The Keeper’s House #WIPWednesday

Hey, everyone. Time for another WIP Wednesday. A couple of weeks ago, I posted about Macabre Sanctuary, an anthology published by AIW Press. I wrote The Keeper’s House for inclusion in that collection. Today, I’ll tell you the story behind the story.

Rain fell steadily on an April night in Deep East Texas. We’d had a long, but pleasant day with our friends, whom I’ll call Bill and Diane. We visited with Bill’s aunt and uncle and were on our way home.

My husband John and I sat in the backseat. It was late—around eleven, but I was wide awake.

Houses were scattered along the rural highway. After a while, we passed a driveway with a row of mailboxes near the road. A man stood beside them. Given the weather, it was no surprise he wore a raincoat. What was unusual was the fact he had a wooden leg.

I recalled a wooden-legged man who lived in my hometown when I was a child. Seeing this man at the mailboxes seemed strange. It was the 1990s and technology had advanced to where prosthetic limbs were more sophisticated.

It took a while for me to gather my thoughts, but after a couple of minutes, I asked the others, “Did anyone see that man with the wooden leg?”

“I didn’t.” John was quick to reply.

“Me either,” said Diane.

Bill spoke up. “Yes. He was standing by a row of mailboxes wearing a raincoat.”

John and Diane scoffed at us and hinted that we might have had a bit too much of Uncle Buster’s homemade wine. (I swear I didn’t drink any.) I made no mention of the mailboxes or raincoat, so Bill’s reply confirmed I wasn’t hallucinating.

The Keeper’s House has a character with a wooden leg. But is he a real person or a ghost?


Andrew Tuttle, March 1, 1821 – October 29, 1870

Lucretia Haslet Tuttle, July 8, 1846 – October 18, 1870

“Guess you know a lot about this place.” Lauren pointed toward Andrew Tuttle’s grave. “Was he the first lighthouse keeper?”

“Yes. An ancestor of mine. Lucretia was his wife.”

“What happened to them? They died so close together.”

“She died in childbirth. The story goes that Andrew’s grief was so great, he neglected his duties. Every night he’d walk to the cliff beside the lighthouse. One night he threw himself over.”

A bit of trivia. The character name Tuttle came from an early episode of the television series MASH. Hawkeye had an imaginary friend named Tuttle.

I join with nine other authors in this collection of thrills, chills, and superstitions.

You can get a copy free by clicking this universal link. Why not grab one, then sit back and enjoy? But beware of things that go bump in the night.

The Blue Moon Murders #WIPWednesday

Story ideas sometimes come in the most unusual ways and often at the strangest times. On a late July afternoon in 2015, I was driving home from work. I remembered a blue moon would occur that month.

A blue moon happens when there is more than one full moon in a calendar month. (Some definitions support the idea that a blue moon is the fourth full moon of a season.)

In case you don’t already know, I’m fascinated by full moons. My creative mind began churning. I imagined a young woman, Erin, whose next-door neighbor, Russell, was a Native American artist who specialized in making pottery.

Someone is murdered on the night of a blue moon, Russell is falsely accused, and the Erin sets about trying to prove his innocence. Throw in an attractive male to help in the quest (and in whom Erin has a romantic interest) a faithful dog, and you have the makings of a romantic suspense story.

Fast forward to the spring of 2016 when I had the opportunity to take part in an anthology of westerns. The only prerequisite was the story had to take place in the American West. I knew it was a perfect opportunity for my idea.

I thought, “What if a series of murders occurred? Each happened on the night of a blue moon.” When I began to research, I came upon a legend related to the rare lunar event.

“When one family member dies, three more will follow.”


Time running out. Blood will be spilled.

“The blood moon. He isn’t going to wait until the next blue moon.”


Erin parked near the road and turned off her headlights. Got out of the car and closed the door quietly. She walked softly toward the house and tried to stay in the shadows. The moon was now in full eclipse and looked blood red. An eerie silence surrounded her. More than once, she looked over her shoulder and wanted to run back to the car, but there was no turning back. Kate’s life was in danger.

The Blue Moon Murders is a part of the anthology Unshod published by AIW Press. Nine female authors took part in this collection and best of all it’s free! You can download a copy by clicking this link.

Oh, and beware. The next blue moon is on October 31, 2020. Halloween, a full moon, and a blue one to boot? The possibilities are endless!

Macabre Sanctuary #WIPWednesday

Hey, everyone. It’s October. A time ghosts, goblins, werewolves, vampires, and just about any other creature you can imagine. Halloween is only a few weeks away, so what time to read some spooky stories?

I’ve contributed in several anthologies with other authors. Macabre Sanctuary is a collection of ten short stories published by AIW Press in 2016. Here’s the blurb:

Thrills. Chills. Shadows and superstitions. Things that go bump in the night. Macabre Sanctuary boasts suspenseful fiction designed to elicit goosebumps and raise heart rates.

  • Learn the lore of a haunted island.
  • Grapple with the undead while robbing graves Halloween night.
  • Endure a hazing ritual unlike any other.
  • Deal with a demon at an All Souls’ Day celebration.
  • See what happens when you court death in the wild.
  • Battle zombies and cannibals in a quest to stay alive.
  • Travel back in time to witness the birth of true evil.
  • Fear prophetic nightmares made manifest.
  • Come to terms with new ethereal realities.
  • Befriend a feline to extend earthly life.

This collection from ten talented authors offers ghosts and demons, spirits and zombies, cannibals and killers… even a ferocious animal. Historical and contemporary tales of violence and fright keep readers on the edges of their seats. There’s something for everyone who loves spine-tingling, bone-chilling, blood-curdling stories.

Here’s a list of the stories and their authors.

  • The Keeper’s House – Joan Hall
  • The Lady Ghost – Mae Clair
  • Initiation – Jan Morrill
  • The All Souls Ritual – Staci Troilo
  • A Good Place to Die – Pamela Foster
  • Wanderers – Stacy Claflin
  • Ascent – Michele Jones
  • Night – K. E. Lang
  • The Locked Door – Harmony Kent
  • There’s a Cat on My Grave – C. S. Boyack

Sound intriguing? You can pick up a copy of Macabre Sanctuary for free. It’s available on Amazon and other major retailers. Click this link for download options, but beware of things that go bump in the night.

Super Moons, Blue Moons, and Blood Moons

Last week, a rare event occurred. For the first time in one-hundred fifty years, a super moon (when the moon is closest to the earth), a blue moon (the second full moon in a month), and a blood moon (eclipse) occurred on the same night.

Unfortunately, I was only able to see a partial eclipse as it occurred near sunrise. The photo is not one of my own (I should get that lucky) and the ones I took with my iPhone don’t do it justice. But the moon and its phases have always fascinated me.

Did you know that Native Americans had names for each of the full moons? They correspond with the appropriate month or season, such as the Harvest Moon (either September or October, depending on when the full moon falls in relation to the equinox), the Strawberry Moon (June), the Wolf Moon (January), and the Hunter’s Moon (October). For a complete list, click here.

Also, different tribes had different names for each moon, depending upon their locations. For instance, tribes in the Pacific Northwest and Alaska referred to the July moon as the Salmon Moon because it was the time when Salmon swam up river to spawn.  You can find a more comprehensive list of the names at this site.

Because of my interest in full moons, it’s no surprise I incorporated the idea into a story. The Blue Moon Murders is a short story featured in the anthology Unshod. Published by AIW Press, this collection of stories has a western theme. But they aren’t your typical western—the only stipulation was for the story to be set in the west.

If you haven’t read Unshod, you can get a copy free! There are nine stories, all penned by female authors. Some are contemporary, others are historical, but I think you’ll enjoy them all. You can obtain a copy by clicking here.

And as for me and moons? Don’t be surprised to see more stories involving full moons sometime in the future.

The Year That Wasn’t… The Year That Was

mohamed_hassan / Pixabay

I had high hopes for this year. After publishing my first novel, a novella, and contributing to three anthologies in 2016, this year could only get better. Right?

Wrong! I thought I would finish the first draft of my novel, Unknown Reasons, by March at the latest. Then came April, May, June. The clock kept ticking and it wasn’t until late September before I wrote the last page.

Then came edits, rewrites, proofreading, and December. At a time when I thought I would be almost finished with book three of my Driscoll Lake Series, book two wasn’t ready for publications.

Short stories? I wrote three in 2016, so I was sure I could top that. Wrong again. I wrote one.

Blogging? Something else I planned to do on a regular schedule. Instead? Nada. Well, almost nada.

On a personal note, 2017 wasn’t the best year. I had some health issues (nothing that can’t be corrected by knee surgery which will probably happen in a few months.) In August, tragedy struck our family when my husband’s youngest nephew died in a car crash. In November, we had to euthanize our fourteen-year-old dog, Maggie.

But I refuse to end this year on a negative tone. There were also many good things that happened.

In January, I joined five other authors on a site called Story Empire. Although we write different genres, we all share a love for fiction and for helping other writers. It’s been a great year for us as the site has seen a lot of growth and participation. And we have some new things planned for 2018, so be sure to visit our blog on Monday for the new announcement.

I also began working with AIW Press and I’m happy to announce they are publishing my newest novel. Unknown Reasons will hit the shelves (well, the cyber shelves) within the next few days.

Also, Unseen Motives, has undergone a cover change and will be republished soon through AIW. Look for a sneak preview of the new cover soon.

Speaking of AIW, we published Quantum Wanderlust, a collection of time-travel stories in September. My short story, Gold Wings, is included in the anthology. If the concept of time travel interests you, pick up your free copy by clicking here.

The writing muse visited me a couple of days ago, so I have begun writing Driscoll Lake book three, Unclear Purposes. I’m also toying with some ideas for short stories and a stand-alone novel.

As far as blogging, I really want to do that on a more consistent basis. I’ve opened my site for guest authors, so look for some new faces and some familiar faces next year.

Finally, I would like to thank you all for your support over this year and wish you all a Happy New Year!