Thursday, January 24, 2019

Knights Templar, the Da Vinci Code and Haunted Rosslyn Chapel


Yesterday I posted my review of Catherine Cavendish's "The Haunting of Henderson Close" here. Today Catherine has kindly agreed to visit with a fascinating post about :


Knights Templar and the Da Vinci Code 
Haunted Rosslyn Chapel



With its historic and mystical connections to the Knights Templar as well as its ancient majestic beauty, it comes as little surprise that Dan Brown choose Rosslyn Chapel as the setting for so much activity in his multi-million bestseller The Da Vinci Code. When it came to making the film, there would have been no point seeking out any other location for the chapel scenes. Rosslyn was authentic, ready and waiting. Tom Hankks described it as, “all one could imagine or hope for.”

But Rosslyn Chapel is far more than a mere movie set – and is home to a variety of active spirits.
It stands in the village of Roslin and was built around 500 years ago. Roslin was the home of the Sinclair Earls of Orkney who lived like royalty in Rosslyn Castle from the 12th or 13th century. They fought for Robert the Bruce at Bannockburn in 1314 and Sir William Sinclair was probably one of the Knight Crusaders.
The Chapel was founded in 1446 by William Sinclair, Earl of Orkney although building did not commence until a few years later. It was originally intended to be a collegiate chapel.

Legends abound here. The crypt –which is sealed off and has been for many years – is rumoured to house the Holy Grail brought back by the Knights Templar and secreted there. Even more fantastic legends have it that the original crown jewels of Scotland along with Christ’s mummified head are also stored there, along with the entire treasure collected by the Knights Templar - and the true cross. Beneath the crypt lies the burial chamber where ten former Earls of Roslin are alleged to have been laid out in their armour – but without coffins.
A number of spirits are said to haunt the chapel walls and the surrounding area, and people with no prior knowledge of these stories have reported seeing and hearing strange apparitions and unexplained sounds.
As with so many haunted locations, Rosslyn Chapel has its White Lady and she has appeared to startled visitors a number of times over the years. She is reputed to guard treasure hidden in the castle. Tradition has it that if you can find the right step to stand on and blow a trumpet you might wake her and then you may be rewarded with that which she protects.

If you explore the area by car or on foot, you may encounter a medieval knight in black armour riding a horse hundreds of years after he was killed in battle – probably in 1303.
Other stories tell of ghostly flames which could be seen whenever a Sinclair was on the point of death. The chapel also plays host to the spirit of an apprentice – one who carved the magnificent Apprentice Pillar. He was apparently so good, his teacher felt threatened by his talent and murdered him.
The howling of a ghostly dog has been reported. He is supposed to have been killed with his master – an English soldier – in battle in 1303.

As for the Knights Templar, they are on eternal guard, protecting some secret source of knowledge hidden deep within the chapel which, in addition to the ornate Apprentice Pillar contains other mysterious and beautiful carvings, charismatic enough to convince some people that they conceal a wonderful message. Certainly the symbols depicted here are an eclectic collection – Egyptian, Celtic, Islamic and pagan and include more carvings of Green Men than any other location. Enigmatic and baffling, the carvings continue to intrigue and engage the minds of architectural scholars from generation to generation.



As for its founder, Sir William Sinclair had planned to build a full size copy of King Solomon’s Temple but died before his project could get underway. Despite that, he would undoubtedly be delighted at how his greatest work has survived and entertained to this day.
These days, Rosslyn is still owned by the family who, down the years, by virtue of marriage and a change of spelling are now the St Clair-Erskines – Earls of Rosslyn. The chapel is still used as a place of worship and visitors are welcome here




Here’s what to expect from The Haunting of Henderson Close:
Ghosts have always walked there. Now they’re not alone…
In the depths of Edinburgh, an evil presence is released. Hannah and her colleagues are tour guides who lead their visitors along the spooky, derelict Henderson Close, thrilling them with tales of spectres and murder. For Hannah it is her dream job, but not for long. Who is the mysterious figure that disappears around a corner? What is happening in the old print shop? And who is the little girl with no face? The legends of Henderson Close are becoming all too real.
The Auld De’il is out – and even the spirits are afraid.


The Haunting of Henderson Close is available from:
About the author:


Following a varied career in sales, advertising and career guidance, Catherine Cavendish is now the full-time author of a number of paranormal, ghostly and Gothic horror novels, novellas and short stories. In addition to The Haunting of Henderson Close, Cat’s novels include the Nemesis of the Gods trilogy - Wrath of the Ancients, Waking the Ancients and Damned by the Ancients, plus The Devil’s Serenade, The Pendle Curse and Saving Grace Devine.

Her novellas include Linden Manor, Cold Revenge, Miss Abigail’s Room, The Demons of Cambian Street, Dark Avenging Angel, The Devil Inside Her, and The Second Wife

She lives with her long-suffering husband, and a black cat who has never forgotten that her species used to be worshipped in ancient Egypt. She sees no reason why that practice should not continue. Cat and her family divide their time between Liverpool and a 260-year-old haunted apartment in North Wales.

You can connect with Cat here:



Wednesday, January 23, 2019

The Haunting Of Henderson Close by Catherine Cavendish - review



The brilliant Catherine Cavendish is a frequent visitor to my blog. And rightly so because I just adore her books.

She's recently published "The Haunting of Henderson Close", an exciting, if spooky, novel set in Edinburgh.

Here's the blurb:

Ghosts have always walked there. Now they're not alone.

In the depths of Edinburgh, an evil presence is released.
Hannah and her colleagues are tour guides who lead their visitors along the spooky, derelict Henderson Close, thrilling them with tales of spectres and murder. For Hannah it is her dream job, but not for long. Who is the mysterious figure that disappears around a corner? What is happening in the old print shop? And who is the little girl with no face?
The legends of Henderson Close are becoming all too real. The Auld De'il is out - and even the spirits are afraid.


And here's my review

Whenever I pick up a book by Catherine Cavendish I know what to expect - a great story that'll keep me coming back for more, straightforward prose and characters so realistic, I can picture them perfectly - it's like putting your feet into cosy slippers. Except at least one of the slippers will have something horrible in it, like a cockroach or...a demon! The Haunting of Henderson Close is initially populated by everyday characters going about their business - this time as guides in haunted Edinburgh. With perfect timing, the story heats up with Hannah (the main character) regressing to nineteenth century Henderson Close and other guides - and even tourists - seeing supernatural beings, much to their horror. The plot rolls along effortlessly, keeping the reader enjoying Edinburgh before horrifying him/her with a glimpse of an awful demon. Cliffhangers kept me wondering if Miss Carmichael's murder was going to get solved and whether the main characters would survive it. As usual, this is a story perfectly told and a book well worth reading. Ms Cavendish never disappoints.

I'll say no more because Catherine is visiting this blog TOMORROW and will be telling us about the Knights Templar, the Da Vinci Code and Haunted Rosslyn Chapel. Hang onto your hats and come back tomorrow!

In the meantime here's where you can find Catherine: https://www.catherinecavendish.com/
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See you tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Grand Book Sale and Extract from Joseph Barnaby







 My publisher, Crooked Cat Books, has a grand Halloween Book Sale between 30th and 1st October. So many books now reduced to 99p or 99c.



My books, "Joseph Barnaby" and "Forest Dancer" are both reduced, and you might enjoy them. 


Here's an extract from "Joseph Barnaby": 

The first chapter:

The noise level in The Rose and Crown pub grew in proportion to the amount the clientele drank, but Joe Barnaby’s father managed to make himself heard as he shouted, “My son is the best farrier in the business.”
Joseph Barnaby laughed and raised his glass. “And what my dad doesn’t know about horse farming isn’t worth knowing.”
There was a cheer, then a brief lull as glasses chinked and someone threw a bag of nacho chips in the air, which was a signal for the noise to start up again.
“He sure is,” one of the farmers cried, joining Joe and his father at their table. “And make sure you’re at my stables tomorrow at nine, young Joe! You need to renew the hoof dressings you put on the bay the other day.”
“It’s in my diary,” Joe confirmed. “And the chestnut’s hooves are due for trimming too.” He picked up his pint of beer and downed it. He had the best job in the world, he decided: great friends and clients, and the opportunity to work all day in the beautiful countryside with his favourite animal.
 A stud-farmer Joe had worked with came over and spoke to him. “My grandson wants to be a farrier. Could he come out with you one day?”
“Sure. But tell him he’ll have to deal with everything, from sombre, heavy-footed brewery horses to skittish, highly valuable racehorses who could explode into a nervous rage at any moment.”
The man nodded his understanding. “They can hurt themselves when they spook, can’t they?”
“And me. I’m talking from experience, here, mind. I’ve had enough kicks up the backside to last me a lifetime. Sometimes a nervous horse can turn you as vulnerable as a crash-dummy. Tell your grandson that, and then see if he still wants to come.”
Joe was chatting to a farmer who’d been one of his customers for years about the merits of one vet over another when he felt a tap on his shoulder. He turned to face a man he thought he should know, but couldn’t put a name to. The man’s squashed-in face was familiar. He was a little shorter than Joe, but blonder, and he had a red goatee. He smiled, showing long yellow teeth that would look better on a horse. What was his name?
“Bobby Shaw.” The man stuck his calloused hand out.
Joe hoped his eyes weren’t popping in surprise. The Bobby Shaw. Not from Joe’s area, certainly, but famous in the farrier world – not only because he part-owned one of the biggest thoroughbred race-horse training stables in the area, but also because he was trainer to Starlight, the champion thoroughbred steeplechaser, who’d recently romped home a good thirty yards ahead of his rivals to win the Champions Cup for the third time in a row.
“Can we talk outside?” Shaw gestured with his head at the door. “Quieter.”
“Sure.” Joe followed him out, saying, “It’s good to meet you.”
Outside, lit by the glow from the pub, Shaw licked his lips. The guy’s permanent grin was weird, Joe thought.
“Mutual,” Shaw said, finally responding to Joe’s greeting. He studied Joe’s features as if committing them to memory, and the grin made it look as if he found them amusing. “Looks like you’ve built up a good network here,” Shaw remarked.
“Can’t complain.”
“When I walked into the pub tonight I only came in for a quiet drink. Didn’t know I’d get to meet a farrier. I’d never heard of you before, but I’ve spoken to a couple of guys here tonight who say you’re a quiet character who likes to get on with the job. Someone who doesn’t meddle, if you get my meaning.”
Joe wasn’t sure he did get his meaning, so he kept quiet.
“Someone who can be trusted. Also hear you mainly work with farm horses but you do have some dealings with thoroughbreds.”
“Yes,” Joe admitted. “I do. Not many, but I can handle them if needs be.” He was curious. Surely this man from the country’s most famous thoroughbred racehorse training farm wasn’t going to ask him to check Starlight’s hooves?
“Thing is,” Shaw said, looking around him as if he wanted to make sure no-one could hear him. “We have a little problem.”
Joe made a sound he hoped conveyed sympathy and wondered, again, what this had to do with him.
“Grand National is coming up, and I need a farrier.”
Joe considered saying that was very careless of him, but decided against it. “I’m sorry about that. What happened to your regular one?”
Shaw shrugged. “They come and go.”
Could have been an illegal worker who took off, Joe thought. These things happened, although he’d have expected more from this stables.
“You interested in giving a hand with three horses? They’re the ones the other farrier was working with, and they’re running in the hurdles at Kempton Park next week.”
Interested? Who’d say they weren’t interested in working for the Norchester yard?
“You won’t be working with Starlight. I cater for all his needs, and these three you will be working on are rank outsiders in their next races. So nothing fancy expected of them. But,” Shaw waggled his head, “if you do a good job, keep your head down, mind your own business, you might find it worth your while.”
How could he refuse?
After they’d fixed for Joe to be at the stables in a couple of days’ time, Shaw headed for the exit, leaving Joe to ponder on the fact that if this job led to regular appointments (or, please God, a contract), then Joe’s career would rise like Starlight leaping the The Chair at Aintree racecourse.
When Joe returned on his own to the pub, the stud-farmer who’d talked about his grandson spending the day with him, came up to him. His face was grim as he said, “Saw you talking to Shaw. Just watch your back. OK?”


(The rest of the novel is set in beautiful Madeira Island - on this place (a fajã))



"Forest Dancer" is also reduced. Instead of Madeira Island, this book is set in the wooded hills just outside Lisbon, Portugal - in Sintra. 

Here's the blurb:

Work to impress, dance to express.

It’s a long way to go to create a new life for yourself.

Classical ballerina, Flora Gatehouse, has no choice but to take a risk. Having failed an important ballet audition in London, she moves to a small cottage in a forest just outside Lisbon, Portugal, her only inheritance following her father’s death. 

Soon, Flora is involved in village life, where fate takes a new twist when she becomes attracted to forest ranger, Marco. But they are off to a shaky start.

Can Flora find acceptance in a foreign land, in a magical place that harbours secrets and heartache?



The books can be found here:  mybook.to/ForestDancer1
                                 
                                                mybook.to/JosephBarnaby1

Friday, October 26, 2018

Damned by the Ancients by Catherine Cavendish


Talented dark fantasy / thriller / horror author, Catherine Cavendish, is always welcome on my blog. I love her books - they're spooky but so well written and easy to read, even if you do keep the light on at night for a few days. I'm so happy to announce that "Damned by the Ancients" (book 3 in the series "Nemesis of the Gods") has just been launched.  You can get your copy here. (I've got mine and I'll be reviewing it soon). In the meantime, over to Catherine:

The Many Ghosts of Penrhyn Old Hall





In my novel, Damned by the Ancients, the magnificent house inhabited by the Mortimer family is haunted by the evil and long dead former owner, Dr. Emeryk Quintillus. Dead he might be, but he is certainly not resting in peace. Quintillus knows a new family has moved in and he has designs on them. Ones which will terrify and threaten their lives and souls.

Wales has a well-deserved reputation as a land of myths and legends. It is also a ghost-hunter’s paradise, with so many haunted locations to choose from. Today, I am focusing my attention on Penrhyn Old Hall near Llandudno. This is now a public house and restaurant, proud of its ghostly heritage – so much so that it holds regular paranormal evenings.

The Hall gets its first mention in 1327 although these days, most of the building dates from Tudor times. It has a number of ghosts who wander its rooms and corridors.



In a room above the Baronial Hall, a monk has been seen on a number of occasions. He also ventures out into the passage. A young girl haunts the stairway. She is a descendant of the Pugh family who owned the house in the 16th century. They were a strict Catholic family who harboured renegade priests during times of persecution of the Catholic clergy and faith. In the Tudor bar, the fireplace hides a priest hole where they would have hidden when suspicious soldiers arrived. At one point, Robert Pugh and a priest named William Davies fled for their lives to the nearby headland known as the Little Orme. They lived in a cave there and smuggled in a printing press. Here they could print Catholic literature. Their cave home was raided in 1587 but they managed to evade capture, finally being caught in Holyhead in 1592. Pugh escaped but Davies was convicted of being a Catholic priest and was hanged, drawn and quartered. Many years later, a withered hand was discovered in a hidden case at Penrhyn Old Hall. It is presumed to be that of William Davies – maybe he is the one who haunts the upstairs room?

Given such firm Catholic convictions, imagine then the family’s distress on finding out that one of the daughters wanted to marry a Protestant. Worse than that she planned to elope with him, knowing her family’s displeasure. Even worse than that. She was pregnant. Clearly she had to be stopped. Her sisters did so – by killing her. No wonder she hasn’t left.

In the seating area of the Function Room, sits a young man in a perpetually foul mood who reacts badly if disturbed, while on the dance floor is a soldier who was injured and unable to return to the war. He is not happy about it.

Beside a fireplace in the Tudor Bar, an old lady sits, then stands and ascends the stairs.

Also in residence in the restaurant, is the ghost of a mischievous boy who sprinkles salt on the tables. He is only one of a number of mischievous child spirits who like to cause a little mayhem.
A paranormal investigation revealed the presence of a woman who stated that she lived there between 1750 and 1800, having arrived at the Hall when she became pregnant. According to the investigators, she didn’t appear to realise she was dead and appeared scared of two other ghosts alleged to have been in the room with her.

Outside the Hall, a lost and shadowy figure moves about so, all in all, you get a lot of ghosts for your money at Penrhyn Old Hall. You can find out more about this amazing building here. One thing is for sure, with all this activity, you’re never alone - even if the room you are standing in appears empty.
 Thankfully it appears the ghosts of Penrhyn Old Hall are mostly benevolent and pose no threat to anyone – as long as you don’t interfere with them. The same cannot be said for Emeryk Quintillus…


INFINITY IN DEATH

Vienna, 1908

Gabriele Ziegler is a young art student who becomes infatuated with charismatic archeologist Dr. Emeryk Quintillus. Only too late does she realize his true designs on her. He is obsessed with resurrecting Cleopatra and has retained the famed artist Gustav Klimt to render Gabriele as the Queen of the Nile, using ashes from Cleopatra’s mummy mixed with the paint. The result is a lifelike portrait emitting an aura of unholy evil . . .

Vienna, 2018

The Mortimer family has moved into Quintillus’s former home, Villa Dürnstein. In its basement they find an original Klimt masterpiece—a portrait of Cleopatra art scholars never knew existed. But that’s not all that resides within the villa’s vault. Nine-year-old Heidi Mortimer tells her parents that a strange man lives there.

Quintillus’s desire to be with Cleopatra transcends death. His spirit will not rest until he has brought her back from the netherworld. Even if he has to sacrifice the soul of a child . . .

Damned by the Ancients is available from:


About the author:



Following a varied career in sales, advertising and career guidance, Catherine Cavendish is now the full-time author of a number of paranormal, ghostly and Gothic horror novels, novellas and short stories. Cat’s novels include the Nemesis of the Gods trilogy - Wrath of the Ancients, Waking the Ancients and Damned by the Ancients, plus The Devil’s Serenade, The Pendle Curse and Saving Grace Devine.

Her novellas include Linden Manor, Cold Revenge, Miss Abigail’s Room, The Demons of Cambian Street, Dark Avenging Angel, The Devil Inside Her, and The Second Wife.

She lives with her long-suffering husband, and a black cat who has never forgotten that her species used to be worshipped in ancient Egypt. She sees no reason why that practice should not continue. Cat and her family divide their time between Liverpool and a 260-year-old haunted apartment in North Wales.

You can connect with Cat here: