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Archive for the ‘Paranormal’ Category

I don’t know if you like to explore abandoned places, but I do. I enjoy wandering around ruins and imagining who lived there, what they did, how they lived, etc. Maybe it’s the writer in me or maybe just an inherent curiosity. I don’t know, but I’ve always sought out ghost towns when I’m traveling.

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On a couple of occasions in the past, I’ve blogged about my dad and his quirkiness. I’m not going to bore you with the history, but my dad is back in Mississippi and living here at the inn with my husband and I again. It has been a blessing and a burden at the same time.

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Being an innkeeper is not without its challenges. Or its rewards. And sometimes its not without its surprises. I have to admit, not much surprises me these days. I’m a true skeptic, believing nothing I hear and only half of what I see. It’s hard to impress me. It’s hard to scare me. It’s hard to surprise me. It’s hard to convince me. But sometimes . . . .

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When I was writing my most recent release, On Hallowed Ground, I knew pretty early on that I had to write Gage and Qiana’s story. They are secondary characters in that book, but both of them grew into real people in my mind as I was working on that manuscript. As time went on, those characters developed their own personalities, which were not explored in great depth in Noah and Fallon’s story. (more…)

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Before you read this, I need to warn you that hate mail will immediately be deleted and that we are all entitled to our opinions. And – no – this is not a political post. That said, I’m not a Star Wars fan. I don’t get the hype. There. I’ve said it.

my opinion

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I love to explore creepy places. Haunted houses are always cool, old dilapidated buildings at night, attics, basements, cemeteries in the fog, those kinds of places. I like to check out all the little nooks and crannies to see if there’s any hidden switches that open doorways to secret rooms. You know, the kinds of stuff you see on TV.

cemetery in fog

Photo courtesy Google Images

Here are some photos of some mysterious and supposedly haunted places I’ve had the privilege of exploring:

We’ll start with a local one. These pictures were taken on one of the nights I took the haunted tour over at the McRaven Tour Home here in Vicksburg

If you are interested in touring this fabulous house, and you should if you’re in Vicksburg, here is the link for more information https://www.mcraventourhome.com/

Next we’ll go to California, to a VERY small town called Ione in Amador County. One of the last places I visited before leaving California for Mississippi was Preston Castle. Here is a brief bit of information about Preston Castle:

In 1890, the California State Legislature purchased 230 acres from the Ione Coal & Iron Company for construction of the Preston School of Industry, a place where troubled boys could learn a trade instead of being incarcerated in juvenile prisons.

ione city limitThe complex was highly self-sufficient; the large acreage of the purchase allowed the boys to grow their own food, raise livestock and learn farming trades. Additionally, there was a print shop, bakery and cobbler shop where the young delinquents and otherwise homeless boys could learn skills for self-preservation in the real world.

The school officially opened on June 13, 1894, and the first wards moved in only two weeks later. The superintendent controlled life inside the Preston School of Industry, where discipline was extreme. Loss of privileges seemed minor in comparison to starvation, isolation, and public paddling and lashings, severe strategies that were common at Preston.

Here are some of the photos from my tour:

For a brief time in 1954 country music legend Merle Haggard did time at Preston Castle for auto theft. For more information about Preston Castle click here: http://www.prestoncastle.com/

Next we’ll head up north to Victoria, British Columbia and take a peek at Craigdarroch Castle. The castle is a historic, Victorian-era Scottish Baronial mansion. It was designated a National Historic Site of Canada due to its landmark status in Victoria

All of these places are reportedly quite haunted although I never experienced anything supernatural while I was there. Quite a few of my photographs from Craigdarroch Castle have what appear to be orbs in them, but it might just be dust motes in the air. This one in particular is of interest.

alaska cruise 2014 405 (800x579)

Me and Corey on the grand staircase at Craigdarroch Castle.

I don’t know what that big cloudy bubble thing is near my hand but it darn near touched me. And, there are at least 3 more smaller orbs in this photo. Do you see them?

Anyway, if you’d like more information about this creepy cool place, here’s where you need to start: https://thecastle.ca/

So there you have it my friends, my nod to keeping it creepy in February. What creepy places have you explored? Do you like visiting haunted houses?

Word of the day: Zloty

Fun fact about me: I guess I live in a haunted house, at least that’s what people tell me.

Original post by Jansen Schmidt, January 2019. Photos by P. Rickrode and Google Images.

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book and quill penI’m generally not a fan of poetry, but I appreciate the art and how so many people can express themselves poetically. Me, not so much. I’m one of those people who, if it doesn’t rhyme, I don’t get it. (more…)

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beach-writer

Lots of people think authors live a glamorous life; sitting in a beach chair, toes in the sand, large floppy hat, cool beverage with little umbrella in the glass with a laptop or tablet on their lap, just tap, tap, tapping away on the keys until – BAM – 90,000 words later, a best-selling masterpiece appears. The next day someone slaps a gorgeous glossy cover on it and plasters it all over the Barnes & Noble front window.

bookstore-window

Then, after several hours of tap, tap, tapping, said author dons oversized dark glasses and some sparkly flip flop sandals, gets into their luxury sports car and dashes off to some posh restaurant for lunch with their editor, agent, and some movie producer from Hollywood to discuss the details of turning your latest masterpiece into a Hollywood blockbuster.

power-lunch

Spoiler alert – that NEVER happens. Oh sure, JK Rowling probably does that NOW, but not when she first started. Steven King is a household name and James Patterson’s name gets tossed around a lot on movie sets and such, but seriously, that didn’t happen overnight.

So, how did it happen? I’ll tell you – I have no idea. Believe me, I wish I did. I wish I knew what secret, besides hard work and perseverance would shoot me straight up that ladder to the beach chair in the sun because God knows I would love love to dig my toesies into some white sand right about now. Not to mention that little umbrella drink.

Here’s what I do know, those people spent many, many long days and sleepless nights fussing over the right words, the parts they deleted and maybe shouldn’t have, the opening scenes that should work but for some reason don’t, a reviewers harsh comment, hours of endless re-writing.

working-woman

In other words, they worked hard and they didn’t quit. They didn’t let disappointment ruin their vision.

And, despite how it seems to authors most days, they didn’t reach a certain level of fame alone. What? You’re saying others helped along the way? Absolutely. A lot of people probably helped and didn’t even know they helped. Strangers can help strangers. Readers can help writers. Here’s how:

helping-hand

Buy books, read books, talk about awesome books.

A great way to take it up a notch, is to leave a review. It’s easy, it’s free, it doesn’t take that long, and it goes a long way in helping authors’ careers. Here’s a few places where you can leave a review: https://www.goodreads.com/https://www.amazon.com/; or http://allreaders.com/.

Go to book signings if you can and BUY THE BOOK, even if you gift it to someone else.

Spread the word on social media. A “like,” a “share,” a comment, helps boost that author’s visibility. It seems trivial, but like election time, every vote matters. (Please don’t make this political people. God knows we don’t want to go there again.)

book-with-bowGift a book. A great way to help authors is to buy books for someone else. Especially in this day and age of electronic gadgets, almost everyone has an e-reader of some fashion. If not, you can download a free app to most smart phones. Heck, you can read books on your home computer. What better gift for a person who has everything or no longer wishes to “collect things?” Again, it’s easy and relatively inexpensive. Some e-books are less than a dollar. Gifting an e-book is super easy through Amazon or other on-line e-book retailers. All you need is the recipient’s e-mail address. What a lovely surprise for the recipient to open their e-mail and discover a gift! And it won’t clutter up a closet or shelf.

 

comment-boxHere’s how I’m going to help some authors this week: Every person who posts a comment on this blog between now and Friday, February 24th, will be gifted an e-book of my choice. Simply leave a comment and mention your favorite genre so I can choose an appropriate book for you from one of my favorite starving authors. Some of you I can wager a pretty good guess about genre, but others not so much. If I don’t already have your e-mail address, send me an e-mail at jansen.schmidt@yahoo.com so I can make sure your e-book arrives. (Caveat: I will only be gifting from Amazon so you’ll have to have a Kindle in order to participate. Sorry to those who prefer other e-reader methods.)

You in turn can help the author of the book I gifted to you by posting a review and I strongly encourage you to do so. I’m acting on good faith here that you will leave a review. If you do not wish to write a review and post it on any or all of the sites I listed above, please let me know if the comments. (Caveat: If you absolutely hate the book I gift you, please do NOT leave a bad review. An honest review yes, but not a scathing one.) Remember, the purpose of this week’s blog is to help each other out. I’m helping readers, you’re helping writers.

trust-quote

That’s it. Easy peasy. You can pass the word to your friends if they want a free book all they have to do is leave a comment and their e-mail address. I’ll do the rest.

So, thanks in advance to all who post a comment and enjoy your books!

How do you help starving authors? Do you routinely leave reviews? Do you attend book signings? Do you have an e-reader?

Word of Day: Acroter

Fun fact about me: I have 3 e-readers but I prefer paper books.

Original post by Jansen Schmidt, February 2017. Photos courtesy Google Images.

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caspar-ghost

Photo courtesy Google Images.

When we first bought the Baer-Williams House, the previous owner told us some fantastic tales about “ghostly happenings,” that allegedly occurred in the home. Keep in mind, I’m a skeptic so I simply smiled and silently said, “Okay.”

The previous owner, bought the house in 2005, after his home in New Orleans was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. He’d always loved old houses and always wanted to run a bed & breakfast. (more…)

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Who doesn’t love a good ghost story? I’m not into the creepy, demonic, blood and guts ghost stories where people get hurt, but I do enjoy a good chilling tale now and then.

baer-house-hallway

Original photo by P. Rickrode 2015

The Baer House Inn is one of the houses on the Haunted Vicksburg Tour. The leader of these tours brings people inside and tells them a tale of intrigue that may or may not have happened here.

Now, I have never experienced any of the strange happenings that are talked about on the tour, however, something rather ghostly did happen here. Something unexplainable and very real.

Not too long after my husband and I bought the inn, we started remodeling and redecorating. One of our projects involved relocating some chandeliers. Five to be exact. We hired an electrician and early one morning, they went to work, taking down lights and rehanging them in their new spots. About an hour after they got started, my husband and I were in the hallway talking about something. We heard a crash that sounded like a thousand expensive crystals shattering into a bazillion pieces. Followed by dead silence.

chandelier

We looked at each other with wide eyes, our mouths yawning into perfect O’s. I muttered a hushed curse. Obviously, the guys working upstairs had dropped one of our super expensive chandeliers. We whispered amongst ourselves about how to handle the situation. Should we confront them or let them come to us? We waited with bated breath for someone to slink downstairs and apologize profusely for damaging our property. Nobody came downstairs.

“They must be texting their boss,” I said. “Find out how to tell us that they’d broken one of our lights.”

man-hanging-lightWe waited. And waited some more. We decided to give them ten more minutes. After five, I couldn’t stand it any more. I crept upstairs, being extra careful not to step in any glass fragments I was sure littered the floor. Nothing. No mess. No sound. Two guys were up on a ladder in one of the rooms attaching a chandelier to the ceiling.

“How’s it going?” I asked.

“Great. We’re almost done.”

Almost done? That’s it? They aren’t even going to mention the broken $10,000 light fixture?

I turned to face my husband and mouthed, “They’re lying.”

I proceeded to march my little self into every single room upstairs, checking for lights, damage, broken glass, a broom, trash bag, anything evidencing the crash we heard downstairs.

Nothing. NOTHING. Every light exactly where it was supposed to be. Say what?

I went back into the room with the men on the ladder.

“Hey,” says I. “Did you guys hear a crash a few minutes ago. Like something big, and crystal, and expensive, falling and breaking?”

“No.”

“Really?”

“We didn’t hear anything.”

Now, my husband and I both heard the crash. We both knew immediately what it was. And yet . . . nothing broken. And that my friends, is the mysterious case of the shattered chandelier.

 

broken-chandelier

Have you ever had a ghostly encounter? Ever experience something you couldn’t explain? What do you think we heard?

Word of the day: Gagaku

Fun fact about me: I don’t really believe in ghosts. And yet . . .

Original post by Jansen Schmidt, October 2016. Photos courtesy Google Images and P. Rickrode.

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