Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Pickle Jar

I received this in an email. Sort of one of those chain letters that you're supposed to pass along. I found it so beautiful that I did want to share it, but not in the form of other emails that people felt compelled to send on to someone else. I'd love to know who wrote it, because it truly is a piece of my own past. Coby and I have our own Pickle Jar for the grandkids. Every night we empty our change into it, and when it's full we take it to the bank. Caitlynn loves to put money in the jar, and when she comes over and sees it we usually have to dig up some change for her. I hope you enjoy it.

The Pickle Jar

The pickle jar as far back as I can remember sat on

the floor beside the dresser in my parents'

bedroom. When he got ready for bed, Dad would empty

his pockets and toss his coins into the jar.

As a small boy, I was always fascinated at the sounds

the coins made as they were dropped into the jar .. They

landed with a merry jingle when the jar was almost

empty. Then the tones gradually muted to a dull thud

as the jar was filled..

I used to squat on the floor in front of the jar to admire

the copper and silver circles that glinted like a pirate's

treasure when the sun poured through the bedroom

window. When the jar was filled, Dad would sit at the

kitchen table and roll the coins before taking them to

the bank.

Taking the coins to the bank was always a big production..

Stacked neatly in a small cardboard box, the coins were

placed between Dad and me on the seat of his old truck.

Each and every time, as we drove to the bank, Dad would

look at me hopefully. 'Those coins are going to keep you

out of the textile mill, son. You're going to do better than

me. This old mill town's not going to hold you back.'

Also, each and every time, as he slid the box of rolled

coins across the counter at the bank toward the cashier,

he would grin proudly.. 'These are for my son's college

fund. He'll never work at the mill all his life like me.'

We would always celebrate each deposit by stopping

for an ice cream cone. I always got chocolate. Dad

always got vanilla.. When the clerk at the ice cream

parlor handed Dad his change, he would show me the

few coins nestled in his palm. 'When we get home,

we'll start filling the jar again.' He always let me drop

the first coins into the empty jar. As they rattled around

with a brief, happy jingle, we grinned at each other.

'You'll get to college on pennies, nickels, dimes and

quarters,' he said.. 'But you'll get there; I'll see to that.'

No matter how rough things got at home, Dad continued

to doggedly drop his coins into the jar. Even the summer

when Dad got laid off from the mill,and Mama had to

serve dried beans several times a week, not a single

dime was taken from the jar.

To the contrary, as Dad looked across the table at me,

pouring catsup over my beans to make them more

palatable, he became more determined than ever to

make a way out for me 'When you finish college, Son,'

he told me, his eyes glistening, 'You'll never have to

eat beans again - unless you want to.'

The years passed, and I finished college and took a

job in another town. Once, while visiting my parents,

I used the phone in their bedroom, and noticed that

the pickle jar was gone. It had served its purpose

and had been removed.

A lump rose in my throat as I stared at the spot beside

the dresser where the jar had always stood. My dad

was a man of few words: he never lectured me on the

values of determination, perseverance, and faith. The

pickle jar had taught me all these virtues far more

eloquently than the most flowery of words could have

done. When I married, I told my wife Susan about the

significant part the lowly pickle jar had played in my

life as a boy. In my mind, it defined, more than

anything else, how much my dad had loved me.

The first Christmas after our daughter Jessica was born,

we spent the holiday with my parents. After dinner, Mom

and Dad sat next to each other on the sofa, taking turns

cuddling their first grandchild. Jessica began to whimper

softly, and Susan took her from Dad's arms. 'She probably

needs to be changed,' she said, carrying the baby into my

parents' bedroom to diaper her. When Susan came back

into the living room, there was a strange mist in her eyes.

She handed Jessica back to Dad before taking my hand

and leading me into the room. 'Look,' she said softly, her

eyes directing me to a spot on the floor beside the dresser.

To my amazement, there, as if it had never been removed,

stood the old pickle jar, the bottom already covered with

coins. I walked over to the pickle jar, dug down into my

pocket, and pulled out a fistful of coins. With a gamut of

emotions choking me, I dropped the coins into the jar. I

looked up and saw that Dad, carrying Jessica, had slipped

quietly into the room. Our eyes locked, and I knew he was

feeling the same emotions I felt. Neither one of us could


This truly touched my heart. Sometimes we are so busy

adding up our troubles that we forget to count our

blessings. Never underestimate the power of your actions.

With one small gesture you can change a person's life, for

better or for worse.

God puts us all in each other's lives to impact one another

in some way. Look for GOOD in others.

The best and most beautiful things cannot be seen or

touched - they must be felt with the heart ~ Helen Keller

- Happy moments, praise God.

- Difficult moments, seek God.

- Quiet moments, worship God.

- Painful moments, trust God.

- Every moment, thank God.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Amazon Kindle Ebook - "Evil had its own special feel...Excerpt From The Gifts, A Jacody Ives Mystery

“Fire’s out, Sheriff. We opened the windows, but the smell is still pretty bad.”'

Sarah nodded, her eyes misting. “Thanks, Billy.” Swallowing hard, she tried to stop the gagging reflex that hit her the second she entered The Lodge. There was nothing in the world worse than the smell of burned flesh. Tommy and three of the volunteer fire fighters were still outside vomiting, and Joshua looked slightly green, although he was holding up better than most. Dammit! They weren’t prepared for this. She wasn’t prepared for this.

“Are you okay, Doc?” Sarah noted the grayness of the doctor’s face, the blueness around his mouth as he slipped on his mask and nodded.

Sarah allowed her gaze to drift around the room, looking for something, anything to look at besides the badly charred body of what she knew must be Marisa Hutchins. They had caught the fire in time to save most of the room, but the body was burned beyond recognition. She swallowed hard again, concentrating on breathing through her mouth. She had to focus on her job, not her feelings. Her gaze fell on the small pink card on the dresser. Picking it up, she shivered as emotions ran up her arm, making her skin crawl, chilling her to the bone. Evil had its own special feel, and this was evil. A gift from me. You’re next.

“Anything on McAllister’s whereabouts?”

Sarah felt Joshua’s keen gaze on her face. She would have to look at him eventually. Struggling to control the overwhelming fear that threatened to pull her into the darkness, Sarah placed the card inside a plastic package and handed it to Joshua. She wanted a hot shower.

“He told me he was going to Richmond, but I didn’t ask where. Said he’d be back tomorrow.”

“I’m finished.” Doc Hawthorne rose, his shoulders drooping more than usual. It wasn’t supposed to happen this way. He’d delivered these children, watched them grow up. He shouldn’t have to sign their death certificates. “Not much more I can do here. I’d say it’s Marisa Hutchins. You can wait for the autopsy to make it official.”

Sarah grimaced. She didn’t need an autopsy.

“The Edgewood forensic team is on their way. Said they’d be here within the hour,” Joshua stated.

“Thanks, Joshua.” Sarah had hated calling in outsiders, but they just didn’t have the equipment, or the expertise, to handle this type of situation. Nothing like this had ever happened in Glade Springs. Gavin McAllister had a lot to answer for.

“What do you make of the card?”

Joshua was turning the package over in his hands. Sarah glanced at it, a cold chill running down her spine. . . . never send to know for whom the bell tolls; It tolls for thee.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Find Me - A WIP

Chapter 17

"I say after we search it we torch it and roast some marshmallows." Rosetta stated, staring at the old farmhouse.
Catherine was inclined to agree with her. "Sounds like an excellent idea to me, except I'll pass on the marshmallows."
"Got about three hours of daylight left, you want to tackle it now or wait until morning?" Rosetta asked.
"If we're voting, I vote for morning. I'd really like a good hot meal, hot bath and full night's sleep before I face my demons."
Rosetta nodded. "Looks of that place there's plenty of them to face."
Catherine backed out of the driveway and headed for the motel. Surprisingly enough she hadn't caught sight of any of Wilkes lackies, nor had he called. Which gave her a sneaking suspicion they were probably on their way here.
"Heard from Cody?" Rosetta asked, her head bent, innocently clicking through things on the laptop.
"No." Catherine didn't elaborate hoping Rosetta wouldn't press the point. She should have known better.
"You know if this killer is going after the people you love, I'd imagine Cody is right at the top of their list."
Catherine gasped audibly. She'd been so worried about Rosetta, and so angry with Cody the thought that he might be in danger had never entered her mind.
"He has Wilkes with him, I’m sure he's fine."
"Yeah, I'm sure he's fine." Rosetta clicked on a few more pages. "Your brother was a good looking guy. Neither one of you looked like your parents."
Catherine glanced at her, wondering if she'd temporarily lost her mind. Her brother looked just like her father.
"Wife wasn't bad looking either." Rosetta continued. "Made a nice looking couple."
Catherine pulled into the parking lot of the Hampton and parked. She'd never seen her sister-in-law or her nieces. "Let me see."
Rosetta turned the lap top around and Catherine felt like she'd been punched in the stomach. "Rosetta, that's not my brother."

Catherine waited until they were checked in, settled in their room with dinner ordered and tea brewing before she took the last file in the stack and started reading the notes. Herbert and Isabella Mansfield. Well, Isabella might be real, but Herbert was definitely not the brother she remembered. And Rosetta was right, he didn't match either of her parents, but then neither did she.
"I think we need to call Cody on this one, Catherine. Give them a heads up so they can do DNA testing. Confirm your suspicions."
Catherine knew she was right. Knowing who the couple in the picture actually were might be an important piece of the puzzle as to why they were killed.
"I'll give Wilkes a call right after we eat."
Rosetta raised an eyebrow, but kept quiet as she poured hot water into a cup and added her special blend of Rosemary tea for her and Chamomile for Catherine. Tonight they were going to sleep, even if they didn't want to.
Catherine looked through the file again, muttering softly to herself. If she waited until after dinner she'd have to think about it until then. Pulling out her cell phone she placed the call. He answered on the second ring.
"I've been going through the files. The man in the pictures is not Herbert Mansfield."
"Are you sure about that?"
Catherine could hear the excitement in his voice. "I’m sure."
"I'll order a set of DNA tests immediately. When can we talk?"
"We just did." Catherine hung up the phone, ignoring the reproachful look from Rosetta. "I gave them the information. Isn't that enough?"
"Might be a whole lot easier if we worked together." Rosetta stated, pointing out the obvious.

Books available

The Jacody Ives Mysteries Sacred Secrets, A Jacody Ives Mystery $2.99

The Gifts, A Jacody Ives Mystery is $2.99

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Tell Me Your Dreams - A short story WIP

This is actually the first draft of something I hope to make much better, and I hope you'll let me know what you think of it. Not my normal genre, or normal style, but something that kept rolling around in my head until I put it down on paper. I hope you enjoy it.

Tell Me Your Dreams

"Dr. Centers?"

"Yes, Maralee."

"Miss Bishop is here to see you."

Mark Centers frowned, checking the calendar on his desk. Crystal wasn't scheduled today. In fact, if he had his way Crystal would never be scheduled to see him again. One of those patients every psychiatrist hated. Nothing wrong with her that a good old fashioned spanking wouldn't have cured years ago. Too pretty, too rich and definitely too spoiled.

"Send her in Maralee."

Crystal smiled as she pushed her way past the receptionist, closing the door in her face. "Thank you for seeing me, Dr. Centers. Daddy will be so pleased with you, and I'll make sure there's a little something extra on your next check."

Mark watched as she took her seat on the sofa, hiking her skirt to show off a brief outline of pink lace. At least she was wearing underwear this time.

"We've talked about this before, Crystal. You can't just come in any time you want. You need to make an appointment."

Crystal Bishop put on her best poor little rich girl pout. The one that always got her what she wanted. "I want to tell you my dreams."

"We've also talked about that before, Crystal. I don't believe that telling me your dreams would be in your best interest. There are other areas you need to work on. Areas you keep avoiding."

Crystal wound a strand of long blonde hair around her finger. "You listened to Jennifer Dick's dreams and I know her father isn't paying you what my father is paying."

Mark sighed, closed the file and stood up. "It's not about the money, Crystal. Jennifer's dreams were different than yours, something that was beneficial to her therapy."

Crossing to the sofa he handed her a business card. "I've arranged for you to see a very good friend of mine. I think you'll be much happier there. She'll listen to your dreams if that's what you want."

Crystal took the card, stared at it for a moment and tossed it on the floor. "You're dumping me? Nobody dumps me, Dr. Centers. Nobody."

Mark watched the gentle flush spreading up her face. "I'm sorry, Crystal. I just don't think I'm the right therapist for you. Dr. Barnes is a lovely person, and she specializes in helping children understand their nightmares. You'll like her."

Crystal stood, face totally red now, eyes glittering in a way that bordered on insanity. Mark took a step backwards as she ripped open her blouse and placed both hands under perfectly formed breasts, pushing them towards him. "Children's nightmares, Dr. Centers. Do these look like they belong to a child? Do they?"

Mark couldn't help the smile that played around his lips, further infuriating her. "Looks can be deceiving, Crystal. You may look like a woman, but it's apparent from your actions you're very much a child." Turning his back on her he walked back to his desk. "Put your clothes on and get out. You can see Dr. Barnes, or you can find someone else, but we're finished."

"I'll destroy you, you bastard. I'll tell Daddy you raped me and we'll find others that will say the same thing. You'll spend the rest of your life in jail."

Mark turned to face her, his own eyes darkening, jaw setting as his fingers clenched into fists. "You'd do that just because I won't listen to your dreams?"

Crystal smiled at him, slowing buttoning her blouse. "I told you. I want you to listen to my dreams."

Reaching into his desk Mark pulled out a business card. He'd tried. God knew he'd tried. Handing the card to Crystal he barked out at her. "Read it. And if you still want me to listen to your dreams, then I will."

Crystal glanced at the card before sticking it inside her purse. "Now, why don't you get comfortable. I have several dreams that are truly just a little disturbing to me."

Mark took his seat behind the desk reaching for a notepad. "One dream, Crystal. Just one. And be as detailed as you can."

Crystal eyed him across the room before stretching out on the sofa in a provocative pose. "Should I lie down for this?"

Mark shrugged. "It's your dream. Tell it the way you want it."

Crystal pouted for a moment. He was angry with her. And he really wasn't as cute as she'd first thought. Maybe she would tell Daddy he touched her. Not raped, because she really didn't want to go through all those stupid tests, but he could lose his license for touching her.


Stretching she turned to face him. "Tomorrow's my birthday, so I'll tell you about that one. It's a horrible, horrible dream."

Mark nodded to her, jotting down a few preliminary notes.

"I always go home for my birthday. Especially this year, as I just know Daddy has bought me that little red Porsche I've been wanting so much. It's a long drive, and I'm tired and thirsty when I get there. And suddenly I see it. Parked in the driveway with this huge yellow ribbon tied around it. I'm horrified. Simply horrified."

Mark glanced at her, raising and eyebrow. "You don't like the ribbon?"

Crystal gave him a withering look. "The ribbon was fine, but Annette Jenkins got the same car for her birthday last month. I mean, she's had it for a month. Daddy couldn't possibly expect me to drive a car that Annette had been driving for a month. It's like showing up at a party with the same dress. I would simply die of embarrassment."

Mark sighed heavily. He could feel the fires closing in. He knew that in reality that was the end of the dream. To Crystal that would be the nightmare of all nightmares. But she wasn't going to leave it there.

"So I went in the house and Daddy was there, and mommy was there, and I told him, I said Daddy I told you I wanted the red Porsche. You'll just have to take that thing back.

Well, Daddy got all red in the face and starting spouting off something about my being ungrateful. Fortunately mommy totally understood and she told Daddy that I couldn't possibly drive the same car as Annette Jenkins. They would be the laughing stock of the country club if he allowed that to happen."

Mark wrote a couple of notes waiting for her to continue. The fires burned hotter.

"And then it got really ugly. Daddy and mommy were screaming at each other. But I wasn't worried because mommy always won. I knew I was getting the red Porsche before the day was out."

Mark looked at her, jaw set in rigged lines of displeasure as he closed the notepad. The fires had completely consumed him now. He no longer felt any compassion for her. His face twisted in an ugly smile. "So, I suppose you got your Porsche and everyone lived happily ever after."

Crystal felt the heat flooding her face. She'd wipe that smile off his face, and then she'd report the bastard.

"No, that's where the nightmare really began."

Mark relaxed his face muscles, opened the notebook and gave her a genuine smile. "So tell me your dream."

Crystal sat up, hands folded in her lap. "Daddy disappeared into the kitchen and mommy followed him. I was so upset that I called Annette and told her what Daddy had done. She was appalled, just as I knew she would be."

Her eyes widened, lower lip trembled slightly. "Daddy came out of the kitchen and he was wearing the cook's apron and it was covered in blood. He was carrying this thing and blood was dripping from it."

Mark leaned forward, watching her face. She was totally caught up in the lies now. She'd even managed a single tear. "What kind of thing?"

"You know, one of those meat hacker things. Huge and sharp."

"A meat cleaver?"

Crystal nodded. "And I was so shocked because I'd never seen Daddy like that before. And he said, aren't you going to join me for supper, poopsie?

That's what Daddy always called me when he was upset with me. I pointed at the apron and said, you're disgusting. And mommy is going to be really mad at you for messing up the floor."

Crystal stopped for a moment, savoring the rapt attention she saw in his eyes. "I had my hand out like this, just pointing at the bloody apron and he cut it off. I screamed and screamed and blood was spurting from my wrist. He raised the cleaver again and I ran for the kitchen. I knew if I could find mommy she'd save me."

Mark's voice was low, encouraging. "And was your mother in the kitchen?"
Crystal swallowed hard, eyes misting over. "She was everywhere. Daddy had hacked her up and, and..."

"Details, Crystal. Remember, I need details."

Crystal sighed, closing her eyes for a moment. "We have this big shiny thing in the center and mommy's body was lying there only it had no head, no feet and no hands. There was this pot on the stove and when I got close I saw mommy's head there. He was boiling it. I screamed and tried to run, but Daddy was in the doorway with a shotgun. He looks at me and says, happy birthday, poopsie. And then he shoots me."

Mark finished recording his notes, watching as she shed a few more fake tears. "That really was a horrible dream, Crystal. And right before you birthday."

Crystal stood up, smiled and smoothed her skirt. "See, and I feel much better now. I'll stop by tomorrow and show you my new Porsche. If you're nice to me I'll even take you for a ride."

Mark watched her leave, his eyes dark pinpoints as the fires totally consumed him. He laughed softly, closing the notebook and locking his office.

# # #
The couple stood in the shadows as the gruesome scene played out before them. Blood splattered the marble floor as screams of pain and terror filled the room. They followed her to the kitchen, a scene of total carnage. More screams rang out until finally a single blast and blessed silence.

"You did everything you could, Mark. You even gave her the card. The choice was hers." Jenna Barnes picked up the discarded purse retrieving the business card and handing it to him.

A second blast filled the night.

Jenna placed her arm around him. "I think our work is done here. Buy me a drink?"

Mark smiled at her as the flames subsided. He'd never wanted this, but he had given her the card. The sound of sirens filled the night. "One drink. I'm working tomorrow. I have this little girl who has a dream about being adopted by a wonderful family."

Drunk Chicken--Catfish Bait

I had the opportunity to visit a very old dear friend today and we started talking about his fishing trips now that he's retired. He loves to catch catfish, something I haven't even tried since I was a little girl. And he had to show us his new bait. I'm sure some of you regular fishermen and fisherwomen out there have already tried this, but those of you looking for a unique bait--well, try Drunk Chicken.


1 package of Cherry Koolaid
1 pint Moonshine
4 to 5 chicken breasts cubed

Mix the Koolaid and Moonshine in an airtight container (don't drink now--that's a no, no) Add cubes of chicken and soak overnight. Head out with your favorite bait the next day and bring home some catfish.

Happy Fishing!

And if you've got a Kindle--don't forget Sacred Secrets is still free on
And you can pick up The Gifts for just $2.99

Monday, June 20, 2011

What Evil Lurks In The Hearts of Men - Sacred Secrets, A Jacody Ives Mystery

Sacred Secrets, A Jacody Ives Mystery

“Dig the hole, dig it deep. Give the worms something to eat. I like the livers and the hearts. The worms can have the other parts.”

Jacody groaned, tossed and turned, hands wrapped tightly around the sheets as the dream played on like a bad movie. Glints of steel reflected by ribbons of moonlight. He was trapped in a theatre of macabre so bizarre it shocked his senses, threatening to drive him insane. He watched in horror, an innocent bystander, unable to move, to scream, to stop the madness.

The darkness pulled him closer.

He felt the cool earth beneath his back, the first tugging pull of the scalpel as it slashed at his chest. His lips moved. He heard the whispered word. “Please . . .”
The darkness pulled him closer.

He felt the cold steel held firmly between his fingers. The warmth of the blood as it gushed over his hands. The feeling of triumph as he stood holding the still beating organ in his palm. His lips twitched.

The darkness pulled him closer.

He stood in silent fascination as the beautiful sapphire-blue eyes dimmed, color fading as her body twitched in the throes of death.

The darkness pulled him closer.

“Watch me daddy!” The young girl ran through a field of daisies, her long blonde hair bouncing in the wind. She turned, pulling the blue ribbon from her hair, smiling as she let it trail behind her.

“I’m sorry, daddy. I’m so sorry.” She sat at the kitchen table, face ravaged by pain. Eyes swollen, red, pleading.

She stood at the nursery window, one hand to her lips, the other pressed tightly against the windowpane in silent goodbye as the small bundle was wheeled away from her.

Jacody groaned again as the memories of a lifetime swept through his subconscious, culminating in pain, sadness, sorrow, and finally--death. He felt her drifting away from him, heard her whisper. “My name is Lydia. Find me, Jacody. Take me home.”

Jacody found himself drifting as his hands still clutched the sheet tightly. A lifeline to hang on to. He watched as the fog parted, the young man turned and smiled at him. The wind carried his words to Jacody. “Give light unto my eyes, Lord, lest I sleep in death.”

Jacody continued to watch, frozen in time as the young man raised his arms to heaven, smiled as he leaned forward. “Absolution.”

“No-o-o . . .” Jacody jerked awake, arms outstretched, desperately trying to reach the young man. Stop him from falling. The room was silent. A dark, deadly silence.

“Damn,” he cursed under his breath. The clock struck five a.m.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Synopsis - The Gifts, A Jacody Ives Mystery

Synopsis with spoiler removed

Haunted by dreams he couldn't control of murders he couldn't stop, Gavin McAllister a/k/a Jacody Ives teamed up with his adopted brother and his brother's partner to find an elusive killer the papers had termed the Mother's Day Killer. For five years they'd followed a trail of bodies across the United States finding no clues to help in their pursuit. But this time the killer had made it personal not only by choosing his last victim in Gavin's hometown, but the evidence showed the same killer had murdered Gavin's twin sister, Corrine Larson.

Corrine Larson was a noted journalist in search of a story. No one knew what, or where until Gavin received a post card shortly after her death followed by a ghostly visit from his sister, begging him to save someone.

Faced with the mental breakdown of his adopted brother, and the sure knowledge that the killer had already chosen his next victim, Gavin travels to Glade Springs, West Virginia. A small town with secrets. Some worth killing for. There he meets the beautiful Sheriff Sarah Burns and her five year old daughter, Nikki. It doesn't take him long to figure out that Nikki has been chosen for the killer's next victim.
As the small town's secrets slowly unravel Gavin realizes he will have to break every rule he's set for himself if he's going to stop the killer. He would have to get involved, and he would have to get close to the beautiful Sheriff if he was going to protect her and her daughter.

Sarah Burns also was born with what her grandmother called "The Gift". Sarah knew in reality it was a curse. What good was it to be psychic and dream of murders if she could do nothing to stop them? Only this time the dreams were for her. A ghostly vision with spine chilling words "He's coming, Sarah. He wants to destroy you." The news that Gavin McAllister was coming to Glade Springs only served to add validity to the dream. McAllister a/k/a Jacody Ives was famous for uncovering secrets, and destroying lives. And Sarah had secrets. Secrets worth killing for. To protect her daughter Sarah must overcome her fears and learn to trust again.

Teaming up with Gavin and her deputy, Joshua Cross, they three must work together to unravel the meanings of Gavin's and Sarah's dreams to stop the brutal murder of Gavin's adopted brother and his FBI partner, Carl Jackson.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Mysteries, Mysteries, Mysteries

Review of The Gifts, A Jacody Ives Mystery on Goodreads:

The premise of this novel left me a bit shaken. The supernatural gifts of the title were so well rendered as to appear natural, making me a believer that anyone consciously aware of their surrounderings and attuned to the workings of the universe could develop these same gifts. Of course, making me a believer is a sign of a talently writer, one who phrases her words to build suspense. The simple repetition of a statement, one that claims failure on the part of its recipient, causes the reader to react as one does to the first audio notes of the "Jaws" theme.

Linda S. Prather built tension into the opening scenes of The Gifts, A Jacody Ives Mystery. She kept the action taut with solid characters moving the story, and the reader, effortlessly forward to the satisfying climax.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Independent Authors Network - Unique Books by Unique Authors

For other great authors and books, as well as our Readers Cafe and contests, stop by the IAN and stay a while. I'm sure you'll enjoy your visit.

Kindle Indie Author "Every Day Deal" Gems!

The Portal Series - you'll love them! $.99 and $2.99

A missing firefighter, a scorned ex-lover, and a drug lord. $.99

Gives VI Warshawski a run for her money. Cgo. Tribune. $.99

Go back to the sixties and Set the Night On Fire. $2.99

I have no spur to prick the sides of my intent, only vaulting ambition. $2.99

Her skin felt like velvet under this touch. $3.99

Contemporary Romance Series - $.99

The female Jack Bauer. Can Lorne capture The Unicorn. $.99

The type of book you share with your girlfriends. $2.99

Featured on DailyCheapReads $.99

Raw and gritty at times. $3.99

100 reviews - 4.1 stars $.99

"One Heckuva Fantabulous, LOL Romp of a Great Read!" $.99

Great romance and heat for only $.99

Ace reporter, abandoned daughter. $.99

Extreme wealthy, happily married and they're Vampires! $.99

Try the Witchcraft Wars! $3.45

A chilling glimpse into the mind of Evil! The Jacody Ives Mysteries $2.99

Babykiller was meticulous in all things...$2.99

Monday, June 13, 2011

Teddy Bear Bread

3 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup milk
1 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. margarine
1 envelope yeast
3/4 cup lukewarm water
4 raisins

Heat surgar, milk, salt and maragarine to lukewarm. DO NOT BOIL! In mixing bowl put yeast and lukewarm water. Add milk mixture and 2 cups flour. Beat 2 minutes at high speed of mixer. Stir in 1 - 1/2 more cups of flour to make a soft dough. On floured table knead a few times until smooth. Cover with cloth and let rise until doubled in size (about an hour). Punch dough down and divide dough into 2 pieces. Set aside one piece for bear's belly and divide second piece into 2 pieces. Set aside one of those pieces for the bear's head. Divide the second piece into 7 pieces for: 4 paws, 2 ears, and 1 nose. With hands or on table roll all pieces into balls. Place large ball on breased baking sheet for the belly. Place medium ball above for the head. Place paws, ears and nose. Flatten slightly. Pinch seams together tightly. Cover with plastic wrap. Let rise until doubled (about an hour). Remove plastic wrap carefully. Make indentions on ears with fork. Place raisins for eyes, center of nose and belly buttons. Mix 1 egg and 1 Tsp. water. Brush lightover over bear. Bake at 400 degrees for 1/2 hour. If the top browns too fast cover it with foil. After bear is removed from oven let cool.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Mike Wells and Brownie Pudding

I'm the author of Wild Child and several other young adult and adult thrillers. I'm an American but now live in the UK and teach in the Creative Writing Program at the University of Oxford.

Please follow my blog at:

Please connect with me on Twitter and Facebook:

Brownie Pudding

1 cup flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 Tbsp. cocoa
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp. vanilla
2 tsp. butter or oleo, melted
3/4 cup walnuts, chopped
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup of cocoa
2 Tbsp. cocoa
1 3/4 cup hot water

Mix well flour, baking powder, salt, granulated surgar and 1/4 cup cocoa. Add milk, vanilla and butter. Mix until smooth. Add nuts. Pour into greased 8-inch square pan. Mix brown sugar and 2 Tbsp. cocoa together; spring over batter. Pour hot water over entire batter. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 to 45 minutes. Cool before serving.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Father's Day Cheesecake and Mysteries

What could be better than a slice of delicious homemade cheese cake and a great mystery. Yummy!

Father's Day Cheesecake
1 - 8 oz. pkg. cream cheese softened
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
8 oz. Cool Whip, thawed
1 graham cracker crust
1/2 cup additional thawed Cool Whip
strawberry dessert topping or jam

Beat cream cheese, sugar and vanilla with wire whisk in a large bowl until smooth. Gently stir in whipped topping. Spoon into crust. Refrigerate at least 4 hours or until set. Decorate top of dessert with additional whipped topping and marshmallows to resemble a tie. Fill in tie and outline edge of pie with dessert topping. Store in refrigerator.

White Chocolate Hazelnut Cheesecake
1 lb. white baking bar with cocoa butter
4 - 8 oz pkgs. cream cheese, softened
3 Tbsp. Hazelnut liqueur or milk
1 Tbsp. vanilla
Dash ground nutmeg
4 eggs
1 egg yolk
2 - 3 oz. bars milk chocolate with hazelnuts or 4- 1 1/2 oz. barks milk chocolate with almonds
chocolate curls
8 oz. pkg. Hazelnut cookies
3 Tbsp. butter melted

Prepare Hazelnut crust by combining crushed hazelnut cookies and butter. Butter sides of a 10-inch springform pan; press hazelnut crust evenly over bottom of pan. Place pan in shallow baking pan. For filling, cook and stir baking bar over low heat until melted. In a large mixing bowl, beat melted baking bar, cream cheese, butter, liqueur, vanilla, and nutmeg until well mixed. Stir in milk chocolate. Pour into crust. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 60-65 minutes or until a knife inserted midway between center and edge comes out clean. Cool 5-10 minutes on a wire rack. Loosen sides of cheesecake. Cool for 30 minutes. Remove sides of pan. Cover; chill thoroughly. Top with chocolate curls before serving.

Small towns all had one thing in common—news traveled fast. Gavin wasn’t surprised to see headlights approaching. Nor was he surprised to see the sheriff pull up behind his car. He was surprised when she stepped into view. Millie had said she was pretty, but that was an understatement. Even with her flaming red hair pulled severely from her face, and without a trace of makeup, she was breathtaking. He had an overwhelming urge to free the long red hair, bury his face in it and smell its softness.
“You won’t find a story here, McAllister.” Her voice was cold, her green eyes scornful.
“What makes you think I’m looking for a story?”
“Your reputation precedes you.”
Gavin laughed, but there was no mirth in the sound. “Oh, yes, the ruthless bastard.” He scanned her face, trying to find what it was about her that made it hard for him to think of anything but holding her.
“The only thing you’ll find here is a sad young woman who lost control of her car and died.” Sarah’s voice was filled with anger, pain, and something he couldn’t quite decipher.
“I thought she was drinking.” Gavin stated, watching the green eyes for a reaction.
Sarah didn’t answer, but turned away and started toward the Explorer.
“You’re not sure it was an accident, are you?” He baited her.
Sarah turned, hesitation and doubt written on her face, as she met his challenging gaze.
“If it wasn’t, that’s still no business of yours. Watch your step while you’re in my town, McAllister. One wrong move, one citizen’s complaint, and you’ll find yourself with an overnight stay and a one-way ticket out of here.”
Gavin looked at the marks on the tree, ignoring the challenge. “And what about Johanna? What about her pain? The dead don’t rest, Sheriff, until the guilty are punished.”
Their eyes met and Gavin felt something pass between them. For a moment he thought she had touched him. Just a gentle brush of her fingertips across his face. A feather-light kiss. A flicker of pain darkened her eyes.
“Johanna Nelson’s death was an accident. There aren’t any secrets in Glade Springs, Mr. McAllister.”
He watched her turn her back on him again, walking stiffly to her vehicle. He issued his own challenge. “Someone in Glade Springs has a secret, Sheriff. One worth killing for, and I’m going to find it.”

Rob cast a sidelong glance at his brother, wondering why no one else saw it. The differences were more drastic now. The dark stubble, shaggy hair, haunted eyes. All the things he’d written off to imagination. Until the Mother’s Day killer had shown up. That was when the changes became more distinct.
Jacody interrupted his thoughts, handing the list back to him. “That didn’t take you too long, now did it?”
Rob snorted. “There’s a hundred names on there. Do you know how many people, especially kids go missing each year?”
“Yeah, according to the Missing Person’s Database, 210,000 a year.”
“Don’t be a smartass. I told you it would be like looking for a needle in a haystack. That’s just the first hundred that match your description. There’s probably a couple of hundred more.” Rob stood up, shoved his chair away from the desk. A signal for Jacody to leave.
“Come on, Rob. You can do better than that. Make a few phone calls. Find the ones that can be crossed off.” Jacody grinned, searching for the nerve, striking home. “Help me find her, and maybe I’ll let Gavin come out to play.”
Rob clamped his mouth shut to keep from yelling “Go to hell!” He wanted to. Wanted to wipe that smirk off Jacody’s face. Problem was if Jacody went to hell he took Gavin with him. The sooner the bastard found what he was looking for the sooner Gavin would be back.
Sitting down he picked up the list, pushed up his shirtsleeves and reached for the phone. His voice one step above a whisper and deadly. “Get out so I can make your damn phone calls.”

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Mexican Hot Bread and Sacred Secrets

Mexican Hot Bread

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

1 cup meal
2 eggs (well beaten)
1 cup milk
1 can creamed style corn


1 lb hamburger, brown and drain
1 green pepper, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
1 8 oz. pkg. grated sharp cheddar cheese
2 jalapeno peppers

Pour half of batter in greased baking dish. Add hamburger. Add onions and peppers and then add cheese. Top with remaining batter. Bake 35 to 45 minutes or until golden brown.

Excerpt From Sacred Secrets:

Excerpt from Sacred Secrets, A Jacody Ives Mystery - prequel to award winning The Gifts, A Jacody Ives Mystery.

Featured Character: Katie O'Connor
Katie O'Connor has lived on "death row" for the past 15 years. Without a heart transplant her life expectancy is less than a year. A possible heart has been found, but little does Katie know that it will forever change her life and set her on a course of destiny that she may not survive.

Katie wrung her hands in her lap as the intern took another curve, maneuvering the car onto the main highway at a rate of speed that was surely against the law. Everything was moving so fast. The tearful goodbye with Clover. The trip home. She had barely gotten unpacked before exhaustion overcame her. She’d slept most of yesterday, and then the phone had rung. Now the mad dash to the hospital. What exactly had Dr. Wagner said? We may have found you a heart. And what did that mean anyway? Was it possible that someone was dying as they rushed to the hospital? Could they maybe live? Had she truly gotten a pardon from death row, or was this some cruel joke of the executioner.
“What did Dr. Wagner mean, he may have found a heart?”
The intern took his eyes from the road for a moment, smiled at Katie. “There was an accident. A young man with severe head injuries. Your age, good heart.”
“So he isn’t dead yet? What am I supposed to do, sit around wishing he would hurry up?”
Katie knew her voice was more brusque than she had intended. But surely Dr. Wagner didn’t expect her to sit and wait for someone to die.
The intern braked, going into another curve at breakneck speed. “Actually it’s the opposite. He’s brain dead, so technically he’s already been declared dead. We just have to wait until he gets here and hope he doesn’t die on the way.”
Katie wondered if the intern had any clue how coldhearted his words sounded to her. How cruel to the family of the dying young man. A young man who had signed a donor card so that if he died someone else might live. A young man who wouldn’t get an appeal of his case. The executioner had already dropped the axe.
“How do we know he’ll match.”
Katie almost missed his words, they were spoken so low.
“We don’t.”

Author Bio: Linda lives in Lexington, Kentucky with her fiancé, Coby W. Fuson. She has always been interested in writing mysteries, but felt she found her calling when combining her love of mystery, paranormal and metaphysical.

BUY NOW: $2.99

Also available at B & N and Smashwords

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Finally We Have our Kindle Winner--Hello from Dennis 929

I finally heard from Dennis 929 this morning, and here's his email back to me. As you can see he's rather excited, as I think I would be too. And he's also explained his absence, which makes my heart grow fonder as he appears to be a really nice guy. Congrats, Dennis 929 and the info on claiming your prize is on your email when you get to it.

Hellooooooooooo, Hellooooooooooo, Helloooooooooo,
I've been working to restore power to the tornado locations in Alabama. We're in very rural parts where the internet service is null...or very spotty! I used my co-worker's netbook on break to enter your drawing. I'm a mechanic, and am often on the move here.
I do not have a personal smart phone, etc....plain ol' tracfone....straight internet! (I'm not up on using all the techie phone & puter stuff anyway)
I'm on a quick break now & another co-worker has an iphone & is showing me stuff on it & told me to go to my email....which is out of control!
Your email was on the top 30 this morning & I thought you were going to give me info. about the book I won. Whooooo Hoooooo Dennis 929 is me!! I do feel like I won the lottery...ha ha it's been years since I won ...& I'm talking about getting only 3 #'s right!!
I'm speechless & very excited about it! I can't THANK YOU enough!! Thank You---Thank You!!
My wife has a Kindle 3G & won't I told her I was going to win one...ha ha...wait till I tell her & get the Kindle 3G Special Order one...that will really get her! ha-ha.
Thank You for being so generous. You remind me of my wife...on her BD she always buys her Mom a present. I didn't get a chance to read the rest of your blog now...but hoping you are doing well & had a wonderful Birthday!
You made my day!!! Thanks Again!! My wife & I pledged last month that for the rest of this year to donate each month both of our book budget $$ to the tornado fund. But, THANKS to you...I'll get my Kindle & I also won a book from your drawing too! Thanks Linda, & also thank the other author's for doing this...I appreciate it more than you'll ever know!
Gotta go,...the boss was good to me & let me finish this don't type very fast!
I'm on my way to another crew, no idea when I'll be able to get back with you...or what I'm suppose to do next.
I was told that we may be leaving to go home in a week or so. I will check my email when I'm able.
I will tell my wife tonight...ha ha...can't wait till she see's my name!! I will have her check my email & answer you if you need any other info.
Thanks Again Linda, Thanks for emailing me this morning, & my apologies for not getting back to you sooner!
Dennis (Yes it's me..the PITA...Dennis 929)

Cooking Up A Mystery--7 free Kindle Mysteries and More

Today's Mystery Dessert - I call it that because it's one of those stuck in the back of my favorite recipes with no name, but it's yummy.

2 cups plain flour
2 sticks of butter
1 cup nuts
8 oz. cream cheese
8 oz. Cool Whip
1 lb. powdered sugar
2 bananas
2 peaches
1 pt. strawberries
1 pkg. strawberry glaze

Mix flour, butter and nuts. Bake in a 9 x 13 pan at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Cool. Mix cream cheese, Cool Whip and sugar. Spread on cooled crust. Mix remaining ingredients and spread on top. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Enjoy!