October Fun Continues!

Looking for something out of the ordinary to help celebrate the spooky season? I’ll be going up to LaSalle, Illinois, the weekend of October 20 and 21 (Saturday and Sunday). LaSalle has a Canal Boat Tour at 5 pm along the I&M Canal each of those days, and I’ll be telling true ghost stories on the tour. The boat is a replica of an 1840s canal boat, and it’s pulled by mules! It’s $15 for the boat trip, which is about an hour long, and all ticket sales are used to support preservation of the I&M National Heritage Area. Plus you get to hear me tell ghost stories!

http://www.lasallecanalboat.org/ride-the-boat/daily-rides/

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RAS #349 – Ghost Stories With Sylvia – Volume 5

Ron's Amazing Stories - The Blog

On Ron’s Amazing Stories this week we continue theMonth Of Spookywith guest and friend, Sylvia Shults. For those of you who are not familiar with her, this will be her fifth year forGhost Stories with Sylvia. Included in the program are the stories:The Encounter, Tales by Lord Halifax, two brand new listeners stories and a specialFive Minute Mysterywith Tom Williams.

Silvia’s Links: WordPress,Facebook,Amazon Author Pageand Light’s Out Podcast.

Anything You Can Do and The Month of Spooky:
We are not playing new chapters ofAnything You Can Doby Randall Garrett duringThe Month Of Spooky.  It will return in November. For those of you who can’t wait for more of the novel. I will be updating theAnything You Can Do homepageeach week with new chapters introduced by Mark Nelson himself. Also…

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Today I Learned …

Disneyland’s Jungle Cruise ride features a palm tree that’s much older than the park.

Just outside the entrance to the ride stands the “Domiguez Palm”, which is named after the family that owned the land on which Disneyland was built. The tree dates back to 1896. According to mentalfloss.com, the rancher who sold the land to Walt Disney requested that this particular tree be spared when the theme park was constructed. Disney obliged, and moved the tree and its surrounding dirt — fifteen tons in all — from the parking lot area to Adventureland.

Fun Stuff Ahead!

Oh boy oh boy, here we go! Time to start the season of busy!

Things kick off this Saturday. I’ll be speaking at the conference in Rockford at the veteran’s hall right across from the public library. We’ll be getting into the holiday mood a little early; I’m doing the Spirits of Christmas presentation.

The first weekend in October is super busy! At 3:00 pm on Friday, I’ll be at the Lake Villa Library in Crystal Lake for the Ghosts of the Illinois River presentation. Then at 7 pm, I’ll head to the Barnes and Noble in Crystal Lake to hang out with fun folks like Dale Kaczmarek and Shadow Hunters. And on Saturday, I’ll be manning a table at the Afterlife Paranormal Conference in DeKalb, at the Red Roof Inn. Swing by and say hi — I’ll likely be there all day.

On Thursday October 11, I’ll be chatting on The Brian and Sherri Show at 8 pm. It’s always fun to catch up with those guys.

The next week, it’s time for a couple of library presentations. I’ll be at Lillie M. Evans Library (207 N. Walnut, Princeville IL) at 6:30 PM on Tuesday October 16 for Ghosts of the Illinois River. On Thursday October 18, I’ll be doing Fractured Spirits at Mackinaw Library (117 S. Main Street, Mackinaw, IL) at 6:30 PM.

On Saturday and Sunday, October 20 and 21, we’ve got something super cool coming up (I’ll do another post on that later). Long story short, I’ll be telling ghost stories on a canal boat on the I&M Canal near LaSalle. That’s at 5 pm both evenings.

And on Thursday October 25, I’ll be joining the fun in Bloomington at nightshop (517 N. Main Street, Bloomington). Horror comes alive just in time for Halloween. Dark tales, macabre music, haunting stories, scary movie chat, and ghastly art – all wrapped up with a gory bow on top. It’s an event you won’t want to miss. Featuring Troy Taylor, The Murder-Metal-Mayhem Podcast Hosts (Pete and Chris), The Quaker Goes Deaf, and MORE! It’s $6 at the door, and it will be SO worth it!

I’m quite sure I’ll be adding more events as the month goes on. And stay tuned for upcoming events in November and December as well.

Why I Keep Writing

This past weekend found me at Pekin’s Marigold Festival, enjoying the end of summer and watching the parade of people come past my booth. Some of them even stopped in to chat. That’s always my favorite part of the festival.

I’ll keep writing books as long as people want to keep reading them, of course. But every so often, I’m reminded of why I do what I do. Having someone come up to me and say, “Okay, I’ve read this one, this one, and … yeah, this one too. What have you got that’s new?” That’s a really powerful incentive to keep coming up with new books — and new ideas.

One woman came by with her young son. The kid was a bit distracted, running his fingers along the table and not making much eye contact. The mom bought the new book for the kid, and I happily signed it for him. She said, “Your books are the only ones he’ll read cover to cover.” Way cool!

Later in the weekend, another woman came up to the booth, and bought a book — this wasn’t her first experience with my books either. She confided to me that she has fibromyalgia. “Your stories just flow so beautifully; they really carry me along as I’m reading. Your book was the first one in years I’ve been able to sit with and read.” (I believe she was talking abut 44 Years in Darkness, if you’re interested in what title captivated her attention like that.)

It is such an honor to be able to touch people’s lives, and it’s a joy when they come up to me and tell me! Thanks for letting me share my tales with you all.

Today I Learned …

Paleontologists have long known about coprolites, or fossilized poop. But some sharp-eyed scientists have also discovered fossilized farts. We’ve all seen Jurassic Park — insects become trapped in tree sap, which hardens into amber. In their efforts to escape, the bugs would break wind. (Ever done situps? Tell me you haven’t farted once or twice with the exertion.) The amber preserved both the insect and the tiny bubbles it let loose during its unfortunate struggle.

My Garden Kicks Ass!

This spring, my wonderful husband put up a trellis — sort of a PVC pipe arch over the garden path covered with chicken wire — and boy oh boy, the butternut squash and the pole beans have been loving the extra leg room.

Here’s a picture of the biggest squash so far. I had to take it at a weird angle, so I look like I have Popeye arms, but you can see this bad boy is as long as my forearm.

I’m totally going to weigh it when I pick it.butternut

Lights Out!

Hey hey, it’s time for another Lights Out episode! I’ve got a special treat for you guys this time. It’s Episode #60, so there’s something out of the ordinary in store for the next hour or so. We’re goin’ to Vegas, baby!

Lights Out #60: Spooks of Sin City. Las Vegas: Sin City. Home to glittering neon, flashing lights, spinning roulette wheels, and clattering slot machines. But Las Vegas hides many secrets underneath the glamour and glitz. From Bugsy Siegel’s Flamingo Hotel to the Rat Pack to Howard Hughes, the spooks of Sin City are varied and plentiful. Let’s go on a tour of the Las Vegas strip, and discover what’s hiding in the shadows. https://youtu.be/F2_ttNrkG9Y

This is Why I Write

I’m so very lucky, as a published author, to be able to work at a library. Sometimes I get feedback from people who read my books. I’ve been very fortunate in that the people who tell me that they like my work really, REALLY like it. (I guess the people who think it’s crap just, you know, keep their opinions to themselves. Which is nice.)

Anyway, a patron came in the other day with her daughter, who was visiting from Texas. Both women had books of mine that they wanted me to sign, which I happily did. We got to chatting, and the older woman told me how proud she was of me for doing such a grand job with the books, and that she brags about me to her friends. And then she said something that will stick with me for the rest of my life.

“You’re doing what I wish I could do,” she sighed.

That stopped me in my tracks for a bit. I’ve published a few books, yeah. People have enjoyed them, I’m happy to say. Lately, I’ve been doing research for two upcoming projects, and kinda sorta dragging my feet on starting the actual writing of the next book. (I tell myself that’s because the research isn’t finished yet, but it’s really because it’s summer and my garden and my porch swing are both calling me with the siren song of long lazy warm evenings.)

But I am so ridiculously privileged to be able to do this writing thing for a hobby, and to have other people enjoy the work that I do. I forget that sometimes. But jeez, it’s a Big Deal. Not everyone gets to do this. Not everyone CAN do this. I can, and I am forever grateful for it. So thank you, Grace, for reminding me of this.

Today I Learned …

On August 6, 1945, Tsutomo Yamaguchi was a 29- year-old engineer on the last day of a business trip in Hiroshima, Japan. He was walking through a company shipyard when an American B-29 bomber dropped the nuclear bomb on the city. The shockwave tossed Yamaguchi into the air and nearly knocked him out. He had burns all over his arms and face, and his eardrums had ruptured.

After spending the next couple of days in the midst of unspeakable destruction, Yamaguchi boarded a train for his hometown — of Nagasaki. On August 9, he was in his boss’s office, telling him about the Hiroshima bombing, when the Americans dropped the second nuclear bomb.

Not only did Yamaguchi survive both bombings, he went on to live past the age of ninety.     (from Mind=Blown: Amazing Facts About This Weird, Hilarious, Insane World, by Matthew Santoro.)

Contest Still Going!

Hey hey, there’s still time to get in on this summertime contest that’s going on right now. I’ve got five free download codes to give away, for the audiobook of Double Double Love and Trouble. Just subscribe to my YouTube channel, then pop back over here and tell me that you did, and tell me the thing you like best about summer. That’s it! I’ll pick five lucky winners, and PM you if you’ve won.

Opposites attract – but sometimes it takes a while! 

Meet Selena Goode. She’s an herbalist, she runs a small museum in Salem, and she’s a practicing solitary Wiccan.

She likes her life, quiet as it is. Then Brian Gottschalk comes barreling into it with the force of an Atlantic storm. He works for a ghost-hunting TV show, and he’s in Salem to find a story. He’s witty, charming…and a total jerk.

Selena has no problem with ghosts. She does, however, have a problem with big-city Brian. It will take all his charm, plus the silent advice of a caring ghost, to make Selena realize that maybe, being big-city isn’t so bad after all.

Both laugh-out-loud funny and edge-of-your-seat suspenseful, Double Double Love and Trouble is a sexy, humorous romp from an author at the top of her game. Let it cast its spell over you.

The audiobook has several five-star reviews at Amazon, with comments like “Very entertaining!”, “This story is full of fun — a job well done!”, and “I absolutely LOVED this book!” I would love to give away five free download codes to five people, so get out there and subscribe to my YouTube channel, and tell me all about it!

DDLTCover