Friday, April 10, 2020

Interview with a Monster

Thought for the day:  Stowy Jenkins is a deliciously vile character, but thank goodness, we the readers have the good fortune of encountering him from a safe distance. [me]

[image courtesy of morguefile]

A few years ago, as a participant in Yolanda Renee's blog tour to promote her book The Snowman, I had the dubious honor of using my handy-dandy Flight of Fancy gizmo to go to the Spring Creek Correctional Center in Seward, Alaska, to interview the creepy-as-hell serial killer Stowie Jenkins, AKA the Snowman. (You can find that earlier interview HERE.)

Well, this time, I didn't sign up to be an official part of her current tour to promote her newest book Murder, Just Because, but it's my pleasure to help her unofficially, because I love HER and I love her book. But ain't no way I'm going back to interview that psycho. Nuh-uh. It was scary enough interviewing that psychopath when he was behind bars, but now, after ten years in the joint, he's escaped, and he's even scarier than before.

[image courtesy of unsplash]
So I did what any reasonable writer would do.

I returned to the handy-dandy Gizmo store and purchased a special attachment for my Flight of Fancy gizmo. It allows me to be... invisible. Ta DA! Pretty smart for an old broad, huh?

Besides,  there was no need for me to do an interview this time, anyway, because professional journalist Denise Cochran already did that in the book. In her family's secluded cabin in the middle of nowhere, Alaska. (Yeah, she's a lot braver than I am.)

But, ya see, the actual give-and-take of the interview isn't included in the book, so I'm gonna take another Flight of Fancy trip just for you guys, so I can observe the interview unseen and tell you all about it. (You're welcome.)

And awaaaaaay we go...


Wow! This is some cabin! Cozy and homey, with a nice fire burning in the fireplace. But where the heck is Denise? The creep's over there sitting in a classy-looking wing-backed chair, as if he owned the place... and a number of cameras are pointed in his direction... but no Denise. So what gives? She must be one smart cookie. Obviously smarter than I am...

DENISE'S VOICE: Thank you so much for allowing me to interview you today, Mr. Jenkins, but I'm curious. Would you mind telling our audience why you agreed to it?

ME: (rolling my eyes) Oh puhleeeze. The creep's a publicity slut. Duh.

STOWY:  (grinning into one of the cameras)  You can call me Stowy... or Stone.  Mr. Jenkins was my old man's name.   (He sweeps the room with ice cold blue eyes, pausing for a beat too long as he looks in my direction. The hairs on the back of my neck stand at attention and a chill dances up my spine.  He can't see me, he can't see me, he can't see me... can he? Then he looks back into the camera, allowing me to breathe again.)  Thank you for hosting me,  Ms. Cochran, but I must say, as much as I appreciate being here in your lovely cabin, I'm more than a little disappointed you aren't actually here with me. I’ve always admired your beauty and your honesty. It would've been so nice to see you... (He grins again.) in the... flesh. 

DENISE'S VOICE: Yeah, well, I appreciate that, but a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do. No point in taking any chances. So why did you agree to come? 

STOWY: (shrugging) I suppose I can't blame you for not wanting to entertain the Snowman face-to-face, but like I said, I admire you, so I would never hurt you. (He pauses for a moment before continuing. Then he gazes into a camera with a pseudo sincere aw shucks look on his face.) I agreed to talk to you so I could assure your devoted listeners that I mean them no harm. My only quarrel is with those people who did me wrong.

DENISE'S VOICE: Is that so? And how exactly have any of those people wronged you, Stowy?

STOWY: (eyes widening and voice rising) Are you kidding? They sent me to prison! For ten years of unmitigated hell. No man should have to endure that kind of treatment, especially me!

DENISE'S VOICE:  Wait a second. Let me get this straight. Isn't it an established fact that you killed those women?

STOWY: Well, technically, yes, but my mother tortured and molested me for years, and she's the real murderer here, not me. I think of myself as more of an... artist. 

DENISE'S VOICE: I see. Are you saying your mother controlled you... that she made you kill? 

STOWY: (with a humorless snort) Not at all. The stupid cow wasn't even aware of my hobby, but when I was nine years old, I saw her kill my father. She fed him her special chicken soup, and then she just stood there watching while he convulsed and died. Then she winked at me, tucked him into bed as if he were merely sleeping, and then waited an hour before calling the paramedics.


STOWY: No, you DON'T see! (He leans toward the camera, his eyes wide and unblinking.)  I'm telling you the old bat was a homicidal maniac! She killed Winnie's mother the same way. (He sits back in his chair and folds his arms across his chest.) She's the one who should have been in prison. Not me.    
DENISE'S VOICE:   This is all news to me. Did any of this information come out at your trial?

STOWY:  HA! What trial? There was no trial. That was a kangaroo court. A travesty of justice! They put me away for life, and then added ten more life  sentences on top of that. I was railroaded.

DENISE'S VOICE:  But your mother is dead now, right?

STOWY:  (Looking straight at me, he grins broadly, his eyes and white teeth sparkling in the bright lights.) Yesssss, she is.

ME: (With a sudden overpowering urge to run out the door and into the Alaskan wilderness... or at least, back home to do the laundry.) Holy crap.  Can he see me? I hiccup and he furrows his brow in my direction. Shaking, I fumble in my pocket for the gizmo control. Where in the...
STOWY:  And I must say, it was one of my most enjoyable kills

ME: I'm outta here!!! (I just remembered... my fella's in desperate need of  clean socks...) Sorry, but if you want to know how the rest of the interview went, you'll have to read the book and figure it out for yourselves.


Murder, Just Because

Short Blurb:
The Snowman is back, and as his bloody rampage continues, terrified Alaskans increasingly doubt Quaid’s abilities. In a deadly game of cat-and-mouse, Jenkins starts picking off the people in Quaid’s life… and drawing closer to the most important person in Quaid’s life...his wife. The Snowman’s cruelty knows no bounds,  but the object of his hate knows no fear!


The Snowman’s cruelty knows no bounds, but the object of his hate knows no fear.


Looking for a new adventure, Renee recently moved to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. A storyteller from a very early age, an avid reader, and with an education and background in business and accounting, becoming a writer only made sense. And writing mysteries pure logic.

More titles from Yolanda:

Author Links:

If you enjoy chilling thrilling books, look no farther. This one will definitely fill the bill. So, for that matter, will all of Ms. Renee's books. While you're hunkered down during this pandemic, you might as well cower under the covers with a good book or two, eh? (But pssstt! It's best to read them during the day...)

                         Until next time, take care of yourselves. And each other.

P.S. I  hope y'all are doing well. Turns out, I WILL be taking the rest of this month off, and I WILL be writing. After reading my poor neglected manuscript, I decided it's just might be worth finishing, after all. So I'll see you guys next month. Take care, y'all!

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

On Seeing Clearly

Thought for the day: See as much as you can, I guess. Rachel Carson said most of us go through life 'unseeing.' I do that some days... I think it's easier to see when you're a kid. We're not in a hurry to get anywhere and we don't have these long to-do lists you guys have. [Jim Lynch- The Highest Tide]

Yep. It's that time again.  Yet another month has slipped through our fingers, and as you can clearly see by that nifty badge on the left, it's once again time for our monthly IWSG posts. As always, thanks to our fearless leader, Alex Cavanaugh, for founding this fine group, and thanks to all the other nurturing guys and gals who've helped turn it into the thriving community it is today. I'm telling ya, this group offers better support and lift than the world's most expensive bra. (No pesky underwires, either!) To join this super supportive group of writers and to see links to other participating blogs, please go HERE

It's April first, (No fooling!) and for the past, I dunno, eight years or so, I've taken the month of April off from blogging to concentrate on writing and editing, but here we are at April's front door, and I still haven't decided whether to take a break or not. So tell ya what... if I show up, as usual, I reckon I decided to hang around. If I don't? Don't worry. I'm just fine, and heck, who knows? I might even be writing. (What a concept!)

[image courtesy of pixabay]
The pandemic that's been gathering momentum this past month is on everybody's mind these days, so it only makes sense that this month's question is about COVID-19:

The IWSG's focus is on our writers. Each month, from all over the globe, we are a united group sharing our insecurities, our troubles, and our pain. So, in this time when our world is in crisis with the COVID-19 pandemic, our optional question this month is: how are things in your world?

[image courtesy of morguefile]
Thanks for asking. Because of the medical stuff that's been going on in our household for quite some time, staying at home ( except for obligatory trips for chemo and radiation) is a verrrrry easy order for us to follow. It helps that we thoroughly enjoy each other's company, but we also like to eat. And I like to cook. Which means, even though I keep a well-stocked pantry, it was clear that a trip to the grocery store was in order. Fortunately, our local store instituted an old farts hour last week.(Um, NO, they don't actually call it that...) On Tuesdays and Wednesdays, we oldie but goodie folks can now shop at 7AM before the younger folks gain entry. Cool, huh? So I planned to go last Wednesday.

[image courtesy of morguefile]
I must confess, though, I was a tad uneasy about the whole thing. See, my night vision isn't so hot, and at 7AM, it's still plenty dark here. In the past, I've had so much trouble seeing in the dark, I'm ashamed to say Smarticus had to drive us home from the hospital after one of his surgeries. We were supposed to leave the hospital in the early afternoon, but they kept him in recovery much longer than expected, and by the time he was discharged, it was way past midnight... and very dark.  I tried to drive us home, but it simply wasn't safe, so I had to pull over and let him get behind the wheel. Since that awful experience, I had some eye surgery that's definitely helped, but I hadn't had an occasion to test my ability to drive in the dark since then... until last week. In the house, I make sure to flip light switches on so I can see my way safely through the house at  night... but how was I going to manage outside???

I went outside. So far, so good. I go out early every morning to get the paper, so that was no problem.

It was too dark to see the buttons on my fob, so I fumbled the key into the door lock and got the door open. Eventually.

Buckled in and started the car. No problem.

Then... BIG problem. I couldn't SEE!!! Not a thing! I mean NOTHING!!!

I turned on the high beams.

Nope. Still couldn't see. I wasn't exactly in panic mode at that point, but I was a teensy bit upset. I mean, I needed to go to the grocery store, but Smarticus needs his sleep. I did NOT want to wake him up just to take me to the store...

                                                            Then I started laughing.
[image courtesy of morguefile]
The only thing worse than being blind is having sight but no vision. [Helen Keller]

                                              What a DOOFUS! I had it all ass-backwards!

               When I stopped laughing, I removed the sun screen from the windshield.

I could see just FINE. I still can't believe I did that. How could I be so dumb? (Don't answer that!)

The trip to the store was uneventful. Actually, it was kinda nice sharing the space with the handful of other seniors who were there, even though a lot of the shelves were woefully bare. (Would you believe even the frozen Brussel sprouts were completely sold out?!)

After all, the true seeing is within. [George Eliot]
[image courtesy of unsplash]
                                                        It's a relief to know I can see well enough to drive safely in the dark now, but I need to do some serious inner seeing to figure out if I'm ever gonna finish the trilogy I started a while back. I think what I have so far for Book Two is really good, but it's been more than a year since I've even looked at the unfinished manuscript. Now that most of Smarticus' treatments are (hopefully) behind us, it's time to decide: to write... or not to write. If you don't hear from me for the rest of the month, that might mean I'm writing again. Or it might not. Who knows? I might be alphabetizing everything in my china cabinet and washing my spices. Or something like that. Either way, know that I'm okay. And I'm no longer afraid of driving in the dark.

                                                                  How about YOU...?     

                                  Until next time, take care of yourselves. And each other.

[image courtesy of unsplash]