Do you Believe in Ghosts?

Tomorrow is Halloween.  The day when all writers know anything goes.  All rules go out the window, ancient spells come to life in the name of revenge or retribution, and ghosts can communicate with people.  But is it all completely made-up?  Let’s talk about ghosts.

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I was raised to believe in ghosts.  My grandparents would explain away anything strange in their home (moving items, open doors, etc) with a wave of their hands and an “Oh, that silly Marley”.  Marley was a ghost.  As I got older I learned this was pretend, I even joined in on the fun.  But it led me to look into ghosts and think about ghosts more.  If Marley was pretend then were all ghosts fake?

Rational scientists can’t seem to agree.  Some will tell you that ghosts are a work of total fiction.  Others will tell you that the soul has actual weight and therefore exists, meaning ghosts are possible.  In other words, science isn’t going to help you here because they can’t decide.  You’ll have to go with your gut.

I still believe in ghosts.

In the spirit of Halloween, here’s my tale.  It’s all true, although it’s been a long time and some of the details may be fuzzy.  Don’t worry, they’re not important details.  People who lived it may catch a small error, but the big details are exact…trust me!


When I was in high school and just starting to drive cell phones were still new.  My Dad had one, my Mom had one, but I didn’t.  Sometimes when I was going to be driving they would make me take one of theirs.  When my grandfather went in for heart surgery my senior year I was told to keep my father’s phone on me.

I should tell you that my grandfather (yes the Marley inventor) was a prankster.  He loved a good joke.

Anyway I got to the hospital, parked my car, started to walk into the hospital, and realized my Dad’s phone was missing.  I just wasn’t used to carrying one.  Scared that I was going to get in trouble, I retraced my steps and checked the entire car top to bottom.  Satisfied that it wasn’t in the car, I slowly trekked up to the waiting room to tell my parents the truth.

I didn’t have to.  My Mom had received a phone call from a reception desk saying that they found a phone.  Confused, I headed to a wing of the hospital I’d never been in before in my life.  The sweet lady behind the desk explained that it was just on the counter.  She had picked it up and called the last number dialed.  I had no idea in the world how this phone had ended up here.

That is until we learned that my grandfather had legally died for a bit on the table.  The little desk it was found at was down the hall from his operating room.  Once we were all seated in the waiting room, someone brought that up.  “Do you think it could’ve just been Papa messing with me?”  Everyone agreed it was a very ‘Papa’ thing to do.  We all had a good laugh.

Here’s the weird part.  I swear to you…and it’s a detail I will never in my life forget…although I was sitting up against the wall I clearly heard his laugh as though it was coming from behind me.

Do you have a great ghost story?  I'd love to hear it!
Do you have a ghost story? I’d love to hear it.  Throw it into the comments.

NaNoWriMo 2015


Alright, Alright.  I’ll do it.  You’ve won me over with your talk of how the pressure and the support will simultaneously cause me to write the best thing I’ve ever written.  I’m going to participate in NAaNoWriMo2015.  Writing Tools

But I’m not a “pantser” (one who writes by the seat of their pants, evidently).  I’m a planner…100%

So I’m spending this week (hereby known as free time, although I’m incredibly busy as usual) writing the outline for my next novel.  Oh, perhaps I should explain that.  I’ve decided to participate because the next book idea stood up out of my raw ideas, waved its tiny little arm and yelled “pick me”.  So I’ve done that.  Which is cool.


Anyway, I’ll be looking for people to help me maximize this NaNoWriMo thing.  Look me up.  tshipley1124

Back to Reality

download I have spent the last week home from work.  No, I’m not sick.  I wasn’t taking a vacation.  I’m a teacher who was on Fall Break.  For those of you NOT from Arizona, this is a thing we do here.  You get one week off in October, randomly.  I’ll get the standard two weeks in December/January, another single week in March, and then the summer.  It’s awesome.  That is until the day (today) comes when you understand Garfield completely.

I hate Mondays
I hate Mondays

Today marks the day where I have to get up, get myself ready for work, and go back to reality.

The good news?  Since I’m back to being awake at this ungodly hour of the morning I’ll be back to being productive and writing early.

Wish me luck!

Main Squeeze

Trying to decide what kind of man to put into a book for a heroine’s love interest can be odd.  Would she be the kind to fall for the nerdy guy?  Would she, instead, want the bad-boy?  Too often I think we find ourselves writing more than one story with a similar hero.  I know I fall into that trap.  Today I’m hashing out new story ideas.  I’m thinking of new characters.  I’m trying not to fall into the trap of writing about that perfect guy again…the one who everyone else claims doesn’t exist.  My problem is I’m married to THAT guy.

Warning: Mushy content ahead
Warning: Mushy content ahead

The one who loves techie tools.  Who never lets an upgrade pass him by for his cell phone.  Who wants the new toy when it comes out.  Who walks through electronic aisles for fun on a Saturday.

I’m married to THAT guy.

The one who makes you belly laugh until your eyes water at any and every family gathering.  He will tell a joke with perfect timing.  He will go all Jim Carrey on you, contorting his body for the best joke.  He will try almost anything for a laugh.

I am married to THAT guy.

The one who sometimes forgets chores but never, ever forgets us.  The one who isn’t perfect, but loves imperfect me just the way I am.  The one who sometimes says the wrong thing, but more often says exactly the right thing.  The one who is strong whenever I can’t be.

I am married to THAT guy.

The perfect Dad for my kiddos.  My best friend.  My partner in crime.  The love of my life.

I am married to THAT guy.

The perfect hero for my story.  The one that convinces me all your fantastic heroes are real people, or could be.  So when I write about a guy who makes a girl swoon at first sight, it’s not always fantasy folks.  They exist.

I am married to THAT guy.

I wouldn’t have it any other way.



This post has nothing to do with reading or writing.  I’ll get back to that another time.  This is a worthwhile interruption.

Today my heart is with the loved ones of the ten lives lost in Oregon yesterday.

The LA Times reports that there has been, on average, one school shooting per week since Sandy Hook in 2012.  It’s fast becoming terrifying to get up in the morning, get myself dressed, and head off to work in a school.  I have watched schools, like my own, beef up security.  I have watched as lawmakers debate gun control laws and arming teachers.

Teachers may not be your most highly regarded profession or the people you think of as the smartest, but we do know one thing.  If you continue to see an up-rise in a certain behavior, something is wrong.  If you try something to fix it and you see the problem continue or increase then the solution didn’t work.  I don’t have the magic answer to this epidemic, if I may be allowed to call it that, but I hope one arises soon.

We can’t afford more innocent lives lost at a place they should feel safe.