THE GHOST STORY

IN LITERATURE

This time of year as the days grow short and the air crisp, Halloween lurks just around the corner, my thoughts turn to those creepy tales told before the fire. Ghosts figure in many of them and the traditional ghost story has a long history. Every culture produced oral and/or written stories of ghosts.

Among the earliest written examples, Homer’s Odyssey depicts a journey into the underworld where the hero finds ghosts of the dead. A haunted house was portrayed by Plautus, the Roman playwright in his work entitled, Mostellaria. The ghost bound in chains was perhaps first described by Pliny the Younger in another haunted place tale. The Roman writer, Seneca was also fond of using ghosts in his tragedies. These classical examples would start to set the stage for the development of ghost stories in our own culture and day.

In celebration of the deep roots of this tradition, I remind everyone of my own ghost tale offering. The e-book has been discounted from $4.99 to $2.99 for all of October. The print copy is also available.  

Available on Amazon: https://amzn.to/2WnlqZX

E- book available: https://amzn.to/2l7LhHP

TIMELESS TULIPS, DARK DIAMONDS- A GHOST STORY

When fourteen-year-old Lydia travels to Amsterdam with her parents, the last thing she expects is the weird incidents that plague her stay. Curtains flutter mysteriously, and unexplained shadows move through the kitchen unnerving her. But Lydia is more concerned with the potential move to upstate New York. She dismisses the odd occurrences blaming them on jet lag and the various symptoms of her migraine disease.

When Lydia’s father lands a new job and the family moves to an area first settled by the Dutch, the bizarre happenings continue. Suffering from migraines has never been easy, but now Lydia must face what she may have inadvertently brought home with her. A vengeful ghost!

E- book SALE: $2.99 https://amzn.to/2l7LhHP

LITTLE FREE LIBRARY:

photo:Farragutful

Maybe you’ve seen these little library boxes in your neighborhood. They started popping up in 2009 and have spread throughout the country. Anyone can borrow a book or donate books. With the Covid crisis, many schools and libraries are closed. These small libraries can help kids (and adults, too) continue to read through the coming months. I ordered a bunch of my books and placed them in my communities’ libraries. Check out the map on their website to find a library in your neighborhood.

https://littlefreelibrary.org/

https://amzn.to/33TcrTh

YA Series Concluding

Publishers Weekly has reported on several bestselling series which concluded this fall. It might be a great time to dig into one of these since you’ll no longer have to wait for the last book. Although I’ve read Neal Schusterman and Kendare Blake, I’m unfamiliar with their latest works. I must admit, these seem pretty dark but maybe winter calls for these dark tales…

Neal Schusterman- author of Unwind, Everlost, and Downsiders, and many others. He also writes screenplays for movies and TV (including Goosebumps & Animorphs).

His latest series is called Arc of the Scythe (trilogy). In a time when humanity has solved hunger, disease, war, and death, only the Scythes can end life and keep the population under control. Two reluctant apprentices, Citra and Rowan struggle to learn their craft and requisite lessons.

Kendare Blake- author of Anna Dressed in Blood and Antigoddess.

Her latest series is titled the Three Dark Crowns. On the island of Fennbirn, a set of triplet sisters is born. Each possesses a special kind of magic. The night the sisters turn sixteen, a battle to the death for the throne begins.  

Holly Black- author of The Spiderwick Chronicles (with Tony DiTerlizzi), The Modern Faerie Tale series, the Curse Workers series, Doll Bones, The Coldest Girl in Coldtown, the Magisterium series (with Cassandra Clare) and The Darkest Part of the Forest.

Her latest series is called The Folk of the Air (trilogy). Jude and her two sisters are stolen to live among the fey. Eventually, Jude becomes entangled in royal faerie matters.

To find my books, click on the link below.

https://amzn.to/2EHCvX7

LYDIA INTERVIEWS ELLIS:

Hey, gang! I’m Lydia. In Ellis’ book, Timeless Tulips, Dark Diamonds- A Ghost Story, I was the fourteen-year-old moving to Upstate New York dealing with the ghost of a Dutch girl from the 17th century. At the time, I thought ghosts weren’t real, but first-hand experience has a way of shattering your reality. Today I have the chance to grill the writer— I mean ask a few behind the scenes questions. Some I have an inkling about, others I’m just as clueless as the reader is.      

I’m like totally over this, but how was it that Annika became your favorite?

Yeah, about that. You were always intended to be the main character but by the end of the story, it was obvious Annika had taken over. Partly, it was the history of the period that was so captivating and interesting. 17th century Holland and what Annika’s family goes through during the boom and bust of the tulip market grips us. That’s not to say what you experience is to be trivialized. Lydia- your world changes alongside Annika’s. You both make moves and go through things neither of you expect.

That’s for sure! And now that I know Annika’s whole story, I get why she acted the way she did. It was just so scary and aggravating at the time. But, like I said- I’m over Annika being more of the focus of the book.

Speaking of our connection, how am I like you? What makes us different?

You deal with the same mother/daughter issues but with a maturity I didn’t have. We both are “book” people and have a love for animals. Both of us struggle to find our place in the world. Don’t we all?

What was the toughest scene in the book to write?

You know this one.

Yeah, but I gotta ask.

Tell them.

The incident when Mom had to call the ambulance.

Why?

Because it really happened that way.

Right. That scene was written from experience. It was just before Christmas and I was starring at the Christmas tree. The lights started to behave strangely. I witnessed a bizarre and beautiful phenomenon, I later learned was called “aura”. Events intensified where I lost my ability to speak and access language. My brain shut down. Some people call this a stroke in slow motion. Very scary. In fact, it was and is the scariest thing to ever happen to me. And these incidents continued for twelve years. Imagine, experiencing unpredictable, stroke-like symptoms for a dozen years… That’s why this scene was so hard to write and re-read.

Would you say this is your most personal book?

Absolutely. We’ve already talked about the migraine connection but there are other elements as well. In the dedication, I mention being a toddler and talking about a ghost I would see at night. This book also explores mother/daughter issues I myself experienced. Lydia is far more perceptive and processes these topics with insight I didn’t possess at her age. In many ways, the book was cathartic in allowing me to explore themes of illness, emerging spirituality, healing, and personal power.    

e-book

Can I have a sequel?

No way! Sorry, my dear, your story has been told.

Is Annika getting a sequel?

This is starting to sound like whining. I’ve already given you credit for being mature. Now, what impression are readers going to be left with?

Oops. I just want you to know that I’m available should another plotline jump into that writer head of yours.

Got it.

Anyway, thanks for hanging out today! Timeless Tulips, Dark Diamonds is out in print and e-book. Follow the links below.

Print: https://amzn.to/2WnlqZX

E- book: https://amzn.to/2l7LhHP



E-Book Available Today!

AMAZON LINK: https://amzn.to/2l7LhHP

Two worlds collide in this haunting tale. When fourteen-year-old Lydia travels to Amsterdam with her parents, the last thing she expects is the weird incidents that plague her stay. Curtains flutter mysteriously, and unexplained shadows move through the kitchen unnerving her. But Lydia is more concerned with the potential move to Upstate New York. She dismisses the odd occurrences blaming them on jet lag and the various symptoms of her migraine disease. When Lydia’s father lands a new job and the family moves to an area first settled by the Dutch, the bizarre happenings continue. Suffering from migraines has never been easy, but now Lydia has to contend with what she may have inadvertently brought home with her.

WHAT READERS ARE SAYING:

YA Author Ellis Nelson knows how to thread a carefully spun tale with some little known, wildly interesting, historical facts and wonderful family dynamics. She paints memorable portraits of the different countries and eras – including the scents, fragrances, smells and stenches that so clearly define those ancient times in Holland . . . right into the New World! As an avid reader, I enjoyed the love for details, the historic research, and the way the author stuck – with unwavering rhythm – to her theme. . . ”

“… author, Ellis Nelson, accomplishes so much more. She ties the old world (Amsterdam) and the new world (New Amsterdam/New York) into one intriguing thread. Then she weaves that thread into a present day story of a young visionary, Lydia, who stumbles upon the unfinished business of her invisible counterpart, Annika, from the 17th century. The stories of both girls are complete, one illuminating the other. Through these points-of-view we experience the everyday angst of adolescence in both natural and supernatural ways. Mystical insights, historical realities, and future possibilities gild this lily of a story (or I should say, this prizewinning tulip) into a work of art.”

“Timeless Tulips is the third novel I have immersed myself in by gifted author, Ellis Nelson. As with her other books, this story is exciting, suspenseful, and definitely unique. The plot twists in unexpected ways and is filled with shadowy circumstances. A wonderful read!!”

“Speculating on tulips was a twist. Nelson brings the setting, characters, and events to life with a deft hand.”

“… loved the Amsterdam, Dutch heritage aspect, since I’m of Dutch ancestry. Wonderful ghost story!”

WHAT I’M WORKING ON


If you follow my blogs, Facebook, or Twitter feeds, I’m sure it looks like I’m not doing a whole lot. But since being back in country (since late Oct.) things have been very busy. Personal challenges continue— my mother died in April and the house hunt continues.

Timeless Tulips, Dark Diamonds, my new book was released this spring. Since the publisher does not have ebook rights, I’ll be releasing an ebook this fall. It will be an expanded version of the print book with additional material. My goal is to release this in time for Halloween since it’s a ghost story. Stay tuned for more on that.

The most coveted tulip during Tulipmania: Semper Augustus- could sell for as much as a grand canal house!

Additionally, I’m working on a new novel that’s about three quarters complete. No title yet. This has been a fun book to work on. It’s required some research into the history of Colorado’s start and the history of tuberculosis (the White Plague). The book is a visionary tale about girl who grows up in a 19th century, Colorado town known for its dry climate and healing waters. With a father in the mortuary business, Tallulah has always been around TB and death. Tally’s mother died when she was born, and she longs to know more about the woman who should have raised her. Two peculiar town residents, who Tally is warned to give wide berth, sisters Dottie and Lottie (rumor has it) can speak to the dead. Can Tally persuade them to help her? I’m hoping to finish this by the end of the year. Add your title ideas in the comments section. PLEASE!!

TB sufferers taking the open air cure.

Another manuscript I’ve been sitting on for a while, I think I’m going to self-publish soon. The Greening of the Laurel is a visionary, YA book in thriller mode.  Ryan’s junior year is turned upside down by a series of bizarre visions and freaky encounters with fire. Eventually, Ryan ends up in the ER. He finally comes face to face with the man who claims to have all the answers. But how can quantum physics and timeless spiritual mysteries be colliding with Ryan at the center of it all? Can he really believe he had a past as a medieval heretic where he hid what has become known as the lost Cathar treasure, a manuscript containing the hidden truth underlying the universe? Can he trust a secret society that claims to need his help if science is to move forward?

photo: Kaktus
(Montsegur- Cathar stronghold until the final battle of 1244)

Not at first, but as events threaten his family, Ryan returns to southern France to find the document he once allegedly hid. In 1244, he watched two hundred of his countrymen burn as he and two others slipped away in the night carrying a manuscript the world desperately needs. Surrounding Ryan are members of the Green Laurel, back to ensure his safety. Also, back are the dark forces of the Church who want nothing more than to exterminate the remnants of the Cathars and the truth the future requires. Without the manuscript, science cannot advance. A single unified theory will never be found and, all along, Ryan’s very existence remains in peril.      

And although I’ve never had any luck with picture books, I’m currently circulating a manuscript with agents starring Mona Lisa. A cute story, but no bites yet!  

Click below to find my published books.

https://amzn.to/30oq1NL



BOOKS FOR THE 4th OF JULY

Look for these books at your library or purchase from your favorite vendor.

THE GOOD FIGHT by Anne Quirk

“George Washington vs. King George. Benjamin Franklin vs. his son William. John Adams vs. Thomas Jefferson. Alexander Hamilton vs. everyone!
 
Join author Anne Quirk and illustrator Elizabeth Baddeley as they referee four fascinating historical throw-downs between the founding fathers . . . and prove that the United States of America is a place worth fighting for.”

ALEXANDER HAMILTON- THE OUTSIDER by Jean Fritz

“Acclaimed biographer Jean Fritz writes the remarkable story of Alexander Hamilton, one of America’s most influential and fascinating founding fathers, and his untimely death in a duel with Aaron Burr.

Born in the British West Indies, Hamilton arrived in New York as an “outsider.” He fought in the Revolution and became Washington’s most valuable aidede- camp. He was there with Washington, Madison, and the others writing the Constitution. He was the first Secretary of the Treasury as the country struggled to become unified and independent.”

IN SEARCH OF MOLLY PITCHER by Linda Grant De Pauw

“When Peggy McAllister learns about the Rattletop Award for “excellence in eighth grade social studies,” she is determined to win it with a research paper on a Great American Hero. But when she chooses Molly Pitcher, the famous Revolutionary War heroine of the Battle of Monmouth, as her subject, she runs into difficulties. With the help of her Greatgramps, a retired private investigator, his lady friend Mrs. Spinner, a local historian and secret author of historical romance novels, and Ms. Guelphstein, a dedicated reference librarian, Peggy sorts through a maze of confusing and contradictory evidence to identify the “real” Molly Pitcher.”

JOHNNY TREMAIN by Esther Forbes

“Fourteen-year-old Johnny Tremain, an apprentice silversmith with a bright future ahead of him, injures his hand in a tragic accident, forcing him to look for other work. In his new job as a horse-boy, riding for the patriotic newspaper, The Boston Observer, and as a messenger for the Sons of Liberty, he encounters John Hancock, Samuel Adams, and Dr. Joseph Warren. Soon Johnny is involved in the pivotal events shaping the American Revolution from the Boston Tea Party to the first shots fired at Lexington.”

BACKYARD BALLISTICS by William Gurstelle

“This bestselling DIY handbook now features new and expanded projects, enabling ordinary folks to construct 16 awesome ballistic devices in their garage or basement workshops using inexpensive household or hardware store materials and this step-by-step guide. …This book will be indispensable for the legions of backyard toy-rocket launchers and fireworks fanatics who wish every day was the fourth of July.”

https://amzn.to/30oq1NL

Psalm for Lost Girls (YA)

 

By Katie Bayerl

Psalm

This is a complicated story told by the sister left behind after a sudden, natural death. To complicate things, Callie’s sister might have been an honest to goodness saint. The people of the small community of New Avon seem pretty convinced she was and so does Callie’s Mom. But Callie knew Tess, and Tess was no saint. While there is a growing movement to have Tess canonized, Callie and her Mom are trying to cope with the grief of losing Tess in their very different ways. Callie can’t get behind the sainthood thing and starts acting out putting herself at risk.

The story begins after Tess’s death with her diary entries showing how she feels about the visions and signs she sees. Some days she feels connected to the mystery and other days, she doubts and fears for her sanity. When the voices give information that is proven to be correct, Tess takes heart but some parts of what she hears make no sense. This part of the book is particularly well done and believable. As Tess’s fame in the community rises, a little girl goes missing but Tess herself dies before solving the crime. Enter Callie. When the little girl miraculously reappears near a shrine to Tess, Callie takes it upon herself to prove to the community that Tess has nothing to do with any of it. Her sister can’t be a saint!

This is a book that is getting solid five-star reviews and it is well-written. But. It is a book that stays firmly grounded in the material world allowing Callie to retain the memory of Tess as she knew her. By doing this, it strips away mystery and possibility. While the author did not have to confirm Tess’s mystical connection and make her a saint, it could have been hinted at in a number of ways. I’m arguing for the best of both worlds here where Callie’s firm belief in science stands alongside mystery. Instead mystery is gutted at the feet of science. The odd thing is that after reading the author’s notes at the end of the book, I’m wondering if the ending was edited to be more palatable for what’s perceived by a few to be today’s audience. It could have been a five-star book.