Interview with Debut Author and Cancer Survivor, Barbara Britton!

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When I met Barbara M. Britton online, I had no idea I’d met such an amazing Strong Girl. But as my recent interview with her on YouTube progressed, and she revealed her journey with and triumph over cancer, I was in complete and total awe of her courage and tenacity.

She’s also a pastor’s wife and a Pelican Book Group author. How is that for kindred-spirit-sisterhood?

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As my regular readers know, I, too, am a pastor’s wife and my first book, The Pastor’s Wife Wears Biker Boots was published by Pelican!

I know  you’re going to be inspired by Barbara’s story. Scroll down to the video, grab a cuppa and kick back and enjoy!

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Tweet this: Strong Girl Barbara M. Britton writes inspiring strong girl fiction!

 

The Methuselah Project by Rick Barry

Methuselah

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Since I’ve been overbooked, I asked a friend of mine, Joe Fausnight, to read and review this book for me. Here’s his take:

Captain Greene was an American Pilot from Indiana who was flying missions over Germany in 1943 when he was shot down.  As his plane fell he cried out to God.  He landed in a woods between to giant oak trees destroying his plane but leaving him and the cabin of the plane intact.

He was picked up by the Nazis and a civilian car was following the truck he was in.  Taken to a secret underground lab he was number 7 guinea pig for a Nazi science project for long life and quick wound repair.

Rick Barry

Author Rick Barry

After they had gassed and worked on the men the place was bombed by the Allies. The scientist who had come up with the project was killed as well as number 1 through 6 men.  He survived as did the assistant scientist and he was kept in a cage for many years after the war was over as they experimented on him and tried to duplicate his success.  He looked and acted like a 30 year old even as decades passed.  He knew nothing of the outside world except what he was told that the war was still going on decades later.

They gave him lots of books to read to pass his time and after reading many classics he asked for a Bible.  He got a lot of comfort from it over the years.  He exercised daily as well as taking flying trips in his mind including all the safety checks so he didn’t forget how to fly.

Did he ever get free?  Did he ever find anyone who cared about him other than as a lab rat?  Did he ever discover the changes in the world since his capture?  You will find out and enjoy this book when you read it.  A very good read and worth the time to read.

I give this books five stars.

Star Review!

Kindly tweet this: Methuselah Project by Rick Barry gets a 5-star review!

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Steampunk Hat Phase 1

Bing Free Use Image

Bing Free Use Image

I need a steampunk hat to go with my genre costume at the ACFW National Writer’s Conference in Dallas, Texas.

As I explain in the video below, I decided that making a steampunk hat would be less expensive than buying one ready-made from an Etsy store.

I was wrong.

The hat I really wanted was one like this (I adore ships):

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Click pic to shop!

But it was $65.00. So, I thought to myself, I can make one for less. I love all the hats in the ChikiBird shop, so I sort of used them as inspiration.

But guess what? I was so wrong about the price. Not only are feathers and other materials expensive, I don’t know what I’m doing! I probably should have just bought my hat. But since when do I do things the easy way?

Below is a video of phase 1: the materials. And below the video are some first pics. I’ll post the finished product and my entire costume later, so stay tuned!

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More pics to come! What do you think of it so far?

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Tweet this: Is it less expensive to make it yourself? Not always!

Evening Prayers: For Every Day of the Year

“Deliverance Leads to Healing and Revival”

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Click to buy

To understand this book of prayers entitled Evening Prayers: For Every Day of the Year by Christoph Friedrich Blumhardt, I think it’s important to understand their context. The only way to understand their context is to know more about the man who wrote them. The history of this author is fascinating.

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Johann Christoph Blumhardt

In 1838, Blumhardt’s father, Johann Blumhardt, answered the call of pastoring in the small German town of Mottlingen and became legendary because of his part in the healing and exorcism of a young girl in his congregation.  After this healing, people came to Blumhardt from seven in the morning until eleven at night. There were nightly prayer meetings that he called the “Awakening.” Miracles and healings occurred. Even a child who had spilled a boiling pot of oatmeal was completely healed. Infirmities of all kinds vanished at the prayer meetings: eye problems, tuberculosis, eczema, arthritis and more.

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Jesus healing the sick

But the government and organized church looked upon the meetings with disgust and by 1846 he wasn’t allowed to include healing as part of his ministry. Eventually, he decided to leave Möttlingen and purchased a run-down sulphur springs in Bad Boll, Germany where many came seeking healing. However, Blumhardt always pointed people to focus on Christ, not the miracles. It was at this time that his son, Christoph Friedrich Blumhardt, the author of Evening Prayers, was born.

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Christoph tried attending seminary, but became disillusioned with empty rituals and seminary teaching and returned to help his father at Bad Boll. In time, he gained his own reputation as a mass evangelist and faith healer much like his father. But after a very successful “crusade” in Berlin in 1888, he drastically cut back both activities, saying,

“I do not want to suggest that it is of little importance for God to heal the sick; actually, it now is happening more and more often—although very much in quiet. However, things should not be promoted as though God’s kingdom consists in the healing of sick people. To be cleansed is more important than to be healed. It is more important to have a heart for God’s cause, not to be chained to the world but be able to move for the kingdom of God.”

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Blumhardt was an extraordinary man of faith. The prayers in this book aren’t flowery prayers or even what one would consider terribly inspiring prayers. These are simple, Christ-honoring prayers, prayers that point believers to God and His Sovereignty.

I don’t know about you, but there have been times in my life when I haven’t known what words to use in prayer. For those who are shy about praying to God with their own words, this book would be a great aid.  This would make a lovely gift for a new Christian or someone who wants to lead a more prayerful life and needs a place to start.

I give this book three out of five stars.

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One of my favorite historical fiction authors, Susan F. Craft, releases new book: Laurel

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I’m so excited about Susan F. Craft’s new book, Laurel. I love Susan’s writing so much I read this compelling story in one sitting! I couldn’t put it down.

The book is about a young couple whose daughter is kidnapped by slave runners in the backwoods of South Carolina. The couple hunts for their daughter in the wilderness and finally track her to the shores of the Atlantic at Charleston. While in Charleston, the mother, Lilyan, is recognized as a former patriot who murdered a British officer  (I won’t say why, you’ll have to read the book to find out.)  She’s thrown into jail and confined with prostitutes, thieves and murderers. Her husband, Nicholas, fights to set her free, and continue the search for their missing daughter.

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Susan’s writing is so good I was never distracted by writing craft while reading her book. (This happens to me sometimes as a writer.)  Instead, I lost myself in the story. It’s easy to do because Susan writes vivid description and deep internal emotion and motivation brilliantly.

Susan’s extensive research and travel to the locations of her novels comes through in her writing. I truly felt I was there with Lilyan and Nicholas searching for their daughter.

On her website, http://www.susanfcraft.com, she has over twenty years of research on a wide range of topics.  She says: “I knew I’d never be able to write enough novels to use all my “historical treasures,” so I decided to share and put them on my website.”

SusanCraftSusan F. Craft best

You can follow Susan here:

www.susanfcraft.com

http://historicalfictionalightintime.blogspot.com

http://colonialquills.blogspot.com

http://stitchesthrutime.blogspot.com

http://www.hhhistory.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/susan.craft.108

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/susanfc/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/susanfcraft @susanfcraft

Be sure to check out Susan’s other book: The Chamomile.

The Chamomile

I bought Susan’s book, Laurel, on my own. This review is my unsolicited opinion. If you want to know what makes for good historical fiction writing, read a Susan F. Craft novel!

I give Laurel five big fat stars!

BirdbooksTweet this: Laurel by @SusanFCraft — five big fat stars!

 

Justice


A to Z blog hop at Patterings.

Welcome to A to Z!

We’d love to have you join the fun, either blogging your way through the alphabet with us, or simply visiting. =) We dearly love visitors.

If you’re joining in the meme, be sure to link up with us at the end of this post. Since this is a blog hop, you can grab the code for the linky down there too. Find more info about the A to Z meme here.

Today’s Blog is brought to you by the Letters I and J

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I missed the letter “I” last week, and since I’m a bit OCD, I have to include it before I can move on to the letter J. So, briefly, here is the letter “I”–for “Instamatic.” And below is an Instamatic photo of me in my wedding dress 32 years ago (my anniversary is December 3). This was taken by my childhood Sunday School teacher who loved to take photos and record me singing. This was in the days of innocence and ours was a unique father-daughter bond. I don’t think I can even describe it to you.

wedding7Me in 1982 a few days before my wedding

Did you know that Instamatics are making a come-back? It’s a new art form!

Now for the Letter J

J is for Justice

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I’ve been thinking a lot about this word, justice. People have been protesting in hopes of bringing it to pass. And it’s true that while we live on this earth, we are to seek justice and be proponents of it. God commands us to “Defend the poor and fatherless: do justice to the afflicted and needy” (Psalm 82:3).

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But as long as justice is meted out by fallible people, there will be no true justice in this world. Where is the justice in children going hungry, being abused and neglected, or dying of cancer? What is just and fair about me going about my Christmas shopping and decorating while young children are beheaded in Iraq because they refuse to deny Christ?

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ISIS holding up their weapons as they pose next to the trademark black and white Islamist flag at an undisclosed location in Iraq’s Anbar province. (Photo: AFP-Youtube, Bing, free use image)

Life on this earth simply isn’t fair. My day to day life is better than many people’s, and countless others have it better than me. There is no equality while living on this side of heaven.

Which makes our need for true justice all the more obvious.

For we must all appear before the-4 (2)

People tend to look at Jesus as a sort of Santa Claus whom they pray to about all their wants and desires. I admit doing it myself because I believe that my Lord is interested in everything I’m fascinated with. He’s not surprised I like pretty things, and dream of a more user-friendly house. I talk to Him about it often. However, He is so much more than a Friend I can go to about my heart’s desires. 700 years before Jesus was born, the prophet Isaiah proclaimed:

And the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord;

And shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the Lord: and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears:

But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and he shall smite the earth: with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked.

And righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins, and faithfulness the girdle of his reins.” — Isaiah 11:2-5

He that is without sin among you, let (2)

There are no just judges or juries in this land. There never will be. Our souls yearn for justice because we long for a heavenly home. Our souls yearn for something “more” and I believe that’s because we yearn to be forever in the very presence of Justice Himself.

There is something inside of all of us that knows there will be a day of judgement when the wicked must pay. The thing many people don’t realize, however, is that all have sinned, are wicked, and have fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). They compare themselves with others instead of with the righteousness of God. Without the cleansing power of Christ, not one of us will be justified on the terrible day we stand before the Lord and account for our lives.

_If we say that we have no sin, we-1 (2)

But my Savior, Jesus Christ–He is my advocate and will tell the Father, “her sins are paid in full.” Only because He loved me enough to die for me. What kind of justice is that? It’s certainly not fair to God. It’s not fair at all.

But this is grace, my friend. Beautiful, boundless, amazing, undeserved grace.

I, for one, don’t want justice for my sins. I don’t want what’s coming to me.

And what blows my mind, and what I can’t get my mind around sometimes, is that He doesn’t want that for me, either.

 “And therefore will the Lord wait, that he may be gracious unto you, and therefore will he be exalted, that he may have mercy upon you: for the Lord is a God of judgment: blessed are all they that wait for him. For the people shall dwell in Zion at Jerusalem: thou shalt weep no more: he will be very gracious unto thee at the voice of thy cry; when he shall hear it, he will answer thee” (Isaiah 30:18 & 19).

flying_birdTweet this: As long as justice is meted out by fallible people, there will be no true justice in this world.

 

 

 

 



E is for Erasmus, Education and Einstein


A to Z blog hop at Patterings.

Welcome to A to Z!

We’d love to have you join the fun, either blogging your way through the alphabet with us, or simply visiting. =) We dearly love visitors.

If you’re joining in the meme, be sure to link up with us at the end of this post. Since this is a blog hop, you can grab the code for the linky down there too. Find more info about the A to Z meme here.

Today’s Blog is brought to you by the Letter “E”

When I get a little money I buy books; (2)

I think Erasmus and I would have gotten along swimmingly. In fact, my husband, Mr. Himself, says (and he’s right): “If I give Karla $10 to spend on anything at all, she’ll buy a book.” He’s mystified by this phenomenon because he’s not a reader. He wasn’t taught to read phonetically and he also has ADD and dyslexia. These issues have hampered his reading ability his entire life. That’s not to say he isn’t intelligent. Trust me, he’s brilliant. But his inability to decode words is one of the reasons I’m passionate about literacy and learning.

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I think it’s a crime for someone to get an education and graduate without being taught properly how to read. Mr. Himself has a bachelor’s degree. And it was hard-earned. He had to work at least twice as hard as someone else to get that piece of paper, all because schools in his day taught English reading as if it were Chinese.

Chinese%20logosIronically, in Erasmus’s day, very few books were available to people of my economic demographic. Only the very wealthy could afford books and only the very elite of society were able to read. This is how people were kept under the government’s thumb for so long. It’s one reason the Middle Ages is called The Dark Ages. And it’s also the reason Erasmus had very little money left for clothes and food (although, he does look nicely dressed in the picture below, don’t you think?).

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I can’t imagine not reading books. Reading has gotten me through many painful periods of my life. It allowed me to escape as a child into worlds I’d never otherwise go. Some of my fondest memories are summers of endless reading, especially at my grandmother’s. She would take me to a local church “basement sale” where I’d paw through boxes of books and pick out a few to take home. It’s where I found my first copy of The Girl of the Limberlost by Gene Stratton Porter. Once I learned to read, I don’t think there’s been a single day when I didn’t read something from a book. Books comfort me. I surround myself with them.

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E is also for Education and I’m an Education fanatic. I love learning, and I’m fascinated with how people learn. I love breaking things down into manageable steps. I’m intrigued by how the mind words. I especially enjoy teaching people who find learning difficult. I find it a personal challenge to figure out how to make things click for a struggling student. That’s why I’m pursuing another degree in Special Education. And I’m proud to inform you that my teacher’s college is #1!

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Did you know that Einstein (E is for Einstein!) was bad at algebra? I am, too. And it’s not that I couldn’t learn it. I did learn it. But I had to learn it a lot slower than other folks. Classes move so fast sometimes that those of us who need more time to grasp and practice a concept get left behind. This shouldn’t be. Everyone should be given the chance to learn at their own pace. It’s not a race.

_Everyone should be allowed to learn at-1 (2)

In the next few weeks I’m going to write about a fairly new and exciting educational concept I’m involved in. I’m eager to share it with you. Education is changing for the better. I can’t wait to be a part of a movement changing the way the world learns and perceives how learning should take place.

But all this education is for naught if we don’t acknowledge our need for wisdom. I always believed this and spouted this to my kids and friends so often they got sick of hearing it:

_You can have a Harvard law degree and (2)

Now, that doesn’t mean I’d turn down one of those law degrees myself. But it does mean that as Christians, the most important knowledge and education we must have is that which is found in the only book that truly matters, God’s Word.

Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a-3 (2)

Only God’s Word can teach me what is most important to know. Yesterday (Wednesday, November 5, 2014) I finished reading the Bible cover to cover for only the second time in my life. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve studied different parts of the Bible in depth. I’ve taught classes on the Old Testament and the Life of Christ in Seminary. I’ve read the New Testament probably many times. But I’ve only read the entire Bible as a book, beginning to end, twice. I’m ashamed of that. One of my goals is to read it many more times before I die. I begin again tomorrow.

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Yes, I love books, and I own hundreds of them and I can’t imagine a life without them. But out of the millions of books and gazillion words written, there is only one book that is TRUTH. And I’m grateful, so grateful, that I can read it.

Birdbooks

Tweet this: You can have a Harvard Law degree and still flunk heaven.

 

 

 

 



D is for Dress


A to Z blog hop at Patterings.

Welcome to A to Z!

We’d love to have you join the fun, either blogging your way through the alphabet with us, or simply visiting. =) We dearly love visitors.

If you’re joining in the meme, be sure to link up with us at the end of this post. Since this is a blog hop, you can grab the code for the linky down there too. Find more info about the A to Z meme here.

This week is the letter D.

I love Dresses! I’ve always been a girly girl and nothing makes me quite as happy as getting dolled up in a pretty dress. Here I am all fancied up for the red carpet at a movie premiere with my granddaughter, Trinity:

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When I was younger (and not yet an old grandmother with arthritic feet) I was an edgy dresser. You probably can’t imagine that can you? Okay, so maybe you can. I was shopping at vintage stores and wearing recycled clothes before it was cool. I loved mixing odd items such as a boy scout shirt with a fluffy green skirt. Yeah. That was me. The weirder the better.

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I love unique shoes, too!

You can see some of my strange taste in clothes on my My Style Pinterest Board.

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I wish I knew how to make this!

I’d still dress weird if I could get by with it, but as a pastor’s wife, I have to tone it down a bit. There’s still a side of me that loves strange fashions. Thankfully the side that likes pretty dresses has won out in my old age.

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Polyvore.com is a great site for putting together outfits for your book characters as well as yourself!

When I’m writing a story, I enjoy choosing what my heroines are going to wear. In my current work in progress, Flora Jean has the opportunity to wear beautiful gowns. I base all my fashions in the book on actual pictures I’ve found of clothing from the era. If a dress I love isn’t exactly from the right date, I change the description of it to fit the date but still use the colors and the idea of the dress. I have her dresses sent from France, so I’m able to use that as an excuse for the dress to be a little more ahead of the typical fashion of the 1830s or more unique as they are made by exclusive designers.

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Flora Jean’s first dress

I find it fascinating that the iridescent colors of the beads in the dress above are made with fish scales on the inside of glass beads, don’t you?

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1830s fashion

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I would so rock this vintage gown! Okay, maybe I wouldn’t, but I’d sure like to try!

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Simply gorgeous! I’d love to know what it feels like to wear this!

I have several other Pinterest Boards that include beautiful Dresses from the past:

Vintage Clothing

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Research

Pandora Dolls (These are antique dolls wearing authentic antique styles. Wealthy ladies had them sent to them with the latest fashions and that’s how they shopped for the new season’s clothes.)

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What is your favorite item of clothing to wear (besides pajamas!)? If you could wear anything at all to a fancy event, what would you choose?

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 Tweet this: What’s your favorite way to dress?

 

 



Strong Girls aren’t ashamed of their Christianity

Stronggirlslogo2We are living in troubling times as Strong Girls. Which is why now, more than ever before, it’s important to remain strong and firm in our faith.

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Christians throughout the world are dying for believing in Jesus. Maybe you think this will never happen to you, but I’m sure other Christian women and girls in the world thought the same thing.

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Mariam Yehya Ibrahim is one of those women. She was put in prison in her own country (Sudan) for being a Christian and for marrying a Christian. Even though she had her little boy with her in prison, and was also expecting a baby, she refused to renounce her faith.

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All she had to do to get out of prison was tell the prison authorities that she would become a Muslim and deny Jesus as her Savior. She was hungry. She was carrying a child. Her little boy was hungry, too. But she refused to renounce her faith. What a strong woman.

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I wonder — are you that strong? Am I?

Mariam revealed the secret to her strength in a recent interview on Fox News. It wasn’t that she had her own superpowers, but the power of faith: “The situation was difficult but I was sure that God would stand by my side. I relied only on my faith.”

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“When I was in prison I was only thinking about my children and how I was going to give birth. I was most scared of giving birth in prison…I gave birth chained — not cuffs but chains on my legs. I couldn’t even open my legs, so the women had to lift me off the table.”

Meriam Ibrahim with her daughter, who was born in Omdurman women's prison last week

Because of the way she was forced to give birth, her baby girl may never walk.

While you watch the video below, think about what you would do in these circumstances. Someday you may need to take a stand for your faith. As a Strong Girl, you, like Mariam, will need to draw on the strength that comes from faith in God.

“Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the LORD of hosts” Zechariah 4:6b.

Be Strong Christian T-shirt

Tweet This: Is your faith strong enough to be tested?

When history is creepy

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I have spent most of my day today re-researching material for my work in progress.

I lost all my notes after vacation. Printed notes. Handwritten notes.

Not good. Not good at all.

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I lost my timeline, my calendar–all of it.

Now that I’ve re-established my facts, I’ll probably find it in the couch cushions or some such place.

But I digress.

It’s dangerous for ADD researchers (squirrel!) to take off on a research binge. It can lead you to some really strange places. (My good friend, Pedro, knows this well. In fact, he calls it a journey into a wiki black hole as one topic leads to another and another…)

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Today as I was trying to figure out whether to dock my book’s steamboat at Clarksville or Port Royal, Tennessee,  I learned that Port Royal is a ghost town.

No, seriously, a real ghost town. I mean, yeah, it is a ghost town in that there’s not a town there anymore, but there’s also some sort of terrifying entity that actually poisoned someone there in 1820 and is still hanging around.

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You can read about the Bell Witch here. (Don’t get sucked into the black hole!)

And more about Port Royal here.

Far be it from me to keep the same fascinating experiences I’ve been through today from my readers.

So what do you think? Do you believe in ghosts? I have a theory about them that has to do with demonic activity. What say you?

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Tweet this: Do you believe in ghosts?