Witch Dance – Let’s Go Camping!

My new book is inspired by a campground on the Natchez Trace Parkway, just south of Tupelo, Mississippi, called Witch Dance. At the entrance stands a sign which reads:

The very name conjures visions of eerie midnights, swirling black capes and brooms stacked against a nearby tree. The old folks say the witches gathered here to dance and wherever their feet touched the ground the grass withered and died never to grow again. Impossible? Maybe so, but look around. Look for a hidden spot where no grass grows.

The sign and the place bring to mind one of my favorite authors, poet Jack Prelutsky. One of his poems, The Witch, inspires wild imaginations of scary witches. 

She comes by night, in fearsome flight,
In garments black as pitch,
the queen of doom upon her broom,
the wild and wicked witch

Another tale of Witch Dance that I find interesting is the story of a group of Chickasaw Indians who lived on the spot and were massacred by the hostile Creek Indians. Legend has it the Great Spirit turned the soil the color of blood, cursing it for all time. That is why the ground is red in Mississippi.

If you’ve ever read any of my books, you know I always look for the connection between the place, the truth, and the legend.

The result of the above is my book Witch Dance. Here’s the blurb:

Just south of Tupelo, Mississippi on the Natchez Trace lies a place of mystery called Witch Dance.

When Thomas and Margaret Speedwell took their twins to Witch Dance for a weekend camping trip, they never imagined they would be pulled into a vortex of witchcraft, tragedy, and karma. One of the girls goes missing; the other won’t say what happened on the other side of the hill.

The tragedy pulls together a cast of characters from Margaret’s childhood and beyond – Choctaw and Chickasaw Indians, Toltec ancestors, the extinct Hopewell tribe.

With the help of a childhood friend, a concerned newspaper reporter, and visions by a strange old woman, a two-thousand-year-old mystery begins to unfold, uncovering missing children throughout generations. Who is taking them? Could it be the infamous witches of Witch Dance?

Grab a copy at Amazon for the pre-release price of only $0.99 until the release date, Sept 15.

I didn’t mean for it to happen, but sometimes synchronicity takes over. I believe instances of synchronicity are the way you know you’re on the right path. They happen frequently in my life.

The opening chapter of Witch Dance starts August 25, 2018, which is a little easter egg for my family, as August 25th was my mom’s birthday. The story takes place over three weeks (and 2000 years) and ends Sept 15 – Release Day!

Coincidence?

witch dance cover

 

Rooms Adorned Etsy Shop Coming Soon

facebookprofileIf you haven’t noticed, I pretty much took the entire year off from blogging and writing in 2017. I moved into a new home December 2016 and spent the year working on the house and getting the garden going.

In the meantime, I’ve also been working on two books and started a new “day job” with a national manufacturing company. Even though I’ve been busy, I’m still always looking for the next “thing.”

So, here it is…

I’ve always created all the artwork for every house I’ve ever lived in. I’ve painted, sponged, stenciled, tiled, and grouted my way around two states. Since I’ve been working on this new house, I realized I’m making more than I have room for, and I really enjoy creating it, so I decided to start selling my work on Etsy. My new shop is called Rooms Adorned. Make room for HAPPY! Everything is handmade. Everything is one-of-a-kind.

The grand opening will be April 1st!  Rooms Adorned

Below are a couple items that will be in the shop at the grand opening. Mark it on your calendar, and please stop by. April 1st! Bookmark the store Rooms Adorned.

I’ll post another blog before the grand opening and show you the inside of my art studio and lots more cute stuff!

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Culpepper Saga People and Places

Culpepper_1Only a few more days until “I, John Culpepper” is released!! April 10th!!!

Over the years, and quite a bit recently, I’ve blogged about the people and places found in the book, but if you missed anything, below is a comprehensive list to guide you through the characters. Every one of these people were real. Every one of these homes and castles were real, most still standing today. Being historical fiction, most of the story is also real.

Some of these blogs are old and some are new, but if you click on any name, you can find out more about the person or place.

John Culpepper the merchant, our hero

John’s grandpa, John Culpepper of Wigsell

John’s dad, John “Johannes” Culpepper

John’s mom, Ursula Woodcock Culpepper

John’s son, John Culpepper Jr. of the Culpepper Rebellion

John’s brother, Thomas Culpepper and his wife Katherine St. Leger

John’s childhood friend, Sir William Berkeley

John’s childhood homes, Greenway Court and Astwood Court

John’s niece, (Thomas’s daughter) Frances Culpepper Berkeley

John’s cousin, Lord John “JC” Culpepper, 1st Baron of Thoresway

“JCs” son, Lord Thomas Culpepper, 2nd Baron of Thoresway

Homes of the Culpepper Saga

Culpepper_1In celebration of my upcoming April 10th book release, “I, John Culpepper,” I’m posting bits and pieces about the people and places you will read about in the Culpepper Saga. The four-book saga is based upon my 10th great grandfather, and most of the names and locations are real. The first three blogs about the story are available here, here, and here. This blog is about the homes John spent time in between 1606 and 1634.

Our hero, John Culpepper, was born into a very wealthy family. He was born at Greenway Court in Hollingbourne in the county of Kent. His family moved away when he was only five years old, but he eventually returned to the home when his brother Thomas married and set up house there. In the book, the old house drug up a lot of feelings and memories of John’s childhood that he had long forgotten. The home is still standing and is privately owned today.

GreenwayCourt

From the age of five until he went away to law school, John lived at Astwood Court in Feckenham in the county of Worcester. The home originally belonged to his great uncle Martin and was left to his father. John’s mother died in the house when John was just a child. The home is still standing and is privately owned today.

astwood

As a young boy John spent many summers at his grandfather’s estate of Wigsell Manor in Salehurst, Sussex. The 600-acre property was the stuff boy’s dreams are made of. The home is still standing and is privately owned today.

great wigsell

 

John’s uncle Sir Alexander Culpepper owned Leeds Castle in Maidstone, Kent. Alexander inherited the house through his wife Mary, the widow of Sir Anthony St. Leger. In 1552, the house was granted to the St. Leger family, and following the Culpepper ownership 1632-1710, it was transferred into the Fairfax family through marriage. It was built in the early 1100s and was once the home of Henry VIII and his first wife Catherine of Aragon. It is now open to the public as a tourist attraction. You can visit Leeds Castle’s website here.

Leeds-Castle

 

 

 

Cover Reveal “I, John Culpepper”

I’m pleased to reveal the cover for my coming book, “I, John Culpepper.” Release date April 10, 2015.

Culpepper_1Amazon Blurb

John Culpepper was born into a privileged childhood, surrounded by abundant wealth, vast land holdings, and stately English manors. As he grew, he was expected to follow family tradition—attend law school and serve in Parliament, following which he would retire to a quiet life as a country gentleman. 

John, however, had different desires. He longed to captain a mighty ship, to hear the snap of the sails, to taste the salty spray on his lips. To follow his dreams, John would have to risk being disinherited by his unyielding father. He would have to defy family convention. He would ultimately be forced to choose between the woman he loved and his mistress—the sea. 

“I, John Culpepper” is a work of historical fiction based on the life of the 17th-century man historians refer to as John Culpepper the Merchant. He is believed to be the progenitor of the modern-day American Culpeppers. He was my 10th great-grandfather.

“I, John Culpepper” will be released April 10, 2015. It is the first of four books in the Culpepper Saga. Stay tuned to this page to learn about some of the characters over the next four weeks.