Monday, November 18, 2013

House Healing and Possessed Dolls

I had a busy weekend, so I fell behind on my work count. I have to make up about 7000 words. That's like slowly sinking in quicksand, but I still have hope.

I just wanted to post something real quick. I heard that if you want someone to cleanse your house of ghosts, there is a web site called www.househealing.com. The guy can cleanse your house remotely. I have briefly visited the site, so I don't know for sure if the guy is reputable, but Dave at Darkness Radio recommended it. I'm assuming they checked it out themselves or had many recommendations for this guy.

Well, I need to get back to writing, but I will leave you with that and a couple of images of Robert the Haunted Doll and Annabelle the Haunted Doll. I've mentioned Robert before, but not Annabelle. They are both scary possessed dolls that move around of their own volition.

Robert might be ghost possessed, but I think Annabelle is demon possessed. Robert is in a museum in Key West. I believe Annabelle is with Lorraine Warren or maybe John Zaffis who collects haunted objects.

Sweet dreams.



Saturday, November 2, 2013

NNWM and Ghosts

NaNoWriMo has started and I'm not ready! I wish I had another week because I need a really strong villain or villains. In any case, I'm wearing my NNWM t-shirt today. lol Geek.

We went to our friends' haunted house for Halloween. I thought they had gotten rid of the ghosts there. My son who is sensitive to those things asked us if we were going to bless ourselves and the car before we get there. We were like, "No, we don't need to. We'll be fine. They got rid of the ghosts." We were already a few blocks from their house when he said it so it was too late anyway.

Within twenty minutes of being there, he says he has a stomach ache. I tell him to use the bathroom, but he says he doesn't have to go. That's when I think there must be a ghost in the house because he gets these stomach aches whenever a ghost is around.

Later, my friend who owns the house sits next to me and starts telling me that there is a ghost of a little boy that has been following her around the house recently. I didn't even start that conversation on ghosts, so it's weird that she brought it up. Then another one of our friends overheard us talking and told us his encounter with a shadow person that stood in the doorway of his room when he was a kid. When he was an adult, he heard scratching under his bed and then an entity pinned him down on his bed and growled in his face. One time when he was a kid, something came over him and made him cry uncontrollably. It woke his brother up. Then his bed started to shake, but he was too afraid to move, so his brother jumped on the bed to get it to stop and it stopped shaking.

Wow, those were great stories to hear on Halloween.

Yesterday we were supposed to go to the LA Convention Center, but ended up not going. It's 1.8 miles from the haunted Cecil Hotel where Elisa Lam died. We have to go today for sure and I hope we don't get lost and end up closer to that hotel. I want to be as far away from that hotel as possible. I don't want to end up a casualty like that poor guy who was walking by and ended up getting killed by a girl who jumped to her death from the roof of the hotel. She landed on him. That whole area has bad vibes.

I started reading Gone. Wow. It starts off with a bang and grabs you. Damn, I wish I can get my book to that level. Oh please God, please get me to that level!


Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Elisa Lam



I recently read an interesting article that was brought to my attention by Patrick Whyte of Conspiracy Culture on Facebook. It is about a girl named Elisa Lam who died at the Cecil Hotel in Los Angeles. The hotel is said to be haunted and a couple of serial killers, one being Richard Ramirez, have stayed there. People have committed suicide and have been murdered there.
There is a video recording of Elisa in an elevator of the hotel just before she died. It looks like the elevator isn’t working because she presses the buttons, but the doors don’t close. Then it looks like she hears something outside the elevator. I think she heard people arguing or someone being threatened because she peeks out of the elevator then tries to hide. When she steps out of the elevator, she waves her arms around. Some people think she’s crazy. I don’t know about her being crazy. Lots of people dance around and do silly stuff when they think no one is looking. I know I do. Maybe she is feeling a cold spot where a ghost is present.
After she is gone from the elevator, the doors open and close three times. Later she is found dead in a water tank on the roof, naked. The door to the roof is still locked and has an alarm that wasn’t triggered.
Maybe she took the stairs since the elevator didn’t work and made it up to the roof via the fire escape. I don’t even know if you can get to the fire escape from the stairs. There are details missing from the article that would be interesting to know. Like where did her clothes go? And did she have a history of mental illness? Were the elevators broken at the time?
There are other interesting tidbits in the article that I won’t repeat here.
If you want to read the full article and watch the video, go to Vigilant Citizen:  http://vigilantcitizen.com/vigilantreport/mysterious-case-elisa-lam/

Friday, October 25, 2013

Gifts For Writers

I found the following site that belongs to the L.A. Public Library. It is an online store that sells cute little items for writers. I didn't even know the library had online stores like this. If you are a fan of Moby Dick, there are several items to choose from.

http://www.lfla.org/store/category/Gifts-for-Writers


Tuesday, October 22, 2013

NaNoWriMo November 2013


Against my better judgment, I’m going to do NaNoWriMo next month. It’s so tough, but I think it will be good for me. I will be working on a completely new first draft of the novel I was working on last year.

I have a better grasp on what I’m doing now as opposed to last year, so I hope I can reach 50,000 words in one month.

After a year, I still don’t have a good title for my book. The one I had last year sounded good to me, but in reality, it sucks. No one is going to read a novel called The Residents of Wolfhelm Mansion. It just sounds like a bunch of senior citizens living together in a big house with werewolves. It’s so not what my book is about. It’s not about senior citizens or werewolves.

It involves teens, supernatural powers, a ghost, aliens, genetic engineering, and romance. Oh and kickass moves.

I have a week and a half to get it together. Ready, get set, go!

“You can fly! You can fly!” “She flew!”


For my sister-in-law’s birthday we went to iFly Hollywood. That’s where you get to fly in a wind tunnel with an instructor. It’s sort of like sky-diving, but without the threat of death.

We had to wear flight suits that had handles on the back and shoulders so the instructor could pull us into position. My kids got Superman suits to wear, so that was cool.

The suits are functional, but not flattering. People say a camera adds 20 lbs. to your appearance. Well, the flight suit adds 50. I looked like I had one too many donuts.

And those goggles! They smash your face, so you look like your features are rearranged. I had monster eyes. I didn’t even recognize my husband.

Other than that, the flight was awesome! Everyone had a blast. I smiled so much my mouth dried out. I flew high in the air, but there was no sinking feeling in my stomach that gave me the sense of falling. It wasn’t scary at all.

Marco was our instructor and he was super nice and patient. He did tricks in the air and landed with precision in the doorway. We all got two turns to fly plus a DVD and photos from iFly. For a small fee, of course.

It’s expensive, but we all want to do it again.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Dad is Fat


I was in Target last week and was happy to see a book by one of my favorite comedians, Jim Gaffigan, on the shelf. It’s called Dad is Fat. I never read books by comedians, but I wanted to read this one. The first few paragraphs were funny, but what sealed the deal was the back cover. It just had a photo and 2 lines that read: Buy this book. I is a good writer.

I’m currently reading the book and can say there are a lot of laughs in it. If you are a parent you will totally relate to it. He has five kids. I’m surprised he still has a sense of humor.

I admire comedians. It’s hard to be funny on a consistent basis. I told my husband that my best friends are my best friends because they laugh at my stupid jokes. Other people would just raise their eyebrows at me or think I was saying something offensive.

Books I’m currently reading are Dad is Fat, Shiver, The Host, and I’m still reading Dark Life.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Kat’s giveaway

Kat is giving away a couple of autographed books again on her YouTube vlog katytastic to celebrate having reached 30,000 subscribers. Wow, that number has grown so much in the last month! Here is the link for details: http://www.katokeeffe.com/

Whatever money she might get from that many subscribers must go to buying books. That girl reads more than I do! I have read about 85 books so far this year, but she reads 100 books per year. I’m shooting for 90. Some of the books I read this year are manga, so that’s kinda like cheating since those are mainly drawings. I might read more Blue Exorcist and kick my book count up to 100 this year or maybe next year.

I’m not going to try for the giveaway this time because I have way too many books to read at home as it is. I have almost a thousand books on my Kindle and my bookshelves at home are overflowing.

I’m currently reading Dark Life by Kat Falls and Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater.

 

Monday, October 7, 2013

To Outline or Not to Outline - Help From Stacey Kade

One of my favorite authors is Stacey Kade who wrote The Ghost and The Goth series. Since I am a fan of hers on Goodreads, I saw her post about writing tips today. It was just what I needed.

I have been struggling with my outline for my current novel for way too long and was wondering if I should just use part of it and wing the rest. It has been bothering me for over a week. Stacey uses a partial outline and wings the rest. She does have her ending in mind when she writes her novels.

She recommended the following books:

Goal, Motivation, and Conflict by Debra Dixon

Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott

The Writer’s Journey by Christopher Vogler

On Writing by Stephen King

 
I left a comment for her at the end of her post and she actually wrote me back right away! That was so awesome! It’s amazing how technology can bring people together so quickly and easily.

I was so frustrated with my novel and prayed that an answer would come to me in some way. It came via Stacey Kade and Tom Clancy.

Yesterday, I read that Tom Clancy passed away. I have never read any of his books, but I’m sure they are good since he is so well known. Most people have heard of him or at least his book The Hunt For Red October. He didn’t use an outline when he wrote and I know that Stephen King doesn’t either.

So, I’m going to go with my gut and write with only a partial outline. I know my ending, at least.

My high school English teacher said I was a good writer and that I should pursue a career in writing. She suggested Journalism. That turned me off right away. The second thing that turned me off was doing an outline. If I had known I didn’t have to write outlines, I might have started my writing career sooner. Back then I would write my story out first then write an outline based on my story just to turn it in to get credit for doing an outline. I still got an A or A+ for my stories.

My next challenge will be to split my book into a series. I already have an idea for a second and maybe a third book, so here’s hoping I don’t bite off more than I can chew.

I tried to cut characters out, but some of them just keep coming back. There’s just too much story to fit in one book. I can’t “kill all of my darlings” as they say. My characters are standing there staring at me waiting for me to write about them. They won’t leave me alone. Does this happen to other writers? I know I've written about this before, but d-aagh! It's so frustrating!

 

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Working Out Paid Off

After 3 years of working out at the gym, I have gotten down to the weight I used to be when I was a teenager! I didn’t think it would ever happen after having kids. My muscles are more toned than they have ever been and it was done without the treadmill.

I messed up my knee 3 times since I’ve been to the gym so I had to quit the treadmill. The first time I injured my knee was BECAUSE of the treadmill. The second time was lifting 150 lbs. on the leg press after being out sick for 2 weeks. I thought I was bad-ass, but I was just stupid. I should've worked my way back up to that weight. The third was doing Brazilian Jiu Jitsu with someone much bigger than me. That injury lasted over 3 months.

I thought I would never be able to lose weight without the treadmill because sprints burn a lot of calories.

I was at the same weight for a year and a half. I just couldn’t drop any lower even while eating chicken breast and broccoli almost every night for dinner. I even cut out soy protein shakes when I heard how bad soy was. My body couldn’t handle whey protein every day.

This summer, I decided to change my routine to see what would happen. I took more classes at the gym, used Sweet Sweat, and took DotFit LeanMR after my weight lifting workouts.

I didn’t even use the 2 scoops recommended because I didn’t want a stomach ache from the whey. I used one scoop within 45 minutes after my workout which is within the time limit for my muscles to benefit from the protein.

One of the trainers at the gym is lactose intolerant like me and told me that the LeanMR doesn’t hurt her stomach like the other proteins do. She takes one scoop before and one scoop after her workout and that girl is ripped! Plus she’s a vegetarian. How is that even possible? A lot of guys wish they had arms like hers and they eat meat.

Anyway, there is something about the makeup of the protein in LeanMR that allows lactose intolerant people to tolerate it better than other whey proteins. I don’t remember the technicalities of what she told me, but I tried it and I’m fine with one scoop. No stomach aches.

I used to just lift weights on my own, use the elliptical, sometimes jump rope, kick and punch the heavy bag, use the rowing machine, do Muay Thai, and Women’s Self Defense. That was my routine for a year and a half where my weight stayed at 117 lbs. My husband calls it putz-ing around the gym. No structured routine.

My favorite Zumba instructor came back to the gym, so I started to go on Sundays. Instead of working out 5 days per week, I changed it to 6. When we started the gym, we were going 7 days a week.

Monday, I do a high intensity cardio/barbell/dumbbell class for 1 hour. It’s like the Les Mills workout from what I hear.

Tuesday, I took out Muay Thai and added Zumba.

Wednesday, I alternate Women’s Self Defense and Zumba. I’m not sure which burns more calories. They seem the same.

Thursday, I either putz around with weights, jump rope, heavy bag, rowing, etc. and/or do a 25 min. jump rope class.

Friday, I putz around, but it’s mainly just weights for a total body workout. I also do abs that day.

Saturday I rest so my muscles can grow.

Sunday it’s Zumba. The instructor for this day is not like other Zumba instructors. It’s very high intensity. Our gym is sort of like a fighting gym, so she knows some of the women do martial arts and boxing. She will add some exercises to the routine that martial artists do. She is awesome!

With this routine, I broke through my plateau weight. I can’t believe I have muscles now! I’m not ripped, but I hope to have the arms I want in about a year.

I don’t know if the Sweet Sweat works or even if the LeanMR works. Maybe they work in combination with my workouts.

I was doing more weights before the summer, but I don't think my muscles got smaller. Maybe I finally have enough muscles to burn a lot of calories while I’m not working out. This summer I was finally able to wear tank tops without being embarrassed!

For the same amount of time, running on the treadmill burns about 200 calories, Zumba burns 700, and Women’s Self Defense probably burns around 700 calories. I’m glad I don’t have to run on the treadmill anymore. That thing is so boring! And I used to think it was fun!

I guess in a way the knee injury was a blessing because it got me off the treadmill. A bunch of trainers told me what to do to help my knee. I build my hamstrings and my quadriceps to strengthen the muscles around my knee. It has helped me tremendously! Now I can do Zumba without a problem. I’m supposed to foam roll my knee out every day, but d’oh! I forget or just don’t have the time to.

I’m not a trainer or a fitness expert, but hopefully this will inspire or help someone lose weight and get in shape. This is just what helped me this summer.

Eating the right foods is 80% of the battle. I’m so sick of chicken breast! But we all suffer now and then.

I ate ice cream twice during the week last week because it was so damn hot out AND ate some white rice one day, but still didn’t gain any weight from it. I even ate a bowl of chips yesterday and when I woke up this morning I had lost a couple of more pounds.

So, you don’t have to give up all of your favorite foods. We have one cheat day per week, but we do 2 a lot of times.

Cut out the soda, white rice, and bread. If you consume those things on a regular basis, you will most likely drop weight if you cut those out. Also, easy on that salad dressing! Try to cut it down to 1 or 2 tablespoons or else you might as well be having a cheeseburger. Well, that’s only partially true. Depends on how much and what kind of dressing you put on your salad.

When I started at the gym, I had a trainer for a few months and I told her at the beginning, “I don’t do diets.” LOL! I crack myself up now that I think back on it. I did not want to give up my food back then! My attitude was that I would eat whatever I want, but just in smaller portions to lose weight. What a dum-dum! No wonder I didn’t lose any weight the years before the gym. People still thought I was pregnant 4 years after I had my last child! Now I know what foods to eat and what to stay away from.

My husband has gotten into amazing shape from the time we started at the gym. He didn’t see results for the first year and started to get discouraged. Now he has the body that other guys are aspiring to get to. He’s going to be Superman for Halloween this year and the costume doesn’t need to be padded!

We never thought we would join a gym, but now we’re kicking ourselves for not joining sooner.

If you have young kids, find a gym that has a daycare so you can work out without having to find a babysitter.

It might be hard in the beginning, but just get yourself over there. Find a class and make it a point to show up. Make friends at the gym and either train with them or take classes with them. If you know someone is waiting for you to show up, it’s easier to get your butt to the gym than if you have no support.

You will feel better after you work out. Don’t wait for January. New Year’s Resolutions are BS. Do it now.

Wow, I sound like an advocate for the gym. This post was not supposed to be like that.  I’m just happy that I broke my plateau and I wanted to share it. Hopefully it will inspire at least one person reading this.

 

 

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Cross-Dresser

Last weekend we saw a man walking down the street wearing a nice dress, heeled black shoes, and carrying a woman’s purse. This was not in West Hollywood, mind you. It was in Yuppietown Pasadena. Not even the cool part of Pasadena either where it is so crowded that you can only turn right when the light turns yellow. There was only one other guy walking down the sidewalk a block away and no interesting shops around. Having never seen a cross dresser before, my child was shocked.

This guy’s dress was cute, shoes okay, purse not something I would carry, but his head was balding. There was hair on the sides of his head, but not on the top. He had no cute wig on. I mean, come on! At least complete the ensemble with pretty hair! Or wear a nice wide brimmed hat.

He must’ve been a straight guy who likes to wear women’s clothing because I would think a gay man would be conscientious enough to wear a wig.

With what I have seen lately in the news, I thought it was pretty brave of him to walk around like that alone in broad daylight.

But still, the wig. I just can’t get over that.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Scribophile

I've recently discovered a web site called Scribophile. http://www.scribophile.com/
It sounds really good and I'm interested in researching it further. If there aren't any drawbacks that I can find, I would like to become a member someday.
Maybe I'll have my juvi/middle grade book critiqued there. I feel like I should make it better before I submit it, though. It's so not what I wanted it to be. My heart wasn't in it like it should've been. Hopefully I'll find the enthusiasm to re-work it soon. It's probably not as bad as I think it is, but I want it to be great.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Leaving Coast to Coast AM

I have been listening to Coast to Coast AM since 1994. Probably even sooner than that and have been subscribing to the podcast for about ten years. They talk about conspiracies, ghosts, UFOs, health issues, the economy, the mafia, and other things that are outside of the mainstream topics on other radio stations.

It gives me great ideas for books, however in the past few years, it has gotten really boring. The guests are always the same. The old guests that Art Bell used to have on are no longer interviewed. The health and economic topics are useful and interesting for a while, but now they talk about them ad nauseum. I can't take it anymore.

George Noory seems like a kind hearted guy, but he keeps cutting callers off before they have time to finish their interesting story. Sometimes he’s not even listening to them because he’s reading his instant messages. Or, he’ll run out of time for them and say, “Oops, where’d you go?” as if we believe they had a bad connection.  I feel sorry for those people who had to wait an hour to get on the air then get cut off because their story was too long.

It’s such a disappointment to listen to the story (if it’s interesting) and not hear the ending. That’s like reading a suspenseful book where a creature is in the hero's room at night about to rip his throat out and then…aw, the author ran out of paper. Sorry folks. And you’re like, what?! What happened? Very frustrating.

So, after over a decade of being a streamlink member, I’m not renewing my subscription in October. It’s sad to be leaving what I feel like my Coast family, but I’ve thought about it for two years. The show hasn’t changed and I’ve skipped more shows than I actually listen to because of the topics. It costs only 15 cents a day, but that’s 15 cents a day that is wasted if I’m not listening.

I have other podcasts to listen to that are free.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Anne Rice Interview

Today on Goodreads there was a live chat with Anne Rice. It is a little over 30 minutes long. She talked about her new book, The Wolves of Midwinter, a bit about her writing process, and her vampire characters among other things.
Here is the link: 
http://www.livestream.com/goodreads/video?clipId=pla_06a4e5b1-aa5a-4fb9-9f57-5890f8643383

It has been many years since I have read her books, but I have read quite a lot of them. I found it interesting that when she writes, she doesn't start out planning to write a series. However, Cassandra Clare, in the interview further down the page on the above link, does plan out her series before she writes them.

There are several interviews with other authors on that link that I plan on watching later. I'm sure there are many interesting things to learn from them about writing and life.

On a random note, I just finished reading Possessed: The True Story of an Exorcism by Thomas Allen. It tells about the boy who The Exorcist book and movie was based on. One of the priests that performed the exorcism, Father Bishop, kept a detailed diary of the exorcism. The diary was left in a drawer in the hospital room where the boy was exorcised and the room was locked up for decades. For me, it wasn't scary, but I found it interesting and educational.

And, on a much lighter note, I'm currently reading Pretty in Plaid by Jen Lancaster which has a lot of laughs. I think any girl that grew up in the 70s and 80s will appreciate it. She mentions Kristy McNichol and Brooke Shields. I did not see that coming.

Stephen King says to read a variety of books,so I think I'm living up to that advice.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

K's Strange Intuition

My son, K, was in the car with my husband one day when he said, “Daddy, what happens to your stuff after you die?” He was just staring out the window when he said it.

My husband told him that the family divides it up.

K says, “But how do they know who gets what?”

My husband, “The family figures that out. Why? Do you feel like one of us is going to die? Me? Mommy? Your brother?”

He said, “No. It’s just something that popped in my head.”

My husband calls this one of K’s Children of the Corn moments. It always creeps him out when K says stuff like that.

On the same day, I heard K telling his younger brother that in Heaven you see more colors than you see here.

The next day, my husband went to the barber shop without the kids. He found out that the barber, Paul, who usually cuts K’s hair, died the day before of a heart attack and that his kids were fighting over his stuff. Weird. Maybe K had a sense that someone passed away, but didn't know any of the details. 

Ever since he could talk, K has known things intuitively. Like when he was around 1 or 2 I was driving him home from daycare. Just before we turned the corner onto our street, he said, "Daddy home." I went on to explain to him that Daddy doesn't come home until after we do. When I drove up to the house, my husband's car was in the driveway. It just so happened that he got out of work early that day.

A lot of little things like this would happen, but I didn't say anything to my parents about it until one day my dad mentioned that K must have ESP or something. He would have the same experiences where K would know things he shouldn't know.

One day my dad took him for a walk down the street. On the way back, he stopped to talk to a neighbor. I guess he was talking to the neighbor for quite a while because K said, "Come on, Grandpa, let's go back. I want to eat Popsicles." My dad was surprised because they never bought Popsicles and K had not seen that they had some in their freezer that they bought just for him since they knew he was coming over. It's not something we would buy for him either.

Time after time it would be these little things that seemed like more than just coincidence. My second son showed no signs of this at all.

When he was 1, we took him with us house hunting. There was an empty house in North Hollywood that had a weird smell to it. The Realtor said the former owners probably had a dog or cat. I didn't agree, but I didn't say anything either. I had a dog and a cat before and it was no dog or cat smell. I was thinking it had a sort of convalescent home smell to it. 

In the house, we all split up. I went to the right, my husband went to the left carrying our son, and the Realtor turned toward the front door. 

The kitchen was too small, so I was thinking that we would not buy the house. I decided to go through the motions anyway and look at the whole house. Once I stepped into the master bedroom, I suddenly felt afraid. Almost like someone was watching me, but the room was completely bare with no furniture in it. It was still daylight outside and the sunlight was coming through the window. I quickly looked at the closet size and said to myself, "Okay, yeah, that's nice" to make myself less afraid then got out of there as fast as I could.

The backyard was spacious but eerily quiet. There was a brick oven back there and I was wondering if anyone got killed around it. I had never had these thoughts about any of the other houses we looked at that day, but this house gave me the creeps.

K suddenly threw up so my husband had to run back to the car to get the diaper bag. I didn’t want to be left there alone, so I ran after them and the realtor ran after us.

The neighbors came home and I was so tempted to ask them if anyone died in the house, but I didn’t.

The realtor said that by California law, the owners are supposed to disclose if someone had died in the house within the last 3 years. That doesn’t seem like very long. Anyway, the realtor didn’t know of any deaths in the house, but my guess by the smell is that someone elderly had died in the house shortly before all the stuff was cleared out of it.

Later, the realtor confessed that she was creeped out by that house, too. She had to go there alone to check it out before she showed it to us. When she was there alone, she liked to keep the front door open. It made her feel better, probably so she could run out of the house quickly if she needed to.

She said that when we entered the house and split up, she had noticed that the front door was closed. She assumed that my husband had closed it, so she angrily turned around to open it again. She was still uneasy about having it closed even with us there. My husband said he had not closed it.

I think K might have vomited because he sensed something there. It happened one other time after he saw a ghost. He has seen a ghost 2 other times before, though and did not have a stomach ache that I can recall.

Our gym is said to be haunted, but he hasn't had stomach problems there. He hasn't seen that ghost and I'm wondering if he ever will. I'm hoping to see that ghost someday. He just had better not follow us home.







Saturday, August 10, 2013

Outlining Tutorials in Scrivener

I was searching YouTube for tutorials on how to use Scrivener when I came across Kat whose name on YouTube is Katytastic. She has a great tutorial on how to outline your novel in Scrivener. Here is the link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0ryXJ18eUp8
She has each chapter broken down for you so that you don’t have to do it yourself. I’m planning on following her structure and hoping it will make my writing life easier.

Her other vlogs where she talks about books are entertaining and funny. If anything, you have to see her bookshelves! O_O At first I thought she was standing in a bookstore. Her books are neatly organized to the point of obsession. If she ever saw my bookshelves, I think she would have a stroke.

Another YouTube tutorial on Scrivener that I like is by Karen Prince. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TmgMFsFkhx4&list=WL290E5629B270A3B7
She has some great ideas on organizing your novel that I think are useful. I wish I had seen this video before I started writing my middle grade book because it’s more organized than the way I set mine up. Not that mine was set up poorly. I don’t think you can go wrong with Scrivener when it comes to that. It’s much better than Word at organizing your novel, but at the same time Word is faster and easier at formatting.


My next novel is going to be complicated, so Scrivener will definitely come in handy. I am relying on it to help me organize all the details.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Shadow Boxing With a Ghost

A few weeks ago I was walking through an Old Navy store with my kids in tow. My 9 year old son said he stopped at a mirror and threw a few punches at his reflection. There was a black man standing behind him just watching him with no expression on his face. He turned around, but there was no one there.


When he told me what had happened, I asked him if it scared him. He said, “No.” He is more afraid of things he sees on TV and in movies than the ghosts he actually encounters.

Writing My Middle Grade Book

I just finished the final revision of my children’s middle grade book, so I decided that I had time to revisit my blog. When I say “final” I mean the final before anyone else reads it. The real “final” will be much later.

The next step will be to have a few adults read it for proofing and feedback. I decided to have them read it first in case there is anything confusing in the story that I need to fix. Once I have smoothed out all the kinks, the moment of truth will be to read it to my kids. Yikes!

I made the mistake of reading the first draft to the kids before it was done. That was a lesson learned! I should have waited until it was completely done and polished. They lost interest on the first page. After reading it over to myself, I realized that it wasn't exciting enough and maybe a bit confusing.

I stopped reading it to them and I went back to increase the suspense, humor, and fixed the confusing sentences.

Writing for younger readers wasn't as easy as I thought it was going to be. I had to write shorter sentences and shorter paragraphs which wasn't the problem. It was thinking of the vocabulary that age group uses and the humor they respond to. I had to go back and change words to make them more understandable for younger kids.

I wasn't exactly sure what I could get away with in the content. R. L. Stine has gotten away with killing and maiming some characters, so as long as I didn't go beyond that I felt like I wasn't breaking any rules. I hope. We’ll see.

I’m planning on looking for an agent to shop this one around. I’m sure someone will let me know if anything is inappropriate for young children. I haven’t added anything my own children can’t handle.

Overall, I felt that writing a middle grade book was restricting. I prefer to write YA novels where I can add romance, bigger words, and scarier content.

Now I have a deeper respect and admiration for writers like R. L. Stine who writes the Goosebumps books and even Barbara Park who writes the Junie B. Jones series for an even younger readership. Writing a book that keeps a child’s attention all the way through over and over again is an accomplishment!



Thursday, February 28, 2013

Moving Orb


This is the video my friend sent me. The orb looks small here, but she said that in another part of their surveillance video it took up a whole doorway.

They were kind of spooked because their neighbor died a year or two ago and was featured on the Lisa Williams show.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Power lines, Ghosts, and Doppelgangers

One of my relatives, I’ll call him Will, told me something that happened to him a couple of years ago. He was walking by an area where he saw a worker for the electric company up in the metal bucket that lifts people up to work on the lines. A live wire snapped and started falling toward the guy who looked to be Latino. The guy jumped out of the bucket. The line whipped down and touched the guy as he was falling. His clothes blew off of him and his body turned black. Will called 911. He said he could feel the electricity through the cement.

The supervisor had a second guy go up, a white guy. The line hit the bucket and the guy fell down in the bucket. His insides were split open and I think Will said he was convulsing. I’m not sure about the convulsing part. Will said there was a 3rd guy up there leaning over the white guy. He said, “He looked so much like the guy that they could’ve been brothers. They were wearing the same exact thing with the two pockets in the front.”

I said maybe it was his doppelganger. Will didn’t know what a doppelganger was and I told him that it was the same person. I said, “Usually if you see a doppelganger of yourself that means you’re going to die.” His eyes got wide and he said he saw a doppelganger of himself that same day when he was on the phone with his supervisor. His doppelganger looked thinner and younger that he was. The doppelganger said, “I’m you.” Will couldn’t talk to the doppelganger because he was on the phone with his boss. He didn’t know what the guy was or what he wanted. The doppelganger then started yelling at someone behind Will and began to fight with him. Then the doppelganger ran down the street. It sounds really weird and maybe I’m getting the details wrong because the story was fragmented when it was told to me.

At some point, two guys in suits came out from behind a truck Will was standing next to. I don’t remember what they were asking Will about, but Will’s doppelganger seemed to have come from the same area.

Now getting back to the white guy up in the bucket, I realized later, after getting more details of the story, that it wasn’t the guy’s doppelganger leaning over him. I think the guy died and it was his soul/ghost looking at himself. Although Will said the ghost looked solid like a living person, he couldn’t have been a real person because he jumped down from the bucket without getting hurt. Will tried to take a video of him with his cameraphone, but the guy told him not to film him or “I’ll kill you” are the ghost’s exact words. I asked Will if anyone else saw the guy and he said, “Yeah. There was a cop there by that time and he saw the guy jump down from the bucket, too.” Will said that the cop said, “Don’t go near him. He’s a demon.”

At some point, Will got back into his truck and called his boss again. His pen exploded in his hand and the buttons on his shirt fell off even though they were not metal. He blacked out and woke up in the hospital. When he was in the truck, he said he could still feel the electrical charge from the power lines.

I told him about how Dannion Brinkley got struck by lightning and his skin turned black. He was blasted backwards down the hall and his shoes came off. The nails in his shoes melted and fused to the ground. After that he was able to read minds and see things that had been there years ago like horse drawn carriages and such.

Will was surprised when I told him this and said something similar happened to him right after the incident with the power lines. At work he said it was more crowded and he later realized that some of those people were ghosts, but they looked solid like living people. He would also know things before they happened. It was strongest during the two days after the power line incident. He gets it off and on now. Some sort of psychic ability runs in our side of the family, so maybe the electricity heightened it.

Will said the same power line snapped again later. I told him that maybe that area was haunted. It dawned on him that he was in the same area a year later when the line snapped again. He was standing right under the lines when a voice told him to go somewhere else and come back later. He continued on his route and came back later to find that the line had snapped and had fallen right on the spot where he would’ve been standing had he not listened to the voice. That voice saved his life.

I think it freaked him out when he realized, as he was talking to me, that it was exactly a year after the first accident.

Man-sized Glowing Orb

My friend, I’ll call her Misty, called me yesterday and told me that something woke her up at 3:30am. She went to the living room and felt compelled to turn on the TV to watch their video surveillance from the cameras set up outside their house. A huge orange glowing figure or orb floated over their neighbor’s house and appeared to “walk” between their houses. It bobbed as if it was a person walking. She said it was the size of a doorway. It wasn’t a bug because they were used to seeing bugs on the camera and this was different. The glowing figure walked through the wall leading to her son’s bedroom. Upon inspection of the bedroom, the figure was not found.

She was freaked out by this and as we were talking on the phone, a bird started pecking at her office window trying to get in. That freaked her out even more because that same bird has been appearing off and on at their office window for over a month. It even followed her boss home and tried to get into his house. Someone told her that it was a bad omen or bad luck so she doesn’t want to let the bird into the office or get near it.

I have no idea what to make of the bird, but I do remember a caller to Coast to Coast AM saying that when he was a kid, he found a frog by the river and when he brought it into his grandmother’s house, it turned into a bird. His relatives freaked out and had the house blessed.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Bookmarks & Business Cards

 
For promotional purposes, I had bookmarks made up via Overnightprints.com. Info for my YA novel was printed on the front and info for my short story was printed on the back. The bookmarks are thick with a glossy surface which I like, but the backside short story was off-center. On the web site, it's hard to tell how much off center it'll look, so it's best to have an image that goes all the way up to the bleed edges. I didn't want the text "La Claire Fontaine" to be cut off, so I couldn't set the image next to the bleed lines. Some people don't notice unless you point it out, but this is a lesson I will take with me for the next set of bookmarks I have printed.
 
I had a business/personal card made up with Vistaprint.com. I've used them before for other cards and haven't had a problem with them. The background color is a darker pink than what I saw on my computer screen, but I already figured that was going to happen. Either the web site states that the colors will be darker or someone stated it in a review. I don't remember where I read it, but you should keep that in mind for any site you want to use for printing business cards.
 
For nicer looking cards, I'm sure Moo.com would be better, but for the same price you get less than half the amount you would get with Vistaprint. I was debating on which one to use, but went with quantity instead of quality for these first cards because I wasn't using one of my nicer drawings and was planning on giving out more than the 50 that Moo was offering.
 
You can get nice rounded edges with the Moo cards and probably richer colors. I might go with them in the future if I have a really nice design drawn out.
 
If you don't draw, they have design templates you can use.
 

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Ingo Swann

Wow, I just went to Linda Mouton Howe’s web site www.earthfiles.com and found out that Ingo Swann died on Jan. 31, 2013 just a little over a week ago. He’s the one who taught a lot of people how to remote view. He’s the father of remote viewing. I’ve wanted to learn how to remote view for some time now, but haven’t had the time to really focus on it. I tried to practice it years ago and it was weird how I got some things right, but it was really vague. Maybe with practice I could see things more clearly.

George Noory seems to be remarkably good at remote viewing unless he’s just playing another one of his jokes.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Thumbnails for Children's Book





 
 
 
I wrote a children's picture book and am in the process of working out the style, expressions and colors. Above are some of the ideas I came up with last night. I want a scratchy look, so I plan on using ink and colored pencil. I was going to use watercolor, but as of right now I'm abandoning that idea. That may change later. I have a feeling I'm going to have to go through a lot of drawings before I achieve the look I want.
 
Below is my preliminary drawing for the second panel. I'm still not done with it.


Friday, January 25, 2013

Now I’m on Twitter

So, I finally took the leap and signed up for Twitter. I didn’t know I would like it as much as I do. The one drawback about it is that I’m on it so much that it takes time away from my novel writing and drawing. I spent hours looking up people to follow and reading their posts. There are so many interesting groups that I’ve never heard of until I saw them on Twitter. 

An author suggested that I sign up for Twitter so that I could follow agents, other authors, and publishing houses which I’m doing. 

I’m following all my favorite paranormal TV and radio shows as well as a lot of my favorite guests from those shows. Amazing! Oh, and Dave Shrader the host of Darkness Radio, my favorite paranormal podcast is following me on Twitter! I was more thrilled at that than seeing celebs like George Clooney, Ben Stiller, and the cast of Friends on the lot at my old TV job!

I’ve sooo been behind the times. 

My Twitter handle is @KimberlyRobello. I feel cool now, even though I’m not.

Createspace ISBN

Well, I really screwed up on the ISBN. I wasn’t clear on the rules and didn’t get the free Createspace ISBN which would allow my book to be ordered by libraries. I paid for the $10 ISBN, but from my understanding, I can get my physical book (not the ebook) on other web sites like Barnes and Noble.

My ebook can only be sold on Amazon.com which is what I agreed upon when choosing the Select version on Amazon KDP/Kindle Direct Publishing.

Since my book is a teen book, I wanted to get it into libraries, but oh well. Lesson learned.

I guess Barnes and Noble is a good trade-off.

I plan on writing and illustrating children’s books which would be better to get into libraries.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Stuffed Puppet on the Bed

While my son was at school, I walked in his room to put something away. Our dog followed me.

My son keeps his stuffed animals in the space between the wall and his bed. He calls it his “crack." It’s funny when he says things like, “I like to keep my stuffed animals in my crack.”

Anyway, I took one of the stuffed animals out of the “crack” to see if the dog would play with it. It was a puppy puppet, so I put it on my hand, made it wave at her, tried to throw my voice, but the dog just stared at it. I propped the stuffed puppet on the blanket on top of the bed in a sitting position and left it there.

Later, after my son came home, he came up to me and said, “Mom, I’ve got to tell you something. I’m really creeped out right now.” He had gone into his room and seen the puppet sitting on his bed where he knew he hadn't placed it when he left. I told him I had put it there and he looked at me like I was crazy.

I had a good laugh at that and I wish I had seen the look on his face when he saw the puppet there. He has seen a ghost before, so he’s easily creeped out by those kinds of things.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Preparing my novel for Createspace

First off, I want to say that getting my book ready for the digital Kindle version took a fraction of the time that getting the paperback ready for Createspace did.

I opted for the $10 ISBN as opposed to the free Createspace one in hopes to be able to get my book onto the Barnes and Noble site. I’m not yet sure if that was a good decision or if the $99 one was a better choice. I’m not going to pursue getting my first novel into a library which I don’t think I can do with the $10 ISBN. It’s more time than I’m willing to put in at this point, but I might look into it for my next book. I just want to work on my next novel right now.

I have spent many hours out of many days formatting my book to be paperback-ready for Createspace. It was a nightmare. I went through the Community forums looking for answers, but got so many differing opinions and complaints about new problems I wasn’t aware of that I was reading and clicking around in confusion.

I heard complaints about the templates, but I tried one anyway. After hearing that there were problems with it, I assumed that it was faulty when I noticed that my Table of Contents looked skewed from one page to the next. I abandoned that template to type in my own measurements into a copy of my original Word file, and then realized that the template was actually correct to begin with. The Table of Contents was skewed to accommodate for the binding of the book. That was my mistake and something to think about when preparing yours.

I just wanted a simple, straightforward way to get my novel print ready. If you are in a similar situation, maybe this post can help you.

My novel contains 66,000+ words which I thought was a pretty good amount, so I chose the 6”x9” trim size. After hours of formatting, the book came out to be 179 pages. I discovered with that size of a book the spine would be too skinny for text to be comfortably visible and the book would be pretty thin.
 
I wrote all the specs down for the next size smaller which is 5.25”x8”. That was still too big. So, I went with the 5.06”x7.81”. Are you getting dizzy yet?

If you have a close enough word count to mine, just go with the 5.06”x7.81” trim size and save yourself some time. (My book proof is on its way in the mail. If I find a problem with this trim size or if it can be bigger, I will revise this paragraph).

I thought I was an expert at MS Word since I’ve used it for around 15 years, but when it came to tables (I’ve always had problems with tables) starting with the page number several pages in AND starting the header several pages in AND knowing the difference between page breaks and section breaks (both Next Page and Continuous) I was in the dark. Those are important things to know when you’re trying to publish a novel.

I found this video pretty quickly and it solved my problem with the header/footer/page numbers starting several pages in. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6xdfBl5w-Z0. It’s a short video.

Okay, so I found one thing wrong with the 5.06”x7.81” template. It sets the Vertical alignment to “Center” which I didn’t even know the meaning of in the first place. When my Table of Contents continued onto the next page, it started halfway down the page. It took me about an hour to figure it out. I thought the problem was with the header/footer. I finally looked it up online. I thought it was going to be hard to find but it’s a simple fix again. Follow these instructions:

Go to Page Layout, Page Setup, Set the Vertical Alignment to TOP
 
Reminders:
 

  • Don’t forget that your first paragraph of every chapter has no indent.

  • Don’t forget to add your ISBN # to your Copyright page.

  • Don’t forget to add a blank page after Acknowledgments, Dedication, and Table of Contents (if you have just one page) pages so they’re not double sided.

  • I also added this statement: The characters and events portrayed in this book are fictitious. Any similarity to real persons, living or dead, is coincidental and not intended by the author.

  • Remember to Justify your text alignment of the story.

There are so many darn rules. I’m sure I broke at least one of them somewhere.
 
Keep in mind, if you submit your story to a contest they may require a different format.

Once your document is formatted, you’ll see how many pages your book has. Don’t forget to add the page numbers of your chapters in the Table of Contents. Instead of scrolling back and forth to get the page numbers, I recorded myself saying the page numbers of each chapter into an audio recorder (I used the Voice Memo app on my iPhone) then played it back while I typed the page numbers in on my Table of Contents. 

If you don’t have an audio recorder, you can hit Ctrl+F, type in “Chapter 2” or whatever chapter you want to go to, then it will take you directly to that chapter where you can quickly get the page number. Hit Ctrl+F again, type in “table of contents” and it will take you back up to that page.

I hope at least some of this helped you.
 
I’ll post my experience with formatting the cover on another post. It’s an ongoing nightmare because I created my own cover from scratch.

Joshua P. Warren

I love listening to Joshua P. Warren on Coast to Coast AM and Darkness Radio. He usually has interesting experiences to talk about and paranormal devices he has made or discovered, like the Devil’s Toybox. It’s a box with mirrors on the inside of it facing each other that is supposed to be some sort of portal for entities to come into our world. He set up a microphone in or next to it and recorded growling and grunting sounds coming from the box when no one was around.

The most recent memorable anecdote he shared was about a woman that went with him and his team on a paranormal investigation of a haunted location. An entity followed her home. She called one of the researchers that night to say she was really scared. The next day she was found dead in her home. I think Joshua said there was no clear cause of death. Scary stuff.

He also spent the night alone in a haunted motel that was remote and abandoned. The paranormal crew had left and there was no electricity to the building. I believe his flashlight died and while he tried to sleep, something kept banging on the wall at the head of his bed. If I remember correctly, he felt something in the room with him, but he stayed. Now that’s one brave dude.

He used to hold an annual contest where people were challenged to create a believable UFO that people had to try to debunk. I don’t know if he still holds it, but if you’re an engineer or someone that likes to tinker in that sort of stuff, it sounds like something fun to participate in.
 
His web site is www.joshuapwarren.com.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Supernatural Image on TV

My sons were playing in the living room one day with my husband asleep on the couch. I went to the back room to write. Later the kids came to visit me. As we were playing a game on my iPod, we heard my husband yelling in the living room. He was having a nightmare.

That night, my older son had the worst stomach ache of his life. He had already emptied himself which wasn't much, and was still crying in pain for a long time. The rest of us were not sick, so it wasn't food poisoning. I thought it was odd that he had such a bad stomach ache because we eat pretty healthy.

The next day, my older son who has been sensitive to supernatural things all his life, told me that he had seen a man on the TV when they had been playing in the living room the previous day. After much questioning, I found out that the TV was off and the man on the TV looked like a chef. The image lasted only a few seconds, but he got a good description of it. He told his younger brother to look, but by the time he did the image was gone. My younger son has never had any supernatural experiences, so it's no wonder he didn't see anything.

I believe there was a ghost in the living room that day when the boys were in there and my husband was sleeping. After the kids left the room, I think the ghost attacked my husband and gave him the nightmare. The same entity may have given my son the stomach ache. He has had an upset stomach before when we were visiting a house I believe was haunted.

I told him to draw what he saw. Below is his drawing. The handwriting is my description of what he told me. If you can't read my writing, these are the details he gave me:

Handlebar mustache, smiling so much his eyes were squinting, light skin, (in my own opinion his description sounds like Chef Boyardee), wore white uniform, had 3 yellow buttons on his coat, no bandana around his neck, carrying a platter of what looks like spaghetti with just 1 meatball, carrying a bowl of brown soup with paper thin green squiggly lines and white floating squares in it. To me it sounds like miso soup, but maybe Italians have a similar soup. I don't know.

Maybe the guy died nearby or something. He could've been a cook or a chef that cooked various types of food, Italian and Asian or whatever. Regardless, I blessed the house immediately and we haven't had anymore problems.



 
 

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Darkness Radio Podcast

My favorite paranormal podcast is Darkness Radio hosted by Dave Shrader, Tim Dennis, and Mallie Fox. They are based in Minnesota and are on nightly for 2 hours. In their area, they are on just before Coast to Coast AM.

They have great guests and talk about black-eyed kids, shadow people, ghosts, demons, haunted places, cryptozoology, and other interesting paranormal topics.

What I like about them is that not only do they cover scary topics, they add humor to it. They have a news section once a week where they cover paranormal stories from around the world. It's funny when they can’t pronounce the foreign (and sometimes domestic) names of these people and places. Sometimes they just make up the sounds of these names and put on an accent to make it sound authentic. They are hilarious.

Dave and Tim are both bald and rotund, and often poke fun at themselves. I find them to be the funniest guys in paranormal talk radio. Some of the things they say come out of left field, totally unexpected. Mallie is cracking up half the time. Mallie is a beautiful blonde who Tim shamelessly flirts with on the air. If you go to their website www.darknessradio.com you’ll see what they all look like.

Dave has seven kids and jokes about having so many, but he’s an all-around good guy who has had several interesting paranormal experiences.

Tim moonlights as a ring announcer for pro wrestling, so they will sometimes throw out wrestling references and plug upcoming events. When Dave couldn't pronounce the name of the cryptid from India, he called it El Elephanto. Tim joked that that was his wrestling name. lol

You don't have to believe everything they talk about, but it's entertaining talk radio.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Lilah in Love - My first novel

It has finally happened! My book has been published and is on Amazon.com! It's such a relief to have it done. I am so sick of revisions. If I had to do another revision it would've been physically painful.

Please find it in your heart to buy the book and/or refer it to friends and family. :o) It's only $2.99. The price of a cup of coffee? I don't know because I don't drink coffee, but the point is it's pretty affordable.

Here is the link:

http://www.amazon.com/Lilah-in-Love-ebook/dp/B00AYBKPN2/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1357983410&sr=8-1&keywords=lilah+in+love

I am working on having a hard copy available, but it's not so simple. There are measurements, margin and indent specs, book size and all that other math stuff involved that puts me to sleep. Maybe it would've been better if I did drink coffee.

If you like the book, please give it a favorable review on Amazon. If you don't, please refrain from commenting. Ha!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Heart-Shaped Ivy

I saw this heart shaped leaf while I was out walking the dog yesterday morning. I thought it was cool and decided to take a quick picture. It wasn't as quick as I thought it was going to be.

A car drove by and got in the picture as I snapped it then my dog walked in the shot and wrapped the leash around my legs. A couple walked by so I stood up until they were gone in case I had a plumber's crack going on.

Several snapshots later I got this shot, but the foreground is blurry and the background is in focus. Ah well. At least I got the shot. I can draw and paint fairly well, but I have not been gifted with photography.

Bigfoot Tonight Podcast

I am a big fan of podcasts. I listen to them every day to learn things about the paranormal, writing, and foreign languages such as French and Danish.

One of the podcasts I like to listen to is Bigfoot Tonight with hosts Chuck and Stacey. They sound like nice, laid back, down-to-earth guys, and they don't mean to be funny, but I think they're hilarious.
 
Chuck can be grouchy sometimes, but these guys are so polite that they will stop talking at the same time to let the other person or guests speak, creating dead air, then everyone will speak at the same time. You can’t hear what they are saying because 3 or 4 people will be talking all at once. Then they’ll all shut up again then start talking at the same time again sometimes yelling over each other. Around and around they go, doing this several times. It’s quite funny.

The funniest show of all was when they had a guest named Don on who couldn’t hear most of the questions asked him. Don was bit by a poisonous snake a couple of years ago which left him with only 10% of his hearing. His stories were interesting, but he talked on and on without stopping because he couldn’t hear anyone asking him questions. They kept yelling, “Don! Don! Can you hear us? Don! Stop! Don!” Poor Don. I felt sorry for him, but it sure was funny.

I love listening to that show and I wish they were on more often. Bigfoot Tonight has become one of my favorite podcasts. You can find it free on iTunes and probably the Stitcher Radio app on iPhone/iPod as well.