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complaining meme 1I don’t like perpetual complainers. I don’t understand people who always find something to complain about. I don’t get it. Why go through life looking for the negative stuff? How depressing. How much nicer it is to see the silver lining even in the darkest places. It’s not always easy to see the positive side of things, I get that, but there is always something to be thankful for. The truth is, most of us have some challenges in our lives to deal with. But, we don’t have to harp on them. We all have good things in our lives as well. (more…)

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boxes on a shelfHave you ever noticed that people like to put things into categories? It’s just human nature I think to want to classify stuff into known categories. Everything needs to go into a box, or a file, or on a shelf. Ever look at something and wonder what the heck it is? If someone tells you it’s a new-fangled object designed to do thus and such, your brain automatically wants to file that information into a group of knowns. That’s usually when people say something like, “Oh, it’s sort of like a thingamajig?” We ask because we have an inherent need to relate the new thing to an old thing. (more…)

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winner meme 2That’s right folks, I could very well be a winner in not one, but two contests. A couple of months ago, I entered my book On Common Ground in the Willa Contest. What is the Willa Contest you ask? I’ve never heard of it, you say. Well, neither had I. Here’s the blurb from the Women Writing the West (WWW) website: (more…)

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Running an inn is not without its challenges. But, for the most part it’s pretty stress-free and interesting. There are extremely busy days, mountains of laundry, always some fix-it job that needs doing, but nothing that poses life or death decisions for the most part. Except during tornadoes, but let’s not go there. (more…)

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As you may remember, I mentioned earlier that I traveled not too long ago and, for subscribers to my newsletter, I also mentioned that I’d be blogging about my journey. At the very end of January we spent 3 days at Disney World (yes – again) followed by a 7-night Disney cruise. (more…)

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main street

I’ve lived in Mississippi for almost 4 years now and there are still some things that I just can’t comprehend. Mostly I love the laid back way of life and southern hospitality. I love the charming small town feel of a lot of places in this great state. Other things, I don’t get. At all. (more…)

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woman in bedYou ever have one of those days when it feels like nothing is going right? You know the days I’m talking about, you get up on the wrong side of the bed or the planets don’t line up or whatever. This past weekend I had one of those days. It was more like two of those days in a row, but it just felt like I should crawl back into bed and stay there until, oh I don’t know, summer. (more…)

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I love to explore creepy places. Haunted houses are always cool, old dilapidated buildings at night, attics, basements, cemeteries in the fog, those kinds of places. I like to check out all the little nooks and crannies to see if there’s any hidden switches that open doorways to secret rooms. You know, the kinds of stuff you see on TV.

cemetery in fog

Photo courtesy Google Images

Here are some photos of some mysterious and supposedly haunted places I’ve had the privilege of exploring:

We’ll start with a local one. These pictures were taken on one of the nights I took the haunted tour over at the McRaven Tour Home here in Vicksburg

If you are interested in touring this fabulous house, and you should if you’re in Vicksburg, here is the link for more information https://www.mcraventourhome.com/

Next we’ll go to California, to a VERY small town called Ione in Amador County. One of the last places I visited before leaving California for Mississippi was Preston Castle. Here is a brief bit of information about Preston Castle:

In 1890, the California State Legislature purchased 230 acres from the Ione Coal & Iron Company for construction of the Preston School of Industry, a place where troubled boys could learn a trade instead of being incarcerated in juvenile prisons.

ione city limitThe complex was highly self-sufficient; the large acreage of the purchase allowed the boys to grow their own food, raise livestock and learn farming trades. Additionally, there was a print shop, bakery and cobbler shop where the young delinquents and otherwise homeless boys could learn skills for self-preservation in the real world.

The school officially opened on June 13, 1894, and the first wards moved in only two weeks later. The superintendent controlled life inside the Preston School of Industry, where discipline was extreme. Loss of privileges seemed minor in comparison to starvation, isolation, and public paddling and lashings, severe strategies that were common at Preston.

Here are some of the photos from my tour:

For a brief time in 1954 country music legend Merle Haggard did time at Preston Castle for auto theft. For more information about Preston Castle click here: http://www.prestoncastle.com/

Next we’ll head up north to Victoria, British Columbia and take a peek at Craigdarroch Castle. The castle is a historic, Victorian-era Scottish Baronial mansion. It was designated a National Historic Site of Canada due to its landmark status in Victoria

All of these places are reportedly quite haunted although I never experienced anything supernatural while I was there. Quite a few of my photographs from Craigdarroch Castle have what appear to be orbs in them, but it might just be dust motes in the air. This one in particular is of interest.

alaska cruise 2014 405 (800x579)

Me and Corey on the grand staircase at Craigdarroch Castle.

I don’t know what that big cloudy bubble thing is near my hand but it darn near touched me. And, there are at least 3 more smaller orbs in this photo. Do you see them?

Anyway, if you’d like more information about this creepy cool place, here’s where you need to start: https://thecastle.ca/

So there you have it my friends, my nod to keeping it creepy in February. What creepy places have you explored? Do you like visiting haunted houses?

Word of the day: Zloty

Fun fact about me: I guess I live in a haunted house, at least that’s what people tell me.

Original post by Jansen Schmidt, January 2019. Photos by P. Rickrode and Google Images.

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On Common Ground is now available at fine retailers everywhere:

BookBaby:  http://bit.ly/2yKH3tOCG Amazon cover
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Barnes & Noble:  http://bit.ly/2QmC60i
Kobo:  http://bit.ly/2RfA0kf
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marketing on typewriterSo I’ve been spending a LOT of time lately learning how to market my book. For those of you who are not writers, let me just say that when you write “the end,” you’re only about a third of the way done with that story. Next comes rounds of editing and proofreading to get it exactly right and then comes the selling part. This is the hardest, yet most important part. After all, what good is a really good book with an amazing cover if nobody knows how to get their hands on it? (more…)

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I have a stubborn streak that I inherited from my father. I admit it. We’re both very strong-willed. But, being stubborn isn’t necessarily a bad thing. If you’re stubborn for the right reasons. I’ve been known to dig my heels in for something that’s important to me, but I also know how to compromise.

woman with glasses

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