Wednesday Weirdness: The Disappearance of Tom Eggleton

pathway between large, gnarled trees with words "on the path of Wednesday Weirdness" superimposed over imageHi, Friends. Welcome to another Wednesday Weirdness. Thanks for visiting today as I roll out a post about a mysterious disappearance—and thunderbirds.

These enormous winged creatures have long been an integral part of Native American folklore, but original Thunderbird legends date back thousands of years and can be traced to Egypt and Africa. With wingspans of twelve to fifteen feet or more, the Thunderbird has been known to carry off small animals, children, and even adults. It is a formidable avian spirit, able to shoot lightning from its beak and summon the roar of thunder with a clap of its powerful wings. A storm spirit, it is a harbinger of change.

Dramatic sky with clouds backlit by fiery colors, black on the opposite side, with lightning bolts severing sky

Surprisingly, there have been numerous sightings of Thunderbirds in the 20th and 21st centuries. My home state of Pennsylvania is abundant with them. The story I’d like to share, however, dates back to the late 1800s, a bizarre tale that beings on a hot summer evening in August 1897.

On that date, nineteen-year-old Thomas Eggleton decided to hike to nearby Hammersley Fork in order to mail his mother a letter. He told his employer, a farmer, where he was headed, then set out on his evening trek. It was a walk he’d undertaken numerous times in the past without incident.

But Tom never arrived in town, nor did he return to the farm the next day. Worried by his absence and fearing he could be injured, the farmer traced Tom’s footsteps in the dirt, following the path he’d taken toward Hammersley Fork. When he lost Tom’s tracks outside of town, he enlisted the help of others. Bloodhounds were added to the effort, and the dogs tracked Tom’s scent to the middle of a bridge where it vanished.

Old Wooden Bridge through Heavy Forested Path

Fearing the worst, the people of Hammersley Fork dragged the river, but Tom’s body was never found. Spooked by the odd circumstances, murmurs of thunderbirds erupted. Several locals insisted they’d seen a massive bird in the vicinity shortly before Tom’s disappearance and grew convinced it must have carried him away. With the flames of fear stoked, schools closed for two full weeks until the panic eventually passed.

Four years later, the farmer who’d been so worried about Tom received a letter from him. Tom stated he had recently awakened in a South African hospital with no memory of his past or how he’d come to be there. All he could recall was that he had worked for a famer outside of Hamersley Fork.

Had Tom been abducted by a Thunderbird? Could he have been snatched off the bridge as many locals speculated, or had he somehow slipped through a hole in time? The mystery of Tom Eggleton has no definitive answers, but whispers and rumors of Thunderbirds remain.

This story was relayed in the book, Monsters of Pennsylvania by Patty A. Wilson. Want more weirdness? There are “Monster” books available with the strange denizens of various states on Amazon. Check them out! After all…

Who knows what creatures and beasties lurk in your neck of the woods!

Book Review Tuesday: Dark Hollows @stevefrech

Warm and cozy window seat with cushions and a opened book, light through vintage shutters, rustic style home decor. Small cat on window seat, along with coffee cup by pillow, Words Book Review Tuesday superimposed over image

It’s Book Review Tuesday time! Thanks for joining me today with my latest reviews. I spent a good deal of time formatting In Search of McDoogal, (my upcoming short story) last week, so my reading was minimal.

I had hoped to release McDoogal in February but with my publisher doing a big splash for my Hode’s Hill Series (Cusp of Night FREE from 2/20 through 2/25 and End of Day and  Eventide at .99c all month), I felt it was better to devote time to promotion for the series.

That means McDoogal will be releasing in March.There may even be a cover reveal in store before the month is out 😉

In the meantime, I hope you enjoy today’s review!


Book cover for Dark Hollows by Steve Frech shows a cottage backed by trees on edge of lake at night, all windows in cottage lit with yellow glowDark Hollows
by Steve Frech

I’m not sure if I liked Jacob, the MC in this book. He made horrible decisions when he was younger, causing his past to catch up with him in an unexpected way. What I do know is that I disliked the person who turned on him a helluva lot more—and that made for interesting reading.

Jacob owns a quaint coffee shop called Groundworks in the small town of Dark Hollows. His workers, and the people who populate the town, are wonderful characters although their roles are relatively small (the Halloween costume contest is a fun extra).

In addition to Groundworks, Jacob also rents a cottage behind his home for weekend getaways. When a woman who bears an eerie resemblance to his dead girlfriend, Laura, books a stay, Jacob’s world is thrown into turmoil. It’s hard to say more without giving away spoilers.

What makes Jacob semi-likable and redeemable is his devotion to his dog, Murphy, a lovable golden retriever who likes to play fetch with a red tennis ball. Murphy is a scene stealer, and I adored Jacob’s loyalty to him. Despite the skeletons in his closet, you can’t help cheering for Jacob as he recklessly tracks down the person who upends his world. The extremes he goes to, and the ending confrontation, all make for entertaining reading. Although the ending is rather abrupt, I found it satisfying. 5 Stars.

Amazon Link
Genre: Horror/Suspense > Noir Crime
Note: Although this is tagged on Amazon as horror/suspense, I viewed it as  mystery/suspense without horror elements. I’m not sure why that tag is on there!


 

Out and About with Blog Visits

A beam of light shines out from an open bookHi, friends! It’s almost the end of the week—I can taste Friday and the weekend. So close! We have been fortunate to have 40ish weather in Central Pennsylvania. Earlier in the week we had high 50s and a record high in the low 60s. SCORE! That’s my kind of winter!

Beautiful weather makes me want to be outside. Much like those gorgeous temps that have me spending time outdoors, blog wanderlust can kick in any time. Today, I’m making the rounds as the guest of two fabulous bloggers.

James (Jay) Cudney is interviewing me at his site, THIS IS MY TRUTH NOW. I had a lot of fun answering his questions and hope you’ll pop over if you have a moment. Jay is also a talented author (I’m a fan of his Braxton Campus Mystery Series) and has an excellent blog, so be sure to give a looksee when you visit and consider following him. He’s an excellent blogger, writer friend, and supporter of others.

Also, my dear friend and PenderPal, Marcia Meara (she gets the PenderPal reference, LOL) is shining a spotlight on Eventide today and helping me spread news of my Hode’s Hill Mystery Series sale. I hope you’ll pop over to Marcia’s place, THE WRITE STUFF to check it out. And if by some unimaginable hiccup in the universe you are not following this talented and funny author, be sure to check out her blog. I guarantee she’ll make you smile.

I’m closing comments here but hope to see you out and about! Happy reading and happy Thursday!

Wednesday Weirdness: The Ghosts of Time, Part 2

pathway between large, gnarled trees with words "on the path of Wednesday Weirdness" superimposed over imageLast week, I wrote a Wednesday Weirdness post called the Ghosts of Time, in which I included a long-standing legend in my family. If you didn’t read that post it involved a grandfather’s clock which belonged to my father.

While my dad was living, he always said that when he died as a way to communicate, he would stop the clock if it was running and start it if it was stopped. And yes, it did stop the first time the family was gathered together several months after his death. See my Ghosts of Time post for the whole story.

Old fashioned clock face surrounded by field of snow, bare tree superimposed over clock faceBecause of my father’s promise, clocks have a profound place in my family.

There is another occurrence that took place sometime after his death. My mother and I went to the theater to see The Omen. Why, I have no clue. I certainly couldn’t/wouldn’t sit through it today *shudder*

Anyway, after my father died, my mother gave me the watch he was wearing when he passed away. As a way to keep him close, I wore it a lot in those days. My mom and I were headed into the theater when she asked me what time it was. I think we were running late and were worried we would miss the opening of the movie. I honestly don’t remember the exact time, but we usually went to a “twilight” feature, so I’ll say it was 5:30 PM.

When we came out of the theater and were headed for the car, chatting about the movie, my mom again asked for the time. I remember glancing down, dismayed to realize the watch had stopped. At precisely the moment we originally entered the theater—5:30 PM.

That’s not really a huge deal. Parts fail, batteries expire, watches stop. I remember saying, “Oh. Dad’s watch stopped.”

Now for the odd part…the part that is a huge deal. As I was watching, the second hand started moving again and the watch began working. To this day, I’m not certain what that signifies other than my father had moved on to a heavenly existence and perhaps didn’t like the taint of the movie. It’s one of those vivid memories that stand out when I look back over my life.

Several years ago, something similar occurred.

cuckoo clockI’ve told you how I love grandfathers’ clocks because of my dad. I also have a love of cuckoo clocks because of my mom. She grew up with one and pretty much instilled that love in me.

Many years ago, my husband and I purchased a cuckoo clock. It’s now over twenty years old and hasn’t worked in several years. I had it repaired once during that span, but when it stopped working for the second time, I didn’t bother. The repairs were too extensive. Despite that, I kept the clock on the wall in the kitchen, because I like the look of it.

When my mom was living, I used to host a party for her every May. She passed away in 2012. In 2013, I held a summer party for the whole family. As the last guests were leaving for the night, I glanced toward the kitchen and realized the cuckoo clock was ticking. The same cuckoo clock that hasn’t worked in years. I can’t begin to describe the feeling I had when I saw the pendulum swinging back and forth and heard the steady tick-tock, tick-tock.

The next day I checked with everyone who had been at the party and no one started the clock. I had been in and out of the kitchen multiple times during the party and the clock wasn’t working. And yet, when everything wound to a close, it was ticking along as though it had always worked.

We stopped it and it hasn’t started again. I don’t believe it ever will. Once was enough, a message from my mother to say she had been there with everyone in spirit.

At least I like to think so.

Book Review Tuesday: The Sister Pact @JacqBiggar, The Good Neighbors @kmodglinauthor

Warm and cozy window seat with cushions and a opened book, light through vintage shutters, rustic style home decor. Small cat on window seat, along with coffee cup by pillow, Words Book Review Tuesday superimposed over image

Welcome to another Tuesday Book Reviews! I have two books to share today, both of which kept me glued to the pages.


Book cover for The Sister Pact by Jacquie Biggar shows pretty blonde woman with sunglasses and headscarf sitting in profile in a convertible, hand on steering wheelThe Sister Pact: Home is Where the Heart is
by Jacquie Biggar

Holly Tremaine returns home when illness forces her to step back from her career as a concert violinist. The holidays are approaching, and home seems the place be—only there are several untidy messes in Holly’s past. Her sister, Susan, married Steven, the man Holly was once in love with, and Holly had a drunken one-night stand with Steven’s brother, Levi.

Sound a bit complicated? It is, in a wonderfully flawed and heart wrenching way. This is a blend of chick lit and romance with neither overshadowing the other. The story is not only about the buried feelings Holly and Levi have carried for each other, but also the emotional scars and bonds between sisters. When Susan’s marriage falters, it’s Holly who rushes in to try to hold it together, and when Holly’s illness gets the better of her, Susan’s eyes are opened to the distance they’ve allowed to grow between them.

This is a beautiful story about family, siblings, sisters, emotional healing, and true loves. Jacquie Biggar writes with perfection and infuses every story with warmth to touch a reader’s heart. The Sister Pact is another perfect gem. 5 Stars

Amazon Link
Genre:  Contemporary Romance > Family Life Fiction 


Book over for The Good Neighbors shows a rural home at night with oppressing cloudy skyThe Good Neighbors
by Kiersten Modglin

Harper and Bryant are a young couple who move from Chicago to a quaint southern town where Bryant has accepted a job as a teacher. Their next-door neighbors are slightly older, extremely wealthy, and model perfect.

The Good
I read this book in one day. I was home with a cold and got sucked in from page one. From the get-go, the reader can’t but help being pulled along in the twisted tale of neighbors Harper and Bryant and Tori and Jason. Like a soap opera, there are a plenty of juicy secrets and over the top encounters.

The Bad
Like a train wreck, it’s hard to look away even when the characters make horrendous decisions, and there were plenty of them in this story. Even so, the writing and story keeps you flipping pages wanting to know what’s going to happen next, despite mounting frustration over the actions of all involved. Harper and Bryant are average, everyday people, where Tori and Jason seem as though they stepped off the screen from a 1980’s prime time soap.

The Ugly
I had a hard time swallowing the ending. Far too many puzzle pieces don’t align­—or at the very least—make sense. I think the author wanted to deliver a bombshell, but rather than feeling shocked, I was left with a sense of incredulity. It’s hard to say more without giving away spoilers, but too many things didn’t add up or were too extreme to swallow.

The Takeaway
I waffled on what rating to give this book given the problems with the plot. But in the end, it kept me glued to the pages and rapidly reading to reach the finish. The entertainment value warrants 5 stars, the plot 3. Therefore, I give The Good Neighbors 4 stars, and note that I would read this author again with that hopes that plot and entertainment meet in a solid middle.

Amazon Link
Genre: Psychological Thrillers > Psychological Fiction


Until next Tuesday, I hope you enjoyed the reviews, and I’d love to hear your thoughts on them!

Hode’s Hill Series .99c Sale #GhostFiction #SupernaturalSuspense #ParanormalMystery

Hi, friends. I’ve been away since last Friday afternoon for an extended weekend at the beach. The weather was awesome and it turned out to be one of the best vacays DH and I have had. I got some great pictures and hope to share later in the week.

In the meantime, I have exciting news—my publisher is shining the spotlight on my Hode’s Hill series throughout the month of February. Both End of Day and Eventide will be priced at .99c for the month, and Cusp of Night—book one­­—will be free from the 20th through the 25th. If you’ve been on the fence about reading any of these, now is the perfect time to gobble them up. With Cusp free, later this month, it means you can grab all three books for a total of $1.98. Please help me spread the word!

These books cross genres—mystery, supernatural suspense, ghost fiction, women sleuths, and horror. Cusp of Night has been noted for its cozy mystery feel in tandem with paranormal thriller aspects. It makes Cusp and the other books in this series hard to define, but judging by reviews, the mesh works.

I’ll leave you with a few snippets to help you decide for yourself. 🙂


Book banner header for Cusp of Night by Mae Clair shows single streetlamp on a dark corner Cusp of Night
Will be free 2/20 through 2/25

 … Clair’s adaptation of her research into spiritualism and the defective generation skipping gene that makes one’s skin blue is nothing short of genius. The result being Cusp of Night… another epic urban tale written in true Clair fashion…

 …Descriptions were meticulous and painted vivid pictures. It’s clear that Clair did her homework on the spiritualist movement and her knowledge shines through in the details. Cusp of Night struck me as part cozy mystery and part occult-thriller. Yes, there is a monster and an evil entity! Highly entertaining!…

…OMG — I love this book! I am a sucker for creepy, supernatural horror, and this story just sucked me right in. I couldn’t stop reading! The story switches point of view, alternating between Maya in the present day and Lucinda Glass more than 100 years ago. Usually I’m not much of a fan of POV jumps, but for this story it worked perfectly. This is the kind of horror that I love to read — Halloween-y type creepy stories and not gore fests…

UNIVERSAL PURCHASE LINK | READ THE BLURB


Banner ad for supernatural suspense novel, End of Day by Mae Clair

End of Day
Currently available for .99c

… Clair is a talented wordsmith who sets a scene artfully. Her descriptions draw a reader in as much as the characters do, with the setting becoming a character itself. While nothing is too gory or horrific, there is a definite sense of eerie foreboding that increases with the tension of the story and culminates in a dramatic climax a reader won’t soon forget…

… Thank you Netgalley, for exposing me to Mae Clair. I can enthusiastically recommend this author to friends and family. She is one author very difficult to put down.I  received a free electronic copy of this second Hode’s Hill novel from Netgalley, Mae Clair, and Lyrical Underground in exchange for an honest review. Only pages in, I was hooked and had to purchase Cusp of Night, number 1 in the series…

… This is a paranormal suspense novel with a dual timeline alternating between the year 1799 and now. A centuries-old curse grips a small town. There are thugs, a sweet dog, monsters, a supernatural talisman, a no-nonsense policewoman, likable characters, despicable characters . . . this book has it all….

PURCHASE  FOR .99c  | UNIVERSAL LINK | READ THE BLURB


Banner ad for Eventide, a mystery novel by Mae Clair, features a dilapidated old houseEventide
Currently available for .99c

 … The setting was brilliant and it even creeped me out which isn’t an easy thing to do!!! I will definitely be purchasing the previous books in the Hode’s Hill series as well as looking for more books by this author. I highly recommend this book to fans of horror, thrillers, suspense and anyone who enjoys a creepy, ghost filled and excellent read. I couldn’t recommend this book enough, well done to a very talented author!!!…

… Mae Clair seamlessly blends past and present timelines, gothic creatures, ghosts and complex characters to create an unforgettable story…

… A very chilling read, if you like supernatural mysteries, grab today! Well written, absolutely frightening, with twists and turns, and chills to the bone. Well written, with interesting characters and development that had me flipping pages…

PURCHASE  FOR .99c   | UNIVERSAL LINK | READ THE BLURB


Well, there you have it—a few thoughts from readers on all three books. I’m truly grateful to everyone who has read and reviewed this series. Hopefully, this month’s sale will bring Hode’s Hill to the attention of a larger audience. If you know anyone who likes mysteries with goosebumps, I’d be grateful if you share the sale and free pricing with them. Thanks in advance for helping me spread the word. Happy reading to all!

Wednesday Weirdness: The Ghosts of Time, Part 1

pathway between large, gnarled trees with words "on the path of Wednesday Weirdness" superimposed over image

We’ve often heard the expression “time stopped.” But can it really? As much as I love time travel speculating about traversing centuries, time flows in a single direction–forward. Despite cold facts and scientific data, generations of writers, philosophers, artists and musicians remain bewitched by the abstract elements of time.

Spiraling image of a clock face with big bold numbers reducing in sizeConsider me one. In the past, I’ve done several blog posts about what I call “betwixt moments,” but I’ve never shared where my fascination with time originated. I can easily trace it back to my father who had a passion for antiques, especially old clocks. I grew up in a house filled with them. I have memories of a large white captain’s clock, several squat mantle clocks, and a pointed steeple clock that would have been at home in a Sherlock Holmes novel. But the star of my dad’s collection was a grandfather’s clock he found at a garage sale. Built in 1902, the clock was his baby.

He pampered it…winding it, oiling it, adjusting the chimes, polishing the pendulum. It had a prime spot in our living room, its chimes resounding throughout the house on the hour. As a kid, I created multiple stories with clocks and would often lay awake at night listening for the deep bass bong of the grandfather’s clock.

When my husband and I bought our second home, the first piece of furniture I purchased for the formal living room was a grandfather’s clock. Never mind there wasn’t a couch or chair, the clock came first. That’s the romantic, impractical side of me. Every time I look at that clock, I think of my dad.

As kids he’d often tell us that when he died, if there was a way to come back, he’d find it. If the grandfather’s clock was running he’d stop it, and if it was stopped, he’d start it. I don’t think my dad intended on dying early—maybe he’d knew he’d have a short life—but the afterlife fascinated him. When I was thirteen, he passed away from colon cancer.

bigstock-Abstract-Time-Piece-1101466Sometime after that, the whole family was gathered in the living room. My father passed away in early September, so I believe this must have been Thanksgiving, because my married sisters were there with their spouses. My mom was the only one not in the room. I think she might have been in the kitchen. Someone went to note the time and realized the clock had stopped. There was a moment of goosebump-silence as we absorbed the impact. My sister immediately told her husband: “start it, before Mom sees it.” We never told my mom about that incident until much later in life, fearing it might upset her.

Was my dad there? Had he stopped the clock as promised?  I still wonder. Many people would chalk it up to happenstance, but it’s far too coincidental to me.

Today, the clock belongs to my brother. One hundred seventeen years after it was built, it has become an intricate part of our family history. We’ve passed the tale of my dad and his promise to the younger generation, a story often reflected on at family gatherings. The clock—like my father—is still touching lives, a testament of time and memory.

Is there a spooky story in your family history—one that has been passed down to you or that you’ve passed to your kids? Sometimes we don’t have to look beyond our own bloodline to find inspiration for a legend. I’ll be sharing along this line next week. Now it’s your turn. Let me hear your thoughts.

Book Review Tuesday: Flower Power Trip @jamescudney4

Warm and cozy window seat with cushions and a opened book, light through vintage shutters, rustic style home decor. Small cat on window seat, along with coffee cup by pillow, Words Book Review Tuesday superimposed over image

Welcome to another Book Review Tuesday! I have one book to share with you today, and although it’s part of a series, I believe it stands well on its own.This is the second Braxton Campus Mystery I’ve read, and I’m hooked. What a spectacular, delightful, eccentric, colorful assortment of characters. Five starts from me for Flower Power Trip by James J. Cudney!


Book cover for Flower Power Trip by James Cudney shows stately looking building in background, flower garden in foreground, with knife sticking up from flowersFlower Power Trip
by James J. Cudney

Once you visit Braxton Campus, you can’t help becoming immersed in the lives of the varied people who populate this quaint setting. Kellan Arywick is a professor with an uncanny knack for sleuthing out murderers—through no fault of his own, and much to the chagrin of the local sheriff. This time around, Kellan agrees to help Braxton College president, Ursula Power, discover who’s stalking her and sending threatening notes. Instead, Kellan ends up with a dead body on his hands, the prime suspect his ex-girlfriend’s sister. Kellan and Maggie have a maintained a strong friendship, so he’s soon up to his neck in trying to find out who did the deed. A stalker, a murder—and that’s only part of what’s going on in this multi-layered mystery.

Complex, but believably presented, the main threads tie up in a neat bow by the time the end arrives. Getting there, however, is quite the rollercoaster ride with suspects presenting themselves at every turn (there is also a few ongoing threads that carry over the series, but in no way leave the reader unsatisfied).

Highlights for me: Kellan’s grandmother “Nana D” is a scene stealer, though there are so many colorful characters in this series, each is given multiple moments to shine. The dialogue is witty and the writing crisp.

An absolute highlight is the masquerade party held to raise funds for renovations to the library. The theme is Heroes and Villains, with guests attending  dressed as their favorite hero or villain from literature. I want to go to that party!—minus the murder, of course. Also of note is Kellan’s frenemy relationship with Sheriff April Montague, who finds his meddling in police business annoying to say the least. It’s fun seeing the progression and changes to their relationship.

If you like cozies and whodunits, with vibrant characters and snappy dialogue, this is a series for you! I read this book without reading the first two in the series, but given how enthralled I am, I want to read them all! 5 Stars

Amazon Purchase Link
Genre: Cozy Mystery


Thanks for visiting today, and I hope you enjoyed the review. If you’re looking for a good cozy, check out Flower Power Trip and the entire Braxton Campus series. I know I’ll be reading more!

Cover Reveal: The Reckoning Squad by S. Burke @pursoot #thriller

I’m happy today to be participating in the cover reveal of The Reckoning Squad by
S. Burke. Suzanne (“Soooz”) is a dear friend and gifted writer of dark thrillers. I was a beta reader on this book and enjoyed the story immensely. One character, in particular, really took me by surprise. I’m so excited to finally see the cover and be able to pre-order my copy. Here’s Soooz to tell you more…


Hello, and welcome to the Cover Reveal of my New Psychological Thriller.

“The Reckoning Squad.”

The Reckoning Squad Cover Reveal Banner.

The Reckoning Squad

By

S. Burke

Available to Pre-Order NOW.
Release Date: Monday FEBRUARY 24th, 2020.
Mystery>Psychological Thriller & Suspense >

It is such an exciting time for an author when releasing a new book! I would be remiss in not sharing my heartfelt thanks to the marvelous people who gave of their time so readily to beta read my latest book. Their valuable insights helped me enormously when crafting “The Reckoning Squad”

At long last, I’m able to share the cover and blurb for “The Reckoning Squad” my latest Psychological Thriller.

“The Reckoning Squad ” is due for release on Monday, February 24th, 2020.

It is NOW available for Pre-Order.

I have many good friends sharing this cover across the blogosphere today and tomorrow, so you’re likely to see it pop up in various places. Thank you to everyone participating in my cover reveal splash, and to everyone dropping by to share in my excitement. Here’s my new baby . . .

With much gratitude to Eeva Lancaster at The Book Khaleesi for the cover creation.

Cover Created by Eeva Lancaster at The Book Khaleesi

Presenting “The Reckoning Squad” A Psychological thriller.

“The Reckoning Squad

THE RECKONING SQUAD HIGH RES IMAGE of BOOKCOVER

BLURB:

The Reckoning Squad was the new name being whispered in the darkened corridors of the powerful in Washington. The name was whispered with awe, and the whispers grew louder.

Twenty people had been carefully vetted and recruited to undergo specialized training. Training engineered to break them utterly, intended to shatter everything they once believed themselves capable of surviving. Only the best of them made it through the twelve weeks of hell. They now formed a cohesive black-ops unit, known as The Reckoning Squad.

Their facility is breached, and the team’s numbers are decimated. The survivors know that they’re in a fight for their lives. They have been betrayed from within. Trust has now become a rare commodity. They want answers.

The betrayers don’t understand just what they’ve unleashed.

But they are about to find out.

The Reckoning Squad are coming, and they have just rewritten the rules.

#

Here’s an extract from the Prologue.

Prologue.

New York: November 8th, 2003.

Chastity Adams checked the time, ran a brush through her long blonde curls and hurriedly grabbed her school books. She shoved them into her backpack and slipped on her gloves. One quick look from her bedroom window was enough to tell her just how windy it was outside. The last of the fall leaves still clung bravely to the branches all the while knowing it was futile. The others swirled in small angry spirals across her backyard. She grabbed her coat, pulled on a beanie, and loosely draped a scarf across her shoulders. Chastity was unaware of how pretty she looked with her long curls falling in a soft curtain around her. Her mind was too busy to cloud it with vanity.

She suddenly recalled a decision she’d made yesterday.

Chastity hurried down the hallway to her brother Nathan’s room and knocked on the door.

Nathan stood looking down at her from his 6ft 3ins, rubbing his eyes and leaning on the wall. “What’s up, squirt?”

Chastity ignored the nickname, she’d be thirteen in a couple of days then she’d ask her big brother to quit using it, “I was just wondering if you had some gloves and maybe a beanie or scarf you don’t ever wear.”

“Why would you need them?”

Chastity flushed a deep shade of pink, “There’s this boy at school, he kinda always looks cold. He’s still wearing the same stuff he was wearing back in June. It’s way too cold now for shorts and a tee-shirt. So, I figured maybe his folks just didn’t have enough money to buy him some warmer stuff, you know? I mean he could have one of mine, but he already gets picked on enough and adding bright girl colored stuff would just make it worse.”

“You off on another one of your missions to save the world, squirt?”

“I’m not! But it just doesn’t seem right that some folks have too much and some folks never have enough. That’s all.”

Her brother looked at her closely and nodded. “Okay. I guess I have some stuff I don’t really need.”

His sister flung her arms around him. “You are the best brother ever! You wouldn’t maybe have an old hoodie as well?”

Nathan knew he’d lose an argument with his kid sister. He had never been able to deny her anything. And the little minx knew it.

His eyes followed her as she left the room with her donated bootie. He tried to shrug off the thought that his friends may start looking at his kid sister a little differently, and soon.

Then he grinned and was comforted by the knowledge that the squirt was capable of laying them out flat on the ground, courtesy of the karate lessons she’d undertaken since the age of five. If she didn’t dissuade them they’d have to come through him. That wasn’t about to happen. This whole big brother thing had suddenly altered in a way he hadn’t anticipated happening quite so soon.

***

Travis Wilson shivered as he stepped outside and hurriedly locked the front door behind him. The baggy shorts and tee-shirt he was wearing gave him no armor to fight off the cold November wind. He steeled himself to brace it, picked up his violin case and hurried to catch the school bus.

He climbed on and made his way quickly down to the back corner and grabbed the window seat. He spoke to no one and kept his eyes averted, but he couldn’t shut his ears off from hearing the nasty comments from the other kids that sat nearest to him. “You going away to a beach somewhere, freak? Don’t much like your choice of swimwear.”

The guy had secured himself a good laugh with that one.

Then the other comments started. Kids seemed to grow braver when they formed a pack. Travis knew they weren’t all cruel, not normally, but the need they had to belong trashed all over their distaste at what they were doing. Driven by the desire to be considered popular inspired them to be as cruel as they could be. Their words lacerated his already damaged soul and Travis felt his face darken with the shame of it. He didn’t respond either by word or action, knowing they’d soon become bored with their bullying of him and move their spiteful tongues on to some other kid they deemed to be weak and an easy target.

He looked out the window and sighed with relief when he spotted Chastity Adams and her best friends readying to climb onboard at the bus stop. Chastity was different from the rest of them. He always felt a little better about his day when she’d seek him out and give him a smile. He looked across at her then, just as she turned. He knew she had caught the wistful look on his face. She simply smiled across at him and turned back to her chattering best friends.

He caught the smile and burned it into his memory. He would remember it when the darkness descended again. It would help keep him warm.

***

Purchase The Reckoning Squad on Amazon.com

Again my grateful thanks to the generous folks sharing my Cover reveal with you today.

I’m looking forward to hearing your thoughts.

Suzanne Burke Amazon Author PageOn TWITTERMy Blog


What a fantastic cover! I’m going to be impatient waiting for release day, but in the meantime, I plan to hop over to Amazon and one-click my pre-order. Please use the sharing buttons below to help Soooz spread the word about The Reckoning Squad!

Cover Reveal: Grinders by C.S. Boyack @Virgilante #cyberpunk #sciencefiction

Hey, friends—don’t you just love looking at book covers? I do, and always get excited whenever someone I know has a new cover to unveil. Today, I’m delighted to host friend and Story Empire colleague, Craig Boyack, for the red carpet roll out of a sparkly new book cover!


Book cover for Grinders, a speculative fiction novel by C. S. BoyackI’m here to reveal my newest cover and talk a bit about Grinders. This time, I’m tackling a cyberpunk world. It’s one of those worlds where the Internet and being connected too much controls our lives.

One of the things I like about science fiction is the ability to project current events into the future. I call this, “Poking things with a stick.”

I poked a lot of things in this book, but most of them are in passing. Some of them show up in advertisements, which are invasive in this world. Others might just be a news blurb. There are times when I dive a bit deeper, and not everything is negative. Here is a small list of things that show up in the story:

  • Global warming
  • Plastic pollution
  • Helicopter moms
  • Cyber shut-ins
  • The energy crisis
  • New ways for package thieves to operate
  • Police who can’t carry guns until they are five-year veterans
  • Homeowner associations

There are a lot more, and most of them are pretty subtle. Cyberpunk is not known for deep plots, but I wanted one anyway.

Grinders is set about a hundred years in the future, in San Francisco. The main characters are cops assigned to the Grinder Squad. This is the duty nobody wants, and you almost have to screw up to get this assignment.

Grinders exist today, but I ramped them up for this story. These are people who surgically modify themselves, or each other, in basement surgeries, beauty salons, and tattoo parlors. Real world examples are those who implant chips under their skin to allow themselves to unlock doors or start cars without a key. There has even been one who injected dye into his eyeballs in an attempt to see in the dark. In that example, it actually worked but the results were temporary.

My story involves the downside of these modifications, why they’re illegal, and most of them are a bit more extreme than the real world versions. For example, you’ll meet Brandi, who has moth-like antennae implanted into her forehead. They aren’t just cute, they allow her to taste virtually everything. She’s almost like a bloodhound, only using the sense of taste.

Grinder Squad rarely ever does anything, but the new girl on the squad, Jimi, wants to bust a grind shop in the worst way. She feels like it could be her ticket off this crap detail and on to better duty.

One of my silly goals was to release the book in time for Chinese New Year. I’m not going to make it. I still need to finish my final pass, send it to the formatter, and get my promotional posters. It’s going to need a blurb, too.

I targeted this date because in the story, it’s the Year of the Rat. An important part of the story takes place at San Francisco’s annual parade. There are even a couple of rats in the story that play a pivotal role. Aside from that, I was born in the Year of the Rat.

Readers won’t actually care about my silly target date, and it’s more important to give everything the final polish. What I did get in time was cover art. So Gong Hei Fot Choi, everyone, and enjoy the cover. The story will be available before you know it, and I’ll announce that on my blog.


I’m really looking forward to this one! I got a sneak peek of it, and the story is unbelievably imaginative. That’s always the case with Craig’s work, so I recommend keeping your eyes peeled for news of Grinders release. I know I am!

Please help Craig out by using the sharing buttons below!

Connect with Craig at the following haunts:
Blog | My Novels | Twitter GoodreadsFacebookPinterest | BookBub

Biography box for author C. S. Boyack