Poem 5–A Trip

For this poem, we were supposed to root it in truth but then make up some of the details.  One of my favorite trips I took as a child was to Whitefish Point in Michigan.  There is a shipwreck museum there and it was the coolest place ever.  One day, I plan to take my boys there so they can experience it, too.

Edmund Fitzgerald Could Have Been My Father

November 10, 1975


We went that summer to pay respect

to the sunken ships of the superior lake


A lighthouse was their headstone—

the ships, themselves, rested in paupers’ graves


Names—on wood, on steel—legible only to fish

in schools that can’t read


The living wanted to study the portraits of the dead

read plaques covered in ridiculously small script


Squinting      squinting      as if the reshaping of their lids

would force some meaning


I much preferred to study the waves—

a deepness that hugged cargo


close to her bottom

I looked past ripples into nothingness


in the nothing I saw myself

This was information best not shared


My brother joined me, asked what I was staring at

I considered all the things I could tell him


metaphors and words that end with –istic

except I was only 12 and I didn’t know


that kindredness had words

He was only 10—the words I didn’t know


held no meaning for him anyway

He asked again–



It is the most honest conversation

we will have.

Too Much To Handle

They say that when life gives you lemons, you should make lemonade.  Or, that you should make grape juice and let people wonder how you did it.  Life handed me a small orchard’s worth of lemons this past two weeks, and I’ve got those bastards in my freezer so I can throw them at people.

Things started to go awry when I was informed my oven was broken.  When was I informed of this, you ask?  Well, I’ll tell you.  It was right after I posted a blanket Facebook invitation to my holiday table for all of my friends who might be without loved ones this Thanksgiving.  Because nothing can be simple, I’m not going to be able to replace it for awhile.  It’s a narrow built-in unit and we can’t really replace it without redoing the entire kitchen.  So, this Thanksgiving, I’ll be attempting to roast my 23 pound turkey at my neighbor’s house while being over here preparing the rest of the meal.  My kitchen-fu is strong, though, so I just might pull this off.

Next, we had to take our dog, Cocoa, to the vet.  She’s a senior dog, unspayed, and pretty well behaved for the most part.  She listens better than the other animals, at any rate.  The vet diagnosed her with cancer.  She also has arthritis, which we are medicating to keep her comfortable.  With the way the tumor keeps growing, we don’t think surgery will do her much good in light of all the risks the surgery holds for her.


My Cocoa Pup’s tumor. She almost looks like a male dog when she’s standing because of where it’s located and how big it’s gotten.

My younger son is heartbroken.  He loves these dogs and he cried after I told him she was sick.  She’s not acting like she’s in too much pain, and the meds for her hip help her move better.  When the time comes, I will probably have to be Cocoa’s medical proxy, as it were.  I refuse to let her suffer and I have a feeling I am the only one who will be able to be objective about it.  Sometimes letting go is harder than holding on.  This is something I know about.

After Cocoa’s diagnosis, my computer died.  I did what I could to fix it, but it gave me the Blue Screen of Death followed by the Black Screen of Fuck You, so it is well and truly dead.  Hopefully on Friday I can take it in somewhere to get it looked at.  As for now, I’m working on Joe’s laptop.  I do not like working on laptops, but beggars can’t be choosers.  At least I have this as an alternative until I can get mine fixed, so I’m being grateful.

A few days after my computer’s untimely demise, Saranda, our alpha female (at least, the way she tells it.  I’m sure Cocoa begs to differ), got an eye infection.  Of course, Joe instantly blames Smeagol for this.  My cat is a good kitty.  He doesn’t participate in run-by scratchings.  Danna never messes with him, so I knew he didn’t scratch her.  Turns out, I was right.  She has doggy pink eye.

By this time, it was time to pick up my boys for the weekend.  We were in the car driving home from Peru, Indiana (where I was telling them about Cocoa and breaking their hearts) when my transmission locked up, flipped me off, and left me stranded on the side of the road, in the middle of nowhere, in the middle of the night.  It will cost more to fix than the car is worth, so I am now without a car for the next few months.  Because of course I am.

While I was waiting to be rescued, Joe informed me that the washer broke.  We needed to buy a new washer and dryer anyway, but this was not when we were planning to do it.  So, $1900 later, we have our new washer/dryer set.  It was delivered this morning.  They were worried it wouldn’t fit down our stairs.


Of course, as I’m going through and trying to clean the house for the holiday feasting, I keep finding old piles of dog vomit.  Apparently, when Danna got her shots at the vet, she decided she wasn’t going to tolerate them very well.  She’s been horking all weekend and if she’s still doing it after today we have to take her back to the vet.  This will be a neat trick seeing as how I don’t have a car and I’m the only one with the time to do it.

Oh, and because this clearly isn’t enough to deal with, we discovered our front garage is leaking right above where we have all of our Christmas decorations and tree stored.  I don’t know for sure yet, but I feel it is reasonable to assume we will need to replace at least the tree.  We store the other stuff in a big Rubbermaid tote, so that stuff might be ok.  Of course, there’s still a leaky roof to contend with.  Because of course there is.

Author Corner–Jane Isaac

E: Welcome to Erindipity, Jane!  I can’t believe you haven’t been on here before now.  Oh, crap.  Get in the closet.  Run!  Charlie, NO!

J: Oh dear. Looks like Charlie’s taken a shine to Bollo. Watch out Charlie! We don’t call him (Where’s the Party?) Bollo for nothing. It’s not just burglars that regret meeting him, it’s anyone:/


Sure, blame the dog. That’s original.

E: You have a new book coming out called, The Truth Will Out.  I believe it’s available for preorder.  What can you tell us about it?

J: The Truth Will Out is the second book in the Detective Chief Inspector Helen Lavery series, and set between the Midlands and the Scottish Highlands over here in the UK. In this novel Helen faces her biggest challenge yet, clashes with her superiors in pursuit of the truth and has a love interest too. Let me share my blurb with you:

 “Everything’s going to be okay.”

 “What if it’s not?”

Suddenly, she turned. For a split second she halted, her head inclined.

“Naomi, what is it?”

She whisked back to face Eva. “There’s somebody in the house… ”

Eva is horrified when she witnesses an attack on her best friend. She calls an ambulance and forces herself to flee Hampton, fearing for her own safety. DCI Helen Lavery leads the investigation into the murder. With no leads, no further witnesses and no sign of forced entry, the murder enquiry begins.

Slowly, the pieces of the puzzle start to come together. But as Helen inches towards solving the case, her past becomes caught up in her present.

Someone is after them both. Someone who will stop at nothing to get what they want. And as the net starts to close around them, can Helen escape her own demons as well as helping Eva to escape hers?

The Truth Will Out Cover

E: Helen Lavery also features in your first book, An Unfamiliar Murder.  What can you tell us about that book?

J: I’ve always been fascinated when extraordinary things happen to ordinary people and my novels are inspired by this notion.

An Unfamiliar Murder opens with school teacher, Anna Cottrell, arriving home to find the murdered body of a stranger in her flat. She immediately becomes the main suspect in a murder enquiry, spends the night in a police cell and, just when she thinks she has convinced police of her innocence, further evidence comes to light that links her inextricably with the victim.

Whilst An Unfamiliar Murder is essentially a murder mystery, it’s also the story of two women: Anna is fighting to prove her innocence, and Helen is trying to prove herself in the senior echelons of a competitive profession, whilst juggling the demands of parenting teenage sons.


E: Do readers need to read that book before this new one, or are they stand alone?

J:  No, both books are written as standalone novels.

E: Do you have any plans on continuing with Helen Lavery and how many books do you have ideas for?

J:  I’d love to continue working with Helen. I’ve already started a third novel and have ideas for a fourth too.

E: What kinds of research did you have to do for her character?  Were people helpful in assisting you, or was it difficult getting information?

J:  My books are police procedural/psychological thriller crossovers so they require tons of research to make them authentic and believable. I think it’s important to create characters that feel real so that readers relate to them. With this in mind, I interviewed people at many different levels of the UK police force to shape a female detective that is not only driven and vulnerable, but grounded too.

I did learn early on that you have to be quite direct and cheeky with research. In the second book I wanted to find out how the door panels of a Mini car come apart and whether there would be room to secrete some smuggled packages in the spaces behind. I phoned my local Mini garage and, after a brief explanation from me convincing the owner that I was writing a book and not a member of the local criminal fraternity (and several bouts of laughter from him), he was incredibly helpful – he even emailed me diagrams.

E: What are you currently working on?

J: I am presently working on a new mystery set in Stratford upon Avon. It requires lots of research field visits which I’m enjoying immensely. I just hope it works when I put it all together!

E: What was the most useful thing you learned while publishing your first book that helped you out publishing this new book?

J: Writing the book is the easy part. A regular presence on Facebook and Twitter is essential to get your work noticed, and participation in local events helps too. You could have written the best book in the world but nobody will read it if they don’t know it’s there. 


You can find Jane on her website, Facebook, or do what I do and bother her on Twitter.  Go ahead and bother us both.  We won’t mind.

Seattle Central Library

I was scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed the other day and there was an article on the world’s coolest libraries.  Number 18 on the list just happened to be the Seattle Central Library, and it is every bit as amazing as the article said it was.  Libraries are my favorite places to be anyway, so you can imagine what it was like being there.


One of the most interesting things about the library is the floor of the languages section.  Every board is carved with a phrase from one of the books the library carries, and those books come in 14 different languages!  The phrases are carved so you can leave impressions on your body, show them to a librarian, and they can find the book the phrase came from.

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I probably spent way more time than I should have in the Children’s section, but it was huge.  In a back area they were having an event for small children and there were a lot of them participating.  I love seeing small people fall in love with the library.  Like the adult areas, the children’s book also came in multiple languages.

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Who wouldn’t want to spend all day reading in here?

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One of the coolest things about the library was adult story time.  That’s right, folks, it’s not just for kids anymore.  There was an auditorium that sat 200 people.  They watched the Super Bowl there this year.  I’d have loved to see people getting crazy in the library.

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There were also regular events held there.  I thought it was great that one event they had was a citizenship class for immigrants who wanted to become American citizens.  And let’s not forget the author events!

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Being in this place was good for my soul.  When I asked if I could take pictures, I was told to be careful not to include any pictures of people because there were a lot of fragile patrons that spent time there.  Spending this week in Seattle introduced me to homelessness in a way I haven’t experienced before.  Many times I saw people sleeping next to buildings or in the middle of plazas, so I was glad the library was a warm place that welcomed them.  They are open 7 days a week, so even on Sundays  they can get some relief from the weather.

I hope it doesn’t take me 18 years to get back to Seattle the next time.  I’d love to be able to spend more time here.


Wish List

When I posted about Pike Place Market, I posted some pictures of different vendors that have booths.  I’m dedicating an entire post to this vendor, Art of Wings.


She didn’t have any wings out that day, but she had these amazing hats that are completely customizable and she had some examples of the gauntlets she makes.  Did I mention she makes wings?!  This is from her website and is an example of her wedding wings.


Are these not the coolest ever?

She even makes clip-on dreads, people!  I dyed my hair blue, so you know I’m going to be all over these like a hobo on a ham sammich.


This comes from her website. Seriously, go check her out.

There is so much more that she does.  So, why dedicate an entire post to this one vendor?  Well, for one thing, she makes amazing stuff and I want most of it, so now you have ideas for holiday shopping.  For another, she works her table herself, so I got to meet her and she’s not only ridiculously talented, she’s also really nice.  Everything can be customized,so no matter what you need, chances are she can give it to you.  I respect craftspeople and what they do.  Consider this the equivalent of leaving a review on Amazon.

Author Corner–Johnny Worthen

E: Hey, Johnny!  Welcome to Erindipity!  Take a seat, have a beverage.  I realize it’s no Blog Mansion, but I do what I can.  Charlie!  Don’t be rude.  Greet our guest.

Unintelligible corpsy sounds.

J: I have a Charlie, too. Well, bits of one anyway.

E: You’ve just had a novel release from Omnium Gatherum Media, BEATRYSEL.  I can’t wait to get some time to actually read it.  Tell us a little bit about it and what inspired you to write it.

J: BEATRYSEL is the tale of a demon, created by her Magus lover, rent from him but seeking return. It is the tale of the Magus who made her and lost himself in the act. It is a tale of jilted lovers, betrayals and loss; power and Magick. It explores modern occult theory as practiced today and the manifest power of love made real.

BEATRYSEL arose from a distinct moment in my life. First I couldn’t find modern occultism treated accurately or sympathetically in fiction. Having studied it for years and understanding its potential, I wanted to incorporate that belief system into a story with like-minded characters.

Then there was the issue of love and a hate, betrayal and affection. BEATRYSEL was born at a time in my life when my friends were all hit with a plague of divorces about the same time. It was frightening and contagious. I watched best friends suffer pain and anguish like I’d never thought possible. The raw emotion took on an almost living form and it was an easy step for me to visualize it just that way, as a spirit. And thus, I made BEATRYSEL.


E: This is your debut novel.  What has been the best part of the experience and what has been the most terrifying part for you?

J: Seeing it done has been the best part of it. I started my writing career late. Then I made the mistake of seeking publication in the traditional way of having a great book and seeking an agent. That way lies madness. Thus, I got an even later start. Once I went straight to publishers and editors I got picked up in short order and for multiple titles and have kicked myself ever since.

And so finally, after trying to get published for so long, seeing my book in print was a life-affirming event, an unparalleled thrill. But now, of course, it’s out there. And anyone can see it. That’s the terrifying part right there. I’m exposed. Or rather, my baby is exposed and there’s nothing I can do now. It’s like sending a kid to college, really. I know because I did that this year too. I’m all worry and powerlessness now. I can only hope that I did a good enough job that my baby can succeed on its own.

E: You’re also in the process of releasing another novel.  Well done, Sir!  What is the title and what can you tell us about it?

J: “Eleanor is a modest girl, unremarkable but extraordinary, young but old, malleable but fixed. She is scared and confused. She is a liar and a thief. Eleanor is not what she appears to be.”

ELEANOR begins a young adult paranormal trilogy. It’s a story about a young girl growing up as inconspicuously as possible in a small Wyoming town.

ELEANOR is a very different book and very different experience than BEATRYSEL. Where BEATRYSEL is terrifying, ELEANOR is emotional; where love drives people to madness in BEATRYSEL, it redeems them in ELEANOR.

E: Today is also the cover reveal.  Well, don’t just sit there!  Show it to us, man!  How did you choose this cover?

J: The cover reveal is early. My publisher’s catalog is set far in advance. ELEANOR will not be released for months still. I’m looking at the summer in fact. That’s alright though. Eleanor is patient.


E: How was the process for this new book different from the first one?  Did you learn anything from the first book that made it easier with this new one?

J: I was more disciplined with ELEANOR. I wrote BEATRYSEL before I made writing a career and so it was took years to write. With ELEANOR, I made it my life’s work to see the story through and worked diligently and straight on until the third book was done. It was intense but wonderful.

I tend not to censor myself in regard to theme and language in my stories, and knowing I wanted ELEANOR to be for young adults I struggled for a while on how to “dumb it down,” so to speak. Then I realized the only change I needed to make was to curtail my potty mouth. Young adults are more than capable of handling the big themes of love and change, fear, belonging and loneliness, life and death as are adults, perhaps more so. Once I realized this, I was free to write ELEANOR as she needed to be written.

I should say that I am not a fan of books that drag it into a series whether you like it or not. Therefor, ELEANOR, the first book in the series is actually a complete stand-alone title. The next two in the series continue the story, and I encourage you to read those too, but the first book, ELEANOR is thematically and structurally complete. 

I’m not sure why I felt I needed to mention that.

E: What are you currently working on?

J: I’m in edits with another literary horror called WHAT IMMORTAL HAND and I’m shopping a mystery thriller called THE BRAND DEMAND. As of today, I am 15,000 words into a book I know only as XANDER, a near future dystopia of haves and have-nots inspired by my recent readings of THE HUNGER GAMES, and Howard Zinn’s A PEOPLE’S HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES.

E: Do you have any upcoming events, book signings, etc., that you’d like to share with us?

J: I wish I did. I’ll be at Wordharvest, The 2013 Tony Hillerman Writer’s Conference in Santa Fe from the 7th to the 10th of this month. After that, I’m back in hermit mode. I’ll be lining up book signings for BEATRYSEL but I haven’t yet. I’ll have to wait until Spring for ELEANOR events. I’ll keep you posted.

You can find Johnny on his blog, his website, on Facebook, and on Goodreads.

Guest Post–Amie Borst

Cinderskella Cover
Cindy is just a normal, average girl. At least until she wakes up one night to find out she is dead. Well, she isn’t technically dead—she just doesn’t have any hair, nose, or . . . skin. Yep, she is a skeleton—all bones and no body.

Human by day and skeleton by night, Cindy is definitely cursed. It doesn’t help that her mother recently died, only to be replaced by an evil stepmother who makes her do gross things like eat liver and clean rooms with only a toothbrush. It really doesn’t help that her father is scared of her strange nightly body appearance and that there’s no way she can attend the school dance “dressed” like a skeleton.

What ensues is a hysterical tale of a young girl who, while coping with the loss of her mother, embarks on a journey of self-discovery, love, and forgiveness, all the while learning to deal with an evil step-mother and her “skeletal” abnormalities.

Cinderskella is available for purchase at Barnes & Noble.

Borst 14

Amie and Bethanie Borst are a mother-daughter writing team. Amie believes in Unicorns, uses glitter whenever the opportunity arises, accessories in pink and eats too much chocolate.  Bethanie is a spunky 13 year old middle-schooler who loves archery, long bike rides and studying edible plant-life. Cinderskella is their first book together and is part of the Scarily Ever Laughter series. You can find them on FacebookTwitter,  Pinterest,  From the Mixed-Up Files of Middle-Grade Authors, and blog.


Amie Borst is celebrating her book release and cover reveal with a monthly giveaway in The Great Cinderskella Giveaway! If you’d like to win a $25 Amazon gift card, just fill out the Rafflecopter form below. You’ll be automatically entered into the grand prize drawing for a Kindle Fire in October!

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Guest Post–Johnny Worthen

Guest Blogger Johnny Worthen discusses suffering as a source for his new book BEATRYSEL.


“There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.”

– Ernest Hemingway


I once had a writing professor say something along these lines in an undergraduate class:

“In everyone’s life there will be crisis and turmoil, pain and suffering. You will have these. These moments will consume you. They will nearly destroy you. It will take all you have to survive them. You’ll be awash and drowning giving everything you have just to hang on for another moment.

 “But not really.

 “As a writer you are a witness. As your soul twists and turns, bleeds and burns, there will be a part of you hidden in a corner of you being watching it all and taking notes.

 “When the smoke clears and the bones knit, you will have a map to those places —emotions and scenes. You will know how to re-open those wounds in yourself, unzip the scars and bleed again for your art. You will be a true witness to the pain and be in a unique position to explore it all again.”

This was the sentiment anyway.

Believe it or not, in the darkest days of my life, I remember this. I find it comforting, if only because it suggests there is some part of me that rises above the trouble. And then, when it’s all over, I have notes.

These notes came in useful when I wrote BEATRYSEL. Though on the surface, the book is an occult thriller, a horror by some standards, but it is in fact, a love story.

Is there any pain like that of being rejected by a lover? It is so real, so powerful that it seems like a creature unto itself.

And thus was born BEATRYSEL.

Using my own casebook of scabbed-over emotional scars, I approached the issues of love and betrayal, yearning and sacrifice, and played it all against the backdrop of modern occult philosophy where Will can become Form.

Thus my notes – my buried personal pain of bad relationships and love, turned fruitful. In writing BEATRYSEL, I bled again but had another chance to examine my old wounds and better understand them. I cleaned them up, stitched them together, soothed them with new insight and possibilities. In the end I was better. Not healed perhaps, but better. This is the power of writing.

And I got a damn fine book out of it.

Anyone who has ever had a love affair go bad will recognize the power of BEATRYSEL. Anyone who’s hidden in the corner of their mind while their body sobbed for a lost lover, will sympathize. For BEATRYSEL is a creature of love.


BEATRYSEL comes out September 12th from Omnium Gatherum


You can find Johnny hanging out at the Blog Mansion, on his website, on Twitter, on Facebook, and on the Omnium Gatherum website.

Author Corner–Tommy B. Smith

E: Hi, Tommy!  Welcome to Erindipity.  In honor of the cooler weather, I’ve baked us a pumpkin pie.  Sorry about the bite out of the middle of it.  Charlie only likes the middles and he got to it while it was cooling.  I didn’t even know corpses liked pie.

T: Reanimated corpses usually like brains and/or human flesh, don’t they? This is what I’m told, at least. These same creatures like your pumpkin pie? That’s…interesting.

I don’t think I like his tone.

E: Your book is Poisonous.  What can you tell us about it?

T: It’s the story of a girl, Lilac Chambers, and the deadly force inside of her, the Living Poison, which brings her to acts of violence and destruction. The focus is also on a retiring detective and the ringmaster of a circus, both of whom attempt to stand against the Living Poison. As indicated, there is a heavy dose of violence in the book. Besides the obvious external conflicts, the story also explores the conflict that exists between Lilac as a human girl and Lilac as a deliverer of destruction.


E: What inspired you to write it?

T: Those who are familiar with my short stories of the past years will know that I’m not one to shy away from blurring the genre divide, but with Poisonous, the intent was to write a full-on horror story. It draws some influence from some of the classic slasher horror movies. There are also some more personal motivations. In many situations of the past, I’ve had a lot of venom and negativity directed my way. After so many such experiences, it’s sometimes difficult not to retain some portion of that, but the way I react to it, the way I deal with it, is my choice. Lilac never had a choice. This is where one form of horror becomes another.

E: Do you have any upcoming events, book signings, etc?

T: I’ll be a guest at Konsplosion, which is a multi-genre convention held in Fort Smith, Arkansas. Last year was its first year, but I wasn’t able to attend. I’m gathering that a lot of people will be coming from some distance around for this one, so I’ll be looking forward to a sizable number of people showing up there.

E: Are you currently working on anything?

T: I’m writing another book, also a horror story, but its direction is of a different sort than Poisonous. It does revisit St. Charles, where Poisonous is set, but it actually takes place in the seventies. Besides that, I’m still writing short stories.

E: What’s your guilty pleasure when it comes to books?

T: Guilty? Does this mean something I like that everyone else thinks is awful? Reading things that other people wouldn’t expect me to read? I’m not sure. I’ve enjoyed ice cream on occasion. Does reading the ingredients on the back of the carton qualify as a guilty pleasure, or is that just making an informed choice?

E: Who has influenced you the most as a writer?

T: When I was younger I had access to a large storage room filled with tons of books by different authors. That was my early introduction to genre fiction. I read numerous and varying books of fantasy, horror, science fiction, and anything else, except for romance, as long as it interested me. It isn’t easy to pin down one particular influence, but one that I remember piquing my interest and stimulating my imagination was J. R. R. Tolkien. This is going to be a confusing answer for the people who read Poisonous, but everyone should keep in mind that question, “Who influenced you?” is very different from “Who do you write like?” I’ve seen and heard some other authors out there ask questions such as, “What author do you aspire to be? Which book do you wish you wrote?” but it’s a mindset I don’t relate to. I view it as important for an author to find her or his own voice, if at all possible. I’m not going to pretend that authors don’t have their influences, because they must, and there is nothing wrong with paying tribute to those influences, but to make a primary goal of emulating what another person has already written seems the antithesis of creative progress.

E: What’s one piece of advice you would give to someone just starting out?

T: The writing itself is where it all begins. There is a lot of bad writing out there. That’s just the truth. Being familiar with the fundamentals of writing will provide you with a foundation that will help you to climb above the slush pile when sending your work out to a potential market. If you’re new to it, you should find others who have some level of experience and might be able to provide you with helpful feedback on what you’re doing. Joining a critique group is one option that might be available for a newcomer. Whichever way you choose to go about it, you should learn where you stand in your abilities, and work to improve. You should become aware of your weaknesses so that you can overcome them.

You can find Tommy on his website or on Facebook.

Author Corner–Tammy Maas

Author Tammy Maas finally accepted my invite to visit.

E: Hi, Tammy!  It’s nice to have you on the blog.  Would you care for refreshments?

T: I would, thank you. This is my favorite! Ham salad with Chicken in a Biskit crackers. Did you know that for some odd reason people in Kentucky don’t eat ham salad? They look at me like I have three eyes every time I ask for it. And at one grocery store I asked the clerk, “where’s your pop?” He replied, “my pops home in bed lady, you know my pops?!”


What? The lady likes these crackers. Don’t judge her!

E: Your first book is A Complicated Life in a Small Town.  What can you tell us about it?

T: The book is darkish (is that a word?) it tells the tale of writer (Lydia) who discovers she has a step-sister (Lily) with Prader-Willie syndrome, an unusual eating disorder. Lydia falls in love with the Chief of Police (Tommy) in small town Monticello Iowa. The book is a novella so you can easily read it in one sitting. There’s lots of body fluids in this book; blood, urine, feces and tears too.

(Wiping cracker crumbs off my shirt.) Ya know, this ham salad kind of resembles a body fluid now that I think about it.


E: Your second book, God Save Us All, is a continuation of the story, right?

T: Yes. God Save Us All follows Lydia though some hard times. She struggles to keep her sanity as she attempts to care for Lily, a new baby and a paralyzed husband.

God Save Us All Cover

E: Do you have any more books planned for the series?

T: Yes. There will be one more book in the series and I hope to have it completed by the end of the year. I recently moved from Iowa to Kentucky and haven’t had a lot of time to write lately but I plan on making some serious progress as soon as the kids start school next week.

E: Prader-Willi Syndrome features heavily in your books.  How did you choose it and what are some things you’ve learned through your research?

T: I found Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS) by accident online when hunting for a disease for a character. I was completely fascinated when I began researching it. PWS affects different people different ways so it was fairly easy to create a realistic character. People with this syndrome suffer greatly. We know what it feels like to be hungry. Imagine having that feeling no matter how much you ate. Imagine not being able to think or function without having food constantly on your mind. Most people with PWS have to have their cupboards and refrigerators chained shut and they have to have constant supervision. In the wrong hands these people are exploited as they will do anything and I mean anything for food.

E: Do you have any other projects in the works?

T: Yes. I’m also working on a full length novel about an exterminator who stumbles upon an unusual situation. This one also involves a medical condition.

E: How did you start your journey as a writer?

T: At the time my daughter was three and we were living in West Virginia. We asked her if she wanted to go to Disney Land or to visit her Grandma’s in Iowa, for vacation. She choose visiting her Grandma’s. That broke our hearts and we decided to move back home to Iowa. I applied for a job online and after two telephone interviews they asked what my husband did for a living. I told them he was managing the distribution center I was working in. They then interviewed him and eventually hired him. They then told me they had a nepotism policy and couldn’t hire me. The bastard took my job! So that was it for me. I said fine “job stealer” I’ll be a domestic Goddess and I’ll stay home and write books while you work at the job you took from me. It actually has worked out quite well – so well in fact that he was promoted and transferred and now here we are far away from Iowa again. His goal in life is for me to become rich and famous so that he doesn’t have to work anymore. He pushes me pretty hard most of the time which is exactly what I need. His name is Terry but I call him Peatie or Little Man.

E: What is the best piece of writing advice someone has given you?

T: There is a saying that sticks with me. I don’t know who said it or where it came from;

              Don’t read book reviews. If you read a bad review you might believe what they say, and if you read a good review you might believe what they say.

It makes sense. I was terrified about getting my first bad review and Lyle Perez (Rainstorm Press) told me that I would most definitely get bad reviews. Now that I’ve gotten a few they don’t sting nearly as bad as they did at first. It’s like getting a shot. It hurts for a little while but you know that in the long run it’s the best thing for you.


Thank you for having me. This has been so much fun and the pie was divine. Because we all know that an interview with Erin would be nothing without pie!

You can find Tammy on her blog, Twitter, or on Facebook.

Author Corner–Sakina Murdock

Sakina Murdock came to visit me from the other side of the pond today.  Charlie is very excited to see her.  This might not end well.

E: Welcome to the blog.  Have a seat, make yourself comfy.  Charlie wanted me to make you scones and tea, but I told him he was a racist and he should go back to rotting in the corner like a good corpse.  Unless you wanted some tea…


This is Charlie’s idea of refreshments. Like I even own anything this nice.

S: I hate tea. Unless it’s green tea. Or fruit-herb-don’t-know-what-the-shit-it-is-but-it’s-good-for-me tea. Cheese scones, yes. No tea.

E: Your book is called Autotherapy.  What can you tell us about it?

S: Autotherapy is a vampire novel with a difference. Lots of differences. It’s not a horror in the true sense; a detective thriller. It gives us a twisted, scientific reason for a vampiric condition with serious implications for the future of humankind, and is seriously short of the gothic romance which you normally get (sired vampires, deep love and posh people). It’s set in secret tunnels underground, disused quarries, merciless weather and English countryside, and the intention was not only to write a great story, but to capture the essence of Cumbria’s Eden Valley, too. I live in a really magical place, and I’m a natural show-off.


E: Do you have anything new in the works?

S: I’m working on a couple of ideas right now. One’s a premise; environmental disaster backdrop, which I’m really excited about. I haven’t yet wrestled my characters into position.  The other is sitting in my laptop with a third of the story blocked out, heavily involving spirit possession, but with a mental health theme.

Where are the cheese scones? I thought there were going to be scones.

I briefly considered reminding her that the scones were Charlie’s idea, and that I called him a racist corpse, but I figured if I pretended not to hear her, she would stop asking for them.

E: Who are your favorite authors and what was the last book you’ve read?

S: My favourite all time author is Terry Pratchett. I never read a book of his that I didn’t love. I read them again and again, and I always laugh. The last book I read was Alan Bennett’s Smut – Two unseemly stories. It was laugh-out-loud funny, examining the intricacies of ‘ordinary’ people and their relationships. Just hilarious. I also liked it because it was set in suburbs of Leeds, a city I know pretty well.

I take it there are no scones.

It appears that ignoring the scones is not, in fact, making them go away.

E: You also do some freelance work, right?  What’s that like?

S: It’s the best ever. Writing words that people pay you for. It’s also a nightmare, because all I want to do is write, 24/7, and live happily ever after, but I’m not ready to jump to full time writing just yet. My strategy requires a few more maneuvers yet.

I only stayed for the scones. I love cheese scones.

E: You have a day job in the medical field.  How much does that help you when you’re writing?

S: Sorry, Erin, it’s way not a medical job. I work in home care, which involves assisting older and disabled people with tasks they struggle with, to enable them to live independently in their own homes. Tasks run from personal care, to cooking and cleaning, and helping with medications and ailments, but the main aim for me is to get my customers laughing. If there’s a smile and a joke, then life doesn’t seem so bad, does it?

E: You live and write from the UK.  What can you tell us about the differences between the European and North American markets?  Are there things you have to do for one that you don’t for the other, etc.?

S: Oh man, I have no idea what that even means. Beyond spelling, requirements seem to be the same across the board, but that’s probably because I’m brand new, and I know nothing.

You know, you probably shouldn’t invite people over on the basis of something which isn’t true. I could have done with some scones. Slathed in slightly salted butter.

E: What piece of advice has someone given you that you found to be the most helpful, and what was the worst piece of advice someone gave you?

S: The best piece of advice lately was when my mum told me to move my face away from the dog’s face. As I got up, he bit me on the arm. To be fair, I think I knelt on his tummy fur as I stood, but hell am I glad I had my face turned away.  Right on my sunburn, mind you. Wear sunscreen is probably the best bit of advice ever.

Bad advice is harder. I try to listen to advice, but I assess it under my own terms and take my own choices. I suspect I’m a know-it-all through and through. Bad advice makes things difficult sometimes, but I always make my own decisions. Only got myself to blame for bad ones.

Gimme the scones or the corpse gets it!

She threatened my corpse. Shit just got real.

She threatened my corpse. Shit just got real.

So, what I’ve taken away from this interview is that Sakina loves cheese scones and she will stop at nothing to get them.  You can send them to her at her blog or her Facebook page.

Author Corner–Jessica McHugh

So today, I had the pleasure of having the beautiful and wickedly funny Jessica McHugh over for margaritas and some author chat. She wanted me to mention that she has an amazing rack, but I didn’t feel that was appropriate. True, but not appropriate. 

This is Jessica. She needs a refill.  Be right back.

This is Jessica. She needs a refill. Be right back.

E: Jessica, welcome to Erindipity.  Pull up a…Dammit, Charlie!  How many times have I told you “No corpses on the furniture!?”  Ever since Charlie started getting fresh with interviewees, we’ve had a “no corpses on the furniture” policy.  Just shove him on the floor, Jess.  He won’t mind.  Care for a margarita?

J: You read my mind—but make sure to cut me off after a few, or I might end up violating that new policy, too. It’s embarrassing, but I get really careless with my corpses when I’ve been drinking.

E: I almost don’t know where to start.  You have a lot of work out there.  You’re currently working on a re-release, right?  What can you tell us about that?

J: Song of Eidolons is my favorite story I’ve written. Not my favorite all over book or favorite writing, per say, but it’s remained my favorite storyline since 2008. When eTreasures Publishing offered to renew my contract, we decided to give it a better cover and a new revision. It’s been a bit of a tough process, but it will be worth it in the end.


E: What made you decide to re-release it? 

J: Call me crazy, but I think “Song of Eidolons” needs to be more popular. And there were a few issues that I believe prevented that. 1, it wasn’t available on Kindle before. 2, the cover was terrible. There was some miscommunication there, and I don’t think it turned out how either of us intended. I think people didn’t give it a chance because of that, and I don’t blame them. When I got reviews, the book was always very highly rated. It received 9.5 out of 10 from Indie Author Book Reviews, and I was so proud. But the book still didn’t sell. 3, In spite of the reviews, I think the prose needed some tightening. I divided a lot of run-ons and deleted a LOT of adverbs. It’s going to be a much better book for the re-release, and I’m so excited to reintroduce Delaney Lortal, Dags, and the Orisanima to the world.

E: Like I said earlier, you have a lot of work out there in a relatively short period of time.  Tell us about that process.  Did you have several books saved up, or did you write them and send them out when they were finished?

J: Except for the first three books in the “Tales of Dominhydor” series and my novella “A Touch of Scarlet,” my books were written post-2008, after my first publication “Camelot Lost” was released. I used to write and edit a lot of faster, and I used to work on 2 or 3 projects at a time back then—compared to the 5-7 nowadays. Writing and editing a novel took me 5 months at the most in my mid-twenties. But the editing was terrible, so there’s that. It’s probably better that it takes me forfuckingever now.

This is another one of her many books.  There are strippers and bowling. Seriously, why aren't you buying this yet?

This is another one of her many books. There are strippers and bowling. Seriously, why aren’t you buying this yet?

E: You handwrite all of your manuscripts.  I don’t know if that makes you a genius or insane, or if there’s really a difference between them.  What do you get out of handwriting your manuscripts that you don’t get working off of a word processor?

J: A few people have mentioned my handwritten first drafts like they’re an oddity. I didn’t realize so few people still wrote by hand! I wish I could write on the computer, but it just doesn’t work well for me. With ink in hand, the words come easier—as if the pen knows them before I do. Writing by hand is more visceral, and for me, more enjoyable. I write faster than I type and make fewer mistakes. Plus, a blank page never pressures me like a computer screen.

I really admire folks who can type their first drafts, but this wacky writer chick will always think in (pen) ink! 

E: You have another project you’re working on that you’ve been taking fan submissions for.  Can you tell us about that?

J: With pleasure. By the way, thank you for keeping my drink filled. You should be a professional maid-of-honor. J

For the past few years, I’ve posted Facebook updates on my author page tagged #DeepThoughtsy. My fans really seemed to dig them, so I decided to compile them into a collection called “Virtuoso at Masturbation, and More McHughmorous Musings.” But it’s not just funny one-liners. There will also be writing prompts based on the DeepThoughtsys, and most important, there will be fan illustrations. There are still spots open, so your rad readers can visit for more info or email me to get the list of available DeepThoughtsys. I’m not looking for great artists. Hell, I’m not even looking for good artists. I’m looking for fans, friends, family, and fun to fill this collection, no matter the stage of artistic talent.

E: You’ve worked with a lot of different people over the years, publishers, editors, etc.  What has that experience been like?

J: It’s been a wild ride, for sure, but I think I’d made a decent go at it. Sometimes I don’t see eye to eye with an editor or publisher, but I’ve learned what and when to compromise. Being flexible and having a good attitude is so important in this business—and in life. Without positivity and confidence, no one wants to listen to you, let alone buy what you’re selling. And in this age of social media, I think it’s important to be vocal about how much you love what you do. Publishers nowadays check up on your social media sites—to get a taste of your personality, sure, but also to see your willingness to market your work and what kind of fan base you’ve already established.

Throughout this inky journey, you’re bound to clash with certain people. Just remember that your book is what’s important, not being right. If you have to stand your ground against editors, have good reasons for “your way” and present those reasons with cool confidence. Despite the head butting, you might just earn their respect.

E: You’re not currently working with an agent. There’s a lot out there about the pros and cons of having one.  Is that something you’ve ever considered doing?

J: I’ve submitted to agents before and haven’t gotten any nibbles. Publishers seem to respond to me better than agents do, so for now, I think I’ll just stick with what works.

Unless an agent is reading this right now and wants to play the Represent Jessica McHugh game. In that case, I’ve always thought agents were awesome people and snappy dressers. Hit me up.

E: One last thing before we get back to the serious business of fishing the worm out of the tequila bottle.  What advice can you give about marketing your work and what has worked for you in the past?

J: Like I said before, positivity and confidence are key to marketing, as well as recognizing when to stop pushing your product and show your personality instead. I’m doing a webinar for Promo Day 2013 called “Hooker with a Heart of Ink” which outlines my “rules” for marketing on social media. It’s free to sign-up here and there will plenty of other awesome authors sharing their experiences with the indie author community. But I’ll give your readers a little teaser for my INKTIPS.

Immerse (Engage your audience)
Noteworthy (What makes you different?)
Knowledgeable (Know what you’re talking about)
Transparent (You’re a person, just like them.)
Informative (Promote your work, but know when to stop)
Positive (Good attitude is key)
Share the Love (We are a community)

I’m afraid you’ll have to sign up for the webinar for elaboration. 😉

Gee, I hope my mouth is free of the tequila worm taste by then. 

You can find Jessica nursing her hangover at her website, her Amazon author page, her Facebook page, and on Twitter.

Recommend It Monday–Author Interview with Lori Michelle

Since I only have around five weeks until graduation, I’m going to do something a little bit different for RIM.  Instead of adding five new books to my already crazy workload, I’ll be doing a series of author interviews.  Once I graduate, this feature will move to Tuesdays.  So, without further adieu, let’s welcome our very first guest, Lori Michelle!


E: Hi, Lori!  Welcome to Erindipity.  You’re the first guest I’ve had.  I’m not much of an entertainer, I guess.


L: I am so honored to be the first person. Hey you brought cookies, so we’re good.


E: First off, let’s talk about your book, Dual Harvest.  What can you tell me about it?


L: It is an erotic thriller, with a serial killer and a police detective.  Of course it has a twist, but I can’t tell you what it is.  I actually wrote it for the National Novel Writing Month in 2009. It’s doing really well and has gotten high ratings on Amazon.  Now if only I could sell a million copies.


E: What gave you the idea for the book?


L: Without going into too much detail, I was going through a rough period in my life.  It just happened.


E: What was your process like?  Did you outline and plan before you started writing, or did you jump in and see where it took you?


L: Typically, I think of the way I want a book or story to end before I start writing, but I am not much of an outliner.  I normally have a vague idea of where I want to go and jump in with two feet.  And since this was a NANO novel, there isn’t time to plan on where you are going, you just have 30 days to go!


E: Do you have any other books in the works?


L: I do, two of them.  One of them is about a woman being haunted by ghosts and the other about aliens (yes I know cliche, but it’s more than that).  I can’t seem to find my alien file though, so I guess I should concentrate more on the ghost one.  It’s been a long time since I have had the time to sit and write, so I need to revisit what I have done and perhaps get my rear in gear about finishing.


E: What authors are you influenced by?


L: VC Andrews.  Her mind was so psychologically twisted and her characters were so horrific.


E: What drew you to horror?


L: Funny enough, I never realized I liked horror until a few years ago.  Yes, I always loved reading VC Andrews and Stephen King, but I was never one for the Nightmare on Elm Street Movies or any of that.  The horror I adore isn’t your standard vampire/zombie/slasher horror though.  I tend to like the things that are more psychological and twisted.  The more realistic it can be, the more I like it.


E: You’re more than just an author.  What else do you have going on?


L: A whole lot!  First off, I am the managing editor of Dark Moon Digest and Dark Eclipse.  So, once a month I put together an e-magazine and once a quarter, I put together a print magazine.  Then I am also in partnership with Max Booth III over at Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing.  I take care of all the layout design and all the bookkeeping.  Recently, PMMP has joined together with Revolt Daily Magazine, so I will be in charge of layout there too.  It’s all very exciting.  Coming in September, I am going to be putting together a horror anthology called Bleed where the proceeds will go to the Children’s Cancer Fund.  My own son has leukemia and children’s cancer is a subject that really hits me hard.  The CCF has been really great to my son and I want to do something to show my gratitude and to help other kids who are afflicted. Top that with being the single mom of two kids.  Yes, I am insane, thank you for noticing.

Thanks for dropping by!  You can connect with Lori Michelle on FacebookTwitter, and through her blog.

Adverbs–I Hate Them

Grumpy Cat hates them, too.

In a nutshell, if you’re using an adverb to do what you want done, you’ve got a lazy verb.  Lazy verbs are also boring verbs.  Take the following example:  Elaine was really mad.  Why use this when you could have:

  • Elaine was irate.
  • Elaine was incensed.
  • Elaine was enraged.
  • Elaine was fuming.
  • Elaine was furious.

You get the idea.  I was able to go to a Creative Writing Club meeting yesterday because I had the day off.  Normally, I work when they meet and workshop.  I took my trusty pen (ok, it was Lori’s trusty pen), and started crossing them out.  The pen makes a lovely scratch against the paper when it’s crossing out adverbs.

I had a great laugh while I was there, though.  A couple of semesters ago, I told Lori she was no longer allowed to use the word “seemed.”  I forbade it.  Either something was or it was not.  It was very Yoda of me.  (Is, or Is not.  There is no seemed.)  If there is deception taking place, there are better ways to show it.  So, I’m reading an older story of her’s and near the end of one of the pages, she used seemed.  She started laughing when she saw, “No seemed EVER!” written on the bottom of the page.  It was a good time.

But back to my point.  Adverbs: don’t do that.  Seriously. 😛

Combating Burnout

It’s been a very long time since I’ve gone on an actual vacation.  Between school, my new job, being a mom, and trying to write something more complex than a grocery list (that I promptly leave on the table instead of taking with me), my brain feels like goo.  I have an office where I work on new projects or on homework, but I swear someone put in a revolving door when I wasn’t looking.  If it’s not family, it’s a dog…or three.  Or the tv is on at top volume.  Or the Xbox is going.  I don’t know about you, but I can’t write if I can’t think, and I can’t think when I have all this stimuli because I have the attention span of a gnat.  I need to get away.

I had this crazy idea that for a week (or maybe two) this summer, I’m going to try to get away.  No kids, no mate, no pets, no distractions.  I want to be in the middle of no where with my reference books and my computer.  I want to be able to take a walk in the woods (provided I can find my way back. I tend to get lost) or read without interruption.  Because the best time to ask me something is always when I have a book in my hands.  I want to be able to write more than three sentences without someone bothering me about something.  I’m craving solitude.

I have no ideas, as of yet, where I would go.  If I get accepted to the Yale Writers’ Conference, I’ll do that instead.  I won’t be alone, but I’ll be surrounded by other writers who “get” it.  But if I don’t (and I’m nothing if not realistic), I want to take a trip by myself, for myself, and recharge my batteries.  What do you guys do when you feel like bacon too long in the frying pan?