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Wednesday, October 30, 2013


Trick-or-Treating Candy Vessels of Choice…

It’s that time of the year again: Halloween, when a child’s dreams of unlimited candy come true. A time when most parents’ nightmares involve trying to keep said child from devouring their great cache of candy all in one sitting. Last but not least, it’s a time when dentists across the country realize their daydream of acquiring a new sports car is merely a few dozen filled cavities away from becoming reality.

When I was a kid out trolling for the cornucopia of sweets, it was still safe to head out with a group of your friends prepared to beg for sugar until your pillow case became too full to carry. You had to make sure you confiscated your Momma’s best pillow case—none of the lower-numbered thread count stuff would cut it for a full night of chasing the candy dream. The weight of the treats could rip holes in a low quality vessel, or you could fall – doing equal damage to a subpar pillowcase.
And anyone with a half a brain knew you never, ever used a paper grocery bag to collect your goods. The flimsy brown sack would rip before hitting the half-full stage. I can’t tell you how many kids I saw on Halloween crying over spilled candy. Their only option was to fill their pockets, scoop as much as they could carry in their arms, and run home defeated. I speak from experience on this issue! The smart munchkins never looked back. Who wanted to see the vultures scooping up their hard-earned treats and dumping them in their sturdy pillow cases? Not to mention the total annihilation of a flimsy brown bag in the sad event of rain. At least in the rain no one would notice the tears streaming down your face.

Nowadays, Trick-or-Treating goblins can collect their cavity-provoking morsels in nice little plastic pumpkins (also flawed in my opinion). If one were to truly fill the cute little candy carrier to the brim, odds are the little black handles would break under the weight.

As a seasoned pro, my candy catcher of choice in these modern times is one of the nice canvas bags. I’m sure they’re patterned after the reliable pillow case bags of days gone by. They are available with spooky Halloween scenes, or swathed in cutesy pumpkins. Of course, design preferences should be left up to the Trick-or-Treaters. A canvas catch-all is sturdy and available in almost any size. My pick would be the ultimate, supersized bag with expandable sides for maximum carrying capacity.

I vowed at an early age to make my dentist a happy man. I believe he still putts around town in his cute little sports car.

For a chance to win your FREE “The Eyes Die Last” canvas tote, post a message in the comments section below telling me your favorite candy vessel for Trick-or-Treating!

Stay safe and enjoy your Halloween! 

Monday, October 21, 2013

Fall Memories...


This is my favorite time of the year. Fall marks the beginning of the holiday season. Labor Day, followed by Halloween, my birthday, (which I’m campaigning to make a legal holiday!), Thanksgiving, Christmas, and finally the New Year. The time flies by. Seems as soon as I store the barbeque pit, it’s time to make my New Year’s resolutions—which by the way, are usually broken by January 2nd.
    Life is busy, but we all need to take time to soak up the gifts fall offers…the gifts life offers. Let our surroundings trigger past memories, and create new ones. 
    I love how fall touches each and every one of my senses. These are some of my observations…

Touch. The wind feels crisper against my cheeks. The air I inhale is colder as I breathe it into my lungs. Scarves I begin wrapping around my neck are soft, and sometimes, a bit scratchy against my skin. I enjoy inching closer to the fireplace, letting the heat warm me on a cold night.

Smell. Who can deny the wonderful smell of a bon fire? Hot dogs roasting to perfection. The sweet scent of toasted marshmallows. Or less appealing to some, the smell of leaves burning. Pumpkin pies baking in the oven at Thanksgiving, definitely a favorite.

Sound. Falling asleep at night to the rustle of the wind as it sends leaves helicoptering down to the ground, interrupted by the occasional thump of falling acorns. The crunch of walking through the fallen leaves, and echoes of the children’s squeals playing in them. The gear-shifting rumbles of buses carrying our precious cargo to school, and safely home again. The giggles of excited Trick or Treaters. The squawking cries and flapping of wings from migrating birds flying overhead.
Sights. Bursting colors of the leaves changing. Pumpkins, scarecrows, witches, ghosts, and all things scary, decorating homes and businesses. Yellow busses, cross guards, and flashing lights begin and end the school day. Apples ripened to perfection in a rainbow of color. The days turning dark earlier.

Tastes. Savoring hot chocolate and warm apple cider, one slow sip at a time. Toasted-to-perfection marshmallows. Roasted hot dogs, skins bursting at the seams with flavorful juices. The yumminess of Halloween candy you’ve managed to sneak from your child’s treat bag. Carmel apples. Thanksgiving feasts. And an extra for lucky me? Birthday cake. Need I continue? I’ve gained a pound just thinking about fall foods.

So many memories are engrained in our senses. A single touch, a smell, a sound, a sight, or a taste can easily spark a recollection. Good or bad, the memories are pieces of life that molds us into who we are.

Some of my fondest fall memories?

Triggered by touch. Running through the school yard, arms stretched outward, my throat burning from the cool air I’ve sucked in. Momma’s gentle touch as she wrapped me up warm before sending me out to play. Snuggling with hubby’s arms around me in front of the fireplace, basking in the warmth. The feel of my children’s hugs before they scurried off to school.
Triggered by smell. Smokey bonfires beneath the stars and hayrides as a little girl, and enjoying them again as an adult with my daughters. Falling asleep with the attic fan sucking in the scent of leaves burning through open windows.

Triggered by sound. The laughter from my girls hiding in, and rolling through, the crispy fallen leaves at our favorite neighborhood park. My youngest daughter crying as I dropped her off on her first day of school. Okay, that may have been me sniffling.
Triggered by sight. Sitting on my back porch, awestruck by the beauty of the flaming oranges, reds, and yellows of the changing trees surrounding me. Wishing they could stay those colors year-round. Driving my girls through the neighborhoods in search of the best Halloween decorations. Our house won the contest every year.

Triggered by taste. I can’t bite into a piece of pumpkin pie without thinking of my mother. She was, without doubt, the world’s best maker of pumpkin pie. And every time I devour my first handful of candy corn, I remember how hard it is to lose the extra pounds I’m going to gain throughout the fall. But it never stops me from indulging.

As you can see, my memories of falls gone by are mostly good ones, and I love when one of my senses triggers them to life. I find peace and comfort in them. I hope when the fall triggers your senses to remember, you find the same peace and comfort.
At the end of the day, it’s what we all deserve.

Share a special memory triggered by something you touch, smell, hear, see, or taste in the fall.
All comments made enter you in a chance to win a copy of my new release, Resolutions.

Fall Memories

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Twilight Zone Moments…

     Destiny. Fate. Providence. Twilight Zone moments. Whatever word you use, do you believe in them?
     I do. How else do you explain those strange things that give you goose bumps when they happen? How many times in our lives do we experience this phenomenon and think to ourselves, no way?

     A man misses his plane, goes standby on a later flight, and ends up sitting next to the person who turns out to be his soul mate. They were happily married for 57 years. Is it destiny?
     Or how about that cute little stray dog who shows up on your doorstep? It’s a cold, rainy night and you can’t turn him away. Instead you give him a forever home. Years later, Fido’s barking alerts you to the fire that is rapidly consuming your home. You and the family make it out alive. Fate?
     A woman’s business trip is cancelled and the next day she’s called to the hospital. Her father has suffered a major heart attack. He dies two hours later, with his daughter holding his hand. Providence?

     Two weeks ago my new book, Resolutions, was released by Decadent Publishing. A few days earlier, I received the cover art to approve. I studied and admired the work. Everything was perfect. The characters were exactly the way I’d imagined them. I looked over the photo a dozen times before I noticed the heroine, Eve, was wearing a necklace in the picture. 

      I thought to myself, sure it’s possible my tough female DEA operative might have a special necklace she wears while out kicking ass and taking names. Being a self-proclaimed…well, let’s just say curious person…I enlarged the photo, and BINGO! I had one of those rare Twilight Zone moments. 
     The heroine’s necklace was identical to one my hubby bought me last Christmas. Look for yourselves. (Please ignore any extra chins that may or may not be mine.) Study and compare the photos. Draw your own conclusions. 

     I had no idea what Decadent Publishing would come up with for the cover of my book. But there it was…

My very own Twilight Zone moment.

Have you ever had a Twilight Zone moment? Care to share it in the comments below?