Of Scary Stories and Reviews

This week isn’t even half over yet and already, it’s been kind of crazy.  Before it ends, it’s going to get a lot crazier.  I have like, a million things I need to remember to do and unfortunately, I’ve been sick for the last two days which means all I want to do is lie on the couch in my sweatpants and read.  Granted, that’s what I do a lot of the time anyway, but with less than a week before my next book comes and with more than a few book events and speaking engagements on the horizon, not to mention a meeting tonight at church and cat-sitting, I don’t have time to be sick and feel sorry for myself.

Then, of course, there are the new stories that I’m continuing to work on for the rest of the month.  One, of course, is the sequel to Backstage.  That one is just pure fun.  I seriously love writing YA.  I love writing ghost stories too, but they require a certain level of depth and emotion, and it can be draining to pour all that heavy onto the page.  Stories about boy bands however?  Pure fluff.

The second story is for the second book in the Lurking Anthology series called Lurking in the Shadows. I can’t give you too many details about the story itself, but I can tell you it is by far the darkest thing I’ve ever written.  It makes Cemetery Tours look like The Princess Diaries.  I’ve got to be honest, I’m really hoping I’m not inviting in any dark energy or anything by writing this.  I’ll make sure to keep my Bible on hand.

Speaking of Cemetery Tours, as I was writing this, a package arrived on my doorstep…

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After Death, the third book in the Cemetery Tours series, is here!  And it looks amazing!  I’m so, so, so excited!  I can’t wait to share it with all of you next Tuesday!  It’s kind of weird to think I’ve officially written a trilogy.  Of course, it won’t be a trilogy for long.  There are two more books coming!

Finally, I’ve been making a point to read and review the stack of books I’ve had sitting by my bedside for forever.  I’ve been making progress.  One book, Moon Tears by M. M. Frische, I really enjoyed. Well-written, historical fiction about the author’s cousin, I highly recommend it.

I’ve read a few other books, however, that I can’t say I enjoyed, or even finished.  I always feel so guilty when I don’t like a book.  It sounds weird, right?  I never feel guilty not liking a song or a movie, but when it’s a book, I almost feel like it’s personal.  Maybe it’s because I’m an author myself.  I don’t know.  I especially feel guilty when I’ve met the author in person.  Now, I’m not going to say which books I didn’t like.  I don’t want to do that to a fellow writer.  If I don’t like a book, I simply won’t write a review.  And maybe that’s wrong.  Maybe a lousy review is better than no review at all.  But I almost feel like I owe it to the author to give them a good review, just because I know how much time and effort and love they put into a story.  Even though, on the flip side, I know I owe it to fellow readers and reviewers to be totally honest in my recommendation.

Anyway, I suppose I better be off!  I’ll talk to y’all soon!  Keep reading, keep writing!

Thursday Update

Hello, friends.

I haven’t been posting very much this week, mostly because I’ve been feeling a bit gross and under the weather and I haven’t really had much to report.  To be honest, I still don’t.  I’ve basically spent the last two days in my pajamas trying not to feel sick.

I did dig out my really old PC, the one that cratered when I tried to upload Photoshop to it like, a million years ago.  Clearly, that was asking too much of the poor machine because it short-circuited and croaked faster than my brain when confronted with Calculus.  My goal was to wipe it clean and just reboot it, and I thought I’d almost succeeded, but it’s still acting up this morning and I’m afraid it just might be a lost cause.

I have a MacBook which I love (and which I’m using right now), but formatting is so much easier on a PC.  At the moment, I’m helping my friend Paula format her new novella, The Conservative Congregant.  I was hoping that I might be able to use the new/old PC, but I think my old one is going to have to suffice.  It probably will.  It just has SO much stuff on it already!

Other stuff on my mind recently:

It’s officially August!  That means that as much as I love summer, I start fantasizing about fall on a daily basis.


It also means, however, that today, we are exactly TWO MONTHS away from the release of the third Cemetery Tours book, After Death, and I am still working on revisions!  I know I’ll get it out in time… But I’m really cutting it close!  My procrastinator ways are really testing me on this one.  But it will get done.  There is no doubt in my mind.

I’m also in the process of gearing up for two months of book events!  I have quite a few lined up for both September and October and I can’t wait for everything to really get started!  Autumn is the time for ghost stories after all.


Anyway, I’m beginning to feel icky and gross again.  Might go lay down.  If you’d like to make me feel better, go read my books.  Your reading power will heal me.

Much love, all!

Monday Announcements

Okay folks, here’s the deal.  Apparently, Winter is getting back at me for that little breakup letter I wrote yesterday because this morning, I woke up congested, chilled, and with a killer sinus headache which I am still trying to get rid of.  I don’t know how I could have caught a sinus infection since I’ve been about as active as a slug the last few days (thank you, Winter), but I guess stranger things have happened.  The point is, even though all I want to do is lie on the couch and watch Disney movies and feel sorry for myself, I have waaaaaay too much going on this week and in the weeks to come to take a day off.  For the record, though, I am on the couch, in my PJs, and feeling very sorry for myself.  I’m just not watching movies.  Yet.

My first order of business is to tell y’all that I am totally honored to be a part of Danielle Miller’s third blogiversary celebration! Follow her, like her posts, reblog her posts, and stay tuned for lots of really awesome giveaways (including eBooks of both Cemetery Tours and Between Worlds!).  She is so awesome and I’m thrilled to be her first featured author!  Please check her out: https://danielleelisemiller.wordpress.com

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Secondly, I’m hosting another Giveaway of my own!  My new YA book, Boy Band, will be out April 21, and in celebration, I’m giving away five signed copies!  Please enter and spread the word!  https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/129034-boy-band


Finally, I’m back to work full force, not only on Cemetery Tours 3, but on Boy Band 2 and a new idea for a book I had just last night.  I’m not kidding you when I say I have ideas for at least twenty books in my head right now and I wish with all my heart that I could just write all of them at once.  I always kind of thought that I had to focus on one book at a time and have that be it.  But the more I thought about it, the more I realized, hey, I went through four years of high school and six years of higher education, and all ten of those years, I worked on dozens of different projects at the same time.  Why can’t I do that now in my professional life?  I mean, it will probably be a lot easier to buckle down and concentrate when I’m not fighting off a sinus infection, but whatever.

I think that about covers my Monday Announcements.  I might have a few more as the week progresses.  Then again, I might not.  Until then, enjoy your Monday!  I’ll be curled up in a ball with a hot wash cloth pressed against my face.  Ugh.

My Guide to the Perfect Sick Day

For about the past two weeks, I feel like I’ve been going, going, going.  This is usually a good thing.  I always prefer to be active and to have something to do than to have absolutely nothing to do.  

Throughout the past few days, however, everything seems to have caught up with me.  I’ve been absolutely drained of energy (hey… maybe there’s a ghost around!  Ha ha ha… Cemetery Tours humor) and on top of it all now, I just really, really don’t feel good.  I don’t think I’m actually sick, just run down.  However, I don’t want to treat my poor body like it’s not sick because it’s obviously not feeling its best for a reason.  

To be totally honest, I haven’t had a real sick day in a while because… well… I don’t really get sick anymore (knock on wood).  I used to get sick ALL the time with upper respiratory infections.  I finally got fed up with it near the beginning of 2013 and I decided to see an allergist.  As it turns out, I am allergic to everything that grows except, get this, mountain cedar.  Go figure.  The one thing that everyone in the world is allergic to is the one thing I can sniff all day long and not sneeze one little bit.  

Sick days are still as un-fun as they were the last time I was sick, more than a year ago, but there are ways of making them slightly more enjoyable.  

Guilty Pleasure Movie Marathon

You know those movies that you’re ashamed to own and even more ashamed to admit you love?  Watch them all.  Go for it.  You want to binge-watch Twilight?  Go ahead.  Nicholas Sparks movies? Start with The Notebook.  Yeah, people might judge but you’re sick and you should do what you want to do.  Especially if it takes your mind off how awful you feel.  My favorite sick movie is the third Pirates of the Caribbean movie.  Not sure why.  It’s just the first movie I turn to when I’m not feeling myself.  

Comfort Food

Baked potatoes with lots of butter, Ramen noodles, ice cream, warm french bread, soup, I could go on forever.  Delicious and soothing comfort food is definitely one of the best parts of not feeling well.  Unless, of course, you can’t keep it down, in which case, I do now want to see you, I do not want to talk to you, I do not even want to acknowledge your existence.  Stay away from me.


Now, I love pajamas even when I’m not sick, but I can never ever justify staying in them all day unless I’m not feeling good.  I usually go for my special, extra-comfy Christmas pajama pants, a tank top or comfy t-shirt, and my fluffy Bath and Body Words bathrobe.  Sooo cozy.

Camping Out on the Sick Couch

When I’m sick, I transfer my entire world to the living room couch.  It’s crucial that the ailing body remain as close to food and to the television as possible.  The couch is usually that ideal central spot.  Take your pillows, your blankets, your tissues or whatever medicine you might be requiring, a heating pad… Anything and everything to ease your suffering.  

A Big Glass of Ice Water 

Or any beverage of your choice, but water is my favorite.  It’s a good idea to stay hydrated even when you’re healthy, but it’s extra important when you’re sick.  Some of you may prefer something with a little extra kick, like tea or Gatorade.  

A Pet

Unlike most animals, my kitty is not a very empathetic creature.  Except when I’m sick.  Somehow, whenever I’m not feeling very good, she always seems to sense it and she comes over to sit on me.  Granted, this usually turns out to be more of an inconvenience than a comforting gesture, but it’s the thought that counts.  At least I know she loves me.  

A Good Book

When I’m sick, I tend to reread my favorite books.  This usually comes down to Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban or A Ring of Endless Light.  I’ve read Azkaban so many times that the middle portion of the book is no longer attached to the spine.  If I open it up, a big chunk of the body of the book just falls out.  But it’s always worth it. 

On that note, if you’re in need of a good book, I recommend Cemetery Tours.  And even if you’re not, it would make me feel better.  


Talk to you all later! 

One Last Story Before Bed

This whole #Plague business is actually reminding me of my second summer working as a Camp Counselor.  That year, during the last week of camp when we all had the really young kids (aka the kids that require the most attention and work).  All of our cabins were full.

Well, the very first day of camp that week, my cabin was enjoying one of my favorite activities; running barefoot through the sprinklers around the activity field and throwing a frisbee around.  Seriously, I love it.  It is so fun and carefree.

Anyway, right as we were turning the sprinklers off and lining up to go to lunch, I noticed that my nose was a little stuffy and I had an itch at the back of my throat.  Now, I have terrible allergies, so I really wouldn’t have thought anything of it had it not been for two of my coworkers (both from different cabins) report that they weren’t feeling well the day before.

By that night, I was sick as a dog.  I had lost my voice completely, which was a bummer since it was my coworker’s night off, which meant that I had to be the one to get the girls ready for bed by light’s out.  This particular group of girls also insisted on a bedtime story every night.  I don’t remember what I read them, but it was probably the most pitiful story they’d ever heard.

Actually, now that I think about it, I think it was The 12 Dancing Princesses.  But I digress.

By the next day, at least one counselor from each cabin had been stricken with what we officially dubbed “The All Saints Epidemic.”  (All Saints was the name of my camp).  The funny thing (and blessing, when you think about it) was that every sick person was from a different cabin, and none of our co-counselors got it (there were two counselors per cabin).  That was just about the only good thing about it, though.  Well that, and none of our campers got sick, which was a flat out miracle.

Our poor camp nurse was overrun with sick counselors.  She insisted that what we all really needed was to stay inside and stay in bed, but there was absolutely no way any of us could do that.  We had the most campers we’d had that summer AND they were all young, like kindergarten to third grade young.  So, instead of assigning us all to bed rest, she pumped us all full of Sudafed and Robitussin.  She was so dedicated that she even made personal deliveries throughout the day.

At the end of one day about halfway through the week, she ran out of Robitussin (that was supposed to last us the entire summer) and had to make a run into town to the nearest Wal-Mart (30 minutes away) to get us some more.  I actually got the very last of the old bottle and she told me not to even bother with the little cup and let me drain the bottle, just like a pirate throwing back a bottle of rum.

Along with taking care of all those kids, I also had waterfront duty that summer, so it was my job to be down at the lake, run the buddy board, ring the Everyone Out of the Water Bell, etc…  One day, though, I was so sick and medicated that I fell asleep right on the bench next to the bell.  I am a very self-conscious person.  I NEVER fall asleep in public, especially in the middle of the day.  Well, not unless I have jet lag, but that’s a different story.  But thanks to that dumb illness and the drugs I was out.  That was probably the lowest point in the illness for me.

Somehow, we all made it through the week, and I even got to partake in a mud fight.  I didn’t care how sick I was, I was not about to miss out on that!  However, the illness lasted at least a week after camp ended, making that almost a full two weeks.  I didn’t end up going to the doctor, because each day I thought, “Surely, I’ll feel better tomorrow.”  HA.  One of my co-workers (the one I suspect started it all) did, however, and she was diagnosed with a very bad case of bronchitis.  I’m guessing that’s what we all had, but to me, it will forever be known as The All Saints Epidemic.  And it was awful.