Saturday, April 28, 2018

The Ghost of Jack Kerouac

Yesterday's live talk part of my weekly Free Friday Frights included a talk about the chapter "Kerouac's Favourite Haunt" in my 2014 book Tomes of Terror: Haunted Bookstores and Libraries.

Once you get me talking about the things I am most passionate about, I will go on and on. In the chat, I not only share the stories I had heard about the ghost of the famous author who allegedly haunts this bookstore, but my love for visiting bookstores, especially a place like Haslam's which is the largest and oldest independent bookstore in the state of Florida. (Not to mention that today is Independent Bookstore Day)

I also, of course, introduce other things I am passionate about, such as the discovery of local beers. And there are at least three local beer spots in the neighborhood of Haslam's. One that I visited a few years ago (Urban Brew & BBQ) and two more that I just discovered (Taphouse 61 and Cage Brewing)

Hmm, with Novelists Inc, Haslam's Bookstore and at least four great beer spots to check out (I discovered Mastry's Brewing Co. a couple of years back), I have more reasons than ever to look forward to this fall in St Pete, Florida.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Don't Judge My Love of Sharing Ghost Tales

In my weekly Free Friday Frights adventures I have enjoyed the combination of sharing live videos of reading my fiction or just sharing a ghostly tale from the research I have done for many of my non-fiction books on the paranormal.


And last Friday (Friday April 13th), while I was enjoying a couple of pints at The Winking Judge in Hamilton, as part of a quick teaser video that I had originally posted live to Facebook, I walked about the 2nd floor of this haunted bar and shared a few of the ghostly tales I had heard over the years.

I re-edited the original live video to add in a few fitting visuals as well as some haunting background music.

Here is the revised and enhanced video:

You can read more about this in a post on my Spirits Untapped blog entitled "Ghostly Tales From A Hamilton Bar," which also focuses more on the "beer" and "beer culture" aspects. (IE, if, after seeing the beer I'm holding and wanting to know what it was)

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Going Your Own Way

"If I could, maybe I'd give you my world
How can I when you won't take it from me?"

These lyrics, near the opening of the Fleetwood Mac song "Go Your Own Way" might be familiar to authors who are trying to share their words, their worlds with an audience.

Sometimes the desire to give and to share is there, but perhaps the audience isn't, or isn't receptive to it.

Image result for fleetwood mac go your own way

But elements of the song, particularly the main words of the chorus also related to an interview I recently did with author T S Paul for my Stark Reflections Podcast.

Scott, like the person being sung to in this classic pop rock song, went his own way.

Specifically, he didn't listen to people who told him that he was crazy or out of his mind with the ideas he had for his own writing plan and the path he was determined to follow.

Friday, April 13, 2018

Friday the 13th: The SUPER Superstition

There are plenty of things in western culture that we associate with superstitions and luck.

A broken mirror brings seven years of bad luck. Don’t let a black cat cross your path. Walking under a ladder also brings bad luck. But of all the superstitious beliefs even those who are skeptic regularly acknowledge, the superstition surrounding the fear of Friday the 13th is compiled up an intriguing selection of different fears and beliefs which form a recipe for a super superstition, if you will.

According to Chambers Dictionary of the Unexplained, it has been estimated that as many as 8 percent of Americans actually suffer from the crippling fear of the day Friday the 13th, known in phobia terminology, as paraskevidekatriaphobia. Say that one five times really fast!

Let’s take a look at the two main ingredients that helped to create the commonly dreaded day of Friday the 13th.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

5 Ways To Use Free As An Author

When I was recording a recent episode of the Stark Reflections on Writing & Publishing podcast, I began reflecting on the various ways that an author can leverage FREE in order to build their author platform.
Below are those points, quickly summarized.

1) To Get Readers Hooked on a New Series

Offering the first book in a series free can bring a large funnel of new readers to your books. And, for authors who perhaps don't have more than a few books in that series, sometimes offering a free short story that is linked to that series is a great way to get people to try out your characters and their unique world/setting.


Sunday, April 08, 2018

Finding Inspiration in Everything

I was pretty pumped to be interviewed by USA Today bestselling author Patricia McLinn on her relatively new podcast that focuses on readers.

AUTHORS LOVE READERS is a conversation between authors about how and why they create stories.

It was a heck of a lot of fun! 


I know Patricia from author circles and usually see her once a year at the annual NINC (Novelists, Inc) writer's conference in Florida. It was great to be able to catch up with her and to share some insights and reflections on the writing part of my life, which I have recently returned to with new dedication and conviction.

Patricia asked some great questions and pulled some interesting tidbits out of me as well, including why I chose to market my work as "horror" even though most of the material, though dark, doesn't quite go into what most people think of as horror.

Wednesday, April 04, 2018

What's In An Object?

It's funny how a simple inanimate object can have such an effect at bringing back a flood of memories.

This past weekend, my son and I spent the long Easter weekend with my Mom back in Levack.

Because my Mom had given Liz and I Baba's long-standing recipe for pierogi last December, and we had gone through at least a couple rounds of making them on our own with Liz's girls and Alexander, I told my Mom that Zander and I would make some pierogi for her.

My Mom hadn't made pierogi since her mother, my Baba, died in February seven years ago. She keeps buying them from Costco. So I thought it might be fun for her to have some home-made pierogi. No, not as good as Baba's (nothing could ever replace those) - but home-made and, like Baba's, made with love and just a touch of calamity in the kitchen.

When, back in December, Liz and the girls and I had been making pierogi, I remember being quite particular about the vessel we used to cut the dough into the round shapes for crafting the little Eastern European dumplings. I likely went overboard in my desire to find just the perfect glass or cup to use, and was never quite satisfied with what we ended up using.

It was because Baba had always used a particular little tea cup for cutting her pierogi dough with. A small white cup with red roses and green-silver stems and leaves; complete with a couple of chips in it that suggested it had been long and well used.

Baba's Teacup
Baba's pierogi tea cup

Looking at that teacup brought back a huge flood of incredibly powerful memories.

Tuesday, April 03, 2018

Better Keep Listening. There Might Be A Bit About Blessed Are The Big Noses

Anyone who knows me knows I'm a big fan of Monty Python and that LIFE OF BRIAN is one of my favorite films.

They might also know that I enjoy quoting lines from the film. Lots of lines. At almost any opportunity I can get.

And, of course, one of my fave characters to quote is Brian's Mom, Mandy.

For example, almost ANY time some says "Speak up!" I usually follow it with this (in the appropriate voices, of course):