Halloween Horror (It’s Totally In My New Book)

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I just got off a pretty awesome Blog Book Tour for my newest horror fiction book, “Iniquity”. Keeping in spirits (yes, pun intended) with the Halloween season, I did a fun and spooky interview on the blog tour, so here it is in case you missed it. I seriously had a blast doing this, so I hope you guys enjoy. ~TRF

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1.)          Your newest book “Iniquity” debuted August 19, 2014 and has already hit the bestseller status. Tell us a little bit about it!

TRF: It’s a New Age horror fiction read and it circles around a group of six people who committed a horrific crime five years earlier. They are brought together again by some pretty dark forces completely out of their control and the story spins into raw terror from there.

2.)          Tell us why this is a perfect Halloween month read.

TRF: October is the one time a year we love to scare ourselves, isn’t it? INIQUITY is practically oozing with everything that makes a person not want to turn off the lights at night.

3.)          What does your writing process look like? Do you have a certain routine you have for writing? i.e. Do you listen to music, sit in a certain chair?

TRF: When your career has you working from home the majority of the time, it isn’t always easy—especially for the wild imagination and short attention span of a YA author ;-). So, most days, I’m working in my office from around 6-7 a.m. into the evening around 6-7 p.m. There are definitely times I change it up, relocate myself to a coffee shop or wherever I might travel sometimes for story research or something—but most of the time, to keep my focus, I try to keep a usual routine. I have lots of quirky things in my office and on my desk and walls, which make me feel like I’m in a constant state of “down the rabbit hole”—which is awesome! And I have always made a soundtrack playlist for every book I’ve written to listen to while I’m in the writing process. What’s really cool is that now that I’m eight books in, readers and fans have taken to sending me ideas to add to playlists once my books release and that’s a fun and unique way for me to interact my imagination with my readers’. Something like that is so surreal.

4.)          Do you have any strange writing habits (like standing on your head or writing in the shower)?

TRF: Nothing too out of the ordinary—though I constantly talk to myself and I do periodically have to get up and pace around my house.

5.)          If you could cast your characters in INIQUITY in the Hollywood adaptation of your book, who would play your characters?

TRF: I normally don’t give answers for this question because I really like to leave that up to my readers’ imaginations, however, I definitely have some Hollywood crushes I see playing Colin Serpan—I’m talking Chris Hemsworth, or Jensen Ackles.

6.)          What is your least favorite part of the publishing / writing process?

TRF: Not being able to type 500 wam…I could write so many stories so much faster if my typing could keep up with the speed of my imagination!

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

TRF: Nothing is off the table for me. I think at this point, after eight books in that are all completely different genres from one another, my readers and fans expect a surprise every new release I do. It’s become like my M.O. as an author.

8.)          Is there a certain type of scene that’s harder for you to write than others? Love? Action? Racy?

TRF: I like to keep my stories as “clean” as I can while not risking the integrity of the story so that more readers can enjoy them.

9.)          What are you working on now? What is your next project?

TRF: I’m working on some pretty exciting stuff right now! A spin-off novel from my Ghost Story Trilogy, a dark, apocalyptic project, and I’ve gotten a lot of questions since the release of INIQUITY about other horror reads in the works: the answer is yes, you can definitely expect some more scary-ness in the 2015 year.

10.)        You have 6 incredibly relatable and complex characters that lead the story in INIQUITY. Tell us what’s on their tombstones.

TRF: Oooo, this is a fun question!

Ronnie-I Guess I Did Need That Map

Tori-Vanity is Definitely My Favorite Sin

Gabriella-(A carving of Grumpy Cat in her tombstone)

Sam-That Third Wheel Eventually Ran Me Over

Mandy-Who Knew Indecisiveness Could Kill?

Colin-At Least I Looked Like Hercules

11.)        What about yours? What would your tombstone read?

TRF: “This isn’t where I parked my car.”

12.)        Why the theme of guilt? This story is practically dripping with it.

TRF: I think the scariest part of the entire story is just the reality within the fantasy of it: can we really ever escape guilt?

13.)        What were the challenges (research, literary, psychological, and logistical) in bringing it to life?

TRF:I’ve always been a big fan of the horror/occult genre, whether it’s in books or movies. I had the most fun writing this story, however the drafting and editing processes were brutal because I was so particular (and nearly obsessed) with not hitting cliché walls. The horror genre and its basics can be extremely predictable sometimes, and have been done over and over and over. I wanted to make sure that I could keep the basic building blocks of a horror novel intact, while still providing a unique perspective that sticks in readers’ minds and sets itself apart from others like it.

 

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For My Readers

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I seriously have the best job in the world.

Today, my 8th novel was officially released to the world—my 8th novel in 2.5 years time. Now, when I initially dove head first (and blindingly, too, I might add) into my lifelong dream of becoming an author those 2.5 years ago, I would never had imagined I’d be writing the words “my 8th novel”. It’s still incredibly surreal.

The first year and a half was crazy! I managed to somehow release seven books in that short amount of time, all in different genres, 300+ pages a piece, all while trying to stay afloat in the massive sea of publishing, marketing, and retaining my sanity. A huge fan base from all over the world and from all different walks of life built its way up around me and I honestly still have to pinch myself every morning when I put my fingertips to the keyboard of my laptop.

And you guys–I seriously have the coolest, best army of readers out there. Not only did these readers give my writings a chance before I was known at all, but they begin to grow in the beginning by good ol’ fashioned word of mouth. They stuck with me through all kinds of fiction–YA, fantasy, contemporary, you name it. These readers grew into the unbelievable and incredibly humbling fan base they are today, excited and ready to ride on the next reading adventure I have in store for them.

My 8th novel–“Iniquity”–is the first book I have released in 2014. This is a huge change from what my readers are used to, yet the excitement from them is steadfast and somewhat contagious! It makes me ridiculously happy every time I have another chance to give them a story, and what’s even more amazing is that the awesome support and enthusiasm within my fan base makes it possible for me to take genre risks. In the book industry, it’s very difficult–and a huge gamble–to cross over genres. This has always been shocking to me because life in itself is not one genre, so lumping in all the stories I could tell into one category seems really impossible! My newest novel is the first I’ve released in the horror genre, and even with warnings to my readers that this is yet again something completely different from any book I’ve written before, it has been embraced.

So, I have the best job in the world. And it is because of all the fans, readers…all the wonderful bookworms out there who ride the imagination train with me in every crazy direction it’s gone in over the past 2.5 years. Thank you to all my readers: you allow me to live my dream, keep me humble, and constantly teach me new wonders about the magical craft of storytelling.

I am excited to bring you my first novel of the 2014 year. Here’s to many more.

Cheers!

~TRF

Buy the New Book HERE

Quick Update! And A Li’l Romania Trip Preview

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Hello all!

I’m sorry it has been about a month since I’ve updated the blog, but whew! So much going on here in Railroad Housewife land! We just got back from a big trip to Romania, my little sister is coming to visit for a week before she goes back to college for the fall, and I am currently in the pre-publication process of my next novel, due out in August. Busy! So, I thought I’d stop by and give you a little brief tidbit of humor and preview into the whirlwind Romania trip amidst the crazy schedule while I had a free second.

 

My Passing Thoughts During the 15-Day Romania Trip

1.) Why is my wine glass never empty? Is this some kind of Romanian magic?

2.) I really take ice for granted.

3.) I love that I can get cheese anywhere here. In fact, I bet that sheep over there crossing the road has a fannypack with cheese in it right now.

4.) I really take to-go cups/boxes at restaurants for granted.

5.) Oh my gah, where’s the light switch? Where’s the light switch? Are there no lights in the bathroom? What—oh, there it is on the outside of the bathroom door.

6.) ANOTHER roundabout??? I’m pretty sure I have vertigo.

7.) Being a pedestrian in Europe means a sure death by hit-and-run bicycle and/or Datsa.

8.) Beer and milk seem to have switched respective containers in the convenience store.

9.) I wish I were better at math with the millions of failed mental euro conversions I’m attempting daily.

10.) With meal/espresso breaks every fifteen minutes, how am I not 500 pounds with a permanent twitch by day 3 of this trip?

11.) Why is the only mention of Vlad Tepes (Dracula) in Dracula’s castle one poster in the whole place? Not okay.

12.) Fact: Romanian livers are made of steel.

13.) Look, more cheese!

14.) Thank God for universal toilet signs.

15.) My new Romanian family can dance, smile, laugh, kiss, and hug for 10 hours, and drink moonshine by the tall glass (no ice, y’all). They are AWESOME.

Transylvania, y'all!

Transylvania, y’all!

Romanian Adventures Blog post coming soon!

Albuquerque!!!!!

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Gah, this has been a busy summer already! Between finishing up my newest novel and readying for our trip to Romania, I haven’t had the time for the blogsphere! In lieu of Father’s Day this past weekend, though, I had to make the time to stop by and pen a post.

 

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I have the coolest dad. No, really.

He’s a big and muscly Gulf War vet with sharp intelligence, tattoos, armory you’ve never even heard of, and a badass motorcycle—in other words, he’s super intimidating. But on that same coin, he’s ridiculously handsome, charming, and I’ve met very few people in my life who can socialize like he can. No one’s better at hugs when you need them the most—and I mean real hugs, not the quick kind we give out of politeness.  I mean, have you ever met a doomsday prepper who can teach you how to protect yourself from bad guys AND make you feel like the most loved person in the world with his bear hugs at the same time? That’s my pops.

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Look at that handsome guy who would go from skateboarder to my dad one day 😀

He was surrounded by estrogen with four of us daughters and at least three female dogs at a time running round the house. It’s astonishing to me that he still has his sanity, but my dad always seems to take everything with a witty—and albeit extremely patient—grain of salt. He let us dress him up like Jack Sparrow one Halloween—eyeliner and all—sitting there patiently with a tumbler of bourbon in his hand and football on the TV as we dressed him up. The outcome was pretty rad, though:

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He was a stud at my wedding with his dress shirt rolled up to his elbows, a glass of whiskey in his hand, and a stogie in his shirt pocket, and I couldn’t think of a better image representation of my father. He’s the most intelligent man I’ve ever met with the open mind that always has allowed me to come to him with anything and not feel judged. Cheers to you, Dad, for always accepting me for whatever I did or wanted, so long as I put my very best into it.

 

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Oh, and also…

 

My Top Favorite Wisdom-isms from My Dad

 

1.)    “Shitass.” My dad has always had this incredible knack for creating out of the box swearing when he’s in the heat of the moment. I used to giggle at this, but now I find myself doing the same thing. Imagination knows no bounds.

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2.)    “What do you want to drink?” Ah, a man after my own heart. Not only does my father know how to make an IMMACULATE cocktail of perfection, but he always seems to know when to pose this question. On top of that, my dad can expertly gauge what kind of drink his daughter needs in seconds: sad, mad, happy, moody, etc.—no matter what I’m feeling, he’s got a remedy.

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3.)    “You missed that blade of grass.” My dad used to drive me crazy when I was younger with this seemingly unreachable expectation. Whether it was mowing the yard or washing my car, there was always room for improvement or to better what I was doing. Do I even need to explain why this is one of the most important life teachings my dad could have ever given me? If I do, then you definitely missed a spot mowing your lawn.

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4.)    “You have to watch Saving Private Ryan once in your life.” Again, if this doesn’t make sense, then you need to go watch Saving Private Ryan. Now. Go.

5.)    “Albuquerque!” This one still cracks me up to this day. In a house of so many girls, there was a lot of talking, most of the time undirected and chaotic. Anytime anything has ever gotten ultimately crazy and loud with gab, my father will blurt out in his loudest volume “Albuquerque!” We all immediately fall quiet and look at him, burst into laughter and all is calm again. It has worked every time.

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6.)    “I really love him, you did real good. But if he ever messes up, I have a hole dug in a secret spot just for him.” During our father-daughter dance at my wedding. I’ll let you guess who he was talking about. 😉

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Why Life Gets Damn Good from Year 25 and On

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My husband turned 25 this past weekend. Now, I’m a few years older than my hubs and as we celebrated his quarter of a century birthday, it made me reminisce about my own 25th and the few years that have followed since. And you know what realization hit me? Just how absolutely fabulous life becomes on that 25th year and after.

 

 

Oh, sure, at first, there’s a huge shock value that runs through your mind when you blow out those 25 candles. You have this momentary panic about being so close to 30. But then, you stop yourself: imagining becoming 30 isn’t actually so bad as it was the year before. In fact, you have to admit to yourself that it’s a little exhilarating even. A whole new chapter of life—of new goals, new wisdom, and new uncharted territories open up in front of you, ripe for the taking. It also helps that with 25 brings that beautiful drop in the yearly dues of your car insurance AND you can actually rent a car everywhere you go now. Liberating!

 

You’re at that place in life that no matter what your situation, for the first time ever, you actually have gotten to know who YOU are. Maybe you’re married, maybe you’re single, maybe you’ve got five kids, maybe you’re the CEO of your own company, maybe you’re working at Starbucks while you embark on a master’s degree, maybe you’re a tour guide at Yellowstone…no matter what your life looks like, as you start rolling through your late twenties, you’ve finally made that official introduction of “Hi, this is me.” Even if you’re unsatisfied with where you are in your life, your perspective is completely different than ever before because now that you know who you are, you have a whole new empowerment within you that allows you to change your circumstances if they don’t mesh well with your soul.

 

You also really take a long look around yourself as your twenties are rounding off and it’s kind of amazing just how much your outlook on a few pretty big things in life has changed. Like,

 

Family: Your parents become something entirely different because you realize they are not just “Mom and Dad”—they are human beings: just like you. You’re not only meeting yourself completely for the first time in your life, but you are also meeting your parents as “Kent” and “Samantha” instead of “Dad” and “Mom”. They have so many stories (many not unlike some of yours) and life lessons to share that you will need more than ever before, and now, sitting around the table playing cards and drinking good beer with your new best friends known as your folks is one of the best ways to spend your weekend.

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Friends: Whether you’ve grown apart or had an unfortunate falling out, your circle of friends becomes indefinitely smaller as you get older–especially as the quarter of a century dot on your timeline rolls around. It’s inevitable. People change and there is nothing wrong with taking separate paths in life. Memories are a great keepsake as you do amicably grow apart from the majority of people you called friends from childhood, teenage years, and sometimes even college. You’ll find yourself now meeting people and forming different types of friendships: deep, meaningful, and incredibly substantial. You’ve raised the bar on the standards that define what a friendship means to you and though probably not many, the people you meet now who mesh with those standards will become faster and closer friends than even some people that you have known for years. This same thing goes along with older friendships, too. The friendships you do keep as you get older change as the both of you do, and you both come to mean even more to each other as these years go by.

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Career: As human beings, we are on a constant journey for change and conquering new things, and this characteristic jumpstarts at this point in life. You’re finally past that “intern” status in your career and free to move up, or maybe make a complete change. We start to realize now what our passions are, how to tap into them, or maybe even how to make way for them to evolve. Maybe you’re completely content with what you do for a living or maybe you’ve discovered you want to do something completely different than what you went to school for. Maybe you’ve discovered you can’t work for other people and want to be an entrepreneur. Maybe you’ve had a new epiphany that you love a 9-5 schedule or maybe you thrive on a graveyard shift. No matter where you are or what your stance is on your career, the point is: in your late twenties, you are finally brave and independent enough to start the process of figuring it out. Your job is 85% plus of your life and now you start to realize that what you do needs to make you happy.

 

Priorities: Life is short. Work and day-to-day often is exhausting, so when we get those precious bits of free time, the whole concept of mortality is clearer than ever. The people you love the most—family & the few close friends you have—they become priority in how you spend that little bit of free time. And those free moments you do get have now become more special than ever because you’ve finally made room only for what makes your heart the happiest.

 

 

Firming Creams: Gravity is a bitch.

 

 

Quality over Quantity: This suddenly applies to EVERYTHING. A plastic handle of Mr. Boston was completely logical when you were 20 and poor, but now, you work hard for your money and you deserve that tumbler of Grey Goose that isn’t going to make you throw up for two days after you drink it. Forever 21 clothes that fall apart after one wash don’t quite seem as appealing as that cute dress from the Loft that will last 10 years and NOT make your butt hang out because it falls to a modest knee-length. Also, you are now sort of embarrassed of those plastic folding chairs serving as furniture.

 

Health: UGH! You have to start taking care of yourself now. Like really taking care of yourself. It’s not about being skinny anymore. It’s about all the organs and other really important stuff about your body that you’ve been ignoring for the past 25 years—liver, heart, brain, skin, teeth, blood pressure, cholesterol…stuff that you never even knew about: “What does my pancreas do?” You gradually become your mother when every morning you mentally begin to remind yourself to take your vitamins. Slowing metabolism, mandatory doctor’s appointments, and investing in fruit over hot pockets really sucks—but you realize a short, low quality of life sucks way more.

 

 

The History Channel: Or the Discovery channel, or a ridiculous amount of documentaries on Netflix. Maybe all three. Whichever it is, you begin to realize just how much you didn’t know about World War II or how to survive in an apocalyptic wilderness. Your brain is beginning to get hungry from all those years out of school and now you kind of feel dumb for always giving your dad a hard time about staying glued to the History Channel’s black and white, 8-hour shows when you were growing up.

 

YOU: As I mentioned before, you are finally meeting YOU! And while some insecurities do inevitably linger, most are fading away and you have at last come to that point where you are pretty okay with who you are. You are fully aware that not everyone is going to like you, but you are honestly fine with that. Being comfortable in your own skin is the most incredible feeling in the world and you’re finally on your way there. You are ultimately the one who has to wake up with yourself every single morning, and that is how you find your happiness. For the first time in your life, you truly begin to understand and believe the age-old wise words of Dr. Seuss: “Those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.”

 

**Cheers to the Quarter Life Crisis! :D**

High School Reunion? No.

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My ten-year high school reunion is now. Initially, it’s a shock to think it has been a decade since I graduated high school. Makes you really sit back and flip through your memory catalog: am I where I thought I would be by now? Did my dreams and goals stay the same? Did the people in my life stick around? Did I really ever use all that algebra I was told I would? Why don’t smartphones have the Snake game on them? Oh my God, I like beer now!

 

Then I hear from one of the very few people I still am actually friends with from high school. (Like, the real definition of “friends”—she was a bridesmaid in my wedding friend)

“Hey, Tab, did you get the invite on Facebook for the ten year reunion?”

I vaguely remember getting it maybe…ignoring it like I do those God awful Farmville and Bubble Candy Cocaine Crash or whatever the hell it is requests. (Seriously, stop.) In the ten years I’ve been out of high school, not once have I ever even considered attending a reunion when the time rolled around.

 

**Now, I want to put a disclaimer on this before I go any further. I know I have a lot of people I went to high school with that read my blogs and the following thoughts I’m about to go into are not meant to be offensive or geared towards anyone specific. Nor is this meant to be the generic thoughts on reunions/high school. Lots of people love the reunions, loved high school, and that is awesome. The following is only my personal opinion on these things, so please take it all with a light heart. 🙂 **

 

 

The Top 10 Reasons I Will Not Ever Go to a High School Reunion:

 1.)    I think this one totally speaks for itself and sums up this entire blog post.

 

2.)    I was voted Class Clown on the long list of superlatives that never even made it into the yearbook. Now, the people in my life adore the clown aspect of me. Back then, it was a surefire way to never get asked to prom. And to always be the comic sidekick to the pretty girls that all the guys wanted to date. I’d rather stick with my current peeps who will genuinely laugh at my jokes than be reminded of a time when I second-guessed the value of humor.

 

3.)    I didn’t go to prom. I wasn’t asked and I didn’t want to spend my hard-earned money from working at the grocery store 40 hours a week to buy everything necessary to attend, only to end up having a complete Carrie experience. Can’t bring myself to do it now either in the grown-up version of Prom: “The High School Reunion”.

 

4.)    I really, really, reallllllyyyy don’t want to relive the daily cafeteria panic attack that was: “Oh my God, where am I going to sit????!!!”

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5.)    I’m horrible with names and I would feel absolutely terrible when I most certainly don’t remember about 99% of people’s monikers.

 

6.)    Part of me is strongly suspicious of the whole reason behind a high school reunion. “To see everyone and reminisce!” No, that doesn’t make any sense. If we really ever cared about each other in any aspect, wouldn’t we have kept in touch on more than a facebook or linkedin level? I even stay connected with my old teachers via social media. If you haven’t made a meet-up happen with these people in the last ten years, then why would you want to party with them? Granted, there are people I do have casual and pleasant contact with from high school online and if I ran into them somewhere, I would be more than excited to chat—but I am pretty sure the feeling is mutual that in busy life, things are okay staying just that arm’s-length way. Regardless, I have more excruciatingly bad times than good from high school and the LAST thing I want to do is cross THAT troll bridge of “nostalgia”.

 

7.)    The torture of small talk—ten years later. “Oh, you live in Ohio now? It does snow a lot.”  No.

 

 

8.)    Traveling is expensive. Whether you live out of the country, out of the state, or even out of town, when you spend the money and precious, hard to find time to travel back home, family and good friends should get the 100% dibs on your company. Life’s too short.

 

9.)    Oh, hey it’s YOU. The person who pulled my chair out from under me in freshman homeroom, cheated off my tests thinking I didn’t know it, always picked me last in gym Battleball, and nicknamed me Camaro Hair. Oh wait, you are an utter loser now!!! I value my character and don’t want to throw in your face so hard how karma is awesome. But see, I won’t be able to do that when reunion and vodka is put together. (And by the way, Joe Dirt is DAMN cool)

 

10.)    There’s not going to be enough booze there to survive it. There’s just not. It’s a fact.

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Actually, now that I think about it, there is ONE reason I would go. ONE. This:

Summer is NEVER Coming

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I’ve got to go a little Southern-ness on you today, folks.

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My mind is all messed up. It’s May 2nd and it’s 50 degrees outside. Just to remind you, I grew up in Georgia where there are basically three seasons: Winter, Rain, and Mercury. Winter lasts about two months normally and we don’t dance with the whole negative degree thing. Rain is pretty much all of March, April, September, and October. And Mercury is sunshine and temperatures of Hell for the rest of the time. By this time of year, I’m used to Mercury.

 

In the Great White North where I currently reside….I guess I will name this season…The Matrix. Because it’s technically spring and this has all got to be something unreal and that I only 1/3 understand while looking around with a “what’s that smell” face. (Much like what happens when I attempt to watch the Matrix movies) I keep telling myself NO NO NO, it’s not real, I’m going to wake up anytime now and be laying out in the sweltering sun in my backyard after packing away every coat, every long-sleeved item, and every pair of pants I own! But in reality, the Oracle (a.k.a. Mother Nature) is saying, “Joke’s on you, girl. Enjoy the snow I’m giving you as a 4th of July present.”

 

When the sun actually does come out, it’s all a mind game. Oh sure, it looks like it’s a pleasant 70 degrees outside, but when you walk out there in shorts and a tanktop—refusing to believe what weather channel claims is 38 degree weather presently—your skin pretty much turns blue and you run back inside with a fun little onset of hypothermia.

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I’ve become desperate. I’ll actually go to the tanning bed salon and lay for way over the time I need to, just to purposely burn myself so that when I go outside, I feel warm and toasty regardless of the temperature. This is my rain dance, dammit! Give me my summer already! What do I need to do? Sacrifice a sheep? Maybe the blood of a virgin or the rights to my firstborn? When is this going to end?!!!

 

The freaky winter that won’t end seems to be this way all over the country, so it has me thinking: is this global warming? Wait, what exactly is global warming? Should I stop using hairspray? Well, that’s silly, I can’t stop using hairspray, I need my 5 inch bump for my livelihood…

Then I drop into these really “realistic” musings: Is Game of Thrones really our reality now? Is Winter really always going to be coming? Are the White Walkers on their way? Maybe this is Narnia. Maybe the whole world just fell through a wardrobe one Saturday night while we were enjoying a live band and a few rounds of drinks at the Buffalo Wild Wings and now we are stuck in the White Witch’s neverending icebox of a retreat…

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I want to take a second and remind you that I am a fiction author, so I assure you that this chaotic and slightly weird train of thought is totally healthy. Totally. Totes McGotes healthy. Really. No, really.

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The point is, it sucks. And there is absolutely nothing we can do about it. So how do we cope?

Well, lots of Netflix, whiskey, and fuzzy Christmas socks, that’s how.

 

Remember, when life gives you lemons (or freezing temps in May), make lemonade (or a Long Island Ice Tea).