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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October Stories–I Just Wanted A Photo Of Hemingway’s Chair

A second rerun…

This article is copied and pasted from a post I wrote a couple of years ago.  WordPress being what it is, I can’t schedule a reblog, so it’s got to be like this.  Thanks, WordPress. 

Anyway, this is a true story, and the photos from my Samsung Galaxy are completely unretouched.  You’re seeing what I saw.  Enjoy…


I took the folks down to Key Largo for a couple of days this past summer.  Before heading home, we drove south just to sightsee a little.  You can’t get that close and not cross the Seven Mile Bridge, right?  Mr. R. missed the trip because of work, but he recommended that we stop and check out an outdoor store in Islamorada called World Wide Sportsman (which is actually operated by Bass Pro Shops, but that’s neither here nor there).

wpid-20140713_102026.jpgAside from being a cool place to look around, as are most Bass Pro Shops, this particular store had something that interested me.  According to Mr. R. the store had a fishing boat that is the twin of the one used in the Keys by Ernest Hemingway.  Okay, it’s not his boat, but it’s one just like it.

And so it is that we stopped in at World Wide Sportsman.  We found the large shop fairly uncrowded and sure enough, the Pilar was sitting smack-dab in the center of the place.  Again, the Pilar is not Hemingway’s boat.  It just happened to be built at the same Brooklyn shipyard and is a twin of the more famous one that is supposed to be in Cuba these days.  But I was curious all the same.

Some years ago, I read an interesting novel by Michael Palin (yes, that Michael Palin, the one from Monty Python) called Hemingway’s Chair.  In the story, a mousy postal worker with a fascination for all things Hemingway learns that Papa’s fishing chair is about to be sold at auction and he schemes for ways to make the chair his own.

And so, having left the others browsing for souvenirs and trinkets, it was with curious interest that I climbed aboard the Pilar with hopes of snapping a photo of Hemingway’s chair.  And there it was.  Right on the stern of the boat.  But it was unlike any fishing chair I’d ever seen.  It was made of highly polished wood and sat low with a beam that jutted forward from the seat parallel to the deck with a footrest at the end, so that if you were in the chair, your legs would stick straight out in front of you.  As I puzzled over the unexpected style and how best to capture it with my trusty phone, a couple boarded the boat and the wife plunked herself down into the chair and began mugging for her husband’s camera.  Seriously?!

Annoyed, I took myself below deck, if only to escape the rampant dumb-assitude.  There, in the dimly lit cabin, I found something I liked even better than the fishing chair.  There was a vintage desk complete with typewriter and chair.  I know.  It’s not Hemingway’s typewriter.  But it was cool.  Plus, I thought it was the perfect illustration for one of my favorite Hemingway quotes: Write drunk.  Edit sober. 

So I snapped four pictures in fairly rapid succession.  I hurried, figuring Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum  would undoubtedly be down any second.  I had to use a flash in the murkiness of the room and I couldn’t actually see what I was getting, but I hoped that at least one photo would be good enough to post with the quote.

It was not until later when I wanted to choose the best shot that I saw something interesting.  I’ve arranged the photos in the exact order in which I took them.  In the first and second frames nothing seems out of the ordinary.  In the third you begin to see a hazy little anomaly to the left of the typewriter.  The anomaly is clearer in the fourth photo.

What is it?  I don’t know. Like I said before, I’m not really a huge believer in the whole ghostie thing.  But I’ve lived long enough to know that there are some things you simply can’t explain.

Before October is over, I’ve got another couple of weird stories for you.  Stay tuned…

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One Final October Story–Once Upon a Time Mr. R. 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 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 on the sides of the doorway in the glass, but in the empty space of the doorway which would be the center of that 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 dining area to 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 out 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 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 had 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, 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.  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 experienced an unfathomable tragedy.  A teenaged 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 told 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 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.