Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Author Sorchia DuBois




Haunted Scottish Castles 

by Sorchia DuBois

As a financially-challenged writer, my midweek escapes usually don’t go much further than my own porch, but I have high hopes of broadening my experiences. If I had the option, I would point my toes in the direction of Scotland.
You can’t swing a dead cat in Scotland without hitting a haunted castle—though swinging cats, dead or otherwise, is not the best way to plan a vacation. When I was researching for my Zoraida Grey trilogy, I read enough about castles to know I belong in one. No single castle served as inspiration. Instead, the haunted castle in the series is a combination of many real castles. I took the tastiest bits of reality, added a touch of imagination, and steeped the whole thing in magic. The result is Castle Logan, home of the bewitching Logan clan.
While you can’t spend a night in Castle Logan, many haunted castles offer rooms for the courageous—or foolhardy—tourist.  Here are two.



Tulloch Castle Hotel

A very old castle, the original structure may date back as far as 1166. Tulloch Hill has been the site of human activity since the Neolithic and Bronze Age. The castle sits between two fault lines, which occasionally produce minor tremors, adding to the intrigue and mystery of the site. In the 1800s, Duncan Davidson, the 4th laird of Tulloch acquired the moniker of “The Stag” because he fathered at least eighteen children by five wives along with a number in excess of thirty illegitimate offspring. The Green Lady who haunts the castle is said to be his daughter. The story goes that she stumbled upon him and a female companion in a compromising situation. She fled and fell down the stairs.
The Stag succumbed to pneumonia at the age of 81. His fifth wife survived him—which fulfilled a prophecy of the Brahan Seer who predicted all five wives and that the last would outlive the laird. 
Recently, two female skeletons were unearthed during renovations. Local folklore says they may have been nuns.
For only £85 to £135 or $112 to $180 per night, you can spend a terrifying night in Tulloch Castle. Experiences reported include night terrors and a suffocating presence, the floating apparition known as The Green Lady, the appearance of two young girls and their mother in Victorian dress, and numerous unexplained bumps, bangs, touches, whispers, and so on.


Culzean Castle

The castle that most resembles fictional Castle Logan is real life Culzean (pronounced Cu-LANE) Castle. It sits on the edge of a cliff overlooking the sea and has battlements and turrets galore. The caves beneath the castle reek with legend which I used to flesh out the history of Castle Logan.  You can even get a tour of them in the summer. Culzean Castle would be a deliciously spooky place to spend the night.
Back in the day—and by that I mean waaay back in the sixteenth century–– an unlucky chap was roasted nearly to death in the dungeons. His screams and the crackling of a roaring fire still trouble guests who visit the site—known as The Black Vault.
Ghosts include a lady in a ballgown, a mysterious piper, and a White Lady who may be the spirit of a mistreated servant girl.
It will cost a cool £150 to £375 or $200 to $500 per night—but Wow!

Tulloch Castle and Culzean Castle are only two haunted castle hotels. Any one of them would make a midweek escape to remember—if you survive.

***

Zoraida Grey and the Family Stones blurb

Granny’s dying, but Zoraida can save her with a magic crystal of smoky quartz. Too bad the crystal is in Scotland––in a haunted castle––guarded by mind-reading, psychopathic sorcerers.

Getting inside Castle Logan is easy. Getting out––not so much. Before she can snatch the stone, Zoraida stumbles into a family feud, uncovers a wicked ancient curse, and finds herself ensorcelled by not one but two handsome Scottish witches. Up to their necks in family intrigue and smack-dab in the middle of a simmering clan war, Zoraida and her best friend Zhu discover Granny hasn’t told them everything.
Not by a long shot.


Zoraida Grey and the Family Stones Excerpt

We are in a land of green hillsides and bubbling brooks. Jagged ridges drop sharply to murky lochs and craggy mountains. The highway winds up the side of a hill and whips ninety degrees around, heading down the other side.

“You don’t suppose that’s it, do you.” Zhu sticks her head out the window like a puppy. The wind lashes
her long hair around her head. She points across a wide valley.

I suck in a sharp breath, and it’s all I can do not to stomp the brakes. On the very tiptop of a rocky crag, a castle overlooks the steel blue waters of a narrow loch. Gray walls and turrets cast long, dark shadows across the clustered houses of a village huddled beneath the curve of the hill. Flickers of green and blue shimmer around the castle walls, subtle but steady. The entire place glows with magic.

“Sweet Mother Merryweather!” I cast quick glances from the twisting road to the castle. A green roadside sign reads Black Bridge with the Gaelic name Loch an Drochaiddubh below.

As we approach the village, the castle looms against the darkening sky, and the buzzards in my stomach do stunt dives. A tall black tower juts far above the rest of the castle walls. I squint, trying to focus on the tiny figure behind the crenellated fortifications at its very top. The back of my neck prickles as if unfriendly eyes are on me.

Get your own copy of Zoraida Grey and the Family Stones and get ready for book 2 in the series, Zoraida Grey and the Voodoo Queen.




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Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Author Kay Phoenix

Hi, me again. 



Today, I'm actually headed off on my own midweek escapes adventure which I look forward to telling you about.


Here is a hint:



In the meantime, why not take a trip to Vegas, at least for a few hours, with this brand new anthology! 

Vegas...where love is always in the cards!

***

Title: Love for the Holidays (my story, “Time for Christmas”)
Author/pen name: Kay Phoenix

Genre:  Romance

Publisher: Sin City Romance Writers

Date of Publication:  Nov. 3, 2017

ASIN:  B07564WJQL
·         ISBN-10: 0998672157
·         ISBN-13: 978-0998672151

Blurb:  

(for Book) 
Love is always in the cards with Love for the Holidays. Las Vegas temperatures are cold in December, but the heat from these seductive holiday tales will keep you warm. Whether the hero is a casino owner, executive, playboy, or rancher, they’re no match for the ladies of Vegas, when Christmas magic is in the air

(For my story) 
Sparks flew when Andrew and Regina met the first time, but the discovery that he was her new boss snuffed out their budding romance.
Now, a job transfer makes their remaining time together much too short.
Can a hefty sprinkle of Christmas magic finally set them both on the right path? Will they realize that time, like love is a gift not to be wasted?


Buy links:




Excerpt:

Regina inhaled in a deep breath and tried to calm her nerves. What did he want to see her about? Hadn’t he just seen her? Good grief on Earth this was nerve racking and right before five o’clock.

Each step up seemed to take a week. Finally, she rounded the corner to his secretary’s desk. Pam glanced up at her over dark-rimmed glasses. She motioned over her shoulder. “He said for you to go on in.”

“Thanks.”

He was in his chair with his back to her, looking out the window. “Shut the door,” he said, and turned to face her, “and have a seat.”

Butterflies fluttered in her stomach. It wasn’t like she hadn’t been in his office before. She had, but never alone. Always for a team project. She glanced at the clock on the wall above his desk. Only ten minutes until quitting time. Did she do something wrong? Or, was this about starting a new, tedious project.

“So, Regina, I went over everything you did on the Clough account. Good job. But, I have a couple questions for you about the ATI account.”

She nodded. “Okay, what are they?”

“Great. Come over here. I want to show you what I’m looking at.” He motioned with his hand for her to stand beside him as if he wanted to show her something on his screen.

She joined him behind the desk, and was immediately aware of his close proximity. His fresh, woodsy scent was intoxicating. On his computer screen was a photo of the Tower of London.

Author bio:

Ms. Phoenix is a rare bird herself...a lifelong resident of Las Vegas, Nevada. She belongs to Las Vegas Romance Writers and has served on the board for several years. She is also a member of Romance Writers of America with PAN status.

Prior to writing, Kay was a Graphic Artist for fifteen years in the casino industry and holds degrees in both Graphic Arts and Psychology. In her spare time she enjoys hiking, traveling and photography. She is also involved in several Las Vegas non-profits, and is the current Chairman of a popular, long-running, local art show.

Kay has been blessed to be able to travel many places, which inspired her to host a weekly author spotlight called “Midweek Escapes” on her blog. It features guest author’s favorite vacation destinations, their travel tips, and, of course, information about their book releases and occasional giveaways.





Friday, November 3, 2017

RELEASE DAY! Love for the Holidays!

Can a hefty sprinkle of Christmas magic finally set them both on the right path? Find out in Time for Christmas by Kay Phoenix in the newest anthology by Sin City Romance Writers.

 Love for the Holidays!

 



#LovefortheHolidays #SinCityRomanceWriters  #HolidayRomance

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Author JoJo Christophor

My favorite vacation is cruising. I can visit several exciting vacation destinations and experience several different cultures in one week, or one weekend. Depending on the length of a cruise you have mixture of sea-days (where you stay aboard) or days when you visit a port of call. Each port of call has shore excursions you may choose, they usually last 3-4 hours, or longer. I highly recommend doing the excursions sold by the cruise line. If you’re more adventurous you can hook-up with the locals and do your own thing. But, remember if you do, the cruise line is not responsible if something goes awry. You could find yourself waving to the ship as it sails away because you didn’t get back in time. (Have seen this happen)    

The best part of cruising for me…I can do as little, or as much as I want and I only have to unpack once. Cruise ships have adult areas, depending on the cruise line it may be called, Serenity, Solarium, or Sanctuary. There you can lounge for hours; I used these areas to rejuvenate my body, mind, and yes, write.

Price depends on the length or the cruise, and your cabin. I love windows. A cabin with a balcony is best for me. I enjoy the sunrises and sunsets, and of course the ocean’s deep blue waters churning into an amazing aqua color as the ship stirs up the ocean as it glides through it.

I tease my husband, telling him he shouldn’t be left home alone. If he is, we’re booked on another cruise. Right now we have 4 cruises lined up through April of 2019. I’m smiling as I write this, because my hubby is searching for a September 2019 cruise. Here I am, trying to lose the ten pounds I gain from the cruise we just got back from.


Each night when the cabin steward is making up your cabin they leave a small animal made from towels.  I believe you can attend a class while on board for animal towel making, and some cruise lines sell a book.  Here are a few of my animal friends.


            This is the atrium of one of the cruises we took over Christmas. 


When hurricanes don’t play nice you get a lot of ships in one port of call. My camera didn’t get them all, there were six ships docked in Cozumel. Shopping  that day reminded me of Black Friday. 

***



  
Title: Love for the Holidays
Author/pen name: JoJo Kaloian w/a JoJo Christophor

Genre:  Romance

Publisher: Sin City Romance Writers

Date of Publication:  November 3, 2017

ASIN:  B07564WJQL
·     ISBN-10: 0998672157
·     ISBN-13: 978-0998672151

Number of pages: 350
Word Count: 65,000 

Blurb:

(for Book) Love is always in the cards with Love for the Holidays. Las Vegas temperatures are cold in December, but the heat from these seductive holiday tales will keep you warm. Whether the hero is a casino owner, executive, playboy, or rancher, they’re no match for the ladies of Vegas, when Christmas magic is in the air.

(for my story) When Lyon Black learns he has a daughter Clover Collins hopes their rekindled love is strong enough to overcome her secret. Only together can they find a family Christmas in A Christmas to Remember by JoJo Christophor.
  
     The first published work by JoJo Christophor

Buy links:


Excerpt:

 “Clover?” Her name rolled across his tongue as if savoring a fine brandy. She stood as tall as her five-foot-four frame would allow, and stepped out of the shadows.
“Hello, Lyon.”
By his intense stare, she couldn’t tell if he was in shock or glad to see her. She hoped for glad. Either way it didn’t diminish his incredible handsomeness. The barrier she’d built around her heart seemed to melt away. A longing she thought had disappeared flooded to the surface. 
“Wow. Clover. It’s really you?” The corners of his mouth turned up as his dark emerald eyes roamed over her body and settled on her face. “You have no idea how many times I wondered if you still lived in Vegas.” 
What? 
Had he admitted he thought about her? 
She held out her hand hoping it didn’t shake like the rest of her body.
Lyon took it and sparks from his touch shot through her stomach to her lower body. She heard him gasp. Did he feel the sparks too?
“Is this how you greet an old friend?”
He reached for her. 
The heat emanating from his body was a bitter-sweet reminder of how he used to make her feel. She closed her eyes and allowed his hug to give her a sense of belonging. She’d forgotten how his spicy male scent made her head spin. 
He remembered her.
No, she couldn’t go swooning over Lyon despite what her heart was telling her. Protect Amy’s identity. That was her goal. She wouldn’t let Lyon get the chance to reject her daughter like he had rejected her. 


Author bio:

JoJo Christophor writes contemporary and paranormal romance.
Her family and friends told her she was too dramatic, and her head was filled with lofty dreams. She viewed those comments as good things.  JoJo put her so-called “dramatic-lofty-dreams-trait” to work. She began to listen to the stories bouncing around in her brain. They would keep her up at night until she started putting those stories on paper. When she ended up owning a travel agency her Muse jumped for joy. She would be able to see those parts of the world where her stories took place. 
JoJo lives with her loving husband and a very mouthy cat. If she’s not working or writing you will find her on a cruise ship sailing with her husband.



Author website and social media links:

Visit JoJo online at http://www.jojochristophor.com