WORDS AND THOUGHTS THAT ESCAPE THE CONFINES OF MY MIND

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BLOG OF A HORROR AUTHOR, WIFE, & MOTHER
  • SHORTLISTED! Top 50 indie books of 2017


     

     

    This is HUGE, and I am so thankful to readers! State of Grace was nominated for the top 50 best indie books of 2017 and has made it to the finals! That means it’s in the top 100! It’s truly an honor to have gotten this far. 

    If you’d like to vote for State of Grace, you can do so here!

     

    How exciting!

  • 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. 

  • SPOKANE ZOMBIE CON 2017!


    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! 

     

     

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  • Short Story Recommendation!


    Coming up next week is a very important vote within the US government. The big “Obamacare” repeal attempt. I admit I’m not the most political person, and currently having private insurance through my husband’s job, it may seem like this vote may not be important to me, but it is. My husband and I, and two of our three children, have preexisting medical conditions. One of my children requires routine medical care, including multiple MRIs each year, and will require this for life. That same child has, in just over three years, required six major surgeries, chemotherapy, radiation, tests, and procedures too numerous to count. His bills have exceeded a million dollars. Without our primary insurance and his secondary Medicaid, our family would not have been able to supply him with the medical care it has taken to save his life. Our son currently has great medical coverage, but if this appeal goes through that could change. He might lose the Medicaid that covers the percentage our primary insurance does not cover. Later in his life, he could be excluded from coverage because he has a disease that is no fault of his own or that coverage could be well beyond his means due to rate hikes for those with preexisting conditions. Is the ACA perfect? No. But, the potential devastation that could land upon those of us with preexisting conditions is absurd. 

    A colleague of mine was inspired to write a short story as this vote approaches. He’s a very kind and gentle man who seldom promotes his work as an author. As a fellow human who has at one time or another required medical care, he’s passionate about this repeal and is asking for help spreading the word, hoping his newly released short will help others to understand the need to not support this repeal. John Gregory Hancock is a skilled writer and truly a giving man. DYING AT THE REFLECTING POOL by John Gregory Hancock is a short story of about 23 pages, now available for .99 cents. Please consider reading this gem and leaving an honest review…and please help spread the word. If you do read it, I hope you enjoy his talent!

    From the author:

    I am publishing this short story to heighten awareness of the challenges we face in healthcare.
    If you could do your part, and share this as far and as wide as possible, before Congress votes next week on eliminating healthcare for millions of Americans.

    What the short story is about:
    An inevitable future dystopia where a compassionless nation abandons the sick and dying. Having nowhere else to go, the people gather at the Capitol Reflecting Pool to take a final stand.

    This is a touching but harrowing story of a very possible near future. Please purchase, read and share. Remember to review, and by all means post it to any organizations that are fighting for healthcare.

    Those of you that know me, know I’m rarely pushing any of my books because I want them to find their own audience, but this is different. The audience for the book is anyone that is related to or knows anyone with health issues, which is essentially all of us.

    Thanks for your consideration.

    John Gregory Hancock

     

     

  • Embracing the Gray & Aging Gracefully


     

    In life, sometimes it works out best to embrace things. Since I was about sixteen, I’ve been dying my hair. Ginger, blonde, and once an accidental purple that I covered with brown, which turned it black. Almost two years ago I decided to do something drastic. I pulled out my husband’s hair trimmers and buzzed myself to about half an inch. I kept doing that until all trace of dye was gone. While it was fun having short hair, I prefer it longer so am in the middle of growing it out. I knew I had some gray (and have since I was about 20), but decided to embrace whatever gray is there. I have to admit, not dying my hair feels so good! Not only is it easier to manage (seldom any tangles) but it has some awesome shine. While aging has never bothered me (aside from natural aches and pains), I must admit I am LOVING my gray! It’s a pretty white/silver that looks like highlights.

    Our society tends to push “anti-aging” at every turn. On TV, magazines, beauty product ads. The big push seems to go something like: be young, thin, beautiful. What happened to “be you?” Every body is different. From color to size to age to intelligence; there’s beauty in us all. Shouldn’t we each embrace who we are? Growing old is a natural occurrence, and a right each of us has. I figure I’ve earned every single one of these beauties…so why not wear them with pride? Would I go back to my 20’s or 30’s if given a choice? Heck no. Life is good at all stages. 

     

  • WHY ZOMBIES?


    There are many creatures of horror: vampire, werewolf, demon, ghost, incubus, succubus, ghoul, chupacabra, witch, mummy, and the list goes on. So, why did I choose zombies?

    When I was a very young child, I used to sneak down the stairs into the basement of our family home. There, I would turn on the television and watch horror movies while everyone else slept. Each time, I found myself hoping to find a glimpse of the creature that scared me the most. The living dead.  Perhaps they are so frightening because they defy all logic. Maybe it’s because they are ruthless and unable to be reasoned with. Maybe it’s the thought of being eaten alive by something that is very dead…or supposed to be dead (I mean, being eaten alive by anything would be bad enough)

  • Current Work in Progress: ROTTEN


    ROTTEN: book one. It’s well under way, and I’m sure excited about it! ROTTEN will take place in the same world as the Grace Series. Where Grace Lost opens with the rise of the dead, ROTTEN will begin a few hours before the dead first rise. Poppy will witness the sudden turmoil that leads to sickness, which quickly leads to the rise of the dead. She will lose those dear to her early on, and join others as they face a world of horrors. Taking place in Washington State, their paths just might cross with other characters from the Grace Series. 

    When will it be released? My goal is always a bit loose as one of my children has some extra medical needs, but I’m aiming for winter of 2017 or early 2018.