31 October 2013

Halloween in Salem Massachusetts

I wanted to celebrate this Halloween season by sharing a spooky story, but instead, I decided to make a trip to Salem, Massachusetts and visit the Witch Trial Wax Museum. I’ve been asked by many, “What’s in Salem?”


Did you know that the damning evidence used in the Salem Witch trials to convict these innocent men and women who were then condemned to hang at the gallows was this thing called spectral evidence? That means young girls (witnesses) accused certain people of casting evil spells upon them and the way they identified the person is they testified they saw the person in a non-physical state. It was thought that the only way they could present themselves in this form is by making a deal with the devil.

These witnesses would be on display in the courthouse, possessed, screaming out that they were being targeted in the very room where the accused stood trial. Anyone familiar with the Manson trial and the gaggle of young women who claimed Manson spoke to them in their minds from where he sat while they testified? Spooky.

Spectral evidence alone in many cases ensured the so called “witches” hung for their crimes. The fear spread quickly throughout Salem and 20 people were executed for practicing witchcraft before the governor ceased the trials. Why did he put an end to the trials? Because his wife, as well as a few other prominent citizens, were accused. Imagine that.

According to a local museum, to this day, only one judge has made apologies for this unfortunate historical tragedy, and only one of the “witnesses” expressed sorrow for her part in this fiasco. Amazingly enough, we find out this all started from the isolation of three women, Sarah Good, a homeless person, Tituba, a slave, and a woman named Sarah Osborne, who remarried to an indentured servant.

Local magistrates tossed the three accused women in jail and the folks of Salem discovered the power wielded in the accusations of witchcraft. Thus began the wildfire that spread from the underlying family feud between the Putnams and the Porters. Fueled by fear and mass hysteria, things had obviously gotten out of hand, especially when prominent citizens had fingers pointing at them.

How did you spend your Halloween? Trick or treating? Giving out candy? What about haunted houses? We went through this one.

I never screamed so loud in my life. Spooky scary! No lie.

24 October 2013

Sparky Sweets, PhD - Thug Notes

I found Sparky Sweets, PhD when I followed a link posted on Facebook. That's how I discovered #ThugNotes. Sparky summarizes and provides analysis on some of the top literature of all time. Classics like To Kill A Mockingbird, The Great Gatsby, and my favorite, 1984, are some of the books he features on his hit YouTube series, Thug Notes.

Check him out. You'll find him entertaining for sure. He uses some mature language, but in the context of his message, I find it appropriate and non-offensive.

You'll learn so much more about the classic tales he shares and how these great authors wove amazing stories with the underlying truth of reality. I never had an English teacher who could break it down quite like this. These short clips are golden!

If you care to Tweet this, please include a shout out to Mr. Sweets @SparkySweetsPhD and show the brother some love.

Sneak Peek - To Kill A Mockingbird.

If you had a chance to view his other videos, which was your favorite? I think I've watched them all. I'm waiting for him to give an analysis of The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton. Okay, maybe it's not up there with these classics, but hey.

PEACE, y'all.

21 October 2013

The Man Song - Character Development Exercise

I struggled with character development over the weekend. I performed all my usual activities to motivate my muse. I know we all have tricks up our sleeves, but sometimes it's like trying to entice a new kitten to chase the yarn ball once she's bored with it. Come on... Look! *wiggle piece of yarn*


My usual activities when I'm desperate?

  • Sit in seat and stare at computer for an hour
  • Stream of consciousness writing with no results
  • Fill cooler with Miller Lite and go to flea market
  • Start an argument with a stranger

Nothing seemed to work and I spiraled into a depressive state. Finally, my husband chimed in and we had a discussion.

"What exactly are you trying to do?"

"I'm trying to find a balance for my lead character." I downed the remaining contents of my fifth beer.

"What do you mean, balance?"

"Grant Elliot is an alpha male. He's a man's man. Typical lead."

"Why is that a problem?"

"It's not! I just want to insert an extra character so that my readers understand I'm not delusional in thinking that all male characters must be super hot, super intelligent, and super charismatic. You know, I need to depict a more realistic male character to balance things out in my novel."

"Realistic, huh?"  Here you go!

15 October 2013

Launch of Delusional by Terry Lewis

I've changed up my reading list and added Delusional by Terry Lewis, author of Conflict of Interest and Privileged Information. This will be an exciting read for me. I read the first 3 chapters before it was even publish, but then my hard drive crashed. Oh well, I knew it would be coming out in the future, and here it is, finally.

Delusional is a mystery novel set in my home town, Tallahassee, Florida. The first person prologue introduces Nathan, a mental patient serving time for murder. Now his newly appointed attorney, Ted Stevens, must uncover the truth in the murder of Nathan's psychologist. Find out why by reading this intriguing novel.

I got my signed copy during the novel's launch at Momo's Pizza on September 30th. Other fans and friends of Lewis' first two novels showed up for their copies as well. The party offered a variety of pizzas and appetizers for hungry fans, as well as a cash bar. Guess what I made a beeline for?

Look, it's Liz! Another critique partner of ours.

Thanks for inviting us to the launch. I never tasted pizza from Momo's before. Sad that I've been missing it. In the thirteen years living in Tallahassee, I thought I'd tried every pizza joint within 30 miles.

Enough about food. Go get your copy of Delusional!

07 October 2013

Snow Leopard Excerpt for the AW Blog Chain

This month's prompt on The Absolute Write Blog Chain: Lions, Tigers, and Bears, Oh My!

Our spooky October prompt posits a trio of scary critters. Do what you will with them!

As always, your entry can be prose, poetry, play, fiction, nonfiction.

For this month, I'm sharing with you an excerpt from my short story, Snow Leopard. It's the first short story I ever wrote, so be kind to the newbie. :)

Log line: A young woman's vanity is exposed in a reversal of fortune. What happens when wealthy, fur donning humans are kidnapped and scalped for their own manes?

~ * ~

The man quickly diverted his eyes toward the door when it opened. Two figures entered the room.

Theresa’s heart quickened and her stomach lurched. A humanoid looking snow leopard and a similar creature with the markings of a Bengal tiger, approached, their tails swishing about. Neither of them appeared aggressive, but Theresa remained guarded and pulled her limbs closer to her body.

The cat-like creatures, both on their hind legs, walked upright and past the humans. The leopard's fur, white like new fallen snow, was speckled with tiny black spots. A deep orange fur covered the tiger with large, black lines cutting back and forth across its furry canvas.

The spotted cat held a clipboard and both large felines wore white nylon coats. Theresa could only make out the name tag on the snow leopard's lapel, Dr. Fiona Lynch. The creature's head donned a long, cascading mane of blonde hair flowing down its back like human hair, and its forehead, covered with skin rather than the white speckled fur on the rest of its face. Black eyes brightened when they glared back at Theresa.

"That's the latest find?" the voice was soft and feminine when the snow leopard questioned the tiger, her tail swishing back and forth, but not as vigorously as before. Theresa understood the words.

"Yes, it's the rare one for Han, of the Western Amirs," the tiger said, his voice low and raspy, but also feminine. "I understand they paid a great ransom."

Theresa strained to hear but their voices became faint.

"He wanted that color and length. I think he'll like it.” The cats behaved much like humans, with the exception of the swishing of their tails.

The snow leopard brought her attention back to the table beside her and lifted the tarp. She wrote something down on her clipboard, "Looks ready for the transplant room, Franz," she said and smiled at the tiger. "Good work."

The leopard and tiger moved to walk out, the tiger pushing the tarp covered table on its wheels.

When they approached the humans, the snow leopard retrieved a syringe from her pocket, kneeled beside Theresa, and pulled the human's arm away from her body. The feline sank the needle deep into her bicep and pressed hard on the plunger until the clear liquid emptied from its barrel.

"What's that?" Theresa heard the slurring of her own words when she spoke them, but she went under quickly and did not hear the reply from the snow leopard, "You won't feel a thing sweetie."

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03 October 2013

The Pissed Off Mommy - Character of the Day

I saw this circulating on Facebook the other day and it pissed me off. This sounds condescendingly preachy, but I understand the sentiment.

All too often we see out-of-control children, but you have to ask yourself this: What are your surroundings when you encounter such unruly shits? Is there a proliferation of brats pouring into our streets that you must call out ALL parents in general? I think not!

Those of us who raised our children in loving and caring environments so they may develop into productive members of society, may find this a little off-putting or offensive, only because we view things differently now that we've had children and understand the often under appreciated demands of parenthood.

My response as a mother of two beautiful and respectful adult children:

  1. We never finish with them, okay?
  2. We teach our children tolerance, whereby they may live peacefully among those disrespectful and classless shits raised by other people.
  3. If you don't have children or are a parent of an unruly, classless shit, remember this: When you become an elderly member of society, you may need assistance from one of our grown children, whether he or she be a doctor, a nurse, or an assisted living coordinator. Please remember to thank us for never being finished

Tip: Respect is not taught, it is earned. Here's a helpful video. Please watch, learn, and practice before you preach!

The Pissed Off Mommy

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