Friday, September 4, 2020

First Friday! West, Whitaker, Vidler

 Woohoo! It’s First Friday again—three little stories by three markedly different authors, all based on one photo. Take a look. You may find another author to love.

Photo by Edward Howell on Unsplash


Jogging through the park on her morning run, the young officer swiped at a trickle of sweat threatening her eye. The temperatures soared even as the big clock on the corner struck eight a.m. Splashing and giggles caught her attention, as she drew near a small pond, usually inhabited only by ducks. The sight slowed her steps and brought her to a complete stop. A smile teased up the corners of her mouth. An entire family danced in the water. They were fully clothed, but for their shoes which they’d left lining the edge of the pond. They must’ve been picking flowers, which was against the rules, because one of the shoes held gorgeous orange blossoms. Of course, playing in the pond was also against the rules. The family was having such fun, and it was so hot, she couldn’t blame them. She envied them their joy. Joy she had little of since the death of her partner.


No one knew where the shoes came from, but they showed up every year on the same day.

Everyone knew why, of course. The shoes belonged to the victims.  

Children filled the shoes with flowers, pennies, and pieces of candy meant to calm the spirits for another year.  And some years, it worked.  

But more often than not, on the fall harvest moon, the black water and the demon within demanded more.  Another soul to take down to the shadowy depths.  Always the shoes left as the reminder of the power that lay beneath.

This year, the newly-elected modern council had a novel plan.  Everyone would walk the seawall.  If they were all present, they reasoned, the demon could not take them. They would be saved.

Mothers and babies, elders and youth, fathers and sons. All came. They walked in silence, holding hands, from dusk until morning light revealed the new day. And a seawall lined with shoes.


Colonel Greely arrived near dawn at the battery beside the fast-flowing river. Jumpers always left their shoes for those in need. Five pairs lined the wall—Ari’s entire family. Greely checked his watch; he’d learned of their disappearance twelve hours too late. The ocean, only meters away, devoured those who departed with the tide, their bodies never found.

He’d planned to arrest Ari and eliminate the man’s family today. Flushed with anger, Greely cursed. Someone had warned them, allowing the dissident to escape a slow, unpleasant end.

The flowers puzzled Greely. Who was left to mourn the man? He dismissed the only one in sight, an old beggar rummaging through a trashcan. As Greely bent to retrieve the delicate blossoms, he felt a rush of air.

Strong hands slammed into his back. Helpless, he tumbled into icy water racing out to sea.


Ari signaled his family to retrieve their shoes.


Marsha Riegert West
At Amazon

The theme of Marsha’s seven books is always second chances. She even has a four-part series titled The Second Chances Series, because she believes in Happily Ever Afters. Her husband picked up a plaque for her on one of their several trips to Maine that states her philosophy exactly. Everything will be all right in the end. If it’s not all right, it’s not the end. The Heroines and Heroes in her books are in their 40s and 50s with their parents and children often playing supporting roles. Finding a new life while danger threatens is challenging but makes the win all the more worthwhile.

You can find out more about her and her books, her blog and her newsletter on her website

SECOND ACT, Book 1 The Second Chances Series.  When a member of the board of a non-profit arts agency in Fort Worth turns up dead, the homicide detective Mike Riley assigned to the case looks at everyone involved in the organization, including Addison Greer the Executive Director.

LM Whitaker

 At Amazon 

Linda M Whitaker is a retail data scientist, and a writer of science and technology thrillers.  By day she plays with numbers, by night, with words.

Linda started writing around 2011 when she took her first mystery class with Ellen Hart, a prolific Minneapolis mystery author. Though Linda lived in Minnesota only a few years, she quickly learned the benefits of writing fiction as a means to hide from the long, dark, cold winters.

Fast forward a decade, and the
many years of learning and perseverance have finally led to her debut novel.
The Crucible of Steele is a fast-paced techno-thriller filled with unexpected twists, ethical entanglements and provocative science.  Buy here, or visit her website,, for more details.

Today Linda resides with her husband in the mountains of Western North Carolina.  She loves running in the forest, gardening, cooking, and playing with her dog and cat.

Ellis Vidler

At Amazon

Ellis is filling in for the third author, who was unable to participate due to illness. Ellis writes the stories she likes to read—action, adventure, and heart. She falls in love with the characters, flawed but striving to do the right thing, and hates leaving them when the book is finished.

Her most recent novel is Prime Target: After witnessing her husband’s murder, Madeleine Schier flees, relying on her wits to survive in world where death waits at every turn. “Heartwarming and yet suspenseful. Lots of twists and turns. Couldn't put it down!”


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