Showing posts with label paranormal. Show all posts
Showing posts with label paranormal. Show all posts

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Goodbye my Love

I'm happy to be featuring Maggie Tideswell's new book, Goodbye my Love today.


Roxanne's Ghost Saga, a new mystery series from internationally acclaimed author Maggie Tideswell, is set against the stunningly beautiful backdrop of modern day South Africa. It is a compelling ghost story of identical twin sisters’ love for the same man, and the magical connection the women share.  
And the theme?  Nothing is what it seems.  
Here, we move into the realms of the mists of time that could either reveal or conceal.  

Book 1, Goodbye, My Love, sets the scene. It introduces country vet, Ben, his four-year-old autistic daughter and the would-be nanny, Jessica James. Jess’ interview with Ben for the nanny position takes place on Friday the 13th. An attraction between the two is immediate, which by all accounts isn't entirely normal.  
       Ben's three oddball sisters-in-law descend on him for the anniversary of his wife Roxanne's death. They try to convince Ben that Roxanne isn't dead, more than likely to put an end to whatever might develop between Ben and Jessica. But Ben knows that no one could have survived what led to Roxanne’s death. 
His daughter, diagnosed as autistic, only sometimes does she display the symptoms that led to her diagnosis. Autism is not a disease, it's a condition. A condition with symptoms that can't be turned on and off at will. So…what is the child really suffering from? 
Ben's wife's twin sister, Millicent, is accompanied by an over-board caricature of a psychic to Ben's home in order to help them find Roxanne. Of course, Millicent isn't happy to find Jess already in Ben's house—trouble is imminent. But only as far as Ben's ancient housekeeper, will allow her to. What does the housekeeper know that will keep Millicent's ruffled feathers under control? 
More importantly… 

Where is Roxanne? 
Does anyone live here?  

CHAPTER 1

The house looked deserted, kind of spooky. Jess couldn’t see any other houses nearby. Sally had not been kidding—this was a rather isolated place.  
Dilapidated outbuildings behind the sprawling house looked as unused as the house itself. Some sort of creeper covered most of the buildings except the house—it looked far too fragile to bear the added weight. 
There were what looked like turrets on each end of the house, and a domed one in between. That might be a skylight. Jess worried her bottom lip. What century was this place built?  
Lightning played over the majestic mountains behind the house, silhouetting it against the darkening sky, but down here in the valley, the late sun cast long shadows over the overgrown garden.  
It all fit so well with Friday the thirteenth, because this was creepy. What had she been thinking? She should have postponed the interview until Monday. One weekend surely wouldn’t have made that much of a difference. 
Jess studied the map on her tablet, which she held propped up against the steering wheel. This could be the right place, but she had thought that about both the previous two places, and neither had turned out to be Weltevreden. Neither had been as eerie as this place, either. 
No, this couldn’t be it. Tapping her finger against the edge of the tablet, she studied the house again. This whole thing smacked of a Friday the thirteenth Sally-prank. 
Sally, her bestie since high school, ran a very successful employment agency. The professional image notwithstanding, she still loved pranks of any kind—she would never outgrow them.  
Her eyes had lit up that morning when Jess sat in front of her desk, mugs of coffee steaming on the polished wood between them. The platter of doughnuts had been for Jess’ benefit. Sally and her perpetual dieting. 
“Something different,” Sally mused, tapping her pen against her front teeth, then pressed a button on her laptop, and reached for the sheet of paper the printer spewed out. “This might be just the thing. It came in just now.” She’d tossed her platinum curls over her shoulder, grinning at Jess. 
Another thing Sally would never outgrow, her Barbie-doll looks. 
“It has my name on it, then.” Jess leaned her forearms on Sally’s desk. “Tell me, tell me, tell me.” She grinned back, barely able to contain her excitement. “Does it involve a man?”  
Neither Sally nor Jess had found their Mr. Full Potential yet, although both had been ready for wedded bliss, the kids and the house in the suburbs thing, a long time ago. 
“As a matter of fact it does, but he doesn’t seem to be in the market. It says here that a nanny is required for a four-year-old autistic girl. Dr. Arnold specifically requested that only older women be put forward for the position.” 
“How old-fashioned. Where is this job?” 
“In the Wellington area.” Sally frowned at the monitor. 
“There you go. He won’t find anybody qualified to work that far from Cape Town. It is his child, I presume?” 
“It is, but do you seriously want to give this a go?” Sally looked worried as only she could. It went with the Barbie look.  “I’m intrigued. What kind of doctor is he?” 
“A veterinary surgeon. And a widower, it says here. That is all the information I have for you, I’m afraid.” Sally sat back in her chair. “I shouldn’t disregard so specific an instruction, Jess, but just this once, I’ll make an exception. Then it’s up to you to change his mind for him. It’ll be in his own best interest in the end.” She passed an information sheet across the desk. “I’ll tell Dr. Arnold to expect you at four. I’d pack an overnight bag if I were you. Call me, okay?” 
Now, sitting in front of the house that might or might not belong to Dr. Ben Arnold, Jess didn’t feel all that confident anymore. And it didn’t really sound like a prank, unless Sally had kept some information to herself. 
There was only one way to find out, and that was to knock on the door and ask.  
If there was anybody in the house to ask. 
Switching the engine off, she consulted the rear-view mirror to apply some color to her lips and pat her shoulder length bob into place. She took a moment to admire the rich auburn color in the late afternoon sunshine and sighed. 
I don’t know about this. It was a long way from Cape Town. 
What did people do around here for fun? 
Trying her best to ignore the goose bumps on her forearms, she opened the car door and stepped out. Her heels sank into the gravel, her shadow stretching all the way back to the gate.  
Only when she turned toward the house did she see the man sitting on the top step in the shadows, his shoulder against the railing, one knee pulled up with his arm resting on top of it. He wasn’t wearing a shirt, and it looked as if his feet were bare, too. 
Was he there a moment ago? Why didn’t I see him? 
Smoothing her palms down her red pencil skirt, she started toward the house and the man on the steps. If he wasn’t Dr. Arnold, maybe he could give her directions. 
Taking a deep breath, Jess reminded herself that she wasn’t superstitious about this Friday the thirteenth nonsense. People liked to scare themselves with the silliest things. What was supposed to happen on this day? It was a day like any other.  
That certainly looked like a real man on the steps. He wasn’t going to bite her. Today being a Friday and the thirteenth meant nothing, but now that she’d thought of it, the idea would stick with her like the taste of garlic. 
Leaving the car door open for a quick escape should she need it, she’d gone no more than a few steps when she heard something other than the crunch of her shoes on the gravel. It sounded suspiciously like a dog whining.  
She slowly turned her head, curling her fingers into the fabric of her skirt. It couldn’t be a dog. She hadn’t seen any dogs when she drove through the gate. 
I don’t do dogs!  
Her breath hitched in her throat when she saw them. They were right next to her car, beside the door she’d deliberately left open, a whole pack of them. Their lips curled away from their teeth, their tongues lolling out the sides of their mouths, dripping saliva onto the gravel. Yellowish eyes watched every move she made.  
Where did they come from?   
How many were there?   
They cut her off from the safety of the Fiesta!  
Now she had only one way to go—into that house. Why hadn’t that man called them off? Why wasn’t he helping her? 
Slowly, making no sudden moves, she took another step toward the porch. The dogs followed her. Her heart hammered against her ribs. Another couple of quick steps toward the house. The dogs did the same. She broke into a trot, her scream shattered the still of the afternoon.  
Missing the first step, she stumbled, recovered her balance, and took the rest of the stairs two at a time. The dogs were on her heels, whining and yelping, their breaths hot on the backs of her legs. 
Just as a sharp whistle rent the air, but looking at the dogs, she careened into the man before the noise had even died down. Her momentum sent them both crashing to the floorboard. She landed on top of him, but with the dogs all around them, she hid her face in his neck. Another whistle— right in her ear—made her cringe, but the dogs were gone.  
He lifted his head off the floorboards to glare at her, his hands at her waist, as if he was about to lift her off him. Stubble covered his jaw, his lips pressed into a tight line. A muscle jumped in his cheek. He dragged his eyes out of her gaping blouse to meet her stare. 
They had to be the greenest pair of eyes she’d ever seen, and he was clearly not amused.  
Then she noticed how much leg was exposed by her skirt bunched around her hips and she quickly scrambled to her feet, pushing her skirt back down her legs.  
“Sorry,” she muttered, her face on fire. She couldn’t bring herself to look at him, but from the corner of her eye, she saw the stranger slowly unfold himself from the floor. Up and up he went, until she felt him looking down at her. Even in her heels, the top of her head barely reached his nose.  
With fists on his hips, he glared at her. Tucking her hair behind her ears, she lifted her chin and stared back.  
Despite her bravado, she was intimidated and she had no idea if she had reason to be. She didn’t have a clue who he was. For all she knew, he was a vagrant taking advantage of an abandoned house.  
She quickly looked him up and down, hoping he wouldn’t notice. A vagrant—looking like that? This man looked too strong, too well-fed, and clean, to be homeless. He smelled good too, of soap and sunshine. Wide shoulders tapered to a flat stomach and slim hips in a pair of well-washed denim cutoffs. The button was undone and the zipped half down. And he had a hard-on! 
Jess swallowed with difficulty, forcing her eyes to the garden. Maybe he was the gardener or something. 
If he was the gardener, he wasn’t very good at it, judging by the state of the place. The flowerbeds were overgrown with weeds, and grass seeds reached for the sky. With a bit of care, it could be a rather pleasant garden.  
Her attention whipped back to the man when he spoke. “What’s wrong with you, woman? Those are lap dogs.” His voice was deep, the timbre vibrating on her skin. “They thought you were playing with them.”  
She’d forgotten about the dogs. Erections did that to her, they made her forget everything else. She took another look at the animals. There were only four of them, and now that they were at a safe distance and there was a man on hand whom they seemed to obey, they didn’t look all that fierce, or even very big. By panicking, she’d unnecessarily gotten them both in a rather embarrassing situation. 
The veranda was shadowed, despite the lightning dancing over the mountains, yet the peeling paint was clearly visible. She should ask this man for directions so that she could be on her way, but at that moment her nose itched and she sneezed instead. She just barely managed to get her hand across her nose. The dust from the floorboards, and she most likely had it all over her face now. She needed to freshen up before she met with Dr. Arnold. Rubbing her hands over her face was probably making matters worse.  
“Bless you,” the man said, his jaw clenched. “Explain yourself.” Fists planted on his hips, his bare chest rose and fell. Jess’ fingers itched to test the contours more fully before she realized that the man was actually angry. 
Who was he? And what was he so angry about? Knocking him over had been an accident, which he could have avoided it if he’d controlled the animals sooner. His annoyance didn’t stop him from giving her a thorough inspection, though.  
Barely suppressing the urge to stamp her foot, Jess snapped, “Those animals should be locked up.” The hand she pointed at the dogs was streaked with dust. Dropping it, she rubbed at the smudge with her other hand.  
“They were, until a few minutes ago. When the visitor I expected didn’t show up, I let them out again. Who are you and what do you want?”  
“How rude!” Jess gasped. “Do you welcome all visitors half naked?” His arousal was disturbing her.  
“Uninvited visitors never come into the yard,” he growled. He knew she knew about his condition. “That’s what the clinic entrance is for. And I’m not half naked, I’m shirtless because I took it off when my visitor failed to show up for her four o’clock appointment. In case you haven’t noticed, it’s hot. If you’re Jessica James, you’re way too late—”  
“The directions weren’t very clear,” she interrupted. “I got lost.” Hesitating only a moment, she stuck her hand out to him. “You’re Dr. Arnold?”  
He ignored her hand and question, reaching instead for the shirt draped over the railing behind him and shrugged it on. Doctor or not, the man has no manners. 
Buttoning the shirt, he leaned in closer. “So, it’s my fault you can’t follow a set of simple instructions? Look, miss, you might as well go back to wherever you came from. The position has been filled. Good day.” He started to turn away.  
“What? When? I had an interview for this afternoon!” 
He glanced at his wristwatch. “You missed the appointment. You wouldn’t have gotten the job anyway. Sorry for the inconvenience. It was nice meeting you. Goodbye, Ms. James.” 
She noticed his eyes on her lips as he dismissed her. “Just a minute. You’re going to disregard my application because I’m a few minutes late? I have excellent credentials, and the agency—”  
“Had been told that only older women need to apply.”  
“So you’re dismissing my application because of my age, is that it?”  
“Yes. And you’re more than a few minutes late. The appointment was for four o’clock sharp, and it’s nearly six now. Take your gripes up with your agent, Ms. James. Your timekeeping actually has very little to do with it. Now, if you’ll excuse me, you’re wasting my time.”  
Jess narrowed her eyes. “I pity the person you’ve employed, if that is in fact the truth. You are a very rude man,
Dr. Arnold.”  
He wasn’t exactly what she’d expected—in his early to mid-thirties and attractive, in a wildly blond caveman kind of way. And hot.  
If only he had some manners.  
It had sounded quite romantic when Sally first told her about this position, but the reality was far from romantic. She didn’t need this man or his job, and especially not his erection. There had to be other positions available in Cape Town. Sally would find her a good job, with interesting work. She would get into her car and drive away without a backward glance.  
Not being given a fair interview had nothing to do with Friday the thirteenth. A damp gust of wind blew her hair into her eyes as she turned toward the stairs. It had everything to do with him being turned on by her. 
Jess remembered the dogs when they jumped to their feet, tails wagging.  
She froze, clutching her skirt. They might be small, but they were dogs. They had teeth. Damn it, she was going to need his help to get back to her car. Gnawing the corner of her mouth, she glanced at him. Would he help her, or would he cross his arms and enjoy the spectacle from the veranda? 
Before she could do anything, the door behind them creaked open and pale, gnarled fingers curled around the edge of the wood. Jess took an involuntary step closer to the doctor, goosebumps covering her entire body, her hand to her throat.   
Oh, God. 
  
   




About the Author

Maggie lives in Johannesburg, South Africa with hubby Gareth. Over the years she’s worked in everything from nursing to catering, and then she started writing love stories. With three kids, a girl and two boys, and eleven cats at that time, life could become quite interesting.
The paranormal, things that happen for which there are no logical explanations and ghosts, are of particular interest to Maggie. What events in a person’s life would prevent that person from ‘resting’ after death? The ‘Old Religion’ is another special interest.
And love, of course. Why do people fall in love? What keeps them together for a lifetime when so many relationships fail?

Saturday, July 9, 2016

A Convenient Marriage by Maggie Tideswell -- Preview

The Story Behind the Story

This is the first post in my new project in which authors talk about the story behind their book and what motivated them to write it. 

My friend and fellow romance author, Maggie Tideswell has a new paranormal romance in the works and I found her explanation of the idea behind the story fascinating. Hope you do too.


Maggie writes:

The idea of two complete strangers getting hitched has always intrigued me, for one simple reason—why would they do such a thing? Could such a relationship succeed? By successful relationship, I understand not only the longevity of the marriage…but is it possible for the participants to actually fall in love with each other in such a strange arrangement? I write romance, after all, and love is found in the most unexpected places.

A Convenient Marriage grew over a number of years. The basic story was simple—a divorcee with two children, an ex-husband being difficult over visitation, as well as a fiancée unable to commit. 

Holly’s friends suggested that she needed a new husband, placing an advertisement in the paper for one behind her back. Joshua was struck by a simple plan when he saw the ad and responded to it. Boring stuff, huh?

The problem was motivation. Why would Holly marry a man she’d never met, and why would Joshua respond to an ad for a husband, then actually propose to a woman he had never clapped eyes on? So, in came the dawdling fiancée, Nicole. Both Holly and Joshua were justified in not planning the marriage to be a real one, because they each had an agenda of their own, but Nicole was the injured party. For their plan to succeed, they had to marry—the real kind, down to that all-important piece of paper married—and they had to seem to be totally in love with each other. Holly needed to be married to take her ex on for custody of her children, while if Joshua wanted to motivate his reluctant fiancée into church, he had to be off limits to Nicole. That would make him very attractive to her again, and maybe she would even set a date for their wedding.

And here comes the ‘but’. Holly and Joshua’s plans go awry from the moment they meet on the steps of the chapel where their fake marriage is to take place, when both recognize the immediate attraction. Back at Joshua’s wine estate—yes, he is a rich landowner where Holly expected him to be a pauper—Holly meets Joshua’s mother, his brother and sister-in-law, and Nicole, the fiancée, who found out about Joshua’s duplicity in a room full of people. No one can blame Nicole for being a tad upset. Or can they? To add to Holly’s woes, she seems to have acquired a ‘ghost’ demanding she tell a story.

Amidst Nicole’s shenanigans, Joshua’s mother’s disapproval, Holly’s ex’s aggression, and the ghost following Holly around, will these two accomplish what they set out to do? Or will life get in the way?

Joshua’s and Holly’s journey through the uncharted seas of a blind marriage, where no rules apply, is a stormy one.


A Convenient Marriage will be published on October 13, 2016.

Maggie Tideswell is a South African author with a passion for romance. All over the world people are falling in love, even the birds and the bees are doing it. Ghosts just can't seem to leave her alone and she combines things that can't be explained, sweaty bodies and rumpled beds in a way that will make your toes curl and your hair stand on end.

Find other books by Maggie on Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Maggie-Tideswell/e/B005GJ3DG8

A Convenient Marriage by Maggie Tideswell -- Preview

My friend and fellow romance author, Maggie Tideswell has a new paranormal romance in the works and I found her explanation of the idea behind the story fascinating. Hope you do too.

Maggie writes:

The idea of two complete strangers getting hitched has always intrigued me, for one simple reason—why would they do such a thing? Could such a relationship succeed? By successful relationship, I understand not only the longevity of the marriage…but is it possible for the participants to actually fall in love with each other in such a strange arrangement? I write romance, after all, and love is found in the most unexpected places.

A Convenient Marriage grew over a number of years. The basic story was simple—a divorcee with two children, an ex-husband being difficult over visitation, as well as a fiancée unable to commit. 

Holly’s friends suggested that she needed a new husband, placing an advertisement in the paper for one behind her back. Joshua was struck by a simple plan when he saw the ad and responded to it. Boring stuff, huh?

The problem was motivation. Why would Holly marry a man she’d never met, and why would Joshua respond to an ad for a husband, then actually propose to a woman he had never clapped eyes on? So, in came the dawdling fiancée, Nicole. Both Holly and Joshua were justified in not planning the marriage to be a real one, because they each had an agenda of their own, but Nicole was the injured party. For their plan to succeed, they had to marry—the real kind, down to that all-important piece of paper married—and they had to seem to be totally in love with each other. Holly needed to be married to take her ex on for custody of her children, while if Joshua wanted to motivate his reluctant fiancée into church, he had to be off limits to Nicole. That would make him very attractive to her again, and maybe she would even set a date for their wedding.

And here comes the ‘but’. Holly and Joshua’s plans go awry from the moment they meet on the steps of the chapel where their fake marriage is to take place, when both recognize the immediate attraction. Back at Joshua’s wine estate—yes, he is a rich landowner where Holly expected him to be a pauper—Holly meets Joshua’s mother, his brother and sister-in-law, and Nicole, the fiancée, who found out about Joshua’s duplicity in a room full of people. No one can blame Nicole for being a tad upset. Or can they? To add to Holly’s woes, she seems to have acquired a ‘ghost’ demanding she tell a story.

Amidst Nicole’s shenanigans, Joshua’s mother’s disapproval, Holly’s ex’s aggression, and the ghost following Holly around, will these two accomplish what they set out to do? Or will life get in the way?

Joshua’s and Holly’s journey through the uncharted seas of a blind marriage, where no rules apply, is a stormy one.


A Convenient Marriage will be published on October 13, 2016.

Maggie Tideswell is a South African author with a passion for romance. All over the world people are falling in love, even the birds and the bees are doing it. Ghosts just can't seem to leave her alone and she combines things that can't be explained, sweaty bodies and rumpled beds in a way that will make your toes curl and your hair stand on end.

Find other books by Maggie on Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Maggie-Tideswell/e/B005GJ3DG8

Monday, June 13, 2016

Goodreads Giveaways

I'm giving away two print copies this week on Goodreads.

Capricorn Cravings:

Riley Shaughnessy has the perfect life. Her veterinary practice is thriving, and she loves living in the small town in the Colorado mountains, where no one knows the shocking secret of her past. She loves to gallop her palomino mare across the vast expanse of public land bordering the town, and after a long period of self-denial, she has even committed to a date with handsome horse wrangler, Randy Hansen. 

But now, she knows her assistant, Jamie, would never willingly abandon her child, so why has she disappeared? 

Something dark and sinister is taking place, and it all started on the day hunky Powell Stewart, with the piercing blue eyes, came into her life in a strange and unexpected way. 

Her inner voice tells her to stay as far away from him as she can, but his magnetism drags her toward him and she cannot find the power to resist. 



Click here to enter: https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/190753-capricorn-cravings


Aquarius Addiction:

Why did hunky Andre Rossouw come into Arlette's life on the same day her doctor told her she was about to die? 

Attractive FBI Psychic Arlette Xylander displays all the character traits of her star sign, Aquarius, being feisty, eccentric, freedom-loving, flirtatious, rebellious and unpredictable. She may be only five feet tall, but she epitomizes the old adage that dynamite comes in small packages. 

Her emotions rage between denial, anger and tears when her doctor tells her she is suffering from a rare terminal disease. When hunky Andre Rossouw asks her to help find his sister who has been missing for four years, Arlette makes two decisions. To beat the disease and find a cure, and to have wild and passionate sex with him. 

Then she finds out he has a fiancée. 



Click here to enter: https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/190752-aquarius-addiction

Good luck to all of you.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Aquarius Addiction - Review by Joan Ellis

UK psychological thriller author Joan Ellis just sent me this wonderful review for Aquarius Addiction. I am thrilled with it. 


Tight, taut and thrilling, Trish Jackson at her best.

Trish Jackson can tell a tale. Birth, death, love and hate form the bedrock with a generous helping of Voodoo, kidnap and murder thrown in to spice things up. Trish Jackson deals as expertly as ever with all the elements in this fast, sexy romance. Her fans will love this book and the gutsy story-telling is guaranteed to garner her even more readers.

Meet FBI Psychic Arlette Xylander. No ordinary agent.

When she discovers she’s terminally ill, far from buckling under, she behaves like a typical Aquarius, telling no-one, fighting back and vowing to beat the disease.

What a time for her to meet the gorgeous Andre who needs her help finding his sister who has been missing for four years. She feels an electric connection with him and puts him first on her Bucket List. Just one problem - his fiancée.

Of course, nothing is quite what it seems and there are plenty of twists and turns along the way.

Trish Jackson does what she does best, expertly leading the reader through a maze of events before finally, wrapping up the loose ends as neatly as any good cop.

To give more clues to the story would spoil the plot.


If you like your romances tinged with danger, told tight and taut, this one’s for you.

Get it now from Amazon

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Aquarius Addiction

Woohoo! My newest romantic suspense thriller, Aquarius Addiction has been released!


Anyone who thinks God doesn't have a macabre sense of humor answer this—why did he bring Andre Rossouw into Arlette's life on the same day her doctor told her she was about to die?
Attractive FBI Psychic Arlette Xylander displays all the character traits of her star sign, Aquarius, being feisty, eccentric, freedom-loving, flirtatious, rebellious and unpredictable. She may be only five feet tall, but she epitomizes the old adage that dynamite comes in small packages.
Her emotions rage between denial, anger and tears when her doctor tells her she is suffering from a rare terminal disease.  When hunky Andre Rossouw asks her to help find his sister who has been missing for four years, Arlette makes two decisions. To beat the disease and find a cure, and to have wild and passionate sex with him.

Then she finds out he has a fiancée.

Arlette's country home on the banks of Bayou LeGue was left to her by her mysterious aunt Lucie, whom she never met, and whom her dysfunctional parents have never been willing to discuss. She often wakes in the dark hours of the night to hear ghostly voices downstairs, and wishes she could find out who they are and what they want.

A mysterious letter arrives from her aunt, hinting at a secret in the house, and her friend, Reay, agrees to research her home's recorded archives, while Arlette plans to dig into her family history. She starts by visiting her aunt's grave, where she finds a mysterious woman wearing a hooded cloak, who leaves in a hurry.  Arlette's instincts tell her the woman holds the answers to all her questions, but how can she find her?

Click here to buy it now

Monday, December 22, 2014

Aquarius Addiction Cover Reveal

I;m getting excited about my next novel in the Zodiac Series, Aquarius Addiction, now that the cover is done.



FBI psychic Arlette's Xylander's life changes dramatically when her mysterious Aunt Lucie, whom she has never met, dies, and bequeaths two things to Arlette--her country home on the banks of Bayou LeGue, and an ancient spell book. 
Then, on the same day she meets hunky Andre Rossouw, her doctor tells her she's suffering from a terminal disease. 


The house holds many mysteries, including the ghosts she hears meeting in her dining room in the dark hours of the night, and why is there a gris-gris -- the talisman of a voodoo curse -- outside in her yard? Could it be something to do with the mysterious, cloaked woman she sees at her aunt's graveside?

She displays all the character traits of her star sign, Aquarius, being feisty, eccentric, freedom-loving, flirtatious, rebellious and unpredictable, and she determines two things; to beat the odds of the disease, and to have wild and passionate sex with Andre.

Then she finds out he's engaged.

Get the prologue, Arlette's Story absolutely free here.  


Sunday, August 24, 2014

Interview with Charline Ratcliff, Author -- Part 3

I'm happy we have finally arrived at the information about Charline's writing, which I find fascinating because she writes about vivid dreams she has had. The dreams are so detailed, they could even be glimpses of past lives, if you believe in reincarnation...

We touched on the subject of dreams and past lives in the previous post, and now to continue:

8. You write historical romance, and when I was reading your book, The Curse of Nefertiti, I remember thinking you must have spent hours doing research, and yet you say you hardly had to do any. Is that really true? Tell us a little about the book, and how your Prologue is a direct translation of the dream.

(The entire prologue can be viewed here: http://www.thecurseofnefertiti.com/Prologue.html )


Actually, I would say that I write historical fiction as not all of my books will feature romance. The Curse of Nefertiti just happened to have a romantic aspect, especially since I needed to show an amazing bond with enough strength and passion to have endured for several millennia. Unfortunately, due to life happening, coupled with a low back injury, A Life in the Age of Pompeii, (a story that’s more biographical in nature), isn’t quite finished for publication. But, it’s close!

As far as research for The Curse of Nefertiti… Truthfully, I spent the majority of my time researching what I had written; after I wrote it. At times, the accuracy, or the reason for the why of a passage, (or a character), was exceptionally eerie.

Let me provide you with an example. Were I to choose an ancient Egyptian deity who I could identify with, I would choose Isis. (She does, of course, appear in this tale). I’ve also mentioned in previous interviews and/or discussions, that: “while writing The Curse of Nefertiti, I allowed the book to write itself.”

To the reader, as they make their literary journey, the various characters and deities will make sense; but to me, while I was writing it, they didn’t always. I never expected Sekhmet to make an appearance, and certainly not on page twenty-one. After she arrived in the story, I never expected her to play such a huge part; yet she did.

So, finally, two-thirds of the way through my writing, I went and researched Sekhmet to better understand why she was such an integral part of this tale. What I discovered was quite surprising…

According to Ancient Egyptian history, the father of Akhenaton, (King Amenhotep III), ‘especially revered Sekhmet.’ In fact, some of the historical inscriptions described him as: ‘beloved of Sekhmet who smites the Nubians.’ Additionally, I discovered that more than 730 life-sized statues of Sekhmet had been erected in King Amenhotep III’s mortuary temple.

After learning this, I understood why Sekhmet would have displayed such ferocious care and concern for Akhenaten, (and subsequently Nefertiti). Akhenaten was the son of one who was most favored by her. I also understood why Sekhmet would have been an important deity to Akhenaton; even with the monotheism of the Amarna period. Just because you state that there is one main God, doesn’t mean you lose all fondness and love for the other deity’s you were raised with; especially when those deities are devoted to you.

And to answer the last part of your question: how is my Prologue a direct translation of my dream… Well, the Prologue itself is the actual dream and not just a translation. The parts that weren’t kept in the Prologue were used throughout the remainder of the story, including that last “ending” line. And yet, the end of my dream didn’t quite wind up being the book’s end… It was the end of my dream, but it didn’t feel right for the book’s end. Several days later, midway through a shower, (since water is my muse), the final closing story came to me and then I knew the book was completed.

9. You've written down five other dreams. What historical times and locations are we talking about here? How do you know the approximate dates?

Well, let’s see…

The second dream I had written down, actually occurred the night after my Ancient Egyptian dream. This dream though was set in an older Ireland; an Ireland of around 1200BC. This was a rugged and treacherous land; one that did not allow the ignorant or foolhardy to live long. At this point in time, Ireland was home to the Celts, and they embraced their own deities: Dagda, Brigit, the Morrigan and countless others…

While this book will certainly feature the historical aspects of that age, the main storyline will focus on the in-fighting between the Gods. And also on some of the creatures they created; such as werewolves. However, you should know that the werewolves of Celtic lore were not evil fiends, but that doesn’t mean that I can’t embellish the mythology…

Another dream is set in Atlantis, the city of myth. Yet, one must wonder if it really is… After all, Pompeii was real, but then it was lost to fables only to be found again.

The Atlantis of my dream was an amazing city. Full of knowledge, and with no limits. Anything was possible because each of us intrinsically understood the workings of the universe around us. We had the mental ability to affect change; to bend the world to our will. Yet, even as our now-vast-knowledge allowed us a transcendence of sorts, our understanding of: right vs wrong, good vs bad, positive vs negative, or light vs dark, had not evolved much beyond something akin to today’s 21st century.

In the Atlantis of my dream, humanity had access to everything they could think to desire; but still there were those who could not, or would not, release those darker, base human desires. The Atlantean High Council felt they could overcome this aspect of the human psyche; but … pride doth always goeth before the fall.

In the end, Atlantis was lost. Not due to some catastrophe of nature, (we had already conquered and manipulated the world to suit our needs), but because we chose to remove that level of knowledge from the world. We did not wish to be responsible for the possible demise of future civilizations; therefore we destroyed Atlantis in her entirety.

Mankind will again attain that level of intelligence, but we realized that they would need to find it on their own. We hoped that with the many millennia necessary to reach those heights of intelligence; mankind’s darker parts would evolve for the better…

There is also a dream that begins in Romania, (in the mid to late 1800s), then moves to America before returning to Romania in the early 1900s.

A quick synopsis:

Queen Elisabeth (of Romania) had a daughter. A curious and independent child from birth, she left Romania to go visit the Americas. (To see what all the fuss was about).

The Queen’s daughter, (Maria), had a beautiful voice; and at night she sang in a saloon. One night, one of the patrons, (James), stayed after closing to ask if she would accompany him to dinner the following evening. She agreed, they courted and over time they fell in love.

Several years later, during the spring of 1912, Maria received an urgent communication that her mother was ill. At this point she was forced to explain to James who she really was and that she had to leave. Her time in the Americas was finished. Needless to say, he was devastated beyond belief.

Maria hurriedly packed and departed, and James was there to see her off. But, when the boat finally docked in the Port of Canstanta, Maria was nowhere to be found.

This novel will be written from the perspective of James, and the reader will not know who Maria is until that fateful day in 1912. And even though James watched her leave, he doesn’t believe she really left. This also seems to be validated by her lack of arrival in Romania. So for these reasons plus love, he wanders the streets every night, hoping to again hear her voice. And who knows if he ever will…

I will leave off with three of the five, (not including Pompeii), so that I can answer the final part of your question. How do I know the approximate dates?

My dream of Ancient Egypt was easy to identify as the dream included the famed bust of Nefertiti. (Although in the dream it was a different color). Pompeii was also easy because of the culture, garb and gee, the volcanic eruption… *chuckle*

However, when I have less historically altering information then I must become a history sleuth. This means that once I’ve written the specific dream out, I will take any and all pertinent information I’ve been provided and backtrack through time until something starts to fit.

Then I will take the additional information and verify that also fits. Everything must fit together, (kind of like the pieces of a puzzle); otherwise I know I’m not in the right time period. And then, the final piece of the puzzle is me. I can think I’ve found the right location, the right time period, or the right history, but if it feels “wrong” to me with regard to that “physical recognition” I have previously mentioned, then I know I need to keep looking.

That’s also why I started writing my Pompeii book prior to my Ireland book, even though the Ireland dream came first. I still can’t locate the correct recognition within myself. I can see the lands. I can see the high, jagged cliffs and the stark white rocks. I can see and feel parts of the Celtic history and mythology and yet I cannot pinpoint the location within Ireland. Due to the fact that so much of early Celtic history has been lost, or hasn’t made it outside of the country, I have this sense that I won’t find/recognize it until I actually stumble upon it in person. I guess I’m going to need to spend some time in Ireland. Oh, darn…

10. I'd love to hear about your next book, which is also the result of one of those dreams and is about Pompeii before the eruption of Mount Vesuvius. Please tell us more, and give us your first paragraph.

Well, A Life in the Age of Pompeii, provides a “biographical” story of a woman who was brought to Pompeii as a slave, yet was raised as the daughter of an influential town councilman. This is a fictional tale, but it is historically accurate to the occurrences of the age; whether culturally, politically and/or religiously. Setting aside my back injury, (which has significantly impeded my writing progress), this tale has been immensely difficult to write.

My dream for this book came about as a dream within a dream, within yet another dream, (mine). Consequently, I had to work exceptionally hard to convey that “dream within a dream” aspect in the Prologue.

The first half of A Life in the Age of Pompeii was a joy to write. The various experiences of this young child easily filled the beginning chapters. But then this child began to grow up, and my writing began to slow; for there is only one end to work toward. This is no happily-ever-after story… There is no future for this woman. No husband to love and bear children with. No grandchildren to fawn over in her old age.

This is the story of a life lost; a life of but one among the thousands. An ending suspended in time; without even the dignity of burial. A life, and a city, that were forgotten through the centuries; finally rediscovered and put on display for the world to gawk at in horrified fascination. Pompeii did not die in a fiery volcanic eruption; instead she, and her citizens, languished away under a smothering blanket of ash; twenty feet deep in some places.

The book’s blurb is written as if from the archaeologists who unearthed this woman’s subterranean tomb; while the story is written first-person, from her.

Here’s the link to the jacket blurb: http://charlineratcliff.com/jacket-blurb.html

To partially quote the back cover’s last line: “…this is her story. Will you listen?”

And here’s the link to read the Prologue: http://charlineratcliff.com/prologue.html

Thank you so much for agreeing to the interview, Charline. I look forward to your next book with great anticipation.

Trish, this interview was truly my pleasure, and I sincerely appreciated the honest interest of your questions. Thank you very much for your time in formulating them as well as for featuring me on your blog.

And! I’m almost done with the writing of A Life in the Age of Pompeii, and I look forward to having you read it. (I’ll even include a box of Kleenex as you might need them. I know I have).


CHARLINE'S LINKS:
www.CharlineRatcliff.com                                           
(personal website)
www.CharlineRatcliffBlog.com                                      
(blog)
(facebook author page)
(goodreads)
https://twitter.com/CharlineRatclif                                   
(twitter)
http://www.pinterest.com/charlineratclif/                         
(pinterest)

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Interview with Charline Ratcliff - Author - Part 2


Do You Believe in Reincarnation? This Writer's Stories Reflect Past Lives. Charline Ratcliff, author of The Curse of Nefertiti has such an interesting life story I have to split the interview into three parts.


Part 1 addressed Charline's young life, her father's abuse, and her life criss-crossing the USA and literally living in the woods. 

Part 5 continues the story...


5. I understand why you left your parents' 'home' at age sixteen. You survived by cleaning houses and working at Burger King. How and where did you live at that time?

Well, long story short, when I managed to leave home it was with the help of two older women who sold regularly at the same Ocala, Florida area Flea Market where my parents had decided they would sell at for a while.
And just to clarify, it was not like I sought either of those women out. They were just older, and more experienced at viewing life. The both of them, (separate from each other), recognized the signs of physical and sexual abuse that was consistently exhibited in the dynamic of my family.
Feeling nothing save for empathy and compassion, each of them approached me in as non-threatening a manner as they were able. Having been hidden away from society’s gaze as much as possible by my parents, I was completely stunned when the older of the two women, (the one who several weeks previously had suggested that I just think of her as family and call her “grandma”), pulled me aside one afternoon when my father was busy with customers.
She sat me down, away from the hustle and bustle of the market, touched my shoulder and said: “Honey, I need to ask you a question.” Now, I’ve always been an intuitive child, and at her words my heart felt like it dropped twenty feet. I’m pretty sure I heard my rib-cage rattle as my heart plummeted past… (Even now as I write this, I’m re-experiencing those same feelings).
If it were physically possible for a person to turn to stone, I’d have turned into a statue at what she asked next: “Has your dad ever sexually abused you?”
I didn’t know what to say. I didn’t know what to feel. I didn’t know what to think. I didn’t know how to answer her. Without thought, I wept and take note that I chose that word carefully. This wasn’t the crying that comes from normal sadness, nor was it the heartfelt sobbing of someone who has just lost their one true love, instead this was the quiet weeping that comes from feeling the heavy burden of shame. I daresay that only those, unfortunate enough to have experienced this same type of abuse, can fully understand or appreciate the sentiment that I am attempting to express.
She took this moment to wrap her arms around me, holding me as I cried; and she cried with me. Eventually I managed to ask her how she’d known. She told me it was obvious; that anytime any man started to talk to me, my father would appear out of nowhere and then send me away to do something out of sight. “That’s not normal father behavior,” she stated.
She then sent me down to the public restroom, so that I could wash my face and try and sort myself out before I had to return to my parent’s selling space. Before I left though, she told me that she was going to talk with her friend, (the other woman), and that the two of them would figure out some way to help me. Because of her words, I walked away with a much lighter step. I now had something different for which to hope. Up until this point, the only thing that gave me a sense of comfort and control was the calendar that I had previously made for myself that showed me, (daily), the number of days until I turned eighteen. Around that point I was down to 535 days…
She was as good as her word too. The very next weekend, she motioned me over to her booth. Her friend’s daughter, Tenowah, lived in North Jacksonville Beach. She couldn’t get away from work to drive down to get me on that current weekend; however she would be able to the following weekend.
You have no idea how excited I was. And I knew that I would be safe. And that my parents couldn’t find me this time. You see, I had run away twice before; when I was twelve. My first attempt happened on a Friday afternoon, when a class friend and I rode the school bus to her house. My father was there in a matter of hours. I got in major trouble for running away and … for painting my fingernails with a really pretty light pink colored nail polish.
I, of course, always learn from my mistakes. Consequently, when I ran away again a couple of months later, (while it was still planned for Friday after school), this time I went home with a friend whose parents always drove her to/from school. Huzzah! It worked!! I stayed the entire weekend at their house, but I was not entirely without a sense of dread. Just as animals are able to sense what is later recognized as the calm-before-the-storm, so too can I. When Monday arrived, she and I were dropped at school and there was my father… (This was also my last day in public school).
Anyway, the following weekend finally arrived, and wow, had the time dragged by! Around midday, I was covertly informed that Tenowah had arrived; that she was waiting for me in her car by the restrooms. I’d previously gotten my birth-certificate as well as my social security card out of my mother’s filing box, and with those both in my pocket, (and only the clothes on my back), I told my parents that I needed to go down to use the restroom. (This flea market was at a drive-in movie theater. Vendors were allowed to set up their tables in the back section of the drive-in, and the restrooms were attached to the concession building).
As luck would have it, my mother decided that I needed to take my five, and seven year-old brothers with me to the restroom. Thankfully there were only two stalls in the ladies room, so I sent a brother into each one and then sent them back up the hill to where our parents were; on the pretext that it was my turn to use the facilities. Instead, I watched them to ensure they arrived safely and then got into Tenowah’s vehicle. She, (and her roommate Sharon who made the drive with her), were happy to see/help me and we spent the slightly more than two hour drive getting acquainted with each other.
Due to my age, I couldn’t legally work without a parent’s signature on my job application. I did manage to get a work permit because, being sixteen, I was not required to have a physician sign off on my ability to work. And … since you are allowed to pick the application form up and return with it later, I was able to forge my father’s signature. There you have it; I’m now an admitted forger…
I searched the classifieds, plus the various shops in this new location for work, but no one wanted to hire a sixteen-year-old. Luckily, Tenowah was friends with a man named Jed; he was the manager for a Burger King fairly close to us. (This was good as I walked). Burger King was only part-time, and Tenowah recommended me as a house-cleaner to a couple of her friends. They definitely weren’t the most enjoyable jobs, but at least I was able to earn some money.


              6. You wrote and published two children's books. What was the inspiration for those? Did you illustrate them yourself? You are obviously very artistic and right-brained. Do you want to tell us about your photography, art and interior design?

Well, truthfully it was my cat Oreo who inspired The Princess, The Toad & The Whale Series. She was/is just this huge and loveable, yet slightly not-quite-with it kitty. She started out as a short-hair kitten that, ten months later, grew some of the longest fur I’d ever seen on a feline. Consequently, not only was she quite the character, but she was constantly struggling to tame her wild and unkempt hair. Of course, she was never successful in this endeavor… *chuckle* Plus, she truly was a Princess, let me tell you. Although, I do need to state that she was never a Diva. Her personality has always been loving and sweet and if you have food she’s your new forever-friend. She loves wadded up newspaper or sheets of paper and if you throw them she’ll even go fetch them. The Princess in the storybooks truly embodies Oreo’s personality and crazy essence. (Toad and Whale were also inspired, and based on, the other two cats in the household).
As far as illustrating, while I could have eventually gotten to the illustrations myself, I opted to let someone else draw them. (Delegation from a Type A personality, now that’s some personal growth on my part). However, I did work hand-in-hand with my illustrator to ensure that the finished illustrations matched the vision in my head. And yet, I did give her creative license... (Another Type A personality shocker too, right)? This was also a good thing because she remembered that I needed to have those little touches: things like windows and/or artwork on walls, rugs, etc.
Thank you for your compliment re: very artistic/right-brained. In actuality, I am both left and right-brained, but the truth of the matter is that I much prefer to live in the right-side of my brain. Although, I oftentimes wind up becoming an interpreter-of-sorts between those who are extremely left-brained, and their extremely right-brained counterparts… It can be quite difficult for these two types to converse effectively, because their manner of thinking/seeing/relating to the world around them is so much different. Since I speak the “language” of both, I’m a great mediator.
I remember attending a business meeting with a very right-brain only, creative friend of mine. This particular meeting dealt with the technical side of her business and midway through it she became overwhelmed and began to cry. Not because anything untoward had been said or done, but because that was how she coped with what she couldn’t understand. Of course, the poor left-brain, engineer-minded businessman sat across from her; open-mouthed with shock, wearing a deer-in-the-headlights expression of absolute terror…
After everything had been sorted out and cross-explained, she apologized to him for crying. Which in turn prompted him to ask, “Do you always cry in business meetings?”
The truth of the matter is, if one person only speaks Latin and the other speaks only in mathematical equations, without a Rosetta Stone to bridge the languages, how do these two people communicate cogently?



7) Now let's get onto your dreams. You started having vivid dreams of ancient times that you describe as "like going to a theatre and looking at a sped-up five+ hour look at someone's life." Your friend told you your dreams are actually memories of past lives. When you finally started writing down your dreams, you found something amazing. Please explain.

Yes, well there’s a real can of worms… I have consistently found that the topic of dreams can be a controversial and challenging subject. So much can be taken from them, they can have so many meanings, their meanings can change with time, and no one can experience an exact dream or have the same understanding as anyone else.
Dreaming is much like reading a book. Your brain will process the experience based on all the factors of what makes you, well, you. (Life experiences, how you were raised, your personal beliefs, et cetera).
And, let’s face it, the conscious brain can only think about a very limited amount at a time, while the subconscious brain can handle much more. I believe a University of Pennsylvania, School of Medicine study has estimated that the conscious brain can only process around 2,000 bits of information per second whereas the subconscious brain processes about 400 billion bits per second. Kind of makes me wonder how much information someone like Einstein could process through his conscious brain per second…
Anyway, with all that said:
I do believe that people can dream about things that will happen in the future; providing they are open to it.
I do believe that dreams can be a way for a “higher power” to communicate with us; if we are open to it.
I do believe that dreams allow the subconscious mind to process past, present and future experiences and then “dumb them down” so our conscious minds can, (hopefully), understand them. I think that one possible reason for recurring dreams, (and only in certain instances), is because the subconscious is trying to get the dreamer to realize and/or understand something that he/she still isn’t grasping.
I do believe that dreams affect our day-to-day lives in a myriad of ways that we may never fully be able to understand.
I do believe that some dreams are also memories of, or from, previous lives.
With regard to my vivid dreams, (the ones that I use as the Prologues for my books), they each feel as though I’m walking through the tired, worn and familiar halls of memory. In these dreams, I feel what happens around me. I hear the birds, smell the water, and feel sand crunch underneath my feet. I can smell the world around me. I can touch and taste; and I have memories within those memories.
In some of my dreams, I’ve watched the library at Alexandria burn; smelled the acrid smoke as it billowed forth. I’ve experienced being a simple scribe and detailing a horrific war between Greeks and Phoenicians. I’ve heard the screams of battle and of the dying.
When I looked for information on this particular dream, I was taken aback to discover how much of it had been reality. The Phoenicians were first known as the Canaanites; it was the Greeks who began calling them Phoenicians, (meaning purple-red), for the dye extracted from the shell-fish.
Later on, the Phoenicians became Carthage/Carthaginians and due to certain Greek factions, and then later the Romans, Carthage and her people were completely eradicated. As in the genocide of an entire race/culture…
Are they past lives? I don’t know. Maybe… My physical body, (taking my brain/logic out of the equation), feels the memories of them; it feels like something akin to having “muscle memory.” Example: you may forget how to ride a bike, but if you get on the bike, your body will remember it for you.
Or, maybe they are simply genetic memories stored within my DNA. Some scientists believe that prehistoric man used to pass down genetic memories…
Or, maybe I just have a great imagination. *chuckle*
Yet, when I attempt to view these dreams as only imagination, my logical side objects on the basis that I should know some/any/most of a dream’s information prior to the experience. Just for the record, wars, (ancient or otherwise), were definitely not one of those subjects that I ever strove to read up on…

See the facinating continuation to this and other questions about Charline's life in the next installment.

LINKS:
www.CharlineRatcliff.com
                                                
www.CharlineRatcliffBlog.com  
                                      
https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2930204.Charline_Ratcliff        
                                
https://twitter.com/CharlineRatclif