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Q & A Tag – The Writer Next Door

16 May

Hello everyone! Today I’d like to thank Marjorie Mallon from KYROSMAGICA for nominating me to take part in The Writer Q & A Tag. Marje is a writer, book reviewer, and all around great person. She has a fun and colorful blog that is all about the magic of writing, her love for books, crystals, laughter and much more, so be sure to check it out.

kyrosmagica-The Writer Next Door-Marjorie Mallon-Vashti Q

What’s this tag about? Its a fun tag celebrating writers, bloggers, books, and writing. It is also a great way to discover or know more about our online friends in the writing and blogging communities.

Following are the questions that Marje Mellon prepared for me and my answers.

  1. If you met a sexy vampire what would you do? Hook up, get the garlic and crosses out or run a mile?


Hmm. I would interview him.


  1. What’s your favorite genre of book and why?


I love to read the same genres I write which are fantasy, horror and suspense/thriller. However, I do occasionally read romantic comedies, crime thrillers, and historical fantasies. If someone recommends a book in another genre I may read the first few chapters to see if I like it. I do like to give every book a fighting chance.

halloween-horror-clown-Vashti Q-The Writer Next Door

  1. Who is/are your favorite author (s), poet (s)? What is it about them that inspired you?


Stephen King, C.S. Lewis, J. R. R. Tolkien, Dan Brown, Anne Rice, Tom Clancy. I admire these authors’ imagination and ability to tell a good story in a way that I can play it out in my mind in living color.


Poets: Emily Dickinson, Maya Angelou, Edgar Allan Poe, and Anne Sexton



  1. If you had to control a classroom of year 6 kids would you bale, or enjoy the challenge? Would you be (a.) Too undisciplined to do so, you’d just join in the general mayhem, (b.) Enjoy bossy them around, or (c.) Pray in a corner for the bell to sound. Guess which one would be my reply, winners will be mentioned on my blog!


I would tell them a story. That has always worked for me with smaller cousins growing up and with my nieces, nephews and their friends when they were younger. I might join in a little bit of mayhem too––as I suspect you would, Marje. 😉


  1. What made you become a writer/blogger? Do your family support you or do they think you’re crazy, bored, attention seeking, or all of these? Tell us a bit about your current WIP and/or books…


Nothing made me become a writer. I was born and that’s what I am. My family is very supportive.


I’m working on a fantasy series about angels. The first book in the series is called The Fall of Lilith. I’m currently working on some structural issues. I’m also writing the second book in the series, Dracúl.


  1. What is the most awful job and/or experience you’ve ever done/had?


When my husband and I sold our previous home (it sold much faster than we had anticipated) we had to temporarily stay at someone else’s house until our new home was ready. I did not want to stay in this person’s house but my husband had good reasons to stay there, so we did. This was one of the worst experiences of my life. I felt like I’d experience hell. The aura in that house was so dark and negative. One of the people living in the house did everything humanly possible to make our stay as horrible as could be. I never felt so uncomfortable and sad in my life. Leaving there was like escaping from hades. However, this experience has made me appreciate my home and my family so much more, and for that I’m thankful. (I know how dramatic this reads)


  1. Are you a plotter or a pantser? Does this spill out onto other parts of your life? Are you generally organised/disorganised? Can you guess what I am?


I always start the process as a plotter. Somewhere along the line the pantser takes over. I use an outline, sketches, character diamonds . . . I like to begin the novel in an organized way. As I write things begin to change and I allow the story to unfold in a more organic way. I’m generally an organized person but I do have my messy moments. I would guess you’re a plotter, Marje.

 spiral-festisite-Vashti Q-The Writer Next Door-graphic-art

  1. Do you believe in Ghosts? Fate? Love at First Sight? Fairies? Psychic happenings? Numerology, Mermaids, The Loch Ness Monster, Demons . . . etc. . . . Make your own observations . . . and let me know.


Vashti Q-fun-writer-blog-book-author-facebook

I believe in God and if there’s a God there are good and bad forces. I believe in Karma, mind-over-matter, visualization, meditation, perseverance, positive thinking . . . For the rest––if I could see it, hear it, and feel it, then it’s real.

scary-halloween-Vashti Q-The Writer Next Door


  1. What is the worst haircut/clothes/hats you’ve ever had/worn? Photos please, or describe in vivid detail…


When I was a blonde I had my hair color done and it looked good at the beauty salon but when I got home I noticed there were a few areas where the toner didn’t take. Had it happen in areas that were not noticeable I would have left it alone but the brassy areas where very noticeable so I called the hairstylist and she told me to come back in. Instead of adding toner to the areas that needed it she put bleach over my entire head, including areas that were already bleached! I didn’t think that was right but I figured she knew what she was doing as the professional cosmetologist. Well, all my hair broke off leaving me with about an inch of hair all over my head and maybe an inch and half or two inches in the front. I was at the shampoo bowl when she said, ‘Oh no!’ I looked up at her and she showed me a handful of my hair.

Vashti Q-The Writer Next Door-writer-blogger

  1. Please finish this sentence with more than three extra words: Life is one foot in and one foot out, you . . .


. . . never know when your time will come, so live life to the fullest and appreciate what you have and the good people in your life.

I nominate any writer, poet or blogger who’d like to participate in this tag. You can answer Marje’s questions or make up your own. Let me know when you publish your post. Have a great day everyone!

Writers Quote Wednesday – Empathy

6 Apr

Hello everyone and welcome to my blog. It’s Writers Quote Wednesday and I’d like to take advantage and say a little something about empathy.

empathy-quote-writers quote Wednesday-the writer next door

I believe what this quote says also. Without empathy the world would be in chaos. I believe that the story of Sodom and Gomorrah has a lot to do with the people of these two ancient cities lacking empathy and becoming desensitized to the suffering of their own people. Whether you believe God destroyed these two wicked cities or the eruption of a colossus volcano wiped them out, the truth is the world is a better place with them gone.

Right about now you may be thinking, what the heck is she talking about? Something similar to what happened in the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah is happening in the world today. I’m not preaching ‘Armageddon’ but you have to admit that many people nowadays are sorely lacking  empathy.

My father is still in the hospital. He’s doing a little better every day so we’re a bit more hopeful. He has a strong will and is fighting like crazy. I have spent a lot of time in the hospital with him and if you have a family member admitted in the hospital I recommend you do the same. When I’m not there my mom, sister or brother are. My brother and I are in the medical field and my mom is a retired nurse. We know what goes on.

I venture to say that 80% of the hospital staff are good people that care but then you have that 20% that are completely desensitized and lack empathy for the patients they treat and their families who are suffering right along side them. These are the people to watch out for.

My father is not alone in his hospital room. He shares the room with another man. The other patient’s wife has been by his side since my dad was moved to that room on Sunday. At least she’s always there when I’ve gone to visit my dad which is every day for many hours. Yesterday I overheard the older woman (she’s in her 80s) ask the nurse if she could bring her a sandwich or a small soup. She thought that since her husband, who was hospitalized, could not eat that maybe she could get a little of the food he was unable to consume. To my surprise the nurse told her no and not in a very nice way. The lady explained that she had no family to bring her food and she did not want to leave her husband’s side and I suspect she didn’t have much money either. The nurse told her coldly that she was not going to repeat herself and that the answer was still no.

My heart was crushed. I mean, I felt physical pain in my chest. How could someone stare a person in the face and refuse to help them, especially a tiny (maybe 95 lbs) 80 year old who’s hungry when you know you could easily help her. My family and I have been offered soup, sandwiches, jello, pudding, juice and all sorts of things by other nurses while we’ve been there and this nurse is telling this lady that she can’t do it. I couldn’t believe the callous way in which this nurse spoke to this lady or the lack of empathy.

Afterward I told the patient’s wife that I was headed for the cafeteria and that I would bring her something to eat. I brought her back a soup and sandwich and she ate the soup and saved the sandwich for later. Before I left the hospital I spoke to the charge nurse and explained what had happened. She told me not to worry that from that moment on they will bring the older lady food and she kept her word because the nurse (a different nurse) and nurse assistant have been coming by the room and bringing my dad’s neighbor’s wife snacks like jello, pudding . . . between breakfast and lunch of course. She will be receiving three meals a day plus snacks. That’s the way it should be. After all, if a hospital is going to charge $25.00 for an aspirin, $8.00 for a box of tissue, and $20.00 every time the blood pressure cuff is used they can afford to feed a poor old lady who doesn’t want to leave her husband’s side an occasional soup and sandwich.

People in the medical field are constantly in danger of becoming desensitized and of lacking empathy for the patients they serve and their families. I commend all those individuals who have been in the medical field for years and maintain concerned, moved, involved––with love in their hearts for those they care for and their families. I appreciate you and am so grateful for you. ❤



Colleen Chesebro is a writer, poet, and book reviewer. She hosts an inspiring event every Wednesday on her blog, Silver Threading, called Writer’s Quote Wednesday. Anyone can participate by choosing a quote by a favorite writer and posting it on your blog.

I want to thank all my wonderful online friends for the love and support, kind thoughts, wishes and prayers for my father’s well being. You are all great and I am very thankful.

empathy-The Writer Next Door-Writers Quote Wednesday

My dad

I don’t want to say goodbye . . .

31 Mar

My father is in the hospital again. He had been doing better than expected for a while now, so I guess it made us forget how bad things really are. He came over my house on Sunday for Easter brunch and although he was walking and talking and seemed to be happy I noticed there was something off. He was pallid and he struggled more than usual to walk and he hardly ate.

He went downhill from there and at 3:00 am on Tuesday he was admitted to the hospital. He’s lethargic and unresponsive now. When I arrived at the hospital and spoke to him he tried to open his eyes and he managed to open them a little and he smiled but after that he wasn’t responding to the nurses or doctors that came by.

I’ve been in and out of the hospital since then, mostly in, which is why I didn’t do Writer’s Quote Wednesday and haven’t been online much at all. Sorry about that. My sister Cleo is in the hospital with him now and I’ll be leaving soon but I didn’t want to leave everyone hanging without an explanation. I’ll get myself together and get back to my routine as soon as I can but for now I’m going to see my dad. This is a very painful part in someone’s life and I’m barely hanging on.

My father has come close several times and recovered. He has a very strong will but this time it seems different.

Father-Poetry-the love of a father

My dad


by Vashti Quiroz-Vega

His brown eyes deepened into polished onyx, and upon them came a mist of tears.

He watched with the facade of a brave man as his baby boy entered the world.

As if his mind and body were not consumed by overwhelming fears.

What are my duties? There are no guidelines. Where do I begin?

The babe in his arms felt so natural, yet so alien. A fire blazed in his chest.

“You are a father now.” The words were jolting, yet pleasing to his heart.

His brown eyes deepened into polished onyx, and upon them came a mist of tears.

He watched with the façade of a calm man as his son toddled, taking his first steps.

As if his mind and body were not consumed by overwhelming fears.

What if he falls? What if he hurts himself? I would fail as a father.

The toddler tottered to him and embraced him with dulcet giggles.

As he held his son, it did not feel alien. His heart gave way for love to conquer.

His brown eyes deepened into polished onyx, and upon them came a mist of tears.

He watched with the façade of a cool man as his son introduced him to his first girl.

As if his mind and body were not consumed by overwhelming fears.

What if he falls in love? What if she breaks his heart?

He embraced his son and slipped extra cash in his pocket.

As he held him, it felt like love, and he rested assured his son was smart.

His brown eyes deepened into polished onyx, and upon them came a mist of tears.

He watched with the façade of a brave man as his son grew and had sons of his own.

As if his mind and body were not consumed by overwhelming fears.

Did I raise him right? Did I teach him to be a good husband and father?

He embraced his son, and they were swathed by the love they both felt.

As he held his son, his questions were answered, and he grew calmer.

His son’s brown eyes deepened into polished onyx, and upon them came a mist of tears.

He watched his father wear the façade of a spent man as he lay on a hospital bed.

His son’s mind and body were consumed by overwhelming fears.

Am I doing the right thing? Who am I to decide when his time has come?

His face dampened with sorrow as he embraced his father.

As he held his father’s weary body and gazed into his dimming eyes, his questions were answered, and he grew calmer.

His brown eyes deepen into polished onyx, and upon them comes a mist of tears.

He watches with the façade of a pitiful man as his son reaches for that button.

He is ready to leave this world and grateful his son has let go of his fears.

As his son holds his ruined body, and he feels the lifeblood drain from his eyes, he knows he has raised him right.

His mind and body are consumed with overwhelming love.

His son has given him the gift of peace, and his happy spirit travels toward the light.

Copyright © 2014 by Vashti Quiroz-Vega. All rights reserved.


Rainbow Bridge

19 Jun

Rainbow Bridge

This is Rascal, my 16 year old toy pomeranian. I lost him yesterday. Needless to say this year has been rough on me. My little fur ball is gone and already I miss him so much. He would have been 17 years old November 22nd. He had heart issues and I knew it wouldn’t be long. I thought I was prepared–––I wasn’t. He took a little piece of my heart with him. I will never forget him, or all the unconditional love he showed me. I know I did everything I could for him and that he had a great life. That gives me peace. Anyway, this is not a pity party. I wanted to share a touching poem that my brother’s wife Celina, whose like a sister to me, sent me. I hope you enjoy. ❤

RIP-Rascal-Vashti Quiroz-Vega

Rascal wearing his little Miami Heat T-shirt.



Rainbow Bridge


Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.

When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge.
There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together.
There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.

All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor; those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by.
The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.

They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent; His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.

You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.

Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together….

Author unknown…


rascal-pomeranian-rip-Vashti Q


I hope you enjoyed Rainbow Bridge. Have you lost a pet? How did you cope? Did you get another pet right away to replace it, or did you wait?


Book Reading / Signing

7 Apr


The 3 little actors that performed The Basement skit from the 'Weapons' Chapter.

The 3 little actors rehearsing for a play based on the ‘Weapons’ Chapter from The Basement.


My first Book Reading/Signing event took place on Friday at GMAA, a private school in Westchester, Florida.  I was very nervous (I always am before any event), but excited at the same time.  I was going to be reading to kids between the ages of eleven and sixteen. Tough crowd – or so I thought.  


The night before the reading, my little seventeen-year-old Pomeranian gave me a bad night.  He kept getting up and walking from one end of the bed to the other, over and over again, while making a noise I call a cough, but it’s more like loudly coughing, wheezing and clearing his throat at the same time.  I got up and took him to the kitchen to see if he wanted some water.  He drank, and I brought him back to bed.  He was quiet for a minute, and then began walking and coughing again. I got up for a second time and took him outside to see if he wanted to do something.  Nothing.  Well, this went on until one thirty in the morning, when he finally settled down and fell asleep.  This has happened before and I’ve told his vet about it on several occasions, but she explains there’s nothing that can be done about it.  He takes a bunch of pills for several things already (poor thing). He’s just very old.  After a sleepless night, he had some sort of episode in the morning that had me in tears. I almost cancelled the reading, but fortunately he seemed to get better.  




Right before leaving my house, I misplaced my keys and spent at least ten minutes looking for them. I always put my keys in the same place so that I always know where to find them, but of course this morning was not going as planned. When I finally found my keys, I stormed out the door (without breakfast) and ran into a terrible traffic jam.  It seemed like there were terrible forces conspiring against me. Everything that could go wrong was happening on this important day.

 Book Reading-signing-event-vashtiquirozvega

My fortunes changed once I finally arrived at the school. My sister Cleo greeted me very warmly. You see, Cleo is a music teacher at this prestigious school. Her children (Natasha, Vanessa and Joshua), were ages 17, 23 and 12 when they read my book and loved the story. Cleo read it and enjoyed it, as well. She introduced it to the school’s librarian, who didn’t have time to read it, so her assistant read it instead and also loved it. My sister asked for several copies of the book to give to the English and literature teachers at the school, and I gladly gave them to her. Well, this led to the book being incorporated into the school’s library and curriculum and to the Book Reading/Signing event.

Book Reading-Signing-Event-The Basement-Vashti Quiroz-Vega


Everyone at the school was friendly and kind, which made me feel at ease. I wanted my Book Reading/ Signing event to be different. I wanted the kids to be entertained, but I also wanted to instill in them a desire to read. I had adapted one of the chapters from my book into a skit for the kids to perform. My sister took the play to the 5th grade teacher, Miss Betchel. She chose three kids to play my characters: Robbie, Natasha and Cleo. I was very excited.

Kalvin Martinez, Ester Peiro and Janine Llaurado as Robbie, Cleo and Natasha

Kalvin Martinez, Ester Peiro and Janine Llaurado as Robbie, Cleo and Natasha


All the kids were taken to a small auditorium where they sat and waited for the Show Book Reading/Signing event to begin. They said a prayer and sang a hymn. I was introduced. I spoke a few words and then my book trailer was shown on a large screen. The kids clapped excitedly when the trailer was over.  


After I read a short chapter from the book, the kids performed the play. Janine Llaurado, Ester Peiro and Kalvin Martinez did a great job portraying the characters.  After that I spoke a few words about what inspired me to write The Basement, and gave aspiring writers in the group (which were many) a few tips on writing.  Afterwards, I took pictures of the actors in my play, teachers, librarian, my sister… I was having a great time and had forgotten all about the bad night and morning.


The Basement-book-signing-reading-Vashti Quiroz-Vega's Blog

Janine Llaurado as Natasha

I set up a table with my books in the library, and just when I thought the fun was over, hordes of kids came into the library in waves with their teachers.  They were so excited about the book.  They asked me a million questions, not just about The Basement, but also about my experience as a writer and the writing process!  Many of the kids told me about how much they loved to read. I think nothing warmed my heart more than that. These kids were excited about reading! I wanted to do flips and dance on the library tables (inappropriate, I know).

 The Basement-book signing-reading-preteens

I had an awesome time interacting with the children. Telling them what The Basement is about, what inspired me to write it and what they needed to do to prepare if they wanted to become writers: read, read, read and write, write, write.  Oh, yeah… I sold some books, too.


The Basement-Vashti Quiroz-Vega-book-reading-signing-author 


We shouldn’t teach great books; we should teach a love of reading.

Guest Author Vashti Quiroz-Vega

21 Mar

I’m a guest blogger at Chris The Story Reading Ape’s Authors Blog! Check it out and leave me some feedback. Thank you!

Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog

970594_405793276204758_797328340_nMy name is Vashti Quiroz-Vega, and I’m a writer of Fantasy, Suspense, Thriller and Horror. My first novel, The Basement , was released in August 2013. It was one of the happiest and proudest moments of my life. It was not easy getting my book published. Once upon a time, I was very naive when it came to the publishing process. I thought all I had to do as a writer was to write the book. Soon, I had a rude awakening when I found out that my manuscript had to be edited. Then I found out I had to get an agent in order to interest a publisher, and I had to write a query letter in order to get an agent! Well, after many months of querying, I finally got my manuscript in the hands of a publisher… who wanted it edited some more. Phew! A year later…

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The Crying Boy

21 Jan


While on Google+ I came across a post written by my friend Mohammad Alsous. There’s always a lesson to be learned with every post he publishes. I wanted to share this with you guys, but I have to warn you that it brought me to tears.


On a bright and sunny day a man polished his prized possession–his new car.  His 4 year old son picked up a stone and scratched lines on the side of the car.

In a fit of anger, the man took the child’s hand and hit it many times; not realizing he was using a wrench.

At the hospital, the child lost all his fingers due to multiple fractures.

When the child saw his father…..with painful eyes he asked, “Dad when will my fingers grow back?”

The man was so hurt and speechless; he went back to his car and kicked it repeatedly.

Devastated by his own actions his knees buckled and he landed on the ground sitting.

As he sat in front of his car he looked through vision blurred with tears at the scratches his child had made. The boy had written ‘LOVE YOU DAD’.

The next day that man committed suicide.

Mohammad’s words…

Anger and Love have no limits ,,,
Things are to be used and people are to be loved, but the problem in today’s world is that, People are used and things are loved.

During this year, let’s be careful to keep this thought in mind:
Things are to be used, but People are to be loved.


Curse Of The Crying Boy!

How an urban legend erupted into fiery headlines. ~ Fortean Times

(Click on the images below to read the accounts)

Curse of the crying boy

curse of the crying boy

The curse of the crying boy

The Crying Boy

Cold Touch

by Denise Morgan

A cold touch, shivers
Turned full circle, no one
Ghostly encounter.


Am I A Sucker?

14 Nov

Am I A Sucker?

The other day I went to a nearby supermarket to buy strawberries, pineapple, kale, spinach and parsley for a smoothie I planned to make the following morning. The grocery store was busy for a Monday evening. I looked around and, of course, picked up a few knickknacks that were not on my shopping list—but what else is new. When I finally got to the checkout line, there were two people ahead of me (not bad).

I was caught up reading the latest gossip about Kim Kardashian and Miley Cyrus in the trashy magazines located in the racks conveniently placed near the register, when it dawned on me the line had not moved at all. The man at the head of the line took off, leaving all his groceries behind. The cashier pushed his groceries to one side and told the lady ahead of me to come forward. As she did, she asked what had happened. While the cashier explained, my ears were alert and focused (imagine a Chihuahua with its large ears standing at attention).

The man had forgotten his wallet at home, or so he claimed. As the cashier processed the groceries, her customer grimaced at the story, twisting her mouth and rolling her eyes. Then, as she was paying, the man suddenly returned. He explained to the cashier that he had misplaced his wallet and couldn’t find it. The customer sucked audibly on her teeth, shot him a dirty look, and walked away with her bags of groceries.

The man’s face wore an expression of complete humiliation. He continued to offer explanations to the woman behind the counter as she checked out my groceries. From the corner of my eye, I saw what he had come to get. There was no beer, whisky or cigarettes. As a matter of fact, his groceries consisted of staples: a pack of chicken drumsticks, milk, eggs, bread, a small bottle of vegetable oil, peanut butter, tomatoes and a package of American cheese.

I peeked at him and noticed his shoes were worn down to nothing. His pants were baggy and worn, as was his shirt. He had the look of a man going through hard times.

The cashier gave me my total. I paid. I left the supermarket.

As I walked away from the building, my heart grew heavy. I sat in my car. I’m not claiming to be Mother Teresa, but I couldn’t stand the thought of that man going hungry. I left my car and returned to the market. I ran to the checkout line. The man was no longer there, but his groceries still lay cramped in one corner. I asked the cashier where the man was, and she told me he had just walked out the door. I told the cashier I would pay for his groceries and then rushed to get him, but not before receiving a weird look from her.

I caught up to him at the corner and told him to come back to the store—that I would pay for his groceries. He refused. It took me quite a while to convince him to take my money. I finally told him he would be doing me a favor. The older man smiled faintly, took the money, and gave me his blessing. At that moment, I felt a weight lifted from me.

I’m not rich, and I know I’m no saint, but my gut told me this man really needed a break. He looked like he could be anyone’s dad. He was clean and did not smell of alcohol, and I could see anguish in his eyes. I was compelled to help him.

Some people I know tell me I’m a sucker. They say he went to the grocery store looking for a sucker to pay for his groceries. My answer to that is, maybe he did. Perhaps he was that hungry and that desperate.

So what do you think? Am I a sucker? Or did I do the right thing? What would you have done if you were in my shoes?

middle-aged-man_Vashti Quiroz-Vega's Blog

Thank you for visiting my blog


Halloween Horror Nights

24 Oct

Halloween Horror Nights

Hi everyone! Welcome. I’m nearing the end of my Spooky Nights In October series. So, I mentioned in one of my previous posts that I had plans to go to Halloween Horror Nights. Well, I did go and I want to tell you all about it.

First, I stayed at the Loews Royal Pacific Resort at Universal Orlando. I experienced the allure of the South Seas in this beautiful hotel and it’s at walking distance from the park.

My room

My room

My two doggies, Rascal and Cocoa came along and they were ecstatic that they had their own bed.

Cocoa (left) and Rascal (right)

Cocoa (left) and Rascal (right)

Cocoa & Rascal made themselves comfy for sleepy time.

Cocoa & Rascal made themselves comfy for sleepy time.

The hotel’s concierge sent over a goody bag for… you guessed it, Rascal and Cocoa! I received diddly-squat!

Doggie Goody Bag

Doggie Goody Bag

My room had a great view.

Room with a view

I could really get used to it. :/

I could really get used to it. :/

Okay, enough about the awesome hotel and room. Now, one of the genres I write is Horror. I love it. So you all can see how Halloween Horror Nights could be an inspirational place for me. If you enjoy reading Horror please take some time to read my posts Terror and Hell’s Half Acre and don’t miss my Spooky Nights In October grand finale short story Raven’s Halloween Masterpiece inspired by my visit to Halloween Horror Nights.

One of the things I love to do when I go to Halloween Horror Nights is people watch. I enjoy watching the actors roam around the park dressed in some scary garb and I take pleasure in seeing the reaction of their victims. I mentioned in one of my earlier posts that there is artistry and beauty everywhere and that it comes in many forms. I definitely saw beauty at Halloween Horror Nights, although not in the traditional sense of the word. Does this make me weird? Probably. Ha,ha! Oh well, see for yourself.

The Walking Dead

The Walking Dead

The Cabin In The Woods

The Cabin In The Woods

Misty Pumpkin Patch

Zombies are the big theme this year. There were actors all over the park trying to scare the bejeezus out of you.

Halloween Horror Nights


Creepy Zombie



I had a lot of fun watching the screamers and the runners.





Halloween Horror Nights

The Houses were great this year. There are 8 houses, but if you’d like to see them all you really need to purchase an express pass. If you cannot afford an express pass (they are pricey) be sure not to miss these houses: The Cabin in the Woods, The Walking Dead and Evil Dead House. These were my favorites. I wasn’t too impressed with the Resident Evil House, which was disappointing since it’s one of my favorite film series.



Halloween Horror Nights was like a great Halloween Block Party, only I got to enter houses that thrilled and entertained me. There’s music, food and plenty to provide amusement and enjoyment. I hope I’ve given you a good overview of what it was like to visit Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Florida. Don’t miss my next post where I will be featuring my final Horror story for the Spooky Nights In October series. Have a great day!


Hell’s Half Acre

11 Oct

Hell's Half Acre - Wyoming

Hello! I had said in my last post that for the rest of the month of October my posts will be of the spooky variety. I believe I am definitely delivering on that today. The following story is based on true facts as witnessed by a friend of mine that prefers to remain anonymous. Now I have to warn you, this true story is not for the faint of heart. My friend claims this story is true and since the incident occurred he and his friends had not spoken of it…until now.





Here is his story…

Between the scraggly Florida bushes and the misting rain, Kit could barely make out the two small tire tracks where the remains of a road used to be. She was sitting in the backseat of the pickup truck, behind the guy she was trying so hard to be brave for and his best friend beside him. She chose the backseat because she felt that if she were behind him, he wouldn’t let anything get her. Kit’s best friend was sitting beside her as the four of them slowly made their way down the winding path, farther and farther into the woods.
In a voice as brave as she could muster, trying to hide the trembling from the shivers running up and down her spine, she said, “Why do they call this place Hell’s Half Acre?”

creepy woods

Johnny looked at her in the rearview mirror. The lights from the dashboard reflected ever so elegantly in her already bright green baby doll eyes. He could see she had her light brown hair pulled back into a ponytail, exposing the soft curves of her face.
With a smile he replied, “The story goes that in the 1930’s, a schoolteacher took her class out to the old sawmill on a field trip. That sawmill is where her husband had worked. One day while she was teaching at school, he disappeared, along with their three children. She didn’t know what had happened to them, and the unknowing was said to have driven her insane. That day at the mill, she killed all the children in her class before committing suicide. They say sometimes at night, you can still hear the old mill running, even though it was completely abandoned in the 60’s. There hasn’t been any power out here since it closed. They also say she has been seen walking down the road at night in a white dress stained with the blood of the children she murdered.”

Old, abandoned haunted Mill

Old, abandoned haunted Mill

Even though Kit usually found Johnny’s voice soft and soothing, the longer he talked, the more his words swept through her like a cold winter wind, chilling her to the bone. She had been raised in a church that believed in heaven and hell, demons and angels. Maybe that was one of the reasons she decided to come out here tonight—to see if everything she had been taught was true. Maybe she could bring some reality to match the faith she was told was so necessary.
Now Johnny was talking with Cody. Kit couldn’t really hear what they were saying, nor did she care. She focused on the schoolteacher’s story and on the old Live Oak trees that reached out above the grass-covered road as though they were trying to suck all the light out of the world.

Old live oak trees
“Kit, you gonna make it girl?” Shelley was leaning across the seat looking at her.
Her real name was Kathleen, but her friends called her Kit, short for Kit Kat. She turned from the window and looked at Shelley, who was such a great friend. When Kit first moved to town, Shelley was the first person she met, and for some reason, they just clicked.
“Yeah, I’m good.” That was the best lie she could come up with at the moment.
As the last of the light faded from the day, the rain started to fall more vigorously. Lightning lit up the sky, which only made the Live Oaks’ reaching arms seem that much creepier.
Johnny looked back over his shoulder. “Around this next corner, there should be a sign that says ‘Entering Hell’s Half Acre.’ Help me look for it, alright? They say not to drive your truck past the sign. Said it pisses the woman off!”
As they rounded the corner, Cody hollered. Johnny, who was still looking over his shoulder, spun back around and hit the brakes all in one motion. With no warning, the engine died. Without its constant hum, there was nothing to hide the thumping of Kit’s heart.

A loud clap of thunder shook the truck. The four friends stared out the front windshield. Kit’s fingers gripped the door handle of the truck so hard, she could no longer feel her fingers. At the right front quarter panel of the truck, covered in small green and brown vines, was the old sign: ‘Entering Hell’s Half Acre’.
A woman stood in front of the truck, peering back at them through long, wet, pitch-black hair and with eyes red from the tears of blood she had been crying.

Ghost of crazy teacher that murdered the children

Ghost of crazy teacher that murdered the children

Another flash of lightning and a loud clap of thunder. Kit’s heart raced faster and faster. She was frozen. Everything in her wanted to scream, but her chest was so tight that she couldn’t even make herself breathe.

Kit staring at the unbelievable!

Kit staring at the unbelievable!

Underneath the wind-driven raindrops that crashed against the windows of the truck floated the whir of large saws starting up and the screams of horrified children. Kit could see Johnny desperately trying to restart the truck. The engine was dead!

The wind blew harder, as though this hell storm was solely concentrated on that one horrid half acre of the world forgotten by God. Another loud scream from a child—so much pain and fear in the sound that it penetrated Kit’s soul. For the first time in her life, she felt like she had been totally isolated from God. All she wanted to do was leave, but fear ripped through her body, leaving her paralyzed.

Terrified child
The next bolt of lightning was so bright that Kit was sure it hit the truck. For a moment she lost focus, like someone had just taken her picture with an oversized flash from a camera in a pitch-black room. The truck rocked back and forth as thunder bellowed its way through the four corners of hell.

Scary ghost
When the roar of thunder subsided, Kit’s eyes focused once again beyond the windshield—but the woman was gone. Soft raindrops tapping on the window and the comforting purr of the engine were the only noises she could hear.
Johnny instinctively slammed the truck in reverse. As they made their way back down that long, dark, empty road from the place nobody should ever go, not one of them spoke a word. The absolute truth of the children’s cries on the wind and the woman, cold as the grave, standing in the road just past the sign were evidence enough for Kit that if there was a devil that could hold such a place on this Earth, then there must be a God to protect us from him.

What the four of them had seen and heard was never spoken of that night — or any other time since. But if you ever find yourself in need of evidence of what lies beyond, there is a small grass road out in the country that will take you under the old Live Oak trees to the end of the vision of God, and you will find what is truly unholy….