FIRELANDS–It’s Back & Nominated for 2014 Best Indie Novel!

By Piper Bayard

I had the pleasure of waking up and finding out that my Nine Year Baby is

nominated for  a book award!

Dystopian thriller FIRELANDS was first released last June from StoneHouse Ink.

Firelands Cover

Then it was acquired and re-issued by Shoe Phone Press on February 25, 2014.

FIRELANDS_2ndEd

It’s now available on Kindle,

and it will soon be up in paperback at Amazon,

and on Nook, Kobo, and iTunes.

As an excellent “welcome back,” FIRELANDS was honored with a nomination for Indie ReCon’s Best Indie Novel Award 2014.

Indie ReCon Logo

Voting is at Indie ReCon. If you are inclined, click on the link below to vote. Voting is open until 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, February 27.

Vote here for

FIRELANDS 

Indie ReCon Best Indie Novel Award 2014

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Thank you for your support and for such a warm welcome back for FIRELANDS.

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FIRELANDS

Eighty years in the future, America has devolved into a totalitarian theocracy. The ruling Josephites clone the only seeds that grow in the post-apocalyptic climate, allowing their Prophet to control who eats, who starves, and who dies in the ritual fires that atone society.

Subsisting on the fringes, Archer risks violation and death each day as she scours the forest for game to feed her people. When a Josephite refugee seeks sanctuary in her home, Archer is driven to chance a desperate gamble. A gamble that will bring down the Prophet and deliver seeds and freedom, or end in a fiery death for herself and for everyone she loves.

Seeds are life . . . Seeds are power . . . Seeds are the only hope of a despairing people. What will Archer do for the seeds of freedom, and what will she justify in their name?

Field on Fire Canstock

Ghostbusting, 100 Years Ago — Guest Post by K.B. Owen

Today we welcome historical mystery writer K.B. Owen to tell us about Ghostbusting in the early 20th century. K.B. taught college English at universities in Connecticut and Washington, DC and holds a doctorate in 19th century British literature.  A long-time mystery lover, she drew upon her teaching experiences to create her amateur sleuth, Professor Concordia Wells. She currently lives in Virginia with her husband and sons and is busily planning the lady professor’s next adventure.

K profile pic 2014

Historical Mystery Author K.B. Owen

You’ll find K.B.’s latest release, Unseemly Pursuits, at the links below. Be sure to enter her Big Giveaway for a chance to win the Swag Kit.

Ghostbusting, 100 Years Ago

By K.B. Owen

Among the joys of writing historical mysteries is running across cool nuggets of research. While writing Unseemly Pursuits, I needed to learn more about late-19th century spirit mediums and their tricks, which inevitably led me to some ghostbusters and absurd situations that I like to call “gotcha” moments. The public exposure was sometimes funny, sometimes pathetic. I thought I’d share some with you today.

Ghostbusters

Almost as plentiful as fraudulent mediums were the debunkers who sought to catch them at it.  Below are some of the most well-known of their time, made up of earnest scientific researchers as well as flamboyant entertainers.

John Nevil Maskelyne, 1839-1917

John Nevil Maskelyne image by wikimedia commons

John Nevil Maskelyne 1839-1917
image via wikimedia commons

After watching the Davenport brothers exhibit their “spirit cabinet,” purported to manifest spirits while the brothers were tied up inside, Maskelyne suspected fraud.  He built his own cabinet and in 1865 launched a career of stage magic that lasted decades, whereby he demonstrated how to artificially create many of the spiritualists’ effects. The picture below gives you an idea of what a spirit cabinet looked like.

Davenport Brothers 1870 image via Wikimedia Commons

Davenport Brothers 1870
image via Wikimedia Commons

Harry Houdini 1874-1926

Harry Houdini 1874-1926

Harry Houdini 1874-1926
Image via Wikimedia Commons

image via Wikimedia Commons

image via Wikimedia Commons

Harry Houdini was the ultimate showman.  We associate him primarily with escape artistry, but many of his shows were based on re-creating spiritualists’ effects and demonstrating the fraud behind them. He was particularly impressed with researcher Harry Price’s work (below) in exposing the tricks behind spirit photography. Price’s findings enabled Houdini to duplicate the effect. Below is a photo of Houdini with the “ghost” of Abraham Lincoln (1920-30), created by Houdini to prove how easy it was to perpetrate the fraud.

Harry Houdini and the "Ghost" of Abraham Lincoln image via Wikimedia Commons

Harry Houdini and the “Ghost” of Abraham Lincoln
image via Wikimedia Commons

Harry Price Testing 1930

Harry Price 1881-1948 image via Wikimedia Commons

Harry Price 1881-1948
1930 image via Wikimedia Commons

Price had an impressive credentials list: he was a member of the National Laboratory of Psychical Research, London, belonged to the Society of American Magicians, and was Librarian for the Magicians’ Club of London. He authored many well-respected journal articles documenting the fraudulent techniques of spiritualists, including spirit-writing and spirit-photography. A master-conjurer himself, he could spot sleight-of-hand and other maneuvers. However, unlike other “ghostbusters,” he deeply believed in psychic phenomena and did endorse some spirit mediums. Think of him as a believer in the psychic world – as long as he could first subject it to strict scientific controls.

Slade vs. Lankester

Owen Lankester 1908 image via Wikimedia Commons

Ray Lankester
1908 image via Wikimedia Commons

Dr. Henry Slade (1835-1905) was an American medium who specialized in spirit writing on slate blackboards.  “Spirit slates” consisted of two chalkboards bound together that, when opened, were said to reveal messages written by spirits.  The trick was performed by putting a blank slate on an audience member’s head, or asking him/her to hold it under the table.  Then, after a suitable interval, a chalk-written message would be revealed.  It wouldn’t be that difficult to switch out a pre-written slate, or for the medium to hold a piece of chalk in a ring and become proficient at writing under the table.

During Slade’s tour in Britain, Professor (of Zoology, of all things) Ray Lankester (1847-1929) set out to expose him.  During Slade’s seances, Lankester and another witness watched carefully. At the second séance, Lankester snatched the supposedly blank “spirit slate” to find that it had been pre-written.  Lankester published an account of the incident in a letter to the Times, and sued him. Slade was convicted and sentenced to three months of hard labor (in England, they typically used an old statute of vagrancy, originially meant for gypsies). However, upon appeal the sentence was dismissed, whereupon Slade fled England.

Rival Mediums: Cook vs. Guppy 

Florence Cook image via Wikimedia Commons

Florence Cook
image via Wikimedia Commons 

Sometimes a jealous rival or the skeptical onlooker can prove to be one’s undoing, which was the case with medium Florence Cook.

Florence Cook (1856-1904) began her career as a medium at 15, when she apparently levitated off the floor while with a group of friends.  Soon after, she was causing the ghost of Katie King to materialize.  Katie King was rather notorious in spiritualist circles, as she was supposed to be a murderess who, to atone for her sins in the afterlife, returned to convince people that the spirit world was real.  (I think Jacob Marley had better justification for returning to save Ebenezer Scrooge, but that’s just my opinion).  Being able to produce Katie King on demand became a profitable venture for Florence Cook. The spirit cabinet was Cook’s go-to device for perpetrating the trick.

However, success is not without its drawbacks.  Rival medium Mrs. Samuel Guppy (1838-1917), an older and, by some accounts, a less attractive woman (couldn’t find a picture to bear this out, sorry), decided to give her rival a come-uppance.  Of course, Mrs. Guppy couldn’t attend a seance of Cook’s – she was too well-known – so she enlisted the aid of William Volckman (who later became her husband).  He bribed his way in with jewelery. When the spirit appeared, he grabbed her and proclaimed the fraud. However, other attendees at the séance fought back and assisted Cook’s escape (one of them was Cook’s fiance at the time).  Volkman got a bloody nose and no proof out of the deal, for by the time they looked back in the spirit cabinet, there was Florence Cook tied up again, although her clothes were disarranged.

Cook was caught for real later, when she was pretending to be the spirit of a young girl. One of the sitters noticed the spirit was wearing a corset – not something your young Victorian girl would wear – and decided to grab the lady the next time he got the chance. He did, and the spirit cabinet was found empty, except for boots and outer garments. When the lights were turned on, there was Florence Cook, in her underwear.

So what do you think of these daring ghostbusters and their undergarment-clad targets? What fraud-perpetrators today get caught with their pants down?

Piper and Holmes, thanks so much for hosting me today. I had a blast!

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Unseemly Pursuits: A Concordia Wells Mystery

 KB Owen Unseemly Pursuits Cover

A deadly secret that won’t stay buried…

It is the fall of 1896, and Miss Concordia Wells is hip-deep in the usual tumult of a lady professor’s life: classes, clubs, student pranks, and the unending drama generated by the girls she lives with on campus.  Complicating this normality is the new Lady Principal, whom the students have nicknamed “the Ogre.”  The woman seems bent on making Concordia’s life miserable.

And then there’s the exotic spirit medium, Madame Durand, who has befriended Concordia’s mother and has started a “Spirit Club” on campus.  Madame’s prognostications of doom are at first only mildly irritating – until events take a sobering turn.  An ancient Egyptian amulet donated to the college mysteriously disappears, the donor is found murdered, and his daughter – Concordia’s best friend – confesses to killing him.

Desperate for answers, Concordia unravels a 20-year-old secret, closely guarded by men now dead.  But such secrets can be dangerous for the daughters left behind, including Concordia herself.  Can she make sense of the mystery that has bound together their fates, before it’s too late?

Available as:

KindlePaperback, Nook, Smashwords, Kobo, iBooks

Unseemly Pursuits is the second book of the series.  The first book, Dangerous and Unseemly, was published in early 2013.

KB Owen SwagKit

An Unseemly Giveaway:

During K.B.’s Unseemly Pursuits book tour, which goes through the first week of March, there’s a giveaway at each blog stop (including here!).  The winner, randomly drawn from the commenters at each stop, will get a free ebook copy of Unseemly Pursuits.  At the end of the tour, she’ll hold another random drawing from among the ebook winners for the final prize: a special Concordia Wells series swag package! It includes customized mug, keychain, JellyBelly mini-tin, and signed paperback copies of the first two mysteries: Dangerous and Unseemly and Unseemly Pursuits. You can read, sip your coffee, and snack on candy in unseemly style. Check the sidebar on the home page of kbowenmysteries.com for the full tour schedule and other info.

To comment and enter for the Big Giveaway, come to 

Bayard & Holmes

Ghostbusters, 100 Years Ago by K.B. Owen

The End is Near (and we deserve it) . . . Dead Mice Chess Pieces

Taxidermy Chess: Play with Rooks and Dead Rodents

Because jade, onyx, wood, pottery, crystal, resin, plastic and origami chess sets are passé.

Taxidermied Mice Chess Set Etsy

For the rest of the mashup, click on the link below to come to our new website. Remember to subscribe while you’re there. We would hate to lose you in the move.

Bayard & Holmes

The End is Near (and we deserve it) . . .

Dead Mice Chess Pieces

The End is Near (and we deserve it) . . . Microsoft “Smart Bra” Nags You to Not Overeat

Microsoft Developed a “Smart Bra” for Dieting

Those of us over a size 8 already have to take crap from the TV, modeling, and White House industries. Now Microsoft wants us to take crap from our underwear, too? I have a better idea. How about use the money for a gym membership instead of a bra that nags us like a disapproving relative?

Canstock Red Bra

Click on the link below to go to the new Bayard & Holmes site for the rest of the mashup, including some wonderful books, links for Nelson Mandela and Paul Walker, great points about working out, and some humor. Remember to subscribe while you’re there. We would hate to lose you in the move.

Bayard & Holmes

The End Is Near (and we deserve it) . . .

Microsoft “Smart Bra” Nags You to Not Overeat

The End is Near (and we deserve it) . . . Funeral Selfies

Funeral Selfies? Yes, They Do Exist

Proving once again that bad taste on social media has no boundaries. Apparently, taking selfies at funerals and other serious places like Chernobyl, Pearl Harbor, ad Auschwitz is the new trend.

Click on the title for the text version.

gFuneral Selfie

For the rest of the Mashup and the Campaign Style Question of the Week, come on over to our new site, and remember to subscribe when you get there. We want to bring you all with us!

Bayard & Holmes

The End is Near (and we deserve it) . . .

Funeral Selfies

Cop Killer: A Phenomenal Thriller

Today we welcome two of our favorites to our site–Screenwriter and Best Selling Author Ryne Douglas Pearson and Author/Editor Ellie Ann. Holmes and I both thoroughly enjoyed this book by Ryne, the man Piper calls the Prince of Prose, and we hope you’ll check it out.

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Review of Cop Killer, by Ellie Ann

Product Synopsis:

Danny Owen. A hard-charging detective who thrives on the thrill of the chase, the danger in the catch. His life is the street. Dark alleys and vicious crimes fill his every waking moment, and often his dreams.

Until tragedy turns his world upside down.

Transferred to District One, considered the tamest slice of the city, Danny is partnered with veteran detective Jack James, a cool and methodical investigator whose near legendary tenure is considered pivotal in creating the District’s peaceful environment.

But even shining cities have their shadows, and the new partners find themselves facing a cold and calculating killer. One who might be avenging angel, or may simply be atoning for their own sins.

As Danny and Jack identify and close in on their suspect, the bounds of right and wrong, justice and vengeance, begin to blur. So much so that one detective begins to doubt just who is adversary, and who is ally.

This is an incredible tale of loyalty and trust, murder and mystery. What with the dark style and beautifully written prose, not to mention the themes of coldness/hardness and betrayal, it reminded me of a classic gothic novel. This is Wuthering Heights meets District 1.

The story is masterfully told. From the very first murder scene, I had a feeling I knew where the plot would end up–but I was wrong. And then around half the book I was sure I knew where it was headed–only to be surprised again. There’s nothing simple about this story. No decisions are black and white, and there are no knights in shining armor.

Danny is not your average protagonists. The first scene he was in made me sure I wasn’t going to like him–but as more layers were revealed in his character the more I realized what a complex, flawed, and inexplicably heroic soul he had.
I really can’t wait to see where this series goes. This book is highly recommended.

Check out Ryne Douglas Pearson’s website for buying options.

***

Screen Shot 2012-11-24 at 2.35.45 PM

Ellie Ann is an author and an editor for Stonehouse Ink Publishing. Check out her new thriller, Breaking Steele, and Twisting Steele, she co-authored with #1 Amazon bestseller Aaron Patterson. Her first solo novel, a YA science fiction called The Silver Sickle, was released this spring. Something else that tickles her fancy is working with transmedia books at Noble Beast Publishing, where she is a producer of enhanced digital books.

Ellie Ann blogs at EllieAnn.net and would love to meet you on Facebook or Twitter.

The End is Near (and we deserve it) . . . Man Crushed to Death by Own Marijuana

Guy Crushed to Death by His Own Marijuana Stash

A man in Brazil was trafficking 1100 pounds of marijuana in the back seat of his car. He led the police on a three mile high speed chase and crashed into a tree. When he crashed, the marijuana in the back seat came into the front seat and smashed him into the steering wheel.

Marijuana public domain wikimedia

As my Granny would say, “That’ll learn ya’.”

While this may be an eye-roller, I concede that it’s a good lesson for those of us who indulge in home repairs, squeezing all kinds of cabinets and plumbing apparatus into our vehicles. I mean, no one wants to die from a toilet attack in their car and end up on this blog, right?

Articles and Blogs in No Particular Order

Hands down my favorite story of the week. Badass WWII Veterans Storm Memorial on National Mall, Defy Government Shutdown Closure. The government actually took the time to put up barriers to our public memorials which always have open access at any other time. Wonder where they got the money for that? I love these vets!

Les Edgerton on Writing: HEROES. This guy knows what it takes to make it.

Congratulations to my awesome publisher, Aaron Patterson–known as A-Pat in the gossip rags–for making the USA Today Bestseller List with Sweet Dreams.

Sweet Dreams by Aaron Patterson

Small motorized object repair with Jess Witkins. I Broke the Fan, so Then I Fixed the Fan

23 Motivating Lessons from Zig Ziglar by Jenny Henson.

Of Monkeys and Men and How We All Need Love by Jennie Saia. Read this and then go hug someone.

Obamacare kicked in this week. Getting health insurance is a blessing for some, but the regulations and devastation to Medicare have been apocalyptic for others. For those who choose not to sign up for health insurance, they could lose their property. A Facebook post went viral when a man talked about how Obamacare allows the government to seize fines from his bank account or take his house. This is partially true. Here is what Snopes has to say about the draconian penalties of not rendering unto the massive social parasite that is our broken health care system. Snopes.com Penalty Shot

After that, we could all use some cheering up. Otter Pups Swim Lesson.

Campaign Style Question of the Week:

All the best to all of you for a week of sensible packing.

Piper Bayard

The End Is Near (and we deserve it) . . . Black Market Used Pregnancy Tests

Women are Selling Positive Pregnancy Tests?

Positive Pregnancy Test

Yep. You heard it right. Used pregnancy tests are now for sale on Craig’s List. Just in case you think screwing a guy over to get him to marry you is the right start for building a life together.

Click on the title above to view the text version.

Blogs and Articles in No Particular Order

Susie Lindau brings us fantastic pictures from the Colorado Flood Zone–Storm Chasing During Boulder’s 100-Year Flood. The storm was upgraded to a 500-Year Flood shortly after she posted this.

Former Boulder resident and New York Times Bestseller Bob Mayer reminds us, Seriously, You HAVE to be PREPARED for Emergencies.

Paige Kellerman proves her brilliance by finding humor in the fact that her house is sinking into the ground. For reals. In the Meantime, We’re Still Sinking. I also highly recommend her book, which I am currently enjoying–At Least My Belly Hides My Cankles. It will have you ROFL from the pregnancy test to the post-partum Pilates DVD.

At Least My Belly Hides My Cankles

10 Facts You Should Know about Migraines

20 Questions to Master Self-Reflection by Nathaniel McMillan at Mature by Nature.

Siri Paulson’s Guide to Train Travel in India.

Looking for Bigfoot? Follow This Map–Others Have Seen ‘Em There

Labor Leader: Obamacare “Needs to be Repealed” if Union Demands aren’t Met. Apparently, Obamacare is only for those who aren’t in Congress and who don’t have union leaders who can get them out of it.

A lot of people are wondering how we ended up with the outrageously expensive travesty that is Obamacare. This short, hysterical  film could help explain it. Help Kickstart WWIII!

I know. We all need a drink after that one. Can’t help you with that, but I can cheer you up with this story of solid decency. Dairy Queen Worker’s Good Deed Goes Viral

By fashion maven Jessica Farkas, Glam Closet: To Accessorze or Not . . . THAT is the Question! Great guidelines for those of us with Fashion Deficit Disorder.

Or how about some porn? Jenny Hansen at More Cowbell brings us the Porn-Watching Map of the U.S.

This article by Special Operations Speaks Out sums up the information that the Obama administration is withholding from the public about Benghazi. An Open Letter to Speaker of the House John Boehner

And to leave a sweeter taste in your mouth, the 4-Ingredient Key Lime Pie from K.B. Owen.

The kids are all back in school, so here’s one in honor of all of the teachers. Thank you for your time and efforts. Feel free to do this if you ever see my kid on the phone during your class.

Campaign Style Poll Daddy Question of the Week:

All the best to all of you for a week of keeping it real.

Piper Bayard

The End is Near (and we deserve it) . . . Bacon-Wrapped Ford Fiesta

Bacon-Wrapped Ford Fiesta

Proving once again that everything’s better with bacon. Click on title for text article.

Bacon Wrapped Ford Fiesta

Blogs and Articles in No Particular Order

Of course with this headline, my first thought was Best Selling Author of Cop Killer and Bacon Aficionado, Ryne Douglas Pearson. A One-Way Trip to Mars via Ryne.

Why I’m on Strike Today:  I can’t support myself on $7.85 at Burger King by Willietta Dukes at The Guardian.

Stop Jumping Jack Dogs by pet whisperer and thriller author Amy Shojai.

Rihanna writes A Letter to Miley Cyrus in a level-headed response to her criminal misuse of stage time.

Big congratulations to USA Today’s Best Selling Author Vicki Hinze! She and her co-authors of the Dangerous Desires Boxed Set make the List this week. Write on, Vicki! Now only $0.99 at Amazon.

Dangerous Desires

KM Huber tells us how Craniosacral Therapy is unique. The Gentle Touch

Slenderman’s Coming for You by Catie Rhodes at Misterio Press.

A Warning to College Profs from a High School Teacher via Sonia G. Medeiros.

The brilliant comedian Christina Bianco Diva Impressions ‘Total Eclipse of the Heart’ as Adele, Celine Dion, Julie Andrews, and others. Seriously impressive.

All the best to all of you for a tasty week.

Piper Bayard

The End is Near (and we deserve it) . . . Power Company Sends Hate Mail to Streetlight

Power Company Sends Threatening Letter to Freeloading Streetlight

Streetlight Canstock

In New Zealand, Clive Saleman received a letter from the power company warning that it was going to cut off his electricity. Then he noticed the letter wasn’t addressed to him. It was addressed to the streetlight outside his house. Click on the title above for the full story.

I am told that though this streetlight in New Zealand may lose its electric services, it is still a registered voter in Chicago.

And on a light note . . . couldn’t help myself, didn’t try . . . sometimes a picture really does say it all.

Marine helps boy finish race

A nine-year-old boy in a 5k race in Charlevoix, Michigan lost sight of his friends and asked a front runner, Marine Lance Corporal Myles Kerr, to help him. Kerr dropped back and kept pace with the child, encouraging him over the finish line. Read the full story here. Marine Runs Alongside Boy Struggling to Finish 5k Race

FIRELANDS News:

Find out what a theology professor has to say about FIRELANDS and its theocratic post-apocalyptic world. Dr. Steve Wiggins reviews the dystopian thriller at Sects and Violence in the Ancient World. FIRELANDS

Donna Newton interrogates me in 30 Seconds and pries out how Holmes has corrupted my language. 30 Second Interview with . . . Piper Bayard

Blogs and Articles in No Particular Order

J.K. Rowling and the Writer’s Dilemma – Discovery by M.J. Wright takes a look at what it takes to be “discovered.”

The Real Iron Throne by Marc Simonetti

The Real Iron Throne, Interview with Artist Marc Simonetti by Ellie Ann. Click over and see more brilliant art work from the man who George R.R. Martin says gets it.

Korean News Station Pokes Fun at KTVU with Fake American Pilot Names after Southwest Airlines Landing Gear Failure from Slothed.

Montana AG Denies All Media Requests to ID Those with Concealed Carry Weapons Permits. Thank you, Montana. We are not pedophiles or serial killers. We are law-abiding citizens. If we weren’t, we would be among the millions of criminals who carry concealed weapons without applying for permits.

Out this week from New York Times Best Selling Author and Special Forces Vet Bob Mayer–AREA 51: THE NIGHTSTALKERS BOOK 2.

Nightstalkers The Book of Truths

Susan Spann, brilliant historical author and publishing attorney, visits fellow author Kerry Schafer and talks about how grateful she is for the opportunity to pass on the generosity of NYT Bestselling Author and Heckuva Guy James Rollins. Paying It Forward

Why We Agree To and Achieve Goals. A fascinating article via Bestselling Author Diane Capri.

As some folks may have noticed, about half of the blogosphere is out on vacation this month. I think they must have seen this over at Julie Davidoski’s site, Go Jules Go.

I once spent a couple of weeks on Caye Caulker in Belize. The island motto is “Go Slow.” After watching this, I’m going to check on tickets.

Campaign Style Poll Daddy Question of the Week:

All the best to all of you for an enlightened week.

Piper Bayard