Friday, December 30, 2016

Doing A Lot of Stuff

Today was the last day of work for 2016 for me. I was all by myself in suite 2 at the office and accomplished quite a bit, but it's never enough. I hate leaving loose ends at the end of the year, but I can't kill myself trying to get it all done when it's basically an endless flow of stuff coming down the pike, so to speak.

Tonight we took down Christmas. I was going to strip the ornaments off the tree and leave the tree another day, but hubby is a creature of habit and chugged along dismantling the tree, which meant after a long day of work I then had to vacuum the living room to pick up all the needles and glittery crap that dropped off the ornaments. I did not want to vacuum tonight which was why I wanted to leave the tree up, but I am the ignore minority here.

We discovered that when a large glass pot lid slips off the counter and hits the floor handle side down it shatters and sprays tiny bits of glass all across the kitchen and into the hallway! It looked like glittery diamonds strewn near and far. It cleaned up pretty easily, but the kitchen rug was glittery with tiny bits of glass so into the washer it went before little cat paws could find them. Another unexpected chore after working all day.

My husband still hasn't told me that he didn't get the job he'd applied for and was hoping to land. Disappointment and depression just radiates off him, and he goes all sulky and silent, so it's not like I can't figure out what happened easily enough. I know he sees it as another personal failure, but it's not him. It's big business. But let me tell you there's nothing worse than a man who wants to work, who doesn't know how to do anything else but work to lose his job and pin all his hopes on landing a job in the same pay range. I'm more realistic so it's frustrating for me to watch him send off resume after resume, have interviews and then get turned down. There's only so much more of this watching him slide deeper into his pit of self pity I can take. He needs to go get a job at Home Depot and be happy working in a big box store full of guy stuff!

Meanwhile, I'm nearly finished the final edits of Black Knight, White Rook. I'm looking forward to getting that done.

I'm also reading another author's YA novel to review as a favor. And reading another of her books pre-publication to help her look for continuity errors, grammar, verb tense, etc boo-boos. I LOVE doing that sort of thing and have done it for another author in the past. It's really an honor to be asked to help in that capacity.

I have to meet with another author ASAP to help him get organized. He is going to write a novel this year if I have to extract the whole thing from him word by word with tweezers and tongs. That's the kind of good friend I am! (Forgive him, darlings, but it's been 8 years since his last novel...!! Holy moly! I can't imagine not writing a hundred novels in that time span!) Anyway- he's got an acerbic wit, a dark side, a moderate degree of eccentricity going on, a sense of fun, and I hope, a sense of adventure, because asking me to help always leads to an adventure of some sort! No Section 12s have ever been a result of working with me, I assure you!

Kelly is heading to eastern MA tomorrow. That's like traveling to a foreign country. They even have accents there and strange customs unknown and unfamiliar to us western MA natives. I wish her well among the tribes of Raynham. (She might even get to drink water from a bubbler! If that is not an option she may stop by a convenience store for a tonic. Really! I kid you not! That's how they talk! I should know, because my college roommate and best friend is originally from Peabody, and she introduced me to eastern MA. I should also add that I have led her like a lamb to the slaughter into "the sticks" of rural western MA where she was literally terrified to drive in the dark along the unlit Daniel Shay Highway through dark villages and woodlands that encroached upon the winding road.)

I need to clean my house.

I need to put my feet up and relax.

I wonder which one I will accomplish during this three day weekend?

(My money's on neither, by the way!)

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

A Journey to Barnes & Noble

In my family we are all readers. As we've grown older we've done away with the searching for just the right little doodad for Christmas since our homes are literally stuffed with stuff we've given one another. Now we gift one another Barnes & Noble gift cards at Christmas. Everyone is deliriously happy traveling over the mountain to Holyoke to visit the bookstore. My brother-in-law heads for the CDs at the back. My sister peruses the movies and British TV series boxed sets. My brother reads mysteries. My husband applies his GCs to his account to purchase books for his nook. My daughter heads to fantasy/mystery/sci-fi. I hunt for books with certain subject matter- circuses, carnivals, magic, pirates, ghosts- not necessarily modern. I also like books set in Victorian times, but only certain books. I occasionally indulge in a movie or a British TV series. Only rarely do I buy music.

Anyway- I got home from work this evening and Kelly asked me if I wanted to go to the bookstore with her. That's like getting off a plane and asking the first hungry squirrel if it wants your little bag of peanuts. Duh! We ate dinner and hit the road in her Honda HRV since I've been having trouble with night vision due to medication I'm on for RA.

The parking lot was practically a ghost town. We're due for a snowstorm tomorrow so everyone is jamming the grocery stores because one can never have enough milk and bread to survive that eight hours before the plows come along to clear the roads. I've heard horror stories about how people starved to death because they didn't have bread and milk for breakfast and woke to find themselves snowed in for a couple hours! Good God- they almost had to eat the goldfish they were so hungry! The other place that was hopping was the gas station near the highway. I guess you need to be able to syphon gas from your vehicle to ignite the hardwood floor you tear up to keep your house warm during a nor'easter because all that money you pay for oil, natural gas, electricity, propane, cord wood, pellets, etc. has been for naught. It has always been a curious phenomenon to me this lemming like rush to the grocery store and gas station in New England whenever there is a hint of storm on the horizon. When we lost power for eight days in 2011 my husband and I didn't roast the cats over a fire in the garage in order to survive. we ate cold cereal, moved all the food out of the fridge and freezer, burying it in the two to three feet of snow to keep cold, made peanut butter sandwiches...and waited for the power lines to be repaired, the trees to be cleared off the roads and stores to reopen, life to continue on.

Well- there weren't many people buying books (which theoretically can be burned if need be since book burning is a long standing tradition in some cultures). I found a new novel by Carol Birch titled Orphans of the Carnival that is right up my alley, so grabbed that. Nothing else on the second floor caught my eye, so I took the escalator back down to the main level and poked around in bargain books, finding a tall heavy book about Magic! Yahoo! Another good find! Circling around and poking further I came across a book called Where Do You Get Your Ideas? A Writer's Guide to Transforming Notions into Narratives by Fred White. I have no idea where the ideas for the 22 books I've written and published so far have come from. I have more novels and stories lounging on the dining room table basking under the glow of the ceiling fan light at the moment enjoying their idle time before they to have to go forth and entertain readers. I thought it might be interesting to find out where ideas come from since I have no clue. The final book that captured my attention was Who's (Oops) Whose Grammar Book Is This Anyway- All the Grammar you Need to Succeed in Life by C. Edward Good. Maybe I need to read this book in order to be a tad more successful in life. I'm going to hold Mr. Good to this promise that it's actually ALL the grammar I'll need to succeed. I do take things quite literally and do not like to be disappointed by false promises.

Kelly actually found the one book she was looking for right off the bat. I was looking at Orphans of the Carnival, had just lifted it down from the shelf under the fiction new releases header when she came over to show the book to me. I looked at her and asked, "Well, does that mean we're leaving now, or can I look around a little more?" She just rolled her eyes and walked away- I am my daughter's mother after all!

She found two additional books.

On the way home we passed a house on Homestead Avenue that had a plastic Mary, Joseph and Jesus in the manger lit up alongside their driveway. My brother had given me a plastic light up camel lawn ornament he found in someone's FREE box alongside the road. (I collect camels). I said, "I wonder what would happen if I put my camel there with Mary and Joseph. The King just ran down to the corner store to grab a coffee or something, he'll be right back." She just shook her head, but when we got to the corner on the left side is Twin Stop mini market, and on the right is KING mini market. Then she said, "Oh, look. He must be the King who brought the gold and he invested it in a mini mart. The Frankincense and Myrrh Kings are still trying to pawn their stuff because it doesn't have any real market value these days."  When you put two writer's together you get two creative people feeding off one another- and it can get pretty crazy very quickly!

No wonder my husband zones out when he drives when she and I are in the car with him- although on rare occasions he'll jump in with his two cents!

National Lampoon's Family Vacation has nothin' on us!

Sunday, December 25, 2016

The Cat Who Loved Ham Kielbasa

Several times a year my husband journeys over the mountain to Chicopee to purchase a ham kielbasa from a little Polish deli called Bernat's. They make a variety of sausages and kielbasa's/ Kelly and I do not like super spicy meats so John chose their ham kielbasa for us one year. It has a mild peppery ham flavor we like, so ham kielbasa has become a holiday staple in our home.
    And then there is Riley Beans, our little gray cat who turns his nose up at "human" food. However, about three years ago when he was about two years old he showed some interest in what we were eating, so John offered him a bite of ham kielbasa...and it has been a love fest ever since. John will cook it the day before a holiday in the frying pan in water. The moment its aroma begins to permeate the house he has a little gray buddy in the kitchen begging for a piece of kielbasa. The only problem is that he doesn't like it hot or warm. He prefers his kielbasa chilled.
    Riley sits up and begs for this treat! He maxes out after three thin slices cut up into little bites. But he's back for more later on if the plate of ham kielbasa and deviled eggs comes out of the refrigerator for another round of appetizers.
    So, Merry Christmas to my little kitty who loves his ham kielbasa! (By the way, Revere will not touch the stuff!)

Monday, December 19, 2016

So Much To Do!

     I am so far behind in my usual holiday rat race it's not funny.
     I have an annual Christmas story to write for Family & Friends, a tradition since 1997- and absolutely no idea but a mind full of sheer white panic!
     I did write four Christmas ghost stories in 10 days but I'm not sure any of them would be appropriate for sending along to bring holiday cheer to the people I love! Although I am a Victorian at heart, and the Victorians were the champions of ghost stories!
     My house looks like a tornado ripped through it and left the walls standing.
     Work is insane! It may be the season of giving, but it's ALSO the season of want! Everybody wants something, like yesterday Well, cool your jets folks, I'm one person and I'm still fulfilling the wants of people from two months ago!
      My brother gifted me a plastic light-up camel from someone's discarded outdoor nativity scene. The camel is lying on the back seat of my 2014 SUV, which I finally got back after 6 weeks in the service department for "mouse invasion" decontamination and repairs. I do not believe for an instant that there was not a creature stirring, not even a mouse! Those hyperactive, not to mention voracious, little rodents ate the interior of my car, all the places you can't see like the headliners, wiring inside door panels, filters, insulation, noise dampening foam...otherwise, it looked pristine inside. Got it back this past Thursday and hit 18,000 miles on the odometer on the way home. I'm not sure what to do with the camel...he's too big to display with all the other camels in my house. So, he's my backseat driver for the time being.
     Congratulations to the four Goodreads entrants who've won a first edition signed copy of Yuletide Stories. Books will be going out shortly. This volume has earned a few 5 star ratings. Holiday stories are what I do best.
     Made peanut butter cookies with Kelly yesterday. She ate way too many! Today I copied seven cookie recipes from a friend's recipe book and can't wait to try my hand at making chocolate glazed donut cookies, mocha cookies, double butterscotch cookies, cranberry drop cookies, classis sugar cookies (I've never actually made them except from the Pillsbury roll in the dairy case!). I love baking but seldom have much in the way of free  time to accomplish this.
     I need to learn how to delegate. I'll put that at the top of my New Year's Resolutions List, and then throw the list out on the eleventh of January when I admit that I've never actually done anything on any New Year's resolution list in my entire life and, at my age, that's not miraculously going to change at any time in the near future.
     I want to write a new book...
     I want to see more of the country than New England...
     I want to visit NYC once before I die...but will settle for a hearse ride through the city if I must.
     I want to bring about world peace, but accidentally deleted all my brilliant plans when cleaning miscellaneous files off the computer. So much for that. Years and years of note taking and diagrams, charts, schematics, research...all for naught. Sorry about that, Chief.
     Therefore, I will settle for bringing a little humor and love into the hearts of as many people as I can with my writing.
     Whatever you celebrate this time of year I wish you all the best on that day, and throughout the coming New Year. I'll be having a quiet Winter Solstice, a subdued Christmas, a lazy Boxing Day...Peace


Thursday, December 15, 2016

My Year in Review

I seldom pause between years to reflect on the things that happened , but this year I will take a moment and look back on 2016 before it draws to a close:
    I self published my 2015 NaNo novel Life Skills, a contemporary novel set in the Portsmouth/Hampton Beach/Rye area of NH. It's about two damaged young people who find a common thread in their lives that binds them. Together they forge a path out of the past and into a happier future.
    I was in conversation with a publisher that helps authors self-publish, had a novel written, had some money to get things rolling...and then John's mother passed away at the end of the month.
    MassMutual eliminated over 300 jobs and John's job was among those they got rid of. 5/6 of our income vanished. Life changed drastically.
     John struggling with depression over the loss of his mother and the loss of his job for the past 32 or so years. He attended job counseling sessions that were basically useless. My plans for a more professionally self-published book were shoved so far onto the back burner there was no heat whatsoever left. We needed the money to remain in the bank for living expenses because the job market more or less sucks for people in their late 50's.
     Had a rather dismal 58th birthday but was writing Black King Takes White Queen. Also got myself invited to be one of the local authors at the Artworks event on April 30th here in town. It was my first public appearance as an author. Made some valuable contacts and sold a couple books.
     John got himself on unemployment but the amount they were giving him was less than two weeks salary he'd been making, but it helped pay bills. Edited Black King Takes White Queen. We lost our dental insurance and had to COBRA our health insurance. Kelly had to scramble to get onto her employer's health and dental plans because her father had figured he'd still have a job and she could stay on our insurance until she was 26. I had wanted her to get her own insurance, but she listened to him and was without health insurance for two months for not taking her mother's advice.
     Was one of 10 local authors at the Agawam Public Library's READ LOCA; event. Again, met some other authors and made some valuable contacts. Sold a couple books and donated two to the library. Kelly turned 25 at the end of the month. Black King Takes White Queen was self published using CreateSpace.
      Miserable, long, hot, dry summer. Continued to get up and go to work through RA flares because we could not afford to not have me work. John still looking for work. Contacted Bookclub Bookstore and more! about holding an author event in the Westfield store. Began attending Artworks meetings as a general member representing the literary arts in Westfield.
      More of the same. Was given October 8th as my author event date for Miss Peculiar's Haunting Tales, Volume I. Began attending author events as time allowed at the bookstore.
     Attended Gerald McFarland's author event for A Scattered People. Met a number of local authors and began to form some friendships with them. Was introduced to mystery author Russell Atwood and invited to participate in his upcoming event, Ghost Stories LIVE! Halloween on October 29th.
Also met authors Katherine Anderson, Mike Walsh, and Melissa Volker among others.
     Had my first solo author event on the 8th at the renamed Blue Umbrella Books store. It was a little nerve wracking but my main support group was there. Later in the month I read The Hour of Phantoms at Ghost Stories LIVE! Halloween. That was a fun event. My brother got up and told a real life ghost story at the end of it. Am beginning to be recognized by a certain group of people- those involved in Artworks and Westfield on Weekends plus bookstore regulars. A strange thing that is for a rather private person.
    John's had some interviews but companies are in no rush to hire anyone. Extremely frustrating as his unemployment ran out this month so we're living on my pay checks. I have not had a raise in three years and Christmas bonuses stopped, too. My health is shaky at best...don't have the energy and stamina I used to have. Just thinking about trying to find a better paying job is overwhelming. Working on a new compilation of haunting stories titled 13. Took a brief vacation in Maine just to get away from all the stress. Kelly was able to go with us Decided to  remix Christmas stories putting the very best of them into one volume...but too late in the year for that to go anywhere-so it's tabled. It was NaNoWriMo month so I had to concentrate on my NaNo novel, the sequel to Black King Takes White Queen- Black Knight, White Rook. Held two NaNo write-ins at Blue Umbrella Books and met another area writer, Bree. Completed my novel in 22 days with 4 days taken to write notes on what I'd already written. Wrote 105,542 words in 22 days. Winner for the fifth year in a row! Yea! Kicking around the idea of a second Artworks event in 2017. Kelly said she'd like to buy a house next year. Added two antique charmstrings to my collection. Both need cleaning but that will have to wait. Had a molar pulled a week after breaking it- took three and a half weeks to get through the pain of that difficult extraction. Just took Tylenol Extra Strength- I survived. See too many opioid abusers in my line of work- do not want to be like them. As a doctor once told John, "Pain builds character." I'm just loaded with character these days. My 2 year old RAV4 to Toyota Service due to mouse invasion. Has been there since the 10th.
    Lost ten pounds, dropped my A1C to 6.1 and stopped taking metformin. Controlling my diabetes with exercise and diet. Went to the Images of Westfield art show, ran into Russell and was told I'm a member of the Ghost Stories LIVE! cast and I could write something or read something at the December 17th Yuletide edition event at the bookstore. Went home and thought about ghosts and wrote a story the next day about an angry ghost in the attic of a Victorian house under restoration/renovation who drives a young mother and her daughter out in the middle of the night. Not quite what I wanted. So, next wrote A Christmas Séance about  group of people getting together with a Slavic medium and her creepy little assistant to try to summon the ghost of the young lady's beau who had been about to propose to her when he was thrown off a bridge and drowned. Spooky things happen and when the candle is relit MURDER is written across the young man's brother's forehead. He flees. The gaslight is lit and they find the word MURDER written across the other young man in attendance's forehead. The words on both these men's forehead eventually dissipate. The young lady is upset. She and her mother leave in an open carriage. As they pass a gas street lamp a gust of wind blows the mother's cloak hood back to reveal the word MURDER on her forehead! Too long. Next wrote about an elderly man, a hoarder, getting ready for bed, talking to his dog. They go to bed, the dog barks, waking him up, alerting him to a fire in the kitchen of the house. The man is disoriented in the dark and smoke. The dog leads him to the front door where he manages to escape. He collapses on the front walkway. From the hospital he goes to a rehab facility where his daughter visits him. The dog is with him- only it turns out the dog passed away three years ago. Again, too long. Next wrote The Little Gray Ghost about a cemetery worker who has a ghostly encounter when working late digging a grave. Have tweaked it a few times this week to make it darker, more Victorian & atmospheric. Under 2000 words- doable. This is the one I'll be reading this Saturday. Looking forward to this event. Had some fun Christmas shopping with my best friend last Saturday afternoon, but otherwise I have little Christmas spirit this year and no motivation to shop or even wrap the few gifts I've managed to get. My RAV$ is still at Toyota Service all in pieces, but some progress has been made after a month of frustration with rotating insurance adjusters who couldn't manage to coordinate a meeting with the one person at Balise who specializes in mouse invasion cases. You wouldn't think that would be too hard, but evidently it took a month to accomplish. The staggering cost of living in the woods and not having a garage for one's car- $9300. And that doesn't include the cost of a rental for 6 weeks or more, which is also covered y the insurance for $30/day. I no longer think field mice are cute. Luckily we have auto insurance that does cover mouse invasion. Many car insurances don't! Work is crazy busy, I'm still editing my NaNo novel. Feel tired and overwhelmed still. We did put up the tree on the 4th, but didn't do anywhere near as much decorating as in years past. John's father was in the hospital for a few days. He's 95 now.
  In conclusion- we're still struggling with John's loss of his job, getting frustrated and discouraged by the lack of jobs out there in his field, and how lackadaisical companies are in regards to interviewing people and getting back to them. I'm making some progress with my writing but didn't get anywhere close to where I really wanted to be by the end of this year. Some sales at Blue Umbrella Books each month. I have an amazing group of acquaintances and friends who have kept me going this year when I've just wanted to walk away from everything in disgust and disappointment.
   Hoping 2017 will be better...but the world is a crazy place these days and this country is following suit. Don't know what's going to happen next...guess we'll just have to wait and see.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Holiday Burnout Came Early

My Christmas shopping isn't done. I just finished stamping the Christmas cards after dinner tonight. I have to mail them tomorrow so that maybe most of them will arrive in a timely manner. My house is half-decorated. I haven't watched a single Christmas movie, carton, Claymation, stop action Grinch, no Frosty or Rudolph, no Scrooge...and Miracle on 34th Street. No miracle here...I am full of good intentions, but forgot to take my methotrexate for my rheumatoid arthritis last week, so am suffering for it with aching joints and tendons. I usually take it on Wednesday and thought I had, but when I went to fill my pill box for the week there were Wednesday pills! I took the methotrexate on Monday night after convincing myself I really couldn't wait until this Wednesday. And the snowstorm with black ice following didn't improve matters any on Monday.

I just want to crawl in bed, pull the covers up and sleep.

It's not's just being overwhelmed by too many things to do, too little time to do them, and health issues that interfere in every aspect of my life which is discouraging and frustrating.

I have an event this weekend where I'll be reading a brand new, just written this past weekend, ghost story, The Little Gray Ghost. I'll have to sleep in on Saturday to conserve energy for Saturday evening.

I'll get things's just going to take me longer this holiday season.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Christmas Shopping

My best friend Darlene and I used to work together at a card, gift and office products store downtown. She left after a couple years to take a job as a medical receptionist and then was moved into he business office. I continued to work at the store until it closed in 2007. Three days after the store closed I was working at the same medical office as a medical receptionist. In July of the following year I too was moved into the business office. Darlene and I had cubicles on opposite sides of the office. Then Darlene was moved into a separate area. Recently I was moved into suite 2 and she was relocated in suite 1. So, although we again work together in the same medical office we don't see much of one another because we're both very busy at our desks. We have lunch together four days of the week.

Therefore, when she asked if I was free to do some Christmas shopping with her this afternoon I said YES! She picked me up and we went to stores in Holyoke, but not the mall where things were crazy busy!

We talked and laughed, and I helped her pick out gifts for all the kids in her life. I have no young children in my family but I still like shopping for toys as long as I don't have to lug them home and wrap them! We discovered an end cap featuring classic Fisher Price toys like the ones we had growing up! She grabbed the FP radio that when wound up plays The Farmer in the Dell, since she lives on a farm and her grandson lives just down the street. A woman who overheard us reminiscing about the toys we had came up to us and we chatted about classic toys for a few minutes. We didn't know her. she didn't know us, but we had had the same toys growing up and shared that connection. In this day and age of cellphone isolationism it was really nice to meet someone face to face and have a little real conversation with them, complete with eye contact, smiles and heartfelt "Merry Christmases!" wished to one another before going our separate ways.

Lunch was at Denny's and there we did some more talking, and much more laughing! Our waitress had recently had her long hair done in tiny cornrows. The woman who did it for her took only 45 minutes to do all that braiding and weaving! Amazing!

Then off we went up the hill to Bed, Bath & Beyond. That parking lot was all traffic controlled one way in, one way out with traffic cones, sawhorses and police officers, but still we found a fairly decent parking lot between the stores on the left and the stores on the right. Again we found what we were looking for fairly quickly. There was a clerk at the bed & bath store who, when asked, was very helpful, leading us directly to the over the door towel bar rack my friend wanted. He certainly was very knowledgeable about the products in the store. We never would have found this item because it was stacked behind other items, but he knew immediately where it was and took us there! Wow! Awesome customer service!

Crossed the sea of cars without getting rundown and ran into Barnes & Noble. Again we found what we wanted so it was a quick in and out trip.

Leaving wasn't as bad as we dreaded it would be, only having to wait two cycles of the stop light, and we were first in line during the second cycle. Zipped across the street to Pier 1 and poked around. Saw some nice things but nothing on our lists.

Sang country Christmas songs on the way home, because when you're with a friend it doesn't matter if you can sing or not, you just do it!

Home tonight, still smiling. I'm not a fan of Christmas shopping season, try to get my shopping done early...but it wasn't so bad going out today at the two weeks before Christmas mark.

Jingle all the way!

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Performance Readings

I am now a member of a performance reading group here in town. The group originated in NYC and specializes in ghost stories, classic and new.

In a nutshell, there is a mystery author who started this group when he lived in NYC. He created a ghost host named Pugsley who presides at the events. The events are called Ghost Stories LIVE! and then whatever edition it is.

My first involvement in the group was this past October for Ghost Stories LIVE! Halloween. I was invited because I am a local author who has written three volumes of Miss Peculiar's Haunting Tales and happened to run into the human host of the event during another author's book discussion/signing event. He invited me to read at Ghost Stories LIVE! and I agreed. Two young men who also have written ghost stories made up the rest of the performance readers group.

The event drew a fairly good sized crowd for it's premiere occurrence here in Westfield. Pugsley the ghost greeted everyone and the event kicked off with a brief introduction and then my reading my The Hour of Phantoms, a piece about a woman who rises from her bed on All Soul's Night to allow herself to be possessed by ghosts from the distant pass who dance in the moonlit cemetery. It's a ritual of hers she performs annually. Arthur Pero and Justin Baillargeon performed their pieces, one telling f an actual ghostly encounter he had and the other reading a story he'd written while in costume, a black robed and hooded figure with glowing red eyes. Then Russell Atwood performed a classic piece about a radio broadcaster on site with a professor of parapsychology who is investigating a house where people have been haunted and driven to drown themselves in the river behind it. As the professor explores the house the broadcaster remains in a downstairs room reporting live-and gradually growing more nervous (bats and mice) and frightened (a thump upstairs, a growing stain on the ceiling, an inability to get a response from the professor), and then driven mad himself. It was a brilliant performance.

The final segment of the night is an open mic discussion about ghosts. My brother happened to be in the audience and got up to talk about the haunted apartment he lived in for about ten years.The ghost actually materialized and walked right through him!

The night was fantastic, and we will be doing another event on December 17th at the same location, Blue Umbrella Books, 2 Main Street, Westfield, MA from 7-9PM, reading classic stories by Dickens and O. Henry and maybe a new story or two. Pugsley will be presiding, of course!

The telling of ghost stories at holiday time was popular in Victorian times when families would gather to read stories by Charles Dickens, O. Henry, Wilkie Collins, Edgar Allen Poe and others. Many writers of that era had at least one or two, often more, ghost stories among their writings.

This event pays tribute to the tradition of the holiday ghost story.

I think the Halloween Ghost Stories LIVE! is on YouTube...I know it was recorded on video.

Meanwhile, we'll be planning the next Ghost Stories LIVE! event if this one is as successful as October's was!

Monday, December 5, 2016

Holiday Ghost Stories

There is an upcoming event here in town- Ghost Stories LIVE Holiday edition. I was a participant/performer in Ghost Stories Live Halloween and have been invited to participate in this December 17th event- doing a reading of something classic or new. The two Christmas ghost stories I have in my files are too lengthy, so yesterday I sat down after a night of thinking about ghosts and wrote a short story with a ghost at Christmas time. I'm thinking it's not the one, that I have 12 days to write something even I'll keep working on it.

I like the idea that the organizer of this event has brought this with him from NYC. We had a lot of fun with it in October and it will hopefully be even better this time around. I was wicked nervous and had to go first. I read too fast. My mouth was so dry I was messing up words. I've never even acted in a play except for when I was a kid and my sister used to write plays for us to perform for our parents' anniversary every year, until my brother and I were old enough to balk at that.. I do not have the actor's ham bone in me...just a lot of enthusiasm.

It helped that the audience was really receptive to the whole concept of performance and readings combined. We had a lot of fun. So, I'm looking forward to this ghost stories event- I just need to come up with something a little scarier!

Off to work on that right now!