My next guest in my Fall Into Winter Darkness Book Blast is author Kiki Howell, who is here to promote her book HIDDEN SALEM. I’ve had some neat prizes offered lately and Kiki’s is no exception. In fact, I’m pretty excited about it because she used the theme of this seasonal book blast to create it! Kiki knitted this “Fall Into Winter Darkness” swirly scarf and she’s giving it away to one lucky commenter. (Makes me wish I could knit! Also makes me wish I could win the prizes my guest bloggers give out. I love this scarf! Purple and black are my two favorite colors.) Welcome, Kiki!
Kiki Howell: Falling Back into Time
Well, more like stepping on it. First, let me back up and explain one path that lead me to the storyline in my latest novel, Hidden Salem. I went to Salem, MA in the summer of 2010 because I just felt called to go. I somehow knew that once I went there, there would be a story waiting for me. Sorry, I can’t explain it any more than I had that feeling, one so strong, that no matter how strange it sounded, I had to go. For the first time, I was sure that inspiration would strike if I just showed up. So, I did. Actually, I hate to drive, so I gathered my mom and my aunt, and they took me even knowing that I had no idea what I was supposed to do once I got there.
After an eleven-hour drive, we arrived at the hotel. I got out of the car and was drawn immediately to the water on Pickering Wharf. I did relent, and we checked in, but I made short work out of getting back to the wharf. I was maybe half way down the little stretch of land when I saw a vision of sorts. This was not the first time this had happened to me, but was definitely the strongest. You see, at times, always unexpected, I step on a plot of land or touch something, and I can read the energy there. Sometimes I just feel emotions stuck in the earth or object, and sometimes I get a glimpse into the past. Research has explained these occurrences to me as place memories. Let me share a few definitions for those of you who are unfamiliar with the term:
Place Memories: A location that captures the energy of an event (usually an emotional one such as an important birthday, a death, etc.) and later replays that event to percipients. Donald Michael Kraig
Place Memories: Living people release energy, especially when experiencing a traumatic or emotional event. This energy can be recorded by the environment. Some people, who are sensitive to this information, can then pick up on, read these impressions of past events and feelings which have been stored in objects, buildings, and the environment.
Place memory is an old recording. It can’t react, or interact with you, the way a ghost can. There is no consciousness involved. However, it’s critical to understand that that place memory is made by the living. And that means that you person who created it could still be alive and well, living in Cincinnati. It cannot be created by the dead (although I did find one case where they used that place memory as a kind of energy store they could draw on).
Perhaps the easiest way to think of it is as a case where the environment acts like a camcorder. If the conditions are right (involving sufficient repetition, environmental factors, and/or really strong emotions), then events can get recorded. People sensitive to this information (like psychics) can later play back what was recorded, like with psychometry. In these cases, there is no ghost, simply an old rerun of the past. It won’t interact with you and the story always remains the same one. Not a lot is known about the actual way place memory is stored, but the recordings themselves seem to have an electromagnetic component.
My first place memory in Salem became the backbone of the first chapter in my novel. The descriptions of the place memory experienced by my main character, Makayla, are exactly as I experienced Mary on Pickering Wharf. In fact, I called the person my main character saw Mary as well. Now, you might think this all a bit much, and believe me, so did my aunt and my mother who were with me at the time. LOL. And, even I was overwhelmed by the clarity of this place memory, but never more so than when I walked into a shop in Salem and the witch/psychic who owned the store walked up to me and simply said, “You met Mary.” Yes, I used that little bit later in the story as well.
So, confession, as this is one of my very first posts about my novel, lot of the events in the novel are true, fictionalized versions of my own experiences in Salem, that is, all except for the sexy cop, the evil coven, etc. LOL. Hope you have fun reading the story and trying to figure out what is fictionalized truth and what is pure fiction. *winks*
More About Hidden Salem
Intuition alone brought Makayla to Salem, Ma in search of a story, but her research has her confronting more than she bargained for. With her empathic gifts stronger in Witch City, she physically suffers, landing her literally unconscious in the arms of both Noah Ayers, local cop and Dylan Baines, local history teacher. Yet, it is Lauri, a witch who owns a local shop, who teaches Makayla about who she is and what she can do.
Unfortunately for all of them, Makayla also stumbles upon a coven in the woods practicing a dark magic ritual. Now they are after her, threatening her life and the lives of those she has quickly come to care about. Immersed in things she never expected, like an old legend and necromancy due to residual hauntings, the race is on to stay safe from the coven and protect her heart from a certain sexy cop.
But, is Lauri correct in thinking Makayla might just have encountered the only real witch in Salem in 1692? And, do they share the same bloodline?
Hidden Salem is available for pre-order here:
More About Kiki
Ever since she was young, Kiki Howell has loved to listen to a well-woven tale with real characters, inspired plots, and delightful resolutions. Kiki could spend hours lost in a book, and soon she knew that creating lives, loves, and losses with just words had to be the greatest thing that she could do. To that end, she pursued her study of literature and writing, earning a bachelor’s degree in English. She then followed in a Master’s program in Creative Writing.
She has now had over twenty stories published between seven different small presses. She could not be more thrilled or grateful to see her creations polished and out in the real world. In May, 2011, Kiki was chosen as an Ohioana Book Festival author for her novel, Torn Asunder. Although, a bit of caution, most of her stories tend to hang out on the graphically sexy side of town.
Here’s where to find Kiki online:
So, readers, do you have any true confessions? Have you ever felt compelled to visit a certain place or town? Have you ever had a vision or experienced a place memory? Have you been to Salem, MA? Writers, have you based any of your stories on something that really happened to you? Thank you to Kiki for guest blogging today! Leave a comment for a chance to win her Fall Into Winter Darkness swirly scarf. (US only due to mailing costs).