Monday, July 27, 2015

Treasure at Leap Castle and Hats Off Corner Welcomes Desiree Holt

There's Treasure Someplace. I just know it.

Where to Dig?

According to legend, in the 1600s the ownership of Leap Castle passed on to the Darby family. Actually an O'Carroll daughter fell in love with a Darby and married him. That's a huge change in the family pattern, isn't it? Love. Marriage. Not hate and murder.

Anyway, during the English Civil War, one of the Darby's buried a considerable treasure somewhere on the grounds. Can you guess what happened to the two servants who helped him? Yep. Two more ghosts--probably grumpy ones--joined the cast of many others. 

The story is that no one has found the treasure yet. 

Next week: the story of the Elemental Spirit of Leap Castle. Brrrrr!


Earlier this month I sent my first email with a free book offer to people who were kind enough to subscribe to my list. And I'm getting ready to do my Hot August Nights Drawing. So if you'd like to enter to win, add your email to MailChimp (top right under the spinning globe). If you do sign up, check your spam for the verification email, and if it's there, drag it to your inbox before verifying. As Charlie would say, "Good grief!"  I'll be sending out emails about the drawing in mid August! Hope you'll jump on board.


Now let's switch gears. From mysterious murder and treasure/MailChimp details, let's go to an author who spices up our reading lives. 

Hats Off Corner Welcomes Desiree Holt


Known the world over as The Oldest Living Erotica Author, Desiree Holt proves every day that she is more than the sum of her years and more than the grandmother who plays with Barbie and Ken dolls: She is The Hardest Working Erotica Author, producing one novel or more each month and receiving rave reviews. 
She is twice a finalist for an EPIC E-Book Award, a nominee for a Romantic Times Reviewers Choice Award, winner of the first 5 Heart Sweetheart of the Year Award at The Romance Studio as well as twice a CAPA Award for best BDSM book of the year, winner of the Holt Medallion, multiple winner of the Whipped Cream Book of the Week Award and is published by five different houses. She has been featured on CBS Sunday Morning and in The Village Voice, The Daily Beast, USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, The London Daily Mail and numerous other national and international publications.

“Get out the ice water and fan…Desiree Holt delivers smoking hot alpha heroes and red hot romances.” Lea Franczak, USA Today Happy Ever After blog

Learn more about her and read her novels here:
Twitter @desireeholt
Pinterest: desiree02holt
Google: www.desiree02holt


Quote for the Week: "Pleasure is more in contemplation than in realization." Malcolm Forbes

What do you think of these Leap Castle stories? Wonder what it's like being the oldest living erotica author? And does this quote "flesh out" today's post? If you haven't signed up for my mailing list, hope you will. Next month's drawing is coming up, and if you're on my list, you'll have a chance at winning. Happy Monday.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Murder Most Foul

Murder Most Foul

(I hit the wrong button last week and posted this one before it's time, so here it is again in the proper order. I think the ghosts are at work in my computer. Sorry!)
Leap Castle Gate

Remember my little encounter in the Bloody Chapel of Leap Castle? Well, it looks like I got off easy. I keep finding more stories that make Edgar Allen's stories seem rather fluffy. 

While this McKenzie escaped with only a missing tab from her backpack, the clan McMahon didn't fare quite as well. 
A McKenzie Inside the Bloody Chapel

Those O'Carrolls were downright nasty devils and not above hiring, then firing their employees--permanently. After the McMahon's (about 40 of them, the story goes) provided their services, the O'Carrolls invited them to celebrate with a nice little arsenic (guessing here) laced feast. And poof. . . 40 more ghosts. That place is over-crowded with spirits not ready to forgive and forget.

The interesting thing is that whenever I asked the present-day owner what he could tell me about the castle that would be of interest, the word ghost never passed his lips. 

Next week: The Treasure of Leap Castle


Who is this actor? I can't remember his name.

Hats Off Corner will return next week with Desiree Holt. I still want to feature authors here, so if you're interested in a bit of promo for your next or last book, let me know.

Quote of the Week: "The end is simply the beginning of an even longer story." Zadie Smith, Novelist

Any particularly horrible Leap Castle stories you know about? Interested in being featured in my Hats Off Corner? The quote was all about this series I'm doing on the haunted castle. There are more tales than I'll ever be able to tell. 

Monday, July 13, 2015

My Ghostly Leap Castle Tour

The Front of the Castle

Leap Castle is purportedly the most haunted castle in Ireland. 

Here's some of why. 

In the mid 1500's, the O'Carroll's squabbled non-stop about succession to the leadership of the clan. Squabbled is a bit light, considering they murdered each other and others with some regularity. The first ghost is said to be that of Thaddeus, Teige's brother. Teige didn't care much for the way Thaddeus held his mass in the Chapel, so he did him in with a knife in the back. People reported sudden flashes of light from those top windows, even when the castle was vacant and in ruin.

Thaddeus' death was just a drop in the bloody bucket. During renovation in the 1920's, workmen discovered truck loads of bones. The bodies had been dropped through what's called the oubliette (the forgetting) onto spikes positioned to puncture the lungs. These deaths were not swift. There's more, but you get the idea. 

If any castle has ghosts, Leap Castle does. And these ghosts deserve to be ticked off. I just didn't want them to be ticked off at me. I'm only half Irish.

Greeting at the door. 
When I climbed the narrow winding stairs into the Bloody Chapel, nothing unusual happened. Once in the Chapel, I took pictures and sat at the dusty table to have a good look into the shadowy corners. Sunlight filtered through gothic windows without panes but with swags of spidery filaments. Beauty outside. Ghosts inside? 

Inside Death. Outside Freedom

It wasn't until I'd returned to the lower rooms of the castle that I noticed my backpack was missing its metal pull. I found that pull in the bottom of my bag (kind of mysterious, since the bag was still zipped closed) and reattached it. It was hard to do, and I needed to pry open the clasp with knife edge to slip it back into place. That pull never came off again. It's still on my bag, but in the Bloody Tower it came off. Ghosts? Poppycock?

With Sean Ryan, the latest owner, 
after my "ghostly" experience.
Next week: More of Leap's Ghostly Tales


Add Your Email and I'll send you Special Offers: Free Books, Gift Certificates, Help for Writers and an occasional Hug.

My first Campaign using MailChimp made me sweat as much as a submission does. Why is that? And why did it take me twenty minutes to figure out how to do it? I think it's because my head's not wired like a programmer's. I need some re-wiring if I'm to tackle this social media seriously. I am not a savvy social media person. My bad. Beam me up, Scottie.

However, I did send my email with my first Special Offer to my subscribers, and several have already taken advantage of it. That's very exciting to me because I had no idea what to expect. 


Quote for the week:

"People who are trying to make this world worse are not taking the day off--why should I?" Bob Marley

Are you ready to tour a haunted castle? Want to be a part of my new mailing list? Did you like Bob Marley's humor? I thought it fit the mood of today's post.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Everyone Must Be Irish

The Emerald Isle

My Last Day to Drive in Ireland_2015

I've been off enjoying another time in Ireland and no matter who I tell about my trip, they come back with, "My roots are in Ireland." It seems the Irish poured into the states and had a few children.

My maternal grandfather and grandmother were definitely Irish. Riley and Murray to be exact. And I've tracked the line back to the 1800's where I found my great-great+? grandfather who was a doctor and a horse breeder in Tennessee.

As I sat sipping my Guinness in a local pub with some distant, but ever so wonderful, relatives it became very clear that I was sharing time with people from the same gene pool, and I was quite at home. I wanted to call my gram and gramps and tell them all about the experience, but that's no longer possible. I'll have to enjoy it without their knowing that after a few generations, a Riley-Murray enjoys returning to say hi.

One of my best excursions was to Leap Castle (often pronounced /lep/ by the locals). J.H. Moncrieff posted about this haunted castle in her AtoZ Challenge this year, and I discovered I was staying a short walk away. It was being redone, but from what I saw, there would be many years before you could say that process was complete. The "Tour" was interesting and a bit spooky as it should have been. I'll tell you about that next week. 

Leap Castle, The Most Haunted Castle in Ireland

Special Offers Mailing List

I'm working on revamping my life--a lot, and one of my revamps is to create a mailing list for Special Offers I hope to make in the near future. I've added Mail Chimp to the top right of my webpage margin, and if you'd like to receive those special offers, please add your email. I'm not going to send a monthly newsletter or hound you regularly, but I will pop in once in a while with treats for those on my list. 

Quote of the Week

"The trouble with history is that there are too many people involved." Novelist Nick Hornby

So...are you Irish? Ever been there? Do you love haunted castles? 

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Bye-Bye June and July Insecure Writer's Group

This is my first post since I took my June break. I'm shocked at how slow I am in putting it together and how fast June vanished into the past. Ireland was an adventure with so many exciting and wonderful experiences. I've been there twice before, but each time I find more to explore and more to enjoy.

Driving in Ireland is always one experience that sharpens my senses and makes me pay attention to those otherwise automatic responses. When you're on the "wrong" side of the road, shifting with your left, not your right hand and mostly lost, it's kind of like having to take over all your usually unconscious functions like breathing. Such a big job.  

Anyway I made it. Now I have to see if I remember how to make a right hand turn American style!


I'm back in time to consider the topic of insecurity and how it affects our lives as writers.

Mine creeps in on tiptoes when I'm trying to pay attention to a work in progress, then grabs me by the throat with questions. Will I be able to tell the story I want? Will it be as good on the page as it is in my head? Will anyone besides me "get" what I'm trying to say?

Since Ms. Insecurity is repetitive in her questions and I respond pretty much the same way every time, I should be able to deal with her very efficiently. But even with the sameness factor, I have to cope with her each time as if it were the first.

So what's your Insecurity today? Be sure to visit others who share the fun with you! And here are the Co-Hosts! Check out their sites along the way.  Charity Bradford, S.A. Larsen, AJ, Tamara Narayan, Allison Gammons, and Tanya Miranda!