I heard a rumor…

It is SO good to be back to my book tribe. As some of you already know, I took a little over a year off to be fully present during my youngest son’s senior year. I am pleased to report that he graduated and is off to college at Kent State University. While my oldest is finishing up his last year at The Ohio State University.

That means, I now have an empty nest, and I intend to take advantage of it!

First up, was the July release of my short story, Hidden on the Belt, included in Brave New Girls: Tales of Girls Who Engineer and Explore anthology. I love participating in this project because a portion of each sale goes to scholarships from the Society of Women Engineers for young women learning about careers STEM fields.

This is the second short I’ve written about Stella Purser, the youngest intern ever at the future First Intergalactic Bank and Trust, Lake Erie Branch. The clients are often not human, sometimes not even solid. And yes, Stella’s bank branch is actually under Lake Erie. May I suggest entering through the wet lobby. It’s quite the experience.

Stella has a gift for figuring advanced probabilities in seconds. That’s why novice security guard, Fox Aimsworth, nicknamed her “Chance.” Together, they get into the craziest situations.

In Hidden on the Belt, Stella and Fox tag along for a routine mining equipment check on Vesta in the asteroid belt. When the team stumbles on a major criminal cover up, the mission leader trusts the wrong person. Stella must use her unique talent to elude the bad guys and get the team off the rock spiraling through space.

And if you like, Hidden, be sure to check out the prior Chance & Fox short, Let the Numbers Show Truth, part of Brave New Girls: Adventures of Gals and Gizmos. It’s explosive.

Next up is the debut of my new middle grade horror series, Spooky Rumors. The first book, Some Thing Calls from the Dark, releases September 20, 2023, and as of this post is available for preorder.

The premise of Spooky Rumors is that Agatha Binx, preteen witch and self-proclaimed expert of all things that go bump in the night, collects rumors from her monstrous and ghostly friends to share with my readers.

These books are so much fun, creepy stories with corny humor thrown in, very much in the style of R.L. Stine’s Goosebumps. Short chapters, easy readability, and high action make them perfect for reluctant middle grade readers.

Each book/rumor is a standalone and will feature a different set of characters and monster or ghost story based in small town folklore. The first book, Some Thing Calls from the Dark, centers on the Flatwoods Monster of West Virginia. A profile at the end of the book gives readers extra info on the documented sightings.

In Some Thing Calls… Kayla Murphy wakes to an odd call for help coming from the creepy woods beyond her backyard. The next thing she remembers is waking up on her bedroom floor under an open window. Kayla is forced into the woods in search of answers. Each dangerous step leads her closer to the monster of local folklore.

I’m pretty psyched about the team for this one. I was so lucky to connect with the amazing Diane Landolf, editor of Mary Pope Osborne’s Magic Tree House Fact Trackers and numerous other major publisher middle grade titles. She polished the manuscript as editor. The book also includes original artwork from the Doug LaRocca.

And there is more on the horizon. Works in progress include A Cloak of Crimson, a Little Red Riding Hood retelling with werewolves set in Alaska. It will be part of a fairy tale box set currently slated for late 2024. I’m also working on the third book in the Mothman Mysteries series, Wrong Side of the Song. And I will be releasing new Spooky Rumors as quickly as possible.

In addition to ramping up the writing, you will again see me at events. I’m just starting to get those scheduled. Check my Home page for the current list.

Lastly, I just wanted to say thank you for your patience while I took this family time. I’m excited about these new stories and hope you are too!

Best Indie Scares

YA Indie Carnival fans, you’re in for a special treat this week. It’s Best Indie Scares…BOO!

I’ve got two for you, a recommendation and an excerpt.

1) The Recommendation

For a chilling Halloween read, check out Beyond the Veil: A Ghost Story Anthology by fellow indie carnival author Rachel Coles. I highly recommend it. I remember reading the story Kisses on my iPad in bed one night and had to turn it off because I was getting the heeby-jeebies from every shadow in the room. It’s great.

2) The Excerpt

Thought I would also include a scary short that I’ve written. This is one of my favorite scenes from the Midnight Guardian series. Keira shares this guardian bedtime story with Colby in Of Sun & MoonEnjoy!

Once upon a time…

A band of explorers were returning home after a long journey. Their expedition had taken more than two decades to complete. They now were making their way through Greece. Once they reached Athens, it would only be a few days more by ship to reach their homeland. When they, at last, reached the city, the weary travelers sought supplies and a night’s refuge before embarking on the final leg of their journey.

They found the city of Athens to be glorious and progressive. The citizens welcomed the strangers with open arms, even though they were creatures, like none they had ever seen before. Mogdoc was the name they grunted. The guttural name bubbled up from the primordial mud out of which they crawled. Of course, that’s not how they made their first impression.

They looked like monsters, but they were not judged on appearance. The kind-hearted people embraced their differences and took them in. They gave them warm food, cold drink, and soft beds. The mogdocs, no longer thinking of home, found excuses to stay first one night, then another, and another.

On the third night, the mogdocs were the special guests of a general in the Athenian army. The youngest female mogdoc, equivalent to a human of 6-years-old, had become fast friends with the general’s daughter. They spent every waking moment together. They skipped arm-in-arm, shared toys, and even played tea party with sweet drink and cake. On that night, the third night, the young mogdoc snuck out of bed for a midnight snack. She crept down the stairs, stole an apple from the kitchen, and slipped into the rose garden. To her astonishment, her friend, the general’s daughter was already there. The young girl was seated on a concrete bench at the garden’s edge. As the mogdoc got closer, she could see that the girl was crying. A rose thorn had pierced her finger. The tiny mogdoc took her finger, pulled out the thorn, and sniffed the blood.

In those days, mogdocs carried pouches of healing herbs. The elder mogdocs still carry them today as a reminder of this story. This young mogdoc had one and immediately delved into it. She pulled out some sweet smelling herbs and wrapped them around her friend’s finger. This made the young girl feel better. She hugged her mogdoc friend before returning to bed.

The next morning, the girl told her father of how the curious stranger had nursed her finger. The general was delighted and in gratitude invited the mogdoc clan to extend their stay. So, over the next few days, the mogdocs continued to stay at the general’s home. The children’s midnight meeting in the garden became a nightly occurrence. On the sixth night, the mogdoc was the first to arrive in the garden. The human girl skipped to the bench. The young mogdoc smiled at her friend and offered her a bite of her midnight snack. The general’s daughter screamed in horror. There was no apple. That night’s midnight snack was a human infant, blue and drained of blood. The young mogdoc took delight in the girl’s fear. She slashed the girl’s neck and fed from her friend until she was no more.

This story has been handed down from generation to generation as a testament to the manipulative nature of the mogdocs and the evil found in even the youngest of their kind. The mogdoc child had befriended the human girl to gain access. She had played tea party to sweeten the blood. She had healed her a few nights before out of greed, in order to save every drop of blood until the time was right.

If you dare for more scares, check out these other YA Indie Carnival blogs:

1. Laura A. H. Elliott author of Winnemucca & 13 on Halloween, Book 1 in the Teen Halloween Series 2. Bryna Butler, author Midnight Guardian series
3. Heather Self 4. T. R. Graves, Author of The Warrior Series
5. Suzy Turner, author of The Raven Saga 6. Darby Karchut, author of GRIFFIN RISING
7. Lexus Luke 8. PJ Hoover, Author of SOLSTICE, Blogging at ROOTS IN MYTH
9. Cheri Schmidt, author of the Fateful Trilogy 10. Rachel Coles, author of Into The Ruins, geek mom blog
11. K. C. Blake, author of Vampires Rule and Crushed 12. Patti Larsen, The Hunted series and The Hayle Coven series
13. Courtney Cole, author of The Bloodstone Saga 14. Amy Maurer Jones, Author of The Soul Quest Trilogy
15. Dani Snell’s Refracted Light Reviews 16. Fisher Amelie, author of The Understorey
17. M. Leighton, Blood Like Poison Series, Madly, The Reaping 18. Abbi Glines, author of Breathe and The Vincent Boys
19. Kimberly Kinrade, Bits of You & Pieces of Me, Forbidden Mind 20. Madeline Smoot, Missing, Summer Shorts, and The Girls
21. Cidney Swanson, author of Rippler 22. Nicole Williams, author of Eternal Eden, Falling Eden
23. Gwenn Wright, author of Filter 24. Abbi Glines: Breathe, The Vincent Boys, Existence