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Sunday, December 4, 2011

Guest Blog & Contest with author Juliet Blackwell!

After a little break it is now time to get back normal viewing and the weekly author guest spots!

To start things back up is author Juliet Blackwell. I absolutely love her Witchcraft Mysteries but have to say that the debut of her Haunted Home Repair Mysteries really impressed me as well!

A year after If Walls Could Talk came it is time for part two in the Haunted Home Repair Mystery series. Dead Bolt is due out this week and I have it on pre-order because this author is just a joy to read!

I hope you all enjoy Juliet's guest blog and will enter the contest to win your very own copy of her new release!


Thank you for having me on Amberkatze’s book blog! It was such fun to be here for an interview for my Witchcraft Mystery series, and an honor to be back with my Haunted Home Renovation series!

I’ve always been a big fan of ghost stories. You know that kid who always wants “one more” scary story around the campfire? The one who sneaks in to watch the ghost-riddled gothic soap opera, Dark Shadows even though she’s forbidden? That was me.

My mother comes from the South, so when we were visiting relatives I didn’t have to look very far to find a cool, often gruesome yet romantic ghost story – I wonder whether there’s a single plantation standing that doesn’t sport a specter or two? But I grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, and to me California seemed hopelessly “new” -- no spooky swamps, very little fog, and not much gothic architecture. No place for ghosts to flourish. Or…was there?

Turns out, the fraught history of the slaughtered Native American Indians, the Spanish and Mexican colonial period, and then the strife of the Gold Rush and the vibrant Barbary Coast sets quite the stage for ghost stories. And I grew up not ten minutes from the famous Winchester Mystery House, one of two historic houses in California that claim to be “certified” by the government as being actually haunted. (In fact, when I was a kid the Winchester House was even more intriguing than it is now. It was ramshackle and unkempt, its dark grey façade the true picture of a haunted house, and they let you run around on your own. Since they renovated it, the façade is not nearly as frightening…and the tours keep everyone together rather than letting you peer into every corner. The mansion is truly bizarre, though, and well worth the price of admission.)

Now that I write my own ghost stories, I’ve hunted with ghost busters, attended séances, and been on just about every local ghost tour there is: The Chinatown ghost tour, the Pacific Heights ghost tour, the Haight-Ashbury ghost tour. There are stories of unpaid gambling debts; of a relative held in an attic who escaped to kill a visitor in the parlor with a machete; of a hotel in which a former resident is known for coming and covering guests in extra blankets; and of an unhappy fellow who attempted to escape his unhappy home life by running off to Chile, but perished while at sea and was returned to his front doorstep, his body pickled in a keg of rum.

In fact, that last story kicked off my imagination when I was thinking up a story for my latest Haunted Home Renovation book, Dead Bolt. I was researching the history of the Atherton mansion and its purported ghosts (I’ll let you in on a little secret: one of the best parts of being an author? Reading ghost stories, touring fancy houses, and hanging out in cool San Francisco neighborhoods in the name of “research”) and came across a story that seemed too crazy for fiction – in fact, my editor was wary about including the barrel of rum detail in my book! But of course I had to incorporate it into Dead Bolt. I added a very human murder, a little romance, and developed a mystery related to the history of the house, as well as the current occupants.

All around, I’d say that the kid with a love of ghost stories has been pretty lucky…I grew up to live in a haunted house! Doors open and close, lights go on and off, and frequently I hear footsteps overhead when I’m the only one at home. But I’ve lived here for many years, and I’m certain the ghosts are benevolent. And one thing I’ve learned from researching the paranormal: the “veil” between the living and the dead might not be nearly as impermeable as we think.

How about you? Do you believe in ghosts? Any experiences you’d care to share? Oh, and if you have a really good story…mind if I steal it for my next Haunted Home Renovation novel?

Dead Bolt (Obsidian, December 6, 2011)

Turner Construction's latest restoration project is a historic Queen Anne Victorian in San Francisco. This time general contractor Mel Turner has to work around the owners who insist on sticking around- along with some ghosts that insist in their own way that the work stops...
The ghosts aren't the only ones standing in the way of the renovations. A crotchety neighbor, Emile Blunt, secretly wants this house, and could be behind some of the disturbances. But when Emile is found dead, it's Mel who appears guilty. Now she must restore the building-and her reputation-before it's too late.

Read an excerpt

Author Biography

Juliet Blackwell is the nationally bestselling author of the Witchcraft Mystery series, which features a misfit witch with a vintage clothing store in San Francisco’s Haight Ashbury neighborhood (Secondhand Spirits, A Cast-off Coven, Hexes and Hemlines, and In a Witch’s Wardrobe, coming 6/12). The Haunted Home Renovation series began last December with the release of If Walls Could Talk, also a national bestseller; Dead Bolt is second in the series.
Under the pseudonym Hailey Lind, Juliet penned the Art Lover’s Mystery series with her sister Carolyn--including the Agatha-nominated Feint of Art. Arsenic and Old Paint is the latest in the series.

A former anthropologist and social worker, Juliet has worked and studied in Mexico, Spain, Cuba, Italy, the Philippines, and France. She now lives in a happily haunted house in Oakland, California, where she is a muralist and portrait painter. She was a two-term president of Northern California Sisters in Crime.

Praise for Dead Bolt:

"Cleverly plotted with a terrific sense of the history of the greater Bay Area, Blackwell's series has plenty of ghosts and supernatural happenings to keep readers entertained and off balance."

-Library Journal

"In Blackwell's smooth, seductive second mystery featuring San Francisco historic house contractor Melanie Turner (after 2010's If Walls Could Talk), something otherworldly is interfering with Mel's work on Jim and Katenka Daley's 1890s Queen Anne Victorian. Mel must also contend with the elderly neighbor across the street, Emile Blunt, who's determined to buy the Daleys' house, even though it's not for sale. Mel's father, himself a former contractor, tries to smooth things over with the crotchety Emile, only to find him shot dead the next day.

Desperate to save her character and her renovation from a murder, Mel may have to dig the truth up about yet another ghost before all is said and done. The return of divorced Mel's old crush, green building expert Graham Donovan, adds romantic interest. Cozy fans will want to see a lot more of the endearing Mel."

-Publishers Weekly


Contest Time

Juliet is giving away a copy of Dead Bolt (US Only!)

How To Enter

Juliet asked a question at the end of her guest blog. Answer it ;)

No Answer = No Entry

'Please enter me' posts will not be counted as an entry

Earn more entries for each link you place about this contest on the net. You can post on Facebook, Twitter & MySpace but make sure you add links here for me to confirm your entries! However please do not make individual postings for each entry. Please post all your entries in one post.

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You can also earn extra entries by emailing your friends about the contest. Just make sure you send a copy of your email or receipt to me at Amberkatzes_book_blog at gmx dot net.

Make sure you post your links here so I can confirm your entries.

Keep the contests going by using the Bookdepository.com and Amazon.com links/Banners below and around the site.

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The contest will stay open until Sunday 11th of December 2011 4pm CET and the winner will be picked by a randomizer. Entrants should check back to see if they have won. I do not hunt down winners and will pick new winners for any prizes not claimed within 7 days.


Stephanie said...

I believe in ghosts, but I've never encountered any.


Barbara E. said...

I'd like to believe in ghosts, but I'd have to actually experience one before I'd be able to. If I had a great story, you could totally borrow it, sorry I don't. :D

Dakota Banks said...

I do believe in ghosts, and I've had a few personal experiences due to growing up in a house from the 1800s that used to be a funeral home. The only recent time was the night my father died, when I felt and saw him in the house with me, sitting in a chair he used to use when he visited. I wasn't informed until later that night that he had died, but I knew it already. There was nothing scary about it.

debbie said...

I used to live in a haunted apartment. So many things happened. It started out making these really loud noises at night. It was my senior citizen neighbor that first suggested that my apartment was haunted. It scared her so much she had to have her son come stay the nights with her. He was a big tough guy (When he was younger he spent time in jail). One morning he knocked on my door to find out if I was okay. It had been a particularly bad night. The noises kept up all night long. He was a white as a sheet himself, and said he was moving his mother out of there. He couldn't handle it anymore, and actually admitted he was scared of the place. When it got to the point, I had to have my son sleep in my room because of everything happening, I finally moved. I haven't had a ghost after that.

Aurian said...

I do believe in ghosts, but I have never experienced it myself. Which is lucky for me, as I am very easily scared. Though strangely enough I like reading about them if it does not get too scary.

I like your whichcraft series, still have to start reading this one, but I will.

auriansbooks at gmail dot com

Guest list said...

Hey even i believe in ghost and as i had been in a worst condition as i was under control of a ghost, as he had some issues to sort. any one asking me about my experience i cant express them coz it was really weird.

nightclub guest list

Sharon said...

I haven't had any experiences so I am skeptical. I will need to see something with my own eyes to believe. But wouldn't it be cool?!

Jessica@a GREAT read said...

I believe in ghosts for sure! But never had myself an encounter. Sorry I don't have a storyline for ya! ;)

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NoraA said...

I do believe in roaming spirits. Those who have past but not left this plane. These past three or four years, I get weird feelings at the edge of my peripheral vision, and when I look up there's nothing there. I'm guessing that old age is bringing on a sensitivity to new things, or preparing me for something different.

NoraAdrienne (at) gmail (dot) com

Julie S said...

I do believe that ghosts exist, but I don't think I have come across any.

Cindy McCune said...

When I was a teen my Grandmother passed away of alzheimer...she knew no one the day she died but me. She tried so hard to tell me something but couldn't. That night I woke up and she was in the open doorway of my room (I close my door at night) just looking at me. She said nothing...just looked at me sadly. At her funeral I could not go and look at her in her coffin. I miss her. So YES, I believe!

Anonymous said...

Yes, I beleive in ghosts. I have never had an encounter but as a teeneager a freind lived in a house where the wonam there had been murdered and actually her bedroom was the room where the lady had died. Janet told me that at times she would feel like the lady was in the room and she would hear different sounds. Never happend while I was there but I beleived her.


Victoria said...

I believe in ghosts. I don't know if I've ever encountered one or not. I have had that feeling that makes you think there is a ghost present. But nothing tangible. Thank you for the great post.


Lisa Richards/alterlisa said...

I don't disbelieve in ghosts. By that I mean though I've never had a close encounter, I'm open to the possibility. Either way though, I do love a good ghost story.

alterlisa AT yahoo DOT com

wade2121 said...

I definitely believe in ghosts but I've never seen one. One friend said he was in an elevator with a co-worker. When he got off his floor, he saw others talking about how a co-worker passed. And it was the one he was in the elevator with.

Starr K said...

I believe in ghosts, why not? I have had lots of weird and creepy experiences. But I don't like to think about them when I'm home alone

wanda f said...

I do beleive in ghosts I,my sisters a nd parents had quite a few exerpeices with one in house house while growing up.I saw him in the mirror behind me once solid as you or me turned thinking it was someone over visiting my dad but there was no one there.He knocked my sister down when she was about 6,he once picked up the end of our couch while my dad was napping and dropped it hes taken pots off the counters stoves and table and dropped them.He never harmed anyone I personally think he was trying to be funny .(As a tween and teen I was prone to jumping out from corners and scaring the rest of the family things to make them jump I found it hilarious and I like to think he did too lol.

Tore said...

I believe in ghosts but I have never seen one. Please enter me in contest. Tore923@aol.com

Martha Lawson said...

I believe in ghosts! But, I've never seen anything before.

old gfc follower

mlawson17 at hotmail dot com

LuAnn said...

I have to admit ... I don't believe in ghosts, but I love Juliet's books!

reading_frenzy at yahoo dot com

Cheryl said...

I don't believe in ghosts, but I like stories about them.

As an aside, I really like the Witchcraft Mystery series and loooove the Art Lovers mysteries.

JenM said...

I do believe in ghosts, but I'm so oblivious to things happening around me that I can't say that I've ever seen one. I think a ghost would have to literally tap me on the shoulder to get me to notice it.

I love Juliet's Witchcraft Mystery series, but I haven't tried this one.

trichie said...

Yes I believe in ghost. Went on a ghost tour in Gettysburg and didn't know it at the time it was scheduled but the tour ended on Cemetery Hill where myh great great grandfather fought. Got a really strange feeling and chills

Vickie said...

I do believe in ghosts and took a Haunted Sussex tour my first Halloween when stationed in England. I also worked in a haunted pizza shop. It used to be a house and the second floor was still an apartment. I went upstairs one night to go to the bathroom and found the doors to each room open. I closed them on my way around the landing to the bathroom. I was only in there a minute, came out to find the doors open again. I closed them and they opened as I went down the stairs. I flew down the rest of the stairs and told the manager. He grinned and told me that the ghost of the woman who had owned the building before it became a pizza place still 'lived' up there. She was mellow and liked the doors open up there. She also liked to help him put pizza boxes together.

Audra said...

I believe in ghosts

clenna said...

I definitely believe in ghosts. I have electrical devices that turn off and on, pictures that always slant, and toys that will go off - thanks to my ghosts.
I have a CPAP machine that turns on when I am in bed and putting the head gear on, it has turned itself on for the past 2 1/2 weeks!

clenna at aol dot com

Jack Hadin said...

Hey actually i believe in ghost and additionally because i had been within a most harmful condition because i was actually less than control of the ghost, because he had some problems to kind. any sort of one asking me personally about my experience i cannot present them coz it ended up being really bizarre.