Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Guest Blog and Giveaway with Juliet Blackwell

Thank you for having me on Fangtastic! I love this blog, and am honored to be here.

I’ve always adored ghost stories. From early stories around the campfire, to Elizabeth Peter’s classic Ammie Come Home, to the Night Gallery and, more recently, The Sixth Sense…I’m a fool for tales of those not-quite-so-departed.

So when I set out to write a home renovation mystery series, it didn’t take long before it morphed into a haunted home renovation mystery series. After all, most of us who work on old houses have an occasional inkling of…something, perhaps a subtle frisson, a fleeting glimpse out of the corner of one’s eye, a sudden “what was that?” that might indicate lingering spirits --especially if you happen to be painting on-site at some unholy time of night – like 3 in the morning.

I used to be a decorative painter for a living, so I found myself in such a situation numerous times. Those rambling Pacific Heights mansions are the perfect setting for ghosts with every creak of old wood, groan of ancient plumbing, or knocking of branches on the windowpane. It doesn’t take much of an imagination to start thinking up all sorts of ghostly and/or murderous scenarios!

This was how the first book in my Haunted Home Renovation series was born. In If Walls Could Talk, general contractor Mel Turner has her first encounter with the ghost of a colleague who has met an unfortunate end (with power tools) on a construction site. In the new Dead Bolt, Mel has to figure out an old romantic triangle to rid a Queen Anne Victorian of a bevy of ghosts in the attic…and to unmask a murderer. Though Mel’s a bit freaked out by the ghosts, she learns to embrace her rare ability to communicate with them. After all, she’s in the historic home renovation business, and if old structures retain traces of those who have gone before…the ability to speak to ghosts might even come in handy, business-wise.

Whenever I bring up the subject of ghosts in polite company, half the people look at me as if to say: that’s nice, dear…have you taken your meds today? (The other half, however, usually have their own stories of mysterious spectral encounters – or repeat a tale they’ve heard from family or friends.)

I used to be pretty skeptical, myself. But since I began writing the series I’ve done a lot of research into the subject, and the more I learn, the more open I’ve become to the idea! bring up the subject of ghosts in polite company, half the people look at me as if to say: that’s nice, dear…have you taken your meds today? (The other half, however, usually have their own stories of mysterious spectral encounters – or repeat a tale they’ve heard from family or friends.)

I’ve shadowed ghosthunters; gone on ghost tours in San Francisco’s Chinatown http://sfchinatownghosttours.com/home.html and Pacific Heights http://www.sfghosthunt.com/fatcow.com/Welcome.html and Haight Ashbury http://www.hauntedhaight.com/html/hauntedhaight_links.htm ; poked around the Winchester Mystery House http://www.winchestermysteryhouse.com/ ; attended séances; and interviewed many people who believe they’re living in haunted houses.

The idea of permeable veils between the worlds of the living and the dead is as old as humanity. And even some modern scientists –such as theoretical physicists – are willing to speculate about different energy forms existing on different planes. Like radio signals that swirl all around us yet can only be picked up with the right equipment, is it so farfetched to imagine that there might be other kinds of energy sharing space with us, other forms sending out signals that are only occasionally picked up?

There’s plenty of fodder to keep the San Francisco Ghost Society http://www.sfghostsociety.org/ busy, that’s for sure. Check out this website: http://www.haunted-places.com/san_francisco_most_haunted.htm If you’ve read some of my books, you might just recognize the seeds of a few stories in some of these purported local hauntings.

How about you? Heard any good ghost stories lately – either good books or movies, or your own experiences? How about from friends and family, or local legends? And if you have any really good stories…mind if I steal them for upcoming novels?

About the book:

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: http://julietblackwell.net/dead-bolt1.php

Visit me at: www.julietblackwell.net

Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/JulietBlackwell

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Juliet-Blackwell/88917411021

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

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.

Would you like to win a print copy of Dead Bolt?

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Rebe said...

I love the idea of a haunted house mystery series - that's so cool! And those old Victorians just scream haunted.


Chrisbails said...

Juliet you are a new author for me and your books sound great. I love series of books, love to be able to follow along. Love when the story continues. It does sound like a great story about haunted houses. Would love to win and read, thanks for the chance to win.

Debby said...

I have never been inside a haunted house. I have only been by one.
debby236 at gmail dot com

Barbara E. said...

I haven't heard any good ghost stories lately, but I love reading books with ghosts in them, either haunting someone or helping them. I do enjoy Being Human, the ghost in that TV show is lovely.

Dead Bolt sounds like a fantastic story and I'm looking forward to reading it.

Barbed1951 at aol dot com

Krystal Larson said...

Thank you for the chance to win! This book looks very interesting :) edysicecreamlover18@gmailDOTcom

CowboyandVampire said...

We're in the mood for a ghost story! cowboyandvampire@gmail.com

Sharon said...

This is a clever idea for a series :) my mom would love it too!
sstogner1 at gmail dot com

Tore said...

Please enter me in contest. I would love to read this book. It sounds very good. Tore923@aol.com

Martha Lawson said...

I would love to read this one. I love to read about haunted houses and ghosts! Enter me please.

old gfc follower

mlawson17 at hotmail dot com

Julie S said...

Sounds like a great series. Can this one be read as a stand alone?

Anne said...

I've never been in a real haunted house or seen a ghost. I'd love it (provided it wasn't a poltergeist). I used to watch a BBC series about ghosts who haunted various buildings in England. it gave all the historical background. I loved it.


Julie W said...

This sounds like such an interesting book! I can't wait to read it, and I want to thank you for the chance to win a copy:)

jwitt33 at live dot com

Jen B. said...

I don't have any personal ghosts stories but one of my friends got pictures of something in Gettysburg. I can't explain the pictures but I believe there was some kind of energy there. I love the idea of your haunted renovation series. Thanks for the giveaway. Do you watch American Horror Story? Now THERE'S a haunted house!

Carol M said...

I love ghost stories. This sounds like a book I would enjoy!
mittens0831 at aol dot com

Danny LLafrance said...

I found it on search after going through a lot of other information that was not really relevant. I thought I would find this much earlier considering how good the information is.