Tag Archive for: south carolina

A Ghostly Encounter

I am a certified city of Charleston tour guide. Sometimes I give ghost tours. Once one of the tourists told me that what was scary about my ghost stories was that I told them as a matter of fact, not fantasy.


Well, it’s because I’ve had a few ghostly encounters. I thought you might like to read about one of them.


My best friend and I babysat at a house in Pinopolis, SC, where we lived. (Side note: it was a fantastic place to grow up!) We had never been told specifics about the ghost in the house, but I had lived at the house next door for a few years and had heard there was a ghost at this house, as there was one in the house I lived in as well, but that’s another story.

Pinopolis is a peninsula on Lake Moultrie outside of Moncks Corner, SC.


We put the children to bed. We locked the front door with the skeleton key and placed the key on the credenza all the way across from the front door. We checked the side door (near the dining room) and the back door in the kitchen. 

Once we put the children to bed, we did not check on them again as the room on the right at the top of the stairs gave off weird vibes. When I had to walk past it, and you didn’t have a choice as it was on the way to the rest of the upstairs, I would close my eyes and dash across the doorway, whether the door was open or closed, it did not matter.


In the past I had heard someone going up and down the stairs while I bathed the children in the tub between the den and the study. I never saw anyone, even though I would take the kids out of the tub and go investigate. 

A view of Lake Moultrie from a home in Pinopolis.


Anyway, back to that night … We had popcorn and a soft drink, probably Mountain Dew as we were big fans of Mountain Dew. We had just finished watching the Love Boat and Fantasy Island’s starting credits had begun. I was on the couch that was parallel to the wall at the bathroom. My friend was sitting in the lounge chair that was to my left and at an angle facing the television. We were both facing the opening to the hall and the television.


I got that eerie feeling that someone watched me. I glanced up at the door between the hall and the den. A little old lady peered at me around the door frame. Her hair was in a bun. She was short. She had on a dress. Her gnarled, arthritic-looking, fingers were gently placed on the door frame. She stared at me until I broke contact to look at my friend. She was staring at the same spot in the doorway. She practically levitated to the spot next to me on the couch after she said, “did you see that little old lady looking at you?”


We sat with our hands entwined until the parents arrived. They said the front door was wide open and they fussed at us. We asked them if there was a ghost in the house and gave the description. They were in disbelief, not because they didn’t believe us but because they said she never showed herself to anyone but family. (My friend is related to them, but she was staring at me, maybe trying to figure out who I was and why I was there so much?) The parents said it was the man’s relative who had been bedridden in later life and the room at the top of the stairs had been her room.


After that, whenever I babysat for the children I’d talk to the ghost and tell her what I was doing so she’d be aware, and maybe, hopefully, not appear to me again!


Robin Hillyer-Miles lives happily in the Lowcountry of South Carolina with her husband, teenaged son, and three dogs. She’s supposed to be editing her latest novel to be self-published but she has been lazy. This new novel is based in a fictional town called Marion’s Corner, also located in the Lowcountry. It has a witch, many ghosts, and quite a few people of all ages looking for love. She’s published in short-story format and is the president of the Lowcountry Romance Writers of America.

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Thank Heavens for Booksellers!

Fran and Don Bush
by Paula Gail Benson

author can have no greater friend than a supportive bookseller. I am fortunate
to have several in my life. I especially appreciate Fran and Don Bush, who
have just retired from running their brick-and-mortar Booklover’s Bookstore in
Aiken, South Carolina, but are still very active in their community and in promoting writers
they love.

first met through the South Carolina Book Festival, when I brought one of the
featured authors to the Aiken library for a special program Fran had arranged.
Since that time, we have become fast friends, closer than family. Fran and Don
have have been Aiken tour guides, helping me and another author gather
information for our work; and they have introduced me to their close friends, best-selling
mother-and-son writing team Caroline and Charles Todd. Take a look in the
acknowledgements in the Bess Crawford mystery, A Duty to the Dead, and you’ll see Fran Bush mentioned as “bookseller
Fran worked with the Aiken Chapter of the American Association of University
Women to organize a Mystery Madness Luncheon event, the proceeds from which benefited
AAUW’s scholarship fund. I’m proud to say that over $900 was collected.
Richard Laudenslager, Fran Rizer, Sasscer Hill, me, and Fran Bush
Fran and Don are honorary members of the Palmetto Chapter of Sisters in Crime, Fran
urged AAUW to showcase local authors she admired. She planned a terrific
panel including Sasscer Hill (formerly of Maryland and now an Aiken resident
whose multiple award nominated Nikki Latrelle series has been compared to the
work of Dick Francis, and whose new series will feature Fia McKee, an agent for
the Thoroughbred Racing Protective Bureau); Richard Laudenslager (a project engineer
and paranormal investigator currently writing a thriller, Wounded, and
collaborator, with Fran Rizer, on an anthology); Fran Rizer (who in addition to
her cozyesque Callie Parrish mysteries, about a funeral home cosmetologist, has
written Kudzu River, a serial killer thriller, Southern Swamps and
, an anthology of haunting tales written in collaboration with Richard
D. Laudenslager, and a tenth novel, The Horror of Julie Bates), and
myself (writer of mystery and other short stories).

AAUW Lunch

had a wonderful lunch, with each author sitting at a different table and
getting to know the members and guests of the AAUW chapter. The chicken salad
was divine and the desserts delectable. Then, the authors gathered at a table before
the audience to field questions from our moderator, Fran. While we had notice
of most that she intended to ask, she threw us a few curves–a particularly
good one that was suggested by her friend Caroline Todd and still has me
thinking: “Tell the audience in 90 seconds why they should read your work.”

avid reader loves having a librarian or bookseller to consult with about the
most recent releases, but to have true advocates like Fran and Don Bush in your
corner is an incredible gift for an author. Thank you, Fran and Don. As our
friendship grows, I discover more qualities for which I admire you. I will
never forget your warm embraces, overflowing kindness, and complete confidence
in me and my writing. I am forever grateful.
Audience at AAUW Mystery Madness Luncheon

Happy Birthday America

Early in the 20th century, my grandfather Mendel left Russia knowing he would never see his parents again. He came to America, to New York, and like many recent immigrants, became a peddler. My great-grandfather invited him home for lunch after Sabbath services and introduced him to his daughter, Rachel Esther. In a nice ironic twist for this blog, my grandmother was born on the 4th of July, a genuine American beauty.

As the story unfolds, Mendel and Rachel were married and moved to Lancaster, South Carolina, then a small quiet town (now an outlying suburb for Charlotte, North Carolina). They opened the town’s mercantile (general store) and began raising their eight sons and daughters, one of which was my mother, the original Evelyn. They were the only Jewish family in the town, but my mother never recounted a single tale of anti-semitism. Her best friend, Lib Ferguson, would take my mother to Tent Revival Meetings – and she loved all the drama and energy she’d find on those evenings. It was an idyllic childhood, with high-spirited siblings and bountiful family dinners. One by one, my grandfather’s brothers immigrated to America, and each would open a mercantile in yet another small Southern town.

I’m in awe of my grandfather’s courage. He embarked on an adventure without a clear roadmap of where he was going or how he would live. Granted, life in Russia was bleak. He would have been conscripted into the Russian army and his hometown was the target of anti-semitic pogroms. So he chose the unknown over the known because America was the land of freedom and opportunity, neither of which he would find in his native land. We need to remind ourselves about that truth on not only this holiday weekend, but also on those days when there are no fireworks and no red, white, and blue bunting draped on the porches of homes across this great land.

Our country is far from perfect, but the foundation of this nation is as close to perfection as humans can get. We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

That’s what my grandfather sought when he crossed the Atlantic in search of a new homeland. It’s what we still must strive to attain.

Happy Birthday America.

Marian, the Northern half of Evelyn David

Murder Off the Books by Evelyn David
Murder Takes the Cake by Evelyn David

Cramming a Ton into One Weekend

What a whirlwind weekend. First, I have to say, I LOVE CHARLESTON, SOUTH CAROLINA!!! There’s something about that city that speaks to me. I have city lust, big time. Don’t know if I’ll ever live there, though one of my dreams is to own a pretty house near the water.

Tonya Kappes, fellow Goddess at The Naked Hero, and I were invited to give a workshop at the Lowcountry RWA chapter meeting. Any excuse to visit Charleston! We flew in Friday, did our workshop Saturday–followed by a book signing set up by the fantabulous Amy Fagley of the Lowcountry chapter. Shout out to Amy, Sharon, Sharon Marie, Tina–who’s not actually a Lowcountry member, but who is awesome!!–Florina, Nina, Dorothy, and the rest of you fun gals!

Tonya did a running blog about our adventure (which you can see here and here). Our workshop was on Stripping Down the Hero Archetypes. A totally interactive, mutli-learning modality experience which everyone LOVED (you can see snippets of the workshop videos here).

I wrote so much on the plane ride there and back that I want to take a plane trip every week just to up my word count.

Then, icing on the cake, Tonya, who used to own a bead company (sold it for beaucoup $$$$ so she could write… OMG!) taught me how to bead! Got home, took my daughter to the bead shop in a nearby city which was closed, headed to Hobby Lobby, which was also closed (they don’t care to do business on Sundays apparently), and ended up at Michael’s spending WAY TOO MUCH $$$ on beads.

BUT we each made our first bracelets yesterday and we’re hooked on beading. Or should I say toggled on beading? Strung on beading? Whatever. WE LOVE IT!

To top off the weekend, I finished the chapters of my cozy proposal! That is to say, I finished the first draft of said chapters. Still have to revise, but that’s okay. I love revisions. I can dig into revisions. The meat is there, and it’s all gravy now.

Icing on the cake was record numbers of people visiting and entering to win FREE BOOKS over at Books on the House (and the kids/teen site). This week, Brenda Novak, gearing up for her online auction which begins MAY 1st (to benefit diabetes research) is giving away totes of books and gift certificates for the auction. My son has the disease and I’m thrilled to help Brenda however I can. The Stiletto Gang has donated signed books, too!

All in all, it was a great weekend (minus the hour+ I spend unsubscribing from all these email lists I somehow managed to get on…no, for the last time, I DO NOT NEED VIAGRA, and I’m a writer and DO NOT WANT A CAREER CHANGE TO MEDICAL TRANSCRIBING!!!

Food for thought: How do we get ON these email lists in the first place? Are you a beader? Been to and love Charleston? Have great productivity on an airplane? Enjoy interactive workshops?

Let’s hear it!