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Category: Blog Posts

Review: Excelsior House Hotel in Jefferson, Texas

Stepping into History The Excelsior House Hotel in the historic district of Jefferson, Texas has quite a pedigree: Not only has this Texas State Landmark been in continuous operation since the 1850’s, but it’s also listed on the National Registry of Historic Places. If you are a history buff, you do not want to miss the Excelsior House Hotel. Sure, just like any accommodation these days, every room has a private bath, a television, and WIFI, but there’s something *special* about this east Texas venue, something I’ve never quite experienced at any other historic hotel: I truly felt transported while staying…

Quirky Texas: Life Size Wax Sculpture Replica of the Last Supper

Quirky Surprise in Fort Worth When I tell people that Fort Worth is home to a life size wax sculpture replica of Leonardo Da Vinci’s “The Last Supper,” the response is usually, “Huh?” followed by a puzzled laugh. After all, that’s hardly what we expect from a city that bills itself as “Where the West begins,” right? In fact, when out of town guests visit, my husband and I generally take them to see the historic stockyards. Sure, some locals turn their nose up at this, just as Seattlites often scoff at the idea of visiting the Space Needle, but…

How The Lynching of the Santa Claus Bank Robber Inspired East Texas University! #texas #crime #history

Remember that magician I met through my books? If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you may recall that I made friends with a reader last year who not only lives overseas, but gave my books their first reviews on Amazon UK. Here’s a post I wrote about how Owen Lean (aka The Bachelor of Magic) and I became pen pals through my books: How I Became a Fan of My Fan! Owen is a fascinating guy; which is why Teal Gray and I interviewed him on our radio show a few weeks ago (check out the replay…

How HARO Helps Writers Out!

What is HARO? For this month’s IWSG post, I wanted to pass along a helpful tip for writers. It’s called HARO, which stands for Help a Reporter Out. I found out about HARO while standing in the lunch buffet line at DFWcon, a wonderful annual writing conference here in Texas. There were two authors standing ahead of me, Nina Amir and Harry Hall, and their conversation was so interesting that I not only joined in, but I wound up taking notes as we shuffled along! Why should writers join HARO? One tip that Nina passed along was that Harry and I…

5 #Quirky Facts about Santa Claus – from Terrorism Plots to Bank Robbery #history #santa

Big Santa is watching… You’ve probably been aware of Santa Claus since you were a toddler. Simply knowing a big, bearded guy at the North Pole has the OCD super power ability to not only see your every move, but to determine whether your collective annual activities should be labeled “bad” or “good,” probably even influenced your behavior from time to time. For instance, once when my nephews were 3 and 5-years-old, I overheard them squabbling in their bedroom. I was just about to step in when the older one said, “We’d better quit fighting.” “Why?” “Because Santa is watching.” Needless…

Review: Black Swan B&B in Jefferson, Texas

Relaxing Getaway If you’re looking for a relaxing getaway in east Texas, consider booking a room at the Black Swan B&B. So many of Jefferson’s restaurants, museums, parks, and stores are within easy walking distance of this charming inn that you could simply park your car when you arrive and leave it in the same spot until you’re ready to drive home! Perfectly located in the heart of Jefferson, TX My husband, Larry, and I recently stayed at the Black Swan B&B in historic Jefferson, Texas. What a treat! We were in town so I could give my Historic Cemetery Symbols talk…

Overwhelm, Dirty Dishes & How Marie Forleo Does it All!

Trying to do it all… Am I the only creative person out there who routinely bites off more than they can chew, then needs the Heimlich Maneuver to keep from choking on their overly ambitious to-do list? It’s one of those life lessons I seem destined to learn over and over again! (Do you have any life lessons like that?) Overwhelm is like dirty dishes Overwhelm is a bit like dirty dishes. You can start off with a clean, gleaming kitchen, but then someone leaves a dirty spoon in the sink, and that hardly seems worth bothering with. But then…

History, Haunts & Legends Paranormal Conference in Jefferson, Texas

What is Jefferson’s History, Haunts and Legends? History, Haunts, and Legends (HHL) is a one-day paranormal conference held in Jefferson, Texas twice a year: once in the spring and once in the fall. Jodi Breckenridge, who leads the Jefferson Ghost Walk, created this event in 2006, and it has steadily gained momentum ever since! Historic Cemetery Symbols Talk I’m so excited to be giving my Historic Cemetery Symbols presentation at History, Haunts, and Legends on November 7, 2015. I absolutely love the town of Jefferson and have been dying to attend HHL, but it’s just never worked out for me in…

2015 Trick or Treat Reads: Get 43 Free Books for Halloween!

43 Authors Giving Free Books for Halloween! Last year my pal, Patricia Lynne, had a brilliant idea. Like me, Patty loves writing books, and one day while chatting with other authors about Halloween she suddenly thought, “What if I did a blog hop where authors handed out their books for free to readers? THE BOOKS ARE LIKE CANDY!” Trick-or-Treat Reads = Free eBooks That’s how Trick-or-Treat Reads blog hop was born. If you would like free eBooks & nifty book-related swag from over 25 different authors, all you have to do is hop through the links at the bottom of this blog…

Historic Cemetery Symbols: The “Vein of Love” & the Meaning of Left and Right

Symbolic Meaning of Left & Right For this week’s Historic Cemetery Symbols post, we explore: The Meaning of Left and Right, and the Vein of Love! Left and Right on a Headstone Married folks often share a headstone, and when they do, most of the time you will notice that – as you stand facing the monument – the wife’s name will be on the left, and the husband’s name will be on the right. In the same vein (pun intended, but you’ll have to read the rest of this post to get it!), if you’ve ever attended a traditional Christian…

Vote on Your Favorite Ghost Stories from the TGWW Radio show!

True Ghost Stories, with Prizes for Treats! Wow, that was fun! Moments ago, Teal Gray and I finished hosting  a special streaming radio show in honor of Halloween(click that link to hear the replay.)  Instead of just having one or two guests on the Teal Gray Worldwide Radio show as we usually do, we have arranged for 8 brave listeners to call in and share their best real life ghost story. Listeners can now vote for their favorite true ghost stories. The top 3 paranormal tales will be announced on next week’s show, on Tuesday, October 27, 2015. And, yes, there will be PRIZES! Vote for your…

Historic Cemetery Symbols: What does Corn Symbolize?

Historic Cemetery Symbol of the Week This week’s Historic Cemetery Symbol of the week is Corn: The Symbolic Meanings for Corn When you see an ear of corn on a headstone, you may be standing at the grave of a farmer. In fact, it was an old country custom to send sheaves of corn, instead of floral bouquets, to a farmer’s family upon his passing. There is more to the symbolic meaning of corn, however, than simply indicating a person’s occupation. In the Bible, the word “corn” is used for grains, in general, and is used symbolically to indicate spiritual…

IWSG: Keep on keeping on!

Tough Summer This summer started off with a bang. My husband’s health scare turned our road trip into not just a staycation, but a full-on housecation for a few months. I’m so grateful for that backyard wading pool and all those great tools I discovered for writing in the water. Those items totally saved my summer! Wonderful surprise But then, some really great things began happening with my writing. First off, I was chosen to be the 2016 Writer-in-Residence for the Langdon Review. As part of my stay, I will also be having a month-long showing of my photography, and I may even release a music CD at…

My Coast to Coast AM Interview from Miss Molly’s Hotel in Fort Worth, Texas

A wonderful surprise! Last week, I answered the phone, fully expecting yet another telemarketer, only to find the producer from Coast to Coast AM on the other end of the line. Wowza! What a wonderful surprise! She peppered me with questions about all three of my books, Unexpected Texas, Paranormal Texas, and The Lynching of the Santa Claus Bank Robber) and then asked if I’d like to be a guest on the show. Would I ever! Quest for a Landline Since my husband and I no longer have a landline at our home, she suggested we stay at a hotel for…

Historic Cemetery Symbols: What does *this* boat mean?

Thank you, readers! If you’ve been following my series on the meaning of historic cemetery symbols, then you know each week I share a quick explanation for that week’s graveyard symbol. In the book that I’m writing, however, which is a Field Guide to Cemetery Symbolism, I dive much deeper into the meanings behind each symbol. I also learn a lot from the conversations that each of these posts spark – either from blog commenters here, replies on Twitter, and the emails that I’ve been getting. So, I wanted to give a hearty shout out to all the readers out…

My Exciting News & the 2015 Langdon Review Weekend in Granbury, Texas

What is the Langdon Review Weekend? Each September, during the week following Labor Day, Tarleton State University hosts a festival called the Langdon Review Weekend at the Dora Lee Langdon Center in Granbury, Texas. Attendees each receive a copy of the Langdon Review of the Arts in Texas, a literary journal that highlights poetry, fiction, essays, film, photography, art, and music from all over the Lone Star State. Throughout the Langdon Review Weekend, fans of writing, music, film, and art attend live performances, gallery showings, book signings, film screenings, and more. It’s a whole lot of fun! Art, Poetry, Picnics…

Catch Me on the Radio: Close to Death with Selena Roane

Radio Host: Selena Roane Tonight I’m going to be a guest on a really interesting paranormal radio show! The program is called Close to Death and it’s hosted by the fabulous Selena Roane. I met Selena at the 2014 Granbury Paranormal Expo, where she gave an excellent presentation on her journey as an empath and all the ups, downs, and confusion it has caused in her life. She also played one of the best EVP’s I have heard for the audience. (None of that indecipherable staticky stuff that people pass off as electronic voice phenomenon so often. This EVP was…

How to Visit the Munster Mansion Replica in Waxahachie, Texas

The following is an adapted excerpt from Unexpected Texas – my best-selling travel guide to quirky, offbeat and overlooked places near Dallas and Fort Worth. Check it out if you enjoy learning quirky facts, or are looking for offbeat road trip ideas in north Texas. Munster Mansion Replica While there is no official address for, “1313 Mockingbird Lane,” in north Texas, there is an excellent replica of the Munster family home over in the town of Waxahachie where, in 2001, Sandra and Charles McKee built a replica of the house depicted in the classic TV sitcom. Since it’s a fictional house, the pair watched and…

1897 UFO Crash & Alien Body – Is this the Roswell of Texas?

Did a UFO Crash in Texas in 1897? The following is an adapted excerpt from Unexpected Texas – my best-selling travel guide to quirky, offbeat and overlooked places near Dallas and Fort Worth. Check it out if you enjoy learning quirky facts, or are looking for offbeat road trip ideas in north Texas.   Back in 2012, I learned of a strange incident that allegedly occurred in Aurora, Texas. According to a newspaper article published by the Dallas News in April of 1897, a cigar-shaped object crashed in a farmer’s field, an alien body was found in the debris, and…