Above painting: Louis Jean Francois - Mars and Venus an Allegory of Peace


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Tuesday, September 27, 2016

The Ghostly Stories Behind the Once Upon A Haunted Castle Collection

Happy Release day to wonderful collection mates! Today is the release of our fun anthology: ONCE UPON A HAUNTED CASTLE.

'Twas a dark and stormy night in the Highlands... 
5 Scottish Castles... 5 Restless Ghosts... 5 Epic Love Stories.

In our own words, check out a bit about the history of the ghost stories in our epic anthology!

Dunstaffnage Castle, the setting for Eliza Knight's LAIRD OF SHADOWS
A funny thing happened to me: two friends approached me with ideas that meshed perfectly. Ruth A. Casie wanted to do a ghostly Celtic collection and Madeline Martin wanted to write about Scottish ghosts that help a hero and heroine fall in love. Immediately my mind exploded with ideas! I’d worked with Kathryn Le Veque and Terri Brisbin and thought they’d be perfect for the project, too!

I love a good ghost story, and in my travels to Europe, I’ve often felt the otherworldly presence of those who lived in the past. One of my favorite castles in Scotland is Dunstaffnage Castle, and I was lucky enough to visit there on my last trip! The history behind it is fascinating and haunting. There is this tale of a glaistig, or green lady, who haunts the grounds of Dunstaffnage. She is called the Ell-Maid of Dunstaffnage, but no one knows who she might have been. She appears in green, gliding over the walls, and through the forest. Her appearances often were brought on by tidings of joy or sadness within the family. This gave me an idea—in fact, it sparked a whole series! LAIRD OF SHADOWS is the opening book in my new MacDougall Legacy series (and will be releasing with bonus/expanded scenes in January 2017). In this story, we learn the origin of the Ell-Maid of Dunstaffnage… It was exciting to write this story, and I can’t wait for you all to read it, and to see what happens as I follow the MacDougall family throughout generations in my new series!

In Eliza Knight’s LAIRD OF SHADOWS, a decade old vow and an attack of Vikings brings Lady Elle Cam’béal to Dunstaffnage Castle seeking the help of the new, handsome, provocative laird with a beastly temper—Beiste MacDougall. As battles and treachery rain down upon them, Beiste and Elle find an unlikely ally in a ghost, and discover that a few stolen moments of passion can bring light from the shadows… 

Find later Castle, the setting for Kathryn Le Veque's DEEP INTO DARKNESS

In my novella, DEEP INTO DARKNESS, I drew a huge amount of inspiration from one of my favorite poets, Edgar Allan Poe. This was also my first story set in Scotland and I really wanted to do it right - creepy castle + Poe = Delicious Eeriness! 

I've done novellas based on Poe's works before, so it's really my interpretation of his poetry. In this case, the 'host' that narrates one of Poe's most famous poems, "The Raven", is also the host in my story. He's an old Viking who takes in two travelers for the night. And that's when the fun happens. I loved my hero and heroine so much that I had to write a full-length novel for them - THE RED LION will be released October 4th so readers can see how Jamison and Havilland met. But the bottom line is that I had a great time writing about a highlander hero and a great time writing a Medieval ghost story. I hope readers enjoy!

In Kathryn Le Veque's DEEP INTO DARKNESS, Findlater Castle in the Scottish Highlands becomes a place of mystery and doom for Jamison Munro and his wife,Havilland. Traveling across the highlands one dark and stormy night, they stumble upon a lonely Host in Findlater Castle, a pathetic soul waiting for his wife to return to him. It is a terrible tale of a tragic love story that the Host tells the travelers but when Havilland becomes curious about mysterious tapping sounds that go on in the middle of the night, she soon realizes the danger that she and her husband are in. It becomes a race against time for Havilland to free a trapped spirit and save both their lives in the process.

Duntulm Castle, one of the castle's in Terri Brisban's UPON A MISTY SKYE

When invited to contribute to this collection, I was lost! LOL! All I knew was that it must somehow involved Duntulm Castle, which I’ve visited several times and is known to be haunted. Once I was set on that location, I looked at the clans in the area and knew that the MacLeods and the MacDonalds were rivals for control of the Isle of Skye for centuries. A perfect choice for battling families. . . and forbidden love!

    I kept hearing the opening line of ‘Romeo and Juliet’ as I was planning out my story – “Two households, both alike in dignity, In fair Verona, where we lay our scene, From ancient grudge break to new mutiny, Where civil blood makes civil hands unclean. From forth the fatal loins of these two foes A pair of star-cross'd lovers. . . .” Of course, I wanted a ‘happily-ever-after’ so I adapted my Romeo and Juliet to make sure that happens! I suspect I will revisit the MacLeods and MacDonalds of Skye again....

In Terri Brisbin’s UPON A MISTY SKYE, Alexander MacDonald and Isabel MacLeod were not supposed to meet or fall in love or marry. Now that they have, both of their parents plan to separate them, by any means possible. But the ghost of Duntulm Castle has other plans for the forbidden lovers and those who stand in the way of true love.

Castle of Park, the setting for Madeline Martin's A GHOSTLY TALE OF FORBIDDEN LOVE

I’ve always loved haunted castles and the stories behind them. When first starting coming up with the idea for A Ghostly Tale of Forbidden Love, I read through all the ghost stories in Scotland until I came to one about Castle of Park. There were two ghosts: one of a monk who had been walled into the castle and left for dead, and another of a woman in green who was a servant – she’d  fell in love with the laird, ended up pregnant and then leapt to her death after having been fired. Then I thought, what if I saved the servant? Don’t worry – there still ends up being a second ghost to placate history, but who will it end up being?  

I actually was fortunate enough to stay for two nights at Castle of Park while in Scotland a couple weeks back. While I didn’t see any ghosts, the stay was absolutely magical.

In Madeline Martin’s A GHOSTLY TALE OF FORBIDDEN LOVE, Gavin MacDuff is a laird with a cruel and bitter aunt he’s sworn to protect. Senara is the new lady’s maid at Castle of Park and has sacrificed everything for the betterment of her family. Their paths tangle and lead to a road of hidden longing and secret passion – all of which is threatened by the power of one ghost who is fixed on revenge.

Caerlaverock Castle, the setting for Ruth A. Casie's THE MAXWELL GHOST

When I wrote The Guardian’s Witch I developed a character, Jamie Collins. He’s the hero’s close friend, confidant and at times conscience.  I’ve wanted to give Jamie his own story I just didn’t know what it would be until we started planning this collection. Castles, highlanders, ghosts, these were the elements that screamed Jamie Collins to me. When I sat down the story almost wrote itself.

My story is about Jamie and Laura Reynolds, two childhood friends who find themselves trying to solve a double murder not only to bring the murderer to justice, but to put a ghost to rest. Jamie and Laura’s relationship turns from friends to lovers but their whole story couldn’t be told in a novella. I have so much more to tell you about them that I had to write a full-length novel for them - THE HIGHLANDER’S ENGLISH WOMAN will be released in December. Readers will be able to see how Jamie and Laura’s relationship is tested and who helps Jamie along the way. This was a fun story to write. I hope you enjoy reading about them.

In Ruth A. Casie’s THE MAXWELL GHOST, traitors, deception, murders and ghosts run rampant at Caerlaverock Castle. Jamie Collins, a man of reality not hocus pocus, serves Lord Herbert in exchange for a his own farm.  Laura Reynolds, the Herbert's distant cousin comes to the castle to solve the murders and put the ghost to rest. The two, long-time friends find their destinies intertwined with hidden passions, but all is in jeopardy when Laura becomes the murderer’s next target. Jamie will find he needs some ghostly assistance to save Laura and declare his love.

Want to read more? Check out our anthology, now available in ebook and print!

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silvatrend8553 said...

Looks great. Got it!

Unknown said...

All of these stories look great. I can't wait to read them! I have lived in a couple haunted houses, where myself and others have seen a little girl in one , and where the window shades and doors were always being opened or closed in the other. It freaked a house sitter out enough that she called the cops and the landlord changes the locks while we were out of town!

Unknown said...

I've seen ghosts in my time but the most compelling were two firemen I saw riding on the back of a firetruck heading for a fire. I commented to my friends that I love how they ride on the back like they're going to save the day! Both friends looked at me like I was insane. They saw nothing. One friend had a brother that worked at the fire station so we went to see him because I was POSITIVE I saw them and she meant to prove me wrong. He asked me what they looked like so I described their fire gear & hats. Her brother's face grew pale. He said that the stripe across the back of the jacket and helmets belonged to only chiefs within the station and that two chiefs had died in fires saving others. They were buried in the back yard of the station and other fire fighters have heard boots walking around at night when no one was there. After the shock wore off, they said they were happy to know it was their lost comrades and that they still join in to fight fires.

Unknown said...
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Unknown said...

This is such a great idea!!!! I love reading each and every one of your books!!! Scotland has such history and such mystery!!!! <3 I've never had a brush with a ghost, but the house we used to live in, you could hear someone walking up and down the halls, keyring jangling. And every so often you could catch a whiff of some pretty strong perfume that none if us used. And we lived in the boonies so it wasn't neighbors!!

Unknown said...

This is such a great idea!!!! I love reading each and every one of your books!!! Scotland has such history and such mystery!!!! <3 I've never had a brush with a ghost, but the house we used to live in, you could hear someone walking up and down the halls, keyring jangling. And every so often you could catch a whiff of some pretty strong perfume that none if us used. And we lived in the boonies so it wasn't neighbors!!

Unknown said...

I can tell you several stories because I grew up in a house that was haunted... from having soda bottles fly threw the air toward my sister to hearing a lady sobbing and baby crying at 2 am ONLY in my room. hair dryers turning on by it's self when the plug was not all the way into the outlet so it could not possibly be getting electricity. I saw a shadow of a man walk behind me (I saw the reflection in the window at nighttime) while playing cards with my family on night. My BIL saw a shadow of a child run across a door opening and thought it was his child but when he checked on his child, he was sound asleep... but the most disturbing one was when my sister had friends over and decided to play with a Ouija board. They had turned off all the lights and burned candles. the flame was upright one moment and then literally laid down then raised back up slowly. I'm sure I have forgot many more but these are just a few short versions of things that have happened while growing up. oh and we called our ghost "Mr. Weaver" because the man who owned the house before us was named Weaver and he died in the house and they had the wake in the living room.

Unknown said...

oh and I want to add one other ghost story. My mom's bedroom was downstairs under the "walkway" to our bedrooms upstairs. Kinda like a big loft. Anyways she said she heard someone walk up the stairs (they are old and creaked) heard them walk across the walkway and into one bedroom, walk out go into the other bedroom and then come back down stairs. She has been woke up with the feeling someone was standing next to her bed watching her sleep but when she opened her eyes no one was there... my mom is a very light sleeper..

Anonymous said...

Similar to The Good, The Bad, and The Ghostly anthology of western historical ghost stories, which is excellent. I'm going to check out this new castle anthology.

Celticlady's Reviews said...

I have lived in my house now for over 37 years and I have always felt that there is a ghost in the house. The house is about 100 years old, and back in the day there was an old lady that lived and died here. So now I do believe that she is still here. TV's turn on and lights go on and off. It is not scary but kind of comforting to have her here.

Bube said...

Nope,and I don't want to have :D it's creepy :D

Unknown said...

No, never met a ghost, but would love to meet a Scottish ghost! lolll

Madeline Martin said...

Hi, everyone. :) Thank you so much to everyone for stopping by and for all of those who purchased a copy of Once Upon a Haunted Castle. I loved reading all your ghostly encounters :)

Ninfa said...

Nope, but I would love to encounter one as long as it's harmless lol! TBA ms for the giveaway and congratulations on your book release Ladies!! I must save for a while to get a print copy of this anthology 💗

Caffey said...

When I was young, maybe 10, I was upset seeing a shadowy figure out of my window sitting on the roof. When my dad was tucking me in, instead of telling me that there was nothing there, he believed me and told me that he was just there to watch over me when he (dad) wasn't and would go when we didn't need him to be there. And I just remembered one day he was no longer there. My dad could always make me feel safe.

Loved reading the background to these stories!! I've been looking forward to is release. Congrats to you all! Cathie (Caffey)