Guest Post: Jennifer Hotes

Weaving the supernatural into a contemporary story.

At its core, Four Rubbings is a story of friendship, unceasing love and the innocent mistakes that scar us forever. When the reader meets Josie Jameson, it has been six years since the death of her mother. She leads her three best friends to the same historic Seattle cemetery where her mother is buried to make tombstone rubbings on Halloween night. Under the guise of fun, Josie hopes their field trip will connect them with the spirits. She asks her friends to seek a grave using their hearts, then try to connect with the deceased before taping paper on the grave’s face and rubbing it with black chalk. The friends journey four ways into the cemetery grounds. Josie, intending to rub her mother’s grave, is distracted by a stray cat and follows him into a part of the cemetery that people call the “Ghost Forest.” Instead of rubbing her mother’s grave, she feels called to a grave like no other. No name or date is carved into the strange blue stone. Instead, it is decorated with unusual symbols. And with that simple action, rubbing that grave with chalk, Josie unleashes an ancient magic.

In the months to come, while her friends uncover mysteries associated with their graves, Josie is terrorized by nightmares and dark visions and feels sick with guilt that she didn’t try harder to connect with her mother on Halloween.

When I first drafted Four Rubbings, I dragged my daughters to countless cemeteries to find the actual graves, tombstones and names that appear in the book. Three of the graves came quickly, but the fourth one never felt quite right. It felt forced, and too cozy and too tidy. I was forcing myself on the story, so I pulled back and left the book alone for a time. Then, I had a nightmare like none other. I woke up coated in sweat and with a picture of a black-haired woman racing through my brain. In the dream, I crouched behind a bush and watched her bury something secret below a massive cedar tree. I could only grab fuzzy details because the moonlight was bright, but not bright enough to see clearly what it was she buried.

When I woke, I knew I’d been introduced to the fourth grave in Four Rubbings. It was the grave that should have never been touched, the mistake. Josie will pay for that mistake for years to come and readers will have to follow the trilogy to its end to see whether dark magic or light will win out and if Josie can survive the battle.


About the author:

Encouraged by her mother-in-law, Elizabeth A. Hotes, who told her to create something Jennifer Hotesand share it with others, Jennifer writes and illustrates to keep her memory alive.

To date, Jennifer’s favorite medium is pen and ink, but she also loves to paint a wall or canvas.

Her works have been featured at benefit art auctions, adorned the walls of public spaces, graced  homes and enhanced books with vibrant covers and internal illustrations.

Four Rubbings is Jennifer’s first novel, though she’s busy writing the second book in the Stone Witch Series presently. Four Rubbings is great for readers that enjoyed the Harry Potter series, and has been a fun book club pick across the country. The author loves Skyping into book clubs, so email her and ask – she may just surprise you with a cyber-visit!

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Four Rubbings


Title: Four Rubbings, The Stone Witch Society Book 1

Author: Jennifer L. Hotes

Genre: young adult gothic thriller

Publisher: Booktrope Publishing





The night the barrier between the dead and the living is as thin as muslin. Fourteen-year old Josie, haunted by the death of her mother, leads her best friends to an ancient cemetery to rub graves. Convinced she will come away with proof of her mother’s spirit at last, the evening takes an unexpected turn as the teens gravitate four ways into the haunted grounds.

Set against the backdrop of the rainy Pacific Northwest, four graves will be rubbed, touching off a series of events that will rattle their once mundane lives. From the lonely World War II hero to an accused witch, the people buried beneath the stones have stories that need an ending.

The journey to unravel the mysteries leaves the friends wondering if the graves would’ve been better off left alone.


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