Revisiting Scotland

In honor of the one year anniversary of my Scotland trip, I thought I would repost last years article about it. I truly love that country and can’t wait to go back again.

I’ve attached a couple more photos that weren’t in the original article which you can see here.

Glasgow – so glad I didn’t rent a car and try to drive myself.
Glasgow
A Scots Toast
Edinburgh
Hollyrood Castle – Edinburgh

Some of my pictures show dreary, rainy skies but I didn’t want you think that is how it was my entire trip. The Edinburgh picture and the Hollyrood Castle pictures were taken the same afternoon. That’s how quickly the weather would change and suddenly become sunny and beautiful.

Thank for joining me on my trip down memory lane. It was the trip of a lifetime and I hope to get there again soon.

Debbie Boek
debbieboek.com

LET’S GET MEDIEVAL

I usually share blogs about other writers or about creatures that fuel a writer’s imagination, but I’m going to do something different today. As you know I’ve written a series of supernatural thrillers, but that type of novel is not necessarily everyone’s cup of tea.

In case you were not aware of it, I began my writing career with two historical romance novels and I’m going to tell you a little a bit about the first one that was published, If Not For The Knight.

The story takes place in Northern England and begins in 1066, after William the Conqueror defeated Harold Godwinson and became the King of England, as well as of Normandy.

The original inspiration for my novel was a movie called The Warlord, which starred Charlton Heston, Rosemary Forsythe and Richard Boone. The movie is premised on a particular right that feudal lords were entitled to with subordinate women on their wedding nights, which was called Droit du seigneur or ‘Lord’s right’.

Although my story is nothing like The Warlord, it was the reason that I began doing the research that I did. I found that the time of the Norman conquest was filled with its own drama and I was able to incorporate some of what really happened into the imaginary world of my novel.

Those times were turbulent and King William used his knights to viciously put down any rebellions, even going so far as to imprison his own his half-brother, Odo. As part of his efforts to secure England, William ordered many castles built, including the Tower of London. Those fortifications allowed the Normans to retreat in safety when rebellions threatened.

The main character in If Not For the Knight is a Calder Wyndym, one of the King’s knights. He is tasked to build one of those castles in a small Saxon village. While doing so, he falls in love with a young Saxon woman and creates an even deeper rift between the Normans and her fellow villagers, who are still reeling from the violent overthrow of their country.

It is a historical romance novel but, along with the romance, there is a substantial amount of drama, intrigue, danger and, of course, a few battles. This book was originally published in 2005 but I recently republished it.

I will be releasing the sequel, When the Knight Falls, in October 2019 so I wanted to bring the re-release of If Not For The Knight to people’s attention, in case they hadn’t ever read it or, if they did when it first came out in 2005, to give them time reacquaint themselves with the characters before the sequel is released.

Thanks for joining me and I hope you get a chance to check out If Not For The Knight.

Debbie
debbieboek.com
debbieboek.blog

GHOSTFACERS

As a follow up to last month’s post, I wanted to share my ghost-face photos with you. In case you missed my blog from June, I did a post on some books that I’d read about cases investigated by the demonologists Ed and Lorraine Warren.

In one of the books they explained that if you take a photo of a gravestone, you can sometimes see the face of the person buried there in the lichen on the stone. And I, of course, had to go to my local cemetery and check it out.

Can you see the face to the left upper side of the stone? To me it’s very obvious, but not everyone that I showed it to was able to see what I saw.

In this photo, I see a woman’s head in the upper part of the stone on the right, it looks almost like a cameo to me. For the stone on the left, I see the eyes, nose, mouth and chin of a man, do you?

After sharing my initial experience with my sister, she and I headed out to a different, and even older cemetery, to see what new faces we might find. We came across the above stone which, I believe, shows a man’s face very clearly. I hope you can make it out, as well.

This man’s face shows in the upper left-hand corner, his eyes and nose stand out the most to me. My sister and I came across many others, but it isn’t always easy to tell if you are really seeing something, or if you are making it up, a little like a rorschach inkblot.

Some faces, I could see when I first looked at the pictures, but when I went back, I could no longer locate a face. I was sure that I could see the face of a baby on poor Blanche’s stone but, now when I look at it, I can’t be sure what I’m seeing, if anything at all.

I only posted the photos, other than Blanche’s, that I thought the majority of viewers would be able to make out the faces on. I hope you can, and I would be very curious to hear your thoughts about this. If you take any photos of your own and are successful, please share them. I think it’s a very intriguing experiment.  

Thanks for joining me and keep on reading!

Debbie
debbieboek.com

Will the Real Annabelle Please Stand Up

It’s rare to scare yourself silly watching a creepy movie and then find out that it is based on a “true” story. I believe we all know at least some of the details of the Amityville Horror case but, who knew that A Haunting in Connecticut, Annabelle and The Conjuring, among others, are based on real cases that were investigated by the demonologists, Ed and Lorraine Warren?

I’ve recently discovered some books based the true accounts of their investigations. I’ve only read two of them so far, Ghost Hunters and Graveyard, but I found them delightfully creepy and very enjoyable.

Ed and Lorraine founded the New England Society of Psychic Research in 1952. The NESPR uses a variety of individuals in its investigations, including doctors, police officers, nurses and members of clergy, among others. Lorraine was a clairvoyant and medium who died on April 18, 2019. Ed was a self-taught demonologist who passed away August 23, 2006.

They investigated over ten thousand claims of hauntings or demonic possession over their careers and were among the first investigators in the Amityville case.

In the off chance that you are not familiar with it, on 11/13/74, Ronald Defeo, Jr. shot and killed his parents, two brothers and two sisters in Amityville, New York. He testified at his trial that he heard voices that told him to kill his family. The home was subsequently sold to the Lutz family who claimed that there was a demonic presence in it so violent that it eventually drove them out of their home.

Ghost Hunters has fourteen different “Case Files” where Ed and Lorraine discuss real cases that they investigated, including an interview about Amityville where they explain why they agree there was a demonic infestation in that house.

In honor of Annabelle Comes Home which is being released June 26, 2019 at a theater near you, I thought now would be a great time to introduce you to the Warrens and their experiences. Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson will be reprising their roles as Ed and Lorraine in the movie.

Interestingly enough, the Annabelle doll on the left in the photo below, has already made an appearance in several Conjuring/Annabelle movies. However, the real Annabelle doll that was possessed was the Raggedy Ann in the photo.

I tried to find out why they used a different doll for the movies and came up with three potential answers: 1) Raggedy Ann did not look menacing enough and they wanted something more “horror movie dollish” or 2) plush doll heads can’t spin or 3) copyright issues because it was an original Raggedy Ann doll.

To be honest, I don’t think Raggedy Ann is quite so intimating as that other ghastly doll. Even if it wasn’t possessed, I don’t think I’d want it in my house.

Ghost Hunters was very interesting and educational. I even came across some ghostly fodder for future stories for my Devereaux Chronicle series. Even so, I actually enjoyed Graveyard more than Ghost Hunters. The stories contained in that book all center around reported hauntings in cemeteries. Many of the stories are focused on the Union Cemetery in Connecticut, but not all of them.

As far as I’m concerned, any story set in a cemetery after dark, with strange noises and ground fog swirling around, is a story worth reading.

I may even head to the local cemetery and try to get a photo of a ghost with one of Ed and Lorraine’s graveyard tricks. You’ll have to read the book to see how it’s done or, if I am successful, I’ll be sure to post the instructions along with my photos and the details of my encounters with any supernatural entities.

No need to worry – this will all be done in the light of day. No spooky cemeteries for me after dark. I do know my limitations.

Thanks for joining me and, if you like creepy, be sure to check out the books about the cases investigated by Ed and Lorraine Warren. Or, at the very least, watch the movies.

Thanks for joining me and keep on reading.

Debbie Boek
debbieboek.com

GRIFFIN VS MANTICORE

The Griffin and the Manticore are fierce mythological beasts from the Middle Ages. Although they have little in common, other than body parts of a lion, when I saw pictures of one, it immediately made me think of the other and I wondered which of these amazing creatures would win should they ever meet in battle.

The Griffin has the body, tail and back legs of a lion and the wings, beak and talons of an eagle or hawk.

The Manticore has the head of a blue-eyed man, the body of a lion and the stinging tail of a scorpion. Other depictions of the creature have it with a tail of venomous spines, similar to porcupine quills, that it can fire from a distance, paralyzing or killing its victims.

Closely linked with the lion, king of animals, and the eagle, king of all birds, the Griffin is the King of all creatures. They are known for protecting treasures and, in ancient times, they were a symbol of divine power and a protector of gods.

The beasts ripped flesh with their razor-sharp talons, and they were also known to fly their victims to great heights before dropping them to their deaths.

The Griffin fed its young with the meat of men and was strong enough to overpower an entire live ox. 

In the 14th century, Sir John Mandeville described the creatures as being “more strong than eight lions and a hundred eagles”. But would that be enough to defeat the Manticore?

The Manticore was considered one of the most forbidding of all mythological creatures. It had three rows of teeth like a shark and a tuneful bellow, similar to a trumpet.

It would use its blistering speed to chase down its prey and slash them with its claws or sting them with its tail.

Can good triumph over evil?

In the Middle Ages, the Griffin became a symbol for fidelity because they were thought to mate for life and, if one partner died, the other would continue the rest of its life alone.

The Manticore had an insatiable appetite for human flesh. At one point in the Middle Ages it was thought to be a symbol of the Prophet Jeremiah, but that was short-lived.

Due to its ferocious manner and terrifying appearance, it became a symbol of evil and came to be known as an omen of evil tidings. To see one was to see a forthcoming misfortune.

I am currently revising my novel, If Not For The Knight, and working on a follow up to it. One of main characters, Calder Wyndym, has his coat of arms hanging on a tapestry in the Great Room of the castle, a golden Griffin on a deep red background.

The king of all creatures and the symbol of fidelity seemed more than appropriate for Calder’s coat of arms.

I can’t answer the question of whether or not the Griffin would defeat the Manticore in battle, although I’m thinking it probably could. I will leave it to your imagination and let you make that call for yourself.

Thanks for joining me. I welcome any comments or thoughts you might have on this or any of my other posts.

Debbie Boek
debbieboek.blog
debbieboek.com

LEAP OF FAITH

I’m taking a chance and changing the path of my life. It’s a little scary, but more than anything else, it is truly exciting.

I don’t generally talk about myself on these posts but this is kind of a big deal and I want to share it. I gave my notice at my “paying” job and my last day was May 3, 2019.

These last two weeks, my emotions have run the gamut and I’m still decompressing. I’ve been there fifteen years and there are some wonderful people that I am going to miss a great deal. I wish them all the best and I hope we manage to stay a part of each other’s lives, even if it’s just Facebook stalking.

They gave me a sendoff with a very appropriate message on my cake:

My true passion is writing novels and now I can live my life and still take advantage of this time to get more of them written. I have so many stories in my head that are begging to be let loose.

The next challenge will be to figure out how to market them, which is not my forte, but I am willing to try and will have to learn to multi-task in whole new way.

The greatest value that I am gaining is time, something I think we all could use much more of. In addition to being able to relax and write, I’ll have more time to spend with family and with friends and with my girls, now 11 and 13, and who are very needy.

Hootie
Hokie – using a recliner like no one else can.

I have a dream and I will do everything in my power to make it come true.  It remains to be seen if that will happen, but I’ll always be proud that I took that leap of faith and gave myself the chance.

The third book in my Devereaux Chronicle series, Devil’s Gathering, will be released June 1, 2019. I hope you’ll check it out.

Debbie Boek
debbieboek.blog
debbieboek.com

WHEN THE CHUPACABRA CALLS

Half-human, half-vampire creature; an escaped alien hybrid or simply a dog with the mange? Seems there are an infinite number of possibilities for what a Chupacabra really is.

I intended to have the Chupacabra star in my sequel to Devil’s Bait, but that didn’t work out because I needed the setting to be in the northeast and, although there was one reported incident in New Jersey, our friend, the Chupacabra, seems to prefer the warmer weather in the southwest, perhaps because it has no fur.

There are conflicting descriptions of them, some say they are the size of a small bear with a row of spines reaching from the neck to the base of the tail; others that it is a hairless dog-like creature.

The word Chupacabra is Spanish (chupar, “to suck” and cabra, “goat”). Reported incidents of these creatures vary somewhat, but they seem to be fond of draining the blood from small animals, preferably goats. 

It has been suggested that the Chupacabra might be a genetically modified vampire bat, or a half-human, half-vampire beast. The victims, usually goats and chickens, are said to be drained of all their blood but otherwise left intact. Some reports of the creature indicate two large protruding fangs, others suggest three large claws on each foot.

Some reports have been discounted as simply dogs or coyotes that were infected with the parasite Sarcoptes scabiei (the itch mite), whose symptoms would explain the Chupacabra features of little hair, thickened skin and a rank odor. It would also greatly weaken the animal, which would make attacking livestock more feasible than chasing down wild game. But it doesn’t explain the blood-sucking aspects.

Newspaper reports of the creature go back as far as the 1950’s. In the 1970’s, in addition to reports of a “round-headed, hairy-tailed and large-eyed creature”, there were reports of possible UFO sightings which led to the speculation that these creatures were some type of aliens.

Some people have even suggested that the alien creatures were cross-bred with our own animals by scientists at NASA, and the Chupacabras are actually escaped experiments gone wrong.

Some sightings have been verified as canids afflicted by the mange. Biologists and Wildlife Management’s official position is that the Chupacabra is an urban legend, but I’ll leave it to you to decide what you think it may be and where it came from.

With so many different descriptions and all the speculation about these beasts, I had to find to a way to include the Chupacabra into one my stories. I’m happy to say that he will be making a guest appearance in my soon to be released novel, Devil’s Gathering. I hope I’ve done him justice.

Thanks for joining me.

Debbie Boek
debbieboek.com