Saturday, April 29, 2017

A Message From Above by Joseph Michael Fortney



A Message from Above


Did you hear the whispers from above?!!
The angels sent word by a dove--
The roll's been called
Another soul'd taken flight, to guide
And watch over those who soon will follow.

Their presence is felt;
Their spirit lives on and becomes the wings
of warmth and comfort when the wind
chills us so.

Did you hear the whispers from above?!
The angels sent word by a dove!
Keep the home fires bright
For soon another takes flight...

Did you hear the whispers from above?!
The angels sent word by a dove
"I lived!! I loved!!!"
~~~



I lost touch with Joe after I had worked as editor to prepare his poetry for publication...and then moving to my present home...
But I came across his book, One Man's Madness, a set of poems he wrote while being treated...and...living... with Aids.
He was a special guy and I grew to care deeply for him as we worked together on his book...I plan to share more as time goes on...It's been years, now, and he may be gone from this earth... But I still miss him...I picked out this song to send to him...


There are many individuals we will always remember and love...may this song also touch you and your memories of all your loved ones...

Friday, April 28, 2017

Short Story Spotlights Ghost Soldier's Heartbreak...by Angie Fox

Frankie and I both turned when we heard knocking on the front door. "It's me," my sister called. The hinges squeaked as Melody let herself in. I hadn't expected her tonight, but that didn't mean anything. She passed through my empty front room and straight into the parlor. Her blond hair was up in a messy bun and she carried a Tupperware container. "Hi Verity. Hi Frankie."
I stood and gave her a hug. "How'd you know he was around?" I asked. Half the time, Frankie disappeared into the ether, or wherever ghosts went. 
"He always backs your queen into a corner," she said. Frankie groaned. "Aw, come on." 
I looked back at the chessboard, trying to see where I was in trouble, but found myself distracted when Melody handed me the delicious smelling container. "Mmm… roasted potatoes, onions," I pulled open the lid, "gravy," I added with pure delight. 
"I made too much pot roast," she said, as if it happened all the time. She was lying through her teeth. Melody could barely bake a chicken. When it wasn't under cooked or scorched to a crisp, she'd forget and leave the giblets packet in the middle. Ever since my sister found out I was living on ramen noodles and granola bars, she'd been buying ready-to-go grocery meals, boxing them up in Tupperware and delivering them to me under the guise of Martha Stewart. 
"Thanks," I told her, keeping up the façade. Otherwise, she'd move on to phase two, which would be her trying to give me money she didn't have. She chewed at her bottom lip. 
"I have to confess. I'm not just here to give you dinner this time." She cringed. "My friend needs help with a ghost." Frankie barked out a laugh. "Fantastic. She'll do it." 
Good thing Melody couldn't see him, or hear him. I shot him a hairy eyeball. He looked much too pleased with himself, hovering over by the fireplace. "This… thing I do," I said, returning my attention to Melody, "it has to be a secret." 
People in our small southern town already believed I was an odd duck. I'd be crazy to add to the gossip. Besides, the work was dangerous and scary. I was a graphic designer by trade. "I need design jobs." 
"How's that going?" she mused, knowing the answer. Not so well. Ever since I'd offended the first family of Sugarland Tennessee by leaving their son at the altar, my freelance business had dried up. Now I was secretly dating his brother, Ellis. I didn't know how things could get worse, but I was willing to bet they would if that little nugget got out. Or if I started chasing ghosts. I headed for the kitchen with my dinner. Melody followed. "The good news is she can't pay you anyway." 
"This is getting better and better," I mused. Melody flipped on the lights. "She does have a nice pre-owned kitchen set she'll give you," she added, grabbing my lone plastic plate out of a drying rack by the sink. "This is my friend Julie from high school."
"I like her." Julie had always been nice to me. She owned a resale shop downtown. The store carried some fancy, high-end antiques, but much of the merchandise consisted of good, gently used items. Still… I took the plate from my sister and slid the entire pot roast meal onto it. "What does Julie want me to do?" 
My sister leaned against the counter. "The store has always been haunted. She'll leave at night and come back to find pennies stacked up on her cash register. Or she'll open up in the morning and smell cigar smoke. One time, she watched an entire display of antique doorknobs start shaking like we were having an earthquake or something. A customer saw it too." "Yikes." I located a fork and arranged my meal on the kitchen island. "It sounds like she has more than one ghost," I said digging in. "And if the place has been haunted for a while, they might even think the shop is theirs." Spirits tended to get possessive after decades in the same place...


~~~


New For You was a second-hand local store that was owned by a friend of Verity's sister...and she was having ghost problems...

Verity pointed out to Melody, her sister, that her being involved in ghostly issues was supposed to have been kept a secret...But Verity, Melody, and especially Frankie, all knew she needed some money. Of course, Julie couldn't afford to pay her, but she could give her a dinette set. 

Verity was slowly trying to acquire furniture after she'd been sued by her ex-to-be-mother-in-law for leaving her darling son at the altar... So, having some place to sit in her kitchen certainly was worth a short job...

Besides, Julie wasn't interested in getting rid of all of the ghosts she knew were in her building... Just the one that was causing some damage in a display case with more expensive items.

In order to see the ghosts, which also changes the setting to the way it looked when the dominant ghost had last seen it, Frankie gives Verity a "zap" of his ghostly energy. So when they reached the second-hand shop, they soon were in a bar with a number of clients drinking and chatting. Once they realized that Verify could see them, many started hitting on her, some very aggressively! Verity wasn't interested...

The squicky ghost smoothed his mustache while undressing me with his eyes. "Well, hello there," he said, winking. "Your name must be Lucky Charms because you're magically
delicious." I turned to Frankie. "Did he really just say that?" "You started this," Frankie said, with no sympathy at all. "I tried to stop you."
Finally after wading through seemingly endless male ghosts who hadn't seen a live woman for decades, she noticed a WWII soldier, Private John Cleveland,  sitting alone and Verity thought she had found the right man... only to connect with him and learn of his heartbreaking story of love lost...

And all of a sudden, Verity was on a missing person case, not knowing whether it was for a living or dead young lost fiance...



This type of story makes you ponder, especially about our soldiers who are killed in action, fighting for peace... and how the lives of many people can be affected by a sudden death. Verity took a special interest in this case when he shared that the ring that he had given her before he left for war had shown up in the second-half shop, just recently!

Verity was thrilled to have the opportunity to help this kind, loving Private!



This is one of the more special heartwarming stories that I really enjoyed and believe you will too... Highly recommended! Next review will be on another full novel in the series... 


GABixlerReviews

Southern Spirits by Angie Fox - Series Debut

Frankie scooted to the edge of the counter. "Now listen up. 'Cause here's what we do," he said, clasping his hands in front of him, his elbows resting on his knees.
"What we do?" I asked. I didn't recall teaming up with a dead gangster. 
"Oh?" He opened his hands. "So you have ideas?" 
"No," I said grudgingly. He scratched at his long, thin nose. "Okay, here's the deal. Old lady Hatcher's not-so-dearly departed husband came across some cash in 1965." He gave me a long look. "It's more than you need." 
My spine stiffened. He was talking about saving my house. Whatever he was about to suggest couldn't be good. Did I dare? 
"How did the money come about?" I absolutely refused to get involved in anything illegal. 
Frankie shrugged. "He bet his entire mortgage payment on a long-shot horse. The damn thing won. He hid the money on his property. Only he was an idiot and died right after he stashed it." 
I'd heard that last part of the story. Maisie Hatcher had dug up every tree, shrub, and flower patch in her backyard, looking for the fortune her husband hid. "She swore there was money under one of the trees on her property. We always thought she was crazy." 
The corner of his mouth turned up. "It's not under a tree. It's hidden in a box with a tree carved on the top." 
Well, didn't that beat all? I strolled toward the ghost, feeling brave. Or maybe I needed to show him that I wasn't as scared anymore. "You'd think her husband could have left better directions." 
He shrugged. "Oskar Hatcher was an asshole. Still is." 
I cocked my head. "How do you know?" 
"He's behind you." The air left my body. I screeched and spun around fast, my heart jackhammering against my chest. I couldn't see anything in the dark. 
"Where is he?" Frankie's chuckle behind me sounded like gravel over rocks. 
"Your friend's right. You really are gullible." "You're such a jerk." A chill washed over me as the sweat on my body cooled. I turned back to him. 
"How long were you watching me?" 
He didn't buckle under my stare. "Don't flatter yourself. I spend most of my time picking up dames at the cemetery. Or I tool around, see who's manifesting." He grinned. "Those Johnny Rebs from the 12th Infantry throw a wicked poker game. And half of 'em don't know how to bluff." He stood taller. "I did stick around for the sale. I can't believe that crappy lawn furniture went before I did." 
He'd succeeded in wigging me out on about ten different levels. But now wasn't the time to think about it. I needed to channel my inner Scarlet O'Hara. I'd asked for a miracle and I'd gotten one… sort of. At least I'd been given one more chance, with money that was more or less clean. Abandoned, at least. "Okay, so we go to Maisie Hatcher's house," I began. 
"Wait. You can't leave here." 
He cocked his head. "I can if I'm with you." 
I stood surprised for a moment, and not in a good way. "Okay. We'll leave. We'll talk to Maisie..."
~~~


I fell in love with this series from the first book! It is delightful, so delightful that I knew I wanted to read the entire series and follow it... Haven't said that for a very long time. But, hey, with a gutsy young lady who backed out of a wedding with the most eligible bachelor in town, when she discovers her fiancee assaulting her sister, is my kind of woman!

And it certainly wasn't her fault that that same fiancee had once given her a funeral urn containing the ashes of a long-departed relative! 


Well, let's go back to the wedding reception where Verity had appeared after leaving Beau, her fiancee at the altar and then attacked him at the reception...where his mother fainted, and then promptly thereafter sued Verity for the costly wedding that she had arranged for her son! Life is just not fair! But she didn't want to have the gossip all over their small town about what he'd done to her sister, as well as cheating on her with several other women...

So she was now living in her empty beautiful family home which she'd inherited from her grandmother. She'd sold everything that she could bear giving up, which was most everything, but she still owed $20,000 and the house was to be auctioned for that!

One of the things that had not sold was that old gift from Beau which she thought was a vase. Deciding to leave it on the mantel for the sale, she looked inside and realized how dirty it was, went outside and poured the contents around the rosebush and watered it down so it'd sink in...

And there was Frankie...who promptly screamed out what she'd done. Give you this, Verity is one cool lady and it didn't take long for her to adjust to seeing a ghost and begin to discuss what had been happening and why she had even had his ashes... But no matter what, Frankie was now doomed to live under a rose bush and could no longer roam free to pursue his former life as, now, a gangster ghost, as he had done while living... Of course, his hat covered the bullet hole in his forehead, and he appeared only in black and white, but Verity soon was at least talking with him, both wondering what to do next...

Bottom line, if Verity didn't find $20,000 immediately, for Frankie, he'd be stuck at a home where new people would be invading at any moment... He decided to help...

He just happened to know a certain ghost who had made a bundle on a race but who had died before he could use it...and Frankie would help Verity find it!

One thing you'll quickly find out about Verity is that she is completely honest, while Frankie is completely the opposite, so you'll be reading many negotiation discussions about what Frankie wants to do versus what Verity is willing to allow! And these discussions are so much a part of the fun found by all readers!

And the problem with getting the money was that the widow of the man who'd hidden the money had been looking for it for years and was barely getting by herself...

Even worse, when they entered the house where the money had been hidden, let's just say that Frankie wasn't the only ghost there...
I gripped my flashlight and summoned up my courage. "I love my house," I reminded myself on a whisper before squeezing my eyes shut tight. I steeled my courage, made sure my mouth was closed firm, and stepped forward. I love my house. I held my breath and reached out my hands. They tangled in the cold, filmy, sticky, otherworldly web. I love my house. I pressed forward as it touched my face and wound through my hair. I love my house. I screamed it in my head as the fibers caressed my arms and goose bumps rippled over my skin. That web felt like a living, breathing entity. It stretched out in front of me, surrounding me, blocking my way until… With a soft whoosh, I broke through.

The merge of the ghost interaction with actually solving a mystery is what makes this series so special. The characters are outstanding in their developed personalities. Each have stories that will draw you to care about them, especially some of the ghosts! Who knew?!😏

This author has a great gift in her story telling. It's imaginative, it's endearing, heartwarming, and yet, scary enough to enjoy being a little afraid... I especially enjoy the skill given to Verity in negotiating and working through tough situations, with humans...or...not...  No wonder Fox is a best selling author and I'm certainly glad I finally found her! Next review on a short story, A Ghostly Gift... Enjoy!


GABixlerReviews

Raven Eyes by Michael Steven Tunstall during National Poetry Month




Raven Eyes


When I looked into her raven eyes,
like two enchanting sirens of ancient times,
they drew me in and held me tight.

But like all exotic things,
this love I could not cage,
and so I set her free, to fly away.


And while in nightly rest,
as my mind sweeps away its cluttered stores,
it oft brings to memory those raven eyes
that forever hold me close...
~~~



Thursday, April 27, 2017

A Reblog During 2017 National Poetry Month...From One Man's Madness:Living With Aids by Joseph Michael Fortney...





















The following poem was written and used as the Foreword of Joe's Book, for which I did all the work to get his book published... It was a wonderful way to meet and know Joe for a short time and thinking about death over the last few weeks, made me think of one of my own poems written years ago... Excerpts from Joe's poems have been interspersed with mine...

You may remember that Tom Hanks played in Philadelphia many years ago, and I chose him to represent Joe...


Joe sat there, looking just a little bit pale,
watching my face, seeking an answering smile.
 I looked closely and "saw" him coming down a hill;
It was when he was a teen but it seemed just a while.

This young man is dying, much younger than myself;
But his spirit rings aloud, he tries nothing to hide.
We didn't talk of death then, we left it on the shelf.
We talked as new friends about this and that,
the other would abide:

The Unwanted Visitor

(HIV attacks the entire body; it lives within, The virus becomes a living thing; continuity consuming my body...)

I came upon a visitor who was quite unusual to stay the least.
He was charming his way into my soul.

So as he was learning my weaknesses, and strengths,
he began his journey into those places...
and settled in...for a lifetime.

But whose life...his or mine?

I told him how I came to call, about my urge to reach him.
He told me of his need for me, for what he did not know.
I told him chances of publishing a book were very, very slim.
But still, I knew, word after word, from his heart and mind did flow.


Violated

I awoke one morning
no longer being naive
and quickly became wiser.

For you see,
I was violated.

But I, too, had to understand,
Against all efforts to keep this from happening.
I was silently violated...without warning!

His inner life--thoughts, fears and pain, were placed upon those sheets.
I typed them all, delving in deeper and deeper, and then would go back again.
He told of a stranger, frozen, cold and feeding, who stole his body's heat.
I couldn't relate, yet knew how to help, checking his words with my pen.


Choices

...This silent killer's choice is to take...
no matter who or what...
So who has a choice?
or accepting the choices that have already been made.

Choice, how can you define it...
so I can understand it better?

He thanked his "Higher Power;" I asked, do you mean God?"
He shared a male preacher abused him when young,
after that, attending church had been hard.
Many who would hear of my work, would consider it to be strange or odd...
But I knew that his words, from his heart had been wrung, so I
neither stopped nor paused.


Pain,  Pain, Pain

As I try to put into words how I am feeling today,
all I can come up with is PAIN, PAIN, PAIN...
I have been hurting more lately and, by rights, 
this should have
driven a normal man to total madness...

We both knew and agreed, this book must be shared.
For whatever reason, we two had been paired.
God brings folks together, as part of His great plan.
In this case, a single, Christian woman,
and a homosexual man.

Fear

I feel at times like a candle...
Tall and strong, burning brightly in a window,
Letting others know where the life and warm awaits.

I, as well as the candle, know its fears
Just as a candle can grow dark against a strong wind,
so I do my best to stay strong
in hopes that "my" fear never comes...

AIDS is the stranger, killer of lives
Nobody is safe from it; everyone dies.
This young man named Joe fights daily to win
Though his legs now carries him, in a chair, one day, he'll be penned.


Each Day

I feel a chill in my bones
and a smell in the air,
that I haven't smelled in a long time.

My energy is being tapped,
each day as I fight to keep strong.
But it's hard at times when the realities
of this world are cold and cruel...

But the fight and courage keeps him going and going;
How can we not fight, then along side of him?
And if, when needed, we must share God's great love,
For, sometimes, the fire inside the infected grows dim.

Madness

I feel like a mad man...with pen and paper in hand. Writing wilds, putting down all my thoughts no matter how crazy they may be.
So that in some way to let others know how a man's mind goes when living and facing all areas of reality and life being "positive."
My mind races faster than my hand can write because I feel there may not be enough time to tell you everything...then again "Nothing."
If you can understand this simple man's madness, then you are by far a better one that I.
The inner pain almost overrides the Joy I carry. But Love--the one true gift we all have--carries me through the rough times...

Then hug him tight; hold him, as Jesus would.
It's bound to be what God would have you do.
Remember, friend, right now there isn't a cure.
As with the lepers, from His love--take your cue.

Whispers...

Whisper, whisper, whisper. Can't you hear them?
I can
I'm still here, but they treat me as if I'm gone...

What does this mean?
Am I less than I was when I came into see what was wrong?...

Will somebody please hug me?
They claim they care,
but why do they whisper?

AIDS victims are God's children, too;
their lives may be different than yours, friend, or mine
But He sees inside where hearts seek Him true.
And His Love we must offer--the Virus to bind!



GLOBAL STATISTICS
  • 15.8 million people accessing antiretroviral therapy (June 2015)
  • 36.9 million [34.3 million–41.4 million] people globally were living with HIV (end 2014)
  • 2 million [1.9 million–2.2 million] people became newly infected with HIV (end 2014)
  • 1.2 million [980 000–1.6 million] people died from AIDS-related illnesses (end 2014)

Angie Fox's Southern Ghost Hunter Mysteries Series - The Beginning...

There's a basic background story for the Southern Ghost Hunter Mysteries Series. Each of the books easily stands on their own because the author makes sure that, in one way or another, she includes needed basic information.

But for my review of the entire series, I thought it would be best to pull out that background and the main characters, so that each will be familiar as I write...



I lived in a gorgeous antebellum house. Not too large. Certainly not too small. The white columns out front were tasteful, even though they had chipped in places. The porch was welcoming, if a little weathered. Over the years, my family had sold the estate around the house, piece by piece, so that the sprawling peach orchard and even the grand front drive had given way to tidy bungalows lining the long road to the main house. 
Grandma had said it made gossip travel even faster, the way they built houses so close together these days. I always told her that the good citizens of Sugarland, Tennessee, needed no help. Still, I loved the place. And I absolutely despised letting it go. "Anyone home?" my best friend, Lauralee, called from the front of the house. "Verity, are you in here?" She added a few knocks on the front door, out of politeness rather than practicality, since the door already stood open. 
We'd endured a stifling hot afternoon, and I couldn't afford to run the air-conditioning. I needed any breeze I could get. "In the back parlor," I called. "Mourning," I added, since there was nothing left in the once-stately room, save for a cooler filled with ice, my tea jug, and a lopsided futon I inherited from a roommate back at Ole Miss. The pink-papered walls and elegant wood accents appeared so strange without rugs and furniture, like a queen stripped of her jewels.
The estate sale was yesterday and the place had been picked clean. The vultures. 
"I'm sorry." Lauralee's voice echoed in the empty room. She let her purse and a cloth grocery sack slip from her shoulder to the floor; then she wrapped an arm around me and squeezed, the curled end of her ponytail tickling my cheek. 
I gazed up at the ugly black hole where the crystal chandelier had hung for more than one hundred years. "Thanks." I'd come to terms with this. I really had. I turned and looked her straight in the baby blues. "I'd live in a paper bag if it meant I didn't have to marry that bastard." 
My friend drew back and tucked a lock of my hair behind my ear. "Seems like he's trying to make you good on your word." "True. But I'm not done yet." I refused to even entertain the thought. This past May, I'd scandalized the town when I jilted the most eligible bachelor in three counties— at the altar, no less. It was a disaster. Two old ladies fainted straight out of the pew reserved for the Southern Heritage Club. Then Beau's own mother collapsed, taking down a lovely hydrangea arrangement. I secretly wondered if Mrs. Leland Herworth Wydell III didn't want to be upstaged, even at her own son's ultimate humiliation. 
Truth was, he'd brought it upon himself. But I suppose it was quite shocking if you didn't know the details. I hadn't told a lot of people. I'd wanted to spare my sister. 
Lauralee chewed on her lip as she surveyed what little remained in my home. "Tell me you at least made some decent money yesterday." 
"I did." I'd sold everything I could lay my hands on and kept only the absolute necessities, namely my futon, my grandmother's pearl wedding ring, and the quilts she'd made for me. It had hurt like a physical pain. I'd had to remind myself that it was only furniture, clothes. Stuff. I still had my health. And my friends. Not to mention my family. 
I brought a hand to my throat, where I used to wear my grandmother's cross from when she was about my age. The delicate gold and silver filigree antique now belonged to my not-quite-mother-in-law. "I still owe more than twenty thousand dollars." I gazed across the once-grand, now empty back parlor turned family room. I tried to ignore the hollow place in my stomach. Tomorrow, my ancestral home would go on the market. I let out a ragged sigh. 
"It's dumb, but I keep hoping for a miracle." A hidden treasure in the attic. Gold under the stairs. Stranger things had happened, right? All I knew was that I couldn't lose this house. I just couldn't. 
Lauralee wrapped an arm around my shoulder and gave me a squeeze. "You'll make it. You always do," she said, in a way that made me think she actually believed it. She took in the fourteen-foot ceilings, the crown moldings. "With the money you have left over from the sale, you can make a fresh go of things." 
A new start. I certainly needed something to change. And yet… "I can't believe it's all gone." What had taken more than a century to accumulate had become fractured history in the space of a day. "Except for that," I said, pointing to a god-awful vase on the mantel. 
My friend made a face. "I never even noticed that before." It would have been hard to ignore. 
"It was in the attic," I explained. "Where it belongs." The green stones that circled the top were sort of pretty, but a crude, hand-painted scene marred the copper exterior and a healthy dent gouged the lower half. The dotty old relic looked completely out of place on an ornate marble mantel with flowers and hummingbirds carved into the corners. 
"Yeek." Lauralee crossed the room for a better look. She attempted to lift the monstrosity and then changed her mind. It was heavier than it looked, wider at the top and tapered down to a flared base at the bottom. In fact, it reminded me more of an antique Grecian urn. She turned to me. "Is it a spittoon?" 
"I think it's a vase," I said, joining her. "Beau gave it to me. He called it an historic heirloom. Looking back, I think he just needed to get rid of it." 
In the beginning of our relationship, Beau had given me heartfelt gifts— a pressed flower from the picnic we took on our first date, a little notebook with one of our private jokes written on the inside cover. Later, it was last-minute gas station flowers. And objects like this. 
"It's hideous," Lauralee said. "A true monstrosity," I agreed. Or else he would have let me return it when I gave him back the ring. 
"You want it?" I asked, turning the dented side toward her. My friend let out a snort. "Not unless I can thunk your ex over the head with it." I shot her a conspiratorial grin. "You'd do that for me?" 
She raised her delicate brows. "Nothing would give me more pleasure," she said in a sweet, Southern tone that would make you think I'd offered mint juleps on the verandah. 
"I suppose I could toss it," I said. I still had one trash can left. She waved me off. "Keep it out. It's a focal piece. The only one you have. 
Here." She scooted it over toward the pale shadow where my mother's crystal swan used to be. "It'll draw people's eyes to the fireplace instead of that hideous futon." 
"Way to remind me that I'm sleeping in the parlor." No way was I going to try dragging a futon up a flight of stairs. 
She crossed over to the opposite wall to retrieve her hemp grocery bag from the floor. "Maybe this will help you forget," she said, holding up a bottle of Malbec. 
"Mine," I said, on her in an instant. Although I'd have to tell her Beau took the stemware...
~~~

Verity, our ghost hunter was was an artist and had her own business, making business logos, etc., but she had lost her prestige when she refused to marry the most eligible bachelor in town... Her picture appears on the front cover of each book!



I'm sure Beau, Beauregard Buford Wydell, was probably an attractive Southern... man... but he sure wasn't a gentleman! He had cheated on his fiancee, including hitting on her own sister... I think I would have told the world why I backed out of the wedding. I, of course, cast him as the villain...at least one of them...

Instead, Beau took advantage of Verity not saying anything, and never cancelled the wedding, went to the church, and allowed everybody to think she had left him standing at the altar... Of course, she had, but nobody knew why! And she was mad enough that she went to the reception and, shall I say, made a big fool of herself!

That might have been fun and a little payback. But Beau's mother was a vicious, spiteful woman who laid the blame directly on the bride...and sued her to pay for the wedding that she'd elaborately created for her son!

Verity was losing everything!




Lucy is Verity's roommate and best friend, fortunately with scent glands removed. She's a wonderful addition to the books and brings a light touch to the situation, especially since she is not willing to make friends with Frankie the German...

Frankie the German is also a main character... you might say he is the one who brings spirit to the stories! Actually, Frankie came to meet Verity by an accident on her part. Beau had brought over and given Verify an old vase, she thought. Nobody would buy it at the estate sale, so Lauralee, Verity's friend suggested she leave it on the mantle during the house sale, mainly to draw their eyes away from a battered old futon...

The problem arose when Verity looked down into the vase and saw how dirty it was. She took it outside and dumped the contents out in the dirt around her rosebush, and then watered it thoroughly...

Merging the remains of Frankie the German with the dirt surrounding the house... Of course, the vase had actually been the funeral urn of an old relative of Beau's family! And now Frankie was grounded, forever to stay on the property of Verity's home... Hate to say, but as of the latest book, they still haven't figured out how to solve that problem...

So, when a man who appears only in black and white appears in Verity's house...well...they are still arguing in each book as well!👻




This is Verity's new love interest...You'll learn more about him as we begin one of the stories...