Writing, Reading, and Smiling . . . It's Contagious.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Seanachaí’s News

On the last Sunday of each month, I compile “Seanachaí’s News,” a status report that assesses my work during the current month and also formulates my plans for the upcoming months. It will also give you a peek at my works in progress.

My Work During the Current Month

  1. I've been busy promoting my new novel, Haunted Voices from My Past: True Narratives of an Ohio Family.  Check out my "Collecting Acorns" blog where I discuss the meaning behind "haunted voices."
  2. Looking for a new recipe?  For a taste of homegrown vegetables from the haunted garden that is featured in my new book, try my spooky spaghetti squash.
  3. "My Name is Dorothy" is a short, inspirational piece about my childhood and my positive outlook on life.
  4. If you like poetry, you won't want to miss my collection of inspiring haiku that hints of the gentle "Murmuring that Creeps into the Life of a Wandering Soul...".

My Plans for the Upcoming Months

  1. Right now I'm assisting my friend and colleague, E. Michaels, with a brand new title, Turtles and Shells and Things.  This title will be available for the holiday season.  Check Sunflower Footsteps' website for its release.
  2. I'm excited about this new book because it's the first title in The Feel Good Series.  This series is dedicated to encourage self-confidence in younger readers.  Each title has a story to read and color, activities to complete, and games to play.
  3. The next title up for publication will be E. Michael's next story for The Feel Good Series, Little Duck Gets Ready for School.
  4. OK, I've been stalling long enough.  Before I get the bombardment of questions about what my plans are, I'll try to be concrete.  All right, at the moment I have NO projects of my own on my desk.  However, that does NOT mean I'm not formulating plans for a new book.  I'm playing with a new way of storytelling, and I might already have a title for the new project (if I can grab a few minutes to check the calendar for accuracy).


THANK YOU, everyone, for ordering my books this holiday season!  Seriously, it's the readers who make my work possible.  Without you, I would have to put away the books and get a "real" job.  Thanks for not letting that happen!

Also, if you're looking for holiday gifts UNDER $10, Haunted Voices from My Past, The Mysterious House, and Turtles and Shells and Things are on discount through the end of the year at Sunflower Footsteps.  You can also save $2 on Dead Bird in the WeedsVisit the website for the online coupon code that's on the home page.  Don't forget that you can read excerpts of these titles!

For more information on Sunflower Footsteps, authors, and titles, visit:


As always, I love to hear from you. If you’re in the cyber-neighbourhood, drop me a line. In the meantime, keep writing, reading, and smiling. It’s contagious.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Murmuring that Creeps into the Life of a Wandering Soul...

Haiku is a wad of yellowed paper with cheesy drawings.

When I was cleaning a closet several months ago, I happened upon a dog-eared folder. Tucked inside was a jumble of mismatched poems (mostly haiku) printed neatly with a rainbow of colored pencils. Each yellowed page was accented with childish doodles that frolicked around the edges. Ah, youth!

As I grew older, haiku became a way to express my imaginings and explore my journey through life, thought, and maturation. Walk with me now down a narrow path edged with silver-sprigged lavender and listen to the murmuring that creeps into the life of a wandering soul...

Cool morning and breeze
Lavender hangs in the air
Don't close the window

Characters, play nice
stop wandering in white space

Straining my brown eyes
by the light of green lilies
See how they flicker?

I inflate the tires
as weeds choke the spindly fern
A toad hears the hiss

The white morning mist
and the scent of an aged sun
write old tales, new dreams

Rain tickles the screens
As I peer through the window
Tears flow steadily

The shimmering dew
beneath the aged coral sun
cries upon my shoes.

Crickets in the night
chirp to be heard in the crowd
We are all insects

I remember when
the seasons held no purpose
tears rained from our lies

How many people
write frosty words in the snow,
dreading the warm sun?

The window is closed,
trapping me in this stale box
of dried memories

When I was little
I thought notions not spoken
were words in a cloud

What am I doing?
Ignoring hunger pangs and
feeding my vision

Autumn shakes the trees
as tense leaves contrive to bare
their dying splendor

Autumn trickles down
parched window panes, melting like
snow on timid tongues.

Brown leaves cry beneath
bored feet, victimized by the
synthetic souls' stride

Morning will not come;
the light of initiative
was smothered by doubt.

I lay down my head
and hide behind watchful eyes
The harvest has died

The snow will not fall
upon the shadows of trees
Think of me and breathe


As always, I love to hear from you. If you’re in the cyber-neighbourhood, drop me a line. In the meantime, keep writing, reading, and smiling. It’s contagious.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

My Name is Dorothy

Toto had glass eyes and smelled like instant coffee.

My mother crocheted a small grey and white blanket from leftover yarn with the aid of the dim light over the kitchen sink. She then unearthed a scruffy white poodle from my closet and dyed its shaggy coat with three cups of her favorite instant coffee. After a night spent by the heater and a quick blast from the hair dryer, the stuffed dog was crammed into a wicker Easter basket and covered with the grey blanket.
Toto was ready for school, but Dorothy failed to appear. Instead of partaking in my school's "Storybook Day," I stayed at home nursing the flu with the hundredth viewing of The Wizard of Oz.

Since that fateful day, I have been resolved to miss nothing more. Now I rejoice in the simplicity of summer's end, the diligence of the autumn woolly worm, and the magic of the first snow. I applaud the plight of those who never give up and marvel at the pear tree that retains its leaves until winter's winds wipe away summer's decay. I wonder about the package delivered to the house across the road and remember the clear brackets glued onto the mail carrier's blue-white teeth. I think of Christmas and BB guns and the setting of the low winter's sun. I remember fireworks, blueberry tongues, and paper cartons filled with ice cream. I recall the stories of Ace and the smell of rich coconut. I sing with the Lollipop Guild and chuckle. I never noticed the multitude of flowers growing from all those tiny shoes.

My name is Dorothy, and I'll never stop exploring and remembering.


As always, I love to hear from you. If you’re in the cyber-neighbourhood, drop me a line. In the meantime, keep writing, reading, and smiling. It’s contagious.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

A Spooky Autumn Recipe

Those of you enjoying my new book, Haunted Voices from My Past, know that my garden grows not only an abundance of tasty vegetables but also harbors a roguish ghost. Try my homegrown recipe for a taste of autumn, and, if you're lucky, a sampling of the paranormal.

Seanachaí's Spooky Spaghetti Squash

Serves 2 HUNGRY Ghosthunters

What you'll need...

  • 1 medium-sized spaghetti squash [about 8" long and weighing 5 lbs.]
  • tomatoes
  • green peppers
  • cheddar cheese [the liquefied cheese in a jar]
  • spaghetti sauce [optional]
  • salt, pepper

1. Begin by washing the squash. After drying, cut lengthwise [from stem to opposite end]. You'll need a sturdy knife because spaghetti squash are quite tough when uncooked. They're a bit like a pumpkin or cantaloupe. Make sure you cut away from yourself, and don't worry about removing the stem. Whatever doesn't break off at picking time, stays.

After cutting, the squash can be a little resistant. I usually sneak my thumbs into the cut and pull the halves apart. What will greet you is a mess of innards. Again, it's going to resemble a cantaloupe. Use a large spoon to remove the seeds and membrane in the center. Leave the outer flesh. It will be in a ring just beneath the rind and is usually 1" thick. This is the part you'll eat. Remember, it's just like a cantaloupe.

3. After digging out the innards, you'll have two halves with holes in the center. Fill these holes with diced tomatoes and green peppers. Don't be stingy. Fill the holes completely! Vegetables shrink when cooked because they're mostly water. Also, spaghetti squash has a mild taste resembling that of spaghetti. The addition of green pepper will sweeten the flesh.

4. Top the vegetables with 1 tbsp. of cheddar cheese. Add salt and pepper [as much as you would for spaghetti]. Place both finished halves [faceup] in a microwave-safe baking dish. Fill bottom of dish with 1/8 cup of water [to help steam the vegetables] and cover with plastic wrap. Cut a tiny hole in the center of the plastic to allow steam to escape. For a medium-sized squash, baking time is about 25 min. on high power [adjust cooking time to your microwave's wattage].

5. Squash is done when the rind is papery and the flesh can be pulled away easily. Use a fork and gently pull the flesh from the rind. Notice how the squash comes off the rind in long strands, hence, the name "spaghetti squash."

6. Add another tbsp. of cheddar cheese to the squash, tomatoes, and green peppers. If you prefer tomato sauce over extra cheese, add sauce to taste. Stir ingredients and microwave an additional 3 min.

7. Serve! I enjoy eating my squash directly out of the peeling rather than scraping it into a dish. The peeling, though inedible, serves as an eye-catching, bright yellow bowl. If you choose to eat it this way, put it atop a dish because it's a little too flimsy [and HOT] to stand alone.

8. What to serve with your spaghetti squash? I enjoy a crisp garden salad and breadsticks with mine.

Let me know if you enjoy my ghostly recipe!


As always, I love to hear from you. If you’re in the cyber-neighbourhood, drop me a line. In the meantime, keep writing, reading, and smiling. It’s contagious.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Collecting Acorns

Halloween is a time of ghosts and burning leaves, vampires and dying trees, and unwrapped candies accompanying creepy stories.

I remember three distinct details from my childhood. The first two are homework and snow days. Oddly, they complement one another in that one always intends to catch up on homework during a snow day. However inclined, the snow beckons and while one is creating angels in the cold, white winter dust, the dreaded schoolwork is not only pushed aside but forgotten until the sun sets and signals the migration to the house and the restoration of the memory.

The third thing I remember from childhood is akin to the world of endless snow days. It has nothing to do with hot cocoa, television, or the internet. It comes from the history of Beowulf and the bard. This third memory is that of the oral storyteller.

I come from a family tree laden with storytellers who drop acorns upon unsuspecting relatives. These "acorns" or "stories" are always told in the first person and relate true narratives of the supernatural, macabre, and unexplained.

As a child I remember sitting by the wood stove and listening to the ghoulish tales of my grandfather being confronted by an evil hitchhiker and my grandmother's home being guarded by more than one dead individual. I recall my mother telling of her escape from a flying entity, my cousin relating her firsthand experiences with the supernatural, and my aunt sharing her cerebral storehouse of family lore.

Intrigued by these stories as a child and later as an adult, I set about collecting the acorns of my family that dangle from a tree of half-forgotten memory. After emptying the sack of acorns, I ground them into a fine powder of daunting yarns entitled Haunted Voices from My Past: True Narratives of an Ohio Family. My new book is a tribute to my ancestors and their lives, a look at my own fragile experiences with the unknown, and an echo of the haunted voices that once shared their stories with the hope that they would be respected, retold, and preserved.

Thanks to all of the readers who made my new book a success last week, my family's ghost stories have been heard. Take a moment to shake your family tree and tell me some of your true ghost stories in the comments section below.


As always, I love to hear from you. If you’re in the cyber-neighbourhood, drop me a line. In the meantime, keep writing, reading, and smiling. It’s contagious.