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Midnight Mass: A Meditation on Zealotry and the Allure of Groupthink

Be Not Afraid This past weekend, I watched all seven episodes of the Netflix limited series, Midnight Mass. The show can reasonably be classified as a religious, supernatural thriller and was written by Mike Flanagan, who also brought us the Haunting of Hill House and The Haunting of Bly Manor. Like those shows (which I also enjoyed), Midnight Mass  is about so much more than a mysterious new priest in town or the reasons behind seeming miracles. It is about faith, the dangers of zealotry, and the need to examine ourselves at the deepest levels. Unlike many modern film and tv entries, Midnight Mass is not anti-Christian or even specially anti-Catholic, though Mike Flanagan has now left the church and admittedly has issues with it. Instead, the show he created (and the marvelous cast who brought it to life) left me with a sense of even deeper faith and a feeling that even though Flanigan may no longer share my religion , I think his time spent within the church has left a lasting unde
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Keep it Simple: Bigger isn't Always Better

I had a minor meltdown last week over how I had structured my business taxes. I won't bore you with all the details, but it boiled down to this: I incorporated under an LLC to protect my personal liability I chose to file as a C Corporation because a vaguely-written blog post on an entrepreneur's website gave me the impression this was the best thing to do I filed my business taxes incorrectly for three years in a row As you all know, screwing with the IRS is a bad idea, even if your revenue is only in the 5 digits. So at the start of this year, I hired an accountant and fully realized the depth of my mistake. And because I am a person who is pathologically prone to commitment (what Gretchen Ruben calls "an upholder"), I continued on with this corporation structure, even though I knew I was paying more than I should. Until now. Last week, I completely dissolved my LLC. Why? Because sometimes starting fresh is the best thing. There were a lot of tasks involved, but it

Beyond the Veil: A Siren Song Short Story

 Before the Siren Song Series: Katie was kidnapped in 1999... on the same day as the Columbine shooting. So little coverage of what happened to her and precious few people who even remember the strange events leading to her escape. Five years later, Katie is in a convent instead of in college with her friends, but she hasn't been able to escape her past. Needing the truth in order to move on, she calls the cop who saved her life and asks for his help, even as she realizes the truth could shatter them both. Prologue  On April 20th 1999, the nation reeled from the Columbine school shooting. Horrified parents, traumatized children, and self-interested politicians were all too invested in the shooting to notice the kidnapping of two seventeen-year-old girls just one state over, in Kansas. The local news devoted only one segment to the kidnapping, squeezing it between weather and sports. They didn’t even mention the girls’ names, dubbing Katie Tahiri and Nirali Patel “the Piper girls,”

Sabotaging Your Own Creativity

My writing is at a standstill and has been for almost two years. Sometime around 2019, as I was finishing out the third book in my paranormal mystery series, I realized that writing had become hard. And not the way I was used to. It was no longer a struggle to find the right words or a battle with perfectionism. It had become hard to see the story and the characters. Somehow, I had gone from a prolific writer to one of those people who says "Gosh, I can't imagine how you would even begin to write a book!" How did this happen to me? I'm currently reading Daniel Pink's A Whole New Mind, which examines how our society has started to shift from valuing strictly left-brain thinking to more right-brain thinking--the kind of thinking computers can't do for us. As I listened to the introduction, I had a rather massive epiphany. 2019 was the year I unintentionally walled myself off into a left-brain world.  I chastised myself for spending time on anything that wasn'

Siren Song: Paranormal Mystery for Grownups

  In ninth grade, Tess turned a boy down for a date. He didn't take it well. Twenty years later, Tess Cooper's whole life will change. The quiet existence she's lived since coming of age... gone. Because now her stalker has found her again.  The boy she rejected was a Brujo, a practitioner of Central American magic. And apparently, he has neither forgiven nor forgotten. Facing serious jail time because of her stalker's curse, Tess has no choice but to trust a man who absolutely does not wish her well.

Godzilla: Rooting for the End of Humanity

When I watched Godzilla: King of the Monsters, I was ready for a good time. Yes, I knew the plot might be silly, the writing half-baked. But the cast was wonderful and I love a good monster movie. However, the plot was not silly. It was… troubling. And to be honest, I’m concerned Godzilla vs. Kong might continue in that same troublesome vein. Let me explain. The main conflict in the first movie is that scientist Dr. Emma Russell (played by the lovely Vera Farminga) works with a band of violent eco-terrorists to intentionally awaken all of “the titans,” so they might destroy the earth, or at least a good portion of it. Why, you ask? Because when Godzilla wrecked great portions of US cities, one of her two children died. Her son. As a result of that trauma, she adopted the ideology that Godzilla and the rest of the titans are rising to cleanse the earth of the virus of humans. That the titans are the rightful lords of earth and that they were the original gods of humanity. In furtherance

The Mason Timeline: A New Vision of America

A North America that was settled by the Spanish, rather than the English. A Republic in name only led by the Catholic Church and another, secret organization. With time travel available to the masses, it is impossible to tell how this reality came to be.  But for the good of the world, the timeline must be repaired. "It's got appeal for nearly everyone; readers of romance, scifi, fantasy, thrillers, and even alternate history won't be disappointed." - Rod G.