Friday, October 21, 2016

Teenager-Land: October Kids and Where to Find Them! (WARNING: SPOILERS ABOUND!)

I'll confess something rich: One of the biggest reasons I started the October Series is because most - if not all - of the entire teenage experience sets in motion events that shape young adulthood.

October Syndrome was a brief glimpse into the lives of 4 confused, anxiety-ridden, and complex teenagers. I love the dynamic between best friends/brothers Catch and Todd. They are two of the strangest boys you'll ever meet, but they are also polar opposites.

But even in the throes of October Syndrome, you see some cracks forming in their seemingly solid relationship. Catch is the Herculean jock while Todd looks like a nerdy Harry Potter wannabe. And, just like in real life, Todd struggles with feelings of insecurities while standing in Catch's shadow. Those feelings are heightened when (spoiler alert) Catch develops feelings for Todd's #1 girl crush, Sully.

It's a defining moment for Catch as much as it is for Todd. And the crack in their brotherhood foundation is even deeper when October Weeping begins.

While Book 1 focused on Catch and Sully's budding romance (while stuck in a haunted house), Book 2 is all about Todd and Sully's best friend, Naomi, as they spend a night investigating an alleged monster haunting a shopping mall. I love the friendship between Todd and Naomi. And in OW, they definitely need each other.

Naomi is 17 now. She's struggling with her sexuality. Her single mother is getting married. Of all the constants in her life, her mother's been the biggest. And learning to accept this new dynamic - as well as struggling with the end of her relationship (big spoiler alert!) are just a couple reasons why Naomi winds up spending Halloween night with Todd.

Todd acts out of character by 'borrowing' Catch's car and venturing out on an adventure. It's the first time he's acted out against Catch...and his mother...and there are weighty repercussions in his actions that actually set a new pace for the series.

Maybe that's what's so original about the series. I don't think of anyone as the "main" hero or heroine. Each individual has their own story to tell - and it started in Book 1 with October Syndrome and builds up to more tension and conflict in October Weeping.

A final note: I appreciate all the wonderful readers who took time out to read the series opener, and who hopefully stay along for the next chapters. The feedback on Goodreads is phenomenal, so again, BIG THANK YOU!

And if you have any questions or feedback, feel free to email the intern:

Release date is set for Halloween for October Weeping

Saturday, October 8, 2016


The hush-hush is over! The cover for October Weeping is ready to go!

What do you think? Are you ready for the creepy follow-up to October Syndrome?

Volume 2 goes live on HALLOWEEN!!! Here's another sneak preview:

Sweet freedom! Naomi was in the car and out of the parking lot when she spotted the old abandoned mall across the busy street. It looked like a graveyard to the past. A thin layer of fog made the giant compound look even eerier. She had spotted it earlier—when they had first arrived at Madame LeGrand’s—but she hadn’t quite soaked in the scene.

            She remembered shopping there with Lucy when she was in Kindergarten. She remembered the courtyard that sat open in the middle of the complex. There was a garden of flowers—red, white, and blue. A small marbled pathway led to outdoor seating. She remembered how fragrant those flowers were. She loved those flowers. They were happiest flowers from a perfect memory with Lucy.

Not like those ridiculous wedding flowers that just smelled like something she didn’t even understand.

            Maybe it was nostalgia that made her pull into the empty parking lot. Or just the need to hold on to a moment that would never happen again. Before her life—or more correctly, her mother’s life—changed forever.

            She smirked when she caught sight of an old Buick parked near the front entrance—with a GHOST HUNTING FOREVER bumper sticker plastered on the back windshield. “Thornwackers.” She whispered with a smile. And without hesitation, she parked beside the Buick.    


#ghosthunters #thornwackers #octoberseries #halloween #kindle #octoberweeping

Sunday, September 11, 2016

A "Weeping" Preview!

The countdown to Halloween continues!

October Weeping will go live on Halloween -- and it's a fun and suspenseful ride into another Thornwacker paranormal adventure. Truly, I love this story. It's a great continuation of where October Syndrome left off, only this time the plot centers around Todd and Naomi.

(PS: New to the October series? Get the lowdown of October Syndrome here.)

October Weeping dives into some great mythology about gargoyles, as well as an abandoned mall with a dark history. While the material may sound heavy, the heart is really about Todd's inadequacy as the younger (and not popular) Thornwacker. Independent Naomi is in a similar boat. Confused, angry, and stubbornly defiant, Todd and Naomi delve into a dark mystery together. But fate may have more than just another haunting in store for them.


She watched Todd take a gulp of soda, then follow-up it up with some more Doritos. In a year’s time, not much had changed about Todd…with the exception of his toned arms and less boyish voice. But that hardly mattered. Naomi shook her head, half laughing at her own observation.
Todd seemed to take notice of her sizing him up, unfortunately. He flexed his bicep and winked at her. “Catch isn’t the only one becoming a man, you know.” Now she did laugh. Two brothers couldn’t be so different. Catch, the somehow naturally tanned blonde who looked like he fell out an Axe commercial. And Todd, who could have been Daniel Radcliffe’s stunt double for Harry Potter. ...If Harry ate junk food 24/7 and ghost hunted.
She glanced back up at the gargoyle. It didn’t particularly look like a weeping boy. Instead, its serpent-like tongue hung out of its mouth, while the eyes looked as though they were hunting for new prey. An odd wave of hair circled around the forehead. By all accounts, that thing was scary. Todd’s story of tragedy hardly measured up against something that looked so—
“Demonic.” The word came out before she could stop it.
“What? The gargoyle?” She nodded. “Well, gargoyles aren’t supposed to be pretty, Naomi.”
She sighed. The sun was setting. The air was getting chillier. “How much longer are you going to stay here?” He shrugged in response. It occurred to her that usually Todd was much more animated. He loved being a nerd. He loved exploring and being the weirdo Thornwacker that everyone expected. But this picnic spread…it was more solemn than a boy on an adventure. “Where is Catch?”
“At a party with our parents.” 
“Without you?”
He sighed. “I guess some stuffy event in our little town didn’t sound like much fun.”
“So you came up here to…watch the gargoyle?”
He grinned at her. “Don’t you have big plans with your girlfriend? Or with Sully?”
She winced at his reference to Emma. “Sully is spending quality time with my mother. She likes romantic crap like weddings and dresses.”
“That’s funny.” Todd stated flatly. “Catch isn’t much for dresses and romantic crap.”
“I know.” Sully reached for more Skittles. “That’s more your style, isn’t it?” She stopped herself from laughing. Because Todd certainly wasn’t. “You still like Sully, don’t you?”
“It doesn’t matter. She made her choice. But it’s the wrong one.” 


#teenreads #paranormal #ghosthunters #gargoyles #halloween #octoberseries #octoberweeping

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

When We Can't See Through the Darkness

Most scary/suspense movies I watch reach that fever-pitch level of fear simply awaiting the monster/demon/lunatic to jump out of the darkness. And, oddly enough for me, once the monster is 'seen,' it is suddenly much less scary. Maybe that's why so many movies depend on that "it's what you can't see" motif. It allows our imaginations to run wild and conjure up all kinds of horrific beings. That evil holy man from Poltergeist II, Linda Blair's possessed character from The Exorcist, and Helena Bonham Carter (she's always been scary to me).

I'm working on a short story for Halloween, and definitely like the idea of what's lingering in the darkness. When I was in college, I had an apartment on the 4th floor of this really old building. The walls and floors were cement, so noises were seldom for the most part.

One particular night, I was coming home from a late shift of bagging groceries. It was a hot September. So hot that even at 2 or 3am, the air was muggy and thick.

Coming home so late, I had to park at what felt like the other end of a football arena. Every step I took, I could feel the sweat dripping down my back. It was irritating. I was already tired. The sweat beads that gathered around my neck just reminded me that I would have to wash my hair again (seriously, long-college-hair was a lot of work).

When I got inside the building, it was pretty quiet. There were no elevators, but 3 sets of wide stairs that took you up to each level. The negative was that coming up the couldn't quite see what was just around the corner. A single light would shine at the base of each stairway, but often the one on the 4th floor would be out. Usually, I was too tired to be bothered.

My apartment was the last one on the left, number 49. I'd usually leave the kitchenette light on, which would shine underneath the door. That was enough to guide me through the darkness.

This particular night, though, I paused before going up the last flight of stairs to the 4th floor. The light was out (again). Up above, there was an odd sound--as if someone was dragging something across the floor. I couldn't see anything, so decided I would just 'try' the first or second step. ...Because then maybe I'd be able to make out what the noise was. But upon reaching that second step, the noise abruptly stopped.

I waited probably 3 or 4 minutes. Then I decided it was probably my nerves. Plus I was so tired. So I took another step...just as that dragging sound resumed. I froze; it stopped. My heart was pounding into my ears.

I kept thinking, "Is something looking at me? Is something up there in the darkness just waiting for me?"

That feeling of sheer terror, once you experience it, is truly remarkable. On one hand, you turn on those raw survival instincts--and you've never felt so alive. On the other hand, you definitely don't want to die.

Luckily, my terror was pretty short-lived.

A neighbor upstairs suddenly opened his door, shouted at his terrier, Muffy (who was dragging a doormat across the floor), then picked up Muffy and presumably went back to sleep.

And that was that. I ran up the stairs, saw the light shining from under my door, and reached refuge. A fleeting few moments of absolute fear, and then I was under a cold shower. Life went on.

It's funny how we perceive things...especially in the dark. And it's elements like that that brings out our worst fears. And THAT is exactly what I'm hoping to do next...

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Little Hearts (Will Kill You)

After writing October Syndrome, there was a wave of disconnect from what was always close to my heart -- exploring troubled (read: allegedly haunted) locations.

Sunday evening, I drove through old parts of my hometown. Parts that had that enchanting layer of pristine houses next to buildings that were abandoned long ago. The history there, whether you believe in ghosts or not, is still vital. People lived their lives in these places, and maybe that's what pulls me back: these lost and abandoned buildings...and how they are (in many ways) a continuation of graves for the dead.

Another element is actually talking to people who had (at one time or another) connections to these places. And there's always something quirky or off about the connections. Like Hank Jr.'s  story.

Hank Jr.'s dad, Hank Sr., grew up in a loft on top of an old sale barn. Hank Sr. married, had children, and raised them in the same loft until 1960. So, what's so special about an old loft on top of a dilapidated sale barn?

Not much. It's just that next to the bed where little Hank Jr. slept was where his grandfather was found dead. Hank's grandfather, it should be said, was little more than 4 feet tall. The cause of death? An abnormally small heart.

The eeriness of the story? Hank Jr. alleges that before the building was "let go", he once found his young daughter upstairs in the old loft (then converted into an office). She was scribbling on the wall "little hearts will kill you."

When questioned about this, the girl replied, "that's what the little man told me."

Hank Jr. closed the sale barn for good in 1970. His father had been dead for nearly a decade. Hank Jr. was an accountant, not a farmer. And no one in the family had any desire to keep the sale barn going -- especially when the county built their own, which was much more modernized (and much larger).

The family still owns the lot where the original sale barn was, though. Hank Jr. says he will eventually tear what's left of the building down. Eventually. His daughter says he's been saying that for twenty years...


There are a couple projects I'm planning on finalizing in the next 6 months...right in time for the New Year (I know -- it's still only June!).

The 2nd short story for October Syndrome will likely be released as a free blog post on this forum (my way of saying thank you). The final odds and ends will be that the Lana Moon Facebook page has been closed.

Why? Because it seemed redundant since the original Facebook page (Moon/Bryant Books) is still gaining momentum. <-- PS: check out the link to those eerie ghost pics here. 

That's it for now. More on those end of year projects soon! Thanks for following!


*images courtesy of Google. I do not own rights.*

Tuesday, May 24, 2016


Spice of your Tuesday? How about a new cover for this little YA/Paranormal/Horror story!

And if you haven't read it yet, why not? It's only 99 cents to download -- and you can catch an excerpt below. 


“Can you tell what they’re talking about?” Todd had finished off his M&Ms and trail mix and was starting on a bag of Twizzlers. How he kept so skinny and ate so much was a mystery.

“Maybe they’re getting cold feet. Sully looked a little freaked, right?”

Todd shrugged. “I hadn’t noticed. Then again, I have noticed you’ve barely taken your eyes off of her."


“You can deny it all you want, Captain Denial, but you’ve been making googly eyes at her all night."

Catch scoffed. “Googly eyes? She’s fifteen, Todd. I’m seventeen—”

“Is two years so much?”

Catch couldn’t believe this conversation was happening. “Toddy, do me a favor and butt out of my love life."

“What love life?” Catch smacked him on the back of the head. “Come on, what serious girlfriend have you had, like, ever?"

“For your information, Sandy Bayless drew a picture of me once.”

“Sandy Bayless drew a picture of you? Why?”

Catch’s frustration was building. He rubbed his face and grumbled.

“Why’d she draw a picture of you, Jonah?”

“Maybe she dug me.” 

Though saying it out loud suddenly seemed absurd. Sandy Bayless was homecoming queen. And she had been tied to the hip with the quarterback of the football team since freshman year.

“It’s not easy being a Thornwacker, is it? Even if you’re a wrestling star.”

Catch recalled the times he was teased in school for his parents’...hobby. The yelling, the name calling. The word FREAK had followed him until he joined the wrestling team in junior high--and won. Every. Single. Match. 

That’s where he and Todd differed. Todd embraced being an outcast. He embraced all the weirdness that went along with being Mary and Sebastian Thornwacker's offspring. Catch preferred being the normal guy...who happened to chase the paranormal at night. 



Wednesday, May 18, 2016

A Humbuggery Hiatus

Well, it's been a busy year, to say the least. And while E.M. Bryant is pounding away the pages, Lana's world has been much, much quieter. And that quiet has given me pause to reflect on the sometimes unnerving twinges of failure. It's a good time to remember why I write...and why some rules must never be broken...

Rule 1 of writing: Remember to do laundry. Failure to not do this will result in awkward nighttime writing in anything from the too snug tee from high school to the cocktail dress with cat hair on it. #shameful #ButIWillMoveOn

Rule 2 of writing: Water is NOT the key to life. Coffee is. And when the writing must stop for the day, gin is also a good nightcap. #BloodOfCoffee

Rule 3 of writing: Ignore your critics, but listen to your editor.

Rule 4 of writing: Embrace the bad reviews...they are what make you more legitimate than only 4 and 5 star reviews. Embrace the fact that not everyone will enjoy the book...and that is okay.

Rule 5 of writing: Believe in every ridiculous, over-the-top, minuscule, and dramatic aspect of your characters. Believe in them and they WILL APPEAR GUTLESS AND REAL ON THE PAGE.

Rule 6 of writing: Accept the praise you're given. You'll need it for future dark days.

Rule 7 of writing: Don't forget to check in with your friends and family.

Rule 8 of writing: Don't switch genres because it confuses readers. (Double oops)

Rule 9 of writing: Don't stop loving the crazy people you are creating. After all, Severus Snape was once just a black cloaked figure in J.K. Rowling's head.

Rule 10 of writing: Keep writing. <---that one, I'm kind of failing. Also, the days of the week underwear need to be retired. But fear not--this writing hiatus won't last too much longer. And in the meantime, I'm sure I'll have all kinds of embarrassing stories to fill the void...

PS: if you're looking for summer reading, someone conveniently dropped all 4 current books in this blog. Weird...

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Why Chase the Unknown?

The longer I spend looking into ghost stories and paranormal cases, the more "looks" I get. Someone years ago warned me about the "looks." Because the longer you stay in the field, the more people start thinking you're off your rocker.

But it's just like anything else. It's a hobby that's become a strong interest. Asking questions--uncomfortable questions--and exploring old buildings is cathartic. To be honest, most of the time nothing exciting happens. It just doesn't. It's not like Hollywood where a ghost hunt is action-packed and gritty. There are no demons that jump out of dark corners. There are no ghosts that materialize in front of you, then have an entire conversation with you.

If that was the case, the world would actually make a lot more sense. Instead, it's ambivalent. It continues to all be out of reach; unknown.

I sat down with a woman over the weekend who claimed she grew up in a haunted house.

Peggy is a down to earth lady. She grew up in a small community west of St. Louis in the late 1960s. The second of seven girls born to two blue collar parents, Peggy says the family inherited the farmhouse after her grandparents both passed away.

She was 11-years-old when the family moved in. They had been nestled into a three bedroom, one bath apartment in St. Louis, so the move to the farmhouse felt like "Dorothy, when she finally reached Oz."

Much of the second floor was in need of repairs, so Peggy and her sister Nancy (a year older) slept in the front parlor on the first floor, while her younger siblings slept upstairs, and their parents slept in a small alcove toward the back of the house.

The first night there, Peggy recalls how quiet the farmhouse was. It was a cool night, but the house was stuffy, so several windows were cracked open. The house had a massive wooden wrap-around porch. During the day, footsteps creaked along the wood from all the commotion. But once everyone was settled, the noise seemed to stop altogether.

"I was so excited to not be in the same room with 4 or 5 other people, so it was difficult to sleep that first night. Sometime later, I remember hearing heavy boots walking along the porch outside. It didn't startle me. I just assumed it was my father."

In the morning, Peggy and her siblings started unpacking boxes while their father started renovations upstairs.

"Nancy and I were so excited to have our own space. There's not much that would have scared us, even being children. There was a great sense of freedom having all that room."

The next night, the footsteps returned. Only this time, Peggy was awake. "I had gotten a glass of water and noticed my mother and father asleep. When I returned to the parlor, I heard footsteps on the porch. I nudged Nancy awake, but by the time she stirred, the footsteps were gone. By daylight, I had convinced myself that it probably just my imagination."

Days and weeks passed. By summer, the upstairs was fully renovated. Peggy and Nancy shared a bedroom. Their youngest sister, Dawnie, described a different encounter.

"Dawnie's room was just across the hall from ours. We were all pretty level-headed children, but Dawnie was a little wild. A little mischievous. So when she came to Nancy and me talking about some woman that was standing next to her bed, we thought she was making up stories."

The woman, according to Dawnie, would stand at the corner of her bed, looking angry and disgruntled. "Of course, Nancy and I told her that she was just dreaming. None of the others in that room saw anyone. We just thought Dawnie was either dreaming or playing a trick."

The woman, over time, stopped appearing to Dawnie. The sisters grew older. But the oddities in the house continued.

Right before prom, Peggy had her boyfriend over for dinner. "It was a big occasion. My parents really liked Joe. He and I got along really well. The dinner was fine. My parents had gone out to get ice cream for everyone, and they asked Joe and I to watch over the younger kids. Nancy was at a school function, and Joe and I were kind of excited to play house...even if it was only for an hour or so."

But according to Peggy, the evening wasn't as smooth as dinner.

"Joe and I had been watching TV with some of the girls. He got up to use the bathroom. Not a minute later, he came back into the parlor, and his face was terribly pale. I asked him what was wrong. He said he had seen a lady standing in the kitchen, just staring at him. Well, Joe knew all my sisters and my mother, so I got up thinking some stranger's just come into the house. But when I got to the kitchen, there was nobody there."

The chilling encounter wasn't over, though. "I came back to the parlor, and Joe said he felt what he had seen wasn't right or natural. I asked what he meant --  he said he thought the woman was a ghost. Of course, he's saying this in front of the girls, which I knew my parents wouldn't like. But it did give me a fright. Joe was very logical. He didn't believe in that sort of stuff at all."

Peggy said Joe wouldn't come back inside the house after that. The night of prom, Peggy had to meet him on the porch.

"After that happened, some of my sisters came forward and said they had experienced some strange things. Like my sister Patsy -- she said she couldn't find one of her shoes. She looked high and low for it, but she couldn't find it anywhere. She went outside to get some fresh air, and sitting on top of the railing to the porch sat her one single shoe. At first, she assumed one of us did it. But another time, when she was sick and home alone from school, she misplaced a schoolbook. She searched our rooms, her backpack, and even outside for it. She thought she must have somehow left the book at school...then found it laying inside the bathtub upstairs. It was at that time that we all began to realize that we weren't losing our minds. There really was something special about the farmhouse."

As the years went by, the sisters each left the old farmhouse -- either for college or marriage. By the late 80s, Peggy's parents had moved to Florida and sold the house. And in the early 2000s, the house was demolished to make way for a new residential subdivision.

It was a sad moment for Peggy, but she holds the memory of the farmhouse tightly to her heart.

"It's not like horror movies where things reach out to get you." She adds. "It was just a time in our childhood where we were given the opportunity to witness things most people don't see. Some of it might have given us a fright, but for the most part, it was harmless. We have great memories of that house."

So many of these stories are dramatized into terror, but I love Peggy's farmhouse story. I love that, despite potentially being touched by something paranormal, the house was absolutely treasured.

Quite possibly, there are answers to questions that we just won't know until it's our time. In the case of the farmhouse, there is little history known about it. Today, there's no markings or signs that it ever existed.

They say we die two deaths: the death of our bodies, and the death of those who last remember us. Very apt.

As for me, I'll keep talking to folks like Peggy. I'll keep looking for stories. Maybe haunting isn't the right word for cases like Peggy's. Maybe the better term is living with the unknown.


Stay tuned for more!

#hauntedhouse #farmhouse #ghosts

Sunday, January 24, 2016

More teen angst, more snark, and one uber nasty gargoyle...#OctoberWeeping

The October Series continues! Thank you to all who have downloaded the first story and are ready for more!

On the heels of #OctoberSyndrome comes the sequel--a follow-up to this coming-of-age paranormal snark-fest. Only this time, the story centers around the younger Thornwacker, Todd, and Sully's BFF, Naomi.

3 Things to expect with OCTOBER WEEPING:

#1 -- It's the age of frustration and fury. Todd's wish to breakaway from his superstar brother and overbearing mother are realized when he ventures out to an abandoned mall with Naomi. Too bad he might have bitten off more than he can chew.

#2 -- Love bites. Naomi is riddled with confusion when her relationship with girlfriend Emma sours. What makes matters worse is when she begins to have feelings for another.

#3 -- Oh, yeah. And things get scarier. A day-trip to an abandoned mall to get both their minds off their current woes turns into a life and death situation for Todd and Naomi. And the face of evil this time around looks a lot like a possessed gargoyle.

There's more to come, including an excerpt! Stay tuned and thanks for coming along for the ride!

Let's connect on Facebook and Twitter!

Check us out at Goodreads!


#OctoberWeeping #ComingIn2016 #YoungAdult #NewAdult #Paranormal #Teens