Communication Skills – 8



The acronym and the word fits the theme of this series. Because that first kiss is a wonderful goal. To back up a few steps is where the oft used phrase comes into play. Usually related to speeches, I think it also can be used for asking for a date.

Be brief and be specific. This brings to mind post #2, the avoidance of rambling. Again, get in, say what needs to be said, get out.

Well, stay in if – when! Think positive – she says yes. Not too long, just long enough to nail down details (time to meet or an address at which to pick her up). If the answer is no – don’t go into it thinking the worst, but if – I think a well wish for the rest of her day to be productive is fine, then get out.

“I have an extra ticket to the jazz concert this Friday evening at the Des Moines Social Club and was wondering if you’d like to join me.”

Simple. Brief. A few more words than, “Would you like to go out to dinner Friday night?” More words mean a greater chance of stuttering or a problem of mine: talking to fast. I’d have to practice (yes, we do this, ladies, and yes, it sounds silly. But we do.) to get the rhythm, the flow, the casual-ness to come through instead of sounding like I’ve rehearsed my opening line for a high school play.

I also think my question is more creative (specific) than the typical dinner line. It reminds me of a F.R.I.END.S. episode where Rachel wanted to ask out Joshua and she said she had two tickets to the Nicks game. Before she could include herself, he had assumed she was offering the tickets to him for being a good customer in her clothing department and he was going to take his male buddy. The next scene showed Rachel and Joey and she’s saying the line, “I have an extra ticket…”

Anyway, back to the topic. My prospective lady doesn’t have to know the Des Moines Social Club’s jazz nights don’t require tickets (of course this is ruined if she’s just read this blog), but a slight deception isn’t bad, is it? It’s not that slight since lately there’s a woman at the door announcing a $6 donation is requested, which sort of sounds like an admittance fee. No actual ticket, but…

Brief and specific. I thought of the jazz concert because: 1. I like jazz. 2. I think she’s classy enough. 3. The venue is cozy. 4. The musicians play from 5:30-7:30 with a break after 45 minutes. 5. This is good because the break offers a chance to leave if desired to go to dinner.

Of course my creative mind thinks of romantic movie lines if her answer is no.

“Well,” I’d say, “I had to to start at the top.”

She’d cock her head. “What do you mean?”

I’d shrug. “Well, I’ll have to lower my standards a whole lot finding another date.”

She’d smile and, impressed with my sincerity, changer her mind.

Can I write romance, or what? Ask me someday about the first couple, three dates.

Anyway, this post hasn’t been too brief, but it has been specific.

What lines have you used when asking out your intended sweetheart?

Categories: Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Around The Globe With Patricia Lee

old-bahama-bay-beach-sAs October wanes, the cold knocks at the door. So, instead of answering, i’m off to the Caribbean with this week’s featured author. Under a palm tree, nobody else around, sipping mojitos.

Hey, I’m n vacation this week. I can go where I want and do what I want. And what I want is an interview.




1. Who are you and what makes you the most fascinating person in your city?

I’m more a type B personality, somewhat of an introvert (aren’t most authors!) I’m one of those unobserved people who sit on the sidelines, blending into the crowd and like to watch other people. Fascinating person? – depends on who you speak with. I don’t think of myself as fascinating, but others who eventually get to know me say I’m interesting.

2. Without revealing a deep dark secret (unless you want to), what one thing would people be surprised to learn about you?

That I used to be a national competitive athlete in a most unconventional sport – and no I’m not going to say what it is – it’s the introvert thing LOL!

3. What interested you to become a writer rather than something else such as rock star?

An easy answer if you’d ever heard me sing. Caterwauling, fingernails on a chalkboard, off-key tune carrying. Yikes. But seriously, I used to make up stories in my head when I was a child to help me get to sleep. Each night would be a different chapter of the story. Now, I don’t wait for bedtime to make up the stories.

4. Writers are readers. With which author(s) would you enjoy sharing dinner? Why?

My favourite author was Sidney Sheldon and if I could sit with his ghost, I’d love to ask him how he could formulate the story in his head then dictate it. I believe that is how he wrote most of his books. As for an author still living, I’ve met Darynda Jones and she is a lovely person, but would like to share a few glasses of wine with her and talk writing tips and all things Reyes.

5. If I were stranded on a deserted island or suffering from a four hour layover at the airport, why would your book(s) be great company?

Without sounding pompous, my story crosses enough genres to appeal to almost everyone and keeps you turning pages to find out what happens next.

6. Share your process of writing in regards to: plot and character development, story outline, research (do you Google or visit places/people, or make it up on the spot), writing schedule, editing and number of rewrites.

I’m a plotter, all the way. I create an outline of the story, including characters (how many and where they come in) and key points throughout. I will Google when I come to parts where I feel in depth description or information with give a more concise reading experience. Character development is done on the fly (and sometimes that has made me go through a few extra edits because the progression doesn’t match the character in some points.) As for number of edits, as many as it takes to make a finished product, however I try not to edit on first draft – you can get too carried away and worry about what was written instead of what needs to be told.

7. “I think I have a good idea for a story, but I don’t know where or how to begin. Your process may not work for me. Any advice?”

Everyone has their own process. It’s all good just as long as you DO write. My very good friend, who is also an author, is a panster, doesn’t plot anything. It’s whatever works for you.

8. I saw an amusing T-shirt the other day which read, “Every great idea I have gets me in trouble.” What is your philosophy of life?

Question everything. And then find out the answers.

9. Please tell me you’re not going to stop writing? What’s next for you?

Because writing is entirely a ‘head-game’ thing, it all depends on my mind state how much and what I write. I’m currently trying a different genre. So far I really like the main character but will have to see if she can hold her weight through a book.

10. Where can people find more information on you and your projects?

Thanks for asking. I have my own website am on Facebook and Linkedin That’s about it. Like I said, I’m more of an introvert but I love to hear from fans.

coverDestiny’s Past

Daughters of the Crescent Moon Trilogy

Book One

Patricia C. Lee

Genre: Fantasy/paranormal romance

Publisher: Phoenix Literary Publishing

Date of Publication: August 22, 2015

ISBN: 9780994851222


Number of pages: 332 (print);

Number of pages 271 (ebook)

Word Count: 80, 300

Cover Artist: Taria Reed

Book Description:

No-nonsense medical examiner, Kelly Richards, relies on the familiar comforts of science and scalpels to get her through the day. So when a not-so-dead guy who claims he’s from the past lands on her autopsy table, she considers calling the men in white coats to escort him to a padded room. But Jarek’s old-world ways and hot gaze trick her heart into falling for him—a mistake she swore she’d never make again.

When Jarek, Prince of Leisos, discovers someone he trusts has been slowly poisoning him, he travels to the future in search of a cure. Driven by vengeance, he enlists the help of an impudent scientist to return him to his time.

As they try to find a solution, Kelly struggles with her feelings for Jarek while dodging the police and a visitor from her past.

Caught between his growing desire for Kelly and the need to expose his would-be assassin before they strike again, Jarek must decide between forfeiting his ticket home or losing the only woman he’s ever loved.

Book Trailer:


Kelly Richards was at her best when surrounded by death. Calm, centered, and confident, she was exactly where she was meant to be.

She plucked a pair of surgical gloves from a box on the counter, snapped them on, walked over to the open file on the desk and glanced at the information. Caucasian male, mid to late thirties, died of an apparent drug overdose.

Although she couldn’t understand or agree with people trying to find answers in chemical substances, she felt a momentary pang of sadness at the needless loss of life.

She’d dreamed of becoming an MD because she wanted to help others. Taught to maintain emotional distance from her patients, their pain and grief brought her own inner struggle to the surface—the one buried deep to avoid living it day after day. Unwilling to turn her back on aiding people, she switched careers and became a Medical Examiner to assist families of the dead achieve closure.

Working the evening shift alone at the county morgue was preferable to being with people who made idle conversation, mainly about stuff she had no interest in. It also provided a way to prevent coworker’s well-meant intentions to set her up. Her job offered escape from them, allowing her to hide from her past. And herself.

Five metal drawers occupied the far wall of the room, each containing bodies to be autopsied. Kelly pulled open the door to number three, rolled out the drawer, revealing the man she would work on.

Her eyes widened. Most of the time, the prep crew stripped cadavers of their clothing before putting them in the cooler, but if the autopsy couldn’t be performed right away, they didn’t bother. His clothing wasn’t the issue. It was the type of garments that caught her attention. He wore a short sleeve shirt, almost like a tunic, made of a fine, silky material. His loose fitting pants were woven from an odd cloth, not the usual denim or twill. Dust covered dull tan sandals strapped to his feet.

He was foreign, exotic looking. Dark brown hair, longer than the norm, barely brushed broad shoulders. His skin was light bronze, yet the file classified him as Caucasian. A frown pursed her lips. Odd. The people in admitting didn’t usually make mistakes. This male appeared of mixed Mexican or Spanish descent, maybe Cuban. She leaned closer. Hmmm. His skin didn’t have the ashen grey pallor of death either. She reached out to touch his arm.

The phone on the desk screamed two jangling blasts.

Kelly started, heart pounding against her ribs. Muttering a soft curse, she answered the phone and gave the caller information on a body she’d autopsied earlier.

She braced the desk with a trembling hand. She hadn’t been here long and working evenings still made her jumpy.

Her attention reverted to the file on the body she was supposed to autopsy. What the hell? The measurements were all wrong. No way was the body on the slab five-five. More like about six-three. Did she pull the wrong drawer out? The information at the top of the page confirmed no mistake. There must have been some kind of screw-up. Surely someone didn’t switch bodies? Checking the others would be the only way to find out.

Kelly marched back to the bank of drawers. As her hand closed around the handle of the second one, a wheezing breath not her own interrupted the silence of the room. She turned in slow motion to the cadaver lying on the slab beside her. Her throat closed. Similar to a scene out of a horror movie, the dead man’s chest rose and fell. Not the final gasp of air escaping lungs at death, he inhaled and exhaled in a slow, shallow rhythm.

Grabbing the edge of the slab for stability, she shut her eyes.

Easy girl. Calm down, it’s just your imagination. When you open your eyes, there will be a dead person on the slab, and he will not be breathing.

“Oh, for heaven’s sake. This is ridiculous. He’s dead.”

“Not yet,” the body whispered.

pat-leeAbout the Author:

Pat is a playwright and award winning author who has had a love affair with the written word since childhood, many times immersing herself in the stories of Enid Blyton and Carolyn Keene. An active imagination gave inspiration to short stories and her first play as a teen.

Her full-length play, The Truth About Lies, was staged at a regional theatrical competition in 2006. She was selected as “One of 50 Authors You Should be Reading” in 2012. One of her novels achieved a finalist slot in the 2013 International Book Award Contest – fantasy category. She is also the winner of the 15th Annual Writer’s Digest Short Story contest for A Holy Night.

Although still in pursuit of a place truly called home, Pat shares her life with her husband and three cats, all of which claim rule over the house at one point or another. Besides dreaming up the next novel, she enjoys traveling, baking, camping, wine, and of course reading – not necessarily in that order.




Tour giveaway

1 – $25 Amazon gift card plus a print copy of Destiny’s Past in EITHER Canada or the continental US.

<a class=”rcptr” href=”; rel=”nofollow” data-raflid=”ba112ffc1465″ data-theme=”classic” data-template=”” id=”rcwidget_kdejm2g2″>a Rafflecopter giveaway</a>

Categories: Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Inside The Mind of Gregory Hall

brainThis morning as I’m readying myself for work, I receive-what else-a knock on the door. Yep, you guessed it, another pesky author wanting to use my computer. So, I invite him in, feed him breakfast (I mean we’re all starving authors, right?) and we sit and chat for awhile.

But what minds some of these authors have, what insight, what…absolute ping pong ability to jump from topic to topic and yet, somehow make sense. What am I rambling on for, I should let the author do it for me…


Truth or dare. I’ve recently flipped on the wrong side of fifty. I share this truth because I’m too old to accept dares anymore. Last time I dared myself was over the summer walking with my two boys in the woods. We came upon a small stream. My oldest boy looked for a place to cross but I waved him off. “What? This stream too wide to jump? Are we not mighty mighty men?” My youngest eagerly went first, hurtling it with ease. My oldest went next, also clearing the water by a couple yards. Their eyes were on their leader, the iconic figure who represented perfection in all categories masculine. I went airborne. I was savoring flight. I made a solid landing, like a superhero leaping between buildings. And I felt the wetness surrounding my shoes. My socks soaked.

This happens when one finds himself in the middle of a stream.

When I was a young dude I knew everything about everything. But nowadays I constantly learn how little I know about anything. And I’m falling behind the pack faster and faster every time they release a new mini-touch iPad wristwatch 5000. Hell, I panic when Facespace moves the upcoming birthday section. I’m writing this blog on an Etch-a-Sketch just to look important.

Now sure, I brag like anyone else. I rattle off my Olympian list of accomplishments in an attempt to throw down and I beat my chest like a mountain gorilla during mating season. (Side note for you lady readers out there- Flirting like a mountain gorilla has caused some historical discrepancies in how I got my wife to marry me. Waving my arms in the air, screaming and showing my teeth are honestly far sexier than it sounds here. But my wife insists on using the word ‘pity’)

I was a professional standup and improv comic for twenty-five years. I’ve taught at colleges despite having only a high school education. I dated a girl named Jennifer Aniston who wasn’t the famous actress but I can still say I dated Jennifer Aniston without lying. And I’ve been lucky enough to have several of my books published. If you’ve seen your work on a shelf, you know how kick bahookie that is. There’s a groovy bond between people who have slaved over word, paragraph and chapter to reach ‘The End’. So I say ‘Huzzah!’ to all my male and females author brothers.

I once shot a wasp out of mid-air with a thin spray of Raid. I worked at the top rated haunted attraction in America as their main ‘barker’ for the tourists. Working outside in the streets allowed me to know the local Goth kids and they gave me membership as an honorary vampire. I found them so interesting I made them the focus of my novel At the End of Church Street. (Did you know Goths have the best dances, like ‘Kick the Smurf’, ‘The Mopey Two Step’ and ‘Ow, I Cut My Wrists!’?) OH! Here’s the biggest bragging card– I was once hugged by Pat Morita. Yes. Mr. Mijagi from The Karate Kid.

But none of this means a damn thing. I found something that put me in my place forever. And I learned how little I’ve done with my time here on the earth. Bored one night, I was channel surfing. I’m a sucker for history documentaries and stopped on a program about the Shinto religion. I know as much about Japanese culture as I know about any conversation between teenage girls. But knowing Shintoism doesn’t involve selfies or unpredictable swings of emotion because Bobby texted Tiffany that brb little frog picture OMG!, I decided to invest the hour and expand my horizons.

The documentary highlighted an annual ritual they call the Naked Spirit Man.

Pinch me.

At the risk of showing my limited intellectual capacity even further, I will attempt to tell you what I learned. To those in the Shinto religion who are reading this, I ask for forgiveness in advance. The Naked Spirit man ritual goes like this- for centuries, one guy is chosen by fate from a group of contestants. The holy leaders know they found their man because he picks a special marked stick. He doesn’t have to put his answer in the form of a question or face down Simon Cowell. It comes down to picking the right stick. I’m sure the process is much more complicated than I’m selling it here.

Then for the next few months, this guy is treated like a rock star. He is pampered and spoiled with the best food and living quarters and people who bathe him and he probably gets a new mini-touch iPad wristwatch 5000. A simple man who was nobody yesterday is now regarded by an entire population as a god on earth! Much like how we view Samuel L Jackson.

But as expected, there is a catch. He is getting ready for his very special event at the Hadaka Matsuri, or as they like to call it at Walmart, the ‘Naked Festival’. Can you guess where this is heading? Well, you’re wrong. Wait until you hear this.

The superstar is stripped naked and except for his eyebrows, he is completely shaved. I don’t know about you but that’s at least a third or fourth date kinda thing. But he is now the Shin-otoko, which means ‘Chosen One’ or the ‘Good Luck Keeper’. And he carries all the good luck for that year. We are about to have different definitions of ‘good luck’.

His main purpose is to share his abundance of luck. So he must run from a temple to a shrine for a Shinto deity about three-hundred yards away. That’s three football fields. Running naked and shaved. Oh, and did I mention this takes place in January?

Now if you have ever seen actual footage of a Japanese game show, you know I haven’t even scratched the surface yet. They lock you in a phone booth, on the beach, on those shows. They make you stick your face up into a long box and then release a komodo dragon at the other end. This shin-otoko ain’t going to be the guest of honor at a Macy’s Day parade. Nope. Between him and the shrine are about nine-thousand crazed sake-soaked locals dressed in their own loin cloth glory. You see, if you are one of the people who get to touch the Chosen One, all of your bad luck is erased.

Let the games begin.

The Chosen One runs into the wall of people and is pummeled and grabbed and tossed around like a discount hooker at Charlie Sheen’s bachelor party for three-hundred yards of whack-a-mole. There are factual accounts of broken arms, busted jaws and punctured lungs, and that’s injuries the rabid attendees get trying to fight their way to the middle of the crowd. In interviews afterwards, the participants say things like “Yeah, I got trampled and they shattered my ankle, but I got to touch the Chosen One’s oddly smooth tushy. Now all my bad luck has vanished!” The trip from point A to point B can take hours. It’s on par with running the Boston Marathon through a mosh pit.

Here’s the best part. The Chosen One’s reward. Once he finally reaches the shrine and pays his respects, he is rushed away to rid the town of evil. Much like my prom.

I assume he does belong to a holy fraternity of sorts afterwards. Maybe there are Shin-otoko trading cards. Maybe there are conventions like what we have for authors. “Oh my God! You were the Chosen One 1993! Can you sign my loin cloth?” You have to respect a playa like that.

In America, some idiot eats a bug on camera or survives alone in the woods, with a TV crew of fifteen people, and walks away with a million dollars. I’ve since read other articles that say the Chosen One has to run around a temple at night with a burnt evil rice cake, his fans throw buckets of water on his already-freezing body and if he accepts an award, Kayne West jumps onstage to snatch it away. I’m not sure which additions to the documentary I saw are accurate but regardless, the Western World has no idea what a bad mama jama is.

When I finally turned off the TV, I sat for a long time lost in thought. At first I was embarrassed. I’ve been alive for over half a decade and I had no idea such a sacred ritual, hundreds of years older than the USA itself, even existed. You can cross ‘worldly’ off your list of ‘Describe Greg’ adjectives. I’m too busy eating Funyuns, checking my fantasy football scores and wondering if Taylor Swift will ever find true love. If it’s not on The View or Finding Bigfoot, I know nothing about the day’s news.

But then a deeper question surfaced from my Zima-addled brain. If my town or religion or culture called upon me, would I have what it takes to be a Chosen One like they have in Japan? Could I, Greg Hall, be a Naked Spirit Man?

Thankfully for most of you, the answer is no.

I lived in Detroit for six years and made it out with minimal bullet holes. In my lifetime, I’ve survived a tornado, a hurricane at sea and even dragged a dumbass from the second floor of a burning building when my last words to him were “Hey, don’t open that pressure cooker…”

But there ain’t no way I’m stepping up to the plate to get beat to death by nine-thousand drunks. I don’t care how much good luck I’m destined to bring them. You should have seen the documentary. There has to be YouTube footage somewhere. It was like being caught outside as the last living piece of meat in a Romero film. Suddenly the ‘shaved and naked in January’ part doesn’t sound so bad.

No, from that day forth, I’ve fully admitted my shortcomings. I hold the Naked Spirit Man as a constant symbol that somewhere out there is someone who dwarfs anything I’ll ever accomplish. It’s the ultimate ego check.

It’s a wonderful thing to know where the bar is set. The golden boy at your class reunion, bragging about his wife and his girlfriend getting matching breast implants. That martyr who goes on for days about how they survived being unfriended on Facebook. Oprah. You can put them all in one pile and ask a simple question.

Do they—do any of us—have what it takes to be a Naked Spirit Man?

Because I know of thousands and thousands and thousands and thousands and thousands and thousands of crazy drunk little men who just want to touch you.

Stay humble, my friends.

coverAt the End of Church Street

Gregory L. Hall

Publisher: Fiery Seas Publishing

Genre: YA Dark Fantasy/Horror

Release Date: October 2016

Homeless and with nowhere to turn, Rebecca De Rosa finds a family of lost souls just like her—the vampires of Orlando. Reborn, she revels in her new lifestyle of ‘no rules’. Love whoever you want. Seek whatever high you wish. Live forever young. Every night’s an adventure—hunting down tourists, challenging local police, screaming to the world vampires really do exist! It’s Neverland and every dream Rebecca has comes true.

Until the first murder.

Someone else lurks in the shadows. Goths are found beheaded, with wooden stakes pounded into their chests. The hunters have become the hunted. As the bodies pile up, Rebecca and the Family are forced to ask who can you trust when the only person who believes you’re an actual vampire is a vampire killer?

About the Author:

Gregory L Hall has a long history in comedy, theatre and improv. He is a national Telly Award winner and creator of the Baltimore Comedy Fest, which supported Autism Awareness. Many fans know Greg best as the host/producer of the popular live radio show The Funky Werepig.

As a writer his work has appeared over the decade in various publications, anthologies and a short story collection. His novels rarely stick to one genre, ranging from comedy and romance to intense thrillers and horror. His biggest claim to fame is he was once hugged by Pat Morita, Mr. Miyagi of The Karate Kid. We should pause an extra moment to realize how awesome that is.

<a class=”rcptr” href=”” rel=”nofollow” data-raflid=”ba112ffc1482″ data-theme=”classic” data-template=”” id=”rcwidget_qiogizis”>a Rafflecopter giveaway</a>


Categories: Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Communication Skills – 7

Whatchu talking about


Whenever Willis said something to evoke this question from his brother, it usually involved either a crazy scheme to extract themselves from troublesome situation or involved an important lesson Arnold didn’t quite comprehend.

If Willis had tailored the message properly, he might not have had to explain it.

Politicians do this a lot. Prepare a speech to be favorable to whatever group they’re facing. This works fine unless you’re telling how much you love banks to a group of working executives and turn around and say to a bunch of lower middle class home buyers how you hate bankers.

Salesman-basically politicians with possibly a touch more integrity-do the same thing. Figure out what the customer wants, then highlight those aspects of service/product that match the customer’s needs.

Again, you may ask, what does this have to do with securing an evening with the lovely lady at work?

Talking to her before I suggest a date might help me plan the type of date that she’d like. Throughout these posts I’ve had various ideas for activities-jazz, comedy, sports-but I really don’t know. My impression of her is that she’s sophisticated and classy. I’ve never seen her wear anything but professional attire. We graphic artists and assistants wear anything from shorts and t-shirts to jeans and polo shirts. A few times a couple of the women wear dresses. But the lady’s job is part of marketing, so she has to dress the part.

Because of this, maybe a suggestion of doing a Mud Run wouldn’t go over as well as checking out the latest art gallery. Personally, I would be bored, but that’s another story.

That’s why I want to tailor the message. That’s why the idea of an hour or two at the local jazz venue seems a good middle ground. A little classier than the local band at the local bar/nightclub. Not as sophisticated as the opera which, to be honest, let’s kill me now before I suffer foreign language screeching sopranos and drum barrel basses.

Okay, Steve, you have the music, what about the food? For her, fast food to family restaurants, I think, would be a non-starter. Tapping the bank for a loan to hit the French places might be over the top. A nice Italian, Greek or sit-down-relax-with better menu selections than ‘breakfast all day’ would be the way to go. I’d have to have plan with alternatives in case she’d want to splurge and go for, you know, pizza.

I know, I know, I actually have to get to this step first, but the plan needs to be in place when the time comes.

What are your suggestions for a first date?

Categories: Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Top Five Haunted House Horror Movies

haunted-houseSo, I have to turn in the car this morning to the mechanic for routine maintenance, but when I open the door to leave, I’m met by a guy who asks, “Name your list of the five best haunted house movies.”

We go back inside, chat a bit and I welcome him to put up a guest blog. So here’s HIS list along with some information regarding his latest book (the review of which will be posted on October 10 on



Hi all. My name is Melvin Rivers, the author of “Haven of Evil,” a horror book with a haunted house theme. “Haven of Evil” was inspired by many horror novels of course, but a few movies also inspired yours truly to write “Haven of Evil.” Since Halloween is coming up, I took the liberties to name my top five haunted house movies­—movies you can enjoy while getting the creeps over a bowl of popcorn during the Halloween season.

Haven of Evil” has something that is similar to each movie. (Something I did on purpose, since I’m a huge fan of each movie.) Without further ado here’s the list.

5. The Others (2001). Grace Stewart (Nicole Kidman) a mother who lives with her two young children in a remote country house in in the immediate aftermath of World War II. The children, have a disease that makes them sensitive to sunlight. After a series of eerie events, Grace begins to fear there are others in the house. This movie had a strange twist at the end. The others weren’t the ones movie goers had suspected. “Haven of Evil” also has a strange twist towards the end.

Movie trailer:

4. The Amityville Horror (1979). A movie based on Jay Anson‘s 1977 novel of the same name. A couple moves to a house with their children and things begin to get strange. This movie is a must see during the Halloween season. It has it all as far as a good haunted house movie is concern, from ghostly experiences to demonic eyes peering through the window. I thought about this movie while writing my book.

Movie trailer:

3.Poltergiest (1982). Ghosts are very active in this movie. A glass of milk spontaneously breaks, silverware bends and furniture moves on its own accord. The phenomena seem benign at first, but quickly begin to intensify. Later on, a tree in the backyard of the house comes alive and grabs a boy through the bedroom window. And strange things come through the Television set. What would you do if you live in a house like this? I know I would get out fast.

Movie trailer:

2. The Exorcist (1973). Technically speaking the Exorcist isn’t a haunted house movie. But evil does reside inside a house. Would you live in a house with a demon possessed child living only a few doors down from you? Well, I thought so.


Haven of Evil

Melvin Rivers

Genre: Horror

Re-release date 10/25/16

ISBN: 978-1494317461

ASIN: B01384ES70

Number of pages: 265

Word Count: 41,200 words

Cover Artist: Artrocity

Book Description:

Haven of Evil, a book of supernatural terror, contains bone-chilling terror that is unleashed on an unsuspecting couple who moves into their new home after a flood had destroyed the old one.

When Kevin and Sandra Wilson’s home and personal possessions were destroyed by flood waters, the couple relocated to a town called Havenville. Things started out rough when they avoided hitting a mysterious woman on the road. Later Kevin was attacked by hawks in a cemetery where a stranger rescued him. Kevin and the stranger become fast friends, but later the stranger wasn’t who he had appeared to be.

After some tragic and terrifying events Sandra goes into a murderous rage not long after Kevin finds out about an evil that dwelled inside their house–an evil that will change their lives forever.

In this tale of horror, some will live and others will not.

Book Trailer:


He turned to walk back home. A woman in a black dress stood a few paces in front of him. The woman’s eyes were black marbles embedded in a sunken face. Her white hair hung down over her shoulders like spaghetti strings, and there were more cracks in her face than there were on a broken sidewalk. A foul stench seemed to follow her around – the scent of rotting meat.

Kevin grimaced and held his nose. The horrid odor clung to him like stench on a decomposed corpse. “What in the –”

Leave that place now,” the woman’s voice gurgled.

He took a step back, fanned his nose, and spat. “You’re the woman I almost hit on the road.” He narrowed his eyes and scratched his head. “How – I mean, what in the –”

Don’t give in to the dreams or listen to him. You can’t defeat it.” She turned and pushed her way through a hedge of high bushes to the right of the highway.

Miss, what are you talking about?” He pinched his nose to keep the woman’s stench at bay and followed her through a stretch of woods, coming to an open field. A steep hill was not far away. “Hey, Miss, where are you?” he called, looking around. She was nowhere in sight.

She’s obviously crazy. I wonder if her family knows she’s out here. If she has family at all… he fanned his face and blew out a breath. That smell… how did it get on her?

Squawking came from somewhere above him. Kevin looked up to see hawks circling the area as if they owned it.

Kevin started up the hill when a hawk swooped down. He ducked. The bird soared past him and came up squawking, wings flapping and beak open. Kevin covered his face with his arms and ran. The animal’s talons, long and sharp, reached for his arms. Kevin sidestepped to the right and caught hold of a wing. He hurled the hawk with all his strength. The bird fluttered wildly before flying away.

He sat and breathed heavily while watching the sky in case the hawk came back. After resting, he climbed the hill and surveyed the view. There was, on the other side of the hill, a cemetery – the biggest he had ever seen. Headstones, grave markers, and crosses spread out over at least five-hundred acres. He descended the hill for a better view. Something snapped and he fell.

Oh, shit!” he screamed. He clenched his jaw against the pain and fought to keep back tears. He pried the mouth of an animal trap from his leg and staggered to his feet, managing to limp a few feet before falling again. He winced in pain.

A hawk flew down and perched on a headstone.

I’m going to die only a few yards from a cemetery. At least they won’t have to carry me far.

The bird raised a wing as if it was ready to attack.

No, I’m going to fight. I refuse to die out here,” Kevin said under his breath. He struggled to his feet. A knife-stabbing ache went through his leg. He went down on one knee. He slowly shook his head back and forth. “Must go on.” He got to his feet and glanced at the headstone. The hawk was gone. He hobbled to the hill.

I can make it if I crawl. A shadow loomed and covered the area in front of him. He heard heavy breathing from somewhere nearby. He stood still, balancing his weight on the uninjured leg. Something began snarling. He turned around slowly. Two menacing black eyes stared into his.

About the Author:

Melvin Rivers was inspired to write horror by imitating the writers of his favorite horror comics many years ago. As he grew older the works of Bram Stoker, Edgar Allan Poe, H.P. Lovecraft, and of course Stephen King grabbed his attention.

Melvin Rivers was born in the town of Luxora, Arkansas, and grew up in Memphis, Tennessee. He received a degree in Journalism from the University of Iowa. He lives in Cedar Rapids Iowa with his wife, dog and two cats. When he is not writing or surfing the web, he enjoys having a hot bowl of popcorn while watching his favorite horror flick on TV.

Categories: Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Communication Skills – 6



As an author, I’m constantly reminded to remove distractions and write. Turn off the Internet, close down Facebook, turn off the phone.

We have become a techno-crazy world where common sense and simply courtesy have been replaced by the latest Snap Chat or Instagram image. Where a family at a restaurant all will be plinking on their phones instead of, you know, talking to each other.

So, in social settings this is key. Intelligent conversation or business discussions can be ruined by a text from the guy in the next office…or the restroom.

I can understand the necessity for this. Talk to someone, develop a one on one, face to face relationship. Turn off the phone, turn off the pager, turn off the Kindle (unless you’re reading my book, then I can understand if you tell the person to wait. Better yet, share my book).

How would this point work with getting a date with the lady in my building? Well, at the time of this writing, I see her only during a brief lunch break. She doesn’t spend the entire half hour in the break room, so my window of opportunity is small.

For me, removing distractions would include not only my phone or my Nook, but other people.

If you remember my first point in this series, I mentions my terror of talking to women. Bolstering myself to talk to this woman, then asking her to dinner followed by drinks and improv music at Java Joes would be much easier if nobody else was within sight. Preferably I would have nobody within a half mile radius, but that mean most of downtown would have to be vacated. I’d settle for nobody at the neighboring tables, at the coffee machine, or a crowd in front of the television, or anybody entering or leaving through the office building entrance.

For this utopian scene to exist means the time frame for talking/questions is even smaller. It reduces still further because she doesn’t always visit the cafe during lunch break, or else not at the time I’m there.

I suppose to make this happen, I’d have to be quick, as mentioned before. Get in, a fast hello, get to the point, accept her answer and get out. Hope nobody is a witness.

No distractions to throw me off track.

How do you avoid these?

Categories: Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Communication Skills – 5

Question Everything


Whenever I have a chance to speak with people from another country, I consider myself lucky. I may never have a chance to visit, so if allowed, I question extensively to learn as much as possible.

In social settings, the emphasis is on questioning and then repeating the other person. Of course, not every word verbatim, but a main or interesting aspect of the answer. This may lead to other questions, discovery of common interests, business deals, etc. Repetition shows that you are listening instead of just hearing.

So, how does this listen/repeat help me get a date with the lady from my building? Maybe, if I sit with her during lunch, if allowed, and simply talk with her. Instead of outright asking for an afternoon at a local downtown event followed by dinner and nice conversation would be a good beginning.

I could ask about the projects she’s working on, those that took her away from the project we’d been assigned. Surely something would strike an interest.

So, more homework for you. This next week, in conversation, question and repeat and report back.

Categories: Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Communication Skills – 4

Story telling


Of all the points in this dating discussion, next week’s and this week’s are two where I’m above average.

Oh yeah, I can tell a story. Sixteen long years as a night desk clerk at four motels, I’ve collected scores of stories. Living in an apartment house with a revolving door of criminal tenants (including the landlord), still more. Vacations, odd jobs, family, Uber passengers…where would you like to begin?

Stories can be humorous, serious, but like the written word, should have a beginning, a bit of conflict, a resolution, and an ending.

Apply the K.I.S.S. principle with the first S standing for Simple but also can stand for Short. Don’t run on and on to where the other person is bored. Hit the high points, finish strong, and leave him/her interested in another.

With the lady I’m thinking about, I could do that. With friends and family, story telling is no problem. My fear is telling a story to this woman would sound like a ten year old boy talking about catching frogs by the muddy lake shore.

I think it would be okay once that initial ice breaker is breached. Nerves wouldn’t be as on edge but my next concern would be how not to lose the conversation…and knowing when to end it and, yes, make on invitation for a future one.

Are you good at story telling? Yes, authors, I know you are, but what about the verbal anecdotes or, “Let me tell you what this guy did last weekend…”

Categories: Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Communication Skills – 3

Small Talk


Last week’s topic, but a quirk of coincidences, leads into this week’s.

Making friends first, discussing interests.

The third point sent to me suggested having a small talk script. I don’t exactly what it means, but I might venture that having two or three pieces of information to make about topics helps avoid a long silence while struggling for something to say that doesn’t sound like you’re struggling for something to say. Or avoiding the opposite, where you’re rambling and babbling the topic to exhaustion.

In my self defense courses, I urge the women to have two or three options for a given situation. If the first doesn’t work or isn’t effective enough, instantly switch to something else.

This might work with small talk. Have a few points and see in which direction the conversation is heading and choose one point that seems the best. If the opportunity presents itself, bring up another.

Sometimes you have to think fast on your feet. The talk may veer into an area about which you’re clueless. What then?

This one is easy because I do this a lot. Ask questions. This is actually Dating Point #5 to be posted at a later date. However, nothing says this series of topics can’t cross over into each other’s territory…and probably should.

Back to scripts. Don’t have a cheat sheet. Be intelligent, practice speaking and memorize your points to the point they don’t sound memorized, but have a natural flow.

With my potential date, I would have no problem listening and asking questions. The few times I’ve been able to make my contributions, I hope I haven’t sounded like a dork asking the cheerleader he favorite ice cream flavor.

Have you tried this? We authors have our speeches prepared for presentations and answers for interviews, but what about with a person of the opposite sex for whom you’d like to know better, say at a Cubs game preceded by dinner?

Who knows, she might go for that.

Categories: Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Communication Skills – 2

Unnecessary talk


We’re delving into the dating dilemma – how to better go about my getting one.

Of course, the most talked about way is to make a friend first, then see where it goes. Find common ground, interests, etc.

When the time comes to ask for an evening out, I’ve read where it is goo to start with an opening, an observation, then ease into the actual invitation. If you see she likes coffee, mention that you heard there was a shop you’ve been meaning to visit…would you…

Since I don’t like coffee, that specific scenario is out…maybe.

Anyway, my point is, get to the point. Don’t ramble on with talk that won’t go anywhere. I’m not going to set a word or time limit, but referencing last week’s post, watch her body language, her willingness to continuing conversing.

Get in, say a few words, then ask.

The problem for me is that common ground. There is a specific woman I’d like to date, but she and I work in different departments, one opposite sides of the building. We’ve spoken one on one on one maybe a total of four times. About business.

Say that I pluck up the nerve to talk to her…what about? By starting any conversation, do I risk revealing myself? Would that be a bad thing?

I don’t know. What are thoughts on small talk?

Categories: Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Blog at

%d bloggers like this: