It’s summertime, and you know what that means — lemonade, porch swings, and beach reads! (Or reading on the porch swing, if you don’t happen to have a beach handy.) And I have the perfect beach read for you guys … and you can have someone else read it to you!
David Wilson at Crossroad Press has arranged for one of my romance novels, Double Double Love and Trouble, to be produced as an audiobook. And he has graciously given me FIVE free download codes, which is awesome of him, because he’s an awesome guy.
So here’s where you come in. To celebrate summer, and my first ever audiobook release, I’m going to pick five readers to give these codes to. All you have to do is pop over to YouTube and subscribe to my channel. Then comment on this post, and tell me what your favorite summer activity is. (And if you’re already subscribed, you get a gold star for the day.)
I’ll pick five readers at random, and I’ll message you privately to let you know if you’ve won. Let’s go … until the end of this month. July 31. That leaves us plenty of summertime for beach reading. So get out there, subscribe to my YouTube channel (please and thank you), and tell me what you love about summer! Aaaaand — GO!
An adult robin eats the equivalent of one fourteen foot long earthworm a day.
It’s time for another episode of Lights Out, your virtual campfire. In this episode, we revisit tranquil Sugar Tree Grove Cemetery.
Lights Out #59: Return to Sugar Tree Grove. Sugar Tree Grove Cemetery, nestled in the farmland outside Monmouth, Illinois, is the final resting place of two players in a drama that took place over 180 years ago. William Martin was killed by a Native American brave, who was in turn killed by whites in retribution for Martin’s death. The two men are buried directly across from each other, in opposite corners of the cemetery. What happens when a ghost hunting team comes to the cemetery to help the two work towards reconciliation? https://youtu.be/bN2JV11sAZM
While on vacation, I decided to do some long-overdue promotion for Spirits of Christmas. I called local libraries that already own my books, and pitched the new book for their collection. (I’m not very good at talking on the phone, so this was a Big Deal for me.) I have to have a script, which is this: I introduce myself as a fellow librarian, to get some common ground established, then I ask to chat with whoever orders their books. It’s a nice easy way to slide into the conversation.
When I called Washington Library, the conversation went like this:
Desk Assistant Who Answered the Phone: Good afternoon, Washington Library, can I help you?
Me: Hello, this is Sylvia; I work at Fondulac Library. I’d like to speak with whoever orders your books.
DAWATP: Oh, is this Sylvia SHULTS?
Me: …. Yes! Yes it is.
DAWATP: Well, when you say “Sylvia”, and then you say “new book”, I just figured it was you!
That just made my day.
When Titanic sank in 1912, the most valuable and highly insured cargo in her hold was forty crates of feathers. The demand for feathers to decorate women’s hats was so great that in 1900, an ounce of snowy egret plumes sold for $32. (An ounce of gold, for comparison, was a paltry $20.)
I took my dog to the dog park, and on the way home, she wanted to stop for ice cream.
So we did.
Girl does love her some ice cream.
Ghosts of the Illinois River, like every good revenant, keeps coming back for more!
In addition to being turned into an ebook (a steal at $2.99!) , it’s also popping up in other places. I recently filmed an episode of Mics Uncut with Ahavah Maure. We took a nighttime stroll along the river bank, and I had loads of fun scaring my host with creepy tales of the spirits that linger in the towns along the river. You can find the episode here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j5QqeVxV-OA . Enjoy!
And I am so excited to be part of the Mics Uncut Red Carpet premiere on July 12 at 6 pm at Landmark Theatre in Peoria. You won’t want to miss this — you’ll get to see me in a slinky dress. 😉 I’ll be chatting about the life of a paranormal investigator. Join us!
My library has a small art gallery (okay, an expanse of wall where we hang cool stuff), and as this year’s Summer Reading program theme is “Reading Takes You Everywhere”, we’ve collected vacation pictures from patrons and staff, and put them on display. And mine was one of the pictures chosen!
It’s the hand (my hand) holding the pebble up to the Atlantic horizon. I took that picture last June at White Horse Beach in Massachusetts. It took me three tries, if I remember right, lining up the line on the pebble with the horizon, and hoping desperately that I wouldn’t drop my phone in the water. But it worked! I’m not the world’s best photographer, but I’m pretty darn proud of that picture.
(And the best part about having this picture chosen for the display? I get to keep the framed photo when the display comes down. Cool!)
The word “bald”, as in “bald eagle”, has nothing to do with hair or lack of it. The name of the bald eagle was derived from the word “piebald”, because of the difference in color between the white feathers on their heads and tails and the darker feathers on their bodies.
Bonus fact (because it’s a holiday): Most bald eagles snore.
Happy Fourth of July, everybody!
So I had just gotten the dog out of the car and was standing there waiting for her to pee, when I looked down at the patch of clover at my feet.
I’m the luckiest person ever.
Do you see the FOUR four-leaf clovers in the picture?
My life rocks.
Hope you’re all having fun this summer!
Hey there! It’s time for another episode of Lights Out, your virtual campfire. Grab the s’mores!
Historic homes can be homes to spirits as well as paying visitors. Dole Mansion, in Crystal Lake, Illinois, is a gracious showplace that also boasts a few ghosts lurking in the odd corner. Join our guide, Joe Diamond, for a flashlight tour of this beautiful home. https://youtu.be/iGssu1IrsGE
I saw something wonderful on the way to work, and I just had to share it.
I was on Route 29 headed north, between Pekin and East Peoria. There’s a turnoff halfway down Auto Row outside of town, with a left turn lane to head to Marquette Heights. Traffic was stopped momentarily at the red light there, and when we started to move again, I realized there was a sheriff’s patrol car in front of me. The sheriff pulled out (the wrong way) into the oncoming left turn lane, and turned his lights on. I figured, okay, he got a call from Pekin and was headed back that way and had to turn around.
But he didn’t turn around. Instead, he pulled out of the left turn lane and parked across the two south-bound lanes. The oncoming cars slowed, then stopped. I knew that whatever he was up to, it was nothing to do with me, so I drove on.
Then I happened to look down, to my left.
There, headed across the road, was a mama duck, herding half a dozen fuzzy little ducklings. THAT’S why the sheriff had pulled out to stop traffic: to help the helpless get across the road safely.
I couldn’t get a picture, because I was driving (duh). But I sent up a quick prayer to St. Francis, and silently said “thank you” to the sheriff.
A nurse in a hospital in 1977 was reading Agatha Christie’s murder mystery A Pale Horse when she realized that the hospital’s mystery patient had the same symptoms of thallium poisoning as did a victim in the book. The perceptive nurse, and Agatha Christie, saved the young girl’s life. (Source: They Did What!?: The Funny, Weird, Wonderful, Outrageous, & Stupid Things Famous People Have Done, by Bob Fenster)
The toe pads on some dogs’ feet smell like corn chips. Researchers call this scent “Frito feet”.
In 1777, Frederick the Great of Prussia issued an official statement urging his subjects to drink beer in the morning instead of coffee.
You guys you guys you guys!
I have cherries!!!
That’s right — cherries, as in more than one. (Okay, there are two. Two sweet cherries on my lovely cherry bush.) This bush has been taking up space in my tiny yard for four or five years now, and finally — finally! — it has produced two wee cherries.
Now I have to decide when they’re ripe.
A “contronym” is a word that is its own opposite. For example, if you seed a lawn, you put seeds on it. But if you seed a tomato, you take the seeds out of it.
Scientists can study pollution by examining the earwax of blue whales.
After the Battle of Gettysburg, trees in the area were so full of bullets that they died from lead poisoning.
It is so very lovely to have friends at work who know you well. A coworker got me this cool desk accessory, and actually managed to keep it a secret since February when it was announced. I had yesterday off — and this guy was waiting for me when I showed up to work today.
We have a mama-to-be at our house. Can’t wait for the baby dinosaur bundles of joy to arrive!
Q is the only letter of the alphabet that doesn’t appear in any state’s name. (Source: National Geographic Kids Weird But True 9)
Is this little patch of wilderness in rural Fulton County as haunted as they say? Find out in this episode of Lights Out.
Squirrels can heat up their tails to scare away predators.
Just like a cat’s tail, a squirrel’s tail puffs up when the animal feels defensive. But squirrels have a secret weapon. They can control the blood flow to their tails to cool down or keep warm. If a squirrel is confronted with, say, a rattlesnake, the squirrel will pump blood into its tail. The snake senses the heat coming off of the mammal’s tail, and thinks that the squirrel is much more bad-ass than it actually is.