a halloween warm-up


That was me dusting off this blog. Sheesh, you think you just worked on this thing yesterday and it turns out the last thing you wrote about was the State Fair and how hot it was?! Pathetic.

In my defense, I’ve been busy. This month has been busier than any this whole summer at my restaurant, thanks in no small part to the North Shore’s beautiful fall colors–and the fact that they actually stuck around this year. In years past, I would joke about the “leaf lookers” but this year they were a blessing. After a summer of monstrous families sweeping through the restaurant like a hurricane onto the next activity, it’s nice to serve people that are so relaxed sometimes I’m not sure they’re still breathing. But then they order another glass of wine and we’re back in business!

When I wasn’t serving my pants off–that…didn’t come out right–I was polishing up a piece for submission to Strange Chemistry.

It’s been tough, man. Fun and tough. From a purely technical standpoint, I’ve been combatting this habit I have of putting two spaces after a period. When did that become a thing anyway? As far as content, this story, in its complexity, is pretty far out of my wheelhouse. Whereas Mage was so far in my wheelhouse, it was scary.

Except that it’s about dragons. And I know dragons. But the third-person perspective, the alternating character POVs, and the setup/knockdown twists that are staples of mystery writing take time to navigate.

Oh, yeah, it’s a mystery, by the way. And a thriller. And a comedy. And urban fantasy. With dragons. About college. And loss. And sex.

Try to make a tagline for that one, right?

But, anyway, I got it submitted in time. And then this email came back:



And all of a sudden it was real. Really real. No more proofreads, no more touch-ups. If it’s not perfect, it’s game over. And if it is…well, then, I gotta cough up a full manuscript. Gamechanger.

So cross all your fingers, send good vibes, use the Force…whatever it takes. This is the big one, folks.

Long story short: all that writing, coupled with business, multiplied by my need to ‘get off the grid’ a bit took me out of the blog game.

Then something brought me back.

As I walked down to the coffee shop today, a crisp chill bit at my neck, causing me to tighten up my hood. Parched, yellow leaves skittered across the street, following me like an army of spider legs. A house groaned in the wind.

15951_642000204841_5454645_nIt’s October, baby! The greatest month of the whole year. All spooky, all the time–leading up to the greatest holiday of the year, Halloween. Even without presents, it still takes the proverbial cake. I remember the thrill of trick-or-treating around my hometown, visiting the haunted house that my 4th grade teacher would put up every year, and racing back home so that I could still hand out some candy at my grandparents’ place.

By the way, everyone should watch The American Scream on Netflix. If you’re not in Halloween mode yet, you will be after this.

Anyway, what a realized is that I haven’t been going as Grapenuts about this season as I have in years prior. For example, I usually get it in my head to write a scary Halloween story, walk around outlining it in my head, then never get around to it. This year I toyed with the idea of a “blog anthology” where all my favorite writer pals would spend the month crafting a short story that takes place on Halloween night, with my blog serving as the index.

Remind me that’s an awesome idea next year around the end of September, will you?

(PS, Writer Pals, I’m still game if you are. A li’l flash fiction action? Just sayin’!)

In a pinch, I suppose I do have my spookiest tale available online. If you haven’t read my novella The Plate in the Attic, this is a great time of year. Plus, your Kindle screen will act as a nightlight if when you get scared!

Another thing that jarred my October instincts, was working on my other blog–Oh yeah, I guess I was busy with that tooVoice of the Mountain. Last week, I wrote about all the best pumpkin-flavored things.

OHMIGOD I LOVE PUMPKIN!!1! I just spend October bingeing on pumpkin stuff to dangerous levels, then I spend 11 months trying to avoid the sight of it. It’s my greatest tradition.

This week, however, no more fun, games, treatsies, cakesies, or piesies. This week, on VotM, I’ll be turning the spooky dial up to 11. I’ve been collecting local stories of ghosts. As in, from the locals. These ain’t no souvenir t-shirt ghosts either. These are the real-deal-from-the-horse’s-mouth tales of bizarre supernatural goings-on.

I’m pumped. These are my roots, man. Ghost hunting, paranormal investigation. My true calling. Next week marks the 8th anniversary of the infamous Haunted Hall Stakeout where my best buds and I spent the night in the supposedly haunted building on campus to report our findings for an epic story for the college newspaper.

And to paraphrase Kell’s ominous phone call to his girlfriend that night: we got results.

It feels a little like destiny that Kell is visiting the North Shore this weekend, especially since I have my sights set on a new haunted building here in town. Perhaps a paranormal reunion is in order?

So that’s what I’ve got on my plate. What’s on yours? Any Halloween traditions you’re gearing up for? Movies you just have to watch? What is it you people do?!?!




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