Am I Crazy? Absolutely! Let Me Tell You About My Ghost Tour!

I’m crazy, and that’s okay. Being normal is boring. Last year I went to Florida and convinced my cousins to help me search for alligators. Two lived in the marsh right in the house development we were staying in! Now, I convinced my co-worker Leigh to take a ghost tour with me. We believe in ghosts, so it was absolutely, positively fun yet  terrifying.

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During our Sharpsburg Civil War Ghost Tour, Mark P. Brugh was our tour guide. He’s a local historian. He gave us much insight on the aftermath of the Battle of Antietam. That day the town of Sharpsburg only saw red, only saw blood, only saw death.

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This looks like a perfect normal alley, but it’s haunted by three children and a waving man. The tour started at 8pm and ended around 9:30pm. I held it together when there was light…

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…but the dark totally played with my head. By then, we had heard about three ghost stories. I’m such a scaredy cat; it doesn’t take much to scare me hee hee.

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Mark told us that this corner of the brick building has the most paranormal activity. He encouraged us to take turns taking pictures to see if we could get a glimpse of a ghost or orb!

The Children’s Alley ghost tour was so spooky that Leigh and I plan to go back to Sharpsburg to attend Mark’s The Confederate Soldiers’ Passageway Tour soon. I’m shaking in my boots.

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That night I couldn’t shake the feeling that we were being watched…a battered gray cat with a limp followed us throughout the night. First, it crept across a creepy yard. Then, the cat ended up walking in the alley behind us. When we reached the end, it sat there and watched us cross the street. I swear minutes later, I turned my head to find that weird looking cat hovering up the sidewalk, not even ten feet from us!

Why do you think it was following the crowd? Do you believe in ghosts?

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby


2016 Chocolate Fest & Book Faire–How I Spent My Day As A Reader

This past Saturday I had so much fun hanging out with my writing buddy Audrey. Downtown Martinsburg hosted the Chocolate Fest & Book Faire. My two favorite things–books and chocolate. Lots and lots of chocolate (trust me when I say I was licking my fingers all day).

We went on a chocolate tour at DeFluri’s Fine Chocolates. It smelled so yummy in the factory. I didn’t even mind having to wear a hairnet. I kept staring at the tour guide because he looked exactly like Stephen King. I should have gotten his autograph hee hee. Audrey and I had ended our day at Latte Da Cupcakery. My red velvet cupcake and sweet tea was divine!

Being an author, I thought it was cool meeting other local authors. I didn’t know there were so many! Being a reader, I really enjoyed the experience of discovering new books. Some of the people I met were so nice that I may just venture out of my comfort zone, regarding genre, to read some of their books.

Audrey and I asked each author if they had a kindle version of their book. Each said “yes.” I couldn’t walk away from Chocolate Fest without buying Gage’s very first book though. He’s a kid who didn’t wait to follow his dreams. How can you not support that!

Out of 30 authors, here’s the smiling faces and charming personalities I met:

This event definitely motivated me to look up other local activities regarding books and authors. I need to get my name out there and be brave like these other writers 🙂

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby


Finding Motivation (My Curiosity of Blair Witch Project Helped With That)

Finding inspiration for story ideas can be found anywhere. I just happened to get inspired at work. Sitting at a desk all day in a office forces me to daydream hee hee. The other day I was talking to my coworkers Sarah and Leigh. We were comparing local ghost stories and urban legends. Even in the broad daylight, I was terrified. It’s so fun scaring yourself!

Sarah is awesome. She’s a writer like me, and I go to her for quirky random facts. She understands that I’m an oddball and doesn’t try to change me. I can always appreciate that. I want to thank her for the shout out she gave me on her blog 🙂 And, I think it’s cool that she attempted to film a horror movie in school. I admire anyone who’s not afraid to put themselves out there.

My first potential project involves The Blair Witch Project. Living in West Virginia, I’m only about twenty minutes away from Burkittsville, MD. Does a witch truly haunt those woods? Is it a hoax? If someone were to make up an urban legend, why would it be for that small town?

Being an INTJ, my mind is always full of questions. I need to know these answers to this urban legend even if I just make something up–hence why I write fiction. It’d be fun to create something involving a group of people investigating The Blair Witch woods only to find trouble, of course. I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t write dark fiction…

I’m a bit crazy and I believe you only live once, so I keep debating if I’d ever step foot in those woods. I mean, a part of me believes the legend. The risk is I wouldn’t make it out of the forest. Crazy! Crazy! Crazy! That’s the only thing holding me back. I like my life. I don’t want to disappear. I don’t want to die. I’m a bit crazy but I’m not stupid.

The last session of my Comic  Art class ended tonight. There’s so many ways I could create this fictional project:

  • As a comic book
  • As a graphic novel
  • As a short story
  • As a novel or novella
  • As an article, pitching it to blog/magazine editors
  • As a screenplay
  • As a short film

So many options! Ideas aren’t copyrighted, so I better hurry up and make a decision to get to work!

My second idea for a project stems from the fact that my boss has this “window” in his office. He can see us, but we can’t see him, like a two-way mirror. My mind started playing tricks on me, Alfred Hitchcock as my inspiration. What if a character is plotting each person’s death as he watches them one by one through the “window”?

What if questions are awesome, especially if you have an active imagination. I was lucky to find motivation the other day. I took a hiatus on writing to focus on comics. After talking to my coworkers, I want to start putting pen to paper again. I want to scare my readers to the point they need a light on in order to fall asleep. If only I could be the next female Stephen King…

If you’ve heard of The Blair Witch Project, what’s your take on it? Do you think it’s real? Fake? Exaggerated?

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby


Keeping In Touch

It’s been a year since I met my first Creative Writing Class on Monday, Wednesday evenings at Musselman Middle. Thankfully, they didn’t hold it against me for being a little late–stupid GPS…

I really enjoyed getting to know everyone for those 10 weeks. It was cool when they were excited about the lectures and eager to get my feedback from their short stories. Yesterday, I came across the So You Think You Can Write Volume 1, which was a collection of our favorite class assignments. I even wrote something, so they could get a glimpse of my writing style.

Finding this book made me wonder if anyone pursued querying agents or publishers. Or went into self-publishing, looking for a writing group or writing buddies, etc. I know a couple said they didn’t feel their work was up to par, but I disagree. You can’t become a better writer unless you write. The more you create stories, the faster creative juices will flow.

On our last day, I brought up NaNo to see if anyone would like to meet afterwards. Only Melissa and Robin took the bait. I asked them to please keep in touch (definitely meaning it). I wonder if they assumed I was only being polite because I haven’t heard from anyone…Now, the only person I still keep in contact with is Melissa. I’m happy that we became writing buddies and eventually formed a writing group 🙂

They say you never forget your first. I’ll always remember my first class; they were an entertaining bunch, especially the guys! I wonder if it would be awkward for me to send emails letting them know I’m curious about their writing routines and progress?

In case you’re reading this, I just wanted to say that I miss you! You know who you are, Larry, Lyle, Nettie, Robin, Chuck, Pat, Jan, Jon, and Anne 🙂

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby

Looking Forward To 2013!!!

Happy 2013 everyone!!! Thanks for the Mayans being wrong, we get to live another day! Usually I’m not big on making New Year’s Resolutions, but this year it’ll be different. I have two lists: 1) for my writing life 2) for everything else.

My Writing Resolutions for 2013:

  1. Embrace my author identity.
  2. Start my publishing company.
  3. Write everyday.
  4. Finish at least two novels, several short stories, and a few novellas.
  5. Keep meeting local writers and stay motivated with The Procrastinators goals.
  6. In November, participate in NaNo–so absolutely, positively don’t stress myself out before then. I want a chance to win an award!
  7. Promote my books but DON’T SPAM!!!
  8. Keep up with blogging.
  9. Be a good critique partner and beta-reader to other writers I engage with.

My Resolutions for everything else 2013:

  1. Embrace my quirky side (wait, I already do that hee hee).
  2. If an opportunity arises, be open to dating or starting a relationship. I enjoy being single, but it’d also be cool to meet a special someone. Friends first, of course 🙂
  3. Try to think less with my head and more with my heart.
  4. Be less of a couch potato and create a more social life.
  5. Embrace change. Don’t be afraid of it.

For everyone out there, what’s your New Year’s Resolutions? Good luck with keeping them!

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby

I Ain’t Afraid Of No Ghosts…Well Maybe I Am

Has something frightening ever happened to you that you can’t explain? That when you tell people, they don’t believe you? Well, an incident happened when I was a little girl. Most people don’t believe me, but I swear it’s true. They think my imagination played tricks on me. However, I know better…

I was waiting by the front door, which had a full length mirror beside it. My dad was getting ready to take me to grandma’s, so I could walk to my elementary school. I stared into the mirror, maybe admiring myself (I am a Leo after all hee hee). Shortly after, my reflection vanished and the glass turned gray. Too scared to move, I just kept staring. Fog appeared at the bottom of the glass, then a man stood in the mirror. He was gray; he wore a cool looking 40’s hat, a suit, and fancy shoes. Even wore a tie. His hands never left his side. We made eye contact and nothing more. Wide-eyed, I was too scared to move, but I yelled “Daddy! Daddy!”

He ran down the hallway to see what was wrong. I was a very quiet child, so yelling wasn’t my typical behavior. I pointed at the mirror. By the time he reached it, the man and fog disappeared. We both stared at our reflections and the objects in the background. I explained what happened. Of course, he didn’t believe me. Frustrated, I didn’t try to convince him any further, but you can best believe I never viewed that mirror the same way again. In fact, I avoided it at all costs. I would leave out the back door from then on.

Later (I don’t remember if it was weeks or months later), I took pictures of everything in my room. I got them developed and guess who was in one of them. The picture was a part of my red bunk bed with a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle poster framed on the wall beside it. The same man from the mirror stood right beside the poster in the same position as before. His hands by his side and a serious facial expression. He didn’t look happy; he didn’t look mean. He was just there, even wearing his same outfit. My wall, bed, and poster was in color. The ghost was gray.

With proof, I showed mom my picture and explained the mirror incident. She didn’t believe me either! She claimed that the person at the store messed up the photos, accidentally merging two photos together from different customer’s stacks of photos. No way. What would be the odds of that?!

I couldn’t tell you if the man was Casper the friendly ghost or a vengeful ghost because he never said anything. I never saw him again after that. Who knows if he had mistaken me for someone else? If he needed something solved so his soul could be at rest? I was scared of being left alone at home though. Thankfully at the age of fifteen, we moved to a new house in the next town over.

So what do you guys think? Was the man real? Was it just my imagination? Was he really a ghost? Or was everything just a coincidence?

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby

Remembering September 11, 2001

A radio station posed an unique question: How did you spend the day before 9/11? How was your last normal day? To be honest, I have no clue. But I remember 9/11 like it was yesterday…

I was a 19 year old sophomore at West Virginia University, who was way over my head. It was my first time being a resident assistant and the school year was fairly new. I didn’t really know any of my kids yet, and it was hard to demand respect when I was only a year older than them; it’d be much easier and laidback if I was their friend instead.

Aaliyah had passed away only a few days before, so I was still grieving her loss. I was a huge fan of her music and liked her as a person. She seemed pretty cool and humble for a celebrity (we all know famous people can have quite the ego sometimes).

That morning I woke up and did my routine as usual. I hopped on the PRT and talked to my friend Josh. I went to my Ballroom class at the Coliseum, then got a ride with Nicole back to Summit Hall. She was an RA two floors below me. I ate breakfast in the cafeteria.  When I swiped my card, the lunch lady told me that two planes hit two towers. The way she mentioned it sounded like a tragic accident, so I didn’t think anything of it above feeling sad for all the victims and their families. As far as I knew, planes crash occasionally.

Afterward, me, Crystal, and Nicole (the only RAs in the building at the time) had an emergency meeting with our bosses. We were told of the terrorist attacks–now it clicked what the lunch lady meant–and told that the university wouldn’t hold it against students if they didn’t attend classes that day. We were told to be extra sensitive to the residents since most of them were from New Jersey and New York City, who could have lost family. I was in shock; we have training like this at the beginning of the year, but you never think that something will happen that you’ll have to exercise it.

The hallways were eerily quiet, except Aaron kept yelling “World War III!!!” off the balcony. He wouldn’t stop when I asked him to, so I got Crystal to act stern with him. She was better at confrontation than me. At the time, he was being an insensitive jerk, but he turned out to be one of my favorite residents throughout the year.

I had a message from my family, so I called them back, letting them know I was okay. I’m the type of person if I’m sad, I have to keep moving. Doesn’t matter what it is; I need distractions otherwise I’ll shut down. For me, the best thing I could do was attend the rest of my classes. Surprisingly, over half of the students made both classes. I came back to Summit and made sure to keep my door open, in case anyone needed to talk. I was helpful anyway I could think of, letting people borrow my phone, being a shoulder to cry on, etc.

Then I cried myself to sleep. The next morning, I woke up and began my same routine…

That’s how I spent my day on September 11, 2001. How did you spend yours?

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby

No Luck of the Irish

All Donna, Lisa, and I wanted to do was order food for lunch.  There’s a new Irish pub that opened up right across the street from where we work. The menu looked decent. Any place that serves mac and cheese can’t be bad. Or can it?

No phone number on the menu.  Okay, maybe they did it on purpose.  Maybe instead of call-ins for carry-out orders, they’d rather have customers come in–that way customers are more likely to order a drink from the bar if they have to wait awhile.

Since it’s fairly new, we knew the place wouldn’t be in the phone book.  Next best thing–google ‘Paddy’s Pub’.  The address, reviews, etc. instantly popped up.  Well, guess what?  Still NO phone number on anything–not even on their official Facebook fan page.  Say what now?  The reviews claimed the food was great; Matt, the reporter who ate there, said the food was delicious.  When was it our turn to try it out?

Being clever, we dialed 411 to receive the mysterious phone number.  We finally call in to try and place our order. Well, lookey here–they no longer serve mac and cheese.  So, basically I got my hopes up for nothing; I decided not to order anything.

My co-workers asked for the price of their fountain sodas (the only menu item without a dollar amount near it). Apparently, that’s the hardest question ever because they were on hold for about five minutes, while the person on the other line had to ask someone else to find the answer.  She was in the office–total valid reason not to know pricing.  She had to walk all the way downstairs where prices were listed.  No wonder that place doesn’t want customers calling in hee hee.

Since the total cost wasn’t expressed at the end of the order, Lisa and Donna estimated using the menu and figuring out sales tax. When Lisa came back from across the street, she explained that the price was higher than expected.  Apparently, the Irish pub raised their prices.

Say what now?  They literally just opened a little while ago.  So let me get this straight:

  • Items on the menu disappeared (NO mac and cheese.  I’m still pouting over that.  I could’ve been a regular, loyal customer–ask Daily Grind who used to be around the corner)
  • Prices go up
  • Customers have to search high and low to contact them because phone number isn’t easily accessible

My co-workers agreed that the food was very delicious. Was it worth all the drama to find out though?

Now, I know how it feels to be frustrated with a business and their carry-out order process.  My traumatized memory will stick with me forever, where if any of my characters experience such an ordeal in my stories, I can write vividly about it.  I’m sure I’ll have nightmares over this–okay, maybe I’m just exaggerating with the last part.  But you know what, sometimes a person with a creative spirit is just born dramatic hee hee.

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby

P.S. For anyone concerned for me, I went home after work to fix my Velvetta cheese shells (in the yellow box).

End of the World?

Have you seen the movie 2012?  I never watched it, but I know the premise, and I really hope that doesn’t happen in the next couple of days LOL.  All these end of the world theories had me think back to Y2K.

Back then, I didn’t hear the theory about computers and other technology messing up.  I didn’t hear about stacking up with canned foods and adjusting to living in a basement or fall-out shelter.  I heard the theory that it would be the end of the world.

It’s fun having a creative mind but sometimes it gets me into trouble.  On December 31, 1999, I was so scared for midnight to arrive.  My family and I went to the New Year’s Eve party at my grandma’s house.  My aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents were there.

Instead of enjoying their company, I dreaded every minute that passed.  I took my cousin Latisha to the side and convinced her that this would be our last night on Earth.  If I’m scared, I will do everything in my power to make someone else scared too; poor Latisha is always the one I pick on LOL.

Anyway, everyone laughed, joked, and danced except us.  Five minutes to midnight, Latisha and I ran into our grandparent’s bedroom, closed the door, and hid under the bed.  We kept the lights off and stared out the window.  For some reason, I was convinced meteors would strike LOL.

I cried.  It was my senior year, and I just wanted to graduate high school.  It was a bummer that I wouldn’t get to.  Priorites, huh?  Apparently, I was five minutes away from death but only felt bad about not finishing school.  Yes, I’m a nerd.  Perhaps I should have felt bad for never seeing my family again–that’s why my cousin cried.

Eventually, we heard everyone count down for the ball to drop.  “10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2…1!!!!”  Latisha and I held hands.  I don’t know about her, but my eyes were closed tightly.  I didn’t want to see the impact; I hoped for a quick death.  Minutes passed and nothing happened.  I opened my eyes and looked out the window again.

It was a beautiful, starry night.  Latisha and I smiled knowing everything would be alright.  We hugged and joined the party again.  The sad thing is no one even noticed we had left LOL.

And just like that, things were back to normal.  Latisha nor I told anyone how scared we had been.  We kept that secret to ourselves until now–since I just told whoever will read this post.

Latisha, if you ever read this, I am truly sorry for that night.  I shouldn’t have frightened you for those few hours straight.  We were teenagers and should have been celebrating, having fun instead of what happened.  If anything, afterwards I should have made sure you were okay instead of assuming you were over it like I was.  I promise if I see you this New Year’s Eve, I won’t sprout off any end of the world theories.  I will not scare you. 

First, we’re too old for that; second, you may not be that naive this time LOL.  However, whenever we visit our aunt in Cleveland, I will continue to scare us about her house being haunted, so you’ll have to live with that.

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby

West Virginia’s Roswell

Has there ever been a town that didn’t sit right with you, and you didn’t know why?  Where you couldn’t explain why it felt so eerie?

In mid-August 2004, I went on a RA retreat with about twenty other people.  The weekend was meant for relaxation and bonding before the school year started.

Traditionally, Summit Hall went to Deep Creek, MD.  It was only one hour and thirty minutes away from Morgantown, WV.  But, that year our boss Bob insisted on Pocahontas County, which was three hours away.  My guard was up.

As soon as we passed the Welcome to Green Bank sign, there were no people.  It was a very small town.  Houses were miles apart alongside the road with one school, one grocery store (maybe a Piggly Wiggly), and a pizza shop next to it.  Two cars sat in the entire parking lot.

Where was everyone?  Our group took three vans; we did not see any cars ahead or in the back of us in our lane.  No cars rode by on the other side.  No one hung out in their yards.  No pedestrians.  Something didn’t add up to me.

I freaked out silently in the backseat.  Small towns are typical locations for horror movies.  House of Wax, Wrong Turn, and Texas Chainsaw Massacre, anyone?  I pictured the locals plotting against outsiders for stepping into their territory.  If someone said “Go away”, I’d be headed for the next town to catch the Greyhound.

Bob needed directions to the campsite, so we stopped in the parking lot.  No one went inside the grocery store with him.  When he came back, we asked about the radio; it was nothing but static.

Bob said, “You can’t get any signals here.  They use all their energy for a satellite dish that communicates with aliens.”

Say what now?  He said it with a straight face, like it was normal.  I knew we weren’t celebrities, but were we being punked?  On candid camera?  In the van, people joked that Bob was crazy, that he was scaring us before the campfire.  But, I wanted to go home.  I don’t play with stuff like that.

This campsite was secluded from the town (not that anyone was around anyway).  Five cabins spread out with no electricity nor locked doors.  A half mile back was a creek with a narrow bridge to cross.  Once you crossed it, you entered an open field with a pit and bleachers in the center of it.  To the left and right of us was nothing for miles and miles.  Towards the back, only woods.  Just great.

With only a few flashlights to share between twenty some people, we stayed in mini-groups.  Of course, no one wanted to stay near the cabins and vans, in case we had to make a run for it.  They wanted to hang out on the bleachers to be sitting ducks for whoever, whatever.  I had to follow the light hee hee.

Nothing but absolute darkness.  What was out there?  For being outdoors, it was completely silent.  Too silent.  My mind played tricks on me due to boredom.  I watched for bears, wolves, serial killers escaping from prison, mental patients escaping from a hospital nearby.  Oh yeah, and aliens.  Couldn’t forget the aliens.

If I’m scared, then I’ll try everything in my power to make you feel the same way.  We’ll be scared together.  I could not trust my own eyes; we all needed to be on the lookout for anything suspicious.  We all needed our guard up.

We spent two nights and three days there.  Green Bank-no interaction with people.  Cass and Seneca State Forest-many tourists around.  So once again, where was everyone in our town?  I wanted to go back to the grocery store to see if there were many ‘missing person’ posters hanging on the wall.  Or talk to the locals to see if they heard any rumors about alien abductions.  Did the kids believe in it, or did they just laugh at the older people’s superstitions?  To calm myself, I needed to find out some facts.

On our last day, Bob needed to prove he was right.  We went to the museum that held the gigantic satellite dish.  The parking lot had many tourists standing around.  Or were they pod people?  We were all shocked.  No one had believed Bob’s tale, but the evidence was right in front of our faces.  We walked the tour with everyone else.

Looking back now, the ghost town vibe makes sense.  On Wikipedia, it says Green Bank’s population was 143 people in 2010.  I can only imagine how low it was in 2004.  This explains why we didn’t see anyone.  There was no need for me to be scared.  It would’ve helped though if we stayed in the busy part of town instead of being isolated.  But, oh well.

Has anyone been to Green Bank, WV or lives there?  Has anyone visited a town that spooked them, but they didn’t know why?  Please share your comments….