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50 Things About Me 

1. I have two favorite colors. In nature, I love any shade of green. In everything else, it's purple all the way, baby.

2. I am filled with hatred, fear and loathing for clowns. And people who dress up like clowns on purpose? Totally freak me out.

3. My Gramma Ruth died the April of my senior year in high school. I still miss her.

4. I like dogs a whole lot better than I like cats.

5. I like horses best of all, but I don't think I'll ever get to own one. My first time on a horse was when I was three years old. I still remember sitting up there in front of my mother, feeling like I owned the world.

6. I enjoy weird food combinations. My favorite is thick slices of cheddar cheese spread with red raspberry or strawberry jam. No bread or anything, just the cheese slices. Camembert with fig jam is an awfully close second.

7. I get vegetables at the store, or out of my garden, and I have every intention of using them, but I always lose confidence and think that whatever way I try to fix them, they'll taste gross, so they just end up on the compost pile.

8. I do judge books by their covers. Their titles, too. A good cover or a snappy title will get my attention every time.

9. I once ate an entire habanero pepper. It wasn't on a dare or anything, I just felt like it.

10. I LOVE a good dirty joke!

11. I've never been terribly fond of the color orange.

12. Natural blonde? Why yes.

13. It seems to have become a new fad to call people, especially people who are waiting on you (like, say, desk assistants in a library) by their first names. This makes me desperately uncomfortable – not because that means you know my name, but because I might someday need to know yours, and I am horrible at names. Horrible. I don't call people by their first names because I've screwed it up often enough to know better.

14. I always think I should learn a really useful hobby, like knitting. Often I forget that I already have a bunch of hobbies that are useful, like baking, gardening, canning, making herbal ointments, wine making, writing … I guess it's because I don't think consider those activities as hobbies. They're just things I do.

15. If I'm checking your books out, and I tell you they're due in three weeks, and you say airily, “Oh, they'll be back way before then,” guess what? I. Don't. Care. As long as they're back when they're due, I don't care. Don't. Care.

16. You know what I hate? Cutesy, punny book titles. Especially if they involve food. Or cats. “A Tale of Two Kitties”. “A Quiche Before Dying”. HATE. SUCK. HATE.

17. I totally stole the idea for this list from a blogger. I just thought it was cool.

18. I don't really understand blogging. I hugely enjoy some of the blogs I follow, especially The Bleat (James Lileks), Barefoot Foodie, and The Musical Fruit (Bejewell). But I don't really get it. Do some of them actually get paid for it? Or is all of it just “for the love”?

19. I have been completely bored by James Bond movies ever since Pierce Brosnan left.

20. This “50 Things” list thing is a lot harder than I'm making it look. Oh wait … that wasn't actually about me … drat.

21. I am really super duper hugely glad that I don't have kids.

22. Things I Just Don't Get:
a. Black Friday sales.
b. American Idol. (Sorry.)
c. SpongeBob Squarepants.
d. Sequels to horror movies that completely sucked ass the first time.
e. Michael Jackson. I didn't get him in the 80's, and I sure as HELL don't get him now.
f. Brussel sprouts.
g. Pretty much any book by Tolkien, especially the Lord Of The Rings books. Oh, I say I get them, because they seem to be hugely important to a great many people, including my husband, but really, I don't.
h. Any book by Danielle Steel, but for entirely different reasons.
I. Any book by Stephenie Meyer. (See “h”.)
Everything else in life I'm fairly clear on.

23. I really, really love my job, and I can't imagine myself doing anything else.

24. It bugs the crap out of me when people say the word “kyewpon”. It's spelled just like “soup”, people. You don't say “syewp”, do you? No, you don't.

25. If I could change one thing about my body, I'd make it so that I wasn't scared of needles.

26. When I first started writing, there were two things I absolutely had to have on the desk in front of me: Dr Pepper and pretzels.

27. I'd rather sit and read a book than do just about anything else. I don't watch much TV. I've got, like, this mental block – it's nothing to me to sit and read for two hours, but the idea of putting a DVD into the player and sitting on the couch and pushing the “play “ button just seems like... I don't know, like too much effort, I guess.

28. Sometimes I wish I could draw like the students in the art classes I model for. Even the cruddiest drawing by the worst “D” student is loads better than anything I do.

29. I make really, really good pizza.

30. My favorite gemstone is the opal. I think they're breathtakingly gorgeous. I just love how they're pristinely white, and delicately colored, and sparkly, all at the same time.

31. Guys with really curly hair (think Richard Simmons) creep me out. I don't know why – they always have.

32. Hey, clowns have unnaturally curly hair! I wonder if there's a connection there?

33. I love, love, LOVE making lists. I am All About The Lists.

34. Apparently, I am also All About The Inappropriate Capitalizations, too.

35. I could probably eat an entire Sour Cream Lemon pie in one sitting. Well, okay, maybe not in one sitting. But certainly over the course of an evening.

36. I am a recipe whore. I have boxes and boxes of recipes. I'll never use most of them, and I've come to accept that. I'll probably only use 10 percent of them during my lifetime. I just don't know which 10 percent of them I'll use, so I have to keep all of them.

37. I could give a crap less about football.

38. I consider dark chocolate covered marzipan to be the food of the gods.

39. My first celebrity crush was on Gregory Harrison (Dr. Gonzo Gates on Trapper John, MD). Hey, he lived in the parking lot! In a motorhome! Called the Titanic! What wasn't to like? I still have the autographed postcard he sent to me in response to my drooly fan letter.

40. I'm still perfectly capable of writing drooly fan letters, thankyouverymuch. I have an enormously patient husband, who doesn't mind at all that our kitchen is plastered with pictures of my secret boyfriends.

41. Whenever I get my hair cut short, I love it for about a day, then I want to grow it out. And when my hair's long, I want to cut it short and cute. I'm kind of a whiny little snot that way.

42. When I text-message my husband to say “I love you”, and he doesn't message me back RIGHTNOW, I get all paranoid, and I want to send him a text going, “Do you love me? Check one, ___Yes or ___No.” But I never do, because again? Paranoid! What if he checks the box marked No just to screw with me?

43. My greatest literary desire is to be nominated for a Stoker Award. I wouldn't even have to win – I just really, really want to be nominated.

44. I think pizza is pretty much the perfect food. That and gyros. And anything Mexican.

45. I cried at the end of the fifth season of Lost. (If you watch the show, you know what I'm talking about. And if you don't, I'm not going to ruin it for you.) But … okay, that scene in the jungle, where Juliet and Sawyer are discussing whether or not to blow up the bomb and put everything back to where it had been three years before. I was holding it together pretty well until she said, “If I never meet you, I’ll never have to lose you.” Sniff … sniff … BAAWWWLLLLLL!

46. The first movie I ever cried at was Terminator 2. Yeah, I know, I'm weird.

47. I am a rabid Weird Al Yankovic fan.

48. When I'm driving, and there are cars in front of me in both lanes, and someone comes blasting up behind me and passes me, then gets stuck behind the cars in the two lanes ahead of me, I always think the exact same thing every time: “Well, NOW where do you think you're gonna go? Dork.”

49. This started off as a “100 Things About Me”list, but I got bored halfway through.

50. There are a lot of super embarrassing things about me that I left off of this list.



     Ten years. A whole decade. That's how long Rob and I have been married. New Year's Eve was our anniversary. Holy cats, I've never even dated anyone for that long. How'd I end up married for ten years?

     We spent our anniversary at our good friends' house. We petted cats, chatted with friends, watched Ghostbusters (my idea!), and ate. OMG, did we eat. It was all appetizers, so we all felt like we were just, you know, nibbling. But the table was groaning with food, and after a couple of ours of talking and grazing, we were groaning too. I actually had to lay down in a darkened room for a while 'cause my poor tum was soooo full. That's where midnight found me, crashed out on the couch, whimpering softly. (Actually, I think I was finished whimpering at that point, and had fallen asleep.) Rob woke me up for a kiss at midnight. Then I dozed for a while longer. I think we toddled home at about one in the morning.

     I'm so glad Rob and I found each other. He's perfect for me and oddly enough, I seem to be perfect for him. We support each other, we complement each other, and most importantly, we put up with each other. The little things, the things that would have been total deal-breakers when we were dating, they turn out to be not such a big deal after all. I've found that after ten years, the little stuff really doesn't matter. His occasional temper, my forgetfulness, his coffee breath, my pathological inability to close kitchen drawers all the way -- none of that matters. All that matters is that he's there for me, and I'm there for him, no matter what. I can't imagine life without him, and life with him is so much richer than I ever could have imagined when we met. I love you more than anything, my Rob. Happy Anniversary!




     So yeah, this is my second full week of working a completely solid, jam-packed, crazy, "what the HELL was I thinking" schedule (forty-nine hours a week from now until the first week in December, but hey, who's counting?), and I'm already totally trashed. Gah. Thank heaven for weekends.

     And on Tuesday night I stayed up way past my bedtime. (I had a good excuse though. I was out ghost hunting.) I happened to have a bottle of an energy-shot type drink handy, so I put it next to the alarm clock. When the alarm went off way too early Wednesday morning, I grabbed the bottle, twisted off the cap, and slugged half of it down.

     This stuff's called Venom, and it's pretty new. It's put out by Dr Pepper, so I thought I'd give it a go. (I mean really, Dr Pepper? How bad could it be?) And you know what? It's actually pretty gosh-darned good! The energy drink tastes pretty much any other energy drink. But the energy shot is tasty. It's billed as a "cool shot" or some such, and the funky thing is that it really does have a cool flavor to it. Something like menthol, but without the burn. I have no idea how they do it, but it's neat. If I'm ever on a road trip and need a jolt (or heck, if I'm just draggin' butt during the week, maybe as soon as next month), I'm definitely going to look for it.

     If anyone from the Dr Pepper company is reading this, you're welcome. Go ahead and send all the freebies you want.




     Okay, so we go out last night for my birthday. (We were SUPPOSED to go out on Sunday, my ACTUAL birthday, but SOMEONE was out of town, so I just STAYED HOME that day instead. Insert Mr. Yuk face here.) So we're at Flat Top Grill at the Shoppes at Grande Prairie, and we're all chowing down on their stirfry (which is excellent), and I ask our waiter if they have any birthday specials. (I thought this would get me some cool nummies or schwag or something, since the waiter was quite easy on the eyes, and he seemed to like me. Also his name was Robert, which made me just the teensiest bit biased.) So he goes yeah, we have a birthday sundae. I didn't say cool, set me up immediately, but I did slow down some on noshing my stirfry, just in case I felt like having dessert.

     So after a while he brings me a small sundae, which is fine, French vanilla ice cream with chocolate sauce and whipped cream and chocolate shavings (do those count as sprinkles? 'Cause this story would be better if I'd gotten sprinkles). I set my strifry aside for today's lunch and started nomming the ice cream. Then he brought me the bill (which I had to pay anyways :P)

     They charged me. $2.99. For a birthday sundae. Which I could have skipped had I known it was going to cost me 3 bucks. I'm sorry,but isn't a birthday treat supposed to be free? You know, for your birthday?

     But then things got better. Sort of. I think.

     We all walked next door to the Border's, and I made a beeline for the Local Interest display, intending to show off my books, which is always a cheap thrill for me. There weren't any on the shelf. :( I saw books by my friend Larry Santoro, and a collection with a story by J.A. Konrath, and even one of David Youngquist's books tehre, but none of mine. Hubby immediately went up to the lady in charge of purchasing books, and asked her about getting some in, and why weren't there any on the shelf, blah blah woof woof. (Thanks for sticking up for me and being my knight in shining armor, sweet! (Makes up for sticking me with the bill at the restaurant. :P ) She said they didn't have any money to order more. 'Kay. Right.

     But then I realized that maybe it was a good thing that there weren't any of my books out on display at the moment. Maybe there weren't any books out there because they'd all been sold. Yeah, I'm going to go with that.

     And speaking of books, I made a decision last night as I was waiting to fall asleep. I'm not sure anyone really actually reads this part of the site. I mean, I know people  VISIT the site, but I don't know that anyone reads the blatherings. At least not the way I read, say, James Lileks' daily output (which is to say religiously). So here's a challenge for you. Be the first person to email me after you read this. There's a way to email me on the front page. Email me, tell me how your day's going, tell me about your pets, whatever, I don't care. Make something up if you like. If you're not the first person, I'll tell you so. (And I'll be nice about it.) But if you ARE the first person, I will send you an absolutely free, signed copy of my latest horror book, BORROWED FLESH, which is coming out at the end of September.

     So! There's your assignment. Hope to hear from you soon. And until I do, have a lovely day.



     I think one of my cats might be dead.

     Maybe I should explain that a little better. This morning, I had to find all three of my cats to dose them with flea preventative. I rounded up Sekhmet and Ophelia, but Oberon wasn't anywhere to be found. He wasn't in any of his favorite napping places, and he wasn't in front of the food dish (his favorite place of all). I went on about my day, making a mental note to dose Oberon when he showed up.

      Later on, I mentioned to Rob that I hadn't seen Oberon all morning. He did much the same thing -- mental note, gee, Oberon's not around, wonder where he might be. By mid-afternoon, though, we were both starting to get a little concerned. It's really, REALLY hot here at the moment, and we thought he might be hiding out in the basement, where it's much cooler. But we had both been all over the house, attic to basement, and we couldn't flush him out for nothin'.

     Rob decided to search outside, because every once in a while, Oberon likes to sneak out the door when we take the dogs out. He never actually GOES anywhere once he slips out. He finds himself outside and kind of freaks out, really, because it's so open and big and scary. But he THINKS he wants to be out there.

     Rob came to me a little later and said, "I think I found Oberon, and if it's him, he's dead. He got hit by a car."

     He didn't want me to go out, but I said, "I have to look. I have to KNOW." After promising Rob I wouldn't lose it until after we got the situation cleaned up, I made him show me where the cat was.

     Here's where it gets weird. There was indeed a dead cat on the corner over by the church, less than a block from our house. It had grayish-brown fur, and it was about the same size as Oberon. But this cat had obviously been dead for much, much longer than a day. (Just ... trust me on this one, okay? Like I said, it's been HOT.) The neighborhood kids confirmed this for us, saying the cat had been there since last Sunday or Monday.

     I don't think it's him. I really don't think it's him. He never goes that far if he slips out, and he never goes in that direction -- he usually sneaks around the other side of the house and promptly gets lost in his own yard, usually even before he leaves the porch. But it's the same size, much the same coloring, and we haven't seen him in hours. I keep thinking he's going to come strolling down the basement steps, switching his tail because he knows he's not supposed to be down there. If he shows up, great. If he doesn't show up ... well, then we're going to have to assume the worst.

     We left the cat where it was. I felt horrible leaving it there, in case it really IS Oberon. I told Rob, though, I'd feel really freakin' weird if we scooped up the dead cat, and Oberon turned up later. I don't know how I'd feel about that. (Besides totally weirded out.)



      Yeah, yeah, I know. It's been a while. But boy oh boy have I got a good rant this time.

     Someone tried to kill me on the  way home. It wasn't intentional -- it very seldom is -- but it was a bit nerve-wracking. I was in the right lane, minding my own business (as usual!), and the car in the left lane decided to just drift on over. They weren't passing anyone, they just decided they'd rather be in the other lane. Luckily, they used their turn signals : P. I saw the blinky red light, but it was too late to slow down, and I didn't want to grab my brakes anyways. So I cranked on the throttle and (very smoothly and neatly, I might add) accelerated out of the car's path. I looked back, and there they were, comfortably putting along in the right lane behind me.

     I hope they actually noticed there was a motorcycle ahead of them that until VERY RECENTLY had been right next to them.

     I hope I gave them a fucking heart attack.

     And then I came home and let the dogs , both of whom have been having digestive issues (think soft-serve ice cream) for the past day and a half, out of the bedroom. And that's when I saw that one of them had gotten up ON THE BED and taken a nasty messy wet crap, and a healthy piss. Oh joy. Oh rapture.

     But it's cleaned up now, I've sprayed the heck outta the mattress with fabric refresher, tossed the sheets in the washer, and washed my hands, so now everything smells like unicorns and pixie dust.

     On the bright side, I don't have to work tomorrow. So I'm going to go on a loooong bike ride, pick some mulberries, and see if I can't find some of those lovely plums on the Rock Island bike trail. It's my present to myself after having to clean up dog crap. (Okay, I had this trip planned for a week, but that sounds good.)




     Well, this has been a busy week!  I've been out picking grapes (of which there aren't very many this year) and elderberries (of which there are loads).  I've started another batch of elderberry wine, and it's merrily bubbling away.  The neighbors already know I'm a bit odd -- they're getting used to seeing me sitting on the front porch doing inscrutable things with small fruit.

     R. and I just got back from visiting his folks in southern Illinois.  It was, unfortunately, just a quick fly-by visit.  The real reason we went down was so that I could borrow my brother-in-law's motorcycle, a Kawasaki Ninja 250.  I spent the whole ride down stoking my own paranoia.  I mean, this is the bike I'm supposed to ride and fall in love with, so that maybe someday I can have one of my very own.  The Ninja is smaller than the KLR I've been riding (but it's lots faster), and it's far more affordable than the Ducati Multistrada (my current lust object -- see previous post).  I felt like I was going into an arranged marriage, and I was nervous!  What if I don't like it?  What if I get there (after dropping the KLR off at my sister-in-law's house for her to borrow)and I can't even ride it?  What'lI I do then?

     Okay, I'm in love.

     Finally, finally I'm riding a bike that actually does well on the highway!  The KLR will get up to 85 or 90, but it's not happy about it.  It'll go, but it screams like a wounded thing at anything much over 60.  On the other hand, we cruised at 75, 80 the whole way home, and the Ninja didn't even break a sweat.  (I suppose that, in the interest of accuracy, I should note that the speedometer registers 10% over, so when it looks like I'm doing 80, I'm actually only doing 72.  But who cares?  I'm a fiction writer, not a journalist.  Besides, it looks so much cooler this way.  So ha!)

     And the other thing about this bike is, it's yellow.  Really, really yellow.  Not royal blue or fire engine red, like the bikes I'm used to. (Well, okay, the KLR wasn't fire engine red either.  It was dull brick, beat-to-snot, dual purpose bike red.)  But still.  Still!  I've never ridden or driven a screaming yellow vehicle before.

     I think they're faster.


     So, last weekend Hubby and I went down to Springfield to the Ducati dealership.  He went to drool over some bike called the supermotard or something (hypermotard? maybe, I dunno).  While we were there, he pulled me over to show me what he calls "your next bike".

     And it very well may be.

     I went for my very first ever test ride.  The bike is a -- let me get this straight -- a Ducati Multistrada 620.  The same size and weight as the Kawasaki KLR 250 I'm riding now, with three times the power.  And I discovered something about myself on the first long bike ride Hubby and I went on -- I LIKE to go fast.  And this bike goes fast.  Hoo boy, does it ever.  There was a stretch of road on this test ride where the speed limit was 55, and I was only in third gear, and not even topped out at that.  And oh, did it handle well!  I felt in control at all times, even though I was a novice rider on a bike with a whole lot more attitude than the one I'm used to.  Okay, so there was just this one time on the way back to the dealership where I goosed the throttle a bit too hard and had to hang on to the handles for a few moments of exquisitely breathtaking terror.  But even then, it wasn't an "oh shit!" grab.  It was an "oh my GOD this is fun!" grab.  (Just wanted to make that clear.)  As I pulled into the parking lot of the dealership, I had already made my decision.  In my (admittedly limited) experience, the Ducati Multistrada 620 is my most favorite bike ever period thank you.  So when I'm a rich famous author, I'll buy one of my very own, and I'll go on nice long motorcycle rides for inspiration.  Sounds good to me.



Hello all!
    I‘ll admit it, it’s been shamefully long since I’ve updated -- really updated -- this site.  I know, I know -- I suq.
    But, I did promise to update it when I actually had something to say.  Well, boy, do I ever!  Settle back, grab a cup of your favorite refreshing beverage, and get ready for a story.
    Part 1.  Our tale begins last summer.  I had sent a romance novella off to a publisher, trying for a bite.  (Why yes, I write romance as well as horror.  That’s the cool part about not being famous.)  Barb Perfetti over at Linden Bay Romance read my story and liked it.  But (cue anxious music) she said it was too short to be its own book.  So (cue happy music), would I be interested in writing two more stories to go along with it?  Yeah, sure, okay.  So that’s what I’ve been up to for the past year or so.  I actually ended up writing five stories for a three-story trilogy.  (How does that happen, you ask?  Well, that’s the writer’s life for you.  But stay tuned.  Those other two stories will be resurrected, I promise.)  I think you’ll be really happy with the three stories Barb chose.  They’ll be coming out as Trilogy 100: Timeless Embrace.  The ebook will come out October 1, 2007, and the print version will follow in about a month.
    Part 2.  Meanwhile, on the other side of my personal galaxy, Publishing had accepted my horror novel for publication.  But (cue anxious music) The Dreamwatcher was not on the publication schedule for 2007.  A couple of months ago, the schedule for 2008 was posted.  I hopped on to the site, all excited to see when the novel would come out.  And there I found a message from the publisher, Kristopher Stamp, saying that (cue happy music) oops, The Dreamwatcher would indeed come out in 2007 after all -- on July 15th, to be exact.
    Part 3.  And then, one day these two totally opposite facets of my creative personality met.  The assistant director of the library where I work asked me to be her guest on the library’s public access show, Community Focus.  I’ll be talking about my books for half an hour -- like that’ll be a stretch!  I jumped at the chance to get a head start on some promotion.  Then I emailed both of my publishers, begging them for cover art that we could display on the air.  And that’s how I got to see within the space of an hour, the covers for both the horror novel and the romance book.  Which was weird.  But cool!  The cover of the romance book is absolutely yummilicious, and the cover of the horror novel is satisfyingly creepy.  I love them both, and I hope you will too.  (Actually, I really hope you like what’s between the covers.)  (So to speak.)
     So that’s what’s been going on in my life for the past year or so.  That, and I learned to ride a motorcycle.  There’s photographic evidence elsewhere on the site, as well as pictures of my babies.  (Okay, they’re all furry babies, but I love them.)  And I will do my best to see about putting up a file of the Community Focus show when it airs.
    See? When I decide to update a site, by gosh I update.  And I do promise to try to be better at updating in the future.  There’s a lot going on, so feel free to browse around.  And thanks for stopping by!


I read. I read a lot. Voraciously and omnivorously. Here, in no particular order, are some of the authors I enjoy the most:

Jay Bonansinga. Jay's been a good friend to me for years. I met him at a writing workshop in Chicago. It was the first weekend of April, and it snowed all night Friday, all day Saturday, and well into Saturday evening. Those are my favorite memories of that workshop -- looking out of the window at thickly falling snow, and meeting Jay. (And sitting at supper with him and a couple of other writers, all of us trading dirty jokes.) Jay writes horror and police procedurals, and he's also the author of a fabulous nonfiction book on the sinking of the Eastland.

John Searles. Another friend and writing mentor. I've never met him in person, but we've written back and forth for a while, and he has always been sweet and supportive and gracious to me. He's written two books, and boy are they good ones -- Boy Still Missing and Strange But True.

Tamara Thorne. I would read my Saturday chore list with rapt attention if Tamara wrote it. She's funny, and she's absolutely not afraid to go for the gross-out. She's my hero.

The list goes on -- Bentley Little, Gary Braver, John Farris, Richard Laymon (who is living proof that you shouldn't let a little thing like being dead stop you from publishing), Scott Nicholson, Christopher Golden (especially The Boys Are Back In Town). There are non-horror writers I enjoy too -- S.R.Stirling, Harry Turtledove, Tim Powers, to name just a few.

I'm also a huge fan of Brian Jacques and of J.K. Rowling. I can happily lose myself in a Redwall book -- what my husband calls "those medieval badger stories" -- for hours. (Now, if only Jacques would come out with a Redwall cookbook. . . )

And it goes without saying that when the next Harry Potter movie opens, I'll be there opening night, in the center of the third row, being the happy slobbering fandork that I am. When it comes to all things Potter, I'm not a purist. Books, movies, I love 'em both.

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