Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Let the Tour Begin!!

Virtual Book Tour begins TODAY!!! 
Oct 24th thru the 31st.

Promotion on multiple blogs, websites, Facebook pages, Instagram, Twitter, etc. 

Help spread the word!

Available on Amazon - digital eBook and Paperback

Thank you to Bewitching Book Tours



Wednesday, October 17, 2018

LaZoom Haunted Comedy Bus Tour...say what?


Asheville North Carolina – LaZoom Haunted Comedy Bus Tour

“Hey babe, for our vacation to Asheville NC next month I booked us a one hour thing called the LaZoom Haunted Comedy bus tour...that should be fun right?”  My wife said smiling enthusiastically.

I stopped sipping my hot coffee and looked up at her from my cup with a completely bewildered look on my face and replied with a certain snarky snapping tone, “Ah what?”

I thought for a moment she had completely lost her mind and then with my playful yet annoyed attitude I asked, “What the Hell are you talking about?”

I thought; “Haunted” and “Comedy” cannot go together, they don’t mix…or do they?

I can tell you folks that “haunted” and “comedy” can in fact mix and give you quite an enjoyable time…at least for us that it did.

We ventured down to Asheville NC in late August of 2018. We had never been there before and decided on a whim to go (actually we saw a tourism commercial on television about the town and both said, “Hey that looks kind of cool, let’s go there).

On a warm Saturday night we arrived at the LaZoom headquarters on 76 Biltmore Ave. The building was funky and the interior was even funkier (is that a real word?). We sat on a comfy couch and had a beer while we waited. The tour bus sat outside and the staff was getting it ready to go. Honestly, I had no idea what to expect. I had been on ghost tours before, but never one that incorporated comedy of any kind and a giant purple painted bus with huge lips on the front.

Once the bus rolled down the street we were greeted by a 300 year old voodoo priest named BoneZee as our tour guide. He was quite a delightful character…a real fire cracker. He regaled us with true haunted stories as we went from one block to another along with his side-kick who helped bring the stories to life; the nun at the church, the bootlegging tunnels during prohibition, the fella that jumped off a building during the Great Depression and so on. He even pulled out his…guitar…and sang a hauntingly rendition of “You give love a bad name” with slight change of wording of course.

The tour was filled with not only a great deal of humor, but real history and real ghost stories as well. We got to see parts of Asheville that we most likely would not have seen on our own. Same is true for the stories of the haunted parts of Asheville. So, it is true, haunted and comedy can indeed mix and you can have a lot of fun doing it. I highly recommend if you are ever in Asheville NC, you definitely book the LaZoom Haunted Comedy Tour. Just look at all the positive reviews on Google, Facebook and Trip Adviser and you’ll know what I mean.

Thursday, September 27, 2018

They're HERE!!!!


They’re HERE!!! Ahhhhhhh!!!!

Ladies, Gentleman, ghosts, ghouls and the walking dead…I am extremely happy and so proud to say that Wicked Harvest: Michigan Monsters & MacabreSeries One has been PUBLISHED! And ready for purchase! YEAH!!!!

It is available on Amazon.com as an eBook and Paperback versions.  Please make sure to share the information with family and friends. Give them something awesome to read for the Fall and Halloween season.

Don’t forget to check out the websites at WickedHarvestMI.com and my new author website at JerrodSmelker.com

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

SO CLOSE!!!



All 10 stories of Wicked Harvest: Michigan Monsters &
Macabre – Series One have been edited as well as the book intro and back of the book info. The cover is finally done as you can see and I personally think it looks awesome!

About one month to get everything put together and published in both digital eBook and paperback formats. I am confident that my October 1st date to be published will happen. 

It will be available on Amazon.com once published so look for it in October! And please make sure to share with family and friends. Give them something great to read for the Fall and Halloween season.

Don’t forget to check out the websites at WickedHarvestMI.com, LastLeafPublishing.com and my new author website at JerrodSmelker.com

Sunday, July 22, 2018

It’s coming together!


Five of the 10 stories of Wicked Harvest: Michigan Monsters & Macabre have been edited…yes I finally found an editor and she is awesome! She is working on editing the other four and soon to edit the last and final story that I just finished called “Class is Dismissed…or is it?” Oooooooo!

So, just about two months left to get everything edited, proof-read, cover designed, back page info, dedications, preface, etc. etc.  Lots to be done in a short amount of time. But, I am confident that my October 1st date to be published will happen.  

Also, got some cool looking business cards made up…or book info cards or book announcement cards or whatever you’d like to call them. They look awesome and can’t wait to get them out into the public. If you would like some to hand out, post on a bulletin board, etc. please let me know and I will ship you some ASAP. I would appreciate any assistance and promotion I can get.

Don’t forget to check out the website at www.WickedHarvestMI.com as well as my other site www.LastLeafPublishing.com

Monday, July 9, 2018

It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown


Everyone loves nostalgia…or at least, I think they do. I believe most people have certain items, books, movies, shows, magazines, places, and even people that make them nostalgic from time to time. I feel that way quite a bit…and the older I get, the more it happens.

I’ll admit that I long for the days of my childhood when life was simpler, easier with less responsibility and more fun. Growing up in the 70’s and 80’s was a great time. Sure we didn’t have all the cool gadgets we have today, but you know what, that was okay. I miss those days…more often than not. I try not to live or dwell on the past, especially not the regrets. However, I do like to relive certain elements of my youth and that is especially true around fall and Halloween.

So, where am I going with this? Well, growing up there were lots of traditions in my house that my mother thankfully kept going throughout the years. One such tradition was watching the beloved 1966 “Peanuts” television special “It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown”.  When October rolled around each year I would scour through the weekly TV guide (remember those?) trying to find when that marvelous show was going to come on. I just had to watch it each year. It wasn’t the Halloween season without it.

I had to see Snoopy, the World War I flying ace, take on the Red Baron for air supremacy. I had to see Charlie Brown get skunked by that mean’ol Lucy trying to kick the football time and time again. And I had to see if the Great Pumpkin would rise from the pumpkin patch to bring gifts to all the good girls and boys. One of my favorite scenes was Lucy bobbing for apples and coming up with an apple and Snoopy attached to it. “Baugh! My lips touched dog lips! Agh! Poison dog lips!
Love this photo...it will be my phone
wallpaper all fall season
Agh!” HA!!

I always felt bad for Charlie Brown during Trick-or-Treating though; I mean, why were all those mean adults giving him a rock instead of candy? Poor Charlie Brown.

Writing this though I can’t help but feel somewhat saddened by the fact that some traditions may come to an end at some point. I know that I will certainly watch “It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown” until the day I die, but sadly my kids are not interested in it much these days. Granted they are teenagers and have more on their minds than some old cartoon. I guess because I love it so much, I want them to love it. Perhaps someday when grand-kids come along, I can watch it with them. Perhaps it skips a generation and will live on with another. One can only hope.   

“It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown” is charming, lovable, fun, and will get you in the Halloween spirit. If you have never seen it before, I highly recommend you do. Sure it’s over 50 years old, sure it’s cheesy, sure it’s a cartoon, but it’s a classic. Give it a shot. You can bet I’ll be watching this fall.

Thank you to the late great Charles Schultz for bringing a wonderful cartoon, story and characters into my young life and into my adulthood.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

True Ghost Story


Friend’s House – Part 1

“The story you are about to hear (read) is true.” I love that line, but seriously, this is a true story that happened to me when I was about 16 years old.

I was staying the night at a friend’s house located in town. His parents were out of town and he and I had the whole place to ourselves. Now, he told me in the past that he thought his house was haunted, but as a 16 year old kid, I basically blew it off. At that time in my life, I didn’t really have any ghostly experiences up until that day. It’s not that I didn’t believe him, but as a 16 year old…I had other things on my mind…like…girls.

Anyway, it was the weekend and I stayed Saturday night. He set me up in his parent’s bedroom to sleep. They had a waterbed…yeah, this was around 1987, so his parents had one of those giant wavy waterbeds. I slept just fine Saturday night with no incidents. That is, until Sunday morning.

Sunday morning came and the sun was already up. I opened my eyes and stretched out my arms. I laid there for a few minutes to collect my thoughts and wondered what I was going to eat for breakfast. As I did, I felt the waterbed move. I didn’t think much of it until the water in the mattress began to move again. At first I thought that perhaps my friend’s cat had jumped up on the bed to greet me a good morning. I lifted my head off of the pillow, looked around my top covers, but found no cat. I laid my head back down and shrugged my shoulders. And then the bed moved again.

I lifted my head off of the pillow again and looked around. There was no cat and no one around. By this time my memory flashed back to when my friend told me his house was possibly haunted. A wave of fear rushed over my entire body and I started to tense up.

As I reached to pull the blanket off of my body I looked down towards my feet. There, on the side of the waterbed I saw the imprint of a person sit down on the mattress. I saw a portion of the mattress sink down about five inches in the perfect shape of someone’s behind. The imprint caused the water in the mattress to move. I could feel the wave go underneath me.

“JEFF!!!!” I screamed as loud as I could for my friend. “JEFF!!” again and again. I was so freaked out. I wanted to jump out of the bed, but didn’t. I wanted to toss the blanket over my head, but I didn’t. I just sat there yelling for my friend to come into the room.

As I heard Jeff’s staggered footsteps enter the room, the imprint vanished. As if the someone or something got up off of the bed right as Jeff entered the room. I was shocked and in disbelief. I was stammering trying to tell my friend what I had just experienced. I was flailing my hands, sweating, breathing heavy and talking extremely fast. My friend just stood there in front of me nodding his head.

I finished telling him what had happened. He just stood there with a blank expression on his face with arms crossed in front of him. “Yup, that happens. You want breakfast?”
👻

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Awesome Wicked Harvest Merch!

Well would you look at this...awesome Wicked Harvest mugs! Yeah! Brand new, fresh from Zazzle! 

I bet you're wondering..."Hey, how can I get those cool mugs and other Wicked Harvest stuff?" Well you're in luck...these mugs, along with other cool stuff like bandannas, t-shirts, sweatshirts, key-chains, travel mugs, stickers, etc. can be found on the Wicked Harvest website under the 'SHOP' tab. Simply click on 'Buy Now' and you'll be magically transported to our Zazzle store.

Check it all out at http://wickedharvestmi.com/

Make sure you tell all of your friends and family about the cool mugs, the books, stories, website and blog. 

Friday, May 18, 2018

Spring, but thinking of Fall



It’s mid-May and I’m already thinking about Fall coming. Is that wrong? I guess that all depends on who you ask right? My whole life I have lived and breathed anything and everything that is the season of fall. The three greatest months of the year; September, October and November. …and of those, October of course, being my favorite.

It’s not that I don’t like Spring and Summer, it’s that I have a favorite, just like most people I assume. (Notice I didn’t include Winter in that short list…I’m really not a big fan of Winter and all of its wind, cold, ice and snow). Some people look forward to summer’s warmth, fun and sun on the beaches of Lake Michigan, trips to the corner ice cream shop and getting their hands dirty in the garden or flower beds. I get that. I myself (and the wife) love spending time on our porch watching and listening to the birds, BBQing and sipping a few Margaritas or Shandys. It’s very relaxing for us. It’s one of our true “Happy Places”. And of course we venture out often to towns across Michigan to try the local restaurants, breweries and ice cream shops.

Deep down in the middle of summer however, I am always thinking ahead. Thinking ahead a few months to my favorite season. I’m not trying to rush time or blow past the beautiful aspects of the spring and summer months it’s just that…well…fall is in my blood and I can’t help but think about it every year.

With September the start of fall (for me at least) I get super excited about all things that encompass the season; the changing color of the leaves, cool crisp breezes, crock pot chilly, hearty stews, chowders and even chicken and dumplings, putting on my favorite hooded sweatshirts and flannel shirts, drinking hot cocoa and flavored coffee on the porch, trips to the local orchards and pumpkin patches for fresh donuts, cider and the right pumpkins for decoration, trips to the thumb area or up north and of course my favorite holiday of Halloween. Oh and let’s not forget…pumpkin spice everything! HA!!

It is indeed May now, and I will enjoy my spring and summer, but fall is right around the corner. My creative writing juices will be flowing like mad (one can only hope) and I will be typing away feverishly on more blog posts, spooky stories and my book projects.

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Book Review

REVIEW: Erie Tales 10 Masquerade


Erie Tales 10 Masquerade from the Great Lakes Association of Horror Writers.
This book is a delight to read and by that I mean terrifying…in a good way…and that includes the cover. It is filled with detailed graphic gory ghouls, good stories, and great descriptions making me feel like I was right there. At only 76 pages it doesn’t take a whole lot of time to read, but you’ll probably want to read it again. Many talented writers in Erie Tales 10 and now I know I'll have to get Erie Tales 1-9 to catch up on all the great stories.

Monday, April 9, 2018

REVIEW: "A Quiet Place" Movie


REVIEW: A Quiet Place

A family is forced to live in silence while hiding from creatures that hunt by sound.

(WARNING: May Contain Spoiler Alert)

Well, the wife and I went to see “A Quiet Place” last night (04/08/18) at the theater. Now, I should start by telling you that up until a few years ago, I never really watched much in the horror genre of movies. It’s weird though, because about two years ago I all-of-a-sudden felt the need to watch lots of them…but I’ll save all that for another post. Anyway…

We thought A Quiet Place was a very good movie. The story line was great, the setting was very nice (fall in an upper New York farm country) the acting by all the cast (which was a whopping total of 6 people…yes only 6 people) was top notch…however there is not much dialog at all and most of it is either in sign language or whispers…when you see the movie you’ll know why. 

I am a huge fan of John Krasinski from the Jim Halpert character in his The Office days and in 13 Hours… and I am really looking forward to seeing what he can do in the new Jack Ryan TV series. He did a fantastic job in this movie in front of the camera as a husband and father and behind the camera as the director and producer. And as a husband and a father myself, I can’t imagine having to deal with the situation of the creatures and the responsibility of protecting my wife and children in that situation.

It was extremely suspenseful. Some of the scenes you could sense what was going to happen, especially if you’ve seen a good horror movie a time or two. There were other scenes that were a surprise and made us jump. The creatures were quite terrifying…looking kind of like giant bats without the wings (I’m assuming that was intentional because of the whole…they hunt by sound thing) Extremely fast and agile. They had no eyes that I could make out, but teeth…lots of big sharp teeth.

I only had two issues with the movie…and perhaps it’s just me. …and here come the possible spoiler alerts. One – they had to live in silence or the creatures would find them and kill them. So what do they do…get pregnant. Now, come on, there’s nothing silent about a new born baby. But I get it, it made for good scary parts of the movie. Two - my guy Krasinski gets killed by one of the creatures. Now, I get why he does it…to save his kids…and I admire him for that. I guess it’s just a personal thing with me cuz I really like that guy. HA!!

The movie kind of reminded me of I am Legend and Signs. My wife said it reminded her of Signs and Aliens. Either way, good movie, we will certainly watch it again when it comes out on Demand or DVD and we’ll watch it every Halloween season. Check it out...let me know what you think.

Monday, April 2, 2018

Holly MI Ghost Walk 2017


Ghost Walk – Holly Michigan – 2017

Photo from Holly Twilight Tour Walk
The wife and I love visiting Holly, especially since it’s only 20 minutes from home. Plus we enjoy eating at the Blackthorn Pub, Cupcakes and Kisses and shopping at the quaint retail stores. The downtown area is small, it’s only about one block, but the buildings are architecturally pleasing and the history is captivating. It boasts the famous (well, famous to Holly) Battle Alley where rumor has it a large fight back in the 1900’s broke out between townsfolk and a traveling circus. It also boasts the Holly Hotel which many people of Holly (and Michigan) known to be quite haunted.

Each year Holly hosts the Dickens’ Festival (based on Charles Dickens’ writer of “A Christmas Carol”) in the winter time, which we’ve enjoyed for a few years now. And in September the Holly ghost walk or the “Twilight Tour of Downtown Holly”. The tour was put on by the Holly High School Theater Department and the Inspirational Arts and Craft Workshop.

We had never really been on an official ghost walk and were curious as to what was involved. We purchased our tickets online to reserve a date and time. We arrived in Holly around 6:30pm Saturday night on September 29th. The weather was a bit chilly and we had to wear gloves and scarfs.

Our tour guide was a high school student dressed in old period clothing. She fit the part well and was quite knowledgeable about the town’s history and haunted past. We walked around town, behind buildings and through alleyways. At each stop there were high school student dressed in period clothing acting as the person or persons the story was about. They spoke of Holly historical moments and of spooky ghost stories. From an axe wielding female who wreaked havoc throughout town to the infamous haunted Holly Hotel, there were plenty of stories to go around for everyone.

We found the walk to be quite entertaining and fun. We definitely plan on doing it in 2018 and for years to come.

Holly Michigan is a great quaint town and we recommend visiting whether it's for a Twilight Tour, The Dickens' Festival or just to take in the restaurants and retail shops. 

Friday, March 30, 2018

Greetings Everyone!

Soon I will be posting. I will share upcoming events, personal ghost stories, adventures in ghost walks through Holly, Petoskey, etc., when my first Spooky Story MI will be published, etc. 

Jerrod