Maxwell Smart lives on

Sharon Ashwood
September 18, 2008  •  No Comments

I laughed so hard when I read this one.

A would-be intruder tried to enter the Knoxville Museum of Art via the air conditioning duct.  When police and firefighters responded to his 911 call, they found a top and cable on the roof and the caller stuck about 45 feet into the ductwork.

When rescued, he told the arresting officers that he was a “special agent” who had rappelled in from a helicopter.  The mission was to defuse a Soviet nuclear warhead placed in a blue plastic cow sculpture in the basement of the museum.

Oh, those darned Russian art critics.

Wasn’t there an episode of Buffy something like this?

Sharon Ashwood
September 15, 2008  •  1 Comment

Wendy Brown, a 33-year-old Wisconsin woman, stole her daughter’s ID, enrolled in high school, and joined the cheerleading squad. Her daughter, meanwhile, lived with her grandmother in another state. Apparently the ruse worked up to a point. Although Brown only made it to the first day of classes, she did attend a number of cheerleading activities. The cat left the proverbial bag when a cheque for the uniform bounced.

The motivation for all this was, apparently, that Brown “wanted to get her high school degree and become a cheerleader because she didn’t have a childhood and wanted to regain a part of her life that she’d missed.” She apparently had a history of identity theft.

Perhaps I’m biased because I never wanted to be a cheerleader, but that’s just weird. And sad.

This event does speak to a weird cultural phenomenon—the myth that high school is a peak experience of some kind.  Of what?  It had a few peaks, but it had its share of valleys, too, just like everything else.

Certainly not worth going to to jail over, not even for the pompoms.

What kind of loot do you like?

Sharon Ashwood
September 11, 2008  •  No Comments

Okay, I have a dilemma …

I have a number of contest give-aways to come up with.  I don’t have the money to give away iPods or laptops and constantly giving away copies of my current book is not as good as convincing people to buy it. (I can see, say, giving away the first book in a series if you’re on book two, but I’m not there yet).

Soooo, here are the ideas I have so far:

  • Nice chocolate (has the opportunity for seasonal themes like Santas or ghosts)
  • DVD sets of current horror classics (the nicer ones, with cute vampires)
  • Unique things made by local artists such as:
  • Chain mail jewelry
  • More traditional jewelry, custom designed
  • Glow in the dark mummy figurines (these are sooooo cute!)
  • Zombie snowmen figurines c/w chainsaw (cute but disturbing)
  • Gift certificate for a small job with a talented graphic artist/web designer
  • Gift from,my favorite on-line goth emporium
  • Starbucks gift card (I assume they’re still everywhere in the universe)
  • Basket of organic bath goodies
  • Gift card from someplace like Amazon
  • Fancy stationery item

What are your top three picks? Remember, you might have a chance to win one! Is there something you’d like to see on the list, but don’t?

Help! my character stole my keyboard

Sharon Ashwood
September 4, 2008  •  No Comments

I’m having one of those episodes where I start to write what should be a throwaway scene (as in, now we get from situations A to B with as little mucking around as possible) and suddenly my shred of transitional prose is morphing into a key chapter. This is by no means a bad thing—this chapter is obviously needed—but I didn’t see it coming. It never ceases to amaze me how characters can grab the initiative and start telling their own story. I was fretting about how to get my hero and heroine together and wondering what exactly they had in common. Plus, Mac (hero) wasn’t coming across just right. I was trying to be flip and ended up making him shallow.

Then he grabbed the controls. Nicely, but there was no arguing. It was like he took out his notebook, tore out a page, and made a list of the points I had to make. This inner dialogue started at breakfast, and by the time I got to work the material was all there.

I wish Mac could use my computer. Then I could just take off and watch TV tonight while he fixed my pages.

Small things make me happy

Sharon Ashwood
August 26, 2008  •  1 Comment

Okay, so this may seem utterly geeky, but I nearly squealed and jumped off the couch when I found (on-line) a boxed set of Kindred: the Embraced on DVD. Of course I ordered it. It was one of those good-bad shows that part of your brain criticizes while the other part leaps right in. I’m going to be watching the mail box like a vulture waiting for it to arrive.

Yeah, it was a slow week.

Ghostly tourism

Sharon Ashwood
August 18, 2008  •  No Comments

Oh, I love this site!

Plan your ghost vacation, hook up with paranormal conventions, get your ghost-busting gear. It’s all here!

I bet my ghost-busting heroine, Holly, would have had it in her favorites list. Heck, she’d probably be submitting content.

I’ve seen other ‘ghost holiday’ type of advertisements—such as the small local ghost tours or even the Dracula-centric treks around Transylvania. It’s interesting to me how the paranormal is becoming a mainstay of the tourism industry. Some would say it’s all an opportunity for con artists to part vacationers from their cash.  True, in some cases. However, I think the phenomenon as a whole is good because that means people are curious about what’s out there.  Curiosity is healthy. It means people are more than the mental equivalent of sponge puddings.

However, the moment the commercial world figures out just how much cash might be made, it could get interesting. What if Disney got involved? What about the descendents of the dead wanting a piece of the action?  Heck, what if the ghosts themselves started seeking agents? My people could be calling your people on a ouija board.


Sharon Ashwood
August 7, 2008  •  1 Comment

There’s no place like home. Dirty dishes. Piles o’ laundry. Naughty cats. Bills. Emails. Yup, I’m not on holidays anymore, but I’m glad to be sleeping in my own bed. After two days at home, I’m still tired—I have that close-the-eyes-and-tilt-sideways thing going on. Was going to the Romance Writers of America National Conference worth it?  Absolutely.

Good news: The romance book industry is healthy. Publishers are buying pretty much all genres.

Bad news: It’s not getting any easier for new authors to get a foothold. Competition is fierce. The market is crowded. It’s up to the author to do what they can for themselves, contact the right people, do extra publicity and so on. Not really anything I didn’t know, but it’s nice to realize my perceptions were on the mark.

Ugly news:  Sadly, no one has discovered the magic bullet that will a) create a bestselling formula or b) get your name in front of the requisite number of eager readers so that your book fulfills its potential.  Theories abound, however, many with price tags attached.

Overall:  The only thing people agreed on as a critical ingredient for success was persistence. The stubborn will survive.

Exciting stuff:  Paranormal romance and urban fantasy are booming and OMG are there some talented writers coming out in the next six months!  Definitely check out Jessica Andersen’s Final Prophecy series. I got a free copy of book one (Nightkeepers) and started reading it when I got home. I’m hooked.

A gruesome domestic moment

Sharon Ashwood
July 26, 2008  •  No Comments

It’s amazing what you discover when you type “blood” and “recipe” into Google. I did it with regard to the “Eat Right for Your Blood Type” theory, thinking my semi-annual diet thoughts.


I got all kinds of stuff I wasn’t expecting. and   Will actually provide recipes for fake blood if you’re filming your own horror flick.  Useful to know when those nice people with pamphlets ring the doorbell and you want to answer a la Carrie, perhaps with the optional butcher knife in hand. offers a variety of recipes for consumption, including mint blood and chocolate blood. Sounds even better than snacking on the gals at the Rocky Mountain chocolate factory. has a few recipes I recognize from historical cookery that contain actual blood, like blood pudding. After all, when you were butchering your own animals, you didn’t waste a single thing. That seems more respectful than the current factory processes. This site also has some mixed drink recipes (suitably red) that look worth exploring.


And, of course, there was what I was actually looking for:  FWIW, a lot of people scoff at the Blood Type diets, but I find following mine actually works pretty well.






Brave ghosts

Sharon Ashwood
July 21, 2008  •  No Comments

This is just too cool.

The Australian child protection organization Bravehearts is collecting local ghost stories as part of a fundraising effort. Kids and fireside tales belong together.  I can’t think of a better way of putting the resident spooks to work. It’s kind of neat to think that maybe there IS a way to help out from beyond the grave.

Got to and click on the June 23 press release for the official word.


Put this slime monster in your motor and burn it

Sharon Ashwood
July 17, 2008  •  No Comments,2933,367642,00.html

Last month, Fox news reported that the gurus in Silicon Valley are working on a number of projects around what they call renewable petroleum.  The basis of this new industry is using genetically-altered bacteria to consume agriculture waste and transform it into crude oil.  This seemed so much like a hoax, I hunted around for more sources and, sure enough, there are other reports about this sort of thing. It’s not a joke.

The good news is that this would turn a finite into a renewable resource, thus relieving considerable economic pressure.  The bad news is that this doesn’t motivate the Powers That Be to get busy with non-carbon-producing forms of energy. Still, you have to hand it to these folks for coming up with an innovative idea. Oil-producing bacteria wasn’t the first thing that came to my mind when pondering the energy crisis.

Of course, these are tech guys. They don’t live in the real world. Anyone familiar with school children knows that germs are not containable.  Ever.  

These bugs eat organic material. The world is one big organic cookie jar. Well-fed bacteria reproduce. I hope these tech guys are familiar with your basic horror film, because the results of this equation look very black and slimy.  I do not want to become part of an oil patch before my time.

Given the option, I would prefer a more showy apocalypse. Something drier, with gargoyles.