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 Excerpt from  Shadows in the Shade -Book two of Logan County Trilogy



Vandal Cole, in baggy jeans and a green John Deere cap, darted behind the henhouse. He was glad that mean-looking mutt was on the other side of the fence with them kids.

He couldn't get close enough to hear the conversation, but that guy who came in last sure looked a lot like Jacob James. It couldn't be. Vandal had chucked a knife into his back four years ago. That's why he was hiding out behind the chicken house, a man wanted for murder.

He turned his cap around backwards and shook his head. He'd have to tell the boss about this. Only thing was, he didn't know how to contact him. He didn't even know his name. Vandal'd have to leave a message for him at their secret place and wait to hear back from him.

He jumped like a bolt of lightning had struck him when a scream came from inside the fenced area. The little boy ran and wailed to the top of his voice. Something bad must be wrong with that young'un. Two bigger boys chased after him, but couldn't keep up with the little fellar. Vandal'd better run, too, before he got blamed for terrifying a kid like he was blamed for everything else gone wrong in Logan County.


title Novel Teasers

Whether writing a romance, historical, or mystery novel, research is key. Jean has researched the east coast around the first world war, until she feels like she participated in that time period. Becky has read books on forensics and studied websites about the law process and courtroom protocal until she feels like she could argue a case. Writers have to be able to place the reader into whatever scene they are writing. In order to do this, they have to know it thoroughly themselves. How did we do?  

 Jean--The Light Keeper's Daughter - my novel in progress, an historical fiction with a lighthouse setting --a bit of adventure, romance and trauma sprinkled throughout.

Today I am posting a segment of the tenth chapter.  Please leave a comment and tell me if this is something you'd be interested in reading, or should I dump it as I have so often been tempted to do.


The winds stilled and the moon showed a dim face behind the low hanging clouds. It seemed peaceful, but Belle knew it was a façade. All was quiet until she heard something. A wailing noise resounded from the shore.

 She shook William. "Come, I need you to get up. It sounds like someone may be in trouble, but I don't see anything."

" Is the storm over?" He rubbed his sleepy eyes.

"No, I'm afraid it's not. We're in the eye, but we have a short reprieve before it hits us with another blast that may last for hours.  I'm going down to see what is making that weird noise."

"It sounds like crying, but where would it have come from in this weather?"

"That's precisely what I intend to find out. Now, you take care of things up here while I go out there and find whatever it is."

"I'll go. You stay here."

"No, I'll go. The stairs are very shaky and I am lighter than you. Just stay up here and mind the lights." She need not tell him of the danger he would face if the storm returned while he was outside.

Holding a lantern, Belle made her way down the shaky spiral stairs, careful of the  broken and loose steps. She prayed with each step she took that the stairs would hold a little longer, and asked God to watch over her during the rescue. She knew if the storm began, she'd need all the help she could get to find whatever was out there letting out those screams.

The water was up to the bottom of the lighthouse. She waded, swam and crawled out, following the sounds, holding her lantern high so it would shine in front of her. A wooden basket bounced in the waves. The noise had stopped. Belle held her breath. Was it still alive? What was it anyway?

 As she reached for the basket, the waves washed it further from the shore. Belle scrambled after it. The winds grew stronger and a wave slapped her in the face, the box still inches away from her finger tips. Belle lunged forward. The lantern  fell from her grip. The tide rolled over her head, but she came up with the little wooden chest.

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Becky: Mysteries always fascinate me. But will I be able to write one well enough to hold everyone's attention for 250-300 pages? Please tell me how you like this opening.

Swimming in Ice


            Sam Conner will one day kill someone. That was the common thought of most in the town of Savage, Minnesota, population 841. The citizens didn’t know who or when, but they certainly knew how.

            “Sheriff, he’s drunk and walkin around with that gun as usual. When are you going to do something about this?”

             “Nothing I can do, he has a permit for the gun, hasn’t threatened anyone.” Sheriff Heck Parson answered.

             “Doesn’t mean he won’t, yah know. Since he came to town, he hasn’t made friends, doesn’t seem interested in anything except gettin drunk. He’s young yet. Why don’t you tell ‘im to find a wife, settle down? He might listen to yah.” The caller usually hung up at this point, leaving the sheriff to take care of something the community viewed as their problem, but his responsibility.

            Since Savage’s major crime spree that year had been a group of second graders throwing rocks at street lights, Heck felt secure taking his vacation the first week of November, leaving Deputy Sheri Albin in charge.

 November 2nd

            “Elise, put the cat out please,” Sam said groggily. It only took half a second to remember, there was no cat, and no Elise. “What the he--” The rest of his words were swallowed by a coughing fit. Smoke his groggy mind registered. The “cat” was an annoying beeping sound coming from his top dresser drawer.


He rolled off the bed and crept towards the bedroom door. Opening it just enough to peer out, he saw flames in the living room and white smoke filling the hallway, glowing with an eerie light. I need another way out. Crawling to the only window in the room, he stood up and pushed hard on the sash. It wouldn’t budge. Stuck. Dropping to his knees, his slim fingers scrabbled, groping for anything that might break the glass. The smoke became denser and he was finding it harder to breathe, even close to the floor. It was so thick now that Sam couldn’t see the streetlight just outside his bedroom. He bumped his head on the chest of drawers and a thought came to him. See if the window’s locked idiot.

Feeling along the floor, his hand hit the cheap plastic pot beneath his bedroom window. It once held the plant the church ladies brought him to welcome newcomers to Savage, but it shriveled up long ago.

            Sam reached up, felt his way along the sash, and clicked the lock open. Pushing the frame up, he tore the screen out, scratching his arm as he tumbled to the ground. Wheezing, he drew fresh air into his lungs. Well, I’m alive. 

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