Thursday, January 30, 2014

POLAR VORTEX HURRICANE

WHAT?
Well, that's what one of my buds coined this morning when I picked him up on the route #7.

We've heard how Georgia got hit with an ice storm--2" of ice with 3" of snow on top of that and stranded people because A: they don't have the equipment to do what we do up north. B: They don't understand the dynamics of driving a car on ice. Uhhhmmm, yeah. You don't. They tried to tell people to stay home. You know how it is. They didn't listen. Dumb humans!

Well, enough about those people. I thought I'd stop in and give you my report from my house down here on Crego Rd., about 8 miles south of DeKalb IL. (we are about 60 miles west of Chicago, and Chicago ain't go nothing on us, believe me!)

We have mountains of snow. And it's nothing idyllic as the picture above. Wish it were.
We have been having a visitor dubbed by our meteorologists as the "Polar Vortex" and it came down to visit all of you all down south... that's why hundreds were stranded sleeping wherever they found a warm place to crash.

David Tulis AP
We have had extremely cold temperatures. The minus 15 readings with wind chills ranging around -40
Which had school closings, including NIU, which my husband and I drive campus buses for them. To give you an idea, we were not going to make it to work. There were 3,4 &5 foot drifts across our drive, across the road, and in order to move that the road commissioner's of our township brought the BIG HONKIN' ASS JOHN DEERE with three awesome blades: one in front one beneath the belly of the beast and the huge arm that extends out and pushes the snow away from the edge of the road. It took him 3 hours to remove snow from our end of the road. We were told people who drove down our road had to stop and turn around on Monday. Yeah. Gonna take your pooch for a walk in the park? I don't think so!!!

This is the first time while my husband and I have lived here that such a huge amount of snow has fallen. We've known many a snow storms and blizzards. The Blizzard of '79 comes to mind.
Sun-Times Media file
Belden Ave. just west of Halsted, Chicago January 16, 1979
In this blizzard it began snowing on January 12, and snowed for nearly three days. Almost two feet of snow fell, and add this to the more than foot and a half from before that. This is why Mayor Micheal Bilandic lost his job and Jane Byrne got the job--he didn't get the plows out there to do their job.

Well, this is all stuff that happened in Chicago. I remember that the snow was so much there was no where to put the snow. It was normal to drive down a street with the snow piled up in the center of it. People put flags or other extensions on their antennas in order to be seen by other drivers before you came to an intersection! We were sledding down the roofs because there were natural slopes. People had to shovel snow off their roofs, or they would collapse. I remember one night a friend and I walked the half mile out to the corner bar in Cortland, I think my brother made it too. There was no one except the bartender there. We saw a car driving around in a field because they didn't know where the damned road was. Snowmobiles were putting in time rescuing people from the cars--like that poor soul out there.

And I was the one who said this year was setting up to become like that one in '79/80. We aren't there on snowfall totals, but it has snowed here every other day. Sometimes it's only an inch or so. Saturday we expect several inches. And next week even more.

At the moment, we have carved out our driveway and it looks like a white canyon. The same goes for the road with 12' high mounds of snow. They're so tall, and you can't see entrances so our park supervisor put up PVC pipes with little red flags on them so you can find the entrance to the park, and to our driveway.

Oh, and last item: We were running low on propane to heat the house with. My husband made the call to our supplier. They quoted him $800 for just a partial fill-up. He's like "What?" And they said that there was a shortage of propane, and that it was all over the news and the Internet. Well, we hadn't heard a thing about it at this point. (We did hear about it later on). He told them they could kindly kiss his ass. He said he'd run it down and then we'd call and tell them they could come and haul out their stupid tank. We'll get someone else next year. We have several space heaters. Some are the little blower heaters, and we also have these radiator heaters that have oil inside that heats up. They work fine. We dress a little warmer, cuddle under blankets and boy do I look forward to my hot bath in the afternoon! My toes are really chilly by then.

As a result of all this absolutely frigid weather, I've had to move my computer out of my office. It is in the west end of the house. One morning I went in there and it was 29 degrees! (Yeah I have a thermometer in there to check the temp). No way we could keep on throwing the heat in there, and still, I'd be cold!

So, I'm in the dining room typing this. Sort of like when I first started out with my computer. I'm still working on the next 2 books. The next Sabrina Strong book, and my brand new one "Dhampir Legacy"--a police procedural/paranormal-mix (yes, there are vampires in this one).

I'll be posting but not often as I work on my books... and deal with the Polar Vortex/Blizzard of 2014.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Stalkers, Rapists, Killers & Pedophiles-The Nasties of the World.

I come to the blog post today trying to clear my worst memories of something that happened when I was a child, and to talk about the book by Tami Hoag, Down the Darkest Road, which brought back these memories. I wasn't going to post this, tried to quit thinking about it. But, now I feel I have to. It's a subject that doesn't come up all that often, and maybe it should. Here is the book.

Here is description of the book:
Four years after Lauren Lawton's sixteen-year-old daughter disappeared, the world gave up the girl for dead. Lauren's husband took his own life. Her younger daughter is looking only for what's left of her childhood. But Lauren never surrendered. She knows who took her child, and there's not a shred of evidence against him.
Looking for a fresh start, Lauren and her younger daughter Leah move to idyllic Oak Knoll. So has Lauren's suspect. And it feels that history is about to repeat itself.

Leah is turning sixteen, and Oak Knoll has a cunning predator on the hunt. But as sheriff's detective Tony Mendez and his team sift through the circumstances of an increasingly disturbing case, a stunning question changes everything they thought they knew...

Tami Hoag is one of my favorite authors of suspense/detective works. I think I must have dog-eared and highlighted every book I've ever had of hers--except for this last one, since I didn't want to mar it up, as it was a hardbound. I read such books for enjoyment, but also as learning tools. And I must say this one hit me where I live, because a pedophile lived next to me while I grew up.

Yep. Only back then, you didn't know about such things. They didn't have neighborhood warnings about such people taking up residence next to you. I recall people whispering about him having gone to jail for something he had done to a little girl. I didn't know what that could mean. In fact, in her book Tami has placed this in the 1980's, and they didn't have DNA like they do now, and couldn't keep known sexual offenders away from schools, like they do now. In the book, it made it difficult for the police to do their job, and gave the offender more rights than the victims--which sucks.

This man who lived next to me was married. He collected junk, and filled his house and garage with junk. He would come into our house, not knocking, and call out--but he never came further than the doorway--at least I don't think so. But I could be wrong, since such unsavory creatures tend to feed their own depravity by stealing underwear of the women they stalk, and I know he stalked me. He drove an old van--always painted aqua, or some ridiculous color. I know he worked for the college (so he could look at all the young women and fantasize about them).

And he tried to touch me once--I think I was 14 or 15 at the time. Yep. I told him I'd scream if he didn't let me go. And he did. I was really lucky. Lucky his wife was home, right next to the van, and that he had fear enough to leave me be. But I still had to live next to him. I later learned he had taken pictures of me in my yard--something I had suspected. I felt he always had watched me, and then I had proof, not that I needed it.

This book by Tami Hoag was really good. I thought I had it figured out, but she twisted it in a way that was really surprising. It dredged up some unpleasant memories. But it also made me realize how lucky I am.

I have been working on my WIP, and the whole stalker, serial killer thing fuels the detectives in this case--until they find out the stalkers, and serial killers are not human. I try to help my writing about the detectives in the book with the help of other writers like Tami Hoag, in order to get down the lingo, background and police procedural. My nephew has helped me too, since he is with the sheriff's police, and has been for 30 years. I've talked to him about guns and such. It's interesting. I find it a challenge to blend reality with my vampire writing. It's a challenge to blur the edges and make the reader believe this could happen.


Next time I'll post something more up-beat. Until then...




Monday, January 13, 2014

My Writing Goals for 2014

Hello, my pretties!
I'm writing this for a blog hop I'm on. It runs from, well, today until March 24, over on this blog.

Today is my writing goals for this year.

If truth be told, it's actually thin. I'm hoping to publish only two books this year, since last year I had to go and re-publish my first Sabrina Strong books, and go Indie. Not that I didn't welcome that, but it really pushed me to get this done. I had to go through each book, corrections on the last book were--ehem--numerous...but we won't go there today.

Two books I'm currently working on are Dhampire Legacy,which if you've been coming to my blog(s) regularly, you'll have seen what I've been doing. It's not exactly an urban fantasy, as my Sabrina Strong series is. I like to call it a cross-over mystery-suspense paranormal with horror thrown in for good measure. Why can't we just call it a vampire novel and get over it. It isn't your typical vampire novel of today. It reminiscent of vampire novels of the 1980's where the vampire was evil and the good guys are trying to stamp them out and having a hell of a time doing it. I'm working in the scenes I thought I didn't need of showing the vampires themselves, but as I got into the climax (where I am in my writing of this), I'm seeing the need for these scenes.

And the other project, which I hope to get done sometime early spring, is the fourth book in the Sabrina Strong Series, Vampire Caprice. 
Cover forFourth book in
Sabrina Strong Series 2014


I've currently been working on Dhampire Legacy, while allowing my beta readers to swarm over the fourth Sabrina book. Once that's done, I'll have to go through that mss, do corrections, go through it again to make sure everything's right, and then publish it.

My other writing projects are to keep up with my other blogs. I've started a poetry blog, as well, but I post there only on a monthly basis, or until people take interest.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

New Design & WIP

Hello, my pretties! How is the new year treating you? Good, I hope.

Well, I've been working steadily in my WIP. I've just put 78K words under my belt on Dhampire Legacy. Working right along, and happy in my work. I'll give you a bit of a tease here, in a bit.

How do you like the new header? Nice? I made this myself. I think it will work for me until I get a few more books under my belt.

Here I'd like to introduce you to Phil Green and Dr. Herb Ruben. They're just a couple of your average vampire hunters trying to find the vampire lair. This is from a later chapter, but I thought it was atmospheric. This is in a first draft, so there might be a few miss-spellings and such.


You sure you know what you're doing?” Herb asked over Phil's shoulder. On his knees, Phil wiggled the pick in the lock.
It's a little rusty,” Phil said, concentrating.
How do we know this is the right mausoleum?” Herb asked, gazing out across the cemetery.
Because, Mrs. Crunch said it was northwest from the mansion. This is the only one in this area that it could be.” Phil switched to a different picking device and shoved it into the lock, and jiggled it around.
You'd have been better off using a hacksaw,” Herb groused.
If you'd just quiet down, I might be able to do this!” Phil said through gritted teeth. “Besides, we don't want anyone to know that we've been here.”
No. I suppose not. They'll just figure out someone's picked the lock when they come to see grandma and grandpa Miller,” Herb said, squinting up at the name chiseled above the door. The door had an iron gate over it. A padlock held it closed to those who might try and get inside to desecrate.
The lock clicked and opened in Phil's large hand. “Got it!” He eased the padlock off the gate and opened the gates and examined the door that closed the mausoleum off from the elements.
He grasped an old latch, it opened under his hand. “We're in.” Herb followed him into a five by twelve space. The walls were lined with vaults. Most were occupied. This he had expected. They looked around.
What now, Sherlock?” Herb asked.
I don't know.”
You mean she didn't tell you how to get into the tunnel?”
No. I don't think she knew how. She only said that this was one way into the tunnel.”
Oh, I don't believe this!” Herb said, hand going up and flopping to his side making a soft sound. “You got me all the way here and you have no idea what you're looking for?”
No.” Phil looked around, noticed a large marble urn with handles and stepped up to it. He eyed it, walked around it and grasped it by the rim and handle. “Won't budge.”
You mean you think there's some secret way to get inside?” Herb laughed. “You mean like on some silly show where they find a secret leaver, or something you turn?”
Yeah.” Phil looked at the piece of heavy pottery and now placed his hands on the handles he pushed with one hand and pulled with another. It turned with a slight grinding sound. “Oh, I think—” He grunted and tried to move it further. Herb watched him, dubious.
C'mon. Help me! You push I'll pull.”
Alright, just let me put my cane down.” Herb put his cane up against the wall and came back. He pressed on one large handle and pushed, putting his weight into it, while Phil pulled on the other one. The large marble piece turned again a quarter turn.
That's it! Do it again!” Phil encouraged. They pushed and pulled at the urn's handles until they'd turned it to a half way point. Something behind them made a grinding sound.
They stopped and turned to one of the bronze tomb coverings to find it had moved out five inches or so.
Both men breathing hard, they turned. Herb grabbed his cane and leaned on it, watching his larger friend move for the tomb three tombs up.
How did you figure out that it would turn?” Herb panted, and daubing his sweaty face with a handkerchief.
I watched a lot of Wild, Wild West shows. There was one where they went into a mausoleum and a blind girl turned something to open up a secret compartment.”
Herb shook his head, chuckling. “Which proves once again that fact is stranger than fiction.”
Strange or not. I can't figure out what this is supposed to do,” Phil said, looking all around it, top, bottom, sides. He ran his forefinger over his thick mustache.
Does it turn?” Herb asked, moving up to inspect it. The tomb was level with Phil's head, but the top went six inches above. He reached up, hands flat to the sides, he curled his fingers around an edge
No. It's just a box, or tomb. I don't know what the hell it's for.”
Herb chuckled. “Well, you opened it.”
Yeah, but why? What's it for? It has to be for something.”
Is there a body in there?”
I hope not,” Phil said and went up on tip toes. Unable to see inside, he reached around. It was empty, like a box. “Wait a minute.” His hand came in contact with something metallic, a leaver of some sort. He grasped it, pushed and pulled until it moved, suddenly. Quickly he pulled his hand out and stepped back, cautioning Herb to do the same. The stone-on-stone grinding came from the wall.
This is exciting!” Phil said. “Almost like opening up King Tut's Tomb, or something.”
Or Aunt Gabrielle's eternal resting place,” Herb said, watching the whole section of wall move slowly out like a thick door.
Now that's innovative!” Phil said, peering through the darkness of the opening. “Hey, there's some steps!”
Wonderful,” Herb said. “I'll stay right here, if you don't mind?”
No, no. That's alright. Let me get my flashlight.” Phil took the small flashlight out of his vest under his coat. “You stay right here, I'm just going to see how far down it goes.”
I'll be right here, twiddling my thumbs,” Herb said.
Okay,” Phil said, moving to the entrance and pausing at the top of the old stairs. He turned on his flashlight, aimed the bright light down into the dark mouth of the entrance. Cobwebs hung thick in spots. Dust and dead bugs littered the stone steps. The reek of death rose to meet his nose. “Ish, something died here recently.”
Mice, probably,” Herb suggested.
Okay, “I'm going down. You stay there. If I yell for help call 911.”
Right.”
Phil descended into the darkness, slowly taking each step as though it might go out from beneath him. The walls of stone became brick the further he went down. Finally he reached the bottom.
Okay, I'm down on level ground, here.” He shown his light around. The tunnel led off, and he would have to bend down to walk through. “It's a really cramped space. But it does lead somewhere.”
Are you going to investigate it?” Herb asked. “Because it's almost four o'clock and that sun's going to set soon.” There was some argument as to when a vampire is awake. Some said the vampire was asleep like the dead during the day. Other said that the older the vampire, the less sleep he needed, and was able to walk about even during the day time, as long as he was in darkness, protected from the sun.
Okay, I've got a watch,” he called up. “I'm going to go a little ways in, then I'll come back.”
If you find King Tut, you know you've gone too far,” Herb joked, looking down into the dark hole. He watched the light Phil held shift back and forth, and then its brightness faded until it disappeared. He turned toward the entrance, noting the shadows were advancing. “Oh, hell. This is not the time to be checking out a vampire's hiding place,” he said to himself, but held back calling to Phil. He'd given him a warning. His heart pounded in his chest. My blood pressure must be up... “I need this like I need a hole in the head,” he muttered to himself. I'm supposed to be retired, and here I am poking into a tomb where a vampire might be hiding. I'm gonna pay for this. I just know it.
Herb glanced at his watch, looked outside through the open door of the mausoleum. “Christ, come on, Phil.” Five minutes, then six ticked by. He checked and noticed it had been seven minutes since Phil said he'd come right back. Herb moved toward the shadowed doorway that led outside. Fresh air filtered in, and he hadn't noticed until pulling it in how dank the place was. It had been closed up, possibly the oxygen levels had been low.
Herb frowned, pulling in fresh air. “Holy cow.” The thought jolted him into action. He hobbled toward the tunnel's entrance and yelled, “PHIL! PHIL! CAN YOU HEAR ME?”
Nothing. Not a sound filtered up to him. “Oh, crap.” Urgency caused him to make his way down five steps, grimacing when pain shot up his spine from his bad hip. He stopped and leaned on the wall with cane in hand until the pain subsided. “PHIL! ANSWER ME!”
Here I am,” Phil's voice filtered up.
Well, it's about damned time!” Herb groused, watching Phil take the steps two at a time like a teenager. There was a time when he had been able to dart up stairs like that too. Not any more. He could barely go down them.
What are you doing down here?” Phil said, stopping to regard him.
Never mind, just get me back up, will ya?”
Phil took one arm, and helped Herb back up, mindful of his painful hip.
The sun's going down, and your horsing around in a vampire's lair,” Herb admonished, moving to distance himself from the entrance.
I just wanted to check this out,” Phil said. “Wait outside, if you want. I've gotta close this up.”
Herb made his way back outside the mausoleum while Phil closed the entrances up. He joined Herb outside and locked the padlock again.
No way I can make it back through that field,” Herb said.
I think I can sneak my Jeep over here. You think you can make it to the edge of the cemetery at least?”
Find me a spot to rest for five minutes, and I'll try,” Herb said.
Phil glanced around and found a fairly flat-topped stone, which had moved and now leaned slightly. “Over here. Come on,” Phil said, moving for the headstone. Herb gingerly walked toward the stone, and settled himself down.
Go on, get the Jeep. By the time you make it over I'll probably feel better.”
Okay. Just stay right here,” Phil looked around, and saw that the light was fading from the day. He jogged away, toward the grassy field. It took him half the time they took to walk it. He brought the Jeep down a farmer's drive off the road, and drove straight up to where the cemetery was. While he did another ambulance went by, coming from the mansion. He hoped that the person inside would be okay. He wondered if the police had any idea of what they were up against.
Probably not.

Customer Reviews... Good, Bad, and Best!

I always cringe when I see a new review has come up on my books. I'm never sure what they will say. Sometimes I am pleasantly surprised,...