Tag Archives: True Crime

Crime Time ~ Murder Calls ~ “Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing”

#CrimeTime with Alicia Dean

 

Murder Calls Season 1, Episode 1, Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing

May 28, 2007, Ogden, Iowa

A 911 call comes in to Boone County dispatch. The caller is a man who identifies himself as Michael Hill. The actual 911 call was played on the show. It was eerie and sad.

Hill: “I shot myself.”

Dispatcher: “Where?”

Hill: “I don’t know, I can’t move.”

Dispatcher: “How were you shot?”

Hill: ”I don’t know, I shot myself, the gun just went off. ”

He said he was going after a wild dog that was killing sheep. He worked for the farmer and was taking care of the sheep. He was trying to scare off the, but he said the gun went off and shot him. He tells them that he is at the back of the sheep farm, by a John Deere tractor. Then he says, “Please hurry, I can’t feel my legs. Oh, I gotta go. Going out.”

His friend, John Blair races to the farm. Michael, who they call Shane, had called him. John told him to call 911 then heads to the farm. When he arrives, the EMTs are working on Shane. John said he was working about 20 miles away and Shane called him. John told him to call 911, then heads over. John calls Shane’s mom, who goes by to pick up Shane’s wife, Jessica. The two women speed to the scene.

As they watch, the EMTs announce he’s gone.

He was shot in the center of his back and in the shoulder and leg. A loaded handgun was lying beside him. It’s the same type of gun that he told the dispatcher he’d shot himself with.

The next day, it was discovered that, six minutes after the first call, Shane calls 911 again. He doesn’t know it, but this time, his call was routed through Green County. He says his phone went dead and asks for the person he spoke with before, but that person is not at that location. Shane has to tell the story over again.

During that call, another shot can be heard. Shane says, “Oh F—. This thing went off again. I just blew a hole in my F—- arm. Oh my God, Oh my God.”

The investigating detective listens to that second call again, over and over, and realizes that second shot was from a rifle, not a handgun and that it came from a distance. He now knows there is more to the case than it first appeared.

The autopsy indicated that the shot came from above him. And, they pulled out a 30 ought 6 slug from Shane’s body.

They question John Blair, his friend who arrived just after police. They ask why he didn’t just call 911 himself. He said he was freaked out and just rushed over. John’s alibi checks out.

John was being interviewed during on the show, and he, along with his brothers, told what a good person Shane was, that he would give you anything you needed. Everyone also said that Shane loved his wife and children very much, that he was a doting husband and father.

The police interview with Jessica is shown on the episode. One of the detectives knows Jessica personally. He asks about Dan Blair, John’s brother. Dan was a good friend of Shane’s and a few years before, when Dan was down on his luck, Shane let him move in. Shane was working out of state, and did some work in Oklahoma for a period of time. He didn’t like leaving his family but felt they were in good hands with Dan.

Before long, Dan and Jessica begin having an affair. In the police interview, Jessica says, “Don’t every leave your best friend to take care of your wife and children, because the bond grows very, very quickly.”

Six months into the affair, Shane grew suspicious. One night, he pretended to leave for a job but parked his truck down the road and walked back. He caught them in bed together and went nuts. He kicked Dan out. He and Jessica split up

Jessica said in the interview that they were closer than brothers and she came along and screwed it up

Shane still loved Jessica and was broken hearted being away from her and the kids. They got back together. Over the next two years, they worked on their marriage. She told the police that the affair had been over with for some time and she made the right decision to go back to Shane. Shane forgave Dan and they tried being friends again.

They interview Dan. They ask if they’d ever had physical altercation with Shane and he said when I slept with his wife. Police ask about Dan’s roommate, Aron Moss. He said the day of the murder, the two of them had gone to a bar to shoot pool. The police interview Aron and he said he doesn’t know Shane and wouldn’t have any reason to hurt him.

The police were going to release the 911 calls to media and wanted Shane’s family to hear them first. His mom lost it and couldn’t keep listening. I don’t blame her, no way could I stand to listen to that.

After the murder, Jessica is staying with Shane’s mom. She’d been using the laptop. His mom got on the computer and saw a message from Dan to Jessica, which said, “You don’t have to worry about it, he’s not ever coming back.”

Shane’s mom takes the laptop to police. Several back and forth messages are found between Dan and Jessica, a lot of ‘I love you, I miss you’ etc, even though Jessica had said things were over between them.

Police call Jessica back in. When they tell her they found the messages between her and Dan, her tone changes. She admits that it wasn’t over with Dan. She said she complained to him about Shane, about him only wanting her for sex and not being grateful. She told Dan she wished he wouldn’t come home, then she wouldn’t have to worry about him anymore. She said it was just one of those things you say, you don’t think anything will come of it. The police ask her if she texted Daniel that morning. She said yes, she told him when Shane left, what he was driving, where he was going. She said she didn’t ask Dan to kill Shane, she just said she wished he was no longer around. The cops said, “Did you know that he would do anything for you?” She said, “He always said he would.”

They call Dan in and tell him that they know he was involved in Shane’s shooting. He says, “How?” They say, “We don’t think this is something you saw yourself involved in, but you allowed your love for Jessica to drive you. You love her, right?” Dan says, “I’ve always loved her.”

When he realizes that they have more information, he starts to provide details. He says he couldn’t shoot Shane, because even though they had their problems, he loved him like a brother. The police say, “Then who did you have shoot him? Who was with you that day?” He finally tells them it was Aron Ross. He gives a full confession.

He and Shane were hiding in a barn, watching Shane. When Shane pulls the trigger, they do the same. Shane’s shot masks their shot. Shane thought he shot himself. They see Shane lying on the ground and that he’s still alive. They move closer and shoot him again. Aron never admitted to anything. Authorities had trouble figuring out why he did it but they assume it was because Dan was his friend and he had a problem. Aron helped him make the problem go away.

They were both charged with first degree murder. The detectives arrested Jessica at Shane’s funeral. She is charged as well.

Dan is sentenced to life, and Aron and Jessica were each sentenced to fifty years. She appeals and her charges are reduced to conspiracy and accessory after the fact. Her sentence is changed to 12 years and she was released on parole in 2012.

I feel Jessica deserved to spend much longer in prison. Without her involvement, Shane would still be alive. What do you think?

 

[I love true crime shows, and I watch them every night. (Since I write suspense, thriller, and mystery, it’s not a waste of time…it’s research, right? 🙂 ) I love Investigation Discovery and watch many of the various shows, although some are a little too cheesy. However, there are plenty of shows that are done well enough to feed my fascination with murder. Each week, I’ll blog about some of the recent episodes I’ve seen and I’d love to know your thoughts.]

 

 

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Crime Time ~ Ice Cold Killers ~ “Hitchhike to Hell”

#CrimeTime with Alicia Dean

 

Ice Cold Killers  Season 2, Episode 4, Hitchhike to Hell

February 1994, Thornton, Colorado

This show, Ice Cold Killers, holds an extra appeal for me, because of my love of cold, snowy weather. Things are even creepier when it’s dark and icy. All of the episodes I’ve watched so far have been interesting.

In the early morning of February 1994, Jaquie Creazzo is on her way to pick up her father for breakfast. She sees two cars pulled off to the side of the road with a man and woman standing outside them. She slows, and the woman runs toward her car. The woman isn’t screaming, but she has a look of desperation and fear on her face. Jaquie picks her up, and the woman says the guy rammed her car and kidnapped her and raped her for two hours.

Jaquie speeds off as fast as she can on the icy roads. The man comes after them. They are almost to the Thornton Police Department when he pulls up beside Jaquie’s car and fires several shots, hitting Jaquie in the knee, spine, and face. She loses control of the car and swerves across the median onto the lawn of the police department. The man parks and approaches the car. He and Jaquie exchange looks, but she is paralyzed and can only move her eyes. He is out of bullets so he can’t kill Jaquie, but he warns her that if she tells anyone what happened, he’ll kill her. He pulls Rhonda from the car and drags her away. Police and EMTs arrive and begin giving Jaquie aid. She tries to tell them about Rhonda, but they are focused on saving her life. Later, in the hospital, she is able to tell the police about the kidnapped woman, and they begin searching for Rhonda and her abductor.

Rhonda Maloney is a married mom, working at a casino and planning to become a police officer. The authorities question her husband, however, in addition to not fitting the description of the suspect—a young, clean-cut black male—he is genuinely distraught. He has a solid alibi and is quickly eliminated as a suspect.

One of the detectives who wasn’t available during the initial visit to the crime scene wants to check it out.  While there, the officers hear a buzzing sound and locate a pager in the snow. It contains a pre-recorded message with instructions to turn the pager into the Denver PD if found. Authorities are shocked as they consider the possibility that a police officer might be behind the murder. As it turns out, the owner of the pager is a twenty-year veteran and does not fit the description Jaquie gave. The detectives look into his background and discover a prior incident where he shot his wife in the stomach, but she survived and it was ruled an accident. He has a son and a nephew who have both been in trouble with the law. His son, Robert Harlan, had shot a man to death but only served five years. Police bring him in for questioning. At first, he claims he knows nothing about Rhonda. Then he finally admits he was with her. He states that she bought cocaine from him. They partied and did the cocaine together, then parted ways, and he has no idea what happened after that.

Detectives bring a photo lineup to Jaquie that includes Harlan. She identifies him without hesitation. She tells the detective that she survived so she could help stop him. She says that, when she was in surgery, she saw a white light. A voice said she could go into the light or stay. She said she knew she had to stay because she could identify the killer.

They continue to investigate, looking for evidence to tie Harlan to the crime. His father turns in a bag of evidence, including a gun. The search for Rhonda continues. They still don’t know if she is alive, but in the ice cold weather, her chances of survival are slim. A week after the incident, Rhonda’s body is found. She has been badly beaten and shot three times. The ballistics are a match to the gun Robert’s father turned in. Autopsy reveals no drugs in her system, proving Harlan lied about the two of them doing cocaine together.

Harlan is found guilty of the kidnap, attempted first degree murder, and first degree murder of Rhonda Maloney, and the attempted murder of Jaquie Creazzo. During deliberations on the sentencing, some of the jurors brought Bibles into the jury room, consulting the passage from Leviticus about an “eye for an eye,” that says: “He who kills a man shall be put to death.” They determined that the death sentence was an appropriate sentence. Later, the Colorado Supreme Court ruled 3-2 that bringing in Bibles was improper. It overturned the jury’s verdict, sparing Harlan the death penalty and leaving him to serve life in prison without parole.

Jaquie is a hero. Not only for risking herself to try to help Rhonda, but for fighting to survive so she could stop a killer. I’m not sure how many of us would have put our lives in jeopardy to help a stranger. Do you think you would have stopped for Rhonda?

Isn’t it crazy how lucky the police were? What if the detective hadn’t wanted to go back to the scene and/or the pager hadn’t buzzed while there? They might never have found it and never been led to Harlan. It is believed that Harlan is responsible for other murders and no doubt he would have killed again had he not been caught. Poor Rhonda was not so lucky. Can you imagine how it must have felt for her to think she’d been rescued, only to be dragged back into hell and further tormented before she was killed?

Interesting side note; in 2002, Jaquie was at her daughter, Hannah’s, house. Hannah’s former fiancé showed up, a gun in each hand, waving them around at Jaquie and her daughters. Jaquie told her daughters to get in the house and pulled out a gun she kept in a bag in her wheelchair and shot him in the leg. He survived and was arrested.

[I love true crime shows, and I watch them every night. (Since I write suspense, thriller, and mystery, it’s not a waste of time…it’s research, right? 🙂 ) I love Investigation Discovery and watch many of the various shows, although some are a little too cheesy. However, there are plenty of shows that are done well enough to feed my fascination with murder. Each week, I’ll blog about some of the recent episodes I’ve seen and I’d love to know your thoughts.]

 

 

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Crime Time ~ Evil Stepmother ~ “Not My Mom”

#CrimeTime with Alicia Dean

Evil Stepmother,  Season 1, Episode 1, Not My Mom

September 8, 2002, Dickson, Tennessee

Kimberly Mangrum became stepmom to two children when she married their father, Terry Mangrum, Sr.  During the episode, Kimberly’s stepson, Terry, Jr. is interviewed. He spoke about life with his stepmom. In the beginning, Kimberly worked hard to win his and his sister’s affection. But she soon begins to exhibit mood swings, lashing out for no reason. Kimberly’s main source of contention is the children’s mother, Lee Ann Mangrum, who had full custody. The kids visited their dad on the weekends, but Kimberly wanted full control. She insisted that she begin doing the drop-offs to limit the contact her husband had with his ex. Kimberly uses those dropoffs to taunt and start arguments with Lee Ann.

Lee Ann is a loving mother, but Kimberly engages in conflict with her and tries to undermine her role as a mother, every chance she gets. Somehow, and this I never understood, Lee Ann ends up losing custody to the children to Terry and Kimberly. This gives Kimberly even more of an opportunity to terrorize and abuse them. She would have the kids phone their mother and call her awful names and tell her she was a horrible mother. One day in September, Terry Sr. receives a notice to appear in Court. Lee Ann is filing to get custody of her children. Kimberly is enraged.

Lee Ann Mangrum

The next day, a fisherman finds a body and a vehicle submerged in Turnbull Creek. Police learn that the dead woman is Lee Ann Mangrum. Authorities speak to the family and are told by Kimberly, Terry Sr. and the kids that Lee Ann came over the night before,  with a man named Bob. She was drunk and demanding that Kimberly give her Klonopin. Kimberly did so, and Lee Ann finally left.

The police discover Lee Ann’s trailer has been ransacked. They find her son’s DNA in the house and they find cigarette butts outside that contain Kimberly’s DNA.  When police question Terry, Jr, he says that when his mom was at the house that night, he wanted to talk to her. After she left, he took Kimberly’s car and drove to her house. She flips out on him and attacks him. In self-defense, he kills her.

Believing there is more to it, the police push him. He finally tells the entire story.

The night that Kimberly receives the letter that Lee Ann is filing for custody, she goes into the children’s rooms (the daughter was 11 and the son, 15) and wakes them. She tells them to ride with her to the store to get cigarettes. Kimberly drives to the convenience store and after she gets the cigarettes, she tells the kids they are going to make one more stop. She drives them to Lee Ann’s. Terry Jr. is relieved when his mom isn’t home, but as they are leaving, a car passes. It’s Lee Ann. Kimberly turns around and parks behind her. She grabs a bat from behind the driver’s seat and tells the kids to get out of the car. She then begins screaming at Lee Ann. Lee Ann locks the doors, but Kimberly breaks the window with the bat. She pulls Lee Ann out of her vehicle and begins beating her with the bat. She hands Terry Jr. the bat and tells him to finish her. He then beats his mother. Kimberly holds a knife to his side and tells him to help get his mother into her car. Afraid for his life, he does as she says. She instructs him to drive Lee Ann’s car and follow her, and he does. She leads them to a creek. They pull Lee Ann from the vehicle and Kimberly drives it into the water. She orders Terry Jr. to kill his mother and threatens to kill him and his sister if he doesn’t. He places his foot on his mother’s body and holds her underwater until she drowns.

They head back to Lee Ann’s trailer. Kimberly forces her stepdaughter to call her grandmother from Lee Ann’s phone, saying, “I’m scared, please help me.” I’m not sure for what purpose, unless it’s to make it appear she is being attacked. Kimberly holds a knife to the children’s throats and tells them if they ever tell anyone what happened, she’ll kill them both, and their entire family.

After Terry Jr.’s confession, police arrest Terry Sr. and Kimberly. Terry Sr. is convicted of accessory after the fact and sentenced to 10 years. Terry Jr. is sentenced to 8 years and Kimberly is sentenced to life. The daughter, Alyshia, is not charged.

Terry Mangrum Jr.

What a crazy, messed up, tragic story. I am a little reluctant to totally defend the boy. He was 15 or 16 at the time, and a big kid. I’m sure the stepmom had some psychological control over him, but that’s a bit extreme. Surely, he could have driven his mother to the hospital instead of following Kimberly. He’d have had protection from police. Regardless of all that, there is no punishment too severe for the evil Kimberly Mangrum.

What are your thoughts?

[I love true crime shows, and I watch them every night. (Since I write suspense, thriller, and mystery, it’s not a waste of time…it’s research, right? 🙂 ) I love Investigation Discovery and watch many of the various shows, although some are a little too cheesy. However, there are plenty of shows that are done well enough to feed my fascination with murder. Each week, I’ll blog about some of the recent episodes I’ve seen and I’d love to know your thoughts.]

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Crime Time ~ A Crime to Remember, “Bye Bye Betty”

#CrimeTime with Alicia Dean

A Crime to Remember,  Season 3, Episode 8, “Bye Bye Betty”

Odessa, TX, 1961:

One of the most captivating and disturbing cases I’ve watched on IDGo is that of Betty Williams. She was a high school girl who was reputed to be promiscuous and dated a lot of different boys. One of those boys was Mack Herring. After Mack broke up with her, Betty spiraled into depression. She began making comments to her friends about wishing to die so she could leave this world for a better place. She said she would take her own life, except she didn’t have the courage. She asked a few of the boys to kill her, but they refused. None of this was taken seriously by her friends.

One morning in March, 1961, Betty’s parents reported her missing when she didn’t show up for breakfast or for school. Police began interviewing her classmates. A boy named Ike Nail stated he had driven her home from drama rehearsals the night before her disappearance and dropped her off at around ten. Betty asked him to return in half an hour and meet her in the alley behind her house. He did and she climbed into his car, wearing pajamas. In a few minutes, Mack Herring pulled up behind them. Betty said, “I didn’t think he’d come. I’ve got to call his bluff, even if he kills me.” She got out of Ike’s car and into Mack’s.

Police interviewed Mack, who claimed he’d dropped Betty off at home later that night. Some of the story was inconsistent and the details did not quite add up. The detectives pushed him, and he finally broke down and told them what had happened—or at least what he claimed had happened.

He led the police to a stock pond in a secluded spot on the outskirts of the city. Once they arrived, he waded into the water. Shortly, he headed back toward them, dragging Betty’s body with him.

He claimed he had shot her because she begged him to. He said that when he picked her up that night, they drove out to the pond where they parked the car and discussed the killing. She then exited the vehicle, seeming to be happy Mack had agreed to her request. “Give me a kiss to remember you by,” he had said to her. They kissed and when she pulled away, she got down on her hands and knees and told him ‘Now’. Mack Herring raised the shotgun and fired, killing her instantly. After she was dead, he wrapped her body up, weighed it down with a heavy object, then dumped it in the stock pond.

At the hearing for Mack Herring, the defense showed Betty’s letter, which was written in her own handwriting.  This is a transcript of the letter:

“I want everyone to know that what I’m about to do in no way implicates anyone else. I say this to make sure that no blame falls on anyone other than myself. I have depressing problems that concern, for the most part, myself. I’m waging a war within myself, a war to find the true me and I fear that I am losing the battle. So rather than admit defeat I’m going to beat a quick retreat into the no man’s land of death. As I have only the will and not the fortitude necessary, a friend of mine, seeing how great is my torment, has graciously consented to look after the details. His name is Mack Herring and I pray that he will not have to suffer for what he is doing for my sake. I take upon myself all blame, for there it lies, on me alone!—-Betty Williams.”

Mack was found not guilty by reason of insanity. Some people say that Betty’s request to Mack was actually a ploy to make him see how much he cared for her. She hoped he would refuse to kill her and instead declare his love. How sad and tragic. Young girls that age can be dramatic and immature. In Betty’s case, it cost her her life.

What do you think? Should Mack have been found not guilty, or should he have been punished for his crime?

To read more, check out this fascinating, detailed article that shares other notes by Betty and further information.  https://www.texasmonthly.com/articles/a-kiss-before-dying/

[I love true crime shows, and I watch them every night. (Since I write suspense, thriller, and mystery, it’s not a waste of time…it’s research, right? 🙂 ) I love Investigation Discovery and watch many of the various shows, although some are a little too cheesy. However, there are plenty of shows that are done well enough to feed my fascination with murder. Each week, I’ll blog about some of the recent episodes I’ve seen and I’d love to know your thoughts. Let me know if you’ve seen the episode and, if so, what you thought about it.]

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Crime Time ~ Passport to Murder, “Nightmare in Bali”

#CrimeTime with Alicia Dean

Passport to Murder,  Season 1, Episode 1, Nightmare in Bali

August 12, 2014, Bali, Indonesia

Wealthy Chicago socialite, Sheila Von Wiese-Mack, and her daughter, Heather Mack, have a strained relationship. Heather’s dad died when she was ten and she grew up troubled. Hoping to repair their relationship, Sheila books a lavish trip to Bali for just the two of them.

Eight days into their trip, tragedy strikes. A taxi driver reports a suspicious suitcase left in the back of his cab. Police arrive and find the bloody. bludgeoned, half-nude corpse of Shelia Von Wiese-Mack. Authorities learn Sheila’s daughter was on vacation with her and begin a search, concerned for her safety as well.

A tip leads them to a hotel seven miles away. They enter the room, expecting to find Heather held captive. Instead, they find her in bed with a young man, who turns out to be Tommy Schaefer, her boyfriend from Chicago. Unbeknownst to her mother, Heather used Sheila’s credit card to book Tommy a flight and hotel to Bali as well. When Sheila discovered this, she was livid. She didn’t approve of Tommy anyway, and it wasn’t the first time Heather had stolen and used her credit cards.

Further investigation uncovered the true facts of Sheila’s death. Heather and Tommy planned it together, thinking Heather would inherit her mother’s fortune. Surveillance video showed Tommy entering Sheila and Heather’s room with a bulging item beneath his shirt. Heather had let him in, and he used the item–a metal fruit bowl–to beat Sheila to death. The couple thought they could flee Bali with Sheila’s money, but the hotel staff refused them access to Sheila’s safe, before her murder was even discovered, where their passports and the cash had been secured.

The couple were arrested, and Heather was now pregnant. The trial was held in Bali. The killers were facing the possibility of death by firing squad. They were found guilty but, because of their age and Heather’s pregnancy, they were not given the death penalty. Instead, Tommy was sentenced to eighteen years, Heather to ten. Heather would keep her baby in prison with her until the child turned two, then the child would be taken into foster care until Heather was released, at which time the child would be returned to her.

This is appalling to me. The vicious killers go from facing a firing squad to getting what amounts to a slap on the wrist? Eighteen and ten years? Heather’s daughter will be returned to her? I’m baffled. There was mention of the trauma suffered when her father died and what an impact that had on her life. Sad, yes, but what if everyone who lost a parent at a young age murdered their remaining parent? Heather and Tommy were not children. She was nineteen years old, he was twenty-one. They were both adults. They planned this and carried it out, viciously and without remorse. They even laughed and made faces for the cameras after their arrest. Authorities discovered that, prior to the Bali trip, the two attempted to hire a hit man to murder Sheila.

For years, Heather had been abusing her mother. The police were called to the home more than 80 times. This is not some childish, spur of the moment impulse for which she later showed regret. Heather Mack is a cold, calculating murderer. And now, she’ll be raising a daughter and will likely abuse her. Heather did not end up inheriting any of her mother’s estate…it will all go to her child. She killed once for that same fortune. It’s no big leap to think she’ll do it again.

What do you think? Am I being too harsh, or was their punishment not harsh enough?

 

[I love true crime shows, and I watch them every night. (Since I write suspense, thriller, and mystery, it’s not a waste of time…it’s research, right? 🙂 ) I love Investigation Discovery and watch many of the various shows, although some are a little too cheesy. However, there are plenty of shows that are done well enough to feed my fascination with murder. Each week, I’ll blog about some of the recent episodes I’ve seen and I’d love to know your thoughts. Let me know if you’ve seen the episode and, if so, what you thought about it.]

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Mysteries of the Macabre Halloween Anthology – 6 Authors Share Fun Facts & Favorite Lines

I’m happy to introduce my fellow anthology authors. I’ve enjoyed getting to know these ladies (although I already knew Leah), and I had a blast working with them on this collection. Sit back and enjoy as they share a fun fact and some of their favorite lines from their stories…

6 unique stories by 6 authors…

 

Halloween_cover_lowres

Available here: (Click on the ink to be taken to the buy pages)

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

And now, the stories… (In order of how they appear in the anthology)

SCARRED ~ Alicia Dean

Scarred

Blurb:

Sometimes, the most haunting scars are the ones beneath the skin.

When Natalie Jayne moved away from her home town ten years earlier, she left behind painful memories, along with Simon, the man she loved. Now, she’s back on Halloween night to attend a memorial marking the one-year anniversary of the tragic passing of her childhood friend, Jessica. Rumors that Simon was responsible for Jessica’s death unnerve her. Even more disturbing is her unsettling attraction to a masked stranger she meets at the event. Her gift may be the key to unlocking the truth, but will it also lead to heartbreak?

Fun fact:

‘Scarred’ was first written as part of a blog post where each member of my OKRWA writing group contributed a scene to create a story. One of the characters in the story was Cupid’s ghost. My hero, Simon’s, original transgression was that he had murdered Cupid in a blind rage. And that was how she became a ghost. 🙂 In the course of the story, he atoned for his sin.

Favorite Lines:

As the lies fell from his lips, Simon’s chest felt as though it would cave in under the weight of Natalie’s pain. She looked so stricken, so disappointed. He steeled his resolve. Better to disappoint her now than to destroy her later.

What I’m working on now:

A Christmas romantic suspense as part of the Criminal Christmas Anthology (I must really like anthologies…)

 

GRANDMA’S WAY ~ Elvy Howard

Elvy

Blurb

Generations of greed culminate in a young girl.

Fifteen-year-old Caroline only wants to go to the Halloween Dance, and only one person stands in her way, Momma, who forces her to sort and pack her dead grandmother’s belongings instead.  Discovering a shocking secret of Grandma’s brings Caroline new hope, or will salvation lead to her downfall?

Fun Fact:

Caroline’s story began as a flash-fiction exercise where an item was presented as a prompt. I worked like the devil to get an entire story in under a thousand

words, but accomplished the feat and enjoyed trying something new. Fleshing out those five-hundred words into a short story was great fun. There was so much to learn about Caroline, Momma, and poor, dead, Grandma.

Favorite lines:

“I think the reason I can’t focus on geometry is because I’m still so sad.”

“Get off your soapbox, Caroline. It’s not going to work.”

Caroline figured she’d probably played out the dead Grandma card, and wished she hadn’t.

What I’m working on now:

My latest novel is about a newly-wed teenager posing as an adult in 1953, traveling with her husband from where he had been an Air Force instructor in Mesa, Arizona, to Lexington, Virginia, his home town.  It’s my first attempt writing something not based in what I call the nebulous now, and I’m enjoying it.  I’ve located some people even older than me, who were teenagers in the early fifties. They have been a wonderful resource for all sorts of background information.

Contact

Blog – ElvyHoward.com

Email – contact@elvyhoward.com

 

BLOOD MOON ~ Leah St. James

leah 52575064769460_5751649846271129825_n

Blurb

Is Ronnie’s imagination playing tricks on her, or has the Harvest Moon Slasher been reborn?

One Halloween night, a killer terrorized a strip of Virginia beachfront, murdering a dozen young women whose only crime was walking the beach with a boyfriend. Now, fifty years later, book reviewer Ronnie can’t shake the feeling that another has come to take his place.

Is it nothing more than her vivid imagination running wild, or are the spirits stirring, warning of approaching danger?

Fun Fact:

I’ve always been fascinated with full moons, maybe since watching old werewolf movies as a kid. The “blood moon,” caused by a total eclipse of the moon, is also the subject of a prophecy that its occurrence is the sign of the end times. I’d love to explore that in a story some day.

http://www.endtime.com/four-blood-moons/?gclid=CIzZ25fYpsgCFQFsfgoddSIKuw

Favorite lines:

“On the beach, two lovers kissed. Behind them, the moon—hanging giant and hazy red in the sky—dripped feathery tendrils into the sea, painting crimson tips on the dancing waves.”

What are you currently working on?

Currently I’m finishing up the sequel to my first novel (“Surrender to Sanctuary”). It’s called “Sanctuary’s Promise,” and it picks up the story of FBI agents David Owens and Anna Parker who (in book one) went undercover in a secret society to solve a murder. They’re back in hot water, only this time it’s even closer to home.

Contact:
Website:  LeahStJames.com
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/LeahStJames?fref=ts
Twitter: https://twitter.com/LeahStJames

 

THREE, AFTER MIDNIGHT ~ Alexa Day

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Blurb:

Deirdre lost her husband, Cameron, one long-ago Halloween night, but every Halloween night brings the chance to get him back. She just needs to find a man willing to … get between them. Trip seems like a perfect choice. With his hard body and open mind, surely he won’t mind letting Cam borrow him for a night. If he’s into it, they’re in for one mind-blowing reunion. But if he resists, will Cam’s spirit be strong enough to protect her from the man she chose for him?

Fun Fact:

Readers have asked Alexa about the relationship between Cam and Deidre–wondering if there’s a future for the two lovers. The first time she got the question she smiled to herself and thought, Deidre already has a pretty sweet deal!

Leah chose her favorite line from Alexa’s story:

He’d loved her like a stranger who hoped to see her again, or at least one who hoped to be remembered fondly in girls’ night gossip.

What are you currently working on?

Sci-fi erotica.

 

THE TIMESHARE TRIP ~ Renci Denham

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Blurb:

How many of the Seven Deadly Sins can Crystal and Roy commit in one seven-day cruise?

Crystal and Roy never thought they could afford an all-inclusive seven-day trip to the tropics. After all, canned chili dinners and a wine cooler at the quick mart were the highlights of life in the trailer park. So what if the trip Crystal won required a time share presentation? It’s not like their credit would pass anyway. But is the resort everything the web page on the computer said it would be?

Fun Fact:

This was 10 years of HARD work!!!!!

Favorite lines:

“Well, that’s five bucks too much. I could have made you one out of duct tape.”

“Oh, it’s a surprise, too. I’m telling you though, it will make every woman there want to jump my bones.”

”Costa  Rico. That’s part of Mexico, right?

What are you currently working on?

“The Crown of Nebuchadnezzar” and my dissertation

Contact:

Find me on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/renci.denham?fref=ts

 

THE FARM STRAY ~ Rohn Federbush

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Blurb:

The discovery of an abandoned farm in the Michigan countryside triggers a vision of the farmer’s past—or is it more?

A young couple exploring the Michigan countryside stumble upon an abandoned farm. Drawn by its forlorn appearance, they explore. Eventually they’re chased away by the irate farmer, but not before the wife becomes intrigued by a weird kitchen latch at the back door, an elephant-headed rocking horse, and a rusting iron ring the size of her palm.

Back home, she’s pulled into memories she shouldn’t have. Did the farm’s spirits lure her into theirs, or did the old farm merely trigger her own?

Fun Fact:

My husband loves being part of the real story.

Favorite lines:

(I believe) The……… earth-bound soul used by eyes to capture relevant photographs of her home.

What are you currently working on?

The contrasting future of young people in small towns or big cities is explored in my newest Novella “Hastings Dead.”

Contact:

Website:  http://www.rohnfederbush.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RohnFederbush

Twitter: https://twitter.com/rohnfederbush
 

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