Monday, March 30, 2015

Paranormal Road Trip: Destination Sonoma County with Sharon Hamilton

Paranormal Road Trip: Destination Sonoma County California with Sharon Hamilton

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

This week's stop is Sonoma County, California and our special guide is Sharon Hamilton author of UNDERWORLD QUEEN, the third novel in the Guardian Angel paranormal romance series.

Sonoma County with Sharon Hamilton

I live in the beautiful Wine Country of Sonoma County, California. Within 20 miles of our home are nearly 400 wineries. Such lush backgrounds (and I’ve lived here for over 45 years) make for great sites for my stories.

My Vampires of Tuscany series (Honeymoon Bite, Mortal Bite) both take place in the town of Healdsburg, which is my favorite place to take friends when they come to visit. In fact, I’m arranging a book signing for authors next February 20th at Coppola Winery I’ll be talking more about very soon.

My hero’s family, the Monteleones, have a vineyard tucked into the hills of the Dry Creek Valley. A wonderful lovemaking scene takes place among the old vines at the ending, but a luscious “first bite” takes place there as well. The little town has upscale shops and tourist bars where the henchmen of the Monteleones, the dark vamps and brothers three, the Jetts, like to hang out and pick up their FB (not spelling it out here but you can guess what I mean). I also have sex scenes over aging wine barrels and romps on concrete floors that smell of decades of spilled fermented grapes. Not only is there beauty in the area, the smells of the region fill my head with so many fantasies. I simply cannot walk into a barrel storage room and not think of these scenes.

In my Heavenly Lover book, Claire (who is a guardian angel) slips away from her human lover and stands with the angels in a store display and surprises Daniel. They sit in the square in Healdsburg and watch families with children walk by, while she’s pondering giving up Daniel so she doesn’t hold him back from the human life he was destined for. The setting of the square makes these two scenes possible. Daniel and the bad girl, Audray, have sex in the bathroom of one of the tasting rooms in Heavenly Lover. Audray’s gallery, Craven Image, is located on the square right where there is indeed a very eclectic studio displaying just the kinds of canvases my Brazilian painter-hero, Daniel, paints.

Even my Navy SEALs have Sonoma County connections. Nick comes back to help his sister sell her struggling nursery located in Bennett Valley, where Matanzas Creek Winery exists today in SEAL The Deal. Kate works in a family-owned winery in Healdsburg in SEAL Of My Heart.

I’ve traveled to Italy for research, and taken a Mediterranean cruise for story locations and ideas. Ah, but that is another story for another time!

Thank you Sharon for giving us such an intriguing tour of Sonoma County!  

To learn more about Sharon Hamilton and her books, please visit her website.  You can add her Guardian Angel series here on Goodreads.

underworld queen paranormal romance by sharon hamilton

Have you visited California?  Ever experience anything of the supernatural kind in and around Sonoma County, California?

What did you think of Sonoma County?

Last week on Paranormal Road Trip we visited Fairy, Texas with Margo Bond Collins.  Next week we'll be traveling to New Orleans with Kristen Painter.

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

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Q+A with Jessica Minyard + Stones and Finger Bones Giveaway

Stones and Finger Bones by Jessica Minyard author interview and giveaway

Please welcome today's guest author, Jessica Minyard!  Jessica is the author of Stones and Finger Bones.

Keep reading for a chance to win Stones and Finger Bones by Jessica Minyard.

Q+A with Jessica Minyard

EJ:  When did you begin writing?

  That’s hard to say. My “official” bio says I wrote and illustrated my first story in the fourth grade, but I’m sure I was writing before that.

EJ:  What brought you to the paranormal fantasy genre?

I’ve always been here, I suppose. I grew up reading Lloyd Alexander, Gail Carson Levine, Donna Jo Napoli, Anne Rice, J.K.Rowling, Jennifer Fallon, and Sara Douglass. Although, Douglass might have been too heavy for my 12/13 year old self.

If there was something fantastical, otherworldly, or mythical about a book, I was reading it. So it just came as a natural progression that I started writing fantasy.

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

  The ability to quickly move from one place to another. Teleportation. Flying. Disapparating. Anything works.

Commuting makes me ragey and I would save so much time!

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

  Magic! Mayhem! Kissing! Handsome rogues! Narcissistic sociopaths! What’s not to enjoy?

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

  Ack. This is a hard one! Truth be told, I really have no idea. I know some writers like to cast their characters, but I am not one of them. If someday, somehow, Stones was being made into a movie, I would not want to be involved with the casting process, because I would fail miserably!

Let me give it a try though…

For Aurelia, I might cast Rose Leslie, because she’s a ginger and has an interesting face.

For Rycen, Alexander Uloom is the winner, because of the intensity of his eyes and his mouth. It was hard to find someone with a mouth I liked. Just Google him. I promise you won’t be disappointed!  

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

To learn more about Jessica Minyard please visit her website.  You can learn more about her book Stones and Finger Bones, and enter for a chance to win, below.

Stones and Finger Bones by Jessica Minyard author interview and giveaway

Stones and Finger Bones (The Black Towers #1) by Jessica Minyard.

Aurelia Barone, Jewel of Starry Stone, harbors no illusions about the purpose of her life as heir to the throne. But after two failed betrothals, she starts to feel like nothing more than a pawn being moved aimlessly about a game board.

Until the night she loses everything.

Kidnapped by a wise-cracking mercenary with more than one identity, Aurelia embarks on a mission across land and sea to avenge her father’s death.

But an evil is rising from the ashes of memory. Insidious magic is stirring. The dregs of a once-powerful nation are thirsty for blood and revenge.

They seek to harness Aurelia. To tempt her. To manipulate her.

And if necessary, to destroy her.

Release Date: February 10, 2015
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Add to Goodreads.

Stones and Finger Bones Giveaway

The author is giving away a signed paperback copy of Stones and Finger Bones by Jessica Minyard, and four prints of hand painted, original character portraits!

To enter, please use the Rafflecopter form below.  Giveaway is INTERNATIONAL.  This giveaway is a Book Tour giveaway, and the winners will be randomly drawn by the author or publisher.  Giveaway ends April 9, 2015.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, March 23, 2015

Paranormal Road Trip: Destination Fairy, Texas with Margo Bond Collins

Paranormal Road Trip: Destination Fairy, Texas with Margo Bond Collins

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

This week's stop is Fairy, Texas and our special guide is Margo Bond Collins.  Margo is the author of the Fairy, Texas young adult paranormal series.

Margo's Top 5 Spooky Places in Fairy, Texas

In my novel Fairy, Texas, the town is a small, but thriving, community—there's a high school, a downtown, a few restaurants, even a Sonic drive-in.  In reality, Fairy, Texas was never as big as the town in the book, and is now a something of ghost town (appropriately enough for this feature!).  But the fictional version of Fairy is based on several of the nearby towns in North Central Texas, where I grew up, and there's no lack of  spooky to be found. So the following list includes the spooky places in and around Fairy, Texas—and the towns that inspired the novel.

1. Fairy, Texas

Originally called "Gap," but later re-named after the local schoolteacher, Fairy Fort Phelps (sometimes listed as Felps), who grew to be only 2'7".  There is little left in Fairy other than a few buildings and the cemetery.

Paranormal Road Trip: Destination Fairy, Texas cemetery

2. McDow's Hole

McDow's Hole, a small, natural reservoir, was a logical place to settle. Near modern-day Dublin, Texas, this watering hole was also the site of a nineteenth-century mystery. In the 1860s, Charlie and Jenny Papworth moved to the area with their young son Temple, and soon had a second soon. Not long after their second son was born, Charlie received word that his parents had died and that he had inherited their furniture and would have to travel 200 miles to pick it up (the nearest train station at the time).  When he left, he asked his wife to spend the nights with one of two neighboring families.

But one night Jenny never arrived at either home. The next day, the neighbors found no sign of Jenny or her infant, but there was blood on the floor of her cabin—and her five-year-old son Temple was discovered cowering under the bed.  Jenny and the baby were never found.

Ever since, there have been tales of Jenny and the baby haunting the area, showing up in the cabin itself and floating above the water of McDow's Hole itself. And despite the fact that the land is now closed to trespassers, people still make the trek out to wait to see Jenny Papworth and her baby late at night.

Paranormal Road Trip: Destination Fairy, Texas McDow's Hole

3. Hico, Texas

In 1879, two men broke into the home of Hico resident Ike Malone and threatened to kill him. The townspeople sent out riders to catch the men, and they were temporarily imprisoned in a shed belonging to the Malone family. But late at night, a mob of roughly seventy-five men arrived, and the robbers were shot to death.  By 1882, the reports of ghostly sights and sounds from the shed were common enough that the local paper printed a story about them. The shed is long gone, but many of the buildings in this Texas town boast ghost sightings.

Paranormal Road Trip: Destination Fairy, Texas Hico, Texas

4. Granbury, Texas Opera House

The Granbury Opera House was constructed in 1886, and performances began in 1891, often consisting of traveling shows. Plays are still performed in the Opera House, and various people associated with shows have reported hearing footsteps pacing the balcony and seeing a man in a white shirt, dark pants, and tall boots.

Perhaps most interesting is the local rumor that John Wilkes Booth was not, in fact, killed after the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, but instead escaped to Granbury to live under the pseudonym John St. Helen with his cousin (a woman whose maiden name was, in fact, Booth), where he performed bit roles at the Opera House, served drinks at a bar next door, and drank alcohol only once a year—on the anniversary of Lincoln's death, when St. John would get blindingly drunk and quote Shakespeare.

Paranormal Road Trip: Destination Fairy, Texas Granbury Opera House

5. Stephenville, Texas UFO Sightings

 The latest batch of UFO sightings—centered in Stephenville, Texas, but occurring across this particular stretch of Texas—occurred in 2008 and 2009. Strange lights moving through the sky were reported by dozens of eyewitnesses and have not been explained.  These sightings bear a resemblance to those discussed in an 1891 newspaper article from Dublin, Texas.  (All I know for sure is that I spent my entire childhood watching for UFOs from my home in Stephenville—and they didn't appear until I had moved away!

Paranormal Road Trip: Destination Fairy, Texas UFO sightings

Thank you Margo for giving us such a haunting tour of Fairy!  

To learn more about Margo Bond Collins and her books, please visit her website.  You can add her Fairy, Texas series here on Goodreads.

Fairy Texas young adult paranormal by Margo Bond Collins

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

Last week on Paranormal Road Trip we visited Kingsholme, Faerie with C.T. Adams.  Next week we'll be traveling to New Orleans with Kristen Painter.

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