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Monday, December 22, 2014

Guest Post by Juliet Blackwell

Today we have Juliet Blackwell joining our blog.  She is the New York Times bestselling author of the Witchcraft Mystery series, featuring a powerful witch with a vintage clothes store in San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury. She also writes the Haunted Home Renovation Mystery series, about a failed anthropologist who reluctantly takes over her father’s high-end construction company…and finds ghosts behind the walls. As Hailey Lind, Blackwell wrote the Agatha-nominated Art Lover’s Mystery series, in which an ex-art forger attempts to go straight as a faux finisher. 

She is currently working on a novel about a woman who takes over her uncle’s locksmith shop in Paris, entitled The Paris Key. A former anthropologist and social worker, Juliet has worked in Mexico, Spain, Cuba, Italy, the Philippines, and France.

I am very excited to have her join us once again.  Please welcome Ms. Blackwell to our blog!

Top 10 Things I Learned While Writing Keeper of the Castle

For me, writing a book requires not only writing, but also a lot of research, plenty of days spent scoping out locales, and interviewing knowledgeable folks (in my case, everyone from ghostbusters to police officers to building inspectors). Luckily, I really, really, really love my job! I get to learn new things with each book.

So, without further ado, here are the top 10 things I learned while writing Keeper of the Castle:

1. William Randolph Hearst imported entire buildings – monasteries, churches, castles—from Europe to the United States. Stone by stone!

2. If you have two different ghosts from two different times and sources inhabiting your building, they might not be able to see or talk to each other.

3. Marin County’s building department is housed in a Civic Center designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.

4. The building is so futuristic-looking it was used as a set for the movie Gattica.

5. If you commit vandalism in Golden Gate Park, you are taken to a special little police satellite. And the people there are very nice to authors J

6. Making sure stone buildings are constructed safely in an earthquake zone is no picnic—it involves a lot of drilling, installation of rebar, and surrounding cage work.

7. It also requires a lot of special permit from the building department!

8. It looks pretty odd when someone makes the interior of a Victorian mansion into a Spanish-revival extravaganza complete with stucco walls, murals, and low arches (this was based on an actual house I visited)

9. Motivational speakers can be very odd…and also very motivating.

10. Hands down, the Pelican Inn serves the best fish and chips in the Bay Area! (and Dog agrees J)

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Thank you Ms. Blackwell for that Top Ten list.  I found the information about Hearst in the book fascinating.

Visit her at, join her on Facebook (JulietBlackwellAuthor) and on Twitter @JulietBlackwell

In case you need something to do with the kiddos, or you enjoy holiday crafts for decorations, take a look at this idea.

Homemade Christmas Wreath out of Recycled Materials

You'll need:

- Green acrylic paints
- Red acrylic paint
- cardboard tubes (like from paper towels or TP)
- sharp scissors
- glue (hot glue works well)

Paint the tubes green and let them dry. Cut them into 3/4" wide strips, flatten them to give them a seam like a flower petal and glue them together in groups of 5.
Once you get that done, form them into a wreath and glue them together to form a large circle.

Form a smaller circle, gluing the flowers together and then stack them onto the larger circle, making layers.

Glue small red beads in clusters of 3 throughout the wreath to look like holly berries.

That's it! Very easy, yet elegant.

Originally found this idea at (click here.)

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