May 11, 2012

Guest Post: Marilyn Levinson

Filed under: The Writing Life — jenny @ 1:52 pm

Giving Up The Ghost

Paranormals are a hot genre now, but ghost stories have been with us forever. We can all imagine that first teller of tales who sat around the campfire and invented a spirit from another realm to cast out the all too real shadows hovering around. In this guest post, author Marilyn Levinson talks about how she decided to write a modern tale of a ghost.

Marilyn Levinson


While I’ve never actually met a ghost, I know ghosts have a permanent place in our literary lore. We find their eerie yet limited manifestations appealing. They usually remain on our earthly plane to teach someone valuable life lessons or to resolve issues they hadn’t attended to before they died. My favorite spirits are George and Marion Kerby from TOPPER and the sea captain in THE GHOST AND MRS. MUIR

My ghost, Cameron Leeds, is a scoundrel. When alive, he flirted with every woman who crossed his path. His many business deals weren’t always legal. Though his best friend, the town’s police chief, has declared his death an accident, Cam knows he was murdered. Trouble is, he doesn’t know who did it, and he can’t move on until he finds his killer.  And so, when Gabbie Meyerson rents his family’s cottage—the only place where he can manifest–Cam nags and cajoles until she agrees to investigate.  Gabbie starts asking questions, and to her dismay discovers that several of Cam’s so-called friends and neighbors are glad he’s dead.

Though he was a clever if shady businessman, Cam hasn’t a clue that his thoughtless behavior often enraged people and eventually led to his death. He sent away the only woman he ever loved. In fact, it’s only after he’s dead that he realizes he truly loved her. Lucky Cam receives the golden opportunity very few people get —a chance to say good-bye.

For a fun and thoughtful read, look for GIVING UP THE GHOST on Kindle and the Nook.

Marilyn Levinson is a former Spanish teacher who writes mysteries and novels for kids. Her debut mystery novel, A MURDERER AMONG US, was awarded a Best Indie of 2011 by Suspense Magazine. She lives on Long Island with her husband, Bernie, and their cat, Sammy.


  1. Very interesting! I’d love to write a good ghost story. Ghost stories are among my favorite movies!

    I am actually writing a book now about teens battling demons where they learn demons actually live among the living for so long, they learn to mimic them. So when the humans die, the demons still mimic them making people think there are ghosts.

    It’s been fascinating!

    Great post.

    Comment by Ruth A. Douthitt — May 11, 2012 @ 2:33 pm

  2. I think people have always loved a good ghost story, as well as dark and stormy nights. Can’t wait to read this one!

    Comment by Marja McGraw — May 11, 2012 @ 2:39 pm

  3. Thanks, Marja. This ghost never leaves the den.

    Comment by Marilyn Levinson — May 11, 2012 @ 2:46 pm

  4. Rita,
    Ah, demons among the teens. Sounds interesting. Thanks for visiting.

    Comment by Marilyn Levinson — May 11, 2012 @ 4:31 pm

  5. I’m not sure I believe in ghosts, but I want to. Writing about a ghost in a mystery adds an element of eeriness to a story and this story sounds fun. Thanks for hosting Marilyn today. And, Marilyn, best of luck with Murder in the Air.

    Comment by Kathleen Kaska — May 12, 2012 @ 8:06 am

  6. Thanks, Kathleen. Yes, ghosts are eerie because they remain here on this plane when they shouldn’t. What intrigues me as a writer is WHY is this particular ghost still here? What unresolved issue has to be resolved. In Cam’s case it’s “who murdered me?”

    Comment by Marilyn Levinson — May 12, 2012 @ 9:35 am

  7. Hubby and I once lived in a Victorian house haunted by an older woman who was harmless, but on occasion would make her presence known. Because I write fiction, most people assume this tale is fiction, too. Not so! I heard her call my name, and it scared me half to death!

    I’m looking forward to reading Murder in the Air, Marilyn…as long as you promise your ghost won’t speak to me! ;-)

    Comment by Anne K. Albert — May 12, 2012 @ 9:53 am

  8. I’m a fool for a great ghost story. Sounds fantastic!

    Comment by Alison DeLuca — May 12, 2012 @ 10:02 am

  9. Anne,
    I am impressed that you met a real “live” ghost. Please note my ghost is in GIVING UP THE GHOST, not MURDER IN THE AIR. Sorry for the mix up.

    Comment by Marilyn Levinson — May 12, 2012 @ 11:31 am

  10. Alison,
    Thanks for visiting. Cam, my ghost, is in my mystery GIVING UP THE GHOST, not MURDER IN THE AIR. Sorry for the mix up.

    Comment by Marilyn Levinson — May 12, 2012 @ 11:33 am

  11. I’m not into most “paranormal” books — vampires, werewolves, etc. — but I do love a good ghost story. I’ve published a series for ages 8 to 12 about a brother and sister who travel with a ghost hunter TV show, but I haven’t tried a ghost story for adults… yet!

    Comment by Chris Eboch — May 12, 2012 @ 11:48 am

  12. Ghost stories are great entertainment. Marilyn, yours sound very intriguing.

    Comment by Jacqueline Seewald — May 12, 2012 @ 12:11 pm

  13. Marilyn, I was first introduced to ghosts when our newspaper ran a story about a haunted house in our town. Furniture moved and objects flew through the air. It made a scary impression on me as a child. Ghosts in the Air, is about to change that impression. Your ghost sounds more like a lover-boy. Ha.

    Comment by Myrna Ericksen — May 12, 2012 @ 1:39 pm

  14. Sorry Marilyn, I see that the title is “Giving up the Ghost.” No wonder I couldn’t find it right away.

    Comment by Myrna Ericksen — May 12, 2012 @ 1:46 pm

  15. I love the concept for your ghost story, Marilyn! And since I’m a romance writer, I’m hoping that Gabby and the Sheriff get together in the end. Am I right?


    Comment by Jana Richards — May 12, 2012 @ 6:13 pm

  16. Not only do I believe in ghosts, I’ve “met” one although she wasn’t a talker even if she did make her presence known. I like your hook and will have to read your book. I too have written a supernatural mystery, which I like to read. Good luck on the book, Marilyn!

    Comment by E. B. Davis — May 13, 2012 @ 6:00 am

  17. Jana,
    I’m not a romance writer exactly, though I do have a romantic suspense coming out in a few months. Having said that, I always have a romance going in my mysteries. Yes, Gabbie and Darren are on their way to falling in love. And Gabbie arranges for Cam to get a chance to say good-bye to his love. How she manages that is one of my favorite aspects of Giving Up the Ghost.

    Comment by Marilyn Levinson — May 14, 2012 @ 12:57 pm

  18. E. B.,
    Thanks for your good wishes re Giving Up the Ghost. How interesting that you actually “met” a ghost. From similar experiences, I gather that real ghosts aren’t as chatty as our fictional phantoms.

    Comment by Marilyn Levinson — May 14, 2012 @ 12:59 pm

  19. Chris,
    I write books for kids, too. When I find the time, I plan to self-publlsh a juvenile novel I wrote that has a ghost in it. I must check out your series.

    Comment by Marilyn Levinson — May 14, 2012 @ 1:03 pm

  20. Jacqueline and Myrna,
    Thanks for stopping by. Myrna–sorry about the title mix up!

    Comment by Marilyn Levinson — May 14, 2012 @ 1:05 pm

  21. I’ve always believed in the paranormal.

    I had no choice: my mother’s precognitive abilities were undeniably proven over and over, for as long as I can remember.
    (I’ve got it now, and I hate it a much as she did. How could I ever deny it, now?)
    My childhood was peppered with stories of my grandfather’s encounters with: a shillelagh following him down the lane, upright; and having heard a banshee.
    My mother often knew who was calling before the phone rang, and so do I.
    My sister, completely creeped out, would smack my shoulder and run away holding her head, wailing for me to ‘get out of her head’ because my telepathic connection, with her, was so strong.

    I loooooove a well made ghost story, and I don’t think there are many classic stories I haven’t read, having sucked dry any of the Penguin or Oxford anthologies I could glom onto.
    And I love all of us who write ghost stories. We have a uniquely broader perspective than the completely earthbound.

    My first novel, Summertime Nocturne(c), although a work of literary fiction, is a ghost story, among other things, and I can tell it with an unusual authority, having seen a full body apparition, myself, and having been the focus of various physical phenomena, all my adult life.

    You know the adage about ‘writing what you know’.
    How many of us, who write ghost stories, can say that they are? I can.

    Comment by Rosemarie Benintend — May 26, 2012 @ 12:39 pm

  22. Fascinating contribution, Rosemarie! Now I am even more excited for your book :) Thank you, everyone, for your comments and thoughts.

    Comment by jenny milchman — May 28, 2012 @ 9:13 pm

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