Friday, October 09, 2015

Scary October: The Myrtles Plantation

In celebration of my favorite month, October, I'm featuring a different scary story every Friday. This week I'm telling you about a house that is often called one of the most haunted places in the country, The Myrtles Plantation.

The house is said to be haunted by at least 12 ghosts, with 10 people supposedly having been murdered in the house. As chilling as that is, though, there is only one murder on record--William Winter. This was his room:

William Winter, husband of one of the children in the household, was hired to manage the plantation in the 1860s. In the early 1870s, he was shot on the front porch when he went outside to greet an approaching man on horseback. Legend says after being shot, he stumbled back inside and died in his wife's arms on the 17th step. People have reported hearing the sound of clomping footsteps as an unseen entity enters the foyer and climbs the steps.

While there may have only one murder on record, there have been numerous deaths over the years. One of those deaths is linked to the most famous ghost on the property, who is thought to have been a young slave named Chloe. She is the apparition they say was captured in this famous photo taken on the property:

There are many legends surrounding Chloe, but the most interesting (and therefore, most often repeated) is that Chloe was having an affair with the owner of the property. He broke it off, legend says, and to get back at him, she put poison in his cake--unfortunately, his children ate the cake and died. The other slaves, outraged, supposedly hung her from a tree.

But the real draw is a mirror hanging in the entryway. This mirror is supposedly haunted, with numerous guests having produced pictures of images caught in the mirror.

Of course, the mirror is located in a room where light bounces off of numerous objects. Also, there's a permanent smudge in the center on the right side. That seems to be the cause of the majority of the "I caught a ghost" pictures of that mirror.

If you're ever in St. Francisville, Louisiana, though, it might be worth stopping by The Myrtles Plantation. Or, better yet, spend the night!

Come back next Friday for the next stop on my ghost tour:

Wednesday, October 07, 2015

IWSG: When Writers Disappear

It's the first Wednesday of the month, which means hundreds of us will be posting about our insecurities. And I'm a co-host this month, so I feel extra special! My fellow co-hosts are TB Markinson, Tamara Narayan, Shannon Lawrence, and Eva E. Solar, so be sure to check them all out.

I've been reading since the 70s. Over that time, many, many writers have come and gone. Some have endured.

While others have vanished.

Occasionally, I'll search for a new book by an author I once loved. In Kathryn Harvey's case, she has continued to write--under the name Barbara Wood. But what about the many authors who simply vanish one day? They write a few books (maybe more, maybe less), then never publish another thing again.

Where do they go?

Did they simply tire of writing?

Did they give up?

Do they sit down at their computers every day and stare at this?

Or, worse of all, do they keep writing books but their publisher/agent responds to every one with this:

Many writers spend years just trying to get a novel published. But what about those authors who finally achieve that dream, only to STOP?

What are you insecure about this month?

Sunday, October 04, 2015

The Sister Solution: A Guest Post by Trudi Trueit

I'm SO excited to have a fellow Aladdin M!x author on my blog today. Trudi was one of my favorite Aladdin M!x authors before I was published by that imprint...and now we're publisher sisters! Speaking of sisters...Trudi is here today to talk to us about the complexities of sisterhood. It goes perfectly with the theme of her new book, The Sister Solution, which is on sale now!



by Trudi Trueit

As a girl, I read Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women again and again. Not only because I closely identified with Jo’s fierce determination to be a writer, but also because the book so accurately expressed the true nature of sisterhood, which can be summed up in one word: complicated. Let’s make that two words: very complicated. Jo, Meg, Amy, and Beth laughed and played, huffed and squabbled, nurtured and comforted, fought and forgave, just the way my older sister and I did. One moment my sister and I could be quarreling about whose turn it was to use the curling iron and the next we were uncontrollably giggling over a secret joke at the dinner table. We could play competitive games for hours, but one wrong word said at the wrong time could bring either one of us to tears. Sisterhood is a powerful thing—an enigmatic, glorious, agonizing, powerful thing.

So it’s no wonder writing a story about two young sisters, who are complete opposites, trying to navigate their relationship was a bit daunting. The Sister Solution brewed in my head for a long time before I started writing it. I mean, how do you package up the crazy kaleidoscope of sisterhood into one book? When I was ready to write, I decided to tell the story from thirteen-year-old Sammi’s (the older sister) point of view. However, I hadn’t written more than a few chapters when Sammi’s little sister, Jorgianna, 11, tapped me on the shoulder and said, “Excuse me, but that’s not how it happened.” That’s when I realized I was going to have to do what every parent does, and give each sister equal time (or as equal as I could given the constraints of the job) to tell her side of the story. 

As I wrote, I realized there was one other thing I needed to do for the sake of sisters everywhere, and that was not to allow the novel to sink into cliché territory. I didn’t want to portray Sammi and Jorgianna in the way I’ve seen sisters characterized too often in books, movies, and television as mean, vindictive, one dimensional characters. You know the drill, Sister A steal’s Sister B’s—fill in the blank—boyfriend, husband, dream job, life, etc. Why is one sister always pitted against the other anyway? Instead, I wanted to pit the world against them. I wanted Sammi and Jorgianna to learn to become a team, to figure out how to hold onto one another when everything around them was conspiring to pull them apart. Sammi and Jorgianna learn to brave the strong winds of life’s tornado and come out stronger individuals and closer sisters.

I can’t say I understand the mysterious and powerful nature of sisterhood any more fully after writing The Sister Solution, but I can say I have learned not to take it for granted. Like Jo in Little Women, I have discovered, “I could never love anyone as I love my sister.”


The Sister Solution is the story of two sisters, who are complete opposites, and their longing to understand and connect with one another. Thirteen-year-old Sammi is a soft-spoken, practical thinker, while eleven-year-old Jorgianna is a free-spirited, fun-loving artist. When Jorgianna gets bumped up two grades to join her sister in the eighth grade, it’s a tough blow to Sammi’s ego, as well as her social life (especially when Jorgianna gets accepted into the popular crowd that Sammi has been dying to join). Sammi’s “solution” to handling this infringement into her world is to create a contract with Jorgianna, stipulating that they won’t talk, text, or acknowledge each other in any way, while at school. Of course, this move backfires in ways she never predicted and it isn’t long before she’s backpedaling to keep everything from falling apart.


Trudi Trueit knew she’d found her life’s passion after writing (and directing) her first play in fourth grade. Since then, she’s been a newspaper journalist, television news reporter and anchor, media specialist, freelance writer, and is now a children’s book author. She has published more than forty fiction and nonfiction titles for young readers and lives near Seattle, Washington.

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