Tag Archives | mysteries

Walk among the dead with Stacy Green.

So excited to have one of my blogging buddies, Stacy Green, here to share her knowledge on the Parisian catacombs. She writes her Thriller Thursdays and finds the creepiest mysteries. And since my main character, Savvy, has her own adventures in this underground maze, I had to invite Stacy! And you know? She’s got a book deal for the fall!

 

An avid reader of suspense, paranormal, and true crime, Stacy’s first novel, INTO THE DARK, will be released from MuseItUp Publishing in November. When she’s not writing, she loves spending time with her precocious six-year-old daughter, her supportive husband, and the family’s three obnoxious dogs. For more true crime and paranormal posts, check out Stacy’s Thriller Thursday feature on her blog.

Blog ~ Twitter ~ Facebook

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Some of you may know about the storm drains of Las Vegas–an underground labyrinth of dark, dank flood channels doubling as housing for the city’s homeless population. The infamous tunnels play an important role in my debut novel INTO THE DARK. While the Vegas drains are terrifying, there are no scarier–or more fascinating–tunnels than the Catacombs of Paris. Spanning more than 180 miles, the catacombs date back to the twelfth century and are literally filled with the dead.

18th Century Paris was at the heart of the enlightenment, but it was also filthy and overrun with disease. Imagine a bustling culture of the world’s greatest thinkers and artists walking amid garbage, open sewers, and overflowing cemeteries. One of the most affected areas was the Les Halles district, particularly the Saints Innocents Cemetery, known as Les Innocents (the same one Anne Rice used in The Vampire Lestat). Used for nearly ten centuries, improper burial techniques in Les Innocents led to contamination of Les Halles’s ground water and surrounding land.

 

Victims of the black plaque, epidemics, starvations, of all the wars since the Middle Ages rest in the city’s 200 cemeteries, piled up on several levels in the mass graves of the churches. Every day, new cadavers join the previous ones. Paris is flooded by the dead, the odor is unbearable. — The Paris Catacombs

 

Paris’s dead were pushing out the living, and officials made a bold decision. Paris is built over large gypsum and limestone quarries mined in the 12th century. Notre Dame and the Louvre are just two of the famous monuments built from the quarries. Over time, the quarries became unstable, and in 1770s, they were repaired to make room for the dead.


In an effort to stop the spread of disease, Paris’s overflowing cemeteries were cleared out and the bones interred within the quarries. Beginning in 1785, work was done under the cover of night and chanting priests accompanied the procession. The quarries house the bones from all the cemeteries of Paris up through the mid 1800s (although some accounts have the transfer stopping as early as 1814).

The catacombs have long been the stuff of legends. A tourist attraction since the 1860s, they were used as mini concert halls and later by members of the French Resistance during World War II. In the rebellious 1980s, young Parisians used the crypts as a place for parties, sneaking into the tunnels through various unmonitored entrances. Over the years, the Catacombs were fortified and areas were sanctioned off for tourists. Only a small part of the tunnels is open to the public, and the main entrances are now guarded, but the enterprising explorer can still sneak their way in via the sewers, metro, and manholes.


The underground labyrinth is complex and confusing. Imagine being deep underground, surrounded by centuries-old bones, with only the tiniest of lights to guide you. Even an accomplished navigator could lose his way, and there are countless stories about people getting lost in the catacombs. Some, like the explorer who claimed he was attacked and dragged off by some sort of monster, are likely the delusions of a man trapped in a terrifying underground dark maze full of bones.

But people have disappeared in the tunnels. Last July, three people were part of a group partying in the crypts. They became separated from their friends and instead of finding their way out wound up going deeper into the maze. They spent two days lost in the dark before they were found and fined for trespassing.


National Geographic writer Neil Shea spent time researching the tunnels with the cataphiles, the people who love to roam the underground world. Shea described the cataphiles as “a loose and leaderless community whose members sometimes spend days and nights below the city.” One cataphile told Shea he came down to the crypts for the freedom. “No boss, no master. Many people come down here to party, some people to paint. Some people to destroy or to create or to explore. We do what we want here. We don’t have rules.”

Could you be a cataphile, spending hours among centuries worth of bones, with your only light source a candle or flashlight? Would you emerge from the Catacombs feeling empowered and alive, or shaken and traumatized like so many others who’ve been lost below?

 

For more information on the Paris Catacombs, including booking a tour and some excellent pictures, visit Why Go Paris.

Wow! Thanks, Stacy! Creeeepy!

Don’t forget to check out the giveaways this week!

Spencer Brokaw’s The Impenetrable Spy
Nova Ren Suma’s Imaginary Girls (paperback)
Cindy M. Hogan’s Watched 

What’s the creepiest place you’ve been?

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Cindy M. Hogan loves all things detective, spy and murder.

Welcome to week 2 of Spies, Murder and Mystery!
We’re celebrating the release of A Spy Like Me:
Stripping your date down to his underwear has never been so dangerous.
Today we have Cindy M. Hogan with us, author of contemporary thrillers, Watched and Protected. She’s here to talk about one of her favorite things…. murder. Mwahahaha!
The game I loved to play the most when I was in grade school was Clue.
 I rocked it, too. In fact, I’d win every time and it didn’t involve cheating. I remember the day I realized that it wasn’t just listening to what people said that mattered, it was also important to listen to what they didn’t say. I think this game launched my love of all things detective, spy and murder related.
My favorite murder game today is none other than murder. Life size–just like I like it.
How do you play?
Find a basement that you can make completely dark. I mean completely dark. Then gather 15-20 friends to join you. Get some face cards and keep 2 Kings in the stack as well as enough other cards so that everyone will get one without any cards being left over. The 2 people who get the Kings are the murderers.The rest are townspeople.
Have the group stand in a circle and have everyone close their eyes and bow their heads. You, as the host, ask the murders to open their eyes. The murders look at each other while everyone else’s eyes are still closed. Then you ask them to close their eyes. Then ask everyone to open their eyes. Your eyes are closed, too, unless you are a murderer. Now, turn off the lights.
The murderers can strike 10 seconds after the lights go out. When the murderers find towns people, they gently slide their hand across the front of the towns people’s necks to kill them. The dead towns person must stay put until someone who is alive finds them and yells out “body-body”. Yes, the townspeople must move around asking if people are a “body” or dead or the murderers will win for sure. The dead person can not say anything until asked if they are a body. They can’t call out or moan or anything. They are dead, after all.
Then the lights are quickly turned on. All the dead go to an area designated as the morgue and everyone who is alive gets in a circle and they have two minutes to decide on who one of the murderers is. Once they have a majority vote, the person they have accused must say whether or not they were a murderer. If the answer is yes, the townspeople get a shot at accusing the second murderer. If the answer is no, that towns person is lynched and must go to the morgue and the lights are turned out for another round.
You continue this until everyone is dead and the murderers win or until the towns people discover both of the murderers.
So, grab some friends and play murder. Just beware…it’s addicting.
Enter to win a free copy of the first book in the Watched series, Watched. Just leave a comment here about your favorite game. Please tweet with @laurapauling. 
*** And just a side note from me – Laura. I love playing CLUE except no one like to play with me because I keep track of everything with tons of shorthand notes all over the slip of paper. No wonder I write about spies and mysteries!
Thanks so much, Cindy! Tell us your favorite game everyone!
Check out the sequel to Watched!
And check out my guest post on Roz Morris’s Undercover Soundtrack. I talk about the music behind A Spy Like Me!
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Interview of a 13-year-old author – Spencer Brokaw.

Welcome to week two! We’re celebrating my release of A Spy Like Me:

Stripping your date down to his underwear has never been so dangerous.

And I wanted to celebrate by hosting authors in my genre.

So welcome!

When I heard about this kid who published his work I was curious. Then when I learned he wrote a spy novel – I had to contact him for this blog series. You might’ve heard about him before. Spencer Brokaw author of The Impenetrable Spy. He just started a new grog called Inkslingers Press dedicated to supporting Indies. And he likes to write about spies!

Curious about what his friends and family think? And when he finds the time to write? Read on!

blog ~ twitter

Where do you find the time to write?

Finding the time to write can be very hard, between schoolwork, socializing with friends, and spending time with my family. I normally get to my writing on the weekend or in the summer. Sometimes I squeeze some writing into the week, but normally don’t have enough time. In the summer, I finish most of my novels, and end up starting new ones with the abundance of time, and there is no homework or projects to worry about.

 What do all your friends, family, and teachers think?

They are very proud of me, and are very interested in my writing. My friends think it’s cool, but don’t bug me about it much, mostly because they know it’s an odd topic for me to discuss. Writing is like my separate life, but I’ll mention something to my friends if I think they’ll be interested. My family has gotten very interested, and likes to stay up to date on my writing, and my publishing process, as do my teachers.

 What do you like best about your spy stories?

What’s not to like about a world that you have complete control over? Writing is a way to express yourself, but also to entertain yourself in the process. Sharing it with others is amazing, and is really fun for me to hear feedback, whether it is good or bad. Spy stories are the best. They involve high-speed chases, secret missions, stealthy agents, awesome weaponry, futuristic technology, stealth tactics, sports cars, and bad guys that will always get in the way of your protagonist. Writing a spy story is like playing a video game, only you control the plot. I love writing, and don’t plan on stopping any time soon.

Purchase Links: Amazon ~ Smashwords

Thanks, Spencer!

Love it. And that’s what it’s all about. Having complete control over our world and loving what we write. Some might say that thirteen is too young to publish – I think it’s awesome! There’s no better way to improve than feedback from readers and going through the fire of publishing. So kudos to you, Spencer. And best of luck!

Spencer will be offering one ebook of The Impenetrable Spy to one person in the comments. Please tweet! 

Thanks for stopping by everyone! What do you like the best about the genre you write?

 

 

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Spies, Murder and Mystery Marathon Winners – week 1

Thank you to everyone who helped tweet and spread the word about our fantastic authors from the past week!

And now onto the winners:

Gemma Halliday’s Hollywood Scandals goes to Janet Johnson!

Anne R. Allen’s The Gatsby Game goes to Natalie Aguirre!

Elisa Ludwig’s Pretty Crooked goes to Donna K. Weaver!

Elena Andrew’s Run Like Hell goes to Creepy Query Girl!

Instructions:

Please use my contact form up on the menu bar and leave me your email address and which version of the ebook you’d like: Nook, Kindle, or PDF. Donna, please leave your mailing address.

Coming up this week!

We’ll be hearing from five more amazing bloggers and authors!

S.R. Johannes     Nova Ren Suma

Cindy M. Hogan    Stacy Green

And….Elizabeth Spann Craig

Of course, there will be more giveaways! Yay!

Have a terrific weekend! Hope you found some new novels to enjoy!

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The story behind Run Like Hell – a teen’s worst nightmare come true.

Welcome to Day 5 celebrating A Spy Like Me!

Today we have with us Elena Andrews author of Run Like Hell – a young adult thriller!

RUN LIKE HELL is a young adult thriller involving seventeen-year-old Morgan Butler.  Her parents are out of town, she’s headed to the party of the year to meet up with her boyfriend and things couldn’t be better…until she gets stranded on a dark, desolate road.   With no money, no gas and a dead cell phone, Morgan makes a decision with dangerous consequences.

Several things inspired me to write this book.  First, I loved the movie TAKEN starring Liam Neeson.  If you haven’t seen this film, I’d highly recommend it.  In the movie his naïve, teenage daughter and her friend travel to Europe with horrible results.  I was drawn to the guileless spirit of the girls wanting to travel and enjoy Europe, un-chaperoned.

Secondly, I shared an interesting conversation with someone one day regarding her concerns for her teenage daughter while she was travelling overseas.  She trusted her daughter to make wise decisions, but worried nonetheless. Despite how parents prepare their child to make the right decisions, other influences come into play that are more powerful than a parent’s voice.

Lastly, I thought of my own experiences during my teenage years and early twenties.  I primarily grew up in Miami and during my senior year of high school I went to Miami Beach every weekend with my friends.  We loved dancing till dawn at the coolest alternative clubs.  Sometimes when I think back to those days and the crazy, sometimes dangerous, decisions I made I say to myself, “what was I thinking?” but back then I didn’t have any worries or concerns.

My character Morgan simply wants to go to an amazing party on a Saturday night and hang out with her friends and boyfriend.  My teenage goals were the same – to have a good time.  RUN LIKE HELL allowed me to fictionalize a “what if” scenario that could be terrifyingly realistic — the best type of thriller.

The real terror in life hides behind the face of the person next to you.

Purchase at Amazon or if you belong to Prime – read for free!

Elana’s blog ~ Website ~ Twitter

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Okay, friends. I read the first couple chapters and was on the edge of seat! Clean writing and will get your heart pounding within paragraphs! And Elena is offering the ebook of Run Like Hell to one lucky winner!

To enter please leave a comment and tweet with @laurapauling

Comment to win Gemma Halliday’s Hollywood Scandals.
Comment to win Anne R. Allen’s The Gatsby Game.
Comment to win Elisa Ludwig’s Pretty Crooked.

Thanks everyone! And thanks Elena for sharing your story with us.

 

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