Live your Dreams

Fifty Award-Winning Authors Share Success Secrets

So, you want to be an author? It’s hard work, but if you have the talent, tenacity, and perseverance, you’re half way there. They say it takes a village to raise a child, and I can’t deny having a support system to rely on really helps. The same dynamics are true for the writing industry.

Beginning authors aware of the wealth of knowledge and tremendous support the community offers will have a huge edge over those who go it alone. And those seasoned authors who get involved in writing groups have an instant source of promotion tips [and friends] as well as a social media blitz behind them. Want to know more… Read more “Fifty Award-Winning Authors Share Success Secrets”

Moonlight And Mystery

Moonlight Author’s Mystic Mysteries

By Kathryn Knight

Cape Cod National Seashore

Welcome to Moonlight and Mystery!  We are glad you have visited and hope you’ll come by every Friday to read about some of the fascinating places we’ve set our novels!  Sometimes a setting can serve as a character in and of itself, whether it’s a cozy small town, a bustling city, a seaside harbor, an exotic foreign country, a mysterious bayou, a Gothic castle…the possibilities are endless, but the author usually has a good reason to choose a setting, and we’re going to explore some of those reasons—without spoilers, of course—and we’d love to hear from you in the comments section!

Two of my novels—and my nearly complete 5th manuscript—are set on Cape Cod, which is where I’ve lived for the past 20 years.  Authors often “write what we know”, and I’ll admit, it is easier to write about somewhere you’re intimately familiar with.  But Cape Cod also makes an interesting setting for many reasons: it’s basically an island, connected only to the rest of the U.S. by two bridges.  That isolates us a bit, and it can make getting on or off very difficult, especially in the summer, when the population swells with vacationers and summer residents coming to enjoy all our fabulous beaches, over 1,000 lakes and ponds, abundant woods, quaint towns, and historic sites.

Cover resembles Cobb’s Hill Cemetery

I set Haunted Souls, a steamy second-chance romance/ghost mystery, in Barnstable Village, which is steeped in much of that history.  The initial inspiration for this book came for a ghost tour I went on with my sister.  It started and ended at what’s known here as the Old Jail, and it’s truly a historic gem.  It’s the oldest wooden jail house in the entire country, actually, and is thought to have been built in 1690, on orders from the Plymouth and MA Bay Colony Courts.  It was in use until the 1800s, and was moved around a bit, eventually attached to a barn.  It was rediscovered in 1968, detached from the barn, and moved next to the Coast Guard museum on 6A.

The structure itself is quite small, containing three cells which held large numbers of people sometimes.  According to our guide, conditions were rough and people had to take turns lying down to sleep when cells were crowded.  As you can imagine, many people died, and the site is considered actively haunted.

Goody Hallett, the lover of the infamous pirate Samuel Bellamy, was imprisoned there in 1716, and is said to be one of the ghosts in residence.  If you’re so inclined, you can even pay to spend the night at the Jail.  On our tour, we were shown photographs with shadowy figures taken by volunteers who work in the jail house.  A few of the volunteers shared their stories as well, and one claimed that a ghost had followed them home and engaged in some poltergeist-like activities.  Well, that got my attention right way, and my imagination started churning.  My sister had her little daughter with her, and I started to wonder what would happen if a young child with sensitive abilities took pity on a lost soul, and actually invited a ghost to come home with them.  The initial idea was born.


The Old Jail, circa 1690. I took this photo when the building was empty and locked up, but it looks like something is in the upstairs window!

As I developed the story, a number of other spots on Cape Cod made appearances: The enormous military base we have here (referred to still as “Otis” by many) came into play as the reason my military hero returned to his hometown.  Snake Pond, the Popponesset Bay and Peninsula (“The Spit”), The 180 acre Old Jail Lane conservation area, and some ancient graveyards, to name a few.  To complete part of the plot, I had to research the Cape’s past as well, which was fascinating, and I share some of that in the novel.

Snake Pond, near the Air Force Base

What about you?  Do you have a favorite setting in terms of books you like to read?  Have you ever visited the Cape, or would you like to in the future?  Chime in!

And to take a virtual visit Cape Cod in a steamy romance/spooky suspense, check out Haunted Souls or Gull Harbor!

To see the post on our amazing new site, Moonlight And Mystery, click here.








Lake Lanier Mysteries

Mystery Writer Casi McLean

Spotlight on Supernatural Mystery Writer

Casi McLean

Recently, I guest blogged on Anita Rodgers fabulous site, Writer Chick. Her criteria: Write about your process, research, or theme of your book. The lure of supernatural, time slips, and mystery has murmured untold whispers to me since childrood, more recently swirling around the allure of #Atlanta’s famous #LakeLanier. The post I shared revealed an intimate part of my soul so I share the article with you, my friends and fans, to impart the passion behind supernatural mystery writer Casi McLean.

Read more “Mystery Writer Casi McLean”

Moonlight And Mystery

House on a Hill

I want to tell you about a house.

It would be better to call it an estate, really, with a sprawling, rolling yard, protected from the street with towering bushes, a private drive, a personalized name in brass plating on the stone pillar at its end. I am in love with this house. I feel for this house the way soulmates feel for each other, yearn for it with the intensity of the moon calling to the seas. I am obsessed with this house.

 I work as a nanny and during the warm months I take my charge to the local playground, which includes passing this sprawling estate. The town I live in is old, circa 1600s, but outside-New York City development meant that every generation searched for a new spot to build, so ancient estates like mine (ha!) are side by side with split-level ranches, Victorians and Tudors. One of the reasons I so enjoy walking as a form of exercise, is because even the same old path unearths new treasures around every turn.

But this house specifically

has called to my baser self for over a year. What does that have to do with writing? Everything. I can’t speak for other writers, but my inspiration runs boiling or arctic. Sometimes, I know a character’s name, personality, day job and dark secret before I’ve even come up with a plot. Other times, I dredge through the nonsense to find some semblance of a setting, understanding of a time period, or reasonable goal, motivation and conflict. This beautiful, brilliant, overwhelming house, did all the hard work for me.

I haven’t actually written the series yet, so you’ll forgive me if I keep the details to myself. But, it all started when the house went on the market. I had to know how much it was going for. Five minute walk from the train to NYC and downtown, across the street from the park, a French Chateau inspired work of architectural beauty, I had to know.

Honestly, the number surprised me.

But after that point, I started obsessing over the bedrooms – everything I had wanted them to be – the backyard, better than I imagined, the kitchen – heaven, in a countryside kitchen dream. All I could think, as I scanned HD photo after HD photo of my dream home, was my characters belong here.

In the series this house singularly inspired – I mean it, without this house, I would never have come up with the concept – location plays a major role. It is a historical series that takes place over the course of a single season, with all four stories happening in the same place. This place. Every time I pass the estate, my creative muse demands more of me than a backburner outline, though I really can’t work on it right now. But how lucky am I, that this random house, in a sea of so many time periods and styles, passed through my life, the ideal inspiration?

I know it doesn’t always work this way. Not every house or person I pass on the street is going to catapult me into the bed of inspiration. That’s not how the creative muse works. But this one did. This one more than caught my attention, it held my heart and mind taut until I gave in, until I promised to write the story it demanded of me.

And that’s one of the greatest things about being an artist – any type of artist. You never know where the next idea is going to come from. It could be a passing comment at the dining room table. It could be the interaction of strangers on a subway train. It could be the taste of a croissant from the local bakery.

It could be a house. ♥

Not all pictures are of the actual house. Cause that would be weird and obviously I’m not being weird about this at all…

New Release!

Heart and Dagger,

The Ships in the Night Series (Book 1)

Historical Romance

Holland Rae


High heat on the high seas.



Lady Charlotte Talbot hasn’t seen Armand Rajaram de Bourbon, her oldest childhood friend and once betrothed, since his family returned to India when she was fifteen. Since then, she has left a groom at the altar, changed her name to Catalina Sol, opened a house for unwed mothers and orphans, and captained a ship, the Liberté, crewed by the best fighters in the Spanish Main. She’s no longer the lady he left behind, not that she’d admit to wishing he’d return.

When Armand’s brother is kidnapped, he breaks his rule of never engaging with pirates. But desperation drives him to the Liberté and a life he thought he’d left far behind. He’d do anything to save Henri, but Armand never expected to find Charlotte here, and now that’s he’s found her, he doesn’t have a clue what to do about it.

Together, they must face kidnapping, pirate captains, blackmail, and themselves. The Liberté may sail thousands of miles from the shores of England, but that might not be far enough to escape the past.

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Moonlight And Mystery

My Facebook Post Went BOOM

#NeverHaveIEver…The Facebook Post That Went BOOM!

Last month, I shared a Facebook post that I thought was fun but innocuous. It was a graphic image with a title: Never Have I Ever…and twenty things listed below. The idea was to select those activities on the list that you had never done in your life. The implication, in my mind, was that the list represented some sort of cool bucket list. I thought it was fun but mostly forgettable, largely because a lot of the items on the list didn’t represent what I thought was cool, nor were they things I ever wanted to do!

But I answered the post and shared…

AND My Facebook Post Went BOOM!

My shared post went viral, and as of today, it has a REACH of over one million people, has garnered over fifty thousand comments, and over four thousand reactions of LIKE, LOVE etc. This unprecedented reaction has given me the opportunity to connect with a whole new group of people. I invited those who reacted to my post to LIKE my Author Page. This has resulted in over a thousand visits to my Facebook Author Page , at least a hundred new LIKES to my page., and a spill-over of hundreds of views on my website. WOW! What a lovely gift.

Why did people react so positively to this post? And what can I do to recreate this incredibly high level of interaction again…and again? I keep asking myself this and I know that there are people in the social media industry who work on this challenge every day. If you have any ideas you’re willing to share, bring it on…

Gray’s Promise (King Security Book 2)

A Steamy #RomanticSuspense


A jealousy that destroys everything in its path…a love that refuses to die.

My Facebook Post Went BOOM

Zoey Morgan seems to have it all as a successful surgeon in Boston. However, perfection lies only on the surface. Plagued by nightmares and amnesia from a tragedy that ripped her family from her fourteen years ago, she finds the courage to reach out to the only man who can make her feel safe. She’s buried the memory of their love, but her heart—and her body—responds to the ex-marine in ways that are all too familiar.

Grayson “Gray” Walker’s heart shattered when Zoey chose another man over him. Since then, he’s built an impenetrable wall around his emotions. But from the moment she implodes back into his life, her vulnerability breaches his defenses. His skills as an elite member of the King Security team cannot shield him from the devastation of learning he might have left Zoey high and dry when she needed him most. Now, Gray must navigate the tripwire of helping her heal while protecting himself from being hurt again.

As the embers of their potent love reignite, an old threat awakens, leading to greater danger than ever before.

Visit Anni’s website to read EXCERPTS!


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ENTER Gray’s Promise Pre-Release Giveaway! 
You can be a lucky winner of one of two free ebook copies

of this brand new release.

Good luck!

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Don’t miss your copy of Luke’s Redemption (King Security Book 1) for only 99c. Limited time only so be quick! –

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Anni Fife left a successful career in television to fulfill her lifelong passion to become an author. In the space of a month, she shut her business, packed up her city life, and moved to a small seaside village. Her debut novel, Luke’s Redemption has been acclaimed by critics and readers and was a Finalist in the 2017 RONE Awards. Anni says she credits Kristen Ashley as her guiding inspiration, and strives to make her characters equally as heart-wrenching and unforgettable. She is currently working on Eva’s Peace (King Security Book 3).

If you want to know when Anni’s next book is releasing and be first to get regular updates and BONUS TREATS, visit her website and sign up to join her POSSE.

Anni is published by The Wild Rose Press, and is a member of Romance Writers of America (RWA).



You can read all about Anni on her website, and join Anni’s Posse to get regular updates and Bonus Treats—

Or LIKE Anni on Facebook

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The Mystical Muse

911 Aftermath

A Heartfelt Story

Beyond The Mist, book 2 in my Lake Lanier Mysteries is a unique time slip romantic suspense. As a teacher and author, I’m compelled to write about subjects that touch my heart from time to time and my concern over rampant worldwide terror attacks nudged me into write a about a moment in time that stunned the world. As the event slips into the pages of history, I hope my story, though a fantasy, helps sear into the minds of readers, the real and present danger lurking just beyond the mist. Remembering the lessons learned from past events enables a brigher future. In light of that passion…

Read more “911 Aftermath”

Moonlight And Mystery

Wedding Planner Anyone?

Wedding Planner Yay or Nay?

If you are married or have been married, did you have a wedding planner? I sort of did but really didn’t for my small event many years ago. She was either a volunteer (which I strongly suspect) or a member of the staff of the church. (My family and I referred to her as “Sarge” behind her back.) Unlike my understanding of the way modern wedding planners work, her job was to make sure everyone was ready to march down the church’s aisle in the right order. She may have been there to oversee the reception (those were the days when it was more common for the reception to be held at the church), although my aunt, who was also a bit of a taskmaster and whose gift was our wedding cake, probably gave Sarge a run for her money.

Ironically, the one area where we could have used the woman’s assistance was in helping the minister keep our wedding rings in his Bible instead of dropping them. Ah well, everyone needs something special to remember from their wedding service.

We had a small wedding.

Not much work for a wedding planner. The cake had been determined already, as mentioned above, although I did get to pick the accent colors and the topper. The organist was already lined up, because that was my cousin’s gift. We got to select the processional and recessional. My brother-in-law played the piano for the reception. I made my dress, my mother made the two bridesmaids’ dresses. The groom and his two groomsmen wore their own dress suits. Though we had limited funds but still managed to purchase a few flowers and a photographer.

For my daughter’s wedding, though larger (purchased dress, paid string quartet, paid duet, reception off-site, and many more flowers), we still didn’t use a wedding planner.

All of which is to say that my description of my heroine’s work as a wedding planner in Love in the Third Act is based on two things: films which have featured wedding planners and my own ideas of what I would do in such a position. Not necessarily my own experience. Ever seen “The Wedding Planner” with Jennifer Lopez and Matthew McConaughey? (Check out that poster. Matthew in glasses. All right, all right, all right?) In this film, the wedding planner is attracted to the groom. But with McConaughey as the groom, who wouldn’t be? The heroine’s integrity is sorely tested as she battles her feelings for him versus her commitment to the couple. I borrowed the idea of integrity for my heroine.

On the other hand

“Father of the Bride,” the more recent version with Steve Martin, featured a wedding planner similar to Sarge other than this one was flamboyant as well as overbearing. Thank you, Martin Short, for your interpretation of Franck, a character that was supposedly based on a famous Hollywood event planner. Franck was my measuring stick to assure my planner didn’t go overboard. However, I liked that he maintained control of the planning process. My heroine isn’t anywhere near as directive, but she has learned she can’t let her clients walk all over her.

My heroine’s organizational and people skills are her strengths. Over time, she has developed a solid knowledge base about weddings. But she hasn’t been called upon to utilize the knowledge, skills and creativity she developed in film school. The chance to write and help produce a TV show along comes just as she’s begun to question her current career.

You are cordially invited to her weddings!

Wedding planner Hadley Mayhew makes the mistake of sharing with a new client her mother’s bizarre request to help her find a man, never contemplating the woman will think the idea of a mature child helping their parent reenter the dating game might be great fodder for a reality TV show. Even more surprising, her client wants Hadley and her mother to be her first subjects.

Kevin Barkley had every reason to believe he’d be a huge success as a filmmaker when he won his film school’s most prestigious award. But for reasons he doesn’t understand, fate, or what seems to be fate, keeps working against him. Several producing jobs have eluded him, notably a recent offer that was withdrawn at the last minute. To make matters worse, the showrunner has been spreading rumors that Kevin is difficult.

Temporarily unemployed, Kevin is unable to refuse his aunt’s offer to executive produce and direct her latest project, a reality show about senior dating, especially since the money involved is obscene. There’s just one catch: He must agree to hire Hadley Mayhew, his former best friend in college, as his writer and assistant producer. If they are to work together, can his forgive her for revealing his fiancée was cheating on him?


Bethany rose and shook hands with Hadley. “This has been a great first meeting. I’ll review this contract with my fiancé and get back to you with any questions or comments before our next meeting.” She glanced at her watch. “I’d better get going. I have a fitting to supervise.”

She was out the door before Hadley could reply. Kevin remained behind to pack his equipment, even though the way he was slamming things together, it was obvious he was anxious to leave as soon as possible.

“Is she always like that? All business one minute and gone the next?” She didn’t care about the response as much as she wanted him to speak directly to her. If he opted out of his videographer duties, this might be the only chance she’d ever have to talk to him again. Awkward as things still appeared between them, for some reason, it was important they clear the air.

He stared at the door. “Yeah, more or less.” He slung the straps of two cases over his shoulders and made ready to leave.

Desperation forced her to be direct. “Are you really okay with this?”

His back was to her, but he stopped, set down his equipment and pivoted to face her. “Hell, no.”


Contact Barbara Barrett

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Moonlight And Mystery

How To Handle Writing Stress

Ups and Downs of Writing

I hadn’t written a new word since June. I mainly stopped writing because my current WIP is the fourth book in a series, and the third was in months of limbo with the publisher. I didn’t see the point of writing book four, if three got rejected. Then, after a few more months, I decided to return to writing the forth book. Just as I started, I received a response on book three. Needless to say, the wind was completely blown from my ‘writing’ sails. The managing editor didn’t reject the book, but she didn’t offer a contract either. She had lots of comments, most about emotion. My writing high was crushed. I shut down my computer and I didn’t open the screen for a few days.

The sofa, my blanket, a book,

and a warm cup of hot chocolate were the escape I needed.

I thought about what I could do to up the emotion in this story. I considered the possibility that maybe I was focused more on plot than the emotion. After a few days of sulking and thinking, I put on my big girl pants and decided to try again.

I know what needs to be reworked in this story, and I’m ready to get going. Book four patiently waits my return while I get emotionally involved in book three. In the end, I’m certain the outcome will strengthen both books.

How do you handle writing stress?

The tip I want to share with writers, is writing isn’t easy. Getting the words from your head into print takes time, as does waiting to hear from a manuscript submission. Then, after all your hard work and time, maybe you won’t receive the response you were hoping for. The life of a writer has a lot of ‘ups’and even more ‘downs’. We have to take a step back, shrug off the negativity sitting on our shoulders, then return to the keyboard. Sometimes receiving bad news is just the kick in the butt we need. In the end, I believe it not only makes us stronger, but our writing as well.

Return to beautiful Redford Falls where a woman who knows what she wants and a man who knows what he needs. Nothing thaws the chill faster than a warm winter kiss.

She’s been on a flight from hell for over eight hours, lost four hours of daylight, and arrived in temperatures twenty degrees lower than accustomed to. Disliking winter for a reason she refuses to discuss, Danielle Lerato would rather be anywhere than in Redford Falls. She needs to get the job done and return home before getting caught up in the small town’s charm…and the arms of the handsome, brown-eyed restaurant owner.

Andrew Haley’s first encounter with the buttery blonde didn’t go so well, and he well-remembers the chill of the glass of water she dumped over his head. Now, two years later, a raging storm drops Danielle back into his life. She’s determined to leave, but he’ll do whatever it takes to convince her to fall in love with Redford Falls…and him.

About Darlene:

An avid reader since childhood, Darlene loved to put a pencil to paper and plot out stories of her own. She writes heartwarming contemporary romances with a focus on plot-driven page-turners. When Darlene isn’t writing, editing, or reading, she enjoys spending time with her husband, daughter, and Yellow Lab.

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Moonlight And Mystery

Holiday Writing Warms The Soul

Holiday Stories are Fun to Write

‘Journey of the Magi’ was my first attempt at a Holiday story and I found a really enjoyable area of writing. My usual genre is paranormal romance and has a dark edge. After awhile it can be heavy. The lighter love story with cute children and a nice hero gave me a lift I didn’t know I needed. It was fun to plot the fulfillment of a dream.

So in this time of the year I noticed many of my fellow authors put out a sweet story. My next short for The Wild Rose Press was ‘Late for the Wedding, part of a larger anthology. It was fascinating how a dozen authors took the same idea and wrote such variety. I loved every one of them.

The next was ‘Dixie’s Gift’ a story inspired by the loyalty and love of my beloved pet. This was another story to lift me from a dark place. My furry friend had cancer and crossed over the Rainbow Bridge. I was so sad I took that emotion and wrote a story about how my pet would have reacted. It warmed a cold place in me and I hope if you read it, you’ll find the same joy at the end.

I’m working on another short story. I hope to have it ready for next year. It has a Mom and a child waiting for their military dad to come home. Holiday writing warms the soul.

Dixie’s Gift by Barbara Edwards

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Ellen Carter deeply grieves for her husband Dan, but at least she still has Dixie, her beloved Malinois. However, soon Dixie leaves her too. But the faithful dog cannot rest easy in heaven while her mistress is unhappy. Dixie pleads with the Archangel Michael to let her send help, and intercedes for Ellen in the only way she can. But will Ellen get the message, and more importantly, will she accept Dixie’s gift?

Sexy newcomer Michael Burke can barely take enough time from his successful restaurant for a decent night’s sleep, let alone romance. Still, he is intrigued by the beautiful widow and can’t resist entering her shop. Sparks fly, and when Ellen has an accident in a snowstorm, he comes to her rescue. Trapped by a blizzard and aided by Dixie’s Gift, Ellen and Michael find more than shelter–they find love.

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Moonlight And Mystery

Can We Defuse Political Divisiveness?

We Can Learn from The Middle

Defuse Political DivisivenessI don’t know if any of you are TV addicts like I am, but I love watching all kinds of shows. Sitcoms especially appeal to me, because they are a light-hearted escape and in today’s world, we all need laughter.

Speaking of today’s world, I have grown weary of all the hate and negativity that seems to be the norm lately. Social media allows us to hide behind a computer and spew venom that we likely wouldn’t do face to face. There are horrible, tragic events happening all around us, and the political climate has brought about divide and conflict, but it doesn’t mean we have to live our lives filled with fear and hatred.

The most recent

episode of the sitcom “The Middle” was not only funny, it conveyed a lesson we all need to learn. Each member of the Heck family was dealing with their own contentious mini crisis and they had collectively decided the world basically sucked. They were on their way to a holiday meal and became stuck on the highway for what would be a few hours. They were starving and none too pleased about the latest development.

Frankie, the mom, got out of the car and took her pan of sweet potatoes and set it on the hood, and began eating. Another person saw her and brought out a dish they had in their car. Then another and another…and before long, the entire line of stranded motorists were partaking of a huge holiday feast, strangers who were forced together by a frustrating predicament shared and made the most of it.

Can we-the-people defuse political divisivness?

I wish we would all be grateful for the good things in our lives and realize that while we might have different views and lifestyles, we are all human beings just trying to survive. There are enough uncontrollable events and calamities. Can we difuse political divisivness? There is no reason for us to create additional disharmony. Hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving and please remember to truly be thankful for all of life’s blessings.

About Alicia:

Alicia Dean began writing stories as a child. At age 10, she wrote her first ever romance (featuring a hero who looked just like Elvis Presley, and who shared the name of Elvis’ character in the movie, Tickle Me), and she still has the tattered, pencil-written copy. Alicia is from Moore, Oklahoma and now lives in Edmond. She has three grown children and a huge network of supportive friends and family. She writes mostly contemporary suspense and paranormal, but has also written in other genres, including a few vintage historicals. She is a freelance editor in addition to being an editor for The Wild Rose Press.

Other than reading and writing, her passions are Elvis Presley, MLB, NFL (she usually works in a mention of one or all three into her stories) and watching (and rewatching) her favorite televisions shows like The Walking Dead, Dexter, Justified, Sons of Anarchy, Haven, Vampire Diaries, and The Originals. Some of her favorite authors are Michael Connelly, Dennis Lehane, Lee Child, Lisa Gardner, Sharon Sala, Jordan Dane, Ridley Pearson, Joseph Finder, and Jonathan Kellerman…to name a few.

Haunting at Spook Light Inn:

A World of Gothic – Oklahoma – Gothic Mystery Romance

– ON SALE for 99 cents!

Writer Camille Burditt arrives at a remote Bed and Breakfast in Oklahoma to research a spook light phenomenon, intent on debunking its existence. But she soon discovers that, not only is the spook light real, a ghostly apparition is haunting the inn. The spirit wants something from Camille…and is willing to kill to get it.

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