Friday, June 10, 2016

The Mystery of Dyatlov Pass

This is part of my ongoing mysteries series, which is a continuation from my very popular A to Z Challenge posts this year. Warning: Some violent content.

In January of 1959, a group of young, experienced skiiers set out to ski the Ural Mountains, armed with hiking gear. On January 28th, one of their group fell ill and had to turn back.

He would be the lucky one.

Nearly one month after the group started their trip, searchers found their tent on the uppermost slope of the "mountain of the dead." Diaries and cameras documented their journey, including this photo of four of them toward the beginning:

Photo Credit: Daily Mail

There was no sign of the nine students. There were eight or nine sets of tracks in the snow, leading away from the tent. Some had been wearing socks, some only one shoe, and some were completely barefoot. The temperatures had been well below zero.

Photo Credit: Daily Mail

On closer inspection, the searchers realized the tent had been cut from inside. All of the skiiers' belongings were there, including most of their shoes.

At the edge of the forest were the first two bodies, near the remains of a small fire. Both bodies were clothed in only underwear, with no shoes.

Photo credit:

Three more bodies were found in a position that suggested they may have been trying to return to the tent. A few months later, the remaining four skiiers had been found. They were dressed. Their bodies were nearly 250 feet from the other bodies.

Photo credit: Misterika

Using the diaries and photographs they found, investigators discovered that on the last day, the group had run into bad weather. They'd decided to set up camp early. Experts placed the time of the "incident" to sometime after dark but before dinner.

Photo Credit: Daily Mail

Forensics found that the tent had been cut from the inside--a hole large enough for the campers to escape through. What had caused them to run away from the safety of their tent?

Three of the skiiers had serious skull injuries consistent with an extremely aggressive blow. Two had suffered damage to their chests. No other footprints were found near the tent. The damage was that which would be seen in a car accident, experts say, and too extensive to have been caused by a human. This was the final photo from their camera:

To this day, no one knows for certain what caused the skiiers to flee their campsite. Six died of hypothermia and three died from fatal injuries. One of the biggest puzzlers of all?

Some of the clothes had notable amounts of radiation on them.

There have been many theories, but the Dyatlov Pass Incident still remains one of the most puzzling unsolved mysteries of all time.

What do you think happened to the hikers?

Wednesday, June 08, 2016

Cover Reveal: At First Blush by Beth Ellyn Summer

Before we get to today's cover reveal, I have to say I'm so excited for today's author. I knew Beth Ellyn Summer when she was still trying to get a book deal and she did it! Her first book, At First Blush, will debut on August 9th--the same day as mine. We're book birthday buddies! Her book comes out with Bloomsbury Spark and here's the adorable cover. Scroll down to learn more about it.


Lacey Robbins has one goal for the summer: hit one million subscribers on her YouTube beauty channel. Working as an On Trend magazine video blogger is just the platform she needs to get there, but falling for the cover boy, rock star Tyler Lance, was not part of her plan--especially since his dating history is longer than her Sephora wishlist.

She can't avoid him for long though, not when it's her job to film vlogs with him. As Lacey and Tyler grow closer on and off camera, her channel becomes popular for all the wrong reasons, and the two YouTubers she's working with officially hate her. Lacey's only solace is spending time with Kendall Wynn, On Trend's resident makeup artist. Kendall's scattered, carefree approach to makeup reminds Lacey why she ever picked up a tube of lipstick in the first place.

Nothing about this summer is going according to Lacey's perfect plan, and pretty soon she learns that filming makeup tutorials is easy. It's real life that could use some editing.


Beth Ellyn Summer writes contemporary young adult fiction that somehow always includes the following elements: fame, makeup, and television. She graduated from Long Island University with a degree in Print and Electronic Journalism. Interning for Conan O'Brien and Jimmy Fallon was the highlight of her college years. When she's not writing, Beth can be found swatching eyeshadows, solving Wheel of Fortune puzzles, and playing with her adorable cat, Penny Belle. Beth lives on Long Island in a cookie cutter town that, in an ironic twist of fate, doesn't have a single decent bakery.


Monday, June 06, 2016

My Most Viewed Post Ever Is About a Scam

I blog about a wide variety of subjects. Sometimes I blog about writing...

Sometimes I blog about entertainment...

And sometimes I blog my random observations about the world around me.

So it surprised me to learn that of all of the things I've ever written on this blog of mine, one has by FAR been viewed more than any other. Every single week, it's still the most viewed post. What is it about?

Yes, this post about mascara has, to date, been seen nearly 24,000 times. Hundreds of views a week, despite the fact that it's more than a year old.

All this time, people have been leaving comments and I haven't even been watching. Apparently I angered the Younique cultists, all ready to lash out at me (and anyone else who commented) that we dared to insult their religion makeup company.

By the way, it's no longer acceptable to call it a "pyramid scheme." Every single one of these companies calls it either "network marketing" or "referral marketing." It's still this:

Do you know why my mascara blog gets so many views? Because every day, someone out there is told she can get rich selling this mascara to her friends on Facebook. Maybe she can quit her job and live the dream. Probably not. The people making all the money are on the top of that little pyramid up there. The rest?

Apparently that original post is on the first page of search results when you Google "Younique Scam." Most of the other posts were planted by the company. As with every other pyramid scheme network marketing opportunity, the people up top have the resources necessary to make sure all you ever see is how great they are.

What's your most popular blog post ever?