Do I Scare You?

Is there a demon in her house?
Is there a demon in her house?

What scares you?

Just like humor, everybody has a different threshold for what scares them. I can watch all kinds of “reality” shows about hauntings and not get scared, but there have been times in the past when I have scared myself just by thinking about something (clips and images from things I’ve seen, like a black eyed man in A Haunting in Connecticut). I don’t watch horror movies for this reason. (I do watch Supernatural, but in that reality I can always imagine Sam and Dean will come and save me.:-) )

When I was writing ENTITY MINE I had to think about what specific things really scare me and hope my readers would feel the same (while knowing it will all be fine in the end).

Here are a couple of (I hope) scary scenes from ENTITY MINE.

Excerpt 1:
The repetitive chirp of crickets alerted Devon to the fact that the long, Western New York twilight had snuck up on her and now the entire house stood cloaked in heavy shadow. She placed the last glass in the upper cupboard nearest the foyer and closed it with a decisive click. She swept her gaze across the dark kitchen, satisfied that everything was closed and put away.

“Looks good, huh?” she said to the Honey, who lay half in the kitchen and half in the bedroom.
The dog lifted her head an inch. Her back end was in shadow, but Devon could hear the thump of her fluffy, scimitar tail whacking the carpet.

Devon smiled. “Well, maybe not good, but neat anyway.”

She groped her way to the kitchen wall, fumbling for the light switch. The bulb in the fly-specked dome overhead flared on and then winked out, killing her night vision and leaving her standing in darkness so total her eyes conjured nonexistent patterns in the inky blackness. “Damn.”

She felt behind her on the wall for the switch by the front door, and flipped it up.

The light came on, filling the small foyer and spilling into the kitchen.

She gasped, her heart rate skyrocketing. Every carefully closed cupboard door hung completely open. She swallowed. “I hope that was you, Ethan.”

But somehow she knew it wasn’t.

A black figure coalesced in the doorway to the living room then crawled toward her, exuding oily menace.

Excerpt 2:
A foul odor dragged her from sleep.
Devon blinked into the darkness, confused. How much time had passed? Had she been asleep for seconds or hours?

The smell intensified, seeming to wrap around her, sticky and pungent like dead things preserved in formaldehyde.

Honey growled, low and menacing, and Devon froze, the hairs on her arms prickling, her pulse mimicking the tempo of the drumming rain.

Her face was toward the window, but a sticky sensation of malevolence crawled over her skin, as if she’d walked through a woman-sized cobweb.

She could hear Honey pace, whining and panting.

“Devon.” A raspy voice breathed in her ear.

Adrenaline shot through her veins and rebounded in a continuous loop. All the moisture in her mouth evaporated. Her rational mind told her to turn and look, that she was
probably imagining things. No spirit she’d ever encountered had been strong enough to be active two days in a row, but terror held her glued on her side.

Finally, through sheer force of will, she wrenched onto
her back.

And found herself face-to-face with the black figure.

A scream beat against her control, but she gulped it back. She sat up and the nasty spirit vanished. Her hand rose to her collarbone. For a second, her heart slowed, marching back toward its normal beat, then something grabbed her throat, shoving her back on the bed with bruising force.

She flailed, grabbing the slippery edge of the bed for leverage, digging her nails into the mattress. Her airway constricted. She fought to suck air past the demon’s manacle-like grip and clutched the collar of choking pressure around her neck, scrabbling to get under it, but only scraped her own skin.

Honey barked, black lips drawn back to display sharp white teeth.

Barking and the sounds of her own choking reverberated in her ears, drowning out the cadence of the rain. Her vision frayed around the edges.

She gasped, to no avail, fighting to draw air, but the apparition’s punishing grip tightened.
There was nothing she could do. She heard roaring in her ears. The sound grew louder.

The inhuman spirit was too strong. Oh, my God! She was really going to die.

For more:

So what do you find scary? Are you a scaredy cat? Does your imagination get to you, the way mine has done, while sitting in your own back yard listening to the crickets and remembering clips you’ve seen of movies like Friday the Thirteenth? “Jay, jay, jay. Kill, kill, kill.”

Or do you laugh in the face of paranormal danger and watch movies like Ouija with impunity?


Do You Believe in Ghosts?

Do you have a ghost story to share?
Do you have a ghost story to share?

Do You Believe in Ghosts?

With Halloween approaching there are all kinds of spooky shows on TV and I thought it would be fun to talk about ghosts.

I am a “Ghost Investigator show” fanatic. I’ve watched Ghost Adventures, Ghost Hunters, Ghost–well, put “Ghost” in the title and I watch it. I even watched Deep South Paranormal once, but they pulled over to the side of the road on the way to an investigation, pulled out a cooler of animals they had shot and fish they had caught,and proceeded to deep fry them. That wasn’t too bad, but apparently they were still hungry, so they tried frying up the earthworms they had brought as bait. That was my limit. Possible demons, yes. Eating worms, no.

Ghost Adventures is my favorite of these shows. I love Zak, Nick, and Aaron. Their excitement and personalities are as much a part of the show as the investigations. Once, part of the episode centered on them finding a stray dog a home. GA is just plain fun. Zak can be over the top melodramatic, “Welcome to Hell!” Nick is the calm foil and Aaron the wildly excitable one.

Despite the fact that I love these shows, I consider myself an open-minded skeptic. I enjoy coming up with my own explanations and de-bunking. Sometimes I can’t, but since I’m experiencing the unexplained through the filter of television, I sleep just fine.

Thanks to watching these shows, I know about EVP, EMF, and things like Spirit Boxes, (whether they’re SB7, SB11 or whatever 🙂 )

You can see my addiction in my latest release, ENTITY MINE when the heroine, Devon, a psychic medium, goes to her friend Beth’s house to investigate a possible haunting.

“So what kind of things have you been experiencing?” Devon turned away from Beth and scanned her friend’s restored Victorian with a practiced eye.

A beautiful hanging staircase of varnished, dark wood graced the dramatic foyer. A formal parlor balanced a richly, paneled dining room on the other side. The house smelled of wood, floral polish, and peanut butter cookies.

Beth sucked her lower lip for a moment. “Dark shadows. Cold spots. Lights going on and off. Footsteps. And I’ve woken up several times to see a figure at the foot of the bed.” She stared at Devon, her face ripe with expectation.

“Optical illusions. Drafts. Faulty wiring. Loose pipes.” Devon ticked off on her fingers. “Rattling window panes and—”

“—and I know, I know. Ooh, ooh, call on me, professor.” Beth waved her arm wildly. “A hypnagogic state.”


Still, despite my interest, I’ve only experienced the unexplained personally once. When I was in high school, I was home alone after dark and the power went out. I got candles and sat in the family room, reading a book. Since it was hot, I had put the screen on the sliding glass door in the kitchen which adjoined the family room. A pony wall stopped me from being able to see the whole kitchen.

Suddenly, there was a loud long scraping sound in the kitchen, as if something big were being dragged along the floor.

I looked in, but saw nothing. Unnerved, I closed the sliding door, in case the sound had come from outside. Eventually, my pulse settled down and I went back to my book. That’s when it happened again. I was out of there!

I sat on the curb and waited for my family to come home. I never found out what made the sound and it never happened again.

How about you? Any ghost stories to share? Are you a fellow Ghost show aficionado?

Do you believe in ghosts?

What is the Difference Between Super Powers and ADHD?

He's a powerful shifter imprisoned  by a madman. She is the doctor who can set him free or sentence him to death.
He’s a powerful shifter imprisoned by a madman. She is the doctor who can set him free or sentence him to death.

Nine year-old boy child, heart of my heart, was diagnosed ADHD last year. He is such a loving child and empathetic. He gets very upset in the scene in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix when Professor Trelawney is almost ejected from Hogwarts. However, he’s easily distracted and struggles with the rigid structure of school.

I got thinking about attention deficit disorder and have come to the conclusion that the supernatural powers I have given my chimera characters, sensitive hearing, sense of smell, extreme visual acuity, etc., might have had the same impact as ADHD before they understand and can control them.

In fact I do think in some ways ADHD is an advantage. In ancient times, when we were hunters and gathers on the savannah, being distractible and acting on your first impulse was probably an important survival skill, waiting to see exactly what was lunging out of the tall grass could get you killed.

Jake, from IN LIKE A LION, is the seventh son of a seventh son, and comes into his powers very early. The rest of my Chimeras don’t start to exhibit signs until around thirty.

After I started thinking about this, I couldn’t stop until I written a little vignette about Jake as a kid at school.

(Apologies for the formatting, wordpress always takes away my tabs)
Ten year-old Jake Finn cooled his hot, sweaty face on the surface of his school desk. He swallowed, his heart dropping out of his throat back to his chest. He’d made it just before the bell, thank God, his foster parents would let him have it if he were tardy one more time.
Not because they cared, of course, but because he’d reached the limit of his tardys, one more and the school would notify his social worker.
A wave of perfume announced his teacher, Miss McCurdy’s approach.
She crouched beside his desk to almost meet his gaze, then focused on his hands which were braced on the chilled surface. “You’ve been running again, haven’t you?”
He nodded because it was no use denying it, his stomach in a knot. He lifted his head in her direction, she flinched and he looked down again to hide his eyes. “Yeller eyes,” his foster mother called them. He called them bad luck, drawing attention to their ugly color always ended up being bad for him.
“Well, next time leave earlier,” she said, and stood, turning swiftly as if impatient to get away, and judging from the rapid heartbeat he could hear as she moved across the room, she was.
The bell rang, causing a swift jolt of pain as it seemed to rebound inside his head. His eyes watered. He covered his ears and sighed, his humid breath fogging the shiny desktop. He could have told her he’d left in plenty of time, but he’d only end up in trouble.
He’d dropped off his younger foster sister, Embry, at her K-3 school with time to spare, but there was a vacant lot kitty-corner from the school and a rabbit, startled by who knows what, had launched into a mad dash down the street. He hadn’t meant to follow it, but something inside him had taken control. When he’d come back to himself, he’d been blocks from his school about to be late one time too many. The imagined smart of a belt on his back had spurred him to breakneck speed, his sneaker slapping the pavement, his breath sounding in his ears.
He shook his head and pulled out his supplies as the teacher went through the morning routine. An air current laden with the scent of bodies and the hamburgers from the cafeteria feathered his face. His stomach rumbled. God, he couldn’t wait until lunch.
“Jake? Jake!”
He fought through the lure of the meat, and wrenched his head toward the front.
Miss McCurdy folded her arms and jiggled her foot. “Where is your math book?”
He closed his eyes against the exasperation pinching her features. Embry’s shoe had been missing and in the rush, he’d left his book at home again.
Great. Another zero.


To read the blurb and peek inside:

Comments give me warm fuzzies, so what do you think. Is ADHD a super power?



How I Met Your Father

My handsome husband and I in the Hindu portion of our wedding.
My handsome husband and I in the Hindu portion of our wedding.

Do you believe in love at first sight?

I don’t know that I believe in first sight exactly, but I do think sometimes one meeting is all it takes. Here’s why:

Once upon a time there was a girl (ok, you got me. It’s me, when I qualified for girlhood in more than just the fan girl sense) who had joined a dating service. (I’m not the bar type, ok? I’ll get into that later) Now reading Harlequins since the age of eleven, I was perhaps a tad picky, and after a year (the length of the contract) I hadn’t found anyone I clicked with.

It was time to decide if I should just give up on the dating service and let the universe (if it should be so kind,) either send someone my way without my assistance or give a sign that I was destined to be a happy single.

But the women who ran the dating service were not ready to give up on me. There was a great guy, they said, who had been in the service almost as long as I, but he hadn’t clicked with anyone either. However, as great as he was, the computer didn’t see us as a match. He was a computer programmer from Mumbai who spent his free time jumping out of airplanes and scuba diving. I was an asthmatic bookworm school librarian who loved spending time with my family and showing my basenji. Still, they thought we might hit it off, so I agreed.

We met for lunch at Chi-Chi’s (God, I miss the food at that restaurant). He greeted me on the front steps with a kiss on the cheek and I thought, this won’t take long. He is way too good-looking to be interested in me. (If you ever wondered where some of my heroines get their self-esteem issues, wonder no longer)

We sat and talked, went for dessert at Abbott’s frozen custard, and talked some more. That first date lasted six hours and I saw him just about every day after that. Within weeks we were talking marriage and he proposed to me within months.

It wasn’t love at first sight, but it doesn’t come much closer.

So, I write Shifters and I use the mating bond. It isn’t love at first sight, but it breaks down the barriers characters have that stop them from admitting that they are truly worth loving.

Take one of my heroes (please), Ethan of Entity Mine. He’s a tortured, former abused kid, ex-Navy SEAL, virgin, alpha male who doesn’t know he’s a chimera shifter. His history is such that he would never believe Devon, a lawyer in town to re-group from a bad experience, could love him, but the mating bond forces the issue.

Excerpt: (My apologies, Pages takes out my tabs)

The angry woman paced, her
sandaled feet slapping the concrete, though he didn’t think it
could be summer anymore, but she didn’t seem to be talking
to the woman blocking his view. A cell phone, then.
Here was a mystery, something to take his mind off his
unending hunger, if only for a moment. He moved closer.
Her scent, fresh, with an overlay of cherry blossoms
and a hint of musk, drifted to him through the screen door
on the air current she’d stirred with her sharp movement. He
inhaled. She smelled like spring. His favorite season.
How strange was it that he could still smell? He’d spent
a lot of time when he first died pondering the hows and whys
of his condition. The oddity of seeing, smelling, feeling,
without eyes to see, a nose to smell or hands to touch. Bitter
hunger and thirst from an incorporeal gut and throat. He
supposed the illusion was some construct of his brain, but
how his brain still worked was beyond him.
The woman ended her call, clutching the phone to her
chest, and turned to the blonde on the step. “I’m sorry,”
she said.
As he’d figured, her voice stroked across his ears like
the rough caress of a warm, ocean wave on sunbaked skin.
He moved to study her through the screen. There was
something familiar about her, but he couldn’t put his finger
on how he might know her. Probably about thirty, she had
light, red hair and pale skin. Her brown eyes seemed weary
and sad. A streak of something gray banded her forehead,
but all it did was highlight her delicate beauty.
He felt the sudden urge to hunt down the person who’d
kindled the hurt he’d heard beneath her anger and tear him
a new one.

For more:

So what do you think? Do you believe in love at first sight?

Am I weird? Part 5

Lali  vizsla watching ANTM with the family
Lali vizsla watching ANTM with the family

How Weird Am I? part 5

I let my eleven year-old daughter watch America’s Next Top Model as an educational experience.

Let me ‘splain. The young models say and do things which I would hope my daughter never does. They make ignorant comments and they trash their fellow contestants.

One of the latest contestants claimed to be a witch, but made comments about doing spells to get rid of contestants, etc. I don’t have an extensive knowledge of witchcraft, but I know about the three-fold law (and pretty much every culture has some version of this) whatever you put out comes back to you three-fold. I pointed this out to my daughter. Sure enough, a few episodes later, this person got himself ejected from the show because of being violent with another contestant.

I’m also trying very hard to make my daughter understand that in life we are only competing against ourselves. Concentrating on what others are doing takes the focus off what we need to do to succeed ourselves. This shows up over and over again on ANTM.

So what do you think? Am I weird? You’ve gone off the deep-end, Karin! ANTM is just fluff!

Sort of odd: Ok, I can see your point, but I wouldn’t let my daughter watch it.

Or am I: Spot on. Shows like these offer a chance to discuss character-building with our kids!

Let me have it! Or feel free to share how you are weird (or not).