Molly Sanders has been given the unique ability to see beyond the physical world into a place where a war rages between the forces of good and evil.
My first novel in the Angels Diner series is complete. Introducing, Alexandra’s Song.
To date, my books have been works of historical fiction. Alexandra’s Song is work of contemporary fiction with shades of suspense, the supernatural, and romance.
The story is set in Divinity Falls, PA, population 400. “Salute!” (Trivia question: Name the TV show that popularized that expression?)
Molly Sanders is the 20-year-old protagonist with a painful past, a big secret, and a forsaken dream. Driven by a anger, hurt, hatred, and a vendetta against her father, Molly runs away from home, hoping to find peace and isolation from his tyranny. Surely, the tiny Pennsylvania town near the Allegheny National Park would be far enough off the beaten path to achieve her goal.
On her first day in Divinity Falls she lands a job at Angels Diner and befriends four colorful co-workers: Rose, Lizzy, Pops, and Reggie.
Next day, she encounters Angelica Lopez, an elderly woman with a walker who knows more about her than anyone could possibly know. But that’s no big deal for a guardian angel, right?
Angelica, aka Angel, invites Molly to live at her place, a not so modest secret mansion in the woods. It is there that Angel prepares Molly to embrace the Master’s 3-part destiny for her life. Molly reluctantly agrees to Angel’s plan which brings the wrath of Helel Ben Shazar (Satan) and the angels of darkness.
Enter Casper Knight, handsome eligible bachelor. (If following her destiny wasn’t enough to destroy all hope for her desired peace and tranquility.) Yep. They fall in love. But then Casper gets blamed for the murder of Marge and Joe Wilson, that sweet couple from the antique store.
While Casper is in jail, Molly cares for his house which leads to an incident in which she is nearly killed.
On the first Saturday in August 2016, Molly travels to Upton, PA, to… Better not tell you that. That would be giving away her secret and her destiny. Turns out to be the greatest day of her life prompting the forces of evil to turn up the heat. The opposition becomes so great that Molly abandons her guardian angel, her friends, and her destiny and runs again.
Things go from bad to worse and in a shocking turn of events, Molly realizes the second part of the Master’s plan. Again she comes under demonic attack that leads to a coma and intensive care in a hospital.
When Molly awakens she sees the man she despises and is confronted with the question that will determine how her life ends. “Will you forgive him?”
Alexandra’s Song was fun to write. In fact, it wrote itself. I was as surprised by the twists and turns as you will be. And that one thing I always hope for in my books happened. It made me cry, especially the part where I discovered why the book is entitled, Alexandra’s Song.
I sincerely hope that you enjoy this book. Work on Book II, Return to Divinity Falls, is already underway.
If you like Alexandra’s Song, please share your thoughts with a review at Amazon.
Wouldn’t it be a kick to pick the name of a town? Why, you could even name it after you. Hmmm. Georgetown. Maryville. Thomasville. In my case, Richardville or Dickieton or Weirichburg. Unfortunately, there just aren’t many geographical locations left to name unless…you’re an author.
When I was in the 8th grade, I participated in the 200th anniversary celebration of the founding of my hometown. That would be Strasburg, Virginia, originally known as Staufferstadt (German settlement) and Stover Town. As part of the event, one of the English teachers from the high school penned an outdoor stage play and I landed a non-speaking role as an early American student in a one-room school. The highlight of my involvement was to pull the pigtails of the girl sitting in front of me. I got a little carried away which resulted in some unexpected emotional drama. But I digress…
Once upon a time, back when adventurous settlers were spreading out from sea to shining sea, searching for a place they could call home they assumed the special privilege of naming stuff. Towns, rivers, streams, mountains, rocks. You get the picture. Cool names like French Lick, Loafers Glory, Lick Skillet, Smileyberg, and Grinders Switch.
For my new novel, which is a 100% fictional extraction from my mind, I imagineered a town to provide the setting for my story. Welcome to Divinity Falls, population 350. Check that. 348. Joe and Maude Wilson died this week from food poisoning. Warning. Avoid the organic honey at Angels Diner.
In my last article, I mentioned Pops Fielder. He’s the short order cook at the Diner and he was just slammed with a gross negligence complaint from Joe Wilson, Jr., son of the deceased. Now Pops, who has been married five times, has a lady friend, Kristy Luigi, owner of the Kristy Klean Laundromat across the street. Point here is that, as a fiction writer, you get to name your town and the businesses and people that give it life.
The town and the falls that it was named after is located near the south entrance to Allegheny National Park (real) by the Alleluia River (imagined). Legend has it that, in the 1700s, an angel protected settlers from an Indian attack. Scared the attackers and the atackees so badly that they learned to live in peaceful coexistence with one another. Consequently, every June 19th, Divinity Falls hosts the Gabriel’s Rock festival in honor of the angel that brought peace to the settlement.
I’m sorry to report that Casper Knight, the towns only realtor, was thrown in jail this week, and charged with the Wilson’s murder. His fingerprints were also on the little honey jar in the take out bag from the Diner. Sheriff’s Deputy, Tony Calhoun, is confident that he has the right suspect behind bars. The kicker was the $5000 bonus received by the accused upon the Wilson’s death. Did I mention that Casper is employed by the New World Corporation that is on a mission to buy up all the real estate in Divinity Falls?
The protagonist in Angels Diner: Alexandra’s Song is Molly Sanders. She and Casper are an item and she refuses to believe that the love of her life is capable of murder. Believes he was framed. Having her boyfriend hauled away by the police couldn’t have come at a worse time. Molly is preparing to fulfill her destiny with the help of her guardian angel. Can’t disclose her destiny. To get that you will have to read the book.
So yesterday, Casper’s mother arrived in town and so did Casper’s replacement from New World which is where I must leave you as I begin work on Chapter 4, The Unveiling.
Stay tuned…and I would really appreciate it if you would read my books in print and eBook formats. You can get them here.
In my previous post, I gave a glimpse into a little something from my radio past that appears in my novels. The Burt and Kurt character, Red Wood, makes an appearance in Farewell PFC POLK: The End of a Nightmare as a Gunny Sergeant. (read the excerpt here)
In my new novel, Angels Diner: Alexandra’s Song, (now under construction) the loveable old B&K character, Uncle Mack shows up in a vignette. In the scene, the main character, Molly Sanders is headed out on her first date with Casper Knight. Their journey takes them to the Allegheny Forest National Park in upstate PA where they are about to hit a bike trail. Enter our old friend who tells Molly how to spot angels in the woods.
Uncle Mack’s Rocker
An old man in a rocker was swaying back and forth on the front porch. “How ya’ll doin’?” he asked as Molly and Casper walked up the steps.
“Hey, Uncle Mack,” replied Casper. “I’m good. This is my friend, Molly.”
“Woowee. Ain’t she a pretty thing. Please to meet you Miss Molly. My name is Mack Dingle but everybody calls me Uncle Mack. I’m 99 years old accordin’ to the family Bible but accordin’ to the Situs brothers, I’m 118. You know them Situs brothers, don’t you? Burr and Arthur?” Mack blurts out one loud laugh and slaps his knee. “Yes, sir.”
“Pleased to meet you, Uncle Mack,” said Molly.
“Can’t see real good but I can tell you’re real pretty just from the way you smell. Mighty fine. Mighty fine indeed. Sweeter than honeysuckle. Got to get me some of that. Yes, sir.”
Casper excuses himself and enters the cabin to rent two bicycles. Uncle Mack continues. “Your first time here?”
“You came at just the right time. It’s angel season.”
“Is that right?”
“Oh, yeah. Casper will take you down by Gabriel’s Rock, for sure. But while you’re ridin’ on that 2-wheeled contraption, keep watch up in the trees. That’s where they live while they’re here. Looks like sunbeams shining through the trees. You’ll know it when you see one. And if you let their light shine on you, you’ll get a blessin’.”
Casper returns to the porch. “All ready. You’re welcome to come with us, Uncle Mack.”
Mack grabs a wrinkled paper bag from beneath his chair and then turns the bill of his red cap to the back of his head. “Not today. Just getting’ ready to hook up with a bologna biscuit. Maybe even two. Yes, sir. Good eatin’.”
Coming in May – Angels Diner: Alexandra’s Song. Do you believe in angels? Molly didn’t. Until…
You can also get a glimpse into the story on Pinterest where I have created an inspiration page regarding the people, places, and events in the story. Check it out here.
What’s in your family’s past that you have never been able to explain? I would be willing to bet that there is, at least, one mystery that you would like to solve.
So, hop in your Marty McFly (Back to the Future) DeLorean Time Machine, albeit an easy chair and laptop, and get to work. Why you may become so excited about your revelations that you’ll be motivated to write a book. Worked for me. In fact, my detective work led to two novels.
Discovery is so cool, especially when you have a vested interest. One seemingly meaningless document took me to a place I knew nothing about and revealed a segment of Charlie Polk’s life of which I only had minuscule information. The place – West Point, Virginia. For the life of me, I don’t know how or why that piece of paper survived for 63 years. Found it in an old box of photos that belonged to my grandmother. Clues. Just like a mystery novel.
Last night, a friend asked me to help her learn more about her family. But she had no idea where or how to start her search. The simple answer, start with what you know.
Case in point. I knew, based on conversations with my grandmother, that Charles Polk, Jr. worked at hard labor, building Virginia roads after he graduated from high school. I also knew or had been told, that he left his class ring in a restroom at a service station during that time. That’s it. Nothing more.
Then I found a 1953 Reimbursement Voucher, which clarified my grandmother’s claims and added more vital layers of information.
Oh, my gosh. Check out those meal prices. About three bucks per day. Hotel rates? $2.50 per day.
What about lodging at the West Point Hotel? Googled the heck out of it and came up with nada. But there is a West Point, Virginia and that’s when I came across a web page featuring town history and a photograph of the hotel that was torn down years ago.
In a previous article, I talked about another valuable piece of info uncovered on the document. His job for the Virginia Highway Department was not nearly so exciting as advertised by his mother. Instead of road builder, he was a car counter. That was before computers when counting was handled manually. Hashmarks on a clipboard.
Also, in the box of family memorabilia was a stack of letters from Charlie’s friends, most of them girls, and one who made her home in, you guessed it, West Point, Virginia. In one of her letters, she talks about working as a waitress at the West Point Hotel Diner, which is where their summer romance began.
Another group of letters from a gal named Roxanne from New Bern, NC during the USMC years. Google Maps to the rescue. New Bern is just 18.6 miles away from the Marine Corps Air Station at Cherry Point, SC. Roxanne’s address was in her letter so; I looked it up on Zillow. House is still there. Beautiful pic. What the heck? Let’s try ancestry.com. Found a census record for Roxanne and discovered that she was only 14 years old and dating a Marine. What? Didn’t include the rest of what I found, but I traced Roxanne all the way to Arkansas, where she became a prominent socialite. Died a few years ago.
The preceding is just a sampling of the clues that helped me unravel some mysteries about my family’s past and helped me to become a time traveler. All of it from my living room chair in Alabama, Starting in the small town of Strasburg in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia and then 17,000 miles away to Iwakuni, Japan. All the while, experiencing the way it was in 1953 to 1955.
I am happy to report that at no time in my time traveling did I encounter a bully named Biff.
Hop in your DeLorean and get to work. You’ll be amazed at what you discover.
You can read about my family mystery, Farewell PFC POLK: The End of a Nightmare. And if you would be so kind and like the book, then leave a review.
Decided to throw caution to the wind, change genres, and rely on nothing but my (hopefully creative) imagination. The working title for my 4th novel is Angels Diner and subtitled Alexandra’s Song.
I am collecting inspiration pics for my story on Pinterest. (see them here)
In the following scene from Chapter One, Molly Sanders, the protagonist, is on the run. Her adventure takes her to the small town of Divinity Falls, PA, in the Allegheny Mountains, where she lands a job at Angels Diner and receives an invitation to live in the home of a mysterious elderly lady, Angelica Lopez.
All about the cavernous room stood statues of robed figures from ancient times, resting upon white pillars outlined in gold. From a Wedgewood ceiling hung a breathtaking crystal chandelier. The only non-decorative piece in the room rested next to the elevator. “Can’t catch me now that I’ve got my chariot,” quipped Angel having traded her walker for a motorized wheelchair. “I’ll give you the grand tour.”
“Does this place come with a map?” asked Molly, excited by the grandeur but apprehensive at circumstances that defied human reason.
“Shouldn’t be a problem for a girl with a photographic memory,” said Angel who then revved up her safety rider and headed toward a hallway on the opposite side of the lobby. But Molly didn’t immediately follow. She stopped to consider how her lively companion could possibly know about her gifted memory. “You coming or not?” called Angel as she waved excitedly from across the room.
“Yes, mam. Sorry.”
The bright light from the chandelier revealed a sweetness in Angel’s face that put Molly at ease. “I want you to see my favorite room first,” said Angel as they entered the library. “Don’t like to boast but I’ve read every book in here at least once.” An astonishing claim considering the multitude of books rivaled a city library. At the center of the room stood a pedestal with a glass case that contained a single golden key. Molly moved closer to get a better look.
“Beautiful, isn’t it?” said Angel rolling her chair beside Molly. The object sparkled under a beam of light from the ceiling.
“What does it mean?” asked Molly.
“What do you want it to mean?” said Angel who then wheeled around and motioned for Molly to follow. Again, in the lobby they processed to the entrance to another room where Angel stopped and pointed to a closed door. “This is the saddest room in the house.”
Angel’s pronouncement alarmed Molly. The strained look on her face spoke volumes.
“You’ll know what I mean when you see it. Go ahead. Open the door.”
The far end of the room illuminated immediately when Molly opened the door. The sadness as represented by Angel was not immediately apparent. Another stunningly beautiful area. The wall-to-wall window that stretched from the ceiling to the floor was most attractive. The green velvet draperies that covered the adjoining walls gave a feeling of softness and elegance. “Looks OK to me,” said Molly still looking for what Angel perceived as sadness in the room.
Angel rolled her chariot to a small table that sat to one side of four rows of theater chairs and picked up a remote control. Slowly, the draperies on the left side of the wall opened to a small stage upon which stood a concert grand piano. Molly looked back at Angel and then to the fine instrument. She stood there for several moments. Motionless. Stunned. Sad to the point of tears. Then she quickly rushed out of the room.
Angel’s Diner is projected for release in May. I’ll keep you posted. Meanwhile, if you haven’t picked up your copy of Farewell PFC POLK: The End of a Nightmare, you can get it here.
Recently, I have focused this blog on my new novel, IN THE VALLEY OF HOPE. However, it’s time to show a little love to my first book, FIFTH SUNDAY: The Loving Hands Murder. It, too, is based on actual events.
Set in the tiny Alabama community of Loving Hands, the story chronicles a five week struggle of the local Baptist church and its members as they respond to a murder on church property.
How much of this story is actually true? Well, some of it but names and places have been changed to protect the innocent and otherwise.
FIFTH SUNDAY: The Loving Hands Murder
The idea for the book came from a Wednesday night incident at one of the churches I pastored. After the evening Bible study, a group of boys were playing behind the church near the cemetery where they stumbled upon a pile of lady’s clothing and a photo ID. Investigators traced the discovery to a young woman who was working as an exotic dancer at a local club. That event was the catalyst for the who-done-it story.
FIFTH SUNDAY, set in the 1980s, begins at a lively Wednesday night business meeting at the Loving Hands Baptist Church. In attendance is a young man, Emmett Hollister, who just returned from a stint in the Navy. He happily discovers that the church has a rare new member, Jane Fitzwater (from Mountain Brook, AL), a very attractive young lady, with whom he ultimately becomes romantically involved.
In small towns (and churches) news travels at lightning speed but it wasn’t just the murder that had them talking. A new family, the Johnsons from Ohio, had just moved into the community, the first and only black family to have ever taken up residence in Loving Hands. The phone lines (people still used those in the 80s) were burning up, gossip was running at an all time high, and guess who gets arrested for the murder? Yep, the new guy on the block, Lamont Johnson.
It has been said that ‘when you are shaken the real you comes out.’ As that old adage relates to the members of the Loving Hands Baptist Church, well, what came out was in-fighting, finger pointing, and ungodly behavior.
Eventually, the evidence points back to the church and the scandal becomes so severe that they are faced with closing down the church, that is, until God intervenes and teaches them an important lesson.
Many people say they don’t like organized religion and no longer have an interest in attending their local churches because of bad experiences and the hypocrisy of church members. FIFTH SUNDAY reflects that concern but also reveals the remedy.
The novel has a happy ending: God saves his church and Emmett Hollister gets his girl. FIFTH SUNDAY: The Loving Hands Murder is available in print and all eBook formats.