Monday, September 25, 2006

'Tell Me Your Ghost Story' Contest

Where would a paranormal writer be without a special place in her heart for Halloween, spooky stories and chocolate, hm? :)

Fiendish little ghoul that I am, I'm holding the 2nd Annual Tell Me Your Ghost Story Contest on my website during the month of October!

Tell me the spookiest thing that's ever happened to you (or someone you know), and you could win some Halloween Godiva Chocolate (something sweet):

and a copy of the Oxford Book of Victorian Ghost Stories (something scary):

I've already gotten some pretty creepy stories! The winner will be announced on October 21, 2006 (just before Halloween!), and the story published on my website. You can read last year's winning entries here.

Go ahead, ghoulfriend... tell me your story! You know you want to. :)

Thursday, September 14, 2006

The Hollywood Treatment

I stole this idea from my friend, Ellen Meister who has a really cool book out right now, entitled Secret Confessions of the Applewood PTA (it's a hilarious look at what happens when three suburban housewives conspire to bring George Clooney to their town to film a movie. Check it out.)

Anyway, the idea here is that if you had 30 seconds to pitch your novel to a Hollywood producer, what would you say, and who would you cast as your main characters?

For Dead Girls Are Easy (coming July 2007 from Avon Books, YAY!), I'd probably pitch something like:

A former Goth girl has a near-death experience, and wakes to find herself an unwilling 'ghoulfriend' to the dead.

Who would I cast? Hm... tougher call than one might think. For my smart-aleck, fashion-conscious heroine Nicki Styx, I think Zooey Deschanel would work. She's got the right attitude, gorgeous eyes, and a fashion sense all her own. (Her real-life sister, Emily Deschanel, plays the no-nonsense Temperance Brennan on Bones, so she'd be perfect for Nicki's not-so-twin sister, Kelly.)

For the lovable and sexy Dr. Joe Bascombe, the man who brought Nicki back to life (in more ways than one *g*), I'd have to choose Patrick Dempsey from Grey's Anatomy. I still have to struggle with my memories of him as Will's gay boyfriend on Will & Grace (one of my favorite shows, btw), but I can suspend disbelief long enough to see him as Joe.

And finally, (and perhaps the easiest of all), would be the irrepressible, outrageous Evan Owenby, Nicki's best friend and business partner. Who better to play the gay co-owner of a vintage clothing store called 'Handbags N' Gladrags' than Carson Kressley, America's favorite Queer Eye for the Straight Guy?

So now I challenge you aspiring writers out there to do your own 'Hollywood Treatment' on your story. Who would you choose to play your main characters, and why?

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Shake N' Bake

Ok, this is getting ridiculous.

As a Florida native (yes, we do exist) I'm used to searing heat, humidity you can swim through, mosquitoes the size of dragonflies, alligators in the retention ponds, hurricane season, love bugs, tropical monsoons and frequent lightning storms.

But earthquakes? This is just too much!

A 6.0 earthquake in the Gulf of Mexico rattled windows in Florida, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana last Sunday. Looking at this map, that sucker was WAAAY too close for comfort. Luckily, I didn't feel it - if I had I'd probably still be in bed with the covers over my head. Unbeknownst to me, there was a 5.2 temblor in the same location on Feb. 10th, and there are still possible aftershocks expected.

Um, can you say 'tsunami'? Though we've been assured there's no current danger of that, due to the type of quake this was (thrusting vs. shifting), we in Florida are not amused.

No offense, Mother Nature, but you can be a real bitch.

However, this whole 'earthquake in the Gulf' thing got me thinking about how we go along fat, dumb and happy most of the time - until something happens to 'shake us up'. Anything happen to you lately that made you rethink something you thought was true or constant in your own life?

Friday, September 08, 2006

Freaky Factoid Friday

Bet you can't say that three times, fast. :)

Since my writing life revolves around 'spooky' stuff, I do a lot of research into the paranormal realms. Well, to be honest, I've always done a lot of research into 'spooky' stuff - a result of too many rainy afternoons watching re-runs of the classic gothic soap opera, Dark Shadows, I suppose. (I don't regret a minute of it, Barnabas! Not a minute! :-p)

Anyway, I thought it might be fun to share some of the weird things I've learned through the years:

--According to measurements taken at the moment of death, the human soul weighs three-fourths of an ounce.

--Tombstones were originally put over graves not as memorials, but so the dead couldn't escape.

--The Japanese wear white after the death of a loved one, not black.

--Once a death has occurred, those of the Jewish faith will open all the windows in the house so the soul can escape.

--Neanderthals buried their dead curled in a fetal position, always facing the sunrise, as though they were being 'born again'.

--The most common word spoken by a dying person is "Mother" or "Mommy".

Freaky enough for ya? Happy Friday! LOL

Tuesday, September 05, 2006


Hard to believe.

Unbelievable, in fact.

Steve Irwin, everyone's favorite Aussie, better known as the Crocodile Hunter... gone. Death by 'freak accident', the news says. I'm not buying the 'freak accident' spin for one moment. Couldn't they have come up with a better tribute than that?

He died in a split second's worth of judgement, a hairsbreath moment of decision between man and nature... one I've seen him make on TV time and and time again. I've seen him bitten in the face by a snake, bitten on the arm by a lizard, hold a deadly scorpion in the palm of his hand, twitch his arms and legs out of the danger zone more times than I can count, smiling all the while.

This time, he quite simply didn't flinch fast enough.

The odds of being stung by a stingray while filming a documentary? Small. The odds of being stabbed directly in the heart while swimming over one? Much smaller. The odds of surviving? Infinitesimal.

Considering what Steve Irwin did for a living, it wasn't freakish at all. It was a weird, yet somehow fitting end. After all, how does a living legend want it all to end... wearing boxer shorts in his living room, Fosters in one hand and the remote in the other?

Sad for his family. Heartbreaking to those who will miss his irrepressible sense of fun and daredevil attitude. But not freakish at all. I haven't felt this sad about the death of a total stranger since Princess Diana died. Another good person, a public figure who tried to make a difference, gone before their time.