Thursday, October 15, 2015

Haunting your Story

Posted by: Cindy Spencer Pape

I could probably make my post almost exactly the same as the one I did on psychics. I’d love to believe, but so far, nothing has convinced me. I’ve always wanted to see one, but never have.

But enough with the science. We want to talk about books!

Why do we love ghost stories so much? If they’re scary, there’s an actual biochemical reaction in our bodies that produces adrenaline and excites us—pretty much the same as riding a roller-coaster. If the ghosts are benevolent, we like them because they help us believe that our soul, our personality continues after death.

Ghosts have been a favorite paranormal element for me, since the first book I ever had published, TheCowboy’s Christmas Bride, which is still, by the way, available from the Wild Rose Press, along with several sequels. My co-written book with Lacey Thorn, One Good Man, one of my first erotic romances, is a spin on the phantom hitchhiker urban myth and the ghost is a major character—though not the hero. I didn’t do that in a book until All Hallows Evie, in my Holiday Hearts series from Ellora’s Cave. The hero can see ghosts, and the heroine, who died shortly after World War I, only manifests for a little while each year around the night she died—Halloween. There are even ghosts in my steampunk series, The Gaslight Chronicles. Nell, one of the major characters of the series, is another natural medium.  Ether and Elephants, the final book of the series is her story, and the ghosts are a major part.
So why ghosts?

Well, to start with, I think they’re fun to write. You can have snarky ghosts, know-it-all ghosts, sexy ghosts, scary ghosts, and silly ghosts. They can help or hinder your characters in whatever goals they’re trying to pursue. After all, a ghost who was a liar in real life probably isn’t much more reliable now that he’s dead, right? And then there’s always the element of how other people, who can’t see or hear the ghosts, react to those who can. Sometimes, a character seeing a ghost for the first time can even doubt his or her own sanity, which can certainly mess with a budding relationship.
Furthermore, ghosts are a very flexible element to play with while writing. What can they do, how much about the real world do they know? I’ve had some that were precognitive to a degree, and others who were absolutely clueless. You have to figure out why the ghost is still around. Unfinished business? Vengeance? To protect future generations of their family? Or just because, with no explanation necessary.

My newest release doesn’t, unfortunately feature any ghosts, just magic of other kinds. Just in case you’re interested, however, here’s the blurb and link:

Beltane Lion, in Entice Me: The Boxed Set

Rhodri of Llyan has returned from the Crusades a cursed man.  On the way home to Wales, a young friend is sorely injured. Rhodri seeks the aid of village healer, Selene, whose gift for healing is as uncanny as her beauty.  Selene’s magic can cure wounds, but she isn’t sure she can break the curse or heal the wounds on Rhodri’s heart.   


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