Happy 2023! It’s almost release day for a series of horror short stories revolving around Friday the 13th. I will be sharing each story on my post, one per day. Today, I’m pleased to welcome Connor Treadwaywith their story, Rosemary…
Connor Treadway is the pen name for a writing team based in northeastern Florida. When brainstorming ideas for the story, they realized “Old Florida” is the perfect setting for a horror story with Gothic flair.
*** Pre-Order the Friday the 13th stories for only 99 cents!!!
Disturbing dreams that feel all too real…
When Ivy Powers inherits her great-aunt’s gorgeous but neglected Victorian home, it feels like a dream come true. Recently divorced and eager to leave a job she hates, Ivy relocates from New Jersey to Passaway, Florida. The tiny hamlet is the type of place tourists visit for a taste of Old Florida–spanish moss dripping from craggy old oak trees and gators in the swamps.
Ivy’s dream soon turns into a nightmare when she begins renovations on the old house and its overgrown rose gardens. Her sleep is plagued by visions of a shrouded woman, a reflecting ball, and the scent of rosemary, which lingers even after she wakes. The mysterious old man who watches from an attic window next door also spooks her, until he persuades her to join him for tea in the garden, an afternoon custom he shared with his late wife.
Are the dark forces invading Ivy’s dreams a threat…or a warning? Can she find the truth before it’s too late or will the garden claim her and bury her with the rest of its secrets?
A Friday the 13th Short Story: 13 authors ~ 13 suspenseful stories. Murder and mayhem on Friday the 13th… Find each story in the series on Amazon.
Tonight, the pockets of shadows created by great swags of Spanish moss and dense sprawl of bushes seemed darker and denser. Instead of guarding the garden’s secrets, the inky depths yawned like gaping chasms into some kind of hellish underground. Rosemary hunched in the wheelchair, pulling the blanket higher as if to ward off some vague threat.
“I’m safe here,” she reminded herself in a whisper, slowly scanning the area as if to identify the source of her disquiet.
Everything appeared unchanged—the sprawling canopy of live oak limbs, the looping ropes of kudzu and spiky palmetto fans, the path of cracked stone pavers that zig-zagged off in both directions, the squares of yellow light from nearby houses masked by leafy branches, the gleam of the sun’s final glow flaming ominously in the mirrored gazing ball set atop a pedestal on the other edge of the clearing where Rosemary had set up the bistro table and chairs years ago after she and Jeremiah were first married.
Finally, she realized what was different. It was the silence. No cicadas sang. No whippoorwills called from the woods. Not even a mosquito hummed in the clinging shroud of moisture. Usually, summer nights buzzed with a riot of sound—the deafening roar of cicadas, the hoot of barred owls, the scrabble of lizards in the undergrowth, the muted sounds of domestic activities as neighbors settled in for the night, the musical clatter of windchimes, the huff and puff of wind as if the garden itself was inhaling and exhaling.
The quiet swelled into a pulsing presence that filled the garden, throbbing against Rosemary’s eardrums, immobilizing her body, blurring her vision. She wondered if she was having a heart attack, but the sharp snap of fingers inches from her nose pulled her from the invisible mire.
“Goddamn, woman. It’s too early to fall asleep.” Jeremiah’s tone was harsh, impatient, angry. Blinking to clear her sight, Rosemary cringed away from her husband’s scowl which suddenly transformed into a benevolent grin that was somehow even more frightening. “Don’t want you to miss our evening tradition, my dear. Time for me and you. Together. Just us. All alone in your beautiful garden.”
Connor Treadway is a pen name for the writing team behind Gothic thrillers and mysteries. The duo is based in northeastern Florida.
Happy 2023! It’s almost release day for a series of horror short stories revolving around Friday the 13th. I will be sharing each story on my post, one per day. Today, I’m pleased to welcome Mark Edward Jones with his story, Hell is Empty…
Three characters in Hell is Empty later play roles in the Detective Henry Ike Pierce series.
*** Pre-Order the Friday the 13th stories for only 99 cents!!!
The worse monsters are human.
A man’s wife dies unexpectedly in Brno, Czechoslovakia, and his teenage foster daughter, Miomir, comes under suspicion after four of the girl’s classmates die by poisoning. Professor Filíp Nekola must protect his younger wards, siblings brought to him six years earlier when a government assassin, Karanosz Tasev, killed the children’s parents. A detective appears, offering information that Tasev seeks Miomir.
Nekola is detained by the Czech government’s secret police, the StB, and the children are left alone with Miomir and her friends. They witness the teenagers performing a dark ritual to destroy Miomir’s enemies. Filíp Nekola must escape the secret police, rescue the children, and stop the assassin Tasev before he steals another life. The worst monsters are human.
A Friday the 13th Short Story: 13 authors ~ 13 suspenseful stories. Murder and mayhem on Friday the 13th… Find each story in the series on Amazon.
Pipe smoke blanketed Stepan Hrubý’s face. The boy flapped his hands and made a show of waving away the pungent haze.
Filíp Nekola clenched the pipe’s bit with his teeth, pulled off his right glove, and yanked his handkerchief from a pocket. He wiped his eyes, then glanced down at his companion. A smile broke across his face as he stroked the boy’s dark hair. “Three months today, young man. She grew so fond of you and Eliska.” Filíp shook his head and sighed. “My dear Berta.”
Stepan rubbed his hand along the top of the marker’s rough granite stone. “Sorry, Papa Filíp. Remember, though, the best day of the year is coming in twelve days.”
Filíp nodded. “Yes, Christmas is coming, and it will be my first without her.” He wiped a cheek. “But we will try to make it merry.”
The boy pulled his winter cap tighter around his ears. “Yes, sir. It is Lisky’s and my favorite holiday. Why do some people not celebrate?”
“You are speaking of Miomir?”
Stepan frowned, thinking of the older girl the Nekolas had fostered. “She is one, but many stores have nothing in their windows. Lisky says—”
“Never mind. So … where is your sister?”
Stepan shrugged. “She likes to look at the gravestones.”
Eliska emerged through leafless bushes near a marble bench. “I am here.” Stepan’s sister kneeled next to him and examined the dates, touching them as she read. “April 3, 1927, and September 13, 1974. Are those correct?”
“Yes. The stone carver did well.”
“Barunka is a funny name,” Stepan said, then covered his mouth. “Sorry.”
Filíp nodded. “Yes, she did not like it—a family name, I believe, and it is why I called her Berta.”
“I like the black stone,” Eliska said.
“I do, too.” He smiled. “Thank you both for coming with me.”
Stepan smirked. “We wanted to come with you instead of staying with the witch.”
Filíp put a finger to his lips and scowled, determined to act as if he did not feel the same. “No, no. We should not talk about Miomir in such a manner. She is sixteen, and teenagers are rebellious, among other things. I am sure she grieves in her own way.” He took each child’s hand. “My feet are freezing, and I do not doubt yours are, too. Come along. The taxi is waiting.”
Mark retired from higher education finance in 2017 and started writing as a new career. The first of the Detective Henry Ike Pierce series, Peculiar Activities, was published in October 2021. The second in the series, Shadowed Souls, released on Halloween 2022. A Gentleman from the Darkness was his first short story, and his first in a Friday the 13th series.
Please help me welcome today’s guest, C.B. Oresky…
Hello C.B., please tell us a little about yourself, where are you from? Where do you live now? Family? Pets?
I grew up in suburban New Jersey. Over the years, I have collected a wheelbarrow full of degrees. I have a passion for plants and can grow just about anything. I currently live in a small town in Connecticut that most people have never heard of called Gales Ferry. I have a body-builder husband, a naughty Scottie dog and cat, ten chickens, and a magnificent perennial garden.
Where did you get the idea for The Warlock’s Curse?
My debut novel all began as a dream… I sailed a white ship on a pristine sea of whispering turquoise waves. The inhabitants of this alien watery world, mystical whales, surrounded my vessel, their eerie voices lifted in song. I made a story out of this…and other magical dreams.
What is your favorite scene in The Warlock’s Curse
There are many wonderful scenes in The Warlock’s Curse, but my favorite occurs when Captain Claudius Grace brings his twin granddaughters on an oceanic journey to encounter magical whales. He hopes the massive leviathans will open the portal to their birthplace: the realm of Oceana where the wise Master lives. Far beneath the rolling waves, The King and Queen of the Whales sing a haunting song. A massive ethereal whale appears swimming right before Claudius’s approaching schooner. The phantasm of a whale opens its yawning maw. Claudius’s schooner hangs momentarily on the edge of the watery precipice of light, then slips straight down the monster’s wide-open chasm.
How did you come up with the book’s title?
I kept the title to my book short as suggested by my diligent, hawk-eyed editor. Of course, the title also had to do something with the story. My original title for my novel was The Master, The Captain, The Warlock, and The Warrior, however this was longer than a flight to the moon. I therefore shortened the title to The Warlock’s Curse, as the story is about twin sisters going on a perilous journey to remove an ancient curse.
Do you have another occupation, other than writer? If so, what is it and do you like it?
The theme in my life is software developer by day, writer by night. I do like writing code…it’s like composing a symphony. However, if I could, I’d prefer to write full time.
What do you dislike that most people wouldn’t understand?
It may sound weird, but I dislike shopping… I’m not into running after a bunch of stuff that just doesn’t make me happy.
What’s your favorite childhood book?
I love C.S. Lewis’s Narnia series, especially The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe. This quick-moving adventure is full of amazing imagery and sensory delights. In The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe, I feel the soft fur coats as the children jostle through the wardrobe. I hear the snow crunch under their feet and shiver in the bitter cold as they traipse through the forever frozen land the White Witch has enchanted. Finally, I love the deep magic found in Narnia: the mystical, speaking animals that are so believable…the written wonders that whisk me off to a place so real—I never want to leave.
What actors would you like in the main roles if your book were made into a movie?
A monkey, two Siamese cats, dancing whales… Wait! This actually is a really good question. I’ve always thought that if my book were made into a movie, I’d like it to be cast by unknown actors with loads of talent. It gets tiring to see the same people over-and-over again in films. I believe in giving someone new a chance.
What is your favorite quote?
My favorite quote is from J.R.R Tolkien’s The Fellowship of the Ring, where Strider, secretly Aragorn the true king of Gondor, appears to be a mere Ranger.
“All that is gold does not glitter, Not all those who wander are lost; The old that is strong does not wither, Deep roots are not reached by the frost.”
This quote is for all those that run against the wind and holds a message about ceasing judgement on outer looks alone. From the moment one is born, the busy bees of society are whispering in your ear…how to act, how to be. Many are followers, attracted to the flash…a rolex or bmw gives one a certain status. But what about someone with purpose and inner goodness…all that is beautiful and true, existing without glitter. Someone who wanders their own path, following their own internal calling, may be seen as a fool, but may truly be a queen or king. To be true to one’s own calling involves strength and perseverance in the face of darkness and strife.
Your most prized material possession? Why?
My Scottie dog, of course. Scottie dogs are so adorable, loving, and intelligent…they keep me on my toes for sure.
What do you want your tombstone to say?
So long and thanks for the food…
If you could spend time with a character from your book, whom would it be? And what would you do during that day? (PG-13 please 🙂
I would spend time with Phileus, The Bliss, a joyous, magical creature who transmits healing light, loves nature, and only takes what little he needs. I would explore his enchanting underground home full of plants, gardens, flowers, and relaxing pools of hot water. On this adventure I would certainly enjoy listening to his words of wisdom about cherishing the natural world.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
There are a few important messages in my novel… The importance of caring for our good Earth. Also, no matter how bad life gets, there is always someone out there who will lend a helping hand. Finally, Magic exists and is everywhere.
Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
I idolize J.R.R. Tolkien, the father of fantasy. I love how Tolkien’s artistry with words, masterfully paints scene after scene about a magical world where creatures talk and everything from the trees to the mountains seem alive. The Oxford English scholar could do it all when it came to world building: he created his own languages, geography, unique races, and relatable characters who fought for justice and those they love. I find myself easily swept away into his ingenious books and totally connected to the characters.
Twin sisters on a perilous journey to remove an ancient curse…
Clara and Angelica Grace have never met ghosts. They’ve never sailed on a tall ship, ridden wild unicorns, or fought with magical weapons. Instead, the teenage twins have a wretched existence, ignored by their troubled parents in a rundown home and tormented by the town’s snobs.
Everything turns topsy-turvy all of a sudden when discovery of an ancestor’s hidden journal with an odd key to an unknown door leads them into an entirely different realm.
The girls go on a thrilling oceanic voyage to search for mysterious whales, train with a seasoned warrior, and are befriended by a wise Master. But all is not a bouquet of lovely lilies…they are hunted by a cunning warlock and must rid themselves of The Warlock’s Curse.
Winner of The Literary Titan Gold Award
“Help! Please help!” Angelica cried, turning toward the direction the voice had come from.
Veils of darkness greeted her eyes.
Suddenly, a strange sight seized both girls’ attention. The oddest-looking creature the girls had ever seen emerged from the gloom, waddling along a curved path near the pool’s edge. Its shape gradually came into view.
The squat creature stood about two feet tall, an amethyst stud adorning its short nose, its long face crowned by a single lock of fair curly hair. In place of normal clothing, a grasshopper-green mossy material covered its small hands and feet, while an amber mesh filament, appearing like thinly braided laces, swathed its arms and back. It eagerly flew toward the girls, appearing like a goldfinch, its smooth, translucent body quivering like firm jelly and glowing as the shimmering sun. The creature’s unforgettably deep eyes were grave and dark and splashed with touches of ocher, like glossy black beetles.
Clara trembled in her well-worn boots, imagining the approaching creature as a monster in some horror movie. She wrapped her wool cape more tightly about her, wishing it might somehow guard her from harm.
Angelica also eyed the peculiar-looking being fearfully and staggered back a step.
The golden creature stopped just short of them.
“It smells good…like meadow grass and flowers,” Clara whispered.
“Hummmmmm, Hummmmm,” its melodious voice buzzed, like bees flitting over flowers. The odd creature licked its rubbery lips.
Fascinated by the works of Tolkien and C.S. Lewis, award winning author, C.B. Oresky, began writing her own fantasy novel, The Warlock’s Curse, after dreaming of being whisked off to an alien realm. Besides her debut novel, she has seen four of her short stories published in a small, national literary press: Conceit Magazine. When she’s not writing, she can be found wandering through the woods, dancing flamenco, or planting flowers in her garden. She currently lives in a small town in Connecticut with her bodybuilder husband, their exceptionally naughty Scottish terrier and Siamese cat, ten chickens, and a yard filled with majestic flowers.
It’s that time of year….Halloween month! I’m pleased to share an interesting article from Randy Overbeck…
Halloween or All Hallowed Eve
Halloween, the great America tradition, when everyone, young and old, enjoys getting at least a little scared and revels in a little mystery. The night when beggars prowl the streets seeking candy and perhaps a little fright. It’s the only time of year when teens and adults will pay good money to have their pants scared off them at a thousand haunted houses around the country.
An argument can be made that the greatest scares on this night arise from chainsaw killers and raving monsters, blood sucking vampires and howling werewolves or even terrifying aliens. While I admit each and every one of these can set the blood curdling, I’d submit that’s not what Halloween is about, not really.
What we celebrate as Halloween was originally know as All Hallowed Eve. (Well, okay, it actually dates back to an ancient Celtic celebration called Samhain and a Roman holiday, Feralia, both of which were incorporated over the centuries into the Christian All Hallowed Eve.) All Hallowed Eve, later Halloween, was the day Christians honored those who have passed and, on this day, they acknowledged sometimes the dead are still with us. While the traditions of these celebrations differed from culture to culture—for example, the Romans brought offerings to graves and the Celts were required to sacrifice some of their children (yikes!)—the one thread that runs through all three celebrations is the steadfast belief in ghosts. The Celts, the Romans and the early Christians understood there is but a thin veil that separates this world from the next. This autumnal feast, halfway between the end of harvest and the winter solstice, was the day spirits from the other side chose to cross this veil and visit the living.
According to legends, some of these ghosts were friendly, if sometimes michievious, while others were angry, malevolent and even violent. But those humans celebrating Samhain or Feralia or All Hallowed Eve/Halloween knew that they ignored these visiting spirits at their peril and knew they needed to honor the ghosts.
So while Dracula or Freddie or Ironman might make better costumes for this year’s Halloween celebration—I mean, how do you dress like a ghost anyway—you would do well not to ignore the spirits roaming among us. They require us to honor them and the dead who have gone, because all too soon we will join them.
Oh, by the way, I thought I saw something shimmering behind you. Don’t look.
Happy Halloween! You might want to celebrate the holiday by learning about ghosts reading my Haunted Shores Mysteries, #1 BLOOD ON THE CHESAPEAKE (which is also a #1 Amazon Best Seller) #2 CRIMSON AT CAPE MAY and #3 SCARLET AT CRYSTAL RIVER.
All Darrell Henshaw wanted was to enjoy his honeymoon with his beautiful wife, Erin, in the charming town of Crystal River on the sunny Gulf Coast of Florida. Only a pair of ghosts decide to intrude on their celebration. And not just any ghosts, the spirits of two young Latino children. Unwilling at first to derail the honeymoon for yet another ghost hunt, Darrell finally concedes when a painting of the kids comes alive, weeping and pleading for his help.
When he and Erin track down the artist, they discover the children’s family were migrant workers the next county over. But when they travel there, their questions about the kids gets their car shot up and Erin hospitalized. Torn between fear and rage, Darrell must decide how far he will go to get justice for two young children he never even knew.
“Scarlet at Crystal River is an eerie paranormal mystery I couldn’t stop reading. Randy Overbeck is a masterful writer of the paranormal, drawing the reader in before instilling shivers down the spine. 5+ stars.” –N. N. Light’s Book Heaven
“A rollercoaster of a mystery, hurtling up and down hills and sharp corners until the very end, when the reader is left slightly breathless, waiting for their hearts to beat back to a normal rhythm. ★★★★★—ReadersView
“Scarlet at Crystal River is a suspenseful paranormal novel with compelling characters and an enigmatic mystery that drives the story to a riveting conclusion. Overbeck is a master at building tension–-this is easily a one-sitting read.” ★★★★★—Literary Titan
Dr. Randy Overbeck is an award-winning educator, author and speaker. As an educator, he served children for four decades in a range of roles captured in his novels, from teacher and coach to principal and superintendent. His thriller, Leave No Child Behind (2012) and his recent mysteries, the Amazon No. 1 Best Seller, Blood on the Chesapeake,Crimson at Cape May and Scarlet at Crystal River have earned five star reviews and garnered national awards including “Thriller of the Year–ReadersFavorite.com, “Gold Award”—Literary Titan, “Mystery of the Year”—ReadersView.com and “Crowned Heart of Excellence”—InD’Tale Magazine. As a member of the Mystery Writers of America, Dr. Overbeck is an active member of the literary community, contributing to a writers’ critique group, serving as a mentor to emerging writers and participating in writing conferences such as Sleuthfest, Killer Nashville and the Midwest Writers Workshop. When he’s not writing or researching his next exciting novel or sharing his presentation, “Things Still Go Bump in the Night,” he’s spending time with his incredible family of wife, three children (and their spouses) and seven wonderful grandchildren.
Please help me welcome author, Randy Overbeck, with an article on an important topic…
In the U. S., another teen girl is trafficked every 90 minutes!
Today, we have plenty of crises to deal with—political unrest, the traumatic toll of the Coronavirus, a devastated economy that will take years to recover.
But there is one crisis—tragic, devastating and universal—that is going on everyday, in small towns and large, in inner cities and suburbs, which gets almost NO headlines or news coverage. Based on the best estimates, in the U. S. alone, 5000 teen girls get sucked into the world of human trafficking every year. That’s a hundred young girls a week, fourteen a day, almost two every hour.
And almost no one talks about it.
That why, when I penned my new novel, Crimson at Cape May, a ghost story/mystery, I chose to tie the whodunit to the crime of human trafficking. The narrative is set in Cape May, New Jersey, a breathtakingly beautiful resort town on the East Coast with pristine, white beaches and the largest collection of beautiful Victorian mansions in the country. A perfectly apt, small town setting for a murder mystery.
And not very far from this idyllic getaway extends a network of human trafficking smugglers, who supply young girls and women as prostitutes, up and down the eastern seaboard.
Of course, all the events described in my novel are fictional. But the reality and the truth is amazingly close to the world captured in the novel. Crimson at Cape May has been described as a cold case murder mystery wrapped in ghost story, served with a side of romance, all set in one of the most beautiful locations in the country. But it is also a novel that reveals the ugly truth about the scourge of sex trafficking and bondage.
The narrative for the novel is set more than twenty years earlier, in 1999, but the facts about human trafficking captured in the story are sadly still true, only more so today. In fact, did you know that in 2021, there are more people being trapped in human trafficking than at any time in human history.
Her is a link to a brief article with some astonishing—and depressing statistics:
Now, my new novel is no treatise on the subject of human trafficking. It is, as advertised, an award-winning, five-star amateur sleuth mystery and suspense with romantic elements, as they say in the business. I’m confident readers will be captivated by the breathtakingly beautiful scenery, fall in love along with Darrell and Erin, feel compelled to help the street-wise kid, Cassie, and solve the whodunnit of the baffling murder. Scores of Amazon, Goodreads and Bookbub readers have already shared how much they enjoyed the novel.
But I also hope and pray that readers come away with a better grasp of the problem of human trafficking and maybe, just maybe, a desire to do something about it.
BLURB—CRIMSON AT CAPE MAY
No matter how far you run, you can never really escape a haunted past.
Darrell Henshaw—teacher, coach, and paranormal sensitive—learned this lesson the hard way. With his job gone and few options, he heads for Cape May to coach a summer football camp. The resort town, with gorgeous beaches, rich history and famous Victorian mansions, might just be the getaway he needs. Only, no one told him Cape May is the most haunted seaport on the East Coast. One resident ghost, the Haunted Bride, stalks Darrell, begging for his help.
He can’t refuse.
Joining forces with Cassie, a street-wise teen and another sensitive, he investigates the bride’s death and discovers her murder is connected to a far greater horror. But can Darrell and Cassie expose those behind the crimes before they end up being the killer’s next victims?
REVIEWS—CRIMSON AT CAPE MAY
“With both elements of mystery and suspense, readers across genres will find this second book about Darrell Henshaw intriguing…I highly recommend it.”★★★★★—Literary Titan
“It’s a ghost/mystery story filled with suspense and action. The plot is so engrossing it had me hooked from the very first page.”★★★★★—Nana’s Reviews, Greece
“An exciting paranormal mystery I couldn’t put down… A great read. Highly recommend!” ★★★★★—N.N. Light’s BookHeaven
“Rollicking good…Darrell is a wonderful protagonist, an ordinary man put into extraordinary situations and rising to the challenge..” ★★★★★ —Over My Dead Body magazine
“I loved everything about this book. As a ghost story combined with a mystery, a romance, a social injustice and stunning historical details, Crimson at Cape May has something for everyone.”★★★★★—ReaderViews
“Masterly spooky adventure…an accomplished work of haunting mystery fiction that fans of the genre won’t want to miss out on. Highly Recommend.” ★★★★★—ReadersFavorite.com
Dr. Randy Overbeck is an award-winning educator, author and speaker, capturing state and national accolades for his work. As an educator, he served children for more than three decades in a range of roles captured in his novels, from teacher and coach to principal and superintendent. His thriller, Leave No Child Behind (2012) and his recent mysteries, Blood on the Chesapeake (2019) and Crimson at Cape May (2020) have earned five star reviews and garnered top awards and recognition from sites such as Literary Titan, ReadersFavorite.com, ReaderViews.com and N. N. Lights Bookheaven. As a member of the Mystery Writers of America, Dr. Overbeck is an active member of the literary community, contributing to a writers’ critique group, serving as a mentor to emerging writers and participating in writing conferences such as Sleuthfest, Killer Nashville and the Midwest Writers Workshop. When he’s not writing or researching his next exciting novel or sharing his presentation “Things That Go Bump in the Night,” he’s spending time with his incredible family of wife, three children (and their spouses) and seven wonderful grandchildren.
USA Today Bestselling Author, Casi McLean, presents a political thriller with military and supernatural elements in Reign Of Fire.
To expose a faction threatening America’s democracy, Emily Rose joins forces with a team investigating her sister’s murder, but she never expects to fall in love – or to encounter her twin’s ghost.
Ashton Frasier accepts his detective career choice means a life of bachelorhood – until Emily Rose blows into his world. The spitting image of his latest victim holds a mysterious allure he can’t deny. Surrounded by danger with the country’s democracy at stake, Emily and Ash uncover a dangerous faction threatening to take the White House. Can a ghost spark love to expose the truth?
Award winning author, Casi McLean, pens novels to stir the soul with romance, suspense, and a sprinkle of magic. Her writing crosses genres from ethereal, captivating shorts with eerie twist endings to believable time slips, mystical plots, and sensual romantic suspense, like Beneath The Lake, WINNER: 2016 Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence for BEST Romantic Suspense.
Casi’s powerful memoir, Wingless Butterfly: Healing The Broken Child Within, shares an inspirational message of courage, tenacity, and hope, and displays her unique ability to excel in nonfiction and self-help as well as fiction. Known for enchanting stories with magical description, McLean entices readers in nonfiction as well with fascinating hooks to hold them captive in storylines they can’t put down.
Her romance entwines strong, believable heroines with delicious hot heroes to tempt the deepest desires then fans the flames, sweeping readers into their innermost romantic fantasies. Ms. McLean weaves exceptional romantic mystery with suspenseful settings and lovable characters you’ll devour. You’ll see, hear, and feel the magical eeriness of one fateful night. You’ll swear her time travel could happen, be mystified by her other worldly images, and feel heat of romantic suspense, but most of all you’ll want more.
Kristin “KJ” James was born and raised in the Nashville, TN area. Acting has always been a passion of hers. Starting on the stage as early as preschool, KJ pursued her passion into college where she received a BA in Communication with a double emphasis in Theatre and Public Relations from Mississippi State University. After college she found herself more and more drawn to voice overs. Several classes, coaching sessions, seminars, research, and a closet-turned-studio later, and she now records and produces audiobooks on a regular basis. She has also done several radio commercials for clients such as Advance Financial, TriStar Health, and GAC.
When she’s not in her booth, you can find her crocheting, playing video games, or running agility with her dogs.
Welcome to my weekly feature where authors share about the hobbies, careers, or passions of their characters.
I’m pleased to introduce today’s guest, Robert Herold…
A Passion For Paranormal
We all feel a little unnerved when the power goes out, when we are plunged into darkness, when we are booked into a room on the 13th floor, or when 13 is missing from the elevator options, and most especially when people we know pass away. People have huddled around fires since ancient times to keep away their fears, both real and imagined. Today, when the power goes out, we cluster around that scented candle on the coffee table, or that flashlight app on one’s cell phone—until the battery wears out. Are we really so different from those in the past?
Imagine it is 1885, the beginning of the modern era. Science is making new strides in hitherto unexplored areas: chemistry, physics, psychology, even applying the scientific method to the hereafter – exposing frauds and maybe, just maybe, proving the existence of life after death. This was a passionate sideline for William James, a real figure from history. He was a famed Harvard professor, father of American psychology, and brother to the famous writer Henry James (author of The Turn of the Screw, among many others).
Professor William James helped found the American branch of the Society for Psychical Research, who applied the scientific method to investigations of the supernatural. Eventually the group in America became headed by a dogmatic skeptic and James had a falling out. Using this as a springboard, I imagined he then started his own investigative group, The Eidola Project (eidola being a Greek word for ghost). Some real investigations, including those that are downright spooky, are woven into the story, especially while he is building his team of paranormal researchers.
In addition to William James (age 42), the Eidola Project consists of Annabelle Douglas (age 28), one of the first graduates of The Harvard Annex (later known as Radcliff), Sarah Bradbury (age 18), an authentic medium, Edgar Gilpin (age 26), a brilliant African American physicist and graduate of Howard and Yale Universities, and Nigel Pickford (age 39), one of the youngest Confederate officers, who in the years following the Civil War is plagued by paranormal visions & has become a drunken derelict. Each contributes to the group, but each has his or her own peculiar baggage and set of weaknesses.
Professor James directs The Eidola Project from Harvard, sending them off on various missions, and occasionally joining them (akin to “Rupert Giles,” a character in the TV show Buffy the Vampire Slayer). The Eidola Project are intrepid explorers of the supernatural, but in doing so, they enter the darkness and become ensnared in a dangerous investigation of a haunted house, where they encounter all sorts of things that go bump—or worse!
It’s 1885 and a drunk and rage-filled Nigel Pickford breaks up a phony medium’s séance. A strange twist of fate soon finds him part of a team investigating the afterlife.
The Eidola Project is an intrepid group of explorers dedicated to bringing the light of science to that which has been feared, misunderstood, and often manipulated by charlatans. They are a psychology professor, his assistant, an African-American physicist, a sideshow medium, and now a derelict, each possessing unique strengths and weaknesses.
Called to the brooding Hutchinson Estate to investigate rumored hauntings, they encounter deadly supernatural forces and a young woman driven to the brink of madness.
Will any of them survive?
Sarah retrieved the lamp and twisted the peg. The outhouse door swung open on its own, and she gasped.
“Momma?” Sarah asked as she held out her lantern. No. A ruined version of Molly stood in the doorway.
Before her disappearance, people often commented on the sixteen-year-old’s beauty, but in the last twenty-eight days birds pecked out her pretty blue eyes, and maggots now swam in the sockets. Molly’s head hung to the left at an odd angle. Her skin looked mottled with patches of gray, blue, and black. A beetle crawled out of Molly’s half-opened mouth and darted back in.
Sarah’s heart leaped to her throat, and she jumped back. She lost her footing, fell onto the outhouse seat, and dropped the lantern to the floor. She bent to retrieve it; thankful the glass globe did not break. Sarah looked up and saw an empty doorway.
Impossible, she told herself. Must’ve dozed off, had a nightmare, and woke up when I dropped the lamp. Her heart still pounded in her chest, and Sarah took a deep breath to calm herself.
Holding the lamp before her once more, she crept out…
The supernatural always had the allure of forbidden fruit, ever since Robert Herold’s mother refused to allow him, as a boy, to watch creature features on late night TV. She caved in. (Well, not literally.)
As a child, fresh snow provided him the opportunity to walk out onto neighbors’ lawns halfway and then make paw prints with his fingers as far as he could stretch. He would retrace the paw and boot prints, then fetch the neighbor kids and point out that someone turned into a werewolf on their front lawn. (They were skeptical.)
He has pursued many interests over the years (among them being a history teacher and a musician), but the supernatural always called to him. You could say he was haunted. Finally, following the siren’s call, he wrote The Eidola Project, based on a germ of an idea he had as a teenager.
Ultimately, he hopes the book gives you the creeps, and he means that in the best way possible.
Weekly feature where authors share about the hobbies, careers, or passions of their characters. I’m pleased to introduce today’s guest, Kristal Dawn Harris…
STAINED GLASS & VAMPIRES
Red Snowflakes is a paranormal Christmas romance featuring a vampire. In Red Snowflakes, the lead male character is a vampire. Dimitri, the vampire, creates stained glass snowflakes for each year spent waiting for his mate. He hangs them on his Christmas tree as a beacon for her to come to him, but she never does. That’s just part of the story. You’ll have to read the book to find out more about this highly talented vampire with such a unique hobby! LOL
The term stained glass can refer to colored glass as a material or to works created from it. Throughout its thousand-year history, the term has been applied almost exclusively to the windows of churches and other significant religious buildings. Although traditionally made in flat panels and used as windows, the creations of modern stained glass artists also include three-dimensional structures and sculpture.
As a material stained glass is glass that has been colored by adding metallic salts during its manufacture. The colored glass is crafted into stained glass windows in which small pieces of glass are arranged to form patterns or pictures, traditionally held together by strips of lead and supported by a rigid frame. A soldering iron is used to melt the lead.
Stained glass, as an art and a craft, requires the artistic skill to conceive an appropriate and workable design, and the engineering skills to assemble the piece. A window must fit snugly into the space for which it is made, must resist wind and rain, and also, especially in the larger windows, must support its own weight. Many large windows have withstood the test of time and remained substantially intact since the Late Middle Ages. In Western Europe they constitute the major form of pictorial art to have survived.
Stained glass is still popular today, but often referred to as art glass. It is prevalent in luxury homes, commercial buildings, and places of worship. Artists and companies are contracted to create beautiful art glass ranging from domes, windows, backsplashes, etc. Most people are familiar with stained glass, but aren’t aware that you can do it at home. This is a craft that you can get into on your own with beautiful results, as long as you have the right tools.
I recently picked up an old, wooden, window frame on the side of the road. To most it looks like junk, but to me, I envision a masterpiece! I’ve ordered a beginner’s stained-glass kit online and can’t wait to get started. Once my project is complete, I’ll upload the finished project. The book, Red Snowflakes, released November 6, 2019. If the thought of a vampire who is an artist gets you just a little bit curious, this might be the romance book for you!
Forensic photographer, Dena Williams, has spent her life trained to see what others cannot. Vampire, Dimitri Kovac, has waited every Christmas for a miracle that does not come. In the Oregon wilderness, during a snowstorm, these two destined souls collide. Dena’s only hope of survival rests in a vampire with the heart of a poet. Dimitri only has five days to win a skeptical woman’s heart. As the Christmas tree lights burn brightly and the snow continues to fall, will Dena succumb to a vampire’s charms? With so little time, can Dimitri win her love?
Dena stood her ground waiting until he stopped directly in front of her-toe to toe. Her eyes lifted from his broad chest to his face. His breath caressed her skin in whispery touches. This close she could see the small lines around his eyes and the long length of his eyelashes. She’d photographed numerous crime scenes and witnessed the arrest of several criminals, so she knew the eyes of a killer. This man did not have those eyes. Predator yes. Murderer no. The sea-blue depths emanated tranquility, but there was something else there as well.
Trained to see things others didn’t, Dena’s head tilted while studying him trying to see what evaded her eyes. Engrossed in his features, almost drawn to him on a level her mind didn’t understand, her body leaned forward. He didn’t move away, but his pupils tracked every move she made. Dena focused on his eyes letting her own senses expand. Something was different in those sea-blue depths. They say the eyes are the mirror to the soul, but his seemed more like a mask. Her body jerked when the black of his pupils bled into the white until his sockets completely blacked out, then shifted back to their normal sea-blue color. Curiosity led her. One foot slid between his as she moved even closer until their bodies brushed. For some odd reason, she wasn’t afraid. “What are you?”
Kristal Dawn Harris is an award-winning American author, born in Middletown, Ohio. She currently resides in Ohio with her husband. Kristal has been married for 27 years and has two children. She graduated from Carlisle High School, then furthered her education at Miami University. She has a business degree in Accounting Technology. Kristal spent twenty years working as an Office Coordinator in the hospital until she released her debut novel, “The Rings of Faolan-Emeralds,” through The Wild Rose Press.
In 1999, Kristal suffered a debilitating disease called “Guillain-Barre Syndrome.” This rare disease damaged the nerves in her body requiring the use of drop-foot braces in order to walk. Kristal considers herself a survivor and encourages anyone with a disability to follow their dreams.
Kristal is considered a hybrid romance author since she published “Hand-Carved Wolf” and “Thief of Hearts” on her own. Kristal is an avid reader who enjoys romance from all genres, but paranormal is her favorite.