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What a

Beautiful day. It is overcast and cool, but not too cool. My house is clean, and I am in full hermit mode. My allergies are bugging me some, but that's okay. Took some photos, will walk the dog later and take some more. Went to Crafts 2000 yesterday, to get somewhat inspired for Halloween, and found some more crows for my bookshelves. It's starting to look like a Hitchcock movie in here. Why is this comforting to me, when it would really be kind of off-putting to others? Now if I could only get the job that I want...the one at the little library that looks like it's where Hobbits go to read the newspaper.

Thank Bob fall is coming.

Michael Sims Author Visit October 13, 2010

Last night, October 13th, was the perfect evening for a book signing. Especially for the author of a book entitled Dracula's Guest. Michael Sims was the author, and Books & Co. at The Greene was the site where those of us smart enough to brave the rain, thunder and lightning were in for an it's-almost-Halloween treat.

In an earlier post, I began discussing the book--which is a collection of Victorian Vampire stories, put together by Sims. He writes interesting and informed introductions to each story, which are easily as entertaining as the stories themselves.

Sims was late arriving to the bookstore, but really, who minds hanging out in a bookstore waiting for someone? Not me. The smell of coffee, books everywhere, great company (My friends went with me, and their 9 week old daughter, aptly named, by me, after a character in a very famous vampire novel). Sharon, a 25-year veteran bookseller at Books & Co., was her usual friendly self, and greeted everyone as they came in, and let us know that Sims had called and said he was on his way, but he was a little bit lost.

He apologized upon his arrival, but none was needed. We could all hear the rain pouring outside, and the lightning lit up the windows behind him, and The Greene isn't an easy place to navigate for a first timer in good weather. Sims was a little damp, and a little wrinkled, as every good writer should be, and lateness just seemed apropos for a writer such as himself. The bookstore had set up the speaker podium in front of a huge fireplace, and the only thing that could've made the atmosphere more cozy was if there had actually been a fire in it. Because of the weather, the bookstore was pretty dead, and once Sims started speaking, the "book signing" felt more like an intimate gathering of like-minded readers who, with the exception of a few wet stragglers, had the place to ourselves.

Sims was soft spoken, but very friendly and had some interesting stories to tell about the background research he'd done in order to pick out the stories he wanted to include in the book. He made eye contact with his audience, seemingly gauging our reaction as he told stories about vampire bats, the history of the 'vampire', and how the misunderstood stages of decay of a corpse inspired 'rumors' of vampirism. He very much enjoyed providing us with a list of the types of people that were believed to have had blood-sucking tendencies, including 'loose' women, murderers and other criminals, and even babies born with a caul. A baby born with a caul, Sims noted, could avoid its vampirric fate if the parents cooked the caul, and then fed it to the baby! One thing to note, Sims mentioned several times that he did not consider himself a 'scholar' in the areas of folklore or history. However, I would say that, given the amount of research he did, and the thought process he described, he is pretty damned close. Dracula's Guest is a well thought out, carefully chosen collection, and his introductions are full of information that I, relatively well-read in the area of vampire fiction and nonfiction, had never heard before.

After Sims presentation, he took questions from the audience (about 10-12 of us). I asked if he had a favorite story in the book, and he freely admitted that he did. The story The Family of the Vourdalak by Aleksei Tolstoy he said was his favorite for a couple of reasons. Without giving too much away, Sims talked about the "creepiest" chase scene in a story that he'd ever read, as well as a Grandfather character who becomes a vampire, and is found outside his grandsons window, looking for a 'bite'. Sims revealed a somewhat personal anecdote about how his own Grandfather had died when Sims was just a boy, and was buried in a cemetery that was uncomfortably close to the Sims home--a proximity that led Sims to have fears and nightmares that his Grandfather would "come back" for him....

Following the short question and answer session, Michael invited us to have our books autographed. He was VERY nice, and spoke at length with each of us, as he personalized our books. My friends had him sign the book to their baby, and Sims was very impressed with her chosen name, and his autograph to her said, 'To ...., she of noble name, on her 9 week birthday." In my book he signed, "For [Shade], a fellow vampire 'fan', and yes, 'fan' DOES mean fanatic."

We thanked Sims, packed up our stuff, bundled the baby, and stepped out into the rain and wind....a perfect end to a wonderful fall evening.


Soooooo.....late last night or early this morning, whichever, I had a very interesting dream.

In it, I went to Half-Price Books (which didn't look like a Half-Price Books at ALL, btw). While shopping, I noticed a check-out guy who looked suspiciously like Kenna James. As I got closer, I was surprised to see that it WAS him. Working the checkout, no less. I didn't have any items, but I had to pass him on the way out anyway, so I just walked up to him and said, "Kenna James!" Like I'd known him all my life. He looked up, surprised, and then confused, as if he had thought he was going to recognize me too. "Hello" he said. And then, "Do I know you?"

I told him he didn't, but that I played a little poker, and knew him from that. He looked pleased, we chatted for a while, and then he asked me if I would like to go to lunch with him. I wanted to, but was waiting on my ride to pick me up. We flirted a little more, and then I said goodbye and went out the front door. As I waited on my ride, I realized I'd left my purse inside. I went back to get it, Kenna smiled and handed it to me and I quickly stepped back outside. I waited forever, but my ride never showed, and so I finally hailed a taxi. Once inside the cab, I opened my purse, only to find that Kenna had put a note with his phone number on it, with a big smiley face, and instead of Kenna, he'd signed it "John James."

Now, part of the dream is missing here---I don't remember what happened immediately following my note from "John", I only remember that suddenly Kenna was in the back seat of a Lincoln with me, Doyle Brunson was driving, and I had been kidnapped by the two of them! I was irritated, and maybe a little flattered, but not scared.

Flash forward to Kenna's farm, and I am held captive in some fancy bedroom, waiting on, well, I don't really know. Kenna had taken my purse, which had my cell phone in it. But in searching the room, I found a cell phone in a dresser drawer (ha!). Instead of calling the cops, or calling ANYONE, I sent ANOTHER poker player I know a text, telling him that I'm at Kenna's farm, and would he please come pick me up. He replied, saying that he'd be there as soon as he could.

Flash forward to the dining room in Kenna's house. My poker player friend is there, and Kenna and Doyle are sitting down, listening to us discuss whether or not I wanted to call the cops. I can tell that my friend is irritated, but doesn't seem NEAR as upset as he should be, which, apparently I'm not either, because the last part of the dream I remember is saying to him, "No. I don't want to call the police. I don't care WHAT he did, you just don't call the police on Doyle Brunson. You just DON'T"

annnnddd......... SCENE.

They say that to evaluate the meaning of a dream, you're supposed to try to remember the ITEMS in the dream, not the events. So, in this dream, I remember my purse, the bookstore, the navy blue Lincoln, and the red curtains with gold tassels in the bedroom where I was held captive. I remember the wooden nightstand in which I found the cell phone. I remember Doyle's hat (it's the same one he had on in the episode of High Stakes Poker that I watched last night), and the dining room table with a big vase of fake flowers where Doyle and Kenna awaited their fate.

So there ya go. I'll have to look up those items in one of those big dream books, and see if it means anything life-changing, or if the dream just means I need to think about something other than Texas Damned Hold "em.

Sep. 10th, 2009


last night I played in a live hold 'em tournament (my 3rd? 4th?), and actually won, sort of. Meaning that, it was 2 a.m., we'd been playing since about 7:30, it was down to heads up with me and another player, we were about equal in chips, and so we split the pot. 37 bucks on a 10 dollar buy-in. As a side note, I have to say that, in a room full of testosterone, it was REALLY cool to be one of a pair of FEMALE heads up players. GIRLS RULE!! As a side note to the side note, all three of the biggest pots I took were with paired Jacks.

My first cash, but more than that, I was SUPER happy with how I played. I only regret one move I made, and that was NOT calling this guy Marvin when he went all-in before the flop. Everybody folded, which made it just he and I. I had King Jack, off suit. I figured him for a low pair. Even if he had won the hand, I wouldn't have taken a huge loss in chips, BUT, King Jack is the hand that took me out of that 50 dollar tournament right before I made the money last time, so, once bitten.... Marvin would NOT tell me what he had, and it's still driving me crazy. He hung on for a while longer, but eventually he was taken out. And I think it was his wife that took him down.

Now THAT was a crazy game of poker.


Johnny Cash

Bad luck wind been blowin' on my back
I was born to bring trouble wherever I'm at
With the number '13' tattooed on my neck
That ink starts to itch
Black gon' turn to red

I was born in the soul of misery
And I never had me a name
They just give me a number when I was young

Got a long line of heartache
I carry it well
The list of lives I've broken
Reach from here to Hell
And a bad luck wind been blowin' on my back
Pray you don't look at me
And I pray I don't look back

I was born in the soul of misery
And I never had me a name
They just give me a number when I was young

Found me with a preacherman confessin' all I done
Catch me with the devil playing 21
And a bad luck wind been blowin' on my back
I was born to bring trouble wherever I'm at

I was born in the soul of misery
And I never had me a name
They just give me a number when I was young
When I was young
When I was young
When I was young

Woodland Cemetery

I'm posting this to a group, but also thought my other 2 readers might like to see it:

I live in Dayton,Ohio, and we are home to one of the largest cemeteries I've ever been to. It has a huge pond complete with a fountain, ducks and geese, and it's also an arboretum, so there's tons of beautiful old trees everywhere. Best of all, if you take the winding roads to the top, you can look down on the city. I didn't get a picture of this today, because I ran out of time, but I will post more pictures soon. Buried here are Wilbur and Orville Wright, poet Paul Laurence Dunbar, Matilda and Levi Stanley, Queen and King of the Gypsies; Governor James Cox, and Erma Bombeck. If any of you are ever in Dayton, take the time to visit this cemetery. In the meantime, visit the web site at In the OTHER meantime, here are some photos.

Have fun!

Another one bites the (f*!&in) dust.

First, it was Kathe Koja, who hasn't written anything adult since Kink, and then the short story collection Extremities in 1999. Then Anne Rice went the way of Christ in 2005. Poppy Z. Brite left her excellent punk-horror style behind with 1999's The Lazarus Heart, and even Alice Hoffman mostly writes kids/teen books these days, although, thankfully she has a new book out this week that I can't wait to get my hands on. But ultimately, I am left to feel like one of those people that is doomed to (author)relationship failure. I must be doing SOMETHING to make these women not want to write for me anymore! It's too coincidental to be otherwise...

Now, I'm all for personal growth, especially of the creative and spiritual kind, but this is just getting ridiculous. We are losing our great (modern) female horror/fiction writers to children and God. All that are left are Caitlin Kiernan, Christa Faust and Shelley Jackson. What was once a stream of creativity into my life is now a trickle...

Anyway, I feel a bit lost. The only thing left to do is go back and read the classics like Shirley Jackson, Mary Shelley, and Sylvia Plath, and HOPE that someone will come out soon who can invoke the kind of passion that these great writers did, the way that only great female horror/fiction writers can.

In the meantime, if any of you have any suggestions, I'm all ears.

I'll be waiting....


I don't know which came first: Was I already crazy the first time I listened to Pink Floyd's The Wall or did Pink Floyd's The Wall make me crazy? The thing came out in 1979, so I was still pretty young but I think my brother had it, and some neighborhood kids his age, and of course all through high school you heard the singles that were released from it and whatnot. I even remember watching the movie with my Dad, who explained to me what "the wall" was. He said that the wall is that place where you just can't take any more, and you lose it. (I remember that he explained it so matter-of-factly, like he knew all about it. I remember looking at him for a long moment after he said it, probably wondering if he was going to demonstrate the "losing it" part right then and there. I also remember being completely embarrassed during the scene where the flowers become sexually active.....)

But I REALLY didn't get into The Wall into my freshmen year in college. I was a theatre tech major, and all the frickin' theatre tech majors listened to seemed to be Pink Floyd. So, I bought my own copy of The Wall. Now, I should say here, that my first years out of high school, I was pretty perpetually depressed. Anyway, the morning after I bought the thing, I got up to get ready to drive the 40 minutes to class at Wright State. I used to wear this dress all the time...this really simple cotton long-ish black dress. So I put this dress on and was ready to go, but I had a little while before class started, so I sat in the rocking chair in my parents living room, and I put in The Wall, and I turned it up LOUD. And I sat there in that rocking chair in my long black dress and listened to that album from beginning to end for the first time, and I really wonder if I didn't go a little crazy that day. I never did go to class that afternoon, but sat there and listened to that album over and over again until it came time for someone, either my mom or dad, to come home. I don't think I've been the same since.

Now, years later, when times get tough, I still put that CD in and I start at the beginning and I go all the way through, and I feel completely nuts, and exhausted, at the end. Now you tell me---do I reach for that album because I ALREADY feel crazy, or does that album MAKE me crazy? I suppose that it's possible it's a little bit of both. I can relate to Pink in that story so well. And I can visualize the scene at the end where all of the people who love him are walking around outside the wall, trying to reach him, but

"when they've given you their all
Some stagger and fall, after all it's not easy
Banging your heart against some mad bugger's wall."

On a side note (because there's ALWAYS a side note, isnt' there?) and to help prove my theory that Pink Floyd makes people crazy.... there was a boy who lived across the street from me growing up. He was OBSESSED with Pink Floyd. He is now a certified paranoid schizophrenic, among some other mental you tell me...was he crazy before he listened to Pink Floyd? Or did listening to Pink Floyd make him crazy?


I do this thing that's kind of weird, maybe. When people leave me voice messages, like my parents, or my brother or my close friends, I save them. I try to save at least one message from each person. Eventually, the voice mail deletes them, but sooner or later I catch one again, like a firefly in a jar. I do this, in case the person dies before I speak with them again. I pay attention to voices. I can draw the sound of my Dad's voice up in my head at will. And my Brother's. My mom's voice, well, I only have to listen to my own, because we sound a LOT alike, especially when we're aggravated. I'm good at voices. Most people probably are, but I'm just saying, I'm pretty good at them.

My brother and I were keeping vigil in my Grandmother's hospital room late last night. The room is dark and warm, since we're trying everything we can to get her to sleep. The nurse's station is noisier than crap but Grandma is so uncomfortable anyway that I don't think she even notices the sounds. She can't sleep, and has frustrating fits of dozing where she fades out only to start herself awake. She can nod if you ask her a question, and she can moan a bit, but she can't really speak, other than the occasional incredibly hoarse croak that sounds a lot like 'ow' when something or other that we can't identify is hurting her. Sitting there for hours talking, Jesse and I have finally settled into our own thoughts. I'm gazing into her face when it occurs to me that I may never hear my Grandmother speak again. About three weeks ago was the last time I had gone to see my Grandmother in her nursing home and she hadn't been able to speak then either. I can't remember the last time I heard her voice. She never ever called me, and I can't remember the last conversation we had. I have pictures of her, mental and physical ones, that are clear as day from different time periods throughout my life, but sitting there last night right in front of her I can not recall the sound of her voice. This makes me want to cry, and in my head I do a little silent panic, and I wonder fleetingly if anyone has her speaking on tape or video, but in case noone does,I sit and focus on trying to remember --trying to pull up the sound of her in my mind's ear. Trying to remember a phrase or something that she said often, I finally come up with our names and then instantly,in my head I can hear her--she always used our names when she spoke to us, but I never realized this until now. In my head I can hear her say, "So how's school, Angela?" or "How was the drive home, Jesse?" She called my Dad "David", but I can most plainly hear her say "Sharon" for some reason. It's weird how my mind suddenly grasps on to that sound and weird how this makes me feel a little better about what we are all going to have to face. She may pull out of this yet--she's always gotten what she wants, and I believe that if she wants to come out of this, she will. If she does, I'll definitely pay more attention to her when she speaks, but if she doesn't, I hope I can hold on to the sound of her voice for a long time. She was never a physically affectionate person, but she had affection in her voice, and laughter, too. I know that, because I can hear her.

ADDENDUM Thoughts:

Years ago when we moved my Grandmother out of her house and into the nursing home, my Aunt gave me Grandma's old black heavy rotary ringer phone. This thing is a weapon, and the ring can be heard at the United Dairy Farmer's down the street. The tag on the center of the phone has the same phone number on it that was my Grandmother's for probably 40+ years. This may be morbid, but it crossed my mind the day I got that phone that some day, after she has long moved on from here, that I might hear that phone give an otherwordly ring, and my Grandmother's voice would be on the other end, just checking in and seeing how school is going, Angela. Laugh if you want, but it would be just like her to do that. :-)