My Writer’s Book Bag

Oh, how these summer days and nights are passing by all too quickly here in the Finger Lakes. The college students are not only swarming the campuses, but totally disregarding any lessons taught to them on how to safely cross a street. It’s still been plenty hot and humid with many a thunderstorm tossed in for good measure, but fall is approaching all too fast. This past weekend saw the annual carnival, parade, and fireworks come to my little town. Yes, those old-fashioned things still exist around these parts.

We’ve got a TON of things to do around the house before the first snows start to fly. In between some roof and foundation repairs, plugging a hole to keep out the damn starlings come next spring, and with any luck at all, getting our deck sealed, I’m hoping to find more time to read. LOL. Yeah, right!

The list is short this month as I’ve been buried in a very deep hole of editing my own stuff, but I did manage to squeeze in a couple of really good books!

ShadowFabric_MarkCassellFirst up, The Shadow Fabric by Mark Cassell. I’ve been stalking Mark on Twitter for a very long time and was finally able to gather up enough pennies to order his first book in the Shadow Fabric mythos awhile back. I’ll be posting a more detailed review at all the usual places (including here) in the very near future. In a nutshell, loved it! It’s been a while since I’ve been so eager to get back to reading as I was with this book. It starts out with a bang, well, more like an um, I guess you’d call it a squish and slurp? Whatever the sound of someone getting stabbed with a magical dagger and then sucked into the darkness is. I’m really looking forward to getting my eyeballs on more of Mark’s work and learning more about the incredible world he’s created surrounding the Shadow Fabric.

77ShadowStreetKoontzI’m still making my way through my first Dean Koontz (audio)book. Yes, I know, I know. I’ve been told many, many times over the years that I’d like Dean Koontz stuff by those that know me well, but for whatever reason, I never picked up anything by him before. Wow. There will be more Koontz to come on this list, I’m sure. I’ve started out with 77 Shadow Street. It seems August is Shadow Month! Just realized that. The Pendelton Hotel stands at 77 Shadow Street and undergoes some sort of paranormal time-warp every thirty-eight years. Part horror, part paranormal, part sci-fi, part Apocalyptic-disaster, filled with giant larva-like creatures, ghosts, murderers, alien assaults and body snatching, I am fully invested in this story. The narration of this book is absolutely amazing, too! Whoever this guy is, I hope he got paid well. Every character, and there are a lot of them; men, women, children, and those creatures\beings\entities that haunt the place, each has a very different and distinct voice.

And, that’s it! Just the two. There are three books sitting here on the corner of my desk waiting their turn to be read. Oddly – two of them are science fiction – a genre I usually avoid like the plague.

2017 Bookshelf-To-Date

January
Montauk Monster by Hunter Shea

February
Maledicus by Charles F. French

March
Doctor Sleep by Stephen King
Mysteries of Udolpho by Ann Radcliffe,
The Beast of Boggy Creek by Lyle Blackburn

April
Zen in the Art of Writing by Ray Bradbury
Sinister Entity by Hunter Shea

May
Ann Radcliffe: The Great Enchantress by Robert Miles
Dreaming At The Top Of My Lungs by Israel Finn
Loch Ness Revenge by Hunter Shea

June
Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury (audiobook)
We Have Always Lived In The Castle by Shirley Jackson (audiobook)
Beyond Boggy Creek by Lyle Blackburn

July
(Almost) Average Anthology by Jason J. Nugent
Moment of Darkness by Jason J. Nugent
The Whistlers by Amity Argo (audiobook)
The Willows by Algernon Blackwood (audiobook)
Luellen & Lucy by Dee DeTarsio

August
The Shadow Fabric by Mark Cassell
77 Shadow Street by Dean Koontz (audiobook)

Author Interview – Lorelei Buckley

This month I’m pleased to bring you an interview with Paranormal Romance author Lorelei Buckley. Oooh — spooky and sexy all at the same time!

  1. Some writers come to writing later in life, almost accidentally, while others seem to have wanted it for as long as they can remember. How did your journey as a writer begin?

LoreleiBuckleyMy writing journey started in grade school with poetry. Well actually my writing journey began with love letters to Donnie Osmond. For most of fifth grade, a classmate named Sondra paid me ten bucks per sugary heartfelt-letter addressed to her future husband, Mr. Osmond. It was mutually beneficial. I believe she received some sort of fan club VIP article, and I made a little cash and gained the confidence to enter and win a poetry contest. That’s when the idea of being a writer formulated.

  1. Some people swear by an outline, while others do something I’ve learned to call organic writing, in that many times throughout the writing process they aren’t 100% sure what’s going to happen next. Would you tell us a little bit about your process?

I think I fall somewhere in the middle. I generally write a pre-manuscript synopsis. So, I’ll have the bones, but the meat comes as I’m writing. For instance, in Direct Strike I knew Zoey was going to be struck by lightning and end up with a kind of supernatural side-effect. But the details didn’t come forward until I was knee deep in the story. I tend to backtrack quite a bit as I learn more about the plot, character, etc. Not sure if that’s good or bad, but it works for me.

  1. You write in a somewhat specialized genre, Paranormal Romance. Which one really got you started, the paranormal aspect or the romance side of things? What, or who, inspired you to go in that direction?

I was definitely drawn to the paranormal elements. I’ve always had interest in dream work, psychic phenomenons, the spirit world, mysticism, etc. – Since childhood. Initially I wanted to be a horror writer. I penned a few short stories, but then I had a dream about a couple who moved into a haunted house. They were just married and despite the shadows slithering up and down the walls, they were madly in love. And the love they had for each other helped them overcome their fear. I woke up feeling warm and fuzzy and with the desire to explore paranormal romance. The dream inspired my first published novel.

  1. Would you be able to provide my readers with a tiny teaser for you current work in progress?

I’m working on a couple of things. One is a horror screenplay ironically titled: The  Paranormals, and the other is the long awaited next book in the Midnight Road series titled: Blue Moon House. Each story takes place in the same town, and one thing binds the characters, but they’re stand alone books. Readers aren’t left hanging at the end of any of the Midnight Road novellas.

Here’s an unedited snippet from Chapter One of Blue Moon House:

“We’ve got to be close.” Sophia’s Subaru headlamps cut through the pitch-black night. Fixated on the road ahead, she gripped the steering wheel. At a glance to her right, Danny’s face glowed in the hue of his cell phone. Her muscles contracted. She could hardly stand to breathe the same air as him.
“Long drive. Airplanes are awesome,” he said.
He knew she had a fear of flying. Dick. She exhaled. She wondered if somewhere deep beneath grueling daily arguments, she still loved him. Not likely. A year ago she would have died for Danny. Twelve months later she wanted to murder him. No, she reminded herself, she wanted to kill the marriage. No, she corrected herself, she truly wanted to kill Danny.

  1. In addition to being psychic, your character Scarlett is what I’d call a sort of New Age Kitchen Witch. As a writer myself, I know some characters have a lot of me in them. Is that the case for you with Scarlett or is there another character you more closely identify with?

Yes, I can relate to Scarlett, somewhat. In fact her iron skillet-Epsom salt method to exterminate negative/uninvited energy was a family recipe. But she’s much mousier than me.

  1. Can you fill us in on your latest release and what will be available next? Where can perf5.000x8.000.inddfolks find out more about you, your work, and purchase your books?

Next up will be Blue Moon House. Currently, Medium Crossing and Midnight Road: Lighthouse can be purchased on Amazon. Direct Strike is available on Amazon and Kensingtonbooks.com. For updates and social media links, go to: loreleibuckley.com

Thanks so much, Lorelei. It was great getting to know a little bit more about you and your work! Folks – if you’d like to delve a bit deeper into your paranormal romantic side, be sure and visit Lorelei’s website!

Feeling Panicked! YIKES!

After weeks of stalking, and under threats of being subjected to the constant drone of baseball playing fruit flies, XTina has finally broken me down and I’ve agreed to join her and James Longmore on The Panic Room Radio Show this THURSDAY, AUG. 10th at 9:30 CST. I’ll be blathering on about my latest release “No Rest For The Wicked”, doing a reading from the same, and possibly answering ten of the Eleven Questions. What other terrors will I have to endure? There’s only one way to find out! Tune in and have a listen!

The Panic Room Radio Show

The Horrors That Grew Me – Ghostly Encounters

I’m not sure how old I was when my grandmother told me the story about the time she saw a ghost at a friend’s house. I couldn’t have been a teenager yet. This was the same grandmother who bought and taught me how to work an Ouija board, instead of the getting me the vampire books I’d picked out, for my 13th birthday. Pretty awesome, grandma, huh?

Now, before someone gets all up in arms about the DANGER!DANGER!DANGER! of using an Ouija board, I was then and am now, fully aware of what some people say and truly believe. 99% of my experiences have been positive. Maybe it’s because I always approached it in a positive, respectful, and empowering way. I didn’t go in full of fear or anger or anything that might draw in the negative. I honestly don’t know. As for all the talk I’ve heard about demons and all that. Meh. Angry human spirits, absolutely. Demons? No. Maybe that’s something that was instilled in me by my grandmother during those early lessons.

Needless to say, this whole believing in ghosts thing has always existed in my life. I’ve never known what’s it’s like to not believe. Maybe that’s why I’ve had what might be considered an above-average amount of experiences with it. I can totally understand why others don’t feel this way and I’m fine with that. I’m not here to try and change anyone’s mind. I’m here to tell you some stories.

My first experience, that I can remember, happened at a friend’s house. You can read all about it over at Thomas Gunther’s website where I answered his question, “What Scared The Hell Out Of You?”.

Another incident happened while my first husband and I were exploring an abandoned brick house back in the late 1980s. We weren’t looking for ghosts at all, just wanted to check out this old place. While we were doing so, I heard what sounded like an old woman humming. The image of a woman sitting out on the front porch sitting in a rocking chair popped into my head. Just sitting there, humming to herself and rocking. It was a very peaceful, happy feeling.

While with a group of friends, again, exploring an empty house that was anything but empty, I walked into the dining room and it felt like my whole chest constricted and the air got very heavy and tight. As soon as I’d leave that room, the feeling would stop. Never saw or heard anything, but that sensation was enough for me to know something, or someone, was not happy about having their house invaded by strangers. I avoided that room as best I could during the rest of our visit.

In 1994, while looking for a house to buy, we found another old place. It had a For Sale sign out front so we stopped to see what we could see through the windows before calling the realtor. While standing at one corner of the property, I heard footsteps coming around from the other side. I assumed it was my husband so paid it no mind until I turned and looked. It wasn’t him. It was a woman dressed in an early 20th-century dress, white or some other light color, with her dark hair pulled up in a Gibson Girl-style. We made brief eye contact, she smiled just a little bit then was gone. It was that fast.

Although we ended up not getting that house, we did find one the following year that met all our criteria, including a resident ghost. Our first encounter with the man we’d later call Herman, happened only a month or so after moving in. It was late February or early March and we woke one morning to find the door between the kitchen and back room wide open. We thought nothing about it at the time. One or the other of us probably hadn’t closed it all the way. It was (and still is) a tricky door to get shut. The door was closed and checked that night and off we went to bed. The next morning, it was open again. Now we’re starting to wonder. That night the door was closed, locked, and tugged on to make extra sure it was completely latched and tight. Good to go, we headed upstairs to bed.

It wasn’t an hour later when we heard a click and a the familiar squeak of that kitchen door opening. In the darkness of the bedroom I said, “Did you hear that?” “Yeah.” “You going to go check?” “Nope.” Sure enough, the next morning the door was open yet again. It was creepy, but not overly scary for some reason. My husband went to the door and said, “Okay. We get it. We know you’re here and we’re okay with that. You are welcome to stay, but can you please stop opening this door?” Guess what? That door has NEVER opened on its own since and that was in 1995.

Other things have happened over the years. Electronics going on and off as they wish, the sound of the front door opening followed by footsteps through the dining room before continuing up the stairs, and various children’s toys rolling out of room where no child was present. During our first year at the house, a woman came to the door one Saturday afternoon.  Of course, the place was a mess. She said she’d heard someone had bought the place that had been empty for three years before we came along, and it was getting fixed up again. She told us she lived there in the 1970s and hadn’t been back since moving out in her late teens. As she reached the top of the stairs, she stopped and looked into the room we were using as a spare and said, “Oh… this is the room Daddy died in.” You guessed it, Daddy’s name was Herman.

So, there you have it, some of the ghostly encounters I’ve had that have certainly inspired me as a Horror writer and an overall lover of things that go bump in the night.