Introducing The International Paranormal Inquisitor Magazine

 It gives me great pleasure to finally announcement my involvement with a brand new magazine called The International Paranormal Inquisitor. When my friend Antonio asked me to join the contributing writing team, I felt like the clouds of my elusive writing career were beginning to lift.

The magazine covers all aspects of the paranormal, spiritual and metaphysical, leaving itself wide open to a cornucopia of related topics. For my part, I will most likely focus on these subjects in the form of book suggestions, and the passing on of valuable information from my own studies. Antonio has graciously given me creative control over my articles, which is a writer's dream come true!

Additionally, he has embraced my volunteering to act as proofreader, which thrills me to pieces, because it is something I have always wanted to do. I am far from an expert, but do seem to possess a keen eye for typos and grammatical errors, which usually doesn't make me very popular. However, Antonio encouraged me to be very forthcoming with my "red pencil", with the goal of making the magazine look its very best. Let's face it, it's difficult to expect readers to take you seriously when the text consists of more errors than facts.

 At this time, the magazine is issued quarterly, and the downloadable version of Issue #1 is available right now via the Paranormal Energy Norway website, with a print version coming shortly. Printed versions will be available in the Etsy Shop very soon, so stay tuned for that announcement.

I especially love that this is an International undertaking, encompassing experience and information from all over the world instead of just here in the US. Anything that helps bring people together to educate and entertain, as well as celebrate cultural differences and lifestyles, is something I am proud to be a part of in any capacity.

You can follow IPI on Facebook and Instagram (@ipi_paranormal_magazine) feel free to follow and reach out. The magazine is very easy to access and read on all forms of devices, but for those who prefer a physical medium (like me!), we are working on the printed version as I write this. Please join us!

My 2018 Reading Challenge Results and Changes for the New Year

So long 2018, smell ya later! I know for a lot of people, this past year wasn't the best. For myself, it was just another rollercoaster year of extreme highs and extreme lows...with heavy emphasis on the lows,. But I'm not gonna talk about that here. Today I wanted to share with you my first ever Reading Challenge results, nothing to write home about, but it is rather interesting to look back on a year in books. Come along...

I wish there were an easy way to post the results as a page like this one (or mayhap there is but I am clueless as to how to do it) so I'll just go over the highlights:
  • My reading goal was to finish 30 books.
  • I completed 39 books by the end of the day on Dec. 31st, 2018, making a total of nearly 11,000 pages read!
  • My average rating was 3.6 (I don't give 4 & 5 stars lightly, these are reserved for books that I feel are uncommonly good.
  • 4 titles were by Shirley Jackson. Part of my goal-within-a-goal is to read ALL of her work. Technically I could call it 7 titles, as there was a 3-books-in-one omnibus included.
  • 5 titles were non-fiction. I'd like to up that a bit.
This year, I've upped my reading challenge to 50 books. A small feat by a lot of people's standards, but I'm a busy lady and a bit of slow reader. Hopefully I can continue to increase it as time goes on.

Next, I thought I'd go over a few changes that I'm making to the blog and Etsy Shop. As you may know by now, I've closed my website for good, and am operating solely out of the Etsy Shop. This is the first time since opening LaCreeperie in 2014 that I've only had one shop going. Sometimes business decisions are easy to make and hard to execute; or easy to execute and hard to maintain, depending on the nature of the business and the changes implemented.

As for the blog, I really enjoy the once a week schedule, however the holidays sure blew that method out of the water. My hope is to get back up on that horse (for the ga-zillionth time) and resume that schedule. The biggest problem I have with frequent blog posts isn't finding the time to write them, it's finding the content to write about. 

If you've followed me for any length of time, I'm sure you're aware that I have no interest in writing about the same old things everyone else and their mother writes about. Take the movie mini-reviews for example, I really, really enjoyed writing those, but no one cares. No one. OK, maybe one or two people. And I know the purpose of a blog is to put out the content YOU, as the writer, wants to put out. But when I put all this time and energy into something and no one pays any attention, well the wind falls promptly out of my sails, and I drop whatever it is and move on to the next thing.

With that, a recent snit over someone's assholish comment on their opinions on their own feed have turned me off to reviews of any kind. Opinions. Everybody's got 'em, and everyone feels only THEY are right and I'm just not that interested in adding to that endless pile of white noise. So alas, movie mini-reviews are no more. It's kind of a bummer, because I was planning on making a 'zine out of the reviews, with some added content to make a fun little publication. C'est la vie. I really need to focus on getting more of my other writing out there as another stream of income before I'm too old to even try.

I know a lot of this sounds negative, and it really isn't meant to be. It's actually just the way I've had to operate during the last 15 years of online retailing, and figuring out what works and what doesn't. This year, I am teaching myself Astrology and Numerology, and have already learned that the mission in this life, for me, is FREEDOM. That was an incredibly enlightening piece of information to learn, and makes so much sense looking back on my life's journey up to now.

So. What that tells me is not to give up and get some shitty job just to help pay the bills, I’ve come this far for this long, it ain't gonna change overnight. It actually fuels my fire to continue to sell books (and various other items), and to pursue my dream of supporting myself and my husband with the fruits of my writing. It's gotta happen sometime, right?

Happy New Year everyone, I hope all of your plans and dreams come to fruition. We sure need it after the shit-show that was 2018, but maybe it's what's gotten us to stir the pot and shake things up a bit. Kind of like the Punk movement in 1976-77. Oi!

A Shadowed Path Podcast Episode 6: A Magickal Holiday

The Holidays and New Year are upon us, and with it comes episode 6 of A Shadowed Path. In this episode, I show a bit more of my witchy side, but not to worry, it's not scary...

Beginning with this post, I am no longer going to do a visual of all the content included in each episode. Frankly, it's far too time-consuming, and not many of you are actually reading these posts (sorry to disappoint all 5 of you) for me to carry on. I will, however, still be writing posts for each episode, for those who prefer to listen this way.

Each New Year, I think of a motto that encompasses the changes I want to make. My motto of this New Year is "Work smarter, not harder." Meaning many things in my daily routine will need to change if I'm to accomplish the necessary leaps forward I desperately want to complete.

One of the "presents" to myself this holiday season, was to switch things up within my own household. So after 14 years in one very tiny, cramped room, my office is now twice the size it's ever been, and comfortably located in our basement studio alongside hubby's monster-making workshop. And my bedroom is now not only mere steps away from the bathroom (what a concept!) but also on the same floor as the rest of our living space, instead of in the upper story which has no air ducts for heating and cooling. Needless to say, it was a brilliant switch, but no small feat. My entire inventory had to be moved down a flight of stairs, bookcases and all. Along with my very sturdy solid wood desk, shipping station, and much more.

Moving forward, I feel like I know how "working smarter, not harder" can be done, and am excited to begin on a couple of new projects I have in the works. Stay tuned to see which ones see the light of day, and which ones get kicked to the curb. Only time will tell!

I hope you enjoy Episode 6 of the podcast, Episode 7 (and the first of 2018!) will air on Jan. 15th, barring any unforeseen circumstances. Thanks for listening, and Happy New Year everyone!

The Ghost and Mrs. Muir: A Comparison in Book, Film and TV Series

This beloved classic story is probably best known for its film adaptation, rather than the book it was made from. It could be argued that I am biased about the film since that is how I was introduced to the story in the first place. Without question, a true delight. The way the film was adapted added so much more to the story than even the book, in my opinion. There's not much more I can say about the film, it's essentially perfect.

It's kinda funny that today they would probably tag this as a paranormal romance, but I'm sticking with the much more enticing genre title of Gothic Romance.

Which leads me to the book. Now I am very familiar with Gothic Romance books, I sell them in my Etsy Shop and they are very popular. This book is simply no more than that, and actually I've read better ones. The book, oddly enough, did not capture the charm and growing affection between The Captain and Lucy Muir that was so evident in the film. Which is remarkable, being the film was made a scant 2 years after the book was written.

There are two major differences between the book and the film; the first being that they omitted one of the children for the film. In the book, Mrs. Muir has two children, a boy and a girl, and it's suggested by The Captain that she does not get on well with her male child, who grows up to be a pious student of the clergy. Constantly chastising his mother and sister for their unconventional ways. Pffft. I'll take a sweet and almost non-existent little Natalie Wood over that any day.

The other difference between the book and film is the love interest who comes into Mrs. Muir's life about halfway through the story. In the film, this is a minor plot point and nicely handled. In the book, it's a disaster. She falls head-over-heels in "love" with this unlikely other man, rather stirring the jealousy of The Captain, even though it was he who put this other man in the path of Mrs. Muir, citing that she should begin a new life and a new love, instead of wasting away as a widow in a remote cottage by the sea.

Further in the book, she becomes willing to abandon her children and go off with this stranger, and I just found that whole part really unlikely, not to mention a major disappointment in the character. What woman (in the 40's no less!) would do that? Ain't buyin' it.

You may notice there are different author names on the two books shown. This was at the author's, Josephine Leslie, insistence, because she thought a woman's name would lessen her chances of strong sales. Sadly, she was probably right.

Fast forward to 1968, and what is old is new again with the TV Series. Brilliantly cast, it is your typical sit-com fare for the late 60's, like an oddball cousin of The Brady Bunch. As in the film, the chemistry between The Captain and Mrs. Muir is believable and delightful, you're rooting for a supernatural miracle to truly bring them together.

The show lasted two full seasons, which at the time of this writing are available on YouTube and on DVD. Perhaps the network had been hoping for a third season, as the final episode of season 2 is rather ambiguous, but has enough of an "ending" to satisfy.

I highly recommend all three formats, despite certain faults. But at its core is a lovely premise, and one I feel should be revisited for the modern times. If it's done right...

A Shadowed Path Podcast Episode 5: A Very Heavy Metal (and Punk Rock!) Holiday

Aww yeah..bust out yer devil horns, shit's gettin loud for this episode! I couldn't bear to think of playing standard holiday music for you, so I dug deep into my rocker chick past to bring you some tasty licks from my heavy metal and punk rock stacks of wax. Air guitar!

This first track, Fast As A Shark off the Restless and Wild album by Accept has tickled my funny bone since 1986 when I heard it for the first time. See, I'm a big lover of polar opposites and dichotomy, and well, this track has both in spades. And what better way to wake everyone up than with a little needle scratching...and not the kind that goes with Hip Hop.

Ramping up the hilarity, we quickly went into Christmas with the Devil by Spinal Tap. Shown below are both sides of the picture disc which is also hilarious.

Keeping the metal energy high, but with a twist, we went into Symphonic Metal versions of two classic holiday tracks by Orion's Reign. This Greek metal band are new to me, and I highly recommend checking them out! 

Orion's Reign
Now it's time for was difficult to narrow the choices down to just a small selection of favorites. I wouldn't go as far as to call this a gift guide for the metal/punk book lovers on your holiday gift-giving lists, but make of it what you will...

Here are two of my absolute favorite books EVER, and I really mean that. First is And I Don't Want To Live This Life by Deborah Spungen. This is of course the tumultuous true life story of Nancy Spungen, which I blogged about in this post. I said it before, and I'll say it again, even if you only have a casual interest in Sid & Nancy, you will be so taken in by her mother's heart-wrenching account of life with (and without) Nancy. Powerful stuff. 

Then you can lighten the mood with this true telling of life on the road with Alice Cooper in Billion Dollar Baby by Bob Greene. An absolutely fantastic read (and fantastically RARE!), this is truly a special gift for the fellow Alice fiends out there.

 From here we move on to the Punk Rock section of the podcast. Where my Ramones heads at? Got a couple of great ones for you here. Dee Dee Ramone wrote a "novel" called Chelsea Horror Hotel which probably has a lot more truth than fiction in it. Then if you're digging the non-fiction vibe I'm throwin' down you can check out Hey, Ho, Let's Go; The Story of The Ramones by Everett True.

Following that is one of my most favorite rock autobiographies; Rotten: No Irish, No Blacks, No Dogs by John Lydon. It's exactly what you would expect coming from the famed lead singer of the Sex Pistols, but much, much more.

Lastly, if you want a thorough account of the first days of Punk seen through the eyes of rock journalist Legs McNeil, you MUST pick up Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk it will not disappoint. Shown here (from left to right) are the brand new 20th Anniversary edition and the first (UK) edition respectively. Don't be a tosser, grab one and go!

Let's get back to the music now, with a little-known "holiday" track from The White Stripes called Candy Cane Children from 2010 (see last photo). Moving right on with the Triple Track of this episode with Joey Ramone's Spirit In My House, then perhaps a couple of "mainstream" holiday tunes with Merry Christmas (I Don't Want To Fight Tonight) and The Kinks' Father Christmas rounding us out. Both of these tracks are available on an unusual Christmas compilation called Little Steven's Christmas a Go-Go CD.

Two kickass rockumentaries I mentioned are It Might Get Loud and Under Great White Northern Lights on DVD. Both feature Jack White for those White Stripes lovin' friends.

Lastly, I felt Fear's Lee Ving would tie everything up nicely with his one-two punch 45 of Another Christmas Beer and Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas, proving even crusty ol' Punk Rock dudes can also sing a sweet melody.

I really hope you've enjoyed this off-the-beaten-path Holiday excursion, I had a blast putting it together. Hopefully you heard something "new to you" or just fist-pumped along to an old favorite. Join me on Christmas day proper for episode 6...what ever will it be about? Stay tuned, and thanks so much for listening!