I decided to pull the American Missing Series. It was set after WWIII and everything was in tatters. After watching the footage of California in flames, I decided now was not the time for that series. I had two options: re-write the entire series in a matter of a few days and produce crappy books or pull the series. It made sense to pull the series. I will probably keep the individual titles of the books, but change the content and do away with American Missing Idea. If you have pre-ordered a book Amazon should be sending you a cancellation notice.
The dirt clogged Jacob’s throat like landslides blocked streams. He’d been riding through the desert for what seemed like months. All because of one woman, and he didn’t even know Miss Elder’s first name. He’d last seen her as bandits carried her away. She and Jacob the only two breathing members of their wagon train bound for the Mississippi River area. He’d been shot. She kidnapped by a long-haired single-toothed varmint of a scoundrel.
The fear in her eyes would haunt him until the day he died. He had to find her. He’d been a boy when he started this quest. The trail and the outlaws since had hardened him into a man. A man who would complete his quest or die.
Every time I descend this hill, I’m amazed by the beauty before me. A curtain of trees stretches as far as my eyes can see. And then I wonder what it looked like to my ancestors. The people responsible for my creation. The settlers who donated their genes.
Admittedly, this particular hill wasn’t here. It’s man-made to accommodate modern transportation. The pioneers who came to this valley didn’t need one more hill to climb with horse and Conestoga wagon, they’d faced enough obstacles. Why create more?That’s the thing with people. We make advances but then place obstacles in our way under the guise of efficiency. Really, quite crazy, but we are who we are. Changing isn’t easy.
I was here for a reason other than to admire the view. Seemed like I did that too much in life. The view got obscured by the work. And the work was always there. Today, I was here to interview the residents of The Maars house for my magazine “Haunted and Happy.” As you probably guessed, it’s a magazine about people who live and work in haunted homes and buildings.
Every time I walk into a Haunted Home, I expect to find Gomez and Morticia. But I’ve yet to meet them. Most families who live in haunted homes are really quite normal people. If there is anything such as normal in the world anymore. One wonders.
Anyway, as I turned onto the slightly wider than a cowpath Maars road my pulse reeved in anticipation. Even though I worked in a haunted building for several years, I’d never actually seen a ghost that I knew was a ghost. I’ve heard and seen an angel a time or two, but never actually seen a ghost. With each house that I came to, I hoped that this time would be the time. This time I’d actually see the ghost.
If Maars road was slightly wider than a cowpath, the Maars’ driveway was slightly narrower than a cow path. Willow trees on each side provided a covered path to beckon me forward. These trees would be a great place for Ghosts to hid. I watched way too much Scooby-Doo as a child. My mind wild with creepy things that could jump out of the trees and attack my car.
Someone asked me once, why I did what I did.
How could I not? I was a thrill seeker of the paranormal kind.
I was hoping for the Psycho House. What I found was a Civil War era farmhouse exquisitely maintained.
Oh, well. Gomez could still be inside.
I rapped on double mahogany doors with a brass knocker. Very Ghost-house like, and a man short with wire-rimmed glasses and balding black hair met me at the door. Okay, so Gomez he was not. More like works out of his basement accountant before computers, he was.
Once in the door, he escorted me to a grand room with a white carved mantle over an expansive fireplace. A low fire burned. I turned to admire the flames and there in the fire was his wife. Based on the mantle photos.
Story Pieces are just that. Pieces of stories sometimes off the cuff and sometimes from writing exercises that are waiting to be developed. If you’d like to read more, please let me know.
I know it’s been a long time since I posted. Life happens sometimes despite our best efforts. I’ll explain more in future posts and talk about upcoming books. I get asked sometimes “Where do your characters come from.” So this link on Bublish.Com talks just a bit about Katrina in Moon Lake Witch. Still trying to figure out the technical part of the software. Hopefully, this works.
The Crystal Ballroom, Revenge is Book 1 in The Crystal Ballroom Supernatural Cozy Mysteries series. Available on Amazon $.99
MUSIC TORE THEM APART. CAN MUSIC RESTORE PEACE?
Amber Jasper owns The Crystal Ballroom on the tiny island of Allegro. Amber has one wish. Revenge against a man who ended her future and injured her leg. She and her partner-in-revenge are so close to victory they can smell it. And wow, the aroma is tantalizing.
But! One night a scream from the beach below, a body, and the return of her former childhood sweetheart demand Amber’s attention, stir painful memories, and force her to examine her soul.
Oh yeah, and her father shows up too. Always at the wrong time. Add a whole village ready to ignite over a forever grudge. If the town does, bye-bye Allegro. Bye-bye Crystal Ballroom. There goes her future. Why now? When she was so close. Her win is slipping quickly into the cold Lake Michigan waters.
This Supernatural Cozy Mystery is packed with body-dropping intrigue and soul-searching drama. And musical ghosts.
Download The Crystal Ballroom, search for a murderer, and enjoy the glitz and grit where music and dance mingle.
The aroma of popcorn and hot chocolate hung in the late October air. Didn’t matter how old Amber Jasper became—even at fifty-five this smell would always be precious. A hush fell on the football field. So quiet now she could hear the water lapping on the shore two blocks away. The Allegro High School Football Team was down by two touchdowns with five minutes to go in the game.
Now it would get interesting. All season long, every game had been like this. Behind all the way to the final minutes, then winning became more important than the feud, in those final minutes the team got it together. They played as one.
But would it be enough this time? The Mavericks played fierce football. They’d talked some evil smack about Lake Michigan’s Allegro Island and the “baby dolls” who played on the Allegro Team.
Four minutes to go. Major Long leaped almost six feet into the air over the back of a Maverick.
“Interception Allegro! Way to go son. Way to go.” The announcer said. Not that Allegro Mayor Stone Quarters was biased or anything.
Amber expected Major to fall to the ground with the football tucked under his arm. But he didn’t. He fell backward and then just as she swatted a pesky bee away from her hot chocolate he flipped mid-air and charged down the field. How did any human being do that? That was the answer— the kid must be superhuman. Look at those feet flying, grace and elegance sending green turf in the face of his pursuers.
“That’s my boy. That’s my boy. Go, Majors. Go.” Tek Long, Major’s father jumped to his feet and descended the grandstand steps.
“Sit down, Long. Your kid ain’t the only one on the team,” Carn Scott yelled.
Tek Long tripped over Scott’s outstretched foot. His body flew into Amber’s shoulder knocking her and her hot chocolate over the head of the mayor’s wife in the row below long brunette ponytail wet from the liquid.
“Touchdown. Allegro.” The announcer yelled.
“Oh no. Help me.” The mayor’s wife screamed. “Bee. Bee sting. Allergic. Help me, my purse. Epi.” She clutched her throat.
Well, she was already in the mayor’s wife’s lap might as well further invade her space and go for the purse. Time more important than propriety.
Amber reached between Mrs. Mayor’s—her name was Betty Quarters, but everyone called her Mrs. Mayor—knees and fingered the grandstand boards for purse straps. Too dark to see much she was groping blind. Bad. Very Bad. A paper cup, a candy wrapper. Leather. Strap. Purse. Hurray!
Somebody elbowed Amber’s butt. Falling sideways. She grabbed Mrs. Mayor’s knee to steady herself.
Great, a fight broke out. So what was new? It happened at every game. At every town event. It had been happening for decades.
Amber readjusted herself. Mrs. Mayor’s body shook. Purse. Got it. Amber stood. Opened the bag. The pen, near the top. Thank God. Dad was allergic to bees. She knew how to do this. Bam. She needled Mrs. Mayor.
Strong hands yanked her away from Betty Quarters. “Amber Jasper, what the heck are you doing?” Sheriff Clay Bastill’s hands were strong and menacing.
“Betty here was stung by a bee. I was administering an epi.”
He pushed a button on his shirt. “I need medics here.”
“I’ll be okay.” Mrs. Mayor said. “Thank You, Amber,” she whispered.
The town of Allegro was small but maintained a police force of twenty officers. And they were all on call, all the time because of the feud. Officers took positions in front of the stand. “All right folks. Settle Down. It’s crunch time,” came from the loudspeakers.
The Mavericks possessed the ball twenty feet from a touchdown. Two minutes thirty on the clock.
Her hand felt something warm and Styrofoam. Melissa Cartwright placed a cup of hot chocolate in Amber’s hand. “Thought you could use this. Get away, bee.” She swatted the insect. “What’s with these things tonight?”
“Beats me. Thanks.” Fifteen feet the goal line. The Maverick’s smug quarterback fumbled the ball. Major Long’s arm extended what appeared ten feet and grabbed the ball. And then he threw it all the way down the field to Carn Scott’s son. Scott grabbed it and ran the distance for a touchdown.
“Yes, Oh Man, Yes,” screamed the announcer. The score was now tied. A minute ten on the clock. Allegro brought out their best kicker. Bam. Through the posts, it went. All they had to do was hold on for one more minute.
Bastill’s officers began unlocking the gates. Because of the feud, Allegro was divided into tribes. Each tribe had their own section of the village and island. Each tribe entered community events by their own door.
The buzzer growled. Allegro High School posted another win in the final minutes.
“You want to grab something to eat?” Melissa asked in the parking lot. “Where is your car?”
“At home. I was in a walking mood.”
“The chances you take.” Melissa shook her head. She did that a lot. “Hop in. I’m taking you home.”
“I can walk.”
“It was safer to walk in Queens after dark than here on this island. Get in the darn car.”
“Yes. Ma’am. You know, come to think of it, food sounds good.”
“Which tribe has access to Benny’s tonight?”
“I believe the Cowboys. Let me check my app.” She opened the Allegro Tribe App on her smartphone. “Yeah, Cowboys have Benny’s tonight. Swingers have Basie’s, Poppers have The Hut.”
Melissa wasn’t from Allegro, so she didn’t belong to any tribe. Amber was born and raised in Allegro and technically was part of the Swinger’s tribe, but because her family operated The Crystal Ballroom she had diplomatic status that allowed her to move freely through the island.
Melissa parked facing the rocky shore on the west side of Allegro. A light caught Amber’s eye as she exited the car. It fell from hill-high to water-level. “Melissa, did you see that?”
Melissa zapped the door lock. “See what?”
“A falling light on the rocks.”
“Probably just kids playing with a laser. C’mon the aroma. I’m now starved.”
Her arm wrapped through Amber’s dragging her backward towards Benny’s. Blake Shelton’s voice sifted through the night. And in front of her walking towards the western shore, the man with the trombone glowed.
It was Saturday night, and I was once again at home alone, curled on the couch watching Blue Bloods reruns. Tom Selleck will always be one heck of a sexy guy. I looked out my window facing Lake Michigan, and there was a Zebra starring at me. I rubbed my eyes and looked again. Zebra still there. I checked the bottle I drank from, Diet Sunkist. The liquid inside was the customary orange. I sniffed. Smelled like Diet Sunkist always smelled. Not that I had ever really thought about smelling the soda, but if it smelled different, I would have noticed. Okay, so chances were pretty good I wasn’t drunk. I’d been drinking the same beverage all night.
A bumping noise came from the window. Zebra nose connected in a rhythmic pattern with my window. It wanted me to come outside, at least, I thought so.
Are Zebra’s dangerous? This had to be somebody’s pet. Right? Michigan didn’t grow wild Zebras. Here they lived on game preserves and in zoos. Perhaps he was in trouble and sensed I would help. I pulled on my boots, opened the door, and stepped into sixty-degree spring air. A half moon lite the deck of my cottage compliments of Mrs. E.G. Warnhome while I wrote the story of her life.
No Zebra on the deck. As quietly as I could in rubber boots on week-old wood-grain plastic decking, I snuck around to the east window. No Zebra face, but about twenty feet down the private bluff I spied what I assumed was a Zebra’s behind and next to it a lion’s tail.
Was this the end? Was I being summoned to the next ark? Should I grab my purse? What does one take on the final voyage?
Story Pieces are pieces of story ideas floating in my head but are not yet developed. They will appear every few days. If you’d like to read more, please comment.
Moon Lake Murder is available on Amazon. Purchase it before Thursday, September 29, 2016 at an introductory price of .99.
Don’t bother locking your doors. This Foe can find you anywhere.
Monique Collins formed Psychic Pieces to make the world a safer place. Instead, she attracted the attention of a powerful psychic force bent on beating Monique and unleashing havoc on The Village of Moon Lake and The City of South Bend, Indiana. To save the town and Psychic Pieces she must face her foe psychic to psychic. It’s a battle she doubts she can win, but she must try in order to protect the lives of her friends and family.
Horse rustling, murder, betrayal, and magic combine to create a nightmare the whole town experiences.
Take the women from the “Big Valley,” stir with the witches of “Bewitched’, add a little “Ghost and Mrs. Muir” and a dash of “Mr. Ed.” Coat with a modern flair. The women of the Moon Lake Supernatural Cozy Mystery series appear. Something for everyone: Western, Sweet Romance, sharp-shooting amateur detective women sleuths, A Psychic, and Ghosts.
Make sure you read all the way to “THE END.”
“C’mon. Answer the darn phone.” Monique Collins yelled into the phone. “I’ve got life or death information here. How can 911 be busy?”
How long could it take for the dispatcher to answer? She paced across her temporary office in Great Aunt Lois Collin’s old family farmhouse.
Finally, it rang.
“911. What’s your emergency?”
“I need to report a mass shooting.”
“On the new boardwalk in South Bend, Indiana.”
“Ma’am that boardwalk isn’t open yet.”
“I know. The soft opening is in an hour. It will happen shortly after.”
“I don’t know.”
“I don’t know.”
“How do you know?”
“My name is Monique Collins. I am the owner of Psychic Pieces, a network of psychics. We’ve formed an impression. There will be chaos at the opening.”
“Of course, you did. Thanks for your information.”
A dead tone was coming. She could feel it. “Wait, don’t hang up. This is legit.”
“Sure it is. Goodbye.” The phone went dead.
The wood planks under her feet paled with each irritated pace. It was so frustrating. She knew he’d be there. Armed with heavy assault weapons. He intended to kill.
“Ohhhhhh!” Monique threw the phone across the room. It landed on a throw pillow.
“That isn’t going to help, my friend,” Axl, the male half of Moon Lake’s bobcat couple said climbing through the attic window from his perch in the Sycamore tree.
“I know. I’m just frustrated.”
Walking around the chaise, she picked up the phone. “I’ll try the State Police.”
They answered on the second ring.
“Hello, it’s a matter of life and death. I must talk to Captain Brown right now.”
“May I tell him who is calling?”
“Sure. My name is Monique Collins with Psychic Pieces. He’s acquainted with my work.”
“I am sorry ma’am he is unavailable. If you leave your contact information, I’ll have him return your call at his earliest convenience.”
“Inconvenience him. And do it now. This is a matter of life and death.”
“Yes, ma’am. I’ll have him call.” The phone disconnected.
Him calling was as likely as cows flying.
She raked through her long red hair. “Axl, why are people, such idiots?”
Axl hopped onto the chaise and patted her shoulder with his paw. “I’ve been asking myself that same question for years.”
She was already dialing Pete’s boss. What good was a fiancé who worked as a detective if you couldn’t call his boss to stop a massacre? She looked at her watch. Forty-five minutes before the boardwalk launched.
“Hello, this is Monique Collins, Pete Wicks’ fiancée. It is imperative I speak to Captain Zook. Life and death urgent.”
“I am so sorry, Monique, he is in a meeting. I cannot disturb him.”
“Well disturb him anyway. This truly is life and death.”
“I would, but we’ve had a terrible day. Be glad he isn’t taking calls from you or your cousin. Let me put you through to dispatch.”
Her stomach clenched. Somebody on Pete and Link’s detail must have been hurt. Pete and Link were in Idaho. Wonder if it happened there. A cop’s wife. She was going to be a cop’s wife soon. Would she ever get used to wondering if Pete would come home at night?
Can’t think about that right now. She threw down the phone and searched for her purse.
“What do you think you are doing, my friend?”
The cat and his endless questions could be super annoying sometimes.
“What I should have done fifteen minutes ago. I am going to stop that guy from killing a passel of people.”
She pulled her gun from her purse and tucked it into her waistband.
“I didn’t need this drama today. I need to get my act together. The Man and Machine Conference is next weekend. My presentation is a mess.”
Axl wrapped his front paws around her arm. “My friend, don’t go alone.”
Oh, that cat! “Axl, I have to. This is a crazy idea, I know. I don’t want anyone else along if this goes wonkers.”
“It will go wonkers if you go alone. Take me with you.”
An image of people running and some idiot shooting Axl flashed on her mental screen. “No, definitely not. If you go, someone might shoot you on sight for no better reason than to hang you on their wall.”
“Then take Syd and Elle.”
“No, just me. Don’t you dare tell them. Not unless you feel something happens they need to know about. In that case, tell the family before the news broadcasts it. Promise me, Axl.”
Axl rubbed his hind legs together. “I do not like it.”
“Axl, I haven’t got time to argue with you. I need your promise. I need it now.”
The big cat scratched his legs again. “Promise.”
Axl had become her faithful companion since The Menace encounter. She had come to love the large exasperating cat. Ruffling the back of his ears, Monique kissed his nose. “Stay here.”
Before he had time to react, she closed and locked the door, and ran down the stairs out to the car.
Checking her rear-view mirror, Axl had already jumped out the window. He landed on his favorite branch. It wouldn’t be long, and the furry critter would hightail it over to Sydney. But at least she’d have a head start.
I love to post about products that work. KanbanFlow is quickly becoming one of my favorite things. I did my best to stay organized with notes, but sometimes the notes and where I left them got more frustrating than forgetting what I was forgetting. One day in an on-line writer’s group I saw someone thank someone else for a post. It was about the free organizational tool www.Kanbanflow.com. A few other writers commented on how much they loved it, so what the heck, I googled it. Impressive:
- Super intuitive to use. Took me about three minutes to set up.
- Easy to edit.
- List Subtasks and the ability to cross off each subtask. For me, that’s huge.
- Color coding
- The timer allows you to keep track of how much time is spent on various tasks.
- It’s free.
I got a great deal more accomplished this week using the software. For the first time in a long time, I felt in control of all the parts of my life; however, warning, I was pooped Friday night. As in totally done in, sit in the chair, and watch Blue Bloods pooped.
If your feeling overwhelmed, I highly recommend this product and hope it helps you too.
In anticipation of the release of Moon Lake Psychic in April, Moon Lake Menace will be on sale for a limited time. Click here to purchase. Sale starts at 8AM on Friday, March 25th.
Look for the next installment of The Crystal Ballroom in your mail Sunday morning.
Happy a wonderful Easter Weekend! Lucia