Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Giveaway and Tour Kickoff with author BonSue Brandvik and her book Pearls: Spirits of the Belleview Biltmore

 
 
Happy Hump Day Everyone!!!  Joining me today is the very talented BonSue Brandvik with her book Pearls:  Spirits of the Belleview Biltmore.  In light of the subject matter contained in her book, I asked BonSue about the top ten Haunted Hotels she would like to visit and this is what she had to say:
 
Top 10 Haunted Hotels in the USA
By BonSue Brandvik
 
   Most fans of historic hotels agree that guests and hotel workers leave echoes of themselves behind and that sometimes, these echoes can be heard (or seen, or felt, or photographed) by other people who visit the hotel several decades, or even centuries, later. When this happens, the hotel is said to be haunted.
   People use eerily similar terms to describe spirit encounters at haunted hotels: Initially, a spine-tingling sensation is felt. There is an instant awareness that something is present which doesn’t fit into normal frames of reference. There is a rush of adrenaline. The fight or flight instinct is awakened. The surrounding air changes abruptly, often becoming cold or wet or breezy. The ghost sighting or interaction occurs in an instant and often ends just as quickly. The memory of the encounter remains crystal clear, even long afterward. Logic and rational thought cannot explain the experience. 
    My current novel series, “Spirits of the Belleview Biltmore” was inspired by my own ghostly encounters at the haunted Belleview Biltmore hotel, in Belleair, Florida. This grand hotel is currently closed, but hopefully, it will reopen in a few years. Until then, here are ten other USA haunted hotels I want to visit.
   Have you had ghostly experiences at these or other haunted hotels you would like to share?
 
 
1: The Hotel Provincial, New Orleans, Louisiana:
http://suite101.com/article/haunted-hotel-provincials-ghosts-a198202
Located in the French Quarter, this hotel
originally served as a military hospital. Ghosts of Confederate soldiers, doctors and nurses are frequently seen wandering the corridors and bloodied soldiers are found lying on guests’ beds! Fortunately, the soldiers and blood always disappear with the flip of a light switch.
 
 
 
2: Hotel Del Coronado, San Diego, California: 
http://www.ghost-investigators.com/Stories/view_story.php?story_num=1
Built in 1888, this hotel is believed to be haunted by the ghost of Kate Morgan, a con artist who either committed suicide on the steps of the hotel leading to the beach in 1892, or was murdered by her estranged husband.  A maid who had befriended Kate disappeared the day after Kate’s funeral and some speculate Tom Morgan killed her, too. Ghosts make their presence known via whispers, moving objects and curtains, cold breezes or appear as a full-body apparition of a lady in a black dress.



  
 
3. The Stanley Hotel, Estes Park, Colorado:
http://www.stanleyhotel.com/about/haunted-history
   Stephen King, inspired by the 1909 Stanley Hotel’s haunted history, wrote half of "The Shining" in room 217. The hotel’s real ghosts, however, are believed to be the gentle spirits of the original owners, F.O. and Flora Stanley (of “Stanley Steamer” fame.) It’s said that Mrs. Stanley plays the piano in the music room, and Mr. Stanley frequents the billiards room and lobby. Guests often report hearing ghost children laughing and running in the halls of the fourth floor, which used to function as the servants and nannies quarters.




4. Le Pavillon Hotel, Louisiana:
http://hauntedneworleans.travelnola.com/Haunted-New-Orleans-Hotels/
Ghosts of the 1907 Le Pavillon Hotel include a Victorian teenager, a 1920s couple, a man who likes to play pranks on the cleaning staff and an old woman. At night, guests often report strange noises or claim their bedcovers were lifted into the air by unseen hands. One guest claims he woke to find the old woman sitting on the side of his bed, stroking his face and hair. When he turned on the light, she disappeared. He didn’t stay long enough to find out if she would make a return visit!






5. Sagamore Hotel, New York:
http://voices.yahoo.com/haunted-sagamore-hotel-bolton-landing-ny-569998.html?cat=37
  
Among the ghosts that haunt the 1883 Sagamore Hotel and golf course, is a Victorian couple that descends the stairs and seats themselves in one of the hotel’s restaurants before disappearing. There’s also a tall, blonde woman wearing an evening gown, a portly man with a walrus mustache, and a little boy, who steals golf balls and laughs while golfers search for their ‘lost’ ball. Eventually, he throws the ball back at the frustrated golfers from behind a tree.


6. Crescent Hotel, Eureka Springs, Ozarks
http://www.americasmosthauntedhotel.com/stories_phillipwsteele.shtml
   This 1886 hotel was turned into a hospital/health resort in the 1930s by Norman Baker, an inventor who claimed to have discovered a cure for cancer, despite having no medical training. Hundreds of patients came for treatment but when it turned out the “cure” primarily consisted of drinking natural spring water, Baker was sent to jail for fraud. Hotel staff and guests claim numerous sightings of elegant Victorian guests, doctors, nurses, cancer patients, and a carpenter.

 
 

7. The Logan Inn, New Hope, Pennsylvana http://www.weirdus.com/states/pennsylvania/ghosts/logan_inn/index.php
The Logan Inn has operated continuously since 1722. Back then, the bodies of people who died during the winter were stored in the basement until the ground thawed. That might explain why the ghost of a Revolutionary War soldier is frequently spotted in the basement tap room. Also, Emily Lutz, who died in Room 6, is said to have never left. Guests in that room often report cold spots, moved objects and a strong scent of lavender perfume. Throughout the Inn, ghostly apparitions appear, and random windows open themselves during the night


 



8. Hotel La Fonda, Santa Fe, New Mexico
http://www.sgha.net/nm/santafe/lafonda2.html
 
This hotel was built in 1922, on the same site as previous hotels, dating as far back as 1607, when gunfights were common and hangings were carried out in the lobby or the gallows outside. Also, a judge was shot to death in the lobby and a man committed suicide by jumping into a deep well (which was located beneath the current hotel’s restaurant.) Hotel staff and guests claim they’ve seen a ghostly figure walk to the center of the restaurant and jump into the floor, disappearing from sight. Additionally, they say the ghost of the black-robed judge paces the halls.




9. Vinoy Renaissance, St. Petersburg, Florida
http://www.hauntedbaseball.com/preview.html
  This 1923 hotel has a history of deaths related to a tragic fire, suicides, and patients who died while the Vinoy was being used as an army hospital. According to hotel staff, guests and numerous visiting teams of baseball players, several ghosts haunt the hotel. A few baseball players swear they saw the ghost of a man from the 1930s standing in their rooms. There are also several reports that doors unlock, open and slam themselves during the night, water faucets turn on, toilets flush and clocks unplug themselves, objects are moved, and paintings briefly “come to life.”




10. Ramada Plaza Hotel, Fond du Lac, Wisconsin
http://joelmandre.info/haunted-places-ramada-plaza-hotel-fond-du-lac-wisconsin
 
This 1923 hotel was known to be frequented by the mob. Later, it was turned into a psychiatric hospital and a nursing home; then sat vacant for decades. During every phase of its existence, people died here – from owner Walter Schroeder, who was murdered here, to two suicides while it sat vacant. Guests and staff claim they’ve heard men's voices and footsteps, heard cries for help, and seen full-body apparitions in the halls and basement tunnels.

 
Those all sound absolutely wonderful!!  Now let's take a look at the book details:
 
Title:  Pearls: Spirits of the Belleview Biltmore
Author:  BonSue Brandvick
Publisher: Self
Length:  317 pages
Sub-Genres: Paranormal, Ghosts

 

BLURB:

Software developer Honor Macklin believes she’s equal business partners with her philandering ex-husband, but when family responsibilities take her to Florida, she discovers her ex may have cheated her in more ways than one. Spirits at the Belleview Biltmore hotel try to help Honor by invading her dreams to share memories from the life of Darcy Loughman, a young Victorian woman with big problems of her own. When the two worlds collide, Honor and her new lover, Josh, along with his clairvoyant four-year-old son, try to figure out how Honor can use lessons from the past to change her destiny.

The setting for this novel is the famous and currently endangered historic Belleview Biltmore Resort in Belleair, FL. The hotel was built in 1896 by one of Florida’s founding fathers, Henry B. Plant. The author is working with preservationists, hoping to find investors willing to save the wonderful, 820,000 sq. ft. hotel from demolition.
 

EXCERPT :

Late in the afternoon, Honor Macklin took her checklist list out of her pocket and with a triumphant flourish, checked off the item “Clean-out Mom’s Kitchen.” Then she gathered up the day’s treasures, including the antique journal, and put them in her car. Remembering her hotel room at the Belleview Biltmore was quite chilly the night before, she went to her mother’s closet and grabbed an old-fashioned flannel granny-gown to sleep in, and then drove the short distance back to the hotel to order room service.
Belly full, bathed and dressed in her mother’s old flannel gown, Honor snuggled under the goose-down comforter, against the oh-so-soft pillows and began to read the faded text in the old journal. It began, “I long for a world so different than the one I inhabit…”
As she began to drift off to sleep, Honor became aware of a chill in the air and she heard voices coming from… coming from where? The hallway? Her suite? She tried to focus on the conversation.
“She has the journal. It’s time for her to know everything,” a woman’s voice said.
Honor rose from her bed to investigate and was amazed to find two women sitting in her parlor, clothed in full Victorian dress. Then it slowly began to sink in. They weren’t exactly what you would call solid.
“Who… what…” stammered Honor, startled almost beyond words.
“Good evening, darlin’,” the larger of the two women greeted her. “I’m Margaret and this is…well, this is Darcy. We see you’ve found her journal, gone from sight these many years.”
Margaret turned to face the thin, older woman. “It’s time, Darcy. You know it’s the right thing to do.”
“But what if she doesn’t understand?” The older woman looked worried. Her anguished eyes locked on Honor.
“She comes from good stock. She’ll understand,” the plump woman replied.
Suddenly, Honor found herself inexplicably fading from her hotel room, into a fog. She floated through the mist, enjoying the sensation. When the fog lifted, she was sitting at a cast-iron garden table with a cool breeze caressing her face.
She felt dizzy and a bit sick to her stomach, as if she had just stepped off a roller coaster. Desperately, she tried to orient herself to her new situation by focusing on a pink hibiscus bush nearby. She heard someone call out from a nearby path.
“A grand afternoon to you, Madam Darcy.”
Honor turned toward the voice and saw the heavyset woman who had called herself Margaret, waving at Darcy, who was seated across from Honor at the garden table.
Honor’s mouth hung open as she gazed beyond the courtyard to the original Belleview Hotel. She felt Darcy’s eyes upon her, pulling her attention back across the table.
Darcy spoke as though they were still in Honor’s hotel room, seemingly unaware their location had changed, or that she appeared to be several decades younger than she had been only moments ago…
 
BUY LINKS:
 
 
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
BonSue Brandvik has lived in Pinellas County for the past 35 years. She and her husband, John, built their home in Belleair 16 years ago. They have one daughter and son-in-law, who also reside in Pinellas County.
BonSue earned her Associate’s degree at St Petersburg College and then pursued a Liberal Arts degree at the University of Tampa.
The majority of BonSue’s business career has been dedicated to the field of Human Resources. In 2004, she left her position as Director of HR for TBE Group, in order to start a home-based HR consulting business. As sole proprietor of HR Helping Hands, BonSue offers HR services on an as-needed basis, to companies too small to hire a full-time HR manager. She also became involved with local government and currently serves as the Chairman of the Planning and Zoning Board in Belleair.
BonSue volunteers as a court-appointed Guardian Ad Litem, advocating for children who come into the court system primarily as a result of alleged abuse or neglect. She also volunteers as a docent at the Heritage Village Living History Museum in Largo and she leads a writers’ critique group called Clearwater Writers Meet-Up.
Over the course of the last year, BonSue has become involved in the cause to protect, preserve and restore the historic Belleview Biltmore Hotel; the inspiration for a series of novels she is currently writing. She published the first novel in the series, titled “Pearls: Spirits of the Belleview Biltmore, Book One,” earlier this year. “Pearls” has earned several outstanding reviews, creating a demand for the next book in the series, “Ripples”, which she hopes to finish within the next year.
BonSue also wrote and illustrated a children’s educational and interactive workbook, titled “Where Do You Live, Exactly?” which uses the principle of the Russian nesting doll, to reduce the size of the universe one page at a time, until at the end of the book, the child reaches his/her own home.
BonSue offers to speak to groups on a variety of topics, including: The History of Florida, The Historic Belleview Biltmore Resort, and How to Weave Historic Facts into Works of Fiction.  
When it comes to leisure activities, BonSue enjoys reading, photography, gardening, golf, camping, and helping care for the family koi pond. She is also addicted to Facebook and the on-line game, “Words with Friends.”

Author Links:
Twitter: @BonSueB
 
You can follow the tour along here:
 
September 13 …Guest Post…Getting Naughty Between the Stacks
September 15…Review…Romance Book Club . Com Club
September 18.…Interview….Sugarbeat's Books
September 20…Review/Interview…Best Erotica Books
September 21 …Spotlight/Giveaway….Reading Between the Lines  
September 25…Interview….Gina's Library 
October 1…….Interview/Giveaway…All I Want and More
October 4……Guest Post……Read2Review
Oct 14…  Book spotlight….The LogLine Blog
October 15....Interview / Giveaway….Laurie's Paranormal Thoughts and Reviews 
October 23..….Review…….Lynn's Romance Enthusiasm
October 25…Review….Bunny's Reviews
 
To celebrate the tour kickoff, we are giving away some prizes!!!  Just enter in the rafflecopter!!  Good Luck!!


a Rafflecopter giveaway  

82 comments:

Maly said...

Can you share your scariest experience?

Maly said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Betty Hamilton said...

How did you first get involved in the spirit world?

Holly Letson said...

Have you ever lived in a house that is haunted?

Carol L. said...

Where did the original idea for this book come from ? I'm intrigued and look forward to reading Pearls.The list of Hotels is amazing with their hauntings. But I'm too chicken to give them a go. lol
Thanks for the opportunity and I truly hope to hear the Belleview Biltmore will be saved.
Carol L
Lucky4750 (at) aol (dot) com

rubyswan said...

Wow Bon Sue..U R a Renaissance woman indeed!!! I find history soo mesmerizing..& extraordinary! Contrats 2 U on UR Bk. PEARLS ..exquisite..nice..Tell me Have U written about the Native Americans from the Florida area or any of their amazing lives woven in UR fiction Reads?? I lovvvve 2 read about the Native Americans they R super cool strong & resourceful people..thanQ ! all the very best 2 U BonSue..ooh wat a lovely name:D
redz041@yahoo.com

shona lawrence said...

Who inspires you?

Yvette said...

Have you visited all the top ten haunts and if so which was your favorite?
Yvette
yratpatrol@aol.com

vadeluna07 said...

Have you been to the Belleview Biltmore Resort in Belleair, FL and if so, did you experience anything out of the ordinary?

bettycd said...

Let's say, I haven't realized I was experiencing anything ghostly. We were stationed over in England for 2 years and every manor house/castle we visited had resident ghosts.
Going thru the list above, the little boy ghost who steals golfballs is sweet. Perhaps there are more golfcourses who have haunts that move golfballs around. A lot of golfers would love to blame lost balls on mischievious haunts anyway.

M.C.V. Egan and Jolie DeMarco said...

I have stayed at the Vinoy Renaissance in ST Petersburg,Florida and I felt 'something' I love to visit 'haunted' places I sometimes feel nothing but see great places.
What a fun post and a great give away A must share!
Thanks Nikki you know this is right up my alley and wishes for the greatest success to BonSue !
A fun must share hope I win the BOOK! :)
M.C.V. Egan

Daph said...

What inspired you to write in this genre?
Daphne

Shannon Ro said...

Have you ever felt a spirit/do you believe you can communicate with spirits?

Lona said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lona said...

I like the cover, do you get to choose your covers? Thx for giveaway.

blinkysthebest at aol dot com

fundinmental said...

I have visited Cape Cod, Mass many times. I was surprised that you did not include anything from there. Thanks for the giveaway.

mcv said...

What kind of paranormal experience did you have in the Belleview Biltmore Resort?
mcv111 at hotmail dot com

Dovile said...

Have you visited other haunted hotels besides those mentioned?

NoraA said...

Have you ever actually had a ghostly visit, or spoken to someone who has?

Bboo04 said...

Do you have a favorite ghost legend?

Lisa Cox said...

What made you decide to do a ghost story? And why the Biltmore?

wanda f said...

What first interested you in the spirit world ?I personally have always been interested I grew up in a haunted house and Ive always wanted to visit the Hotel Del Coronado .Thank you for sharing with us .Have a great day.

S.A. said...

Have you ever stayed at the Landmark Hotel (now called the Highland Gardens) in Los Angeles? Janis Joplin died in room 105, and supposedly there are a number of paranormal activities in that room such as the phone ringing at the time Janis died. I haven't stayed there, but I would like to.

BonSue Brandvik said...

First, of all, thanks to Nikki and Close Encounters of the Night Kind for hosting me today. This is a great site!

Next, thanks to everyone who leaves a comment. I LOVE the comments I've read so far! I look forward to answering every question, but first, I'm off to the Haunted House of the Seven Gables at Heritage Village, a living history museum where I volunteer as a docent (tour guide) and yes, I have had ghostly encounters there, which I'll tell you about as soon as I get home. I promise to respond to each comment and will check back often to see if I missed anyone. Until then, have a happy Wednesday everyone!

Amanda Ray said...

Wow, my son loves ghost stories. What was your first encounter/haunting? Your favorite ghostly legend/tale?

susanmp said...

No ghostly encounters for me and I cant even bring myself to watch ghost stories! What are you working on now?

susanmplatt AT hotmail DOT com

Kerry said...

No ghost encounters here, but I find it interesting :)

kerryjcj AT verizon DOT net

BonSue Brandvik said...

Maly said... Can you share your scariest experience?

Hi, Maly! I've had a few, but the scariest experience probably happened at the Belleview Biltmore hotel. I had sneaked up to the abandoned 5th FL, which used to serve as rooms for nannies and servants who were traveling with well-to-do hotel guests. It was nearly sunset and I stood near a window, watching the sun going down over the Intracoastal Waterway in the distance. There are no lights on the entire floor, but I wasn't worried because I had a flashlight with me. As I started back down the hallway to the servant's stairs, something moving caught my eye. I turned around and walked down the now dark corridor, in the opposite direction from the stairs, when suddenly I felt a dark presence watching me. I didn't here the words, "get out" but I certainly felt the message! I pretty much turned tail and scurried to the steps as fast as my legs could carry me! I didn't stop until I was back on the first floor and among people once again.

Renald said...

I wanted to ask ,have you seen any ghosts?, but you answered it.
I have .

r.d1@myfairpoint.net

BonSue Brandvik said...

Betty Hamilton said... How did you first get involved in the spirit world?

Hi, Betty! I think I've always been able to feel spirits around me. I remember when I was a little girl,living in an old, old, farmhouse, I woke one night in bed and there was a teenage girl by my bed, wearing a white dress. It was obvious that she wasn't a 'real person'. I thought she was an angel. She is the only apparition I ever actually saw. She asked me the oddest question... "How do you think you'll die?" I was scared and wanted to wake my sister, who was sleeping next to me, but I was frozen in place. Then I realized she was just curious. I told her I didn't know and she said it was a game and then she went on to guess how my brothers and sister would die. When I asked about me, she said, "Just be careful around fire." I told my siblings in the morning, but they thought I made it up. When the apparition appeared the next night, I told her I knew she wasn't real, turned my back and refused to look at her. She never returned.

Pommawolf Emeraldwolfeyes said...

thank you for sharing your wonderful info of these great haunted places. I do believe their are spirits wandering around in the world. It's just fascinating!
It's also quite freaky that your ghost character "Darcy" is also my real name. I don't run across many people with the name, and especially when I was a child or teenager. I have't met another Darcy even as an adult, so I love it when the name is used in stories. *S*
Thank you for the giveaway, and I wish you all the best & continued success!

Darcy
pommawolf @hotmail.com

BonSue Brandvik said...

Holly Letson said... Have you ever lived in a house that is haunted?

Hi, Holly - Yes. In addition to the one I already mentioned, the first house I bought for my daughter and I was haunted. I always felt a comfortable, welcoming sense about the place, but didn't realize it was a ghost until after a bad break-up, I was crying in my bed when it began to rock. I was scared until I understood it was meant to be comforting... and it was! My bed rocked until I fell asleep and that happened every time I went to bed upset after that. I also heard someone coming to "check on me" once,late one night, after I hit my thumb with a hammer and cried out. I thought it was my daughter & called back, telling her I was ok. She didn't come to the door, so I went to peek in her bedroom. She was sound asleep. I checked the house's history and found that one elderly man died of a heart attack in his sleep in what was now my room. Maybe it was him. I don't know for sure, but I sure liked that ghost!

BonSue Brandvik said...

Carol L. said... Where did the original idea for this book come from ? I'm intrigued and look forward to reading Pearls.The list of Hotels is amazing with their hauntings. But I'm too chicken to give them a go. lol

Hi, Carol - The original idea for this book came from the first time I toured the Belleview Biltmore. It amazed me that the entire place was permeated with echoes from past guests and hotel workers. I wanted to tell stories about what life might have been like for strong women who visited there in past decades. I hope the hotel will be saved and that everyone can come experience this for themselves one day!

BonSue Brandvik said...

rubyswan said...Tell me Have U written about the Native Americans from the Florida area or any of their amazing lives woven in UR fiction Reads?? I lovvvve 2 read about the Native Americans they R super cool strong & resourceful people..thanQ

Hi, Ruby! I agree with you about Indian spirits. One of the spirits known to haunt the Belleview Biltmore Hotel is that of a huge wolf or dog that has been seen several times in the basement tunnels. I believe this is the animal spirit of an Indian. Long ago, Indian tribes used much of the hotel's surrounding the property for burial mounds. I mention this spirit in my current WIP (Book 2 of this series), and it will play an important role in Book 4.

BonSue Brandvik said...

shona lawrence said... Who inspires you?

Hi, Shona! I am most inspired by people who are faced with difficulties I can't even imagine, but refuse to give up, like Oscar Pistorius, the double amputee who ran in the Olympics.

On a daily basis, I remain inspired by my late grandmother and by Leonardo Da Vinci. My grandmother's down-to-earth wisdom is incorporated in some of my spirit characters and Leonardo... well who isn't inspired by him?

BonSue Brandvik said...

Yvette said...Have you visited all the top ten haunts and if so which was your favorite? Yvette

Hi, Yvette - I've actually only visited two of these hotels, but hope to stay at all of them! When I stayed at the Vinoy, I actually had an encounter with a prankster ghost who didn't want me to leave. A pair of slacks I had laid on the bed to be packed were put back in the closet while I was getting things out of the bathroom and my little travel pillow was missing when I got home. I called the hotel and they sent someone to see if it was still in my room. The room had not been serviced and the pillow was laying in the middle of the bed in plain view! When I researched hotels for this article, I was dumbfounded to find another report from someone else who had had a very similar experience at this hotel, except in reverse. They hung things in the closet, only to find them back on their bed a short time later.

BonSue Brandvik said...

vadeluna07 said...Have you been to the Belleview Biltmore Resort in Belleair, FL and if so, did you experience anything out of the ordinary?

Vadeluna07 - Yes & yes. In addition to the encounter I mentioned in an earlier comment, my husband & I stayed at the hotel the last weekend the hotel was open. We had a suite, which was divided on either side of the bathroom by two doors with glass doorknobs. The first day of our stay, the glass knob fell off the door leading into our bedroom. We joked about how it was good the hotel was closing for renovation and my hubby put the doorknob back together. It seemed fine, but later that day, it fell off again. We were puzzled because my husband had found nothing wrong with it. He repaired it a second time and later that night, just as we were falling asleep, we hear this 'clunk' and knew it fell off again. We just laughed & he decided not to put it back together until we left. Months later, the hotel was long-closed and I was there as part of a liquidation sale, in preparation for renovation. I stopped by the room and the doorknob was intact. That's when I was certain it hadn't fallen off by itself!

BonSue Brandvik said...

bettycd said... Going thru the list above, the little boy ghost who steals golfballs is sweet. Perhaps there are more golfcourses who have haunts that move golfballs around. A lot of golfers would love to blame lost balls on mischievious haunts anyway.

Betty - I agree! I'm thinking I might use this excuse the next time I lose a golf ball in the woods!

BonSue Brandvik said...

M.C.V. Egan and Jolie DeMarco said... I have stayed at the Vinoy Renaissance in ST Petersburg,Florida and I felt 'something' I love to visit 'haunted' places I sometimes feel nothing but see great places.

Hi, M.C.V. & Jolie - Check my earlier comments about the Vinoy, as I also had some experiences there. I totally agree with you, though... whether or not I experience a haunting, I love staying at historic hotels and learning stories from their rich histories!

BonSue Brandvik said...

Daph said... What inspired you to write in this genre?

Hi, Daphne! I was inspired by the history of the Belleview Biltmore Hotel, as well as the feelings I get whenever I am there. I wanted to write about both its past and its present but didn't know how I would be able to do that until I was inspired to write about spirits who still live there and interact with present guests of the hotel.

Pearls is a cross genre book (paranormal, historic, women's fiction, contemporary, time travel, romance)so hopefully, it will appeal to a wide variety of readers!

BonSue Brandvik said...

Shannon Ro said...Have you ever felt a spirit/do you believe you can communicate with spirits?

Hi, Shannon! Yes and no - I often feel spirits around me and they seem to be able to make themselves known to me easily enough, however, I can't really communicate with them. I do admire people who have this ability, though. For instance, I was walking around a haunted graveyard with paranormal author Terri Grimes one evening and, although we both felt we were not alone by any means, she was able to hear all sorts of whisperings that I could not.

BonSue Brandvik said...

Lona said...I like the cover, do you get to choose your covers?

Lona - Thank you very much! One of my long-time girlfriends is a professional graphic artist and she designed my cover. She is amazing! If anyone would like to contact her about a cover design, let me know & I'll e-mail her contact info to you!

BonSue Brandvik said...

OpenID fundinmental said...I have visited Cape Cod, Mass many times. I was surprised that you did not include anything from there

OpenID funinmental - Yes, there are several great, haunted hotels in Mass, including The Colonial Inn, which was on my original list. I had a terrible time tryng to whittle my selections down to just ten!

Did you have any spirit encounters while you were there?

BonSue Brandvik said...

OpenID Bboo04 said... Do you have a favorite ghost legend?

OpenID bboo04 - Yes, I do have a favorite ghost legend. The old movie, "The Ghost and Mrs Muir" was based on a ghost legend that was very similar to the movie script. I love that legend because of the romance and the way that the ghost actually helped her acquire self-confidence, take control of her life and succeed in writing a book about the sea, at a time when most women only wrote cook books.

BonSue Brandvik said...

Lisa Cox said... What made you decide to do a ghost story? And why the Biltmore?

I wanted to write stories about modern women who are able to learn from those who came before our time and ghosts (actually spirits) allow me to do that.

Why the Biltmore? It's fabulous, quite haunted, and located in my hometown, and I have sensed many spirits there. I am hoping my stories will help bring new life to this wonderful, old hotel, which is presently closed.

BonSue Brandvik said...

wanda f said...What first interested you in the spirit world? I personally have always been interested. I grew up in a haunted house and Ive always wanted to visit the Hotel Del Coronado

Hi, Wanda! I'm with you. I would love to visit the Del Coranado! The ghost of Kate Morgan is such a great story about a girl who became a con artist to please the man she loved and who tried to turn her life around but was murdered (or committed suicide) before she redeemed herself. I would love to travel back in time and learn what really happened there!

BonSue Brandvik said...

S.A. said... Have you ever stayed at the Landmark Hotel (now called the Highland Gardens) in Los Angeles? Janis Joplin died in room 105, and supposedly there are a number of paranormal activities in that room such as the phone ringing at the time Janis died. I haven't stayed there, but I would like to.

S.A. - I hadn't heard about that one, but it sounds great. When I was a kid, J.J. was my favorite recording artist and my mom was terrified I would grow up to be like her! I still think it's hard to find a better song than, "Take Another Piece of my Heart"

BonSue Brandvik said...

susanmp said... No ghostly encounters for me and I cant even bring myself to watch ghost stories! What are you working on now?

Susan - I don't like horror movies, but ghosts/spirits are just like live people... some are good & others not-so-much. My spirits aren't scary. They're more grandmotherly.

I'm currently working on "Ripples", the second book in this 4-part series. All of this series takes place at the Belleview Biltmore. The hotel guest in "Ripples" connects with spirits from the Prohibition Era, so there's lots of bootlegging and danger. I'm having fun writing it!

BonSue Brandvik said...

Renald said... I wanted to ask ,have you seen any ghosts?, but you answered it. I have .

Renald - Please share your ghost story with us!

BonSue Brandvik said...

Pommawolf Emeraldwolfeyes said... I do believe there are spirits wandering around in the world. It's just fascinating!
It's also quite freaky that your ghost character "Darcy" is also my real name. I don't run across many people with the name, so I love it when the name is used in stories.

Darcy - I completely agree that spirits are everywhere! I love your name! Sometimes I have a hard time picking names for my characters. As a matter of fact, I've been known to change character names mid-book because they just don't sound 'right', but not so when I named Darcy. Her name came to me in a flash and I loved it from the start! BTW - despite living through some terrible events, she grows into an amazing woman in the novel!

William and Anna Patterson said...

Hi:
I have really enjoyed reading this article about the haunted places and the book about such a place. I would like to ask the author how old she was when she had her first ghost encounter. Does she remember this vividly or not?
Thanks so much,
Anna

Mel Bourn said...

Wow! So many of the questions that I had were already asked and answered. Such amazing stories and experiences. Thanks for sharing !
Would you consider using other haunted houses/ hotels/ buildings as a setting your books? What research do you do for them?
Mel

BonSue Brandvik said...

William and Anna Patterson said...I would like to ask the author how old she was when she had her first ghost encounter. Does she remember this vividly or not?

Hi, William & Anna! The first experience I can remember was the one I described in an earlier comment, wherein I spoke with an apparition. I was about 6 or 7 years old and we were living in an old farmhouse in MO. The house had secret passages and a huge attic, where my brother found relics from the Civil War, including a few rifles and a saber. The house was rumored to have been used as a part of the underground railroad during the Civil War. I remember the encounter quite vividly, even though no one believed me! I tried to return to visit the house as an adult, but unfortunately, by that time it had been demolished and replaced by a disco, with flashing lights and everything!

BonSue Brandvik said...

Mel Bourn said...Would you consider using other haunted houses/ hotels/ buildings as a setting your books? What research do you do for them?

Hi, Mel! - Right now I still have 3 books to complete the "Spirits of the Belleview Biltmore" series, but after that, I might consider other locations, especially if this series helps to save the Belleview Biltmore hotel. I might try to find another historic location in need of good press!

As for research... I do a ton! I search through historic archives at museums and interview every elderly person in town who is willing to talk to me! I also read all kinds of books about the Era I am writing about, to make sure my historic facts are accurate. My goal is that readers won't ever be sure where the true historic facts leave off and my imagination begins.

pc said...

Hi, BonSue!
You said you've had some encounters at the Haunted House of Seven Gables...have there been any encounters there or anywhere else that have really given you the shivers that you wouldn't want to repeat?
ivegotmail8889@yahoo.com

Herding Cats - Burning Soup said...

I'm such a chicken. Hauntings totally freak me out. Would you ever go to a "haunted" hotel again and stay the night? We stayed on the Queen Mary that's docked in CA and is supposedly very haunted. We did a little ghost hunting but didn't find anything. Did have the tar scared out of us by a janitor in the boiler room after hours that kinda snuck up on us :)

BonSue Brandvik said...

pc said...You said you've had some encounters at the Haunted House of Seven Gables...have there been any encounters there or anywhere else that have really given you the shivers that you wouldn't want to repeat?

Hi, PC - We give 30 minute tours of the 7 Gables and sometimes that means I let one group out and then race to the other door to let the next group in. I keep a bottle of water next to my basket of personal things behind the velvet ropes, where no guests are allowed, so I can grab a quick drink between tours. Once I was racing from one door to the other and found my bottle of water had been turned upside-down and balanced on its lid! It was ice cold, too. I carefully set it down correctly & let in the next tour. When I came back, it was on its side. Another time, I heard someone walking down the stairs when no one was in the house but me and the empty stairs were within sight. And still another time, a pair of baby pants, which normally lie across the baby tub in the nursery, were laid across the velvet rope. I put them back and during the next tour, there they were again, on the rope! This time, i put them back and told the ghost to stop it and leave things where they belong. It didn't happen again. For the last several months, whenever I have a gap between tours, I pull out my iPad and read aloud to the ghosts (currently reading stories of the Civil War to them). This seems to really keep them happy, as they don't do anything to annoy me anymore!

BonSue Brandvik said...

Herding Cats - Burning Soup said... I'm such a chicken. Hauntings totally freak me out. Would you ever go to a "haunted" hotel again and stay the night?

Herding Cats - First of all, let me say I love your user name! As for staying at haunted hotels, I will absolutely stay at historic hotels and if they happen to be haunted, I'm okay with that. I don't think the vast majority of ghosts mean any harm. They like to play jokes, but that's about it.

marybelle said...

I wonder what you would do if confronted by a ghost BonSue?

My Mother has seen a ghost & this is not a woman given to flights of fancy.

divavixenqueen said...

If a ghost ever tried to communicate with you, to help
them with what ever their situation was(solve their demise,
help them help a loved one) would you?

Bboo04 said...

I loved "The Ghost and Mrs Muir"! I stumbled across it on tv one day and I was hooked. I did not know it was actually based off a real legend. Thank you. :)

Beckey said...

:)
BeckeyWhiteATgmailDOTcom

Cassandra said...

Who or what inspires you most?

ronnkelly3 said...

Will you write another book like this?

Foretta said...

Have you ever lived with or seen a ghost

Julie Witt said...

When in the world do you have time to write with all of your other jobs, both paid and volunteer? I am in awe of you :)

BonSue Brandvik said...

marybelle said...I wonder what you would do if confronted by a ghost BonSue? My Mother has seen a ghost & this is not a woman given to flights of fancy.

I haven't actually seen a ghost since I was a child, but I believe I have encountered several throughout my life. They have scared me only once or twice. Usually, I enjoy the experience.

As for your Mom seeing a ghost; I believe there are simply too many encounters by too many types of people throughout time to not believe that spirits exist.

BonSue Brandvik said...

divavixenqueen said... If a ghost ever tried to communicate with you, to help them with what ever their situation was(solve their demise,
help them help a loved one) would you?

Hi, Divavixenqueen - As a humanitarian, I try to help people who need it whenever possible. I would like to believe that that I would do the same for a spirit who needed my help.

BonSue Brandvik said...

Julie Witt said... When in the world do you have time to write with all of your other jobs, both paid and volunteer? I am in awe of you :)

Hi, Julie - Thank you so much! Now you know why I can only produce one book per year!

BonSue Brandvik said...

Thanks again to Nikki & Close Encounters With the Night Kind! It's been a wonderful way to start my blog tour!

June M. said...

There is a closed Sanatorium in my home state (Kentucky). Would you ever spend the night there or in another sanitarium?

June M. said...

There is a closed Sanatorium in my home state (Kentucky). Would you ever spend the night there or in another sanitarium?

Shadow said...

Hi! Its wonderful meeting you! Your book sounds great! When your not writing, what do you like to do?

Liese2 said...

Have you ever left a building because you were too frightened to stay?

sqwalker2@hotmail.com

dusty katt said...

What do you like to eat while working?

angie lilly said...

What made you decide to make the 4 year old be the clairvoyant?

BonSue Brandvik said...

June M. said...There is a closed Sanatorium in my home state (Kentucky). Would you ever spend the night there or in another sanitarium?

June - If you're talking about the Waverly Sanatorium, an author/friend of mine loves to go there & has has several encounters.

As for me, I prefer haunted hotels to institutions because ghosts that haunt hotels are often people who worked there and died happy. Their ghosts are often sweet caregivers and/or jokers, while those who died in institutions are more often just plain unhappy souls.

BonSue Brandvik said...

Shadow said...Hi! Its wonderful meeting you! Your book sounds great! When your not writing, what do you like to do?

Hi, Shadow - When I'm not writing, I do a lot of volunteer work and for fun, I love reading, photography, gardening, crafting, and taking care of our koi pond. I'm also addicted to the on-line game, "Words With Friends"

BonSue Brandvik said...

Liese2 said... Have you ever left a building because you were too frightened to stay?

Hi, Liese - I never actually left a building, but I did run down several flights of stairs once when I got spooked by a dark presence on the 5th floor of the Belleview Biltmore. I ran all the way down to the first floor! I still remember that feeling. Creepy!

BonSue Brandvik said...

dusty katt said...What do you like to eat while working?

Hi, Dusty Katt - I alternate between jelly beans and salted pumpkin seeds. I only let myself have a few at a time of either treat, though.

BonSue Brandvik said...

angie lilly said...What made you decide to make the 4 year old be the clairvoyant?

Hi Angie Lilly - Good question! Perhaps it was because I saw a ghost when I was a kid (6 or 7.) I rejected a second visit with that ghost because everyone told me the first visit was just my imagination. I think I'll always wonder what I could have learned from that ghost if I wouldn't have turned my back on her.

Since then, I have come to believe kids are more open to other dimensions of existence because they haven't formed all their points of reference yet. As they grow-up, I think kids learn to make sense of their world by putting things into two boxes... one contains things that are 'real' and the other contains those things that are 'imagined.' While this process makes it much easier to function on a day-to-day basis, I think it's sad they lose that openness.

I decided that Cody, the boy in my book, would be keenly aware of spirits because his mother, who died at his birth, has been visiting him his whole life. Because he is so open to her, he doesn't find it strange that there are other spirits around as well.

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