For Your Halloween Reading Pleasure…

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They say still waters run deep.
In the little lakeside town of Midnight Cove,
still waters harbor dark secrets.

When writer Bree Blaylock rented the lakeside cottage in the small town of Midnight Cove, she didn’t count on staying in a haunted house. But she doesn’t mind sharing quarters with a restless spirit. She learned long ago that the living are always more dangerous than the dead.

She also didn’t count on falling for local lawman Jake Hanson. But life often has other ideas. Can Jake keep her safe when the past comes calling?

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Read a little teaser from MIDNIGHT COVE.

Together, Bree and Jake sank into their camping chairs.  “I suppose this crowd can be a little overwhelming,” Jake said quietly, “but they’re really nice.  You’ll see.”

Bree sipped her wine and watched as people shared embraces like long-lost friends, chatting and laughing as they did. 

The whine of outboard motors announced that another couple of boats had pulled up onto the beach.  Bree recognized the cashier from the market among the new arrivals.  Despite the cool fall evening, the young woman wore denim cut-offs so short, her ass cheeks hung out.  In the thin white camisole she wore, her pronounced nipples attuned everyone to the fact that she was cold. 

Immediately, she zeroed in on Jake.  “Hey, there,” she drawled, eyes locked on his.  “I’m glad you made it.”

“Hi, Darlene,” he answered, his tone friendly.  Bree watched him carefully, but he didn’t seem impressed by Darlene’s obvious display.  “You remember Bree from the other day.”

The woman flicked her gaze in Bree’s direction, her lips pressed together in contempt.  “Oh, yeah, hi.”

“Hello.”  Bree tried for friendly, but she felt her irritation rising.  It was the second time she’d met this Darlene, and the second time the woman had both dismissed her and fawned all over Jake.  It was sickening.

“There’s plenty of beer over there,” Jake nodded toward the collection of coolers.  “Help yourself.”

“In the Publix bag, there’s everything you need for s’mores if you like,” Bree offered helpfully, smiling.

Darlene looked at Bree for a second, then returned her attention to Jake.  “I believe I will have a beer.  Talk to you later.”

During the exchange with Darlene, another boat had arrived.  Dragging their own chairs and a cooler, a ragtag assortment of people approached the others.  Bree recognized the young woman from the bookstore.

Her smile was friendly.  “Hey, how are you?  I’m April, from the Peacock.  How’s the book?”

“Yes, I recognized you.  I’m great, thanks, and I’m loving the book.”

Space around the fire was filling in, and April slid her chair into a small gap at about Bree’s three o’clock.  “It’s one of her best if you ask me,” April said.  “How do you know Jake?”

Eyes wide, Bree looked to her left at Jake.

“We’re neighbors,” Jake said quickly.  “Bree’s a writer.  She’s renting old man Meyer’s place for a couple months.”

“Wait!”  April leaned forward in her chair and squinted in Bree’s direction.  “You’re not Bree Blaylock, are you?”

Bree nodded.  “I am, actually.”

“Holy shit!” April squeaked.  “Bree Blaylock!  I should have recognized you the other day.  I mean, your red hair should have given it away.  Holy shit!  I loved your book!”

Blushing, Bree glanced over to see Jake watching her.  “Wow, thanks so much.  I’m really glad you liked it.”

“No, seriously, Nothing Much, are you kidding me?  It was life-changing.  I read it three times.”

Aware that conversation around the fire had paused as April gushed on and on, Bree felt herself blush even deeper.  “That’s really nice of you to say.”

“Oh!”  April popped up out of her chair, waving her hands expressively.  “We should do a book signing!  My bosses are always looking for ways to get more customers in the door.  A signing with Bree Blaylock!  That would be amazing.” 

Sheepishly, the young woman looked to Bree and sank back into her seat.  “If you were interested in doing it, of course.”

Bree smiled warmly.  “I’d be happy to do a book signing if the owners of the store wanted to do it.”

April grinned from ear to ear.  “They’d love it.  I’ll ask them as soon as they come back.”

“So, Bree Blaylock, what’s it like staying in a haunted house?”  The disdainful drawl came from directly across the fire ring.

“Come on, Darlene,” Jake objected softly.

Darlene dismissed him with a wave of the Budweiser in her hand.  “We’ve all heard the stories.  There’s a ghost in that cottage.  How many summer renters have come running out of that place like a bat out of hell, never even bothering to look back?”

Determined not to let the woman get the best of her, Bree leaned back in her chair and smiled.  “I’m very comfortable in Mr. Meyer’s house.  It’s nice and quiet, and I’m able to get a lot of writing done.”

Eyes wide, April leaned forward.  “Have you seen a ghost?”

“Oh, come on,” Jake objected.  “You two can’t be serious.”

“There are stories, Jake,” Rusty commented.  “Years ago, they supposedly found a dead girl out here floating near the island.  They say they never caught her killer.”

“Every summer, a handful of Meyer’s renters leave before their week is up,” someone else added.  “They tell some weird stories.”

“That’s what it is,” Darlene purred, narrowing her eyes at Bree.  “It’s the ghost of the murdered girl, looking for revenge on the one who killed her.”

Picturing Steven, Bree tried to suppress a smile.  “Again, I’m very happy at the house.  And by mid-November, I’ll be finished with my book and out of your hair.”

Determined, she held Darlene’s stare until the other girl finally dropped her gaze.  Keeping her outward expression neutral, inside, Bree rejoiced.  You’re being ridiculous, she chided herself.  You just won a staring contest with a local grocery clerk.

Still, Bree was happy when the conversation moved on to other topics.

MIDNIGHT COVE by Pandora Spocks

MIDNIGHT COVE is currently available exclusively in fall’s hottest anthology, DARK SECRETS. Available for just .99, and free with Kindle Unlimited, this boxed set includes nine brand new romantic suspense novels that make for perfect Halloween reading.

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Saturday Night Serenade–Happy Halloween!

It’s that time of year again, time for ghosts, ghouls, and goblins to come knocking on doors, panhandling for sugary treats. Okay, there are probably precious few ghosts, ghouls, and goblins these days. More likely, we’ll see Spiderman, Buzz Lightyear, and Baby Shark.

I’m excited because for the first time in years, we might actually have trick-or-treaters. Our old house was in a rural equestrian community–we haven’t had any Halloween visitors in eight years.

And while I’m not digging out my ghost stories this year, I am sharing one of my favorite Halloween songs (okay, the song isn’t really Halloween-y, but that video, though). Who doesn’t love the Backstreet Boys all dressed up for Halloween?

What’s on your go-to spooky playlist?

I wish you and yours a very Happy Halloween! Be sure to hug the ones you love. Happy Saturday night!

P.S. If you’re interested in the ghost stories, this LINK will get you started. 😉

Saturday Night Serenade–Trick or Treat!

Trick or treat, y’all!  How are you this fine evening?

We’re mere days away from Halloween, and tonight’s serenade is a DIY Halloween dance party.  How could we possibly celebrate Halloween without Michael Jackson’s Thriller?

If you’re old like me, you remember the hype leading up to the release of the full-length (over 13 minutes long) video on December 2, 1983.  Directed by accomplished film director John Landis (National Lampoon’s Animal House, The Blues Brothers, An American Werewolf in London), it was MTV’s first world premiere video.

All I know is, when the thing finally aired, I was blown away.  The story line, the makeup effects, the dancing…  But maybe the spoken word performance by horror movie icon Vincent Price put it over the top.

And I’ve had Whodini’s Freaks Come Out at Night running through my head all month long.  I think it’s in the background of a television commercial, but it’s absolutely worth posting here.

But if you know me at all, you know I can’t pass up the opportunity to bring out the Backstreet Boys and Everybody.  Okay, I confess that boy bands are something of a guilty pleasure, but seriously, watch the dancing–I’d compare it to the ghoulish street parade from Thriller any time.

So what would be on your Halloween playlist?  I’d love it if you’d comment below.

Have a safe and Happy Halloween.  Hug those you love.

Happy Saturday night!

Saturday Night Serenade–Ah Ooooh!

I love the odd, quirky, slightly spooky Werewolves of London by the late, great Warren Zevon.  It’s from his 1978 album, Excitable Boy.  The song was produced by Jackson Browne, and  backing vocals on the original recording feature Fleetwood Mac’s Mick Fleetwood and John McVie.

To me, it’s a fun song, especially for a cool October evening.

I will also say that in my opinion, Kid Rock ripped off the iconic riff of this song in his All Summer Long, which is supposed to be a tribute to Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Sweet Home Alabama.  Nope, not buying it, it’s Werewolves of London all the way.  I won’t dignify it by posting it here, but you can look it up on YouTube.

But as long as we’re talking monsters…
How about a little Frankenstein?  It’s Edgar Winter’s instrumental classic from the 1972 album, They Only Come Out at Night.

I hope you’re enjoying this October weekend.  Be sure to hug those you love.

Happy Saturday night!

Saturday Night Serenade–Spooky

Halloween is just over two weeks away.  Time for it to get Spooky.  I couldn’t resist this classic from the Atlanta Rhythm Section.

This time of year, I’m dying to watch a good ‘dark and scary night in a spooky house’ kind of thing, and in the past couple of years, I haven’t had much luck finding something that fits the bill.  I’m not talking about a cheesy, slasher, ‘all the teens are gonna die’ movie–I’m looking for something smart and creepy.

Then I turned on Netflix last night and found this, their original series The Haunting of Hill House.  It’s based (loosely) on the 1959 classic horror novel by Shirley Jackson.  I watched the first two episodes last night, and it’s creepy as hell.  I’m in for the rest of the ride.

It’s just a thought if you’re looking for something Halloween-y to do tonight.  Gather with those you love, and I’d recommend leaving the lights on, just saying.  Be sure to give them a hug.

Happy Saturday night!

Bonus Track:  I couldn’t resist the divine Eagles with a live version of Witchy Woman.  Cheers to the late, great Glenn Frey.

Saturday Night Serenade–Superstition

Happy October!  I know I’ve mentioned it before, but between our anniversary, my birthday, and Halloween, I LOVE October!

For the first October song, I’m choosing Superstition by the amazing Stevie Wonder.  That funky bass line just draws you in every time.

And it’s perfect for the countdown to Halloween.  I mean, check out the lyrics.  And may I be the first to admit that I’ve been singing it wrong for all these years.

Very superstitious, writings on the wall,
Very superstitious, ladders bout’ to fall,
Thirteen month old baby, broke the lookin’ glass
Seven years of bad luck, the good things in your pastWhen you believe in things that you don’t understand,
Then you suffer,
Superstition ain’t the wayVery superstitious, wash your face and hands,
Rid me of the problem, do all that you can,
Keep me in a daydream, keep me goin’ strong,
You don’t wanna save me, sad is my song

When you believe in things that you don’t understand,
Then you suffer,
Superstition ain’t the way, yeh, yeh

Very superstitious, nothin’ more to say,
Very superstitious, the devil’s on his way,
Thirteen month old baby, broke the lookin’ glass,
Seven years of bad luck, good things in your past

When you believe in things that you don’t understand,
Then you suffer, Superstition ain’t the way, no, no, no

It made me wonder…
Are you superstitious?  I don’t consider myself to be.
Once I visited San Antonio with my mother and we went to this glorious Mexican restaurant down by El Mercado.  We were seated outside at a table covered in tile mosaic.  There was a hole in the center of the table where an umbrella might go.  My mother salted her dinner and when she set down the salt shaker, she accidentally dropped it through the hole.  The glass shaker shattered once it hit the ground and salt spilled everywhere.
A Hispanic lady at the next table saw what happened and brought us her salt shaker, miming tossing salt over her shoulder.  When my mother reached for the salt, the woman shook her head vigorously then set it on the table rather than passing it directly.  To appease the woman, my mother went ahead and tossed some salt over her shoulder and life went on.  But I’ve always thought that was a strange experience.
Are there any things you do for good luck?
I just want to be grateful for the good things in my life.
I hope you’re enjoying this fall evening.  Be sure to hug those you love.
Happy Saturday night!
P.S.  I couldn’t resist this version by another Stevie, the legendary Stevie Ray Vaughan.

One Final October Story–In Which Mr. R. Lived In A Haunted House

England's Raynham Hall has been said to be haunted by the original owner, Lady Dorothy Ghost? Townsend, since 1835. This picture, taken nearly 100 years after that, remains to this day to be one of the most iconic ghost pictures.:
Photo from Pinterest

Here’s one final spine chiller as we gear up for Halloween.  The title is pretty self-explanatory.  It’s completely true and like I said below, it’s the reason I am considerably less skeptical than I once was.  I hope you read it to the end.  I’m tacking on a new little snippet that happened a few weeks ago.

On a side note, there is some creepy shit on Pinterest.


This last October story is the most personal.  I have no photos or other documentation to prove what I’m saying but this is the single reason that I now entertain a certain amount of curiosity about the paranormal.  Up until this point, I was pretty sure I had it all figured out.  Yeah, right.

In the earlier days of our relationship, my sweet lived in a haunted house.  No, honestly.  I know what you’re thinking.  Even I didn’t believe it at first.  He tried to tell me.  I just thought he was messing with me.

Before Mr. R. and I got married, he rented a house with two other guys for a little over a year.  It was just a regular older house in a normal neighborhood and it was owned by a personal friend of Mr. R.  There was nothing remarkable about it, in fact, it needed quite a bit of updating, but it was a nice size with three bedrooms and three bathrooms.  It also backed up to a large lake and had a nice pool in back between the house and the water, these two features being really the best of the whole place.

I vaguely recall Mr. R. mentioning to me that there were times when his roommates were out and he felt as if he were not alone in the house.  I completely blew this off.  I am an educated, logical person.  There is always an explanation for everything.  I just thought he was trying to creep me out.

We spent many Saturdays hanging out at the house, sometimes swimming in the pool or fishing off the dock, lots of nights watching television in the converted sun porch just off the dining area.  I never noticed anything weird.  Never even thought about it.  Until…

One night we were watching television and I left the room.  As I headed through the darkened dining area, I saw movement out of the corner of my eye.  My heart jumped and I stopped immediately, looking to my right, the direction of the movement.  Mentally, I scolded myself.  You saw yourself in the mirror, I thought.  There was a mirror on the wall and that explanation made total sense.  Except…I was about 10% certain that myself was not what I saw.  I shook my head and went about my business.

After that, from time to time as we watched television, I was almost certain that I saw movement in the dining area.  Let me describe a little of the design of the house.  The tv room and dining area were separated by double french doors which were always left open.  The double-wide opening was flanked in the tv room by the multi-paned french doors pushed flush against the wall.  The panes of glass reflected light and color from the television, not to mention the lights of the boats passing outside on the lake.  So it made sense that the movement I saw was the reflection in the glass doors from the television and from outside.  Except…There were times I was sure the movement I saw was not in the glass on the sides of the doorway, but in the empty space of the doorway which would be the center of the dining room.

Mostly I just tried to ignore it, sure that I was being silly.  And there were long periods of time when nothing unusual happened.  I would forget about it, have no expectation of anything at all.

Until the night I had an experience that I could not explain in any way.  Once again, we were watching television.  During a commercial, I glanced out into the darkened dining area where my purse was hanging on the back of a chair.  Oddly, in the space between the top of my purse and the handles hanging on the chair, I saw a tiny red light, like the ready light on something electronic.

That’s weird, I thought.  What in the world is it?  My first thought was that it was my phone.  But I realized it couldn’t be my phone because: a) my phone didn’t have a red light like that; and b) my phone wasn’t sticking out of the top of my purse, it was in the pocket in the end of the purse, which was the reason I bought that purse to begin with.  That’s so weird, I thought, and I looked back at the television without thinking about it beyond being perplexed.  When I glanced back at my purse, the red light was gone.

I was properly freaked out for the first time.  Mr. R. realized something was wrong, but I’m from the school of thought that says, If I don’t say it out loud, it didn’t happen.  I made him sit beside me, and it was only after the show was over, when we went out onto the back deck that I told him what I’d seen.

He told me a few more stories, and now, of course, I was all ears.  The master bedroom of the house was separated from the master bath by a short, narrow hallway that ran between ‘his and hers’ closets.  Mr. R. said that once he’d been on his way into the bathroom when he’d suddenly changed his mind and turned around in that area between the closets.  As he abruptly turned, he said he saw someone standing there, then instantly he didn’t see someone.  His sense at the time was of someone who was lonely and desperately wished to be ‘one of the guys’.  He told me about many times when he’d been in the kitchen cooking and he’d felt certain that someone was just behind him, looking over his shoulder.

After that experience, I was very aware of the nights when we’d hear thumps and bumps of unexplained origin.  I chalked a lot of those up to the wind getting under the eaves, but that only explained some of the noises we heard.

One night, after his roommates left for the evening, Mr. R. and I were in the house by ourselves.  We were sitting together on the sofa just chatting about nothing in particular when we heard, from the other room, the distinct sound of someone clearing their throat.  “Ahem!”  We just stared at each other.  “You heard that, right?” we said simultaneously.

One of the last things I experienced in that house happened as we were making dinner one night.  Mr. R. left the room, leaving me alone in the kitchen.  I heard, from another part of the house, a loud sort of boom, bang, crash as if a stack of pots or something had fallen.  I moved in the direction of the noise, the direction Mr. R. had gone, saying, “Hey, are you okay?”  I met Mr. R. coming toward me saying, “Hey, are you okay?”  We’d each thought the other had knocked something over, yet neither of us had.

As a result of the strange things I experienced in the house, I became somewhat interested in investigations of the paranormal.  No, I’m not going out to buy a bunch of electronic gizmos (except maybe a phone app).  But I have come to appreciate the TAPS investigators from the SciFi show, GhostHunters.  The reason I like them is that they set out to disprove paranormal activity, to find logical, rational explanations for odd things that people experience.  One thing I learned from them is that high electromagnetic emissions, such as would be present in an older home with faulty wiring, can cause various physical reactions including feelings of unease, of being watched.  I absolutely believe that explains some of what Mr. R. experienced in the house.  And then, every once in a while, the TAPS team comes across something that really defies explanation.  I can relate to that, too.

Now, a little history on the house.  These are things I know to be true, they can be verified in the news and by talking to the family members who owned the house.  Some years before Mr. R. and the boys rented the house, the family who owned it experienced an unfathomable tragedy.  A teenage son was murdered in a violent robbery at the fast food restaurant where he’d worked.  The mother, utterly devastated by his death, hired a psychic to come into the house and give a reading.  The psychic advised the mother to place some of the boy’s personal belongings around the house to encourage his spirit to stay.  Turns out, there were some skateboards and other things placed in the attic and other spots around the house during the time Mr. R. lived there.  Now, normally I’d say that whole business is a load of crap.  But things happened there that I can’t explain.

All of that to say this–I’ve always believed that most of the things that happen in this world have logical, rational explanations.  I still believe that.  Now, I also have to concede that some things simply defy rational explanation.

It gets real when you experience something for yourself.  Take, for example, those photos from the Pilar in Islamorada.  Or the photos from the Riddle House.  I’m much less certain that I have it all figured out.  Still, I’m okay with that.

I wouldn’t spend any time alone in that house, though.  Nope.


As promised, one last little tale…

Mr. R., before he quit his job (don’t even get me started again), was a steely-eyed newsman.  His most recent position was as an assignment editor–those are the folks in the newsroom who know what’s going on and send out reporters and photographers to cover stories.  They take phone calls, keep in contact with community leaders and law enforcement, and keep an ear on the scanners.

In that capacity, one day shortly before his last, Mr. R. overheard an odd conversation over the police scanners.

Town of Palm Beach Dispatcher to officer on patrol: I received a call from an on-duty private security guard.  He’s reporting that in the house he’s guarding, he keeps hearing children whispering and giggling.  The thing is, the house has been empty and boarded up for several years.  Can you check it out?

Officer on patrol: (long silence) Oooo-kay.

I’m sad to say that Mr. R. never heard the outcome of that call, but like all my other October stories, it’s true.

Happy Halloween!!