Monday, October 29, 2012

Halloween Safety Tips: Supernatural Style

With Halloween coming up this week, I thought I'd post a few safety tips I've learned from watching my favorite TV show, Supernatural.

On All Hallows Eve there could be all kinds of ghoulish creatures roaming about. One can never be too careful.

You should be fine if you follow these tips:

Watch your back. If something creepy is after you, it will ALWAYS sneak up from behind. And usually from the direction you were just looking a moment ago.

Do not split up! The surest way to come face to face with something scary is to split up. People of the movies, when will you ever learn?

~ If you hear a strange noise coming from your closet (or the room down the hall, or--heaven forbid--from the cellar) DO NOT CHECK IT OUT. I repeat, do NOT slowly and hesitantly approach the sound, especially if the lights won't turn on and there is intense, unsettling music playing in the background.

~ Never leave any part of your body exposed outside of the covers. The covers are your friends, stay under them. And DO NOT dangle your feet over the edge of the bed.

~ Never back up to a window. Inevitably the creature/demon/zombie/evil clown/vampire/ghost will break the glass and grab you. In fact, keep your window locked. And if you hear something tapping against it, it is most certainly NOT the wind.

~ Salt is your friend, keep it close. Silver bullets or iron blades are also recommended, but harder to take on airplanes.

If there's one thing I've learned, you can never be too careful.

Have a happy and SAFE Halloween!

Monday, October 22, 2012

On Fall, Shakespeare, Life and Death

I love fall. I love the cool temps, the color and the anticipation of change that permeates the cool air.

But three years ago my perception of fall shifted. It was on a beautiful day in October when I got a phone call that my sister had collapsed. Seven weeks later she was gone. I spent most of those seven weeks at her home, helping with her children, and watching the leaves drop one by one.
That time of year thou mayst in me behold
When yellow leaves, or none, or few, do hang
Upon those boughs which shake against the cold,
Bare ruin'd choirs, where late the sweet birds sang.
In me thou seest the twilight of such day
As after sunset fadeth in the west,
Which by and by black night doth take away,
Death's second self, that seals up all in rest.
In me thou see'st the glowing of such fire
That on the ashes of his youth doth lie,
As the death-bed whereon it must expire
Consumed with that which it was nourish'd by.
   This thou perceivest, which makes thy love more strong,
   To love that well which thou must leave ere long.
Thanks Shakespeare. You really do say it best. I still love the autumn. I still miss my sister.

Monday, October 15, 2012

The Truth Is Out There

I thought today might be a good day for a science update:

You've all heard of SETI--the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence. The foundation that uses volunteers to scan data from space in hopes of detecting radio signals from intelligent aliens. Actually, what they really use is the volunteer's computer. SETI@home uses spare processing power on the participant's computer to analyze the data.

Now SETI has a new program where they send live waterfall signals to volunteers who then use their own brain processing power to distinguish between regular space "noise" and alien signals. SETILive.

Why is SETILive better than SETI@home? As the name implies, with SETILive the viewer is filtering live feeds instead of the computer scanning data that could be months old.
Image from SETILive (

Last time they found a signal that looked like it was from ET, by they time they noticed it and set their instruments on it, it had vanished. With SETILive, they could zoom in immediately.

Who knows? Maybe the first contact with intelligent alien life could take place in your own home.

Which gives me a good idea for a couples Halloween costume: an alien, and the science geek who discovered it!

See or for more information.

Related posts:
How to Survive an Alien Invasion

Monday, October 8, 2012

All Hallow's Read

What is All Hallow's Read?

In the words of Neil Gaiman, creator of All Hallow's Read (he's so silly):

Basically, you give someone a scary book for Halloween. Appropriately scary, of course. It can be a kid, a grown up, anyone you know (or don't know. Even strangers like to read. And who doesn't want  a free book?)


If you go the All Hallow's Read site, you will find lots of answers to FAQs and also cool extras, such as this book plate that you can print out and affix to the book you are giving away. Or print it onto card stock and make it a bookmark.

On the All Hallow's Read site you can also find book recommendations by Neil Gaiman and links to lists by others.

Here are a few of our family's favorite Halloween reads:

Picture Books:

Middle Grade:
  Young Adult:

Ok, so maybe Keturah isn't a Halloween read per se, but since it came out with this new creepy cover it looks like one. And it has Death as a main character. And it's awesome.

What are some scary (or cute, Halloween can be cute) books you'd recommend?

Monday, October 1, 2012

Book Release Date

So I finally have a release date for my novel, A Blind Eye.

February 2013

It's sooner than I expected, but I'm not complaining. So now begins the first round of edits, the waiting to see the cover, and trying to find people to actually buy the book and read it!

If any of you readers out there have tips or secrets or advice you'd like to share, I'm seriously all ears.

Things you wish you'd done differently? Mistakes I should avoid? Great ideas? I'll take anything.

In the mean time--here's a teaser:

A Blind Eye
Some people are born blind. For some, tragedy leaves them blind. And then there are those who simply refuse to see. This is a story about all three.

In an attempt to escape his heartless and disinterested father, seventeen-year-old Christian runs away from home. But when he finds Scarlett--blind from birth--hiding in his car, his efforts to leave become a race to save her from death by scientific experimentation. Forced to return to his father, he learns that Scarlett is not the only one who cannot see.  

Agent Mary Kole is giving away a copy of the 2013 Children's Writer's and Illistrator's Market on her blog. These books are a goldmine of information on both perfecting the writing craft and finding an agent or publisher.