North Carolina Legends

I’ve been mining the old ghost stories of North Carolina for ideas (there are tons of them!) and ran across the Brown Mountain Lights. This one is personal for me, because growing up, my family had a cabin at Brown Mountain Beach and spent so many wonderful times there. Full disclosure – I was never able to see them but lots of others did.

Brown Mountain is a low ridge in Burke County and host to a real and long-lived mystery. When conditions are right, mysterious glowing orbs can be seen to rise up off the mountain, hover and wobble about fifteen feet up in the air, and then disappear. There’s no denying that the lights are real. They have been observed by countless witnesses and photographed on many occasions. But what they are has still never been identified.

The Brown Mountain Lights have been observed for centuries, and multiple legends have arisen around the phenomenon. The Cherokee were aware of the lights, and according to some accounts claimed that they were the souls of Cherokee women searching for their men who had died in a great battle between the Cherokee and the Catawba that took place on Brown Mountain. Another legend says that the lights are the ghostly echoes of lights that appeared during a search for a murdered woman in the 19th century.

As for the lights themselves, many different possible scientific explanations have been offered, from swamp gas to the reflections of automobile headlights from the valley below. But every explanation so far has been easily disproved. The lights have been observed since long before automobiles existed, so headlights don’t work, and the lights were even observed during the 1916 flood that shut down all automobile and railway traffic in the valley below. The swamp gas theory fizzles out by the complete absence of a swamp on Brown Mountain. The X-Files even did an episode on the phenomena (very unsatisfying for those of us who spent so much time on that mountain as kids).

Appalachian State finally caught them on video in January of this year and you can watch it here – Brown Mountain Lights

Whatever their cause, people still flock to see the Brown Mountain Lights, but spotting them is never guaranteed. Reportedly, your best chance to see the lights comes on a dry, clear night in October or November, after all the leaves are off the trees.

Love to have you check out some of my paranormals anytime and I’ll keep checking out those NC legends.

    

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Happy Summer Solstice 2019

I love this time of year–more hours of sunlight means more time spent in the garden. Time to notice the little things. Like this tiny praying mantis on a daylily bloom.

Peach Daylily with Mantis

Time to spend sitting in the garden reading. Perhaps something from the Highland Gardens series…

 

Just Once in a Verra Blue Moon
Just Once in a Verra Blue Moon — Highland Gardens Book 2

* * *

Lively fiddle tunes greeted Finn as he parked his truck in the gravel lot near Laurie’s home and garden center. A portion of her garden and the crowd were visible through the iron gate. He was tempted to leave. He didn’t feel like making nice-nice with her business associates, but she’d never forgive him if he didn’t make an appearance.

The anniversary of opening her garden center meant a lot to her. He couldn’t hurt her feelings. And she just didn’t seem herself lately.

They had a falling-out several years ago when she handed him her resignation and moved to Anderson Creek. At the time, the thought of her in the country seemed ludicrous. But since she survived her adventure—at least physically—and married Patrick, damn if she hadn’t proved him wrong. Her garden center and gift shop, Foxgloves, had grown into a successful local enterprise.

He’d been a real jerk back then. So, yeah, he’d stay tonight. Laurie needed to know she could depend on him.

Finn got out of the pickup and entered the garden through the front gate. Geez. He hoped he could dodge Laurie’s two business partners, Jillian and Caitrina, for the rest of the evening.

His luck, Jillian was the first guest he saw. She leaned against the side of the tool shed, watching the musicians. Whenever they were thrown together, she tripped over herself to get his attention. Although it would make his cousin happy, he’d no desire to pursue a relationship with the mousy woman.

She had a kind heart and nice eyes yet the chemistry wasn’t there. No way could he picture her as the mother of his sons.

“Finn.” She waved her arms and lunged forward, knocking over a planted urn. The ceramic pot shattered on the stone patio, scattering shards and soil. She stared at him then bent to clean up the mess.

Shit, he should offer assistance. He struggled with his conscience. Good manners won, but before he moved, a couple of other guests jumped to her aid. Finn grasped the opportunity and strolled in the opposite direction.

He stumbled upon Caitrina almost hidden within the lush foliage near the rear gate. Their gazes met. An impish smile played on her lips.

The fine hairs on the back of his neck stood on end. He wasn’t sure what it was about her. Beautiful, tall and willowy, she had intense green eyes. Her long auburn hair would set any man’s heart racing. In fact, his buddy Douglas was in love with her. Nevertheless, there was something unusual about her. Something out of the ordinary he couldn’t quite identify, which made him damn uncomfortable.

Caitrina always watched him, staring with her piercing emerald eyes, as if she knew something he didn’t.

She probably did. But still—

Annoyed he allowed her to unnerve him he tore his gaze away.

Before long, Jillian bore down on him.

He sidestepped a server with a tray of champagne flutes and strode to the sanctuary of the house, to the refrigerator for a cold beer, hoping she wouldn’t follow.

* * *

Caitrina stood amongst the rose-colored foxgloves, alone in the shadows near the garden’s rear gate. She smiled when Finn evaded Jillian’s clumsy attempt to attract his attention. As he disappeared into the house, Caitrina turned away to gaze at the silvery haze surrounding the full moon. The time neared, and she’d work to do.

She would set the match into action before the High Queen of the Fae learned the game had begun. Caitrina could almost taste victory. This round and one more—she’d earn her freedom and be returned to the royal realm.

She inhaled a deep breath and uncurled her fists.

From her peripheral vision, she glimpsed Douglas MacKinnon watching her. Didn’t he understand he no longer aroused her curiosity?

She pressed her palm against her chest. She must have ingested a stimulant with an unusual property capable of causing a faerie heart to beat too fast.

Douglas raised a dark eyebrow in question.

What a meddlesome man. Caitrina glanced heavenward, wishing he’d go away.

When she looked in his direction again, he gave her one of his devastating smiles, saluted, and walked off.

Oh, how she wanted to turn him into a horny toad. But she couldn’t waste time thinking about the beguiling man. She’d a challenge to win.

Taking note of the other guests, she made sure no one noticed as she shimmered, faded, dissolved into a fragrant fae mist.

Available at Amazon, B&N, Kobo and Apple.

 

What are your plans for the Summer Solstice?

Enjoy!

~Dawn Marie

Stormy Weather is Coming!

Storm WarningJune 1st was the official start of Hurricane season. I don’t know about you, but tornadoes don’t wait for a specific date and time! The storms and floods affecting the United States was devastating.

Preparation is key, so know where the safest place is where you can avoid any storm. A relative in Florida hides in the cupboard under the stairs (and always makes me think of poor Harry Potter!)

I grab my cat, laptop, medicines, radio, and wallet and spend time in our guest bath, which is surrounded by interior walls. The cat hates thunder, but I hate twisters more. However, heed all warnings! Blaze

If the power goes out, grab a good book and get comfy. Heaven-sent Highlander, the 2nd book in my Warriors in Bronze series with Soul Mate Publishing, is an ebook available from AMAZON.  The 1st book in the series, Heaven-sent Warrior, is available as an EBOOK or PRINT. Enjoy!

Heaven-sent HighlanderHeaven-sent Warrior

European Spooky

A lot of traveling by our writers this month –

Spent the first part of May in Europe, vacation and research for the 4thbook in The Conall Clan series. I’ve never been on a vacation like that and we had an incredible time. Could have been a little warmer and drier but hey, it was glorious anyway. Wish we’d had more time in Budapest, where the story I’m writing is set, but we saw a lot.

The old world was a bit of a surprise with the mix of of their solar panels on 300+ year old houses, and wind turbines. I admit it delighted me. We ate at a 900 year old fast food place-literally!-They built it to feed the Romans who were building the stone bridge. Brauts on a roll.

     

I could see lots of inspiration for some spooky stories.

     

      

The “spookiest” story I’ve written is Before You, but now I’m going to have to rethink that…

An Author’s Visit to the 2019 EPCOT International Flower & Garden Festival by Dawn Marie Hamilton

Tinker Magic 2017
From the 2017 festival and my favorite Disney character.

Fantasy and gardens are woven throughout my Highland Gardens romance series. Like many children from the US, my introduction to fantasy was by way of the imagination of Walt Disney and company. I love when a trip to Disney World in Orlando, FL includes time spent at the EPCOT Flower and Garden Festival. The 2019 festival began on March 6th and will end on June 3rd.

 

 

This year, I visited Disney World with my family during the Easter holiday. We had an absolute blast.  My favorite part of the garden festival, besides the great food, is the topiaries. How about I share a few of the wonderful Disney couple character topiaries from this year’s festival…

Mickey and his love 2019

 

Beauty and the Beast 2019

Lady and the Tramp 2019

 

~Dawn Marie

 

Has A Motion Picture Affected Your Life?

I bet there are several motion pictures that you remember, no matter how long ago you first sat and watched. Thinking of a few of my favorites brings back the aroma of popcorn and the sounds of a room full of people screaming at the same time (think JAWS or EARTHQUAKE) Nudity on the screen used to make me squirm with embarrassment (I actually walked out of HAIR).

Death star

One motion picture that turned a STAR TREK television show aficionado into a lover of something new and exciting was STAR WARS. The opening scene of a small spacecraft being attacked by a huge ship that took up the entire screen turned the theater quiet. We had never seen anything like this. And, who can forget the battle between Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker to blow up the Death Star?

Heaven-sent Highlander banner

Writing paranormal romance is similar because I take a world and add something that could happen, but something my readers do not expect. My readers want to be entertained and I do my best to think about STAR WARS and what about that movie entertained me. Twists and turns and a really awful villain helps and I have those and much more in my Warriors in Bronze series.

Book #2 is Heaven-sent Highlander and was released April 24th by Soul Mate Publishing.  Find all Buy Links HERE

and…May the 4th be with you!

The Twilight Zone

I’m delighted to hear they are re-booting the series again. I have high hopes for Jordan Peele. This series left indelible memories for me and some episodes still haunt me – The Midnight Sun, Nick of Time, Five Characters in Search of an Exit, Time Enough at Last, The Monsters are Due on Maple Street and Kick the Can.

 

 

I think part of the appeal is the fact the originals are in black and white. That and of course the sophistication of Rod Serling, with that cancer stick in his hand, no emotion on his face, as your tour guide for the trip into—“a fifth dimension, beyond that which is known to man … a dimension not only of sight and sound, but of mind … a land of both shadow and substance, of things and ideas.”

A bar or two of the music can take me back instantly. And when I watch them now, I love seeing famous actors so much younger—Robert Redford, Jack Klugman, Donna Douglas, Elizabeth Montgomery, Agnes Moorehead and of course William Shatner.

It’s no wonder I write and love the paranormal. The Outer Limits was okay but never rose to the Twilight Zone level for me. In more than one of my books I’ve dropped the phrase – twilight zone or where is Serling. I’d like to hear which ones hover in your memory.

Love to have you check out some of my paranormals anytime and I’ll see you – in the Twilight Zone…