Saturday, October 27, 2012

An Unexpected Turn of Events #coffinhop

The party continues. You drink and watch the people in their strange old-fashioned costumes chatter.

"Having fun?" Regan titters.

Hanover scowls and you notice he looks a little green. "What are you and Caprice up to now?"

"I have no idea what you even mean, Hanover. We're supposed to be showing our guests a few ghosts, right?" She hands Hanover the other bottle. "Can you pop the cork on this? I don't want to break a nail."

Hanover takes the bottle twists the cork. It doesn't budge. He looks at the label. "1963? Where on earth did you get a bottle of 1963 champagne?"

"From the waiter, of course. You saw me buy it."

Hanover gives a hard twist. The cork pops loud -- like a gunshot. No one stops laughing. "Hold you glass over here."

Regan puts her glass under the foam just in time. She takes yours and puts it in the stream, then hands it back to you.

"I'm not sure I need any more," you say, more than a little disturbed by the sudden feeling the floor is dropping out from under you.

"Of course you do. Besides, we're celebrating. My book High Rollers is free on Kindle today. We'll it's my story and Hanover's, but he's had others. This is my first so we're celebrating."

You feel like your feet have lost contact with the ground. You look out the window and see flashing lights in the darknesss. You realize the train is no longer on the tracks...instead, it is drifting above some eerie village.

It lurches to a stop. The door opens and a woman steps in. She is tall and thin with platinum blonde hair. She is somehow more substantial than the other partiers. Regan hurries toward her and offers her a glass of champagne.

The woman smiles and takes it.

Regan takes the woman's hand. "I'd like you to meet Kitty Kirwin, the author. I can't believe she made it. Have you read her books of ghost stories?  Haunted Bedtime Stories is so's like the kind of book I would write. So that's why I knew you could see ghosts, Kitty, and why I was dying to meet you."

"Dying to meet me?" Kitty says. "That's not really necessary. I mean...then how would I read more of your adventures?"

"You read my book?!" Regan asks.

"Of course! And it was faBOO!" Kitty takes a sips of champagne. "But you should think about dying your hair. I think you're really a blonde deep down inside."

To be continued.

A special thanks to K.F. (Kitty) Kirwin for appearing in our adventure and for letting me use her village in our flyover scene. For more ghost stories on the #coffinhop, make sure to stop by Kitty's blog.  

Thursday, October 25, 2012

The Haunted Train Ride Continues #coffinhop

You take the window seat. Regan sits next to you and Hanover takes the seat across the aisle. As the train pulls out of the station, you look out the window to see the sky darkening. Is it that late already, or is there a storm brewing, you wonder as you watch the trees whir past.

"How long is the train ride?" you ask.

"Long enough for a drink or two," Regan answers, looking down the aisle.

"There's no service on this train, Regan," Hanover says. "They cut that years ago. Don't you remember?"

"Don't be silly, Hanover." Regan giggles. "There's the waiter now."

Hanover rolls his eyes.You look down the aisle and see no one.

"I'll have a bottle of champagne," Regan chimes. "Better make it two. And three glasses. We have company.

"I hope you're not too thirsty," Hanover leans across the aisle. "If you are, you can have some of my medicine. And if you don't like that, I'll go get you something in the dining car."

"I'm fine," you say. "I had a drink at the Black Cat."

"Hanover, are you crazy? I just ordered enough champagne for all of us."

"You thought you did, but the waiter wasn't real, so it doesn't count."

"Sure it does," Regan gives Hanover a smug smile. "I just hope the champagne's decent this time. Last time it tasted like crap."

"Last time was over forty years ago. There was a real waiter. He brought real champagne."

"Whatever, Hanover." Regan turns her attention to an empty seat near the front of the passenger car. "I'll be right back."

"Where are you going?"

"I have to find out where that lady got that marvelous hat."

"What hat? The only lady I see isn't wearing a hat."

"The red hat, silly. Don't you know anything about fashion? That hat is to die for." Regan stood. "Can you watch Dolce for me?"

You shrug and look at the handbag on the floor beneath Regan's seat. "What do I need to do?"

"Just keep her quiet if she yaps. Open the bag a little and scratch her behind the ears. She likes that. Technically, she's not allowed in the passenger car. But there is no way I'm sending her as baggage. I hate when they make up stupid rules." Regan hurries off to the front of the train.

You watch her lean over. Her hands gesture as she carries on an animated conversation with an invisible person.

"Don't mind her," Hanover says. "She can still see the ghosts."

"Ghosts?" you ask.

"The ghosts of the people who died in this passenger car  the last time we took this train."

"Oh," you say. "What happened?"

"A tornado. A real doozy. It blew a tree down on the tracks. The train hit it -- smack. Only a few of us survived. Regan might not have...except for her dog. Dolce two that must have been."

"How did the dog save her?"

"Regan was wearing some flowy, fringy scarf. When the train wrecked, she flew down the aisle. The scarf caught around her neck...nearly stangled her. That dog gnawed at it until she was freed."

"Dolce was my hero!" Regan slid into her seat. "All my Dolces are heroes. Hanover was out cold. He didn't come to for three days."


"Just in time!" Regan exclaims. She passes you a glass full of golden bubbles.

You take a sip. It's a little dry for your taste, but not bad.

"Would you like me to open the second bottle?" a man's voice asks.
You look up and see a face shadowed by a glowing drink tray.

"Not yet," Regan says. "It'll keep better if we wait."

"Very well, ma'am." The man said and then he's gone.

You hear laughter tinkling toward the front of the passenger car. You look up and see the car is filled with people, most dressed in fancy attire. Everyone is talking, laughing drinking, including a lady wearing a black dress and a red hat that's to die for.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The Haunted Train Ride #coffinhop

When you arrive at the Black Cat, scurry past an odd looking family and nearly trip over a couple of kids decked out for trick-or-treat. Afraid you've missed the train, you hurry up to the counter and find it......

You order a Red Bull and the cook looks at you like you've landed in a UFO.
"Well, what do you have?" you ask.
"Everything floats. That's our specialty,"  the cook grins wide and shows a jagged set of once-pearly whites.
"Then rootbeer. A rootbeer float." It's been a long time since you've had one, but what the heck. This is going to be an adventure.
A tall frothy glass lands on the countertop about the time an attractive woman plants herself on the seat next to yours. "I'm Regan. Hanover is...."
"I'm Hanover Fist," a man on your other side whips out his hand. "I see you've already got yourself a drink. I, for one, could use something a little stronger." He pulls out a silver flask. "Would you care for some?"

"What is it?" you ask.
"Medicine," Regan pipes in. "It's the only type of spirits Hanover really likes. But I we'll see plenty others." She takes the flask from Hanover and takes a swig.
A train's whistle sounds.
"We'd better get going." Hanover tucks the flask inside his suitcoat.
"What do I owe you?" You ask the cook.

You drink down enough of the float fast enough to get brain freeze. "It's on the house," he grins and you swear you can see a knife's edge glint in his eye. But maybe it's just the brain freeze.
You walk between Regan and Hanover, past the caboose, thinking it looks normal enough. I mean, it is Halloween after a bit of goop on the wheels and a pumpkin on the roof are normal, right?

The man on the bench in front of the ticket booth looks a little thin, but Regan assures you that's the "in" look in these parts. "I only wish I could lose my pooch," she says and then looks down at her purse, mortified. "I didn't mean that Dolche!" You hear a little yap. Regan opens her large handbag and out pops a Yorkie head.

"Ssshhh, little one," Regan croons. "You know they don't let dogs on the train. You have to just sit quiet until we get there."
The dog ducks her head back into the handbag.
You buy your tickets and move back down the train, past the conductor who also looks like he's very fashion conscious. Hanover tips the man who takes your baggage. Regan giggles.

"What's so funny?" Hanover asks.

"Never mind," Regan winks at you. "You won't think it's funny. You never do."
"Whatever," Hanover rolls his eyes.
"All aboard!" the conductor calls.  You hurry alongside Regan and Hanover, trying not to notice the strange black tendrils emanating from the train. be continued.
But while you're waiting, make sure to check out the other coffin hoppers. K.F. Kirwin has some haunting ghost stories and there are many more authors listed on the Coffin Hop home page.


Monday, October 22, 2012

Excited Beyond Belief - High Rollers is RELEASED!

Good morning! Yes, it is a good morning and I'm more excited than I've been in decades. Why? Because my book High Rollers is on Kindle. Finally! Now you can read the story of how I came to realize that Hanover is not just an ordinary Dick. What, Mary? I didn't mean to be offensive. That's what we called private detectives back in the day when chasing the dragon was vogue and a Death in the Afternoon was a sparkling and refreshing beverage.

I mean, look at the cover! Rodger Francis did a great job portraying the age, don't you think? I mean, there's the piano my Dad used to play in the Ossified Owl. There's the riverboat casino where the story takes place. And there's my sweet little breezer. Oh, how I miss afternoons racing through the streets of New Orleans, the wind rustling my bob. Oh...and the lipstick. Hanover never would tell me who that lipstick belonged too, but he sure got upset when I found it.

Anyway, not only is my book available, but the authors have asked me and Hanover to take you on a ghost tour to celebrate Halloween. It's part of coffin hop and it starts Wednesday, October 24th.  To go on the tour, meet us here, at The Black Cat .
We'll grab a bite to eat before we hop the train and journey to some haunted spots. Hopefully the ghosts will be cooperative.

See you then...and if you want to read a ghost story in the meantime, pick up High Rollers on your Kindle.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Hauntingly Beautiful - Spirits Revealed

Regan Worth
OK, whatever. No one has a clue where to find the spirits? Fine...I'll just have to show you.
I swear, you are all as bad as Hanover. Oblivious.

Maybe you'll see them if you take a closer look.

Can you see them now? I certainly hope so...I mean, they're obvious, right?

Anyway, it's nearly Halloween and we have some exciting things in store for you this week -- ghostly things!

The best thing is that my story High Rollers is finally hitting the shelves. I expect it will be available very soon...maybe even tomorrow. We're putting out a Kindle edition first...mostly because I'm too impatient to wait for print. I want to share my story, after all.
The other thing is Coffin Hop. It starts Wednesday. Our authors are participating and we've agreed to do a few guest posts to help them out. So stay tuned.  Look for the #coffinhop posts on Twitter..last I looked there were almost 100 participating authors. That's a lot of great spooky stuff to start your Halloween off right.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Hauntingly Beautiful

Regan Worth
Hauntingly beautiful....yes that term's been used to describe me more than once. Spooky is used even more often. But today, while photographing the lovely fall colors, one of our writers managed to capture a little more than just the leaves turning.

Can you see them? Spirits! Of course, I see spirits all the time. I have since my Mom was shot when I was a little girl. But it's not often a camera finds one. Most don't want to be caught on film.

Look at the picture closely. Do you see them? I see two. What do you see?  Tomorrow I'll post a next picture with them circled, in case you can't find them. I wish I knew their story though...unfortunately, I wasn't along on the walk to talk to them. Maybe I'll wander out later and see if I can find them. After all, October is my month...and I'd like to share a couple ghost stories.

Oh...and, so you know, this is a picture of the hill that inspired The Big Hill a story by Rachelle Reese that is entered in the America's Next Author contest.

Another good place to read about ghosts is Haunted Bedtime Stories by K.F. Kirwin. There's nothing better in October than being haunted...even if you don't believe in ghosts the rest of the year. But you know...if you don't believe in ghosts, whatever. You're just missing out.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Meet Dolce - Regan's best friend

Regan Worth

I am excited beyond belief! Yesterday one of the writers attended a pawty (that's anipals speak for PARTY)  -- I know, I should have been invited, I am the party girl, after all -- but I wasn't. The pawty was a benefit to help a friend of theirs, @MissBusyBiz 's family and it was attended by so many anipals that it was trending. @MissBusyBiz 's family can still use help.

If you want to learn more about their story, and maybe even donate to help them stay together as a family, here are some links:


Anyway, after a few pinktinis, they had a contest to cast one of the anipals at the pawty in Dime Store Novel. And they cast MY DOG!


One look at this little girl and I said -- she belongs to MOI. That's French for MINE. You know, I spent some time in Paris after high school and sometimes those French phrases just come naturally.

Anyway, this little girl is named Dolce and she looks just like MY Dolce. Can you believe, I had a Dolce once? I met her back in 1926. You'll get to meet her for real when High Rollers is released this month. For now, I'll just give you a sneak peek. Isn't she adorable? And, you know, the best thing is, she is only 4 lbs. That means I can sneak her with me EVERYWHERE.

So I missed the pawty, but I got a new best friend!

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Ghosts in the Moon

Regan Worth
I absolutely love a full moon -- it's a time to get crazy, to open up a bottle of your favorite wine, and howl. Not that I'm a werewolf or anything -- I'm not. Besides, werewolves are so last year.

This year, we're dedicating October to my favorite subject -- ghosts. We're going to (at last) release a book about me. It's called High Rollers and tells the story of how I got involved with Hanover Fist. We're also going to release a FREE short story on Amazon, if the writers get busy. It's also about me and ghosts. It doesn't have a title yet, but I'll let you know when it does.
Anyway...back to the full moon.
Ghost in the Harvest Moon
Have you ever sat out and looked at the full moon when you can't really see it because there's a tree in the way? That's my favorite way to look at it because you can see the ghosts. If you're lucky, like I am, they will even speak to you. Take the woman in the picture to the right. I saw her last night...she whispered to me about a man she'd been missing. He's coming to meet her soon...she can feel it. She's been waiting for over 30 years. Can you imagine? I can't even DATE a man for 30 days, let alone wait on one for 30 years. Well, unless you consider Hanover, and he doesn't count.

Harvest moon - 2012
 And then there's the moon itself...unatainable for most of us. That makes it exciting. Even I can't travel there and I have been to a lot of places most people can't go -- the chaos realm for instance.

Which brings up another point. Caprice has absolutely no say over the moon. There is no chaos to how it spins around the earth. And sure, I like chaos most of the time. Hell, I thrive on chaos if you want to know the truth. But even I like to take a deep breath now and then, take off my chothes, and dance with moonbeams shining in my eyes. The ghosts dance too.

Hanover, will you join me?  Anyone else?

Friday, August 17, 2012

Black Cat Appreciation Day

Toledo Cats
Some people are superstitious about black cats. I, for one, have never been a bit worried about one crossing my path. If I had been, I'd be in a world of trouble. Voodoo's favorite thing to do is wind around my legs. I can't tell you how many times I've stepped on her.

I think all cats are a little magical -- black cats are a bit more so. If you've ever seen one looking at something you can't see, that's because they have better eyes than you do. They can see the dark shadows of this world. If a black cat hisses, you'd better look twice. The cat is warning you that something's up. If a black cat purrs, you can be sure the world around you is at peace.

My cat Voodoo is black and is even more special than most. You see, Voodoo has been with me since 1905 or so. The first day I met Voodoo was also the first day I crossed over into the fairy realm. Voodoo was the runt of the litter -- last one born, tiny, and bedaggled. I was five years old and I watched her struggle to breath. I saw a flutter of bright blue wings. I thought it was a butterfly at first. It hovered over the stuggling kitten and I saw a whisp of something kitten-shaped follow it into Mama's lavender plants. I followed after it. Before I knew it, I was surrounded by colors -- more colors than I'd ever seen. People fluttered around me with bright-patterned wings. They were like giant butterflies, except with heads like people. I know now they were fairies -- or possibly goblins. Sometimes it's hard to tell the difference.
John E. Miller - one of the authors with their
black kitten Smidgeon
The kitten jumped into my arms.  I held it to me.

"Give it back," the fairy with bright blue wings tossed her purple hair. "Who are you, anyway?"

"I'm Toledo Cats and I won't give it back. This kitten is mine. Mama told me I could keep any of them I wanted and I choose to keep this one."

"How'd you get here?"

"I followed you through the lavender. But you were small then." I remember scowling at the fairy, trying to puzzle out the size change. Then I shrugged it off. Just because I'd never seen a person shrink and grow doesn't mean they can't when you're five. I decided to warn the person. "You'd better stay small when you're in the lavender. Mama will be mad if you trample it. What's your name, anyway?"

"Hyacinth." She glanced nervously over her shoulder. "Listen, you'd better get back. I hear goblins coming this way. If Grumwald knows your here, no telling what he'll do."

I looked around and didn't see anything familiar. "How do I get back?"

"Follow me."

I held tight to the black kitten and followed Hyacinth through a valley of rainbows to a familiar patch of lavender, holding tight to the struggling black kitten. I made my way through the lavender carefully, breathing in its fragrance. The kitten grew calm in my arms and started to purr. As I stepped onto the walkway, I noticed the still black shape of the kitten lying apart from the mother cat and the other three kittens. I held nothing in my arms. I started to cry and ran to it. I picked it up and held it to my chest. Suddenly, I felt a soft purring. The little kitten was breathing again. I named her Voodoo because that's what some people called the magic Mama did and I was sure that only magic could have brought this kitten to life.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

At last - a story about Regan Worth

Regan Worth
Well it's about time! I told a story about one of my adventures to the authors 3 years ago and yet no one has ever read it. Why? The authors had some bizarre idea about telling the earlier stories first.

I mean seriously! Age before beauty and all that melarky. Just because I'm the youngest (and prettiest) of the Dime Store Novel characters doesn't mean I should have to wait to be famous. My stories are FUN. They're filled with parties, good music, wild times and spirits. And not just the tasty drinking kind of spirits either.

Anyway, they finally came to their senses and agreed to publish High Rollers. It's a story about my first adventure with Hanover Fist. I didn't like him very much then, as you'll see in the book. But what's a girl to do when her Daddy insists she take an escort to the social event of the year? Well, if the girl is me, I turn the night into an experience Hanover will never forget. *wink*

You'll find out more about High Rollers soon. The writers plan to contact the artist this week. I hope he does me justice.

Gotta go. Time to crack open a bottle of the bubbly and celebrate my upcoming fame.

Friday, July 27, 2012

No More Dog Days of Chemo

Mickey Miller
Hi I'm Mickey Miller and today was my last day of chemo!  I know...I'm not a Dime Store Novel character...I'm a real dog. I belong to the authors. But I am just so happy, I had to shout it to the world, so I stole Mom's computer and here's what I have to say.


I will say, I had a pretty good day today.  I got a grilled turkey, bacon, and cheese sandwich from Jack in the Box and the girl at the window thought I was cute. Yipppee!!! I don't get a chance to pick up girls too often. But then on the highway, two other ladies were giving me the eye and smiling at me.  I guess I'm just a lady's man after all. Mom thinks so, anyway.

Well, then we got to the vet. Kenny carried me -- I clung to Mom, but she pried me away and gave me to Kenny. I like Kenny, but for some reason he always wants to stick me with a needle. Today was no exception. And then my oncologist, Dr. Taylor, came over and felt my lymph nodes and stuck me again. She's nice -- for a vet -- plus, she saved my life. So, since today was my last chemo day I wanted to thank her. Mom helped me write this poem for her. I think she liked it because her eyes got kind of watery.

My Bark

by Mickey Miller (typed by Rachelle Reese)
Dedicated to my vet, Dr. Taylor
I was a barking kind of dog
before I got sick
and then I wouldn't bark
and wouldn't eat.

Mom and Dad brought me here
to find out what was wrong
and you did find out...
but I was so sick, you told them only maybes.
Mom prayed to hear my bark.

After that first chemo
I felt better.
I caught a mouse my first day home!
Did they tell you that?
I chomped it down
first meal in forever they didn't have to
and plead

Still, you said guarded.
I can respect that.
I felt guarded too.

You were the one who discovered
why I was anemic
and prescribed a little pill
Mom and Dad hid it carefully
in bread so I'd eat it.

And now I eat everything.
Tonight I stole the bread off the dinner table.
Yay me!
And I bark too...
in the daylight and in the middle of the night.

And the best thing is,
when Mom starts to yell at me, I remind her...
in those days when I was so sick
before your medicine and their love cured me
the only thing she wished for
was my bark

Friday, July 13, 2012

Friday the 13th - Lucky or Not?

Hanover Fist
Some people call Friday the 13th unlucky. Others call it lucky. I think it's just the roll of the dice like any other day. And for me dice are lucky -- except when they come up snake-eyes, which they never do. Well...almost never...but that's a story for another day.

Today I want to talk about skill. When you're in a bind, it's skill that'll get you out of it, not luck. For example, consider the time Toledo and I investigated a haunted mansion. We found a guy sitting at the table with his face cut off. He was holding cards -- a dead man's hand. Now some might say the guy had no luck. I say it was lack of skill that cost him his life.

It was a voodoo master that killed the guy. And I killed the voodoo master. Shot him dead with the gun O'Malley left me. Now that was skill. And a little bit of being in the right place at the right time.

Toledo Cats
Hanover, you know very well that you didn't kill that zombie master by yourself. Why if it hadn't been for Voodoo tagging along, you would have found yourself holding the dead man's hand. Rushing into danger...that's what you always do. It's a good thing luck is on your side. It helps compensate for your lack of common sense.
Like the time you went after Jumbl-iya. Fortunately I was on the other side of that gateway and the nymphs were there to help you. Otherwise, it's likely you'd have joined Acongojar in the pain realm.

It was me who saved you, Toledo. Besides, even if the nymphs did help, it was still skill and not luck that defeated Jumbl-iyah. And that's my point. Friday the 13th is what you make it. Caprice has nothing to do with it.

I wouldn't tell Caprice that if I were you. You know, she can make your dice roll snake eyes if she wants to.
Mama Cats
Still arguing like children...and after all these years. Why not let the readers decide for themselves who defeated Jumbl-iyah? They can get The Reunion FREE for their Kindle or Kindle reader from now through Monday, 7/16.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Saving the Snake

Before I was bound to earth, I was a creator. The animals I created are some of the most misunderstood and reviled by humans -- snakes, gators, snapping turtles, mosquitoes the size of hummingbirds. But to me, each creature is beautiful. Each one deserves a chance to thrive.

It made me happy to see that the two humans who are writing our stories can see the beauty of my creatures and will take the time to help one survive. I want to tell you that story.

A few days ago, Rachelle went out to her garden to pick peas for dinner. She had taken some tips from Toledo and built her garden the way Sassafras Cats would have -- tomatoes intermingled with peppers, petunias, basil. She breathed in the fragrance, thinking about how lucky they were to have such a garden.

Peas climbed high on a trellis. As Rachelle reached for a clump of peas, she noticed the long black tail of a black snake. She looked around and saw the snake's bright eyes on the other side of the trellis. On closer inspection, she realized the snake was trapped in the plastic weave and went to get John to help her.

They worked together. John held the snake's head with an old mop handle. Rachelle tried to cut away the netting with pruning shears. Their dogs -- Bilbo, Max, and Hooch -- tried to help. The snake panicked and they had to take a break.

After dinner, they went back out. It was dark. John has cat-eyes and can see in the dark just fine. Rachelle cannot. Nevertheless, Rachelle snipped netting and John thought the snake was free. He let up the handle and saw its head slither off. "We did it!" He started back toward the house.

Just then, their cat Savage moved toward the snake and then jumped back. "She's still there!" Rachelle yelled for John. "Savage spooked her."

"Where's Savage now?" John asked.

"She ran off in the woods. She might have been bit. Good thing it's a black snake, not a copper head." Rachelle walked up to the house. "Well, if the snake isn't free, we'll have to wait until morning. I can't see well enough to cut any more out. Besides the snake is nervous now."

The next morning, the snake was still there, along with a smaller black snake. The small snake slithered away. The big snake remained trapped. She wasn't frightened though. The spiders must have whispered to her -- told her that Rachelle and John were trying to help her. Once again, John held her head with the mop handle. Rachelle took out manicure scissors and cut away carefully. The netting had cut into the snake's flesh -- not deep, but enough that it was difficult to slide the scissors under the plastic. Snip...snip. The snake remained calm. At last, the netting was gone. John let up the mop handle. The snake didn't move. John tapped her a little to coax her on her way. She slithered through the garden and into the woods. Free.

Rachelle tied up the trellis as well as she could to allow snakes that might pass by in the future to pass under it, instead of getting tangled. "You don't think about these things until you look at life from a snake's point of view," she told me. "Otherwise I wouldn't have used that netting."

"I made the snake pretty single minded," I told her. "Most likely she was chasing prey and didn't even see the netting until it caught her. At least you freed her. Most humans would have left her to die or smashed her skull in."

Have you helped one of my creatures? Share your story here.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Remembering Mama's Garden

Toledo Cats
My favorite part of springtime is getting down and dirty. I mean kneeling in the dirt, working compost into the soil, planting seeds, and nurturing my plants. It wouldn't be May if I didn't have dirt under my nails and mud on my knees. Mama was the same way.

I miss those days of working shoulder to shoulder with my mama, pulling weeds and listening to the fairies chatter away. Mama could hear them too, although she never let on. She just sang softly to herself, every now and then pausing to tell me the name of an herb and what it's used for.

We had every kind of herb in our garden, growing stem to stem with flowers, fruits and vegetables. Not each item in a row, but all mixed up together. A symphony of colors and fragrance. That's one of the reasons kneeling down was so much fun. As we crawled along, pulling weeds and smashing unwanted insects, the scent of basil, garlic, petunia, rosemary, chives, roses, onion, fennel, lavender wafted up around us, changing as we made our way around the courtyard.

Of course we left some weeds alone. Some weeds like the dandelion can be useful. Even stinging nettle has its place. But there's a reason people say "She's growing like a weed." Weeds grow faster than any other plant, so we had to thin them out to leave room for the other plants to grow.

Just like I thin them out now -- working side-by-side with Mama. Sure, we never put our hand down on the same weed like we used to long ago. But she's with me, still telling me which weeds to pull and which to leave alone, still whispering little known facts about this herb or that one, still singing softly to herself, accompanied by the fairies. This is a Blog Hop! Make sure to visit our fellow bloggers

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Turtle migrations

Spring is a time of awakening, even for an ancient gator like me. I rise from the swamp and feel the sun warm my back. I crawl onto the shore and taste the breeze. Honeysuckle, wild rose, and iris sweeten the musty air. I suck it in -- the first taste of summer.

Nearby I notice a box turtle crawling down the hill. At first, I think it's Misha, but then I see many more behind it. The first wave of their migration. They have dug themselves out from their winter cover of rotting leaves and begun their journey to the cooler swamp, where they will spend their summer. It's nice to have the visitors.

Misha, in her turtle form, will greet them as they come, listen to their harrowing tales of crushing motorized monsters, bearing down on them as they meander the path their ancestors have traveled since long before these monsters roamed the earth. Metal coffins, Swampy called them, and he was right about that. But these days, they are everywhere...even here in the swamp. Misha weeps each time she hears that a turtle friend of hers was run down on his journey. I weep too. They are my creatures, after all. I created them as a gift for Faunus because he had admired my snapping turtles. But I thought it would be nice to see them now and then, so I gave them an instinct to find home. And the swamp is their home, and so they come, they mingle, they breed. Each autumn they go to Faunus; each spring they return to me.

So be cautious in your motorized monsters. I gave my box turtles hard shells, but they are fragile and shy. If you see one in the road, stop and pick it up. Move it gently out of harms way so it can continue on its journey home.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Passage of Rites

Mama Cats
I never thought I'd see my old face on a trailer. Truth be told, there was no such thing in the days I walked this earth. But my daughter Toledo's been telling stories about her life to some writers and one of them was the story about my passage from a fairly typical life to where I am now. I won't spoil the story.

The book's called The Reunion, and it does involve one, but it is also a book about passage...the passages in someone's life, the passage of rites, the passages between realms. Anyway, The Reunion is what its called and they went and made a book trailer for it that depicts a very special walk I took with my daughter.
The artwork is by Rodger C. Francis, II. The harmonica score was composed and played by Frank Miller. John E. Miller put it all together and colorized the black and white drawing. So here it is:

What do you think? Does it make you want to read the book? I hope so, because it's a very special story about the love between a mother and daughter. Of course, there's plenty of action and some unforgettable appearances by gods, goddesses, goblins, and fairies. My dear brother Jesse even sings...Jesse Cats...I miss that man's music.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Striking Angels

Hanover Fist
I do apologize for keeping everyone waiting so long for Striking Angels. It was very hard for Mary O'Malley to read what the writers Rachelle Reese and John E. Miller have been writing about her father... a good man, Duncan O'Malley... Between him, Margaret 'Maggie' O'Malley and Alex O'Malley... and yes, of course, with Reagan's help, they have been able to tell the story of where my start as a detective began... It may seem obscure, but it started with him, Duncan O'Malley or least for me. He saw the realms from a different view... I'm sorry I'll try not to ramble *shouts* would you turn the tape off for a moment?

“Angels in Hell’s Kitchen” is where O’Malley’s life began as a cop. If you’ve read it, you know things are pretty messed up. But trust me, in “Striking Angels” his life gets worse.

I never had the pleasure to meet some of O'Malley's friends in his day, but I have met some in the realms. I wish I could say that it was the best of circumstances.

Mr.Fist you were speaking about the books.

My father was Mr. Fist. I guess you would say that O’Malley passed me his coin. You have to understand that he was a boxer and trainer before he was tossed the coin that turned out to be a coffin nail. You have to read Angels in Hell’s Kitchen for that story.

Yes... As far as 'Striking Angels' goes O'Malley not only saw, but felt the true pain of Hells Kitchen, but at that time he also got to see a bit of heaven.

For a moment, you can see a bit of heaven and hell from a man I admired…can we just end it at that?

Striking Angels is planned for release Summer of 2012. Striking Angels is the sequel to Angels in Hell's Kitchen.

Take advantage of our spring sale on Kindle edition Dime Store Novels....99 cents until 4/17/12.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

The Reunion - Movie poster and casting call

Toledo Cats
We were talking the other day about how fun it would be if our Dime Store Novel stories were made into movies. Who would I cast to play myself? Tyra Banks? Angelina Jolie? A talent yet unknown?

I asked Hanover who he would want to play him. He shrugged. "Jack Nicholson would be the right age if I actually looked my age, but since I don't, I guess Heath Ledger."

"He's dead, Hanover."

"Heath Ledger's dead?  When did that happen?"

"He overdosed a few years back. Don't you remember? Regan swore off pills for a week."

"Oh, that's right. Well, I don't know then. How about the kid from Harry Potter? The blonde one."

I laughed at him. "Not a chance! I see you more as a Frodo Baggins."

Hanover scowled. "Maybe we should ask Regan and Mary who looks more like me."

So that's when I got an idea. "Maybe we should ask our readers."

Hanover agreed. So first, we decided to have a movie poster created using one of the illustrations from The Reunion. Here it is.
Now we'll put the question to all of you. Who would you cast as Hanover Fist?

Post your casting suggestions and make sure to tell us why. On April 1st we'll cast the role of Hanover Fist and the winner (or winners) will receive a free Dime Store Novel ebook of their choice. 

Monday, February 20, 2012

Cover Story -- plus a contest

Mary O'Malley
A cover can tell you a lot about a book. The covers of the books in our Dime Store Novel series can tell you:
  • Which main characters are featured in the story
  • When the story takes place
  • Where the story takes place
  • Some clues about what happens in the story
This information can help you decide which book you want to read first (or next). But, like many ancient texts, you need to know both the syntax and the grammar to truly understand. Let's look at a couple examples and I'll walk you through it.

We'll start with the cover of our latest book, The Reunion. Take a look in the upper-left corner of the frame. That's the month and year the book begins. This can help you sequence the books. At the bottom-right is the place where most of the action occurs. Of course, some books have action in multiple locations, but the primary location is listed here.

Beneath the title is an icon representing a key plot point or character in the story. This is a clue about what happens -- albeit an abstract one. For The Reunion, this icon is a coyote holding a jewel. I won't spoil the plot by telling you why a coyote would hold a jewel...or why that jewel is important. You'll have to read the book for that.

There are other clues as well. The art around the frame is a collage of images and icons from the story. You know someone burns, someone drives a pink Cadillac, there's a guy with glowing red eyes, there is a hand-stitched bag of something, a baby, and some calla lilies.  I'll give you one clue -- calla lilies are symbolic of death.

The final clue I'd like to mention is the symbol above the title. That's right...the pyramid with the eye and the three letters. The eye stands for Hanover Fist -- that makes sense because he's a private eye -- well, at least he is now. The T stands for Toledo Cats, the R stands for Regan Worth, and the M -- you guessed it. The M stands for me -- Mary O'Malley. If the element is colored in, that character is in the story.

What if no elements are colored, like in the cover of Angels in Hell's Kitchen? That means none of us are in it. It doesn't mean it's not about us -- because it is. It's about how we came to be. In fact, Angels in Hell's Kitchen is about how I came to be -- about how my parents met. But the M is not colored in because I am not even a twinkle in their eyes yet. What else can you tell about Angels in Hell's Kitchen by looking at the cover?

Comment below and leave your email address. On March 15th, there will be a drawing for a free ebook of both Angels in Hell's Kitchen and The Reunion.  PLUS - the first commenter to answer what the significance is of March 15th to Shakespeare's work will automatically win a free Rips in the Weave ebook.