I’ve recently launched a new book series: The Pandora Belfry Adventures, which combines my love of writing with my morbid sensibilities and my wish to help people. I’m excited because these aren’t just books, they’re atypical commentaries on how our society treats the mentally ill. I wanted to take my background in counseling psychology and apply it to the world of Nepenthe Manor in a way that would make people want to read about mental illness – I hope I succeeded in doing that.

The first book is called Mayhem at Nepenthe Manor. It’s pronounced like this…Nuh-pen-thee. Just click on the highlighted word because it does a better job of showing you how to say it than I just did. Nepenthe is the last name of the family that built Nepenthe Manor back in the 1880s.

So you might be wondering…where did I get the name Nepenthe? Actually, I don’t remember where I came across the word, which is ironic being that nepenthe means “something that makes you forget.”

In Homer’s Odyssey, it was actually a drug. This book is not about drugs. I picked the name to represent what Nepenthe Manor becomes – an insane asylum. And what’s an insane asylum but a place full of people society wants to forget and who wouldn’t mind forgetting a few things themselves?

I plan to keep blogging about mental health, psychology, daily struggles, etc. so stay tuned for more interesting tidbits, helpful insights, and peculiar ramblings.

In case you’re interested, here’s a synopsis of the Mayhem at Nepenthe Manor:

Precocious and morbidly obsessed with death, Pandora Belfry has spent her entire life at Nepenthe Manor, a dark, Gothic mansion also known as the local loony bin. Recently turned fourteen and growing exasperated with her stifling life, Pandora wants two things more than anything else in the world—to make her escape from the asylum, and to get her mom to finally act like a real mom. Until these wishes are granted, she acts as self-imposed ringleader to a wayward posse of inmates.

Known amongst themselves as the Secret Six, Pandora and her friends spend their time at Nepenthe Manor stirring up trouble—holding weekly Midnight Meetings to concoct schemes, sneaking into places like the Nepenthe family cemetery and the forbidden attic, and generally doing everything they can to avoid the curse of living a mundane life. But when a mysterious new inmate arrives at the manor, things change for Pandora, and not for the better. In retaliation for a trick she plays on him, the charming and handsome Xavier connives to take over the posse, threatens to divulge one of Pandora’s biggest secrets, and refuses to tell her what he did to get himself locked up. This boy is obviously hiding something, and it’s up to Pandora to use whatever nefarious means necessary to find out what it is, before he destroys the only world she’s ever known.