‘NetNet: Book give-away of THE WAITING – an inspired-by-true-ghost-story, Vampira, scary (very) short films, the Yankee Pedlar Inn, Sherlock Holmes, and a mystery vending machine.

ENTER A SPECIAL DRAWING FOR A FREE  DIGITAL BOOK, OR AUTOGRAPHED PAPERBACK, BY HUNTER SHEA

hunter give away badge with glow

I’m honored to be kicking off the virtual book tour for a favored author and stalking victim, Hunter Shea. At the end of the month, he and I will be doing an interview in which we’ll discuss his latest novella, THE WAITING, and how it was inspired by a true-life haunting.

It will be my first interview, and this is the first time I’m participating in a book tour, so I hope you’ll all be patient and supportive.

I have every intention of asking him probing questions about how THE WAITING and the true events relate, so it would be best if you all have read the novella by the time of the interview. (I suspect there may be spoilers.) I’ll have the actual drawing on midnight of the 20th, so that the winners of THE WAITING will have time to read it … and the rest of you will have time to buy it AND read it, if you want, to get all you can out of the interview.

NOTE: The book tour, as a whole, has a rafflecopter give-away going too … for the same set of prizes that I’m offering, but don’t be confused! There are TWO rafflecopters and one of them (accessible below) is just for The Paranormalist readers. To maximize your chances, you may want to visit some of  the other stops on the blog tour and enter into that rafflecopter too. To find links to all the tour’s stops, visit Hunter’s launch post at his website, huntershea.com.

the-waiting-shea-tour-

Yes, I am spoiled. Either that or Hunter fears likes me.

In addition to TWO digital downloads of THE WAITING, I’ll be giving away one autographed paperback copy of my favorite Hunter Shea novel (so far) SINISTER ENTITY, which is a new and interesting spin on the concept of dopplegangers.

book shea sinister entity

Click to see Amazon listing.

 In order to enter the drawing, please click below to be taken to The Paranormalist Portal.

Once there, you will find a widget that allows you to earn chances (think of them as raffle tickets) by completing simple actions that will support Hunter. Tasks that can earn entries for you range from following him on Twitter to purchasing and reviewing any of his books. (THAT sort of behavior, will get you multiple entries, of course :))

Once you’re done there, there will be an easy link to come back here, so you can continue reading this week’s NetNet.

CLICK TO GO TO THE PARANORMALIST PORTAL

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LEARN ABOUT THE ORIGINAL VAMPIRA

From Eva at The Year of  Halloween20th Century Glamour Ghoul: Honoring Maila Nurmi’s Vampira

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VIEW AN EXPERTLY CURATED SET OF SCARY SHORT VIDEOS

From Meagan at Halloween Girl: Horror short round up

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VISIT THE YANKEE PEDDLER INN (SETTING OF THE MOVIE ‘THE INNKEEPERS”)

peddler inn lobby

 

From Taylor & Dean at Haunted World: Yankee Pedlar Inn (Torrington, CT)

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DREAM OF OWNING A VERY SPECIAL VENDING MACHINE

mystery coke machine

From Mark at Mark My WordsThe Mystery Coke Machine

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GET PRIMED FOR A SERIES OF EXAMINATIONS OF THE SHERLOCK HOLMES PHENOMENA, FROM AN EXPERT

holmes-basil-rathbone

From TimPrasil, Inventor of Persons: In the Shadow of Rathbone: An Introduction

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There is no way I’m going to capture every great thing that happens in my personal web, let alone on the wider internet. The posts I feature here just happened to catch my eye. They resonated with me and whatever is going on in my life right now. And they are worth sharing.

‘NetNet

#NetNet

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Resolution Review | Manage your editorial calendar (and your life) for free, with MyToDos.

NOTE: WordPress.ORG bloggers apparently have access to an integrated free editorial calendar, but we dot-com-ers don’t. For us, there are plenty of paid options out there, but most are either geared toward a writing team, or expensive, or both. (And when I say expensive, I mean it. I would have been happy to pay a reasonable one-time price for a program with the features I wanted, but these puppies have high monthly fees I can’t afford.)

WHY YOU NEED AN EDITORIAL CALENDAR

An editorial calendar is used by bloggers, publishers, businesses, and groups to control publication of content across different media, for example, newspaper, magazine, blog, email newsletters, and social media outlets. — Wikipedia

Anyone who wants to be  an organized, successful, productive writer (and/or blogger) needs a decent editorial calendar. Bloggers need to plan content schedules. Authors need to track deadlines.  All writers need a system for keeping track of all the ideas that flit into their minds … because those beauties will flit right back out if they aren’t captured.

Unfortunately some of the best ideas for future blogs, stories or scenes appear precisely when it is least convenient to pin then down, when we are supposed to be fully engaged with the project at hand. In that situation, we open a notepad document or, worse, grab a scrap of paper to make a quick note. ‘Sounds fine, but it doesn’t work well in practice. Such notes get misfiled or go missing with alarming frequency, and we might as well have not had the brilliant thought in the first place.

WHY GOOGLE CALENDAR DOESN’T WORK FOR COLLECTING IDEAS

Even before I knew what an editorial calendar was, I was cobbling together the functionality of one from documents stored in Gmail or on Evernote and my Google Calendar.

I have been using Google calendar for years, to keep track of what’s going on with my family. Every member has access to it, and that means that idea notations are distracting clutter for everyone, including me. (Hey, you want that kind of calendar to tell you quickly who has to be at work or school and when, not that Mom might-maybe write about black-eyed children this month.)

In Google Calendar, there is a function to see a single calendar category, but after using that you have to click all the individual calendar categories, one at a time, to make them visible again. That’s a pain. Plus, it insists that you allot a particular date and time to a task, which doesn’t work for capturing ideas for future blog posts or short stories. I believe Google Calendar has made at least a token effort at creating a tasks section but it focuses on the accepted wisdom that a task must be given a particular due date … which isn’t quite what we need when we’re generating a list of future possibilities.

WHY LISTS DON’T WORK FOR PLANNING YOUR POSTING OR WRITING SCHEDULE

Until I found MyToDos, I used first Gmail, then Evernote to try to create organized lists of future posts. The problem there is that I shift things around ALL THE TIME. On a day that I intended to write about a horror-themed video game, I chose instead to write about Richard Matheson … and because it’s my blog, that was okay.

It mat not be hard to change the order in a list, but it’s really easy for listed items to become disassociated from dates, themes and schedules when you have to look back and forth between a calendar program and a list document.

WHY MYTODOS IS THE PERFECT FREE PROGRAM FOR BUILDING YOUR EDITORIAL CALENDAR

mytodos instructions free editorial calendar

From the site. Click to enlarge.

Even though MyToDos does not bill itself as an editorial calendar, it might as well have been designed to be one. The key is its emphasis on the TASKS rather than the dates. All tasks are entered into a project list. From there, they can be dragged to the calendar or to another project list. You can have an unlimited number of project lists, but only four of them show at any given time in the main view–

You know what? The easiest way to demonstrate the awesomeness of this program is to show you.

**Renae wanders off on a quest to learn how to do a screen capture video. Some time later, she returns with the goods.**

This video will give you an overview of the program:

NOTE, NEXT DAY: I intended to do a second video today, to show some of the tips and tricks I’ve learned from using the MyToDos program over time. Unfortunately, the screen capture program I used to make last night’s video seems to have become a useless brick overnight. (Does anyone know why CamStudio would work great the first time it’s used but then not at all on the second attempt? Is it a glitch or something?)

ANYWAY …

If I can figure out how to use MyToDos as an effective editorial calendar, you can.

There isn’t a lot of documentation on the site, but working with MyToDos is genuinely intuitive. As with any software, you need to learn to work within the confines of the program. In the case of MyToDos, it’s helpful to have a game plan ready as you go in, to help you find tasks easily in what may become long lists.

  • Carefully think about how to create a logical set of project lists. Refine as needed.
  • Don’t be afraid to make many project lists. It’s easy to combine or condense later.
  • REMEMBER that MyToDos sorts all items in a given list numerically and alphabetically.
  • To have numbered items appear in the correct order, use a two or three digit (as needed) notation, like this: not 1,2,3…8,9,10 but 01,02,03…08,09,10 – otherwise, 10 will sort ABOVE 2.
  • Use prefix codes to keep similar items together. I preface all my future Body Preservation posts like so:  BP | (recipe or article idea)
  • Don’t put anything on the calendar until you really mean to do it on a particular day. It’s easy enough to change things and move things around, but avoid clutter.
  • Remember that seeing an apparently “empty” day in the past on the calendar (when using the default view) is a GOOD thing – it means you did everything you set out to do.
  • EDIT: In the video, I say that you have to find a task in its home list, on the my todos tab, to mark it completed. ‘Just realized that if you DRAG AND DROP a task to the check mark icon next to the task entry box, it works great.

BONUS: REPEATING TASK REMINDERS

In my video, I forgot to show you an additional feature of the calendar view. On the PREFERENCES tab, you may set it up so that small, clickable icons will appear in the upper space of each day.

editorial calendar icon view

Screenshot. Click to enlarge.

Options include:

outside1 Outside : Go outside and get some fresh air, appreciate nature 

finance Finance : Pay your bills, balance your checkbook, get your finances in order

exercise Exercise : Take a walk around the office, walk the dog, get some fresh air

write1Write : Keep a journal, work on your book, post to your blog  

See? I told you it might have well been designed as an editorial calendar. 

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body preservation

This post concludes a five-part series called Resolutions Review. They will be accessible in the Body Preservation section of the blog. Other titles include:

1) Resolutions Review | Did you get control of your weight, fitness, money, and work issues? (Plus power poses.)

2) Resolutions Review | How “You Need A Budget” (YNAB) helped us save $1000 in less than 3 months.

3) Resolutions Review | How Spark People helped me lose 10 pounds in 11 weeks without dieting.

4) Resolutions Review | Write more with fun (free) productivity tools: Focus Booster, Write or Die, Camp NaNoWriMo, WriMoProg & progress meters.


This blog is meant to be a paranormal refuge for horror fans, because …

… I know how hard it is to stay true to your paranormal self when you’re embroiled in the bright and shiny world of the normals.

(Note to the folks that have been here a long time: this is an addition to my Backstory page. I just found its draft in my files and decided to polish it up and include it. I could have backdated it, but I think it’s kinda fun, so it’s going up like any other post. I’ll eventually delete this little note and it will seem like it has always been here.)

I’m lucky. Now that my youngest child is 18 and going to college, I can afford to delve deep into the  horror / paranormal world. I may not be eager to get arrested while doing a paranormal investigation, but having an encounter with a cop in graveyard in the wee hours would not disrupt the education nor destroy the social life of my spawn. These days, I could wear a pointy witch hat to the grocery store in April if I wanted … it’s even possible that neither of my kids would flinch if they happened to be along for the ride.

practical magic paranormal horror fan refuge retreat escape

Truth is, I’d be more like to chose one of these hats.

That was not always the case. For many years I was caught up in a lifestyle that demanded me to be bright, and shiny and proper. (Being a parent, especially a home school parent, will do that to you.) My true history, interests, and preferred pastimes had to be kept on the down-low.

 

munsters paranormal horror fan refuge retreat escape

Even as a child, I felt so sorry for Marilyn Munster.

Just about the time that my proper-parent persona could be retired, our life blew up. Though, by then, I had already created this blog – and started taking my writing seriously for the first time in 15+ years – I was suddenly plunged into an unexpected period of down-sizing, life-simplifying and working full time. Now, after a tumultuous two years or so, my family has come into a magical life-stage in which I am able to dedicate myself to writing full-time about dark and beautiful things.

the-shining-jack-typing

Things like Jack and Stephen.

A major part of my goal for this blog is to create a refuge for folks who aren’t as lucky as me just yet. It’s a love letter to  people who can neither afford to spend too much time digging into the paranormal / horror world to find the good stuff, nor step too far outside the lines in their pursuit of dark and profound things.

This would be too far outside the lines.

This would be too far outside the lines.

I know that most of the readers that show up at my page in the middle of night, or on their lunch hour, are still deeply embroiled in the same kind of life I had just a few years ago. For some of those readers, life revolves around PTO meetings that need attending, scout troops and sporting leagues that need leading, and play-dates that need arranging. Others have jobs and careers that require massive amounts of time and energy to nurture. And they have employers and co-workers who will not tolerate overt displays of gothic or dark sensibilities on the sales floor or in the next cubicle.

NCIS Abby goth character

Unless you’re a forensic specialist, apparently.

On top of all that, some of my readers are also trying to fit writing and art-making around the edges of their work-a-day worlds. They come here to get a taste of the things that feed them and help to fill the creative well.

th ring girl climbing out of the well

This looks like my creative well.

I’ve been there. And I survived it, but there’s no need for you to have to suffer a lack of eerie and interesting distractions and inspirations. I wish there had been a blog sanctuary like this one for me to read when I had limited time and energy, coupled with a deep need to retreat from the normal world for a while.

Now that I have the luxury of time, I feel it’s my mission to make such a place for you. Make yourself comfortable and let me know if there’s anything special you’d like to see, here in the sprawling haunted house that is The Paranormalist.

~ Renae

PS: Click the pic to go to a source site.

 


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