Today will be a little different than my regular Friday posts. Comments are closed as I am traveling south to Seguin, Texas for their annual Pecan Festival where I will set up with my books. It’s a five-hour drive, and I won’t have great internet access.
However, I am also at Story Empire today with another blog post on book marketing. I’d be honored if you’d hop over and take a look. Have you ever had any luck getting your books into a bookstore?
Secondly, I was a guest on the Fresh Ink Group podcast this past Wednesday, and we had so much fun. Beem Weeks and Stephen Geez are great hosts! We even played some of Rick’s music. I hope you will take a minute to listen to the replay!
Thirdly, I will be back next Friday with an interesting conundrum about mushrooms. 🙂
I am super happy to bring you a brand new book release from my longtime friend and fellow Story Empire contributor, D.L. Finn! Not only is she a poet extraordinaire, but a fabulous children’s story and novel author.
I will be sharing my review of this wonderful story a little later this month. But for now, I’ll turn it over to D.L. and let her tell you about her newest book release.
Do you believe in ghosts? The possibility that there are some souls who just haven’t moved on because they have some unfinished business, or perhaps they just want to hang around and make sure everyone is okay?
Unfortunately, most of us can’t sit down and talk with these lingering spirits, but they do have ways to let us know they are here with us. They might move stuff around, a song that had meaning to you comes on, or you feel the spirit there next to you. There is that unmistakable cold spot they bring with them, and visitations in dreams. The most important message that often comes through is they want you to know they are there with you and they love you.
Then there are those who are gifted, like mediums. They can pass a vague message along to you from the other side. But what if you could directly communicate with your loved one? Would it be a normal conversation like you used to have with them, or would it be something different since they have changed? This communication ends up much like traveling to a different country where they speak a language you are unfamiliar with. The other side seems to have a language of its own.
So getting a message from the spiritual realm might take a bit of translating. Or at least that’s what Drea is about to learn from some very unlikely translators in A Voice in the Silence.
Fun Finn Facts
After sitting at the desk writing, I need to exercise by walking in the forest or doing my stretches.
Our dog Sara, and either my kitties Rupert or Zuzu, are my computer companions.
Drea Burr has experienced more than her share of loss when a stray dog, cat, and rat enter her life. Although the animals start to mend her broken heart, there is something very unusual about them. During a snowstorm, Drea discovers a chilling set of footprints leading to her front window. Both the police and a ghostly messenger warn her about a killer stalking widows. Help comes from her late husband’s best friend, Adam Hale. As the two try to discover answers, more questions arise— about a killer, ghosts, and animals experimented on in a lab.
Can Drea and Adam survive the threats coming from so many directions and save themselves and the animals they’ve grown to love? Or will more tragedy destroy her second chance at happiness? Find out in this thrilling, cozy paranormal adventure.
The fading day’s dull orange glow filled the void in Drea’s attention usually occupied by the TV and computer. The landscape held no movement, not even the expected high winds that had caused her power to be shut off to prevent forest fires. A surge shot through her body in the same uncomfortable fashion that the flu had done last week. But it wasn’t a virus relapse—it was a warning that someone, or something, was watching her.
Perhaps it was a wild animal. A deer, or even . . . “Rob, is that you?” She held her breath, waiting for a sign. Finally, she blew out the empty hope when she couldn’t keep it in anymore. Two years of this had worn her down.
The cold gun on her lap offered no protection against the dark thoughts that took her to a place that was getting harder to climb out of. She pulled her sweater tightly around her and scrutinized the tree-lined driveway that led to the curvy country road. She shifted her weight in the yellow-and-white lounge chair and studied the weapon in her hand.
“You understand, don’t you?”
The .45 pistol her husband had bought her for protection ten years ago had become her confidant when she tired of talking to ghosts. Today, though, it carried the heavy weight of her existence.
“It’s too much. Just too much loss. I’m so alone, and to top it off, Robbie’s so far away.” Her throat tightened. She sipped some water and took a deep breath. “I must disappoint you, even thinking about using this gun on myself, Rob. It would devastate Robbie if I—”
Drea’s shoulders slumped, and her head followed when her glance caught a prominent headline in the morning paper she had retrieved from the end of the driveway. An unidentified woman’s body had been found, and a killer was on the loose. She used the gun to cover the fearful headline, even though her chances of being murdered by a serial killer were slim to none.
She shook her head. What she needed to focus on was her relationship with her son. They used to be so close, before he met that woman. Now he barely called his mother to check on her after his father died or when her beloved pets passed. This morning had brought an unwelcome text from him.
Tammy isn’t feeling well. It wouldn’t be a good time to visit right now. Sorry, Mom. I’ll talk to you soon. Love you.
“I hope he wakes up someday, Rob. That woman is toxic. Of course, you saw through her the first time you met her. I should have listened to you. Do you hear that, Rob? It’s me admitting I’m wrong, which we both know hardly ever happens.”
D. L. Finn is an independent California local who encourages everyone to embrace their inner child. She was born and raised in the foggy Bay Area, but in 1990 she relocated with her husband, kids, dogs, and cats to Nevada City, in the Sierra foothills. She immersed herself in reading all types of books but especially loved romance, horror, and fantasy. She always treasured creating her own reality on paper. Finally, surrounded by towering pines, oaks, and cedars, her creativity was nurtured until it bloomed. Her creations include adult fiction, poetry, a unique autobiography, and children’s books. She continues on her adventure with an open invitation to all readers to join her.
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.