Author does scavenger hunt and writing contest at Fire Island Lighthouse


I often ask myself, why I cannot retire as other women in my position do. Play bridge or golf, do a little volunteering, go to Florida for the winter. Why have I chosen to spend my days chasing around the Internet finding ways to promote my Annie Tillery Mystery series? The second time I was diagnosed with breast cancer, I did a psychological whoa, and looked at my life. If my life were to end tomorrow, would I be satisfied with what I had accomplished? I never was one to be satisfied with just “being”. My life had to mean more to me than that.

I could see a whole world of possibilities out there. Based on how I’ve spent my life, it seemed natural to turn to the same population as my students, and to women in general. Having been part of the feminist movement that started in the sixties, I wanted to leave some inspiration to the young women who would follow me. I also wanted the women of my generation to see that the girls of my books reflected the hopes and dreams of my contemporaries, taking on the challenges traditionally thought of as belonging to males.

As a science teacher, I wanted to inspire young women to see science as interesting, and as something females would be good at. My heroine, Annie Tillery, is smart not nerdy, attractive not gorgeous, doesn’t use magic or necromancy to divine the world around her. She uses her brain, her sense of humor, and just pure guts.

At first, I just wanted to write the stories and put them in a loose-leaf binder for my grand-nieces and nephews, and possible grandchildren. Then I realized that these stories are my DNA. They have grown out of my life’s work as an educator, and my life experiences as a girl, and then a woman. It’s very feminine to share. That’s part of the DNA we share with other mammals. Baby elephants have mothers, and many aunties (other adult females) to watch over them. Baby whales, born under water are buoyed to the surface by the female whales attending their birth. And so, share I did. I can only hope that my efforts to get teachers to use my books and lesson plans will come to fruition. I hope my attempts to reach out to authors, with advice from the guests on my local access show, “The Writer’s Dream”; and my workshops will help someone along the way.

I can’t believe eighteen years have gone by. In 1994 I was diagnosed with breast cancer, stage 1. I was lucky. It was caught early. I’m the poster child for early detection. One lumpectomy and thirty radiation treatments later, I was able to get on with my life.
But, life did not go on as usual. Cancer is a diagnosis that puts a different lens in your rose-colored glasses. With some folks, it means, slow down and smell the roses. For me, it was speed up and get done every bloomin’ thing I ever wanted to do. I plunged into life like never before. And while I was living life in the fast-lane, the cancer was growing back. In late 2008 I was diagnosed with a recurrence of cancer in the same breast.
Another thing a cancer diagnosis does is to take you out of the main stream of life. It feels like you are suspended above the earth watching everyone living their stories while you are in limbo waiting, waiting for the verdict; chemo, surgery, radiation, six weeks to live, maybe two months.
Again, I was lucky. Because of the previous cancer, my wonderful doctors checked me every six months. Again, I am the poster child for early detection. I decided to have a double mastectomy, no radiation, no chemo. As far as they could tell the cancer had not spread.
This was three years ago. I am a lot older and much more aware of the fragility of life. Friends and family have had their own diagnoses. Some have died. Some I share a bond with that is like that shared by soldiers who’ve shared combat. And, we fight on.
I am so grateful for whatever time the early detection of my cancers has given me. Every day is a gift from God, a day to be used in the best way I know how. Thanks for reading my story. I have a great deal more to say about how to cope with cancer, and how that ugly negative thing has been the motivation to give back.

Linda Maria Frank

By Linda Maria Frank
Have you ever wondered about the story behind a boat you’ve seen up on the beach, or one that’s been found
abandoned and adrift? It’s interesting to speculate on how the vessel came to be forsaken.
Most boats and ships are registered in a number of ways.
They can be federally documented by the U.S. Coast Guard or
licensed by individual states, making them traceable via the
serial numbers on the engines or on the hulls. While that’s a
start, this method of tracing may prove useless if the cast off
boat no longer belongs to the registered owner and no record
exists of a sales. Law enforcement or investigative agencies
must then turn to other methods to try to find the owner.
These efforts are expensive, and so they will most likely only
occur if the boat has a hefty value, is suspected of being used in
the commission of a crime, or if there is a suspicion of foul play.
Consider the scenario in which a wife reports her husband did
not return from a fishing trip. A boat washes up several miles
away from an inlet near the owner’s marina, with the vessel’s
registration and name removed. As it’s the same model boat
as one owned by the man, suspicions are raised. How can the
police verify the identity of the boat and determine if a crime
has been committed?
Since identifying information has been removed from the
boat, searching state and federal data banks for the owner
cannot be used. Detectives will then check with the owner
of the marina and persons who are familiar with the missing
man’s boat. The boat is identified by a friend from a small dent incurred during a fishing outing.

Evidence of foul play such as piracy or crime such as drug
dealing may be found by investigators examining the boat,
including a sabotaged engine, bullet holes, the presence of
blood, evidence of fire, and/or traces of contraband such as
drugs. If such evidence is found, standard procedures used to
process a crime scene are applied:
Access to the vessel is restricted to the crime scene unit;
Photographs will be taken, and the search may be
videotaped; and
Evidence is collected and preserved, with care taken
not to disturb the initially-discovered conditions.
The presence of blood is noted by investigators, and samples
will be taken using specific protocols for either dry or whole
blood. The blood samples are processed in the serology
department of a forensic crime lab to determine if it is human,
and if so, what type. A profile of blood proteins or DNA can
be established and compared to known DNA samples from suspected victims, or run through a data base of DNA from
perpetrators of violent crimes.
The crime scene will also be treated with luminol to allow
investigators to visualize any areas where attempts were
made to remove blood stains — trace amounts of blood
always remain, so the luminol will make them glow under
a UV light.
Fibers and hairs will be collected for analysis, which can be
quite detailed. For example, some synthetic fibers can be
traced to rug fibers from individual models of cars. Recovered
hairs may be found to be consistent with a victim or a suspect.
Traces of chemicals can be detected as well. Drugs and
explosives residue can be picked up, using an instrument
similar to the wand the Transportation Security
Administration uses for security checks at airports.
Collected fingerprints will be compared with those of
persons who had known access to the boat. Prints are also
compared through the Automated Fingerprint Identification
System (AFIS), a database containing fingerprints of known
criminals and those in the armed services.
Investigators will be seeking footprints or shoe prints. These
can be significant, as footprints can be traced to a single
individual, and shoe prints may do the same due to wear
patterns and accidental imprints, such as a rock stuck in the
shoe’s tread.
If a gun is determined to be involved, the experts will trace
the bullets to an individual gun by the marks left through the
action of firing the gun.
Let’s assume that the evidence collected from the washedashore
boat yields the following results: blood consistent with
the missing boater, gunshot residue on a boat cushion, two
sets of fingerprints — the owner’s and another person’s prints
(identified through AFIS as a felon with a drug conviction), a
bloody shoe print that matches to a print of the owner’s boat
shoe found in his garage, and heroin residue found in a boat
locker. An investigation conducted of the owner’s finances
shows several large deposits of cash made into his savings
account in the weeks prior to his disappearance.
The boater’s remains are never found, but the evidence points
away from a boater with an unregistered boat having a heart
attack and falling overboard. Instead, evidence, analysis, and
investigative work points law enforcement towards a drug
assassination, so the police start searching for links in a series
of drug related crimes. Their mission is to eventually answer
the questions that remain, including: Why was the vessel
abandoned? Where is the owner? How did the boat get to its
location without a captain? What crimes were committed
and who can be brought to justice?
After many years teaching forensic science, Linda Maria
Frank now writes the Annie Tillery Mystery series. It’s a
case of “Nancy Drew Meets CSI”. The first three books of the
series are The Madonna Ghost, Girl with Pencil, Drawing
and Secrets in the Fairy Chimneys; all are available on www.amazon.com and http://www.lindamariafrank.com.





August 15, 2014                                Guppies Newsletter for SISTERS IN CRIME

AND THEN, IT WENT KABOOM!                                                                 By Linda Maria Frank

Every high school chemistry student, studying the incredible nature of nitrogen bonds, has heard the story of Alfred Nobel and his creation of dynamite. As the Industrial Revolution chugged along, the need for faster and more powerful methods of construction became increasingly important.

The two know explosives at the time were black power (gun powder), a relatively low grade explosive, and nitroglycerine, powerful, unstable, and deadly dangerous to use. The key ingredient in these two is the nitrogen bonds in the chemical ingredients. When the bonds between nitrogen atoms and the atoms of other elements are broken, tremendous energy is released.

Nitroglycerine contains these nitrogen bonds, but in a very unstable form. Jiggle a bottle of the oily liquid, or raise its temperature just a few degrees and Ka-Boom. In its original form, it was too dangerous to use. The potential for nitroglycerine to be used for construction purposes during the enormous building boom of the 1800’s and early 1900’s spurred the Swedish chemist, Alfred Nobel, to try to stabilize nitro, so that it could be transported, stored and used safely.

First he invented a blasting cap in 1862, in order to detonate the stuff from a distance. Previously, nitroglycerine could only be detonated with a spark or percussion at close range. A blasting cap contains a small amount of chemicals which, when stimulated with a fuse produce a shock wave of energy that sets off the nitro.

However, you were still dealing with the transport of nitro from factory to storage facility to construction site. The quest to stabilize went on. It is a little known fact that the Nobel family suffered greatly from this quest. Alfred’s brother, Emil, was killed in their factory’s explosion. Nobel, himself, suffered horrible headaches from his exposure to nitroglycerine. Those of you familiar with the nitro patch worn by folks suffering from some cardiac conditions are aware of this side effect.

Like many great discoveries an accident led to Nobel’s final safe preparation of the compound known as dynamite. As time and trials went on the transportation of nitroglycerine was done by surrounding the bottles of the liquid immersed in crates of sand. A wagon transporting the stuff had a mishap, and the nitro did not explode. A light bulb went off for Nobel. He then experimented with varying amounts of liquid nitro with sand packed in a tube. Once stabilized with the right mixture, the nitro could be detonated with a fuse or a blasting cap. Picture the Wiley J. Coyote or Yosemite Sam cartoons where someone is holding the tube of dynamite with the sparkling fuse dangling from the end. In real life the fuse is a bit longer. DYNAMITE was born! It was originally known as “Nobel’s Blasting Powder”.



Success had been achieved in 1867 and was the tool of choice for builders of railroad tunnels, canals and other massive construction projects. When dynamite became a weapon in the attempted assassination of Tsar Alexander II in Russia, Nobel, who had become enormously wealthy as a result of dynamite, created the famous Nobel Prizes in Physics, Chemistry, Medicine, Literature, and of course, the Peace Prize.

However, explosives get most of their press, not from damn construction like the Hoover Damn, but from destruction of people and places, in acts of terrorism such as the one described above. More recently consider the tragedy of the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995, the biggest act of mass murder in U.S. history involving explosives. 168 people including 19 children died in Oklahoma City that day. The Twin Towers attack in 2001 did not involve actual explosives, but the inflammable nature of jet fuel introduced into the buildings by a plane crash.

The explosive of choice by Timothy McVeigh, the perpetrator of the crime, was ammonium nitrate, NH3NO3. Remember those energetic nitrogen bonds? Once you create the chemical reaction to release that power, you can send any material in the blast site moving out in all directions at speeds greater than 1000 meters per second. A meter is a little more than three feet. If a bomb created by a terrorist, like a pipe bomb, contains nails or tacks, think of those objects traveling at that speed and hitting soft flesh.

Nitroglycerine in explosive mixtures has been replaced with ammonium nitrate, commercially available in fertilizers. It’s mixed with fuel oil, and this mixture is referred to as ANFO. In the correct packaging ANFO can be detonated by a fuse or blasting cap, or most commonly today, a blasting cap electronically set off by a cell phone signal such as the bomb used at the Boston Marathon in 2013.

The purchase of large quantities of fertilizer and diesel fuel is a red flag for law enforcement and anti-terrorism task forces. These substances are easily available. It’s one of the tip-offs that help to prevent terrorist attacks. Tune in next time to learn how a crime scene involving the use of explosives is processed and analyzed, and how we can tell the difference between an arson scene and one involving a bomb or explosive. This was the puzzle confronting the NTSB and FBI in the crash of TWA 800.

Some notable cases to be explored are the 1993 Twin Tower bombing, the London transit system bombing in 2005, the Atocha Railroad Station bombing in Madrid, the bombing of the U.S. embassy in Nairobi,  the crashes of TWA 800 and PanAm 103.



Criminalistics by Richard Saferstein




On Saturday, August 30, authors Linda Maria Frank and Marilyn Levinson will be offering their mystery books for sale at the Pindar winery. The authors will be offering the books described below from Noon to 5PM. Long Island Sisters in Crime is an organization of mystery writers. Check them out on facebook. View the many author interviews on Frank’s local access TV show, The Writer’s Dream. For directions, visit the Pindar website.


Levinson’s latest mystery, Murder a la Christie, is out with Oak Tree Press. Untreed Reads has brought out new e-editions of her Twin Lakes mysteries, A Murderer Among Us, awarded a Suspense Magazine “Best Indie”, and Murder in the Air. Uncial Press e-publishes her ghost mystery, Giving Up the Ghost, and her romantic suspense, Dangerous Relations. All of Marilyn’s mysteries take place on Long Island, where she lives. Her books for young readers include No Boys Allowed; Rufus and Magic Run Amok, which was awarded a Children’s Choice; Getting Back to Normal, & And Don’t Bring Jeremy.

Frank has written and now markets her Annie Tillery Mysteries, a series for girls of all ages.   Her books: The Madonna Ghost, Winner of Rising Star from iUniverse, and The Authors Show  Award, Girl with Pencil, Drawing and Secrets in the Fairy Chimneys.


A timely topic for teachers for the end of the summer

Originally posted on Annie Tillery Mysteries:

INTRODUCTION: The Madonna Ghost is a mystery novel revolving around a local ghost on Fire Island, New York. As the mystery evolves, a terrorist plot is uncovered by the two main characters. Investigation of the back story of the ghost and the terrorist plot reveal some of Fire Island history, which can be used to motivate an understanding:
• the colonial history of the New York colony
• the history of East Coast lighthouses
• shipping on the East Coast in the early history of the United States including the effects of piracy, hurricanes, and shipwrecks on the local economy, and
• the geographic location and geological formations of Fire Island in relation to its role in crimes, especially smuggling.
The work is a fast moving adventure involving two main characters who are teens, appealing to middle school students. As the…

View original 558 more words

The gorgeous South Shore setting of Bayard Cutting Arboretum will be hosting a fundraiser on Saturday August 23 from 10AM to 5pm. The fundraiser is to support EAC. Founded in 1969, EAC Network is a not-for-profit human service agency with a network of 70 programs throughout Long Island and New York City. Last year EAC Network helped over 57,400 people of all ages. Our mission is to respond to human needs with programs and services that protect children, promote healthy families and communities, help seniors and empower individuals to take control of their lives.

The list of VENDORS includes local Long Island authors and artists, jewelry makers, an Angel Card reader, a pet portraitist, a fabulous new clothing line for woman on the go, makeup, a psychic and medium, and original gift cards. Artists include watercolor, landscapes and a fascinating combination of photography and painting. Fair goers will recognize many of the authors and artists from other events. Items for purchase are varied to appeal to all tastes.

There will be RAFFLES, donated by the vendors, DEMONSTRATION by some of the vendors, and a CHANCE TO DONATE TO EAC, SEE EACINC.ORG.

SEE A LIST OF VENDORS, and read more about Bayard Cutting Arboretum and EAC Network  Click here.

See www.bayardcuttingarboretum.com for directions.

                  TO DONATEImageProxy (1) TO EAC Click here                ImageProxy (1)


Bayard Cutting Arboretum was donated to the Long Island State Park Region by Mrs. William Bayard Cutting and her daughter, Mrs. Olivia James, in memory of her husband, William Bayard Cutting. The intent of the donation was “to provide an oasis of beauty and quiet for the pleasure, rest and refreshment of those who delight in outdoor beauty; and to bring about a greater appreciation and understanding of the valdownload (8)ue and importance of informal planting.”


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The Nutrition Education & Food Services Program fights hunger using food as medicine. Clients report that they no longer worry about where their next meal is coming from.

The Nutrition Education & Food Services Program delivers meals to the homes of people living with HIV/AIDS who are home-bound and are too ill to cook and shop for themselves. The program provides nutrition assessments & ongoing nutrition counseling and also operates the only food pantry in Nassau County that supplies weekly grocery bags for persons living with HIV/AIDS.  Eligible food pantry recipients live in Nassau County. Eligible home-delivered meal recipients live in Hempstead, Freeport, Roosevelt, Westbury and New Cassel. Nearby areas may also qualify; inquire with our staff for eligibility. Dependant children are also fed through the program, which has been in operation since 1992.

Menus are planned by a nutritionist to guarantee that nutrition and special dietary needs are met, and are delivered directly to client homes. Through this program, clients recieve highly nutritious meals. Food deliveries also provide a chance to visit and make sure everything is all right. Based on availibility, pet food is provided for those with cats and dogs.

The changing face of HIV/AIDS is reflected in the population served; the majority, 93%, is from the minority community; composed of African American and Latino individuals between the ages of 25 and 60 with incomes at or below the poverty level.   Clients also include a significant number of single mothers with dependent children. These children are also provided with supplemental food for weekends and emergency needs.
In 2007, EAC Network’s Nutrition Education & Food Services Program was awarded the Congressional Hunger Award for helping to eliminate hunger and malnutrition for persons who are suffering from HIV/AIDS.

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VICKIE GREENBERG    JEWELRY                                                                                                     DAVID KORNRUMPF  LANDSCAPES

LOIS BENDER   WATERCOLOR                                                                                                            MIKE MEEHAN  ORIGINAL PAINTINGS

MARIANNE DIMILIA   ORIGINAL NOTE CARDS                                                                      PERI POLINI    PET PORTRAITURE

LINDA MARIA FRANK   MYSTERY AUTHOR                                                                             SHOSHANNA McCOLLUM  HISTORY AUTHOR

DIANE DIBLASI  ANGEL CARD READER                                                                                      RUSS MORAN  HISTORICAL THRILLERS

JANET RUSSEL  PSYCHIC AND MEDIUM                                                                                     SANDY LANTON   CHILDREN’S AUTHOR































Great Teen Mysteries

Great Teen Mysteries

Hooray! My website is up and running, and chock full of goodies.

  • Listen to the first chapters of all three Annie Tillery Mysteries, The Madonna Ghost, Girl with Pencil, Drawing and Secrets in the Fairy Chimneys.
  • Get lesson plans based on the books,
  • Do a mother/daughter book club with ready made book discussion questions.
  • Find Linda Maria Franks events and press releases.
  • Comment on her blog post.
  • Forensics Fans, there is a FORENSIC TRIVIA section with interesting and weird facts.
  • Order the books with a few clicks of the mouse.

I am hoping to get your comments soon. Annie Tillery Mysteries make great summer reading.

teen mystery, girl detective, ghost story, summer read

Annie and her boyfriend, Ty, uncover the secrets hidden by Fire Island and The Madonna Ghost.


Here is Annie’s new mystery. Look carefully at the cover to find the clues she will need to capture a murderer and uncover an intriguing ring of art forgers.

Follow Annie and Ty, and their new friends Cedric Zeeks and Ahmet and Yelda Atsut as they discover the secrets at  a mysterious archaeological dig in Turkey

Follow Annie and Ty, and their new friends Cedric Zeeks and Ahmet and Yelda Atsut as they discover the secrets at a mysterious archaeological dig in Turkey




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