Wednesday, November 30, 2011

MAGIC, MONSTERS & MYTHICAL CREATURES




As summers’ long, lazy days come slowly to an end and autumn begins to push into its place, we find ourselves on a brand new journey of discovery. This journey will take us from witches to warlocks, from devils to demons, from elves to fairies and everything in between. So, light the candles and pull up a seat as I welcome you to the world of…



WITCHES & WITCHCRAFT
Throughout the ages, many different eras have come and gone in mankind’s history. Some are rumors, whispered in dark rooms and rarely spoken of in the daylight hours. But others twisted our history and our psyche as they left huge black marks on our past.
Witchcraft, in history, has been defined as the use of mythological, religious, supernatural or magical powers. Naturally, anyone who practices witchcraft is labeled a witch and oftentimes, with harrowing consequences.
It was often believed, in many cultures, that witches were in league with the Devil himself and only used their powers for evil or to bring harm to others. Today, there are many thoughts on witches & witchcraft, but more often than not, they are viewed simply as good or bad. It was not always this way.
In the early fourteenth and fifteenth centuries in Europe, witchcraft was brought to the attention of those in positions of power within the churches and towns. So began the infamous witch-hunts, where an estimated forty to one hundred thousand men and women were accused of witchcraft and subsequently executed for their deemed roles as cohorts of Satan. They suffered horrible deaths by hanging, burning or even drowning and many were most likely, innocent of their accused crimes.
Europe was not the only place where witchcraft was condemned and, in what has become widely known throughout the world, Massachusetts would leave a dark stain on our nation’s history, forever.
In 1645 in Springfield, Massachusetts, the very first accusations of witchcraft were brought forth by a husband and wife. While each accused the other of evil dealings with the Devil, the husband was later found innocent while the wife was, at first, acquitted then subsequently convicted of murdering her child and sentenced to hang. She did not make it to the noose and died while imprisoned. What began as a domestic squabble, quickly spun out of control and within the next eighteen years, eighty people would find themselves accused of witchcraft. Thirteen women and two men met with an untimely demise during those years and each were executed for their presumed roles as witches.
In what would later become the most widely known witch-hunts in history and would be the inspiration for many books and films, the Salem Witch Trials took place from February 1692 through May of 1693. The Salem witch trials were a series of hearings held before the local magistrate in Essex, Suffolk and Middlesex Counties in colonial Massachusetts. Over one hundred fifty people were arrested and imprisoned for witchcraft. The two courts convicted twenty-nine people of witchcraft, which was considered a capitol felony, nineteen of which, were hanged. One man who refused to enter a guilty plea was crushed to death beneath giant stones in an attempt to coax a confession from him. At least five others, who were accused, but never convicted, died while imprisoned.
Though known in history as the "Salem" witch trials, the hearings took place in several towns including Salem Village, Ipswich, Andover and Salem Town, Massachusetts. The best-known trials were conducted by the Court of Oyer and Terminer in 1692 in Salem Town. Twenty-six people went to trial before this court…
All were convicted.
The same town where witchcraft was once met with disdain now makes a mean business of witches and the art of witchcraft. Salem, Massachusetts’ tourism is the backbone of their economy and many visitors come to get a look at the town where witches who were once hung are now celebrated. You can visit famous places where witches were hanged, take a haunted tour at Halloween and even take home a witchy souvenir or two.

The focus on witchcraft died down after the trials, but some writers would see to it that no one ever forgot. In 1953 American playwright Arthur Miller wrote his dramatization of the Salem witch trials, The Crucible. The play was made into a movie of the same name many years later and starred Winona Ryder & Daniel Day-Lewis. It is also the basis for study throughout many of our school systems and today, considered a classic. The Witches is a children's book by Roald Dahl and it was first published in London in 1983. With beautiful illustrations and a ton of controversy to go with it, it remains one of the greatest witch books ever written and can be found in most libraries.
There would be a TV show that would emerge in the 1960’s with a fresh new take on the witch. Bewitched, starred Elizabeth Montgomery as an average wife with some above average talents and with just a wiggle of her nose, she gave America a new outlook on witches. Other TV shows would later follow in the footsteps of Bewitched by offering a more positive take on the dark subject of witches. Charmed debuted in 1998 and featured the four, fictional Halliwell sisters—Prue, Piper, Phoebe and Paige. Known as The Charmed Ones in the magical community, they were from the most powerful line of good witches in history and sent to protect innocent lives against evil beings, such as demons and warlocks. Each sister possessed her own unique magical power that she tried, often without success, to keep hidden from the world, while living a somehow normal life in San Francisco. The series was a huge hit and ran for many seasons. It is still in syndication today.
Two unknowns would ignite the world’s fascination with witches when they introduced their debut young adult novel in 2009. Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl made a huge splash in the literary world with their novel Beautiful Creatures. Billed as one of the best debuts of 2009, the book was followed up by a second book in the series, Beautiful Darkness, the following year. The next book in this franchise, Beautiful Chaos, will be released in October of this year. Not only did the books gain worldwide recognition from readers, but also grabbed Hollywood’s attention and has been optioned by Warner Brothers as a major motion picture! That is a far cry from the Salem Witch Trials.
A recent movie release that would bring a little of the darkness back to the witch is 2011’s Beastly. In it, a boy is cursed by a modern day witch, played by Mary-Kate Olsen. He is given one year to change the person he has become on the inside & find someone to love him for who he is or spend the rest of his life severely scarred and tattooed from head to toe.
Witches and witchcraft have come a very long way from the days of witch-hunts and mass executions. From Bugs Bunny’s fantastic Witch Hazel with her broom stick and flying hair pins that we loved as kids, to the unusual loveliness of Lena in Beautiful Creatures, witches have fascinated us for many years been a huge part of our history as a people.
Witches are no longer the hideous hags we believed them to be as children. There is no wart on their long, bulbous nose to give them away or a cackle in their voice that spells certain doom. Witches are all around us, but often hidden from our view. They could be your neighbor or the girl down at the super market or even the writer who weaves those wicked tales you love to read. So, whatever you do, watch what you say and how you treat those strangers you pass on the street or risk hearing the dreading words…
For a charm of powerful trouble,
Like a hell-broth boil and bubble.
Double, double toil and trouble!!!

CK Webb

Monday, October 10, 2011

AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT:

MARK P. SADLER



Sadler’s humble beginnings started in a small caravan in his grandmother’s garden in Post War Britain, May 1956.

Life started in the little nursing home in Dudley, and moved to a caravan in his grandparents back garden, until his aunt and her new husband moved out of the big house. For the next three years the new family inhabited the upstairs of the house on the hill in Woodsetton. Young Sadler quickly learned the joy of discovery through books as his mother, a pre-school teacher, read countless stories to him. He was reading at a level two years ahead of his age by the time he entered school and won his first reading prize in his beginning year at St. Nicholas’ Primary in Codsall, Staffordshire.

The family had by this time moved to the country, living in a small bungalow in Codsall Wood. By the time he graduated from Codsall Comprehensive in 1974 a future in writing seemed to be taking a clear path. The following year Sadler immigrated to the States on a student visa to attend Ambassador College Big Sandy Texas and participated in journalism and speech classes, intent on becoming the next big television news anchor.

As is often the case life got in the way. After hitchhiking from Dallas to Los Angeles a random blind date turned into a serious commitment, and just four months later, a blushing bride with a blooming belly, led him to Oklahoma City. With a family to care for Sadler went about his way over the next seven years trying to find a way to support what had now become two boys and a wife unable to work through illness. Writing took a back seat.

From the factory floors of Robberson Steel to the sales floor at Intempo Wood Factory, from employment counselor to debt collector, he finally found a permanent position at Retail Merchants Collection Service. Debt collections led to career that has now spanned over thirty years and has remained the one constant in his soap opera of a life. There were times, as the boys became teenagers that the opportunity came to write.

One day in 1980, picking up a copy of a new publication, OKC Sports Fan Forum, he noticed that there was no soccer mentioned, typical of just about any publication in Oklahoma that was so entrenched in football, basketball and baseball. When he called to complain to the editors he was offered the opportunity to write an editorial column covering the progression of soccer in Oklahoma as America faced the hosting of the World Cup.

When 2007 rolled around it found Sadler remarried and living in Tucson, having moved there in 1993. His two boys were now young men with children of their own, and a third son from his third marriage starting high school. With a little extra time on his hands he once again took up the skills that had engrained themselves in him during high school, and took on the task that he knew one day he would succeed in; it was time to write a book.

Inspiration hit, as it tends to do, at one in the morning. Armed with bludgeoning thoughts he turned on the computer and let the words flow. Several months later he enrolled in a class at Pima Community College and under the tutorial of Meg Files learned how to control the form of the words until Blood on His Hands was born.

The search for an agent for a new unpublished author proved daunting, nay impossible, and so along with one in every three books written this year Sadler decided to self-publish. Seeking the services of print on demand publisher Infinity Publishing the project went ahead. The novel should be available for ordering by early May 2009.

Sadler lives with his wife in Tucson, where he is working on his next novel. He is a contributor for Suspense Magazine. You can learn more about Mark by visiting his website at http://marksadler.com/



You can prchase Mark's book, Blood On His Hands, by clicking the book cover.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Things That Come Out At Night







WereWolves

“Even a man who is pure in heart and says his prayers by night, may become a wolf when the wolf bane blooms, and the autumn moon is bright.” Wolfman ~1941

No matter your age or where you are from, chances are, at some point you were frightened by a creature that comes out at night. Some had fangs and drank blood, others were walking corpses that feasted on the brains of the living, but some looked no different than you and I. They could roam the world as everyday humans and go unnoticed until...the next full moon would find them sprouting thick coats of fur and preying on the throats of unsuspecting travelers in the night. Some werewolves were even graced with the ability to transform at will, making them an even more frightening creature of the night.


The very first werewolf movie that I cut my teeth on as a child was An American Werewolf In London. Even today, it is the standard by which I judge all werewolf books or movies. I was 8 years old and it was absolutely brilliant. Considering the date and the technology available then, it is still one of the greatest transformation scenes I have ever watched and very few can hold a candle to it.


Werewolves hold a unique place in our hearts and minds, but where did this concept of half man, half wolf emerge from and how has it changed throughout the years? Let us quickly find out before the full moon's glow shines brightly and some of us are no longer the same.
As children our first taste of werewolves probably came from the childhood fairytale Little Red Riding Hood, but in history, werewolf folklore dates back thousands of years. In 8 A.D., Ovid wrote the Latin narrative poem Metamorphosis which follows a man cursed to roam the earth as a werewolf because of the heinous crimes he has committed against a child. Other great poets of the same era would dip into the werewolf tale. Virgil, Pliny The Elder and Gaius Petronius Arbiter, were just a few. Some of Arbiter's works on the subject date back as far as 60 B.C.


The origins of the werewolf tale stem from a primitive time when forests covered most of the landscape and animals were quick to steal a bite to eat from the sparse populations of humans that inhabited their lands. Europeans were some who turned terror and misunderstanding into legend and are credited with some of the very first werewolf tales.


In a time where medicine was confined to medicinal herbs, hocus pocus remedies and cures, mental illness was not something that anyone had ever heard of. As such, a person who was suffering from lycanthropy was not mentally unstable and in need of medication, sedation and observation, but was someone who was indeed cursed to be a werewolf and needed to be exterminated in order to save their soul. Sounds crazy to us, but to those living in these wilderness times when humanity was just finding its way, it made perfect sense. Today we understand lycanthropy to be the mental illness associated with schizophrenia where a person becomes convinced they are or have already, transformed into various animals, including wolves.


In European folklore it was said that even in human form, signs existed to distinguish a werewolf from other humans. If you had curved fingernails or low set ears, you could easily have been mistaken for a werewolf. For those poor folks who had the misfortune of having eyebrows that grew together, in a time before tweezers had been invented, they too were thought to be werewolves.


The means by which a person could be become a werewolf, were almost as plentiful as the stories themselves. A person could be bitten or scratched by a werewolf, the most popular means, but there are some more obscure methods that are a lot more fun. There was rubbing your body with magic salve, drinking from an enchanted stream and even sleeping under the full moon on a Wednesday or Friday with the moon's glow shining on your face. My personal favorite has to be, drinking rainwater from the footprints of the beasts that were found in the forest!
As the years passed and we, as humans, became more sophisticated & educated, our take on werewolves changed drastically, but our desire to carry their tale with us through history did not.


Literature has adapted a plethora of these iconic tales into short stories, novels and later on, into the movies we have grown to love over the years. The nineteenth century would see a host of very famous writers tackle the werewolf story from the likes of G.W.M. Reynolds, Sutherland Menzies and even Alexander Dumas.


The twentieth century would usher in the true emergence of the werewolf as a staple in horror fiction and an explosion of stories and movies based on the tale would come blazing onto the scene. In 1933, American author Guy Endore wrote The Werewolf of Paris which has since come to be known as the Dracula of werewolf literature.


The very first feature film to use the werewolf premise was Werewolf of London in 1935. It would however be Lon Cheney Jr.'s portrayal of the tragic character Larry Talbot in 1941's The Wolf Man that would set the standard for all movies in the genre. The movie catapulted werewolves into the public eye and from this one film two very crucial werewolf staples were established...werewolves always kill those they love the most and they can be quickly dispatched from this world by a silver bullet.


Other movies and books would come along and werewolves would be further rooted into the horror genre until the introduction of the paranormal romance and young adult books that embrace the these creatures.


J.K. Rowlings gave a new take to werewolves in her Harry Potter series in which she creates them as dangerous, but also as misunderstood and widely discriminated against. Other authors in the young adult genre would give new life to werewolves with books such as Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater, Dark Guardian by Rachel Hawthorne and Night Shade by Andrea Cremer.
Movies have been plentiful and werewolves have graced the big screen hundreds of times. From feature length cartoons like 2005's Wallace And Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit, to the 2010 remake of the classic The Wolf Man and even the new adaptation of the childhood tale in 2011's Red Riding Hood, werewolves have found for themselves, a home within our books, our films and our minds.


Even music has grabbed up a portion of this iconic creature that comes out in the night with songs like Monster by Skillet, Wolf Moon by Type O Negative and Of Wolf And Man by Metallica. These are barely scraping the barrel. You can literally find dozens of songs about werewolves and some you may never have even suspected were about them.


Though werewolves have a deeply rooted place in the media of our world, one thing has not changed much in the thousands of years since the very first tales were told. Werewolves were then and are almost always now, portrayed in a negative light. They are the thing to fear, they are the curse from which no one can ever return and they are the stuff of nightmares. I am happy to have them there in our songs, in our books and films in our very history. The alternative is, they walk amongst us, beside us and they are there waiting... waiting for the lights to go out, waiting for that next full moon, wanting to show us what really comes out in the night.


CK Webb

Friday, September 16, 2011

CONGRATULATIONS!!

A big congrats to Lisa Faye Coombs & Nona Matherne on winning a copy of Jim Bernheimer's book, CONFESSIONS OF A D-LIST SUPER VILLAIN!! Lisa will receive a signed copy of Jim's book and Nona will receive an e-copy of the book. Thank you ladies for being loyal readers of Twisted Webb & WebbWeaver. Please use the contact page to send me your addresses and e-mails. Enjoy your books!!

CK

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Guest Post & Signed Book Giveaway from Jim Bernheimer

The Necessary Evils of Marketing

It has probably been said before, but if not, I’ll say it. The beauty and the curse of being a small press or independent writer (Indy) is that you are responsible for making everything happen. That includes all the nuts and bolts of getting the book into publication, which is to be expected. Heck, portions of that can even be fun like cover selection (editing not so much), but then the author is hit with a nasty little shock - they have to successfully market their new shiny novel.
This isn’t Field of Dreams. Just writing a novel is no guarantee that “They will come.” It takes a lot of hard work that has absolutely nothing to do with writing a good story.
The first thing I recommend is to see what successful independent authors in your genre are doing and make a list. I write science fiction, fantasy, and horror. Some things I do won’t do squat for a romance or humor author, so examine the people in your genre and decide what person’s career you’d like to emulate.
Once you’ve come up with a list of possible strategies, you now have to face the likelihood that you won’t be able to do all of these things. You can look no further than the numerous social media choices available to connect with your potential readers like Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Google+, MySpace, Kindleboards, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and all the review blogs out there. It’s an endless buffet and you’ve only got so much room in your stomach.
Yes, just because you can go make a video trailer for your book doesn’t mean you should. This is just an example and I’m not slamming book trailers, but I haven’t seen any real evidence that they sell more books than a good description will. In my case, I don’t see the ROI (Return on Investment) because most of my sales come from Amazon and as an “Indy,” I haven’t come across a way to get a video trailer up without paying a large fee to their Createspace business unit. Yes, you can put it on your Author Central page, but the reality is only a small percentage of people who arrive on your book’s page will click over to your author page. It makes a nice addition to your website or blog, but now you need a reason for a person to come to your website or blog, and that goes back to making a large investment of time and effort into hosting a successful blog. As with all my advice, your mileage may vary, but the time spent creating that video trailer is time you could have been writing or blogging.
In my own case, I have a wife, two feisty daughters, and a full time job to occupy most of my waking hours. This limits the amount of time that I can spend on the computer for both writing and marketing. So, I pick and choose where I maintain an online presence, because doing three things well is better than doing a dozen things poorly. There is something to be said about not biting off more than you can chew!
Generally, I stick to Facebook, my webpage (www.jimbernheimer.com), my Amazon Author Page, and make an occasional appearance on Kindleboards. Give readers a place where they can contact you, but you don’t have to scramble like a crazy person trying to be everywhere at once. Take a deep breath and remember that this is supposed to be fun. If it’s not fun, try and figure out why it isn’t and fix it.
Guest blogging, reviews, and sponsoring giveaways are my bread and butter when it comes to marketing. Many authors also run their own blog. I haven’t gone that route because (once again), I don’t think I could add another ball to my juggling routine and do it properly. Instead, I spend my time contacting all the folks who have taken the route of posting regular content and attracting followers. For me this makes the most sense. Guest posting introduces my novels to this blogs followers and maybe a few are intrigued enough to give one of my books a try. The nice folks who run the book review blogs know that content is king and more interesting content keeps the readers coming back for more. Having authors come in and do guest posts is a mutually beneficial relationship for the author and the book blogger.
With the advent of “Blog Tours,” it seems lots of other authors and the publishing houses as well have figured it out too, but keep in mind that being late to the party still means you’re at the party, so don’t get discouraged if this blog turns you down because they have a large to be read pile. When deciding whether or not to contact a blog, look at how often they update. The quantity and quality of their postings will tell you a whole bunch about the person or persons you are dealing with. I rank it just as important as the number of followers/networked blogs a review site has.
One big thing to remember, the majority of book bloggers are doing it because they love reading. They are volunteering their time. Things do come up in their lives that may interfere with reviewing your novel. One of the mistakes I made about six months ago was contacting a blog and accepting an offer to do giveaways for three of my novels. I sent them two copies of each book for a grand total of six, which ended up being about seventy-five dollars after shipping and handling. You can probably already see where this is going, but yeah, none of my books have been reviewed or given away.
Lesson learned - wait for the review and then coordinate the giveaway.
In conclusion, I’d like to thank CK and DJ for having me and offer encouragement to any author out there trying to get his or her stories published. If you don’t know where to start when it comes to marketing, I say, “Keep it simple,” and find things you can do and do them to the best of your abilities. Jim

Jim has graciously agreed to give away a signed copy of his book to one US resident and an e-copy to one international winner!!! For an opportunty to win a copy of CONFESSIONS OF A D-LIST SUPER VILLAIN please leave a comment below or at WebbWeaver Reviews http://bit.ly/HWQKW and the winner will be chosen from those entries!! Best of luck folks.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Special Guest Post: Meet Karla Telega







Two years ago, I decided that I would rather floss with barbed wire than spend another day staring at spreadsheets and memorizing the Internal Revenue Code. I spent about a nanosecond deciding whether or not to quit my high stress job. Cons: ill-conceived, poorly-timed, totally rash. Pros: avoid an emotional meltdown that would make Chernobyl look like a leaky faucet. I went with column B.

Step two was to look busy, so I started writing. I figured that I could avoid looking for a new job, make a bucket of money, and retire to a little cabin in the wilderness. What I discovered was that I truly loved to write, and you can only fix rice and beans so many ways. I was able to pour all my fears and insecurities into my writing. The result was a humor book that received enthusiastic responses from editors and agents, who then turned me down.

Apparently, an editor’s critique that contains the word “hilarious” eight times in three paragraphs is not enough to sway a publisher. The harsh reality is that humor is a hard sell even for nationally syndicated writers, which I wasn’t. Undeterred, I decided to try the back door, and put my humor into a novel.

I like to read mysteries, so on that recommendation alone, I chose a book that told me in 100 pages how to write one. (Did I mention that I have a short attention span?) I’ve always enjoyed acting out the stories in my head … at 3:00 AM, with the curtains closed and the lights out. When it came time to do research, I threw myself into character. I slogged through swamps looking for a lizard man and panned for gold. I visited locations in my book, and talked to police, coroners, and correctional officers. I never knew research could be so much fun!

My main character, Maggie is based mainly on the changes I’m experiencing. She is coping with mid-life, anxiety, and an internal alarm clock that leaves her scrambling for purpose, identity, and adventure. She and her friend, Cher, set the irreverent tone of the story from their very first conversation.

“Do we really have to go to that damn book club meeting tomorrow?” Cher asked. “When we joined, I thought they were going to serve daiquiris while discussing Jane Austen. Somehow, we found the only dry book club in the county.”
“Come on, Cher, we’re going for the intellectual stimulation and thought-provoking dialogue. That’s why we’re reading Pride and Prejudiced Vampires.” Maggie stuck her tongue out and made a gagging noise. “Oh, hell! Which of us wants to fake the Ebola virus to get out of it?”
“Your turn,” Cher reminded her. “Last month I had bubonic plague.”
“Yes, but the month before that I had terminal hemorrhoids. That should earn me a pass tomorrow.”
Cher laughed. “That doesn’t count. When you got your second opinion, the doctor decided that you just needed more fiber in your diet.”

My writing career has been marked by making it up as I go, but in one regard, I absolutely followed “the rules.” Know your readers. Right now, over 35% of Americans are age 50 or older. Both my humor book and my novel are aimed at the AARP crowd. So many writers want a book that is universally appealing, and end up with something that is not a good fit for any reading audience. I’ve gotten very positive feedback from people of all ages, but I absolutely keep my target readers in mind when I’m promoting my book.

I’m currently working on book two in the Maggie Gorski mystery series, but I haven’t forgotten my humor writing. My partner and I are working on producing a series of humor anthologies, featuring some well-known humor writers, along with promising newcomers to the field. We wanted to provide an opportunity for exposure and publishing credits for some very talented writers, helping them to build their platform. We are currently editing our first book, My Funny Valentine, which will come out in January, 2012, published by Bauu Press.

Box of Rocks, published by Adoro Books is now available at Amazon, and through the Adoro Books website.

I would love to hear from you. You can contact me at info@telegatales.com, or visit my humor blog at http://www.telegatales.com/















Friday, August 5, 2011

AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT: JEAN JOACHIM

From Jean's website:
I didn't start writing until about 15 years ago. I had two small children and used to get up at 5:30am to write for two hours before they went to school.

I wish I could say that I did this with support from others, but I did not. No one believed I could be a writer...least of all me...but I was driven to do it anyway. After years of denying myself, I just couldn't help it...like an addict I was compelled to write.

So I started out writing 500 word articles on advertising, business and children, all based on my own experience and expertise. Lo and behold, after my first article failed, everything else I wrote got published.

This was exciting and encouraged me. I guess even I could no longer deny that I was a writer. So I decided to attempt my first book, "Beyond the Bake Sale, the Ultimate School Fund-Raising Book."

I got an agent from a friend of mine and she found a top publisher, St. Martin's Press, with a fabulous editor, Elizabeth Beier and I was off.

After six more non-fiction books, I tried my hand at fiction. one cold day last January, while I was recuperating from loss and illness, Callie and Mac just landed in my head and told me their story. I flew to my computer to get it all down, just the way they were telling me in my head.

Thus was born, "Now and Forever, a Love Story". The characters have no resemblance to anyone I know and, least of all, to me. They are completely formed total strangers that leaped out of my head and onto the page.

It was a wonderful experience, listening to their story. in my head. I fell in love with them. After the book was done, I just couldn't let them go. So they were kind enough to bring another character to the forefront, Danny Maine, Kyle's brother. Then he told me his story and "Now and Forever Again, the Book of Danny" was born.

Now I am recovering from the onslaught of more characters, Mac's brother, Peter and his father, Sam, and others and, of course, Callie and Mac, because it wouldn't be a "Now and Forever" book without them.

i will be doing a final edit of the third book in the series, "Now and Forever After, Blind Love". I don't know if I will be able to separate from these characters when this book is finished. I love them all so much.

Now it's on to the final edit for book two and more editing for book three, trying to sell book one and find a publisher for the next two. I'm a busy lady.

Before I can finish editing my Now and Forever books, another book landed in my head. The characters, Kit Alexander and Tunney Nichols made me fall in love with them, too. So I'm writing their book as a straight romance, no mystery...a new challenge for me. This book, my fourth, is called "The Renovated Heart." I'm finished with my first draft and first two rounds of editing. I know what I need to change, but that book will have to get in line and wait until the Now and Forever series has been submitted to publishers and agents. Callie's sister appears in "The Renovated Heart."

In the meantime, I wrote ANOTHER book and found an ebook publisher! "Sunny Days, Moonlit Nights" is coming out in February, published by Astraea Press. I'm very excited. You can see the cover here on my site.

I have another story that has been nudging my brain, waiting for attention. It will have to wait until I have finished the final edits for the Now and Forever series.

I will be a guest blogger in February and have another radio interview. More on that later. Back to the computer. Please keep reading because I want to keep writing.

I'd love to hear from you. Email me at jean@​nowandforeverbooks.com.

Best wishes,
Jean

















Thursday, July 28, 2011

Author Spotlight: Tim Ellis


From Tim's Website:
I started writing about four years ago, but before I wax lyrical on the now, let me take you back to 1953. I was born in the bowels of Hammersmith Hospital, London, on a dark and stormy night. Grew up in Cheadle, Cheshire, frequently visiting Beach Road in Old Colwyn, North Wales where my Gran lived. After a handful of years at a Primary School in Cheadle Hulme, which I can't remember the name of, I went to Broadway Secondary Modern school in 1968, but left before taking my CSE examinations - I hated school. These were the days when you could leave school with no qualifications and walk into a job. It was during this period that I discovered one of the main musical and literary influences in my life – Leonard Cohen, and began writing poetry. A collection of my poems was duly despatched to a publisher and subsequently rejected. I therefore had my first rejection slip as a 15 year-old boy. After leaving school, I had three or four mind-numbingly boring jobs before finally joining the Royal Army Medical Corps (RAMC) in 1971 at the tender age of 18.

I spent 22 years in the Army – which is a story in itself - leaving as a Regimental Sergeant Major in 1993. During this time, I wrote reams and reams of drivel on weighty topics such as Army Medical Organisation, Leadership, Military Law, etc. I did, however, find another three literary influences in JRR Tolkien, Bernard Cornwell, and Isaac Asimov. After leaving the Army, I was employed as a Senior Financial Manager in a Secondary School, and took up writing with a vengeance – assignments and dissertations for two Masters degrees, and a PhD Thesis.

Following 10 years of counting a dwindling amount of beans, I became a teacher of Psychology and Sociology and devoted another 6 years of my life to writing – lesson plans, objectives, outcomes, etc, but I did find more literary influences in Conn Iggulden, R.J. Ellory, and Stieg Larsson. I also began – at last – to write fiction myself.
In January 2009 – days before my 56th birthday – I had a heart attack. By this time, I had already researched and written two Historical novels on Genghis Khan (Warrior: Path of Destiny and Warrior: Scourge of the Steppe), and a YA Science Fiction novel (The Knowledge of Time: Second Civilisation). It was also becoming increasingly difficult to go to work and teach when what I really wanted to do was write fiction. I was lucky in that I was financially able to take the decision to retire, and by August of 2009 I was a man of leisure and a full-time writer.

In 1968, becoming a writer of fiction wasn’t a career option for a 15 year-old working-class boy without any qualifications. It took over forty years of living life before I could choose that option. Since retiring, I have written book after book – now standing at ten (plus a collection of short stories), branching out into crime, fantasy, and science fiction. I’ve acquired a drawer full of rejection slips, but I have had some small minor successes. My YA Science Fiction novel was accepted for publication by a small press in America, I was awarded two short story 3rd prizes, and had four literary agencies request the full MS of Solomon’s Key, which ultimately came to nothing.

Anyway, in March of this year I uploaded all of my books onto Amazon, Smashwords, etc., and made them available for the Kindle. To date, I have sold over 3,700 books, which is not bad for someone who left school at 15 with no qualifications!
For the future – well, I’m a writer now – and in a way it’s what I’ve always been. I’m currently finishing the third book in the Parish & Richards series called The Flesh is Weak, which should be available for downloading by mid-August 2011. I then plan to finish another YA Science Fiction novel called The Timekeeper’s Apprentice, which is already half written, and I've been asked to 'please finish Quigg 3: The Skulls Beneath Eternity Wharf'. I’m playing about with a biopunk novel called Triple Helix set in an alternative Victorian London, and another dozen ideas such as one called Footprints of the Dead about an American ex-policeman who lives in a haunted town and... Well, you'll just have to read them all. I have so many ideas, which I turn into the first chapters of novels so that I don't forget them, and then put them on here. One day, I might get round to finishing them, but in the meantime you can read them.

Also, I've talked about snippets of my life on my Book Blog, times like the Isle of White Festivals in 1969 and 1970, my time at the Royal Engineer's Apprentice College in Chepstow, Gwent, my ancestors - especially David the One-Eye. Well, if you want to know more - read them!

You can visit Tim's website at http://timellis.weebly.com/ to learn more about him and his books.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

VAMPIRES



Things That Come Out At Night:
VAMPIRES



By: CK Webb

People all around the world are intrigued by the things that send shivers up their spine. While we are young, the idea of the unknown causes many sleepless nights, but as adults we seem to gravitate towards the very things that we feared in our youth.
As a small child, there weren't many things that I was afraid of. Children are often fearless in the face of dangers that would leave grown men trembling and soiling themselves. But, there were some things that absolutely tortured my young mind and those things I hid from the world.
As nightfall would draw closer, my fears would begin their torturous assault on my psyche. What did I have to fear really? It was after all, only darkness, but the dark is always capable of hiding many hideous things from human eyes. It was inevitably, those long hours of worry and anxiety, pulling the covers tight around my feet and head that forever changed the way I viewed the world and the possibility of the things that could be in it. Each night I met the darkness with the same goal... make it through, unscathed, to the glorious coming of the dawn. As you can see, I succeeded, though many might argue that I am far from normal and perhaps they would be right. I have heard it said, by those closest to me, that the fears of my childhood were the very thing that shaped and molded me into the weaver of dark tales that I am today.
For this I say, “Thank you creatures of the night and thank you impenetrable darkness.”
One of the most memorable obsessions I had, were with Vampires. How they held my fascination like no other creature could. They were scary and unexplainable and they were real, I would have bet any number of weekly allowances on that! Then, a strange thing happened...I grew up. Suddenly the fear that had once been prominent was replaced by captivation and an unusual, sensual allure. I had reached that precipice where we cross over from fear into understanding and all those things from youth become silly. After all, vampires can't be real, can they? I will tell you what I know and you can decide that for yourself.
Through the decades, vampires and their tales have changed exponentially. One thing however, has remained a constant. For whatever reason, we are helplessly drawn to these creatures that go bump in the night.
The beginnings of vampire tales in history are extremely difficult to trace. Many different cultures have often told stories of bloodsucking abominations that rise from the dead and prey on the living. So many in fact that some people argue, vampire tales date back all the way to the very origins of mankind itself.
Vampiric entities have been written of in dozens of cultures globally and called by many different names. The Greek referred to vampires as vrykolakus, while Romanians penned the more popular name, strigoi, for their bloodsuckers.
It wasn't until the early 18th century, that the Oxford English Dictionary introduced the world to the word, vampire. The catalyst for this move was a plague of vampire superstition in Eastern Europe so strong, some corpses still bare the stakes that were plunged into their decaying remains.
In these countries, where vampire legends had taken hold, the appearance of vampires ranged from bloated, flesh eating corpses to almost human, blood suckers. All these descriptions would soon change with the introduction of John Polidori's 1819 novella, The Vampyre.
With his tale, Polidori was able to transfer fear into awe by giving the vampire a charismatic, sophisticated and beautiful appeal. The Vampyre, would also influence another writer whose novel would provide the standard by which all other vampire novels would be judged.
Bram Stoker's Dracula is, to this very day, the major catalyst from which all vampire tales have sprung. What began as a single novel has spawned an entire, distinctive genre and what has followed are books, movies, video games and even television series that focus on this one thing...the vampire. There has never been another book like Dracula and dare I say there never will be. Fortunately for us, many authors and directors have tried their hand at new tellings of this classic tale.
In 1976, author Anne Rice introduced the world to the captivatingly cruel vampire, Lestat. Rice followed up her novel, Interview With the Vampire, with several sequels that came to be known as The Vampire Chronicles. Her books were well received initially, but gained a worldwide resurgence when, in 1994, the book was released as a major motion picture with an all-star cast.
Vampires would also find a place in the comedy/horror arena with the film Fright Night which hit movie theaters in 1985. Introducing a new take on this ages old tale, Fright Night brought in the second highest gross of any horror film that year, edged out only by A Nightmare On Elm Street 2. A novelization, video game and a comic book were all spawned from this masterpiece. To this very day, I still have a copy of the first issue, first printing, October 1988 edition. Yes, I'm a big vampire, comic book geek!
In 1992, Francis Ford Coppola brought his rendition of the vampire classic Bram Stoker's Dracula to the big screen. In this entrancing film, Gary Oldman gave the world a seductive portrayal of the sensuous beast that is, Dracula. Not only was the film highly acclaimed, grossing over two hundred and forty five million dollars word wide, but it also took home an Academy Award in three separate categories.
In a world where vampires have seen their fair share of demeaning take offs including Count Chocolate breakfast cereal and Sesame Street characters, what I am about to write may be disturbing for some readers....
One of my all-time favorite retellings of the vampire tale came in the film, Dracula 2000. Although it received mostly negative reviews and did not fare so well at the box office, the writers, Joel Soisson and Patrick Lussier, wrote a storyline for Dracula's origin that was unlike any other. If you have not seen Dracula 2000, you should if for no other reason than to experience a brand new twist on this ages old tale.
Dozens of writers have taken on this creature that goes bump in the night and many have made a household name for themselves in the process. Lara Adrian, Laurell K. Hamilton and Sherri Lynn Kenyon have all written unforgettable books that center around vampires. But, there is one author whose books became a worldwide phenomenon and brought about a following that spanned every nation, gender and age. Stephanie Meyer's Twilight Saga included four young adult novels and found its way onto the big screen to hoards of screaming fans that could not get enough of her characters, Edward, Bella and Jacob. The films alone have grossed over 1.7 billion dollars word wide. Yes...billion!
When all is said and done, readers and movie goers alike, have always had an obsession with vampires. Even the darker side of these creatures cannot take away from the allure that they hold. Just when you think you have seen enough movies and read enough books with vampires as their central theme, another one comes along. For some strange reason, we just can't give up our vampires. They are strangely intoxicating and no matter how afraid you may be, we are drawn to these dark, ominous and sometimes sexy blood suckers. Are vampires real? Yes, they are alive and well and living in our books and our movies and they are there in the darkness, waiting to go 'bump' in the night.

CK Webb
Co-author of Cruelty To Innocents

Sunday, June 19, 2011

The Source of the Suspense




We have reached our very last installment in 'The History of' series and, as they say in the song...'We saved the best for last'.

Webster's Dictionary defines the word suspense as: a state of mental uncertainty, usually accompanied by a degree of apprehension or anxiety.
The word suspense is quite old and can be traced back to Latin roots dating between 1375 and 1425. But, where did the suspense genre get its beginnings and how has it changed in the years since its debut? I sincerely hope we can answer those questions with as little anxiety as possible.
There are many genres that contain suspenseful undertones and as confusing as it may sound, a suspense can be a thriller, mystery, detective fiction or even a horror. A suspense may contain all of these elements or none.
As with many genres, the exact origins of the suspense are a bit hazy but there are several places that could have easily been a good starting point.
The Epic of Gilgamesh, written sometime between 1300 & 1000 BC, tells a tale that had been handed down through generations from as far back as 2500 BC. On these twelve tablets made of clay, historians have discovered, what appears to be, the origins of several literary genres, include suspense. Many years would pass before other writers would give the world their contributions in the suspense genre.
Homer was an ancient Greek epic poet who was born between 850 & 1180 BC. His works begin to show up at the beginnings of the Western Canon of literature. Homer's epic poem, Odyssey, would help to mold and shape the literary world and even today, holds great sway in the writing community.
Another well known collection of stories that easily boasts some suspenseful moments is One Thousand and One Nights. The oldest known manuscript of One Thousand and One Nights, dates back to the 14th century but, scholars believe that the story told in its text, date back to the 9th century.
A plethora of other writers would emerge in the following years until finally, one would step fourth in the 1800's and give the world its first real taste of the suspense novel. In 1829, a Danish author by the name of Stech Steenson Bilcher, wrote a novella that has been billed as the first, true murder mystery and contained within its pages, all the workings of what would become, the suspense genre.
The next in line was Alexander Dumas, who's first works of suspense were published in June of 1844 and introduced readers to d'Artagnan. The Three Musketeers, was a huge success and soon two other books were added to the series that came to be known as, The d'Artagnan Romances. Dumas would again leave his mark, not only on literature, but on the suspense genre as well, with one of his most famous works. The Count of Monte Cristo was published between 1844 and 1846 and remains, to this day, one of the great classic suspense novels in literary history.
Wilkie Collins introduced us to his novel The Woman in White, in 1860. He would then follow it up in 1868 with, what many consider his finest work, The Moonstone, all the while giving us his own take on the suspense genre.
In 1866, Victor Hugo, known for his masterpiece Les Miserables, released his novel Les Travailleurs de le Mer (Toilers of the Sea). A broad step away from his previous novel, Toiler of the Sea, contained all the suspense that lovers of the genre could ever ask for.
Of course, we cannot talk of suspense without throwing in one of the true greats in literary history... Mr. Edgar Allen Poe. Poe's incredible pieces have shown up in almost every genre that we have discussed and suspense is no different. The Murders in the Rue Morgue, while billed as mystery, easily slips into the suspense genre as does his haunting classics, The Tell-Tale Heart and The Raven.
Thousands of authors have written books that are categorized as thrillers, romantic thrillers, mysteries, detective fiction and even horror and all have a common theme... a degree of apprehension or anxiety that draws them into the suspense genre.
During the late 1880's, the introduction of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, brought a surge in readers not only to mysteries and detective novels but to suspense as well.
Sales of the suspense genre began to skyrocket as the Golden Age of Detective Fiction emerged in the 1920's. Famous writers such as, Dame Agatha Christie and Dorothy L. Sayers left their pen strokes vividly displayed, not only in the detective fiction genre but also, in the ever growing world of suspense.
Soon, suspense began to take on a much more sinister, psychological approach when, in walked Sir Alfred Hitchcock. With him, Hitchcock brought the ability to toy with our emotions and raise our anxiety levels and he did so in a most unusual way... on film. Starting in 1927 in silent films and continuing on through 1976, Alfred Hitchcock became the premier writer/director/producer and is still known today, impressively, as The Master of Suspense.
Dozens of authors have written in the suspense genre and made big names for themselves along the way. Mary Higgins Clark, Dean Koontz, Stephen King, David Baldacci, Tasha Alexander, John Carpenter, Gregg Olsen and Michael Palmer are just a small sampling of well knowns who's books have flirted with the suspense genre.
The film industry took hold of suspense enthralled consumers and gave them a wellspring of anxiety and mental uncertainty in the form of feature length films and TV shows.
In 1990, David Lynch introduced his psychological suspense series Twin Peaks, causing audiences to clamor for the answer to the question, “Who killed Laura Palmer?” What transpired as a result of this suspense TV series was, an almost cult-like following of viewers from around the world. I too, must confess to being a member of the millions who tuned in and hung on the edge of my seat, waiting to see what else Mr. Lynch had in store for us. Even today, Twin Peaks, is still listed as one of the Top 100 TV Shows of all time.
Other writer/directors have preyed on us with their suspense laden movies and the likes of Stanley Kubrick, Roman Polanski, Martin Scorsese and M. Night Shyamalan have become household names. Bringing us such suspenseful movies as, Eyes Wide Shut, The Shining, Shutter Island and Signs these writer/directors find a way to torment their viewers and keep them coming back for more.
With a rich history dating back thousands of years, the suspense genres appears determined to remain with us for many more years to come. Today you can pick out thousands of books or movies devoted to the edge of your seat suspense we have all grown to love.
From the music that plays in the background of your favorite movie, to that long, agonizing walk to your mailbox in search of a dreaded letter; suspense is all around us. The suspense genre has become a meshing together of all the things that we, as readers, hold near and dear.
The suspense genre can be mysterious, thrilling, romantic or even, a little horrifying. So, what is the deciding factor that truly says suspense...YOU, the reader. Who better to judge the feelings that a piece of literature invokes than the very person who is doing the reading?
While many would argue the origins of the suspense genre, the truth of it is only known by those who's heart race and anxiety levels rise while delving into that TV series, movie or great piece of literature.


CK Webb

Monday, May 23, 2011

A Signature For Your E-Book?!?


Our debut novel will be available for purchase Thursday May 26, 2011. It is pretty exciting to know our book will be in the hands of readers and hopefully well received. More than anything, we would love to be able to sign every single copy for each reader. The drawback to e-books is 'No signature'. Of course there is an e-reader signature app, but where is the fun in that?
We wanted to do something a little bit different and special for the first 50 people to purchase Cruelty To Innocents. Just send us your e-receipt or a picture snip-it of it and we will send you a Cruelty To Innocents: The 911 Abductions postcard, signed by us or a refrigerator magnet with the book cover on it. We can't say how much we appreciate each and every one of you for supporting us on this long journey and this is just a very small way for us to say 'Thank You, we couldn't have done it without you'.
Attach your receipts or snip-its in an e-mail & send it to me ckalexx73@yahoo.com It's that simple! I look forward to hearing from you and hearing your thoughts on Cruelty To Innocents: The 911 Abductions.

CK Webb & DJ Weaver

BOOK TRAILER FOR CRUELTY TO INNOCENTS

video

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Innocents Blog Tour


Our debut novel, Cruelty To Innocents: The 911 Abductions, will be released May 26, 2011. To kick it off right, we will be featured on over a dozen sites during our virtual Innocents Blog Tour. There will be reviews of the novel, interviews, giveaways and so much more. To show our appreciation for these wonderful bloggers and to introduce them to you, I am posting the entire blog tour schedule. Please take some time to visit these fantastic sites and see the hard work that goes into making them run smoothly. While you are there, click on those 'Follow' buttons. All participating blogs will be giving away an e-copy of Cruelty To Innocents, but you need to follow the blogs!
Once again, we would like to give a gigantic 'Thank You' to all the bloggers...You are an intricate part of the process and we are incredibly thankful for your support.

INNOCENTS BLOG TOUR SCHEDULE


May 23, 2011 'Innocents Blog Tour Kick-Off ' A Women's Voice: book review, interview & book giveaway http://www.doloresayotte.wordpress.com/

May 24, 2011 Reading, Reading & Life; book review, interview & book giveaway http://www.readingreadingandlife.blogspot.com/

May 25, 2011 Kindle Fever: All day stop! Book review, interview, Q&A and book giveaway http://www.rebgeo.com/

May 25, 2001 Author Kelly Moran's blog: book cover & blurb http://kellymoranauthor.blogspot.com/

May 26, 2011 'Book Release Day' My Life. One story at a time: book review & book giveaway http://www.mylife-in-stories.blogspot.com/

May 27, 2011 Life In review: book review & book giveaway http://www.lifeinreviewblog.wordpress.com/

May 28, 2011 Suspense Radio Interview with John Raab 10:30 a.m. PST http://www.blogtalkradio.com/suspensemagazine

May 29, 2011 Cutting Room Floor Radio Interview with Casey Ryan 12:00 p.m. EST http://www.talkshoe.com/talkshoe/web/talkCast.jsp?masterId=81947&cmd=tc

May 30, 2011 The Hot Author Report: interview
http://www.thehotauthorreport.com/

May 31, 2011 Jean Joachim: book review, interview & book giveaway http://www.jeanjoachim.blogspot.com/

June 1, 2011 Reading frenzy: book review & book giveaway http://www.lumorgan.blogspot.com/

June 2, 2011 AJ & Charlie Bite Back: book review & book giveaway
http://www.ajandcharli.blogspot.com/

June 3, 2011 Dragonfly 419 Attempts To Combat Boredom: book review & book givaway http://www.dragonflyy419.wordpress.com/

June 4, 2011 Emeraldfire's Bookmark: book review, interview & book giveaway http://www.emeraldfiresbookmark.blogspot.com/

June 5, 2011 Best O' Books: book review, interview & book giveaway
http://www.thebestobooks.blogspot.com/

June 7, 2011 Life Is But A Dream: Q&A 26 Questions & book giveaway http://www.kendallgrey.com/

June 8, 2011 Melanie's Book Addiction: book review, interview & book giveway http://www.melaniesrandomthoughts-melanie.blogspot.com/

June 9, 2011 Books, Books The Magical Fruit: interview & book giveaway http://www.booksbooksthemagicalfruit.blogspot.com/

June 10, 2011 Wrapped Up Like A Blog: book review & book giveaway http://www.richsteeves.blogspot.com/

June 11, 2011 Just Another Book Addict: book review & book giveaway http://www.justanotherbookaddict.blogspot.com/

June 13, 2011 Eulana: book review & book giveaway
http://www.eulana.wordpress.com/

June 15, 2011 The Phantom Paragrapher: book review, interview & book giveaway http://www.thephantomparagrapher.blogspot.com/

June 16, 2011 'Innocents Blog Tour Finale' Just Another Book Addict: interview http://www.justanotherbookaddict.blogspot.com/

Monday, May 2, 2011

Cruelty To Innocents: The 911 Abductions by CK Webb & DJ Weaver

CHAPTER 2- Train Ride

Sloanne Mae Kelly's cab stopped short of the unloading area that lined the front curb at sprawling Penn Station. She dropped a twenty dollar bill into the cash slot, said a quick, 'keep the change' and jumped out of the cab, grabbing her two, small bags and her lap top as she went. The train to Aberdeen Maryland would be leaving soon and she had to pick up her ticket before the gates closed. People seemed to sense the urgency in Sloanne's determined look and hurried pace, stepping to the side, allowing her to pass.

Penn Station was a massive, cavernous space that boasted unique architecture and was filled with people of every size, shape and color. The intensity of the noises and smells assaulted Sloanne’s senses, making her want to run away, but instead she pressed forward. In her mind, she ran through a million different destinations she would rather be traveling to. Instead, she was heading back home, if home is what it could be called. Her brow tightened at the selfish thoughts. She knew this trip and the circumstances behind it, where all that mattered.

Sloanne held a lucrative position as an interior designer at a top firm in New York City, where she now resided. She loved the city and took advantage of all the things it had to offer. She took Yoga, she went to power lunches and ran in the best circles with some of the city's elite--most days. But this particular day, she was just a girl heading back to her past. Back to a place she would rather not be going. No, she never wanted to return to Aberdeen, but she had to support her best friend who desperately needed her now.

She ran through the station and out onto the platform where her train waited, the day’s events thrumming through her head like a hurricane ripping across the shoreline. A knot rose in her throat as she willed back the burning sting of the first tears in her eyes. This day was an unthinkable nightmare, but one she would not awaken from. She stepped onto the train and glanced at her ticket for the seat number: 26A. She turned side-ways, lifting her bag over the other passengers’ heads as she made her way to her seat. There was no one in the seat next to hers and for this, she was grateful. The air felt like walls closing in around her on all sides and her mind was overtaken by grief. She placed her bags in the overhead compartment, then took her seat just as her cell phone rang, jolting her out of her thoughts.

Sloanne’s assistant Ann, was calling. She left the woman a hasty message to give her a call as soon as possible and now she had to tell her assistant why she would be away for a few days. She would have to acknowledge aloud why she so quickly departed from her job and her life to assist her friend. Sloanne's beautiful, charming, loving goddaughter had been abducted.

“Thank you for getting back to me so quickly,” Sloanne breathed heavy into the receiver.

Her mind rebelled against the story she was about to relate to her assistant and the words were like acid in her throat.

“Ann, I received some terrible news earlier today. I am on my way back to Aberdeen now. My best friend’s daughter was abducted and Chloe needs me desperately.”

The gasp at the other end of the line told her that her assistant was shocked by what she was hearing. Sloanne kept a lovely picture of Danni on her desk and everyone in the office, including Ann, often commented on what a beautiful girl she was.

“I will need you to cancel all my appointments and forward all my emails to my personal account. Also, please call Mr. Miera and let him know the situation. Tell him I will be in contact with him as soon as I know more. I can't say at this point, how long I'll have to be away, but please reassure him I am holding up as well as can be expected.”

The last words faded off to a whisper, as tears slipped from her eyes.

Sloanne thanked Ann for her help and quickly got off the phone. Her head ached as she thought back to the earlier phone call she received. The last time she'd been home was in 2003, to bury her parents. Back then she made a vow: it would be the last time she would ever go back, until today it had been. She kept her word to herself for all these years, but someone had taken her goddaughter. Now she was forced to go back.

At exactly 6:30 p.m. this evening, she received the phone call that no one ever wants to get or imagines possible. Chloe Jacob’s neighbor called to say that Chloe’s daughter Danielle--or Danni as they liked to call her--had been abducted. Sloanne could barely hold down the hastily-eaten, take-out dinner she ordered earlier in the day. The word tore at her insides: abducted...taken from a grocery store in broad daylight in her own home town. It was not something that ever happened in Aberdeen. Sure, the town had its share of petty crimes, but child abductions were unheard of. In fact, she couldn't remember a single child who had ever been taken from that area.

The one thing that made the events even more unbelievable was the manner in which Danni was abducted. An elderly man suffered a massive heart attack. While Sloanne's best friend worked desperately to help a complete stranger, some asshole helped himself to her daughter.

According to the local authorities and from what she already knew, the first forty-eight hours were the most crucial time period in an abduction situation. It was during this period when most kids were found. Chloe knew no matter how much Sloanne would hate returning to Aberdeen, she would drop everything and high-tail it back. She had run out of the office, gone home, grabbed a few things and caught the first train smoking out of Penn Station.

As the train sped along on its track, the rain began to fall. Sloanne stared, trance-like, out the window, blinking as each lightening strike blazed across the sky. While she tried to play out all the possible scenarios in her mind, she rolled her shoulders to relieve the stiffness and tension building in her neck. She ran one hand through her long, auburn hair as she gazed out the window and saw the reflection looking back at her.

Her normally bright, green eyes looked somber and heavy and her clear, pale skin appeared sallow and lifeless. The face that usually smiled back at her, was not smiling now. She wondered if she would ever be happy again. Every ounce of her five-five willowy frame was draped in sadness. She wanted to think that by the time she arrived, Danni would have been found at some boy's house or over at a friend's they'd forgotten to call. She imagined Danni spending an eternity locked in her room, allowed out only for school, bathroom breaks and the occasional meal. A slight grin played across the corners of her mouth as she once again told herself, everything would be just fine and life would continue much as it had before.

She wanted so badly to believe all these things, but could not drown out the sound of that nagging voice in the back of her mind. The voice of reason that kept asking the really tough questions. What if they never found Danni? Or worse, what if her best friend's, precious daughter became another face on a flyer, just another name on a long list of missing and exploited children? Worse still, what if they found her and nothing turned out well? What if everything went horribly wrong and Danni was found raped, injured or dead? She reached up and gently traced Danni's name into the fog on the train window, then leaned back in the seat and closed her eyes, trying to shake the terrible thoughts from her mind.

She thought back to her life in Aberdeen and all she left behind. She had been an average, little girl raised by Irish parents and her family was always very close. Her father and her Uncle Patty--who was actually her godfather--were partners for years on the NYPD: New York's finest. They trained together, worked together and were fast friends. Sloanne knew they had even fallen in love with the same woman...her mom. But her mother had chosen to marry her dad and in the end, Uncle Patty understood her mother's decision. He stepped aside, but remained a true friend to them both. Dad and Uncle Patty moved up through the ranks on the force and both made detective within three months of each other. They worked together then as well. Even when her dad was shot in the line of duty and was forced to retire, Uncle Patty was still there for them all.

He helped out: first, when her parents decided to move to Aberdeen so their little princess could live in a relatively, crime-free environment. Later, when Sloanne was older, he'd been her adult confidante. She remembered begging her dad to teach her to drive and he refused, so afraid she would get hurt. Good old Uncle Patty taught her to drive on the sly and took her for her driving test. Her dad never knew until she came home with her driver's license. Dad put on a big front in the beginning, acting upset with Patty for letting her have her way. She believed that secretly, he had been grateful to Patty. Dad would have been terrified to teach her how to drive himself, this way, Patty saved him from that nightmare. Sloanne smiled to herself at the memory of her father’s stern face, but he eventually relented and asked her to drive him to his favorite ice cream parlor. It was then she knew all was well.

Uncle Patty saved the day again when her mom was diagnosed with cancer. He made sure her dad had enough money so it was possible for her mom to receive the finest care available. In a short period, her mother was doing much better and in remission.

As a young girl, she always wanted to live and work in New York City and both, her parents and Uncle Patty, supported her in these hopes. Little had she known in those days, after high school graduation, the desire to live in the city would be overshadowed by her need to be in a drug rehabilitation facility. Those had been her darkest days, but her father and Patty pulled together the love, support and money needed for her to check into the most progressive drug treatment facility in New York. Sloanne never used drugs and was always an excellent student...until she met him in her senior year.

His name was Skyler Anthony Perryman, better known around Aberdeen, as Skip. He was the son of the richest and most influential couple in the area, John A. Perryman and his powerhouse wife, Rochelle Ana. He was into banking and investments and she was into real estate. Skip's parents were the epitome of a well-to-do family and owned most of the real estate in and around Aberdeen, along with some of the private docks and marinas on the Susquehanna River and Chesapeake Bay.

Sloanne believed then, that the sun rose and set because of Skip--for a while. Skip attended a private school that cost more per year than most elite colleges. He was a member of the Lacrosse team, the Rugby team captain and probably the most well known person in and around the community with the exception of his father and mother. Skip was also the local drug connection for every man, woman and child with good breeding and a fat bank account in Aberdeen. His friends hated Sloanne for what she was not...rich and he loved her for what she was...not rich.

In the beginning of her relationship with Skip, she told herself he would love her more if she used drugs with him, believing that she would more easily fit into his world by being like his friends, who all used. As time progressed, she managed to convince herself that was the reason she began using drugs.

Luckily, through years of hard work fighting her addiction and facing the reality of it, she now knew it was all about choices. She made the wrong choices. She wanted so badly to fit-in with the high-class crowd Skip ran with, she simply forgot who she was and the things she believed in. Somewhere in loving Skip, she forgot to love herself.

Eventually, it became apparent to everyone, including her parents and the local authorities, that she was routinely testing Skip's drug supply. She became a complicated liability and Skip very quickly left her high and dry. In her family’s mind, all that was left to do was for her to get cleaned up and start over fresh in a new town. Her dad, mom and Uncle Patty were her saviors. Her dad worked out the details with some help from Patty and she was soon checked into a nice room in drug rehab in New York City, receiving the help she needed.

The program at the clinic was operated and overseen by Columbia University. Some of the patients there were alumni of the school and were, for whatever reason, discreetly tucked away to handle their problems away from the watchful eyes of their co-workers, peers and families.

One older gentleman there, Philippe Miera, took the time to really listen to her and never judged her. At the end of their six months together, he offered her an internship at his architectural firm with the stipulation, she go back to school and get her degree. So, that's just what she did. She petitioned his Alma Mater, applying for and receiving several grants. To show her how much he believed in her, Mr. Miera paid for her books, fees and all the extras. He also went as far as to pay her a salary that allowed her to live comfortably without having to ask for help from her family. She studied hard and excelled in her school work, while learning the ins and outs of interior design and architecture.

This arrangement was just fine with her parents and Uncle Patty. They knew she needed the structure and socialization that college and a job could provide. They also believed being farther away made it easier to get Skip out of her mind. These facts, along with the added benefit of building a lucrative career with a highly reputable design firm, made this opportunity golden in their eyes. Toss in the fact she was only a two-and-a-half hour train ride from Aberdeen and everything was nearly perfect.

She made every effort, never to go back to Aberdeen for any reason. There was no need to during her college years. Her mom, dad and Patty would either drive up or take the train almost every weekend to visit. On the weekends they couldn't come, Chloe and Danni made the trip as often as possible and they would all ‘do’ the city.

Now, she thought back to the last day she was in Aberdeen. It was the worst day of her life and one that would live with her forever. Sheets of rain driven by wind, pounded the sea of umbrellas and the sad faces of those without any shelter. Two coffins sat, side-by-side, covered with so many flowers it was hard to say what color they were. Beautiful words were spoken by strangers and friends alike and condolences given from lips, quietly whispered with heartfelt hugs.

"We commit these bodies to the ground. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust," the priest's last words. Sloanne’s parents were killed in an accident while driving up to see her. It was Uncle Patty who knocked on her door that day and as she saw him standing there alone, she instinctively knew. Her dad, while driving with her mom, lost control of the vehicle, which flipped several times before an eighteen-wheeler slammed into the remains of their car. There wasn't much left, really. It took the rescue crew three hours to extract what they referred to as 'the bodies'. But, they were her parents and she'd never gotten to see them again.

She watched as they’d slowly lowered her mom and dad, one at a time, into the muddy ground. They were there for her beginning and she had been there for their end. There were three people in this world who loved her as their child and she wanted to die as she watched two of them disappear into darkness. Uncle Patty was there to catch her as the first shovel full of dirt was thrown in.

"Don't cover them up! It’s dark in there!" she screamed as she dove for their caskets.

But Patty held her back and they both watched and cried as the two best people on earth were buried.

The rest of that day was a blur. People coming and going, bringing food that would never be eaten. Everyone grieved the loss of a wonderful couple. She didn't believe a single person who knew her mom and dad, did not love and respect them and it showed in the number of mourners who came to pay their final respects.

Patty remained close by for months after the funeral. He was her rock and kept her sane in the weeks and months after her parents’ deaths. When she returned to the city, he called her constantly, visiting every weekend to make sure she was okay and that her life was getting back on track. They were family and they did the best they could for each other. She tried to be there for him and he helped her to feel loved as a daughter.

Time was winding down now and in fifteen minutes she would be back there. Back where all those feelings and memories lived. The announcement came, "Next stop, Aberdeen Maryland."

She tensed, knowing she could not run away any longer. This time she had to stay and fight. This time she could not break. She had to be strong for Chloe and even stronger for Danni. She whispered a prayer for guidance, then gathered her things and stepped into the aisle.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Cruelty To Innocents: The 911 Abductions by CK Webb & DJ Weaver

1 -Taken


Chloe Jacobs sighed and clinched the steering wheel tighter as her daughter continued to badger her about the un-chaperoned sleep-over. A sleepover Chloe had no intention of letting her daughter attend that night.

“Why can't I go to the party? All the other girls are going and I want to go too. This is not fair, Mother," Chloe’s beautiful, thirteen-year-old daughter Danielle, barked at her mom.

Danni was being relentless on this sleep-over conversation and Chloe endured about all of this subject she could. As Danni talked, she was compulsively flipping through the stations on the radio, which made the tension in the car even more unbearable. The two were making their way to the local Klein’s Super Market in Chloe's late-model Honda.

Chloe considered herself to be the typical, single parent. She was thirty-one-years old, but still young enough to remember what it was like to be thirteen. All of those feelings you have as a thirteen-year-old, always feeling like everything is so permanent. She knew Danni believed it would be the end of the world if she didn’t attend the party. When Chloe was thirteen, she believed she knew everything about life: how it worked and how it would turn out. She realized now that she was older, how very wrong she had been. How could she make her daughter understand there would be many more big events in her life? Chloe just wanted Danni to slow down and enjoy being a kid.

Many people considered Chloe a classic beauty with her long, flaxen-blond hair and pale, crystal-blue eyes, all of which still drew the occasional wolf-whistle from men on the street. Those that knew her thought of her as an intelligent, responsible and well-put-together person who made a wonderful home for her only daughter.

Her full-time job with the Aberdeen Family Medical Clinic demanded long working hours and with a teen-age daughter to raise, that left little time for dating. Chloe knew there was no room in their life for a relationship and for now she was content.

"Danni, you are not going to an all-nighter without chaperones and that's final," Chloe said for the umpteenth time.

Danni wrinkled up her face and slumped down in her seat while giving her mom that, 'I am old enough to do what I want' look. Since Danni hit her teens, it was not unusual for them to have these stand-offs over boundary issues, but when push came to shove, Danni was a good kid who minded her mother and was always there when Chloe needed her.

The crime rate in Aberdeen was low and it had always been a relatively safe town. Nothing bad ever happened to disturb the quiet peacefulness and it was small enough to allow local law enforcement to keep a watchful eye on everything. The kids who were planning to attend the party would be safe enough, but this wasn’t about safety. This was about boundaries and Danni needed to learn hers.

"I hate you when you act like I am a baby, Mom," her daughter huffed with a big pout on her face. "I'm not your little girl anymore. I'm thirteen and I know what's happening¾stop treating me like a child. I wish Dad was here."

Danni knew how badly Chloe hated it when her father's name was thrown into these conversations and Chloe was convinced Danni did it for that very reason. This was one of Danni’s manipulations and Chloe recognized it all too well. Danni did it just to make Chloe feel bad in the hope that she would give in. But, Danni's dad wasn't there and Chloe refused to feel guilty…not this time.

"Danni, if you mention this party one more time, I swear you will be sitting in your room until you are at least thirty. Now get over it." Chloe said almost gritting her teeth.

Danni ignored her mom as she stared out the car window at the local scenery. Chloe hoped that would end the conversation. She longed for the days when Danni was easier to get along with.

They passed the outlet mall on I-95, the main highway that ran through Aberdeen Maryland and pulled into the grocery store parking lot. As they got out, Danni rolled her eyes and looked over at her mom with a pout on her face. So much like her dad, Chloe thought to herself. Great. Just what she needed, both Danni and her ex-husband giving her the evil eye all the way through the grocery store. During moments like these¾when Danni was being a defiant teenager¾motherhood was the most difficult. Chloe sighed to herself as she thought.

"Well, since I'm stuck at home tonight while everyone else is at the party, can we at least have pizza for dinner and maybe pick up a movie?"

Danni flipped her hair back in that charming way she had and just like a puff of smoke, her attitude disappeared. It was as if the conversation never took place at all.

“Good idea. Can we have mushrooms on the pizza?” Chloe now beamed at her daughter

“Eeewww…how about mushrooms on half the pizza...your half.”

Danni did a little happy dance into the store.

They started their rounds through the store as usual: cereal, milk, butter, eggs and pizza fixings. These trips to the grocery usually made Danni happy because she liked picking out ingredients for her next 'masterpiece'. That's what she called the crazy recipes she would throw together on her own and serve whenever her mother was late from work. Mostly the meals were pretty good with the occasional flop, but all in all, Danni was turning out to be a fairly good cook. Today, Chloe could see her daughter was really into it, no longer worrying about the sleep-over business.

They began to talk about things at school. Danni told her mom about the new girl with a nose ring and tattoo. Danni proceeded to tell Chloe about the tattoo she wanted for herself. Chloe cringed at the thought.

“I think a small angel on the back of my neck would be awesome,” Danni beamed at her mom. Chloe smiled, but tried not to encourage or discourage her daughter. There had been enough bickering for one day and she really wanted Danni to be happy.

“I think an angel would be okay, but maybe you should wait a few years before making any major decisions. I used to like frogs when I was your age, but can you imagine me with a big, frog tattoo now. That would be too funny,” Chloe teased and they both laughed at the imagined sight of Kermit tattooed on Chloe.

They made their way up and down the aisles as they continued to laugh and talk. As Chloe turned her cart to start down the next aisle, she noticed an older man a few feet away with a contorted look of pain on his face. She saw this just as he put one hand out to grab the end cap he was standing by, while his other hand went to his chest. He made a grating sound in his throat and his face twisted into an awful grimace that told Chloe he was definitely in trouble. She stepped towards the man to ask if she could help just as his body stiffened and started to fall. Chloe knew she'd never be able to catch the guy, but tried to at least, break his fall. He must have out-weighed her by one hundred pounds and despite her attempts to help, the man hit the floor hard, taking out the end cap display as he fell. Bags of chips, pretzels and tortillas crashed to the floor along with the shelving as the man toppled over.

Vaguely remembering her CPR training, Chloe pulled the man's head back and listened for breath sounds, but heard none. Her heart began to race and her adrenaline shot up. She checked for a pulse, but found nothing there either. She heard Danni ask if the man was dead, but Chloe could only focus on helping the stranger. She did not reply to her daughter. Chloe screamed for anyone in the gathering crowd of shoppers to call 9-1-1 and began giving the man breaths of air as best she could. It felt as if time stopped as she frantically tried to resuscitate the old man. She knew she should be pumping his chest as well, but panic was enveloping her and her mind no longer felt connected to her body.

She frantically scanned the crowd, searching for anyone who could help. A young man she knew as one of the store's stock boys stepped out of the crowd and bent down to the old man. He immediately began giving the man chest compressions as Chloe counted out the breaths she was administering. Hours passed by in minutes. Somewhere in Chloe's head, she heard the sound of whining or was it sirens?

"Here come the paramedics," Chloe heard someone say. She was running out of air as two men materialized beside her and began to work on the old man without missing a beat. Chloe stood up and stepped aside so both paramedics could get to the victim. The scene before her took on a surreal feeling, as if she were watching a movie. She vaguely heard Charlie, the store manager, say something about her quick thinking and good work, but she could not take her eyes from the horrible scene before them. Then, in a commanding voice, Charlie directed the crowd to step back and give the EMTs room to work.

"I've got no breath sounds and no pulse,” the EMTs voice was clear and strong over the murmur of the crowd that gathered.

"Charge the paddles to two hundred,” the other EMT was already into the bag and charging the portable defibrillator.

"Clear," yelled the paramedic and the old man's body jumped.

"Nothing. Charge to three hundred and hit him again."

"Clear," yelled the EMT again and the old man's body danced around on the floor like a rag doll.

Chloe began to think the old man was not going to make it. The crowd quieted and she could now hear the soft crying of an older lady behind her. She was still concentrating on the scene before her and could not bring herself to comfort the woman.

"Still nothing. Hit him again.”

The EMT charged the paddles to three hundred fifty and yelled, "Clear."

This time the man's body seemed to come completely off the floor, falling back down with a thump. The EMT again checked the old man's pulse and shook his head.

"This guy is gone, but we need to get him to the Medical Center." The EMT looked at the people standing around and asked, "Does anyone know who this man is?"

A man in the crowd said he thought the gentleman’s first name was Homer, but did not know his last name. Chloe noticed there were two police officers standing back from the crowd. Funny, she had not noticed them before, but she assumed they heard the emergency response call and followed in behind the EMTs. She had been so focused on Homer, but now her mind was clearing and Chloe realized Danni was not visible.

"Danni.” Chloe called out, but no voice came back to her.

"Danielle, where are you?” Chloe yelled, louder this time and with more force.

As the paramedics loaded the man's body on a gurney and the crowd started to thin, Chloe's eyes scanned the front of the store. She felt a sickening fear rising through her. Where was her daughter?

"Danni! Danielle!”

Chloe looked at every face in the fading crowd and the area all around her. She moved towards her cart and headed to the back of the store. She quickly made her way through the swinging doors that led back in the direction of the stock room. The ladies restroom was the last door on the left. Chloe burst through the door and quickly checked all the stalls, yelling Danni's name as she went. Complete panic was setting in now. Chloe knew her daughter would never intentionally scare her by disappearing this way. Finding no signs of Danni, she turned and flew back towards the front of the store.

The young, stock boy who helped her with the old man was standing close to the front entrance. Chloe jerked him by the arm, spinning him around to quickly ask if he had seen Danni.

"Have you seen my daughter? Have you seen Danni?" she demanded.

The boy's puzzled look made Chloe even more anxious and before he could say anything, Chloe spoke again.

"You've seen her before. You know, thirteen-years-old, about four-eleven, thin build, long, blond hair. She was wearing dark, blue shorts, tennis shoes and a light, blue ball shirt with 'Aberdeen Blue Angels' on the front and #33 on the back."

Halfway through her description, one of the police officers seeing her distress, approached her and the young man.

"My name is Officer Parker. Can I help, ma'am?"

"Yes, please. I can't seem to find my daughter. She was standing right here when the gentleman fell and I know she was here part of the time. I was trying to help, but then I lost track of her. It's not like her to just walk away. I don't understand where she could be."

Chloe massaged her temple.

The stock boy began to speak with concern in his voice, "I am sure she was standing right behind you when I first came up to help, but after that I just don't know. I'm Sorry. Let me help you look for her."

The officer looked up from his note pad, "Can you give me that description again?"

Chloe ran through it quickly for him. She began to feel a little better. The police would surely find Danni and things would go back to normal. Then, they would go on with their evening as planned.

"I will notify the manager and have him lock down the store. No one in and no one out. My partner and I will check around the back of the store and cruise the parking lot to see if we can find her. She probably just stepped outside. Maybe this whole thing upset her, you know how kids are? You stay close by in case she returns. We'll be back shortly."

The officer then turned to the stock boy and asked him to look around the store for Danni and to notify the other employees to do the same.

“Yes, sir.”

The boy quickly spun around and started walking towards the meat department, looking down each aisle as he passed by. He yelled out to the man behind the meat counter, giving him a quick description of Danni. The butcher then turned and started toward the back of the store, relaying the description of the missing girl to the store manager as he passed him. The store manager headed towards the customer service area. Only a few moments passed before Chloe heard him paging Danni over the PA system, requesting she come to the front of the store.

She turned to walk out the front entrance to check whether or not Danni might have gone to the car. When she reached the front door, she was detained by a clerk who informed her she could not leave. The store manager overheard the conversation and informed the clerk Chloe was the missing child’s mother and would be the only one permitted to exit or enter the store, besides the police.

By this time, Chloe was starting to freak out. Danni knew how easily she worried and Chloe wondered why her daughter would just disappear without saying a word. Surely Danni hadn't decided to walk home or to a friend's house. No, she wouldn't do that to me. Would she? Chloe thought to herself as she scanned the spaces between the parked cars. Her mind raced through every scenario she could think of. Where could Danni be?

As she arrived at her car, she could see Danni was nowhere in sight. Panic began to rise again and Chloe felt breathless, almost choking. She pulled out her cell and started thumbing through phone numbers, but thought better of calling anyone. Chloe knew Danni was not the sort of kid who did things like this and now she was even more worried.

Just as she slipped her cell back in her pocket, the two police officers pulled up and Officer Parker whom Chloe had given the description to jumped out of the car and came towards her. For the second time today, the minutes moved like hours. Chloe could see a look of dread on the officer’s face and she started to shake. Her mind began to race again as the officer strode towards her.

"Ma'am, was your daughter wearing any jewelry when you last saw her?" the officer asked with a strange tone in his voice.

"I'm sure she probably had on earrings. Her ears are pierced so she wears them all the time. Why?"

Chloe's voice was shaking now. Blood was pounding in her head. What was happening?

"Anything else? Any other jewelry?" the officer asked again.

The answer flashed through Chloe's mind.

"A watch…a “Twilight” watch. It has a picture of Edward and Bella on the face. I just bought it for her last week. It's her favorite book and…"

Chloe was breathing too hard and her hands were trembling now, almost uncontrollably. Fear gripped her stomach nearly making her gag.

The look on the officer's face as he held out his hand to her was one Chloe would never forget.

"Is this the watch?"

Chloe's knees started to go weak as the officer spoke.

"Oh my god. Where did you find this? It's Danni's watch! Oh my god! Where is my daughter?" Chloe screamed at the officer.

"We found it around back of the store, ma'am. There were some tire marks in the lot next to where the watch was laying, as if somebody took off in a hurry. We spoke to an older woman who lives next to the back parking lot. She was out in her yard and thinks she saw a dark blue or black car leaving the lot in a hurry. She noticed because she heard the tires squealing," he explained to Chloe.

"We think Danni must have dropped the watch by accident. Is Danni close with her dad? He could have picked her up and she may have dropped the watch while getting in his car. Is that possible?”

"No, no. Danni's dad is gone. There is no one she could have left here with. Her grand parents are dead and besides, Danni would never just leave and not tell me," Chloe stammered.

"Does Danni have a boyfriend? Is there anyone you can think of who she could have gone to visit? Did you two have a fight or disagreement? Maybe she ran off mad or…”

"No! Oh god. Someone must have taken her! Please help me. Someone had to have taken her. She's a good girl. She would never worry me like this. Please help me find her," Chloe begged, beside herself, tears rolling down her face.

Panic tasted like vomit in her mouth and she half fell, half sat down right there in the parking lot. The officer stooped down and touched Chloe's shoulder. He turned his head and silently directed the other officer to call for medical assistance. Chloe’s head began to spin and bright flashes of light appeared before her eyes.

"Don't worry now, ma'am. Your daughter is probably just walking around somewhere or heading home. I'll call this in right away. Normally, we don't follow up on these things for a certain period of time, but this watch makes me uneasy. Since you declared there is no one else she could have left with, I’m going to contact my chief who will in turn contact the Detective Division. They will be the ones who will determine whether an Amber Alert should be issued. We are going to cordon off the area and radio this in. A detective will be here shortly and we’ll start processing the witnesses inside the store. Stranger abductions are considered the most crucial and in those cases time is very important. You should call everyone your daughter might have been in contact with while we wait. Do you feel like you can get up? My partner will help you inside where you’ll be more comfortable. After I talk to the chief, I'll be back inside. Do you have a picture of Danni with you, by any chance?”

Chloe then realized she left her purse in the cart she had been pushing in the store.

“I do, but I left my purse inside. Do you really think someone has taken my daughter? But why? Why would anyone want to take Danni? Why?" Chloe cried.

"I don't know, ma'am, but I don’t want to take any chances on this. If she shows up, well, that’s a good thing, but we have to go at this as what it looks like…an abduction. Now you head inside with Officer George and he'll help you with the phone calls. I'll come in when the detectives arrive. I know this is difficult, but please try not to worry," the officer said. “We’re going to do everything we can to get your daughter home safe.”

The officer tried to help Chloe up, but by this time she was on the verge of hysteria and could barely stand or speak. She ran the question through her mind. Why would someone take her Danni? She just could not comprehend it. Not her sweet baby girl, Danni. Not her only child. This couldn't be happening…not to Danni…not to her.

She braced herself as Officer George helped her to her feet. They walked around to the front entrance and the store employee opened the door for them. The store manager saw them enter and immediately grabbed a chair for Chloe to sit in. Her mind was so tired. She could barely think as the officer asked her for numbers from her cell phone.

Officer Parker strode to the police cruiser and grabbed the microphone, dread washing over him as he went.

“Central, this is car thirty-six, come back.”

“Thirty-six, this is Central, go ahead.”

“Central, we have a Code Adam at Klein’s Super Market. I need to speak to the chief, ASAP.”

“Connecting you now thirty-six, go ahead.”

“Chief, this is Parker. We have a Code Adam at Klein’s and we need a detective on-scene right away.”

“Copy that, Parker. I’ll issue a BOLO immediately and send Detective Howard right out. Give me a rundown and description of the victim.”

Parker knew a BOLO was a “Be on look out” and exact descriptions were imperative for locating a suspect or victim, but they had very little to go on. Parker ran through the description of Danni and what they found in the parking lot. He also told the chief about the small car that was spotted leaving the scene. The chief assured him Detective Howard would be there in no time and quickly ran through procedures on questioning the witnesses.

Parker had barely hung up the microphone when he heard sirens in the distance getting louder as they approached. What had gone from a 9-1-1 medical emergency call, escalated into something far worse. Parker never worked a kidnapping in Aberdeen and had a bad feeling this was not going to end well.