I’m proud to announce the debut of Dark Shadows 2: Voodoo and Black Magic of New Orleans — the result of the Authors on a Train trip! In it, you’ll find 4 short stories written by the eight authors who journeyed via train from Chicago’s Union Station to New Orleans last November.
My story, written with author Chloe Adler, is called The Soul Collector.
On the Louisiana Bayou, some secrets haunt you forever… Angelina longs for a different life but can’t break free from the sinister Mr. Rudy. When she discovers his macabre deception, she sets off on a dangerous and dark path that will forever change their lives.
We channeled our inner Stephen Kings for this one, and it’s been described as “beautifully dark.”
The other stories are equally as chilling and fun to read:
The Curse of the Rougarou is like X-Files set in a swamp.
Unfinished Business reminds me of the Salem witch trials, with a nightmarish New Orleans twist.
The Ghost Who Walks is a classic tale of revenge set in the French Quarter.
All proceeds from book sales will be donated to the Covenant House of New Orleans, a shelter and safe place for homeless young people. We felt it was a very deserving charity and hope to see it benefit.
Be sure to grab your copy today and help out the Covenant House!
The Friday school bell rings, and I jump from my seat, race out the classroom door, and merge into a hall packed with giddy kids primed for the weekend. A grin spreads across my face as I envision sixty hours of freedom stretching before me.
I can’t wait for Saturday morning TV because my favorite show airs at 10 am:
GLOW (The Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling).
As I race home along the winding streets of my neighborhood, I fly past the ice cream truck. Not today. My mind is occupied with thoughts of the next day’s matches, the costumes, and most importantly, who will emerge victorious from the fierce finale—the ultimate showdown—the Battle Royale.
That night, I don’t argue about bedtime. My mother doesn’t really know what I’m watching in the mornings, but it keeps me happy and obedient, so she doesn’t ask questions.
Saturday morning arrives. Daybreak. I pour myself a bowl of Chex cereal, top it off with milk, and settle in front of the TV. After a few hours of cartoons, the magical time arrives.
My precious GLOW. What could be better?
Twenty or so women rapping, performing sketch comedy, and leaping through the air, dropkicking their opponents.
I’m ten years old, and GLOW is the pinnacle of my week. In a 1980s house without cable TV, the show is raw and outrageous, like nothing I’ve ever seen.
I want to be strong like the wrestlers.
And as pretty (the makeup is unreal).
Good girls. Bad girls. Should I pick a side?
Yes. I’m team bad girl.
My favorite character is Dementia. Each week, she’s wheeled out in a steel cage. In case that’s not strong enough to control her ferocity, she also wears a straight jacket.
The Heavy Metal Sisters stomp into the ring in all their glory. Glitter and spiked chains highlight their outrageous outfits.
Then there’s Colonel Ninotchka—the arch villain—with her thick Russian accent and red leotard. She looks like the female version of Dolph Lundgren from the Rocky IV movie.
Afterward, I practice wrestling moves with my friends. We lunge across my childhood living room toward each other, bouncing against imaginary ropes. I reach out, arm straight as a pipe, and I hit Sara with a mock clothesline. She falls to the ground, and I grab her leg, lifting it up as I knick her in the back of the thigh. Again and again, just like Palestina.
She clutches her side, laughs, and climbs to her feet. And we reenact the latest episode again and again until we grow tired and run outside to play a game.
I remain obsessed with GLOW for another year before I outgrow it, my attention falling prey to boys, MTV, and music.
Twenty-five years pass, and I think of GLOW, search for it on the Internet, and wonder, “Whatever happened to that hilarious women’s wrestling show?”
Then Netflix launches the fictional series, GLOW in 2017, and I’m in heaven. The show delivers a nostalgia cocktail of excellent storytelling, fine acting, and all the glittery makeup and glam of the original.
The producers deliver a solid second season—better than the first if that’s possible. Episode eight is my favorite thus far because they create a full-length GLOW episode. Want a glimpse of what got this ten-year-old leaping out of bed on Saturday mornings? Watch The Good Twin.
You won’t be disappointed. Maybe you’ll even want to be strong.
And a bit naughty.
I won’t laugh if you practice your wrestling moves in your living room. I’ll be there, too, ready to clobber you with my clothesline hook.
Now, where’s my straightjacket?
I have a new series coming in September 2018! It’s called Rogue Spark, and I think you’ll love it. Sign up to my email list so you get all my updates.
In future worlds, strong women fight the toughest battles.
I’m writing this knowing one of you’ll find it stuck between the cushions of the old Ford—the “tank” as we kids nicknamed it. You weren’t talking to me, so what other choice did I have? I snuck past the fence in the dark of night, jimmied open the truck and stuffed it in the front seat.
When you find this, I hope you’ll read it all the way through. Promise you’ll keep reading?
First, I’m sorry. Sorry for the pain I caused you. You said me leaving was like losing a child—as if I’d gone and died. It breaks my heart that you think that way. Mama, I’m going on an epic adventure! I hope you’ll come to see it as I do—someday.
Remember when Gil bought me my first telescope? I was eight if I recall. Well, he forever changed my life. You couldn’t get me to bed after that! My eyes literally grew sore from staring up into the heavens each night.
Is it any surprise that when Space Command called, I raised my hand? I know, I know. You think I’m certifiably nuts to take the voyage.
It wasn’t an easy decision! I hope you know that. A one-way ticket with no possible hope of return. Believe me, saying goodbye to everyone I know and love has been hell.
But you always taught me to forge my own path. I have you to thank, Mama, for teaching me how to live off the land, how to survive on my own. You made me the warrior I am today.
Imagine what I might find on Mars! I’ll be one of the first to colonize the planet. My dream is to make it livable for future generations. To be part of something bigger than you, me, and all the Rosemonts put together.
Who knows? Maybe our family name will go into the history books. You can damn well bet I’m going to leave an impression.
A few requests if you’re still reading this…
Take care of Misty. Damn, I love that horse. I would’ve liked to have been here for her and my 25th birthday. Give her a big hug and kiss for me? Oh, and let her have a few bananas on her special day.
Would you put a few wildflowers on papa’s grave every September 5th? That would mean the world to me.
Tell Rik and Kurtis that just because I’m gone, they do not get my old room! You are to turn it into a library or a sitting room for you, Mama. Don’t let those boys railroad you into making everything about them.
Please don’t cry about me. You’re not losing me. I’ll be up where I belong. I gazed up at the stars ever since my hands wrapped around that first scope. I never really felt earth-bound. You know what I mean?
By the time you read this, I’ll probably be prepping at Space Q in Palo Alto. Sorry it’s such a long haul from Kansas.
I hope you read this letter all the way through. Mama, I’m going to miss the hell out of you. Please try not to feel guilty or sad. I know this has been so hard on you and the gossips in town have been whispering behind our backs.
Whatever they’re saying—whatever stupid stories they make up—none of it’s true.
The truth is I’m just a farm girl from Clay Center, Kansas who got lucky. I’m heading into space with a one-way ticket to Mars.
I’ll think about you every day. The program head promised we can send a radio message once a month. It’ll take a few hours to arrive, and then I don’t know how fast space command will get it to you.
When you look up at night and see the stars scattered across the vast sky, know I’m out there, and I love you.