It’s Read an Ebook Week!

5. GetInto - Read an Ebook Week

I admit I fought it with every ounce of my being. I love the smell, the feel, of a real book with real pages – the older, the better.

But…
Over the last couple years, I’ve discovered the simplicity of purchasing ebooks, especially with Kindle right on my iPhone, and though it goes against my gut, I have to admit, I haven’t bought a real book in about five years.

All that being said, it’s Read an Ebook Week at Smashwords!!

If you’re not familiar with Smashwords, they are a major distributor of ebooks for indie authors. They distribute to Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Sony, Kobo, iTunes, etc., so when you purchase an ebook directly from them, you can download it in any format you choose. Yes! When you buy an ebook from Smashwords, you have your choice of formats. You can download it to your Kindle, your Nook, your Sony E-Reader, and even as a PDF for your tablet or your desktop. Well, it doesn’t get much better than that.

Oh, wait! It does get better!!

This week, March 3-9, Smashwords is hosting Read an Ebook Week, and there are tons and tons of books on sale, and some are even free.

If you haven’t read Lori Crane books or have been putting off purchasing the next in one of the series, this week is the time! Lori Crane books are ALL 50% off this week at Smashwords. https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/LoriCrane

If you’re confused about which books to buy or where to start, here is the bibliography.

The Okatibbee Creek Series: (Three books that do not need to be read in order.)
Okatibbee Creek – A woman who has lost nearly everything during the Civil War finds a way to rebuild her shattered life.
An Orphan’s Heart – Set in the late 1800s, a young woman travels the South to find her place in the world.
Elly Hays – Set in the early 1800s, a young mother finds herself in a war with a Creek Indian warrior. He doesn’t have much to lose, but she has everything to lose.

The Stuckey’s Bridge Trilogy: (Three books that should be read in order. No cliffhangers.)
The Legend of Stuckey’s Bridge – A late 1800s serial killer you can’t help but love.
Stuckey’s Legacy: The Legend Continues – A character from the first book tries to live in the world of the rich. Turns out he’s a better killer than his predecessor.
Stuckey’s Gold: The Curse of Lake Juzan – The origin and completion of the Stuckey curse with characters from the first two books. This is the end. Or is it?

The Culpepper Saga: (Four books that should be read in order. No cliffhangers.)
I, John Culpepper – John Culpeper sets out to find himself in this 1600s coming-of-age tale.
John Culpepper the Merchant – England is in Civil War, and John Culpepper finds himself on the wrong side. He must escape before his entire family is beheaded.
John Culpepper, Esquire – John Culpepper sets up a new life in the American Colonies, which is not without its struggles, and a major tragedy puts him in the position of family patriarch, trying to hold his family together on two continents.
Culpepper’s Rebellion – John Culpepper finds himself in the middle of two colonial rebellions: Bacon’s rebellion in Virginia and Culpepper’s rebellion in North Carolina. The latter is headed by his own son, who will surely pay the ultimate price for his sins against the crown, unless John can save him.

Other Books:
Savannah’s Bluebird – A tragic love story that transcends the boundaries of this world.
Witch Dance – A family weekend getaway turns into a nightmare for a young family and pulls them into a vortex of tragedy and witchcraft.

Hop over to Smashwords and take advantage of this awesome sale!

https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/LoriCrane

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Stuckey’s Bridge on the Travel Channel

maxresdefaultThe Travel Channel has a show called Most Terrifying Places in America. They’ve been on for a couple seasons now, and they’ve finally gotten around to the most terrifying place I know of – Stuckey’s Bridge.

 

 

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I was born in Meridian, Mississippi, near the bridge, and heard the creepy legend of the man locals refer to as Ole Man Stuckey my whole life.

Legend has it he was a member of the notorious Dalton Gang, but he was so evil, he was kicked out. He found his way to Lauderdale County, Mississippi where he opened an inn on the Chunky River.

At that time, the river was used to transport goods and produce down to the gulf. Ole Man Stuckey was known to pace the old bridge every evening at dusk, waving his lantern, and offering travelers a warm meal and a soft bed.

In 1901, the Virginia Bridge and Iron Company began rebuilding the 50-year-old wooden bridge. During the project, they discovered bodies buried on the banks.

The townsfolk were suspicious about the creepy man who ran the inn and rounded up a posse to go find him. The mob took him down to the bridge, tied a noose around his neck, and hung him from the new iron rails of the bridge.

His body dangled over the river for five days. When the sheriff cut him down, he splashed into the river below.

Strangely enough, the ghosts around Stuckey’s Bridge today don’t seem to be the victims. The ghost seems to be Ole Man Stuckey, himself. Unexplained lights are witnessed. Footsteps on the bridge and loud splashes into the water below are heard. An apparition of a man walking across the bridge, waving a lantern, is occasionally seen.

28277124_10156046534958326_2362995188662457275_nWe taped the episode for the show last week, and in typical Stuckey-style, there were a few strange occurrences while we were there. A couple phones when crazy for a few minutes. A drone used to take footage of the river and the bridge crashed. We all heard it splash into the water, but when we ran onto the bridge to look over the railing for it, we saw it up in a tree. I wonder what the splash was…

I’ve written three books about the legend (available at Amazon, click here). That’s why they asked me to participate in the show. It was fun to go back home for the day, and I loved being out there again. It’s a cool place and it was a beautiful spring day! I’m very grateful my part of the show was wrapped up before nightfall.

 

 

Here’s my cousin dressed up to play the part of Ole Man Stuckey! This picture was taken long after I skedaddled out of there by Stuckey Bridge Canoe and Kayak

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Sweet Dreams…

Saturday Snippet – STUCKEY’S GOLD

stuckey Gold Cover smallIn the second book of the Stuckey’s Bridge Trilogy, Levi met an alluring young woman named Penelope Juzan. Apparently, the Juzans have quite a past which became the third book in the trilogy. Stuckey’s Gold is the story of four generations trying to escape a curse brought on by greed. The story weaves between Penelope and her friend Luke and their fathers, grandfathers, and great grandfathers. It doesn’t much matter which one we speak of. They all suffered pretty much the same terrible fate.

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He glanced back toward the shore one more time to make sure Marguerite hadn’t followed him. But what if she had? It wasn’t like he could hide in a rowboat in the middle of the lake. But if she caught him, she would be furious, and he really didn’t want to attract her wrath. She was a mean woman when she was cross. He chuckled. Well, she’d get over it once she ran her fingers through the gold in the trunk. He smiled at the thought. They were going to be very, very rich, and she couldn’t possibly be annoyed with him for that.

He dropped the anchor over the side and let out the rope. He released more and more of the rope and was almost at the end of the line when it finally went slack and he knew it rested on the bottom. “Gee,” he mumbled to himself, “that’s a thirty-foot rope.” He knew the lake was deep in spots, but it had never before occurred to him until that moment how deep it was. “No wonder no one’s been able to retrieve the gold before.”

Suspecting the trunk of gold would be too heavy to lift to the surface by sheer manpower, he had recalled the ideas written in his father’s journal on ways to raise the trunk, and he had brought two extra ropes with him. The plan was to dive down and tie both ropes around the trunk, and then hoist it up into the boat. He hoped he could do so without capsizing the small vessel because it’d be a long swim back to the shore. He tied the ends of the two ropes to the boat and then slapped the water with his paddle to scare off any snakes that might be lurking. He glanced again at the shore, just in case his wife appeared. The coast was clear. He grabbed the loose ends of both ropes and dove into the black depths.

It had been so hot the whole summer, the cool water felt refreshing. Down, down, down he went. His ears popped with the pressure. He felt around in the blackness, hoping to find the edge of the net floating in the water. He felt nothing. When his lungs felt as if they would burst, he returned to the surface. He looked around again at the landmarks on shore to make sure he was in the crosshairs of the oak, the pines, the rocks, and the inn. Yes, the trunk had to be right here.

He took another deep breath and dove again. About half way down, he felt something brush his thigh. He figured it was one of the ropes, then realized it might be the net. Adrenaline pumped through his veins in anticipation. He grabbed in the direction where he felt the object, but nothing was there. He froze for a moment as an alarming thought came to mind. What if it had been a snake? The snakes around here could kill a man with one bite. It would be a horrific and painful death. He ignored the thought and kept swimming downward, trying not to be too disappointed that he hadn’t found the net yet.

When he reached the bottom, his ears pounded from the pressure. He could feel it in his jaw and across his whole head. He quickly groped around in the blackness, knowing he wouldn’t be able to stay down too long. There was nothing but weeds and silt. He kicked off the bottom and shot up again to the surface. He took a deep breath and turned to check the landmarks once again. When he turned to look behind him, he came face to face with the most dreaded of snakes—the cottonmouth. Its snout was not more than a foot from his face, and Gabriel saw its tail flicker in the water nearly three feet away. It was huge, solid black except for tan markings on its face. Gabriel remained as still as possible, hoping the creature was as startled as he and would turn and swim away.

The snake quickly slithered across the surface of the water, but it didn’t swim in the opposite direction. It darted directly at him and struck him on the cheek. He cried out as the serpent dashed away, disappearing as fast as lightning.

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Stuckey’s Gold is available in paperback and Kindle at Amazon and in paperback at Barnes & Noble.

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 three-book trilogy is available exclusively on Kindle at Amazon. Happy Halloween and sweet dreams!

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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. 🙂

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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.”

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Lori Crane Books at Amazon

 

 

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.

The Backstory of the STUCKEY’S BRIDGE TRILOGY

Here’s a little background on the Stuckey’s Bridge Trilogy.

stuckey's bridge from VA Iron and Bridge Co on wikiMy childhood: I grew up in Meridian, Mississippi and heard the legend of Stuckey’s Bridge my whole life. It actually began in a book about the area written in the 1970s. The local paper, The Meridian Star, picked up on the legend from the book and the story spread like wildfire. The bridge instantly became THE place to party on the weekends, searching for ghosts and frightening girls into cuddling closer. (If you want to go there: head south out of Meridian on Interstate 59. Turn right at exit 142, then a quick left onto Meehan-Savoy Road. Travel 2.2 miles until you see a dirt road on your left. That is Stucky Bridge Road. The bridge will be about two miles down the dirt road. It is now closed, so you’ll have to turn around to leave. After you read the following legend, you may not want to go.)

The legend goes: In the late 1800s, a former member of the Dalton Gang came to Lauderdale County, Mississippi to find his fortune. He opened an inn near the Chunky River and stood on the old wooden bridge at night, flagging down merchants with his lantern, offering them a warm bed and a hot meal. Supposedly, he murdered his victims in their sleep and buried their bodies on the banks of the river. In 1901, the Virginia Bridge and Iron Company began rebuilding the old bridge and the bodies were discovered. The innkeeper, Old Man Stuckey as he is known to the locals, was hung by a posse from the iron rails of the new bridge.

Stuckey's cover_webIf you know me, you know I couldn’t stop searching until I figured out who this Old Man Stuckey really was…that became the first book in the Stuckey’s Bridge Trilogy, THE LEGEND OF STUCKEY’S BRIDGE. (Check out the book trailer…creepy!)

unnamedWhile writing the story, I didn’t want Old Man Stuckey to be alone all the time, so I had him run across a young boy named Levi. In the story, young Levi took on a creepiness all his own, and I received tons of emails and messages asking what Levi’s past was. As usual with my overactive imagination, I was more interested in his future than his past, so I wrote STUCKEY’S LEGACY: THE LEGEND CONTINUES. At the end of that book, Levi “got his” and the story focused on the young woman he met during the story, Penelope Juzan.

Back to my childhood: There was a second legend around the area where I grew up. Supposedly there was an inn on Lake Juzan in the 1840s where an innkeeper murdered his guests for wealth, much like Old Man Stuckey. The man’s name was Pierre Juzan, and he dumped the bodies in the lake with the help of his Indian sidekick. Toward the end of the legend, one of them killed the other for the wealth of gold they had confiscated.

Side note: There were also a couple different accounts of trunks of confederate gold disappearing as they traveled through the area during the Civil War.

I thought all these stories had a similar thread, and I wondered if I could separate them.

stuckey Gold Cover smallBack to the trilogy: I came to the conclusion that these legends were indeed different stories, but thought they were probably connected in some way. Those crazy ideas in my head became the third book in the trilogy, STUCKEY’S GOLD: THE CURSE OF LAKE JUZAN. 

These tales tickled me pink while writing them, and I hope you enjoy them too!

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Update: October 1st release of – The Complete Stuckey’s Bridge Trilogy  available exclusively on Kindle at Amazon. Click HERE!

Lori Crane Books at Amazon