Tag Archives: Catie Rhodes

Roots of Anger

Howdy folks. Today’s post is sort of an “I think” topic. I’m going to tell y’all what I’ve learned about anger over the course of my life.

headshot of Catie RhodesDisclaimer

I’m not a therapist or a psychologist. Hell, I’ve never even been to one. I learned this stuff through reading and thinking and living life. What I say here is not intended as medical advice…or anything close. If you need a mental health professional, go see one!

(Note from Kass Lamb, mp’s resident psychologist: Ditto what Catie says about seeking professional help if you struggle with anger issues. But I gotta tell you, she is spot on with this post; sometimes the school of hard knocks is better than any graduate school program!)

The Roots of Anger

In my experience, most anger is rooted in fear or hurt. I know that sounds simplistic, but fear and hurt are both broad terms.

Fear can be related to:

  • fear of rejection
  • fear of humiliation
  • loss of income
  • loss of possessions
  • fear of loneliness
  • fear of losing control (of others, of self, of events)
  • relationships (loss of OR committing to)
  • a million other things

Hurt can be related to:

  • social isolation
  • abuse
  • powerlessness
  • victimization
  • rejection
  • loss of loved ones
  • feeling ostracized over personal appearance or some other difference
  • a million other things

Much fear and hurt can be traced back to baggage. I use the term baggage to refer to previous hurts and wrongs. Most of us lug this crap around like that heavy old Sampsonite luggage.

I’ve found, if I analyze carefully, I can find the root of my anger…and it’s usually fear or hurt.

How I Use This Information

The information here is stuff I use both in my real life and in my writing.

In my real life:

Analyzing the roots of my anger and figuring out why I feel the way I do gives me a chance to calm down and think things through before I lash out. And, believe me, my lash-outs are nothing anybody wants to see. I’m downright nasty.

Learning to analyze my anger has given me a great deal of peace. I can untangle the way I feel and understand what, if anything, I can do to feel better.

Sometimes, the answer is nothing more–or less–than removing myself from a situation or person. Other times, it’s a matter of attempting to change the way I allow myself to feel about something.

Responsibility for my Feelings

Notice I said “allow myself to feel.” One of the biggest and best life lessons I’ve learned is that I am responsible for how I feel. Even if somebody else did me wrong, I am still responsible for my feelings (and what I do about them).

Here’s why: my anger, my outrage, and my angst have more power to make me miserable than anybody else. They have more power to get me into trouble than anybody else.

But That’s Not Fair!

Nope. It ain’t. But life is not fair. Trust me on this. Often, it sucks.

Some of the suckage is stuff I can control. But the large majority of it is stuff I cannot control, no matter how I wiggle and dance. No matter how pissed off I get.

Sometimes–no, oftentimes–I have to say “just forget it” and walk away. That never, ever means I let people run over me. But I’m training myself to know which battles are winnable and which ones are not.

I suspect we each come to a point where we analyze our lives the same way as the narrator of this song:

It’s good to know how we got to where we ended up and why. And to know how we want to handle the next onslaught of crap.

In my writing…

I use what I’ve talked about here to analyze what my characters are about, especially the things that piss them off. I ask myself “Where is the root of this anger?”

Doing this helps me:

  • write deeper characterizations
  • develop fatal flaws
  • figure out upcoming plot points
  • put my characters in greater peril
  • make my characters hurt worse emotionally

Now it’s your turn. How do you handle anger? OR What’s one of the greatest life lessons you’ve learned?

Posted by Catie Rhodes. Catie is the gal your mama warned you about, the one who cusses a lot and never washes her hands after petting the dog. She’s the author of the Peri Jean Mace paranormal mystery series. Peri Jean sees ghosts, a talent she often wishes she did NOT possess.

The Secret Ingredient–Some Autumn and Holiday Treats

Every few weeks, the misterio press authors do a joint post. Today, we thought we’d share some of our favorite stick-to-your-ribs, cold weather dishes and some ideas for holiday meals and treats.

We’ll start off with Kathy Owen, whose cooking skills make me absolutely green with envy. I can’t wait to try this recipe, an easy meal you can throw together on a  busy day. (Easy is my favorite word when it comes to cooking. 🙂 )

some of the ingredientsSo here’s Kathy with her Crockpot Beef:

1 cup chopped onion*
1 cup chopped celery*
1/2 cup chopped peppers*
(*I use already chopped veggies from the supermarket’s salad bar, or the freezer section.)
30 oz tomato sauce
2-3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
1 cup water
3.5 lb eye round or rump roast (I used two small ones, adding up to about 4 lbs)
2 or more cloves of garlic, minced (I use the already-minced stuff in the jar.  See a theme here?)
ground black pepper

1. Mix veggies together, and spread half of the mixture in the bottom of crockpot.  Set the other half aside for the moment.

2. Season roast(s) with garlic and black pepper.  I just use a fork; it’s awkward no matter how you do it.  Don’t worry if some garlic falls off.

2 small roasts, seared3.  Sear roast(s) on all sides in a heated pan or skillet with a little oil, until they look something like this.

4. Then plunk those little cuties in the crockpot, on top of the veggies. Put the rest of the veggie mixture on top of the roast(s).

5. Pour all of the liquid ingredients on top of that (no need to mix them; just splash them in).

Finished dish

6. Cover and set on HIGH for 6-8 hours.  The house will smell soooo good.  Be prepared for major stomach-rumbling.

7.  Then, it’s time to shred!  What I like to do is spoon the liquid into a separate receptacle temporarily, then use two forks to pull the meat apart right in the crockpot.

8. Pour the liquid back in, stir, and serve over rice or noodles.

Kass here again. While we’re on the subject of easy, I’ll throw in my contribution. This recipe actually comes from my cousin who is a fab cook. This is a variation on a popular holiday side dish that I just love.

Cranberry Yams: (NOTE: This makes a lot, so if you’re feeding a smaller group, you might want to halve everything.)

2 large or 3 medium-sized cans (45-50 oz.) of yams (in their own juice, not candied)
1 ½ cans (16 oz.) apricot halves
½ can of whole cranberry sauce (or 1 cup fresh cranberries)
3 tbs. light brown sugar
2 tbs. cornstarch
½ tsp. cinnamon
½ cup golden raisins

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2.  Drain juice from yams and arrange in one layer in large casserole dish.
3.  Drain apricots, saving the liquid. Set it aside. Place apricots between the yams. Spread cranberries on top.
4.  Add enough water to apricot liquid to make 1 ½ cups.
5.  In a small saucepan, combine brown sugar, cornstarch and cinnamon. Stir in the liquid. Add golden raisins.
6.  Bring to a boil, stirring often. Syrup should thicken.
7.  Pour syrup over the yams, etc. and bake for 20 minutes or until heated through.

Makes 10-12 servings. And you can make it the day before, but allow more time for heating it through when it comes out of the fridge. It’s probably got a thousand calories per serving but I try to focus on all the good vitamins, minerals and fiber from the fruits and yams.

For a more health-conscious side dish here’s Shannon Esposito with another recipe easy enough even I can make it.

Spaghetti Squash Casserole:spaghetti squash casserole
Microwave 1 spaghetti squash for 12 minutes, then shred it.

Chop and saute the following:
2 carrots
1 zucchini
1 red pepper

Mix in 1 jar of Trader Joe’s marina sauce,
1 box of Trader Joe’s turkey bolognese,
1/2 pack shredded mozzarella.

Bake @ 350 for 30 min.

(You can substitute any marina sauce & plain ground turkey but it won’t taste as good, says the Trader Joe junkie that I am)

And now here’s Catie Rhodes with another holiday classic.

Southern Sausage-Cornbread Stuffing:

 What you need:
1 lb. ground pork sausage (I buy Jimmy Dean “hot.”)
2 medium white onions chopped*
4 stalks celery chopped*
6 cups cornbread crumbled (two envelopes of cornbread “mix” prepared will yield 6 cups.)
3 cups white bread cubes toasted (6 slices of bread will yield 3 cups of cubes)
2 tsp. rubbed sage
1/4 tsp. salt (or to taste)
1 tsp. pepper (or to taste)
4 cups chicken broth (If you don’t make homemade broth and reserve it for stuff like this, buy chicken bullion cubes. That way you always have enough.)
4 large eggs, slightly beaten (2 for the cornbread)

[*Celery and Onion Note: If you have a food processor, I recommend processing your onion and celery until nearly smooth. People seem to like this recipe better when it doesn’t have chunks of onion and celery.]

How you do it:
1.  Prepare cornbread according to mix instructions.
2.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
3.  Cook sausage, onion, celery in a large skillet over medium heat, stirring and breaking up sausage as it cooks. When sausage is cooked through and celery and onions are soft, you may drain grease. (I don’t drain my grease.)
4.  In a large bowl, combine cornbread, bread cubes, sage, salt, and pepper. Stir well, making sure cornbread is crumbled. Stir in sausage mixture. Add broth and eggs. Stir well.
5.  Spoon mixture into greased 13″x9″x2″ baking dish.
6.  Bake at 350 for 45 minutes. When top is lightly brown, stuffing is ready to eat.

Yields 9 cups. (And there will be NO leftovers, I guarantee it.)

[Note: You can prepare this the day before and refrigerate it overnight. If you do this, it’s going to need at least an hour in the oven. Also, have some extra chicken broth on hand. Sometimes it can get dry.]

And for dessert, (here comes my favorite word again, ‘easy’)…

Also from Catie — Quick & Easy Pumpkin Pie 

This was my mother-in-law’s pumpkin pie recipe. It makes two pies, but I usually half it and make only one pie. This is an old fashioned recipe and is not as sweet (and decadent) as most modern recipes. To me, that’s part of its charm; however, I understand most people like knock-your-socks-off-sweet at holiday time.

pumpkin pie surrounded by pumpkinsWhat You Need:
1 can (29 oz.) pumpkin (15 oz. can works for 1 pie)
2 cans sweetened condensed milk
4 eggs
2 tbsp flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cloves
2 Nine Inch Pie Shells

(I make my own pie crusts. They’re delicious, and it’s nowhere near as hard as it sounds. For a tutorial, click here. This tutorial shows you how to make two pie crusts. I usually freeze one and use it later.)

What You Do:
(You don’t need an electric mixer for this recipe. I use a fork to beat the eggs and a spoon to mix the rest.)
1.  Preheat over to 400º F.
2.  In a large bowl, mix eggs and milk until eggs are slightly beaten.
3.  Add other ingredients and pour into unbaked pie shells.
4.  Bake 1 hour at 400º F.

(After the first ten minutes of baking, you’ll want to cover the crust edges with foil or a crust cover so they don’t burn. Here’s a link showing you how to make a crust cover out of tin foil, which is handy because those store-bought crust covers often don’t fit.)

piece of pumpkin pie with whipped cream

photo by Johnny CC-BY-SA 2.0, wikimedia commons

If you’re really feeling ambitious, here’s Kathy Owen again with  Spiced Whipped Topping for that pumpkin pie.

Mix together 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, and 1/8 tsp nutmeg; stir in 3/4 cup heavy cream and 1/2 tsp vanilla.  CHILL FOR ONE HOUR.  Whip until stiff, and serve immediately.

And yet another treat from Kathy

Peppermint Fudge:

1.5 tsp plus 1/4 cup butter (softened, divided)
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup sour cream
12 oz white baking chocolate, chopped
7oz jar marshmallow creme
1/2 cup crushed peppermint candy
1/2 tsp peppermint extract

1.  Line a 9 inch square pan with foil, grease foil with 1.5 tsp butter. Set aside.
2.  In a heavy saucepan, combine sugar, sour cream, and remaining butter. Cook and stir over medium heat until sugar is dissolved.
3.  Bring to rapid boil; cook and stir until candy thermometer reads 234 degrees F (soft-ball stage).
4.  Remove from heat; stir in white chocolate and marshmallow creme until melted.  Fold in peppermint candy and extract.
5.  Pour into prepared pan. Chill until firm.
6. Using foil, lift fudge out of pan; cut into 1-inch squares. Store in refrigerator. Makes 2 pounds.

I don’t know about you all but I am now starving! LOL What’s your favorite holiday or cold weather recipe? Please share in the comments.

Women of Mystery boxed set cover


Oh, and here’s another holiday treat. A boxed set of three great mysteries, just $4.99 (only available for a limited time).

Available at AMAZON, BARNES & NOBLE, and KOBO

Volume 2 coming soon!



Posted by Kassandra Lamb. We blog here at misterio press once (sometimes twice) a week,  usually on Tuesdays. Sometimes we talk about serious topics, and sometimes we just have some fun.

Please follow us so you don’t miss out on any of the interesting stuff, or the fun! (We do not harvest, lend, sell or otherwise bend, spindle or mutilate followers’ e-mail addresses.)

Why Is Being Scared Out of Our Wits Fun??

Halloween will be here very soon–that time of the year when we celebrate all things creepy and scary. But have you ever stopped to ask yourself why we humans enjoy being scared out of our wits?

spooky jack-o-lanternAs a psychologist, I had my theories about this, but since it’s not my specific area of expertise, I did some research as well.

As I suspected, it all revolves around the part of our nervous system called the autonomic nervous system. This system has two branches: one that controls arousal and one that controls relaxation. I’ve discussed this aspect of our nervous system before, as it relates to stress.

But there are a couple other things we need to know about it before we can answer the question: why is being scared out of our wits fun?

1.  The arousal side is triggered not just by things that are threatening, that scare and/or anger us, but also by things that are exciting in a positive sense. Our hearts race and we get a little shot of adrenaline when we think about that big party we’re going to this weekend, and on the day of the party, even more so.

two chincillas in party hats

Let the party begin! (photo by Melissa Wolff, CC BY 3.0, Wikimedia)

2.  We humans need varying degrees of arousal throughout the day. We need calm times when we can rest and recuperate, but without some degree of arousal at other times, life would be totally boring and we would eventually slip into depression.

Research says that we naturally seek our own optimal level of arousal (which varies from individual to individual). When our arousal level is too low, we feel bored and seek more stimulation. When it is too high, we feel a bit overwhelmed and seek less stimulation.

Now with that basic info, let us look at why being scared is fun:

No harm, no foul:  When we are scared by something we know is not real (like a horror movie) we experience the adrenaline rush from the fear as enjoyable. But the key is that we have to know there is no risk of harm.

For example, hubs and I watched an episode of Criminal Minds the other night in which a killer is stalking college women. He breaks into a house while one of his victims is babysitting and kills her. This was ‘fun’ stimulation for us sixty-somethings who know that the risk of some crazed killer breaking into our house is minimal. But a young woman who is babysitting, alone in a house at night (cue spooky music), she might not want to be watching this show!

Clinical psychologist, David Rudd, told the online science magazine, livescience, that people “…may well scream but quickly follow it with a laugh since they readily recognize there’s no chance for real harm.”

Novelty:  We humans are wired to attend to novel things. Paying attention to something that is different in one’s environment was a survival necessity in more primitive times because that change in the surroundings (like the jungle suddenly going quiet) might mean there is a threat nearby.

Environmental psychologist, Frank McAndrew, explained it this way in the livescience article: “We’re motivated to seek out this kind of [novel] stimulation to explore new possibilities, to find new sources of food, better places to live and good allies. People enjoy deviations from the norm—a change of pace, within limits.”

Another well known psychology website, PsychCentral, agrees with these two reasons but adds a couple more:

Lingering arousal:  The high level of arousal from the fear leaves a lingering state of arousal that heightens other emotions. So if you are having a fun evening out with friends or home with your mate, the arousal from the horror movie, haunted house, etc. will increase your feelings of enjoyment of other aspects of the evening as well (Okay, I know where some of your minds went re: the home with your mate scenario. LOL).

Sensitivity to arousal:  Each individual’s nervous system is wired in its own unique way. Some people are more easily aroused than the average person, and others are not all that easily aroused. Those who are less easily aroused are likely to seek more intense stimulation, in order to achieve their optimal level of arousal.

Night of the Living Dead movie posterOur mp author, Catie Rhodes, loves horror!! On the other hand, if I were offered the choice between watching a horror movie or having a root canal, I would probably opt for the root canal. At least then I would be given Novocain to dull the pain!

In a WebMD article on the subject, Frank Farley, a psychologist at Temple University, combines this variation-in-arousal aspect with the novelty-seeking component. “Through movies, we’re able to see horror in front of our eyes, and some people are extremely fascinated by it. They’re interested in the unusual and the bizarre because they don’t understand it and it’s so different from our everyday lives.”

(I’m curious to hear how Catie feels about this theory, especially since she is particularly fascinated by ghosts! 😉 )

The challenge:  Dr. Farley has studied people who have what he has dubbed a “type T” (thrill-seeking) personality. They thrive on the kinds of experiences–bungee jumping, for instance–that most of us would consider terrifying. They’re not just in it for the adrenaline rush, however; they also crave the feelings of accomplishment that they have overcome these scary challenges.

Now to all these theories, I’ll add my own:

The rebound effect: The autonomic nervous system operates like a teeter-totter. What goes up must come down. To whatever degree we are aroused, we will experience an equal level of relief and sense of relaxation after that arousal fades.

We scream, and then we laugh… and then feel relaxed afterwards, oddly enough. Playwrights understood this as far back as Ancient Greece. Get the audience to experience intense emotions and they will be pleasantly drained at the end of the play. They dubbed it catharsis.

I hope you’ve found these explanations interesting and not so demystifying that they’ve taken the fun out of being scared – especially since I have a new release out, my own little mystery/ghost story.

Catie critiqued it and said it was “quite creepy.” Please check it out.

And then talk to us about why you enjoy having the @#*& scared out of you. What’s your favorite kind of Halloween spookiness?

book cover of Echoes, A Story of SuspenseECHOES, A Story of Suspense

James Fitzgerald is looking forward to a weekend getaway with friends at the country house that once belonged to his parents. Instead he walks in on a bloodbath. And a cryptic message on a shower curtain points to him as the killer.

The small town sheriff is smarter than he looks. He knows he doesn’t have enough evidence to make an arrest… yet.

Virtually under house arrest, James tries to distract himself from his grief and worry by investigating his parents’ backgrounds. Maybe he can find an explanation for the strange fainting spells he’s been having. He finds out more than he bargained for, however, and starts to wonder if sometimes it’s better to let sleeping ghosts lie.

Available at:   AMAZON     BARNES & NOBLE     KOBO     iTUNES

P.S. We’re having a BIG HALLOWEEN PARTY over on Facebook this Friday (4-7 eastern time… or longer if the virtual cocktails hold out 🙂 ) You all are invited so come on over and join up so you get notification on Friday when the fun begins!

Posted by Kassandra Lamb. Kassandra is a retired psychotherapist turned mystery writer. She writes the Kate Huntington mystery series.

We blog here at misterio press once (sometimes twice) a week,  usually on Tuesdays. Sometimes we talk about serious topics, and sometimes we just have some fun.

Please follow us so you don’t miss out on any of the interesting stuff, or the fun! (We do not harvest, lend, sell or otherwise bend, spindle or mutilate followers’ e-mail addresses.)

Belle Grove Lives Again…Sort Of

a portion of Bell Gorve plantation house

Belle Grove Plantation (circa 1936; public domain)

There’s Something About Old Houses

I live in a newly developed area. The subdivisions are filled with thousands of homes based on maybe five exterior styles and maybe ten floor plans.  When I first moved down here, I drove up to the wrong house fairly regularly. They all looked exactly the same (and still do).

I’ve always loved old houses, but living here has given me a new appreciation for them. Old houses have character and presence newer homes just don’t have. One old house might have original stained glass windows. The next might have hand carved molding or unique tile work in the kitchen or bathroom.

Yes, the newer homes are more energy efficient and have fewer (expensive) age-related issues. But I still like old homes better. The uniqueness and the attention to detail simply can’t be matched. This might sound weird, but I sometimes think I can feel the history of a place speaking to me.

My Fascination with Belle Grove

The grandest of old homes are, of course, the plantation homes sprinkled throughout the South. I’ve toured quite a few in Louisiana. The juxtaposition of the plantation homes’ beauty and the horror of their role in history is both fascinating and repellant.

(Those who know me know I have a lurid interest in repellant things.)

One of the grandest plantation homes ever to exist was Belle Grove. Built in Iberville Parish, Louisiana between 1852-1857 for the cost of $80,000, it is said to be the largest mansion ever built in the South. Its seventy-five rooms were spread out over four floors.

front of Belle Grove

Even neglected and falling down, she’s impressive!

Belle Grove was abandoned in 1925 and burned in a mysterious fire in 1952. In its place now sits a neighborhood of modest homes, much like the one I currently live in (and sometimes mistake for other houses on other streets).

Belle Grove

( all pictures circa 1936, public domain)

Belle_Grove_Plantation_06 pub domain

 To learn more about the Belle Grove, check out its website or Facebook page. Click here to watch a really neat You Tube video featuring pictures of Belle Grove Plantation set to music.

The Connection to Black Opal

I first encountered Belle Grove in a book called Ghosts Along The MississippiLooking at the pictures awakened my imagination. That this beautiful place no longer existed made me sort of sad.

So, when I hired Kimberlee Ketterman Edgar to paint the cover of Black Opal, I asked her to include a plantation house based on Belle Grove. Here’s the cover art Kimberlee created:


BlackOpal_Ebook for BN
My series heroine, Peri Jean Mace, ends up stuck at the huge house on the cover after charging off to confront her boyfriend because she thinks he’s cheating on her. She ends up getting into more trouble than she ever imagined possible and discovering secrets she never wanted to know. But that’s the norm for Peri Jean.

Download it today at:


Barnes & Noble



Interested in trying out my Peri Jean Mace stories but aren’t quite ready to purchase anything? Well, today is your lucky day.

Subscribers to my newsletter can read a brand new, exclusive 14-page Peri Jean Mace short story titled “Peckerwood Bocephus.” This story takes place twelve years before the events in Forever Road and is the story of how Peri Jean got the tattoo on her arm.

Click here to sign up.

After you sign up, look for instructions on downloading “Peckerwood Bocephus” in the Final Welcome Email.

That’s all I’ve got for today. Are there any fellow admirers of old houses out there? Which ones have you visited and which one was your favorite?

Posted by Catie Rhodes. Catie is the gal your mama warned you about, the one who cusses a lot and never washes her hands after petting the dog. She’s the author of Forever Road and Black Opal, of the Peri Jean Mace paranormal mystery series. Peri Jean sees ghosts, a talent she often wishes she did NOT possess.

We blog here at misterio press once (sometimes twice) a week,  usually on Tuesdays. Sometimes we talk about serious topics, and sometimes we just have some fun.

Please follow us so you don’t miss out on any of the interesting stuff, or the fun! (We do not harvest, lend, sell or otherwise bend, spindle or mutilate followers’ e-mail addresses.)

Slenderman’s Coming For You

Howdy, folks. This is the first post I’ve written expressly for misterio press blog, and I’m excited to share it.

Today, we’re going to be talking about an Urban Myth called Slenderman. The unique thing about Slenderman is that he got his start online. Every evolution of him can be traced back to something that originally appeared in cyberspace.

Before we start, let me make one thing clear. This article is not intended as a definitive post on this topic. It’s merely a starting point for those brave enough to venture into the world of Slenderman.

Firsthand Experience

The best way to introduce y’all to Slenderman is to share the experience of someone who saw him:

As to personal stories, when I was four or five, we were driving home from my grandparents’ house through a dark part of the city. I saw a tall, slender man walking toward the car as we rolled slowly by. He looked eerie to me so caught my attention. As we came parallel to him, he happened to enter the glow of a streetcorner light and I saw that his face was like ashes. It looked as if it would crumble at a touch, all dark grey, wrinkled, and papery. I was startled and said, “Mummy, look at that man.” She craned around and said, “What man?” He was gone. No sign of him. Had he merely turned the corner we would still have seen him. No idea what that was but it fits the meme.

~By Gene Stewart

Find Gene online: Facebook, Website

Who is Slenderman?

This is a list of Slenderman descriptions I’ve collected:

  • Unnaturally tall and thin figure who wears a suit and has no facial features
  • A fairy from the Black Forest
  • A boogeyman who lives in the woods
  • A shapeshifter who assumes the form of trusted adults to lure his victims (usually children)

What Does He Do?

The following is a list of Slenderman’s interactions with his victims:

  • Can extend his arms (tendrils, tentacles) to trap his victims
  • Able to appear and disappear at will (teleport)
  • Has the ability to brainwash his victims and control their actions
  • Kidnaps children
  • Starts fires
  • Causes sickness
  • Mutilates victims

First Mentions

Slenderman began on The Something Awful Forms in this 2009 thread as “paranormal pictures” contest. Forum users posted photos to which they had added supernatural images. A user named Victor Surge posted the following two images with accompanying captions.

The Pictures

Picture Number One:

Licensed on Creative Commons


Click here to see Senderman Picture Number Two

The Captions:

Caption 1:

We didn’t want to go, we didn’t want to kill them, but its persistent silence and outstretched arms horrified and comforted us at the same time

~ 1983, photographer unknown, presumed dead.

Caption 2:

One of two recovered photographs from the Stirling City Library blaze. Notable for being taken the day which fourteen children vanished and for what is referred to as The Slender Man. Deformities cited as film defects by officials. Fire at library occurred one week later. Actual photograph confiscated as evidence.

~1986, photographer: Mary Thomas, missing since June 13th, 1986.

These two images and their accompanying captions spawned all sorts of discussion and stories. The idea of Slenderman later morphed into fiction, videos, and video games.

The Fiction

Creepypasta, a website where readers are invited to contribute creepy, shocking stories, has a whole sub-genre of scary stories which center on Slenderman. Click here for the Creepypasta Slenderman Tag.

The Games

Slender: The Eight Pages and Slender: The Arrival

Slenderman’s Shadow

Slenderman for IOS(The linked game is one of several. Go to the iTunes Store and do a search on “Slenderman” to see what I mean.)

The Videos

Marble Hornets

The Slenderman phenomenon/story morphed into a You Tube Video series called Marble Hornet.

The story on which the You Tube videos is based is that of Alex Kralie. A film student, Alex stumbled on “something troubling” while shooting his first full length project Marble Hornets. Click here to read a longer version of this story.

If you just want to watch the videos, go to the You Tube Channel for Marble Hornets.

The Documentary

There is an Irish Slenderman Documentary on You Tube. Click here for Part 1 of 5.Look for subsequent installments in the “recommended videos” section.

Slenderman’s Origins

Mythology from all over the world seems to support the existence of Slenderman (or something like him). Here are two of my favorites:

Der Ritter or “The Knight” — Germany


This is a 16th century woodcut by Hans Freckenberg. The woodcut was re-discovered inÊHalstberg Castle in 1883.

“The Faceless One” — Wales

Hush, thy childe, do not stray far from the path,
or The Faceless One shall steal you away to Fairieland.
He preys on sinful and defiant souls,
and lurks within the woods.
He has hands of ebony branches,
and a touch as soft as silk.
Fear The Faceless One thy childe,
for he shall take you to a dark place.
And what shall become of thou?
Noone knows, so be good, thy little one-
Alas! He is here to take thou away!

This lullaby dates back to the 18th century. Like many lullabies of the time, it was didactic in nature, intended to teach children not to go near the forest.

Have you ever heard of Slenderman? Ever seen him? Tell us about it in the comments section.


Special thanks goes to Gene Colwell. He gave me more information on Slenderman than I dreamed possible.

Special thanks to Gene Stewart for providing an “up close and personal” experience with Slenderman.

Slenderman on Know Your Meme

Slenderman in Mythology and Culture

The Abilities of Slenderman

“Why Slenderman Works: The Meme That Proves Our Need to Believe” by Patrick Dane

Posted by Catie Rhodes. Catie is the gal your mama warned you about, the one who cusses a lot and never washes her hands after petting the dog. She’s the author of Forever Road, Book 1 in the Peri Jean Mace paranormal mystery series. Peri Jean sees ghosts, a talent she often wishes she did NOT possess.

We blog here at misterio press once (sometimes twice) a week,  usually on Tuesdays. Sometimes we talk about serious topics, and sometimes we just have some fun.

Please follow us so you don’t miss out on any of the interesting stuff, or the fun! (We do not harvest, lend, sell or otherwise bend, spindle or mutilate followers’ e-mail addresses.)

The Pool From Which We All Drink

It was always our hope here at misterio press to make this blog more a group effort. We are pleased that this idea is now coming to fruition. Kass Lamb will still be doing her Mental Health posts a few times a month but we will now have other authors from our group contributing on other topics, mainly of a paranormal and/or true crime bent.

Today, Catie Rhodes brings us one of her favorite topics as the first installment in Transcendental Tuesdays. Take it away, Catie!

The Pool From Which We All Drink


Catie Rhodes

Some time ago, I read Lisey’s Story by Stephen King. As always, when I finished the book, I read his author’s notes. The first sentence of the first paragraph reads:

There really is a pool where we—and in this case by we I mean the vast company of readers and writers—go down to drink and cast our nets.” – Stephen King

Folklore interests me for this very reason. Seeing bits and pieces of the same tales from all over the world fascinates me. The universality of our existence makes us have similar fears and similar hopes. All we do is put little touches and little splashes of color over the same themes and ideas. The thought of it is humbling.

For an example, let’s look at “The Phantom Coach of East Texas” and talk about how it connects to the rest of the world.

The following is a summary of the story. If you’d like to read the original, check my sources at the end of this post.

The Phantom Coach of East Texas

The legend of the phantom coach in East Texas was collected from a former slave named Ben Smiley. It takes place in pre-civil war East Texas on the Ayish Bayou.

In this era, people came from miles around to gather in one another’s homes for socials.

a social of the 1800's

These gatherings provided a chance for young people to court. At one such gathering, the daughter of a local planter fell in love with a young man from one of the visiting families. Soon afterward, on the night of the harvest moon, the girl’s father held a social at their home to announce her engagement to the boy.

The young couple slipped away from the social to take a moonlight ride in one of the coaches. As was customary during the era, the slaves whose job it was to drive their owners to the social stood around the fire outside swapping tales. Ben Smiley, from whom this story was collected, was among these men.

The sound of hoofbeats and the rattle of a carriage moving interrupted the men’s swapping of tales. One of them ran to stop the carriage. He spoke to the newly engaged couple who told him they would be back soon. He let them go, and the couple was never seen again.

No one could explain why the couple would have eloped. Both sets of parents were happy about the engagement. The community was excited for the couple. The slaves speculated the couple was spirited away by demons.

Years passed and the incident was forgotten by everybody except the missing couples’ parents. The father of the young woman who had disappeared had a social on the night of the harvest moon. Once again, the slaves stood around the fire outside swapping stories.

The coachman who had tried to stop the couple years before was in the middle of telling a story, but he stopped to stare down the dark, pine tree-lined drive in front of the house. His face grew slack with alarm. The other slaves turned to see what had upset him.

All of the slaves saw a gold, shapeless glow emerge from the pine trees and move noiselessly toward them. In the glow, they saw the shape of a carriage—which was being drawn by a force other than horses. The figure of a woman sat inside coach. The coach passed the horrified slaves slowly and without sound and faded into the fall night.

Ben Smiley, the teller of this tale, was convinced the ghost of the girl who had disappeared so many years before sat in the coach. As the legend goes, the phantom coach and its ghostly passenger came up her parents’ drive each harvest moon until they died.

Great story, right?

Versions of this story are known in Italy, Spain, England and Ireland.

In England

In England, the most famous occupant of a phantom coach is none other than Anne Boleyn, the second wife of King Henry VII. After her failure to produce a male heir, Anne’s relationship with the king deteriorated. He had her charged with treason and sentenced her to death.

Anne Boleyn’s ghost has been been seen in the grounds of Blickling Hall, which was the Boleyn family home. She is dressed in white and sits in a ghostly carriage. Anne, the carriage’s horses, and the coachman are all headless. Anne holds her severed head in her lap.

Blickling Hall and grounds

Home of Ann Boleyn’s family; her headless ghost is said to ride in a phantom carriage through the grounds (photo by Evelyn Simak CC-BY-SA 2.0, Wikimedia)

Sir Thomas Boleyn, Anne’s father, stated his belief of Anne’s guilt at her trial. Sir Thomas, too, roams the night roads in a phantom coach crossing each of the twelve bridges that lie between Wroxham and Blickling. Traveling this route is said to be Sir Thomas Boleyn’s punishment for betraying his daughter.

Irish Mythology

Both the Anne Boelyn tale and The East Texas Phantom Coach can be connected to the Dullahan of Irish mythology.

The Dullahan is a headless rider on a black carriage pulled by six headless horses or he is a solo headless rider on a black horse. Like the East Texas phantom coach, the Dullahan’s approach is silent. Like Anne Boleyn, The Dullahan carries his head with him.

The Irish Dullahan is an omen of death. He stops before the door of one who is about to die and shouts the person’s name. His call draws forth the soul of the soon-to-be-deceased. Unlike the Banshee (or Bean Sidhe), the Dullahan’s call is not a warning. He actually draws the soul out of the person whose time it is to die.

We All Add Our Own Twist

The Legend of the East Texas Phantom Coach was told by a slave named Ben Smiley. His telling added certain elements that drew from what he knew.

The gold of the East Texas phantom coach could be attributed to imagery used in African American folk music, including spirituals. According to the source material by John Q. Anderson, this gold imagery in spirituals came from the Bible story of Elijah and the descriptions in the Book of Revelation.

The silent, golden coach is also similar to “will-o’-the-wisp” folklore. This phenomenon is also known as ghost-lights and swamp gas.

oil painting of a will-of-the-wisp

Will-of-the-Wisp ~ oil painting by Arnold Böcklin, 1882

According to European folklore, the mysterious lights are faeries intent on leading travelers astray. The American version of this folklore explains the lights as spirits of railroad workers killed on the job.

The way all these stories intersect fascinates me. Connecting all the dots is like a game. It makes the world around me feel very, very large.

Floor is open. What stories can you share from the pool from which we all drink?


“The Legend of the Phantom Coach in East Texas” by John Q. Anderson. Western Folklore, Vol. 22, No. 4 (Oct., 1963), pp. 259-262.

The Ghost of Anne Boleyn

Mystical Myth: Irish Dullahan

Will O’ The Wisp

Posted by Catie Rhodes. Catie’s debut novel, Forever Road, is Book 1 in the Peri Jean Mace paranormal mystery series.

We blog here at misterio press once or twice a week, sometimes about serious topics, and sometimes just for fun.

Please follow us so you don’t miss out on any of the interesting stuff, or the fun! (We do not harvest, lend, sell or otherwise bend, spindle or mutilate followers’ e-mail addresses.)

SUMMER: The Best Time to Fall in Love (with a Book Boyfriend)

Ladies, you know how much fun it is to read about hot guys in the summer and imagine yourself falling in love with them (and they with you, of course). Well, one of our crazier writer friends came up with this cool idea for a blockbuster summer book sale. A whole bunch of books with hunky heroes we can drool over, all in one place and all for just 99 cents!

Go to the site she set up and you can see little blurbs about the guys. Pick out a few you’d like to get to know and go for it. Even us old married ladies can participate. It’s not cheating if it’s just a fantasy, right?

Most of our misterio press authors are participating in this Fab Book Sale.

color banner


SUMMER BOOK CRUSH offers 50+ titles in many genres. This means 50+ chances to (fictitiously) fall in love. And the best part? Each of these gems is only 99¢, but for a limited time only. The SUMMER BOOK CRUSH event starts on June 26th and ends (yes, even the best things in life end at some point) on June 28th. So don’t wait up! Mingle with our BOOK BOYFRIENDS and invite all your friends to participate too. There are plenty of BOOK BOYS to share!

Button_who is your book crush


Find your summer’s fling between the pages of a book. And don’t stop on one – after
all we have many BOOK BOYFRIENDS for you to mingle with.


*Psst. Stop back later and tell us which guy you thought was the hottest.

Five “Interesting” Delicacies From Around the World

A Japanese former student of my husband’s sent us some, uh, rather different candy recently. And then just a few days later one of my friends returned from a trip to China. As she was describing some of the delicacies she was served over there, the seed of an idea was planted in my head. Why not do a Tour of Fives post on disgusting unusual foods from around the world.

WARNING: Do not read this post right after a meal. However, if you are trying to lose weight, DO read this post right BEFORE a meal.

1.  So we will start our world tour in China, where my friend actually got up the nerve to eat one of these.

Scorpions on sticks to be deep-fried and enjoyedm (ick)

Beijing market (photo by Kilroy238 CC-BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia Commons)

Yes, those are scorpions on those sticks and when you purchase one, the vendor plunges it into hot grease to deep fry it. I did not have the nerve to ask her what it tasted like.

2.  One of our authors, JoAnn Bassett, just returned from a trip to Scotland. She shared this treat with us. The Scottish national dish is haggis, usually served with neeps and tatties (mashed turnips and potatoes).

Haggis is made from all the parts of a butchered sheep that one would normally think of as, well, trash–the lungs, liver, heart, etc. All these little goodies are minced, then mixed with suet, oatmeal and seasonings. The whole kaboodle is stuffed into a sheep’s stomach, then boiled for several hours. (Okay, I was good with this, having grown up on Scrapple up north, until she got to the sheep’s stomach part.) Haggis, neeps and tatties

Haggis, neeps and tatties (photo by Edinburgh blog, CC 2.0, Wikimedia Commons)

                                                                                                     Scrapple (photo by Steamykitchen.com, CC-BY 3.0, Wikimedia Commons)  And here’s Scrapple, the mid-Atlantic USA’s version of artery-clogging animal offal. It’s actually quite tasty with scrambled eggs.

(photo by Steamykitchen.com, CC-BY 3.0, Wikimedia Commons)



3.  The subject of sheep reminded our own Kirsten Weiss of a dish she encountered in Turkey–sheep’s heads. Turns out they are eaten all over the Middle East and also in Norway and Spain. Basically the whole sheep’s head is seared to get the hair off and then is either boiled, baked or grilled.

This is the least gross picture I could find–a baked version from Barcelona, Spain.

baked sheep's head on a plate

(photo by Diego Delso, CC-BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia Commons)

Kirsten said that in Turkey, the eyes are consider a particular delicacy.

Moving right along…

jar of pigs' feet

(photo by Geoff, CC-BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia Commons)

4.  Shannon Esposito suggested we should include something American, so from the Southeastern USA – pickled pigs’ feet.

Here’s a link for the recipe, but it’s rather simple.

The pigs’ feet are boiled for awhile, then as many of the bones are removed as possible.

The whole thing is drowned in a vinegar brine to pickle them.

Seal them in a jar, and voila!


5.  Not to be outdone, our resident Texan, Catie Rhodes, suggested Rocky Mountain oysters. This delicacy does not come from any body of water, however.

Breaded and fried "mountain oysters," with lemon and sauce

(photo by Vincent Diamante, CC-BY-SA 2.0. Wikimedia Commons)

Looks delish, doesn’t it? Brace yourself! They’re bull testicles.

After all these wonderful dishes from around the globe, the candy that hubby’s student sent seems quite tame by comparison. From Japan, we have dessert, Green Tea KitKats!

box of Green Tea KitKats

These weren’t bad, once you got past the color.

What interesting, odd or downright disgusting foods have you encountered in your travels?

Posted by Kassandra Lamb, but this was a joint effort by several of our authors.

We blog here at misterio press once or twice a week, sometimes about serious topics, and sometimes just for fun.

Please follow us so you don’t miss out on any of the interesting stuff, or the fun! (We do not harvest, lend, sell or otherwise bend, spindle or mutilate followers’ e-mail addresses.)

My Tour of Fives–I’m leaving a trail of bread crumbs…

200px-Bundesstraße_5_number pub domain wiki.svgI’m playing the vagabond this month, on my Tour of Fives blog tour to celebrate my new book, COLLATERAL CASUALTIES, #5 in the Kate Huntington Mystery series.

Today’s stop is at Shannon Esposito’s place, talking about the 5 Reasons I Love Mysteries.

This Thursday, I’ll be Stacy Green’s guest on Thriller Thursday, discussing 5 Differences between Narcissists and Psychopaths… two big ‘bad guy’ favorites for us mystery and thriller writers. Then Friday, I’ll be delving into 5 Motives for Murder at Catie Rhodes‘ cyberhome.

For those of you who love me for my Mental Health posts, I’ll be talking about 5 Things Every Parent Should Know at Rhonda Hopkins‘ place next Monday. And then having some fun next Wednesday with the delightful Myndi Shafer and 5 Things My Mama Said (That I Really Didn’t Get at the Time).

More to come, and I will be stopping back home here periodically to say hi! *waves, then picks up backpack*


Posted by Kassandra Lamb. Kassandra is a retired psychotherapist turned mystery writer. She writes the Kate Huntington mystery series.

We blog here at misterio press once or twice a week, sometimes about serious topics, and sometimes just for fun.

Please follow us so you don’t miss out on any of the interesting stuff, or the fun! (We do not harvest, lend, sell or otherwise bend, spindle or mutilate followers’ e-mail addresses.)



The lovely Jennifer Jensen blessed me with the Sunshine Award. (She mistakenly said that I blog at Writers in the Storm. I wish I were part of that wonderful group of writers, but alas I am not.)

But I’m not giving the award back! It’s mine!

Before I answer the questions, etc. for this fun little meme I’d like to be serious for a moment. A blogger/writer friend, Susie Lindau (The Wild Ride) is always passing along positive energy. Today she needs some of ours. She’s in surgery. If you check out her latest post you’ll see why.

So a bunch of us decided to post this message: Susie Strong, we’re thinking of you! {{{HUGS}}}

Now on to spreading sunshine!

The rules of the Sunshine Award are:
•    Include the award’s logo in a post on your blog. (DONE)
•    Link to the person who nominated you. (DONE)
•    Answer the 10 questions below. (About to do so.)
•    Pass the award on to ten (or however many you want) “Sunshine inspiring” bloggers. (Thrilled to do so.)

Favorite color: It’s always been blue, any and every shade of blue. A close second is peach. In this case, other shades won’t do. It can’t be orange. It has to be peach!

picture of palomino horse

This was taken the day I bought her. Isn’t she gorgeous!

Favorite animal: Horses. I don’t ride much now but I had a small horse farm for twelve years. I had a palomino, Ardilla, who was the sweetest creature. She and I were like one when I was on her back. But she got old and eventually died, and somehow riding wasn’t the same anymore. She’s been dead for a decade and I still carry her picture in my wallet.

Favorite number: At the moment it’s five, for sure. Because I’m about to release my fifth book! Yay!

Favorite non-alcoholic drink: I live in the South now so it’s gotta be iced tea!! But I can’t quite develop a taste for sweet tea. My tea is more “not tart” tea.

Favorite alcoholic drink: Pinot Grigio, very cold, in a very large glass! (Prefer Barefoot brand; it’s got a little effervescence. A few tiny little bubbles that tingle on your tongue.)

Facebook or Twitter: Facebook, definitely. I like Kristen Lamb’s analogy (no relation to me, btw) that Twitter is a giant cocktail party. I like cocktail parties; they’re fun! But Facebook is more like one long, on-going visit with friends and family and my writer buddies.

Passions: Besides writing and psychology, my friends are my passion. I consider friendship to be the most important thing in life! I feel guilty a lot these days because my writing and helping to run misterio press take up so much time that I’m neglecting my friends.

I’m really not the right personality to be a writer. I’m working on developing my inner introvert more. 😀

Prefer Getting or Giving Gifts: Giving now. I used to love getting them too, and I still enjoy receiving gifts. But now I’m old and I have so much stuff (I’m a bit of a pack-rat) that I don’t get off like I once did on getting more stuff.

But I love to shop! Same dilemma though. Why should I buy more stuff to cram into my house? So buying gifts for others gives me a perfect excuse to shop. And I really enjoy their look of pleasure when the gift hits the mark!!

street scene in Colmar, France

A typical street in Colmar, France.

Favorite City: I’m not a big city girl. I like smaller cities. I think my favorite would be Colmar, Alsace, France. We stayed in an apartment there for a week as our home base while visiting other parts of Eastern France. It is a delightful little city!!

The Alsace region is on the border with Germany. You can really see the German influence in the architecture.

our Colmar apartment

Our Colmar apartment. It was great; much better than a hotel room.

Favorite TV Show: Criminal Minds. Hubs and I are addicted to it. He likes it because he used to work for the government. He says the way the BAU team interacts is very realistic. I like trying to figure out the psychological aspects. And I love the characters!

And now to bestow the Sunshine Award on others! Jennifer already tagged some of my favorite bloggers but here are some others I love to bits! If I duplicate anybody else’s picks, well that just means you’re extra popular, I guess. You all (the bloggers) don’t have to feel obligated to do the favorites list but I hope everybody reading this checks out these awesome blogs!

Not in any particular order:

Rhonda HopkinsWhere Reality and Fiction Collide ~ I’m particularly fond of her awesome Authors Give Back series.

Stacy Green’s Get Twisted. Her true crime posts will make the hair stand up on your neck.

Reneé A Schuls-Jacobson has the best sense of humor. Her posts always leave me howling!

K.B. Owen has an adorable blog where she chases the cozy thrill. She writes about history, mysteries, and all kinds of other fun stuff. I love her sense of humor too.

Beverly Diehl‘s Writing in the Flow.  She’s not afraid to take on some tough topics.

Amber West’s A Day Without Sushi is another great blog. She writes about a bunch of different stuff and does so very, very well.

Catie Rhodes just redid her site, Long Roads and Dark Ends, recently. It is spooky and beyond awesome!

Ginger Calem‘s Writers’ Butt Wednesdays are full of good advice, great recipes and lots of laughs.

August McLaughlin’s another blogger who’s not afraid to tackle the tough issues on Savor the Storm, and she’s a great champion of women developing healthier self-images and sexuality. (Her latest post was on female Viagra!)

Marcy Kennedy is not only a writer but she is a fantastic editor (she edited my latest book) and she writes great posts on writerly things.

Aw, gee, do I have to stop at ten? I could list about twenty more. But I’ll leave the others for these folks to tag.

What are some of your favorite things? Come on, don’t be shy. Tell us about them.

Posted by Kassandra Lamb. Kassandra is a retired psychotherapist turned mystery writer. She writes the Kate Huntington mystery series.

We blog here at misterio press once a week about more serious topics, usually on Monday or Tuesday. Sometimes we blog again, on Friday or the weekend, with something just for fun.

Please follow us by clicking on the RSS symbol above or by filling in your e-mail address, so you don’t miss out on any of the interesting stuff, or the fun! (We do not harvest, lend, sell or otherwise bend, spindle or mutilate followers’ e-mail addresses)