For as long as I can remember, October has been my favorite month. I love the cooler weather, the beautiful foliage as the leaves turn colors, and of course Halloween. I get a tingle in the pit of my stomach as soon as the clock strikes 12:01 on October 1st. By the time Halloween rolls around, I’m giddy. Horror movies, costumes, scary stories, I love it all. So I thought I’d try something here. How about you share your scary story with us all right here on this blog? It could be long or short, true or false. It doesn’t matter. Give us goosebumps. Make us cringe in fear. Make us shy away from the computer in horror. I’ll sprinkle in my own stories from time to time. We’ll do this from now until November 1st. Sound fun? I thought so. Let’s go. I’ll start.
When I was a kid, we lived in a house where something strange happened every night at 10:00. From the kitchen, a loud pop sounded. It could be heard throughout the house, and not a night went by that it didn’t happen. I’d heard stories of what had happened in that house before we moved in, but who ever believes the things they hear? But once I put together the noise and the fact that only one wall in the kitchen had wallpaper–the only wall in the entire house to have wallpaper–I started to wonder if perhaps what I’d heard was true.
The story I heard was this: One night, a grandfather and his son had a fight that started when the grandfather bought the grandson a gun. The boy’s father didn’t like it, so he and his father argued in the kitchen. The boy got in between the two. A shot was fired. The boy was killed. At 10:00. Unable to cover up the stains on the wall because the blood kept seeping through the paint, they covered it with wallpaper. Now, as I said before, who believes things they hear? I didn’t. However, when I was older, in my mid-20s, I spent a lot of time at the library doing research for stories and genealogy and the like. I came across a very interesting thing. It was an article about the grandfather, the son, and the grandson. Apparently the stories I’d heard were true. The boy was shot in the kitchen. The wallpaper must hide the truth. What I wouldn’t give to be able to remove that wallpaper and see what lies behind it…
This story is true.
Finally! My new novel is available for purchase. Be warned, this is not like HELD. This isn’t a horror novel. But I still think it’s a great story. Let me know what you all think after you’ve read it.
Adam Spencer, a happily married 37 year-old father of two young boys, has everything he wants. A successful business, a beautiful home, two cars in the garage, and a dog. What he doesn’t want is to die. But Adam doesn’t have a say in the matter. He just found out he has brain cancer.
Troubled by his newly-discovered death sentence, Adam joins a support group for the terminally ill. There, he meets six strangers who are struggling to cope with their own impending demises.
When one member of the group dies, leaving behind an unfulfilled dream, the others realize just how limited their time is. Now, as the youngest member nears the end of his short life, they become determined to make sure the boy’s dream comes true before it’s too late. Together, they embark on a road trip that will teach them all what it means to live, and to die.
*Available now at Amazon for $2.99.
Well it’s finally here. The novella I’ve been working on is finished and ready for you to consume. Maybe now my mother will finally get off my back about it. Anyway, I hope you all like it.
Amy and Scott Crane leave their suburban St. Louis home and head out into the backwoods of the Ozarks where they enjoy each other’s company as well as the beautiful scenery. But when night falls, the normally serene forest becomes a terrifying jungle and the couple find themselves entangled in a nightmare.
When Scott disappears, Amy is left worrying about what might’ve happened to him…and wondering who the people lurking in the darkness around her might be.
Available at Amazon now. Coming soon to other online retailers.
In high school, I wrote essays for fun. I know. Crazy, right? Well maybe writing for fun isn’t as cool as, say, smoking cigarettes behind the gym or getting drunk at parties and running around with my shirt off, but it worked for me because none of that other stuff interested me in the least.
Anyway, I finally decided to occasionally publish a couple of essays. I doubt I’ll ever become the next David Sedaris or anything like that, but from time to time I’d like to put my thoughts on a specific topic out there for the world to see. That feels pretty strange to me because I’m very careful on public platforms to keep my opinions to myself. But what the hell. You only live once, right?
So I present to you the first essay I’ve made public on a topic that all writers can relate to. It’s called Everybody Wants to Write a Book. It’s available now at Amazon and Smashwords and will soon be available at other online stores.
I see a lot of folks–including the media–confusing serial killings for mass murders, mass murders for spree killings, and so on. I want to clear this up.
*Serial: consisting of, forming part of, or taking place in a series. For example, a magazine issued monthly, bi-monthly, etc. is a serial. A TV show is a serial. There’s a distinct time-lapse between each installment.
A serial killer is someone who kills three or more people in different locations as isolated events with a cooling off period in between each murder.
Example: In March, Bob kills a woman in a park. In June, he kills a man in a grocery store. In July, he kills a woman at a bus stop. In November, Bob kills another woman behind a bakery.
Note the cooling off period in between each murder as well as the different locations.
*Spree: a spell or sustained period of unrestrained activity of a particular kind. For example, a shopping spree.
A spree killer is someone who kills two or more people in a short time in different locations with almost no time break in between murders.
Example: John has had enough. He grabs his rifle and heads out the door of his house intent on getting his revenge. He stops at his ex-wife’s house and kills her and her mother. From there, he drives across town to his ex-wife’s boyfriend’s house and shoots him dead. Then, John drives to where he works and shoots his boss and three co-workers.
Note the different locations of each murder and the fact that there is almost no time in between for cooling off.
*Mass: relating to, done by, or affecting large numbers of people or things. For example, terror seizes a crowd of people and causes mass panic. They all try to flee, which creates mass chaos. It affects the whole group as one being.
A mass murderer is someone who murders four or more people in one location with no cooling off period between each murder.
Example: All of Joan’s friends have gathered at her house for a party. What they don’t know is Joan laced the punch with a healthy dose of arsenic. They’ll all be dead within the hour.
Note the single location with no cooling off period.
I hope this helps everyone better understand the difference between a serial killer, mass murderer, and a spree killer. Because there certainly are differences.
I think most writers have that one novel they’ve written that they don’t want anyone to ever read, or even know about. Usually, it’s from early on in their career and for whatever reason, they don’t feel it’s up to par with the rest of their work. It isn’t good enough, it’s horrible, it needs a lot of work, whatever. I know I do. My first novel, started at 14 and finished at 16 years of age, has never been seen by eyes other than my own. It never will. Despite the constant begging of certain people, I’ve kept that sucker hidden, locked away where the pages will eventually turn brown and crumble to dust. Why? It isn’t good enough. Plus, I think on some level I like the fact that it’s mine. I remember every keystroke, every thought and idea, every late night spent hunched over the keyboard typing on a manual typewriter with keys that stuck. It was my experiment and my memory. To publish that would be to share it with the world. Which would be fine if it was good enough, but in my mind it isn’t. It would need a lot of work to be public-ready, and I don’t think I’ll ever do it. For some twisted reason, I like it the way it is.
In my mingling with other writers over the years, I’ve learned that I’m not the only one who keeps a bastard manuscript locked away. I’d venture to say we all do. And we all have our reasons for doing it.
That being said, I’m not sure how I’d feel if I was Harper Lee and they were publishing my second novel 60 years after I wrote it. Lee’s known for her novel To Kill a Mockingbird. It’s her only published novel, and until recently it was thought to be her only novel. Now another novel penned by Lee in the 1950s, Go Set a Watchman, is scheduled for publication. It will be released July 14th of this year.
Apparently, Lee is pleased with the book’s publication. But this story makes me ask myself this question: What if half a century from now someone were to publish my first novel, the one I keep hidden? How would I feel about that? I wouldn’t like it. Maybe if I polished and edited and made it print-ready, maybe then I wouldn’t mind as much. But as of now, I shudder in horror at the thought of anyone reading what my adolescent mind concocted. Who knows? Maybe in 60 years I’ll change my mind.
Read about the upcoming publication of Harper Lee’s second novel here.
So I’m over on the twitter, browsing as usual, and I first see that Bill Cosby is trending. Now I don’t live in a cave. I live as if I live in a cave, what with the professional level of hermitude I display, but I don’t really live in a cave. I know what’s going on with Bill Cosby. My question was why is he trending today? A few minutes later, Cosby is no longer trending but Woody Allen is. I investigate this matter further because, well, I have time. This is what I learned:
People are pissed off that while Bill Cosby’s career is tanking because of all the rape and molestation allegations, Woody Allen’s career is fine. In fact, Allen just signed on with Amazon for a TV show. And those people are right. It really isn’t fair. But you know what? Nothing about Hollywood is fair. Is it fair for Roman Polanski and Woody Allen to get away with child molestation and rape? Is it fair that their careers are fine, and that despite their known crimes they continue to make movies which allow them to rake in more money, which inevitably buys their freedom? No. It’s not. But it’s also not fair that the likes of Lindsay Lohan can get coked up and slam her car into other cars with barely a slap on the wrist. It isn’t fair that she can do that repeatedly and never get more than a stern talking to from the judge. It isn’t fair that Robert Wagner can kill Natalie Wood and never be charged with her murder. It isn’t fair that Ashley Simpson gets caught lip syncing on Saturday Night Live and her career ends, but every performer on the show lip syncs and nothing is ever said about that.
A lot of things aren’t fair in Hollywood. It isn’t right and something should be done about it. But I’m not going to hold my breath on anything ever happening.
I see a lot of people confusing complement and compliment. I even saw a snotty individual who thought their fecal matter smelled like a fine floral arrangement get haughty on someone who used the word complement (correctly, mind you). The person was quick to point out the ‘mistake’ and promptly informed the other person that it should be compliment, not complement. I laughed and laughed, and then I cried a little because damn it to hell, it’s sad that people don’t know their words. So I thought I’d try to help.
a polite expression of praise or admiration.
He gave me a compliment, making me blush.
My compliments to the chef.
1) a thing that completes or brings to perfection, or 2) a number or quantity of something required to make a group complete.
This wine really complements the fish.
The store currently has a full complement of staff.
It isn’t hard to distinguish between the two words and know when each should be used once you know that there actually is a difference. And now you know. So go forth, my friends. Go forth and spread the knowledge! Then I’ll compliment you on your job well done.
I don’t know how I get sucked into these things. My unending curiosity, I suppose. But I just spent several nonrefundable minutes of my life looking through before and after photos of celebrities who’ve ruined their face with plastic surgery. There’s just something about it that gets to me. So if you don’t mind, I’m gonna rant about it for a minute.
When I was a kid, I really wanted to be an actress. However, now that I’m grown and see how the world really is, I’m glad I never pursued that dream.
I’m a writer. I sit at my keyboard and pound on the keys in the privacy of my own home. No one sees me. I don’t wear make-up, I don’t fix my hair, and I don’t have to look glamorous. Most of the time I’m not even wearing pants, if you want to know the truth. Like now. No pants. I also pretty much live in t-shirts and sweatpants. Ask anyone who knows me and they’ll tell you it’s true. Sure, I have jeans and dress clothes, but I’m much more comfortable being, well, comfortable. I hate wearing make-up. I hate fixing my hair. I hate dressing up. And in my line of work, I don’t have to do any of those things. I can be whatever I want to be and look any way I want to look.
Actors don’t have that luxury. If they dare to go out without all the glitz and glamor that fans expect from their celebrities, then photos of the star are spread throughout the media, garnering laughs and jokes because how dare they go out like that? How dare they venture out into the world as they really are? When you’re an actor, your entire career is based on your looks. It should be based on your ability to act, but let’s be honest, it’s not. It’s based on looks. And once those looks fade, bye-bye career. Bye-bye A list. It’s over.
So the celebrities do what they feel is necessary to boost their career. They get cosmetic surgery. They desperately try to hold on to that glory, to stay on top of the world as the #1 actor or actress. And they’ll do whatever it takes to stay there. They’ll starve themselves. They’ll suck fat out of their asses and shoot it into their lips. They’ll slice off pieces of their face and sew it up to smooth out a few wrinkles. They’ll rearrange the cartilage in their nose. They’ll sew bags of saline into their breasts. They’ll do whatever it takes to stay on top. And that’s absolutely horrible.
See, for them, for the celebrities, it’s a no-win situation. If they grow old gracefully, they’ll be ridiculed for letting themselves go, for not getting a little touch-up here and there. And if they do go under the knife, they’re ridiculed for getting the surgery, especially when it’s botched or they go overboard and get one or two too many surgeries. I hate to name names here, but let’s look at what happened to Jennifer Grey. All she had was a nose job and it basically ended her career. Before she had the surgery, people said she was beautiful ‘but her nose is ugly, she should do something about it’. Do you see? Do you see how unfair it is? Have some celebrities gone absolutely over the top with their surgeries? Definitely. But I see why they did it. And that’s why I’m glad I chose not to purse my acting dream.
Way back in 2013 my social media feeds were filled with folks complaining about what a horrible year they’d had and how they just couldn’t wait for it to end. Well 2013 was a pretty good year for me. But then 2014 rolled around and BAM! I got what all those other folks had in 2013. Between multiple surgeries, a stream of health issues, and constantly battling insurance companies, I felt their pain, albeit a year late. Though 2014 wasn’t all bad (I did manage to squeeze in a living room renovation and write a couple books), I was more than happy to see it end. My only hope now is that 2015 will be good to me. And to you. Cheers!