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by Betty Dravis

1. terry cowboyLike most women I know, cowboys top my list of “favorite male hunks.”

The first movie cowboy I ever saw was Gene Autry, the singing cowboy of my youth. Then in my heyday, my all-time favorite and life-long “crush” Clint Eastwood rode into my life. And now there is Scott Eastwood, star of the blockbuster movie The Longest Ride… and Terry G. Reed.

“Who,” you might ask, “is Terry G. Reed?” Well, before I tell you a little about this Los Angeles actor–born in Ohio but spent most of his adult life in Tennessee–here is a photograph that captured my eye. If you can look past the man, don’t you just love his shirt? I wish they would bring this style back.

Terry G. Reed is a SAG-AFTRA actor who will play the role of Russell Rawlings in the coming TV series Big Sky. Rawlings is a rancher who is running for mayor. Big Sky has a huge cast with many of my Florida friends playing various roles. (I just learned yesterday that another of my California actor friends, Tia Barr, has also been added to the cast.) From all I have read and seen, Big Sky should be a big hit. Here is the link to the edited reel that helped Terry land the role: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fD69BCOnA7Y&sns=em

6. Terry G. Reed for Big Sky Banner

After seeing Terry’s demo and pictures, what do you think, ladies? He sounds and looks like a force to be reckoned with, in my opinion.

In real life, Terry is not a cowboy, but that’s how I see him and most likely will always think of him that way. However, since he plays business and bad-boy roles with equal ease, I doubt if he’ll get type-cast. But being type-cast as a cowboy is not a bad thing… On the contrary, take Clint Eastwood, for example. In addition to cowboys, Eastwood played roles from detectives to radio disc jockeys, but what image pops into your head when his name is mentioned? That’s right: a handsome, rugged, sexy cowboy!

Terry’s IMDb lists many former roles, from coroner, assassin to pro baseball scout. Just to name of few of his movie roles, Terry was a security chief in Rejourer (2011); a school principal in Truly Blessed (2009); and in In Da Cut he played the role of Kelly. He has an impressive list of TV credits, also. A few examples: The role of coroner in Howard Hughes Revealed; in The World’s Astonishing News TV Series, he played Joannie’s father in The Joannie Rochette Story; the part of Ray Kitchen in Eaten Ali3. terry closeup my faveve; Killer Bears episode; and a security and pit boss in Las Vegas. The list goes on…

In addition to his cowboy role in TV’s Big Sky—which I am personally anticipating—Terry has two films in pre-production: Dolphin’s Song and Cowgirl Romance.

Terry is a songwriter and guitarist. In case you’d like to hear some of his music, following are links to a few of his videos. He wrote the songs in some of his videos, plays guitar on others.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x_hHTPfnpOY

One of my favorites is Grant’s Lullaby that he wrote for his son:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gmg0w8XqLcA&sns=em

Terry has a good sense of humor, so it isn’t surprising that he can now laugh when recalling that for a TV role he once had to cry around twenty-three times in a two-day period. He said after that, he never wanted to cry on set again. He learned the hard way–on a shoot–that yellow jackets are attracted to fake blood.

5 facebook_1438038295931Coincidentally with this cowboy theme, Terry was encouraged as an actor by popular cowboy star Clint Walker and Bill McKinney who fought both Eastwood and John Wayne in the movies.

Since Terry’s coming role in Big Sky set my mind on a cowboy “tangent,” I asked my agent at Reel World Talent LLC and several popular authors to say a few words about cowboys who stood out in their memories.

Author Mary Lou Cheatham Recalls
Saturday Afternoon Matinee Cowboys

Roy-Rogers_1424127c“Back in the fifties in Taylorsville, Mississippi, my friends and I went to the Melroy Theater on Saturday afternoons to see the Westerns. I loved Roy Rogers and Dale Evans. I thought about them all week. Gene Autry was a favorite too. Back then I thought all cowboys were singers.”

Author Loretta Wheeler Chose Audie Murphy

audie murphy“I was asked to write a little something about my favorite cowboy. Being from Texas, of course, that didn’t seem a very difficult request. But, my take on it will probably make a few scratch their heads and say ‘Who?’ And then, ‘Why him?’

“The cowboy that sticks in my mind from way back is Audie Murphy. Here’s a short bio of him, followed by my reasons for choosing him:

“‘Audie Murphy was one of the most decorated American combat soldiers of World War II, receiving every military combat award for valor available from the U.S. Army, as well as French and Belgian awards for heroism. At the age of nineteen, Murphy received the Medal of Honor after single-handedly holding off an entire company of German soldiers for an hour at the Colmar Pocket in France in January 1945, then leading a successful counterattack while wounded and out of ammunition.’

“After the war, Murphy became a popular movie star, often portraying cowboys. So, dig through Netflix and find one of his old cowboy movies, fix yourself a bowl of popcorn, and sit back and watch a man portraying all the things we hold dear in cowboys, and know that he embodied those qualities in his “real” life too.”

Author Joanna Lee Doster Chose Clint Walker

clint walker“I just discovered and have begun watching Cheyenne with Clint Walker. I love the show. He is always honorable and always seeks justice. He takes off his shirt in almost every episode. He is the strong and silent type but he always saves the day. Six feet, six inches makes him the record champion. In 1969, New York Times film critic Howard Thompson, in reviewing Walker’s performance in the movie More Dead Than Alive, described the actor as ‘a big, fine-looking chap and about as live-looking as any man could be. And there is something winning about his taciturn earnestness as an actor, although real emotion seldom breaks through.’ In 1958, Thompson described the actor, then starring in Fort Dobbs, as ‘the biggest, finest-looking Western hero ever to sag a horse, with a pair of shoulders rivaling King Kong’s.’”

Michael McGregor of Reel World Talent LLC
Likes Singing Cowboys

“My favorite Cowboy…. hmmm…. I have two actually; both cowboys who sing. The first is Kenny Lee of the great state of Tennessee, and the second is Don Allen of the Gold Coast of Australia. Kenny Lee just finished producing Don Allen’s latest CD and I had the pleasure of listening to it on Kenny’s computer while he and Don cut-up and joked around. It was a great evening of friendship and witnessing amazing talent by both Kenny and Don!”

Terry G

Now, that I have, hopefully, intrigued you and gained a few more fans for Terry’s long list, why not meander on over to his Facebook page and invite him to be your friend. Also check out some of his old films to see him in action and follow him in Big Sky when it’s released. His shoulders might not be as huge as Clint Walker’s, but he’s long and lean like Clint Eastwood (or even Gary Cooper)… and he cuts a “mighty fine figure” in the role of rancher Russell Rawlings.

Facebook link:
https://www.facebook.com/terrygreed9?fref=ts:

Internet Movie Data Base (IMDb) link:
http://www.imdb.com/name/nm2744358

Another film, scene from Crime Investigation role:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ZC6gwoKxzA&sns=emsoccerforme@sbcglobal.net

The Dames of Dialogue and our readers wish Terry huge success in his acting career. We love your cowboy persona. But whatever the role, as you ride off into the sunset–as Roy Rogers and Dale Evans always sang–“Happy trails to you…”

7 Terry film reels by fan Wendy J. Willett

Graphic made for Terry by fan Wendy J. Willett

presented by Betty Dravis

Betty headshot turquoise braceletAs you all know, I’m the celebrity interviewer for Dames of Dialogue. I apologize for missing quite a few blogs due to multi-tasking with my own books and several short films.

I finally made time to come around to visit the Dames in order to introduce a young artist who caught my eye through friends. Kerry James Junior is very popular in his home state of Indiana, landing more TV and radio gigs on a weekly basis. I came across the following short blog about Kerry in the online paper New Scene Music.

I think the kid is good, but check him out for yourself. https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002430081915&fref=ts

by Mike Tree

Kerry james jr 1Kerry James Jr… Wasup, Errbodyt It’s ya boy Mike Tree reporting a New Artist Alert as I checked in with a regional sensation by the name of Kerry James Junior, better known as K.J. He creates a very special connection between his supporters, media and fans that he calls KJayers at this stage in his career

K.J. contributes the majority of his celebrity status to his support system; his soulful, self-taught talent is just a plus. K.J. sets himself apart from the pack mostly by his homely attire. In almost every video you can catch him in flip-flops and a hunter’s hat as just an added player of the “connect-ability” he has with his fans. Quite a sense of solidarity, in my opinion.

Kerry James Jr. 2

When i asked K.J. if there was anything he’d like to add to the story, he stated, in true K.J. fashion, that this article is dedicated to his “home team,” so to speak: first, his mother, Wendy M Sanders-Johnson, his #1 inspiring woman; second, his sisters, Kelly Jo Rogers and Crystal Nicole Conway; third, his brother, Robert Sanders; and last but not least, his God-Uncles, Mike Brown, Lake County recorder & Northwest Indiana freelance writer/journalist, and Anthony Alonzo.

They say a picture is worth a hundred words, so take note and look out for K.J. in some performances  near you!

presented by Betty Dravis

booksigning at bn san jose

Author Betty Dravis Talks ‘Toonies’ at Barnes & Noble Book-signing

Before we share what author Ashley Fontainne has to say on the subject of fulfilling our dreams, let me tell you a little about her. I’m sure most of you already know of her works, but for those who don’t: Award-winning and International best-selling author Ashley Fontainne is an avid reader of mostly the classics. Ashley became a fan of the written word in her youth, starting with the Nancy Drew mystery series. Stories that immerse the reader deep into the human psyche and the monsters that lurk within us are her favorite reads.

Her muse for penning the popular Eviscerating the Snake series was The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas. Ashley’s love for this book is what sparked her desire to write her debut novel, Accountable to None, the first book in the trilogy. With a modern setting to the tale, Ashley delves into just what lengths a person is willing to go when they seek personal justice for heinous acts perpetrated upon them. The second novel in the series, Zero Balance, focuses on the cost and reciprocal cycle that obtaining revenge has on the seeker. For once the cycle starts, where does it end? How far will the tendrils of revenge expand? Adjusting Journal Entries answered that question: far and wide.

ashleys books for DOD

Her short thriller entitled Number Seventy-Five, touches upon the sometimes dangerous world of online dating. Number Seventy-Five took home the bronze medal in fiction/suspense at the 2013 Readers’ Favorite International Book Awards contest and is currently in production for a feature film.

Her paranormal thriller entitled The Lie, won the gold medal in the 2013 Illumination Book Awards for fiction/suspense and is also in production for a feature film.

The suspenseful mystery Empty Shell, released September 29, 2014. Ashley then delves into the paranormal with a Southern Gothic horror/suspense novel, Growl, her latest release. Plus, she has teamed-up with Lillian Hansen (Ashley calls her Mom!) to pen a three-part murder mystery/suspense series entitled The Magnolia Series. The first book, Blood Ties, is due out the Summer of 2015.

ashley growl for DOD

Ashley also hosts The WriteStuff, a popular BlogTalk Radio show, each Friday night at 10 p.m. CST.

And now on to what this accomplished author has to say about overcoming fear:

ashley two books

Best-selling Author Ashley Fontainne

by best-selling author Ashley Fontainne

Do you have a dream? Something tickling the corners of your mind, wanting to be released, but you ignore it? Does fear of the unknown, how others will react, or the worry of failing keep it locked away?

Fear. No. More.

Unleash your creativity. Paint the first stroke. Mold your first piece of clay. Write your first story. Is it a scary thing to let go of your fears by showing the world what’s been crawling around inside your brain? Terrifying… Your stomach will clench in knots, your heart will pound, and your palms will exude gallons of sweat. Your brain will buzz with the annoying sounds of self-doubt.

Do. It. Anyway.

It took me reaching my forties to finally let go of my fears and publish my first novel. Since that moment in April, 2011, my life has changed in ways I never thought possible when I sat in my Creative Writing class in college, fiddling around with ideas for a book. It took the gentle urgings of a very dedicated professor to embrace my worries and then let them go. Once I did, even though I truly was petrified when I clicked “submit” on Amazon, I also felt a tremendous sense of joy.

Now, four years, seven books and two movie deals later, I still feel anxious on the eve of a new release. The entire creative process is akin to raising a child, hoping and praying you have done your best, waving goodbye with tears in your eyes as they leave the nest for the first time. After all, the world can be a cruel, harsh place. Some will love your little bundle, others will despise it. It is a gamble each and every time.

blood ties

The banner for the first book in The Magnolia Series that Fontainne is writing with her mother Lillian Hansen

But the rewards are well worth it. The sense of accomplishment is overwhelming. The biggest joy I receive with each new book is the knowledge that my words impacted the life of another human being. As a voracious reader, one who has found so much enjoyment in works of others, to even have the opportunity to try and do the same for others is amazing and humbling.

So, I challenge you today to step out of your comfort zone. Break the chains holding you back, and release your creative side, whatever it may be.

Paint. Draw. Sculpt. Design. Write. Embrace the fear and use it as a tool to hone your work… not to hold it back.

foreseen poster

Sneak Peek at the poster for the movie Foreseen, based on Fontainne’s book The Lie; directed by Jermaine Alexander, produced by Sabrina Stewart; in production

intro by Betty Dravis

Most of our readers are probably familiar with author/writer Joanna Lee Doster, but ever since I selected her exciting book Maximum Speed: Pushing the Limit for a Betty Award for Book with Best Movie Potential, I wanted to share her story on Dames of Dialogue.

Joanna and Wonder Dog Jack

Joanna and Wonder Dog Jack

Doster is a writer and author whose published books include Celebrity Bedroom Retreats (Rockport Publishing) and the aforementioned Maximum Speed: Pushing the Limit (MPI Publishing). The new edition of her family drama and motorsports racing thriller was released on May 4, 2014 on Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.com.

She has also written a series of nationally syndicated celebrity profiles that featured legendary sports figures. Doster is a freelance journalist for syndicated newspapers (Gannett as one example), magazines and blogs. In addition, she has held executive positions in Cable Television (Arts & Entertainment, The Learning Channel and PBS communications) and the entertainment industry. She and her husband live in New York.

Now Doster has written the following, especially for our Dames of Dialogue readers.

by Joanna Lee Doster

Most people ask what inspired me to write a stock-car racing thriller. To keep it as simple as possible, I transitioned from my previous non-fiction book and publications to following the need to express myself with expansive, epic stories. I knew I needed powerful characters, with generational back stories; families with complex relationships from the past leading to the present. I satisfied my writing needs in Maximum Speed by writing about three generations of a stock-car-racing family.

joanna max speed cover
Since I love to explore the different kinds of interactions my characters have and how they maneuver throughout their lives, my book about car racing became a metaphor for life. People are racing to or away from something. It’s not so much their destination that determines the type of person they are. It’s their journey to the finish line that determines that. My main characters have flaws and handicaps that most of them bravely overcome. Everyone chooses the path they take in life and how they travel on that path defines them. Ergo, the racing metaphor…
I became intrigued with stock-car racing when I began to realize that it’s not just drivers going aimlessly around tracks. It takes a tremendous amount of discipline, endurance, precision and focus. Driving around tracks for at least four hours with the glaring sun in their eyes, breathing in some residues of carbon monoxide inside a two-ton car that has 2 g forces is difficult enough. The experience is grueling when coupled with when to let up on the gas, when to make a pit stop, knowing when to avoid hitting another car and avoiding track debris, other crashing cars, etc. The list is endless…
I developed complex multi-layered characters that are a composite of people I have known. What I always loved about reading great books was that the well delineated characters always hooked you right away whether they were the heroes or the villains. You wanted to know what happened to them even after you finished reading. In Maximum Speed: Pushing the Limit I show their human frailties right from the start and they draw you in and you do want to know what happens to them at the end of the book. I also naively always believed in justice and so I try to balance out the imbalances in some of the character’s lives. But usually life has a way of meting out its own justice, so it’s not up to me, the author, to do that. I found that it’s best to let the characters take over and show that through their action and dialogue.
My protagonist Sean Devlin has been living on the edge his whole life, making speed and danger his constant companions in order to cover up a deep hole of loneliness and shame from the painful stigma of his childhood stutter. Reckless and testing the limits of life, he finally realizes that he doesn’t have to overcompensate for his speech handicap and conquer the world and his family to be number one. As Taylor, his mother, always told him, “You have no competition, as long as you believe you’re number one.”

The theme of “winning at all costs” philosophy is a thread that runs throughout my latest 2014 edition of Maximum Speed. People are always pushing the limit in their lives in order to achieve great success, whether they are celebrities like the ones in Celebrity Bedroom Retreats (Cher and Versace to name a few) or like the race-car drivers in Maximum Speed. Some of my characters push the limit on and off the racetrack with reckless disregard for their fellow teammates and or loved ones. My protagonist, a young champion racer, has an inordinate amount of drive, determination and obsessiveness for victory lane, overcompensating for a bullied childhood.
Joanna Lee Doster links:
Twitter: https://twitter.com/authorjdoster
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/joannalee.doster
Amazon Author Central: http://www.amazon.com/Joanna-Lee-Doster/e/B001K8KFNI/ref=dp_byline_cont_book_1
BN order page: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/maximum-speed-joanna-lee-doster/1102419753?ean=9780996017916

joanna, ashley, me on marsha show...

by Betty Dravis

Susan Alcott Jardine is an amazing woman! Not only is she an author, an artist, former actress and an award-winning screenwriter, she and her equally-amazing husband, Neal, are among the most active animal activists in California, and possibly, the nation.

I met Susan about four years ago, shortly after interviewing her former high-school friend, Actor/Producer Tony Tarantino, for Dream Reachers II, a book I co-authored with Chase Von. Susan’s book, The Channel: Stories from L.A., came out about the same time, so I jumped at the chance to review it. A haunting, well-written book… Needless to say, Susan has a way with words… The Channel is available at many online bookstores, including Barnes & Noble and Amazon:

susan triple pic art book and green door

Susan was born and raised in Los Angeles where she majored in theatre arts at El Camino College and California State University, LA. As mentioned above, she worked as an actress in theatre, television and film before working behind the scenes in music production/publishing, as a writer/editor for entertainer Kenny Rogers’s “Special Friends” newsletter, in entertainment law and broadcast television. She and her writing partner Marc Havoc received the WGA Foundation Award for their screenplay Lullabyeland.

susan in bus stop

ECC Theater Production of “Bus Stop,” directed by Joseph D’Agosta who also played Bo to Susan’s Cherie. — with Neal Jardine at El Camino College, Torance, CA.

While playing a role in a film at Paramount Pictures, Susan not only met Tony Bennett and the late Stephen Boyd, she also became friends with the acclaimed screenwriter Harlan Ellison who wrote the screenplay for The Oscar, among many other acclaimed literary/cinematic successes. Ellison became her mentor, actually critiquing her first published story from The Channel: Stories from L.A.,The Metamorphosis of Nathanial Kronstadt, which was first published in Ellery Queens’s Mystery Magazine back in 1985. She acknowledges Ellison as “a turning point and inspiration” in her life. For more about Harlan Ellison, check Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harlan_Ellison

susan with neal by artThis versatile and talented woman is also a painter, and her artwork is in private collections in the US, San Salvador, and Kenya, East Africa, including the permanent collection of Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center. She lives in the Los Angeles area with her husband Neal and many rescued cats.
Art website: http://www.GreenDoorEditions.com

While most of us writers dream of having movies developed from our books, Susan’s dream is much more altruistic: she and her husband Neal dream of founding a Feral and Stray Cat Foundation.

Since 2006, Susan and Neal have been actively rescuing feral and stray cats from the freeway berm that runs behind their home. Over the years they have been trapping, spaying, neutering and moving mother cats, kittens and new litters into their Green Door Editions (GDE) art studio, as well as using it for a recovery area for sick and injured cats. The Jardines named the studio their “temporary kitty hospital.”

susan's neal with cats on bed

Susan confided, “’Life’ and recent unforeseen events sent us into a tailspin here at GDE, forcing us to regroup and formulate a Plan B. But, from the chaos and re-grouping, New Doors opened up to a new path for us here at GDE. Through a loving gift from my late parents’ Trust, as if by magic, there was a ‘Gift’ to be used to start our animal rescue foundation.”

In 2015, the Jardines plan to open their non-profit foundation: “Alex & Friends’ Foundation” which will benefit ‘Feral & Stray Cat Rescue.’ Neal will be working from the legal aspect to set up a non-profit (501) (c) (3) to comply with Federal and state Regulations, and Susan will utilize her art & writing to create the logo and artwork for small gift items that can be added to a new website for the foundation.

dog with poster“It won’t happen overnight,” Susan said, “but by baby steps, we can slowly set it up and connect with other non-profits in the community. We will keep you posted and let you know when we’re finally up and running. A lot of legal work needs to be done before we can go forward, like setting up our Board of Directors, financial account, etc. The good news is that the non-profit status has already been approved by the IRS. We are moving forward and will keep you posted when it is finally up and running as a non-profit animal rescue foundation.”

I’m excited for Susan and Neal…and for all the animals they are helping. I admire them and others who care enough about animals to devote their lives and resources to them. To learn more about all the animals they help, check Susan’s Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/susan.alcottjardine?fref=ts Don’t forget to check Susan’s site on a regular basis so you can either rescue a pet yourself or donate to this worthy cause.

ENDNOTE: Not essential to this story is a fact I would like to mention before closing: Neal’s brother is the famous Al Jardine of the Beach Boys. Since we and most of our fans love The Beach Boys, I thought you might enjoy that interesting tidbit.

Susan and Neal with Al Jardine

Neal and Susan celebrated with Al Jardine at his performance and book signing on the Target stage at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books at UCLA. After performing his hit song, “Sloop John B,” Al greeted fans and signed copies of his children’s book, “Sloop John B: A Pirate’s Tale,” which also contained a CD of the song.

al jardine with brian wilson at bb concert in indio ca august 30 2014

BEACH BOYS Brian Wilson & Al Jardine still going strong as they prove at a recent concert in Indio, California. Next year they will take the ever-popular songs of the Boys to the UK.

 

by Katherin Kovin Pacino – Presented by Dame Betty Dravis

Kat Pacino - Secretary of Reel Cowboys

Kat Pacino – Secretary of Reel Cowboys

It has been a few years since Betty Dravis interviewed me for Dames of Dialogue and for her and Chase Von’s book Dream Reachers II, so I am honored to be invited back for an update.

In addition to acting and representing the Al Pacino Family, during the past two years, I have become involved in a number of other projects, such as serving as secretary on the Board of The Reel Cowboys. www.reelcowboys.org My husband, Bill Lashbrook, is vice-president. Not only do we enjoy the humanitarian causes RC supports, we also enjoy the fun and camaraderie of this great bunch of people.

William Lashbrook, vice-president of Reel Cowboys

William Lashbrook, vice-president of Reel Cowboys

Reel Cowboys is a non-profit charity that honors western screen actors with their annual Silver Spur Awards and gives to charities for children and to war veterans. This year, 2013, The 16th Annual Silver Spur Awards honored Jon Voight, Robert Wagner, Louis Gossett, Jr., Connie Stevens, Andrew Prine, Ewing “Lucky” Brown and stuntman Chuck Hicks. For all about the fascinating details of Reel Cowboys, please check this link: http://reelcowboys.org/RC_about.htm

Robert Wagner and Chris Walken are pictured above at the 16th Annual Silver Spur Awards where they were honored.

John Voight and Robert Wagner are pictured above at the 16th Annual Silver Spur Awards where they were honored.

I’m also an advisor on the Board of Shining Star Kids of America, another charity for foster kids aging out of the system. We are now talking to three mayors of different cities in Northern California regarding buying a ranch for these kids to learn culinary, horticulture, and many other things to help them sustain a living as they set out into the world on their own. For more about this worthwhile program, check this link: http://shiningstarkidsofamerica.org/facts.html

home_boy_01

In 2010 I was presented The Key to the City of Ferrentino, Italy. I covet this honor because I’m so proud of my late husband Sal Pacino and his son the legendary, academy-award-winning Al Pacino. Being affiliated with their heritage means the world to me.

I am also venturing into cinematic production, but am still into acting. My latest film is Mansion of Blood, (starring Gary Busby). I also worked on Simon Bolivar, Path to Glory, which co-starred my late hubby Sal Pacino, mentioned above, and am currently attached to other future projects, as well.

Past Memory: Kat Pacino with late husband Sal Pacino at family gathering in Al Pacino home.

Past Memory: Kat Pacino with late husband Sal Pacino at family gathering in Al Pacino home.

I enjoy the humanitarian aspects of my life as well as the entertainment industry. If you’re ever in Sun Valley, please drop by The Reel Cowboys for breakfast. You might be surprised to find one of your favorite old-time (or even current) cowboys joining the gang for breakfast. My husband Bill Lashbrook and I breakfast there quite often, too. In fact one morning I was there when cowboy actor Ty Hardin walked by. I grabbed my cell and called Betty Dravis, knowing she would enjoy a short chat with him…but the call didn’t go through quick enough and he was out the door. Betty missed out… (laughs)

Check their calendar page on their website (listed above) to find out what Saturdays The Reel Cowboys meet for breakfast. They meet most Saturday mornings, but not all…from 9:30 to High Noon! Come on around to the “Chuck Wagon Room” of Big Jim’s Family Restaurant, 8950 Laurel Canyon Blvd (the northwest corner of Laurel Canyon and Sheldon Street) in Sun Valley. The general public is cordially invited to join in on the fun, entertainment and “Grass Roots Justice”… for good!

See you there… Kat

http://www.imdbpro.com/name/nm1178989

kovinpacino@facebook.com

16th poster

by Dame Betty Dravis

betty with jack black bottles big smile 10 2012I was laughing like crazy when this picture was taken. Happy because mine and Barbara Watkins’s Six-Pack of Fear was just launched and doing very well. It was Halloween and I had some skeleton-head rings to dress my fingers and found some Jack Black bottles with skeletons on them. Since both books in the Six-Pack series have skeletons on the cover, that amused me…to put it mildly.

This photo gave me the idea to ask some authors what made them happy. I think you’ll enjoy their stories. And do get copies of their books. I also request comments at end of this blog and on their various sites, if you have time in your own busy schedules. 🙂

www.bettydravis.com

http://www.amazon.com/Betty-Dravis/e/B002BLJJIU/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1

https://www.facebook.com/betty.dravis?ref=tn_tnmn

Betty-Dravis-Facebook-Banner

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Author Inglath Cooper Is Most Happy When…

Inglath Cooper

Inglath Cooper

Maybe we’re happiest when we’re with the people in our lives who know us best. Over the years, I have made many friends in different periods of my life. Many wonderful and amazing friends… But I am never more comfortable, more free to just be me than when I am with my mom and sister. We share so much history, so many good times, and our conversations are always peppered with those memories.

Here I am at dinner with them during a recent vacation to Palm Beach, Florida. It was a carefree week with much laughter and teasing. Another memory I will treasure.

www.inglathcooper.com
www.facebook.com/inglathcooperbooks

1a inglath banner

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Author Laurel Rain-Snow Had “Miles to Go”

Laurel Rain-Snow

Laurel Rain-Snow

Picture the setting:  Circa 1970.  The world is our oyster, to coin an old cliché.  In this photo, I am in love and cooking Christmas dinner for my new man, who would become my second husband within a few days.  Shortly after he flashed this photo, I would drop the pan of gravy on the floor, but no worries…  I salvaged most of it.  And I kept smiling.

It was our very first Christmas dinner together and I was still a novice at big feasts.  He was teasing me about my domesticity (or lack thereof) and I laughed because I was nervous, but also happy.

Now imagine a scene from my novel Miles to Go when Lindsay and Jack are brand new and loving every moment of their lives together.  They would not begin to realize what would come charging around the bend within a very short time.  But in that moment, they are happy and in love.

In this photo, I was living parts of that story, one that I would create more than thirty years later.

www. http://laurelrainsnowauthor.com/

PicMonkey Collage-stories in feb

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Author Ashley Fontainne, Mother of the Bride

Ashley Fontainne

Ashley Fontainne

This photo of author Ashley Fontainne was taken at the rehearsal dinner of her middle daughter the night before her wedding. Ashley and her husband Michael were happy campers that night and throughout the wedding ceremony and celebrations. They were absolutely delighted to see their daughter and her groom so obviously in love, committed and glowing with happiness.

The entire family was there to celebrate the wedding. What a fun night! (This is a fun blog and I thank Miss Betty for inviting me to participate.)

Website: http://www.ashleyfontainne.com

Radio Show: http://www.artistfirst.com/ashleyfontainne.htm

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Author Lin Stepp Enjoys “Miles” of Smiles

4 smile picAuthor Lin Stepp stands smiling at the beginning of a hiking trail in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park; happy for Spring to be here at last and happy that her fifth Smokies-set novel, Second Hand Rose, was just released this month and that her hiking guide The Afternoon Hiker will soon follow this summer.

To read more about Lin’s books and to see beautiful Smokies photos, see her website at: www.linstepp.com

http://www.amazon.com/Second-Hand-Rose-Smoky-Mountain/dp/0982905475

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What Makes Barbara Watkins Grin from Ear-to-Ear?

barbara smileOh yeah – that’s me sitting in my writing room with a big grin on my face! All you have to do is look closely at the photo to understand why. I’m sitting smack dab in the middle of two extraordinary directors–Armand Mastroianni to my right and Dimi Nakov to my left–and behind me is none other than the one-and-only…my sweetie, Johnny Depp! No such thing as ‘writer’s block’ when you’re surrounded by this much inspiration.

In 2012, I was thrilled to collaborate on a book of short stories entitled Six Pack of Blood with the legendary Betty Dravis, and then I struck gold again in 2013 when we released our second installment, Six Pack of Fear. pure gold! In 2011, I wrote my first novel, Hollowing Screams, and am confident it, too, will bring home the gold in the near future.

“Good things do come to those who wait, but only the things left behind by those who hustle.”

 https://www.facebook.com/barbienell.watkins?fref=ts

http://www.barbarawatkins.net

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Young Wayne Zurl… The Story

Wayne zurl as a kid...Here’s a picture of little Wayne, the erstwhile sheriff of Brooklyn, New York and part-time singing cowboy, smiling as he remembers a fond moment from his younger days. Travel back to 1955, and stare into that twelve-inch, round, Dumont console TV. It’s Saturday night at . . . maybe 9 o’clock. James Arness (Matt Dillon) just shot Arvo Ojala (the bad guy in the black hat) in the opening credits of Gunsmoke. Every boy in the audience pulled out his Mattel Fanner 50 cap gun and twirled it on his trigger finger. Little Wayne was no exception.

The scene shifts to the Long Branch Saloon on the main street of Dodge City, Kansas. Doc Adams (Milburn Stone) is leaning against the bar sipping a whiskey and Chester Goode (Dennis Weaver) is holding a mug of beer. US Deputy Marshal Matt Dillon walks through the swinging doors and sizes up the barroom. Dillon is six-and-a-half-feet-tall. He stands with his legs moderately spread, his thumbs hooked over his gun belt, but he’s ready to pull out a long-barreled Colt if some hombre makes a false move. On that day, the outlaws of Kansas were busy robbing stage coaches on the prairie and all looked peaceful in Dodge.
Matt joined his friends, asked the bartender for a beer, and tipped a ten-gallon Stetson back on his head. The camera panned left as she descended the main staircase. Miss Kitty (Amanda Blake) wore a dark, low-cut silky dress, the color of which was anyone’s guess; it was black and white TV. She stood on the ground floor for a long moment before joining those three characters at the bar.

Ninety-nine percent of the young cowboys in the TV audience shrugged and kept twirling their nickel-plated six-shooters, showing no interest in the woman, but not little Wayne. He looked at Miss Kitty and smiled. The kid was in love and prepared to face off against Dillon if the marshal tried to keep him from scooping her up into the saddle as he galloped down Main Street on his Appaloosa.

But Dillon didn’t have the nerve to let the kid draw first and he turned his back as little Wayne and Kitty rode off into the sunset.
Author website: http://waynezurlbooks.net
Amazon author page: http://www.amazon.com/author/waynezurl
B&N author page: http://barnesandnoble.com/s/wayne-zurl
Mind Wings Audio author page: http://mindwingsaudio.com/?s=wayne+zurl

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Author Adelle Laudan Had Fun Viewing Old Photos

Let me start by saying, I was, and still am very camera shy. It was a chore trying to find a photo of me laughing. I had my daughter look through some older pics and she came up with this one. It was taken twenty-seven years ago at a surprise wedding shower. I remember being less than impressed at being caught with no make-up and wearing comfy clothes. By the looks of me in this picture, I got over it and had a fun time! LOL

What fun it was taking a trip down memory lane with my youngest. Thank you, dear Betty, for inviting me. I wouldn’t have had this special time, chatting

and giggling at pictures from years gone by if it wasn’t for you. I think next time I have my kids together, we’ll do it again.

Wishing You All Miles of Smiles

DOD Happy Author blog april 17 2013

Website – http://adellelaudan.com
Blog – http://adellelaudan.blogspot.com
Facebook – http://facebook.com/AdelleLaudan

It’s release day for the 6th installment of my Women of Strength Series. It is titled Dani and you can take a sneak peek on my blog. http://adellelaudan.blogspot.ca/2013/04/new-release.html

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Former Playboy Bunny Victoria Taylor Murray is Happiest When Writing

vickie 2I was happy when this picture was taken; I was celebrating signing the contract for my first four-book series, The Lambert Series: Thief of Hearts,” Forbidden, Friendly Enemies, and Le Fin.  Since then I have written eight other books, Passed Down Through  Four Generations, The Shadow of Her Smile, Exposure Behind Closed Doors, The Scarlet Ribbon, and The Hall of Mirrors Series: The Hall of Mirrors-Book One, The Hall of Secrets, The Rock of Ages, and The Hall of Veils.

My current writing project is on the second book in my Passed Down Through  Four Generations series of cookbooks.  I’m from a family that consists of  four generations of male chefs and I must admit each and every one of them is a far better cook then the females in my family (smile).  Some of the family recipes are truly to-die-for.  I also have a book of poems…a work in progress.  I have won numerous awards and honorable mentions for some of my poems and song lyrics.  I have written two songs to my credits as well as 200 poems, long before I even penned my first book. 

Funny story about why I even started writing books.  What started out as a joke between two sisters and my sister’s favorite soap opera turned into a series of four books.  Who knew?  No one was more surprised than I.  I was visiting my sister one day during her favorite soap opera (Days of Our Lives) and she was angry over the storyline the show was heading in. She looked at me, shook her head and said, “Anyone could write a better storyline then the writers they have now.”  She cleared her throat and then said, “Hey, I’ve got an idea,,, Why don’t you write a soap plot and send it to them.”

 

I rolled my eyes and responded, “Thank you, I think.”  To our mutual surprise, I did just that! As it turned out, she loved the first book so well it turned into afour-book series.  Like I said before. no one was more surprised than I.  Anyway that’s how I began writing books. 

vickie's bookMy newest novel, The Hall of Mirrors, is my first attempt at writing a paranormal-suspens, a new genre for me.  I usually write romantic-suspense (my favorite), so my newest story has some romance in it. And I just can’t seem to stay away from the suspense or intrigue of a storyline.  My characters are always colorful and never dull.  In The Hall of Mirrors I have a few past lifetimes interfering with the present and what a delicious blend of past and present it is.  Hint: What does the son of darkness have to do with the daughter of light? Guess you’ll just have to read the book to find out.

Facebook.com/victoriataylormurray

Authorsden.com/victoriataylormurray

Librarything.com/victoriataylormurray

by Betty Dravis

Many of our readers grew up with TV series like Rod Serling’s Twilight Zone, Tales of the Crypt and Dark Shadows, not to mention Alfred Hitchcock’s horrific heart-attack scary movies which are masterpieces of the craft.  I love all those shows, as well as the horror/thriller movies directed by our top-featured guest today, acclaimed Hollywood Producer/Director Armand Mastroianni.

In the 1940s, I recall the thrill of being in the front room with my parents and siblings as we listened to a very popular radio series Inner Sanctum. The program’s familiar and famed audio trademark was the eerie creaking door which opened and closed the broadcasts. Himan Brown, the originator, got the idea from a door in the basement that “squeaked like hell.” The door sound was actually made by a rusty desk chair. The program did originally intend to use a door, but on its first use, the door did not creak. Undaunted, Brown grabbed a nearby chair, sat in it and turned, causing a hair-raising squeak. The chair was used from then on as the sound prop.

Looking back on those shows, I can vouch that that creaky door made the hairs on my neck rise and stand at attention; it was just as effective as the immensely expensive high-tech sound effects of this new millennium. I had already started to write a few little things by then and I like to think those shows all contributed to my desire to one day write some horror of my own.

I recently teamed up with the noted “Queen of Terror,” author Barbara Watkins, to produce an anthology of six horror stories titled Six-Pack of Blood. Due to the success of our first Six-Pack, we are now working on Six-Pack of Fear which will be released in a few weeks. Six-Pack of Blood had the honor of Armand Mastroianni writing the foreword; it also won Best Paranormal/Horror award from Producer/Director Dimi Nakov of Zodiac Entertainment and placed No. 2 in Germany Occult, No. 1 in U.S. Horror and No. 34 in UK Horror, thus qualifying it for international best-seller. Barbara and I thank all who helped along the way.

Don’t forget, Six-Pack of Blood is still FREE through tomorrow, Monday. If you already have a copy, please get one for a friend and please pass the word that it’s FREE. We are pushing it like crazy because we were at No. Six in Amazon Horror/Occult this morning and have our eyes set on being No. One. Are you with us? 🙂

Barbara Watkins’s most prominent links:

http://facebook.com/barbienell.watkins

http://www.barbarawatkins.net

Betty Dravis’s most prominent links:

https://www.facebook.com/betty.dravis

http://www.bettydravis.com

Now it’s Halloween and the perfect time to share some “ghost stories” (paranormal is the preferred “lump” word of today) from friends in the film and literary industries. Don’t scream too loudly, but do enjoy!

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The Case of the Dirty Window

by Movie Director Armand Mastroianni

Producer/Director Armand Mastroianni

We were shooting a night scene (of course) for my latest film Dark Desire and it involved a man sneaking around the property of a mansion, looking to gain access with deadly intentions. I had the art department clean all the windows and doors with glass cleaner so that I could get a clean shot of the stalker approaching the house through the windows.

We shot most of the approach successfully until we reached the study which had two large French doors with glass panes as its exterior entry. The art crew kept cleaning one of the panes with little success. There was a stain on the glass that looked like the outline of an old woman hunched and holding a cane; at least that’s what the outline of the stain appeared to look like after staring at it.

No matter what they did with Windex and other cleansers the stain seemed to be embedded in the glass. I framed it out of the shot and the shoot went off successfully, but it wasn’t until a week later when we spoke with the owner of the house and thanked her for the use of this location that she mentioned how much she enjoyed our company…

She was feeling quite lonely because her ninety-two-year-old mother had died several weeks before. She lived there with her daughter and died in that room we were shooting with the stain in the glass.

One other thing: the owner mentioned her mother had arthritis and used to walk with a cane.

DARK DESIRE  (formerly titled A Dark Plan) – Mastroianni’s latest film coming soon
https://www.facebook.com/ADarkPlan

A sneak peek at the pre-poster for DARK DESIRE, coming soon.

A small portion of the many feature films and TV films directed by the acclaimed movie director Armand Mastroianni.

For more about award-winning movie director Armand Mastroianni’s latest movie DARK DESIRE, check and LIKE this Facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/ADarkPlan?ref=ts&fref=ts

For more about Armand and all his movies, check here:

armand.mastroianni@facebook.com

http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0557857/

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Seattle, Haunted

by Author Emily Hill

Author Emily Hill

Midnight on Seattle’s Greenwood Avenue and I wrapped my coat even more tightly around me as the wind howled.  Not a soul in sight. The cabbie had just dropped me off at the entrance to my neighborhood and zoomed off–the taillights of his cab became glowing red eyes, taunting me.  My fingertips hurt from the cold.

I realized, for the first time, that the land in the Greenwood District does go downhill into what–a hundred years ago–could have been, as the cabbie said, a cemetery.

I rued uttering the words, “Drop me off here,” as I walked east.  My high heels clipped against the sidewalk.  The sound bounced between the houses, revealing my whereabouts.  The smell of musk hit my nostrils–turned earth.

A wave of arctic wind whipped around me, tangling my hair.  My eyes were tearing, and blurring my vision.  As I blinked toward the distant street lamp I saw the most curious thing: an orb of light moved across my vision.

My first reaction, “Fog?”

I heard a skittering noise behind me, like a rat scratching its way up a retaining wall, a frantic noise.  It was that sound that drove me forward, toward the orb.

I squinted as the vision took the shape of a woman.  A milky white “presence” dressed in a turn-of-the-century gown, she was proceeding across my path.  I hid in a neighbor’s shrubbery, fascinated.  She never noticed me; she just stared straight ahead as she moved.  What had been a “fog” was now a full apparition, unaffected by the cold.  The spirit of a woman who had lived in this same neighborhood–my neighborhood–going about her business, just as I was going about mine.

Only she was on The Other Side of the Great Divide.

SPECIAL NOTE: Emily Hill is an author of ghost stories, and a publishing coach for A.V. Harrison Publishing.  Her story, Seattle, Haunted, is a true story based on an experience she had while living in Seattle’s Greenwood District.  She has since moved from Seattle, and now lives in Edmonds, Washington…a safe distance from that city’s cemetery.  http://www.emilyhillwriter.com/ghost_hunters_page.html

The Ghost Chaser’s Daughter in Paperback (Full Collection) and e-book (five New stories)

http://www.amazon.com/Ghost-Chasers-Daughter-Emily-Hill/dp/147915931X/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1348085180&sr=1-2&keywords=the+ghost+chaser%27s+daughter

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839 Agnes Street: A True Haunting

by Barbara Watkins

Author Barbara Watkins

Forty-five years ago, in 1967, I experienced my first encounter with the paranormal. My family and I (Mom, Dad and older brother and sister) settled into our new home at 839 Agnes Street. I was so excited to finally have my own room and a huge backyard to play in.

But my feelings of excitement soon turned into fear.

I slipped into my Winnie the Pooh pajamas, kissed my mother and father goodnight and crawled into bed. I closed my eyes when I felt the presence of someone, or some thing, take a seat on the foot of my bed. When I opened my eyes, I saw an indentation in the mattress as if someone had just sat down, but no one was sitting there. Frozen with fright, I pulled the blanket over my head and screamed for my mother.

My mother tried to assure me that it had only been a bad dream, but I knew better. Exhausted, she kissed me goodnight and tucked me back into bed. I curled up into a ball at the head of my bed and watched and waited for it to happen again. Although the strange occurrence did not happen again that night, it did many times after. Many nights I would get up and sleep in the corner of my closet because I did not feel safe in my own bed.

A few months after we moved in, my father was killed in an accident at work. Almost immediately, on a nightly basis, lights in the house began to go on and off by themselves. We saw dark shadows lurking about the house and often awoke to our names being whispered in our ears. Closed doors would mysteriously open and slam shut. Various items disappeared only to reappear somewhere else. I awoke one night to see a hooded figure dressed all in black standing over my bed starring down at me.

My mother tried desperately to make some kind of logic out of what was happening, but could not. We were frightened to stay but could not afford to move…

The house has since been demolished, but the ghostly events that we all encountered there will forever be imprinted in our minds.

Above are all of Barbara Watkins’s books. Congratulations to this author for the success of HOLLOWING SCREAMS which will soon be in pre-production for a film by up-and-coming, award-winning film producer Dimi Nakov of Zodiac Entertainment in New Zealand.

For more about this author’s literary works, visit:

http://www.barbarawatkins.net

http://facebook.com/barbienell.watkins

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Why the Ghosts in ‘White Heaven Women’ are Blue – A True Story

by Jessie B. Tyson

Author Jessie B. Tyson

We were two teenagers, miles from civilization. The last bus had left long before schedule.  Home was eight miles away. There were no street lights. We couldn’t see the road to walk…but walk we must. A white car pulled up beside us and a cold ominous feeling ran through me, as if I’d been thrust into a freezer or a new ice-age. The driver offered us a ride home. As we arrived at Barbara’s village, I exited the car to see her safely across the now-busy main street.

A firm voice said, “Do NOT get back in that car!”

I turned to see who’d spoken. No one was there… Tired, I ignored the warning and climbed in. The car slowed, turning deeper into the countryside.

“You’ve turned the wrong way.”

“No, I haven’t,” said the driver with a distasteful snigger.

I felt frightened.

The voice spoke again. “Stay calm. Do not panic and do exactly as I tell you!”

The car halted in an unlit lane with no buildings nearby. The driver groped at my firm young body. I cried and beseeched God to help me, not wanting to lose my virginity through an assault.

“God will not help you, girl!” laughed my vile attacker.

Suddenly, a brilliant burst of blue light lit the lane. I noticed a female hovering three feet from the ground, her arms outstretched toward me. She was glowing blue! Electricity seemed to burn through my veins. I felt fortified with the strength of an army. The voice dictated what I must do. “Turn in your seat, pound his face with your feet, exit the car, break the car aerial off, pretend it’s a knife, push it against his gut and say, ‘Touch me again and I’ll stick this knife right through you!’”

All the while, the glowing blue female hovered, arms outstretched toward me. I did everything the voice told me. Speechless, the man returned to his car and drove away.

Trembling, I headed toward my village as the brilliant blue light guided my way.

The voice returned. “He’s coming back.  Quick, jump into the meadow, crouch down and hide.”

Strangely, I felt no pain as long thorny spikes ripped at my clothes and face as I dived through the bushes headfirst as if into a swimming pool.

The man yelled, “Come on, girl. I will not hurt you. I’ll take you home.”

“Hush.  Stay quiet ‘til he’s gone, then amble toward the main street. You know the way. You played here as a child.” I wondered how the voice knew this.

I scurried alongside the hedgerow ‘til I reached a solitary house and pounded on the door, “Help, I’ve been attacked.  Please call the police.”

An elderly man let me inside. My attacker drove away.

The voice whispered into my ear, “Bye, my dear. You’re safe now.”

I turned, hoping to see my unearthly adviser and saw no one. I glanced down the lane…but the lady in the blue light had vanished!

To view video of Jessie B. Tyson reciting this story, go to:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kGnp9nX7HyU&feature=plcp

This author’s Facebook link:

https://www.facebook.com/jessie.b.tyson?ref=ts&fref=ts

For Free promo copy of White Heaven Women visit Jessie’s Amazon link on October 29th and October 30th:

http://www.amazon.com/White-Heaven-Women-ebook/dp/B008SDDGV6/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1350794260&sr=1-1&keywords=white+heaven+women

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Children Playing
by Christy Bradshaw, M.Ed.

My family moved into a 1960’s-built home. A man that was wheelchair bound and his wife built this home. She passed away from brain aneurysm rupture, and then later he passed of cancer. We lived in this home for eight years.

There were paranormal occurrences in this home over the time that we lived there. About six months after we moved in, I had a brain aneurysm rupture (stroke). I suffered through all of the recovery from that and then one afternoon I saw our elderly neighbor outside so I walked over to speak with her. She told me the story about the previous owners. I thought that was extremely interesting, of course: the brain aneurysms that we two women had shared in that home.

Not long after this conversation with the neighbor, the lights in the house began to come on and go off by themselves at times. Once again, I stopped to think… hmmm…but again I passed it off in my mind as I was imagining things. You see, always the children and I would see these things and the children were very young. I never had a credible witness or anyone that could confirm things that were happening. A couple of years passed with occurrences of the children’s toys playing by themselves with no batteries in them. The lights flashing really often, and then it finally happened…

My daughter was around four years old. I had put her down for a nap and closed her door so I would not wake her. Doing dishes with the baby monitor on I thought that I heard something through the monitor. I stopped for a second to listen. Then boldly I heard children laughing through the monitor. It sounded as though they were playing. I dropped the dish in the sink and listened some more. Of course I was thinking that I really didn’t hear what I thought that I heard.

Quietly I stood at the sink, waiting to hear the sounds once more–and then all of a sudden the laughing began again, so loud that I grabbed the monitor and turned it off quickly. The laughing of these children playing did not sound harmful in any way. It was just really loud and very creepy knowing that the sounds were coming from my baby’s room. I slowly walked to her bedroom door…

I stood at the door with my hand on the door knob, listening for a second or two, but hearing nothing. I was afraid of what I would see when I opened the door. Finally, I used the courage that I could muster and opened the door:

There she was, quietly sleeping, the room was still and I was relieved. That was the very day, that I stopped using baby monitors in that home. From that point forward she took her naps on the sofa in the living room.

For more about Christy Bradshaw, visit her at:

thebradshawchronicles@facebook.com

http://www.imdb.com/name/nm5087798/resume

http://www.christybradshaw.webs.com

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A Ghost Named Kermit

by John Zunski

Author John Zunski

Some say our little town is haunted. I can say that the little ol’ bar that sits on the main drag has things that go bump in the night. I’ve heard them… I’ve felt them… I may have even seen something…

The weirdness started the week my wife and I took possession of the multi-dimensional watering hole. After closing one night, I was going about my business when I was overcome with a heaviness, like distant eyes pressing down upon my shoulders. I stopped what I was doing and turned around. Surprised faces stared at me. My heart stopped. It took me a second to realize it was my own reflection in dozens of mirrors. I took a deep breath and shared a nervous laugh with the room before burying myself in work. The feeling persisted. Every time I turned around, my freaked-out face returned my stare.

“It’s like the old-timers were watching me. Checking out the new guy,” I told my wife.

And that was it–for a while. Then my wife complained that five or ten dollars would be missing from her till. She would walk away before returning and recounting only to find it all there.

“Big deal,” I can hear you say. I agree, but it happens to me all the time. We decided it was Kermit, our name for the ghost. Kermit was also a customer who had passed away a few months after we bought the bar.

One night, years later, I had closed the bar. I thought everyone had stumbled out the door when in the casino, a Keno machine printed a ticket, footsteps marched across the floor and the Men’s Room door slammed shut. I didn’t think too much of it, reasoning that I had somehow missed a lingering soul.

Minutes passed… No one came out… I investigated…

The Men’s Room door was open and I was alone.

“Okay, John, they climbed out the bathroom window,” you say.

I would agree, if there were windows.

That incident has repeated itself over the years; twice with me and thrice with other bartenders. I don’t tell new bartenders about Kermit. When they report the weirdness, I share my experiences, including the one that leaves me with gooseflesh with each retelling:

It was a late summer morning… The sun was shining… I was opening the side door and securing it when legs walked past me into the bar. I stood up, turned around and said, “Excuse me, can I help you?”

I was answered by a compressor kicking on. Nobody was there…

This past May, a bartender asked: “Why didn’t you tell me about the ghost?”

“What did you see?” I asked.

“I was closed and I heard a Keno machine print. I looked up. A man in a long beard was staring at me and then he faded away.”

Did I mention Kermit had a long beard?

“What do you see in this picture? I see our ghosts helping Tammy and me celebrate the installation of the palm tree at my Sportsman’s bar. The picture was taken the first night the palm tree was lit. The person taking the picture was smoking a cigarette, so the wispy stuff is smoke–or could it be ghosts? The pic is what the pic is… I show it to people in the bar when conversations about ghosts come up. There are a few things in the ‘Rorschach test’ in the picture that relate to the town.” – John Zunski

For more information about Zunski and his literary works, visit him at:

www.johnzunski.wordpress.com

by Betty Dravis

Happy Halloween from the latest star in cyberspace–the skeleton on the cover of our Six-Pack of Blood!

Before formally announcing the name of our “baby boy” skeleton and the contest winner, my co-author Barbara Watkins and I would like to announce that this is your last chance for three months to get a FREE copy of Six-Pack of Blood. Yes, my friends, our six-horror-stories anthology is FREE on OCTOBER 27th, 28th and 29th. Pick yours up at  http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B007Q7FG68/ref=cm_sw_r_fa_alp_GwjEpb0DVJ6RQ  While there, we’d appreciate it if you’d push the LIKE button and consider taking an extra second to Tweet it. Amazon makes it easy to help its authors. 🙂

Now bear with me while I tell you the latest news about our skeleton’s name and how he got it.

When Barbara Watkins and I wrote this book we had no idea our cover boy, designed by Matt and Danielle Drake, would be so popular…or that we would feel so much affection for him. He’s an ugly little ghoul, as monsters that grace covers of horror books are meant to be. (Please don’t tell Barbara I said that.)

Barbara surprised me when she began calling him our “baby boy of horror,” speaking of him as though he were our baby. I joined right in and he “grew on us” just as a child would do…well, almost. (You know how real-life mothers think their children are the most beautiful and gifted in the world? Well, that’s how we talked about that bony critter on our cover! And I blush to admit we even baby-talk to him. You know, like Goo-goo, Ga-ga… Ugh!)

Overlooking the fact that he’s just a bag of bones and all skeletons look alike, we love that cover boy (monster or no monster). Could it be because the book he adorns is sprinkled with stardust by so many acclaimed people: Movie Director/Producers Armand Mastroianni and Dimi Nakov, Actress/Producer Katherin Kovin Pacino, Screenwriter Lia Scott Price, Amazon Hall of Fame Top Reviewer Grady Harp, Publicist Paul Payer, Authors John Locke, Janet Beasley and more?

Or is it because this book made international best-sellers of Barbara and me (No. 1 in Horror, U.S.; No. 2 in Occult, Germany; No. 34, Horror, UK)?

Whatever the reasons, over time we came to care for our poor, sweet skeleton with the hole in his brain… We tried to come up with a name for him, but just couldn’t do him justice, so we decided to ask our Facebook friends for help.

On August 16th I wrote a blog, requesting your participation in a “skeleton-naming contest” with the winner winning all e-books published by me and Barbara. To our delight, you eagerly submitted sixty-eight names. We couldn’t believe how versatile and creative you all are. I won’t list all sixty-eight, but you would ROTFLYAO if you read them. Instead I’ll explain how Barbara and I selected the ultimate name:

We each chose five that we liked best and decided to chat on the phone about those names. The five I favored (in order of preference) are: James Bones, Bone Wild, Indiana Bones, Bone-Chilling Bobby and Bloody Johnny. Barbara favored these: James Bones, Jack Marrow, Rib Van Winkle, Bone-Chilling Bobby, Mr. E. Bon-E-Fide.

From that list, it’s easy to see we both favored James Bones and Bone-Chilling Bobby. I told Barbara I could picture our boy bowing as he repeats that famous James Bond introductory line. So even though we agreed on James Bones, we decided to seek his opinion. When he read our narrowed-down list, his bones rattled from laughing so hard when he came to Bone Wild, Indiana Bones, Bone-Chilling Bobby and all the ones referring to Johnny Depp’s Jack Sparrow character. But when he came to Catherine Zeta-Bones he would’ve split a gut by laughing so hard–if he had any guts left, that is.

We knew he had chosen right, though, when our endearing skeleton stood, bowed suavely before us and said, “My name is BonesJames Bones.”

And when he grabbed a top-hat and joined me and Barbara in the Happy Dance, we puffed up with pride… Like mothers, like son? 🙂

Congratulations to long-time Canadian friend Pierre Anthony Tremblay for submitting the winning name for James Bones! He wins copies of all of mine and Barbara’s e-books. Happy reading, eh?

So there you have it! Our baby boy now has the distinguished name of James Bones. Oddly enough, the name was one of the last to be submitted and it came from Pierre Alexandre Tremblay of Canada. Congratulations, Pierre. Please send me your e-mail address so we can get copies of all our e-books gifted to you from Amazon. (Send it to bettydravis@gmail.com) and I’ll forward it to Barbara too.

And that’s not all, folks! Since Joanna Lee Doster, author of Maximum Speed: Pushing the Limit, sent in eighteen names, she deserves honorary mention. With that in mind, we are each presenting one book to her. Please check our list of books on our Amazon Author Central pages to choose one from each of us, Joanna. Let us know your choices and we will then send to you via Amazon.

Happy reading to Pierre in Canada and Joanna in New York…and thanks to everyone who entered, making this the most fun contest I’ve ever had.

Author Joanna Lee Doster with her special dog Jumping Jack Flash who has performed in three New York Metropolitan operas.

And how do you like my enhancement of the Jack Black bottles; just had to put our boy”s name on the bottles for a bit of Halloween fun. (Note my skeleton rings in various colors,) 🙂 HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

And one more for the road: Wanted to show you the bottles and the rings up close. You like?

by Betty Dravis

Barbara Watkins and Betty Dravis, authors of “Six-Pack of Blood”

Unless you’re related to Johnny Depp, the sexy, lovable star of Pirates of the Caribbean, I bet you have never been asked to name a skeleton before.  Well, there’s a first time for everything and I hope you decide to hang around to help me and Barbara Watkins, my co-author of Six-Pack of Blood and its upcoming sequel Six-Pack of Fear. We’re looking for a real cool name for our hot little skeleton boy.

The cover boy on our internationally best-selling, award-winning Six-Pack of Blood, as you know, is a skeleton created by graphic artists Matthew and Danielle Drake. At first, our skeleton comes across as pretty gory–that horrible wound in his head and all–but once you get to know him, he’s really a lovable guy. He’s not all evil; only on his bad days. On those days, he’s putting on a monster act, anyway, to lure millions of you into reading our books. Don’t begrudge him that. It’s his job and he’s a killer at it; bringing in all kinds of horror/thriller/paranormal/supernatural/ghost and occult fans.

In fact, he’s so good at promoting that we’ve even had a movie offer and are anticipating an original feature film on the order of Twilight Zone. It’s even been rumored that the dream actor Johnny Depp is scheduled to play our “skeleton” to serve as host for the six segments of this upcoming movie.

I’m here to put that rumor to rest! That would be Barbara’s dream—she’s nutso about Depp–but it just isn’t happening that fast, folks.

And I can’t give all the credit to our skeleton boy for grabbing the attention of the award-winning producer/director Dimi Nakov and encouraging him to award Six-Pack of Blood the Best Paranormal/Horror award. To give credit where credit is due, Barbara and I are working ourselves to the bone (pun intended) promoting this book and the skeleton, by extension. And our loyal friends, like you, are pushing it too.

Look who’s peeking over Johnny’s shoulder. Isn’t is fantastic that he has our own Barbara Watkins hanging out on his wall? 🙂

The first skeleton I ever saw was in an anatomical school book where we were studying the human body (and snickering, as youngsters will). It looked something like this and seemed creepy to me at the time. The only real skeleton I ever saw was in a doctor’s office and that thing actually scared me.

Time and experience changes people and I’ve matured into a woman who can write about skeletons with abandon and joke about them without cringing. In fact, I came to love skeletons and all kinds of creepy monsters when reading my first horror book by writer John Saul. Then I went from books to movies, from Saul to Stephen King, Shirley Jackson, Dean Koontz and more. (Of late, you’ll most likely find me with my nose planted in my Kindle Fire reading newer authors like the Queen of Terror Barbara Watkins, Mark LaFlamme, Scott Nicholson and Jeani Rector, the popular founder of Horror-Zine.

Skullduggery Pleasant

In my search for skeletons, I found two that were rather dapper: Skullduggery Pleasant who is a skeleton/detective/magician in a popular book series by Derek Landy. Another lovely skeleton who won my heart is in an exquisite oil painting Late Lover by the genius artist and author Uvi Poznansky. This work of art and other pieces by Uvi can be viewed at http://uviart.com/

Although I adore the romanticism of the cape-wearing, flower-bearing skeleton in Uvi’s masterpiece, none of those skeletons are as pretty as mine and Barbara’s “baby boy of horror.” That’s our temporary name for our “boy,” but it doesn’t do him justice. (Well, you know how “mothers” are about their kids.)

“Late Lover,” oil on canvasette, used with special permission from artist Uvi Poznansky

Our “baby boy of horror” is begging for a good name. Please come through for the poor kid.

AND THIS IS WHERE YOU COME IN: A few weeks ago I mentioned on Facebook about having a name-the-skeleton contest and many of you were in favor of it. Some even gave your name choices. So now, dear reader, Barbara and I are inviting you to help name our horrific (but most often angelic) boy. Please post your name choice in a comment at end of this blog for a chance to win e-book copies of all of my books and all of Barbara’s.

Are you with us?

And now for a bit of humor in closing: Another reason we love Johnny Depp, outside the fact he loves playing eccentric characters, is his sense of humor. I got a kick because he didn’t “get” Al Pacino’s joke in the following anecdote. (Don’t feel bad, Johnny, I didn’t get it at first, either. Our cover boy had to explain it to me. And isn’t Al a real living legend?)

Here’s the story, as reported in AceShowBiz.com

Johnny Depp will always be tickled remembering his time working with Al Pacino on Donnie Brasco because the Hollywood great told him the same joke over and over again. The actors filmed the mob thriller together in 1997 and the Pirates of the Caribbean star admits Pacino’s sense of humor made it one of the most memorable shoots of his career–even though it took Depp a while to figure out the gag’s punch-line.

Depp says, “Al’s fantastic, he’s a legend. All I knew about Al prior to shooting was that he was certifiably insane. He’s a joker, but he’d like to tell me this one specific joke over and over. And I really didn’t understand it. I didn’t get the joke! He thought it was my problem. He inflicted it upon me and I could feel my IQ points drop.”

“I finally figured it out. He’d lean over and he’d go, ‘John. Skeleton goes into a bar. Orders a beer and a mop.’ On a loop. He would howl every time he told the joke.”

Still with us? If so, then get busy thinking of a name for our cover boy and leave the answer in a comment on this page (not on my Facebook page). Remember, we’ll select the one we like most and the person who wrote it will get four of my five e-books and four of Barbara’s. Go for it, kids! Barbara and I have been doing the Happy Dance ever since “Six-Pack” released because it’s been very good ot us. This book put us into the international best-seller category by going to No. 2 in Germany horror and in the 30s in the UK and it was No. 1 in the U.S. for a day or two when it first came out. Go, baby boy. No matter what we end up calling you, your Mommys will always love you and think you are the most beautiful in the world. 🙂

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