Thursday, April 6, 2017

Getting Cozy in the Bibliophile’s Space

Warring Clans, Dark and Brooding Castle Coves and the Banshees That Haunt Them: A Sneak Peek into Sophia’s World

When I immersed myself in writing the Time Traveling Bibliophile Series, one of the things I most enjoyed was envisioning a character who constantly found herself in the most curious of places. No matter where Sophia Marcil went in time, she wound up falling or bumping into a secret passage, a vintage bookshop or a dark and threatening forest and all while evading her killer. It seemed to me that Sophia gravitated to the fairytale locations she might have found in the books she shelved, places like Lichtenstein Castle, the Black Forest, and fairy hill. Also finding herself in haunted spaces such as Romania’s Gothic-Renaissance castle in Hunedoara, and the witch’s cottage where it all began. So, in honor of our bookish heroine and her dangerous explorations, I’ve decided to write a series of blogposts on the cozy places that make up Sophia’s world. Even filling you in on the truth behind the tales that inspired them, sometimes truth is stranger than fiction.

First we’ll start with Northern Ireland which is the prominent backdrop in BOOK THREE, The Temple of Indra’s Lies and we’ll meet the legendary banshee who roams the dark brooding fortress and the mermaid’s cove beneath.

Excerpt from BOOK THREE, The Temple of Indra’s Lies

Northern Ireland, November 1551

To the east of a small seaside village in Northern Ireland, Alexandra Cuza paced the cold damp floor of the cave below the massive Dunlace Castle. The weather was violent, and the waves smashed and tumbled against the sharpened stone of the White Rocks cliffs. Off in the distance, thin clouds sailed across a darkening sky, and the wind swept wildly as if to mirror Alexandra’s own foul and loathsome mood. This medieval castle was her home now, much like the one she’d grown up in and yet so very different. Occasionally she missed the heavily wooded mountains of southwestern Transylvania, but there was nothing like the roar of the mighty waters, as they came rushing and bellowing into the deep cavern of the mermaid’s cave.
Using her prophetic sight to her advantage, Alexandra had ingratiated herself into the McQuillan Clan over the last ten years, becoming known as Saundra—the Witch of Dunlace—mistress and advisor to Lord Uilliam McQuillan. She’d waited fifty-seven years to exact her revenge on this man.
There was but one problem: she no longer wanted to.

Dunluce Castle Facts
This famous Celtic Castle stands on a rocky crag on the northeast coast of the island of Ireland in County Antrim. First built by the Irish noble Richard Óg de Burgh in the thirteenth century, the earliest documented records from 1513 show that at that time it belonged to the MacQuillan family before being taken by the MacDonnell’s. The site of Dunluce Castle has been seen as significant both spiritually and strategically and has often been fought over.
The castle is carved into a rocky promontory, so that the cliffs around the castle drop off straight into the ocean. The sea-grass and rocks are slippery from the salt-mist and, in some places, the rocky surface has caved in and the crashing ocean is visible far beneath the surface opening. This dangerous setting made the castle a perfect defense against invaders, but a reckless place to carry out daily life. In the early 1600s the cliff-face supporting the castle kitchen crumbled into the ocean and plummeted all the people inside to their deaths. 


The Banshee of Dunluce Castle
One of the most popular tales associated with the McQuillans and Dunluce Castle is the legend of Maeve Roe, the McQuillan Banshee. There are many blogs that detail the story but here is the most common. Please note that while the names of the families are the same, this story differs slightly from Temple of Indra’s Lies, but it is truth that inspired me to imagine Sophia’s own scenario.
Maeve Roe McQuillan, the beautiful Lord’s daughter, fell in love with Reginald O’Cahan. The O’Cahans were one of the McQuillans’ bitterest rivals and the Lord of the Route did not see Reginald as a suitable match for Maeve. In attempting to dissuade Maeve from marrying Reginald, he took the rather extreme step of locking her in the north eastern tower of Dunluce. With no servants to attend her or friends to keep her company, Maeve spent the lonely days and nights pining for her lover and sweeping her room with a brush. After some days, her father grew worried at how distraught Maeve Roe had become. He took pity on her and hatched a scheme to allow her to reunite with Reginald which at the same time allowed him to save face.
On a wild and windy night, the Lord left the castle with his clansmen on a raiding mission into a rival’s territory. While he was away, he had instructed one of his servants to free Maeve Roe from her tower and lead her to the Mermaid’s Cave underneath the castle where Reginald was waiting for her. There was a boat nearby to allow them the means to escape. However, as you may have guessed, there wasn’t a happy ending. Due to the storm, the row boat crashed against the rocks and the couple were drowned. Reginald’s remains were subsequently washed ashore but Maeve Roe’s body was never found. Maeve’s ghost continues to haunt the tower to this day, sweeping the room she had been imprisoned in. Not only that, Maeve Roe also became the family banshee, mourning the impending passing of McQuillans with her sorrowful wail.
To see where I found these stories, check out either of these pages.

Curious to know more about the Time Traveling Bibliophile and her cozy adventures into the past, check out the Temple of Indra’s Lies on Amazon. OR start at the beginning.


You can also get more visual sneak peeks on my Pinterest page at the The Magical World of the Bibliophile.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Start Reading the Bestselling Time Traveling Bibliophile Series for FREE

Temple of Indra's Jewel is FREE this week on Amazon. It follows Sophia, a young librarian pulled back in time. If you haven't read it, grab it before Friday. 

If you have read it, Book 2: Curse is on sale for 2.99. And if you would like to read something new from me, sign up to receive my newsletter and I'll enter you into my draw to receive my next early review copy.


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Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Win a Signed Paperback! Time Traveling Bibliophile Goodreads Giveaway Contest Ends March 12th


The Time Traveling Bibliophile Goodreads Giveaway is almost over!

Have you entered yet? In honor of my latest release, Temple of Indra's WITCH,  I’m giving away three signed paperbacks. Click below to enter the giveaway.

Oh and please tell everyone you can by sharing this post! Click on the Twitter and/or Facebook icon below. Here's what it will look like. :)
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Goodreads Book Giveaway

Temple of Indra's Jewel by Rachael Stapleton

Temple of Indra's Jewel

by Rachael Stapleton

Giveaway ends March 12, 2017.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
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Goodreads Book Giveaway

Temple of Indra's Curse by Rachael Stapleton

Temple of Indra's Curse

by Rachael Stapleton

Giveaway ends March 12, 2017.
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Goodreads Book Giveaway

Temple of Indra's Lies by Rachael Stapleton

Temple of Indra's Lies

by Rachael Stapleton

Giveaway ends March 12, 2017.
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Guest Blogger Author of Facials Can Be Fatal Nancy Cohen Talks Abandoned Theme Parks

Theme Parks - Fun or Fearsome? 

Theme parks like Disney World and Universal Studios attract guests of all ages. Tiny tots might be frightened by costumed characters, but they’ll soon outgrow it and stand in line for a photo op with the very same character.

Abandoned theme parks, on the other hand, can be quite scary. Imagine strolling through a carnival without any people present and with banners flapping in the breeze by derelict rides. You’d hear wood creaking and perhaps smell the lingering scent of stale popcorn.

When researching Facials Can Be Fatal, I read about a defunct tourist attraction in Dania, Florida named Pirates World. This would be perfect for a scene in my story. Elements of my book harken to the days of shipwrecks along the Florida coast and tales of pirate treasure. What spookier place could there be than a former theme park?

My fictional attraction is called Pirate’s Playground. Marla, my hairstylist sleuth, joins her husband—Detective Dalton Vail—to track down a suspect there. Here’s an excerpt:

Inside the gate, they paused to survey the territory. A full moon came out from behind a cloud, providing enough illumination to discern shadowy forms looming in the dark. A huge replica of a pirate ship rose on their left, its ropes clanging in the wind. Cannons were aimed at the walkway. Marla guessed they had been loaded with water to shoot passersby.

“There’s another ship somewhere on a fake waterway,” she said. “Pirates fired at the vessel while it sailed on the so-called river. The crew shot back to protect their passengers. I imagine it was like a variation of the jungle cruise at Disney World.”

Marla’s scalp prickled. Where could their quarry have gone? An observation tower drew her attention. It had cages suspended in the air. From what she’d read, people considered this a thrill ride back in the day.

Up ahead to their left rose a twisting rollercoaster. A cool breeze lifted the hairs on her arms and brought with it the aroma of dry dirt. She shut off her flashlight to conserve power, letting Dalton lead with his turned on when the moon slipped behind a cloud.

They passed the remains of a log flume and a water slide, skirted a funhouse called Pirate’s Den, and ended up beside an arcade. Marla studied the ring toss game. She’d never been good at that sort of thing.

“It’s too quiet here,” Dalton said in a hushed tone. “I don’t like it.”

“Of course it’s quiet. What did you expect?” Marla paused in front of a shooting gallery. She figured that was one game where Dalton would excel.

Hey, was that man-sized target moving?

The real Pirates World was built in 1967 and lasted until its doors closed in the 1970s. The land was rezoned for residential use, and today condominiums inhabit the site. But not so in my story, where the derelict rides still stand. It’s always better in a story when you can base a scene on a real place.

What is your favorite theme park?

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Facials Can Be Fatal by Nancy J. Cohen

During the frenzy of the December holidays, the last thing salon owner Marla Vail needs is a dead body slathered in a green facial mask at her new day spa. The victim, Valerie Weston, was a major donor for Friends of Old Florida, a historic building preservation society. Marla’s stylists are scheduled to work backstage at their upcoming gala fashion show, but Val’s demise might put a crimp in their plans. Hoping to salvage her reputation, Marla determines to track down the suspects. As she learns more about Val, she realizes the benefactress might have stumbled onto secrets others would kill to keep. She’d better prepare for a body count that has nothing to do with hot stone massages and everything to do with murder.

View the Book Trailer: https://youtu.be/6OTw5232Eeg

Order at Amazon or Barnes and Noble

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 Nancy J. Cohen writes the Bad Hair Day Mysteries featuring South Florida hairstylist Marla Vail. Titles in this series have made the IMBA bestseller list, been selected by Suspense Magazine as best cozy mystery, and won third place in the Arizona Literary Awards. Nancy has also written the instructional guide, Writing the Cozy Mystery. A featured speaker at libraries, conferences, and community events, she is listed in Contemporary Authors, Poets & Writers, and Who's Who in U.S. Writers, Editors, & Poets. When not busy writing, Nancy enjoys fine dining, cruising, visiting Disney World, and shopping. 

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Tour Participants
March 1 – Laura’s interests – REVIEW, EXCERPT
March 2 – Community Bookstop – REVIEW  
March 2 – Books, Dreams, Life – SPOTLIGHT, EXCERPT
March 3 – Brooke Blogs – GUEST POST, EXCERPT
March 4 – Readeropolis – REVIEW
March 5 – Cozy Up With Kathy – GUEST POST
March 6 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – INTERVIEW
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March 8 – The Mysterious Ink Spot – GUEST POST
March 9 – The Book’s the Thing – REVIEW
March 10 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

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About the Blogger

Author Rachael Stapleton lives in a Second Empire Victorian home with her husband and two children in Ontario, Canada and enjoys writing in the comforts of aged wood and arched dormers. To learn more about Rachael Stapleton, visit her online at: RachaelStapleton.com

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