Tag Archive: ghost



Civil Hearts - Claire Gem
A widow with no family, web designer Liv Larson yearns for big change. After all, she can work from anywhere, right? Why not throw a dart at the map? She heads out of the big city for the rural South and falls in love as soon as she arrives—with the Belle Bride, an abandoned antebellum mansion.
 
Heath Barrow loves his country life, managing his antiques store in sleepy Camellia. But he’s lonely, and his condition—epilepsy—makes life uncertain. It’s already cost him a marriage. A new medication and the new girl in town have his heart hopeful again.
 
Sparks fly between Heath and Liv. But his first seizure sends Liv into a tailspin. Its mimics those her husband suffered before he died . . .
 
To make matters worse, Liv discovers she’s not living alone. Her challenge? Dealing with a Confederate soldier, one who clearly resents his Yankee roommate—even though he’s been dead for over a hundred and fifty years.

About Claire Gem:

Claire_200x300

Strong Women, Starting Over

~Redefining Romance~

Claire is a multi-published, award winning author of six titles in the genres of contemporary romance, supernatural suspense, and women’s fiction. She also writes Author Resource guide books and presents seminars on writing craft and marketing.

Her supernatural suspense, Hearts Unloched, won the 2016 New York Book Festival, and was a finalist in the 2017 RONE Awards. Also in 2017, her women’s fiction, The Phoenix Syndrome, was a finalist in the National Reader’s Choice Awards, and her contemporary romance, A Taming Season, was a Literary Award of Merit finalist in the HOLT Medallion Awards. Her latest release, Spirits of the Heart, was a finalist in the 2017 “I Heart Indie Awards.”

Creating cross-genre fiction she calls “supernatural suspense,” Claire loves exploring the paranormal and the unexplained, and holds a certificate in Parapsychology from the Rhine Research Center of Duke University.

A New York native, Claire has lived in five of the United States and held a variety of jobs, from waitress to bridal designer to research technician—but loves being an author best. She and her happily-ever-after hero, her husband of 39 years, now live in central Massachusetts.

Claire is available for seminars & media interviews & loves to travel for book promotional events.

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Frances Brown w/a Claire Gem 
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NEW BOOK REVIEW…
 
Today I present you all with Daphne Du Maurier’s classic “REBECCA”.  A 5-STAR read in my opinion.  This is one of the best modern-day gothic novels that I’ve ever read and I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys a good gothic mystery.  Read on my friends…
 

 

 

“Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again…”

These few simple words open Daphne du Maurier’s legendary novel “Rebecca”. A hauntingly beautiful tale of love, revenge, and desperation.
For me, it is a ghost story where the ghost never appears. Instead the lead heroine is haunted by the shadow of her new husband’s first wife, Rebecca. Everyone loved Rebecca, especially the housekeeper who runs Manderley with a seemingly iron fist.
Our heroine finds herself wandering the halls where Rebecca walked with grace and dignity. Her unseen predecessor’s mark is everywhere, including on Max her husband. Everyone speaks of Max and Rebecca’s love and devotion to each other. And it is this undying love that makes it impossible for Max to bear to see or hear anything about his dearly beloved dead wife. Or is it?
Mysteries abound within the walls of Manderley. Especially on one fateful night when a ship is wrecked in the cove near the great manor. As the rescuers search for survivors of the damaged vessel, they make a terrifying discovery. The boat that Rebecca had sailed on is found at the bottom of the cove with a body still inside it.
However, Max had positively identified Rebecca’s body some months earlier when it had washed ashore some miles up the coast. So who’s body has been found and why is Max suddenly acting like a cloud of doom over his head.
What hold does the dead Rebecca have over him? And can it be dispelled once and for all?
The twists and turns in Daphne du Maurier’s classic tale, set in the 1930’s, is beyond reproach. A modern day tale with all the trimmings of a true gothic tale, this book is one that the reader will find hard to put down.
A true classic and worth reading again and again.

Okay, in my last entry I disclosed I was working on a vampire novel.  Now this is a genre that has been done and redone so many times it’s unbelievable.  And almost every time there are new twists and turns added to it that they barely seem to resemble the traditional vampires that Bela Legosi and Christopher Lee made legendary in Hollywood.  Today we have vampires that just totally ooze sex appeal, can sparkle in daylight instead of turning to dust, can have sex and produce offspring, are either monsters or saints, etc.  And they are still as popular as ever in spite of all the changes to the original legend.

Now I’m not just talking about Bram Stoker’s “Dracula”.  That was not the first vampire story.  There were many others. If you ever get the opportunity check out “The Penguin Book Of Vampire Stories” and you’ll see ones that predate Mr. Stoker’s work by quite a few years.  But in that collection you’ll also meet other kinds of vampires: snow vampires, ones who hide inside portratis, aliens on different planets, etc.  In this collection there are creatures of all sorts and shapes that are still called vampires.

This brings me to today’s subject.  How can you breathe new life into a genre that has been written about so many times over?  Well that’s up to the writer.  As in the case of Anne Rice, Stephenie Meyer and others, they tweek the original vampire concept to suit their story ideas.  Sometimes they provide and explanation about why their creations don’t adhere to all the old legends, sometimes not.

So, you may be thinking, “Okay Allan, how are you going to ‘tweek’ the vampire concept and make it fresh and different?  What changes are you going to make to the traditional weaknesses and rules?”

Here’s my answer.  All the traditional rules of garlic, being welcomed into a place, avoid sunlight, shape-shift, control minions, etc. will be in effect.  So where am I making the change?  Simple, my vampire is NOT undead.

At this point I’m sure a number of you are thinking if he’s not undead then he can’t be supernatural.  So how can all those limitations and vulnerabilities still apply to him?  That’s where the creative writing process comes in.  All of these things will be addressed in the story.  And it won’t just be about a biography about my vampire.  There will be dangers.  The internet allows people access to a lot of information.  And this story will be taking place in modern day.  So there will be suspicious townspeople, cops on the hunt, the threat of discovery, a ghost, and villains (human and otherwise) to be battled.

So there you have it.  A new take on a much used subject.  But instead of changing all the rules, I’m working with them and making new reasons for why they apply.  And in doing so, I’m hoping that a number of you are already really intrigued and are looking forward to checking the story out when it’s ready.  If this is the case, then I’ve succeeded in breathing new life and interest into a genre that has been worked and reworked many times over.  And it can be done with so many other genres such as fantasy, science fiction, thrillers, you name it.

So what genre or legendary creature/being have you thought about working on?  Is there one close to your heart that’s been done a lot already?  If so, how can you make it new and interesting?  Are there rules for how it behaves or can be dealt with and what are the explanations behind it?  Is there a new way to approach these things?  Give us a new spin on it that still makes sense and intrigues us.

I’d love to hear from you and so would other people who read this blog.  Leave comments below and tell us a little about what you are working on or have in mind.  Be careful not to give your whole idea away.  Just leave tantalizing hints that will get us revved up to check your work out as soon as it’s ready.

Until next time,  keep writing.


This scene takes up exactly where my last entry leaves off.  It also brings us full-circle to the prologue that i posted a few weeks back.  Let me know if you all want some more of my mystery/horror/sci-fi novel “The Bridge” or a sample of one of the sequels to it.  Again I apologize for the strange-looking breaks and paragraph shapes.  WP just seems to love messing with the format of things I copy and paste here from MS Word.

 

“Rachel?” Ronnie repeated staring at the girl, who had now fully emerged from the water with Alex’s jacket draped over her shoulders.  “You’re not alive are you?”

The girl shook her head.

Roy stepped forward and said in a tight voice, “Tell us what happened to you child.  We can’t undo what happened, but by God we can get whoever did it.”

The teenager opened her mouth and brackish water spilled out.

“I’m so sorry,” Ronnie whispered, tears running down her face.  “I let you down.  I wasn’t there for you when you needed me.”

The ghostly figure shook her head in disagreement.

“Did you kill my Uncle Jason?” asked Julie, breaking her silence.

Rachel shook her head again.

“Then why are you here?”

The dead girl replied by grabbing the lapels of the jacket and pulling them closer.

“It’s the jacket.  She’s been trying to get to Alex, but the jacket has kept changing hands,” said a voice nearby.

All heads turned to look at Cassandra.  The heiress’ eyes had taken on a strange look that made those standing near her shudder.

“Are you saying she’s haunting the jacket Miss Elliott?” asked Roy incredulously.

She nodded, “Alex thought she’d fallen in the water and put it around her and the water soaked into the fabric.  She’s bound to that water and wherever it is she can appear.”

Veronica’s mind worked quickly.  “You had the jacket in the trunk of your car the night you fainted outside the bar.  You said a girl rose up out of the trunk.”

Cassandra nodded apologetically. “Yeah, I still wasn’t myself at the time though.

My mind was still on that man who’s been following me.  When she appeared I freaked and passed out.”

“She must’ve appeared in front of that poor bastard at the dry cleaners too,” muttered Roy, remembering the look of horror on the man’s face.  “The shock must’ve been too much for his heart.”

Listening to all of this Julie turned to Cassandra, “Why are you able to understand her?”

The heiress looked away and said quietly, “Alex and I are psychics.”

Mouth hanging open, the muscular girl turned to Ronnie and asked, “Is she shitting me?”

The older woman shook her head, “No, Alex is a psychic.  I didn’t know about her, but I was beginning to suspect.”

Julie shook her head. This was all getting too much for her, yet at the same time it made a strange kind of sense. “If Alex is psychic why couldn’t he tell Rachel was…” she gestured at the dead teen.

Cassandra answered, “We can’t always tell when we’re meeting someone who’s no longer among the living.  If the personality is strong enough they can seem as real as you or me.  And this girl has incredible amount of power.  She must have been a psychic when she was alive.”

Nearby, Officer Patrick Danson began to stir.

Meanwhile, Julie asked the question that was on everyone’s mind.  “So why has she been killing people?”

The drowned teen looked over at her and tried to speak.  But, once more only dark water spilled out of her mouth.

“It wasn’t her,” Cassie said, acting as the girl’s translator.  “She’s been trying to prevent these deaths.”

Veronica moved closer to the dead teen saying, “Rachel, do you know who’s responsible for the killings?”

The girl nodded and began to open the jacket, just as Danson opened his eyes and spotted her.  Scrambling to his feet he grabbed the nearest person, who happened to be Cassandra, and threw her at the nightmare figure.  Then he raced down the corridor screaming before anyone could stop him.

Julie watched in horror as time seemed to slow and the heiress went head first into Rachel’s chest, which rippled as if it were made of water.

For a moment no one could move or speak as Cassandra slowly plunged further and further into the teen’s torso.  The moment was finally broken when Julie lunged forward and grabbed the heiress by the ankle.  Roy followed suit and grabbed the other one.

Together they prevented the woman from being swallowed, but at the same time, they could not pull her out.

As the phantasm stared at the back half of the woman who was now sticking out of her, while Ronnie called out to Cassandra to see if she was all right.  Upon receiving no reply, she slowly moved around Rachel to see what was going on.  Suddenly, her hands flew up to her mouth.

“Is she okay?” asked Roy, tightening his grip.

“I don’t know,” Ronnie replied shakily, “She’s not there.”

Just then Julie and Roy were yanked forward.  Something or someone was pulling from the other side.

 

Cassandra found herself under dark water.  A flash of light above showed her she was not far from the surface.  With a lunge she broke through and gasped.  Rain struck her face as thunder and lightning raged all around her.

How had she gotten here?  And why could she feel someone grabbing her ankles?

She reached under the water to see what was going only to find a set of exposed rib bones encasing her waist.  She tried not to panic, but it was an uphill battle.

The cool rain hitting her face helped to calm her.  Bravely she looked around and gasped.  Looming over her head she saw the all familiar shape of the bridge.  I’m at the Graham estate, she thought.  “How did I…” she began when a banshee-like wail pierced the night and her psyche.

A second later, lightning lit area and she spotted a limping figure heading towards the bridge.  It was Alex, but he wasn’t alone.

Standing on top of the slope was a girl with long dark hair.  At first Cassie thought it might be Rachel, but quickly realized this was not the case.  Waves of evil hatred were pouring out of this girl as she stared murderously at the Alex’s fleeing form.

As the heiress watched helplessly, she heard the stones of the ancient bridge groan.  Then, out of the corner of her eye she thought see spotted movement among the stonework.

Staring she thought, Did that bridge just…

Suddenly, she was pulled back under the water just as Alex reached the bridge and collapsed.

 

Cassie found herself on the floor of the police station and spitting up water.   As she lay there coughing, a pair of strong arms reached around her middle and squeezed.  Another great gulp of water was forced out of her and she was able to breathe once more.

“Is she okay?” asked a man’s voice.  Before she could answer, she heard Julie reply, “I think so.  Are you all right Baby?”

Cassie looked up and saw the object of her affection and Chief Peterson studying her anxiously.  “I’m okay…” she nodded and coughed again.

“What happened?  Where were you?” asked Veronica joining them.

“In the water… near the bridge at the Graham estate…” she gasped.  “I saw Alex… he’s in danger,” another coughing fit racked her trembling form, “… some girl is trying to kill him.”

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