My first book, Jessica Lost Her Wobble, is a beach book. I’m working on giving her a new look for summer. Jessie, a woman facing a mid-life crisis after her divorce, goes to an island to re-invent herself. While there she discovers meditation and yoga and learns to ride a bicycle.
These life mysteries are awesome! Each of these stories is a slice of life with the little mysteries that we encounter. The absurd, the comical, and the mysterious aspects of life are presented. Some of these stories are sad enough to bring you to tears. Others are serious enough to cause one to ponder the serious aspects of life. And some will make you laugh.
“The Missing Butler” – The very first sentence of this story—”It was that butler fellow that did it.”—also happened to be the last words of the woman making the accusation. She died right after she said them. But there is a problem. If this woman did have a butler, no one knew about it or knew who he was. An enjoyable, well-written mystery story that really could happen. Inspector Nigel Brown has his work cut out for him.
“The Mermaids” – This slightly humorous tale about growing older, exercise, relationships, and the power of imagination has some very realistic characters.
“Ninety-Nine Bottles of Beer on the Wall” – This story is about a very unusual family vacation.
“Nine Lives” – An old cat tells a kitten about each of his eight previous lives. Since I have eight cats right now and have owned many more in the past, this story really interested me.
“The Wickham” – This is a cute sci-fi story. Alien students go to the planet of Hollywood in order to learn about its literature. So this one would be a slice of life for aliens.
“Auld Lang Syne” – What happens when an older married woman runs into a former sweetheart while grocery shopping?
“The Plans” – A man steals a giraffe from the zoo because the giraffe asked him to help it escape. Need I say more? This is an awesome story.
“Jury Duty” – It is said that there are two sure things in life: death and taxes. I think that a third sure thing should be added to the list: jury duty.
“Murder Under the Oaks: The Cojoined Twin Caper” – Let’s just say that the oak trees have a mind of their own.
“Conversations in a Coffee Shop” – Two people on a date talk about spaghetti, streakers, and how times have changed while in a coffee shop.
“Master of the Stacks” – How much of a part in your life do books play? If they are a huge part of your life, you will really enjoy this story.
“Man’s Best Friend” – One of man’s best friends is taken to an amusement park, and after a harrowing day, makes a new best friend.
“When in Paris” – A couple in Paris on vacation learn to adjust to the Parisian culture.
“The Lost Moment” – How does one get out of a boring, predictable relationship?
“The Red Geraniums” – This is the most emotional of the stories. It focuses on a young girl who is afraid of men because of what her father had done to her, and it focuses on how she overcomes this fear. The name will make perfect sense once you read the story.
Which story was my favorite? Honestly, I have three favorites. I loved the mystery in “The Missing Butler.” My next favorite was “Nine Lives” because of all the cats I own. “The Red Geraniums” made me sad and angry, but then it made me so happy I almost cried.
I purchased my copy of this book from Amazon. If you would like to purchase your own copy, I have provided an Amazon link below.
Amazon Link: The Missing Butler and Other Life Mysteries
The fairytale land of green is rough and haggard, a gnarled forest of evil beings lurking in a microsomal realm reaching to grab me with each pass.
Needless to say, Miffen was both miffed and sad.
Like obedient dogs, we kept our gaze upon this authority figure as we slid with the grace of ballet dancers in perfect choreography without the aid of Prokofiev music back onto our own hard benches.
Did the lawyer expect me to believe he was merely in the wrong place at the wrong time on seven different instances?
About the Author:
J. Schlenker, a late-blooming author, lives with her husband out in the splendid center of nowhere in the Kentucky foothills of Appalachia where the only thing to disturb her writing is croaking frogs and the occasional sounds of hay being cut in the fields. Her first novel, Jessica Lost Her Wobble, published in December 2015, was selected as a finalist in the William Faulkner – William Wisdom Creative Writing Competition and was awarded five stars from Readers’ Favorite. One of her short stories, “The Missing Butler,” received honorable mention in the first round of the NYC Competition.
I’m glad and excited that my book, The Color of Cold and Ice, is featured on Becca’s International Book Blog, today! Becca is a holistic health and nutritional counselor, yoga and meditation instructor and author of The Chakra Diaries and Chakra Secrets, inspirational memoirs, and the self-help books, Balance Your Chakras, Balance Your Life and The Chakra Energy Diet.
The Color of Cold and Iceis exceptionally creative, weaving the many facets of colors and their chakra associations into the story. Author J. Schlenker beautifully writes of intriguing characters who cross paths throughout the novel, and in the end, become important bridges to balance, passion, health and love for each other.
The novel opens with Sybil, a wife, sister, the owner of a New York City coffee shop, having another of her prophetic dreams. A dream she could not analyze easily, but at least not one like the nightmares that she had seen come true… like the one in which her sister Em’s husband was hit by an object hurtling down from a crane while he and his young son were walking down the street. But this latest dream was pleasant… strange, but pleasant. Nothing foreboding, but indecipherable. She’s standing next to a canal on a bright summer day with her…
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Since the latest NaNoWriMo I’ve been working on “Sally,” a fictional account of a woman I met when I was eight. She was 103 at the time. She died in March 1969 at age 110. Her story begins, or how I’m relating it, begins with a woman named Elizabeth Dickenson who lived on a Southern Plantation in Virginia. Elizabeth Dickenson married an Erwin and they came to Kentucky and settled just a few miles from where I live.
I did a lot of research on the Erwins prior to beginning this saga. And, some on the Dickensons who originally came from England.
Last night my husband is reading what I’ve written so far and he asks me if I know what his brother’s middle name is? I did, but had forgotten since we never use it. But, here’s where the synchronicity comes in. It’s Dickenson. His middle name comes from the English branch of the family. Now, I’m wondering if I’m writing about my husband’s family? Neither of us put two and two together until last night.
February is the month of celebrating Mystery Thriller Week 2017 – a collaboration of over two hundred authors, mystery and thriller fans, bloggers, podcasters and book enthusiasts from around the world. Last month I had the pleasure of introducing you to Jennifer S Alderson and her intriguing article about Amsterdam, Dutch masterpieces, mysterious mist-filled canals and looted art.
This month, we shoot over to the opposite side of the globe, Appalachia in Kentucky, to an author who also illustrates her own books (Yay!) and I just love her mermaids illustration so much that it’s this month’s featured image! May I introduce my guest host: Jerri Schlenker. Welcome to Oz, Jerri!
The Mystery of Sally
The most excitement is always the project at hand. And that project is Sally. Sally is a mystery that started around age six. I first heard about Sally from my aunt when I was that age. Sally was born in 1858 into slavery. She lived to be 110. I was fascinated to hear my aunt talk of her. I was amazed that my family even knew someone who had been a slave, or even a black person for that matter, because I grew up in the country, attending a small school where there were only whites. As far as I know my small town to this day consists only of whites. Maybe one reason I was so enthralled with the idea of Sally was that I would be writing about her one day.
Nearing retirement, I was at a loss when it came to how I should spend my time. My husband, the kind man that he is, said do whatever you want to do. I had no idea. But one day, we were cleaning out a bookshelf and he came upon an old notebook, poems I had written in high school. He said, “Why don’t you write?” My immediate thought was but what do I have to write about? When we ask the universe a question, the universe answers. That answer was Sally.
For some reason Sally was one of the pivotal moments of my life. After pumping my aunt and other family members with questions about her I was elated when at age eight my father and uncle decided to pay her a visit. I sat in the back seat while we drove for over an hour before the benefit of an interstate to the house where Sally resided with two bachelors. She had taken care of them as babies and ended up living with them in her later years. I’ll never forget the moment when I walked through the back kitchen door. At 103 years of age she was stooped over, mopping the floor. She lifted her head to say hello. I think our souls touched on some level at that moment. I swear I saw a halo. It wouldn’t be until decades later that I would learn some of the gruesome details of how she earned that halo.
Now, if only I had kept pursuing Sally’s life, but my own life happened. You know, those teenage years. And then marrying and having a daughter. I do remember hearing my father say later she was in a nursing home. I remember even where we were when he told me. It was sort of like remembering where you were when John F. Kennedy was assassinated. I remember both. She died in 1969. I only saw her that one time, but she must have remained in the back of my mind ready to spring forward when the time was right. Sadly, time had erased many of the people who had really known her by the time I was inspired to write about her.
My husband was more than encouraging in my pursuit of Sally. At first I thought it would be easy. I found that not to be the case. I started with ancestry records – nothing. Trying to find out about an African American born into slavery is almost impossible. There was nothing online. There was a lot of travel involved. There was also hiking.
My husband did the driving. When I think back on it, it was like Driving Miss Daisy. We found Sally’s obituary. I was elated. The elation didn’t last that long. It was wrong. There were two Sallys. I made blind phone calls and traveled to talk to people. People opened up more in person than over the phone. It was always: “I don’t remember much. I don’t know what I could tell you”. But after much perseverance the conversation turned to: “Well, there was this one thing, but I don’t think you would want to write this…” Visiting old people was a reward in itself. This happened about ten years ago and lasted off and on for three. Now, I’m on the verge of old myself.
Everything conflicted in some way. There had to be two of Sally. At the same time the people I interviewed said, no. Information came in trickles. I grasped for any tidbit. It was hard making people understand that even something mundane would help me to understand her life. Most of the information was mundane, but on some days something big would come my way, in some cases, some game changers.
One such day was finding Rebecca who was a year younger than me. Her family knew Sally and went to family reunions, the ones Sally attended. The thing was, Rebecca, had hyperthymesia – she possessed the ability to remember most details of anything she had ever seen or heard. Before talking to Rebecca I had almost given up on the idea of there being two Sallys.
But Rebecca said: “It depends on which Sally you’re talking about.” I felt like Columbo at that moment. There was Sally the mother and Sally the daughter.
Rebecca had a picture of Sally seated at a family reunion. She was 101 at the time the picture was taken.
At the time I was researching Sally I wrote pieces on my blog about her and a few newspaper articles. I kept writing, but filed my notes away. I did three NaNoWriMo’s. It was time for a fourth. The universe one again said, Sally.
Sally will be a work of fiction because I can never know the exact truth of her life.
Schlenker, a late blooming author, lives with her husband, Chris, out in the splendid center of nowhere in the foothills of Appalachia in Kentucky where the only thing to disturb her writing is croaking frogs and the occasional sounds of hay being cut in the fields. Before embarking on writing, Schlenker wove in her weaving studio in the same quiet foothills.
Her first novel, Jessica Lost Her Wobble, published in December 2015, was selected as a finalist in the William Faulkner – William Wisdom Creative Writing Competition and won a Five Star Readers’ Choice Award. It has also been a book club selection and has a Reader’s Discussion section at the end.
The Color of Cold and Ice is her second novel, and was born out of her love of art and her favorite artist, Van Gogh.
One of her short stories, The Missing Butler, received honorable mention in the first round of the NYC Competition, and is the opening story in her collection of short stories, The Missing Butler and Other Life Mysteries.
The collection of short stories was also an excuse to create whimsical drawings to go along with the stories. Mermaids is the artist’s/author’s favorite. This book is featured in Mystery Thriller Week, February 12 – 22, 2017.
All three books can be found on Amazon, Barnes and Noble (Nook), iBooks, Kobo and most outlets in electronic and paperback versions.
You can grab your copy of Jerri’s books here: J Schlenker on Amazon
Anyone can join in and participate in Mystery Thriller Week, and it all hots up during the week of February 12 – 22, 2017 at www.mysterythrillerweek.com. Check out the amazing books, talented authors, personal interviews, new releases, upcoming events and lots of giveaways, prizes and free stuff too!