Wednesday, January 11, 2012

A Ghostly Visit: Paranormal Author Dianne Hartsock

Am I seeing things? No! It’s Dianne Hartsock, here to tell us about the ghostly influences on her writing and to share some chilling excerpts.

Dianne lives in the beautiful Willamette Valley of Oregon with her incredibly patient husband, who puts up with the endless hours she spends hunched over the keyboard letting her characters play. Currently, she works as a floral designer in a locally-owned gift shop. Which she says is the perfect job for her. When not writing, she can express herself through the rich colors and textures of flowers and foliage

Stories of Ghosts and Psychic Ability

Thank you so much, Pat, for having me on your lovely site. Hello! I was looking through my TBR list the other day and was struck by how many books involving the paranormal I have added. Why do I enjoy them so much? What do I find so fascinating in the paranormal?

At least half the stories deal with ghosts and poltergeist and things that go bump in the night. I can’t honestly say I believe in ghosts, never having seen one for myself, but just the possibility that they might be real has me intrigued. I mean, it’s gone so far that I and my sister are planning to go on a ghost hunt later this year.

And the poltergeist phenomenon blows me away. It’s widely believed that poltergeist activity is caused by the troubled mind of a child or young adult. Amazing! It’s incredible how powerful a person’s mind could be to be able to cause objects to fly through the air, open and close doors, and sometimes even create apparitions for others to see.

In my story The Trials of a Lonely Specter I deal with the kinder side of hauntings. I wanted to write a ghost story entirely from the spirit’s point of view. How did he feel about being dead? Why does he haunt? I came up with an entertaining story line I think you’ll enjoy.

The Trials of a Lonely Specter
Available from MuseItUp Publishing
and from Amazon

There’s been an accident. Quinn believes he’s dead, though Liam insists otherwise. But if that is the case, why does Quinn see the two of them as ghosts? And why does Liam play along? Exposed to mediums and apparitions, Quinn has to make a decision: either accept his fate or risk everything to trust Liam one more time.

"Where’re we going?"

"To find Betterford’s body reposing in the highest room of the tallest tower."

Quinn gave him a wry look. "Wasn’t that for the ‘Sleeping Beauty’?"

"So I’ve heard," Liam purred, looking like he was about to eat the canary.

Quinn didn’t like the eager way he swept through the kitchen to the servants’ staircase.

He tramped up the dark stairs in the apparition’s wake. Liam’s aura had shrunk to a mere flicker around his hand, casting eerie shadows on the close walls. Quinn was huffing by the time they reached the third flight, and Liam stopped to let him catch his breath.


He looked up at the fond tone. Liam stood several steps above, curiously watching him. "You’re a ghost, my beloved. You ought to be gliding up these stairs."

Quinn’s mouth fell open. "I forgot," he confessed. His eyes dropped, waiting for Liam’s mocking laughter. It never came. Instead, the man descended the stairs until he stood level with him. Quinn held his breath as the luminescent hand touched his cheek lightly.

"You give me hope," Liam said surprisingly. "Here, let me help you." He slipped his arm through Quinn’s.

They fairly flew up the steps after that. Quinn laughed with the exhilaration that raced through him. He’d never felt so free. He wanted to burst through the roof and fly straight into the night. Liam beamed, sharing his joy in the sensation of weightlessness and speed.

All too soon they burst into the hallway far above. Their laughter died abruptly at the grimness of the shadowy corridor. Quinn winced when Liam suddenly grabbed his hand. The spirit’s eyes glowed with anticipation.

He leaned close. "Trust me, Quinn." His voice was shaking and the man cleared his throat. "Whatever you think of me after this, please remember that I want the best for you. For us."

"I don’t understand."

Liam shook his head, clearly disappointed by his answer. Tugging on his hand, he led him to a door in the middle of the corridor.

* * * * *
Ghost stories are eerie and scary and make me wonder if it wasn’t really a specter I just saw out of the corner of my eye. But it is the paranormal phenomenon of psychic ability that really intrigues me. I absolutely believe in ‘mind over matter’. The idea that somewhere in the world there are people who can read minds or see visions or hear voices is incredible to me. Again, I’ve never met a psychic in my life, but I can’t help but believe in them. The mind is such a powerful tool. Why couldn’t a person learn to tap into that power and channel it in the direction they want it to go?

And why does psychic ability have to be a scary thing? I like to think that a person would use their gifts to help his friends or nation or the world. What if their gift ran to healing? What if a person could create beauty with their power? What if they could stop a criminal?

In my paranormal thriller novel ALEX, I wanted to take a different approach than the usual psychic/serial killer story. This is a story of a young man able to experience other people’s emotions and sometimes see their thoughts. The story is told from Alex’s unique perspective, revealing how he deals with his ‘gift’ in a doubting world. I wanted to show the vulnerability and insecurities of the typical twenty year old, plus the added stress and confusion caused by his abilities. This is the story I came up with.

Available from Solstice Publishing
and from Amazon

Alex is twenty and confused. He always is. He hears the cries of children, the screaming women. He sees the brutal images of the tortured victims. Severely abused as a child, he is left with horrible scars on his body and even worse scars within his mind. Even though it puts him in danger, he’s compelled to help those who call to him. He’s driven, motivated by his visions to rescue them and uncover the killer. When he can, he helps the police; yet some detectives suspect he’s the cause of the problem, not the solution. Often, Alex finds himself alone and afraid in a world he doesn’t always comprehend.

Her skin was soft under his fingertips. Her bare shoulders, the curve of muscle in her arms, her slim fingers; all so soft. Her breath caressed his cheek as he stared at her lips. He wanted to kiss her. It was a risk, he knew, but he ached for someone to break the loneliness. He bent his head and ran his tongue tentatively over the sweet fullness of her mouth. Her tongue met his but he was unprepared for the fire that tore through him. She pressed against him to deepen the kiss and a wild madness surged through his blood.

Something was wrong. She cried out as she struggled in his arms. Her nails raked across his neck. He let her go and watched in bewilderment as she scrambled away, her breath coming in sharp gasps. He reached out a tentative hand, wanting to explain—apologize, but she stepped hastily away from him.

"Freak!" she spat and quickly fled.

He jerked as the word struck him, his arm dropping to his side. The pain of her rejection flooded him. He touched his mouth and wondered desperately what she’d seen as he’d kissed her.

She stopped at the end of the bridge and looked over her shoulder. He couldn’t make out her expression, but he hoped to God it wasn’t pity. He took a hesitant step toward her but she tore her eyes away and rushed off.

He watched her follow the road back to town, hurrying as the sun sank. The far side of the road was already lost in darkness. His shoulders slumped in defeat when she disappeared into the gloom.

Dejected, he sat on the edge of the bridge and dangled his feet over the swift current. The sound of the rushing water echoed under him, filling his ears. It dulled the edge of his pain, making him forget his humiliation as he listened. He could almost make out a voice in the resonance.

* * * * *
Thank you so much for coming by. Feel free to contact me any time.

Dianne Hartsock


  1. Thanks again, Pat! I really like your new site here. Happy hauntings!

  2. Great interview Dianne! I can relate to the fascination with the paranormal. Genre wise, I write all over the board but everything I've ever written or ever will write has a paranormal flavor. Pat, I love your new blog!

  3. Great interview. I'm currently working on my first paranormal YA novel and I'm enjoying it so much. I have written sci-fi up to this point, so the genre is very new and exciting to me.

    Good luck to you!

    Michelle (another Muser)

    Author of Concilium, available July 2012
    Concilium: The Departure, November 2012
    PODs, available June 2013

  4. Hi Gail. Doesn't the paranormal rock! It seems to add that extra twist of excitement to a story, for me. Thanks for stopping by!

    Nice to meet you, Michelle. I really enjoy sci-fi as well and will have to look up your stories. Sounds like you have an exciting year in the works! Congratulations.

  5. Neat premise and an interesting area to explore. Good luck with your books!

  6. Miriam, Michelle, and Gail - Thank you so much for stopping by to chat with Dianne. Great to see you all!

  7. Dianne, I just started writing a paranormal story for Nano 2012...having fun with it. No wonder you like to write in the paranormal genre. Of course, I did not finish it for will be next after my current WIP is ready for submission.

    Pat, I love the name and look of your blog...shining authors and books. Oh so true. Thank you.

  8. JQ, I'm glad you're enjoying the blog. I'm delighted to host talented authors like Dianne. Best of luck with your paranormal story!

  9. Hi JQ! *waves* The best part of writing in this genre is you can bend the rules, because, hey, it's paranormal! Have fun with it. :)

  10. Love these excerpts, especially the one from Alex! Did he transmit a vision to her? Well, now I'm just going to have to buy the book and find out. :) Thanks, Dianne and Pat!


  11. Great to see you, Adriana. I enjoyed both excerpts too. About to start reading "Specter." Whichever story we read first, I suspect we're in for a treat!

  12. Thanks for coming by, Adriana. Your guess on ALEX is close, but I won't tell! Be sure to let me know what you think of my ALEX when you get around to reading it. :)