Thursday, 2 May 2013

Sacrifice at Mystery Hill - Joan Conning Afman

 Joan's brilliant paranormal Kingsley Woods blew me away. I loved it. Now, hot on its heels comes her latest novel, set in a mysterious and magical place they call 'America's Stonehenge'. Here's Joan:

Hi, Everybody! I am honored to be Catherine's guest today. I bring you greetings from sunny Florida where the skies are most always blue, flowers bloom all year 'round, and the palm trees wave gently in the breeze from the ocean. 

 I grew up in the Northeast, mainly central NY and New England. My book, Kingsley Woods is set in Pittsfield, Mass., in the beautiful Berkshires where I spent most of my childhood.

After fighting the snow and sleet and long, gray days of November, I retired to Florida in 2001. My careers have been in advertising and teaching art in the Hartford, Ct. public schools - but now I am a writer, and a free-lance editor.

I have been interested in strange occurrences and psychic experiences for a long time, and these topics, as well as art, have a way of weaving themselves into my stories. So-several years ago when with my daughter and grandchildren, we visited Mystery Hill in North Salem, NH, I immediately thought: Hey! Here's a great place to set a story! Sacrifice at Mystery Hill, which debuted May 1st, evolved from that.
Mystery Hill is known as 'America's Stonehenge'. It has been dated from two to four thousand years old, and nobody knows who built it! They know the Native Americans used it-but Indians didn't build in stone, so the mystery remains. The site is a collection of worship sites (Summer solstice stone), sentry house, storage buildings, hidden tunnels...and yes, a large flat stone with a carved groove running around it...and a pit dug beneath the rock where the liquid could be collected. Was it used for making wine... or human sacrifice? The mystery remains. 

In Sacrifice at Mystery Hill, two college kids, Thomas and Chloe, lived before and loved each other before, but except in flashes of hidden memory and dreams, they have no knowledge of their previous lives. They get involved with a faux Druid cult which sets up a mini-Stonehenge in the woods off campus. The self-appointed leader, Dyfan,has plans for Chloe, and Thomas senses in his bones that he is the one who must protect her at all costs. Their unlikely help comes from Chloe's perceptive art professor, Jim Walsh, and Thomas' quirky, margarita- making grandmother, Ivy, who has strange powers of her own.

Here is a short excerpt:

Because he was a ghost, Thomas Thornton, which had been his name in his eighteenth century reincarnation, was able to move right through the rocks, to slide through the small spaces between them with ease, even through the stone ‘speaking tube which led to the hollow space under the sacrificial altar. This was his favorite place to rest, snuggled up to the moss and decayed leaves that formed a soft bed for him. It smelled a little like death, too, musty and old and coppery, like blood, but it was a scent he had grown to love. It was also the place where she had died, so he felt closest to her there.

He had waited for her for centuries. Her death had been hard—and many souls who endured such a primitive and painful death were reluctant to return, but eventually they all did. After all, they had destinies to work out before they could go on to the next stage of existence, and so not coming back was not an option. The Coordinator, one of the Great Beings who tracked the journeys of all the souls, had told Thomas he would let him know when it was time. He, too, had his karma to work out before he could go on to the next level. His destiny was to overcome to cowardice of that long ago primitive life when he could have saved her, but hadn’t.
~ * ~
It was the day of the summer solstice. The men of the tribe gathered at the four-foot -tall stone, carved in the shape of a leaning pyramid, to watch the sun rise precisely behind its pointed crest. In silence, they bowed to the god of summer, of crops to come, of the harvest , and walked in single file to where they sacrifice would be offered.

The chief, resplendent in his beaded ritual clothing, rich, wolf cloak,, and feathered headdress looked around the gathering. “If one man is willing to take her to wife and leave the tribe, she will be spared. Will anyone take her?” His curved sword glittered in the sun as he lifted it above the woman bound to the altar stone.

The chief was his father whom he dared not offend, and a man and a woman driven from the tribe to survive on their own faced certain death. There was no way out for him, for her, and for the child she carried within.

Frozen to the earth, his tongue numb and his heart dead, he had watched as the blade descended. Her scream of agony, blessedly brief, pierced the morning air. The chief carved her heart from her body and held it aloft on the tip of his sword. The tribe prostrated themselves as the chief intoned the blessing upon them. Thomas, who was Achak in that incarnation, felt his soul bleed into the dirt.
In the Mystery Hill gift shop there is an actual photo taken at the site, and over the stones floats a misty shape-caught on camera! Many other strange occurrences have been reported there down through the ages-from unearthly screams and howls, to visions of strange people and processions. If you live in New England, I hope you will visit Mystery Hill yourself. And no matter where you live, I would be delighted if you would put Sacrifice at Mystery Hill on your reading list.

Thank you for allowing me to visit with you today. God bless. 

You can connect with Joan on 

Sacrifice at Mystery Hill is available now from the publisher in ebook and paperback:
and will soon be available from Amazon and Barnes and Noble.
Kingsley Woods is available from:
Barnes and Noble


  1. fascinating post ladies...

    1. Thanks Shehanne - I had never heard of this place before, but I can see why Joan would want to set a story there. Must be fascinating to visit

  2. I had never heard of Mystery Hill either. Will have to check it out - fascinating!

  3. What a great post! Sounds like a great setting for a great book.