• A not-so-chilling ghost story

    I believe in ghosts, and I’m not ashamed to admit it. (Well, not too ashamed, anyway.) Believing in ghosts is not unusual for folks born and raised in the South.

    I grew up listening to my grandmother’s “true” tales of things that go bump in the night. I’ve personally witnessed a few hair-raising incidents that increased my belief in the paranormal.

    If you’ve ever watched a ghost hunting show, you know that I’ve just described the childhood of every star on every paranormal show that has ever aired on TV.

    But I have no desire to go ghost hunting like the people on those shows. I want to use my experiences to write spine-tingling stories of the dead. Unfortunately, it’s not going as well as I’d hoped.

    I’m trying to finish Once Haunted, Twice Shy and get it online in January. The ghostly scenes aren’t very scary—to put it mildly. Footsteps on the stairs and creaking doors might be good for a supernatural horror movie. But for a book…not so much. And I can hardly have my ghost popping out of a closet and yelling boo.

    Writing Once Haunted is proving to be quite the challenge. It’s difficult for me to even find ghost stories that I enjoy reading. Maybe that means it’s nearly impossible to write a good one?

    I hope not, because I’m determined to write an amazingly spooky ghost story. When my e-book hits Amazon Kindle in January, I expect tons of comments from readers saying how they had to sleep with the lights on for days after reading it.

    I know… I’m a big dreamer. Probably makes you wonder if I really am in my right mind.

  • Looking for love in all the wrong places

    Lizzie Chandler, one of my main characters, is a psychic matchmaker. She uses her gift to help lonely women find love. Lizzie has a great success rate, with almost all of her matched couples living happily ever after.

    In the real world, finding the right partner is way more difficult. There are tons of online dating sites, but I don’t have a whole lot of faith in them.

    I’ve tried several different ones. It wasn’t because I was really looking for love.  I was mostly just curious about online dating. I never went out with any of the guys that I interacted with, but being on those sites was entertaining.

    One guy emailed me within a day of me setting up my profile. I didn’t post a picture, and from what I’ve read, profiles without pictures don’t get many responses. The fact that the guy contacted me so quickly was a definite red flag that something was off.

    After I exchanged a few messages with him, I thought he sounded familiar. I asked if he used to live in a certain town that was just over an hour away. Never heard from him again!

    It was no real loss, as I wasn’t actually looking for Mr. Right. It did put me off using online dating sites, even to satisfy my curiosity.

    The whole experience was pretty bad, but you want to know what’s less fun than trying to meet guys online? Having well meaning friends trying to find a match for you.

    My friends don’t have the talent that Lizzie has. Talk about disastrous attempts at matchmaking! I’m not sure what they were thinking when they decided to hook me up with any of those guys. Fortunately for me, my friends don’t play Cupid too often.

    Dating sites and matchmaking friends failed to lead me to a guy that I like. I don’t run into many decent, eligible men when I’m out and about.

    So where am I supposed to look if I get serious about meeting The One? Maybe I should give online dating another try. Maybe I used the wrong sites before. Surely there’s at least one site worth my time.

    Have you ladies had any luck with online dating? If so, what site do you recommend?

     

  • Do real psychics exist?

    The main characters of my books are psychics. One character, Lizzie Chandler, is a psychic matchmaker. The other, Mikala Davenport, sees dead people.

    While psychics make for great entertainment in books, movies and TV, I’m not sure if there is any more to them than that.

    I grew up in the South.  I won’t say where, but it’s one of those states that people are a little embarrassed to claim. A few years ago, I moved to another state, but I’m still a Southerner.

    We’re known to have some odd ideas down here. All my life, I’ve been around people who firmly believe in psychics.  I’ve always wavered on that subject. I’ve had psychic readings at fairs and flea markets (or swap meets as some people call them).  The psychics at those places were pretty bad.

    There was one older Native American gentleman doing psychic readings at a flea market.  I immediately thought of those wise old Indians in the movies.  Not being racist there, but we all know Hollywood plays up that stereotype.

    I’m guessing the guy at the flea market was counting on poor suckers believing that Hollywood nonsense.  I’m embarrassed to admit that I was one of those suckers and forked over twenty of my hard-earned bucks to the guy.

    He started the reading by telling me I’d live to be 40 or 45 years old. As you can probably imagine, things went downhill from there! That was a number of years ago, and I still can’t shake that stupid prediction. I’m not going to admit my age, but let’s just say that if the guy was right, the Grim Reaper might be knocking on my door any day now.

    Once, I went to a house that had one of those “psychic adviser” signs in the yard. The sign should have had the “for entertainment purposes only” disclaimer on it, because it was the most laughable psychic readings a person could ever have.

    The woman would say something, and then ask if she was right. When I said she wasn’t, she’d say, “Yes, it is.”  It was quite entertaining, but probably not in the way that woman meant for it to be.

    Before I go on, I’m going to take a moment to offer words of wisdom: Never, ever go into a total stranger’s home for a psychic reading (or any other reason if you can avoid it). There are a lot of crazy people out there! I had my coworker with me, but still, it was beyond stupid for two young females to willingly go into a stranger’s home.

    I saw a sign in one yard for “physic readings.” I was smart enough not to stop there. If the person couldn’t see that the sign was spelled wrong, then she certainly couldn’t see into my future.

    I did go to one psychic who seemed to REALLY know his stuff. I’m not going to say more about that person, because I’m paranoid that he’ll know I’ve been talking about him online.  I’m thinking it might be a bad thing to get on the wrong side of a true psychic.

    But then again, maybe that guy snowed me, and true psychics don’t even exist. I’m not sure what to believe.

    What do you think? Are there people who really have the gift?

  • The greatest e-book never written

    I’m supposed to put my next e-book online in January 2020. That’s plenty of time. Or at least it would be if not for my enormous case of writer’s block.

    But maybe it’s not writer’s block. According to an author on YouTube, there is no such thing.  If that’s true, it means I’m just lazy. And that’s not acceptable.

    I want to get Once Haunted, Twice Shy finished, and I want it to be a great success. I want Mikala, the lead character who sees dead people, to become a household name. I want her to more popular than Harry Potter, Stephanie Plum and Jay Gatsby combined. (Yes, that’s an odd list of characters, but I’m in a silly mood.)

    That goal might be a little difficult to reach for an Indie author who has an advertising budget that wouldn’t buy a Happy Meal. Maybe success will happen by magic. It’s pretty much the only way it could happen, as I’ve done almost no writing lately.

    I’m weeks behind where I should be with my book. The January release may not happen. The way things are looking right now, Once Haunted, Twice Shy might turn out to be the greatest e-book that has never been written.

  • The worst e-book marketing plan ever

    As an indie writer, it takes hard work and determination to be successful. I read a lot – and watch many, many YouTube videos – to get ideas from other authors on how to increase my e-book sales. And then, being the brilliant businesswoman that I am, I ignore all their suggestions.

    Social media is supposed to be a great way to get the word out about your books. I think social media is the root of all evil.

    I do have a Facebook page. It is rather amateurish, and a five-year-old could probably do a better job. One day in the distant future, I will make it more polished. It doesn’t matter what it looks like at the moment because I have no followers.

    And why are there no followers on my Facebook page? Because I haven’t told anyone about it. The same goes for my Twitter account. I’ve never sent out a tweet about my e-books.

    As you may have guessed, the social media route to book sales has hit a huge road block.

    But there is another way to success—telling family and friends about my books and having them spread the word.

    I’ve been writing ten years, and exactly one relative knows about it. And…I’ve sworn her to secrecy. People close to you can be your worst critics, so I’m not sure I could handle input or suggestions from family.

    With social media and family out of the question for sales, that leaves friends. In case you haven’t picked up on the pattern, I’m not getting the word out with friends either.

    I’ve told two friends that I write as a hobby. One has long since forgotten because I don’t talk about my books with her. The other friend is about as introverted as I am, so she doesn’t have many people to tell about my books.

    With this awesome approach to selling my e-books, I should be on the Amazon best seller list…never!

  • My thin line between fiction and reality…

    I’m starting to think that my characters are becoming a little too real to me. I haven’t done any work on my latest Lizzie Chandler novel in a while, and I’m starting to miss Essie and Floyd.

    I’m a bit surprised by that. They’re not real…but I miss them.  Is that a sign that I’ve become a true writer and not just someone who dabbles in it?  Or is it a sign that I’m ready for a rubber room?

    I suppose it could mean that I should get a life. Yeah, that’s probably it. I’ve gotten too attached to my characters and need to get out and interact with real people more.

    But Essie and Floyd are more fun than a lot of people I know, so I’ll probably stay home with them. They don’t sit and text while I try to talk to them.

    And with this quick post, I’ve managed to talk myself out of socializing more.

    I’m okay with that.

  • The most humiliating e-book promotion in the history of kindle

    I literally cannot give my books away. That poses a bit of a problem for someone hoping to make it as a writer.

    This past weekend, I did a promotion in which my book, Undead of Night, was free on Amazon Kindle. I won’t say how many downloads I had, but it would only take one hand to count them – with fingers  left over (yes, fingers plural).

    I didn’t exactly go all out to advertise the giveaway, but I did list the book on a couple sites. To get that kind of result was a little shocking. Good thing I have a strong ego.

    Well, to be honest, my ego can be a little fragile at times. I almost went fetal over the pitiful number of downloads of my book. I even gave up on writing – for about eight hours.

    It wasn’t the first time I’ve quit writing. Probably won’t be the last. But the reality is that I enjoy doing it.

    And so I’ll keep at it until I’m so successful that I can quit my day job. Based on the results of the weekend’s book promotion, that should happen around the time I’m a hundred and fifty years old!

     

  • Late one night in 2008…

    I was lying in bed struggling to fall asleep and had the oddest thought. It came and went quickly, but it was pretty specific: that I should write about a psychic matchmaker whose office was based inside her friend’s business.  I blew the idea off as ridiculous, as sleep deprived nonsense.

    Writing had never been a goal of mine. When I was in school, the thought of writing a ten-page paper was enough to cause heart palpitations. I knew anything beyond page six or seven was gonna be a struggle because I’ve always been a woman of few words. If it was hard for me to get to ten pages, how the heck was I supposed to write a whole book?

    But the thought wouldn’t go away. A couple months after I got the ridiculous idea to write a book, I began working on the story of Lizzie Chandler. It wasn’t easy finishing the book, but I eventually got it done.

    Then I put it on Amazon Kindle. A few days after that, I had a total meltdown.

    It was stupid to think I could write a book anyone would want to read. No one was going to buy it. And if anyone did buy it, they’d trash it for being horrible.

    So I went to Amazon to delete the book. To my shock, I had sold a book and received a four-star review. I have no idea how that happened so quickly, especially when I was completely unknown and had done no advertising.

    I took that as a sign from God that I really am supposed to be a writer. But that couldn’t possibly be right. Pastors say Christians shouldn’t go to psychics. That probably means I shouldn’t write about them…right?

    That’s a topic for a whole new post, maybe even a whole new blog.

    I’ll end by assuring you that I really am in my right (write) mind, in spite of any doubts you might have after seeing this post.

    Thanks for reading!