Friday, June 29, 2007

Calling All Spirits...

Have you ever wondered what the spirits themselves might think of seances? If spirits truly exist, what makes us think they're so eager to talk to us?

Personally, I don't plan on hanging around after my life is over - I believe there's someplace/someone/something else waiting for me, and once my earthly life is done, I'm on to bigger and better things. Whatever "unfinished business" I may have here, it'll have to remain unfinished. The people I love will hopefully know that they were loved, because I try to show them that now, while I'm here.

Seances have been around a long time - there's even mention of one in the Bible. In the first book of Samuel, Ch. 28, the king of the Israelites, Saul, consulted a woman known as the "Witch of Endor" to call up the ghost of the recently departed prophet, Samuel. He wanted advice on the war against the Philistines, and unfortunately for Saul, received only a prediction of his own downfall. Which happened, by the way.

History is full of famous people who were fascinated by the idea of communicating with the dead: Mary Todd Lincoln, Harry Houdini, and Thomas Edison, to name just a few. Personally, I think it's not only selfish, but dangerous to hold seances. Those who have passed on should be left to rest in peace, not nagged at by relatives who crave one last word. And by dangerous, I believe you should always be careful when opening a door to the unknown - who knows who, or what, might step through it?

So, how about you? Ever attended a seance? Do you believe they could actually work?

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

The Boo-Boo That Comes Back To Bite You

When I was eleven years old, I was hit by a car. I was riding my bike home from guitar lessons at the local rec center, balancing the guitar case on my handlebars (we think we can do anything at that age, don't we?). I almost made it. About a block from the house, I saw a car coming, and we reached a fork in the road at the same instant. Would the car fork right, or would the car fork left? If so, which way should I go?

Needless to say, I made the wrong choice. I steered my bike directly in front of the oncoming car - my fault entirely. The next thing I knew, I woke up in somebody's front yard, with my head in my mom's lap. (As an aside, this was one of what my family calls a "Zelda moment"; from down the block, my mom heard the screech of tires and the sound of an impact, and ran out of the house calling my name, knowing that I'd been in an accident. She was the first person on the scene.)

I was very lucky. Aside from being knocked unconscious and having some serious bruising along my left side from the impact, I was okay. Or so I thought.

Now, umpteen years later, my doctor feels that the recent trouble I've been having with my left shoulder is the residual effect of that accident. A little over a month ago, I began having pain when I lifted my arm. It quickly progressed to pain when I pushed, pulled, or lifted anything with that arm. He calls it "impingement", and believes I may have had a small tear in the muscles of the shoulder that never healed, but never bothered me until now. The tear may have gotten larger, or the muscle become inflamed. So now it's x-rays and MRI's, cortisone shots or arthroscopic surgery, physical therapy or whatever.

The good news? I'm going to get an hour-long massage today, doctor's orders. WOO-HOO!!

Monday, June 25, 2007

Andy Warhol Was Right, Kinda

Andy Warhol had a famous quote, which goes: "In the future, everyone will be famous for fifteen minutes." And while I'm hardly famous, I did get FIVE minutes in the local paper last Friday, which means Andy was at least 1/3 right. :) Anyway, since this is my hometown newspaper, it was a pretty big deal for me. So here's the article, and the photo that ran with it:

5 Minutes With Terri Garey, Tampa Novelist

Published: Jun 22, 2007

Tampa native Terri Garey has raised three children and worked with computers. But what she really wanted was to write novels. Years of effort will pay off Aug. 28, when Avon Books publishes "Dead Girls Are Easy." The novel stars Nikki Styx, a woman who finds she can see and hear the dead after she has a near-death experience. There are also a romance (with her doctor) and a murder mystery. It's funny and creepy.

It says in your autobiography you were into "The Twilight Zone" and "Dark Shadows" as a kid, and also you had a crush on Rod Serling. A crush?
He was a pretty handsome guy! He had that dark hair, and I've always had a thing for the dark-haired guys. I liked all those shows - "Shock Theater" on Friday nights and "Creature Feature" on Saturday afternoons with Dr. Paul Bearer. I just absolutely loved him and the sheer campiness of what he did. I think that had a huge influence on me.
I really loved the idea that you could be scary and also make people laugh at the same time.

Which is what you do with your book.
That's good to hear because that was my goal.

At what point did you decide, "Hey, I want to write a
I've always loved to write and always loved to read. It wasn't until about six years ago that I really got serious. I had more time because the kids had grown up.
I had an unfinished novel under the bed, and my husband said, "You should take it out and finish it." So I did. It was horrible.

So I wrote three more, and really started studying the publishing industry and participating in writing conferences and writing contests. I sent out my novels and got a nice fat stack of rejection slips. But I kept trying.

Which book is "Dead Girls Are Easy" for you?
Five. And I have since written the sequel ("Where the Ghouls Are," to be released May 1, 2008).

Why the interest in the afterlife and dead people?
Well, I hope you won't think I'm crazy, but my family has had a paranormal experience. We lived in a haunted house.

I don't think you're crazy.
No, you think I'm insane!

Before we bought our house, we were renting a house [in Palma Ceia]. My stepdaughter came to me one night, and she looked freaked out. I asked her what was wrong, and she said she had gone to the bathroom and while she was in there the bathroom door opened and the figure of a man appeared outside the door.

I asked her, "Why didn't you scream?" And she said it wasn't scary like a horror movie. The man just stood there and then sort of faded away. I asked a neighbor about the history of the house and found out there had been a murder-suicide there.
That was enough to convince me. We moved out a few months later. That was just too weird for me.

Kevin Walker/Tampa Tribune

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Your Mission, Should You Decide To Accept It...

My husband is a serial love note writer (I know, I know... you hate me). He leaves love notes stuck to my computer screen, stuck to the mirror in the bathroom, in the drawer where I keep my hair scrunchies, in my car, on the refrigerator - wherever he thinks I might find them after he's left for work.

It doesn't take him long, and as you can see, he doesn't always say much. It's the fact that he does it that makes it special.

When my kids were little, I'd do the same for them - I'd stick a little love note in their lunchbox (back when they weren't embarrassed to actually bring lunch from home), even though I knew that they (being boys) would roll their eyes and scrunch it up so their friends wouldn't see it. I got a secret pleasure in imagining that moment when they found the note and read it, knowing that even though they thought their mom was nuts, they couldn't help but know I put it there out of love.

So what I'm challenging you to do today is to think about those people you love the most; your spouse, your kids, your best friend, your sister, your mom. Then take a minute, maybe two, and write them a teeny little love note. Hand it to them, mail it to them, put it where they'll find it when you're not around - just write it.

Such a teeny little thing. A teeny little thing that could mean so much. Do it!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

A New Season Begins

Two of my favorite shows had their season premieres this week, FINALLY providing a welcome break from reality shows like American Idol, Dancing With The Stars, and America's Got Talent (ok, I may watch AGT because I adore Sharon Osbourne and I have a soft spot for The Hof, but in general, I'm not a fan of these types of shows). DEAD ZONE has always been one of my favorites - I love the concept, and I love Anthony Michael Hall. I did not, however, love the premiere episode. *SPOILER ALERT* It was so.... not-DEAD-ZONE-like, and they killed off Walt! Walt, the sexy. Walt, the handsome. Walt, the good dad, the faithful husband, the all-American hero, the all-around-good-guy who you wish lived next door just so you could watch him mow his lawn, Walt. And not only did they kill him, they ended the episode with this totally sappy scene where Johnny Smith (Anthony Michael Hall), "sees" Walt's final moments, and gets to relay his dying last words to Walt's pregnant wife. "Ti amo, Sarah." Lifetime movie, anyone? It was far, far too melodramatic and unnecessary. And did I mention they killed Walt?!?

Then, last night was THE CLOSER, with Kyra Sedgewick, who if I didn't love both her and her character, I'd totally hate for having great hair, and being happily married to Kevin Bacon all these years. (Kevin Bacon is yet another cute, nice guy I wish lived next door so I could watch him mow his lawn, or practice guitar in his garage, or something.) Anyway, THE CLOSER came much, much closer to hitting the mark with their premiere, aside from the extremely graphic opening scenes. I mean, I like cop dramas as much as anyone, but I do NOT want to see, up-close and personal, a ten yr. old girl in her jammies who's been stabbed in the heart and had her throat slit for good measure. It was, in a word, overkill (excuse the pun). But I was happy to see that Brenda Leigh Johnson, Kyra's character, had not lost her moxie over the summer, and that the show's producers have decided to deepen her character even further. I'm looking forward to seeing how things work out between her and her boyfriend, Fitz, and watching her kill her suspects with kindness just before she moves in to wring their confessions from their lying, murderous lips.

Gee, I sound a bit bloodthirsty after all, don't I?

Monday, June 18, 2007

What's A Widget?

Is this cool or what? My publisher made this awesome countdown clock (otherwise known as a "widget") that keeps track of the days, hours, minutes and seconds until dead girls are easy hits the streets!

I've never been obsessive-compulsive, but I have a feeling I'll be checking my widget over and over (and over, and over...) GAH!!!

Little Five Points, Georgia

A few years ago, while visiting my sister, she took me to a weirdly wonderful area of Atlanta called Little Five Points. (That's her on the left, with her arm in the air, as we pose in front of one of the many psychedelic murals that adorn the streets of Little Five Points.) L5P, known as "Little Five" to the locals, is the "Haight Ashbury" of Atlanta - an eclectic center of liberal thought and cultural diversity, a collection of not-quite-typical businesses run and frequented by not-quite-typical people, surrounded by beautiful, gracious old neighborhoods full of Victorian homes.

Oddly enough, or perhaps not so oddly, I felt right at home. This is an area where free expression is in the air, blending with the scent of sandalwood incense, fresh-brewed coffee and unemptied dumpsters. An area where young people with blue hair and nose rings chat with chubby tourists in socks and sandals; where dreadlocked rastas play steel drums for tips; where happy families and bored teenagers wander in and out of kitschy stores like The Junkman's Daughter (right) and cool bars like the Vortex are packed to the gills on Friday and Saturday nights (the skull below is the entrance to the Vortex).
"Wow," I thought to myself. "What a great setting for a story!" If these walls could talk, and all that. And that's how the idea for Dead Girls Are Easy was born.

The idea was this: What if someone who lived and worked here, a free spirit who believed in "live and let live", found out that some spirits weren't as free as hers? What if a Goth girl who'd always found the dark side of life to be cool and intriguing, suddenly discovered that the dark side really existed? What if she "died" and came back with the ability to see and hear the dead? How would becoming an unwilling "ghoulfriend" to the dead change her, without forcing her to change who she really was?

I guess the big question my main character, Nicki Styx, now has to ask herself is this: In the age-old battle between good and evil, can you do the right thing without assuming the missionary position? :)

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Simple Pleasures

I joke about keeping my blog interesting, saying "nobody wants to read about what I had for breakfast". wanna know what I had for lunch? :)

A peanut butter and banana sandwich. (Or as Elvis would've have said, a peanut butter and 'nanner sandwich - it was his favorite, and he liked them fried. How do you know these things, Terri? I have no idea. Consider me a fountain of useless knowledge.) Anyway, when I broke from writing today to fix myself lunch, alas, the cupboard was pretty bare. (That's what happens when you're on a short deadline - piled up laundry, dust bunnies and empty cupboards.)

But there was the jar of peanut butter, and there was the banana. It was sublime. I haven't had one of these since I was a kid, and I'd totally forgotten how good they were. Forget the frying pan, though - Elvis was on drugs, remember? :)

It made me think about other things that make me happy, things that are so simple I often overlook them or take them for granted, like:

1) Finding the perfect outfit, on sale. :)
2) Laughing with someone over a glass of wine.
3) A spontaneous hug or kiss from a certain two-and-a-half year old.
4) Waking in the middle of the night, snuggled next to my husband, and falling right back asleep feeling loved and safe.
5) The way my dog greets me every morning with a happy whine and a goofy doggy grin.
6) Hearing the wind in the trees.
7) Watching the bright red cardinal who visits my bird feeder.

Think about it. What are your simple pleasures?

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Another Contract, Another Bear!

This is my dear friend, Mona Risk, and her new friend, Sergei. Does Mona look happy or what?

Mona found out last month that her touching story about a Belarussian general out to save the child victims of the Chernobyl disaster, entitled TO LOVE A HERO, will be published by Cerridwen Press! Continuing the tradition established a few years ago by my friends at the Writers Playground, Mona now finds herself the new owner of a custom-made Build-A-Bear (modeled after her hero, natch) and a gorgeous fountain pen engraved with her title and the date the book sold.

Mona writes medical romances in exotic European settings, and she knows of what she speaks! She's a former chemist herself, has lived and traveled all over Europe, and has nine doctors in her immediate family! She's also a delightful person, and I'm so happy her dream of writing has finally come true.

Congratulations, Mona!

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

June Contest - Wedding Stories From Hell

As I mentioned last week, I've been asked to participate in a ghoulishly themed anthology entitled "WEDDINGS FROM HELL"(Avon Books, May 2008).

Fellow authors Maggie Shayne, Kathryn Smith, Jeaniene Frost and I will put together four fiendish tales of paranormal pandemonium centered around (you guessed it!) big, fat supernatural weddings. :)

In keeping with that theme, my June 2007 contest is called "Wedding Stories From Hell"!

Leave me a comment here on my blog, or send me a private email by clicking on the happy couple, and tell me a story about the worst wedding you've ever attended; the ugliest bridesmaid dress you've ever seen (or had to wear), the most embarrassing wedding toast you've ever heard, the biggest Bridezilla you'v ever had to put up with, the drunken groomsman who groped you at the reception - whatever wedding horror you've had to endure! The winner will win a signed ARC of Dead Girls Are Easy, and I'll feature the top three stories on my blog and my website.

Good luck, and I can't wait to hear about your wedding stories from hell!

Sunday, June 03, 2007

These Ain't Your Mama's Paper Dolls

It was a rainy weekend here in Gatorland, and while I did manage to get some writing done (really! I did!), I also killed an hour or so creating this ghoulishly delightful pair, who shall henceforth be known, affectionately, as Boris and Natasha Gravesley.

Are they cute or what?!? It's hard to see in the photo, but they're incredibly 3-dimensional, cut from a pattern onto heavy card stock, and glued into place (the detail on the back is just as detailed as the front, and they're rounded, not flat). I'm a very visual person, and I'm using them as inspiration for my current work-in-progress, an anthology of paranormal tales entitled WEDDINGS FROM HELL. (I usually put together a collage, but this weird little couple was just too good to be true.)

I wish I could take credit for the artistic genius that went into their creation, but alas, all I can take credit for is stumbling upon an awesome website called RAVENSBLIGHT. Here you'll find over 300 paintings and photographs on display, free paper toys,free music, free PC games, and a few other dark goodies, all created by a like-minded (as in weirdly twisted) guy named Ray O'Bannon. I plan to make more of the paper toys in the future, and I've already downloaded some great music for my next Halloween party.

Boris and Natasha's wedding must've been a scream. :) Can't you just see them on top of a gothic-themed wedding cake?