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    A-Z of the Supernatural

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  • An A-Z of the Supernatural: E is for Eternal

    Whilst the word eternal doesn’t itself bring to mind the supernatural, if we substitute in the popular synonym immortal, the image that immediately springs to mind is a vampire. Immortality is the first word many people use to describe a vampire, followed by the wish that they, too, could live forever. But is this really the case? Given the choice, would you honestly choose to never die?

    Eternal is a word with endless meaning. It stretches to infinity, and yet is uttered without thought of exactly how long our intentions are meant to last. When you say you will be eternally grateful for someone’s help, is this what you really mean? Or are you simply emphasising how grateful you will be?

    Ageless is another synonym of eternal, but I tend to disagree with this. Even if you could live forever, you would still age, albeit at a much slower rate. Yet when this word is used to convey beauty, it is the highest compliment anyone could pay, as it implies that no matter your age, you will always be beautiful.

    Always is another term for eternal, and one frequently used with forever, when in theory they mean the same thing. Using words in such a way heightens the emphasis behind what it is you are trying to say or convey, making that person sit up and listen to you.

    One famous heartbreaking quote in Harry Potter encompasses this word. When Dumbledore asks Snape, ‘After all this time?’ Snape simply replies, ‘Always.’ This is in reference to his love for Harry’s mother Lily, and no matter your thoughts of Snape, your heart goes out to his unrequited love.

    Eternal is most often used when we talk about love. It is how we express our true feelings for someone, how we tell them what they mean to us, how we make a promise that we will try our best to keep. In Titanic, the final words between Jack and Rose use another word which implies eternity:

    Jack: Never let go.

    Rose: I’ll never let go. I’ll never let go, Jack.

    Using the word never in such a way, Rose is making a lifelong, or eternal, promise to Jack that she will live her life to the fullest, even though she will be living it without him, the man she is in love with.

    When I named Eternal Bonds, it was with more than just love in mind. I wanted to convey the everlasting nature of friendship, of loyalty, and of strength. But strength can have positive and negative connotations. The strength Antony shows when faced with adversity is an enduring part of his personality, yet the sacrifice he makes to save Becca highlights the power the Sirens cast over him, a power which is indestructible.

    Indestructible when viewed as the port in a raging storm is a perennially enduring place of strength. But turn that around and have an indestructible comet racing towards the earth, and suddenly this relentless threat has us praying for our lives.

    Another way of looking at the word eternal is in reference to always being remembered, or never being forgotten. The most famous of all memorials of this kind is the eternal flame burning beside the tomb of John F Kennedy in Arlington Cemetery (pictured). Is this a symbol of Jackie’s undying love for him, or is it a reminder to the world of his loss, or is it both?

    The unending, ceaseless, abiding fascination with eternity is timeless and will continue, unfading beyond our time on earth.

    But going back to my earlier question of whether you would really and truly want to live forever, I refer to the tagline for the movie we all hate to love, Twilight:

    When you can live forever, what do you live for?

    ’Til next time,

  • An A-Z of the Supernatural: D is for Dracula

    Those of you who know me, know that Dracula is my favourite book of all time—although I have only read it once (there are far too many books to read one multiple times!). What you may not be aware of is he is the first man I fell in love with, at the tender age of 9. In those days, my dad was a big horror fan, and he shared his passion with me, introducing me to Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing, and Vincent Price. I remember watching Dr Phibes over and over again. That is, until I saw Frank Langella play Dracula, and I fell head over heals in love. The Count stole my heart and is the only man to keep it, unequivocally.

    I didn’t read the book until much later but was equally taken with the Count’s loneliness and his constant—and fruitless—search for a bride… until he met Mina. In her he saw someone he wanted to share in his eternity; all she had to do was die. And that’s where his plan fell apart, as Jonathan and the boys were having none of it. She was a married woman, for goodness’ sake!

    For me, Dracula is the greatest love story ever told, but many people disagree. Coppola, however, clearly saw what I saw when he brought Stoker’s story to life, and I watched with tears in my eyes as Gary Oldman declared his love for Winona Ryder:

    ‘You will be cursed as I am to walk in the shadow of death for all eternity. I love you too much to condemn you.’

    I remember sitting in the cinema and saying out loud, ‘How romantic’, much to the horror of my fellow filmgoers!

    But what is more primal, more erotic, more sensuous than the sharing of each other’s blood? Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t partake is such acts (not in this day and age, anyway), but to have another person’s blood running in your veins, so to speak, is as close as you will ever get to that person.

    Dracula—and vampires—has always been the epitome of love and eroticism for me. When he looks into your eyes and draws you in, his allure impossible to ignore, you fall under his spell and surrender your will to his without question. Isn’t this what people would have you believe true love does—that total surrender, regardless of the consequences?

    It takes a very gifted actor to pull off the role of Dracula. It isn’t about being good looking; it’s about having the ability to draw your audience in, to have them nodding their assent before you’ve even uttered a word. I have mentioned two actors who have this in spades, but the other one who I feel deserves a mention is Rudolf Martin. For those Buffy fans amongst you, you will know who I am talking about. I remember vividly the night I watched this episode—how my heart raced, my breath caught, how I pushed forward out of my seat, unable to tear my gaze away from his as he beckoned to me (well, it was Buffy, but camera angles and all), and how I reached out towards him, willing to do whatever he asked. THAT is the power of allure, and THAT is what any actor needs to master if he is to do justice to Dracula.

    It was this power that captured my imagination, and coupled with eternal life, drew me towards the darker side in my writings. Thus, when I saw that stone sarcophagus at the back of that village church in Shropshire, it was no surprise to me that its occupant, Antony Cardover, would be a vampire, a man cursed to be such because of the betrayal of the woman he loved.

    I always said I could never write a love story, yet everyone tells me that is exactly what I have created with the Bonds series. This gave me the confidence to remove the paranormal element from my stories and write a more contemporary love story, complete with a wounded hero, just like Antony.

    Dracula has the right mix of strength and vulnerability that is attractive in a man, the threat of danger adding to his appeal, and he is the benchmark to whom all my male leads must measure up.

    Frank Langella was my first love, but Dracula will always be my one true love.

    ‘Til next time,

  • An A-Z of the Supernatural: D is for Death

    “Death is not the opposite of life, but a part of it.”

    ― Haruki Murakami

    We all live and we all have to die at some point. Death invokes so many intricately woven feelings, from fear, to wonder, to grief and anger, that it is probably no surprise that most people believe that death may not be entirely final and that the person’s soul or spirit lives on. 

    Ever since humans have existed, people have always been curious about what happens after we cease to physically exist, forming the foundation of many varied legends and beliefs about death, the afterlife and whether the essence of a person, their soul or spirit, can remain active and present. 

    Coupled with experiences that cannot be easily understood or explained logically and the result is a multitude of stories and images perpetuated throughout world religions, literature and art, featuring ghosts, supernatural beings and fantastical creatures that are believed to live on after death.  

    With the cycle of life and death or creation and destruction being a central part of human life, people have always looked for a way to explain, understand it or comfort themselves in the face of a scary idea. A popular way of dealing with the fear of an abstract concept is to create an image of it, often by personifying it. Cultures throughout the ages and around the world almost universally either have anthropomorphic versions of death, such as the Grim Reaper, or they have assigned gods to wield and control the power of death. For example, in Greek mythology there were several gods and demi-gods associated with death; Thanatos being the deity of death, although many people may be more familiar with Hades, the ruler of the Underworld, home of the dead.   

    In Bonds, it is an unintended death that starts the wheels in motion for everything that happens in the series – a death that you will only discover if you sign up for my mailing list and claim your free copy of the Bonds prequel, ‘The Curse of Souls’.

    ’Til next time.

  • An A-Z of the Supernatural: C is for Clairvoyance

    Clairvoyance is the ability to perceive matters beyond the range of ordinary perception. This may be information about an object, person, location, or physical event, knowledge of which the clairvoyant can only obtain through extrasensory perception. A fortune-teller, for example, practices clairvoyance when she gazes into a crystal ball to see her client’s future.

    Although the existence of clairvoyance has been documented throughout history, there is still much scepticism about it in scientific circles, who do not accept the existence of the paranormal.

    Precognition, retrocognition and remote viewing

    Clairvoyance is generally split into three types. Precognition is the ability to perceive or predict future events, retrocognition is the ability to see past events, and remote viewing is the perception of contemporary events happening outside of the range of normal perception.

    In Pagan religions, the gift of clairvoyance was often associated with Oracles.

    Early in Bonds, Becca experiences clairvoyant abilities when she has visions and dreams about Antony, seeing things she could not possibly know about his presence even before his sarcophagus is disturbed. 

    ‘Who is buried beneath that tree?’ Her voice was barely a whisper, hoarse and broken.

    ‘What makes you think that someone is buried there?’ A feeling of unease began to settle over Father Michael as he spoke to her.

    “I can feel him,’ she said and turned to stare at him.

    The 5 best-known clairvoyants in history

    Joan of Arc (1412 – 1431)

    Also known as the ‘maid of Orleans’, Joan of Arc was considered a heroine or a woman of courage in France due to her part in the Lancastrian phase of the Hundred Years’ War. She is a glorified and a beatified saint by the Roman Catholic.

    She is said to have seen herself being injured at Orleans and being captured by the English people. Her ability allowed her to save lives by instructing soldiers to change locations in order to avoid danger.

    Nostradamus (1503 – 1566)

    Michel de Nostradame was a French apothecary and a regarded and well known clairvoyant, seer, oracle and prophet. He was famous for his fortune-telling and published 1000 prophecies many of which have yet to be witnessed. He even predicted his own death on the 2nd of July 1566, telling his secretary that she wouldn’t be seeing him alive the night before.

    Marie Anne Adelaide Lenormand (1772 – 1843)

    Marie Anne Adelaide Lenormand was a famous French fortune-teller during the Napoleanic era. It is believed that she was taught by the gipsies how to read tarot cards; she acquired her first deck from them at the age of fourteen. She was popular among the rich, not only for her ability to predict future events and happenings, but also for her skill in revealing people’s characteristics and hidden personalities.

    Edgar Cayce (1877 – 1945)

    Edgar Cayce was an American and a professional psychic who was able to answer a lot of questions about future wars, reincarnation, Spiritual healing, Atlantis and the future events – famously whilst in a trance-like state.

    Baba Vanga (1911 – 1996)

    Bulgarian Baba Vanga’s full name was Vangelia Pandeva Dimitrova. Born premature, she had been expected to die at a young age. Her parents, therefore, decided not to give her a name unless she survived. The name Vangelia comes from the Greek word “Vangelis”, meaning “herald of the good news”. As a child, she was caught in a storm and was later found in an abandoned field with her eyes full of dust and sand. Her family was unable to afford an operation and she began to lose her eyesight and go blind. She believed that going blind was the awakening of her psychic abilities as she began seeing things that could not be seen by the naked eye. She established recognition as a mystic, clairvoyant and herbalist.

    Cats and clairvoyance

    There is an age-old belief that cats possess strong paranormal abilities, a sixth sense that is unexplainable by humans through science. This could be interpreted as a form of clairvoyance. 

    This unique ability is illustrated In Bonds, when Becca’s cat Spook senses that Becca has been changed by Antony.

    ‘What a beautiful cat,’ he said, ‘What’s his name?’

    ‘Spook,’ Becca said, glancing towards the French doors. ‘He’s been behaving oddly all day, ever since I woke up on the kitchen floor and found…’

    Other forms of clairvoyance

    Other forms of clairvoyance also exist. One of these is clairsentience. While clairvoyants see things, clairsentients – like myself – have the ability to feel the present, past or future physical and emotional states of others, without the use of the normal five senses (smell, vision, touch, hearing, and taste). This can be overwhelming, especially when picking up on darker energy.

    ’Til next time.

  • An A-Z of the Supernatural: C is for Cats

    Cats have a unique place in the realms of the supernatural. Our feline friends have been revered and worshipped in cultures past. They have also been the subject of many superstitions. So why do cats have such a connection with the supernatural? Read on to learn more.

    Cats in ancient mythology

    Cats perhaps had their highest level of esteem in ancient Egypt, where they were worshipped. The goddess Bastet was often depicted in cat form and sometimes took on the war-like aspect of a lioness. In fact, cats were so important that killing a cat, according to the Greek historian Herodotus, was forbidden. He also reported that when a household cat died, the entire family mourned and shaved their eyebrows, marking the death much like that of a family member. It was not uncommon for cats to be embalmed and buried in sacred repositories in the sacred city of Bubastis.

    Artemis, the Greek equivalent of the Egyptian goddess Bastet shared her association with cats, and the Goddess Diana took on the form of a cat in Ovid’s Metamorphoses, when the deities fled to Egypt.

    During the Age of Discovery, ships’ cats were carried on sailing ships – mainly to control shipboard rodents, but also as good-luck charms.

    Cats as a spiritual being

    Cats have long been believed to be exalted souls, companions or guides for humans. Because they lack the ability to speak, they are considered all-knowing but mute, meaning they cannot influence decisions made by humans. 

    It has long been recognised that cats’ senses are far more acute and heightened than humans, and also other animals –  they have been seen to display strong paranormal abilities, a sixth sense that is unexplainable by humans through science. 

    There is also a widespread belief that cats can perceive energy fields and auras which most humans cannot access. They are said to have the ability not only to see the aura of those living, but also those who have passed over to the next realm.

    It is generally agreed that because of their incredibly wide spectrum of sight and hearing, cats are able to tune into sights and sounds in the realm of the paranormal that humans simply can’t reach.

    Cats and witchcraft

    In European cultures, cats have often been thought of as both a guardian of life and a symbol of death and are often associated with witchcraft. In Transylvania, Romania and Hungary, people believed a cat would be able to turn a dead body into a vampire. In European folklore, cats were considered to be witches’ familiars – supernatural entities that were believed to assist witches in their practice of magic. The myth that cats have nine lives (mainly due to their ability to land on their feet) only helped to strengthen such superstitions. In some countries, cats were killed in order to try to kill the evil spirits they were believed to embody. The age-old superstition of black cats representing bad luck is also tied into these ancient associations with evil spirits.

    Cats in BONDS

    In BONDS, true to mythology, Becca and her family have always been close to cats. In chapter one, we meet Becca’s huge grey cat Spook, who is aware of Antony’s presence before Becca herself is and begins to react to the transformations Becca has begun to experience since acquiring mysterious bite marks on her neck. The witch Anna, from whom Becca is descended, also had a cat which we meet briefly in the early chapters.

    Meet Texas and Jasmine

    Those who know me already will know that I have two cats of my own, Texas (tabby) and Jasmine (white), who have been with me throughout the BONDS Journey. I couldn’t possibly write this post without sharing some pictures for you to enjoy. 

    Bonds Special offer

    Looking for some new reading during these times? All of the BONDS books are now on a special promotion – save up to 20%

    ’Til next time.

  • An A-Z of the Supernatural: C is for Curse

    A curse is invoked when somebody is able to call upon supernatural or spiritual powers to make effective a pronouncement – usually with the intention of bringing misfortune, suffering or death to the person or persons named. The deliberate use of such curses has long been associated with the practice of magic, while the nature of curses has been studied in great depth in research into mythology and folklore.

    Curses in ancient Britain

    In both ancient Greece and Rome, there was a tradition of inscribing curses on lead or pottery. Around 200 of these curses have been found at the site of one Roman temple in Gloustershire. Another example unearthed in Bath includes the words “May he who carried off Vilbia from me become liquid as the water.” Another Roman curse found in Britain reads “Tacita is cursed by this and declared putrified like rotting blood.”


    Magic curse written on a lead sheet, dating from the 4th century BC. On display in the Kerameikos Archaeological Museum, Athens. Picture by Giovanni Dall’Orto.

    The unexplained power of curses

    Although sceptics argue that cursing is purely superstition, there is also a widespread belief that the act of concentrated malevolance that lies behind a curse may indeed harness a mysterious kind of power – especially if the victim of the curse believes in their power.

    Curses in Bonds

    Curses are at the heart of the Bonds series and the cause of almost all of the pain and destruction that takes place both in the present time and also in the past. It is a curse dealt by the Warlock Ebenezer Lightwoller that turned Antony Cardover into a terrible vampire, and a curse that forced Ebenezer to follow his own dark path, a curse that was levied upon him as the result of a tragic and horrific chain of events involving his only child. Only Becca has the power to break Antony’s curse – the question is, is she strong enough to see her mission through?

    Sign up to my mailing list today to receive the free BONDS prequel and discover the dark and twisted story of Ebenezer Lightwoller and his descent into darkness

  • An A-Z of the Supernatural: B is for Binding

    “By my Goddess and
    by my God
    I ask for your power to
    strengthen my spell
    By my Goddess and
    by my God
    I ask for your power
    to end this fight
    Help me to rid the land
    of this evil presence
    Through my actions,
    through our power
    We commit him to his tomb”

    The Spell O’Binding is one of the first spells that we encounter in BONDS, as Anna battles to bring to an end her son-in-law’s reign of terror. The spell is the second of a set of four ancient incantations in the possession of witches, intended for use together; Summoning, which calls upon the elements to give the witch aid and protection when fighting evil forces, the Spell O’Binding, which summons the power of nature to confine evil, and the Spell o’ Internment. This is followed by Completion and Thanks, offered in gratitude to ensure that the spell will hold as intended.

    It is this very spell that sees the monster that is Antony Cardover bound by vines as Anna summons the power of nature to suppress him, in her attempts to end the horrors that she has witnessed unfold before her.

    Spells or incantations such as those that feature in BONDS have been used since ancient times to trigger magical effects on people and objects.

    With the rise of the major monotheistic religions such as Islam, Judaism, and Christianity, the use of spells became associated with evil and immoral forces in attempts to stamp out their use, and with it, the art of witchcraft gradually too became associated with evil. It is no surprise then that witches, once respected as people gifted with a unique power to harness the forces of nature to help and to heal, eventually became the enemy and met a terrible fate – just as we see with Anna’s eventual demise.

    To discover more and step into a world of dark magic, start reading BONDS today.

  • An A-Z of the Supernatural: B is for Bats

    Bats have long been associated with the supernatural and as the only mammal that can fly, are considered to be liminal beings in many cultures. In European culture, bats are associated with darkness, death, witchcraft, and malevolence. Native Americans such as the Creek, Cherokee and Apache, see the bat as a trickster spirit, while In Tanzania, a winged bat-like creature known as Popobawa is believed to be a shapeshifting evil spirit that assaults and sodomizes its victims. 

    Above: A bat hibernating in a cave. Perhaps their penchant for lurking in dark, subterranean spaces has helped bats to keep to reinforce their association with the dark side.

    In Aztec mythology, bats symbolised the land of the dead, destruction, and decay. An East Nigerian tale tells that the bat developed its nocturnal habits after causing the death of his partner, the bush-rat, and now hides by day to avoid arrest. Ancient Egyptian superstition held that a bat hung over the doorway of a home would prevent the entry of demons who brought diseases.

    Why are bats a symbol of Hallowe’en?

    In Western culture, Bats have traditionally been connected with death and the underworld, making them an obvious symbol of Hallowe’en. Their association with Hallowe’en is also thought to derive from the fact that they are particularly active at this time of year as they mate, and begin to build up their fat reserves ahead of hibernation.

    Bats in literature

    The Weird Sisters in Shakespeare’s Macbeth used the fur of a bat in their brew. In Western culture, the bat is widely seen a symbol of the night and its foreboding nature, making it the primary animal associated with fictional characters of the night, a great example being Count Dracula. In Mark Gatiss’ latest adaptation for the BBC, bats are never far away from the dark lord. When a plague of bats turns up at the convent, Van Helsing declares, “How interesting!”, recognising this as a sign of Dracula’s proximity.

    In fact, in a moment of perfect coincidence, a bat actually flew into the studio during filming of the last shot.

  • An A-Z of the Supernatural: A is for Amethyst

    In the latest article in my A-Z of all things supernatural, I take a look at a crystal that has long been associated with special powers – Amethyst.

    Amethyst is a beautiful crystal that is noted for its distinctive purple colour. It takes its name from ` Greek word meaning “intoxicate”, a reference to the belief that the stone protected its owner from drunkenness. In keeping with this reputation, the ancient Greeks wore amethyst and carved drinking vessels from it in the belief that it would prevent intoxication. 

    The significance of Amethyst in other cultures

    The importance of Amethyst as an amulet extends far beyond the famous Greek belief. Tibetans consider amethyst sacred to the Buddha and make prayer beads from it, whilst both the Hebrews and Egyptians associated it with the divine.

    Amethyst’s decline in value

    Up until the 18th century, amethyst was considered one of the most valuable gemstones, placing it alongside stones such as diamond, sapphire, ruby, and emerald. It was only because of the discovery of extensive deposits that it lost this status.

    Amethyst as a healing crystal

    Recognition of Amethyst as a healing crystal remains strong even today, and it is often worn or carried in the belief that it will provide spiritual protection, inner strength. Amethyst geodes are also said to create positive energy and help to restore the energy balance in the home.

    Do you wear amethyst or keep it in your house? Share your experience in the comments below.

  • An A-Z of the Supernatural: A is for Angels

    Although angels are generally believed by Christians to be spiritual beings who are messengers from God, many people who are not religious believe in the presence of some kind of spiritual guardian.  In almost all cultures, angels tend to be seen as having human form with the distinctive addition of large, feathered wings. Interestingly, they occur in almost every ancient mythology. The question of whether they are cosmic beings who once visited us from outer space has even been explored in the series “Ancient Aliens”.

    Above: An angel in Ausburg Cemetery, Germany.

    The notion of humans having guardian angels or spirit guides extends far beyond religion and has remained persistent right up to modern times.

    Guardian angels and spirit animals

    In many indigenous, non-Christian cultures such as Native American and Indian tribes, animals appear to play a comparable role to the Christian notion of a guardian angel, offering protection to individuals, showing that the idea of a spirit guide in some form is universally accepted within humans. 

    Charms and guardian angels

    Above: An opal guardian angel, intended for the bearer to keep in their pocket or display as an ornament.

    Some charms (see also: Amulets) are said to invoke the protection of a guardian angel on the bearer. Such charms often feature a visual representation of the associated guardian.

    Have you ever had an experience with a guardian angel? Do you have a spirit guide? I’d love to hear about your experiences.