Signed Cover Art

If you'd like to receive a signed cover art postcard, email me at isobael at gmail dot com. Include your name and mailing address and I'll get them in the mail to you.

October 30, 2009

In honor of Samhain...Ghost Stories!

Some time ago, I was reading Sylvia Browne's book "Life on the Other Side". My mother loaned it to me, believing I would find it a great interest due to my current beliefs and experiences. From the moment I picked up the book and started to read, I have felt so many things. Namely, that buzzing/pressure feeling I get in my head.

I better explain this a bit more.

Some years ago, I was wandering about the South Hill cemetery, taking pictures of the old headstones and had just moved from the historical section toward the "rich" section. I saw a headstone I wanted a picture of, so I lifted my camera and was focusing in. I owned an old manual 35mm SLR, no auto nothing! Just as I was about to snap the picture, I felt/heard this resounding, explosive, "NO!" in my head. I jumped and looked around, but there was no one around me. My head was vibrating...inside...a persistent numbing type of buzzing. Every time I tried to snap a picture of that headstone, it would increase. I got the hint...and apologized to the spirit, and did not take a picture of that headstone. To this day, I still get that buzzing/vibrating feeling in my head, with the added pressure to the top of my head. Not like something is pressing down on my head. It's more...visceral. Hard to explain.

So...I'm reading along when I come to this section of the book, which I will type out.

"A sudden, deafening crack, like a gunshot, knifed the air behind me and almost simultaneously I heard Grandma Ada's voice call out, "Sylvia!"....(skipping down some)...I learned years afterward, by the way, that the deafening crack is a phenomenon called a "rapport", which happens when an abrupt sound pierces the "veil" between the Other Side's dimension and ours, much like the sonic boom of the sound barrier being broken." Life on the Other Side, pages 44 and 45.

That buzzing started up though someone or something was trying to point this out to me. One night, I went to bed with hubby. The kid was asleep in her room, it was around midnight. Hubby slipped off to sleep easily enough. I was lying there, my right hand on his back, because I like to feel the presence of another when I sleep. Just as I was slipping off to sleep, being in a somewhat lucid frame, I felt an incredible electrical jolt in my right hand, as though someone had just shocked me with high voltage. I was so taken by surprise, my whole body jerked up and snapped me out of my lucid dreaming state.

Was someone trying to get my attention then?

Here are some more experiences I've had:

Another story...when I was young, just before and after the birth of my little brother, we lived in a rental house in Edgewood, WA. We used to have the worst luck with small items, namely silverware. Spoons. We could not keep spoons in the drawer of that house. We'd know there were spoons, but when we needed one, damn it, none were there. We'd find them in stupid places too. Under/behind the couch...stacked nicely. On a top shelf, under the bed. After my brother was born, My sister (2 years younger) and I had to share a room. Our closet had the doors removed, those track doors, because we were always knocking the doors off the tracks and my dad was sick of putting them back on. We put our dressers in the closet and lined that top shelf with our dolls and stuffies.

One night, I woke up for some reason. No idea why. I looked over and caught sight of something moving in the corner of my eye. I looked and WATCHED a doll on that shelf...WALK across that shelf. Apparently I wasn't the only one since my sister started screaming. That doll then leaped from the shelf toward us. I say leaped because when it hit the floor, there was no way for that doll to have reached that distance if it had just fallen from the shelf. Mom and Dad apparently believed us, we moved soon after, though they never did tell us we were only dreaming...yet have never said that they believed us, either.

Our apartment was haunted by a transient ghost or three. One of them was a regular and liked to see if he could scare the bejezuz out of me. My computer used to sit on our dining room table, and I would sit facing the sliding glass door. We never closed our blinds, living on the second floor, no real need to. Every so often, late at night, I would catch a moving shadow figure in the reflection of the glass...but when I look up to see, no one is there. One night, Spike had gone to bed early and I was working on my poetry when from the corner of my eye, I saw "Spike" round the corner and head into the kitchen behind me. He was wearing his dark colored shorts and no shirt, his chest and upper body is pale. I thought nothing of it, as he usually gets up to get something to eat in the middle of the night. I could see movement in the kitchen, but later when I thought about it, I don't recall hearing any noises. I said something to him and got no reply. THAT pissed me off to no end, so I turned to say something and no one is there. THAT weirded me out so I got up to look for him and I found him in bed, the door closed. I went in and woke him...and he said he had not gotten up to snack. I went out to the kitchen and there was nothing.

Remember that scene in 6th Sense when the mother goes into the kitchen from the laundry and talks to the boy, sees his tie as dirty and removes it, then goes back to the laundry room to get a clean one, walks back into the kitchen and all the drawers and cupboards were open? Same here once. All the pantry, cupboard, and laundry doors were open. The laundry doors squeak, but I never heard it. I once did hear the coat closet by our front door slide open on its own. I tell you what, when you are alone with your child...and you hear a door open BY
ITSELF...maternal instincts kick in. I grabbed her, ran to the bedroom, and made her stay in the bathroom while I investigated, armed with a claymore of all things. (Hey! It was the only weapon easily accessible at the time!) The closet door was indeed open...and a search of the apartment yielded nothing.

I did a cleansing ritual after that...but we still had our ghosts come through every so often.

I knew the exact moment my Chinese grandmother passed away. I was dreaming I was sleeping on the floor beside my mother was sleeping in the bed beside me...and my grandmother was sleeping beside my mother.

I remember being woken mother asking me to check the time. I told her the time...then asked why. She said Grandpa had died. I remember crying and then sleeping again. I woke up the next morning to get ready for class when Dad came in and told me Mom had called and Grandma had died. Mom was in Taiwan at the time, helping the family take care of Grandma, and ease her passing from life to death. I asked what time Grandma had died...and he told me. The time she died over there...and the time I told my "mother" the time in my dream, with the time zone difference...were right on. It was odd though that in my dream, it was my Chinese grandfather that died and not my grandmother.

My mother's side of the family are all sensitive. She could tell you stories that would make your hair stand on end...

I also record EVPs. Electronic Voice Phenomena. You can hear a few samples of what I've caught on my YouTube account.

The house we're currently renting is haunted. We have a male spirit that likes to set off the smoke detector downstairs. Just once, and then it stops. Doors open on their own, and curtains we know were closed are open when we return home.

So, anyone else have paranormal experiences you want to share? =)

October 28, 2009

Scones Recipe

My husband asked me to make scones for him to take to school. (He's in a nursing course). Other than giving him a look of utter disbelief, I refused, because he leaves at 6:30 in the morning and for me to make scones so they'd be warm and fresh when he got to class, I'd have to be up about 5 am. So, the next few days, my husband was reduced to a pleading and cajoling man until I relented.

I thought I'd post the recipe to share.

We love scones in our house. (Scottish descendants, here!) We eat ours with hot tea, and even my daughter will eschew hot cocoa when offered a choice of cocoa or tea if there's scones involved.

There's nothing like a scone or two, hot tea with milk and sugar, and writing!

Isobael's Tea Scones

2 cups sifted flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoon cream tartar
1 egg
1/2 cup milk or buttermilk
2 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoon butter

Preheat oven to 450F.

Cream butter and sugar. Add egg, baking soda, and cream of tartar.

Add buttermilk, then flour.

If too dry, add more buttermilk. Dough will be a little sticky until you knead.

Knead on floured breadboard about 10 times. If dough is still a little sticky, add a little more flour.

Pat into ball and flatten to about 1 inch thick. Use knife or pizza cutter, cut into wedges.

Put on ungreased baking sheet and bake in oven for 15 minutes or until golden brown.

Serve warm – sliced in half with butter and jam, lemon curd, honey, or Devonshire cream. We also serve it hot with butter and agave nectar instead of honey.

October 24, 2009

NanoWriMo story set. Ready for my mark. Countdown in process....

Kaelin James was living a lie.

Having escaped from a government facility as a child experiment, she'd grown up keeping secrets that could get herself, and anyone else who knew, killed by the people sent to track her down and bring her back.
Isandro Navarro was sent by his Elders to guard Kaelin. He only knew the Elders had a reason to protect her, but he wasn't aware of why. It was not his place to question, only to do. He had his own secrets as well. He was Balam, a Jaguar Lord, descended from generations of shape shifting warriors.
As the danger heats up, so do their desires, until something had to give.

* * * *
This is my entry for NanoWriMo2009. *Dances*
I am so excited to begin. I have character sheets done, the plot set (mostly!), and a basic idea of how it will end.
I am so damn excited!

October 14, 2009

Trio of Trouble update...

I have a new post up at the Trio of Trouble...

(That's if the link doesn't work.)


October 7, 2009

So, the news...


Without going into too much detail, because I'm not exactly sure when it becomes "official"... and only a few people know the details (my family mostly).

My first novel was picked up. I just signed the contracts and sent them in. I suppose, when they receive it and I receive notification that they have the contracts in their hand, I'll assume it's official.

I'm alternating between complete shock, sheer giddiness, and total panic. I hadn't expected them to actually LIKE the story. I fully expected a polite email back stating they were sorry, the story needed more work, here's some feedback...try again, best wishes. In fact, I think I pretty much thought I'd bomb with my first submission. I agonized over the synopsis and my "not a query letter" letter wasn't much better than the synopsis.

Saturday morning, as I was getting up and getting ready to go trapping (I'm a licensed falconer - second year apprenticeship), I sat down to check my email. You know, receiving that kind of news at 3 am, when one isn't fully awake in the first place, I had to reread the email about five times before it fully sank in. I also checked the heading, the sender's address, signature line, all to be sure it was a real email from them and not some hacker's attempt at a joke. (Yes, disbelief at its best!)

I printed out the email with a grin on my face. Spike was pretty sure I'd lost it. He read the email and then he grinned.

What's amusing about this whole thing is that the night before, we went to dinner at the Mongolian Grill and my fortune cookie said to expect some pleasant surprises coming my way.

Needless to say, that was one spot on fortune!

This past couple of weeks, I've stepped back from "Dead of Night". I keep rereading what I've written but I can't seem to find where things went wrong for me. The story isn't...meshing. Maybe because we're at the middle of the story...? I'm not sure but I do know I need to go back in and start slice and dicing at it to find the source of the trouble.

My thoughts keep whirling around in regards to my NanoWriMo story. I keep trying to think of an opening scene, how I want it to start, but once I get an idea and think it's the one I'm going with, something else pops in. I have the plot outline, so I have a general idea of what's going to happen, but the fine details aren't there yet. 20 some days until NanoWriMo!!

October 4, 2009

Black Bean Chili ala Bael

Isobael's Black Bean Chili

1 lb ground meat (turkey, beef, lamb, pork, a combination of...)
1 onion, diced fine
1 can black beans, rinsed well (I like two cans!)
2 cups of broth (chicken or beef)
1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced into 1x1 cubes
1 cup salsa (I use Southwestern salsa as it has black beans and corn in it!)
1 TB minced garlic
4 TB chili powder
1/2 TB Cocoa powder (NOT the sweetened, beverage variety. Use the unsweetened, cooking variety!)
Salt and pepper (to taste)

In a large pot, dutch oven, or cast iron kettle, heat 3 TB olive oil. Add onions, garlic, chili powder, cocoa powder and sautee until soft. Add ground meat and brown. Add beans, broth, and sweet potato, and salsa. Cover and simmer for 90 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings.

Serve with sour cream or shredded cheese on top!

October 2, 2009

Apparently, schools have changed since I last attended one...

I received Pixie-Brat's progress report for her math class. She has a few 0's on her report. Obviously, this is a bit alarming to me as I'm the one who has to force her to do her math homework (err...HOMEWORK in general) so I know she's doing the work in her notebook. So, I sent off an email to her math teacher:

Dear [name withheld],

Apparently, I seem to be missing something.

I received [daughter]'s progress report today (Oct 2, 2009) and am noticing the 0's on her report. I don't seem to understand how this works.

If [daughter] has this in her notebook as done, why is she getting a 0? Is she not turning this work in? As I'm the one who has to sit and make her do the homework, I KNOW she's getting it done.

When asked about this, her explanation is a bit murky for me, and there was one instance in which you didn't have time to look at her work to mark it as done?

I'm finding that if the work is done and in her notebook, there shouldn't be a 0 on a progress report, but I've been out of school for 20 some years, so there must have been some sort of change implemented that I wasn't aware of when I became a parent?

Please explain this process and what to do to correct the 0's.

My name

So, we'll see what's going on because I'm not sure I'm agreeing all that well with the 0's being there if the work is in the notebook. They do all their work in a spiral notebook, including a table of contents in the notebook, so I'm not seeing how a simple check of the notebook could be not done. Apparently, they don't turn in the notebooks, as they have to do their work in them so the teacher can't keep them for any length of time. are 0's coming up on a progress report?