#NewRelease – Cold Dark Night @JoanHallWrites #Suspense #Mystery

I am super excited about the new release from my fellow Story Empire writer, Joan Hall! I can’t wait to read this one as I loved the prequel! But I’ll let Joan tell you about it.

Thank you, Jan. I’m excited to be here to talk about my newest release. Cold Dark Night is the first novel of my Legends of Madeira series. Each book begins with a historical event that ties to modern-day. Today I’m going to talk about the musical inspiration behind the book.

I like silence when I’m writing, but music often inspires me to write. Cold Dark Night was partially inspired by a song. Growing up in a music-loving family with a brother twelve years my senior made me appreciate the song of the sixties as much as (maybe more) than those of “my time,” the 1970s.

One of the albums my brother often listened to was The Band’s first solo album, Music From Big Pink. Among the songs that stood out for me was “Long Black Veil.” The idea of someone singing from the grave about his own death intrigued me. First recorded in 1959 by Lefty Frizzell, several artists have recorded the song, but The Band’s version has always been my favorite.

“Long Black Veil” inspired the opening chapters of Cold Dark Night. The circumstances between my character Adam McLaury and the person in the song differ somewhat, but those familiar with the words will recognize some similarities.

In the following passage, Lillian McLaury visits her husband in jail. He’s awaiting execution for murdering a man on the streets of Madeira.


“I’m not sure I even want to live if you’re gone.” Lillian hung her head.

“Don’t talk like that. Isaac needs you. So does our unborn baby. You’re still young. Much too young to pine away. Someday you might meet someone else. If you do, it’s okay. And one day, in another life, we’ll be together again.”

She straightened, then wiped the tears from her eyes. “You believe that?”

“Of course, I do. I’m prepared to die. I can go to my grave with a clear conscience, knowing I’ve done nothing wrong. There’s one other thing I ask of you.”

“What is it?”

“Find the person responsible. See to it justice is served.”

“I promise to do everything I can.”

“That’s all I ask. And don’t give up. I’m still holding out for a miracle.”

But three days later, Sheriff Bass walked Adam to the gallows to die for the murder of William Skinner.

At the bottom of the steps, Ethan stopped. Scrubbed a hand over his face. “I’m sorry, Adam. I truly hoped someone would come forth with evidence implicating the real killer. I know you’re innocent. Don’t need proof, but—”

“You were doing your job. I understand.”

The hangman stood at the top of the gallows. His no-nonsense demeanor had been the subject of several conversations among Madeira’s residents. Many of them thought him to be unfriendly. He motioned toward the crowd. “Come along, Sheriff. Can’t keep these good folks waiting. It’s time to get this over with.”

“Then, you do it. I did my job bringing him here. I’ll have no further part in it. I believe this man is innocent, and I’m washing my hands of his blood.”

And Pontius Pilate said similar words when he handed Jesus over to be crucified.

Adam nodded to his executioner as he ascended the steps on his own. Divine intervention hadn’t come. His knees buckled as he looked at the rope that would soon be placed around his neck.

Reverend Potts, the local minister, rushed to his side to steady him. Compassion shown in the older man’s eyes.

The hangman showed no sympathy. He took Adam by the arm, led him behind the noose, then placed it loosely around his neck.

Adam scanned the crowd. Entire families had turned out for the event. Some sat together in buggies, while others stood on the courthouse lawn. Children laughed and played, as if blissfully aware of what was about to happen. One small girl peered around her mother’s skirts, her eyes wide. A teenage boy peddled refreshments.

Why would anyone allow a small child to see something like this? There had been hangings in Madeira before, none of which he’d cared to attend. He wouldn’t bring his wife, much less his son. But many people acted as if hangings were a source of entertainment.

At last, he saw Lillian. She stood near the back, ramrod straight, not shedding any tears. Maybe she’d cried all she could cry. Perhaps she’d taken his advice to be strong.

The crowd began to sing “Amazing Grace.” When the song ended, Reverend Potts asked, “Do you have any last requests?”

“Look after Lillian, will you?”

The older man nodded. “Of course, my son.”

Adam met Lillian’s eyes again as she mouthed the words, “I love you.”

Her face was the last thing he saw before the hangman pulled the hood over his face. He would go to eternity confident in Lillian’s unwavering love for him.


Thanks again for hosting me, Jan. Cold Dark Night is available on Amazon. It’s on sale for .99 through June 15. After that, the price goes to $3.99, so this is a good time for readers to grab a copy.


New husband, new house, new town… and a new mystery to solve.

Tami Montgomery thought her police chief husband was going to be the only investigator in the family when she gave up her journalism career and moved with him to Madeira, New Mexico.

But after the historical society asks her to write stories for a book celebrating the town’s history, she becomes embroiled in a new mystery. If she can’t solve this one, she could lose everything. Her research uncovers a spate of untimely deaths of local law enforcement officials. Further digging reveals a common link—they all lived in the house she and Jason now share.

Tami isn’t a superstitious person, but the circumstances are too similar for coincidence. Then she unearths an even more disturbing pattern. And if history repeats itself, her husband will be the next to die.

Purchase Link: https://www.amazon.com/Cold-Dark-Night-Legends-Madeira-ebook/dp/B0968CXZQ9

Connect with Joan:

Website  |  Blog  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |   Bookbub  |  Goodreads  |  Instagram

65 thoughts on “#NewRelease – Cold Dark Night @JoanHallWrites #Suspense #Mystery

  1. Thank you, Debby! I hope you enjoy the book. I know what you mean about regular reading. I’m trying to fit as many books as possible in before I start a new project. It’s hard to do both at the same time.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I enjoyed this post and the excerpt. I can’t wait til I can get back to ‘regular’ reading. I just grabbed a copy of Joan’s new book, and I’m looking forward to reading the first book in the series to get me started. Congrats Joan! ❤

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Hi Jan, Hi Joan,
    I am smiling because I have already purchased the book after meeting Joan on Gwen Plano’s websit. I do look forward to reading it.
    Thanks, Jan for hosting Joan.
    Joan, I wish you all the best on your book tour.
    Shalom aleichem

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Long Black Veil is the perfect song for your story, Joan. This is an intense excerpt, even after reading the book. A great read, and can’t wait to continue the journey.
    Thanks for hosting, Jan:)

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Love this discussion about the affect of music on writing. I had to pause and think. I find music distracting but you’re right–it does inspire my writing in much the way it did you. The book sounds great, Joan.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I need silence when writing, otherwise I’ll focus on the words of the song instead of what I need to write. But if I get stuck, I’ll turn to music for inspiration or relaxation. Thanks so much for visiting today, Jacqui!

      Liked by 2 people

  6. Great to see Joan here today, Jan. I’ve missed parts of this tour, but am catching. However, I’m halfway through Cold Dark Night, so I’m not reading the excerpt this time, in case of spoilers. Joan, I am LOVING this book, and all the characters so far. Still wishing you huge success with the blog tour and loads of sales!

    Great post, you two! 🤗💗

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I never heard that song until you mentioned it when you wrote that story. It sticks with you, so I can see how it inspired your short story, which I really liked. I’m glad you turned it into House of Sorrow, which I thoroughly enjoyed. And I loved Cold Dark Night. There’s no doubt in my mind this is going to be a wonderful series. Wishing you all the best with it.

    Thanks for hosting today, Jan.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It is my pleasure, Joan! I thought it might be fun to include the video link so folks who are not familiar with the haunting song could listen. I hope you get LOTS of sales!!! Hugs!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Great catalyst for a story, Joan. I can see how that music evoked so much for you. The atmosphere and events of the 60s really came through in House of Sorrow, and I look forward to reading Cold Dark Night. Wishing you all the best with this series and latest release 🙂

    Mae, thanks for sharing 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you for stopping by and leaving a comment today, Harmony. I agree with you that Joan’s depiction of the 60s really came through in the House of Sorrow. I look forward to reading Cold Dark Night!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I was smitten with the song Long Black Veil the first time I heard it, although I didn’t discover it until about ten years ago. It’s an excellent song and a great catalyst for a story.
    I’ve read Cold Dark Night and was riveted from start to finish. Joan spins intriguing mysteries in both past and present with her newest release, and I highly recommend it.
    Congratulations to Joan and many thanks for hosting, Jan!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. It is my pleasure to host, Mae, and thank you for throwing in your recommendation of the book! I look forward to reading it! And glad you liked “The Long Black Veil.” I cannot remember the first time I ever heard it, but I think it was a Johnny Cash version. Thank you for stopping by!

      Liked by 2 people

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