#SpecialGuest – Sue Coletta – #PrettyEvilNewEngland

Hi, Everybody! Today, I am very pleased to welcome special guest Sue Coletta, sharing her latest book, a non-fiction work entitled Pretty Evil New England. 

Many of you are familiar with Sue’s fictional thriller/murder/crime novels, but I think you’ll enjoy finding out more about how
her new, non-fiction book came to be.

NOTE: To win a free paperback copy of Pretty Evil New England, all you have to do is leave a comment below. I will be drawing names from a hat at the end of the day, and the winner will be posted tomorrow. Good luck!

Now, without further ado, here’s, Sue!

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Thanks, Marcia. Nice to be visiting you today.

Writing true crime has many moving parts. My background as a thriller writer helped, but I also needed to maintain a factual narrative. Thankfully, I’ve always been a research junkie, so that wasn’t a problem. Combining the two was a little trickier. I can’t tell you how many times I feared blowing the opportunity. For those who don’t know me, in May 2019 a large publishing house reached out to me to write true crime. Not just any true crime book. They asked for historical true crime about female serial killers of New England prior to 1950.

Sounds like a dream opportunity, right? I mean, c’mon, it’s not every day a publisher seeks out a writer. It’s usually the other way around.

ONE PROBLEM

I wrote fiction. Not historical fiction, either. Contemporary psychological thrillers/serial killer thrillers. See why I panicked?

To my credit I’d written true crime stories on my blog — still do — but never an entire book. What that means is, I didn’t have a signature style for true crime. I’m not the type to travel Easy Street, so while writing I also had to develop a unique style to attract readers within my core audience and beyond.

During those early weeks of my deadline, I’d rip my hair out, totally convinced that I could never pull this off, that I “fake it till you make it” my way right down an endless pit. Every time I panicked my husband reminded me that I do the same thing with every book. Why should Pretty Evil New England be any different? He’s right, of course. Part of my process is to convince myself that I’ll never be able to outdo my previous book. Why do writers do that? We’re our own worst critics.

POST-PANIC

Once I’d moved past the self-doubt stage, I was surprised by how much I enjoyed writing in this genre. And now, I’m hooked! The same day I submitted the full manuscript of Pretty Evil New England to my publisher, I searched for an exciting new female serial killer to feature in my next true crime book. I even created a tagline for my true crime persona: Breathing new life into dead serial killers. 😊

EXHILARATION

Did all my worry and frustration work out in the end? Well, I made my deadline, and the publisher couldn’t be more thrilled. Early reader reactions are also encouraging, but only you can judge whether Pretty Evil New England is right for you. I will say, some readers might find the book frightening, creepy, or both — cough, Marcia — because whenever possible I wrote from the killer’s perspective.

Living inside the mind of female serial killer isn’t for everyone. Try living inside five at once. David Attenborough became my savior. Whenever I felt overwhelmed by murderous thoughts and actions I flipped on Netflix and sank into one of his amazing nature documentaries. Still do.

EXCERPT

Before boarding with Mr. and Mrs. Beedle, Jane Toppan lived down the road at 19 Wendell Street, the home of Israel and Lovey Dunham. “Mr. Dunham was getting pretty old—about seventy-seven—and was feeble and fussy,” she would later confess. “I thought a little morphia would do him good, but I gave him too much and he never woke up. It was just as well for him.”

Israel Dunham died on May 26, 1895. The doctors misdiagnosed the cause of death as heart failure.

I continued to live in the same place, and two years later I found Mrs. Dunham rather troublesome. She was old and cranky, so I gave her the same dose as her husband, and she passed away [on] September 19, 1897.

After murdering the Dunhams, Jane moved in with Mr. and Mrs. Beedle. They, however, employed a live-in housekeeper named Mary Sullivan. As far as Jane was concerned, Mary’s services were no longer required. So, she drugged the young woman into a stupor with morphia. When Jane beckoned Mrs. Beedle up to Mary’s room on the second floor, the housekeeper lay spread-eagle on the bed. Jane insisted Mary had a drinking problem, probably sneaking alcohol during work hours, too. Mrs. Beedle fired her housekeeper on the spot.

Jane sniggered. The plan had worked better than expected.

Now with full control of the household, Jane poisoned the Beedles on a whim. She only gave enough of her deadly cocktail to cause gastrointestinal upset. Perhaps this was her way of reminding Mr. and Mrs. Beedle just how helpful and convenient a live-in nurse could be, thereby securing a warm place to sleep without the threat of eviction hanging over her head.

As Mattie Davis knocked at the Beedles’ front door that June evening, the family was just sitting down to dinner. Eliza Beedle insisted that Mattie join them. Jane hustled into the kitchen and returned to the dining room with a glass of Hunyadi (a medicinal mineral water) for her friend.

“You must be very thirsty after your trip,” she said as she passed Mattie the glass.

During dinner, Mattie told the embarrassing story of falling in full view of everyone on the train. By the end of the meal she’d drained the last drop of mineral water. Jane suggested they walk to the bank so she could withdraw the funds to pay her overdue balance. Since Mattie needed to deposit cash anyway, she agreed. But when she rose from the table, the room spun off its axis. Woozy, Mattie slapped a hand on the back of her chair.

“Perhaps it was that fall,” suggested Jane. “Should we wait for a while?”

“No, no, I’m fine.” Mattie couldn’t let her condition stand in her way, not with being so close to achieving her goal. After all, collecting the money from Jane was the main reason she’d traveled to Cambridge in the first place. Her family had waited long enough for payment.

Once Mattie stepped outside into the sultry night air, she let out a groan and crumbled to the street.

With no one else around, Jane bent down to wrangle Mattie to her feet. Perhaps she added too much morphia to the Hunyadi water. Now she had to practically carry Mattie into the house. Thank goodness she hadn’t gotten far before she collapsed.

Grunting, Jane heaved the lethargic woman back inside. Melvin Beedle jogged over to assist in carrying a limp Mattie Davis up the stairs to the guest bedroom. When Melvin dashed back down the stairs to fetch a cold glass of water for Mattie, who looked like she’d fainted from the heat, Jane darted into her own bedroom and swiped a hypodermic needle from her bag. Back in the guest room, low whimpers escaped Mattie’s lips.

So I gave her another small dose of morphia. And that quieted her.

BOOK DESCRIPTION

For four centuries, New England has been a cradle of crime and murder—from the Salem witch trials to the modern-day mafia. Nineteenth century New England was the hunting ground of five female serial killers: Jane Toppan, Lydia Sherman, Nellie Webb, Harriet E. Nason, and Sarah Jane Robinson.

Female killers are often portrayed as caricatures: Black Widows, Angels of Death, or Femme Fatales. But the real stories of these women are much more complex. In Pretty Evil New England, true crime author Sue Coletta tells the story of these five women, from broken childhoods, to first brushes with death, and she examines the overwhelming urges that propelled these women to take the lives of a combined total of more than one-hundred innocent victims.

The murders, investigations, trials, and ultimate verdicts will stun and surprise readers as they live vicariously through the killers and the would-be victims that lived to tell their stories.

BUY Pretty Evil New England here:

Amazon (all countries, Kindle & paperback)
Barnes & Noble (NOOK & paperback)
Books-A-Million (ebook & paperback)
IndieBound (paperback)
BookShop (paperback pre-order sale)
Globe Pequot
Rowman & Littlefield

Author Sue Coletta

Sue Coletta is an active member of Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, and International Thriller Writers. Feedspot and Expertido.org named her Murder Blog as one of the “Top 100 Crime Blogs on the Net” (Murder Blog sits at #5) for four years in a row. She also blogs at the Kill Zone, a multi-award-winning writing blog, and writes two serial killer thriller series (Tirgearr Publishing) and narrative nonfiction/true crime for Globe Pequot, trade division of Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group.

You can reach Sue on Social Media here:

Website / FacebookTwitter / Amazon  / Goodreads /

TigearrPublishing / Globe Pequot (Rowman & Littlefield/ 

#Special Guest – #SpecialSale – #SubjectA36 by Teri Polen

Teri Polen has some great news for you folks today! Be sure
to take advantage of this one!
***

Thanks so much, Marcia, for allowing me to do some book promotion on your blog! My most recent release, Subject A36, will be on sale for $0.99 TOMORROW ONLY! I’m currently hard at work on the sequel, which will be released in 2021. Below are the blurb and Amazon link – but remember, don’t click on it until tomorrow!

If genetic engineering could guarantee you and your family perfect health and unparalleled beauty, would you pay top dollar for it? Would you kill for it?

Residents of the Colony would. And do.

Only the Insurgents can stop them.

Seventeen-year-old Asher Solomon is a premier operative with the Insurgents. He and his team have rescued countless hostages, saving them from painful deaths in Colony labs as desirable genetic traits are stripped from their bodies.

He’s also suffered more losses than anyone should have to.

Then Asher gets intel that might give his people the upper hand. The Colony is searching for Subject A36. If the Insurgents determine the subject’s identity first, they might be able to turn the tide of the war.

Asher and his team embark on their riskiest mission ever, and the stakes have never been higher. But even if he survives the physical dangers, the devastating secrets he uncovers might destroy him.

Amazon Purchase Link


Author Teri Polen

Teri Polen reads and watches horror, sci-fi, and fantasy.  The Walking Dead, Harry Potter, and anything Marvel-related are likely to cause fangirl delirium.  She lives in Bowling Green, KY with her husband, sons, and black cat.  Her first novel, Sarah, a YA horror/thriller, was a horror finalist in the 2017 Next Generation Indie Book Awards.  Visit her online at www.teripolen.com

Contact Links:
Website:  https://teripolen.com/
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/TeriPolenAuthor/
Twitter:  https://twitter.com/TPolen6
Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16114393.Teri_Polen
Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/tpolen6/
Pinterest:  https://www.pinterest.com/teripolen/
BookBub:  https://www.bookbub.com/profile/teri-polen

 

Special Guest Lynda McKinney Lambert – Visual Artist – InSights 20

 

It is my great pleasure to introduce a very Special Guest today. Please help me welcome visual artist Lynda McKinney Lambert back to The Write Stuff. Lynda is going to tell us in her own words (and poetry) about her amazing and beautiful work as a visual artist, and how she accomplishes this with seriously compromised vision. I think you’ll be inspired by what determination and a positive attitude can accomplish, so without further ado, please tell us your latest news, Lynda!

UPDATE: Lynda’s beautiful beadwork tied for first place in the Crafts Division of the Insights 20 international art website found HERE. Please check out her finished work after you read her post. It’s absolutely marvelous! Congratulations, Lynda!! 

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Hi, Marcia! Thanks for having me here today. The InSights 20 is an international art exhibition held each year in Louisville, KY, by the American Printing House for the Blind. The show opens on October 7 – online this year due to restrictions caused by the pandemic.

The artwork will be on the separate InSights Art website,  located HERE.  This website will be open at 8:00am, October 7, which is the first day of APH’s Annual Meeting, of which the InSights Art exhibit and Awards are part.

All artists in this annual exhibition have sight loss. I have “profound sight loss,” but I can do my intricate work by using technologies for the blind. In my case, I use an Acrobat Closed Circuit TV.  I will attach a photo of how this looks as I am working. 

Using this CC T V, I am able to see colors and objects, which I cannot see without such magnification.  My husband, Bob, helps me initially by pulling the colors of beads I want to use for the project.  This is my palette that I work from.

I can only work with one tiny bead at a time and use only one colour at a time on my desk.  This keeps me organized so that I don’t get the beads confused since I cannot see them without the equipment.

Marcia, I wrote a poem that describes how I create a talisman and the thought process that takes place as I work.

“A Talisman”
by Lynda McKinney Lambert

Visualize a talisman-
precious stones and crystals
woven in bold patterns
plenty of Japanese glass seed beads
tiny drops of perfect symmetry.

I select flawless beads
stab them onto steel needles
hundreds of stitches
thrust them one at a time
upwards into the heavens
endlessly.

I plunge my thin needle
deep through layers of stiff cloth
make my stitches sure
hold tight.

I’m a warrior woman
thumping my spirit-drum
made of dappled starlight.

I measure timeless days
counting beads in
a mystical circle
held together
with a bronze toggle clasp.

A Talisman brings
protection from evil
healing for weary spirits
nourishment for aching bodies
courage for new directions
on a pilgrimage
over treacherous pathways
guides my dimmed eyes
and nervous steps.

Black onyx ovals
are like a vintage fan
unfurled with a flourish
or a sacred victory flag
prepared to cast an invocation.

my fingers stroke cold stones
glossy-smooth, polished, faceted.
gifts for a King.

______

A Talisman – August 2, 2020
Written by Lynda McKinney Lambert
Copyright August 2, 2020. All rights reserved.

~~~


Visual Artist and  Author Lynda McKinney Lambert

I am a visual artist and hold the BFA and MFA degrees in painting. I also write and have 4 books on Amazon at this time – I have the MA degree in English. I’m a retired university professor of fine arts and humanities (Geneva College, Beaver Falls, PA)  and I retired in 2008 after sudden and permanent sight loss.

My MISSION STATEMENT

  • I am the keeper of memories. I distill and share them  through  art and writing.
  • I reveal what is forgotten, lost, or unseen.
  • I write  spare poems and thoughtful personal essays.
  • I create art with  brilliant colors &  precious materials, one stitch at a time.

~~~

“I can see why this (talisman)  captured first place. It captures the exact discipline of  the oriental master. Every stitch exact. Every stitch with a meaning. Every stitch with history behind it.  Bravo.”  ~  Leonard Tuchyner,  A Journey to Elsewhere: Poetry Through the Seasons of Life. 

“Throughout this book (Star Signs: New and Selected Poems, DLD Books, 2019) of poems , these gems of poetic creation shimmer like beads on her fabric art, like bold brush strokes on her prize-winning piece of mixed-media  fiber artwork,  It seems this entire collection is like a multifaceted  mural.”   ~  Wesley D. Sims, Taste of Change

“Lambert notices the colors and sounds that surround us., those odes that barely register through our buds and pads, and windshields , and she names them for us and she remembers them for us.” ~  Russell Streur, Editor, Plum Tree Tavern Literary Magazine

~~~

My thanks to you, Lynda, for sharing your story and your art with us today. I know others have found this as interesting and inspiring as I have. Folks, I encourage you to click on the link to InSights Art and check out Lynda’s work and that of other visually compromised artists. And if you’ve enjoyed learning about Lynda and her process for creating her beautiful beadwork, please let her know at one of the links below. Also be sure to check out her books of poetry, as well. You’ll be glad you did! 🙂


You can reach Lynda online here:
E-mail: riverwoman@zoominternet.net 
My website: http://www.lyndalambert.com
My Authors Page at DLD Books:  http://www.dldbooks.com/lyndalambert/

Lynda’s  Books Are Also Available on Amazon.com

Star Signs: New and Selected Poems by [Lynda Lambert]

Star Signs Available on Amazon HERE

Walking by Inner Vision: Stories & Poems by [Lynda McKinney Lambert]

Walking By Inner Vision Available on Amazon HERE