Thursday, October 4, 2012

The End - Rest Stop

This song by Matchbox Twenty pretty much sums up the recent end of my 18 year relationship.

Just three miles from the rest stop
And she slams on the breaks
She said I tried to be but I'm not
And could you please collect your things
I don't wanna be cold
I don't wanna be cruel
But I gotta find more
Than what's happening with you
If you'd - open up the door

She said - while you were sleeping
I was listening to the radio
And wondering what you're dreaming when
It came to mind that I didn't care
So I thought - hell if it's over
I had better end it quick
Or I could lose my nerve
Are you listening - can you hear me
Have you forgotten

Just three miles from the rest stop
And my mouth's too dry to rage
The light was shining from the radio
I could barely see her face
But she knew all the words that I never had said
She knew the crumpled-up promise of this
Broken down man - and as I opened up the door

She said - while you were sleeping
I was listening to the radio
And wondering what you're dreaming when
It came to mind that I didn't care
So I thought - hell if it's over
I had better end it quick
Or I could lose my nerve
Are you listening - can you hear me
Have you forgotten

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Thought for the day ...

Meteor Showers Aug 12-13

We know there have been numerous impressive astronomical sights in the sky this year but the Perseid Meteor Showers are an annual event with almost perfect timing each year. The best time to spot the falling stars this year will be on the evenings of August 12th and 13th for North Americans, weather permitting. Perseid is named for the constellation Perseus as Perseus seems to be the starting point for the shower each year.

The 100's of falling stars in Perseid are actually tiny debris particals from the Swift-Tuttle comet.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Last night I made a commitment to look up at the moon

Last night I made a commitment to look up at the moon. It was a full moon hanging high in a gray night sky. I moved to a place where I could view it in a void of space surrounded by the fingery tops of a circle of oaks. As I gazed upon it, it seemed to changed before my eyes. Thick rays of moonlight reached out to the south, east and west and the silver circle in the middle lifted and separated as if to form a head with a halo of golden light. I followed the appendages to where they landed on the ground and was surprised to see that the land was illuminated. I wiped my eyes. Surely this was the result of staring at an object too hard and long. It couldn’t be real.

Feeling grounded again, I focused my gaze back on the moon. This time, the silver circle was surrounded by an electric blue aura of dancing light. I blinked several times but the radiant hue remained visible. The longer I stared, the larger it became. I tried again to rationalize what I was seeing and suddenly, it came to me. As if the moon were whispering in my head. I understood.
As humans we are conditioned to see the universe in one dimension. It is the dimension that our minds find most efficient to dissect, compute and catalog but sometimes, when you take a moment to free yourself of the restrictions that you place on your eyes, the universe rewards you with a sneak peek at things as they truly are. Perhaps she hopes that you will take that gift and use it to open yourself up to enlightenment.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Short n Scary Stories (The Dog Collector)

My short story "The Dog Collector" is currently posted on the Short n Scary website. Check it out.
The Dog Collector

The creature in this short work was actually the visual inspiration for my creature the Birra Lough from the novel "At Second Sight"

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Ghost Hunter Interview

Meet Brenda

Brenda Williams Archer grew up in a small community in the middle of Cajun country on Bayou Beouf.  The house she grew up in was built in the 1950’s on the site of an old plantation.  The plantation house was torn down because of all the paranormal activity associated with it.  Doors and windows being opened, objects being moved, etc.  

The house that was built on the plantation site started having similar activity, but only when she was around.  Once she moved out, all of the activity stopped in the house.  However, it never stopped for her. 

She started doing research on paranormal happenings and haunting.  The more she read, the more excited she became because she realized she was not alone and that others experienced the same things.  She began going with friends to graveyards and old houses trying to find things and “speak” to spirits.  

Over the years, she’s had different experiences. She has seen visions of things that happened in certain places.  She has had names pop into her head, only to find that someone with that name was either buried in the particular graveyard she was in or lived at the house she was investigating.
About a year ago, she learned of Louisiana Spirits Paranormal Investigators.  She contacted them and requested to join.  Now she belongs to the largest paranormal team in the South and she hasn’t looked back.

Brenda is very passionate about the paranormal and doesn’t mind sharing her experiences with those who may be interested. I asked Brenda to share her knowledge and experiences with me. To read my interview with Brenda, click here: Brenda Williams Archer Interview on Hubpages

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Why I hate that I love writing ... sometimes

I usually hate my love of writing when the bills are coming due. The mortgage company doesn't want to hear that book sales are down and job prospects are low. The same is true for the mechanic when the car breaks down and the kids when they want a new gadget or trip to the mall.

I hate that I love writing when I remember what it was like to have regular bi-weekly pay checks and the ability to budget and plan because I always knew how much money was coming in even though my work did nothing to fulfill me or make me feel whole.

I used to hate it when, after a long day of work, I settled in to my bed and couldn't sleep a wink because some imaginary character was prodding me like an insistent child, demanding that I go jot down his story.

I hate the uncomfortable feeling I get when I run in to former colleagues who ask, "What are you doing now?" and look at me with credulity when I say, "I am a writer, now."

Finally, I hate that the modern writer needs to be a supreme marketer in order to survive. Writers are generally introverts by nature and the fact that they must become overt sales people is psychological trauma.

Thank goodness for the all the times that I love my love of writing. Like when someone reads my work and tells me, exuberantly, how much they related to the characters, or how my advice on a subject helped them out or made their life easier for a day. If it weren't for those times, I would go back to pretending to be someone else.

Saturday, June 30, 2012


Busy working on short pieces for anthology submissions. I completed and sent off three this week. It's a nice change of pace. My brain just wasn't ready to complete the third book yet and I needed to keep writing so what better way to do that than to develop short stories that can be completed in a day or two, start to finish. Now, let's see what the rest of the world thinks of them!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Short Story Submission - Cutting My Fluff

I completed a short story for submission to an anthology today. When I finished the first draft I realized that I had gone over the maximum word count per the guidelines. I'm not sure why, but I convinced myself that it was 5000 words when it was actually 4000. I cut roughly 700 words from the story and thought, with this limited word count, the story will surely suffer from the loss! When I reread it, however, it was a much cleaner, crisper, better organized piece. It's funny how well you can identify and erase your "fluff" when you have to! It was definitely an eye opening exercise for me, anyway.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Free Kindle Book for Writers

I grabbed a free copy of Jeff Goins e-book today. I think that most independent authors are already familiar with the tips that Jeff outlines but this little e-book is very well written and I appreciated seeing that Jeff, like me, had experienced much of the same self-doubt and struggle. Grab a copy if you like.

Jeff Goins You Are a Writer (So Start Acting Like One)

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Excerpt from At Second Sight Chapter 8

Thomas bears witness as Katie discovers the ashrays:

Once grounded, she shone the light on the water again. There was a slight disturbance on the surface and both Thomas and Katie strained to see what was moving below. Almost in tandem, they both jumped backward. Katie lost her foothold and her tennis shoes made a sudden splash. The things in the water responded to the disturbance with a blood curdling scream and splashed aggressively as they made a hasty retreat further away from the bank. Katie regained her balance and more composure than Thomas would have thought possible and shone the light out on water but there was nothing there to see.

Thomas couldn’t believe what he had just seen.  They were close enough to the surface to be seen clearly.  There in the marshes of Bear Willow State Park were pale, grey faces in the water. Based on their fierce reaction to light, they were probably not apparitions or living people but whatever they were, they had human facial features and made human-like sounds and their cries sounded more like shrieks of pain than from fear as if the light could somehow injure them.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Price Break on All E-Books

Beginning tomorrow, June 18, 2012, you can purchase all of my titles in any digital format for 99 cents each. This price drop is in celebration of the upcoming release of book three of the Not Forgotten Series, Red Door. Hope everyone takes this opportunity to read the first two books!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Here is the trailer for At Second Sight

At Second Sight Trailer (Youtube Link)

This is my first time at this and I think I did a fairly good job. Not a big fan of tooting my own horn but marketing is the business right?

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Red Door - A Not Forgotten Book

With two other projects in the works already, my character Jack Bronson from At Second Sight started calling for his installment of the Not Forgotten series to be written so he now has an introduction and a first chapter. I'm excited because, unlike Not Forgotten and At Second Sight, Red Door will witness paranormal activity from the perspective of a non-sensitive.  This will be a first for me but I feel like Jack was well introduced in At Second Sight and readers may already know him well enough to trust his intuition.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Zombies and the CDC

On the heels of several gory news stories, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control have issued a statement with regard to a rumored zombie apocalypse. According to the CDC, they know of no virus with the potential to reanimate the dead or one that would present with zombie-like symptoms.  Ordinarily, reading a statement like this from the CDC would make one chuckle at the ridiculousness of it all but due to the immense power of the internet, the rumor that the Miami face-eating man and his newsworthy counterparts are signs of an impending zombie outbreak has quickly become the “next big thing”.

Whether it’s a zombie virus or simply viral zombie stories, one thing is for certain, zombies have become a top trending topic on search engines and social networks like Twitter. With the immense popularity of AMC’s The Walking Dead and zombie apocalyptic video games, zombies are the new vampires in America and by the same token, everyone wants to jump on the band wagon and get a piece of the action.  Everyone, including the CDC, has used the zombie craze to ignite new fires on their own agendas and this CDC statement may be aimed more at damage control for the organization than to alleviate the growing concerns of the public. 

In 2011, in an attempt to get the attention of a zombie crazed nation, the CDC released a media kit that included several posters, buttons and widgets depicting zombies and including statements like; “Get a kit, Make a plan, Be prepared”. Another key piece of literature in the kit is a novella entitled; “Preparedness 101: Zombie Pandemic”. The CDC claimed the campaign was all in good fun and was intended to educate the public on natural disaster preparedness stating, if you’re prepared for a zombie pandemic, you will be prepared for any type of disaster. The CDC could never have anticipated that rumors of a zombie apocalypse would go viral just one year later and some at the CDC may be concerned that this “all in fun” media campaign may come back to bite them and infect them with the unemployment virus.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Mayan Prophecies

When I first heard about the Mayan prophecies for this year I admit, I laughed it off. I thought, sure, more Y2K rhetoric only with an ancient rather than technological face. I laughed because it just seemed so silly. More doomsday naysayers trying to evoke fear reactions in the masses. Then, this month, I began to notice the unusual astronomical events that seem to be taking place and started doing some research.

My first concern was the lengthy duration with which the moon has not been visible from my vantage point. My kids are avid moon watchers, even the two year old, and I haven't been able to show her the moon in weeks. Since the full moon in fact. When I looked in to it I discovered that this was a supermoon year - a year when the moon's perigee (The point at which the moon is closest to Earth) coincided with the full moon on May 5th. They say we are lucky that the moons perigee didn't coincide with the Earths closest approach to the sun which last occurred January 3, 1912 and reportedly caused the sinking of the Titanic due to the tidal response to the planetary alignment.

So, supermoon? That would lead one to believe that the moon would be more visible during the new moon when it generally disappears from the visible sky, right? No. While the moon was waning, the sun was experiencing its own transition to alignment for the solar eclipse on May 20. At this time, the Earth, moon, and sun are in perfect alignment with Pleiades, the center of the galaxy. Since the light from the sun is hitting the moon on the side that is not visible from Earth, we still can't see the moon. This event is also responsible for the appearance of the solar ring of fire on the pacific coast on May 20th. It has been 2600 years since this alignment last occurred.

This is all very interesting but what does it have to do with Mayans? Simple, the Mayan long count calendar accurately predicted these astrological events. The fact that a calendar created in pre-Columbian Mesoamercia has a remarkable astronomical relevance in 2012 has astounded me. This same calendar appears to have accurately predicted the tsunami's and hurricanes that plagued the planet in the period between 2004 and 2006.

So, the Mayan long count calendar has an end date of December 21, 2012. Some believe that this date represents the beginning of an apocalypse, the end of mankind. Others, believe it will mark the beginning of the Golden Age of man, a time when humans will embark on a positive transformation. Still others believe the calendar is inaccurate and that revisions have been found among the relics recovered from the ancient Mayan cities. For me, I find it difficult to believe that nothing will happen on that day since this calendar has been so on point thus far. I will simply hope that the New Anger's are right and that mankind will transform for the good because we sure do need a wake up call.

Monday, May 21, 2012

New Project Alert

Taking a break from the Not Forgotten series to work on a new project. It is a collection of short e-books (non-fiction) that delve in to the unique paranormal history of Louisiana. The first book is entitled: Haunted Louisiana - The Voodoo Queen and will outline the life, legends, and current lore of famous New Orleans Voodoo Queen Marie Laveau and others like her.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Northeastern Cemetery

When I was in my twenties some friends and I decided to check out an old cemetery in upstate New York. If you didn't know it was there, you would never find it. There are no signs or gates marking the location, it's just a field of old headstones on an overgrown dirt path. We did our usual gravestone rubbings with charcoal pens and then sat to chat for a while. As the sun began to fade, we all seemed to be overcome by a strange, uncomfortable feeling. For me, it was the feeling that we were being watched. I found myself looking over my shoulder to see if anyone was there. A little creeped out, we decided to leave. 

It was a long walk back down the dirt road to my friends’ house and we were chatting away as we walked. At one point, I swore I heard footsteps coming from behind me. My friend Rusty heard them too and turned to see who had fallen behind. As he turned, I felt what I could only describe as icy fingers touch the center of my back and then felt Rusty push me forward. He began running and we all followed having no idea what we were running from. When we finally reached the end of the road, we all turned around to see an empty path behind us. 

Rusty swore that when he looked back he saw a hand reaching out of a white mist and touching me on the back. We stood there for a long time in silence and finally decided to yell out an apology to the spirits of the cemetery for having disturbed and disrespected their resting place. We never went back.

A Post for Aspiring Freelance Writers

The good, the bad, and the ugly truth about online content sites

I have spent a great deal of my time posting informational articles on online content sites for some time now. As many of you know, I was recently laid off from a career that drove me and provided for my family for over eight years, so yes, one of my primary desires in writing for these sites was to earn an income. I love to write, but with no job, I couldn't devote a lot of time to unprofitable devices. I also supply content to SEO sites that sell my articles anonymously, allowing the purchasers to take credit for my work and as any writer knows, there is a certain sting that comes from selling your work without a buy line. It's a hard pill to swallow. So, let's look at this online writing thing.

The ugly truth
No matter how good you are, or think you are, it is difficult to earn an income from writing for the web. Content source sites like Helium, Suite 101, Bright Hub, and Associated Content don't pay well. When you do earn an upfront payment on an article, it is only a dollar or two and you have to spend more time marketing than writing in order to see a return from revenue share. It takes a great deal of research to figure out how to write strategically for profit and you need a keen understanding of how search engines work and what topics are popular and trending. Writing articles for SEO content sites that require you to give up all rights to your work may pay a bit better. Writer Access pays a decent rate for highly rated authors and even Textbroker will earn you more upfront as a 3 star writer than Associated Content pays out in upfront payments. Helium does seem to provide a better stream of residual income than the others mentioned here and, if you do the leg work by posting links to your articles in places like StumbleUpon, Digg, and Reddit, you can see your traffic and page views grow.

To make a living in the business, you can't depend on these sites. You MUST market yourself and your business on Freelance Job Boards, bid on assignments, and develop your own professional client base. You can, however, supplement your income with these content source sites with earning potentials in the hundreds or thousands of dollars. The key lies in the quality of the content and the frequency of publishing. That said, it would be far too depressing to boil that down to an hourly rate! Sites like Constant-Content are good launching points for writers that are new to the game. Here you can post work for customers to browse and possibly purchase and you can accept assignments that have been posted by customers. This may not be the long term solution, but it is a good place to refine your skills and build your confidence. 

Evil doers, many from foreign countries and lacking a conscience when it comes to stealing from the fat and spoiled Americans have seen the struggles associated with this business and have developed scams to steal your work, your identity and more so you must always be diligently on the lookout for fraud. One such criminal hires writers under the guise of an educational non-profit and tells writers that their parent company accidentally sent them a check for more than their monthly fee. They ask the writer to cash the check, keep their payment, and send back the remaining funds. Anyone who does this will end up getting arrested for check fraud because the checks are fake.

The bad

A lot of the online content sites like Triond, for example, have a very bad reputation because they allow anyone to publish there and lack editorial influence. Poor grammar, spelling, and SPAM abound on sites like this. This is not an American company and many of the writers here speak English as a second or third or fourth language. Because their quality of work is horrendous, good writers on the site suffer from poor rankings on search engines. Sites with better reputations work very hard to keep them and may have stringent editorial guidelines. For some new writers in the game, this may mean more rewrites and editing. In many cases, it just isn't worth the money in the end. 

Finally, the good

Writing for reputable online content sources provides you with an opportunity to become published and build a portfolio. You now have a growing stockpile of links that can be used to provide potential customers and employers with access to your work. The more you write, the better you become. These sites allow you to hone your skills and develop as a web writer, which is a bit different than writing for print. Many of these sites have online training courses that are accessible to their writers providing them with a free education on things like marketing, grammar, and AP style guidelines.

These sites are communities of writers and it is possible to make valuable connections here. Writers learn from each other, collaborate and critique each others work, and share information that can lead to higher paying jobs and valuable partnerships. If you are writing for one of these sites, or thinking about doing so, don't despair. Look at the reality of the business and know that these endeavors will not make you rich but can reward you with a free education, experience, and an online presence if you can manage to invest some time in them.


Online petition writing on sites like Force Change can provide up to $7 per piece in earnings and give you the personal satisfaction of supporting causes that you are passionate about. I have written for them and they are helpful, courteous, and pay their writers on time via monthly PayPal deposits.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Unexplained Rocking Ball

I took this video with my phone while I was working and Meghan was playing in the living room. I've had a paranormal investigator look at it and have tried to recreate the movement with no luck. I love how Meghan pauses to step over 'something' before walking away with the ball!

Why are We Obsessed with The Supernatural?

In recent year’s vampires, ware wolves, aliens, ghosts and zombies have all risen in popularity. Movies, books, video games and even television shows depicting the supernatural, the paranormal, and psychic phenomena are drawing audiences of all ages and all walks of life.

This is not the first, and likely will not be the last time our interests shift to the other worldly. Research suggests that when certain conditions are evident within a society, its members begin to explore the unknown and question the unexplained.

There are three primary human conditions that provide fodder for the paranormal. The first is fear. Children don’t imagine monsters under the bed until they are old enough to understand that a monster is a frightening thing. In adulthood, when we feel insecure about our place in world, we begin to revert back to the monster under the bed. We being to wonder if there may be something else out there that is causing our fear and uncertainty. It has been proven that there is a direct correlation between countries at war and U.F.O sightings. Does this mean U.F.Os’ are attracted to human conflict? Perhaps it is more logical to believe that when people are under extreme emotional turmoil, they begin seeing monsters again.

The second human condition is confidence. When a society is fat and full, when they are economically strong, well fed both physically and emotionally, and happy with their place in the world they begin to feel like there should be other worlds to conquer. We settled the west, we traveled to space, grew technologically by leaps and bounds. Human beings are genetically conditioned to seek, explore, and conquer. Not everyone can cure disease or create world peace, but everyone can explore a haunted house, search for a strange creature, and look for a U.F.O.  When we feel secure, we hunger for new things to believe in. This is in large part the reason that we have made so many advances in technology.

Finally, the third human condition associated with interest in the paranormal is insecurity. When a society begins to lose faith in their leaders, their economy, and their security, they begin to question their priorities and beliefs.  Some turn to religion and become more active in their churches. Others look for the answer in the unexplained. It is human nature to look for more when we begin to question the meaning of things. We need purpose and understanding. If what we thought was the best way to live our lives is no longer giving us what we need or desire, we look for something else to provide us with fulfillment.

Of course there are those, like me, who have always had a healthy interest in the paranormal. We are intrigued regardless of our current life position. We watch the movies and read the books when we are happy, sad, confident and insecure. But it is our human condition to question why when we see our membership rolls grow so quickly and so vast. This genre has grown and declined in popularity with noticeable peaks and valleys for over one hundred years of recorded history and will likely see another decline as world politics and economic concerns become more stable but for now, there is definitely a plethora of entertainment out there to satisfy the hunger of an eager audience.

The Haunted History of Louisiana

There are many places in America that are well known for their ghostly activity. I particularly love Louisiana because there is such a vast and diverse array of history related to the stories of the paranormal that we hear today. That history is in the air and can be felt by any visitor willing and open to the experience. Here is a list of just some of my favorite Louisiana haunts.

Kisatchie National Forest is a vast section of pine growth in Louisiana used for recreation, hunting, camping, and fishing. The forest expands over 7 Louisiana Parishes and is approximately 600,000 acres in size. I am fortunate enough to live in an area surrounded by this forest. There have been multiple accounts of paranormal activity in the forest. The most common being the unexplained sound of chanting and drum play coming from the dense pine cover.  The forest was a primary hunting ground for Native Americans as it once housed large flocks of indigenous wild turkeys.

The Myrtles Plantation in St. Francisville, Louisiana is considered one of the 10 most haunted places in America.  The Myrtles is visited by hundreds of tourists each year who hope to find some proof of the paranormal.  While there seems to be a lot of myth and legend associated with the plantations past, there are definite examples of paranormal activity that take place in the residence on a regular basis. A ghostly woman in a green turban has been reported on the property by visitors, workers and previous owners of the estate. Footsteps, hand prints on mirrors, and a piano that plays by itself have also been reported. This plantation makes my list because it seems to have attracted spirits from several different periods in history and has a large number of reported sightings of apparitions.
The Joseph Jefferson Estate on Jefferson Island is reportedly haunted by the spirit of the late actor himself. While it was never a primary residence for Jefferson, he acquired what was then Orange Island and built the estate as a private hunting lodge. No one has been able to explain why Jefferson would have attached himself to this home rather than a more prominent location like his birth home or the estate in Florida where he died. While I would not claim to know who haunts the home on Jefferson Island, I have heard chilling accounts of a male apparition casually walking in to a parlor filled with as many as 10 onlookers at one time.

Of course no article about haunting in Louisiana would be complete without mention of New Orleans. New Orleans is famous for its connection with voodoo and the occult. New Orleans is considered a city that welcomes the paranormal and for this reason, gets it in abundance. This place has a rich history and diverse cultural background that beckons spirits from the American Civil War, slavery, dirty politics, oppression and opulence all in one location. A ghost enthusiasts could spend weeks in New Orleans and still not explore one half of its reportedly haunted locations.
Here in Rapides Parish, Alexandria was showcased on the 2011 season premier of the hit television show Ghost Hunters. The group investigated our Diamond Grill Restaurant, Hotel Bentley, and Finnegan’s Wake Pub.  They determined that there was unexplained activity in the locations but that the activity did not seem to be tied together linking the three locations though similar activity. This area is also known for haunted grave yards, plantations, and school houses.  
Louisiana is also the place where noted criminals Bonnie and Clyde met their death in a shoot out with police just outside Gibsland.  The sound of phantom gun fire on this stretch of highway is still reported today.

I have yet to meet anyone who lives in Louisiana who doesn’t have a tale or two to send chills up your spine. There is a true air of mystery in the air here. For those sensitive to spiritual energy, Louisiana can be both a blessing and a curse. Some have said that being here is like being in the middle of a circus tent full of used car salesman all screaming for your attention.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Not Forgotten in Paperback

I am beginning the conversion and editing process required to create a paperback version of Not Forgotten. If you are an author interested in self publishing I have to tell you that I am very happy with the Create Space process. I was able to convert my own files, build my own cover, and distribute the completed At Second Sight paperback version for zero cost in less than one week. If I wasn't learning the formatting on this one, it could have been completed and ready for market in 24 hours. The final retail price is a bit higher than I would like it to be but I understand that Create Space needs to be compensated and sets their prices accordingly so that authors, too, can earn on their books. The good news is that I can purchase my books at an excellent discounted price. That way, authors can stock up and sell their books at a discount themselves.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

I love this! Wish my trees looked like this.

Time to Simplify

I was previously blogging on four different blogs and found that there just wasn't enough time to keep up with any of them so as of today I have deleted the other three so I can spend more time here providing updates on the books and the process. I have downloaded the content of the other blogs and will re-blog anything that I think will add value to this page here.