• Autumn Leaves & the Goat-Man

    It’s that time of year again! Fall. Brisk, cool nights, cloudy skies, rain and wind! Each season here in the Pacific Northwest is so different than the others and usually the change from one to the next is sudden. Our summer was hot and so very dry. The skies were more polluted at times than I’ve ever seen them due to forest fires in Canada, Oregon, and Washington. Leaves fluttering about in the wind and the gray sky above are both welcome sights! 

    It’s been a busy week here between a working vacation to the 2017 Spokane Zombie Con, working on ROTTEN, helping the kids stay on track with school work, making homemade canned applesauce, and getting ready for Halloween. Oh, and planning our Thanksgiving, which will be a new experience for us (a camping potluck). And of course Christmas! 

    We live in an interesting neighborhood. Most of the homes here are 70-100+ years old. The history is rich and some of the views are spectacular. Sadly, there’s also a considerably large population of low-income and homeless residents. There’s also a significant drug problem, and along with that crime. There’s a lot I’ve had to learn to be patient with, and our family is actively working to make a difference to some of the most vulnerable of our neighbors. One of the hardest parts about living here is my intolerance of noise. I have to force myself, at times, to talk myself down and do my best to ignore it. It really does make a difference in emotional well-being.

    With all of that being said, this summer brought a new noise to our home. My husband and children experienced it before I did. Ordinarily this type of noise would drive me crazy. There’s a man who parks his old red car alongside our side yard. He spends a great deal of time just sitting there. He smokes. He smokes a lot. He listened to his car radio, and usually it’s pretty loud. It’s even louder in the middle of the night. I assume this man with long hair and a cowboy hat who listens to loud music and sits in his car smoking a great deal is homeless, aside from his little red car. I’ve grown to enjoy this gentleman’s company from afar; from our side of the fence. I doubt he’s aware of who any of us are, just that we live in the house behind the fence. I think I forgot to mention that along with his car radio, he sings. He sings loudly. When he sings, he sounds like a goat that’s being slowly slaughtered. My kids say it’s more like a weed-wacker imitation. There’s every reason the entire scenario should bother me, but it doesn’t. With the change in season, we’re hearing him less and less. I don’t know what his “story” is, but I hope that he’s found a warm dry place to sing…and perhaps will be back when the weather gets better. 


    This past weekend I had the honor of being a participating author at the 2017 Spokane Zombie Con! If you’ve never been to one, I highly recommend you go! Admittedly, this was my first, and it was a blast! 

    Two of my three sons made the trek across WA State with me (my youngest gets horribly carsick so stayed home with his dad). We enjoyed the changing landscape along the way and also stopping in one of our favorite hidden towns, a Bavarian Village called Leavenworth. We saw some sights there, had dinner, and the kids grabbed their didgeridoo and ukulele from the car and joined in with a group of about five or six street musicians. It set the stage for an awesome working vacation!

    On Saturday the boys helped me set up a booth to display my books. Soon after, zombies began walking up! I’ll be honest, one of the highlights of my weekend was seeing all the cool zombie costumes! Convention goers really got into role, and many of them were super impressive. One family showed up with I think it was six or seven children from maybe ages four to twentyish, their mom and dad, and even grandma and grandpa! They were each fully made up as the living dead, and quite convincingly so!  Another memorable one was a young mother and her two very young daughters, who I would guess were maybe three and five years old. Again, in full costume. She had to be one f the coolest moms ever! There were several zombified nuns, a couple of zombified priests, a handful of the living dead dressed as…well…just dressed weird. (Hey, why not, right?) Then came the hunters. Wow…several Daryl Dixons and a Negan who truly could have doubled for Jeffrey Dean Morgan! Meeting such a variety of wonderful people was truly a pleasure.

    Henrik and Oskar had professional make-up done by a makeup artist who works on the set of Z Nation (she’s so talented!) Oskar was transformed into a creature missing the flesh from half his jaw, and Henrik developed a long diagonal slash from hairline to neck. His was extra creepy because it was so realistic. He asked the artist if she could recreate the scar that runs up the center of the back of his head from his brain surgeries. She looked his scar over, and even felt it, to get the best idea of how to copy it. 

    Setting up a book to promote my brand was pretty cool. I was thrilled to meet other authors, talk to zombie fans, giveaway book marks and a bugout bag (congrats Cathy P. of Coeur d’Alene!), and to sell out of books 1-3 of my series! Taking the stage to read an excerpt from FALLEN GRACE was fun, too. The day ended with having the privilege of meeting Keith Allan (Z Nation’s “Murphy”) and the show’s executive producer…and being a part of the awesome audience who got to ask questions of the Z Nation panel of cast and crew! The head of special effects make-up discussed how he got into his line of work during the panel and seems to have made quite an impression on my middle child, who also won a zombie makeover kit at the convention! That night at the hotel he transformed his left arm into something truly gross. 

    So, run…don’t walk…to the next convention you have a chance to get to! So. Much. Fun! 



    Follow me on Facebook    Follow me on Twitter