Antiquing

Dallas Comic Con is this weekend.  This will be my first time there, both as a fan and as a guest author.  I’m super, super excited about it, but I also have NO idea what to expect.  I think I’m set as far as wardrobe goes (I’m not dressing up like a character, but as always, I am going to try to dress nice and like I’m totally qualified to write ghost stories), but I’m still a little uncertain as to what my table should look like.  In the spirit of aesthetics and consumerism, I decided to visit an antique store.

I didn’t really find anything that I thought would go well with my table, but my sister and I did venture into the very back of the store, and the moment we set foot there, we both decided it was totally haunted.  Here are some of the pictures that I took in an attempt to capture the spooky atmosphere.

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Okay, so I took way more pictures than I thought I did.  But it was a really cool store!

In other news, yesterday the weather was awful, so my sister, a friend, and I decided to watch that terrible movie adaptation of an even more terrible book.  You know, the one that’s supposed to be really kinky.

Yes, I’m talking about Fifty Shades of Grey.  And yes, I drank a lot of wine.

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I went into this movie thinking that I would be laughing and rolling my eyes at how awful it was.  I expected it to have a mediocre script with mediocre acting.  But overall, I thought I would at least be a little shocked and scandalized.  Sadly, I was none of the above.

Y’all.  This movie is boring.  I was so surprised at how bored I was the entire time.  It wasn’t even so bad that it was funny.  It was just dull.  I didn’t care what happened to anyone (except the cute guy who worked in the hardware store, but we never saw him again after his glorious first appearance – sad).  What made it worse was that I found myself hoping something weird and crazy would happen just to make the six bucks I spent worth it.  But no.  Nothing.  Just a crazy rich control freak (with an apparently super pointless business because I have no idea what he actually does) obsessed with a girl with the personality of a dust mite (I swear, this girl could win the lottery and she’d still be like, “Meh”) and sometimes he spanks her.

Hello!  This movie was rated “R?”  Why?  Because they said the F word a few times?  Maybe years of watching crime dramas and cult documentaries has desensitized me or something, because this movie was just two hours of lame.  Also, I am sick to death of the female protagonists with the personality of a wet paper towel falling head over heals for the angsty tortured guy who’s “so bad for them” while completely ignoring the sweet, cute, happy, funny, down-to-earth guys that would make much better boyfriends.  Christian Grey doesn’t like going to movies or out to dinner?  Forget you, pal.  You sound like the worst date ever.

Oh, and you’re a stalker too.

Anyway, there’s my Fifty Shades rant.  If you’re still reading this, I applaud you.

Enjoy the rest of your evenings, everyone!

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Authorfest 2015

This weekend was incredible.  I was thrilled to be able to participate in the second annual Authorfest in one of my favorite small towns, Denison, Texas.  As a writer, I believe that words are all powerful, but as a photographer, I believe that pictures are worth at least a thousand words.  So here they are.

First, some scenic shots of Downtown Denison.

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Preparing for dinner and a reading at Devoli’s!  It also happens to be part of my favorite winery, Homestead.

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Photograph courtesy of Tim Malek Photography. http://www.TimMalek.com

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Photograph courtesy of Tim Malek Photography. http://www.TimMalek.com

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Usually, I prefer red wine, but this Orange Muscat may have converted me.

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That night, there was another raffle drawing.  I swear to y’all, I have the BEST luck at these things.

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And, of course, there were plenty of books to go around.

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I also got to meet the cutest puppy ever.

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And I spent all the money I earned on wine and new old books including a lot of vintage Stephen King and an old copy of In Cold Blood by Truman Capote.

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Thank you to everyone who made this weekend such and amazing experience.  Thank you especially to James and Claudette Peercy, who organized and made the entire event possible!

You can find James and his wonderful books here: http://www.jameswilliampeercy.com

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Castello di Amorosa

Deep in the heart of Napa Valley, there is a castle.  A wine castle.  It’s called Castello di Amorosa and it is just about the coolest place in the United States.  

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This is a legit castle.  It has everything, from gargoyles…

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To wishing wells…

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To lush gardens…

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To the regal Prince Edward the Cat (we named him… that’s not his official name) who reigns over the castle with a stern paw. 

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He’s so regal.  

And of course, there are the vineyards…

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And the wine itself! 

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The wine, of course, was amazing.  Interestingly enough, I’m usually a fan of red wine, but my favorite wine here was definitely the Chardonnay.  It was the most amazing white wine I’ve ever tasted.  

Finally, after the sampling, we made our way to the gift shop, where I realized that these vineyards and wineries have discovered the most brilliant marketing plan ever: get your customers buzzed and then set them loose in the gift shop.  Seriously.  You want to buy everything.  I especially liked this book…

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After a delightful dinner, we ended up leaving Napa around 10:30 – 11:00 at night.  Four hours later, the massive 6.0 earthquake struck.  My friends and I had no idea until the next morning, when I woke to several text messages, a missed call, and a voicemail.  

I immediately assumed my parents were checking to make sure I would make it to the airport on time (which, in case you’re wondering, I almost didn’t), so I called my mom and told her, “Don’t worry.  I’m awake.  We have plenty of time.”

But instead of expressing her relief, she just asked if I was okay, if we’d been affected at all.  I had no idea what she was talking about.  By that point, my friend Hannah was awake and also receiving text messages from concerned loved ones.  It turns out that, had we been awake at 3 AM, we would have felt the earth shaking and swaying. 

I know it’s been more than a week now, but I’m still thinking about all the nice people that we met in Napa.  It’s such a beautiful and wonderful community with good, honest people.  I hope that they’re all alright and that they will soon bounce back from this horrible disaster.  

Aside from the earthquake, my trip to California was an absolute delight.  Thank you, Hannah, my dearest friend.  I can’t wait to return! 

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Books, Wine, and Fish Fry

Yesterday, my sister and I ventured back up to Lake Texoma.  Initially, we’d just planned to attend the Locust Community Volunteer Fire Department Fish Fry (try saying that five times fast), but then we decided, hey, it’s such a cool area, let’s just spend the day there.  She’d never been to Denison before, so I got to show her around and introduce her to the people and places that I’ve been privileged to meet this year. 

We also wandered around a few shops, including an antique store with, according to the people who work there, several ghosts! 

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The first thing I noticed was this Ouija board.  Now, I do not mess around with Ouija boards.  My friends and I used to, but then something really weird happened with what we think may have a dark entity, so that was the end of that.  Call me crazy, but I firmly believe that if you call something, if you ask it to come, it’s going to come.  To that, I say “No thank you.” 

There is a Ouija board in the new book, however.

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Then, we walked over the The Book Rack, where the ladies proudly display books written by local authors.  They are just the best! 

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I’ve got to say, seeing your book on the shelf of a real bookstore is pretty cool.  

After that, we meandered over to the local winery for more of their amazing Rose of Ivanhoe wine.  Forget California Wine.  Homestead Winery in Denison, Texas is where it’s at!  We also wanted to try something new, and since my sister isn’t old enough for a wine tasting, I took one for the team and helped myself to four samples.  Their White Zinfandel, while a little too sweet for my taste, was incredible.  It tasted like Honeysuckle!  I told the lady behind the counter that, and she said, “A lot of people say that!”  

We ended up with another bottle of Rose of Ivanhoe and a Cabernet, which is amazing.  I’m telling you, forget all the big corporations and brand names.  Small, local businesses who really love what they do and put their heart and soul into it are where it’s at.  If I do another book release party, I’m buying all my wine there.  Support your local businesses! 

After we had our wine, we headed over to the Locust Community Volunteer Fire Department Annual Fish Fry!  As a volunteer department, they don’t get paid, so they host events like this to raise money.  It’s such a worthy cause and such a fun event!  The food is amazing, you’re right there on the lake (although it’s very low this year), there’s a live band, auctions, raffles, and my sister and I each got a t-shirt!  

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All in all, a pretty good weekend.