Monday, May 25, 2015

Paranormal Road Trip: Destination Boston with Nancy Holzner

Paranormal Road Trip: Destination Boston with Nancy Holzner

Come on boys and ghouls!  It's time to hop on Route 666 for a spooktacular Paranormal Road Trip.

This week's stop is Boston, Massachusetts and our special guide is Nancy Holzner author of the DEADTOWN urban fantasy series.

Nancy's Top 5 Spooky Places in Boston

My urban fantasy series, Deadtown, is set in Boston for many reasons. It's a city I know well—I went to college in Boston and lived there as a young adult. It has a rich history but is also very modern. It has a Puritanical past and a liberal present. It's full of tradition and buzzing with the energy of a college town. Boston has always been one of my favorite cities, and I'm excited to share its spooky side.

1. 77 Gainsborough Street, Back Bay

In the early 1960s, the city was terrorized by the Boston Strangler. Thirteen women died at his hands between June 1962 and January 1964. No one seemed safe—the victims were murdered in their own homes, they ranged in age from 19 to 85, and they belonged to a variety of ethnic groups. Women at the time tried to protect themselves by barricading their apartments, taking self-defense classes, and sleeping with a variety of weapons, including ski poles and umbrellas. Eventually,  a man named Albert DeSalvo confessed. However, a lack of physical evidence to corroborate his confession meant he was never tried for any of the murders. Instead, he was sentenced to life in prison for unrelated crimes. He was stabbed to death at Walpole state prison in 1973.

For years, people wondered whether DeSalvo was the real Boston Strangler. Other theories were proposed. But in 2013, DNA evidence from the scene of the last murder was found to be a match—first with DNA donated by DeSalvo's nephew and then, after an exhumation, with DeSalvo's body itself.

Although multiple sites are associated with the Boston Strangler, 77 Gainsborough Street is the one that spooked me. It was the site of the very first murder, and it was just around the corner from an apartment I rented as a college student. Even though by then years had passed since DeSalvo's chilling crimes and death, it was scary to think he had started his murder spree in my neighborhood.

2. Fort Warren, Boston Harbor

Boston Harbor is dotted with small islands. One of these, George's Island at the harbor's entrance, is home to a 19th-century fort. Built of granite and shaped like a five-pointed star, Fort Warren held Confederate prisoners during the Civil War.

There's a legend that a woman traveled north from Georgia to help her husband escape from Fort Warren. She was caught and executed as a spy. Today, the island is open to the public, and visitors to the fort sometimes report seeing a mysterious woman in black haunting the grounds—perhaps still searching for her captive husband.

3. Granary Burying Ground

This cemetery is Boston's third oldest, dating back to 1660. It's the final resting place of many famous Bostonians, including the victims of the Boston Massacre, Paul Revere, Samuel Adams, John Hancock, and James Otis—who predicted his own death by a lightning strike. The literary minded can visit the graves of poet Phyllis Wheatley, the first published African-American woman, and Mary Goose, thought by some to be Mother Goose (but probably not).

Granary Burying Ground can be eerie, especially at night, with crooked rows of tilted slate grave markers. Many of the markers display winged skulls as a memento mori—a reminder that death comes to us all. The cemetery's age and atmosphere are why I chose it as the setting of the climactic scene in Hellforged, where my protagonist, Vicky Vaughn, battles a spirit of winged death.

4. Boston Common

The oldest public park in the United States, Boston Common is 50 acres of green space used for promenades, picnics, concerts, and winter ice skating on the Frog Pond. In the past, this space wasn't always so benign. On the west side of the Common is a plaque that marks the site of an oak tree used for public hangings. Criminals were executed there, but so were Quakers and women accused of witchcraft. The Common is also the site of Central Burying Ground, a cemetery established in the late 18th century. When the Tremont Street subway was being built in 1895, many unmarked graves were discovered in the area around the cemetery. More than 900 bodies were reburied in a mass grave inside the burying ground. Some visitors report a sense of oppression when they visit the site, as though there's a crowd of people impatient to be elsewhere.

Several ghosts are said to wander the Common—perhaps inhabitants of these disturbed graves. The most famous are two women—often believed to be sisters—dressed in fashions from the 1830s. They walk or sit together, conversing. If you approach them, they disappear. Another ghost said to haunt the Common is a teenage girl with no face. (The Girl with No Face—sounds like a great title for a spooky YA novel, doesn't it?)

5. Omni Parker House Hotel, Downtown

This hotel, which opened in 1855, is famous for inventing Boston Cream Pie and Parker House dinner rolls. But it's equally famous for its resident ghosts. The hotel's founder, Harvey Parker, who died in 1884, has been spotted walking the 10th floor. There's a story about a guest staying on that floor who awoke in the middle of the night to see a gentleman in Victorian dress standing at the foot of her bed. He asked how she was enjoying her stay and then faded from sight. She later recognized her nighttime visitor when she saw a portrait of Parker in the hotel dining room.

Guests staying on the ninth and tenth floors have complained about being awakened in the middle of the night by the sound of a rocking chair. Trouble is, there are no rocking chairs in the hotel. Glowing orbs have been reported in the hallways of those floors.

The third floor is also purported to be haunted. The elevator stops there when no one has pushed the button; the doors open to an empty hallway. Could the elevator have been called by one of the famous guests who stayed on that floor—Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Charles Dickens, or the actress Charlotte Cushman (who died there)? Room 303 was supposedly the site of a suicide, committed by a liquor salesman. Afterwards, guests reported maniacal laughter and the smell of whiskey in that room, which was later turned into a supply closet.

Any city as old as Boston is bound to have its share of tragedies and restless spirits.

Thank you Nancy for giving us such a haunting tour of Boston!  

To learn more about Nancy Holzner and her books, please visit her website.  You can add her Deadtown series here on Goodreads.

Deadtown urban fantasy by Nancy Holzner

Have you visited Boston?  Ever experience anything of the supernatural kind in and around Boston?

What did you think of Nancy's picks for spooky places?

Last week on Paranormal Road Trip we visited Dunnsmouth, MA with Daryl Gregory.  Next week we'll be traveling to San Francisco, CA with Celia Breslin.

Join us for another spine-tingling Paranormal Road Trip...
if you dare!

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Q+A with Nadia Nader + The Enchanted Rose $50 Giveaway

Q+A with Nadia Nader + The Enchanted Rose Giveaway

Please welcome today's guest author, Nadia Nader!  Nadia is the author of THE ENCHANTED ROSE.

Keep reading for a chance to win a $50 Amazon gift card.

Q+A with Nadia Nader

EJ:  When did you begin writing?

Nadia: 
I began to write seriously a couple of years ago. Prior to that, I have been keeping diaries since I was in elementary school. I started writing short stories in fourth grade. It wasn’t until recently that I attempted writing a full novel.

EJ:  What brought you to the paranormal genre?

Nadia:
  I’m an escapist. Fantasy is one of my favorite genres and I enjoy the supernatural. Give me magic, shape shifters, vampires, witches, and demons and I’m a happy bookworm and writer! I love the creation of new worlds and including paranormal elements.

EJ:  If you could be any paranormal or have any one supernatural talent, what would it be? Why?

Nadia:
  I would love to be a shape shifter. I would enjoy to experience heightened senses and experience the world as another being. Imagine being able to shape shift into a bird and experiencing flight! Or what about turning into a wolf and running through the woods at night? Those sound great to me. I would love to see the world through different eyes.

EJ:  Tell us why readers will enjoy your new release.

Nadia:
  The Enchanted Rose is full of twists and turns. I think readers would resonate with Vivian and her struggle to re-establish normalcy in her life despite the fact that nothing in her life is normal anymore.

EJ:  If your book(s) were being made into a movie, who would you cast for the leading roles? Why?

Nadia: 
I can see Selena Gomez playing the role of Vivian. I keep changing my mind about the leading guys. There are so many good looking actors out there I can’t commit to one!

Thank you Nadia for joining us here today at From the Shadows!

To learn more about Nadia Nader and her books, please visit her website.  You can also learn more about her novel The Enchanted Rose below.

The Enchanted Rose by Nadia Nader

The Enchanted Rose by Nadia Nader.

When Vivian’s mother dies in a tragic accident, Vivian’s world is turned upside down. Her life, as she knows it, is over. A new life, full of her mother’s secrets, begins…

Sent away by her father to live with two eccentric aunts on the mysterious Tremaine Estate, Vivian comes to learn that a powerful curse lurks over her family – one that only she may have the power to break. With each day she spends in Misty Hills, Vivian uncovers more unsettling discoveries about the town, her reclusive family, and herself.

Can Vivian let go of every truth she’s ever believed and discover who she really is, before the dark secrets hidden within the supernatural town threaten to consume her and those she loves?

Release Date: January 14, 2015
Genre: Paranormal, Young Adult
Add to Goodreads.

The Enchanted Rose Giveaway

The author is giving away a $50 Amazon gift card to one lucky winner!

To enter, please use the Rafflecopter form below.  This giveaway is INTERNATIONAL.  This is a book tour giveaway, so the winner will be randomly selected by the author or publisher.  Giveaway ends June 2, 2015.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Good luck!

Monday, May 18, 2015

Paranormal Road Trip: Destination Dunnsmouth with Daryl Gregory

Paranormal Road Trip: Destination Dunnsmouth with Daryl Gregory

Come on boys and ghouls!  It's time to hop on Route 666 for a spooktacular Paranormal Road Trip.

This week's stop is Dunnsmouth, Massachusetts and our special guide is Daryl Gregory author of HARRISON SQUARED.

Dunnsmouth's Top Five Spooky Places

Harrison Squared is a Lovecraftian adventure set in the bleak fishing village of Dunnsmouth, Massachusetts. Monsters lurk in the caves beneath the town, and in the waters just offshore. In fact, just about every square inch of Dunnsmouth is creepy, but here are the highlights.

Map of Dunnsmouth, Massachusetts from Harrison Squared by Daryl Gregory

Dunnsmouth proper:
...is a severe disappointment to our hero, Harrison Harrison. He’s moved to this town with his mother, Rosa Harrison, so that she can pursue her quest to find the sea creature who drowned her husband and cost her son his right leg. But something strange is going on in town. Everyone seems to be in the same cult, and even worse (to Harrison) the cell coverage is negative bars. While Mom pursues her quest, Harrison has no choice but to go to school at...

...Dunnsmouth Secondary:
Once an ancient temple devoted to the worship of elder gods, it’s now a high school for the town’s youth. (Cutbacks are a bitch for everyone, even the denizens of horror novels.) The top floors seem to be typical classrooms, but the basement? All kinds of weird things are in the basement, including....

...the Scrimshander’s lair:
In caves below the school, the Scrimshander works his art. He's a legendary boogey-man, a seemingly immortal serial killer who inscribes his victims’ souls onto the bones of whales... and other mammals. Harrison’s mother has been captured by this inhuman beast, who works for the town cult. It’s Harrison's duty to rescue Rosa before her body becomes an empty husk suitable for sacrifice in...

...the  realm of the Dwellers:
This ancient race of fish-like humanoids live in the deep waters off Dunnsmouth bay. They worship an elder god called the Urgaleth—the “Mover Between Worlds.” Harrison already lost his father to Urgaleth, and soon he’ll lose his mother unless he finds her before the ritual takes place. Fortunately, Harrison has some allies, including Lub the Fish Boy, who lives in...

The Lighthouse:
To be more accurate, the ruins of Dunnsmouth’s old lighthouse. Lub, one of the Dwellers, has made the crumbling and abandoned tower his secret hideout on land. Lub is fascinated by humans, and this is where he keeps his collection of human pop cultural items: comic books, bicycles, pulp fiction... the flotsam of jetsam of human civilization. Lub, for example, is perhaps the greatest living fan of Aquaman, and Harrison can’t persuade him of the lameness of his devotion.

Thank you Daryl for giving us such a haunting tour of Dunnsmouth!  

To learn more about Daryl Gregory and his books, please visit his website.  You can add Harrison Squared here on Goodreads.

Harrison Squared young adult lovecraftian novel by Daryl Gregory

What did you think of Daryl Gregory's picks for spooky places?

Last week on Paranormal Road Trip we visited Temperance, Wyoming with Laura Bickle.  Next week we'll be traveling to Boston, Massachusetts with Nancy Holzner.

Join us for another spine-tingling Paranormal Road Trip...
if you dare!