Ghost Hunting Equipment That Might Save Your Life

Interesting and useful information.

Mel meterMiranda always felt uneasy in her basement, especially near the doorway that linked the two rooms together. When she stood there, she felt as though someone was watching her, causing the hairs on the back of her neck to rise. After a while, she avoided the basement as much as possible, believing she had a ghost lurking down there.

When she called me, I was happy to help. As a paranormal investigator, that’s what I do. If I find signs of a haunting, I attempt to document the activity and then work with several psychic mediums to help me alleviate the anguish that is causing the haunting. The very first thing I do though is look for normal, natural reasons for the activity.

Many people in the field call this process “debunking.” While many investigators are eager to capture evidence they can share with their friends, serious investigators always rule out…

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Are you a Christian Atheist?

Let's Talk About Sunday

I need to make a confession: I have been weak in prayer lately.  Does that make me a Christian atheist?  What I mean is that for the past number of years, five or so, I haven’t prayed much.  I lead prayer meeting, and we pray at Leadership Team meetings, and I go to the ministerium monthly prayer meeting, and my family prays before meals and bedtimes, but personally, privately, I don’t pray much.  Some people would say Christians who don’t pray much are Christian atheists.

It wasn’t always that way.

I really had my eyes opened to the importance of prayer in college.  I took a course on prayer, taught by my wife’s father, though he wasn’t my father-in-law at the time.  We not only read great books about prayer and studied what the Bible says about prayer, including the great prayers in the Bible, but we were also required…

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I Did It My Way—and Wish I’d Done It Differently

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“Regrets, I’ve had a few…”

~Frank Sinatra

 

Who among us doesn’t look back on his life and wish he’d done things differently? I know I have, and the vast majority of my friends have at least one thing they wish they could do over. Maybe they’d go back to their high school days and stand up to that bully, or perhaps they’d ask out that seemingly perfect guy or girl they thought they didn’t have a snowball’s chance with, or maybe they’d even pass on that dream job that quickly turned into a nightmare. Whatever it is, everyone has that one thing they’d like to go back and have just one more shot at.

 

As I’ve begun to take myself seriously as an author, I’ve thought back to my younger days and dreamed about how different my life might be now if I’d approached things just a little differently, if I’d known earlier what I could accomplish if I just took that chance. When would I start? How far back would I have to go to start making those changes?

 

I’ve always loved writing, and I can remember writing little stories and even poems as far back as third grade. At that time in my life, it wasn’t so much the need to change what I did, as much as I might have needed others to change, to recognize and encourage my budding writing skills, rather than giving me a pat on the head, saying “How cute,” and sending me on my way.

 

If I’d time travel back to high school, when I started writing poems, one thing I could have done differently was that I might have talked to my English teachers, or even the school librarian, about writing contests and publishing, or maybe I could have started a writing club. Of course, I went to school in a very small district, and our town was often fondly (or not-so-fondly) referred to as “The Bubble,” which pretty much meant we were isolated and not always up to snuff on what happened in the outside world, so things like writing contests and even writing clubs were almost unheard of in our little town, and I wouldn’t have had the courage to pursue those things anyway.

 

By and large, I think my best bet for changing things would have been in my college days. While I enjoyed college and made excellent grades in every class I took (well, except for that rock climbing course at Lock Haven that earned me a C, but that’s another post), I have to admit that I wasn’t very focused. I took whatever classes caught my fancy instead of having a plan, a goal in mind that I was working towards. Again, I feel some of the fault lies with my academic advisors and even professors who could have stepped in to offer some advice, to ask “Where do you see yourself in five years? What do you plan to do with your degree?”

 

How would I have answered those questions? I’m not really sure. Yes, there was the writing aspect of things. I loved writing, but at that time I was extremely focused on poetry and thought I wasn’t able to write anything else. I wish I’d tried my hand at fiction writing (which I avoided partly because the professor scared me), or even technical and scientific writing (I also loved earth science and dabbled quite a bit in geology, meteorology, and astronomy). Whatever I might have focused on, at least I would have been honing my writing skills.

 

There was another part of me that had the desire to teach literature. Like most other writers, I was also a voracious reader, and I loved delving into books, reading what others had written and exploring the themes and images used by various authors. I was especially fond of British literature, specifically the Arthurian Legends. Now here is where I did have a bit of a plan, and that plan was to graduate from Lock Haven and then head right off to graduate school to study British Lit. I would do a concentration in the Arthurian Legends and write my thesis on the changing treatment of women in Arthurian legends throughout the centuries.

 

What stopped me? Lots of things, I guess. The biggest was probably the lack of funding. I already had a load of debt from my undergraduate years and was hesitant to  add more. I had been accepted at Bucknell University’s graduate program, as well as the one at Wooster in Boston and Trinity over in Ireland, but none of the teaching fellowships I’d applied for came through, so I put off going to grad school, during which time I rethought my plan. If I earned myself a degree in British/Arthurian Literature, what on earth would I do with it? The best I thought I could hope for would have been becoming a college professor, which I would have loved, but there weren’t a lot of jobs available at that time. Again, there was the looming fear of debt. I didn’t want to be another $20,000 in debt without a decent job prospect.

 

I could have turned to my other love, writing. I could have penned my own Arthurian novels or done my own research projects and published them. But did I need a Masters degree to do that? No, not really. Still, I wonder if that unattained degree might have opened doors that I’d never even known were there. Maybe I could have been a writer for one of my favorite shows, Merlin, or come up with my own.

 

In the end, it’s futile to sit around wallowing in regret over what I didn’t pursue or choices I made years ago. But the regret over things I didn’t attempt actually serves a purpose in the here and now. Now, I am much more likely to take a leap of faith and pursue something that catches my interest. Those regrets have fueled my efforts at writing and publishing my novels. I’m sure there are opportunities I’m missing even now that I will think about years down the line, but at least I’m no longer cowering in my corner, afraid to take a chance, afraid of failing.

 

Because I have come to a point in my life where I realize that sometimes the fear of regret far outweighs the fear of failure.

How about you? What do you wish you could have done differently? Leave your thoughts in the comment section.

I Did it My Way

Nicole Sorrell Author Interview

Nicole Sorrell

Author interview

The Art of Going Home

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Today I’m very lucky to be interviewing Nicole Sorrell, author of The Art of Going Home, book 1 of The Art of Living series.

 

  1. Nicole, if you were in a box of crayons, which color would you be, and why?

 

  1. I’d have to say a blue-green, like the color of the ocean. That’s because you get green by mixing yellow, (a warm color) and blue (which is a cool color). Adding a little more blue gets teal. I’m introvert, which I associate with cool colors. But I do have my moments of gregariousness, which I think correlates to a warm color, like yellow sunshine. And I’m also drawn to water. It’s very peaceful and cleansing.

 

  1. Tell us a little about yourself.

 

  1. I currently live in a rural area of the mid-west in the United States. After living in various parts of the U.S. and traveling abroad, I recently moved into the very same home where I spent my first 18 years. I enjoy country living: ours is a small community and everyone knows everybody. I also appreciate the culture of the city: the shopping, dining, and the opera and ballet.

 

I love travelling, especially to other countries, and I speak Spanish. I earned a Bachelor of Arts in Hispanic Literature, and a Bachelor of Science in Fashion Merchandising. Home decorating is one of my favorite things. Of course I love to read, and I’m a published poet. I like baking pies. Oh, and I like playing cornhole, and I spend way more time than I should playing computer games.

 

My constant companion is a tiny Yorkshire terrier named Georgie Doodlebug. I call her GiGi.

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  1. Tell us a little about your series, The Art of Living.

 

  1. The series is a duology. Book 1 is called The Art of Going Home, and book 2 is titled The Art of Retribution. The novels are equal parts contemporary romance and mystery. They’re about the personal journey of a young woman named Maddie Chandler. The story begins when she must return to her small home town due to the untimely death of her surrogate mother, “Aunt” Ceci. To deal with her overwhelming grief she finds herself relying on her high school crush, local attorney Zac Redondo. Though she scolds herself for depending on him so much, she can’t seem to find the strength to resist their mutual attraction.

 

During her visit, Maddie is haunted by childhood memories of her twin sister Angeline, who was killed five days after their tenth birthday. She is persuaded to investigate the unsolved murder only because she fears refusal will threaten her sanity. Her mother eventually succumbed to mental illness after Angeline’s death, and Maddie is terrified she will also slide into madness. Her inquiries into the case uncover years of deceptions that were maintained to safeguard her from the brutal truth. Not only are lives threatened by her pursuit of justice for her twin, it ultimately causes her world to shatter.

 

Sometimes funny, sometimes poignant, Maddie struggles to face her vulnerabilities and to accept the love of a man who holds the key to her future happiness. And while coping with the hostility of her estranged father, she discovers the true meaning of family from a boisterous clan that is not linked to her by blood and unwittingly strengthens the fragile bond with the one relative she was determined to say goodbye to forever.

 

  1. What was the inspiration for this book?

 

  1. I can’t point to one particular thing that inspired it. Since I was fifteen I’ve wanted to write novels. But I never could dream up a plot line. Then one day, this idea struck. It’s completely fictitious, not based on any experience I’ve had in my life.

 

The more I thought about the storyline, the more I details I added. And the novel took shape. Why it took so many years to come up with an idea, I can’t say. I guess I’m just a late bloomer!

 

  1. Besides the hero and heroine, who’s your favorite character in The Art of Going Home, and why?

 

  1. It would have to be the Madisen’s best friend, Tabitha. She plays an important role in The Art of Going Home because she has always been there to provide emotional support for Madisen. Tabs, as her friends call her, grew up in Alabama until the age of ten. She has a pronounced drawl, and often uses sayings common to the south.

 

Here’s a short excerpt from the book. Madisen is talking to Zac about the first time she met Tabs:

 

     “It was the first day of fifth grade, and she’d recently moved to town. We were in the bathroom, washing up for lunch. Elaine had her cornered, trying to monopolize the new girl. You know how she liked to have minions to lead around by the nose? Elaine pointed at me and told Tabs, ‘Watch out for that one. She murdered her twin sister during summer vacation. Held her under the water until she drowned.’

     “Tabs inspected me carefully. She told Elaine she didn’t believe it. Said I was too scrawny to be able to hold anyone under water ‘til they drowned. I was astonished that anyone would stand up to Elaine like that. She turned her back on her, walked up to me, and said, ‘My name is Tabitha Lynn Strayer, but I’ll let you call me Tabs.’

     Telling her my name was the first word I spoke since…” I stopped and lowered my chin.

     “Since Angeline died?” Zac said softly. I nodded, not correcting his assumption that her death was the reason I’d stopped talking. In reality, it was because I’d been blamed for it. I quickly swallowed the traitorous tears that formed.

     “She took my hand,” I said, staring at my lap. “And we left the bathroom together. I guess you could say that, in a way, she hasn’t let go of my hand ever since.”

 

  1. What is your favorite scene in your new release?

 

  1. One of my favorites is the scene where Maddie has drunk too much wine when she’s having dinner at Tabitha’s house. Zac, the guy who wants to be her boyfriend is driving her to her hotel. When he drops her off, he tells her she needs to get used to the idea that they’re going to be lovers. Because she’s tipsy, she’s too slow to protest before he lays a big kiss on her. Then when he . . . well, if I say anymore, I’ll give too much away.

 

  1. What is your favorite motivational phrase?

 

  1. “Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.”–Mahatma Gandhi

I like it because it’s about getting an education, which is invaluable. Its importance is never underestimated. An education is not confined to the classroom. Be a student of the world. Don’t stop learning, and don’t limit yourself to the point of view you agree with. Weighing all sides of an issue is required for growth and wisdom.

 

  1. What are the top 3 things on your bucket list?

 

  1. The first one is travel the world.

The second would be to travel more.

Third would be to travel to all the places I haven’t seen yet!

 

  1. How can readers find you and your work?

 

  1. Here’s my links:

 

Website: https://www.nicolesorrell.com
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Nicole-Sorrell/e/B00QVRHZD6
Amazon Book Links:

US: http://www.amazon.com/Art-Going-Home-Living-Book-ebook/dp/B01AAXOWCS/

UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Art-Going-Home-Living-Book-ebook/dp/B01AAXOWCS/

Australia: http://www.amazon.com.au/Art-Going-Home-Living-Book-ebook/dp/B01AAXOWCS/

Canada: http://www.amazon.ca/Art-Going-Home-Living-Book-ebook/dp/B01AAXOWCS/
Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-art-of-going-home-nicole-sorrell/1120863991

iBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/the-art-of-going-home/id1072843544

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/10220384.Nicole_Sorrell

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Nicole-Sorrell/738100142937466
Twitter: https://twitter.com/cnicolesorrell
 

 

Oh No! Oh No! I’ve Killed Barry Manilow!

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Well, no. Not really.

But something awful has happened, and I fear it’s all my fault.

Wait, let me start at the beginning.

I have loved Barry Manilow since I first heard “I Write the Songs” played by DJ Ron Drake on WHP-580’s Ducky Drake Morning Show sometime in the late 1970s or early 1980s. Then I heard “Mandy” and “Can’t Smile Without You” and so many other songs, and I was hooked. His Manilow Magic was the first record I ever bought, and I played it to absolute death. While my friends were swooning over Shawn Cassidy, Leif Garrett, and other teen heartthrobs, it was Barry Manilow that I wanted desperately to see in concert.

Lo and behold, he came to Hershey one year; I think I was nine or ten. I begged my parents to take me to see him. They refused, for all kids of reasons: It was a school night. It was too expensive. I can’t stand to look at him, let alone hear him sing for two hours. I don’t want you around the kinds of people that go to concerts–druggies and drunks and who knows what (Um, Dad, it’s Barry Manilow, not Metallica).

Needless to say, I didn’t go to that concert. Or any other concert.

Years passed, and I have missed so many other opportunities to see him, for many reasons. Money, work, school, health issues. It just never worked out, and I resigned myself to the fact that I will probably never see him live in concert. That thought became even more ingrained when he announced dates for his final concert tour.

Yesterday, I got a PM from a Facebook friend saying that Barry would again be in Hershey, as part of the final tour of his career. I decided to check it out, even though I knew I probably couldn’t afford tickets. I’m currently a stay-at-home mom, and my husband has to have surgery in a couple weeks, which means he’ll be out of work for six weeks. Money’s tight, and the tickets will probably be outrageously priced.

To my absolute shock, there were tickets available for under $20! I texted my husband to tell him about it. He texted back, “If you want to get tickets, you’d better get them soon.” Wait, WHAT?

Not one to look a gift horse in the mouth, I ordered tickets (in the nosebleed section, of course). As I stared at the tickets I had just printed off, I kept pinching myself. Was this really real? Was I really holding BARRY MANILOW TICKETS in my hand????

I called my best friend to tell her. She was so happy for me, but she quipped, “Is that why we’re getting freezing temperatures here in Florida?”

I joked back, “Yeah, I’ve always said, if I get tickets to see him, he’ll probably drop dead a couple days before the concert, and I’ll never get to see him.”

I know, I know. Awful thing to joke about in any situation. Now, imagine the heart attack I had this morning when this popped up in my Facebook news feed. All I could think was, “Oh no, now I’ve done it! If anything happens to Barry, it’s all my fault. I bought tickets, and the universe is smacking down my good fortune.”

I’m sure he will be all right. But it just makes me wonder…

Revisiting Who I Am

This post is actually the first assignment for a Blogging course I signed up for; this assignment involves introducing ourselves and telling a bit about our blog. For those of you who have been with me for awhile, please bear with me. For those who are taking the blogging course with me, welcome. I post a little of everything–my writing process, news about my books, my thoughts on newsworthy (or not-so-newsworthy) current events, or just whatever I need to get out of my head.

Who Am I?

For the purposes of this blog, I go by Leta Hawk, which is my pen name. Since today is the anniversary of my mother’s passing (nine years ago today), I really feel a pull to share the story of my pen name. My mother’s name was Aleta. The name Aleta means “birdlike,” and if you would have met my mother, you’d probably think her name was appropriate, as she was quite the petite woman. There’s an old song by the title “Five-Foot-Two, Eyes of Blue.” That was my mom, short in stature, and extremely thin. She was also very much a mother hen, always hovering over her brood, sometimes to the point of being smothering.

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Anyway, I digress. When I was trying to come up with a pen name, I played around a lot with online name generators–those things are SO addictive! One of the names that popped up as a first name was Leta. At first, I dismissed it, but then I realized that name could actually be short for Aleta. Oh, how perfect! A family name, and one that held special significance for me. When I was a child, one of my mom’s friends ALWAYS commented how much I resembled my mom, and she called me “Little ‘Leta.” So it seems I was destined to have that name.

Finding a last name wasn’t quite as difficult, as I decided to choose something from my father’s side of the family tree. I chose Hawk, my great-grandmother’s maiden name. Sadly, I know nothing of Annie Hawk-Reisch, but her name struck a chord with me. Ha, and I just now realized that both Leta/Aleta and Hawk are bird-related, so it seems I have a theme going here.

My Blog

As I stated above, this blog is a bit of a mish-mash of topics, whatever strikes my fancy on a given posting day. This is not my first blog; I’ve had other blogs on other sites. Those blogs were pretty much what this one is, random posts about random topics. When I first started this one, I intended it to be more focused on my books, my writing process, my publication journey, etc. To be honest, I quickly got bored with such a limited subject area. I feel like there’s only so much I can share about that without boring those who really aren’t interested in writing.

My goal is to become better at blogging, to post about topics that reflect who I am but are still interesting to my readers. As a fairly-recently published author, I want to use my blog to build my author brand, to let my readers know who I am and what I write, to just connect with them and be open.

COVER REVEAL!! THE DEMONIC PACT BY MAJANKA VERSTRAETE

New book by my fabulous Book Manager.

GRAPE FRUIT BOOKS

Heyy!! If you might not know, Demonic Pact is the second book in the Angel of Death series. I have read the Soul Thief and here is the review if you want to see that.

Enchanted Book Promotions are having a cover reveal blitz for the sequel!

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Title: Demonic Pact
Author: Majanka Verstraete
Series: Angel of Death, Book Two
Publication Date: March 2016
Synopsis:

Sixteen-year-old Halfling Angel of Death Riley Scott is on a dangerous mission. To save her friend’s life, she must make a pact with the man who just tried to kill them both and break him out of the Celestial Prison, guarded by Angels of War—fearsome warriors who can squash her like a fly. If caught, she’ll be sentenced to eternity in that impenetrable prison. Riley will have to make deals with demons and her number one enemy, turn her back…

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