Guest Chick: Anna M. Taylor

The Chicks are so happy to welcome Anna M. Taylor, visiting us today to share some fascinating insight into her new book, A Little in Love with Death.

More Things In Heaven And Earth

“There are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in your philosophy, Horatio.” – Hamlet, Act 1, scene 4

When I found this copy of an Edwin Booth playbill in the New York Public Library’s public domain digital archive, it took me back to my first encounter in the eighth grade with Hamlet’s sentiments. It also reminded me of my fascination with ghosts from Casper to the mischievous ghosts of the old TV show Topper. Years later I’ve had a lot of fun learning what those “more things” might be as I combine my love of mystery and the paranormal into mystery and paranormal writing.  For instance, did you know there are nine types of extrasensory perception?

Clairalience – The ability to get psychic impressions from the sense of smell.

Clairaudience – The ability to receive messages and information through psychic hearing.

Clairgustance – The paranormal ability to taste a substance without putting it in your mouth.

Clairsentience – The ability to feel the emotions of others.

Clairvoyance – The ability to see events without being physically present.

Mediumship – The ability to communicate with the spiritual world and talk to the deceased.

Precognition – The ability to see into the future.

Retrocognition – The ability to see into the distant past.

Telepathy – The ability to read the minds of others and know what they’re thinking.

Or that there are five types of ghosts?

The interactive personality – Ghosts that walk and talk and acknowledge the living

Ectoplasm – Phantoms that make the location of their haunting cold when they appear

Poltergeist – Ghosts usually malevolent who make their presence known through physical disturbances

Orbs – Souls appearing as white, blue or shiny spheres traveling from one place to another 

Funnel ghosts – Ghosts that haunt a particular old building or historic location

Just the sort of “more things” to be focused on when writing second chance romance ghost mysteries.

This research sent me down a rabbit warren of “What if” questions:

·      What if you were so sensitive to another person’s body language you could feel what they’re feeling?

·      What if you were so knowledgeable about a place or era or particular event you could see what took place there as if you were actually present?

·      What if we trained our five senses to their fullest capacity so that those nine types of ESP for some people are the norm?

·      What if we could harness our five senses so our ability to see, hear, taste, smell and touch transcended time and space?

·      What if being fully aware in the present moment also meant being in touch with a past that’s not only not dead, but in the words of William Faulkner “isn’t even past?”

·      What if I could set an entire series of stories answering these questions in one of my favorite places on earth: Harlem?

I took my what ifs and prowled the streets of Harlem, taking pictures where a story answering my questions could take place: Trinity Cemetery, City College, Strivers’ Row, The Fortune Society, St. Nicholas Park, Hamilton Grange. Each location brimmed with mystery potential. The result? My Haunted Harlem ghost mystery series which asks, “What is a ghost except a longing that will not die or a love that has yet to be born?”

So here’s to all the ghosts I’ve yet to create…or meet.

Readers, do you believe in ghosts? Why or why not?

SYNOPSIS: Ten years ago, no one — not even Mitchell Emerson, the man who said he loved her — believed Sankofa Lawford’s claim she had been brutally attacked by a ghost. Ten years later an assault on a new victim brings her back to Harlem where her mother has gone mad, her brother is at his wits’ end and Mitchell who wants a second chance. Now reluctant allies determined to solve the mystery plaguing Umoja House, Mitchell and Sankofa find an unexpected source of help: the ghost itself.

BIO: Anna M. Taylor is the penname of Rev. Anna Taylor Sweringen, retired United Church of Christ and Presbyterian Church USA minister. A native New Yorker and recent transplant to the Southwest, Anna launched her Haunter Harlem series in 2020. She also writes inspirational romance as Anna Taylor and steamy romance as Michal Scott.


30 thoughts on “Guest Chick: Anna M. Taylor

  1. Yes I do believe. My dad and my husband have both seen them. I have felt one. A month after my mom passed away, I was sleeping. I woke up suddenly when I felt someone grab my ankle and gently shake me. I opened my eyes and I saw nothing, but the hand was still on my ankle. That was the way my mom used to wake me up for school when I was young. I truly believe she was letting me know she was ok and still watching over me.
    My sister passed away last year. She had been very ill and was very disappointed that she couldn’t attend church in person, or come to hear me sing at our local living history museum. Last summer I was on my way to sing in RI (with the Old Sturbridge Village Singers). My sister and I were from RI. I got in the car and as soon as I turned on the engine, the radio started to play one of the last voicemails she had left for me. “Hi, this is Alice. I just want you to know that I fell, but I am ok, they are taking good care of me.” I had gotten that months ago and had long erased it. Again, letting me know she was ok.
    Yes, I believe! Your Haunted Harlem series sounds wonderful! I will give it a read! Thank you!

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Love the “what ifs,” Anna! I do believe in ghosts. They way I like to put is that just because I can’t see them doesn’t mean they aren’t there. Cheers!

    Liked by 4 people

  3. Wonderful “what-ifs,” although I wouldn’t want to be that tuned it to another person or the past. Too much stress.

    The Catholic Church teaches that ghosts, spirits, and demons are absolutely real – and not to be meddled with lightly. I’m okay with that.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Thanks for visiting Chicks today, Anna. And wow, what a fascinating post. I had no idea there were so many categories for ESP–and for ghosts, too (I am particularly fascinated by funnel ghosts. I wonder why they call them that? They funnel all their energy into one place, which makes them stronger?) I am a firm believer in ghosts, but I tend to keep that to myself. I wonder if sometimes writers may be more attuned to their presence.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi Lisa, I was amazed by that too. I too am a firm believer. Good question about funnel ghosts. It could be since their main characteristic is to make the place where they appear cold. Thanks for commenting.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. I am a scientist. Therefore, I do not believe in anything that has no objective evidence to support it. As soon as I see a single study that reproducibly documents the existence of ghosts or other paranormal phenomena, I’ll believe. Note that is not to say that I would not enjoy your series, Anna. I’ve even been considering writing a paranormal detective series myself.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. You and my husband are in the same camp, Tom. I hope you will write that paranormal detective series. You being a scientist would bring an authentic take on the paranormal. Thanks for commenting.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Interesting, Anna. A lot of those extrasensory perceptions are very common in the world of synesthetes. Like you, I’m fascinated by it. I wrote a few YA mysteries with a teenage synesthetic marching band member who tastes emotions and sees music. I never released them because I don’t feel like I’ve done it justice, but I’d like to go back to it one of these days. Yanno … in my free time!

    Thanks for visiting us today! Good luck with the new book!

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Oh, I forgot to say, when I was about 12yo I read a book about poltergeists that scared the bejeebers outta me! Apparently, they haunt preteens mostly, according to that book anyway. So I didn’t know whether to not believe and risk having one show up to prove they exist, or to believe and risk one showing up to play! Such a dilemma for a kid who lived in a basement room and liked to stay up late reading….

    Liked by 1 person

    1. A poltergeist was the ghost in my first book, Haunted Serenade. I think I’m fascinated by them the most because of their connection to emotion. Thanks for sharing.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Like Tom, I’m a non-believer, as I’ve never seen or heard of any scientific proof of ghosts. But that doesn’t mean I don’t wish I could communicate to those who have passed on! And I do sometimes talk aloud to my now-gone mother and father, while recognizing that doing so is merely a way of bringing them alive for me for that one moment. Which is almost as good as a real ghost–just less scary.

    Thanks so much for visiting the Chicks today, Anna. This was a beautiful (and fascinating) post, and your series looks terrific!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for your comments, Leslie. Connecting with our loved ones through memory and speaking aloud to them does enable us to have “ghosts” in our lives in a good way.


    1. Hi Jennifer, the more I learn about things supernatural and paranormal, the more I’m learning how non-scary and grounded in our reality they are. Thanks for the opportunity to share here.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Fascinating post, Anna. Congratulations on your book. I have clairsentience and am empathic. I loved your explanation of the different types of ghosts, too. My husband saw an orb when he was a child. Turns out his grandmother died around that same time.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Thanks for the appreciation, Mary. I think what I appreciate most about the research is being able to give things/abilities names, making them less mysterious.


  11. I love this post, Anna! I’ll tell you my ghost story when we meet at person, which I hope will be at one of the upcoming cons. I’ll be at FOUR this year: LCC, Malice, B’con, and California Crime Writers Conference.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I haven’t been to an in-person conference since the beginning of the pandemic. You’ve given me incentive to check these out.


    2. Glad you liked the post. I haven’t been to an in-person conference since the start of the pandemic. You’ve given me incentive to check these conferences out. Thanks for commenting.


  12. Thanks for sharing with us and hanging out today with the Chicks, Anna! I ‘ve toured so many purportedly haunted places because I’m fascinated by their history and ghost stories. I’ve hoped to see or hear something ghostly, but nothing so far. Except… an old building in a town I formerly worked in as a newspaper reporter. No matter what camera, film, or settings I used, the photos featured orbs — more than one per picture. I have no explanation, and this didn’t happen in other photos I took in that community!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’ve had a great time hanging out with you all. How cool about your photos and the orbs. Thanks for commenting, Vickie.


  13. Thanks so much for hanging out with us, Anna, and for sharing this wealth of information! I had no idea about the depth and breadth of the “clairs” and many of the other terms you shared!

    I believe in ghosts, and like Vickie, have been to many places in search of. No luck yet–and maybe that’s okay!

    Congrats on the book. It sounds wonderful!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Kathleen, I’ve enjoyed hanging out with you. I live in hope of finding proof too. It’s no coincidence I’ve relocated to New Mexico that has no less than 35 paranormal societies.


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