March 30, 2015

Judith Redline Coopey - Guest Post


Writing a Trilogy – Why or Why Not

A word of advice from a slow learner:  never announce that you intend to write a trilogy before you’ve actually written the trilogy.  Mine, The Juniata Iron Trilogy, started out as what will eventually be Volume Three.  Actually it started out as a desire to write something inspired by the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows.   I loved that book for its array of eccentric and memorable characters.  So with that in mind, I started to develop my own set of strange beings, delving into my memory of the 1950s in rural western Pennsylvania.  A gun enthusiast who shot out of his upstairs window at targets across the road as cars whizzed by.  An eastern European immigrant whose command of English was just about non-existent raising three kids on his own after his wife died.  A crazy dare-devil kid trying to wring every last thrill out of his young life before tuberculosis took him down. A kind unmarried woman dedicating her life to caring for her father and two bachelor brothers, finding joy in her collection of African Violets.  For these and other characters I turned for further inspiration to a place near where I grew up in rural Pennsylvania.

The place was Mt Etna, a lost soul of a community when I was growing up more than fifty years ago, and barely a distant memory now.  In the 1950s, Mt Etna was a collection of run down former workers’ houses strung out along the Juniata River, remnants of a once prosperous and energetic iron plantation.  As a youth, I passed through Mt Etna every day, not even curious as to its origins and former glory.  All I knew was that the place was derelict and the people who lived there were poor.

Mt Etna in the 1950s was fertile ground for a collection of eccentrics, so I started there and went my merry way, writing a little from memory and a little from imagination.  What happened along the way to divert me from a single volume to a trilogy was curiosity. What had Mt Etna really been like back in its nineteenth century heyday?  How and why had it come along at all? For an historical novelist those how and why questions are the essence of why we write.  Our curiosity leads us down roads we never imagined existed to destinations far from where we thought we were going.

So to answer the how and the why, I began researching Mt Etna.  Now this was a tiny hamlet, never more than about 300 to 350 people, and it’s been nothing more than a ruin for  the past thirty or forty years. So where was I going to find out anything about it?  Enter the internet.  That’s right.  Amazing as it seems, I found a treasure trove of information about Mt Etna’s history at the Historic American Engineering Record, HAER No. PA-224.  There it was, all laid out before me – narrative, maps, drawings, a solid historical account of The Mt Etna Iron Works.

Add to that local historical societies:  Blair County Historical Society, Huntingdon County Historical Society, and local newspaper archives.  I love local historical societies.  They preserve so much that would be lost, simply by collecting, cataloguing and keeping.  Someone has to do that!  And they do it without compensation for years.  So, armed with plenty of historical fact and what is still left of the buildings, including the furnace itself, the manor house, now undergoing restoration, the company store, a tenant house, three log workers’ cabins and a huge stone bank barn, I became familiar with the place again.  Only this time I paid attention.

For me, the story always emerges out of the research.  I read and study and think about the time and place until I think I know it, and then I wait for the story to make its way out of the jumbled mass.  Once I’d familiarized myself with the actual history of Mt Etna, I knew there was more than one book here.  I’ve always loved family sagas, where the reader gets to follow the ebb and flow of a family’s fortunes, so I opted for a trilogy about the MacPhail family, purely fictional, but true to time and place.

So that’s how I got to writing a trilogy from the wrong end.  The first volume, The Furnace, came out in the fall of 2014.  Volume Two, tentatively titled The Brothers, is due this fall, and Volume Three should follow in 2016.  Writing the first volume came fairly easily once I’d studied the history of the place, and when launched in October 2014, it quickly claimed its place among readers.  The only problem was, once they read volume one, they clamored for volume two, and I hadn’t even written it yet.  Having done such extensive research, and having established time, place and a cast of characters, it should have been easy to slip right into volume two. Well, it was, but…  The pressure was on.  Could I keep up the tension?  Could I shepherd this family through another generation?  Could I keep my readers happy and looking forward to volume three?

 Who knows?  All a writer can do is write.  And hope.  So I jumped into volume two, and at this writing the first draft is simmering on the back burner.  I’ll leave it there for a month or two before I begin the revision process.  It feels pretty good right now, but that will be for the readers to decide.  Volume three is already half written.  I know where this is going, and where it ends, but the pressure is still on to produce a good story well told – my ultimate goal.

Which brings me back to where this blog began.  If I’ve learned anything from this experience, it’s this.  Don’t ever tell the world you are writing a trilogy until you’ve written a trilogy.  The pressure can be deadly, and I’m up for it, but after this, I think I’ll go back to writing one book at a time!

About the books


The Furnace (Juniata Iron Trilogy, #1)
Publication Date: October 1, 2014
Fox Hollow Press
*Formats: eBook & Paperback
Pages: 336
Series: Volume One, Juniata Iron Trilogy
Genre: Historical Fiction

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Elinor Bratton, young, beautiful, and privileged is pregnant and cast aside by her lover, the wealthy and spoiled scion of a eastern Pennsylvania family. As a result she is forced by her father into an arranged marriage to a man she barely knows. Adam MacPhail, a common iron worker whose only wish is to become an iron master agrees to the match as a means of realizing his dream. Ellie’s father, Stephen Bratton, well to do, well connected and determined to save his daughter’s reputation, orchestrates the union — not as Ellie would have it, but as he sees fit. So begins a marriage in a time when a woman had no voice, no rights, no say in matters directly pertaining to her. Ellie, exiled to the wilderness of western Pennsylvania with a man she would not have considered three months before, declares her intention to make Adam’s life miserable and make her father pay for his high-handed disregard for her rights. Adam, unschooled in dealing with women, chooses to focus his energy and attention on turning a down and out iron furnace into a profitable, well-ordered producer. Through the first half of the nineteenth century, the couple struggle to establish a life, disentangle an ill-conceived marriage, and make a success of a derelict furnace through the ups and downs of an unpredictable industry. Volume One of The Juniata Iron Trilogy, The Furnace chronicles Ellie and Adam’s efforts to find a balance and build an enterprise worthy of Pennsylvania’s iron industry, producing Juniata Iron, the finest in the world.

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Looking for Jane
Publication Date: December 21, 2012
Fox Hollow Press
Formats: ebook & Paperback
Pages: 238
Genre: Historical Fiction

“The nuns use this as their measuring stick: who your people are. Well, what if you don’t have no people? Or any you know of? What then? Are you doomed?” This is the nagging question of fifteen-year-old Nell’s life. Born with a cleft palate and left a foundling on the doorstep of a convent, she yearns to know her mother, whose name, she knows, was Jane.
When the Mother Superior tries to pawn her off to a mean looking farmer and his beaten down wife, Nell opts for the only alternative she can see: she runs away. A chance encounter with a dime novel exhorting the exploits of Calamity Jane, heroine of the west, gives Nell the purpose of her life: to find Calamity Jane, who Nell is convinced is her mother.
Her quest takes her down rivers, up rivers and across the Badlands to Deadwood, South Dakota and introduces her to Soot, a big, lovable black dog, and Jeremy Chatterfield, a handsome young Englishman who isn’t particular about how he makes his way, as long as he doesn’t have to work for it. Together they trek across the country meeting characters as wonderful and bizarre as the adventure they seek, learning about themselves and the world along the way.

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Waterproof: A Novel of the Johnstown Flood
Publication Date: May 1, 2012
Fox Hollow Press
Formats: ebook & Paperback
Pages: 266
Genre: Historical Fiction

Fifty years after an earthen dam broke and sent a thirty foot wall of raging destruction down on the city of Johnstown, PA, Pamela McRae looks back on the tragedy with new perspective.
When the flood hit, it wiped out Pam’s fondest hopes, taking her fiancé and her brother’s lives and her mother’s sanity, and within a year her father walked away, leaving his daughter
—now the sole support of her mother—to cope with poverty and loneliness.
The arrival of Katya, a poor Hungarian girl running away from an arranged marriage, finally gives Pam the chance she needs to get back into the world; Katya can care for her mother, and Pam can go to work for the Johnstown Clarion as a society reporter.
Then Davy Hughes, Pam’s fiancé before the flood, reappears and, instead of being the answer to her prayers, further complicates her life. Someone is seeking revenge on the owners of the South Fork Fishing and Hunting Club, the Pittsburgh millionaires who owned the failed dam, and Pam is afraid Davy has something to do with it.

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Redfield Farm: A Novel of the Underground Railroad
Publication Date: April 2, 2010
Formats: ebook & Paperback
Pages: 280
Genre: Historical Fiction

Ann Redfield is destined to follow her brother Jesse through life – two years behind him – all the way. Jesse is a conductor on the Underground Railroad, and Ann follows him there as well.
Quakers filled with a conviction as hard as Pennsylvania limestone that slavery is an abomination to be resisted with any means available, the Redfield brother and sister lie, sneak, masquerade and defy their way past would-be enforcers of the hated Fugitive Slave Law.
Their activities inevitably lead to complicated relationships when Jesse returns from a run with a deadly fever, accompanied by a fugitive, Josiah, who is also sick and close to death. Ann nurses both back to health. But precious time is lost, and Josiah, too weak for winter travel, stays on at Redfield Farm. Ann becomes his teacher, friend and confidant. When grave disappointment disrupts her life, Ann turns to Josiah for comfort, and comfort leads to intimacy. The result, both poignant and inspiring, leads to a life long devotion to one another and their cause.

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About the Author
Judith Redline Coopey, born in Altoona, PA holds degrees from the Pennsylvania State University and Arizona State University. A passion for history inherited from her father drives her writing and a love for Pennsylvania sustains it. Her first book, Redfield Farm was the story of the Underground Railroad in Bedford County, Pennsylvania. The second, Waterproof, tells how the 1889 Johnstown Flood nearly destroyed a whole city and one young woman’s life. Looking For Jane is a quest for love and family in the 1890s brought to life through the eyes of Nell, a young girl convinced that Calamity Jane is her mother. Her most recent work, The Furnace: Volume One of the Juniata Iron Trilogy, is set on an iron plantation near where she grew up and tells the story of an ill conceived marriage of convenience as it plays out over a lifetime. As a teacher, writer and student of history, Ms Coopey finds her inspiration in the rich history of her native state and in stories of the lives of those who have gone before.

For more information please visit Judith Redline Coopey’s website. You can also find her on Facebook,Twitter, and Goodreads.

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March 25, 2015

Book Blast - C.W. Gortner's Mademoiselle Chanel {Giveaway}

02_Mademoiselle Chanel CoverPlease join author C.W. Gortner as his latest release, Mademoiselle Chanel, is featured around the blogosphere from March 17-April 3, and enter to win one of three fabulously chic, Chanel-style black and white beaded bracelets!

Publication Date: March 17, 2015
William Morrow/HarperCollins
Formats: Hardover, eBook, Audio Book
Genre: Historical Fiction

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DRAMA, PASSION, TRAGEDY, AND BEAUTY: C.W.’s new novel stunningly imagines the life of Coco Chanel—the iconic fashion designer whose staggering creativity built an empire and made her one of the 20th century’s most influential, and controversial, figures.

Born into rural poverty, Gabrielle Chanel and her sisters are sent to a convent orphanage after their mother’s death. Here, the nuns nurture Gabrielle’s exceptional sewing skills, a talent that will propel her into a life far removed from the drudgery of her childhood.

Transforming herself into Coco—a seamstress and sometime torch singer—the petite brunette burns with ambition, an incandescence that draws a wealthy gentleman who will become the love of her life. She immerses herself in his world of money and luxury, discovering a freedom that sparks her creativity. But it is only when her lover takes her to Paris that Coco discovers her destiny.

Rejecting the frilly, corseted silhouette of the past, her sleek minimalist styles reflect the youthful ease and confidence of the 1920s modern woman. As Coco’s reputation spreads, her couturier business explodes, taking her into rarefied society circles and bohemian salons. Her little black dress, her signature perfume No. 5; her dramatic friendships, affairs, and rivalries with luminaries of her era increase her wealth and fame. But as the years pass, success cannot save her from heartbreak. And when Paris falls to the Nazis during World War II, Coco finds herself at a dangerous crossroads, forced to make choices that will forever change her. 

An enthralling portrayal of an extraordinary woman who created the life she desired, Mademoiselle Chanel is Coco’s intimate story.

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Praise for Mademoiselle Chanel
“In this deliciously satisfying novel, C.W. Gortner tells the epic, rags-to-riches story of how this brilliant, mercurial, self-created woman became a legend.” (Christina Baker Kline, New York Times bestselling author of Orphan Train)
“In a novel as brilliant and complicated as Coco Chanel herself, C. W. Gortner’s prose is so electric and luminous it could be a film, and not just any film, but one of the grandest biopics of our time. Divine!” (Erika Robuck, bestselling author of Hemingway's Girl)

“A richly imagined, deftly researched novel, in which the ever fascinating Coco Chanel comes to life in all her woe and splendor, her story unfolding as elegantly as a Chanel gown.” (Cathy Marie Buchanan, author of The Painted Girls)

“From her heart-wrenching early years through her decades of struggle and glory, Gabrielle Chanel was fascinating—as is C.W. Gortner’s Mademoiselle Chanel. Coco lives again in this rich tale of brilliance, determination, and fierce self-creation.” (Ania Szado, author of Studio Saint-Ex)

“Gortner brings to life a woman who was as alluring and captivating as her signature scent. ” (Historical Novels Review)

“Gortner brings history to life in a fascinating study of one woman’s unstoppable ambition.” (Booklist) 

“Well-written and historically accurate . . . An homage to a couture icon whose influence is still powerful today.” (Kirkus Reviews)

Buy Mademoiselle Chanel
Amazon 
Barnes & Noble
Books-a-Million
iTunes
IndieBound


About the Author
C.W. GORTNER holds an MFA in Writing with an emphasis in Renaissance Studies from the New College of California, as well as an AA from the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in San Francisco.

After an eleven year-long career in fashion, during which he worked as a vintage retail buyer, freelance publicist, and fashion show coordinator, C.W. devoted the next twelve years to the public health sector. In 2012, he became a full-time writer following the international success of his novels.

In his extensive travels to research his books, he has danced a galliard at Hampton Court, learned about organic gardening at Chenoceaux, and spent a chilly night in a ruined Spanish castle. His books have garnered widespread acclaim and been translated into twenty-one languages to date, with over 400,000 copies sold. A sought-after public speaker. C.W. has given keynote addresses at writer conferences in the US and abroad. He is also a dedicated advocate for animal rights, in particular companion animal rescue to reduce shelter overcrowding. 

C.W. recently completed his fourth novel for Ballantine Books, about Lucrezia Borgia; the third novel in his Tudor Spymaster series for St Martin's Press; and a new novel about the dramatic, glamorous life of Coco Chanel, scheduled for lead title publication by William Morrow, Harper Collins, in the spring of 2015. 

Half-Spanish by birth and raised in southern Spain, C.W. now lives in Northern California with his partner and two very spoiled rescue cats.

For more information visit C.W. Gortner's website and blog. You can also find him on Facebook, Twittter, Goodreads, Pinterest, and YouTube. Sign up for C.W. Gortner's Newsletter for updates.

Mademoiselle Chanel Book Blast Schedule

Tuesday, March 17
Mina's Bookshelf
Oh, for the Hook of a Book!
So Many Books, So Little Time

Wednesday, March 18
Forever Ashley
History From a Woman's Perspective

Thursday, March 19
The Lit Bitch
100 Pages a Day

Friday, March 20
A Literary Vacation
Beth's Book Nook Blog
What Is That Book About

Saturday, March 21
Genre Queen

Sunday, March 22
A Bookish Girl

Monday, March 23
Let them Read Books

Tuesday, March 24
Unshelfish
The True Book Addict

Wednesday, March 25
Historical Fiction Connection
The Never-Ending Book

Thursday, March 26
Broken Teepee

Friday, March 27
The Maiden's Court

Saturday, March 28
Caroline Wilson Writes
Svetlana's Reads and Views

Sunday, March 29
Passages to the Past

Monday, March 30
Flashlight Commentary
To Read, Or Not to Read
I'd So Rather Be Reading

Tuesday, March 31
Book Lovers Paradise

Wednesday, April 1
Booktalk & More

Thursday, April 2
CelticLady's Reviews

Friday, April 3
Book Nerd Luxury Reading

Giveaway!

Coco-braceletsThree Chanel-style black and white beaded bracelets will up for grabs during this blast, follow along for chances to win! – Giveaway starts on March 17th at 12:01am and ends on April 3rd at 11:59pm EST. – Must be 18 or older to enter. – Giveaway is open to US residents only. – Only one entry per household. – All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion. - Winners will be notified via email and have 48 hours to claim prize, or new winner is chosen.

 Mademoiselle Chanel Book Blast Giveaway

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March 23, 2015

Spotlight on Colin Falconer's The School of Night


Publication Date: October 7, 2014
Cool Gus Publishing
Formats: eBook, Paperback
Pages: 168
Series: The William Shakespeare Detective Agency
Genre: Historical Mystery

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“My name is William Shakespeare. No, not that Shakespeare; and no jests please, I’ve heard them all. I’m the other one, the ne’er do well cousin, the loafer, known to family and friends as the dunce, the one who could not recite Cicero or Horace, who could never be as good as his clever cuz, the one who has just come to Bishopsgate from Stratford with silly dreams in his head and a longing to make something more of himself than just a glover’s handyman.”

What he finds in London is Lady Elizabeth Talbot, who is willing to pass a few shillings to this blundering brawler if he will help her find her husband. Poor William does not realize the trail will lead to the truth behind the death of Shakespeare’s great rival, Christopher Marlowe – or to a lifelong love affair with a woman far above his station.

Each book tells the story of William’s adventures as England’s first gumshoe, set against turbulent Elizabethan politics; of his romantic pursuit of the impossible Elizabeth Talbot; while charting the career of his up and coming dramatist cousin, the bard of Stratford, but just Will to his family.

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About the Author
Born in London, Colin first trialed as a professional football player in England, and was eventually brought to Australia. He went to Sydney and worked in TV and radio and freelanced for many of Australia’s leading newspapers and magazines. He has published over twenty novels and his work has so far been translated into 23 languages.

He travels regularly to research his novels and his quest for authenticity has led him to run with the bulls in Pamplona, pursue tornadoes across Oklahoma and black witches across Mexico, go cage shark diving in South Africa and get tear gassed in a riot in La Paz.

He currently lives in Barcelona.

For more information please visit Colin Falconer’s website. You can also find him on Facebook or follow on Twitter.


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March 06, 2015

Michael Schmicker's The Witch of Napoli - Guest Post and {Giveaway}


Séance Table Levitations: Trick or Truth?

Can someone really levitate a table? In my new novel “The Witch of Napoli,” Spiritualist medium Alessandra Poverelli pulls it off. Pure fiction, right? All séance table levitations involved clever trickery, correct? Maybe not.


Italian medium Eusapia Palladino (1854-1918) was the real-life inspiration for my novel’s feisty heroine Alessandra. The permanently controversial Palladino floated tables and conjured up discarnate spirits in dimly-lit séance rooms all across Europe at the end of the 19th century. I fell in love with her while researching my first (non-fiction) book, Best Evidence. She was a social scofflaw – fiery-tempered, erotic, vulgar, confident – in a Victorian age where respectable matrons were insipid saints on a pedestal, stunted socially, sexually, intellectually, economically. She allowed strange men to sit with her in a darkened room holding her hands and knees and legs (“proper” women would have fainted, or thrown themselves off a precipice). She flirted with her male sitters, argued loudly, sparred with aristocrats who insulted her, flew at skeptics who accused her of cheating. She was also extremely kind and generous to those in trouble, loved animals, helped the unfortunate. Her heart was large. She died famous enough to merit an obit in the New York Times. I knew she’d make a hell of a heroine. Besides, I like underdogs.

Scientists today still heatedly debate whether Palladino was genuine or a complete fraud. She was caught cheating multiple times, yet she also produced under extremely strict scientific controls some of the most baffling and impressive feats of psychokinesis ever observed or photographed.


As the default online encyclopedia, Wikipedia owns the bully pulpit on Palladino, but serves up a disappointing, simplistic dismissal of the best evidence for her genuineness, promoting instead a carefully curated collection of predominately skeptical experts and quotes. If there’s an afterlife, you can bet Palladino is fuming, fists raised. Fortunately, if you’re looking for “the other side” to the scrap, you’re in luck. Mediumship researcher and author Michael Tymn has posted on Amazon.com a meaty, extended book review of “The Witch of Napoli” which includes a vigorous defense of Palladino.

My own conclusions, based on my research?

One, Palladino was a serial cheat – it’s indisputable. She was caught red-handed multiple times.

Two, Palladino was a serious flirt. I had fun with that, playing what-if when I was creating “The Witch of Napoli.” But did she do more than merely flirt – bewitching investigators to the point of compromising their judgment? Wikipedia reports as fact the allegation that Palladino slept her way to the top, seducing her most vocal champions. It cites William Kalush and Larry Sloman, co-authors who penned the fascinating book “The Secret Life of Houdini.” In their book, the duo simply declare, sans footnote or elaboration, that “Palladino had no qualms about sleeping with her sitters: among them were the eminent criminologist Lombroso, and the Nobel Prize-winning French physiologist Charles Richet.” Serious charges. Where did they get this potentially libelous information? Unless I missed it, they don’t say. Perhaps from Houdini’s papers? If so, what’s Houdini’s source, other than gossip? Everybody speculated about the outrageous Signora Palladino’s sex life. But until I see the damning documentation, I file that allegation in the “affronted Victorian, put-this woman-in-her place” category.

Three, Palladino during her long career produced some genuine telekinetic (though not necessarily supernatural) effects. What do I base my opinion on? Primarily on parapsychological experiments confirming the reality of psychokinesis (the modern term for telekinesis), plus the exhaustive, 283-page, “Feilding Report” published by England’s Society for Psychical Research, documenting ten baffling sittings with Palladino in 1908 in Napoli. Wikipedia whips up a whirlwind of speculation – from armchair critics who weren’t there – as to how Palladino might have cheated; I prefer the conclusion penned by the three veteran investigators who were actually there:

“With great intellectual reluctance, though without much personal doubt as to its justice...we are of opinion that we have witnessed in the presence of Eusapia Palladino the action of some kinetic force, the nature and origin of which we cannot attempt to specify, through which, without the introduction of either accomplices, apparatus, or mere manual dexterity, she is able to produce the movement of ...objects at a distance from her and unconnected to her in any apparent physical manner...”

Somewhere, Eusapia is smiling.

About the book
Publication Date: January 15, 2015
Palladino Books
Formats: eBook, Paperback
Genre: Historical Fantasy

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Italy 1899: Fiery-tempered, erotic medium Alessandra Poverelli levitates a table at a Spiritualist séance in Naples. A reporter photographs the miracle, and wealthy, skeptical, Jewish psychiatrist Camillo Lombardi arrives in Naples to investigate. When she materializes the ghost of his dead mother, he risks his reputation and fortune to finance a tour of the Continent, challenging the scientific and academic elite of Europe to test Alessandra’s mysterious powers. She will help him rewrite Science. His fee will help her escape her sadistic husband Pigotti and start a new life in Rome. Newspapers across Europe trumpet her Cinderella story and baffling successes, and the public demands to know – does the “Queen of Spirits” really have supernatural powers?

Nigel Huxley is convinced she’s simply another vulgar, Italian trickster. The icy, aristocratic detective for England’s Society for the Investigation of Mediums launches a plot to trap and expose her. The Vatican is quietly digging up her childhood secrets, desperate to discredit her supernatural powers; her abusive husband Pigotti is coming to kill her; and the tarot cards predict catastrophe.

Praised by Kirkus Reviews as an “enchanting and graceful narrative” that absorbs readers from the very first page, The Witch of Napoli masterfully resurrects the bitter 19th century battle between Science and religion over the possibility of an afterlife.

Praise for The Witch of Napoli
“Impressive…an enchanting, graceful narrative that absorbs readers from the first page.” -Kirkus Reviews


About the Author
Michael Schmicker is an investigative journalist and nationally-known writer on the paranormal. He’s been a featured guest on national broadcast radio talk shows, including twice on Coast to Coast AM (560 stations in North America, with 3 million weekly listeners). He also shares his investigations through popular paranormal webcasts including Skeptiko, hosted by Alex Tsakiris; Speaking of Strange with Joshua Warren; the X-Zone, with Rob McConnell (Canada); and he even spent an hour chatting with spoon-bending celebrity Uri Geller on his program Parascience and Beyond (England). He is the co-author of The Gift, ESP: The Extraordinary Experiences of Ordinary People (St. Martin’s Press). The Witch of Napoli is his debut novel. Michael began his writing career as a crime reporter for a suburban Dow-Jones newspaper in Connecticut, and worked as a freelance reporter in Southeast Asia for three years. He has also worked as a stringer for Forbes magazine, and Op-Ed contributor to The Wall Street Journal Asia. His interest in investigating the paranormal began as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Thailand where he first encountered a non-Western culture which readily accepts the reality of ghosts and spirits, reincarnation, psychics, mediums, divination,and other persistently reported phenomena unexplainable by current Science. He lives and writes in Honolulu, Hawaii, on a mountaintop overlooking Waikiki and Diamond Head.

Connect with Michael Schmicker on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.


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Follow the instructions on the Gleam form below to enter for a chance to win a paperback copy of The Witch of Napoli by Michael Schmicker! (Open to U.S., UK and Australia only)

Witch of Napoli Giveaway