Annual Christian Horror Novel Showcase

All Hallow’s Eve is the night before All Saints Day in the liturgical church. In fact, Halloween is shortened from All Hallow Even. In medieval times, Christians honored the dead on All Hallow’s Eve and built bonfires to ward off any evil spirits that might be abroad. Christians today recall to mind and honor those saints on any day who have passed away, not specifically on All Hallow’s Eve and All Soul’s Day. We rejoice that they are in heaven with our Lord. Because for us to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. Yet, these two days are observed on the Episcopal, Lutheran, and Roman Catholic calendars, among others. It was on All Hallow’s Eve 1517 in Wittenberg, Germany, when Martin Luther posted his 95 Theses thus setting in motion the Reformation of the Christian Church. So, I would imagine Luther thought the date appropriate to serious theological discourse and thought.

Of course secular America has turned the holiday in to a ghostly, ghoulish, prank-filled, often innocent humorous childish revelry. I’ve taken to showcasing Christian horror novels at this time of year.

A wonderful series of novels to kick off this showcase is Barbara Ellen Brink’s Amish Bloodsucker Trilogy. This is a Young Adult (YA) romp with vampire slayers that can be enjoyed at any age. CHOSEN, book one in this series was a finalist in the Grace Awards 2012 and the author’s SPLIT SENSE, an inspirational paranormal thriller won in the Grace Awards 2011 Speculative Fiction category.


Book One ~ Jael is just an average teenage girl with over-protective parents, an unrequited crush on the hottest guy at the school, and a best friend she shares everything with. Until her parents let her in on the secret they’ve kept for nearly sixteen years…

Jael is the Chosen One. Born to be a vampire slayer. Her destiny was written in the Book of the Shunned. She’s been chosen by God to set the Minnesota Loon Lake Amish community free from the grip of the Bishop, an ancient and powerful bloodsucker who has been using Amish people for his own personal jamba juice. Will she leave her friends and all she knows and follow her destiny to Minnesota willingly, or will the Bishop bring her destiny to Sunburn, Nevada?



Book Two ~ Jael leaves Nevada and her close friends, Brianna and Shadow, behind. She travels to the Loon Lake Amish community in Minnesota where she moves in with grandparents she’s never met and learns to live the plain and simple life…at least as plain and simple as she can handle. She may learn to milk a goat, but she is definitely NOT giving up her cell phone or crossbow!

While finishing out the school year at Loon Lake Public High School, she meets the guy of her dreams…someone to keep her company when she’s out staking vampires at night.

Her true purpose is to destroy the Bishop, the oldest and most powerful vampire of all. But first she must find out just what his diabolical plans are for the teenagers of the community, and put a stop to him and his undead followers before it’s too late.



Book Three ~  The Bishop is growing his vampire followers by leaps and bound, feeding on the naturally rebellious teenage population. Jael tried to keep one step ahead of the undead and their schemes while maintaining a semi-normal life. But living Amish while still being considered an outsider is beginning to wear on her. With old friends in town for the summer and a boyfriend as loyal as Captain America, Jael is never short of help. Slaying vamps and having people around that you love can be a dangerous combination. Jael has some hard decisions to make and she’s afraid not everyone will be on board. Will she fulfill her destiny or fall into the Bishop’s trap?



Ellen C. Maze is an amazing writer of the supernatural who’s novel RABBIT: CHASING BETH RIDER finaled in the Grace Awards 2010 Speculative Fiction category. Let’s see what Ellen is up to now in her series The Corescu Chronicles…

The Judging

Book One ~ THE JUDGING heats up when Hope Brannen, a young widow get romantically involved with the infamous Dr. Mark Corescu, a former priest dating back to 1640 in medieval Hungary. He  now lives in present-day Atlanta, Georgia where his is a self-proclaimed judge and executioner of evildoers who have sinned against God. He sees himself as an agent of God handing out justice.

Anthony Agricola, a part-time seminarian calls Corescu a vigilante. An interesting element is that the doctor doesn’t just execute his victims, he also drinks their blood. Through the centuries, he has murdered over one hundred thousand people or one each night since he began his campaign of reproach.


Damascus Road

Book Two ~ DAMASCUS ROAD finds Dr. Mark Corescu mortified by how he has rationalized judging the wicked to satisfy his blood-lust. He flees to a remote location in Europe intending to protect humanity from himself. But this leaves newly-made vampire Paul Black without a mentor. Black blames Tony Agricola and takes his revenge upon the mad of God who opened Corescu’s eyes to what he was doing. Somehow Agricola convinces Black to feed his blood-lust only on him and another preacher. However two detectives are following the trail of bodies Black and Corsecu have left. Finally Black and Agricola travel to Germany searching for Corescu. Hope Brannen, the jilted woman who loves Corescu follows. Will finding the ancient and now repentant vampire give the answers they seek?


Just The Facts Ma’am ~ Life Before Technology and Miranda

Police Car, 1950s 2

Fingerprints were the de rigueur means of positive identification from the 1920s to the 1950s. In 1903 the New York State Prison system began the first systematic use of fingerprints in the United States for criminals. By 1904 Leavenworth Federal Penitentiary in Kansas and the St. Louis Police Department had begun using finger printing. They were assisted by a Scotland Yard sergeant who had been on duty at the St. Louis World’s Fair Exposition guarding the British exhibition. In 1908 the first official finger print card was in devised.

In my Sanctuary Point series, set on the south shore of Long Island after World War II, stalwart detective Ian Daltry brings in suspects, gets out the marble slab, the ink, and the cards to finger print suspects. He then sends them to the lavatory where they endeavor to wash the mess off their hands with Lava soap.

At that time, every state and the FBI maintained voluminous, manually compiled, classified, and sorted finger print files. It would’ve been nigh a miracle to make a cold hit. There was nearly no way a latent print from a crime scene could be searched against all the various data bases country-wide as it can be done today with the Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS). The data bases were just too spread out for that type of search. However, once a suspect was developed through investigation, comparison of latent prints from the crime scene to the fingerprints of the suspect cleared lots of cases.

In those days, cases were solved the good old fashion way, going door-to-door looking for witnesses and asking questions. Developing strong investigative skills was a must. And circumstantial cases that would stand up in court were built by detectives, who had no computers to rely upon. Blood typing was available, but not conclusive. Still it would be compelling circumstantial evidence if the suspect had blood of the same type as the victim’s on his clothing.

Driver’s license and automobile license plate information was stored state-by-state in large, hand written ledger books. It took a phone call from local law enforcement to the state police or to the state’s motor vehicle department to get a look up. There was no NCIC computer system until 1967. Prior to that, the only way to find out if a car was stolen was by a telephone check of local police department hot sheets that were published daily in most cities. Police cars were radio equipped but there were no portable walkie-talkies. Most cities had call boxes scattered around town where police officers could periodically check in with headquarters. Every officer carried at least one dime with him in case he had to use a public phone booth. And it was a he. There were no female police officers.

There were also no tazers or pepper spray, so an out-of-control criminal would get a not so gentle tap of a black jack, sometimes called a sap or night stick. In my series the Sanctuary Point Police Department had a black jack hanging on the wall near the holding cells. In my Christmas whodunit, GOODBYE NOEL, it was used to threaten two mobsters who were getting out of hand during the booking process. There was also no Miranda warning during the detainment or arrest process. Detective Daltry simply pointed his revolver into the face of the bigger of the two and then marched them to the station. There was no doubt if they made a physical move on him that he would shoot.

Goodbye Noel, Amazon




The first body is found under a trimmed Christmas tree, the second as they ring in the New Year (1947), the third goes head long out a window. Will a young pediatric nurse determined to make it on her own be able to care for an infant whose mother was murdered and escape the killer who has struck again? Can she trust the stalwart village detective with her life and her heart as he works to catch this killer before somebody else dies?

Pediatric nurse, Katrina Lenart, grew up strong willed and independent minded, while sharing her mother’s flair for high fashion. When the police chief gives her an orphaned baby to care for, her maternal instincts take over and she’s willing to fight anyone who might not have the infant’s best interests at heart, even the man she’s growing to love. After an attempt is made to kidnap the baby, she and the resolute village detective team up and do some sleuthing, undercover at a cult as well as at a fancy ball.

Detective Ian Daltry is a widower with a child and is not interested in a new love. Hunting a killer who stops at nothing has placed him in the position where he must protect a beautiful young woman he’s drawn to. Is there’s something he’s overlooked in analyzing the case? Will he find out what that is before this ruthless murderer kills someone he loves?



Barnes & Noble/Nook.

Techno Undercover Tactics ~ Are They Today’s Reality or the Realm of Fiction Writers?

2007.5 Ziggy Incognito

In the good olde days, or the bad olde days, depending on ones perspective, the very first thing an undercover operative might want to do is mask his or her appearance.

But in today’s high tech world, things have changed a lot…

All the good espionage toys and gadgets have been the creation of action-adventure, crime fiction thriller, and futuristic sci-fi novels. Well not any more.

Although while not a secret, it’s not generally known that a powerful new tool was tested during protests at the Republican National Convention (2012). Smart phones were used to video the crowd and to communicate one agent to the other. Prior to that an undercover operative might be discovered if seen with an earbud sticking out of his or her ear. The use of specially outfitted smartphones and tablets made operatives blend in with a high-techno crowd. As first reported in the National Journal, September 17, 2012, these special apps allowed operative on the ground at the convention to send real-time voice, video, and data. Law enforcement officials around the country are excited about the possibilities of using this new technology. It’s as if they have entered a realm that here-to-fore had be the providence of hyped-up crime fiction thrillers.

According to the developers of this technology, police departments who were monitoring the protests used a next-generation broadband network not only to send secure voice, video, and data communications, but also to send evidence-quality, permanent recording of all data collected at the protest. But not only that, the system brought together fixed-surveillance camera feeds, live video transmitted from the operatives smartphones…as well as global-positioning system information, and traditional radio traffic. Wow!

According to Darlene Storm (whose motto is surveillance is sexy) on the blog CompterWorld, this real-time video and data was fed into the 94 camera RNC surveillance system which is connected to a wireless network. All video of the protest will be stored for four years.

Now, since turn-around-is-fair-play, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has encouraged reverse-surveillance and has released a stealthy Android app called Police Tape whereby citizens can secretly record law enforcement personnel. It’s become an age where everyone can spy on everyone, anywhere, all the time. Ain’t it wonderful?