Drunken Pot Roast

Today’s Karen’s Killer Fixin’s **Author Special** blog spotlights MEADOW’S KEEP, The Gatekeepers Series Book 2 by SHANON GREY, and includes an #excerpt, #giveaway and Shanon’s favorite #recipe for DRUNKEN POT ROAST.

Stop in and chat with Shanon about her newest book in the series and comment for a chance to win an autographed print copy of The Shoppe of Spells, Meadow’s Keep, or Glynda’s Dare (winner’s choice). Happy Reading!

http://www.karendocter.com/karens-killer-fixins-author-special-with-meadows-keep-the-gatekeepers-series-book-2-by-shanon-grey-recipe-drunken-pot-roast.html

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Mardi Gras

dsc_0141.jpg      It’s time for Mardi Gras. For many of you (and me, as well, until a few years ago), Mardi Gras holds little meaning. When I moved to the Mississippi Gulf Coast, not only was I thrust into the warmest, most absorbing lifestyle, I was also thrust into Mardi Gras. Folks on the Coast take Mardi Gras very seriously. So, I thought I would tell you a little about it and share some of the fun!

20170130_080329.jpgMardi Gras begins on January 6th and runs until Ash Wednesday. I mean ~ it ends at midnight on Ash Wednesday. The day before is Mardi Gras or Fat Tuesday—the literal translation. And, let me tell you the season is something to behold. It is parties, parades, and every kind of festivity until midnight—when the streets are deserted and swept clean 20180203_173843-e1518380541395.jpgand there is no evidence of it—until the next year. This year Fat Tuesday, or Mardi Gras, is February 13th, putting Valentine’s Day, February 14th, in the full swing of things. Trust me, celebrating has been in full swing since January 6th.

I thought you might enjoy having me share some fun facts about Mardi Gras:

PARADES:  Contrary to popular belief, the first Mardi Gras parade did not take place in New Orleans. It occurred in Mobile, Alabama in the 1700’s. And it still goes on today allparade along the Gulf Coast. The traditional colors for Mardi Gras are: Purple for justice, Green for faith, and Gold for power. Cities, homes, shops, and people drip with color. You will find every sort of Mardi Gras adornment available everywhere. And if you can’t, you can go to one of the many warehouse size stores that specialize totally in Mardi Gras goodies. The most famous—or infamous—parades are in New Orleans. But the parades, in many ways are just the culmination of all the fun that takes place getting ready them. Krewes, or parade organizations, will host Balls as well as create fabulous floats. From atop these incredible floats, beads and other goodies are thrown into the crowds. You’ll hear shouts, “Throw something at me, mister!” (which generally is not accompanied by exposing one’s chest—but you never know) from hordes of people lining the parade route to get the attention of the passing floats. People become weighed down with beads and doubloons, colored coins, and keep these mementos in their homes for years for good luck, displaying more and more each year.

BALLS:  The Kings and Queens preside over the Balls, where food, fun, drink, beads and trinkets abound. Each Ball will have its own theme and its own King and Queen. Themes can run from the sublime to the ridiculous and anywhere in between. Everyone brings food and King Cakes adorn the tables.

Drinks have been made famous by Mardi Gras. Dishes have been created for Mardi Gras. Costumes can be simple or elaborate.

Most costumes are usually designed  to reflect the theme of the ball, be it an 80’s them20180209_124305-e1518380999195.jpge, a Redneck Ball, or one dedicated to the Roaring Twenties. Don’t worry, you are welcome at the ball, no matter what you wear. It’s the fun, food, and friendship that counts.

KING CAKES:  These are traditional fare of Mardi Gras and are generally shaped in an oval with the traditional colors of purple, green, and gold stripping it. Inside is a little plastic baby and whoever finds the baby is anointed King or Queen of the party (not so for the bigger balls, where much tradition goes into choosing the presiding King and Queen each year). But, the lucky person finding the baby is responsible for providing the King Cake  the next year.

New Orleans has become famous for its Mardi Gras parades and celebrations. Don’t be fooled—there’s one everywhere you turn along the Gulf Coast. Even Hurricane Katrina couldn’t stop the festivities. So, if you can’t make it to New Orleans for Mardi Gras, just stop along the way and as they say—let the good times roll!

LAISSEZ LES BONS TEMPS ROULER!!!

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New Year, New Resolutions

I don’t make resolutions. That is, to me, like walking around with ribbons tied too tightly around my fingers. I can’t get rid of them, or the emotional pain, without accomplishing what it takes to be able to remove them. However, this year, I am making two. Both pertain to one–to adjust my work/life balance. I work full-time and recently found out that I have spent enough hours at my day job in the last year to have giving them two full-time employees for the price of one. Unfortunately, that has also been at the sacrifice to my other life–as an author. Even though I put nights, weekends, and holidays into being Shanon Grey, doing events, marketing, promoting, and writing, it isn’t enough. That is why I have two new books only 2/3’s of the way finished and a website that needs updating. From here on, I will give unto my company one full-time employee and spend more time on my passion. The second thing I plan to do is spend more time with my husband. We aren’t getting any younger and have spent our entire lives taking care of others–family and friends–which we have never regretted. It is who we are. We have also never taken a real vacation and we’ve been married going on 38 years. I am hoping, this year, we can do that. No, this year, I am planning on doing that! I want you to hold me to it.

In the meantime, I am heading back to my two new books. Things are happening in Ruthorford with her descendants and they are screaming to have their stories told. If you haven’t visited Ruthorford, please do so. It draws people back again and again.

Have a happy, healthy, and prosperous New Year!

**********

Combining their abilities makes them amazing ~ and deadly! Welcome to #Ruthorford.
Amazon – http://amzn.to/2yQO35E
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Amazon CA: http://amzn.to/2eWRiDW
Amazon AU: http://amzn.to/2ePkA6i
Barnes & Noble – http://bit.ly/1UnJHuN

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Pennyroyal Christmas

It’s the perfect time of year to enjoy a visit to #Ruthorford. Join Kateri Chance, now a famous sculptor, when she returns to a place she just couldn’t forget and runs into the man that caused her to leave in the first place. Kat must resolve her past before she can move forward. However, someone doesn’t want that to happen. http://amzn.to/2kIRR3upennyroyal-christmas

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Georgia Writers’ Alliance

I am part of the Georgia Writers’ Alliance. We are fortunate to have Newnan Pharmacy as our friend. They let us hold our meetings there (and selflessly provide refreshments) and they carry our books for sale. At our last meeting, those of us meeting pooled our money and bought a one-day ad in the local paper, the Newnan Times-Herald for Thanksgiving day. Not only was it bigger, the newspaper generously added color. I want to thank Sid Brown for pursuing this and all the many efforts he makes on our behalf throughout the year. And, a big thank you to Newman Pharmacy for supporting local authors!

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The Ghost Walker

MoonlightTHE GHOST WALKER

by Shanon Grey

“Hush!” he shushed the girl beside him.

They knelt behind the massive oak in Ruthorford’s private cemetery. It was late. It was cold. His hands felt like ice. He glanced down at his best friend and smiled at the rapt attention she’d fixed on the graveyard. Without thinking, he moved his hand and let it rest atop hers, grinning when she jumped.

“Don’t do that. You scared the bejeebers out of me,” she hissed but didn’t move her hand.

Locking hands, they leaned around either side of the tree. “Are you sure about this?” She forced her voice low.

“Yes. Now be quiet,” he hissed back. He wasn’t sure at all. He’d heard his mom talking on the phone about some ghost walker in the old cemetery and he’d run over to Bethany’s as soon as he could get away. It was late and they had school tomorrow. Hopefully, something would happen soon. It was friggin’ cold out. His breath hung in front of him with each exhale. Even more hopefully, they wouldn’t get caught. It wasn’t that this cemetery was off limits or anything. It was just the cemetery of the descendants, those in Ruthorford who were directly descended from the founding families. There was another cemetery, a more public one, that sat next to the Chapel. Everyone got a memorial service there. And a headstone. Just that descendants were actually buried out here, in the woods. Never seemed strange to him. It was the way it had always been. He would probably be buried in the public cemetery since he wasn’t really a true descendant. Born and raised here, he was as much a part of Ruthorford as anybody. His mom said so. But his dad had been a Navy pilot from Norfolk, Virginia. And his mom was just a distant cousin of a descendant or something. He’d never figured it out exactly. Not like Bethany. She was a descendant for sure, from her tawny skin to her dark red hair. Indian and Scot, all the way.

“I hope they hurry up,” Bethany whispered, “I gotta pee.”

“Geesh, girl. I thought you went before we left.”

“I did. But, it’s cold. I need to pee when it’s cold.”

“Girls,” he said it like a curse.

“I heard that,” she whispered softly and squeezed his hand hard, so his bones bunched together.

“Give,” he whispered back and she let up on the pressure.

He looked over at her and felt the first twinges of sadness. This might be their last outing. Things changed when girls went through puberty around here. She looked like she was damn close. Those bumps on her chest were breasts. Not that he objected to breasts. He’d been looking at them for some time now, sneaking peeks at the magazines his brother kept under his mattress. He’d look and get all warm and funny feeling. Oh, he knew all the right words about what was happening. He just didn’t want to think about it. When he thought about it, he thought about Bethany and losing her to some bulked-up descendant.

“Davy.” She tugged on his hand. “Look.”

In an instant, he scanned the graveyard. “Shit.” He wasn’t sure if the words had come out or not.

His hand felt clammy and he didn’t want to have her holding onto a wet hand, but when he tried to pull away, she clasped a hold on it that wasn’t going to break without some pain. He relaxed and let her hold on, because right now, his wet hand was the least of their problems.

On the other side of the graveyard, barely visible, a figure moved. Or a shadow of a figure. He wasn’t sure. Although cold, there seemed to be a mist swirling about. He squinted, trying to sharpen his focus. It had to be a ghost. He was kinda seeing through it. It looked cloud-like or smoky, with a grayish lavender color.

It moved past a headstone. It had to be a man. It was too tall to be a kid. Its arms hung limp by its sides. Zombie! Get a hold on yourself, Ackworth. Zombies are fiction. This is not fiction. He swallowed hard and tried to remember all his science. Nothing came to mind.

As he racked his brain for some logical explanation, the figure walked another ten feet and stopped between two trees. A light shimmered from below. He couldn’t tell if it came from the ground or what, a tombstone was in the way.

Bethany fell forward, yanking on his hand. He leapt up to pull her up and stopped dead, holding her stretched midway. The man had turned and was looking right at them. His eye’s glowed purple.

Everything seemed to happen at once. The light underneath the ghost shot up, David pulled Bethany to her feet to run, the man disappeared right before their eyes, and a dead silence feel over the graveyard–until Bethany squealed and took off running in the opposite direction, pulling him after her. He caught up and ran beside her, adrenaline rushing through his body. Hell, if this was their last adventure, it sure was one hell of a good one.

***

The above story is part of my current work in progress. Being perfect for this time of year, I decided to share it with you. I hope you enjoyed it. My novels are available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble, digitally and/or print. Please enjoy and let me know what you think. HAPPY HAUNTING!

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Being Haunted

What is the most haunted place you have visited? Or lived in? For me, it was, ironically, the most modern of townhouses. My husband and I were young, in love, but broke, living in a rundown little house we’d rented for a song. I kept it as clean and tidy as possible. Unfortunately, it was one of “those” places that should have been torn down after World War II. The mice wouldn’t even stay. When an ad appeared in the paper for a bookkeeper, I applied and was hired over the phone, the woman telling me she could tell I was perfect for the job. Little did I know that she and I would become best friends for the rest of her life. Anyway, on one of the coldest Saturdays of the winter, she paid a surprise visit to our unheated derelict, managing not to run screaming from it after stepping foot inside.

Over coffee she informed me that she had this townhouse she had bought as an investment and just couldn’t seem to rent it. She told us that if we would move in, it would be doing her a favor, since she didn’t feel good about it sitting vacant. We didn’t even have to pay rent until we were on our feet. She even offered to help us move. And we did—that very weekend—in the worst ice storm the area had ever seen. With her help, I had everything packed, loaded, and on its way in one day.

I was in heaven as I stepped into a brand new three-bedroom, one and a half bath townhouse, with a little patio and tiny back yard. It even had a laundry room. There was a huge living room in the front and a kitchen/dining room in the back that was more like a great-room. The stairs rose up along one side to a landing, turned, and rose on up to a large foyer, off which were three bedrooms and a bath. The master bedroom took up the whole back of the townhouse, with a walk-in closet and a storage room. We suspected that the storage room was supposed to be a bath that was never finished.

By bedtime, we were all settled in, having shared pizza with my friend and her sons, as we placed furniture just so. It looked wonderful. My family heirlooms filled the large living room, giving them the perfect backdrop. We even had a sitting room/dining room set up in the back. It felt like we were meant to be there.

I woke in the middle of the night, hearing a noise downstairs. I woke my husband. When we got out of bed, the room felt like an icebox—much colder than that unheated claptrap we’d just left. Shivering, we crept down the stairs, leaning over the half-wall that served as a railing. Out ocloaked_ghost4f the corner of my eye, I saw a figure dressed in a dark grey cloak move down the hall toward the kitchen, where a reddish glow emanated. Baseball bats in hand, my husband and I quietly followed, ready to defend our territory. But, the figure had disappeared. However, all of the stove burners were glowing—bright red.

I saw Mr. Grey (not a very original name, but appropriate, given his manner of dress) many times after that, generally right before something happened. Like the time I heard the guest room door slam upstairs and went up to find the window fan laying in the middle of the floor, it’s sides crushed in. Or, the time I was coming down the stairs and felt someone shove me. I took flight and, right before I crashed headfirst into the wall at the bottom of the stairs, something lifted me over the half-wall, dropping me none-to-gently in the living room.

However, the most extreme was when I fell asleep on the loveseat in that little sitting area we’d created in the kitchen. I’d been up all night writing, and after my husband left for work, I crashed. I dreamed of Mr. Grey trying to comfort me, only I couldn’t understand his language, it being sounds I’d never heard before. Anyway, I woke to find my full coffee cup on the floor, not a drop spilled. I glanced at the clock. I’d only been asleep 15 minutes and,  being terribly groggy, I decided a shower might help. As I stepped into the front room, I stopped. It was empty. I immediately looked at the door. The chain lock was in place. I walked straight out that door and called my friend from the neighbors, waiting for her on the stoop. She arrived, police in tow. I explained and the police went in first. They returned and, seeing the worry in my eyes, took me inside. I found my furniture in the upstairs bedroom. Every piece of furniture I’d had in the living room was now deposited in the middle of the room, which we had vacated because of the cold just days before, sleeping in a smaller guest room. All the exterior doors had been locked—and no, I am not superwoman. Someone or something had silently moved a sleeper sofa, hutch, chairs, and filled bookcases up winding stairs in fifteen minutes. (It couldn’t have been easy, because getting it down when we moved took four guys and a whole day.) Unfortunately, they didn’t have a good sense for decorating, leaving everything piled on top of each other.

This being the best house I’d ever had, I was determined not to be driven out. I read up on the paranormal. My friend and I tried communicating with “it”, making a recording of our little séance. When we played back the cassette (yep, that long ago), about twenty minutes in, we heard a garbled “kill the tape.” Finally, out of desperation, I stood in the middle of the kitchen and begged for a truce. We left the furniture in the master bedroom, turned off the circuit breakers every night, and kept all interior doors closed. And, I tried not to piss it/him/them off. My efforts, for the most part, seemed to work because, over time, things calmed down—or, I made peace with whatever it was.

Oh, there were other instances. They loved to rearrange my papers and move my clothes. I found a sweater I really liked, but they apparently didn’t, in the pantry on top of the paper bags we used for trash. They rearranged a magazine layout I’d done. (I kept it and it turned out to be one of our best issues.) The instances became fewer after I started writing Capricorn’s Child, a novel about a woman with paranormal abilities who doesn’t want them. The manuscript, which was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina, had put me on my path as a fiction-weaver.

On the day we moved out, having finally made it to the position of buying our first home (ironically, a fifty-year-old spirit-free colonial), I found a goodbye present. On top of the kitchen cabinets were three small piles of fresh wheat. Where they came from, I have no idea, but I know they’d never been there before. I’d tried putting displays up there only to take them down when I kept finding items on the floor—unbroken—but moved, nevertheless. I was grateful for the wheat, since, when the next tenant left (which only took a week), they found three piles of maggots.

Moral of the story—don’t piss off your ghosts.

Oh, one last comment. Decades later, when a publisher asked me to pick a pen name, it didn’t dawn on me that choosing “Grey” was anything other than it located my books eye-level on most bookstore shelves and was easy to sign. It wasn’t until after my friend passed away and I received a box of mementos from her estate, that I found the true answer. Upon opening the box, I pulled out a sketch she done of the cloaked figure and realized my choosing “Grey” might not have been as random as I’d thought.

Happy Haunting!

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The Incredible McIntosh Fall Festival and Pow-wow

20170924_092012The McIntosh Reserve Park is over 500 acres dedicated to primitive camping to keep the park as natural as possible. It is exquisite. Framed by the Chattahoochee River, with large trees and massive granite outcroppings, as well as natural meadows, i20170924_092211t proved the perfect spot to celebrate the arrival of Autumn.

Apparently, the event has not been held for a couple of years and, when they announced that they were bringing it back, not only did it bring out all of its past participants, it brought out everyone from everywhere. They said it was probably the largest turn-out they’d ever had. I can believe 20170923_115840it. There appeared to be thousands of people. Not to worry, there were enough vendors, shows, and activities to satisfy everyone. I was too busy to get around much, but I was close enough to hear the performances and smell the enticing aromas from all the food20170924_143421 vendors. I did sneak away to see the Raptor Show (birds of prey, not dinosaurs) because it was at such a show that I discovered Brynn, the Falcon that followed Jasmine home in Meadow’s Keep.

I was there with my group, the Georgia Writers’ Alliance, including Joe 20170923_094359Dwyer, Sid Brown, and Tamala Calloway. Saturday was the first time I’d ever set up a canopy and, after20170923_094545_TamalaandJerry trying and failing the day before, I realized that it really works a whole lot better with someone at each corner. We were near the river and breezes cooled the hot temps and the trees offered the shade we needed not to wilt. On Sunday, I discovered two degrees can make a big difference in comfort but does nothing for the frizz factor in my hair. Oh, and they still haven’t make huge headway in port-a-potty luxury since the early days. They are still portable out-20170924sbjhtc2houses. Not hydrating can solve the bathroom issue, but it does nothing but produce a massive headache. Sunday, I sucked it up (aversion and coffee) and felt a whole lot better.

The people were so friendly and engaging–vendors, performers, and visitors. I think I ended up having as much fun as the guests did. There were so many highlights. One vendor came over and, finding out that my characters are the progeny of Native Americans and Scots, gave me books that had been her husbands (he passed away four years ago). She said he, who was an avid Native American historian, would have loved for me to have them. Later, a visitor picked up Meadow’s Keep, opened it, read my poem, 20170924_131206Safe Harbor, and told me to please add one to each novel, that it was incredible. I informed her I was no poet. She replied, “Well, I am, and I’m telling you it’s excellent.” Both had me tearing up.

We were situated across from the bounce house and balloon pavilion, next to face painting. Truthfully, these festivals are for kids of all ages and we were as entertained as they were. I can’t tell you how many balloons flew, but the best was when the whole lot took off, sweeping into the sky. Well, all those that didn’t get caught in the trees. No worries. There was a plethora left to fill the hands and the skies over and over. Of course, my large quantity of full-size tootsie pops drew everyo20170923_140704.jpgne like a homing beacon.

It was also very animal friendly, with an abundance of dogs and one large bearded lizard. Our location was situated where it was a continual parade of man and pet. Next year, I’m adding puppy treats.

If you are near Whitesburg, or even if you aren’t, come to the McIntosh Fall Festival and Pow-wow. It is an experience you won’t forget!

And while you are there, come meet Shanon Grey and let her introduce you Ruthorford and her magic!

 

 

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McIntosh Fall Festival and Pow-wow

Ruthorford2

Happy Fall Y’all! Shanon Grey will be at the McIntosh Fall Festival and Pow-wow, Site #6, 10-5, Saturday and Sunday, Whitesburg, GA. This is my first time participating in the Fall Festival and I’ve heard it’s a wonderful event. Such a great way to start Fall! So, if you are in the area, please come, enjoy the weekend, and come by and see me! However, If you don’t get by, you can still visit Ruthorford! Just remember — where science ends, magic begins!
THE SHOPPE OF SPELLS
MEADOW’S KEEP
GLYNDA’S DARE
Amazon – http://amzn.to/2bOieRT
Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/2by79DH
Amazon CA: http://amzn.to/2eWRiDW
Amazon AU: http://amzn.to/2ePkA6i
Barnes & Noble – http://bit.ly/1UnJHuN
Smashwords – http://bit.ly/25rqtIo
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Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/ShanonGrey
Twitter – @ShanonGrey

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Hurricane Irma

20170908_192048Irma’s turn is anticipated any time now. Although I am outside of Atlanta, and many evacuees have headed here, she is determined to come this way. So, like I haven’t had to do since I left the Gulf Coast, I have gathered supplies–water, food, batteries, meds, papers, etc.–and made a space in the basement. My fear isn’t the storm itself. It’s the trees surrounding our wonderful little cottage in the woods. With falling limbs and shallow roots, I am a wee bit nervous for our house. However, like I learned from Katrina, “things” can be replaced, lives cannot. Please, everyone, take heed and be safe!

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