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February 21, 2011

Haunted Book Trailer

Jimmy's house to New Orleans 044


On  the 7th of February, we took over the Myrtles Plantation in Louisiana. It’s reputed to be a most haunted plantation.


We had a mission -- my three available children, husband, and Jimmy's house to New Orleans 031 several friends -- to film a trailer for a series of books I have coming out. They’re like Criminal Minds meet up with Ghostbusters. They take place in different areas of the country, and the second venue is a haunted plantation.

In order to film on the property, you rent the entire estate, which worked out well. We had four members of the Peace River Ghost Trackers, our videographer, Phin, Bridget from the PR company, and our cast of thousands. Okay, our cast of ten. The idea was to do little vignettes—about fifteen seconds each—on each of the mysterious circumstances. I’d written the script, I had Connie Perry and her miraculous costumes, and I was all set. Except for getting the cast in order.

We are from Florida, and the boys felt it would be a betrayal of their state to be Yankees at a plantation. “The North won! And it was a good thing!” I reminded them. Yep, yep, and that was all good, but . . . .

Shayne, Bridget, Heather, Juan, the Myrtles Worked out okay. I had our dying Confederate surrounded by his friends -- and the Yankees had already gone.

Our fabulous waiter, Ginger, who is also an amazing drag performer, got in on the fun. I needed the fellow who proves to be the father of descendents in the story; Ginger was happy to be him. “Now, the black man doesn’t get bumped off in the first pages, does he?” she asked me. I was able to say, “No. He’s actually the hero.”  Ginger was ready for the challenge.

I’d asked my husband Dennis to take part, assuring him he didn’t have to say a word. “Who am I?” he asked. I hesitated for a minute. “Jack the Ripper,” I told him.

He made a frighteningly good Ripper.

Then there was the senator’s wife, dead from a fall from the balcony of her French Quarter house; she had to die with her eyes open. I picked on Jason’s girlfriend and my fellow FRW friend and member, Kathy DePalo.  She lay uncomplainingly on the brick for quite a while . . . staring. She was brilliant. I was worried. It was freezing while we were there!

I really couldn’t figure out a way to make any of the boys be stripped naked and covered in blood, so we employed an axe and a lot of food coloring and Vaseline. It worked.

The most fun, of course, was when the entire group, including Connie and Kathy Pickering--who had come to take some quick shots and document—dressed up in period clothing and did the “ghost” walk to the camera. Everyone looked wonderful. Incredible. And Phin is amazingly talented, with great ideas. (He’s now off to work in Cairo; I fear for him. Worked with him before, and love him to death!)

Heather at the Myrtles First walk was fine. Then, in twos and threes, people were supposed to disappear. We all kept losing track of our numbers. We made the walk from the house, and then from the bridge, and by the third time we tried it all from the bridge . . . .

Thank God the sun set!

We headed out to dinner, giving the waiters in St. Francisville a bit of a twinge when we came in twenty-four strong. Had to eat, though. It was going to be a long night. So, a fun dinner en masse, and it was back to the Myrtles with the Peace River Ghost Trackers. They’re my favorite group; they’re out to dispel ghost stories as much as they are to prove them. But Scott, Sprout, Debbie, and Toni were in for more than they had bargained for; others knew about the expedition and piled back to the plantation.

No self-respecting ghost would have been caught dead in that crowd. Jimmy's house to New Orleans 050

Seriously, they won’t know if they have anything until they’ve studied their tapes and their recordings.

I will say, I was enchanted and I fell in love. It was like taking a step back in time. The Myrtles is owned by a charming woman, run by another charming woman, and Mr. Moses is the caretaker and cook. Most amazing grits ever! Everyone there was great, fun, and helpful. 

Jimmy's house to New Orleans 025 I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to take over the Myrtles again, but I’ll definitely head back. If you’re ever in the mood for some real Southern hospitality, stay a night or two. And opt for the ground floor suite! (Dennis aka Mr. Ripper had me scared; I slept down with Connie and my daughter Bryee in their room on the 1st floor!)

And what about you? Got ghosts?




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Heather, the ONLY way I'd stay in a place reputed to be haunted would be in the company of your family and entourage. If a ghost showed up, your children would haul him off to the nearest bar and force her/him to do karaoke.

We visited the Pea Ridge Battlefield one summer, and it was totally spooky. We went through the trails in the woods, and I felt like we were being watched the whole time.

Oh, and the new book series sounds like great fun!

No haunts for me but sounds like you all had a great time!

I don't believe in ghosts. But don't tell Nearly Headless Nick.

Sounds like y'all had a ball.

Okay, now I'm officially jealous - your family trips are SO much cooler than any of the ones I got dragged along on as a kid! You had axe murder reenactments, while we visited the world's largest ball of string, trekking for endless miles packed into an old station wagon. No fair!

Diane and I do our writers retreat at a reputedly haunted house. Others of our group have had experiences there. I stay in my room at night with my head under the covers.

I'm with Keith - your family trips are beyond cool!
This one sounds exceptionally cool.

Heather, that sounds like a blast. Food coloring and Vaseline! LOL! Will have to remember that trick come next Halloween. Sounds like the series will be very spooky. When I read them I will think of Dennis dressed as Jack the Ripper!

I was actually at The Mrytles, years ago, but it wasn't to look at ghosts - it was an art and architecture thingy. But sounds like you had a wonderful time - I know Piks did. Your excursions are way cool!

You always have the BEST trailers and the best trips! This one will be one of the goodies.
No ghosts here in Miami but you know where in Florida to find them. :))
Waiting for both your trailer and the books now.

Ghosts or no, I love any excuse to step back in time! I hope I can visit the Myrtles someday. Until then, I'll have fun reading about it when your book comes out!

Harley, I slept curled on the love seat! I love the plantations, and Oak Alley, Nottaway, and others are fantastic to see, too. Linda! The Biltmore is one of the most haunted structures in the world--they do a great tour. Was empty for years, Capone had a man killed there, suicide from the tower . . . a friend who worked at a once upon a time Waldens was a guard there, and he said he saw things with his own eyes . . . gotta see if I can host up a breakfast there or somthing!

My DH and I had the opportunity to spend the night on the Queen Mary ship docked in Long Beach, Ca.
Rumors were that a ghost resided near the indoor swimming pool area and my DH and his friend went "ghost hunting" that evening.
My husband lived in Nova Scotia were there was a spooky house in the neighborhood. His mom made my husband "exorcise" the ghost next door and alas the lamp swinging from the stair ceiling was never demystified.

I expected ghosts when we bought a house in Salem, but ours is not haunted. That said, my mother occasionally tilts her photo on the wall if I'm doing something she doesn't like. She has been doing that since about six months after her passing. It doesn't happen often, but it is really humorous when it does.

Heather, what a creative group you assembled, and such beautiful costumes! Sounds like you had a hair-raising good time.

I worked in St. Francisville for a few months a couple of years ago. Off the top of my head I can't imagine where you went to eat that could seat 24 people at once. :) Maybe the pizza place?

Sounds like a blast.

Breakfast at the Biltmore? (Jumping up & down.) I'm there!!! Speaking of ghosts...I sleep with the light on because if there is a ghost about, I'll probably see or feel it. Not kidding folks though I do my darnest NOT to pay attention or be caught in full dark alone.

No ghosts in our condo, but my upstairs neighbor clog dances at midnight.
Delightful blog, Heather.

this looked like so much fun! if you ever need another extra, I'm available :) You have to keep us posted on whether or not the Peace River peeps find anything!

Elaine, that sounds like a great book title: "Clog Dances at Midnight".

As you know, Heather, this 'head in the clouds' gal didn't even know we headed for a HAUNTED plantation until the day before. REALLY!! I should pay attention. But, that said, nothing would have stopped me from joining in the fun . . .the haunting and taking videos behind the scenes. I wish you wonderful success with your trailer . . . will post the videos on YOUTUBE ASAP. xox Piks

It sounds like a great time that produced a great video. I am looking forward to seeing it as well as reading another of your wonderful stories.
If you ever need another extra, count me in. Your family is an amazing bunch of people who truly care about each other. The love you share touches me.
The fun you all have makes me want to be there too!
Good luck Heather. You got me on your team as well as a whole host of others who are enriched when they share time with all of you.
Go Heather, Go!!!

Heather, what a fun trip. I've seen several programs on Myrtle's Plantation and it's ghosts, and I think it would be an interesting place to stay. Please let us know if something shows up in the ghost hunter group's analysis.

I've had some ghostly experiences and photographed some pretty eerie shapes...way more than just orbs...in the undercroft of the Baltimore church where Edgar Allan Poe is buried and at Fort McHenry.

My niece and her family once lived in a split-foyer house in Johnson City TN that was probably haunted. Strange shapes would show up on pictures taken in the house, and in the middle of the night, the TV would suddenly turn on at full blast.

One of my sisters knows several days in advance when bad things are about to happen to members of our family. Unfortunately she can't do anything to stop them. One Thursday many years ago, she knew her first husband was going to have an accident sometime that weekend, so she hid all the car keys. On Saturday he was trying out a friend's new motorcycle and had a pretty bad wreck. Her feeling was right, but all she could do was watch her premonition unfold.

It all goes back to the Irish Catholic thing. The Irish believe in everything. (Might be the spirits they consume, too!) And Catholics already say that they believe in a holy ghost . . .
Ach! I don't remember the name of the restaurant--but Ginger (our impromptu actor!) was the host, and they had to open another side of the restaurant.
I don't know what I really believe, but even Jason--self proclaimed ghost repellent--is open. There's just so much schlock--that's why I love the Peace River Ghost group so much. They're searching. And I must say, though I'm a horrible coward, I would love to stumble upon something. I have seen people with uncanny abilities to know when something is up around them, so . . . we do only use about a tenth of our brain power. Maybe we haven't discovered what we need to know about ourselves yet!

I once ran into a ghost. A friend's grandfather had recently passed and several of us gathered to watch TV in her Florida room. I needed to go to the bathroom and all the lights were off in the house. As I mentioned before, I get a little spooked in total darkness so I put my head down and rushed down the hall and ran headlong into a solid object. I said sorry to her grandfather then suddenly remembered he was deceased. When I looked up, no one was there. Call me crazy but I still want to go to the Biltmore! ;-)

Sounds like an absolutely scrumptious trip. I often watch those ghost stories on TV, the history channel, etc. But you went there to meet them face to face. This will be an exciting series for paranormal lovers. But then, all your books, are great. Thanks for an interesting play by play.
Cynthia Thomason

Heather, back in 1986 I worked for a firm that helped finance the restoration of the Biltmore. They had a swanky reception there to celebrate the renovation. I remember having chills run down my spine as I looked around, without knowing the hotel's history. It just "felt" haunted and had this eerie energy about it. Spooky as hell!

Being born and raised in Louisiana, I thought the Myrtles Plantation would be an excellent place for Heather's video. It just so happens that Teeta LeBleu Moss, the owner of the Myrtles, has a brother that actually coached at my High School at the time I was there. I remember Coach LeBleu very well. Small world.

Heather as always looked amazing, as did everyone else. Since Heather and I have been doing film shoots and whatever else she can imagine, for as long as I can remember, we always have fun and make a lot of good memories.

It was such fun to have Piks, Teresa, Kathy and Bridget there. They all looked great. And it's always fun to be with the Shayne, Bryee, Jason and Juan. Bryee would look good in a gunny sack.

The axe was so messy....yuck...petrolem jelly and red food coloring...stayed on my nails for a week. But it did look good.

Enjoy all of Heather's new books. They will be unforgettable reads.

Sounds like y'all had a fabulous experience. I had to research haunted resorts for Dead Roots, one of my Bad Hair Day mysteries. Florida has lots of sites but the plantation where you filmed your video sounds amazing.

Connie came! Connie commented!

For those of you who do not know Connie, she is the most divine costumer, as well as friend, mom, and performer. Without Connie, we'd all be doing the Vampire Ball in sweatpants.

Heather, this sounds like such a fun trip. I can imagine the woman on the ground, playing dead in the cold. I hope we will be able to see the trailer soon. Never went to haunted places, but you make it look like a lot of fun. Can I be part of the team, next time? Even a dead body.

You guys do have the best trips! I think it's wonderful that you involve your clan in your trailers. They'll be the best "home movies" ever.

Sounds like a fun trip. I've been on several ghost tours, but never really saw anything or felt anything on those. I have had my own experiences with spirits--I mean ghosts!--so I think it would be fun to parade around in a costume and play the part and see if anything turns up on film. What fun!

(About 2 years ago, I went to the Winchester House in California. It was really creepy. I wouldn't stay for one moment in that house alone. We took a lot of pictures, but we really never went back over them to see if we caught any orbs.)

So long as the ghosts leave me alone, we're cool. I have no desire to meet one face to face. I have enough problems with the living let alone bad dreams. However, what you and your family and friends do is so cool!

Fantastic post, Heather! Sounds like you guys had a blast. Me, I've got ghosties all around. Kind of goes with the territory. I'm looking forward to the books. I'm reading The Killing Edge right now and am really enjoying it.

I grew up in a very old house that used to be a brothel. It had interesting ghosts.

Hi Heather, love the blog! I grew up in south america. We spent summers in the mountains where the native indians worked the land by day and by night they loved to scare us city kids with ghost stories, all sat around a bonfire, under the stars. Their stories about the superpowers of El Duende kept us up all night.

Great story. I feel like I was there! (I wish I had been.)

Can't wait to see the finished trailers. I know they'll be spectacular.

Hi Heather,

Got ghosts? Oh hell yeah. LOL. I seem to be a magnet for them. A good place to go to for ghost sightings is Cassadaga 45mins outside Orlando, FL. I've had some awesome experiences there. It's a little spiritual town filled with psychics and mediums.

It sounds like you had a great time. Give my love to the family.

Kisses Lyn

Oh my.....love the Ghosties and Banshee's! Enjoyed your story Heather. We all miss you in Lafayette especially when we all went to New Orleans. Take care....I may see you in LA


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