Wednesday, December 31, 2008

2008 Is Almost Gone and 2009 Will Soon Be Here

Well, 2008 is almost over. At midnight, just as the ball drops in Times Square in New York City and the ball rises to the top here in Richmond, in Carytown, 2009 will sneak in.
I know I will try to stay up till midnight, same as my husband. Though it is getting harder and harder to do so each year. We won't be going out anywhere to celebrate--just stay home. But as reported on the news and early Show, we won't be alone as many people will be staying home to bring in the new year this year. The economy seems to have done that. But that's all right. What better way to ring 2009 in, but with your family, in a relaxed atmosphere and in the comfort of your own living room? You can drink alcohol and not worry about driving home or designating someone as the designated driver--right? I plan on making some comfort food for us and we are going to watch some rented DVDs and then the ball drop on Times Square. I have some wine left over that I won at a Christmas party earlier in December and a bottle of sparkling white grape juice I bought
since my husband's on call for his job and can't drink. We'll toast in the New Year, comfortable and relaxed. Unless hubby gets called out on a job.

The Baby
And now for some background on New Year's celebration. The symbols are an old man as the old year and a baby as the new year. The tradition of using the baby began in Greece, around 600 B.C. At that time, the Greeks celebrated parading a baby in a basket in honor of their god of wine, Dionysus. The baby represented the annual rebirth of the god as the spirit of fertility. Early Egyptians also used the baby as a symbol of rebirth.
Now, though the early Christians denounced this practice as pagan, the popularity of this tradition made the church to reevalute its position on the matter. They allowed their members to celebrate the New Year with the baby, symbolizing the birth of Jesus Christ.
The image of the baby as symbol of New year was brought to America by the germans. They had used the effigy since the 14th century.

Luck in the New Year
People believed that what they ate or did on the first day of the new year would affect the luck for the rest of the year. parties would last past midnight and people would celebrate the first few minutes of the brand new year in company of family and friends.
Once upon a time, it was thought that the first visitor on New Year's day brought either good or bad luck for the rest of the year. That's why, you would want a tall, dark-haired man to be the first person to step through your doorway, for he brought very good luck.
Certain foods also bring good luck. Like any thing inn the shape of a ring is considered good luck. The Dutch believe eating donuts on the New Year's day brings good fortune. Many Americans eat black-eyed peas, because they symbolize good luck. These are accompanied by ham or hog jowls. The hog, and its meat, is the symbol of prosperity. Cabbage is another food to consumed on New year's day. Cabbage leaves are considered a sign of prosperity, representing paper currency. And in some regions, rice is a lucky food that is eaten on New Year's Day, too.

Auld Lang Syne

Meaning "old long ago," or more familiarly, "the good old days," Auld Lang Syne is always sung in most English-speaking countries at the stroke of midnight. Partially written by Robert Burns in the 1700s, it was first published in 1796 after his death. There had been earlier variations of the song prior to 1700. These inspired him to write the modern redition.

So tonight at midnight, if you managed to stay awake, and either sing "Auld Lang Syne" or kiss someone, think of the centuries that others have celebrated it before you.


Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Reading is Still the Cheapest Entertainment

As the news reports more and more, the economy is worsening.

People are fearful that their jobs may be the next to go. Christmas spending at the stores wasn’t what the businesses were hoping for.

And yet, I feel that books are the cheapest entertainment someone can buy. Whether mass or trade paperback, or eBooks, a book, print or on an ereader, can be read anywhere. In your home, snug and warm during the winter, summer at the beach, at the doctor’s office (hey, a lot of those magazines at the doctor’s are sometimes a year old), and when you’re the passenger in the car, keeping you busy from the long drive.

There’s something about a book that can bring comfort. You can travel without ever leaving home. Visit other countries, and even more exciting, other planets and dimensions. Fight monsters, fall in love with one, do undercover work, fly a plane or do a paranormal investigation. Learn facets of history you never learned in class

or learn how to do something you never done before.

Since cavemen huddled around a campfire and the village shaman told tales of gods and monsters, books have been with us through thick and thin. Magic lies between their pages.

And so I say, reading is one of the cheapest entertainment. Maybe with the economy and things too expensive to buy or do, there will be those who haven’t read much coming back to the fold, discovering a writer’s talent for bringing forth words and their own imagination is still and always will be, the best entertainment.

Read a book today and let loose your imagination.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Catch Me on Internet Voices Radio Jan. 1st

I'll be promoting my books (esp. upcoming ones in 2009 that I know about) on Lillian Cauldwell's radio show Thursday, January 1st, on Internet Voices Radio 4:15 to 4:30PM Eastern Standard Time. That time, go to Click on the Logo, and it will take you straight to windows media. You can listen to the show that way.
If you want to call up toll free and ask me a question, be sure to listen at the beginning of the show where Ms. Cauldwell will announce the phone number that you can call in on and say hi. It will have to be brief as there may be others who might want to call in as well.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

How to Learn About E-Piracy

Merry Christmas to all. Today I am just passing on a link to another blog. The author of that one, Jude Mason (who I share as my pseudonym, Sapphire Phelan, two anthologies with, Shifting Desires and Coming Together: Under Fire) has done a fabulous article about E Piracy and how it affects both the author and you, the reader, too. It is an education for all.
Please go read it if you're a reader of eBooks, even print books. Same for authors not sure of the rules either
You can find it at

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Marry Christmas-The Christmas Dance

The Christmas Dance

Midnight came, announcing Christmas,

Stars gleaming like iridescent candles

And below on the forest green,

The faeries came out of hiding, glittering like lights

Christmas lights.

They danced, circling in a sensational array,

Wing tip to wing tip, scattered among moon-silvered snow

Other denizens of Faerie appeared,

Lords and Ladies dressed in fashions of magic

Christmas decorations.

From the low bough of a tree, leafless and covered in snow,

Pan played upon reed pipes

Music; seductive and full of good tidings,

All of Faerie danced in frenzy haste

Christmas cheer.

Bird songs filled the cold, crisp air,

Wings of many colors swirled in a cloud of feathers

Songs of joy melded with Faerie music,

Rising, swirling, tornado-like, to the heavens above

Christmas carols.

The King and Queen of Faerie came,

Splendid finery of gold and purple

They sat upon thrones of sparkling jewels and holly,

Beautiful, and terrible at the same time

Christmas wonder.

Then everyone stopped and the hush grew deafening,

Eyes so inhuman and yet, so wonderful

Watched the one star in the East, brightly shining,

It shimmered; they shimmered, all aglow like Faerie dust

Christmas magic.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Christmas Is Almost Here

Christmas is almost here--tomorrow is Christmas Eve. It's a time of magic and wonder.Children are anticipating Santa Claus visiting them and leaving presents. Yes, this year, many all over the world are worried about losing jobs or have, there is war, many homeless, and yet, Christmas is there for us all. The one time, we might truly understand the reason for the season, as they say. That we all might take a minute or two, and think about peace for all. To let the wonder and magic envelope us, and believe, truly believe.
Here is some history about the holiday. Know what started it all.

Christmas is an annual holiday celebrated on December 25 that marks and honors the birth of Jesus of Nazareth. His birth, which is the basis for the anno Domini system of dating, has been estimated by modern historians as having occurred between 7 and 2 BC. The date of celebration is not thought to be Jesus' actual date of birth. It have been chosen to coincide with the birthday of Mithra and the feast of the Saturnalia or the winter solstice, which the ancient Romans celebrated on December 25.

Modern customs of the holiday include gift-giving, church celebrations, and the display of various decorations—including the Christmas tree, lights, mistletoe, nativity scenes and holly. Santa Claus (also referred to as Father Christmas, although the two figures have different origins) is a popular mythological figure often associated with bringing gifts at Christmas. Santa is generally believed to be the result of a syncretization between St. Nicholas of Myra and elements from pagan Nordic and Christian mythology, and his modern appearance is believed to have originated in 19th century media.

Christmas is celebrated throughout the Christian population, but is also celebrated by many non-Christians as a secular, cultural festival. The holiday is widely celebrated around the world, including in the United States, where it is celebrated by 96% of the population. Because gift-giving and several other aspects of the holiday involve heightened economic activity among both Christians and non-Christians, Christmas has become a major event for many retailers.

The word Christmas originated as a compound meaning "Christ's mass". It is derived from the Middle English Christemasse and Old English Cristes mæsse, a phrase first recorded in 1038. "Cristes" is from Greek christos and "mæsse" is from Latin missa. In early Greek versions of the New Testament, the letter Χ (chi), is the first letter of Christ. Since the mid-16th century Χ, or the similar Roman letter X, has been used as an abbreviation for Christ. Hence, Xmas is often used as an abbreviation for Christmas.

For many centuries, Christian writers accepted that Christmas was the actual date on which Jesus was born. In the early eighteenth century, scholars began proposing alternative explanations. Isaac Newton argued that the date of Christmas was selected to correspond with the winter solstice, which in ancient times was marked on December 25. In 1743, German Protestant Paul Ernst Jablonski argued Christmas was placed on December 25 to correspond with the Roman solar holiday Dies Natalis Solis Invicti and was therefore a "paganization" that debased the true church. In 1889, Louis Duchesne suggested that the date of Christmas was calculated as nine months after March 25, the traditional date of the conception of Jesus. On the Roman calendar, March 25 was the date of the spring equinox. In modern times, it is celebrated as Annunciation.

Non-Christian Celebration

A winter festival was the most popular festival of the year in many cultures. Reasons included the fact that less agricultural work needs to be done during the winter, as well as people expecting longer days and shorter nights after the winter solstice in the Northern Hemisphere. Modern Christmas customs include: gift-giving and merrymaking from Roman Saturnalia; greenery, lights, and charity from the Roman New Year; and Yule logs and various foods from Teutonic feasts. Pagan Scandinavia celebrated a winter festival called Yule, held in the late December to early January period. As Northern Europe was the last part to Christianize, its pagan traditions had a major influence on Christmas. Scandinavians still call Christmas Jul. In English, the word Yule is synonymous with Christmas, a usage first recorded in 900.

The legend of Santa Claus can be traced back hundreds of years to a monk named St. Nicholas. It is believed that Nicholas was born sometime around 280 A.D. in Patara, near Myra in modern-day Turkey. Much admired for his piety and kindness, St. Nicholas became the subject of many legends. It is said that he gave away all of his inherited wealth and traveled the countryside helping the poor and sick. One of the best known of the St. Nicholas stories is that he saved three poor sisters from being sold into slavery or prostitution by their father by providing them with a dowry so that they could be married. Over the course of many years, Nicholas's popularity spread and he became known as the protector of children and sailors. His feast day is celebrated on the anniversary of his death, December 6. This was traditionally considered a lucky day to make large purchases or to get married. By the Renaissance, St. Nicholas was the most popular saint in Europe. Even after the Protestant Reformation, when the veneration of saints began to be discouraged, St. Nicholas maintained a positive reputation, especially in Holland.

Sinter Klaus Comes to New York

St. Nicholas made his first inroads into American popular culture towards the end of the 18th century. In December 1773, and again in 1774, a New York newspaper reported that groups of Dutch families had gathered to honor the anniversary of his death.

The name Santa Claus evolved from Nick's Dutch nickname, Sinter Klaas, a shortened form of Sint Nikolaas (Dutch for Saint Nicholas). In 1804, John Pintard, a member of the New York Historical Society, distributed woodcuts of St. Nicholas at the society's annual meeting. The background of the engraving contains now-familiar Santa images including stockings filled with toys and fruit hung over a fireplace. In 1809, Washington Irving helped to popularize the Sinter Klaas stories when he referred to St. Nicholas as the patron saint of New York in his book, The History of New York. As his prominence grew, Sinter Klaas was described as everything from a "rascal" with a blue three-cornered hat, red waistcoat, and yellow stockings to a man wearing a broad-brimmed hat and a "huge pair of Flemish trunk hose."

'Twas the Night before Christmas

In 1822, Clement Clarke Moore, an Episcopal minister, wrote a long Christmas poem for his three daughters entitled, "An Account of a Visit from St. Nicholas." Moore's poem, which he was initially hesitant to publish due to the frivolous nature of its subject, is largely responsible for our modern image of Santa Claus as a "right jolly old elf" with a portly figure and the supernatural ability to ascend a chimney with a mere nod of his head! Although some of Moore's imagery was probably borrowed from other sources, his poem helped to popularize Christmas Eve – Santa Claus waiting for the children to get to sleep the now-familiar idea of a Santa Claus who flew from house to house on Christmas Eve – in "a miniature sleigh" led by eight flying reindeer, whom he also named – leaving presents for deserving children. "An Account of a Visit from St. Nicholas," created a new and immediately popular American icon. In 1881, political cartoonist Thomas Nast drew on Moore's poem to create the first likeness that matches our modern image of Santa Claus. His cartoon, which appeared in Harper's Weekly, depicted Santa as a rotund, cheerful man with a full, white beard, holding a sack laden with toys for lucky children. It is Nast who gave Santa his bright red suit trimmed with white fur, North Pole workshop, elves, and his wife, Mrs. Claus.

Shopping Mall Santas

Gift-giving, mainly centered around children, has been an important part of the Christmas celebration since the holiday's rejuvenation in the early 19th century. Stores began to advertise Christmas shopping in 1820, and by the 1840s, newspapers were creating separate sections for holiday advertisements, which often featured images of the newly-popular Santa Claus. In 1841, thousands of children visited a Philadelphia shop to see a life-size Santa Claus model. It was only a matter of time before stores began to attract children, and their parents, with the lure of a peek at a "live" Santa Claus. In the early 1890s, the Salvation Army needed money to pay for the free Christmas meals they provided to needy families. They began dressing up unemployed men in Santa Claus suits and sending them into the streets of New York to solicit donations. Those familiar Salvation Army Santas have been ringing bells on the street corners of American cities ever since.

A Santa By Any Other Name

18th-century America's Santa Claus was not the only St. Nicholas-inspired gift-giver to make an appearance at Christmastime. Similar figures were popular all over the world. Christkind or Kris Kringle was believed to deliver presents to well-behaved Swiss and German children. Meaning "Christ child," Christkind is an angel-like figure often accompanied by St. Nicholas on his holiday missions. In Scandinavia, a jolly elf named Jultomten was thought to deliver gifts in a sleigh drawn by goats. English legend explains that Father Christmas visits each home on Christmas Eve to fill children's stockings with holiday treats. Pere Noel is responsible for filling the shoes of French children. In Russia, it is believed that an elderly woman named Babouschka purposely gave the wise men wrong directions to Bethlehem so that they couldn't find Jesus. Later, she felt remorseful, but could not find the men to undo the damage. To this day, on January 5, Babouschka visits Russian children leaving gifts at their bedsides in the hope that one of them is the baby Jesus and she will be forgiven. In Italy, a similar story exists about a woman called La Befana, a kindly witch who rides a broomstick down the chimneys of Italian homes to deliver toys into the stockings of lucky children.

The Ninth Reindeer-Rudolph

Rudolph, "the most famous reindeer of all," was born over a hundred years after his eight flying counterparts. The red-nosed wonder was the creation of Robert L. May, a copywriter at the Montgomery Ward department store.

In 1939, May wrote a Christmas-themed story-poem to help bring holiday traffic into his store. Using a similar rhyme pattern to Moore's "'Twas the Night Before Christmas," May told the story of Rudolph, a young reindeer who was teased by the other deer because of his large, glowing, red nose. But, When Christmas Eve turned foggy and Santa worried that he wouldn't be able to deliver gifts that night, the former outcast saved Christmas by leading the sleigh by the light of his red nose. Rudolph's message—that given the opportunity, a liability can be turned into an asset—proved popular. Montgomery Ward sold almost two and a half million copies of the story in 1939. When it was reissued in 1946, the book sold over three and half million copies. Several years later, one of May's friends, Johnny Marks, wrote a short song based on Rudolph's story (1949). It was recorded by Gene Autry and sold over two million copies. Since then, the story has been translated into 25 languages and been made into a television movie, narrated by Burl Ives, which has charmed audiences every year since 1964.

Monday, December 22, 2008

The New Schiffer Book Has Official Title!

I will be doing a Christmas posting tomorrow, on how it all started. Too much going on today, getting galleys/edits mailed off to Schiffer Publishing, stopping by Creatures and Crooks Book Shoppe in Carytown in Richmond to drop off some signed books (including a copy of Haunted Richmond) for their giveaways, and baking to get done(I am so behind, thanks to edits). But today, I wanted to let all know that my new book to come from Schiffer next fall in 2009 has an official title. It is HAUNTED VIRGINIA: LEGENDS, MYTHS AND TRUE TALES.
So let me go. For those who been asking, if you want them out next fall as early as possible, let me get over to Fed Ex and get them sent off.Have a great Monday.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Today is Winter Solstice-Shortest Day of the Year

Today this is the Winter Solstice, also the shortest day of the year. In the link to the following article online, you can see that hundreds of druids, pagans, and tourists braved the gloomy weather this morning to gather at Stonehedge in England to celebrate the winter solstice.
Not being a winter person myself, still it is interesting to me how on two days each year is one for the shortest span the earth goes around the sun and the other for the longest day. Though in places like Alaska, they go into mostly days of darkness, and I am sure they can not wait for the shortest day to pass so that days will get longer and longer, bringing back more hours of light into their lives.
All this means to me, is that winter is officially here. A time to be indoors and read good books and good reason not to go out outside when the sun shines so I can do more writing.


Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Starting on Edits for My Legends and Myths Book

Letting everyone know that I might be able to squeeze in a Christmas blog before Christmas, but not much of anything else. I am now starting into edits with my editor for the new Schiffer book, (tentatively titled) Unique Legends, Myths, and True Tales of Virginia. It's a big book, so that will take my time away. And I have couple manuscripts I am working on too. Just letting anyone who reads this know.And with Christmas coming, which I spend with family, plus a book signing under my pseudonym, Sapphire Phelan, in Norfolk, Virginia this Saturday the 20th, I will be busy. But that is good--right?

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Please Read-Help Genre Bookstore, Creatures and Crooks in Richmond!

I got this in my email from a mystery author, Jennifer Stanley. I am contributing a couple of signed books and plan to be there on January 31st. I hope this reaches out to other authors out there. even artists--if you have a picture that is fantasy, scifi, mystery, or horror related--signed by you. If interested contact Jennifer Stanley at If you live in Virginia, or call the store and order ( to have it delivered to you, please do so. You can be entered for a chance to win some nifty prizes. Their phone number is 804-340-0277, or toll-free: 888-533-5303. Their address: 3156 West Cary Street Cary Court Park & Shop Richmond, VA 23221.

Here's her email ands please pass it on to others:
Hello! I am a mystery author living in Richmond and have been writing other authors in hopes of soliciting help for a beloved Richmond independent book store. I'm sure you know Lelia Taylor, the kind-hearted proprietor. Hundreds of authors love her store as she has hand-sold many of our titles. I had a signing there recently recently and she began to cry and said that she may have to close the store. I was very upset on her behalf!

She asked if I could think of an event that might bring folks into the store and help her pay the rent. I am planning to host a benefit for the store on Jan 31st and was wondering if you could attend. The Event: Saturday, January 31st from 1-4. Come for books, sugar-laden treats, and door prizes.

Who’s Involved: In short, over one hundred authors from across the country contributed to the dozen fabulous raffle prizes to be given away on the 31st. This event will be the culmination of a month-long contest in which customers will earn a raffle ticket for every $25 they spend during the month of January. (This includes phone customers). Weekly prizes will also be given away. These prizes will include signed books from authors in the field of mystery, fantasy, horror, nonfiction, and children’s fiction.

The authors attending the January 31st event at the bookstore as of this date are Katherine Neville, Donna Andrews, Ellen Crosby, Maria Lima, Ellen Byerrum, Andy Straka, Joseph Guion, John Gilstrap, Austin S. Camacho, Maggie Stiefvater, and J.B Stanley. We are also getting contributions from big names in our field, including a vampire basket from Charlaine Harris, a character donation from Margaret Maron, gold and sapphire earrings from Denise Swanson, a Carolyn Hart prize, a culinary basket including goodies from Joanne Fluke, a Tiffany necklace and much, much more.

If you can't attend, would you consider mailing me a signed book or another prize donation? And if you know any other authors in your genre who might get involved, would you pass them this message? Thanks so much!

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Sci-Fi’s Grand Old Man Forrest J Ackerman Dies

Forrest J. Ackerman passed away Thursday. Read more at the link below. I have one of his books, signed, thanks to a good friend of mine who's a friend of his and interviewed him countless times. It is time to bow our heads down for another legend that passed away.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

You Can Preorder Anthology My Story, "Misery Loves Company" Is In

I have horror short story (ghost), "Misery Loves Company" to be in the following anthology coming January 2009 for $16.00, published by R J Buckley Publishing. Preorder it at .

When it is out it will be available on Amazon and in brick and mortor bookstores.
The World Outside the Window
by 19 authors in the Amazon Shorts Pgram

Imagine, if you will, a building of unknown origin. A building in which there are many rooms, each with a window that looks out upon a courtyard and a scene beyond.

In each room a person sits, staring out the window at the same people and objects that everyone else sees from their windows. Yet, as we tell our stories of what we see, we learn a basic truth of the universe. We learn that even though our eyes survey identical scenes, our minds take us to places that only we as individuals know and remind us of stories that only we can tell.

Outside the window we see a winding country lane leading into the distant countryside. We see two boys, perhaps 10 or 12 years old, tossing a baseball to each other. A girl of maybe 7 or 8 swings on a schoolyard swing set, while two lovers walk hand in hand along the side of the road. A ramshackle old mailbox sits on a slanted post, and nearby there is an old car, possibly from the ‘50s - appearing to be in good running condition. We see a church steeple and an older woman walking along the side of the road, seemingly headed for the church. A young soldier stands still, his face is pensive, and it is plain to see that he has much on his mind. Two men are in a heated discussion about something, but from inside our window we can only guess at what is causing their turmoil. Nearby a beautiful girl sits on a park bench, weeping. An old dog lies on the grass, peaceful and serene, watching a puppy frolicking through a flower bed. As day changes to evening and then to night, we see a twinkle in the sky. A falling star, perhaps a starship?

Yes, the characters are there for us, waiting, making no comments that will give us any clue as to who they are or what they may be doing. They are waiting for us to cast them in their roles, to give them direction. We can use one or all of them. We can make them walk down the country lane, drive the car, or follow along behind the woman as she heads for the church. It is our world to create, and we have total control of everything in it. Whatever happens, we make it happen. Loves, lies, war or peace, death or life, shackled to earth or bound for the stars, it is in our hands to decide their fate.

We sit at the window, taking in the complexity of the scene before us and after a few hours of pondering, we sit back and relax as we use our mind’s eye to peer into a world that we will shape into anything we wish it to be.

Slowly, we begin. We pick up our pens and write our stories of the world outside the window.


FALLEN STAR, RISING STAR – Mark Terence Chapman
SMILE – Anthony Waugh
THE SILVER LINING – Rebecca Buckley
THE BLACK ROSE – Woodrow Walker
THE SPLIT MIND – Robert A. Meacham
NEAL’S NOEL – Jay Osman
THE MAILBOX – Larry L. Evans
ETUDE & SMOKE RINGS – Lana M. Ho-Sheing
TWILIGHT – Matthew Alan Pierce
HOUSE ARREST – Richard Lord
ST – E. Don Harpe

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Review of X-Files: I Want to Believe DVD

I didn't get to see this film in the theaters this past summer, so wanting to rent the Blu-ray version of it, I made sure I was at Blockbuster at 10AM. First, they separated deliveries for regular DVDs and the High Defs. I came back at 11:15AM, only to find they only got Wanted in Blu-ray only. I went ahead and got me the regular DVD of X-Files: I Want to Believe.
I had seen reviews of it and saw that it seemed more watered down from the TV show and even the first film. But I still enjoyed it. This time, instead of the alien thread, they used one of those stand alone horror episodes made into a movie. The villain in this piece didn't scare me much, except during one scene when he watched one of his victims to be get out of a pool and sunk into the water, with a nasty grin. But the actor didn't make his character evil enough. Yes, he disgusted me, considering what he was having done to the women he kidnapped. But no, not heart stopping evil.
David Duchovney was Mulder, though Gillian Anderson seemed more watered down at first form the way she played Scully in the series. Then toward the end of the film, she brought back the feisty Scully I knew.
If you're looking for perfection, for the best of X-Files when the series was at its hey day, then you will be disappointed. But if you are a fan, I promise you you will enjoy this movie.
I give X-Files: I want to Believe 3 1/2 dragons.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Nothern Haunts Anthology May Soon Be Available!

I am excited! From Shroud Publishing's MySpace blog: Northern Haunts has taken so long because we had to edit and typeset over 300 pages of text. We are awaiting on proofs, once approved the trade paperback will be going out very soon. The hardcover version will be shipped out before Christmas.
If you haven't preordered this nifty horror anthology, you can do so at, in either trade paperback and hardcover. When upu purchase this book, all proceeds from the sale goes to the American Cancer Society. This book will make a great Christmas gift. I have my flash fiction horror tale, "Pukwudgies: Little Monsters of New England" included in it.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Being a Jedi and Photo of My Book at Barnes and Noble

Saturday, November 23rd, I joined my husband, Bill, and we joined others from Freedom Base of the Rebel Legion and Garrison Tyranus of the 501st and dressed in our Star Wars costumes for Toys R Us' Toys for Tots campaign kick-off. From Noon to 2PM we walked around the store and took pictures with those who wanted a picture with us, mostly children. There were even children who came in dressed in Star Wars costumes. I wished I had my camera with me for when one tiny tot dressed as Yoda was there. He was so cute! I think the actual Yoda would be much bigger than this minute version.
I am sharing one picture I did get taken when we all went back to the warehouse part of the store to get out of costume. I am with Darth Vader, crossing lightsabers.
The other photo is of my book, Haunted Richmond, on a shelf at Barnes and Noble at Chesterfield Towne Center, facing out when the others in the case weren't. I guess that means the book is selling well for them to do so. How cool is that? I also had another book, Shifting Desires, in the romance section, that my novella, Beast Magic is in, written under my pseudonym, Sapphire Phelan. I took a photograph of that, to be posted on my sapphire Phelan blog.

Monday, November 24, 2008

I'm Being Interviewed on Deborah Collard's Radio Show NAPS Live Radio "Haunted Southern Nights" Tomorrow Night 11/25

I will have an interview with Deborah Collard's Radio Show NAPS Live Radio "Haunted Southern Nights" Tuesday, November 25th. The time is 9PM Eastern/8PM Central. The link is and the phone number to call in is 718-664-9681.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The Manuscript for New Schiffer Book Is In the Mail!

I am so happy! The manuscript (with photo inserts), captions for the photos, the 45 photos, and more are on CDs and on their way to Schiffer Publishing. That means it will be out next fall. The working title is Unique Legends, Myths, and True Tales of Virginia. For now, that's all it is, until approval by Schiffer. But I can celebrate tonight with a glass of something strong as I watch my new Blu Ray DVD of Wall*E.
Then tomorrow, I go back to work on a couple of other projects.But the Schiffer manuscript for the new book is done and sent off.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

A Paranormal Experience at the Bunnyman Bridge in Clifton, Virginia

Today, my husband drove me to retake a few photos of places and statues in Richmond and then, up to Clifton, Virginia where the Bunnyman Bridge is. The statues and the White House of the Confederacy were taken in black and white before and I wanted them in color for Schiffer. The Bunnyman Bridge, because we had went to wrong Colchester Road back in October. This time we found the infamous Bunnyman Bridge on the right Colchester Road, which is off Fairfax Station Road
We drove right up to it. The railroad tracks rode over it, covered with weeds, and you can drive through it to the other side of the road. Bill parked right there in the road and lucky for us, no other vehicle was behind us. I got out and walked up to it to take some photos. What I didn't expect was the weird feeling that overwhelmed me, like someone was watching me, a crazy, itchy feeling that gave me chills. Even wilder, after I took several pictures I caught a weird blue light that began to form in one picture, moved in another, and in the third one became a bright blue orb just above the entrance. The rest of the photos I took before it had nothing in it, or the couple after. This was in the bright daylight at Noon. Not night time when most orbs are photographed, but in the daytime. The last picture will be in the book and I hope they will use it for the cover. So I won't be using it on today's blog so you can see it too, just the first two.
I ran back to the car, gave Bill my camera, and grabbed my electronic voice recorder , pacing back to do a minute of recording. I haven't uploaded that yet to see if anything was recorded. Funny thing, before I recorded on the evp, I asked if anyone was there, a sudden wind swept into the tunnel, scattering leaves like mad. I had the feeling I was not alone.
I headed back to the car as Bill couldn't be parked in the middle of the street forever. Sooner or later someone would come down that small road and besides, we had to get back to Richmond to get front brakes for the car as they kept grinding whenever the car stopped. Someday I will return to the bridge though, maybe with others to investigate further. It's not the Bunnyman--that's only a myth, but from other paranormal investigators who checked it out before, they had gotten voices on recorders and more, and my photos, there is more going on with the Bunnyman Bridge than an urban legend of an insane murderer in rabbit costumes.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Writer's Conferencde Tomorrow,Writing, and Cool News About My Son

Been a busy day for me, with separating signed books and other gifts and promo from countless authors for tomorrow's Super Charge Your Writing! Conference. The conference is being held at the Williamsburg Public Library which is located at 515 Scotland Street in Williamsburg, Virginia.
The speaker is multi-talented writer, publisher and speaker Debra Dixon Author of Goal, Motivation and Conflict: The Building Blocks of Good Fiction, a must have for any fiction writer, Ms. Dixon will present a roll-up-your-sleeves, dig-in-deep workshop including elements for plot and character development that will take your writing to a new level.

If any writer here is interested in coming to this, here is the prices at the door:

Registration Prices:

Chesapeake Romance Writers/Virginia Romance Writers member: $70.00

Romance Writers of America member: $80.00

Non-members: $85.00

The schedule for the day will be:

9:00 am – Registration/Check-In (In auditorium lobby)

All pre-registered attendees will receive a pre-printed name sticker, a notebook, and a program.

9:30 am – Opening remarks (Auditorium)

10:00 am – Deb Dixon GMC Workshop begins (Auditorium)

10:00 am – Editor/Agent appointments begin (You will be directed to the appropriate room upon arrival)

Noon – 90 minute break for lunch (All attendees are on their own for lunch. There are several restaurants with a wide variety of offerings within two miles of the facility)

1:30 pm – Workshop resumes

2:00 pm – Editor/Agent appointments resume

4:00 pm – Workshop ends/gift basket raffle drawing

Things you need to know:

There will be no breakfast or coffee served at the library. It is suggested to stop on the way in. There will be water available for all attendees throughout the day.

There will be a gift basket raffle held at the end of the day. I got some books signed by the authors and other nifty gifts in the mail and swill be bringing them in that morning. I will have a gift basket for giveaway too, with copy of Shifting Desires by my pseudonym, and two other Phaze Books authors, plus a signed copy of Haunted Richmond too. Tickets will be on sale throughout the event. Please have cash on hand if you wish to purchase raffle tickets. Drawing will be held directly after the close of the workshop.

Anyway, I am now winding down, checking my email, and when hubby gets home, pack all things in the car, so I can just get up in the morning early and take off. So no blog, other than this. I have been busy this week working on photo inserts and captions into the finished manuscript for the next Schiffer book as that has to be sent to them. And I wrote a 7540 word speculative fiction short story for Under the Moon, submitted it, and it was accepted for their next Evil Overlords issue.

One last piece of good news. My son, Chris, passed the National Guard test, now we're waiting for a waiver for his bad hearing in one ear. So, everyone pray this gets done and comes back quickly to the recruiter. My son will have a job, with training for something he has never done before-mechanics, and be stationed here in Chester, Virginia when he is done with boot and schooling.

Got to go now--bought a French Silk chocolate pie with whipped cream topping from Ukrops Supermarket to celebrate with him for passing it.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

I Voted-Did You? Free Goodies for Voting Too!

Did you vote today? I did. I got up at 5:30AM, thinking I would get there about 6AM or shortly after.But when I saw the line stretching out to the street and all the cars parked everywhere, not just in the elementary school's parking lot, I went back home. It's raining here today and I could not find my umbrella anywhere, and didn't relish standing out in the rain, getting soaked.. Well, after I ate a breakfast of yogurt, I drove back after 7AM and the line outside was gone. I parked and walked inside. Within about maybe 15-20 minutes and wearing a 'I Voted' sticker, I had voted and was walking out the door.
I drove over to Starbuck's and
got my free small coffee for voting. Yes, you can get a free coffee from them, just for doing your civic duty! There's many other places across the nation giving away free stuff and discounts too. For you out there who still have that sticker, check out these links to see how you too can get these nifty things.
Now, get out there and VOTE!

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Please Read: On Forrest J. Ackerman

I got this email from my author friend, Deborah Painter, who is friends with Forrest Ackerman. I met him twice in my life, once had lunch with him and friends at a convention in Northern Virginia. If you ever heard of him, he is big in world of SF/fantasy/horror and first editor of Famous Monsters of Filmland magazine. Here's his myspace: and about him:
Please pass this on to those you might think interested too. And send him a card. I plan to.

Hi, all,

Sorry for the mass posting. I wanted you to know our Uncle Forry is battling pneumonia and congestive heart failure. He is home now from the hospital and being cared for 24 hours a day. Send cards to 4511 Russell Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90027 as soon as you can. Joe Moe says it will mean a lot, But please don't make calls because he is resting. Thank you.


Thursday, October 30, 2008

Read This Halloween Tale If You Dare! HAPPY HALLOWEEN to My Readers.

HAPPY HALLOWEEN! The ghouls, vampires, ghosts, and werewolves are free, roaming the night and searching for poor mortals to devour and possess. In honor of my favorite scary night, enjoy this horror story of mine that had been published once. See what happens to one old man on Halloween. Beware though: it is copyrighted to me and so can not be taken off here and put on any other website. But do send the link to friends though so they can come here and read it too.


Give Me Something Good To Eat


Pamela K. Kinney

“Trick or treat! Smell my feet! Give me something good to eat!”
Halloween time again, when all those damn kids knock on his door and asked, no, demanded, candy, money, and other assorted treats. But he’d be double-damned if he’d break down and give the little hellions anything. In his opinion, these days the only thing the brats deserved was nothing. Nothing at all.
The knocking at his door escalated, becoming a persistent pounding. Jonas Perkins flung open the door and found two small children, maybe five or six, standing on his porch. One dressed as a witch, the other a Power Ranger. Their loud, obnoxious father, Pete Quarters from next door, had been the one who pounded on the door. He inched closer so that Jonas and he stood practically nose to nose.
“Hey, Perkins!” said Quarters. “Didn’t you hear Jenny and Parker knock? It’s Halloween, you know.””
Jonas snorted and glared at Quarters from under his bushy eyebrows. “Yeah, I heard. But I decided not to give out candy to any kids this year. I thought the Dental Association would have one less idiot handing out sugar products and causing cavities. Felt it was my civic duty.”
Quarters’ piggish eyes narrowed. “Are you going highbrow on me, Perkins? It’s Halloween and I’m sure that my kids’ dentist won’t mind them having some candy. I should know, as he gave them a couple Snickers bars each when we stopped at his place, so why should he care if you give them something?”
“Well, I didn’t get any candy so I am not giving them, or any other little monster, anything tonight. And that’s that. So no one better play a trick on me either, or I’ll call the cops. Understand?”
Jonas slammed the door shut on Quarters and his kids, locking it.
“Stupid idiots and their brats,” he muttered, as he stalked into the living room and thumped down in his favorite chair in front of the television set. Picking up the remote, he surfed through endless channel after channel, but could only find monster movies, how to make Halloween treats on the Cooking Channel and the history of Halloween on the History Channel.
With a click, he turned the TV off and tossed the remote onto the end table with disgust.
“Nothing but Halloween crap on tonight.”
And nothing but Halloween crap to his thinking as the door bell kept ringing and he answered it. Kids dressed in costumes of all types, from vampires and werewolves to ghosts, super heroes, and silly princesses stood with their bags held up, the light spilling onto their masked or made up faces. Their parents waited just outside the reach of the porch light, hidden in the shadows of the night. He screamed at the little monsters, making them run and their mothers or fathers curse him, but he’d just slammed the doors on them all. After a while he sat in the darkened living room, ignoring the persistent bell. Finally, the door bell quit ringing and he relaxed in his chair.
He jumped up when instead of the bell ringing a loud knocking sounded at his door. At first he felt a flash of anger and wasn’t going to answer the door, but when he spied something on a table near him a nasty grin shaped his lips. He picked up a horn that he kept to bugle at birds in the spring that tried to get the grass seed that he seeded his front lawn with. Now, with his fingers curled around the horn, he strolled to the door.
“I’ll give you treat!” he yelled as he flung open the door with a laugh.
His fingers pressed the button on the horn and a loud high-pitched sound screamed out of it. He stopped, as he faced a trick-or-treater about his height. With another press of the button, he shut off the horn.
Dumbfounded at first, his face took on a dark, angry glower. “Aren’t you a little old to be trick-or-treating, you stupid nitwit?” he snarled.
The costumed figure just stood there, silent. Jonas’ gaze took in the costume and how well done it was. Tall and gaunt, threadbare iron gray pants hung loosely from its hips and it also wore a shirt rotted away in places, leaving dirt crusted holes. Dust covered most of the clothing and the large shoes on the feet looked like those that a clown would wear.
The skin gleam the same pale, chalky color as the crescent moon that hung in the night sky above. Long hands ended in long black nails, sharp like claws, and they grasped an extra large bag, like the kind that held grain or seed in the grain stores. But it was the make up job that impressed him the most. The flesh masked over the skull like a second skin. Not a speck of color touched its lips or cheeks, except a light gray color.
And the eyes! They dominated the features, like large black holes, with no consciousness peeping out of them.
Must be FX contact lenses, thought Jonas.
The lips parted in a dark smile, revealing a mouthful of cannibal-sharp fangs.
Jonas shivered, but not from the cool autumn breeze that drifted in from the outside. “If you’ll excuse me, I’m going to shut this door now. And no tricks, because you’re not getting any damn treats from me.”
He slammed the door shut on the figure’s face.
In a turnabout he found himself eye to eye with the strange trick-or-treater from outside. It stood there, blocking Jonas from the living room. Not one peep did it utter.
“What the hell?“ Jonas retreated back a couple of steps. “How did you get inside?”
The figure silently held up its opened bag.
Suddenly angry, Jonas snarled. “You want a treat, do you? Well, I’ll give you a treat. A treat like the smack from this horn I’m still gripping.”
He raised the horn up and brought it down. With no warning, the trick-or-treater grabbed the arm holding the horn and with a twist, broke it. The horn dropped to the floor, making a loud clatter. The trick-or-treater kicked it to the side.
Pain lanced through Jonas’ arm and he cradled it. Fear flitted across his face as he stared at the other.
“Oh, dear God,” he said. “What do you want?”
The other spoke for the first time. “You.”
It grabbed him quickly, not giving him time to escape, and after snapping a few bones to bend the body easier, shoved a dying Jonas into the bag.

The ghoul gave a nasty cackle and flung open the door, stepping outside into the cool night air. The pungent odors from candle-lit Jack-O-Lanterns on door steps and half-eaten candies thrown to the ground from costumed children wafted to its nostrils. But it didn’t think of those things, only of the meal it would enjoy tonight in its home in the mausoleum. Nowadays, Halloween made it so easy to hunt humans. They just thought of it as another costumed trick-or-treater.
It left the door open and skipped down the street to its home in the town cemetery. It sang, swinging the heavily loaded bag at its side.
“Trick or treat, smell my feet, and give me something good to eat!”

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


It’s coming,

Like a terrible thing

It’s scary,

Dark, and with a toothy grin.

So you better beware,

Have everything ready

Decorate appropriately,

For the end is near.

Just remember one thing,

It only comes but once a year

Halloween, costumed in orange and black,

A mask upon its gruesome face

Ringing your doorbell with persistence,

Innocent child or demonic being

Just feed it candy, just to be safe.

Trick or Treat.