Category Archives: Blog

Lady Killers, Female Serial Killers

I spent time with Lady Killers this past weekend at Bucket o Blood Books and Records. The book was inspired by author Tori Telfer’s column “Lady Killers” that she wrote for Jezebel. I learned about her talk on a Facebook group. Don’t ask me why I’m still on Facebook. I don’t know why I’m still on Facebook. Trust me, it’s not a fun place, but sometimes it has its redeeming qualities – like introducing me to Tori Telfer (did I mention she’s from Chicago too? There are so many kickass Chicago writers as of late living in Chicago and I’m loving this).

The book Lady Killers: Lady Killers Throughout History explores 15 female serial killers from about the 1800’s up to 1950. She said she stopped there for a number of reasons, but a major takeaway she wanted us to leave the event with is that Aileen Wuornos was not the first female serial killer, as often cited. And, there are a lot of female serial killers, even during the time period she wrote, that did not make it into the book. Finally, there may be female serial killers operating today.

Now that my husband can no longer go with me everywhere (because children) I’m starting to get used to going places alone. Don’t think I’m weird because I’m saying that. My husband and I have been together for almost 20 years and he really is my best friend and usually the only other weird person in the room with me so I don’t have to be too self-conscious. But, this was a talk about lady serial killers and I was pleasantly surprised to see a lot of people there to hear the author speak. There were so many people that it was a sold out event. This people is how badly people want to learn about female serial killers.

According to Telfer, female serial killers have historically been tied to their state of being a woman. For example, her sexuality and the stereotype of the black widow. Or, her looks may be highlighted, typically in an unflattering light. But female serial killers, according to Telfer are as multifaceted as Jeffrey Dahmer or John Wayne Gacey. They are complicated and hard to understand.

Here are a few things I found interesting during Telfer’s talk about female serial killers.

  1. Yes, it seems as though most of them preferred poison. About 85%.
  2. These women were hustlers. Many worked many jobs. They were sneaky. They were conniving, all in the effort to get ahead in life. They were driven and tried to climb up the social ladder.
  3. They were desperate. A lot of them were desperate. It was as if they felt ground down in certain corners of society. For example, maybe they felt limited because of their husbands, children, mothers, etc. Many felt trapped in their conditions.

The book provides some in-depth research into 15 female serial killers, including Erzsébet Báthory and Mary Ann Cotton.

I haven’t read the book yet, but am excited to.


New Year, More Writing

The first meeting of the Mystery Writers of America Midwest for 2018 started off with a social hour, birthday cake and singing Happy Birthday to the man of every dark hour – Edgar Allan Poe. Edgar Allan Poe’s birthday was January 19th. He is buried at Westminster Hall and Burying Ground in Baltimore next to his wife, Virginia, and his Mother-in-Law Maria Clemm. To all mystery, detective, thriller, short story, horror writers and more Poe taught us so much. So, Happy Birthday Eddie!

The official meeting started with a presentation by Dana Kaye of Kaye Publicity. The presentation was about productivity. And as a writer, with a day job, two small children, in a PhD program, with a husband, house, who is also a graduate advisor and a human who sleeps… I wanted to know all about how I can be more productive – well, more organized.

Here are some of the things that Dana Kaye talked about:

  • Taking control of your own calendar. It’s up to you to carve out the time you need.
  • We find a way to fill the space. Stay on track.
  • Implement systems and develop habits. Use project management systems like asana.
  • Automate as much as you can. For example, Dana said that if you look at her social media profiles you may think she is online on social media all day when in actuality she spends one hour per week scheduling updates to be posted on social media using tools like Hootsuite.
  • Plan out schedules/ map out calendars
  • Themed days – for example maybe one day of the week is to be used for research and only do research on that day, another is for outlining, etc.
  • Train yourself. Train your habits
  • Outsource what you can. If you can get a babysitter to watch the kids for an hour a week, or whatever time, then do that and use that time to write.
  • The only thing you cannot outsource is your writing
  • Schedule time to the half hour – this sounds crazy – but I’ve started doing this, kinda, in order to see where my time actually goes.
  • We spend a lot of time thinking about what we need to do next, but if you write it down in a calendar the calendar will think for you.
  • Every night check what worked and what didn’t
  • Use Google calendars and Google alerts to prompt you when you need to move to the next thing.
  • Turn OFF non-urgent phone alerts, Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat – those dings are distracting and pull you away from deep concentration.

My takeaways from her presentation, I am going to continue writing down what I do each half hour to assess where my time is going. Once completed this week, I am going to refine my bullet journal to map out my days and my projects and tasks. Ultimately, the goal is to get more organized in order to write more, finish these book projects and to avoid distractions in the New Year.

Oh, and I’m totally going to download her toolkit, which is free and can be found at



Things are about to change

Photo from Instagram: sadie_reads_them_all


Things have changed. I said goodbye to Burial Day Books after 5 wonderful years. I’m proud that I was able to publish dozens of wonderful authors on our website and in the Gothic Blue Books we published (which can still be found on Amazon. I’ll place the links below). I had to say goodbye to Burial Day because I was pregnant with baby number 2 and I needed to take care of myself.

Alas, baby number 2 is here! He’s fat and happy and the sweetest little baby. I now have 2 monsters running around my house, throwing food, throwing up food, and making me laugh.

I promised myself that after baby number 2 got here, let’s call him Monster 2 until I find a more appropriate public name for him, that I would focus on me more. By that I mean, focusing more on my writing. That means, I’m going to hit this writing life harder than I have ever hit it before.

I’m glad that I am an indie author. I’ve met and have worked with the most wonderful people in this community. Post Mortem Press who has published my novels are the most wonderful people, as are Raw Dog Screaming Press who published my poetry collection. However, it’s time to move on and grow.

What does moving on mean? It means working the hardest I have ever worked before in my life.

I’m working on another novel. I’ve been pretty private during my writing process, shunning personal blogs, but no more.  This blog is all about being personal now. This is my place now to come and share my writing struggles (and hopefully my writing success). I’m a born pessimist, but I can’t be anymore. I have to be an optimist. I have to allow all of this bright, positive writerly energy in.

I’ve been writing for a very long time. First, I was a journalist covering community news in Chicago. Then, I became a fiction writer, after honestly, suffering PTSD from being exposed to the crime in our city. I’m sure I will talk about Chicago crime more as the weeks go on.

Now, I have to write. I’ve always been a writer, and I will always be a writer – but I’m going to be the best writer possible.

I’m good enough. I’m smart enough. People like me (and my writing).

Im Good Enough Stuart Smalley GIF by Saturday Night Live - Find & Share on GIPHY


I’m going to focus my entire energy on writing this novel and on finally getting a literary agent. The dream happens for so many people and I know my time is coming. It’s time for my dreams to come true, and for that to happen I’m going to focus on me, my writing, and I’m going to conjure up whatever magic possible to make that happen. Wish me luck, friends!

Gothic Blue Books from Burial Day Books

For those of you that do not know, Burial Day Books was my boutique press that published blogs, short stories, and a yearly anthology of short horror stories. Again, I killed the press to focus on my own writing career. I wish I could have managed it along with my own writing. I hope to revive it one day.

Gothic Blue Book I: The Haunted Edition

Gothic Blue Book II: The Revenge Edition

Gothic Blue Book III: The Graveyard Edition

Gothic Blue Book IV: The Folklore Edition

Gothic Blue Book V: The Cursed Edition

31 Days of Halloween – Day 26 Stages of an Exorcism


Movies significantly water down the ritual of Exorcism. What is important to know is that exorcisms still do occur and are taken seriously by the Catholic Church. Here are some notes and the stages of an exorcism.


  • Once engaged in an exorcism it cannot be called off.
  • There is the belief that no matter the outcome of the exorcism, the contact is partly fatal for the exorcist, because every time the exorcist engages in an exorcism something in him dies.
  • If an exorcist loses he may never again perform the rite of Exorcism.
  • The place of the exorcism is usually in the home of the possessed person. Once chosen, the room where the exorcism will be conducted is cleared of all objects that can be moved.
  • The only people in the room who are dressed in a special way are the priest and his assistant, both wearing black cassocks. Close family can be in the room, but the number is limited to usually a few.


Beginning: Presence

From the moment the priest enters the room he is looking for the sense of a presence, an invisible, intangible and unhuman element.


Step 1: Pretense

In the early stage of an exorcism, the evil spirit does everything they can to hide behind the possessed. This first job of the priest is to force the spirit to reveal itself as a separate entity from the possessed. This step can sometimes last for days. If the entity does not show itself the priest cannot proceed.


Signs the priest is looking for at this stage include the behavior of the possessed increases in violence, physical attacks, gnashing of teeth, repulsive stench and so on.


Step 2: Breakpoint

The violence and repulsive behavior intensifies. Here is where the priest typically falters. The possessed no longer speaks in their voice. It’s a new alien voice that speaks. Inhuman sounds may begin to emit from the possessed. The spirit may begin to use words like “I” or “We” and refer to the possessed body as “Ours.”

Step 3: Voice

During the breaking point the priest hears the voice. It’s a disturbing and distressing babel of syllables, sometimes slow and sometimes fast. The exorcist can only proceed to the next step when this voice is silenced.


Step 4: Clash

Here we begin to see two-way communication, a conversation. This is the most dreadful part for the exorcist. Here the priest must provoke. The main battle is seen here, will the total inhuman invade and take over the body? He must lock wills with the evil thing. Here the priest must finally force the thing to give its name, and some exorcists will go further and try to pursue as much information as they can.


Step 5: Expulsion

Once the priest has the name he can move toward expelling the evil spirit. Sometimes the priest will appeal to the possessed urging them to use some of their own free will to help fight and aid the exorcist. During this stage the exorcist is under full attack. The exorcist will be lured but he must fight all traps. If the priest falls under any trap he can be damaged physically, emotionally or mentally.


If the exorcism is successful it ends. The victim will wake up and sometimes remember everything that’s happened and sometimes they will not remember anything at all.

Of course there is much more detail in between, but we just thought some of you would be interested to see those stages listed out.




31 Days of Halloween – Day 25 Ed & Lorraine Warren – The Ghost hunters


If you’ve had a relative interest in the paranormal over the last few decades, or if you’ve seen any of the following films – The Conjuring, The Conjuring 2, Annabelle, or the Haunting of Connecticut, then you may have a relative idea about the career of the Warrens.


Edward “Ed” Warren and Lorraine Rita Warren have claimed to have investigated thousands of hauntings. The Warrens have been involved in some of the most famous paranormal cases covered in some of the aforementioned films. The Warrens are also well known for their involvement in investigating the infamous Amityville haunting.


It’s been said that Ed was the only non-ordained demonologist serving the Catholic Church. Lorraine claims to be a clairvoyant and a light trance medium.


The Warrens have stored thousands of items throughout their investigations which they claimed were haunted or contributed to hauntings. The Warren Museum is contained in the back of Lorraine’s house in Monroe, Connecticut.


The Warrens have met with many critics over the years. Most of their critics have claimed simply that the Warrens are nice people but that their artifacts, photographs and video recordings provide no proof of the paranormal.


Regardless, strange things have always surrounded themselves around the Warrens. For example, during a viewing of The Conjuring 2 this past June, a man in India died during the climax when the fictional Warrens were battling it out with a demon. The man was rushed to the hospital, declared dead and his body was moved to the morgue. Even stranger, when someone went to the morgue to claim the body it was gone.

Lorraine is 89 years-old and continues to work in hauntings. Her belief in the paranormal is still strong as her belief in demons, evil, and possession is tied into her Catholic faith. She believes that prayers and a prayer of the rosary can often neutralize evil spirits.


The Warrens met when they were 16. He was an usher at the local cinema and she had gone in one day to watch a film and noticed him. By then both had encountered paranormal events, Ed seeing orbs in his room and Lorraine had begun to see lights around people. Ed and Lorraine were married at 17 after he returned from World War II. When he returned from the war he studied art and would stand outside painting houses he believed to be haunted.


After a long career fighting ghosts, demons, werewolves, and more Ed died in 2006 after a sudden collapse was followed by a series of illnesses that kept him housebound.