Friday, October 31, 2008

Freebie Friday Ghost Story - KC Dyer

Happy Halloween!!! I hope you all are doing something fun today. In our community, the kids did trick-or-treat last night (don't ask me why - I don't get it) so all that's left for today are the school parades (anticlimactic since they've already worn their costumes for the night out) and Halloween parties. Oh - and Freebie Friday, complete with a completely fabulous ghost story!

Today's freebie, in celebration of the upcoming NaNoWriMo that starts tomorrow, is a
purse-sized journal and miniature pen - perfect for jotting down story ideas. For your chance to win, simply leave a comment below about any of the ghost stories we've shared this week. And now, the story you've been waiting for... In keeping with our international theme, Canadian author extraordinaire, KC Dyer, has shared an excerpt from her upcoming book set in the tunnels and streets of Old Town beneath Edinburgh. Enjoy!

I can’t say how long the trip through the tunnels lasted. Hours? Days? It was long enough that my legs ached from the running. Long enough that the torch sputtered out twice, each re-lighting accompanied by muffled curses. And, most tellingly, long enough that my fear of the velvet darkness gradually ebbed into gratitude, for the number of rats I could hear must surely seem fewer than seeing the reality.

Even Iain’s breath was ragged when his footsteps finally slowed. He tightened his grip on my arm. “Time is short,” he hissed in my ear, “but we must slow down here.”

And right he was, for less than five steps later my hand brushed the splintery reality of a wooden door. Iain thrust the torch up to a metal plate near his eye level, and dropping my arm, used his other hand to slide the plate open. He turned to smirk at me and his eyes glinted red in the torchlight.

“We’re in luck,” he whispered. “Say nothing unless she speaks to you.”

“Who…?” I began, but he waved my question aside and turned the heavy iron handle of the door. Apart from the metallic click as the latch disengaged, there was no sound as the door swung wide enough to admit us both. A fetid stink of dust, and old wax and something else – rats, maybe? – enveloped me as we stepped through the doorway.

“Leave it ajar,” Iain breathed into my ear.

“Close it,” said another voice, clear and petulant. “Or I will not admit you into my boudoir.”

My heart felt like it stopped a moment in my chest. I’d heard that voice before.

A single candle burned low in a sconce on the wall, casting its dim glow onto the powdery walls, stained with damp. In the small circle of light sat a child, near what looked like an open box on floor. From her size she was past babyhood, perhaps six or seven years old, though it was hard to tell, as her face was wreathed in shadow. Her hair was long and tousled, but looked cleaner than it had a right to be in that dark and dreadful place. Half the girl’s head had been neatly braided, the long plait hanging down her back, but the other half hung loose, as though whoever had been helping her with it had been called away before completing the task.

“It’s cold,” she whispered, and her voice sweetened. “So cold. Is there no coal for the hearth? I cannot find my cloak. Have you seen my mama?”

Iain’s hand tightened warningly on my arm once more. “Ah, I’m sure your ma will return soon, girlie. We’ve brought you a wee doll, just to help you pass the time until she returns.”

The child clapped her hands in delight, but made no move toward us. Instead, Iain put his hand on the small of my back and pushed me forward. I stumbled on the uneven surface and nearly fell on the girl before recovering my balance. Not knowing what else to do, I held out the small doll.

She didn’t spare me a glance. Instead she continued to stare into the darkness towards the door – and Iain.

“You’re not my friend,” she said slowly, and she scrambled up onto her knees. “I can see you now…mama said I should keep away. I remember now. Mama told me to stay clear from you…”

She looked up at me then, and the pallor of her skin was reflected in the blue of her eyes – so faded as to be almost white. Under her chin, the skin of her neck was grotesquely swollen, and a purple-black that made her head almost appear to float above the rags she wore as a dress. She rose lightly to her feet and reached for the doll, but all I felt was a chill of icy breath on my skin as her hand passed across – and through – my own. In the time it took for me to turn and look at Iain, she was gone, her final word drifting through the air between us…


Iain shrugged. “Can’t think what she meant,” he said, grinning weakly.

And with the softness of a sigh, the candle guttered out.

Happy Hallowe'en!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Ghost Story - Marley Gibson

Today's ghost story is extra cool... Agency sister Marley Gibson is going to be on the Biography Channel tonight will actual film footage of hers! You'll want to keep an eye on Marley - the first book in her GHOST HUNTRESS series comes out next year. This story happened while she was researching for the series.

When the sale of my upcoming series, GHOST HUNTRESS, was announced, I was blown away by how many people wanted to tell me their ghost story. Who knew? This person's grandmother had a ghost, that one's uncle had a spirit in his office, another one saw an apparition on a dark road, and others reported angels and deceased relatives in hosital rooms and during raging storms.

I love hearing people's ghost stories and love learning of their experiences. I have to say that I didn't necessarily believe in or think about ghosts before I started doing research for the GHOST HUNTRESS series. Sure, I liked the paranormal movies and books and such, but I hadn't really considered the possibilities of having contact with another dimension.

Over the past year and a half, my husband, Mike, and I have gone to a lot of haunted locations in the name of research for my book. We've had a lot of personal experiences, gotten a lot of unknown voice recordings on our digital recorder, and we've each been touched when no one else was present. However, the most compelling evidence we have to date is that of our "ball
video" from Waverly Hills Sanitarium in Louisville, Kentucky that we captured this summer.

Waverly Hills was a tuberculosis hospital from 1929 through the early 1960s. Over 63,000 (yes, you read that right) people died there over the years. Men, women, and children. See, when a family member contracted the disease, the whole family would have to move into the sanitarium because of how contageous the disease was. Because of this, many well children came down with tuberculosis, as well, and eventually died. Very sad.

Mike and I were on the third floor of the sanitarium. It was a hot, hot July night in Kentucky. The only sounds were that of our fellow investigators, the chirping cicadas outside, and the UPS planes overhead. The place has no electricity and there was no wind or breeze that night. As we were walking down the hallway, we encountered two balls on the floor. A red one and a blue one. Much to our surprise, the larger blue one was rolling around the smaller red one. We had heard stories that visitors to the place would bring balls for the spirit children to play with. Who knew we'd actually see it move?

For fifteen minutes, we sat there and watched this ball move freely between Mike and me. It would roll to him, change directions and then roll to me. Then, it would roll around me and bump up against me. Clearly this wasn't just the wind blowing it, because there was no wind. Additionally, the floor was completely level and there was no way it was causing the ball to
move around. Finally it hit me! Turn the video camera on! Which we did. And we got twenty minutes of footage of me talking to what we believe was the spirit of a child as this ball moved around and back and forth between us.

At one point, the ball goes shooting into another room. I get up to retrieve it and as I'm bring it back in, I can feel something literally tugging it out of my hand. I mention that on the video and when I played my audio recorder back (a week later), I heard a disembodied voice that
said, "Hey, hey, let go."

Through some networking in the "paranormal community" and a lot of people hearing of our experience, we were recommended to a producer for a new TV show that A&E was putting together called MY GHOST STORY. It's a show about real people, not ghost hunters, and their paranormal experiences that have been caught on video. They were really impressed with the ball video and they flew us out to LA to interview us for the show. Fortunately, we made the cut for the premiere (7 stories out of 22 were chosen!) and TONIGHT the show will air on A&E's Biography Channel at 10:00 p.m. ET. If you'd like to see the ball video, please tune in then and check out our interview and footage. It's pretty amazing!

So, this Halloween you have a ghost story to tell? What's yours?

Hope you'll watch MY GHOST STORY tonight!! Drop me a line and let me know what you thought of it.

Marley = )

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Ghost Story - Ian Barker

Happy Wednesday! In keeping with the international theme, today's ghost story comes to you from Ian Barker, who hails from Greater Manchester in the UK. Ian is editor of PC Tools magazine. He's currently collecting rejection slips for a novel.

I’d agreed to have Nick for a week over half-term whilst my sister and her husband were away on their second honeymoon. Derek was up north on business so it would be nice to have some company in the house while he was gone.

The thing is, I hadn’t seen Sandra’s son for four years – living at opposite ends of the country doesn’t do too much for family ties – and I still remembered the rather shy eleven-year-old I’d last met. What turned up on my doorstep was a gangly, spiky-haired model for skateboarder chic. His black hoodie was made for someone three sizes bigger and he wore gravity-defying combat pants that seemed in constant danger of descending to his ankles.

“Hello, Auntie Pam.” He dumped a
rucksack large enough to supply a three-month expedition to the Himalayas on my hall floor.

I put him in the lounge and went through to the kitchen to make tea. When I came back he was slouched on the sofa with the earpieces of an iPod firmly in place.

“What are you listening to?” I said as I put down the tray. I’d opted for mugs, teenagers and the quality china aren’t a good mix in my experience.

Nick grudgingly removed one earphone. “Kaiser Chiefs.”

I half recalled hearing a track on the car radio. “Oh, they’re rather jolly aren’t they? They remind me a bit of The Jam from back in my day.”

A scowl preceded the replacement of the earpiece and the neck sinking deeper into the hoodie. There was also an odd sideways glance and a raising of the eyebrows as though passing silent comment to someone else. Maybe “jolly” wasn’t the appropriate term.
I noticed the sideways glances more over the next few days, and thought I heard the odd muttered aside too but I never managed to catch the actual words. I just put it down to teenage hormones.

Then as I was on my way to bed on Thursday night I noticed Nick hadn’t shut his door properly. As I passed I clearly heard him say, “No, Mark, it’s different these days.” There was some other s
tuff that I couldn’t quite hear and I felt guilty about lingering to listen so I moved on. I was beginning to worry though. I’d half a mind to write to Sandra and say I was concerned about the boy’s mental state.

The next morning as he crunched his breakfast cereal I said, as casually as I could manage, "Who's Mark?"

For a fleeting moment he looked like he was about to burst into tears, then he looked down at his Corn Flakes and muttered, “Nobody.”

“It’s just that I thought I heard you talking to someone last night.”

“Oh... That’s just some stupid play thing we’re doing for school, I was rehearsing.” He blushed as he said it and I knew he was lying but I didn’t press the point.

“I thought we’d go shopping later, get some stuff for a special meal on Saturday before you go back. Your uncle Derek will be back on Sunday morning, so he can drive you to
the station.”

He didn’t say anything, but there was that odd sideways glance with the raised eyebrows again.
Nick trailed around the supermarket with his hands deep in his pockets and made monosyllabic replies to my queries about what sort of food he liked. When we got to the checkout I noticed a couple of extra items on the belt. A sliced white loaf and, oddly, a Glam Rock Greats CD. “Did you pick these up?” I asked Nick.

“No,” he said, injecting a surprising amount of feeling into a small word.

“If you wanted them you only had to ask.”

“I didn’t.” He was blushing again. The checkout girl was getting impatient and there was a queue, so I just paid for the lot. Behind me I distinctly heard Nick mutter, “Mark!” through gritted teeth. He hardly spoke on the way back. When I’d unpacked the shopping and looked up a recipe for bread and butter pudding to use up the unwanted loaf, I tried to talk to Nick again.

“Aren’t you a bit old for imaginary friends?”

“I don’t have imaginary friends.”

“Then who’s Mark?”

“No one.”

“So have you been talking to no one for long?”

“No, he’s only...” Nick suddenly became intent on conducting a close examination of his shoes.

“Only what? If something’s bothering you tell me.”

“I can’t”

“Why not?”

“You wouldn’t understand!” There were genuine tears in his eyes this time and he turned and thudded upstairs to the spare room.
Maybe I should have taken a less bull in a china shop approach. Don’t get me wrong here, there’s nothing the matter with imaginary friends as such. I mean, I had one when I was a little girl. I was six and her name was Emma. We had great adventures together and my mother would play along with the conspiracy, laying an extra place at table or dividing my orange squash into two glasses instead of one. But I grew out of it. Well, when you get a bit older you do, don’t you? A fifteen-year-old boy with an imaginary friend though. That’s odd if you ask me. I made the pudding as a peace offering, but all the while I was composing that difficult letter to my sister.

I decided against cooking on the Saturday evening. Instead we sent out for a takeaway and I opened a bottle of wine. And yes, I did let Nick drink some. What’s the point of being an auntie if you can’t be a wicked one now and again?

After we’d eaten we listened to the Glam Rock Greats CD and Nick surprised me by knowing most of the words and being able to sing along. We giggled at his attempts to match Noddy Holder’s gravel voice. Then he produced a gadget that linked his iPod to the stereo – Derek would have had a fit – and we listened to the Kaiser Chiefs and the Arctic Monkeys. He even let me kiss him on the cheek before he went to bed.

What with such a successful evening and more than half a bottle of Riesling I went to bed more than a little drunk. That’s probably why I forgot to turn off the fan heater in the utility room.

It was pitch dark when I woke and there was an acrid tang in my mouth and nose along with a stinging in my eyes. Someone was tugging at my arm. “Come on,” the voice was muffled. I climbed out of bed and the smoke was worse. I felt a hand, cold and clammy, take mine.

“Shut your eyes and bend down low.” The next bit I only know though my bare feet; the dense bedroom carpet giving way to the shorter pile of the landing and stairs, the woodstrip of the hall, the prickly doormat, the cold concrete of the garden path and then the damp tarmac of the pavement. “You can open your eyes now.”

Slowly I lifted my eyelids, and there was Nick, shivering in his underpants. “You saved my life,” I said.

Then I realised that both his hands were engaged in rubbing his arms to keep warm, but that someone’s fingers were still curved around mine.
I turned to see another boy, about Nick’s age standing next to me, dressed in flared jeans and a tank top, his blond hair in a collar-length feather cut. He gave me a dazzling two-million candle-power smile. I opened my mouth to speak, but before the words could come out, he'd gone. He didn't walk or run or fade like the Cheshire Cat or disappear in a puff of smoke; he just wasn't there any more.

I turned back to Nick. “Was that...?”

“Mark, yes.”

“But... He’s... I mean, how...?”

“I suppose you’d call him a ghost. He died trying to rescue someone from a fire in 1975. This was why he found me.” Nick nodded towards the house, then looked a little wistful. “I don’t think he’ll be back now.”

“Why didn’t you tell me?”

“I couldn’t. I was scared he’d go away if I did and...”

“Oh, Nick!” I hugged him until the wail of an approaching fire engine broke the spell. As if on cue neighbours, overcoats hastily thrown over nightwear, emerged from their houses with blankets.

“Auntie!” Nick pushed me away. I realised that he’s fifteen and doesn’t want to be hugged in the street by a middle-aged woman in a passion-killer nightie. “You won’t tell anyone? About Mark, I mean."

“I don’t think they’d believe me if I did.”

I mentally rip up the first letter to my sister and begin to write another telling her what a marvellous son she has. Then I wonder what Derek’s going to say about the house.

Happy Halloween!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Ghost Story - Nicole Maggi

As promised, today I bring you the first of five ghost stories to get us in the Halloween mood this week. Today's story is from Nicole Maggi, an actress and writer from LA who also happens to be one of my fabulous critique partners.

Many years ago, when I was in college, I worked as an Assistant Stage Manager on a play that was being done in the Emerson Majestic Theatre in Boston. Theatres are notoriously haunted; the Majestic certainly was, from the seats up in the unused second balcony that would randomly snap up and down to the ghosts that wafted through the basement costume shop.
The Stage Manager I worked with was named Melinda, and one day we started chatting about haunted theatres. She told me this story.

Melinda used to work for the Alley Theatre in Houston, a theatre that was founded by a group of women. One of the founders, Iris, was murdered in the theatre offices several years before Melinda started working there. Iris had hired a security guard and had run a routine statewide background check on him when she had hired him, but a few months later when she ran a nationwide check on all the theatre's employees, she'd discovered he was wanted in a couple of states. So she fired him. Knowing her habit of working late, he came to the theatre one night and strangled her with a telephone cord. He was convicted and sentenced to death for the murder.

Fast forward to Melinda working there years later. One day, one of her crew members called in sick, so Melinda called up her friend Amy to fill in. Amy came to the theatre during the day to run through her crew routine. She was in the wings when she heard the sound of someone violently choking onstage. She ran out onto the stage, but no one was there. A search of the theatre turned up no one; it was empty. She chalked it up to her imagination and left.

Later that night, after the show, Melinda and her roommate were the last ones in the theatre, shutting out all the lights and locking all the doors. Now, the stage at the Alley has a central vaum running behind it, with a single door that leads out onto the stage. As a final check, Melinda reached for the doorknob to check the stage. As she did so, her roommate said, "Don't open that door." Melinda ignored her and opened it.

"It was like looking into the pit of hell, " Melinda told me. "The stage was gone, the theatre was gone, the world was gone. If I had stepped out onto where the stage should be, I would have fallen into a bottomless hole."

Screaming, the two women fled the theatre, jumped into Melinda's car and raced to - where else - the nearest bar. At the bar, they ran into Amy and told her of what had just happened. Amy then related what she had heard earlier in the day. And as they're talking, they suddenly become aware of the TV over the bar. There's a little item on the news. The man who had murdered Iris was supposed to have been executed that day, but had been granted a stay of execution.

The next night, Melinda was at the theatre until 3 am and nothing happened. "Iris was just pissed," she told me, "and she let us know it."

Happy Halloween!


Thanks for the cheerful distractions, everyone. I appreciate it! I survived the weekend - even though I truly did miss being at Surrey.

The winners this week are:

Kristen - Japanese treats and incense holder
Roxanne - Ms. Zephyr's Notebook

Have a fantastic week! Stick around for some great ghost stories!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Freebie Friday - Missing Surrey

Here we are at the end of another week. Is it just me, or does time pass really fast these days? Maybe it's because I stumbled through these past several days in a jet-lagged stupor.

Anyway, Happy Friday! Hope you all have fun plans for the weekend. Me, I'll be busy with Trunk-or-Treating, band competitions and the OSU/Penn State game (Go, Bucks!) Keeping busy is good, because it will keep me from dwelling too much on what I'm missing this weekend - the Surrey International Writers' Conference.

For any writers reading this blog, let me tell you - the SIWC in Surrey, B.C. is one of the best conferences around. I first heard about it through a writers' forum I belonged to on Compuserve. A lot of the forum members attend every year, including best selling novelist Diana Gabaldon, who is one of the staples of the conference. I first went to Surrey about eight years ago and have been back five times. This year, sadly, is one of the years I'm not able to attend.

When I speak at workshops, one of the things I emphasize for authors is the importance of networking. The Surrey conference provides one of the best atmospheres for writers to connect with other writers as well as with editors and agents because of its laid-back, open attitude. The workshops are great, and the extras, such as Jack Whyte singing the Hippo song and Diana, Jack and Anne Perry in Michael Slade's shock theater, are priceless.

My favorite part about the SiWC, though, is meeting up with friends I've known online or who I met at the conference in previous years. A couple of the years, my fabulous crit group gathered at the conference as well. And get this - one of my YA CPs is now the head of the whole conference. KC Dyer took over the helm last year. She is all kinds of fabulous.

I'm having withdrawals this weekend!

As I promised, this week I will be offering two freebies. In honor of KC, I'm giving away a copy of her book, Ms. ZEPPHYR'S NOTEBOOK, and I'm also offering up the last of the Japanese goodies and a ceramic incense set. To be entered to win, leave an entertaining message below. I need something to cheer me up since I'm missing the conference!

This Freebie will remain open until Monday, when I will begin a series of authors' ghost stories leading up to Halloween!

Thursday, October 23, 2008


My apologies! This has been a very weird day. For the longest time, I was not able to online and then when I finally could, Blogger was giving me the "not available at this time" notification. And then I had an event tonight and I'm just now getting back to it.

I don't know about you, but I'm so dependent on my computer that when things like this happen, it throws me completely off!

Since it is so late, I'll offer two giveaways tomorrow and leave Freebie Friday open until early next week to give everyone a chance to enter.

ANYWAY, Wednesday's winner is:


Please send me an email with your mailing info and it's on the way!

Everyone else, see you tomorrow! (Blogger better not have any more updates to do!)

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Secret Fates and Celebrities

Happy Wednesday! It's hump day for the week, right? Half-way to the weekend!!! Big news in my neighborhood... David Archuleta is coming to the DCHS football game Friday night. He's going to sing the National Anthem. I know several girls at the school who are all kinds of excited. Why he has chosen to drop by our high school, I haven't the slightest clue, but we'll take it.

This is the second celebrity visit to DCHS in as many months - Barack Obama held a rally at Coffman just after the DNC. Yes, the Rocks rock!

ANYWAY, as promised, today you have two chances to win. It's my turn to post at Kelly Parra's Secret Fates Extravaganza, celebrating the release of her new book, INVISIBLE TOUCH. Leave a comment on that post and you'll be entered to win a copy of DEATH BY LATTE.

To be entered to win the final pair of tabi socks and some Japanese goodies from this blog, leave a comment below telling me about your most recent celebrity sighting. If you've never had one, that's OK. Make one up!

Happy hump day!

And the Winner is...

By random drawing, the winner of Tuesday's freebie is...


Please shoot me an email with your mailing address at gerb at lindagerber dot com and I'll get your socks and treats sent off to you!

Everyone else, thanks for your comments! Stick around for more winning!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

GCC Tour - Stacy DeKeyser

Welcome to day two of win-it week! Today I have a special blog for you - an interview with Stacy DeKeyser, author of JUMP THE CRACKS. Her book has received great reviews and has been nominated for the YALSA 2009 popular paperback award and Texas Lone Star Reading List. Here's the back cover blurb:

When fifteen-year-old Victoria witnesses what she believes to be child neglect on a train to New York, she makes a split-second decision and takes the young boy with her on the next train out in order to protect him. But, in her effort to make sure the child doesn’t slip through the cracks and end up back with the neglectful parents, she’s unwittingly branded a kidnapper and is forced to stay on the run until she can clear her name.

JUMP THE CRACKS is a fast-paced, suspense-driven thriller set in motion when a young girl is forced to confront the fine line between doing the legal thing and doing the right thing. Debut novelist Stacy DeKeyser offers a memorable and honest portrayal of a teen whose efforts to take on a child’s demons leads her to take on her own in the process.

Sounds cool, yes? Be sure to check it out!!! Meanwhile, here's Stacy and the interview questions:

1. What inspired you to write JUMP THE CRACKS?
An early scene of Jump the Cracks (on the train) is a fictionalized version of an experience I had myself. It was very upsetting, and I couldn't stop thinking about it. So I decided to try writing about it. It was very therapeutic.
2. Are any of your characters based on real people that you know?
Miss Theresa has a bit of both my grandmothers in her. That's about it, though.

3. What excites you?
An idea for a new book. Or maybe it's the other way around. When I have an idea that stirs up lots of emotion inside me -- whether it's good emotion or bad -- that's how I know it's something I should write about.

4. What turns you off?
People who treat children and animals badly. Rude people in general.

5. In DEATH BY LATTE, my character Aphra starts her adventure with a lie. What's the biggest lie you ever told, and what happened as a result of the telling?
Hmm. I was a very meek child, so this is hard. Once in 8th grade I told my mom I'd be at a friend's house, but my friend took me walking to see a boy she liked at his house. It was nighttime and I had no idea where we were. It made me very nervous.

6. All stories are built on suspense. What's the most suspenseful thing that's happened to you in real life?
Waiting to hear back from an editor who's interested in my book!
(Note: I can relate to that!!!)

7. If you could invite anyone you wanted - living or dead - to hang out with you at a weekend retreat, who would you invite and why?
Maybe Mark Twain. He'd be fun to talk to, and he could tell me stories.

8. What's one thing most people don't know about you?
My youngest sister was born when I was a sophomore in college. I had fun going around telling my friends, "Guess who's pregnant?"

9. What's your favorite quote?
There's a line in the movie A LEAGUE OF THEIR own that I think applies really well to writing. When Dottie (Geena Davis' character) contemplates quitting the team, she tell Tom Hanks it's because playing baseball isn't easy any more. Tom Hanks tells her, "It's not supposed to be easy. If it were easy, everyone would be doing it." I try to remember that. Oh, and of course, "There's no crying in baseball."

10. Milk Chocolate or Dark?
Is this a trick question? I refuse to have to choose. :)

Today's freebie will be a pair of tabi socks and rice-paper candy. To be entered to win, leave a comment below about Stacy's book or interview.

And the Winner Is...

The winner of Monday's Sumo Keychain and goodies is...

Cheryl S!

You know the drill... please send a note with your mailing address to gerb at lindagerber dot com so I can get it sent off to you.

Everyone else, stay tuned. We still have four more days of freebies this week!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Win-it Week!

I'm baaaack!

My apologies to the 'regulars' who may have come to the blog looking Freebie Friday last week. My Internet connection was a bit spotty, and I was literally bouncing from one event to the other all weekend. To make it up to you, I'm making this whole week a freebie week! Up for grabs: more Japanese goodies, a couple of sumo keychains, and an incense set. You'll want to drop by often!

Thanks for the emails asking about the trip, and for the well-wishes. For all of you who expressed interest in all things Japanese, you should check out Annie Chikamatsu's photo-journal blog about daily life in Japan. She's an American writer whom I know from SCBWIjp, married into a Japanese family, so she has some great insights and observations from both perspectives.

Meanwhile, a quick report for all of you who asked: what a whirlwind weekend!! Thursday and Friday I visited the American School in Japan (ASIJ) where my kids attended when we lived in Tokyo. I have to tell you, the librarians at ASIJ are the best! They really know how to host an author visit. I gave my presentation "Forensics in Fiction" to the 9th and 10th graders on Thursday and visited four English classes. We had an author lunch that day with book club members - smart students who asked great questions. That evening, I got to go out to dinner with the librarians, Marty Swist, Linda Hayakawa and Kirby Yoshii - such intelligent, fun people! Friday I spent with the Middle School, presenting to each grade separately and then enjoying another awesome author lunch. All of the participants had read at least one of my books so we had a fantastic discussion going the entire lunch and I was very sorry that it passed so quickly. After school the HS library hosted an author party, where I got to hang out with more students. What an awesome experience!

Saturday was my presentation on suspense writing at the SCBWI Tokyo Writers' Day. I have such a soft spot for the SCBWIjp. Way back when we first moved to Japan, I had the opportunity to help establish SCBWI in Tokyo and served as the first Regional Advisor, so it was a treat to see old friends again. I also got to meet agent extraordinaire and very nice person Laura Rennert from the Andrea Brown literary agency, who presented after me. Laura represents some of my favorite authors including Ellen Hopkins, and debut novelist Jay Asher (one third of the Disco Mermaids...) who wrote THIRTEEN REASONS WHY. And she happens to be married to one of my favorite thriller authors, Barry Eisler, who writes the John Rain series (set right there in Tokyo.) Another absolutely terrific day.

AND NOW... here's what we'll have going this week (with prizes given away each day...):

Today: Japan report and intro to the week
Tuesday: GCC Tour interview with Stacy DeKeyser
Wednesday: 2 chances to win... on this blog and on the DEATH BY LATTE post over on Kelly Parra's SECRET FATES EXTRAVAGANZA
Thursday: GCC Tour interview with Kelly Parra
Friday: Freebie Friday "Missing SIWC"

For today's freebie, I'm giving away a sumo keychain and assorted Japanese goodies. To be entered to win, leave a comment below telling me why I should draw your name! : )

Here's to a freakishly fantastic week!!!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


Konnichiwa! It's been a fast, fabulous week so far, meeting up with old friends and buzzing around Tokyo, but tomorrow it's time to get to work. I will spend the next two days at the American School in Japan and then present a workshop at the Tokyo Writers' Day on Saturday. Busy, busy! But I love it!!

Without further ado, the winner of this week's drawing is:


Please send me your mailing address to gerb at lindagerber dot com and I'll send your package off as soon as I get back to the States.

Everyone else, check back on Friday for your chance to win more fun Japanese stuff!

Pictures: "Nashi" - sooo good, like a cross between an apple and a pear; my dear friends Kiyomi and Mai; Hachiko statue in Shibuya, Hakkejima Beach Paradise

Friday, October 10, 2008


Ohayo gozaimasu from Tokyo!!

Look - it's still Friday! Well, not here... it's about 6 a.m. Saturday, but my body clock hasn't clued in to that yet.

It feels like I'm home... I can't believe it's been nearly a year and a half since we left Japan. I didn't realize how much I missed it here until we touched down in Narita. It's so wonderful to be back - if only for a short time.

Can I just tell you what a bad traveler I am, though? I mean, I love to travel, but it seems I always forget something. This time, it was my brushes. Yup. I'm going to be standing up in front of people at school visits and workshops... and I left my hairbrushes at home. Guess what's first on my list of things to do today? At least it isn't as bad as when we went to France, though... My Dear Husband loaded the van for our drive to the airport, and he accidentally left my suitcase sitting on the driveway! We had to call a neighbor to retrieve it so it wouldn't get stolen, but with the post-9-11 security restrictions, they couldn't send it to the airport so it could come to Paris on a later flight, so my first trip to the City of Lights was sans luggage. I had to buy everything new there (which sounds much more exciting than it was... budget limitations meant I was shopping at Carrefour and H&M instead of at some high-fashion Paris boutique.) Oh! And the book tie-in for this post... Aphra will be going to Paris in DEATH BY DENIM!

Anyway, for today's Freebie Friday, I'm giving away a pair of these way fun tabi socks, along with assorted Japanese treats (no dried squid, I promise.) All you have to do to be entered to win is to leave a comment, telling me about something really important you forgot. What happened because your lapse of memory?

Mata ne!

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Book and Chocolate Winner!

Hi, guys! It's a wet Wednesday here in Dublin. I'm behind - I intended to draw the winner yesterday. But I have a valid excuse - I'm leaving for Tokyo in the morning and I'm rushing to get things ready before I go. I didn't even watch the debate last night. Although I did find time to watch (again) the SNL take on the Palin/Biden debate last week. Tina Fey is fabulous!

This has nothing to do with the debates or the freebie or anything, but I saw an interesting article in the Chicago Tribune (thanks Ypulse) that talked about how high schoolers aren't necessarily taking dates to dances anymore. I know several people here - guys and girls - who didn't do the date thing for homecoming a couple of weeks ago. Is this a trend? What's it like where you are? Just curious.

Meanwhile, the winner of this week's Freebie Friday drawing is:


Please send me a note at gerb at lindagerber dot com and let me know your mailing address and which book you would prefer. Note - since I'm leaving in the morning, if I see your address, I'll get this out today, but if not, please be patient and I'll get it sent out as soon as I get back.

One last note: I am finally all caught up on sending everything out. If you have won something in the past couple of weeks and it hasn't arrived, please let me know asap. We did have a couple of post office problems this last month. One of them was my fault for addressing the package wrong (duh!) but the other two bounced for reasons unknown. I just want to make sure everyone gets what they were supposed to!

Friday, October 03, 2008


Happy Friday!

News today... Who watched the VP debate last night? I watched through Current TV's Hack the Debate (well, kind of watched. I was doing other things, too. I'm too easily distracted from and annoyed by politics to have paid complete attention.) Hack the Debate was a more interesting format than straight TV, though (viewers' live comments via Twitter appeared on the screen throughout the debate.)

In more entertaining news, Stephenie Meyer posted the first song from the TWILIGHT soundtrack on her blog yesterday. Anyone else planning a November 21 movie party?

And speaking of movies, Nick and Nora's Infinite Playlist opens today. Anyone planning on seeing it? I've been looking forward to it, but disappointed to see some not-so-great reviews. Don't know about you, but (although I love them) I only have so much time/money to spend on movies. Is this one worth making a theater trip, or will it be better to catch on DVD in a few months? If you go see it, let me know what you think!

Meanwhile, it's cold, gray and blah in Ohio today. I have errands to run but no motivation to venture outside. I think I would rather curl up in my overstuffed chair with a book and a cup of hot chocolate.

In fact... for today's Freebie Friday, I think I'll offer that combination. To be entered to win a packet of gourmet hot chocolate mix and your choice of Sarah Dessen's KEEPING THE MOON or Lisa McMann's WAKE (both good curling-up-on-a-cold-day books) leave a comment below telling me what you're going to do with your first October weekend.

Have a good one!!!