The “Paranormal” Element in Oxford Whispers…and a Giveaway!

Marion Croslydon 2Marion Croslydon’s parents are terribly disappointed with her…

They wanted her to have a serious job, providing financial stability and social standing. For years, she really tried to make them happy; she studied hard, got into top schools, graduated with honors and found a high-achieving job.

But deep down, Marion was miserable. She never wanted to be a top executive, brokering deals in New York, London or Tokyo. Marion wanted to be… a ROMANCE WRITER. She wanted to spend her days in that good ol’ tracksuit of hers, in front of her laptop, popping down Oreos like there was no tomorrow. She wanted to fall in love with a different man each time she wrote the first line of a new book (while being happily married to the most handsome man in Great Britain).

That’s exactly what Marion does these days, and it makes her incredibly happy. She loves to share these happy vibes, talk book crush, fictional boyfriends and sexual chemistry with like-minded people. And because she spends most of her days on her own deep inside her writing cave, you are welcome to come and say “hello” from time to time. Just to make sure she doesn’t sink into insanity.

Her friends, family and arch-enemies (there are quite a few) will be forever grateful for your help.

That’s where you can find her:

I have a natural inclination for the occult and magic. My maternal family has gypsy roots to start with, but my heroine Madison has an even more powerful heritage to deal with since she comes from a long line of Voodoo Queens and Voodoo Priestesses. Voodoo-ism has always fascinated me. There are so many misconceptions starting with the clichés derived from watching James Bond’s Live and Let Die too many times 😉

I was born in West Africa, where Voodoo originates. When I had to leave, aged four, I left a piece of my heart behind. Elizabeth was the name of my nanny. She looked after me as if I were her own, carried me on her back in the traditional African way. This proud and kind lady gave me one of my most precious possessions: a Voodoo gris-gris. It was a leather pouch with a small shell on top of it. She had hung it on a rough thread so that I could carry it around my neck. It was meant to protect me from evil spirits and bring me luck.

Oxford WhispersI took that gris-gris everywhere with me: Each time I took an important exam at school, on my first day in a new job, even when I went to hospital and gave birth to my daughter. Elizabeth passed away many, many years ago, but I know she still looks after me from above and uses a few Voodoo tricks to make my life a happier path to follow.

The idea of mixing Madison’s Voodoo heritage with psychic abilities came to me when I visited Louisiana and New Orleans… and, to be honest, in obsessing about True Blood. The storyline in which Lafayette is possessed with the spirit of Mavis (Season 4) teased my imagination. If you read Oxford Whispers, you might not see the similarities with Lafayette, but that’s how my story was born somewhere in a remote corner of my imagination.

Now, my book is titled Oxford Whispers for a reason… It takes place in misty, foggy, Jack-The-Ripper-y England. If Madison is a true daughter of the South, the ghosts who are haunting her are characters from seventeenth-century England, Royalists versus Puritans. The haunting is taking place in Tudor Manor houses and the dark cobbled streets of Oxford.

Why? Because I studied there and spent many weekends in its surrounding countryside of the Cotswolds. It was a natural place to choose as a setting because I was so familiar with it. And anyway, everybody knows that ghosts originate from Britain!


Leave a comment below and you’ll be entered in the drawing

for an electronic or signed print copy (winner’s choice) of

Oxford Whispers by Marion Croslydon. The winning name will be

drawn on the evening of Friday, March 15th. Open internationally.

Madison LeBon is dead set against the dead. She has vowed to ignore her Voodoo-stamped heritage and the
psychic gift passed down through her Louisiana family. The world of the living is where she wants to belong.

But her resolution shatters when the tragic lovers in a painting—the subject of her first history class at
Oxford—begin to haunt her. The lovers warn her against their own nemesis, a Puritan from the English Civil War.

College becomes more complicated when she falls hard for Rupert Vance, a troubled aristocrat and
descendant of one of the characters in the painting.

With the spirit of a murderer after her, Madison comes to realize that her own first love may be doomed…


Book Reviews: Dark City Blue by Luke Preston, In the Bleak Midwinter by M. R. Sellars, and The Trajectory of Dreams by Nicole Wolverton

Dark City BlueDark City Blue
Luke Preston
Momentum/ Pan Macmillan Australia, December 2012
ISBN 9781743341018
Also available in trade paperback

When the bad guys wear blue, who do you trust? Strap in tight, because this trip will be fast and furious, and if you’re not careful, fatal. The action never slows in this shoot ’em up and heavy hittin’ tale of one man’s mission to halt the widespread corruption in the law enforcement community.

Detective Tom Bishop is on the trail of dirty cops. After a takedown of an illegal pornography operation, one of the felons squeals about robbery going down the next morning involving bad cops. Bishop discovers the robbery too late, but subsequent investigation puts him on the run from members of his own department. Not knowing who to trust, beaten, shot and pursued, Bishop wades through the muck of the city to find the answers and to reveal the mysterious entity known as Justice.

Yes, the action is fast, the chapters short and I wish the story would have slowed down a little to let me see some more depth. The story never mentions in what town this all happens. Everything went so quickly, I think the author forgot first names for some of his characters. However, Dark City Blue might leave you blue in the face trying to catch your breath and leave you wanting another go-round at the end.

Reviewed by Stephen L. Brayton, December 2012.
Author of Night Shadows, Beta and Alpha.


In the Bleak MidwinterIn The Bleak Midwinter
A Special Agent Constance Mandalay Novel
M. R. Sellars
WillowTree Press / E.M.A. Mysteries, Ocober 2011
ISBN 9780979453380
Trade Paperback

A case to span the decades. A girl lost in time. A small community haunted by an annual murder. An FBI agent forced to spend her Christmas hunting a murderer. This is what you’ll find in the latest Sellars supernaturally laced mystery novel. Travel to northern Missouri where Christmas isn’t celebrated with the usual traditions. It’s a story to give you chills…and not because of the cold weather.

In 1975, a few days before Christmas, a little girl in the small Missouri township of Hullis runs afoul of a child molester. Deputy Skip Carmichael receives the first call on the case, but his discoveries are more than he imagined. Thirty-five years later, Sheriff Skip is dealing with a serial killer who drops bodies off in his town seven years running. This year, he receives a visit from the fifth FBI investigator to handle the case in the form of Constance Mandalay. Will this year be any different or can Mandalay and Carmichael ferret out the anomalies and inconsistencies to the string of murders?

Something about this story kept me reading. I had questions right along with Mandalay and I wanted answers. This story compelled me to turn more pages. There isn’t much “shoot ’em up action” because it isn’t that type of story. Rather, it brushes you with eeriness, caresses with a soft touch of spooky. You’ll wait for it, but love when it’s revealed. Then, maybe, just as I did, walk away wondering if it will ever end.

Reviewed by Stephen L. Brayton, January 2013.
Author of Night Shadows, Beta and Alpha.


The Trajectory of DreamsThe Trajectory of Dreams
Nicole Wolverton
Bitingduck Press, March 2013
ISBN 978-1-938463-45-7

A woman shaped by her mother’s abusive nature and her father’s wisdom. A scientist convinced if she doesn’t keep a close eye on certain subjects, disaster may strike. Who is prepared to kill to keep her secrets. This is the story of Lela White. A strange tale that may confound some readers and fascinate others. Caution is the word here not because of any violence or graphic detail, but because this book is different from any other I’ve ever read and even after finishing it, I wasn’t quite sure I had absorbed it all.

Lela White works for a sleep study center in Houston. Part of her study involves the psychological condition of astronauts for upcoming shuttle missions. Not part of her study is her enigmatic compulsion to break in to the astronauts’ homes for a closer study on how they sleep…and to possibly kill them if she suspects they will be a danger to the mission. However, when she meets cosmonaut Zory Korchagin, who quotes poetry and speaks of his grandmother, her plans go awry as her attraction to him grows. Also messing with her plans are: a pesky librarian, a coworker and unwanted roommate and a janitor with whom she trades sexual favors for information. How does she solve her dilemma of whether Zory will be an asset or a liability to the upcoming space flight? Find a way to put him in mortal danger.

This one is a bit surreal, a bit of suspense, and not for the quick reader. This is something to be studied, analyzed, discussed. Layers flow through this story that, and as I mentioned earlier, I don’t think I quite touched upon them all. Lela is all but emotionless in that there is almost no distinction of her thoughts between sex and death. She’s a little paranoid, a little quirky, and just might stay with you long after you’ve read the final page.

Reviewed by Stephen L. Brayton, March 2013.
Author of Night Shadows, Beta and Alpha.