Friday, December 30, 2011

Happy New Year Giveaway Hop

Hi blog-hoppers, welcome to Ghost Talk. Let me tell you a little bit about this blog. As the name implies, I love to hear about ghost stories, and try to pass them along to others as often as I can. I am an author, and my first two books will be out in 2012. Angelina's Secret, my YA fiction debut, will hit shelves in Feburary, And On Haunted Ground, a collection of my own real paranormal experiences will be out in May. With my new experience as a writer, many of my posts will be about books, writing tips/questions, and occasionally, just some random thing I found interesting.

Okay, on to the contest. I am giving away one autographed copy of my debut novel, Angelina's Secret. To enter, all you need to do is be a follower of my blog and leave a comment on this post. The contest will end Jan. 3rd. U.S. Mailing addresses only, please. Be sure to check out my previous post with the Angelina's Secret book trailer.

And after you've entered the contest, be sure to hop over to the next blog.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

I'm Still Here!

 I just want to apologize for my recent lack of posts. Santa brought me an evil virus for Christmas. :( But I'm not going to let that stop my giving spirit. Be sure to stop back by on Friday. I'm participating in a blog hop, and there just may be a prize involved.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Tis The Season...for ghosts?

Well, there’s no denying it now. Christmas is upon us. And I hope you have a wonderful holiday season. Unlike Halloween, Christmas just isn’t a holiday that screams Ghosts! To me, but lately I’ve been wondering if that is just me. After all, A Christmas Carol stars the ghosts of Christmas past, present, and future. And then there is that song, It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year: There’ll be scary ghost stories and tales of the glories of Christmases long, long ago. So tell me, do you have any Christmas ghost stories?

Friday, December 16, 2011

Proud Momma

I know I've mentioned before that my daughter, Keshia, is being published in the UnCONventional anthology, coming out in January. Well, the folks at Spencer Hill are letting you have a sneak peak at her story now, so follow this link and check it out. It's quite good, if I do say so myself. :)

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Awesome Giveaway

Okay guys, Kiersten White, author of the Paranormalacy trilogy is doing an ARC giveaway for her third book, Endlessly!!!! So hop on over to her blog and enter. Or, don’t because my daughter really wants to win it herself. J Either way is fine with me.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

I'm Plotting...

            I just finished an article on plot devices; the good, the bad, and the over-used. On the surface, it seems simple: Just tell the story. But as a writer, I don’t want my readers to be bored, feeling like they always know what is going to happen four chapters before it actually takes place. But then again, I like to throw enough hints out so that when the major plot twist takes place, you, dear reader aren’t left yelling “WHAT THE CRAP??? THAT MAKES NO SENSE!”
            So I am left struggling to find a happy balance. All good stories have little hints along the way: dark and scary weather, a jealous sibling/friend/rival, a random conversation with a stranger, a MC in some unnamed danger, etc. So tell me, as a reader, what do you like to see, and what makes you roll you eyes and skip to chapter 16 where, surprise, the guy gets the girl?

Monday, December 5, 2011

Why did I Not Know This?

I have the awesome ability to find out about really cool things…after they happen. Last Saturday, Dec. 3rd, was the second annual “Take your child to a bookstore” day. Apparently, bookstores all across the United States, England, Canada, and Australia participated by having sales, cookies, story time, and giveaways. Of course, I didn’t check my email, and therefore didn’t get the announcement, until this morning, December the 5th. *sighs* But the date is now marked in my calendar. Even though my own children are probably a bit old to celebrate with, but I do have grandchildren. And I know of a great local bookstore with a toy train running through the children’s section… What about you? Did you know this holiday existed? And if so, did you celebrate?

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Hello, December.

Well folks, it’s December, which means NaNoWriMo is officially over. Did you reach the 50k word goal? I…did not. But I did write, I promise. I’m working on a new project, and it’s going to be AWESOME. I can’t tell you what it is yet, but I can tell you you’ll love it. Isn’t anticipation great?  J

Monday, November 28, 2011

Night-time Visitor

Over the weekend, I ran across an interesting article about a 5-year-old boy who claims he can’t sleep at night because a “man with a gray face” sits on his bed and keeps him up talking all night. I, of course, was immediately intrigued. “Angelina’s Friend” the short-story Prequel to Angelina’s Secret is a fictional account of basically the same thing: a young child visiting with the house’s unseen occupant. But unlike Angelina’s parents, this child’s parents actually believe him. Although they have never seen this man, they have heard what sounded like movement in parts of the house they knew to be empty, furniture too heavy for their small son to move has been re-arranged, and objects on shelves over their son’s head have been moved to the floor. The boy’s father (who is a former unbeliever) noted that such activities have increased since they began remodeling their home. This caught my attention because my personal experiences always seem to increase when I remodel as well.

But what I found even more interesting was the comment section after the news article. Of course, everyone on the internet is an expert. The poor kid was “diagnosed” with everything from an overactive imagination to sleep paralysis. And from readers who believed his claims, the reactions varied from “It’s a lonely, harmless ghost, who’s glad someone can hear him,” to “Move immediately” or “Call an exorcist.”

Check out the article yourself, and tell me what your take on the situation is.  

Friday, November 25, 2011


A BIG thank you to all who joined the ARC giveaway. The winners are as follows:
Krystal Larson won the autographed ARC of Angelina's Secret
Ash Krafton won the beautiful glass angel
Aliraluna won the autographed rack card and bookmarks
Please send me your mailing address ASAP send to
CONGRATULATIONS to you all and thanks for helping to spread the word.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


Win an ARC!!!!!!!!! Or other cool stuff.

Even though Angelina’s Secret isn’t scheduled to be released until Feb. 1, 2012, YOU can read it now… that is if you win it. To win all you have to do is be a follower of this blog and leave a comment. There are other ways to gain more entries, but first let’s look at what’s up for grabs.
The prizes:
Grand Prize: An autographed ARC copy of Angelina’s Secret.
Runner Up: A beautiful glass angel (Just like the one mentioned in the book… which you haven’t read)
Second Runner Up: An autographed rack card
All prizes can only be shipped to a U.S. mailing address. Sorry my international friends, I’ll do another giveaway after the release that will include you too.

            How to Enter:
You must be a follower of this blog. Leaving a comment =1 entry for new followers and 2 entries for old followers
Posting on your blog or Facebook about this giveaway =1 entry for each
Like Angelina’s Secret Facebook fanpage =1 entry
Vote for Angelina’s Secret on Goodreads 2012 Debut Authors list = 2 entries Placing Angelina’s Secret on your “to read” list on Goodreads = 2 entriesPlease total your entries and leave in comment section. Example:
Old follower comment =2
Share on FB =1
Like fanpage = 1
Voted on goodreads =2
TOTAL 6 entries
            The contest will close on November 24th (Thanksgiving) And winners will be announced November 25th (Black Friday!)
            Good luck!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Why I love Kids...

-You got to find somebody who likes the same stuff. Like, if you like sports, she should like it that you like sports, and she should keep the chips and dip coming. -- Alan, age 10
-No person really decides before they grow up who they're going to marry. God decides it all way before, and you get to find out later who you're stuck with.
-- Kristen, age 10

Twenty-three is the best age because you know the person FOREVER by then.
-- Camille, age 10
You might have to guess, based on whether they seem to be yelling at the same kids.
-- Derrick, age 8

Both don't want any more kids.
-- Lori, age 8
-Dates are for having fun, and people should use them to get to know each other. Even boys have something to say if you listen long enough.
-- Lynnette, age 8 (isn't she a treasure)
-On the first date, they just tell each other lies and that usually gets them interested enough to go for a second date.
-- Martin, age 10
-When they're rich.
-- Pam, age 7
-The law says you have to be eighteen, so I wouldn't want to mess with that.
- - Curt, age 7
-The rule goes like this: If you kiss someone, then you should marry them and have kids with them. It's the right thing to do.
- - Howard, age 8
It's better for girls to be single but not for boys. Boys need someone to clean up after them. -- Anita, age 9 (bless you child )

There sure would be a lot of kids to explain, wouldn't there?
-- Kelvin, age 8
And the #1 Favorite is .........

Tell your wife that she looks pretty, even if she looks like a dump truck . -- Ricky
, age 10

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

I'm Moving to Wales!

Okay, not really. But look at this place:

A lighthouse converted to a residence, two miles of beach, and a ghost. All for £100,000. What more could I ask for?

Built in the 1770’s, it is one of the earliest lighthouses in Wales. Supposedly, the most common occurrences at Point of Ayr Lighthouse are sightings of a man, Raymond, according to paranormal investigators, dressed in work clothes around the lighthouse that vanishes into thin air. Visitors to the lighthouse have also reported mysterious footprints in the sand, banging noises, strange lights, and disembodied voices.

So, would you live here?

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


It's here!!!!!!!!!!! Angelina's Friend, a short prequel to Angelina's Secret is available here
as a free download.
I'd love to know what you guys think about it.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Everyday Haunting

            As you all know, the resident ghosts at my house make their presence known so often that I hardly think about it anymore. But occasionally something happens that I think is worth mentioning.
            I watch my infant grandson a few days a week, and I have no doubt that I can’t see all of his playmates. Frequently I’ll catch him laughing at something above my head, or staring intently down an empty hall. But since they don’t seem to bother him, I don’t mind the ghosts playing with him. In fact, I appreciate it. Entertaining a small child by myself is exhausting!

            My grandson is at the age where he is discovering cabinet doors. Pulling open a door and then letting it bounce closed can keep him entertained for quite a while. One day last week I’d just put him down for a nap and tiptoed off to catch up on some housework when I heard the unmistakable sound of a cabinet door bouncing closed. Since one of my grandson’s favorite cabinet doors is just within his reach from his crib, I assumed he’d decided that nap time was over. But when I walked in the room, he was still asleep, exactly where I’d laid him down.

            Not long after I’d returned to my dishes, I heard the door bouncing again. Returning to his crib, I could see that my grandson was still sound asleep. Then I figured it out. My grandson hadn’t been over in several days, and the ghosts missed him. “Okay,” I said aloud. “I know you want to play, but the baby needs to sleep. Please don’t wake him up.” I left the room, and the sounds did not continue.
            However, after about an hour, I went to get my grandson up from his nap. As soon as I walked in the room, I noticed that something was off. His crib had been slid about two feet away from the wall. Being a proud grandma, I believe that my grandbaby is the strongest little boy in the world, but I know he didn’t move that crib, especially since he was in it. And since I was the only other person in the house, the only logical conclusion is that the ghosts moved it; perhaps so that they could continue to open the cabinet door without waking the baby, like I’d asked.

What do you think?

Friday, November 4, 2011

I Want These!

Every once in a while, something awesome comes along. What do you think of these?
I think I stepped in something...
I'd like to thank the little people.
Why, yes. I do love my heels

Wednesday, November 2, 2011


It has begun. What is “it,” you ask? National Novel Writing Month. Apparently, I’ve been living under a rock, because I’d never heard of this most awesome event until yesterday. But it was started in 1999, and last year over 200,000 writers participated! The goal is to write 50,000 words (around 175 pages) between November 1st and November 30th.
As I have discovered, sometimes the hardest part of writing a novel is actually putting words on the page. I’m a bit OCD, and if I can’t think of the perfect word, I’ll simply stare at the blank screen, accomplishing nothing. For hours. But participants in NaNoWriMo don’t have time for that. Simply getting ideas on paper is a huge step in the right direction for any aspiring author. After all, when you do think of the *perfect* word, you can always go back and delete the mediocre word you’d used earlier. If you’d like to participate in NaNoWriMo, sign up at for support, feedback, and an official word count. I can’t guarantee I’ll reach 50k, (That’s a lot of words people!) but I am hard at work on my next novel, and I promise I’m trying to mend my wicked OCD writing ways.   

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Happy Day of the Dead!

Today is Dia de los Inocentes or Day of the Innocents, part one of a two day Mexican holiday honoring the dead. Today and tomorrow, people will visit cemeteries where loved ones are buried and decorate their graves with Marigolds, the “Flower of the Dead.” They will also build alters containing the favorite foods, beverages, and items belonging to deceased loved ones at the cemetery and in their homes in hopes of encouraging the souls of the departed to visit them. Toys are commonly purchased for children who have passed away, and bottles of tequila are left for adults. (If that isn’t a bribe, I don’t know what is!)  

Unlike the somber American Memorial Day, Day of the Dead is often a festive event. The streets are decorated with skeletons, candies shaped like skulls, and picnics at the cemetery are common. It is viewed as a time of happiness and celebration because loved ones who have passed away can come back to visit their families.

Although I don’t celebrate this holiday myself, I love the idea of a time when spirits, or ghosts, are encouraged to come back and visit us. What do you think?

Friday, October 28, 2011

Happy Weekend!

And now for a well-deserved vacation at my favorite haunted hot spot. I may have some fun things to share next week. But for now, have a safe and happy Halloween!!!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Looking for Halloween plans?

Have you made your Halloween plans yet? If not, I have a few suggestions for you, based on mass amounts of research. (T.V. programs and internet searches) 

Savannah GA- The most haunted town in America
Reasons to go:
Several parts of the town supposedly built on top of old cemeteries. (Bonus creepy points)
The17-hundred-90 Inn, where Anna Powers leaped to her death off a 3rd floor balcony. She supposedly haunts room 208
Mercer Williams House – from the true crime novel Midnight in the Garden of Good & Evil.

Tombstone, Az.
Reasons to go:
The O.K Corral shootout happened just days before Halloween in 1881
Big Nose Kate’s Saloon, known for poltergeist activity, possibly even haunted by Doc Holliday.
Bird Cage theatre, you can hear disembodied gamblers and opera singers
The town is named Tombstone.  Come on!

 Salem Mass.
Reasons to go:
Salem With Trials, need I say more? 

New Orleans, LA
Reasons to go:
Some of the best ghost tours in the US (So I’ve heard)
Witchcraft ceremonies

Brandywine Valley, PA
Reasons to go:
Eastern State Penitentiary-What’s creepier than an abandoned Gothic church-turned prison?
And on a side note, they have a Giant Pumpkin Weigh Off

Estes Park, Co.
Reasons to go:
The Stanley Hotel, the setting for Stephen King’s The Shining offers hotel ghost tours, including an underground tunnel.

Providence, R.I
Reasons to go:
Jack O’Lantern Spectacular, Over 10,000 carved pumpkins are on display at the Roger Williams Park Zoo.
Okay, so it doesn’t have anything to do with ghosts, but how cool is this?

Monday, October 24, 2011

Tammy and Jonathan... the rest of the story

I just love s’mores, don’t you? Anyway, back to the story.

Tammy was surprised to see Jonathan’s car in the drive when she returned from her library trip. Rushing in the house to share her discovery, she was stunned to see Jonathan kneeling in their bedroom, ripping up the carpet. “What are you doing?” She yelled, dropping her purse in the doorway.

 “I hate this carpet. The old carpet was much better.”
“Old carpet?” Tammy asked, confused. “Honey, this is the carpet that came with the house.”

“No. It isn’t” Jonathan snapped. I hate it. Get it out of my house.” 

“Okay.” Tammy was dazed. Jonathan never acted like that. She would have been surprised if he even knew what color the carpet was. But, after helping him haul the roll of carpet out to the curb, he did seem to calm down. It wasn’t until a few days later when Tammy noticed Jonathan rubbing a rust colored spot on their-now bare-floor that she remembered to tell him what she’d learned at the library.

“So, I’m not crazy. I really want to move.” She finished. 

“This is my house.” Jonathan snarled. “I’m not leaving. You can’t make me.” 

“Jon,” Tammy sighed. “I know you love this place. I’m just talking about moving across town. I’m really uncomfortable here.”

“NO!” Tammy stared in shock at the butcher knife sticking out of the wall, inches from her head. Jonathan had never been violent, but looking into the eyes of the man in front of her, a cold chill ran down her spine. That wasn’t Jonathan. He looked the same, except for his eyes. Jonathan’s green eyes were gone. The eyes glaring back at her were brown, and so dark they were almost black.

“Okay. Forget I brought it up.” Jonathan relaxed as soon as the words left her mouth. But Tammy was still terrified. She knew something wasn’t right. And then the dreams started. Jonathan woke up confused and disoriented almost every night. He would scream about bodies in the walls, something under the floor that was out to get him, and he would threaten to kill Tammy if she tried to take him from the house.

 It wasn’t long before Jonathan lost his job. He’d simply quit going to work. He spent his days pacing up and down the halls, stopping to talk to people who weren’t there. Tammy was devastated, but she didn’t know what to do. Every time she tried to help him, he threatened her. And more than once he became violent when she suggested that they leave, even for the weekend.

 Too afraid to stay home all day with her husband, Tammy started spending more and more time in the library archives. The murders at her home were constantly on her mind. The most detailed information she could find was about the brothers who’d rented the house before she and Jonathan bought it. Just out of college, they moved to town in hopes of starting a business together. By all accounts, they got along well. But then there were police reports. Apparently, the older of the brothers became violent. The reports called him “mentally unstable.” He often didn’t know where he was, and didn’t recognize his own brother. When their bodies were found, the older brother was in the living room, both of his wrists slashed. The younger brother was in one of the bedrooms, multiple stab wounds covering his torso.

Of the family that had been there before them, Tammy found less information. Only that the family had been well thought of, the son a model student. His father was even up for a promotion at work, which would let them move to the city. Both parents were found, stabbed to death in bed. The son was rocking back and forth in a corner, chanting “Don’t sell the house.”  He died, Tammy discovered, a little over a year ago in a hospital for the criminally insane.

Don’t sell the house. The phrase bounced around in Tammy’s brain. What was it with that house? Jonathan seemed obsessed with it as well. Tammy knew she had to dig further. To her surprise, there wasn’t much to find. The first family to have lived in her house were the ones who had been murdered. They’d had the house built. Just when she was about to give up, a footnote caught her eye. The house had been built on the same spot where another had burned down, several yeas before.

 It didn’t take long for Tammy to find the story. The house that had once stood on her land was called the McCarthy house. Apparently, it had been in the same family for generations, and was a great source of pride. But, as sometimes happens, the house fell into the possession of a McCarthy with few good traits. A gambler and the town drunk, he soon found himself in danger of losing the family home. The night before he was supposed to be evicted, the house burned to the ground, owner still inside.

 The last three homeowners had met violent ends. Tammy’s mind reeled. She knew she had to get out, with or without Jonathan. After making a frantic call to her sister, she rushed home to pack her bags.

 After three days and no word from Tammy, her sister called the police. When they arrived, they found Jonathan in his recliner, multiple stab wounds to his chest. On the coffee table there was a message written in blood. She wanted to leave us. We couldn’t let that happen.

After Jonathan’s funeral, the house was torn down. The land has sat empty for years. But I heard last month that someone bought the hand and is building an apartment complex. Tammy- or her body- was never found.

 So, who wants a Pumpkin Latte?

By Keshia Swaim

Friday, October 21, 2011

Ghostly Tales

In honor of Halloween, one of our favorite times of the year, my daughter, Keshia, will be bringing you some ghostly tales...

I love this time of year. The leaves are changing colors, I can get pumpkin spiced anything, and Halloween is just around the corner. Which means that the travel channel is helping me add to my list of “places I must visit” and there is another “scary movie” coming out every time I turn around. It’s also the perfect time to sit around the campfire and share ghost stories. I’ll go first!

 About twenty years ago a friend of a friend of mine got a new job out-of-state. After just a few weeks of searching, he and his wife found the perfect house: three bedrooms, big kitchen, a nice backyard, and, most importantly, the price was right. It wasn’t long before they were all settled in. 

Jonathan loved his new job, and thought everything was great. Tammy, on the other hand, wasn’t so sure about their move. As soon as they’d moved in she began complaining that she didn’t like being alone in their new home. Jonathan assured her that the noises were just the house settling, and that she was just uneasy in a new place.

But Tammy knew it was more than that. At first, it there were only little things: a radio playing when she thought she’d turned it off, or the coffee cup she remembered leaving on the bar appearing in the living room. And there was the constant feeling of being watched. Since she knew how happy Jonathan was, she tried to keep her complaints to herself and be a supportive wife.

 That changed the night she woke to see a shadow standing over Jonathan’s side of the bed, arm raised as if holding a knife. She screamed and the shadow disappeared, but not before she caught the glint of a steel blade in the moonlight. Jonathan bolted out of bed at Tammy’s scream. Even though she saw the shadow disappear, she wouldn’t sleep until Jonathan circled the entire house, checking every lock, and making sure all of their kitchen knives were in place.

Maybe it was just because Tammy was now constantly on edge, but she sensed a definite change in the house after that night. The air was always heavy, as if it was about to storm. The feeling of being watched grew so strong that she kept a can of pepper spray in her pocket at all times, and she woke up at least twice a week, soaked in sweat, screaming from some terrible dream she couldn’t quite remember.

For weeks, she begged to move. But Jonathan wouldn’t consider it. He couldn’t understand what had gotten into his wife. She had never been an overly nervous person, but now she wanted to move because of a bad dream. Not knowing what else to do, he suggested that Tammy start volunteering in the community, or even get a part-time job to get her out of the house some.

 Tammy agreed that time away would be best, and started filling out applications. When she handed in her first application, at the local library, the librarian immediately commented on her address. “So you’re the one who bought that place. Isn’t it creepy living there, after everything that happened?”

Tammy was immediately interested. “I’m afraid I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

“Oh. You didn’t know about the murders?” She directed Tammy to the town’s newspaper archives.

 Tammy quickly learned that a couple had been murdered in the master bedroom-her room- by their teen-age son. Not only had the realtor failed to mention that, he also forgot to mention that the house had been rented out to two brothers before she and Jonathan bought it. Their bodies had been discovered in the living-room several days after they died, an apparent murder-suicide.

Tammy rushed home to tell Jonathan what she’d learned. Finally, she had proof. The house really was evil. They had to leave. Unfortunately, it was already too late for Jonathan.

To be continued…

Can someone pass the marshmallows?  
Keshia Swaim       

Friday, October 14, 2011

COVER REVEAL!!!!!!!!!!

This is the cover for On Haunted Ground. The book is scheduled to be released May 8, 2012. What do you guys think about it?
Posted by Picasa

Thursday, October 13, 2011

My Road To Publication Part 7

Wow… Part 7!!! I apologize for this taking so long. I’ve tried only to hit the highlights, but I guess my road was a little longer than I thought. This will be my final post on the subject so I’ll get right to it.

After sending my query to Spencer Hill, Kate did ask to see the full MS. Of course, I sent it out immediately. I had had other request from agents and publishers to see the full MS so I knew it could take three months or more to hear back from her.

Putting my experience to work for me, I tried not to think about it. I knew these things took time, sometimes a lot of time. I bit my nails and paced the floor. Before I knew it, two whole hours had passed. Yep, seriously… two hours!

Trying to get a handle on the situation, I limited myself to checking my e-mail to only twenty or thirty times a day. Within the week, I saw where Kate had emailed me back. My heart pounded wildly in my chest. This is too soon. She must have really hated it.  The other rejection letters ran through my mind. “Not a good fit for us at this time. I didn’t fall in love with it. This is a subjective business…”

With my hands shaking, I finally clicked to open the e-mail. I could see this wasn’t a typical form rejection. It was a full-length letter with suggestions on improving my MS. This had never happened to me before. On one hand, I was a little disheartened. If she had all of these suggestions, she must not have liked it. Right? But, she was giving me some great advice, little nuggets of gold to help improve my MS, and for that, I was very thankful.

Reading to the end of the letter she said if I was interested in having Angelina’s Secret published through Spencer Hill, I should contact her and we’d set up a time to talk on the phone.

If I was interested? Oh yeah, I was interested!!!

The call came, the deal was made, and I was ecstatic. Angelina’s Secret was going to be published. Even though I am a writer, I can’t come up with the words to tell you how great this felt. I had worked so hard for so long and now… My book was going to be published!

I was overjoyed. Still basking in this wonderful feeling, I received an e-mail from my agent saying he had a publisher that was VERY interested in Our ParaNormal Lives. This was too good to be true, but it was indeed true. After a few back and forth’s I was offered a contract through Llewellyn Publishing.

Working simultaneously to see these two books published has been exhausting and thrilling. Angelina’s Secret is scheduled to be released on Feb. 1, 2012, and with a new title On Haunted Ground is scheduled to be released May 8, 2012.

Check back tomorrow for the cover reveal for On Haunted Ground.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

My Road To Publication Part 6

My agent did as I asked; he quit submitting my MS and I got busy polishing it. This was a tedious process and it took five grueling months to complete. After finishing, I sent it back to my agent and he again started submitting it to publishers.
Knowing I had done everything I could possibly do for Our ParaNormal Lives, I returned my attention to Angelina’s Secret. It was then that I truly realized just how much I loved writing fiction. My characters had started talking again and before I knew it, I had another completed MS.
Still hoping my agent could find a home for my first book, I tried to find a place for my second one. After writing the dreaded query letter and synopsis, I searched for agents who represented YA fiction. Finding the ones I felt would be a good fit, I lovingly sent my baby out into the world.
When the rejection letters rolled in, I told myself these things take time. I tweaked the query and the synopsis and tried again and again.
Between the fact that my agent wasn’t having any luck in placing my first book with a publisher and I wasn’t having any luck in finding an agent for Angelina’s Secret I was getting VERY disheartened.
I was tired, frustrated, and depressed, but I think the worst part of all was the self-doubt. I kept thinking Who am I kidding? I had given both of my books my very best. It was time for me to admit that my best just wasn’t good enough. I wanted to give up, I really did, but at the same time, I couldn’t. I had worked way too hard. I owed it to myself and to my books to keep trying.
Needing a break from the querying process, I decided to enter Angelina’s Secret into a contest for unpublished YA authors. Step one required me to submit a pitch, which is very similar to a query letter. Oh yay! How I hated those things.
I strapped myself to my computer with the intention of tweaking my letter AGAIN. Looking for any excuse not to work on it, I visited query tracker. Browsing through the various topics, I found a post that said there was an author who was helping people polish their pitch letters for the up coming contest.
Still looking for excuses to not actually have to work on my letter I rushed to the author’s blog, It was true, author Kate Kaynak was helping people polish their pitch. This was way cool! A real live author was going to help me with my pitch. I gave mine another look and submitted it. I checked the blog obsessively as I waited for my turn to be critiqued.
When my turn came around, I held my breath and read her response. WHAT???? I read it again, and then again. She said if I were to submit it to Spencer Hill, she would have to ask to see the MS.
I rushed from one website to another. I learned not only was Kate an author she was also a publisher and she wanted to see my MS. It goes without saying, I immediately sent my query to Spencer Hill.

Friday, October 7, 2011

My Road To Publication Part 5

Even though I hated having to put Angelina’s Secret aside, I was super excited with the prospect of getting Our ParaNormal Lives published. After talking with my agent and exchanging several e-mails with the interested publisher, it was beginning to look as though this was truly going to happen. My dream was coming true. I was going to be a published author. All of my hard work was finally going to be rewarded. I was on top of the world—then my MS was rejected.

I. Was. Devastated.  

I took a few days to have my own private little pity party. It was private because no one in their right mind wanted to be anywhere close to me. I was mad! I had been done wrong! Very wrong! Couldn’t these people see how hard I had worked? Didn’t they care how many hours I had put in? Apparently not!

I wallowed in my self-pity. I whined. I cried. I shook my fist and yelled about the injustice of it all. Surprisingly enough, none of this made me feel any better at all. I finally consoled myself with the thought that it was their loss. Another publisher, a bigger publisher, a better publisher would read my MS and LOVE it, like it deserved to be loved.

I dried my tears and returned to my new work in progress. Apparently, my mood was so bad that even my fictional characters didn’t want to be around me. I tried to write but my characters had fallen silent. This was the same characters that just a week or so before had talked so much that I couldn’t keep up.

Not getting anywhere with my current work, my mind kept going back to the other MS—the one that SHOULD have been published. I gently tucked Angelina’s Secret back into the deep crevices of my computer and I opened the document for Our ParaNormal Lives.

I hadn’t read it in over a year and it… well… to be honest… could use some work, a lot of work. I could see why it had been rejected. The concept was good… but the writing… not so much.

I contacted my agent and did the unthinkable. I asked him to stop submitting the MS and give me the chance to make it shine.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

My Road To Publication Part 4

As promised, I’m going to reveal the biggest secret I’ve ever uncovered…

Pssst lean in a little closer. Authors don’t write fiction—their characters do. If you’re not an author, I’m sure this sounds a little nuts. If you are an author, you’re probably rolling your eyes and saying UH… DUH.

Before I started writing, I had seen hints of this being true. I had heard of the writers muse and of the characters coming to life. I assumed that either this particular author was crazy or she just meant that she was such an awesome writer that her characters seemed like real people. I was WRONG.

Sitting down to write Angelina’s Secret, I had an idea of where I wanted the story to go. I didn’t however have a clear picture of how to get it there. The more I worked on it, the easier it became. Not because I was such an awesome writer, but because my characters had come to life and they told me where to take the story next. All I had to do was type. There were days I had all of them crowded around my computer telling me what to write. Sometimes I would literally call out, “Slow down. I can’t type that fast.” (It’s a good thing I usually write when I’m at home alone.)

As cool as this is, it also has its downfalls. This was after all, my story and I had a few ideas of my own, but sometimes they didn’t match the ideas of one or more of my characters. If I chose to do it my way, they quit talking and my writing came to an abrupt stop.

The first bazillion times this happened, (I guess I’m a slow learner) I would sit and stare at my computer willing the next scene to unfold. It refused. The cursor on my screen blinked, taunting me. Knowing my characters had a stronger will than I did, I’d finally give in and do it their way and the story would progress.

As much as I’d come to love my characters, I got tired of their temperamental ways. When I learned a publisher was strongly considering my first book for publication I decided to shelve Angelina’s Secret and refocus my attention on my first book. The one that I, not my characters had written.

Come back on Friday to see how this turned out for me.

Monday, October 3, 2011

My Road To Publication Part 3

Even though I hoped my agent would soon call  to tell me about an offer… he hadn't. I knew these things took time so I waited, and waited, and waited. I checked my e-mail obsessively and waited some more.

Writing the book and then going through the process of finding an agent had taken up so much of my time that now, I didn’t know what to. After a month or so of waiting, I decided it was time to start another writing project. But what?

I toyed around with a few ideas and did some research on the ideas I’d come up with. I finally chose my topic and started. I scrapped it, started another, and scrapped it too. For some reason, I just wasn’t feeling it. Back to checking my e-mail a hundred times a day and not having a clear picture of my next project in mind, my husband suggested I write a fiction book.

Fiction? No… I couldn’t. Even though I mainly read fiction, I couldn’t see myself writing it. I was a non-fiction writer. That I could do, but fiction… no… not me. With fiction, you had to be more creative. You had to make stuff up. With non-fiction, you just told a real story, in a creative way. The difference was huge.

It took some time, but the idea of writing fiction started to grow on me. My husband and I kicked a few ideas around. I liked the story line we’d come up with, but still didn’t know if I was cut out to be a fiction writer.

I finally decided to try it and see what happened. After all, I could always scrap this project too. It had to be better than staring at my inbox all day. With a skeleton of an idea for my new writing endeavor, I sat down at the computer and discovered something AMAZING.

Be sure to stop back by on Wed. and I’ll share the biggest secret I’ve ever uncovered.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

My Road To Publication Part 2

My first reality check was discovering that the larger publishing houses do NOT deal directly with the authors. (See, I told you I was naïve.) They deal with the author’s agent. Soooo I decided I must need one of those. I mean, how hard could it be?

Now knowing I needed an agent; I began trying to educate myself on exactly how this publishing process worked. I read many, many, books on the subject. Still trying to clarify everything in my mind, I diligently searched the Internet, looking for more answers. That’s when I stumbled on an amazing site called Query Tracker. Here I was able to learn more about the publishing process, but more importantly, I was able to connect with other aspiring authors. If you haven’t heard of QT you can check them out here to connect with other authors go here

After writing, rewriting and polishing my query, I started the long and oftentimes heart wrenching process of finding an agent. To my surprise, this ended up being more like a full time job. After receiving several, (okay a bunch) of form rejections, I reworked the query letter. I went through this process multiple times. When my query letter started producing more request than rejections, I knew it was finally doing its job.

Getting quite a few requests from agents wanting to see the MS, I knew I was close to getting an agent…then the rejections came… one after another. Using the same thought I’d had with my query, I knew the MS must need a little more work. I stopped looking for an agent and put that effort back into making my MS shine. When it was the best possible work I could do, I started once again looking for an agent. Having enough rejection letters to wallpaper my house I finally placed the book with a reputable agent and let me tell you, It. Felt. Good. My work, for the time anyway, was complete. I was sure my agent would call any day to tell me he had just received an offer.  

Check back on Monday to see how right… or wrong… I was.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

My Road To Publication Part 1

I know some of you are aspiring authors so I’ve decided to do a few short post (maybe more) describing my journey down the road to publication. Please feel free to leave comments and ask questions.  

I always dreamed of being an author, but between raising kids, work, and life in general, that dream kept getting put on hold. With my daughter in college and my son, a senior in High School, I decided the time was finally right for me to get this dream started.

Going with the thought of, write what you know, I started my first book. On Haunted Ground, originally titled, Our ParaNormal Lives, this is a non-fiction work and it took a little over a year to write. Of course, some of that time was spent trying to relearn all of those little grammar rules  I’m not quite sure I ever knew.

Finishing the book, I remember feeling a great sense of accomplishment. I had actually done it!!! Now, all I had to do was get it published… and yes… unfortunately, I was that naïve. I thought writing the book was the hard part.

Be sure to stop back by to learn of my reality check.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

How Cool Is This!!!!!!!!

Fellow author Dan Cohen has teamed up with Spencer Hill Press to offer YOU a chance to appear in his book trailer. The details below were copied from the publisher's website.

MOTV Trailer

Want to be in a book trailer? Now's your chance!

Here's the deal: Sam Lock, the star player of your beloved Carver (Texas) High School football team, just choked during the crucial play of the championship game.
We want the reactions of the fans, and you are the fans.

First, wear green and gold. Have fun; feel free to use face paint, accessories, etc., like you have a ton of school spirit. Alternatively, go goth with a tiny green and gold "C" on your black nail polish or something. You can dress like a nerd, a cheerleader, a stoner, a jock, a member of the marching band, a seriously over-involved booster parent, or whatever you'd like. Have fun and be creative!

Second, talk into the camera as though you're being interviewed by the local news or by one of your school's video bloggers. You're angry or dismayed or otherwise in shock, since football is practically a religion in your Texas town (don't go overboard on the accent, please!). Read the opening chapter here if you'd like to improvise your own lines. In fact, improvisation is encouraged.

Here are some suggested lines. You can use just one or send us takes of several. We prefer several short clips, rather than one long take.

"He choked!"

"What a loser! He could've gone pro!"

"He'll never live this down."

Or you can just sob hysterically while a friend hugs your shoulder.

You may enter as many times as you like; please have your submissions in by November 30th, 2011. By sending us the clip, you are consenting to allow us to use it for the book trailer, but everyone who appears on camera needs to print and sign a release form (download a PDF here) as well. If you're under eighteen, please have a parent sign, too.

The release forms can then be mailed to:
MOTV Trailer
Spencer Hill Press
PO Box 247
Contoocook, NH 03229

Or scanned and sent as PDF attachments to:

Digital clips can be sent as attachments to:

Everyone who submits a clip will receive a Masters of the Veilrack card signed by the author. If we use your clip in the trailer, you'll receive an advance reading copy of
Masters of the Veil (shipped to a US mailing address) inscribed to you by author Daniel Cohen.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Brennan's Restaurant

As with all vacations, even virtual ones have to end. As much as I have enjoyed playing on the internet and dreaming of a getaway, it's time for me to get back to work.

Even though our lovely hotel offers fine dining, I thought for our last night in New Orleans we'd go some place new for dinner--and of course it's also haunted. You can read about it below or click here
to see other haunted restaurants around town.

Brennan’s Restaurant
Located at 417 Royal Street in the heart of the French Quarter, Brennan's Restaurant has been a culinary phenomenon in New Orleans since it opened its doors in 1946. The Brennan's menu is known and highly regarded throughout the world and most visitors do not want to miss an opportunity to have a meal at this famous location while visiting the Crescent City.

The Royal Street location that Brennan's now occupies was maintained as a private residence throughout the 19th century and into the 20th century, until Edward Brennan founded his famous restaurant. Most of the paranormal activity that has been identified at Brennan's is attributed to the families who owned and occupied this former New Orleans town house in the early years of the 19th century. The location passed through several owners and so the identity of the ghostly spectres cannot be verifiably traced, however, their presence is undeniable.

Members of the Brennan family who currently own and operate the restaurant readily admit that there are ghosts at the location. Once famous haunting there involves the infamous spectre of the second-storey Red Room. Said to be the spirit of a former owner who lost everything in financial ruin and who committed suicide after murdering his family, the ghostly atmosphere of the Red Room is usually all anyone needs to convince them that the place is haunted. Staff and employees, however, often have to go to the room for linens or tables and additional chairs, and there have been reports of a mysterious misty figure who literally haunts their steps the entire time they are working upstairs. Patrons who have rented the room for special events have reported the ghostly image of a man dressed in 18th century clothing seen peering in disapprovingly at the festivities. Some have encountered simply a feeling of his presence, an anger and foreboding, just outside the main door to the Red Room.

Another active spectre is said to the be ghost of the late Chel Paul Blange who created many of Brennan's signature dishes and helped build the reputation of the esteemed eatery.

European Chef Paul Blange, who worked for decades at the famous eatery and was so devoted to the restaurant that when he died the restaurant’s menu, a knife and fork were placed across his chest of his dead body as he lay in the coffin. "No one ever thought Chef Blange would leave Brennan’s, and apparently, he never did," says Jimmy Brennan, an owner of the establishment.

The Chef is said to lurk in the kitchen, his natural location in life, and many of the chef staff have reported the feeling of being watched, and even of something touching them while they are preparing meals. Late at night, when the guests have gone and staff are locking up, Chef Paul will bang doors and pots in the empty kitchen. And this is where the ghost is most often sighted.

Another former employee is said to haunt and be sighted in the wine cellar that he made famous. Herman Funk, a wine master whom Brennan's employed to build their fabulous cache of famous and renowned wines and spirits, is said to be still attached to his job even in the afterlife. Most employees don't like going to the wine racks alone, although they brave their way through it. For every clink of a bottle the employee makes, it is said, there is a mimicking "clink" of another bottle just out of reach. This, they say, is Herman Funk making his suggestion for a wine selection. Employees who have been there awhile admit that they will usually go with Funk's selection, in addition to what the guest might request, bringing patrons a choice "just to keep Herman happy."

For a haunting in the most sumptuous surroundings, Brennan's, the famous French Quarter restaurant, offers it's red dining room. Tucked away upstairs and lit by gas chandeliers, the room was the scene of a murder-suicide during the Civil War when the owner of the house killed his wife and son then hanged himself from the elaborate brass chandelier.

"I've seen the ghost there myself," says a waiter at Brennan's for10 years. "The cleaning crew won't go in there at night, but a lot of people request that room for dinner. They hope to see the ghost.

Friday, September 16, 2011

St. Louis Cemetery #1

Saint Louis Cemetery is the name of three Roman Catholic cemeteries in New Orleans. Most of these graves were constructed in the 18th and 19th century. Since St. Louis Cemetery #1 is the oldest and most famous we will focus on it for the purpose of our virtual vacation. This cemetery opened in 1789, replacing the city's older St. Peter Cemetery (no longer in existence) as the main burial ground when the city was redesigned after a fire in 1788. For more pictures of this beautiful historic cemetery go here

Some of the more interesting tombs in St. Louis # 1 are a huge tomb that holds the remains of some of the participants in the Battle of New Orleans; chess champion Paul Morphy; New Orleans' first black mayor, Ernest N. "Dutch" Morial. But the most famous and interesting tomb here is said to be where Voodoo Queen Marie Leveaux is buried.Even though she died 130 years ago people still flock to her tomb in hopes of  being blessed by her supernatural powers.  

Marie Laveaus Ghost is said to haunt the cemetery and many Ghost photos, and EVP's occur. This New Orleans graveyard is said to be haunted by the ghost of the world famous Voodoo Queen of New Orleans, Marie Laveau. Her spirit has been reported inside of the cemetery, walking between the tombs wearing a turban , and mumbling a New Orleans Santeria Voodoo curse to trespassers.
Her Voodoo curse is loud and even heard by passerby's on nearby Rampart Street. Locals say this has started in recent years for she is alarmed by the many vandals and state of the cemetery. Voudon Believers and Tourist and locals still come to her tomb every day and leave many, many Voodoo offerings (candles, flowers, buttons, monke cock good luck statue, Mardi Gras beads, Gris Gris bags, Voodoo dolls, and food in hopes of being blessed by her supernatural powers from beyond the grave.) Many have been known to make a wish at her tomb marking three X's. While others say they have her Ghost on film emerging undead from her tomb. They say her soul appears here as a shiny black Voodoo cat with read eyes. If you see it run!
The Tomb is also said to be haunted by her great Voodoo snake called Zombi. Some say they have felt her touch them letting them know their wish will come true. One recent haunted Cemtery tour guest at Marie laveus tomb states that she picked up a statue on the ground of a Monkey and cock. The Tour guide explained it was left there and meant to be taken as a good luck statue and that it grants three wishes.""as I picked it up, some strange force ripped it out of my hands.""Marie Laveau did not want me to have it ." She said. "It landed un broken back where I picked it up from, another person on the tour picked it up and the same thing happened." then another lady picked it up and nothing happened. The entire tour was stunned and the guide too."

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Marie Laveau

Where, but New Orleans, could you expect to go on a haunted cemetery tour? As part of our virtual vacation package, we are going to tour the most popular one. Before we go to the St. Louis Cemetery #1 we need to learn a little bit about its most famous occupant—Marie Laveau.

Marie Laveau

Painting by C.M. Gandolfo New Orleans Historic Voodoo Museum

Marie Laveau lived in New Orleans and became the Queen of the Voodoos.

"The beautiful Marie Laveau, and yes she was beautiful, was born a Free Woman of Color in 1794 and died an old woman in 1881. She became the most famous and powerful Voodoo Queen of New Orleans. She was respected and feared by all. Voodoo in New Orleans was a blend of West African religion and Catholicism. Voodoo deities are called Loahs and they are closely paired with the Catholic Saints. All people in New Orleans were Catholic and slaves were baptized. Marie was a devout Catholic and attended Mass daily. Marie began as a hairdresser and later became a nurse during the Yellow Fever epidemics. She was skilled in the practice of medicine and knew the healing qualities of indigenous herbs. Concerned about the soul too, she would sit with the condemned in their last moments sometimes serving them their last meal. She was the first commercial Voodoo Queen and she specialized in romance and finance. She was an astute business woman. Marie was all-knowing and all-powerful. She could easily help you get a lover, keep a lover or get rid of a lover. Marie married Jacques Paris at St. Louis Cathedral when she was 25. He disappeared 6 months later and from then on she became known as "The Widow Paris". A year later she became the common law wife of Christopher Glapion and had some 15 children by him. The youngest of these, also Marie, followed in her mother's footsteps and succeeded her. It is believed that you can come to Marie's tomb and ask for something. She accepts money, cigars, white rum and candy as offerings. Appeals must be made 3 times with full concentration. In voodoo it is believed that when a Voodoo Queen dies her spirit re-enters the river of life and moves to the next realm, adjacent to this one.