Halloween is only three days away; perfect timing to welcome today's guests. Last month, Nancy Northcott and Jeanne Adams stopped by to tell us how Caynham Castle came to be and share photos of their real-life inspirations (click here if you missed that post). Today, they, and fellow Caynham Castle authors Morgan Brice and Caren Crane are here to tell us about each of their story contributions to this year's anthology: Trick or Treat at Caynham Castle. I've read the anthology and the stories are brimming with action, mystery, danger, romance, and all kind of delicious spooky goodness. Welcome to The Romance Dish, ladies!
A Spooky Halloween at Caynham Castle
Jeanne Adams, Morgan Brice, Caren Crane, and Nancy Northcott
Hi, everyone! PJ, thanks for having us!
The four of us are part of the Caynham Castle gang (with Seressia Glass, Donna MacMeans, and Anna Sugden), writing romance novellas set in an imaginary castle on the Welsh marches. We all celebrated Christmas last year, and four of us are enjoying Halloween this year with Trick or Treat at Caynham Castle. Here’s a bit from each of us about the inspiration for our Halloween stories and the series they tie into.
From Jeanne:Hi PJ! Thanks for having us on The Romance Dish! My story in Trick or Treat at Caynham Castle is "Trouble Under the Tower." This story stands alone, but if you--or your readers-- read Christmas at Caynham Castle, you'll recognize some of the returning characters. The secret passages I created and used in Christmas at Caynham Castle were the inspiration for this spooky story. I figured that if they found these spooky passages, the Earl of Caynham and his fiancée, and staff, would be keen to have them authenticated and explored by an archaeologist. Enter Dr. Sebelle Turturro, who's assembled a team of grad students to explore, catalogue and preserve the spooky tunnel and rooms. With the help of an archaeological photographer, Dr. Alden MacDonald, a witch who hails from Haven Harbor, Massachusetts, they'll get it all done in record time...unless there's trouble. And of course, there's LOTS of trouble under the tower!
This story is an extension of my Haven Harbor Witches series that began with 2016's The Witches Walk. As you know, PJ, this series has several books and six novellas and counting!
Haven Harbor was founded in 1692 when most of the real witches left Salem ahead of the witch trials. Now, in modern day, Haven Harbor is a thriving Massachusetts town with the descendants of those witches making magic, mischief, and finding love.
My story, "Murky Waters," was one inspired by my desire to send my hero out into nature. I made him a landscape architect, which was what the hero of my Christmas novella studied in college. So, I made the hero of "Murky Waters" an old college friend of his and tied the two novellas together. The heroine in "Murky Waters" was a secondary character in the Christmas novella. I love her because she is quite saucy!
The heroine of the Christmas novella was from my fictional town of Cross Springs, North Carolina, which tied the novella to my Cross Springs novels. But the Caynham Castle novellas seem to be developing more independently these days. There may be more ties to Cross Springs in the future, though.
As I was thinking about what to do for my story, the Knights Templar came up in another context. That caught my attention, and I started to do some research about their history, associated legends, locations, etc. I came upon a real cave that appeared to have been adapted and used as a Templar secret place, and built out the idea of a missing treasure and a last survivor. It also made sense because Erik’s background is art authentication, so he would be drawn toward historical items and relics, which would get the mystery rolling.
Erik Mitchell and Ben Nolan star in their own series, Treasure Trail, set in Cape May, NJ. Erik left a high-profile role stopping art fraud after he was shot, and came to Cape May to start over by buying a high-end antique shop that also helps get rid of dangerous magical objects. Ben Nolan was a burned-out Newark cop who came to Cape May to take over his aunt’s vacation real estate company. Ben and Erik connect, and end up dealing with cursed hotels, Mafia ghosts and dangerous old scandals. All of my urban fantasy books as Gail Z. Martin and as Morgan Brice cross over with each other.
My story, "Mr. Never Again," arose out of my enjoyment of reading about people who can’t quite make it work the first time but circle around to each other in the end. When my heroine, Dana Gresham, was a teenager, her mom abandoned the family. She stepped into the mom role. Years later, when she and Blaine Harris dated, her closeness to her siblings bothered him. It ultimately drove them apart. Too late, he came to regret his jealousy. Hoping for another chance, he asked for her to be assigned as his partner on this mission, protecting a weapons designer whose loyalty is in question. Throw in my passion for spies and action-adventure, and I had all the ingredients for this story.
"Mr. Never Again" is part of my Arachnid Files romantic suspense series. Arachnid is a multinational covert intelligence organization created to go around the rules that bind others. The first novella in the series. Danger’s Edge, is available as a standalone. The others are only in anthologies, the two Caynham Castle ones and Who’s Your Daddy, which Caren, Jeanne, and I did together.
PJ, thanks again for having us!
We’ll give one commenter a copy of Trick or Treat at Caynham Castle, so tell us about your favorite romance trope or your favorite legend.
Thanks for stopping by, everyone!
*Must be 18 or older
*Giveaway ends 11:00 PM, October 29, 2020