#TellTaleTuesday with Dr. Randy Overbeck and Scarlet at Crystal River

Welcome Dr. Randy Overbeck for this week’s Tell Tale Tuesday with “Ghosts, the Essence of Halloween.”

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If you do the research, you’ll find that the day we call Halloween has a complicated origin story. Probably the earliest source for this unique holiday actually dates back over two thousand years to an ancient Celtic celebration called Samhain. These ancient Celts celebrated November 1 as their new year—the end of summer and the harvest and the beginning of a long, cold winter. The night before, October 31, they believed the ghosts of the dead returned and roamed the earth.

Then, when the Romans conquered the Celts, around 43 A.D., they combined the Samhain with their own festival known as Feralia, a  day to honor the dead—which of course included the recognition of the spirits of our passed loved ones, some still present among us.

Move forward a few hundred years and Pope Gregory designated November 1 as All Saints Day, a holiday to honor all Christian martyrs and saints. A few centuries later, as Christianity spread over Celtic lands, the festivals of Samhain and Feralia were subsumed into what was called All Hallowed Eve—October 31—since it was the night before All Saints Day. All Hallowed Eve became a night to honor those we had lost…and perhaps recognize their ghosts among us.

European settlers then brought this tradition across the ocean. In America, the beliefs of different ethnic groups about the dead and ghosts meshed with the beliefs of Native Americans about the spirit world to yield our very American idea of Halloween. For example, in Colonial America, Halloween festivals included the telling of ghost stories and mischief-making in the spirits’ honor.

You might see a theme emerging here.

For centuries, this time of year has been a time for remembering the dead and acknowledging that some of those who have passed are still among us. While you are far more likely to encounter chainsaw murderers or howling werewolves at haunted houses or pass an eerie alien or blood-sucking vampire trick-or-treating, they are not really what Halloween is about.

Across the years, the celebration we call All Hallowed Eve or Halloween has always been about the ghosts of those we have lost…and wondering if, perhaps, these spirits might still be among us. I’d argue the mystery of Halloween is best captured by pondering if those who have gone before us might, on this special night, have something to tell us…if we are willing to listen.

The persistence of these beliefs, even until today, is just one of the reasons I chose to wrap a ghost story of those who have passed into the cold-case murder mystery in each of my Haunted Shores Mysteries. And what could be a better way to celebrate All Hallowed Eve than to curl up with an award-winning ghost story/mystery like Blood on the Chesapeake, Crimson at Cape May or the new release, Scarlet at Crystal River?

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Blurb

All Darrell Henshaw wanted was to enjoy his honeymoon with his beautiful wife, Erin, in the charming town of Crystal River on the sunny Gulf Coast of Florida. Only a pair of ghosts decide to intrude on their celebration. And not just any ghosts, the spirits of two young Latino children. Unwilling at first to derail the honeymoon for yet another ghost hunt, Darrell finally concedes when a painting of the kids comes alive, weeping and pleading for his help.

When he and Erin track down the artist, they discover the children’s family were migrant workers the next county over. But when they travel there, their questions about the kids gets their car shot up and Erin hospitalized. Torn between fear and rage, Darrell must decide how far he will go to get justice for two young children he never even knew.

Check out the Book Trailer

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Excerpt

Darrell ran harder, finishing the loop and circling back to Erin. She was so engrossed in her paperback he managed to sneak up behind her. He leaned and in and grabbed another long kiss.

She kissed him back, smiling. “Now that’s better than a little fictional romance.” She got up and stretched her long legs.

“You ready for some waves?” he asked.

“If you’re up to it, let’s do a mile or so on the sand first.”

“You’re on.” Darrell gave a gentlemanly wave of his hand.

“I’ll race you.”

Erin took off like a shot, and Darrell hurried after her. Since the beach was small, they covered the same ground Darrell had a few minutes earlier, passing the family sandcastle builders, another jogger, and the same strolling couples. As usual, she was quick, and he had to hustle to keep up, using some fancy footwork to sidestep sunbathers as they ran. When they got to the north end of the beach where Darrell had turned to double back, Erin headed for a little spit of land that strutted out into the water. He looked beyond and saw what she was headed for. Accelerating, he passed her.

Ahead, at the far end of the beach, a pair of young kids, he’d guess about six, sat in the sand as the waves rolled over their legs. Their small hands busied with a primitive sandcastle. One had long, brown hair tied into pigtails, and the other had a full head of brown hair, unkempt and in need of a trim. He came up to them and stopped, Erin a few seconds behind.

The kids wore street clothes, not swimsuits, but he didn’t think much about it. Then he noticed something about the young boy. His right leg was stuck out at a grotesque angle, as if it had been broken and never set. Both kids giggled at the gurgling water that rolled up around their bare feet and pooled in the makeshift moat they’d dug around their sand creation. The castle was crude, a nearly round construction with seashells sticking up like turrets. The two kids glanced up, caramel eyes wide and pleading with half smiles of white teeth.

In unison, they said, “Ayudaños?”

“Huh?” Darrell said.

“Cute castle, huh?” Erin stared at the sand and looked up at Darrell. “I wonder who made it?” Her eyes roamed around the area. “Out here on this spit of land it isn’t going to last very long.”

“Those kids—” he started, pointing to the pair. When he looked down, the sandcastle sat alone, the gulf water flowing around the construction and into the crude moat.

His glance darted out to the waves, thinking they’d abandoned their work and ran into the water, even in their street clothes, though he wondered how the boy could have run.

No girl or boy.

Oh, God! The same two kids? “You vill have two visitors.”

“What’d you say?” Erin asked, her gaze meeting his.

The ghosts. Erin hadn’t seen them!

Shit, he couldn’t tell her. Not now. Not here.

“Nothing,” he managed around the lump in his throat and glanced back down at the sand.

There at his feet, the crude sand construction they’d been working on, complete with the three blue seashells sticking out of the top, sat alone on the sand. He reached down and grabbed one of the small seashells as the prickle on his neck returned and sizzled. Then he sensed something else, something ominous. No, not ominous, malevolent. More of Natalia’s warning came back to him.

“I see a malevolence, a great danger lurking nearby.”

A big wave rushed in, rolling over their ankles and leveling the mound of sand, leaving the beach empty. As if nothing had ever been there.

“¡Ayúdaños!”

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Buy Links

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Scarlet-Crystal-Haunted-Shores-Mysteries/dp/1509237879

Barnes and Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/scarlet-at-crystal-river-randy-overbeck/1139873947

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/57841458-scarlet-at-crystal-river

Author Bio

Dr. Randy Overbeck is an award-winning educator, author and speaker. As an educator, he served children for four decades in a range of roles captured in his novels, from teacher and coach to principal and superintendent. His thriller, Leave No Child Behind (2012) and his recent mysteries, the Amazon No. 1 Best Seller, Blood on the Chesapeake, Crimson at Cape May and Scarlet at Crystal River have earned five star reviews and garnered national awards including “Thriller of the Year–ReadersFavorite.com, “Gold Award”—Literary Titan, “Mystery of the Year”—ReadersView.com and “Crowned Heart of Excellence”—InD’Tale Magazine. As a member of the Mystery Writers of America, Dr. Overbeck is an active member of the literary community, contributing to a writers’ critique group, serving as a mentor to emerging writers and participating in writing conferences such as Sleuthfest, Killer Nashville and the Midwest Writers Workshop. When he’s not writing or researching his next exciting novel or sharing his presentation, “Things Still Go Bump in the Night,” he’s spending time with his incredible family of wife, three children (and their spouses) and seven wonderful grandchildren.

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#ThirteenForThursday with Linda Griffin

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Welcome author Linda Griffin for this week’s Thirteen for Thursday

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Who was your first book boyfriend/girlfriend?

Long before I ever heard that term, I considered Bracken Murray, a character in Ever After by Elswyth Thane, my ideal man. The book was part of a series that I first read in early adolescence, so I’m pretty sure he was the first.

What are your favorite and least favorite words? (in any language…)

I have a number of favorite words, but I think synchronicity is tops at the moment. My least favorite is the N-word.

Would you ever jump out of a perfectly good airplane?

Maybe if it was on fire…

When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?

As soon as I figured out that somebody had to create the words I was reading, I knew I wanted to be a “book maker” when I grew up. Later I wanted to be a teacher, until I found out there was an actual job looking things up. I love research, so I was a born librarian even before I knew what it was.

What is the first movie you remember seeing?

Montana Mike. It was a Western with Robert Cummings as an angel who went back to heaven in a stagecoach at the end.

Spiders, friends or foes?

I think spiders are beautiful, except for daddy longlegs, which I find rather creepy. Tarantulas are my favorite. Many years ago my sister did a pseudo-Native American thing with cards that was supposed to indicate my totem animals, and one of them was a spider hanging over my head saying “Create, create!” Because of that I have two large furry tarantulas (not real ones!), Blackie and Tarantella, on top of my computer hutch.

What is one motto or philosophy you consistently live by?

“Not perfect, but better.” It’s a reminder that striving for perfection only leads to frustration. Most of the time it’s more important just to make things better.

If you could be the opposite sex for the day, what would you do?

Exactly what I do now, because I would still be me. Differences between individuals are so much more important than gender differences. Gender is part of who we are, but it doesn’t define us an individual.

What is the one skill you don’t have, but wish you did?

I’d love to be able to draw and paint, but I’m terrible at anything that requires manual dexterity. I’m only good with words and numbers.

If you won the lottery, what would you do?

Hire an accountant to deal with the tax complications and give most of it to charity. Also apologize to my mother, who disapproved of any kind of gambling. My dad would be thrilled though.

Star Wars or Star Trek?

Both. I was in love with Mr. Spock and then Han Solo.

If you had to dispose of a dead body, how would you do it?

I was once voted most likely to commit the perfect crime. I would drop the body down an elevator shaft in an about-to-be-demolished building. And yes, I used it in a story.

Are you related to (distantly or otherwise) to anyone famous? Who? What is his or her claim to fame?

I’m a descendant, not of Thomas Jefferson, but of his brother Randolph. He was a planter and captain of the local militia. Some historians also believe he, rather than Thomas, may have fathered Sally Hemings’s children.

Bonus Round

What was your favorite toy as a kid?

I had a favorite doll named Sherry, with eyes that opened and closed,  and I still have her, although she lives in a suitcase in the den closet these days.

If you could travel anywhere, where would it be and why?

I’ve always wanted to go to the Netherlands. I’ve heard that it’s very clean and very visitor friendly. (It’s also the best place in the world to have a baby.) I’d like to see the canals and windmills and the museums, before they disappear under the rising level of the ocean due to global warming.

Linda’s Online Playground

Website: https://www.lindagriffinauthor.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/LindaGriffinA

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lindagriffin.author/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/lindagriffinauthor/

Author Bio

Linda Griffin is a native of San Diego and has a BA in English from San Diego State University and an MLS from UCLA. She retired as fiction librarian for the San Diego Public Library in order to spend more time on her writing. Her stories have been published in numerous journals including, EclecticaThema Literary ReviewThe Binnacle, and The Nassau Review. Love, Death, and the Art of Cooking is her fourth romantic suspense novel from the Wild Rose Press, after Seventeen Days (2018), The Rebound Effect (2019), and Guilty Knowledge (2020). In addition to the three R’s—reading, writing, and research—she enjoys movies, Scrabble, and travel.

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#MusicMonday | Dee Gees – You Should Be Dancing

So, day job got me sucked in – going from sitting in front of my computer to physically-demanding work hasn’t gone as smoothly as I hoped it would. But I’m still here… and running late, so I’ll keep this short.

Stumbled across this this morning… and kind of love it.

What do y’all think? Tell me in the comments…

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#TeaserTuesday | Yours Truly – Eat Dirt

I don’t know about you, but I can’t tell you how many times I’ve prayed not to eat dirt in front of someone else – a romantic rival…a romantic interest…my brother (cause, you know, he’d never let me hear the end of it. lol)

Wiping out in front of a bunch of people I don’t know, though? That’s totally fine (and something I’ve done way too often… Ha!)

Purchase Links

The Wild Rose Press Website: https://www.thewildrosepress.com/books/yours-truly

Amazon E-Book: https://www.amazon.com/Yours-Truly-K-J-Pierce-ebook/dp/B01NBSOXR4

Amazon Book: https://www.amazon.com/Yours-Truly-K-J-Pierce/dp/1509212825

Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/yours-truly-k-j-pierce/1126326413

Kobo.com https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/yours-truly-15

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#MusicMonday | Le Freak by CHIC

ball, disco ball, jump

Photo by geralt on Pixabay

 

So… week one of new job is down, and I’m having a ball – but that’s not what the disco ball is for. That’s for today’s #MusicMonday pick – “Le Freak” by CHIC. Nothing better than a 70’s throwback (unless it’s an 80’s throwback, but I digress…)

I seem to recall my brother had this on 45, and I wasn’t supposed to touch it. I did, however, decide to take it to school for show & tell, and I accidentally sat on it. And broke it. #Whoops

Anyway, enjoy today’s Music Monday – and have a fantastic start to the week!

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#TeaserTuesday | Yours Truly – Stupid Ritchie

With my Mr. Dorian Gray feeling more like himself, this is the perfect teaser for today. 🙂

Happy Tuesday!

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#MusicMonday – Route 66 by Depeche Mode

route 66, sign, highway

Photo by Foundry on Pixabay

I don’t know what it is about “Route 66” – especially the Depeche Mode version – that makes it perfect for a new start song. It evokes a sense of freedom and exploration and adventure. At least it does for me. 🙂

And so, it’s off to start a new job today – I hadn’t intended on working for anyone else ever again, at least as an employee, especially given the absolute batshit crazy of the last job. The opportunity presented itself, though, and so it’s off to new adventures in just a little bit.

Have a happy Monday, and enjoy your own adventures, new or otherwise!

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Oh, the Randomness | Dorian Gray the Cat

So… this is my very own Mr. Dorian Gray – who’s 16+ and who had a tooth pulled yesterday. I was super worried about the anesthesia given his age, but he did just fine and now he’s on soft food and painkillers for a week or so to give his gum time to heal.

He’s currently hiding under the bed since his morning meds have taken effect.

No reason for post this except to share the joy. I was an absolute wreck yesterday.

Happy Good Friday and Easter weekend, to those of you who celebrate.

As an aside, if you’ve never read The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde, I highly recommend it. You can get it free from the Project Gutenberg site (linked above – they also appear to have an audio version available) and you can probably find free versions on the major retailers.

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#OneLineWednesday | Yours Truly – Raven Gone Hitchcock

Writing this scene where Izzie and Delly are held captive by the missing raven – in the most unlikeliest of places – had me giggling the entire time. Whenever I have an emotional reaction of any sort while I’m writing, I know I’m heading in the right direction.

If you want to find out where the ladies and the raven are and what happens when they’re there, Yours Truly is available for purchase as the following links:

(The Wild Rose Press page will give you links to sites where you can purchase Yours Truly beyond the sites below.)

Purchase Links

The Wild Rose Press Website: https://www.thewildrosepress.com/books/yours-truly

Amazon E-Book: https://www.amazon.com/Yours-Truly-K-J-Pierce-ebook/dp/B01NBSOXR4

Amazon Book: https://www.amazon.com/Yours-Truly-K-J-Pierce/dp/1509212825

Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/yours-truly-k-j-pierce/1126326413

Kobo.com https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/yours-truly-15

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#TeaserTuesday | Yours Truly – Girl with a Crush

Boy, have I felt this way on occasion.  Maybe not so much with a celebrity, but I suppose it doesn’t take someone famous for someone else to feel not good enough. ‘Tis the nature of humans, I’m sure. 

But this book is comedic, as is the nature of Chick Lit, so don’t feel too bad. Izzie gets over it, as do we all. 🙂

Purchase Links

The Wild Rose Press Website: https://www.thewildrosepress.com/books/yours-truly

Amazon E-Book: https://www.amazon.com/Yours-Truly-K-J-Pierce-ebook/dp/B01NBSOXR4

Amazon Book: https://www.amazon.com/Yours-Truly-K-J-Pierce/dp/1509212825

Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/yours-truly-k-j-pierce/1126326413

Kobo.com https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/yours-truly-15

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