AmazonGiveaway for a chance to win: Owl Manor – the Dawning (Owl Manor Trilogy Book 1) (Kindle Edition).

See this #AmazonGiveaway for a chance to win: Owl Manor – the Dawning (Owl Manor Trilogy Book 1) (Kindle Edition).
NO PURCHASE NECESSARY.
Ends the earlier of Nov 6, 2018 11:59 PM PST, or when all prizes are claimed.
See Official Rules http://amzn.to/GArules.

https://giveaway.amazon.com/p/8ee31dcaad8687ba

final cover copy

“I could feel the moisture on my arms, hear the rustling of leaves and twigs, the hooting of owls. He turned to face me and stood still, waiting in the gloom…”
Sometimes the tide sweeps us into a fog where dark forces are at work…
All of a sudden evil and good become blurred…
Powerless and defenseless, we swim toward it, and wonder if we’re going mad.
Stifled by the repression of women in the 1800s, trapped in a loveless marriage, Eva lives a life of dissatisfaction and frustration. The tide sweeps her to the Rocky Mountains during the gold rush in 1859, where she finds unexpected hope at Owl Manor, a strange, dark place with owls in the very fabric of its walls.
But the stakes are perilous. Shadows wander the dim corridors. The owner of the manor is moody, volatile. Does she dare trust him?

Owl Manor – the Dawning,the first standalone book in a trilogy of Gothic romantic suspense novels, is inspired by authors such as Daphne du Maurier (Jamaica Inn, Rebecca), Carlos Ruiz Zafon (Marina, Shadow of the Wind), Kate Morton (The Forgotten Garden).

Filled with Poe-esque atmosphere, dark desires and supernatural elements, this book is a must read for fans of Gothic Romance.

 

Reviews for Owl manor – the Dawning: 5.0 out of 5.0 stars – Good book! Highly recommended!

final cover copy

V. Timmons (Amazon reader)

“I thoroughly enjoyed Owl Manor. I read books across a variety of genres, but not typically Gothic romance. After reading this book, I will definitely add Gothic romance to my reading list, as well as other novels by this author. I was attracted to this book by the beautiful cover and the suggestions of dark suspense of the woman protagonist living in the 1800’s.

Linda Dunbar

Silvia Curry, Silvia’s Reading Corner

“Owl Manor the Dawning is an amazing Gothic horror novel that instantly takes you back to a time where life was harder and misery seemed to love company. The story follows Eva, Mr. Bradstone, Gilbert, and Joseph on a wild ride to madness, and every single unexpected twist and turn left me breathless. 

Zita Harrison’s writing is reminiscent of Poe, in which the entire story comes alive and leaves you anxiously turning the pages to see what is going to happen. The foreshadowing is amazing, and if you aren’t careful, you just may miss it (and it is so much more fun to find them the second time around!). 

Zita Harrison does an incredible job with this epic gothic horror novel. Her story will stay with me long, and I will never look at owls the same again!”

$2.99 for Kindle at Amazon https://amzn.to/2yhfmbq

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OWL MANOR – THE DAWNING NOW AVAILABLE on AMAZON!!

FB adnow available copy

Sometimes the tide sweeps us into a fog where dark forces are at work…

All of a sudden evil and good become blurred…

Powerless and defenseless, we swim toward it, and wonder if we’re going mad.

Stifled by the repression of women in the 1800s, trapped in a loveless marriage, Eva lives a life of dissatisfaction and frustration. The tide sweeps her to the Rocky Mountains during the gold rush in 1859, where she finds unexpected hope at Owl Manor, a strange, dark place with owls in the very fabric of its walls.

But the stakes are perilous. Shadows wander the dim corridors. The owner of the manor is moody, volatile. Does she dare trust him?

Owl Manor – the Dawning,the first standalone book in a trilogy of Gothic romantic suspense novels, is inspired by authors such as Daphne du Maurier (Jamaica Inn, Rebecca), Carlos Ruiz Zafon (Marina, Shadow of the Wind), Kate Morton (The Forgotten Garden).

Filled with Poe-esque atmosphere, dark desires and supernatural elements, this book is a must read for fans of Gothic Romance.

https://amzn.to/2yhfmbq (kindle) $2.99
https://amzn.to/2QP8Z63 (paperback) $9.99

Check out these awesome silver owl earrings on Amazon! Simple and gorgeous!

925 Sterling Silver Owl Cut-Out Heart Dangle Hook Earrings

 

THE ASSOCIATION BETWEEN OWLS and DEATH

OWLGHOST copy
Since ancient times, many different cultures have been associating birds with death. Especially OWLS. In his thesis, “On the Relationship between Birds and Spirits of the Dead,” Christopher Moreman gives us some fascinating facts, some of which I plucked out (pun intended!) for us to enjoy:
“…The Egyptian soul, called Ba, is depicted as a bird with a human head. Human-headed birds also appear among the ancient Greeks as sirens, or soul-birds…”
“…The North American Osage describe various spirit worlds, the highest of which is populated by birds embodying human souls…”
“…A pre-Islamic tradition that has survived in some parts of the Arab world explains that a murder victim will return as a white owl, screeching for vengeance…”
“… in Northern India, owls and bats might embody “the malevolent dead”…”
“…Some Pima Indians believe that at death the soul inhabits the body of an owl; an owl’s hooting portends death as it calls out for a soul to embody…”
“…Virginian folklore describes the cries of owls as “ole folks talking”…”
“…Various kinds of birds embody spirits of the dead in Brazil and Paraguay and among the Asabano of Papua New Guinea…”
“…The owl, for instance, appears most commonly as a death symbol. “The owl’s natural characteristics, its sudden pounce on its victims, its eerie cry, its preference for darkness, and the carrion smell of its nest made it the sinister messenger of the death goddesses”…”
Mmm lovely. And here I was thinking it was just a silly ghost story!!! Thank you Mr. Moreman for all the research!
Check out this AMAZING video of an owl in motion below!!!
OWL MANOR – THE DAWNING, a novel by Zita Harrison
available on Amazon, fall of 2018!!

Dreamsphere II: ANGRY BLASTS FROM THE BEYOND

dreamsphere IIThe world lit up with sudden flashes of blinding light, like angry blasts from the beyond. Big, fat raindrops erupted in torrents, pounding a savage, primordial beat that left the soul quaking and raw.

She jerked up in bed, shaken, confused, and reached out to turn on the fan, but realized the power had gone out. The air was heavy, sweltering. It was hard to breathe. The world lit up again and she dove under the sweat-drenched sheets, covering her ears with her hands to shut out the deafening cracks in the facade of the night, the glimpses of whirling, sucking horror that lay beneath. But when they came, her hands were no protection. They drilled through her head mercilessly, splitting, shattering. She tossed and turned under the covers, and finally fell into a turbulent sleep.

But there was no rest in sleep that night. She dreamed that someone lay next to her on the bed. He lay on his side, with his back to her. Something sprouted in the bottom of her gut like mold and worked its way up to her heart, clutching, squeezing. When he turned his head slowly to face her, his teeth jutted out of his mouth in a gruesome parody of a grin, and his soulless eyeballs shifted in bony eye sockets. She stared at him, telling herself that this was a dream, that it wasn’t real; it couldn’t be. It was the effect of the storm.

Suddenly she felt herself being seized by her nightgown in the back of her neck. And something sinister began throbbing in the room. Her skin crawling with fear, heart thudding painfully against her ribs, she felt herself being lifted up, up, off the bed, all the way to the ceiling. Now she was looking down at the thing on her bed, held up by the scruff like a defenseless kitten. The thing stared up at her, grinning the whole time, and the room continued oozing with something menacing, malevolent.

“What do you want from me?” she whispered, head and limbs dangling from the ceiling.

All of a sudden she plummeted to the bed with a force that knocked the wind out of her. She lay there for a few minutes, eyes closed, catching her breath, then opened her eyes and looked around tentatively for the thing lying next to her. It was gone.

Leaping out of bed, she ran to the window and threw it open. It was daylight. Somehow she had slept through the night. The sun was coming out, beaming warmth, reassurance. The air was pungent with the sweet aftermath of a cleansing rain. Shrubs and trees danced with new life, and the gentle, herby smell of chrysanthemums saturated the air.

She breathed deeply, filling every pore, every cell in her body with that smell and that warmth, and slowly exhaled.

How does this painting affect you?

John_Henry_Fuseli_-_The_Nightmare

I’m sure many have seen this 1781 painting, “The Nightmare” by Henry Fuseli. I encountered it in Art school a long time ago, and needless to say, it is unforgettable. Disturbingly unforgettable.

It tells a story of unrequited passion. Henry Fuseli had fallen madly in love (lust?) with a woman by the name of Anna Landholdt who is supposedly the woman in the painting, while the demon represents Fuseli himself.  He had written the following about his feelings for Anna:

“Last night I had her in bed with me—tossed my bedclothes hugger-mugger—wound my hot and tight-clasped hands about her—fused her body and soul together with my own—poured into her my spirit, breath and strength. Anyone who touches her now commits adultery and incest! She is mine, and I am hers. And have her I will.…”
(Ward, Maryanne C. “A Painting of the Unspeakable: Henry Fuseli’s ‘The Nightmare’ and the Creation of Mary Shelley’s ‘Frankenstein'”)

Yes, this painting supposedly inspired Mary Shelley to write the scene in which the wife of Dr. Frankenstein was found dead: “She was there, lifeless and inanimate, thrown across the bed, her head hanging down, and her pale and distorted features half covered by hair.”

And it inspired the writing of Edgar Allan Poe in “The Fall of the House of Usher”: “irrepressible tremor gradually pervaded my frame; and, at length, there sat upon my heart an incubus of utterly causeless alarm”.

The woman’s father refused to give his approval for the union and married his daughter off to someone else. Goodness, Mr. Fuseli. No wonder her father refused your proposal. Can such devouring passion be good for anyone? It speaks to me of a highly disturbed personality, confirmed by the painting. Would anyone want their child to marry an individual who wrote and painted like this? I wouldn’t. Of course if my child made that decision herself, or himself since I have a son, my opinions would be irrelevant. Too bad for us parents who live in the 21st century and can’t shackle our children to our way of thinking! Too bad for us but not for them I suppose!!! And would we really want to in the end?

Why is this painting so disturbing? I love Gothic literature like Wuthering Heights, Jane Eyre, but this is different. I think it evokes a fear of literal monsters, not the human kind, which puts it in the realm of fantasy. Or does it? People like to read about monsters: dinosaurs, giants, ogres, etc. Is it because these things do not really exist, and we are safe in the fear evoked by these stories because they could never really take place? Or is it because in some primal way these monsters are familiar? Yikes, going into forbidden territory here. Sure, they don’t look like us humans…on the outside anyway. But might they embody thoughts that we have all had, and suppressed? Nightmares that we put aside so we can function in our daily lives? Thoughts that we identify in other people and shudder to think they might exist in our minds?

I invite you to share your thoughts on this. How does this painting affect you? Why do people enjoy reading about monsters, watching monster movies? Those of us that do anyway. And they don’t have to be ogres and giants; think Marvel’s Apocalypse, Venom, Mystique from X-Men, DC’s Poison Ivy. Think Aliens, King Kong, oh and all the vampires and werewolves out there! Why are we so fascinated by monsters?

 

 

A Living, Breathing Red.

Crimson Peak

While my inspirations for Gothic romance are the classics: Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte; Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte; Frankenstein by Mary Shelley; Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier, and more, I Really enjoyed the Gothic romance movie, Crimson Peak by Guillermo del Toro. Of course the fact it had three of my favorite actors didn’t hurt!

CAst Crimson Peak

Jessica Chastain, Tom Hiddleston, Mia Wasokowska…and Gothic romance. What’s not to like????

The plot: Edith Cushing, played by Mia Wasikowska, is our heroine, the proverbial, Gothic damsel in distress. She is perfect: small, delicate, arouses protectiveness in anyone. She is repeatedly visited by her mother’s ghost who warns her against the mysterious “Crimson Peak,” which she later realizes is another name for Allerdale Hall in England, the Gothic mansion she moves to with her new husband, Thomas Sharpe, played by Tom Hiddleston, and his sister, Lucille, played by the unsurpassable Jessica Chastain. Nothing is right at this mansion. First, the red clay it sits on, all the more shocking because it oozes like bright red blood out of snow, is slowly devouring it; hence the name Crimson Peak. Second, the gorgeous man who swept Edith off her feet all of a sudden acts cold and distant towards her. Third, his beautiful sister seems to hate her. We find out later that Thomas and Lucille have been carrying on an incestuous relationship, and that he married three other rich women before Edith to gain access to their money, after which the brother and sister poisoned them. In the spirit (!) of crimson, Edith is visited by ghastly red ghosts, starts coughing up blood, and realizes that she also is being poisoned. What wasn’t part of the plan, however, was Thomas falling in love with Edith. Jessica Chastain, fabulous in every role she has ever done, transforms beautifully into a jealous lunatic sister who murders her brother rather than lose him, and is herself killed eventually by Edith. Of course there’s more, go see it!

What I was impressed by was the whole crimson theme. The snow was red, the ghosts were red, and not just a regular red, but a powerful, bloody red that attacks the senses and makes your skin crawl. It reminds us of what we are inside, a throbbing, pulsing, living red, a thought that completely goes against our humanity because, except in the form of a rare steak on our plate, which has nothing to do with what’s inside us (!), we cannot relate to it and would rather not think about it. Unless, of course, we are in the medical profession, or sadistic, people skinning murderers, or perhaps butchers. And It was different in that ghosts are not usually presented as red; bleeding maybe, translucent maybe, hazy blues or grays, purples, blacks maybe  but not all over red like that. So in that respect I thought it was more like a monster movie. But whatever it was, it was very entertaining, and, as always, a joy to watch these three great actors.

Here is an interview of the cast.

“Ghosts I love because they represent so many things and I like to use them in a different way than they are used in horror movies where they are just scary and creepy. I want to also use them as characters that could be good…ghosts represent the past.”
– Guillermo del Toro

Love his 2006 Spanish dark fantasy film, Pan’s Labyrinth as well.