but more often they were the ones who hired the mortals.No doubt, the Finfolk's malevolent influence could have been used to explain away the many disappearances and deaths at sea. Christianity is blamed for the disappearance of Finfolk stories. Though the influence of the Finman and his kin was feared right through until at least the end of the nineteenth century.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012


Is this the same cat, or are they fooling us with a second kitty? Still weird.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Supernatural Friday: Legends, Myths, Folklore and Urban Legends

Everyone participates in the reading of legends, myths, or folklore at some point in their lives. Who hasn’t read Greek mythology in school, or the folklore of Paul Bunyan, or tall tales of famous, real people like Calamity Jane or Johnny Appleseed? And what about urban legends? Urban legends are myths told in modern society, in cities or online, unlike many of the old tales set in the countryside. Even now, these get passed around in emails or are posted on the Internet—stories about the serial killer with the knife hanging around Lover’s Lane, Bloody Mary, the terrible smell under the bed in a hotel room or even the computer virus story that may have been true three years ago, but is still sent out as a warning.


A legend (Latin, legenda, "things to be read") is a narrative of human actions told about someone that existed in reality, once upon a time, but the true events have been twisted, making them more fascinating. Legend includes no happenings that are outside the realm of "possibility,” defined by a highly flexible set of parameters. These may include miracles that are perceived as actually having happened. There is the specific tradition of indoctrination where the legend arose, and in which the tale may be transformed over time, in order to keep it fresh, vital, and realistic. It is kinda like that game you played with your classmates in school, where you whisper to the next person a story, and by the time it comes full circle, that story has changed drastically from what it began as.

A myth is a sacred or traditional story that concerns the origins of the world or how the world and the creatures in it came to be in their present form. Myths serves to unfold a part of the world view of a people, or explain a practice, belief, or natural phenomenon. Parables and allegories are myths. Nothing is supposed to be real about it at all, even if someone mentioned in the story is a real person. There are stories told about their habits or life that are not true.

 Folklore is the traditional beliefs, myths, tales, and practices of a people, transmitted orally. It is popular, but unfounded beliefs. Or, as Merriam-Webster says: “traditional customs, tales, sayings, dances, or art forms preserved among a people.”

The flavor of people and their culture, all interwove with day to day life when settlers came to the New World. They brought with them their folk tales and beliefs, and founded new ones in the new country. Some old stories mutated into different ones. There were older tales told by the Native Americans who were already living in the New World before the white man came. Then, when slaves were brought to the New World, they brought with them tales from Africa and changed them, molding them to fit their new home.

Today, in modern times, we continue this with urban legends. Who hasn’t heard of the killer with the hook in lover’s lane? Or who hasn’t said, “Bloody Mary” while staring into the mirror, hoping to make a ghost appear? There’s the hitchhiking woman dressed in an evening gown that is picked up and climbs into the back seat, giving directions to an address to the driver. Once they arrive at the house, though, the driver discovers that she has mysteriously disappeared. When he goes to the door, he is told that his hitchhiker is the daughter of the owner of the house, who had been killed just after she left a party several years before, never making it home. But stories like the hitchhiking ghost existed long before they ended up as urban legends. I know I’ve read stories when it was a buggy or wagon being driven, not a car. So how many urban legends started as folk tales from all over the world?

Many of the legends and folk tales told by our ancestors have some kind of moral attached to them. These may be warnings. Watch your womenfolk and children, so that marauding Indians could not kidnap them. Don’t dare approach some old woman living in the woods for a much needed potion to rid one of an unwanted pregnancy, for she may conjure a spell and convince you to crawl into her oven to be cooked.


To learn about legends, myths, folklore, and urban legends of Virginia, BUY THIS BOOK

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


The newest fashion for those who want to be sure to have toilet paper for those restrooms that don't have any. Plus ready at hand to blow one's nose.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Supernatural Friday: Angels--Non-Christian—Part 2

Since I will be out of town at Marscon, getting Part 2 of Supernatural Friday: Angel-Non-Christian now. Enjoy.

Angels are depicted in other religions too, not just the Christian ones. Christian angles came down from the Hebrew Bible. Like in Christian terms, the Hebrews also considered them messengers of God, or Yahweh. Descriptions of cherubim and seraphim (the chayot in Ezekiel's Merkabah vision and the Seraphim of Isaiah) in the Hebrew Bible have them with wings. However, while cherubim and seraphim have wings in the Bible, no angel is mentioned as having wings.

The term "angel" has also been expanded to various notions of spiritual beings found in many other religious traditions. Other roles of angels include protecting and guiding human beings, and carrying out God's tasks

The Bible uses the terms מלאך אלהים (mal'akh Elohim;; messenger of God), מלאך יהוה (mal'akh YHWH; messenger of the Lord), בני אלהים (b'nai Elohim; sons of God) and הקודשים (ha-qodeshim; the holy ones) to refer to beings traditionally interpreted as angels. Later texts use other terms, such as העליונים (ha'elyoneem; the upper ones).

Daniel is the first biblical figure who referred individual angels by name. Like Gabriel (God's primary messenger) in Daniel 9:21, and Michael (the holy fighter) in Daniel 10:13. These angels are part of Daniel's apocalyptic visions and are an important part of all apocalyptic literature.

Angels are best understood in contrast to demons—influenced by the ancient Persian religious tradition of Zoroastrianism. Zoroastrianism viewed the world as a battleground between forces of good and forces of evil, between light and darkness. One of these sons of God being "Satan/Lucifer", depicted in the Book of Job, besides other places.

In post-Biblical Judaism, certain angels took on particular significance, developing unique personalities and roles. Though these archangels were believed to rank among the heavenly host, there appeared to be no systematic hierarchy developed. Metatron is considered one of the highest of the angels in Merkabah and Kabbalist mysticism. He often serves as a scribe. Briefly mentioned in the Talmud, he figures prominently in Merkabah mystical texts. Michael serves as a warrior and advocate for Israel (Daniel 10:13). Gabriel is mentioned in the Book of Daniel (Daniel 8:15–17), the Book of Tobit, and briefly in the Talmud, as well as in many Merkabah mystical texts. Though no evidence in Judaism for the worship of angels, there is evidence for the invocation and sometimes even conjuration of angels.

According to Kabalah, there are four worlds and our world is the last world: the world of action (Assiyah). Angels exist in the worlds above as a 'task' of God, an extension of God to produce effects in this world. When angel completes its task, it ceases to exist. This is derived from the book of Genesis when Abraham meets with three angels and Lot meets two of them. The task of one of the angels was to inform Abraham of his coming child. The other two were to save Lot, and to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah, too.

Angels and their tasks:

Malachim (translation: messengers), general word for angel.

Michael (translation: who is like God?), performs acts of justice and power.

Gabriel (translation: the strength of God), performs God's kindness.

Raphael (translation: God Heals), God's healing force.

Uriel (translation: God is my light), leads us to destiny.

Seraphim (translation: the burning ones), sing and praise God.

Malach HaMavet (translation: the angel of death).

Satan (translation: the adversary), brings people's sins before them in the heavenly court.

Chayot HaKodesh (translation: living beings).

Ophanim (translation: arbits) Guardians of the Throne of God.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) also view angels as the messengers of God. That angels were sent to mankind to deliver messages, minister to humanity, teach doctrines of salvation, call mankind to repentance, give priesthood keys, save individuals in perilous times, and guide humankind.

Latter Day Saints believe that angels are the spirits of humans who are deceased or who have yet to be born. Joseph Smith has taught that "there are no angels who minister to this earth but those that do belong or have belonged to it." Latter Day Saints also believe that Adam (the first man) became the archangel Michael, and that Gabriel had lived as Noah. Likewise the Angel Moroni first lived in a pre-Columbian American civilization as the 5th-century prophet-warrior named Moroni. Angels are typically depicted in Mormon art as having no wings, based on a quote from Joseph Smith that "An angel of God never has wings.”

Angels (Arabic: ملائكة , Malāʾikah; Turkish: Melek) are mentioned many times in the Qur'an and Hadith. Islam makes it clear on the nature of angels in that they are messengers of God, with no free will and only do what God orders them to do. One of these tasks is testing individuals by granting them abundant wealth and curing their illness. Believing in angels is one of the six Articles of Faith in Islam.

In his Book of Certitude Bahá’u’lláh, founder of the Bahá’í Faith, describes angels as people who ‘have consumed, with the fire of the love of God, all human traits and limitations’, and have ‘clothed themselves’ with angelic attributes and have become ‘endowed with the attributes of the spiritual’. He describes angels as the ‘confirmations of God and His celestial powers. Also as blessed beings who have severed all ties with this nether world. They have been released from the chains of self, and are revealers of God’s abounding grace. The Bahá’í writings also refer to the Concourse on High, an angelic host, and the Maid of Heaven of Bahá’u’lláh's vision.

Zoroastrianism says there are different angel-like figures. Each person has one guardian angel, called Fravashi. They patronize human beings and other creatures. Plus they also manifest God’s energy. The Amesha Spentas have often been regarded as angels. Although there is no direct reference to them conveying messages, they are also considered rather emanations of Ahura Mazda ("Wise Lord", God). They appear in an abstract fashion and then later became personalized, associated with diverse aspects of the divine creation.

Indian religions:
The Hindus’ deva is sometimes translated by Orientalists (erroneously) as "angel" (besides "god" or "deity"). But a deva is not an angel; actually it is personified a natural element with manifestation in physical realms.

References to angelic or divine deities in Sikhism are the focus on the liberation of the soul and ultimately joining with Waheguru in this religion. In early scriptures written by Guru Nanak Dev Ji, it points out that heavenly deities help in the judgment of the soul.

Azrael (as Azraa-eel) is named as the angel of death in the Guru Granth Sahib, the Holy Scripture and the final Guru of the Sikhs. So Dar and Raag Asa Sat Guru Nanak mentions clearly two beings as Chitar and Gupat, both of whom record the deeds of men. These Angels assigned with this Divine task by the Creator. Chitar records the deeds that are visible to all and Gupat records that which is hidden in thought or secret action. Their names themselves allude to the tasks which the All Mighty has bestowed upon them. They are often seen at the gates of heaven, dressed in the most adorned and decorated gowns, holding the records on the actions and feelings of the soul in the line for judgment.

In the Brahma Kumaris religion, every member becomes an angel of light (faristha in Hindi). Founder Dada Lekhraj is said to already become the perfect man and angel Brahma through practice of Raja Yoga.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012


This weird hotel is the Capsule Inn in Osaka, Japan. The room just consists of a small capsule, with about 2m x 1m x 1.25m area. The capsules are stacked on top of each other, and each one has TV, bed, and a wireless Internet connection. Cozy accommodations.

Friday, January 06, 2012

Supernatural Friday: Angels-Part 1

In 2011 I blogged about demons. Today, for the first Supernatural Friday of the year, it will be about angels. That's not to say I won't talk about Lucifer/Satan or any of his dark angel followers, which are demons, as they too, are angels. Today's subject will be angels in Christianity. Check back next week, for angels in other religions.

Angels in Christianity are pure spirits created by God. The Old Testament theology included the belief in angels: the name applied to certain spiritual beings or intelligences of heavenly residence, employed by God as the ministers of His will.

The Hebrew and Greek words for angel originally meant messenger. Depending on the context, it could refer either to a human messenger (possibly a prophet or priest, such as Malachi, "my messenger", but also for more mundane characters, as in the Greek superscription that the Book of Malachi was written "by the hand of his messenger"  or to a supernatural messenger, such as the "Mal'akh YHWH," who is either a messenger from God, an aspect of God (such as the Logos), or God Himself as the messenger (the "theophanic angel.") The prophet Malachi took his name from this word, as he was supposed to be a messenger, and he prophesied about the coming of "the messenger of the covenant", Jesus Christ (Malachi 3:1).

The theological study of angels is known as angelology. In art, angels are often depicted with wings; perhaps reflecting the descriptions in Revelation 4:6-8 -- of the Four Living Creatures (τὰ τέσσαρα ζῷα) and the descriptions in the Hebrew Bible—of cherubim and seraphim (the chayot in Ezekiel's Merkabah vision and the Seraphim of Isaiah). However, while cherubim and seraphim have wings in the Bible, no angel is mentioned as having wings. Philosophically, angels are "pure contingent spirits.

Besides Dominionations, Thrones, and Archangels, the Old Testament specifically mentions two others, Seraphim and Cherubim. It was said that God bestowed upon angels great wisdom, freedom, and power. Both the New Testament and Old Testament refer also to the fallen angels. The Temptation of Adam and Eve presupposes the existence of bad spirits or demons who were cast into Hell from which they have no hope of redemption. And yet, they have been said to try to tempt us, seducing us to do wicked deeds.

In Christianity, angels are said to be spiritual or bodiless persons. These spiritual beings comprise the celestial court and according to the Bible, they carry out missions at God's command. In order to complete these missions, they have at times assume bodily form. According to the Bible, their missions are sometimes of great importance. Unlike us, they are non-bodily creatures, their response to God's love did not require time and reflection to grow and mature, so they can respond to God with love and bliss. 
Jesus Christ was reported saying that angels (children or "sons" of God) live forever and are of one gender. Supposecly, so that those called "sons and daughters" (humankind?) of God when he returned will be allowed to live forever and not marry. "They which shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry, nor are given in marriage: neither can they die any more: for they are equal unto the angels; and are the children of God. being the children of the resurrection." (Luke 20:35.36)

There were angels in Christianity, are said that because of their pride, did not return God's love. God did not destroy them, but put them in the pit, or Hell. These are the Fallen Angel, or demons or dark angels. The head of these was Lucifer, or sometimes called Satan.

Only occasionally are angels given names. Michael, the archangel, was "the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people (Israel)" (Daniel 12:1). Of the most significant of angelic appearances, came from the angel named Gabriel. He was sent twice to the prophet Daniel. On the second occasion Daniel was at prayer, and Gabriel, "being caused to fly swiftly, touched me ... and talked with me" and proceeded to prophesy the date of the first coming of the Messiah, Jesus Christ (Daniel 9:21-27).  Gabriel appeared again, first to Zacharias, the priest while on duty in the temple, and six months later to Mary, Jesus' mother. The angel proclaimed to Zacharias,  "I am Gabriel, that stand in the presence of God: and am sent to speak unto thee" (Luke 1:19). His mission tp Zacharias was to announce the miraculous birth of John the Baptist. Gabriel told Mary that she had found favour with God, and she would be the mother of the expected Messiah. Gabriel told her that she would conceive through the power of the Holy Spirit and her son would be Jesus, the Saviour, and he would be the Son of God and would occupy the royal throne of David (Luke 1:26-33). Joseph, her husband-to-be, also received angelic messages advising him what he must do in this unique situation, since he and Mary were not married at the time but betrothed and he, of course, was not her unborn child's father.

Identification of archangels, besides Gabriel and Michael also include Raphael, Uriel, Raguel, Remiel and Saraqael. While this today is non-canonical in most Christian Churches, these angels' names were quoted in the New Testament and by many of the early Church Fathers. Many Christians regard angels and archangels as asexual, not belonging to either gender. And yet, angels are on the other hand have been described as looking like male human beings, hence the masculine names. Although angels have greater knowledge than men, they are not omniscient, as Matthew 24:36 points out in the Bible.

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Weird Wednesday

Check out this weird hotel for Weird Wednesday. It's the Crazy House Hotel, or Hang Nga Guesthouse in Vietnam.

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Join Me at Marscon in Williamsburg, Va. Jan. 13-15th

I'll be at Marscon next week as a writer guest, but it's always a great little convention to go as a fan. This year, they have a theme of the end of the world, thanks to those Mayans and their prediction.

It will be held at the Holiday Inn Patriot, 3032 Richmond Rd. (Rt. 60) Williamsburg, VA 23185, January 13, 14, and 15. besides at door price for all weekend, there will be day rates. Check back next week for these: Registration .  For all the guests, including the Guests of Honor: GUESTS

My Panels

As Pamela K. Kinney:
Friday, Jan. 13th 10 pm to 11pm: Ghosts and Legends of Southeastern Virginia (Room 103)

A panel of paranormal perfection with the well-spooken trio of Pamela K. Kinney, Cheralyn Lambeth and Kathryn Lively.
Autograph Armageddon (Patriot Ballroom)

Saturday, Jan. 14th 1pm to 3pm: Indulge your inner fan and get signatures from MarsCon’s fantastic 2012 lineup of authors. Hear them read samples of their work while you wait in line. Join GOH S. M. Stirling and many other MarsCon authors for two hours of our featured signing event. Last line entry 2:45 p.m., limit of 3 signatures per pass through line for GOH. With Chris Berman, Danny Birt, Keith DeCandido, Andrew Fox, Pamela K. Kinney, James Mascia, Peter Prellwitz, Marina Sergeyeva, Steve White, and Leona Wisoker.

As Sapphire Phelan (must be 18 and older to attend these):
Friday, Jan. 13th-Midnight to 1am: Zombies in Love: Is There a Way to Write a Sexy Story about Our Friend the Zombie? (Richardson Board Room)

Can the deadest of the undead be hot or not? Do you need a brain to be sexy? And does that brain have to be fresh? Join panelists Kathryn Lively, and Sapphire Phelan as they explore how writers can combine zombies with romance and erotica.
Adult Programming: Author Reading (Richardson Board Room)

Saturday, Jan. 14th-Midnight to 1am: Spend an erotic hour with authors Helen E.H. Madden, Kathryn Lively, Michael O’Brien, and Sapphire Phelan as they read from their latest work. Adult Programming: Under 18-year-olds not allowed.

On the rest of the panels the weekend: Programs .

Sunday, January 01, 2012

Interviewing Owner of Story Edits, an Editing Business

Today, my guest is Pam Roller, who started up a business, Story Edits, where she can help those writers make their manuscripts be the best they can be. Check out her answers as I interview her. And do leave her a comment if you have a question.

Thanks for inviting me to be a guest, Pam.

1.) Why Story Edits?

With the changing publishing market, more and more authors are choosing to self-publish. The rush to get the book on the market without having to wait months or even years for a publisher to move along with it can be exhilarating. With self-publishing, the author takes complete control and a finished book can be put up for sale almost immediately.

However, the heady rush of seeing one’s book out there for sale can be overshadowed by writing that could be better. If a book is not edited well, it can get chewed up in reviews. Bad reviews can slow or even kill an author’s career. The author may lose readership, credibility, and money.

If the author is going the traditional publishing route, the manuscript needs to be in the same great shape as it would be if it is edited for self-publishing. All publishers, not just the “big six,” are extremely picky. Agents and publishers will look for any excuse to reject the work. Why not get the manuscript professionally edited before sending it out?

My main reason for launching Story Edits has to do with self-publishing, which is becoming the popular route for many romance authors. I want to see well-written books on the market. Authors who put up unedited, poor quality books bring down the reputation of all indie romance authors in general. On a side note, IndieRomanceInk on Yahoo.com is a wonderfully informative group for self-publishing authors.

2.) What are your qualifications?

Since I know romance, I edit romance. I’m published in romance fiction, have twenty years of experience as a writer, twelve years as an English teacher, and over two years as a former senior editor for a well-known, award-winning romance epublisher.

But if I’m a good writer, why should I have my work edited professionally?

Many authors are excellent wordsmiths or are leery of having their work edited by a stranger, but doing so welcomes a completely objective process. If I am reading an author’s work for the first time, I’ll catch things that the author missed. I have no interest in changing the author’s voice or intent, but instead I offer suggestions for continuity in plot, characterization, and structure as well as catch errors in grammar and punctuation.

While I cannot guarantee an author’s book will be a bestseller, I can help make it the best it can be. From an intense line edit to that final tweak and polish, I can help. And please note that Story Edits is not affiliated with any publishing house or agency. My only interest is the author and her manuscript.

I work with authors in all areas of romance: historical, erotica, contemporary, sweet, futuristic, fantasy, paranormal, time-travel, mystery, suspense, etc.

3.) How much does it cost?
I don’t charge by the hour because self-publishing romance authors need a tangible price in order to budget for editing, formatting, cover, promotion, etc. My price is 1½ cents per word (multiply word count by .015). This price includes two complete edits of your manuscript, before and after your revision.
All work is done electronically. The manuscript should be complete and ready for editing.

If anyone has questions, feel free to write me at storyedits@gmail.com or visit Story Edits.

Pamela, thanks again for having me guest on your blog.

Happy New Year: I Was Paranormal Investigating for New Year's Eve!

(Photos and video are copyrighted by Pamela K. Kinney, so please do not copy them offsite to yours without permission. Do share this link though to your friends)

While most people were going to parties at friends' and relatives' homes or to bars and cocktail lounges to celebrate the new year in, I drove to Edgewood Bed and Breakfast in Charles City, Virginia on New Year's Eve 2011. There would be a paranormal investigation at the place that night. While millions watched the ball drop at Times Square on television, I and the others would take a break to toast each other with champagne or sparkling cider, before using a last half hour afterward to investigate, before taking off at 1:00 p.m. for our homes or rooms rented out to those who would stay the night.

I'd been to the bed and breakfast in September 2009 to interview Dot Boulware about their place and its haunting, particularly about Lizzie Rowland who had lived in the house in the 1800s, for Virginia's Haunted Historic Triangle: Williamsburg, Yorktown, Jamestown, and Other Haunted Locations. At that time, using my digital recorder to record our interview and maybe to capture some EVPs, plus taking pictures with my camera, I never got anything. Last night, was different (at least the pictures, as I still must upload the recordings and listen to them). I did video too, and least showed on them at one point, the constant lights flashing on my EMF meter, which happened at all the places we visited except in the Tavern downstairs.

Edgewood had once been part of Berkeley Plantation. Benjamin Harrison had gone to King Carter of Plantation and asked if he could purchase some land for a mill. He ended up buying 22,000 acres. In 1725, he built the grist mill. It was so successful, that he built Berkeley Plantation in 1726. During the Revolutionary War, Benedict Arnold visited here, too.  The Harrison slaves lived in their cabins on the land and worked the mill.

But in 1840, maybe due to a need for money, 1,800 acres and the mill were sold to a Yankee, Spencer Rowland, from New Jersey. Spencer built his house on the land. He moved into it with his wife and daughter, Elizabeth (this was Lizzie). 

When everyone had arrived who was coming, Dot took all on tour of the place, telling what happened to her (the same thing she’d told me back at the interview, that is now in the chapter in my book). Team members of Ghost Eyes who set this whole cool event up had heard the stories before, so they sat out in the parlor.     

Since I had heard it before and I wanted to do some investigating on my own, I wandered into the dining room, the room off that, and then upstairs to the second and third floors. I turned on my digital recorder and took pictures, plus did a couple of videos in the dining room. I also took my EMF meter which did nothing, though I thought the third floor felt freezing, even though the heater was working, and I had the sensation I wasn’t alone. The third floor bothered me, unlike the rest of the house. I had been up there in 2009 when Dot showed me around, but unlike then, it was hard staying up there by myself. At one point, my throat tightened, and I could hear the pulse there sounded loud to my ears, boom, boom, boom. 

Suddenly, the cold left and I grew warm again and my throat released. It felt like whatever had been with me wasn’t there anymore. I got off the small sofa and headed back downstairs. One of the pictures I took at the doorway before entering the floor was very dark, though the flash had went off. I've been told when that happens that it's a sign of a presence. 

Dot had finished with the tour and most of us split up into no more than five people each. I joined up with Carol, head of Richmond Paranormal Society, and another member who’d just joined, Luke. We decided to do the third floor first, but another group had beat us to it, so we settled for the second floor, since it appeared no one else was doing it. We didn't do Lizzie's room, as Carol's husband, Stewart, was inside there. The first room we investigated was the one to the left of Lizzie's. Suitcases of some planning to stay the night there later were on the floor. We turned off the lights, including the tree in the room, and closed the door. I set out and turned on my EMF meter beside my recorder and my LED flashlight, which had acted weird, flickering, on the bed. I had never seen it act like that before. Later, at one point in our investigation, Luke thought the batteries might be dying. But after the last time the flashlight did this, it never did later and even today, I got nothing answering me. Funny thing, I never unscrewed the part you’re supposed to, so how did the spirit (or was it more than one?), had done this.
Using the EMF meter, my ghost box, and Carol's Ovilus, we tried to communicate with it. We also did this in the bedroom across the hallway, where I also used my dowsing rods. In our communication, the spirit mentioned it stood behind Carol, and Luke thought he saw the curtains at the window move. Though he still wasn't sure if he really did see it for sure or not.
We finally climbed the stairs to the third floor where my EMF meter's lights began flashing all the way to red in the same sequence. It did this for ten times, then stopped, changing to another variation on the sequence, when Luke said it had to be something else in the house causing it, like maybe a computer. Was it trying to use some form of communicating with us, or playing around?

When someone came in on us and told us it was time to switch, even only we'd been there no more than fifteen minutes, we decided to head out to the mill. The night was clear, and the air felt freezing cold, with a multitude of brilliant stars and a crescent moon scattered across the night sky. Charles City has no towering city buildings or light and it would be the perfect place to stargaze or watch for UFOs.
We walked up the steps and entered the mill. My meter on, the lights began to flash crazily again, although Carol's (different from mine) didn't move its needle at all. The entity appeared to communicate through mine. We got it to answer us when we asked if it came from the Civil War era, which it flashed, meaning yes. It flashed once when Carol asked if it liked me. I told it could not follow me home as my husband would not like it. It dropped all lights, but the initial one that comes on when you turn the piece of equipment on, and it didn't come on for about maybe ten minutes. Had I upset the entity? Luke went upstairs to the second and third floor of the mill. He came back down to join us again. I noticed a shadow moving on the box above his head and took a picture. In the photo, I got an orb above the box, close to the right edge.

We left the mill, still taking pictures of the surrounding area outside. We walked until we came to a spot where a path was broken up and I snapped a couple of pictures, which I got mist in both. Now understand, there was no mist that night. Remember, it was a clear night where one could see the stars and the moon. I didn't see any mist with my naked eye, and neither did Carol or Luke. Later, it was Dot who pointed out as I showed her the pictures on my viewfinder, that the second one held two dogs. I peered at it, as did Carol and other investigators, who all agreed that indeed the mist was dogs. Though later, my laptop screen, I am not sure there are two canines, but I can say definitely I see one. What you think? Very cool that I got something like that. The photo after that only contained orbs. The first photo before the dogs held mist too—someone pointed out that it looked like figures. All Carol got was orbs in her pictures and yet. we used our camera shots at the same time.

We went back to the house, where we investigated the room between the dining room and the front hallway before we did the dining room. At one point, my EMF meter flashing, I asked if possibly the spirit with us was a child, that it could even be a girl? It flashed the lights on. When I asked again if it was a boy, to see if it would flash the lights again, it didn’t. Later, the wife of the head of Ghost Eyes told me when they had stayed overnight before she had left her recorder on all night. On her recorder, around 4:30 a.m. a little girl's voice could be heard, and they even hear her footsteps as she went downstairs! So now it appears that more than Lizzie haunts the bed and breakfast. Who is this little girl? It would be interesting to find out.

Afterward, my partners and I joined another paranormal group downstairs in the tavern to do a EVP session where we saw shadows moving and heard some noises. Were these intelligent spirits or residuals as one member of the other team asked? 

Close to midnight, everyone gathered in the tavern to share either a flute of champagne or sparkling cider to toast 2012 in. I took cider as I would be driving home. Once home, I would share a glass of champagne with my husband and son then. We all got in one more investigation before we all had to leave at 1:00 a.m.

(kitchen blurred and I did not move the camera--paranormal?)

I wondered if Carol got anything else as she and her husband had stayed the night? It will be interesting to learn what she did or did not get. Check out some more of my pictures and to learn more of what happened that night (including any EVPs) by coming to my  Marscon panel,  "Ghosts and Legends of Southeastern Virginia" on January 13th at 10:00 p.m., in Room 103.

It was a super way to ring in the new year. After all, hauntings happen all year long! Happy 2012.