Writers Conferences…are they worth it?

  Yes! For three main reasons: Inspiration–Learn the craft and the business Network–Rub elbows with agents, industry leaders, and those in the know Pitch–Get face to face with agents, publishers, and editors     Image taken at the Penn Writers Conference with Don Helin, Maria V. Snyder, Lori Myers, and Laurie...

Great time at Noir in the Bar

Lots of great authors read last night, Monday, from their selected works at Sturges Speakeasy in downtown Harrisburg. Hosted by Erik Arneson, autographed books were given out in between readings, and the drinks flowed! Hope to do it again...

The real scary part about my novels; they were inspired by reality!

  Seeking Samiel and The Book Seller’s Secret were inspired by events which have actually taken place in South Africa. My inspiration was found one day in church when a South African priest visited. Instead of the usual call for donations, the priest talked about witchcraft. Witchcraft, he said, was the fastest growing religion in South Africa. He said that priests were desperately needed in the hospitals—yes, the hospitals—for exorcisms. He told stories about possessions and demonology, and I was floored. Doubtful, I did some research of my own. I read about Sangomas and muti and witch doctors and ritual killings. I found an online article, titled, The Witchcraft Murders, about the mutilated remains of a child pulled from the river. The murder, according to the article, was part of an African ritual killing. The investigating officer consulted a special police force in South Africa, the only one in the world dedicated to investigating ritual murders. Although I was horrified, I was intrigued; it sounded like a good horror story. I was hooked; I felt compelled to write about witchcraft and why it had become a political factor, a motive for murder, a trusted business, and a fact of life in South Africa. In January 2016, portions of South Africa’s Witchcraft Suppression Act (the bill was structured to address the criminal aspects of witchcraft—intimidation, terror, distress, and muti killings) were ruled unconstitutional. In January 2014, it was reported that South African President Jacob Zuma admitted to using witchcraft against white people. In 2013, a hospital in Swaziland which bordered South Africa was accused of harvesting body parts for muti....

February is…

February is the month of love, romance, and gushiness. Or is it? Is red the color of flowers, or sacrificial blood? February is also Women in Horror Month.  I’m a woman. I like romance. And I like horror. Sounds like an oxymoron. Can the two genres go hand in hand? Consider this; Saint Valentine was a priest sentenced to a three part execution—beating, stoning, and decapitation.  Legends vary on how his name became associated with love. One account states Valentine performed marriages for soldiers against the wishes of the Roman emperor. Another states he was a persecuted Christian, and had written a farewell letter to his jailer’s daughter, signing it, “Your Valentine”. As to how February became known as Valentine’s? Some say he was executed on February 14th. Some say Pope Gelasius wanted to put an end to the pagan love festival of Lupercalia—a drunken orgy where animals were sacrificed and the women were whipped—and replaced the festival with the feast day of Valentine. I thank you, Pope Gelasius. I’d much rather receive a box of chocolates than a whipping. And the orgy doesn’t appeal to me, either. But, for some reason, people find horror appealing. No, you say. Not you. Mmm, I’ll bet there isn’t an avid reader out there who hasn’t read at least one. My newest novel, The Bookseller’s Secret, also taps into love and horror. Mason, an American reporter, has risked his life writing and whistle blowing. He catches a blurb on the deep web about a magic book written by the anti-Christ—a woman living in South Africa. Readers claimed the author’s words have compelled...