Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Ghost Stories Ink: NIGHT VISIONS

You should always spend Friday the 13th doing something cool and creepy. The F13 that came around last week was my most memorable yet! I headed to Minnesota where Forepaugh's, a restaurant with delicious food and spooky ghosts, was hosting a special party.

My favorite group of paranormal investigators, Ghost Stories Ink, was celebrating a very cool achievement, and their favorite New York Times best selling author (me!) was part of it.

The printouts above were tickets to keep track of your appetizers and drinks, which included beverages that smoked all by themselves.

We were gathered in this perfectly eerie location for the release of the anthology, Ghost Stories Ink presents Night Visions.

These nine stories and several illustrations were inspired by investigations this groups of authors and illustrators have gone on over the past few years. G.S.I. also hosts investigations and creative workshops that anyone can attend, and two of those attendees won a contest and had their stories included in the book.

There were also members of G.S.I. at the launch, of course, who had their short stories and artwork in the book.

Red Balloon Bookshop sold our other books at the party, and sold out of Night Visions!

Other authors/illustrators (either members of G.S.I. or friends) who have pieces in the anthology are Joshua Sterling Bragg, Scott Spinks, and Sammy Sarzoza.

The story I donated to the book was inspired by my investigation with them this past January in Los Angeles. It's titled The Last Supper Club, and I believe it's the first short story I've written. How does it begin? "Connor waits..." And how does it end?


Thank you for inviting me to your Friday the 13th gathering, G.S.I.

Y'all scare me!

Sunday, November 08, 2015

What's the Frequency, North Carolina?

This makes two trips in a row to North Carolina. This one had a lot of hurdles to jump through to make it happen, which is always worth it when you get a chance to meet such inspiring students and great faculty. It began, as most school visits require, with a stop at a coffee shop.

I love how much fun coffee shops have with puns in their names. Brewed Awakenings? One of the best!

The first of the two schools I visited was Jacksonville High School, where I spoke to the entire school over two presentations. First up were the freshmen and sophomores.

Then came the juniors and seniors.

Before leaving J.H.S., I spoke to two smaller groups who had all read Thirteen Reasons Why and were firing great questions at me throughout our entire time together. That was so much fun!

There were also banners and posters up at the school, including a Top 13 list of questions they wanted to ask me during my visit.

Then it was on to Northside High School, where I spoke to freshmen, sophomores, and juniors. While waiting backstage to go on, I hung out with the props for their upcoming production of...any guesses?

The organizer of my visit was Ross Friebel.

After the great school day was done, I hopped in Mr. Friebel's truck, along with his wife and daughter, and they gave me a tour of the area. The city of Jacksonville is the home of Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, so most of the town is made up of barber shops, tattoo parlors, and pawn shops, so it was nice to see some of the natural beauty in the area.

Jacksonville also has an awesome store (it's a chain, but I'd never seen one) called 2nd & Charles. That was one of the most browseable stores ever! And yes, those are the sides of actual books behind the chairs.

So, what's with the title of this post? While at Brewed Awakenings, Mr. Friebel wanted to know the the first concert I'd ever attended. We had very different answers. His was R.E.M.'s tour for the Monster album (which I own, too). Eerily, when he dropped me off at the airport the next day, the following song came on the radio!

And my first concert?