Sunday, May 27, 2018

Boo! (Did You Look?)



HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN:Yeah, I'm not sure about this. I know there are more things on heaven and earth than are found in my philosophy, but...

On the other hand, some times I know things, and figure out things, that there's no way for me to know or figure out. And have you ever seen the Wim Wenders movie Wings of Desire? I ask you. Does that make sense or what?  (I am haunted by it, in the best way.)

On the other hand, there's coincidence.  And you know, physics.

So you know Susan Boyer. Yeah, trust me. This is gonna be good. And at the end, we have questions.

All the Ghosts In Charleston


I’m often asked if I believe in ghosts. One of my secondary characters, Colleen, is a guardian spirit. She’ll tell you in a skinny minute that she’s not a ghost, nor is she an angel. The distinction between a guardian spirit and a ghost, says Colleen, is that guardian spirits have passed on the next world and been sent back with a mission. Ghosts are spirits unable to move on from this world after their bodies expire. Angels are whole nother creatures.

But Colleen tells me there are enough ghosts in Charleston, South Carolina to populate a small city, and I believe her. It makes sense to me that people would have a hard time leaving Charleston. And there’s so much history there. The notion of spirits from all different eras existing in the same place has captured my imagination. I did quite a lot of research on these incorporeal beings for my new book.

Most of the resident spirits are well behaved, quietly going about their business trying to resolve whatever issue holds them in this world. Others have achieved rock star status. People pay money to go on tours just hoping to catch a glimpse of them.

I’ve never actually seen one of the more famous apparitions, but it’s not for lack of trying. I take my time in the ladies room on the second floor at Poogan’s Porch trying to meet Zoe Saint Amand, one of the two sisters who lived in the Victorian house in the French Quarter before it became the landmark restaurant. I’ve heard the stories of her appearing there. But then, it’s also said that she walks right in the front door and sits at a table like any customer would do. Zoe died in 1954.

I’d love to meet Zoe Saint Amand, or perhaps Nettie Dickerson, the beautiful courtesan who haunts The Dock Street Theatre—in her day, (her body gave up the ghost in 1843 as a result of a lightning strike) the building was the bawdy Planters’ Hotel. 

But I’ll tell you right now, I have no interest in laying eyes on the headless torso who occupies room eight at the Battery Carriage House Inn. (There are several theories about who this gentleman is, or was rather. The one that makes the most sense to me is that he was a Confederate soldier.)

Several famed specters hang out at the Unitarian Graveyard, and I spent many recent afternoons wandering its paths. I also went at night during one of the ghost tours. Sadly, the spirits were quiet that evening, but it was plenty eerie.


HANK:  What about you Reds and readers? Do you believe in ghosts? Have you ever seen one?  
And we hope you have a lovely ghost-free holiday weekend...unless they're invited!  (What are your plans?)




Susan M. Boyer writes the USA TODAY Bestselling Liz Talbot mystery series. Her debut novel, Lowcountry Boil, won the Agatha Award for Best First Novel and garnered several other awards and nominations. Lowcountry Bookshop, the seventh Liz Talbot mystery, will be released May 29. Susan loves beaches, Southern food, and small towns where everyone knows everyone and everyone has crazy relatives. You’ll find all of the above in her novels. 



Private Investigator Liz Talbot is back in the seventh installment of Susan M. Boyer’s USA TODAY bestselling mystery series, Lowcountry Bookshop.






The Charleston streets are flooded by the combination of an epic downpour and King Tide. Late at night, Phillip Drayton is struck by a car and killed In front of his home along the historic Battery. When the police arrived, Poppy Oliver is on the scene. Is she a good Samaritan or his abused wife’s accomplice? A wealthy, anonymous benefactor hires Liz Talbot and Nate Andrews to prove Poppy’s innocence.

From a risqué exclusive club in an old plantation, to an upscale resale shop in the historic King Street shopping district, to a charming bookshop along the waterfront, Liz tracks a group of women who band together to help victims of domestic violence. In her most challenging case yet, Liz fears that even though she may find a killer, justice will be elusive.



Charlestown By Flickr: Spencer Means - https://www.flickr.com/photos/hunky_punk/7022019791/, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=33514905

spectre: Photo courtesy: Copyright: katalinks / 123RF Stock Photo

104 comments:

  1. Susan, I’m looking forward to reading “Lowcountry Bookshop” . . . .

    Ah, ghosts.
    I have absolutely no memory of ever seeing one, but we have great ghost stories in our family. My mom often told of a child who came to play with Jean and me, but only when we were babies in our cribs and, no, I don’t remember seeing the ghost.
    When our younger sister came along, the playful little ghost came back to play with her. When she was upstairs in her crib all alone, we’d hear her laughing and playing, but if we crept up the stairs and peeked into the room, she’d stop giggling and we never saw her ghostly playmate.

    My mom was certain we shared our house with a ghost named Pearl. [And, before you ask, I have absolutely no idea how my mom knew her name was Pearl.] But all the grown-ups were confident that the footsteps echoing in the house were from the ghostly Pearl wandering around, so it became one of those matter-of-fact things in our family.

    We moved the summer I turned eleven and left our friendly ghosts behind . . . I imagine Pearl and the little child continue to haunt our once-upon-a-time home . . . .

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    1. Oh, my goodness, what a story! That is ...wow.

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    2. Hey Joan! Aww--thank you so much! Wow--that is a great tale! You DO have great ghost stories in your family!

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    3. Joan, the book is fantastic!!! Children are more susceptible to spirits than adults so you and your sisters may very well have played with one.

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    4. Excellent point, Teri--I've heard that before--that children are more open to spirits.

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  2. Congratulations on your latest book! I love visiting Charleston.

    When I visited "The Myrtles," a St. Francisville, LA plantation built on top of a Native American burial mound, I attempted to take a photo of my mother standing on the veranda in front of the parlor window. The camera wouldn't focus.


    She tried taking a photo of me with the same result--a blurred photo of the window. When I had the photos developed, there were translucent "shapes" dancing in the parlor.


    Years later, when I made a return visit, The Myrtles were under renovation. Alas, spirits had fled the floor sander on the second floor.

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    1. Margaret--what a story! What did your mother say?

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    2. YOU WON yesterday's book THE TRUTH ABOUT THEA! Email me your address at h ryan at whdh dot com! YAY!

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    3. Margaret, I love Charleston so much--that's a big part of why I set my books there. :) What an eery story! I've heard many other such tales of images of spirits in photos. So interesting!

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  3. I am a huge fan of stories that involve (helpful) ghosts (Carolyn Hart's series with Bailey Ruth Raeburn comes to mind. I do not believe in them. Because for some people who've been in my life, enough is enough. But this book sounds right up my alley. and the Charleston setting is a bonus.

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    1. Hahahaha! Hallie--I love it. And I adore Carolyn Hart's Bailey Ruth series. Thank you so much--it's an added bonus to get to spend so much time in Charleston for research. :)

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  4. Love Charleston, can definitely believe that spirits still wander there. Wondering how I've missed this series--but plan to make up for it (and can look forward to 7 new books! Thanks, JRW!). We have numerous ghost stories in my family. My Grandfather Church was the first of my grandparents to die. The morning after his death, my older sister woke up in the early hours with a spontaneous nosebleed--she'd awakened to see our grandfather standing by her bed and the shock of that resulted in the nosebleed. I think he just wanted to say good-bye to us.

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    1. Wow--so many people have stories like this!

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    2. Hey Flora! I'm so happy we've discovered each other. I hope you enjoy the books!

      Wow--that's amazing. It gives me chills. I think you're absolutely right--he wanted to say goodbye.

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  5. I agree with Hank that there are more things on heaven and earth that are found in my philosophy (one of my favorite Shakespeare quotes). I want to believe in ghosts and I would love to see one. I have friends who heard footsteps, etc., in their house and every time I visit I sleep in the room where the sound originates but I've never seen or heard the ghost. Darn it.

    I enjoy books with supernatural elements and am looking forward to reading Susan's book.

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    1. It would be interesting, wouldn't it?

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    2. Cathy, it seems to me like so often the people like you and me who WANT to see them don't, but others who would rather not do. Perhaps the spirits are mischievous. :)

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  6. Yes, I believe. My friend comes to visit me every May in the laundry room. And someone comes to my daytime situation as well. I don't think it's her.

    I'm going to Charleston for my first visit and I can't wait. May have to check out those places.

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    1. Truly? Do you know any more about that?

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    2. Dru, you will LOVE Charleston! Take the ghost tour and go to the Unitarian Graveyard. :)

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  7. I do not believe in ghosts. And yet, some ethereal being visited one night when I was staying alone in a cottage in rural Virginia. It hovered near the dresser, approached the bed, and ran its hand along my arm. It was startling but comforting, and it still intrigues me. I still say I don't believe in ghosts, but what happened really happened. So, what do I know?

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    1. And it sounds as if you remember it so clearly...wow.

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    2. Ramona, I'm curious--what do you think this ethereal being was?

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    3. Susan, it seemed to me to be a woman. She seemed to be checking out my personal things on the dresser. When I stirred, she came to the bed and ran her hand on my arm to reassure me that she wasn't there to do me any harm. Is that a ghost? I don't know. It was a presence, but definitely a woman.

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  8. I hear something every night, footsteps in the attic over my head. Much as I'd prefer to think it's a ghost, I suspect it's a bat. I suppose I should look.

    A year or so after my mother died, I spied her walking toward me, on a dead end street on Long Island. I called to her but she turned and walked the other way. Friends who were with me saw her too, and they denied ever seeing this white haired old lady before, not a neighbor. We all jumped in the car to follow her, but she turned a corner and disappeared.

    Humming theme from the Twilight Zone.

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    1. How wonderful! I love that. (Do you?)

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    2. Ann, your mom--that's the kind of thing that makes me a believer. So interesting.

      Umm--I'd make someone else check on the bat. :) Maybe someone from animal control? Be careful!

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  9. I don't believe in ghosts, but I'm with you, Hank, in that there are some things we can figure out and others we can't. I can't figure out the settings on my phone, so it's no stretch to think there are phenomena beyond my understanding! Congrats on the book, Susan!

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    1. Thank you so much, Ingrid!

      Hank--that's my favorite Shakespearean quote. I've used it a time or two myself. :)

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  10. AND THE WINNER! Of THE TRUTH ABOUT THEA is: Margaret Turkevich! Hurray!
    Email me your address at Hryan at whdh dot com and I will send it to Amy and she will send you your book!

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  11. I have heard, smelled, and felt a ghost, in a hotel room in Wyoming. It seemed benevolent, though, and left when I politely asked it to do so.

    Susan, I love your Lowcountry series, and look forward to this new book. I have spent a fair amount of time in Charleston, since my youngest daughter graduated from the Citadel. She and I took a ghost tour once, too, which was loads of fun.

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    1. Karen, I'm not sure I knew that about your daughter. Are you so proud?

      It LEFT? Whoa.

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    2. Karen, that's amazing. What an experience!

      Aww! Thank you so much for reading! I love the ghost tours! And what an added bonus to college visits! You must be very proud of your daughter. :)

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  12. Susan, welcome to Jungle Reds! I met you at Malice Domestic about two years ago. Great introduction to your books.

    Hank, I have read about ghosts. Though I do not think I encountered ghosts, there are times when I feel the spirit of a place.

    Diana

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    1. Yes, it's strange when it happens, right? And then you're not quite sure if you are remembering correctly...

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    2. Hey Diana! I love Malice because I have the chance to meet so many wonderful folks like you. :) Thank you!

      Interesting way to put it--the spirit of a place.

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  13. Thank you so much for having me here today, Hank and all y'all Reds! I adore this blog, and am delighted to be here!

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  14. My husband had a rich and very eccentric relative who live in a mansion in Rye, NY. He and his mother went to visit. She had a bedroom on the second floor and he was in the attic.
    (I should note that the relative was a well known painter and the attic was the place for all her nude paintings. Quite exciting for a young man!)
    That night, after adjusting to the claustrophobia of an old fashion feather bed, he woke up hearing a very loud creaking sound. A while later he heard it again.
    At breakfast his mother mentioned someone walking down her hall in the middle of the night and stopping at her door. She saw a shadow under the door and heard the person go into the room next to her and then returned to her door before leaving.
    My husband mentioned what he'd experienced and his relative got very excited.
    They went to the attic and she opened a little door off to the side of the room he slept in. It creak was quite impressive. Seems a family who had the house had a disturbed daughter who was locked up in that small space behind the door.
    The relative was convinced she'd come out the night before and visited the second floor before going back to the attic.
    Mind you, she also was convinced that a ghost was running up her phone bill with long distance calls and had a pay phone installed to stop it!

    libbydodd at comcast dot net

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    1. Oh. My. Stars!

      Yes--these stories make me a believer. Hilarious about the phone bill! :)

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  15. Hi Susan Boyer. I LOVE the Liz Talbot series!
    Sandy

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  16. Susan, Congratulations on the new release! I love a good southern mystery and am looking forward to yours - perfect summer reading! As for ghosts, I don't know. I have definitely had some creepy supernatural type moments in my life, so maybe? If I did meet one, I'd probably keel over dead so it's best if I don't.

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    1. Hey Jenn! Aww--thank you! You are so sweet. :)

      See, it's those creepy supernatural moments that make me tend to believe. :) But yes, let's keep the away from you. :)

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  17. Hi, Susan. I love Charleston. I've only been once, to an event along with Charles and Caroline Todd, but we got to tour a little bit and we ate some fabulous seafood. No ghosts, though:-)

    I have had some weird experiences, the strangest being a visitation from my grandmother on the morning of her funeral. Ghosts, I don't know, but definitely things we can't explain, which makes life--and stories--interesting.

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    1. Hey, Deborah! What a fun event that must've been! Yes--yum--the seafood. :)

      Wow! That story about your grandmother gives me chills. So, so much we can't explain. And indeed, it keeps things interesting. :)

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  18. I grew up in a 200+ year old house in Pacolet, SC, and lived for over ten years in a house built in 1848 in WV...so I definitely have had some cool breezes, moving curtains, creaking floor it stair boards, and just plain freaky moments.
    I did two research papers in ghosts in high school...One on ghost ghosts and one on the haunting of literature. I figured I needed a full set if info to best deal with them given my penchant for old houses.
    When I retire from teaching in WV, I will return to the Pacolet home for my remaining years (with trips back to my beloved WV home ...a NEWER one...to keep me sane!!)
    My best ghost story was a "prequel" ghost story, though.
    In 1985, I actually foresaw EVERY detail of my infant daughter's death about two weeks before those events occurred. From her clothing to the "glass coffin" under a fluorescent light to a rocking chair placed squarely in front of it and the comments of the hospital staff, I saw all if it one night while feeding Katie a bottle.
    Sure enough, the day she died, she was clothed in the exact outfit (which we did NOT own), in an incubator (glass coffin) under a fluorescent light...and a rocking chair (which we also did NOT own because they make me terribly nauseous) was squarely placed in front if the scene.
    I always viewed it as a gift to KNOW so I could prepare, as much as possible, for this most painful event, to KNOW inevitability was beyond my control or fault...and I am still grateful for the beings who gave this gift to me.
    Next Sunday, June 3, would be Katie's 33rd birthday...and I am, as always, pulled back into that ethereal time for the next 57 days...although the sadness is always less with each year, the gratitude never wanes.
    Anne Lambert

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    1. Oh, Anne. There are no words.

      Big hugs.

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    2. Some ghosts are, like Colleen, on your side!
      Master teachers, trusted confidants, and not frightening in the least.
      She keeps me grateful and alert to the others who would guide me!
      More later maybe...FB messenger not here.

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    3. Anne. We are thinking of you both.

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    4. Oh, Anne. Yes. This is why everything.

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  19. Wow, Susan, book number seven already! I have loved all the previous books. Looking forward to it.

    I don't believe in ghosts. However, some no-nonsense, very practical people I have known described experiences that they could not explain. Sometimes I wonder if we just don't have the scientific knowledge yet to explain them. After all, people used to think there was an other-worldly explanation for eclipses.

    DebRo

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    1. I know--I can't believe it myself. Thank you so much--you're very kind. :)

      You make an excellent point. :)

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  20. HANK HERE: The fabulous Amy has chosen a second WINNER!!! Pauline Dudley! Send me your address via my email h ryan at whdh dot com and she will send you THE TRUTH ABOUT THEA. YAY!

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  21. I love Susan's books! We all have spirits/ghosts around us, just look for the signs. To have one like Colleen, I don't know that I could ever keep a straight face with her popping in and out.

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    1. Hey Leslie! Thank you so much! YES--THIS! I think you're right.

      Colleen--hahahaha. That would be a challenge for sure. :)

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  22. I've enjoyed reading through the ghost stories here. I do think that there are spirits or ghosts or whatever that are somehow still around after death. I would like to encounter one, but only if friendly. I've had a couple of experiences with unfriendly "beings," and I can do without anymore. They weren't what you'd call ghosts, but they were definitely other worldly. Right after my mother died, my father and I were eating breakfast at the kitchen table when he told me that my mother had appeared to him the night before. My father was the last person who would talk about ghosts, but I think he told me about it because he knew I was open to that sort of thing. I wish she'd appeared to me, too, but the first Christmas she was gone, the ornament that she loved best and that I inherited whirled on my Christmas tree, which I think was Mommy saying hello.

    Susan, I don't know how I haven't read your books yet. I know I would love Colleen and the Charleston setting. I haven't been to Charleston yet, but I plan on going in the future. I will be adding your series to my list of series to catch up on.

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    1. Hey Kathy! I love your story about your mother's Christmas ornament. :) And I'm so happy that we've found each other! I so hope you enjoy the books! :)

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  23. I believe in ghosts. My deceased husband has saved my butt too many times for there not to be ghosts but I wish I could see him just once more

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    1. Teri--he must love you very much!

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    2. Oh, Teri--I'm so glad he looks out for you. Hugs!

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  24. Susan,
    I love Colleen and I believe in ghosts and spirits although I’ve never had a ghostly experience that I remember. I’ve been to Charleston and the Unitarian graveyard but not on a ghost tour. But I love all your Liz Talbot books!

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    1. Hey Ileen! I'm so happy you enjoy Colleen! Isn't the Unitarian Graveyard lovely? Thank you so much for reading! xoxo

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    2. Welcome, Ileen! (And I love LIz, too!)

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  25. Love reading everyone’s stories/experiences. I haven’t hadn’t any ghost experiences myself, but I love Susan’s books! Colleen is my favorite guardian spirit ��. I’ve lived in the Upstate for about 9 years... haven’t made it to Charleston yet ��, but I defintley want to visit the Unitarian Graveyard when I do!

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    1. Hey Cherie! I know--isn't this fun, reading all these very different and yet very similar experiences? Thank you so much for reading! The Unitarian Graveyard is amazing. :)

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    2. Hi, Cherie! Welcome to Jungle REd--we hope yo';; come back. Upstate is..what cities?

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  26. Congratulations Susan on your upcoming release of Lowcountry Bookshop!! I so look forward to reading it.

    I have yet to visit Charleston but it's on my list to visit and check out some of the places you've outlined. I would love a chance meeting with Zoe at Logan's Porch. Many years ago I worked. At a place that had quite a number of spirits and was quite active. Sure made the time interesting.

    Again congratulations of Lowcountry Bookshop.

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    1. Thank you so much, Christine!

      You will LOVE Charleston! And I'll keep on trying to get a glimpse of our friend Zoe as well.
      I bet that job was interesting indeed.

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    2. Hi Christine-so great to see you here! eMaybe a Jungle Red Charleston tour? With Susan leading us all?

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    3. Hank you are brilliant! Reds & Friends do Charleston! Sounds fabulous! Sign me up!

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  27. Page Lee Charleston is wonderful place to visit as is the entire SC coast. I don't know about meeting the ghosts though. Having lived in a house with a ghost only the youngest children could see, I would pass on meeting more.

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    1. Hey Page! Another instance of children being the only ones who could see a ghost! I can understand how you might feel that way. Yes--Charleston! :)

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  28. Great new bookSusan! Colleen is one of my favorite character in the Liz Talbot series. She gives each read spunk and enough imagination to believe. I can’t wait for your next book!

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    1. Yes, Wanda, we need her to keep writing ,right? xxoo

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    2. Hey Wanda!! Thank you so much! I confess I love writing Colleen. You are so sweet! xoxo

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  29. Love the Liz Talbot series! Keep on writing Susan!!!

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    1. Hey Debi! Aww! Thank you--I have many more adventures planned for Liz. :)

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  30. I love Colleen, Poogan's Porch, and Charlesyon. I have never seen a spirit, so can't say for sure, but have heard from people I trust that they have. I need to spend more time in the cemeteries and restaurants, to be positive.
    I love Lowcountry Bookshop, and am starting the whole series over, and loving it.

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    1. Well, more time in restaurants, at least! xoxo

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    2. Pat, what we need is a restaurant tour--we'll take Colleen, right? And then hit the graveyards...

      Thank you so much for your kind words. I deeply appreciate them. xoxo

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  31. Shalom Reds et al, I will be on the lookout out for Lowcountry Bookshop. I love bookshops any kind; ghosts not so much. I do love a good story, nevertheless. If perchance there is anyone here who has not read The Willows, by Algernon Blackwood, I highly recommend it. I take it out once every five years or so, to scare myself or a friend.

    My mother, a few years before her death, told me a story which I believe because I trust the source. She and her boyfriend were driving home from a movie or something. They had taken separate cars for some reason and he was in front. He stopped at a traffic signal. However, when the light changed he stayed stopped. Maybe a minute elapsed and then he took off again but driving much too fast for her to keep up. When she got home she saw he was blanched and upon inquiring about what happened, he told her that the last thing he remembered was a tall woman dressed in robes of white had blocked the roadway. And then he was home. He was clearly shaken up. Then he told my mom that this happened once before. He was in Europe during WWII as an irregular combatant. (He was 15 years old). He was about to board a plane when the same figure had blocked his way.
    The plane left without him. Apparently, the plane subsequently crashed with no survivors. That he and my mother were both engineers, who liked to see what they believed in, is part of what makes the story believable.

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    1. My jaw just dropped. See? That happened. Thank you, David, for telling us that chilling story!

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    2. Oh. My. Stars!!! David--that's amazing. This is exactly the sort of story that has made a believer out of me. Thank you so much for sharing that with us! Amazing.

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  32. Lowcountry Bookshop is a great book. I have never been to Charleston (yet!) in person, but all I have to do is read a Susan Boyer book to feel like I am right there. Thank you for writing a great book, yet again.

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  33. Y’all are so much fun. Love hearing all these comments. Susan Boyer, I can’t wait to read your latest. I am headed to Charleston in a week. We love spending our anniversary there. Charleston is the best. I see a drink atop the rooftop bar at Market Pavillion in my future.

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    1. Aww--thank you! Lucky you! Have a blast in Charleston. How could you not? And I'll be thinking of you at the rooftop bar at Market Pavilion. I was just there myself not much more than a week ago. Love it! :)

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  34. I live in Mid-Mississippi, way down in the Deep South. Obviously there are plenty of ghost stories in my state, our capital city, and many, many of our other historical cities, towns, antebellum homes, battlefields, etc. remaining from Civil War days and more modern times. I haven’t seen a ghost & I don’t believe in ghosts. However, my 1st cousins’ daughter lives in uptown Mobile & her home has a resident spirit. There are many, many stories that they tell about their “friend” visiting & rearranging things, etc.! (lg.hudson@yahoo.com)

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  35. I love the entire series & one of my Bucket List items is a visit to Stella Maris & a weekend with Liz & Nate & Sunday Lunch at her parents with her family. That would be so much fun! I wouldn’t even mind a visit from Colleen then!
    (lg.hudson@yahoo.com)

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  36. I'm digging these ghost stories!
    I believe in them. I tell the kids on my ghost tours (I'm a city of Charleston licensed tour guide) that I think they are either energy impressions in time where someone did something so often or was so intent on doing that thing that we see their energy to this day. Or there are ripples in time and we are getting a glimpse of a snippet of another time. Or someone has a message for us.
    But my dead dogs visit me at least once to tell me they are okay. I just had one do that the other night. I was, ahem, sitting on the toilet with no lights on in the dead (get it?) of night when I saw my Sam come around the door with his distinctive walk and tail wag. I said, "Oh are you coming to see me, you sweet thing?" And I reached down to pet him but there was nothing there. I turned on the light and still, nothing. I checked the bed and all three living dogs and the husband were sound asleep. I'm glad he came. I have been wondering when he would!
    I grew up with a ghost in the house. And I've seen quite a few more since.
    I actually heard my name clear as a bell last night when I was asleep on the couch because my husband's snoring would not allow me to rest. I sat up but no one was around. I asked my husband if he said my name because I wasn't next to him but he said he did not. Weird. Sometimes it is a woman and sometimes it is a man. Doesn't happen often but then I'm in a fog for most of the morning after.
    Lowcountry Bookstore ... I mean Bookshop is a great book, Susan!
    Robin
    Robin Hillyer Miles

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