Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The Other Side of me: Costuming--Star Wars Costumers at Barnes and Noble

A picture says a thousand words. And so, except for a few words here, let the photos above speak their piece. This happened Saturday, June 21st, at the Barnes and Noble 4600 Commonwealth Center Parkway in Midlothian, Virginia. Members of Garrison Tyranus (which is part of the 501st) and two Rebel Legion members (me and Rachel) trooped in costumes we had made at the Summer reading premiere. people with children came, took pictures with us, the kids made masks and had their face painted. There were games and one of the B&N staff read to some of the the children also. No, there is none of me in my jedi costume here--forgot to have someone take one of me.
The first picture is copies of my book, Haunted Richmond, signed, and sitting on the counter. The others are of Tyranus people in costume, or of the one of my husband tying his boot, getting out of it after trooping. The last one is of a little boy who came dressed as Obi-Wan Kenobi, with a white beard drawn on the lower part of his face. Isn't he adorable?
Anyway, enjoy.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Welcome Author Kim Richards and Her Novella, Death Masks Virtual Tour Stop

Book available at Eternal Press

Release Date: April 2008
Genre: Thriller
ISBN#: 978-0-9804739-4-0
Page Count: 111
Price: $5.95 U.S.

Bill Cristo takes up walking a per his doctor’s orders to lose weight and improve his health. While at the metro park, he witnesses an assault. The assailant turns on him and he wakes in the hospital with a nasty bump on his head, wondering why he isn’t dead.

The news reports nothing on any attack in the metro park but Bill can’t let it go...not when he realizes there are other young men missing from the same area. He digs up what he can on his own, drawing further attention from the murderer. Will he be able to figure out who the killer is before it reaches his live-in girlfriend?


“Shhh. Please listen.” Her words dropped to a trembling whisper.
“What’s wrong?”
“I’m scared.”
Bill hesitated a moment, thinking she might go on.
“Bill?” She sounded so small and vulnerable. He immediately wanted to reach out through the phone and pull her close. He longed to make whatever it was better.
“I’m here, Hon. What’s going on?” He shut down his computer as he talked.
“Someone keeps calling me.” Once she started speaking, her words came fast and clipped. “At first he kept hanging up. No heavy breathing or anything so I decided it must be those kids next door.”
“He? How do you know it’s a guy?” Bill used one hand to hold the phone and the other to begin stuffing his things into his carry bag.
“Because…” Dampened, low sounds came over the phone.
Oh God, she’s crying.
“Because I know what a man's voice sounds like. This last time, just a minute ago, he said I’m next.”
“Next for what?” As Bill said the words, he’d already guessed the answer. All the clues were in place, the footprints on the porch, the maniac figuring out Bill knew about him, and now the calls to Dix. He didn’t hear her answer.

Author Bio:
Kim Richards lives in Northern California; with wedding plans for May 2009. She writes horror, fantasy, erotica and science fiction, as well as non-fiction chapters and articles. She has seen one children’s story published and Death Masks is her first thriller. For more information on all of her published works, check out her website at www.kim-richards.com

Kim is an avid costumer and amateur bellydancer. She loves her coffee. She works as an editor for MyShelf Reviews and for Eternal Press as an author, editor and marketing manager. You can find her at Facebook, MySpace, Livejournal and Goodreads under the user name Kim_Richards.

Thank you, Kim Richards, for agreeing to an interview on my blog.

1.) What is a death mask?
Throughout the ages, man often made masks of the deceased faces. It is a way of honoring the dead and, before photographs became available, to preserve the visage of the deceased person for the living to view. There are many in museums around the world including some famous people such as Agamemnon, Cromwell, Edison, Newton and Volaire. During my recent trip to Germany I discovered several in museums including the last Teutonic Knight Hochmeister, Archduke Eugen, and two rulers: Frederic II and Frederic Wilhelm IV. .

I made a plaster cast of my own face to use for promoting Death Masks
and the detail of the features surprised me. The death masks I had the opportunity to see also had great detail. FYI: the one I did of myself is technically called a Life Mask since I am still living.

2.) What does a death mask have to do with the book?
One thing many serial murderers have in common is collecting something from their victims. In this story the killer makes a death mask of each victim. It’s also intended to be a play on the words since there is something unexpected about the murderer revealed at the very end so the fact that the identity remained hidden is a kind of mask.

3.) Why did you decide to write this book? What inspired you?
I wrote the first draft while living in Ohio, across the street from a metro park. Having come from the wide open spaces of New Mexico, the dense trees of Ohio and steep areas struck me as places to dump a body. Often in the news, people were found days after driving off into one of these areas. I did talk with the park rangers near me and found out they try to keep any assaults or other problems occurring in the parks under wraps so that people will feel safe in coming there.

4.) Why a story about a serial killer? Aren’t those overdone (SPOILER ANSWER)?
I decided early on I wanted my protagonist to be someone different than those you find in a lot of thrillers. Bill is an IT computer support tech instead of a detective or someone with law enforcement experience. His curiosity keeps him on the trail but his lack of experience causes him to make mistakes.

5.) The murderer is female. Her sex isn’t revealed until the last chapter. In the opening scene it is left unclear she is even human.

6.) Why a female murderer? (SPOILER QUESTION)
Women serial murderers tend to be better at killing than their male counterparts. They go for longer periods of time before being caught, with higher body counts for several reasons: they seldom talk about their crimes to anyone, they tend to take choose less violent ways of death, and for women—many of their killings are viewed as mercy deaths and therefore more acceptable to society. For example: the woman whose elderly relatives die in her care. The rest of her family may not realize she poisoned them, thinking they passed on of old age. I find that concept extremely chilling.

7.) Why did you decide to publish Death Masks with an e-book publisher (Eternal Press)?
I find every path to publishing valid in one form or another. My first book came out as under a print on demand format because I had the opportunity to do it free. I do editing for Eternal Press and so took the opportunity when offered to me to try my hand at an ebook. It may not be the best choice for every book but I believe a good one for this story. I prefer to form my own opinions about such things with a little of my own experience.

8.) Tell us about the book trailer for the novella?
My fiance, William Gilchrist filmed it for me using ideas we brainstormed together. The music is from a death metal band from my hometown of Roswell, New Mexico. I wanted a rougher sound since this is not a happy, fluffy story. The neat thing is the band, Children of a Lesser God, and I are working together to promote ourselves. It’s opened up some interesting opportunities. They will be taking touring all summer and Death Masks goes with them.

9.) What else have you published recently?
August of 2007 saw a book called The Complete Guide to Writing Science Fiction released from Dragon Moon Press. I wrote the chapters on world building and sub-genres. Presently I am writing a chapter for the same editors on Celtic Magic for a book on writing fantasy magic expected for fall 2008 release.

April 2008 Death Masks
came out, and towards the end of the month, an anthology of dragon stories titled, Firestorm of Dragons. Firestorm is from DragonMoon Press. I have a story in this one about what dragons really do with all those maidens who get sacrificed to them.

Then in the fall of 2008, I have an entry in a Twisted Twins horror themed desk calendar. Yep. I got the January 1 spot!! It’s the New Year’s Resolutions of a serial killer (intended to be funny).

10.) What are you working on now?
I have a horror novel tentatively titled, Holy Blessed Homicide, which I am revising. It is also out in submission.

I am also in the first rewrites of a story about the Amazon warrior women from the region of Turkey. It was my 2007 nanowrimo project but I have two more in the series planned. The first of which is brainstormed and the first few chapters written.

14.) Do you have a book coming out? If so what? Do you have a web site? Do you have a blog? My space?

Death Masks is available from Eternal Press. I also have a story out in an anthology of dragon stories by another publisher.

To check out the trailer for Death Masks. The metal band is from my home town, Roswell, New Mexico. You can watch it here:

My website is: Kim Richards
You can also find me at Myspace, Livejournal, Facebook, Blogger, Good Reads and Writer’s Chatroom. All under the username Kim_Richards.

Thank you for taking the time to answer our questions for my blog. Good luck with your writing.

Here is my review for the novella:

Kim Richards’ horror novella, Death Masks, starts off with a bang, as a jogger is murdered by a killer. Then it switches next to slow, but comfortable, like an old pair of shoes. We get to know the main character, Bill Cristo, learn how he must lose weight, and meet his coworkers and his live-in girlfriend, Dixie. When Bill decides to start exercising, by walking a path in a park near his place, he runs into what he thinks is someone trying to rob a man. When he tries to be a hero, he is forced to the ground and gets a good look at the eyes of the attacker, through the ski mask. His next sight of the unconscious victim reveals the man isn’t knocked out, for his eyes are wide open and showing hopelessness and terror. Bill’s own panic escalates at that point, when something strikes the side of his head and he falls into darkness.
This is the story of an ordinary American man. He has the life through day-to-day today, he’s overweight, he decides to make a change for a healthier lifestyle by exercising, there’s love in his live with a beautiful woman and he works at a job that isn’t specila, but needed to survive. But when Ms. Richards blends in the terrifying circumstances of murder, suddenly Bill’s life is not so ordinary. There’s more at stake than being overweight that might kill him. Murder might kill him a lot sooner than a heart attack. And he’ll learn that everyone around him wears masks to cover their real faces.
This is the kind of murder mystery with the touch of terror that will have you guessing to the end who the killer is. And like Bill, you may be very much surprised, if not horrified. A good summer read, just don’t read it before you go out jogging in the early evening at your local park. Because then you’ll wonder if the rustling in the bushes along the path is really a rabbit.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Review of The Nightwalker by Thomas Tessier, A Friend's Story Published and More

First, a good friend, Susan Schwartz got her short horror/dark fiction, "I Thought You Did" published at HorrorBound Magazine. You can read it at
. Then I want to let you know to come back tomorrow for the virtual blog tour stop of author Kim Richards and her novella, Death Masks. I will have a review of it, plus you can see the book cover, the author's bio and more. Then on Tuesday, June 24th, I will blog about what I did yesterday, along with my husband and members of the local 501st garrison, Tyranus and another member of the Rebel Legion. For a hobby, my husband and I do costuming: making and wearing costumes at conventions and at events. My husband as a Star Wars stormtrooper and me in jedi garb trooped with the others at Barnes and Noble in Midlothian, Virginia's Summer Reading event. There'll be pictures also. So be sure to cone back Tuesday.
Today, I am giving a quick review of two novellas in one book, The Nightwalker by Thomas Tessier. The Nightwalker is a werewolf tale. Never too sure if the main character, Bobby Ives, is becoming a true werewolf, or slowly falling deep into the descent of madness, Tessier takes this story with possible traditional people in the werewolf tale and moving them up to the 1970s and twisting them around.
Bobby is a Vietnam vet, now living in London, England. He exists on vitamins and hardly much else. His body may be getting healthier, but is his mind though? That's the question. Or is he cursed, maybe since birth, with the Vietnam war helping bring out the beast within you. A truly good story, it will make you think and wonder: how far beneath our human self is our beast waiting to awaken?
The next story, The Dreams of Dr. Ladybank, is the terrifying decent into madness. There is the gay man, Tony, who hears a voice and not sure if another side to himself or maybe broadcasted from elsewhere he becomes a female hooker to attract men, especially Snake, who we learn is also seeing the same shrink, Dr. Ladybank, that Tony is seeing. In more ways, this story is scarier than The Nightwalker, for this is truly the beast we all fear, waiting to get its hooks into us.
If ypu need a fast, scary read, then these two novellas in one book will give you something to read. Just be sure to read them during the day, surrounded by people. Otherwise,at night, these two 'beastly' stories just might hook your fears even more.
Get this book at http://www.amazon.com/Nightwalker-Thomas-Tessier/dp/0843960450/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1214151935&sr=8-1

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Did Article, Plus Featured at TrueGhostStory.Com

I am featured up at http://www.true-ghost-story.com. There's a link to an article I wrote about investigating Cold Bluff Battlefield back in April.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Ghost Hunting-Orbs in My Photos

Friday the 13th I went ghost hunting at the Poe Museum with other members of VASPER (Virginia Society of Paranormal Education and Research: http://ghosts.meetup.com/644/boards/ ). At one point, by Poe's childhood bed in one building, I dared anyone to touch me as I held out my EVP (digital voice recorder). Suddenly, my hands grew freezing cold. Later in the last room my group did tour of, a loud sound came from upstairs. The guide said it sounded like something fell, but it sounded more like a door slamming to me. Nothing in my pictures, though I haven't checked my DVD I recorded on my camcorder yet. Though I thought I heard something strange on my EVP, but I am waiting for my CD of digital wave that I ordered from Aamzon to come so I can upload the whole EVP to computer. Want to hear the Cold Bluff Battlefield one from April as that is the one the weird and wild stuff happened, including loads of orbs on the pictures I took. You can see the ranger in picture with orbs around him. Second picture is large orb in room at Berkeley Plantation. And last one is of my front yard on Frdiay the 13th.
Though a hobby more to me, it is an interesting one that I enjoy doing.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Beware! It's Friday the 13th!

It's Friday the 13th once again. For many reasons, people feel this is a day of bad luck. Not so for me, 13 is my lucky number. Over the years, I've won prizes and money with this number. Heck, I own a black cat! Tonight, I even go ghost hunting with Virginia Society of Paranormal Education and Research at the Poe Museum down in Shcokoe Bottom. Hopefully, I'll catch Chris Semter of the museum to get some myths about Poe for my myths and legends of Virginia book.

The fear of Friday the 13th is called paraskavedekatriaphobia, a word derived from the concatenation of the Greek words Paraskeví (Παρασκευή) (meaning Friday), and dekatreís (δεκατρείς) (meaning thirteen), attached to phobía (φοβία) (meaning fear). The term is a specialized form of triskaidekaphobia, a simple phobia (fear) of the number thirteen appearing in any case.

Both the number thirteen and Friday have been considered unlucky:
In numerology , the number twelve is considered the number of completeness, as reflected in the twelve months of the year, twelve recognized signs of the zodiac, the twelve tribes of Israel, the twelve Apostles of Jesus, etc., whereas the number thirteen was considered irregular, transgressing this completeness. There is also a superstition, thought by some to derive from the Last Supper, that having thirteen people seated at a table will result in the death of one of the diners.
Friday, as the day on which Jesus Christ was crucified, has been viewed both positively and negatively among Christians. The actual day of Crucifixion was the 14th day of Nisan in the Hebrew Lunar calendar which does not correspond to "Friday" in the solar calendar of Rome. The 15th day of Nissan (beginning at Sundown) is celebration of Passover.

In the 20th century, only did the superstition receive greater audience, as
Friday the 13th doesn't even merit a mention in E. Cobham Brewer's voluminous 1898 edition of the Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, though one does find entries for "Friday, an Unlucky Day" and "Thirteen Unlucky." When the date of ill fate finally does make an appearance in later editions of the text, it is without extravagant claims as to the superstition's historicity or longevity. Though the superstition developed relatively recently, much older origins are often claimed for it, most notably in the novel, The Da Vinci Code (and later the film), which traced the belief to the arrest of the Knights Templar on Friday October 13, 1307.

There is even said by a doctor that 21 million Americans have a fear of Friday the 13th in this day and age. It has been proven that the number of hospital admissions due to vehicular accidents was significantly higher than on "normal" Fridays. Does it keep most of them from ventruing out to work and more? No. Though I wouldn't be surpirsed if they carry a rabbit's foot in their purse or pocket, or something that they believe is lucky for them.

Whatever the case may be for those today, what do you believe? What plans are you making to do today for the 13th--stay home safe and sound or go out as usual? Do you believe in the 13th being a unlucky day or not?

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Recap of Life Through Literature…Where Characters Come to Life” Festival

As you see from the photo, I spoke at the Life Through Literature…"Where Characters Come to Life” Festival given by the Petersburg Library. Held in Popalor Lawn Park in Petersburg, Virginia Saturday, May 31st, it was at 2:30PM, and the day very hot and humid. But I enjoyed talking to the audience and answering questions posted to me. I talked about Haunted Richmond, Virginia, telling some of the stories in the chapters and even about doing ghost hunting with Virginia Society for Paranormal Education and Research and Central Virginia Psychic Development and Paranormal Research. Afterwards, my husband and I drove home, but not before checking out the two tables they had full of books the library was giving away for free to anyone.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Thinking Outside of the Box

Never say a yard sale isn't a new way to sign books, but also to give out business cards to people. I did the Starfleet Atlantic Sci-Fi Yard Sale Saturday, June 7th in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Before, when my husband and I go down to do this we just sold yard sale items. This year, istill brought some yard sale stuff, time, also my books I have stories and poems publsihed in, along with copies of Haunted Richmond, Virginia and Beyond the Four Walls chapbook, plus promo. Today, at this moment, Haunted Richmond, Virginia is #39 on Amazon.com.
I not only sold a copy of Beyond the Four Walls (which the cover artist, S. L. Wickham
, was there, sellig her art work) signed the cover for the person who got it, but I also sold what I had left of downloads of my erotic paranormal romance novella, Beast Magic I wrote as Sapphire Phelan on CDs and a copy of Haunted Richmond too. The space didn't cost me anything being a member of Starfleet Atlantic, I still spent time with good friends, had a super lunch of cookout burgers and hot dogs and more, and maybe got more people to know about me. One of those people was somone who works for a local Barnes and Noble, who says she would give my cards (both pen names) to her manager as they love local authors. Artist S.L. Wickham herself may have have a chance now to get her works in a local gallery, thanks to a customer who bought three of her prints. Keep your fingers crossed for her too, and do check out her link in this blog to check out her myspace site.

So next time, you the author or you the artist think, Why should I do a yard sale?, think outside of the box. It's another venue to sell your work and get your name out. Go beyond the bookstores or Amazon, beyond the galleries, and who knows what might happen. After all, it's a way to find out. Right?

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Review of Ghosts of Hollywood by Marla Brooks

Purchase this book at Schiffer Books/Ghosts of Hollywood

I grew up in California, and been to Los Angeles and Hollywood many times. Living in Virginia since 1985, I thought that this book would be interesting to read and it was.
With a past that reaches way back before the Spanish came to California, L.A and Hollywood has its share of ghosts and legends as much as Richmond, Virginia does. I had always stated that both California and Virginia are both very haunted states, due mainly to being settled not only by Native Americans, but by English settlers here and the Spanish on the West Coast. Blend Hollywood with a haunted Hollywood with movie stars and films being made, and you get an eclectic pot of ectoplasmic hauntings and weird stuff going on.
Living out there until 1985 I have heard some of the stories I read in the book, others I found out later, but there was still plenty of wonderful ghostly tales for me to read and discover.
Some favorites were Bela Lugosi’s daily walk past the intersection of Hollywood and Vine, how some of the ghosts from Hollywood Forever cemetery still visit the Paramount Studios next door, the Hollywood Wax Museum chapter, and the Hollywood Ghostly Urban Legends chapter. But I also enjoyed reading about all of the ghosts in here, including many that Marla and her friends encountered themselves. It’s a good book for October reading. It is also a great summer beach read, as you lie in the sand and sun yourself. Summer, Winter, Autumn or Spring, true ghostly tales are always good year round. This book is no exception.
So the next time you have the chance to go to California and tour Hollywood, buy this book and take a tour of a different kind. Yes, you can always take the normal tour of Hollywood stars’ homes or Universal Studios, or even eat at some of the places you seen in movies and TV shows. But why not do something way out of the norm and visit many of the haunted places that flavor this city, using this book as a guide. You just might see movie stars all right, just of the supernatural kind.
As it has been said, “All the world is a stage and the people merely actors”, and in Hollywood it seems that ghosts of celebrities never stop performing, especially for the living.

I give this book 4 dragons.