THE INSPIRATION BEHIND THE GHOST CHRONICLES

The best stories lie at the intersection of truth and imagination. The Ghost Chronicles series began this way, as well. I had my ‘eureka’ moment one day while sitting on the beach in the Outerbanks of North Carolina (for those of you who don’t know where that is, I urge you to find out and go visit). At the time, I was reading Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. Chapter Eight, The Deathday Party, deals with ghosts and what it might be like to ‘live’ in the afterlife, so that provided the spark that ignited the fire to write The Ghost Chronicles. As a flood of ideas filled my head, I scribbled down a rough outline and the book quickly took shape.

That was the imagination part, but let’s face it, we also distill our own personal experiences and our own truth into our novels. When I was seventeen I was in a car accident that was not my fault. An accident that almost took my life. The thought of ‘what if I had died’ has been one that has haunted me ever since. So immediately I knew I wanted The Ghost Chronicles to be not only a story of what it’s like to be stuck in the afterlife, but I also wanted it to be about a boy who dies tragically through no fault of his own. The kind of story ripped from the headlines about a promising young person who has their life taken away far too soon. Unfortunately we read these stories nearly every day in the newspaper or see them on TV. The kind of young person you hear has died and you find yourself thinking, What a shame. They had so much going for them, such a promising future. Why did that have to happen? For this reason, this book was the book of my heart. I wanted it to be as realistic a story as possible of what it might be like to die tragically and be trapped in the afterlife as a ghost. Let’s face it, we all have to die and none of us can say with certainty what happens when we do. It’s the biggest fear of the unknown there is! Oh, we may think we know, or may have certain beliefs about what might happen, but what if it doesn’t happen that way? What if you are suddenly and unfairly taken from this life and now you’re stuck and don’t know why? How angry would you be? What would you do? How much would you begin to question all you’ve ever believed in? It won’t be completely apparent until later in the series, but I wanted it to be a story of great hope for anyone who has tragically lost someone they love, especially someone young. I’m also hoping readers will take away the theme embodied in this quote from the book – “Cherish life, it’s absolutely precious.”

angelcompleteviewThe setting for most of the story was inspired by The Angel of the Sea, an award-winning bed and breakfast in Cape May, NJ that I visited several years ago and fell in love with. This spectacular inn has been featured on several television programs and in magazines throughout the world. Most notably, it was chosen by Oprah Winfrey as one of the “Best Vacations in the World” and included in her television talk show. The Angel of the Sea is one of the most recognized Victorian structures in the United States. Legend has it that in the late 1960’s, a girl did fall to her death at the Angel of the Sea and did at one time, haunt the inn. The story of the girl has been included in several non-fiction books about ghosts in Cape May. Sarah’s character in The Ghost Chronicles was inspired by this legend. You can learn more about The Angel of the Sea by visiting ANGEL OF THE SEA, CAPE MAY.

The Ghost Chronicles is a planned trilogy and the third book will be out in February of next year. If you’ve already read The Ghost Chronicles 1 & 2, I hope you’ll leave reviews everywhere. Doesn’t have to be a long review, just a line or two will do 🙂

All best,

~Marlo

P.S. Here are some of the previous reviews for the series:

“A haunting journey that will leave readers craving more.” – Natalie Zaman, co-author of the Sirenz series and Blonde Ops

“…Berliner’s touches give her novel innovation…” and“…dramatic and paranormal elements give this winsome tale flavor.” – Kirkus

“I loved The Ghost Chronicles. Simply loved it. Billed as a young adult novel with crossover appeal for the adult crowd, this book certainly got the attention of this adult…I highly recommend this book, and look forward to reading more from the extremely promising and talented new author, Marlo Berliner, as soon as I possibly can!” – Tracy A. Fischer for Readers’ Favorite, 5-stars

“…a most beguiling, intriguing, mystery-filled adventure. With a literary nod to the movie Ghost…and a certain resonance with the Odd Thomas series by the master of the genre, Dean Koontz, the story does remind us frequently that it is intended for Young Adults. And yet, the excellent plotting, precise editing, and well-projected development of storyline all guarantee that the writing is also perfectly suitable for an Old Adult.” – Joel R. Dennstedt for Readers’ Favorite, 5-stars

“This is an original and thought-provoking story that will keep readers wondering and looking forward to the next book in the series. It’s highly recommended.” – Jack Magnus for Readers’ Favorite, 5-stars

“For teens and adults alike, The Ghost Chronicles is an unusually thoughtful and mature take on supernatural romance that deserves attention for its efforts to break away from convention, all for the better. For curious readers old and new to the genre, The Ghost Chronicles is sure to set your mind ablaze, and puts “life” back into the “afterlife.” “ – James Grimsby for Self-Publishing Review, 4.5-stars

“I loved this book right from the beginning… I loved following Michael on his journey and I could feel the emotions behind the entire story. The sadness that his mother felt; Michael’s frustration and anger. Empathy for Melissa. I am not one who typically reads books more than once, but this one will remain on my Kindle to read again in the future. That doesn’t happen often, but when I find a book like this, it’s a treasure to hang on to!” – Leila, Life as Leels, 5 stars

I was pulled right into this story… I will definitely be reading the second book! – Stephanie’s Book Reviews, 5 stars

“Everything in this book seems to be written with great thought and care. Nothing seemed to be rushed or ignored…Paranormal that makes sense? Too good. Learning how to be dead? Yes, please!” Enthralling Dimple

“This is definitely one to add to your (probably neverending) TBR. With exciting characters, a heartbreaking narrative, and a story that will leave you bursting with questions in anticipation for the next book, Marlo is one to watch.” – Between The Pages, 4 stars

“This was a well written, steadily moving, paranormal tale…The characters are well defined and very realistic. The scenes are easily visualized. – Rockin’ Book Reviews

“This series continues to be spell-binding!” – Natalie Zaman, Author of Magical Destinations of the Northeast

“With wonderfully competent writing and a powerfully concise style, Ms. Berliner easily holds her readers enthralled throughout this high-octane, thrilling ride.” – Joel R. Dennstedt, Readers’ Favorite, 5-stars

“There is so much for readers in this book and the author makes it feel so real that readers find themselves believing in the mysterious world she creates.” Divine Zape, Reader’s Favorite, 5-stars

“Paranormal YA fiction at its best!”Melinda Hills, Reader’s Favorite, 5-stars

“This episode of the Ghost Chronicles was action packed.” – Stephanie’s Book Reviews

“If you love all things supernatural, you’ll adore this addictive series. A must read and highly recommend!” – N.N. Light

 

Goodreads Giveaway for THE GHOST CHRONICLES 2!

We’re having a Goodreads Giveaway! Enter for a chance to win one of 100 Kindle copies of THE GHOST CHRONICLES 2!

Hurry, ends March 5th!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Ghost Chronicles 2 by Marlo Berliner

The Ghost Chronicles 2

by Marlo Berliner

Giveaway ends March 05, 2018.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

 

**If you love ghost stories and the paranormal, then THE GHOST CHRONICLES series is the perfect new read for you!**

What’s there to fear if you’re already dead?

Plenty.

Michael and Sarah now know for certain, there is a destination after death.

They also know they better find their way out of the afterlife fast, before the devil claims Michael’s soul.

What they don’t know?

Before they can get to heaven…

they may just have to go through hell.

*Inspired by the legend of a haunting at the famous Angel of the Sea bed and breakfast in Cape May, NJ*

May the odds be ever in your favor!

XOXO

~Marlo

Scenes in THE GHOST CHRONICLES 2

Many, many readers have reached out to me saying they love Cape May, the main setting for my award-winning series, THE GHOST CHRONICLES. Some have asked me to share pictures and one even asked if I could include a map of Cape May with all the landmarks in the next book! So, I thought it might be fun to let you all see some of my pictures of the actual places I visited and researched in Cape May, Wildwood, and Atlantic City, NJ. As best I can, I’ve tried to put these in the order in which they appear in Book Two.

First, there’s the Angel of the Sea, the famous bed and breakfast where Michael meets Sarah in Book One and where they spend much of their time in Book Two. An artist’s rendition graces the cover of THE GHOST CHRONICLES 1 & 2, but here’s what the beautiful hotel looks like in real life, both lit up at night and snow-covered.

In Chapter Two, Michael and Sarah take a late night stroll around the Washington Street Mall on Christmas Eve. This is a picture I took on a snowy evening, much like the scene in the book. Is the pedestrian mall deserted, or full of spirits milling about? I’ll let you use your imagination.

This is the sign which I also mention in Chapter Two.

This is a picture of the Sweet Shop with the replica Ferris Wheel in the window, which also gets a mention. I changed the name from Sweet House to Cape May Sweet Shop, because I thought it had a nicer ring to it.

The next picture includes a close up of Whales Tale, and the antique pedestal clock (we all know why that’s so important). Incidentally, to the best of my knowledge the clock doesn’t actually chime, so I took a little literary license with that detail 🙂

 

Here are two pictures of Our Lady Star of the Sea, the church that appears in Chapter Three, seen here with a closeup of the bell tower.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is the wreckage of the S.S. Atlantus, which sits just offshore at Sunset Beach and plays an important role in Chapter Three.

Now, I couldn’t wait to share these pictures of Congress Hall! This is the place where Chapter Eight and the New Year’s Eve Glitter Ball takes place. As you can see, the building does resemble a Southern-style plantation. They give tours and I highly recommend taking one.

This is Juno’s Anchor, which can be found at the back of Congress Hall.

This is Congress Hall’s ballroom and it really is painted the exact blue of a Tiffany gift box. When it was being renovated, they polled the staff as to what color the room should be painted and Tiffany’s signature version of Robin’s egg blue was what they decided upon. On the podium in the right hand corner you can even see the Congress Hall logo with the key between the C and the H.

And at Christmastime, they really do line Founders Hall (the bottom floor of Congress Hall) with floor-to-ceiling candy canes and evergreen. Towards the far end of the hall you can see where the marble floor does indeed turn to wood. Bottom left is even the gingerbread house replica of Congress Hall that gets mentioned in the book too 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In Chapter Thirteen, Michael and Sarah find themselves in Wildwood for Valentine’s Day. This is the roller coaster in that scene and we all know what happens here  🙂

Later, in Chapter Fifteen, our ghosts visit Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City. I was lucky enough to get a private tour of Boardwalk Hall (which really is the size of an airplane hangar). The second picture is of the console of ‘Poseiden’, the grand organ and largest musical instrument in the world, which they played just for me 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

Towards the end of the book, we all know there are pivotal scenes which take place in Wildwood. This is the Giant Wheel on Mariner’s Pier.

 

This is the side-view of the Giant Wheel and Sea Serpent rides. Notice the diagonal supports that hold up the  Ferris Wheel and the tall incline of the Sea Serpent in front of the wheel 😉

Finally, here is the Dante’s Dungeon ride on the Surfside Pier.

In a later post, I’m going to go back and show you the pictures from Boston and Saugus. But this post was long enough, so I thought I’d just stick with the NJ pictures.

If you haven’t read the books yet, now is a great time! THE GHOST CHRONICLES 1 is free if you have Amazon Prime or Kindle Unlimited. It’s also available at B&N, too 🙂

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Barnes & Noble

And THE GHOST CHRONICLES 2 is also out now:

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Barnes & Noble

And if you’d like a signed copy, I’ll be at Barnes & Noble in Bridgewater, NJ this Saturday, 2/3 from 6-9 PM for Harry Potter Night! All the details can be found on my Events/Contact page.

Hope you enjoyed the post and if you have any questions, please leave them in the comments below! Oh, and if you have read the books and have a minute, please leave a review (especially on Amazon) – it really helps out an author 🙂

~Marlo

Another New Release!

Just because I’m full of surprises, I’d like to announce my latest release, Lessons of Hope and Light! The cover was designed by my very talented son, Michael Berliner, and the book is dedicated to my Aunt Catherine who was very dear to me and passed away in 2016.

Lessons of Hope and Light is a thought-provoking collection of three inspirational short stories – The Lucky One, The Gift, and The Journey. While this isn’t my usual writing genre, I am proud of these stories and hope you will enjoy them.

One of the stories, The Gift, was awarded an Honorable Mention in the 79th Annual Writer’s Digest Competition in the Mainstream/Literary Short Story Category. The Lucky One was a short story I entered in another Writer’s Digest Competition. The Journey is my favorite of the three though, because I still wonder to this day why I was so compelled to write it and where the idea even came from. I woke up one morning with the story fully formed in my head and dashed downstairs to put it first on paper and then on my computer. The Journey teaches five spiritual lessons in a one-page story. When a local priest I know read it, he said it was “as powerful as the poem Footprints.”

As an added bonus, the collection also includes a sneak peek at the first chapter of my award-winning debut book, THE GHOST CHRONICLES.

The book is available on Amazon as an ebook: LESSONS OF HOPE AND LIGHT

I’m also on a Virtual Book Tour for THE GHOST CHRONICLES 2 which was just released! What does that mean? It means you should stop by one of the websites on the tour, check out all the great bonus content, and enter to win a $20 Amazon e-giftcard just in time for the holidays! You can find all the tour stops here: Prism Book Tour

Have a Happy Halloween!

Cover Reveal for THE GHOST CHRONICLES 2 and a Giveaway!

Big news to share! I’m revealing the cover today for THE GHOST CHRONICLES 2

at the RT Convention in Atlanta!

First, here’s the back cover blurb about the book:

What’s there to fear if you’re already dead?
Plenty.
Michael and Sarah now know for certain,
there is a destination after death.
They also know they better find their way out of the afterlife fast,
before the devil claims Michael’s soul.
What they don’t know?
Before they can get to heaven…they may just have to go through hell.

Behold the cover of THE GHOST CHRONICLES 2!

It was designed by the fabulous S.P. McConnell!

THE GHOST CHRONICLES 2 FRONT COVER (Final)

And the pre-order for the ebook is up on Amazon!

THE GHOST CHRONICLES 2 ON KINDLE

To celebrate I’m also doing a giveaway for the first book in the series:

Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Ghost Chronicles by Marlo Berliner

The Ghost Chronicles

by Marlo Berliner

Giveaway ends May 09, 2017.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway