The Dog Days of August

watermelon and beer
Sweet Alcoholic Watermelon Beer in a Pint Glass

August 3rd is National Watermelon Day …and I will enjoy several slices!

August 7 is International Beer Day …but I will have to miss that, my doctor says.

August 16th is the Battle of Bennington Day. This battle of the American Revolutionary war, part of the Saratoga campaign, occurred back in 1777. Most people thought it took place in Bennington, Vermont (itself, a lovely town) but actually occurred in Walloomsac, New York. My family and I had the privilege to attend the 225th anniversary. Soldiers and tents and women taking care of the injured men as well as cannons filling the air with thunder was thrilling. War is never to be celebrated, but my boys needed to see this.

August is also know for being celebrated all 31 days as:

Black Business Month… please support each and every one.

National Back to School Month. During this COVID-19 pandemic, I feel for the parents struggling with whatever their government decides about how their children will be schooled.

On a lighter note, how will you celebrate National Sandwich Month? How about a bacon, lettuce, and tomato on whole wheat toast sandwich? Yum!

Best of all, the entire month is

Romance Awareness Month

and with this on my mind, please check out all the books published by ‘lil ole me!

Warriors in Bronze

My Office & 29 Covers!

 

FIND ALL BUY LINKS HERE

Have a safe and pleasant August!

Nancy Lee Badger

 

 

Ghosts of UNCG – Part 2

Returning to UNCG for more weird happenings – I want to recognize Hermann Trojanowski, Universitites Libraries for a lot of this information.  He retired in June, 2013 but prior to that he led an annual ghost tour of the campus and is the leading expert. I’m sure there isn’t one this year, but I’ve heard the tradition continues.

Mary Foust Hall, sister dorm to Guilford was named for Mary Foust Armstrong, daughter of the college’s second president, Julius Isaac Foust, and built in 1928.  Mary was a member of the class of 1920. She died in childbirth in 1925. There are tales that her ghost came to reside in the dormitory that bears her name. Rumors have been around for years about random “unexpected crying” and “funny noises” on the hall’s second floor. Mary Foust’s portrait, which had hung above the fireplace, disappeared some time back without a trace. Another rumor about Mary Foust Hall was that in the 1950s, three nursing students hanged themselves from the rafters in the attic.  I cannot confirm any of these rumors, but my nephew lived there his freshman year, so I’ll check with him and let you know.

Checked with my daughter about the old Aycock Auditorium, as she was a drama student at UNCG, and she had a great story. She wasn’t there, but her high school drama teacher talked about a night he was working late and was the last to leave the building. As he was ready to walk out he heard one of the seats go down. This is one of those venues where you push the seat down and it automatically goes up when you rise. He knew he was alone so he stepped back inside to check and all of the seats in the auditorium lowered and went back up. He got the hell out of there.

I really enjoyed this research since I was on campus for over 26 years. For more paranormal, check out Before You

 

Ghosts of UNCG – Part 1

I lived on the UNCG campus four years and worked on it for twenty-two, so I know the campus pretty well. That said, I’ve never actually seen a ghost on campus, but I have heard the tales. Thought I’d share some of them with you.

My freshman year I lived in South Spencer. In the late ‘60’s (before my time!) there was talk of the Blue Ghost. Later (after I left) she was named Annabelle possibly for Poe’s Annabel Lee, but I can’t confirm that. She was the spirit of a student who was supposed to have hanged herself in one of the bell towers (they are in North Spencer, but it is all one building). She would appear in the parlor as a blue haze passing by. Some said they heard the dragging of something across the floor. In the ‘80s two different staff members were awakened when she walked into their rooms. Since the building was closed for vacation and no one else was there . . .

There’s also Jane Aycock, who haunts the former Aycock Auditorium. Some said she was the daughter of Governor Aycock for whom the building was originally name, however none of his nine children were named Jane. Regardless, this spirit was supposed to have hanged herself from the fly-loft over the stage. When the auditorium was 50 years old and getting ready to reopen after renovations, the drama majors began a tradition of introducing their favorite ghost to new students. An unsuspecting freshman would be handed a lighted candle and directed to the stairs leading to the attic, where Jane liked to hang out (pun intended). There is a place where a draft will blow out the candle. Then the freshman has to wait for her eyes to adjust but she will eventually spot a human shape in the darkness. Screams usually followed, because luminescent paint on a manikin from the prop shop always works . . .

But there is real documentation of the ghost. Raymond Taylor, theatre professor from 1921 to 1960 gave an interview regarding his personal experiences with Jane – “at one time a sort of colonial mansion stood on the corner where Aycock [Auditorium] is. There dwelt in this mansion an old lady all alone. After a while she became extremely unhappy about her lonely state and went up in the attic and suspended herself from a rope on the rafters. Having committed suicide there, she determined to stay on as a ghost. When they tore down the building, she haunted the area for a long time until Aycock was finally built, and then she adopted that for her home. She seemed, when I knew her to delight in the upper reaches of Aycock foyer where she assumed the guise of the lights that flitted from ceiling place to ceiling place and dragging chains and clanking objects over the floor down in the lobby up to my office door.”

Taylor would often hear strange sounds that he’d try to write off as the echoes of passing cars or trains while working alone at night in the auditorium. One very hot day, though, Taylor and a janitor decided to remove some of their clothing so that they could work comfortably on the set of an upcoming play. Taylor had left his clothes in a neat pile on the second floor of the building. During the afternoon, a large thunderstorm rolled through. After the storm was over and Taylor had finished working for the day, he went upstairs to redress and found that his clothes had been thrown all over the room, and his watch chains had been arranged on the table to form a cross. After this incident, Taylor had no doubt that the Aycock ghost had visited him.

More to come (hey, it’s a old campus!) and for those who really dig paranormal – Dianne Duvall’s Immortal Guardian series takes place on the North Carolina campuses including UNCG. I have to admit, that explains so much of what I suspected about the campus!

My own ghost story – Wraith’s Heart is available at Amazon!Wraith's Heart final 6x9 https://www.steelestories.com/books/wraiths-heart/

National Hug Your Cat Day

by Nancy Lee Badger

My cat BlazeThe rumor is that ancient Egyptians revered cats. I have always spoiled mine. The ancients saw them as symbols of grace and poise, and I agree they are agile felines, less angular or bulky than dogs and other pets. They can be aloof and will ignore you, then surprise you.

The other day, I sat on my living room couch to read. Normally, I am working in my office or in the den watching TV. Was it the quiet of the room that made Blaze hop up and stretch out near me? He looked much younger than his twelve years at that moment. Kittens are fluffy and fun to watch, but the love of a mature cat is priceless (and rarely visualized).

Blaze on the couch

 

I have neglected adding a cat to my recent novels. They can be a great addition to a paranormal plot, especially black ones. My latest stories are filled with horses and a particularly beautiful white Samoyed breed of dog, so maybe it is time to rethink cats. In the meantime, check out my series Warriors in Bronze.The holiday lands on June 4th each year, so do not forget to hug your cat and enjoy a purrrfectly fine week!

p.s. We named him Blaze for 2 reasons: the white slash across his nose, and because of our stint years earlier as volunteer firefighters.

Find all BUY LINKS for my books HERE

Warriors in Bronze

A Lot of People Believe

We’re not alone in exploring, or even liking the Supernatural and Paranormal. We’ve got good company.

Did you know that soon after World War II, Winston Churchill visited the White House when he is said to have had an uncanny experience? After a long bath with a Scotch and cigar, he reportedly walked into the adjoining bedroom, only to be met by the ghost of Abraham Lincoln. Unflappable, even while completely naked, Churchill apparently announced, “Good evening, Mr. President. You seem to have me at a disadvantage.” The spirit then smiled and vanished.

The pioneering computer theorist, Alan Turing was a believer in telepathy after he had a vivid vision of the violent death of his child shortly before it happened, a sad example of clairvoyance.

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle enthusiastically embraced the Cottingly Fairies hoax in 1917. He always said that the alleged sprites represented a primitive life form and so didn’t strike him as evidence of an afterlife rather more of a traditional spirit. He kept drawings that his father had done of them around his home.

More recent examples include Dale Earnhardt, Jr. He spoke of his wreck in 2004 in Sonoma. “It caught fire, somebody pulled me out of that car.”

“I thought that it was a corner worker because I felt somebody put their hands under my armpits and pull me out of the car,” Earnhardt Jr. said “I didn’t get out. I don’t have any memory of myself climbing out of the car. I remember sort of moving, like going to lean forward and try to climb out of the car, and then something grabbed me under the armpits, pulled me up over the door bars and  let go of me. And I fell to the ground. There’s pictures of me laying on the ground next to the car. I know that when I got to the hospital, I was like, ‘Who pulled me out of the car? I gotta say thanks to this person,’ because it was a hand! It was physical hands grabbing me! I felt it. And there was nobody there.”

And then there’s Laura Linney, the actress became a believer after meeting one of the famed ghosts of Broadway’s Belasco Theater. “It’s absolutely haunted,” she told James Corden on the Late Late Show of her former workplace. “I was not a believer. I had been told about the ghosts at the Belasco. There was a mysterious death of a chorus girl [at the theater]. Legend is that final dress rehearsals is when the ghosts come out. I had forgotten this, and I was doing a play with Jane Alexander, and I turned to Jane, and I looked up to the upper balcony—there are two balconies there—and the upper balcony you can only get in from the outside, and those doors were locked; and I looked up, and there was a woman standing in the front row looking over with a blue dress and blonde hair. I just thought, ‘Well, hello!’ I looked at Jane, and I looked back up, and she was gone.” Linney was further convinced that it had been a paranormal experience when she confronted the theater’s house manager. “I went to the house manager and I said, ‘Joe, I think I saw a ghost.’ And he went, ‘male or female?’ I said, ‘female.’ And he went, ‘blue dress, blonde hair?’

Things that can’t be explained happen all the time. I’m sure this recent quaratine will bring even more. Tell us about yours!

And check out Before You, the paranormal is believed around the world…

April Showers Bring May Boredom

…and people stuck at home.

What do you do when forced to stay-at-home? Did you get furloughed? Was your school closed? Are you tired of take-out food? Are you getting bored?

Solutions are out there even though the country isn’t going back to work anytime soon. I suggest you READ A BOOK! There are so many choices on-line. I just released my 28th book in eBook form (print to come out later this year).

Heaven-sent Flame

An English lass grows up in a Scottish coven only to awaken in a strange new world with sculptures, a handsome man, and a hate-filled demon. Falling in love while saving the world was not the plan!

This COVID-19 pandemis is scary, worrisome, and has been going on too long. Escapism is one way for my readers to relax; to put yourself in another world and to meet characters with problems that trump yours!

All three books in my Warriors in Bronze series offer this. Find all buy links HERE

Warriors in Bronze

Pandemic Fiction

So what’s on everyone’s mind? Yeah, so I’m going there too. I wrote a paranormal romance back in 2014, called The Melting. It turned into a trilogy – The Infection, The Progression and The Cohesion.

My pandemic started on some cruise ships touring what was left of the glaciers in Alaska. A centuries old virus thawed out with the melting of this ancient ice and infected the passengers and crew. When they left the ships, they took the plague around the world.

Sound familiar? Never thought of myself as psychic. In my tale, the survivors were changed, even enhanced and find each other to begin rebuilding civilization.

This story came to me as I stood on one of those very cruise ships in Alaska with my husband and saw the remnants left by the warming of the planet. I was astonished at how the glaciers had retreated and that was years ago.

Stay safe, keep up with the social distancing and hopefully things will begin to emerge by this time in May.

                           

Visiting My Imagination

I’m recently back from a vacation at Disney World with family and my five-year-old grandson. The perfect age for belief. I’ve done Disney many times, but this was the first time for the Star Wars section at Disney Hollywood. I’ve always been a big fan of science fiction and this was ambrosia to me.

 

  

Let me tell you, they did a fantastic job of creating the world I’ve seen on screen. Little imagination was necessary when wandering through the marketplace, seeing the Millennium Falcon and Darth Vadar’s ship. You were there and they left nothing that would take you out of the illusion. Yes, you could buy a Coke, but not in any bottle you’d recognize or with a logo you could read.

  

I’m not used to such a submersive experience into a supernatural world that I’ve visited for decades and I reveled in it. Stormtroopers wandered through, vendors were in perfect costume. Kylo Ren showed up with  his guards and interrogated several of the “innocent” bystanders.

All in all a delightful experience, my highest recs if you’re a Star Wars fan, or science fiction of any kind!

On a personal note – A New Time, 3rd in the Guardians of Now series is available for pre-order and goes live April 15!!

Cover Reveal! Heaven-sent Flame

 

My post is a little late because I have been sick, my dear hubby has been sick, and although he does NOT have COVID-19 at this time (since he was tested when admitted to the hospital Easter weekend) I believe we both had it in early March.

Anyway. life goes on and I want to share the cover of my 28th book, Heaven-sent Flame.

This is the 3rd in my Warriors in Bronze series and will be released April 22, 2020 by Soul Mate Publishing. It is available for pre-order HERE. Thanks!

Historical Serenade Pre-order and Giveaway

HistoricalSerenade_BoxedSet_500

Historical Serenade:
Seven Tales of Romance

I’m excited to announce Highland Serenade: Seven Tales of Romance is available for pre-order. The collection is a collaborative bundle of historical romance and historical time travel stories—from novellas to full-length novels—the stories are offered by  Lane McFarland, April Holthaus, Ria Cantrell, Barbara Bettis, Ruth A. Casie, Karen Muir, and myself.

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In celebration, we’re hosting a month-long party on Facebook. Fun, games, and giveaways. Join the party!

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Seven Historical and time travel romance tales filled with danger, deception, revenge, honor and passion spanning the Medieval Highlands through England’s Golden Age.

TO LOVE AN IMPOSTOR by Lane McFarland
Disguised as Nicholas Barlow, a ruthless, old businessman during the day, the Flintlock Brigand’s leader at night, and Captain Randolf, in between, Nicholas ruins constables who failed to show Bristol’s orphans mercy.
Diana Fleming, daughter of Bristol’s wealthiest gentry, returns to beg her father for help raising ten orphaned children, but instead discovers her father died because of Nicholas Barlow. Now penniless and desperate, she’s determined to destroy the man who murdered her father.

HEART OF THE HIGHLANDS: THE RAVEN by April Holthaus
As the king’s personal guard, Eamon MacLeish’s loyalty has never been questioned until a mysterious lass seeks an asylum for a crime, she claims she did not commit. Adelyn Scott would welcome death over marriage but had no idea her wish would come true when she discovers her husband’s body on the night of their wedding. As Adelyn and Eamon piece together clues surrounding her husband’s murder, Eamon must choose between his loyalty or his heart.

CELTIC PERIL by Ria Cantrell
Tom Callum landed a spot with Celtic Storm as the lead singer and front man. When he reaches Scotland, he is drawn to seek his heritage and uncover the mysteries of his past. He is fascinated with a painting of a girl, Jenna Brandham of the Clan MacCollum, who lived more than six hundred years ago. Jenna tugs at his long forgotten memory. Tom will soon be plunged into a world of intrigue, deception and peril. The past and present collide in an adventure that brings danger at every turn. Only love will give Tom the strength he needs to thwart an attempt on King Richard’s life. Will Tom be able to survive his leap into the past? Will he be able to survive his return to the present, only to leave his heart behind?

SILVERHAWK by Barbara Bettis
Seeking revenge against his father, Sir Giles kidnaps the man’s young betrothed, only to find himself thwarting her repeated escape efforts. Lady Emelin won’t let a blasted mercenary destroy her last chance at a home and family, yet when she learns they must track down English traitors, she reluctantly assists. Eluding searchers and enemies alike, Giles and Emelin discover their past goals don’t matter; only a future together will do.

THE MAXWELL GHOST by Ruth A. Casie
Traitors, deception, murders and ghosts run rampant at Caerlaverock Castle. Jamie Collins and Laura Reynolds, long-time friends, find their destinies intertwined with hidden passions, but all is in jeopardy when Laura becomes the murderer’s next target. Jamie will find he needs some ghostly assistance to save Laura and declare his love. No magic…a love that lasts an eternity.

DAGGER’S DESTINY by Karen Muir
In Medieval England, after Lady Katherine de Grey’s family is murdered, she is rescued by a childhood friend, Sir Richard Weston, and they are forced to marry. Richard resents the edict and intends to petition for an annulment. But, Katherine has other plans. With each caress of her dagger, she empowers herself to fight for her destiny. All she has to do is convince her new husband that the woman he truly desires is already his wife.

JUST WITHIN A HIGHLAND MIST by Dawn Marie Hamilton
A trio of pesky pixies have plans for Gregor MacLachlan’s heart. While hunting, a wayward shot from his bow nearly hits a strange lass who appears as if by magic. Emily Smith follows a child in her care onto a forbidden mound in the woods and wakes in a strange bed, in a place and time not her own. Can she find love in the arms of the dark-eyed stranger who becomes her champion?

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My contribution to the bundle is the novella Just Within a Highland Mist from the Highland Gardens series. Here is an excerpt…

Just Within a Highland Mist

At the garden archway, he slipped her hand into his and entered first to ensure naught was awry. He’d vowed to keep her safe.

“Oh, this is lovely,” she said as they traversed the path through the garden beds filled with vegetables and herbs to the rose garden, where he seated her on the turf bench, abloom with small, fragrant white flowers. The gentle scent was heady. As was her beauty.

“I owe you an apology,” she said.

He frowned. “Whatever for?”

“For not believing your story about the pixies.”

“I guess ’tis hard to believe in something you have never seen.”

“I saw one last night.”

Her admission made his brows rise. “You did?”

“Yeah. In my room, while I was bathing. Before you came. She wore a purple gown and had sheer lavender wings. Like that one there.” Emily pointed to a dragonfly-like creature perched on a shiny rose leaf.

He held out a hand and the ebony-haired pixie jounced onto his palm.

Tee teehee hee. Tee teehee hee. Tee teehee hee.

The wee creature’s voice tinkled like the sweetest chimes.

“Here is another!” Emily leapt to her feet and held out a hand. A blonde pixie with green wings landed on an outstretched finger. “This one has iridescent peridot wings.”

Gregor brought his hand closer to his face for a better look at the one he held.

Emily did the same with hers. “Hello,” she murmured.

Tee teehee hee. The pixies giggled again, before blowing dust into their faces. Then with more giggles, they flew away, high over the garden wall.

Emily and Gregor sneezed in unison, and then dropped onto the bench, overcome with laughter. Tears of merriment streamed from both their eyes.

“They are so cute,” Emily said, when she sobered.

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Enter to win a Kindle Fire during the Historical Serenade: Seven Tales of Romance pre-order celebration. Release Day is March 31st!

BookBrushImage-2020-1-26-12-1822

March 1 – March 30

Enter to Win a Kindle Fire during the
Historical Serenade: Seven Tales of Romance
Pre-order Celebration

** Earn Five Entries **
First pre-order the bundle.
Then fill in the form with your order/transaction number.

PRE-ORDER

Register to win KINDLE FIRE

*No purchase necessary to win. Open to US RESIDENTS ONLY.

~Dawn Marie