Posts Tagged ‘great teen mysteries’







The Dangers of Flying Solo



Carol Wheeler sat in her car on a suburban street in New Windsor, Maryland. Her hand shook as she read the letter from the Department of the Navy for perhaps the twentieth time. It concerned something they had discovered about her grandmother’s role in World War II. The Navy had found a note in the wreckage of a plane that crashed in 1943, recently recovered in Appalachia. The note was traced to Charlotte Wheeler, Carol’s grandmother. Why had her grandmother put a note in a fighter plane that was being flown by someone else to a California air base? Charlotte had not been flying that plane. She did not die in 1943.

Carol pulled into the driveway of the home she grew up in and stared at it, memories of her childhood and school days flooding back. Maybe I can find something in the attic that will shed some light on this mystery. After all she did live here. Carol tucked the letter into her purse, shivering at the idea of entering that attic. Fishing in her purse, she pulled out the keys she needed to get into both the house, now occupied by a tenant, and the attic. I feel like a sneak thief, she thought. I’ll leave a note for Tallie. I don’t want her to think I snoop around here at will. I did send her a note. “Darn it! Why do I feel so guilty? I own this place,” she said, slamming the car door.

Gathering her resolve, Carol fumbled with the keys, finally selecting the correct one and entered the house by the side door, made her way to the second floor, and unlocked the door to the attic stairs.

“It smells the same. Probably nobody has touched a thing here since I put Mom in the nursing home. They’re going to put me in the loony bin if I don’t stop talking to myself.”

The heat in the attic produced a sheen of sweat all over Carol’s body, making her a bit light-headed. I’ll have to get out of here fast, she thought, propping the door open.

“Good. The trunks are where I remember them. Before she died, Mom told me all the family mementos are packed inside of them.”

Carol approached the trunks. Two were stained oak with barrel tops, bound in brass straps. The hardware was beginning to show signs of rust. The third one was a maroon steamer trunk, the kind used by immigrants bound for America on ocean liners. This was the one she opened. A strong smell of cinnamon and cloves rose from it. Inside were packets of letters. She scooped them up, and put them in her tote. The second trunk held picture albums. “It’s too much to carry. I’ll have to come back with someone.”

Curiosity got the best of her and Carol lifted a few framed pictures, turning them to the light from the single bare bulb. She gasped. The young woman in the one photo that fell out of the group looked back at her like a mirror image. The photograph was signed in the bottom right corner, Charlotte. My grandmother, Carol mused. That could just as well be me, she thought.

The door to the attic slammed, making Carol jump and clutch the photos to her chest.

“Who’s there?”

Carol ran to the door, pulling at it. It was stuck. She put the photos on a bureau and pulled at the knob with all her might. The door opened, nearly toppling her to the floor. She looked down the long hall where the door to the rest of the house stood open. A woman with a carefully pinned up-do of blonde curls, in a knee-length floral print dress was heading to the floor below.

“Tallie, is that you? Wait! Who is that? What are you doing in my house?”

There was no answer. The photo of Charlotte popped into Carol’s head. She shook herself to clear that vision, her hands trembling.

“That’s impossible,” she whispered. She put the photos back in the trunk, grabbed her tote, and ran out of the house. Heart pounding, Carol dropped the keys as she tried to lock the door.

Safely inside her car, she said, “What in the world was THAT? I’m not coming here alone again, she thought. Turning to the house, she muttered, “I don’t believe in ghosts, but did I just see one?”

AVAILABLE ON AUDIBLE.COM  https://www.audible.com/pd/Teens/The-Mystery-of-the-Lost-Avenger-Audiobook/B01N03QVRG/ref=a_search_c4_1_5_srImg?qid=1511903971&sr=1-5

Great Teen Mysteries

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Join Linda Maria Frank at the Dolphin Book Store in Port Washington, L.I. She will be sharing the story of how she wrote her “Mysteries for Kids”, the Annie Tillery Mystery Series. Her talk will include insights about plot, character and setting, including some personal stories of what happened in the research stage of her books, who the characters are modeled on, and where her ideas come from. OCTOBER 10 AT 6:30PM. We look forward to seeing you there.


Member, Linda Maria Frank, and her Annie Tillery Mystery Series.

teen mystery, girl detective, ghost story, summer read

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

An exciting YA mystery

The Brooklyn Bridge leads to the mysterious brownstone in Brooklyn where Annie and friends must find the clues to solve the murder of John DiCristiani.

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.

The latest Annie Tillery mystery takes us from the present to 1943. The ghost of Annie’s great grandmother helps her to solve a cold case involving the famous Avenger aircraft.




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The Adventures of a Self-Published Author Proves to Be a Matter of Trial and Error.

Ideas can come. And then, they can go.

Ideas can come. And then, they can go.

The challenge continues to be marketing. I finished the fourth book in the Annie Tillery Mystery series late this year, and it’s with the editor, and the illustrator who is working on the three illustrations I have included in all the books of the series.

I hope to get it to the publisher by the end of January. If you are an author, you know how that feels. If you are a reader, the story you are reading happens from the germ of an idea, and travels through much brain work to paper.

I’m now planning my marketing strategies. This is what I plan based on what I have learned:

  • Expensive services usually don’t measure up to their cost.
  • Social media is necessary and takes constant searching for the right sites, and input. POST. TWEET. POST. TWEET. ETC.
  • Twitter is a great research tool. Search for author services, contests and reviewers, as well as sites where you can advertise your books.
  • I’m beginning to wonder if all the “cheap” services I pay for might be better spent on a publicist.
  • There is an endless parade of folks who want to market your books. Choosing the right ones is a challenge, falling under the category of, “Some you win, some you lose”.
  • Review services are a chancy business, especially if your plot, background material, and for me science, are out of the ordinary. I paid for a review that claimed I should check my facts about my setting, one that I visited, recorded in pictures, journaled, and interviewed residents to get my information. This was such a stupid, unfounded criticism that I have become leery about asking for reviews. Don’t pay until you see the review.
  • Local media can be your best friend.
  • Make an organized plan for marketing, one that involves daily, weekly, and monthly activities using various media. This is essential for a self-published author, and probably for traditionally published authors as well.
  • In summary, be careful what you pay for. A lot of marketing can be done by you for free, or little cost.

teen mystery, girl detective, ghost story, summer read        An exciting YA mystery     New Annie Tillery Mystery

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Picture1Popular literature has never become disenchanted with the enchanted, possessed or cursed. You can find vampires, zombies, ghouls, ghosts and the demonically possessed in several best selling novels. In the tradition of Mary Shelly’s “Frankenstein”, the more recent literary forays into the world of the undead, sort of dead, and soon to be dead, have attempted to give some scientific and psychological rationales for their characters.

In light of some of the breakthroughs in new forensic techniques, authors have taken advantage, and incorporated these themes into their novels. Two theories used to explain vampires deal with DNA technology, specifically sequencing the genomes of the creatures mentioned above, and virology.

In Deborah Harkness’s All Souls trilogy, her main characters pursue a twofold quest. The vampire, Matthew Clairmont, is a microbiologist in his present regeneration. He is studying the DNA of witches, vampires and other creatures to see what their connection is to non-creature humans. He is looking for similarities, and those markers which identify them as a witch or vampire, etc.

At the same time, Dianna Bishop, an unwilling witch with very strong powers, is searching for an elusive medieval book that promises to give credence to the connections between all creatures, human and otherwise. There are many forces not willing to let her find this book, because of the power it holds. The fact that this trilogy brings in some of the most interesting aspects of DNA technology, like finding your ancestry through a study of your genetic markers, brings the study of vampire lore into another arena.

Vampire lore is world-wide, and is based on ignorance of the decomposition processes that occur after death, the inability to ascribe causes for disease or devastating weather phenomenon, and what a coma is. Locals would blame a plague like rabies, which ravaged Eastern Europe at the time vampire lore emerged, on the last person who died. The same was true of crop failure, or severe weather. These folks would dig up the person, looking for evidence of their evil-doing. In cooler climates decomposition was slower and two processes fed the vampire legends. One was that blood can pool in the chest cavity post-mortem. So, the stake in the heart produced the gushing of blood. Gas bubbles produced by bacterial activity forced blood from the lungs into and out of the mouth. Whoops, looks like Igor just had a blood meal! And last, but not least, image the evidence of the activities of the undead unearthed, (pardon the pun), when a person who had succumbed to a coma through neurological damage or disease was examined.

These folks were dispatched in the ways we have come to know, stake through the heart, beheading, dismembering, and burning of the remains. For those who are squeamish, just sprinkle the grave with vinegar and water. The mutilation of corpses was so rampant the Catholic Church disavowed and discouraged the practice.

The next theory delves into the catch-all of virology, the above mentioned rabies epidemic, for instance. Victims infected with the rabies virus exhibit all the symptoms attributed to vampires, insomnia, sensitivity to light, mirrors and reflective water surfaces, sensitivity to sulfurous foods like, you got it, garlic. Bats transmit rabies, giving credence to the ability of a vampire to turn into a bat.

Picture2Another theory based on virology was put forth as Vampiric Virology By Hugo Pecos & Robert Lomax. The source of vampirism is the human vampirism virus (HVV). Like rabies, HVV has a distinct bullet shape and belongs to the order Mononegavirales—viruses with a nonsegmented, negative-stranded RNA genome. The virus’ natural host is a flea commonly found on cave-dwelling bats—most notably the vampire bat. In the most common scenario, the flea bites a bat, which in-turn passes the virus on to humans and other mammals. Warning, this is a theory.

A neurological condition called porphyria can be used as an example of a disease exhibiting the symptoms of vampirism mentioned above. King George III of England, the one America declared independence from, had the condition.

Moving on to Zombies, we find another condition that some try to give a scientific explanation to. Zombies originate in Haitian folklore, with roots in Africa. A zombie is a reanimated corpse produced through the work of a Vodoo witch called a bokor. This is done by using potions and other mysterious rituals. The zombie does the bidding of the person who has reanimated them. Some bokors will capture the zombie spirit or “astral” in a small flask or vial, and sell it as a talisman the buyer can use to control others.

There are some examples in nature of one organism taking control of another, and using it for some benefit. An example of this is a species of fungus, Opmocordoyceps unlateralis, infects certain species of ants which in turn will carry their spores to new hosts. Jewel wasps inject roaches with venom, disabling them, dragging them into their nests where they serve as food. But, if you are looking for examples of human bodies reanimated to do your bidding, you may find this a challenge.

Zombies also exhibit the same characteristics as those suffering from neurological diseases. If legitimate science finds some legitimate zombies to carry out their research on, perhaps they will find a cure for these poor unattractive creatures. That is, if the zombies don’t eat them first.

In conclusion, when venturing into the world of vampires, zombies and others, separate your fact from fiction, or just enjoy the fiction. This article has been brought on by an overexposure to Halloween.

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I have a local access TV show, The Writer’s Dream, where I interview authors about writing, publishing, and marketing. I always ask this question. “What is your best advice for authors, especially those with a first manuscript?” The most common answer is, “Get a good editor.”

Ideas can come. And then, they can go.

Ideas can come. And then, they can go.

My suggestion is to have your manuscript in the most perfect condition you can manage before you settle on an editor. Editorial services and professional editors can cost a lot of money.

So, how do you go about getting your manuscript as near perfect as possible before sending it to an editor? It’s the power of the group. Browse through your local libraries programs for writers’ groups. Join professional author organizations that have critique groups. Meet-up.com has many author groups. You can go on their site and look for groups that meet in your area.

Find a group that fits your style. Some critique groups are gentler than others. Ask your contacts in the groups you choose to be beta readers for you. They read the book for flaws, but also for what they think the appeal is to readers. If your book has a lot of factual material, check those facts. Have someone proof read the book. Proof reading looks for flaws like spelling and punctuation errors, repeated sentences, incomplete sentences and the like.

There is great value in submitting your book to a group of writer/readers. They will see things you may not see, or don’t know how to fix. Once you have done all that, look for a professional editor. Understand that your friend who is an English teacher may not have the skills or the knowledge to meet the publishing industry’s standards. I had a magazine editor edit my last book, not realizing that the style manual used by magazine writers is different from the one used with books. I had to do a lot of extra work to undo that edit.

Find a friendly group. They will help you. You will learn from them. And hopefully the relationship will be reciprocal.

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If you have a published book, and you’re not famous, you know what a challenge marketing that book can be.

It’s not enough to make a digital audio version of your book, or an e-book. You need to list the book on amazon, and every website you can find that links readers and authors. But your book sales are not soaring through the roof. What’s the problem? Beats me!

What I have found is that I am a pretty good sales person. I have a “circuit” that I do consisting of Fairs: street fairs, crafts fairs, holiday fairs, book and author fairs, nature center events, coffee houses, and almost any place where I can sell my books as gifts, because books make great reasonably priced gifts. I’ll let you in on a little secret. This is fun!

What do you need to accomplish this? A supply of books, a poster, professionally produced book marks, a brochure describing your books and telling folks where to find you on-line.

Make sure you have a facebook page and a website or blog.

Sometimes you need a portable table and chair. Most of the time they are provided. Dress your table up with the current holiday theme. Pretty tables attract customers. And smile, stand by your table. Look approachable. Bored out of my mind one hot afternoon, I started holding up one of my books, and saying, “Do you know, I wrote this book, and I’d like to tell you about it.” I was amazed and how many folks were willing to listen, and it increased my sales.

Advertise the event. Use social media or create a flyer and post it all around the area where the event will be held.

I’ve actually made it to Step #2: Facial Recognition. People squint at me, and say, “Where do I know you from?” I attribute this to the fact that my face is plastered all over the place, social media and flyers.

If you writer a book, you self-publish, and you are not one of the glitterati, you have to let people know who you are and that your book is a damn good read, or will improve their life in some way.




.Self-publishing Workshop

teen mystery writer, Annie Tillery Mysteries

Frank gives advice to young women about writing.

Local paper, THE MASSAPEQUA POST, gives me a nice review

Local paper, THE MASSAPEQUA POST, gives me a nice review

Author does scavenger hunt and writing contest at Fire Island Lighthouse

Author does scavenger hunt and writing contest at Fire Island Lighthouse


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The gifts of reading and writing open the universe to those who use them.

The gifts of reading and writing open the universe to those who use them.

The gifts of reading and writing open the universe to those who use them.

Tapping into my belief that Exciting Appropriate Literaturelike mystery bookscan spur interest in reading, a Long Island fifth grade class learns the art of mystery solving and mystery writing. using the story of “The Skeleton in the Old Lighthouse”. The workshop hits those important ELA skills of listening, reading and writing, and challenges critical thinking skills used to conduct an investigation and draw conclusions while tapping the creative energy needed to write a story. I’m waiting for their stories which will come just before school ends this month.

Here are some quotes from the readers.

“I love all these books because they have a lot of action.”

“I like the book because it reminds me of Indiana Jones and I also like how Annie has a lot of adventure.”

“I am reading your book, Secrets in the Fairy Chimneys, and I absolutely love it. The setting is fantastic, the plot is out of this world, and I can’t even tell you how good the characters are. I think the book has excitement, mystery, friendship, and romance all throughout the book. Where in the world did you think of such a good story?”

I loved this comment too. “I think you chose the right job to be an author.” For those of you who write, it sometimes takes a long time to get that validation.

NOTE: Search for “The Skeleton in the Old Lighthouse” in past blogs.

What happens when a skeleton is found in the old lighthouse.

united states life saving service

This 1800’s Fire Island Lighthouse assisted the U.S.L.S.S.

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Going to Book Expo America on Wednesday, May 27 – Friday, May 29, 2015 | Javits Center | New York City, NY?

Visit with Linda Maria Frank, author of Annie Tillery Mysteries, who will be signing and giving away her award winning mystery books. Find her at the Mystery Writers of America booth, #2657.

Frank’s mystery series for girls of all ages are:

The Madonna Ghost, winner of Rising Star from iUniverse


Girl with Pencil, Drawing, and

Secrets in the Fairy Chimneys, winner of 50 Great Writers You Should be Reading.



WelcoBEA_logo_starburstme to the largest publishing event in North America—BookExpo America (BEA). This year’s event promises to give you access to what’s new, what’s next, and everything exciting in the world of books. To learn more about what’s going on at BEA this year, access this link.





Mystery Writers of America at BEA

Mystery Writers of America at BEA

Mystery Writers of America is the oldest and most prominent organization for writers of crime fiction and other professionals in the field. MWA-NY is a regional chapter that includes Connecticut, Delaware, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia.

MWA presents the prestigious Edgar® Awards each year to the most deserving works in the mystery field. The organization also monitors legal developments affecting writers and promotes networking and professional development. Check them out at this link.


Annie Tillery Mysteries The Series


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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

These interviews are great fun. Check out http://www.authorsshow.com

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In this Brief Crime, you will be asked to consider what forensic scientists can tell from skeletonized remains and artifacts found on or near the remains. Forensic Anthropology and Taphonomy are the branches of science that can help solve this mystery. See what you can find and then tune in next time.Fire Island Lighthouse

The last keeper left the lighthouse in 1960. The Coast Guard had automated the operation of the light and live-in keepers were no longer necessary. Harry Nesbitt was 61 years old and wanted to retire anyway. He had been having trouble with vandals and some old coot who claimed to be the only living survivor of a tragic rescue of a cargo ship. The shipwreck was a legend on Long Island. It was a terrible storm that drove the ship onto the shore. Every soul had to be taken off the ship by breeches buoy before it broke up on the sand bar.

Harry paid no attention to the old coot, but he continuously showed up, trying to gain access to the lighthouse keeper’s quarters. When Harry locked up, he checked the lighthouse, and every part of it was clean, ship-shape and empty. It was a sad time for Harry, but it was also a new start.

On July 20, 2010, the lighthouse was declared a national treasure and restoration work was started. The locks were rusted shut, but some of the windows had been broken. Rats and mice, as well as spiders were everywhere. The kitchen showed signs of use and the workmen just figured that some homeless folks had taken refuge, hoping to be left undisturbed.

When the construction workers descended into the basement to check the furnaces and electrical work, they found the skeletonized remains of a human.

   The police were called in and a crime scene was isolated,       photogrimages (31)aphed, and items of evidence collected. Clothing with a few cash register receipts in the pockets were collected. There were scattered cigarette butts near the body as well as plated with dried food and a moldy coffee cup.

Who was this human? Was it a man or a woman? With no ID on the body how will the person’s identity be determined?

What can the clothing and items on and around the body tell us?

How long had they been there?

Was there foul play, an accidental death, or death from natural causes?

Why was this person there?






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