The Haunting of Hill House versus The Real World


Shirley Jackson’s book The Haunting of Hill House might be the literary version of MTV’s The Real World. The premise of The Real World television show was putting strangers in a house together and following what happens “when people stop being polite and start being real.”

Our characters in The Haunting of Hill House are strangers, brought together when Dr. Montague seeks to document the allegedly haunted house. Theodora and Eleanor are brought in to assist the doctor in his summer of research. Luke is a member of the family that owns the home, and the family will only allow Dr. Montague to rent the home with Luke there. Four strangers find themselves living together for the sake of paranormal research, so what could possibly go wrong?

Just like every season of The Real World, it seems in the beginning as though everyone will get along and have a lovely time. They take meals together and relax with chess and brandy.

Hill House is full of things that go bump in the night, which was their reason to be there in the first place. Like The Real World, it’s not enough to live together without taking sides and ostracizing someone.

Eleanor wants so badly to belong somewhere and fit in to a group. That desperate longing to be included is part of what brought her to Hill House. Eleanor tries to get close to Theodora, even offering to follow Theo home after their research is done, but Theo is having none of that. Eleanor sets her sights on a grand romance with Luke, and that effort goes nowhere. Theodora won’t have her, and Luke won’t have her. All that’s left to do is lose what few marbles she has and give herself over to the house.

Eleanor feels a sense of belonging in the house and she opens herself to the house and its spirits. She feels at home there, the only time in her life she’s felt that sense of being part of something large and important.

Eleanor wakes everyone as she runs through the house, hearing what she believes to be her mother beckoning her. Eleanor ends up in the library at the top of a rickety staircase, trying to climb out to the turret. Luke plays the hero and gets her down from the stairs.

In the morning, everyone is insisting that Eleanor leave. This is another great parallel to The Real World, where every season someone is bullied to the breaking point and the others all victim-blame. Instead of being excited that the house is just strange enough to have shattered Eleanor’s fragile mind and digging into what happened, they want her to leave. They have decided that they are done with Eleanor, and she needs to go. Eleanor, of course, doesn’t want to leave but they have made up their minds.

They pack her in her car and insist she skedaddle. They underestimated Eleanor’s commitment to give herself over to the house. Instead of driving away from Hill House, Eleanor drives into a tree, committing suicide to avoid leaving the place she thinks of as her only true home.

Eleanor’s death ruined the whole summer research shindig for the remaining group, and they all went their separate ways.

Let’s Be Creepy Together


Creepy Book Cover

This is a super short read, but it is one of my favorites.  These are true stories from my life experiences with ghosts and other things that go bump in the night.

I asked an artist to do the ghost design for the cover based on some ideas I had, and I love the design she created.  I love this design so much it’s available on mugs and t-shirts on

I think there will be more of these stories to come, or perhaps I will share bonus stories to my website followers!


10 Ways to Work Yourself to Death


10 Ways Book Cover

I love James Altucher and his book Choose Yourself.  He suggests a daily practice of making lists to keep your creativity and ideas flowing.  He posted a challenge to his social media followers to write a short book in a weekend based on one of these lists.  Challenge accepted!

You can follow 10 Ideas to Work Yourself to Death as a manual if you would like to run yourself into the ground…or you can do the opposite if you would like some balance in your life.

Love Unstitched


cover of Love Unstitched

This book was unplanned!  I rented a hotel room for a couple days to work on some short stories set in Asheville that had been bouncing around in my brain for several months.

I sat down with my notebook and pen to write, and the characters of the Asheville short stories were not what flowed onto the pages.  Instead, essays and thoughts around love came tumbling out.

When I finally put the pen down, I didn’t have what I expected at all.  I also had a weird feeling about it, like I needed to do something with this pile of words.

Driving back home from the hotel, I decided I would type everything up and publish it on Amazon as Love Unstitched.  It felt cathartic to publish it, like by posting it online, I was putting some ugly feelings down and walking away from them.

Those Asheville short stories still aren’t finished, even after all this time.  I pick them up, noodle around a bit, then put them back down.  I may revive that project, or like so many projects, it may rest half-written in one of my zillions of spiral notebooks.

Truth and Fiction in Ashevegas

Cover photo from Truth and Fiction on Amazon

Cover photo from Truth and Fiction on Amazon

This was my first book on Amazon.  When I put Truth and Fiction in Ashevegas together, I was trying to learn how self-publishing worked.  I wanted to understand how to get a book on Amazon. I learn best by doing, so I put this small book together and started the process.  It didn’t take long to get it uploaded and approved; the turnaround time was shorter than I expected.

This one was available as an eBook and as a print book.  When I held a copy of this book in my hands for the first time, it was an amazing feeling! I felt on top of the world.

It was also a thrill to see it on Amazon.  I was a published author on Amazon! Woohoo!