Please welcome guest blogger Debra Jayne East. We are so excited to have you!
It was just one of the days when I had the television on, and I was not really listening, but passing by from time to time glancing at the news on the Today program. One such walk through my kitchen halted me in my steps, and I sat down and watched the entire segment. It was about a documentary called, “No One Ever Dies in Lily Dale.”
I was mesmerized and curious about the small town in Pomfret, New York, that was home to the largest Spiritualist community in the world. Lily Dale got its name because it sits on Cassadaga Lake, which is abundant with water lilies. In the 1840s, Kate and Margaret Fox moved to town and gained fame when it was reported that they were able to communicate with the dead, for real. After that, with a boost from the Spiritualist movement that was prominent at the time, word got around very quickly.
Soon, psychics, mediums and clairvoyants were filling up the small quaint town. Over the years, it has become a huge tourist attraction for the small nest of 300 odd residents who live there. The Victorian hamlet’s picturesque scenes and peacefulness soothe the hoards of over 200,000 visitors that flock there every year. Through the decades, hotels, amphitheaters, and auditoriums have sprung up. Psychic residents welcome visitors into their homes for private and professional readings.
Wonder what else to do when you get there? How about a tour guide who will take you on a "ghost walk" to see the darker side of Lily Dale? Don’t be surprised if you notice unexplained lights near the healing temple, or see spooky paintings in the ancient schoolhouse or visit the lake where apparitions have been seen floating in the mist.
It should be noted that women have played a strong role in the Spiritualist movement that still thrives there with its history of women providing a common link between the living and those that have died, dating back to the movement’s founders, the Fox sisters. Speakers at Lily Dale have included Susan B. Anthony in 1891 and Elizabeth Lowe Watson, both pioneers in the suffrage movement.
After watching the documentary, its imagery and magic stayed with me. Being a writer, I dreamed of a special place where two worlds crossed over and fantasy became real. Lily Dale is that place. So much, that I included a visit for my heroine, Marena Jacobs, in my paranormal romance “Radiance: Love after Death.”
Someday, I will go on that pilgrimage to Lily Dale and experience for myself the spell of tranquility it leaves with all who enters its gates. Many people go back year after year, feeling drawn to its sanctuary of beauty and peace.
In the meantime, I hope you will read my story that Lily Dale inspired. Who knows, maybe it won’t be far fetched as it seems, but you’ll have to read it for yourself!
Marena Jacobs is involved in a car accident that very well should have taken her life if not for the intervention of otherworldly forces. She has thrown herself into her work to ease the pain, but she just can’t forget the past. Divorced from her childhood sweetheart, Ben, she never expected to be looking for love at her age. If not for finding an odd heart-shaped stone, she doesn’t know if she would even be here at all. The stone carries a message, even though your heart is broken, you can love again.
After waking from a coma, Marena has a long road to recovery. Looking for a change of scenery, she becomes a caretaker for a friend's home when the original house sitter failed to appear.
When the arrival of David Martin - the person originally hired to care for the house - Marena's life gets a bit more complicated.
No sooner than her new relationship begins it ends abruptly.
She ends up in Lily Dale, New York searching for the blind man she has become to love. Trouble is, someone else there does not want her to find him. Is she brave enough to keep on looking? You will believe true love never dies.
Thanks for having me as your guest and happy Halloween everyone!
Debra Jayne East was born the oldest of six girls in Martinsville, Virginia. For as long as she could remember, she loved to keep journals, write poetry and short stories. She researched her family tree and suddenly she understood why. Her distant relative, Violet Florence Martin was an Irish author, born in 1862, who co-wrote a series of novels with cousin Edith Somerville under the pen name of Martin Ross in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Learning about her heritage encouraged her to follow her dreams. After she encountered a near-death experience during a routine surgery, she realized her time had come to follow her heart and realize her calling to be a writer. Her first novel, Radiance:Love after Death was released by XOXO Publishing in June of last year. Debra lives in North Carolina close to the Blue Ridge Parkway and enjoys photography, volunteering and spending time with her family.
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