Since the cold weather is settling in over these mountains, I’ve begun to fall into a familiar pattern involving hot coffee, books, and television shows. Everyone in my house has had a cold at one point or other in the last few weeks because West Virginia’s weather is ridiculous this time of year and quite unpredictable. There is a lot happening right now in my personal home life, too. Nothing horrible or pressing, but just busy stuff. School stuff, work stuff, and learning to adjust to being the parent of an adult who doesn’t live with me anymore stuff. It’s very, very busy.
And, to deal with this busy life, I have decided that every single time something pops up that I don’t know how to deal with, I’m going to look for a supernatural themed story I haven’t read yet and read it. Starting now. I read a lot as it is, so it won’t be too big of an adjustment, but looking for a specific theme might be troublesome. But, as a reader and a person I just really need a good, short distraction from everyday things.
So, ya know, some anthology suggestions would be welcome. I do love vampires, werewolves, and witches.
Can I be honest with you people though? I’m terrified of falling into a darker pattern of winter depression. It hits me every year, although the last two or three years haven’t been as bad as the few before them. I don’t want to go through that this year, but it’s difficult for me. I tend to associate a lot of traumatic events from my life with winter and cold and snow. Seasonal depression is one of the only things I’ve ever gone through that I’m not comforted by knowing other people are going through the same thing. I don’t know about you folks, but I hate knowing other people (sometimes people I care about) are suffering too.
But, maybe that’s why there are so many television series releasing in fall and winter months when people begin a settling in period some akin to bears hibernating in the winter. We squirrel away some canned foods, gather some bottled water, make sure the home is sealed tight for heating purposes, and then what? We wait for the thermometer’s reading to plummet and the snowflakes to fall from the sky so we can burrow under a mound of quilts on the couch and watch a new season of The Witcher (December 17th, if you’re as excited as I am).
We look for creature comforts. Nothing says comfort and safety like Geralt slashing monsters and protecting Jaskier.
Tomorrow (November 19th) The Great’s second season premiers on Hulu and since I’m going to be home doing absolutely nothing other than laundry anyway, I’m going to give it a go. I loved the first season even though I found nary a vampire, witch, or wolf. Of course, I also love history and Catherine the Great is a very interesting woman to read about. Also, Elle Fanning and Nicholas Hoult are fantastic actors and deserve all the accolades for their roles.
I don’t know what else is coming. I’ve already decided the American version of Ghosts just isn’t for me and I’m not sure when more episodes of the UK version are coming (but I am waiting with heavy anticipation). I’ve rewatched True Blood more times than I can count.
If you know of any new releases, even if they haven’t been officially released yet, please shoot me a comment, email, or message on Facebook. I’m working on filling at least three open slots for books in November. Please remember that November is a busy month for most people and I’m a mom with an adult child who will be (hopefully) coming home for a full turkey dinner, so I have to cook for a whole week and prepare notes for my typical Thanksgiving speech about the **REAL** story of American colonization, so I will be pretty busy.
I’d love some non-fiction or biographies, but romance and hard case crime novels are always appreciated. You don’t have to be an author or publisher to get me to read something! If you enjoy an author and know they have a new release or a recent release, or even a release you loved that you’d like me to love, too, just give me a title and author’s name and I’ll track it down myself!
I’m considering a blog series for cookbooks and recipe collections one day in the near future. If you’d be interested in something like that, let me know. I’m particularly interested in cookbooks with a nod toward pop culture. There are so many celebrities with their own cookbooks, television series with cookbooks based on them, etc. It’s certainly a fun niche.
Here’s a picture of my best friend, Salem…for absolutely no reason whatsoever.
**DISCLAIMER**As an Amazon Associate I may earn a commission from qualifying purchases, but my reviews and opinions are absolutely mine and accurate.
Rating: 2 out of 5.
My husband and I are True Blood fans and have been for years. While searching out Amazon for True Blood merch, we came across a cookbook and couldn’t turn it down, so we bought it immediately and it arrived within a week.
There are things you should know about this book before you buy it.
The book has rough, coloring book style pages. And, it’s all in black and white.
This may be great for some folks, but I saw a missed opportunity here. This book is supposed to be representative of the foods, smells, and tastes one might associate with vampires and blood. I wanted to see the deep red in the red velvet cake and beetroots. But, nope. None of that.
I was disappointed.
The recipes within the book, however, are pretty nice.
The ingredients involved in the recipes are relatively easy for most people to find in local stores. One recipe does call for venison, so I would imagine some folks might find that one difficult to fulfill, but venison is easily enough swapped out for beef in most recipes. The author failed to mention this, though, and I sort of feel like it should have been included information, but I suppose not all cookbooks are the same and in that vein, not all cookbook authors are, either.
“I”m gonna rip open your heart, and fry it up with some grits and collard greens.” -Tara Thornton
There are other issues, also. In the beginning of the book, there are instances where a recipe’s photo is the right side, full page, and when you turn the page, the ingredients are listed on a left side page. But, the page next to it (a right side page) is the photo for another recipe, so recipes and photos aren’t matching up. I know this was a stylistic choice and maybe the publisher and author didn’t want to waste page space, but this could have been handled and designed better.
I really can’t say I’ll be using this cookbook much. It would be nice for someone who loves beetroot, because there is multiple recipes involving beetroots included. Maybe even nice for someone who doesn’t know a lot of recipes and honestly it’s a nice little piece to keep as a fan of True Blood, but it’s not a book I would recommend someone buy to keep as a regularly used cookbook because it’s just not that at all.
For all of these reasons, I’m afraid this books has gained two stars and no more.
I have to admit, the idea of starting my own vlog has crossed my mind a few times. I could never pick a theme or make any design decisions, though, so here we are (lol). Meanwhile, I do watch a lot of vlogs. I am a woman with a multitude of hobbies–writing, sewing, baking, cooking, low-carbing, crafting, decorating, organizing–I need inspiration for a lot of my things. And, honestly, YouTube makes me happy. Did you see my list of guilty pleasures in here?
Before you click elsewhere, know this–inspiration comes in many forms. Sometimes all a person needs is to know they can do things. Examples: Finishing projects around the house, making a corner in your bedroom more organized and functional, writing a short story you’ve been meaning to get to, decorating a cake perfectly for whatever function, or just cleaning your living room. There are YouTube channels for just about everything out there.
None of these videos are in any particular order. I love them all equally.
This woman is a mom, does DIY’s, clean with me videos, a makeup tutorial/health and beauty vlog here and there, and she has a really bright personality. I usually watch her videos when I need something cheerful to get me moving.
Oh, what this woman can do with dollar store stuff! I never miss one of her videos because she’s very down to earth, but also way more together than I am, so she motivates me. She does DIY’s, fitness and health, home decor and home makeover type videos, and loads of other cool stuff.
These videos are about sewing, as you can imagine. A lot of them are quite long and are instructional videos for completing sewing projects that range from quilt tops to baby shoes to full outfits, following a pattern.
This is my brother from another mother’s channel. I keep up. And, if you’re horrorly inclined (I’m allowed to make up words, FYI), you might just learn a thing or two in here. Caid is my go-to for FX. He knows EVERYTHING.
I’m subscribed to a lot of YouTube channels. This list certainly isn’t all of them, but it’s certainly the ones I watch the most. If you’re wondering why I’m not subscribed to more writing channels, well…Maybe I should be. I’m subscribed to a few, but I keep it at a minimum because writing isn’t the only thing I like to do and usually if there is a part of the writing or publishing process I don’t understand, I can easily Google or ask a friend.
That being said, I’d love to know if some of you have any channels you love.
Every year I keep a log of books, short stories, and articles of note that I’ve read. In 2015, I logged an awful lot of books. Some were new releases, but more often than not, not. By this log, though, I figured that I read more how-to books, gardening books, and history books than anything else. I don’t know why it happened this way, but maybe because I’ve been sort of fighting a dark depression and anxiety with hobbies–gardening, sewing, and just about anything I can do which would keep my hands busy. I’m the kind of person who needs to be doing something, even if it’s something small, such as mending a buttonhole or planting a seed. And, once I’m focused, that’s it. I’m addicted to something new and you’ll soon find me in bookshops and online seeking out books regarding my new hobby, whatever it may be. I can’t just be a novice at anything. I will constantly strive to master it.
But, in 2010, for example, I logged mostly romance and horror novels. In 2011 and 2012, same. In 2013, by some strange tap of the reading fairy’s wand, I changed directions and returned to my science fiction and fantasy roots. You see, the firsts books I really loved–and I mean REALLY loved–were sci-fi novels, comics, fantasy tomes, and short stories in magazines involving elves, ghosts, goblins, werewolves, aliens, and vampires. I started reading time travel novels again. I started picking up newer novels by authors I’d forgotten I loved so much in high school. And, I began to change the way I think about things again. I think that’s just something that happens ever so often in life. Your life changes direction, so your reading lists change direction, too.
By 2014, I’d changed completely. I haven’t completely let go of reading romance, but I want to read everything about everything. Sometimes there just isn’t enough space on a year’s worth of bookshelf for all of the books a person would wish to read. I think that might be what happens to me. I am too ambitious. But, there are just so many books!
But, back to 2015.
Last year, my children grew. My fortunes changed (sort of) with the coming of a move which will take me from living in a small 3 bedroom house with a small yard to a small 4 bedroom house with a yard that reaches beyond what the eye can see (my husband’s family’s farm). In anticipation of this move, my family and I have discussed a lot of changes. We’re letting go of cable because it won’t be available. We’re going to have an internet connection to watch Netflix and Hulu and do internety things. But, we’ve also decided that we’re going to raise some chickens and continue growing beautiful herbs and Cherokee purple tomatoes (which are to die for, by the way, and can be found at Burpee’s online). On the farm, my father-in-law and brother-in-laws (and their wives and families) raise chickens, horses, cows, pigs, and sometimes goats. And, I think my niece has some rabbits somewhere. So, with all of this in mind, I’ve been reading about soil, about how to raise animals (because I’m absolutely terrified of horses and have no clue how to manage livestock, much less live with them), and about how to live a simpler life.
Now, hold on, people. Before you start thinking ahead, NO. No, we are not homesteaders. Absolutely, just no. I have mad amounts of respect for homesteaders, but that’s not what we’re doing at all. We’re just simplifying things and moving forward with raising our family in an area where I won’t have to worry about being so close to other people. Well, except for my husband’s family. Two of his brothers, their wives, their collective six children, and my mother-in-law and father-in-law all live on the same stretch of property, but it’s big enough that none of us have to look at each other if we don’t want to. Or unless I need to be saved from the horses (ha ha).
The beautiful part of how life changes your reading habits, though, is that when I move to my little farm shack in the middle of nowhere, I’ll have new places to read. Also, I have a niece and a sister-in-law who both love to read, too, so maybe we can exchange good books ever so often. Who knows–we might even start our own book club right on the edge of the mountain. I’m sure the new experiences I have there will absolutely reflect in the 2016 reading log. I have plans to pick up a Farmer’s Almanac and a Gardener’s Almanac next time I’m in the Dollar General store in town. And, beyond that, there’s a discount store in Beckley (about 35 minutes from me) where I can pick up as many books about flowers and plants as I want because they’re really cheap. I’d love a book about flowers so I can learn about which ones are the easiest to grow and which ones need what because I do have plans for a white rose bush and roses are not things I know a lot about, although I’ve always loved white roses (among other white flowers, I also love the white moonflowers/Datura).
There are a few crime fiction novels I plan to read this year, though, and they’re already sitting on my nightstand. AND, I do have some drama, history, and romance novels sitting in my shelf, waiting on me to give them some attention. First, though, I have a book filled with the love letters between Lucrezia Borgia and Pietro Bembo. The book is called “The Prettiest Love Letters In the World” because they truly are. I’ve already taken a peek at them.
And, of course, it’s January 3rd, which means I’ve already read a book this year. It’s was called “Treasury of Royal Scandals” and it was published some years back, but still such a great read. Books aren’t like food–they don’t ruin after a while. They stay great. I’ve learned that there is also a book out there called “A Treasury of Great American Scandals,” which I’d like to add to my collection, too. The author, Michael Farquhar, has many books out I’d like to snatch. Seriously, where has this guy been all my life as a reader? “Treasury of Royal Scandals” was brilliant. It was a great way to start the year, in my opinion.
I’m curious to know how everyone else feels on the subject of changing tastes in books. Is it just me? Do the rest of you change tastes every now and then? I can’t imagine I’m the only person on the face of the planet who sometimes switches from medieval kings and queens to cyborgs and werewolves.
Want to win a copy of my brand new novel, BONES OF WILLOW LAKE? It releases this very Valentine weekend. How exciting! Read the rules below:
Leave a comment on this post telling about your most memorable Valentine’s Day or just the one that sticks out the most. Tell me what you like or do not like about this holiday. Write whatever comes to mind pertaining to Valentine’s Day. Lets keep this PG (we don’t need those kinds of details lol). The winner will be chosen and announced on the morning of Monday, February 17th, so please also give me an email address to contact you should you be the lucky winner. It’s that easy!
You can read an excerpt and blurb for the book, BONES OF WILLOW LAKE, here.
OTHER RHIANNON MILLS NEWS:
Not much info as of yet, but be looking for updates on an anthology called HER DARK VOICE. Filled with stories from many different female horror authors (including CYNDI AND THE DEMON ASMODEUS, which I wrote), this one’s going to be a must read!
Well, the day I’ve been waiting for since forever (no really…FOREVER! LOL) is finally upon us. My most recent novel, BONES OF WILLOW LAKE, has a release date! And, of course, the novel will be released on the very same day my awesome novella, THE DEMON KING, was released. FEBRUARY 14th! That’s Valentine’s Day, in case you didn’t know. Also, it’s my son’s 7th birthday, so Valentine’s Day is special to me for many reasons. Not just book releases, although I do believe I should probably just go ahead and reserve that day every year to release a new book because it looks like it’s just my day.
I promise I won’t just sit here and prattle on and on about how absolutely enamored with myself and my release date I am, though. I promise! Instead, how about I give you a blurb and an excerpt? Will that appease the masses? I sure hope so. We’ll start with the little blurb intended to be printed on the back cover.
Celia Burne bought a house in LaGrange, Georgia, thinking she’s found a place for herself and her dog, Barnibus, to find rest and solitude–a break from the heartbreak of her mother’s death and the resulting incarceration of her younger sister. What she finds in the beginning of her new life, however, isn’t what she bargained for. Celia discovers two of the house’s former residents still live there decades after their deaths.
Although artist Paul Gray only wants Celia’s friendship, and perhaps a little bit more, Celia begins to feel that finding Gray’s body would allow him to pass over into the light. In order to find the body, however, Celia has to solve a 1947 triple murder mystery, and the angry spirit of Ruth Wilkins doesn’t want this to happen. With help from an elderly neighbor and her cartoonist grandson, Celia wrestles with the mystery until she’s thrown into a tailspin and is forced to decide whether she is willing to let Gray go or if she would rather keep him for herself. All the while, the story begs the question of who is helping whom?
The fire is warm and I like to sit in front of it, but the sound of boxes shuffling around is still distracting me. “Gray!” I shout again. “What on earth are you doing up there?” Frustrated, I push the covers back off my legs and get up to wander to the attic. I stomp up the stairs, as though my noise is going to aggravate him enough to stop making his noise, and stop at the small opening to the attic at the top of the stairs.
To the left, there is a small broom closet where I keep my ladder. I pull it out and open it up. As I climb the few steps to the top, I push the attic opening back and poke my head inside. It’s dark, but I can see a blue glow from the window. “Gray?” I whisper as I push myself into the attic.
He doesn’t answer, but I knew that he wouldn’t—he can’t. “What are you doing up here?”
I walk to the window. Gray is sitting in the windowsill as still as a picture. In his hands, he holds a lady’s hatpin. It is a blue flower, but plain and ordinary.
“Ruth’s.” I say. It isn’t a question. There is no one else it could have belonged to.
Gray nods and shrugs before peering back out the window. He is lonely, I think to myself, feeling a bit discarded. Doesn’t my company mean anything to him—the way his does for me?
I want to shake him. Ruth is dead. Henry is dead. They’re obviously not here, but he is. What’s the connection?
I sigh and rest my hand on his shoulder for whatever comfort I can offer him. I don’t know what happened to my sweet Gray, but whatever it was, it scarred him for his entire afterlife.
I am going mad, I tell myself.
Gray turns from the window and looks up at me. There is hopefulness in his eyes and he rests his head against my chest. He raises a finger and sits up. He begins to trace a word in the dust that’s settled on the glass. I give this one hundred percent of my attention. His fingertip begins to curve around on the glass until he’s formed a perfect C. He traces the letters very slowly, as though it’s been a very long time for him—and I’m sure that it probably has been. Eventually, he’s written my name in the dust. When he’s finished, he looks up at me and goes back to tracing.
Next, he traces the word alone and looks to me for approval. I nod. “I am lonely.” I say.
He folds me into his arms and pulls me close. He is cool, but not cold. I allow him to do this because I feel no fear whatsoever in what the dead can do—it’s the living that scare me the most. Gray rests his cloth-stitched face against my cheek and I feel the weight of each horrible, likely painful stitch and wonder why the bits of dark blue material would be stitched over his entire face like that, but it’s not likely that he’ll tell me anytime soon and I’m too polite to ask. I smile at the awkward ridiculousness of the situation—I have no one alive on this earth save for Velma, but it seems I’ve made a really great best friend in this dead man.
I look up and realize that Gray’s hair is showing today. Typically, he keeps it back somehow and I can’t tell if he even has any. Gray, it seems, is/was a ginger. I reach up and roll my index finger around in an unbelievably soft lock of reddish-blond hair. It’s short, but neat, and combed out of his blue-gray eyes. His face tightens rom under the cloth and I realize that he’s probably smiling at me.
“I like your hair.” I tell him with a playful grin.
Slowly, he reaches around to teasingly pull at my long, dark ponytail. Then, he holds his finger over where his mouth should be to tell me to be quiet. Or to shut up. I’m not sure which one he means, but it makes me laugh and I am enjoying his company.
I wonder if, wherever they are, Ruth and Henry Wilkins can see what Gray and I are doing tonight in the attic—playfully enjoying the night. Then, another thought creeps into my head and I have to ask Gray another question. I’m positive that my questions are an annoyance, but I want to know anyhow. “Did you know Velma Beatty?”
He nods, but doesn’t look at me. Instead, he’s staring out the window again. I don’t push the questions further. Something I’ve said has made him sad. I wonder if maybe he might have been a lover of Velma’s so many years ago. I shake the idea from my head—she had a husband and he died in the seventies. Sometimes, he was all she ever talked about.
Gray releases me and I take that as my cue to leave him to himself. I back away, but as I reach the little crawl hole over my ladder, I see that the ladder is gone. It isn’t down there at all, so the possibility that my larger than life dog has knocked it over is out of the question and there isn’t anyone else in the house—or at least I thought there wasn’t up until now.
“Gray?” I breathe. He turns to face me and shifts his weight in the windowsill. “Gray, my ladder is gone. I can’t get down.”
It takes only a few seconds before he materializes at my side. He looks down the hole and then at me. He is just as puzzled as I am. He groans as he lifts me in his arms. He’s cradling me like a baby and, with his index finger and middle finger, closes my eyelids. He holds his fingers there for a moment and when he removes them, I open my lids and see that we are standing at the top of the stairs and he is no longer holding me. It’s as though time was temporarily erased.
I have no idea what to say, but manage a quick thanks and a nod. Gray disappears in a low flash of blue light and I look up to see the opening to the attic shut behind him. He’s up there again, all by himself, and I have no idea where my ladder is.
I go to the broom closet and open the door. Cold water flows out of the closet as though it’s been submerged. Some of it falls down the stairs like an indoor waterfall. My feet are freezing cold now and I see my ladder folded carefully inside the closet. I’m shaking as I step forward and inspect it. The top rung has a spot of dried blood on it and a discarded sewing needle with twine laced through it.
Of all the houses in LaGrange, I had to pick the one with dead folks, I think to myself. I pull my flannel pajama pants down and pick them up as I wander to the upstairs bathroom and push them into the hamper. I go to my bedroom and pick a clean pair of sweats from a drawer and put them on before going downstairs to the kitchen and reluctantly pull the mop out of the corner and grab my bucket. I take the mop and bucket back upstairs to clean up all the water, but when I reach the stairs, the water is gone.
I swallow hard and walk up the stairs to the closet to see that the ladder is back underneath the opening to the attic. There is no spot of blood or needle on the top rung. There is no water damage to my closet.
It’s as though the entire thing was a figment of my over worked imagination.
As promised, here is the link to Mark Hogg’s fan page on Facebook,Mr. Markzilla Artist! Go give him a like and check out all of his artwork!
STAY TUNED FOR: Okay, so we’re going to have a contest called the HAUNTED VALENTINE GIVEAWAY. Yes, we’re giving away a free copy of BONES OF WILLOW LAKE! Stay tuned to this blog because this is where the contest will be posted FIRST.
While working on the sequel to my novella, The Demon King, I wrote a Demon King short story and it’s now available as an ebook download for Kindle. That is the news of the day! This story sort of bridges the gap between The Demon King and The Demon Queen, but is a great standalone read and is not necessary to read this story in order to understand either the first novella or the sequel. I don’t know that I’ll publish very many short stories like this because I don’t write very many shorts, but enjoy this one!
I’ve been working on a new novel, so I haven’t really had a lot of blogging time. Tonight, however, I have decided to take a moment and share with you the playlist I listened to while writing The Bones of Willow Lake. All my books have an unofficial playlist lol. Here it goes!
1) You Are the Ocean — Phantogram
2) In the Air Tonight — Phil Collins
3) Linger — The Cranberries
4) Dancing In the Dark — Matt Kearney
5) We Are Trees — Sunrise Sunset
6) Crestfallen — Smashing Pumpkins
7) The Day We Never Met — The Crash Test Dummies
8) It’ll Never Leave You Alone — The Crash Test Dummies
9) Gravedigger — Dave Matthews Band or just Dave Matthews (not sure which lol)
10) Never Let Me Go — Florence and the Machine
11) Hans Zimmer — Time
12) LOTS of Michael Nyman songs
13) Haunted — Type O Negative
14) Paradise — Coldplay
15) I Go To Sleep — Sia
16) Paper Route — You Kill Me
And there you have it! I will try to update a little bit more. I’ve been really busy lately, so please excuse me. There is no new news about The Bones of Willow Lake, other than it is forthcoming! So hang in there with me 😀
Dan Dillard is one of those authors I love so much because his stories stick with you. He writes about things sometimes a little far out there, but where horror is concerned, that isn’t a bad thing at all. Right now, in Amazon, he has a freebie called Giving Up The Ghost. Were I you, I’d snatch it quick before the price is no longer FREE.