Wednesday, July 05, 2017

Heather Graham
Krewe of Hunters:
Dying Breath,  Dark Rites and Wicked Deeds
Dear Reader,                

       Massachusetts has a special place in my heart. 
       And, this summer, my Krewe of Hunters series features Massachusetts in Dying Breath and Dark Rites. (Dying Breath is out—Dark Rites is available July 30th.)                 
     Long ago (lol, really long ago!) I was just starting high school and met Dennis Pozzessere. A few years older than me, he attended junior college in Miami, waiting for me to head up to a four-year institute.
     We married a month after I graduated high school and headed off to the University of South Florida.                
     But, the point here is that, after meeting Dennis, I met my amazing family of in-laws.         Italians, they had come to the states to settle in Worcester, Massachusetts, and environs.                
     Dennis’s mom was one of six children; his dad was one of eleven.  
        Therefore, naturally, he had dozens upon dozens of aunts and uncles and cousins, all of whom were wonderful; I was always referred to as a niece or a cousin, as if I were blood, and not just an in-law.                
     This definitely had a huge effect on my life, in many ways.                
     Once we had our children, we most often spent our summers traveling up to Massachusetts from Miami; along the way, we stopped at museums, old churches, and fell in love with many cities and towns and the great history that went with each.                
     We also spent a great deal of time in Massachusetts, exploring Plymouth, Boston, Gloucester, Salem, the Cape, and,  the western part of the state, as well.                
     History has always fascinated me. I love the state so much because of the family and friends I have there—and because there is so much history—history that has shaped us today. While we will always be moving forward, we have come so far.                
     Once the Mayflower arrived and the Massachusetts Bay Colony was formed, Puritan rule was enforced—not just in Salem where the infamous Witch Trials were held, but throughout the colony.                
     The Puritans came for freedom to practice their religion— they did not allow others to do the same!                
     Quakers were forbidden to live in the Massachusetts Bay Colony—they would be expelled once, and then, if they returned, they were executed. (Hanging was the method; contrary to some fiction, neither they, nor any so-called witches--were ever burned at the stake in the Masaschusetts Bay Colony.)                   
    Puritan rule was harsh, as anyone knows who has read Nathaniel Hawthorne’s ‘Scarlet Letter’ or read up on the Witch Trials of 1692.
       They weren’t the first Puritan witch trials—in 1642, a rash of accusations rattle Puritan Hartford, Connecticut. Those eventually brought about seven trials (and dunkings) and four executions.                
     “Thou shall not suffer a witch to live!”                \
     Easy to understand, in a way, how good people became involved—fear was something prevalent in life. There was always the threat of Indian attack. The woods were dark and plentiful, death from natural causes was frequent without the antibiotics of our day, and the winters were severe.                
     Still, as a modern-day girl, I found it hard to forgive some of those wretched people from having executed a woman so good as Rebecca Nurse—and even those who were not so good—none of them deserved what befell them. And, I must admit, since they might be given a reprieve from their death sentence by admitting to the crime, I find it amazing that they were so steadfast to their beliefs in God that they would risk their immortal souls. (The way I see it, God would have forgiven such a lie, fully aware of why it had been spoken!) 
       But, out of the darkness often comes the light!                   
     Benjamin Franklin began life as a Puritan—and became an amazingly progressive man, one who helped bring us into our age of enlightenment.                 
        Cotton Mather—a man I found abominable for his determination to see George Burroughs executed in Salem, despite his ability to recite the Lord’s Prayer—became an odd member of a very small but progressive group when he supported the concept of inoculation against disease.                
     We, as humans, are an old bunch. All subject to the way we grow up—and to the fact that we are all unique, and have the ability to think for ourselves! 
        With history that’s deep and rich, with Boston, with Lexington and Concord, with so much beauty and natural wonder, Massachusetts, is simply an incredible place. Now diverse, with parks, museums, and more, it’s a wonderful place to live and to visit.                
     I love it—think I mentioned that!                
     About a decade back, my son, Derek, and daughter-in-law, Yevgeniya, were married there, at a place in Gloucester, called Hammond Castle. It was incredible. Derek wore a Graham tartan and his groomsmen were in Black Watch. My first dance with my newly married son was to Danny Boy; we did the tarantella to honor the Italian family, and toasts were plentiful, and most often in the Russian or Ukrainian language to honor my Ukrainian daughter-in-law’s family.                
     Hammond Castle is magnificent! It was built in the 1920s by John Hays Hammond, Jr., to house his collections of medieval, Roman, and Renaissance artifacts and is opened to the public now as a museum. Another must-see if you’re in the area.                
     For me, it was just another reason to love Massachusetts!                
     The best, of course, remains the family I acquired there! 
        But, whether you agree or disagree on my personal takes on history, I hope you’ll enjoy Dying Breath and Dark Rites. Both feature Vickie Preston and Griffin Pryce, as will the third book in the series, out at the end of September, Wicked Deeds.                
     The last book moves them to Maryland as they head to Krewe headquarters in Northern Virginia.                
     Maryland! Another great state.                
     And the last book features a special ghost, a man I’d truly love to have at one of those made-up dinner parties, Mr. Edgar Alan Poe.                
     Our great American author and father (many believe) of the modern mystery, and certainly, an icon in horror, managed to die under incredibly mysterious circumstances.                
     Thank you for reading this letter, and for supporting the Krewe, and/or, for just reading in general!                
     I hope to give you hours of entertainment, and, perhaps, curiosity—and maybe even a few minutes of, hm, I don’t agree with her at all!                                 
     May your summer be safe and well,                

     Heather Graham