Let’s Talk with Nancy J Cohen

Ghosts and Ghouls
by Nancy J. Cohen

As Halloween approaches, we look for scary stories reminiscent of the holiday. Do you like tales with a supernatural touch? Which elements appeal to you—ghosts, demons, vampires, shape shifters, zombies, witches or ghouls?

Ghosts, psychics, and paranormal investigators pepper my Bad Hair Day mysteries featuring hairstylist sleuth Marla Vail. I made up my own ghost stories for Dead Roots, where Marla attends a Thanksgiving family reunion at a haunted Florida resort. I had lots of fun researching haunted sites throughout the state and then making up my own ghostly tales. Paranormal investigators, hired to debunk stories of spooks, populate the hotel during this holiday weekend. But when Marla is alone on the rickety elevator and feels a tap on her shoulder, she starts to believe the legends are true.

In Died Blonde, Marla discovers the body of her rival hairdresser behind their competing salons. The person who inherits the woman’s establishment is a psychic. She blackmails Marla into helping her manage the place by warning Marla that a close relative is ill. Marla travels to Cassadaga, a spiritualist center north of Orlando, to consult with a certified medium. I stayed overnight at the creepy hotel there while doing research. Did the radio in our room come on by itself in the early morning hours, or did a ghostly finger turn it on?

In Peril by Ponytail, Marla encounters a ghost at a dude ranch where she and her husband are staying for their honeymoon. She visits Sedona, known for its mysterious vortexes. Here Marla gets a warning from a spirit who tells her the killer is someone close. In Jerome, I stayed at a haunted hotel that was formerly a hospital for copper miners. We went ghost hunting at night, which was an awesome experience. Lots of orbs turned up in my digital photos afterward. Were these dust molecules or spiritual entities making their presence known?

And then of course there’s Haunted Hair Nights, my novella that features a school haunted house project during Halloween. There’s an all-too-real murderer lurking among the props and scary scenery.

Which of these elements do you like in the books you read, or do you prefer to stay rooted in reality? LEAVE A COMMENT below and you will be entered to win an ebook copy of Dead Roots.

Comments

  1. Congrats to Alicia, who has won the ebook copy of Dead Roots. This giveaway is now closed.

  2. I am not a big fan of paranormal/supernatural, but do read it occasionally. Halloween is a great time to read it and I would love to win this book as I have not read it. I do enjoy your Bad Hair Day series, Nancy.

  3. Jeanne Schutts says

    I like paranormal cozies. It seems like there is more opportunities to vary the story.

  4. Linda Pearl says

    Boo! A good theme mystery makes for a page turner!

  5. Sheila Golding says

    Dead Roots sounds wonderful.

  6. Joanie Hinton says

    If it helps the story, it’s fine….but not just to put it in there

  7. I like paranormal mysteries as long as the story is well written

  8. I really enjoy paranormal romance books. I kind of like it all, but I do prefer witch stories. I love when there are cats involved because I am cat lover. I really like it when the cats talk and give their opinions. I love a good humorous paranormal romance! Those are my favorites!

  9. I think a spooky element is a lot of fun, as long as it works with the story.

  10. sallycootie says

    I don’t like to go too far out there, but I enjoy a story with psychics, ghosts, and some overall spookiness. Ghost hunting at night sounds like fun. While I do enjoy the old classic horror movies this time of year including vampires and werewolves (and I love the Wolfman!) you can keep the current crop of vampires and zombies.

    • I agree with you on the vampires and zombies. I’m not fond of werewolves either. I like more fun elements, like witches, mermaids, and genies. And ghosts, of course.

  11. I’m a dyed-in-the-wool skeptic when it comes to the supernatural. Until I see one with my own eyes, I won’t accept that ghosts or anything else supernatural exists. However, that doesn’t prevent me from suspending my skepticism for a good book. For me it’s all about a compelling plot, characters I can believe in, and a great writing style, no matter the genre.

    • I count myself as a skeptic too, although I’d like to believe spirits exist. People have had weird experiences, unless you attribute it to wishful thinking. But a good story can let us set aside our disbelief.

  12. Paranormal Cozy Mystery is my preferred genre. I do believe there is some truth to the supernatural but I also think our brains are not focused enough to be truly involved in KNOWING about the supernatural. Nancy, our library does carry quite a few of your books (10 so far.) Thank you for the opportunity to win! Have a magical weekend!

    • Thanks, I have had a magical day at Disney World this morning! It’s one of my favorite places to visit. And speaking of magic, that’s a paranormal element, too. I like your theory about our brains not being able to sense things. Spirits, for example, might exist on a different vibration level or dimension than we can detect from our limited viewpoints.

  13. maggietoussaint says

    I used to be afraid of anything supernatural and especially anything horror, but now I find myself an award winning horror author, oh the irony of that! It took some doing but I am now more comfortable and indeed eager to read those kinds of stories. Research, maturity, and changing focus led to my different attitude. The unknown is scary to me, but as the author, I can establish conditions wherein the incredible seems credible. It’s like running a science experiment backwards. I’m not sure if that’s your process, Nancy, but I certainly enjoy your Marla stories. Nice post!

    • Thanks, Maggie. My scifi romances go more out on a limb with paranormal powers than do my mysteries, which deal with what’s possible. I like your paranormal mysteries for their different slant with the Native American mythology. Your ghost dog is my favorite.

  14. As a paranormal researcher in my spare (!?) time, of course I love any book with supernatural elements. BUT, the author must be consistent with their “mythology” and give the reader reason to believe the unbelievable (like with Leigh Perry’s “Skeleton” series–a skeleton shouldn’t be able to walk and talk, but Sid does, and it works). And IMO authors shouldn’t stray too far from accepted legend and tropes (I’m talking to you, sparkly vampires!)

    • You are absolutely correct in that the world we create must be consistent. The stories have to seem believable to the reader. It’s easier to base our research on real legends and tropes, as you mentioned, such as my Drift Lords series that is based on Norse mythology. Consistency in world building is the key.

  15. I love a spooky element that has been incorporated so well it seems like an organic feature. As long as it is woven in so well you can’t imagine the story without it — I’m good!

    • The threads of the story all have to weave together, as you say. If you can remove the paranormal element and the story is good without it, then it’s not integral to the plot.

  16. I tend to like reality, but if an author does a good job with supernatural or has an interesting twist, as both you and Maggie do, I get swept up in the story.

    • I like reality, too, although I do read paranormal romance or mystery on occasion. I like to be open-minded about the possibilities for things we may not understand that are out there.

  17. Phyllis McGuire says

    I enjoy reading and discovering any and all kinds of things in stories as long as I’m enjoying the book. If I don’t necessarily care about something I don’t judge the book by that but how the author wrote it. Not everything is someone’s cup of tea but the story originated who painstakingly put them into it. I would to win and have a chance a getting to know about a new author, to me anyway!