That’s where you’ll find my Halloween feature if you’re in southern California today.  It’s running in these papers:  LA Daily News, Pasadena Star-Bulletin, Daily Breeze, Press-Telegram, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, San Bernardino Sun, and the San Gabriel Valley Tribune.

The feature is all about hauntings you can visit in the southland. I’ve been to all of them and they’re great any time of year, but especially during Halloween and El Dia de los Muertos!

Speaking of the Day(s) of the Dead, two of the places mentioned, Rose Hills Cemetery, and Hollywood Forever Memorial Park, both hold big celebrations this weekend.  See the article for links.


You can also catch the article online at any of the newspapers’ sites. Here’s a link to the story via the LA Daily News.

ALSO: if you listen to KNX today, you may catch a short interview with me about haunted hotspots around the LA Metro area.

See the next blog down for a recounting of the first two paranormal events I was involved in!  I have incorporated many of my experiences over the years into my novels. Check ’em out at  And if you feel like it, share your stories with me here!

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!Booksman_edited-1

Ghost Stories: Two Haunted Houses, No Waiting!

I’ve been collecting ghost stories since first grade, but it never occurred to me I might encounter something spooky until it actually happened. Years ago, when I was in my early twenties, we moved with our infant son into a nice rental house in the north end of San Bernardino.
One of the first mornings after moving in, I saw my toothbrush pop up out of its holder then clatter into the sink. I was surprised — and delighted. I promptly put it back in its holder and waited for a repeat performance, but nothing more happened. . . that day.

I didn’t tell my husband because I figured he’d think I was either imagining things or pulling his leg. And it didn’t cross my mind that these almost daily incidents might signify a haunting since, in the following weeks and months, I never felt anything even approaching fear as I watched Kleenex boxes slide across nightstands, newspapers and magazines flop out of their basket, more toothbrush dances, and other light weight inanimate objects skitter around by themselves. I honestly chalked it up to some sort of glitch in the gravity.
And then, six months in, something bigger happened. Damien and I were sitting side by side at the kitchen table having a ham sandwich lunch. In the center of the room, a full, three-foot-high trash can waited to be taken outside. As we were chatting and eating, the heavy bin simply rose into the air two to three inches, hovered a second, then dropped back to the floor. Time had slowed down in that way it does when something shocking happens, and we turned to each other, jaws dropped like bad clichés, and said, simultaneously, “Did you see that?” We nodded at each other, dumbfounded.

We slowly finished our sandwiches, never taking our eyes off the trash can, but nothing more happened. Knowing he’d believe me now, I told Damien about all the other little incidents and my theory about the gravity glitch. We talked of poltergeists at that point but because of the lack of fear, neither of us bought it. Funny gravity seemed more likely because we both thought that ghosts would be scary. How young and naïve we were!
Over the next couple of weeks, things became a little unnerving. Nothing happened – not even a twitch of a toothbrush – and that made it worse. I also came to understand there was another reason I hadn’t told my mate about the minor stuff: as long as he didn’t see it, it wasn’t real. But he had – and spectacularly. My imagination had engaged and I began hurrying past shadowed rooms, turning lights on everywhere, and listening for strange noises. Still, nothing happened, but I was nervous because I knew it could: Seeing a heavy object levitate with a co-witness was not at all the same thing as a cute little toothbrush hopping around.
I don’t know what would have happened if the owners hadn’t asked if we’d break the lease. They wanted to move back into the good-sized house because they had a teenaged daughter who’d been in a sanitarium for a while for emotional problems, and she was coming home. They needed the space again, they explained, and the girl was looking forward to moving back into an odd little room that was built inside the garage. Though we never used it at all, this room was nice and we’d guessed it had belonged to a music-playing teenaged boy because the walls were carpeted, probably to muffle sound. . .

After moving to a little house that looked like it should be haunted but was completely normal, I dug into poltergeist phenomena and realized that the disturbed daughter who lived in the room with carpeted walls probably was the poltergeist agent and that there was enough of her leftover energy in the house to cause the random events we experienced there. I would have loved to ask the parents if things flew regularly in the house when they lived there, but that would have been crass.
Once in a while, thirty years later, if I’m out that way, I’ll cruise past the house. It’s still a nice house in a nice neighborhood. There are flowerbeds, the lawn is neatly mown, and the sidewalk swept. I wonder what, if anything, happens in there.

A few years later we moved to Tujunga, a little city snug up against the mountains above the Burbank-Glendale area. We were both working and we looked forward to picking up our son and coming home at night to our four cats, who waited in a gem of a four-bedroom ranch house.
The oak-floored residence was comprised of a long hall containing four bedrooms and two bathrooms, with the master suite at the far end of the hall. Our son’s room was at the end nearest the foyer. On the other side of the foyer was the communal living area of the house. That was circular, opening to the living room to the right of the foyer and the kitchen straight ahead. There was a formal dining room between them. It was a nice setup.
We lived there for six months, growing increasingly uncomfortable with the place, though we never quite knew why. The house was great, the neighborhood so-so. A couple of things stood out: our cats would not allow us to leave them out of the bedroom at night, and I suddenly developed what I thought to be a muscle twitch in my shoulder that felt like someone was tapping on it. It happened virtually every night and only in the bathroom when I went to brush my teeth. It became a joke.

We were never quite comfortable there and after six months found a new place to live. The last day there, we dropped our son at his grandmother’s, left the cats at the new place and spent the night alone in the Tujunga house. Most everything was packed and ready to go and we slept on our mattress on the floor in our bedroom at the far end of the house.
The next morning, Damien left to pick up the rental truck while I lazed on the bed for a few more precious moments. Not three minutes after he left, I heard the front door open and slam shut, then angry footsteps stomping around the living area. This wasn’t like Damien, but who else could it be? I called out his name and asked if he’d forgotten something. The stomping paused briefly then started up again, without any answer.
I fought back panic as I realized there must be a prowler in the house. There was no phone in the bedroom, nothing but a broom. The window was over a ten-foot drop to a cement stairwell leading to a basement. I rapidly pulled on my clothes, grabbed the broom, cracked the bedroom door and yelled, “The police are on their way and I’ve got a gun. Get out!”
The footsteps ceased abruptly and I waited a minute, listening. No floorboards creaked out there or in the hallway. No footfalls sounded. Knowing I had to make it to the foyer, I pointed the broom handle like a spear and crept down the hall. Nothing. Silence.
I arrived at the mouth of the hall and saw no one in the living room, though I couldn’t see into the dining room or kitchen. The foyer was clear, and it was just ten steps to the to the front door. Then, suddenly, right in front of me, the footsteps started up. I couldn’t see anything and they stomped right past, into the corridor. Right behind me, I heard our son’s bedroom door slam closed and the stomping continue up the hall.
I was out of there like a shot.
I paced around the front yard, fairly freaked out. It was impossible, what had happened. It was nuts. Finally I sat down on the front steps to wait for Damien’s return because there certainly wasn’t a prowler in there.

When he pulled up, I was already trying to convince myself it was a trick of the house, maybe the plumbing. It was too crazy to believe. But I told him about it, and he smiled. He didn’t think it was anything supernatural, and honestly, I’d have smiled too.
We went inside, searched the place, including the detached garage, the little basement and the yard, and, finding nothing, (even our son’s bedroom door was open despite the sound of it shutting) we got back to work. Mid-afternoon, we took a break, carrying warm bottles of Coke into our son’s former room, where we sprawled on the floor. My back was against the wall, legs flat out before me, and Damien lay on his back and crossed one leg over the other. We were joking and talking about what I’d heard, wondering what it had really been, when he yelped as his lower leg jerked upward.
“What?” I cried.
“Something yanked my ankle!” He was freaked and suggested we get out of there before dark. I thought that was a splendid idea and we put the last box on the truck just as dusk settled in.
We spent a lovely night at our new place and by morning both of us were sure all of it could be rationally explained away. He went back to give the landlord the key that afternoon and, fear gone, he went inside to make sure we’d left nothing behind. About fifteen minutes later, he heard the front door open and slam, and heavy footsteps. Thinking it was the landlord, Damien walked out of the bedroom – and the exact same thing happened to him as it had to me – the footsteps paused, then started up directly in front of him, passing him as they moved up the hall toward the bedrooms. The only difference was that he didn’t hear the slam of our son’s door.
It was bat out of hell time. He left the key in the mailbox and never went back.
Two things stood out to us afterward about that early experience. First, the twitch that felt like a finger tapping my shoulder never happened again after we left the Tujunga house.
What’s most interesting is that we both felt immense dread in this haunting. That’s not something that happens very often. Almost always, anomalies are interesting and can even be delightful. This one was dark and nasty.

A while later, I did some research on the prior owners of the house. Our landlord bought it a family had lived there: husband, wife, and a couple of kids. The man began behaving erratically (post mortem, a brain tumor was found). He was abusing his family and, eventually they left him. He died not long after.
For us, this is all we needed to understand. This residual haunting was emotionally full of rage and our moving out set off the “tape” – the emotions and memories embedded in the house. Further research revealed that this is a fairly common type of haunting.
Those were our first two encounters, and I’m grateful for them. We both are. It would be eight years before I came across anything else that was not easily explainable. Fortunately, those were the only ones that happened in places we lived in; as much as I love a good haunting, I’d much rather visit one then live with it.
I’ve experienced many strange things since then and go out of my way to find them, but those first two were the best. Years from now, we’ll be sitting in rocking chairs on our front porch, shaking our gray heads and saying, “Remember when the trash can levitated? Wasn’t that grand?” And we will smile.

Come read about 13 public haunts you can visit in Southern California!

Thorne & Cross on Halloween



Halloween is fast approaching and we have been having a terrible time deciding what to be. We want our costumes to go together to celebrate our upcoming collaborations, but since we’re several states apart, we have to be really creative or people won’t get it. What follows are some conversations we’ve had on the topic as we try to come to the most appropriate (and we use that term very subjectively) decision on our costumes.

Tamara: Phone trick-or-treating is a must. That way, we can both ask for candy simultaneously.  I’m going to glue some frizzy red hair and a tiny clown nose to my phone so you have a built-in costume.  What are you going to do?

Alistair: I’m going dress up my iPhone with some scars and fake blood to make him into a zombie. He can say, “Argghhhh give me brains!” and scare people. I shall call my phone Tamara, and I shall demand extra candy for your sake. Then, I will eat your candy when no one is looking.

Tamara: Or we could be each other’s imaginary friends.  Or ghosts.  When we say trick or treat through the phone we’d be all OOOOooooooh Tricccckk orrrrrr Treeaaaat!  That might be scary, huh?

Alistair: Yes! The sky is the limit, really. There are lots of things we could go as. A razor and pubic hair for example.

Tamara: Or Little Bo Peep and her missing lamb, which also leads us to the priest and his missing choir boy. Alistair if we do that, you MUST wear underwear.


Alistair: You know I can’t make any promises.

Tamara: In that case, how about the Liberty Bell – you be the crack and I’ll be the bell – our costume will be heard throughout the land.

Alistair: Let freedom ring.

Tamara: Twig and berries? You could be the twig, and I could be the berries?

Alistair: That might work. Except I’m not quite twiggy enough this year to pull it off, I don’t think.

Tamara: Holmes and Watson hunting for each other.

Alistair: Yes! Or Cher and Dead Sonny – I will be Cher because I’m taller and I want to wear the head dress and the see-through gown. (And I won’t be wearing underwear for that!)

Tamara: Just gonna tuck it?

Alistair: Yeah.

Tamara: Okay.  I’ll be Sonny because I really enjoy being a mustache jockey. And we’ll go to each door and sing “I got you, babe,” then panic and yell, respectively, “Cher? Cher? Sonny, you little puissant, where are you?  You missed your cue!”

Alistair: Nice!

Tamara Thorne: Jimmy Hoffa and a bag of cement!


Alistair: Lizzie Borden and her stepfather. I’ll have an axe coming out of my head, and you wear a bloody dress.


Tamara: Sperm and a tonsil. Or, better yet, sperm and a box of Kleenex. We could make a headdress out of Kleenex.

Alistair: We could always go as Thorne and Cross. You would have to have something pointy atop your glorious head. I would just have to walk around with my arms out and feet close together… which is pretty creepy.

Tamara: I know! We could be two serial killers on the prowl. We could dress as our favorite serial killers from our books.  You be Sterling Bronson, I’ll be Jack the Ripper. And we could each show a picture of the other to the houses we visit and say, “Have you seen this killer?” As long as neither of us has to be the helpless victim… Helpless victims are boring.

Alistair: I agree. No victims.

Tamara: Wednesday and Pugsley Addams. Because sometimes being sexy like Morticia and Gomez just gets old, you know?

Alistair: Yes. Let’s not be “sexy” anyone. Yawn.

Tamara: Separated Siamese twins.


Alistair: Annie Wilkes and Paul Sheldon. We will have to do that one when we go trick-or-treating together though, so you could push me around in a wheelchair.


Tamara: Agreed!  Danny Torrance and his talking finger.

Alistair: Okay, but I want to be the finger. I hate that little boy’s haircut.


Tamara: George C. Scott and the haunted wheelchair.

Alistair: The Changeling?

Tamara Thorne: Yes! You have to be the wheelchair.

Alistair: I don’t want to be a wheelchair. How does one even “be” a wheelchair for Halloween… let alone a haunted one?!

Tamara: Well, I’m not going as the wheelchair.

Alistair: Fine. Then we’ll go as Damien and his jackal mama.

Tamara: Or Rosemary and her baby – this would work especially well with the phone. We can wrap it in a blanket.


Alistair: And push it around in one of those bassinet-on-wheel things for babies!

Tamara: Yes! Or we could go as Dog Man and Tuxedo Man in The Shining. Or Carrie and Mother.


Alistair: Yes! Or, Carrie before and after!

Tamara: Alistair, you get to be the before because you’re prettier!

Alistair: Well, that’s no fun. I can wear a pink prom dress any time.


Tamara: Children of the Corn. One of us can wear a straw hat and overalls with a checked farm boy shirt and the other one can be a stalk with corn on it.

Alistair: What about Baby Jane and sister Blanche?

Tamara: We will need a silver tray, a dead bird, and a wheelchair.


Alistair: Ugh. Yet again, we’re faced with the wheelchair dilemma.

Tamara: How about we just put on our long black robes and cowls and be Candy Reapers and extort all the candy from the children?

Alistair: I get dibs on anything gummy.

Tamara: Skittles and Starburst for me.

Alistair: Well, now that we’ve settled this dilemma, what should we do for Thanksgiving?

Tamara: Be The Shining twins!

Alistair: Squee!




Halloween booksTomorrow at 2 pm,  I’ll be doing a big Halloween signing at Mysterious Galaxy in San Diego.  They’ll have tricks and treats and lots and lots of book – including all of mine.  Hope you can make it to this wonderful store!

If you can’t, but would like signed or personalized books for yourself or for gift-giving, all you have to do is give the store a call at 858-268-4747 (or simply fill out the order form at their site, putting your special instructions under the notes on the order form).

Bad Things and Moonfall are Halloween-oriented, if you’re looking for something to help celebrate the season!

Mysterious Galaxy is located at 7051 Clairemont Mesa Blvd., Suite #302, San Diego, CA 92111




Halloween Booksigning at Mysterious Galaxy

Saturday, October 26th, I’ll be signing at Mysterious Galaxy in San Diego from 2-4. Their Halloween party will include strange treats and lots of other fun!  I hope to get to meet some of you there!

If you can’t come but would like signed or personalized books, you can callor email the San Diego store with your order!  Easy, peasy!


Mysterious Galaxy Signing Coming Up!

Saturday, October 26th, I’ll be signing at Mysterious Galaxy in San Diego from 2-4. Their Halloween party will include strange treats and lots of other fun!  I hope to get to meet some of you there!

If you can’t come but would like signed or personalized books, you can callor email the San Diego store with your order!  Easy, peasy!


Twisted and Weird Halloween Fun!

How would I handle a stupid hottie on The Walking Dead?  How would I kill my victims if I were Jason from Friday the 13th?  Whose moldering corpse would I like to dance with?  All these questions and more are answered in A Sorority of Horror on the Defending the Pen!  After you read mine, scroll a little ways down to Alistair Cross’s interview. They’re symbiotic.

Defending the Pen

Check out Alistair Cross’s Defending the Pen blog after you read mine. They go together like blood and gore! Add your thoughts here… (optional)

Cross Talk


What famous slasher-flick killer would I be if given the choice?

What am I most afraid of?

What was my favorite Halloween to date?

And what the hell does Madeline Kahn have to do with any of this?

The answers to these, and many more, can be found at my Bwa ha ha ha Halloween Interview at A Beautiful Horror on the Defending the Pen blog site. Give it a look-see at:

Thank you, Yolanda Renee, for the good times.

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