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

  Hey Long Island PTA’s! Here’s a program worth looking into. Promote Literacy. Link this to your PARP program.

licwi3Long Island Children’s Writers
and Illustrators (LICWI) 
Invites Your School
To Host An Author/Illustrator Night

Host an Author/Illustrator Night and meet Long Island children’s book
authors with imaginative, unforgettable stories to share…
What is an Author/Illustrator Night? An Author/Illustrator Night is an opportunity to spark
your children’s interest in reading by allowing them to meet the names behind the cover and 
title of the books they read. Several of LICWI’s published members will visit your school or
libary for a “meet and greet” in a fair-like setting, while selling and signing books. 
If you are interested in hosting an Author/Illustrator event, please contact Sandy Lanton at
516-396-0763 or email sandyredhead15@gmailLICWI

Apparent Dangers of Drinking and Driving At 3:00 AM on Nov. 10, Marguerite Lange, her silver 2010Mercedes Sports Coupe, a half-filled bottle of vodka and a plastic bag of white powder landed in a ditch located at the bottom of a steep hill bordering Rte. 17 in upstate New York. The car had apparently gone out of control and went off the highway, rolling several times before landing upside down in the ditch. The police were able to recreate the accident from skid marks on the road and various impressions and disturbances observed in the area. DUI 3 Marguerite forgot her seat belt. She was quite dead. The bottle of vodka was spilled on the front seat. The bag of white powder was in the glove compartment. The first person on the scene was P.O. Nelson who had received a call to check out the wreckage sighted by a passing motorist at 7AM. Nelson noted that Ms. Lange’s head was tilted at an odd angle, and surmised she had died of a broken neck. He also noticed a nasty bruise on the side of her head (left temple). The windshield and other windows of the car were intact. One of Marguerite’s wrists was exposed and curious red marks appeared there. She was wearing a very expensive black silk jumpsuit, a fox coat and no jewelry, not even a wristwatch. Because of the presence of the suspicious white powder, the alcohol and the circumstances of the body, the crime scene unit was called in. The scene was isolated from unauthorized persons, and evidence was collected.                                                                                         Marguerite Lange’s body was taken to the morgue and the M.E. did an autopsy.  The crime scene unit screened the car for evidence; the deceased’s purse, other objects, trace evidence and fingerprints. This evidence as well as the bag of white powder and the bottle of vodka were sent to the forensics lab for investigation. The following items of information were obtained by the crime scene unit either directly or deduced from analysis of the evidence.

  1. The deceased’s purse revealed that she was employed by John DiCristiani, who imports rare hardwood lumber from South America for the manufacture of very expensive custom-made furniture . She was his office manager. The Mercedes is registered in her name but the insurance card shows that the car is insured under DiCristiani’s policy. A check on DiC shows that he had been under scrutiny by the Treasury Department because of some illegal substances of the white powdery variety showing up in his wood shipments. No indictments or convictions showed up.
  2. The fingerprints found in the car belonged to Lange, her sister, DiC and an unknown set.
  3. The fiber evidence included fox hair, gray cat hair, Lange’s hair, her sister’s hair, and short gray human hairs which turned out to belong to DiC. Several coarse navy blue wool fibers are found adhering to the back of the driver’s seat and the rug near the driver’s door sill.
  4. The bottle of vodka is vodka, pure and simple. No fingerprints on the bottle, not even Lange’s.
  5. The white powder is cocaine, uncut.
  6. The bruise on Lange’s temple was inflicted by a punch. The M.E. was able to show the impressions consistent with three knuckles and a thrusting thumb. The red marks on her wrist also consistent with human intervention, a strong grasp.
  7. Examination of the car showed that besides the damage done by the tumble down the hill, there were marks in the front bumper as if the car had been towed with a grappling hook.
  8. The M.E. found that the time of death was between 6 and 10PM of Nov. 9. The cause of death was cerebral hemorrhage. Her BAC (blood alcohol) was.03. No drugs were found in her system.

Were the police suspicious? You bet they were! Let’s talk about some of the evidence. The time of death is determined by algor mortis which is based on the temperature of the body which loses heat to the environment in conjunction with the temperature of the environment. Rigor mortis is also used which is the stiffening of muscles after death, and the eventual relaxation of those muscles, all happening at a predictable rate. It was Nov. so Lange was temperature was not conclusive, but rigor mortis told the tale, along with other chemical changes obvious to the M.E. The real telling evidence was her toxicology profile. She was not driving drunk or impaired. That is if she was driving at all. Blood alcohol level is determined by sampling a body fluid of the deceased, like the fluid in the eyeball, if blood is too congealed. Alcohol is detected in the blood stream by use of gas chromatography which separates the components of the blood at specific rates. The rate of ethyl alcohol is known and the apparatus records it. The presence of drugs is detected by taking tissue samples from the liver, stomach contents, and body fluids. The tests used involve the spectrometer and gas-chromatography/mass spectrometer. The spectrometer identifies the molecular make-up of drugs by observing the interaction of various frequencies of light with the molecules.  Molecules are as individual as a person’s DNA, so the pattern of light interference will be specific for each drug. The gas chromatograph separates the drug sample which is usually a mixture of materials into its component parts. This allows the samples molecules to be analyzed in their pure form which is the only way they can be identified. Every molecule has its own fingerprint. The mass spectrometer identifies the drug from a fingerprint it produces when the molecules are shattered by a stream of ions. These instruments produce results equal in veracity to a fingerprint. The tool marks on the car are determined by an expert who compares the marks to a data base of imprints made by various tools. The blue wool fibers will only be helpful if the source of them can be associated with a person who is also incriminated by other evidence, such as the possession of the grappling hooks. If so, the metal on the grappling hooks would have left trace evidence on the cars bumper, which the forensic scientist can identify. The fact that there are no fingerprints on the vodka bottle and the bruising on Lange’s corpse, coupled with the time of death indicate that she was dead at the time of the “accident” which the police believe was staged. Who did it? An investigation of her private life, and her relationship with her boss may afford valuable leads.

I was fortunate enough to be on Gail King’s MaKING a Difference with Gail Show on Madhouse TV. This was my first experience with webTV. And what a great experience, wonderful studio and crew, and wonderful fellow guests, sharing some of Long Island’s great deeds by great people. Thanks Gail. Check out the interview on facebook. The show will be archived.

Tonight on MaKING a Difference with GAIL
6 PM
Authors Linda Maria Frank – Karen Bonnet, Videographer Dan Marquardt and Singer Katie Zimmer.

Secrets in the Fairy Chimneys by Linda Marie Frank. Published by Smith.

New Annie Tillery Mystery

Take the magic carpet ride of your imagination to Turkey. Join Annie and Ty in the caves of mysterious Cappadocia for another thrilling adventure.

“Secrets in the Fairy Chimneys” is live! Annie Tilley’s latest adventure takes place in Turkey. In exotic Istanbul, and the mysterious caves of interior Turkey known as Cappadocia.  Read Annie, in her own words.

I got to go on this awesome adventure because my boyfriend, Ty Egan, was working on a project for his college degree.  He is digging up bones and artifacts in Catalhoyuk, the oldest known town in the world. They needed volunteers at this archaeological dig, and besides being interested in the project, jumped at a chance to join Ty.

Ty’s best friend, Cedric Zeeks, is in charge of the American volunteers. He is smart, charming, and an impressive scientist, proving the DNA links between the bones in Turkey and our human ancestors in Africa. When valuable treasures from the dig disappear, and accidents threaten the lives of the staff, ( even I am the object of threats), Cedric  teams up with me and Ty to solve the mysteries surrounding the dig. FC 6X9 RGB- blue eyed burqa

Whether it’s chasing down clues in the Bazaar in Istanbul, searching the eerie caves in Cappadocia, or analyzing DNA left by the bad guys, Cedric is the guy we want on our team. His keen ability to red people and situations make us an instant mystery solving trio.


Yelda and Ahmet Atsut, twin children of the dig’s director have eyes and ears everywhere. They point to some of the most valuable clues. Yelda and Ahmet explore the caves in the region, leading to some vital information, but almost costing their lives.

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FC 6X9 RGB - ouija board R1

What a surprise when they produce the Ouija board they claim to have the answers to the secrets in Cappadocia.




Not everyone at the dig is a friend. Sasha Borodin, assistant to the twin’s father, Dr. Atsut, hates me. She is secretive and uncooperative to any efforts to put a stop to the mystery and violence at the ancient town.

Other folks at the dig seem to be friends at times, but not so much at others. Dr. Radcliffe, a U.S. army medic shows up to provide medical services, but his unexplained absences at other times tweaks my curiosity. His warnings to keep my nose where it belongs raises my defenses.

Bruce McAniff, an engineer, has my antennae twitching. He seems to be in the wrong place at the right time.

This cast of characters lead us from one clue to another in the puzzle of why Catalhoyuk is the target of the thieves who are raiding the treasures of the ancient world.

New Annie Tillery Mystery

Take the magic carpet ride of your imagination to Turkey. Join Annie and Ty in the caves of mysterious Cappadocia for another thrilling adventure.

Linda Maria Frank, mystery writer, has published the third book in The Annie Tillery Mystery series, “Secrets in the Fairy Chimneys”. Heroine, Annie Tillery, comes through again with clever plot, dynamite setting and fun characters.

The third exciting book of the Annie Tillery Mysteries is now live, soon to be available  on amazon.com.  Award winning author,  Linda Maria Frank, has created another page-turning, can’t-put-it-down mystery. After clicking on the Authors Show website (Children’s), be sure to select Frank’s interviews from the menu on The Authors Show website, “The Madonna Ghost “or “Girl with Pencil, Drawing”.

“Secrets in the Fairy Chimneys” has it all. The story is set in exotic Istanbul and Cappadocia, a land of enchanted caves and rock formations. The plot involves ancient mysteries, archaeological secrets, and thieves who will commit murder rather than give up the treasures they steal. Annie acquires new friends. Cedric Zeeks is trying to find a link between his African ancestors and the inhabitants of a 9,000 year old town in Cappadocia.  Yelda and Ahmet Atsut, twins with a Ouija board and awesome sleuthing talents, help Annie and boyfriend, Ty Egan, solve the mysteries, both the ancient ones and the ones that threaten them as they work the archaeological dig.                         FC 6X9 RGB - twins in cave R1

Here’s a peek at the back of the book:

Amateur sleuth Annie Tillery has been warned to stay away from Nevshehir, Turkey, where she is heading to meet her boyfriend, Ty Egan, and Cedric Zeeks, Ty’s best friend. Intent on helping the two excavate an archaeological site where they hope to link human remains to the first African ancestors. Annie does her best to shake her foreboding feelings as her plane lands in Istanbul and she prepares to embark on her next adventure.But when a stranger claims he is there to pick her up and then disappears once he sees Ty, Annie is immediately thrown back into worry mode—especially after Ty tells her there is unexplained tension surrounding the dig and she receives a threatening note at the hotel.

FC 6X9 RGB - ouija board R1Still, as the three head to Nevshehir, Annie is buoyed by the excitement surrounding ancient Turkey and the possibility of uncovering secrets. The dig is plagued by accidents and theft, however, and the three friends, assisted by the head archaeologist’s twins, must search the ancient city of Istanbul and the caves of fantastic Cappadocia to find who is sabotaging their work.

In this young adult thriller, detective Annie Tillery must once again walk a dangerous path in an attempt to unravel a complicated mystery and solve the secrets in the eerie fairy chimneys.FC 6X9 RGB- blue eyed burqa

LINDA MARIA FRANK, retired science teacher, is currently writing the Annie Tillery Mysteries series, which includes “The Madonna Ghost”; “Girl with Pencil, Drawing” and “Secrets in the Fairy Chimneys”. She also produces the television show, The Writer’s Dream, and serves as an active member of several writers’ groups. She resides on Long Island, the inspiration for her first book.

images (7)On Dec. 21, 1988, Pan American flight 103, originating in Frankfort, Germany landed at London’s Heathrow Airport, and after loading passengers and luggage, took off for New York’s JFK airport at 18:25 p.m.  At approximately 19:02 p.m. air traffic control lost contact with it. A few seconds later the radar showed the plane’s blip on the screen fracture into five separate ones, trailing away from each other. The plane had exploded and the debris rained down on the Scottish town of Lockerbee.

243 passengers and 16 crew, dead, as well as 11 residents from Lockerbee.

This was one of the most famous plane crashes in history, both for the horror it was, the subsequent political implications, and the forensic investigation that ensued leading to the arrest and conviction of one of the terrorists involved.

The USA’s FBI, and the British equivalent of our NTSB, the Air Accidents Investigation Branch, laboriously collected every piece of wreckage from the plane, and pieced together the smithereens they found into a whole plane.

How did forensic scientists look at this reconstruction, and what did it tell them? The heartbreak of loss was unimaginable, the forensics task daunting. The only possible closure was to solve the riddle of what happened.

The importance of collecting as much of the Boeing 747’s wreckage as possible was that the reconstructed plane, coupled with the results of the analysis of each piece for explosives residue, would enable the explosives experts to determine where the bomb was located on the plane.

The investigative teams combed the debris field created when the parts of the plane fell onto Lockerbee. Even the tiniest pieces were collected and engineers familiar with the plane’s design reconstructed it in a large hangar.

The Debris Field

The Debris Field

Each piece was also tested for chemical residues known to be left when substances like Pentex or Semtex explode. Each piece was also examined microscopically for the telltale particles of explosives residue left behind.

This residue is analyzed by forensic chemists using the standard protocol for identifying unknown compounds. The protocol involves first, separation of the residue into its component parts, using various forms of chromatography. The most definitive form being gas chromatography.  The results are injected into a mass spectrometer which can, with the accuracy afforded to the matching of fingerprints, identify the component compounds in the residue.

The results for Pan Am 103 found that the explosion occurred in the cargo hold just under the P in the Pan Am logo on the fuselage. This told the investigators that the bomb was loaded onto the plane in Frankfurt, at the flight’s origin. A further investigation of the luggage which was also collected and analyzed, revealed the exact piece of luggage, a brown Samsonite case, that had carried the bomb. Inside that Samsonite case was a Ghettoblaster cassette player, stuffed with Semtex. Scientists can piece this together because the pieces of wreckage closest to the blast have the most residue.

This fact enabled them to trace the clothing from that suitcase to a shop in Malta where sales receipts started the trail that eventually led to Abdelbaset al-Megrahi and Lamin Khalifah Fhimah. Megrahi was found guilty and went to jail. A Scottish judge released him when it was determined that he had terminal cancer. Fhimah was exonerated. The investigation also led to a connection to Muammar Gaddafi, leader of Libya. After a good deal of international pressure, he eventually paid compensation to the families of the victims.

It should be noted that all plane crashes where explosives or bombs are suspected to be the cause, are analyzed the same way.

TWA Flight 800, off Long Island, in 1996, was reconstructed at the old Gruman Aviation Plant in Calverton, L.I. The results of this investigation were not as definitive because the wreckage needed to be recovered from the ocean bed, water possibly removing the explosive residue.

The bottom line? Tiny pieces of evidence can lead to the solution of the biggest crimes.

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