Essays & other NonFiction

Another Roadside Attraction: The Role of the Trickster

In the Hunt: Unauthorized Essays on Supernatural; Benbella Books/Smart Pop Series (March, 2009)
In the Hunt cover

Every culture has a trickster figure; this essay written in 2008 examines the role of the Trickster character in the TV Show Supernatural.

From his introduction in Tall Tales, as jokester/mischief maker, to his darker incarnation as the Chaos-bringer in Mystery Spot, the Trickster plays a seminal role in the mythos of Supernatural. Though only physically appearing in these two episodes, we find that his role isn’t just to provide humor, but manifests as the catalyst, bringing realization through upsetting the norm. As in the many myths and stories, this Trickster is a transformative character who by his actions, changes the primary characters at an essential level.

About the book:
A relative newcomer to the paranormal-teen drama scene, the hit TV show Supernatural has already developed a rabid and deeply committed fan base since its debut in the fall of 2005. When their dad mysteriously disappears, brothers Dean and Sam Winchester join forces to bring him home and are pulled headlong into the world he knew best—one full of demons, spirits, monsters, and ghouls. Featuring essays from three lucky fans as well as leading writers and pop culture experts, this insightful anthology sheds light on a variety of issues, including why such a male-centric show has such a large female fan base, “Wincest” and homoeroticism, how Supernatural can be interpreted as a modern-day Brothers Grimm, and the questionable nature of John Winchester’s parenting habits.

Don’t Make Me Over: Mercedes and Tina

Filled With Glee: An Unauthorized Glee Companion; Benbella Books/Smart Pop Series (November, 2010)

Filled with Glee cover

For me, no matter how much I enjoyed the dynamics among the four major teen players, the show wasn’t about Rachel, the over-the-top Jewish American Princess diva with two dads. Nor was it about Finn, the jock-turned-choirboy, nor even about Puck or Quinn and their baby drama. It was about the others; the ones singing backup—Kurt, Artie, Mercedes and Tina, who truly embodied the role of the outsiders. Glee is about identity. This essay explores my two favorite characters and how their journey reflects us all.

About the book:
Is Sue is the true driving force behind Glee? Who the real alpha male in New Directions? Why do we really keep coming back to Glee week after week? From its quirky character insights to its inspirational, funny, and touching stories from fellow gleeks, Filled with Glee is the perfect companion for the fan who can’t get enough Glee. Filled with Glee also includes a guide to putting together a glee club in your own school or community; an index of songs by episode; and the musical biographies of the main and guest actors (including where and when they’ve worked together before).

Home Is Where the Bar Is

A Taste of True Blood: The Fangbanger’s Guide; Benbella Books/Smart Pop Series (June, 2010)

A Taste of True Blood

Every TV show has one–that place that when you go there, you’re part of the club. Cheers, the popular 1990s TV comedy used a Boston bar. Friends revolved around Central Perk, a coffee house. In True Blood, that place is Merlotte’s, where the food is fabulous (as is the cook), the staff is amazing (in more than one way) and the customers? Well, depending on the night, it’s either feast, famine or war. And don’t forget–everybody knows your name…and what you’ve been up to.

About the book:
True Blood, Alan Ball’s critically acclaimed television adaptation of Charlaine Harris’ bestselling Southern Vampire mysteries, has successfully glamoured millions of viewers and brought vampire-lovers everywhere out of the coffin. With smart and quirky pieces on a range of tasty topics, A Taste of True Blood: The Fangbanger’s Guide gives you something to savor between episodes—and whets your appetite for more.

A Taste of True Blood also includes a quick reference guide to the show’s first two seasons, with episode summaries and memorable quotes.

Paranormal Mysteries cover

The Truth about Vampires

Mystery Readers Journal: Paranormal mysteries (volume 26:2, June, 2010)

My love and fascinating for vampires and all that stalk the night goes back to my early days, growing up in a house full of books and no restrictions on what I read. This essay explains why I love them.

Table of Contents for this journal issue:

The Dark Behind the Door by Mignon Ballard
Things That Go Bump in the Night by Lillian Stewart Carl
Accidentally Paranormal by Judy Clemens
True Confessions by E.J. Copperman
I Love Cemeteries by Casey Daniels
Something Is Moving in the Woods by Vicki Delany
Paranormally Yours by Carole Nelson Douglas
The Case for Detecstasy by Graham Edwards
Paranormal? Perhaps… by Kathleen Ernst
Into the Woo-Woo by Jack Fredrickson
I Hope Ghosts Are Real by Chris Grabenstein
Books That Go Bump in the Night by Deborah Grabien
Swinging Around a Cloud by Carolyn Hart
I See Undead People… by Sue Ann Jaffarian
The Truth About Vampires… by Maria Lima
Haunting—A Do-It-Yourself Guide by Paul McHugh
The Supernatural and Deputy Tempe Crabtree by Marilyn Meredith
The Mystery of the Paranormal by Kris Neri
Mysterious Forces by Joyce and Jim Lavene
The Spiritual Procedural by Phil Rickman
By Ghosts Possessed by Elena Santangelo
The Rowan Gant Investigations—Paranormal Suspense Thrillers by M. R. Sellars
Ghost Wrangling: From One Who Knows by Clea Simon
Whatdunit? by Alexandra Sokoloff
Writing About the “Real” World by Roz Southey
How a Psychic Entered My Life by Earl Staggs
We’re No Angels by Mary Stanton
Anything’s Possible by by S.D. Tooley
Mysteries Go Beyond the Pale! by E. F. Watkins


Mystery in Retrospect: Reviews by Lesa Holstine, Marlyn Beebe
True Crime: Paranormal Legal Thrillers by Cathy Pickens
The Children’s Hour: Paranormal Mysteries by Gay Toltl Kinman
Crime Seen: Paranormal and Supernatural by Kate Derie
The Mystery Story and the Paranormal: Observations from an English Viewpoint by Philip Scowcroft
From the Editor’s Desk by Janet A. Rudolph