Halloween Creepiness

Here’s a creepy blog about the Legend of Stuckey’s Bridge by Lowry Wilson at Old South Images…click HERE if you dare.

“The Legend of Stuckey’s Bridge,” the follow-up book “Stuckey’s Legacy,” and the latest release “Stuckey’s Gold” are available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and iTunes. The whole set is available as a trilogy on Kindle at Amazon. Happy Halloween and sweet dreams!

Stuckey's cover_webstuckey Gold Cover smallunnamedstuckey Trilogy_ smal

 

On This Day in 1800

On This Day in 1800, my 3rd great grandfather, William Henry Blanks II, was born in Greene County, Georgia.

downloadIt’s pretty easy to trace your great grandfathers when your 2nd is WHB III, your 3rd is WHB II, and your 4th is WHB I. Sadly, I don’t usually give the middle grandfather much thought. I have photos of the Civil War soldier 2nd great, and the 4th great was a Revolutionary War soldier, so I have lots of info on him. Somewhere in the middle, my poor 3rd great doesn’t get much attention, Well, today on his birthday, let’s show him some love.

William Henry Blanks II was born October 12, 1800 (Same day as my daughter’s birthday!) in Greene County, Georgia. In 1800, Greene County was in the middle of the northern part of the state and was right on the border of the Creek Indian Territory to the west. Keep in mind, the War of 1812 in the north was fought between the Americans and the British, but the war in the south, particularly Alabama and Georgia, was fought between the Americans and the Creek Indians who had been armed by the British. This was the edge of the frontier in 1800.

William Henry’s father had been previously married to Mariah Robertson and had two girls and a boy – Mary Polly, Littleberry, and Nancy – in Virginia. Sometime between 1795 (last child’s birth in VA) and 1799 (wife’s death in GA), the family had moved south to Georgia. Following Mariah’s death, WHB I immediately married Jane Hill. They had five children – two boys and three girls  – William Henry, Matilda, William Ezekiel, Martha, and Seleba. William Henry’s mother died in 1817 and his father in 1823.

At the age of 19 in 1819, William Henry married Nancy Narcissus Young, and over the next twenty-five years, they had five boys and three girls  – James Lafayette, Thomas Young, Jefferson Franklin, female who died, Richard Lane, Martha Ellen, Nancy Ann, and William Henry III. The female who died at birth was the twin of Richard Lane. The last child was born in 1846 in Georgia, and the 1850 census shows the family living in Lauderdale County, Mississippi. I don’t know why they moved. His wife died in 1857. William Henry died September 9, 1859. I do not know where they are buried.

Will of William Henry Blanks II – Note: His wife is already dead, so he leaves everything to his two youngest children – Nancy 16 and William 13.

last-will-and-testamentThe Last Will and Testament of William H Blanks… State of Mississippi Lauderdale County August 18,1859.

Know all persons by these present that I do this day bequeath to my daughter Nancey & son William the sum total of my Estate being in consideration of my parental affection and love for them. My sons James, Thomas, Jefferson, and Richard I do give unto one dollar a peice also my daughter Martha English I give the same one dollar to be by each and all of them held in peas for life. My daughter Nancey and son William are by the Law of the Land old enough to choose their own guardians. Let them choose who they please their money is to be for their education and rasing to be laid out on them at the will of their Guardian he to give Securtiy for his management of the same, all of the above do request as the Last Will on Earth hoping the same may be satisfactory to all people on Earth in Testimony on which setting my hand and Seal Witness by undersigned. W H Blanks

W J Brown, P H Higgins

Jas F Ginnen                                                                  

   P. S. It is my wish for Nancey & William to have their brother Thomas to hold their business in charge.

Will Book 1, Page 17 Lauderdale County Courthouse, Meridian, Mississippi.

 

This post is brought to you by On This Day.

On This Day in 1882

culpepper ora wedgeworth wife of Joseph FloydOn This Day in 1882, my great great aunt, Ora Wedgeworth Culpepper was born to Howell Joel “Hobby” Wedgeworth and Martha Morrow in Lauderdale County, Mississippi. She was the youngest of eight children with only one other girl, the eldest.

 

 

wedgeworth howell joel hobby and martha morrow, par of ora wedgeworth culpepperPrior to Hobby marrying Martha, he had been previously married to Elvira Hughens. They had one daughter in 1858, and Elvira died in 1860. I don’t know who raised the girl after that, as Hobby went off to fight with the 5th Mississippi Infantry Company K and was captured by Union soldiers at the Battle of Franklin, Tennessee (where I currently live) on November 30, 1864. He spent the last six months of the war at Camp Douglas, Illinois as a prisoner of war. His father, Rev. Joel Walker Wedgeworth, went to pick him up after the war ended, and it was said his father didn’t even recognize him because he was so thin. One can tell just by looking at this photo of Hobby and Martha, they were very strict parents.

culpepper joseph floyd

On November 2, 1904, Ora married Joseph Floyd Culpepper, my great grandpa Sam Culpepper’s brother, and between 1905 and 1926, they had eight children, five girls and three boys.

 

 

culpepper joseph floyd and ora wedgeworthOra lost her husband to pneumonia on August 1, 1951. She never remarried. She died May 15, 1966 at the age of 83. They are buried at Memorial Park Cemetery, Winston County, Mississippi.

 

This post brought to you by On This Day.

 

 

Saturday Snippet – Stuckey’s Gold

stuckey Gold Cover smallIn case you missed the release of Stuckey’s Gold a few weeks ago, here’s a snippet to get you movin’.  If you’ve read Stuckey’s Bridge, you’ll recognize this sheriff, although it’s been ten years since he retired. If you’ve read Stuckey’s Legacy, you’ll know exactly who they are talking about at the end. :)

****************************************************

She knocked on the wooden frame of the screen door and the rattle reverberated across the screened porch. The kind face of a white-haired man with gray eyes greeted her warily.

“Yes, miss? May I help you?”

“Yes, sir. I’m looking for Sheriff Temple.” Penny gave him her biggest and brightest smile.

He narrowed his eyes at her. “Well, that would be me, young lady, and who might you be?”

“Sheriff, my name is Penelope Juzan. I wonder if I might ask you a few questions.”

“Questions about what?”

“I’m interested in a man who worked for my father in 1901. He sent my father a message that he was staying at an inn in town, and we never heard from him again. His name was Carter Stuckey.”

The sheriff froze. He stared at her for a long time and didn’t respond.

“Sheriff? Please, sir. I came all the way from Vicksburg to speak with you.”

He sighed, turned away from the door, and walked into the house. “Oh, all right. Come on in.” He didn’t open the door for her and he didn’t sound very enthusiastic.

She opened the creaking screen door and followed him into the cool darkness of the modest home. The place smelled musty. A worn and dirty flowered sofa sat in the living room to her left, along with a big chair that had seen better days long, long ago. She stood in the middle of the room and watched him light the wood-burning stove and place a black teakettle on top. He finally turned to her and gestured toward the small dining table to her right, then turned back to the stove. “Have a seat, Miss Juzan.”

Penny pulled out a wooden chair that was covered with dust. She scanned the room to see if there were any feminine touches, as the house appeared to be owned by a bachelor. She saw nothing that would suggest a woman lived there. As the former sheriff stood at the wood-burning stove, she glanced at the back of his wrinkled shirt, hoping he wouldn’t turn and see her wiping off the chair before she sat down. She held her handbag in her lap, as she wasn’t sure if he would offer her some tea or kick her out in the next few minutes.

She was concerned when he began to cough violently. He pulled a cigarette off the shelf above the stove and lit it with a match. Penny remained silent and watched him exhale smoke between coughs. As his coughing spell subsided, the teakettle whistled. The sheriff used a pot holder to grab the hot kettle, and he poured two mugs of tea. He brought them to the table and placed one in front of Penny.

“Thank you,” she said softly.

He turned back to the stove, snubbed out his cigarette on a plate, and then sat down at the table.

“Carter Stuckey, eh?”

Penny nodded and took a sip of her tea. It was extremely hot and just as weak.

Once the sheriff began telling her the story, he spoke for quite some time. She listened wordlessly, mesmerized by the tale. He told her the whole saga of the inn up on Chunky River and the innkeeper’s victims. She sat with her mouth agape at the heinous story, and was even more stunned at the way it ended.

“The innkeeper’s name was Stuckey—Thomas Stuckey.”

“Stuckey?”

“Yes, it appears he took the name of one of his victims.

“So, Carter Stuckey was one of the victims?”

“Yes, ma’am. Carter Stuckey had something in his pocket with his name on it when we uncovered his body, so we know for sure he was murdered at the inn. No one ever came looking for him, and we didn’t know who to contact about his death, so we moved his remains to Concord Cemetery and buried him in an unmarked grave.”

“Well, no one knew he was here except my father. My father died about the same time and I just recently found his journals, which led me here.”

The two sat in silence for a few minutes while Penny absorbed the gravity of the tale.

“Miss Juzan, why are you looking for Carter Stuckey now, a decade later?”

“Oh, um, well, he had something of my father’s, something of great importance. I’m afraid I didn’t know about it until a few weeks ago when I found my father’s journals.”

“And what was this item of great importance?” He wrinkled his brow at her.

“It was a trunk, sir.”

“A trunk?” The sheriff ran his fingers down his stubble and shook his head. “I don’t remember finding any trunk at the inn, but I’ll tell you who might know. The only survivor of the whole incident was a young boy. He was maybe twelve or thirteen years old at the time. He was a blond, blue-eyed boy named Levi Stuckey. The moment his father—the murderer—was hung, the boy disappeared. I searched for him for years but he’d simply vanished. If he’s still alive somewhere, he’d be about twenty-two now. Maybe he knows something about your missing trunk. Maybe he has it himself.”

She nodded. “Maybe he does.”

*********************************************

stuckey Trilogy_ smalAll three books are available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and iTunes. Just in time for Halloween, I’ve made the entire collection available as The Complete Stuckey’s Bridge Trilogy exclusively on Kindle at Amazon.

 

 

It’s Monday! What are you reading? The Kiss of the Concubine

2a2

 

 

 

 

I just finished…

The Kiss of the Concubine

by Judith Arnopp

 

 

 

917aga--6ZL._SL1500_Blurb from Amazon

28th January 1547.
It is almost midnight and the cream of the English nobility hold their breath as King Henry VIII prepares to face his God. As the royal physicians wring their hands and Archbishop Cranmer gallops through the frigid night, two dispossessed princesses pray for their father’s soul and a boy, soon to be king, snivels into his velvet sleeve.
Time slows, and dread settles around the royal bed, the candles dip and something stirs in the darkness … something, or someone, who has come to tell the king it is time to pay his dues.
The Kiss of the Concubine is the story of Anne Boleyn, second of Henry VIII’s queens.

 

This is the same tale of Ann Boleyn and King Henry VIII we already know, but it’s told from Anne’s point of view, which puts a unique spin on her, personally.  Looking at the story from a different angle was enjoyable, and I couldn’t put the book down. I don’t know what it is about these characters that intrigues us so, but Judith Arnopp fulfilled our desire to know more. Thoughts, yearnings, and motivations are brought to a new light as Ms. Arnopp reveals Anne’s side of the story. Bravo!

Books – 3 to be exact

Just in time for my favorite holiday – Halloween

I put together my three creepy books into one trilogy.

Stuckey’s Bridge, Stuckey’s Legacy, and Stuckey’s Gold are now available as

The Complete Stuckey’s Bridge Trilogy

Release date is October 1, 2014, but you can pre-order at Amazon if you CLICK HERE!!

Available exclusively on Kindle at Amazon

stuckey Trilogy_ smal “The Legend of Stuckey’s Bridge”
Legend has it, he was so evil, he was even thrown out of the notorious Dalton Gang. Years later, he opened an inn near the river, and on foggy nights, boatmen witnessed him pacing back and forth across the bridge, waving his lantern, offering travelers a hot meal and a soft bed. Those unfortunate enough to take him up on the hospitality were often never seen again. In 1901, the Virginia Bridge and Iron Company began rebuilding a fifty-year-old Mississippi Bridge. In the middle of the project, they began discovering bodies buried on the banks of the river. Would Old Man Stuckey get away with murder?

“Stuckey’s Legacy: The Legend Continues”
The end of Stuckey’s story left only a legacy – one of murder, treachery, and an intense game of cat and mouse. Young Levi left Mississippi with a wealth of gold, but he found his time in the world of the social elite ending quite differently than it had begun. Was she only after his money? Occasionally, it seemed to him Penny Juzan only wanted him dead. Or maybe it was the other way around.

“Stuckey’s Gold: The Curse of Lake Juzan”
With the gold finally in the hands of the Juzan family, will Penelope Juzan break the seventy-year-old curse, or will she suffer the same tragic fate as her forefathers? In the final installment of the trilogy, we may find the victims in the original tales were merely bit players in a story that is far darker and more sinister than one could imagine.

I want to publish my book, too!

As with most of my author friends, I regularly get emails and messages saying, “I want to publish my book, too. Help me.”

The first question I ask is, “Have you finished writing the book?”

The answer I always hear is, “No.”

Well, if you don’t have a finished book, then you’re wasting everyone’s time asking how to publish something that doesn’t exist.

howtopublishabookNevertheless, here’s a rundown for beginners on how to publish a book.

1. Be a writer. You will never make a dollar publishing one book. If you can whip out ten, twenty, or thirty, then you have a slim chance to actually make money. Being a writer is a full-time job. It’s a calling. It’s a passion. Is that you? If so, continue reading.

2. Once your book is written, DO NOT hire a vanity publisher. Here’s how vanity publishers work. The ad says they will publish your book, including cover design, editing, layout, and distribution for the low, low price of $495.00. In return, you get to say you’re published. Such a deal! Here’s the truth. These vanity publishers prey on authors who don’t want the hassle of doing anything but writing. The price is fine until the upsell kicks in. They charge the author for a ‘premium’ cover, ‘extra’ editing, typesetting, etc., running into the thousands of dollars. There will be tons of add ons and extras and will cost you a lot of money. They will send you the cover (you paid for) with a watermark on it so you can’t use it to promote your book. They will send you the formatted PDF version of your book (you paid for) with watermarks on every page so you can’t use it for anything except to look at on your own computer. You cannot use these items to market your book, and they are certainly not going to market your book. They will not care about your ideas for the cover design; you get stuck with what they give you. They will upsell you on international distribution. That’s ridiculous. You can do this yourself for free. They will charge your customers a ridiculous price to purchase your book, setting it so high no one will buy it. You have as much say-so in pricing as you did in the cover design. They will charge YOU a ridiculous amount of money to buy copies of YOUR OWN BOOK. They will make all the profit; you will make pennies, maybe. Keep in mind, they make all their money from you, not from the reading public, so they don’t care if you sell one book.

3. There is no harm in hiring someone to do the things you don’t know how to do, as a matter of fact, a professional is often the best choice. But if you’re going to release more than one book, you should learn to do these things yourself.

You need to know how to design two covers – one for print, one for ebook. To do this, you must understand the cover design characteristics in your genre. The first place to look is the Top 100 of your genre on Amazon or Barnes & Noble. What do they have in common? Do that. And keep your font large and simple. The postage-stamp-sized thumbnail on the web should be readable. A pretty font is not your friend. Don’t use Comic Sans, a graphic designer somewhere will hunt you down and kill you. If you would rather have a professional design your cover, call on Elite Book Design. They also create video book trailers.

You also need to know how to use Microsoft Word to format your book. Different book sellers use different formats. Check their websites at the links below for their specifications, and learn how to operate Word like you were born to do it. Start by downloading the Smashwords Style Guide. It’s a tutorial that will walk you through formatting an ebook. Set aside 4-6 hours, pack your patience and a pot of coffee, and go!

The ongoing job you need to know is how to market your book. Build a platform for your topic by creating a blog, a Twitter account, a Facebook page, a Website, LinkedIn, Goodreads, Pinterest, forums about your topic, etc. Understand that marketing is another full-time job, so narrow your platform down to a few specific sites that you can maintain regularly. Create a marketing schedule and follow it like it’s the law. No one will repeatedly visit a page that does not update and change, and no one will buy your book if they don’t know it exists.

Finally, the most important thing you need is help with your story. When it’s finished, send it to an editor for a substantive edit. Then rewrite. Then send it to some beta readers. Then rewrite again. Then send it to a copy editor. No, your cousin cannot edit your book, unless she is a professional editor, but she may be a good beta reader. Find a professional copy editor and be ready to pay them a good amount of money. If someone will edit your book for $0.10 per page, double spaced, 12 font, they are probably not a professional editor. Once your book is edited, get it proofread. Nothing drives readers away faster than errors in a book, and your reviews will reflect each and every error. Don’t ask people to spend their hard-earned money on your book and give them a shoddy product in return. One of the best editors in the business is the Edit Ninja. Be warned: the editing process is more painful than the scathing one-star review.

4. Once you’ve done all these things and released your first book, congratulation! Now, start working on your next book. It’s a never-ending process.

 

Where can I sell my book? Here is a short list of distributors.

Amazon ebooks –  www.KDP.com - This site is for Kindles on Amazon and releases around the world on all Amazon sites.

Barnes & Noble ebooks –  www.nookpress.com – This site is for Nook on Barnes & Noble.

iTunes ebooks – www.apple.com/itunes/working-itunes/sell-content/books – This site is for iBooks on iTunes.

Smashwords ebooks - www.smashwords.com – This site distributes ebooks to nearly every online retailer, but you can opt out of individual retailers, for example, if you’ve already published on KDP, Nook, or iTunes. In my opinion, Smashwords has a few glitches that are not in its control. The Sony and Kobo sites take months to update product information. Smashwords only pays quarterly and their sales/payment spreadsheet is a bit confusing. But if you have already uploaded your book to Amazon, you might as well make it available to other retailers.

Create Space print –  www.createspace.com - This is a print-on-demand book printing company (owned by Amazon) that will put your book in print and distribute to Amazon and Barnes & Noble. You may also buy copies of your book at a reduced cost.

Lulu print – www.lulu.com – This is a print-on-demand-book printing company that will distribute your book to Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and iBook. You may also buy copies of your book at a reduced cost.

Audible audiobooks – www.acx.com – This is an audiobook company (owned by Amazon) that creates (for a fee) and distributes audiobooks to Amazon and Audible.

(Personally, I use KDP for Kindle, CreateSpace for print, ACX for audiobooks, and Smashwords for the rest. Pay attention to KDP’s rules. They are very picky about your book being priced lower anywhere else online, and will unpublish your book in a heartbeat if they see that. KDP also encourages you to enroll in KDP Select. I don’t really understand KDP Select. This program demands your book be exclusive to Amazon, and in return, you can GIVE YOUR BOOK AWAY FOR FREE for 5 days per quarter. Why the hell would anyone want to do that?)

How much should I charge for my book? 

Obviously, paperbacks are more expensive than ebooks because of the material, production, and shipping involved. Personally, I think your ebook should sell for 70-80% less than your paperback. An average indie paperback sells for under $15, most under $10. Most ebooks sell between $0.99 and $9.99, with the average indie ebook selling for under $5. It depends on the length of the book and the popularity of the author. Do your homework. See what other indie authors are selling for. Do that.

Welcome to the publishing world of the indie author. If all this information hasn’t scared you off and you still want to publish that book, go back to step one and finish writing the darn thing.