Thursday, January 29, 2015

Book Review: Grimoire of the Lamb by Kevin Hearne

Interested in reading the Iron Druid Chronicles by Kevin Hearne?  This is a good place to start.

Book Review: Grimoire of the Lamb by Kevin Hearne the Iron Druid Chronicles urban fantasy

Grimoire of the Lamb (Iron Druid Chronicles #0.4) by Kevin Hearne

There's nothing like an impromptu holiday to explore the birthplace of modern civilization, but when Atticus and Oberon pursue a book-stealing Egyptian wizard - with a penchant for lamb - to the land of the pharaohs, they find themselves in hot, crocodile-infested water.

The trip takes an even nastier turn when they discover the true nature of the nefarious plot they've been drawn into. On the wrong side of the vengeful cat goddess Bast and chased by an unfathomable number of her yowling four-legged disciples, Atticus must find a way to appease or defeat Egypt's deadliest gods - before his grimoire-grabbing quarry uses them to turn him into mincemeat.

Release Date: May 2013
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Add to Goodreads.

Review

Grimoire of the Lamb takes place before Hounded, the first full length novel in the Iron Druid Chronicles.  This means that many of the characters that fans of the series have come to love are not present, but this is not necessarily a bad thing for a novella.  Grimoire and the Lamb is distilled down to the heart of the Iron Druid Chronicles--Atticus and Oberon.

Grimoire of the Lamb is a fantastic prequel novella in the Iron Druid Chronicles series.  This novella may be short, but it contains all of the quirkiness I've come to expect from Kevin Hearne.  Atticus and his Irish Wolfhound Oberon are both adorable and hilarious together as always, and the bad guys are Evil with a capital E.

While most of the later Iron Druid Chronicles books deal primarily with the Norse and Celtic pantheons (with the occasional nod to Native American myth with the trickster Coyote), Grimoire of the Lamb gives a dark and somewhat twisted glimpse into Kevin Hearne's version of the Egyptian gods and goddesses.  Some of these descriptions had me cringing and laughing in equal turns (Bast is goddess of a cat sex cult with a Kama Sutra-like book printed on cat skin pages)--you've been warned--and I couldn't wait to see what would happen next. 

If you haven't yet read any of the Iron Druid novels, this is a good place to start.  These books are an entertaining blend of action and humor, with different elements of world myth deftly woven into a modern day urban fantasy world.  Highly recommend.  5 stars.

My favorite quote:
It was creepy being chased by that many cats.  Their feet made no noise, but I knew they were there, because a good number of the house cats had little bells around their necks, and those become damn menacing when there are more than two on your heels.

*Warning: If violence against animals bothers you, you may want to give this novella a pass, and start the series with Hounded.*

Recommended for fans of the Iron Druid Chronicles, and for readers who are curious about this series, but don't want to commit to a full length novel.  

Monday, January 26, 2015

Paranormal Road Trip Six Month Recap + $10 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway

Paranormal Road Trip at From the Shadows spooky tours of the world with your favorite authors

Wow!  I can't believe that it has been six months since we began the From the Shadows original blog feature, Paranormal Road Trip.  Time flies by when we're scaring the bejeebus out of you all, right?

Since I'm on vacation this week, I thought it would be fun to do a Paranormal Road Trip recap and see where we've been over the past six months.

Come on and take a ride with us down Route 666!

It all began with a terrifying trip to Savannah...

Paranormal Road Trip: Destination Savannah with J.D. Horn.
Paranormal Road Trip: Destination New Orleans with Suzanne Johnson.
Paranormal Road Trip: Destination Manhattan with Melissa De La Cruz.
Paranormal Road Trip: Destination San Diego with Eileen Wilks.
Paranormal Road Trip: Destination Jacksonville with Rinda Elliott.
Paranormal Road Trip: Destination San Diego with S.J. Harper.
Paranormal Road Trip: Destination Austin with Gerry Bartlett.
Paranormal Road Trip: Destination Tokyo with Steve Bein.
Paranormal Road Trip: Destination Detroit with Laura Bickle.
Paranormal Road Trip: Destination Bruges with E.J. Stevens.
Paranormal Road Trip: Destination Nightshade with Marlene Perez.
Paranormal Road Trip: Destination Detroit with Amber Lynn Natusch.
Paranormal Road Trip: Destination L.A. with Melissa F. Olson.
Paranormal Road Trip: Destination South Tom's River, NJ with Shawntelle Madison.
Paranormal Road Trip: Destination Twelve Acres, Colorado with Teri Harman.
Paranormal Road Trip: Destination New York City.
Paranormal Road Trip: Destination Eden, KY with Sharon Buchbinder.
Paranormal Road Trip: Destination San Diego with Jennifer Harlow.
Paranormal Road Trip: Destination Sydney with Yolanda Sfetsos.
Paranormal Road Trip: Destination Dublin with Ruth Frances Long.
Paranormal Road Trip: Destination Boston with Skylar Dorset.

*shivers*  Since I live near Boston, that last Paranormal Road Trip gave me chills! 

What do you think of Paranormal Road Trip?  Have you enjoyed letting our favorite paranormal and urban fantasy authors take us on journeys into spooky cities around the world?  Where would you like to travel to next?

Paranormal Road Trip Giveaway

To celebrate six months of Paranormal Road Trip blog posts, we are giving away a $10.00 Amazon Gift Card!


To enter, leave a comment on any of the Paranormal Road Trip posts linked above.  Receive an entry for EVERY Paranormal Road Trip post you comment on!  Leave us a comment on this post to let us know which Paranormal Road Trip posts you commented on.  This giveaway is INTERNATIONAL (if you cannot use an Amazon gift card, you may choose a book from The Book Depository with a value up to $10.00).  Giveaway ends February 9, 2015 midnight EST.

Good luck!

Next week we'll be back to our regularly scheduled weekly Paranormal Road Trip.  We'll be traveling to Banff with Nancy Baker.

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

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Q+A with Author L.A. Starkey and Giveaway

Q+A with L.A. Starkey Author of Young Adult Paranormal Novel Deceived and Giveaway

Please welcome today's guest author L.A. Starkey!  L.A. is the author of DECEIVED, the first novel in the Soul Keeper young adult paranormal series.

Keep reading for a chance to win Deceived and Destroyed by L.A. Starkey!

Q+A with L.A. Starkey

EJ: When did you begin writing?

LA:
  I started four years ago in my early 30’s actually. I know most people will attest to having been writing since they were in grade school or high school, but I’m forever a reader more than a writer. I realized a few years ago that I’d read so many books (crazy amounts of books) that I’d figured out how to spot plot holes, bad characterization and poor flow. I figured if I could see all of that then maybe, possibly, I could write a novel myself with the right storyline involved.
I enjoyed reading so much that I wanted to give someone the experience that so many had given me, putting a smile on their face or a tear in their eye – whatever it meant for them. I just decided today to try it and within a few minutes of starting my characters took the show and the novel was done before I knew it. It was one of the coolest experiences of my life and I’ve done it many times since.

 EJ:  What brought you to the paranormal genre?

LA: 
I love disappearing when I read. I live a fast-moving crazy life and so where I am looking for adventure in the pages of a novel, I’m really also looking for something that could NEVER-EVER happen. I want to jump into a world where things exist that only do so in our imaginations. Paranormal novels do that for me every time. I try to read or write other genres and it never works out for me.

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

LA:
  Oh man… That’s like giving a kid a candy store and asking them to choose their favorite type. I guess I’d be a vampire. Not that I would enjoy the blood sucking part of life, but life sometimes sucks so…. SeewhatIdidthere? Flying, living forever, moving fast, scaring and intriguing people, changing life and seeing so much? I’d totally sleep in a casket for those powers, especially if my male counterpart was a hottie, which is a must!

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

LA:
  My Soul Keeper series has it all: love story, adventure, horror, paranormal elements, loss and despair, loads of humor and multiple characters for you to love. People will enjoy it because it because it will surprise you about the time you feel like it’s starting to slow down a little and the love story will cause your heart to beat a little fast. The ending is a cliff hanger and I know some people aren’t too fond of those, but I rarely encounter cliff hangers in life except at the end of a TV series season, so I’d prefer them in my books. Leave me wanting more… that’s what I tried to do to.

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

LA:
  Let’s see… Marcus and Nicolas are twins so I’d pair them up with Kellan Lutz. Samantha would be Victoria Justice, and Julie would be Annasophia Robb.

Q+A with L.A. Starkey Author of Young Adult Paranormal Novel Deceived and Giveaway

Deceived (Soul Keeper #1) by L.A. Starkey.

They say a soul is the immaterial essence, the animating principle, the actuating cause of an individual life.

But what if you had to share yours with the one person you hated the most?

The soul mate principle states that for every one soul there is another that will recognize its match, hence creating the perfect union.

But what if you had two soul mates, which would you choose?

What if your choices had eternal ramification?

Deceived, the debut novel in the Soul Keeper Series, is a modern day love story about the implications of having more than one soul mate, and having to choose between the two of them. The decisions of the gods has left the next generation, their heirs, torn between fate and reality, and the balance of the future hangs in anticipation of what's to come.

Release Date: August 28, 2014
Genre: Paranormal, Young Adult
Add to Goodreads.

Thank you L.A. for joining us here today at From the Shadows!

You can learn more about L.A. Starkey and her books by visiting her website.

Deceived Giveaway

The author is giving away signed copies of Deceived and Destroyed by L.A. Starkey.

To enter, use the rafflecopter form below.  This giveaway is open to US and Canada only.  This is an Xpresso Book Tour giveaway, therefore the winners will be selected by author or publisher, not From the Shadows.  Giveaway ends February 12, 2015.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Good luck!

Monday, January 19, 2015

Paranormal Road Trip: Destination Boston With Skylar Dorset

Paranormal Road Trip: Destination Boston With Skylar Dorset author of Otherworld series

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 Skylar Dorset, author of the Otherworld young adult paranormal series.

The Otherworld series is set in Boston so it seems fitting that our guide for this week's Paranormal Road Trip be author Skylar Dorset.  Let's see what terrifying places Skylar has planned for our tour.

Boston's Top 5 Spooky Places

North Grove Street

North Grove Street is spooky for what used to be there: Harvard Medical College. The school has since relocated, although North Grove Street is still the home of Massachusetts General Hospital. But why is this place spooky? Because it was the site of one of the most high-profile murders in history, which led to the so-called trial of the nineteenth century. The murder was so famous that the crime scene was the first place Charles Dickens asked to be brought when he came to Boston. But we don’t talk about it much anymore, so here’s the super-grisly story:

George Parkman was a wealthy Boston Brahmin (as Boston aristocrats were known). He actually donated the land on North Grove Street that Harvard Medical College was built on, and the street adjacent is still called Parkman Street. Later, it would supposedly become the scene of his death.

Parkman was known for lending money around town (a character right out of Dickens!). He was a well-known figure in Boston, where he was often seen walking the streets, collecting his debts (he was too cheap to own a horse!). The last time he was ever seen, it was going into Harvard Medical College, where one of his debtors, Harvard Med School Professor John Webster, had arranged a meeting with him.

Parkman’s worried, wealthy family reported him missing and launched a citywide hunt for him, papering the city with “missing” posters, dragging the Harbor and the Charles River, etc. The police also searched Harvard Medical College, but found nothing.

In the meantime, though, Ephraim Littlefield, a janitor at Harvard Medical College, decided to take matters into his own hand (there was a large reward being offered for information about Parkman’s disappearance). Littlefield knew that Webster had been in debt to Parkman, had met with him on the day of his disappearance, and had been questioned by the police. Webster, according to Littlefield, had a suspicious conversation with Littlefield about what Littlefield had witnessed, and later presented Littlefield with…a Thanksgiving turkey. (It was that time of year.)

Littlefield took the turkey home to his wife and they enjoyed a pleasant Thanksgiving dinner while Littlefield mused upon Webster’s odd behavior. But what could he be hiding? The police had searched the school building and turned up nothing. Littlefield remembered that the day before, though, Webster’s furnace in his laboratory had been burning all day. Curiouser and curiouser, Littlefield persuaded his wife to go to the school with him on Thanksgiving and keep watch while he broke into Webster’s lab. The privy in Webster’s suite of rooms emptied into a pit that hadn’t been searched by the police, and Littlefield focused his actions there, chiseling away at the brick wall (it was a time of strongly built buildings!). It was tough going, as you can imagine, and it was a holiday, so Littlefield gave up after a couple of hours and went to a dance. (True story.)

The next day, however, was no Black Friday shopping as we would have today. Littlefield went back to work, resumed his chiseling, broke through to the pit, and spotted human remains. He called for the police, who in turn arrested Webster, who in turn tried to commit suicide almost immediately. The police resumed their searching of Webster’s lab, which apparently had been totally half-hearted before, because now they found body parts, partially burned, in the furnace as well as in other hiding places around the lab. (Amazing detail: Parkman’s wife identified his body based on very personal parts of his body.)

There was a trial, so well attended that they had to hand out tickets and cycle groups of people in and out of the courtroom, and Webster was found guilty and sentenced to death. He later wrote a confession, claiming to have killed Parkman in self-defense. Webster was hanged…or so some people say. Others say he was never killed and was instead smuggled out of Boston. Still others thought Parkman himself hadn’t died and had simply fled the city. Sightings of both men happened all over the world for years afterwards. To this day, the whereabouts of Webster’s body is mere conjecture, because it was kept secret for fear of grave-robbing. (Or because he hadn’t died, if you believe the rumors.)

At any rate, who knows if either one of those tragically linked men ever left the spot of their final altercation?

(This story owes a debt to Cleveland Amory’s The Proper Bostonians, which was the first time I had ever heard of it.)

Langone Park in the North End

You might think that this is just a normal park, but, before it was a park, it was the site of a huge tank that stored molasses. Yes. Molasses. Which are basically a thick byproduct of the refining of sugar that you can use for a lot of stuff, and that was heavily used back in the beginning of the twentieth century. At that time also the North End was said to be the most densely populated area of the entire country, heavily packed with people.

In January 1919, the molasses storage tank, which had been poorly maintained by its owners, cracked open, possibly spurred by the stress of a sudden rise in temperature in the city’s weather. Molasses spilled into the North End at a speed of 35 miles per hour. A car can’t even reach 35 miles per hours these days in the narrow, clogged North End streets. The molasses plowed over crowds of people who couldn’t get out of the way quickly enough, killing 21 of them.

There are lots of historical ghosts in the North End, a very old part of the city that holds the famous Old North Church. But the molasses spill haunts more than anything else. On very hot days, the story goes, you can still smell the sticky sweet scent in the air.

Boston Massacre location outside the Old State House

In March 1770, a group of British soldiers fired into a crowd of Bostonians that had gathered in protest outside of the Old State House, killing five of them. Later, John Adams defended the soldiers and actually won acquittals for almost all of them, but the event was seared in the colonial memory as the Boston Massacre and helped spur the revolution that would come a few years later.

The victims are buried in the nearby Granary Burying Ground. The Granary Burying Ground and the Kings Chapel Burying Ground, also nearby, are both said to be haunted by plenty of unknown groups, but it’s the site of the Massacre itself that I find creepiest. It’s a round circle of bricks in front of the Old State House, now surrounded on all sides by very busy streets. In the midst of all the cars whizzing past, you can hear the chaos of that winter night that caused the frightened soldiers to fire into the crowd, and you can stand on the spot where the first five casualties of the American Revolution lost their lives.

Boston Common

Boston Common is the huge public park in the middle of Boston. In the beginning of Boston’s life, it was used for grazing cows. And for hanging people who upset the populace. These days, it’s just a park, but it’s said to be haunted by ghosts, both of those who lost their lives there and those who just loved the place and hate to leave it. You never know which kind you’ll meet!

Salem

This might be cheating, because it’s technically outside Boston, but it’s not very far, and no discussion of creepy goings-on in Boston is complete without remember the Salem Witch Trials of the late seventeenth century, in which an entire town was seized with panic and ended up gruesomely killing some twenty people accused of nothing more than being witches. Salem is full of witch trial linked attractions, but there is an official Witch Trials Memorial, adjacent to an old burying ground, that can raise chills as you read the words the poor victims pleaded in their defense.

Bonus Outside Boston Trip!

Medfield State Hospital: Formerly an asylum, this now-vacant hospital campus is open to the public daily for them to wander, but not many of them ever go. On the day we went, we were alone among the empty buildings where so many unfortunate, unhappy patients lived. Spooky and sad. And, if you want to see it, you should go now, because apparently they have begun demolishing the buildings

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

To learn more about Skylar Dorset and her books, please visit her website.  You can add the Otherworld series here on Goodreads.

The Boy with the Hidden Name otherworld young adult paranormal novel by skylar dorset on Paranormal Road Trip Destination Boston


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

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

Last week on Paranormal Road Trip we visited Dublin, Ireland with Ruth Frances Long.  Next week we'll be doing a six month Paranormal Road Trip recap. Has it really been six months?  Wow!  The following week we'll be traveling to Banff with Nancy Baker.

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

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Q+A with Rebecca Chastain + A Fistful of Evil Book Giveaway

Author Interview at From the Shadows: Q+A with Rebecca Chastain + A Fistful of Evil urban fantasy Book Giveaway

Please welcome today's guest author Rebecca Chastain!  Rebecca is the author of Magic of the Gargoyles and A Fistful of Evil.

Keep reading for a chance to win an ebook copy of A Fistful of Evil by Rebecca Chastain.

Q+A with Rebecca Chastain

EJ:  When did you begin writing?

Rebecca:
  I began writing as a preteen, though I’ve always made up stories. It wasn’t until I was an adult that I realized most people aren’t constantly making up little stories for themselves about the people or situations around them, or just about anything at all when they’re doing monotonous tasks. I love making up my own history for various people, which I later learned is the basis for creating characters. To this day, I still craft stories for people standing in line in front of me at the grocery store or the odd mailman, who comes on the sixth delivery day.

EJ:  What brought you to the paranormal genre?

Rebecca: 
Magic is the reason that I write. If I could actually do magic, I never would have become an author. I’d be a great sorceress somewhere, most likely riding an enormous horse or driving a chariot pulled by dolphins, depending on whether my powers were stronger on land or water. In the last two decades, I have never come up with a story idea that didn’t involve magic. I guess I came to the paranormal genre by default.

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

Rebecca:
  If I could be any paranormal, it would have to be some form of were-animal. I’m rather partial to were-panthers, but even better would be a were-eagle. I would love to be able to fly! For supernatural talent, I would want to be able to touch an object and see everywhere it’s been. Can you imagine how incredible I would be as an archaeologist? Or better yet, think of all the amazing events I would be able to see that took place in the past!

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

Rebecca:
  A Fistful of Evil is a lighthearted coming-into-power story of an everywoman trying to find her place in a secretive world to which she reluctantly belongs. The novel is a mixture of adventure and humor, with a fair share of evil and hot guys. While the novel is an urban fantasy, it doesn’t rely on the genre’s tropes; instead, there is a brand-new magic system, never-before-scene good and evil creatures, and nary a werewolf or vampire in sight. It’s also designed for pure entertainment, and it doesn’t take itself too seriously. If you like a little humor with your urban fantasy, you’ll enjoy A Fistful of Evil.

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

Rebecca: 
I am terrible with celebrities: I pretty much know only the big names, and most of those are too old to play the roles I’d want for them in my novel. However, if I could pick actors at any age, I think a young Sandra Bullock (around the time of The Net) would make a great Madison Fox. She’s has an incredible ability to balance action with comedy, especially physical comedy. For Niko, I’m rather partial to Taye Diggs. I’m open to suggestions for the rest of my characters, except for Mr. Bond: He would be played by my cat, of course.


A Fistful of Evil urban fantasy novel by Rebecca Chastain book giveaway at from the shadows

A Fistful of Evil (Madison Fox, Illuminant Enforcer #1) by Rebecca Chastain.

Madison Fox just learned that her ability to see souls is more than a sight: It’s a weapon for fighting evil. The only problem is she doesn’t have a clue what she’s doing.

On the positive side, her money problems are over, she’s possibly discovered her purpose in life, and her coworker is smoking hot. On the negative side, evil creatures now actively hunt her, and deadly experiences are becoming the norm.

When she thinks it couldn’t get worse, a powerful evil sets up shop at a local hotel’s video game convention, and it’s got its eye on more than the gaming geeks: it is hungry for Madison’s soul. Madison needs to become an expert illuminant enforcer overnight to save her job, her region . . . and her life.

Release Date: August 2014
Genre: Paranormal, Urban Fantasy
Add to Goodreads.

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

To learn more about Rebecca Chastain and her books, please visit her website.

Did Rebecca's Q+A make you want to read A Fistful of Evil?

If so, you're in luck.  We have a special book giveaway for our readers.

A Fistfull of Evil Ebook Giveaway

We are giving away one ebook copy of A Fistful of Evil by Rebecca Chastain.

To enter, please leave a comment on this post, and include your email address so we may contact you if you win.  This giveaway is INTERNATIONAL.  Giveaway ends January 31, 2015 midnight EST.

Good luck!

Monday, January 12, 2015

Paranormal Road Trip: Destination Dublin, Ireland with Ruth Frances Long

Paranormal Road Trip: Destination Dublin, Ireland with Ruth Frances Long author of fantasy A Crack in Everything

Come on boys and ghouls!  It's time to hop on Route 666 for a spooktacular Paranormal Road Trip.  This week's stop is Dublin, Ireland and our special guide is Ruth Frances Long, author of A Crack in Everything.

A Crack in Everything is set in Dublin so it seems fitting that our guide for this week's Paranormal Road Trip be author Ruth Frances Long.  Let's see what terrifying places Ruth has planned for our tour.

Dublin's Top 5 Spooky Places

Dublin is a city rich in history and spooky stories. When writing "A Crack in Everything" I wanted to link in to that. The city dates from the 9th century, when the Viking settlement at Woodquay was founded. Throughout its long history, Dublin has been a turbulent place. Witchcraft, murder, secret societies, even whispering mummies, this city has seen it all. The atmosphere makes for an amazing addition to an urban fantasy. Here are some of my favourites.

Hellfire Club & Killakee House
Founded in 1737, the Hell Fire Club quickly became notorious for its evil antics. The former meeting ground is said to be haunted by some of these dark deeds.

The lone building known today as the Hellfire Club, perched on top of Mont Pelier hill, was built as a Hunting Lodge by one William Connolly, the Speaker of the Irish House of Commons in 1725. He was one of the richest men in Ireland. When the lodge was built, however, the builders used stones from the stone cairn, which would have been known locally as a fairy fort. Disturbing one is considered very unfortunate and bad luck always follows their destruction. The slate roof blew off the building in a storm and a massive arched roof of stones was built to replace it, the flat stones from the cairn incorporated into this, further compounding the sin. Connolly didn’t get much use from the lodge. He died in 1729.

The lodge was let to the Hell Fire Club, headed by Richard Parsons, the Earl of Rosse, and became the haunt for a number of Dublin rakes, notorious for drunkenness, debauchery, orgies and occult activities. Parsons was known as The King of Hell, and presided over the meetings. Perhaps it attracted some occult attention of its own. Stories began to grow about the club. Like the story of Loftus Hall, the devil is said to have arrived one night to play cards with the members, beating all there until someone discovered his cloven hooves, whereupon he vanished. A large black cat was also associated with the area, an evil creature which appeared to be at the centre of the occult activities. Stories vary as to whether this cat was part of a ritual gone wrong or a demon in feline form, but the cat has been seen there and in nearby Kilakee Stewards house. A young man who went to investigate the revels was found the following morning wandering the hillside in shock, unable to speak or hear for the rest of his life.

According to legend, the building burnt down when an unfortunately footman spilled brandy on "Burn-Chapel" Whaley's coat, who retaliated by dousing the man in brandy and setting him alight. The resulting fire killed many members of the club and left the lodge a ruin. That didn’t stop the members of the Hellfire Club, who relocated to Kilakee Stewards House, where they reportedly kidnapped, murdered and ate a local farmer’s daughter.  A number of apparitions still linger around the Stewards House, the spectoral black cat, and a pair of nuns who were said to have taken part in black masses at the lodge. The sound of bells, and poltergeist activity has also been reported, and a small, misshapen figure has been seen sometimes with the cat. A skeleton was found in 1971 by workmen, described as being that of a child or a dwarf murdered by the Hellfire Club.

Darkey Kelly
The notorious Darkey Kelly was burnt as a witch in 1746 after she accused the Sherriff of Dublin, Simon Luttrell, of fathering her child. Dorcas Kelly was keeper of the Maiden Tower brothel in Copper Alley, off Fishamble Street and that she tried to blackmail Luttrell by threatening to reveal not just his illegitimate child, but also his membership of the Hellfire Club. The story says he took the child from her, killed it in a Satanic ritual and accused her of witchcraft. However, new evidence found in the newspapers of the time in the National Archives,  has suggested that she was accused of murdering a shoemaker John Dowling and on investigation, the bodies of five other men were found in the vaults under the brothel.  Following her trial and execution the prostitutes rioted for days in Copper Alley.

The Green Lady, a famous Dublin ghost frequenly seen near St Audeons Church and in the streets near Christchurch Cathedral (streets once known as Hell), is said to be Darkey Kelly.

St. Michan’s Church
On the site of a Viking chapel, dating from 1095, the current church dates from 1686. Handel is reputed to have composed The Messiah on the organ here. But the church is best known for the vaults beneath it. The vaults are famous for their mummies, the limestone in the building drying the air and helping to preserve the bodies. Among those preserved are the 400 year old body of a nun, a man thought to have been a crusader and the Sheares brothers who took part in the rebellion of 1798. The warm, dry air which preserves their bodies makes the reports of icy fingers touching the backs of visitors’ necks even stranger. Others say they have heard disembodied voices whispering from the shadows or feel a cold, clammy presence as they look upon the dead.

Marsh’s Library
The ghost of Narcissus Marsh , Archbishop of Dublin, is said to haunt the library he founded, next to St. Patrick’s Cathedral.  By night, he wanders the shelves, browsing through the books, searching for something. Marsh founded the library in 1707 as the first public library in Dublin and it is still in use today, unchanged for three centuries, many of the books on the same beautiful dark oak shelves allocated to them by March and Elias BouhĂ©reau, the first librarian.

The popular story of the ghost concerns Marsh’s niece Grace, who acted as his housekeeper and who, at 19, eloped with Charles Proby, the vicar of Castleknock. It is said that Grace left a note for her uncle in one of the books before they eloped, but he did not find it in time and is still looking for it (Although they must have made up as Grace returned to nurse her uncle in his old age) . The ghost is said to haunt the inner gallery, which was his private collection, moving in and out of the shelves, taking down books and sometimes throwing them on the desks in anger or frustration, although he always leaves the library in perfect order when he’s done.

Boyd’s Dog
On the 8th February, 1861, the worst storm ever recorded in the Irish Sea sank 135 vessels, 13 in the area around Dun Laoghaire Harbour. The crew of the coastguard ship, the Ajax, were among those searching the wreckage, under Captain John McNeill Boyd, trying to rescue the men of the stricken ship the Nepture, which had hit the rocks off the East Pier. Heavily dressed for cold weather, the men found ropes, lashed themselves together and hurried out onto the rocks off the East Pier when a large wave, said to be as high as a mountain, crashed over the, sweeping them all into the sea.  Boyd and five of his men were lost. Their bodies were not found for several days and Boyd himself was not found for several weeks. In the meantime the lifeboat from the Ajax continued to patrol, searching for them, with Boyd’s faithful black dog in the prow of the boat.

The crew were buried in the graveyard at Carrickbrennan in Monkstown, near Dun Laoghaire. Boyd was buried in the grounds of St. Patrick’s Cathedral, with a memorial to him erected inside the Cathedral itself.  It was reported to be one of the biggest funerals ever seen in Dublin and the Captain’s dog walked behind the hearse. It guarded his body while it lay in state in the Cathedral and lay on top of the grave, refusing to move in spite of attempts to entice it away or feed it, until it died.

The ghostly form of a large black dog is still frequently reported at Boyd’s grave, at the foot of the memorial in the Cathedral  and crossing the road to the now closed Carrickbrennan graveyard in Monkstown where the rest of the crew lie.

Thank you Ruth for giving us such a haunting tour of Dublin!  

To learn more about Ruth Frances Long and her books, please visit her website, and don't miss our Q+A with Ruth Frances Long here at From the Shadows.  You can add A Crack in Everything here on Goodreads.

Paranormal Road Trip: Destination Dublin, Ireland with Ruth Frances Long author of fantasy A Crack in Everything


Have you visited Dublin, Ireland?  Ever experience anything of the supernatural kind in and around Dublin?

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

Last week on Paranormal Road Trip we visited Sydney, Australia with Yolanda Sfetsos.  Next week we'll be traveling to Boston, Massachusetts with Skylar Dorset, author of the Otherworld series.

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

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Q+A with Vanessa Barneveld Author of This Is Your Afterlife

Q+A with Vanessa Barneveld Author of young adult paranormal romance This Is Your Afterlife

Please welcome today's guest author Vanessa Barneveld!  Vanessa is the author of This Is Your Afterlife, a young adult paranormal romance about a girl who can see ghosts...including the ghost of the guy she's been crushing on.

Q+A with Vanessa Barneveld

EJ:  When did you begin writing?

Vanessa:
  I first started writing short stories in my early teens. I had a healthy addiction to series fiction, and when I ran out of books to read, I’d try to write my own. Writing is incredibly hard work, but also incredibly fun. What could be better than making up stories for a living?

EJ:  What brought you to the paranormal genre?

Vanessa:
  When I wasn’t reading all kinds of fiction as a teenager, I was virtually gobbling up a collection of magazines called The Unexplained. They were chock-full of eyewitness accounts to nightmarish stuff like spontaneous human combustion, UFO abductions and, my favorite, hauntings. These apparently true stories not only prevented me from having a good night’s sleep, they gave me a story idea or two.

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

Vanessa: 
I’m about to become a godmother, so I would love to be a fairy godmother, one who can make other people’s wishes come true. I’d do my best to be responsible about it, though. One person’s wish cannot have a hurtful impact on another or cause the stock market to crash or whatever. Hmm, fairy godmothering could actually be a troublesome talent. Maybe it’s safer to choose the ability to fly like Superman instead...

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

Vanessa:
  This Is Your Afterlife is a fun, quick read that brings new meaning to “teen spirit.” Sixteen-year-old Keira has finally got what she’s always wanted – the popular, hunky captain of the football team in her bedroom. Problem is he’s not in the flesh. He’s a ghost. Being a practical sort of girl, Keira takes on the job of finding out who killed Jimmy so he can move on to the next world. Readers tell me they love the book’s blend of humor, mystery and romance.

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

Vanessa:
  During the making of my book trailer, I spent days trawling a stock image site for models who resembled Afterlife’s three pivotal characters. Tough job, but somebody had to do it. You can see my cast here. I think they look perfect, but if I had a Hollywood-sized budget, these are my top picks:

Kate Mulvany as Keira. She’s an award-winning actor friend of mine here in Australia who is the same height as Keira. I’m sure Kate wouldn’t mind dyeing her golden hair black for the part. Kate was in the recent film adaptation of The Great Gatsby.
Brenton Thwaites from The Giver would play the ghost, Jimmy. Brenton’s also Australian and has a lovely blend of athleticism and sweetness.
Tom Welling, if he’s willing, should be Dan, Jimmy’s brother. Tom is not Australian, but this Smallville star is rather hot and fits the mental picture I had of Dan when I wrote the book. (And let’s just pretend these three talented actors are around the same age, shall we?)


Q+A with Vanessa Barneveld Author of young adult paranormal romance novel This Is Your Afterlife

This Is Your Afterlife by Vanessa Barneveld.

When the one boy you crushed on in life can't seem to stay away in death, it's hard to be a normal teen when you're a teen paranormal.

Sixteen-year-old Keira Nolan has finally got what she wanted—the captain of the football team in her bedroom. Problem is he’s not in the flesh. He’s a ghost and she’s the only one who can see him.

Keira's determined to do anything to find Jimmy's killer. Even it if means teaming up with his prickly-yet-dangerously-attractive brother, Dan, also Keira's ex-best-friend. Keira finds that her childish crush is fading, but her feelings for Dan are just starting to heat up, and as the story of Jimmy’s murder unfolds, anyone could be a suspect.

This thrilling debut from Vanessa Barneveld crosses over from our world to the next, and brings a whole delightful new meaning to "teen spirit".

Release Date: October 21, 2014
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal Romance
Add to Goodreads.

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

To learn more about Vanessa Barneveld and her books, please visit her website.

Have a question for Vanessa? Ask away in the comments below!

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

2015 Appearances: Magnolias + Mausoleums and ARC NOLA

I have SO many exciting things to share with you this week.  Today I'm sharing updates to my 2015 tour schedule.

E.J. Stevens at Magnolias + Mausoleums

I will be a featured author at Magnolias and Mausoleums, a paranormal/urban fantasy convention, at the Bourbon Orleans in New Orleans, LA.

Magnolias and Mausoleums is a mini-convention bringing together writers and readers of paranormal romance, urban fantasy, and straight romance.
 
magnolias and mausoleums new orleans 2015

July 22 - 26, 2015

I will have more scheduling details for the book signing and author panels in the future. 

E.J. Stevens at Author + Reader Con

I will also be attending ARC (Author and Reader Convention), a book convention for authors and readers, in New Orleans, LA.

“Our goal is to bring book lovers and writers together for a fun and educational event,” says Myra Nour, CEO of BTS eMag. “This convention promises to be even bigger and better than the 2014 Author & Reader Convention in Phoenix. We have a wonderful line-up of talented authors and a growing number of readers attending the 2015 convention.”


July 30 - August 1, 2015

I will have more details for the book signing and author events in the future.

Keep watching here on the blog, and follow my newsletter and Twitter, for updates.

Will you be attending Magnolias and Mausoleums
or Author Reader Con this year?

I hope to see you there!

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Ivy Granger Urban Fantasy Book Title Poll

Urban fantasy fans!  There's a disturbance in the force, or rather a great debate over the book title for Ivy Granger #5.  We'd love to hear your opinion, and we have a nifty poll where you can weigh in on this debate below.

In this novel, our favorite psychic detective may have accidentally allowed the Wild Hunt to leave Faerie...and enter the human realm.  The working title has shifted back and forth between WILD HUNT'S FLIGHT and HOUND'S BITE.  Now it's decision time.

Let us know what you think!


Previous titles in this series:

SHADOW SIGHT (Ivy Granger #1)
GHOST LIGHT (Ivy Granger #2)
BURNING BRIGHT (Ivy Granger #3)
BIRTHRIGHT (Ivy Granger #4)

Monday, January 5, 2015

Paranormal Road Trip: Destination Sydney, Australia with Yolanda Sfetsos

Paranormal Road Trip: Destination Sydney, Australia with Yolanda Sfetsos author of Seirra Fox Urban Fantasy series

Come on boys and ghouls!  It's time to hop on Route 666 for a spooktacular Paranormal Road Trip.  This week's stop is San Diego, California and our special guide is Yolanda Sfetsos, author of the Sierra Fox urban fantasy series.

The Sierra Fox series is set in Sydney, Australia so it seems fitting that our guide for this week's Paranormal Road Trip be author Yolanda Sfetsos.  Let's see what terrifying places Yolanda has planned for our tour.

Sydney's Top 5 Spooky Places

Hi! It’s great to be here today. Although I set my Sierra Fox series in my city of Sydney, because it actually takes place in an alternate history where ghosts have rights, I decided to set it in a fictional suburb called Serene Hills. Serene Hills is a combination of the many suburbs I’ve lived in.

So, here are the spookiest places:

5. Bayview Cemetery is the local cemetery. As a spook catcher, it’s also a place that Sierra tries not to visit too often. There are always too many wandering spirits trying to get her attention.

4. The Hocking House is situated in Serene Hills East, the more expensive part of town. It’s where a whole lot of demonic trouble starts after an amateur who had no business conjuring any kind of demonic entity raises one that wreaks havoc inside this lovely house. Serious trouble that ripples throughout the entire series.

3. The Haunted House is only a five minute drive from Sierra’s home and is a ‘hotspot for chaotic spook activity’. It’s also a place from Sierra’s childhood—where she spent a horrifying night trapped with a girl called Jackie and the horrors trapped inside. The results changed her young life. After that night, Jackie spread hurtful rumors about Sierra and made her school life miserable.

Later in life it becomes an address she visits constantly to remove one spook after another. Ultimately, this house becomes a place where something devastating happens to someone she cares about.

2. Spook Catcher Council Tower is located on Sussex Street in the CBD. Sussex Street is the name of an actual street in Sydney. And the building I imagined actually stands exactly where I situated this Tower, near an overpass that leads to the motorway. But it’s not called SCCT, and it’s certainly not the chaotic hub that I created in Sierra’s world.

The Spook Catcher Council is a terrible place that always makes Sierra feel physically ill. That’s because misbehaving/dangerous spooks are deposited here before sentencing. But as she eventually finds out…there is something a LOT worse hidden beneath.

1. The abandoned part of town is located in North Serene Hills, and there are many reasons why this is the spookiest, most haunted place in Sierra’s world. Not only because it’s been abandoned for decades, with imprints of people from long ago still caught in a cycle. There’s also a magical power grid situated here, as well as a three-pronged crossroads fit for a Goddess. It’s where the hunters meet with the mysterious Tailor from the Patch Watchdog once a month.

Yet, as creepy and filled with paranormal activity as this location is, it’s deeply connected to Sierra. For many otherworldly reasons.

Thank you Yolanda for giving us such a haunting tour of Sydney!  

To learn more about Yolanda Sfetsos and her books, please visit her website, and don't miss our Q+A with Yolanda Sfetsos here at From the Shadows.  You can add the Sierra Fox urban fantasy series here on Goodreads.

Paranormal Road Trip: Destination Sydney, Australia with Yolanda Sfetsos author of A Stitch on Time a Seirra Fox Urban Fantasy series novel


Have you visited Sydney, Australia?  Ever experience anything of the supernatural kind in and around Sydney?

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

Last week on Paranormal Road Trip we visited San Diego with Jennifer Harlow.  Next week we'll be traveling to Dublin with Ruth Frances Long.

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

Friday, January 2, 2015

Midwinter's Eve Giveaway Winner

Congratulations Vanessa V. the winner of the Midwinter's Eve Giveaway at From the Shadows.  Vanessa will receive a trade paperback copy of BURNING BRIGHT, an action-packed Ivy Granger urban fantasy novel by E.J. Stevens.  In addition to the novel, which will ship directly from Amazon or The Book Depository, the winner will receive a signed postcard from the author.

Burning Bright Ivy Granger Psychic Detective urban fantasy by E.J. Stevens

Thank you to all who entered!

*Giveaway winner randomly selected using Rafflecopter*

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Heart of Stone Book Giveaway Winner

Congratulations Stephanie the winner of our Heart of Stone Giveaway at From the Shadows!  Stephanie will receive a trade paperback copy of HEART OF STONE by Debra Mullins.

Heart of Stone paranormal romance by Debra Mullins

Thank you to all who entered!

*Giveaway winner randomly selected using Random.org*