Friday, October 31, 2014

Inside Scoop on Caskets and Corruption

(Don't miss the giveaway at the end of the post!)

Blurb: All portrait artist Lizzie Cantrell wanted was a change in careers to avoid consoling bereaved families and dealing with death.  She didn’t know she’d end up stealing a dead body and a casket full of heroin and running from the drug cartel.  She also didn't know she’d end up on the 6 o’clock news wanted for grand theft auto, robbery and assault on a police officer.  And to top it off, she must deal with her sister's Chinese Crested, stowaway dog and a stiff-necked funeral director to boot.

Buried away as a funeral director for the past two years because of an accident that left him scarred, Phillip Van Dyke finds himself in a grave situation involving a military drug smuggling operation.  Worse yet, his accomplice is a beautiful portrait artist who’s managing to exhume the remains of his deceased heart.

How It Began: This story came about from my experience as a portrait artist.  I started doing pastel portraits of movie stars and friends when I was in high school.  It soon bulldozed into a career of doing portraits for people whose loved ones had passed away, usually children. I found myself confronted with extremely emotionally wrought families.  Being sensitive myself, I didn’t know how to deal with all that pain and sadness.  However, word of mouth spread and I was overwhelmed with work.

When I was faced with doing a portrait of a young man who died from cancer, I couldn’t continue.  I just wasn’t emotionally prepared.  I quit cold turkey.

Now that I’m older and have a better understanding of life, I think I could return to doing portraits and even enjoy helping grieving families. What the character in this book learns, is what I learned about life:  It doesn’t matter what line of work we are in, we all need to be there for and support each other.

In writing this story, I discovered a wonderful book called: Stories in Stone.  It brings to life over 100 tales from the grave about the early pioneers of Park City, Utah.  I incorporated a few scary graveyard stories for fun.

“I wish we had some out-of-the-way place we could eat this. I feel conspicuous here.” Lizzie drew in the delicious aroma.

Phillip smiled. “I know the perfect spot. It’s only three minutes away.”

Three minutes later, he pulled into the Glenwood Cemetery and then killed the engine. “Let’s eat.”

“Oh, no. A graveyard? To eat our dinner?” How could he even imagine she would be happy eating here?

“You wanted a quiet, out-of-the way spot. No one will see us here except…maybe a few ghosts.”

“Oh, I get it. You’re trying to upset me so you can eat my dinner too. Well, freaking me out won’t work, buster. I’m starved. I just won’t look out the window.” She grabbed one of the boxes and threw open the lid.

“Then I won’t tell you all the spooky stories about this place.”

“I thought you didn’t believe in ghosts?”

“That doesn’t mean I haven’t heard them all.” He turned on the overhead light and greedily breathed in the aroma from his meal. “Glenwood is a five-acre cemetery nestled inside this beautiful aspen grove, but there have been many unusual incidents here.” He stabbed into his first bite of steak.

She swallowed hard. She wouldn’t allow him to ruin her meal.

“Yeah, there’s a story about this knocking sound coming from an old woman’s grave. The tale is that back in the late 1880s this cantankerous woman hobbled up and down the streets of Park City with her wooden leg, kicking kids as they passed by. You can still hear her kicking from her coffin.”

“Wooden leg? Coffin?”

He licked his fingers. “Then there’s the story about a young man who helped rescue miners after an explosion. After rescuing a number of men, he went down into the mine again and never returned. They found him eventually—standing up with his arm around an air pipe but dead. It’s said they buried him vertically. If he wouldn’t lie down to die, they figured they’d bury him standing.”

The food in her mouth turned to turpentine. He took pleasure in upsetting her. She took another bite.

“At night, people say they’ve seen a young man standing with his arm around an aspen, sheer fright on his face. They say his name was Tom. He watched his true love’s uncle chase her down, shoot her and then shoot himself. They say the uncle was jealous of Tom.”

“I’m not listening,” she said, trying to chew her rubber steak.

 “Do you know the history of Park City?”

“No, not really.”

“Fascinating stuff. The first silver strike was discovered in the late 1860s. The word spread through the U.S. and then across the oceans. Miners flocked to the area, putting up tents and building shanties. They came with the dream of becoming instant millionaires, and although a few became wealthy, many ended up doing hard labor for someone else. Many of them died in mine explosions and from cholera. Are you going to eat your roll?”

“No. Help yourself.”

He nabbed the savory morsel and took a bite. “Mining became a two-edged sword. Although mines brought thousands of jobs, they damaged the environment with pollutants—poisonous run-off into streams, smoke which blanketed the town, mutilated forests because of the need for timber and deafening noise from rock crushers which pounded away ninety-four times a minute. Can you imagine living under those conditions? Not to mention the diphtheria, typhoid fever, small pox and influenza that ran through the community.”

Pollutants? Disease? At least he’d quit talking about ghosts. Her stomach still quivered. “Do you mind? I’m eating.”

He handed his bone over to Sasha and then looked around for more food, noticing her hardly touched meal. “The chemicals in the air were so caustic they etched the windows and ate holes in laundry which had been hung out to dry. Those poisonous toxins must have caused mental illness. This cemetery and the Park City Cemetery are both full of people who committed suicide and violent murder. They say you can still see and hear the screams of a brother and sister who were chased down by their father and shot before he killed himself.”

“Okay, you win. Eat it,” she resigned, handing him her container.

Phillip smiled with greasy lips as he devoured a piece of her steak. Her stomach made a big blurb sound and rolled slightly. Darn that Phillip for ruining her meal. She watched him eat every last morsel.

He finally gave a satisfied sigh.

“I wouldn’t have thought you capable of such a dirty trick. You seemed like such an up-right gentleman when I met you.”

“That’s what hunger will do to a man,” he said, wiping his hands on a napkin.

Premise: With each of my books, I always have a message in mind.  In Caskets and Corruption that message is: Rediscover yourself!

Review: Fun, fresh and exciting, Caskets and Corruptions was a delightful read. It has a great blend of both suspense and comedic elements that keeps the story upbeat and fast paced.

The heroine Lizzie, gets caught up in a mess when she storms in to confront her sister's ex-boss. I bet she's sorry about that, at least at first, when she comes in at a time things start to get a little strange around there.

Phillip is mysterious, and intriguing, even despite his grumpy personality in the beginning. But his demeanor changes during the book. Throwing him in an adventure with the beautiful Lizzie is bound to do that.

This was a great book to read, and I enjoyed it. I love the witty and great dialogue the author throws in and the plot is filled with excitement, and plenty of twists. If you're a fan of contemporary suspense that has potential to leave a smile on your face, then don't miss this story! 4/5 Stars, Seriously Reviewed

Giveaway:  I will select 2 winners for a PDF copy of Caskets and Corruption.
If you truly like my writing, like my Amazon page or add me as a FAVORITE and then leave a comment here.  If you don’t leave your email, please check back here for the winners by next Friday.

Video Book Trailer:

Cindy A. Christiansen
Sweet Romance, Humor, Suspense...and Dogs! 
Fly into a good book at:
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  1. I love Cindy's writing style! It's so unique! You can't help but fall into the story!

  2. I liked your Amazon page so I can get updates!

    1. Hello Nicole. Thank you very much! Please contact me so I can send the book!

  3. I liked your Amazon page and am looking forward to reading your books. I am a newbie to your work!

    1. Thank you very much!

      I have a FREE read, Worth the Wait, on Amazon and 3 99 cent reads--Stolen Horses, Stolen Hearts and Risky Seeds, Risky Hearts and A Clean Romance. This contest is over but I would be happy to send you one of these so you can check out my writing style. You can email me at cindy@dragonflyromance with your choice.

      Have a wonderful weekend!


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