Blog Archives

VBT – THE SPECTER OF THE INDIAN

The Specter of the Indian banner

 

Title:
THE SPECTER OF THE INDIAN: RACE, GENDER, AND GHOSTS IN AMERICAN SEANCES, 1848 – 1898
Author: Kathryn A. Troy
Publisher: SUNY Press
Pages: 200
Genre: Historical Nonfiction

The Specter of the Indian unveils the centrality of Native American spirit guides during the emergent years of American Spiritualism. By pulling together cultural and political history; the studies of religion, race, and gender; and the ghostly, Kathryn Troy offers a
new layer of understanding to the prevalence of mystically styled Indians in
American visual and popular culture. The connections between Spiritualist print
and contemporary Indian policy provide fresh insight into the racial dimensions
of social reform among nineteenth-century Spiritualists.
Troy draws fascinating parallels between the contested belief of Indians as fading from the world, claims of returned
apparitions, and the social impetus to provide American Indians with a means of
existence in white
America. Rather than vanishing from national sight and memory, Indians and their ghosts are shown to be ever present. This book transports the readers into dimly lit parlor rooms and darkened cabinets and lavishes them with detailed séance accounts in the words of those who witnessed them. Scrutinizing the otherworldly whisperings heard therein highlights the voices of mediums and those they sought to channel, allowing the author to dig deep into Spiritualist belief and practice. The influential presence of Indian ghosts is made clear and undeniable. 

ORDER YOUR COPY:

Amazon| Barnes& Noble | Suny Press

The Vanished Return
In her 1885 book Life
and Labor in the Spirit World
, Mary Shelhamer, the sitting medium for the
primary Spiritualist journal the Banner
of Light,
recounted her visit to the ghostly realm. “Beyond [a] rolling
river,” she wrote, “there is a deeply-wooded country. Here you are up high
among the mountains; this is the red man’s home […] it is a refuge for the
poor, hunted and despised Indian, who, fleeing from mortal chains, finds
therein rest and peace.”[1]
Her description of Indians as figures in flight, as members of a dying race,
was by the late nineteenth century a common one. For many white Americans,
Indians were, for the most part, already a thing of the past. They appeared
constantly in popular culture as figures of legend and literature, but real
Indians were primarily perceived as living relics—faint reminders of a vanished
people. But to nineteenth-century Spiritualists, Indians had never completely
gone; the ghosts of Indian dead walked among them. The proclaimed presence of
Indian spirits in American séances challenged the dominant discourse of Indians
as vanished, and had a profound impact not only on the Spiritualist movement,
but also on some of the most important debates of the day—those on race,
gender, civilization and the development of an American national character.
            This book
explores the spectral appearances of Indians in late nineteenth-century
American séances in relation to those national debates, and analyzes the
importance of such apparitions on several levels—racial, gendered, religious
and political. It demonstrates the overwhelming pervasiveness of this sorely
understudied phenomenon as a central social element of the Spiritualist
movement. The project establishes how the witnessing of Indian spirits affected
American minds and the reception of federal Indian policy by influencing
concepts of racial difference and socio-political hierarchy.
            The heart
of my analysis examines the racial elements unique to the spiritual
manifestations of Indians, as well as how American Spiritualists utilized the
Indian spirits they claimed to encounter as sources of political empowerment—as
agents of peace between whites and Indians, as models of sexual difference, and
as guides to spiritual progression for both races. Spiritualists understood
Indian ghosts to appear in séances with a mission to fulfill: to help ensure
the inner illumination of Spiritualists, to support white attempts at social
reform, and to serve as sources of strength to the female mediums they
possessed. They acted as mediators between the material and spiritual realms,
providing essential information about the condition and means of progression
through the several spiritual spheres, and communicating the temperament and
will of the supreme deity commonly referred to as the Great Spirit. Through
Indian spirit appearances, Spiritualists were apprised of the Great Spirit’s
attitude regarding social and political issues, such as the actions to be taken
regarding Indian nations, political equality for women, or the correct position
on congressional policies. The presence, strength, and support of Indian ghosts
were recognized as contributing to the efforts and accomplishments of
Spiritualists to create a “heaven on earth” that reflected the enlightened
position of spirits.
            These
spirits did not manifest predominantly as nostalgic symbols of a vanishing
race. They appeared frequently in the 1860s to 1880s, when the United
States was almost constantly at war with
Indian nations, when debates about what to do with Indians raged, and when the
future of the North American West was anything but certain. They did not simply
appear as Indians who were better off dead in the Happy Hunting Ground,
assuaging white guilt about conquests and an imagined vanishing, as has been
suggested by many historians—such as Alan Trachtenberg in his writing of
fictionalized Indians, Jared Farmer in his discussion of legends representing
Indians as ghostly and most pointedly Molly McGarry in her chapter on Indian
spirits.[2]
Indian spirits were also not categorized on the whole as being from the distant
past and thus safely nonthreatening.[3]
            Spiritualists
saw Indian ghosts as awakening public outrage and inciting political opposition
against the wars waged by the United States
on Indians, causing Spiritualists to question government objectives in the
West. Spiritualist publications vehemently denounced the Sand Creek Massacre of
1864, George Custer’s invasion of the Black Hills and
the duplicity and corruption of American Indian policy, as exemplified in the
Ponca Affair of the 1870s and multiple reports on dismal reservation
conditions. Spiritualists recognized the support of Indian ghosts for peace
policies and political equality, and the efforts of Spiritualists to restore
what they felt their country, allegedly superior in religion and civilization,
had lost—its sense of honor. They were not simply utilized as servants of the
mediums who conjured them; they were praised as guides and instructors, helping
to ensure the nation’s spiritual future. When Spiritualists closely followed
the development of the Indian Peace Commission in 1867, the rise and decline of
Ulysses S. Grant’s Peace Policy, the success of “civilized” tribes like the
Cherokee, the Carlisle and Hampton Institutes and the implementation of the
Dawes Severalty Act in 1887, they believed they were both heeding ghostly
warnings and working to rebuild the pride of their nation. These major events
in American/Indian relations are linked in this project to the intensity of
Indian spectral appearances and their centrality to the Spiritualist movement’s
contemporary development, serving as the basis for the powerful trop of the
“Indian spirit guide,” which persists today.
            A deeper
analysis than those by previous scholars of the manifestations themselves
reveals the complex and sometimes conflicting nature of such phenomena.
Scrutiny of the methods, acknowledgements, and purposes of Indian
manifestations opens wide a door to a much richer understanding of how the
intellectual and professional classes that comprised the foundation of
Spiritualist Movement constantly redefined and integrated the concept of “Indian”
into a society structured by racial and sexual difference. The notion of
Indianness that emerged from Spiritualist séances advocated a politically
non-racial society, whereby Indians could and should become American citizens,
and incorporated gender models that undermined contemporary definitions of
manliness as positively linked to violence.
            In using
such terms as “Indian spirits,” I refer to manifestations witnessed by
Spiritualists in which they claimed to see Indians, including cases of
specifically named Indians, as well as those “Indianness” derived solely from
Spiritualist identification. The ways in which Indian celebrities were
authenticated and nameless “Indians” were recognized both reflected how
“Indianness” as a scientific racial category was understood and constructed in
the Spiritualist arena and, I posit, were reflective of broader American
cultural attitudes. The actual presence of Indian spirits at nineteenth-century
séances is neither accepted nor denied in this book. It is only relevant that
Spiritualists accepted their experiences as truth. To assert at the onset that
all Spiritualists were knowing frauds is risky and counterproductive. Such
evaluations invite statements like those of Lisa Lenker, who in her research
connected her discussion of Spiritualism with Manifest Destiny rhetoric as
supporting the ethnic cleansing of the American continent. Lenker asserted that
all Indian ghosts were simply and happily dead (not undead, as the term “ghost”
suggests).[4]
The ghosts of Indians will often be described throughout this book from the
perspective of the Spiritualists themselves—as distinct historical actors. To
believers, these specters spoke, made claims and issued warnings. Writing about
their alleged activity in such a way allows this book to delve into the
responses and reactions of Spiritualists who believed these apparitions to be
intelligent, active agencies. This approach to describing spectral activity is
offset by the simultaneous focus on specific individuals deeply involved with
Indian apparitions, including the mediums Jennie Lord, Mary Shelhamer, Fannie
Conant, and Cora Tappan.
            Placing
Spiritualist manifestations at the center of this project, essentially shifting
the focus onto non-entities, is a somewhat unorthodox approach to the study of
history, and has not been the practice employed by other scholars of
Spiritualism. Yet doing so allows the incorporation of a body of literature on
ghostliness and hauntings that is central to this project. Such scholarship has
to this point been absent from Spiritualist studies, strangely so given that
the movement, at its core, was about communicating with the dead. Rather than
referring to these manifestations only as spirits from the celestial realm or
as the products of an American imagination, I abstain from judgment on their
existence. By using the labels that Spiritualists themselves did—ghosts of the
dead returned to life—I employ a lexicon of definitions that are critical to
understanding the full significance of Spiritualist encounters with such
phenomena. “Ghosts” are undead—uncanny, temporal disruptions that appear in
specific ways at specific times to deliver a message. Communication by such
entities conveys information about an obscured past occurrence. To the witness
of such phenomena, the presence of the ghost is made clear through a distinct
sensory experience, its disruption of logical time remedied only by listening
to what the ghost wants and providing it with satisfaction. It is with these
terms in mind, originating predominantly in fictive, psychological and
paranormal studies, that I look upon séance activities of nineteenth-century America.
In his work on literary hauntings of America
during the first half of the century (the period of federally sanctioned Indian
removal), Renee Bergland rightly suggested that representations of Indian
ghosts simultaneously established and questioned an intangible American
nationality, as well as racial and sexual classifications.[5] Examining how the
Indian spirits of séances contributed to changing definitions of race and
gender is the main thrust of this project.
            Organized
by theme rather than time, the chapters included in this book cover the nature
of Spiritualist hauntings marked as specifically Indian, and the questioning
and redefinition of masculinity, femininity, and morality as linked to national
progress that took place within séance circles beginning in the 1850s and
continuing throughout the 1880s. This timeframe will be repeated in each
chapter as different aspects of Indian hauntings are visited. A majority of
works on Spiritualism have chosen to narrow their scope to the earlier,
formative years of the movement. Studies about the Fox Sisters or Andrew
Jackson Davis, for example, emphasize the Spiritualism of the 1850s as
definitive of the entire movement. Bret Carroll highlighted the 1850s as an
emergent period, as did Howard Kerr.[6] Such an approach is
not appropriate here. The frequency with which Indian manifestations were
recorded was fairly comparable from the 1850s through the 1880s, peaking during
the 1860s and 1870s. The decline that Burton Brown said occurred in the 1870s
is not borne out by the increased frequency of Indian apparitions.[7]
The seemingly consistent presence of Indian ghosts at séances serves in part to
bolster my argument that Indian ghosts were a defining characteristic of
Spiritualist practice from its inception, and makes discussion of the movement
through the course of the century imperative to my efforts. Both Indian policy
and Spiritualism evolved in the twentieth century, and continue to do so, but
analysis of such changes is beyond the scope of this book. My intention is to
demonstrate how spiritual tropes of Indianness developed on the crest of
Spiritualism in tandem with dramatic change in Indian visibility in the public
eye.
            My focus on
recorded instances of Indian specters also determines to a large degree the
emphasis on certain sources at the expense of others. While myriad articles,
pamphlets, treatises and monographs by Spiritualists provide this project with
a contextual foundation for their beliefs, as well as Indian manifestations,
the recording of Indian ghosts emerged predominantly in certain forms of
Spiritualist print—namely, their periodicals. Newspapers played a critical role
in the development and dispersion of representations of Indians that saturated
nineteenth-century American culture and continue to do so.[8]
The majority of writing on such phenomena appeared in the Religio-Philosophical Journal and Banner of Light; these sources are therefore dominant forces in
this project. My use of Banner of Light
in this book works somewhat as a centralizing force in a movement which had
none, and provides a modicum of order to the cacophony of Spiritualist voices. Banner of Light takes on an added
significance in my research because of its extensive coverage of Indian
affairs. The development of the Indian Peace Commission, the Modoc War, the
Ponca Affair, and the violation of the 1868 Treaty of Fort Laramie were all
covered and editorialized in the weekly journal, receiving consistent attention
in a periodical ostensibly dedicated to matters of the spirit. The amount of
space accorded to such news should not continue to be overlooked in the
analysis of Spiritualist print. The longevity of the Banner of Light, enjoying an approximately fifty-year run, speaks
once again to the pervasiveness within Spiritualism of this very specific
racial phenomena.[9]
            Geographically
speaking, this project views Spiritualism as a national movement in a broad sense,
with loci of activity in New York
and Boston. As the sites of some of
the first violent contests with Indian nations, the northeastern states have a
well-developed “penchant for hauntedness,” as Judith Richardson claimed,
“alongside a more enduring popular interest in ghosts and the supernatural.”[10]
Local variations of Spiritualism did not seem to have a significant impact on
Indian spectrality, and so has been omitted from this project. The one
exception to that is the Spiritual culture of New Orleans.
The connection between this city’s history and the spirit of Black Hawk will be
discussed in Chapter Two.  Likewise,
while there are many significant connections to be made with contemporary
Spiritualist movements across the globe, this project’s focus is on American
Indian ghosts within American Spiritualism, and the resulting effect on
American society. This intention, juxtaposed with the virtual absence of
similar phenomena in Europe, justifies the exclusion of
such a discussion in this work. The references to Britain’s
literary gothic tradition are brief, and useful only in demonstrating
Spiritualism’s place among the gothic tradition of the western world. European
Spiritualism is beyond the scope of this book. Additionally, this project is
not about Indian spirituality in its own right, as there were no significant
efforts on the part of Spiritualists to understand or incorporate Indian
religions into their own belief system. Their interest in native spirituality
extended to generalized ideas about animism and a natural Romanticism, which
will be addressed in Chapter Four.
            The
remainder of this introduction will serve several functions. It provides a
background on aspects of Spiritualist theology that are essential to
understanding the arguments made in this project, a discussion of Spiritualism
and Indian hauntings in context with changes in federal Indian policy, a brief
summary of the key goals and themes of each chapter, and a few words about the
bodies of scholarship most directly engaged and built upon in this book.


            [1]Mary
Theresa Shelhamer, Life and Labor in the
Spirit World: Being a Description of Localities, Employments, Surroundings, and
Conditions in the Spheres by Members of the Spirit-Band of Miss M.T. Shelhamer,
Medium of the Banner of Light Public Free Circle
(Boston: Colby & Rich,
1885), 85-86.
            [2]Alan
Trachtenberg, Shades of Hiawatha: Staging
Indians, Making Americans 1880-1930
(
New York: Hill & Wang, 2004), 19; Jared
Farmer, On
Zion’s
Mount: Mormons, Indians and the American Landscape
(Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2008), 312;
Molly McGarry, Ghosts of Futures Past:
Spiritualism and the Cultural Politics of Nineteenth-Century America
(
Berkeley: California University Press, 2008), 73.
            [3]McGarry,
72; Robert Berkhofer, The White Man’s
Indian: Images of the American Indian from Columbus to the Present
(New
York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1978), 90.
            [4]Lisa
Lenker, “Haunted Culture and Surrogate Space: A New Historicist Account of
Nineteenth-Century American Spiritualism” (PhD diss., Stanford University,
1998), 30.
           [5]Renee
L. Bergland, The National Uncanny: Indian
Ghosts and American Subjects
(
Hanover: Dartmouth, 2000), 7.
            [6]Bret
Carroll, “Unfree Spirits: Spiritualism and Religious Authority in Antebellum
America” (PhD diss., Cornell University, 1991),
25. Howard Kerr, Mediums, Spirit Rappers
and Roaring Radicals: Spiritualism in American Literature, 1850-1900
(
Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1973).
            [7]Burton Gates Brown Jr., “Spiritualism in
Nineteenth-Century
America” (PhD diss., Boston University Graduate
School, 1973).
[8]John Coward, The Newspaper Indian: Native American Identity in the Press, 1820-90
(Chicago: Illinois University Press, 1999), 11.
            [9]The Banner of Light is regarded as the most
widespread of Spiritualist periodicals. According to Sally Morita, by 1860 the
periodical had a circulation of approximately 25,000. Ann Taves, Fits, Trances and Visions: Experiencing
Religion and Explaining Experience from Wesley to James
(Princeton:
Princeton University Press, 1999), 184; Sally Jean Morita, “Modern Spiritualism
and Reform in
America” (PhD diss., University of Oregon,
1995), 78.
[10] Judith Richardson, Possessions: The History and Uses of Haunting in the Hudson
Valley
(Cambridge and London: Harvard University Press 2005), 39.

 

Kathryn Troy is giving away 2 sets
of spiritual postcards and 2 Ouija design tote bags!

Terms & Conditions:
  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • Four winners will be chosen via Rafflecopter
  • This giveaway ends midnight September 29.
  • Winner will be contacted via email on September 30.
  • Winners have 48 hours to reply.
Good luck everyone!

ENTER TO WIN!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

 

Kathryn Troy has two Master’s Degrees in History from Stony Brook University.
She contributed to the anthology The Spiritualist Movement published by Prager in August 2013, and teaches at Farmingdale State College and Suffolk County Community College.
In her spare time she pours all she knows about the ghostly and supernatural
into her fiction writing.

WEBSITE & SOCIAL LINKS:

http://www.pumpupyourbook.com
 
Advertisements

Book Spotlight – Reflections: A Journey to God

Reflections banner

About the Authors

Gary Susan Eby

Gary Eby is a retired social worker, mental health counselor and addiction therapist. He writes about self-help and spirituality. Gary loves playing the piano, the drums and walking on the beach with his wife, Susan. His motto is “Choose the positive, because it’s all good!”

Susan studied philosophy in college. Some of her favorite philosophers are Socrates, Plato, William James and St. Thomas Aquinas. She is currently enjoying Emerson’s mystical essays. We have conducted an interview with them.

Their current book is Reflections: A Journey to God.

WEBSITE & SOCIAL LINKS:

WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK

 

About the Book

 Reflections A Journey to God

Title: REFLECTIONS: A JOURNEY TO GOD
Author: Gary & Susan Eby
Publisher: Christian Faith Publishing
Pages: 268
Genre: Spirituality/Self-Help/Healing/Poetry

BOOK BLURB

Our disclaimer: you are completely free to reject everything we have to say about spirituality. What we believe in is not that important. What really counts is what you believe that gives your life meaning, direction, and purpose.

This book is about our personal stories with Spirit and what we’ve learned along our journeys. We’re sharing it with you because it might help you on your own journey to God. We only ask that you read this book with an open mind and heart.

We suggest you pick one of these spiritual essays. Ponder it, meditate for a while, even read it out loud. Allow yourself to feel the words and the light, which may lead you to discover the better life you truly deserve.

ORDER YOUR COPY:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble

 

Book Excerpt

Emotional Healing

In the twilight of an Oregon summer night, the half-moon projects a mystical glow. Cool mountain air flows with the gentle sounds of cricket music. A glimmering star curtain unfurls to reveal a celestial vision of power and energy that transcends all human worry, doubt, and fear.

Tonight I am at peace, yet I still struggle with discouragement. A part of me obsesses and worries about an unsure financial future. This negative side is unforgiving, self-critical, and emotionally abusive.

At age 60, it appears overwhelming and even impossible to change the direction and course of my life. As I try out new ideas and new technology to achieve my dreams and goals, I stumble and fall. So many barriers and obstacles loom on the horizon. The prospect of giving up and throwing in the towel appears seductive.  Why not just give up?   What’s the point anyway?

I ask myself why am I trying so hard to achieve my dreams, when reality smacks of karma, suffering, powerlessness, and death?  We all know about all of those ‘bad things’ that keep happening to ‘good people’. Right?

I accept that evil and injustice exists in this world.  I know random or calculated acts of violence, painful relationships, disease and the loss of loved ones, cause untold pain and suffering.  In these moments of despair, frustration, and discouragement, my consciousness returns to the power of the half-moon.

There is darkness but the moonlight always conquers the night. Even when no moon can be seen in the sky, the moon is there.  Tonight, I choose to thrive on the Light living within all of us.

Much of life will remain a mystery. The stars above and the universe within will sustain me through predictable trials and life challenges. I choose to embrace the majesty of life made sublimely radiant by those infinite, flashing, celestial spheres.

I feel myself merging with the universe and my thoughts begin to turn toward God.  This is the place I want to be.  This is the space I want to be in.  This is where I want to live my life.  I refuse to let the negative overtake me.

I emotionally reach out toward the lights dancing in the sky and accept what is always, always true.  I am forever guided by God, and whatever happens in my life, I know Spirit will show me through.  No fears, worries or negativity can touch me when I am existing in the Love Light.

Link to Trailer:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=268oDidOwHQ

Blog Tour – Dead Cold

Dead Cold banner 3

Dead Cold Blog Tour

About the Author

 Jennifer Chase

Jennifer Chase is a multi award-winning crime fiction author and consulting criminologist. Jennifer holds a bachelor degree in police forensics and a master’s degree in criminology & criminal justice. These academic pursuits developed out of her curiosity about the criminal mind as well as from her own experience with a violent sociopath, providing Jennifer with deep personal investment in every story she tells. In addition, she holds certifications in serial crime and criminal profiling.  She is an affiliate member of the International Association of Forensic Criminologists.

Her latest book is the crime thriller, Dead Cold.

 

WEBSITE & SOCIAL LINKS:

WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK

About the Book:

 DeadCold

Title: DEAD COLD
Author: Jennifer Chase
Publisher: JEC Press
Pages: 326
Genre: Crime Thriller

BOOK BLURB:

What happens when one California community has a disturbing spike in homicides? It catapults cops into a deadly game of murder. Frozen human body parts hideously displayed at the crime scenes offers a horrifying interpretation that only a sadistic serial killer could design—and execute.

On the hunt for a complex serial killer, vigilante detective Emily Stone must face her most daring case yet. Stone’s proven top-notch profiling skills and forensic expertise may not be enough this time.

Young and ambitious, Detective Danny Starr, catches the homicide cases and discovers that it will test everything he knows about police work and the criminal mind. Can he handle these escalating cases or will the police department have to call in reinforcements—the FBI.

Emily Stone’s covert team pushes with extreme urgency to unravel the grisly clues, while keeping their identities hidden from the police. With one last-ditch effort, Stone dangles someone she loves as bait to draw out the killer. She then forces the killer out of their comfort zone with her partner Rick Lopez, and with help from a longtime friend Jordan Smith. A revelation of the serial killer’s identity leaves the team with volatile emotions that could destroy them.

The killer continues to taunt and expertly manipulate the police, as well as Stone’s team, and as they run out of time—they leave behind everyone and everything—in Dead Cold.

ORDER YOUR COPY:

Amazon

Book Excerpt

ESCAPE WAS IMPOSSIBLE. TEARS STREAMED down her face as she sat in the darkness and waited for the man to return. There was no other choice—but to wait.

She hadn’t eaten anything in three days and had only a limited amount of water—her strength continued to fade with every hour. With her wrists and ankles secured with duct tape, her skin stung with pain every time she struggled to move. At least the man had peeled the tape from her eyes and mouth so that she could see something besides pitch-blackness.

Even if she could escape, the only way to safety was jumping into the frigid water, but she could not swim and would drown before ever reaching the shore.

The only thing thirteen-year-old Kayla Swanson thought about was home. Fond memories flashed through her mind of her parents, her little brother, and her dog Charlie. She was never going to see them again. Their smiling faces were forever etched in Kayla’s mind, and she constantly held them close to her heart.

The boat rocked, and seemed to sway more violently as the tide flooded in and out of the harbor. Kayla could hear a consistent clanking noise above her as the boat rolled back and forth. The sound had a hypnotic quality, and kept her mind on something else besides when the man would return and what he would do next.

Her lips were dry and cracked as she bordered on dehydration. Even her tears dried on her cheeks, leaving her skin stiff and drawn. Her body began to shake, not only from fear, but also because of the extreme exhaustion and the constant dampness all around her.

The boat rocked more, but this time it shifted from the opposite sides. Kayla heard soft footsteps above, which she knew wasn’t her captor’s heavy walk. She strained her eyes in the darkness and thought she saw a thin shadow stealthily move along the upper deck.

Was it a ghost?

Kayla remembered a television series where a team of people hunted ghosts and they had said that ghosts could occupy any type of space, house, property, and even a boat.

She blinked her eyes several times and hoped that she could catch a glimpse of the ghost again. With every ounce of declining strength, Kayla scooted her body closer to the narrow stairs leading to the upper deck.

Painfully craning her neck, she strained to see something up in the darkness.

The dark shadowed areas played tricks on her eyes—it was there, then it wasn’t.

She waited for several minutes.

Nothing appeared.

The only sounds she heard were the usual boat noises she had grown accustomed to hearing. Whatever she thought she heard was gone now. It was most likely her imagination trying to give her some hope and a few moments break from her dire circumstances.

As she relaxed her shoulders and leaned back against the wall, the reality of her world pressing down hard. Tears streamed down her face. She tasted the saltiness that settled around her mouth. Her last moments were approaching, and there was nothing she could do.

The Story Behind Dead Cold

Here’s my story behind the crime thriller, Dead Cold, and the driving inspiration for entire Emily Stone Thriller Series. What you are about to read is true, at least how I remember it. Please note, it’s not for the squeamish. It was a day that I’ll never forget because it changed everything in my life. It started out as any other mild California day in April. A new neighbor moved into the house next door and it appeared that a man and a woman with a small baby would be added to the neighborhood.

One thing you must realize, it was a quiet and conservative area—not a particularly close-knit neighborhood but nice nonetheless. Nothing ever happened that would rate a news story or a visit from the police. Ever. My first meeting with the new neighbor, and we’ll just call him “John” for this story, was unforgettable. I apologize to all the wonderful and nice “Johns” out there—but I had to pick a name.

There was no conversation with John that would resemble anything cordial or even normal. There was a response to my friendly greeting. Nothing resembling a civil tone, but he demanded, “What’s wrong with your face? Why are you looking at me like that? You know how easy it would be to slit your throat?” He made the cutting of throat gesture with his hand to back up his statement.

I knew that from that day forward there would be a problem—make that a huge problem in my life. And, I was right. The next two and half years were a nightmare, I was constantly stalked, threatened to be decapitated and raped, and I never had a day that wasn’t disturbing in dealing with John. There were so many disturbing situations that I don’t think I could write them all in one book—maybe two or three volumes might cover it. Some episodes were quite unbelievable. I finally moved. And you know what? He followed me and the horrifying stalking and harassment started over. Yes of course, I went to the police and I’m still friends with some of them today. Law enforcement couldn’t do anything until he touched me, hurt me, and yes, killed me. It’s true. So I prepared myself, working with a martial arts and self-defense trainer. I knew it was a matter of time before John broke into my house and killed me. Luckily for me, he was arrested for beating someone almost to death, but I was on his list of people to kill. How nice. I thought things like this were only in the movies. I guessed wrong.

What in world does this have to do with inspiration for my crime thriller series? I would say quite a bit. Well from this experience, I created a fictional vigilante detective, Emily Stone, who tracks down serial killers and child abductors. She accomplishes this covertly and under the police department’s radar. When she gathers all the information, forensics and behavioral evidence, she then forwards everything to the detective in charge of the investigation, while keeping her identity secret.

My own personal experiences with a textbook, violent, sociopath inspired me to create a thriller series and to earn degrees in criminology and criminal justice, as well as police forensics. I think my story ended well. You will find some scenes in my books that are based on real occurrences I experienced, but you won’t know which ones. You’ll just have to guess.

Book Blast – A Long Ways From Home

A Long Ways From Home banner

About the Author

 Mike Martin

Mike Martin was born in Newfoundland on the East Coast of Canada and now lives and works in Ottawa, Ontario. He is a longtime freelance writer and his articles and essays have appeared in newspapers, magazines and online across Canada as well as in the United States and New Zealand. He is the author of Change the Things You Can: Dealing with Difficult People and has written a number of short stories that have published in various publications including Canadian Stories and Downhome magazine.

The Walker on the Cape was his first full fiction book and the premiere of the Sgt. Windflower Mystery Series. Other books in the series include The Body on the T, Beneath the Surface, A Twist of Fortune and A Long Ways from Home.

A Long Ways from Home was shortlisted for the 2017 Bony Blithe Light Mystery Award as the best light mystery of the year. A Tangled Web is the newest book in the series.

 

WEBSITE & SOCIAL LINKS:

WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK

 

About the Book

 A Long Ways From Home

Title: A LONG WAYS FROM HOME
Author: Mike Martin
Publisher: Friesen Press
Pages: 364
Genre: Mystery
BOOK BLURB:

A weekend visit to picturesque Newfoundland by a large crew of outlaw bikers leaves
behind another mess for Sgt. Windflower to clean up. This time he’s facing violence, murder, mystery and intrigue. This adventure has Windflower questioning everything he thought he knew. There are troubles on the home front, cutbacks in the policing budget, old friends leaving and new ones not quite here yet. Windflower is seeking to find answers in territory that is both dangerous and unfamiliar.

A Long Ways from Home explores more than just homicides or the dirty dealings of outlaw bikers. It’s also about some old and some very new challenges and hard choices facing an uncertain future in small communities all over this part of the world.

Windflower relies on his friends and allies, sometimes four-legged ones, to help him find the answers. Sometimes those answers will find us, and like Windflower, we discover that we are never really alone, even if we are a long ways from home.

ORDER YOUR COPY:

Amazon

 

Book Excerpt:

He drove the short distance to Sheila’s, and by the time he pulled up at her house he was certifiably starving. When he opened the door and smelled the roast beef he felt his knees go weak.

“Hi, Sheila,” he called out as he took off his hat and coat and hung them on a hook in the hallway. “That smells fabulous.”

Sheila came out of the kitchen with her apron on and went to Windflower to meet his embrace. “I’m glad you’re home.” She hugged him closely.

“Me too. Dinner smells delicious.”

“I could probably have come out here naked and you would have still talked about dinner,” said Sheila with a laugh.

“No, I might have asked for my dessert first though,” Windflower said

“Go get cleaned up. Dinner is almost ready.”

Windflower gave her another squeeze and went to the small bathroom in the hall to wash up for dinner. By the time he got back, Sheila had placed two bowls of vegetables on the table along with a small, perfectly-browned roast. She handed him the carving knife and fork and went back to the stove to pour the gravy into a serving dish.

The sharp knife slid smoothly through the peppered crust of the meat revealing a ring of growing pink towards the middle. Windflower tried to keep from drooling as the room filled with the aroma of the meat and the newly released juices. He placed a large slice on each of their plates, which Sheila had already prepared with scoops of mashed potatoes and steaming vegetables. She poured a ladle full of gravy over the meat and smiled at Windflower.

But he was long gone to meat heaven and for a few minutes all Sheila got in return was the murmured sighs of her hungry man. Finally, the muted Windflower awoke and raised his plate to Sheila for another slice of meat. “This is so good, Sheila,” he said as she handed him back his refilled plate. “What did you use for spices?”

“Nothing special. Some black and white pepper, salt, thyme, garlic powder and onion powder. Plus, my secret ingredient.”

“Secret ingredient?” mumbled Windflower with a mouth full of beef.

“If I told you, I’d have to kill you,” said Sheila. But by now Windflower had drifted back into his food, and she knew all conversation with Windflower would be one-sided and futile until he was done.

Once Windflower’s appetite had been satiated he gave Sheila his undivided attention. She gave him an update on the latest plans for the wedding, including who had confirmed they would attend and those sending their regrets. One of the positive replies was from Guy Simard, who sent along a little note saying he and the missus would happily be attending the festivities.

“And by the way my cousin, Carol, is coming to visit,” Sheila said. “She’s a bit of an outlaw in the family. Rides a big motorcycle. Has never been married. She lives up north in Ontario now but every couple of years takes a big trip on her Harley. This year she is heading down our way. I was expecting to see her show up by now.”

“What does she look like?” asked Windflower.

“She’s tall, pretty. The last time I saw her she had long blond hair. Liked to wear it up in a ponytail.”

“That’s interesting. I might have seen her at Goobies. Or someone fitting that description anyway. But I didn’t see her on the way down. Maybe she stopped off in Marystown along the way.”

“Maybe,” said Sheila.

Then Windflower remembered the motorcycle and trailer he’d seen parked along the highway. That might have been her bike, he thought. But he didn’t want to alarm Sheila. Not yet anyway. Instead he said, “I’ll get Tizzard to start looking out for her.”

“Thanks,” said Sheila. “Any word on Eddie yet?”

“I haven’t heard anything new, but I’ll ask him about it when I see him tomorrow.”

“We’re all going to miss him,” Sheila said. Windflower just nodded at this last remark. It was still a little too painful for him to talk about. Sheila reached out and took his hand in hers.

“What’s new at the Council?” asked Windflower, trying to move the conversation to safer and less emotional grounds.

“Well, Francis Tibbo made it official today. He’s going to run for the mayor’s job again!”

“That officious little prig,” started Windflower, but Sheila cut him off.

“Stay out of the politics, Sergeant,” she cautioned. “The RCMP has to stay neutral in this race. You have to work with whoever gets elected.”

“That doesn’t mean I don’t have an opinion.”

“I appreciate the support, but I can fight my own political battles, thank you very much,” said Sheila. “I’m not worried about Francis Tibbo. I’m not even worried about getting elected again. We’ve already got things moving in the right direction.”

This time Windflower simply nodded his agreement. It was clear from the coat of fresh paint on the aging properties on the wharf to the popular new programming at the museum that things were headed in the right direction.

Sheila got up. “If you really want to help, you can do the dishes while I make us some tea.”

“Finally something I’m allowed to do.” Windflower smiled. Sheila laughed and threw a dishcloth at him while she put on the kettle to boil.

“Let’s watch a movie tonight,” she said as she went to the fridge to look for something.

“Okay.” Windflower had his hands in a sink full of soapy water and his eyes firmly fixed on her activities. When she pulled a small cardboard box out of the refrigerator he almost started to glow.

Sheila pretended to ignore him as she took their dessert out of the box, cut it into two pieces and put it along with her tea pot onto a small tray. “See you in the living room.”

Windflower finished the chore in record time and was soon sitting next to Sheila on the couch with half of his dessert, the fabulous chocolate peanut butter cheesecake from the Mug-Up Café, already gone. He barely breathed as he finished it off. “Mmmmmm,” was his only response.

Sheila laughed at his post-meal antics as she looked for a movie on T.V. “Let’s watch ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’,” she said. “I just picked up the new Harper Lee book and I’d like to see the old movie before I dig into the new story.”

“That would be great. “I love that movie. Atticus Finch has always been a hero of mine.”

“I love Scout,” said Sheila. “This was one of my favourite books growing up.”

“Me too. Although I hear the new story is a bit more revealing of the racist attitudes that existed back then.”

“That was always the reality. In some ways, the new book may be closer to the truth. I’m glad we had a kinder version of that truth when we were kids. It doesn’t make it any easier to take, just the same.”

“Let’s just enjoy the movie. It’s been a long week. We both deserve a break. And it’s good to know that at least in the movies there’s a possibility of a happy ending.”

The pair snuggled up on the couch and totally enjoyed both the classic film and their time together. When the movie was over Windflower went back to his house for the final walk of the evening with Lady. Once again she was very pleased to see him and bounded out the door when he held it open for her. They did the extended loop that led them down near the brook where Lady had a good, long drink and then they darted around the perimeter of the wharf.

A Shape on the Air – Book Blast

 

Title:
A SHAPE ON THE AIR

Author: Julia H. Ibbotson

Publisher: Endeavour Press

Pages: 267

Genre: Medieval Timeslip Romance

Unlocking a love that lasts for lifetimes … and beyond …
Dr Viv Dulac, a lecturer in medieval studies, is devastated when her partner walks
out (and with her best friend too) and it seems that she is about to lose everything. Drunk and desperate, her world quite literally turns upside down when she finds herself in the body of the fifth century Lady Vivianne. Lady V has her own traumas; she is struggling with the shifting values of the Dark Ages and her forced betrothal to the brutish Sir Pelleas, who is implicated in the death of her parents. Haunted by both Lady Vivianne and by Viv’s own parents’ death and legacy, can Viv unlock the mystery that surrounds and connects their two lives, 1500 years apart, and bring peace to them both? Can the strange key she finds hold the truth? A haunting story of lives intertwining across the ages, of the triumph of the human spirit and of dreams lost and found.

ORDER YOUR COPY:

Amazon

 

Prologue
1500 years before
Lady Nymue, her
mother, is rising from the mere like a spirit: tall, slow like a dream,
over-gown falling in slim folds from her waist. Vivianne sees her in a haze of
mist, like magic, an illusion. She feels it, that enchantment, and it is
enfolding her, but making her shiver, too. Her life-giver, robes dry despite
the water, is coming towards her as she stands anxiously on the bank, waiting
impatiently, calling out urgently, hopping from one foot to the other, tangling
her feet in her earth-sweeping kirtle, longing to rejoin her playmates who are
chasing around the village pretending to be Roman soldiers. Her mother,
reaching out a hand to her, is shaking her head, but laughing. Be more patient,
my little Lady Vivianne, she says, I have not completed my rituals, but let me
wrap you in my cloak, for I must return to the mere. But she is only a little
girl and something is making her feel cold, frightened. No, she calls, sticking
out her lower lip, I want to play! I want to be Honorius this time! They
promised! Eleanor will play my wife – or maybe my lady servant.
Her mother is
ruffling her soft curls. Well, then, she smiles, I will return later to finish.
She is lifted onto her mother’s horse, in front, held close. Dry, warm,
comforting. Riding back to the village. Her care-giver is taking her back to
play with her friends again. Her mother turns to the special hall which her
father, Sir Tristram, called “sacred” and where she is only allowed to go
sometimes.
And then, fire,
flames, the acrid smell of smoke. Looking across to the great hall, terror
strangling her heart, stealing her breath. Running towards the wooden building,
through the ash and cinders and the roaring, screaming now, choking. Someone
holding her back, pulling her.
Darkness.
Waking up in her
little bed. A big red-faced man in the shadows, haloed with a fair unruly beard
and thick wild hair, telling her that her parents were dead, burned in the
fire. Her mother and her father, both of them. An accident with tallows. She
knows those tallows; they are always on the altar in the sacred hall. They are
only spoken of in whispers. But this man is speaking in a strange way, loud,
too loud, and it seems to her, sneering, as she peers at him through the
darkness.

 

Julia Ibbotson is giving away a PDF
copy of ‘Drumbeats’!

Terms & Conditions:
  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • One winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter
  • This giveaway ends midnight September 29.
  • Winner will be contacted via email on September 30.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.
Good luck everyone!

ENTER TO WIN!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

 

 

Award-winning author Julia Ibbotson is obsessed with the medieval world and concepts of time travel. She read English at Keele University, England (after a turbulent but exciting gap year in Ghana) specialising in medieval studies, and has a PhD in linguistics. She wrote her first novel at 10 years of age, but became a teacher, lecturer and researcher, and a single mum.  Julia has published four books, including a children’s book S.C.A.R.S (a fantasy medieval time slip), a memoir, and the first two novels of her Drumbeats trilogy (which begins in Ghana).  Apart from insatiable reading, she loves travelling the world, singing in choirs, swimming, yoga, and walking in the English countryside.
Her recent release is A Shape on the Air.

WEBSITE & SOCIAL LINKS:

WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK

http://www.pumpupyourbook.com

Book Blast – Forestry Flavours of the Month

Publication Date: May 20, 2016

Publisher: AuthorHouse

Formats: Ebook

Pages: 228

Genre: Biography

Tour Dates: September 4 – 15

  Add to GR Button   


Forestry touches on all aspects of human welfare in one way or another, which is why foresters need to play an active role in determining our collective agenda. Alastair Fraser, a lifelong forester and the co-founder of LTS International, a forestry consulting company, explains how forestry changes with political cycles and how foresters can promote healthy forests at all times.

He explores critical issues such as:

• forests and their connection to coal;

• forest’s role in combatting floods and climate change;

• illegal logging in Indonesia, Laos, and elsewhere;

• tactics to promote sustainable forestry management;

• plantations as a solution to tropical deforestation.

From pulping in Sweden and Brazil, paper mills in Greece and India, agroforestry in the Philippines, “pink” disease in India and oil bearing trees of Vietnam, no topic is off limits. Based on the author’s life as a forester in dozens of countries, this account shows the breadth of forestry and makes a convincing case that forestry management needs to focus on managing change and achieving sustainability. Whether you’re preparing to become a forester, already in the field, or involved with conservation, the environment or government, you’ll be driven to action with Forestry Flavours of the Month.

SIGN UP HERE

Alastair Fraser is a founder member of the archaeology group No Man s Land. He has worked as researcher and participant in a number of Great War documentaries. Steve Roberts is a retired police officer and an ex-regular soldier. He specialises in researching individuals who served during the war and is also a founder member of No Man s Land. Andrew Robertshaw frequently appears on television as a commentator on battlefield archaeology and the soldier in history, and he has coordinated the work of No Man s Land. His publications include Somme 1 July 1916: Tragedy and Triumph, Digging the Trenches (with David Kenyon) and The Platoon.

Book Blast – A Poet’s Diary 1

 

Publication Date: May 30, 2017

Publisher: Xlibris

Formats: Ebook

Pages: 58

Genre: Poetry

Tour Dates: September 4 – 15

  Add to GR Button   


A Poet’s Diary 1 is a collection of thought-provoking poems such as, “It Doesn’t Stop Me from Being Happy,” “When I Think of Love,” “Police State,” and “God’s Recipe for Love. ”
As his poetic words flow, thought-provoking observations and experiences will have the reader mentally and emotionally stimulated.

SIGN UP HERE

Don’t Call Me Crazy – Book Trailer Blast

https://www.youtube-nocookie.com/embed/-OmTskvZNoI?rel=0

 

Title:
DON’T CALL ME CRAZY! I’M JUST IN LOVE WITH GOD

Author: Swiyyah Woodard

Publisher: Swiyyah Productions, Inc.

Pages: 229

Genre: Inspirational / Motivational / Romance / Christian

BOOK
BLURB:

Because of God, nothing will
stop Anika from marrying the love of her life, not even paranoid schizophrenia.
You don’t want to miss this spiritual journey filled with inspiration and
power.
This book is insightful and perceptive. Inspired by a
true story. Few people consider the God factor in mental health. Join Anika and
journey with her as she receives revelations from God while on her walk to
overcome mental illness and naiveness towards religion. Required reading for
High schools and colleges.

ORDER YOUR COPY:

Amazon| Barnes & Noble

     Anika begins to lose her mind. While continuing to stare at the television
set, Anika sees a vision of Jesus. He appears to her in just as perfect form
and image as the paintings on Mary’s wall. She then hears Jesus speak, “I am
the son of God.” Then just as fast as he appears, he leaves her vision.
     “Did
you see him? Did you see Jesus?” Anika turns and looks at her friends. Words
are stuck within their throats.
     “Did
you see him? Did you see Jesus?” Anika repeats once more.
     “Anika, you’re really scaring us. I thought
you were Muslim?” Mary says.
Anika then feels as if someone was
controlling her thoughts. “Forgive
yourself.”  
She then begins to ramble, “Atoms are
neither created nor destroyed. There was always an existence. You have to take
baby steps to understand how this existence works, where we came from, how it started.
Don’t jump from A to Z. No, you must go from A to C. Take a break. It has been
painted. First there was nothing; it was blackness, pitch blackness. There was
first the black hole. A plumber can understand the black hole. There was a
white light. The creator is positive energy. We all have a little bit of
positive energy. A person of positivity can change your life without saying a
word. We try to increase positive energy which is the same as increasing
spiritually. Once we are of that same positivity as the creator, we become one
with him. Only a few souls have reached this level of existence. The rest of us
are growing spiritually so we can reach that level.“

It appears to Anika that she is making sense as she began to explain
herself, justifying her words.

“Positive times positive equals positive. Negative times positive equals
negative. Therefore, if you have any negativity in you, you cannot become one
with positivity.”

“The creator is all positive energy. Negative times negative equals
positive. If you learn from loads of negativity you will learn from your
mistakes and become all positive. It’s mathematics. Everything stems from
mathematics. Less than a cup of wine is what I need to rest. Don’t want to
scare away this beautiful spirit controlling my thoughts.” While holding the
sides of her head trying to rid her racing thoughts, she runs into the kitchen
and pours herself a cup of wine. She then thinks, “no one will ever have to
go through what I went through again!”
Anika takes a look at her past to see how
in the world she got to this point in her life.

 

Swiyyah Nadirah Woodard was selected as
a Bay News 9 Everyday Hero, which was seen by two million viewers, for
publishing a book and teaching the community about her own battle with mental

illness. She was hospitalized six times and misdiagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia.
Her first book, Don’t Call Me Crazy! I’m Just in Love, became required
and suggested reading in Reading, Writing, Abnormal Psychology, and General
Psychology classes at a four year Institution.

She was born in the housing projects of Saint Petersburg, FL. Her father left when she was three so
she was raised in a single parent home. At the age of five she was

molested by her eight year old brother. She
later started school, she had slurred speech and didn’t care to make friends so
she was bullied by her peers. At the age of eight, she wanted to kill herself
because a girl wanted to fight her. She looked into the medicine cabinet for
medication. Thank God, she couldn’t find any.

As a teenager she was physically abused by her
step dad. The abuse was so severe, God blocked it from her memory. At the age
of 20 the brother that molested her committed suicide, which was devastating to
her and the entire family. Swiyyah has always viewed herself as normal. She
never received any disciplinary problems in school, made good grades, and
received her BA degree in Psychology from the
University of South Florida.

When the doctors misdiagnosed her with the most
debilitating mental disorder known in mental health, paranoid schizophrenia,
she denied it. She questioned their expertise. She refused to take medication.
She was then hospitalized six times. Her family took a picture of her at her
worst and that’s when she knew she needed help. She has been taking medication
now for ten years without a relapse.

She is now a published author and a National
Inspirational Speaker. Her first book is entitled, “Don’t Call Me Crazy! I’m
just in Love,” and is inspired by her true story. 

She was raised Muslim and the revelations she
received from God and placed in her books, didn’t make any since until she meet
her Christian husband 14 years after her first relapse. 

Please contact Swiyyah to book speaking
engagements, life coaching, author and speaker coaching, radio and TV
interviews, or to purchase her books at 727-495-3217, Swiyyah@swiyyah.com.

WEBSITE & SOCIAL LINKS:

WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK

 

 

%d bloggers like this: