Waiting On Wednesday (106)

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event that
spotlights upcoming releases that I’m really
looking forward to. Waiting On Wednesday
is the creation of Jill at Breaking the Spine.
This week’s “can’t-wait-to-read” selection is:

A Question of Holmes
Charlotte Holmes #4
Brittany Cavallaro
Katherine Tegen Books, March 2019
Mystery, Young Adult

In the explosive conclusion to the New York Times bestselling Charlotte Holmes series, Holmes and Watson think they’re finally in the clear after graduating from Sherringford…but danger awaits in the hallowed halls of Oxford.

Charlotte Holmes and Jamie Watson finally have a chance to start over. With all the freedom their pre-college summer program provides and no one on their tail, the only mystery they need to solve, once and for all, is what they are to each other.

But upon their arrival at Oxford, Charlotte is immediately drawn into a new case: a series of accidents befell the theater program at Oxford last year, culminating in a young woman going missing on the night of a major performance.

The mystery has gone unsolved; the case is cold. And no one—least of all the girl’s peculiar, close-knit group of friends—is talking.

When Watson and Holmes join the theater program, the “accidents” start anew, giving them no choice but to throw themselves into the case. But as the complicated lines of friendship, love, and loyalty blur, time is running out—and tragedy waits in the wings.

Why am I waiting so eagerly? I first met Charlotte and Jamie almost three years ago and have enjoyed their adventures immensely, not to mention being intrigued by them as modern-day descendents of the famous Holmes and Watson. While I’m really anticipating this next story, I’m sad it’s the end of the series. Maybe the author will relent and give us more!

Productive Procrastination

Returning guest blogger Sunny Frazier, whose first novel in the Christy Bristol Astrology Mysteries, Fools Rush In, received the Best Novel Award from Public Safety Writers Association, is here today to talk about all the really good things about procrastination.

The third Christy Bristol Astrology Mystery, A Snitch in Time, is in bookstores now.

sunny69@comcast.net   //  http://www.sunnyfrazier.com

I had 6 weeks to write this article. I’m writing it the day before deadline. I confess, I’m a serial procrastinator.

As those weeks barreled by, my head was empty of ideas. I’m always sure I’ll never come up with material for my column. I get ready to tell Lelia I can’t possibly do it. Then the universe throws something in my path that starts niggling in my brain. Maybe it’s a meme I saw on Face Book. Maybe there was a piece on the news or via a conversation with a friend. Sentences start flowing through my head, usually at night when I’m trying to go to sleep. By procrastinating, the idea has time to germinate and grow.

Procrastinators gets a bad rap. We’re often accused of trying to avoid the inevitable or being lazy, passive-aggressive, afraid to move forward, unable to make a decision. People who we inconvenience find it arrogant. It signals a message: “I will do what you want but at my own pace.”

As I experience it, procrastination is more like going through the 5 stages of death:

Denial: I don’t want to do this project.

Anger: Why do people expect this work from me?

Bargaining: If I get to read another chapter, I’ll do the chore.

Depression: Geez, now I only have two days until deadline.

Acceptance: Fine. I’ll do it!

I understand this leads to issues like unpaid bills or missed appointments. On the flip side, sometimes doing nothing is best. I’ve often found that if I procrastinate long enough, a problem simply resolves itself. Maybe it wasn’t really a problem in the first place.

I’m not alone in advocating a delay strategy. On Google I found an article with tips on how to be a productive procrastinator. First, do it intentionally. Acknowledge the fact that you are putting off an important task. Next, figure out why you want to put it off. Don’t let yourself feel guilty. Decide what “last minute” means. Is it a week out or the day of? Finally, if you don’t want to tackle a big problem, just do a smaller one for now.

Please don’t show this column to politicians. They procrastinate enough as is.

Book Review: Provenance by Laney Salisbury and Aly Sujo

Provenance
Laney Salisbury and Aly Sujo
Penguin Press, July 2009
ISBN: 978-1-59420-220-9
Hardcover

Stunningly comprehensive, this real-life tale of one of the most elaborate and wide-spread art cons in the history of the world is at the same time a real page turner. It is very easy to turn an examination like this into an in-depth passionless academic examination of the development and actions of a high-level immoral thief and his minions. These authors have not done that. Rather, they have produced a novel-like high-wire examination of the people and those who consciously or inadvertently aided and abetted the talented counterfeiter, and his masterful, flexible Svengali, the consummate con artist, John Drew.

Of course, their weaving, dodging path of destruction through the British art scene in the mid twentieth-century was supported in great measure by the lustful desires for acquisition of great art by relatively unschooled but wealthy “patrons.” Many of these supporters of artistic creators and their art seemed to care more about the public and private recognition they received for their art collections, and supposed taste, than they did for the actual art and artists.

After reading this reportage, one is forced to wonder who now, in the halls of their mansions, look upon their prized, often expensive, framed pictures and wonder if they are real, or are they too, victims of this great con. Because art experts, as reported by these authors in this meticulously researched book, aver that there are demonstrably hundreds of still unrecognized fakes, valued in the multiple thousands of dollars, hanging in homes and museums and offices all over the world. It gives one pause, and it should.

A stunning work everyone interested in the world of making and collecting art should read.

Reviewed by Carl Brookins, June 2018.
http://www.carlbrookins.com http://agora2.blogspot.com
The Case of the Purloined Painting, The Case of the Great Train Robbery, Reunion, Red Sky.

Book Review: Blood Orbit by K.R. Richardson

Blood Orbit
A Gattis File Novel
K.R. Richardson
Pyr, May 2018
ISBN 978-1633884397
Trade Paperback

Blood Orbit is a fascinating look at crime fighting in the distant future, set on a terra-formed planet and peopled by segregated and mixed races whose skin color often depicts their spot in the hierarchy. Sound familiar? In fact, nobody cares much when all sixteen patrons in a jasso (night club) are massacred in a dreadful, execution style blood bath. Motive for the crime is nebulous, but the powers that be want it either solved or swept under the carpet as quickly as possible.

Eric Matheson, a member of one of the most elite families in all the universe, has redirected his life to take on the duties of a rookie ofice, a private police officer, for the corporation that runs the planet of Gattis. By some fluke, he is selected to assist the lead inspector, D.J. Dillal. Dillal has recently undergone a surgery to integrate his brain with a highly evolved computer and is still healing, which, considering the stress he’s under to solve this crime, is in doubt. It’s apt to kill him first, especially as time is running out before the corporation considers destroying a whole race of people. An underground is fighting the corporation, but it’s a puzzle whether they’re working for the people’s good, or only their own benefit.

Peopled with an amazing cast of diversified characters, and with a plot that could be ripped from today’s headlines, this is a book to draw you in and keep you reading. At 492 pages, you’ll find complete, and satisfying, world-building.

My one complaint with the book concerned not the story or the writing, both of which are excellent, but the tiny, rather faded print. With my eyes not being what they used to be, I could only read for short periods of time, although if I could’ve, I would’ve.

Reviewed by Carol Crigger, September 2018.
Author of Three Seconds to Thunder, Four Furlongs and Hometown Homicide.

Appropriation of the Witch

Jeanne Matthews is the author of the Dinah Pelerin international mysteries published by Poisoned Pen Press. Like her amateur sleuth, Jeanne was born with a serious wanderlust. Originally from Georgia, she enjoys traveling the world and learning about other cultures and customs, which she incorporates into her novels. She currently lives in Renton, Washington with her husband who is a law professor. Where the Bones Are Buried, the fifth book in the series, is in bookstores now . You can learn more about Jeanne’s books at http://www.jeannematthews.com

The dictionary defines a witch as a woman believed to have magic powers, especially evil ones.  She is generally portrayed as a hag with a crooked nose, a pointy black hat, and a broomstick.  “It is not unusual,” declared one cleric of the 16th Century, “that the scum of humanity should be drawn chiefly from the feminine sex.”  Indeed, suspicion has surrounded the female of the species ever since Eve got Adam in trouble over the apple.  There’s just something innately witchy that lurks in the feminine temperament, something that keeps men on the qui vive.

The Good Book makes no bones about it.  “Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live.” (Exodus 22:18).  Given that exhortation, it’s not surprising that during the 15th, 16th, and 17th Centuries, Christians regarded witchcraft as a crime punishable by death – primarily by burning or hanging.  The populace stayed on high alert and between 1450 and 1750 in Europe, an estimated 90,000 witches were detected and executed, eighty percent of them women.

In addition to being female, there were other telltale signs of witchery.  Moles, warts, birthmarks, and extra nipples provided clear visual evidence.  Alternatively, you could weigh her against a stack of Bibles.  If she was lighter, guilty – likewise if she was heavier.  Once the judges decided to plop her on the scale, she didn’t stand much of a chance.  One town in the Netherlands sold vouchers to women certifying they were heavier than air and unable to fly. Those who couldn’t fly were less likely to be offered a seat on the ducking stool.  Owning a cat was an incriminating sign, as was left-handedness.  And anyone overheard talking to herself was presumed to be conversing with the Devil.  Matthew Hopkins, the most successful witch finder of the 17th Century, tested suspects by throwing them in the river.  If they floated, he had his proof and hanged them on the spot.

Astonishingly, laws against witchcraft remained on the books until the mid-20th Century.  One of the last women to be tried for the crime of witchcraft was Helen Duncan, a Scottish medium who did tricks with cheesecloth and palmed it off as an ectoplasmic emanation. During a séance in 1944, she blurted out a wartime state secret she couldn’t reasonably have known and the British government charged her under the Witchcraft Act of 1735.  After hearing the testimony of numerous witnesses, the jury returned a guilty verdict in just twenty-five minutes and the bailiff led Helen away moaning and crying.  She served nine months in Holloway Prison.  Upon her release, she promised she’d have nothing more to do with the spirit world, but you can’t expect a witch to tell the truth.  The police raided a séance in 1956 and arrested her again.  She died a few weeks later, whether because of police brutality or the consequences of an interrupted trance.

As the French say, the more things change, the more they remain the same.  In parts of India and Africa, witch-hunts still go on with thousands of accused witches brutalized and murdered every year.  A poll taken in 2005 found that more than twenty percent of Americans believe in witches, although here, the term “witch-hunt” no longer means the pursuit of someone believed to be in cahoots with the Devil.  It now refers to a campaign of harassment directed against an individual or group because of their politics or unorthodox opinions.  In 2018, more men claimed to be victims of witch-hunts than women. Are men trying to appropriate the role of the witch?

Male practitioners of the dark arts aren’t called witches.  They are wizards or warlocks.  Derived from the word “wise,” wizard carries more positive connotations than “witch”.  A wizard is a sort of genius, marvelous and exceptionally skilled.  Everyone loves wizards – Merlin, Gandalf, Harry Potter.  I don’t think the American public would put up with a “wizard-hunt.”

It’s all about the brand, as the marketing experts say.  President Trump might enhance his brand by dropping a term that harks back to an era when powerful men tortured and murdered powerless women because of a crazy superstition.  Conversely, the more macho sounding “wizard-hunt” might appeal to his tough-guy base.  And men who worry the #MeToo Movement has opened a Pandora’s box of persecution against the male sex might improve their image by avoiding the word “witch.”  They probably shouldn’t mention Pandora, either.  She was the femme fatale the Greeks blamed for loosing a swarm of miseries on mankind.

Cherchez la femme.  For centuries women have been the convenient cause of whatever trouble men have gotten themselves into.  While it’s wicked cool to be a Wiccan or a witch these days, it behooves the modern witch to remember who’s likeliest to feel the heat when things go wrong.

Frontispiece, The Discovery of Witches by Matthew Hopkins

 

 

Book Recommendation: Schifflebein’s Folly

This sounds like just the sort of whimsical, hopeful book to make me smile, always a good thing 😉

Reade and Write

It’s been some time since I recommended a book to readers, so I figured it was time. I recently read Schifflebein’s Folly by Iris Chacon and absolutely loved it. It’s a feel-good, do-good, read-it-all-in-one-sitting-if-you-can-good, does-your-heart-good book.

It’s the story of Lloyd Schifflebein, a Floridian with a passion for children, work, and doing good. He is endearing almost to the point of being too good to be true, and you can’t help but love him. He’s spent his life getting ready for the day when he would adopt six children, and though he doesn’t have a life partner, he knows that the future Mrs. Schifflebein will show up when the time is right.

Those six kids? They all have special needs and it seems Lloyd is just the man to meet those special needs. He’s got good friends, a healthy respect for the adoption process and its timelines, and he’s handy…

View original post 215 more words

Book Blitz: Stolen by Marlena Frank

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I am so excited that STOLEN by Marlena Frank is available now and that I get to share the news!
If you haven’t yet heard about this wonderful book by Author Marlena Frank, be sure to check out all the details below.
This blitz also includes a giveaway for a $10 Amazon Gift Card, International, courtesy of The Parliament House and Rockstar Book Tours. So if you’d like a chance to win, enter in the Rafflecopter at the bottom of this post.
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Title: STOLEN (Stolen #1)
Author: Marlena Frank
Pub. Date: January 22, 2019
Publisher: The Parliament House
Formats: Paperback, eBook
Pages: 342
Find it: GoodreadsAmazonB&NiBooksKobo

It’s difficult taking care of a delusional father by yourself. Sixteen-year-old Shaleigh Mallet would rather explore and photograph dilapidated buildings than cater to her father’s dark episodes. But when she’s kidnapped by a creature who carries her atop a flying bicycle into another world, she realizes this wasn’t the escape she wanted.
In a kingdom known as the Garden, where minotaurs pull carriages and parties are held in hot air balloons, Madam Cloom and her faerie servant, Teagan, rule over the land with incredible but terrifying magic. Shaleigh must prove that she is the reincarnation of a long-dead ruler, not because she believes it, but because it’s her only chance to survive. With the help of a trespassing faerie, a stoatling, and a living statue, Shaleigh hopes to outwit everyone. She aims to break the bonds of servitude and finally make her way home. What she doesn’t realize, however, is that she’s playing right into the hands of a far worse enemy…
Book Trailer:
Excerpt:
PART I
FREEFALL
AN EMBARRASSMENT
Shaleigh didn’t think about how much concrete and steel stood over her head as she stepped carefully down the decaying hallway of Ferris Factory. The building had been abandoned for so long that the mildew and fungus ran rampant from the moisture that crept down the crumbling walls, so a respirator was a requirement. Ferris Factory was only two stories tall from the outside, but the floors underground felt endless. The elevator shaft only went down three floors when it had been operational; the rest of the floors could only be reached with the stairs. She doubted any of it had been inspected by the fire marshal.
Her best friend, Kaeja, walked so close behind that she could feel her warm breath on the back of her neck. The only sound that echoed up and down the hallway, besides their footsteps, was the snap of Shaleigh’s camera. The photos were why they risked their lives to explore dangerous places: to document the decrepit. It was thrilling to explore a place that nobody else would see. Eventually all the walls would fall, and Ferris Factory would decay into memory. Shaleigh and Kaeja would have the only remaining proof it even existed, especially since it was clear that nobody was supposed to know about this section of the factory.
A rat skittered out of a heap of moldy paperwork and Kaeja took a deep breath until it passed. “This is the worst one yet. By far.” Shaleigh grinned, though her respirator concealed it. “Come on, we had to come back and take the stairs down. We couldn’t just end it at the base of the elevator.”
“Do you see that?” She swung the flashlight to the side. “I couldn’t even hang a picture on that wall. Four floors down was enough, five floors is just begging to get hurt.”
Kaeja was right, the walls of the hallway curved inward like a bow string. Shaleigh hadn’t noticed how bad it was until she mentioned it. “We’ll be quick.”
She snapped as many photos as she could while Kaeja held the flashlight. It illuminated a good portion of the hall, but the beam had little effect against the thick, sick air. The light ought to have made the place more inviting, but it only made the shadows darker. It was hard for Shaleigh to keep her hands steady for the photos; fear and exhilaration kept combating within her. Sure, this place was terrifying and could collapse at any moment, but the thought of capturing a world that would never been seen again, of documenting the forgotten before it disappeared, made her tap the shutter button of her camera faster. “I wish we had more time. I’d love to look inside some of these rooms.”
“Not me,” Kaeja said, her eyes shadowed by the reflections of the flashlight on her mask. “These halls are creepy enough, thanks.” The light flashed across some metal scraps against the bowed wooden wall. It was hard to tell if it had been left behind by the workers, or if it had fallen from the ceiling. “Didn’t they used to make cars here?”
“Sure, that’s it.” Shaleigh snorted as she tapped on a dirt-encrusted sign that warned visitors that the hallway was a high security corridor. “Whatever helps you sleep at night.”
“It’s an old building, but that doesn’t mean they were hiding anything down here.”
“Then what’s with the high security? They had to be doing something illegal down here. The maps we found don’t even show these floors. I heard it used to be a hospital,”  Shaleigh glanced back to her with a smile. “Dad heard it from a colleague at work. They used to keep dangerous people here.” Kaeja stared at her, the beam from the flashlight in her hands trembling.
A high-pitched squeal of metal echoed down through the insides of the building, as though the entire structure was shifting under its own weight. The squeal turned into a groan that shook the very floor beneath their feet. Both teens froze, barely daring to breathe as debris fell from the ceiling. Seven levels of exhausted steel, wood, and plaster shifted over their heads. They stood in silence waiting for the walls to give way, waiting to be buried beneath the rusty metal beams, discolored
linoleum floors, and rat-infested insulation; but the building remained steady.
The noise stopped. Particles drifted in the air.
“It doesn’t sound very good, does it?” Shaleigh whispered.
“I don’t like it. I don’t care what you say, this is the lowest I’m going. Five levels below ground is far enough.”
Shaleigh stifled a laugh, “That’s what you said when we found the stairs.”
A high-pitched noise erupted down the hall causing both teens to jump. It didn’t sound metallic…it didn’t sound like the building at all.
Kaeja stared down the hallway with wide eyes. The noise broke into a whimper, and then there was silence. It only lasted maybe a few seconds, but they both knew what they had heard. Someone was down there with them.
Shaleigh turned to look behind them, but without the flashlight beam it was too dark to see anything. “Was that—was that behind us?”
Kaeja spun around, temporarily blinding Shaleigh in the process. “I don’t know. I thought it came from in front of us.”
The darkness felt like a cage all around them. The beam of the flashlight, darting forwards and backwards down the hall, seemed so small and insignificant now. Someone was in the darkness. Someone was watching them. Shaleigh stepped around Kaeja and started back toward the stairwell. “We should go.”
Kaeja grabbed her arm and Shaleigh could feel her clammy fingers through the sleeve of her jacket. “Are you crazy? You said that’s where it came from.”
“How else are we going to get out of here?”
Kaeja could give no argument and shook her head. “Shaleigh…” she whimpered.
“It’s okay, we’ll do it together.” She put her camera around her neck and took Kaeja’s hand. They walked slowly towards the door of the stairwell, side by side, fingers clasped in a death grip.
For a moment, Shaleigh thought she saw movement ahead of them and stopped. Kaeja must have seen it too because she swept her flashlight left and right, searching for whatever it was. Just before the beam of light reached one of the doors, Shaleigh was certain she spotted a shadow move into one of the rooms.
“Ow…” Kaeja whispered giving their joined hands a tug. Shaleigh realized she had been gripping too hard and loosened her hold but didn’t say a word. Her eyes were fixed on where the shadow had been. As they drew closer, an arm stretched out, hairy with long, black fingernails, and pulled the door closed. There was a splash as though something heavy had fallen into a pool of water from behind the door.
Kaeja screamed. A bolt of adrenaline hit Shaleigh and she grabbed Kaeja’s arm. Together they ran. As they passed the door, the knob began to turn with a creak. She wasn’t sure if Kaeja had seen it or not. “Keep going!” she yelled, all pretense of caution forgotten.
Once the stairwell came into view, they sped up. Shaleigh slipped on a wet spot and her foot skidded. She would have sprained her ankle if she hadn’t grabbed for the wall. What a stupid way to die, she thought as she regained her footing. She had to keep her head straight, because panicking in an old, decrepit building was a sure way to get hurt or killed by whatever was after them. She forced them to slow down to climb over a pile of broken boards and nails. Shaleigh had thought it odd to have it so close to the stairwell when they’d first come down, but now she saw it as a marker, a warning perhaps, to keep trespassers out. As she helped Kaeja down the opposite side of the rubble, she heard limping footsteps approaching them.
“It’s coming!” Shaleigh cried and together they sprinted for the stairwell. The flashlight bounced beams off the walls.
They hit the metal door like a battering ram, shoving it into the rusted railings of the stairs, causing it to reverberate like a gong up and down the concrete shaft. Shaleigh gripped the metal rail, feeling the flecks of paint come off on her hands, and the raw rust beneath. She exchanged a glance with Kaeja, both trying to catch their breath. The respirator was humid with her breathing and she couldn’t wait to rip it off when they got outside. She looked up the dark stairwell above them and grimaced. There were too many floors between them and safety.
Kaeja gasped and reached out to grab Shaleigh’s arm. Shaleigh stared at her. She thought she could make out footsteps from the hall they just left, but it was so faint it was hard to make out. It could have just been the sounds of the building, but she didn’t want to take any chances. Taking a deep breath, Shaleigh led the way as they started up the stairs.
One floor, two floors, three floors.
Was that the sound of the doorknob beneath them being turned? Kaeja hurried to her side as they continued to climb. Both were audibly gasping now. It wouldn’t take much for their pursuer to know where they went. Shaleigh’s thighs were burning. She could sprint up a flight or two of stairs, but this was tough. It didn’t help that she was already out of breath before they even started climbing.
“What if it’s locked us in?” Kaeja asked between sucking in gulps of air.
Shaleigh didn’t respond. She didn’t want to even consider that option.
They climbed two more flights of stairs. Kaeja reached the door first. They both let out a sigh of relief when the door opened. Panting, they jogged to the main exit, a pair of massive iron doors that looked like they belonged in a mausoleum. Neither of them said a word as they descended the short flight of broken steps to the grass. Shaleigh ripped off her respirator, Kaeja did the same, and they both exchanged grins as they crossed the grass-pocked concrete walkway. It felt good to feel the heat of the day on her skin too. The sun was sinking in the west, but the air was sweet with wild honeysuckle and a light breeze rustled the old oaks. Shaleigh relaxed a bit but could tell by Kaeja’s expression that she wouldn’t be able to relax until they had left the property completely.
The concrete walkway fell away to tall grass that came up to their hips, as they sidestepped small pine trees that were beginning to take over the lot and moved further away from the building. The chain link fence that surrounded the property sported multiple warning signs for trespassers, though they were faded from exposure. Kaeja pulled back the corner of fencing they had used to get in, and they both climbed through without saying a word. Kaeja paused, took a deep breath, and relaxed her shoulders.
“I know you’ll hate to hear this, Kaeja,” Shaleigh started. “But I think I’m done with Ferris Factory for a while.”
Kaeja laughed. “No complaints here. I’m going to add that we never go underground again either. I am not running up that many stairs again, no matter how great you say the pictures will be.” Shaleigh couldn’t help but laugh. The downtrodden path through the woods made it a short walk to reach the bus stop. Shaleigh unwrapped the scarf from around her head and shook out her twists. The breeze felt wonderful on her scalp. They dropped everything into Shaleigh’s backpack as they walked. The main road was surprisingly empty for a Sunday afternoon. After exploring inside of decomposing buildings for a while, she had new respect for even the simplest things. The bench for the bus stop, covered in graffiti and bearing a single broken board, looked like a luxury. Kaeja sprawled across the broken wooden bench and covered her eyes with her arms.
“Wow, what a rush!”
“I know!” Despite her smile, Shaleigh still glanced over her shoulder, as though expecting the person from the building to be slinking toward them through the woods.  “What do you think it was?”
Kaeja stared up into the sky. “Someone crazy, I’m sure. It’s a good thing they made some noise. I don’t like the thought of them sneaking up on us like that.” She sat up and patted the bench beside her.
Shaleigh obliged, her legs were still shaky. “Did you see that hand?”
Kaeja shuddered, “Looked like he hadn’t seen the light of day in forever.” She stretched her arms over the back of the bench. “This is exactly why I don’t like the big ones. There are too many hiding places.”
“The small ones aren’t much better,” Shaleigh added. “Sometimes it feels like a shot right out of Texas Chainsaw Massacre, you know?”
Kaeja nodded and the two grew silent from their own nerves. Kaeja’s leg jumped up and down, as though at any moment she would jump up into a sprint. Shaleigh kept resisting the urge to look over her shoulder once more. The bus couldn’t come fast enough.

“Ugh, I need to think about something else.” Kaeja said with a tense smile. “You’ve got a party coming up tonight, don’t you? You get to get all dolled up. I know you don’t like the people much, but I do envy you getting to go.”
Shaleigh sighed. “I had almost forgotten about it.” She checked her watch. It was a good thing they had left when they did because she still needed to get home and clean up. “If you like it so much, you can totally go for me.”
“Your dad would never let me. He needs you there.”
“Unfortunately.”
Kaeja scooted closer and put an arm around her shoulders. “I’m sorry. I guess that is pretty hard on you. Do they ask you a lot of questions about him?”
Shaleigh nodded. She hated the tight feeling she got in her chest whenever she thought of those stupid parties. She hated the fact that she had to go. Why in the world did Roseworth College have so many of them anyway? It was like they wanted to torture her.
Deciding to change the subject, she picked up her camera from around her neck. After checking to make sure nothing had been damaged in their mad dash, she asked, “Want to see the pictures?”
Kaeja nodded but looked concerned. Shaleigh ignored it.
The brilliant light of the flash somehow made the dark halls of Ferris Factory less frightening, less dangerous. If only people were so easy to strip of fear.
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About Marlena:
I write about strange creatures. Typically they shouldn’t exist, or they have bled through from a different reality, or they’re pretending to be a crying baby in a crib. Sometimes that
lands my stories in horror and other times in fantasy, but there’s always an air of strangeness to my tales. If you want to get a better feel for what I’m talking about, check
out a few clips
 or read a few drabbles.
My work has appeared in a spattering of short story collections, but I do have a few novellas and novels in the pipeline. Other than talking about writing, I also talk about cryptozoologywerewolveswildlife conservation, and of course kitties. I’ve also been known to nerd out about Batman and The Hobbit, and have recently discovered the cracktastic fun of Black Butler cosplay, so there will likely be more of these incidents.
By day I work as a web developer, so I’ll occasionally talk about web issues like finding the right theme.
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Giveaway Details:
1 winner will win a $10 Amazon Gift Card, INTERNATIONAL.