Graveyard Shift Staff Stories…

Night Shift Concept.

I just had to share this link – original here:  – the stories are so deliciously creepy.

1.  Night nurses get phantom call from empty room with no phone
“I work as a transporter in a hospital. About two years ago we moved from the old city hospital into a new state of the art facility. The old hospital was built in the 1930s and was showing its age. At night was just plain creepy. Each floor had an east and west wing. The east wing of the fourth floor was the first wing to be shut down about two weeks before the move. One night at around 9:30, I’m up on the floor to get a patient from the west wing. I see a small group of nurses and aids who all used to work on the now closed east wing. They looked visibly shaken. I walked over to see if everything was OK. They told me that they had decided to walk through their old wing for nostalgia’s sake. When they were over there, the phone at the nurses station started ringing. The computers and phones had not yet been moved. Not sure what to do, one of the nurses reached over the counter and answered the phone. The nurse told me there was a woman’s voice on the other end and that she sounded confused. This is the conversation as best I can remember it.

‘This is ______. How can I help you?’ asked the nurse.

‘Hello? Who is this?’

‘I’m a nurse. Is there anything I can help you with?’

‘Where I am I?’

‘This is (hospital name). Are you patient here?’

‘Oh. OK.’

Then the line went dead. That’s when the nurse finally looked at the screen on the phone to see where the call was coming from. The phone gave the room number directly next to the nurses station. The rooms by this point had all been cleared out and the phones removed. They could see directly into the room and see that there was nobody in there. That’s when they bolted towards the west wing where I was getting off the elevator. I avoided that wing for the rest of my time there.”
2. Spirit of abused child haunts child welfare center; wakes children up to play in the middle of …
“I work at a crisis nursery, which is a childcare facility that provides emergency and respite care for children under the age of seven. I used to work graveyards all the time. I have to say first that I am absolutely a non-believer in paranormal stuff. That being said, at two in the morning in a dark room when you and two or three other girls in their twenties are the only adults in the building, sh*t gets creepy sometimes.

The facility I work in was named for a child who was beaten to death by one of their parents. The nursery was started in their name as a way to hopefully prevent another child dying a violent death at the hands of a stressed-out caregiver.

So the story that goes around is that this kid’s spirit haunts the nursery and is mostly active at night. They tell me that one of the reasons that everyone thinks this place is haunted is that many different people have reported different children asking about ‘that kid’ as in, ‘why doesn’t that kid have to go to bed?’ while pointing at nothing. I brush it off, basically forget about it.

A few weeks later, I was in the sleep room (the bedroom where all the kids sleep. There must always be an adult in the room with the children) by myself. I’m just chilling, reading a book with a booklight. The rest of the room is pitch black and silent.

All of a sudden, this kid (probably four or five) sits bolt upright in bed and says, ‘Hey, how come they aren’t asleep? Why do they get to play? I want to play too!’ all while pointing at a wall with no kids anywhere in the vicinity.

Instant crazy shivers all over me. I was so scared I almost screamed. I refused to be alone in there from that moment on.”

3. Hospital orderly sees woman who had just recently passed away
“I work at a hospital overnight. By far the creepiest thing happened while I was cleaning two rooms after the patients left. The rooms were connected, with one exit. I cleaned the first room, left for 10 minutes, got my supplies and went back to the other. I saw a little old lady in a chair, hunched over. I stared at her for a few seconds. I thought it was odd they put a patient in that room already. I begin cleaning, and look back at the other room – it’s empty. She disappeared. I would have seen if she walked passed me. Creepy. No one on the floor fit the description I gave of her – except the lady who died in that room four hours before my shift.”


“Insidious” starts playing by itself as movie theater closes down
“I was a shutting down projectors and closing down the movie theater around two in the morning. I shut off the one projector and turn around to see one theater starting to play Insidious from the beginning without previews. It was extremely out of place considering the projectors are programmed for the movies to start automatically with the 20-minute previews built in. No show was scheduled in the computer and I still don’t know how it started. But I locked myself in the office for the rest of the night.”


4.  Lights go haywire and cell doors slam in abandoned jail set up in city hall basement
“I used to work at city hall a few years ago as a security guard. There were abandoned jail cells in the basement that haven’t been used in years and part of my duty was to patrol them for any squatters. It was probably my second time patrolling alone and things started to get really weird. I went down to the old prison/holding cells. It’s a long, narrow hallway with cells on both sides. The hallway was lit by light bulbs hanging from the ceiling. I was walking past the fourth column of cells when the lights went out. I turned my flashlight on and walked back towards the light switch. Right when I was about to turn them back on, the lights flickered on again. I started walking fast past the cells while quickly checking them. I was about halfway through when the lights went off again. I heard two cells slam. I ran with my flashlight on straight toward the other end of the hallway and up to my workstation. I then called my supervisor and asked him if there were any electrical issues that have been reported. He said no. I had two hours left on my shift, and couldn’t leave. I was at my workstation paranoid as fuck.”

5.  Polite ghost holds elevator for coworkers
“Two different times I saw someone get on an elevator as I came around a corner. I said, ‘Hold the door!’ As the door started to close, it opened back like someone had hit the button. When I got into the elevator there was no one in it. After that, many times just as I came around that corner, the elevator door would open, and no one was in the elevator. I had not pushed a call button or anything. I would always say ‘thanks’ when I got on the empty elevator.”



Closed hotel sounds like it has visitors; security guard can’t find the source of the …
“I worked a security gig in an abandoned hotel, which sat directly on the river. When the rooms had balconies, they would hang out over the water. The hotel had closed down and had been stripped bare by the owners. I’m sitting in the office, and I hear a creak… creak… creak… from left to right on the floor above me. The hotel was wood-frame and creaked like a house when someone walked around. This sounded exactly like someone walking the hall on the floor directly above the office.I go up to the next level and into the hall. The hotel itself was only four floors high, but very long. The hall walls were bare, rooms had no doors, and only a single dim light bulb hanging from the ceiling in the middle of the hall gave any light. I have seen my share of horror movies, and know this can only be trouble, but I start walking down the hall anyway. After all, it’s my job to keep people out. I get about quarter way down the hall, and I hear rustling coming from a room. I draw my Mag-Lite (one of the three c-cell types) and get ready to use it. I slowly peek into the room and discover that it’s the wind blowing in from the river and moving a curtain. Now freaked, I start checking the other floors and find nothing, but I KNOW someone is in the building. I make my way back down to the ground floor, still finding nothing and go into the old ballroom. It’s a wide open space, and I start walking through it. Out of the corner of my eye, I see someone moving, so I turn and shine my light on them, ready to defend myself. That’s when I realize that it was my reflection in a broken mirror on the wall. After that, I got the hell out of there and spent the rest of the night in my car in the parking lot. About two weeks after that, the place burned down.

After all this time, I’m still convinced that someone was in the building, but I never found any evidence that there was.”




Gibberish – Fun with Words…

This post came up on my timeline as a memory and I had to share it again – it is too much fun! Original 13th October 2013 when I was posting every single day for a year. I know mad woman. I used a desk calendar word of the day for inspiration.

Making up words is a fun thing to do, I usually make up words for the titles of my books or a character or two. For example The Twesome Loop and The Rython Kingdom. If you ask me how I came up with them it would be difficult for me to explain.

Gibberish – definition: meaningless or unintelligible talk or writing

I bow to a master, Lewis Carroll, who wrote the marvelous poem Jabbawocky. It is part of Alice Through the Looking Glass and is considered one of the greatest nonsense poems written in English. It is a playful, whimsical poem including such nonsense words as “galumphing” and “frabjous”. I always wanted to know what a Tumtum tree would look like.



‘Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

“Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
The frumious Bandersnatch!”

He took his vorpal sword in hand:
Long time the manxome foe he sought—
So rested he by the Tumtum tree,
And stood awhile in thought.

And as in uffish thought he stood,
The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame,
Came whiffling through the tulgey wood,
And burbled as it came!

One, two! One, two! and through and through
The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!
He left it dead, and with its head
He went galumphing back.

“And hast thou slain the Jabberwock?
Come to my arms, my beamish boy!
O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!”
He chortled in his joy.

‘Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

Have you written a nonsense poem?

Writing Prompt Contest – The Elephant & Cat…and a personal Thank you


I would like to interrupt this prompt to say a humble and grateful thanks to my 3,104 followers. Knowing my hard work in making this prompt varied, interesting, intriguing and fun has attracted so many of you makes my heart happy. Writing became my passion late in life and I have encompassed it wholeheartedly and obsessively.

You are the reason I continue to post here and I hope you will enjoy my yearly schedules for a long time to come.

Thank you so much.  Mandy  


Use this as the starting or finishing point of your story or poem.

Enjoy this prompt and leave your response in the comments. 1000 words maximum for a short story. Poems can be any length.

A quarterly prize will be given for the most voted for response.

Featured Image -- 21892

4 Authors, 7-Day Book Challenge, Amazing Experiences

This was a fun exercise. Thanks to Eva for requesting my participation.

Beyond the Precipice

With all the photo challenges going on this month, I decided to invent my own: the Book Challenge, which states,

For each of 7 days, post a picture of an event, interview, work-in-progress, or anything book/writing-related and tell us about it.

Immediately, I had four interested authors, whose daily posts have been compiled here. Books mentioned are available through Amazon or Dream Write Publishing (Linda and Mandy).

Meet our four Book Challenge authors

authors-piccollage-2016-10-13-12_32_49 Top, left to right: Linda, Mandy. Bottom, left to right: Dolly, Leslie


Linda J. Pedley, Publisher (Dream Write Publishing) and Author

post1-mywritinglifeThanks to Eva for nominating me as I always have something book-related!!

My Writing Life

Mandy Eve-Barnett, Author

post1-witp2016Words in the Park 2016–book launch for Clickety-Click, my YA mystery.

Dolly Dennis, Author

post1-dolly_torontobooklaunch-june2014-identitiesblockedMy Toronto launch of Loddy-Dah, June 2014.

Leslie Hodgins, WIP

post1-story5yrsThis is a story I’ve been working on for 5…

View original post 1,819 more words

Reblog – Death-Life-Experience…

I am re-blogging this post by kind permission from Karyle Tomms.


   Yesterday my aunt was laid to rest. Cold Arkansas wind sawed at our ears as we stood beside the grave site, an omen of snow later to fall. There beneath a sagging cedar, by a rusted wire fence she was put down next to the man who had abandoned her with five children and a hundred dollars to her name. Faithful to him always, she kept her commitment, ‘Till death do us part,’ and kept it long after he departed.  She never thought to remarry. She made one commitment only and determined that she would keep it.

Earlier, the minister of this small chapel in the north Arkansas hills spoke of her as a virtuous woman, and she was. Not one time could I remember her speaking a word of judgment or condemnation. She had inherited my grandmother’s gentleness that way. In her discipline she was soft spoken, direct and un-shaming even when children had done things to garner shame. Like my grandmother, she was fair and just.

I sat on the front pew two feet from her coffin, a red carnation pinned to my lapel. I was honored to bear her body to and fro in this ceremony. It was only a small gift for one who had helped to nurture my upbringing. Looking at the 1970’s cheap paneled walls, I realized that the church had not changed since my youth and I had not seen it since 1973. I thought back to those days, and growing up with her children, all of them now in their 50’s. It felt strange to remember them young, and see how age had made faces difficult to recognize.  Although we had all changed—aged and matured, the soul of that small church and the community surrounding it had remained essentially the same.

In my black tailored suit I noticed men in jeans and western shirts, some with cowboy hats. My alternate sensibilities made me realize how incredibly different I had become. However, I never really felt like I fit, and often wondered if the stork had made a mistake. I felt as though I was intended to grow up in Los Angeles with my father, but that was not to be. My mother left my father in California in the early 1950’s, returned to Arkansas and had me. How she came to be on the west coast to meet him is a very long story. Suffice it to say he hurt her deeply, so she came home. Then when I was five years old she became my first experience with death. That separation tore me like no other ever has. The echoes of “Precious Memories” and “Farther Along” haunted my childhood along with a terror that I would die young.  My grandmother was never able to convince me that this little bump or that little ache was not cancer or some terrible disease that would deprive me of living.

I grew up in the hills of Arkansas, raised by grandparents in a culture that was slow to catch up with the rest of America, a culture diametrically opposed to my father’s world. These Arkansas hills were indeed filled with salt of the earth people. Livelihood was carved from poor soil between the Ozark stones or shot from trees in the plentiful woods. Livestock roamed the pastures on one day and made meat for the table the next. In a four room house with no running water we scraped from the land a sustenance that was plentiful despite the hardship.

Death became my challenge early and has seemed to surround me throughout my life. My great grandmother died not long after my mother. She rocked me to sleep as a baby with an opium poppy to my nose. She grew them in the yard, if not for that purpose, then for decoration. I “helped” her churn butter in a stoneware churn with a plunger through a hole at the top. I nibbled mint leaves from beside her well, and cried when green walnut hulls were applied to heal ringworm.

My great grandfather died when I was a teen. When he passed, I stood outside another little Ozark church, white washed with a tiny steeple and a back door opening into the woods. I was furious how men could stand on the tiny front porch and talk about the weather or their crops rather than honor him in their conversing.  The truth is, I felt guilty that I had resented giving up my bed so my grandmother could care for him when he became feeble. I felt guilty that my selfishness caused me to resent a man who had been nothing but kind to me, when very few men of my youth were kind.  That grief challenged me. Guilt burdens a grieving heart, and often we don’t realize until they are gone what we’ve missed.

For a time after high school I was free of death. I went to college and made wonderful friends, fell in love with someone I could never have, and yet found joy in the love and comfort of people I never expected to meet. I reveled in college, reveled in an opportunity to learn and to shine. As soon as I was made aware that my backwoods upbringing did not limit me nearly as much as I had anticipated, I dove into college like a deep refreshing pool. For the first time in my life, I felt like I belonged. It wasn’t that I did not deeply love the people of my raising, but I found people at college who loved me as much, and who met me on a level that my mother’s family could not seem to match.

College and graduate school passed. I took a job in Little Rock and one of my two closest friends from college came to live with me. At that time I began to discover hidden depths within myself. I dug into my mind like a packing trunk full of treasures buried beneath the musty layers of roles I had worn throughout life.  Some I kept and some I threw away.  I found joy in the discovery and creation of myself. Other college buddies were also living there, and we discovered each other again, and in different ways. We played together, partied together and I found contentment and freedom for the first time in accepting myself for who I am.  Yet the burden of death would return.

My college friend had grown up with a close friend from childhood, a gay man who moved to Dallas not long after high school. As far back as 1979 he had come home for visits and ended up in the hospital with strange pneumonia and illnesses that local doctors were hard pressed to figure out.  My friend and I sat on our sofa in 1982 watching the evening news when Tom Brokaw informed us of a strange new disease hitting the gay community in places like San Francisco.  As he identified the symptoms, we turned to one another in stark awareness, and simultaneously spoke the same name, “Larry.” He was not officially diagnosed until 1985 and managed in those early days of AIDS treatment to hang on until 1987.

No one really had a clue about AIDS back then, so AFRAIDS was rampant and I had a severe case of it. It did not help that in 1987 several members of my family passed along with Larry, others were diagnosed with terminal cancer, and I had a major car accident. My fears of dying resurfaced in 1982 with that announcement by Tom Brokaw and reached full crescendo in 1987. In 1984 I had moved to Nashville, more because everything fell into place for that to happen than anything else, but also because I had fancied myself a singer and a songwriter.  Whether fortunately or unfortunately, fancy and fact do not often match. Still, I lived in Nashville for many years and came to face my fears there.

During one of Larry’s many hospitalizations, I had visited Little Rock and stayed in his apartment while he convalesced. His parents had come to get his basset hound, so starving fleas deprived of dog flesh decided to dine veraciously on me. In those days, who knew how AIDS was spread? With every flea bite my mind reeled. Was I going to die a young, and horrible death like Larry? Had any of those fleas previously been biting him? Had I slept with someone he slept with? Did I ever drink after him or take a bite of dessert off a shared fork? Once again, the terror of dying tormented me.

Just after Christmas and a horrific nightmare in January of 1988, I realized I had to do something. The nightmare was of a lush green pine forest being engulfed in a tremendous fire. As I ran for cover and threw open the door of a nearby cabin the Christmas tree inside burst into flames. A black cat in the basement was climbing flesh walls and drawing blood while flaming wind had thrown a child against the basement window. I watched as the flesh was burned off his body and helplessly listened to his agonizing screams. I realized on waking that the child was me and my innocence was being burned away. I felt like a caged animal inside, tormented by the loss of hope for the beautiful world of my illusions.

The next day I called, and started counseling with the minister of my church, a tall black man steeped in wisdom and kindness of heart. Although he gently guided me toward spirit, I continued to be tormented, unable to let go of my fear of dying. Arguments between the various voices of my mind were constant with accusations of guilt, and fantasies of dying a horrible death.  Then one day I was driving up the street tormenting myself when amid the loud, fearful and demanding noise, I heard a single voice exclaim, “What the hell difference does it make what you die of or when? Everybody has to do it.” Suddenly peace, suddenly quiet—in that moment, I accepted that I am going to die.

Many loved ones have died since then. A board member of my church died a couple of years later, also with AIDS. His deeply fundamentalist Christian family had disowned him to the degree that they refused even to accept his ashes after he was cremated. However, our church was his true family. When he developed AIDS related dementia, a sign-up sheet was placed in fellowship hall.  Anyone in the church could sign up for as little as 30 minutes or as much as 48 hours to stay with him and keep him safe.  For three months the congregation of 500-600 kept someone with him twenty four hours a day until he died, and then honored his life in memorial.

My grandmother and grandfather have died, close friends have died, and other members of my family have died. The ones I felt closest to in youth, and could never see myself living without, have all gone now. It is certain that death is relentless. Even in these last few weeks my sister and my closest friend from college have both had their mothers on Hospice. My friend called just as I started writing this to let me know her mother passed around 10:00 am this morning. Death and life both march on.

The older I get, the more people I know who have come and gone. With age grief begins to take on a different hue. The soulless black of treacherous loss begins to turn into a gentle blue acceptance. Yesterday I stood in the cemetery with cold physical discomfort warmed by the awareness that there were many who loved my aunt, and many who were touched by her gentle unassuming ways. I glanced over at her grandson, my last memory of him being as a little boy. He is a handsome young man now with children of his own.  When our eyes met, I quickly recognized and honored the red streaks that tears had worn into his eyes. He smiled an embarrassed smile, but also one that accepted the brief moment of solace that a simple glance can bring. I resisted the urge to hug him. He does not know me now. I am far away, and going further still.

Before I left the cemetery, the previous generation talked about how they seldom see each other anymore. “We have got to get together.” “We ought to have a reunion.” “When are you going to come see me?”  They know their time is coming soon. Death both unites and separates families and nothing tells better how a family has drifted apart than the experience of a funeral. Old ways pass, old relationships pass. Matriarchs and Patriarchs pass down their thrones to their own children, and on it goes. Some families are better at staying together than others, but maybe drifting apart is how it is supposed to be. Like bubbles in a pool we cluster, and drift apart, drift back together and apart again. Some of us pop in the sunlight, a brief existence lost to the wind. Other bubbles are formed. Clusters drift from clusters and individuals drift out on their own. Through it all, the essence of each one is contained in the other. The essence of my family and those I have loved is forever with me and over time I have come to understand that it’s only love that matters.

Author Interview -Lisa De Nikolits: Behind The Nearly Girl…


Behind the Scenes of The Nearly Girl – It’s Nearly 1986 Again!

I am neither a poet nor a philosopher. I don’t take drugs and I don’t smoke. I am neither a psychiatrist nor a hoarder. And I am not a body-builder or a mother.

But while writing The Nearly Girl, I was all of these things, and more!

And not only that, but I got to hang out in my favourite decade, the 1980’s! 1986, to be exact.

And while it was fun to travel back in time to the land of Joan Collins, Linda Evans and the Ewing family, back to shoulder pads, Madonna in her youth, fingerless lace gloves and big hair, it was harder than I had thought it would be, to not let anachronisms creep in.

There were the obvious things to look out for, of course, like no internet, no email, no cell phones (well, there were a few cell phones but they weighed as much as a Hummer and cost a king’s ransom) but a few things slipped by me that I would have died of chagrin had they been published.

For example, Marvel comic bed linen for kids, and Booster Juice. Neither of those existed! Video games were a whole different thing and no one wandered around attached to an electronic device. (Please note, I am not making a judgment statement here – I am one of the most attached-to-my-devices people I know! I justify it to myself by calling my phone my ‘portable office’ but that doesn’t really explain checking Facebook at midnight!)

And if you smoked in the 1980’s, it was a completely different experience – you could smoke anywhere and any time.

In the book, I had a group of people leave a poetry reading to go outside for a smoke, only to realize that there was no need for them to do that – why would people go outside in the middle of winter if they didn’t need to smoke?

But in truth, apart from the smoking, the Internet, Booster Juice and the contemporary bed-linen design, there isn’t that much in The Nearly Girl that directly places you in 1986 because the novel is about people who don’t fit in, as opposed to those who do, regardless of the year, or the fashions or the trends.

Most of my research on 1986 went towards creating the backstory and while gathering it was fun, I only ended using a very small percentage of it.

Which is par for the course, for writing, isn’t it? We amass reams of information all of which is vital for the story’s foundation but, like most foundations, it lies hidden beneath the surface. Without a strong foundation, your book is like a house of cards balancing on a hillside, with a tropical storm in the forecast.

Researching backstory is one of my favourite parts of writing a novel. I admit that I can easily over-research and I have to stop myself and sometimes, for this reason, I only do the research once a particular passage actually calls for something specific.

The Internet is a blessing and a curse for the wealth of information you can find and there’s so much awesome stuff out there that you’re tempted to work into a story and it can take a tremendous amount of discipline (or a very good editor!) to chop the extraneous bits out.


A lot of people are interested in where I got the idea for The Nearly Girl and it came from two things.

The first was my own inability to get certain things right (but I did get them very wrong) like cleaning the dishes with Vim or keeping all my manuscripts in the oven (I really don’t cook much and this seemed like a sound use of otherwise wasted storage space).

But as every author knows, while our own idiosyncrasies can sow the seeds of a good tale, we are generally way too boring to feature as any kind of central character and therefore, I developed Amelia, a lovely girl of whom I am very fond; a robust, Joan of Arc heroine.

Admittedly, she is a heroine in need of therapy in order to keep her welfare benefits and that’s where Dr. Frances Carroll comes in.

I read The Dice Man by Luke Rhinehart in my early twenties and since that time, I wanted to create a therapist with his own unique brand of treatment and that is why I came up with Dr. Carroll and his Do The Opposite Thing therapy.

In The Dice Man, the psychiatrist uses the dice to make decisions for himself and his patients, and as you can imagine, the consequences are disastrous – but fascinating. And in The Nearly Girl, Dr. Carroll urges his patients to take the opposite action – also, with disastrous and fascinating consequences.

I imagined Dr. Carroll as Paul Giamatti in a cross between his roles in Barney’s Version and Sideways and as such, I found him very amusing.

As a result, a lot of the dialogue in the book is really very funny – we have Dr. Carroll and his unorthodox methods, speaking frankly and challenging his patients with his disarming honesty, not hiding behind ‘therapy-speak’.

I really enjoyed working with the characters in this book; Alexei, the angry blond Russian giant, Whitney, the sex-starved middle-aged housewife, David, who has to discover the secrets behind his marriage, Angelina the hoarder (one of my favourite characters) and of course Amelia and Mike and their love affair.

And I truly loved the relationship between Megan (Amelia’s mother) and Henry the Poet (Amelia’s father). It’s an impossible, improbable love, but a true love despite the circumstance.

I feel there is a purity and an honesty to the emotions and actions in this book, a simplicity that I would liken to Miriam Toews’s A Complicated Kindness and, before readers leap up in horror to protest the comparison of my book to Miriam Toews’, let me get there before they do! Sadly for me, I am no Miriam Toews but she is one of the writers that I strive to emulate and when it comes to The Nearly Girl, I feel that perhaps I was somewhere on the Google map vicinity of trying to achieve what A Complicated Kindness so fully did achieve. (Of course, it depends on your level of zoom!)

I would like to say a huge thanks to Mandy Eve Barnett for having me as a guest on this blog and also for blurbing the book and having faith in it – I felt you summed it up exactly with your blurb:

“A fast paced and illuminating story where endeavouring to conform to society’s perception of normal, exposes the masks of illusion. Amelia Fisher’s unconventional upbringing with an LSD addicted poet father and an emotionally distant body building mother leads her to attending sessions with a crazy doctor. Whose unorthodox method called D.T.O.T. – ‘Do the Opposite Thing” has significant repercussions on his patients including Amelia. A chance discovery propels Amelia and fellow attendee, Mike with whom she is in love, are plunged into a life-threatening situation instigated by the doctor’s own dark secret. Hidden twists abound with growing tension culminating in a surprising ending.”

I feel that, with this book, my truest writerly voice that I have been working on all these years, is finally making itself heard and I very much hope that the readers will enjoy the novel. And I hope, readers, that you will let me know what you think – I would really love that!

Thank you!


Originally from South Africa, Lisa de Nikolits has lived in Canada since 2000. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature and Philosophy and has lived in the U.S.A., Australia and Britain. Lisa lives and writes in Toronto. The Nearly Girl is her sixth novel. Previous works include: The Hungry Mirror (2011 IPPY Awards Gold Medal for Women’s Issues Fiction and long-listed for a ReLit Award); West of Wawa (2012 IPPY Silver Medal Winner for Popular Fiction and a Chatelaine Editor’s Pick); A Glittering Chaos (tied to win the 2014 Silver IPPY for Popular Fiction); The Witchdoctor’s Bones launched in Spring 2014 to literary acclaim. Between The Cracks She Fell  was reviewed by the Quill & Quire, was on the recommended reading lists for Open Book Toronto and 49th Shelf. Between The Cracks She Fell was also reviewed by Canadian Living magazine and called ‘a must-read book of 2015’. Between The Cracks She Fell won a Bronze IPPY Award 2016 for Contemporary Fiction. No Fury Like That is scheduled to be published in 2017 and Rotten Peaches in 2018. All books by Inanna Publications.

Lisa has a short story in Postscripts To Darkness, Volume 6, 2015, and flash fiction and a short story in the debut issue of Maud.Lin House as well as poetry in the Canadian Women Studies Journal (Remembering, 2013, and Water, 2015). Her short stories have also appeared on Lynn Crosbie’s site, Hood and the Jellyfish Review. She has a short story coming out in the anthology PAC’HEAT, a Ms. Pac-Man noir collection and a short story in the Sisters In Crime anthology, November 2016, The Whole She-Bang 3.
Author website:
Facebook Author Page:
The Mesdames of Mayhem:

Writing Prompt Contest – Giant Emerging…


Use this image as the starting or finishing point of your story or poem.

Enjoy this prompt and leave your response in the comments. 1000 words maximum for a short story. Poems can be any length.

A quarterly prize will be given for the most voted for response.

Life After Death – Books for You to Discover..


In my many years of interest and research into this phenomenon, I have found many books that give enlightening information on life after death and reincarnation. Some are pure statistical lists, others belief based and others scientific. No matter the avenue of knowledge, you can find some exceptional stories in them all.

I have attached a link to Goodreads list of near death books for your perusal. Enjoy.

Have you researched this topic before?

Did my blog posts entice you to know more?

One book I found many years ago, detailed a professor who agreed with several colleagues that the first one of them to pass would contact the others by any means possible. It was a year or so later after his death, that each colleague experienced ‘channeled writing’. They discovered that they had all written a paragraph detailing this professors experience on the other side. Once the narrative was collected and pieced together, it told of his death, details of his funeral and other details he could only know if he ‘saw’ them.

Unfortunately I misplaced this book years ago and have never been able to find it again. However, the story has never left me.




Interview with Karlyle Tomms…


What inspired you to write your first book?

It started as a joke. I have done community theater for about 45 years and I’ve always been a bit of a cut up. One day, I was joking with a friend and this character came out of me. She was a smoking, aging hippie woman who said, “My daughter would never dress out for gym class. That’s because one nipple pointed up and one nipple pointed down, and all the children called her tiddlywinks. –Of course that golf ball sized hairy mole on her ass never helped matters much either.”
It got a laugh. So, liking a laugh, I decided to sit at the keyboard and see what she would say. The rest was a total shock. Over the next couple of years, she wrote her entire autobiography as my first novel. She had a lot more to say than just a joke, and actually, that joke never came out in the novel. It was a catalyst that started the writing, and apparently that is all it needed to do. It was a spark that lit the flame of my novel writing. From that point on, I simply wrote what she told me to say in her own words.



How did you come up with the title?

The pet name that the protagonist’s father gave her as a child was Pumpkin Patch. So, since she was confessing all kinds of things, the title became “Confessions from the Pumpkin Patch.”

Is this your first book? How many books have you written (published or unpublished)?

This is actually not my first book, but it is my first novel. I had written a self-help adult coloring book back in the mid 1990’s when I lived in Nashville, Tennessee. It appears now, I was ahead of my time since adult coloring books have become so popular. At the time, I had great endorsements, had a literary agent and a film producer who was helping me with a film clip to promote myself for speaking engagements. However, personal tragedy struck, and the result was I ended up moving back to the Ozarks to take care of my Grandmother. So, the book deals kind of fell apart. We had editors of major publishing companies who were interested in the book, but the “bean counters” in the days before publish on demand existed, were hesitant to publish it. In retrospect, it is probably just as well, as I would not have been able to care for my grandmother and have the time to promote the book or do speaking tours anyway.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

This is the first novel in my “Soul Encounters” series. It became a series when one of the cameo characters who interacted with the protagonist of this first novel began nagging me that he wanted to tell his story. As I started his story, I had yet another character who began nagging me to tell his story, and so on. It is called “Soul Encounters” because there is a life changing event that occurs in the interaction between the cameo character and the protagonist, that triggers changes for both of them. These are stories about life’s misfits (in a way). One might not recognize them as misfits because they appear, on the surface perhaps, to be quite together, but they are not. They struggle with inner demons, and struggle to overcome life’s challenges, conflicting beliefs and conflicting relationships. They struggle with dysfunctional family, addictions, mental illness, PTSD, abuse, rejection by society, prejudice etc. Then they realize in the end, that there is another way of looking at life, another way of looking at their conflicts and perhaps another way of looking at themselves. Each one is a story of overcoming in a different form, a story of surviving to be a stronger, to become a more emotionally healthy human being.

How much of the book is realistic?

Well, none of the books are fantasies. There are no fairies, dwarfs or witch queens, no flying unicorns or dragons. Each one is based on a point in history. In the first book, Lovella (Pumpkin Patch) struggles with the issues of the 1960’s, hippies, the Vietnam War, the Civil Rights movement, her own racial prejudice (that she never thought she had), and the struggles in her relationship with her mother who she grew to despise from a young age. The second novel in the series, “In My Father’s House” covers the 1940’s through the early 1970’s and has to do with struggles around religion, faith, sexuality, abuse, suicide, addiction and mental illness.


Are your characters based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

I have a friend who swears the protagonist of “Confessions from the Pumpkin Patch” is our friend Marcy, who has passed away. She was an older woman of the 1960’s who we met in college, and who took us under her wing. She was a child of the 60’s, though not quite a hippie and she struggled as well in her relationship with her mother. However, it was not my intent to base this character on her, and the character is very different from her in many ways. If I were to say anything about these characters, I would say they are (in a way) all part of me. If I were to have Dissociative Identity Disorder and have multiple personalities, perhaps the protagonists of my novels might be personalities that would have manifested inside of me. It feels as though they are a part of me. They talk to me. They tell me who they are. They tell me their stories, and they tell me how to write their stories.

Of the characters you have created or envisioned, which is your favorite & why?

Oh Wow! Don’t make me choose. That is kind of like asking a father which of his children is his favorite. You love them all for different reasons. I’m so excited about, and for all of them. I love that they have wonderful stories to tell, and that their stories have lessons of spirituality, and mental health contained within them. I love watching the stories unfold in my mind, and I love watching how they get told in the written word. It is almost as though I am not writing the story, but I am listening to them tell it.

If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?

No, I don’t think so. My latest book is actually only one or two chapters from being finished. It is the second book in the Soul Encounters series. When I get those chapters finished, then my editor and I get to work pouring over and over the manuscript to make sure the grammar, spelling and punctuation are correct, the time lines are correct, that I got the history around the story correct, and that it flows well from beginning to end. At this point, there are tweaks that can still be made, but probably very few. If the first novel is any indication, it will all fall in place right where and how it is supposed to.

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

I am so grateful for all the folks who have taken the time to buy and read this first book. I hope you will enjoy all the books in the series just as much. I am grateful that so many people have liked the first book, and I’m thankful for all the positive feedback I’ve gotten about it both from readers and professional reviewers.

What do you enjoy most about writing?

It is just as entertaining for me to write the stories as it is for the readers to read them. I love to write! I never thought I would ever be able to write a novel until Pumpkin Patch showed me how. Before this, I realize I had been over thinking it, trying too hard, getting so focused on the planning that I failed to see the process. Now, I look forward to writing. I look forward to telling the stories just as I look forward to watching a good movie or having dinner with friends. Writing is entertainment to me. Creativity is a joy.

What age did you start writing stories/poems?

I wrote my first play when I was in the 8th grade. It was called, “Who Ate the Tree?” I have no idea what happened to it, and recall little about it except it was a story about being environmentally responsible. That would have been about 1965 or 1966 (Don’t make me do the math!). I wrote poetry all through high school and when I was in college, I was the editor for the campus literary magazine showcasing student writing talent.

What is your favorite part/chapter of your book/project?

My favorite part of the first novel is the last few pages and the last line of the book. It made me cry when I wrote it, and I’ve cried practically every time I’ve read it since then. This is a mother/daughter story, but it is also a story about coming to recognize love behind the veil of conflict.

What is your favorite theme/genre to write?

I guess general and historical fiction which is the genre of the Soul Encounters series. I love science fiction, and I actually have several ideas for science fiction novels, but those have not decided to come to fruition. I have an idea for a murder mystery novel that I have carried around in my head since the 1990’s, but that has also not come to fruition. My first book, Confessions from the Pumpkin Patch won the 2016 New Apple Awards Medal for general fiction as a coming of age story. They are all coming of age stories, in a way, but absolutely not for young adults. These are very adult books, and there are segments that are quite graphic, both sexually, and by the third novel, violently. One might consider these novels historical fiction. However, I have had a hard time labeling a genre for them.

Is there one subject you would never write about as an author? What is it?

Actually, I don’t think there is a subject I would never write about except that I will never write about a nihilistic or hopeless view of life. I will not write a story in which the premise is – why bother, it’s all worthless bull anyway. I don’t believe that about life. I went through hell in my own life. [Read “Hate (My Story)” on my blog page] I have overcome the concept of a doomed world with doomed relationships. I think if I can overcome it, others can too. In fact, that is exactly the point of my writing. When you have been through trauma and oppression, you have basically two options. You can succumb to it or you can overcome it. I chose to overcome it.

What book are you reading now?

I’m not reading now. Since I had my first novel published, I have had my nose so much to the grindstone that I have not really had time to read. I will watch movies because I can sit down for about 2 hours and get the story, but a book takes more time and effort. There are things I enjoy about both, and maybe if I can get a vacation soon, I can do one of my favorite things to do on vacation, relax with a good book. I did recently order Hold Back the Sun by Warren Bell, and I’m looking forward to an opportunity to read it. I am interested in reading it because it is a novel about the Pacific War of World War II. Since my father was a Japanese prisoner of war in World War II, I have an interest in Japan and that whole era.

Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?

As mentioned above, I have interest in books by Warren Bell. I have also marked a few “want to read” on my Goodreads page that look interesting to me.

Do you see writing as a career?

Oh Yes! Please Lord! Yes! Yes! – This is how I want to spend my retirement. I am sixty-one years old, and over the next few years will be retiring from my day job (unless my writing sells enough to get me out sooner), and I want to spend the rest of my life writing, writing and writing.

Do you nibble as you write? If so what’s your favorite snack food?

I do not nibble as I write. In fact, I find that food gets in the way of typing fingers. It also can make the keys sticky—yuck! I hate when my keyboard doesn’t’ feel right. However, my favorite snack food is popcorn, and if you ever find me passed out, administer dark chocolate liberally.

Do you have any odd habits or childhood stories?

I have multiple childhood stories and many of these can be found on the blog page of my website ( In the early 1990’s I wrote for a regional magazine called “Recovery Times” and was published with a monthly feature article alongside people like Rokelle Lerner, Father Leo Booth, Alan Cohen and Thom Rutledge. I would tell a childhood story in my articles and then wrap it around a metaphor or moral for addictions recovery at the end. I still have about twelve of those articles and I’ve considered publishing them as a compilation.  Odd habits? I don’t know. Your definition of odd and mine could be entirely different. However, I prefer to be barefoot and will go barefoot any time the room or the weather is warm enough to allow it. In fact, I moved south so I could go barefoot more often. If I can move near the equator one day, I may never wear shoes again. When I was a child, I went barefoot all over the farm, and have scars on my feet to prove it. No jokes about Arkansas stereotypes please.

Where do you see yourself in ten years?

I would love to be a well-established writer, and have multiple works in publication. I would love to try my hand collaborating on screenplays, and I would love to have my stories turned into well-funded and well produced movies.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

Finding the time for it! I will have a lot more time for it when I retire, and maybe when I can sell enough books to hire someone to do the promotion and a lot of other things I am doing on my own now. I seem to be at that squeeze point of success where you are selling so much you can’t keep up with it, but you are not selling enough to hire the help you need.

What reward do you give yourself for making a deadline?

Deadline? What deadline? There are deadlines? Nobody told me about this! I have moved back my own deadline for finishing my current novel twice. However, this one is getting written in about three years when it took six years to write the first one. I think my reward will be getting it finished and seeing it in publication.

Have you ever hated something you wrote?

Well, of course. I don’t think you are a normal writer if you like everything you write. There are several things in the hard drive that I’ve never finished for multiple reasons. There are poems I have simply ripped up after handwriting them. I may re-visit some of those things some day and try again, and maybe I won’t.

What book do you wish you had written?

The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley – brilliant book! It is the only book I have ever read that I couldn’t wait to get back to as soon as possible. I read every evening after work until I finished it, and couldn’t wait to get back to it the next evening.

What is your best marketing tip?

I haven’t figured that out yet. I am just running around trying everything that happens to pop into my head (if I can achieve it) and praying it works. What I have done most is Twitter. I post my own quotes and sayings on photos (most that I take myself) and I have a service that repeatedly re-tweets them on a schedule. It seems to be gradually picking up speed. I also post to Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Google+, LinkedIn and others. I have a daily mini blog on Instagram with a commentary about one of my photo quotes.

What genre is your next project? What is it about?

For now, I am staying with my current genre of general and recent historical fiction. The novel I am about to finish is about a man with a fetish, and a sexual addiction who hates himself for it because it conflicts with his fundamentalist religious beliefs.

Can you tell us about your upcoming book?

Well, I had the idea to have people read the current novel and try to guess which cameo character would be the protagonist of the next novel. However, I can tell you it is about a man who is struggling with conflicts between his sexual addiction and his religious upbringing.

How do we find your books, blog and bio?

There are links through my website and my work can be purchased on Amazon. Also if you Google my name, Karlyle Tomms, there are multiple links available to a variety of things including the books.


Faerie World – Writing Prompt Contest…

Some of you may know I published a chapter book called Ockleberries to the Rescue. Two woodland sprites helps their forest animal friends. It combines my love of the natural world with that of the faerie realm. After the book cover was created a friend told me about a local woodworker who made faerie doors. So using the door as your inspiration, write a poem or story about what magical beings live behind this door.

OckleberriesToTheRescueSprite door 4

Enjoy this prompt and leave your response in the comments. 1000 words maximum for a short story. Poems can be any length.

A quarterly prize will be given for the most voted for response.