Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Today in History: Lizzie Borden Grand Jury

Today in History:

The grand jury convenes on Nov. 15, 1892  to consider the evidence regarding Lizzie Borden as a suspect in the murders of her father, Andrew Borden and stepmother, Abby Durfee Borden. 

The grand jury ended its deliberations on November 21 and indicted Lizzie for the murders on December 2. 

 I follow the trial and include actual news, inquest and trial transcripts in my book, Lizzie Borden, Zombie Hunter

Every family has its secrets…

One hot August morning in 1892, Lizzie Borden picked up an axe and murdered her father and stepmother. Newspapers claim she did it for the oldest of reasons: family conflicts, jealousy and greed. But what if her parents were already dead? What if Lizzie slaughtered them because they’d become zombies?

Thrust into a horrific world where the walking dead are part of a shocking conspiracy to infect not only Fall River, Massachusetts, but also the world beyond, Lizzie battles to protect her sister, Emma, and her hometown from nightmarish ghouls and the evil forces controlling them.

Monday, November 13, 2017

New #Romantic Suspense She Do Run Run

Can't beat a book that makes you think of a song, right?

Romantic Suspense
Date Published: September 26, 2017
Publisher: Broadback

 photo add-to-goodreads-button_zpsc7b3c634.png

She Do Run Run is a fast, double-shot-of-espresso read. Its heart-racing story can be consumed in a few quick hours.

Jenny’s life is shattered when her Special Ops husband is killed. To escape the pain, she falls into a dangerous cycle of random sex and booze, and one night she kills a violent man.

She runs off into the unknown, desperate to survive and change her life. That’s when Lieutenant Jon Dowling appears.


Enraged, KC bounced off the bed, faltered, then whirled about to face me.  He broke for me, spitting threats and curses, his giant shadow of a body charging.  I felt a twist of terror in the pit of my stomach.

I slipped the Luger from my purse easily—feeling the cool, sticky grip.  There was no time to shout out a warning.  He was coming—a charging, killing animal.  I squeezed off two shots.  The impact stunned him, jerked him erect.  Froze him.  I could see his eyes, wide in the bright flash of yellow neon.  He heaved out a loud breath, like a snort.

“You shot me, you bitch!  I’ll kill you!  You fuckin’ shot me!  I’ll kill you!”

He came at me, a big angry bear reaching.  I fired two more shots.  I watched in horror as he teetered, and stumbled backwards off-balance.  He bounced off the wall, face blank, and dropped like a heavy sack.  I felt the thud of his body shake the floor under my bare feet.

I stood breathing, sweating, heart kicking.  I knew he was dead.  I didn’t need to check.  I mean, I shot him four times, for Chrissake!  Did anyone hear the shots?  I strained my ears.  Dead quiet.  Were there people next door?  Would someone call the police?

Strangely, I felt calm—incredibly calm.  Where was the shock?  Methodically, I slipped the handgun back into my purse.  Then I realized I was naked.  I found my clothes, slipped them on, turned the room lights on dim and searched the room, refusing to look at KC, making sure I hadn’t left anything: still had my earrings, watch, phone, purse.  Would there be finger prints?  Maybe.  I knew, from some of Kyle’s police buddies, that prints were hard to find.  I hadn’t touched many things.  I hadn’t even drunk from a glass or used a towel.  What about hair in the bed?  A broken nail?  No time to search.  Impossible anyway.

I turned off the lights and slipped out of the motel into a dark humid night.  The motel office was 70 feet or so away and, fortunately, I hadn’t stepped inside the office with KC when he registered.  I had not been seen.  I listened for police sirens.   Nothing.  Strange.

We had come on KC’s motorcycle, leaving my car in the bar’s parking lot.  I’d have to walk the five miles or so, and I did, keeping my head low, edging along in the shadows.

When I arrived back at the bar, the parking lot was still bloated with motorcycles, trucks and old dinged up cars.  I glanced about, saw a couple locked in a kiss near the front door, climbed into my car, cranked the engine and drove away, still feeling oddly calm.  Why?  I had just killed a man.

The police would soon be looking for the killer, of course.  The bartender had seen me, and the man who had moved to give me his barstool, had seen me.  Would they remember what I looked like?  As far as I knew, they were the only ones.  No one knew my name or anything else about me.  Still, there was no doubt the police would find some evidence.  If there was hair in the bed, they’d run a DNA test.  This was Florida after all, and Florida cops weren’t stupid, at least not the ones Kyle and I had known.

So, what now?  I drove, and drove, and kept on driving.  I lost track of time and place, my mind soon entranced by the blurring white lines of the road, by the hum of the car engine and the expanding, chilling realization that I’d just killed a man. 

About the Author:
I'm a Florida-based writer, who loves all things romantic, with a shot of suspense.  I also love to write Time Travel Novels.
When the characters keep me up nights, I feel good about the story.

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Writing & Miniatures


Here's a little chuckle for you; this is too good not to re-post. ha!

A short post today. 

Slacked off on Nano - will get back to it this week. I promise!

I was sidelined by going to the annual miniatures show. And of course I got another small project to do, too!  

The two do coincide for me. In both, I flit from project to project until I get fully enthusiastic and really get into it. 

I'm going to be scheduling some other book posts while I concentrate on my own writing so you'll have some new stuff to read. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

#1LineWed, Lizzie Borden, #Zombies & Nano

It's another 1 Line Wednesday! 

Nanowrimo is still going on, of course. I slacked off slightly having to do other writing.  So, it's still ongoing though I am toying with length ideas and what-not, and how best to continue the story of Lizzie Borden, Zombie Hunter.   

Writing is an odd thing - you can outline and plan, but often the characters tell their own story or veer off in directions you don't expect. Lizzie is yearning for romance, I think, with a certain well-muscled, attractive self-defense instructor, despite her denials and such. Well, we'll see where that leads--or not. 

Now I know there are zombie-book purists who hate romance, but... it's part of life, and part of Lizzie's life I'd think being involved so closely with her instructor, Pierre Moret. Despite the press of the day in real life calling her a "plain old maid" at her trial, there is perhaps some quality that someone finds redeeming in her? Maybe someone did in real life at some point that we never knew of, too. If she really is innocent, of course. 

No, the Lizzie I'm writing is NOT the 1892 Lizzie Borden. It's hard to pinpoint the real Lizzie. Killer? Psychopath? Protecting someone else? Repressed? Who really knows?

My version of Lizzie naturally has some modern attributes. After all, society has labeled her a murderess even if she was acquitted. She's shunned and continued to live her life, no matter what. Did she thumb her nose at society by staying in her hometown after the trial? Hard to say. 

It makes sense to me that if you're going to flout conventions and fight zombies, and no one really wants anything to do with you anyway, then there will be changes. She may very well have walked to her own drummer. So, I expect I'll take some liberties with her character again. I've pushed the story to a year after the 1893 trial, though I may push it back a bit. We'll see on both counts.

Anyway, here's a teaser from Lizzie Borden, Zombie Hunter 2: Aftermath - title and lines subject to change as I go along.

And well... it has to be more than one line since I always include a historic snippet at the top... (all (c) c. verstraete -  do not copy or re-post.)

Chapter One

“We pray thee that innocence may be revealed and guilt exposed…”
—The Rev. M.C. Julien, opening prayer, Trial of Lizzie Borden, June 5, 1893

Fall River, Massachusetts—June, 1894

    Lizzie Borden sprang awake, startled by a sound she never expected, or prayed, to hear again—a low, eerie keen that made her skin crawl and the long, straight hairs on her neck curl up into tight ringlets.

Here's the opening of the original book,  Lizzie Borden, Zombie Hunter.  

Chapter One

Q. You saw his face covered with blood?
A. Yes sir.
Q. Did you see his eyeball hanging out?
A. No sir.
Q. Did you see the gashes where his face was laid open?
A. No sir.
—Lizzie Borden at inquest, August 9-11, 1892, Fall River Courtroom

August 4, 1892
Lizzie Borden drained the rest of her tea, set down her cup, and listened to the sound of furniture moving upstairs. My, my, for only ten oclock in the morning my stepmother is certainly energetic. Housecleaning, already?

Monday, November 6, 2017

New Lizzie Borden story!

I have a new Lizzie Borden story, this time nonfiction, in the Big City Cops 1 issue of Mystery Readers Journal.

This time I talk about the police aspect of the crime in Lizzie Borden: Murder and Mistakes? 

This is a great journal with various essays and stories by different authors. You can purchase it in pdf or a hard copy.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Deck the Halls, Lizzie Borden style

I hate to even mention Christmas already when Halloween barely passed, but in case you need some ornament ideas this year, I found these at Horrornaments...

For Lizzie Borden readers and writers, how about an axe to hang on the branches? 

Or, if you must, they also have others like a zombie ornament.and a bunch of creepy tombstones, a mummy, and yes, even a severed arm and leg, ho-ho....oh.

Friday, November 3, 2017

How's Your #NanoWriMo going? Or not?

NaNoWriMo - official Day 3.

How's it going for you? Or not? Not giving up, are you? That is so easy to do. You feel like, eh, why keep doing this, why bother, why....?

Now remember, I already had some written ahead on my project, so the key was to keep going. Keep it alive. Keep ahead if I can.

Day 1 - Weds. - a bomb. Still felt too tired to write. Getting over this cold thing has been awful.

Day 2, Thurs. - so far, 1600 2127 words. Not bad. Feeling sluggish as I write this Thurs. afternoon. But I want to do more as it's early yet. Problem is I've dropped a few clues, now what to do next? The story has already veered somewhat from the outline. Took out a couple things, substituted. Had to look some things up, which takes you off course... 

Yes, good when you find a solution. Had to add a subtle clue in, that works...

And... probably time for another #zombie fight!

Day 3 , Friday  - yes did another 400 words. Not enough, but that's ok. I'll have to do more next week so I don't fall behind.  And I'm not counting weekends in this as I usually have other writing work to do.

How are you doing? Feel free to share! Stuck? Get that free brainstormer worksheet jpg

Friend me chrisv07 - at

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Do You Nano?

It's Yes, November! In writer's parlance, that means it's NanoWriMo time?

What is that? Well, it's a kick start or kick-in-the-pants kind of thing, a chance to write 50,000 words in 30 days.

I tried it once. Didn't stick to it. 

I thought about it and realize, well, this year, I may do it. 

I've been outlining most of Lizzie Borden, Zombie Hunter 2. Toying with it. Deciding: do I or don't I write it? 

Yes, I've started it. Got a good portion done that I like though I'll likely change one plot line that is somewhat similar to the first book, Lizzie Borden, Zombie Hunter.  So... still thinking on that, but I can toy with it as I go along.

The main thing is now that I got over being sick this past couple weeks and actually having some time off not writing, I decided I'm going to try doing this. Nano will give me the framework to at least push through and get most of this done. Otherwise I may just keep procrastinating or talking myself out of it.

I'm not a fast writer, but I've figured out word counts to know how much I should try to get done in a week. I don't believe in writing sloppy. Filling pages to fill pages is a time-waster. But I know I can write enough to put in some quality words. I'm really interested to see that I can actually get a good working copy done in the time period given - or at least close to it. This will be a test for myself.

I've outlined a good portion of it, and some I know will come as I go along. Hoping that I don't find that black hole but once I start, I have to finish it. So, that's my idea and the goal. (Oh, and I found this cool Brainstormer Worksheet if you - or I - do get stuck.)

Anyone else doing Nano? Friend me - chrisv07

Let's all cheer each other on. 

Monday, October 30, 2017

Happy Halloween Reading List! #horror #zombie #mystery

There's no better time than Halloween to curl up with a good scary book! Here are some suggestions and some new books I came across. Don't turn out the lights! Boo!

It seems everyone is writing short stories, which I love, so there are plenty of treats to pick from!


Dead Ends, Stories of the Gothic South, J.T. Ellison, editor - Cool idea. Thirteen novelists were asked to build stories around a photo of a dilapidated mansion with a gothic flavor. Includes stories by Amanda Stevens, Lisa Morton and others.

Descent Into Darkness - What keeps you awake at night? These 19 spooky tales and novellas from assorted authors might... Edited by Tony Urban. Includes my story, "Thirteen Horses" by C.A. Verstraete. 700+ pages - Oct. 30: Woo-hoo! It hit #1 in anthologies/horror!

Fearful Fathoms: Collected Tales of Aquatic Terror (Vol. 1: Seas and Oceans) - How deep does your fear go? New double anthology features an unpublished story by Jack Ketchum, plus stories by Lori R. Lopez, W.D. Gagliani and others. 


Joe Ledger, Unstoppable, Jonathan Maberry - What's Halloween without Maberry and Joe Ledger? Stories about Maberry's favorite covert operative Joe Ledger and the Department of Military Sciences by 22 authors including Seanan McGuire, Joe McKinney, Keith R.A. DeCandido, Dana Fredsti and others. Releases on Halloween!

Mrs. Dracula: Vampire Anthology - She's worn out every welcome and bitten the hand that feeds, but what did you expect? Dark tales by 18 authors about the Mrs. in the Dracula family.

Rage Against the Night - Stories of those who rage against the night and triumph in the face of overwhelming evil. From horror masters Stephen King, Peter Straub, Jonathan Maberry, Chelsea Quinn Yarbro and others. 


Treasured Chests: A Zombie Anthology for Breast Cancer Care (Registered charity in England and Wales) - Proceeds to benefit breast cancer.

Undead Worlds: A Reanimated Writers Anthology - Stories by 22 authors, 22 undead worlds.... Do you dare? Stories by Derek and Mark Cusco Ailes, Grivante, Julien Saindon, Valerie Lioudis, Samie Sands and others.


Infection: A Post-Apocalyptic Survival Novel (Sympatico Syndrome Book 1),  M.P. McDonald - When the US crumbles and services stop, there's only one thing to do - take your family and run...


 New! Spectral Edition: Ghost Reports from US Newspapers, 1865-1917, Tim Prasil - Between the Civil War and World War I, a wave of ghost reports hit the newspapers. Prasil shares hundreds of the reports he's collected. (Cool idea! I've read some of these on Tim's blog. Love the idea.) Paperback.

The Haunting of Dr. Bowen, A Mystery in Lizzie Borden's Fall River, C.A. Verstraete - Another view of the Borden murders... Was Lizzie's doctor and neighbor haunted by what he saw that morning in 1892? Was he being haunted by Fall River's bloody past? 

Lizzie Borden:

What's Halloween without infamous axe murderess Lizzie Borden?  


Lizzie Borden, Zombie Hunter, C.A. Verstraete - What if Lizzie Borden did kill her father and stepmother... because she had no other choice? 

The Murderer's Maid,  A Lizzie Borden NovelErika Mailman  - Bram Stocker award finalist Mailman presents a different take on the infamous 1892 Borden murders with an interwoven tale of past and present focusing on the Borden family maid, Bridget Sullivan, and a modern-day barista in fear for her life. Take note  of the cruel and cunning Lizzie Borden lurking around corners who'll make your toes curl!  Just released!  

Time Travel-Romance:

Wide Awake Asleep: Time Travel Romance, Louise Wise - Julie Compton's relieved to have survived a car crash. One problem: she's back in 1972, in the body of a stranger.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

#Halloween Read: Descent Into Darkness Sale!

Get it Now! 

The still HOT anthology (it's now #1! in anthologies/horror!), Descent Into Darkness, is on sale to Halloween for 99 cents!

How cool is this? Oct. 30 - it's now at #1!!! Woo-hoo!!

700+ pages - novellas, stories and more!

I've got a creepy little story in there, "Thirteen Horses" where a certain crime has its own brand of justice... 

Friday, October 27, 2017

#Halloween #Zombie Blog Crawl: What's scarier than Lizzie Borden?

Thought I'd share an older post today for the Reanimated Writers Zombie Blog Hop. (You'll have to join the group to see the posts. I'll include others I find.)

Since it's Halloween, what's scarier than real life monsters?

Since I couldn't copy/paste from my word program for some reason, I'm including part of a previous blog post.

Women Who Kill

By C.A. Verstraete 

There's something truly frightening about the idea of a woman—and an upstanding Sunday School teacher at that—swinging, hacking, and attacking not one, but two people. But that is what 32-year-old Lizzie Borden was accused of doing when she was put on trial in 1893 for the murders of her father, Andrew Borden, and stepmother, Abby Durfee Borden, on Aug. 4, 1892.

A Victorian tragedy, Borden continues to fascinate today. Dozens of reasons have been given as to why she might have committed the crime—madness, jealousy, rage, female hormones, an illicit affair, incest…
No direct proof connecting Lizzie with the crime was ever found, though only she and the maid, Bridget Sullivan, were at home at the time of the murders. Did she do it or didn’t she? The jury thought not, or at least were not convinced by the lack of evidence, so she was acquitted.
When I decided to write about Lizzie Borden, I followed the timetable of the actual crime, and used transcripts and newspaper accounts as part of the story, but I  came up with an even more unique solution as to why she might have committed the crime. What if Lizzie did kill her father and stepmother… because she had no other choice?
Here’s a short excerpt:
Every muscle quivering, Lizzie fought with everything she had to keep his mouth away from her body and limbs. Her strength waning, she hoped to fight for as long as possible when Emma yelled from the doorway.
“Father!” Emma screamed. “Lizzie, what are you doing? You’re hurting him!”
A quick glance told Lizzie her sister was still not herself. Lizzie struggled to talk while she fought to keep her father at arm’s length. “Emma, help.” She panted with the effort. “Please, help. He’s sick, he’s gone insane. Help me.”
Emma finally blinked and stared like she was seeing everything for the first time. “Lizzie! What should I do?”
“The hatchet!” Lizzie pleaded. “Get the hatchet. Hurry, please hurry! I can’t hold out much longer.”
  *About Lizzie Borden, Zombie Hunter: Every family has its secrets… One hot August morning in 1892, Lizzie Borden picked up an axe and murdered her father and stepmother. Newspapers claim she did it for the oldest of reasons: family conflicts, jealousy and greed. But what if her parents were already dead? What if Lizzie slaughtered them because they’d become… zombies?
 ** What’s your view on Lizzie Borden? Guilty or not guilty?

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Dial Meow for Murder #Mystery Book Tour!

Looks like the blog has gone to the cats  - and the dogs  - as I welcome author Bethany Blake, who's touring for her mystery, Dial Meow for Murder. With a black cat, perfect for Halloween, I say! 

Dial Meow for Murder
Lucky Paws Petsitting Mystery #2
Bethany Blake
Genre: Cozy Mystery

Even an experienced pet sitter like Daphne Templeton can be fooled by animal behavior: how can an adorably tiny fuzz ball named Tinkleston be capable of sudden flying leaps with cat claws bared? But human behavior remains even more mysterious, especially when Tinkleston’s owner is murdered on the night of a gala fundraiser for Fur-ever Friends Pet Rescue.

Accompanied by her unflappable basset hound, Socrates, Daphne plans to take charge of Tinks the Terror and leave the crime-solving to handsome detective Jonathan Black. But while luring the prickly Persian out of hiding, she uncovers clues that might take suspicion off her own mother. Maeve Templeton already has a reputation as a killer—in real estate. How far would she go to bag Sylvan Creek’s most coveted property, the Flynt Mansion?

To expose the truth, Daphne finds herself donning a deranged clown costume on an autumnal adventure that might just be crazy enough to work—if it doesn’t get her killed.

Includes recipes for homemade dog treats!
Doggone charming from start to finish!” 
—Cleo Coyle, New York Times bestselling author of Death by Chocolate Lab
 * Amazon
* Apple
* B&N
* Google
* Kobo

Bethany Blake lives in a small, quaint town in Pennsylvania with her husband
and three daughters. When she's not writing, cooking for pets and
people or riding horses, she's wrangling a menagerie of furry family
members that includes a nervous pit bull, a fearsome feline, a blind
goldfish, and an attack cardinal named Robert. Like Daphne Templeton,
the heroine of her Lucky Paws Mysteries, Bethany holds a Ph.D. and
operates a pet sitting business called Barkley's Premium Pet Care.

the tour HERE
for exclusive excerpts and a giveaway!

#Halloween #Zombie Blog Crawl

I'm late getting in on this, so I'll share links as I find them.

Join in on some fun posts and more! Sponsored by the Reanimated Writers FB Group. (It's a closed group, so you'd have to join.) I'm linking blogs below; some may change as I get the posts.

Weds:., Oct 25: Valerie Lioudis' Blog: Five Great Zombie Apocalypse Hideouts

Thurs, Oct 26: Brian Parker

Friday, Oct 27: Here on GirlZombieAuthors: Women who kill - what's scarier than Lizzie Borden?

28 Mercedes Prunty

29 Philip Harris

30 LC Champlin

31 Baileigh Higgins

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Lizzie Borden Books for Halloween! Fall River newspaper!

Cool! How about a Lizzie Borden book for Halloween?

Some of the latest Lizzie Borden books - including my book, The Haunting of Dr. Bowen - are talked about in the Fall River Herald News - Lizzie Borden's hometown newspaper!! 

** Plus! I got a nice new review on Lizzie Borden, Zombie Hunter - 7 of 10 zombie heads at The Rotting Zombie!