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Category: Blog on Writing & Life

Road Trip Photos: Vehicles on a Stick

Quirky road trip themes Every road trip I take seems to have its own unintended theme, such as witty church marquees, strange billboards, or bizarre town names. In fact, my husband and I are on a road trip right now for which the theme seems to be “Random Vehicles on a Stick.” Here’s what we’ve seen so far: Car on a Stick It all started in Louisiana, when I caught sight of this Ford Fairmont lofted high into the sky as we we whizzed down the road. We weren’t at a good place to stop, so I’m not sure what this particular car…

Photo Essay: Worth Avenue in Palm Beach, Florida

Worth Avenue: Iconic Shopping Street Voted #3 in a list of the Top 10 Iconic Streets in the USA, Worth Avenue is an upscale shopping street in the resort town of Palm Beach, Florida. People watching & pedestrian friendly With names like Gucci, Tiffany & Co., Giorgio Armani, Neiman Marcus, Cartier, Louis Vuitton and Saks Fifth Avenue, the businesses lining Worth Avenue read like a veritable who’s who of luxury shopping. But don’t let that scare you off! People watching on Worth Avenue is just as fun as window shopping. On the day we visited, I saw men, women, and even…

Historic Cemetery Symbols: Monkey Grave at an Upscale Restaurant

2 Graves at an Italian Restaurant? Voted #3 in a list of the Top 10 Iconic Streets in the USA, Worth Avenue is an upscale shopping street in the resort town of Palm Beach, Florida. So why are there two graves on Worth Avenue – one for a monkey and the other for a dog – tucked away in the courtyard of an Italian restaurant? Jazz Age eccentric: Addison Mizner It all starts with Addison Mizner (1872-1933) a quirky architect who settled in South Florida in 1918 after having lived all over the world, including China, New York, Guatemala, Alaska, and…

Road Trip Fun: Quirky Nautical Antique Shop in West Palm Beach Florida

Culpepper & Co in West Palm Beach, Florida People often ask how I find so many quirky, offbeat, and overlooked places to explore on road trips. The answer is pretty simple: I do a lot of research in advance, but I also keep my eyes open. Planned Spontaneity I call it “planned spontaneity.” And yes, that sounds like an oxymoron. But all it really means is that even though I spend hours researching and planning road trips, I’m not rigid about it. Fun Nautical Themed Shop At home I’m “Planny Plannerton,” but once I’m out the door, all bets are…

4 Quick Tips to Make Jealousy Work for You

Jealousy: Out of the blue, you suddenly turn green! Like most unpleasantries, jealousy often strikes without warning. There you are, happily scrolling through Facebook when you see a photo of your friend holding a trophy and… *bzzzt* There it is: jealousy’s sting. While I don’t particularly like jealousy, I no longer let it drag me into a vortex of self-loathing and despair. In fact, I now consider jealousy a helpful tool. Here are 4 tips that help me cope when the green-eyed monster comes calling: My experience with jealousy I’ll start with a quick example of how I’ve used jealousy as a tool…

TGWW Radio Show: Jen Devillier on “Manifesting Mr or Mrs Right”

This week’s Teal Gray Worldwide Radio Show: Are you looking for Mr or Mrs Right? Join Teal Gray & Tui Snider as Psychic Medium/Spiritual Teacher, Jen Devillier, joins them to discuss how to manifest the perfect romantic partner for you on the next episode of Teal Gray Worldwide Radio!   Jen Devillier: How to Manifest the Perfect Relationship for You? Guest Bio: Jen Devillier is a Psychic Medium/Spiritual Teacher/Author/Lecturer and very well versed at doing a variety of readings including Tarot, Numerology, Egyptian Scarabs, Angel readings, Fairy Reading, and even Astrology. Jen has been guiding people since 1993 and helps them…

Review: IF/THEN A New Musical in Dallas @ATTPAC #IFTHENtour

Opening night ovation in Dallas, Texas Opening night of IF/THEN at the AT&T Performing Arts Center in Dallas ended with a cheering crowd and a standing ovation. This new musical by the Pulitzer Prize Winning duo, Brian Yorkey and Tom Kitt, is a 2 and a 1/2 hour riff on the decisions we make in life and the consequences (both expected and unforeseen) these choices create.   IF/THEN vs Sliding Doors At first blush, the plot of IF/THEN sounds similar to “Sliding Doors,” a 1998 movie starring Gwyneth Paltrow. “Sliding Doors” shows the myriad ways a simple event – in this case, either catching or…

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…

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…

10th Annual Saints & Sinners Tour in Fort Worth, Texas

Oakwood Cemetery’s Saints & Sinners Tour What do you get when you combine live theater, regional history, and a beautiful Texas graveyard? Why, the Annual Oakwood Cemetery Saints & Sinners Tour, of course! Yes, folks, the North Fort Worth Historical Society has knocked it out of the park again – and by “park,” I mean beautiful historic grounds of Oakwood Cemetery. Each year, members of the North Fort Worth Historical Society choose notable figures from Oakwood Cemetery’s residents to “bring to life” through well-researched performances spaced throughout the grounds. (To read about last year’s cast of characters, check out my photo…

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…

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…

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…

Water is a Writer’s Best Friend

Even Home is a Travel Destination I have nothing against staycations. I don’t even despise the word, as many others do. As a mindful travel writer whose motto is “Even Home is a Travel Destination,” I am always on the lookout for fun things to see and do nearby. (Heck, I even write best selling books on the topic!) However, if you caught my IWSG check-in for July, you’ll know that due to a health scare with my husband, Larry, “nearby” literally became “our house and backyard.” Couldn’t see past the chores For me, the biggest challenge with being housebound…