Haunted Dahlonega – 2014 Walking Tours Have Begun

The 2014 script, which is full of NEW stories of mysterious encounters and paranormal phenomena, was created by yours truly…and I’ll be hosting most of the tour dates:Haunted Dahlonega Tour PosterThis project is a labor of love. Everyone involved in the tour production is a volunteer and 100% of the ticket sales go to support the Friends of the Dahlonega Gold Museum in their mission to promote, support, improve and preserve the Dahlonega Gold Museum State Historic Site.

We had a fantastic group for the first tour. It was so much fun, I can hardly wait for next Saturday to do it all again!

I will be posting about this event, my research in creating the script and maybe even sharing a few ghostly tidbits that didn’t get included in the final cut throughout September and October. Stay tuned!

What is North Georgia Authors Guild?

I’m starting a professional group for published authors in the Dahlonega/North Georgia area. Here’s the article that ran in The Dahlonega Nugget:

North Georgia Authors Guild, a newly formed group of published, professional authors, has its second meeting upstairs at Starbucks at 7:30 p.m. Monday, Sept. 8.  Discussion will include how to navigate the complex world of writing, publishing and especially successful marketing of books.

Traditional and independent authors are welcome. The group will be sharing successes as well as featuring regional authors during its regular programs.

I love to talk about the art of writing, the craft of writing and even the dreamy fantasies of writing. That said, crass as it may sound, if an author doesn’t learn and grow the BUSINESS of writing, then writing is just a hobby…and a very expensive hobby at that!Money in Typewriterphoto credit: jessamyn via photopin cc

Come to the AJC Decatur Book Festival – It’s the Literary side of the Force

2014-DBFposter-diterlizziIf you’re going to the AJC Decatur Book Festival (and you should go, really), stop by the Deeds Publishing Booth (Booth #101 – looks like it’s on the lawn in front of the courthouse – Click here for the festival map.)

I’ll be there 3:00 – 4:00 on Saturday 8/30/14 with handmade Millennium Falcon soaps (free with purchase of my book.)

Even if you can’t stop by to see me, they are going to be selling all of their books at a reduced price.

According to the festival website, “The festival will feature lectures and signings from more than 600 authors, including award-winners, best-sellers and some just getting started.” Woo hoo! Another article states that festival organizers are expecting 90,000 visitors during the festival…Oh my! Consider riding the MARTA. The Decatur stop is right under the festival.

A few of my personal highlights from the 2014 schedule:

  • The fabulous Tom Angleberger of Origami Yoda fame (and a personal hero of mine) will be there. Unfortunately, I don’t think I’ll get there early enough to catch the The Jedi Council discussion (10 am, really?) but I will almost certainly be in attendance for A Farewell to Origami Yoda.
  • Pat Conroy!
  • SCBWI Crystal Kite award winner Vicky Alvear Schecter – if you have not read Cleopatra’s Moon, well you should fix that.
  • Cassandra King – Love her novel Moonrise
  • NYT best-selling Joshilyn Jackson (anyone who reads this blog knows I’m a HUGE fan of JJ)
  • There’s going to be a Cooking Stage for the first time this year, not to mention 17 cookbook authors
  • And much, much more!

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Vizsla! A Love Story – Part One

We’ve welcomed a new Fuzzy into our home and she wants to say hello:

Hi there! I am Wirehaired Vizsla Point of Honor Vizcaya Dallas, but you can call me Afton...or Ashton....or Aston.

Hi there! I am Wirehaired Vizsla Point of Honor Vizcaya Dallas, but you can call me Afton…or Ashton….or Aston.

She’s a 4-year-old spayed female. Her breeder calls her Afton, after Afton Cooper from the original Dallas series, but our lips &/or brains can’t seem to spit out that name on a consistent basis. We seem to be calling her Ashton more often than not, and she responds very well to Ashton. So…yeah. Probably Ashton.

Although her coat is considered undesirable for breeding or showing, her heart is perfect for loving.

That said, she does have a few behavioral issues, including a quirky little phobia related to persons of the male persuasion. It’s not a constant problem, mind you. Just when the scary two-legged male persons move around without her permission….or cough…or, you know, do man things. Apparently, this troublesome phobia has made it difficult to place her in a permanent, forever home. Until now.

The man of THIS household is decent, kind, patient to the core and infinitely gentle with nervous dogs.

Technically, we only have Afton/Ashton for a trial period right now, but I am in love, love, LOVE with this fuzzy love monkey. Michael is slower to declare his feelings, but I believe he is also hopelessly smitten.

In order to fully explain how over-the-moon thrilled I am by this unexpected turn of events, I’ll have to tell you a star-crossed love story from my past….

Once upon a time (almost 20 years ago), I took a job as a full-time dispatcher for the Cruelty Investigations and Animal Rescue unit in a large, metropolitan humane society. (I LIVED Animal Cops before it was a TV show on Animal Planet). Looking back now, it was one of those “best of times, worst of times” experiences but I’m not going to get into all the nitty gritty details from that period of my life. I just want to tell you about one particular case.

(*cue Dragnet theme music*)

It was a sunny, sweltering hot summer day. I received a call from the Airport Police Department. They had an animal cruelty case involving two dogs in a locked car…only one was responsive. The officers on the scene needed a humane officer to take custody of the dogs and advise on the charges to be filed against the owner. It sounded like an ugly situation, so I radioed the officers on duty to get out there as quickly as possible. They returned to the shelter with a deceased Rottweiler and a sweet little bundle of anxiety who looked a lot like this:

Sad Vizsla“It’s a Veeezuuuhluuuh,” Officer Manion told me, squinting at his case notes. “V-I-Z-S-L-A. Hungarian hunting breed.” The refugee in question had her whole body pressed against my leg with her head glued to my lap while I entered her information into our intake computer using my right hand. My left hand couldn’t stop stroking her velvety ears and smoothing the worried wrinkles on her brow. Even as her tail thumped the floor, she continued to cast nervous looks back and forth between me and Manion.

“She’s a very sweet doggie,” Manion said, (Hello, Captain Obvious.) “but she’s had a rough day. If you want, keep her here with you for a while before you put her into a kennel for the night.”

One of the best, most wonderful perks of being a humane society dispatcher is getting to bring some of the rescued pets into the back office for some one-on-one time. I couldn’t afford my own dog at the time, so spending time with these temporary companions was important to me. During the few short weeks she was in our custody, I brought the Vizsla into the office as often as I could. (Notice I have not mentioned her name. That’s because I don’t remember it. We were all enchanted with the word Vizsla and she responded when anyone called her Vizsla, so that was the only name we used during her entire stay.)

Everyone warned me not to get attached to her, but I couldn’t help falling deeply in love our darling Vizsla…even though she could never be MY dog.

This is not a tragedy, at least not for the Vizsla. I feel certain that dog lived a long, happy, healthy life. But after she walked out of our shelter, I never saw her again.

Skip ahead a few years to an all-breed dog show where I was watching the final Best in Show contenders file into the ring. Sitting alone on the cold, cement floor, I suddenly became aware of a gentle warming pressure along my back. Turning my head slowly, I came nose-to-nose with a face that looked a little like this:

Vizsla FaceHer owner/breeder could not stop giggling. “I think she thinks you’re related,” she said. “Your hair…” As she broke into another fit of giggles, I gathered my hair into a side ponytail and draped it over the dog’s head. Back then, I used to color my hair a coppery red that matched the dogs coat. I mean it matched EXACTLY. We sat like that, the Vizsla’s head on my shoulder with my hair falling over her ears while her owner took some pictures and I quizzed her about the personality and temperament of Vizslas.

I walked away from that encounter absolutely convinced that a Vizsla was my dream dog, the perfect companion for me. Energetic, but willing to cuddle for hours. Intelligent and sensitive without being neurotic. Obviously gentle and affectionate. But my lifestyle choices and finances still would not support dog ownership at that time. So it was a dream that I would have to put on hold indefinitely….

[To be continued...]

photo credit: hasensaft via photopin cc & peteaylward via photopin cc

Coming Soon: Haunted Dahlonega Walking Tours

2014 Dahlonega Ghost Tour Poster

This is the project that has been absorbing all of my time and attention over the past month and I’m very, VERY excited to tell you more. But I can’t share any details right now. The new script I’m working on for this year’s tour is still in the super secret development stage. So, for now, I’m just posting this as a Coming Attraction. Look for more information coming soon!

 

Happy July 4th!

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Repeat after me:
At this moment, there is no tomorrow.
At this moment, there is no yesterday.
At this moment, there is only today.
(Now breathe. Just breathe.)

This has been your moment of zen with Trisha & her Mister.

If your holiday is half as wonderful as ours, it must be spectacular. Enjoy!

Join the #WriteChain Challenge – Get Stuff Done

Click here for the Write Chain App

Click here to learn about the Write Chain App

I’ve been busy plotting and planning and re-plotting that same paranormal mystery/ghost novel I’ve mentioned here…oh, a FEW times. Wow. I never knew how wonderfully creative and energizing it can be to plan out an entire novel from first to final scene. I might even go so far as to call it hypnotic. However, there comes a time in every author’s process when you’ve got to dive in and type your way through that awful first draft. At least, that’s what I’ve been telling myself for the past week. Then, instead of actually writing, I circle around my MacBook waiting for the keyboard to emit magical, magnetic writerly waves that will attract my lazy fingers to start typing.

Yeah…that’s not working so well. Once again, I find myself in need of motivation with a swift kick of accountability built in. Luckily, I discovered this lovely website called Writerology where someone named Skye recently posted a Write Chain Challenge. I’ve had the Write Chain app on my iPhone for…hmmmm roughly 4 months now. I just have never actually ever used the thing. Well this challenge will get me using the app.

It’s a simple strategy:

  1. Come up with a daily writing goal. My goal is 500 words of fiction or blogging per day. Note: That may not sound terribly ambitious goal but I need a goal I can stick to on a BAD writing day.
  2. Tell the world about your goal on multiple social media platforms. (Check)
  3. Write and meet your goal every single day to earn links in a chain. 1 day at or above goal = 1 link.
  4. Track your daily progress on the Write Chain App if you have an iPhone…or there’s another option for you nutty Android users
  5. Post on Twitter to brag about meeting your goal, how many links you have earned, etc.
  6. Most important part! Miss your goal even one day, your chain goes back to 0 links. All of the links disappear. (On the bright side, all those words you’ve written are still yours to keep, edit, polish & submit).
  7. Start the chain all over again…or give up and find a Book Coach with a loaded gun.

So…in case you have not guessed, I’m posting this here for two reasons:

  1. Any writerly friends out there having trouble meeting your writing goals? Want to join me? Go here and sign up. It’s free…and it could be fun. We could Tweet trash talk to each other. Brag, cheer and heckle each other. Come on, you know you want to just do it. Join me and together we can rule the galaxy…or just finish our projects faster.
  2. This post counts as 450 words toward my daily writing goal. Boom!