Friday, April 29, 2011

The one where I try to do way too many things at one time...

Tell me I'm not the only one who bites off more than I can chew. Show of hands, how many of you out there feel like there are not enough hours in the day? Wow. That's a lot of you. And sorry Gents, but it seems like it's a "woman" thing. I'm convinced its a holdover from caveman days. You guys got to go out and hunt down game while we stayed behind and picked berries, tended children, washed the furs and cooked. Overworked since the beginning of time. Totally explains why I'm so exhausted.

So what all am I doing that makes me too busy to blog? Or read blogs? Or comment? Home Improvement. We painted this house (every room but the kitchen) when we moved in. That's 9 years ago in May. Needless to say, they all need repainting. And the carpets need shampooed. And there was a mold issue in the bathroom. And I need to get it done before Lu's baby arrives. Then there's the showers to plan. Baby showers that is. And a bachelorette shindig. I'm in a wedding in June. There are tomatoes and peppers to plant. And lately, there are books to be read and reviews to write. There are authors to interview. There's a proofreading business to launch and there's fiction to write. And lest anyone forget- this is the time of year when I see my husband only at bedtime. If it weren't for Sean, I'd be trying to do this all on my own. But as luck would have it he's a fantastic painter. And we work well together. Way better than Mike and I work together.

I hope that you all enjoy the author interviews. I plan on doing one a week, tied in with the book I'll review at See Spot Read. There are a lot of great Indie authors out there and they need the word of mouth. Since their ebooks are priced affordably it's a win-win. And who doesn't love finding a new author?

So now some funnies:

Sean and I were painting the bathroom last week and of course we were smack talking each other the entire time. I'd just shot him a really sarcastic comment when I realized I need more paint on my corner tool. As I was up on a chair painting near the ceiling, I handed the tool to him and asked him to get paint on it for me. As soon as I grasped the handle to take it from him, I realized he'd loaded the handle with paint and now my hand was full of wet paint. I was hopping mad. Cursing, I stomped out of the bathroom to wash my hand. He was convulsed with laughter. When I told Mike and Lu about it? Yeah, they doubled over with laughter too. Rude.

Last night Lu and Sean were in my room talking to me as I got ready for bed (don't ask, it's a nightly occurrence. I've tried kicking them out but for some reason they pick that time to talk.) I told them that my thumb I'd sliced on the can lid had healed funny and felt kind of mushy. They both felt it~

Sean: you're crazy. It feels fine to me.

Lu: Yeah, it feels the same as your other thumb.

Me: no it doesn't! You're dad even thought it felt funny.

Lu: It's dad. He always agrees with you.

Sean: Yeah, you could tell him the sky was purple and he'd agree.

Me: *yelling loudly down the hall* Hey Mike!

Mike: *yelling back* Yeah?

Me: The sky is purple.

Mike: Oh yeah?

We all collapsed in giggles. Way to back me up honey!

And last but not least, have any of you ever thought you heard something that wasn't there? Like when you're falling asleep and you could swear someone says your name? Or sometimes I wake up thinking the phone rang but it's all silent.

Me: Remember how I told you that sometimes I hear things?

Mike: Yeah?

Me: It's called auditory hallucinations. I looked it up on the Internet and all I could find was...

Mike: Schizophrenia?

Me: yeah.

Sean: So you're schizophrenic?

Me: of course not! We all agree on that.

Sean: Who's we?

Me: All the voices in my head. Duh.


Me: Anyway, I'm not the only one. Lu has them too.

Mike: Well that explains a lot.

Sean: Maybe you're psychic. Maybe its the dead calling and you should get up and answer the phone that's not ringing. They might have important messages for you.

Me: Hmmm. Sounds like there's a story idea in there.

Sean: They might be like "Stacey...don't leave you're house on Tuesday..."

Lu: That's just creepy. I'm not answering the phone in the night ever again.

Well, I'm off to paint trim because it is a beautiful sunny day and I can't waste it. I'm sure the rain will be back tomorrow. Hope all is well with you dear readers. See you when I next come up for air...


Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The one where I interview Scott Nicholson, horror author and nice guy

Come on in everyone, find a seat, grab a cup of coffee, tea, vodka lemonade, whatever. I'm pretty excited to announce that today we have Scott Nicholson in for a chat. For those of you who don't know Scott, yeah I know there's a few of you non horror fans out there (don't worry...I'm not judging), take a look at his * author page, go on, I'll wait. *taps foot impatiently* Back? Good!

Scott probably doesn't remember this but we actually first met in 2003 on the HWA website. That was back when you didn't have to be a *paid* author to join and I happily paid my member fee and set out to hobnob with people who knew what they were doing. Scott happened to be one of the folks I met and we emailed a few times back and forth. It was just before his book Harvest, now renamed Forever Never Ends, was released. I gave up submitting and homeschooled my children and Scott went on to become a successful author. But what I remembered most about him was that he was a genuinely nice guy. I'm happy to say that he is still a genuinely nice guy whose always willing to help a newbie author out. He's generous with both his time and his advice. So when he contacted me about doing a review of his latest book, Liquid Fear, I was more than happy to help out. Okay, so he gave me a free copy of the book too, but I would have done it anyway! So the review of Liquid Fear is up on my brand new book review blog, See Spot Read. I would encourage all of you to pop over there when we're done here and look around a bit. There's cookies and juice and a review. Okay, there's no cookies and juice. But its the thought that counts, right?

Scott also consented to let me pick his brain so here goes...

1.) I know everyone asks authors where they get their ideas and most authors hate that question, but, at least for me, it’s a legitimate question. I love it when authors include that info in the back of the book. So I won't force you to reveal the inner workings of your mind, but if you'd care to elaborate...

Every book is different, but usually it’s either two ideas jamming together, a character demanding to be born, or a plot that bugs me so much I have to tackle it. In Liquid Fear, it was a combination of research into pharmaceuticals that literally “change your mind” combined with my ongoing interest in psychological research.

2.) You've been writing books for several years now, what do you feel has changed the most about either you're style of writing or the way you go about writing?

I write less to what my “brand” should be and more toward what interests me, because I don’t have to worry about somebody pitching something to somebody else based on one sentence of description instead of the entire story. So basically I am freer to take chances.

3.) I know you've recently quit your day job to become a full time novelist, how has that changed your routine, beyond the obvious, of course?

Well, I am also running a business, but I’ve been doing that from the start. The writing is the product development and manufacturing end, and then there’s the entire process, including getting paid. Not to make it as cold as a factory, but basically I have to do it all, which is fine, because I love it all.

4.) I also see that you have joined your voice to the chorus of authors who are backing away from traditional publishing and going it more on their own. It definitely appears to be working well for you. Do you feel less pressure to conform to industry standards and ideas that way? In that, you don't have to convince an editor to publish your work, you can publish and go right to the audience for approval?

The only pressure is to tell the story the best way I know how, and then get a few trusted opinions and always have a professional proofreader. The only “industry standard” is professionalism, and New York doesn’t have a monopoly on that.

5.) I know that some of your books are based on experiences you've had or places you've been (like the hotel/paranormal conference in Speed Dating with the Dead), does Liquid Fear have any personal connections?

I studied a little psychology and I like to read the casebooks, but Liquid Fear was kind of a hodgepodge of many things. I attended UNC near the Research Triangle Park where the book is mostly set, and I’ve visited every location in the book (Cincinnati, West Virginia, DC). Other than that, this book was just based on research and ideas.

6.) This is a question I want to ask all horror writers...if you see a movie preview or book trailer that is just an absolutely fantastic concept (I always think of 30 Days of Night, vampires, Alaska, 30 days of darkness, brilliant!), do you want to shake your head and go "why didn't I think of that??!" or does it inspire you?

Well, sometimes yes, sometimes no. Like, “Snakes on a Plane.” It’s like, “Cool!” but I would never waste my time watching it because the title does everything for me. Sort of like the previews for a big movie. You know you’ve seen the entire movie in 45 seconds, so why waste $10 and two hours? Other times, it can stay in the back of your mind and maybe influence a direction you want to go. If you’re calculating, you can cash in on a trend—like teen vampires in romantic angst, for example.

7.) Several of my blog readers are aspiring authors or beginning authors themselves. What is your best advice to them, especially horror writers?

Write what you love and turn off the censors. But when you’re done, remember that somebody somewhere has to read it. If you want to sicken your reader, it may not do much to build a fan base. But just be true to yourself and trust that the work will find the people who need it—whether the audience is a few million or a few dozen.

8.) Okay, I know it's cliché, but who are some of your favorite writers, horror or otherwise?

Stephen King is obviously a master, but I also like the older-school stuff like Ira Levin, William Goldman, Jim Thompson, James M. Cain, Shirley Jackson, James Lee Burke, Elmore Leonard, and Dean Koontz.

9.) Finally, what scares you? (Other than taxes and government?)

Anything happening to children. As a father, I invest a lot of the world’s worth in my wife and kids. Anything that threatens my family is something that’s going to die—probably quite slowly and painfully.

10) I know you told me the serious things that scare you, but what about the silly things? I'm irrationally afraid of scarecrows, you? And do you ever scare yourself when writing?

Well, I have some real phobias, like flying. Probably mice are my silliest fear--I just don't like all that scurrying. I have been a little freaked out when I write, but it's more like something is emotionally intense instead of genuinely spooky...but sometimes late at night, you go, "Hmm, what if all this stuff was real?"

2) What is your writing routine? Do you schedule certain hours to write? Do you use a favorite pen, etc?

I pretty much do everything all the time. I just do the next thing when it needs to be done. Now that I make my own schedule, I trust myself to write when I need to, as part of the day. I recently took an entire day off, my first in 15 months, I believe.

Thank you Scott, for the book, for the interview, for all of the help you've given me. I wish you loads more success and continued joy in your work.

Liquid Fear is available for Kindle readers from for 99 cents for a limited time. Get yours now! You can order a paperback copy of the book from Scott's website.

Scott lives in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, where he tends an organic garden, picks a little bit of guitar, and does some freelance editing when he's not writing. He's living the life of his dreams and is thankful for new friends and new fans. You can visit him at He also has Twitter and Facebook.

Thanks for joining us for a bit everyone! For my regulars, it's back to our regularly scheduled nonsense tomorrow. For anyone new, please take some time to browse my blog and make yourself at home.

Happy reading,

Saturday, April 9, 2011

The one where we need to have a little chit chat...

So my Dad has this voice that we call his "dictator voice". It means that in the following discussion he will brook no whining, silly excuses or disagreement. He's kind of like Dr. Phil. (If Dr. Phil had spent 24 years in the Air Force bossing around other people and dealing with live bombs). Even at my advanced age and parental status, the "dictator voice" scares me. But I called him on it and now it's kind of a joke. Still, when he starts a sentence with "we need to talk", I figure I've got some 'splaining to do and start frantically searching my mind for what I've screwed up recently.

It has come to my attention recently that I "need to have a talk" with some people out there. The subject? Lu's pregnancy and the father of her baby. It seems somewhat crazy to me, in this day and age, that people are blaming Luke for this situation. Wth? Peeps, wake up and smell the decade! It's not the fifties folks. If I was going to take anyone to task over Lu's pregnancy (which I am most certainly NOT), it would be Lu! She's the one who's responsible for her own body. And here's why:

1.) She's not sixteen. She's nineteen and legally an adult. She was raised to make her own decisions and well educated on sex and birth control. She knows how to prevent pregnancy and not to rely on someone else to handle that prevention.

2.) Luke is only a year older than she is. Its not like he's some older guy who walked in and seduced an innocent and then abandoned her.

3.) They were planning on getting married when said conception occurred. They'd been in a monogamous relationship and living together for a year and a half. And we'd already started looking at wedding dresses for heaven's sake!

4.) He did not abandon her, she asked him to leave. While there was some miscommunication and screw ups in the beginning, he was not trying to abandon his child or Lu. In fact, he's been doing a pretty decent job of stepping up.

5.) Neither of them planned nor anticipated this pregnancy. It was an accident of malfunction. Shit happens. And it happens for a reason.

Therefore, there is no blame to place and I would like everyone to stop trying to assign some. Mike & I are not angry because Luke "knocked up our little girl". For real people?! We are truly supportive of them both in their effort to work things out and become the truly awesome parents we know they can be. So back off or I'm going to come at you like a spider monkey.

And now for a giggle~

The other night Mike, Sean and I were watching a scary movie:

Me: Omg! Why would he put his bed between two windows?! Who does that?? The only way to watch them both at the same time is to sleep on your back. I can't sleep on my back. I'd be exhausted all the time!

Mike: You do realize our bed is between two windows, right?

Me: Yes. But that's different. You're between me and one of them.

In the car:

Sean: What is that smell?

Me: I don't know. But it kind of smells like soybeans. Its spring, time for weird smells in farm country. It must be an RSC.

Sean: RSC?

Me: Random soybean cloud.

On the return trip:

Me: Ewwww. That stinks! RCSC!

Sean: RCSC?

Me: Random cow shit cloud.

Sean: You truly confound me with your ability to make up and throw out random acronyms. Its like you don't even have to stop and think about it.

Me: I know. Lightening fast acronym skills are just one of my many super powers.

Sean: Make that an acronym.


Sean: Astonishing. But not particularly useful.

Me: You're just jealous.

On the way to the movies:

Sean: Come on *dancing in his seat* let's get pumped up for this!

Me: You want me to sing the "Friday" song? "We so excited"

Sean: No! Wait..."partyin partyin"


Sean: No but let's get P to the U to the M to the...*loooong pause*

Me: To the P

Sean: *crickets chirping*

Me: to the E to the D. You know, your rapping would be more effective if you could actually spell.

Sean: That's right. Make fun of the Dyslexic guy.

Hope everyone is enjoying their Saturday as much as I am,

Thursday, April 7, 2011

The one where we take a little trip...

I'm baaaaccckkk! Vacation was pretty much a little slice of wonderfulness with a few pieces of frustration mixed in. Things I learned on vacation:

1. When it comes to family, you can have too much of a good thing.
2. People in southern Alabama are the nicest most polite people I've ever met.
3. Other tourists are annoying.
4. People drink way too much.
5. If I ask my kids to not talk to me and not hang out with me for 24 hours, they will not follow this request.
6. My husband should go on vacation with me, if only to help me hang on to my sanity.
7. Some things take longer to forgive than others.
8. I love Cajun food.
9. I love boats. And history.
10. I can manage to get bronchitis absolutely anywhere, without even trying.

I had never been to Alabama before or the Gulf Coast for that matter. I was pleasantly surprised. For real, folks down there are super friendly and polite. If you're waiting to cross the road, they will stop for you. I wasn't even half in the road, I was on the sidewalk and traffic (both directions) stopped to let me cross. I felt like a celebrity. Around here, they speed up to hit you. And in their Walmart (because what vacation would be complete without a trip to Wally World?) you can actually find the workers! They come up to you to ask if you need help! And they actually know the answer when you ask a question!! It was like the Twilight Zone. Or maybe Stepford.

We only really got to spend three days at the beach due to rainy, colder weather. But two of those days we managed to get sunburned, so it was probably a good thing. I did have to spend one day in bed, hacking up a lung, but at least I finished a good book. We shopped at the Outlet malls one day and baby Dylan already has quite a collection of clothes waiting on him. And we went sightseeing two days. They have two historic forts in the area and the kids and I visited both. Sean being the Civil War buff that he is was in heaven. I thought they were pretty nifty too. And we visited the Estruariam, much like an aquarium only it included the marshes and wetlands as well. Who knew baby alligators were so adorable?!

I have a boatload of interesting conversations to relate from the trip:

In the hotel on the way home, we were getting ready for bed and there were people making a lot of noise in the hallway:

Me: (loudly) If you people don't settle down out there I'm going to come out and stab you.

Lu: Mom! You can't say that!

Sean: You can't go around stabbing people either.

Me: I wasn't really going to stab them, I'm just trying to scare them a little.

Sean: Did you say you were only going to stab them a little? WTH? Is that what you'll tell the cops? "I only stabbed them a little officer"

Me: NO! I said scare them.

Lu: It must have worked, they shut up. That or their downstairs telling the front desk the crazy lady in 216 threatened to stab them. But just a little.

Sean bought a captain's hat our last day and proclaimed himself "Captain of this vessel", vessel being my SUV. He kept putting it on and yelling "I have made my decision..." So once we stopped for gas in this little town and there were two choices for gas stations. The kids picked BP and we went there. It was awful. Dirty and the people were rather suspicious looking:

Me: (safely back in the car) You two are fired from gas station picking. Next time it's the Texaco for sure.

Sean: (in his captain's voice) I have made my time we visit the Texaco!

we pass the Texaco and it's not even a functioning gas station, the pumps are gone and the building is deserted.

Sean: I have made a new decision! I've decided to stick by my original decision!

Yes, he continued in this manner for the next 4 hours. I think I'm deaf in my right ear now.

Driving through Mississippi we saw many many religious billboards. One was for abstinence, many were anti abortion and many were just about finding Jesus. And no offense intended to any one's beliefs...but we began to joke about it:

Sean: There's another "Have you found Jesus" billboard. They just keep losing him.

Me: You'd better watch your mouth. This is the heart of Bible country and they still burn people at the stake. We're traveling with Jezebel back there so we've already got one strike against us.

Sean: Wait. What? Who's Jezebel?

Me: She's in the Bible. She was a whore and she got ripped apart by wild dogs.

Sean: You know an insult doesn't really work as well if neither of the other people in the car know what you're talking about...

All in all, we had a great time. Now I'm back and I have an absolute ton of things to get done before Lu's baby arrives. Carpets to shampoo, rooms to paint and rearrange, showers to plan and blogs to write. I expect to be busy busy busy. Sean quit his job so he can get ready for his summer travels and finish his Eagle Scout project. Little does he know, that now he can help me with all the painting and shampooing. Mike is neck deep in getting things ready for summer camp at both camps since the other ranger retired and they haven't found a replacement yet. I'm back to seeing him at supper and bedtime mostly. Lu is doing well. She's now an assistant manager at the Quincy DEB store. The pregnancy is still going well, she's six months along now and we all got to feel the baby kicking last week. He's an active little guy! She and Luke, the baby's father, are officially back together. He's been coming down on weekends and for appointments and plans to move back here the first of July. They hope to have their own place by Thanksgiving.

I'll leave you with a couple of pics:

Lu and Sean on the beach!

The three of us on the last day

Lu and Baby Dylan

There's no place like home...