Thursday, October 31, 2013

A Baker's Dozen Halloween Treats


Windsong Lake Series, Vol. 2  

Seer - A psychic. Tyro - A beginner. Fiend - A diabolically cruel person.

When a fledgling investigator asks Stefanie Durant to use her psychic ability to find a missing insurance beneficiary, she says “The Ken” (her psychic ability) does not work that way. Yet she cannot stop thinking about the teenaged girl who ran away from home and disappeared on the streets of Chicago ten years before.

Eastern Shore Series, Vol. 3 by Andy Nunez 

A 2005 Gallup poll indicated 32% of Americans believed in Ghosts. Television shows and movies with ghosts are on the increase, but what about Maryland's Eastern Shore? 

Lifelong ... the ghost stories are there!

by Monette Bebow-Reinhard

Even the Cartwrights are seeing Ghosts!

Lincoln's haunted by ghosts of dead soldiers and Hoss is in "love,” what Hop Sing calls an unhealthy obsession. Adam's missing, Joe thinks Ben is dead and Ben follows the trail of a slave's suspicion that Lincoln is a traitor.
Hollis Ball and Sam Westcott Series, Vol. 2

by Helen Chappell

Hollis Ball is back, this time covering the Decoy Jamboree, still smouldering over the light sentence Judge Fish gave a wife-murderer. Then someone bashes Fish on the head with an antique decoy. Hollis is pretty sure it's not suspect #1, so naturally she decides to solve the murder herself, with the help of her dead ex-husband, of course, the charming ghostly Sam.

Travel with Rebecca as she starts her new life in Puritanical New England. How will having the gift of "second sight" affect her in the New Land?  What will happen when cries of, "Witch!" fill the air?

In the wee hours of her wedding day, whispering wakes New York heiress Layne Hamilton. Investigating, Layne finds herself in the darkened hall outside her guest room. Through a closed door, she hears her fiance and maid-of-honor planning her death.

Bethan and Luke go to live with their mother and Count Di Veronses at his stunning villa on the island of Capri, but as soon as they arrive there, they become aware of a ghostly presence. It soon becomes apparent that there is a sinister mystery surrounding the villa and Count Di Veronses. Can Bethan and Luke solve the mystery before it is too late? 

Chef Merle Blanc, he has the nose. And when millionaire Bernard Goldberg dies during his wedding luncheon in the chef's restaurant, Chef Blanc's nose, he smells the murder!

by Lisa Marie Brennan

A classic collection of horror short stories that will keep you on the edge of your chair.

It started as a practical joke, but Hannah turned it into the adventure of a life time. Who drew the portrait of the founder of the first law school in America is a question that has haunted historians for 200 years. With the help of a spirit Hannah discovers the truth and even more about herself!


A mysterious package, originally posted on the Titanic arrives. The sender is long dead and to the recipient, the ring seems a bad omen. Neither the recipient, nor his wife, were aware that his thoughts would ring true, and the strange events and entities that would envelop both his family, and the family of the descendants of the original sender. 

A Collection of Horror Stories for the Holidays

by Marie Prato

Escape into an alternate universe with each horrific tale. Leave the weariness of Christmas shopping, holiday meal planning, cleaning and all the "company" preparations behind in the real world.  

Broken-hearted, New York debutante Christianna Lawrence flees her home and meets a Blackfoot shaman on Montana's high plains. Between them they explore the mystical spirit of the Ghost Dance.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Deadly Brew

Nancy Krommer with her best friend Cindy goes to the fortune teller Ruth to see what the future holds for them. The "witch" tells the girls some disturbing things that she sees in their tea leaves that leaves Nancy's mind reeling. Could this "witch" with the cat eyes really see the future, or was it all just a hoax?

 Halloween Cupcake Treats
(for the family)

Turn purchased or cake-mix cupcakes into fantastic and delicious Halloween fare in just a few easy steps.

  • prep time 60 min
  • total time 60 min
  • ingredients 13
  • servings 24



1      container (16 oz) vanilla frosting
1/4    teaspoon orange food color
(if your pkg does't come with orange, you can use 2 drops each of red and yellow)
24    unfrosted cupcakes (purchased or baked from a mix)  
       DO use the paper baking cups if baking your own.

Spider Webs

1    tube (0.68 oz) black decorating gel (not food color)
8    clean plastic spider finger rings, or licorice spiders if you can find them


2    tablespoons vanilla frosting (from 16-oz container)
8    candy-coated chocolate pieces
1    tube (0.68 oz) black decorating gel (not food color)
1    tube (0.68 oz) red decorating gel (not food color)


1   tube (0.68 oz) black decorating gel (not food color)
8    oval creme-filled peanut butter sandwich cookies
1/4    cup chocolate cookie crumbs
8    candy pumpkins


1 Place 3 tablespoons of the frosting in small bowl; set aside. Stir orange food color into remaining frosting in container until well blended and no streaks remain. Frost cupcakes.
2 To make Spider Web Cupcakes, use black decorating gel to draw spiral covering on top of each frosted cupcake. Drag toothpick through spiral from center out, creating a web. Press 1 spider ring onto each "web."
3 To make Eyeball Cupcakes, drop 1/2 teaspoon vanilla frosting from small bowl onto each frosted cupcake. Lightly press 1 candy-coated chocolate piece in center of each. Use black decorating gel for pupil and red decorating gel to draw red squiggly veins radiating around edge of white frosting.
4 To make Grave Cupcakes, write "epitaphs" on one end of each cookie using black decorating gel. Press cookies into cupcakes to form "gravestones." Sprinkle cookie crumbs around each "gravestone"; add candy pumpkin to one side.
Halloween Cupcake Trio 

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

How to make Characters Scared

   Tabitha Black does not believe in the supernatural even though for decades past her ancestors were gifted with clairvoyance. She does not believe in legends either, because she would rather deal with facts. 

Question from the e-mail: As you know, Arline, I write horror stories. But lately, readers have complained that  the characters don't seem scared enough. Any idea on how to fix that?


I can only tell you what I did once, when faced with the same situation.  I found a moment in my own past when I had felt that emotion and described how I had felt. Okay, I had never been attacked by aliens, but I had been scared when something unexpected happened.

Once I needed to find shock and horror for a character in a story. To do that I remembered a day when I'd taken clothes in off the line, folding them into the basket as I went. When I started to put them away, a snake crawled out from between the towels and landed  at my feet. Worse, he was between me and the door. I am terrified of snakes. Always have been.

I took all the sick, palpitating, screaming horror I felt when I saw thay snake and gave those emotions to the my character. Her palms sweat, here hands shook, the room seemed to come and go. And I used what I had felt, to understand how she would feel when she walked into her own horrifying situation.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Nothing Ever Happens?

Nothing Ever Happens?

Sleepy Sand Bluff hasn't had a murder in twenty years. That's about to change!"

When Jonas McCleary gets the opportunity to join the force in Sand Bluff, he jumps at it. A cushy job in a little town where nothing ever happens.

Nothing ever happens?
In a CM Albrecht novel?   Guess Again!
Author Carl (CM) Albrecht, who has a blog of his own, shares a guest column with us today.
Find Carl's blog here:

Why do I Write?
by C.M. Albrecht

My most recent opus was The Sand Bluff Murders.  Earlier books featured professional detectives and amateur detectives, but I needed something else.  Another little thing that gnawed at me was setting. I had always chosen cities because it's easy. Lots of people and different neighborhoods, etc. But after re-reading a Miss Marple or two and her merry adventures in tiny St. Mary Meade, I started thinking along the lines of writing a mystery set in a small town.
Of course the US doesn't have quaint villages like St. Mary Meade, at least not here in the Wild West where I live. Some of the villages in the east may come closer, but I'm not acquainted with them. 

Then too, I needed a detective. After a lot of soul searching I wound up with Jonas McCleary.  He began to grow on me. I liked him because he was honest. He didn't try to pretend he was more than he was. He only got a job as a detective because he's good at taking written tests (a jibe at all these firms that judge you on a written test, and there are plenty of them).

Once I got that far, things began to fall into place. That doesn't always happen. Over the years I've started work on many a book that just didn't go anyplace. I figured if I can't get interested I sure can't expect to interest anyone else.

As it turned out, I'm happy with the book, and I grew really fond of Jonas. When I wrote the book, and until recently, I had no intention of writing a sequel, but not too long ago another little idea began to take shape, and I visualized Jonas back on the case.  I'm just about at the halfway mark, and things are going along as of right now. With any luck and a little inspiration, I'll have it finished before the end of this year.

My publisher, Arline Chase, suggested readers might be interested in some other information about me, although I'm not quite sure why.  Once I was lucky enough to attend a gathering which featured a number of celebrities as well as other people. One young girl came up to me and asked me if I "was anybody."  I had to smile and tell her no.  I'm still not anybody. I've never dreamed of being famous and wouldn't particularly care for the baggage that comes with fame.  A little money would be nice, but I didn't start writing because I saw it as the road to riches.

Okay, here are a few things I might mention. My favorite character. Hmmmmm....

I've had a lot of favorite characters over the years. Being a mystery fan, I loved Charlie Chan and Sherlock Holmes...later Marlowe, Spade and Archer. As I grew intellectually I moved on to enjoy Lord Peter, M. Poirot and of course Jane Marple. There have been many others, too many to mention, but one of my favorites strikes me as strange because, while he was a character all right, he was not a detective and certainly no hero. 

I'm talking about Arthur Simpson from Eric Ambler's novel, The Light of Day. This was later made into a movie called, "Topkapi", but any similarity between that sorry film and the novel is purely coincidental.

Arthur Simpson is mean, petty, vindictive, a thief, a liar, and a poseur, a peddler of pornography, a cuckold, and a pretender to United Kingdom citizenship. He's also an overweight coward with a serious case of BO. He constantly feels sorry for himself and blames everyone but himself for his problems.

Who could like a guy like that? 

Well, thanks to the artistry of Mr. Ambler, while you start out feeling disgusted that you should be expected to read about such a person, especially with first person narration, you are subtly drawn in and before long, despite Mr. Simpson's lack of character, you begin to sympathize with him, at least a little bit, when you see how everyone takes advantage of his weaknesses of character and uses him to their own advantage.  By the time we get toward the end, you're quietly rooting for this guy and hoping against hope that he'll somehow survive his ordeal. 

I don't think he emerges a better man in the end, but he does manage to hold his own. I'm still not sure I really like him, or ever could like him in real life, but I sure can't forget him. I haven't read the book in many a year, but Arthur Simpson is a guy you'll never forget. 


It was suggested I mention the effect my writing has had on friends and family. That's interesting because, for me at least, this has been a very iffy situation. Being diffident, doubtless more diffident than I should be if I hope ever to sell any books, I'm very reluctant to discuss my writing with others. 

My wife became discouraged long before I did with my efforts and wasted paper and postage.  Up until my first novel, The Little Mornings was accepted, all my efforts had to be printed on paper and mailed to publishers who might or might not return them. Some didn't even reply. Once The Little Mornings was accepted, she felt that now I managed to have a book published I should be satisfied and move on to greener pastures. I admit that in the past I sometimes may have said, "If I could just get one book published, I'd be happy." But I have a feeling publishing is something like getting started on cocaine. Each publication is great for a bit and then you need more.

In her favor however, she's the one who lets everyone know her husband is a published author, and she's also the person who has given away all my personal copies.

One reviewer said something to the effect that in my books I sounded like a hardboiled detective. I'm sure I was influenced by Chandler, Hammett and McDonald, but there have been many other writers who influenced me. Zola, Christie, Sayers, Márquez, Maugham, Dürrenmatt, Hugo, Gaboriau, Ambler, Greene, and...ah there are so many, and not always in the mystery line. I've stayed up many a night sailing the high seas, or spurring my roan across the windswept plains of Nevada, wasting away in freezing dungeons, tilting at windmills, riding out depth charges in a submarine...

I can't pinpoint any one thing, but I'm sure all these writers influenced me to some extent.  Every one offers an adventure, a ride into territory a person might otherwise never experience.
For years, while occupied with other things, trying to raise a family and just trying to cope, I've felt this secret urge nagging at me to write. Like with most writers, I'm sure, I did a lot of bad and pointless writing that went nowhere. Once I felt I had made enough improvement to hope to find a publisher, I began peddling my first novel, The Little Mornings. 

Reception was mixed, but not promising. Agents didn't appear to be interested unless I was willing to pay them to peddle my book. The Big Guys wouldn't even look at my book unless it was submitted by a registered and licensed card-carrying agent. Many wanted me to pay them to publish or at least share publishing costs.

Finally I found a publisher and at last, I was a published author. That, theoretically, was supposed to be the end of the story. But somehow, before too long another book came along and then a third and so on. The Morgenstern Murders will be my eleventh. 

Jonas McCleary is back in a new role as private detective. The book explains what happened in Sand Bluff and why he lost his job and moved the City.

There's more back story too, as we meet his irascible and self-reliant mother who would give anybody an inferiority complex and follow up on his marriage, Yodaspeak and little Annie.
Things don't look too good until Jonas gets a client and a check for a $5 dollar retainer. 
Maybe he'll accomplish something after all.

Watch for The Morgenstern Murders coming soon from Write Words, Inc. and Amazon, etc.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Catching UP!

Books that went to press or back to press this week:

WHILE I DANCED, by Lynn Slaughter
   A nerve-wracking audition for a summer ballet workshop reminds fifteen-year-old Cass how much she wishes her mom hadn’t died so young.  

A  GHOST OF BROTHER JONATHAN'S: Shannon Delaney Paranormal Mystery Series, Vol. 6, by Elizabeth Eagan-Cox
    A GHOST OF BROTHER JONATHAN’S takes Shannon Delaney on a cold-case quest to investigate a mystery surrounding one of California’s legendary shipwrecks… of 150 years ago.

MAREK'S GIFT: The Moretti Men Series, Vol. 2, by Anna Dynowski
Marek Moretti is a fast-moving undercover RCMP agent. Wounded in the line of duty, the last thing he needs is six months of playing cowboy on his father’s farm with a feisty nurse to look after him. Another classic Christian romance by Anna Dynowski.”

SOLID OIL, by Russell Hunter
    The rainforest’s secret is known to a very few. But each is perfectly placed to profit from it. The secret is lithium—sometimes described as the oil of the 21st century—and the knowledge of it has spawned a crime cabal led by Vietnamese gangster-turned-investor Johnny Ho and including a diverse cast of fellow crooks.  

Galleys that went out, or went out again, this week:
   A Snug Life Somewhere is about Penny Joe Copper, daughter of a roustabout shingle weaver, who is caught up in a 1916 union tragedy known as the Everett Massacre. Her brother Horace is killed, as is the cousin of a radical organizer, Gabe. When her love affair with Marcel, a music student seven years her junior, is thwarted, Penny Jo is pulled into Gabe’s campaign to avenge the “Everett Martyrs.”

Work continued or began on the following

 LIVING THE CALL, by Barbara Garro
By listening and answering God's call to serve...consider being a lifeboat and keeping people afloat. Hold out a ladder to raise people up. We are all God has to serve Him on our planet. Do you believe that? Or are you thinking God can do everything Himself?

VENDETTA, by Ian Welch
Ethan is alone and destitute on the other side of the world. His Dad is murdered, their business fails, his Mum unable to cope takes her own life. This is too much of a coincidence, rumors indicate one man is responsible. Ethan learns the truth, but what can he do? He is dealing with a powerful adversary, a man who will stop at nothing to achieve his goals. 

TOBY MARTIN: State Fair Security, Vol. 5, by Barbara Grengs
   The only event interrupting the summer blahs for Toby Martin, girl detective, and Freddy Galvin, boy foil, is the Great Minnesota Get-Together: the one, the only, the Minnesota State Fair!

BLEEDING HEARTS: Killian Kendal Mystery Series, Vol. 1
   Winner of the Stonewall Society's 2002 Pride in the Arts Literary Award in the Whodunit Category!

REAP THE WHIRLWIND: Killian Kendall Mystery Series, Vol. 2,  by Josh Aterovis.
   Suicide, or murder? That's the question in the second Killian Kendall mystery. Will Smith suspects murder when an old childhood pal drowns, and asks his friend Killian for help in solving the mystery.

LIVING THE CALL, by Barbara Garro
By listening and answering God's call to serve...consider being a lifeboat and keeping people afloat. Hold out a ladder to raise people up. We are all God has to serve Him on our planet. Do you believe that? Or are you thinking God can do everything Himself?

MOONLIT BAY, by Elena D. Bowman
  A Paranormal Mystery Novel.

A STORY BOOK, by Elena D. Bowman 
   This is a sample of literary short stories from an author who already has several books with us. The theme of the collection is a writer’s connection with the creator.