Guest post by Ashley Ladd
I'm delighted to welcome novelist Ashley Ladd to my blog as a guest poster. As a special post for Hallowe'en and in keeping with her latest paranormal novel 'Spooky Sojourn', Ashley has written a post about haunted hotels and novels that feature them.
A ghost tour through a haunted hotel
My October release, 'Spooky Sojourn’, is about a (surprise, surprise) haunted hotel. It was inspired by my stay several years ago at the French Lick Springs Resort in French Lick, Indiana. I was there for a romance convention. Supposedly Al Capone and his cronies hung out there in the thirties and forties when things got too hot in Chicago. Surprisingly, legend has it that it is the hotel’s former owner, Thomas Taggart, who is the ghost haunting the famous hotel, not the gangsters.
Since we were a group of romance writers and things like that fascinate us, we were cool for the most part with staying at a haunted hotel. In fact, we even begged the hotel staff to take us on a ghost tour. We’d heard about the haunted red elevator that went to the thirteenth floor where Thomas was purported to ride his ghostly horse through the halls. We searched everywhere for the red elevator but didn’t we couldn’t find it.
Finally, one of the hotel employees took us on a ghost tour on a dark and spooky evening. We started in the basement where, low and behold, we found the red elevator. Wouldn’t you know it, that was the same elevator shaft that was across from my room and I was staying alone. I was pretty freaked out.
So we followed the hotel employee around like little ducks in a row, holding hands, holding our breath, hoping Jack Nicholson with his beady eyes and evil grin didn’t pop out at us when one of the writers grabbed someone and yelled “boo!” We all started yelling, jumping, and clutching our throats.
Riding a spirit horse on dark, stormy nights
Popular rumor has it that Thomas Taggart’s ghost rides his spirit horse on the cordoned off thirteenth floor on dark, stormy nights. That part of the floor is locked off, thus we weren’t permitted entry. Still, we were scared just standing on the other side of the door to the famous haunted hallway. If we could have toured the illicit wing, we would have in a heartbeat.
Ever since, I promised myself I would write a story about a haunted hotel. I really thought I’d do so shortly after that convention. No, it took about twelve years for ‘Spooky Sojourn’ to be born. What a long labor! But it was worthwhile and I hope you’ll think so too.
‘Spooky Sojourn’ isn’t the only story featuring haunted hotels and houses.
Everybody’s heard of ‘The Shining’ by Stephen King, starring Jack Nicholson. Does “redrum” in dripping blood ring any bells? If somehow this book and movie have escaped your notice, see it in October around Halloween. You’ll be guaranteed to be frightened out of your wits.
Another famous book and movie about a haunted house if not exactly in a hotel, is ‘The Amityville Horror’ by Jay Anson. Who hasn’t heard of it? It only has 55,000 reviews on Goodreads.
I Googled for a list of the best haunted hotel books and I found this list on Goodreads.
There are others that come recommended as well. Here are a couple:
'The Haunted' by Niki Valentine
Arriving in the Scottish highlands, Martin and Sue decide to escape their luxury hotel, heading out for a night of back-to-basics living in an abandoned shack. When a storm strikes, they find themselves stranded in the simple hut, miles from anywhere and completely isolated. As gentle bickering leads to violent arguments, Sue starts to sense they are not truly alone - especially when a deep, dark presence seems to takes hold of the pair. With no way to escape, Sue and Martin must try to hold on to their sanity as the shelter quickly becomes a prison - and their thoughts begin to turn murderous...
'The Haunted Hotel' by Wilkie Collins
Is there no explanation of the mystery of The Haunted Hotel? Is The Haunted Hotel the tale of a haunting -- or the tale of a crime? The ghost of Lord Montbarry haunts the Palace Hotel in Venice --- or does it? Montbarry's beautiful-yet-terrifying wife, the Countess Narona, and her erstwhile brother are the center of the terror that fills the Palace Hotel. Are their malefactions at the root of the haunting -- or is there something darker, something much more unknowable at work?
Get into the spirit of the season
During this season of Halloween and ghosts and other things that go bump in the night, I’m going to check out these books. What better way to get into the spirit of the season than to immerse yourself in a good haunted hotel/house story, except perhaps, to write one, like I did?
More about my novel Spooky Sojourn'
Someone’s trying to kill Deanna, but is it the ghosts she doesn’t believe in, the rich socialite who might be a murderess, or someone else with a beef against The Gilroy Hotel and Resort that Deanna has just been hired to manage? The Gilroy’s owners want the ghosts, or whoever is causing the trouble at the hotel eliminated, and they are pressuring Deanna to do the job as quickly as possible. Harry DeVeaux, paranormal investigator comes highly recommended to do the job and against Deanna’s better judgment, she hires him.
Although Deanna thinks Harry’s crazy for believing in ghosts and Harry thinks Deanna has a closed mind to the possibilities of ghosts and they highly annoy each other, sparks fly. Deanna can’t help but fantasize about Harry and inspired by a romance convention visiting her hotel, writes her fantasies in a private blog that Harry finds, hacks, and reads. Ooh la la!
Excerpt from 'Spooky Sojourn'
Drawing in a long, shuddering breath, he looked heavenwards and crossed his fingers behind his back hoping she wouldn’t throw something at him, hoping she’d be okay with his admission. “I found your blog and read it.”
Paling, the blood fled from her flesh and her eyes looked like sooty coals against her face. Her gaze clashed with his and held. “How did you find it? I used a pseudonym and I put it on privacy settings.”
He screwed up his lips, and scrubbed his hand over his face, preparing to tell more painful truths. “I’m a bit of a hacker and I like to research the people I’m working with.” Not sure she’d be receptive to his theory, he left out the part that he thought the ghosts led him to her sight. He thought they were closet romantics. He wouldn’t be surprised if they’d locked them into the room now to force them into some alone time together.
When a tsunami of emotions flitted across her face he tried to read them. Fury. Embarrassment. Lust?
“You investigated me? You read my private musings?”
“You wrote about me? In some very intimate ways. At least I presume it was me since you used my name.” He fixed her with a piercing gaze. “Did you?”
A pregnant pause rent the air as she veiled her eyes from his view. Finally, she smoothed her skirt against her legs and admitted, “Yes. I have very mixed feelings about you. You make me crazy the way we argue, the way you believe in ghosts, and yet I find myself thinking about you, fantasizing about you.”
Taking heart in the last part even if he wasn’t sure he liked the first, he said with a lopsided grin, “You fantasize about me much?”
As if she suddenly got bold, she sidled up to him with a mischievous twinkle in her eyes and ran the tip of her finger down his chest. “Aren’t my blogs proof? The question is, do you fantasize about me?”
A big thank you to Ashley Ladd!
Thank you to Ashley Ladd for a great post. Ashley lives in South Florida with her husband, five children, and beloved pets. She loves the water, animals (especially cats), and playing on the computer.
She's been told she has a wicked sense of humor and often incorporates humor and adventure into her books. She also adores very spicy romance, which she weaves into her stories. You can find out more about Ashley via these links: Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Shelfari and Amazon, as well as Ashley's blog.
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