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Thanks to Emily at “What Book Is That” for the thoughtful review of “The Doppelganger Song” during the Declare Your Independence Indie Author Giveaway Carnival.

…..The Doppelganger song isn’t a police procedural, and it isn’t a rip ’em tear ’em thriller.  It takes its time getting from point A to point B and isn’t afraid to make some stops in between, but if the reader stays focused and true to the end, it’s definitely worth getting to….

Read the whole review here. Be sure to leave a comment to be entered in the drawing to win a free copy of the book!

Heart breaking, Mind blowing

Thank you to Xchyler Conn for her kind words about The Doppelganger Song which she posted on her brand spanking new blog, Mystic Thoughts Authors.

I have to say that the beginning caught me off guard, They, Holly and her husband, live in separate states most of the year. Then as the story of Emma Ward unfolds so does their relationship. At times I did not know whether this case would bring them closer together or more distant. When you draw near the end you are torn in a few different directions and left for awhile not knowing what to think. I really enjoyed this book as well as the way Caitlin chooses her words. You can say heart breaking, mind blowing as well as a book that will make you sit and think when you describe this book! 4 out of 5 stars!!

Stop by Xchyler’s other busy blog here at Mystic Thoughts for more interviews and reviews of the latest fantasy fiction.

The Wife’s Tale

The Wife's Tale When I picked up The Wife’s Tale by Lori Lansens at the library last week I didn’t expect it to be one of those books I couldn’t put down. In fact, towards the end I tried to slow down to savor every sentence. Lansens comes from a background in screenwriting and I have a feeling that is one reason why this book clicked for me. Another reason is the way she brings the character to life. When I finished the book, I felt like I wanted to send Mary Gooch an e-mail just to see how she’s doing and to tell her what an inspiration I think she’s been to any woman stuck in a rut.

In an interview with Elle magazine, Lansens describes what happened to her when she began telling Mary Gooch’s story.

ELLE: You describe yourself as a method writer. Can you tell us more about how the characters take over when you’re writing?

LL: I either embody the characters, or they embody me. I definitely feel that I grow another skin. I must say that during the first half of writing The Wife’s Tale I developed some very poor health. I was in the emergency room twice with heart palpitations and panic attacks. As one of my actor friends pointed out: your body doesn’t know that you’re making art. You think about struggle and challenge and you imagine yourself weighing 302 pounds and being restricted and in despair. Your body doesn’t know that that’s not the case. I found the journey with Mary very interesting. I know it’s not the same for all writers, but I have heard other writers describe the experience that way. read more here

Lykke Li

Yesterday I heard this NPR interview with Lykke Li. I’m not a Twilight fan. I’m not saying I wouldn’t like it, but I just haven’t seen any of the movies or read the books…yet. But I was a fan of Lykke Li, so I was surprised when I heard her connection to the movie. Turns out she’d never heard of Twilight before she was asked to perform on the soundtrack of New Moon.

When asked what her latest album, Wounded Rhymes, will mean to her when she listens to it later in life she had this to say:

“I’m going to be like Benjamin Button; I’m just going to grow younger. I will probably be happy, fat, with kids and looking back and thinking, I was such a angry young woman. It’s the dark years before I kind of understood that life is hard, but it’s always beautiful.”


KiteMy co-author, Bill Shears, has received a great review from DesignZ by Dede for his sci-fi, Kite.

Inside Kite, an alarm screeched. This one more shrill than the last. In addition, lights flashed on the console. A disinterested institutional-grade, gender-non-specific voice was activated for this event, and it announced: “Reducible waste in Orbit #1. Inhabited craft endangered.” Dash woke wide up, but he still didnt’ rise from his couch.

“Now what?”

Out the front window he saw the two-seater skid ahead.


What do self-aware software, space debris, sly references to Douglas Adams’ Hitchhiker trilogy, and the Tunguska Event have in common? All appear in Bill Shears excellent novel “KiTE”.

Read the review.
Read a sample.
Purchase the book.

Doppelganger Syndrome

Today I was poking around the interwebs looking to find any type of medical explanation for Ms. Sagee’s condition. I found this on Wikipedia and quoted it below. However, this does not explain how her students were able to see (and feel) her double.

The syndrome of subjective doubles is a rare delusional misidentification syndrome in which a person experiences the delusion that he or she has a double or Doppelgänger with the same appearance, but usually with different character traits and leading a life of its own. Sometimes the patient has the idea that there is more than one double. The syndrome is usually the result of a neurological disorder, mental disorder or some form of brain damage, particularly to the right cerebral hemisphere. In some cases, the syndrome (also referred to as syndrome of Christodoulou) may be the result of delusional elaboration of autoscopic phenomena.

Sometimes the delusion takes the form of a conviction that whole or part of the patient’s personality has been transferred into another person. In this case depersonalization may be a symptom. One example from medical literature is of a man who became depersonalized after an operation and was convinced his brain had been placed into someone else’s head. He later claimed he recognized this person.

Oh dear. That’s all good and fine but I prefer something a little less clinical. For example the Norwegian Vardøger, the Irish Fetch, or even this.

Up From The Blue

I finished reading Up From The Blue by Susan Henderson two nights ago and I’m still not quite ready to pick up another book. This book took me back to my high school years, right back to the mid-70’s. Those were the days of pet rocks, bikes with banana seats, mood rings and family secrets.  No Internet. No cell phones. No personal computers. The story is told by Tilly, a young girl, whose mother suffers from depression, a disease without a name. Jennifer Haupt interviewed Ms. Henderson for Psychology Today and asks her about her research for Mara, Tilly’s mother. Here’s what she says:

Mara was pretty well formed in my mind, and I’d been a counselor for a number of years so I used my clinical knowledge to bring her to life. But in order to really see the world through her eyes and understand how she could spiral into something so debilitating, I actually read volumes of poems by Ann Sexton and Sylvia Plath.It’s interesting, though, that you and I can use the word depression because this isn’t part of the vocabulary of the Harris family. They’re living on a military base in the mid-seventies, and this isn’t the best time or place in history to have a breakdown. They’re simply blindsided and confused by what’s happening. And since there isn’t a name for it, Mara’s husband reaches for words like “lazy,” “stubborn,” and “helpless”. Shame begins to guide the choices they make, sending the family down a slippery slope.

What really intrigues me about Mara is that, while she’s far along on the spectrum of depression, she echoes the emotions I’ve heard from plenty of good and healthy moms. She feels buried by housework, depleted by Tillie’s need for attention, and she’s lost connection with the activities that feed her sense of passion and identity. Without the safety net of friends or an understanding spouse, or professional help, she’s really fighting this alone. At one point in the book, Tillie wonders who her mother might have been if they’d gotten her help. I wonder that, too.

I can’t help but think that despite the bad rap that social media gets…. as a place where identity thieves lurk waiting to scoop up your private information, or where so-called “friends” are not real friends, or as simply a big time-waster….I can’t help but think that had the same story taken place today, people like Mara, or even young Tilly, would find a support group, a friend to talk to, someone who’d know just what they were going through.

While I read Up From The Blue I had a chance to revisit the 70’s and immerse myself in the quiet dysfunction, but just as I was happy when Tilly grew up to be a flawed but forgiving woman,  I was grateful to return to the 21st century.

Mary Lake, Ghostly Headmistress

Seems like private schools for girls are ghost-friendly.  Here’s one story that sounds like it was ripped from the pages of The Doppelgänger Song. According to the legend:

Senator James G. Fair, who made a bundle of money from his silver mines in the Comstock lode, located in Nevada, built an elegant boarding / finishing school, a fine example of Victorian architecture, in his hometown of San Francisco, in 1889. In 1990, the boarding school opened, known as the THE MARY LAKE SCHOOL FOR GIRLS, mainly so his daughters Virginia and Tessie could move to San Francisco, to be near him. James G. Fair wanted to spend more time with his teen daughters, as his relationship with them was strained due to family dynamics.

Senator James G. Fair had a favorite mistress, Mary Lake. She became the Head Mistress, in charge of teaching 100 well-to-do girls the behavior norms of women from upper class society, including etiquette, social skills, and polite standards of the times. She truly enjoyed teaching and taking care of her young charges, as she loved the girls and earnestly took her position of responsibility very seriously.

However, the school closed in 1896, probably because of financial difficulties. Poor Mary was crushed when the school was closed. It broke her heart. She disappeared from San Francisco. The building sold a few years before the destructive earthquake of 1906, which leveled many parts of San Francisco through quake damage and fire, which resulted from the moving earth. This building was one of the lucky ones to escape the destruction!

Throughout the years, this building passed through many hands. In 1980, it was bought and given much needed renovation work, and opened for business as The Queen Anne B & B Hotel.

How exactly does Mary Lake make her presence known?

  • Psychic people have felt a benign presence throughout the hotel.
  • The entity of Mary Lake wanders around, keeping an eye on her “guests.” The most common occurrences are unexplainable cold spots and the sighting of a misty apparition of Mary Lake.
  • Gentle, concerned Mary Lake dedicates herself to making sure that her guests are comfortable, wanting them to have a pleasant stay. She has unpacked and hung up clothes, picks objects off the floor that were dropped, and has tucked covers in around people in the middle of the night.

Read more here and book your stay here.

Cornelia Hediger, Photographer

In 2008 Swiss photographer (and model) Cornelia Hediger exhibited her Doppelgänger Series at the Klompching Gallery in NYC. Each photograph was meticulously planned – props, fashion, and even wall color – and shot in Hediger’s own apartment. She says:

The characters that represent hope and despair, good and bad, past and present, face each other, watching and wondering if the other is trustworthy. This particular way of photographing allows me to look over my own shoulder and act out internal struggles in the external world.

I don’t know if it’s the cardigan sweater, the white stockings, or the heavy wooden swivel desk chair, but this photograph conjures up images of Emma, the school teacher in The Doppelganger Song.

Emilie Sagée

I came across the case of Emilie Sagée five years ago and worked it into my screenplay, The Fetch, the story of a teacher at who is haunted by her double. Set in an all-girls school outside of Philadelphia in the Fairmount Park area the screenplay incorporated pieces of the strange story, including the bit about the students who actually reached out and touched their teacher’s doppelganger.

Altereddimensions.net has quite an extensive account of this well-documented case.

One of the most documented cases of a doppelganger is the case of Emilie Sagee, a French woman who had lost 18 jobs in 16 years because of her evil twin. Emilee had taken a job at an exclusive school for the daughters of nobility where she became very popular with the students. Before long however, rumors began to circulate that Emilie could be in two places at the same time. Students claimed that during a French lesson, Emilee had been at the front of the class writing the lesson on the blackboard. With her back toward the children, an exact duplicate of her appeared about 3 feet from her. Mimicking her every move, the doppelganger appeared as an exact twin, dress and all, except the doppelgangers writing movements on the board produced no text because there was no chalk in her hand. Students also told stories of Emilee’s doppelganger roaming the school halls while Emilee was in her room fast asleep.

In another instance, witnessed by nearly 50 persons, the students were intently working in their sewing class while another teacher sat at the front of the room reading a book. Outside the window, the students could see Emilee working in the garden. The supervising teacher stood up and left the room. Seconds later, Emilee walked in and sat down in the empty chair. Students thought nothing of it until one gasped and pointed out the window where Emilee was still working diligently in the garden. Two of the students stood and approached the doppelganger and being quite brave, reached out and touched it. They said it looked just like Emilee Sagee in all aspects except when they ran their hands through the entity, they said it felt empty, like the stuff cobwebs are made of. Later Emilee Sagee had told school officials that she indeed had been outside picking flowers in the garden. She had not seen the doppelganger (in fact, Emilee never once saw her twin) but had in fact, wished to herself that she was in the classroom supervising the sewing class. School officials noted in their documentation that each time the doppelganger appeared to them, the real Emilee appeared lethargic and listless. Parents complained about the ghost and Emilee was summarily dismissed from her job.

Bill Shears and I reworked the screenplay into a novel, The Doppelganger Song. Emilie became Emma, the teacher at an all-girls school in the Bronx and Frank and Holly, a detective couple are called in to investigate when she falls from a window in what seems to be an attempt at suicide.