Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Gettysburg and Pterodactyls


When you’re an author and a psychic, you find yourself at the most amazing places. This past Sunday, I was invited to a Psychic Event in Gettysburg Pennsylvania. Marti Haines and Marcia Balint Moore, the owners of “On Angels Wings” in Burlington, New Jersey asked me to join them at the event hosted by the Gettysburg Ghost Exchange.

Once we arrived at the shop, we began to unload the tents and set up. Marcia told me to keep my eyes open for the pet Pterodactyl. I thought she was kidding, but within minutes a very large Turkey Vulture was checking us out from the top of the barn. I’ve seen plenty of vultures, but this had to be the biggest, yet.
While we spent the day interacting with the wonderful owners of the Gettysburg Ghost Exchange and the patrons attending the event, the vulture made sure to remind us of its presence by either flying overhead to land in a nearby tree or to frequently play peek-a-boo with us from the barn.

Pamela Barry, Steven Barry and Anthony Romano Jr, the owners of the Gettysburg Ghost Exchange and they are also part of the Paranormal After Party Television Show. That day, they had a cast member from season 4 of "The Walking Dead" at their shop signing autographs. Amber Dawn Fox was the young lady who played Officer Bello. I was excited to chat with Amber because as everyone knows, I write the weekly reviews of "The Walking Dead" and "Fear the Walking Dead" for Biff Bam Pop the Canadian Pop Culture site.


I want to head back up to Gettysburg to do some ghost investigations. I don't have to search that hard as there are many souls on that battlefield. If your looking for the best in Metaphysical supplies, go on "On Angels Wings" webpage and if you're looking for the best in ghost hunting equipment and more, contact or visit the Gettysburg Ghost Exchange....Say hello to the Pterodactyl for me.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Steampunk Granny on God's Way Television


I must give thanks to GOD for allowing me to "Do my thing" since retiring from the Academy of Natural Sciences. I have been on many adventures as Steampunk Granny and I am enjoying the ride... I meet such wonderful people and learn more about the world we live in...for example:

I was fortunate enough to meet a very lovely woman at the Psychic Healing & Expo that was held a few months ago in Blackwood, N. J.

I was selling my first two books of the Roof Oasis Series and doing psychic card readings using cards featuring the Blessed Mother. Adolphina Shephard stopped at my table to talk about my books. She was interested in reading my science fiction series that touched on many controversial topics that we are both were interested in. Later that week, Adolphina contacted me to say how much she'd enjoyed my books and then asked me to be a guest on a television show called God's Way.


Adolphina Shephard is a Public Figure-Creator and co-host of TV Show God's Way YTVY. Spiritual Teacher, & Meta-physician. Her co-host is Thomas Knights Templar, an Intuitive Spiritual Healer.

On the day of the show, my husband dropped me off at Adolphina's home where I met Karen Schlacter is a professional Palm Reader and psychic and has a book that will be out soon, called Masterpeace. Her passions are Tai Chi and Qigong - Vedic Palmistry - Karuna Reiki and Spiritualism

Once we reached New York, Thomas treated the entire staff to a wonderful dinner and I watched as the stage was set for the programming. It was such a great learning lesson and I love to see how things are done behind the scenes with producer Brian La Payower.

Monday, June 6, 2016

A Serenade for the Living, Dead, and Mother Nature


I’ve posted about the many events offered at the Laurel Hill Cemetery way too many times to count. I guess you can say that I am a big fan of this Historic Philadelphia Gem near to the Zoo and you would be right on target. My friend and I volunteer whenever I’m not busy doing a book signing, psychic reading or ghost investigation. I love this place that much.

This past Friday, Rita and I headed over the bridge and to the cemetery to see the Divine Hand Ensemble. This is about the fourth year that I’ve been fortunate to see these amazing performers. The Divine Hand Ensemble consists of Mano Divina Giannone who plays the Theremin, Monique Canniere who does vocals and violin, Julie Myers who does vocals and violin, Brit Walmsley who does vocals and violin, Hannah Richards on the Viola, Jonathan Salmon on the Cello, Gloria Galante on the Harp, Mary Kelso Bryson on the Harp and Randall Rudolph on vibes and percussion.

The Ensemble played in front of an ancient mausoleum and the music was a collection of a multitude of styles including funerary, classical, rock, and spiritual. The best part of the show was when the Ensemble performed a David Bowie tune and their rendition of the theme from Edward Scissorhands. I particularly love the Funerary tunes.

While the music played and the bats flew overhead, I was watching a female ghost along with the several spirit children who stood at her side. I’ve seen this spirit before. She usually stays close to the old tree to the left of Benson’s mausoleum. The dead really enjoy the activities at the cemetery as much as the living does, but we were not the only ones enjoying the music this past Friday night.

The guests and the performers took a thirty minute break, which gave everyone enough time to head to the restrooms and stretch our legs. On the way back from the restroom at the rear gate, Rita and I were surprised to see four young foxes outside their den. These animals were not frightened by the small crowd that gathered to watch them play out in the open. The crowd stood silently as the foxes chased each other or investigated their admirers from a safe distance. I was even able to film one of the more playful of the foxes.
I didn’t think the magical evening could get any better, but it did. Monique Canniere was kind enough to serenade the foxes with her violin and beautiful voice. The human onlookers were not the only ones mesmerized by the spiritual connection between beauty and beast. Music is the communication between all living things.
Cemeteries are not only for the human vessels left behind by souls. Cemeteries are home for the many creatures in nature. Laurel Hill offers nature walks in their long list of events. Become a member! Volunteer! Help keep the cemetery vibrant for the dead and the living...the foxes will thank you.

Friday, June 3, 2016

Steampunk Granny's Bohemian Author Bonanza


I love promoting people and I love promoting other authors. On August 14, 2016 from 12 to 3:00. I’ll be hosting an Author Event at The Treehouse Coffee Shop in Audubon N.J. The Treehouse is located at 120 W. Merchant Street. They have the best coffee and sandwiches around.

Several of the authors will be from the South Jersey Writers’ Group and, I am so excited to introduce two new friends at this event. So check out my Facebook page to see who will be there, and hopefully, book 3 of my Roof Oasis Sci-fi Apocalyptic Series will also be out for the event.


Tracy Farquhar

                                                       Gail Priest

                                                 Laura Kaighn and here


                                                        Ewart Rouse


                                                          John L. Leone


                              Krista Magrowski, President of the SJWG


                                          L.C. Bennett Stern and here

Keep checking the Facebook event page to find out what other authors will be at the bonanza and mark the date on your calendar

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Granny Reviews Only Lovers Left Alive

I love vampire stories as much as I do ghost stories. I was a big fan of the “Twilight Series” books and film franchise by Stephenie Meyer...yeah I know I hear the moaning out there, but I really liked the books.
I even liked the Sookie Stackhouse series by Charlaine Harris...even though the 7th season of the True Blood television series and the last book were a big flop. Too bad it was because I loved  doing the review of the show and I loved Alexander Skarsgard’s vampire stud muffin, Eric Northman.
Last night I watched a film that I had only heard about, but never got to see. That was a big shame because “Only Lovers LeftAlive” which is written and directed by Jim Jarmusch and stars Tom Hiddleston and Tilda Swinton is a fabulously sensual different take on the fabled bloodsuckers.
The 2013 film which was nominated for the Palme d’Or at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival follows Adam (Tom Hiddleston) and Eve (Tilda Swinton) a couple of vampires that are very much in love and have been married for centuries. They are living half a world apart from each other and while Adam lives in a rundown Victorian building in Detroit, Eve lives in Tangier. They are connected spiritually and emotionally even with the miles separating them.

The modern humans’ blood has been contaminated by the unhealthy food that they consume and the dirty water that they drink. If Adam and Eve drink from humans, they will die and are forced to seek their blood supply from the local blood banks for a pretty price. Eve is fortunate to have a supplier, Christopher Marlowe (John Hurt) who was the real author of Shakespeare’s works.

These vampires have lived for centuries and that means that they are very talented and learned entities who enjoy the finer things in life like music, books and art. Adam is a musician who has influenced the careers of many famous musicians and even a few scientists. He powers his car and house with technology pioneered by Tesla. Not wanting to reveal his whereabouts because of his music, he befriends a human Ian (Anton Yelchin) who buys expensive and famous instruments for Adam...

Adam is in a funk after living for such a long time, but his wife Eve travels to Detroit to snap him out of his gloom. Things are going well with the two lovers until Eve’s younger sister/vampire Ava (MiaWasikowska) shows up. This vampire is your typical Los Angeles spoiled brat and it isn’t long before she drinks up all of Adam’s good blood supply. When Ava kills a human, Adam and Eve are forced to leave Detroit.
The handsome Tom Hiddleston is just deliciously perfect as a vampire and just as sexy as he was as Loki in the Marvel Universe Franchise, Tom Hiddleston plays his vampire as an intellect. Who says brains aren't a big turn on?
Tilda Swinton is one of those rare creatures who is so beautiful that you’re never quite sure if she is fully human. Together, Tom Hiddleston and Tilda Swinton bring a new twist to an old tale and they do it with sensuality and style and, even when they do decide to feed, we are left cheering for their survival. Watch the film on will love it. 

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Gilbert Interviews Author, Ewart Rouse

I love being a member of the South Jersey Writers’ Group. Our group provides opportunities and inspiration for all members to reach their goals. Everyone has a story to tell and if you check out our blog, you will learn how many of the members got started down that road to publication. Our group is blessed with many talented people and I was happy to have this chance to interview Ewart Rouse on his books and on his love of Cricket.

Ewart Rouse is the author of the Sticky Wicket Trilogy: Watkins at Bat, Sticky Wicket Trilogy Vol.1; Watkins Fights Back, Sticky Wicket Trilogy, Vol. ll; Watkins’ Finest Inning, Sticky Wicket Trilogy Vol. lll; Watkins’ Overseas Tour. All the books are about a game I don’t know that much about, but Ewart Rouse was graceful enough to explain.
Gilbert: Tell us a little bit about yourself and your days as a reporter in Trinidad and here in the states. Did you always want to be a reporter?
Ewart Rouse:  I grew up in Trinidad back when it was under British rule. Because there were few local authors at the time, we studied primarily British and American literature in school. I decided I wanted to be a reporter after it struck me that many of my favorite authors — including Dickens, Steinbeck, and Hemingway –were journalists.                                                        
There are no journalism schools on the island. Fortunately, the Guardian, the major daily newspaper, ran a training program for would-be journalists who, if they cut mustard, were offered jobs. I applied and was accepted into the program. After three months of following the beat reporters around, attending formal classes that they taught in the newspaper’s library, and covering stories, I made the cut. I was given the court beat, and soon was covering politics, the top beat, at a time of great political upheaval with the island seeking its independence from Britain.

With that background, I landed a reporting job with the Associated Press in New York when I migrated to the United States in the 1970s. After brief stints in the wire service’s bureaus in Newark, Atlantic City and Washington (the Watergate scandal that led to Nixon’s resignation and Gerald Ford’s swearing in as President was brewing then), I joined the staff at the Philadelphia Inquirer. I worked at the Inky for three decades, primarily as a business writer, retiring as a suburban editor in the paper’s Cherry Hill bureau a few years ago. While at the Inquirer, I also taught newswriting as an adjunct journalism professor at Arcadia, Temple, Rutgers and Rowan Universities.
Gilbert: Ewart, your books are about cricket and the men who play this game. Would you explain the dynamics of the game and what attracted you to it? How long have you been playing? Can women play, too?
Ewart Rouse: First, a little history: my series of “Sticky Wicket” novels originally were published by LMH Publishing. I acquired the rights back to the books and now have republished them, with new covers and material, through CreateSpace. Each volume is part of the same story, but can stand on its own.

Now, they aren’t sports books, but rather novels about immigrants from countries where cricket is the national sport India, Pakistan, the West Indies islands, England, etcetera — who yearn to play the game of their youth in their adopted land. It’s a humorous look at a supposedly “gentleman’s” game, a game considered the granddaddy of American baseball. I take an almost over-the-top approach to the challenges the men face, not least of which are wives who think it’s time the men grew up and spent more time with their families, as well as Little League and soccer moms who don’t take too kindly to these strangers in white uniforms, chattering in myriad languages and with funny accents, who have taken over their playgrounds — “hijacked,” as they tell it — to play a “foreign” game that nobody understands, a game that lasts the entire day, freezing out their kids.
As one angry Little League official demands of Watkins during a confrontational meeting, “You people are in America now. Why don’t you play an American sport?”
That quote tells you it’s a story about a clash of cultures, and that something’s gotta give.
What attracted me to the game? Because it is a national sport in Trinidad, it was natural for me to pick up a cricket bat when I was old enough to lift it, as natural as an American kid would swing a baseball bat at that age.
And yes, women do play the game, at all levels, including international tournaments.

Gilbert: Is the character Watkins based on you, or someone you knew?
Ewart Rouse: That’s one of the first questions I’m usually asked. Watkins and the other characters are composites of people I know ­— men who are so obsessed with the game they are willing to jeopardize their marriages to play it, and women who have given their husbands an ultimatum: put down that cricket bat and attend religious services with me on weekends or the marriage is over.
It’s a scenario with which athletes and spouses in any sport, and readers of any genre, can identify.
Gilbert: Can you explain to the readers what exactly a “sticky wicket” is?
Ewart Rouse: As I explained on my website www.ewartrouse.comthe expression is akin to “being in a pickle.” For example, try explaining to your boss what you were doing at the casino, where you were spotted, after you had called in sick from work.
In cricket parlance, a “sticky wicket” refers to the condition of the playing surface of the game the 66-feet-long by 10-feet wide strip in the middle of the field. When it is adversely affected by moisture, the surface called “the wicket” or “pitch” is likely to cause the bounced ball to behave in an unpredictable manner. It might pop up, go right, go left, or creep like a rat toward the batsman.
Even the most talented of batsmen – the ones with the sharpest of eyes and quickest of reflexes – can be surprised by such a delivery, end up playing the wrong stroke, and getting out.
The novels’ “sticky wicket” titles refers to “the pickle” in which protagonist Freddie Watkins finds himself as he battles the wives and the establishment.
Gilbert: Do you feel that cricket is becoming more popular in the states as more people learn about the game and how it’s played?
 Ewart Rouse Back in the mid-1980s, there were seven established clubs in the Philadelphia-South Jersey area. Today, with the influx of immigrants from cricketing countries, (New Jersey reportedly is among the most popular destination in the United States for immigrants from around the world), there are dozens of clubs in several leagues. Nationwide, there are now hundreds of clubs.
It has remained a largely immigrant sport, but there is a concerted effort by the United States Cricket Association to get Americans to take up the sport, just as they have soccer, once considered a “foreign” game. That effort includes getting schools to follow New York City’s example and make cricket part of the schools’ sports curriculums.
Gilbert: Can you tell us about the Lifetime Achievement Award that you received and the proclamation given to you by the Mayor of Camden.
Ewart Rouse:  The South Jersey Caribbean Cultural Organization holds an annual “heritage day” festival on the Camden waterfront, with lots of music and vendors selling ethnic foods and things Caribbean. The mayor of Camden issues proclamations recognizing the day and the recipients of various awards. In 2013, I was presented with a lifetime achievement award in recognition of my years as a journalist, teacher and my activism on behalf of the cricket community. It was quite an honor.

Gilbert: You have four books out in your Sticky Wicket Series. Can we expect a fifth one?
Ewart Rouse: Following the mantra “write what you know,” I’m going from the cricket field to the newsroom, from humor to thriller. My next protagonist is a crusading journalist who becomes the story after he loses his moral compass and becomes involved in a number of potentially career-ending, headline-grabbing incidents.
Gilbert: What advice would you give to young people who are curious about trying their hands playing cricket.
Ewart Rouse: There’s plenty of info on this website:  USA Cricket Association
Gilbert: What advice would you give to young people who are interested in becoming writers?
Ewart Rouse: Take notes about interesting quirky people, their idiosyncrasies, their pithy quotes and vignettes. They might recognize themselves in your stories and threaten to do bad things to you if portrayed in an unflattering light. When that happens, you have your sequel.
Also read anything you get your hands on, from books and newspapers (before they go the way of the dinosaur) to labels on paint. Each contains nuggets of information that the mind will retrieve for just the right spot in your next project. Embellish them, take them to the extreme and, who knows, maybe you end up with a bestseller. Some might call you a dreamer but, hey, as the saying goes, you can’t have a dream come through if you don’t have a dream.
Gilbert: Thank you, Ewart Rouse for this interview. Too those of you out there who are interested in learning more about the game of Cricket and the men and women who love the game, pick up the Sticky Wicket Books.

Friday, May 6, 2016

A Mother's Day Card


I went shopping for Mother’s Day gifts for my daughter, but while searching for the perfect card for her, I couldn’t help noticing all the cards that would have been perfect for my mom. I guess, I can still buy the card and leave it up in the attic, but...

My parents are no longer alive. This should classify me as an orphan, even though I am older than dirt, but even though both my parents are dead; they haven’t gone to the great beyond. Maybe, it’s because I am the eldest of their four children, or maybe it’s because they liked my house, but for whatever reason, they have taken residence up in my attic. I have some of their belongings stored up there and in the basement, but the attic is where they stay until they take it into their heads that they want to visit my sister Lucy or my daughter, then off they go.
My sister Lucy will usually call me up to let me know that she has company and the same thing goes for my daughter who is a ghost magnet for the entire deceased members of the Maratea family. The fact that my mom and dad hang out together is hilarious because they hated each other while alive. They were divorced and proud of it.

They were not easy people to live with. Both had OCD. Both were a little bit crazy. I guess I can compare my childhood and that of my siblings as resembling the Addams Family. Normal was not a word to describe my family. If you don’t believe me you can check out my blog about growing up with Fred and Lucy here.

My mother had issues. I loved her, but her issues were a double edged sword that caused me to pull away when she needed me the most. I find myself missing her in spite of her issues which made her extremely paranoid and distrustful of her own kids. My mom and dad tell me about Heaven and how it’s nothing like the church has been brainwashing us with. GOD is more forgiving than they expected and HE is not into religion; never was; never will be.
In Heaven, Mom was able to understand her issues and come to an understanding of her life. In death, she has become more motherly and protecting. My sisters and I have found that we are able to enjoy her company, even if she remains unseen. My brother won’t talk about this, but that’s okay. Mom and dad do visit him too even if he is unaware of them being there.
There are many of my friends and family who have lost their own dear mothers. Mother’s Day can be a bitter holiday if you believe that death means the end of life. Death is just our souls leaving the earthly vessel or body. The soul does not die. My father and mother have started to bring other dead people to visit me. I’m not positive, but I think the spirits just want to tell me their stories. I listen.
This Mother’s day, buy that card and leave it for your mom. She isn’t gone forever. She is still with you and she will appreciate the card.