murder mystery

Writer T.L. Brown’s Book Review: Torn Veil

A sequel every bit as good as the first book – possibly even better!

Tracy Brown, Author

It’s difficult to write a sequel worthy of a great first book, but Shari T. Mitchell did just that with the latest installment of the Marnie Reilly Mysteries, Torn Veil.

In this book, the reader is treated to so many layers building a strong plot. How did the author keep track of them all? Luckily for readers Mitchell manages this well, creating an intricate storyline with many moving parts while not losing the reader for a minute.

This time around we join a main character (Marnie Reilly) who is more willing to accept help as her life is turned upside down once again with the discovery of a dead body. She’s still tough, she’s still smart, and she’s definitely confident – but we’re diving into a complex character. Marnie’s not superwoman and she has fears, too. There’s also the matter of a blockage of sorts with her sixth sense. This limitation puts her at risk even more. We also find a Marnie who must work out which players are her friends, and who is the fraud. Author Mitchell does an EXCELLENT job of keeping the reader guessing.

Mitchell is a master of bringing in the bits: Here’s a character – let’s allow her to brush by – this will be important later. Or, here’s a snippet of conversation that will eventually point to a big piece of the puzzle. (Did you catch it, reader?) That’s part of the magic happening when you read a book by Shari T. Mitchell: you develop a habit of noting everything because it just might be important later and you are rewarded with an “aha!” moment. And again, the author delivers it in such a way that you are not lost.

It seems that author Mitchell is building a family for Marnie in Torn Veil – which really feels good. Marnie has been through so much already. This eclectic family-building isn’t just a safe haven for Marnie’s mental well-being, it’s a comfort for the reader as we become further invested in her story. We’re scared for Marnie more than once, and we hold onto the belief that the love surrounding her will provide the much-needed safety net when the time comes.

Returning readers to this series will recognize a favorite cast of supporting characters: the lovable and loyal Detective Tom Keller, and of course, the sexy, strong, and supportive Detective Danny Gregg. It may be getting colder outside, but it’s heating up between Marnie and Danny. This developing relationship is such a nice side story that does not overwhelm the drama and mystery. Other familiar – and new faces – fill in the population of Creekwood. We’re also glad to see Tater, Marnie’s beloved border collie, playing with some new pals.

The paranormal is definitely present in this latest installment, and we get some peeks into a darker side of people who operate in this world. And yet, Mitchell uses her characters to remind us that some evil only has power if you give up yours. How the paranormal is related to the events in the book – or not – is quite clever. There are some solid twists that make so much sense when all is revealed!

Torn Veil is crafted in such a way that you want to try and figure out who is who, and what is really at play. How did I do? I had my ideas, but ultimately Mitchell dished out some big surprises. There were a few things I did not see coming but worked perfectly with the storyline. That’s so much fun for a mystery reader!

Marnie Reilly Mysteries

If you haven’t yet started the Marnie Reilly Mystery Series, don’t wait a second longer. This is the perfect season to get familiar with Mitchell’s bunch! Fatal Vow, the third book in the Marnie Reilly Mysteries, is due out in 2022. I’m on pins and needles waiting for it. I know I’ll definitely be ordering the book as soon as it’s available for pre-sale. I. Can’t. Wait!


T.L. Brown (Writer Tracy Brown) is the author of the Door to Door Paranormal Mystery Series. She was born in snowy Western New York where she developed a love of reading and writing – her mother never denied her request for a book. She holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Pittsburgh in History – Political Science.

After college she moved to Rochester and began to create a story about an average thirty-year-old who was caught between two worlds: the known one and a new, often dangerous place known as the Empire. That character became Emily Swift.

Tracy now lives in the beautiful Finger Lakes of New York State dreaming up new stories and quirky characters that make life all the more interesting. She believes magic still exists, you just need to look in the right places.

Book Review: Divine Guidance grabs you and does not let go!

The author moves the drama from one place to another while keeping the tension high. 

Tracy Brown, Writer

writertracybrown

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐️-
Divine Guidance, by @ShariTMitchell

Divine Guidance grabs you and does not let go!

It’s been a long time since a book kept me up and reading past midnight. I just could not put down Shari T. Mitchell’s “Divine Guidance.”

Let me be frank: Mitchell crafted a story that scared the bejesus out of me – and it wasn’t the paranormal aspects of the story making my heart race! The murders and attempted murders happening around main character Marnie Reilly made me jittery. With ingredients like an abusive ex-boyfriend, a wild ice storm closing the roads, and a stalker-murderer running loose, you certainly have a recipe for a solid creep fest!

But the author doesn’t rely on bumps in the night to create a compelling tale. She’s also written a sound mystery-thriller with a flawed main character, who despite her rough edges, is good and kind at heart. She’s also believable.

We meet Marnie in an off-beat setting right before she tips the apple cart – angering her “peers” while taking the high road. From the get-go we understand that Marnie is not only tough, but also willing to do the hard things. And yet, she’s not this larger-than-life superwoman we can’t imagine as being real. She’s experienced significant loss and struggled with a frightening past (abusive relationship revealed in memories / current discussions). She’s human.

While the paranormal is present in this story, the mundane is what takes center stage. Imagine this: You are trapped at home with a maniac running rampant – but the ice storm prevents help from coming to you. At first the reader thinks: thank goodness police officers are stuck at Marnie’s house, too.

The author moves the drama from one place to another while keeping the tension high. There was literally one scene at Detective Gregg’s house that scared me because the buildup to the scene was so well done that when it came, I was wishing it wasn’t dark outside. (I was also glad I didn’t have an attic!)

Author Mitchell also brought in some complex relationships. Early on Marnie calls another character a charlatan – a “soul-sucking trickster” and the reader would agree. And yet this character displays a completely different side, helping Marnie when she’s in danger. This “relationship” of sorts has many layers, and it was intriguing to sort out what the current status between Marnie and this other really meant. There is a scene in Marnie’s home that involves a pipe (tobacco pipe). These little touches keep the reader wondering who was who and who was friend or foe.

As a reader, I want to know more about The Collective. Marnie has clearly angered this group of psychics and they have some power – but how much of it is real and how much of it depends on the fragility of the mind of their target? This could be why Marnie is wary but not openly fearful of this group. I hope to learn more in the follow-up to “Divine Guidance.”

With all the “normal” drama, there is a paranormal element, of course. For me it wasn’t the biggest part of the plotline but added to it. And a reminder: while it might be useful to learn from the dead (ghosts), it’s not always a happy experience.

Lastly, the supportive cast of characters around Marnie – her lovable dog Tater, the police, the detective, and her friends – certainly round out the story. There are a couple of big surprises at the end that beg the questions: In the circle of family and friends, who can you trust? Who is lying and who is dangerous?


T.L. Brown (Writer Tracy Brown) is the author of the Door to Door Paranormal Mystery Series. She was born in snowy Western New York where she developed a love of reading and writing – her mother never denied her request for a book. She holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Pittsburgh in History – Political Science.

After college she moved to Rochester and began to create a story about an average thirty-year-old who was caught between two worlds: the known one and a new, often dangerous place known as the Empire. That character became Emily Swift.

Tracy now lives in the beautiful Finger Lakes of New York State dreaming up new stories and quirky characters that make life all the more interesting. She believes magic still exists, you just need to look in the right places.

The Island

The Island, Part 1 – Marnie Reilly Mysteries – The Early Years

The Island – Part 1

“C’mon, Sam! We want to go swimming! Can we take the boat to the island? Do you want to go to the island, Sam?” Dressed in white shorts, and a navy blue bikini top, and red flip-flops, Marnie stood impatiently on the dock waiting for her brother. She held a navy New York Mets T-shirt in her hand.

“You’re being bossy again,” Tom scolded, tipping his head to the side and squinting his eyes against the mid-morning sun.

Marnie wrinkled her forehead. “No, I’m not! I’m not being bossy. I’m being a pest. There’s a difference.” Marnie stuck her head in the air, crossed her arms, and stared up the hill at Sam.

Sam loped down the hill. He was wearing light blue swimming trunks, a gray New York Mets T-shirt, a New York Mets ball cap, and flip-flops.  He carried a backpack, and a navy and white striped beach bag.

“Mom said you have to put on sunscreen, Marnie. She said you can’t go swimming until you do,” Sam called down the hill.

Marnie danced impatiently from one foot to the other. “Argh! I don’t like sunscreen! It makes me itch! It makes me itch all over!”

Sam stopped walking, and pointed with his thumb back toward the house. “Well, you can argue with Mom about that. I’m not letting you go in the water until you put it on,” Sam chided with a shrug and quirk of his mouth.

Marnie threw her hands up. “Fine! I’ll wear the dang sunscreen.”

“Good! Now come get your bag. You forgot your towel, and your lunch.” Sam held the beach bag out for Marnie to retrieve.

“Can’t you bring it to me? You’re comin’ down here anyway!” Marnie huffed.

“Nope! Mom and Dad told me to stop babying you. Come get your bag,” Sam said, standing his ground.

“Fine!” Marnie rolled her eyes, and stomped up the hill, swinging her arms back and forth dramatically.

When Marnie reached her brother, she took her bag, set it on the ground, and pulled on Sam’s hand so that he would bend to meet her.

“Thank you, Sam. Thanks for taking me and Tom swimming,” Marnie said. She kissed her brother on the cheek, and then blew raspberries.

Sam dropped his backpack, scooped his sister up in his arms and blew raspberries on her tummy. Marnie giggled and squirmed.

“Sam! Stop it!” Marnie said between giggles.

Sam set her down on the grass, and messed up her hair. She wasn’t wearing her baseball cap today. Today her strawberry blonde hair hung loose – all the way to the middle of her back.

“C’mon, Marnie! I’ll race you to the dock!” Sam took off running.

“Oh! I’ll never catch you! You’re too fast!” Marnie raced after him, and only caught him when he slowed down enough to let her.

“C’mon, Squirt! Get in the boat. We’ll row over to the island, and have lunch. Sound good?” Sam picked up Marnie, and swung her into the rowboat.

Marnie nodded emphatically. “Sounds good! C’mon, Tom!”

Tom stared down at his toes for a moment. He lifted his chin, and a flush of embarrassment rose in his tanned face. “Um… I don’t swim too good. My mother told me I have to wear armbands.”

Marnie giggled. “Aw, Tom! Don’t be silly. It’s okay! I’ll wear mine, too. Mom packed mine so that I could swim out real far – that way if I get tired, I can just float. I like wearing my armbands sometimes.”

Sam ruffled Tom’s hair. “How about if I teach you swim, Tom? I taught Marnie how to swim, and she’s a pretty good swimmer. Would you like that? Would you like me to teach you?”

Tom tipped his head, and looked up at Sam. “Really? You’d teach me to swim?” Tom’s face showed a bit of confusion – and excitement.

Sam nodded. “Yeah. Sure. I’ll teach you to swim. You’re not afraid of the water, are you?”

Tom held his head up high, pulled his shoulders back, and puffed out his chest. “Nah! I’m not afraid of the water!” Tom held Sam’s gaze.

Sam smiled, and nodded again. “Good! Let’s get you into a life jacket, and then we’ll head over to the island. Marnie, put your life jacket on, please. I don’t need Mom yelling at me.”

Sam reached into the boatshed and pulled out three life jackets, and handed the jackets to Marnie. Next, he grabbed a nearly deflated inner tube and a hand pump. He set the inner tube and the pump on the floor of the rowboat, untied the boat from its cleats, dropped the stern rope into the back, threw the bow rope to Marnie, who neatly placed it at Tom’s feet.  Sam stepped into the boat, and settled onto the middle seat. It wobbled just a bit. Tom sucked in a breath and grabbed Marnie’s arm.

Marnie patted his hand. “We’re okay. Even if we tip, the water is real shallow here. You could stand up okay.”

Tom took a deep breath, and then finished putting on his life jacket.

“Ready to go?” Sam asked.

“Hang on!” Marnie shouted. She scrambled around Sam to the front of the rowboat, knelt down, then turned and flashed a smile in Sam’s direction. Tom, sitting wearily in the back of the boat, simply nodded.

The water was calm and clear. It was a perfect day. The sun was shining. There was a soft summer breeze. There was not a cloud in the sky, and the tree toads were calling for heat. Marnie leaned over the side and watched fish scurry beneath the boat – she could see clear to the bottom of the pond.

Marnie turned around, and pointed over the side of the boat. “Tom, look over the side. Look at the fish swimming under us!”

Tom hesitantly leaned to side, and watched the fish. “What kind of fish are those?”

“If the fish are big, probably bass, sunfish or bullhead. If the fish are small, probably minnows. Minnows make great bait,” Sam replied.

“Do you guys go fishin’?” Tom asked. He turned in his seat and watched Sam row the boat.

Sam nodded. “Yeah. Sure. We go with Dad sometimes. Sometimes Marnie and I go – just the two of us.”

“Marn, do you like to fish?” Tom asked.

Marnie didn’t answer. She was staring straight ahead in the direction of the island.

Tom tried again. “Hey, Marn! Do you like to fish?” he shouted.

Marnie didn’t answer. Sam dipped an oar into the water and splashed water onto his sister. Marnie spun around, and wiped water off her face with her arm.

“Hey! What’d you do that for?” Marnie yelled – her brow crinkled with anger.

“Tom was speaking to you. What are you looking at?” Sam replied, squinting his eyes to see what had Marnie’s attention.

Marnie nodded her head toward the island, and then pointed. “There’s an old guy on the island. I’m trying to figure if he’s real or not real,” Marnie replied.

Sam looked in the direction his sister was pointing, and then shrugged. “Not real. I don’t see anyone. Tom, do you see anyone on the island?”

Tom peeked around Sam, narrowed his eyes, and stared fiercely in the direction Marnie was pointing. He shrugged, and shook his head.

“Nah! I don’t see an old man,” Tom replied.

Marnie tipped her head to the right, and then she gingerly stood up in the small bow of the boat. She tipped her head to left, and continued to focus on the island.

Tom, while not at all cold on this beautiful summer’s day, shivered and hugged himself against the chill rising up his back to his neck.

Sam continued to row. The closer they got to the island, the more certain he was that Marnie was seeing a ghost.

“Marnie, I don’t see anyone on the island. Some of my friends are probably on the other side swimming, but I don’t see anyone on this side of the island,” Sam informed his sister.

Marnie shrugged, turned slightly, and then knelt down again, resting her arms on the bow. Under her breath, she muttered, “Well, I can see him, and he looks angry.”

Marnie turned around. “Sam, do you want me to help you row? Are you getting tired?”

“Do you think you can get back here without tipping over the boat? I don’t want you to tip the boat over?” Sam teased.

Marnie nodded, and gently made her way to the middle of the boat, rocking the boat only a bit.

“How was that? Was that okay, Sam?” Marnie asked.

“That was pretty good, Squirt! Now, sit here with me. You can help me row,” Sam replied.

Marnie sat on the seat in between Sam’s legs, and then leaned her back against his chest. She planted her feet firmly on the floor, and grabbed ahold of the oars.  A soft breeze blew Marnie’s hair up into Sam’s face, and it tickled his nose and chin.

“Geez, Marnie! Your hair is in my face! Where’s your cap?” Sam asked.

Marnie tipped her head up so that she could see Sam. “It’s in my bag. I think it’s in my bag, anyway.”

Sam sighed. “Okay. Well, we’re almost there. Help me row, and we’ll get there faster.”

Marnie held tight to the oars, even though hands weren’t big enough to wrap all the way around. Sam, of course, did most of the work, but Marnie liked to help. She always wanted to help.

“Sam, look! We’re nearly there!” Marnie screeched. “The man is standing right there! He’s on the dock! Can you see him?”

Sam rolled his eyes. His frustration with his sister’s gift was often hard to control. He knew she could see ghosts – it was just irksome sometimes.

“Marnie, you know I can’t see him. Tom, can you see him?” Sam asked with a hint of annoyance in his voice.

Tom shrugged, and then shook his head. “Nah! I don’t see anything.” Tom dared himself to look up at the dock, but he didn’t. He sat behind Marnie and Sam – eyes tightly closed.

“Well, he still looks angry about something. He’s got a cranky face, and his clothes are wet and dirty, and he looks…famil…famil…” Marnie furrowed her brow, searching her words and studying the man on the dock. She was sure she knew him.

“Familiar?” Sam asked.

Marnie awkwardly snapped her fingers, and nodded emphatically. “Yeah! Familiar!”

Sam nodded, and then frowned. Who was this man his sister could see on the dock? No one had lived on this island in years. The bridge to the island had collapsed 3 years ago. Marnie couldn’t remember that. He barely remembered it. Sam gave the oars one last pull, propelling the boat to the dock. He set the oars into the boat, grabbed ahold of the dock, and loosely tied off the back of the boat onto a cleat.

“Okay, Marnie! Hop off and tie the front! Tom, can you please hand Marnie that rope? It’s right there by your feet.” Sam instructed.

Tom glanced down at the bottom of the boat, spotted the rope, scooped it up and held it out, waiting for Marnie to take it from him.

Marnie scrambled onto the dock, rocking the little boat as she went. Tom sucked in a breath, grabbed ahold of his seat with one hand, but continued to hold the rope out to Marnie. Marnie reached out and took the rope from Tom, and then skipped to the cleat positioned at the bow. She planted one foot against a pylon, and tugged on the rope – with an exaggerated grunt, she brought the boat closer the dock.  She expertly crisscrossed the rope around the cleat, and then stood back and beamed.

Sam smiled. Marnie had come a long way since last summer. Last year she could barely get out of the boat without help, and now she was pulling the boat to the dock.

“Well done, Squirt!” Sam lauded. “Next year you’ll be able to row me out to the island.”

Marnie’s eyebrows shot up and her face lit up with a smile. “Do you really think so, Sam? Do you think so?”

Sam smirked. “Well, maybe not all of the way to the island, but some of the way.”

Deflated, Marnie dropped her shoulders – but just for a moment.

“Hey, Tom! Come on! Hop up on the dock!” Marnie danced back and forth, encouraging Tom to join her.

“Is that cranky man still there?” Tom asked warily, as he took off his life jacket.

Marnie glanced around, shrugged, and then shook her head. “Nope. He’s not here right now. I don’t know where he went. Maybe he went swimming on the other side of the island.” Marnie shrugged again, and held out her hands.

Marnie took off her life jacket, and dropped it into the bow. She lay on her tummy, and reached for her bag, but she couldn’t quite reach it. Sam leaned forward, grabbed her bag, and held it out to her.

“You better put some sunscreen on before you forget. Mom will kick my butt if you get a sunburn, again,” Sam advised.

Marnie threw her head back and rolled her eyes. “Argh! I hate sunscreen! It makes me itch!”

Sam helped Tom up onto the dock, and then stepped onto the dock himself.

Sam, hands on his hips, stared down at his sister. Marnie glanced up at his stern face, sat on the dock, and took a bottle of sunscreen out of her bag. She held the bottle out to her brother.

“Can you put it on my back, please?” Marnie asked – a pouting scowl on her face.

Tom giggled. “You’re gonna trip over that lip and fall in the water, Marnie Reilly.”

Marnie glared at Tom, and wrinkled her nose up at him.

Sam laughed. “Marnie, your face is going to freeze that way.”

Sam put sunscreen on Marnie’s back and shoulders, and then handed the bottle back to her. “Don’t forget to put it on your face this time, Marnie.”

“I won’t forget. Does Tom need sunscreen?” Marnie glanced at her brother, and then over at Tom.

Tom shook his head. “My mom put sunscreen on me before I left home. I’ll be okay.”

Sam dug into Marnie’s bag, and found her baseball cap. “Here, Marnie. Put your cap on, ‘cause if you don’t, your head will burn.”

Marnie snatched her hat, jammed it onto her head, and stood up. “Can we go swimming now?”

“Yeah. Help me grab the stuff out of the boat,” Sam said. He stepped into the rowboat, and handed Marnie the inner tube, the armbands and the air pump. “Let me pump these up here so that I can leave the pump in the boat. It’ll just take a minute.”

Marnie turned around with a loud huff, and then set off toward the shoreline. Tom stayed to help Sam. When they heard Marnie talking to someone, both glanced up. Marnie stood at the end of the dock chatting with someone they could not see. She was quite animated, and then she started yelling.

“No! You can’t tell us we can’t come here! We can swim here any time we want! You’re a ghost! You can’t…” Marnie stopped yelling abruptly, and listened.

Tom and Sam watched as Marnie had a conversation with someone neither of them could see or hear. Marnie nodded, and then turned and ran toward her brother.

“Hey, Sam! That man… umm… Mr. Barnes! He said we can’t swim here! He told me to tell you that there’s a bad man on the island! He said the bad man is living in Mr. Barnes’s old cabin! Mr. Barnes said that the bad man killed him, and that he would kill us if we find him!” Marnie stopped running, turned, and pointed to the eastern end of the island. She took a deep breath, and then sat on the dock.

Sam cocked his head to the side, and squinted up at his sister. “Marnie, are you making up stories to scare us? Is that make-believe or is that true?”

“Swear to God, Sammy, I’m not playing make-believe! It’s true! I swear on my life it’s true!” Marnie replied – her eyes wide, not with fear, but with determination. “You’ve got to believe me, Sammy! It’s true!” Marnie reached, grabbed Sam’s hand, and pulled on him until he bent close to her. “He’s going to hurt someone. We have to stop him,” Marnie whispered loudly.

Tom slunk closer to Sam and sat down on the dock. He pulled his knees up to his chin and his hugged his legs tight to his chest. He watched Sam closely, and then turned to Marnie who was dancing from foot to foot. Her face flushed red, and her aquamarine eyes were wide. Her little fists were white-knuckled – she looked like a fighter getting ready to take a swing.

 “Don’t you think we should tell our parents and call the police?” Tom squeaked out.

“No! We’ve gotta warn Sam’s friends! They’re swimming on the other side of the island where the bad man is! We have to tell them to go home!” Marnie continued to bob back and forth. She glanced over her shoulder, and abruptly stopped dancing. “Something bad is going to happen,” she whispered loudly.

Sam nodded, set down the air pump, and rubbed his chin. His friends were on the other side of the island waiting for them. Should he warn them? Should he go tell his friends that his sister, who sees ghosts, just spoke to a ghost who told her to leave the island? Should he just get Marnie and Tom back into the boat and leave – now? He glanced in the direction of home. Maybe he should go get his father. His father would know what to do. Yes. They would get back in the boat, go home, and tell their father what Marnie had seen and heard.  Sam stood and dropped the air pump and inner tube into the boat. Just as he turned to share his plan with Marnie and Tom, a bloodcurdling scream ripped through the woods.

“What the heck!” Sam shouted.

“We gotta go home. We gotta go get out parents!” Tom cried.

“We can’t get home fast enough. We can’t row that fast! We gotta go help Sam’s friends. Come on!” Marnie grabbed Sam’s hand and began pulling in the direction of the scream.

“No, Marnie, you and Tom need to stay here! You could get hurt. I’ll go. You stay here!” Sam said firmly.

“Nuh uh! I’m coming with you!” Marnie shouted.

Sam scanned the dock, looking for a place where Marnie and Tom would be safe. He saw the old generator shed. It had a hasp lock with a metal pin on the outside. If I can just get Marnie into that shed, she’ll be safe, he thought.

“Well, we’re going to have to find weapons, Marnie. We can’t fight a bad man without weapons. Let’s check that shed over there,” Sam said, pointing to the generator shed.

Marnie ran ahead of him, as he had hoped she would do.

“Tom, can you help Marnie? Can you see if you can find something to hit the bad man?” Sam asked, waving his hands toward Marnie so that Tom would run to the shed with her.

Tom hopped up from his seat on the dock, and raced toward Marnie and the shed. “I’ll help her!” he called over his shoulder as he went.

Marnie reached the door, and pulled on it. It wouldn’t open. She glanced up and saw the lock. She grasped the pin and pulled up, but she was too small to pull the pin high enough. She hit the door out of frustration.

“Dang door! Dang lock!” Marnie shouted.

When Tom reached her, he stood on his tiptoes and tried too. The pin wouldn’t budge.

“Tom, you’re shorter than me. We need Sam,” Marnie said with a roll of her eyes. “Sam, we can’t open the door!”

“Hang on! I’ll get it,” Sam replied.

Sam reached out, pulled up on the pin, but it wouldn’t move.

“It must be rusted,” Sam informed them. He pulled harder, but it still wouldn’t move.

Sam thought for a second, searching for an alternative – but knew he had to take them with him. They would be safer with him, than left here on their own.

“Okay, we’ll all go, but you two stay behind me. You understand, Marnie? You don’t run ahead! If you run ahead of me, I’ll tell Mom and Dad that you didn’t listen to me,” Sam warned.

“Okay! I won’t run ahead of you!” Marnie growled, and rolled her eyes. “Let’s get big sticks and rocks! We can hit the bad man if he tries to get us!” Marnie said, stomping off toward the other side of the island. “Oh! Look, Sam! You could hit somebody really hard with this stick!” Marnie struggled to pick up a large piece of driftwood.

“Marnie! What did I say?! I said stay behind me!” Sam scolded, his face red with anger. “Don’t run ahead!”

Marnie skidded to an abrupt stop, dropped the piece of driftwood, and turned toward Sam – bewilderment showing on her freckled face. She wasn’t used to Sam getting angry with her. Annoyed, yes. Angry, no.  She waited for Sam and Tom to catch up, and then she took Sam’s hand.

“I’ll stay behind you, Sam. I’m sorry,” Marnie replied, dropping her gaze to the ground.

“Make sure you do!” Sam replied with a frown.

Marnie simply nodded her head – not daring to lift her gaze to meet Sam’s. Sam bent over and picked up the piece of driftwood. He nodded with approval.

Sam squeezed Marnie’s hand. “Thanks, Marnie. This will make a decent club. I hope I don’t need to use it.”

Marnie finally lifted her head and eyes up to meet Sam’s gaze. He winked at her, gently tugged on the brim of her cap, and she grinned up at him. Sam glanced around to see where Tom was. Tom stood directly behind Sam – his face white as sheet, as he uneasily twisted and pulled on the hem of his t-shirt.

“C’mon, Tom. Everything is going to be okay. You, and Marnie and I will go hunt down the bad man, huh?” Sam spoke quietly.

Sam was unsure whether the bad man would be the hunted – or if they would be, but he had to do something. His friends were on the other side of the island, and someone had just screamed. Sam rationalized – he had Marnie’s gift to lead him in the right direction. Marnie would tell him if there was danger. She would know. Sam glanced down his sister. She was holding onto his index finger with her small hand. Sensing that Sam was looking at her, Marnie glance up.

“It’s okay, Sam. We’re okay,” Marnie reassured.

“Which way should we go, Squirt?” Sam asked. His gaze turning to the shoreline, and then back to the woods.

Marnie closed her eyes, and whispered. Tom tipped his head, and strained to listen to what Marnie was saying. Sam knew Marnie was speaking with her grandfather. Papa Jack always answered when Marnie called him.

“Papa says the water. He says the water is the way,” Marnie said with assurance.

Sam nodded.

“Marnie, you hold the back of my shirt with one hand, and hold Tom’s hand with the other, okay?” Sam said.

Marnie nodded, and grabbed ahold of the back of Sam’s shirt. She turned, and held out her other hand to Tom. Tom glanced at her hand, took a step back, and stared into Marnie’s green eyes.

“C’mon, Tom,” Marnie coaxed. “We’re okay. My Papa Jack is watching over us, and I’ll bet if you ask her, Annie will too.”

Tom closed his eyes, just as Marnie had done a few moments ago. He thought about Annie. She appeared to him, and she smiled. Tom’s mouth lifted into a small grin. He opened his eyes, and grabbed ahold of Marnie’s hand with confidence.

They set off to catch a bad man – Sam leading the way, and holding tightly to the driftwood club Marnie had found. Marnie held tight to the back of Sam’s shirt, and Tom, with all of his might, gripped tightly to Marnie’s other hand.

Sam, Marnie and Tom kept low, and moved quickly along the reedy and pebbled shoreline of the pond. Mosquitos buzzed around their ears, and dragonfly wings glinted iridescent blue and green in the bright sunlight.

Marnie stumbled over a tree root, lost her grip on Sam’s shirt, and toppled into the shallow pond with a small splash. Tom, still gripping Marnie’s hand, stumbled sideways, clumsily reached for a seedling with his free hand, and saved himself from following Marnie into the water.

“Stupid tree!” Marnie hissed.

“Ow!” shouted Tom, as he scrambled to his feet.

“Shhh!” Sam held a finger to his lips, and then offered his hand to Marnie to help her up.

As Marnie and Tom collected themselves, another scream from the other side of the island made them all jump. Sam turned in the direction of the scream, and then to Marnie and Tom.

“You two stay here! I’m going to help. You stay crouched down here. Don’t move! I’ll come back to get you. If anyone comes near you, throw pebbles at them. Throw the pebbles really hard!” Sam darted off in the direction of the scream, leaving Marnie and Tom alone at the edge of the pond.

Frowning, Marnie rang out the water from her hair.

“I’m not staying here. I’m going to help,” Marnie said with determination.

Tom scowled. “Sam told us to stay here! We gotta stay here! He’ll get mad at us if we follow him.”

Marnie quirked her mouth, shook her head, bent down and started picking up pebbles. “Nah! He’ll be happy to see us. We’re gonna take these pebbles and chuck them real hard at the bad man,” Marnie replied. “Come on, Tom! Fill your pockets with pebbles!”

Tom threw up his hands. “Marnie, Sam said for us to stay here!”

Marnie stuck pebbles into her pocket, twitched up the corner of her mouth in thought, and glanced sideways at Tom. “Okay. You stay here. Mr. Barnes will keep you company. I’m going to help Sam!”

Tom’s violet eyes grew as large as saucers. “Mr. Barnes is here?” Tom asked, pointing a finger to the ground. “Mr. Barnes is here? Right now?”

Marnie shrugged. “Can’t you see him?”

Tom’s eyes darted left, then right. He turned in a circle, and then back to Marnie. “Nah! I don’t see anybody! You’re just tryin’ to scare me!”

Marnie quirked up the right corner of her mouth, held out her arms and shrugged. “Okay. You can stay here. I’m going to help my brother.”

Marnie waited. Tom stuck out his bottom lip as he thought about his options. Stay here with Mr. Barnes – the dead guy, or go with Marnie, get yelled at by Sam, and run into a bad man. Tom glanced from left to right, his furrowed brow relaxed slightly when he spied a rusty crow bar leaning against a tree. Tom bent to pick up the crow bar just as another scream echoed. Tom’s face clouded with anger. He picked up the crow bar, swung it onto his shoulder, and stomped toward Marnie. He grabbed her hand, and pulled her along the pebbly path.

“C’mon, Marn! We’re gonna get that bad man! Making girls scream – that’s… that’s… Well, I’m gonna whack him!”

Marnie grinned just a little. “Okay! Let’s get him, Tom! Let’s beat up that bad man!”

Marnie and Tom marched around the edge of the pond, holding tightly to each other’s hand. As they drew closer to the sounds of splashing and murmured conversations, they slowed their pace, and crouched down a bit. Peeking through the long grass, they could see Sam speaking with a group of kids about his age. He turned in their direction, but he didn’t see them.

“Okay! I’ll be back in a sec. I’ve gotta go back and get my sister and her friend. If I had known about that tree swing over the pond, I wouldn’t have thought someone was hurt. Why do girls always have to scream?” Sam laughed, and then turned in the direction of Marnie and Tom.

Marnie and Tom exchanged glances.

“We better go back to where Sam told us to stay,” Tom whispered.

Marnie nodded, and turned to race back to where her brother had left them before Sam caught them lurking in the reeds. Marnie and Tom stopped dead in the tracks. A man stood in front of them – he was huge – bigger than any one Marnie had ever seen in her life. Mr. Barnes stood to the side of the man – he was motioning for Marnie and Tom to turn and run, but both Marnie and Tom froze.

…to be continued


Torn Veil
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08LF3L1FQ
Christmas is coming, and so is a killer. Will the psychic psychologist save Christmas and herself?

My BCs

The Inspiration(s) for Tater the Border Collie

When I began writing Divine Guidance, my heroine, Marnie Reilly, needed a side-kick. It couldn’t be just any side-kick, though. This side-kick had to had to be loyal, intelligent, funny and loveable. It didn’t take long for me to write the character of Tater – Marnie Reilly’s devoted Border Collie, and her loyal, intelligent, funny and loveable canine side-kick. Tater was one of the easiest characters to create because, well, I love Border Collies.

I have been blessed with four Border Collies in my life – Murphy, Finnegan, Dougal and Callee.  The breed is unlike any other. I do believe in my heart that once a person has been the proud slave to a BC, no other breed will ever quite add up.  I know! I have and have had other dog breeds in my world – there’s just something about a Border Collie. All dogs are special. Border Collies are exceptional – outstanding – remarkable. Their intelligence, capacity for reasoning, cheekiness, and intensity is unmatched, and when a Border Collie flashes one of their trademark smiles, it melts my heart – every single time. Each Border Collie has taught me something important about life. They are funny characters.

Border Collies
Murphy, Finnegan, Dougal and Callee

Tater, Marnie Reilly’s faithful Border Collie, is bits of each of my Border Collie family – mostly Murph and Finnegan, but bits of Dougal and Callee appear in his character in Torn Veil.

Tater
Tater from Marnie Reilly Mysteries Torn Veil and Divine Guidance
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Murphy

Murphy was my first BC. Oddly enough, Murphy means sea warrior in Irish. I didn’t know that when I named him, but Murphy did love the ocean.  My happiest times with Murph were the lazy Saturdays and Sundays we would spend at the beach playing fetch and running in the sand. He was my faithful co-pilot, and happily jumped into the passenger seat of my Jeep when I jingled my keys. He was always ready for an adventure.  

Murph, Murphenstein and Murphymeister were just a few of his nicknames. He answered to all.  My mild tempered boy rarely barked – unless something was amiss. He was calm, steady and loyal. Murphy crossed the Rainbow Bridge far too young. A snake bit Murph, and he died several hours later. The vet couldn’t help him. I consider myself blessed to have shared 5 wonderful years with Murph. His friendship kept me sane at a time when I needed a best buddy.

Murph’s memory lives on in Divine Guidance. Do you remember the bit in Chapter 26 where Danny asks him to shake, and Tater literally shakes like he’s shaking water from his coat? Yup. Murph did that.

What did I learn from Murphy? It is okay to take the day off, go to the beach and play in the sand. Oh… only bark when necessary.

About two weeks after Murphy died, a good friend called to tell me that there was a farmer near her giving away Border Collie pups. They had 8 pups, and didn’t want them because the mother was a champion working dog, and the father was a champion show dog. You see, the pups’ parents were never meant to breed, but, well, they did. The owner of the mother and the owner of the father didn’t want the pups – the father’s owner only wanted pups of show breeding, and the mother’s owners only wanted pups of working dog breeding.

Of course, I was more than happy to take one of the pups off their hands.

Enter Finnegan!

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Finnegan

 Finnegan means fair-haired in Irish. His face was mostly white, so his name was perfect for him. Like Murph, Finnegan had many nicknames – Finn – Finnie – Finnster – Little Man – Boomba Boy. Finnegan was handful. He was high energy, stubborn, incredibly vocal, and whip-smart.

One afternoon I watched Finnegan trying to bring a huge stick up onto our back deck. The “stick” was actually a tree branch that had fallen in a storm. He kept catching the branch on the step railings. Each time the stick would catch on the railings, Finnegan would take a step back, put the stick down, and try another strategy. After his third attempt, Finnegan picked the stick, set it vertically on the first and second steps, he walked up the third step, and pulled the stick up vertically. He then pulled the stick to where I was sitting, and barked at me to throw it.  Clever boy! 

Finnegan was 6 weeks old when he rescued me. He was 17 when he crossed over the Rainbow Bridge. I miss him – and I miss Murph, too. I think of them both every day. Whenever Tater flashes his smile or stares intently at something, I see Finnie’s face, and it makes me smile.

What did Finnegan teach me? He taught me that persistence is the key to success.

When Finnegan died, we missed his huge personality and his cheeky smile. Losing Finnegan left a huge hole in our hearts and our home, and it wasn’t long before I decided that we couldn’t go another day without a Border Collie in our lives. We could never replace Finnegan, but we could welcome another Border Collie into our home. I found a beautiful Border Collie puppy named Calabash on Best Friends Animal Sanctuary’s website. I filled out adoption paperwork, and waited… and waited.

Finally, about a week later, I received a call confirming that we could adopt Calabash. I ran into my other half’s office, and informed him that we would be driving to Utah on Friday. He asked why, and I thrust a picture into his hands, and said, “To pick up this puppy!”  He said, “Okay. Let’s go!” 

Enter Dougal!

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Dougal

“Dark stranger” is the Irish meaning of Dougal’s name. It is quite apt because Dougal’s is main color is glossy black with bits of white and sable. “Stranger” does fit if we are speaking of extremes of strange – which he is – in a good way. Dougal is stealthy – one minute he isn’t there, and then suddenly he is.  It freaks me out daily. Punctuality and order are of extreme importance to Dougal. Yup. He has OCD. There is no denying it, but that’s all just fine because Dougal is all love. I don’t know how else to explain my boy. He gives hugs – he actually asks for hugs. He is also incredibly smart, athletic and lightning fast – especially when chasing his archenemies, the squirrels.

Dougal, like our other pups, has a few nicknames – Dougally, Doogie, Dougal boy, Little Man, Baby Boy, and Boofhead, to name just a few. 

Anytime Tater places a paw on Marnie’s leg or when he shows sympathy for another character, that’s all Dougal. That’s my boy!

What have I learned from Dougal? Give and receive hugs often.

When Dougal came to live with us, we already had three other pups – Pip, Midget and Mags. Pip (Pippy Lou) crossed the Rainbow Bridge about 8 months later when she was 17. She was a wonderful girl – a Jack Russell/Kelpie cross – and Finnegan’s best friend. When we lost Pip it left a huge void. I know! We had three other dogs!

Midget and Mags were rescued together – they are sisters, and were found in a cardboard box on an old dirt road in the middle of Palm Desert. They are crazy, playful Parson Jack Russell cross something or other.  Problem was, they didn’t like to play with Dougal. They excluded him from their shenanigans.

Enter Callee!

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Callee

We rescued Callee from Carolina Border Collie Rescue. Her name was originally Lilly. The original owner’s daughter surrendered her to Carolina Border Collie Rescue because the original owner had been abusive. Her foster mother named her Carly. We didn’t want to change her name too much, and so we named her Callee – which in Irish means “from the forest” – which is perfect because we live at the edge of a forest.

Callee, also know as Psycho Bullet, Crazy Callee, Cal Cal, Calster, Daddy’s Girl, and Baby Girl, is our funny, lovely, silly, LOUD, beautiful, snuggle monster. She is also Dougal’s best friend, and Midget’s and Mag’s archenemy.

Callee is quite boisterous and bossy. She yells at us when we don’t do as she wants, she “sings” when she’s happy, she speaks her own crazy language, and she warms our hearts with her silly antics.   

When Tater rolls on his back and sleeps with his legs in the air in Torn Veil, that’s all Callee. All Border Collies do this, but Callee does it more than most.

What have I learned from Callee? It’s okay to be crazy because others will join in, and everyone will have fun being silly for a while.

You may have noticed that all of my Border Collies have Irish names. That’s an homage to my maternal grandmother. Her family was originally from Ireland before they settled in Canada. Plus, their names suit them, and that is all that matters.

Every Border Collie has their own unique personality, but every BC I’ve been lucky to know have a few things in common – a high degree of intelligence, cheekiness, compassion and agility. If you ever do have the chance to be owned by a Border Collie, don’t pass it up. A BC will change your life for the better. ❤️🐾🐾❤️

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Border Collie Facts

Here are few facts about Border Collies with some help from the American Kennel Club.

The Border Collie is one of the most talented and hardworking dogs there is. A BC will impress you with their intelligence and win you over with their eagerness to please. Here are 10 fun facts about Border Collies:

They Are Extremely Smart Dogs

We cannot talk about the Border Collie without talking about his/her intelligence. Dog experts widely agree that the Border Collie is an intelligent workaholic. They are capable of learning a remarkable number of words and commands, and they are happiest when they are put to work every day.

Dougal and Callee both have jobs. Dougal’s job is keeping his sisters, Callee, Midget and Mags, under control.  He herds them and watches over them. Dougal is also in charge of keeping Callee quiet. When she gets too loud, Dougal scolds her. It works – she usually stops barking when her big brother tells her to do so. Callee’s job is to keep Dougal busy. Together, Callee and Dougal patrol the yard to ensure squirrels are not eating out of the bird feeders.  Callee also entertains the cardinals. She plays chase with them for as long as they are willing to flit from tree to tree.

Each time we leave home, we tell Dougal he’s in charge. He’s never failed us – he keeps the others in line brilliantly.

Their Name Comes From Their Home Region

The Border Collie was originally developed in Scotland and thrived in the region on the border of Scotland and England. The word “collie” is a Scotch word used to describe sheepdogs. Because this breed flourished in the border region, it was christened the “Border Collie.”

They Are Champion Herders

Border Collies were originally bred to herd sheep. They excel at the task because of their strength, stamina, intelligence, and work ethic. Border Collies are famous for using “the eye”— staring intensely at members of the flock to intimidate them. When the earliest recorded sheepdog trial took place at Bala, Wales, in 1873, the crowd was astonished that the Border Collies were able to herd sheep into a small pen, guided only by hand signals and whistles from their owners.

Dougal and Callee both have the intense stare for which Border Collies are famous. That intense stare is used most often on their humans when they want a treat. It works 90% of the time.

Callee has a slinking posture when she has her sights set on the object she intends to herd – like a squirrel, or Midget and Mags. Dougal is more of stalker – he stands tall, watches and waits. This is typical of an Aussie Shepherd – have I mentioned that Dougal is BC/Aussie Shepherd mix? That’s why he’s a bit more muscular than my other BCs.

Auld Hemp

Auld Hemp was a stud dog considered to be the progenitor to the Border Collie breed. He was owned by Adam Telfer, and was used as a working dog to herd sheep. His style was different from that commonly seen during his era, as he worked far more quietly than the other sheepdogs of the time.

Auld Hemp
Old Hemp

Queen Victoria Loved Them

Queen Victoria was a true dog lover who took a liking to many breeds, but in the early 1860s she became an active Border Collie enthusiast. At this time, the Border Collie began to separate and become distinguished from the modern Collie.

One Was Featured in Scottish Poetry

The famous Scottish poet Robert Burns (If you don’t know him, think: “The best laid schemes of mice and men . . .”) owned a Border Collie named Luath that he loved dearly. Luath’s tragic death inspired one of Burns’ best poems, “The Twa Dogs,” which captured the special bond between dog and man. Multiple statues of Robert Burns include Luath right by his side.

They’ve Broken All Kinds of Records

A Border Collie named Chaser has been widely recognized as the world’s most intelligent dog; she knows the names of more than 1,000 objects. Another Border Collie, named Jumpy, holds a Guinness World Record for dog skateboarding: 100 meters in less than 20 seconds. Striker, a Border Collie from Quebéc City, set the canine record for rolling down a manual car window. In 2008, a Border Collie-mix named Sweet Pea set a record for dog balancing; she balanced a can on her head and walked 100 meters in only 2 minutes and 55 seconds.

They Make Great Actors

Border Collies have been cast in many films and TV shows. The film “Babe” — about a little pig that defies the odds and becomes a sheepherder — features Border Collies, as actors and as herders. Border Collies have also been cast in the movies “Animal Farm” and “Snow Dogs,” and in the hit ’90s television series, “Mad About You. Remember Murray?”

They Also Make Great Search and Rescue Dogs

In addition to herding, another common job for Border Collies is search and rescue. A Border Collie named Blitz recently saved a 51-year-old woman’s life in England. The woman had been missing for more than one day when Jess Ellsmore, a volunteer search and rescue handler, brought her dog Blitz in to search the area. Blitz found the missing woman under some thick foliage, where she wouldn’t have been visible to human searchers alone.

Border Collies Can Be Official Goose Masters

Border Collies have all kinds of jobs, but one career you probably haven’t heard of is “goose master.” One Florida company trains Border Collies to keep geese off people’s property. The University of North Florida hired a Border Collie named Bee to be the goose master for their campus. Bee keeps geese away from high-traffic areas.

Border Collies Talk

That’s right. They use varying tones of barking, whining, trilling and whimpering pending what they are trying to convey.  While it may sound silly, I carried on conversations with Murph and Finnegan, and my other half and I carry on conversations with Dougal and Callee – and yes, they do respond. We don’t bother spelling words like park, or walk, or truck – they know exactly what we are talking about when we spell. Border Collie’s are just too smart to be fooled by a little thing like spelling.

Shepherd’s Lantern

The white tip on the tail of most Border Collies is called a shepherd’s lantern. It allows shepherds to follow their BC home at night in the dark. The long fur around their necks is often white, too. It’s referred to as a shawl.

I hope you enjoyed this little blog about the inspiration(s) for Tater, and the fun facts about Border Collies. Yes, I am a crazy dog lady – but I’m okay with that. Callee told me it’s okay to be crazy.

Interested in learning more about Border Collies? Click the link below.

Border Collie Dog Breed: Facts, Temperament and Care Info

You can read more about the characters in Divine Guidance and Torn Veil here: https://sharitmitchell.com/come-meet-the-marnie-reilly-mysteries-characters-from-divine-guidance-and-torn-veil/

More useful links are below:

MARNIE REILLY MYSTERIES LINKS

Torn Veil – Read the first 7 chapters

Torn Veil – View on Amazon.com

Torn Veil – View on Amazon.ca

Torn Veil – View on Amazon.co.uk

Torn Veil – View on Amazon.com.au

Torn Veil – View on Barnes and Noble

Divine Guidance – Read the first 7 chapters

Divine Guidance – View on Amazon.com

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Murder mystery, Torn Veil – Officially on the way to the editor…

That’s right! Murder mystery, Torn Veil was sent off to the editor on Friday. That’s excellent news for readers because that means we are one step closer to release. November 2020 is just around the corner. And it’s excellent news for me because I can now start pouring my energy into the third book in the series.

As I read through Torn Veil for the fifth time, I picked out a few passages that resonate with me. Does that sound strange? Shouldn’t they all resonate? Perhaps, and the paragraphs, dialogue and chapters do, but there are moments when I write and I don’t remember typing specific sections of text. Something takes over and the words appear on the screen in front of me. It’s kind of like auto-pilot I suppose. Then again, I wrote a story that has been played out in my head for the better part of 5 years – I suppose I was on auto-pilot. The fact that I love my characters probably has something to do with it too. I do love my characters. Even the bad ones.

The character interaction is so much fun. I have conversations in my head about how they will discuss a certain subject or how Marnie will react to something Danny has done or something silly Tom has said. Their chatter is in my head when I fall asleep, brush my teeth, have a shower, cook dinner… They are with me a lot! Writing dialogue between Danny, Marnie, Tom, Carl and Tater is a breeze because of this. And the characters are bits and pieces of the many people I have met throughout my life. My characters are pieces of friends, relatives, acquaintances and of course, some people I don’t particularly like.

Adding new characters, one with a pronounced stutter and one with a Southern drawl, gave way for interesting interactions. And of course, writing for Gram is a heap of fun. Researching her Irish brogue and the colloquialisms of the Emerald Isle delivers better dialogue for her character. Watching a bit of ‘Mrs. Brown’s Boys’ was great inspiration too.

Writing Tater’s actions and behavior is such a joy for me. Tater is a cross between my first border collie, Murphy, and my second border collie, Finnegan. There are also a few character traits from my current border collies, Dougal and Callee, as well. Border Collies are such intelligent cheeky dogs. I do love writing Tater. He is my favorite character after all – and then Tom.

And then there is the genre… Having been introduced to mysteries at a young age, murder mysteries are my favorite genre to read and write. Starting with Trixie Belden, Nancy Drew and The Hardy Boys, then moving on to Agatha Christie, Mary Higgins Clark, Ruth Rendell and so many others, I have consumed mystery novels for over four decades. It’s the same when it comes to television and movies. Murder She Wrote, Diagnosis Murder, Mystery 101, Murder 101… you name it, I will watch it. I love figuring out the mystery before the end.

With all of that said and/or written, I better get back to focusing my energy on Fatal Vow – the third in the series.

Torn Veil, a murder mystery with a paranormal twist

Creekwood – The Good. The Quirky. The Bad. The Evil.

Torn Veil is just a bit darker than Divine Guidance. We dive into occult practices and the seedy underbelly of Creekwood, NY, a fictional town located along the Hudson River somewhere between the Adirondack Mountains and Hudson, NY.

Why somewhere? Because reading fiction is all about using your imagination. Every writer hopes their description of a place, person or thing helps the reader see what they see. I know what Creekwood looks like – I see it in my imagination every time I write about the quaint little town. Hopefully, readers do to.

I try to do the same with characters. Gram for instance – I don’t give too much detail about her physical appearance because readers should visualize her in their own imagination. A few characters’ physical appearances are explained in detail – like Marnie, Tater, Danny, Tom and Carl. A few are not. What they look like is up to the reader.

Speaking of characters… Torn Veil has a host of intriguing characters – good, quirky, bad and pure evil. I love writing all of them – but it is so much fun to write the dialogue and the thoughts of a nasty, vile, psychotic and evil character. It’s like therapy – you get to take your evil twin out for a stroll.

Anyway, I better get back to work. I’m still fiddling with few final changes to chapters. Why? Because my proofreaders ask a lot of questions. If a vital bit isn’t as clear as I thought and two or three proofreaders ask the same question, I make a tweak to ensure clarity. Sometimes the clarity is already there and just one of the proofreaders missed it. It’s a balancing act, folks.

I will keep you posted. Have a great day!

Torn Veil – Formatting is Fun

Formatting isn’t really fun – but it is one step closer to Torn Veil being finished and released.

The dedication and prologue were written last night. The “thanks” and “reference” pages are in the works and I’ve got a few character descriptions to tuck neatly into place.

A quick reread of Divine Guidance tweaked my memory. I know I wrote it and should remember every word, but sometimes a reread is good to ensure the story flows smoothly from one story to the next.

I’ve been sitting in the in-between with my characters of late. We’re (yes – me and my characters) at the point of handing the story over to another set of eyes and it’s causing my foe, “insecurity”, to poke up its ugly head – yeah, it’s taunting me. It happens. It’s never easy handing a story over – no matter how much you like and trust the person to whom you are handing it. One last round of edits will begin…let’s say…beginning of next week to be safe. Oof!

Just a few more steps and a couple of considerations to make… November is just around the corner.