Category: holiday

We are missing out on the snow, again.  Our weather here this week has been extra-messed-up–mid-week it was 60, before the temps plummeted and we got a couple inches of heavy, wet snow that melted already, because the temperatures went back up into the 50s.  I want a real winter! Right now, it’s raining and looks like an early spring day more than a mid-winter day.  Of course, if we were a few states north, we would be getting buried in snow, and I would be thrilled about it.

So, what is a rainy Sunday good for?  Plenty, I suppose, like household chores and reading. Or visiting with family.  My day will probably combine some of the latter and a few of that first item.  And hopefully later some writing time before the second half of The Walking Dead season begins and our whole family settles in to watch.

I’m going to miss seeing some reader and writer friends today, but I got to see a whole lot of them yesterday, at the annual Valentine’s Day booksigning.  This was my third year of participating, and they’re always a lot of fun.  Talking books with readers and other authors is one of the best ways to spend a few hours, right?  This one was a little sad for me, though, because earlier in the week, we got the official news that my publisher is going to close up shop at the end of the month.  So I have to figure out what to do with Hunting Medusa (and the other two books in the trilogy, finally!) when I get my rights back.

Most publishers don’t want to publish a book that’s already been available from someone else, though it happens.  A better option, I suppose, is self-publishing the trilogy.  Scary thought!  I have to give this more time, to figure out the best thing to do, and then devising a plan to get it done.   Guess I’ll be reworking my writing goals for the year, once I figure this out.

Now, though, I need to go do some of those things on my rainy-Sunday list.  The pics below are some of what you missed if you weren’t at the booksigning yesterday.

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And, before I go, maybe a little bit of Hunting Medusa for you…


“Aristotle Tassos.”
The elderly man started, jumping from his chair so the papers he held fluttered to the floor beside his desk.
Athena remained standing in the doorway to his office, watching his olive skin pale before he dropped to his knees, bowing his head.
“My Lady.” His voice shook.
“Your nephew has taken the Medusa away, Aristotle. How could a Tassos do that?” She glared, noting his silver hair was thinning far more than the last time She’d deigned to visit him.
“My Lady?” He straightened slightly, though not far enough to actually look directly at Her. “My nephews burn to kill the Medusa.”
“Not Kallan.” She watched his mouth drop open. “He has helped her escape.” She narrowed Her gaze on his stunned face. “How could you not know this about him?”
Her Harvester shook his head slowly. “I am so sorry, My Lady. I assure You I will find him. And her.”
“I am sure you will. I expect you will.” She set Her hands on Her hips. “Do not fail Me, Aristotle. It has been many years since your family has fulfilled its duty. It may be very bad for you and yours if you fail again.”
Aristotle nodded, bowing, his face flushed a ruddy color. Embarrassed, She was sure, by the reminder of the failures of recent years. Good. He and his should be humiliated to have been outwitted by the Medusas of the past several generations.
“I would hate to have to return to see you on this matter again, Aristotle,” She said, gentling Her tone just a little. “I understand you are loyal to Me, even if one of your number is no longer.”

His mouth tightened. “I will make sure we get her this time, My Lady.”
Athena nodded. “I will be monitoring your progress.”
She was gone before Aristotle looked up.


Oh, one last thing!  If you’ve been meaning to pick up a copy of Hunting Medusa (or any other Samhain title) you’re running out of time now.  Plus I just realized this morning (2/12/17) that it is on sale in the Samhain store for half price, so it’s probably a really good time to grab it in its original form.

Valentine’s Day is this week, so here’s hoping for a much better week this week, full of love and chocolate!



Kicking Off 2017


( Photo credit: Claudio Gennari …”Cogli l’attimo ferma il tempo” via / CC BY )

So, I finished working out my writing goals last week for the new year, and a big chunk of the year is going to be spent on writing/rewriting/revising tiger shifter manuscripts, hence the big, annoyed cat above.  First up will be finishing one last rewrite of the first shifter story.  And I have a fresh copy right now, waiting for my red pen starting on New Year’s Day.  One of my other goals for the year is to write every single day, even if it is only a paragraph or two.   And while I finish my New Year’s Eve champagne, I have a little snippet to share below to share with you.


He didn’t even protest when she remained mostly quiet for the drive back to the house in the dusky summer evening. They walked into the house in silence. She shot him a curious glance when he continued at her side up the stairs. “Thank you for feeding me, Harley,” she said when they reached the first landing.
“No problem.” He touched her elbow, and she resumed walking along the hallway to the guest room she always used.

She swallowed as she turned to face him.
He gave in to the urge to brush a strand of hair away from her temple, and watched her eyes widen, surprise darkening them.
Harley bent nearer. Her hand shot up, so his mouth ran into it. He lifted one eyebrow.
“What are you doing?” Her voice quavered just a little.
He smiled against her palm, enjoying the warmth of her skin. “Kissing you good-night. It’s customary at the end of a date.”
Her eyes widened still more. “We’re not dating.”
He kissed her palm. “I believe we just returned from a dinner date. Dancing and drinks.” He inhaled her scent, and his desire kicked up a few more notches.
Her throat worked as she swallowed, color tinting her cheeks. “I think this is a bad idea.”
He stifled another smile at the way her voice shook and instead flicked his tongue out to taste her skin.
Her breath caught.

“I think it’s a fantastic idea.” He nibbled his way across her palm to her thumb. “You taste good. I can’t wait to taste your mouth.”
Her breathing resumed, much faster now. “Harley.”
He caught her hand and eased it to the wall beside her head as he closed the distance between them so only an inch separated their lips. “Yes, Tessa?”

Emotion swirled in her wide green eyes. He scented her burgeoning arousal in the air, and his body tightened in response.
He waited several heartbeats, watching her gaze slide to his mouth, and noted the way her tongue slid out just a little at the corner of her lips. Then he ducked in to kiss her.
She tasted better than he’d imagined. Warm and sweet. Her lips parted easily under his, but he deliberately kept the kiss light. She was already spooked, wary. If he dove in head-first, she’d run faster.
Not that he doubted he could catch her. Easily.
When he finally lifted his head, her eyes were shut, and her lips parted and wet. Tempting him to bend back and take them again. Just briefly. Then he released her. It took a few seconds before her lashes fluttered up, and her hand slowly dropped to her side.


So how are you starting the new year?



How many of you make New Year’s resolutions?  Or goals of some sort, even if you don’t call them resolutions?  Hands up!



( Photo credit: Randy Heinitz via / CC BY )

I learned a long time ago that making resolutions doesn’t really work for me, so I quit that a long time ago.  Instead, I focus my efforts on goals, broken down monthly, and sometimes weekly,  and mostly writing-related.

I’ve taken part in a goal-setting workshop the last couple of years with Delilah Devlin and her sister Elle James (which is wonderful, if you’re a writer looking to set better, more achievable goals for yourself).  I’ve whittled down my writing ‘wish-list’ each year to something I can actually do, as well as building in time to allow for unexpected things cropping up.  But this year, even though my writing output was really good, I had some serious distractions in my personal life pop up that put a huge damper on my  achievements.  Some of those things, I have mentioned here in previous blog posts, so I won’t go into them again.

So right now, I’m reworking my goals list for the new year while allowing for these big, personal things to still impact my plans (and I already know they will, unfortunately), but still actually achieving my goals.



( Photo credit: Randy Heinitz via / CC BY )

Part of my planning is to figure out everything that I want to accomplish, then break down the list by month, and sometimes even by the week within that month depending on what is going on.  I started with a pretty good list, but I’ve pared it down a bit, knowing that things that impacted my plans for 2016 will still be ongoing (and possibly bigger goal-killers than they already have been), and I’m fine-tuning now so that by the end of the week, I will be ready to kick 2017’s ass!


( Photo credit: C. VanHook (vanhookc) via / CC BY )

How do you work out your plans for the new year?  Just a vague list of things you want to achieve, or a day-by-day breakdown of everything you’ll have to do to make it happen?  If you share by Friday, December 30, 2016, I’ll put your name in a drawing for an ebook of Hunting Medusa.

My shiny new cover art! isn't it pretty?





( Photo credit: BarbaraWilli via / CC BY )


Usually, I look forward to the end of the year.  December is family time for us, plus lots of good food from Thanksgiving through the new year.

This year is different.  Right now, I have two close family members who are sick, and our not-quite-17-year-old kitty is going downhill in a hurry.  In fact, it’s been a really crappy week and a half here, and I am not looking forward to seeing what comes next.

So.  Tell me something awesome that’s happened to you since December 1st.  I could use some cheering up, plus everyone who shares their ‘awesome’ happening from the past 17 days by this Friday, December 23, 2016 will get their name entered into a giveaway for an ebook copy of Hunting Medusa.

My shiny new cover art! isn't it pretty?

Bring on the awesome!



( Photo credit: James P. Mann via / CC BY )

Things are kind of weird at this point on the calendar year–my day-job schedule is very light, but we’re heading into peak holiday season, so there are lots of other activities to take up the slack in our schedules.  I’m finalizing my goals for the next year, and working on a few last things to wrap up before the end of this year.  While I keep writing my shifter story. And watching good holiday movies, some of them more than once.  Some more than one time in a single day, if I can get away with it.

We have a day-trip to NYC planned soon, and I’m looking forward to that.  I like visiting New York, but have never been there during the holiday season, so I’m anticipating all sorts of fun there.


In the meantime, I have a little snippet to share with you from Hunting Medusa.


She pushed to her feet. “Are you making fun of me?”
He shook his head and felt water drip down the back of his neck. “Just making an observation.” He waited while she shimmied past him, and she seemed very careful not to touch him as she went. Kallan followed her out into the main area of the cave again, where she set the lantern on a ledge midway up the wall.
She faced him, hands clenching and unclenching at her sides, her eyes troubled.

“Go ahead.” He’d been waiting. Ever since he’d opened his foolish mouth along the trail.
She caught her lower lip in her teeth, a tiny frown lining her brow. “You should get dry too,” she whispered at last.
When she turned away, grabbing her pack and retreating to the smaller chamber at the back, he felt some of the stress leave his shoulders but his stomach knotted painfully. Trying to figure out his next move, he dragged his wet shirt off over his head, then bent to unknot the wet laces of his boots.
It would never work. He knew it. If anyone had suggested to him that he’d fall for the Medusa, he would have laughed at them and then punched them bloody.
From the rear of the cave, he heard the same wet shushing noises of clothing hitting the stone floor, and he clenched his jaw, trying not to imagine her wet and naked. And failing.
Sudden silence.
“How many sleeping bags do you have back there?” He had to know.

The soft sounds resumed, this time more quietly so he assumed she was quickly pulling on dry clothes. “One. But there are extra blankets.” The reply was unsteady, as if she might be imagining the same things he was.
One sleeping bag. Of course. He shut his eyes for a second. As he went to his backpack, he unbuttoned his cargo pants, then tugged out dry clothing. His fingers were clumsy on the heavy material, made clumsier by the enticing images floating behind his eyes.
He shucked his wet pants and moved toward the front of the cave to dress.
A choked sound from Andrea made him freeze as he stuck his foot into his dry cargo pants. And every nerve in him hummed to life, zinging electricity to his groin.
Slowly, he straightened and turned just far enough to see Andrea still as a statue only a couple yards away. Her wide eyes were dark with surprise and something else.


I hope you find a little time this week for relaxing amid all of the craziness.




( Photo credit: Denim Dave via / CC BY )

We’re still eating Thanksgiving dinner leftovers here (and enjoying them so much!), and I have a long weekend ahead of me.  Today, I spent it doing little things like looking at cookie recipes and a little gift-shopping, plus watched my first holiday movie of the season, Love Actually.  I have two quick stops to make tomorrow, including one for a couple of gifts.  I’m planning to get my chores out of the way afterward and write in between, and then my extra day off is nothing but writing.

Since we’re getting to the end of the year, I’ve been thinking about goals and accomplishments.  I am about to go into a goal-setting workshop to get my goals set for next year, writing and otherwise.  And I need to whittle down my writing list for next year so I set manageable, realistic goals for myself.  How many of you set goals for yourself each year?  I don’t mean resolutions, but goals, where you map out step-by-step plans to achieve them?


(Photo credit: Simply Vicki via / CC BY )

I used to be better at the smaller steps in my goal planning, but somehow, I got out of practice with the littler steps.  So for this year, I’m starting with the small steps, and then moving on to the intermediate stages, and then the big picture goals.  Maybe working from the other end this time will give me the nudge my brain needs.

The manuscript I’m working on right now has taken a turn for the hot much sooner than I anticipated.  I should back up a little.  I knew there would be hot at the beginning, but I thought that would probably back off a little, at least for a while.  These two characters are both really messed up, and I guessed that despite their steamy start, it would take them a while to develop enough trust to let that continue.  Only they’ve surprised me and kept it scorching.  which means when they do back off, there will be  major hurt involved on both sides.  And then, of course, more steamy hot when they make up later.  I do love when characters surprise me, and I’m looking forward to seeing where these two take me on the way to their happy-ever-after.


( Photo credit: you mee via / CC BY )

Now I’m going to take a little break before I wrap things up for the night so I can get a fresh start in the morning for my next two days of productivity!



Here in the U.S, we’re getting ready to celebrate Thanksgiving this week.  Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, mostly because it’s all about family and some of the best food ever.  For me, this is also the busiest week of the year at the day-job, and it has been a doozy so far.  That probably sounds odd, since it’s Sunday when I’m writing this.  I work Monday through Friday (usually) at the day-job, but our weeks technically start on Wednesday and run through Tuesday, and right now, we’re heading into the finish of this crazy-busy week.  So, of course, I have picked up a cold from somewhere.  Because why not this week?  I have an insane Monday coming tomorrow, and then not so bad for Tuesday, but I took a vacation day for Wednesday so I can prep for Thanksgiving dinner–because I didn’t want to spend the entire day in the kitchen this year.  I want to actually get to enjoy it with my family.


( Photo credit: timsackton via / CC BY-SA )

While the turkey is awesome, I’m really a big fan of the stuffing, and the cranberry walnut relish, and the corn pudding.  And dessert, which will be a pumpkin spice cake this year.  Yum!

So I’m going to keep popping vitamin C like crazy, while sipping hot tea and chicken noodle soup to make it through the next couple of days so I can enjoy my Thanksgiving dinner on Thursday.

And for now I’ll leave you with a little snippet of ‘bad timing’ from the hot tiger shifter I’m working on now.


Laney shook her head a little. “I’m sorry,” she said, meeting Anton’s gaze again. “This evening–”
“Has been an unexpected pleasure,” he finished, leaning closer so no one else could hear him. His breath warmed her ear.
He was too close. Her gaze stuck on his, only inches away. “You like playing cat and mouse on a Friday night?” she murmured.
“I like having a good dinner with an attractive woman.” His gaze never strayed. “I don’t do it often.”
She frowned. “Why not?”
“Because I’m not in the market for a relationship, and most Friday night dinners lead to expectations.”
Laney swallowed down a laugh, though she couldn’t stop a smile. “Well, you got very lucky then, because I’m definitely not in the market for a relationship either.”

“Very lucky,” he echoed, his gaze finally sliding down.

She felt it on her mouth, and she took an unsteady breath.
His green eyes darkened a little when he met her gaze again.
She wondered what his kiss would be like. Stupid, she knew, but it had been a long time since she kissed a man.

“Dessert,” Tomas said, startling her.
Anton gave her nape a gentle squeeze. “It looks great,” he said without looking away from Laney.
She caught herself leaning toward him and stopped. Stupid. She started to straighten, but his big hand wrapped around the back of her neck kept her where she was. Her heartbeat kicked up a few notches when she read the intent in his face–and the question in his eyes.
Swallowing hard, she weighed the wisdom of it against the curiosity and unexpected want.
The latter two won, and she lifted her chin as she leaned toward him.
A flicker of surprise lightened his eyes, right before he bent to catch her mouth with his.
He kept the kiss light, but he lingered, and Laney wanted a better taste, but he lifted his head when she touched his jaw.


I hope you all have a wonderful week, and if you’re in the U.S, that you get to celebrate your Thanksgiving in the way you love best! I’m looking forward to the cake.


( Photo credit: Tavallai via / CC BY-ND )




That was here a couple of Novembers ago.  The moon coming up outside right now isn’t quite that full yet.  But it still makes me happy when I look out the window and see it hanging there, fatter than a crescent, but nowhere near full quite yet.

I got quite a lot of writing done today, between loads of laundry.  So I won’t feel bad about quitting for the night and then watching The Walking Dead a little later.  I won’t say I’m thankful that the new season has started, since I haven’t enjoyed the first two episodes.  I’m hoping tonight is better.

It’s time to start thinking about all the things we’re thankful for–here in the U.S, Thanksgiving is just a few weeks away.  I try to be thankful all the time, though some days I need to remind myself of that.

Today, I’m thankful for all the new words I got in my WIP.  And that the spicy chicken noodle soup I had for supper seems to have gotten rid of the beginning-of-the-cold-tickle in my sinuses.  What are you thankful for today?

The heroine in my current WIP is thankful for a few things so far in the story, including the hero’s appearance, just when she needed a hand.  I think I’ll give you a little taste of this one.


Laney didn’t ignore the prickle of sudden awareness at the back of her neck, but she didn’t react either.
Too many people.
She just kept smiling at Mrs. Wells, who could talk all day about her grandchildren.
Damn. Laney’s awareness of being watched grew stronger. She wanted to look around to see who it was, but she resisted the urge. No need to alert whoever it was.
“Oh, dear, you’ve let me ramble on too long,” Mrs. Wells said a few moments later, reaching out to pat her arm. “You finish your shopping. I’m sure I’ll see you soon.”
Laney murmured the right things, while her instincts screamed at her to flee. Far and fast.
She tamped that down and tightened her grip on her shopping bag. She certainly couldn’t leave the mall while she was being watched. Instead she walked down the mall as if she was in no hurry.

Edwin Shepley and his thugs could go straight to hell.

She meandered through the next department store for half an hour, but there were so many people milling around, she couldn’t tell which one was following her. She just knew they were still there.
She headed into a lingerie store next, and the awareness dampened just a little. So he was afraid of standing out in the lingerie store. Good. Laney stopped at a display of pajamas that gave her a sidelong view into the mall.
There you are, you bastard.
A barrel-chested man with straggly blond hair paced in the center of the mall, right beside a skin care stand. He kept sneaking glances into the lingerie store, but avoiding looking directly at her.
She rifled through the pajamas in front of her. He might be big, but that didn’t mean he was dumb. She’d have to figure something out.



( Photo credit: CarlMilner via / CC BY )

So what are you thankful for this week?





(  Photo credit: krystian_o via / CC BY  )

I haven’t quite been able to bring myself to start the second season of American Horror Story since I was disappointed with the first season.  So I have started a couple of other shows instead–Wallander, The Fall.  Wallander is a great show, though not one I am watching for scares, but for the great storytelling and acting.  And maybe for Tom Hiddleston.

The Fall isn’t scary, per se.  It is a very twisty, psychological thrill ride, with a serial killer in Belfast, and an investigator with some issues of her own who is doing her best to track him down.  The killer is creepy and smart, and only a few steps ahead of the investigator, who is even smarter than the killer.

The writer part of my brain is loving the storytelling that keeps me on the edge of my seat.  There are several moments in the first season that made me gasp out loud, things that I absolutely didn’t see coming.  I really started watching it because Gillian Anderson is in it, and I loved her on The X-Files.  Now I’m loving this show, and I can hardly wait to see what happens next.


( Photo credit: / CC0 )

I still have the next week or so to get in my scary horror movies, so I’m still looking for suggestions.  And in the meantime, I think I have another little snippet of Hunting Medusa to share with you.


They had missed the last ferry crossing for the day by half an hour. Andi bit her lip as Kallan’s eyes spit green fire. She wondered if he was willing the boat to return for them.

She touched his back gingerly.

He looked down at her, his expression only softening a little.

“There’s a very cute inn about five minutes back the way we came. We can spend the night there and be back for the first ferry tomorrow.” She rubbed her fingers in a circle on the back of his shoulder. “Relax.”

He let out a long, slow breath. “I’m sorry.”

She lifted one brow as she tipped her head to the side. “We’re on vacation, right? No schedules.” She wished she could really think of this as a vacation and not just a life-or death flight across the world. But maybe the reminder was what he needed right now.

“Yes, vacation.” His hard mouth softened, and his gaze dropped to her lips. “I think the inn sounds like a good idea. Maybe we can find a place to walk along the shore.”

“But no swimming. That water is too cold,” she teased.

His expression lightened further. “And you with no bathing suit.” His gaze slid lower, eyes darkening.

Andi swallowed. Well.

“Let’s go get a room.” He wrapped his arm around her shoulders and herded her back to the car. Anticipation made her shiver as he followed the winding coast road back the way they’d come. When he winked at her while checking them into the little inn, she decided to just enjoy the time here. To enjoy Kallan. While she had the chance.

They carted their things into the room, which was farthest from the lobby, in the back of the inn, and with a door of its own leading directly onto the rocky shore. Andi opened that one and stared out at the gray waves for a long time, smiling at the birds that dove low over the rocks and water, calling to one another. She wondered how her deer were faring with her gone. Or if the moose had made an appearance in the last few days.

“Shall we take a walk?” Kallan’s big hand settled at her nape, thumb sliding along the side of her throat and making her shiver, warmth oozing along her veins and distracting her from her thoughts.

“Okay.” She gave him a smile over her shoulder before she moved away, outside, where she dashed over rocks, between clumps of scrubby grass that waved in the breeze.

Behind her, she heard his heavier footfalls, and she laughed, running faster.

He caught her before she reached the water, his hands grabbing her waist and swinging her into the air so she shrieked with laughter.

When he set her on her feet, a dangerous light glinted in his eyes, and she felt her pulse leap in anticipation.

She backed away a step, then another, and he stalked her, his steps eating up more space than hers did. Another step and her heel caught on a rock.





( Photo credit: fireboat895 via / CC BY )

Yes, I’m still working through old and new horror movies and shows  for the season.  I had wanted to see American Horror Story more than once, but I think I remember that when it started something else that I liked was on at the same time.  So I started watching the first season recently.  There are some seriously messed up people on this show.  But it hasn’t really scared me yet.  I almost want to go reread Rosemary’s Baby instead.  But there is some really good acting going on, so I’ll at least finish the first season before I decide whether to go any further.

I just went out to feed the birds in the backyard a little while ago, and we’re enjoying another really pretty fall day.  A little cooler than the forecast was calling for, but sunny  and bright.  I’ll take it over the hot and humid summer anytime.  And now we have very happy birds and squirrels in the backyard.  And happy cats at the kitchen window, watching them while I came back into the living room to work.

The manuscript I’m working on is the first of my tiger shifters (yes, still), and I have quite a long way to go.  But I do have another little bit of story to share with you.


About six-thirty, Tessa hefted her tote bag onto her shoulder and stepped out of her office. She’d managed to deal with the day’s actual work, plus spend some time with Ezra, who was holding his own today. Now to go home and deal with that mess. She shut her eyes for a second as she pulled her door shut.
“Ah, I’m just in time.”
Her eyes popped open. “Harley.” Her pulse skipped several beats.
He leaned against the wall, arms folded over his chest, smiling.
She swallowed. “What are you doing here?”
“I came to pick you up.”
“I told you I’d catch a ride.” Never mind that she hadn’t actually asked any of her co-workers for a ride.
He pushed off the wall, still smiling. “Your ride is here.”
It seemed silly to argue since he was standing right here. But her self-preservation instincts warned her this was dangerous.
She really wished India hadn’t gone out of town for work this week.
Harley caught her elbow. “Have you got everything you need?”
She nodded, her mouth dry.
“Great.” He steered her along the hallway and out through the main lobby to where his car sat in the first guest parking space.
She made herself participate in the conversation, small talk about her day. But half her brain wondered what she was doing, letting Harley take her home. Maybe he thought she wouldn’t be able to handle the mess.
She was so distracted by her own thoughts that it took her a moment after the car stopped to realize that he’d parked.
She looked out the front window and found they were outside a popular restaurant and bar. “What are you doing?”
“Supper.” He pushed his door open.

She stared after him. Harley had lost his mind. Or she had. When he came around and opened her door, she blinked up at him. “I need to go home and start cleaning up, Harley.”
“You also need to eat. I promise, we’ll only get something to eat and then I’ll take you home.” He held out one hand.
Tessa looked at the strong hand in front of her. She shouldn’t even think about it.
“When did you eat last? Last night?”

She glanced away guiltily.
“Come on, Tessa. If you’re going to work, you need some fortification.” He bent and caught her wrist.
She let him, deciding it was easier to acquiesce. And really, she was starving. The aromas coming from the restaurant made her mouth water. She could make sure he kept his word after she’d fortified herself with some supper.



( Photo credit: magnus.johansson10 via / CC BY-SA )

So somebody tell me about a really great scary movie you love.  It doesn’t have to be gory, but good and scary.