Click to see the Spooky Legends Master List with links to all the previous posts and giveaways
Allison Brennan’s heroine, Moira O’Donnell, is here to give us her take on some ghostly urban legends. Allison also has a ghostly story in the recently released ENTANGLED Anthology. ORIGINAL SIN and CARNAL SIN are also available. Thanks to Allison, one of you who comment on this post will win a copy of The Seven Deadly Sins books! See details below.
Moira O’Donnell is the heroine of my Seven Deadly Sins series. She sees the world as black and white, right and wrong, and sometimes that can get her into serious trouble. She’s in love with Rafe Cooper, a former seminarian who woke from a coma with knowledge he can’t explain in time to stop an ancient ritual that would have given an evil coven practicing black magic unprecedented control over a kingdom in Hell. He may have stopped one evil, but couldn’t prevent the Seven Deadly Sins from being released as incarnate demons. The demons use a person’s darkest personal sin against them, with deadly results. Now Moira and Rafe, along with a group of allies, must find and capture each sin before more people die.
I asked Moira about some ghostly urban legends I’ve heard about, and wasn’t quite expected for her rant.
Truth is Stranger than Fiction
By Moira O’Donnell
Really, you people stun me sometimes. You don’t even believe in demons I know are real, not until they claim your soul and then where are you? In Hell, that’s where. Why do I even care about saving any of you?
Because if I don’t, who will? And if the demons gather more souls on their side, the balance of power between Heaven and Hell will tip toward the bad guys. I know, I know, in the end the Big Guy upstairs wins—so He says. But in the meantime, we all have to live here on earth, right? And the more power they have, the harder the battle, the more souls we lose. I don’t wish demonic possession on anyone. I’ve been there. I wanted to die. But that’s giving the asshole downstairs too much power, and he’s not getting my soul without a bloody fight.
You ask me about ghosts, and yet you don’t even believe in them. Oh, maybe you think there’s a spirit here and there, but they’re harmless balls of energy just trying to find the light. Shit happens—it really happens—and you people toss it off as an “urban legend.” Meaning, made up. Fiction.
I’m telling you, truth is stranger than fiction. I’ve seen it. I’ve lived it. But if I talk about it, I’m the one who gets tossed in the drunk tank as if I’m on a bender, or locked in a loony bin because society thinks I have a screw loose.
Maybe some of the individual stories are made up by nut jobs, but they all have a basis in truth. They all happen. But the people they happen to end up dead, so who’s going to talk about it?
Take the story of the phantom hitchhiker. There are too many of these stories to think they’re all just hysteria, but most people ignore them. Or they think the ghost is harmless, like the story of Resurrection Mary in Chicago who takes a cab and orders it to stop in front of the cemetery she’s buried in, then disappears. Or the Girl by the Side of the Road who asks a driver to take her home. When he does, she disappears. He goes to the house and finds out the girl is the daughter/wife/sister of the guy who lives there, and she was killed in a car accident right where her ghost was picked up. Or the story of the teenagers who got in an accident on prom night, killing one of the girls, and she wanders the road in her prom dress. Harmless, right?
But I’ve been there, dealing with hitchhiking spirits. The urban legend part? That they won’t hurt you. Believe me, you give them the chance and they’ll haunt you, possess you, or follow you home. Start keeping extra salt and a bottle of Holy water in your car for emergencies when dark forces stall your engine and you’re trapped, alone, at night, by the side of the road.
I’m sure you know the story of Bloody Mary. A teenager buried alive when the docs all through she was dead. Depending on the myth you’re buying into, you can summon her on Friday the 13th, or anytime at midnight, or just at night. Bloody Mary is no ghost—she’s a vengeance demon. You summon her just the right way and wham! You lose your soul. Doesn’t sound so much like a slumber party ghost story anymore, does it? Take my advice—don’t say ‘Bloody Mary’ unless you’re ordering tomato juice and vodka, okay?
My favorite urban legends involve haunted houses. Most people believe in haunted houses, which at least is a plus, but they think the houses are haunted by spirits who can only scare you or maybe move objects with their energy. And yes—those (relatively) harmless haunts exist. But many of the houses you think are haunted by ghosts are really possessed by demons. Demons can possess not only people, but objects, and they seem to especially like houses. Maybe because it’s easier to lure ordinary people into a house, than entice them to buy a box or piece of jewelry. And, it’s much easier to possess something big like a house than it is to be scrunched into a tiny diamond ring. But I think it’s because houses carry the imprints of memories—of violence, of love, of hate, of disappointment. Demons feed on human emotion, the darker the better. And if there’s a spirit or two, all the better because the membrane between Hell and earth is thinner when a ghost lurks around.
Go ahead, believe what you want. Discount urban legends as myth or hysteria. Leave the battle up to those of us who know and understand evil that walks among us. You don’t really believe in Hell anyway, do you? And that’s what they’re counting on.
Allison Brennan is the New York Times bestselling and award-winning author of sixteen romantic thrillers and many short stories. RT Book Reviews calls Allison “a master of suspense” and her books “haunting,” “mesmerizing,” “pulse-pounding” and “emotionally complex.” Lee Child called her latest book “a world-class nail-biter,” and Lisa Gardner says, “Brennan knows how to deliver.” The third book in the Lucy Kincaid series, IF I SHOULD DIE, will be available on 11.22.11, followed by SILENCED in May 2012. Allison lives near Sacramento, California with her husband, five children, and assorted animals.
From Allison: “I grew up an only child–it was just me and my mom, though my grandparents lived nearby. I entertained myself by reading and making up my own stories. When I was 8, my favorite books were Trixie Belden. At 9, I graduated to Nancy Drew. By the time I was 10, I started reading my mom’s extensive Agatha Christie collection. Unfortunately for me, there wasn’t the wealth of YA books my teenage daughters enjoy today, so by the time I was 13 I graduated to Stephen King and never went back to kid books.
After college I thought I had to have a “real” job so I worked in the California State Legislature as a consultant. But I never stopped writing. I began over 100 books that I never finished. After turning 30, then giving birth to my third child, I decided if I wanted to pursue a career in writing, I needed to finish one of the many books I’d started. I wrote five complete manuscripts before I sold THE PREY, which became my debut novel published in January of 2006.”
Want to read more from Allison Brennan?
This giveaway is provided by Allison Brennan
Available on January 26, 2010 from Random House/Ballantine Books
About the Book:
Haunted by chilling memories of demonic possession and murder, Moira O’Donnell has spent seven years hunting down her mother, Fiona, whose command of black magic has granted her unprecedented control of the underworld. Now Moira’s global search has led her to a small California town that’s about to become hell on earth.
Tormented by his own terrifying past and driven by powers he can’t explain, ex-seminarian Rafe Cooper joins Moira’s dangerous quest. But Fiona is one devilish step ahead. Hungry for greater power, eternal youth, and stunning beauty, the sorceress is unleashing upon the mortal world the living incarnations of the Seven Deadly Sins.
Together with a demonologist, a tough female sheriff, and a pair of star-crossed teenagers, Moira and Rafe are humanity’s last chance to snatch salvation from the howling jaws of damnation.
Click HERE to read an excerpt
Available on May 25, 2010 from Random House/Ballantine Books
About the Book:
Santa Louisa is still reeling from the lethal rampage of the demon Envy, one of the Seven Deadly Sins released from Hell by black magic. The fiendish entity was finally trapped, but when more bodies bearing satanic marks surface in Los Angeles, demon hunter Moira O’Donnell fears the terror has only just begun.
Racing to L.A., Moira discovers that the City of Angels is fast becoming the demon Lust’s decadent playground. She suspects another coven is at work, aided indirectly by her diabolical mother, the powerful witch Fiona. But when Moira’s unwanted psychic powers intensify, she fears her connection to the underworld is putting everyone she cares about in grave danger.
As supernatural war erupts, Moira and smoldering, seductive Rafe Cooper are caught in the crossfire. Cornered by mortal and unearthly enemies, they must master all their own powers to survive—and to understand if the intensely passionate feelings that bind them are Lust’s demon magic or true desire.
Available on September 7, 2011 from Authors 4 the Cure
About the Book:
Ghosts, vampires, demons, and more! Entangled includes ten suspense-filled paranormal short stories from authors Cynthia Eden, Jennifer Estep, Edie Ramer, Lori Brighton, Michelle Diener, Misty Evans, Nancy Haddock, Liz Kreger, Dale Mayer, and Michelle Miles, plus a Seven Deadly Sins novella by Allison Brennan.
Stacia Kane contributed the foreword. Formatting and cover art were also donated to the project by Lori Devoti and Laura Morrigan.
All proceeds go to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.
HALLOWEEN FROST by USA Today bestselling author Jennifer Estep (author of the Mythos Academy, Elemental Assassin, and Bigtime series) — It’s Halloween at Mythos Academy, but Gwen Frost and her friends are in for more tricks than treats when they run into a mythological monster intent on killing them.
THE FAT CAT by Edie Ramer (author of Cattitude, Galaxy Girls) — In a battle for the souls of seven women, a wizard has the god of war on his side; all the witch has is a fat, black cat.
MEDIUM RARE by Nancy Haddock (author of the Oldest City Vampire trilogy) —What’s spooking the spirits of St. Augustine? As the witching hour of Halloween approaches, ghost seer Colleen Cotton must team with a by-the-book paranormal investigator to locate the one ghost who can save the city’s specters. If she fails, her own great grandfather’s spirit may be lost forever.
SWEET DEMON by Misty Evans (author of the Witches Anonymous series) —When Chicago’s vampire king insists Kali Sweet join his empire, the vengeance demon must rely on her ex – the half-human, half-chaos demon who left her at the altar three hundred years ago – in order to escape the vamp’s clutches.
SIAN’S SOLUTION by Dale Meyer (author of the Psychic Visions series) — When a vampire discovers the human man she loves has been captured and hung in a blood farm, she goes against her own kind and risks everything to save him.
A BIT OF BITE by Cynthia Eden (author of NEVER CRY WOLF and ANGEL OF DARKNESS) — A killer is stalking the streets of Crossroads, Mississippi, and it’s up to Sheriff Ava Dushaine to stop him. But when suspicion falls on werewolf alpha Julian Kasey—Ava’s ex-lover and the man who still haunts her dreams—Ava knows that she’ll either have to prove his innocence…or watch the whole town go up in flames.
SINFULLY SWEET by Michelle Miles (author of the Coffee House series) — When Chloe bakes a little magic into her pastries, she attracts the attention of Edward, the sexy half-demon, half-witch, who’s come to warn her those who murdered her sister are now after her.
A NIGHT OF FOREVER by Lori Brighton (author of A Night of Secrets and To Seduce an Earl) — Who is Aidan Callaghan? Mary Ellen James is intent on uncovering the truth about the mysterious man, but as she soon finds out, some things are best left buried in the past.
FEEL THE MAGIC by Liz Kreger (author of the Part of Tomorrow series) — Jenna Carmichael’s magical attempt to rectify Jessica Manfield’s birth identity takes an unexpected turn when the past comes back to haunt her.
BREAKING OUT by Michelle Diener (author of the Tudor-set historical suspense novel In A Treacherous Court) — Imprisoned in a secret facility, powerful telekinetic Kelli Barrack and two other ‘special’ inmates grab a chance to escape, only to confront their worst nightmares on the outside.
GHOSTLY JUSTICE, an all-new Seven Deadly Sins novella by New York Times bestselling author Allison Brennan (author of the Seven Deadly Sins series) — Demon hunters Moira O’Donnell and Rafe Cooper are dragged into the dangerous world of nocturnal predators to find “Ghostly Justice” for a virgin sacrificed to an ancient blood demon.
Click HERE to read an excerpt
**Don’t forget to visit All Things Urban Fantasy today for her Spooky Legends guest blog with Sharon Shinn and a chance to win ANGELS OF DARKNESS**
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