Monthly Archives: April 2013

Closure – Why Do We Need It?

“Closure” is one of many psychobabble buzz words of recent times. I Googled “why closure is so important” and got almost 6 million results!

Why do we feel the need to have some kind of closure with the past before we can move on?

It sounds like it should be a complex issue, but the answer is really fairly simple. We human beings are programmed to try to understand our environment. We aren’t all that content with the concept of “it is what it is.” We want to know why it is what it is.

door partway open

We humans have to know what’s behind the door, before we can close it and move on. (photo by Eleassar, CC-BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia Commons)

This trait is extremely important to our survival and our development as a species. Indeed, it is probably the single most important factor in why we are the dominant species on the planet! By figuring out why something happened, we can either make it happen again if it was a good thing, or try to avoid having it happen again if it wasn’t so great. This need to understand the what, how and why is often the stimulant for human ingenuity and invention as well.

When we understand what’s going on we can make adjustments, come up with solutions. When we are left in the dark, we are uneasy.

The topic of closure popped into my head as a good subject to talk about this week because I just read JoAnn Bassett’s latest release, Kaua’i Me a River. This book’s a bit more serious than the others in her Islands of Aloha mystery series (although it still has its humorous moments). It is a very compelling story. I believe it’s my favorite of the series (and I’ve liked them all!)

The main character, Pali Moon, is minding her own business, trying to ignore her thirty-fifth birthday, when she receives a not very informative letter from a lawyer requesting her presence at a meeting to discuss an “urgent family matter.” That letter reopens some old wounds and Pali (pronounced Polly) becomes determined to find out what really happened to her mother, who died when Pali was just five years old. She risks a lot to find out what happened and why… pursuing that need for closure.

book cover of Kaua'i Me a River

We may not always like what we find out, but unanswered questions from our past tend to leave us psychologically incomplete. For better or worse, we humans need to understand the past in order to put it to rest and move on.

Have you had times when a lack of closure has left you feeling incomplete or unable to move on?

While you’re pondering that question, take a look at JoAnn’s new release, Kaua’i Me a River. Also the first book in her series, Maui Widow Waltz, is FREE today through Thursday on Amazon!

Posted by Kassandra Lamb. Kassandra is a retired psychotherapist turned mystery writer. She writes the Kate Huntington mystery series.

We blog here at misterio press once a week about more serious topics, usually on Monday or Tuesday. Sometimes we blog again, on Friday or the weekend, with something just for fun.

Please follow us by filling in your e-mail address where it says “subscribe to blog via email” in the column on the right, so you don’t miss out on any of the interesting stuff, or the fun!

HAWAII: One Island Chain, Eight Unique and Beautiful Links

To celebrate the release of the 4th book in her Islands of Aloha mystery series, JoAnn Bassett is going to share some fun stuff about (and great pictures of) Hawaii, the setting of her novels and her home for many years. Each book in her series features a different island, or section of an island.

Take it away, JoAnn!

Joann Bassett, Author We all know Hawaii is a unique place. It is the only state that can claim to have no straight line border anywhere along its perimeter–because it is all islands, 137 of them to be exact.

What I think is most fascinating, however, is that within Hawaii the eight major islands are each unique to themselves. We mainlanders tend to think of the Hawaiian Islands as pretty much all the same. But each of the islands has its own distinct style and vibe. Just for fun, let’s look a bit at each of the eight.

O’ahu is often the first island you think of when you think of Hawaii. Made famous by the TV show, Hawaii Five-O, it is the seat of the state government and home to about seventy percent of the state’s population.

O'ahu skyline

The skyline of O’ahu

Honolulu, the state capital, is the largest city in the world – literally. Because of a quirky clause in the Hawaii state constitution, any of the 137 islands that does not belong specifically to another county automatically belongs to Honolulu. As a result, the city of Honolulu is about 1,500 miles long–longer than halfway across the 48 contiguous states!

Maui hosts the most visitors of any of the Hawaiian islands. It’s home to Haleakala, the world’s largest dormant volcano, and the vintage whaling town of Lahaina. So many celebrities own property and visit the island every year that seeing someone “famous” isn’t uncommon. Oprah Winfrey has not one but two homes on Maui. Most visitors stay and play on the West Side, where resorts sit cheek to jowl along the coastline and the economy is nearly one-hundred percent tourism.

beach on Maui

Ka’anapali beach on the island of Maui

Maui boasts the world’s most loved beach, Ka’anapali, and many of the destination weddings in Hawaii are performed on this island. My wedding planner protagonist, Pali (pronounced Polly) Moon, is based on Maui. The first two books in the series, Maui Widow Waltz, and Livin’ Lahaina Loca, showcase this popular island.

Hawaii is referred to as the Big Island. Much confusion is sparked by one of the major islands having the same name as the state itself. It’s sort of like New York and New York City. But unlike New York, the Big Island does not host the state’s most famous city.

On the Hilo side, the Big Island is very local, laid-back and tropical. This side is the gateway to Volcanoes National Park, a lush surreal landscape of steaming vent holes bordering a massive moonscape of lava.

Big Island steam vent

A steam vent on the Big Island

On the Kona side, the dry side, large resorts have been built along the Kohala Coast to the delight of sun worshipers and golfers. The Big Island also grows many of the crops the state of Hawaii is known for: coffee, macadamia nuts, and orchids, to name a few.

Lana’i also has a confusing name. The word “lanai” in Hawaiian means a porch or balcony. But the name of the island of Lana’i has three syllables instead of two—lah-na-ee, as opposed to lah-neye. This small island is almost totally owned by one man, Larry Ellison, of Oracle software fame. Although the island used to be covered in pineapple plants, the pineapples are all gone now.

Lanai resort

A resort on Lana’i

Due to some unfortunate events at the end of Livin’ Lahaina Loca, Pali finds herself in Witness Protection on Lana’i in the 3rd book of the series, Lana’i of the Tiger.

Kaua’i is the fourth largest of the Hawaiian islands. It is home to the Waialeale Mountain, that averages 488 inches of rain per year and is considered the wettest spot on earth. Called “The Garden Isle,” Kaua’i is green beyond imagining. The sunny south side, anchored by the town of Poipu, is where most visitors stay. Waimea Canyon, sometimes referred to as “the Grand Canyon of the Pacific” is a stunning red, brown, and tan gorge that appears out of place in the lush surroundings.

The North Shore town of Hanalei is where Peter Yarrow of the group Peter, Paul and Mary wrote their famous song about marijuana, Puff the Magic Dragon. That gives you some idea of the vibe of the place. In the 1970’s, a hippie enclave called Taylor Camp was located there.

Kaua'i valley

A valley on the island of Kaua’i.

In my new release, Kaua’i Me a River, Pali spends a lot of time on this island, trying to find out what happened thirty years ago, when her hippie mother died under mysterious circumstances.

Molokai is considered the most “Hawaiian” of the islands that are accessible to the public. It doesn’t have much tourist development and the locals live a quiet laid-back lifestyle. It’s an everybody-knows-everybody kind of place.

The east end of the island is very wet—getting some 240 inches of rain in a year. Most people remember Molokai as home to Kala’aupapa, the place where people suffering from leprosy (now called, Hanson’s Disease) were sent to live in isolation. One of the Catholic Church’s newest saints, Father Damien, died while helping the inhabitants there.

Ni’ihau island is smaller and privately-owned. Only some 200 people reside there. They live in the traditional ways—speaking Hawaiian and without using modern conveniences. Non-residents cannot come on the island, except by invitation or by obtaining one of a very limited number of hunting permits.

Kaho’olawe is the smallest island of the major eight, only 45 square miles. It is a sore subject in Hawaii. Once an inhabited island, for decades it was used for bombing practice by the U.S. military. Groups are trying to restore the island but it will take time and money to erase its sad past.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this armchair tour of Hawaii. If you like all things Hawaiian as I do (or if you just like a good whodunnit), please check out my Islands of Aloha Mystery Series.

Kaua’i Me a River is now available on Amazon. The next book in the series will be set on O’ahu and the last will be on the Big Island. (Also, Monday thru Thursday of next week, Maui Widow Waltz, the first book in the series will be FREE on Amazon. Bookmark it now so you can get it free next week!)

Cover of Kaua'i Me a RiverIt’s her thirty-fifth birthday, but Maui wedding planner Pali Moon is doing her best to ignore it. Then she receives a letter from a lawyer in Hanalei, Kaua’i, requesting her presence at a meeting to discuss an ‘urgent family matter.’ The letter brings Pali’s Kaua’i past rushing back—her birth at a hippie enclave on the North Shore in the 1970’s; her father deserting the family never to be heard from again; and, worst of all, her mother’s tragic death when Pali was only five. What could a Hanalei lawyer possibly have to say that would be worth dredging all that up again? But curiosity and devotion to her mother’s memory win out and Pali heads to Kaua’i. What she discovers on The Garden Island not only rewrites her history but also alters her future.

Posted by JoAnn Bassett. For several years, JoAnn lived in an oceanfront home on Maui, but her husband wasn’t the island rat that she is, so now they live mostly in Southern Arizona. She travels to Hawaii throughout the year, and enjoys writing about life on “the most idyllic islands in the Pacific.”

We blog here at misterio press once a week about more serious topics, usually on Monday or Tuesday. Sometimes we blog again, on Friday or the weekend, with something just for fun.

Please follow us by filling in your e-mail address where it says “subscribe to blog via email” in the column on the right, so you don’t miss out on any of the interesting stuff, or the fun!

“BOSTON STRONG”–YES!!

I had intended to finish my stress management series today, but in light of the events in Boston last week, I’m going to do a variation on that intended post.

(image by LADreamzinc — CC-SA-3.0 license, Wikimedia Commons)

The post I had planned would have talked about how our cognitive and emotional interpretation of an event makes a huge difference in how stressful that event is for us. I will talk more about that topic soon.

One of the biggest factors in that cognitive/emotional interpretation is how much control we feel we have over a particular stressor and its impacts. We human beings hate to not be in control. I would venture to say that feeling out of control is the worst feeling we can experience. It scares the bejeezus out of us!

We will even sometimes blame ourselves for a negative event that wasn’t our fault, just so we can have some feeble sense that we could have controlled the outcome if we’d just realized what was coming. (If I’d gone a different route that day, the car accident wouldn’t have happened.) For even a horrible feeling such as guilt is preferable to facing the reality that the event was truly beyond our control.

Another pitfall when we are running from that reality is to blame others, especially those in authority. Right now the country is united in its grief and sorrow for the victims of the Boston Marathon explosions and their families. But I know the reports will start on the TV news soon… the investigations, the demands that “they” do something to keep this from happening again.

Do what? Stop having marathons? Or football games, or golf tournaments? Cordon off the entire area and not let anyone be nearby, so there is no one on the sidelines cheering the participants on? But what’s to stop some nutcase (and make no mistake about it, these men were nutcases who were using their religion for their own sick purpose) from planting a bomb the night before, or the week before?

Of course, “they” should do what they can–increase security, bring in the bomb-sniffing dogs, etc. But the reality is that some nutcase could, at any moment, disrupt your life or mine and bring tragedy into it because of their own twisted agenda.

So what should we do about that? Exactly what the citizens of Boston are doing! Going about their business, refusing to give in to fear.

We cannot always control what happens to us. We can control how we lead our lives. If we lead with fears about what might happen, then the terrorists and nutcases have already won! If we refuse to give in to that fear and live our lives to their fullest every moment, than we are having the best life we can have in an uncertain world where not everything is controllable.

Now don’t get me wrong, it’s not a bad thing that we humans want to be in control. That may be the single most driving force behind our progress as a species. And we have a lot more control over our environments and our destinies than we once did.

The winner of the 13th Boston Marathon in 1910, during a time when people routinely died of pneumonia because antibiotics had not yet been discovered.

But I do wonder sometimes… Has the control that science and technology’s given us over so many once uncontrollable things led us to a false belief that we should somehow be able to control everything?

I doubt that will happen, at least in our lifetimes, and probably never. We really need to come to grips with the reality that we cannot control everything, such as hurricanes and lunatics. But we can control how we respond to the natural disasters and the fanatics who intentionally create unnatural disasters. We can band together as the people of Boston have so heroically exemplified.

And we can yell, “Boston Strong!” from the rooftops. And never let fear win!

Celebration in Boston after the capture of the 2nd suspect (photo by Grk1011 — CC-SA-3.0, Wikimedia Commons)

 

On a lighter note, if you’ve been wondering why I haven’t been around much for the last week, it’s because I was in Maryland painting our summer place up there (with the help of my wonderful brother). I promised pictures so if you hop over to my website, you can see the transformation of my shabby shack into a cute cottage (it looks like mint chocolate chip ice cream with chocolate syrup on top 🙂 )

Posted by Kassandra Lamb. Kassandra is a retired psychotherapist turned mystery writer. She writes the Kate Huntington mystery series.

We blog here at misterio press once a week about more serious topics, usually on Monday or Tuesday. Sometimes we blog again, on Friday or the weekend, with something just for fun.

Please follow us by filling in your e-mail address where it says “subscribe to blog via email” in the column on the right, so you don’t miss out on any of the interesting stuff, or the fun!

How to Become a Necromancer –for Fun and Profit

Kirsten Weiss has come up with a fun post about raising people from the dead. Okay, now that I’ve written that out I see that it sounds a bit strange, but still…

Kirsten loves to mix mystery with the paranormal in her books. Her next book, coming out in May, revolves around necromancy. Here is the World English Dictionary‘s definition of necromancy:

1. the art or practice of supposedly conjuring up the dead, especially in order to obtain from them knowledge of the future
2. black magic; sorcery

A famous necromancer, Edward Kelly, invoking the spirit of a dead person. Source: Astrology, A New and Complete Illustration of the Occult Sciences by Ebenezer Sibly, M.D. F.R.H.S., London, 1806. (copyright expired) fromoldbooks.org

So with tongue firmly planted in her cheek, Kirsten helps you explore whether necromancy is the right career path for you. Take it away, Kirsten!

Is necromancy right for you? Do you see ghosts? Regularly commune with the undead? Have dreams of world domination? Watch the Oprah network? If you answered “yes” to any of the prior questions, then death magic may be a viable career path. Just follow this simple step-by-step guide to becoming a master of necromancy.

necromancer title=
easel.ly

Any questions? I’ll be hanging out here today to discuss this career option further, or the realm of the paranormal in general.

And here’s a little teaser blurb for my book:

When Riga Hayworth finds a dead body in her bedroom a week before her wedding, it’s par for the course. When the corpse drives off with her fiancée…

That’s a problem.

Riga knows dead. More intimately than she’d like. So when a murdered photographer gets up and walks away, she’s believes there’s necromancy afoot. And when she discovers that several of her wedding guests are under the influence of dark magic, she’s certain. But how can she catch a killer and stop a necromancer when even her nearest and dearest are lying to her?

Murder. The undead. Irritating relatives. The Infernal Detective is a fast-paced, paranormal mystery, where nothing is quite as it seems, and magic lies just beyond the veil. Coming in May from misterio press.

Posted by Kirsten Weiss. Kirsten is the author of the Riga Hayworth series of paranormal mystery novels: The Metaphysical Detective, The Alchemical Detective, and The Shamanic Detective.

We blog here at misterio press once a week about more serious topics, usually on Monday or Tuesday. Sometimes we blog again, on Friday or the weekend, with something just for fun.

Please follow us by filling in your e-mail address where it says “subscribe to blog via email” in the column on the right, so you don’t miss out on any of the interesting stuff, or the fun!

Of Brothers, Birthdays & Books!

This weekend, I’m participating in Stacy Green’s Birthday Blast, and there’s a CONTEST involved, with multiple chances to win an $80 gift card (details below). Yay!

Birthday Book Blast banner

Stacy got a bunch of authors together, and many of us have put one or more of our books on sale as part of this blogfest. My latest release, An Unsaintly Season in St. Augustine, is on sale for just $.99 and I’ve also reduced the price on two other books, Family Fallacies and Celebrity Status, to $2.99. This is a limited time offer so grab up your copies soon!

(More great book buys below!)

But first, my post on the subject of birthdays… and big brothers!

My family didn’t make a huge deal over birthdays when my brother and I were growing up. We got a present, usually sitting next to our plate at dinner, and a birthday cake (chocolate icing for me, coconut for him), and that was about it.

Which was kind of a shame IMHO because one’s birthday is a special day that is all yours! You’re the only one being celebrated. Now I’m not faulting my mom. My parents didn’t have a lot of money when we were little shavers and I know she did the best she could. But I think there should be a bit of a hoopla about one’s birthday, especially when you’re a kid.

birthday party

One of the few times my mother threw a party for us. This was my brother’s 5th birthday. I’m the one in the high chair.

My brother and I are now in our 60’s, so we have mixed emotions about birthdays. On the one hand, we’re damn glad we’re still having them. 🙂  On the other hand…

Since my brother’s birthday is coming up in just a few days, I decided to dedicate this post to him, and to brothers everywhere.

THINGS MY BIG BROTHER TAUGHT ME FOR WHICH I AM VERY GRATEFUL:

1.  How to say ‘brother’ as one of my first words. (No kidding, folks, he actually got in my face and actively taught me to say that word. It came out ‘bludder’ and the family story goes that I licked his face when I said it, as in “Ah, Bludder!” *tongue slurp*)

2.  How to ride a scooter. (I’ve long since forgiven him that little mishap involving a huge gash on my forehead that needed several stitches. But I’ve still got the scar… just sayin’.)

3.  How to ring the little bell on my bike handlebars with one hand while not losing control of my bike. (I’ve gotten a lot better at multitasking since then.)

4.  How to make figure-eights with my bike. (Okay, that one ended badly too; there was a concussion involved.)

5.  How to stand up to bullies.

6.  How to catch a softball (although I never quite mastered the football lesson) and dance the cha-cha.

7.  How to control my temper. (Okay, I’m still working on that one.)

8.  What to say to boys so I wouldn’t sound stupid (yeah, still working on that one, too).

9.  How to make the guys in my books sound and act realistic. (He beta reads all my books and advises on the ‘guy stuff’ even though he doesn’t particularly like to read.)

10.  How to be generous with the people you love (see above and below) and be a fiercely loyal friend.

If you’ve got a brother (or sister) you’d like to brag about, go for it in the comments below. But I won’t be able to respond until next week.

Why? Because my brother is very generously traveling with me today up to Maryland to help me paint the outside of my summer cottage up there. Even though it’s his birthday week!

My brother now, in my summer cottage sunroom.

This is the last project he helped me with… finishing off the sunroom in my Maryland cottage. It turned out great!

Don’t worry. I’m gonna bake him a cake! (And I’ll post before and after pictures of the house next week.)

Happy Birthday, Ralph! I love you, Bludder!  😀

Now the Book Deals and Contest!

The following authors also have birthday-related posts up today, and they are all featuring one of their books!We’ve got something for everyone’s tastes.

You can enter the contest at each blog site (i.e. multiple times) plus there are bonus opportunities to enter! Prize is an $80 gift card!!!

Stacy Green’s postIt’s my birthday, and I’ll cry if I want to!

Stacy’s second novel, TIN GOD is an Amazon Hot New Release at just $3.99 ~ Black market adoption, two dead women, and a demented killer. How far would you go to bring justice?

Melinda VanLone’s post:  Birthdays: Looking Back? Or Looking Forward?

Melinda’s debut urban fantasy, Stronger Than Magic, is just $2.99 ~ Tarian Xannon fights demons, like the rest of us. Hers just happen to be real.

Julie Day’s post:  An Aspergirl and Birthday Celebrations, or Not

Julie’s Don’t Get Mad, Book 4 of Geraldine’s Gems romance series is just $1.99 ~ Sandra follows her aunt’s advice, “Don’t get mad, get even,” develops a buff body at the gym, falls in love with a new man and learns to stand up to her estranged control-freak husband.

Catie Rhodes’ post:  Time’s Ticking Away

Catie is featuring her debut novel, Forever Road, starring Peri Jean who owes a ghost a favor and must solve a murder to pay it off ~ $3.99

Tamara Ward’s post:  Birthday Cake Fiasco 

Tamara’s new release, Hidden Betrayal, is featured at $3.99.

Gregory Carrico’s post:  Missing Child in Gator Infested Swamp. sort of.

Gregory is featuring Children of the Plague ~ Can teenage Lanni save her brother, and what’s left of mankind from plague infected mutants in post-apocalyptic Manhattan? ~ $3.99

Patricia Sands’ post:  Look Out! Here Comes Another One!

Patricia is featuring her new release, The Promise of Provence ~ Is home exchange in the south of France a remedy for heartbreak? ~ $3.99

book cover

 

And last but not least, don’t forget that my new novella, An Unsaintly Season in St. Augustine, is on sale for just $.99.

I’ve also reduced the price on Family Fallacies and Celebrity Status, to $2.99, for a limited time only.

 

Here is where you enter the contest!
It starts at 12:01 a.m. April 12 and runs through Sunday, April 14th.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Posted by Kassandra Lamb. Kassandra is a retired psychotherapist turned mystery writer. She writes the Kate Huntington mystery series.

We blog here at misterio press once a week about more serious topics, usually on Monday or Tuesday. Sometimes we blog again, on Friday or the weekend, with something just for fun.

Please follow us by filling in your e-mail address where it says “subscribe to blog via email” in the column on the right, so you don’t miss out on any of the interesting stuff, or the fun!

The Shame of It All

Today I’m talking about shame–what it is and how to handle it–and I’m also talking about Stacy Green’s new mystery, Tin God, which she just officially launched yesterday with a great Facebook party!.

Now it might seem strange to you that I’m talking about a rather heavy subject as we celebrate Stacy’s new release, especially since we just spent the weekend roasting virtual marshmallows around the campfire and telling ghost stories to honor Catie Rhodes’ new book.

Hardly seems fair, does it?  But bear with me, I have my reasons.

Cover of Tin GodIn Stacy’s book, Jaymee is a young woman struggling to make ends meet in her small hometown. Her life is made more complicated and uncomfortable by her verbally abusive father, who is quick to remind her of her past shameful transgressions whenever she has the misfortune of crossing paths with him.

Indeed, her childhood in a highly dysfunctional family, coupled with a teen pregnancy, has left her pretty beat up emotionally. But she has a mission–to get her daughter back, the child she was coerced into giving up for adoption.

This gives her the motivation to push past the shame and keep going. This is a very good thing, because the crux of the problem with shame is that it is immobilizing!

But more on that in a moment. First, let’s define shame. It is feeling bad about ourselves. It is the first cousin of guilt, which is feeling bad about our behavior, something we’ve done. Shame cuts deeper because it is about our being–not just what we’ve done but who we are.

Guilt, even though it is an unpleasant emotion, has its purposes. We’ve talked about guilt here before, along with a concrete process for dealing with it. Let me give you a brief summary of that previous post. Guilt tells us our behavior is breaking a rule about how we’re supposed to behave. If we can identify (1) the behavior and (2) the rule, then (3) decide if the rule is valid or needs modifying and (4) modify the rule and/or the behavior to bring them into sync, then we can let go of the guilt. It has done its job!

Shame, on the other hand, has much less socially redeeming value. Here are some feelings in the shame spectrum: humble, self-conscious, embarrassed, ashamed, inadequate, humiliated, mortified.

The only one of those that seems valuable to me is humility–a word best defined as the awareness that we are human just like everybody else. The opposite of humble is arrogant. My mother used to say: “Remember that everybody puts their pants on one leg at a time, including yourself.” It’s not healthy to believe we are somehow intrinsically better than others, but neither is it healthy to believe we are less than others.

Jaymee struggles against those feelings of being “less than” that were instilled in her by her arrogant father. This unhealthy form of shame often comes from others judging us.

Where guilt can spur us to change our behavior, shame tends to bring on emotional paralysis. If we are shameful beings, worthless in the eyes of ourselves and others, why go on? What’s the point?

Shame and depression are second cousins, along with hopelessness.

So what can we do to overcome shame?

1.  Separate being from behavior, shame from guilt. If you’re saying to yourself, “I’m ashamed of myself because I did ______,” rephrase that to “I feel guilty because I did ______.” Then you can examine the behavior, the rule it is breaking, determine what needs modification, and move past the guilt.

2.  Ask yourself if you’ve really done anything wrong, or are you being judged for something superficial or beyond your control.

I was a ‘late bloomer.’ That’s euphemism-speak for flat-chested until you’re fifteen. I was the last of the girls in my school to get a ‘training’ bra (I always wondered what we were in training for. When we graduated from bra boot camp, would we move on to, say, straight jackets?)

The kindest thing I was called by the boys (and some of the girls) was “ironing board.” As an excruciatingly self-conscious fourteen-year-old, I was mortified. My mother kept saying, “Late roses bloom longer.” I had no clue what she was talking about… until I attended my five-year high school reunion.

The girls who had been voluptuous at fourteen were now fat, and I was sleek and svelte (ah, those were the days!). And those poor gals were excruciatingly embarrassed by their weight gain. Not only did it hit me then that this was what my mother had meant, but I also got it that these women were doing the same thing I had done in high school. They were taking to heart the judgements of others, and harshly judging themselves, for something that they did not have total control over and it was something that should not be a defining factor in their worth.

3.  Focus on those people who believe in you, not those who tear you down. Jaymee, in Stacy’s book, does this. She tries to focus on the people who love and support her, like her best friend, whom she still mourns four years after her senseless murder. And her employer, a well-to-do socialite who has promised to help her find her daughter. Even when this woman is found dead in her historic mansion, Jaymee does not give up on the search, nor on herself.

And as the story progresses, she discovers that some townspeople whom she thought were judging her are really pulling for her, while others she thought were on her side are not!

How about you? Any thoughts on how to fight shame and keep it from stopping us in our tracks?

Stacy Green

 

While you’re pondering that,check out Stacy’s synopsis of her book!

 

Getting pregnant as a teenager and being coerced into giving her baby up for adoption left a festering scar on Jaymee Ballard’s life. Trapped by poverty and without many allies, Jaymee nearly gives up hope of getting her daughter back after her best friend is murdered. Now, four years later, a wealthy woman with legal connections hires her as a housekeeper, and Jaymee gathers the courage to seek her help. But Jaymee’s last chance ends up in a puddle of blood in one of the historic antebellum mansions in Roselea, Mississippi.

I just murdered your wife…again.

An unsigned letter consisting of six horrifying words turns Nick Samuels stagnant life upside down. Stuck in emotional purgatory since his wife’s unsolved murder four years ago, Nick is about to self-destruct. The arrival of the letter claiming credit for his wife’s murder and boasting of a new kill sends Nick to Roselea, where he and Jaymee’s worlds collide.

Jaymee and Nick realize exposing the truth about her daughter’s adoption is the only way to solve the murders. Up against years of deception, they rush to identify the killer before the evidence–and Jaymee’s daughter–are lost.

But the truth doesn’t always set the guilt-ridden free. Sometimes, it destroys them.

I have read this book and it is great! It is available now of Amazon!

Posted by Kassandra Lamb. Kassandra is a retired psychotherapist turned mystery writer. She writes the Kate Huntington mystery series.

We blog here at misterio press once a week about more serious topics, usually on Monday or Tuesday. Sometimes we blog again, on Friday or the weekend, with something just for fun.

Please follow us by filling in your e-mail address where it says “subscribe to blog via email” in the column on the right, so you don’t miss out on any of the interesting stuff, or the fun!

We’ve Got a T-Shirt Contest Today!

No, I did NOT say a wet t-shirt contest. Get your minds outta the gutter, you all!

Our book designer came up with a gorgeous stylized death’s head for the cover of Kirsten Weiss’s upcoming paranormal mystery novel, The Infernal Detective. And Kirsten thought – why not turn it into a t-shirt? And then… why not give one away?

To enter, just type your e-mail into the form below. We promise not to use it for nefarious purposes – but Kirsten will need it to contact the winner. You can, however, get bonus points by signing up for Kirsten’s Metaphysical Detective newsletter. It’s quarterly and discusses her books and the paranormal research that goes into writing them.

We’ve got men’s and women’s versions of the t-shirt up to XL.

 

Win an Infernal Detective t-shirt!

 Check it out… Cuz there’s no such thing as too many T-shirts, and Kirsten’s newsletter is awesome!

Posted by Kassandra Lamb. I’ll be posting my serious post this week on Tuesday. And then a Just for Fun post on Friday about my wonderful big brother!

 

We blog here at misterio press once a week about more serious topics, usually on Monday or Tuesday. Sometimes we blog again, on Friday or the weekend, with something just for fun.

Please follow us by filling in your e-mail address where it says “subscribe to blog via email” in the column on the right, so you don’t miss out on any of the interesting stuff, or the fun!

A Ghost at Nemacolin Castle

Hey, Shannon here! As much interest as I have in the paranormal and as many hours as I’ve logged watching Ghost Hunters and Ghost Adventures, I’ve sadly never had a personal experience with a ghost. So, I’m going to tell you about my mom’s experience.

A few years ago, my mom took a tour through Nemacolin Castle, built by the Bowman family in 1789 in Brownsville, Pa. There were eight people in the tour, four of them were my mom and members of her family. As they were led through the rooms, she snapped random pictures with her digital camera.

This is one of the pictures she took in the Tea Room:

When she was going over the photos later that night, she realized there was someone in the mirror that did not look anything like the other four people in the room with them.

Here’s a close up of the mirror:

 Can you see the man in the white shirt and mustache? Or do you see something else?

My mom contacted the castle staff the next day and a local paranormal team was there. They asked her to bring her camera back and show them where she was standing when she took the picture, which she did.

It was determined from the angle of the mirror (after two sets of drained batteries on two different cameras) when they recreated the photo, the man would have been standing right beside her.

Chills, right? Have you ever captured anything on film you couldn’t explain?

To read a great mystery about ghosts, check out Catie Rhodes’ new release, Forever Road. Her protagonist sees ghosts, much to her dismay.

Forever Road cover

My name’s Peri Jean Mace, and I’ve seen ghosts ever since I can remember. Don’t get too excited. Seeing across the veil branded me as a loony during my growing up years, and I learned to keep my yap shut about it.

Now I’m not sure I can anymore.

See, my cousin up and got herself killed the very same day I promised her a favor.  Now she’s back in spirit form and determined to make me pay. If I don’t solve her murder, she’s going to haunt me forever. Talk about the debt collector from hell.

That’s not my only problem. An obnoxiously hot cop wants to arrest my best friend for the murder.  My bigmouthed archenemy holds a clue to the killer’s identity. And there’s this mean—and ugly—woman who wants to beat me up.

None of this can turn out good.

Check it out on AMAZON  And then come on back and tell us about your own ghost sightings!

Posted by Shannon Esposito. Shannon is a mystery writer and stay-at-home mom. She loves daydreaming and hugging her kids (including the four-legged ones). She writes the Pet Psychic Mystery series and also has a stand-alone paranormal mystery, The Monarch.

We blog here at misterio press once a week about more serious topics, usually on Monday or Tuesday. Sometimes we blog again, on Friday or the weekend, with something just for fun.

Please follow us by filling in your e-mail address where it says “subscribe to blog via email” in the column on the right, so you don’t miss out on any of the interesting stuff, or the fun!

Brotherly Love–From Beyond the Grave

In honor of Catie Rhodes’ new release, FOREVER ROAD, we’re telling real-life ghost stories this weekend. Why? Because Catie’s main character sees ghosts, and isn’t all that happy about possessing that particular talent. But here, I’ll let Peri Jean tell you about it herself:

Forever Road coverMy name’s Peri Jean Mace, and I’ve seen ghosts ever since I can remember. Don’t get too excited. Seeing across the veil branded me as a loony during my growing up years, and I learned to keep my yap shut about it.

Now I’m not sure I can anymore.

See, my cousin up and got herself killed the very same day I promised her a favor.  Now she’s back in spirit form and determined to make me pay. If I don’t solve her murder, she’s going to haunt me forever. Talk about the debt collector from hell.

That’s not my only problem. An obnoxiously hot cop wants to arrest my best friend for the murder.  My bigmouthed archenemy holds a clue to the killer’s identity. And there’s this mean—and ugly—woman who wants to beat me up.

None of this can turn out good.

I just love Peri Jean!

And now for the real-life ghost stories. Yesterday we had three short tales of ghosties or other strange ghost-related events. Today we have a longer and more poignant tale to tell. You might want to have a tissue handy.

From Stacy Green:

After five years of trying to have a child, and a miscarriage that had left me deeply depressed for weeks, I had finally reached the 12th week of pregnancy. But due to a genetic issue, my baby was at high risk of being born with Downs Syndrome. On June 7, 2005, my husband and I went to the University of Iowa for prenatal testing. That day my brother, Kevin, called my mom to see how I was doing and ask when we’d get the results. He told her he was worried about me.

He died in a car accident that night.

I rushed to my parents’ home two hours away and went with them and my sister-in-law to the funeral home to make arrangements. You can imagine the rest of that day. I went to bed in my parents’ guest room–exhausted, empty, and feeling guilty that I was worrying about my test results when my brother had just died.

I became trapped in a horrible dream. My brother stood at the foot of my bed staring at me with an expression I’ve never been able to fully describe. I knew it was him, even though his face was swollen and his mustache was missing. He kept trying to tell me something. In the dream, I jumped out of bed and ran out of the room. He followed me from room to room, the same pleading expression on his face. I’ve never been so scared in my life!

An alert on the weather radio, signaling an upcoming storm, woke me. It also woke my mother. We went down to the kitchen and I told her about the dream. It had been so vivid, so real. It was like nothing I’d ever experienced. I told her that he didn’t look like himself and that he was wearing the burgundy shirt and khaki pants he had worn at Christmas.

My mother turned white. “That’s what he’s going to be buried in.”

After an hour of talking, I explained it away as coincidence. The last time I’d seen him he’d been wearing that shirt. My mind just filled in the blanks. Still, I couldn’t shake the realness of it all.

The next day was the viewing. I looked in the casket and nearly collapsed. Not only was Kevin wearing those clothes, but his face was swollen and puffy from the trauma, and he didn’t have a mustache.

Kevin was eighteen years older than me, and I’d never seen him without a mustache. Ever. Barely able to stand, I asked his poor wife about it. “He was trimming it a few days ago and messed up,” she said. “I told him to shave it off.”

There’s no way I could have known that. The mustache sealed the deal for me. Kevin had come to me the night before. I was convinced he was trying to tell me something, but what?

I got my answer later that day when the call came from the University of Iowa. Our tests results were back. It wasn’t  absolute, but the screening indicated that our baby was very likely fine.

And then it hit me: that’s what Kevin had been trying to tell me. The day he was killed, he’d told Mom how worried he was that I wouldn’t be able to handle it if the test results were bad news. In the dream, he was trying to let me know that everything was going to be okay. I know this in my gut. The clothes, the mustache, the test results—too many things to be a coincidence.

My family will never get over my brother’s loss, but I am so grateful to him for coming to me the way he did. I’m not sure I would have believed in the test results if he hadn’t visited me in my dream. After that experience, I believed it would be okay. My anxiety about the baby went down, and I was able to relax and enjoy my pregnancy.

My daughter, Grace, was born on December 26, 2005, and she is perfect!

Grace

I told you to get tissues!

Stacy’s going to have her own new release in just a couple more days! Stay tuned for Tin God, and come on back tomorrow for one more ghost story, with an honest-to-god picture of a ghost!

Do you have any ghost stories? Please share them in the comments.

And don’t forget to check out FOREVER ROAD. You will love this book!

Posted by Kassandra Lamb. Kassandra is a retired psychotherapist turned mystery writer. She writes the Kate Huntington mystery series.

We blog here at misterio press once a week about more serious topics, usually on Monday or Tuesday. Sometimes we blog again, on Friday or the weekend, with something just for fun.

Please follow us by filling in your e-mail address where it says “subscribe to blog via email” in the column on the right, so you don’t miss out on any of the interesting stuff, or the fun!

Ghost, Ghosts Everywhere (All Weekend Long)

To celebrate the release of Catie Rhodes’ book, Forever Road, in which her main character sees ghosts, we here at misterio press put our heads together and came up with some real ghost stories for you all.

Yes, these are real ghost sightings by one of us, or by people we know and have every reason to believe are sane!

Today, we’ve got three short stories for you, and then tomorrow and Sunday, we’ll be bringing you two more!! (In Sunday’s story, someone actually ‘captured’ the ghost in a photo, which we will show you.)

But first you’ve gotta meet Peri Jean. She’s a hoot!

Forever Road cover

My name’s Peri Jean Mace, and I’ve seen ghosts ever since I can remember. Don’t get too excited. Seeing across the veil branded me as a loony during my growing up years, and I learned to keep my yap shut about it.

Now I’m not sure I can anymore.

See, my cousin up and got herself killed the very same day I promised her a favor.  Now she’s back in spirit form and determined to make me pay. If I don’t solve her murder, she’s going to haunt me forever. Talk about the debt collector from hell.

That’s not my only problem. An obnoxiously hot cop wants to arrest my best friend for the murder.  My bigmouthed archenemy holds a clue to the killer’s identity. And there’s this mean—and ugly—woman who wants to beat me up.

None of this can turn out good.

Forever Road is available on AMAZON for your reading pleasure!!

And now our real-life ghost stories:

 From JoAnn Bassett:  I’d taken my parents on a tour of the state of Colorado and we stopped for a night in this huge hotel where hardly anyone was staying. I had no idea at the time that this was The Stanley Hotel, where the movie based on Stephen King’s The Shining was shot.

Late at night I heard music coming from a downstairs ballroom. I looked out the window and saw a diffused light coming from the ballroom windows and when I opened my window I could hear Big Band songs being played by a large dance band. I figured someone was having a wedding and the bride and groom liked old-style music.

photo of Stanly Hotel at night

The Stanley Hotel at night (photo by lojjic, CC license 2.0, Wikimedia Commons)

In the morning, I mentioned it to the desk clerk and her shoulders slumped. “Not again,” she said. I learned later that a couple who were married there in the 1940’s had died in a car crash going back down to Denver, and now and then when they begin to miss each other terribly they come back to the place of their wedding and re-enact their last beautiful night on Earth. I was so creeped out when I left (and it was a bright sunny day) I had to grip the wheel to avoid joining them by crashing my car on my way back to Denver!

I KNOW I heard the music and saw the shadows of people dancing in the ballroom on the first floor! And the song I remember was “Stardust.”

From Kirsten Weiss:  My sister believes in nothing but herself – and certainly not in ghosts. And while she won’t out and out say she once lived in a haunted apartment… Here’s her story.

Mysterious shadows that moved up the stairs and across the walls – she could rationalize those. Even the pumpkin that tipped over and rolled away after one of those shadows flitted over it–even that she could try to deny.

creepy hand

Photo by en:User: Drgnu23 subsequently altered by en:user: Grendelkhan, en:user: Raul654 and en:user: Solipsist. CC license 3.0, Wikimedia Commons

But once while she was alone in the apartment, she stepped out of the shower, and saw an adult hand reach beneath the bathroom door.

There wasn’t room enough for a child’s hand to slip beneath that door!

It was impossible, uncanny, and terrifying. She perched on the toilet seat, feet tucked under her, bathroom door locked, until she heard her roommate come home.

 

From Kassandra Lamb: My mother died at 76 after a 6-month battle with cancer. She and my stepfather had retired to Florida but most of their friends and family still lived in Maryland (including my brother and I at the time) so my stepfather decided to have her memorial service up north.

After the service he headed back to Florida. He’d already decided that he didn’t want to live in their house alone, so on that long drive south, my stepfather was thinking about everything he needed to do to get the house ready to put on the market. As he thought about how he would dispose of my mother’s clothing, he started getting a case of the guilts. Was it disrespectful to be so hasty about throwing out or giving away her clothes and other personal belongings?

When he got home, he walked into the bedroom and opened the closet door. The rod in the closet had broken, on my mother’s side of the closet, and had dumped all my mother’s clothes onto the floor. He looked at the ceiling and said, “Got it, Hon.” Then he went to get bags to start packing up her clothes for Goodwill.

Now when’s the last time you heard of a closet rod breaking loose like that? It happens but not that often. This was just too much of a coincidence! And it totally fit with my mother’s sense of humor.

My mom laughing

My mom laughing HAO over something my brother said.

How about you? Have you ever seen a ghost, or know somebody who has?

Don’t forget to check out Catie’s great book, Forever Road.  It’s one of the best books I’ve ever read!  (And be sure to stop back tomorrow and Sunday for two more real-life ghost stories.)

Posted by Kassandra Lamb. Kassandra is a retired psychotherapist turned mystery writer. She writes the Kate Huntington mystery series.

We blog here at misterio press once a week about more serious topics, usually on Monday or Tuesday. Sometimes we blog again, on Friday or the weekend, with something just for fun.

Please follow us by filling in your e-mail address where it says “subscribe to blog via email” in the column on the right, so you don’t miss out on any of the interesting stuff, or the fun!