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.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Hotel Monteleone

Unlike my real pockets, my virtual pockets are deep, so I spared no expense in choosing the hotel for our trip to New Orleans. I booked each of us a room at the Hotel Monteleone. Like all of my favorite hotels, the Monteleone is an historic land mark and a member of Historic Hotels of America. It was built in 1886 and has documented more than a dozen earthbound entities.  Not only does this hotel have ghosts, but it boast of a state-of-the-art fitness room, a heated rooftop pool with breathtaking views of downtown New Orleans. Of course, it also has a full service day spa to help relieve our tired muscles from all of the sightseeing, shopping, and ghost hunting we are going to do. For more information on this beautiful hotel you can go here:

To learn more about the ghosts and things we might get to experience while staying here be sure to watch the attached video.

Have a haunting experience.

Many people who come to Hotel Monteleone don’t want to leave. Some never do…
Generations of hotel guests and staff have regularly experienced haunted events that would cause even the staunchest skeptic to take pause. This haunted hotel has a restaurant door that opens almost every evening and then closes again, even though it is locked. An elevator that stops on the wrong floor, leading a curious couple down a hallway that grows chilly and reveals the ghostly images of children playing. Hotel Monteleone is known for being one of the premier haunted hotels in North America.
In March 2003, the International Society of Paranormal Research spent several days investigating Hotel Monteleone. While at the hotel, the team made contact with more than a dozen earthbound entities. Among them were several former employees, a man named William Wildemere who died inside the hotel of natural causes, and a boy who was much older when he died but enjoys returning to Hotel Monteleone as a 10-year-old to play hide-and-seek with another young spirit.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Virtual Vacation

Doing back-to-back edits on my fiction and non-fiction books has caused the little gears in my brain to quit functioning and I find myself in desperate need of a vacation. Unfortunately, neither time nor money will allow for such frivolity. For now, I have to settle for a virtual vacation and I invite all of you to join me.

Think about it, we could go anywhere! The virtual world is literally at our fingertips. We could take a luxurious cruise to the Bahamas’s, ski the glorious mountains in Colorado, or enjoy the beaches of California. Ahhhhhh, as good as all of that sounds—it’s not for me.

The best way for me to relax and unwind is to visit places that are rumored to be haunted. I like to delve deep into the history of such places and learn all I can about them and then of course I like to see if I can find any truth behind the haunting rumors.

For this virtual vacation, we will be going to New Orleans. While many of us may wonder if ghosts really exists, I’ve heard it said that in New Orleans most people don’t even question it. Instead of asking you if you believe in ghosts, they ask if you’ve met any of their ghosts.

Even though I’ve never gotten to visit this great city, I’m intrigued with their many tales of ghosts. So get your virtual suitcases packed we will be leaving bright and early Monday morning, and don’t forget the coffee.

Friday, September 2, 2011


Angelina’s Secret has gone into the galleys!!!!!!
And what does this mean? Well…it means it’s getting closer and closer to its release date. It also means the ARC’s will be coming out soon. If you are a YA book reviewer and you’d like to receive an ARC of Angelina's Secret Please contact Spencer Hill Press. (
 e-mail  (editor (at) spencerhillpress (dot) com) 

So again, YEE-HAW, and yes it’s okay for me to say that I’m from Oklahoma.