THE GIRL IN BLACK by Kathy Lauren Miller – A REVIEW

“The Girl in Black” by Kathy Lauren Miller is a hauntingly taut murder mystery as well as an awesome page-turner! The mystery begins with high school senior, Kate Mckenna who happens to live in an old Victorian manor that is also the Mckenna Memorial Funeral Home. Her father, Dr. Brendan Mckenna, happens to be the county’s Chief Medical Examiner. Shy Kate, whose social life as always been nearly non-existent until she is thrust into the limelight when the promiscuous prom queen, Ashley is found tortured and murdered.

Accusations run rampant in Kate’s High School concerning several male students that were involved with Ashley. To make matters worse, Ashley’s remains now reside at the funeral home where Kate lives. Kate and her best friend Cooper, a computer nerd, and Kate’s unattainable heartthrob, handsome Shane, all become involved in Ashley’s murder. Suddenly, Kate finds herself in the cross hairs of the sadistic killer and the vengeful ghost of Ashley, the murdered prom queen. What happens next is beyond Kate’s worse nightmare. The Girl in Black is a fascinating and terrifying murder mystery that will keep you guessing until the end. I highly recommend this book. (less)

A Short, Short Story, Fire in the Sky or The Black Bear and Me!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It happened in a small farming community in the northwestern part of Connecticut that also included a large forest preserve and a once glacial river, now a bubbling brook, a lake, and a spring-fed pond. The community’s roots began in 1680, as The Salmon Brook Settlement that was also home to Native Americans like the Tunix, the Massaco, and the Mohican.

It was a perfect summer day. The morning was cool and the sky was a brilliant Periwinkle blue. The deep, dense forest was a monolith of wonder for elementary school age kids.  The ancient woods that the Salmon Brook flowed through provided the Native Americans with all kinds of fish, fowl, and river animals, like beavers.

Evidence of their inhabitation lingers still in the form of arrowheads, pathways, in meadows that were once crop producing fields, where they grew tobacco, beans, squash, and corn, as well as middens of shells like clams, mussels  and we often searched these for artifacts.  There were plenty of bones to find too, mostly animal, but sometimes, human bones that would be exposed as they washed up on the rocky river banks.

On this beautiful summer morning, a small band of kids, having traversed deeply into the forest, smelled smoke and considered it might be a fisherman on the river, frying up fish at the nearby lake.  At first, they weren’t considered about the smell  of smoke. The smoke was coming from some distance away.

It happened suddenly, when the leader, looked up and saw fire and one of the other children, yelled out, “FIRE!”  All heads turned to the leader of the group, who stood mesmerized by the yellow-orange fingers of flame surrounding a giant oak tree, that suddenly became  engulfed in flames that nearly reached the sky. The forest fire was closing in around them, silently sneaking up on them, until it roared like a lion.  The fire then leapt among the tree tops, high into the sky, turning the blue sky into a purple twilight, billowing with smoke and fire.

Like deer, caught in the headlights of an on-coming car, they frozen in fear, initially.  Then they ran, following their leader to an old wagon wheel road where giant, thick oaks lined the road, that was little more, now, than a pathway.  They ran and out of the corner of their eyes they watched the fire exploded into the giant oaks behind them. As they ran, animals of all kinds joined in their fierce need to escape the flames that were now, 40, 50, 60, 100 feet in the air and animals ran alongside of the five children.  The leader, shocked  to find a black bear keeping pace at her side, just kept running. Wild Turkeys, Foxes, Porcupines, Skunks, Woodchucks, ran with the humans, side by side on the narrow path, until the path widened as they reached an open field and ahead of them was Canton road and fire trucks with long hoses and a helicopter flew overhead. The parents of the children were kept back by officers and firemen.

The children emerged, blackened with smoke, wild-eyed with fear, and the animals took off in different directions, some crossing the road to the other side were safety could be found, unmindful of the crowd gathered on Canton Road. The children, now at the point of exhaustion, collapsed into their parent’s arms as the firefighters dosed them with cool, clear water.

This was a day the five children would never forget. The one thing I remember clearly, is the black bear running by my side. I remember we looked at each other, the black bear and I—with a look that was full of wonder and hope. I was eleven years old.

In Honor of Horror Fiction: More & More & More Tales to Give You Goosebumps

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Yeah, We’re Talking About R.L. Stine By: Zachary Petit Something about R.L. Stine freaks me out. It’s not that he acts nothing like you might assume, though he is wearing all black. He’s funny and charming, and his amiable character throws kids off on school visits: “They expect someone with fangs, wearing a cape,” he says.

It’s not that nobody calls him “R.L.” except book jackets. (He goes by Bob.)  Its not even that he has written some 300–400 books (!), and has sold more than 350 million in his Goosebumps series alone, making him at one point the bestselling children’s series author of all time. (He’s now No. 2, right behind J.K. Rowling.)

No, it’s how he writes the things that freaks me out: He begins with the titles.“That’s the inspiration!” he says with a laugh. “You want to know where ideas come from—for me, they come from the title.”

For instance, he was walking his dog around New York City, and he thought, Little Shop of Hamsters. It just popped into his head. He liked it, so he came up with a story to bring it to life—What can I do to make hamsters scary? OK, a boy goes into a strange pet shop. It’s all hamsters, and there’s something wrong with one of them …

“Most authors I know work backwards,” he says. “I can’t do it.” So, I decide to conduct an experiment: I’m going to be like Stine. I’m going to work backward, and I’m not going to write a word of my article about him until I’ve got the perfect title, one I can build a story around. Simple enough for a little profile, right? And without knowing it, I’ve fallen into the trap of R.L. Stine, the trap of writing for kids, maybe the trap of writing anything: It all looked so damn easy.

 

 

A Blank Page

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Jumping into the unknown fathoms of starting a new novel this week has left me beginning to panic!The image above exactly represents how I feel when starting a new novel. I write down the concept in a special notebook for each new concept for a new novel. Except this time, I don’t have a title, per se.  So, when beginning a new novel, I often make up things I need to do first. For instance,  like reading the news, old magazines, walking, shopping, and trying not to panic by doing yoga or crocheting. Yes, I do crocheting and I almost have a blanket now.  After a while, I run out of excuses, take a few deep breaths and jump into a fathomless pit of indecision. Suddenly, the squeaky mouse, turns into a brave tiger and an hour later – viola – I have 10 pages written, that need lots of editing and maybe tossed in the wastepaper basket before the day is over, but it is a beginning!

So, other writers, what is your experience when facing a brand new blank page?

 

 

BLOG TOUR FOR CHARLES F. FRENCH

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It is my pleasure and honor to introduce to you my good friend and fellow blogger, Charles F. French. As a professor of literature, he shares with his readers his extensive knowledge and his love of reading, writing and learning, especially Socrates, but it doesn’t stop there. As a mentor, his love of Shakespeare, Stephan King and many other great writers make his daily posts unique and also presents to his readers a teachable moment, something his fellow bloggers look forward to.
It is my great pleasure to host the seventh day of Dr. French’s blog tour, for his new book, Maledicus:  The Investigative Paranormal Society, Book I. Today, I will be conducting an interview with Charles F. French’s intriguing main character, Theodore Roosevelt Franklin.  At the end of the  interview with Mr. Franklin,  there will be a short excerpt from the novel, featuring Maledicus.
Interview with Theodore Roosevelt Franklin
Karen: Hello, Mr. Franklin. I would like to welcome you to this interview and thank you for being willing to answer my questions.
Roosevelt: You are very welcome, and thank you for hosting me.
Karen: And you are welcome. I noticed that you were in the military; would you please tell us something about that experience?
Roosevelt: Certainly. I served in the United States Marine Corps just after finishing my Bachelor’s degree. I came from an upper-class and very wealthy family, and it would have been very easy to manipulate a deferment to keep me from that service. I despise such usage of wealth, and I saw it as eminently unfair that others not born to the same privilege as me should have to go if drafted. I also have as one of my life heroes Theodore Roosevelt—quite a coincidence with the name, is it not?  My parents had an interesting sense of humor. But I am going off topic.  I enlisted and was given the rank of 2nd Lieutenant.I had two tour of duty in Vietnam, and I saw a fair amount of combat, including the Tet Offensive. What I saw also convinced me that war should be the last choice for humanity and never the main option of solving conflicts. It was horrible, and I will refrain from speaking about it in detail here.I did, however, form two lasting and long friends from that terrible conflict—Samuel, who is part of The Investigative Paranormal Society and George Bruno, who is now a Catholic priest.
Karen: What did you do after your time in the Marine Corps?
Roosevelt: I returned to the academic world and concentrated on my graduate studies. I earned an M.A. and Ph.D. in history and then became a professor at Bethberg University. I taught there for almost 30 years before retiring, and I can say that I am very lucky to have had a career that I loved. I especially loved teaching, much more than the required research.
Karen: Do you mind if I change the direction of this interview a bit?
Roosevelt: Certainly, you may.
Karen: What would you consider the happiest moment in your life?
Roosevelt: That is an easy question to answer—the day I married my wife Sarah. I had never been married before, but it was love at first sight for us, and I did not think it was possible before. But from the moment we met, I knew I loved her and wanted to marry her. We met in a bookstore, and I have never been happier than when we married.
Karen: And your saddest experience?
Roosevelt: Unfortunately, that, too, is a question with a ready answer. My beloved Sarah died of cancer only a few years ago. I would rather not say much about it, only that I did not think I would survive her loss.
Karen: If I may, and if this is too personal, please feel free not to answer: I see you still wear your wedding ring. Why do you do that?
Roosevelt: I do not mind your question—I will always be married to her, and there will never be another woman in my life. I will wear this ring into my grave.
Karen: Thank you for your openness. Now, for my final question: why did you help found a paranormal investigation group?
Roosevelt: My two closest friends are Samuel and Jeremy, and like me, they have lost loved ones to death. We are all retired, and we want to know—is there life after death? We have the time, and the resources, so we decided to see if we could get some answers for ourselves and not simply wait for our deaths to find out. We hope to be able to investigate this mystery of life and death.
Karen: Thank you so much for your time and patience.
Roosevelt: Not at all. You are very courteous.  I appreciate your questions.
MALEDICUS
An Excerpt from the Novel
Chapter 28 The In Between – December 13th
“Ohhhh, this is delightful! These old fools and their meddling friends will add to the dish of the woman and child. I will taste each of them separately, and it will be a delicious feast! The old men and their helpers will be the appetizer, and the woman and child the main course!”
Maledicus’ form undulated in the murky darkness, his shape ever changing and growing, as he looked more and more like THEY. After all, he was formed in THEY’s image. The image of his victims’ faces pulsed against his form, all showing their torment, trapped in the hell of his being.
Each will feed me with their pain and fear.
I will have their souls.
I will continue to grow stronger!

ebook       Print book     Maledicus:Investigative Paranormal Society Book I

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THE MAN OF INIQUITY

Warrior AngelThe followers of the madness of a man have lost their way by hate and fear. They do not know the iniquity they follow.  He plays the game with ill intent to ruinous ways he leads all, when the good and the brave fail to act. So, fear not brave souls. A man wants us to be afraid, so do not be afraid. Stand up and say the truth loud and clear! The darkness always vanishes in the light of day.

Sara and the Shark

Dark Mermaid 331da5c79500e461b15c45e07d3865e1Sara Windsor was 12-years-old and living in Florida on the beautiful Gulf coast, when her mother and grandmother took her and her siblings to the “Jetties” at Indian Pass to swim. It was a popular place for locals but not well-known for tourists. The Jetties are breakers made of huge boulders that, like a pier, one can tie a boat up to.

It wasn’t the sunniest of days to go swimming, the August sky was covered with gray clouds and the sea was rolling with drab green humps like whales coming to shore, a telling sign that in the far distance there had been a big storm churning up the waters.

Sara was a natural mermaid. Anyone would think she had a tail, as she swam out farther than anyone else. Like a dolphin, Sara moved with grace and agility.  She could stay underwater for minutes at a time, never really wanting to come up for air. When Sara did surface from the drab green rolling waves, she noticed that no one was in the water.

Everyone had lined up, single file on the beach like statues, and her mother was on her knees. No one made a sound – there was dead silence. Sara sensed something was terribly wrong. She turned to look behind her as a huge rolling wave broke and she saw an immense gray white form break through the wave. Sara always stayed vertical in the water when not swimming or diving to the bottom, like any smart mermaid would do, and she had such buoyancy that she needed no movement to stay afloat.

Sara watched with awe, not fear, this amazing creature as it began a large slow circle around her and she silently watched as the shark encircled her. She understood innately, like any fish would know, the danger movement would bring. She allowed the waves to bring her to closer to shore, with the incoming tide. Sara watched the next circle of the great white shark as it drew closer and closer to her. Sara knew she had only one more circle before the Great White had her in its huge jaws. She was close enough to the shark to see its eyes were dark blue orbs that appeared not to see her.

Sara made the decision that it was now or never to learn to fly. She forced herself upward, out of the water like a flying fish and landed at the shore’s edge. The great white was nipping at her heels as she ran up the slope of sand to safety. The Great White, never one to give up easily, beached itself to get what it thought was a young tasty seal. Sara watched the immense shark wiggle back into deeper water, yet it still chased her scent along the shoreline turning back and forth.

Sara wonders to this day the gift of silence from the beach goers and that no one tried to help her, a blessing in disguise. If they had, they would have brought the great white closer to shore and blocked her escape. The ocean that day was also protecting her as it rolled in with the tide. If the tide had been going out, Sara would have had no chance to survive at all.  Sara believed her guardian angel was with her that day.