Wednesday, December 11, 2013

In The Blink Of An Eye



I'm over at Inkspot today talking about how fast the years and my books are zooming by. Drop on by and say hello.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Signed Books Make Great Holiday Gifts!

Looking for signed copies of my books to give as holiday gifts, then step right up!

I will be signing books at only two book stores before the end of the year, but both of the wonderful establishments below would be very happy to take orders and ship them to you in time for the holidays.



Saturday, December 7, 2:00 pm
Book Carnival
348 S. Tustin Street
Orange, CA 92866
(714) 538-3210 or toll-free (800) 963-9266
http://www.annesbookcarnival.com/

Sunday, December 8, 3:00 pm
Mysterious Galaxy Redondo Beach
2810 Artesia Blvd
Redondo Beach, CA 90278
(310) 542-6000
http://www.mystgalaxy.com/mysterious-galaxy-redondo-beach

Friday, November 08, 2013

Secondhand Stiff is Second to None!

It's here! SECONDHAND STIFF, the 8th Odelia Grey novel is here!

It's been getting great reviews, but you be the judge.

Ina’s goods may be secondhand, but Jaffarian’s are first-class. - Kirkus

...witty and well-plotted ... - Publisher's Weekly

It's available now on Amazon.com and BN.com in both print and e-book.

If you want a signed copy, I'll be having just two book signings for this release, so come on down and say hello!

Saturday, December 7, 2:00 pm
Book Carnival

Sunday, December 8, 3:00 pm
Mysterious Galaxy Redondo Beach
2810 Artesia Blvd
Redondo Beach, CA 90278

December 8th is also Mysterious Galaxy's holiday party, so there should be a lot of other authors on hand, together with a lot of fun.

Can't make a signing?  Just contact one of these wonderful independent book stores and they will send you a signed copy of the book.






Friday, August 30, 2013

Them's Fighting Words

An Amazon reviewer recently called my Odelia Grey character "dumber than a box of rocks."

Oh really!

I'm defending rocks on Criminal Minds today. 

Saturday, August 03, 2013

Calling All Cyber Cowards!

I love the internet. I use it all the time for fun, for my writing and definitely at my day job as a paralegal. I would be lost without it.

As we all know, the internet also has its dark side: child predators, identity theft and annoying spam, just to name a few. But lately something has really been bothering me and that's the use of anonymity as a weapon.

I talking about cyber cowards.  And you know who you are...

Years ago when the internet first started getting popular, very few people used their real name. They protected their privacy behind user names that sometimes displayed their interests or locations or even their baser nature. Now with Facebook and other social media so common, most people use their real names when conversing with others. At least most of us who have nothing to hide. 

The handle of Carlos Danger springs to mind. For those of you not keeping up with the news, that's the Twitter handle of Anthony Weiner, the politician who can't seem to keep his pecker off the internet and was even willing to destroy a promising career and his family for the thrill of showing his privates to women online.

But my beef, at least not for the purposes of this post, although I do think Weiner is a weenie, is not about Weiner, but about those folks who throw out rude remarks or post hateful comments under disguises or the cloak of "Anonymous." 

I am of a mind that most of these people would NEVER make such remarks in person with their identity displayed for all to see. And I'm betting a lot of these people are even "very nice" people in person. There's just something about the shield of anonymity that brings out the nasty in some people, turning them into CYBER COWARDS.

About the only place online where I use a fictional handle is when I play games online. I'm not talking about Words With Friends, but gaming sites where I play backgammon or dominoes with people from around the world, and I've had that account for more than a decade. It is not usual on these sites to have other players attack you when you're winning, calling you unspeakable names that used to be revealed but for years now have been blocked by symbols.  Still, it's abusive and the vicious tone unmistakable. I'd bet my next meal that if I was playing that person face-to-face over a physical backgammon board, he or she would be congenial and a good sport. BTW, if you're losing, they're abusive, too.  It's like they feel the internet is allowing them to be the black-hearted, nasty individual they've kept hidden for so many years.

It's especially bad with blog posts. Many bloggers, including myself, have blocked anonymous posts, but go to many of the popular blog sites and you will see people slinging slime and fecal matter out onto the airwaves from behind a protective curtain.  You can even find those Cyber Cowards writing reviews on Amazon. They'll say anything as long as they can shout it from behind a lead curtain where they will never feel the sting of rebuttal or the shame of their hateful words. They hit and run, like bullets from a passing speeding car.

Personally, I never give any credence to comments posted by anyone as "Anonymous," but those people disgust me.  If you have something to say, then, damn it, say it and say it openly and with honesty. Stand up for your view point and be willing to debate it.

If you are too ashamed to hang your real name on something you say online, then you should not be saying it in the first place.

Now repeat that fifty times, then take a deep breath and repeat it another fifty times. Maybe then it will get through to you.

Once again ...

If you are too ashamed to hang your real name on something you say online, then you should not be saying it in the first place.

Twice now, I have actually met people in person who have said very nasty things to me online from behind disguises. I never let on I knew who they were, just smiled as they chatted to my face with charm and wit. But all the while I was thinking: You don't fool me one bit. I've seen the real you.

So come out of the dark all you Cyber Cowards before we drag you out, because you're not as smart and cute as you think you are.


Sunday, July 28, 2013

Writers - Are you a slob or a good housekeeper?


I did a lot of housework this weekend, but not all of it was around my apartment. Some of it was on my current work in progress – the next novel due to my publisher in a very short time.
I get asked by a lot of newbie authors how do I manage to keep all my books, characters and series straight. Easy answer – good housekeeping. It’s a necessary evil.  I also hear a lot of newbie authors say they just want to write and expect someone else to do all that cleanup. All they want do it slap the story on the page. After all, that’s real writing, isn’t it?
No, it isn’t.
There is so much more to writing than pounding a keyboard. And if you think your editor, best friend, proof reader, etc. is going to pick up on all the goofs, you’re wrong.  In the last two books I read, I found a lot of errors. One of the books was self-published. One was published by a major NY based publisher. Even some of my books have gone to print with errors, in spite of my and my publisher’s best efforts.
Typos happen. As more and more publishers cut back on their staff, more typos are bound to show up. But what about inconsistencies in the text? That is where the author needs to be doing his/her own housework, long before it gets to print, whether it be self-published or traditionally published.
Here are some tips:
Keep a document containing notes on your characters, including physical description, a bit of back story and personality of each one, even the smaller ones.  If a character has blue eyes on page 7, he/she must have blue eyes on page 230, unless, of course, colored contacts are being used and then those must be accounted for in the text.  This is also very helpful if you bring back that character in subsequent books.  I keep such a file on each and every novel I write and I add characters to it as I introduce them to the book. I don’t count on remembering it later.
Keep a calendar of events as they unfold.  If you write that it’s Sunday when your protagonist visits a witness and then three days later you say it’s Friday, shame on you, you didn’t do your housework. For each book I print out a calendar of the time period covered in the story with large open blocks for the days. Each time something significant happens, I jot it down in the calendar blocks so I can keep track of the time frame. Also pay attention to holidays that might come into play in the book or with the characters.
Not just days, but hours.  If a lot is happening in your book in a very short span of time, like in a day, also jot down an hour by hour calendar. If a character is eating a late breakfast in San Diego, then meeting someone for lunch on the west side of Los Angeles an hour later, you weren’t paying attention to your timeline, not to mention how long it takes to get from San Diego to Los Angeles.  The same goes for getting across town in a high traffic area.  I once read a book in which the protagonist drove from Orange County to Los Angeles in under twenty minutes during the middle of a weekday. I live in Los Angeles. That ain’t happenin’ unless it’s the middle of the night, and even then they would be driving like a bat out of hell, probably with the CHP on their tail.
It’s all in the details.  Be aware of the small and simple details you include. If your character is baking a cake then gets a call and runs out the door, remember the cake, unless, of course, part of the story is the cake burning and a possible house fire. If she has a bad cold, run that cold out, don't magically make the character healthy.
This is stuff that can and will drive readers crazy. And don’t think for a minute they don’t notice such inconsistencies. If there is one thing I’ve learned about loyal readers, it’s that they pay attention to everything.  We want them to be crazy for our work, not crazy with distraction.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

You Burped What?

Last December for either my birthday or Christmas (they are both in December), I bought myself a red Keurig Mini coffee maker. It was love at first use!

So here I am 8 months later and the thing sounds like an old man getting up from a chair. And like an old man, the machine needs a couple of tries to accomplish its task.

Arghhh! 8 months and the thing is ready for the junk pile? Really!

Not so fast...

Since I had never cleaned the thing thoroughly, I went online and learned how to do it and followed the instructions to the letter ... or to the end of an unfolded paperclip. 

By the way, here are the official cleaning instructions on YouTube.

Done in under 10 minutes. Still it won't brew properly. Grrrrr!

Next, I did what I do for all of life's problems, I Googled.  I asked the wise and mighty search engine: what to do if Keurig mini stops working.  And like it always does, Google answered, leading me to instructions I didn't believe for a single minute.  It said I should "burp" my coffee maker.

Yes - burp. As in burping a just fed baby.

Skeptical, but unwilling to give up on my beloved coffee maker, I followed the instructions found on the K-Cup Barista's website

O.M.G.

It worked!

Who'd a thunk it!

My Keurig is back to new-out-of-the-box working! It's the little Keurig that could!

Last December I also bought myself a Kindle Paperwhite. If it stops working, I am so going to burp it.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Lost - 1 Container of Cat Litter

Recently, a friend inquired about my "pledge."

I wanted to feign ignorance, but I knew what she was talking about. She was referencing a blog I wrote in February called Epiphany of Pain about making the commitment to live a healthier lifestyle.

I'll bet you all thought I was hoping you'd forgotten about that promise to myself. Well, neener, neener, neener.

For those of you just joining us, as I've gotten older, my legs and knees have started to complain about my weight. It didn't help that in January I injured the muscles in my right leg so badly I had to hobble around with a cane for some time. Each step echoed my need to drop the weight and give my poor pins a break. It also sidelined me for most exercise.

I'm happy to report that I've been off the cane for about a month now, but still have to be careful of that leg. It's gets as cranky as an old woman whose shoes are too tight. I haven't gotten back into regular exercise as I should, but haven't been a total couch potato either. 

Did you know there are amazing exercises you can do sitting down?  And I don't mean changing the TV channel and eating snacks. Here's one of my favorites:


My eating is much healthier too, though far, far from perfect. I've really cut back on fried foods and when I eat them now, they upset my stomach, reminding me of how far I've come. I still enjoy sweets but not as often. There is still the occasional stress binge and pasta or pizza feed, but it's the exception not the rule. I try to stick to fresh fruit and veggies and lean protein, with the occasional coffee cake and carton of Ben and Jerry's thrown in for fun.

Progress, you ask?

So far I've lost 25 lbs. I'm recording it in 5 lb mini goals, not obsessing over single or partial pounds. My sights are now set on the big 3-0.  I had a complete physical recently and my doctor was thrilled with the loss and that I am doing it gradually and without any fad diets or drugs. It's slow, but it's doable and I haven't felt too deprived. And since my last physical, my cholesterol and blood sugar are both lower. They were never high, but the high of average. Now they are both better.

It's also been fun "shopping" my closet. I've been able to drag out long forgotten favorites I haven't worn in a long time. 

If you want to know what losing 25 lbs feels like, the next time you're in the market, pick up the large Tidy Cats litter container like the one on the right (it's the one I use at home).

It's heavy, isn't it? 

Whenever I get down and think I'm not doing very well, I pick up a full one and think, "Shit! that's heavy! No wonder my legs are bitch-slapping me!"

I only have 4 containers to go!

Saturday, June 15, 2013

ROCKETS' RED GLARE!

It's here. It's FINALLY here!

After 2 years, I'm finally adding a new short story to my Holidays From Hell collection on Amazon.

Rockets' Red Glare has the Bowen clan gathered together for their annual Fourth of July barbeque. Everyone's there, including Clay Carlisle, Zelda's new boyfriend. Zelda is always nervous introducing new people to her dysfunctional family, but Clay seems to be handling them like a champ, until Zelda's oldest sister looks at him a bit to closely. 

Like the previous three short stories in this collection, Rockets' Red Glare is digital only and is available for $0.99. 

Such a deal!

Friday, June 07, 2013

Writing On - Not Sure About The Calm

Over on the Criminal Minds blog this week we're talking about the pros and cons of writers having day jobs.  I have a day job. How does it impact my writing? See for yourself in Obstacle Not Barrier.

And since it bears repeating here's a link to It's All About the Math aka why I seldom do book tours.

For many reasons, the two blog posts go hand-in-hand.

Granny News! I have just completed GHOST OF A GAMBLE, my 4th full-length Ghost of Granny Apples novel. This will be my first full novel with Berkley, Granny's new publisher.  GHOST OF A GAMBLE will be out April 2014.  Penguin/Berkley has already published THE SILENT GHOST, a Granny Apples novella for e-readers.  Another novella, DUMMY OF A GHOST, will be released March 2014.

Odelia News! This coming December Midnight Ink will release SECOND HAND STIFF, my 8th Odelia Grey mystery.  Up after that is MURDER BALL, my 9th Odelia Grey novel, which I'll be throwing myself into starting next week. I already have quite a bit completed and it's turning into an exciting ride for Odelia and Greg. And would you believe I've already started work on Odelia #10. It's true!

Holidays From Hell News!  Finally, the 4th Holidays From Hell digital short story is complete and almost ready for publication. Stay tuned for the formal announcement of the release of ROCKET'S RED GLARE in the next few weeks.  Zelda has a new man in her life and she's seeing stars and rockets, but is it the kind of explosion that signals love?

As you can see, I'm Writing On! I'm still working on the calm part.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Yes, I Do Read Reviews!


I'm over at Criminal Minds today giving my opinion on reader reviews, even the bad ones.  Come on over and check it out. 

And I'm still huffing and puffing along on my deadline for GHOST OF A GAMBLE...

Friday, April 12, 2013

Deadline At My Doorstep


I'm currently on a deadline. But what else is new?  Seems like I'm always on deadline for one thing or another, especially books. This time it's for the 4th Granny Apples novel. It has a working title of Ghost of a Gamble and is due to my new publisher, Berkley, in just a few short weeks.  The book is going well, although way behind for my taste and comfort.

After that, I'll be working on finishing up Murder Ball, the 9th Odelia Grey novel (Yes, 9th. Can you believe it!!) which is due later in the year to Midnight Ink. At the same time, I'll be working on Dummy of a Ghost, the 2nd Granny Apples novella for Berkley.

What can I say, it keeps me off the streets...

Today I blogged at Criminal Minds. I blog there every other Friday.  It's a cool blog I share with nine other authors. A different question is put up for discussion every week. Check it out.  I'm talking about Killing with Responsibility today.

Now it's back to Ghost of a Gamble, which will be released April 2014.   The clock is ticking and I can feel the scythe itching for my neck!


BTW, don't forget The Silent Ghost, the 1st Granny Apples novella, is currently for sale for e-readers and Secondhand Stiff, the 8th Odelia Grey mystery, is available for preorder. It will be out December 2013 in both print and e-book.

Friday, March 22, 2013

From the Mail Bag - A Pissed Off Reader

Yesterday in my e-mail I received a note from a reader who told me bluntly that she was never going to read my books again or promote me to other readers as she has done in the past. The reason: she'd gone to her local Barnes and Noble to purchase THE SILENT GHOST, my first Granny Apples novella, and was told by the clerk that it was not in print, that it was for e-readers only. She also assumed that because of this all my future books would also be released only in a digital format.

This is not the first time a reader has been disappointed over this or made that same assumption, but it was the first time a reader told me in so many words that I was on her shit list.

Here's the thing, people:

1) That was my publisher's decision, not mine, so don't drag me behind your pickup truck over a gravel road because of it;

2) THE SILENT GHOST is a novella, only about 100 pages in length, so to produce it in print would not be cost effective (see #1 above);

3) Please do not assume all future books will be digital because of this. My 4th full-length Granny Apples novella will be out in print and in e-book in April 2014.  My next Odelia Grey book will be released in December also in print and in digital.

4) Digital books are here to stay. And I believe print books will always be with us even if they become more difficult to find.  Think records/CDs over digital downloads. I still buy CDs myself.

5) If you don't own an e-reader and want to read an e-book, you can down load a FREE app from either Kindle or Nook to your computer, smart phone, or tablet, so you are not being discriminated against.

6) As for independent authors, many are choosing to go only digital now or to release limited print runs along with their e-books. But these books will also not be found in your local book store. That doesn't mean they are not worth discovering.

7) Generally, authors make more money in digital sales because the quantity sold is much larger. At least I do and I know I'm not alone. My books are now reaching thousands of readers all over the world because of the digital format. So don't beat up an author because she wants to be paid for her hundreds and hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of hours of hard work.  To do so is (dare I say it?) selfish.

I love books. I also love my Kindle. I buy and read both digital and print books.

Can't we all just get along on this?



Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The Silent Ghost Is Silent No More!

It's here! It's finally here!  THE SILENT GHOST, my first Ghost of Granny Apples novella, is in the house! It was released on March 5th to much online fanfare.  This novella was released in e-book format only, so check it out at your favorite e-book retailer.  It's only $2.99.  What a bargain!

Earlier reader reviews have been fantastic!

Next year at this time, we will have two new Granny treats. In March 2014, another e-book novella will be released.  The working title is DUMMY OF A GHOST, and once again it will focus on Kelly Whitecastle, but this time she will pair with her mother, Emma, to solve the riddle of a ghost inhabiting a smart mouthed puppet.

Currently I'm working on the next next full-length Ghost of Granny Apples novel, the 4th in the series. It will be released in April 2014. It's working title is GHOST OF A GAMBLE. It's really coming along great, although I wish it would come along a little faster. Please!  It's due May 1st and I'm pounding the keyboards as fast as I can to get it done on time, but having the flu a few weeks ago and now a cold is really cutting into my writing time.  But I push on!  In GHOST OF A GAMBLE Granny and Emma go on a road trip to Las Vegas to help Milo Ravenscroft, Emma's friend and mentor, with a sensitive ghost problem involving his fortune telling, former showgirl mother, Dolly. It's going to be a wild ride through Sin City!

And let's not forget Odelia!

Odelia Grey, the feisty plus size paralegal, will be back in her 9th adventure, SECONDHAND STIFF, in December 2013!  When Odelia and her visiting mother, Grace Littlejohn, check out a storage auction, they never dream a body will be up for bid.  SECONDHAND STIFF is already available online for preorder.

And just so you don't think I'm sloughing off, I've already begun work on Odelia's 10th book.  The working title is MURDER BALL.

 So, you see, I've been busy.

Later, gator!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

I Can Hardly Wait!!!

In 10 days - count 'em - 10 days - THE SILENT GHOST will be released by Granny's new publisher Penguin/Berkley. 

THE SILENT GHOST is not a full novel, but a novella. It will also not be offered in print format, but only digitally.

When I contracted with Berkley to continue the Ghost of Granny Apples series with them, there was concern about the gap in time between the last Granny novel, GEM OF A GHOST, and the release of the first Granny book to be published by Berkley.  The solution was to ask me to write a couple of novellas to tide over Granny's eager fans. This is the first of two novellas under contract with Berkley.  The second, still untitled, will be released next March, with the 4th book in the continuing Granny Apples series to follow in April of 2014.  I'm currently working on that 4th book. It has a working title of GHOST OF A GAMBLE.

THE SILENT GHOST is also a departure from the Granny series in another way. Instead of featuring Emma Whitecastle, it features Kelly, her daughter who is a student at Harvard. In GEM OF A GHOST we learned that Kelly can see and hear Granny Apples. But can she see and hear other spirits as well?  Is she her mother's daughter? That question gets answered when a young reporter by the name of Tanisha Costello approaches her. Tanisha knows full well that Kelly is the daughter of a famous TV personality and a famous medium, but she isn't looking for a story, she's looking for help. At first wary, Granny Apples steps in and convinces Kelly that together they can help Tanisha solve her spirited problem.

BTW, GEM OF A GHOST was nominated for a 2012 Romantic Times Reviewers Choice Award!

You can pre-order THE SILENT GHOST now from your favorite e-book retailer.  And for those of you who do not have e-readers, don't fret, you can still read THE SILENT GHOST by downloading FREE Nook and Kindle apps to your computer, tablets or smartphones. 

And let's not forget Odelia! 

The 8th book in the Odelia Grey mystery series, SECONDHAND STIFF, will be released by Midnight Ink December 2013.  That's right, December. Just in time for holiday shopping!

In SECONDHAND STIFF we find Odelia facing some very personal trials and tribulations when her cantankerous mother, Grace Littlejohn, comes for a visit during the Thanksgiving holiday. Throw in a body found in a storage locker, and Grace's fascination with murder and mayhem, and we find Odelia on the brink of more than her usual insanity.

Monday, February 18, 2013

An Epiphany of Pain

Okay, I know you've heard me say this before, but I'm going to keep saying it until it sinks in ... not into your heads, but into mine.

Over the past several years I've started and abandoned one diet after another.  When I trained for the Camp Pendleton Mud Run in 2009 (wow! can you believe it has been 4 years?!), I lost about 35 lbs., then quickly gained it and more back when I injured my left leg and stopped working out. Since then I've had a spotty record of fits and starts which resulted in getting on the doctor's scale in December 2012 and finding I had hit my highest weight ever - 278 lbs!   

Yes, I'm putting that number out there, big, bold and brassy. I thought long and hard about it before I did. Did I really want folks to know what I weighed? But it's not about you folks, it's about me and my health.  Over all, I'm pretty healthy, but in December something happened that shook me to my bones, literally. I woke up one morning with such back and legs pains I could barely walk and had to call into the office sick.  I have arthritis in my knees but it has never really bothered me that much, just from time to time.  But the morning I woke and could barely shuffle from the bed to the bathroom set off an alarm in my head like an old-fashioned fire house bell.

What would happen if I got worse?  How would I manage? I live alone and have a pretty busy life. The thought sent me into a panic.

Over Christmas I went on vacation to Santa Fe with one of my BFFs. I struggled to walk, but managed in spite of the altitude and my legs. I was determined not to let the pain ruin our vacation and my 60th birthday celebration, but I was cranky and full of fear.  What happened to the woman who used to walk 3 miles a day pain-free just a couple of years before? Where was she and could I get her back?  In answer, I started watching what I ate and moved around more.

In mid January I participated with my niece and several friends in the Disneyland Neverland 5K. About two weeks before, I went to the doctor with pain in my right leg. He confirmed it wasn't my knee but a strain to the muscles in that leg. He gave me stretching exercises and applauded me for a 4 lbs loss since my last visit.  Yes! In the month since I'd last seen him, I'd lost 4 lbs just by watching what I ate. I did the 5K but had to stop quite often to stretch out my leg. Another friend was nursing bad knees and she and I finished well behind our friends, but we finished!  The next few days I could barely walk.

My body is trying to tell me something and until now I've been ignoring it. It's time to clean the wax out of my ears.

My niece had started Weight Watchers online in January, so I signed up to do it with her. It has been very successful for me in just a couple of weeks.  Coupled with the early few pounds, I've lost 16 lbs since the Holidays. I find WW easy to follow and I'm not only losing weight but eating so healthy I can feel the difference in my body. 

At the Disneyland 5K in January 2013
I still need to get in more exercise.  As a writer always on deadline and a paralegal by day, I spend an extraordinary amount of time sitting on my fat ass in front of a computer. I have to force time to exercise into my schedule with a shoehorn. It also doesn't help that I hate to exercise, but unless I do, my body is not going to heal in spite of the new eating habits.

Last spring I teamed up with Lori Marshall Olsen to start a support group on Facebook called How Bad Do You Want It.  Lori is amazing!  In the past few years, Lori has lost about 150 lbs just by changing her eating habits and exercising.  Her husband and son have also lost a lot of weight. The family was recently featured on The Huffington Post and Dr. Oz. The HBDYWI group consists of people, mostly women, who are tired of yo-yo diets and are ready to make a commitment to be healthy. We don't follow any particular diet or program. Each member is free to do what they wish. Some are on WW, others under doctor's care, some just making changes on their own. In the year since we've started the group many have lost a lot of weight and reclaimed their lives and health.  Although one of the founders, I didn't fare so well the first year, but now I'm on board, armed and ready to be one of the group's success stories.

You folks have followed my writing career, my emotional ups and downs, and my going gray and turning 60. Here's the next step in my journey. I promise not to bore you with details, but will post from time to time on my progress.

This isn't about being fashionable or wanting to be thin, this is about feeling good and being mobile.

P.S.: For those readers who fear my character Odelia Grey will follow in my footsteps, don't worry. Odelia will remain the same plus-size, sassy gal she is today. She is, after all, a fictional character with good knees and legs.



Saturday, February 09, 2013

Transparency Isn't Always a Good Thing

Is this the face of a medium?
Over the years I've blogged and posted on Facebook off and on about dreams and experiences I've had in my bathroom.  All of the dreams have involved spirits or ghosts or what-not coming to me then disappearing through the walls.  And let's not forget I've gotten some of my best story and character ideas while showering.  There's just something magical about my bathroom, except for the fact that it doesn't magically clean itself.
Well, it's time to chalk up another phenomenon for my inside outhouse.

In the past few months my male cat, Raffi, has taken to disappearing behind the shower curtain. (Think the Wizard of Oz but with more hair.)  I have no idea what he's doing there, nor do I really care. In the summer, when it gets really hot in my apartment, he likes to hop in there and lay on the cool porcelain. But it's currently winter. I'll be working at my computer and I'll hear him nattering away in there. Sometimes he even gives off a guttural howl. My other cat, B, doesn't do it. She used to cool off in the tub until she got too old and stiff to hop over the edge. It's just Raffi.

A few weeks ago I replaced my cream-colored shower liner with a clear one. The curtain itself is shear so now you can see right into the shower when the curtain is pulled closed, which is most of the time. It's pretty cool because now when I shower I can see out, so if Norman Bates sneaks into my apartment I'll be able to see him coming.  But I digress ...

The thing is, with the new clear liner I can now see what the silly animal is doing, and it's kind of disturbing in a creepy sort of way.  Tonight I heard him mewing and chattering away and slipped into the room to watch through the curtain. Raffi was sitting in the middle of the tub transfixed on the fixtures - the spout and the knobs.  I know he wasn't looking for water to drink. He gets a big fresh bowl every morning and has never been a faucet drinker. Nor did he pay me any mind or even acknowledge my presence on the other side.
Raffi staring at the corner,
while B is unimpressed.
No, he was just sitting there, staring at the fixtures as if they were an oracle about to drop pearls of wisdom at his paws.  As if the meaning of feline life could be found in the worn chrome and ugly '70s tile.  While I watched, he chattered something at the wall, then stepped closer and sat again, almost with reverence, as if waiting to be blessed. Frankly, it gave me the willies, which is odd considering I write about ghosts. You'd think I'd be immune to such creepiness.

This isn't the first time Raffi has been obsessed like this.  He used to stare at the corner by my bed all the time and I was once able to snap a photo of it. He's no longer looking in that spot. Now it seems to be just the shower. Maybe whatever entity he's become buds with has moved from the bedroom to the bath. And maybe it's simply as comedian Brett Butler used to say: That child ain't right.

Raffi is next to me now sound asleep. His commune with the spirits of the bath over for tonight. At least I hope so. Meanwhile, I'm looking over my shoulder every few minutes, not sure if I should be afraid or looking for a new story line.

Or maybe I need to go to Target tomorrow and buy a new shower liner. One I can't see through.  If I don't see it, it won't bother me. Right?