Friday, October 21, 2016

Friday's Film Adaption: The Oblong Box by Edgar Allan Poe

The Oblong Box is a short story by Edgar Allan Poe, first published in 1844.

The narrator of The Oblong Box, while on a packet-ship journey from Charleston, South Carolina, to New York City, becomes unusually curious about an oblong pine box that is kept in the state room of an old school acquaintance, Cornelius Wyatt...

A body snatcher mistakenly steals a coffin containing a madman who faked his death.

Release Date: June 11, 1069
Release Time: 91 minutes

Vincent Price - Julian
Christopher Lee - Dr. Newhartt
Rupert Davies - Kemp
Uta Levka - Heidi
Sally Geeson - Sally
Alister Williamson - Edward
Peter Arne - Trench
Hilary Dwyer - Elizabeth
Maxwell Shaw - Hackett
Carl Rigg - Norton
Harry Baird - N'Galo
Godfrey James - Weller
John Barrie - Franklin
Ivor Dean - Hawthorne

Author Bio:
Edgar Allan Poe (January 19, 1809 – October 7, 1849) was an American author, poet, editor, and literary critic, considered part of the American Romantic Movement. Best known for his tales of mystery and the macabre, Poe was one of the earliest American practitioners of the short story, and is generally considered the inventor of the detective fiction genre. He was the first well-known American writer to try to earn a living through writing alone, resulting in a financially difficult life and career.

Poe died in Baltimore at age 40; the cause of his death is unknown and has been variously attributed to alcohol poisoning, brain congestion, cholera, heart disease, and rabies.




The Poppy McQuire Series by Anina Collins

Series: Poppy McQuire #1-5
Author: Anina Collins
Genre: Mystery

The Eleventh Hour #1
Poppy McGuire has always been a curious soul, but it's her life that's usually the topic of conversation in the small town of Sunset Ridge. But now one of the town's most important citizens has been found murdered, and everyone's life is suspect.

What begins as a friendly wager with her old friend Officer Derek Hampton soon becomes far more for Poppy, and she turns to Alex Montero for help, but the enigmatic former Baltimore cop's quiet way hides as many secrets as each suspect they encounter.

Everyone in Sunset Ridge has something to hide, but Poppy and Alex are determined to uncover the identity of the murderer. They just have to watch that they don't become the next victims.

After Hours #2
While life in Sunset Ridge is quaint and charming during the day, what happens after the sun goes down might shock the citizens of this small town. Things are heating up in Poppy McGuire's home town, and it isn't just the July weather.

Poppy and her new partner Alex have their eyes opened to the realities of Sunset Ridge after dark when a traveling salesman is murdered in his room at the Hotel Piermont, a common destination for cheating spouses on the outskirts of town. When they find out what he sells, the mystery gets even more interesting.

Top of the Hour #3
Controversy sells as much as sex, and nobody knows that better than the local radio morning DJ who loves to talk politics. His shows enrage people, but who hated Lee Reynolds enough to shoot him point blank and leave him for dead in the woods outside of town?

Poppy and Alex have no shortage of suspects and for once aren't at odds on who they like for the crime. But all is not well between the partners. This time, murder has brought with it a new love interest for Poppy, but Alex isn't happy with this turn of events.

Will he lose Poppy, the one person he trusts in Sunset Ridge?

The Darkest Hour #4
Poppy and Alex come up against their toughest case yet, and they may never be the same again.

When someone close to both Poppy and Alex is found brutally murdered, all the clues point to Alex as the killer. But Poppy knows in her heart that her partner could never commit such a heinous crime. As the evidence begins to mount against him, Poppy must race against the clock to prove that the man she trusts with her very life isn't the murderer, even as everyone around her is convinced of his guilt.

But if Alex isn't the killer, who is? As the mystery unravels, the past and present finally meet in Sunset Ridge.

Happy Hour #5(Coming December 7, 2016)
Poppy and Alex are back for another mystery in Happy Hour, the fifth book in the Poppy McGuire Mystery Series!

Springtime brings warm weather and murder to Sunset Ridge, and for Poppy, this particular case strikes close to home.

Antiques dealer Marcus Tyne is found dead in the front seat of his friend’s car outside of McGuire’s after a Cinco de Mayo celebration, but at first glance, there’s no reason why he’s dead.

Until the coroner finds out he’s been poisoned.

When a second man is poisoned, Poppy and Alex are thrust into a mystery that threatens to tear them apart. While they struggle to solve the case as their differences become more apparent, a murderer walks free in Sunset Ridge and may have another victim in their sights.

The Eleventh Hour #1
I inhaled the delicious smell of my favorite coffee. The man certainly knew how to come bearing gifts first thing in the morning. But then it dawned on me. We’d never had coffee together, so how did he know this was my favorite? Lucky guess?

Taking it from him, I asked, “How did you know how to get it?"

Alexander gave me a sly smile that somehow made him even more attractive. “I’m a detective. It’s my job to know things like that.”

Oh, he was entirely too confident.

I offered him a seat at my kitchen table and took a drink of the dark roast coffee made exactly as I liked it—two sugars, three creamers, and ice. In fact, the temperature told me he’d gotten the number of ice cubes right too. Three. But how?

“So Mr. I’m a Detective, how did you know to get it just the right temperature and exactly the way I take it? I’m a pretty particular coffee drinker.”

Another smile, but this one was slow to spread across his face and so charming I almost looked away, worried I might blush at any moment. Almost. I didn’t look away, though, because I wanted the answer to my question.

“I pay attention to what goes on around me. I was sitting in The Grounds one morning when you came in and ordered that very particular cup of coffee. It stayed with me from that day.”

Still quite shocked at his even being there in my kitchen, I leveled my gaze on him and tried to determine if he was telling the truth or just trying to charm me. “So you’re telling me that you remembered the exact way I take my coffee, even though you didn’t know me from a can of paint…when did you hear this anyway?”

“A week or so ago.”

“From a week ago, when I was a perfect stranger to you and simply some person ordering a coffee, you remembered that this morning and got me my coffee just like I like it?”

He chuckled. “Yes, and the girl behind the counter knew how you took your coffee when I told her it was for you. I’d forgotten how many ice cubes, if we’re being honest.”

I took another sip of coffee and couldn’t help but smile. He probably charmed the pants off Jennie. And he probably didn’t have to remember anything about how I took my coffee because he just told her it was for me.

Detective indeed.

“So what are you doing here, Alexander?”

The smile slowly faded, and after taking a drink from his cup, he lowered his head slightly and looked me directly in the eyes. “I came to apologize for what happened last night.”

This guy had the most delicious brown eyes I’d ever seen. Brown like expensive milk chocolate, and at that moment, I felt myself getting lost in those eyes.

Snap out of it, Poppy! This isn’t some high school date. If he’s willing to make peace, maybe you can get his help on the case, so get your head out of the clouds and say something!

I turned away to break our shared gaze and then looked back at him. “I guess I should apologize too. I should have handled that differently. I’m sorry.”

“I am too. I shouldn’t have pulled my gun on you, and for that, I’m truly sorry. I have no excuse.”

Something in those eyes of his told me he did have an excuse but he wasn’t going to tell me. All the better because I sensed hurt lay behind how he acted.

Extending my hand, I offered my own olive branch. “No harm, no foul. Maybe if we pretend like we’re meeting for the first time we can put those other times behind us. Hi, I’m Poppy. Nice to meet you.”

That slow smile returned, and he took my hand in his to shake it. “Hi, Poppy. I’m Alexander, but my friends call me Alex.”

“Hi, Alex.”

And with those two words, everything between us changed.

After Hours #2
I found Alex standing in Room 307 with the coroner discussing the man hunched over the desk on the far wall with a kitchen knife sticking out of his back. The room looked orderly, other than the fact that a dead man was the focal point of it. The bed with its green and yellow geometric print bedspread neatly stretched across it looked as if no one had slept in it recently, and the victim’s single piece of luggage sat open and neatly packed on the stand near the closet just inside the door.

All in all, if there wasn’t a murder victim sitting there, the entire scene would look perfectly normal, albeit a bit too OCD for my taste. After spending months learning from my partner, though, I knew by the intense expression he wore as his eyes scanned the room that what surrounded the man with the knife in his back was anything but normal.

The coroner, an older man named Donny, smiled at me as he returned to examining the victim. Alex walked over to where I stood in the doorway, and in his usual calm way asked, “What took you so long?”

As I reached into my bag for a pair of gloves, I explained, “My boss. He’s a talker, so I couldn’t get here any sooner. Sorry.”

He smiled and nodded toward the coroner as he flipped through an empty brown wallet. “No problem, but I had to ask Donny to drag his feet since I wanted you to see this before he carted the victim off to the morgue.”

“Sorry, Donny. So what do we know?”

Alex thumbed through his little notebook and began reading. “As the victim sat at the desk doing work, the murderer stabbed him in the back with a knife from his room service tray he’d had delivered earlier last night around seven, according to the hotel. He was also stabbed about a dozen times more, all on various locations on his back. He was found by housekeeping at ten this morning when they came by to clean the room and didn’t see a Do Not Disturb sign on the door. We’ve dusted for prints, and I’ll be waiting to hear from the lab about them.”

“That’s a lot of stabbing. Seems like overkill.”

Looking up from his notes, he gave me a look that told me my flippant remark wasn’t helping. “So what do you think happened to Mr. Canton Walters here?”

I slipped on the same kind of blue latex gloves Alex wore and moved across the room. Looking over the thin man with curly blond hair and a knife in his back, I said the first thing that came to my mind. “I think this guy had at least one enemy who finally took that last step last night. Maybe something he did pushed them over the line. If I had to take a guess, I’d say a female.”

“Really? Why?”

I turned back to face Alex and knew he was quizzing me in his own way, so I took the challenge. “Men are more forthright and aggressive. There’s something sneaky to stabbing someone in the back as they sit at a desk doing work. That screams a woman to me.”

Donny lifted his head at my explanation and gave me a skeptical look. “She’d have to be a pretty strong woman. It takes some power to get a knife of any kind through muscles, and this knife is in there deep.”

“Well, I amend my statement then. A big woman. Maybe there’s a female weightlifting team staying in the area?”

Alex guided me toward the windows and out of the way of Donny and his men as they prepared to cart the body out. “I’ve never been to this place until today. You’re my resident historian on this town, so what can you tell me about it?”

“Think midnight rendezvous between secret lovers. Remember Dominick told us that he and Geneva used to meet at a hotel? It’s that kind of place. I’ve only been here once, but I can tell you it looks pretty much the same as when I was here years ago.”

“Have you really?” he asked, his dark eyes wide with interest as he stared down at me.

Top of the Hour #3
As I reached the three men, I took a deep breath of that heady dead leaf smell and exhaled, surprised at how winded that short walk had left me.

“Whew. I need to get into shape, it seems. No more danishes from The Grounds from this point on,” I joked as Alex and Craig chuckled in response.

“At least you’re in better shape than this poor guy,” Alex said in a somber voice. “No more anything for him.”

I looked down at the ground and saw a man lying face down on his stomach about five feet away. Dressed in jeans, he also wore a dark sport coat with an unmistakable bullet hole and bloodstain through the center right between his shoulder blades. A white bullseye drawn around the hole directed my gaze to it immediately.

Turning to look at Alex, I asked, “Someone think we needed help figuring out what killed him? I’m feeling like we should be insulted.”

He gave me a tiny smile as he tried to remain more professional. “I think the killer had something else in mind. This is Lee Reynolds.”

My head pivoted back to look at the dead man in front of us and I stared down to see something familiar in the body. Lee Reynolds had been the local version of a morning shock jock on AM 790 WXSN for the past five or so years. Offending people on a daily basis had become his trademark. Now the bullseye made sense.

“Wow, I didn’t realize that before now. Did you ever listen to his show?”

Craig leaned around Alex and raised his hand. “I did every morning. It was pretty addictive, actually. I didn’t even agree with most of his opinions on anything, but after the first couple shows, I couldn’t stop myself from listening.”

Looking over at Craig and then over at me, Alex mumbled, “Yeah, like a verbal train wreck. It looks like we’re supposed to believe one of those people he angered with his opinions finally got to him.”

“Do you?”

He stood silently looking down at our latest victim and shrugged. “I believe nothing right now other than Lee Reynolds is dead and someone shot him. Until I hear anything more, that’s all I can believe.”

Donny looked up from where he crouched next to the dead man and said, “Well, I can tell you it was a .38 that killed him and the murderer drew around the wound with what looks like regular sidewalk chalk like kids use to draw with.”

“Did we find the piece of chalk he used?” Alex asked no one in particular.

Craig shook his head. “Nope, not yet. There’s a lot of brush and leaves here, so it might take us a little while.”

“Search this entire area within a few hundred yards. Our murderer may have thought they were smart and threw it as they ran away, assuming they threw it at all.”

“Got it. I’ll let you know what I find,” Craig chirped as he switched on his flashlight and took off to begin his search.

“Can you tell us anything else, Donny?” I asked, hoping some kind of forensic evidence might help us start our investigation.

Even though he didn’t have to answer to me, the coroner for Sunset Ridge always did and always with a smile. “I’m guessing he’s been dead for a couple hours.”

The Darkest Hour #4
“Hello?” I groggily mumbled, silently asking why they’d interrupted my sleep.

“Poppy, it’s Derek. I’m sorry to wake you, but something’s happened.”

Hearing his deep voice instead of my father’s or Alex’s surprised me. Pulling the phone from my ear, I looked at the time. 4:17. Why was Derek calling me at four o’clock in the morning?

“What do you mean something’s happened?” I asked as my brain tried to recover from sleep mode.

“I need you to get down to the apartment building across the street from The Eagle. Hurry, okay?”

“What? What are you talking about?” I asked, slowly coming out of my fog, but it was no use. He was gone already.

I hopped out of bed and quickly dressed as my mind kicked into full panic mode and questions exploded one after another. Why was the police chief of Sunset Ridge calling me about something happening in the early hours of the morning? He had officers who handled the overnight shifts and hadn’t worked one since becoming chief nearly a year ago. What awful event had roused him from bed before his usual nine AM arrival at the station?

Then a horrible thought tore through my brain and made tears fill my eyes. Derek would only call me if something had happened to my father. Nothing else would make him involve me in one of his cases.

As I raced down the stairs to head out to my car, I called my father but it went directly to voicemail. That wasn’t normal. My father’s phone was always left on. He was one of those people who never let his phone run out of a charge. Over and over, I called and every time my heart sank a little lower when his comforting voice intoned that same voicemail message he’d had for as long as I could remember.

I backed out of my driveway like a bat out of hell and tore down the road toward the apartment building on Main Street where Derek waited to break the news that I’d lost my father. I wiped the tears rolling down my cheeks, warming the ice cold steering wheel with them. What had happened to him? Why would he have been at that building instead of at his place over the bar? My father hadn’t told me about anyone new in his life recently. Had he met someone at McGuire’s and gone back to her house?

A million ideas flashed through my mind. He’d been told by his doctor right before the holidays that he needed to lower his blood pressure, but his love of salt had continued unabated through Thanksgiving and Christmas. Had he had a heart attack and been found dead?

The last words I said to him echoed in my head as I parked my car a block away because of the police barrier. He’d called right before nine to remind me to turn on my humidifier since the heat had been running in my house and it tended to make it almost unbearably dry. I’d brushed him off because I was thinking of something Alex had mentioned about going to Baltimore for dinner one night this week and told him I’d be sure to get the humidifier running, the idea leaving me as soon as the words left my mouth. I’d then said goodbye and that I loved him, but it had been more rote than anything real and full of feeling.

How could I have been so thoughtless? My last words to him and they’d been nothing more than a daughter’s dismissiveness to the only real family she had left.

I wiped the tears from my cheeks and steeled myself for what Derek had to tell me. Craig stood in the middle of the street redirecting curious onlookers away from the apartment building about a block away and smiled at me when I approached him, but it wasn’t his usual happy smile. His face told me this wasn’t just some crime scene like usual.

And then he spoke and I knew it was bad.

Author Bio:
Anina Collins has always loved a good mystery. From Agatha Christie's Hercule Poirot to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's famous detective Sherlock Holmes to Dan Brown's intrepid Professor Robert Langdon, she's spent some of her favorite reading times with mystery novels. When she's not writing her favorite mystery couple, she can be found watching entirely too much Supernatural and dreaming about the beach.

Visit Anina's Facebook page for news about her books, along with giveaways and other fun stuff!

Visit her website and sign up for her newsletter today for exclusive news first!


The Eleventh Hour #1

After Hours #2

Top of the Hour #3

The Darkest Hour #4

Happy Hour #5(Coming December 7, 2016)
B&N  /  iTUNES  /  KOBO

Brought to you by: 

Release Day Blitz: Treasured Legacy by Holly Barbo

Title: Treasured 
Author: Holly Barbo
Series: Quick Reads #6
Genre: Thriller
Release Date: October 21, 2016
With dwindling time, Leone uses the last of her strength to share important family history with her only living relative: her grandson David. Despite her final request to not sell the family heirlooms, David and Anne look into it because of their desperate need for money. But the pieces have secrets and the young couple finds themselves in unexpected danger.

The old woman pulled the warm shawl around her shoulders with frail, liver-spotted hands. Reaching for her cup of tea, she took a sip. The cup rattled in the saucer as she set it down on the side table and looked up at the young man who was setting up the small electronic device.

“Thank you for doing this for me, David. You are the last of my family and I wanted you to know about your history and ancestry.”

He smiled and tucked the colorful afghan over the elder’s lap and feet. “Are you comfortable, Grandmother?”

At her nod, he sat near the video camera and raised his hand to float above it. “Let me know when you’re ready.”

Her faded eyes twinkled. “Start it. I have stories to share, and there isn’t much time on my end.”

With a wink, his finger brushed the start button and he sat back to listen.

“Our family has several heritages. Thirty years before the terror of the French Revolution, a talented gypsy silver smith named Silas Rose married a daughter of a Jewish jeweler named Boehmer. In the next twenty-five years, the two worked together and gained fame for the remarkably skilled pieces they crafted. Their work came to the attention of Louis XVI and later of Marie Antoinette. It was an unfortunate situation. A very expensive necklace had been commissioned…”
The bell above the door tinkled as the young man entered the ornate jewelry shop. An old gentleman stepped out from the back, his face breaking into a grin at the sight of his visitor. “Valentine! It is good to see you! Come in and tell me of your journey. Are Silas and Rebecca with you?”

The dark-haired youth shook his head, his expression solemn. “Is it time to close the shop for the day, Grandfather? I have much to share with you.”

For a long moment, the grey-haired man studied his grandson’s face. “Lock the door and pull the curtains. I’ll get the wine out of the cellar.”

Turning from his task of securing and barring the door, Valentine called over his shoulder, “I brought whiskey. Just get the glasses.”

Taking his bottle to the workroom, he helped his grandfather, Antoine Boehmer, to put away several partially completed projects into the safe. They finally settled in some chairs by the fireplace. Valentine poured two glasses and passed one to the older gentleman.

“No one wants to buy that necklace. They think it’s cursed. First there is the taint of King Louis XV commissioning the piece for Madame du Barry but dying before he could pay for it. Add to that Marie Antoinette refusing it…twice.” The young man shook his head. “The fiasco and scandal with the cardinal and Jeanne de la Motte has sealed the issue. No one will touch it. Father was able to sell several of the stones to jewelers in Amsterdam and that netted 1,000,000 livres. It doesn’t pay for your craftsmanship but it compensates us for the stones.” He handed over the packet of remaining gems and money.

“You traveled the roads of France and the streets of Paris carrying this? Mon Dieu! You could have had your throat slit! This is a king’s ransom for ninety percent of the people!”

“I was with Mother and Father on the ship. I left them in Le Havre as neither were feeling well. They urged me to see you right away. I was also eager to return to Jaelle before she gives birth.” He gestured to his travel-stained appearance. “I purposely didn’t clean up and wore my oldest clothing.” Valentine stood and looking down at his soiled presentation, made a grimace of disgust. “I need to stop and bathe, then it is off for home.”

“I’ll have Margaux prepare a bath for you. While you are waiting I must show you some special pieces of furniture that were made for me. Jean Henri, a German fellow named Roentgen and I collaborated on their design. Jean wanted to gild everything like his pieces in Versailles, but I talked him down to using beautiful marquetry instead…”

A Crystal Snowflake #7(Coming Soon)
When Chayse’s friend is murdered before he can get protective custody, she and her department in Homeland Security are thrust into a race to stop a destructive cyber worm from wiping out all bank and stock market records during the Christmas break.

The good news is there is an inoculating code which will stop the worm. The bad news is it is hidden in a special crystal concealed in the sculpted walls of a beautiful ice hotel in the lapland region of Sweden and the terrorists are searching for it too.

As the snow flurries of November becomes frozen December each side rush to find the crystal…with entirely different goals. Will the Christmas holiday bring destruction for western financial systems?

A Crystal Snowflake is a contemporary thriller. It has been previously published in Tendrils, The Edge of Madness boxed set and Wrapped with a Bow boxed set. It was also entered in a story competition seeking cinematic quality stories for movie potential, and made the quarter finals.

Author Bio:
Holly's world is shaped by her love of family, the beauty of the natural world and an irrepressible creative drive. She has always been curious and sees life through questions. These four characteristics color her writing voice. Holly's stories are mostly in non-urban settings and usually have some focus on nature, building discordant themes inside a seemingly peaceful refrain.

My motto: Weaving Alternative Worlds with Threads From Today.


Treasured Legacy #6

A Beltane Gift #1

The Tin of Honey #2

The Dragil: Broken Magic #3

A Battered Ball #4

Blinding Contract #5

Brought to you by: