Saturday Snippet – Stuckey’s Bridge

51ae9DloKqL._UY250_If you haven’t yet heard about Old Man Stuckey, he’s a little like Dexter, but with less conscience, and he’s a lot more lovable. The Legend of Stuckey’s Bridge got its start when I wondered about the real man behind the ghostly legend I grew up with in Mississippi.

You can find the Kindle version of The Legend of Stuckey’s Bridge at Amazon!

Here’s a creepy scene featuring Old Man Stuckey in his younger days…

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He stood silent and still for a long time, not knowing what to do next. It wasn’t like he had ever killed anyone before. He didn’t have this planned out. He was certain his father would beat him to a pulp when he found out. He stood with his back against the barn door, gazing down at his dead brother, and came up with a plan.

He gathered piles of hay and arranged them in mounds in the middle of the floor. He then pulled matches out of his coat pocket and set the hay ablaze. He added more hay. And more. The fire came to life and roared as he watched. Black smoke filled the air. He felt as angry as the fire looked. His brother deserved to die and to burn—in hell. This was as close as he could come to creating the real thing.

He felt the flames hot on his face, and the smoke made him cough. He covered his nose and mouth in the crook of his arm, and breathed through his sleeve as he watched the flames grow higher and larger. The fire crackled and hissed as it quickly raced up the dry wooden ladder into the storage loft above. There was nothing up there but last summer’s hay, which lit with a whooshing sound.

He looked up. The dimness of the barn had been replaced by a bright yellow glow. Within a few short minutes, the fire had spread all the way across the loft and the roof. While he watched the loft, he didn’t notice the fire had spread all around him, eating everything in sight. Even with his nose covered, he began to cough violently, and he made his way through the black smoke to the barn door.

He pulled on it. It wouldn’t budge. He pulled it again. It wouldn’t move an inch. His brother’s dead body was lying in a heap in front of the door, blocking his escape. He bent down and grabbed the arms and attempted to pull the body out of the way, but the dead weight was far too heavy for his small, slender frame. He gave up, coughing even harder, and tried to pull the door again. He was having trouble breathing and thought he should have planned this better. He was going to die in this barn with his brother.

Suddenly, he heard his mother’s voice outside. “Is anyone in there? Thomas? Wilson?” She pounded on the door.

“Ma?”

“Thomas?”

“Ma, I’m in here. I can’t get the door open,” he yelled over the roar of the flames.

“Thomas, is that you? Pull the door!” She was screaming now, hysteria building.

“I am! It won’t open!”

The fire was thunderous; it was almost as loud as a train roaring down the tracks. He never realized fire made such a deafening noise. The flames spread quickly toward the door, licking at his feet. He looked behind him, and all he could see were yellow flames and black smoke.

“Push the door, Ma!”

He pulled the door as she pushed from the outside, and it inched open just enough for him to squeeze out. She grabbed his arm, and they ran about a hundred yards before they stopped and turned to look back at the barn. Black columns of smoke billowed into the sky, and the flames were a continuous rumble.

When he took his initial breath of fresh air, he coughed even harder. He wrapped his arms around his mother’s waist, buried his head into her bony shoulder, and hugged her tightly. She asked again if Wilson was also in the barn, and tried to pull away from him to go check. He coughed more through tears and hugged her even tighter. Again and again she tried to pull away from his grasp to go search for her other son, but he wouldn’t let go until he was sure the fire had erased all traces of his deed.

When the walls collapsed and the flames finally began to die down, he released his grip on his mother and said, “Thank you, Ma. I’m fine now.” He glanced at the smoldering rubble, then back at his mother, and added, “I don’t imagine Wilson is, though.” He turned toward the house and walked away, leaving her standing in the field with tears streaming down her smoke-stained cheeks.

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

5-star-largeA five-star recipient at Readers’ Favorite, THE LEGEND OF STUCKEY’S BRIDGE is available in Kindle at Amazon. The paperback is also available. Pick up a copy and root for the bad guy for a change.

The Legend of Stuckey’s Bridge by Lori Crane is a page-turning winner. This is a five star winner and Lori Crane is a must-read author.” ~Trudi LoPreto for Readers’ Favorite
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“Lori Crane is a Southern storyteller of the first order.” ~Writer’s Digest

Good Luck on Friday the 13th!

Friday the 13th is generally known for bad luck, but today, your luck is good, as you are not the next in a long line of Old Man Stuckey’s victims. Pick up a  copy of The Legend of Stuckey’s Bridge.

Click HERE to get your Kindle!

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In 1901, the Virginia Bridge & Iron Company began re-building a fifty-year-old Mississippi bridge. In the middle of the project, they began discovering bodies buried on the banks of the river.

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.

To this day, eerie experiences are still reported around the bridge that now bears his name. If you travel down to Stuckey’s Bridge, be careful, for not much else is known about the man locals refer to as Old Man Stuckey…until now.

Click HERE to get your copy!

Celebrate All Hallow’s Eve with a Shiver up Your Spine!

Happy All Hallow’s Eve to all of you ghouls and goblins.

Just for fun, try the Kindle copy of

The Legend of Stuckey’s Bridge

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Old Man Stuckey is the perfect accompaniment to a frightful Halloween week. He’s a little bit Dexter with a streak of Hannibal, but somehow, he makes me laugh.

 

Pick up a copy…if you dare! Sweet dreams.

Click HERE to go to Amazon! If you don’t have a Kindle, no worries. Click HERE to download the app to your tablet, computer, or phone.

 

 

Mystery, Thriller, Suspense. Where does your book belong?

Incognito-silhouette-150x150So, what’s the deal with the genres Mystery, Thriller, and Suspense??

Most readers don’t know the difference, but if you’re trying to place your book in the best genre to find the perfect readership, a writer should know the difference. The difference depends on if the reader knows what’s going on in advance and which character is telling the story. There is also some vague talk in the industry about pacing playing a role. Some say a thriller moves at a faster pace and a suspense novel moves at a slower pace.

Mystery – A mystery is a story where the reader finds out what’s going on at the same time as the character. Sherlock Holmes knows he has dead bodies piling up but doesn’t know who the murderer is. The reader can decipher the clues as the Sherlock uncovers them.

Thriller – In a thriller, the reader already knows whodunit and is merely along for the ride. If a story is about Jack the Ripper, the reader already knows what is going to happen and who is responsible, and in the story, the reader lives in the moment with either Jack or the one chasing him. If the story is told from the victim’s point of view, it could be categorized as Suspense (see below) because they know something is going to happen, but don’t know what it is. (One can usually recognize suspense by the ominous music in the background. LOL).

Suspense – The reader knows something is going to happen and perhaps knows who will do the deed, but something is unknown. Either the character doesn’t know it’s coming, or the reader doesn’t know the specifics of what, when, who, or how and is turning pages to find out. The reader may witness a person setting a bomb with a timer, but the characters don’t know they’re about to get blown to smithereens in ten minutes. In the above example about Jack, the reader will know Jack is heading toward the victim, but the victim is oblivious, or the victim will know someone is chasing them, but they don’t know who it is.

So, Jack’s story can be a Thriller or Suspense? Yes.

Often the categories will overlap. If there are scenes of suspense where the victim doesn’t know what’s coming, it could be categorized as Thriller/Suspense. If Sherlock’s story revealed the killer to the reader in the beginning and Sherlock was simply chasing him, it could be Mystery/Thriller. Generally, if the work falls into more than one of the above categories, a writer should narrow it down to two. A work of Mystery/Thriller/Suspense will only get lost in the shuffle. Narrow it down as much as you can.

small_moving_boxesBottom line – Don’t fret too much about genre. If it’s a good story, readers will find it and buy it. It doesn’t matter what box the bookstore wants to put it in.

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Lori Crane is a bestselling and award-winning author of historical fiction and the occasional thriller. Her books have climbed to the Kindle Top 100 lists many times, including “Elly Hays” which debuted at #1 in Native American stories. She has also enjoyed a place among her peers in the Top 100 historical fiction authors on Amazon, climbing to #23. She resides in greater Nashville and is a professional musician by night – an indie author by day.

Saturday Snippet of STUCKEY’S BRIDGE

Stuckey's cover_webIf you haven’t yet heard about Old Man Stuckey, he’s a little like Dexter, but with less conscience and a lot more lovable. THE LEGEND OF STUCKEY’S BRIDGE got its start when I wondered about the real man behind the ghostly legend I grew up with in Mississippi. I got so many emails and letters asking about the secondary character, Levi, who is a little psychopath in his own right, I wrote the sequel, STUCKEY’S LEGACY: THE LEGEND CONTINUES. There were similar legends around the same time and the same place, so I pulled them all together and finished up the trilogy with STUCKEY’S GOLD: THE CURSE OF LAKE JUZAN. They are best if read in order, but can stand alone on their own.

Here’s a creepy scene featuring Old Man Stuckey in his younger days…

*********

He stood silent and still for a long time, not knowing what to do next. It wasn’t like he had ever killed anyone before. He didn’t have this planned out. He was certain his father would beat him to a pulp when he found out. He stood with his back against the barn door, gazing down at his dead brother, and came up with a plan.

He gathered piles of hay and arranged them in mounds in the middle of the floor. He then pulled matches out of his coat pocket and set the hay ablaze. He added more hay. And more. The fire came to life and roared as he watched. Black smoke filled the air. He felt as angry as the fire looked. His brother deserved to die and to burn—in hell. This was as close as he could come to creating the real thing.

He felt the flames hot on his face, and the smoke made him cough. He covered his nose and mouth in the crook of his arm, and breathed through his sleeve as he watched the flames grow higher and larger. The fire crackled and hissed as it quickly raced up the dry wooden ladder into the storage loft above. There was nothing up there but last summer’s hay, which lit with a whooshing sound.

He looked up. The dimness of the barn had been replaced by a bright yellow glow. Within a few short minutes, the fire had spread all the way across the loft and the roof. While he watched the loft, he didn’t notice the fire had spread all around him, eating everything in sight. Even with his nose covered, he began to cough violently, and he made his way through the black smoke to the barn door.

He pulled on it. It wouldn’t budge. He pulled it again. It wouldn’t move an inch. His brother’s dead body was lying in a heap in front of the door, blocking his escape. He bent down and grabbed the arms and attempted to pull the body out of the way, but the dead weight was far too heavy for his small, slender frame. He gave up, coughing even harder, and tried to pull the door again. He was having trouble breathing and thought he should have planned this better. He was going to die in this barn with his brother.

Suddenly, he heard his mother’s voice outside. “Is anyone in there? Thomas? Wilson?” She pounded on the door.

“Ma?”

“Thomas?”

“Ma, I’m in here. I can’t get the door open,” he yelled over the roar of the flames.

“Thomas, is that you? Pull the door!” She was screaming now, hysteria building.

“I am! It won’t open!”

The fire was thunderous; it was almost as loud as a train roaring down the tracks. He never realized fire made such a deafening noise. The flames spread quickly toward the door, licking at his feet. He looked behind him, and all he could see were yellow flames and black smoke.

“Push the door, Ma!”

He pulled the door as she pushed from the outside, and it inched open just enough for him to squeeze out. She grabbed his arm, and they ran about a hundred yards before they stopped and turned to look back at the barn. Black columns of smoke billowed into the sky, and the flames were a continuous rumble.

When he took his initial breath of fresh air, he coughed even harder. He wrapped his arms around his mother’s waist, buried his head into her bony shoulder, and hugged her tightly. She asked again if Wilson was also in the barn, and tried to pull away from him to go check. He coughed more through tears and hugged her even tighter. Again and again she tried to pull away from his grasp to go search for her other son, but he wouldn’t let go until he was sure the fire had erased all traces of his deed.

When the walls collapsed and the flames finally began to die down, he released his grip on his mother and said, “Thank you, Ma. I’m fine now.” He glanced at the smoldering rubble, then back at his mother, and added, “I don’t imagine Wilson is, though.” He turned toward the house and walked away, leaving her standing in the field with tears streaming down her smoke-stained cheeks.

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

5-star-largeA five-star recipient at Readers’ Favorite, THE LEGEND OF STUCKEY’S BRIDGE is available in paperback and Kindle at Amazon. CLICK HERE. Pick up a copy and root for the bad guy for a change. 🙂

The Legend of Stuckey’s Bridge by Lori Crane is a page-turning winner. This is a five star winner and Lori Crane is a must-read author.” ~Trudi LoPreto for Readers’ Favorite
“Lori Crane is a Southern storyteller of the first order.” ~Writer’s Digest

Saturday Snippet – STUCKEY’S BRIDGE

Stuckey's cover_webThe Legend of Stuckey’s Bridge is based on folklore surrounding the real 1850s Stuckey’s Bridge in Lauderdale County, Mississippi. I heard the tales my whole life and was drawn to write a story about the man locals refer to as Old Man Stuckey. He cracked me up in his impatience, but he was still an evil and creepy character. Here’s a bit of the way his brain worked.

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“Wha…what’s going on?” The woman jerked and sat up. “Who are you?”

He poked the rifle into her ribs harder. “Where’s your money?”

The woman didn’t fight back. “In…in the coffee pot in the wagon.”

“You got any jewelry?”

“What? No, we don’t…”

He spoke louder, his impatience building. “Do you have anything worth money?”

“Only the…” She looked at the rifle. “Only the gun you’re holding.”

“Don’t move,” he said as he stomped back to the wagon and climbed in to search for the coffee pot.

A few moments later, the woman unexpectedly appeared at the back of the wagon, pointing a trembling six-shooter at Thomas. “Get out!” she screamed, tears streaming down her cheeks.

Without thinking twice, he spun around and shot her point-blank in the chest with the rifle, killing her instantly.

She collapsed to the ground with a thud. He sighed and turned back to his job at hand, and soon located the coffee pot in the bottom of a box, covered with threadbare dishcloths. He took the money out of the pot and crammed the bills into his jacket pocket.

He climbed down from the back of the wagon, removed the gun from the dead woman’s hand, and said, “Too bad you didn’t stay put. Why don’t you women ever learn to do as you’re told?” He shook his head in exasperation. He shoved the six-shooter into his waistband and moved quickly through the dark woods toward to his waiting horse. He rode most of the night, and as the sun rose hot and red on the horizon, he stopped to count his take. “Fourteen measly dollars, a rifle, and a six-shooter.” He grimaced. “I’m getting too old for this.”

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Lori Crane Books at Amazon

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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