Minnie Quay – The Ghost of Forester, Michigan

Catherine Cavendish

 July 1st sees publication of yet another spooky book by my good friend Catherine Cavendish. I asked her to come over and tell us a bit about her inspiration. Take it away, Cat!


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In my new novel, Saving Grace Devine, a young girl is drowned, but her spirit returns to haunt the lakeside where she met her untimely end. She seeks help from the living, to help her cross over to the afterlife.

From my research, it would appear that my fictional Grace is not alone. Many people have reported seeing ghosts of drowned girls who are all apparently earthbound. Searching for something, or someone. In need of help from the living to help them join the world of spirit.

So it is with this account – the ghost of the lady they call Minnie Quay.

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Forester Township, Michigan is a small town of some 1100 people. It lies north of Port Sanilac, on the east Michigan coast of Lake Huron which bulges at the seams in summer when all the tourists come, gather around camp fires by the lake and share their stories. Some true – some not. But the tale of Minnie Quay is attested to by many who will swear to its veracity.

On a street in this little community is an abandoned tavern, with the date ‘1852’ above the door. It once belonged to James Quay and his wife, Mary Ann who lived there in the mid-nineteenth century, along with their children. Their eldest daughter – Minnie – died at the age of fourteen in April 1876 and it is her ghost that wanders restlessly along the shore nearby.

In those days, Forester was a busy, bustling lumbering town, used as a seaport for hauling timber to various locations on the Great Lakes. Four long warehouses and a pier (whose pilings can still be seen) saw a constant stream of traffic and sightseers, keen to see which ships had docked that day.

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There were plenty of visiting sailors and it was one of these who took Minnie’s eye. She fell in love with him, but her parents were horrified when they discovered the relationship. They didn’t want their daughter mixing with sailors! They forbade her from seeing him again.

Poor heartbroken Minnie didn’t even have chance to say goodbye to her beau. In the spring of 1876, the boat he had been working on sank in a storm. He was killed. Mad with grief, Minnie threw herself off the pier into the icy waters of Lake Huron and drowned, her only wish to be reunited with the spirit of her dead sailor. It was not to be.

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She’s buried in the local cemetery but, by all accounts, she still wanders. Weeping and searching for her lost love. But there is a more sinister side to this story. Some young women have reported that she has beckoned to them to join her in the freezing waters of the lake. One even drowned after saying she had seen Minnie’s ghost beckon to her that night. So, if you are young and female, do take care when strolling along the banks of Lake Huron alone. At night.

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A ballad was written about her tragic story. Here’s the first verse of one version (courtesy of Wikipedia):

‘Twas long ago besides Lake Huron
She walked the sandy shore.
but the voice of one sweet Minnie Quay
‘Twill echo ever more.

 

Here’s a flavour of Saving Grace Devine:

 

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Can the living help the dead…and at what cost? 

When Alex Fletcher finds a painting of a drowned girl, she’s unnerved. When the girl in the painting opens her eyes, she is terrified. And when the girl appears to her as an apparition and begs her for help, Alex can’t refuse.

But as she digs further into Grace’s past, she is embroiled in supernatural forces she cannot control, and a timeslip back to 1912 brings her face to face with the man who killed Grace and the demonic spirit of his long-dead mother. With such nightmarish forces stacked against her, Alex’s options are few. Somehow she must save Grace, but to do so, she must pay an unimaginable price.

You can find Saving Grace Devine in all usual ebook formats and paperback (where available) here:

 

Samhain Publishing

Amazon.com 

Amazon.co.uk 

Amazon.ca 

Amazon.com.au 

B&N 

Kobo

 

About the author

Catherine Cavendish is joint winner of the Samhain Gothic Horror Anthology competition 2013. Her winning novella – Linden Manor – is now available in all digital formats and the print anthology will be published in October. She is the author of a number of paranormal horror and Gothic horror novellas and short stories. Her novel, Saving Grace Devine, is published by Samhain Publishing on July 1st.

She lives with a longsuffering husband in North Wales. Her home is in a building dating back to the mid-18th century which is haunted by a friendly ghost, who announces her presence by footsteps, switching lights on and strange phenomena involving the washing machine and the TV.

When not slaving over a hot computer, Cat enjoys wandering around Neolithic stone circles and visiting old haunted houses.

 

You can connect with Cat here:

www.catherinecavendish.com

https://www.facebook.com/CatherineCavendishWriter?ref=hl

http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4961171.Catherine_Cavendish

http://twitter.com/#!/cat_cavendish

 

 

 

Catherine Cavendish: My Gothic Influences

Mary Shelley

 

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I have been reading horror for as long as I can remember. Can I recall the first time I read Mary Shelley’s most famous work, Frankenstein, or The Modern Prometheus? No. It seems to have been in my life forever.

Mary Shelley wasn’t just a one book author. Following on from Frankenstein (published in 1818), came Valperga (1823), The Last Man (1826), Lodore (1835) and, finally, Mathilda, published after her death.

Yet she will always be identified with that one story which spawned dozens of Hollywood films and countless imitators. But, if Mary hadn’t visited Switzerland with her lover, the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, and his friends, the infamous Lord Byron and his physician, John Polidori, the story might never have been written.

 

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Mary Shelley was born Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin on 30th August 1797, daughter of the famous feminist and writer, Mary Wollstonecraft, who died ten days after her birth. Her mother had written and published the radical and (for its time) sensational, The Vindication of the Rights of Women (1792) and her father was the philosopher and political writer, William Godwin, who was left to bring up not only his own daughter, but also his wife’s daughter, Fanny Imlay – the result of her liaison with a soldier.

The young Mary loved nothing more than to read, and made extensive use of her father’s library. She said that, “As a child, I scribbled; and my favourite pastime, during the hours given me for recreation, was to ‘write stories.'” Her first published work was at the tender age of ten – a poem called Mounseer Nongtongpaw.

The Godwin household saw a steady stream of illustrious visitors, including Wordsworth and Coleridge, but one particular visitor – a student of her father’s – captured not only her attention but also her heart. Mary and Percy Bysshe Shelley began an affair in 1814, while he was still married to his first wife. Facing extreme disapproval by her father, the couple fled England and travelled around Europe, accompanied by Mary’s half-sister, Claire, whose mother had become her father’s wife some years earlier.

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In 1815, Mary and Shelley had a baby girl who tragically died a few days later. In 1816, she, Percy and Claire met up with Lord Byron and John Polidori and stayed at the Villa Diodati in Geneva. It was there, on a rainy evening, that Byron entertained his guests by reading from a collection of ghost stories and then set each of them a challenge – to come up with a horror story. From those early beginnings, two notable works would eventually emerge. In addition to Mary’s Frankenstein, John Polidori produced his classic work (often wrongly attributed to Byron), The Vampyre.

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Poor Mary didn’t have the easiest of lives.  Later in 1816, her half-sister, Fanny, committed suicide and soon after, the same fate befell Shelley’s wife. The two lovers married in December 1816 but suffered the loss of two more children before Shelley drowned in The Gulf of Spezia, leaving Mary a widow at the age of just 24.

Mary herself died of brain cancer, on 1st February, 1851, aged 53. She is buried, with the cremated remains of her husband’s heart, in St Peter’s Church, Bournemouth, alongside her parents. Nearly a century passed before her novel, Mathilda, was published. This dealt with themes of incest and suicide – not topics we generally associate with the era of Jane Austen!

Mary Shelley was a woman ahead of her time. Frankenstein’s timeless quality remains a landmark of Gothic literature and one that has formed part of the foundation for countless horror writers down the years. I have no reason to assume that will ever change.

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Now, here’s a flavour of Linden Manor:

 

Have you ever been so scared your soul left your body? 

All her life, Lesley Carpenter has been haunted by a gruesome nursery rhyme—“The Scottish Bride”—sung to her by her great grandmother. To find out more about its origins, Lesley visits the mysterious Isobel Warrender, the current hereditary owner of Linden Manor, a grand house with centuries of murky history surrounding it.

But her visit transforms into a nightmare when Lesley sees the ghost of the Scottish bride herself, a sight that, according to the rhyme, means certain death. The secrets of the house slowly reveal themselves to Lesley, terrible secrets of murder, evil and a curse that soaks the very earth on which Linden Manor now stands. But Linden Manor has saved its most chilling secret for last.

Linden Manor is available from:
Amazon.com
Amazon.co.uk
Amazon.ca
Amazon.com.au
Kobo
B&N

About the author

Catherine Cavendish

Catherine Cavendish

Catherine Cavendish lives with a long-suffering husband and mildly eccentric tortoiseshell cat in North Wales. Her home is in a building dating back to the mid 18th century which is haunted by a friendly ghost, who announces her presence by footsteps, switching lights on and strange phenomena involving the washing machine and the TV.

When not slaving over a hot computer, Catherine enjoys wandering around Neolithic stone circles and visiting old haunted houses.

www.catherinecavendish.com

https://www.facebook.com/CatherineCavendishWriter?ref=hl

http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4961171.Catherine_Cavendish

http://twitter.com/#!/cat_cavendish

 

 

 

Brrrrrinda’s Back!

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I know she doesn’t write horror, but when I heard the lovely Brinda Berry had a new book out I just had to ask her over. Brinda is a real star who always supports others so please, if you know any young adults, pass on the info will ya!

 

Watcher of Worlds

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By Brinda Berry

Whispering Woods Book 3

Novel

$5.99

ISBN: 978-1-941133-00-2

Buy it HERE

 

Senior year should bring fun, friends and happiness. Not portals, treachery, and murder.

Seventeen-year-old Mia Taylor, gatekeeper to an interdimensional portal, wants nothing more than to heal from her romance gone wrong. Illegally falling for her co-worker Regulus had been a huge mistake. But when Regulus goes rogue to hunt down a murderer, Mia must forget her broken heart and use her unique abilities to save him. Traveling across dimensions, she enters a strange and hostile world where a rebel faction holds the key to their escape. Her gift of synesthesia is in high demand, and a secret organization of the otherworldly kind has her in their sights. But sabotage and murder may be the least of her worries. Her ex-boyfriend wants a relationship. Her dad wants her to act normal. Her friends want her to stop moping. Who knew faking happy would be the easiest part of senior year?

Excerpt

Jingle Bells

I detested planned surprises.

I could read the expectation in the air from the shimmery orange vibe that glowed like a Cheetos binge gone bad.

A few months ago, my friends had discovered my secret. The secret I’d hidden so teachers and doctors wouldn’t treat me like an amped up sensory perception freak. So friends wouldn’t ask.

Synesthesia. The condition sounded like the name of an electronic punk band. I’d made the full round of emotions about my sensory perception and being able to find portals. First, I’d hid it like you hide an ugly rash. Later, I’d learned to trust my friends with my secret. I’d even embraced it.

Now, I was back to wishing for normal.

Working with Regulus and Arizona was like playing Pop Goes the Weasel—a surprise around every corner. And did I mention I hate surprises?

Give me predictable any day. Then I could be ready. It’s why I made sure I knew the contents of every box under the Christmas tree.

About Brinda:

Brinda Berry is the author of The Waiting Booth (Whispering Woods #1),Whisper of Memory (Whispering Woods #2), and  Watcher of Worlds (Whispering Woods #3). She also contributed a short story to the anthology, Wild at Heart, Vol II. Currently working in higher education administration, she spends her days thinking of ways to improve education for college students. Brinda spends her nights devising exciting tales that involve teens who might be saving the world.

Connect with Brinda on the Web:

WEB     BLOG     FACEBOOK    TWITTER   GOODREADS    YOUTUBE

More Vamping with Ally Shields

Following on from yesterday’s expose of that vampire slaying kit, what better way to keep the weekend flowing than with a visit from fellow author Ally Shields and her latest book Burning Both Ends?

BurningBothEnds_ByAllyShields-453x680

Ally: Thanks so much, Steve, for allowing me to indulge in a little BSP (Blatant Self-Promotion)! I have a new release in my Guardian Witch urban fantasy series.

S: Be my guest.

A: Before I get further into that, I’d like to digress and talk for just a moment about writing an on-going series, especially the difficulty of handling series characters.

S: Oh, yes, do. I can’t imagine writing a series.

A: It’s both harder—and easier—than one might think. It’s easier, because you don’t have to create a whole new person, complete with color of hair, color of eyes, mannerisms, background. You already know these people and are ready to involve them in a new adventure. On the other hand, it’s almost impossible to remember every description, every mannerism, and everything your character has said and done. And scraps of note paper get lost, and files get buried on your hard drive.

S: I would lose them.

A: Most authors also have their characters grow and mature, not only in each book, but from book to book. That means you have to constantly reassess how your character now feels about beliefs they held in the past. It’s a challenge.

If you screw up, your readers will notice and remind you. Forcefully. Sometimes I wish I had an assistant to keep it all straight. I work hard at being consistent, and if you find errors, I’m going to blame it on the cyber gremlins! :)

S: They get everywhere!

A: Now, I’d love to share a peek at my latest book…

Burning Both Ends (Guardian Witch #3) Blurb:

Friend or lover. Life or death…

Supernatural cop Ari Calin arrives at the hostile Toronto vampire court with an ultimatum from the Riverdale vampires: Sebastian, Toronto’s vampire prince, must stop his unprovoked attacks—or else. Ari wasn’t expecting a fight—the “or else” was typical vampire grandstanding. But even with vampire Andreas De Luca by her side for a show of strength, things get ugly fast. Toronto’s vampire world is in crisis, and surrounded by enemies, Ari and Andreas find themselves under attack.

Then Ari gets the call from the Magic Council ordering her home. Steffan, a good friend and leader of Riverdale’s werewolves, has gone missing during top secret negotiations with the US government, and is believed to have been kidnapped—or killed.

Andreas can’t abandon the Toronto vampires, and Ari can’t leave him to face impossible odds alone. Neither can she disobey her orders from the Council, or leave her friend Steffan to be tortured and killed. Ari’s loyalties pull her in two directions—the closest thing to love she’s ever known on one side, and friendship and duty on the other. If she can stay alive long enough for the choice to matter…

Excerpt:

Fangs flashed where her cheek had been an instant before. Ari whirled, crouching to meet the vampire’s return charge, and her fingers sparked, witch blood clamoring for action. Refusing its urgent call, she threw the magic powder as he wheeled and sped toward her in a blur. Green particles sparkled. A loud thump. The vampire recoiled from the invisible barrier and took two staggering steps. A direct hit. Before a smile more than touched her lips, the dark figure recovered and leaped. Ari backpedaled, but his weight drove her to the hard ground.

He grinned down at her, a lock of dark hair falling across his forehead. Trapping her arms above her head, he leaned close, his dark eyes glittering. He brushed her lips with his and whispered, “Better—but not yet good enough.” Andreas shifted his six-foot, muscled body, sprang up, and offered her a hand.

Ignoring the courtesy, Ari scrambled to her feet. Getting pinned by your boyfriend wasn’t always a good thing. “Back off, bloodsucker,” she grumbled. She shook out the fallen leaves and pine needles that clung to her long, honey-colored hair.

Andreas chuckled. A rich, warm sound. “Touchy tonight. Did I put your nose out of joint, little witch? And here I was, trying to help with your training.” Andreas glided across the forest clearing with the smooth grace of a natural predator. He collected their cell phones from under a park bench where they’d stashed them earlier in the evening and handed her one.

“Thanks.” Ari avoided his eyes. Damn right she was annoyed. She was competitive, and second place wasn’t good enough—even against a master level vampire. Especially one who wasn’t really trying to kill her.

Andreas studied her face, his voice pragmatic. “I am glad you are taking this seriously. Other combatants will be less charitable than I, less mindful of breaking your pretty neck. I can almost guarantee Sebastian will continue his fight with Prince Daron, and next time he may lead the attack. You might have to face him again.”

“Oh, come on. You can’t really believe he’d come to Riverdale. He’s too comfortable lording it over everyone in Toronto.” Andreas shrugged. “It is unlikely, but a sobering thought. With Sebastian, anything is possible.” He frowned, obviously thinking about the brutal vampire leader. “He has grown more aggressive, erratic, perhaps less sane, as sometimes happens with the elder ones. Our defeat of his minions will only fuel his rage and make him more determined.”

“Minions? What kind of word is that?” Ari demanded. “You really should update your vocabulary. Being born in seventeen hundred and something is no excuse for using words no one understands.” She was just being bitchy. In truth, she wouldn’t change a thing about Andreas’s speech or sexy voice. The archaic words, the faint accent of Italian aristocracy, and the shivers of sensation it produced were all part of him. She never got used to the seductive effect…even when she wanted to be annoyed.

Buy Links:

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Burning-Both-Guardian-Witch-ebook/dp/B00E0LCE0O/

B & N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/burning-both-ends-ally-shields/1116093682?ean=2940148741022

Kobo: http://store.kobobooks.com/books/burning-both-ends/luAT3r-Z3Eiy8ZLBvgppPg

ARe:  https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-burningbothends-1246180-139.html

Author Bio:

Ally Shields was born and raised in the US Midwest, along the Mississippi River, the setting for her urban fantasy series. After  a career in law and juvenile justice, she turned to full-time writing in 2009, and Awakening the Fire, the debut novel in her Guardian Witch series, was released in September 2012.  Ally still lives within driving distance of the Mississippi with her Miniature Pinscher, Ranger. When not writing, reading, or spending time with family and friends, she loves to travel in the US and abroad. Way too often she can be found on Twitter.

Author contact links:

Website: http://allyshields.com

Blog: http://allyshields.com/blog.html

Twitter: http://twitter.com/ShieldsAlly

Facebook: http://facebook.com/AllyShieldsAuthor

Goodreads:  http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6527209.Ally_Shields

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/author/allyshields

Other books in the series:

Awakening the Fire (Guardian Witch #1), published September 2012

Fire Within (Guardian Witch #2), published Marsh 2013

Blood and Fire (Guardian Witch #4), coming in the fall of 2013

BTW, I suggest you read the books in order to follow the on-going characters and story arc!

Safe Harbour Finds a Port

Julia Kavan made my day recently when she told me that her short story Safe Harbour had been chosen to appear in Sanitarium horror magazine. It’s a while since Julia graced this blog so I asked her to come over for a bit of a grilling.
Julia Kavan

Julia Kavan

Steve: Welcome, Julia. What do you think to the broomstick parking bay I had made for you?

JK: Well, you could have swept it… here, you can borrow my broom :-)  Thanks for the invitation, it’s been a while…

Steve: So, Safe Harbour is out in public. Congratulations! I think readers will love it, but it hasn’t been plain sailing (excuse the pun) has it?

JK: It’s had a few ‘almost, but not quite’ moments. I think I’m most disappointed with its ‘almost, but not quite a radio performance’.  I’d love to hear Safe Harbour being read, but it wasn’t to be. However, I’m thrilled that Barry Skelhorn, editor of Sanitarium, accepted the story.

sanitarium banner

Steve: I’ll read it for you if you can get me on a radio show ;-) Now, I know you have some quirks when it comes to forms of transport but how are you with boats? Since this story has a nautical flavour presumably you’re a hardened sea dog (I couldn’t say sea bitch, could I)?

JK: Quirks? What quirks…? Okay, so  I have been known to get travel sick in a lift… and as for going over all those hills to get here…  and actually I’d probably need sea sickness tablets to use the Thames Clipper. However, I do love the sea – particularly when it’s angry. I love the sound and the taste of it in the air. I’m not one to declare my love for the ocean from the comfort of a sun lounger at the edge of a calm blue sea. The rougher the sea (as long as I’m not on it) and the wilder the coastline, the better. And I’d rather be clambering over rocks than sitting on a beach, although I do go there to watch the sunset sometimes – there’s a certain eeriness being by the sea at night.  I also used to go for walks on the cliffs at Dover when I was a kid – scrabbling up the lesser-used cliff paths (which kind of makes me shudder now) to get to the top. One day I’ll write something set there, I think.

Ssh! Julia calls think this is rough :-)

Ssh! Julia calls this rough :-)

Steve: Well, then, you’d better tell us why you wrote this story and something about it. Tempt my readers with it.

JK: Safe Harbour is a very short but intense (I hope!) horror story –– originally written for a competition, I think the prompt was ‘shipwrecked’.  Along with my love of ghosts and demons and creatures of the night I also had a bit of a fascination with mermaids when I was very young – only not the Disney kind, I preferred the darker myths about the creatures.

Thereby hangs a tail

Thereby hangs a tail

Steve: I thought I could smell fish. Now, you’ve a very inspiring graphic to go with the story. How did you come up with that?

JK: LOL, subtle, Steve… I think you should have put a winky emoticon there… ;-) aside from my putting the final image together, the composition was pretty much down to you!  We both enjoy a bit of photo-manipulation when we’re not writing, and I find it relaxing – usually. However, you kindly got the images together for me during a somewhat frazzled moment. Thank you.

Safe Harbour

Safe Harbour

Steve: Oi! I wasn’t looking for thanks. You knew what you wanted – as you always do. Listen, I know many people are waiting for your next book. What’s on the horizon?

JK: Well, of course you and I are still putting the finish touches to our joint project, ready to get feedback from some brave beta-readers. When we’ve finished working on the novel I’d like to write more horror/dark shorts. I also have a WIP – Sinner – which is growing in quick, violent bursts. I don’t know if it will turn into a novel just yet, though.

Steve: What’s your take on the state of horror publishing at the moment? Do you think readers have enough choice now?

JK: When it comes to horror novels – no, there doesn’t seem to be a huge choice from mainstream publishers…or any choice really. There was a glimmer of hope recently when a small publisher opened its door to horror submissions, only to shut it again very quickly. As you mentioned in a recent radio interview, everything seems to be crime based, about tracking down serial killers etc.

Steve: Yes, it’s a crime, when really it ought to be a sin :twisted: What do you think could improve things?

JK: Well, I understand that publishing is a business and publishers are out to make money at the end of the day… but… it would be nice for them to be more willing to take a chance with new writers.

Steve: Well, yes – new writers can sell, too, after all! Have you read any really good books in the last couple of months that you’d like to share with us?

JK: I’ve been so busy concentrating on our joint project I haven’t really had time to read anything substantial. I have several books I’ve started and put to one side. Instead I’ve found myself dipping into some horror anthologies, and I’m becoming more drawn towards novellas. I have Cousin K on my ‘to read’ list thanks to your recommendation.

Steve: Cousin K is a superb book! Here’s the link to my review at New York Journal of Books:

http://www.nyjournalofbooks.com/review/cousin-k

And any really bad ones?

JK: Define ‘bad’.

Steve: I don’t do definitions, that’s what dictionaries are for.

JK: Grrr! I’ve part-read plenty of stories that haven’t grabbed me by the throat – and I do like to be grabbed…or seduced, or intrigued… something… I may just be really hard to please, though.

Steve: You? Hard to please? Don’t make me larf, darlin! *gasps* Where do you see yourself twelve months from now?

JK: Still writing what I love, I hope.

Steve: I know you like Pinterest, so give us something to look at that sums up your work.

JK: I do like Pinterest – I remember when I used to have folders and display books of images, cuttings and notes when I first started writing. In fact I still have everything I collected for my first novel in a box somewhere.  Pinterest is much tidier J and I can access my images anywhere. I have boards for all WIPs – so if people wander around my page they’ll catch a glimpse of what may be to come.

http://pinterest.com/juliakavan/

Click To Read

Click To Buy

Safe Harbour is in Sanitarium Issue No 9 due out 20th May 2013. You can find out more about the magazine and where to buy a copy on their website:  http://sanitariummagazine.com/

Julia can be found here:

http://www.juliakavan.com

https://twitter.com/Seneca24

https://www.facebook.com/juliakavan.author