Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Dining with Alyson Noël

The Dining with Authors series has been so fun for me. I hope you're enjoying it, too!

Today, we have bestselling YA author Alyson Noël. If you haven't discovered Alyson's Immortal series, stop reading this and go to the bookstore right now. Go ahead. We'll wait for you.

Alyson is the #1 New York Times, USA Today, and Publisher’s Weekly bestselling, award-winning, author of nine novels for teens and adults, including EVERMORE and BLUE MOON. Her books have won the National Reader’s Choice Award, made numerous top ten lists, chosen for the CBS Early Show’s “Give the Gift of Reading” segment, and selected for Seventeen Magazine’s “Hot List” and Beach Book Club Pick. She lives in Laguna Beach, CA where she’s working on her next book. You can visit her at: or

Tamara: Alyson, if you could have dinner with any one of your characters, whom would you choose, and what would that character eat?
Alyson: Well, I’d have to choose Damen—for purely shallow reasons of course!! He would sip a glass of elixir and gaze into my eyes while I’d try not to drip spaghetti down the front of my dress!

Tamara: What's your favorite vacation spot?
Alyson: Well, funny you should ask because I happen to have several. For lying by the pool/beach and reading—Hawaii, or more specifically Maui & Lanai. For big city fun (in the US)- New York- I love it there, though Chicago runs an awfully close second! For international big city fun- Paris- I love, love, love it there! For an exotic get away- Marrakech-it’s completely enchanting!

Tamara: What was your favorite musical group/singer when you were in high school?
Alyson: Oh, here comes the embarrassing part! Well fine, here we go, I, Alyson Noël once pledged allegiance to Adam Ant. I was ready to join his Ant Nation and listen to nothing but Ant Music. This was one of my shorter lived crushes, but still, there you go. Though I’m happy to add that I still had some small smidgen of cool left for the likes of David Bowie, U2, The Clash, The Sex Pistols, etc. Mind you, this all took place back in the eighties!

Tamara: What is the funniest prank played on OR by you?
Alyson: Well, I’m much more of a jokester than a prankster, but back when I was a flight attendant, I was performing the safety demo one day, and when we got to the part where we showed the “safety demonstration card’ that can be found in “the seatback pocket in front of you”—I didn’t realize it, but my fellow crew members, who were also good friends of mine, had attached a note to mine that said- “Date Me! Ask How!” When all the passengers erupted into laughter, I discovered what they’d done and I have to say, I thought it was pretty hilarious too!

Tamara: That is pretty hilarious. When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Alyson: A princess, a mermaid, and an author. In that order.

Tamara: What question do you get asked most often about your writing? How do you answer it?
Alyson: “Where do you get your ideas from” seems to be the most common one—and my answer is always: Life! I steal from my own life on a regular basis.

Tamara: Do you believe in ghosts? Why or why not?
Alyson: I’ve no doubt that the soul or some form of energy lives on long after the physical body is gone. I’ve experienced way too many unexplainable phenomenons to think otherwise!

Tamara: Such cool answers. I'm really jealous about your travel hotspots. I wish I could teleport there now! Thanks again for participating!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Rainy Days and Mondays #13

This succeeded in making my laugh out loud. I hope it does the same for you. Happy Monday!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Dining with Marlene Perez

The Dining with Authors series is back today with young adult writer Marlene Perez. Her next novel The Comeback will be released August 1.

The book tells the story of Sophie Donnelly, who is one half of the most popular and powerful couple in school, until new girl Angie Vogel shows up and compromises everything. Angie steals Sophie's starring role in the school play, and, worse, her super-popular boyfriend. Sophie has been quickly dispatched to social Siberia, but not for long--she'll do anything it takes to make a triumphant comeback.

I fell in love with Marlene's "Dead IS" series over the past few months because of the great paranormal elements she includes in her fictional town of Nightshade where loveable Daisy Giordano lives amidst psychics, werewolves, vampires, and doppelgangers. The books are fun and romantic, without a doubt worth reading.

Marlene was born in Iowa and now lives in Orange County, California. Her work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times and her novels have been featured in Seventeen and Cosmopolitan. Her novel DEAD IS THE NEW BLACK was selected as an American Library Association Quick Pick for Reluctant Readers.

Marlene, welcome to the Girardi Diner. For this interview, imagine we are sitting across from each other, sipping tea or coffee, enjoying a slice of our favorite cake or pie (mine's cherry pie!). It's much more fun that way!

Tamara: If you could have dinner with any one of your characters, whom would you choose, and what would that character eat?

Marlene: I'd have dinner with Daisy, my main character in the DEAD IS series. She'd cook and eat. Or we'd go to Slim's Diner for a cheeseburger. I'd say Sophie Donnelly, the main character in my upcoming release THE COMEBACK, but I'd probably somehow end up with food poisoning if I dined with her.

Tamara: Yeah, you'd probably want to avoid that. What's your favorite vacation spot?

Marlene: My favorite family vacation is a quick trip to Pismo Beach, Ca, but I'm dying to go to England to do research and soak up the atmosphere.

Tamara: What was your favorite musical group/singer when you were in high school?

Marlene: I can't name just one! I love music. If I had to pick one, I'd say David Bowie or Prince, but that makes me sound much cooler than I was. I also liked Rick Springfield and the Bay City Rollers.

Tamara: What is the funniest prank played on OR by you?

Marlene: Hmm. Funny pranks? When I was in college, I lived in a house with three other girls. We had a bunch of people over, but I left to do a quick errand. When I came back, all the furniture in the house had been moved to different rooms. So the sofa was in the kitchen, etc. That was pretty funny.

Tamara: When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Marlene: A writer. Or someone who got paid to read all day.

Tamara: What question do you get asked most often about your writing? How do you answer it?

Marlene: Did I read TWILIGHT before I wrote DEAD IS THE NEW BLACK? And I answer that although I enjoyed TWILIGHT, I was more inspired by Anne Rice's VAMPIRE LESTAT books and two television shows, DARK SHADOWS, a television show featuring the vampire Barnabas Collins, which my older sister used to watch while she baby sat me, and BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER, which I absolutely adored. I honestly think paranormal writers who are already publishing today were more influenced by some of those cultural icons than by Twilight. It's the next generation of authors who possibly will be inspired by the Twilight saga, in my opinion.

Tamara: Do you believe in ghosts? Why or why not?

Marlene: Yes, I believe in ghosts. I've seen some very strange things. And besides, I like to keep an open mind.

Marlene, thanks so much for stopping by to answer some questions for us! Good luck with THE COMEBACK book release August 1.

Next week, we'll be dining with Immortals author Alyson Noel. See you then!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Rainy Days and Mondays #12

Monday just about passed me by. Oops!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Freaky Friday: Mansfield continued

I hope the saying "Better late than never" applies here! Sorry for the delay, but as promised, in celebrating a rainy Freaky Friday, here are more details on Dracula's castle of criminals. To start it off, I'd like to share EVPs collected by Clayton and Trip, two investigators who traveled from Kentucky to Ohio for the hunt.

Both files are of the same moment, but they are from two different voice recorders. One was Trip's and the other was Clayton's. What do you hear after Clayton asks, "Terry? Do you want to say something, Terry?"

Picking up where we left off, after leaving the attic, the group traveled downstairs to the prison chapel, pictured above. At one time, members of the community would come there for service as well. They were elevated in a balcony above the prisoners. On their way back to their cells after the service, the prisoners would pass under them. One ghost hunter mentioned a feeling of sadness when walking that direction. Often times, people hear piano music in the area as well.

As you saw from the video clip last week, there are several ghostly tales from locals, former prisoners and guards, and current employees. Scott supervised our ghost hunt last week. He was an awesome tour guide and told some great stories.

The most notable story is probably when he actually felt something punch him in the kidney. He says he hit the ground and then worried about how he was going to get the two ghost hunters with him out of the building safely.

Personally, I don't really mind that something of that caliber didn't happen to me. I'm okay with it.

In fact, I didn't capture any undeniable evidence of spirit manifestation at the prison. I had some odd feelings in certain places. In the infirmary, for example, I quickly developed a sharp headache behind my left eye. It was the kind of headache that makes you a bit dizzy and begs you to close the blinds in your bedroom and dive beneath the covers.

A few others in the group felt something odd in the room including Rachelle, who felt nauseous.

When we left the room, the maladies left as well. I wish Tylenol worked that fast.

Several investigators reported spots of blackness, particularly in the East Cell Block. It came with a very eery feeling, but truth be told, moonlight coming in a certain direction could cause that area to be in deeper shadow.

We also had quite a bit of success with dowsing rods. Dowsing is an ancient skill used to find water, minerals, or oil deposits below the Earth. Some people believe that lines of high energy exist on Earth. The energy can contribute to several things including a sacred connection to God.
I personally had the opportunity use dowsing rods at Stonehenge in England. Amazingly, when I stood aligned with the stones, the L-shaped rods crossed. When I backed away from the imaginary line, they returned to their original position.

I love that we used them on the ghost hunt because it shows that modern investigators are using a combination of ancient practices along with modern equipment like infrared cameras.

Dom held the dowsing rods as we walked through the East Cell Block. When they crossed in front of a specific cell, we would take photos of the cell and ask a few questions with the voice recorders.

If you remember, a few investigators played a bit of a trick on us by throwing glass through a hole in the wall. Well, we returned the favor in the administration wing. We heard a group of investigators above us, so we sat quietly and Jami made a loud pounding noise. We stifled giggles for a few minutes as the group asked if anyone was around. Jami pounded again before we finally revealed we were there. Not exactly good ghost hunting etiquette, but fun.

At one point in the night, we heard someone screaming. Everyone stopped and looked at each other. In the silence, we heard the scream again. We backtracked to find out if anyone was screaming. There was a group behind us. One of them had opened a closet door, and the hinges screeched. False alarm.

Although I didn't catch anything impressive on my EVPs or pictures, the trip was overall worth it. We had a lot of fun, and there's nothing like that moment when your body freezes and your mind runs overtime questioning whether what you just encountered was caused by someone from the other side.

And, if you're looking to check out the evidence gathered by the other investigators, check it out at Spirited Ghost Hunting.

Here are a few more pictures from Mansfield:

Above: This is the cell where Andy Dufresne, played by Tim Robbins, spent his time in solitary confinement. Below: Feeling brave before the lights went out, I hopped into a cell, and Dom took my picture. The rest of the night, I couldn't muster the same courage to enter into a pitch black cell with an old rusty door that could close behind me.

Above: A look at how dilapidated the building is. These are stairs in one of the cell blocks. Below: You may recognize the room where Andy played the record over the loudspeaker for everyone in the prison to hear.

Above: The warden's office in the film, Shawshank Redemption. Below: Cell painted gold to be featured in Lil Wayne video "Go DJ."

Above: A look down the long hallway of the East Cell Block. Note the low railing to the left. Below: A closer view of the fine accommodations.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Rainy Days and Mondays #11

I know I've been bad, promising more ghostly tales from Friday and then not delivering! But I have been writing, and that's what it's all about...

As a peace offering, though, I have logged on to deliver a Monday pick-you-up.

En route to Mansfield, Dom and I were joking about how we wished we had a Ghostbusters outfit, or one of those little boxes they slide across the floor and then stomp on the lever to open the box and capture the unruly ghosts. Now, by no means are we demeaning the passion of ghost hunters the world over, but we had a good laugh over it.

And it reminded me of the great movie and awesome theme song so many of us remember, so enjoy a piece of history...

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Things I Learned about Myself on My First Ghost Hunt

1. I am nothing like Leia Angeletti, my brave, 17-year-old ghost-hunting heroine.
2. I am a big scaredy-cat.
3. Fear of heights and a cell block with a low railing do not mix.
4. I am not patient enough to hang out and wait for a spirit to manifest.
5. I'm a really bad ghost hunter!

The picture to the right is my favorite from last night. In it, you can see down the long hallway of the West Cell Block at the Manfield State Reformatory. If you notice the cells are on the right, and to the left is basically a cage.

The East Cell Block has no cage. There is simply a hip-high railing, and as you can imagine, several inmates were thrown to their death as a result.

The building itself is amazing. In the video posted here yesterday, a former prisoner compared it to Dracula's castle. That's an incredibly appropriate comparison for several reasons.

The exterior is spooky yet gorgeous. The architecture demands attention and fools new visitors into believing the interior could be palace-like. As you can imagine, though, that anticipation doesn't deliver.

Inside, paint is chipping from the cell bars, walls, and ceilings. Wooden floors in the former wardens' living quarters soften as you walk over them creating nearly as much fear and anxiety as the graffiti on the walls and the violent history the tour guide revealed, which plays in your mind throughout the night.

The Attic
As the stories go, an inmate was helping with work in the attic once upon a time. The guards left him, and he committed suicide by hanging. Although many of the members of Spirited Ghost Hunting have been to Mansfield several times, they had never been in the attic. It was too dangerous - because of the mess, not because of the ghosts.

But after scarfing some pizza, we headed for the attic above the East Cell Block in a group of 8 around 11 p.m. We wandered around in the dark, flash lights bouncing off the walls and lingering on massive holes in the ceiling where plaster was peeling and hanging low, feet shuffling against the mounds of dirt and dust.

Across the attic were what appeared to be shower stalls like this one, which brings me to our first point of investigation.

My husband and I were standing in this stall while other groups were in adjacent stalls. Everyone was doing their best to be still and quiet while we recorded some electronic voice phenomenon or EVPs.

Rachelle, Spirited Ghost Hunting's fearless leader, was asking questions such as why are you here, what year is it, and what is your name?

She asked if anyone was there could they give us a sign. We heard a bang on hollow metal. I recognized the sound immediately. A few minutes earlier another hunter Tonya and I had squeezed through a small door frame to find an old furnace and stairs to other aged heating or water devices. That area is on the other side of the wall from the shower stalls.

Rachelle asked more questions and again asked for a sign, a noise of any kind or movement in the room. At that moment, Dom moved next to me.

"Did you hear that?" he asked.

"Yeah, stop moving," I told him, fearing we were going to get yelled at for improper ghost hunting etiquette. We were supposed to be quiet!

"No, someone threw something at me," he said. I was standing in the doorway of the stall, so it didn't come from that direction.

The rest of the group came into our little stall. We flashed lights on the floor and found a piece of glass. Glass hitting the floor made sense with the sound both of us had heard. I assumed he stepped on something or dropped something, but he insisted the glass either fell through the hole in the ceiling of the stall or the hole on the wall.

Tonya and I insisted no one was in that room. We had just been back there. To investigate, we all filed through the doorway into the next room to find a few other ghost hunters enjoying the joke they'd just played on us!

A couple more things about the attic before we move on. The history in the building is obviously incredible. It was opened in 1896 and first housed youth offenders. They were taught trades and "reformed" before being released. Then around World War I, more serious adult offenders called it home. At one time, it housed Death Row. Although its capacity is 1,100 prisoners, the most it ever held was 3,600. Clearly, overcrowding was an issue.

That's one of the reasons why in the 1970s, officials were pushing to have it closed. The decision was made in 1978, and it took 12 years to transfer all of the prisoners before the doors closed to corrections in 1990. Now, it's privately owned and preserved as a historical landmark.

I'm not sure why so many prisoners were up in the attic or why the place hasn't gotten a paint job for 80 years. I guess it's always possible that someone got creative and jotted some notes more recently than that, but above, you can see one of the many "I was here" notes.

It's hard to make out the details, but it's from prisoner 30890, who was transferred from Cleveland to serve at Mansfield in 1933. Some of the notes included reasons for incarceration.

A number or name. A crime. A date. I guess in their everyday lives, those were the most relevant attributes.

The notes illustrate a desire similar to Brooks' need to be remembered in The Shawshank Redemption, which was filmed at Mansfield. The halfway house Brooks lived in when he left the prison was filmed in one of the prison's administration rooms.

But back to the attic. We had one more experiment for the spirits, if they were with us. Four people set their flashlights in the middle of the floor. We crowded around them.

We got our voice recorders ready, and Jami, a really nice guy and fun ghost hunter, started with the questions. The main request was for the spirit to use the battery power in the flashlights as energy, thus shutting the flash light off. A particular line of questioning yielded a flicker in one of the lights.

"Did your family not visit you? Were they ashamed of what you'd done?"

The flicker was very visible. Not groundbreaking research or ironclad proof of paranormal activity, but clearly visible. After a few questions, Jami went back to the family questions again, but no more flickers, and none of the lights were extinguished.

When you're hoping for something to happen, it's hard not to assume or conclude prematurely. For instance, take a look at this photo of Rachelle and Colleen in the attic.

If you look closely above both of their heads, you see orbs. You can see one to the left of Rachelle (who's in the brown shirt and black shorts) and one right above Colleen's head. Farther above them, you see a few other orbs floating around.

I'd conclude these are dust particles. The validity of orbs carries a heavy debate. Some people believe if there is any color to them, it means they are paranormal whereas colorless orbs are simply dust particles. Others rule them out completely. Some, still, jump at any orb in a photograph and are excited about the implications.

The night wasn't over, but this post is getting lengthy, so I'll cut today's post short and get back to you tomorrow with more details about the music videos and movies filmed at Mansfield, our experiences in the administrative living quarters and pitch black cell blocks. And of course, what's a visit to a prison without time spent in solitary confinement.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Freaky Friday: Today's the Big Day

First of all, congratulations to Robin for winning a copy of Tina Ferraro's How to Hook a Hottie! Thanks to everyone who stopped by for the interview. And Tina, good luck with the RITA next week!

So, most of my gadgets and gizmos are lined up on the couch in my office for tonight. I've charged all of my camera batteries, searched for my voice recorders and flashlights, and have stocked extra batteries. For the spiritual side of things, I have a protective crystal (at the suggestions of a Lily Dale psychic), sage (which is used for cleansing), and holy water (which my husband, who is joining me, suggested). Don't want to bring any ghosties home with me!

In other words, I'm all ready for my ghost hunt!

Tonight I'm heading to Mansfield Prison in Ohio with Spirited Ghost Hunting, a group of about 40 ghost hunters. From what I understand, we get a tour of the building with the lights on. Then they get cut, and we're free to wander with our cameras and voice recorders in the dark until 6 a.m.

6 a.m.! Those of you who know me know I like my sleep!

We'll see how it goes. Because it's the best video on Mansfield, I'm going to post the same video from last week. If you didn't watch it then, give it a go today. It's really creepy!

I'll blog all about it tomorrow! Wish me luck!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Dining with Tina Ferraro

I’m sooooo excited to kick off my Dining with Authors series today with Tina Ferraro, who writes fun, romantic tales for teens. In May, I read her book The ABC’s of Kissing Boys and loved it!

Tina is the author of three Delacorte Press young adult novels, Top Ten Uses for an Unworn Prom Dress, How to Hook a Hottie, and The ABC’s of Kissing Boys. Her books have received many kudos, including a personal endorsement from Twilight author Stephenie Meyer, a 2008 American Bookseller Association Book Sense Award, and nominee status for the 2009 American Library Association Best Young Adult Book and 2009 Romance Writers of America for Best Young Adult Novel. Her fourth YA novel, When Bad Flings Happen to Good Girls, will be released in 2010.

How to Hook a Hottie is a Romance Writers of America RITA Award finalist for Best Young Adult Book. The book features Kate DelVecchio, who plans to be a millionaire before she's 21. When she agrees to go to a sports banquet with a hotshot baseball player, she stumbles upon a possible cash cow. The rest of the school is amazed that the no-nonsense Kate could hook such a hottie, and one by one approach her for help hooking their own. She doesn't know anything about getting guys, but for $100.00 a pop, she's more than willing to try, including inventing a 6-step-plan on How to Hook a Hottie. And how could that possibly backfire?

Tina lives behind a computer in Los Angeles with her rocket scientist husband, a cat who bites, and whichever of their three young adult kids happens to be home.

Tamara: Welcome to the Girardi Diner. For this interview, imagine we are sitting across from each other in an adorable diner, sipping tea or coffee, enjoying a slice of our favorite cake or pie (mine's cherry pie!). It's much more fun that way!

Tina: Oh, yes, coffee, please, and pass me some of that cherry pie! Yum...

Tamara: If you could have dinner with any one of your characters, whom would you choose, and what would that character eat?

Tina: Well, my heroine, Kate, from How to Hook a Hottie, is a cheeseburger freak. I am so-so about them... But I do love the Bleunami Burger at Island’s. So settle me a booth with Kate, order up two of those hot, drippy bleu cheeseburgers, some onion rings, two iced teas. We’re good to go!

Tamara: What's your favorite vacation spot?

Tina: We have a family home in northern Italy, and for years, we packed our kids up for summer vacations there. We’d be like the locals, cooking, taking walks and afternoon naps, and visiting with family. But we haven’t been back in a while now since our kids have gotten older and are, a-hem, less content to be without their friends and the internet.

Tamara (who’s so jealous about your last answer): What was your favorite musical group/singer when you were in high school?

Tina: If I had to name just one, I’d say The Beatles, although they were already broken up and into their solo careers by that point.

Tamara: What is the funniest prank played on OR by you?

Tina: I was in high school. My brother and family friend--both younger--poured themselves full glasses of milk with lunch, and me just a tiny drop in a plastic cup. I arrived at the table and they said, “Hey, let’s pour milk on our heads!” I tilted my cup, saw nothing, thought they were complete idiots, and said, “Sure.” I poured mine, they didn’t. I ended up with milk dribbling down my face. They screamed with laughter. And to this day, I STILL get teased by both of them. Yeah, yeah.

Tamara: When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Tina: An author, wife and mom! And believe me, there were long periods where I didn’t think the right guy, a baby, or selling a book would ever happen, so they all feel like big accomplishments.

Tamara: What question do you get asked most often about your writing? How do you answer it?

Tina: Lots of readers ask how they can find a guy like my heroes. And I have to tell them that I’m no help there. However, as my kids and their friends can attest, I DO have an uncanny ability to denote secret crushes. I can often see subtle changes in people’s eyes and body movements that speak louder than words or overt actions. So some of the “tips” in How to Hook a Hottie on how to tell if you’ve got a chance with a person really DO have some weight, especially the one about the wristwatch. It works, people!

Tamara: Do you believe in ghosts? Why or why not?

Tina: Interesting that you ask this because recently we did this theme at the Buzz Girls blog to celebrate the release of Marley Gibson’s Ghost Huntress series. I told the story about my first apartment and how “something” that felt like a cat used to press against me in my sofa bed. When I changed positions, it would pause, then settled back in at a slightly different spot. I never saw anything, though. And when I moved to a different neighborhood, never felt it ever again. So that said, yes...I am definitely open to the idea of the spirit world.

Tamara: Thanks so much for stopping by the diner for this interview! Good luck with the Rita Award, and keep writing, so we can keep reading!

Tina: Thanks, this was FUN.

***For a chance to win a copy of Tina’s How to Hook a Hottie, post a comment below telling us something you’ve done or seen done to hook a hottie! Be sure to leave your email address, so I can email if you win!

Learn more about Tina and her books by checking out these links:

Tina Ferraro
Buzz Girls Blog
ABCs of Kissing Boys
Top Ten Uses for an Unworn Prom Dress
How to Hook a Hottie

Monday, July 6, 2009

Rainy Days and Mondays #10

Okay, there's nothing like this sound to make you smile.

Enjoy, and Happy Monday!

*Also, be sure to stop by Wednesday for a fun interview with author Tina Ferraro...

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Happy Birthday, America!

Happy Fourth of July, everyone. Hopefully you're enjoying the day with hot dogs, hamburgers, pool parties, and fireworks.

For the holiday, I wanted to share with you a piece of writing that has always inspired me. It was written by the light of a campfire to boost morale in the Revolutionary War. It was copied and read to American troops at the request of then General George Washington. It succeeded in fueling the cause when soldiers stormed Trenton in a surprise attack on Hessian soldiers, which showed the British America wasn't ready to give up.

It's called the American Crisis, and it was written by Thomas Paine. Here's a snippit:

"These are the times that try men's souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of his country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: 'tis dearness only that gives every thing its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed, if so celestial an article as freedom should not be highly rated."

Reading this now, I'm impressed that it can be applied to so many situations, personal and political, even today. Like the best writing, it is universal and timeless.

Also, for my brother-in-law, Michel, who's serving in Iraq, all the men and women who have ever served or are serving in the military, and for my mother who loved this song:

Friday, July 3, 2009

Freaky Friday: First ghost hunt coming up...

If you've read the excerpts I posted, you know my book opens with a scene in a haunted, abandoned prison. My fearless
17-year-old ghost hunter Leia Angeletti is doing her best to catch an apparition on film to prove herself to the older investigators in her group.

I wrote this scene in mid-January. Weeks later, I located and visited with a local ghost hunting group, Spirited Ghost Hunting. They were putting their schedule of hunts together, and lo and behold, one of the first ones was a trip to Mansfield, a haunted prison in Ohio.

I believe in signs, and that was a good one!

Because of my work schedule, though, I was unable to attend, but they are going for a second visit next week, and I'm on the list! It will be my first ghost hunt. Deep breath. I'm a little scared. I'll admit it. I'm not quite as brave as my YA herione.

I'll of course tell you all about it next weekend. In the meantime, here's a bit about Mansfield. FYI - It may look familiar if you've seen the film Shawshank Redemption, as it was filmed at Mansfield.