When it comes to fiction writing, almost anything goes. That is why I love writing paranormal and fantasy stories. The author can go completely over the edge and make something unbelievable seem believable. When it comes to ghost stories, I get a lot of my inspiration from real life experiences. Not necessarily my own either. I watch television programs that partake of the supernatural and paranormal flare. Programs from ordinary people who claim they experienced either an afterlife experience, or a haunting.
For my ghost stories, I get a lot of my inspiration from real life experiences. Not necessarily my own, either. I watch television programs with the supernatural and paranormal flare; documentaries from ordinary people who claim they experienced either an afterlife experience, or a haunting.
Some of the stories from my anthology, "Wicked Intentions", are based on actual hauntings. In The Legend of Lake Manor, I placed my young psychic, Cassandra Lopez, in a haunted mansion I fashioned on my knowledge of a three-story mansion in my hometown and information from television about a restaurant/bar in Ohio, supposedly ruled by demons so violent that the local police are constantly closing it down.
A television documentary about a young mother plagued by ghost sightings since childhood, inspired The Haunting of Barb Marie and her gift/curse.
And The Apartment, in which my newlyweds, Bill and Gayle, are plagued by sightings of evil ghosts that threaten their marriage and theirs lives, originated from a real apartment haunted by the ghosts of two homosexual lovers who died violently. The legend says no tenant is able to stay there until the spirits are chased off by a paranormal investigation team.
On the Discovery Channel, is where I got the idea for Summer Wind. I learned of the colonial explorer Jonathon Carver who lived during the 1700s and whose ghost is believed to be haunting the Summerwind estate, built in the early 20th century. Carver’s ghost is, supposedly, searching the house’s foundations for deeds to a vast tract of land (10,000 square miles) given to him by Sioux Indian chiefs as a reward for the peace treaty he created between two warring tribes. In my Summer Wind, 29 year-old Ginger is mysteriously drawn to the old mansion, and like the many owners of the real mansion, the haunting had a negative and profound effect on Ginger and her family.
Another investigative program concerned one sister’s psychic premonitions about her twin’s murder. This led to my story, Blood Ties, and my heroine, Audra Roper’s dark, disturbing visions of her sister’s disappearance and the roller coaster of risks, heartbreak, and intrigue that followed.
Dark Visions came from reading a newspaper story while sitting in a diner. A young woman began having visions of her father's disappearance that was actually his murder from years earlier. So, my Carrie Reynolds starts having nightmares on her twenty-sixth birthday and believes these ‘dark visions’ can solve the twenty year disappearance of her father.
I set my murder mystery, The Truth Behind the Lies, on Norfolk Island after following a three year long murder investigation on that island from 2003. In my story, Federal Police Inspector Ian Christian faces attacks, more murders and ghostly occurrences, and the killer is closer than anyone realizes.
So, the next time you get Writer’s Block, or need a new idea, try switching on the television, open a newspaper, delve into history or simply look and listen. You will find something to stimulate your muse.
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Excerpt from “The Truth Behind the Lies”
Setting: Inspector Ian Christian and his ladylove/suspect Rosa, are out on the town on Norwalk Island.
Just as the sun set, we ducked into an outdoor bistro. As I ordered our drinks, Rosa needed the little girls room and disappeared inside the restaurant. I was on my second Jim Beam and Coke when I decided to look for her. She didn’t know anyone on the Island, to my knowledge, and she had checked in with her parents earlier that day.
I went snooping, but didn’t find her inside the ladies room. She wasn’t in the rear of the place or at the outdoor beer garden. So where the heck was she, I wondered, as I walked through the building. As I was about to return to the outside patio, I heard a faint pounding.
I followed the noise which led me down a flight of steps and into an unused portion of the restaurant that had once been a gym. Looking down the hall, I saw steam coming from under a door and rushed inside. The entire room was filled with hot mist, making it nearly impossible to see.
Then I heard Rosa’s screams. They were coming from the abandoned steam bath built into the far wall. I rushed to the device. There was no lock on the outside of the door, but Rosa was pounding furiously from the inside as if it were locked. I pulled on the door, but it wouldn’t budge.
“What the hell,” I said aloud, getting Rosa’s attention.
“Ian, thank God it’s you,” she cried. “Get me out of here! I’m burning up!”
I again pulled with all my strength on the door, but it was like the door was glued shut. Impossible! “Rosa,” I yelled. “Are you sure the door isn’t locked or jammed from your side?”
She pushed on it from inside, but nothing happened. “No, it won’t open.”
Looking around, I noticed a glass-encased ax bolted on the nearby wall.
“Move away from the door,” I told her. “I have an idea.”
I kicked out the glass with my foot and yanked the weapon from its perch.
I turned and came face to face with Ruthie’s ghost. “Ian…Ian…” she seductively cooed.
I froze with fear. A floating white mist almost invisible through the steam was all I saw, but boy, was it scary. “Ian… Ian…,” she whispered again. “Make love to me. Make love to me.”
“Go to hell!” I yelled, swinging the ax into the air as the specter darted from side to side with a piercingly laugh.
“Ian, what’s wrong?” yelled Rosa from her imprisonment. “Who are you talking to?”
“Go back to hell where you came from, devil bitch,” I yelled, swinging wildly at the air until the apparition screeched, then disappeared, taking the steam with it as if sucked out by a vacuum.
JoAnne has been a long-time resident of southeastern Ohio, and worked in the blue-collar industry most of her life. Besides having several novels under her belt, JoAnne canvas paints. When not busy with hobbies or working outside the home, JoAnne spends time with relatives, and volunteers her time within the community. JoAnne is a member of the International Women’s Writing Guild, Savvy Authors, Coffee Time Romance, Paranormal Romance Guild, True Romance Studios, National Writers Association, the Hocking Hill's Arts and Craftsmen Association, The Hocking County Historical Society and Museum, and the Hocking Hills Regional Welcome Center. JoAnne believes in family values and following your dreams. JoAnne’s original canvas paintings, can be found at: http://www.booksandpaintingsbyjoanne.com