Yesterday Girls – My NaNoWriMo Book Cover

No, you can’t run out to the bookstore and buy it…yet. According to the inspiration gurus over at NaNoWriMo, authors who create a book cover to inspire them are 60% more likely to finish the 50,000 word challenge by the end of November. So… Yesterday Girls eBook Cover

BOOM!

Note: This image is strictly for inspiration purposes. One thing I discovered while putting this together is that I am definitely NOT a professional book cover designer. When this novel appears on Amazon, it will have a much, MUCH better cover. Still, this is a fun inspirational exercise that I highly recommend for anyone in need to a little positive writerly mojo.

During one of his PBS specials, Wayne Dyer said that he geared up to write a new book by calling his publisher’s design department and having them mock up the cover design before he started writing. Now, if you have Wayne Dyer’s mega sales figures, you probably have publishing design professionals willing to do this for you too. The rest of us have free resources like Canva and PhotoPin.

What do you think? Does this cover make you want to pick up/click on the book to read more? Or does it miss the mark entirely? Have you ever used an image to inspire your creativity?

photo credit: Drift Bottle via photopin (license)

November is National Novel Writing Month – Join the Madness!

NaNo-2015-Participant-Badge-Large-SquareWhat do my first published novel and Sara Gruen’s spectacular novel Water For Elephants have in common?

If you guessed anything to do with sales figures, you would be wrong. However, they both started as NaNoWriMo winners.

Unfortunately, 2006 (the year I wrote the first 50,000 words of NSLA, NSFA) was the last time I won the month-long writing challenge. But that is about to change!

I’ve decided to dive head-first into NaNoWriMo this year. Here’s what that means:

  • I’ve signed up (it’s FREE)
  • Updated my author profile (I’m Slayzak)
  • Designed a novel cover on Canva (Also FREE if you use free elements)
  • Started planning a whole new novel (it’s going to be SPOOK-tacular)
  • And volunteered to host 2 weekly Come Write In events in Dahlonega and Dawsonville (GULP!)

If you are participating in NaNoWriMo this year and are in the North Georgia region, please, please, PLEASE come join one or both of my write in events:

  1. Tuesdays 7:30 PM – 9:30 PM at the Dawson County Library
  2. Fridays 7:30 PM – 9:30 PM at the Lumpkin County Library

Yes, the times are outside of both libraries’ posted hours, but don’t let that scare you away. We’ll be meeting in the Community Rooms at both locations and I’ll have the key to get in.

Participating in NaNoWriMo in another region/state? Or just not interested in working on your novel with a group? Tap me as a writing buddy! I make a great writing buddy. Really, I do. Tap me.

2015 Haunted Dahlonega Ghost Tour…We’re Baaaaaaaaack

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2015 Haunted Dahlonega Walking Tour

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!

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!

 

Star Wars – Not Your Typical Ghost Story

Hello everybody. I had a wee tiny little mental health breakdown that required a short vacation from the internet and blogging. Nothing serious. Don’t be concerned. Just a small bout of the writerly working girl blues. It happens. But I’m MUCH better now.

So let’s get back to Haunted October! And Star Wars!
Ghost Peeps and StormtroopersHuh? Ghosts and Star Wars? The original Star Wars trilogy has been called many things – the most elaborate, most expensive, most beautiful movie serial ever made (The New York Times), a spectacular intergalactic joyride (The Washington Post), the greatest space fantasy of all! (Marvel Comics) – but I don’t believe anyone ever refers to the original trilogy as a ghost story.

Well I’m here to change that. Remember this guy?
Ghost of ObiWan on Hoth

“You can’t win, Darth. If you strike me down, I shall become more powerful than you could possibly imagine.”

-Obi-Wan Kenobi

Ah, Obi-Wan! My favorite fictional ghost of all time. Who could not love the crazy old wizard who turns out to be a wise and fearless Jedi master; calmly accepting death so that others may live? [Sigh] And yet, even death could not stop Obi-Wan from mentoring and encouraging the callow youth destined to save the galaxy. Obi-Wan is so awesome in ghostly form, he even has a ghostly action figure.

Ghost Obi Wan Action FigureBut seriously, Obi-Wan’s ghost gave me my first glimpse of a deceased person who CHOSE to hang around in ghostly form to do some good. Aside from the Holy Spirit, I had never heard of a good ghost. I’d never even imagined a ghostly mentor willing to show up with just the right advice at just the right times. Think about it. Most fictional ghosts are depicted as vengeful victims (Hamlet’s father), or wretched penitents (Jacob Marley), or dangerous entities unleashed by evil deeds (Poltergeist) or pathetic lost souls who can’t seem to find The Light (any episode of Ghost Whisperer).

Obi-Wan depicted a hopeful, powerful, enlightened, comforting ghostly image. And this was very important to me. VERY important.

Grandpa Eldon died in March of 1980. He was the only man I ever called Daddy, my best friend and the light of my life. (Sorry, Mom. I know that makes you cry, but it’s true.) He suffered a massive heart attack in the middle of the night and I was not allowed to visit him in the hospital during the final days of his life. We didn’t have the chance to say goodbye.

Or so I thought.

Three months later, my grandmother took me to see The Empire Strikes Back. There were many reasons why that movie changed my life. Among those reasons, Obi-Wan’s ghost along with Yoda’s teachings (“Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter.”) were far greater comfort to me than any of the Biblical passages that were muttered over the cold, square hole in the ground when we buried my Grandpa.

Not long after seeing ESB, my beloved grandfather came to see me in my dreams. That first night, he walked me through our house. Each room was decorated for a different holiday; it was Christmas in the front room, Halloween in the TV room, Thanksgiving in the kitchen and Easter in the front yard where he had hidden a rainbow of plastic eggs for me to find. Overjoyed to see him, I asked my Grandpa why everyone had lied to me and told me he was dead. He just smiled and told me he would always be with me. Always. Through every season and every holiday.

OK – all you skeptics and amateur psychologists out there might be tempted to point out that Grandpa Eldon’s message echoes Obi-Wan’s final line in A New Hope and that might lead you to the conclusion that this deeply spiritual and powerful experience from my childhood was just a case of wishful thinking. To you I say, pthththththth! It was real.

Grandpa continued to visit me in my dreams as I grew up. When my dog Pom Pom died, she started scampering through those dreams. In my late 20’s, after many years of not seeing him, Grandpa brought my recently departed kitty Charlie to say goodbye. Even though Charlie was very ill and suffering when I made the decision to let him go, I was plagued with debilitating grief and self-loathing for days after the vet carried him away. Grandpa assured me I’d done the right thing, taken the most compassionate action, and he was proud of me. Charlie was free from all pain and suffering now. I woke up after that dream, locked myself in the bathroom and cried. Oh how I cried! But it was a really good cry.

Whether anyone other than me believes that these dreams were real visitations doesn’t matter to me one wit. I don’t believe, I KNOW. My grandfather helped raise me from beyond the grave. Just like Obi-Wan helped train Luke from beyond the grave.

Recently, a sudden realization hit me; an epiphany of sorts.

I believe that the fictional depiction of Obi-Wan in ghostly form opened a door in my mind…a door that my grandfather walked through. And so, for me, my love of Star Wars and my fascination with ghost stories will always be intertwined. And perhaps I’m not the only one…

Ghost & Fett PumpkinsWhat about you? Have you ever had a loved one guide and comfort you from beyond the grave? Would you welcome a ghostly mentor? Or, like Scrooge, would you try to dismiss the encounter as “an undigested bit of beef, a blot of mustard, a crumb of cheese, a fragment of underdone potato”?

photo credit: ShellyS via photopin cc, JD Hancock via photopin cc, thepollen via photopin cc & Simon Davison via photopin cc

Ghosts of Octobers Past

Just 5 more days until October is upon us. Woo hoo!!Ghost in the Autumn Leaves

As mentioned previously in this post, October is my most favoritest month of the year. Unfortunately, I keep failing at October. Are you wondering, how on Earth does one FAIL at October? Check out My Halloween Score Card for 2011 to learn more. The Ghosts of Octobers Past are rattling their chains and demanding a little more fun in 2013.

This year I have a plan. Which is to say I have a better plan than I had back in 2011 and a way, way, WAY better plan than 2012. This year there will be more ghosts. More hauntings. More movies. More writing. And, most importantly, more October-themed posting on this blog. This time I double, triple pinky swear.

In preparation, Mike and I just loaded up our Netflix queue with the most delicious mix of classic and recent movies that are filled with mystery, suspense and/or things that go bump in the night:

  • The Awakening (2011)
  • The Innocents (1961)
  • The Trouble with Harry (1955)
  • The Woman in Black (2012)
  • House of Voices (2004)
  • Something Wicked This Way Comes (1983)
  • Shadow of a Doubt (1943)
  • Spellbound (1945)
  • Dial M for Murder (1954)
  • Vertigo (1958)

There’s more in our queue, but we probably won’t manage to get through that lot. We tried to choose movies that one or both of us have never seen…or don’t remember very well.

I’m also very excited to report that the Holly Theater is staging Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap in October. (SO excited!)

What about you? What are you planning for this October? Or do you prefer to save your excitement for other, less spooky months of the year?