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.

Confessions of a Cat Lover

Hi, everyone. We’ve made to tax day here in the United States. Time for some to cry (those who have to pay) and time for some to rejoice (if they’re getting a refund). It’s also a time when tax accountants, such as my friend Dave, to take a much-needed break. Dave refers to himself as a recovering tax accountant and tomorrow he’ll probably be recovering somewhere.

It’s been a busy month for the other authors and me at Story Empire. And, as usual, most of my posts here have either been links or guest posts for the Story Empire Roadshow that concluded earlier this month. I figured it was time for a little original content.

For anyone who has followed my blog for a while or connects with me on Facebook, you already know how much I adore my cats. Recently, friend and fellow author Mae Clair posted about her darling rescue cat, Raven. When I left a comment about how much Raven resembles one of my fur babies, Mae strongly suggested it was time for me to write a post about them. And even though you may have read something about them, today I’m going to tell a little about how we came to have these two mischievous little rascals.

Tucker as a fourteen-week-old kitten a few days after we brought him home.

Tucker is the older of the two. We didn’t expect him to come into our lives because we already owned an almost identical black and white cat named Cruz. On Christmas Eve a few years ago, Cruz got out of the house and ran away. Because we live in the country, we feared coyotes got him. Both my husband and I wanted another cat, and when I learned a friend had a kitten to give away, I messaged her. She texted back a photo, and I couldn’t believe how much he resembled Cruz – even down to the black spot beneath their chins.

By that evening, Tucker was ours. This little four-pound bundle quickly found his way into our hearts. He loved to cuddle, so I began to call him my little snuggle bug. This led to a nickname, and I call him Bug almost as often as Tucker.

Three weeks after Cruz disappeared, he showed up on our doorstep but refused to come inside. (I wrote about his reappearance in this post.) After about two weeks, he decided he’d had enough of outdoor living. He came inside and acted as if nothing had ever happened. Fortunately, both cats liked one another.

Little Bit, shortly after he showed up on our doorstep.

Two years ago, a black Manx kitten found his way to our home. Once again, we weren’t looking for a cat since we had two, but Little Bit decided he wanted to be with us. We began feeding him and planned to find him a good home. I was fearful of allowing a cat to stay outdoors and my husband was adamant about not having three cats in the house.

Well, this little guy wanted to be with us. One day he followed us into the fenced-in area of our back yard and almost lost one of his nine lives at the hand (or should I say mouth) of our dog, Maggie. After a trip to the emergency vet clinic and a rather hefty bill, Little Bit became ours. From the beginning, he never showed any fear of us, and I’ve since learned that Manx cats are often shy around strangers. He hides if we have company. About the only other person he’ll come out for is my brother.

Cruz ran away again having escaped from his pet carrier one day when I brought him home from the vet. Almost two years have passed, so I doubt we’ll ever see him again. I tell myself that he found a good home and didn’t meet his fate with some wild animal.

Last year, I saw a black and white cat at the far end of our field and convinced myself it was Cruz. He looked healthy and happy and was in the company of another cat. My husband says it wasn’t him, but I think it was. That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it!

Tucker is hard at work supervising while I edit.

Tucker and Little Bit are best buddies (as you can see in the top photo). Like most cats, they sleep the majority of the time, but they also like to “help” me when I’m writing.

Little Bit is helping out. (Or rather, sleeping!)

They are famous for walking across my keyboard. One of them managed to type 78 in the Google search toolbar, hit the enter key, and got results.

Both cats have made their way into my stories and books. Little Bit was the model for the cat Tinkerbell in my short story The Keeper’s House.  (Featured in the anthology, Macabre Sanctuary.) After all, what’s Halloween without a black cat?

Tucker was the inspiration for Whiskers in Unseen Motives. And yes, like Whiskers, Tucker has the longest whiskers of any cat I’ve ever known. In my opinion, when a character owns a pet, it tells me a lot about his or her personality.

Now you know the story of my fur babies. I’m sure these two felines will inspire other pieces of writing. At the least, I can count on one or both to be nearby to “assist” when I write.

And by the way, I also love dogs. We have a family tradition of deciding names for our canines. I’ll share that in a future post. (And yes, I’ve put dogs in stories!)