Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Guest: Diana Rubino FOR LOVE OF HAWTHORNE #paranormal @DianaLRubino

Please welcome our guest author Diana Rubino who writes historical fiction. So why did we invite her here to Paranormal Romantics? Her latest story about Nathaniel Hawthorne has some very interesting paranormal qualities. But, wait. Let's let Diana explain.

In 19th century Salem, Nathaniel Hawthorne’s clairvoyant bride rescued her beloved husband from a perceived curse that spanned generations.

Meet Diana

My passion for history and travel has taken me to every locale of my books and short stories, set in Medieval and Renaissance England, Paris, Egypt, the Mediterranean, colonial Virginia, New England, Washington D.C. and New York. My urban fantasy romance, FAKIN’ IT, won a Top Pick award from Romantic Times. I’m a member of Romance Writers of America, the Richard III Society and the Aaron Burr Association. My husband Chris and I own CostPro, an engineering firm based in Boston. In my spare time, I bicycle, golf, play my piano, devour books of any genre, and spend as much time as possible living the dream on my beloved Cape Cod.


Salem, Massachusetts witnessed horrific and shameful events in 1692 that haunted the town for three centuries. Accused as witches, nineteen innocent people were hanged and one was pressed to death. Judge John Hathorne and Reverend Nicholas Noyes handed down the sentences. One victim, Sarah Good, cursed Noyes from the hanging tree: “If you take away my life, God will give you blood to drink!” She then set her eyes on Judge Hathorne. “I curse you and your acknowledged heirs for all time on this wicked earth!” Hathorne was not only Sarah Good’s merciless judge; he also fathered her son Peter and refused to acknowledge him.

In 1717, Nicholas Noyes choked on his own blood and died. Every generation after the judge continued to lose Hathorne land and money, prompting the rumor of a family curse. By the time his great great grandson Nathaniel was born, they faced poverty.

Ashamed of his ancestor, Nathaniel added the ‘w’ to his last name. His novels and stories explore his beliefs and fears of sin and evil, and he based many of his characters on overbearing Puritan rulers such as Judge Hathorne.

When Nathaniel first met Sophia Peabody, they experienced instantaneous mutual attraction. Sparks flew. He rose upon my eyes and soul a king among men by divine right, she wrote in her journal.

But to Sophia’s frustration, Nathaniel insisted they keep their romance secret for three years. He had his reasons, none of which made sense to Sophia. But knowing that he believed Sarah Good’s curse inflicted so much tragedy on his family over the centuries, she made it her mission to save him. Sarah was an ancestor of Sophia’s, making her and Nathaniel distant cousins—but she kept that to herself for the time being.

Sophia Peabody’s home next to Charter Street Burying Ground, resting place of Judge Hathorne, Salem, MA

Sophia suffered severe headaches as a result of childhood mercury treatments. She underwent routine mesmerizing sessions, a popular cure for many ailments. Spirits sometimes came to her when mesmerized, and as a spiritualist and medium, she was able to contact and communicate with spirits. She knew if she could reach Sarah and persuade her to forgive Judge Hathorne, Nathaniel would be free of his lifelong burden.

Sarah Good’s son Peter had kept a journal the family passed down to the Peabodys. Sophia sensed his presence every time she turned the brittle pages and read his words. John Hathorne’s legitimate son John also kept a journal, now in the Hawthorne family’s possession. Living on opposite sides of Salem in 1692, Peter and John wrote in vivid detail about how the Salem trials tormented them throughout their lives.

Nathaniel finally agreed to announce their engagement, and married Sophia on July 9, 1842. They moved into their first home, The Old Manse in Concord, Massachusetts. Wanting nothing else but to spend the summer enjoying each other, we became Adam and Eve, alone in our Garden of Eden, Sophia wrote in her journal.

The Old Manse, the Hawthornes' first home as newlyweds

As success eluded Nathaniel, they lived on the verge of poverty. After being dismissed from his day job at the Salem Custom House, he wrote The Scarlet Letter, which finally gained him the recognition he deserved. But the curse he believed Sarah cast on his family still haunted him. In the book he asks for the curse to be lifted.

The House of the Seven  Gables, Salem, MA, built in 1668

Sophia urged Nathaniel to write a novel about the house, knowing it would be cathartic for him. While they lived in Lenox, Nathaniel finished writing The House of the Seven Gables. The Gothic novel explored all his fears and trepidations about the curse. He told Sophia, “Writing it, and especially reading it aloud to you lifted a tremendous burden off my shoulders. I felt it physically leave me. I carried this inside me since my youth and couldn’t bring it out to face it. And I have you, and only you, to thank.”

But he did not believe the curse could be lifted.

Sophia invited renowned spiritualist John Spear to The Gables. She explained that she needed to complete one final step to convince Nathaniel the curse was lifted.

Read More About John Spear

John Spear urged Nathaniel to forgive Judge Hathorne. “You don’t have to say it out loud,” John said. “Just forgive him in your heart.”

Nathaniel whispered his forgiveness.

John, Nathaniel and Sophia went to Judge Hathorne’s gravesite to give the journals proper burial.

Grave of Judge Hathorne, Charter Street Burial Ground, Salem, MA


I live near Salem and have been to all the Hawthorne landmarks there, and in Concord. The House of the Seven Gables has been my favorite house in the world since I'm a kid. I've always felt a strong spiritual connection to Salem, and always wanted to write one of my books set there, including the witch trials.

I read several of his books and stories, to get a better background on him. Nathaniel wrote from the heart, about his true beliefs, and his loathing of how the witch victims were treated. He did consider it disgraceful, and it certainly was. He added the 'w' to his last name to distance himself from the judge. That tormented him and his family all his life. It must have been cathartic to him to have his writing as his outlet.

Visit Salem

I was fortunate to get a private tour of the House of the Seven Gables when I was writing the book; two of the guides, Ryan Conary and David Moffat, showed me around, and it was fabulous.

 The Wayside, the only home the Hawthornes ever owned, in Concord, MA
Nathaniel added that room at the top for his writing studio

An Excerpt From FOR THE LOVE OF HAWTHORNE (Sophia and Nathaniel’s visit to his cousin Susan Ingersoll at The House of the Seven Gables)

I went over to a curio cabinet and swept my eyes over the items on the shelves—a china doll wearing a calico dress, a stack of gold cups and saucers, a red and blue glass checkerboard propped up to display its surface…and a wooden hammer on the top shelf. Upon closer inspection, I saw it was a gavel that judges use in trials. Out of curiosity I picked it up and a shock ran through me as if electrified. Dear God, was it that gavel?
I dropped it to the rug. It landed with a thump. I bent to retrieve it. Somehow I knew it wouldn’t shock me this time—that was only an initial warning. “Something about it made me want to touch it, to pick it up and hold it.”
Nathaniel approached me. He stared at the gavel in my hand, horror darkening his eyes. His lips parted but no words emerged. I knew what he was thinking—the curse. He turned to his cousin, pointing at the gavel, his arm trembling.
Susan hurried over to us, took it from me and placed it back on the shelf. “Yes, it’s Judge Hathorne’s. What happened, Sophie? Are you all right?”
I looked down at my open hands, palms up. They burned as if I’d touched a hot poker. “That gavel—it carries something evil. Has anything happened to you with this, Susie?”
Nathaniel backed away and before Susan could answer me, he grasped her arm. “I begged you to get rid of that accursed thing! You know it shouldn’t be here!”
She looked from him to me, heaving a deep sigh. “I’m not inclined to dispose of it, Natty. It’s a family heirloom, notwithstanding its past.”
He gripped the chair, his face drained of color. “It’s downright evil. You know what he used that thing for.”
She held her hands up in surrender. “Very well, I’ll conceal it.” She took it off the shelf and slid it behind the checkerboard.
“That should not be in this house!” He stood his ground, his eyes fixed on the checkerboard as if it would melt in such close proximity to that horrid object.
“It’s fine there, Natty. It’s concealed from sight now.” She looked at me and gestured for me to sit again. I sat and gulped my sherry.
“Nathaniel’s always overcome with distress at the witch trials.” Susan explained what I already knew.
“And so should you be,” he cut in.
“If I must speak for Judge Hathorne, I heard stories of him from my grandfather.” Susan looked from Nathaniel to me. “The whole hysteria that caught up the judge was started by unscrupulous men to further their own riches. But spectral evidence was still admissible. No sane person could believe that blithery.”


Connect with Diana

Monday, May 20, 2019

The House of New Orleans

I spent this last week in New Orleans, Lousiana, for the Book Lovers Con. If you've never been, I highly recommend it. But I'm hear to talk about the city.

I had visited once a long time ago. This was my first trip back since I started writing. To me, the city is so much more than Bourbon street and Mardi Gras. As a paranormal romance author, I have to say, this city is right up my alley. It's a paranormal romance writer's playground. Plus, just a fun place to visit!

Here's what I loved most...

I loved the difference in the different areas in architecture. The Frech Quarter with its balconied tightly woven buildings, the American townhouses held together by cables, the gorgeous shotgun houses in the Garden District. And, of course, all that wrought iron iconic of the area.

The above ground graveyards with their haunting beauty are both peaceful and slightly creepy to tour. Learn about the fascinating natural cremation process built into the crypts.

There are several Voodoo shops you can visit. Visit the Voodoo Museum. Take a tour including Marie Laveau's tomb. Get a psychic reading.

Ghost Tours
Every old city and town has its ghost stories. New Orleans, the 16th oldest city in the US, established in 1718 will, of course, have its share. Maybe more than its share, as the city has also seen a lot of devastation. Hurricane Katrina, yellow fever and smallpox epidemics, the great fires. Not to mention the usual individual tragedies that result in spirts and hauntings.

You can't come to New Orleans and not sample the food. The Cajun and Creole dishes. Jambalaya, gumbo, red beans and rice, etouffee, poboys, muffaletas. The beignets and pastries. Yum, yum, yum!

I LOVE jazz. Not necessarily the smooth, slow jazz. I'm more into the upbeat stuff. And New Orleans has great jazz. I got to see a street band perform, and could've stayed there all day listening.

I can't get enough of the stories. I think my favorite is about the Superdome. Which the parking garage was built, the city had to relocate a 200-year-old cemetery. Bad things started happening, and workers refused to work there. Until they hired a Voodoo priestess to perform a ritual cleansing.

See what I mean. A playground for a mind that loves to write paranormal romance. Have you visited a place that inspired you or made you wish you could read a story set there?

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Bird Watching Startup Guide for Dummies by Elizabeth Alsobrooks

Whether you’re a reader/writer or a reader,  you enjoy at least one activity that is essentially sedentary. Though the first directive of being a good bird watcher is to stand still, you can also use bird watching as a fun, active way to get off your bum and clear your head.  Though many of us who enjoy birds have feeders in our yards, some of the best bird watching is done in their natural habitat, outdoors. Parks are a great place to find and watch birds and having a nice hike to get into the thick of things is a great way to get some exercise.  Once you’re there in the great outdoors getting some fresh air and exercise, here’s some tips for what to do next.

Five Bird Watching Tips (For Idiots)
1.       Shut up and stand still
2.       Listen
3.       Use your eyes first
4.       Wear the right clothes
5.       Know your habitat

Here’s a video from a professional who explains those steps so that even I, an amateur bird watcher, can understand.

Using Your Binoculars

Binoculars are actually tricky to use.  Here is a great guide on how to adjust them to your eyes.

An Online Guide
See a bird you want to identify?  Here’s an online photo guide from Bird Watcher’s Digest, which you could also subscribe to.

Listening to Birds

Did you hear a bird you want to identify?  Here’s a handy online bird song guide.

Have Your Guide with You-A Free Ap

Carrying a book around with you everywhere isn’t very practical. If you are going to go bird watching, sure, but you can be prepared for bird identification anywhere.  Most folks carry their phones, and here’s a FREE bird ap for your phone, from the experts at the Audubon Society!

Best Bird Field Guides (Books)

Not sure what bird identification book is best? Here’s an article that helps you decide. This site also contains such useful information as which hummingbird feeders are best, what to do if you find an abandoned baby bird, and much more.

I hope you find this little resource guide I’ve put together useful. It’s mating season, so happy bird watching!

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Guest: Tina Fausett TAINTED #Free #paranormal @TinaFausett

Today, we welcome a guest author, Tina Fausett whose new release contains angels. Not necessarily good ones.

Tainted – Part 1 (A Shift in the Universe) by Tina Fausett
The first installment in the ongoing saga of A Shift in the Universe is FREE for a limited time…

Part 1 - Tainted:

A jealous, malevolent wife hooked on prescription drugs, a husband caught between reality and carnal fantasies, and an angel cast from heaven, are all bound together by their hatred for one woman whose spells and manifestations catch them in a downward spiral towards hell...Gina Faulkner, thought to be a voodoo queen, owner of Swamp Witch Pickles in New Orleans, is the center of it all.

Bane Colton, dangerous and cocky, sees Gina at the French Market and the game is on. He makes up his mind he's going to break the feisty redhead with the infamous kinky reputation, body and soul. And Gina's ready to be a player, until Bane’s estranged and demented wife, Beverly, wants him back.

Enter enigmatic Darsh, known to many as the Angel of Death, who’s watched over Gina since she was fifteen and has loved her almost as much as he’s hated her. Now they would come face to face. He could save her from certain peril, but could never save her from herself. Would she destroy them all? At the very least, a shift in the universe was coming.

“I had a love once that I never got over. I still dream about him, think of him, wonder if I’ll see him in heaven. No, it wasn’t your grandfather, Ian. I did love him. But sometimes there’s one person your soul meshes with so completely that you don’t care if you ever have sex because it’s worth a lifetime just to see them once in a while.” His grandmother looked off as if she were seeing someone in the distance. “Can you understand what I’m saying?” She turned back to him, her gaze penetrating.
“No,” he lied as tears stung the backs of his eyes.
“Sometimes, you love someone so much you almost hate them for it, for to hate someone you have to be capable of loving them. Who is it that you just lied about? Who is it that you hate?”
“No one, Grandmother…no one.”
“I’ve always felt sad for you, Ian, never having known what it’s like to be in love. But I see it in your eyes. You know what it’s like to be in hate.”
Darsh stood, walked to her, bent, and kissed her cheek. “No one is worthy of my hate,” he whispered.
“If you saw her today, the woman unworthy of your hate, what would you feel for her?” the old woman asked knowingly.
“Extreme dislike,” he answered, his eyes narrowing. “Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got work to do before dinner.”
Darsh turned down the hallway towards the library. My world’s crumbling…I can’t keep going like this.. He ran his hands through his hair. It’s all finally catching up to me and soon nothing will be the same. A shift in the universe is coming and Gina Faulkner’s bound to be at the heart of it.

Amazon purchase link:

Check out the other stories in the series...

Link to other installments:

About the author:
Tina Fausett was born and raised in Oklahoma City and attended both the University of Central Oklahoma and Oklahoma University, majoring in History and English. She's a published poet and novelist, as well as an oil painter, historic home specialist. She's owned an antique store and art gallery and currently runs a company called Red Hot Mamma's Pickles in Oklahoma City where she lives in an historic neighborhood. She's lived in the Garden District in New Orleans, the city she loves, and tries to spend her time between the two cities. Tina has a daughter, son and granddaughter that are her main focus.

Find Tina Here:

Twitter: @TinaFausett

Monday, May 13, 2019

Girls Can Do Anything by Diane Burton

Did you know that three out of four science divisions at NASA are headed by women? For the first time in NASA’s history! Is this amazing or what? Earth Science division, Heliophysics division, and Planetary Science division have female directors. Wonderful role models for today’s girls and young women. Here’s a link to learn more about these women:

credit: IMDB
Two years ago, my local book group chose to read Hidden Figures, the book on which the movie of the same name was based. I found the book boring. Too many dry facts. The movie, on the other hand, held my interest from the beginning to the end. Whether you preferred the book or the movie, the representation of the women who helped put Americans in space is a fantastic story. All through the movie, I kept wondering why we hadn't heard of these women before.

My granddaughter loves to dance. In many ways, she’s a girly-girl. Yet, through Girl Scouts, she’s encouraged to explore STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) disciplines. And because I want her to she has many options, I’ve gotten her LEGO sets featuring females, like Women of NASA . . . along with ballerina ornaments at Christmas. Whether she chooses to become a dancer or an engineer, she knows she has options.

When I was in high school, a girl was supposed to get married and have children. As a just-in-case she didn’t find a husband to support her, a girl could be a teacher, a nurse, a secretary, and a telephone operator. Limited options. I emphasized to my daughter and the girls in our Girl Scout troop, that girls can do anything. They aren’t limited by what society deemed “women’s roles.”

Now, we’re reading and hearing about women who broke through barriers and made their mark on history. What will happen now that today’s girls have leaders to look up to and follow? Maybe they’ll figure out how to put a woman on the moon. Or Mars. 

credit: Disney Toys

To paraphrase Buzz Lightyear, girls can go “to infinity and beyond.”

Saturday, May 4, 2019

Ways to Boost Your Mental Health & Wellness

May is mental health month with this year being the 70th year raising mental health awareness and boosting general mental health and wellness. 

I may no longer work in direct patient care as a psychiatric and mental health nurse, but this topic has remained near and dear to my heart. 

The Importance of Self-Care

When we're taking care of ourselves, and others, it's easy to overlook caring for our mental health. Sometimes in a society that's built upon a rapid pace of always doing, going, and being available up to 24-hours a day with social media, it's almost as if we feel a little guilty at taking time for ourselves. But we shouldn't. 

People might joke that they're taking a 'mental health day' but this time to relax and unwind is necessary for us to be the best version of ourselves. I, of course, will recommend reading a good book to enjoy a little mini-escape from the stressors of the everyday—a paranormal or fantasy one is my favorite escape. 

Nurture Your Mental Health

My first story features strong elements of mental health as I drew upon my years working in a state psychiatric hospital. I hope to one day polish this story enough to have it published while honoring individuals living with mental illness. 

Much of my freelance writing focuses around recognizing and nurturing mental health and wellness. I'd like to share some of those articles with you today so you might find ways to nurture your own wellness, or lend a hand to someone who might need one. 

This is just a sampling of my some of my articles on mental health and wellness. You can find many more here in my writing portfolio.

How Do You Take Care of Your Mental Health & Wellness?

Author Bio: Maureen Bonatch grew up in small town Pennsylvania and her love of the four seasons—hockey, biking, sweat pants and hibernation—keeps her there. While immersed in writing or reading paranormal romance and fantasy, she survives on caffeine, wine, music, and laughter. A feisty Shih Tzu keeps her in line. Find Maureen on her websiteFacebookTwitter

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